Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Crash Bandicoot: Dance! De Jump! Na Daibouken Review


It’s time to look at a Crash manga. I recently got the PS4 collection that came out and it was definitely fun. That being said, the title character actually wasn’t that good. He’s probably one of the worst title characters that you are ever gonna see at least from the iconic ones. That may set off some warning bells for the manga since naturally you will usually want to have a good main character for the story right? This one is a gag manga so to an extent it never had all that much promise. I can see why it was cancelled.

So the story starts off with Crash getting dumped as the heroine declares that she is grown up and ready to move on. Crash literally cries himself a winner and goes into depression. Fortunately that’s when Cortex shows up and decides to trick Crash into helping him conquer the world. He tells the lead that if he collects all 25 of the Power Crystals that the heroine will come back to him. Crash eagerly believes this and sets off with his buddy Aku Aku to collect them all. Is Cortex really being honest?

It may not matter because Cortex himself doesn’t know what he wants. The plan seems simple enough at face value. He’ll let Crash handle the dangerous work of going into the various mazes to grab the gems while he stays at home. However, Cortex also tries to destroy Crash several times which would wreck this entire plan right? I couldn’t really get what his motivation for such a thing would be. Perhaps he just couldn’t hold back his utter disdain for Crash? He even tries to eat the main character. Also, why bother showing up in person at all? That defeats the purpose of sending Crash in first because then Cortex is subjecting himself to the same level of danger. Not very smart for a supposed genius.

Another thing that holds the series back is the amount of filler inside. The heroes only collect 4 gems across 2 whole volumes. At that pace it would take a grand total of 13 volumes to get them all. Have you ever heard of such a long video game adaption? Most of the chapters are stand alone as well so it’s not like the series is using it as an elaborate set up. One chapter is about Crash turning tiny and basically messing with Cortex from the inside. The amount of crude humor here is definitely regrettable. It only got worse in the very next story where Crash gets hit in the head and reverts back to a baby. This one has Pac-Man (and the Ghostly Adventures) level of crude humor within it. If you could take Cortex seriously at all before this, you won’t after this chapter. Same goes for Crash naturally. It’s just a little jarring to see chapters like this which don’t have any bearing on the story whatsoever. I guess maybe this was meant to be a really long running series or something, but there’s no way it could have stayed alive so long with this level of quality.

As the issues keep piling on for this manga, the art is another one to add on. It’s just very busy and chaotic throughout. You will have a tough time seeing exactly what is happening on the page. It’s not the worst art I’ve ever seen, but certainly in the bottom half. I don’t think a lot of effort was put into it, but I can’t say that I am surprised either. It’s a gag manga so I’m guessing the art and the plot weren’t very important. All of the effort likely went into the gags so it’s a shame that even those weren’t funny.

Crash is accurate to the games though. Perhaps even more extreme though. Here he uses the Power Gems as a tooth and ear pick and really doesn’t care about saving the world at all. He barely even cares about collecting the gems seeing as how he puts it off so much. He wasted months just washing dishes because he was out of money. There’s also an annoying monkey character in one of the chapters who steals all of Aku Aku’s money and trolls Crash the whole time. I don’t sympathize with Crash at all to be honest, but once again this had nothing to really do with the plot.

The only good character here would be the professional jewel thief. He is also after the crystals so naturally this leads to him meeting up with Crash. Crash makes a fool out of himself as you would expect, but this treasure hunter takes the high road and decides not to rob Crash. Instead he will get the jewels his way and you have to appreciate the guy’s honor code. It is something that the rest of the cast in Crash seem to lack. Too bad he only appeared once as the guy would have elevated the series.

I wonder if the series would have been better if they never mentioned anything about getting the 25 Power Gems. After all, marketing the series more as a random slice of life would have been far more accurate and then the filler chapters would actually make sense. I guess it might be weird for Crash to be adventuring for no reason, but it could just be something superficial like trying to get muscles to impress the heroine. It is what it is though and at least having a mediocre manga is better than not having one at all.


Overall, This Crash manga isn’t very well known and I can see why. I suppose it’s not any worse than the average gag manga, but with some of the others at least I like the characters more. Say what you will about Super Mario Kun, but it is a lot more entertaining just because the cast is able to sell it better. Mario and Luigi have a much better dynamic than Crash and Aku Aku ever will. When we have the big break up chapter between Crash and Aku Aku you can’t help but feel that Aku would be better off without the Bandicoot slowing him down. I guess it’ll be nice for Crash fans if we ever get the lost 3rd volume, but I can’t say that I would miss it. If you’re a big fan of the series then you should check it out. It’s not a terrible series or anything. I wouldn’t recommend it, but the series doesn’t do much wrong aside from just not being funny. At least there is some kind of plot happening even if it takes a break very often. If it ever returns, hopefully it is more focused.

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Sherlock Bones Review

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I started this series back in 2014 so it’s cool to have finally taken it down for the count. It’s a pretty unique mystery series that did some things pretty well. That being said, it is held back quite a bit by the unnecessary fanservice that pops up throughout. Seriously, whyyyyyy? Fanservice is always a bad thing, but it’s even worse when it’s just thrown in for no reason like in Fairy Tail. Even the poor dead victims in this series are used for fanservice, which is pretty sad.

Takeru was just an ordinary kid when he ran into a magical dog. It turns out that Sherlock Holmes has been reincarnated as a dog for some reason. He doesn’t know exactly why this happened and the viewers won’t either since the series ended before we could have a resolution to that plot. Regardless, he tells Takeru that they should solve a bunch of crimes and this inspired Takeru to be a junior detective and then to eventually join the police force. He’ll have to catch a lot of criminals but with the help of the greatest detective in the world, it’ll be easy right?

One major switch that this series does instead of the conventional detective titles if you always know who the culprit is from the start. The chapters typically start off with us seeing the murder and then seeing the victim hide the evidence and create the alibi. It’s a rather interesting look at the crime because in other titles you only see these things through flashbacks or testimony like in Detective Conan. We then have to see how Takeru will put the pieces together and prove it. It’s a very unique method of showing a murder mystery and I thought that the series did a really good job of it.

Unfortunately, that couldn’t save the series from its biggest issue of all, fanservice. The series had a habit of throwing it in just about every volume. Victims would have their clothes tattered a little, Takeru would walk in on people still changing, and others would just strip because Sherlock couldn’t control himself. There is a plot twist at the end about how Sherlock actually could control himself though so that makes things even worse. Regardless, it was always added just for sales and more views I suppose, but it made the series a little more low-brow than it should have been. You never see Detective Conan using tricks like that now do you? It’s really just the author admitting that he/she needs fanservice in order for the volumes to sell and that’s sad.

Takeru is a pretty good main character. He gradually gets smarter as the series goes on and never loses his nerve. He does a good job of putting on the pressure and manages to solve quite a lot of cases. Sherlock does a lot of the work, but Takeru is still tasked with most of the hard jobs. That makes their partnership pretty equal. Takeru may not be Conan, but he’s still a fun lead to have around and the series would dip quite a bit without him. After all, Sherlock Holmes actually isn’t all that great as a main character. The running gag of him turning into a regular dog at times is really annoying and always leads to crude humor. As a dog, he talks a good game, but still manages to lose to his animal instincts after a while. He was needed as a character to get Takeru invested in the mysteries I suppose, but since his plot never actually went anywhere, it ultimately felt pointless. I’d have just preferred Takeru be a solo act by the end. Maybe Sherlock’s plot would have been cooler by the end if it had been resolved, but since it was not..the character wasn’t as impactful as you would have hoped.

Miki is Takeru’s friend and she shows up once in a while. As a reporter in training, she helps give Takeru an excuse to interrogate suspects at times and she loves being a part of the sleuthing process. She certainly came to Takeru’s aid quite a few times to save him from jams. Miki’s a nice enough character, but as she rarely got to appear, it is hard to say much else for her. That’s a nice start though. Airin is Takeru’s sister and she makes most of the actual arrests. After all, Takeru isn’t exactly authorized to do much once he finds the suspect so her police skills come in handy. She tends to underestimate him a lot though, but I suppose it’s warranted since he was never much of a detective before Sherlock came around.

Finally, we have Kento. He’s the hardcore rival from America and one of the more enjoyable characters. That being said, he is very extreme when he first shows up. He wants to spite Takeru so much that he actively tries to help criminals by giving them a good cover story and trying to poke holes in Takeru’s logic. Naturally, this doesn’t work since the truth can’t be covered up, but it does make him look bad. Still, Kento is supposed to be a genius in his own right and he does help solve some cases. By the end of the series, he does get along with Takeru and their partnership should be very effective in stopping crimes.

Sherlock Bones had good artwork. The characters are all very detailed and the art makes it easy to look at a page and see everything at once. It uses a lot of ink for dramatic moments and all of the villains have true faces which pop up. They end up looking pretty demonic and sinister which always adds a nice touch. The heroes are really the only characters who don’t suddenly turn crazy as everyone else goes bonkers once their plans are foiled.

Overall, Sherlock Bones didn’t last all that long. It had the makings of a good mystery series and without the fanservice, I’d probably have given it a 6. It was fun enough, but could have done more with the plot. Detective Conan can get away with having its plot move at a snail’s pace because the individual cases are always interesting and very well written. The cases here are also thought out fairly well, but they aren’t nearly as detailed and since you always know who did it, part of the mystery is solved for you. It’s a great change of pace and I wouldn’t mind Conan doing it sometimes, but I also want mysteries where you have to figure out who did it. Part of the fun in a case is figuring out who did it right? If you can get past the fanservice then this is a decent series to read, but at the same time you should probably just read a better detective series like Detective Conan or Zodiac P.I. Those have the mysteries without the dicey parts so that’s a plus.

Overall 4/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Gun Blaze West Review

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Gun Blaze West was a short series that was abruptly ended before it could get past 3 volumes. It was a reasonably fun series so that’s too bad, but it didn’t really do anything to separate itself from the pack. The series probably should have also started with the post time skip plot and then had a flashback for Viu’s origin once the series had gotten popular. That’s the safer method I’d say. We don’t have a whole lot of Wild West manga titles so this does still help to fill that need. (Is it really a need though?

Viu has always wanted to be an awesome gunman. Unfortunately, he simply didn’t have the skills for it as a kid. A wanderer named Marcus showed up one day and said that he’d train Viu if he could run to a mountain and back before the sun set. It was the only way to prove that Viu could physically handle the rigors of being such a fighter. After all, having great aim is good, but it’s not enough to win tournaments if that’s all that he has. Unfortunately, Marcus is then seemingly murdered by a villain named William and Viu’s life is changed forever. After avenging Marcus, Viu trained for several years until he could pull off the run. Now it was time to go enter the legendary Gun Blaze West and prove that he is the greatest gunman in the world.

The actual plot is rather generic, but we’ve seen many great action titles come out of a standard plot. Viu’s mentor dying and the long time skip are rather reminiscent of Beet, but the latter also had 5 star fights and writing to back it up. Not to mention that Beet also had superior art. I was a little worried at first because if Viu had not grown up there was no way that I could accept him beating professional fighters. After the time skip, it was at least a little believable.

Viu is a reasonably good character. He likes engaging in fair fights and never backs down from a challenge. He’s pretty noble and will defend others if they aren’t strong enough to do so. He doesn’t overthink the situation like his partner Will does and that helps him a lot. He’s a good character and hits all of the right notes, but that was where the buck stopped. He did have a good rage mode though so the author squeezed that in before the series ended. Will is the main partner during the series and he’s usually more annoying than helpful. He’s the kind of guy who sees a villain pick a fight with the heroes and then call both parties out for being disruptive when it’s obvious who is at fault in the moment. He hesitates a lot and doesn’t really like fighting all that much at first. He does get better at that, but I still don’t think he’ll last too long using a rope in a gun fight. It’s just not going to work.

Colice is the final member of the trio, but ironically she doesn’t get to appear all that much since she was introduced so late. She was clearly meant to be a main character in the long run. She’s fairly skilled and is confident of her skills. Luckily Colice got to have her own fight before the series ended so she was able to back up her tough talk. She probably has the most personality out of the three main characters and I believe she would have helped the series out quite a bit. I was a little surprised when Marcus died so early on, but apparently the author was going to bring him back anyway. There’s a lot of hinting for it at the end of the series so much that they basically say it in the final page. Honestly, I don’t see how he would be all that relevant later on since he wasn’t very strong, but maybe he was going to turn evil for that added emotional value.

The Baron is the final boss of the series even though you never would have guessed it at first. It was just the series getting cancelled that suddenly made him the big boss. He’s fairly powerful and should have easily beaten Viu. The good thing about this is that he probably would have appeared again later on and this way he would still be relevant as far as his power level is concerned. He was the final boss, but acted as an instructor and can’t be counted as one of the villains. Those guys are coming up.

I feel like the author completely didn’t care about the villains and just added them because he felt that he had too. The first major villain was William and that’s not a name that will strike fear into your heart. William is not event that tough since Viu in his kid days was able to take him on. Next is Kevin. Wait…Kevin? Yes, I’m serious and the less said about this guy the better. He’s simply not that interesting and is another generic gun fighter. Honestly, this is what would have been a tricky part for the series. With so many gun villains running around, the author has to put a lot of effort into them so that they don’t all end up being the same. Giving them generic names like William and Kevin sure isn’t helping.

The only villain in the series that I actually liked was Thunderarm. He’s a cool Android/Cyborg who wants to obtain Gun Blaze West and will do anything that he can towards this goal. He has a pretty good fight with the Baron and it’s probably the best fight scene in the series. His electrical attacks were very potent and he was a nice change of pace from the other fighters. It’s a shame that he probably would not have appeared again, but it was nice while it lasted.

This series was cancelled so fast that the plot had barely started. The first two volumes are mainly pre arc shenanigans and then the 3rd was for explaining how things would work. We only got to wrap up the very first challenge and then the series ends with the heroes heading off for the next mission. It was probably pretty sad for the author to see it all end like this without a proper conclusion. I suppose the author probably could have tried to rush it all into that last chapter, but felt like the ending would have been cheaper than having them just get ready to roll out. At the very least, the ending that was chosen does leave room for a sequel series if the author ever wants another attempt at this.

Gun Blaze West’s artwork was pretty decent. It’s not amazing, but it’s not quite as rough as you would expect. You can follow the fight scenes just fine and the character models don’t get all crazy during the fight scenes. It’s not exactly Bleach, but it’ll work well enough. At most, some of the characters do look unintentionally silly, but that would have likely corrected itself over time. The Wild West setting is hardly my favorite though so I can’t say that the scenery is all that fun to look at. I like to think that a gun series in NYC would have done a little better and could have had a grander scale.

Overall, I had fun reading this series. It’s nothing great, but it’s not bad either. It didn’t really make any mistakes and while the specifics of the series can be forgettable, I doubt you’ll forget the premise or the main characters. It’s a shame that the series was cancelled, but I suppose if they never cancelled any titles, we would have missed out on a lot of great ones over the years right? I’d recommend checking it out and since the series is only 3 volumes, it’s not as if it’s a great time commitment. Just watch for volume 3 and you’ll be able to tell that the series was cancelled. It just abruptly ends. At least the author still has Kenshin and its spinoffs.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Warcraft Review


I always like to see a video game adapted into a film…but not like this! It seems like bad luck that films keep trying to adapt games that either shouldn’t be adapted or ones that should be adapted…in 20 years. I get that World of Warcraft is a very popular video game, but I’ve never cared much for it and I don’t think it ever had a whole lot of movie potential. People will inevitably compare it to Lord of the Rings and it’ll fall short since everyone already has the nostalgia goggles on. Then we’ve got Assassin’s Creed….this isn’t the kind of representation of video games that I wanted. Where’s Mega Man, Mario, Metroid, Legend of Zelda, Gravity Rush, or the really cool looking video games like that? The films keep on choosing the most realistic ones possible as I guess they feel this is the safe route, but it’s backfiring horribly. Wait…they already tried making a Super Mario Bros film? Nah….you must be mistaken, I’m sure I’d remember Princess Peach making her way to the big screen or that iconic Bowser design if the film had happened. Must have just been a mistake.

Anyway, Warcraft deals with two worlds coming together to avoid calamity. On one side, we have the world of the Trolls. Their world has grown desolate and soon it will be completely unlivable. To combat this, they have decided to invade the human world and eradicate all of the mortals. On the human side, they see that the Trolls are attacking and decide to slay them all. There can be no peace here, only war and destruction. Which side will emerge victorious here?

This film has a lot of problems, but action isn’t one of them. There’s a lot of action throughout as you’ll see people punching and tackling each other. A lot of guys are stabbed and it definitely feels like a war. I don’t care much for war fight scenes and prefer the classic 1 on 1’s. This doesn’t help to change my opinion of that, but considering that War is in the title, I knew what to expect from the get go. The CGI and overall special effects for the film aren’t bad. In the rare scenes where we actually get to see energy attacks and video game techniques, they hold up quite well. We get mythical monsters and fantasy backdrops that also fit in seamlessly.

The rest of the film is where Warcraft stumbles a bit. Lets talk about the characters. Gul’dan is the main villain of the film. He’s the corrupt leader of the Orcs (Trolls) and ensures that there is no peace. After all, you can’t make peace with a nation that’s trying to destroy you right? He rules with fear and is the only Orc to actually have special powers. He can drain your life force by making contact with an opponent and has a good array of energy blasts as well. This makes up for not being the strongest Orc on the battlefield. It’s really impossible for any character to beat him without plot hax and that’s a bit of an issue. The only way the film gets around this is by having the other Orcs pressure Gul’dan into retreating for honor reasons. He never loses and I guess this sets things up for the sequel. He was a pretty imposing villain and I suppose that I didn’t mind him being the big bad. I wish he would just get on with it though and I don’t see why he should even care about the Orcs liking him or not. His whole gimmick is that he rules by fear so if they start rebelling, can’t he just slay them all?

Lothar is the main hero on the human side. His character arc is pretty tragic as he decides to trust Garona and is then betrayed at the very end. He’s a pretty strong warrior and is headstrong. Lothar acts like a main character should for the most part. He can be a little generic and maybe not all that reasonable at other times, but he can handle himself in a fight and the humans wouldn’t have much of a chance without him. Llane is the more reasonable character, but at the same time he goes for the more conventional ideas. He decides on a full scale war against the Orcs and this doesn’t go well at all. He then makes a rather selfless decision to have Garona murder him so she can get out of there alive, but it’s also basically suicide since he’s asking to be murdered. You always got to fight until the bitter end even if the odds are stacked against you. The ending did not help him.

I actually place more of the blame on Garona though. Accepting this option shows that she put more value on her life than on Llane’s. Essentially, she was willing to continue existing at the expense of someone else. Lothar took this as a betrayal since he didn’t know the context, but it may as well have been one even with it. She was tasked with protecting Llane and she failed. Durotan is the main protagonist of the Orcs, but he is forced to work for Gul’dan the whole time. It’s a pretty tough film for Durotan since he doesn’t get the clan any closer to peace and is ultimately murdered in front of everyone. He put up a good fight, but was clearly outmatched thanks to the magic amplifications that Gul’dan had and it felt like his journey was rather pointless. He made some nice speeches, but since he had no control over the clan, it didn’t help much. He did inadvertently save the humans by getting the Orcs to doubt their leader though.

As this is Warcraft, there were other sub plots as well. One of the human’s strongest magicians was actually a traitor and ended up joining the villains. It was either his overconfidence that led the evil magic to slowly corrupting him or he was just a bad seed the entire time. Regardless, it was a huge blow to the humans since they need all of the magicians that they can get. They have another apprentice guy who wants to help out now, but that’s just a consolation. Honestly though, the humans should be doomed in this war. They now only have 1 guy with powers on their side while the Orcs have a few. That being said, the ending shows that there are many other factions of humans who will be helping now. Where were they the whole time? Who knows, I guess it just wasn’t their fight. Ironically the human mage sub plot was probably the most out of place, but also the most interesting part of the film.

The part of the film that will end up leaving a sour taste in your mouth is really the ending. Seeing Garona just accept the life and be accepted back to her people was a rather mean spirited way to end things. Now nobody gets along and tensions are even higher. It also feels like absolutely nothing was accomplished in this film. You should think of it as a promo to encourage you to play the game, but that doesn’t work so well as a large feature film. Especially if you were never interested to play the game in the first place. As the writing is also lackluster, it never really had a chance of getting you interested in playing the game.

There is also some iffy animal violence moments here. It sadly comes with the territory of war films as people ride horses and even birds into battle. It’s not a huge occurrence here, but enough so where it warrants a mention. It’s not as if things could have gotten much worse for the film though right? It was already rather boring and convoluted without a good ending so adding the animal violence is like the cherry on top.

Overall, Warcraft is a very generic fantasy war film. It’s just the same old Humans vs Orc battles that we’ve seen in LOTR and the Hobbit already. This film doesn’t really add anything to that. There’s not much reason to watch this film and since an ending is super important, having a bad one hurts the film all the more. I doubt this film will be getting a sequel anyway so it’s not as if the cliffhangers will be resolved anytime soon. If you’re a big fan of the games then you’re basically obligated to watch this one. If not, then I’d recommend just sticking away from it.

Overall 3/10

3 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Agent Carter Review


It’s time to finally review the Agent Carter show. I have to admit that I got off on the wrong foot with this shoe right from the get go since the first episode was pretty bad. While the show mostly never got quite that bad again, it did suffer from a fairly unlikable cast and a rather boring plot. Not much of note ends up happening in this series and while you can argue that this is the point of a spinoff, I would counter with a Scientific Railgun. I do think this show beats Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but the latter is certainly more exciting. All right, lets dig into this review!

The show takes place before Peggy helped found SHIELD. While you may have thought that the point of the show was getting to see her form the team, that never happens so you should try to forget about that. She works with the SSR, but they don’t respect her because she is a lady. This also means that most of the guys don’t know how to do their jobs so Peggy has to help them all constantly. There are only 18 episodes between the two seasons so the show is fairly short, but each season has a plot. The first one involves villains stealing a lot of Stark tech and now Peggy has to get it all back. The second involves a corrupt politician and a lady who learns how to use dark matter. Peggy may not have any fancy super powers or anything like that, but she has a can do attitude and a lot of “witty” comebacks. The villains will have to tread carefully.

In case you can’t tell, I didn’t like Peggy Carter at all. She does a very terrible job of holding up the show and usually just helps to bring it down. I could go on a long rant about Peg, but lets just stick to the basics. For starters, she’s the tough female lead. That’s her character trope and she doesn’t get much personality beyond that. That’s fine, we’ve had many good characters like that such as Wonder Woman, Medaka Kurokami, Bra, (From Dragon Ball Multiverse anyway) and Dorothy from MAR. The issue with Peggy is that it feels very artificial. Medaka is an exaggerated version of the trope, but the series has fun with it and hey, Medaka actually is pretty tough. She could easily destroy planets by the end of the series. Wonder Woman is self explanatory as she’s a very strong character, but also has a winning personality. Dorothy’s nice and vicious and isn’t afraid to brutally murder someone if she feels like it. Bra just beats up everyone and then insults them afterwards. For Peggy, the writers seemed to think that people wouldn’t take her seriously so they really overplayed their hand by underplaying it.

In the very first episode, Peggy has to use her feminine wiles to solve the case. Naturally, she spits after going through with the plan to show us all that she’s tough and that doing this wasn’t personal. Sure…doesn’t change the fact that her skills as an agent were not enough and this is only the first episode. James Bond does this as well, but he’s one of the worst characters in cinema history (Lets not go extreme folks. Just main characters) and I’d put him in the tr-sh tier. Peggy’s not quite that awful. I just don’t get the logic from the writer’s point of view. This was literally the very first episode of the series, how are we supposed to take her seriously after that? She spends the rest of the series knocking guys out and getting a lot of verbal burns in. To help show that she’s the tough one of the group, her partner is Jarvis. A very frail, weak man who can’t fight for beans and is always very nervous. Ah, I see what the writers are doing here. The contrast will make her appear to be even tougher eh? Very slick guys!

Maybe….mayyyyybe this could have worked….but then the romance sets in. If you thought Carter was unbearably annoying in the first season, she gets worse in the second. A random joe shows up and they basically fall in love at first sight. Remember the guy from season 1? Forget about him, Carter’s ready for a new fellow this time around. Unfortunately, the guy turns out to be someone who lets others step on him and joins the villains. He quickly joins up with the heroes again on his dying breath and that’s that. Carter gets over it, but these romances aren’t really helping her toughness angle. Carter is also used for fanservice on more than one occasion which doesn’t help either. The worst part though is the fact that Peggy just isn’t a likable character. There was never a moment where I thought…”Here’s a good character”. None of her scenes really gave me that impression.

No worries, her supporting cast is just as bad. Lets start with Howard. You’ll remember him as Tony Stark’s father? Well, he has all of Tony’s bad qualities without possessing any of his good ones. He’s just another guy who flirts with everyone and it’s supposed to be endearing and funny. It’s funny in a “Ah man, when’s this guy gonna leave the screeeeen” *cue fake polite smile* way. He is supposed to be smart, but since the villains are always getting the best of him and his stuff keep getting stolen, I’m going to go on a limb here and say that he’s not very smart. Luckily, he doesn’t appear all that often.

We’ve got Jarvis at the ready and I guess he’s the best character. He’s portrayed as incredibly inept at just about everything and it’s handled well. I typically tend to like that kind of character, but they can be handled badly. He’s fun to have around and the only annoying part was his spat with Carter towards the end of the series where he decided to go in a full rage mode. I was actually on his side as opposed to Carter’s (Okay…I guess that’s not a surprise) but he really made his side look terrible by being held hostage. Now that was just embarrassing. He may never get to be all that tough, but at least we finally got to see him in the Cinematic Universe.

Next up is Jack. He’s the “tough” male lead. Oh boy…this isn’t going to end well for him is it? If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re absolutely right! He starts off as a fairly intimidating character of course and he’s actually decently good at his job. This goes downhill fast though as he gets to see some real action in a gun fight. This traumatizes him and he freezes up so Carter has to come to the rescue. She promises not to tell anyone though. Jack’s never the same after that and then he’s naive enough to trust the villains and allow bribery to slow him down until one of the very last episodes. Ultimately, he does break away and decides to blow up a building, even though an innocent man is still inside. Hey…at least he’s hardcore right? Jack never seems to do all that well against the villains, but he is good at taking the credit. He’s the kind of character that you want to like, but just isn’t actually good enough to be likable. If he’d win a little more, then that would definitely help quite a lot.

Uh oh, we’ve got another “tough” character. Daniel is quite easily one of the worst characters in the show and that’s saying something. Here’s the problem, Daniel has crutches because one of his legs is basically broken, but the show still wants to paint him as one of the best agents in the business. This resorts in completely unbelievable battle scenes where he beat someone even though he can’t actually stand upright. He’s essentially beating them up while holding on to his crutch. I don’t care how little battle experience these thugs have, I just could not believe it. The show didn’t do a good job of convincing me of it at all. It gets a little worse for Daniel when he becomes Daniel the rebound guy. Basically, Peggy wouldn’t go out with him so he just finds someone else and then they get into a super
“serious” relationship. Daniel immediately breaks it off when Peggy’s other boyfriend dies off since he now has a chance and she’s eager for the rebound. It makes both of the characters look so shallow and petty the entire time. They are basically just using everyone else until the situation is just right for them to get together.

Dooley was a fairly good SSR boss to have. He was also rather naive though and talking to one of the big villains in his office with the door closed was not a smart move. I don’t put any stock into the whole hypnotism thing so that was just embarrassing for him to fall for. He got a dramatic end though as he broke into a pretty intense sprint with the most high budget explosion of the series. Everyone finally started to get their act together after that moment.

Dottie was one of the main villains of the series. She’s pretty tough and acts as Peggy’s main rival. She’s also involved for most of the series violence. Carter’s typically not that violent although Dottie getting tortured was pretty high up there and the implied death to the crazy dentist. I don’t recall much more than that and it’s a lot more tame than Agents of SHIELD. Dottie’s a fairly good character and she certainly has a very twisted personality. I think it’s safe to say that she’s the best villain of the series. Her boss was more of a generic evil scientist so he didn’t steal the show quite as effectively.

Whitney was the big boss for season 2. She may not have had Dottie’s experience, but she got alien abilities where she could zap people with black energy and destroy them pretty easily. She just needs to grab an opponent to defeat them so she was fairly overpowered. There wasn’t much that the heroes could do to stop her so they utilized the powers of plot hax. It’s economical and effective. She wasn’t bad, but she did use her powers to destroy a lot of mice so that definitely hurt quite a bit. She was also maybe a little too eager to have some help from Jason with the experiments since I don’t see how he could have offered much help at all. She got most of the last laughs though and I can safely say that Jason did not have a pleasant time.

Jason was the annoying love interest from season 2 that I mentioned earlier. He doesn’t last that long though and his character circle from “likable” supporting character to villain to heroic death dude was very rushed. I never really got to like the guy. His plan wasn’t great though and getting strapped down and tortured by the villains should have been an inevitability that he saw coming given how he really couldn’t trust any of those guys for beans.

Aloysius is a scientist who showed up in season 2. I had to bring him up because he’s pretty crazy. His romance is probably the worst in the entire show and he just acts like a jerk to everyone for no real reason. That’s when he’s at his best of course. The romance just ruins him though and there wasn’t much of a point to his character. He had his funny moments, but they were few and far between. Still, I guess it’s good to have a disgruntled employee into the main cast mix once in a while to spice things up. Other minor characters that I didn’t get to discuss include Jarvis’ wife. She’s a likable character who definitely has a lot of spirit. We’ve got the corrupt politician who’s just annoying. There’s a gangster boss who helps Whitney out in season 2. He was all right, but never really got past the “generic gangster” bit.

This show just suffers from the ripple effect. You know how people say that a really good character can make everyone around him good and improve the show as a whole? Well, the reverse must logically be true as well. Since I didn’t care for Peggy or the show as a whole, it makes sense that the rest of it would appear to be negative as well. I feel like they all helped to bring each other down and that’s why they all seemed pretty unlikable to me by the end. I also just don’t really have any fond memories of this show. It’s not as if it’s rotten to the core, but I don’t see any real reason to recommend it either.

Of course, I don’t expect many live action shows to get a positive rating as it is. It’s why I don’t watch very many of them. At the moment, the only live action show I’m even watching is Agents of Shield. Live action television has never really been able to do all that well and I think it’s because cartoons are just able to perform any plot a lot better. Live action is always limited by its budget and ditto for the action scenes since actors/actresses can only perform so well. An animated character doesn’t have to worry about choreography and can just launch into any battle. As a result, they’re typically a lot more fun. That’s not even getting into the soundtrack differences.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Agent Carter. There are certainly better things to do with your time than watch this title. It doesn’t really add just about anything to the mythos and you certainly won’t be missing any important tidbits of information if you skip the series. I’d sooner recommend watching a recent action movie like Avengers Confidential where the action scenes are incredibly good and the Punisher gets his best portrayal of all time. If Peggy ever gets a film, hopefully it takes place when she is actually a SHIELD Agent so there can be some more stakes or she can time travel and help the heroes on an alien planet or something. Adding in some sci-fi elements never hurt.

Overall 3/10

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

Tenkai Knights Review

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It’s hard to believe that I started this show all the way back in 2013. It feels like that was such a long time ago, but I suppose that’s the way it is for all shows that reach at least 50 episodes. The show definitely started out as one of the all time greats and had everything in its favor. Unfortunately, it started to peeter out a bit during the second half of the series. Perhaps it is a good thing that it ended before the downgrade could really affect its overall standing all that much, but it definitely would have been nice to have gotten that extra season. 100+ episodes of Tenkai Knights could have put it on the map or at least in the same conversation as Beyblade and the other big toy based shows back in the day. I’m assuming that many of my blog readers won’t even know what this show is because it’s so obscure, but you’re about to find out now!

The show follows four boys who find lego pieces and are chosen as the guardians of a mysterious planet in another realm. By activating the pieces, they turn into Power Ranger fighters and have to stop the dark armies led by Vilius. Of course, if the heroes die in the virtual world, they also perish in real life. Guren and Chooki don’t really give that last bit a second thought, but the other two need some time to wrap their heads around it. The heroes are strong and can usually stop the villains with ease, but the bad guys do have some advantages. For starters, they are on the planet 24/7 and can attack at any time. Guren and friends have to go to sleep or leave at some point and that’s when the villains can make their move. They have the superior numbers as well and I dare say that they had the better fighters for a little while. Of course, Guren and the others continued to improve at a rapid pace. By the end, the heroes definitely had the edge. Can the 4 part timers really stop Vilius for good though?

It should definitely give you some Power Ranger vibes. The series starts off with a lot of energy and really did everything right. Lets talk about the positives. The plot is pretty engaging and starts off rather rapidly. I’m always a fan of virtual world adventures and you could compare this to Sword art Online, but without taking itself so seriously. There are only 3 main villains, but they had a 4th and a 5th member for a while and they aren’t half bad when it comes to strength. Once the villains unlocked Titan Mode, they were always able to put up a fight.

The show got a lot of top notch voice actors here like Ichigo’s and Kirito’s to voice two of the main characters. I have to admit that this definitely added an extra layer of epicness to the show. The animation was also solid. I didn’t really care for the scenes where they are robots as much as it would take a noticeable dip, but they would still add a lot of budget to the big fight scenes at the end. If you were worried about the actual fights looking bad, don’t worry about it. The fights are still as good as you’d expect and probably even better than that. The colors were always very sharp and on point and the human animations hold up very well.
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What really sets Tenkai Knights a bar above most of the competition is the dynamic array of music themes. The catchy “Tenkai whoaaaaaaa Tenkai” chant before every transformation is the definition of epic and really gets you ready for action. It distracts you from the recycled footage that is always used for the transforming moments. The battles all have great themes as well and there are just so many to choose from. I believe that part 2 of the show remixed the Tenkai theme and it wasn’t quite as catchy, but it was still solid. The soundtrack is definitely one of the best parts of the show, no question.

The main cast was really good as well. Guren does a good job of leading the team and he is certainly well suited for the job. He’s a natural leader and is a lot more ready for anything that the villains can throw at him. While he’s not quite as athletic as Chooki, he can more than hold his own in any event. His skills while in Tenkai form do certainly surpass the others by a wide margin. There’s really nothing to say against his character and he’s essentially just a kid version of the best protagonist that you can think of. He’s a hero who gets the job done.

Ceylan is Guren’s best friend and while he is not quite as outgoing, he’s always got a lot of jokes at the ready. He hits it off pretty well with the others, but is prone to quit or fall into a slump quite a few times. He just doesn’t have quite as much self confidence and determination as Guren, but very few characters do so it isn’t too much of a strike against him. His Tenkai form is ice themed so it’s not quite as cool as Guren’s flaming winged form, but it gets the job done well enough I suppose. By the end of the series, all four Tenkai warriors are very strong so it’s okay even if Ceylan isn’t the strongest. I’d put him at third for the record.

Chooki is pretty similar to Guren. He’s a natural born expert at just about everything and he’s always ready to make new friends. He’s just a cool guy who gets along with everyone and he does pretty well in the Tenkai fights. He’s an extreme contrast to Toxsa and helps to get the guy active in everyday life. Guren’s my favorite character, but Chooki’s definitely right behind him along with Gen. It shows how strong the cast is as Chooki could have easily been the best character in another show. It was an odd creative decision by the writers though since his character is just so similar to Guren’s. Usually a show will try to avoid that unless it goes for debates about leadership or something, but that never pops up.

Finally, we have Toxsa. He’s a big gamer so naturally that means that he isn’t very fit so he has a hard time keeping up with the others in the real world. He’s always talking about Doomsploder 5 and you have to admire his dedication to that I suppose. He’s the main comedy member of the group and really tries to slam the others with puns left and right. I like a good pun, but a lot of his jokes do tend to fall flat. He’s not a bad character, but Toxsa is easily the least interesting and a lot of his scenes are really just filler. It’s a shame since he talks such a good game, but still ends up being the weakest member.

Mr. White is the guy behind the group. He mysteriously knows a lot about the other world and is the one with the portal that sends the heroes back and forth. The show never really gets into his secret origin or that of Guren’s Dad since he seems to know more than he lets on. My personal theory was that Guren’s Dad is Beag’s human operator and Mr. White used to operate one of the robots. Maybe he operated one of the legendary council. It’s not like it’ll ever be explored though and Mr. White just comes across as annoying. He refuses to answer any questions and never makes himself all that useful. Beag is almost as bad. I can see what the show was going for with his character as he naively believes everything that the 4 heroes say and looks up to them quite a lot. He’s supposed to be charming and endearing, but he ends up being rather annoying instead. He also never really does anything to move the show along and could have been left out without really changing anything.

Gen was the hardcore rival of the show. At first he’s on the side of evil before eventually joining the heroes. I forgot what his exact goal was, but maybe he just treated the whole thing as a game. It seems like he was always going to betray Vilius so he just wanted to be the strongest being of them all. He sort of came close as the only ones who could stop him were Guren and Vilius. It’s safe to say that Vilius was ahead of him for just about the whole series. By the very end, I like to think that Gen and Guren were stronger than Vilius, but I suppose that it’s debatable. Gen was nerfed quite a lot when he turned good though. He suddenly stopped getting power ups and was heavily surpassed by the main 4. While he was a villain, Gen did quite well though. He was usually on the winning end of fights and he also rose the stakes. After all, he knew who the heroes were in the real world as well so they could never rest easy after that.
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Beni was Gen’s partner and she certainly had fun with the battles. Her robot was incredibly fast and the writers clearly couldn’t decide how to defeat her. She’s the one character who basically never loses during the whole show and got to show up the heroes several times. They just couldn’t keep up with her and she would have made a great ally for the heroes to have. In arc 2, she couldn’t decide which team to help though so she ends up going back and forth between the two sides for quite a while. Maybe one day she will be a trusted ally, but even at the end it’s hard to trust her since she betrayed the heroes so many times. It didn’t even make sense when she helped the villains out, but I guess she likes to keep the heroes guessing.

Vilius was a very good main villain. He had a lot of power so he could back up his tough talk and he lived up to his reputation. I liked his design and his super forms made him even more dangerous. There was a brief moment near the middle where the heroes had actually surpassed him so the villain needed a power up for a change, but for the most part he did a really good job remaining as a threat. He’s fairly smart for a villain and was able to see through Gen’s deceptions. His only comic relief moment was in a fairly infamous comedy arc that I’ll get into shortly. We can safely ignore it as far as his character goes. He’s easily better than his two generals.

The other main two villains are Granox and Slyger. Granox is your typical strong, but slow and not very smart character. Slyger is quick and a tricky fighter to mess with, but I suppose he’s slightly weaker physically. Honestly, I’d pick Slyger to complete destroy Granox if they were to ever fight. It wouldn’t even be a fair fight. They made for really good fight scenes, but as villains I could only respect Sluger. Granox was just a little too weak and could rarely give the heroes much of a fight. At least Slyger was a credible threat and as mentioned before, Titan Mode really helped them out quite a lot.

Boreas was one of the 4 legendary Tenkai Elders and he got the biggest role of the 4. He helped the heroes out quite a lot from the very beginning. He’s likable enough I suppose, but he couldn’t live up to the hype quite as well as you’d hope. Vilius took down all 4 Elders even while they were teaming up and then brainwashed them to do his bidding. They put up some slight resistance, but it was all for naught in the end. They did have some really cool abilities though and were some of the best fighters in the series. It’s a shame that they always transformed into their giant lego forms for the final battles though since the humanoid ones always did a lot better. They sacrificed their great speed and durability for a little size? Definitely not worth it in the long run. The elders should have spent less time guarding the portal and more time actively fighting. If they had helped to defeat Vilius back in the early episodes, none of this would have happened.

Orangor and Scorpidon are responsible for the low point of the Tenkai Knights series. Basically, the main characters are kidnapped and brought to an odd little dimension where the Scorpion rules. To escape, they must defeat him in a Grand Prix or another such event that he dictates. They win several times, but are just thrown into a pit and forced to redo the events. This allowed the writers to use whole minutes of stock footage at a time. They redid 5 minutes of recycled grand prix racing and hoped that we wouldn’t notice…but we did. It was generally just too much comedy over action as well. We lost the Tenkai fights and the races weren’t worth it. Even Vilius showed up to play a game of soccer and the whole thing did not make any sense. It’s as if the genre just suddenly changed out of nowhere. It also dragged on and on for quite a while. I couldn’t wait to see it go and the two new characters never appeared again. Most excellent!
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Finally, we have the Tenkai Dragon. He’s always getting captured and kidnapped so you’ll probably feel bad for him after a while. He is said to be invincible and unstoppable, but the villains prove that wrong many times. They even build a Dark Tenkai Dragon, which is just as strong as the real deal. To get the dragons in the first place, you need to assemble a lot of artifacts. By the end, it barely even feels worth it anymore. It was a cool design though, but I could never take the dragon seriously. Honestly, I’d take Guren in a fight against him.

Even if we take away the dreadful mini arc, part 2 of Tenkai Knights would still be under the first. The problem is the fact that they opted to do a soft reboot with the same formulaic style. Part 1 was very formulaic as one episode would see Guren unlock Titan Mode, then Chooki, then etc. Next, Guren would unlock his signature skill, then Chooki, then etc. Part 2 decided to do that, but also to dial it up to eleven. First, the heroes lost their Titan Modes, but they learned how to use elemental powers. You would always know that this would take at least 4 episodes since they would learn it one at a time. After that, they re learned Titan Mode, one episode at a time. They also learned how to fuse and naturally, they had to try all of the different variations. Once the Elders were mind controlled, it was the same deal with them. The heroes would fight one per episode and they would all use the same transformation to prolong the fight. It may have been even more repetitive than Buddyfight One Hundred’s battles at one point, but these were still a little better because at least we had some really cool action scenes and it wasn’t the same villain each time.

I think part 2 of Tenkai Knights could have definitely changed the formula up a bit. I think it would have done wonders for the show. After all, the climax was always very intense. The final battles of both arcs in the show are easily 5 star matches and you can always feel the gravity of the situation. The already solid animation would get even better and you couldn’t really discern this show from that of a Shonen during the serious moments. If the whole show could have been like that, it’d be an easy 9. Of course, you could say the same about a great deal of shows since they all try to be at their best for the climax. Tenkai Knights still operates at a rather high level normally, but the extra boost would help.

I’d say that it probably is the ultimate Saturday Morning cartoon. This isn’t counting shows like Yugioh which were originally more Shonen and Cardfight, which never made its way to the big screen. It may not literally be the greatest of all time as there is probably some show somewhere that I may be forgetting, but it has everything that you could ask for from a show aimed at kids. The series plays it very safe content wise, but still gives us great animation and fights. It never resorts to a lot of crude humor or anything like that and naturally the show’s target audience ensures that the title has absolutely no fanservice. There’s no language to watch out for and the writing is pretty strong. Most of the characters are likable and there is a sense of danger throughout. Tenkai Knights really pushed itself as far as it could go and other shows that are now aimed at a similar audience like Pokemon Alola and Monster Hunter could learn a few lessons from this title. You can be aimed at kids and still have a lot of action.
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Overall, Tenkai Knights is a great show. It’s a title that just about anyone can get into since everyone likes a good action and who doesn’t like Power Ranger esque transformations? The show had a very modern/high tech feel right from the start like the PS3 and never lost that. The character cast is great and it performs exceptionally well on a technical level. The series went through a few hiccups during the second half, but it was able to bounce back in the end. I’m not sure what the series would have done for a third part, but introducing some new villains could have definitely worked quite well. There really weren’t many different opponents for the heroes to face so a little extra variety could have gone a long way. Introducing more human world fights would have also been great. We got some glimpses of this when the villains were able to materialize in the human world, but it was mostly used for laughs as opposed to action. Having the ability to crossfuse like in Megaman NT Warrior would have really upped the stakes. It’s one thing to be in lethal danger in another world, but it hits closer to home when your town is the one that is attacked.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Manga Dogs Review

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It is time to look at a manga trilogy that certainly didn’t last very long. The concept was intriguing, but I’m afraid that the execution left a lot to be desired. It all comes down to the format, which I shall delve into as the review goes on. I hadn’t read a Shojo title that was this down to Earth for a while so that was neat. It may not be the greatest experience or one that will be very memorable, but the series gave us its all!

The series revolves around a Jump author who is named Kanna. She has actually got a manga series in Weekly Shonen Jump, which is impressive. Unfortunately, it is near the bottom of the rankings every week so the series is very close to being cancelled. Balancing out her school life with her manga duties is no easy feat. Things get worse when she stumbles into a manga group where the other 3 members have no idea on how to create a real manga. This is going to be a long year all right!

Again, it’s a superb great good concept, but the format doesn’t work for me. The series is just a lot of really short stories/chapters that are combined into the volumes. While there is continuity, this means that it is practically a 4 koma series. It is different, but not by much and that style is still not my favorite. The heroes can have loads of adventures, but they are all over as soon as they have begun. Normal sized chapters would have really done wonders for the series, but it wouldn’t have saved it.

Another issue with the series is that the jokes are extremely limited. The author reuses the same gags over and over again. It can become very repetitive and I would argue that it wasn’t even funny the first time. Each character has their own quirk, which I’ll get into. Suffice it to say, Kanna may be having troubles with her manga, but the series that she is a part of is in greater trouble of failing. I should still mention some of the gags. A main one is that the three friends will decide that today is the day that they will seriously start to draw manga…and then they’ll give up. Rinse and repeat for just about every chapter. Throw in Kanna insulting them and you’ve got the formula down. Kanna is also constantly shocked by the plans of the three friends even though she should be immune to that by the end.

We’ll start off with Kanna. Her friends embarrass her and whenever she tries to insult them, they take it as a compliment. She also tends to almost fall for them on several occasions and this leads to some stressful situations. The worst trait of hers is probably that she constantly seems to think about romance, but then decides that a “2D guy” who is just right for her will never show up. So, she retreats into anime land, which is an unfortunate stereo type. If Kanna was actually very good at drawing manga things would be a little different, but her series is failing because she listened to her editor too much. Naturally, her author is very effeminate and always gives her advice for what he wants in the manga, even though the readers don’t want this.

The first friend is Fumio. He’s probably called something else by his friends since the name doesn’t strike a bell. I’ll just use his stage name, Prince. Prince wants to be a great manga author or so he claims, but he really just likes to mess around. Actually working on his manga is simply too difficult for the Prince and then he’ll just give up until the next chapter. He’s still better than Fujio though. Fujio has glasses so he is the brainiac of the group, but he’s not actually that smart. He merely acts smart and he’s just as bad at drawing manga as the rest of the characters. He likes to think of elaborate plans, but they’re too elaborate so he can never finish the first page. Even he is better than Shota though. Shota is a small kid who always comes up with devious plans, but they’re all talk. There’s not much too him though and he’s just like the other two friends. Another supporting character joins the crew after the first volume, but he doesn’t contribute all that much to the plot.

As you can see, the characters is one of the big areas that the series could not handle. I didn’t end up liking anyone. The old lady who decided to be the manga group’s mentor was decent as she kept things real. Beyond that, most of the characters are fairly generic or simply unlikable like the main ones. It’s too bad since it should usually be easy to make the main characters likable. That being said, it can be tricky in a comedy like this one, but it is still achievable. I would certainly expect at least one of the big characters to be cool.

The art for the series looks good so that is definitely a positive for the series. This is good as it would have been ironic if the series actually had bad art. Seriously, the series would have never lived this down and I would have been grinning from start to finish! The art is very clear so it is easy to read each page and that makes each volume go by very quickly.

The review likely sounds very negative, but the manga wasn’t terrible. It was under average to be sure and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but the series had its good moments. We even got a sense of danger for a minute or two as Kanna was kidnapped at one point. The problem is that this still can’t be taken seriously as the kidnapper is pretty cheap. Moreover, Manga Dogs should have simply taken a different route with the plot. Introducing a rival to keep Kanna on her toes would have been a nice start and we should have gotten some drawing competitions. The series may be a comedy, but that doesn’t meant that it shouldn’t have a plot. All good comedies still have some kind of plot going and it makes the series more engaging. It makes you wonder whether the author ever thought that the series would last for very long.

Overall, Manga Dogs didn’t do too well. The main reasons why it lost out were the unlikable characters and the limited gags. If you are going to make a successful comedy series, you need to have charismatic characters or a long list of jokes at the ready. You can’t keep using the same ones over and over again if you want readers to stay interested in the series. It was just hard to really get connected to the plot. The art was good, which gave Manga Dogs a chance to do something with itself. As I mentioned earlier, just adding in a rival or some excitement would have been nice. Maybe seeing more of Shonen Jump and what the other authors think of Kanna. Instead, the author focuses on the friends and their quirks, which didn’t work for me. It got repetitive after the first volume so you can imagine how bad it would have gotten if this had been more of a long running series. Instead of checking this title out, I recommend just reading Bakuman. It is like this one, but executed to perfection. Bakuman is still the most engaging non action manga of all time and it is a series that you should pick up ASAP! Manga Dogs will be a distant memory by the end!

Overall 4/10