Digimon Adventure Tri: Loss Review

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It’s time to look at the 4th film in the Digimon Tri series. This one finally has the gang head to the Digital World, but what does this mean for all of the ongoing plot lines so far? Well, they’re basically gonna get dropped for this film so we can focus on character introductions. This was a bit of a dicey call and I can certainly see how this would be the weakest installment yet. It basically just feels like filler for the most part and choosing to lead with a grainy low budget intro was…interesting to say the least. The scenes in the intro were interesting, but I wanted my high budget animation!

So the film starts off by showing us the school agent back when she was a kid. Apparently she had been one of the chosen ones (Or not chosen depending on how you interpret the speech) along with the teacher guy and she had to watch the elders appear for the first time as they sacrificed her friend to save the world. Well, now she has found a way to bring him back, the reboot! Meanwhile Tai and the others are in the Digital World, but their Digimon haven’t gotten their memories back as expected. It’s no big deal since they all get along…with the exception of Sora and her Digimon. Can they reconnect in the middle of this crisis? They better get their act together soon because Mega level Digimon are after them!

Sora is the main focus here as she goes through her personal dilemma. Was I on her side or not? Well, here’s the situation. The gang has arrived in the Digital World but their partners do not recognize them. The humans knew that beforehand but they held out hope that the Digimon would just remember somehow. Sora is no exception and since her Digimon wants nothing to do with her she takes it pretty hard.

I’d say that part of the problem on her end was that she was rushing the whole thing too much. You can’t expect to become friends with someone again over night like that. Granted, part of the reason why she got such expectations was because the others did the same thing so quickly. Naturally she gets a little jealous about the whole thing and since she is used to bottling her feelings up, Sora doesn’t do a great job of handling the situation. Naturally this is all leading up to the fact that I was not on her side. Not only should she not blame Tai and Matt at all, but her issue doesn’t even seem as big as the others. If she didn’t get emotional every time Biyumon yelled at her she would be in a far better position.

Now lets talk about more serious dilemmas. Unfortunately this is the first film to really get wonky when it comes to the power levels. It is quite noticeable even if you don’t usually focus on things like that. Gabumon is able to cancel out an energy blast from a Mega level Digimon despite being only a rookie. Then another rookie is able to stun the Mega. At that difference in power the attacks shouldn’t even be noticed. Rookies can rarely even damage champions, a mega is too much of a stretch.

This is definitely an issue that I would say falls with the writing. The film appeared to be trying to create a sense of danger and suspense for the heroes and figured that putting them in such a dangerous position was the way to go. That was not actually the case though because the writers went too far so when the heroes make a comeback or delay the inevitable like in those scenes it just doesn’t work. The film should have just not used a Mega right off the bat or the heroes should have kept their ultimates. That would have made a difference.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s only natural that this film could not top the last 3. That’s because this is the first installment not to feature the excellent danger theme that I always like to see. You can’t just cut out the best theme in the series like that. We also don’t have the techno intro but we have other insert songs at the ready here so it seemed like a fair trade. It’s still a reasonable soundtrack but one that is now missing a little impact. The animation continues to be consistent here. If you liked it in the first 3 parts then I don’t believe that this would change here. The fights are solid and the landscapes are on point. The character designs/animations may still be a little pale but as they don’t have their iconic costumes I suppose that it can’t be helped.

As far as Dark Jedi goes, the film does its best to make him as unlikable as possible. He goes through the trope of licking one of the heroes for shock value and to make sure you know that this guy is batty. So much for being the calm and collected mastermind right? The FBI agent is also going downhill fast as her final scene already negates her sob story. The other agent is certainly taking his time figuring this all out as well. I’m just ready for Alphamon to show up and start wrecking everyone again. Having the King of Digimon show up soon would also be a lot of fun.

Unfortunately this movie didn’t bode well for Meiko and Meicoomon either. Both of them panicked under pressure when the going got tough and made the villain’s job quite easy. The other Digidestined should also be blamed to an extent as they totally ditched her without any good reason. The whole point of the mission was to protect her and yet they left to go on their victory lap. Really? That also seemed very plot convenient. Also, the heroes had many chances to attack Dark Jedi (They even knew to call him Dark Jedi pretty quickly) but they kept just not doing so. At some point you have to step up and make an attack. Only Joe actually tried here and naturally it didn’t go well. I appreciated the attempt though. If the heroes had knocked him out that could have helped the situation quite a bit.

So while this film could have certainly be handled better, you’ve still got to give it credit for building a compelling story. The universe around the characters still feels nice and mysterious the whole time. The villains operate in the shadows so most of the residents in the world don’t even know what is happening. While certain scenes can be frustrating, at least you do care about what is going on. I’ll give a more thorough breakdown of the various plot lines and such in the final film so hopefully it is able to tie everything together.

Overall, This installment seemed to be buying for time to an extent. If you didn’t know any better you would almost assume that there was some kind of change in writers behind the scenes as the story definitely seems to be changing directions. That’s not a bad thing per say, but hopefully they do have an end goal in mind as I still have quite a few questions that need to be answered. Even if there may be some missed opportunities by the end of this series at least the plot is still engaging and I don’t expect that will change. Naturally if you saw the first 3 films then I’d recommend checking out this one. If you have not, then maybe you could jump on here and still enjoy the film as it’s a reasonable jumping on point but you will be missing some context which will make the scenes less emotional.

Overall 7/10

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Digimon Adventure Tri: Confession Review

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It’s time to look at the third film in the Tri series. We have no reached the halfway point folks. This one focuses more on TK as he tries to find a way to make sure Patamon is okay without the rest of the Digidestined getting in his way. It’ll be tough but he’s been through worse. Meanwhile the rest of the team needs to figure out what to do about Meiko and the trouble that the Digital World is facing.

This one picks off where the second ended and everyone is panicking. The infection is spreading rapidly and even the chosen Digimon may not be immune. The heroes may have to pull the plug on the Digital World as a whole to save it, but is it worth saving the planet if everyone has to be wiped away? The Digimon are all data at the end of the day, but they have been shown to be able to generate souls within them so isn’t resetting their data just like destroying them? Hard questions will be asked here.

While the last film focused on Joe and Mimi this one has Izzy and TK be the focus so I’ll concentrate on those two. First is TK and his controversial choice is to keep the fact that Patamon is infected from the other Digidestined since they may try to run experiments on Patamon or even delete him. The “heroes” have discussed this in the past so it’s not too far fetched. TK also does make sure to take Patamon away from the others so he is being careful not to spread the infection. Naturally the characters aren’t thrilled about this, but TK absolutely made the right choice here. I wouldn’t trust the other Digidestined as far as I can throw them. Patamon is TK’s best friend as well so that bond’s more important than letting the others down. Especially since TK and Kairi have crests that work like friendship he should be able to overcome the dark impulses that are plaguing Patamon. So, I’m on TK’s side 100%.

As for Izzy, I’m basically in the opposite boat here. He’s always the character who ends up panicking and cracking under pressure. It’s a trait that is usually associated with the smart member of the group and unfortunately he was no exception. The computer simulations start to get to him so he pushes everyone away and snaps at them. It just doesn’t do his character any favors, especially since he never sincerely apologizes about the whole thing. His mindset is the opposite of TK’s as he would likely not mind sacrificing the one to save the rest while TK sides with his partner. Different methods for trying to do the right thing, but I certainly have my preference.

This film definitely has one of the better fight scenes. I’m not sure that I would put it ahead of the epic Alphamon entrance just yet but it was great to finally see all of the Digidestined team up. It’s the first time since the show at this point and it’s definitely nostalgic. A shame they were all so outgunned though, but it’s really the heroes’ fault for not going into their ultimate forms though. They just refuse to do so and I know that they like a good fight, but the fate of the planet is at stake so they gotta take this just a little more seriously. I definitely enjoyed seeing Meicoomon in action. He is definitely a solid fighter and the design for the Digimon is definitely on point.

The animation continues to look fairly solid. The film got to show off its effects a little more here with the climax and all. The colors in the Digital World are always nice and it’s fun to finally be away from Earth. Naturally the stinger is certainly not quite as epic as the last film’s, but it’s a pretty good reveal for the villain. It’ll be interesting to see what the whole master plan is. Right now we don’t know a whole lot so the motives could be just about anything honestly. World domination, conquest, or just a desire to see everything get wiped out and reset. That seems to be a common cyber goal so I wouldn’t put it past this guy. The soundtrack is essentially the same as the last 2 films so it’s still pretty solid. As always the danger theme in the climax is the best one, but the insert song is also catchy

The writing is solid as you would expect. The mystery continues and all of the characters continue to stress each other out. I feel like Tai is definitely getting closer to regaining his fighting spirit. I think one more good talking to will likely convert him. That’s definitely a good thing because we really need the old Tai back if we want to win. Matt mentions how having the other Mega level Digimon being awakened will help since they may not need Alphamon, but at the end of the day he is still their best weapon. Normal Mega level Digimon aren’t even close to as strong as Alphamon. Also, the heroes never even use their Mega except for at the very end so I doubt we will be seeing them all that much. This film was longer than the first 2 which is good since it was able to fit so much in that way. The pacing is solid all the way through so don’t worry about it dragging on or anything like that.

I would like to see the DigiDestined take a more active role against the government though. So far they just accept everything they are told and aren’t actively trying to fight off the infection. (Aside from Izzy who is trying to find a cure) The heroes should be shaking people down and finding out answers. Starting with the people monitoring them makes sense since the government is currently keeping a whole lot of information from them. I suppose this won’t be an issue going forward since the heroes are finally back in the Digital World. They should have a lot of experience here so I’m looking forward to seeing them really make a dent in the villain’s plans and also figuring out the answers to all of their questions. Also, Tai seriously can’t complain about city destruction now that he’s off Earth right?

Overall, Confession does a good job of continuing the adventure. It makes a good case for possibly topping the first film. Those two are pretty neck and neck at the moment. The first film has an edge in having the single best sequence out of all the films when Alphamon arrives, but the third film got to jump into the plot a lot faster without needing to take time for introductions. It’s a tough call of course and I look forward to the next 3 films making that decision even tougher by keeping up the quality. It’s definitely been nice to have the Adventure cast back for so long with these 6 films and they aren’t going anywhere for a while.

Overall 8/10

Digimon Adventure Tri: Determination Review

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It’s time to look at the next Digimon Tri adventure. It’s been quite a while since we saw Alphamon handle Omnimon. Naturally this volume has a little tension between the main cast which is liable to stick around for the duration of the series. This one focuses on Joe and Mimi’s struggles while the others try to just have a good time without worrying about the fate of the planet for a little while.

After Tai held back against Alphamon and caused the heroes to almost be destroyed he has lost his competitive spirit altogether. He doesn’t even want to confront Matt about this since he isn’t even sure how to word his argument. The Digidestined decide to distract themselves by throwing a party at school. Still, ready or not the Digimon aren’t about to wait for the heroes. Ogremon surfaces and the infection rate in the Digimon World is growing rapidly. What was thought to be a natural disease may in fact be all part of a master plan.

As I mentioned Mimi and Joe are the main characters here so let’s talk about them. First we have Mimi. She’s always been very outgoing and while she used to be more fashionable than practical she has also developed a tough personality. That said, she has started to intimidate her classmates who decide to sabotage her school party idea by not participating. Mimi’s teammates also reprimand her for trying to fight off one of the evil Digimon on her own.

For the first issue, I wasn’t a fan of the costume that Mimi wanted to use for the dances and it’s reasonable to assume that not every student would be comfortable wearing it either. We find out that Mimi never asked anyone about wearing it beforehand either so she was a little short sighted there. Of course, the students didn’t have to immediately turn this into a fight so they were being confrontational for no apparent reason. Mimi maybe took it a little harder than she she should have but she did cause that issue.

As for fighting on her own, she definitely made the right call there. The others told her to wait for backup but what about in the meantime? Ogremon wasn’t going to wait and he could have caused a lot of damage on the meantime. Also, backup never even came since the cops stopped the kids before they could get through. The chopper getting hit by the needles was just being careless. Mimi probably should have seen it but I wouldn’t put any blame on her then. If a villain is attacking you definitely don’t have time to wait for backup. That’s when you’ve gotta step up and show why you are a hero. Long story short, Mimi’s obstacle here is that she is very confident and impulsive which are both fine traits and she is certainly doing well.

As for Joe, I can’t say that things are going very well for him. Throughout the film he decides to ignore everyone being in danger so he can keep on studying. There usually isn’t anything wrong with hitting the books but when it comes at the expense of putting your friends in danger then that’s when it has definitely gone too far. He may not like the hand that he was dealt but the fact remains that Joe is one of the only people who can defend the world from the infected. He has to step up to the plate. He finally does by the end which is good since I had enough of his moping. Debatably the worst part is that he knows he is to blame for most of the film but keeps on making the wrong choices anyway.

The film ends with a pretty solid cliffhanger to get you hyped for the 3rd film. It’s gonna be hard for any of the films to top the ending was it was just perfect. It helps establish the threat and leaves the heroes in a bad spot. Considering that this series is a 6 part epic, it’s always good to have a stinger like that. I didn’t elaborate on most of the other characters, but they’ll all get their moments coming up in the future films so I’ll look at them in more detail when it’s their turn. Naturally the final review in the series will likely be the biggest as I’ll wait until then to discuss the route the series went and if it addressed all of its different plot lines. I do like how mysterious the series is acting right now, but we are certainly going to need a solid payoff to keep up with that.

As expected the animation is pretty solid. The fight scenes are on point and it’s always nice to see the Digimon cut loose at the end since for the most part they don’t get too much action here. Once in a while the human characters tend to have a derpy look on their face when chatting but that’s likely a stylistic choice. I’ll still take the bold and colorful art style of the actual show over it but I have no real faults with this style.

The soundtrack is mainly the same as the first one and is as solid now as it was then. The danger theme that pops up in the climax of this film as well as the last one is still the best one in the film. It does a good job of making the atmosphere more tense and epic. I also still do like the Tri into theme which is a techno version of the original. The Digievolution theme is iconic and I’m sure fans are glad they kept the original but I’d sure love to see the English version here. That theme was awesome!

Digimon Tri is more about the plot and drama than the action so as mentioned earlier there isn’t much fighting here. Fortunately the writing is on point so that isn’t really a concern. I do think it may make the film a tad bit trickier on re-watches, but for initial viewing you’re definitely going to be caught up on the suspense. At the end of the day most of the main characters are likable which is also helpful. Currently Tai, Joe, and Izzy are probably having the toughest time of it, but they’ll have their time to get more screen time. Well, Tai and Izzy at least. Joe already got his moment, but it seems to have ended the part of his character arc that I didn’t like so he can only go up from here. I’m definitely ready to see the heroes take on Alphamon again now that they have their fighting spirit back.

Overall, Tri part 2 is pretty solid. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t really do anything wrong. I may disagree to an extent with how the characters judge some of their decisions (It was good Mimi jumped in) but the film never gets heavy handed with trying to get you to agree. You’re left to decide for yourself if the character made the right call and I’m certainly all for that. I’d definitely recommend checking this movie out. Of course, you should probably watch the first film to get a better handle on what’s happening here. As this is a direct sequel there really isn’t any way around that. In this film it is literally a part 2 that starts off right after part 1 soooo…go watch part 1 first.

Overall 8/10

Pop Team Epic Review

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It’s time to look at another one of the worst anime out there. This one definitely holds its own against titles like FLCL. I’ve never been a big fan of anthologies and I’m even less of a fan of this kind of art style. Mix the two together and you’ve got yourself a show that was doomed right from the start. There just isn’t anything really good about this show so what ends up happening is that you just wait for it to end. Each episode is only around 10 minutes before it repeats so it isn’t even all that long but it feels long.

There’s no plot so we don’t have to worry about that I guess. There are two characters here Pipimi and Popuko. They just like walking around and doing crazy things. Most of the shorts don’t have anything to do with the others. Since there is no continuity to keep or logic to follow the series can get as absolutely crazy as it wants. There’s just no end to it. In particular there are 3 kinds of shorts that pop up frequently.

First is Bob’s Epic Team. The whole point of these specials is that each of the characters look incredibly deformed and they go around doing more crazy stuff. The voices are annoying and much like the rest of the show it just isn’t funny. It usually gets 2 segments in each episode so brace yourself for those. The second kind of short is Pop Team Cooking. In these the characters usually start to cook or just talk until the segment ends. Nothing ever really happens but at least I can say that the title is kind of catchy.

Then we also have the french segments which are great if you like recycled animation and nothing ever happening. These definitely don’t help the show’s case either. Then we’ve got the random segments that have nothing to do with anything as well. Those are about as bad as you may expect. The only ones that are even kind of good are the long ones at the beginning of every episode. Each episode gets 1 long segment and this allows the segment to get an actual plot. We had an action one, a Detective Conan one, a supernatural murder one, etc. At least these plots were trying to be okay. Of course the show can’t help but go off the deep end here as well as one segment decides to have a romance plot within the family which gets to be about as bad as you would expect. Hey, at least nobody can ever accuse the show of being classy right?

Surprisingly the show doesn’t have a lot of fanservice since I wouldn’t have been surprised from this kind of title. With the animation being this bad though I guess it didn’t want to even try. The soundtrack is basically nonexistent, but I suppose the opening isn’t bad. The images are pretty boring but the tune can be catchy. This kind of show just doesn’t have much in the way of music during the episodes. I already talked about how terrible the animation is so we don’t have to go over that. It’s just painfully bad.

I did like the episode previews at the end because they hint at what kind of show this could have been. The hypothetical story in those bits already look a whole lot more interesting than this one. It seems like a real show with actual animation. You just can’t go wrong there am I right? The show looks rather generic intentionally of course, but I would still take it over this one in a heart beat.

The only 2 real characters here are Popuko and Pipimi but of course their personalities do tend to change based on the short. No matter how the show up the two characters are always pretty annoying though. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a fan of them. Without a good cast or a reasonable plot a show is never going to go anywhere and that’s exactly what happened to this title.

At the end of the day Pop Team Epic is a comedy show. It tries for very outlandish and abstract humor which doesn’t land. Since that is the whole point of the show it was rather doomed right from the start. It’s very focus just wasn’t good enough to keep your attention and there just isn’t anything for it to fall back on from that point. I almost feel bad for the show, but it really has no one to blame but itself. From the very first episode you could tell that it was not going to be good. Making half of the show recycled animation is also incredibly lazy. I can’t imagine how this ever got to be on TV with such lazy production values behind it. In the end you could say that it just didn’t deserve to succeed.

Overall, This is a short review, but Pop Team Epic is basically only 6 episodes so it’s a rather short show. There is no cast or plot either so there just isn’t much to talk about. It’s essentially a long joke that keeps losing its focus and forgetting the punch lines. I’m sure it had a lot of plans initially but in the end the show just couldn’t bring them to fruition. All it did for me was reaffirm the fact that anthology series don’t have a whole lot of potential. Especially when the shorts are only around 2 minutes or less on average. There is really nothing you can do in such a short amount of time. If this sounds interesting to you then by all means check it out. Still, I can’t say that I’m hyped for the next season. Hopefully it is able to do something because the references aren’t enough to help this show overcome its terrible sense of humor and nonexistent plot. Maybe we could just get a full reboot with a different group of staff behind it. Surely an overhaul would ensure that the season is better…right?

Overall 1/10

FLCL Progressive Review

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It’s time to look at the recent FLCL show. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a terrible anime but leave it to this franchise to fix that. The first FLCL show is still considered by me to be one of the worst anime of all time. I’d have to say that it actually is in last place from the show’s that I’ve seen. This sequel is marginally better at best. It improves in the animation but certainly didn’t do anything to actually help the aimless writing and non existent plot.

The show starts off with a small segment of the main character in an apocalyptic future where Zombies run amok. They start destroying everyone and naturally a dog is included as well. This kind of show just can’t resist such things. Get used to these scenes of nonsense since they will be in almost every episode. Hidomi then wakes up and goes through life as normal. She wears headphones so she can pretend not to hear anyone even though no music is playing. It works though as people don’t really mess with her. That’s when she gets a new transfer teacher who decides to change her life. It turns out that Hidomi is another time bomb whose emotions allow her to summon giant monsters and even gain super powers herself. Her greatest ability is the Kirby suction power which allows her to absorb anyone who gets in her way. It’s basically a one hit ko tactic against just about everyone. There is another person who wishes to stop the heroine though so everyone has to keep their guard up.

This show is bad on so many levels so let’s start with some of the mild positives. Unlike the first show this one actually does have a few scenes where the animation looks pretty decent. It’s not that random experimental stuff we had to deal with in the older one. The animation is still pretty bad most of the time though. No effort is put into the character designs and nothing about this show tells you that this was made in 2018. It just doesn’t look nearly as good as it should and that’s because the show is trying (and failing) to be artistic. Enjoy the battle between Julia and Haruko as well as Hidomi vs Haruko since those fights are really the only times that the show gets to look good.

The soundtrack also isn’t good. It’s mainly just satisfied to grab some tunes from the old show and call it a day. Don’t expect to get any solid battle tunes or anything like that. This just isn’t that kind of show I’m afraid which is rather unfortunate. It’s how it goes I suppose.

Another tick against the show is the animal violence as I referenced earlier. Why did we need a dog to die in the zombie scenes? It really had no significance there and just served to help the show dig its own grave as always. The zombie scenes were also randomly violent despite the rest of the show not going that route. It’s all just for shock value.

The show can also be rather fanservicey which is just what I’d expect. It’s not extreme like Fairy Tail or anything like that, but it all adds up. Throw in the fact that the main cast is terrible and we’ve got some problems. The main guy’s two friends are both terrible. One guy is so bad that he has to hire a girlfriend which is as bad as it sounds. The other guy never actually gets anything to do and is only around to mock everyone. The main guy (Ko) tries to help Hidomi at least but he does have ulterior motives so I don’t count that in the slightest. He also loses every fight he is in which really does not help.

Then we have the main heroine Hidomi who is really hard to sympathize with. Her father left so she is waiting along with mother for him to come back. The issue is that he probably isn’t so the mother is hoping they can move on. Especially since she does all of the work while the main character shuts off life. She does help monetarily with her job at the cafe but certainly isn’t good for moral support. At least she finally initiated an attack on the teacher for the final episode but it took her way too long to finally try and be proactive. I would have liked to have seen her do something sooner and even in the final episode she ends up being extremely annoying and is unable to see the big picture so I can’t give her any props there either.

There is also the teacher from the first series who has become a straight up villain in this one. Haruko wants to sacrifice the main heroine so that she can meet up with a mysterious guy from her past. Maybe in a classier show with decent writing her dilemma could have actually been a little sympathetic. Maybe we could have seen her trying to find a different way to do this or something like that. Instead Haruko comes across as very unreasonable and likes to go about her plans in a very roundabout way. Most of her actions don’t even make sense so you just wonder how important her goal ever was to her.

Julia is Haruko’s rival and is always trying to get in her way. Julia will talk tough to Haruko about how this isn’t right, but spends far too long trying to convince her arch nemesis of this. After a while she should know that Haruko isn’t going to change and yet she doesn’t do anything about this. You can’t feel bad for Julia when she is inevitably beat up because that character never even had a good plan. I feel like none of the characters in this show are even remotely intelligent.

Then we have a bunch of random side characters like the plant owners. Their plot is just pointless and tries to add some mystery to the whole thing, but it fails quite badly. You’ll just be wondering why the show thinks you will end up caring about them when that is certainly not the case. If anything it’s the opposite and you’ll just be counting the minutes until the episode ends.

Overall, This show just couldn’t do anything right. The humor falls flat and the characters aren’t interesting in the slightest. The writing is horrendous. The battle scenes can be good but considering who is fighting it hardly matters. The show is just soulless and doesn’t do a good job of trying to prove that we can have a quality show in such a short amount of time. Anime should at least be 12 episodes if you ask me although in this specific situation I doubt it would have helped at all. I’d advise staying away from this anime. Keep your distance and you’ll be fine.

Overall 1/10

Dinosaur King Review

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Dinosaur King is one of those anime that everyone knows about but many have not actually seen it. I read the manga but hadn’t seen the show until recently so I was guilty of that as well. It’s a pretty fun show that delivers with the Dinosaur action. It’s about what you would expect as a backup Pokémon show but it gets the job done. The dub even plays up this aspect by having a bunch of Pokémon voice actors play similar characters. Dinosaur King is pretty long so that gives the show time to have a lot of fights and the main characters develop past being archetypes.

The show picks up with three friends looking through a bunch of ruins in their backyard. Their names are Max, Rex, and Sal. They manage to find three pieces of the legendary Dinosaur rock which allows each of them to summon a personal Dinosaur from a card. Max’s Dad quickly realizes that they will have to liberate all of the Dinosaurs from their cards which are in the hands of the future Dinosaur King. If the heroes can snag back all of their the cards (About 50) then they will be all set and ready for action. It won’t be easy though as the villain group of 3 each have their own dinosaurs including a T Rex and a Spinosaurus. Be careful out there kids!

The first arc mainly deals with capturing all of the Dinosaurs. Since they get around 1 an episode it is easy to see how this ight last a whole season. The next one begins with a bang as aliens show up from out of nowhere and kidnap Rex’s parents. Max and the gang have to travel across time and space in order to rescue them while also stopping the pirates from altering the course of history to their own benefit. It’ll be tough since they don’t know where they are even going but at least now they will be able to meet up with a lot of iconic legends from History.

I definitely preferred the first arc and that’s mainly because the villains were better but also because modern day Earth is just a better back drop than the past. If the heroes had gone to the future then of course that would be quite different but the past just isn’t all that interesting. Meeting up with all kinds of famous people does have some novelty, but it doesn’t last long. The only thing that arc 2 has over arc 1 is that I dare say the fights were probably a bit better. I did like all of the armor transformations each side got even if it did mean that we had a lot more recycled animation. The energy sword that we got in Rome was also a blast.

On the other hand, Arc 1 didn’t have Spectre which is already a positive. He’s just not all that funny while the Alpha Gang’s humor isn’t bad. Naturally one thing to keep in mind here is that this series is an action adventure but it’s a very light hearted one filled with a bunch of humor and laughs. That means that how much you enjoy the show will really depend on how funny you find it to be. It’s not like it’s going to be laugh out loud funny or anything but I think the whole thing works out well enough where it’s not annoying or anything like that. The writing is pretty solid.

The writers even got the tiers right as the T Rex beats the Spinosaurus in a fair fight despite the latter being a water type while the T Rex uses fire. In fact, Terry (The T Rex) consistently looks amazing in the show and gets a whole lot of respect. I could definitely appreciate that. Unfortunately the Spinosaurus in general doesn’t look amazing here, but I suppose he at least got to appear quite often which is a solid consolation prize if you ask me.

Max is the main character and he is definitely a fun lead. While he isn’t always the smartest of the bunch he is certainly the most heroic. He is always ready to stop the villains in their tracks at any cost. It helps that Max is the strongest of the 3 and tends to take in the leadership role. He was definitely my favorite character from the trio. There’s nothing really to dislike about the guy as he always does his best to do what’s right and save the world. At most he is rather generic.

Max also has one of the best dinosaurs in Chomp. Chomp is a thunder type Dinosaur who isn’t very quick but makes up for that with a lot of raw power backing up each attack. Chomp won’t go down 1 on 1 very often and always pulls his weight. I dare say that he is the best main dinosaur in the show aside from Terry the hype T Rex. Chomp also gets many different power ups which keep him near the top at all times.

Then we have Rex who serves as the brains of the group. He’s more about making the logical decisions and not running into battle which naturally means that I would like Max a lot more. Rex isn’t a bad character either though, but does tend to make some questionable decisions. Deciding to go back to the future with his parents instead of staying in the present is one that I had a hard time buying into. He grew up in the present ever since he was a baby, I don’t see how he would be able to even have any fun being in the future. It’s great to go with family of course, but he doesn’t actually even know his parents.

I also feel bad for Rex because his dinosaur isn’t all that great. For starters…he’s afraid of the water. That’s a huge weakness since water can be found just about anywhere and the dinosaur doesn’t really get over it until the very end of the series. That’s too little too late. Also, I’ll always take a thunder type Dinosaur over a water one but I guess that’s more up to personal preference.

The third member of the group is Zoe and she can be handy, but does tend to get knocked out of the fights quite often. either she ends up tripping or her dinosaur gets one shotted. She got some pretty bad luck when choosing the dinosaurs because hers is a healer as opposed to being a fighter. Fortunately to try and make up for this Zoe does get quite a few assist dinosaurs which lend their strength in the battles. They actually tend to be some of the strongest dinosaurs in the series so maybe it does end up being a fair trade off.
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There’s not much more to say about her dinosaur beyond that. He (or She) just doesn’t tend to be very useful during any of the fights. Even if Zoe has other dinosaurs that she throws in to help out when things get tough, that doesn’t really help the Dino’s case of being a good character. You’ve gotta be able to fight when you’re a huge dinosaur like that. Just body slamming opponents should be rather helpful as well.

Spike is Max’s Dad and he gets a reasonably important role during the series. He serves as one of the many forms of comic relief in this show but pulls it off way better than the other characters. You actually feel bad for him from time to time since the guy really wants his own dinosaur but everyone always tells him no. He never even gets to have his own fight even at the end of the series but improvises by carrying around a whip. It’s rarely useful as you can probably guess, but it gets the job done.

Dr. Z is the main villain of the first arc and while the guy is a genius you still aren’t supposed to take him too seriously. He tends to break down in tears or his back literally breaks so then his minions have to try and help support him. It can be rather tragic for the guy. Then you’ve got the traitors running around and Z doesn’t have anyone that he can really rely on. You would feel more bad for him, but based on the flashbacks that we see the guy isn’t all that nice most of the time so maybe he’s getting what he deserves in that regard.

Ursula is one of the main Team Rocket members and you could basically call her the leader of the group. She always tends to take charge after all and does have the strongest dinosaur as well. Ursula does also happen to be the most likable member of the group. She has more of a heart than the other 2 as she was willing to spare one of the dinosaurs once after it had helped her out while the other 2 still wanted the money. If there is any member that could possibly turn into a hero one day it would certainly be her.

Zander is often busy trying to get someone’s attention in this series so he definitely didn’t have a chance at beating Ursula. I do admit that his song is actually rather catchy despite being a comic relief romance song. There’s nothing much to really like about the guy though. He works decently well for jokes but beyond that he doesn’t have as much character as Ursula and you can see why he’s the second in command. He’s better than Ed though. That guy easily got the smallest role out of the main 3 and never got a subplot to himself. He was really just around to have to have at least one guy who likes to eat and to make the team a trio. Beyond that he didn’t really have any purpose in the story.
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Rod and Laura are two kids who are also part of the Alpha Gang but you can think of them as the junior members of the group. Of course the irony is that they are way better at Dino fighting than the main 3 to the point where they actually gave Max a few good fights during their short lived period where they were the Alpha Gang’s main fighters. They get a big character arc as well and given that they are kids it’s not as if they were ever totally evil or anything like that. They were definitely on the wrong side, but at least they end up seeing the light. They weren’t all that bad, maybe just a bit on the annoying side.

Seth is probably the only big villain to actually be very serious the whole time. He is never used for comic relief which actually isn’t something that I can say for just about any of the other villains. He knows how to manipulate basically every character who is a part of the main cast. His acting skills are evidently top notch and nobody is ever able to stay one step ahead of him. His final appearance is a little cheesy, but aside from that it was always a blast to see him appear. He’s easily the best villain in the series and besides Max he is probably the best character as well. Throwing him into the show was certainly a good idea.

Helga is the maid who works for the villains and she is always fun. She likes to boss around the rest of the villains and they always have a look of terror come upon their faces when she appears. The lady certainly demands respect and boy does she get it! The characters know better than to mess with her and that is certainly how it should be. The fact that we later find out how she has actual super powers is pretty key as well. It adds a little legitimacy to the whole plot. It’s just a shame that she still manages to lose quite a bit when Seth shows up.

Spectre is the main villain of the second arc and he’s a big down grade from Dr. Z. He is probably the worst villain in the series actually so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This guy is comic relief and his main dinosaur isn’t even as powerful as the one Seth had from Arc 1, at least I think Seth’s was stronger. Spectre loves singing and trolling which can be good if handled right, but it certainly wasn’t in this case. He brought down Arc 2 quite a bit.

Gavro is the big and strong member of the Spectral Pirates. He’s basically the Ed of the group but of course the big difference is that he is actually pretty strong. It’s one thing you have to respect about the pirates in general. Whether you like these guys or not, at least they are actual threats to the heroes since their dinosaurs are so powerful. Gavro looked his best during his initial appearance. After that he was still strong but they played up his unintelligent side a little more which definitely didn’t help his case.

Then we have Foolscap whose most memorable trait is his whiny voice. It’s a memorable voice so I’ll definitely give him some credit there but beyond that he’s basically also just around for comic relief. Being able to fly would have earned him extra credit but since the other two pirates can do that as well it sort of loses that special value it once had.

Finally we have Sheer who is a step up from the other 2 and is basically a mirror version of Ursula. It would have been a pretty cool plot twist if she had lost her memories permanently and stayed with the ninja squad, but that was never a real possibility. She is a little more serious than the other 2 members though and is an opponent that the heroes don’t really look forward to going up against.

The animation is pretty good. The character designs are solid and so are the backgrounds. Unfortunately the Dinosaurs are in complete CG animation which as you may expect means that they are very stiff and look a little odd next to everyone else. It’s unfortunate but it’s not as if it looks terrible. It’s just a step down from the rest of the show’s visuals and does limit just how good the show can look. The series also uses a massive amount of recycled footage since it incorporates summons for all of the characters, the same card draw animation, the same attacks, the same armor, etc. a good chunk of every fight is the recycled animation.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. There aren’t any hype themes or anything like that but what we do get fits pretty well for the show. Ironically the parody beat that plays whenever Xander takes out his violin is easily the most memorable tune and I dare say that it is the best one as well.
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Overall, Dinosaur King is a fun show. It may not try to be all that unique in the long run, but it accomplishes it’s goal of being a quality dinosaur battle anime. It was nice to finally see the T Rex and Spinosaurus have a rematch. I can’t imagine that it was a coincidence either. The characters are fun and the episodes will keep you entertained. The second arc is g quite as good as the first one but it’s not bad either. I did like the power ups that we got as a result of that and bringing in combo attacks was a good idea as well.

Overall 7/10

Future Card Buddyfight X Review

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The card game genre is certainly going very well at the moment with Cardfight, Buddyfight, and Yugioh all hitting it out of the park. In particular Buddyfight has been going very well. I believe I said that the last season was the best in the series and this one comes very close to topping it. Just when you think the series has peaked it always returns to go to the next level. This season has three arcs which are all quite solid, but that’s enough build up. Let’s start the review!

Well, it is time for another large tournament. This time it will decide which monster world is the best as each one picks an emissary to represent them. It goes without saying that Gao is chosen for Dragon World. However one big surprise is that instead of Tasuku representing Star Dragon World we have a new character named Kanata. He is known as the no damage fighter and has actually managed to never get hit during all of the battles that he was in. Considering how the game works this is virtually impossible so either he cheated quite a bit or he is just very lucky. The best part is that he hasn’t even played Buddyfight in ages as he ditched the game to play soccer full time. Well he is basically forced into entering so now Gao will have to deal with him.

The first arc being a tournament is definitely a good way to kick things off and we get some nice development for Kanata as well. It is pretty much nonstop Buddyfighting so that’s definitely cool. As hype as the next arc is, I have to admit that this one wins. Still, the next arc starts off with a bang as you might expect. A new villain named Wisdom has shown up with his powerful Gear God. He wants to upgrade the world which means turning everyone into machines and controlling them. He manages to crush Gao as well as Kanata which makes him a legitimate threat. Beneath him are the Chaos 3, a group that should not be taken lightly. Gao and his friends will have to get much stronger if they want to save the world this time. Fortunately Tasuku and the Buddy Police are also on the case.

As per usual a big part of the season’s main focus is on Gao and his new buddy monster Batzz. This guy is a tough character whose personality is probably the most similar to Drum’s. He believes that he is the strongest monster in and people say that he came really close to destroying all of Dragon World before he was sealed away. Gao is determined that they will be friends though and as he is the strongest Buddyfighter they should easily become the best. Of course it won’t be that easy since Batzz has quite the ego at times and doesn’t like taking orders. While he is strong that also doesn’t make him immune to gameplay mechanics. I’d say that he beats Bal for me and it’s pretty tough to say compared to Drum. It’s a close one there but I’ll say that he wins out as Gao’s best Buddy so far.

Gao is a very solid main character as he always is. He’s pretty much the same as in the last few seasons so there isn’t much new stuff to say about him. He is still eager to win and always seems prepared for whoever they throw at him. Even without a buddy he has some good skills at the ready to back him up. At times Gao isn’t proactive enough and it feels like the heroes just wait for the villain to make a move but sometimes he goes with his gut like when he broke into the amusement park. That is definitely when he is at his best.

As for Batzz, he can be a little rough at first as he seems to be all talk and no action but I do like the idea of having Gao team up with the strongest monster of them all. Batzz still has trouble with mini Gear Gods and I have serious doubts on him being the strongest but he is certainly powerful. He is always up for a fight while at the same time being willing to atone for his past by getting sealed up. Once Batzz stopped zapping Gao all of the time he was able to get some real character development. I also like the fusion between him and Gao even if that got ditched for a big chunk of the season.
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Ancient Holy Sword Dragon is basically the sidekick of Batzz. He means well and always defends the big guy, but in his own I wouldn’t say that he’s a great character. He’s not bad but felt rather unnecessary as having one main monster was enough of you ask me. He did help with Batzz’s development though so I can see why he was added.

Kanata is one of the big new characters here and I can safely say that the show handled him really well. As I mentioned earlier he was so good at the game that nobody could even land a hit on him. Realizing that this was hurting everyone’s morale he decided to stop playing the game even though he had enjoyed it and went on to play soccer full time instead. Fortunately he was selected for the big world championships which forced Kanata to realize that the game is still fun and there will always be more opponents. I actually started to root for Kanata towards the end of his duel with Gao because the hero’s deck started to get cheesy as he drew around 6 shields back to back. Kanata winning the tournament would have really completed his character arc. He also ended up losing to Wisdom later on but despite that you can’t really say that Kanata lost his edge. Naturally he does take damage in all of his duels now but that’s because it was never realistic to avoid damage in the first place. It just doesn’t work within the rules of the game. While Gao surpasses everyone by the end of the season again, Kanata gets enough power ups to stay on his level. Considering that he is a brand new character, it’s impressive how high up the ranks he has gotten.

Gaito may be returning from the past season but he is still one of the big three alongside Gao and Tasuku so he gets quite a few fights. The season addresses the weakness behind his Death Count Requiem technique as it does guarantee a win after 3 turns but lasting that long isn’t easy. Gaito is able to speed this up to 2 turns which is huge. It also becomes borderline overpowered but a lot of the abilities started to get crazy in this arc so it keeps Gaito relevant.

A new mechanic that I neglected to mention earlier is Overturn/Overkill. It is a special ability that can be used once per match depending on if your monster has evolved enough to use it. How useful this ability is completely depends on the monster. Gaito’s is extremely good as it skips his opponents turn so he gets to have 2 waves of attacks. Wisdom’s endsvthe opponent’s current turn in addition to letting him summon 3 monsters. That’s the just of the ability and it is definitely a game changer. This instantly puts any fighter without such an ability at a huge disadvantage but fortunately for the cast it appears that everyone learned it.

Wisdom plays a huge role in this story of course and is a very charismatic opponent. His goal of upgrading the world is certainly a fun one and it’s always nice to see him dismiss his underlings so casually. He reminds me a lot of Kyoya and is certainly about as smug. Even his fame and wealth are comparable. He is evidently smart as Wisdom is able to create code and bend Gear God to his will. He is an expert duelist and also has no qualms about taking the fight to the heroes. The batch of episodes where he attacked Gao and Kanata for the Mirage Card was certainly a standout moment. The season definitely wouldn’t have been the same without such a great villain at the helm.
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There is also his butler who is surprisingly a powerful opponent as well. He transforms into a powered up mode rather nonchalantly and may have the best ability out of them all. His flag goes over the opponent’s flag so they can’t use any spells or monsters. Basically unless you have the one specific upgrade card that Wisdom or Kyoya has, it is game over. There is nothing you can even do against this technique so it is easy to see why he didn’t get to fight all that much in the series. It would have been very tough to think of ways to defeat him.

Of course older characters from the series are still present. Tasuku gets a reasonable role here as he continues on with the Buddypolice. While he may not have much time to duel for fun anymore, he has still kept his skills and helps out at times. The only questionable part for Tasuku is that he seems a little more “by the books” than usual. He actually tells Gao and the others to stay back because civilians but he knows better than most just how strong Gao is. It was a rather odd scene. At least he didn’t care much when Gao followed him though so I guess it wasn’t much of a big deal.

Tetsuya and Zanya show up as well but their roles are quite small. They never actually get to do anything important in this season and just serve as a reminder that if you don’t work to improve your skills you will quickly be left in the dust. I suppose I should just be glad that they got to appear? I dunno, I was never the biggest fan of theirs anyway. Their buddy monsters get new super forms though to keep up with everyone else and join the thunder empire though.

I suppose Kiri’s role is kind of important here. He knows about the coming threat and goes over to protect Dragon World while the heroes take on Wisdom. Considering that he is an Omni lord his abilities are never all that impressive. Still, I guess it is good that he is trying his best. He is much better than Guru after all. Guru is an old guy who actually has incredible power. We’ve seen this kind of character many times before but it tends to not work out. This is one of those times. Guru is always trying really hard to be funny but the scenes may just make you cringe. His advice is rarely ever useful and he doesn’t deserve to have such a high power level. The heroes keep on crawling back to his base for more intel over and over again which definitely gets annoying. Hopefully he is written out of the show as soon as possible.

From the Chaos 3 the member with the biggest role is easily Sakate. He is Kanata’s rival so naturally that makes their duels very personal. His dueling style is very unique as he attacks with a bunch of swords instead of monsters. It’s a pretty unique approach and one that feels very useful. I won’t call it OP since having monsters is still really handy but I can see why he is one of the strongest duelists. Brutal’s role is the smallest and he’s the most bland character of the 3. He’s a loyal guy but he really doesn’t have a great reason to follow Wisdom. At the very least he should have defected once Wisdom started going crazy.

Then we have Keisetsu who is taken a lot less seriously than all of the other villains. He is legitimately strong as he gives quite a few characters a good fight, but at the end of the day he just isn’t able to close out his matches. It’s not how you start a fight of course, but how you finish it and this guy just wasn’t ready for that.

The final arc is a nice homage to the rest of the series. It is a shame that the tournament was so small since this meant that it couldn’t bring back a bunch of the older characters but since the first arc was a huge tournament I suppose that the series didn’t want to seem redundant. At the very least we did see all of the villains return like Wisdom, Kyoya, and Bolt. Tasuku and Noboru getting their own fights again was a blast as well. Some of the fights could get a little questionable like Kyoya getting a new super form and 10 hand cards, but not drawing a single shield to win the duel though. I suppose since he was the final boss of a big tournament in the last season they didn’t want to do that again though. Plus going with Tasuku vs Gao is definitely the ultimate homage to the old days for when they were big rivals. This series gave just about everyone the closure you would want to see and the easter eggs to the previous seasons were handled well.
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Then the series even squeezed in one last duel in the final episode which was unexpected. Gao receives a challenge from a new character by the airport and this guy may be the strongest opponent that Gao has ever seen. The scene couldn’t quite decide if it wanted the new character to be super mysterious or more of a happy fellow, but either way he had skills. If not for the plot summary of the next season already spoiling the twist the scene would be even more powerful. Either way it kind of makes you not want the time skip yet so we can see Gao get a rematch but if time travel becomes a factor soon then that might not be an issue. It is a great way to hype up the next series even if it does mean that you will be waiting for the new main character to master the game so we get him at this level. I haven’t seen a passing of the torch moment like this in quite a long time so it was an unexpected surprise.

As always the animation is really high quality. The colors are very sharp and the energy effects are on point. Something is always happening on screen whether it be during a fight or normal dialogue. You’ll never feel bored during an episode of the animation has anything to say about it. The soundtrack is also top notch as we have come to expect from the series. At this point several characters have their own themes and that continues to be a trend. Wisdom’s theme is certainly the standout here as it’s just a great tune. It perfectly builds up the suspense and anticipation of what is to come next.

With the classic era over here is how the Buddyfight seasons rank. In 1st is Buddyfight Triple D. The tournament was just handled flawlessly and is my personal favorite from the whole series. 2nd is Buddyfight X for all the reasons described above. In 3rd is the first season which will always be nostalgic and did a great job introducing the cast. In 4th is Buddyfight 100 which had a very slow middle which brought down the season somewhat, but was ultimately still pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see where season 5 ends up ranking. The show will have to introduce all of the characters and everything so the first season probably won’t be cracking the top 3 just yet but never count a card game show out. It just may end up surprising you.
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Overall, Buddyfight X is definitely a great title both literally and in regard to the whole season. It’s just nonstop excitement and the new characters really worked well and were seamlessly added to the universe. I dare say that it had the highest stakes as well since Wisdom actually did take over some planets and he was playing for keeps here. When he attacked the heroes on the ship they were in real danger. Of course now Gao is fairly OP with his current deck since he has access to so many super forms so he will be ready for any new villains. It’s always hard to see how they will be able to come up with stronger decks and opponents for Gao, but taking away his Buddy has usually worked well since it nerfs him until he inevitably gets some cool special abilities. The next season won’t have to try and work around this though as we are getting a time skip and a new main character. It should be a blast and this era of Buddyfight ended on a high note.

Overall 9/10

Yugioh Arc V Review

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I have finally completed Yugioh Arc V! It was definitely a pretty intense Yugioh series and rose up to being one of the best ones. I had a feeling that it would become really good since this was hyped as the crossover series, but the other titles all left a high bar for it to follow. Initially the series reminded me a lot of Yugioh Zexal with the animation and the music that the dub used for it. As the series went on it came into its own though and peaked during the second arc. It’s definitely a very strong title that I dare say is second only to GX. Usually I put the Yugioh rankings at the bottom, but there aren’t too many so I’ll just put them up here. 1. Yugioh GX, 2. Yugioh Arc V, 3. Yugioh 5Ds, 4. Yugioh, 5. Yugioh Zexal. I won’t bother with season 0 or Capsule Monsters as they aren’t even strong enough to really rank at all next to the others. As always this means that the bar is set pretty high once again for the next Yugioh series. It’ll be interesting to see where that one ranks, but either way I do think that it will be quite excellent!

The series starts off by introducing us to Yuya. He is an aspiring Dueltainer who wants to become the best like his dad was. He even goes to a proper school for it which is led by his best friend’s (Zuzu) dad named Skip. Skip claims that Yuya will become a great star through him. That’s when Yuya is challenged to appear against the World Champion on TV to avenge his father. Yuya can’t turn down such an opportunity but is he ready? The pre arc is Yuya taking on all kinds of opponents and improving his act. He can’t just win, he has to claim victory while having fun and helping the opponent to smile. That’s what being a duel tainer is all about!

The intro episodes do a decent job of setting the stage. The pacing isn’t bad, but the supporting cast isn’t great. As with 5Ds, the main supporting cast is written out of the adventure pretty early on and that was a great move. We lost the annoying kids and only kept Zuzu and Sora. The rest were all left behind. Backtracking a bit, Yuya’s tournament is interrupted when the Obelisk Force shows up and starts turning everyone into cards. Yuya is able to fend them off, but his world takes considerable damage and Declan reveals that he had anticipated this attack. Yuya reluctantly agrees to go along with him and so starts the battle of the 4 universes, Standard, XYZ, Fusion, and Synchro. Yuya must duel as hard as he can to stop the evil plans at work here and to save Zuzu who is one of the main targets that the villains are after.

Once the dimension is initially attacked then the series really accelerates into top tier status. The whole 5Ds arc was just amazing and one of the best arcs in all of Yugioh. Everything happened here and all of the subplots that had been growing converged at this point. It was just amazing and in particular the scene where all of the characters met up in the old subway tunnel was superb. The only downside to this is that naturally the next arc couldn’t quite compete as the heroes went to XYZ world and then to the Fusion dimension. Those arcs were fun as well, but they couldn’t even come close to 5Ds. I suppose that it’s not a surprise though since typically the last arc in a Yugioh series isn’t the best one. Battle City destroys Millenium World, The Yubel Arc beats the Nightshroud one, etc. Still, it needs to be said again that Arc V has no bad arcs, it’s just that the 5Ds one took it to the pinnacle of perfection. It’s probably also because Turbo Duels took the place of Action Duels.

I didn’t actually talk about it earlier so I should do that now. Action Duels were invented for this series and think of it as a more interactive style of dueling. Instead of sitting back and waiting for your turn you get to run around in search of the action cards. It’s purely luck based what the card will do, but typically it lets you block an attack or power up your monster. It’s a decent concept, but the luck factor makes it too easy on the writers. Put Yuya in a sticky situation? Have him get an action card that lets him block the attack. You can even get more than 1 Action Card in a single turn which is sketchy. At one point Yuya even starts to use this as a crutch and the way I see it is if you have to run for the action card right away then you weren’t the better duelist in that moment. I think this gimmick didn’t need to happen, but I suppose it is fun to see everyone running around. They just should have tightened up the rules like how in the manga they mention that only a certain amount of action cards are put on the field per duel and you can only use one per turn. Adding some rules like that would make it more balanced. I have no complaints about pendulum summoning though. It’s just insanely OP, but for the most part only Declan exploits that as everyone else uses it to summon fairly weak monsters half the time.

Yuya is the main character of this installment and one of the best Yugioh main characters to date. Jaden is still the best and Yami Yugi is second, but I’d put Yuya right up there at 3rd. 4th would be Yusei, 5th Yuma, and then currently Yugi’s out at 6th. Yuya’s main gimmick is that he’s a performer so naturally he has to stay cheerful a lot. The problem is that this gets tougher and tougher as the villains get serious and do everything in their power to break him. Yuya gives in to his rage several times and even mentions at one point that he’ll just have to save the smiles for later. When his friends are involved you can bet that Yuya will get serious.

Of course it may be a little alarming if you wanted him to stay in happy world, but realistically it’s hard to be putting on a show and grin ear to ear while your friends are being captured or defeated as you duel. You gotta put your game face on and Yuya’s smile card is a pretty terrible spell if you think about it. Yuya has some of the best rage modes in all of Yugioh. He really was at his best when he was dueling seriously. Yuya was always a talented duelist, but by the end he definitely was ready to be considered as a world class fighter. There are few who can go up against him since Yuya has now mastered all different summoning methods. (At least the ones available in his series. I guess there is maybe Ritual summoning, but there just wouldn’t be room in his deck for that) Yuya definitely never stopped in his quest to fight Zuzu and is the kind of guy you want to have as your friend.

Zuzu is the main heroine of Arc V and fortunately she is also a capable duelist. We don’t get to see her duel much at all in the second half of the series, but she got some quality duels before that. Zuzu learned fusion summoning from Sora so she was certainly highly proficient at it. She even did a good job during the big 5Ds tournament later on. While she may have not been able to win the whole thing she definitely didn’t lose without dealing major damage. Considering that a lot of characters ended up losing out by the end of the series Zuzu definitely got a happy ending. As far as the heroines go I would rank her above Tea and Tori pretty quickly. It’s a little closer with Alexis and Akiza, but I think Zuzu would beat them for now as well so at the moment she is the best heroine in Yugioh.

Yuto probably gets the biggest role from the other 3 personas that Yuya has. It’s a little ironic since Yuto was the first one to get blown away, but this lets him act as a Yami Yugi sort of character. Surprisingly he only takes control of Yuya’s body a couple of times during the course of the series, but he’s usually around to give some advice. The thing is while he gives good advice he is always quick to crack when the pressure is on. Then he actually ends up hurting Yuya in a sense since he’s just weakening the hero’s willpower. He’s certainly a very likable character though. He did fight hard to defend his planet so it’s almost a shame that he didn’t get to do it longer. He’s basically Yuya if the hero grew up in a war torn world, but that’s basically the point. His main dragon has the best design from the 4.
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Then we have Yugo who is the polar opposite of Yuto. His world’s a really happy one as the villains haven’t gotten there yet. He lives without a care in the world, at least until Rin vanished. Then he began searching for her across the 4 dimensions. It’s still a little iffy how he jumped dimensions in the first place, but with the universe being so unstable I guess it’s bound to open holes for the others at times. He has an ongoing rivalry with Yuri. At one point I thought they were never going to get to finish their duel, but at least it finally got to happen near the very end of the series. He’s definitely a very talented duelist although I think he may have been the weakest of the 4. That’s not really a bad thing since they’re all so skilled, someone had to be last right? He’s a fun character even if he has a tendency to joke around a little too much when the stakes are high.

Finally we have Yuri who is the only evil member of the 4. He enjoys dueling opponents weaker than him and then toying with them. It’s how he gets his jollies, but his skills are the real deal. He didn’t become the top ranked enforcer for no reason after all. His dragon looks sort of like Biollante and it’s distorted appearance can also make the creature not even look like a dragon at times. He even came close to taking down Supreme Yuya which is no easy feat. Another really good villain and a reminder as to why Arc V was so great. The cast was absolutely stellar.

Celina is my favorite member of the 4 heroines. She’s the most skilled of the group and is always eager for battle. She started out on Leo’s side, but quickly realized that this may not be the right side. She thinks about it logically and makes the hero call. Celina is basically Zuzu but more aggressive so it’s easy to see why she is one of the best characters in the series. It’s just too bad that she never really got to properly duel in the final arc, but she had a lot of screen time prior to that.

Rin might get the smallest role from the girl although you could make a case for Lulu as well. We never really get to see Rin fight in her own mind, but I like to think that she was a decent duelist. She seems like a nice kid. Likewise, I’m sure Lulu was a quality character as well. We don’t get to see her much beyond flashbacks, but I guess it was tough for even this show to give everyone some big duels. She serves more as motivation for some of the characters to stop the villains than as an actual duelist, but it would appear that she can duel since she does have a duel disc and during the mind control saga her abilities were acknowledged.

Kite is the big guest star from Yugioh Zexal. Surprisingly Zexal only got one guest star while every other region got 2. I suppose maybe it’s because Zexal was fairly recent so there was less nostalgia for it. Well, either way he is the best option they could have chosen from their. His abilities are as good as ever and I always love seeing his Galaxy Eyes show up. He can definitely hold his own with any of the other fighters.

Shay is probably the closest thing to a rival in Arc V except for Sora. The reason why Sora may edge him out there is because Shay’s beef is never really with Yuya and they just don’t get to compete much. Shay is an amazing character though and continues Yugioh’s tradition of having great rivals. He is absolutely determined to save Lulu no matter what it takes. He is constantly barred by obstacles in the form of Declan, The Fusion Dimension, the 5Ds Dimension and others, but he never stops. He’s honed his skills quite a lot to always have the power to save his friends. Always training like that is definitely what you would expect from a character like this. His deck is also great since he uses a lot of monsters that are considered weak but when they activate their abilities they get very strong. His top monster only has 100 attack points before its ability activates. Now that’s what I call a great deck that follows his life philosophy of working together to protect your friends.
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Shay’s only competition for best character in the series is Sora. It’s a very close battle for the top, but I’d give Shay the edge in the end. Still, Sora is an excellent duelist in his own right and could even be the strongest in Duel Academy. Unfortunately we never got to see him have a proper duel with Yuri for the title. That rushed, cheesy battle at the end doesn’t count. Sora ended the series with 13 wins and 5 losses which is quite impressive. I always liked his confidence and he became a bit of a wild card for a while before formally joining the heroes. His turn around was also handled well as he didn’t suddenly become a hero or anything, but he did become friends with Zuzu and decided to protect her even though it was against orders. That makes sense and naturally this eventually led to him being one of the heroes. His nice guy act near the beginning was pretty convincing as well.

Declan is the main hype character of the series. He’s portrayed like Kaiba, but I wouldn’t call him a rival to Yuya. It’s an interesting dynamic and the show keeps him in a very mysterious light for most of the show. It’s hard to know on whose side he is on. Is he a villain or a hero? That will be answered by the end, but he isn’t afraid to sacrifice a few lives to save the world so he can be quite ruthless. It’s hard to call him out on it either as Yuya attempts to, but is quickly beaten down. There just aren’t many fighters who can take Declan down as his cards are the very definition of overpowered. Arc V got extremely high tier by the end with the sheer amount of special abilities that each card had. It was just crazy. I’m not really a big fan of Declan honestly, but he is a good character. He wouldn’t be top 5 or anything, but it was great to have what you could call the lesser of 2 evils teaming up with the heroes the whole time. For the most part he is a nice guy though and the show does portray him as a hero by the end even if you may have your doubts on that. He got to be a lot less annoying once he went with the other heroes to the next dimension and they parted ways. At that point he was on close to equal footing with the others rather than being their boss.

Gong is one of Yuya’s best friends and like me he does not care for action duels. As a result, he will go out of his way to avoid using them in a duel. He prefers to win with his Heavy style. Gong’s not a bad character, but I just didn’t care for him. The strong type rarely works out for me and his deck always felt outmatched before he even started dueling. He’s not annoying so I’m fine with him getting a lot of screen time, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he was very impressive.

Then we have Sylvio who is supremely confident, but his skills can’t really back up his tough talk. He’s one of those characters who somehow keeps his confidence even after he suffers a string of defeats. In a way that is quite admirable. He is a fun duelist to have around and at the very least he is good for morale. His deck isn’t even half bad either. Against most opponents Sylvio would have a real chance at victory, but when the high tier opponents come out to play he has absolutely no shot.
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Crow is one of the big 5Ds guest stars and he’s a good character. He can be a bit annoying and tends to not be very nice to the heroes, but his skills are the real deal. His Blackwing combos are pretty similar to how they were back in the 5Ds anime. He gets a lot of hype and even gets to have a proper duel with Yuya where the right winner was selected. Crow just has to be careful about holding those Ls because he seemed a little salty to me.

Jack Atlas also shows up and naturally he gets a bunch of hype. He’s still the Master of Faster so taking him down isn’t easy. His first duel against Yuya is one of the best in the series. Yuya manages to summon one dragon from each summoning style and Jack is still able to counter him. The guy can be rather harsh on Yuya during their duels as he constantly criticizes him being an entertainer, but most likely it’s just because he doesn’t like for anyone else to be in the spotlight. Jack’s always been a critic so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. From all of the guest stars I’d say that Jack certainly had the best role.

Moonshadow is one of the main characters who never got to be very likable. It’s certainly odd because he is around for most of the series and yet he never really does anything all that important. He can fight and he does save people but half the time you will just be wondering why he is even in the show to begin with. The heroes were doing just fine on their own and this ninja just lacked personality. Ah well, I think he was just a miss for me, but he’s not necessarily a bad character.

We can’t forget about Riley. The character gets 100 episodes of character development as he learns that Declan really is here to protect him. Then…he betrays him just because a girl he’s never even met before tells him that the right thing to do is betray the heroes. This character never really got past that. I get it, Riley’s never been the most outgoing character and getting pushed around is part of his character. It’s still not a good defense for him going against the heroes so easily. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this happened. I’m glad Declan showed him who the true duelist was and I don’t often root for Declan. Riley was just being incredibly annoying at this point.

We definitely got to talk about Yusho for a bit as he is one of the worst characters in the series. He’s Yuya’s Dad so that’s to be expected since the Dads often look pretty bad in all of these card shows. Still, he ditched Yuya for basically no reason and then never even tried to get back. What’s worse is that he was gone for years and yet he made no headway in the Fusion dimension. You’d think that being there for years with his supposed world class abilities would be enough to save the place, but I guess not. For all of the hype that he always got Yusho never appeared to be a skilled fighter. He also doesn’t seem like a very smart one as even when some biker gang people tried to go after Yoko he was talking about smiles and all that. The guy is so incredibly exaggerated and that may not have been too bad if he hadn’t ditched Yuya, but he did. It’s just hard to simply wave that fact away and you just end up disliking the character. He even attacked Yuya from behind when the hero was so close to beating the Professor. Had Yuya done that he could have saved the world right then and there instead of dooming several characters.

Yoko is Yuya’s Mom and she’s a little more reasonable than Yusho. I’d say a lot more, but she has an annoying running gag during the early tournament. Instead of rooting for her son she decides to root for a local cook named Reed since she is apparently a huge fan of his. Naturally this isn’t meant to be taken seriously as it’s just a harmless gag, but an annoying one nonetheless. Imagine trying to win a tournament for your friends and family…then turning to the audience and seeing that they’re not even rooting for you. That’s gotta sting.
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Skip Boyle is Zuzu’s Dad and he’s actually a lot better than the others. Not only is he one of the only characters to remember Zuzu right away, but I believe he is the only one to remember her on his own. He even skipped out on the tournament because he knew something was wrong. It would have been nice to have seen him duel at some point since it is certainly hinted that he has some skills, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The other local supporting characters from the school weren’t good though. They are the 3 kids who try to give the commentary during Yuya’s duel and they fail quite badly at it. They are just annoying and in particular the one who always yells Goose Pickles is really bad. It’s hard to say what the show was going for here, but certainly nothing good.

Back in the early days of the show we had 3 students from Declan’s school who were tough rivals. These characters were Dipper, Julia, and Kit. Julia certainly got the most screen time and character development from the 3 as she came close to uncovering the mysterious happenings with Shay and Declan and even became a rival to Zuzu. Then some memory stuff happened which caused Julia to forget about all of this and that’s around when her role disappeared completely. She was a fun character though so it’s almost too bad that she was left behind, but I suppose her skills had simply reached their limit. Dipper and Kit never seemed like much of a threat anyway so it’s easy to see how they were left behind.

Reed Pepper is a duelist who uses a lot of food puns to throw his opponents off their game. It’s definitely a valid technique and it was always fun to see him duel. He may not have been the strongest duelist out there, but he lasted quite a while and put up a good fight against the Obelisk Force. Definitely not a character that you could take all that seriously, but his character was still executed well. Then there is Aura who is able to look into her crystal ball to see the future and other such things. There wasn’t much of a point to her character so she vanished right away, but I guess the character wasn’t all that bad. Honestly all of these Arc 1 characters just seemed to vanish right off the face of the Earth.

Iggy was a bit of a bully duelist who thrives on knocking around opponents while dueling. Naturally this would usually be against the rules but in an action duel anything goes so that makes it okay. He’s a decent duelist as well as he was certainly outplaying Yuya for most of the duel. If you think about it, if you need action cards to win in the first place then the opponent is probably the more skilled fighter. I can’t say that Iggy was too interesting, but as a minor villain I suppose that he got the job done.

Leo Akaba, AKA the Professor is one of the big villains of the series. He doesn’t do much until the end of the series as you might expect, but he makes for a fairly intimidating presence while sitting on his throne. He gets an origin story for why he is doing this and at least it is one that I can understand. His daughter was destroyed in stopping Zarc so now he wishes to bring her back. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to destroy 3/4 of the current population in the universe. However, this 3/4 of the population were created through her death so do they count as people? Leo doesn’t really seem to care either way as he intends to get his daughter back at any cost. Naturally this doesn’t change that he is a complete villain, but it’s a good motivation which serves him well as one of the final bosses. He is also a pretty good duelist in his own right and possibly top 5 in Arc V…possibly.

Then we have Barrett who is Leo’s most faithful subordinate. He is even willing to betray Selena in order to carry out his orders. He is a soldier first and foremost. This guy won’t give up on the mission no matter what and as a result he makes for a great villain. He put up a great fight against Yuya as well and proved himself to even be capable of taking on Yuya in his rage form. Definitely one of the best villains in the series.
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Next up is Dennis. He’s definitely not a very good character. I didn’t like him before his big twist and I certainly didn’t like him afterwards. He just doesn’t make for a good character as the guy can be rather goofy and hard to take seriously. His character also goes through too many characters arcs as the last one is just impossible to believe. The guy was simply too sinister to suddenly just roll over and admit that he is a good man. Definitely very cheesy and I like to think that he was still arrested after this.

Aster is one of the big guest stars and he gets a nice role here. He is one of the high ranking officials in the Fusion Dimension so naturally he is a very formidable duelist. He gives Yuya a real run for his money and it’s just very nostalgic to see him. The writers chose well in selecting him as one of the GX characters to make an appearance. His elemental hero deck was also pretty good as expected. Then we have his two underlings Gloria and Grace. They are introduced rather late in the game, but don’t really get to do anything so I almost wonder why a fairly big deal was made out of them in universe. They got a considerable amount of hype and I guess they lived up to it to an extent, but they probably needed one more duel to really legitimize them as a threat. Still quality villains, just underused.

Then we have Alexis who is another one of the guest stars. Seeing as how she is one of the big resistance members her fans are sure to be pleased with her role. Alexis is also one of the only characters who realized that there was something fishy with Leo’s plan and didn’t blindly follow along like the rest of the characters. I am a little skeptical of how the happy go lucky students all quickly decided to join into the cause and become mass murderers, but I guess they will do just about anything if it means playing more Yugioh I guess.

The Obelisk Force deserve a shoutout since they were quite skilled for underlings. They were actually beating named characters in their first appearance and typically you would expect them to be about as strong as Storm Troopers or something like that. They definitely surpassed their limits. Naturally they were nerfed a little bit after that, but were still a fun group of villains. Who says that these guys have to just be around to get stomped?

Roget is a fun character from the 5Ds arc. He is very good at manipulating people and naturally he even does this to Yuya by convincing the gullible characters that they are on the same side. Naturally it wouldn’t work on any of Yuya’s close friends, but the others are fair game. Roget can duel but only does so when absolutely necessary. He leads a very balanced life as all people should. He made for a great counterpart to Leo and even had ambitious plans of his own. I wouldn’t have minded if he had ended up overthrowing Leo, would have made for an interesting plot.

Shinji is the very enthusiastic leader of the 5Ds rebellion and boy does the guy love to talk! He gives speech after speech about the rebellion and how they can conquer the surface dwellers. It’s pretty amusing even if that isn’t really the intention. The guy just has a very one track mind and is quick to say that anyone who opposes him is an enemy. That drive isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t even misplaced, but the guy doesn’t seem to know much about tactics. You can’t just storm the streets and defeat the government in a day. Still, he made the most of his soapbox while he was in the tournament.

Then we have Sergey who is essentially a slightly weaker version of Barrett. His character is fairly similar as well but he is the unhinged version. He thrives on pain which can certainly make for a very odd character quirk. The guy is definitely a threat in a duel though and even manages to defeat Zuzu. Without Sergey Roget may have been in trouble, but that’s why they say that it’s always good to have at least one powerful underling. I don’t care for Sergey much as a character, but he is a tough villain for sure.

Ray was Leo’s daughter and she seemed like a very heroic character. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop Zarc. She seems to have some mystical abilities or simply great knowledge to use those cards so effectively and then to communicate with Riley afterwards. I still don’t get why she would tell him that letting Leo win was the best answer though. Sure, fusing the dimensions would bring her back along with Zarc so they could do the whole thing over again, but trying to stop him first seems a whole lot less risky if you ask me.
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Finally we have Zarc. He’s the big bad of the series but before he obtained almost limitless power he was just an ordinary duelist who liked the sport. He aimed to become the best player in the world and was able to realize his dream. That was certainly quite the feat. The power did go to his head and he turned evil though so I guess the guy didn’t have a whole lot of will power. He makes for a pretty great villain though even if he doesn’t always make a lot of sense. He wants a good duel and is always looking for one, but then when people challenge him he claims that it’s a waste of time and is constantly insulting them. I guess it just goes with the whole over confidence thing, but you’d think that he would be a little happier about getting to duel so much right?

I do have to quickly mention that the series does have a pretty bad ending though. I dare say that it’s even terrible. I won’t say who, but there are at least 3 main fatalities, but depending on how you look at it millions of people died. The villains planned to merge the 4 universes into one which merges people too. Well, the plan was sort of stopped, but not really leading to a rather odd mismash of things. Memories don’t match, some people are back and some likely aren’t. We’re just supposed to accept this and know that sometimes the heroes don’t always win, but it’s just a real downer. Especially since I liked the 3 characters who were erased. Only now they are stuck in someone else’ body, but not in the more direct way that Yami and Astral were put on. They’re more like Yuto so it will be tough to take direct control and eventually they will be assimilated. It’s a very dark ending and one that I wasn’t satisfied with at all. I’d say to just skip the final arc, but beyond that last bit the actual arc was really very good. I’d say the best thing to do is watch the final battle with Zarc and then turn off the TV. No reason to see the final mini arc that just destroys what the ending should have been.

As to what the final arc did right, the battle gauntlet with Zarc was great. Pretty much every important duelist lines up to fight him back to back. The duel is several episodes long and everyone gets to do their best. My only question each time is why everyone would jump into the duel midway. All that does is lower your attack points to 2000 when if they waited a few seconds later they would have been at full power. It is understandable if you’re trying to save the person, but not if they are about to lose anyway. You’re just jumping into an unwinnable position, especially since Zarc already had a great combo on the field and over 5000 life points. So, a little plot hax there, but nonetheless it was a great climax. I always like it when a bunch of heroes try to rush the final boss. It’s a fairly rare occurrence as well which is likely why it is so special as well. Zarc was a really fun final boss and he will certainly be remembered.

Since this show showed us that a big crossover show is possible next we need to have one where all of the main characters meet. If it wants to be ambitious it can be a long title where they don’t all meet up at first. The first 12 episodes could just be the 5 main characters having their own adventures until suddenly an event occurs which forces them to meet up and duel. I’d suggest another invasion series with dimension against dimension but that just happened so a fresh plot would probably be good. Some kind of tournament is a safe bet and with their dimensions on the line everyone would have to enter. A standard 3 vs 3 team style tournament would be best and that’d be awesome. It likely won’t happen, but I can dream. Regardless, it was smart of Arc V to make the plot one huge war. It definitely ensures that every fighter is always dueling at their peak since the stakes are so high.

I think that’s actually a pretty big reason as to why Arc V is so great. It probably has the longest ongoing plot from all of the Yugioh titles. For the most part none of them are quite as focused as this one. They usually have long tournaments and adventures, but not one large plot that keeps going the way that this one does. Arc V does break it up into arcs of course, but the war is always going whether it is in the forefront or the background. It’s really just one long mission for roughly 100 episodes and it’s just hard to beat that.

As you can probably guess the animation is excellent here. The character models are all on point and the action sequences are great. It’s really at its best when Yuya’s eyes begin to glow with his Zarc mode. The energy effects in general are just great and you can easily tell that this is a newer Yugioh series as the animation is unmatched. The soundtrack is also quite excellent. We get a lot of great battle tunes and even a retro 5Ds selection as well. No GX tunes that I could recognize popped up, but that’s okay. I’d still give the soundtrack a full 5 stars as it hit all of the right notes and also had a lot of variety. It goes without saying that the writing is dynamite as well.
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Overall, Yugioh Arc V is a superb show and will go down in anime history as one of the all time greats. It has over 100 episodes so that gives time for a lot of duels. The plot is very engaging and the show never lets up in just how exciting it is. The crossover angle just helps with that even more. I would highly recommend this show to fans of the genre and to anyone that likes a good action series. The show has no real flaws which is quite impressive and the main cast is really good too. When a series has all of the elements like this one does (Animation, Pacing, Writing, Music, etc) and executes them well, success is basically guaranteed.

Overall 9/10

Cardfight Vanguard G: Z Review

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It’s been a good run, but Cardfight Vanguard has finally ended. With 370 episodes across both generations that is quite a lot of Cardfights. It’s really comparable to Yugioh at this point. Naturally that franchise has more total episodes and it would be tough to ever match that number, but once you cross 100 episodes you can certainly be counted as a legitimate powerhouse. I’ll be sure to rank all of the Cardfight seasons at the end of the review. Most of them are super close so it’s definitely a tough one to decide. All right, lets dive into Z!

Right away you can tell that this series is going to be intense because you only use the term Z when the series is going to have a ton of action. Vanguard does not disappoint here as action is absolutely what you will be getting. The last season ended with the heroes defeating the main 3 Diffriders and winning the tournament. That may have been good progress in the fight against evil, but Kazumi was never the main threat. The Apostles of Gyze are around now and they need a vessel for their leader. Their plan is unaltered, they want to awaken the 6 Zeroth Dragons to pave the way for Gyze. The members decide to split up and take Team TRY 3 out of the equation pre-emptively. (Pretty smart move honestly) The heroes will have to move quickly to stop their plan and they will need teamwork, but the situation is already quite personal for them so it may be tough to move in with a clear head.

As this season is only 24 episodes (The shortest in the franchise unless you count one of the G seasons that was merged together with another one in the Dub) the plot has to move right away so there is no waiting around here. That’s the bonus of continuing the plot of a previous season. There is no need for build up or character introductions since that was already done last time. As such the villains attack Chrono and Shion within the first 3 episodes. The Apostles really look very impressive from the start here as the heroes just seem like no match at times. The most impressive member would be the one who fought Shion at least when comparing their initial appearances. The show dropped the ball on him a bit though.

Almost every episode has a big fight occurring in this season. As the villains aren’t playing games around you also see a level of desperation among the heroes that hasn’t happened too often in G. At the very least, it usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. One small moment that I really liked here was how Chrono used a Zeroth dragon with no hesitation. Usually when the main character relents and uses the dark power of a villain there is a lot of drama or the character gives it some long thought. Chrono just went for it. For context, he was up against the leader of the Apostles. If he wins this fight he can save his friend and eliminate one of the biggest threats to the world in one move. None of his cards are strong enough at this point, but if he uses one of the evil deity cards that he swiped from another member it will give him a chance.

Dark power like this never comes cheap though. The price for playing a Zeroth Dragon is that if you lose the duel all of your Grade 4 cards will be atomized and so you will be losing all of your strongest cards. It’s a steep penalty since you are essentially powerless in a duel without those. before G you could get away with it since Grade 4s didn’t exist, but now that they do they are absolutely essential. The stakes are high, but it would have almost been selfish of Chrono to not use one just for that. He had a world to protect.

Naturally I was a big fan of Chrono here. He definitely looks like the experienced veteran that he is here. It doesn’t mean that he is now the strongest player in the world but he certainly ranks up there. He takes risks and is always ready to defend his friends. Chrono is the kind of guy that you want on your team for sure. He won’t back down from a duel. Chrono has definitely developed into a character worthy of his mysterious deck.

Shion is still Chrono’s rival but at this point that is rarely evident as he has completely mellowed out into being a friend. I suppose it’s a good change of pace to have a rival who isn’t super rude or obnoxious the whole time. Shion is finally back to being master of the Kiba empire at this point so as you can imagine he feels pretty unbeatable. That’s why his first fight with Valeos was so intense because it was basically unheard of for someone to have the upper hand against Shion. It also showed that the villains recognized him as a legitimate threat. Shion’s role in this season is still rather small but it is a good one nonetheless. He does get his revenge for the earlier loss as well.

Then we have Tokoha who has started to bounce back from the last season. That one didn’t go so well for her as she absorbed quite a few losses and wasn’t really in a right state of mind since Miguel was taken out of the picture. Now she has mainly recovered from this and is back to being a strong contender. Like Shion she doesn’t get too many duels here but still gets to help out in the final battle.
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Kazuma certainly has a large role in this season and is probably the most crucial aside from Chrono. Now that he has his brother back Kazuma is ready to take the fight to the villains. While he is a very strong fighter and Kazuma’s confidence is at an all time high, he still isn’t quite ready to take on these villains yet. Things don’t go very well for him, but I do appreciate the attempt. Kazuma still has a cool deck and a nice theme. Couple that with his character development into a more confident character and he is one of the best members of the main cast. At the very least I think he would be second among the main G heroes.

Kazumi was one of the big villains of the last season since he was being possessed but it’s important to remember that he was a world class duelist even before all of that. It is fortunate for the heroes that he is around. Kazumi’s a nice character and you will get some Itachi vibes from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t look great when it comes to dueling. After all, what better shock value can there be than taking down the former Under 20 champion? Winning and losing are t everything though and it doesn’t change the fact that he is quite formidable.

Arata and Makoto are a little important in this season because of what happened to their friend Noa who was possessed by the dark side. Still, they really can’t fight so for the most part they are stuck cheering everyone on in the background. The characters really weren’t needed to be honest but I guess it would be weird if they had just vanished. They aren’t bad characters, they just aren’t ready for a villain of this magnitude.

Noa is one of the big villains and probably the strongest aside from perhaps Gyze. He was in the shadows a lot for the last season but his presence is always felt. He has the Link Joker deck which is still the best one in the series. The monster is the only one who doesn’t just fade away after being defeated or turns good. This guy can’t stand the humans and does his best to bury them. I would have liked Noa to have dueled a little more to be honest, but I’m certainly satisfied with how much effort it took to bring him down. Having Aichi and Kai team up against you is always a sign of respect.

Kouji is definitely an interesting character. I’m still not really a fan of the guy. He is essentially the vanguard of the heroes but his plans never seem to be very good. The villains always have the drop on the heroes and while he may have been very powerful back in the day, Kouji seems a little outmatched against all of the new villains. He has softened up completely into a nice guy, but never likes to admit to it which leads to him always trying to keep to himself. He’s not as bad as in previous seasons as he has finally stopped doubting Chrono’s ability, but the guy just needs to be cooler. Maybe a new costume would have done the trick.

Saori doesn’t last too long in this season as he was mainly a big character in the last season, but he is still a lot of fun here. He still has one of the best battle themes out of all the characters and he is just a tough fighter. Saori has a lot of doubts about what he is doing, but ultimately just stays on his path. The villain’s confidence is really what makes him a fun character.

Aichi finally gets to duel a little more seriously here which is good. In general I still think the original cast didn’t get to do a whole lot compared to what I would have liked to see. They did have 4 seasons (Aichi only had 3) so I guess that was enough fights. I don’t like how Aichi has basically retired from Cardfight but I suppose as long as his skills don’t get rusty he will always come to help out when it counts. Likewise Kai is also here to fight the good fight. He gets 2 big fights against the villains which is good. Wakamizu actually does give him a good fight, but the outcome is what matters and at the end of the day Kai is still one of those guys that you never expect will lose.

Kamui also looks solid here. He has done a good job of keeping up with the other characters over the years. While he isn’t in the top 5 at this point he still helps out a lot against the villains and it’s always nice to see him around. Misaki finally gets a duel of her own. The series took its time with her, but having her take on one of the big final villains was certainly good. I am a little skeptical on her being strong enough to take on this particular opponent, but perhaps her deck was simply well suited from the job. In a duel you never ultimately know who is going to win. Her tactical style does bring out the best from her deck as well.
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Valeos is a bit of a tragic case since I actually liked the villain quite a bit. He was a credible threat to the heroes and seemed to be the main thinker of the villains. Going after Shion’s OP sword was brilliant and taking it out of the equation definitely helped their goals get a bit easier. That’s why it makes no sense when he suddenly goes insane near the end. The show was slowly building up to this as we gradually got hints of his psyche decaying, but why did it have to happen at all? It came out of left field and seemed to just be an excuse to let Shion have the upper hand. If he didn’t crack then I don’t really think Shion would have been a match for him. Not sure what to think of this guy by the end but at least he had a great intro.

Gastille is essentially the deputy of the villains. Gyze is certainlty still the leader but while he is out of commission Gastille tends to call the shots. He is a powerful villain, but one who doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. Still, he does really well in his brief appearances and I liked him. He’s still not the best villain since Noa and Saori are around but otherwise he is probably the beast. You get a Ren vibe from the guy with how confident he is. Well…okay all of the Cardfight characters are confident, but they tend to show it in different ways.

Taiyou was one of the big members of Chrono’s team for the last few seasons, but his role in this one is rather small. He gets badly injured after one of the early duels and never really recovers after that. You still have to like the guy’s dedication though. He’s very loyal to helping out the heroes and won’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s way. He eagerly attacks the villains and while he doesn’t succeed, he did put up a good fight.

Then we have Wakamizu who is probably the least interesting villain. He’s technically pretty smart and the villains would have had a tough time without him, but his deck isn’t quite as good as the others. He’s deceptively strong, but I just didn’t care for the guy much. Not a bad villain, but I suppose he was simply outshined. His master Gredora was certainly more compelling even though her screen time was incredibly limited. At the very least she felt like more of a commander though. She was also a villain who actually cared about her subordinates and quickly went to defend Wakamizu after he was defeated. It’s always nice to see villains who also show loyalty and that’s why Gredora was a villain worthy of an army.

Gyze is the big boss of the series. Naturally this means that he is asleep until near the very end though. He gets 2 duels which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him more. The guy serves his purpose as a big final boss though and puts up a good fight. He just wasn’t ready to deal with the likes of Team TRY 3. He did come close to destroying the world though and I like how even in defeat the world would get destroyed by the sheer impact that it had on space and time. Gyze is definitely not the kind of opponent who does anything halfway. He did have a pretty cool design and his special ability of bringing in all of the Zeroth Dragons at once is really useful.

As always the animation is certainly stellar. The character designs starting from the last season certainly look really good. Chrono and the others look more experienced than they used to be and they also act accordingly. They get the respect you’d expect them to have considering that they have saved the world a few times now. The duels are as sharp as ever and the colors are vibrant. There is nothing negative at all to say about it. Then the soundtrack is just as impressive. I really like the new bumper/music that comes at the start of each episode. It’s a very dramatic theme that has you keep your guard up. It also really supports the feeling of dread that the heroes have. Each character still has a battle theme and most of them are quite epic. Even the few characters whose theme doesn’t absolutely stand out still have a good one. The best theme is definitely the red haired kid’s, but Kazumi’s is also excellent. You have a lot of options to choose from. Cardfight never disappointed on a technical level (Or any level for that matter) and this last season was no exception.
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All right it’s time to rank all of the Cardfight seasons! There have definitely been a lot of great ones over the years so it’s tough. I know the first and last place ones off the top of my head, but the rest get really tough. Still, I gotta make the tough choices at some point so it may as well be now.

1st. Cardfight Vanguard: Link Joker. Pretty easy number 1, this was the best season by far and the season was completely amazing. Really has everything that you could ever want in a single season.

2nd Cardfight Vanguard. The original Cardfight definitely helped get the series on the right track. It’s really rare to see a main character who actually loses as many fights as Aichi. If handled wrong that could have been annoying but overall he learned from his losses and got really good. It was just a great season and is also super nostalgic.

3rd Cardfight Vanguard Asia Circuit. This season probably has less memorable aspects to it compared to the other seasons, but this was the big Psyqualia boom. Everyone had it from Leon to the leader of the kid squad to Ren and Aichi. I still miss Psyqualia to this day so that was a lot of fun and the season was basically nonstop tournaments so you really can’t go wrong there. The climax was also super hype as you would expect.

4th Cardfight Vanguard Legion Mate. This season is tough because I thought it was awesome from the plot to the execution. At the same time it was a little short. I guess 33 episodes is a solid length, but it’s really close between this and NEXT. I’ll give Legion Mate the edge because having Kai as a main character was hype and the loser of each match getting burned was definitely a very real way of raising the stakes.

5th Cardfight Vanguard G NEXT. Definitely the best G season. The tournament was really good and Kazumi was just such an awesome villain It was also really long so we had time for a bunch of fights. We hadn’t had a tournament that was this long and serious since the original Cardfight days. The new animation style also worked quite well for this saga and the first episode was the perfect way to hype up the new villain.

6th Cardfight Vanguard G Z. This season is very close to NEXT, but it mainly loses out because it’s a lot shorter. There’s less chance to quite match the hype that was behind NEXT. Still, a great way to end the series and 6th is certainly nothing to be ashamed about when it’s relative to other Cardfight seasons. A superb show in all aspects.

7th Cardfight Vanguard G Stride Gate. We finally got the payoff to the first G arcs here and it was definitely a lot of fun. I liked the main villain and this is really where Chrono came into his own as a solid main character. He didn’t fall for the mind games of the villains and kept dueling as he knew best.

8th Cardfight Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis. The plot started to get moving with this show, but it was still a little slow. Not a whole lot happened here compared to what you might guess from the title. The heroes were still trying to get recognized as serious fighters here, but it would be a while before the grownups would acknowledge them.

9th Cardfight Vanguard G. Still a very solid show, but pretty much the whole season was just character introductions. While that is similar to the first half of the original Cardfight, we didn’t get a big payoff at the end like the original. There was no Psyqualia equivalent or an antagonist quite as interesting as Ren.

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Overall, This was a really great way to end the G part of the series. By the end of its run it had really solidified itself as an excellent show even without the influence of the main series. I currently have Cardfight Vanguard as a whole in my top 5 shows. If we count G separately then it would likely still be in my top 15, perhaps just barely making it into Top 10, but no guarantees there. Throughout the various sagas the characters got a lot of development and we got a bunch of great characters. The animation and music were on point and this show has met the high bar that the card game genre has set. I definitely recommend checking this show out. Honestly, it’s best if you start with either the first G series or the very first season as opposed to starting with Z, but either way you’ll have a blast here. I look forward to seeing the retro season coming up.

Overall 9/10

Cardfight Vanguard: Neon Messiah Review

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It’s time to look at a film that I’ve been waiting to watch for quite a while. I consider Cardfight Vanguard to be one of the greatest shows of all time and it was really at its height back when Aichi and the gang were the main characters. This film was the official wrap up for them before handing the baton over to a new cast. The trailer was really good and looked to include the first ever 2v1 fight in the series. While this movie is incredibly short that isn’t all that uncommon for an anime film. Until recently a lot of them seemed to be about 70 minutes and this one was a double feature as well. Still, it’s definitely a great ride while it lasts.

The film starts off with a mysterious new player challenging Ren. The skilled Cardfighter accepts the challenge but it soundly defeated and his tournament entry pass is stolen. Meanwhile Aichi is pretty psyched to finally get a chance to prove his mettle once more at this exclusive tournament. He is one of the lucky 16 to make the cut and heads to the arena with his friends. Unfortunately 7 combatants do not show up and Kouji declares that he has taken them down. He is allowed entry into the tournament and now all of the heroes should be worried. What is Kouji’s true aim in all of this?

I always like the movie trope of having a new villain show up and suddenly start beating up on the old hype characters. We had Frieza show up in Resurrection F as he took out Mystic Gohan in a single blow, the main villain from the Pyramid of Light who actually defeated Kaiba, and Mewtwo who took down Gary in the first Pokémon film. There’s just something nice about seeing a new villain show up and start taking names. Of course the other way around is also fun though like when a hype character actually manages to hold his own and claim the win but that’s super rare. Considering that by the movie the main cast are usually at their strongest, this cliche really helps make the villain appear to be a legitimate threat.

Neon Messiah does that well with Kouji. Taking out Ren is already impressive and then he also beat Leon. Those two were probably Aichi’s biggest rivals besides Kai and they lasted for quite a while back in Arc 3. Seeing them get absolutely wrecked (Leon losing off screen and Ren losing without getting his theme music) shows just how skilled Kouji is. Kouji is definitely an intense villain here and one that I can get behind. His motivation for destroying Cardfight does come across as really petty and hard to take seriously but considering that he had to master a game that he couldn’t stand it does show his resolve. He was able to become one of the best players in the world at the end. As a villain I would put him up there as one of Cardfight’s best. It’s too bad we couldn’t see him go up against Kai though. That would have definitely been a great fight and I’m still convinced that Kai would have been able to claim victory.

As for Kai, since he had some ties to Kouji from the past he gets a particularly large role in this film. Kai has experience being the main character, main villain, and rival in various seasons of the Cardfight show so one might say that he has the most well rounded resume of the bunch. As such it is no surprise that he can easily hold the plot on his own. I’d say that his portrayal was definitely really good since he doesn’t lose a duel in the whole movie. With his current skill level there are very few who can hope to challenge him.

Aichi also looks pretty good as always. He has certainly come a long way since the days where he was just a timid beginner. Even though he is unable to match up against Kouji, he still had his confidence throughout the duel. You could also make the case that he was a little distracted because Planet Cray was getting beat up for the 100th time in the last few months. Aichi was probably disappointed that the supposed embodiment of Cardfight is so weak. Aichi quickly regrouped in time for round 2. I’d argue that he should have let Kai finish off Kouji, but I suppose this was one duel that he didn’t want to miss.

The supporting characters are fun as always. Kamui probably gets the biggest role from them as his duel is reasonably long and he gives Kouji a good fight. It’s nice to see someone step up with Leon and Misaki couldn’t stay on screen long enough to help. For the record though, they made the right call in standing up to Kouji. If they aren’t strong enough to stop him then it doesn’t matter if they wait or fight now. On the other hand, if they are strong enough to stop him, then the sooner the better since the longer he lives the more chance there is of the monster planet being completely destroyed. The characters here are all confident in their skills and they should be. They’ve tangled with many strong opponents in the past.

I do think that Aichi should finally start using his Psyqualia more though. I know that he basically ditched the ability along with everyone else in season 2 because it was deemed unfair as it’s an auto victory, but shouldn’t that not apply when you’re fighting a villain who will destroy the world? I can respect an honor code, but it would be nice to see the return of Berserk Aichi. That would really be hype.

The animation is definitely really good as you would expect. The show already has a lot of vibrant colors and detail so for a movie this is amped up even more. As there wouldn’t be time to show the actual cardfights here as just 2-3 would be the whole length of the movie, this film opts to give us some visuals as it speeds through the fight in a montage style. The cynical side of me can’t help but notice that it is also a lot easier on the writers as they don’t have to actually think up the specifics of the duel. It would be extremely hard to notice some kind of error in this style and most wouldn’t even bother to try. Of course no matter the reason it is fun to see some real time action. It would soon be the norm in Cardfight G so I guess this was another bridge to that sequel. The film has 2 insert songs which is always cool. Some of the ingame music for the duels were also fairly solid but I can’t say that I really remember any of them. It worked well for the duels which is good enough.

Overall, Neon Messiah was definitely a great film. I would have certainly preferred it to be another 30 minutes longer at the very least but it still tells a complete story and gives us a lot of action so I’m satisfied. The action scenes have a really high budget and the film is always exciting with no dull moments to slow it down. It’s not enough to place it as the best card game movie or anything like that but it’s still a great movie all the same. I’d recommend it to fans of the series for sure or if you are a Yugioh fan as well. If you like action movies then you can potentially enjoy it even without any context as it’s very fast paced and engaging from start to finish.

Overall 8/10