Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 2: Inferno Review


It’s time to return to the world of Saint Seiya. The first OVA was a solid start to the Hades saga. I really liked the creative use of CGI which helped to mask the lack of animation at times. It also gave the OVA a very grand feel. Well, that is gone from this special but the animation is much better so it feels like we’re back to the original show in a good way. I would say this OVA improves on the first one even considering that the amazing clash of Athena Exclamations has already passed.

The OVA starts off with with the saints making it into the heart of the Underworld. Their mission is clear, they need to take Hades down and bring Athena back to the world of the living. It won’t be easy though as the Underworld has many castles and specters at the ready to foil their every move. Seiya and Shun are the characters in one plot while Shiryu and Andromeda work with Gemini Kanon in the other. Will the divide and conquer tactic work (Not like it’s really their choice though) or will they now be picked off. Also, where is the man known as Phoenix Ikki?

Maybe part of why this OVA feels like we’re going back to the roots of the show is because we’re going through the whole “Take down each Specter at each castle” routine that each arc of the show always went through. It’s nice and nostalgic to see the characters going through the motions. The big difference here is that we actually have a Gold Saint who can hold his own this time. Kanon really does well in each of the fights and reminds me why he is one of the best Saints in the show. The guy seems more reasonable than most and gets several fights in this OVA.

Before going further, I have to say that it’s still such a cool move when the heroes start taking their opponents down while keeping their eyes closed. It’s probably more of a stylistic approach then their literally closing their eyes at key moments but the animations have always kept this detail and I appreciate it. What’s more hype than letting a villain know that you don’t even have to keep your eyes open to win a fight right?

All right, so back to the plot. Most of the episodes are focused on the Seiya and Shun plot. They make quite a lot of progress through the temples. There is a time limit though so they have to beat these specters quickly. It’s just good nostalgic fun to see them going from place to place. They also make for a good duo with Shun as a support type while Seiya is all about offense. Meanwhile Shun and Shiryu are also on the case but are having trouble defeating any of the specters. It’s a rough stretch for them but up til now they’ve never seemed to be so out of their depth so it’s kind of interesting to see them like this. Then you have Athena and Shaka moving forward with their own plan to defeat Hades which takes a while for any pay off but it’s always fun to have their cameos.

As always Seiya is a great character here. He’s always the last one to give up and keeps on fighting until he gets the edge. It takes a lot of resolve to always be getting up with the ways that the opponents disrespect his Meteor Punch all the time. It never works the first time and yet Seiya keeps at it. You also see a lot more of his personality here as he trolls the judge specter who wanted everyone to keep it down. I haven’t seen Seiya like that since the pre arc.

He has a mischievous side to him after all but rarely gets to show this given that he is in nonstop fights all of the time. This arc actually have him a little time to slow down and have fun with this which was cool. Then there is Shun who still manages to lose all of the time but at least he gives Seiya a lot of moral support. His chains also do save him on more than one occasion so this is far from Shun’s worst appearance. I wish he could get some more clear cut wins but this OVA does throw him a bone so you can expect him to contribute.

Probably for the first time Shun actually does a lot more than Shiryu and Hyoga. I almost don’t need to mention them because these two get one shotted by one of the 3 Judges and then don’t do anything for the rest of the ova. Kanon hard carries them through this arc and they would have been dead many times otherwise. At this point it feels like the gap between them and Seiya is massive. Not so much in pure cosmos but in terms of drive as Seiya gets up while these two stay down. They will have to prove themselves in the next ova.

Ikki takes a while to appear but when he does show up it is certainly worth the wait. He comes in as if he is one of the most powerful Gold Saints. That’s the kind of ability he has and Ikki can really shake the whole battlefield to its core. He even has an expanded origin story that includes Pandora. It feels a bit out of the blue but makes for one of the more suspenseful flashbacks in the series. Ikki was really tough even as a kid.

Part of why Ikki is my favorite character in the series is due to his grand entrances and this one doesn’t disappoint either. He just seems to be a few steps ahead of the other Bronze Saints at all times and knew just when to show up. The villains get lucky that he is summoned away later on or the Specters would have kept taking some heavy hits. Additionally while Ikki is the tough member of the crew and makes the tough calls, he will always put Shun above everything else. Ultimately he makes the right decisions here and it’s a great moment.

The only Saint who deals out as much damage would be Kanon who steals the show as I mentioned earlier. He talks tough to all of the Specters including the 3 powerful Judges. He overpowers their techniques and is even able to fight without his armor. As someone who was not one of the original 12 Gold Saints, Kanon has to deal with not being given the same level of respect as the others and handled it well. It never feels like he will turn to the dark side again and has instead become one of Athena’s most reliable fighters. He has really come a long way here and while he may not do much more for the rest of the series, you can be really satisfied with his role. The guy beat up a whole army of Specters like it was nothing and the judges even have to tell them to leave Kanon alone.

Dohko is still around but he really doesn’t do as much as you would expect in this special. He provides some weapons which are useful during the climax which will have to do. All of the Gold Saints get one last hurrah here before leaving things to the bronze saints. Virgo Shaka’s is the most memorable though as the guy actually did well against Hades. I liked that he didn’t entertain the idea of stabbing Athena for an instant and just went straight for Hades. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like breaking the rules so it’s a powerful moment.

Honestly this is why I still really don’t like Athena’s plan. It just seems like an awful way to waste most of her own men. Shaka would have done a lot better if Athena wasn’t getting in his way. Her plan to effectively beg for mercy is awful. What’s to stop Hades from claiming he will save the world before murdering her? By the time Athena realizes the flaw in this plan it’s too late because she’s already stabbed. From the start I had major reservations about this plan and this ova did not help matters at all. If anything it just makes every traitor gold saint and Athena look even worse. I’ll probably go more into this after the final ova since we’ll see her complete plan but it’s not looking promising.

Now as for the villains, first up we have Charon who may just be the guy that drives the boat but don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is weak because that is far from the case. He can fight really well and even gives Seiya some trouble. If not for some cheap shots I think the fight would have been over quicker but I give Charon some credit for being a little honorable. That’s more than you can say for most Specters and I thought he was really entertaining.

Then you have Rene who is mostly memorable for all the scenes with Seiya trolling him. It really was one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. The guy’s abilities are good too with how he can toss you around dimensions and use that whip of his. It ties into one of Kanon’s better scenes but without the illusion he may have even beaten Seiya and Shun. Never underestimate the powers of a good illusion.

Pandora is a memorable villain with how much hype she gets. She really does have the specters on a short leash but it seems more like a respect thing than actual power. Unlike Lost Canvass where she can really fight, here she seems to be the ultimate glass cannon. If she can hit you with the harp then she has the edge but otherwise even a normal attack from a Bronze saint can take her down. She spends a good chunk of this special looking shocked or trying to land a sneak attack.

Pandora is a nice change of pace within the villains and I like her well enough but I do think the series could have done more with her as the counterpart to Athena. She is ruthless though and has a lot more agency so that’s still an improvement. In any continuity Pandora is always better than Athena. I doubt Athena would have stabbed the suspicious package the way Pandora did. The tactic may not have worked but it was worth a shot.

A fairly minor villain was Sphinx who did have a good ability to rend the opponents unconscious. If not for Lyra being around he would have been difficult to defeat. You may not remember him for long but Sphinx was reasonable. I had more issues with Lyra in the end. The guy has a tragic backstory but you mean to tell me that he never suspected that the whole thing may not have been an accident? Basically he and his girlfriend had to leave the underworld without looking back but sure enough she did by mistake and turned into stone. This was due to a random bright light.

Naturally it was one of the villains but really Lyra? No suspicions on that? I feel like he should have realized and made a move a lot sooner. His plan was actually not that bad but ultimately it just didn’t work the way he wanted it to. As a silver saint the guy is really impressive, I dare say that he would beat some of the Gold Saints in a battle.

The final one of the normal specters is Valentine who gave Seiya a really good fight. Now granted that Seiya was super weakened and in enemy territory but I think it’s still worth mentioning. You have to have great physical stats to even do that much and you can see why Valentine is such a trusted fighter in the army.

That takes us to the big 3 Judges. Of the 3, Minos hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but his puppet techniques are really lethal. Even Gold Saints are unable to break through his strings. Aiacos has his burning techniques like the Garuda wing and then Rhadamanthys really feels like the strongest member of the 3. He’s also the best one as the guy gets real development and even a true rivalry with Kanon. I like the idea of having a big 3 among the Specters because it really builds up the hype well.

Aiacos has his own rivalry with Ikki and it was a solid fight with a lot of back and forth. Unlike most Specters these guys won’t go down to a single counter attack. As for Rhadamanthys, I liked that he just wanted a good fight and he takes great offense to Kanon saying that the Gold Saints would have wrecked him if their powers weren’t limited. It’s the whole reason he wants to fight Kanon and that’s always a great motivation for me. I was absolutely on board with this.

Finally we have Hades who is the big bad of this saga. He finally shows himself in the second half of the special. I would say it’s worth the wait but he’s not particularly memorable just yet. The guy speaks in a very grand fashion and has a divine aura that forces opponents to back off but we haven’t seen him fight yet. As a god in the series he doesn’t really need to I suppose but he better keep his guard up. I just wish Athena would look tough like this since theoretically she should be about as powerful as he is.

Hades has a great fake out involving a dream which was cool. Ultimately he may get lucky on more than one occasion but you don’t get to be King without having some good luck at times right? I look forward to seeing more of him in the next special. He may not match the 3 Judges but it’s always good to finally meet the big bad and see what his plan is. An eclipse is a fairly original way to cause death and destruction.

There are some meanwhile scenes back on Earth but I haven’t mentioned them much because they don’t really add anything. It’s nice to see that they’re still alive and all but trust me, they won’t be impacting the story in any real way. They’re mainly just here to remind you that they’re around. The best scene on Earth is really the flashbacks with Ikki and Pandora. Those scenes are almost like something out of a horror with how dark the city was that night and how creepy Pandora can be. Ikki having to deal with such painful attacks as a kid is still something else, that kid had grit!

As mentioned earlier, the animation is much better here than last time. We finally have a lot of really good hand to hand battles like the old days and good movement with the energy blasts. It feels like the TV show has come back for real and that definitely feels good. The attacks look solid and the characters’ desperation is really illustrated well. Saint Seiya is a series that really relies on characters giving each other a lot of motivation and pep talks and so you can expect them here as well. They’re handled very effectively.

As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly a lot of classic tunes so they should sound familiar. The opening though really stands out. It’s incredibly high energy and works really well. In general this ova has a lot of energy and helps excel the series. When I say that this ova is near perfect it’s because it shines in all aspects. The Hades are really was quite excellent. Part of what makes it so great is again because it isn’t purely about the Bronze Saints this time. You’ve got the Gold Saints making moves, Athena, Hades, even the Specters get their own development and character moments. It makes this feel like a really complete adventure.

Overall, This will definitely leave you hyped for the third ova to conclude the Saint Seiya saga. I’m ready to see how exciting that one will be. You should probably watch the first ova to really get what is happening here. It won’t make Athena’s decisions look any better but at least you’ll have the context. The ending to this ova is quite striking, Athena’s last scene in particular may take you by surprise. Things aren’t looking great for the heroes but as long as they keep trying there’s always a chance. This ova is just a blast.

Overall 9/10

Beyblade G-Revolution Review


When I watched V-Force, I figured that Beyblade had reached its peak. How could it possibly top that series which was so amazing? Well, somehow Beyblade pulled it off. G-Revolution is the definitive season and it’s so good that it actually entered my Top 5 anime of all time, something that hasn’t been done since Madoka Magica which has now been bumped off. My Top 5. is now 1. RWBY, 2. Yugioh GX, 3. Beyblade G-Revolution, 4. Digimon Data Squad, 5. Cardfight Vanguard. Some titles had to make way for the champ. This series has incredible replay value to the point where I’ve watched almost all of the duels a second time. If you want a show that fires you up, this is the way to go.

G-Revolution really has two main arcs. The first one takes up the majority of the series and the basic plot is that the world championships have returned yet again. Tyson and the Bladebreakers won the first two years but this time there is a bit of a shift. See, the World Championships are going to be tag-team style which means that not all of Tyson’s friends can join in like they would in the 4 man squad. No, this time there can only be one and so Tyson’s friends all bail out on him. He is now forced to team up with Daichi, a new kid around the block who thinks he’s hot stuff.

Tyson and Daichi don’t get along at all. To Tyson, Daichi is an amateur who is going to hold him back and Tyson is also really upset at his friends for just ditching him the way that they did. Meanwhile Daichi sees Tyson as a rival who doesn’t respect him and he really wants to keep on winning until Tyson sees things his way. It’s going to be a rocky road and they have to get better quickly since they are going up against the world’s best. Can Tyson prove that he has what it takes or is it true that he only won the previous years because of his friends?

This arc is completely masterful, there’s no other way to put it. It’s a huge tournament with the best of the best. Sure, it would have been fun to have had some teams from season 2 or 1 to show up, but by and large you have all of the big characters here. Since the tournament is round robin style, you also get to see each team play against each other which is a lot of fun. There are a ton of matchups to be had and of course you don’t know which team will win any given match since you can lose a set and still make it to the finals.

I always like the hype before a tournament match goes on. Seeing the characters slowly walk up to the screen and dredge up their courage is intense. Beyblade knows how to hammer in the hype as you have the announcers going crazy and a whole lot of great music. You’re definitely not likely to be disappointed here I can tell you that much. Each episode delivers with a great amount of intensity.

It helps that the character roster is so amazing. There are tons of excellent characters in the mix to the point where you’ll like almost every team. The only one I would roll my eyes at was the cheating group with the scientist but I’ll talk more about them later. Everyone else were legitimate contenders but of course only one team can win so that really ends up making things pretty tense.

As for the second arc, it’s a lot shorter but still really hype. This time we actually have a whole villain group by the name of BEGA. They intend to really change the Beyblading world and the only way to participate is to join their group. If they have their way then it will be impossible to blade in the city without joining their affiliation. You can see how that would be a big issue. Tyson and the gang have to defeat them and this time we do get a full team of fighters. It’s a 5 on 5 battle so Tyson will have to choose his fighters carefully. While the arc is really just building up to a single team battle, there is a lot of hype leading up to it.

There is a real sense of danger here since a loss will be a loss for the global community but even more important than that, they just can’t afford to lose to these guys. The new villains are mostly rather sympathetic but they all have a lot of confidence and believe they’re the best so if a hero loses he will never hear the end of it. The heroes will need new Beyblades to win and they will have to do it without the help of their old pal Kai. Still, Tyson is up for the challenge.

So the first arc wins for me in part due to how much I love a great tournament but it’s also so much larger that it’s hard to go against it. It has more hype duels by default and of course seeing Tyson go up against Kai again like the good ole days is impossible to pass up. That said, the Brooklyn vs Kai duel is in my top 3 fights of all time for the franchise. It was incredible and the arc has several other fights at that level. Kai takes a beating in the arc but it also shows how the game is so serious. It’s no longer a kids game as Hiro would say.

The animation is really solid which helps as well. You can’t really compare it to the first two seasons. Season 2 had good animation as well but the designs are a straight upgrade here and I would say the animation improved as well. You have some moments where the characters even get DBZ style auras now and some fights feel like they even have hand to hand with how the characters move with their blades.

Another big win for the series is the soundtrack. You can’t underestimate how much a good soundtrack will help take a series to the next level. Unfortunately most of the themes were never released and Youtube only has some of the episode ost but all of the lyrical songs are online. Rise Above The Storm and Swing Low are the top two with ease. All of the songs are solid though so the selection has improved a lot since season 1. These songs pump you up in the battle and the suspense themes leading up to the battles do the job too.

A top tier anime needs to be an all star in every category and that’s exactly what Beyblade achieves. The voice acting, writing, characters, animation, soundtrack, it’s all there. There’s just nothing to dislike in the series and each episode continues to add on to the previous one. Many characters get significant character arcs so nobody really ends as they started. They just keep on fighting to new heights.

Now’s a good time to talk about the characters and man are there a lot of them. So strap in because this is going to be a pretty big review. First up we have to talk about Tyson of course and he doesn’t disappoint. He’s always been a fairly head strong main character. I would say he was definitely the most hot blooded in V-Force but he certainly has a ton of moments like that here. One of his stand out moments is when he calls Ray out and refuses to fight Lee. That was crazy but set the stage as Tyson is not someone who will be disrespected without putting up a fight.

Any scene with Tyson is great. Even when he was being lifted several feet off the ground by Crusher, Tyson didn’t back off. His pure ability with a blade is second to none. It’s extremely difficult to have a masterful series without a top notch main character and fortunately Beyblade got a winner right off the gate.

Then you have his partner Daichi who is pretty fun. I’m still sad they had to cut out his subplots from the manga though. It was cool how we slowly got introduced to his character way before he ever met up with Tyson and friends. Here he just shows up out of nowhere but ultimately I still liked him. He’s definitely more crude than Tyson and friends and his confidence isn’t as well deserved but he has his moments.

I find it a bit funny how Kai seems to have nothing but disdain for him though as he falls asleep during their first match and in the second he chooses to forfeit instead of fight. I think it’s because Daichi doesn’t fit into his label of what a true Beyblader is. Daichi definitely has a heart for the game though even if it doesn’t show in the traditional sense and he even gets a good rivalry with Tala by the end.

Ray has always been one of the strongest members of the Bladebreakers and that doesn’t change here. He has incredible endurance, second only to Kai. At this point he has really mastered his blade. He seemed to be way more harsh to Tyson than anyone else when leaving the team but he definitely does take his Beyblading seriously. In a way you could consider him the secondary rival in Beyblade or just the 3rd strongest in the team. It’s always a fun spot to be in since you get a lot of hype around the board and it’s also good to have the distinction that you are the strongest aside from the MC and rival. Most series don’t have a resolute #3 like that.

He has to carry Lee in a lot of battles as well so it was tough to claw his way to the top. Still, Ray was up for the challenge and is definitely one of the best characters. Speaking of Lee, he really looks bad in this season. Almost every fight has someone overpowering him, outsmarting him, or just tricking the guy. Lee feels like a season 1 character in the worst way as his power level has not kept up. I felt bad for him after a while because it seemed like he could do nothing right. Whenever he tried to help it would just backfire.

I guess there was nobody stronger Ray could pick, but yeah Lee ended up losing almost every fight. In comparison, Max had the best teammate in Rick. You could make the case that Daichi’s a bit stronger but Rick’s very impressive from start to finish. He’s one of the meaner Beybladers and even participates in a lot of underground battles. Still, because of that he has honed his power to an incredible degree. Even Kai was not able to win in pure brawn and had to use his skill to win their fight.

Rick also has a theme song of sorts when he puts his boombox on. The guy doesn’t care that it’s loud, he just cranks up the volume and does whatever he wants. I liked his absolute confidence and I looked forward to his battle with Kai quite a lot. He’s not a team player but definitely an amaing character.

As for Max himself, he was always the nice guy of the 4. I found him to be the weakest main member of the Bladebreakers but it’s all close I suppose. He has a good match with Kai and gets a lot of good moments throughout the series. His defensive style holds him back in my eyes as attack power will almost always be the right way to go but it is undeniable that he is one of the top ranked fighters in the world. He’s a good character, Max may not stand out as much as the others like Ray, Kai, or Tyson, but he still puts in a good show.

Now lets talk about the best character in the series, Kai. This guy’s just incredible no matter how you slice it. Yeah, he always tends to betray Tyson but it’s so that he can fight him in the final round. You can’t fight your teammate after all and the only way to fight him at 100% is to have the world championships on the line. Tyson can’t hold back that way and it’s sure to be a great fight. I would make a solid case for Kai having the most natural talent among any Beyblade character.

His final fight with Brooklyn shows how he can adapt mid-fight and continue with new strategies. It’s always a lot of fun to see him battle and I’ve seen his duels many times. Kai has a cool demeanor about him and the season 3 costume was great. Kai’s just the perfect kind of rival. He’s trained to such a degree that most fights are boring to him at this point and he just wants a true challenge. He certainly puts up with a ton of punishment but it shows how much he loves the game as he gets back up each time.

Boris had a big role in season 1 so it was cool to see him return. The guy definitely lays it on rather thick with how he is a changed man and all of that. Honestly if he dialed it back just a bit his goals would actually be all right. He just had to ruin it by trying to be all controlling. If he hadn’t tried to force everyone to register and all that, I don’t think the heroes would have had a problem with him. Additionally, he actually did not cheat during the tournament which I was surprised about. Maybe to a degree he has started to change. He’s still a jerk but I wouldn’t call him evil anymore.

Garland is one of the new villains in the final arc and he was a lot of fun. The guy thinks he is destined for greatness due to his family history and his abilities are impressive. The fact that he could stalemate Kai speaks volumes. His fans should be satisfied with his showings and he gets more duels than just about anyone else in Bega. His hand to hand martial arts along with his play make him very memorable.

Same goes for Brooklyn and then some in terms of being a memorable character. He starts out as being rather aloof and bored of everything but during a duel his true sadistic self starts to appear. He really enjoys taunting Kai and then completely cracks during his battle with Tyson. This guy’s basically a super villain with how he has powers and his unnatural way of learning everything. He’s definitely one of the best villains in the series and I would put him as a high tier option in the all characters list. He’s not the kind of character you will forget.

Next up is Ming-Ming and she was a surprise hit. I ended up liking her way more than I expected. In part I’d give some credit to the dub voice as the Mini Moon voice is incredibly nostalgic but she also tended to exceed expectations. Not only did she crush just about every opponent in her way but she even won in her big tournament battle. It was hard to see that coming and she shut down all of her doubters. Ming-Ming can be a bit of a troll with how she toys with Hilary as well. Ming-Ming definitely earned her spot on the team.

Mystel gets the least to do from the main members though. For starters, he has no personal connection to the rest of the team or a sob story to fall back on. He’s just a mysterious guy who goes around playing Beyblade. In a way there’s a lot more you can explore with him. He’s certainly very talented and has a unique fighting style. He didn’t stand out to me compared to the others but was a good addition to the team.

Finally you have Crusher who is fighting in Beyblade while his sister is in the hospital with a serious condition. The stakes are higher for him than anyone else as the virtual damage seems to go to his sister. So if he falters in a match then she seems to falter in the hospital. Of course this could be dramatic timing but I can see it being linked since the spirit plays such a big role in Beyblade battles. It can give you great power like with Kai’s transformation or zap all of your strength like with Tyson.

Miguel’s team is the only one that I couldn’t find myself caring about during the tournament. It felt a lot like a similar team in season 2 who ended up cheating a bit. This guy may want to be a good Beyblader but as long as he cheats he will never be on that level which is a lesson Tyson gives him. Miguel does ultimately shape up but it takes him a long while. Maybe because it feels like an old character beat but I just never liked him much. His duel with Tyson was mainly just really fun because of all of Tyson’s trash talking and because every duel in the series is a blast. Miguel had some teammates like Mathilda and Claude but there wasn’t a lot for them to do. Claude was a tattletale who didn’t really help out so it’s not like I would become a fan of that guy either.

Their leader Barthez is effectively just a weaker version of Boris. He’s also in it for direct cheating a whole lot more. It did give Rick a good chance to shine though. At one point Barthez frames the PB All Stars which would usually throw the team into disarray but Rick couldn’t care less. He’s used to playing the villain after all and still won the fight without breaking a sweat. It was one of the earlier moments where I knew Rick was just built different. In short, Barthez makes other characters look good but I still wasn’t a fan of his.

Julia and Raul made for a much more interesting team. They are experts in tag team battles but Raul has developed an inferiority complex since Julia is always claiming victory. He feels like his skills aren’t up to par and gets a whole sub plot about it. They were a likable team and actually got more wins than I had been expecting. They’re a fun underdog team to root for and have a good sibling bond. They may fight a lot but ultimately they always stay close. It’s fitting that they would be a great tag team combo.

Their coach Romero also ends up getting a decent role as he helps Kai when he has to get used to a new Blade. The guy hadn’t done anything in Arc 1 so I thought he was just a forgotten character but he ended up doing quite a lot. I’m not a big fan or anything but my opinion of him definitely improved in Arc 2.

Kai’s partner Tala ended up looking solid as well. He’s one of the season 1 characters so I expected him to look really weak like Lee but this guy actually ended up putting in the work. He was able to contend with a lot of the big leaguers even to the end. He ended up with a tough fate that made him miss a good deal of Arc 2 but he left an impression. His ice attacks are cool and his rivalry with Daichi was fun. His other teammates Bryan and Spencer are the ones who got the shaft though. There just wasn’t a whole lot for them to do except to get wrecked by Garland.

Michael used to be the leader of the All Stars so it’s a bit weird seeing him on the bench the whole time. The dub also gave him a rather odd new voice that makes him sound a lot more whiny. Between that and him not winning a single duel in this season, it was a rough time for his fans. Emily and Eddy also don’t really do anything. I didn’t care for them much because they didn’t do anything to support Max either. It should have felt like a home team for him but that didn’t end up being the case until near the end.

Likewise, Ray’s old teammates didn’t get to do much aside from Lee. Mariah for example gets a duel here and there but that’s about it. Tao gets to appear more as he gives Ray a lot of advice but he had one of the only boring subplots in the series when he takes Tyson shopping. This guy always talks tough but never really contributes so I tend to just tune him out whenever he is on screen.

Ten you have the noncombatants like Hilary. She had a much bigger role in VForce but she is still around for moral support here. She gets along with Tyson a lot better now but they still fight on occasion. It would be nice if she could actually blade with the others so that she has a more active role in the story but at least she tries to help the team get Bey parts when Bega starts to ban everything.

Kenny definitely doesn’t look very good here as he ends up falling for Ming-Ming and just embarrassing himself the whole time. It would have been good if he could have kept some dignity but unfortunately that doesn’t happen so in Arc 2 he just looks dreadful at all times. Any scene with him is one where you will find yourself cringing in shame.

Finally, the last character to mention here is Hiro. He starts out in his Jin of the Gale form which was really cool before eventually appearing as Hiro. He is Tyson’s brother so as you can expect, he has some pretty good skills. He doesn’t actually get to duel a whole lot but he is a cool character. I really liked him as a mysterious figure who popped up out of nowhere and in that sense maybe it’s good that the anime kept him as nonexistent until this season. Whether he is a coach for Tyson’s team or the villains, he is very good at taking his squad to the next level.

He can be quite harsh on Kai though. Almost every interaction they have ends with Hiro picking on him. He even made Brooklyn fight Kai intentionally as a way to get Kai out of the picture. Hiro certainly doesn’t hold back but I would have liked to have seen him fight more. His only real full fight was when he defeated Ray so we do know that he is a championship caliber player but it also leaves you wanting more.

Surprisingly the Bit Beasts are really not a factor this time around. They were a big deal in V Force but in this show they may as well not even exist. They are only mentioned once in a while but aren’t a big deal anymore. I don’t really mind either way but it’s just odd to see them effectively written out like this.

As a final note, I was glad that Tyson and the others beating the singers who were parading around in front of BEGA. When you start a new arc you usually expect the heroes to lose in the opening round but they managed to stay strong and clutch it out. It was an excellent way to start the second arc. We got a great duel and the heroes kept their hype. It was a nice way to subvert expectations.

Overall, What else can I say? G-Revolution is absolutely amazing and an anime I highly recommend checking out ASAP. Gems like this don’t come every day so you really want to dive in when one is discovered. Beyblade has always been a franchise I was eager to start and it’s been living up to the reputation so far. It’ll be really tough for Metal or Burst to pass this one, but it’s Beyblade so anything’s possible. I’d really like a revival of the original timeline someday though. With everything getting revivals nowadays though who knows…maybe it is in the cards.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter Sanctuary Review


It’s time to take a look at the first Seiya OVA. I debated back and forth about how to style the title since there seem to be a ton of ways to put it out there, but I figured modeling it more after how the recent Transformer trilogy went down made sense. I’d keep the Hades chapter structure and then add the sub title after that. It makes for a busy title but works well enough.

The story starts with a lot of dead Saints reviving. It turns out that the time for the next Holy War has commenced. Usually it is every 250 years but for some reason it has started early. A mysterious man appears along with two Gold Saints and tells Mu that he needs to murder Athena. Mu doesn’t want to obey but this man is hard to deny. Seiya showed up to help but Mu doesn’t want any of that so he beats the hero up and sends him off. Now Mu will have to try and defeat multiple opponents on his own.

On a grander scale, the heroes have to try and protect Athena for 12 hours. If they can do that, then the danger will be passed. The issue is that this will be quite difficult since Hades is not only sending his loyal spectres but also several traitors from Athena’s own squad. Seiya and friends murdered a great deal of her followers back in the day and it looks like they want revenge. Looks like Seiya and friends will need to help out one last time. Although if the heroes continue to get in their way, Seiya may have to take them down first.

Right off the bat you can tell that although the OVA is newer than the show, the animation went downhill. For almost half of the OVA, there is virtually no animation. Characters barely move during the fights and it’s all very disjointed. I was puzzled because you’d expect everything to just look really amazing in an OVA. I mean, that’s not always the case but that’s still how you go in.

That said, I thought the director did a good job of making the most with what he had. Since the animation wasn’t up to snuff, we had some solid CGI cuts. Now, the CGI does look obvious but it’s styled as a very fancy thing. We often get CGI visuals when the characters are preparing to walk up some stairs or go to the next temple. The show cuts away to Athena’s statue numerous times as well. So while this may not be considered top tier animation or anything, the CGI is used in a way to make you feel just how grand this whole thing is. It’s like you’re stepping into a battle of the gods here.

So if we did have top tier animation it would be even better but at least this way you don’t feel bad. Also, the last few episodes actually do give us some solid cuts and fights so things do pickup. The whole OVA has a fairly sinister feeling of dread since it feels like the heroes can’t possibly win. Everyone is turning traitor and the heroes that do remain are all pretty stuck up so it’s hard to assist them even if you wanted to.

Saint Seiya has always made a big deal about honor and true friendship. Like in the original series when Hyoga is beaten near to death and Ikki doesn’t even look back to help Hyoga as he declares that he will conquer the next enemy. Hyoga then explains to the other characters that this was the correct decision since it allowed him to keep his honor. It’s not a system I agree with but they are big on pride.

Unfortunately that comes back to bite the Gold Saints a lot. Take Mu for example, he’s easily the worst character in this OVA. He has great respect for his mentor and so he must obey the guy even if it means doing something that will put Sanctuary in danger. By the time he does actually start standing up for himself, he’s already badly beaten. Beating up on Seiya was also the wrong move since the guy was here to help. Not only did it seem like Seiya was holding his own against one of the villains but he probably would have won.

By this point in the series Seiya is incredibly strong so the whole scene made no sense at all. Throughout the OVA Mu continues to make the wrong decisions. He always either sides with the villains or holds the other heroes back. It was the same thing in the original series, just not to the same effect. So any respect I had left for the character definitely vanished in this one. His crystal wall technique is still good but ultimately can’t stop the villains anymore. He needed Seiya and just didn’t want to admit it.

You can’t help but think that the arc would have been over a lot quicker if either the traitors had stayed on Athena’s side or the heroes had accepted the help of the Bronze Saints. That would have really changed a whole lot, that’s for sure. Now, there is a lot to be said that the destiny of the dead Saints is a bleak one so you can see how they would change sides, but it’s still disappointing in the end.

The soundtrack is pretty nostalgic. You’ve got some of the classic tunes from the main series as well as some new ones. The opening song is very emotional which is odd for the series. You’d expect something a lot more action packed but it does work with how this OVA is being so dramatic though. It’s a sad song I guess since everyone’s dying and there isn’t really a way to win in this Holy War. Since it’s a cycle that happens every 250 years, deep down everyone probably sees how it feels a bit futile the whole time. I prefer the classic theme song, but this one did grow on me as I heard it more.

The Bronze Saints don’t get a whole lot to do, but it’s nice to see them. Ikki in particular only gets a scene or two and yet he does steal the show in those moments. He seems to at least know a bit of what’s going on and has plans of his own. It’ll definitely be a blast to see him jump into the fray. The rest of the team eventually get to match up against Rhadymanthis. He’s not exactly an easy opponent to defeat but they still put up a good fight. This season’s more about getting them prepared for what is to come.

Seiya gets the biggest role as expected though. When the other Saints begin to give up, he’s still fighting as hard as he ever did. Nobody’s keeping him down and his Pegasus punch always gets stronger with each use. I also liked how he went to Sanctuary immediately when Athena told him to stay away. She historically has pretty bad judgement and sure enough, this was the right move. If not for being backstabbed, Seiya was really starting to cook there.

As for Athena, she does have to share in some of the blame. Mainly I said Mu did everything wrong, but she is not without fault since she also put in the order to keep the Bronze Saints out. That was just such a bad move. Did she forget how they already beat all of the Gold Saints back in Arc 1? If there is anyone you want to have by your side here, it would definitely be them. I also heavily disagreed with Athena’s final act in the OVA. It’s never good to just give him and stab yourself. I’m sure we’ll see more of her plan soon but I was definitely not impressed.

Virgo Shaka looks pretty good here. He’s always been known as one of the most powerful saints and may even be the strongest depending on where you put Gemini Saga. He has unlocked the deeper senses that most Saints struggle with and the fact that he is taking on 3 Gold Saints combined in this OVA is incredibly impressive. It’s got to be the best fight here and Shaka really shows them a thing or two. It would have been nice if he was just a second quicker on the draw but ultimately his effort was second to none. It also seems like he may not be done yet.

Tauros gets some hype as well but it’s a lot emptier to me. Lets just say that his fight involves the most delayed counter I have ever seen. Usually when someone gets sliced a minute after someone slashed I’m already calling foul. This one is several magnitudes greater than that so you already know what I’m thinking. That just doesn’t work but at least he got some dignity as a result.

Scorpio Miro gets a role here too but the guy is also doing a lot of in-fighting. One thing about the Gold Saints is they love picking on fellow heroes. Perhaps the villains just aren’t strong enough to be worth their time? Whatever the reason is, Miro spends a good amount of time beating up on someone who won’t even fight back which will make you shake your head. The guy talks tough but there was just no reason for that. Athena also isn’t able to command enough respect among her subordinates in order to put a stop to this either which is unfortunate.

Finally, we can’t forget about Aiolia. That guy is easily the best Gold Saint here. He acts quickly and without hesitation. One of the best moments in the entire OVA is when he shoves Mu out of the way and speed blitzes all 3 of the traitor saints. They couldn’t even see him coming as Aiolia just pounds them into the dirt. It was amazing and that’s the kind of response you would expect when someone just murdered one of your friends. Aiolia is a credit to the gold saints that’s for sure.

As for the villains, well Hades does not actually appear yet so don’t expect to see him. Instead, Pandora is acting as the leader of the villains. She’s also pretty tough here as just playing her harp is enough to bring one of the 3 judges to his knees. It’s hard to say how powerful this Pandora is without her weapon but at least she is confident enough to talk tough to the heroes and villains so we can assume she is fairly high up there.

Interestingly though, Hades army itself doesn’t really do a lot of the heavy lifting. The 3 traitor knights handle most of Athena’s men. It’s heavily implied that the Gold Saints would have wrecked all of the spectres with ease. Only the Judges or Celestial Stars would have been able to do much. One of them volunteers to go and fight but Pandora says it is not part of the plan.

That’s all well and good but take away the traitors and I have to say that Hades is at an absolute disadvantage. In fact, if not for Seiya and friends murdering about half of them, this could have been a landslide win for Athena’s group. So far at least, Hades army just isn’t nearly as impressive as you would expect. The only powerful member we have met thus far is Rhadymanthis who to his credit is very powerful.

He was able to take on multiple gold saints at once but granted, this was at their castle. This series hasn’t said anything yet but usually the castle heavily decreases a Gold Saint’s abilities so we can’t say for certain if he could have done that in a level playing field. Perhaps since he is so high ranked but then again, Aiolia is definitely no pushover.

As for the evil saints, Gemini Saga carries the team quite a bit. Not only is he the one with the big plans the whole time but he’s also shown to easily be the strongest. It’s not surprising since he has always been a whole lot more impressive than most. I don’t think any Saint aside from Shaka would be able to stop him. So here when the other two saints are getting rocked, Saga is always able to get up and keep fighting. He seems to have far more drive and determination than the other two, not to mention that he can see through the tricks as well. Twice, fighters try to use illusions and the other two fall for it while Saga is able to break the spell.

It’s just a shame that he’s on the wrong side. It does lead to a fun confrontation with Kanon who used to be evil as well. The sides have been reversed now with Kanon serving Athena loyally while Saga is trying to murder her. The irony in this is certainly not lost. This is Kanon’s best appearance to be sure and it’s really when I started to be a big fan of the guy. This is really a good redemption story and when you see him, it’s a pretty great reveal. That’s why he didn’t deserve to be beaten up so much by Miro.

As for Camus, he’s another one of the 3 big Saints but the guy doesn’t do a whole lot. Same with the owner of Excalibur. They’re mainly there as backup for Saga but they don’t tend to do a whole lot. I didn’t realize the gap between Gold Saints could be so large but evidently the Saints are not nearly as close in power as I would have assumed.

We also get to see Roshi finally fight in his true form as the Saint known as Dohko. He battles the previous Pope known as Shion. It’s cool to see them after checking out the Lost Canvass since they were such good friends there. Shion has certainly fallen since then in order to help the Dark Saints out. Granted, personalities tend to shift a bit with such a big franchise and it’s hard to see the old Shion acting that way, but I would have said the same for Camus and Saga. Their plan better be amazing to be worth murdering so many people everywhere.

I was never a big fan of Roshi so seeing him actually fight is cool. It at least gives him a purpose to watching the waterfall for so long even if he was not quick enough to actually warn anyone of what was coming. The entire point of his staying there was to let Athena know that something was coming so what was this guy doing? The whole task seemed a bit pointless in that respect.

This OVA includes one of my favorite moments in the franchise which is the Double Athema Exclamation. I remember reading that in the manga and thinking it was so hype when Aiolia and the other two Saints quickly assumed the pose and told the villains that they weren’t the only one capable of this kind of power. There is something about two groups using the power of a big bang against each other that just gets you hyped. I was certainly feeling good when seeing that.

Even the first use of the technique against Shaka was really hype too. It’s really an incredible attack although I don’t see why Athena banned it. Sure, it’s powerful but sometimes you need that kind of power. If it’s another honor thing…and it’s implied that it is, then it’s even less of a reason to ban the technique. You really need to use everything at your disposal whenever possible and this fight is no exception.

Now, this is less about this OVA in particular, but I think Athena should have attacked Hades before he woke up. We learn here that when a Saint dies he is thrown into the Underworld which is ruled by Hades. He can torment their souls for all eternity unless they join him in his mission. Shouldn’t Athena just dismantle the place then and either rule it or destroy the system? Even if the soul is then wiped out for good, at least it will be at peace and not forced to attack you.

The very existence of the Underworld is just a really somber thought for the Saints because it means that the only goal at the end of their eternal struggle is to be inflicted with more pain. There just isn’t a big grand prize or any reason to celebrate. I wonder if Athena has even thought of that. There may be a plot reason why this isn’t possible but I’d like to see someone mention it.

Meanwhile, another point in the OVA’s favor is that it’s just so good to see the Gold Saints actually fighting. They really didn’t get to do anything outside of fighting the heroes in the first two arcs. This is the first time we get to see them actually fighting the villains on their own. It sure took a while but ultimately it happened which is the important part. It’s definitely something to look forward to. These are the best of the best or that’s what we’re led to believe so lets see how they defend themselves.

Again, the Spectres themselves are mostly unimpressive though so I think they would go down pretty fast. You have the Beetle who doesn’t seem very tough and was getting the hands quickly. You have the guy whose back seems perpetually broken and just likes gossiping the whole time. When it comes time for a fight he goes down extremely quickly. Of course most of the really powerful ones will probably show up in the Underworld but be that as it may, the Spectres who were around were definitely no match for Sanctuary.

Overall, This was a great start to the Hades saga. I look forward to seeing the Bronze Saints get a more active role in the next one. It would also be good if the animation could take at least a bit of a step up. It should definitely keep in the selective CGI shots. I’m usually not all in for CGI but you can’t deny that it really increased the intensity and emotional moments here. It feels like a true war where there are big losses on both sides and in part that’s because we see what a grand place this is. Fighting in the temples really feels sacred. The OVA jumps you right into the action so you’ll probably want to have checked out the show first, but granted you can also leap into action and get what’s going on since it’s clear who the good guys and bad guys are. The villains are all in black/purple while the heroes are in gold. It’s tapping into classic Greek mythology like Athena vs Hades as well. Get ready for the cliffhanger though as the saga isn’t quite over yet. It’s an epic cliffhanger to end on though.

Overall 8/10

Fruits Basket Season 3 Review


Fruits Basket has finally reached its conclusion. The anime certainly did a great job of adapting and improving upon the source material. Who knows, it may also have the reverse effect of making the manga more fun if I were to ever revisit it some day. That said, I would say the first two seasons still defeat this final one. It’s pretty inevitable that in any rom-com the final arc will have to get serious and tie up all the loose ends. Well, this one certainly does but it doesn’t allow itself to have as much fun as in the earlier seasons and one villain gets off a bit too easy.

Shigure and Akito really have the biggest roles in this season to the point where you could make the case that Tohru is not the main character. Still, Tohru is still wondering about how to break the curse and what needs to be done. Meanwhile Akito is getting ready to end Kyo’s freedom once and for all. The promised time is nearly upon them after all. There is one thing that could destroy Akito’s plans though and that is the fact that the curse is starting to weaken. Is it finally time for the final banquet?

An interesting part about how Fruits Basket ends is that Tohru doesn’t end up stopping the curse. In fact, nobody does. It’s just an old one that is naturally decaying so characters break free from it randomly. It’s a bit of a twist because the whole series some characters have tried rather hard to break it but it turns out that it was futile all the time. There really was no way to break the curse and you just had to wait it out. That’s also a bit depressing in its own way too.

My main issue here is that Akito was never stopped. She pushed someone out the window and inflicted a lot of mental torture on all the main characters. She drew blood from Tohru in season 2 and landed physical hits on a lot of characters. In this season she goes as far as to grab a knife and actually stab 2 characters as well. Akito is as unhinged as she ever was so by the time you get to her origin story you’re already skeptical.

That won’t change after watching it. This is Fruits Basket, every character has had a rough upbringing but they’ve learned to deal with it. Akito’s isn’t even as bad as some of the others. I would argue that Kyo and Tohru had it worse. It’s maybe on par with Yuki’s but ranking origin stories is pretty sad since they’re all so tragic. Either way the point is that Akito can’t use it as the big slam dunk that she thinks she can.

Akito also hasn’t limited the suffering to herself and has really been forcing everyone else to stay in misery alongside her. If she wasn’t actively attacking the rest of the cast then I definitely wouldn’t have had as much of an issue with her. So all of her scenes would still make me shake my head here. I still say that the characters should have fought back or defended themselves. The curse may turn them into animals but I don’t buy their not being able to fight back. Even here Hatsu comes close to attacking Akito but ultimately stops and just runs off. The characters really let Akito get the better of them.

Yuki had the majority of his character development earlier so he doesn’t do much in this season. Still he has his quick rebound with the student council member Machi. This was definitely one of the more rushed romances since she didn’t get to appear a whole lot but in real time I think they knew each other for a whole semester so at least there was 3 months there. Machi is another character who went through a lot of trauma and definitely still goes through some tough times but she’s handled it pretty well for the most part. This wrapped up that plot in a very resolute way.

Now you could make the case that this is less of a rebound since Yuki took himself out of the competition for Tohru before she made a decision. There’s a fair case for that so while this feels sudden, perhaps you could say it was not a secondary pick. I think Machi probably could have been introduced earlier to set this up but either way she was fun. Yuki’s always been considerate so they’ll get along just fine. Machi’s another character who I would say had a worse origin story to survive through than Akito. Getting framed as a kid will definitely leave you with a lot of trauma after all.

We can’t forget about Kyo of course as he had one of the big plots here. Since Akito plans to lock him up soon, Kyo’s coming to terms with the end of the era for him. He’s pretty much resigned to his fate so he’s still in the phase of trying to push everyone away during this season. Unfortunately by now he has pretty much accepted his fate and is no longer fighting with the same passion he once had.

We get to see his full origin story for the first time. Quite a lot happened to Kyo over the years and unfortunately most of the Zodiac spirits are quite passive so nobody would really help him. Tohru’s mom was probably the first person to really care about him until the Dojo guy stepped up. Even in the present we see that this hasn’t changed. Everyone knows he will be locked up soon but nobody’s doing anything about it.

Aside from Shigure who confirms he would not lift a finger to help, I won’t blame the others yet. For all I know, many of them had plans they would enact on the day of. So in case that is what would happen, I can’t really dock any points there. I’d like to see what kind of legal right the Sohma family would have to lock him up though. I feel like if Kyo went to the cops or something then things would play out pretty differently. I get that the Sohma is a rich family with a lot of power but even they should have their limits.

Of course the romance with Kyo and Tohru wraps up here. It’s not rushed or anything since this has been going on for 3 seasons at least. Fruits Basket is known as one of the Top Shojo’s after all and while I’m not sure I would go that far, the romance is done in the correct style. It’s built up over many episodes to the inevitable conclusion instead of all happening very quickly. At most you may just have to shake your head as how Kyo brings in the drama by suddenly running off again in this season. There’s a lot of running between both characters that’s for sure.

From all of the romances in this series, this is easily the best one without a doubt so it deserves some props there. As for Tohru, she may not get a particularly large role here as I mentioned, but she is still officially the lead and as such, gets a good send off. As a character she is solid as always. She actually does some detective work and tries to talk to as many characters as possible. By the end she does give Kyo a solid answer in response to his origin story while still choosing to believe in her Mother to the end. It was a good way to wrap things up while also staying true to her ideals. So that was a solid way to wrap things up.

Then we have Shigure who is a pretty bad character. He’s not as bad as Akito but I would definitely put him in the bottom 3. The guy is every bit as shady as Akito but always tries to play the fool and act innocent about it. He loves to play both sides and mess with Akito while also pretending to be a friend. The thing is, he is like that to everyone. I don’t see how any character can trust the guy. He’s also rather mean to his editor for no reason as he causes her as much stress as possible. It’s nice to see a Zodiac spirit who isn’t terrified of Akito but there’s really nothing to like about the guy.

Akito’s mother also shows up here. I like the idea of having a character that even Akito can’t mess with, but ultimately she doesn’t do a whole lot. She adds some drama as she is easily able to corrupt Shigure and sets up another character but that’s about it. If you were to remove her from the story it really wouldn’t change much. Especially given that Akito’s origin story doesn’t really end up making the villain more sympathetic.

As for Akito’s right hand man Kureno, I didn’t care for him either. In a way this guy caused a whole lot of the problems that would end up infecting the rest of the characters. If he had come clean about breaking the curse then it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache. The guy also allows himself to effectively be used out of pity by Akito which is a high price for this affair. He should have just stayed strong and been a friend but not go beyond that. Instead he lets himself get abused constantly.

Next up is Rin who was doing a lot of sleuthing of her own. She definitely takes a lot of risks but in this season she just didn’t look very smart. Why believe some random person who is extremely shady when she says that she knows how to break the curse? That’s just ultra convenient and if it requires breaking into the main villain’s room then that is definitely not going to end well. Rin really walked right into that trap and of course she ended up freezing so she couldn’t fight back.

It’s one of those scenes that will make you shake your head. I was glad Rin wasn’t as quick to just forgive and forget with Akito later on. As for Haru, he’s not bad but I definitely think he should have stepped in sooner. He didn’t know about Akito pushing Rin off a building but he did know that she was missing for a while. I’d expect him to have been poking around and Akito’s building should have been suspect number 1. His whole split personality and Dark Haru element isn’t that great if it never shows up when it counts.

Tohru’s two friends from school show up a bit as well in this season but I wouldn’t say their roles are too big. In some respects they have never had as much importance to the story as the various Sohma members but they do remain more relevant than the school friends in a lot of other Shojo titles like this. They’re not bad but they don’t usually tend to have scenes that are quite as interesting as the main cast.

Hiro and Kisa definitely don’t do much here either but at least now that he’s a bit older Hiro isn’t as unreasonable the whole time as he used to be. It was always annoying how he would insult Tohru for no real reason and nobody would really defend her. In his current state that wouldn’t really be much of an issue. Kisa is also here for moral support. She hasn’t really had to deal with as many tragedies as the others and that’s good. It’s nice that at least one character isn’t having to deal with a dark past.

Momiji doesn’t do much but it is odd how he appears to be a lot meaner and more sinister after the time skip. Maybe part of him realizes that he should have protected Tohru when Akito attacked in the last season. Either way, this would be an interesting new wrinkle to his character provided that he is actually able to be tough when it counts. Only time will tell on that front.

There are more characters of course but this really tackles all of the big ones I would say. The cast itself is large so there will always be a few more hanging around the bends. With 3 seasons I would expect no less. Even some of the Sohma clan members don’t really get to do a whole lot here which shows just how many characters have to be juggled.

The animation is solid as always. It’s not like there are any big action scenes to really test the series but the characters always look on model and everything’s pretty clear. It’s a very consistent show and delivers on that front. The soundtrack can be a little bland though. I wouldn’t say that any of the tunes really pop out at you and the theme song could have definitely been a whole lot more exciting if you ask me. It just feels too basic.

Now time for some final thoughts on the series. Season 3 is shorter than the first 2 so it definitely goes by really quickly. At the end of the day I definitely consider the anime to be a huge improvement over the manga. You’re given a lot of time to get used to the characters and root for them. I’d say the strength of the series is that it does a good job of showing the various emotions of the characters.

The writing is pretty solid as well with each character having to deal with a different issue as they grew up. There are a ton of sob stories and yet I would not say that any two are the same. Most of them are sad without being overly gritty either. This show goes through a lot of different tones but manages to achieve them all pretty well. You definitely won’t be bored.

There is naturally a lot of romances here as well. I would say most of them miss the mark as per the course for most romance titles but at least Kyo and Tohru was a strong one so that’s good since it is the main romance in the series. I wouldn’t say the romance ever really takes over as well so if you’re here for the plot then you should still be okay in the end.

On the flip side, one issue I have is with how passive all of the characters are. I’ve already beaten the point about everyone bowing to Akito into the ground so I’ll sidestep that one this time. Even just with how they obey the formalities and everything feels like they aren’t trying though. So Kyo is going to be locked up in a cave right? Have him decide to move out of town or something. He would certainly be able to leave if he wanted and good luck trying to bring him back. The guy can turn into a monster after all so he could repel any attackers.

The same is true for the rest of the Sohma family who feel like prisoners in the estate. Just get out of there and things will be better. Now granted, the curse is still annoying but it’s not like Akito would ever help you cure it anyway so I’d say your best bet is still high tailing it out of there while you still can. It would have been cool if Tohru brought that up.

As for her mother’s death, I do think part of the scenario was a little forced just to scar Kyo further. The whole “I won’t forgive you” part being spoken out loud out of the whole speech is just hard to buy. It’s the only way you could misinterpret the speech to be something negative so of course that’s what happened. Given how solid her character has been throughout the series, it doesn’t really work as a fake out to the audience and to Kyo it’s just a bit on the contrived side.

Overall, Fruits Basket had a pretty good run. There are definitely a lot of different events that occurred here. The 13 episodes did a good job of really packing themselves in with a lot of content. If you watched the first two seasons then you owe it to yourself to watch this one as well. There aren’t a whole lot of light hearted moments or happy events for the characters this time, but they all finally confront their inner demons so in that sense you get an uplifting feeling there. You know it’ll be all uphill for everyone going forward. Throw Akito out of the show and this would probably be bumped up even further but of course it would be a different show at that point. Time to see what the franchise brings to the table next.

Overall 6/10

Kiznaiver Review


If you watch a lot of anime you know that summer vacation is usually high stakes. Either you get thrown into a cybernetic world, scouted for a professional sport, or you end up getting run over by a bus and have to thrive in a new world. It’s rare that you actually end up just having a blast and these characters are about to learn that the hard way. It’s a pretty fun show and ends up being unique as well.

The show starts off by introducing us to Katsuhira who gets bullied every day. He is forced to hand over his lunch money to these bullies and get pounded for a while anyway. The thing is, he doesn’t really mind. He does not have the ability to feel pain, it’s just not something his body can do. So he doesn’t mind being beaten up since he doesn’t feel it. Additionally, he doesn’t really possess emotions or they’re too muted to really be felt. So he’s rather apathetic about life itself.

His best friend Chidori is always really upset about Katsuhira being beaten up like this but she can’t convince him to fight back. One day his life changes when a girl named Noriko shows up. She decides to murder him and pushes the guy off the stairs. Katsuhira manages to survive somehow, only he is trapped in a facility. She explains that she is going to run an experiment by which his pain will now be transmitted to the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins. These are 6 other students she has chosen from the school who will now be forced to partake in this experiment. The Kiznaiver program.

The 5 don’t have a choice as they are kidnapped and taken to this school. Here’s how the program works, whenever any of these 7 experience any kind of pain, it will be split 7 ways and everyone will feel it. So the good part is that no pain you experience will be as bad as it usually was. The bad part is that if someone gets beaten up by bullies a lot….prepare for extra pain. The 7 students must survive the entire Summer Vacation in order to be released from this program. They’re all from different social circles and circumstances though so they will have to try and get along first.

That’s really what this show is about, seeing if the students can come together. In a way the show’s even a metaphor for how anyone can get along no matter what their background or situation is. The show creates a scenario that forces each person to have to at least make an attempt to get along. It’s in their best interests if they want to make it through the Summer without too much pain after all. They’ll be put through many different situations and scenarios before they can get out of this.

So lets do a roll call of the characters. I’ve already talked about Katsuhira for the most part. He doesn’t know what his dark secret is (Everyone is tested on this during the first trial) I wasn’t a big fan of his. His lack of emotion does mean that for a while he lets anyone push him around and doesn’t really think for himself. He does get a character arc around this though so by the end he is considerably improved from how he started. I still wouldn’t say I’m a big fan or anything but I am glad that he made progress.

Then you have Chidori, (I could have sworn they pronounced her name as Chitori the whole time though. I really thought that was her name until I looked up the spelling for this review) the best friend. Her darkest secret is that she’s in love with Katsuhira so that’s pretty tough for her since he doesn’t have the emotional knowledge to know how to respond. She’s a nice character and one of the more likable ones. She does her best to try and take this all in stride but Noriko’s presence makes it rather difficult. Usually if you start off strong it makes it difficult to stick the landing though as she takes the final episodes the hardest. Still a quality character throughout though.

Next up is Hajime, the tough guy of the group. His darkest secret is that he’s extremely afraid of dogs to the point where he plans out his routes so he doesn’t pass any dog owners. It would wreck his image so you can see why he hides that away. He’s quick to step in and help Katsuhira out in the opening episode which was good. At his core Hajime is a good person such as how he ignores his own romantic feelings so they don’t get in the way of this adventure. He’s not always great as he can be rather crude like his threat to Noriko but for the most part he definitely stands out and is loyal. He’s more likely to have your back than most of the other characters even if he did beat someone up a little too quickly near the end. I know he cracked but it still felt uncalled for.

Nico is the quirky member of the group. She loves talking about fairies and just bouncing around all the time. Her darkest secret is that…she doesn’t actually believe in any of that stuff and just acts quirky so people won’t think she’s normal. I thought that was actually a pretty interesting subversion and in a sense, thinking up a whole elaborate act like that means she was already quirky to begin with. It’s definitely an interesting development. Overall she’s one of the strongest characters for sure. Nico probably takes the end of the series better than the rest as well.

Tsuguhito was my favorite member of the students. He’s the cool kid in class who is super popular and has a lot of friends. His darkest secret is that he used to be fat and has tried to make sure nobody knows that part of him. Honestly, while it’s good as a comedic moment, it’s probably the lowest stakes from all of the secrets. To most that’s actually more of an impressive moment than anything because it showed that he was able to lose a lot of weight and turned his life around.

Part of why I like him is because he’s just a good guy. He doesn’t brag about it or show off like the others but just does the right thing when it counts. He gives Honoka a lot of pep talks and sticks up for Katsuhira. He really doesn’t pick fights or get anyone into trouble throughout the show. He does put up a tough façade at times and throws some insults around but never anything too serious. He does just enough to keep the act going and also wasn’t about to rush into a romance like certain other characters in the show.

Then you have one of least favorite members of the group Honoka. She’s definitely not a people person and likes to keep to herself. Her darkest secret is that she murdered someone a while back although of course there is more context to that later on. Honoka is just the meanest member of the group by far and carries this attitude on for way too long. Right up through the last 2 episodes or so, she is still going on about how none of them are friends. She does her best to hurt everyone else’s feelings as well.

Her origin story was definitely a sad one but even that got worse because she didn’t face it head on. If she had then she would have been in a much better place since she did misinterpret things. Should have just read the manga…. I would say her backstory was probably the weakest part of the show.

Finally you have my actual least favorite member of the group, Yoshiharu. His thing is that he’s really into pain and even enjoys injuring himself just to get that sensation. He’s got a few screws loose so to speak. I don’t even remember what his darkest secret was. He missed the first trial so maybe it didn’t come up. Part of what hurts him is that the guy never really contributes to the story. You could cut him out and I dare say that not a single thing would change. He really felt like he was added on to an extent. Even how the other 6 characters all match up in pairs while he’s just running around. Yoshiharu’s gimmick wasn’t really funny either so he just fell flat as a character.

Of course you have the two teachers who are in on this. Both of them signed off on this very corrupt experiment so it’s hard to like either one of them. Both are willing to put the students in danger on multiple occasions. Mutsumi seems to at least have more of a conscience than Kazunao though. She finally has a breaking point while he never backs down even to the end. The students definitely shouldn’t forgive these two anytime soon.

Finally you have the mysterious Noriko. She also appears to be rather emotionless and didn’t feel a thing even when she nearly brought Katsuhira to his doom. So that’s a character you want to be wary of. I’m not a big fan of hers for the same reason I wasn’t a big Katsuhira fan for a while. When you’re emotionless like that there’s just less opportunities to have cool moments where you really stand out.

By the end we learn her origin story of course and it does help her case. She definitely went through a lot and made some rather big sacrifices to make sure things went well for everyone else. I can respect that without a doubt. Noriko definitely takes the cake for the hardest path in the show and had to endure way more than the rest of the characters combined. It’s very dark and I’m glad she at least got a happy ending since it would have been really tragic otherwise. She was a lot of fun in the flashbacks too.

That’s mainly it for the cast as there aren’t many supporting characters beyond that. The show is 12 episodes after all and it’s heavily character driven so there’s not much room to throw in others. The two bullies appear for a bit but Chidori put them in their place when they try to complain. They haven’t been through nearly as much as the main characters so they definitely had no room to complain. It’s not like it’s a competition of who had it the worst but when you’re a bully you don’t get to suddenly say that life isn’t fair. They really picked this battle for themselves.

Now there is a whole lot of romance here as you might have gathered. It’s summer vacation with 7 students who are forced to hang out with each other constantly. Naturally there was going to be a lot of drama here. Moreover, you’ve got multiple triangles going. Katsuhira likes Noriko, Chidori likes Katsuhira, Hajime likes Chidori, and Nico likes Hajime. Tsuguhito likes Honoka but there isn’t a third party in that one. With characters all connected like this, it makes it hard for them to approach.

Even more so once the characters begin experiencing each other’s emotions as well. In a way that’s the scariest thing about the Kiznaiver program. When everyone knows every little thing about you, it means that privacy is now a foreign concept. You’re really boxed in and when you’re forced to be honest as opposed to doing it willingly, that’s naturally going to bring in a little more tension.

The Kiznaiver program is a very fascinating concept because even if you could implement this in real life, the show depicts why this would be dangerous. For starters, you could simply die from the sudden pain of someone else feeling something. Throw in the emotional pain and you could suddenly have a group of suicidal people. From the start the show makes sure to depict this as a very dangerous experiment that would be outlawed by any government. The main characters have to thrive in spite of it.

So going back to the romance, that part could get a little overly dramatic. I’m not the biggest romance guy and aside from Chidori who knew Katsuhira ever since he was a kid, the rest only just met each other. A little quick to be developing romantic feelings right? Perhaps the Kiznaiver accelerated the program since it connects people so thoroughly but even then it all just feels fast.

Now, most of the characters do keep their feelings hidden which is an interesting twist. See, I usually judge the characters for moving too quickly but for the ones who were hiding their feelings until Kiznaiver exposed them, is it really the same thing? I’d say no. See, in this case that means the character might subconsciously know it’s too soon so that’s why they didn’t say anything. I don’t think Chidori, Nico, or Hajime would have said anything. They’d just have kept their feelings in their heart and squashed them eventually.

It’s a very interesting dynamic and one I could get behind here. Particularly in the triangles since they were all holding their feelings back since they knew that their friends were already interested. If you like a girl but your best friend has already made the same interest clear, then stepping back is a pretty honorable thing to do. Now, if you friend doesn’t do anything for ages then absolutely you can jump in, but the core concept is sound. So I’ll give them some credit for that. That said, it does feel like Chidori going with Hajime would feel like an absolute rebound if Katsuhira chooses Noriko in the end. Kiznaiver probably has more romance sewn into its themes than most other shows I’ve seen and yet it handles them better than a lot of others too. I wouldn’t mind if you cut out a lot of the drama of course but if you’re going to do it, then you should do it well of course.

While things get really serious by the end, I’d say the show keeps a good balance of being light hearted along with this. Nico for example is a character who keeps everyone feeling pretty chipper the whole time. The characters also have opportunities to just hang out and have a good time once in a while. Don’t expect it a whole lot but they at least aren’t having to worry about the Kiznaiver program all the time even if it’s not exactly something you can forget either.

I said it once and I’ll say it again, the Kiznaiver system itself is absolutely terrifying when you think about it. The fact that these 6 strangers (Lets be real, they’re basically strangers since you don’t know them well) will eventually know your every thought, emotion, and pain is pretty intense. It’s enough to make you decide to just move away like in the Kino’s Journey episode only in this case you can’t quite escape the pain so it isn’t a full proof solution. Then if you keep residual effects even after the Kiznaiver implant is gone…well I guess there’s no real escape at that point.

The animation looks pretty solid. This is more of a slice of life so there’s not a chance to show off with the graphics most of the time but the city shots look great like in the climax. This is also probably why they gave Chidori’s hair a sharp color since that always stands out. The show also takes advantage whenever there is a chance to use some bright colors so the Kiznaiver energy bands are an example of this or when Noriko is standing in front of a data computer. As for the soundtrack, it’s not very memorable but it’s decent. The opening is one of the weakest I’ve seen in a while though. It’s going for more of a low key route but give me a hype opening anytime.

The writing is solid throughout and the episodes really go by in a flash. It feels like a very natural journey to the point where this could easily be turned into a movie. You’d have to remove some of the trials of course but it would work pretty well since it’s all 1 grant story here. You could probably cut some things out if needed like Honoka’s origin story and even most of Noriko’s or at least the parts that are still around in the present. I wouldn’t mind if they threw some more scenes Tsuguhito’s way instead.

By the end you will question why the company was looking into these Kiznaiver experiments though. If you think about it, there’s still no long term gains for this project. At least not without some kind of redesign because even if you make it safe to an extent, nobody is going to want to sign up for this. I can’t see it being useful in military applications either as it would just confuse the soldiers. Maybe it can help with medical research if a doctor wants to see exactly what kind of pain you are experiencing but I still can’t see that ending well. So in that way it almost feels like the kids were put through a whole lot for no real reason other than learning how to be nicer people.

It is cool how the company has a bunch of people in mascot costumes going around and kidnapping the main characters though. They have a whole lot of pull when you think about it. Even enough to hide some pretty deep secrets in the school. I admit that I was taken aback at how a few select students are just sorta sitting around. When you get to the final episodes you’ll see what I mean but they were just hanging around there the whole time? That was absolutely crazy, not in a plot hole way or anything as it’s easily explained but I was just surprised at how suddenly they appeared. Not everyone gets a happy ending in this show I’m afraid as the Kiznaiver program definitely has a lot of skeletons in the closet.

Overall, Kiznaiver is a pretty fun show. It’s got a solid concept going for it and is also a fun new approach to showing how characters can learn to get along. It certainly gets serious as the characters have to really look inside themselves to discover their true feelings. It’s over in a flash but has a good run throughout. It also starts off with a bang as the characters initially get trapped in that facility. I wouldn’t call the show high stakes for the most part but they are put in some real danger at times and for a while it’s hard to tell what the intentions behind the tests are. Also the final episode raises the stakes pretty suddenly as well which made for a good climax. You should always end on a high note right? I’d recommend checking this one out.

Overall 7/10

God of Highschool Review


It’s time for another Webtoon adaption. The God of Highschool got a ton of promotion back in the day. I dare say that from the 3 Crunchyroll productions they gave this one the most publicity by far. It’s a tournament with a ton of action so what’s not to love right? Well, after seeing it I can definitely say it’s a great title. I did have a bit of an issue with the art style but the animation itself was great without a doubt.

The show starts with some politicians making a deal only for the entire island to literally be slammed with a giant hand and those guys are murdered. With nobody left in the way, a tournament is announced called the God of High School. If you win this tournament then you will get whatever you wish for. Anyone can enter it as long as they’re in High School so people flock to the tournament from all over. Winning this will take skill but these characters are ready. Still, the whole situation is rather sketchy…is there more to this tournament than meets the eye?

The God of High School is a show that goes fast and doesn’t mess around so you really have to make sure you keep up. You can probably identify moments where there are scenes that would be skipped to make the pacing work better but you always get the key details. I haven’t read the Webtoon yet although I plan to do that shortly. So I can say with confidence that even without reading the source material you’ll be able to keep up.

The last few episodes are also the best ones in the season so this really ends on a high note. You’ll absolutely be hyped for season 2 by the time you’re done with this one. It almost feels like they would need to change the name soon though since it seems like it won’t really be relevant to the next season. I guess if you think of the title as being a title in universe as opposed to referring to the tournament then it works out pretty well though.

Since I mentioned the art style lets knock that out now. The thing I didn’t like is how everyone’s nose and ears are always shining bright red as if this is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I haven’t seen a show do that before. The closest I can think of is the permanent anime blush in shows like Accel World. I dislike that art style as well, I dunno it just doesn’t seem natural and it can be a bit distracting.

It takes away from the visuals in general. Interestingly, I quickly took a look at the original trailer for the show although I think it was a conceptual trailer since the animation studio looked totally different and it shows events from the complete first season which is an odd choice. There were no glowing noses/ears there so I don’t know why they were added here. Perhaps this is how the art looks in the Webtoon and they wanted to be accurate but it just doesn’t work. I do like the chibi scenes when they occur though. I think Chibi works really well for quick humor bursts. We see similar techniques used in Tower of God and Demon Slayer to great effect as well.

The animation is great though. There’s a lot of finetuned hand to hand combat here. It’s easy to see how this company would then go on to do Jujutsu Kaisen later on. That show took this one’s fundamentals and then improved the animation with a lot of great energy effects and even more wrestling type moves. In a way you could say the studio used this anime to train and then mastered it with Kaisen. There are definitely no complaints with the animation here, the fights are all very high energy and get you in the moment. The shading on the darker moments also helps show the intensity of a scene very well.

I enjoyed the soundtrack a lot as well. The theme song is great and the more you listen to it, the more into it you get. It’s got a lot of replay value that’s for sure. The images for it are also hype. Then you have several great themes in the show like the Young Tiger theme as well as Mujin Park’s music. Each one helps to build up the hype and as this is completely a battle story, it’s not surprising that the music would be geared that way.

Now lets talk about the characters here. The main character is Mori Jin. He loves fighting and is trained in the arts of Taekwondo. Mori is very confident in his abilities and believes he can take on anyone. Winning the tournament is prize enough for him so he has no real wishes to be granted. He’s a nice guy who sometimes projects sob stories onto others but always does his best to help his friends.

Mori’s a pretty charismatic guy and I was definitely a fan. He’s quick to jump into the arena when a match is going too far and that’s something I was glad to see. Mira loses some points for trying to constantly tell her teammates not to jump in. It’s just the right thing to do. It goes against the spirit of the tournament to be torturing your opponent and for Mori I imagine it was especially personal since the villain was using Taekwondo.

The show doesn’t go into it a whole lot but I do like how each of the different hand to hand fighters use unique fighting styles here. You’ve got Karate masters, self defense, sword style, etc. Mori never falters throughout the whole season so he was a great lead from start to finish.

Then we have Mira who is one of the first characters to appear in the show. She doesn’t crave battle the way that Mori does but her sole goal in life is to get the Moonlight sword back into the spotlight. She wants to prove that this style is good and it was her father’s last wish. She will do whatever it takes to make the sword popular again which is a good and bad thing. The good thing is that it gives her drive and something to fight for.

The bad thing is that it limits her. She seems to fight a lot better without the sword most of the time. Her enemies seem to be able to use it with more skill than she does. Additionally it also sidetracks her from her goals like when she was quick to jump into a wedding with someone she didn’t even know. That was the weakest part of her character arc to be sure. How do you marry a random celebrity when you’ve known him for 5 minutes?

Mira was quick to throw her friends away at this point too so it’s good that they beat up the guards and forced the issue. Mira also doesn’t believe in interrupting matches as I mentioned before so that ends up hurting two. From the 3 characters she had the shakiest resolve to be sure, but she can fight and tends to do well in battle. Eventually maybe she can catch up to the other two if she masters her sword.

Then we have Daewi as the third member of the crew. He is fighting to save his friend who is currently dying. It’s a pretty rare condition so even the nanomachines that the GOH tourney providers have only may give him a chance. Daewi is the mature member of the 3 so he usually tries to calm the other two down or just stay out of the way so they don’t embarrass him. For the most part he’s a rather decent guy.

There is one point though where he loses it and very nearly becomes a villain. He beats up some random punks but they initiated so I don’t even count that to be honest. You can’t pretend to ignore them forever so take them out and that’s that. Now if he murdered them that’s different, but I didn’t necessarily get that impression. It’s hard to say though, I suppose they might have been dead.

Daewi even attacks Mira in rather savage fashion but I would say it’s in a completely different league than what Manseok did in the first episodes. Daewi didn’t torture her or anything, he landed a few solid blows and then she went down. Now, he was about to attack again before he was stopped which would have crossed the line but ultimately no extra hits were landed. Perhaps this is something where it’s more dragged out in the Webtoon but from the anime it doesn’t seem as shocking and savage as the characters acted.

I suppose you’d expect him to hold back more when fighting a friend and yet the characters always talk about how you better not hold back or they’ll take it personally. It might be an unspoken rule where you should still hold back I suppose. Regardless it wasn’t quite as crazy as you would expect so I didn’t lose a ton of respect for him the way I would if a character really turned traitor like that. It does mean he’ll likely never catch the top tiers of the series like Mori, Ilpyo, or Taek but he’s reasonably in the middle somewhere.

The resolution to the plot did feel a bit cheesy and perhaps unearned though. Mori was really mad at Daewi at first and then a few minutes later they’re back to being best friends. That part I will say felt rushed and it seems like they wouldn’t get along so easily like that. Additionally, I don’t see how Daewi was looking so good. Mori seemed to be way stronger but more on that later.

Ilpyo was easily the best character in the series though. I liked his confidence and he’s just a classy guy. Ilpyo felt like he would be the main character in another title. He has cool fire powers and even a nice super form that he can use at will. The guy’s hand to hand skills are completely out of almost every other character’s league. He misses the first half of the season but once he shows up at the end he gets a great role.

It’s clear that he would have beaten Mori if he wasn’t sandbagging to teach him the whole time and at full power I would have gone for him over Taek as well. That guy’s abilities are hard to deal with but the same is true for Ilpyo. I hope he gets a lot to do in season 2 as well because he’s just a blast to follow.

Then we have some of the various fighters from the tournament. First is Seungchul who likes to fight using intelligence and wit over brute strength. This makes him difficult to defeat although at the same time it doesn’t seem sustainable. At the end of the day you need pure power to back up your moves. Then there’s Gamdo who is a martial artist that likes fighting with honor.

Unfortunately he’s in the wrong tournament for that because these fighters are too desperate to win. They don’t have time for honor or things like that. I liked the guy but I feel like he may never appear again. Then you have Manseok who was surprisingly weak. Seriously the guy talks really tough and after getting embarrassed he breaks down into tears and never appears again.

I’m sure he will return but it’s going to be hard to take that guy seriously. He’s like a textbook bully who can take on weaker fighters no problem but ultimately gets outmatched by the stronger ones and doesn’t have the confidence to continue. I didn’t like that guy so I don’t mind him getting taken out. It was just really surprising.

Taek is one of the big villains of course so we have to talk about him. Now this is a villain I could get behind. He made for a great antagonist who kept on getting stronger and forced the heroes to keep up with him. Hi goals about wanting to be the strongest and proving that he wasn’t a loser was intense. The guy is whining a lot in a sense but he continues to get stronger on his own so at least he’s doing something about it.

His rivalry with Ilpyo just worked really well and was the best dynamic in the show. Whenever he was around you knew things were about to go down. The scene where he nearly took Mori down with a single strike was a very intense moment and was also good hype for Ilpyo. I also liked how he kept remembering how Ilpyo beat him up that one time. Shows why he wants revenge on everything. It’ll be hard to top him as the next arc villain.

Taejin is worth mentioning because he’ll clearly be getting a big role soon but this was not a very impressive start for him. He got beat up pretty quickly. Yes, he left big craters in the ground and looked strong but Mori could probably pull such things off by the end of the series with his impressive power ups. Taejin gets a ton of hype so to see him tied up and beaten so early on…it was surprising to say the least.

Then we have the tournament organizer Mujin. This guy’s pretty interesting right now. He’s clearly not a hero with how extreme his actions are at the moment. It’s strongly implied he’s the one who took out the island in episode 1 although we don’t know for sure. He’s searching for the Key and it doesn’t sound like this is for heroic reasons. Perhaps he is a hero who just seems shady at times but right now I see him being a very interesting third party character who keeps everyone at the ready.

It’s a shame he had to play defense for the whole season though as we couldn’t see what he could really do yet. The fact that he was able to put up barriers to block the giant summon from the villains was impressive though. The guy’s tough without a doubt but I want to see him in the ring. He has a bunch of members in his organization who are powerful as well but most don’t get to do a whole lot yet.

I expect we’ll see them all fight more soon. They beat up on the random monsters but anyone could do that. Q gets the biggest role as he shows a lot more emotion than the others. He gets upset when one of his comrades dies and even confronts Mujin. There’s a lot of life to this guy and he disregards procedure if it gets in the way. It costs him a lot of money each time but he doesn’t back down.

There are other characters running around here of course like in the tournament and assassins from the mysterious organization that is also trying to find the key. I won’t go into those guys because they haven’t done a whole lot yet. You’ll want to watch the show to see what they’re doing. I am pretty interested in how that will play out since it seems like that will be more of a focus in season 2.

While the tournament was the main plot there were definitely times where the outside world was more interesting. There’s just so much happening out there and I love tournaments but the other parts were so appealing too. It’ll be fun to see how the heroes contribute since in theory most of them are still weaker than the grown ups. Mori is probably an exception to that though.

The Power levels in the show could be rather suspect at times though. From the start Mori is portrayed as being so much stronger than Daewi and Mira that you can’t believe it when he is having an even fight with Daewi. Particularly since given the circumstances Mori shouldn’t be holding back and is going in hot to make Daewi regret attacking Mira. Somehow Daewi is not only holding his own but even winning at times. That didn’t make a lot of sense.

Then you have the celebrity who had his own Charyeok manifestation and yet he got knocked out in one blow. How? This guy is a part of a dangerous organization and had a lot of abilities. That didn’t make a lot of sense. Granted, in general Charyeok seems like a pretty vague power scaling system. Effectively you borrow power from some kind of legendary figure and turn that into power. One character uses Lu Bu for example while another one has Jaws. (Or just a random Shark) Then you have Mori who doesn’t need to borrow anything since there are other factors at play here. Way I understand it is Mori is the legendary figure, I won’t say who for now. It’s a pretty good way to explain why he is so strong.

Charyeok has a lot of different manifestations so the best way to think of it is just as a form of Ki and then you get any kind of special ability. I don’t see how you can lose with it so quickly though. Power levels aside, I do like how the characters just launch into the fights. A benefit of the fast pacing here is there’s no time for chitchat so often times the fighters just start swinging their fists and don’t stop. The opponents have to figure out each other’s abilities in silence. Nobody stops until one person is on the ground.

The God of High School may start out fairly realistic but it jumps up into superhero world by the end. The last episode or 2 in particular suddenly turn this into something like DBZ and I’m all up for that. It was a pretty powerful match-up at the end and the designs were really good for the powered up modes on the hero and villain.

Overall, The God of High School is a great anime that I would recommend. You won’t be disappointed here. It’s really over in a flash at only around 12-13 episodes but each one covers a lot. You’ll likely end the show with a ton of questions since it doesn’t mind opening up a lot of plot elements that don’t go anywhere yet. It’s why you just have to wait until it’s continued or check out the written version. You’ll get introduced to a lot of characters but I dare say you’ll actually remember most of them. They’re all fairly unique and have their own personalities. It may take a little while to fully learn the names but that will come in time. My only real gripe here is that I wish they would take away the Rudolph nose part of the art style. It just doesn’t fit so maybe in season 2 it’ll be cut. With this review done I’d say it’s a good time to check out the Webtoon and see how the adventure continues.

Overall 8/10

Dr Stone Season 2: Stone Wars Review


It feels like it’s been a while since Season 1 but now it’s finally time to enter the Stone Wars. Dr Stone has certainly been rising up the ranks quite a bit. It feels like it’s quietly begun to catch up to titles like Clover and MHA but maybe it only seems quiet because the other titles seem to be a lot bigger in America while I guess Stone has Japan at the ready since it keeps claiming the #1 spot in the magazine rankings. The Stone Wars have been hyped up since the beginning of season 1 and this season delivers by wrapping this up.

Well, Tsukasa has built his army of powerful warriors. He also has command over the revival cave so Senku is unable to call for any more reinforcements. Worse yet is the fact that their chief backup scientist Chrome has been abducted. Senku’s army of science is going to need to find a way to break Chrome out and stop Tsukasa all while keeping fatalities to 0. It’ll be the toughest objective he’s ever had to face and yet this kind of thing won’t phase Senku. He’s ready to do whatever it takes in order to claim victory.

As this season is throwing us more into the climax there is less time for the food recipes we got in season 1. There still is 2-3 hovering around like the cup ramen but nothing quite like the Senku Cola which I got the pleasure of making at home one day. Now that was a blast. This time the group has to get some more combat ready equipment on hand so that includes a tank, gunpowder, flash bombs, sonic weapons, etc. They definitely aren’t messing around here since one failure could very well equal death.

The season is only 11 episodes which feels really short but that does mean there’s always something happening in each episode. No time to waste. Tsukasa’s army also gets a chance to shine here as there are quite a few named fighters. Tsukasa and Hyoga aren’t the only ones running around after all. When the power gap is this wide it could be easy to assume that plot hax is the only way for the heroes to win but the difference in science is drastic enough where I’d say it makes sense. Science can easily tip the scales in a battle of humans. This is also all considering that Senku is effectively holding back because he doesn’t want to seriously injure or murder anybody.

If the Stone anime series has any weakness, it’s that the animators still haven’t really gotten used to the action scenes yet. While the animation in general is very solid, the action scenes are quite weak. There’s no impact to any of the blows so even powerful fighters like Tsukasa and Hyoga don’t look as impressive as they otherwise would. To try and get around this sometimes the show will use stills instead to at least have a more detailed shot which works well but I’d like to see the animation take a step up for some of the future fights. Dr Stone isn’t primarily an action series but that doesn’t mean you can’t have great fights right?

The subtitle “Stone Wars” and the excellent promotional artwork can also give you the wrong idea if you haven’t read the manga already. Don’t go in expecting a giant war season where everyone is fighting it out with nonstop action each episode. Keep in mind that at its core this is still a science based adventure where Senku is proving that science can always beat raw power. It would go against the show’s whole message if they were just punching everyone out…although I wouldn’t complain if that were the case because that would be hype. Maybe in a future arc Senku will build them all mecha suits or something.

As for the soundtrack, it’s definitely solid as always. You should recognize a lot of the tunes from season 1. The opening’s pretty solid too so you’ve got a good selection of tunes here. Mecha Senku doesn’t appear much this time but he still gets his moments and usually the music accompanying him is on point as well.

Now the question is, does season 2 beat season 1? It’s very close because season 1 had the big meetings with the characters as well as the tournament. The opening 3 or so episodes of the season may be the series at its peak. Ultimately, I would probably give season 1 the edge but it’s close enough where I wouldn’t say it’s a big deal. They’re both neck and neck and excel in different areas over each other.

Now lets take a look at the characters. Senku is the main character of course and he continues to show why he is the genius of the village. He always has a plan and then a backup option in case that one doesn’t work. He doesn’t always have time to explain things to the others but because of that he is able to even surprise the villains. Now that’s some next level prep work.

Then there’s Chrome who continues to be a great supporting character. He’s nowhere near Senku’s level at the moment but he’s a quick study. Also you have to consider the fact that he had no formal training the way Senku did. Chrome was studying in the stone age the whole time and didn’t have any access to textbooks or things like that. This season also gave him a chance to learn on his own and contribute without Senku being around. In a lot of ways this was Chrome’s season and he didn’t drop the ball when it counted.

Kohaku’s role is smaller than that of season 1 but she still makes her presence felt. She gains a rival of sorts in the gymnast who works for Tsukasa. Finally Kohaku had a worthy rival in close quarters combat. It was a pretty fun battle and Kohaku always adds a lot of energy to the team dynamic. You definitely need to have her around to complete the team.

Gen’s another important member even if he can’t keep up with the main 3. He uses his powers of persuasion to help the heroes when they’re trying to scam the villains. He’s definitely a hero who is very useful to the team. He may not be a fighter but his intellect is close to Senku’s, just not in a science sense. Gen is more about manipulation and is another memorable member of the cast.

Magma surprisingly gets quite a bit to do here. You could say he’s officially one of the supporting characters now although I suppose in season 1 he kept up a steady amount of activity. He’s still not all that impressive though since strength is his only thing and Taiju is stronger than him. So at the end of the day that means he is doomed here. As a character Magma still needs to do a lot more for me to like him.

Meanwhile it’s good to see Taiju and Yuzuriha back. It sure felt like a while since they got to appear and both of them look good here. Taiju is able to put his raw power to good use. He’s still a pacifist so he won’t actually punch anyone in the face or anything like that but he has other ways of showing off his power which really makes him have a commanding presence here. He’s also just very genuine in a fun way. Meanwhile Yuzuriha is a bit of a silent MVP as she singlehandedly saved many lives in this season with her sewing skills. With a lot of people being broken into pieces you can probably see how her sewing skills would be really handy.

Kaseki is still around but there’s a bit less for him to do. He’s one of those guys who is supremely helpful behind the scenes though. Suika is also good for surveillance but is a little too young to be super helpful in the field. Her agility is on point so she can always get away though. These two don’t stack up with the other characters but are pretty reasonable.

That brings us up to the villains. First is Homura and she’s a lot of fun. The fact that she was able to transition her gymnastics into a combat field is already impressive. Outrunning Kohaku who grew up in the jungle while dashing across trees is even more so. Their quick skirmishes are always a lot of fun and Homura does a good job of evading capture even when she was outnumbered around 10-1.

Then you have Ukyo who is one of Tsukasa’s most dangerous subordinates. The guy has super hearing to the point where he’s like a human sub. While the series is still pretty realistic there are slight exaggerations to character abilities to keep things interesting. We saw that with Tsukasa and Taiju’s super strength back in season 1 after all so why not apply that to agility and hearing as well right?

Ukyo’s a pretty interesting character but you could probably guess that from his first appearance in the show. There’s clearly more than meets the eye with this guy and he delivers. Nikki is another member of Tsukasa’s group. Her role is a bit smaller than the others but she comes in handy. She’s another power fighter like Magma, Taiju, and Tsukasa. She hasn’t gotten a big fight yet but I expect that will change eventually.

Then there’s Yo who’s role is also pretty small. His backstory as a cop is pretty entertaining though. The guy is right at home in the cave era with how much he likes to be in control. Yo also has a good backup plan for when things go south so you also have to give him some credit in an intelligence angle as well. Yo’s a fairly all around guy and I like his confidence. From all the villains he’s already top 3.

Finally you have the main two. First up is Tsukasa who already had stolen the show in season 1 and continues to be very strong here. He’s a villain without a doubt but one of those interesting villains who at least has a rational goal. We learn more about it as the season goes on too. It gives some extra depth to his mission and also answers some questions from season 1. Needless to say, the guy puts on a good show and his fight in the climax of the season is a lot of fun. There’s no character even close to passing him as the best in the series.

Finally there is Hyoga and immediately you can tell that he’s a lot more ruthless than Tsukasa. While Tsukasa prefers to avoid bloodshed whenever possible, Hyuga has no such reservations. He does what he wants whenever he wants and is willing to sacrifice other members of the team if it’ll keep him safe. So even if he’s on your side, he’s not someone you want to trust at all. He’s absolutely one of the more dangerous characters here though and makes for a good villain.

Those are all of the main characters I’d say. You’ve got others like Ginro and Kinro running around but they really don’t do much at all here. The show already has a fairly big cast so you can’t have everyone running around the battlefield or it’ll get a bit crazy. The cast is quite solid though which is good, they definitely hold their scenes. The season ends with quite a few direct cliffhangers that’ll help you get psyched up for season 3. Ideally the break won’t be too long since I think the date may already be out too although I forget when it is.

It’s definitely hard to match the war arc since you could say the stakes had never been higher. Tsukasa is the one who was trying to prevent scientific process and was willing to murder to get that across. In theory the heroes shouldn’t be facing any more opposition like that as long as they’re careful who they revive and in this case they already have the numbers advantage. Each arc brings with it new elements though so I won’t talk about what’s to come.

As a final note, I think a lot of Dr. Stone’s strength really comes from the writing. The show is always interesting whether it’s with the war going on or Gen and Senku just trying to scam people into joining their army. The show is able to balance out the humor and action pretty well and you couldn’t do that without a good character cast or solid writing. You can’t really have one without the other and that’s why the series is so effective.

Overall, Dr. Stone Season 2 is definitely a solid follow up to the original. With this arc completed we’ve really made it through all of the set up from the first season so you could say that a big chunk of the story is now complete. Of course we still need to know why everyone got turned to stone though and of course the manga is still going so you can bet that there will be a lot more characters and plots coming up. If you like a good adventure series with fun action and characters then this is a good title to check out. Naturally if you’re someone who enjoyed season 1 then you’ll definitely like this one as well.

Overall 8/10

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Review


The Promised Neverland Season 2 was definitely very controversial to say the least. It really did a number on the fans who wanted a faithful adaption and even to non fans who felt it was super rushed and didn’t feel natural. It’s certainly a unique case where it seems like the studio just wanted to wrap it up as soon as possible. At the very least it was fun keeping up with all the theories on why it ended so quickly and all of that but the burning question is…did it change for the better? Well…I have to say that it did. Granted I was never the biggest fan of the manga but the anime effectively toned down some of the darker elements of the story and made it more of a standard adventure which I’m game with.

Last time, the kids had just escaped and were on the run. Now that they were out of the orphanage they could try and either get over to the proper human world or at least survive somewhere safe. Emma has promised that she would go and save the rest of the kids though so no matter what happens, she won’t be leaving without them. Still, it’s a cruel world out there so this environment is going to test all of her abilities.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with the animation in the first season and it’s more or less the same here. It’s pretty standard stuff with some giant CG demons running around. The demons have lost their edge compared to season 1 though so don’t expect them to be all that intimidating here. They’re mainly only relevant when they’re getting beat up and need Emma’s help. How the times have changed eh? The CG is fairly minimal though and in a way I guess if you’re going to use it for something, demons make sense since it makes them look that much more crazy.

For the soundtrack, it’s also not too memorable. I couldn’t tell you a single theme here. The new theme song definitely isn’t up to par with the original one either. That one’s fairly iconic at this point while this one just sort of fades away. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it doesn’t leave any kind of impact. On a technical level it felt like this show was sort of just going through the motions.

The pacing and writing were fine though. It’s always interesting learning more about the world and there is certainly a whole lot of dialogue here. You can see how things get sped up at the beginning and ending though. Norman showing up near the beginning of the show felt rather crazy since it was a big deal that he was gone. I still have to say that it feels like a lot of plot hax how he actually survived and escaped though. The demons are clearly awful at their jobs as well as the human guards. How do you let a kid escape like that?

There are a lot of plot convenient things happening here though like an old man who has every answer you can possibly need and the villains getting foiled because of numerous traitors and getting overconfident. It also helps that the villains always miss their shots when they’re firing their guns or don’t fire at all. The kids don’t have guns in this version so they’re even more outmatched.

The final episode can be almost funny though with how things are skipped over. The actual promise with the alien thing? That’s a single camera shot here so if you were watching The Promised Neverland for…the promise, then you’re out of luck. That’s not something you’ll get to see here. The show throws in a few Easter Eggs like the wolf girl appearing in a prison cell and at least a reference to GoldyPond but that’s about it for throwing a bone to the fans who missed some of the skipped content. The ending’s far better than the manga version though so I’ll give you that.

That’s enough on the pacing though, lets talk about the characters and how they ended up shaking out in this version. First up is Emma since she is the main character after all. She’s certainly come a long way since in season 1 she wanted to escape at all costs and would slaughter any demon who got in her way. Things are more complicated in season 2 though since she has now met demons who are not really combatants. It turns out that demons have families and loved ones as well so this puts Emma in a rather difficult place.

It does end up hurting her character though because one thing I don’t like is when a character is opposing the main plan but has no actual solution. It’s something you would see a lot of in Attack on Titan. So Norman’s plan is he’ll poison the water and in that way they will end the entire demon race. The scary thing about the plan is how easy it will be and yet it will still be super effective. The demons won’t stand a chance and humanity will finally be saved at long last.

The problem is that Emma now wants to spare the demons. There are a few problems with that though. For starters, the demons will die if they don’t eat humans are a while anyway. It’ll be the same effect as Norman’s poison water only slower and potentially more painful. Additionally given that they need humans to survive, talking with them is already out of the question.

Feeding them humans is also crazy since that’s how we got here in the first place. Norman does his best to explain this to Emma but she doesn’t really care. Now the show does offer a convenient way out of this predicament but until that solution appears, Emma is rather unreasonable here. There are times where you really have to make a choice. Choosing both sides just puts everyone at risk and it’s not worth it. Emma has a responsibility to the kids she has already saved.

Her lack of determination ultimately holds her back in this season quite a lot. Then you have Norman. I miss his updated manga design though as the guy finally got the big time skip super form that he deserved. In this version he looks pretty similar to how he did in season 1. His plan and motivations are similar enough with trying to end the demons once and for all but it’s all a lot more rushed here. He basically sees a demon with Emma’s name and calls it a day. So much for his determination and will to come out on top no matter what right? At the end of the day he folded like a deck of cards.

I also think he was acting rather rashly by walking into a demon village by himself while his team was busy. He easily could have been taken out by a stray shot and then all of his plans would have been for nothing. Whenever there’s a bad plan like that I have to call it out because while it may have worked, that doesn’t retroactively make it a good idea. In the end Norman was still pretty fun here the whole time though, he certainly still seems to be the smartest character around.

As for Ray, I would say his role here is smaller than in season 1. He used to be the tough member of the 3 who would always play the bad cop role. He would mention the most practical solution while Emma would say the most ideological one. Norman would then try to compromise and find a plan that would save everyone. With Norman gone though, Ray mainly lets Emma call the shots and does his best to assist her. There’s just less character to him as a whole at this point though. He does everything he can to help Emma but doesn’t do much beyond that so he doesn’t feel like the gruff rival anymore.

Don and Gilda still aren’t some of the more likable characters for me though. Gilda gives yet another lecture to Emma about taking too many risks and all that. Maybe Emma wouldn’t have to take so many risks if she actually got some backup once in a while right? That would have certainly helped a lot but Don and Gilda never really do much of anything. I guess they do more than the rest of the kids but that’s almost by default.

Mujika and Sonju get to do a lot more here. As they are demons who can actually converse with the main characters that means there is something different about them. They end up being some of the most important characters in the series due to how their blood works. Without them things would be pretty tough on the heroes. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan though but Sonju does have some fun scenes. The heroes may not want to underestimate him based on some of the things he said earlier on.

Then we have the return of Isabella since you naturally have to bring in this classic villain for the end. She has definitely lost her edge since season 1 though. She acts as a hype person to the kids at times and then makes her move by the end. No matter how you slice it the whole thing is pretty cheesy though. Her character motivations by the end are utterly unbelievable.

If you want a more compelling big villain here then you’ve got Peter Ratri. He’s the mastermind behind everything and is a man who isn’t even afraid of the demons. Now that’s someone to be feared because you never know when he’s going to pop out and start taking names. The guy may be an ordinary human but he is a grown up which means he could technically defeat most of the cast with ease. I was pretty cool with this guy being the final boss, he was a fun enough character.

Finally you have Norman’s new group. These guys were excellent so I’m just sad they couldn’t appear more. First up you have Zazie. He can’t really talk due to how the experiments messed him up but he’s got super strength and is not someone to underestimate. Then you have Vincent who is pretty decent although he doesn’t seem as powerful as the other members. He’s a strategist like Norman although of course he can’t fully match that guy.

For the real stand out characters you have Cislo and Barbara. Cislo is sort of the Captain America of the group. He is a natural born leader who really dislikes the demons but doesn’t show his emotions the same way that the others do. He doesn’t panic and is quickly to call out any member who gets out of line. You’ll enjoy any scene he is in because the guy is just that good.

Finally you have Barbara who goes as far as to even eat the demons she defeats. She really doesn’t hold back and has really been through a lot. It’s why you know that she will never be able to see eye to eye with Emma on this. How could she? She had to live through the worst of the demonic experiments while Emma had a very pleasant life in the orphanage. It’s another reason why it’s really hard to back Emma in her goals throughout the season.

The inclusion of Norman’s group helped transition this into more of an action title since these guys are able to beat demons in large numbers. Since the anime version has no super demons or anything like that, you could actually say the humans were more powerful this time around. That’s kind of crazy to think about but it ended up being the case this time. It’s part of why none of the demons were actually a threat in this one. No matter what they could possibly try, Norman’s group would take them down a few pegs.

This great power does come at a large price though. It’s not sustainable so the characters have to finish this quickly. It should add a layer of tension but at the same time you don’t feel like they’re in too much danger. Norman has already cheated death before, why not do it again now? The guy’s a genius so surely he can think of something.

Ultimately a lot of these things I couldn’t consider to be severe negatives though. The plot hax and sudden character turns always seem awfully convenient but it’s not the kind of thing I dock points for. The show includes some animal hunting for no real reason which can be annoying but the show doesn’t exploit it in nearly the way some other titles would so this one doesn’t sink into the negatives. Ultimately what keeps it from being higher is more due to a lack of positives than an abundance of negatives. At least the series will keep your attention from episode to episode which is important.

Overall, The Promised Neverland may have ended with a rather controversial season but at least it ended. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some more time to have Norman have a proper debate with Emma and Ray though. Surprisingly I wouldn’t say the three of them interact all that much here. Often times they are in different places and so they can’t even debate the whole demon thing much. Norman hands Emma a few Ls and that’s about it for their conversation. The season tackles some pretty interesting themes but with all of the scenes that were cut, there isn’t enough time to try and make the demons all that sympathetic. At the very least the attempt didn’t work this time. If you liked the first season then you should still enjoy this one well enough. The main thing to keep in mind is that the horror genre has been completely removed in favor of more of a classic adventure genre here.

Overall 6/10

Godzilla Singular Point Review


Netflix has had a very interesting history with Godzilla. By interesting, I meant that they tend to throw away the usual Godzilla playbook and come up with something very different. It’s an interesting attempt but they tend to fail a lot more than they succeed. Unfortunately this one is no exception. It’s easily one of the worst anime I’ve seen and I don’t have a ton of hope for the sequel unless it decides to actually have a purpose this time. My main issue with season 1 is that often times there is no point to what’s going on. This anime also shouldn’t have even called itself Godzilla.

The story starts out by following Yun and Habero. They work for a robotics company that sends robots out to their clients. Yun is a genius who can predict events up to 2 weeks into the future simply by analyzing behavioral patterns and such. One day, a song rings out from a nearby facility and they decide to investigate. They end up being captured and escorted out but now crazy things are happening around the planet. A red smoke is appearing and Kaiju are descending onto the planet. It may be the end of the world as they know it, but can this be stopped? They’re going to have to take their Jet Jaguar robot out for a test drive.

Meanwhile Mei Kamino is the main character of the other plot. She has been called in to help the company decide what’s going on with the song since they don’t want to be the ones responsible for the end of the world. Well, the good news is that Mei mostly knows what’s going on. It’s a song from the future using a computer that can’t possibly exist yet and for a material that doesn’t exist in this timeline. Now she just has to figure out what’s going on and they’re good. Can she do it before the calamity wipes out the universe?

There is a ton to unpack here so strap in guys. Before doing that though lets get the rather unimaginative cast out of the way first. You’ve got Michael who is a politician that has a lot of connections. We barely even know what he wants out of this but clearly he needs to be one step ahead of the instance so he can capitalize on it and help his political career. I like the guy’s confidence at least even if he doesn’t really contribute to the story.

Lina is Bearach’s daughter and she doesn’t really do much until the final episodes. She’s not thrilled about how all of these crazy situations require her dad to be away from home so often. Still, Lina has a good head on her shoulders and at least rolls with what’s going on. You won’t be seeing her panic. Bearach is a more tragic character since he’s a complete genius but the problem is that within this series there are at least 4 other geniuses who are smarter than him. At least this guy is pro-active though and does a whole lot more than most of the other characters around here.

Li is one of those characters that the anime ditches without a second thought. She’s pretty smart and has a lot of influence since she made the most headway with the impossible materials. The main issue though is the fact that Mei has surpassed her. Mei continues to find out new things about the material while Li does nothing with her knowledge. Seriously, every episode has her saying things like she is already aware of what Mei has discovered…but to what end? We never actually see Li doing anything to help out beyond just giving speeches.

Kai is a character who will probably be getting a bigger role in season 2. He appears to be a reporter or at least that’s what he claims but the guy is very suspicious. He seems to know a whole lot of what’s going on and the guy just so happens to be trespassing whenever he appears. Not that the heroes can say anything since they’re guilty of the same thing. I like this guy’s energy though so he’s definitely one of the best characters.

Tsunetomo is one of those troll characters who insists on getting in everyone’s way and making a mockery of things. He’s got to be the absolute worst character in the series and every scene with him is incredibly annoying. His partner should have called the cops and had him arrested. When you choose to do nothing like this guy then you’re just a flat out villain.

Goro talks a good game but he’s also a very weak character. The guy just can’t fight and his robots were getting absolutely shredded. I like when characters have a lot of confidence about them but it has to be earned. This guy has yet to do anything that would make you respect his abilities. In the end he just ends up being someone that you will be shaking your head at. He’s effectively the comic relief of the show but never ends up being funny.

There’s not a lot to say about Haberu despite him being Yun’s friend. The guy just doesn’t get much in the way of character. Of course, that’s fairly true for Yun as well. He’s pretty emotionless and his only character is the fact that he’s a genius. I suppose at first they were building him up to be rather skeptical and not trusting of anyone but that vanished after episode 1. He has a lot of good back and forth dialogue with Mei over texts even if the guy always likes to start his sentences with “Let’s assume that..” even when they’re talking about something that has already been proven to be true. I like the genius aspect though so he’s good at least.

As for Mei, she’s okay at best but unfortunately she’s a lot more timid than Yun. She may know all of the answers but has a tough time just jumping into the fray and pointing them out. She ultimately does get the job done I suppose but with none of the main characters being very emotional or aggressive, it means that the show will usually be very low energy.

That’s where Pelops II comes in. She’s really the energy of the series. Effectively she is a free domain AI that Yun came up with and downloads into anything. Each Pelops II is different though and they all have different names despite the base code. This way each plot always has a Pelops with it. I’ll give her more credit than the rest of the characters since half the time the only way to progress is for Pelops to run some simulations and see what’s going on.

All right, we’re through the characters. Unfortunately the animation here is also very sub par. This never looks like a show that came out in 2021, not even close. It’s Netflix so there’s a lot of CGI running around here. Unfortunately it’s not the good kind. This gets shredded by most of the CGI stuff I’ve seen of late. In part I suppose it’s because this isn’t an action oriented series so it can’t really show its stuff.

Godzilla is once again barely able to move. He’s not literally made of rocks like in the trilogy but you can’t expect any real action scenes here. The Rodans can fly a bit and their tussles with Jet Jaguar are about as good as it gets. The hand drawn parts are okay but there are no noticeable moments. So the animation is better than things like FLCL and Pop Team Epic but compare it to almost any traditional anime over the last few years and it’s likely getting stomped. I’ve seen 80s and 90s anime that looked far superior to this one.

I’ll throw the animation a little bone though. The final two episodes actually give me a little hope. Sure, the ending was anticlimactic but I’m talking pure animation here. Godzilla’s Atomic Breath looked really good. You might be thinking that energy effects are the low hanging fruit since they should always look good but you have to start somewhere. It at least made for a good backdrop in the final episodes and looked rather impressive. If the next season has more action, particularly more beam battles then the animation should improve around the board. Now that’s a part of the show that has some potential. If you pause the screen at the right time some of the still images also look good like the Jet Jaguar one I picked out. I really dislike the character design they gave him but the image looks sharp. So it’s very rough around the edges right now but at least there is potential.

As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty solidly low tier. You have a remix of the classic Godzilla theme which is always memorable but it’s a very slow song so it’s not going to make the show seem any more exciting. The only musical theme that I liked a lot was the opening. The intro to the show has a lot more energy and suspense than the entirety of the anime. I’ve listened to it quite a few times now and it’s really solid all around. The images are also cool as they’re vague without being nonsense.

Okay, now lets talk more about the actual show/anime. A huge chunk of the show is told to us via text messages between the main characters. See, when the Kaiju start attacking the first thing everyone needs to find out is why the red dust is appearing. The red dust seems to be connected to the Archetype, a mysterious new kind of object that can use time travel to replenish energy.

We’re first shown this at an expo where it is able to capture two lights, one from the present and one from the future. The kicker? This material is from the future so how did it get to the present? Well, the Red Dust conveniently brought it. How did it do that? The show won’t bother explaining that part but we can assume Ashihara somehow brought some from the future.

Here’s the thing, the show is really focused heavily on the time aspect but it doesn’t make sense most of the time. Okay put it this way, you can have a super computer that brings information from the future. It’s not solid so that’s fine. How are you transporting actual objects from the future without a time machine though? No matter how you slice it that’s pretty iffy. Not as iffy as hiding a code that can physically change the size and shape of an object to also be given super abilities mind you but it’s pretty suspect.

I enjoy all of these theoretical discussions though. That’s the kind of topic you could listen to for hours and at least follow along since it’s usually pretty interesting. Where things go wrong is that the series is supposed to be a Godzilla title. Godzilla himself doesn’t really appear much until episode 8 where he ends up murdering himself by mistake and then he returns later on. Why is Godzilla disrespected so much here?

A single blast from his Atomic Breath was enough to melt him from the inside out? That’s just awful durability. This is also bar none the worst Godzilla design I’ve ever seen. I’ve made fun of the Bear face from the American Godzilla films from time to time and that his design sometimes looks a bit too thick to be ready for hand to hand fights but at least it looks like Godzilla all the way. Same with the chicken form from Shin Godzilla but I still make fun of that one so I wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark.

This one looks absolutely like Titanosaurus and doesn’t look like Godzilla. I don’t know what the animators were doing but they definitely weren’t watching the original films. This is also truly just a mindless monster called Godzilla. Most of the Kaiju here are really only the characters in name only. You have the droves of mindless fodder called Rodan that are barely even sentient as they crash into everything. Are we supposed to take them seriously? You have the climbing Kaiju who doesn’t even get named and a bunch of Manda.

The only Kaiju treated with a lot of respect here was Anguirus. He’s given some pre cog abilities where he can predict the future and dodge attacks. That was cool and a good way to make the time manipulation work for you rather than it being the other way around. It was one of the only moments in the whole show that I would actually say was “cool” and not just emotionless.

Going back to the core issue of the series though, it’s just relentlessly boring and aimless. So all the talks between the two main characters are at least leading up to something right? Well, not really. They spend a few episodes discussing a possible code only to find out in the final episode that there is no code. It was already sent in the past so they just wasted all of their time and ours.

All right, at least we will be able to figure out a way to stop the Calamity right? Wrong, Ashihara figured that out decades ago and put in a program that would make Jet Jaguar ready for this. Pretty impressive that he predicted 50 years ago how the company would build Jet Jaguar and that they would turn on the machine at the precise moment needed to download it.

There’s coincidence in shows and then there’s just the plot saying it’s time to go. The only explanation for this that isn’t awful is that Ashihara is actively time travelling to fix events in the future into his favor. While that is possible, that’s not how the show has been showing us time travel so far. So far it’s mainly been about calculating the future as opposed to travelling.

Let me put this plot in order real quick so we can break it down. This is effectively the timeline of the show. 50BS (Before Show) Ashihara realized that a calamity was going to destroy the world so he built a song into his company’s computer and left instructions for it that were to be opened 50 years later. He then hid the broken bones of an old Godzilla in the basement to transmit the song. Next, he created a computer that is able to read data from the future and buried it into the center of the Earth. He left it with some instructions on how to locate Archetypes and how to build the Orthogonal Diagonalizer which is the only weapon effective against the stronger Kaiju. He then vanished.

So we can now cut over to the present. Everything is unfolding exactly as Ashihara predicted. That’s why we have a Super Computer that is slowly being dug out of the planet and a bunch of Archetypes for things that don’t exist. So we’re in a good spot except why did he have to be so coy about this? If he just left clearer instructions then we’d be good. Perhaps he is a villain since he seems awfully shady but then why even leave all of these notes?

Part of why the show feels utterly pointless is because the main characters didn’t accomplish anything. Ultimately Ashihara did all of the work. The heroes were just following his ideas and recreating the steps he took but even by the end they were too late and he effectively had to step in with the song. That’s why it’s all so aimless and it’s why even the techno babble couldn’t save it.

Usually for these things there is a purpose. Watch A Certain Magical Index/Railgun for a great example of technological speeches and concepts that always serve a purpose. Whether it’s to get a leg up on the enemy or to try and solve some ancient puzzle that crosses the boundaries of magic and science. There’s always a reason that they’re discussing things. Even the Ironman Technovirus movie which was not the best at least had a reason for why they were talking about morality and destiny.

Here? Even the characters seem unsure at times. I still say Yun was bluffing to an extent such as when he started back pedaling in his texts saying “Let’s assume such a material could exist” when Mei just sent him photo evidence of it existing. Maybe he was on auto pilot by then but it could be that he was trying to sound really smart but knew that she had surpassed him by this point.

I’m just not yet convinced about the time aspects of this either. If you could see information from the future then you must be looking at an alternate timeline or else it would keep on changing. So lets say that’s true then it’s still really handy but it doesn’t change the fact that obtaining materials from the future would be impossible. Creating mini loops using the Archetypes would also defy every kind of science law imaginable. If you could pull that off then what’s to stop you from putting the world on loop accidentally? The instant someone weaponizes this it’s all over.

The sad thing is that this show could have really worked if it went in a different direction. First off, this should not be called Godzilla as I mentioned. The Kaiju scenes are all just time wasters and serve no purpose in the story. Cut them out entirely. All right, so we’ve got them out and now there’s no Jet Jaguar either. Refocus Ashihara as the main villain who is introducing this tech into the world. The world is in danger because messing with time is dangerous and the Archetype will cause the calamity.

Now you have Mei and Yun debating about whether the risk is worth it or not. Have one of them think it’s a good idea to keep the Archetypes while the other doesn’t. Now you’ve got an engaging series and a reason for their discussions. Suddenly each conversation has a lot of weight to it because both side is pretty valid. No matter what option they choose, it would be a fun ride all the way to the end.

Because when you think about it, Kaijus just showing up is extremely random. Why would using Archetypes even summon these guys in the first place? The only option the show gives you is that Godzilla is effectively a manifestation of the universe. He keeps things from going out of control. It’s stated almost explicitly that using the computer too much brings about the calamity. So the universe calls in Godzilla to protect the past from being altered?

Now that’s actually a very interesting angle so of course the show doesn’t go there. The Kaiju are all just mindless acts of nature. They serve no purpose here and should have just not been around. Hopefully Season 2 can handle them better. If we get a change in plot I think it’s definitely possible, it just has to be handled with care but surely it will have more of a focus than this one.

Don’t call yourself Godzilla if the star player misses the first 6 episodes. You just can’t do that. We have some mild action scenes but it’s not that kind of show and you can tell since it’s all rather half hearted. I’d also say the show’s directing needs to be more focused. Stop having every news channel cut the other one off. They’re never able to have a full conversation and it’s a gimmick that gets old almost immediately. Come on now, there’s no reason for that. Just let each broadcast play. It’s an intentional design choice so it’s not an error but it’s bad design.

As a final note, the calamity is supposed to wipe out the entire universe. My question would be…how? Godzilla’s laser isn’t destroying a city, let alone the universe. If Godzilla is the calamity then there is no way he is going to destroy the universe. So presumably there has to be another layer here like destroying Earth will somehow affect the rest of the universe. That or when Godzilla died in the explosion, it would destroy the universe. Kind of a desperate move for the universe itself if it’s summoning these Kaiju. I suppose the easiest solution is just that meddling with time causes a paradox which destroys the universe but you definitely have to use a lot of head canon for this show.

I could probably keep going but I think you get the gist of it here. Netflix clearly wants to turn Godzilla into a deep philosophical series and I have no idea why. You can turn any series into that direction of course so Godzilla is just as qualified as anyone but it does take away from the appeal of the series. People watch Godzilla for big action scenes and a lot of special effects. Not for talks on the inner mechanics of the universe. Again, if there was a point to it and not just “Eh, lets just let Ashihara save the day” then it would be different. As it stands, you could remove every human character from the story entirely and Ashihara would have still been able to save the world with Pelop II. That’s the most depressing part when you think about it. (Climax made no sense power level wise)

While this is definitely a show that is getting a low score, what prevents it from going lower is that at least it did have some positives. There were some characters I liked as I mentioned earlier and at least the discussions were interesting. They may have been fruitless but introduced unique concepts at least. I can’t imagine majoring in a field to study things that don’t exist though. How do you get a job off of that or is it something you just have as a personal achievement? The energy effects looked good and we get the occasional battle scene. Anguirus’ time pre cog was neat. It also helps that the show didn’t make any huge mistakes either. There’s no fanservice here or anything like that. If it was less boring it would probably jump up a star or 2 as it is. It’s not like the writing is bad either, it just didn’t know where to go.

Overall, That’s Godzilla Singular Point in a nutshell. I really didn’t think it was possible for the show to fumble the ball so badly but it is what it is I suppose. The show ends with a direct cliffhanger so I have to assume that a season 2 is in the works. Hopefully it should beat the first season. In a lot of ways it shouldn’t be hard but if we’re going to just do everything all over again then there may not be a reason for it to improve. What’s so hard about playing it straight for a change and having a Godzilla anime about giant monsters battling it out all the time?

Overall 4/10

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Review


Demon Slayer certainly became a global sensation. When the anime launched it was appearing everywhere and so it’s only natural that a movie sequel by UFotable would continue to get a ton of press and box office. This movie adapts the train arc which is certainly one of the strongest parts of the series. It’s the first time we get to see a Hashira fight seriously which is a pretty big deal. It also works really well as a movie so it was a good pick by the company.

Picking up where the series left off, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu are boarding the Mugen Train. They are to team up with the Hashira known as Rengoku to stop the demons that are on the train. People have been going missing left and right on the train and the slayers sent previously have all been vanquished. Tanjiro and the others may still be newcomers to the organization but they have proven themselves in battle. They are ready to conquer this train.

Unsurprisingly Rengoku is the one doing most of the heavy lifting though. He is a Hashira for a reason and Demon Slayer has a pretty solid power level setup going for it. In fact, when paired up with most of its Shonen Jump companions you could make a strong case for this being one of the best in terms of the power levels making a lot of sense. It’s a strong point for Demon Slayer and never for a moment does it looks like the rest of the characters are competing with Rengoku. He is definitely the star of the show here.

I like Giyu a lot and he’s the only rival to Rengoku in terms of being my favorite Hashira but ultimately I would say Rengoku definitely wins this. He’s a very earnest guy and his flame abilities are incredible. I would go as far as to say he’s the strongest member of the group in terms of base abilities, so no red swords. He has tremendous speed and in the movie we see how difficult it is to protect one car and yet he was protecting 5. He has a pretty emotional backstory and never gets tempted by the demons.

Still, while Rengoku has a lot of screen time I would say this is still Tanjiro’s movie. He is forced to confront his past and the idea of an alternate reality. It’s never easy to leave such a dream but he does it rather well. It’s also just pretty painful in general to leave even knowing how you do it but the guy is resolute. Tanjiro’s always had a lot of determination after all. His fight with the demon may be quick but it’s a solid action scene all the same.

Then you have Inosuke who looks good as expected. He’s confident in his abilities and gets a good tag team with Tanjiro. His inner dream is also the most amusing out of the 3 which reflects his inner mind rather well. Zenitsu gets the shaft from the 3 which may surprise some fans since you would figure that a movie where the heroes are constantly in a dream-like state would be to his advantage. In some ways it is as he couldn’t protect Nezuko nearly as well while awake but his action is mainly off screen.

Enmu is the main villain here. He’s not really much of a fighter in close quarters combat which is why he has the whole train scheme. If you put everyone to sleep then perhaps you can end up winning without having to go through all of the trouble of fighting. I do think he overthinks it to an extent though. Due to how it’s hard to wake up in general and it takes a while, I think the easiest thing to do would just be to stab the slayers as soon as they’re asleep. The plan with the kids was decent and apparently it works a lot but it feels like a lot of work.

Enmu isn’t quite as solid as a lot of the other demons in Muzan’s ranks though. I never became a big fan of his personally. His abilities are unique to be sure and he does have some quality dialogue but that’s about all I can say for him. In true movie fashion his super form is pretty much just a giant blob that can’t fight back. So those action scenes while well animated don’t quite hold up to the rest. Give me the opening action scenes against the random demons anytime. Akaza also looks great in his appearance and already cemented himself as the greatest villain in the series by this point. The guy really enjoys battling and even has a bit of an honor code about him as he tries to get the heroes to his level as well. You definitely have to respect the commitment.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Ufotable film without some kind of insane action sequence. The fun part is that pretty much any chunk of the film could be used as a great display of animation. Even the “standard” fights of the movie look great which is to be expected. I still have Ufotable as the best pure animation company in the biz right now. Their shows just look incredible. My favorite will always be Pierot but in a 1 on 1 contest the smart money would be on Ufotable to win. The final battle looks incredible. The colors are striking and you can tell it’ll be years before anime are able to churn out fights like this on the regular.

It was just an excellent way to wrap up the adventure. Mugen Train is one of those films that is fairly long but certainly doesn’t feel like it. The movie just keeps going from scene to scene with an engaging story so it never drags. There are some pretty tense moments as well like the conductor punching in all of the tickets which works really well. The soundtrack is very good. It’s definitely got a Fate vibe to it which always works really well with the animation style. It’s got a grand feel to it and ups the anticipation/hype of every moment. There are some themes from the show but also some new ones to be sure so there’s a good mix there.

The movie isn’t nearly as violent as the show which also works well for making this a big theater experience. The most blood is probably when the characters are slashing at the blobs which is certainly the weakest part of the film since these blobs can’t do anything but for the most part the film is ready to just jump straight into the action. I wouldn’t say there are any real weaknesses to the title. I suppose if this had been the true climax that would have been really underwhelming but fortunately we got to end with something spectacular.

Overall, Mugen Train is definitely a great film. It’s got top tier animation and music at the ready along with a great cast of characters. Every scene with Rengoku is really a great moment. His self preservation instinct is really on point and the guy also feels like a natural leader. His very presence instills confidence in anyone who’s around him. Most likely you’ll already know about the true final act by the time you watch the film but if you don’t that’s probably a good thing because it’s one of the best cinematic twists of all time. It’s something that really pushes the film to the next level and I would consider this part of the movie an absolute necessity. Whether you’ve watched the anime or not you should be able to jump into this film and have a good time with it. I’d definitely recommend giving it whirl and now we’ll see when the next film comes out.

Overall 8/10