Hunter X Hunter: The Last Mission Review


It’s time to look at the final HXH movie. The first one was definitely pretty fun and it was nice to see Killua take the lead. This one has a more traditional plot and more action and does pass the first film for me. I do think there are some missed opportunities here but the teasing for fights that don’t end up happening is pretty accurate to the show I suppose.

The film starts with Gon and Killua heading to the battle tower to cheer on their friend Zushi as he prepares to fight his way to the top. They meet up with Biscuit and Zushi’s trainer and the fights have apparently attracted a lot of top players as well. The royalty that Kurapika has been assigned to protect is also in the audience so naturally he has accompanied her and even Hisoka and Netero have decided to come and watch. Everything appears to be going well and nobody would dare attack with so many big shots but Leorio finds out that this is not the case. On his way to the tower he is taken down by a group of villains and then they take control of the tower. Netero is being restrained on the top floor and everyone else is being held hostage. Gon, Killua, and Kurapika are the tower’s last hope now.

Right away this movie definitely feels more on the high budget side than the last one. I think the animators definitely enjoyed the first scene of Gon dashing around and grabbing the balloon. It seemed like an animation showcase kind of moment and the colors are definitely extra bright. As a result of the smooth animation Gon and Killua also look a bit younger than usual, but they are kids so this does make sense. I definitely enjoyed the animation here and it really does stick out for the fight scenes. They’re nice and fast which is always a good thing to have.
There may not be as many fight scenes as I would like but Gon and Killua’s teamup was excellently done and the climax with the main villain was also pretty solid. It’s a clash of energy for the most part and seeing Gon in a movie exclusive form was neat as well. The villains are fortunate that this wasn’t late Chimera arc or Killua could have definitely ended them all with his Godspeed.

There aren’t really any themes here that didn’t show up in the show at some point. The show themes work pretty well though and we get to see multiple endings too. The themes work well for the scenes and are definitely solid. The film goes by pretty quick and the pacing is definitely solid. It does lead me to the film’s only weakness though and that is how the film ends before a lot of the characters actually get to do anything.

Now, this may be intentional as the series is known for teasing the fans, but the movie brings a lot of characters here to not actually do anything. Hisoka, Biscuit, and Zushi’s teacher are big examples of this. Hisoka shows up to make a lot of threats and talk tough, but by the end he is having fun just being a coach of sorts and decides not to take any direct action. Surely the film could have added one more member of the group whose purpose was to get eliminated by him right? Biscuit and the teacher can also fight so it was a bit iffy to see them just stay as hostages and not do anything. They fight some random minions at the end, but that doesn’t really count for anything. It’s not the kind of thing that ultimately hurts the film’s score, but I think the film would have been even better if they could have done something.

Meanwhile, at this point in the game Killua and Gon are way ahead of Kurapika and Leorio and I’d say that the film does acknowledge this. Kurapika’s abilities are pretty versatile, but because of the conditions he has placed he is only really deadly against the spiders. The bulk of his abilities don’t work on other enemies so at that point he has to rely on his pure hand to hand skills. He does a good job all things considered and healing is important as well, but he wouldn’t have a chance against the stronger villains. Tactics are still his strongest suit though and it was good to see him figure out to get to the control room right away. That being said, his strength against Uvogin was pretty good and I believe that wasn’t part of the chains so if he still has that level of ability I think he could have done better in the fight.

Leorio definitely doesn’t look great here. At first when he mentions his nen I thought we were going to see him actually fight, but in the end all he gets to do is block. He still helped out in his own way, but I was waiting for him to do more. He still looked better than Netero though. Netero’s fans should not be pleased as he gets caught in a really basic trap and spends the whole film being helpless. Even when he finally gets ready to fight all he can manage is a stand still. I think he was pretty nerfed in this adventure if I’m being honest and I was expecting more out of him. For all his tough talk you’d think that Gon surpassed him here.

Meanwhile Gon is definitely still pretty obsessive like in the Ant arc. He gets pretty intense about never forgiving the villains once they attack Netero and fights with a vengeance the whole time. He’s quick to embrace the darkness to try and save the others. His quick determination to do whatever it takes is good and it’s something he embodies more than a lot of the other Shonen leads. At the same time he’s also a lot more selfish and once he gets a goal he is fine with ditching his friends to accomplish it. Turning over to the darkness should have destroyed him if he was anyone but the main character. While I don’t think he thought all of this over too well, he definitely did good in a fight.

Killua is the true star as expected though. While Gon surpassed him temporarily with his real conditions mode, Killua has always been a step ahead for the most part and the film does a good job of showing this. While Gon is definitely stronger, Killua does have the speed advantage which is really useful in a fight. I felt like he could have beaten the villain pretty quickly if not for the location and the fact that the villain was only fighting with Gon for the most part. He was basically ignoring Killua the whole time. Killua is definitely the perfect ally to have around as well since he’ll do his best to protect everyone the whole time.

As for the villains, they’re not a bad bunch. While the film does give them an origin story it was pretty brief. The main villain Jed is definitely the best one. His dark powers are cool and he had a pretty solid plan. The fact that he can fight Netero on even ground is definitely not something to be taken lightly and he was holding the heroes at bay pretty well. The kid who dies early on didn’t really get to do anything so I can’t say much about her.

The other villain who got the most development here would be Geki. He likes a good fight and is one of the more honorable villains. He’s definitely got legitimate strength and does a good job hanging in there during his big fight. Zushi definitely didn’t stand a chance against this guy even without his fancy powers. Shura is more of a tactical villain, but he definitely has some moves as well. While not as cool as Geki he does round out the villain group pretty well.

Overall, The Last Mission is definitely a solid HXH film. It definitely feels a lot more like a classic Shonen Jump film than the last one. Getting everyone together and then bringing in the big fights is all you really need to have a quality experience. I do think the film should have given the characters more to do though. I’m also extremely skeptical that all of the floor masters would lose to these guys, dart or no dart. They should all have crazy nen abilities of their own and part of the point of Hunter X Hunter is that you never know what to expect before you fight. At least one of them should have had an ability that would have won the battle. While you might have to suspend some disbelief for the power levels, I’d argue that this is the case for most anime films. It’s a fun ride through and through so I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 8/10

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Digimon Adventure Tri: Future Review


We’ve finally made it to the final installment in the Digimon Tri series! There were quite a lot of plot threads still dangling so does this one manage to finish them off? Well, it does end the main plot, but for the most part we still don’t know a whole lot about what was going on in the back end. Perhaps it’s intentional as the Digidestined are also left in the dark for the most part. So, I wouldn’t clal this a rushed ending, but I wouldn’t say it is a super satisfactory one either. It’s ultimately a fun sequel package that will have a good amount of replay value, but I do think the next follow up will likely be far better so long as it goes back to its roots. The film does end with a nice potential cliffhanger. Whichever option it chooses should work out pretty well.

So last time Tai seemingly died when the cliff caved in due to an unnatural earthquake caused by the Digi souls and the rulers. Matt is now the temporary leader and the group decides to head back to the human world once again. They’ve basically been playing ping pong across the two worlds if you think about it. Unfortunately Meicoomon has digivolved once again and is now a cosmic being that seemingly can’t be stopped. The heroes are ready to accept their end, but if they’re going to die anyway they’ll go down fighting. Even if there is a chance for victory it may have to come at the expense of Meicoomon. Is there a way to save her or will they have to sacrifice the one for the many?

One unfortunate part about having Meicoomon be so powerful here is that fact that we can’t get any real fight scenes as a result. Meicoomon’s final form is too large to really take shots at the opponents and at the same time it’s so durable that it doesn’t need to dodge opponent strikes. This leads to a bit of a stalemate where the heroes can talk to it, but don’t do much else. There isn’t really any kind of big fight here so much as we just get a quick strike. It’s too bad since the films usually had such good fights when they did show up. I suppose as the finale the thought battles were the most important part here. So lets talk about those.

Throughout the series one of the subtle debates has been if the heroes should destroy their Digimon partners if they were to ever turn evil. Their bonds of friendship are strong, but apparently not absolute. Well, Meiko has been asking the team to destroy Meicoomon if necessary but they were confident that it wouldn’t come down to that. Well, in this film quite a few of the characters decide to go ahead and do this even while Kairi objects. Kairi’s objection is rather half hearted though as she says she’ll never forgive them, but then follows that up by saying that she won’t try to stop them or anything like that. If you really think it’s wrong then you should do something. Either way it’s not really a good look for the heroes. There wasn’t much of a choice by the end of course and mainly I would blame Meiko for not trying to stop them. For the other heroes they’re basically acknowledging that their bonds to each other are more important than Meiko. Everyone’s got to make a choice and they made theirs. Meicoomon also seemed pretty corrupt from the start so maybe he was all gone but it does feel like the villains got a bit of the last laugh here as a result.

Think about it, by the end the villains managed to murder a bunch of people, they’ve convinced the humans that all Digimon are evil, and then they convinced the heroes to destroy one of their own. Now when the factions ever decide to return, whether it be Homeostasis, The Digi King, or Gennai, they’ll have quite a lot of confidence here. Gennai also gets away with way too much here. He shows up to taunt the heroes quite often and they usually just stand in watch. Case in point, Gennai shows up in this film to reveal that he let Tai and the professor live just so they can choose which one of them gets to escape. None of them even try to attack Gennai as they just get resigned to their fate. The Digidestined seem to have lost most of their fire by the end and if that was part of the villains’ plan then they really did succeed.

With Tri over and the benefit of hindsight, I think the problem here may have been that Tri attempted too many things. The writers clearly had a bunch of ideas they wanted to throw around, but there’s just not enough time for all of them. This would have worked better if it was a full TV show. I also think some parts of the plot are swept to the side, but don’t make sense if you think about them. Think of all the kids who were kidnapped/vanished thanks to the villains? We’re talking dozens to maybe even 100+ and nobody found out? The government was covering for the villains because they’re naturally evil as well, but surely the parents would have said something. The original main characters know the 02 cast as well so it’s even more suspicious that they weren’t able to find anything out. Maybe the government got the parents as well (Can’t recall if they had a cameo) but the more people you kidnap the harder it is to hide that. The 02 cast also never actually get to appear so that’s a shame for their fans.

The animation looks nice as expected. We get some fun visuals with Omnimon’s form at the end. It’s definitely a powerful moment and for most of the film the world is covered in darkness so the colors do tend to pop out. Unfortunately for the soundtrack my favorite theme didn’t show up this time. In general the soundtrack is pretty subdued but it works well enough for the scenes it is present in.

Overall, Digimon Adventure Tri certainly won’t go down as one of my favorite parts of the franchise, it’s probably one of the weakest honestly. Still, it was an interesting experiment into what Digimon could be like if it was trying to be more Slice of Life/Cerebral instead of being more of a classic Shonen. (Honestly it probably holds up even better if you don’t think of it as a Digimon film. Think of it as standalone with no preconceived notions of what kind of fights and action should be in and you’ve got a good plot based anime film) It is a title that’ll make you think and force you to choose sides since there are usually quite a few options to choose from. Typically all you need to know is that Matt is right and Tai is wrong. I still think the first Tri film did a great job in setting up a mysterious premise and re-introducing the characters. Ultimately the follow ups just couldn’t completely cash in on this. The films fortunately do stay away from a romance angle that the various installments were hinting at. Even by the end it’s still lightly hinted at, but at the end of the day there’s a good chance we won’t see Meiko again so there’s nothing to worry about there. This is a good film to check out regardless of whether you’ve seen the other Tri titles or not, but you’ll likely be more than a little confused if you just skip to this one. I’d recommend watching them all in order.

Overall 7/10

Phi Brain: Puzzle of God: The Orpheus Order Review


It’s time to take a look at season 2 of Phi Brain. The first season was definitely a rock solid show. We got a bunch of great puzzles and in general it was a pretty unique show. I haven’t seen many like it so it was good to have the title return. While season 2 does retread some ground from the first season it’s definitely a great follow up. It’s not quite as good as the first season of course, but the quality is very close to that of the original.

The season also does start off with a bang. Kaito and the rest of the Phi Brains are hanging out at school when they are challenged by a new villain group. They call themselves the Orpheus Order and right off the bat they challenge the heroes to a group battle. Kaito and Gammon can handle themselves well enough but can the rest hold their own? The leader of the Orpheus Order is named Freecell (Or is he the leader?) and he seems to have some ties to Kaito from the past. Kaito doesn’t remember this guy or the promise he supposedly made. Either way Kaito has to stop these guys, but the Orpheus Order is more expansive than they can imagine. Kaito may need to call on his old friends from the POG for assistance.

I always like it when the villains make a move right away. Why bother waiting 20+ episodes to appear when you can storm the hero stronghold in under 10 minutes? It’s really impressive just how quickly they move. I also really like the idea of a team battle. It’s basically a 5 on 5 match as everyone plays a square related game. It’d be even cooler to have everyone moving at once, but logistically that’d probably be a nightmare so this makes sense. It’s still super tense because even if Kaito wins his round there is no guarantee that the whole team will win.

One advantage the season immediately has over the last one is that Kaito isn’t sidelined for every other puzzle. In season 1 there kept being a ton of different circumstances that would keep him out of a fight. First we had Cubik come out with something that prevented Kaito’s brain from activating, then he went through an emotional breakdown where he forgot how to do puzzles, etc. There were so many episodes where Kaito could have solved the puzzle easily but then something happened and he had a hard time. Here the only times Kaito is having a difficult experience solving the puzzle is because his opponent is that good. In season 1 a lot of the puzzles were 1 player, most of the ones in season 2 are vs puzzles so you’re actively fighting someone. It makes a huge difference on how you go about solving it this way. Even Nonoha gets to duel in one puzzle which was definitely interesting. Her photographic memory unfortunately isn’t too helpful in most cases, but she always tries which is good.

The Orpheus Order has quite a few members so lets quickly talk about them. First up is Freecell who serves as the main antagonist here. He blames Kaito for the death of his mother, but gradually we learn more and more about his full backstory. He makes for a good villain, but typically he’s at his best when Kaito isn’t around. For example, his confrontation with Klondike is his best scene. It’s awesome and one of the best moments in the whole show. When he’s with Kaito he gets a little more delusional and in some ways is just Rook 2.0. Overall I did think he made for a pretty great villain though. He may not have been the most original villain in the series, but the execution was on point. If anything it’s too bad we didn’t get to see him fight more. I wanted to see his new powers in action.

Then we have Pinochle who is definitely the worst of the group. He’s the kind of guy who goes for mindgames and intimidation right off the bat, but can’t pull it off. As a result he seems more like a try hard and never becomes all that interesting. It’s a shame since he gets some of the most development out of the characters. Next is Mizerka who also isn’t too great, but she’s a step up from Pinochle. She needs to have a use and so that probably makes her the most loyal out of all the members. So long as the leader gives her a task she is happy to complete it. Her character is tied pretty closely to Melancholy so you can probably expect that things don’t go too well for her. She also tends to get psyched out by Ana as Mizerka takes everything very seriously.

Next up is Doubt and since he’s Gammon’s rival you can imagine that he’s pretty solid. (For the most part all of the Orpheus Order members have a natural rival) He can fight which is handy and he always struck me as the strongest main member behind Freecell. By the end of the series it is strongly implied that this isn’t the case. Things actually get pretty dicey for Doubt in general in the second half. Still, I liked his confidence and as the tough guy of the group he served in his role pretty well. It took a while for me to realize that his name was literally “Doubt” though.

Then we have Melancholy who is pretty young compared to the other characters. Still, that isn’t to say that her talent is lacking in any way next to the others. She’s always confident and sarcastic aside from her final scene. I don’t think she really got any closure compared to the rest of the group so it’s a shame that Melancholy couldn’t have gotten one more puzzle battle. Likewise, Whist gets a lot of hype throughout but ultimately doesn’t really get to do anything at the end. He does have a lot of hype moments in between, but at the end of the day he didn’t have the breakout duel that you’d expect. The butler from season 1 was definitely more impressive in that regard.

Klondike is the head of the Orpheus Order so you definitely expect a lot out of him. His role is pretty small, but definitely very powerful. He instantly became one of my favorite villains in the series. The guy’s so good at puzzles that he reached Kaito’s level during his first time even trying one out. The guy’s potential is nearly limitless. He’s another character that I would have liked to spend more time with. I suppose there are just too many characters for them all to keep on appearing, but it’d be nice if he could appear again. I suspect this was probably it for him.

That wraps up the new villains here. Well, we have Ana’s sister, but she really didn’t add anything to the show. I didn’t even realize Ana still needed a backstory although I suppose maybe it was hinted in season 1? She has her big moment at the end of course, but for the most part she’s pretty forgettable. We do see the return of an old villain from the POG arc. I won’t say who, but his role here is pretty fun. Despite the fact that this guy is always whining, he can apparently fight as he actually takes down Doubt. It was definitely intense to see him again even if I don’t really get why the villains humored him for so long anyway. I suppose testing the villains’ loyalty and Kaito’s progression is always good, but I feel like there were other ways to do this.

Rook and Bishop may be on a quest to destroy all the puzzles of fools, but they do take the time to quickly show up here when Kaito is in trouble. Bishop never really gets to duel, but Rook has some nice moments. His tag team duel with Kaito was definitely pretty cool. It’s always fun seeing the old villain show up as more of a rival in the present. It’s a nice character development moment. It would have been nice to see Rook fight with Freecell, but I think that may have ultimately been too much for him. The other POG members show up, but only the celebrity member really gets to do anything. The rest just panic a whole lot.

From the supporting characters, Tamaki probably gets the biggest role. She has to step in as student body president and naturally the villains make a move. The season is long enough where there are several sections in the plot. At one point what the villains would do is go around mind controlling people. Tamaki ends up being one of those targets. Jikukawa as well, although his was a lot more epic. It made for an excellent cliffhanger when he showed up and challenged Kaito. The guy always had an interesting history as he was close to being a Phi Brain, but decided not to do so. I guess this was his chance to test all of that. I do think his plan to put on the ring was a little sloppy, but it all worked out in the end which is what counts.

From the Phi Brain children they mostly just get a role in the first half of the season. By the end they aren’t really able to help out at all and just stay on the sidelines. Ana’s role near the beginning is to annoy Mizerka and of course the whole thing with her sister. Cubik is heavily involved with trying to figure out how the rings work and Gammon tries to teach Doubt a lesson for involving his sister. They’re all pretty consistent with how they were in the first season. In that respect, Gammon’s the only disappointing one here just because he had such a big role in season 1. He was Kaito’s rival while now he is treated more like an underling. It’s clear that they are no longer on the same level. I suppose it was inevitable to an extent but it’s still a shame.

Nonoha still gets a big role of course as she is always ready to support Kaito. She also helps get Freecell to sort through his emotions in time for the final boss. She’s definitely an integral part of the story. Finally we have Kaito. As always he’s definitely a great main character. He doesn’t really suffer from the same levels of doubt he had in season 1. The mindgames still shake him up a bit from time to time, but for the most part he’s gotten past all of that. He’s now in a spot where he can just enjoy puzzles again. He’s definitely a fun main character and his aggressive nature towards solving puzzles has served him well. I’m glad he chose to do the puzzles without the armlet as well. In season 1 he basically surpassed it so that would have felt like a step back.

Naturally the soundtrack is still great as we have a lot of old themes that return. I do miss the classic samba type music that played though. I don’t even know what style of music it was, maybe Mexican? It fit really well for the tombs, but I guess with the change of scenery for season 2 the directors thought it wouldn’t be a good fit. Still, on the whole we get the rest of the epic tunes. Then for the animation it’s pretty consistent with season 1. The visuals are still nice and shiny. It doesn’t stand out too much in particular, but it all looks good I’d say. Most of these puzzles aren’t exactly made to look super flashy anyway.

I think one difference here compared to the first season which does hurt a bit is that it’s more up and down. I feel like season 1 was consistently excellent with high stakes while this one could fluctuate. At its best the hype moments were even better than season 1’s. The Klondike duel, Jikukawa turning evil, the big duels with Freecell, Rook jumping in, etc. These are all show stopping moments with how amazing they are. At the same time, then we have the episodes that feel like they’re just trying to buy time. These include moments like: Ana’s sister, Tamaki turning evil, the puzzle adventures on the island, etc. Not to say that any of these episodes are bad. They just feel like filler thrown in the middle to buy some for the villains to make another serious move. Since season 1’s episodes were mostly all introducing the characters and getting us to know them even the “filler” felt important. It’s a perk that season 1 has which is supposed to be countered by the fact that season 2 can just jump right in. It’s a good balance and as I mentioned before, the seasons are still very close.

Overall, Season 2 is definitely quite solid. I do like the idea of a villain group of geniuses. We do get some cop outs in terms of the whole group being Phi Brains, but the higher ups still delivered with the fights. Phi Brain will continue to succeed as long as they keep thinking of fun puzzles. Season 1’s were still more creative, but this season definitely had enough hype scenes to match 1. I look forward to seeing how season 3 stacks up. Who can possibly challenge Kaito and friends now right? Maybe there’ll be a super Armlet of Orpheus or something like that.

Overall 8/10

Megalo Box Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent anime that came out. I hadn’t seen any boxing titles prior to checking this one out so that was definitely pretty cool. It’s definitely a quality title that does a good job of illustrating the kind of world Joe is in. It doesn’t lose sight of the main plot during this though so it consistently moves at a good speed. Really the only bad thing about the show is the opening and in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t mean a lot.

The show takes place in the future. Boxers now use cybernetic enhancements to fight known as “Gear.” It’s like a robotic backpack that extends to your fists. Some have it ingrained in their bodies while others use the basic gear. Joe has been fighting in an underground arena for all his life and he’s sick of it. He has to throw fights to win and as such he is unable to really test his skills. His big chance occurs when they announce the Megalonia tournament. He decides to enter and gets into the tournament with a fake id thanks to some help from his coach Nanbu. Still, the more Joe climbs up the ranks the more it seems like he can’t escape his fast. What will end him first? The top ranked boxer Yuri, or his dark past?

Right away you can tell that Megalo Box did a good job with the atmosphere. It’s going for a very realistic setting despite being in the future. For the most part it actually feels like the past, but it just shows the natural progression of how the rich have gotten even richer while the poor continue to fade away. It doesn’t go too far into making the place tough to look at either though. I’m not a big fan of deserts of those kind of backdrops because I like seeing the more high-tech areas. As such the best looking scenes are often in the ring or at Megalonia. Still, the show did a good job with the setting.

The soundtrack is also top notch. The themes all capture the moments that they’re placed in. They help up the intensity without feeling really forced or anything like that. It’s probably one of the best soundtracks that I’ve heard in quite some time. The animation is also pretty solid. It’s nothing extremely high end, but it’s all pretty smooth. I don’t recall any bad looking episodes so it was pretty consistent the whole time. It continues to give 12-13 episode titles a good name. They seem to consistently have some of the best animation, pacing, and music available. Something about only being 12 episodes seems to help enormously with the budget which makes sense. I think it creates a cycle where the best writers/animators try to get onto those shows and so they continue to excel.

As I mentioned, the show does falter with the opening though. It’s just pretty terrible which is surprising. It’s going for a meta look at Joe at a literal dog and other such stuff, but it doesn’t really give you a good impression of the show. If you showed me the opening I would have told you that the show was likely terrible. There’s just no potential in the opening or anything to grab your attention. The music for the song isn’t particularly catchy either. I definitely don’t agree with the approach the show was going for with this intro.

The character cast was solid so lets quickly talk about them. The best character is the reigning champ of Megalonia. His name is Yuri and he’s pretty much the rival/main antagonist all in one package. I like his confidence and he’s the kind of opponent who is fighting for something. He’s not just a random obstacle to face nor is he a boxer who turned crazy. The guy just likes a good fight and is also trying to reward the faith that the leader of the corporation put in him. He’s a good guy and also just wants a clean fight. He won’t accept a win any other way. We don’t get to see him fight much at all (mainly because of the show’s length) but he is definitely a scene stealer.

Then you’ve got Joe who was close to taking on Yuri for the top spot here. He’s always looking for a fight and is a very aggressive character. A lot of times the main character can heavily influence how good a show is and I think Joe also contributed to Megalo Box’s quality. When the villains try playing mind games with him Joe is often able to get past this without help. Where other characters would start guilt tripping themselves Joe is able to stand strong. A good example of this is when a guy who lost his legs in a war shows up to guilt trip Joe. Joe doesn’t buy it and after explaining that it has nothing to do with him just goes in for the win. Joe is fixated on getting to the top and doesn’t let anything get in his way. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have any doubts or trials, but he does a good job of getting past them.

Then you’ve got his coach Nanbu. That guy isn’t quite as solid as the first two. Mindgames always work on him and the villains tend to have a lot of leverage on him so he’s not someone that you can really count on most of the time. He’s also got the toughest road to follow in the show as bad things seem to happen to him constantly. A lot of it is trouble that he really started though so you can only sympathize with him so much. Long story short, he’s a decent mentor character, but definitely not one of my favorite characters. Then there’s the kid Sachio who isn’t quite as bad as he could have been. He’s still a little out of place among the main members of the cast though. He isn’t nearly as smart or witty as the others so he ends up just being around to throw tantrums when he doesn’t get what is going on. I don’t think he ever really needed to stick around.

Yukiko is the rich leader of the company sponsoring the tournament. As such she does serve as one of the main antagonists. Unlike Yuri she is not about fair play and will succeed no matter what the cost is. Still, she is reasonable for the most part. She does share some of the usual prejudice against the lower class but is at least willing to provide a safe haven for the kid. She got a good amount of closure in the ending. Fujimaki is the leader of the thugs and someone who helps the main characters quite a bit. He’s an annoying antagonist who gets in the way a lot, but he is certainly good at his job. I was glad that the random villains couldn’t hack his fake ID so easily since that would have made him look bad. As it stands, his plan was pretty solid although expecting Joe to just backout at the end wasn’t too realistic. He’s easily the most evil character in the series. I think if Nanbu and Joe had talked to Yuri then maybe they could have avoided some of this, but it was a complicated situation.

Through his journey to the end Joe did manage to fight some other notable characters as well. There were two in particular. The first is Aragaki who was Nanbu’s first pupil. He has good reason to be upset since everyone basically ditched him. He’s still not all that reasonable though with how he’s targeting Joe though since he’s not just using him as a scapegoat. His fight is definitely an intense one though and one of the more memorable bouts in the series. Then there is Mikio who is actually a pretty great antagonist. He’d be second only to Yuri from the villain side. What really works for his plot is the fact that Mikio is a wild card. He wants to take down both Joe and Yuri while foiling Yukiko’s ambitions at the same time. This would also destroy all of Fujimaki’s plans. Basically if he wins then everyone else loses.

I always love it when a third party steps in. There’s just so many ways they can wreck everyone’s gameplan. Still, you’ll know right away whether he has any chance of succeeding just because there’s only so many wrinkles that a show can have before getting back on track. This isn’t the kind of show that’s going to subvert the ending to such a degree. From episode 3 or even earlier you know how the final fight is going to go down. There’s no room for someone like Mikio there. I did like his armor though and overall he is a charismatic fighter. This isn’t the kind of show that will likely get a season 2, but if it ever did I could see him getting a role.

As far as the ending goes, it’s pretty lackluster. Fortunately the rest of the show is solid enough where it doesn’t really matter but I feel like it did everything wrong. I don’t really like Joe’s intentions at the end. It’s not that they’re bad, but it seems really out of character. Was his final fight that intense/satisfactory? Then Yuri’s end is also really not satisfying at all. I felt it was pretty excessive. Nanbu’s life is also basically wrecked so that’s too bad for him. Then there’s the outcome of the final fight which I wasn’t a big fan of. The show goes out of its way to reassure you that the outcome would have been different if one of the fighters hadn’t done something drastic before it started, but I was still hoping it would go the other way. The conversation with the army that serves as a red herring also heavily hinted this was the case. It’s done intentionally to keep you guessing, but once you know the outcome then the conversation makes absolutely no sense. Ah well, the ending could have been a lot worse.

I do have one other complaint, but this one’s more about power levels. At the start of the show the gear is hyped up quite a bit. It’s considered madness to get into the ring without gear and expect to walk away with your life/the win. Well, when Joe does this for almost the whole series it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Sure, the punches hurt a little bit more, but that’s about it. I don’t know, I was expecting much more of a difference. It feels like everyone could just fight without gear without many side effects. Sure, as a competitor you take whatever edge you can in order to secure the win so it makes sense from a narrative perspective why they would use it, but the gear should offer more of an advantage. Joe could have still won by dodging hits. The irony is that he always takes a lot of hits in every match so if the gear was even remotely stronger than a normal punch Joe definitely should have been dead in several of those fights. So I think the gear mechanic wasn’t really handled as well as it should have been.

After all, the show was epic even without it. All of my favorite hype scenes didn’t even involve gear. One if the first confrontation with Joe and Yuri where they nearly spar. It’s an intense moment and while Yuri actually did have the gear on under his jacket, it’s just about Joe defying authority. I also liked the stinger with Mikio showing up to blackmail Joe and then the sucker punch. It’s too bad Joe couldn’t have fought him right there though. That would have been fun. Then we also have Joe crashing the announcement party to try and throw himself back in the tournament. Again, Joe’s just a great character who is always trying to get in on the action. It’s impressive how much he does in only a few episodes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Megalo Box very highly. It’s a very complete anime title and one that has no real weaknesses. The character cast is strong and the anime looks/sounds very good. The plot is pretty memorable and the episodes offer great cliffhangers so you’re always ready for the next installment. Megalo Box does more to keep its events memorable in 12 episodes than some do in 26. It’s going to be very hard for another boxing anime to top this one. Not saying it’s impossible of course, but this one really knew how to keep boxing exciting and fresh.

Overall 8/10

Digimon Adventure Tri: Coexistence Review


We’re now nearing the end of the Digimon Tri series. It was definitely fun to see the heroes back again in these adventures. That being said, with this film the series is really turning into more of a total seinen as opposed to a shonen. It was always like that to an extent with the more faded color scheme and theatrical animation approach as opposed to the vivid hype of the average anime, but at least the plot was super engaging and we did get hype fights. Coexistence does throw in a fight at the end, but most of the mysteries are starting to lose their allure and this installment has the slowest pacing. It’s still a good film, but mainly because it’s part of the franchise.

Last time Meicoomon went on a rampage and the Digidestined were unsure as to what to do. Fortunately the Digimon runs out of there and the heroes are run out of the Digital World shortly after. Now that they’re back in the human world they know that they need to get back to the Digital World to end this once and for all. Until then though they have to try to reconnect as a team and remind Meiko that she is one of them now. Can their bonds be forged anew or is it too late for the team?

As I mentioned, this film is really mostly about the dialogue. That’s not a problem as this is true for most of the Tri films. I think what works against this film more than with the others is that a good amount of the dialogue isn’t all that interesting. Ironically the worst scenes are typically the ones with the Digidestined as they all try to cheer up Meiko. She spends a great deal of the film crying and feeling sorry for herself. She ultimately comes up with the wrong decision as well as she tells the group to destroy Meicoomon. So much for being friends forever right? Meicoomon is going off the deep end, but even so she needs to hope until the end.

Then we have Tai still being scared and afraid to fight. I’m ready for him to finally get past that. By the end of the film he’s maybe changed, but we won’t really know since the next film will have them back in the Digital World and he doesn’t care about the collateral damage there. At least he did agree that they won’t destroy Meicoomon so that’s a start. Matt is still the main voice of reason here and he should be the leader. Meanwhile Kairi gets a bit of a bigger role as Homeostasis uses her as a vessel to talk to the heroes. It is one of the main factions in the film and finally steps in here. I’ve been waiting for it to show up so that was pretty neat. It has a good voice for sure.

The best part of the film is naturally when all of the factions finally meet up in the end. You’ve got Omnimon from the Digidestined side, Alphamon from back in film 1, Jesmon, and Meicoomon. Alphamon had a great fight in the first film so it’s definitely great to have him return. Jesmon’s been in the background throughout all of the films as well so him stepping in was definitely appreciated. Then Meicoomon’s been getting stronger as well so it makes for a very satisfying final fight. It is a little sad that the other DigiDestined can’t even really contribute at this point, but only super mega Digimon can really do anything at this point. It’s definitely a great way to start wrapping up the film since you always want to have at least one big fight in the film.

This war of factions is also the most interesting part of the film. The King of the Digital World is at odds with Homeostasis and then you’ve also got Meicoomon. This is the part that I want the series to focus on. It’s also interesting that nobody’s really worried about the 02 cast yet. I’m wondering if they’ll appear in the next film or if they’re just doomed at this point. It would be sort of funny in a way if they just don’t appear or even get referenced in the next one. It’s a bit dark, but really shows how the fandom just moved past them. The Adventure 01 cast is what everyone wants.

We’ve also still got the subplot of the government lady who lost her partner a while back. I feel like her plot may have ended here although it’s a bit ambiguous so she could still return in the next one. She definitely really cracked on the way to trying to see her old Digimon again though. At least she packed a gun. It’s a pretty interesting scene that is a bit tragic, but at the same time it’ll likely bring her to the reunion she was hoping for.

With kids still being missing from across the planet I’m waiting for the news to hit the public. By this point I’d expect the armies to start mobilizing and for the armies to step in. That’d make for a pretty cool development although that may end up being too many plots to have juggling around. Right now it’s all been left to the task force but with Digimon appearing all around the world it can only be so contained. It looks like the next film will be in the Digital World so either we’ll have a subplot with that or when the heroes take out the threat at the source it’ll knock the rest out.

The animation is pretty consistent with the last ones. The fight scenes definitely look really good. The rest of the aspects of this animation aren’t quite as solid as it’s all just very washed out, but it’s good enough overall. I also think the soundtrack is fine. The best theme from the first few films doesn’t return here unfortunately, but we’ve still got enough energy to go through the action moments. Hopefully in the final film we get to see the Dub Evolution theme as a nice tribute or something like that.

Overall, Coexistence does suffer a bit from the series fatigue here. It’s the second last film so the writers are saving all of the big events for the next title. As a result this one is really biding for time compared to the last few. I’d consider this the weakest of the Tri series, but overall it’s still a good film. Parts of it may drag a bit (Meiko breaking out her southern accent and then dropping it again) or even come close to being boring, but the final fight does help to raise the film back up and I do think the final part should give a more satisfying conclusion. Hopefully we get a longer fight in the final battle as there should be a lot of action. Quite a few villains/factions are still on the loose so I’m expecting them all to pull out everything they’ve got left. After all, they won’t get a second chance to do so.

Overall 6/10

Yu Yu Hakusho Review


It’s time to look at an incredibly well known anime in the form of Yu Yu Hakusho. This anime is one of the all time greats and after watching it I can confirm that the dub is top 5. Purely in terms of script it may be the best one yet. The anime really nails Yusuke’s character and makes him even greater than he was in the manga. (Where he was already pretty great) The show is definitely a very complete one and certainly an anime that you should find the time to watch. It’s fairly long, but that’s a good thing.

The basic premise is that Yusuke is a delinquent. He doesn’t like going to school and the teachers don’t like him. One day, he dies when saving a kid from a passing car. Yusuke’s soul did not pass on though and he was chosen as a spirit detective. Eventually he gets his body back, but the detective gig is still going on. Yusuke must now live a dual life as he fights off demons and would be conquerors while still dealing with school. Although, the first half takes up most of the anime as he rarely ever seems to be in the human world during the show. From the Dark Tournament to the big Demon Tournament, there’s a lot of epic action in this show.

Right away you’ll notice how great the script is. There’s enough memorable quotes to make long video compilations of them. Yusuke has dozens of amazing burns and zingers throughout. You know he’s gonna say something cool whenever he talks. I think part of what makes him so great is how he really isn’t afraid of anything. Even when he’s tied up he’ll talk about how the villain’s boring him. His humor can range from defiant to even edgy, but he’s always got something to say about everything. I’ve never seen such an amazing script before. He can pull off pretty much every emotion as Yusuke goes through a lot of sad moments mixed in with the rage and defiant ones. He also gets a lot of great character development throughout the series. It’s hard to believe he’s the same kid who began the series as a normal boxer and eventually goes on to Goku levels of strength. It’s pretty uncanny. I think Yusuke seems a little more merciful in the anime version than in the manga as I seem to remember him being quicker to try and axe the doctor there, but it’s been a while since I read it.

The animation is definitely really sharp. It only gets better and better as the series goes on. It has that distinct 90’s-early 2000s look about it. The colors are sharp and you can feel the power behind the hits in the fight scenes. The series also has fun using some experimental animation from time to time like Yusuke’s fight against the doctor or some of Hiei’s shadow dragon techniques. It’s nice that the series is confident enough to try these things out. Nowadays you don’t really see that very much. I mean, the experimental stuff usually doesn’t quite hold its own to the normal animation so it’s not a bad thing if they skip that altogether, but I don’t mind the attempts especially if they’re infrequent.

We also have to mention the soundtrack as that one is an easy 5/5. There are a lot of incredibly tense themes throughout the series. Pretty much all the top ones are in the Dark Tournament arc. I don’t know the exact names, but the anticipation theme from when the battles are about to start is always good or the feeling of unease theme when the villain powers up. The Sensui arc also had some solid tunes like Sensui’s theme as well. The final arc wasn’t quite as solid with the new themes, but by that point the series already had a huge selection so it’s not like it needed more.

Naturally a show that is over 100 episodes will likely hit some pitfalls along the way. There is some animal violence in the show via flashbacks as we learn someone’s sob story. There are also bits of the story that are pretty dark with torture and stuff. Almost surprisingly the series manages to avoid fanservice although in trying to make Yusuke a big delinquent we do get some dicey moments with him and Keiko. Even though they’re friends it can be a bit iffy. Still, 90% of the time the show avoids these things and it’s long enough where the positives manage to overpower these negatives. That’s a luxury that a shorter show would not have had.

After all, the show is not lacking in positives. Top notch dialogue and fights for over 100 episodes will do that to you. The show also has an incredible main cast and a lot of solid supporting characters. I already talked about Yusuke, but now lets take a look at the rest of his crew. First you’ve got Yusuke’s best friend Kuwabara. He starts out as a fellow delinquent, but gradually begins to hit the books more. Throughout the series a running theme is that he is trying his best to put down the fists and pick up some knowledge. At the same time he’ll never back down from a fight though and has a strong honor code. It’s pretty rough for him since he’s still just a human though and can’t quite keep up once the enemies start getting really high tier. He even missed out on the entire final arc as a result. He’s a fun character although from the main 4 he is certainly the weakest one both in strength and character.

Next up is Kurama, the brains of the group. He’s always thinking up a plan of action for the others, but can also fight quite well when necessary. He’s quite possibly the best executed brainiac type character. He’s not one of those smart characters who lacks common sense or is terrible at fighting. Part of being a top strategist is knowing how to defeat an opponent. He’s also got human ties which end up giving him a ton of character development. An opponent may get the upper hand against him temporarily, but this never lasts. Kurama always wins the end game.

Then we have Hiei, the best character in the show aside from Yusuke. He starts out as a villain very briefly, but then plays more of a Vegeta type role for the rest of the series. He’s probably one of the only characters who got a power boost from being good rather than evil. As a villain he was very weak, partially because the author likely hadn’t thought of what to do with him at the end. By the end of the series he is able to trade blows with all of the big shots. Hiei’s confidence always makes him a winner and makes for a lot of hype scenes. As I said, the core characters are very solid here.

Moving on to other big characters, we have Yusuke’s mentor Genkai. She’s far better than the average Shonen mentors like Jiraiya and Roshi. She actually knows how to fight and teaches Yusuke a lot of important life lessons. While she is old, Genkai is still able to fight with the stronger characters in the series. Keiko is the main heroine. She’s pretty solid although it would have been cool if she could have learned how to fight by the end of the series. She always protects Yusuke’s spirit animal though and never lets the villains get her into a hostage situation. She can take care of herself pretty well.

Botan is the more charismatic heroine though. Her accent is handled well and she does like trolling Yusuke quite a bit. She’s mainly here to drop off information from Spirit World or give the heroes a push in the right direction when they need it. Koenma is her boss, but he spends a lot of time panicking. He doesn’t actually intervene in the action until near the end of the series. He’s not really much of a fighter but his pacifier makes for a very powerful tool. It’s actually a very satisfying reason as to why he still uses one even though he’s grown up. I was blown away at this revelation.

Yukina is an ice princess who appears early on in the series and sticks around as a supporting character. While most of the characters know that she is Hiei’s sister early on that plot runs all the way through to the end as they keep it a secret from her. She’s not quite as outgoing as the other characters, but always presents herself in a very dignified manner. Rinku’s a yoyo user who’s definitely very confident. He’s not one of the more powerful characters in the series, but I suppose just making it into the Dark Tournament is enough to say you’ve earned the right to be confident. He’s not my favorite villain, but he’s not bad I suppose.

Chu is one of Rinku’s teammates and he is certainly a lot tougher. He definitely makes for good fight scenes although his character starts to go down towards the end of the series. Toya is a fierce ice ninja who’s definitely cool. There isn’t a whole lot to say about him but when the chips are down he is ready to help Yusuke. Jin is another ninja and he just loves a good fight. His accent is so strong that you might have a difficult time understanding anything he is saying, but that’s part of the fun with the character. He’s definitely eager and one of the more memorable characters from the tournament.

Then we have Younger Toguro who is certainly one of the most important characters in the series. He’s extremely powerful and serves as an impressive roadblock for Yusuke. He has a pretty solid backstory and his motivations for fighting aren’t bad either. Toguro is the kind of villain who does have an honor system while battling. I definitely think he wouldn’t have lasted long in demon world, but I think a part of him knew that from the start. He got greedy for power and paid the price, but it’s easy to see why he is one of the most popular villains. He certainly is cool.

Elder Toguro isn’t quite as solid. He’s definitely more of a trickster and is willing to achieve victory at any price. Definitely not a villain you want to turn your back to. You can’t deny that the guy is persistent though. With his regeneration and quick attacks he is one of the most deadly villains in the entire series. Not my kind of villain but he makes for good fights. Then we have Karasu who is certainly quick and manages to stay competitive in his fight even when up against Yoko Kurama. He’s slightly less engaging than the other members of Team Toguro but another big hit overall. Then we have Bui who has a really cool design with the armor. His weapon is comically large to the point where it seems impractical but that speaks to how strong he is. His fight with Hiei is definitely a lot of fun and we get a lot of DBZ visuals as well as abstract moments. He doesn’t talk much until the very end. Then we have Sakyo, who is the guy who orchestrated the events of the tournament behind the scenes. His backstory is definitely iffy and so he would have been a dicey villain had he not changed. Fortunately in the present he’s much better. He’s a tactician and not a fighter, but has the courage to stand next to villains who could wipe him out in an instant. Sakyo is ambitious and makes for a very interesting antagonist. He does give up a bit easy in the end, but definitely adds to the atmosphere.

Then we get to Sensui who is definitely an iconic villain. He’s basically insane and has a lot of split personalities. Sensui simply couldn’t deal with the pressures of being a spirit detective and so he became a citizen of evil. Still, he didn’t lose his tactical mind and what makes him such a dangerous villain is that he has super strength as well as a sharp intellect. He continues to get stronger and stronger throughout the arc and is definitely a villain that you’ll miss once he’s gone. He’s definitely one of the greats. He has a band of minions who all get a bit of a role. The smallest role likely belongs to Gourmet though. That guy just got too overconfident for his own good. He’s not nearly as dangerous as the other members of the group since his “Territory” abilities just aren’t too potent.

Itsuki is probably the only member of Sensui’s team who isn’t an underling. Without him Sensui’s plan wouldn’t have a chance and the ex detective knows this. Itsuki does a good job of maintaining the portal as well as buying time for Sensui. He’s not the most interesting villain, but he’s good at what he does. Minoru is a crazed doctor who worked as part of Sensui’s group. He’s probably the most psychotic as he doesn’t even care about the plan so long as he gets to murder people. There was definitely no reasoning with him. His episodes were fun though with the hospital being a very unique locale. You rarely see it being used for fights.

Kaname is definitely good with a weapon and gave Yusuke a lot of trouble during their fight. His ability is probably the most deadly in a typical situation since he has a ton of range. It’s hard to get close to him and he can shoot you at any time. If he fought almost anyone but Yusuke he might have won since even here it ultimately took a third party to stop him. Mitarai gets the most development from the group, but he also whines a whole lot so it’s a mixed bag. The guy ultimately sees the light, but I never became a big fan of the guy. He doesn’t really add much to the table. Then we have Amanuma who is a lot younger than the other characters and as a result it’s easy for Sensui to manipulate him. His end is actually one of the most tragic in the series. The kid was messing with forces beyond his comprehension.

Yomi is one of the 3 Kings and probably the one who gets the most screen time of the 3. He’s another master strategist as this series kept on its path to Hunter X Hunter levels of conflict. Like Sensui he is also ultra powerful though so don’t think that relying on his intellect is his only option. The voice they chose for him in the dub is perfect and he certainly commands the room whenever he appears. He’s always a few steps ahead of the other characters and seems to be ready for any angle. He only loses his cool once or twice during the series. I liked him a lot more in the anime than in the manga, maybe it’s just how the directing was or how they took the arc’s direction. Either way he was quite solid and so the series continued the trend of having great main villains for each arc.

Mukuro is another one of the Kings, although she is a little less impressive than Yomi. I think her character arc feels like it never had much of a final destination at times. By the time we get her origin story it’s pretty late in the game. Still, she’s a solid villain as well and we do get to see her fight quite a bit by the end. Then we have Raizen who lived and died by his ethics. At least he stayed strong so I’ll give him some props there. Still, I feel like he didn’t really handle any of his situations too well and ultimately came close to dooming his people. I never really became a fan of his in the end. There are quite a few other characters who show up in the final arc like Raizen’s friends and the lieutenants of each faction. The only one to get a really big role was Shigure I’d say. He definitely had a big part in Hiei’s origin story and made for an interesting wild card. The monks on Yusuke’s team were also interesting even if they did keep subtly saying that they were weaker than the other factions by a lot even once the tournament had started.

Naturally there are a bunch of other characters but if you want to see them all then check out the show. There’s not a whole lot to say about the pre arc adventures, but pretty much every story part of Yu Yu Hakusho is interesting and a lot of fun. Again, it comes down to the fact that this show was firing on all cylinders in every area. Each arc is also pretty different. The Dark Tournament is awesome because of the constant fights. It embraces its shonen nature and adds in a lot of danger and suspense constantly. The way the rounds are handled is also a lot of fun as you never know exactly how the next fight is going to be structured. This also makes things difficult on the heroes since they don’t know what to expect either. There’s a lot of backstabbing going on here as well.

Then you have the Sensui arc which is a big tonal shift in the series. We get a lot of new themes that fit in with this. It started out on an awesome note as well with Yusuke being kidnapped. It’s handled in a way that really makes you anticipate the next episode. Whether you watch the show weekly or binge it, you’ll be at the edge of your seat. Yusuke’s first encounter with Sensui in the city is also epic. This arc had the highest stakes and the most tension in the series. You really never knew what to expect and while Dark Tournament is certainly still my favorite arc, this one’s also dynamite.

In comparison the final arc is a little weaker, but it’s still pretty excellent. I think I enjoyed the build up and first half more than the tournament ironically. There were just so many players and plot threads moving early on that it was a lot of fun. In a sense it all climaxed when Yusuke went to Yomi’s base to discuss things. There were a lot of ways that could have gone. The tournament was fun and all, but I did like the idea of a 3 way war for the demon world. I think that would have made for a more enjoyable arc, but it probably would have been super long as well so it makes sense that the show shifted gears. The tournament was still a lot of fun anyway even if for the first time there were no real stakes here.

Overall, Yu Yu Hakusho is definitely one of the best anime out there. I highly recommend checking it out ASAP. The show is pretty great from the start, but it enters elite status once the Dark Tournament begins. That’s when the series really hits its groove. From there on the rest of the series continues to operate on that high level and never looks back. Even the transitions from arc to arc are incredibly smooth with new villains showing up and a lot of great fights. As the series is ending there are fights right up until the end. Whether we ever get a sequel or not, the series is definitely very complete. There’s so much to talk about in this series but at the end of the day you’ve really got to experience it yourself to see what all the fuss is about.

Overall 9/10

Hunter X Hunter Phantom Rouge Review


It’s time to look at the first big Hunter X Hunter film. From the poster and the name you’d expect it to be all about Kurapika, but instead he shares it 50/50 with Killua. That works for me since Killua’s always pretty hype even if this might not be his best appearance. It’s a pretty solid movie that delivers a fun plot and some good action scenes. It’s a good all around title.

The film opens with a quick recap of what Hunter X Hunter is and then a Killua flashback. In the present Kurapika meets a kid he used to know from his clan. The problem is that his whole clan was murdered so how can the kid still be here? The answer is pretty clear, he can’t be. The kid steals Kurapika’s eyes and then escapes. Gon and Killua are quickly called in to find the kid and recover the eyes. The problem is that they can’t really fight so how can they get the eyes back without engaging the enemy? They’re going to have to count on the kindness of strangers/enemies this time.

I do think the opening scene with Illumi was pretty unnecessary. We know that Killua had a tough childhood and was probably put on many assassination missions like the one we saw here. Still, I don’t think we needed to see those kids die like that. It’s a dark element that could have been cut out or implied a little more than shown and that would have gotten the message across. It does show a little more into how brutal this world is though, nobody’s going to be around to save you if you can’t fight. That’s part of why being a hunter is so appealing in this series.

As for the main plot, it’s pretty interesting. HXH always has a good story to tell. I think you’ll likely get where the film is going with the mysterious kid from Kurapika’s clan from the start though. The film isn’t too subtle about it, especially as we are introduced to a new character named Retsu who controls puppets. Puppets you say? Hmmmmmm. They look pretty life like too. Retsu isn’t bad I suppose, but there’s not a whole lot to her character. There is a twist where you find out that the character is a girl, but if her disguise was meant to make you think otherwise then I can’t really say that it worked. Still, she means well I suppose even if the way her character arc ends doesn’t feel like it needed to have been played out that way. She didn’t plan things out too well.

A big part of the film is how Killua is intimidated by this new character since she became friends with Gon so fast. It’s pretty out of character and is really only here to create conflict. I think Killua working through the fear Illumi put into him was handled better as he resisted his urge to escape when Uvogin showed up. He did fight with Gon for as long as possible and did a good job there. It’s just a shame that he isn’t particularly strong at this point in the series. You’ll notice that throughout the movie they are unable to fight back against any of the villains. As a result they do a lot of running, but after a while you may get a little annoyed at that. Fortunately this shouldn’t be an issue in the next film. Although they are still fairly outmatched by most of the big villains in the current manga, they have closed the gap to the point where they can at least try to fight now.

Gon looks pretty good here. He may be a bit trusting as always prior to the Chimera Ant arc but that’s how you’d expect him to be. It’s not like he ever tries to ditch Killua or anything that would hurt him like that. He does a good job of just trying to be there for everyone. Meanwhile, while Kurapika is sidelined until the climax he does get to look pretty good there. His Emperor Time ability is definitely very handy. Since he can only use it against a spider we don’t get to see him use this ability much so it was nice that he got a reason to use it here since the villain was an old spider.

Speaking of the old villain, Omokage isn’t all that great. The guy definitely didn’t take being booted off the Spiders too well. There are some twists and all so it isn’t that straight forward but he’s not exactly the “calm and collected” type of villain. He’s more the panic type and it shows. He can still fight to an extent, but take away his puppets and it’s game over. I’d take just about any of the real spiders against him. Still, his powers are perfect for a movie like this one since he can bring back all of the old characters. It was nice to see them show up.

Meanwhile, the animation is pretty solid as always. I’d say that the movie feels like a 2 part episode or like some kind of special. The animation isn’t necessarily any better than the show which gives it that feel. As the show already operates at a high level that isn’t really a problem. Based on the looks of the second film that will change though as it gets kicked into the next gear. The soundtrack is solid. The show always had cool themes. It was also pretty neat to hear the ending song during the climax. You usually hear it only for a few seconds, but this time we get to finally hear the whole song.

Overall, Phantom Rouge is a solid action film. It pretty much checks off all the boxes for what you would expect in a classic Shonen Jump film. It has good fight scenes and you get to see all of your favorite characters. While it isn’t quite as off the rails hype as the more recent Shonen films like Resurrection F, the SAO film, or Boruto, there aren’t any real problems with the film. Barring the intro scene which still wasn’t that bad, I can’t think of any negatives for the film. The heroes being unable to fight is frustrating but not really a negative. It was also cool seeing the Spiders fight a bit since that’s so rare. If the manga keeps on going on hiatus eventually we may just need a big movie to wrap things up and I think that could end up working just fine.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon The Power of Us Review


It’s time to look at the latest Pokemon film. This one is the follow up to the last adventure which was a reboot of the series. That one was the worst Pokemon film to date though which limited my excitement for this one. Furthering that was the fact that the promotion for this film was about how it would be an ensemble cast this time so it wouldn’t just be Ash stealing the show. That’s definitely not what I was hoping to hear at this point. It is unfortunately another weak Pokemon installment, but still an improvement over the last one. Put it this way, as a film it is decently good, it’s just not up to the usual Pokemon standard.

The film revolves around a few characters as I mentioned. One of the main ones is a girl named Risa. She doesn’t have any Pokemon, but is asked to catch one by her sickly brother. Heroically Risa decides to go catch one, but she gets bad advice from the local liar Callahan which causes her to waste a lot of time. Fortunately she runs into Ash who just finished saving a little girl named Margo. Ash shows her how to catch the Pokemon, but now they have bigger problems. The flame lighting the village has disappeared and without it Lugia won’t know to show up and save the village with another year of wind. Ash and friends must unite to fix this situation but can they do it?

Right away you’ll feel a little bad for the village here since it must be rough living on the edge like this every year. If Lugia doesn’t show up even once then it seems like everyone in the village will die. That just doesn’t seem like the most enjoyable living situation. You’d think Lugia could improve the town a bit or maybe give them wind for multiple years at a time. It’s also been so many years that you’d think he could find the village from memory. Ah well, either way Ash and the others have got this.

The film goes out of its way to show you how mean the villagers are early on though. For example, we have the bullies who try beating up Margo. They would have seriously attacked her if Ash hadn’t stepped in which is pretty crazy. Then you have the old lady who doesn’t like Pokemon and is constantly trying to shoo them away. She has a backstory which explains this of course, but it doesn’t help her current disposition all that much. The backstory was also a little too dark. No reason a Pokemon had to die there. It’s like the film is trying to bump off a Pokemon in each of the new films. As we are only two installments into the series it is hard to tell so far though. We’ll know more as the series goes on. Needless to say, the old lady wasn’t all that good.

Then we have Callahan. His whole gimmick is that he’s always lying which is pretty dicey. A lot of fun characters have been invented this way of course, but to effectively pull off this cliche the character has to be quick on his/her feet. Look at Hercule or King. Both characters work so well because they do a good job of hiding their lies. This guy doesn’t even try. Part of the reason for this of course is that we need to wrap up the plot before the end of the movie so it has to go wrong almost immediately as opposed to dragging it out for the entire series. Ultimately Callahan does end up getting past his lying ways, but he sure put a lot of people in danger in the meantime.

Then we have the scientist. His problem is that the film makes him way too timid. Not only does he have a hard time speaking in public, he can’t even talk to an old lady without shaking in fear and crumpling to the ground. The former is realistic while the latter is just trying too hard to be funny. Even during his big speech at the end where he finally mans up the character ends up getting scared. That’s not how you finish a character arc. That just cements the fact that the character’s arc didn’t have a good ending. He finished as he started. The worst part for him was when he put in the wrong tape during the presentation though. At the very least he should be good with the technology. That should be the one area where he is confident and knows what to do even if he panics for the rest. Otherwise he really doesn’t have any business being one of the professionals.

So those supporting characters didn’t work so well. Lets talk about the ones that were good. I did like Risa. She did a good job of helping out and taking charge when necessary. She got past her leg injury to help in the climax as well. Even after being tricked by Callahan she was nice enough not to rat him out. Then we’ve got the new Pokemon Zeraora. He’s a pretty cool electric type. He reminds me a bit of Manectric. This guy is pretty strong and fast. It is a bit dicey with how he just starts trying to fight Ash and co. at the end though. I feel like the situation should have been pretty obvious to him by that point. Nearly destroying a bunch of innocent Pokemon in the process would have been quite a blow s well.

He does give us a great fight scene/2 where he shows off his speed. Speed is very important for a fighter and Zeraora uses it quite well. It’s a shame that he is weakened for most of the film though so we can’t see his upper limits. I’d say that he seems to be a match for the Pesudo legendaries but based on this he probably wouldn’t beat the main ones. Still, I like the design and I look forward to seeing him in Pokemon Go at some point.

Ash looks great here. This is easily one of his best appearances to date. His opening scene has him catch a projectile that almost hit a kid. He then stops some poachers from getting another Pokemon. While this version of Ash may be early on his journey he carries himself as a seasoned veteran. Truly this is the Ash that you want to see in a film like this. He’s basically perfect and this is one of his best appearances to date. He steals any scene that he is in. You also get the feeling that there are very few who can beat him in a Pokemon battle in this universe.

The animation looks pretty good. It’s much better than the art direction we got for Sun and Moon, but not nearly as good as Kalos so it’s somewhere in the middle there. It seems to be trying to look more mainstream if I had to try and put the look into words. It does excel when the fight scenes start though. The battles with Zeraora are quite excellent. That’s why it’s a shame that we don’t get much action in this film. There are only a few quick skirmishes. The rest of the film is more about the dialogue which is fine, but the characters aren’t quite interesting enough to make that as exciting as a good fight. The soundtrack is also not that inspired for the most part. We get a good song or two, but most of the ost is a bit flat.

There’s also one scene where everyone looks bad. It’s borderline a plot hole. After Ash stops the poachers they decide to run and the mayor says to just let them get away. Why? These guys are breaking the law and if you let them gt away they’ll hunt more and more Pokemon. I didn’t agree with the decision at all. The worst part is that the poachers do not appear again so they really did get off without any repercussions. It just wasn’t a well written scene at all.

Overall, The Power of Us is an ambitious concept but one that did not work. I think if you want to do a big ensemble cast like this then they have to all be new characters. Don’t have Ash in it at all. Make it a very unique Pokemon spinoff that takes place as its own thing. Alternately, they should all be characters we are familiar with like Misty and Dawn. You can’t mix and match like this because then the new characters just seem like they are stealing away Ash’s screen time and that’s one thing that you don’t want to see happen. All in all, I’d still recommend this film but only if you’ve already seen the others. If not, I’d suggest checking out the original movie or Destiny Deoxys instead. Those really help define what a Pokemon movie should be.

Overall 6/10

My Hero Academia Season 3 Review


It’s time to look at the third season of My Hero Academy. This is the best one yet and finally adapts my favorite arc of the series, the Bakugou rescue arc. Now granted, I consider this arc to start when the villains arrive in the forest and that it doesn’t conclude until after the All Might vs One For All fight. That may not officially be the case as it’s possible that these are actually 3 different arcs. If that is the case…well, it’s still my favorite chunk at any rate.

This season pretty much starts with that plot right off the bat. The heroes have gone to a secluded mountain to train since the villains keep infiltrating the school. The problem is that there still seems to be a mole within the school so this tactic doesn’t fare any better than the last one. The villains have arrived once again and aim to injure as many of the students as possible in order to further weaken trust in the heroes. Can Deku and the others stop these guys despite the professional heroes getting in their way at every turn?

It’s a great arc because there’s a lot of action right from the start and it never stops. Even though Deku and a few other select students have fought with real villains before, most of the class still isn’t ready for this. There are those who can fight and those who have to flee. It’s pretty tense all around and as expected Deku steps up to the plate. His fight with Muscular is quite epic and certainly one of the better fights. It does ultimately end up getting beat out by the All Might fight, but it certainly won’t be forgotten. It’s also always fun to see larger scale free for all fights as there are a bunch of villains and heroes in the area so it’s always hard to tell what’s going to happen next.

This also leads to one of Bakugou’s best scenes as he refuses to be tainted by the villains and prepares to fight them all off. The series has managed to completely avoid the trope of the rival turning evil and I’m glad to see him staying strong. That classic trope can be used really well and has been in many occasions but sometimes it’s nice to see the tough rival stay heroic throughout it all. While he didn’t stand much of a chance, Bakugou certainly wasn’t doing half bad for himself. His powers are pretty well equipped for a group fight, I like to think that he would have done some damage before going down.

Finally that leads to the big climax where we finally get to see All Might take on One For All. It’s definitely a battle that lived up to the hype. We’ve been waiting to see this match up since season 1 after all. All Might is as strong as a person can get and One For All has as many powers as he could find. It’s the ole quality vs quantity debate and as always the latter does tend to look quite impressive. I think it’s a case by case basis but I’m inclined to go for the latter at times myself. Still, it’s a very even match up.

I guess that leads to the only tough part for the season which is the fact that you really can’t top that. The fight almost should have been the final part of the season. Instead we get the start of the next arc right after it. The students are back to training and now they are going to meet some of the senior students. I’ll give the author some credit here, no matter how big the arc, he always brings the students back to the training grounds right afterwards. Even if it may seem a little anticlimactic, it’s consistent. It’s also not as if it gets boring or anything, you may just have a tough time taking the school seriously after a while. The series still tries to paint the other students as also being on roughly the same level and all, but you can’t help but feel that Deku and the rest of the strike squad have completely left them in the dust. Nothing beats real life experience after all.

The animation is basically the same as the last season. It’s very polished and all of the colors are very vibrant. It really looks like a new anime and I don’t think the animators took any shortcuts. It all feels like it’s at the level where the series should be right now. It’s actually fun to take a look at season 1 and you’ll see how the animation has really improved. It’s not something that you’ll notice week to week but it’s more noticeable if you look at it from such a big time gap. There are also a few new themes here including one that plays for the big All Might fight. It’s definitely a great track and continues the series on a high note there as well. None of the openings are quite able to beat the first one as of yet with the music, but the final opening of the season probably has the best visuals yet. With the next season bringing a lot of fights with it I’m also expecting a lot of fun visuals there as well.

Most of the characters are unchanged so I’ll mainly talk about the ones who had a big role here for better or worse. While most characters look pretty good here, I’m afraid that Ida was not one of them. In the last season he had his big run in with Stain which unfortunately gave him the wrong lesson. He now believes that the law is absolute and he has to obey it without question. While this is portrayed as being the right attitude for the most part I disagree with it as much now as I did back in the manga. It’s the same issue as in the movie. Ida is willing to let people’s lives be in danger as long as the rules are followed. As the students are now technically allowed to engage villains even in self defense, he believes they should stay at the hospital while the pros try to rescue Bakugou. It just shows where the limits of his friendship are and the others should definitely remember that. He spends the whole arc grumbling and holding everyone back. So, this is where I stopped liking Ida completely and he never managed to make it back. His character appears to be irrevocably ruined.

Meanwhile Deku is at his best here. He refuses to simply wait and quickly decides to go along with the others to save Bakugou. For something like this you can’t just wait and I’m glad that he went with the others. Deciding to go definitely helps show me which characters to root for in the future. It also certainly was good that the heroes went as things would have likely gotten very messy without them. Deku and Bakugou certainly stole the show in this arc. Meanwhile other characters like Kirishima and Todoroki continue to look good. They’re both around to help as needed and continue to keep up with the others in terms of ability. Others are doomed from the start with their quirks and will need to try and find a way around them.

This is also All for One’s big debut for the most part as he finally gets a role. He’s definitely a fun villain to have. He doesn’t waste much time trying to get the audience to sympathize with him. He just wants to throw the world into chaos and is going to do whatever he can for that purpose. He’s the complete opposite of All Might’s symbol of hope for the heroes. He sparks confidence in the villains. While he will likely be on the sidelines for quite a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns at some point. Unlike All Might you get the feeling that he’s still got a lot more energy in the tank and probably has some contingency plans to put himself in a good spot.

Tomura’s allies also get some more screen time here. Dabi gets to use his blue flames and he seems like one of the stronger villains. He was even able to get the jump on Eraserhead. Then we have Toga whose shape shifting abilities are incredibly useful. The split personality guy definitely seems more crazy than being a real threat, but I guess just having him around will help a bit. We also get a tease on the villain for the next arc. This gangster is just as tough as he appears and his group will be appearing quite a lot in the next season. We also can’t forget about Muscular who is pretty much everything you could want in a villain. He’s very powerful and he’s got a lot to prove. The guy has a lot of determination and while he isn’t anything more than just a villain, he perfectly achieves his role in the story. He’s a real fun villain. My favorite one in the series will finally be showing up in the next season.

Mirio also appears at the very end. He gets a lot of hype and as he is a third year student you can see how he should be very skilled. His powers are a lot of fun and he definitely outshines the other students with ease. He seems like a fun character. I’m going to restrain myself on talking about the next season for him. I should only judge him on how he appears here after all. While I can’t say that I’m hyped for the next season it makes the ending to this one that much better. It got in as much as it could without going too far and holding the season back and that’s a very good thing.

As always the writing is top notch. As I mentioned, the season ends on a much calmer note than the first half as it’s about being at the school festival with class B and trying to save civilians. It’s fun to see the guy who voiced Kirito play a role as one of the new students. It’s a shame that we won’t be seeing more of him. It also makes sense that the author would throw the heroes in some missions like this one rather than classic beat the villain type ones since class A would be way overqualified here. There’s just no way that the others could keep up. That’s why I feel bad for Deku at times though. It’s tough to be constantly holding back around everyone. He’s just almost too strong.

Of course, we do get the big rematch between Bakugou and Deku in this season which really shows off my point to its fullest extent. Bakugou is very strong and aside from Deku I think he’s probably the strongest student in their class right now. The problem for Deku is that he has to try and keep up with Bakugou’s speed and power without going too far above it and actually hurting him. I remember in the manga a lot of people thought he would accidentally cause a serious injury to Bakugou by being goaded into using too much power at once. Fortunately that didn’t happen but that’s why win or lose it is definitely tough for Deku. Once everyone else begins to catch up to his level then it’ll be easier for him to fight normally.


Overall, This was definitely an epic season of My Hero Academy. As always the series continues to be super interesting and the world around the characters is just so vast and well developed. I also don’t think this season shall be surpassed since the next arc is my least favorite of the series. I don’t doubt that the anime will do the best it can with the adaption, but when the source material is no good then there is only so much you can do. Still, once it gets past that hump then we’ll be back in business. Although, we’ve only really had one true arc since then so we’ll have to see where it goes from there. As this is season 3 I’m thinking by now you’re either watching My Hero or not. If you aren’t, I guess you could start with season 3 but it probably won’t feel quite as much fun as it would be if you start with season 1 instead. This series does have a pretty tight continuity after all. As long as the production values continue to stay at this high level I don’t see MHA’s popularity declining anytime soon.

Overall 8/10

Attack on Titan Season 3 Review


Well, it’s time to quickly talk about season 3 of Attack on Titan. The season isn’t quite over as it’s on the mid-season break but my journey with it likely is. This season finally crossed the TV-14 threshold and Toonami bumped it up to TV-MA. Now, this might not be for all episodes, possibly just one or two here and there, but it was still a pretty solid jumping off point. TV ratings have always been a little all over the place as sometimes shows just keep whatever rating they got for a while even if the individual episodes don’t deserve it. You see this frequently with many shows on Toonami. There’s less effort put into the ratings than if it were a movie as I suppose they think the fans will just keep on watching anyway. If you know that lets say one episode of Black Clover coming up will be TV-14 you might as well give the rating to all of the episodes or a good chunk of them. Sometimes they’ll update the rating other times they won’t. So for Titan it may end up sticking to TV-14 most of the time or once they go to MA they may not bother switching it back for a while. The ratings can be a bit arbitrary but either way I don’t watch any TV-MA episodes on principle. It’s a guideline that I’ve always stuck to. Anyway I doubt I’m missing much since this show was never all that good.

From the few episodes I did see the show was off to a terrible start anyway. The heroes are torturing their prisoners now to get information. Their desperation to come out on top has ultimately made them into the villains they were trying to stop. That’s a common theme within the series as the characters constantly justify their actions or throw themselves a pity party. None of them stay heroic by the end so you probably end up rooting for the ones who are less corrupt than the others. As most of the characters know what the others are doing and still do nothing, there aren’t too many innocents around. It’s a shame but the character cast certainly isn’t going to be holding you on to the hype.

This arc deals with the political struggles within the walls for the majority of the season. The government is trying to regain control while the Survey Corps are starting to wonder if they should be in charge. Then of course you’ve got the Titan shifters who have some kind of plan in mind to recapture Eren once more and of course Kenny has been hired to help get Eren for the government. With nobody to trust and everyone showing up as villains it’s a pretty sticky situation for all parties involved. If you enjoyed the Titan battles of previous seasons then you’ll be disappointed as there isn’t much fighting here. You have the huge oversized titan but that’s barely even a fight. No worries as part 2 of season 3 will bring the action back if you’ve made it that long.

The negatives are basically the same as in all of the other seasons. The violence is still wildly over the top. The series thrives on being as depressing and dark as possible with everyone not wanting to die before they finally do. The characters are constantly whining and collateral damage to the civilians is always to be expected. Whole towns will be used as bait by the “heroes.” I don’t recall as much animal violence here as in season 2 which is nice even if it’s not enough to save the series. Historia’s backstory is definitely pretty dark and it makes her decision to listen to the father seem rather terrible even from the start. Sometimes it really does seem like Eren is the only reasonable character in the series.

I will give the series props for its tight animation and soundtrack as always though. A lot of budget is clearly put into this series and it always delivers time after time. It’s just a shame since the series could do so much more with itself. Put this creative team in front of another big title like a Black Cat reboot and it would be nice to see. On a technical level you just can’t fault this series. I dare say that they increased the speed even more on the zip lining through the city scenes like when Levi tries to escape the government agents. I’m sure those scenes took a lot of work to create.

Naturally this review is a little on the shorter side since I didn’t watch much. The episodes I did see didn’t have much going on so it’s not like there is too much new content to discuss. I do have to say that seeing Eren get kidnapped is always iffy since with his titan powers I’d like to see him be more prepared for these attempts. Summon a little armor at all times or something like that. I think with enough practice he would be able to use such a skill and then he’s really be nice and overpowered. The government agents would stop messing with him at that point.

Overall, By this point you will likely know if you like Attack on Titan or not. It’s not as if the series has changed since season 1. It’s still the same characters fighting Titans even if their situations have grown more complicated. The writing style has not changed nor has the animation or the soundtrack. It’s a very familiar series that you’ll have nostalgia for as soon as you watch the first episode. Whether good or bad memories surface from this is another question entirely. I fully expect that we will get a season 4 once season 3 ends and the series isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the manga possibly ending relatively soon (2 years or so) the anime will probably have a finishing point by around season 5 but you really never know. In the meantime I’ll be content with my quality action shows like Dragon Ball Super and RWBY.

Overall 1/10