Spirit Photographer Saburo Kono Review


It’s time to look at a one shot that recently came out from the Promised Neverland author. In theory if it does well enough then this will get picked up for a whole series. I can already see the kind of vibe they’re going for so this would be something like Neuro or Hell Girl. Based on how the first chapter goes I’m sure we’ll have quite a few tragedies occurring here on the regular before we transition into the more antagonistic spirits. I can’t say that it grabbed me though. This isn’t a series I’d be particularly interested in but due to the anthology format it is going for some volumes would likely be better than others.

The story here is about a boy named Sota who has been rather depressed as of late. His next door neighbors are always moving out every few months because of a ghost that supposedly resides there. One day a suspicious guy named Saburo shows up while Sota’s mother is out. He says he is a photographer and forces Sota to accompany him to the haunted apartment. He then has Sota give him the full history of the place which is basically that a lady used to live there until she committed suicide. Sota asks why he’s needed anyway and that’s when the ghost shows up. It is the lady and for some reason she is after Sota.

This is just a one shot so I feel like there’s no such things as spoilers. Either you read it or you didn’t. So if you haven’t then skip the next few paragraphs or just go and read it before reading the review. Not much point in reviewing a one shot but skipping the plot right? So here’s the plot twist. Sota tried committing suicide so the lady stopped him but ended up slipping due to the rain and fell out of her apartment. Sota then kept quiet and let everyone believe she simply tripped. The ghost was just the lady saying she didn’t blame him so Saburo took a picture and she moved on. See, Saburo is a spirit photographer so he takes pictures of the spirits when they get to finish their business. He makes it a point to say that he’s not an exorcist so he doesn’t handle evil spirits or anything like that. I think this already implies that they will appear soon. I have a few problems with the story though.

The first is rather superficial but I feel like Saburo will need some work before he becomes the main character here. Granted, if this is like Hell Girl then he will show up in every story but won’t really be the main character. Still, the dynamic doesn’t work as well. He is portrayed as very shady and he did completely force the kid to go to the haunted hallway under the implied threat of violence. This is going to be our main character? The guy’s design and actions scream villain. You can certainly have a character like this to subvert expectations but I really don’t see him working well as the lead. Certainly he has less charisma than almost any other lead I’ve seen. Seriously, read chapter 1 of almost any other manga and I bet they’re a better character. So he needs work.

Next, the whole anthology string of tragedies isn’t going to work for me either. So we’re already starting with a indirect murder/suicide attempt? The whole thing’s pretty tragic for the lady who was just trying to help out. It doesn’t do wonders for Sota. He’s just a kid of course and I expect he would never appear again but this just isn’t a strong first chapter. Aside from being tragic there just isn’t much to this. There’s no big incentive to keep on watching because the premise itself just isn’t very interesting. What helps Hell Girl out a bit is that she acts as the punisher and sees that vengeance is carried out. Now, that’s a series that I doubt would get high marks if I reviewed it because of how dark things get, but at least it’s an interesting angle. Then Neuro quickly went full on action which was exciting at least.

There’s no way to guess how this one would progress so I can only go off the pilot. Suffice it to say, this is not a pilot that would really get me interested. There’s not a whole lot more to say beyond that. I wouldn’t say the art is particularly good but it’s basically the same as the Promised Neverland so if you liked the art there then you should be good here. It works well enough for the horror atmosphere I suppose but it doesn’t flow as smoothly as a lot of the other titles on the block. I imagine the author will continue to improve as the series goes on though.

Overall, We’ll see if this ends up becoming a series. I’m not really pulling for it, but if it happens it happens. It’s not like it’ll be a bad thing if it does, but I’m hoping for more action type titles. A lot of the other recent jump titles look more interesting so I’d be hoping that those continue to go strongly. Pilots usually end up being quite different than the actual series though so we’ll see how it’s restructured. My personal recommendation to the author would be to change the main character’s design and for the camera stories either go for more of a Yotsuba type of adventure with the spirits or have Saburo take a more active role in the adventures rather than scaring people for kicks. If you start out with smaller cases first that would make sense. Due to the nature of unfinished business though, I imagine a lot of the would turn out rather dark like this.

Overall 5/10

The Bad and the Beautiful Review


It’s time to take a look at a guy trying to succeed in Hollywood. While this initially starts out as a fun journey for the guy it ultimately starts getting darker and sadder as things don’t work out. He seems like a decent guy who made some critical mistakes, but each one was a mistake of his own doing. It’s a pretty engaging film that does have a tragic ending but one that may not be so bad depending on how you interpret it.

The movie starts with Jonathan trying to contact a famous director, (Fred) Actress, (Georgia) and Author (James) but all three of them refuse to speak with him. His agent manages to get them into a house where Jonathan will be able to make a call once more. We then learn why each of them does not want to speak with Jonathan through three stories. The film is effectively an anthology as we learn what happened to them and how Jonathan went from being the most successful man in Hollywood to being near bankrupt.

The first story starts with Fred attending a funeral where everyone was paid to pretend to be sad about Jonathan’s father dying. Fred doesn’t keep up the act though but one thing leads to another and he agrees to team up with Jonathan. The two of them work quite well and start making some very successful pictures. They may not be rolling in dough yet but things are going well. Things sour when Jonathan decides to push Fred out of the way when they adapt a screenplay that Fred wrote. Jonathan intends to be the one who will take the credit for it and this was Fred’s lifework. They went from being best friends to worst enemies in an instant. To Jonathan it wasn’t personal but to Fred it was everything.

This was a strong first story. It’s paced pretty well and could have been a film in itself. In this story Jonathan was totally at fault. You can’t just steal someone’s work like that and expect everything to be okay. That’s a film Fred will never go back and you can’t really apologize for it either. Jonathan made it clear that he didn’t think Fred was good enough for the film which is a personal blow. That was how Jonathan burned his first bridge and you can see why Fred doesn’t want to work with him.

The second story involved Georgia who was a drunk that had a hard time keeping a job. Jonathan notices her during a bit role one day and decides to make her a star. Unfortunately it is hard for her to beat her old habits and he figures that the only way to get Georgia on board is to let her believe that he is interested in her. The affair never really felt genuine from his end but it’s mostly all implied so you have to decide on that yourself. Regardless, he ends up crushing her feelings when it’s revealed that he is having an affair with another woman.

Jonathan made it clear initially that they couldn’t have a relationship so he didn’t think it was super personal but it doesn’t change the fact that he went on with the facade for quite a while. Georgia may have been the only one interested but this did go on presumably for quite a few months so Jonathan should have called things off much sooner or just not been in any other affairs in the meantime. Once again this is on Jonathan and you can see why she was pretty upset. You don’t really get over something like that.

Finally we get the story with James. James was a writer who led a comfortable life with his wife. He had a hard time writing anything but was pretty happy. One day he gets a call from Jonathan and heads on over reluctantly to Hollywood since his wife was really excited about going there. Things get a little tense at times in part because of how excited she is and James gets jealous easily. One day a tragedy happens and Jonathan covers it up but ultimately the truth comes out and James cuts ties with him for good. It’s a pretty solid third story and James easily has the best reason for never working with Jonathan again. You just can’t go back from something like that.

Part of what makes the film a bit tragic is the fact that Jonathan seemed like a nice guy overall. He could be pretty forceful and direct in how he talked, but ultimately he did befriend the three main characters. In particular he got along with Fred the best but did betray him rather directly. So the film doesn’t build Jonathan up as an evil villain or anything, but at the same time his mistakes were pretty bad. You feel bad for him in the climax since he is desperate enough to effectively be begging his old friends to return, but he’s in this hole due completely to his own actions. Even cancelling the film at the end was a selfish move that cost two of his co-workers all of their money. He kept on digging his hole deeper and deeper.

The ending is left open ended so you can decide how the 3 decide. Personally I think they’ve got to say no here. They’re all quite successful and the manager is making the case that it’s because of Jonathan. Certainly he put them on the right track but that doesn’t mean they owe him anything. He still made a mess of their lives in quite powerful ways. When you get betrayed in the ways that they did you don’t really get over that. In particular there is no way James should even entertain the notion of going back. At the very least, that’s the path I would see the ending going if it continued. They just put the phone back down and walk away.

Overall, The Bad and the Beautiful is a pretty deep film. The title is likely referring to Jonathan as we see him as a good guy and as a villain. At times he sees like a genuinely nice guy and then he turns at the drop of a hat. He’s hard to figure out which is tragic in itself. At least he got to enjoy success for quite a while though and I suppose that will have to be enough. This is a solid anthology and one that I’d recommend checking out. It’s a pretty interesting movie and it’s a cautionary tale to remind you to always keep your guard up. You shouldn’t live a cynical life where you think everyone’s out to get you but you should also remember to look after yourself a bit or you could be betrayed in an instant.

Overall 7/10

The House That Dripped Blood Review


It’s time to look at a horror anthology. I’m not big on horror films and I’m not big on anthologies so I can’t say that I went into this one with high hopes. That said, it was actually quite a bit better than what I was expecting to the point where I could call this a good film. Maybe not an amazing film but better than over 90% of the other titles I’ve seen in the genre. This is how you should handle atmosphere and scares. It feels a bit like the Twilight Zone episodes of old.

The base plot connecting all of these segments is about an inspector trying to find an actor who has gone missing. He talks to a real estate agent who calmly explains to the inspector that the house is pretty sinister so bad things happen there. The inspector isn’t impressed but decides to stick around as he listens to a few stories. Did the house really cause all of these murders or was it in the wrong place at the wrong time? One thing’s for sure, a lot of bad things do tend to happen here.

The first story is about a writer who decides to move into the house. The house is in really bad condition but he feels like this will actually help him in coming up with ideas which is a decent rationale I suppose although I’m not sure it’s worth buying a house for a few months though. He begins his next murder book about a strangler and gets so engaged in the material that he starts to see the guy around. Is he going crazy or is the strangler actually here? This may end up being the last book he writes.

This was a pretty good way to start the saga. We got some twists and turns and there was a good amount of tension here. You can interpret the ending a few different ways. Personally, I took it as the guy who was hired was legitimate but what he didn’t count on was the spirit still residing in the house from the picture which ultimately took him over and gave us the twist ending. The writer definitely seemed a little crazy from the start which is the only way this plan could have worked from the start. If he had a bit more control he would have realized that something was up.

The next story is about the main guy heading over to a wax museum. One of the statues looks a lot like a lady he used to like. He stares for a while but then the owner drops some cryptic threats about it so the guy decides to never return. Unfortunately an old friend of his stops by and insists that they return. The guy has no self-control either so he keeps on going back to the place and the owner doesn’t like that very much. This is sort of like an abridged version of the Wax Museum films but handled a lot more tastefully. It’s a little hard to believe how badly the guy does against an old man with an axe though. You can probably see the ending coming and it’s harder to feel as sympathetic to the characters with the bad moves they make. The main guy warned his friend and at that point he shouldn’t have gone back in. It’s a little harsh but if someone keeps trying to jump into a fire you can’t follow them.

Next up was the weakest story if you ask me. A guy moves in with his daughter and she seems to be afraid of fire for some reason. The guy hires a tutor who starts to get close to the daughter but for some reason the father always prevents the tutor from getting the daughter any gifts. Eventually the daughter gets a wax doll and the father’s journey begins to reach its end. We learn some twists about the daughter but I can’t say that they justify the father’s actions in the slightest. If anything he created a self fulfilling prophecy here by being so mean to the kid. It reminds me of a villain in Fairy Tail. If you know that this character can destroy planets, why teach that person to resent everyone right away? It makes no sense and just speeds up everyone’s demise.

Then we have the classic vampire story which involves the actor. He is working on a new vampire film so he stops by a store and buys a cloak. Unfortunately whenever he wears the cloak he is overtaken by an urge to bite people. He decides not to wear it anymore but what if someone else wears it? I’m not a big vampire fan, but the story was reasonable. Mainly what made it so good was the big plot twist at the end. It was a “big brain” moment from the villains as we realize that they were always in control. It’s a very different take on how this kind of story would end and I definitely appreciated it. It also means that the villain may have even had better acting skills than the main guy.

Finally that takes us to the climax where the hardened inspector thinks this is all hogwash. I suppose that’s a reasonable reaction to this, but in a less reasonable take he rushes off to the house in the dead of night and goes straight to the basement. He actually does better in the fight against the villains than I expected, but at the end of the day you already knew how that was going to end. It was a pretty fun way to end.

One thing against the film though is that ultimately it’s really hard to pin any of this on the house. It was just an innocent bystander the whole time that was probably hoping these people would stop moving it in. It didn’t actually do anything in pretty much any of the stories. The Wax was just a crazy guy running around, (maybe the Wax location was haunted) The one with the girl was because she had powers, and the vampires already had their plan. I’m willing to defend the house in this case because I do think it was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t mean for any of this to happen.

The writing is pretty solid here. As mentioned, it does a good job of building up the atmosphere without suddenly trying to make everything gritty and violent. That’s exactly how you’re supposed to do this. It’s a very tasteful array of horror stories and the length helps to prevent any of them from dragging on although I do think some of these could have worked as a whole film. I just doubt they would have been quite as effective. These still had time for the various plot twists and such which is really the important part if you ask me.

Overall, The House That Dripped Blood is a bit of a misleading film but it’s solid nonetheless. None of the stories are particularly bad and the best ones are quite solid. That makes for a pretty all around story since each story is pretty different. If this sounds like it’s up your alley then you should check it out or if you want more of a grounded horror movie. I think the part that will stick with you the most is that if you have an evil cloak that grants super powers and evil urges you should probably burn it or at the very least insist that nobody wears it after you. Even if you may have been able to take it off, it doesn’t ensure that the next person will be able to.

Overall 6/10

Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World Review


It’s time to look at the new Kino series. This one is effectively a remake of the old one in a way as some stories are re-adapted while others are looked at for the first time. Since the series is an anthology in a sense the stories will always differ a bit. Anthologies are still the riskiest type of story telling since there are so many different adventures that one is bound to drag the rest down. Unfortunately this was the case here. They say that a bad ending can hurt the whole product and it is true. An ending can really change things and this series had one of the worst final episodes I’ve ever seen.

The basic premise of the series is that Kino and her sentient bike Hermes travel the world seeing a lot of different countries. Their rule is that they can’t stay anywhere for more than 3 days. That’s because any longer and you may get attached to the place, but Kino wants to stay a traveler for her whole life. She has to keep on moving and so she follows this rule. That’s also why the series is able to be an anthology as each place is different. There is also a different main character for some episodes but more on that later. As an anthology it makes sense to look at the episodes so lets take a look at each adventure.

Our first episode sees Kino head into a country where murder is legal. As a result you’d expect the place to be very chaotic but it’s strangely peaceful. Kino enjoys the place quite a bit although she keeps her guard up at all times just in case. After all most places tend to seem better than they are. The twist here is handled pretty well and ends up making the place one of the better towns we’ve seen in the series. It’s certainly not an area to be trifled with and I think Kino would have fit in quite well.

Next up was one of the better episodes where we meet the other main character Shizu and his dog Riku. Kino enters a land where she is forced to participate in a tournament against other fighters. It’s all held under the authority of a corrupt king who forces travelers to participate and most if not all of them end up murdered. Kino begins taking down all her opponents and aims to seemingly end this while Shizu has similar goals. It’s a pretty intense episode and we get more fight scenes than usual which is nice. Shizu is also a good fighter so Kino finally has a good rival. Typically in the series she is portrayed as being pretty much invincible.

The twist ending here is definitely unexpected as it portrays Kino as being particularly merciless. We know that she is not a hero, but in this episode she goes as far as to basically be a big villain. She is directly responsible for triggering a mass murder at the end of the episode and she did so intentionally. It’s hard to really forgive her for this by the end and for the rest of the series you probably won’t be rooting for her quite as much. It’s possible for a hero to become a villain that you still root for sort of like Garou but the goals are a big part of that. Kino really doesn’t have any goals which hurts her personality.

In the third episode we see a moving country that likes to roll right over other countries as it destroys them entirely. The country has the same mission as Kino, to travel the world. The main difference is that the entire country moves around and it’s inside a giant armored shell so they just blow up anyone who tries to stop them. One country refuses to move and they end up paying the price. Kino gladly helps the moving country take care of these guys as well. They are giving her a free ride after all. It’s an interesting concept to have a moving country like this but you’re definitely hoping someone does shut these guys down soon.

Next up we got the return of Shizu as he finds a shady country that lives on a big boat. The boat is failing so eventually everyone is going to die. Shizu warns the leaders of this, but they refuse to listen. He doesn’t want to let everyone die so he decides to stop the boat by force only to be met up with the main antagonist Kino. She is working for the boat guys and so they have to have another fight. Shizu also meets a little girl named Ti who has had a pretty tough time of it and decides to adopt her. He intends to find a nice country where they can finally relax but it’ll be tough to find a good place. This was another fun episode in part because Shizu is just such a great lead. This guy’s a hero who is out to stop the villains whenever possible and I’d be up for a full series about him.

The next episode involves a lot of lies within lies. Kino finds out about some people who seemingly died, but then again maybe they didn’t. It’s an interesting concept where everyone knows the lie, but they don’t know that the others do. It’s an infinite loop where everyone has to play dumb until someone makes the first move. It’s a little tragic for everyone involved, so Kino just takes a sip of tea and leaves them to it. I do think the whole situation may make you roll your eyes a bit. Hopefully the characters just allow themselves to learn the truth at some point.

Following that up was the darkest episode in the season and certainly the weakest one aside from the final episode. We see a travelling caravan of merchants who have a slave girl with them. They force her to do all of the chores and such without really letting her eat or anything. The whole episode is them mistreating her as she tries to keep on a brave face throughout. They go to a poisonous area and everyone ends up dying except her. She gets a happy ending, but the episode is pretty unpleasant. For a while you may even think this was Kino’s origin story since there are a lot of similarities to the lead, but ultimately the episode doesn’t go down that route.

After that we got a pretty solid episode with Kino’s master and her partner. They enter a town where the partner is arrested and so she decides to break him out and they take over the town. We get some fun spy scenes and I like both the Master and the Partner. These two characters have a really solid dynamic and they have their epic entrance theme. The town definitely gets wrecked pretty badly by the two characters, but in the end they all get a reasonably happy ending. The Master’s team definitely won though. It was a fun prequel adventure and I’d be glad to see more of those.

Next up we see Shizu again. There’s this one town where people randomly turn evil and start murdering others once in a while. They blame it on radio waves so people don’t get arrested and go back to living normal lives. It’s pretty dark since everyone knows they get one chance to do something as evil as they want and there will be no punishment. Shizu goes out to the tower to prove that this is fake, but the town refuses to believe him. He does his best to change their minds, but is ultimately forced to leave with the assistance of Ti who causes a distraction. Shizu makes for an interesting lead as always, but the episode does cross into extra grim territory with everyone in the school getting murdered. It was definitely a twisted town.

The next episode was an anthology inside of an anthology which was definitely an odd choice. The stories were fun enough but the highlight was the two bandits who are wondering who they should try to rob. Kino passes by them and they wisely decide not to attack her since they would have been promptly murdered. Then you have Shizu’s group and again the bandits decide not to attack since they’d be sliced and diced. We find out that the reason why they are so wary is because they tried attacking Kino’s master once and lost most of their men real quick. Being a bandit just doesn’t pay off in the end.

After that we get an emotional story where Kino heads to a town that is known to be really mean to strangers. Surprisingly everyone is nice to her and she has a good time. It all seems pretty odd but she takes it in stride before leaving. Naturally there is a pretty big twist to the episode and the ending does make a lot of sense. Naturally Kino had to wreck this ending by pointing out that her first thought was almost a glad one because she didn’t want the extra responsibility of watching over someone. If you want extra context for this you’ll need to see the episode but it’s such a terrible first reaction to what just happened.

Next up was Kino’s big origin story. She grew up in a country where things get pretty dicey for kids and the original Kino learned this the hard way. It was nice to see the first Kino even though he looked pretty bad here. He’s definitely not quite as well trained as the current main character. It’s an interesting enough story. There’s not really a twist here compared to most of the other stories, but I suppose an origin didn’t really need a twist right?

Then we’ve got the terrible final episode. Kino and Hermes are travelling between lands when they run into a bunch of sheep. These sheep are particularly violent and just want to murder all travelers. Naturally Kino and Hermes are not exempt from this and so they have to be on the run. There is no escape though so Kino decides that she will murder all of them and does just that. The majority of the episode is Kino blasting them with fire, running over them, and then shooting them. It’s a really mean spirited episode that threw in a lot of animal violence for no reason. It’s a shame because the series hadn’t really had any animal violence before that. It was hard to believe what I was watching with that ending.

The character cast is very small since most of the stories make up their own leads. Hermes is a reasonable sidekick to Kino, but he does feel like a yes man half the time. He always gives her assurances that what she is doing isn’t all that bad which helps to justify her behavior. He’s also pretty helpless without her so it’s not like he can help much. Kino’s a unique character since she just looks out for herself and comes off as more of a villain than a hero half the time. She just wants to have a good time and so she does whatever she wants. If a villain helps her out she will likely return the favor and she doesn’t want to be burdened by anyone. I really wasn’t a fan of her in this series.

Shizu was great though and he stood out even more than in the original series. He was a great lead in all of his episodes and part of what made him so good is that he’s looking out for Ti. It’s not easy to have to be looking out for someone else like this, but he was ready. His dog’s decent, but the weakest of the 3. Meanwhile Ti is solid. She knows how to fight a bit with grenades and is a very solid supporting character to have. Her dynamic with Shizu is really good. I said it earlier, but I’d like to see more of them. Meanwhile the Master and her partner were also good. I liked the partner’s confidence. The Master tends to slam his ideas down, but he never loses his nerve and keeps on trying to be helpful.

The animation is pretty good. I wouldn’t call it excellent or anything like that as it’s going for a bit of a simple style, but it still looks clear enough to me. The character designs are on point and we get some nice action scenes as well. The best action scenes are always with Kino’s old mentor as they take the place down. We usually quickly cut away to the aftermath as this series isn’t really about the action but it works well when it occurs. The soundtrack is more low key so that part isn’t as impressive. I did like one theme though and coincidentally it always shows up for the mentor as well. It’s the main battle theme of the series.

So the series definitely has its ups and downs. One thing I’ll give the series is that it’s usually pretty interesting. Take away 3-4 episodes and the rest of it was pretty solid with the twists and that Twilight Zone feel. The series is at its best when everything feels rather odd and you don’t know what to expect. The mystery is what the series thrives on. If we ever get an actual arc where the whole season is one story I think that would have a lot of potential. I really wouldn’t mind if we switched main characters though.

Overall, Kino’s Journey is a series that will have a hard time really hitting the next level. Anthologies just limit themselves with the style that they have and I would say that the original Kino’s Journey was a little better. The title is like a modern day Twilight Zone so if that sounds interesting to you then you should check it out. Each episode has a different theme going on and there is usually a twist. Some episodes can be very light hearted and fun while others can be dark and dreary. You never know quite what you’re about to get. If you want a series that’s more consistent with its tone then you should check out Black Clover instead. That one’s sure to deliver with the epic fight scenes for you.

Overall 5/10

The Cat’s Eye Review


It’s time to check out a horror anthology from a while back. This one has 3 stories so each one gets around 30 minutes to play around. Anthologies are one of the hardest genres to pull off because with the stories being so different it is more likely that one of them will make a mistake. The second story is definitely the best one but the other two don’t do enough to keep this film in the green. Now lets look at all of the stories in turn.

The first story is about a company that strives to help people get away from their smoking addiction. Morrison heads over to this place after having it be recommended to him by a friend. Unfortunately the place is a lot more extreme than he would have ever guessed. Vinnie is the head there and he informs Morrison that they have a 100% clear rate. Each time Morrison smokes a cigarette something bad will happen to his family. If he makes a mistake one too many times then they will all be destroyed. Vinnie seems to have agents everywhere and Morrison now must end his addiction instantly or it’s game over.

Of course addiction is extremely difficult and one of the toughest things to stop. It’s why around the world we have so many clinics and treatment centers. Many believe that can stop whenever they want to and there are a small subsection who can do it on their own. Fact of the matter is that many need some assistance to stop and that’s why Morrison has a tough time here. He was seeking help in the first place so now that he has to effectively end it on his own it’l be extra hard since he had admitted to himself that he couldn’t do it. All that said, it’s still tough to see him sneaking a smoke when he knows that his wife will be the one paying the price now. When someone else is in trouble I believe that gives you the extra motivation to get through.

Morrison does try to attack Vinnie once and comes close to grabbing the gun. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful and that was really the last attempt he would be able to make. The short has a grim ending since Vinnie effectively wins and now Morrison has directly endangered others by recommending his service. I don’t like how buddy buddy they are by the end. I suppose we can assume that Morrison has resigned himself to his fate and is trying his best to live with this, but there’s no reason why he has to be their friends and chatting like old buddies. There’s a twist at the end, but it shouldn’t have been a twist for Morrison unless he’s one of the most gullible guys around. It’s a tense special but with Vinnie continuing to endanger others with his unnecessarily grim punishments it does end on a sour note.

The second special introduces us to a rich man named Cressner. He finds out that his wife is cheating with a guy named Johnny and decides that both of them have to go. For Johnny he figures that it’s time to mess with the tennis pro first. He tells Johnny that he can survive this if he walks around the building. The exterior of the building has a ledge that is wide enough to walk through, but the building is very high up and there is a lot of wind. One misstep would mean instant death and Cressner is following the whole time from inside the building to make the walk even tougher by splashing water and firing off his gun. Can Johnny make it all the way around and will this give him some time to reflect on why cheating is wrong and will always catch up to you?

This one’s my favorite special as the plot is more fun and at least we get to see Johnny fight. One thing that does hurt right away though is the fact that Johnny was cheating with the guy’s wife. Two wrongs don’t make a right of course, but Johnny is really not in the right here. The guy shouldn’t be going after people who are taken and it ultimately ended up costing her as well. The ending is solid though as Johnny takes them both on and gets a gun at the ready. You can probably imagine how he will plan his comeback against Cressner. Then you’ve got a determined bird who shows up to make the walk even more difficult. It is hard to see why they don’t just try to kick it away sooner, but maybe they were worried that the motion would cause them to lose their balance. It’s probably a good risk though since the pecks would eventually have the same effect.

Then you’ve got the final story. So throughout these 3 stories there has been a cat around. His name is the General and he is trying to find a kid who has been calling to him on the Astral Plane. Her name is Amanda and she is being attacked by a monster under her bed. Naturally the parents don’t believe this and to their defense this monster is pretty smart. He seals the entrance to his world each time and through reality manipulation makes it so that the hole leads to nothing if the parents check. That’s why she needs a specialist. The monster frames General, but the cat isn’t quite ready to let that be the end. Can he stop this monster?

This story isn’t quite as solid. Amanda is too young to really hold her own as a main character here. She does her best to explain the situation, but naturally it doesn’t work too well. The Dad seems to suspect that something isn’t quite right, but he doesn’t speak up most of the time so he may as well not know. Then you have the Mom who really doesn’t like the cat and gets a lot of villainous music. I do feel bad for the bird so I can see why she got upset. Why did the bird have to be taken down like that, he was just an innocent little guy trying to survive day by day. Letting a cat in so close to the bird does feel pretty risky even if General turned out to be good. The monster is pretty intense and gives us as decent an action scene as you can try to have between a cat and a monster. It’s not really my cup of tea though and I’ll take the hand to hand fight from the second special.

Overall, The Cat’s Eye’s 3 stories all vary. If I were ranking the stories I’d give the first one a 3, the second a 6, and the third a 4. The first one’s just a little too grim with that ending and the third one’s mainly based around animals and kids which is not a recipe for success with the cat getting injured and the bird dying. The middle story is fun enough even if Johnny isn’t really a main character that you can reasonably root for. If you like short stories like this then this is a good movie for you to check out. There don’t seem to be many anthologies these days as I suppose TV shows handle that for you. If you want a quick 30 minute experience then you would watch a show. So unless you are a big short story fan then you should probably check out something like the original Ghostbusters instead.

Overall 4/10

RWBY: Official Manga Anthology Review


It’s time to look at RWBY’s recent manga anthology. This one got 4 volumes, one for each of team RWBY. It’s definitely nice to see more RWBY material even if so far it hasn’t taken advantage of the manga format as well as it could have. The current ongoing RWBY manga has a lot of potential, but the original one was basically an anthology as well as it retold each character short. I’m not a huge fan of anthologies and part of the issue is how not much of a story can happen in those. This one has that issue as well along with some stories having good art while some do not. Ah well, I’ll still take what I can get.

Of course, I usually start off by talking about the plot, but that won’t work here. I’ll start with the artwork. As I mentioned, it really varies depending on the story. Some of them look quite good with nice character designs and details while others aren’t really all that solid. It makes for an up and down reading experience. Each volume is a good size though so there is space for quite a lot of content.

On the other hand, this is still RWBY. As a result the characters can hold their own story with ease. It’s just nice to see them around in more stories. Due to the limited length per episode it’s not as if the writers can show us a whole lot of bonus material in the show. That’s sort of the point of the current RWBY manga as it will allow us to see more of the characters than the show could. For example in Yang’s volume there is a story where she beats up on a bunch of fake Neo dolls to exact her revenge. Then Neo sees this and is quite disturbed.

If anything, I’d say that the series plays out like a RWBY Chibi episode. Think of all those shorts and then packing them into a manga. So there’s certainly nothing bad about the series. I definitely enjoyed reading all 4 volumes. They’re fun and make for solid reads. It’s also a decent way to get someone to check out the RWBY series if they haven’t seen the show yet. The volumes are all about character interactions after all.

As each character gets her own volume they each get a lot of screen time. Yang’s definitely still the best member but each of the 4 bring something to the table. With Weiss’ glyphs she could probably give Yang a good fight if she was trying. Meanwhile Blake and Ruby are also quite skilled so it’s not like they would lose very easily. I suppose if we had gotten another volume it would have finally been time for Jaune and his team to show their stuff. They show up in these volumes of course, but it’s different being a side character versus a lead.

On a side note, I definitely do like the artwork for the volume covers. They really stand out and have a lot of detail. If that’s how the art looked inside then this series would have been even better. The actual volumes are quite high quality and as I mentioned they are bigger than the average volume. As a result they feel a bit like an omnibus. It’s a style that I wouldn’t mind becoming the norm. It’s not big enough where the volume would be awkward to read, but big enough where it feels special.

Overall, The RWBY Anthology is good. It’s hard to really discuss it much due to the style of the manga though. The current ongoing will likely end up being the definitive RWBY series though since it has an ongoing story. It’s a shame that the ongoing’s art is also a little below average though. Maybe RWBY characters are just really hard to draw or something. It could be a while before those stories come out in America though so now it’s back to the waiting game. I don’t know when the RWBY comics are coming out, but maybe those will be close. I’m wondering if those will also adapt the show or if they go for something totally different. I’m hoping the latter as we don’t need two adaptions. Maybe have the comic writer take their own spin on the franchise. That’d be pretty cool.

Overall 7/10

Gosho Aoyama’s Collection of Short Stories


I got to start the Conan spinoff where a bunch of short stories are published. It’s a pretty nice concept since if you have some stories lying around you may as well use them right? It’s hard to say when these will end since they could probably start or end on a dime, but I’ll have a review for it once it is over. It does a good job of capturing the essence of Conan.

Overall 7/10

Pop Team Epic Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 1/10

Fire Emblem Heroes: Heroes’ Everyday Lives

FEH_comic_title_page
It’s been a little while since I read an anthology manga. The 4 Koma chapters seem reasonably entertaining and certainly better than other gag titles like Rock Lee. I’ll review it when they stop coming out with the chapters, but since each installment is only 1 page I get the feeling that this could last for quite a while. I’m waiting for Roy to show up at this point.

Overall 7/10