9 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

One Punch Man Season 2 Review


Anime is definitely one of the most amazing mediums there is. It never ceases to really bring you into a show. Even anime that I haven’t given the highest of scores will usually have some kind of epic confrontation that takes it to the next level. As a result I tend to really get into various series. I was on a Sword Art Online high for a while, then there was RWBY, One Punch Man and of course Black Clover. There are many great shows, but then at the top you’ve got the elites. These are shows where you are engaged no matter what is happening on screen. It could just be the characters hanging around chatting and you’ll be interested because the characters are just so well written. Then when the action comes you know you’ll be in for a good time. One Punch Man is the second greatest manga I’ve ever read and the first season is easily in my top 10 shows. Season 2 continues the series on a supreme note and I certainly hope to see the franchise continue to go for many years to come.

The season really has two main story arcs going on. One arc follows Saitama as he decides to enter a martial arts tournament to see if some of these fighting techniques will help him face off against a worthy opponent. He’s tired of one shotting monsters all the time so perhaps this will give him some kind of a challenge. This is Saitama though so it’s going to be hard to find such a challenge. Meanwhile the monster association has started to make their first moves against humanity and so the heroes could really use him right about now.

The other big arc follows a new character named Garou. He has dubbed himself the “Hero Hunter” and aims to defeat all of the S Class heroes. He believes that monsters are always portrayed in a negative light and bullied by the humans so he will become a monster that defeats them all. His quest leads him up against most of the series’ biggest fighters as he gradually goes from taking on weaker opponents to some of the strongest in the series. As he becomes a bigger and bigger threat the heroes are forced to acknowledge his power.

It’s easy to see why the 12 episode format is so popular. One Punch Man is able to go at a very quick pace much like season 1 and so there is never a minute of dull time. The plot is always progressing and we go from fight to fight. It helps to really capture the high level of intensity from the manga which is ideal. This season is also covering the beginning of the greatest arc in the series which is a really great place to start. It’s a little hard to know what to talk about first. I guess a logical part is the writing. In most shows it’s hard to like the whole cast, but OPM really manages to do a great job here. I can’t think of any character that is downright bad….well there is one. I forgot he appeared in this season, but I quickly double checked and Puri Puri Prisoner showed up after all. He would be the only negative character. The others ranging from heroes to villains are all pretty spectacular.

Another positive in this season is that it goes out of its way to build up the monsters as a real threat. In season 1 we did see a lot of powerful enemies that dealt major damage until Saitama took them out, but as a whole the society was pretty much okay after each encounter. There were slight hintings in the background that something was coming though. Season 2 is the payoff with that as we find out that there is a monster association led by Monster King Orochi and they have plans on how to deal with the heroes. It’s really the worst nightmare of the hero society since these guys are all mega powerful and know how to pick off the heroes. It’s a fact that there are more monsters than humans so if they properly gang up then it’s hard to see how they could be defeated.

I always like a good villain meetup scene so the episode where we first see Orochi and his full staff of monsters is excellent. I also like how they trolled the humans by pretending to be interested in a truce only to start shooting anyway. These monsters are ruthless and most of their members are actually cool monsters and not just throwaways. The series went out of its way to establish a lot of these guys and that’s great if you ask me.

In particular I liked 2 of the monsters in this season a lot. First is the cockroach guy who has a cool design and gave Genos a real fight. That alone is enough to make him pop out on my radar. Then you’ve got Gouketsu who has a great design and a solid presence. I would have liked to have seen him fight some more opponents to really see him in action before he left though. While we didn’t get that, it’s still clear that he is one of the strongest fighters out there.

We’ve already got an engaging story and excellent writing so that’s how you know you’ve got a winner. Next up is the animation. It certainly took a lot of heat as soon as the first promo came out with people saying that J.C. Staff was going to ruin it and that it couldn’t match up to the original. To start with, season 2 was never going to pass the first one. To date One Punch Man season 1 has the greatest animation I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it will be passed in the near future, that anime just looked perfect and it was fitting since the manga has the best artwork I’ve ever seen in that medium. You simply can’t top it. That being said, season 2’s animation is still great. At its absolute worst it’s still pretty good.

Just look at any of Garou’s fights and you’ll see how stellar it is. Genos vs Sonic and Genos vs Cockroach are also great fights and the same goes for Suiryu. What I’m basically saying is that all of the fights are great. This season uses different animation techniques which may take a little time to get used to if you watch both seasons back to back, but they aren’t bad. We get more air slash effects to compensate for not being able to animate every little detail like in season 1. It’s also more of a fluid color scheme that has less detail, but still gives you a lot of movement. I’d say it’s similar to the older seasons of Cardfight vs the newer ones, DBZ vs Super, or Naruto vs Boruto. In general I think a lot of anime are going towards this more streamlined era of less detail. It’ll be up to personal preference though and it’s all done within reason. For example, Black Clover falls under the “more detailed” line of anime but for big fights they tend to switch to simpler designs. Super interestingly went the opposite direction as the first few arcs were very simple so they went for a detailed look in the Tournament of Power.

In general I’d say that the detailed approach will look better than the simple designs. It’s clear that it takes a lot more work and effort to get it across, but if it’s something that’s 5x as hard to do and only makes 2x as much money (if even that) then it’s likely not worth it from a studio perspective. As long as the animation is still great I’m cool with whatever they decide to use. At least it’s not all CGI right? Now that would be something for me to get disappointed at. Season 2 has a few CGI gradients put onto the characters at times, but it’s never a full transformation like the Colossal Titan in AOT or anything like that. The actual fights are always still hand drawn and that’s the important thing.

The soundtrack is also great like with season 1. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening though. I dunno, both OPM intros haven’t really been my thing which is surprising since they are rock based. Maybe season 3 will get that one across. The new theme we have which plays during Bang’s scenes is excellent. In particular when it shows up during his fight with Garou it’s perfectly timed. It starts out as a fairly soft theme and then really picks up. Every show should have a standout theme and this is the one for this season. We also have the return of the Genos theme which was slightly remixed and still sounds great.

It’s a small complaint, but the sound mixing did seem a bit off at times. The Genos theme in particular was one instance of this as you could barely hear it playing during his fight with Garou. The sound effects were way louder than the music. Then some of the sound effects don’t have quite the pop you would expect during some battles. I didn’t notice the effects sounding weak for any of Garou’s fights though as it was just in early episodes. Perhaps it’s something that was quickly addressed.

Most of the big characters from season 1 return here which is definitely good. Saitama is still a great lead. He’s just a nice guy who’s pretty relatable and does really want to be a great hero. It must be tough being the strongest, but he’s never even been remotely tempted to turn into a villain which is good. The series could easily have had him try to be a villain so he could see if the S rank heroes give him a good fight but it hasn’t gone in that direction. It’s also always cool to see him transition into his cool hero persona.

King is one of the big new characters in this season and he definitely makes a positive impact. Everyone believes they he is one of the strongest heroes out there because King always happens to be in the right place at the right time. He is similar to Hercule from DBZ only King is fairly selfless and isn’t here for the money or power. He just wants people to leave him alone so he can play his video games. King does step up when needed though. One of the main reasons why he is such a fun character is he actually does give good advice and solid speeches. His character definitely goes in a different direction from how you’d expect and it works out really well.

Bang was in the first season, but this is the first one where he gets a fairly significant role. Since Garou was one of his students he wants to defeat the villain personally. This leads to him taking down a lot of thugs and ultimately helping out a lot in the climax. He is treated as one of the strongest S class heroes for sure although his age does factor in a bit. He’s not quite as powerful as he used to be although you wouldn’t guess it from his fights. He’s probably one of the best Shonen mentors I’ve seen in a very long while. You can’t even compare him to someone like Master Roshi. Garou manages to stay relevant next to the main characters and is just a good guy. Then we get to see his brother Bomb. Bomb’s not one of the more popular characters but he is quite solid in his own right. He is able to keep up with Bang blow for blow and just having him along as backup is incredibly handy. There would be too many enemies if Bang had to worry about them all by himself.

Meanwhile Sonic is awesome as always even if his role is very small this time around. He still has his super speed and confidence when he fights the other two ninja but this season is mostly just not about him much. His quick fight with Genos was also great. I like the rivalry between them. Genos gets a solid role meanwhile. Unlike season 1 where he basically lost every fight he actually scores some impressive wins here like against the cockroach monster. Garou also takes down a legion of enemies all while overwhelming Garou. It’s great to see him improving although I expect ultimately he will still be losing to most of the bigger fighters. It just wouldn’t be One Punch Man without Genos breaking down at least once. He never loses confidence though and that’s why he is the best hero.

Another new character is Suiryu and he’s definitely a hit. At this point Saitama already has 2 solid rivals in Genos and Sonic but why not add in a third one right? Suiryu is a martial arts master and quite possibly the strongest non hero out there. He is able to easily defeat A rank heroes and I dare say that he could give some S Ranks a run for their money. His pure physical abilities are off the charts and I always enjoy confident characters like this. He completely overwhelms his opponents in the ring and is only stopped short by Gouketsu. I don’t believe any of the villains under that guy would have been able to do much here. I really hope Suiryu gets to appear again because this guy has potential. The scenes of him getting beat up by the villains are probably some of the most emotional in the series.

Then we have Garou who really lit up the anime with his appearances. He gets stronger as he fights which is always a great trait to have. A good villain should always have an interesting backstory as well and Garou’s is top notch. He does have a point that in a lot of the old monster type shows the heroes would pick on the monster unfairly. Just look at the original Ultraman. Part of my complaints with that show was that not all of the monsters would be evil, but they’d all be beaten and blown up anyway. Garou takes this down an extreme path and does without a doubt become a villain, but it’s still a solid motivation if you ask me. He’s borderline the main character of season 2 and should play a large part in season 3 as well. Garou faces off against crazy odds in most of his fights and easily feels like the most dangerous villain. Take this into consideration, he was giving Genos an even fight despite being almost unconscious and losing his vision. Garou at full strength at this point would be completely insane.

Then there’s Fubuki who hasn’t yet had a lot to do in the show. She’s a fun character and I look forward to seeing her get more fights in the future. Her dynamic of not wanting to be saved by Tatsumaki is good as it’ll make her get stronger and is also a good motivation in general. Saitama was that making the Fubuki group is a bit of a waste when you can just get stronger but it isn’t so easy for most.

So in the end does season 2 manage to dethrone season 1? The answer is no, but it’s a very close fight. Season 2 does adapt what I consider to be some of the best scenes in the series. The season has higher stakes and more emotional moments because Saitama just isn’t around to save the day as much. It has a grander feel, but ultimately season 1 wins with how phenomenal it is. Having the greatest animation of all time certainly helps, but we also got to meet all of the S ranks in the cool climax of season 1. Boros made for a great opponent and I also enjoyed a lot of the light hearted moments with Saitama and Genos. A whole show of them hanging out would be a lot of fun as well.

Overall, One Punch Man Season 2 is a great follow up to the original and a top notch show in general. When you combine both shows you’ve got 24 episodes that would be hard for any title to match. If you haven’t seen this show yet then you need to change that. Each episode is guaranteed to get your heart pumping as you enjoy the excellent action scenes. It’s really rare to have such a well balanced show on this level so the wait for season 3 is definitely going to be tough. I hope they launch the next one right away. Since the seasons are only 12 episodes that should help them pump it out quickly. Whether they adapt the rest of the arc or not I just want to see more One Punch Man!

Overall 9/10

6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

A Certain Scientific Accelerator Review


It’s time to look at one of the Index spinoffs. The series has definitely expanded itself into a full franchise at this point with several manga and anime each spinning off into their own thing. It’s definitely neat that Accelerator got his own show since he is the best character in the franchise. Unfortunately he surprisingly isn’t able to carry his show into the spotlight as it just ends up being weaker than some of the other titles. An underwhelming climax and general lack of Accelerator ultimately stopped this season from reaching its full potential, but it’s still a fun ride.

The season starts by introducing us to Accelerator, the strongest Esper in Academy City. At one point he used to be a mass murderer, but has since made it his mission to protect Last Order. Last Order is a kid who also serves as a memory generator for the rest of the Misaka units who are still alive. As a result Accelerator tries to hide her from the darker parts of society. Unfortunately Academy City is as corrupt as they come so this is difficult. We’ve got various groups trying to either destroy the city, claim it, or just murder people for fun. Accelerator has to stop them all. One of the problems though is the fact that he took a lot of damage in a previous arc. He now relies on a web link to Last Order to keep his brain active which is also how he can use his limitless abilities. If someone turns off the switch then he shuts down.

The main story arc here revolves around Esther. She was a necromancer until she realizes that messing around with the dead seemed like a very shady thing to do. As a result she has decided to step away, but first she has to clean up one last mess that was made. See, Esther decided to help Mikihiko with his experiments and now he has enough tech to use dead bodies to fuel his robots. The guy is teaming up with an underworld group called DA and they have been making several moves against the cops. Esther wants to stop them, but she isn’t particularly powerful so she asks Accelerator for help. He couldn’t care less, but then one of the Misaka units gets captured and now it’s personal. Together these two fighters will have to stop DA and any other groups they hire to slow the heroes down along the way.

Accelerator never likes to be considered as a hero so he constantly tries to remind everyone that he is still a villain. Nobody really ever seems to buy this, but he definitely isn’t as merciful as someone like Touma. He will give the occasional heroic speech, but it’s all hidden between the lines so you have to pay attention to really get it. It’s a very interesting approach and I can roll with it. At the end of the day Accelerator does what he needs to in order to protect Last Order. This may usually go in line with the heroes’ interests, but that may not always be the case so he’s making it clear who his priority is. It’s why he doesn’t need a hero label and at the same time doesn’t want to suddenly be in charge of protecting other people like Esther.

This gets difficult though since Esther gets pretty attached to him right away. She sees Accelerator as her mentor and hangs on his every word. I suppose it’s hard not to look up to someone like him since Accelerator is mega powerful. He’s definitely a great character as always and has all of the best scenes. Pretty much nobody here can stand up to him which is something the show has trouble with. Either Accelerator completely overwhelms his opponents in a single hit or he fights a cosmic entity who can’t be hurt. There is no in between, but he never loses his confidence.

Meanwhile I thought Esther was a good heroine. She definitely does tend to hesitate and isn’t all that powerful, but she does her best to do what she can to help. At least she did quit the villain group right away when she saw it was getting dangerous and tried to stop everyone else. Esther just needs to hesitate a lot less and stop freezing up when everyone is counting on her. Esther’s resolve needs work and she can be a bit oblivious. Still, her core character is good and I always do enjoy a heroine who can fight back. That’s definitely important.

Then there is Last Order who is a fun enough kid. As you may or may not know I’m not a big fan of kids in these kind of shows because they tend to be used as hostages or just be slow on the uptake so everyone has to recap events for them. Fortunately Last Order doesn’t really fall into these traps and comes across as a nice enough character here. You do get the idea that she knows more than she lets on at times, but at least she doesn’t use this to slow Accelerator down. She’s also extremely handy since without her Accelerator would be powerless.

One of the Misaka units appears in the show for a while, but looks terrible the whole time. I think her character wasn’t used all that well. She has electricity and should be able to fight yet she forgets this the entire time. She loses every fight and you would think that she was a powerless human half of the time. The real Misaka hopefully would have showed a lot more fighting prowess and as a clone I’d expect the same from this one. Then we have the villain group Skill-Out. These guys are pretty fun. They may not be nearly as strong as ITEM, but they can certainly still fight and I always love having a whole group show up.

First up is the leader Iizumi. Her ability is that she can find you no matter where you are. She’s got the proper confidence that you need for being a leader, but her abilities definitely aren’t that handy in a fight which does hold her back. Having an offensive ability is pretty necessary if you want to last in this show. Naruha was a lot more impressive in this regard as she could make a giant rabbit suit and manipulate paper. She was pretty fun and one of the highlights in the group. Hopefully she’ll get another chance to fight at some point. Then we have Seike who is the best character of the group. Admittedly I never guessed that the character was a guy until I looked him up to remember the name for this review. His ability is the most dangerous since he can manipulate frictional coefficients. Essentially he can stop you from moving and it was one of those super scientific abilities that the series loves to use. I imagine there is quite a lot you can do with such a power.

Youko is one of the villains from the very beginning of the series. She was super out of her league with her tech suit and gun against Accelerator, but she gave it the ole try which is admirable. I always like villains who are confident and while her group may not have kept their hype for very long, they were still good to have around. Her two allies left less of an impact though. Hasami is the last ghost on Esther’s side and gets a big role. Since she is manipulating the body of someone who is already dead she feels no pain. Effectively she has no emotions either and as a result doesn’t tend to understand human cultures much. This makes for some forced scenes, but otherwise she is a good fighter to have around. She has basic super strength and speed which are two abilities that will never steer you wrong.

Time for some of the characters who go off the deep end. First up is Hirumi and we can blame most of the series on her selfish actions. She is a very obsessive character who appears unhinged from the start. I feel like the series was obvious about that so it’s no real twist. Her decision to make the ultimate sacrifice when it was not necessary and nobody wanted her to do it really sums up her character. Her will power is so low that two different characters possess her at the same time. You’ve got the demon and then you’ve also got Isaac. While this may make for an interesting villain it really does her no favors. The final episodes really go crazy with all of the various forms and such. It doesn’t make for an exciting climax but more on that later. Either way she was one of the weakest characters in the series.

Finally there is Mikihiko who is also a very dicey character. From the start the show establishes him as an evil character who is also quite sketchy. He betrays everyone and messes around with people who are dead. His sister is without a doubt his top priority but he doesn’t notice when she starts acting rather off. For a genius he is surprisingly slow on the uptake. Some scenes are a bit iffy too like how he found a short cut to catch up to the heroes when he was bleeding out and on the ground, but we’ll assume he’s just that good I guess. He gets quite a lot of development and scenes near the end. While he doesn’t turn good, the show does try to make you sympathize with him for just wanting to help out his sister. It doesn’t work though because of how much of a villain we saw him be earlier. He’s just one of those villains who wants to have it both ways. I prefer him to Hirumi but neither one of these villains were particularly good.

That basically wraps up the main cast. It’s not a bad cast, but really Accelerator has to do most of the work here. Esther and Last Order are good as well, but I wouldn’t call them great characters. Then for the villains I liked the more minor Skill-Out fighters more than the actual main villains. The DA guys were just insane the whole time and I already spoke at length about Hirumi and Mikihiko. The writing is good though as the series still has that scientific feel that Index is famous for. Nothing will top the fight between Accelerator and Kakine from the main Index fight in terms of dialogue though as it perfectly sums up the series. Still, we get a lot of technical dialogue here as well which is great.

It should come as no surprise that the soundtrack is great. The team did a great job with the catchy Shadow is the Light theme song. It’s got that rock theme to it as well which really fits in with Accelerators character as someone who helps out in the dark so nobody even knows that he is helping out. Throughout the season the themes are solid as well. Meanwhile I thought the animation was good. It’s definitely not quite as striking as the Index seasons or Railgun, but I’d still call it pretty good. The only episodes that didn’t look quite as good were the ones in the climax since everyone turned more gray scale. It was an effect that the villain had of course, but I saw it as a quick way to lessen the animation budget a bit. The show would kick it into high gear at some points, but not all the time. Still, it’s still animation that looks nice as you’re watching the show.

Naturally the show does have some fanservice issues at times. Characters forget that they’re not supposed to change while everyone else is around and at times the fighting starts suddenly so they have no time to properly get dressed. Most of their attires aren’t great even when they are ready. It’s never quite as extensive as in the main show fortunately. It adds up enough to be noticed, but definitely could have been a whole lot worse. It’s not the biggest problem that this title has. The main problem in Accelerator is unfortunately the fight scenes.

So how do you make fights for a guy who is pretty much all powerful? Well, I’d say that it was a difficult dilemma except that the main show has had no problems with this so far. The battles against Kakine and the archangels are perfect for showing how this could go. Since Accelerator is still hooked up to the device you can give him a run for his money. The first half of the season did a reasonable job of it with Accelerator wrecking everyone. Then the second half came up and all his fights were with robots. The problem here is that you couldn’t really call them fights. It’s really just him firing a shot at the robots, they dodge, he fires, etc. These scenes just never really amount to anything and feel like they’re stalling for time. Then we get to the final episodes where he is effectively firing at plants the whole time. Of course he can blow them up with ease, plants can barely fight back.

The climax is incredibly weak which is disappointing since there is a lot they could have done with the concept. Accelerator’s first half of the show was considerably stronger than the ending. The main villain by this point was becoming a cosmic being with a bunch of persona fighting for attention. The setting felt like an end of the world type of battlefield too so it at least looked cool. The problem is that the villains stayed in a cocoon the whole time which meant there was no chance of a real fight. When she strapped in I knew that the series had given up on giving us a big fight at the end. This is the main thing that lowers its replay value. You’ll definitely be interested and engaged as you run through the show for the first time, but it’s unlikely that you would come around a second time because there isn’t much you would need to re-watch.

Esther’s origin story also took valuable time away from getting to see Accelerator. It’s not a terrible flashback or anything but without Accelerator at all it couldn’t hope to match up to the present stuff. I’d rather see more of the reluctant Accelerator mentoring Esther dynamic. That was always pretty entertaining with how insistent Esther was on following Accelerator and him always trying to escape the situation. It’s unlikely that Esther would be a main character in the next season since the cliffhanger is already throwing him into another adventure, but I wouldn’t be shocked if she showed up again at some point.

Overall, A Certain Scientific Accelerator is an enjoyable show, but one that always leaves you feeling like it has some missed opportunities. Accelerator himself misses out on quite a lot of screen time as Esther gets her backstory and the other characters all try to be relevant. I believe focusing on him would have made the show better and it’s really the only advice I need to give to a potential season season. Still, just getting to see him as the main character for a while is fun and you’ll get to learn more about the Index franchise as a whole. I’d recommend checking this one out and hopefully we’ll get more Index seasons in the future.

Overall 6/10

Editorial

Why Toonami needs to bring in episode promos for all their new shows


Toonami is a pretty cool TV block and I dare say that it’s the best block out there. It’s done a really great job of getting its brand out there. When something is on Toonami you know it. The channel has great bumpers, an actual ongoing story with TOM and manages to always have a pretty great lineup. Just having a place for anime to get aired nowadays is really cool since there aren’t many alternatives aside from watching online. At times the channel may make some questionable decisions (Super’s frame rate. There’s a bit of a blame game here with everyone deflecting, but ultimately it seemed to be on the channel not double checking their tapes) (The TV ratings for shows don’t always make sense. I believe channel ratings are up to the discretion of the channel so it could be more of a CN decision, but I imagine Toonami would have some input) but it’s still a top notch block. The channel has been through a lot, but there is one change I’m not too fond of. For a while the block always had 30 second promos for the top shows. Now they’re down to 15 per show and a lot of big titles don’t even get them.

To be fair, Toonami has never made it a practice to give every new show episode promos. I’m assuming this is due to budget concerns and not getting the content quick enough. Even so, I’m here to make the case that all new shows should have consistent episode promos of around 30 seconds. I really don’t think this would have a huge impact on the budget. Editing is no joke, but it’s something that they could certainly have staffers do. One way to get around the time involved would be to make episode promos based on the sub versions. You could just grab the entire thing, but of course this would be more of a last resort. Ideally I’d like to have 30 second dub promos for it the way they used to. For the purposes of this editorial when I say “new” shows I’m talking about anything that is airing on Toonami for the first time. For example something like My Hero Academia which is already available online is still on Toonami for the first time so that should get dub promos. Likewise if Sailor Moon Crystal were to air, I’d want that to get promos as well since it’s on Tooami for the first time. So…why are episode promos important?

1. They are your first glance at a show

Toonami has four kinds of promos. They have the motivational speeches every once in a while, the monthly lineup change promo, episode promos, and new series introduction promos. I’m mainly focusing on the third kind, but the fourth one has some overlap. Every new show does get an intro promo so Toonami does a good job with that. Typically this promo is a minute long and it’s a great way to set up a show for new viewers. To date the best series promo by far was the Sword Art Online Alicization one.

Despite there not being a whole lot of action in the premiere they used amazing editing and a rock solid music choice to get you hyped. I’ve seen that promo at least 50 times since it first aired. It’s just perfect and it’s an example of a show I could see myself checking out without knowing anything else other than the promo. It’s just that good. Episode promos can have the same effect.

Put it this way, the series premiere promo only shows up for 2-3 weeks. After that it’s gone so if you turn on the TV at a random time odds are that most of the shows airing won’t have any promos. That’s where an episode promo comes in. Lets say you turn on the TV and you get the Samurai Jack episode 3 promo below.

You have no idea what this show is, but all you care about is when the episode is going to air. You’ll tune in and now there is a chance that you’ll pick up the show. You’re much more likely to take a chance that way after seeing something rather than blindly tuning in at the time and checking it out. A good episode promo goes a long way to letting you see if you’ll like the show or not. Actual footage goes a long way.

2. They get you hyped for the next episode

An obvious benefit of episode promos is they get you ready for what will come next. Especially as most of the Toonami shows are action ones. A solid promo builds up the hype and anticipation for next week. Lets take this Titan promo for example. We’re finally going to see Eren’s rematch against the titan from episode one. This is an event that viewers looked forward to for several years so just having that scene in the promo really gets you amped up. It’s just not the same with no promo or even with a 15 second one. They’re just way too short for you to do anything with them. We need consistent episode promos and all of the new shows deserve them, not just the top 2-3 each season.

3. A good promo may make you jump on board a show even if the first few episodes didn’t look so good.

This is similar to the first option, but a little different. Lets say you’ve got a show where the beginning looks boring? Say you turned on Dragon Ball Super and you saw the early Beerus stuff. You figure “I’ve already seen this as a movie” so you turn it off and don’t watch again. About a year later you turn on the TV and the following promo shows up. Now you’re thinking “Wait a minute, this looks hype!” and you scramble to watch the next episode. An episode promo like this shows you what you’re missing and may incentivize you to re-start the show. After all, you’re more inclined to do so if you know there is going to be some big payoff like this rather than watching something you’re not a fan of and hoping it’ll get better. A lot of shows have slow beginnings and for some they may never get better while for others they hit that next gear and never look back. Promos are perfect for this.

So, those are 3 reasons why I think Toonami should reconsider their current approach and begin airing 30 second promos for all of their premieres. It would really go a long way towards getting more and more people excited about their current shows. The biggest benefit will be for more casual viewers, but I just love promos even if I’m already watching the shows and am hyped for next week. Promos are just amazing and I’ve always enjoyed watching them a bunch. A good one just goes a really long way and also helps when trying to recommend a show to someone. Well, with or without this change, Toonami has definitely been a great way for us all to experience new titles. Without Toonami I doubt anime would be quite as mainstream as it is today.

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Dragon Ball Super Review


It’s time to finally take a look at Dragon Ball Super. It may have finished a very long time ago over in Japan, but Toonami only finished airing it rather recently. It’s definitely a show that’s been pretty polarizing in many aspects, but overall it’s great to have Dragon Ball back. The show has significant issues to be sure, but it did bring us some big elements like Goku Black. Hopefully we do get that next show announcement by the end of the year, but the year is ending fast. Lets take a deep look at good ole Super.

The first two arcs recap the movies that came out. The first one where Beerus arrives to destroy Earth and find the legendary Super Saiyan and the second one where Frieza returns to exact his revenge. These stories are old so there’s no reason to really go into them again. Unfortunately both adaptions were not quite as good as the movies they were told in. This is mainly because the show has to pad these stories out to buy a lot of time. I’ll really be starting my story look through with the next arc, the big universe against universe showdown!

Basically Champa has challenges Beerus to a battle. The winner gets to claim the Super Dragon Balls and can make whatever wish they want. Beerus accepts and for his fighters he wisely chooses the power hitters like Goku and Vegeta. There is a mysterious Monaka fighter on the roster, but Beerus insists that he fights last. Meanwhile Champa’s team has a mysterious individual known as Hit which could get a little tricky for the heroes. It’s a fun way to really start the show off because we get to see some new characters and the first opponent to actually defeat Super Saiyan Blue. Hit vs Vegeta is definitely one of the best fights in Super and it really raised the stakes. If this random guy could beat Blue then who knows how many other guys could possibly take down Goku and Vegeta.

This arc may not have life or death stakes the way that the Z arcs had, but it was still a great kickoff event for the show. We got a lot of big fights and no real wasted time here. Hit vs Goku was also great and it was nice to see Vegeta take down Frost. It did start off the power level issues a little more, but I’m going to be tackling that after covering every arc because that’s a big topic that’s going to need its own section. This arc really let you ease into the new characters and just enjoy some nice fights.

Next we have the Goku Black arc which is definitely the best arc in the series. Trunks arrives from the future and we find out that in his timeline Goku murdered everyone. The heroes figure there must be more to it than that since turning evil isn’t really Goku’s thing. The guy shows up and easily beats Vegeta and Goku when they first fight. Black continues to get stronger with each fight which makes him incredibly dangerous. He also has an ally in the immortal Zamasu and they make for a great tag team. There’s also a bit of mystery here because we just aren’t sure exactly who Goku Black is. There are definitely a lot of people he could be, but it’s hard to get that definitive answer.

Part of why this arc is so good is because it’s the only big arc in Super to really have high stakes. The Tournament of Power is an example of the stakes not being existent because of how high they are, but more in a moment. Goku Black and Zamasu are here to destroy everyone, they aren’t following any rules and since we’re in the future there isn’t a Beerus or Whis to suck the tension away. It’s just a brutal battle among Saiyans and we get a lot of great scenes here. Trunks being around is also great. I do like the contrast of how he’s always ready to charge in and attack while everyone is still gloating. Trunks always goes for the finishing move, it’s just a shame that he doesn’t have the power to carry it out most times.

Finally we have the tournament of power. With the exception of two universes everyone else has been instructed to fight. Each universe gets 10 members and they all have to fight within 40 minutes. Each episode is roughly a minute and so we naturally get a ton of fights. The main threat appears to be a man named Jiren whose power is basically absolute. Super Saiyan Blue won’t cut it here so Goku will need an entirely new level of power if he wants to even get close to this guy. Can Goku really master such a form in such a small amount of time? Meanwhile his allies will have to try not to hold him back.

This is the longest arc of the series I believe and it does benefit from the animation upgrade Super got in the second half of its life span. It’s very noticeable how the animation improved and some of those final fights will likely live on forever as some of the best in anime. The concept of the arc is great since we have so many fights here and a lot of the best themes in the show appear here. Goku’s Ultra Instinct is definitely incredible and it felt like so long since he last had a super form. It was definitely worth the wait. There’s a lot of action and excitement to be had here for sure. While it may not be quite as serious with the stakes as the last arc the nonstop action definitely really helps to keep it at a high level.

The reason why there are no stakes here is because you know it won’t stick. The rules are that every defeated universe will be eradicated. That means Goku would be murdering untold amounts of people if he won the tournament. There’s just no way that could possibly stick so while you enjoy all of the fights it’s more of a friendly tournament at the end of the day. I love all tournaments so it’s not a big deal, but it does help to give Goku Black’s arc that slight edge. It’s really the only high stakes arc post Z and I’m hoping a sequel series brings back that tension by bringing in the demons and having foes who can defeat Beerus and Whis. That will really throw us back into uncharted territory.

The animation in Super is definitely solid. I know the show got a lot of mocking back in the day for how off model everything is, but it still looks good. Sure, it’s nowhere near the big shows nowadays like Fate, Bleach, or something like that, but it still looks good enough. The big battles also get a boost and then with the tournament of power the animation really got elevated. Towards the end there we finally get back into the high-end level of anime. The fight with Kefla, Jiren, Toppo, they were all quite solid. Once the animation goes up it actually manages to stay there for the rest of the series which is very impressive. The animation is definitely not a real concern for this show, it’s definitely very impressive and again, that boost at the end puts it up there with any anime it would like to face.

Then we have the soundtrack which is absolutely top notch. Super has one of the best OSTs that I’ve seen in a very long time. Pretty much every theme is one that you’ve just got to listen to. We have suspense themes, battle themes, emotional themes, you name it and the show’s got it. It’s easily a 5 star soundtrack and very few anime can even get on the same level as this one. I don’t know exactly where I’d put it, but I’m confident that it would make top 10.

Goku is the lead here once more but he may be a little different than you remember. Interestingly he is the most flanderized of the characters compared to the DBZ days. He has a very tough time taking anything seriously and is more kid-like than usual. To an extent this is because the old Z dub made him extra heroic but it’s also just the show dialing him back a bit. It’s a shame because he is an awesome character in Z. He’s still solid in Super to be sure, but not quite up to par with his normal self. He’s at his best when bantering with Frieza or Vegeta. That’s when he is back at his peak. Goku’s battle intelligence is also unaffected as seen by his plans against Hit and Jiren. His destructo disc plan against the latter was very impressive even if it ultimately did not work.

Naturally Goku did get some new forms here so how did they stack up? Well, I definitely loved the Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken form mainly because I would always question why Goku didn’t use it more often with SSJ. Certainly it takes a larger strain but it would help him take down any foe. The form also just looks really cool with the blue and red colors blending together.

The big form is Ultra Instinct though. It’s got two modes, Onen and Mastered. Both forms are incredible. I’ll give the latter form the edge with how stylish the white hair looks. It feels more complete but I can also see why people love Omen mode since it’s more mysterious. Goku acts like his SSJ4 form where he is completely ruthless and just wrecks his opponents. Whenever Goku transforms into Ultra Instinct form it’s an epic scene. Surprisingly his first transformation scene is the weakest of the group, but I’m going to have an editorial on that soon. Personally the most impressive appearance of that mode was against Kefla. Either way I look forward to this form continuing to show up.

Then we’ve got Vegeta and the show really does an excellent job of portraying him. Yes the first arc with Beerus makes him look terrible and the running gag of Vegeta being scared of him does continue for a bit. Fortunately that starts to get dropped by the end because otherwise the show really depicts how Vegeta has changed over the years. He’s more of a family man than Goku and is always doing his best to protect Bulma. He’s kept up his Saiyan pride and no matter how many power ups Goku gets Vegeta is right behind him. Vegeta never loses sight of his drive to be the best. He may lose all of the important fights in the show, but he always puts up a good effort.

Trunks is always a lot of fun so it’s nice to see him return even if just for one arc. He gets a crispy new super form and is no nonsense as always. His battles with Goku Black are great and I do miss having him around. The show really missed a big opportunity by not keeping him around at the end. It would have made perfect sense to have brought him over instead of going to another world with no real benefits. Perhaps he’ll still appear in the future some day.

Beerus is an enjoyable character even if he does come at a big price. He has good banter with the rest of the characters and Beerus is super competitive so that leads to a lot of great dialogue as well. The show retconned the fact that Goku in SSG mode was close to beating him, but even so it’s hard to imagine that the heroes can’t beat him at this point. They’re basically just friends now though so I suppose the point is moot. The only problem about having Beerus and Whis around is that there is rarely a sense of danger. You know that the villains won’t be able to compete with Beerus which is a shame.

As for Whis, he’s portrayed as being even stronger than Beerus. Everything is a joke to him, but at least he doesn’t threaten to destroy the world nearly as often as Beerus. Whis is content to just hang out and enjoy whatever is going on. I hope to see him fight seriously someday. Then we’ve got some of the original Z fighters like Krillin, but there’s not a ton to say about him. He’s still not very strong, but at least Goku does put him on the final team roster so he gets to have a few fights.

Bulma gets a good role here. As always she is the genius of the group and develops a lot of great tech that helps the heroes out in their battles. Without her they would really be in a serious pickle. She may not fight, but her constant advancements in weaponry and armor have helped the team a great deal. Then we have Piccolo who is also not one of the stronger fighters anymore. He does help Gohan out in the tournament though and still has good tactical awareness. He’s also just a fun character to have around.

Gohan let his skills slack off once again for the first two arcs, but fortunately after that he finally takes fighting seriously again. He even re-unlocks his mystic form and gets back to his peak strength. While he is unable to pass Vegeta or Goku by the end (Nor should he since they never stopped training) he does get to be a serious threat once again. His best showing is probably when he took on Dyspo. Gohan was actually keeping up pretty well. I’m definitely up for seeing more of Gohan in a sequel show.

Android 18 joins the fray in the final arc. Unfortunately she has not gotten any stronger from the Android saga unlike 17, but she still contributes quite a bit in the various fights. She may be quite harsh to Krillin at times, but at the end of the day she really just wants the money to help out the family. Android 17 is one of the surprise hits of the series. Apparently being a park ranger can multiply your power level hundreds of times over. He went from being an Arc 2 villain to suddenly having power on the level of the gods. He’s a really fun character and I always like his dead pan approach. His best scene is probably when he caught the light speed power ranger in time to prevent him from landing a hit on 18. It was just a crispy scene.

Naturally Frieza has a really big role here. He is instrumental in the tournament of power arc. He’s definitely one of the all time best Dragon Ball villains and Super really handles his personality perfectly. He’s constantly messing with the heroes but fortunately he also has enough raw talent to back this up. He has the best strategy out of all the heroes in that he waits for everyone else to get tired and waste their energy before he steps in. Unfortunately the show does drop the ball with his character by the end. The entire time it is heavily implied that his power level is on par with Goku and Vegeta’s and his scenes support this. Then he suddenly looks terrible in the last few episodes. I’ve heard that it was a change of writers or something, but when watching the show it makes no sense. Dyspo and Toppo should not have done nearly as well as they did against him. It made all of his planning futile in the end.

Then there is Buu but in contrast you can tell that he got the raw end of the stick here. He is around for the first tournament and then gets a training episode for the second, but is quickly written out of the show. The whole sub-plot is rather bizarre. Maybe there was a plot that was intended for him at some point and then it was scrapped. It’s too bad because there was a lot of potential here. I do think he would have been a bit overpowered for this arc though. Healing and a high power level go a long way.

Goku Black is one of the most ambitious characters in the series and it was really great to see him step up to the plate. He certainly deserved his own arc so that was great. His regal personality makes for a great contrast to Goku’s design and his whole getting stronger the more damage he takes stick is also great. The end of the arc may not have been the most satisfying for his fans, but at least he got a lot of fights before then. He quickly rose up to become one of my all time favorite villains as well and I’d put him second behind Broly. Black is just that good.

Meanwhile I also greatly enjoyed Zamasu. His whole obsession with disliking the mortals is handled very well. You can feel his disdain in every scene that he is in. While his power level may not be too high, it’s nice to see his immortality in action. I always said that immortality is not a power I would want because if you’re weak then it just means that someone can beat you up for eternity. Since he has a partner in Goku Black it is less of an issue though. Otherwise he definitely would have been in a whole lot of trouble.

Jaco and Champa are two of the comic relief characters running around. Jaco’s a decent enough guy even if he is super weak. I mean, that’s basically the point. Champa is harder to take seriously because we’re meant to believe that he is about as strong as Beerus and I find that hard to believe. Not working out at all and getting super overweight should absolutely hamper your fighting ability. I just can’t see how it wouldn’t. Then we have the Grand Minister who is likely extremely powerful but we never get to see him fight. There are a ton of fan videos where he ends up challenging the gang and I must say that this would be a rather awesome turn of events.

Zeno is a high above being who can end reality with the snap of his fingers. He’s not my kind of character as I prefer actual fighting ability to triumph. He also has a habit of just repeating everything other characters are saying which gets old very quickly. His scenes are basically just around to save budget on all the recycled animation and to pad out the time. Now lets talk about some of the bigger characters in the tournament of power. First up is Frost and I really like the concept here. He’s basically a lower version of Frieza. His power level is considerably lower, but he can fight which is really all that I need. The guy has a good future if he ever appears again.

Then we have Cabba who is a Saiyan like Goku. He may not be super strong yet, but given how easily he was able to reach Super Saiyan 2 I could see him becoming a truly powerful asset at some point. In the meanwhile we have Caulifla for that. She’s a great character with a very considerable power level. I like her aggressive personality and she is always spurring on her allies to get even stronger. She really helped Kale improve for example. Kale isn’t quite as solid, but I really like her Broly form. Then when the two become Kefla they are easily one of the strongest characters in the entire franchise.

Hit is definitely a warrior with a lot of hype and it is deserved. His ability to time skip makes it so that any opponent going against him is going to have a bad time. Unless you are extremely fast there is really nothing you can do against him. He’s also important because he was the first fighter to take down Super Saiyan Blue. It would have been nice to see him do more in the Tournament of Power, but his fight with Dyspo was a lot of fun. We didn’t get to see a ton of fights where various universes fought each other without Goku’s team jumping in which is part of why it was so solid.

Then we have Ribrianne whose power level was jumping all over the place. You have to give her points for resilience because she just kept on getting up no matter how many times everyone would beat her down. Her super form is also pretty cool. I do prefer her human form to the transformed mode, but her Shojo powers were a nice homage to the classic anime. Then we have Dyspo who is part of Jiren’s main 3, but less impressive power-wise than the other two. There were quite a few times he was nearly eliminated. I do like the fact that his speed is so off the charts though. By the end of the series he’s going to fast that even other characters who are FTL have trouble keeping up with him. Dyspo definitely rounds out the trio quite well.

Nearing the end is Toppo, a pretty tough guy who doesn’t have too much going for him. His opening fight with Goku during the prelims was a lot of fun and in the tournament he gets his share of battles. He definitely did become one of the strongest fighters even if Vegeta wasted a lot of unnecessary energy in defeating him. His super form was just great and you can see why he is the 2nd in command on the team. He could have been even cooler, but as it stands you do have to respect his power.

Finally there is Jiren, the wall of power. The guy is portrayed as basically being invincible throughout Super. The writers really wrote themselves into a hole with how strong he is. Attacks on the level of Super Saiyan Blue literally could not hurt him and he was taking full shots from everyone at different points. You can see how he noticeably gets nerfed as the show goes on, but by the end you still know that he’s one of the strongest. His fight with Ultra Instinct Goku is great and I don’t think he needed more personality. A lot of people thought he was too much like a literal wall in Goku’s way, but that added to the mystery. All I need from a character like Jiren is a bunch of good fights and a solid design. It’s also worth noting that a lot of his lines were pretty great. He’s definitely a super solid villain.

Super’s writing is decent. The characters do act like exaggerated versions of themselves at times, but the plots are engaging. The music and graphics are definitely top notch so there are no complaints there. Really the big deal here are the power levels. It’s finally time to take a look at them. DBZ was not perfect, but for the most part it was very consistent in telling you exactly where everyone stacked up. This series throws that out the window almost immediately. Hit being able to tag Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta, but then being countered by base Goku is already crazy. The difference in speed is thousands, if not millions of times apart there. Super Saiyan 1 is a 50X multiplier, SSJ2 is around 2.5, SSJ3 is X4, SSJG is unknown but way higher than SSJ3, and then SSB is 50X that. When you multiply all of these things together with the original power level you can see how that makes no sense.

It would only get worse in the next arcs. Trunks goes from having SSJ2 level power to being in god mode and holding his own with Black and Zamasu. That’s definitely not going to make any sense no matter how often you look at it. Then the biggest offender is the Tournament of Power. Krillin and Roshi are able to trade blows with some fighters and their power levels are absolutely terrible. They’re so low that they should literally lose the instant that the match starts. The reasoning for not letting Goten and Trunks into the tournament was also terrible since their power levels are way higher. Then you’ve got the whole Frieza debacle.

Almost every show has power level issues, but I’ve never seen any as massive and obvious as Dragon Ball Super’s. It’s just completely unrelenting and you can’t help but think about it in every episode. Even if you’re not a huge DBZ fan you’ll likely be able to notice this. It’s just hard not to with the show throwing it in your face the whole time. It’s likely just a writing issue when you think about it. The show did struggle to get that DBZ vibe for most of the show. Really the only time it actually got that serious air again was during the Goku Black arc and then during the climax of the TOP.

The single best moment in the entire show is when Goku got up after being knocked out by Kefla and re-awakens his Omen form. With the narrator there as well it felt like the kind of cliffhanger you would see in DBZ. A good narrator makes a world of difference with how much hype he can bring to the table. Goku’s transformation into the finalized form of Ultra Instinct also gets a similar vibe. It’s just great to have such a powerhouse on the hero side and it’s also believable when Goku is holding his own and even beating Jiren. At least with that there were no power levels to think of.


Overall, Dragon Ball Super is a great show. We can do the “What if” game forever of course, but ultimately you can still be satisfied with what we got here. The show had a pretty good life at 130+ episodes and it kept the saga going. I’m definitely not in the group that says this should replace GT or that says GT is significantly worse than Super. It’s still a great sequel as well and I’d still say it takes place after Super. Super does have the advantage of being longer and keeping the Z Fighters though. Once you watch this show be sure to watch the Broly film since it takes place after the tournament of power. Hopefully the next show doesn’t re-adapt it, but no need to wait for that since Broly is available right now.

Overall 8/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Hunter X Hunter (2011) Review


All right it’s time to look at the second anime adaption of the Hunter X Hunter show. The original anime ended quite early as the OVAs had to continue the arcs and even then it didn’t make it all the way. Since the manga is still going this series wasn’t able to finish either, but this time it did make it through the Chimera and Election arcs so it’s getting closer and closer. The series has a lot of dynamic scenes and has some of the best strategic battles in all of Shounen Jump. While the series has a few jump the shark episodes in the Chimera arc the series is still solid as a whole.

The world of HXH centers around professional hunters. In this world this is the most lucrative position as you can get rich just for selling your license. Of course if you went to all the trouble of passing the exam it is very unlikely that you would ever do such a thing. The hunters keep their licenses as a matter of pride and serve as body guards or go on quests. The options are endless. There are quite a few main characters who each have their own goals and ambitions which lead to the various story arcs. Unlike most other series you can get arcs where the main characters shift more than once. Otherwise I think the only other series I can think of where this happened is Naruto where Sasuke got his own arc. Potentially Dr. Stone will count as well if the other guy ever gets his own arc.

The first arc follows Gon in his quest to become a hunter. He is finally old enough to take the Exam and dashes on over. He meets up with a few other applicants known as Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio. The tests are quite rigorous though as you have to go through a forest of death, run for miles, escape a death zone, and then engage in one on one battles with other fighters. This won’t be easy, but Gon has trained quite a lot to be in shape so he would be ready for this. Unfortunately for him this happens to be the exam where a villain has entered the ring as well. His name is Hisoka and his goal is to cause quite a lot of chaos.

It’s a pretty good introduction to the series. We get to meet the main cast and there’s even a tournament. While the Chunin Exams from Naruto do still take the cake for this format you can see how similar these two are. Adding Hisoka into the mix also adds a good level of tension. It would have been interesting to have had Killua and Hisoka meet up early on here, but realistically that probably would not have gone well for the kid. At this point Hisoka already had nen which means he is effectively invincible here.

The next big arc was the Heavens Arena which is another big tournament. Now this arc isn’t very large compared to the others, but it’s a lot of fun. Gon and Killua learn about nen which will be crucial later on and Gon gets to have his rematch with Hisoka. That’s basically his motivation here and Killua works to keep everyone out of Gon’s hair. I don’t think this arc is remembered quite as well as some of the others, but it was another solid way to build more character development. I’ll also take any excuse to have a bunch of extra fights. HXH does a lot of “about to fight, but then doesn’t” moments so it was nice to enjoy these days while you could when every fight did happen.

Next up is the arc considered to be the best in the series and I would agree with that. Yorknew brings Kurapika into the center stage this time. His goal in life is to destroy the Spiders since they murdered his entire clan. It’s his whole reason for becoming a professional hunter and he never lost sight of this goal. This is his chance to take them down, but these guys are world class threats for a good reason. It won’t be easy for Kurapika to bump them off. Meanwhile Gon and Killua wander into the fray, but at their current level they sometimes prove to be more of a liability than a help. We also get the government involved and a bunch of other characters.

Yorknew is just a very packed arc with cool moments around every corner. Kurapika vs Uvogin is still a very iconic fight and seeing Chrollo take on Killua’s father and grand father was epic as well. At this point in the series there are also a lot of fun dream match-ups. For example while Killua may not have much nen yet he still does have a lot of strength and speed. Would he have been able to at least take one of them down if Gon wasn’t around? Kurapika also did good in taking on Uvogin, but would he be able to take down the others? Most of the Spiders have fairly broken abilities so in a sense Uvogin was the easiest to beat because he’s all about strength. His strength was certainly crazy though.

Then we have Greed Island which is more of a peaceful arc in comparison. Gon and Killua enter a video game to find Gon’s father an instead they wind up stuck in the video game. To escape they have to clear it, but in the meanwhile there are a bunch of bombers running around in there as well. Their goal is to clear the game first and they’re willing to murder all of the other players to get their way. They don’t appear to be quite as tough as the Spiders, but the ability to blow someone up with a single point of contact is always helpful. The arc is fun enough and we meet more characters like Biscuit. It’s never quite able to capture the same level of energy and excitement as the earlier arcs though.

Next is the Chimera Ant arc which was certainly anticipated because it had never been animated before. It’s the author’s shot at a DBZ type arc. If you’ve noticed each of the arcs seem to switch genres time and time again. Well this arc focuses more on power levels and the whole alien invasion even makes it part horror. This arc is very long and it feels like the longest in the series although I don’t know if that’s accurate. Basically these insect creatures have taken over a kingdom. They are slowly growing more and more powerful as well as intelligent because of the humans they eat. When they eat someone with nen they start to grow nen as well. The government is trying to hide this, but as a result the situation is quickly growing out of hand. Hunters are sent in to handle this. Gon and Killua will have to prove themselves against professional hunters as well if they want to make the cut. This time they will need to master Nen and have special abilities to help out.

This arc gives the heroes the biggest power upgrades they’ve ever gotten in the series. That’s why it’s a shame that neither Gon or Killua have really gotten to fight after this arc. Not only have they likely surpassed Kurapika now but they’re possibly Spider/Pro hunter level at this point. I’d say certainly since they were taking on Ants that the pros were having a lot of trouble with. There are a ton of fights in this arc and the heroes even have to split up at one point to take down a lot of enemies. That’s why it’s a shame that this is ultimately the arc that really holds the series back. On the one hand, it’s easily the most epic arc in the series. It has a lot of the best battles and the set-up is really solid. This is basically an alien invasion and it’s the most ambitious arc yet. We even see the Hunter association chairman Netero fight for once.

What hurts this arc is how the violence steps up and also covers animals. The insects murder a bunch of animals in this arc. They take down kids and in general the arc gets really dark. We even have a human villain out of nowhere who is basically doing trafficking amidst the chaos in a plot that has no point. The author also started to get a little more experimental around this point so we get an episode about nothing much as a guy with a terrible past is wondering what’s going on. He had an abusive father or something and while I’m sure the episode tied in to something, it feels like half an hour of nothing. The new characters here weren’t all hits so when they get a lot of focus it takes away from the main characters.

That’s why this arc is a mixed bag. It has the largest amount of great moments and the animation is also stunning. The Nen affects and how they affect everyone is handled very well. One character ages many years in an instant which is a dramatic but effective way or showing just how fierce these enemies are. After all, the heroes know that if they’re caught then they’ll definitely be dead. Put it this way, this arc would get the lowest score in the series at a 4 or a 5. Everything just adds up, but it is the most interesting arc. It does get the same atmosphere you’d expect from something like Attack on Titan or Fate/Zero which always does keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s just a shame that usually in creating that atmosphere the series usually has to go into some pretty dark places. You could take away those scenes and the arc would be fantastic. It’s rare to get a series to such an interesting place with so many pieces so you always hope it’ll be the next big thing.

Finally we have the Election arc. This one is more of a return to form as it feels like the first arcs. The Hunter Association is going to pick a new chairman and naturally there are a lot of candidates to choose from. They’ve all got their own motives and agendas so the people have to vote carefully. There are a lot of rules here to prevent anyone from being chosen too easily and I always enjoy this complexity. In the sub-plot Killua has to go back home to rescue another family member and then try to help out Gon. This leads to a lot of chase scenes and clashes of brawn and brain. It’s a pretty fun adventure arc and a nice little adventure to cap off the anime. You definitely feel how there are a ton of loose ends left, but hopefully the manga ends someday so we can get a sequel show. There’s almost no point in making another season yet because there isn’t a ton of content available at the moment.

So lets look at the characters. Gon is our lead here and he certainly goes through a lot of development. He’s a pretty happy kid at first, but as the series goes on we see more of his serious side. I dare say that he showed glimpses of being a little unhinged near the beginning though. All good main characters get upset when their friends are put in danger or threatened and Gon’s no exception. However, mix that in with his stubborn nature to never back down and he completely loses it. Gon tends to lose himself in his emotions which is good for building up his Nen, but it does mean he’ll often do anything for a quick boost of power. He gets the job done, but by the end he does tend to push people away.

Then you have Killua who sort of has the reverse character arc of Gon. At first he’s a deadly assassin who has a hard time fitting in. Eventually he learns to believe in teamwork more and even talks about friendship. He makes some close bonds with Gon and the others and really has come a long way from when he first started. He gets a lot of character development and is the best ally you can ask for. He’s always got your back and balances out his impressive fighting abilities with a strategic mind. Killua’s my favorite character in the series.

Then you have Kurapika who is also a big focus in the series. His origin story is similar to Sasuke’s and his goal of revenge is certainly the same. He’s put everything on the line to stop the spiders including giving himself an ability that is only useful against them. As a result he’s permanently limited himself against any other kind of enemy. He’s the smartest of the main characters and rarely lets his emotions get the better of him. It’s a shame that he misses the final half of the series because he’s a very interesting character. Well if the next arc ever gets animated he’ll be the main character of that one.

Then we have Leorio who quickly gets left in the dust by the other characters. He used to be reasonably skilled, but he never learned a lot of Nen so he quickly fell out of the picture. Nen is something that you absolutely need to have or you just won’t stand a chance as the series goes on. He was never as serious or determined as the other characters though so maybe it’s for the best that he was written out. He can be a fun character, but you won’t really miss him while he’s gone.

Hisoka is one of the biggest villains in the series. He’s a constant thorn in the heroes’ path and the guy’s talents also ensure that it is hard to get past him. He’s incredibly powerful and right now it’s hard to say who in the series could really beat him. He’s at least around the level of the leader Chrollo and that would put him at the very top. His obsession with Gon can border on being a character wrecking trait, but so long as that never goes anywhere dicey we should be good. He’s definitely a wild card for all characters in the series.

As for the Spiders, Chrollo is their experienced leader. His ability to copy other powers is always something really hard to defend against. Mix that in with the fact that he is a tactical genius (Isn’t everyone in this series a genius?) and you’ve got a solid threat. One thing that makes the Spiders especially dangerous is the fact that they’re all reluctant friends and will go to war to help one of their own. They’re a unit so mess with one of them and you mess with all of them. Feitan is one of the stronger members of the group. He’s pretty quiet but beneath that are the abilities of the strongest member of the group. Next to Chrollo I just can’t see anyone else challenging him in a fight. Feitan is incredibly fast and strong and his heat abilities mean that escape is basically impossible.

Machi is the most enjoyable member of the group. She has a lot of fun while doing her job and while that doesn’t take away from her being evil, she’s just a nice contrast to the others. Her thin wires are also a tough ability to fight against for sure. It won’t be an easy match for any of the other Spiders against her. Nobunaga hasn’t done much yet and his abilities are pretty straight forward. If you get close to him then he’ll slice you to ribbons. That being said, just because the technique is simple doesn’t mean that beating him will be easy. His idea to get Gon and Killua to join the Spiders was interesting, but quite far fetched so I guess he doesn’t mind going for long shot plans.

Shalnark is probably the most cheerful member of the group though. He just likes hanging out with the group and seems to think of them as just a group of people hanging out. His ability to mind control people is definitely a scary ability to fight though. You never know when you’ll actually be taking on an ally. Then there is Shizuku who is one of the more inexperienced members of the group. Her vacuum does most of the work but her physical strength is in the higher end from the Spider members. All she needs is one good hit to possibly win a fight. She’s one of my least favorite Spider members but she’s not bad. Her personality just doesn’t click with me.

Uvogin is a fun member. He’s all about beating people with raw strength. The guy did allow himself to get captured pretty quick which didn’t work out well for him, but he always knew that the other Spiders would come to help him out. Had he fought almost anyone other than Kurapika in Yorknew he would probably still be around. He certainly had the best fight out of all the Spiders. As for other villains, Illumi is another big name in the series. He’s always messing with Killua and it can be hard to tell what his ultimate goal is. I believe it is just to break Killua down so he recognizes Illumi as his boss and everything else is to get to that point. He certainly doesn’t want anyone murdering Killua before that happens and is willing to fight for him. I’ts a pretty twisted state of affairs. He does seem pretty powerful so I hope he fights someday.

Genthru is the big villain from Greed Island. He’s probably one of the pettier villains though. He just wants a lot of money and to blow people up along the way. There isn’t much to him beyond that. He’s an okay villain, but not one you will remember. Biscuit left a much bigger impact in that arc and she was a fun coach to have. I do feel like she was surpassed in strength pretty quickly though. I don’t think she would be able to hold her own so well if she were to return.

As for the ants, Meruem is their leader so he should go first. He’s like a DBZ character who was thrown into HXH. He’s way too strong for everybody else. Even when he isn’t fighting seriously he’s able to handle the strongest hunter of them all. I like hie design and skill set. He gets a big character arc with a Go player. Mereum started out as a total villain, but was quickly getting redeemed. He’s an interesting character and by the end of the arc it’s quite telling that you’re almost rooting for his side over the humans.

His three generals were also great. Youpi is the weakest of the group (In terms of personality) He starts out as one of those guys who only wants to fight, but quickly begins to learn strategy. He actually outsmarts the heroes a few times which was cool and his final form would have been really tough to deal with in a fight. Pouf is the strategist of the group. He may not be as strong as the other two, but his abilities ensure that it is difficult to trap him. His voice actor did an excellent job with the character. He’s just a lot of fun whenever he is on screen. Finally we have Pitou who I consider to be the strongest of the 3. She took down Kite like it was nothing and was brave enough to make a move on Netero. If not for power level stuff and overthinking she should have been able to take everyone down.

As a quick aside, that’s another issue with the second half of the Chimera arc. I think the author wrote the heroes into too big of a hole. They were heavily outnumbered already and then he added the 3 generals who were stronger than all of the Hunters. There was no way they were going to mount a real comeback here and it shows. The heroes were so far out of their depth that the arc basically got cancelled and had a sudden ending that was not satisfying in the slightest. The power levels had just started to get out of hand so maybe it was a good idea to suddenly stop it, but as a result there are a ton of battles that should have happened, but ultimately didn’t. It was a very anti climactic end to the arc considering how much build up there was. I think the arc could have used another 20 or so episodes which would have been enough to cash-in on all the anticipation built up throughout the saga.

Ikalgo is a chimera who gets a big role as he eventually joins the heroes. He means well and while the guy was a total villain initially, his redemption arc is handled quite well. Ikalgo contributes quite a lot during the arc and while he may not be the strongest guy on the block, he is pretty sneaky. Then you’ve got Cheetu who is just a fun villain. He’s incredibly fast so it’s hard to tag him and he causes a lot of damage. If anything it’s just too bad that we couldn’t see him fight a bit more. It’s hard to really see anyone taking him down in a straight fight. He can destroy most opponents before they even notice he is around. Cheetu also continued to improve more and more as he developed new powers mid-fight. Rammot’s role isn’t nearly as big but he’s also a fun villain. The guy was really the first Nen chimera. Of course that means he isn’t quite ready to take on any of the commanders, but he still gives a good fight. I think his design is what really made him interesting. It’s a cool hybrid type look.

Then we’ve got Netero. This guy likes trolling everyone and by the time he is ready to act in the Chimera war it’s a little too late. The guy is definitely powerful and is probably still one of the strongest characters in the series. He couldn’t quite match up to Mereum but otherwise there are probably just a handful of characters who could give him a good fight. I wasn’t a big fan of his, but he beats most other old mentor type characters. As for Ging, he’s definitely one of the worst parents you’ll see around. He still has no good reason for ditching Gon and his wife. The guy just likes adventures and doesn’t want any responsibility that comes along with it. I want to see him fight because the guy gets to much hype, but at this rate it’ll be a long time before that ever happens.

A real standout character was Pariston. He really stole the show in the election arc. The guy has a charismatic presence so it’s easy to see why he was a front runner to be the next chairman. He destroys the opposing arguments with ease and is always one step ahead of the other characters. Everything goes according to his plans and it’s safe to say that he is still in control. I wonder if he’ll ever get a big role again, but even if he does not he left a great impression. Morel is a pro hunter who can manipulate smoke. He’s a very calm and calculated guy who knows not to bite off more than he can chew. He’s definitely a solid ally to have around and was a fun supporting character. His partner Knov may have cracked, but I liked that guy a lot as well. Ultimately he wasn’t able to press on with the rest of the heroes, but he was inches close to death. His older design also worked pretty well. It was really surreal to see that.

Knuckle is like an old school brawler character from an 80s anime. His power is pretty good because unless you have broken levels of Nen it’ll seal you off very quickly. Calling his attack Bankruptcy was also pretty neat. I do think Killua surpassed him a while back though and at this point Gon should be able to take him down. The guy was a good coach though and he was always nice to the local animals. In comparison Shoot never left as much of an impact. He did fight hard to the end though. Even while dying he wanted Knuckle to continue the fight. It’s always good to have that level of determination in battle.

Then there is Palm who is an odd heroine. She’s very unhinged and is always throwing threats around. Fortunately the heroes are tough enough where they don’t need to worry too much, but she is not an ally you’d want to have on hand. She wasn’t really my kind of character. Then you have Kite who is nice enough. He seems a lot more reasonable than Ging at any rate. He wasn’t terribly interesting either, but I did like his weapon. It’s pretty unique and the fact that even he doesn’t know what it’ll do next makes it a very interesting weapon to see in action.

Zeno is Killua’s grandfather and we can see why he was such a big threat back in the day. Even now he has some powerful moves and the fight with Chrollo was a lot of fun. We also saw what a large range his attack had in the Chimera arc. Pretty much everyone got affected by that. Then Silva is also a powerful fighter. We haven’t seen a whole lot of him either (Such is the fate of many characters in this series) but you can tell that he is the real deal. Killua’s family is just stacked with great fighters. Just take a look at Alluka. Alluka has never even trained before, but was born with a great ability to grant wishes. There is no wish that Alluka can’t feasibly grant in some way or another. I wouldn’t want to have that ability since I couldn’t grant my own wishes though. Seems like a big downside to me.

This likely won’t come as a surprise but the animation is definitely top notch. The colors are very strong and the battle animations are smooth. Everything about the shows looks quite modern. It’s got that sleek new look while still having a good color contrast for the dark nen abilities. Meanwhile the soundtrack is great as well. It’s a shame that my favorite track was never officially released but you’ll hear it quite a few times like when Killua fought the darts guy. There are many other great themes that you’ll be hearing as you go through the series as well.

One big factor in why the show is so good is the writing. Every character is written to be pretty intelligent and three dimensional. The narrator in the chimera arc also adds to the hype by building up each scene. A good narrator goes a long way and this guy definitely succeeded. The play by play enhanced each of the scenes as opposed to slowing things down too much.

Overall, Hunter X Hunter is definitely a fun show. If you’re looking for a good action/adventure anime then this is the one to check out. In some ways it is still one of the most ambitious titles out there. The mind games are incredible and the universe built around the characters is very interesting. There are so many complexities and various characters running around that the series could last for many years even without all the breaks. Once you watch this show you’ll likely want to go read the manga to see what happens next. It may have had a rough patch with the Chimera arc, but the series is long enough where it was able to survive this. Just dive in and enjoy the ride.

Overall 7/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

D. Gray-man Review


It’s time to take a look at a pretty long anime that I watched quite a while ago. This review’s been in the backlog long enough so it was time to knock it out. This was one of the first manga titles that I read way back in the day. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it in the beginning. It got good towards the middle and then got a little too crazy after it turned monthly. The show covers the manga all the way through the good parts and then stops right before we start to get some time skips and other adventures. That’s for the sequel show which adapts the Kanda arc so that should be good. As for this show, it’s definitely a great title.

The series starts off by introducing us to the world of D. Gray-man. When people die, someone can visit them and make a wish to bring them back to life. Should you do so, the Millenium Earl will bring the husk of the dead person back to life to murder you. You’ll then turn into an Akuma, but hey….at least you got to say good bye one last time right? It definitely does feel like this isn’t worth it, but most people don’t know the cost until it’s too late. The Exorcists are the only ones who can fight against the Earl and his legions of Akuma. Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of Exorcists left in the world and they’ve been fighting a losing battle for years. Can a local kid born with a cursed arm turn the tides of battle? His name is Allen Walker and there is more to him than meets the eye.

D. Gray-man is a very grim series. That’s not to say that it’s super gritty like Attack on Titan because the show can be pretty light. It’s still a shounen, but when you think about the plot you realize just how serious this is. The heroes learn time and time again that the Earl could murder the whole lot of them at any time. The fact that he chooses to let the human race exist is still a puzzle for the Exorcists. Perhaps he needs enough people to keep the Akuma army going which would make sense. Also, if the Exorcists are not a threat then there is no reason for him to go out of his way to destroy them right? They may win battles here and there, but it really does feel like the war is completely out of reach. They’ll need a few more Allens to even start a comeback.

Lets take a quick step back though. As I mentioned, Allen is the main character here. He has a mysterious past which isn’t looked at much here so there’s always a lot of mystery around him. He’s been a loner for a long time as he worked under General Cross, but now he is ready to join the main order. He’s a powerful fighter and one of the strongest Exorcists on the planet. Once he unlocks his Crown Clown form he can take any Exorcist down aside from the generals. Allen has a lot of your usual main character traits like eating a lot and being rather hot headed, but can also be rather ruthless against Akuma. He believes that destroying them is the only way to purify their souls so he has no qualms about crushing them. The Akuma don’t have hearts and do appear to be dead which furthers his point.

As Allen has some demonic traits the order doesn’t always trust him though. The deaths also take a toll on the guy because there’s no way for Allen to save everyone. For every 5 people he saves another one ends up dying and becoming an Akuma. It’s a pretty depressing cycle for him and as a result it takes him an incredibly long time to regain his powers compared to most leads. I liked him more in the anime than in the manga. He still could have acted faster to save the dog but after that Allen doesn’t really make any big mistakes. He may be outmatched at times, but he’s always fighting to the end. There’s even one match where he continues to fight the Akuma even after he has been knocked unconscious. That shows his determination. Allen also does defy the order at times which is good because those guys always seem corrupt.

Lavi is another one of the main characters and he is the one who was most improved in the anime. It’s not that I disliked him in the manga or anything, but he really didn’t leave an impression on me. In the show he is definitely one of the best characters. Lavi is a bookman and isn’t supposed to get involved with the exorcists. He breaks the rules many times to help them out though and ultimately makes the right calls. While he may not be ready to admit that they’re his friends, Lavi’s actions speak for themselves. Even with his job on the line he goes in to protect them and you can’t ask for a better friend. It’s just a shame that he seems a little weak next to the others. Lavi won’t be giving Allen or Kanda a good fight anytime soon. His hammer is his big weapon and every villain can just slap it to the side.

Kanda is the big rival of the series and definitely lives up to the hype. He has accelerated healing which is very handy and his sword can cut through just about anything. His fights against Tyki and Skin were good showcases of what he can do. He is dependent on his sword though so once it breaks then most of his skills go away. He’s still strong, but in this world you need a weapon laced with innocence to do anything against Akuma. Kanda’s got that Sasuke/Vegeta vibe going and it works quite well. He’s really a textbook rival and the kind of guy you want to have on your side. As you can probably guess he is definitely a standout character.

Lenalee is the main heroine of the show and definitely gets a nice character arc. Right from the start it’s nice to see that she can fight. Lenalee is a very capable fighter and goes through a very similar experience as Allen when she loses her abilities. Both of them have to risk their lives in order to get back into the ring. Her powered up form seems to keep up with Allen pretty well and if anything that means they may have both surpassed Kanda. Just temporarily I’m sure, a good rival never stays down. Her fight against the Level 3 Akuma is top notch and the same can be said of her fight with the Level 4. Lenalee’s a top notch character and part of why the show is so good is because the cast is so strong.

Another exorcist is Miranda, but her role certainly isn’t as big as the main 4. She can freeze time though which is an incredible ability to have. Now, it’s not game breaking since you keep your injuries from when time is stopped, but it will let you fight a little extra even after you should have been dead. Miranda is a great support fighter and her ability also allows you a chance to catch your breath real quick. Then you have Krory who is part vampire. He can bite enemies, but that kind of ability always seems a bit dicey to me. As soon as you face an opponent whose skin is harder than your teeth that’s it. As you can imagine this happens to him quite a bit. Still, he does have enhanced strength and speed so he remains relevant for most of the series. He’s a reasonable side character.

Then you’ve got Lenalee’s brother Komui who is one of the commanders in the order. We learn that he got the position to better watch the organization since he doesn’t trust them. I think he’s too passive though. We learn from Lenalee’s backstory just how extreme they can be. It’s nice that he got such a position, but Komui doesn’t seem to have actually done anything with this position so then what was ultimately the point? It’s not like the corrupt members are scared of him so it feels like his efforts were for naught. I wasn’t a big fan of the guy. His counterpart Bak was way better.

Bak doesn’t mind defying the government and he helped Allen quite a bit. He makes the tough calls and jumps into danger even though he’s only human. His friendship with Fo was also handled pretty well and you actually grew to like that branch more than the main headqarters. Fo was also instrumental in getting Allen back into fighting shape. They sparred quite a lot which wasn’t super convenient for her, but she did it and even gave him a nice pep talk. Allen had a lot of support during his rough patch and that was mainly thanks to Fo and Bak.

Bookman is also around with the group, but he’s definitely one of those guys that you can’t call a true friend. He would be quick to ditch the Exorcists and live up to his role of just being an observer. He doesn’t really believe in taking sides and considering that the Akuma plan to wipe everyone out that just doesn’t really fly. He’s not downright corrupt like Malcolm though. He seems to be the most extreme member of the Order or at least from the characters we’ve seen. He believes that the end absolutely justifies the means and will do anything to destroy the Akuma. Somewhere along the line he became a monster himself. The guy is probably one of humanity’s only hopes against them, but you just don’t want to win at the high price he’ll put you through. I would have liked to have seen at least one of the characters take him down, but no such luck yet.

As for the generals, we get to see them all fight near the end of the series. Most of them haven’t gotten a role beyond that though. The ones with the biggest role is the one with Kanda who likes drawing and Cross. Kanda’s general is pretty annoying the whole time with how laidback he is though. He does a lot of scouting, but never turns up any results so I can’t give him credit. Cross has a lot of bad traits like gambling and messing around, but at least he actually did destroy a bunch of enemy bases and solved a lot of puzzles. He actually made a tangible difference in the war effort and we got to see him fight quite a bit. His battles against the Level 4 and Tyki Mikk show why he got this position. He definitely seemed to be more powerful than the Exorcists and he’s got some great abilities aside from his super gun. I don’t like the guy, but I can respect his power.

Time to look at the villains. Naturally there are a ton of Akuma. All of the Level 0, 1, and 2 are fun enough, but at that level they aren’t a huge threat. Usually they show up so the Exorcists can have a good montage. I suppose the Level 2 fighters were a slight threat in their very first appearance and there’s one fight where they are in the sky and they manage to do some damage. It’s when the Level 3 Akuma show up that things get interesting. For starters, one Level 3 Akuma can basically take on the entire team. Lenalee has to give it her all to take 1 down and even then it was just barely. It was impressive because Allen didn’t seem to do quite as well. Even with Crown Clown form he was getting thrown around a lot. He did last a while even though he was outnumbered though, but the Akuma just wouldn’t stay down. Their speed, power, and defense are all off the charts.

One of the cooler moments in the series is when they make it to the Earl’s island. There are tons of Level 3 Akuma there and just one is enough to be a big deal so you can see how hopeless everything appeared to be. As a result I agreed with their decision to just storm the base and try to assassinate the Earl. It’s not like they could use hit and run tactics to whittle off the Level 3 so at that point you just try to go for the head and take him out right away. This was doomed as well since they had the huge Akuma towers running around the the Earl’s Noah fighters, but no other plan would have been much better.

Then you’ve got the Level 4 Akuma who is my favorite villain in the series. He’s just super intense and the fight with him vs Allen and Lenalee is my favorite in the series as well. This guy’s completely broken. He was able to take many big hits and still kept on going. If Cross didn’t show up then he would have still managed to secure a win which is pretty crazy. If the Earl makes more of those then I just can’t see how the heroes can hope to win without some major power ups. The Level 4 Akuma are basically General level.

The Earl may be the head honcho, but it’s hard to say if he is really the strongest villain around. It makes sense that he would be since the leader usually is the strongest, but I’ve never been too impressed with him He didn’t seem too eager to fight General Cross and Allen was holding his own pretty well. This likely isn’t the Earl’s final form, but he still doesn’t look great yet. He’s definitely a very different kind of villain as he doesn’t mind crying in front of his followers and such. You just can’t forget how many evil acts he does in the meantime. The guy is a complete psycho for sure and it’s hard to see him being redeemed.

From the Noah the one with the biggest chance of turning good would likely be Road. She may not actually be a kid, but she does seem the most innocent out of the group. They’re her family so she fights with them, but she doesn’t seem as openly malicious as the others. Road does do a number on the Exorcists with her attacks though and she is very hard to deal with. She’s rather unassuming but may be the strongest member next to Tyki. Lulu Bell gets the smallest role out of the Noah. She is reasonably tough and was beating the Exorcists when they fought, but that was very early on in the series.

Tyki Mikk definitely lives up to the hype of being a Noah though. Not only is he able to stalemate Kanda, but he also takes down Allen very easily when they first fought. In his final form he’s also far too much for Allen to handle even in his final form. Lavi’s help isn’t enough to beat him either. Tyki seems to enjoy his human life with his gambling buddies, but ultimately he never would have been able to have it both ways for long. The humans aren’t going to survive an Akuma invasion so eventually they would have been bumped off. Tyki’s a fun villain though. He keeps a front of formality in all of his conversations before eventually cracking when things get tough.

Jasdevi is sort of 2 different Noah, but they eventually merge into one. I forgot if that’s how they originally were and then they split or vice versa, but I believe they used to be one. They’re a fun duo even if Cross does mess with them a lot. It’s always interesting to have a Noah who’s part comic relief as they do the dishes in one scene and then murder everyone in another. They’re fairly strong, but not on the level of Road or Tyki. Their traps are really what made them a threat to the heroes during the fight. Then you’ve got Skin who is very strong physically but doesn’t have much else going for him. I suppose you don’t need much else when you’re that strong though. His lightning is hard to dodge and he gave Kanda a good fight. That alone tells me that he is very powerful. That was also one of the better fights in the series. He doesn’t have much personality so I wouldn’t say that I was a big fan, but Skin added to the villain ranks pretty well.

The animation in D. Gray-man looks excellent. The colors are sharp and as I mentioned we do get a lot of really great fights. There’s a lot of detail here at all times and the backdrops are suitably grim. It’s almost always night time in the show with very few episodes taking place during the day. You always feel the impending sense of doom with Akuma around every corner. The animators also really kick it up a notch during the big battles in the tower and everything afterwards. You just feel an uptick in the animation and there’s no comparison when looking at the first episodes and the last ones. Initially I didn’t think the soundtrack was that good when I used to listen to it online. Context does tend to help though and the scenes worked well with the music. It’s not the largest soundtrack so you’ll be hearing the tunes quite a lot, but that’ll give you extra time to get used to them. I didn’t have any issues with them by the end.

Now, why doesn’t the Earl just destroy the Exorcists? As I mentioned we don’t really know why, but my main theory is that he wants them around to destroy the weaker Akuma and keep the supply of Innocence around. We see how the Akuma are gradually growing stronger after each invasion and it’s possible that without the Exorcists fighting them left and right this wouldn’t be happening. If anything the Earl is toying with the humans which could come back to bite him. It’s hard to see how though because the Earl can churn out hundreds and even thousands of new Akuma with his factories as well as the personal visits to people who have died. Meanwhile the Exorcists are lucky to get 10 new recruits a year. Mix that in with the fact that it takes 10 or more to defeat one Level 4 Akuma and then you’ve got a problem. The Noah also appear to be as strong as at least a Level 3 Akuma and while there aren’t many of them here we learn in the sequel that there are many more.

The power levels stay consistent in this series, but we can expect them to start flying out the window soon in order to give the heroes a fighting chance. I expect the ending to be Allen getting a way to shut them all down at once or a non-ending where the author just abruptly ends with nothing resolved. At the rate the series is going it’ll likely still be quite a few years before this happens though. Ideally this will also let the Exorcists fight against the order a little more.

The writing and directing are also pretty good. I don’t really think about directing much, but then I watch Naruto Shippuden and it reminds me why it is so important. The characters are all written to be pretty likable here and their day to day conversations don’t drag on. Flashbacks are used quite sparingly and none of the episodes ever feel like they drag on. Even the scenes of the Noah picking off random Exorcists is handled well as they at least get a chance to use their attacks. You do know that they’re doomed either way though.

Overall, D. Gray-man is definitely a great show. It may have gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but it definitely gets to its peak when the Noah start to show up. The animation is solid and the soundtrack is well rounded as well. If you haven’t seen this show yet and are in the mood for a good action title then you can’t go wrong here. It’s quite unique next to most of the other big action anime with a lot of mystery thrown into the mix with the action and horror. A lot of these questions aren’t actually answered here though so be prepared for a lot of loose ends as the series ends. The manga is still on-going so that is inevitable though. Even if it were not to have continued the ending is still pretty solid.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

One Piece: Stampede Review


Time to look at the latest One Piece film. This one was definitely getting a lot of hype before it came out because it was bringing together a ton of One Piece characters. Pretty much every big pirate who is currently alive in the series is returning for this film. Naturally since the film is under 2 hours you can’t expect all 60+ of these guys to get a big role, but the movie does a good job of at least allowing them all to get their special attacks in. Then you’ve got the second wave of characters who are big enough to get their own fights. It’s definitely an amazing One Piece experience for fans and anyone who enjoys a good action film is sure to have a blast as well.

The film starts by taking us back to the famous Blackbeard prison breakout from a while back. It turns out that there was one pirate who was far too powerful for Blackbeard to let him join. This guy’s name is Bullet and he once served aboard the Pirate King’s crew. Well, now he is back in a big pirate festival. Festa has organized this thing in order to bring together the Marines, Pirates, and Revolutionaries so they can all be destroyed in one fell swoop. He doesn’t really care who wins so long as everyone gets crushed in the end. Strawhat Luffy and friends have arrived here as well even though they figure it’s probably a trap. That’s because the prize is a treasure from the Pirate King and nobody can resist such a tempting offer. Can Luffy protect his crew and secure the prize before Bullet destroys them all? It’ll be a hard battle for sure.

Right away you have to acknowledge that Bullet is going to be an incredibly powerful villain. He has to be in order to take on pretty much the whole cast of One Piece. The film does not disappoint with his abilities. The guy is pretty much on the level of the 4 empires with how easily he is able to dispatch his opponents. The best fight in the film for me is definitely when he takes on “The worst Generation” (Which is basically a bunch of the hype characters) and defeats them all with ease. They can barely land any decent shots on him which shows just how unbelievable he is. Bullet’s speed and power are off the charts to the point where it’s like seeing All Might bump off the League of Villain lackeys back in season 1. Luffy and the gang are completely outmatched.

Bullet’s also just a fun villain. His goal is to be the strongest and stop the Buster Call. A Buster Call is when the army sends in their admirals and a fleet of ships to sink an island. To date nobody has ever really been able to stop a buster call on their own. Sure, a bunch of characters escaped in Marineford but that wasn’t technically a buster call and they did manage to stop the main threats the government wanted to end. For Bullet to defeat such a thing would be very impressive. He also likes a good fight and seems to have a reasonable honor code. He’s defeating his opponents at the top of their game and doesn’t use any cheap tricks.

Festa is the only other important new character and he’s a fun enough villain. The guy definitely holds onto his grudges and really wants to wreck havoc on the world. It’s for a surprisingly petty reason though. The guy has a great seat but you do have to wonder how nobody noticed him the whole time. I guess he’s so weak that the heroes don’t need to bother prioritizing him. They’d probably just finish him off afterwards which works well enough.

The animation is definitely top notch. It’s all very smooth and vibrant which is great. The fight I mentioned from earlier is very impressive and like something out of DBZ. There are also a bunch of other fights throughout that have great cuts as well like Zoro vs Fujitora and pretty much any scene with Sabo. It’s all very consistent for the duration of the film. We also get some CGI which looks good enough. I think CG is at the point where it should always look good so long as you splash it in a lot of colors. That’s where CGI is at its best. It may not be enough to make giant things exciting, but it tries its best. As for the soundtrack you’ll recognize some tunes from the show. The main new theme was Bullet’s theme and it’s the best piece of music in the whole film. Whenever it appears you know that things are going to get tricky for the heroes. It’s just great all around.

This film also completely avoids the occasional fanservice issue that the series has at times and even Brook doesn’t have time to do anything iffy. The film managed to avoid having any real issues and that’s the first step to being a great film. The next step is to actually have great moments and this move has them in spades. There are a ton of homages and nice little scenes for fans. All of the characters get quick moments where they look good and they all get a ton of hype. That being said, keeping up everyone’s hype does come at a bit of a price.

Pretty much every fight in the film is a tie. That’s something that tends to happen when you bring in a bunch of old characters who still have a lot of fans and Stampede wasn’t able to get around it. Unlike some titles like DBZ where there are big power gaps between everyone, a lot of characters in One Piece are still very close. There are characters from the opening arcs who can hold their own against the current villains. That’s because the characters get stronger very gradually and the old characters keep training as well. The matches are still hype, but this does dampen the excitement for them a little since you know that the battles can’t end. This happens over and over as everyone gets a skirmish and then backs down. Unless you’re fighting Bullet then your battle won’t end.

This film is trying to be Marineford 2.0 with how every character is around and that arc also had the same issue at times. Naturally nobody can die this time around, but all things considered the film did do a good job of keeping that same energy throughout. Once the action starts near the beginning of the film is really never dies down. That’s always important for a big movie like this one since it helps for replay value. Stampede definitely has a lot of that at its disposal.

Then the only other part of the film that could have been improved was Bullet’s final form. When he started to transform I admit that it was a little disappointing. That’s because he went from being an awesome DBZ villain to suddenly being a skyscraper who can barely move. Naturally this is where the CGI starts to come into play. No matter how neat a design the giant form might be, it’s just not going to be able to make for really fun fights the way that his first round was. When one fighter can’t fight back then it’s no longer a real fight. Since Bullet’s giant form can’t do much it just barely counts as an actual match. Bullet does manage to bring back his human form near the end of the film for a quick fight as well though so we did get a true climax.

Luffy is definitely at his best here. He may not look too good against Bullet for a while, but not being strong enough to win isn’t a bad thing in itself. The important thing is that he was trying to win right from the start and was quick to try and help Usopp. Helping his crew out has always been Luffy’s main objective and it’s good to see that hold true here. The rest of the gang aside from Brook look good as well. Zoro and Sanji definitely contribute the most, but Franky and Nami are also very useful. Then for the other pirates it was nice to see Sabo since it’s always rare to see his adult form. It’s a little surprising how calmly Luffy and Sabo exchanged a casual greeting here and then just didn’t talk again. I guess it wasn’t really the time or place to really have a long dialogue but a team up would have been good.

Stampede did a good job of choosing the all star team at the end. Hancock is one of Luffy’s most dependable allies at this point while Law is practically a strawhat now. Smoker may not always be able to compete against some of these guys but his ability is really neat and he has been improving quite a lot. The fact that he can still give these guys a fun for their money is pretty good. Mihawk also shows up to flex real quick and the heroes are lucky that he didn’t stick around since the guy still appears to be way out of their league. He’s definitely Emperor level or at least that’s the way he appears to me.

Overall, Stampede is definitely a great film. I like this new trend of the fight starting early on and then continuing for basically the entire film. Dragon Ball Broly did that to great success and now the same is true for Stampede. I definitely preferred it to Gold and Strong World. I haven’t seen the rest so I can’t comment on that, but that would put this as the best One Piece film right now. There are really no serious complaints I had with it and the movie definitely has a ton of replay value. Naturally as a fan you will get extra enjoyment out of it since it’s a reunion type film, but I dare say that casuals who haven’t seen the series before will enjoy it as well. There’s something here for everyone.

Overall 8/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Fruits Basket Review


It’s time to look at the recent Fruits Basket anime. I read the manga many years ago when I was a kid and didn’t really like it all that much. I actually put it down as one of my least favorite Shojo series so it was good to see it in a fresh setting. I actually liked the show so maybe I would like the manga more on a re-read or the show is just directed that well. Either way it’s a title I can definitely recommend. It’s an emotional slice of life title that manages to hit different tones in different episodes, but is careful not to go too far into being tragic.

The show is centered around a girl named Tohru. After her Mom passed away she went to move in with her other relatives, but it wasn’t ideal and so now she lives in the forest. She is found by the popular boy at school (Yuki) and he convinces her to stay at his place instead of the forest. To be exact, it’s Shigure’s place and soon after another kid by the name of Kyo stays there as well. Kyo and Yuki are constantly fighting like cat and mouse (heh) so Tohru quickly becomes the most mature member in the household. Tohru has decided to always have a positive attitude and to do her best to help everyone else out in respect to her mother’s memory.

There are no shortages of situations for her to help out here as everyone in the school has issues. The 3 people she lives with all of things to deal with and then the rest of the family. See, in a larger scale look at the plot there is the Sohma family. They were hit with a curse where if anyone from the opposite gender makes contact with them they turn into an animal. It is from the Chinese Zodiac legend which may be real and of course Kyo is the Cat and Yuki is the mouse so now things make sense. In the legend the rat didn’t send the cat the invite so he was shunned for life. Of course that was ages ago so we’re likely dealing with descendants, but the wound is still fresh.

Tohru is definitely a great main character. I mean she is pretty much portrayed as the perfect heroine. She’s super nice, does well academically, and is always ready to lend a hand. Tohru imparts wisdom whenever she can and even stands by her friends when they literally lose their minds. If Tohru has any issues it is just that she is a little too oblivious when other people are being downright mean to her. It’s great that she turns the other cheek but at least acknowledging this or telling them to stop would be a good idea.

We don’t see Tohru’s Mom much since she dies prior to the series but she appears through flashbacks a few times. She also seems really good and I’m glad that she still knows how to fight even though she is retired. The flashback where she helps Arisa was handled really well since it’s implied that she basically took down an entire gang.

Yuki is one of the main guys so he naturally gets a lot of screen time. He has a tough time showing his emotions except for when he’s upset at Kyo. Gradually Tohru helps get him out of his shell. We haven’t really seen his true origin but there is a lot of foreshadowing for it. From the main 2 I do prefer Kyo, but Yuki is good. He does step in to help Tohru at times and I do believe he would be able to conquer his fears and help even if Akito was involved. I really hope so at least. Yuki still gets hit with fear and isn’t perfect, but he does his best.

Then there is Kyo who is always ready for a fight. I dare say that Yuki picks the fight most of the time but that isn’t always the case. Kyo always tends to lose the fight, but at least he is enthusiastic. Kyo is not great around people but does his best to communicate with Tohru. He’s come a very long way from the first episode to the last one. His character arc already feels pretty complete and that may help in why he is one of if not the best character in the show. He’s probably the only character to not be openly scared of Akito. While part of him wants to be in the main family, I do think this is an advantage of not being there.

Then we have Shigure, but I can’t get behind him. He’s always trolling his editor to the point where he basically puts her job at stake. Then there’s the fact that he flirts a lot and rarely takes things seriously. He may be the adult in the house, but there is a reason why I said that Tohru is the most responsible. Shigure will have a moment or two where he steps up but that’s about it. The show is hinting that he is planning some kind of big revenge on Akito and is pretending to be a friend for now. He claims that he will avenge everyone else, but he’s sure taking his sweet time. Shigure better do something before the tables turn on him, but that is one of the more interesting plots right now.

Arisa is one of Tohru’s friends. She used to be a juvenile delinquent who hanged out with gangs and was generally on a rough path. Her origin is a bit similar to Tohru’s mom in some respects and that’s also why Arisa always wanted to meet her. Arisa was less thrilled to meet Tohru but along the way Tohru got to show her how to properly adapt to school life. Arisa had a tough road, but now she’s in a good place and has a solid group of supporting friends. Arisa is a nice ally to have. While she may not be as entertaining as some of the Sohma characters she is definitely a good character.

Then you have Saki who is Tohru’s other best friend. She has psychic powers which is cool. Mainly she just uses them for comic relief scenes against bullies and there is actually a story reason for this. She gets a backstory where we learn that her abilities nearly ended Saki. Saki’s origin story was definitely one of the toughest ones in the series, maybe the toughest because everyone was against her. I was glad that she had supportive parents who were there for her at least. It’s a reverse of most situations where you have a friend on your side but the family isn’t. Saki is fairly laidback and quiet so she can’t hold her own episodes the way that others can, but as a side character she’s good.

Kagura is a very persistent character and that’s a good thing since otherwise she probably would get pretty hurt with how Kyo is always ignoring her. Deep down she likely realizes that he isn’t interested in her but will keep on trying until he meets someone else. She’s a good side character. I’m also glad that the show didn’t go down the road of making her jealous of Tohru. That always gets old pretty fast and them being friends is a much better development. Momiji is one of my least favorite characters in the show though. He can be pretty annoying with how oblivious he pretends to act. He trolls Kyo and Yuki about Tohru quite a lot. She may be too oblivious to really take notice but it doesn’t do wonders for his character. I’m not even really interested in learning more about his backstory, but maybe it’ll help to make him more likable. Right now he’s just quirky and not really in a good way.

Ayame is also fairly eccentric, but he handles himself well and with style. Ayame throws himself into every situation and you can admire how bold he is. Even in real life it’s always an admirable trait to be so confident. Nothing throws Ayame and even when everyone is hurling insults he keeps his cool. Ayame and Yuki may never properly bond the way he hoped they would because of how different their personalities are, but at least they won’t be as antagonistic as they used to be. Ayame is a handful, but not in a problematic way. I can’t point to anything he did in the show that was downright bad. Perhaps inconvenient for the others, but that’s about it.

Hatori is a character that I definitely had some problems with. For starters he is very submissive to Akito to the point where he allows the guy to wreck his life. Hatori is basically a yes man and even threatens Tohru into meeting him. We learn that he is a nice guy for the most part, but since he is so weak that is barely a consolation since you won’t be able to trust him when it counts. His origin story is sad, but it’s hard to feel any sympathy for him because of how terribly he handles it. He met someone and they were to be together, but then Akito decided that he didn’t like this and throws a fit. Instead of stopping him Hatori lets Akito claim the win and then even erases the girl’s memories. From there on Hatori lost the will to resist, but he never had it to begin with. If he won’t stand up to Akito there then he never will. The whole origin was just really annoying, especially since Akito is so sickly to begin with. How is he going to threaten Hatori and the guy just takes it? I don’t really have any respect for this character.

Hatsuharu is another one of the Sohma and his dual personality is definitely unique among the others. One half of him is very edgy and definitely wants to be close with Yuki. Then the other half is calmer and more polite in comparison. He can shift gears at any moment and as a result tends to get involved in a lot of fights. It’s nice to have another fighter on the team, but it makes it more and more odd why everyone is so scared of Akito. I’ll get into that more later on. Anyway Hatsuharu would be near the middle of the pack. He’s nowhere near the best members but he’s better than someone like Hatori.

Kisa is one of the younger members. She’s a nice enough kid although she hasn’t gotten much of a role yet. I’m not sure if that’ll change or not later on, but so far she’s off to a good start. The same can’t be said for Hiro. That guy’s real petty and a jerk to Tohru for no reason. She overlooks all of it because she’s so nice, but it doesn’t do him any favors. He seems to be over that now so things will be looking up for him, but he’ll have to work hard to fully get past that terrible intro. Then we have Kazuma who was Kyo’s instructor. This guy seems reasonable. He lives on a mountain probably so he can get away from the main family. Forcing Kyo to transform was definitely a pretty iffy strategy since that could have easily backfired and really made life terrible for Kyo. It worked out in the end I suppose, but it’s hard to see them being quite as close after that. Kazuma seems like Hatori, but with more self-confidence.

Then we have the main villain of the series, Akito. He gets a lot of hype throughout as everyone is scared of him. Everyone shudders at the thought of even meeting him and they all freeze in terror. The guy’s super sick though and needs constant attention or he’ll die. How is anyone scared of him? I think this goes more into cultural impact and the fact that the family is so old. Traditions are strong here and maybe everyone is afraid because he would ruin their reputation. Since everyone else is afraid it becomes circular logic where everyone is afraid because of everyone else. All one person needs to do is stand up to him though and then everyone else could. Maybe the next season will go more into depth on this.

Regardless, Akito isn’t a good villain. The guy just seems really petty and self centered the whole time. I’m sure he’ll have a sad origin, but he’s taking it out on everyone else which is never good. Everyone in this series has had a tough background and I mean almost literally everyone. That means it’ll be very hard for Akito to try and stand there with a straight face and explain why he has to be mean to everyone. I just won’t be able to buy that very easily. Seriously, someone just needs to stand up to this guy and then the rest will quickly fall into place.

At the end of the day Fruits Basket is really about moving on from your past. That’s the main theme of the show and Tohru helps the characters come to terms with it and move forward. The origins are all sad and dark in different ways which allows her to give many different kinds of advice. It’s definitely a moving series in that regard and that’s why it’s a fun watch. You should always feel pretty good upon finishing up the episode. It can get heavy at times as well so make sure you are prepared. It’s worth noting that the romance here isn’t terrible so far. I still don’t think any romance should ultimately happen here since Tohru is just too heroic and oblivious to get into that, but it does feel inevitable that it’ll happen soon. We’ll see how the show handles that.

It’s also just plain fun most of the time. The cast can handle themselves pretty well and that’s extremely important for a slice of life show. There aren’t going to be big action scenes here so the show has to hold its own with pure writing and fundamentals. The pacing is on point and the writing is good so it’s all set there. The animation is pretty good as well. I wouldn’t say it’s anything particularly special, but it all looks smooth and vibrant. Then you’ve got a reasonable soundtrack here as well. It may not be the most memorable, but it does get the job done.

Overall, Fruits Basket season 1 is a pretty good show. It’s the kind of all around title that you can easily recommend to someone who doesn’t really watch a lot of anime. That’s because it touches on a lot of themes that a live action show would with regard to the origin stories and characters trying to find reasons to keep on living or to re-experience what it’s like to enjoy their day to day existence. The show can get pretty sad, but there is always a happy ending. I can’t think of any episode that ended on a low note. It’s not a perfect show and I’d say that a drama will always be limited in how high it can ultimately reach. That being said, the execution is basically ideal and we’ll see if season 2 can match it. I don’t know if season 2 intends to cover the rest of the series but you can already see how not everyone can get their perfect ending here. Multiple characters are interested in each other so someone will have to take a back seat. I also better see more people stand up to Akito because that’s the one part of the series that makes no sense so far.

Overall 7/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 Review


Time to look at the next installment in the Mob Psycho series. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first season due in part to the experimental animation style and Ritsu’s plot line wasn’t all that good. This season improves quite drastically though and even the animation appears to be a big improvement. This is the kind of season 2 you want to see because it takes all of the good parts of season 1 and expands on them. It’s pretty short at 13 episodes but that is a normal length for a show even if you get used to the 26 and 52 episode titles. There’s a lot you can do with 13 and Psycho made the most of it.

Mob has been slowly improving himself physically through the body improvement club and even mentally as he has come to terms with his abilities. He is now almost ready to ask out one of his classmates. Unfortunately there is still a villain group at large which is making it difficult to find the time. He’s also starting to wonder if he should still be working for Reigen now that he knows more about the world and his place in it. He’ll have to find the answers to all of these questions as he fights and hopefully it’ll all just turn out well. He’ll have to be careful though as he may not be the most powerful psychic around anymore.

Mob Psycho and One Punch Man were both created by the same guy and feature a main character who is unstoppable. While that is still true for the latter and likely will always be, Mob does have some limitations. He’s actually a character who can be beaten due in part to the fact that his powers take up a lot of energy so he has to sleep them off and there are enemies who can actually keep up with him. We saw that briefly in season 1 and in this season the big 5 are able to match him for a while. When Mob completely loses control and goes into 999+ mode he is still one of the strongest guys out there though. Either he or Suzuki would be the strongest esper in the world. I wonder if the series will really keep trying to increase the power levels like DBZ or if this was the height of that.

The fights are really why this season is so great though. The action scenes are all top notch and one really great fight is when Shimazaki takes on the whole group of main characters. I always like a good group fight and this one did not disappoint. His teleportation ability is incredibly handy and I’ve always thought that it could be one of the most deadly abilities if used right. Alas, most characters do not use it very well but this guy definitely makes the most of it. A particularly impressive cut is when he smashes Teru through a wall and then through a car window as he teleported mid combo. It’s such a genius idea. I don’t doubt that a lot of writers have thought about doing cool tricks like this but hold back because they either can’t illustrate it well or are worried that the teleporting character would be OP. This guy would be insane in just about any series, but in a title with Espers who can use TK abilities that helps to keep him in check at least to a degree.

One thing I was happy about is Shimazaki doesn’t get nerfed or hit with plot hax. The guy actually improves while he fights and another great scene is when his eyes open and he ascends. No cheesy friendship power victory here folks, they ultimately do need Mob to show up. That would have been an awesome fight, but the resolution that we got was also really satisfying so I can definitely live with it. I talked more about his fights than the character, but Shimazaki is definitely a great character and easily the best villain in the series. He’s really a scene stealer.

That’s not to say that he has all of the best fights in the season though. Suzuki’s fight with Mob is excellent of course and we get a lot of other fights throughout. The last few episodes really focus on the big battles with Claw and ends the season on a high note. It’ll be extremely difficult for a possible season 3 to top this one. It’ll have to be firing on all cylinders, but that’s certainly something that can happen.

Meanwhile Mob has improved a great deal since season 1. He’s not a pushover anymore and he has learned more about the world so people can’t manipulate him as easily. Those are both good things and while it means that we may never get quite the same Reigen and Mob dynamic, their relationship will ultimately be a better one this way. I did get a little worried that Mob’s emotions would nerf him, but it’s a good tradeoff. As I mentioned earlier, Mob isn’t quite unbeatable anymore, but he’s still quite possibly the strongest character in the series. You can actually deal damage to him, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to claim victory. His rage modes in this season are definitely intense. I do feel like he should have been able to see through the fire ploy with his mental abilities but as the show points out, everyone’s mental abilities are different. Mob seems to excel more in defense and offense as opposed to miscellaneous abilities.

Reigen is still an awesome character and my favorite in the series. He goes through a rough patch where he starts to let the fame get to him and doesn’t give Mob the respect that the kid has earned. He takes Mob’s help for granted and learns a valuable lesson from that. It does involve having to get humiliated on a national level but everyone learns through different methods. You just have to find the one that works for you and then roll with it. Reigen also gets to take on one of the big villains here and is always a calm voice amidst a tough situation. He is a little different from characters like King and Hercule in that he may be a poser, but he does have a lot of legitimite skills. If not for half of these villains being crazy psychic powerhouses he would actually be able to really deal quite a lot of damage. I have high respect for how he faces off with these guys all the time without fear.

Then we have Ritsu who has come a long way from his season 1 days. Now he is on the hero side and has become a capable fighter. He may not be on the same level as Mob or Teru but he is strong enough to help out against the members of Claw. His fight with Shimazaki is pretty good. Ritsu’s always looking out for Mob and I do expect that his abilities will continue to grow as well. Another supportive character or characters in this case are the body improvement club. They’re always quick to rush to Mob’s defense even though they are a little outgunned. The fight with Dimple possessing the leader and fighting one of the Claw members was fun. I think what really makes these guys solid is how loyal they are. They really want to help make Mob a better person with no agenda or strings attached.

Dimple is still floating around with goals to eventually possess Mob. It’s at the point where it’s likely all talk though and he seems like one of the heroes. He may not be the most powerful guy around, but he does help out a lot when needed though. Then you have the heroine Tsubomi. She didn’t actually get to appear much in season 1 so it was good to see her get at least part of one episode here. She still has less presence than any other heroine I’ve ever seen, but at least this season gave her a real personality. She seems a bit jaded or perhaps just careful and won’t fall for a scam as easily as some of the other characters. I’m not sure where the series is going with her, but right now she is a solid character.

Teru also returns in this season and is still one of the strongest heroes around. Next to Mob I’d say that he is definitely the strongest although Sho and Ritsu may end up giving him some competition someday. I like Teru’s character. He’s able to keep a cool head under pressure and is one of the more strategic characters. His psychic abilities are versatile and he is able to adapt mid-match very well like when he predicted Shimazaki’s teleportation angles. I see him as a consistent Trunks type character who probably won’t be able to finish off the big opponents but he will always do well against the sub-villains.

As for Sho, he’s a pretty good character. His plan may not have worked, but it is admirable that he was trying to stop Suzuki on his own. We really don’t get to see him in action for very longm, but that’s fine. We get a general sense of his abilities. He was simply out of his league this time. Hatori is one of the Ultimate 5, but the guy gets no real screen time so we can skip past him. Serizawa is one of the more important members of the group. His abilities are quite high as well and he may be the 3rd strongest member behind Suzuki and Shimazaki. He has self confidence issues and gets manipulated a lot. It’s tough for him since Suzuki got to him at a pretty vulnerable time. While he ultimately gets a bit of a redemption arc I would have liked him to have stood up for himself a little sooner. By the time he acted it was pretty late. I can see him being a fun character in the next season. The guy means well after all.

Toshiki has plant abilities that are surprisingly formidable. He gave Mob a reasonable fight with them after all and rage mode or not that is a good feat. The guy did earn his way into the Ultimate 5. He doesn’t get a whole lot to do, but is a quality villain. Then there is Hiroshi who is the power hitter of the group. He isn’t terribly interesting since the guy is just there to punch people out, but he serves his purpose well enough. Then we have Joseph who isn’t actually part of the group. I thought he was a really interesting and fun character.

The series takes a page out of Index III’s book with various groups running around. In this case CLAW had another faction built in thanks to the government and Joseph was the mole. He went around trying to cause a civil war but ultimately it did not impede Suzuki’s plans. It was a good effort though and it’s hard to ever get tired of a good ole villain vs villain throw down. The whole concept of the government having their own Espers is also interesting and I really hope we get to see that plot pursued at some point. Clearly they have some offensive abilities at the ready which is good. That means this government is automatically a lot smarter than most.

Finally we have Suzuki who is the big boss of the organization. He’s a very strategic villain whose plan has been in the makings for around 10 years or so if I recall correctly. His abilities are sort of like All For One’s as he can give people abilities. What he does is he can charge his abilities for years to build it up and can power up other people. Then when he no longer needs to do this he can just re-absorb the abilities back into himself. He’s really a serious threat and there are multiple times during the fight with Mob where he just has the upper hand in raw power. Ultimately Mob proves to have a bit of a higher ceiling, but Suzuki seemed more impressive. Without a 10 year head start Mob definitely wins this, but with the 10 years Suzuki is a total monster. He’s an incredible villain and really ticks all of the right boxes for me. A confident leader who can fight like that makes for a really high quality villain.

Before the whole Claw arc we do get other stories of course which help to develop the characters. In one of them we see an innocent group of spirits and Mob doesn’t want to exorcise them because they weren’t doing anything wrong. This is one episode where Reigen was surprisingly slow on the uptake. I remember thinking that it would have been so easy for him to just pretend that they exorcised the spirits to keep things moving. It’s not like the humans would really know otherwise. Pressuring Mob to destroy them even while knowing the were innocent was pretty out of character. Mob also goes through a lot physically in these episodes like one villain who basically tormented him for years and years in a “what if” future world. That was pretty brutal from what we saw and definitely made for a very dark experience even if it was mostly off screen. Times like that are when you wish Mob had some more mental defenses to fight with. The mind seems to ironically be his weakness.

As I mentioned the animation is a lot better here. When the fights are happening it is near the top of the biz. At times it’s hard to even think that this is the same show. Everything looks so sharp and even from the screenshots I’ve attached you can see how vibrant it looks. Then the soundtrack is also a lot better. In particular Shimazaki has a great battle theme for when he is fighting with the group. There are a lot of familiar themes from season 1 as well and it all comes together for a very well rounded experience.

Overall, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 is definitely a top notch show to check out. It’s got solid action, quality writing, a good cast, etc. You feel more of the One Punch vibes here as the supporting cast is gradually beginning to turn into a very solid cast. The episodes will really fly by and you may even feel like marathoning the last 4-5 episodes so you can really experience all of the fights in one shot. It’ll just be hard to tear yourself away at that point. Definitely watch this show as soon as you can.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade Review


The gang is back in another adventure. This time it’s more of a full fledged movie so everyone can really contribute and we have a longer plot. I would give the first film the edge overall, but this is a good follow up. It’s on the same level and while it does have some more weaknesses it doesn’t do anything bad either. Diana also gets to look good here as she performs some really high level spells so I definitely can’t take issue with that.

The annual witch festival is coming up and Atsuko has been put in charge of the ceremony for this year as a punishment. Why is this a punishment? Well, the festival is basically just an excuse for the humans to mock the witches as they torment them with a bunch of games. Atsuko realizes how ludicrous this is and decides to put on a happy festival instead. Tension quickly begins to build between her, Lotte, and Sucy though as Atsuko begins to get a little obsessive. Fortunately she meets up with some other kids in the group who might be new friends to replace the older ones. Atsuko has to tread carefully here. Even if she can get this parade working, can she really repair the relationships between humans and witches?

I have to say that the whole premise further reinforces why Shiny Chariot was really good for the Witches. People actually liked her quite a bit. If anything the fact that witches didn’t like her probably just made the various relationships a whole lot worse. The school is partially to blame here for allowing such a parade though. From the screens they showed of the previous years it was totally at the witches expense. That’s not a good way to run such a big event, especially in front of impressionable kids.

This special does introduce some more concepts such as the fact that the witches are basically powerless away from their energy source at the castle. This is a bit alarming as they can barely even take on a bunch of school kids without their powers. I know this isn’t an action series so they don’t have to worry about invasions or anything, but I do think this weakness is a bit extreme. Hopefully as they grow older they will be able to store larger amounts of magic power to at least be able to defend themselves with. Otherwise it’s definitely going to be a rough road for the witches.

The two annoying parts of the film are Lotte and the kids. There’s a subplot where the kids represent the rest of the humans in how they don’t like the witches. They steal the power source and engage the witches in a fight near the beginning. The kids are just very annoying. Sure, they’re young so they don’t totally know what they’re doing, but it’s still painful to watch since the heroes can’t do much about it. How can you attack a kid right? By the end they end up helping out, but the problem was because of them in the first place so I can’t give them too many brownie points for that.

Then we have Lotte who is pretty unlikable here. She has valid reason to be upset with Atsuko for breaking her music book, but beyond that she just wasn’t very co-operative throughout the adventure. This was a pretty big deal for the lead so I think Lotte should have been more amiable. Susy took things a lot better and ultimately works as a person in the middle to get the others talking again. Atsuko is still quite solid even if she did let the festival get to her during different parts of the film. Fortunately Diana was there to give a pep talk. While Diana doesn’t get as much combat here, she still shows her expertise during different parts of the film. Easily the best character like last time. As I mentioned we did get a few new kids. The main important one is Amanda who is a solid addition. While she isn’t as much of a prodigy as Diana, she has skills of her own. She actually does stick by Atsuko’s side the whole time which is great and is quick to help out in the fight with the kids. She did the best in that battle for sure.

The animation is definitely pretty sharp as with last time. I’m not sure if I’d say it’s better but it’s at least on the same level. There aren’t any real action scenes beyond the climax, but the energy effects still look good. There’s still not much of a soundtrack. I don’t know how long the gap was between this film and the first, but it does a good job of feeling like it took place pretty quickly afterwards. If you watch both films back to back they look almost identical which was probably nostalgic depending on how much later it was.

Like with the first film, the real strength here is in how likable the characters are and the fun setting. There’s a reason why school films and shows are so popular. It’s just a fun setting for the characters to interact and to quickly throw in a lot of fun scenarios. Something as simple as planning out a parade can easily be a full movie plot whether or not the main characters have super powers or not. At this point it’s hard to tell exactly what kind of movie series this is trying to be. A school days type plot or more of a fantasy adventure. Perhaps it will change from adventure to adventure but so long as the writing stays strong I don’t imagine it will falter at all.

Overall, The Enchanted Parade is a good follow-up to the original. It’s nice to have a feature length film for the gang. In order to get that film experience the film added more characters and a longer plot, but I don’t think all of it was necessary. Cutting out the kids would have gone a good way, but I think it would have been even cooler if the film had higher stakes like the original one. Having the witches go on a field trip somewhere would be a pretty cool plot. Regardless, I’d recommend checking this one out. If you have to choose a side, I recommend picking team Witch.

Overall 7/10