The Law of Ueki Review


The Law of Ueki is a manga that was a lot of fun back in the day. It tends to be overlooked when talking about some of the top action titles but it can certainly hold its own. The series had a lot of fun characters and engaging fights. It’s no surprise that the anime really handles this quite well too. You can really divide the anime into two sagas even though it’s all the same tournament. Pre Celestials and Post. Either way you should have a blast with both versions and with a satisfying conclusion you can put this away as a very complete anime.

Law of Ueki opens up with a premise about a big tournament about to be held by the Celestial King. The winner of this tournament will receive the Talent of *Blank* meaning that you can write down whatever is there. Naturally that’s a very enticing prize for most. Each Celestial is able to choose one human to represent them in the tournament as this is a battle through proxy as the celestials would be too overpowered. You are allowed to give your candidate one power that you currently possess.

The candidates then have to seek each other out and defeat their opponents. Each time you defeat an opponent you also gain a personal skill like the talent to dance or things like that. Defeat them all and you will presumably win the tournament. Injuring non ability users is a strict no no though as you will lose a talent for each person you injure. Lose them all and you will cease to exist.

That brings us to the main celestial Mr. K who is thinking about having Ueki be his candidate. Mr. K is determined to see if the boy has an air of righteousness about him though and gives a lot of tests. Ueki completes each one as the guy is just a nice kid by default so Mr. K selects him. Ueki makes the rather interesting decision to take the power of turning trash into trees. Will he really be able to win this tournament with such an ability? His best friend Mori isn’t so sure so she decides to tail him everywhere to keep him safe.

Mori’s definitely a great friend to have. She really has nothing to do with this battle and prior to the series it’s hard to say if they really were true best friends. Still, she knew he was in danger so she jumped in to help which is definitely a heroic thing to do. Throughout the series she always has his back. She may not be the biggest fighter but she does participate in the tournament and does well when needed. Mori is quite determined and doesn’t go down easy. I would go as far as to say she is one of the better Shonen heroines.

The opening episodes of the show are mostly about introducing us to Ueki’s opponents, future rivals, and how the fights will go down. Ueki will typically end up going against a power user not because he really wants to win but because he realizes that it will be a bad thing if these guys get the talent of blank. Let’s just say that they don’t exactly have an air of righteousness about them after all so they would definitely end up leading the world into ruin. Sometimes their wishes aren’t super crazy evil but they’re always very selfish.

Ueki shows these guys what’s up by taking them out and he also gets more familiar with his ability. He doesn’t mind using it on humans when he sees anyone acting with evil intentions though. Due to this Ueki quickly starts losing a whole lot of talents. It’s a good thing Mori is here or he would probably go down to 0. Still, aside from one episode about track and field where he wasted talents for no real reason, each of the other times it felt necessary for him to use his ability or people would really get hurt.

The power to change trash into trees is a unique one so I give the series credit there. In general I thought the author was very creative with the abilities. Being able to turn towels into iron is another unique one for example or being able to put a portrait of someone’s face to simulate their voice. They aren’t abilities I’ve seen anywhere else or that I expect I’ll see in the future.

Ueki’s power system is also pretty well thought out. Each ability has a limiting condition that must be applied in order for it to work and also to negate it. That means there is a lot of strategy here instead of going for the I win button each time. Every character has to watch their actions closely which makes for a lot of nice back and forth battles.

Then the second half of the series I’d say is when the Robert’s 10 shows up although you could also make the case it should be when the tournament’s next round starts so they all go to the Celestial World. If we go with the latter, a big change is this is now a team tournament to Ueki teams up with Ai, Sano, Rinko, and Hideyoshi to form their 5 man team. Additionally, Ueki starts to learn some new abilities thanks to being a celestial and the concept of a grade 2 weapon is introduced as well.

Ueki getting some twists and a power up was pretty good because it does explain why he survives some absolutely brutal attacks throughout the course of the show. They are moves you wouldn’t expect a normal human to walk away from but taking a beating in anime isn’t exactly a new concept. So even without the twist I don’t think it would be a big deal but it is part of what makes this knowledge effective.

The major change here though are Ueki’s new abilities. Now that he has celestial weapons, super speed, and a bunch of ranged weapons, the whole tree power grows less and less helpful. It makes sense because such an ability had huge limitations from the start but you do feel to an extent like it changes all battles going forward. Now instead of strategy it was more about spamming your celestial weapons so for better or worse it completely changes how all of the fights go.

Personally I was a fan of it though. No matter how you slice it, it would have been a little cheesy for Ueki to have caught up to the others without some kind of big boost. Most of the other characters still have to rely on their natural talent so for their battles you still have the strategy. Ueki also does his best to mix and match weapons so it’s still unique.

Ueki’s just a pretty great character. At times they definitely use him to parody some of the usual moments. One such scene is when a guy he barely knew gets super injured so Ueki goes into a rage mode to fight Robert. The next episode Ueki doesn’t even remember who the guy was though which is super random but he did barely know the guy so maybe it actually makes sense. Ueki’s all about winning the right way and saving everyone he can. He’s a classic main character who always stays very heroic.

You could say the main rival of the series is Sano although Li-Ho could make a case for that as well. Sano’s another heroic guy and his ability of turning towels into iron may not sound impressive but he makes it work. Sano is a master strategist so coming up with plans on the fly like that is really what makes him stand out. He ended up easily being my favorite character in the series due to how impressive he was.

Sano makes up for his lack of pure strength with plans and this is something that comes in handy right through the final episode as well. Whenever you need a hand, Sano is your man. Rinko is another one of the main allies and while she is also a strategist, her methods differ greatly from Sano’s. She prefers to think everything through before making a move while Sano acts as he goes to test out his theories and troubleshoot. While neither approach is objectively better I would go with Sano’s in a fight.

Both of them have issues thanks to this during their team fight and in that case I thought Sano was right since you can’t just hide. Rinko’s power is to turn beads into bombs which is handy but since it’s not the most mobile technique the opponents tend to use that against her. She gets a glove near the end of the series that amps up her powers to a great degree but it’s so late in the game that she doesn’t get to use it a whole lot. She’s a fun character though.

Finally you have Hideyoshi who was added so late in the game that I don’t really think there was a reason for him to be included. He doesn’t really add anything to the dynamic that wasn’t already there and he can’t fight for beans. I won’t take any shots at the guy because he’s okay, but he just didn’t feel necessary is what I’m trying to say here. His power needs a lot of work.

Mr. K gets a fairly big role of course but I admit that he tended to be more annoying than anything. I liked him when he was alive. Despite his tough talk he did come to help Ueki when it counted. Where he got more annoying was once he was dead. The guy went out of his way to try and not hear about how Ueki was doing. It’s all just an act of course but he goes to such extremes that he just ends up being unlikable. So…yeah I wasn’t a fan by the end.

Tenko’s a much better ally for Ueki. He’s willing to make a lot of sacrifices to help him out and isn’t ashamed to be helping him. Now that’s a true ally. Then you have Yodogawa who is not the most loyal guy around to say the least but he gets a lot of fun scenes. There’s a certain track from the OST that plays for all of his scenes and it’s really great. So this guy worked rather well as a comedy character.

Now lets check out some of the villains. First off is the main villain Hanon. I guess I should say final villain as opposed to main since he doesn’t appear for quite a while. The guy is very powerful and really sets his own plans. I like that he’s not just someone who simply follows orders. He also likes a good fight and even entertains Li-Ho on this for a while. That said, he did try going after a random dog so it was lucky that Ueki was there. It could have gotten very dicey. I like his combat energy but going after a dog is just plain petty.

The other big villain is Robert and he really serves as the first huge obstacle in Ueki’s way. His bubbles ability is actually a lot cooler than it sounds with how it can raise and drop objects. Once he takes out the celestial weapons don’t expect that you’ll see a lot of this again though. He served as a good benchmark for how you could measure the rest of the characters. Robert is quite twisted to be sure and the show executes this well. He’s quite the intimidating villain.

Li Ho isn’t really a villain per say but he is a powerful obstacle in Ueki’s way. Part of this guy’s hype is he is so strong in martial arts that he doesn’t even use his super power. The show really milks this since the whole time you are waiting for him to use his abilities. The guy is very determined not to do so which means you can certainly appreciate his resolve even if you feel like he should put his pride aside to just win the fight. His battles against Ueki and Hanon are most excellent and he is definitely one of the best characters in the show.

Onimon is one of the earlier opponents but worth noting as he’s a fun character. He’s really powerful with his whole cannonballs attack and he has a good honor code in place. He’s definitely determined not to win his fights with cheap shots or anything like that and I always like characters like that. Winning isn’t enough, you have to win the right way.

I should also mention the King. He doesn’t get to do a whole lot but as the Celestial King his abilities are absolutely top caliber. There are very few opponents who can take him on. You feel like he probably should have acted a bit sooner though as his plan was very shaky and full of holes from the start. If he had a better plan or thought things through a little more then things would have been very different here. He’s a charismatic guy but there’s no excuse for not acting so I’d give him a thumbs down.

Each of the Robert’s 10 gets a role of course but lets talk about some of the biggest members. First has to be Don as the guy had a big grudge against Ueki from the start. His power to turn rings into rockets was also very impressive. His raw power was absolutely insane and he’s a good example of someone who just isn’t very compatible with the trees ability. Ueki needed something more to take that guy down.

Then you have Marco with his lava ability. Honestly if not for being with Rinko and then trapping Ueki in a tough spot, he would have gone down quick. The guy is good at playing dirty though so he’s pretty memorable. Then you have Taro who is the strongest member of the group. With his lasers and saws it’s tough to take him down. Of course that’s against the rules but it’s not like the Celestial King is paying any attention right? People break the rules constantly in this tournament. Taro was a solid villain though.

Kabara is another tough member. While the guy got humiliated in the end, he did look good in his fight with Mori. A fight that was quite original I might add and really stood out. Then you have Carpaccio who is more like a street gang guy but a very tough one to be sure. His ability to copy powers was already tricky to deal with and then when you combine it with all of his other abilities the guy was a true menace. Definitely not someone who could be taken down easily.

Margarette is a villain who doesn’t appear until near the end of the series but he was also impressive. His grand master plan is certainly ambitious and even end of series Ueki would have a tough time with him. (Ueki would probably still win though) This guy was fun and I wouldn’t have minded seeing him appear a little more just so we could learn more about the guy.

Team Marilyn was certainly one of the most impressive teams in the tournament. Mainly due to their leader, Marilyn herself. Her super speed ability is so broken that even by the end of the fight there was no way for Ueki to beat her. It’s why you have to wonder where she was during the climax as she could have actually given Hanon a good fight. The celestial weapons are all too slow to hit her after all so maybe she could have even won.

Her fight against Ueki is probably the best battle in the series as well. It’s just really good and it fits in well with the rest of the fights because the team battle was also the best in the series. Each member was very dangerous so everyone on Ueki’s team had their work cut out for them. It also helps that nobody on Marilyn’s team was even evil so at times you aren’t sure who to root for. You can just enjoy a battle between two elite teams.

In comparison, Team Barrow at the end isn’t quite as impressive. Sure, maybe they could beat Team Marilyn but I think it would be close and not a guarantee. They have no single member stronger than Marilyn, however as a whole their members are way stronger than her teammates so it does even out. Barrow’s members are all solid. They have Celestial weapons that have different gimmicks so each one has to be handled in a different way. Underestimate them at your own peril.

Law of Ueki has a lot of great humor which is worth noting. The characters lend themselves well to the humor such as Yodogawa being foiled in his plans or Ueki trolling his music friend. Mori’s antics as she tries to use her powers can be a great bit of fun as well. The show also subverts your expectations at times like when one character is gearing up to use some kind of super ultimate attack only to be foiled in the end before he can even do it. Scenes like that really land.

The show has a solid balance of being serious, funny, emotional, and dramatic. To an extent this is true for any good show of course. I’d say where this show really hit the next level and got big was the Robert’s 10 arc. Now I think Ueki took a huge risk that he didn’t need to in trying to join but he was definitely determined. The challenge where he had to lift a block up for several days without moving was crazy. Especially with the characters beating him up and jumping on the rock during the process.

That has to be one of the most intense scenes in the whole show. I’m sure Ueki was definitely ready to take them out after all of that. Even while being undercover Ueki made sure that nobody was going to push him around which I appreciated as well. He matched them blow for blow. That’s also the arc where we started getting a lyrical song before the episode would end which was a great way to end the fights.

The theme song just sounds really epic and it’s part of why you should always choose an opening with that in mind. A similar scene is when Ueki shows up near the end of the series with another inspirational track. The show puts the heroes in some really tight corners so when they get out it definitely feels pretty hype.

The animation is definitely very nice here. The battle scenes are on point and there are a lot of nice effects. Each attack looks good and the hand to hand battles have a lot of smooth transitions. The soundtrack is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say most of the tunes seem to stand their ground when listened to on Youtube but when you mix them into the scenes with context I thought they were quite impressive. Both of the openings are also really good. The first one in particular stands out and really works well when the heroes have a big moment to end the episode.

Overall, The Law of Ueki is a great anime. It’s a show built around a tournament which is always a lot of fun and they are able to develop each character really well. The 50+ episodes all flow by really quickly. Before you know it they’re gone and that’s always the hallmark of a solid title. I can easily recommend this to anyone who likes a good action anime. It’s written well and every aspect of the show holds up well. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Plus anime someday to see the characters return.

Overall 8/10

Weathering With You Review


Lately it seems a little rare to see one of these anime rom-coms where one of the characters doesn’t just die tragically. This time the plot’s still emotional but not going for quite as much of a traumatic kind of story. It’s a very solid all around title and one that has a fantastic ending. Honestly the ending’s so good that I almost threw it an extra star because it wraps up the product so well. Either way this is a very good film.

The movie starts by introducing us to Hodaka who is in a bit of a rough patch. He can away from home and is trying to tough it out in Tokyo. Since he is a minor with no ID and running out of money, this isn’t easy though. Fortunately he does end up meeting a local CEO named Suga who offers him a job. It doesn’t pay much but now Hodaka has somewhere to live. He also meets up with a nice girl named Hina who has the power to generate sunlight over a limited area. Since Tokyo has been experiencing rain for months on end, Hodaka has an idea. They can charge people money for Hina’s services. She will make it sunny on special occasions as per the requester in exchange for the fee. Everything seems to be going well but can it possibly last?

Weathering With You definitely throws a lot of trials at the main characters. Usually whenever they get out of one situation then another one is quick to pop up in its place. Still, as long as they have each other they are able to get through it. In a way I would say Hodaka’s toughest trial was the intro scenes since not having any money and being in a strange new place has to be tough to overcome.

I’d say this is a pretty upbeat movie though. It helps that Hina is definitely an optimist who always sees the bright side of things. As a Sunshine girl that is certainly to be expected. She’s a good cook and is just very talented. Bringing good fortune to the people around her is definitely something to keep her emotions up as well. Throughout the movie Hina is always thinking of everyone around her and doesn’t mind making sacrifices if it’ll help everyone else out so she’s definitely a star character.

Her little brother Nagi also means well but he definitely flirts a lot so I wouldn’t say he is quite as fun as the little sibling in other films like A Silent Voice. Nagi is smart though so he does come in handy several times. He’s also good at tackling when needed which was helpful in the climax. Then you have the supporting characters from the job. First up is Natsumi who wants to get more of a real job but in the meantime she throws herself into her work. She may buy into all of the supernatural elements a little too easily but at least this makes her interviews with the various people quite genuine.

You can also tell she is the responsible member of the household since Suga tends to be a lot sloppier. Suga is mainly focused on trying to win a custody case but still tries to do the right things along the way. He can be a little dense in the second half of the film though as the writing is on the wall but he’s still slowing everyone down. I think to a reasonable extent you can see why he was trying to put distance between him and Hodaka though. Perhaps he could handle it a little better but that was a tough spot to be put in. The scene of stopping him on the skyscraper though? Nah…I can’t get behind that one.

As for Hodaka himself, I would say he’s weaker than some of the other characters. For starters, while he likes Hina, he gets distracted way too easily. Hodaka didn’t exactly handle himself very gracefully when he first met Natsumi or even later on when they were chatting at the park. Those scenes keep him from being a better character as he doesn’t seem like the most loyal of guys around. That said, he is able to ultimately recover his character a good deal by the end.

The ending is really one of the best parts of the film. See, a lot of times you have characters make the “tough” calls where they decide that they have to put the good of the world above the few. You’ll see a character willing to make a sacrifice to save everyone and the characters either half heartedly agree or don’t really try doing anything about it. Hodaka made a clear choice that he would save his special someone even if it means that the world has to go back to a time of peril. It’s the right answer. Characters like the Flash (coughshouldhavesavedhismothercough) could learn a thing or two from him. It was a spectacular move and he didn’t have any doubts about it or start regretting the move.

No, Hodaka just went in and made the right call without a split second’s hesitation. That’s what I like to see in a main character. So I had some issues with him but that was just such a good scene that he had to rise up a bit there. The film even dealt with the fallback from this and it was handled really well. At the end of the day, you can never let someone make the ultimate sacrifice if you can stop it.

The animation here is great as expected. The character designs are on point and the animation is very smooth. One character even grabs a gun at one point which made for a powerful visual. There are less supernatural elements here to get you a lot of impressive visuals but at least as far as going for a more slice of life look went, this one got you everything you could need. I had no issues with the graphics. The soundtrack was also solid. The best theme was the brief rock theme that played during one of the motorcycle chases at the end. There are also a few lyrical songs of course and those were good as well.

While the movie doesn’t go in this direction I started thinking we were going to meet some rain girls who were causing the current downpours and that would lead to some kind of fight scene. In the end that didn’t happen but it would have been fun. I did enjoy the nonstop rain though because that’s where the animation got to focus its attention. The rain is different from pure water like in the recent anime film I saw so they got to go for different techniques. Watching a heavy rainstorm out your window is always an incredible sight and the movie captures that pretty well.

The food also looks good as expected. It’s always a lot of fun seeing how the dishes look in the movies. For example, here we had Hina make a solid ramen infused with potato chips and that did look pretty good. I’ve messed around with potato chips a lot in my day like for mac n cheese or pizza, but I haven’t tried it in a ramen. It does look really good though so I could definitely see that working out well. The fast food at the hotel was also good. With solid writing and pacing throughout, you could say that this film started off on the right foot and just kept on going that way.

Overall, Weathering With You is definitely a film that I would highly recommend. It’s just a lot of fun and while the characters go through their share of challenges, they handle them rather well. McDonalds even gets its due respect as a character has one of their burgers and realizes that it’s the best meal he’s had in years. This isn’t surprising, McDonalds has always had some of the best food on the planet. Most people don’t realize this but they have the best burgers. Mix in the excellent ending and you definitely have a winner here.

Overall 7/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Rimuru’s Glamorous Life as a Teacher Review


That title’s definitely a mouthful isn’t it? In theory I could have taken out the franchise title since you don’t always need to have that as part of the intro but in this case it did make sense. This one’s a 3 episode special about Rimuru’s days as a teacher. It’s a fun little adventure and works well in this universe where Rimuru already does get to have a lot of down time between battles. You can picture him hanging out at the school for a while to flex and show why he’s a better teacher than the rest. It’s a solid adventure that goes by in a flash.

The special starts with Rimuru slacking off at school as per usual when Jeff shows up. This teacher has always had something against Rimuru. Rimuru doesn’t know if it’s because he’s always slacking off or the guy is just jealous that he transformed the most problematic class into the most powerful one. Either way Jeff lets him know that a big protection test is coming up at the school and as always Rimuru’s class won’t be invited since they don’t have equipment. Rimuru quickly changes that so now his class can in fact enter. The rules are simple, the kids will drive a van/wagon past the mountain plains and into town where they will drop off the teacher unharmed. They will all then participate in a cave challenge fighting monsters.

To keep things fair, the students will be guarding different teachers. So for example Jeff’s students will be guarding Rimuru and his students will be guarding another teacher named Tiss. Your points are based on how quickly you make it to the castle along with how smooth a ride it was. Rimuru’s not particularly concerned since his kids are far more powerful than your average class. They each have spirit animals and basic offensive magic skills at the ready. Still, this trip may be more dangerous than they had expected.

The special does deliver on the action as the kids are inevitably attacked by bandits. They handle them rather well and then even have to fight off an actual demon. They don’t look quite as good in that battle but I don’t think anyone would have been quite prepared to handle this guy. Not only does he have regeneration but he is also very fast and powerful. Such a foe is completely outside the limits of a usual school test. Fortunately we had Diablo show up to clean things up by the end. The guy continues to prove why he is one of the best characters in the series which is why it’s almost a bit funny that he hasn’t technically appeared in the main show yet outside of a cliffhanger, a prequel episode, and now an extra episode.

You can tell he will definitely make a splash when he gets a proper role. There’s also a bit of an epilogue as Rimuru helps cure a fatal illness because he’s just that good. One thing you figure out very quickly while watching the slime adventures is that there isn’t much that Rimuru can’t do. Thanks to Great Sage he is a super genius and he has so many extra abilities that he is also a whiz at combat. This makes him pretty much untouchable to at least 90% of the cast which is no small feat. He’s a fun character and definitely looks good in these episodes.

Then you have the rival Jeff who is fun. I mean, you know he is completely and utterly out of his league in the fight but it doesn’t take away from his being a rather amusing character. It’s always fun seeing these characters give the lead a hard time, particularly when like here it isn’t overdone. He’s not trying to frame Rimuru or do anything drastic, he just throws out a lot of insults.

Then you have the third teacher Tiss. She’s a nice person but you feel like she should be a lot stronger than she is. My main issue is that she looked up to Shizu as a great role model and aspires to be as powerful as her. You would expect that she would have started training then right? Unfortunately she acts like she has never held a sword a day in her life. How does that work out? It just doesn’t make any sense no matter how you slice it. I’m hoping when she next appears she would have gotten a lot stronger.

Meanwhile the kids are good, they continue to defy expectations and actually appear as very solid characters. I would say the weakest of the group is Gale mainly because the guy barely seems to have any character next to the others. Kenya is a blast though and is always ready to charge the enemy. With his sword and design he looks like someone out of Dragon Quest. Then you have Chloe who is also always ready for battle. Her chosen weapon may not be the best one but she makes up for it in hidden talent. Then you have Alice who is quite possibly the most powerful of the kids. She is a little more on the timid side but definitely fights when it counts. Ryota is also a fairly quiet kid so you won’t see him make a name for himself, but he is there ready and willing to help at all times.

While the special is a fairly light hearted endeavor, the action scenes are pretty serious. Kenya actually sliced off one guy’s arm which was unexpected but of course the guy had a potion to regenerate it. I’m glad Kenya had been prepared for this though. The kids put up a brave stand against the demon as well which was nice to see and of course this led to Diablo stealing the show as always. It was a great climax and the perfect way to end the special. If you merge the three parts this works quite well as a mini movie. It’s got a complete plot and while Rimuru doesn’t get to do a whole lot in terms of fighting here, he’ll have plenty of chances in the main series anyway. This one really focuses on why he is known as such a great teacher. He may be rather hands off in his approach but his sheer genius makes up the difference.

The animation is on par with the main show. It’s a very solid display for the character designs and backdrops. I definitely have no complaints with how anything looked. The soundtrack is also taken from the show so this is good as well. It is able to really capture the feeling of just being another pair of episodes which is good. It’s a seamless transition. The pacing is on point so this will also keep your interest all the way through.

Overall, This was a fun trilogy of episodes. I wouldn’t say there is a ton more to discuss since it’s a rather straight forward plot. It’s a quick challenge to see which class is best and we all know that Rimuru’s absolutely destroyed the others no matter what Jeff says. Of course, they all have super powers and spirit boosters so it may not be super fair, but that’s neither here nor there. I’d be cool with Jeff returning in the main series for more of a rivalry with Rimuru from time to time. The kids also still want to visit Rimuru’s village so I assume that is probably going to happen soon. If you want a fun little adventure to see the old characters again this is definitely a good special to check out.

Overall 7/10

Assassination Classroom Review


Time to look at Assassination Classroom, definitely a title that was a pretty big hit everywhere. This is one of those shows that definitely got a lot of attention while it was around. It had a pretty cool premise and a lot of potential although it ended up holding itself back. The first season makes for a pretty fun adventure. You’ll get to see the exploits of a supernatural teacher as he tries to get Class E into shape. Of course they’re all in Class E for a reason so this won’t be as easy as it seems.

The show starts by explaining that a mysterious being has blown up 755 of the world. He makes a deal with humanity. He won’t blow up the Earth yet but then he will get to teach a classroom of kids how to be great academics as well as assassins. They have 1 year in which to destroy Koro-sensei. If they are unable to complete this mission, then he will blow up the planet. As part of the deal, the government and other fighters can try to murder him as well so long as it doesn’t interfere with the classroom. Additionally, he is not allowed to harm any of the students so it’s a pretty generous deal right? At the same time, what can some kids do against an alien like Koro who moves at mach speed and travels the world on a whim?

From the human characters Nagisa is definitely the main one. He doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in part because he has never found anything that he is really good at. He tries a lot of things but nothing ever turns out to be a perfect match for him. This class changes everything as he finds out he has a knack for being an assassin. Definitely not the career path he had initially thought of but it could be perfect for this role.

Part of the trouble though is the kids start to doubt if they want to destroy Koro. He seems like a really nice guy and at the end of the day all of his tips and tricks help make them better people. Kuro is always teaching the kids things they didn’t even know about themselves and they are all the stronger for it. Nagisa’s a good character. He could definitely use more confidence but he does get better as the season goes on. He’s got a very tangible character arc there.

The best character has to be Karma though. He’s essentially the opposite of Nagisa. This guy is incredibly confident but also a complete delinquent. He isn’t afraid to attack a teacher or get into fights with gang members. These are skills that help him a lot in this class but would definitely put him in a pickle for normal studies. It’s part of why he’s in Class E since technically his academic abilities are some of the best in the class. Karma can effectively do anything as a student but at the same time this does cause him to be overconfident. While all of the kids seem doomed against Koro since he can move faster than they can even think, at least Karma comes up with a lot of great plans to stop him.

He steals the show in the big story arcs as well like when he faces off against one of the pro assassins’ who can crush anyone with a single grab. Karma also does well against a group of thugs who attack his classmates and on some who tried bullying Nagisa. At the end of the day you can always count on him to defend his allies. Karma definitely didn’t have the easiest time growing up but he puts all of his energy into helping out his classmates in Class E so what else could you ask for from the guy?

Then we have the teacher himself. Well, Koro is definitely a very complex character. On one hand, he clearly has a whole lot of skill even aside from his super abilities. He’s got an analytical mind and is serious about being a teacher so he builds an individual curriculum for each of the kids. That being said, he doesn’t like to show this side of him to the point where he goes all out in making himself look as bad as possible.

Where Koro’s character really gets ruined is in how he is responsible for bringing quite a bit of the fanservice into the show. He is obsessed with reading certain magazines or falling for other characters’ wiles. He has enough ability to purposefully fall into a trap an still escape after all. It may all be an act but he has so much fun with it that it is impossible to find the guy likable. It would be nice if he was serious all the time but it happens so rarely that he even tends to get embarrassed afterwards. Koro’s good at teaching but he’s a bad character overall.

That is the show’s greatest weak point though. It does have a considerable amount of fanservice throughout the show. Mainly this shows up every time Irina appears or for some of Koro’s gags. Irina is the main culprit though. It’s unfortunate since she is a pro agent who actually has a good amount of skills but unfortunately she was trained in the art of seduction as well which the show likes to focus on. She isn’t afraid to mess with the students either if she thinks it will help her out which is definitely rather shameless. This is why she won’t be able to catch up to Karasuma.

Karasuma is an excellent character and definitely one of the standouts in the show. He can fight really well and definitely acts like a full commander. Without him the kids would be in a bit of a tricky spot but with him you feel like they have a chance…at least as much as Koro lets them have one anyway. Against any human you can expect Karasuma to take the win because of his high degree of skill. That said, Koro is a different beast entirely.

One thing that’s a little different here compared to most titles is that the goal appears to be impossible. In Naruto you can picture him becoming Hokage some day. He may be weak at the start but he knows Ninjutsu and has a Fox inside of him so he can pull it off. Same with Luffy becoming Pirate King as he has a Devil fruit and all. The kids destroying Koro? It’s hard to picture because they are just normal kids and he’s a being that can move faster than a fighter jet. I forget exactly what speed they said he is, mach 50 or something. What’s more important is what you see him do. Koro is so fast he is able to have 20 different conversations at the same time with various after images. He is able to play full sport games by himself on both teams. He can move with such crazy speed that the humans can’t possibly even hope to see him.

Because of that, there is no goal to achieve. The kids can study for thousands of years and never get fast enough to stop Koro without some kind of upgrades because they are pure humans. In that sense, this is probably one of the only series I can think of where the goal is actually 100% impossible. There is just nothing the heroes can do to stop him at least without changing the very formula of the series. Koro just lets them think they are close. He has a lot of weaknesses such as water, getting distracted, letting his guard down, etc. At the same time, you feel like aside from the water he makes up the rest of the weaknesses to help their self esteem.

What the heroes need are more supernatural creatures of their own. There is the mysterious Shiro who is an interesting figure because he actually made another tentacle type monster to fight wit Koro. Now this is the kind of guy you can see accomplishing his goals because this adds a layer of supernatural elements to the mix. Of course he’s a villain though so if he blows up Koro that might be dangerous. At the same time though….maybe the humans have a better chance against these guys so perhaps they should help assist?

It brings you back to their dilemma of wondering if they really want to murder Koro. At the very least they don’t want someone else doing it but that could just be denial. It’s an interesting predicament but I will say I’m on the side of not destroying him. Clearly Koro doesn’t seem like a bad guy here. The whole threat to destroy the Earth sounds intense but it’s hard to say if he’s really on the level or not. At the very least, you get the feeling that murdering him just doesn’t sound right. If he tries to destroy the world then you stop him at that point (Not that they can) but not before.

Back to the characters though, one of the students is named Kaede and you could say she is probably Nagisa’s best friend. She’s not very loud compared to the others but she is always willing to help out. She’s a very low key student who is always around though. Then you have Sugino who is good at sports. He tends to take things with a more light hearted attitude next to the other characters and does leave a good impression on you. It’s not likely that you will remember each student a whole lot but the show does try to give everyone at least one episode so they stand out.

For a more powerful student you have Itona who is the tentacle opponent I referenced earlier. He definitely has one of the more impressive entrances in the show as he just walks through a wall to challenge Koro. He also got some pretty intense music and was able to dodge Karma’s insult and then respond in kind. Itona isn’t really used to being around the other kids and acting normal since he focuses completely on battle. He makes for a fun antagonist though and it’s nice to have someone who can keep up with Koro.

Stepping away from the students for a minute, you have Gakuho, the principal of the school. Next to Karma he is the best character. This guy is incredibly impressive because of his intimidating presence and the fact that he is a principal who can fight. He’s not just going to be sitting around giving lectures. No, this is one of those guys who is absolutely ready to fight at any given moment as seen when he literally made someone eat paper and also when he caught a soccer ball at a speed that shattered windows.

He’s probably the only character in the series to not show even the slightest bit of fear against Koro. He’s probably the only person to actually get a clean win against the guy as well. This guy is definitely a scene stealer and I really like that confidence. He is definitely a villain no matter how you slice it though. We find out he created Class E purely as a way to make the other students have someone below them. It’s a diabolical scheme that improves grades through fear as nobody wants to go to Class E. He allows the other classes to pick on them and insult the kids as well in order to boost morale. It’s quite the vicious tactic and no matter how effective it may be, you can see how it’s not the right thing to do.

Then you have his son Gakusho who is also a lot of fun. While he may not have matched the level of his Dad yet, he does want to ultimately surpass him. Whenever he appears he is trying to find some way to close the gap between them although this is easier said than done. His abilities are still top tier though so he can keep up with any of the kids no problem. He has a good rivalry going with Karma as well. His introduction along with the rest of Class A was a really good way to amp up the stakes for the exam arc.

The show handles the exams in a fun way where it looks like the heroes enter a gladiator arena or an RPG to battle monsters. Each question is a monster with the most powerful ones appearing as boss creatures. This was just a good way to make each scene interesting. In general I thought the animation was quite solid here. The colors are very striking with everyone’s distinct hair colors being a good way to tell them apart. All of the character designs are different enough where you could even without the hair I suppose, but it helped ensure that each scene was always colorful. In fact, the animation is even a whole tier above Astra Lost in Space which came out by the same studio a few years later so it shows how much effort was put into this one. In particular aside from the eyes you have the striking eyes which really have a lot of intensity on any zoom in. I think there this show was able to show off the animation was in the impact shots where they put in a lot of shading and contrast effects. The animation was very impressive.

The action scenes are also on point when they happened as well. This may not be a full blown action scene but there were different mini arcs where you would get a fight and they always tended to look good. I also enjoyed the ost. The danger theme such as when Itona burst through the door is definitely the best track of the bunch. It has good range though so you should easily find a good track that you enjoy.

Back to the characters, Ritsu was another student who got a big role here. As an A.I. she is certainly a very different kind of student. Her debut episode was fun as she decided to mess with everyone to the point where they eventually decided to ban her entirely. Her arsenal of weapons is no joke. After her initial appearance she never quite gets a big role like that again but she is always around and tends to be more useful than some of the other students.

Then there is Terasaka who is the most annoying of the students and dare I say he may be the worst one? You can’t trust him for beans and strength is his whole thing but he would lose in a fight to Nagisa or Karma. His whole character just got nullified in an instant. I could brush that all aside if he wasn’t someone who was quick to betray the others but that’s just not the case here. As a result, his character gets a thumbs down.

Finally you have one of the big villains, Akira. This guy gets a decent amount of hype since he is one of the only characters to appear more than once. As a full fledged adult he makes for a difficult opponents for the kids to face off against. Karasuma or Koro could handle him no problem but it’s a different matter for the students. He even assembled a team of assassins which made for a fun mini arc. Some of them were definitely on the real crazy side like the guy who keeps munching on his gun but they all had skills. Akira comes off as really petty next to the other characters though as his life’s mission is to beat up on a kid.

Now, one thing with this show that sticks out more than most is you feel like the kids never truly have a shot against the adults. I’d say the reason for that is because the show is set up as a much more realistic experience than most Shounen titles. So these kids really are just kids. I mean they move with more anime speed than a normal kid of course but the adults still seem out of their level. With the assassins the show gives us a good reason why the fights went the way they did, but for the Akira fight I think you’ll always be a bit skeptical of those moments. I remember during the manga I kept thinking there would be a big time skip to where the main characters are adults but I guess there would need to be a good reason on why Koro just didn’t blow up the planet.

The power levels aren’t enough to change the score or anything but something that’s just worth a note. Either way the show establishes that Karasuma is still the strongest so there’s just usually a story reason why he can’t run in and save the day. Of course there are more characters I could mention but I would say these are the key ones. The next season should also introduce more characters as we still don’t know exactly what happened in Koro’s past. That should be a fun plot point and of course we need some closure for the principal. There’s still a lot of adventures to be had.

Overall, That’s the first season of Assassination Classroom. It’s a well balanced show with a colorful cast and a good amount of action. I’d call the series more of an adventure comedy as we see the characters try out different plans against Koro as opposed to a lot of big fights. That said, I guess those would fall under general action so that works as a genre as well. Their most impressive attempt was near the end of the season at the hotel resort where they set up a ton of explosives and even a TV as they tried getting Koro in a tight spot. It’s another reminder that he is just out of their league though. If you could just tone down the fanservice a good amount and improve Koro-sensei’s character then this show would be able to make it to the next level. Still, if you’re looking for an interesting anime to watch with a fun atmosphere then this is a good one to check out. Definitely be on the lookout for the hype principal.

Overall 6/10

Tower of God Review


Tower of God is one of those anime titles you saw everywhere. The amount of promotion it got was insanely widespread which is impressive. I’ll give Crunchyroll this, they absolutely know how to promote their materials. I would argue ToG and that tournament show got way more promotion than their third webtoon production but I guess by that point they felt the awareness was pretty good. You couldn’t turn the corner without seeing this one and now I’ve gotten to check it out. It’s an excellent anime to be sure and it’s the kind of show that gets better and better the more you think about it. Usually when you sit back and relax as you think about a show, movie, or game the score might stabilize a little lower since you’re past the initial excitement. This is one of the reverse cases as I walked away from the show thinking it was great; Then after reading a good chunk of the web comic, thinking about it some more and basically ended up going from re watching some clips to the whole show this is really a masterpiece.

The show starts off with a character explaining what the Tower of God is. It’s a tower that goes up to the heavens and contains everything that exists. Any answers, power, or goal you want can be attained by climbing it. Due to the tower having such prizes, the risks are also great. We then cut to a boy named Bam and a girl named Rachel. Rachel wants to see the stars some day and she tells Bam not to follow her as she vanishes. Bam decides to follow as best he can though because he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He grew up along in a cave with only Rachel’s visits to break up the monotony of each day.

Bam suddenly appears outside the tower where he is allowed to take the entrance exam. He passes and makes it to the tower’s ground floor. He really doesn’t care about the tower or any secrets it may hold, but he does intend to climb the tower so that he can see Rachel again. He wants to understand more about why she left him and how the stars can be so important. He meets up with a mysterious boy named Khun and a powerful dinosaur hybrid named Rak. Together, these three must rise up the tower and conquer the various tests but can they pull this off?

Right away you can see how this will be quite the ambitious series. The Tower is huge with an unknown amount of floors and each floor has a game/challenge that must be completed in order to make it to the next floor. Each challenge can range from an episode to several and there is always the possibility that you might die. You’ve also got a ton of lore ranging from the 10 great families to Jahad and his Princesses. Then you have the Rankers, assassins, and a bunch of other factions all running around.

Part of the fun of the series is that everything’s all one big mystery. Bam has never even been outside before so he knows nothing about this world. We all have to learn about it along with him and most of the answers won’t even be in season 1. The web comic is around 500 chapter so far and this one covers the first 75 so it’s the tip of the iceberg. It perfectly covers season 1 of the Web comic though so the timing was really on point here.

The writing is also really excellent. A big part of the show are the various mind games as everyone tries to out think the other. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and while characters may tend to overthink things at times, it pays to be cautious. Around every corner is someone who is absolutely brutal and may slay you without a second thought. The power levels in the universe can also get quite drastic as the characters have to remember that while they may be strong…they are only on floor 1. The higher you go the more crazy the opponents will get.

Right away you can tell that the animation style here is a little different. It seems to be modeled after the web comic and has a little less detail at times. It flows together really well for the action scenes though and the character designs are on point. I definitely liked the animation quite a bit and it does shine for the battles like Hatz vs Anaak or Yuri styling on the others at the end. It’s all very smooth and flows into the next scene well.

Where the series really shines though is with the soundtrack. It’s got a very interesting techno theme. In fact, I’d say for the most part the soundtrack sounded like they got it from Toonami bumpers and commercials. The whole thing felt a lot like I was watching Toonami which is pretty nostalgic and also very unique. It’s not a soundtrack I would have immediately connected to Tower of God but it absolutely worked well.

As for the characters, well I have to say that Bam is probably the blandest main character I’ve seen in a while. It may be a bit strong to say he’s the blandest I’ve ever seen but he has to be in the conversation. He’s always got a lifeless look on his face and is basically a one track character who can only think of Rachel. I have to say I was not a big fan of his. This is one of those titles where all of the supporting characters ended up being more interesting. Not to say that Bam is a bad character but if anything you think of him more like a plot device ready to go see Rachel as opposed to his own person. Due to the ending of the season though, you’ll want to see where he goes from here.

There isn’t a lot to say about Rachel in this season without spoilers. She leaves Bam rather quickly and then he sees someone who looks like her in the tower. Can it possibly be the same person? Either way the fact that she ditched Bam so easily and basically told him to stay in a dark cave by himself will probably set off some warning bells for you. She’s a very interesting character to be sure. She definitely wouldn’t rank as one of my favorite characters or anything but I don’t dislike her. If the show was playing her up as a misguided hero or someone we couldn’t understand then I probably would be in that camp. Again it’s hard to say much more for now but I am intrigued at how her plot goes.

Khun is definitely one of the standout characters here. He’s the strategist of the team and those do tend to be a lot of fun, particularly when they are confident in their abilities. Characters like L, Lelouch, Kurama, Eren, Kurapika, and other strategists who know how to break down a plan and acknowledge their own abilities tend to be great. If you’re a genius who isn’t confident like Armin or to a lesser extent someone humble like Shikamaru tend to not excel quite as high for me. Khun is one of those geniuses who knows he is a genius and tends to rub it in everyone’s face.

That’s part of what makes him such a fun character. Whenever he is on screen you know that something hype is about to happen. Right from his very first appearance you already get a good feeling about him and he ends up being one of the most loyal characters in the show. He’s constantly thinking about how to help Bam. Khun’s physical abilities also seemed very impressive when he was able to speed blitz to the crown so he can fight as needed. Then you have the third member of the group Rak. Now, from all of the big characters in the series I felt like he didn’t live up to the hype as much as some of the others. Mainly because the show has to balance a lot of characters so not everyone gets their chance to shine but Rak doesn’t really get to fight any big opponents.

He talks really tough the whole season so I’m hoping he ends up being very impressive but you start to have your doubts after a while. Still, as a comrade he is absolutely someone you want to have on your team. He may not admit it, but he has a good bond with the other characters as well. His chocolate gimmick is also a lot of fun and his brute force contrast to Khun’s intellectual approach gives their team a lot of balance. They may be at odds a lot of the time but at the end of the day Rak does listen to him.

On one of the other teams we have Shibizu. Like Khun he is also a strategist although he’s more low key about it. He may not be a super genius or anything but he is able to figure out most puzzles rather easily. He doesn’t have a lot of skill as he’s more of a standard human but he has a lot of determination and does his best to help out his friends. Like Bam he’s not super stoked to climb up the tower for any one reason and is able to try and help others out without just thinking about himself.

Then you have Hatz who is my favorite character in the series. It’s a pretty impressive title because this series has quite a few high tier characters such as Endorsi and Khun who could be the best character in many other shows or secondary characters like Anaak and Yuri who are also quite solid. Part of why Hatz is at the top is because his intro scene was dynamite. His line that “running away is only for opponents stronger than me” was really good as he attacked the strongest opponent in the area at the time. His twin blade style is also unique as he throws a sword in the air to block an attack while he deals with the other one. His skills are definitely on point.

Hatz gets quite a few action scenes here so I look forward to him fighting again more soon. The third member of the team Anaak is also a really powerful fighter though and someone who sticks out since she has the title of Princess of Jahad. Her Green April is a tough sword to stop too since it can alter its shape and strike from any angle. It’s the kind of weapon you don’t really want to mess with. Even without it she has a good deal of super strength and speed to back her up as well though. That makes her a very solid all around character. While Hatz has his whole thing about being honor bound at all times, Anaak just wants to crush the Jahad family at any cost. We see her origin story and why she wants to do this as well.

Next up is Hoh and we’re finally at one of the weaker characters in the series. The guy gets jealous from day 1 at how much stronger everyone is and so you can’t help but shake your head whenever he is on screen. You can tell that things are going to get dicey for him from day 1. I’m cool with someone just wanting to go up the tower and not making friends but Hoh’s jealousy just makes him such a petty character. I don’t think he quite deserved the big send off/funeral everyone gave him.

Then you have Serena who is more of a normal human like Shibizu. She has a bit of a rivalry going with him and they have a decent fight. Like Shibizu she feels a little out of place next to these guys who can crush mountains but she does well for as long as she can. Her character arc also has a bit of a surprising end to it so that was not something I had expected. Finally there’s Lauroe from their team who is quite powerful. The guy is constantly sleeping and whenever you have a character who is always asleep you can be sure that he’s hiding away a lot of power. His battle with Anaak was quite impressive and so was his big blast of Shinsu. Not many opponents would have been able to endure that. Lauroe’s a very laid back guy and while the sleeping may be a bit much, he’s a decent character.

Endorsi is another one of the standout characters here. She has absolute confidence in everything she does. Whenever Endorsi is on screen you know that someone is going to get absolutely crushed. It’s part of why she’s so much fun. Her only weakness is that her high heels tend to break which is something the anime has a little fun with. Regardless, in a straight fight you can expect that she would absolutely crush almost anyone in this tournament. Her skill are just off the chart and while she at first tries not to get close to anyone, she eventually gets caught up in the spirit of things. At the same time though, she’s not someone you can easily trust as her goals always take priority. You just have to make sure that your existence isn’t in her way. She was very close to passing Hatz as the best character in the series but at least if we go purely from the anime she is still behind him.

Then for one of the other supporting characters we have Paracule who is just annoying most of the time. He’s incredibly weak and is very quick to betray the other characters when it suits him. He’s not someone you could ever trust and he’s always whining. The character is around mainly to serve as a character to dislike but that doesn’t make him any better. It’s hard to even picture how this guy has made it so far. He is quite lucky that’s for sure.

Yuri doesn’t get a whole lot to do here but that makes sense as her abilities are far beyond anything we are expected to see this early on in the tower. You can think of her as a completed Princess of Jahad. A single blow is enough to destroy multiple giant monsters at once and there are few who could hope to be her equal. Then you have the mysterious gate keeper of the tower known as Headon who tests those who wish to join the challenge. He is definitely someone you can expect to be quite powerful although he hasn’t made a move yet. Whether you’re a regular or an irregular he lets you move up the tower. This guy appears to have big plans so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

Then we have some of the rankers like Lero Ro. This guy’s pretty fun. He definitely has a merciless persona to him as he isn’t afraid to put people in their place but at the same time he has more of a conscience than a lot of the other characters. He still wants to have a fair tournament and games here after all and suspects that something is up. He’s quite sharp and has quite a few mind battles with Hansung Yu. I certainly look forward to seeing what he does next. You also have Quant who has a lot of speed at his disposal and is pretty strong in his own right. He’s a lot more headstrong though so you can see how these two would make for a good team. Quant tends to take everything very literally and personally but I like the energy he has. He also does not care for traitors in the slightest.

Hansung Yu is easily the shadiest of the rankers though. He appears to be playing all of the sides so we’ll have to see how that plot goes. He’s also clearly a lot more powerful than he lets on but that makes sense since you would expect the ruler of the floor to be at a high level. Lo Po Bia Ren is one of the assassins’ of the tower and is a bit of an odd ball. He seems to have a real form underneath his animal costume but we never get to see it. It’s also hard to say if he’s still around as if he has more than one body at the ready or if it was a robot. Either way he’s a very intimidating villain to be sure. He doesn’t hold back and has a very creepy vibe to him. He’s not quite able to hold back his giant monsters from attacking either. He’s not really my kind of villain next to most of the others so I wouldn’t rank him too highly but he was a very real threat.

Finally there is Hwa who is a mysterious character. Her first appearance has her taking on Endorsi in a straight fight so her abilities are actually pretty good and she mostly sticks in the background after that. Needless to say it looks like she will be playing a big role coming up. I’m liking her character so far and there’s a lot of potential here.

There are other characters of course but I think that sums up most of the big ones. I tried keeping the review fairly spoiler free so you can jump in and see all of the twists and turns. In adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes you can bet there are some changes but for the most part the series only cut minor stuff out. A ton of Urek Mazino references were cut for example but he won’t be appearing anytime soon anyway. There were a few questionable changes that could come back to bite them if we get a season 2 though like completely changing one character’s personality in the final episode and Khun’s final conversation in the final episode. Both are things you can easily walk back but do go against what initially happened.

For Endorsi, a good chunk of her one way romance with Bam scenes were cut out but I’m cool with that. In the web comic she is pretty much obsessed with Bam to the point where she is constantly flirting with him so the fact that the show dialed down her character is fine with me. The only change that’s a little regrettable is they cut out quite a few of Bam’s speeches which helped to really make him stand out as a character. Perhaps that is why he came across as bland in the show. In the web comic he has easily become one of the best characters although that’s more due to season 2 content than 1 so this wouldn’t have brought him to the top but it would have helped him rise quite a bit. Either way you are safe to jump straight to season 2 of the web comic if you don’t want to wait for the show.

The show ends on a rather perfect note with how episode 12 finishes also. It’s just such a powerful moment as the credits song plays. Honestly this could have been the perfect way to end although episode 13 is pretty interesting as a way to see a different side of events. It’s a good way to connect the dots and all. That said, the very last shot of the season is definitely a huge spoiler for season 2. I’m thinking it’s mainly there for the web comic fans so they would already know about the twist. In fairness to the show, I think most people figured out the twist in the web comic immediately. It’s sort of like Tobi from Naruto. The instant he appeared most people connected the dots. It’s a similar thing here so it’s nice for fans to see this guy but…I would technically still consider it a spoiler.

It’s rare that there is so much to talk about for such a short series but that’s part of what makes Tower of God fun. The lore is already absolutely massive in the series and it’s why you can easily see this going on for hundreds of episodes. There is so much to cover and I skimmed over most of the lore in this review but the show breaks it down well. I also really enjoy the way the games are presented. Each game is quite unique and you really have to think your way through them in order to win. Just relying on power won’t help although it is useful. I would say it’s a little like Phi Brain in that sense. My favorite game is definitely the Crown game though as that was a blast but a close second is the very first game as the opponents had to be reduced from 400-200. Less strategy in that one but it was a great way to introduce the characters.

Overall, Tower of God is definitely an elite title. There are less than 20 TV shows I’ve ever seen that were able to grab a 9 star rating and this one is good enough to join them. The characters are fantastic and a whole lot happens. It’s rare that you see a show be able to cram so much into each episode but when you’re adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes it makes sense that you have to move fast. Especially with how big the web comic chapters are. All told, the show is an excellent adaption and I do hope we get season 2 at some points. There’s enough chapters for at least 5 more seasons minimum and since season 2 of the web comic is close to 4 times as large as season 1, a 52 episode season would be pretty nice to see. Either way this is just the tip of the iceberg so I hope the franchise continues on. If you haven’t seen the anime yet then I would recommend changing that right away!

Overall 9/10

Ride Your Wave Review


This is a film I actually hadn’t heard of before so that was pretty interesting. It came out fairly recently and has a very different vibe from most with the whole emphasis on water and everything. Surfing is definitely not a sport I can see myself ever getting into but with the film’s solid graphics it can make for some good scenes. The movie ultimately does well for itself.

The movie starts by introducing us Hinako who is a big fan of surfboarding. Whenever there is a wave, she is around to ride it. One day she is saved by a firefighter named Minato. The two quickly hit it off and have a few good months of fun, but unfortunately he drowns when trying to save someone. This throws Hinako’s life for a loop and now she must learn how to cope with what has happened. She also begins to see Minato everywhere she goes in the water when she sings. Is she slowly losing her mind? Her friends do their best to help but ultimately this will be Hinako’s trial.

Ride Your Wave is definitely a film with a lot of colorful effects throughout. The animation is really solid and it’s clear that a lot of effort especially went into the water scenes. That makes sense since ultimately that’s a huge part of the film. You get to see the water tunnels and they also do a good job of making the firefighting exciting. The fires really blaze with a passion and there’s a lot of good teamwork. Also, we have a lot of solid foods which was nice. Now, while the animation is super colorful, that can make it tricky for determining if the omelets had cheese in them or if that was pure yolk. Usually I would assume that has to be cheese but in quite a few anime they seem to refer to omelets as simply being a scrambled egg that is turned over even without any filling. So it’s a tough call but ultimately I will say it was filled with cheese and if so…that is a very impressive omelet. It is absolutely the right amount of cheese to put in. It’s a little tangent, but the film does want you to pay attention to the food so I think it’s fair. The lesson on coffee was also good.

The pacing is pretty solid with the movie. It’s not particularly long but a lot happens. That said, it was a pretty bold choice to use the death as one of the main plot elements. I’m wondering why the film didn’t try to keep that as a twist or something, but maybe it was important to set it up early to let people off a little easier when watching it. Minato was definitely a really solid character though and the fact that the film lets in a little supernatural elements with him was fun. He would ultimately have to be my favorite character in the film. Minato just worked really hard to get good at being a fireman and the movie shows that he never let his lack of natural talent get to him. The guy just studied until he did become an expert.

As for Hinako, she’s a solid character. She definitely has a rough time of it in this film but that’s to be expected. All things considered, she handled the situation better than some other leads. Hinako at least tries to go back to normal minus the surfing after a while and I definitely don’t blame her for abandoning that altogether. Seems like that’s probably the last thing you would want to do.

One of the supporting characters was annoying though and that was Minato’s friend Wasabi. This guy had to be the worst character in the film easily. Now, he was earnest so it’s not like his feelings for Hinako were fake. He liked her even before she went with Minato. The problem is that at that point he needs to cross her off his list mentally because that should absolutely be the end of the story. Especially once Minato is out of the picture because effectively he’s asking her out at a vulnerable time.

This is one of those scenarios where he should have just buried his feelings completely. Then he looks even worse when he effectively rebounds with Yoko. So yeah…I did not like Wasabi. The guy just seemed desperate the whole time. Yoko was more fun. She liked Wasabi from the start so it wasn’t a rebound on her side but how does she feel about being the second pick? Seems to me like Yoko probably should have rejected him, but beyond that I liked how intense she was whenever talking with Hinako and the others. She doesn’t mince words and gets past things pretty quick since she doesn’t show her emotions on the outside much.

In a way she helps to strengthen Hinako with her tough love approach. So all in all, the backup romance plot here is the weakest part of the film but otherwise it’s a story with a really strong foundation. I have to say that the biggest success the film had was not making Hinako insane. If the whole Minato being in the water thing was just in her head that would have been incredibly annoying. This twist actually helped the film quite a bit with giving her some closure as well as letting Minato actually contribute more. Who doesn’t want to have water powers right?

The film even gives us an action packed climax. This isn’t really an action film at all but I still appreciate having an ending with a nice sense of danger there as everything comes to a close. The idea of surfing off the roof of the building is also pretty fun albeit, fairly risky. Hinako dying there would have been super tragic and ironic to say the least. Maybe Minato would have been able to land in time to save her or dredge up some extra strength though.

Overall, Ride Your Wave is a solid film. It’s got a good story and solid characters aside from Wasabi. The pacing is on point and the movie is definitely over in a flash. The title song of the film is also really good which is fortunate since you’ll hear it a bunch. There aren’t really any other memorable parts of the OST since this one is definitely meant to be the focus. By the end you’ll probably know the lyrics quite well, or at least will have the first few lines memorized at minimum. If you want a solid emotional story that carefully balances the humor and uplifting parts with some tragedy then this is the one for you.

Overall 7/10

Sakura Revolution ~Blooming Maidens Review


This latest incarnation in the Sakura Wars series is definitely a pretty interesting one. Since this is just a quick OVA to hype up the game I don’t expect we may see these characters again for a while. Still, the OVA does a terrific job of getting you hyped for what is about to come up next. This is the right way to set-up the game and the stakes seem a lot higher than any of the other incarnations since the heroes have effectively already lost this time. The villains seem to control Tokyo so it’s time to win it back. It’s too bad that it seems like the OVA isn’t super popular based on how hard it was to actually get a true anime poster for it so I pretty much settled for the mobile version and an anime screenshot at the end so you could see the actual animation. Maybe it’s one of those things more people will discover as the series gets bigger.

The OVA starts off with a mysterious lady who is accompanied by a trio of monsters decimating one of the combat teams. One of the heroines tries to get up but is promptly murdered. We then cut to the home base where The leader and her right hand man are the only ones left. She instructs him to go to an island to find Sakura and then bring her back to Tokyo. They’ll need her fighting ability if they are to succeed in this war. He heads off as the villain attacks once more and has a big confrontation with the leader. Presumably the villain won since we see her later but she was attacked by another mech shortly afterwards which may have been the leader.

Either way, the guy arrives onto the main island where he meets up with Sakura. Her grandmother Kirin isn’t thrilled about Sakura being thrown into the action like this but relents to her going. The 3 monsters show up to the island and the OVA ends with Sakura getting her sword and being able to create a mech suit around her made of psychic energy as opposed to jumping into a formal suit the way the others would. With this power humanity may finally have a chance against the demons and monster hybrids that threaten all of Japan.

As the Sakura War series has gone on we have definitely seen a whole lot of changes. The original series was very straight forward with humanity using steam powered mech suits to take on aliens. This continued although in the France division we started seeing more people with true magical powers. The New York version made flying suits a normal thing so everyone could fly and turn into jets. Then we had the recent animation which introduced the idea of humanoid monsters and hybrid life forms that were both human and monster. This OVA is continuing with that concept as the main villain seems to be another hybrid form. Additionally her aliens have the most sci-fi type designs yet as they look like something out of Gurren Lagann.

In general the animation here is just top tier. You can tell that the company put some solid effort into this. The fight scenes are a blast and in particular when Sakura is shredding the competition the animation is on point. The colors are sharp and there is a lot of potential here. Additionally this has the best soundtrack for any Sakura Wars product I have encountered. The battle themes are on point and this feels a lot like a modern installment in the series. It’s all a lot more high energy than the older versions would tend to be. Not to say that any of the Sakura War soundtracks were bad since I’ve enjoyed them all but this one easily takes it to the next level. Even the stage play theme from the intro was the best one I had heard yet.

Now, with only around 30 minutes to introduce the plot, new setting, and characters that does mean it has to go pretty quickly. Sakura and Kirin are the only two characters whose names you will remember off the bat. Kirin has a lot of hype but she is rather old at this point in the story so it’s not like she is about to go out there and fight. That’s really for the next generation of fighters like Sakura. Sakura is introduced well. She is ready to fight and seems a lot more enthusiastic about this than other versions. While I wouldn’t be ready to say she is the best Sakura from the various titles, she easily seems to be the most powerful and we’re only at the intro of the game. I can tell the power creep should jump up considerably with this one.

The main guy is less impressive since he’s not really a fighter nor does he have the bravery that you would find in guys like Captain Ogami, Taiga from New York, or the more recent one from The Animation. I do like that he has some skill with his eyes where he can detect an enemy’s movement. It may not have done much of anything against these powerful aliens but if he was fighting humans then I dare say that it would have taken him far. Clearly the leader does trust him so I’m sure the guy has some talent.

Overall, As soon as the OVA had begun, it was over. It really does serve its job well of throwing you into the experience though. It’s just a great title all the way around as it makes every minute count. In general that can be a fun thing about pilot OVAs like this though. Since they want you to play the game they can throw as many concepts and fights at you as possible along with a bunch of cliffhangers to make sure that you play the game. It definitely has a very epic feeling to it from the start. Now, I assume the actual mobile game will dial things back for a bit since you can’t stay in climax mode all the time but I’m sure it would begin to build up to that again. This OVA is definitely one that I would recommend whether you have played/watched the older Sakura War titles or not since either way this OVA gives you everything you need to know in order to succeed. After all, the idea of humans vs demons/aliens is a pretty quick one to get and all you need to know is that Sakura is humanity’s last hope. Without her all will be lost. Maybe one day they’ll make a full anime based on the mobile game, now that would be hype.

Overall 8/10

Sakura Wars: The Animation Review


It had been a long time since Sakura Wars had gotten a complete TV show before this one came out so it was definitely a big deal. Between this and the new game the franchise was finally going to hit it big again. I get the feeling it wasn’t quite as big a hit as they intended at least since to me the series seemed to vanish again. That being said, the show is great. It’s easily the most complete Sakura Wars product out there and in 12 episodes it accomplishes a whole lot. This is absolutely the kind of vibe you want to have for the show and the new cast is a lot of fun.

The show starts out with a very engaging scene as a monster shows up to kidnap a kid named Klara. She is stopped in her tracks when a mysterious lady shows up known as the White Cape. Both of them are interrupted when Seijuro along with two guest stars from foreign combat revues show up. Seijuro takes the girl over to his team to look after her since it’s clear that a lot of villains are after her. While he will be away in Europe tracking down some clues, he leaves Sakura in charge of the team. She vows to watch over Klara with her life and the two of them hit it off really well. The rest of Sakura’s teammates are pretty cool about this as well. It won’t be so easy though. The Moscow team have arrives and claim that Klara is one of them and demand that the team hands her over. They refuse but the Moscow team is appealing to the government so this may be taken out of their hands. Can Sakura and her team protect this kid?

When you think of Sakura Wars, action usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s more of a drama or slice of life that includes a lot of action. Well, this show definitely tossed that out the window. There is a ton of action here and as you can probably guess, I was a big fan of that. The first scene in the show is a pretty powerful battle between the various characters. We got to see Excalibur and another girl briefly as they helped Seijuro fight these girls off. They definitely feel more like guest star characters and so you shouldn’t expect to see them do much again until the very end. Still, they had excellent character designs and just really helped to start things off on the right note. They’re exactly the kind of allies that you want to have by your side at all times.

This was also a nice way to build up the stakes and get the show ready from the start. It wouldn’t let up after that either as you could typically look forward to some kind of fight going on in each episode. Surprisingly the heroes don’t fight the demons quite as much as usual since it’s mostly the Moscow group getting in their way and the Black Cape. The monsters probably figured they should lie low for now and I don’t blame them. They do look pretty good when they appear though as the main unit had a lot of trouble with them. There is even one moment in particular that is pretty rough for the group since they had to be saved. It just goes to show that there is always someone stronger after all.

This time around the animation is in pure CGI. Fortunately this is an example of using CGI the right away. The character designs are on point and the fight scenes look good. Naturally with hand drawn animation I’m sure the show would have looked even better but this one handled everything pretty well so I had no complaints. The energy effects are still quite vibrant whenever the characters are attacking and the fight scenes are good. There’s one scene where White Cape has to deflect a ton of bullets and she does it with ease. Then you’ve got Leila blocking Hatsuho’s punch with ease which was another pretty hype moment. You can still feel the impact each time which is definitely the important part.

Then we’ve got the soundtrack. The opening is pretty solid and it feels like a nice remix of the classic intro. That said, the ending is what really stands out here. It is quite stellar and just feels like an epic way to end each episode. You’ll be at the edge of your seat each week as you wait for things to continue. In the actual episodes the music is a little more forgettable though so mainly it’s the beginning and ending where it shines.

Still, this wouldn’t be Sakura Wars without at least having some time to calm down and just enjoy the sights. We get one full episode where Sakura gets to go on a family outing with Seijuro and Klara. The main villains as well as the rest of the heroes all decide to tag along and wreck this little trip of theirs. It’s pretty interesting to see even the villains get in on this. I suppose it may have been a decent time to try and steal Klara away but you feel like they’d never get away with it. You could say that this is the only episode that doesn’t seem to further the plot so in a way it’s like filler.

It was a fun episode though and it gave Shiba some much needed screen time so that alone makes the whole thing worth it. The show balances out the genres pretty well. Aside from that happy episode then you get a more emotional one early on with Hatsuho as she feels bad that Seijuro didn’t choose her to be leader. The tough truth is that Sakura was just better suited for it. Then of course you have the pretty serious episodes of the climax where the villains are making their big play. The show succeeds at every theme so whether the heroes are just having fun on their own or jumping in to make some kind of great stand against the villain, the episode really flies by.

The writing is on point throughout but you would expect no less. The ending to the series is also very satisfying. There are a few ways they could have gone about this of course but this was the optimal route. Additionally, there was one character moment that would have just been plain unfortunate but the very last bit of the ending made sure to correct this. Make sure you stick around til the very end of the show. Ultimately the ending was just great when you consider all of that and so the whole show benefits as a result.

Lets talk about the characters now. First up is Sakura, the leader of the team. She is a very dedicated fighter who stuck to her guns and wouldn’t let Klara go. She also took a lot of big risks in putting her life on the line to protect Klara. Sakura also mastered the more powerful suit of armor pretty quick. It’s clear that she is the most powerful member of the group, especially thanks to her sword skills that she can use even without a suit. When you put that all together, her allies just don’t have anything on her. Seijuro made the right choice.

The bond between Sakura and Klara is also just a lot of fun. Sakura’s always got her back. As for Seijuro, he doesn’t get a whole lot to do here. The higher ups keep throwing him on wild goose chases so he can’t help out at home. From what we see he is clearly a good fighter though. While Black Cape was able to take on the entire Sakura team and do well, Seijuro was able to take on 2-3 of them at once and came out on top. He’s easily one of the most impressive fighters in the series so that’s why it’s a shame that we couldn’t see him fight more. He has trained the team well though.

Klara has a big role of course and she’s good. Now it’s not always easy for a kid character to be very impressive as worst case they can just be really annoying and hold everyone back. Fortunately that isn’t the case with Klara. She’s just a nice kid from the start. While English isn’t her first language (Well, technically it would be Japanese since this is a translation) she does well at fitting in and even throws in a few Russian lines on occasion. The fact that she has some special abilities helps out quite a ton as well. There’s a lot of build up to this so when she finally gets to join the team the scene feels very well earned.

I was also glad that Seijuro was quick to let her help instead of just wasting time and trying to stop her. She is a member of the team after all so it only makes sense that she would jump in right? This is one case where Klara feels necessary to the team’s dynamic so it was good that she was on board. She ended up being a lot more fun than I had expected. Then we have Hatsuho who is the power member of the group. Unfortunately because of this she loses just about all of her fights. It’s sort of like Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon or Tauros from Saint Seiya. Since they are the power members of the group, they are always the first to get wrecked to show how powerful the next villain is and after a while you wonder if they really are the strong member. I guess physically yes, but when Hatsuho is physically weaker than every villain she encounters in the series, that makes things rather difficult for her.

It does lead to one of the best scenes in the show though when she throws a punch and Leyla casually catches the hit while also bringing Hatsuho to her knees. Hatsuho has a tough time here in other scenes as well like when she lost to the demon twice and then growing jealous of Sakura. Fortunately the two talk it over with Sakura being oblivious to what the chat was truly about and then Hatsuho was able to get over it. It was good character development because staying jealous would have just made her look really bad. As it stands I do like Hatsuho quite a bit but she’s got to work on that.

Azami’s the ninja of the group and is not nearly as talented as she thinks she is. This leads to a lot of fun little scenes where she does her best. My main issue with her is the fact that she seems insanely weak in a fight. Ninja stars aren’t going to work on giant monsters. Additionally she seems like the character who would be quickest to betray Klara so I definitely would not trust her in the slightest. Anastesia is another member of the group but unfortunately she really gets nothing to do here. I guess maybe she had enough screen time in the game so they decided to skip her here but it is a shame since everyone else got a big role. All we know about Anastesia from the show is that she’s probably the most serious character of the group.

Claris is more of a low key character but she is quite solid. Her magical attacks definitely look a lot more impressive than the bullets and ninja stars everyone else is using. She is a very pleasant character who is happy to help and doesn’t really worry about anything. She’s quick to try and cover for Azami despite not being too invested in what’s going on just because she is a good friend. So while she doesn’t do a lot in the show, she leaves a very good impression. Their boss Sumire doesn’t do much either but you wouldn’t expect the boss to get mixed up in all of this. Mainly she is notable just because she was on the original show so it’s nice to see that she moved up. Hopefully one day she can access her powers again and suit up, defying what we thought was possible.

Then you have Hakushu, the White Cape. The show makes it plain as day that they are the same character so you don’t have to worry about spoilers. The show is definitely self aware about this the whole time as her disguise is completely obvious. All she does it put on a mask and a cape but everything else is the same from her voice to the hair style. In her first scene we have Sakura chasing White Cape and when she turns the corner there is Hakushu who half heartedly says the Cape ran off. Hakushu also tends to make errors when talking as if she was White Cape and always has a weak excuse as to why that happened.

The show has a blast with this so get ready for the big reveal. Either way Hakushu is easily the best character in the series though. The fact that she is portrayed as the most powerful character while not having a robot is pretty incredible. She always jumps in to help and is willing to do a whole lot more than any of the other characters. The scene of her deflecting tons of energy blasts using super speed is pretty incredible. It’s clear to see why she commands so much respect as Sakura’s boss. Part of why she is the best character is because of how many times she saves the characters. Aside from that, she also seems to be the most intelligent as she stays one step ahead of everyone else. She also finds time to run an orphanage so she is truly a woman of many talents. She steals any scene she is in.

Then you have the main villain Kaminski. This guy is your classic take over the world kind of villain. There’s not much different about him but he does have a flair for the dramatic which works really well. In general he tends to be a fun guy. He keeps a polite demeanor about him at all times even though you know it’s most likely fake the whole time. Considering how long he kept up this charade though, you feel like he gets really sloppy by the end. If he hadn’t suddenly tried being as evil as possible and being cold to Leila then he had a good chance to win this. It almost felt a little out of character for him to be honest as he made things really easy for the heroes. Well, either way he was a pretty charismatic villain that’s for sure and definitely not someone to underestimate.

Leila is his right hand woman and a great villain. She’s the standout villain because of her great character and hype demon form. Her story is a tragic one since she looks up to Kaminski and sees him as a hero so she chooses to ignore the fact that he is manipulating her the whole time. Again, at least he was pretending to be nice which is good so why wreck a good thing and start pushing her away? Leila does all of the hard work throughout the series and is quite powerful. Not only is she able to take on the whole Sakura team with ease but I dare say even White Cape would have a tough time with her. Part of what makes things tragic for Leila is there’s also a lot of memory and emotion tampering going on within her so she is rarely in her right state of mind. You’re certainly rooting for her to break free the whole time.

Then you have Shiba who is a solid mechanic here. One thing that separates him from most is that the guy can actually build useful things that don’t break. It’s a bit of a foreign concept in Sakura Wars where usually the geniuses are a little eccentric to put it mildly or just build walking disasters. This guy even showed some leadership experience like when he had the team tail Sakura. This guy’s a pure comedy character that’s for sure but he excels at it and all of his scenes are a blast. Now, would I sacrifice a scene of his to get some more of Excalibur and the other heroine? Absolutely, but that was likely not on the table anyway so I’ll take what I can get here.

This show even manages to avoid having much of any real fanservice. The fact that the show is CGI probably helps a bit with that since even if the character design for Leila’s super form could have gone tricky, the show didn’t go there. Aside from CGI, that’s just a directing thing though so the director did really good to always play the scene straight. She’s a demon fighting the heroes, the show never tries for anything other than that. That’s when you know that the show is going to be a really solid adventure from start to finish. I suppose we have the gag of Shiba running out of the shower to get slammed but I wouldn’t really count that to be honest. If you like the gag of someone yelling as the camera fades out though, Shiba gets a lot of that.

While the animation is quite solid as I mentioned, I will say that it’s still hard not to chuckle during the dance scenes. Maybe it’s because of how smooth and gracefully the characters move, but it’s just hard to take the villains seriously when they’re just dancing as they talk about the plans. I will say that it’s fun when Leila styles on the heroes while dancing though. Now that’s a whole other level of disrespect right there. There’s even a dancing battle so you can tell the show was having some fun with this. Hey, if you can do solid dance numbers and want to show off the animation why not right? Then you have the epic stills where the colors really jump out of the page and you’re reminded of the potential of CGI all over again. Honestly if every CGI show looked like this we wouldn’t have any problems. Hand Drawn would still be the best but this would be a much more respectable backup plan.

Overall, Sakura Wars: the Animation is a terrific anime. The government looks pretty bad as they fall for every trick in the book but Sakura’s team stays strong throughout and makes sure to protect Klara. When they fail that job White Cape is always around to help out so they have a great system going. Part of what sets the show apart from the rest of the titles in this series is how much action it has. The rest of the Sakura War titles just can’t match this. The best bet would be the OVA for Revolution but that is shorter so by definition it can’t match up. This one’s got fights in pretty much every episode. The final episode especially goes bold with this as the whole episode is really a big fight scene. By the end of the series we learn why one character is so exceptionally strong and I dare say that leaves room for a nice sequel someday. Honestly the humans are in a fantastic spot right now so they don’t need to worry but it’s still good to be prepared. One plot still going is the demons approaching. It’s implied that as long as Klara exists they will keep on coming so ultimately they need to find a way to take out the demons for good. That would make for a fun sequel.

Overall 8/10

SSSS.Gridman Review


Gridman is an anime from not too long ago. It deals with robots, aliens, and a whole lot of other sci-fi elements. It’s a pretty fun show and one that makes for a pretty quick watch since there are only 12 episodes at the moment. There are quite a few twists and turns as you go through the series so you can try to see if you get where the show is going early on. With solid action and an ongoing mystery type plot on the back-end what’s not to like? Either way you should definitely have a good time.

The show starts off by introducing us to Yuta. He has complete memory loss which is pretty unfortunate since he seems like he had just said something to the popular girl at school Rikka but has no idea what he said. She’s nice enough to take him to the hospital and then show him where he lives. Yuta then gets reintroduced to his best friend Sho and tries to make the best of this new life. He’s a bit weirded out by the fact that the town is surrounded by giant Kaiju. Nobody seems to notice them so only Yuta can even perceive the giant things. Yuta also dreams about a being named Gridman who is stuck in a computer. When a Kaiju attacks the city, Yuta follows his instincts and jumps into the computer. This allows him to turn into Gridman and fight off the Kaiju.

There is more to the story than this though. So Sho, Yuta, and Rikka form the Gridman alliance to stop the Kaiju. There are a few concerns. One is naturally what these Kaiju are and how they are appearing in the city. 2. Nobody remembers the Kaiju attacks once they are foiled and all of the damage to the city ends up being fixed. 3. Anyone murdered directly by a Kaiju stays dead even when the city is refreshed but now nobody remembers that character ever existing. Clearly there is a mastermind behind this and the heroes need to figure that out.

The viewers know this from the jump though as the show immediately reveals Akane as the big antagonist along with her alien friend known as Alexis. It’s one of those interesting dynamics where you are many steps ahead of the protagonists from the jump. Akane may not seem like your average villain but she is quite sinister with how willing she is to murder anyone who crosses her even if it’s just something minor like dropping her sandwich. Akane absolutely doesn’t have any sympathy for other characters.

As the show goes on you learn more and more about the city and all of your questions will be answered. Delving into any of that would be heavy spoiler territories though but needless to say it makes for a pretty fun twist. There is one supporting character who briefly appears to explain the twist and throw an info dump on Yuta but she disappears after that. I would be interested to see what she does in the future. I hope the character returns because there is a lot of potential there.

As the main character Yuta is decent. He’s a nice guy who always tries his best. Yuta does resist Akane’s attempts to seduce him which is good since you want to have a strong main character. He fights well in the mech and basically does whatever needs to get done. Yuta doesn’t have a whole lot of personality outside of just being your classic main character but there’s nothing bad to say about him either. Maybe he gets a bit jealous at times involving Rikka but that’s about it and it’s usually pretty mild.

Then you have his friend Sho who tends to panic a little more. Sho gets a bit of a mini character arc where he experiences a lot of self doubt. Aside from that period he was pretty confident the whole time though and did well as Yuta’s right hand man. The main heroine is Rikka and she’s a solid character. At times she may seem a bit desperate to be Akane’s friend despite Akane always insulting her but the show even explains this one pretty well. Rikka’s definitely a fun character so I can see why she grew pretty popular. She has more development than a lot of the other characters.

Gridman has a few allies who show up with Calibur probably getting the best role from all of them. They’re helpful to have around and each of them help out in the big fights. The fact that Calibur can fight rather well even in the human world is handy though. Gridman mostly just repeats his speech about saving the world the whole show but there is something that happens at the end which helps him a lot. It makes him a far more interesting main character so there’s a lot that season 2 can do with him. The guy has potential and I like the design.

As for the villains, Akane is naturally the main one for the season. She is constantly coming up with new Kaiju threats to use in battle. She certainly has a lot of Kaiju knowledge which is handy as well. Ultimately she really became her worst enemy as she could have had a much easier time of things if she wasn’t trying to be so commanding all the time. Her trying to make the world perfect is really what drives people away. She ultimately doesn’t seem to like people all that much despite wanting to be liked the whole time which puts her in a bit of a spot. Ultimately she may take a lot of detours in accomplishing her goals but if that’s what it takes for her to have more fun then I guess it was worth it to her. Her actions don’t always make a lot of sense but that seems intentional.

Then you have Alexis who is a blast. The entire show it feels like he is really just trolling everyone and that makes him a compelling villain. It reminds me a lot of the villain “Hero” from the Hyper Neptunia Virtual Stars game. They have similar designs and voice styles. Alexis has a plan of his own of course and he definitely looks really good by the end. This guy was definitely a scene stealer and it was always fun to see what his responses are. Despite his joking around a lot of the time, you always knew that you would have to keep your guard up around him.

Finally we have Anti who ended up being the best character in the show easy. This guy had a whole lot of character development. While he is a Kaiju who has a human body, he gradually grows more sentient as he stays human. From being one note to actually creating plans and understanding what it means to be human, Anti really manages to stand out as a result. He had some really great fight scenes as well. His ability to adapt to any opponent and keep on fighting was definitely impressive. His final form in the series is pretty great as well although my favorite form might have been 1 or 2 steps behind that one.

There’s a lot to like in Gridman with the engaging story and characters. I wouldn’t say the cast of characters is one of the strongest that I’ve seen recently as the main heroes don’t have a whole lot of personality next to others but the villains were all solid and we do get a lot of quality interactions. The writing is never in doubt and remains solid all throughout the series. For me the best episode in the series was number 6 as that is when the show really took a turn and we learned a whole lot of twists about the series. Now, I could have done without the very final twist in the closing seconds of the final episode personally since the twist could have taken a few other directions but it is a bold play either way which you can appreciate.

The animation here is very smooth indeed. The fight scenes are on point, especially when Anti was fighting Calibur or the final episode clashes. With the Kaiju there is a little less movement of course and yet the studio did a good job of making them give Gridman a good fight. Gridman often had the speed advantage of course but the Kaiju would either have enough durability to tank it or they would move pretty quickly. The weakest one was probably the giant volcano though since he couldn’t really move. Anti looks even more impressive by the end of the series considering that 1 on 1 most of these Kaiju gave Gridman a good fight while Anti was mowing through a bunch of them.

In particular aside from the excellent action scenes I also liked the eye effects. Eye effects are always a lot of fun in anime and that’s no different here. The characters had very detailed eyes which would sometimes even have more than 1 color. It’s a fun thing to see because it just makes the characters that much more memorable. It adds an extra dimension to things you can say.

On the opposite side, the series did have some fanservice here and there. Nothing really crazy, mostly it’s limited to just Akane in the show when she’s at home or messing with Yuta. The beach episode is the one exception because of course you know the Beach episode is always going to be here to try and shake things up. So on the whole I wouldn’t say the show has a big issue here. Enough where it is noticeable but it could certainly be far worse.

The soundtrack is pretty good in the show. We get some solid scenes like the insert song at the very end of the show and some good action tunes. It’s a well rounded soundtrack that works well for the show and the theme it’s going for. We even have a bit of a mysterious theme going on for when the heroes are wondering about what to do next. As much as it’s an action show this title also does focus on the mystery angle quite a bit as well.

The initial episodes of the show go for a more monster of the week kind of vibe until the end so if you’re a big Kaiju fan I imagine that may be your favorite part. Each Kaiju gets to have an episode to themselves after all and they get a good amount of hype. Being able to go up against Gridman is definitely not something that just anyone can do after all. The opening of the show is always a good way to introduce the characters as well since they get to bond while fighting off against these threats.

Time for two spoilers paragraphs so skip these if you haven’t seen the show yet. It deals with some of the final twists of the show so learning this ahead of time would definitely spoil the twist. So at the end of the show there’s quite a bit to think about. For example from Akane’s perspective, is she really as bad as all of that if her actions don’t actually effect anyone real? For example, when her Kaijus attack the town aside from anyone she is targeting, nobody stays dead or injured. If she is targeting someone who never truly existed and who technically doesn’t in the present either, then is she really destroying someone? It’s sort of like the next step to a VR video game. If you destroy an NPC nobody bats an eye. If the video game was drawn to scale and you were playing through it, suddenly the violence and gameplay mechanics are a lot more real so that would be more of a real attack right? Where the line gets drawn is definitely a very interesting point. That’s not what’s going on here with video games or things like that but it’s a decent analogy. My view would be she’s still the villain clearly because the instant she created all of these people as god from her bed in the real world, they did exist. Now, it’s implied that the entire series is just a dream she was having and none of it is real. In that case if it’s a pure dream then nothing is actually happening anyway right?

Well, it’s hard to say for sure because of the Gridman team who come from another planet and the Kaiju girl who appears on the train. In theory they could also be apart of the dream since if this is all happening in Akane’s mind then nothing is really happening. If you look at it from that perspective as everything being one big dream, then she was having fun playing the villain in her dream but that’s it. Alternately, she essentially manages to create a whole psyche in the dream world and then created a city. Her entire life just happened in the span of a dream and it felt longer than in the real world. The Gridman team was somehow able to get in to try and fix this or Akane’s dream managed to take over an existing world. There’s just a lot of ways you can spin this but personally in this case I think the simplest solution is the right one. The entire series is an elaborate dream including every character and lore mentioned in the series. None of it is real and when Akane goes back to sleep she will just dream about it all over again. Of course a sequel could theoretically destroy this theory but at least that’s my take on it.


Overall, SSSS.Gridman is a pretty solid anime. It’s got a lot of great action and solid pacing which is what you want to see in any show. At 12 episodes you’ll definitely be able to blast through this one in no time. Perhaps even in a day you can just speed-run through this. Any action fan or someone who likes a good ole action/mystery story should get a kick out of this. It’s just a very well rounded title that doesn’t really have any weaknesses. The whole amnesia plot does mean that Yuta isn’t really given a chance to do much for a while but he gradually just gets used to his new self and acts like one of the gang. It would definitely be fun to see the characters again and how they move forward from all of this. I imagine it will definitely be pretty tough on Yuta that’s for sure. Meanwhile Gridman seems quite similar to Ultraman so perhaps we can get a battle crossover someday. That would definitely be a blast.

Overall 7/10

Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia Review


After watching the film a while ago it was time to jump into the show. I really like the idea of the company just giving people a choice on which arc to adapt. Instead of adapting the whole mobile game, just have the fans pick their two favorite arcs. One for the show and then one for the movie. Additionally, it’s not like it’s taking a different route or anything. The show literally picks up as if it’s season 7 of an ongoing series. There’s even flashbacks to scenes we’ve never seen and the characters just jump in with no recap or explanation. Technically there is an episode 0 which quickly runs through things as well as re-adapts the movie but it’s more of a general compilation. This is something I wouldn’t mind getting more mainstream. Your favorite manga never get an anime adaption and it’s over 20 volumes at this point? Quickly get a 12 episode anime to cover the final arc. It’s just genius because this also opens the door to adapting the older sagas at some point if the company really wants to.

After the recap of the previous 6 singularities, the show opens up with the heroes already completing the first 6 singularities and getting ready to complete the final one. This time they have to travel to the distant past in Babylonia where the age of the gods met its end. Their mission is to correct the timestream and locate the Holy Grail. It won’t be easy though as King Gilgamesh is already in a pretty big war with the three goddess alliance. These beings are immensely powerful and can’t be defeated so easily. Still, Ritsuka is determined to accomplish this mission and asks Gilgamesh if they are able to defeat the goddesses, can they have the grail? Meanwhile, you’ve got quite a few factions taking advantage of the chaos such as a being who claims to be the legendary hero Enkidu, although that hero should have been long dead by now. The heroes also meet up with a girl named Ana and Merlin, the most well known mage of all time. With their help, perhaps the heroes have a fighting chance.

The show manages to fit a whole lot into the 21 episodes. Pretty much every episode either contains a big fight or some kind of plot twist. You can expect each episode to never miss a beat as the plot moves forward. One thing you will be impressed by right at the start is the smooth animation. The show’s hand drawn style is definitely on point with a lot of great movement and high speed action. Every character looks like they can be a top tier threat with how they are dishing out the special attacks. The show also uses some CGI at times, particularly with Mash like in her opening fight scene but it’s handled really well. I suspect maybe they are trying to emulate Ufotable a bit with how they seamlessly meld the two together. This animation company certainly did a great job with this show. Some shows can make it difficult when you’re trying to find screenshots for the review like even Beyblade which has great animation but getting a screenshot isn’t always easy. This show has the opposite problem where there are so many great ones it can be hard to choose.

Naturally the soundtrack is also really good. It has that opera style feel for a lot of the bigger fights. I also liked the main goddess theme for Ishtar whenever she would appear for a fight. It definitely has that desert feel to it but with a lot of action so you felt like a big battle was about to come in. The technicals on the show were never in doubt throughout this. The opening is a little more low key next to the other Fate intros but it’s still very catchy.

As expected the dialogue is really good with each character being quite distinctive. There’s a lot of planning and strategizing going on throughout this war. Particularly since Gilgamesh and the humans appear to be on the losing side they have to do a lot of planning to try and make a comeback here. His very regal style of talking is always great. The guy embodies being a king through and through which keeps reminding me of why he is one of the greatest Fate characters of all time. I’d still ultimately say Archer is number 1, but Gilgamesh is a very close #2. This may even be his best portrayal yet although he’s great in all of them. His best design is still the casual design with the black shirt though.

With a series as intense as Fate you can always expect things to get a little violent though. You have characters being tortured and civilians slaughtered by the dozens. The most intense episode may be when the creatures show up in Uruk to dispose of the humans. They do succeed to quite a large extent as almost every human is destroyed. They’re either sliced to death or eaten and if you’re a human you’re probably hoping for the former. One of the heroes is captured and tortured a bit before being consumes which was definitely not fortunate for her. On the whole I wouldn’t say the show ever gets quite as up there as Fate/Zero or Demon Slayer in how intense it can get, the show is definitely not afraid to really blow people up.

As the show is in the desert you can expect a lot of wildlife. Now, the monsters here are created using magic so you could call them more magical creatures than animals. Still, I’d say there’s less of a distinction. Going back to my Pacific Rim review, I would consider these creatures to be more like true animals. It’s not exact, but I wouldn’t say any fight scene with the heroes beating up on them was quite so fun. I was always eager to get the characters back to fighting each other instead. Also, it’s not like the creatures ever stood a chance so after a while it’s not as if it is super impressive to beat them anyway. I’d prefer the battle with the new human creatures.

Those monsters were quite deranged to be sure and since they can talk that did make them legitimately spooky. Now this is how you introduce a powerful enemy invasion force that can be feared. They may almost be too powerful in some respects as one of them was strong enough to overpower Mash so with an army it’s hard to see how the heroes can stay alive for long. We have some super OP fighters on our side but even the goddesses were taking some hits. It’s a good thing Ritsuka is around to refill their energy or things could get a little tricky.

On a final note for things holding the show back a bit, this one does indulge itself a bit more than the other shows with the fanservice. It can be a bit cheeky the whole time with a lot of specific camera angles while the characters are fighting. Mainly I’d say this tends to happen to Mash and Ishtar. As I’ve mentioned in the past, a character design alone I wouldn’t usually consider as fanservice. Even some of the crazier ones like say Quinella or Nami’s “battle suit” I wouldn’t say are too crazy on their own. It just depends on if the show decides to pay extra attention to this during the battle. In this case, that’s what happens whenever Ishtar fights. I wouldn’t say the fanservice ever gets crazy though. It’s consistently there but to a fairly low level. Only slightly notable because the main Fate shows never really have much of that but I suppose this is more of a spinoff.

One of the fun things about the various Fate titles is always seeing who these heroes are. If you’ve heard of them, their weapon, or if you can predict their noble phantasm based on that. I’m not the biggest scholar on classic characters of legend but Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors have helped quite a lot with at least being able to put a face to some of these names. Quite a few of the heroic spirits in this title like the guardians Gilgamesh sends to fight Gorgon appear in those games. In this one we get a bunch of big characters including ones not seen in Fate before now like Merlin and we even have Leonardo Da Vinci. The show makes good use of these guys.

In a power level context the show can be a bit tricky at times. Not because it’s hard to see their powers but because you can’t always be sure of their max limit. The heroic spirits are sort of like batteries. They naturally decay if they aren’t fighting for a while and they do need to be charged up either with rest or Ritsuka just using his amplification abilities. Ishtar for example looks consistently powerful but she isn’t able to use her most powerful abilities until the end of the series when Ritsuka is able to give her a boost. Since the same would be true for the other characters, it is hard to say who would truly be the strongest.

That said, you can usually work your way back based on who appeared first and who appeared last. One thing with this show is you can expect the main characters to get beat up quite thoroughly in just about each episode. Even when they recruit a goddess to their side they end up getting wrecked by the next one. At one point they get 2 and are still losing. They just have the unfortunate luck of recruiting the weakest one first or at least it certainly seems that way. The battlefield and even time of day are important in seeing who wins in a fate matchup though. I’ve been talking a lot about the general aspects of the show though so it’s time to discuss the characters.

Ritsuka is the main character here and he’s pretty solid as you would expect. He’s been through quite a lot by this point in the story but he hasn’t gotten jaded or lost hope. He’s always ready to lend a hand to the other fighters. He may not be able to fight all that much on his own but he still jumps into action. Definitely a good hero to keep everyone together. Then you have his main partner Mash. She is admittedly a bit on the weaker side but as a pseudo servant it does make sense that she would be relatively low tier in the grand scheme of things. Get ready to see her lose in just about every episode though. If you’re a big fan of Mash then that could get a little tough to watch but she always fights well. You can see that she has experience, it’s just that there isn’t a lot you can do when you’re physically outmatched like that.

Then you have Ishtar who gets a huge role here. She’s a lot of fun and one of the standout characters. Now she is weaker than all of the goddesses but that makes sense for a few reasons including the fact that she doesn’t have her ultimate weapon. She probably cares about humans more than the other goddesses as well. I like her aerial fighting style and the theme that accompanies her scenes is always fun. She has a hard time showing her feelings but she is willing to take quite the beating to defend the heroes. Her outright confidence and determination easily allowed her to surpass the other goddesses as a character.

Next up is Enkidu or I should probably call him Kingu. It’s not like he is able to keep the charade up past episode 2 anyway. The real Enkidu is long gone but this guy looks just like him. I won’t spoil why that is but he makes for a pretty intense villain. Maybe a naive one though as he really doesn’t tend to think a few moves in advance at all. This results in him getting surprise hit and overwhelmed quite a few times. You’ll see his face twist with shock a lot. Considering that he is one of the strongest fighters in the series, he really doesn’t contribute much when it counts. He does give us some of the most dynamic fights in the series though. So I’m a bit torn on him on how much I like the character but his strength is the real deal.

Merlin is more of a hype character. He gets a lot of hype from everyone but never really does much. As someone who exists everywhere but will cease to exist everywhere if he dies, it’s an interesting predicament. He has a lot of confidence though and is good at dodging so he has that going for him. Ana is much more fun as an ally. She has a deal with Merlin involving things you won’t get to learn til the end but until the deal is fulfilled she will be helping the heroes. Her power level isn’t very high but she is a valuable ally to have since every person counts here. I liked her savage fighting style as well, it definitely comes in handy.

As for Gilgamesh, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? The guy is very regal and an excellent ruler of the kingdom. He understands his people and how to best utilize them. This isn’t a Gilgamesh that has grown overconfident or discarded humanity. He serves as King and believes in giving everyone their proper role in society. It’s easy to see why he is such a beloved king. his strategies may not always pan out but he’s a really fun guy and whenever you see him on screen you’re sure to be in for an entertaining scene. He has a good working relationship with everyone and the way he is always laughing fills you with confidence.

His most loyal employee is Siduri who is a nice person. She’s probably one of the only people who would dare talk back to him. She is able to understand what he is really saying beyond the bravado which is important. Then in the darker corners of the city you have a mysterious being of shadow. There’s not much I can say about him but while his role is pretty small, it’s also a critical one. He gave the show a solid fight scene as well.

Ushiwakamaru definitely has a big role here that’s for sure. She’s a fun character and I like how much speed she uses in her fights. She’s definitely not a fighter you will be forgetting anytime soon. Alas, this is Fate so don’t expect everyone to have a happy ending. From all of the characters she probably has it rougher than most. At least she never allowed the villains to break her. I’m not sure I buy her going down when the speed advantage was so great but I suppose if she decided to never run away eventually she would tire, although I expect it would be days later.

Then you have Benkei and I really didn’t like him. There aren’t a lot of bad characters in the show, up til now they’ve all been good in fact. This one is an exception though. He chickens out when it counted and that caused quite a lot of grief and casualties. Ultimately he just wasn’t abe to make it up to the characters. Leonidas gets a smaller role but at least he did charge in when it counted. The heroes probably would have fared better if they had teamed up instead of going 1 on 1 but at least he slowed the villains down.

Jaguar Warrior is an interesting character because initially she is so strong that she wipes the floor with all of the characters but then slowly but surely they don’t take her seriously. It’s not like she can do anything against the goddesses I suppose. She’s a fun character to have around though. Probably not someone I would trust to be honest but if you have absolutely no other options then she is not a bad ally to have.

There’s also the Mage King but he doesn’t technically appear here outside of flashbacks so I don’t think there is much to say about him. He seems like he is going to make for a great final boss though. Back at base you also have Da Vinci and Roman but they don’t do much. Roman is still hiding a lot of secrets to be sure so the heroes are going to have to be careful with him. Da Vinci seems safe but you never know. They’re usually here just to give us some quick moments back at present but more often than not they don’t have any ideas for how to deal with the villains.

Now lets talk about the three goddesses and the main villain. First up is Gorgon who is pretty powerful. Not only does she have a whole lot of poison thanks to her snakes but looking directly at her is a bad idea. Cursed eyes are always lethal in any anime, but especially in Grand Order they’re given a lot of significance. I’ll give her some props for being so powerful. She has a bit of a 1 track mind with how she wants revenge on humanity and doesn’t get as much character as the other goddesses but makes her presence felt with how long she remains as the big villain here.

Then you have Quetzalcoatl who has the toughest name to spell. She is all about combat and likes fighting people 1 on 1. There are some twists that help with redeeming her character. She is quite strong as you’ll see when she easily wrecks the main cast. Her final fight is also quite the spectacle as she unleashes some pretty crazy attacks on everyone. She is definitely a memorable character to have around for sure.

Finally there is Ereshkigal. Here’s the thing, she seems like a very nice character in the present. Someone you can sympathize with and all. But the flashback is hard to ignore where she repeatedly tortured Ishtar for a while before stripping her of her decrees and leaving. In the show they don’t explain it too much but decrees and orders are part of your power level. The higher your divine right and the more authorities you have, the harder you will be to defeat. Ereshkigal really put Ishtar in a dangerous spot and you don’t just torture someone without being a psycho. So I liked Ereshkigal in the present but she seems like a completely different character than what we know of her.

Finally we have Tiamut, the big boss of the season. I have to say that she was handled really well. It’s pretty much a trope for a show to always end off with a giant monster or just a giant enemy in general. I see even Fate went this route. Usually I’d be rolling my eyes at this but this may be the best example of how to handle it. Tiamut is more intimidating than the villain from the latest One Piece film, My Hero’s first film, Godzilla: all 3 Netflix films, etc. The reason is because Tiamut is effectively portrayed as a god and her invincibility is absolutely crazy.

The way the show is able to pull this off is because of how stellar the animation looks. Each cut is just crystal clear and she feels like a walking disaster. I also liked how her eyes have actual stars in them. I just love anime eye effects like that where the colors are really crazy and vibrant. Having symbols is an added bonus. So Tiamut was just a real threat as she took the final attacks of so many fighters and just kept on going. I haven’t seen another giant type fighter look so impressive, maybe ever. Her design is memorable, her durability is some of the best I’ve ever seen, etc. This is just the proper way to handle a giant opponent. I won’t go as far as to say it would beat having a humanoid sized opponent at the end but I can appreciate the angle here. You could make a case for Tiamut maybe even being the strongest Fate character of all time since she is invincible in the real world and even in the underworld she is almost impossible to stop. 1 on 1 who could stop her?

It’s no surprise that the show would have an out of this world climax though. The show just has such high standards for the soundtrack and animation that you knew they would go all out. It’s also easy to see why fans would vote for this one to be the big arc to get an anime adaption because I wonder if the others would have such a grand spectacle to end things off on. Surely this one can’t be topped right? I suppose we can’t rule it out but that would be difficult. I fully expect the climax of the book to have something big with the Mage King though. Maybe summoning a bunch of other heroes to come in and help would be ideal.

As a final note, the show also has some pretty good humor. There’s a lot of solid banter throughout. Gilgamesh and Ishtar both tend to have a lot of the best scene with regard to this. The writing is on point so it almost goes without saying but I did want to give the humor a mention. It helps give you a breather from when things are getting so deadly although there isn’t much time to rest in the second half once the new humans start showing up to eat everyone. The first half is more low key in that respect as we’re introduced to the characters and see the heroes lose a bunch as they slowly get used to this world.

Overall, Fate/Grand Order -Babylonia arc is a pretty fun show. It’ll definitely take you on an emotional rollercoaster with all the epic fights as both sides keep trying to gain ground in this war. Grand Order seems to really go all in with bringing in so many different characters from the franchise. This one seems to be definitely gotten the most high tier with crazy stakes but I’d still look forward to seeing the older arcs at some point. With the season ending on a huge cliffhanger for the climax of the first main arc of the game, hopefully that gets adapted at some point. The animation is definitely top tier. I would still say Ufotable is the best but CloverWorks absolutely establishes themselves as a top tier contender with this title. Pretty much every episode has a huge fight scene and the animation is always excellent. Not just in motion but a lot of the still shots if you pause the scren. Yes, that even includes the CGI which is better than most competitors. If you’re a big Fate can then you definitely need to check this out if you haven’t already. Also if you just enjoy action then this will still be a pretty big title to check out. The animation is absolutely on point and the characters each have their own distinctive fighting styles. We’ll see what the Fate series has in store next.

Overall 7/10