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

Cardfight Vanguard: High School Arc Cont. Review


Time for another Cardfight review! This may seem pretty soon compared to usual, but that’s because this was more of a miniseries than a full fledged one. It deals with the fallout from the recent reboot season. Kouji must face his demons and Aichi still intends to bring his club a world championship as soon as possible. At 14 episodes the series has to move on pretty quick but still makes for a good watch. It’s probably the most standard of the series and by default is the weakest entry in the franchise. There’s only so much you can do in 14 episodes when the others are all around 30-50 episodes (Some are at 60+) but it does what it can.

The show picks up where the last one left off. The universe has been reset after Kouji was defeated. Everyone has seemingly lost their memories of the old timeline. As a result there are a few things that don’t add up. One is that Aichi’s cardfight club no longer has the right amount of members so the student council decides to shut them down. Aichi and his team defeat them to avert this dilemma and as part of the deal even get the council to aid them in joining the big cardfight tournament that is about to start. Aichi aims to learn why the club is seemingly missing someone despite having no knowledge of this. Winning the tournament might somehow give them clues on how to do that.

They aren’t the only team to enter the Koshien though. Meanwhile you have Ren’s team and they’ve recruited a powerful ally in Kouji. Kouji no longer wants to erase Vanguard from the world, but as a result he is frozen with fear whenever he duels someone. He knows that if he wins he will end up destroying the opponent’s will to play so he must find a way around that if it’s even possible. His plot is almost as big a focus as Aichi’s as he tries to find a new path for himself. Meanwhile Kai is also still weakened from when his spirit was destroyed and along with the rest of the emptied souls must try to regain his joy for the game.

While the main plot of the season is technically about the tournament, it really doesn’t have a whole lot of importance. It’s here as a plot device to get all of the characters together to get through their difficulties but ultimately that’s about it. Unfortunately someone must have told the animators/writers this because it gets the shaft. The tournament doesn’t start until the last few episodes and as a result just about every fight is handled off screen. Sure, you see them on screen briefly for the trash talk and posturing but then most of the duel just goes by in a flash. It almost would have been better to not have had the tournament at all. It all feels very half hearted like the show is just going through the motions.

I suppose a rushed tournament is still better than not having any duels…but there’s more the show could have done if it cut the tournament out. The best episodes here are mainly the ones about Kouji as he struggles with his inner demons. It continues to show why he is the best character in this post reboot world as he is trying very hard to change himself. It’s a pretty painful process compared to everyone else who just has to win a duel. Trying to lose is always a tough thing to do because it also hurts your reputation. I still consider Kouji to be the strongest duelist here even with the nerf as I don’t find his new deck to be quite as impressive.

Although it initially seemed like he was the only one who kept all his memories while everyone else had to start remembering little flashes, the last episode seems to contradict this. Perhaps the universe change is slowly going to get everyone and Psyqualia only prevents this for a time. Ideally I’d like everyone to remember the old days as I never like for it to be permanently forgotten. The characters all get happy endings this time around though so that’s an improvement over the last adaption of this arc. Kourin gets her proper closure and is once again a true part of the team. She’s definitely been a fun character and it’ll be nice to have her back on the cast for a future season if we go back to these guys someday.

Nakagami is probably the biggest of the new characters. He’s got a lot of potential to be sure. At times he is played off purely as a comic relief character and I have a gut feeling that this will always be the case, but there’s always the chance he will be played seriously. If the show ever does go down that route it’ll be cool. I like the concept of his demon arm and he actually seems like a pretty decent duelist. His ramblings are fun and his duel theme is great. All in all I have to say that he is just a great character and struck all of the right notes.

The rest of the student council are decent, but they won’t leave much of an impact on you. They’ve each got their character quirks, but that’s about it. I like the President’s global gimmick as he is always yelling about that. Aichi’s club is always around, but I wouldn’t say that any of them have an especially big role. Naoki does want his revenge on Kouji since ironically one of his only memories is of the days when Kouji was a villain and insulted Aichi. As a result he wants revenge during the big tournament which is his perfect opportunity to do so.

Kai’s episodes are not quite as thrilling as Kouji’s but he also does get a pair of episodes where he duels Mamoru which also works as some setup for Cardfight G. It’s just so weird to see Kai acting so weak. It doesn’t feel right since he’s always been the champ above everyone else. I dare say that he’s taken the biggest hit from his old stature in this reboot series. He is getting to his old level though so I like to think that by the next series he will be back to normal. At least he ultimately did get his hits in though. At this point we definitely need another big season with more G characters. I feel like they’re all close enough in age right now where we could get some good fights between them without the original cast being as old as they were in the original.

As always the animation is pretty sharp here. I’ve always liked the style and especially since the show isn’t very action based the animators can easily just focus on making sure that the character models stay even at all times. The colors are bright and the whole thing just works quite well. In terms of soundtrack it’s all tunes from the last season and they are just as good as they used to be. Kouji still has the best theme but the others all share solid themes as well. The action tunes go quite well with the duels.

I know there are some who prefer the days of Cardfight before the stakes became planetary level. Back in the old episodes it was more about having fun and getting better with your friends so I can understand that. However, I think it’s the natural progression of every series to get higher and higher stakes so my favorite seasons are still the ones like that such as Link Joker. Still, this is a nice refresher season I suppose which is the best way to put it. As I mentioned earlier it’s still quite solid, it’s just “average” compared to the others which would absolutely blow you away.

Overall, This was a good aftermath season. I can see why it would make sense to just include this one with the last season. Ultimately it’s not like it’s trying to tell a brand new story just yet. The next season has already started in Japan though so I’ll be watching it pretty soon. I’m not sure how long that one’s going to be, but I expect it’ll be at least 26 episodes if not 40 so the review for that will likely take a lot longer. If you’re been watching the Cardfight shows then you definitely need to check these out. If this would be your first Cardfight title then I definitely recommend watching the previous season first as you wouldn’t really appreciate the aftermath without actually seeing the events that led up to it.

Overall 7/10

Advertisements
Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Cardfight Vanguard Review


It’s time to look at the manga adaption of one of the greatest anime of all time. This one takes a lot of liberties though and diverges early on. This is a great decision if you ask me. It’s an interesting debate on if the following media should adapt the original. I do think that when the manga comes out first the anime should adapt it pretty straight, but if it’s vice versa then I prefer for the manga to do its own thing rather than try to copy the anime. Not sure why, but when the manga tries to copy the anime it usually just doesn’t feel as real or the artwork can’t really capture the animation in the powerful moments. When it does its own thing then it really begins to excel. In fact, the manga was so good that the anime did a reboot that followed the manga so that tells me even the company saw how good this new storyline was. Nothing will beat the original anime version of the arc, but I really did like the manga’s take on it.

The general plot revolves around a kid named Aichi Sendou. He used to get bullied a lot when he was a kid, but things began to look up for him when a kid known as Kai showed up and introduced him to the world of Cardfight Vanguard. We then skip ahead a few years and Aichi is ready to begin playing in earnest. This soon gets him new friends and rivals, one of which is Kai although the kid has gotten a lot more stern over the years. He no longer loves the game as he once did. Aichi will have to show him how much fun the game can be again. Also, a villainous organization known as the Foo Fighters have shown up and they are forcing everyone to play the game in a painful way. Their methods threaten to wipe Cardfight off the map so Aichi will have to stop them as well, but in doing so he may unlock a dark power.

That’s arc 1 and there are really only two arcs in this series. Lets talk about this one and the characters before going on to the second arc. It’s definitely pretty similar to the anime version here. With the Foo Fighters taking over various schools we are quickly introduced to the VF Gloves which allow you to feel damage in the duels. It’s a quick way to raise the stakes and it works well. It’s also a good introductory arc for expanding the cast since most of the main villains here would end up becoming supporting characters in the second arc. It’s not quite as large scale and exciting as the second arc, but it’s a great way to get the ball rolling.

The main villain is Ren and he’s one of those aloof leaders. He doesn’t even care much for the organization’s methods and just lets Tetsu do whatever he wants. Ren just wants a challenging card fight, but the problem is that he has become too good at the game. He has the ability of Psyqualia which allows him to know the ending of a match as soon as it begins. He can also talk to his deck and basically control the whole flow of the game. No wonder it became boring right? He’s a fun character although I’d definitely say that he’s more enjoyable as a rival than as the villain. Both versions work pretty well, but with his very laid back demeanor he just never really felt like a big villain.

In comparison it is the opposite with Tetsu. He feels like a villain through and through so even by arc 2 it’s hard to trust the guy. You could try to say that he’s just a super curious fellow, but I don’t think that really excuses him shocking everyone constantly with the gloves. He’s a good villain, but I can’t say that I ever got around to liking the character. The final member of the big 3 is Asaka. She is only in the group to support Ren and her strong bond has helped her elevate her Cardfight skills. Asaka has quite a few big duels in the series and her biggest one is likely in arc 2 where she is forced to fight Ren. It’s definitely a pretty emotional duel since neither one of them really wants to take down the other.

There are other members of the villains of course, but I’d say that the only other important one is Kyo. He also gets a pretty big role in the series. He acts as one of Aichi’s friends for the most part and the main character seems to believe him the whole time. Even once Kyo shows his true colors nobody takes him seriously enough to actually get upset. In a way you could say that this is the ultimate disrespect. As for the heroes, there are quite a few of them of course.

For the main group we should start off with Aichi. He’s basically the same as his anime version. He starts off as a pretty timid kid, but gradually he becomes more confident as the series goes on. By arc 2 he is still quiet, but in a more confident way and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He’s definitely an expert by then as he even managed to win the big national tournament. Aichi definitely looks very good here. Kai also has a great role even if he isn’t quite as overpowered as he was in the show. By arc 2 he has been surpassed by quite a few characters and just seems very relaxed. He may have found his happiness again, but it seems to have come at the expense of his hype.

Kamui’s a pretty good ally as well although he only gets a small handful of duels here. His main role in the show is to offer Aichi vocal support. Then you have Misaki who takes the leadership role in arc 2. Even in arc 1 she is usually the first line of defense against the villains. while her abilities aren’t quite on the upper echelon as Aichi and friends she is always able to put up a really good fight. She does have some solid wins under her belt as well. Leon and the Gundam kid get to show up as well in what I’d say are basically guest star appearances. It’s nice to see them even if they don’t do much.

This next saga starts off with Aichi heading off to a new school. I believe it’s high school. This school doesn’t have a Cardfight club and even worse, most people there don’t seem to have even heard of the game which is completely uncanny. Aichi decides to start the club and while it takes a little while to find members he eventually gets a full squad with the additions of Shingo, Kourin, Misaki, and red hair. They don’t have a lot of time to relax though as it turns out that a mysterious being known as Takuto shows up and has decided to conquer Earth and the world of Cray. The 3 idol singers are his captive minions and anyone they defeat in a duel turns into a Psyqualia zombie. Slowly they are conquering the city and Aichi may even need to take down his friends along the way. A wild card is a man named Ibuki who is going around erasing Cardfighters. If you lose to him you lose all of your feelings and memories of Cardfight. You simply don’t want to play anymore.

This arc is definitely what transforms the series from being great into being amazing. I always loved this arc’s plot with everyone turning into zombies because it really raises the stakes of losing a duel. Additionally, since having Psyqualia instantly makes you a better cardfighter it is also a good way to make the old characters relevant again. The series gets to turn a lot of people in a pretty short amount of time. It also does a good job of introducing Naoki and the other characters very quickly. Throw in Ibuki’s role and the arc has everything.

Speaking of Ibuki, he’s actually the best character in the series. This is also impressive since I wasn’t his biggest fan in the original show. This one handled him a lot better as he is introduced as a big threat and has a solid origin story. Even by the end he is definitely one of the strongest Cardfighters around and he makes his presence felt. It’s rare to get a true wild card character who deals damage to the heroes and villains, but he does this perfectly.

From the 3 members of Ultra Rare Kourin definitely gets the biggest role and is certainly more likable than the other two. The other two are basically just your average villains while Kourin gets a lot more depth. While her original goal may have been to spy on the gang she quickly became a valued teammate. Things don’t go too well for her here, but she made the hero call when it counted. Meanwhile Takuto is the ringleader here of course and he goes through a few changes. Either way I consider him to be a villain though so whether or not he is the conductor it doesn’t really change things. He makes for a fun villain, but he isn’t quite as intimidating as Ren or Ibuki.

For the new heroes, I’m still not a fan of Shingo. He never becomes much of a duelist and could be written out of the manga without changing anything. Naoki is a great addition though. He immediately jumps up to being one of the best heroes here and his skills are definitely the real deal. It’s always good to have a more aggressive character like him in the works to spice up the main cast. He gives the group a whole lot of energy that they didn’t have before his arrival.

The art here is definitely quite solid so you don’t have to worry about it feeling second rate or more like a tie-in level quality. The artists here definitely put in the work and the duels feel very intense. It’s quality throughout and we even get some fight scenes during the cardfights. Of course they’re playing with cards but since it’s so imagination based they are able to take some liberties and throw in some action scenes from time to time which is always appreciated.

Cardfight managed to get a little over 10 volumes in so that’s definitely time for a lot of quality Cardfights. Both arcs were excellent and this is definitely a title where you will walk away satisfied. I’d actually say that it beat all of the Yugioh spinoffs except for possibly Zexal and R. As I mentioned earlier this is definitely a fresh take on Cardfight so whether you’ve seen the original show or not you can definitely check this one out and get right into the thick of the action. Who doesn’t like a good card fight right? The only unfortunate part is that the series couldn’t keep on going longer. That definitely would have been great.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how good this manga was. Don’t get me wrong, it was always going to be pretty solid and a 7 at the worst to be honest since I really enjoy these card fighting titles. That being said, it went above and beyond my expectations and turned into a super memorable experience. It sets a pretty high bar for future card game titles to try and beat and definitely did live up to the original anime version. It was concise, but still long enough where we got a lot of action. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check this one out.

Overall 9/10

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

Future Card Buddyfight X Review


The card game genre is certainly going very well at the moment with Cardfight, Buddyfight, and Yugioh all hitting it out of the park. In particular Buddyfight has been going very well. I believe I said that the last season was the best in the series and this one comes very close to topping it. Just when you think the series has peaked it always returns to go to the next level. This season has three arcs which are all quite solid, but that’s enough build up. Let’s start the review!

Well, it is time for another large tournament. This time it will decide which monster world is the best as each one picks an emissary to represent them. It goes without saying that Gao is chosen for Dragon World. However one big surprise is that instead of Tasuku representing Star Dragon World we have a new character named Kanata. He is known as the no damage fighter and has actually managed to never get hit during all of the battles that he was in. Considering how the game works this is virtually impossible so either he cheated quite a bit or he is just very lucky. The best part is that he hasn’t even played Buddyfight in ages as he ditched the game to play soccer full time. Well he is basically forced into entering so now Gao will have to deal with him.

The first arc being a tournament is definitely a good way to kick things off and we get some nice development for Kanata as well. It is pretty much nonstop Buddyfighting so that’s definitely cool. As hype as the next arc is, I have to admit that this one wins. Still, the next arc starts off with a bang as you might expect. A new villain named Wisdom has shown up with his powerful Gear God. He wants to upgrade the world which means turning everyone into machines and controlling them. He manages to crush Gao as well as Kanata which makes him a legitimate threat. Beneath him are the Chaos 3, a group that should not be taken lightly. Gao and his friends will have to get much stronger if they want to save the world this time. Fortunately Tasuku and the Buddy Police are also on the case.

As per usual a big part of the season’s main focus is on Gao and his new buddy monster Batzz. This guy is a tough character whose personality is probably the most similar to Drum’s. He believes that he is the strongest monster in and people say that he came really close to destroying all of Dragon World before he was sealed away. Gao is determined that they will be friends though and as he is the strongest Buddyfighter they should easily become the best. Of course it won’t be that easy since Batzz has quite the ego at times and doesn’t like taking orders. While he is strong that also doesn’t make him immune to gameplay mechanics. I’d say that he beats Bal for me and it’s pretty tough to say compared to Drum. It’s a close one there but I’ll say that he wins out as Gao’s best Buddy so far.

Gao is a very solid main character as he always is. He’s pretty much the same as in the last few seasons so there isn’t much new stuff to say about him. He is still eager to win and always seems prepared for whoever they throw at him. Even without a buddy he has some good skills at the ready to back him up. At times Gao isn’t proactive enough and it feels like the heroes just wait for the villain to make a move but sometimes he goes with his gut like when he broke into the amusement park. That is definitely when he is at his best.

As for Batzz, he can be a little rough at first as he seems to be all talk and no action but I do like the idea of having Gao team up with the strongest monster of them all. Batzz still has trouble with mini Gear Gods and I have serious doubts on him being the strongest but he is certainly powerful. He is always up for a fight while at the same time being willing to atone for his past by getting sealed up. Once Batzz stopped zapping Gao all of the time he was able to get some real character development. I also like the fusion between him and Gao even if that got ditched for a big chunk of the season.

Ancient Holy Sword Dragon is basically the sidekick of Batzz. He means well and always defends the big guy, but in his own I wouldn’t say that he’s a great character. He’s not bad but felt rather unnecessary as having one main monster was enough of you ask me. He did help with Batzz’s development though so I can see why he was added.

Kanata is one of the big new characters here and I can safely say that the show handled him really well. As I mentioned earlier he was so good at the game that nobody could even land a hit on him. Realizing that this was hurting everyone’s morale he decided to stop playing the game even though he had enjoyed it and went on to play soccer full time instead. Fortunately he was selected for the big world championships which forced Kanata to realize that the game is still fun and there will always be more opponents. I actually started to root for Kanata towards the end of his duel with Gao because the hero’s deck started to get cheesy as he drew around 6 shields back to back. Kanata winning the tournament would have really completed his character arc. He also ended up losing to Wisdom later on but despite that you can’t really say that Kanata lost his edge. Naturally he does take damage in all of his duels now but that’s because it was never realistic to avoid damage in the first place. It just doesn’t work within the rules of the game. While Gao surpasses everyone by the end of the season again, Kanata gets enough power ups to stay on his level. Considering that he is a brand new character, it’s impressive how high up the ranks he has gotten.

Gaito may be returning from the past season but he is still one of the big three alongside Gao and Tasuku so he gets quite a few fights. The season addresses the weakness behind his Death Count Requiem technique as it does guarantee a win after 3 turns but lasting that long isn’t easy. Gaito is able to speed this up to 2 turns which is huge. It also becomes borderline overpowered but a lot of the abilities started to get crazy in this arc so it keeps Gaito relevant.

A new mechanic that I neglected to mention earlier is Overturn/Overkill. It is a special ability that can be used once per match depending on if your monster has evolved enough to use it. How useful this ability is completely depends on the monster. Gaito’s is extremely good as it skips his opponents turn so he gets to have 2 waves of attacks. Wisdom’s endsvthe opponent’s current turn in addition to letting him summon 3 monsters. That’s the just of the ability and it is definitely a game changer. This instantly puts any fighter without such an ability at a huge disadvantage but fortunately for the cast it appears that everyone learned it.

Wisdom plays a huge role in this story of course and is a very charismatic opponent. His goal of upgrading the world is certainly a fun one and it’s always nice to see him dismiss his underlings so casually. He reminds me a lot of Kyoya and is certainly about as smug. Even his fame and wealth are comparable. He is evidently smart as Wisdom is able to create code and bend Gear God to his will. He is an expert duelist and also has no qualms about taking the fight to the heroes. The batch of episodes where he attacked Gao and Kanata for the Mirage Card was certainly a standout moment. The season definitely wouldn’t have been the same without such a great villain at the helm.

There is also his butler who is surprisingly a powerful opponent as well. He transforms into a powered up mode rather nonchalantly and may have the best ability out of them all. His flag goes over the opponent’s flag so they can’t use any spells or monsters. Basically unless you have the one specific upgrade card that Wisdom or Kyoya has, it is game over. There is nothing you can even do against this technique so it is easy to see why he didn’t get to fight all that much in the series. It would have been very tough to think of ways to defeat him.

Of course older characters from the series are still present. Tasuku gets a reasonable role here as he continues on with the Buddypolice. While he may not have much time to duel for fun anymore, he has still kept his skills and helps out at times. The only questionable part for Tasuku is that he seems a little more “by the books” than usual. He actually tells Gao and the others to stay back because civilians but he knows better than most just how strong Gao is. It was a rather odd scene. At least he didn’t care much when Gao followed him though so I guess it wasn’t much of a big deal.

Tetsuya and Zanya show up as well but their roles are quite small. They never actually get to do anything important in this season and just serve as a reminder that if you don’t work to improve your skills you will quickly be left in the dust. I suppose I should just be glad that they got to appear? I dunno, I was never the biggest fan of theirs anyway. Their buddy monsters get new super forms though to keep up with everyone else and join the thunder empire though.

I suppose Kiri’s role is kind of important here. He knows about the coming threat and goes over to protect Dragon World while the heroes take on Wisdom. Considering that he is an Omni lord his abilities are never all that impressive. Still, I guess it is good that he is trying his best. He is much better than Guru after all. Guru is an old guy who actually has incredible power. We’ve seen this kind of character many times before but it tends to not work out. This is one of those times. Guru is always trying really hard to be funny but the scenes may just make you cringe. His advice is rarely ever useful and he doesn’t deserve to have such a high power level. The heroes keep on crawling back to his base for more intel over and over again which definitely gets annoying. Hopefully he is written out of the show as soon as possible.

From the Chaos 3 the member with the biggest role is easily Sakate. He is Kanata’s rival so naturally that makes their duels very personal. His dueling style is very unique as he attacks with a bunch of swords instead of monsters. It’s a pretty unique approach and one that feels very useful. I won’t call it OP since having monsters is still really handy but I can see why he is one of the strongest duelists. Brutal’s role is the smallest and he’s the most bland character of the 3. He’s a loyal guy but he really doesn’t have a great reason to follow Wisdom. At the very least he should have defected once Wisdom started going crazy.

Then we have Keisetsu who is taken a lot less seriously than all of the other villains. He is legitimately strong as he gives quite a few characters a good fight, but at the end of the day he just isn’t able to close out his matches. It’s not how you start a fight of course, but how you finish it and this guy just wasn’t ready for that.

The final arc is a nice homage to the rest of the series. It is a shame that the tournament was so small since this meant that it couldn’t bring back a bunch of the older characters but since the first arc was a huge tournament I suppose that the series didn’t want to seem redundant. At the very least we did see all of the villains return like Wisdom, Kyoya, and Bolt. Tasuku and Noboru getting their own fights again was a blast as well. Some of the fights could get a little questionable like Kyoya getting a new super form and 10 hand cards, but not drawing a single shield to win the duel though. I suppose since he was the final boss of a big tournament in the last season they didn’t want to do that again though. Plus going with Tasuku vs Gao is definitely the ultimate homage to the old days for when they were big rivals. This series gave just about everyone the closure you would want to see and the easter eggs to the previous seasons were handled well.

Then the series even squeezed in one last duel in the final episode which was unexpected. Gao receives a challenge from a new character by the airport and this guy may be the strongest opponent that Gao has ever seen. The scene couldn’t quite decide if it wanted the new character to be super mysterious or more of a happy fellow, but either way he had skills. If not for the plot summary of the next season already spoiling the twist the scene would be even more powerful. Either way it kind of makes you not want the time skip yet so we can see Gao get a rematch but if time travel becomes a factor soon then that might not be an issue. It is a great way to hype up the next series even if it does mean that you will be waiting for the new main character to master the game so we get him at this level. I haven’t seen a passing of the torch moment like this in quite a long time so it was an unexpected surprise.

As always the animation is really high quality. The colors are very sharp and the energy effects are on point. Something is always happening on screen whether it be during a fight or normal dialogue. You’ll never feel bored during an episode of the animation has anything to say about it. The soundtrack is also top notch as we have come to expect from the series. At this point several characters have their own themes and that continues to be a trend. Wisdom’s theme is certainly the standout here as it’s just a great tune. It perfectly builds up the suspense and anticipation of what is to come next.

With the classic era over here is how the Buddyfight seasons rank. In 1st is Buddyfight Triple D. The tournament was just handled flawlessly and is my personal favorite from the whole series. 2nd is Buddyfight X for all the reasons described above. In 3rd is the first season which will always be nostalgic and did a great job introducing the cast. In 4th is Buddyfight 100 which had a very slow middle which brought down the season somewhat, but was ultimately still pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see where season 5 ends up ranking. The show will have to introduce all of the characters and everything so the first season probably won’t be cracking the top 3 just yet but never count a card game show out. It just may end up surprising you.

Overall, Buddyfight X is definitely a great title both literally and in regard to the whole season. It’s just nonstop excitement and the new characters really worked well and were seamlessly added to the universe. I dare say that it had the highest stakes as well since Wisdom actually did take over some planets and he was playing for keeps here. When he attacked the heroes on the ship they were in real danger. Of course now Gao is fairly OP with his current deck since he has access to so many super forms so he will be ready for any new villains. It’s always hard to see how they will be able to come up with stronger decks and opponents for Gao, but taking away his Buddy has usually worked well since it nerfs him until he inevitably gets some cool special abilities. The next season won’t have to try and work around this though as we are getting a time skip and a new main character. It should be a blast and this era of Buddyfight ended on a high note.

Overall 9/10

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

Cardfight Vanguard G: Z Review


It’s been a good run, but Cardfight Vanguard has finally ended. With 370 episodes across both generations that is quite a lot of Cardfights. It’s really comparable to Yugioh at this point. Naturally that franchise has more total episodes and it would be tough to ever match that number, but once you cross 100 episodes you can certainly be counted as a legitimate powerhouse. I’ll be sure to rank all of the Cardfight seasons at the end of the review. Most of them are super close so it’s definitely a tough one to decide. All right, lets dive into Z!

Right away you can tell that this series is going to be intense because you only use the term Z when the series is going to have a ton of action. Vanguard does not disappoint here as action is absolutely what you will be getting. The last season ended with the heroes defeating the main 3 Diffriders and winning the tournament. That may have been good progress in the fight against evil, but Kazumi was never the main threat. The Apostles of Gyze are around now and they need a vessel for their leader. Their plan is unaltered, they want to awaken the 6 Zeroth Dragons to pave the way for Gyze. The members decide to split up and take Team TRY 3 out of the equation pre-emptively. (Pretty smart move honestly) The heroes will have to move quickly to stop their plan and they will need teamwork, but the situation is already quite personal for them so it may be tough to move in with a clear head.

As this season is only 24 episodes (The shortest in the franchise unless you count one of the G seasons that was merged together with another one in the Dub) the plot has to move right away so there is no waiting around here. That’s the bonus of continuing the plot of a previous season. There is no need for build up or character introductions since that was already done last time. As such the villains attack Chrono and Shion within the first 3 episodes. The Apostles really look very impressive from the start here as the heroes just seem like no match at times. The most impressive member would be the one who fought Shion at least when comparing their initial appearances. The show dropped the ball on him a bit though.

Almost every episode has a big fight occurring in this season. As the villains aren’t playing games around you also see a level of desperation among the heroes that hasn’t happened too often in G. At the very least, it usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. One small moment that I really liked here was how Chrono used a Zeroth dragon with no hesitation. Usually when the main character relents and uses the dark power of a villain there is a lot of drama or the character gives it some long thought. Chrono just went for it. For context, he was up against the leader of the Apostles. If he wins this fight he can save his friend and eliminate one of the biggest threats to the world in one move. None of his cards are strong enough at this point, but if he uses one of the evil deity cards that he swiped from another member it will give him a chance.

Dark power like this never comes cheap though. The price for playing a Zeroth Dragon is that if you lose the duel all of your Grade 4 cards will be atomized and so you will be losing all of your strongest cards. It’s a steep penalty since you are essentially powerless in a duel without those. before G you could get away with it since Grade 4s didn’t exist, but now that they do they are absolutely essential. The stakes are high, but it would have almost been selfish of Chrono to not use one just for that. He had a world to protect.

Naturally I was a big fan of Chrono here. He definitely looks like the experienced veteran that he is here. It doesn’t mean that he is now the strongest player in the world but he certainly ranks up there. He takes risks and is always ready to defend his friends. Chrono is the kind of guy that you want on your team for sure. He won’t back down from a duel. Chrono has definitely developed into a character worthy of his mysterious deck.

Shion is still Chrono’s rival but at this point that is rarely evident as he has completely mellowed out into being a friend. I suppose it’s a good change of pace to have a rival who isn’t super rude or obnoxious the whole time. Shion is finally back to being master of the Kiba empire at this point so as you can imagine he feels pretty unbeatable. That’s why his first fight with Valeos was so intense because it was basically unheard of for someone to have the upper hand against Shion. It also showed that the villains recognized him as a legitimate threat. Shion’s role in this season is still rather small but it is a good one nonetheless. He does get his revenge for the earlier loss as well.

Then we have Tokoha who has started to bounce back from the last season. That one didn’t go so well for her as she absorbed quite a few losses and wasn’t really in a right state of mind since Miguel was taken out of the picture. Now she has mainly recovered from this and is back to being a strong contender. Like Shion she doesn’t get too many duels here but still gets to help out in the final battle.

Kazuma certainly has a large role in this season and is probably the most crucial aside from Chrono. Now that he has his brother back Kazuma is ready to take the fight to the villains. While he is a very strong fighter and Kazuma’s confidence is at an all time high, he still isn’t quite ready to take on these villains yet. Things don’t go very well for him, but I do appreciate the attempt. Kazuma still has a cool deck and a nice theme. Couple that with his character development into a more confident character and he is one of the best members of the main cast. At the very least I think he would be second among the main G heroes.

Kazumi was one of the big villains of the last season since he was being possessed but it’s important to remember that he was a world class duelist even before all of that. It is fortunate for the heroes that he is around. Kazumi’s a nice character and you will get some Itachi vibes from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t look great when it comes to dueling. After all, what better shock value can there be than taking down the former Under 20 champion? Winning and losing are t everything though and it doesn’t change the fact that he is quite formidable.

Arata and Makoto are a little important in this season because of what happened to their friend Noa who was possessed by the dark side. Still, they really can’t fight so for the most part they are stuck cheering everyone on in the background. The characters really weren’t needed to be honest but I guess it would be weird if they had just vanished. They aren’t bad characters, they just aren’t ready for a villain of this magnitude.

Noa is one of the big villains and probably the strongest aside from perhaps Gyze. He was in the shadows a lot for the last season but his presence is always felt. He has the Link Joker deck which is still the best one in the series. The monster is the only one who doesn’t just fade away after being defeated or turns good. This guy can’t stand the humans and does his best to bury them. I would have liked Noa to have dueled a little more to be honest, but I’m certainly satisfied with how much effort it took to bring him down. Having Aichi and Kai team up against you is always a sign of respect.

Kouji is definitely an interesting character. I’m still not really a fan of the guy. He is essentially the vanguard of the heroes but his plans never seem to be very good. The villains always have the drop on the heroes and while he may have been very powerful back in the day, Kouji seems a little outmatched against all of the new villains. He has softened up completely into a nice guy, but never likes to admit to it which leads to him always trying to keep to himself. He’s not as bad as in previous seasons as he has finally stopped doubting Chrono’s ability, but the guy just needs to be cooler. Maybe a new costume would have done the trick.

Saori doesn’t last too long in this season as he was mainly a big character in the last season, but he is still a lot of fun here. He still has one of the best battle themes out of all the characters and he is just a tough fighter. Saori has a lot of doubts about what he is doing, but ultimately just stays on his path. The villain’s confidence is really what makes him a fun character.

Aichi finally gets to duel a little more seriously here which is good. In general I still think the original cast didn’t get to do a whole lot compared to what I would have liked to see. They did have 4 seasons (Aichi only had 3) so I guess that was enough fights. I don’t like how Aichi has basically retired from Cardfight but I suppose as long as his skills don’t get rusty he will always come to help out when it counts. Likewise Kai is also here to fight the good fight. He gets 2 big fights against the villains which is good. Wakamizu actually does give him a good fight, but the outcome is what matters and at the end of the day Kai is still one of those guys that you never expect will lose.

Kamui also looks solid here. He has done a good job of keeping up with the other characters over the years. While he isn’t in the top 5 at this point he still helps out a lot against the villains and it’s always nice to see him around. Misaki finally gets a duel of her own. The series took its time with her, but having her take on one of the big final villains was certainly good. I am a little skeptical on her being strong enough to take on this particular opponent, but perhaps her deck was simply well suited from the job. In a duel you never ultimately know who is going to win. Her tactical style does bring out the best from her deck as well.

Valeos is a bit of a tragic case since I actually liked the villain quite a bit. He was a credible threat to the heroes and seemed to be the main thinker of the villains. Going after Shion’s OP sword was brilliant and taking it out of the equation definitely helped their goals get a bit easier. That’s why it makes no sense when he suddenly goes insane near the end. The show was slowly building up to this as we gradually got hints of his psyche decaying, but why did it have to happen at all? It came out of left field and seemed to just be an excuse to let Shion have the upper hand. If he didn’t crack then I don’t really think Shion would have been a match for him. Not sure what to think of this guy by the end but at least he had a great intro.

Gastille is essentially the deputy of the villains. Gyze is certainlty still the leader but while he is out of commission Gastille tends to call the shots. He is a powerful villain, but one who doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. Still, he does really well in his brief appearances and I liked him. He’s still not the best villain since Noa and Saori are around but otherwise he is probably the beast. You get a Ren vibe from the guy with how confident he is. Well…okay all of the Cardfight characters are confident, but they tend to show it in different ways.

Taiyou was one of the big members of Chrono’s team for the last few seasons, but his role in this one is rather small. He gets badly injured after one of the early duels and never really recovers after that. You still have to like the guy’s dedication though. He’s very loyal to helping out the heroes and won’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s way. He eagerly attacks the villains and while he doesn’t succeed, he did put up a good fight.

Then we have Wakamizu who is probably the least interesting villain. He’s technically pretty smart and the villains would have had a tough time without him, but his deck isn’t quite as good as the others. He’s deceptively strong, but I just didn’t care for the guy much. Not a bad villain, but I suppose he was simply outshined. His master Gredora was certainly more compelling even though her screen time was incredibly limited. At the very least she felt like more of a commander though. She was also a villain who actually cared about her subordinates and quickly went to defend Wakamizu after he was defeated. It’s always nice to see villains who also show loyalty and that’s why Gredora was a villain worthy of an army.

Gyze is the big boss of the series. Naturally this means that he is asleep until near the very end though. He gets 2 duels which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him more. The guy serves his purpose as a big final boss though and puts up a good fight. He just wasn’t ready to deal with the likes of Team TRY 3. He did come close to destroying the world though and I like how even in defeat the world would get destroyed by the sheer impact that it had on space and time. Gyze is definitely not the kind of opponent who does anything halfway. He did have a pretty cool design and his special ability of bringing in all of the Zeroth Dragons at once is really useful.

As always the animation is certainly stellar. The character designs starting from the last season certainly look really good. Chrono and the others look more experienced than they used to be and they also act accordingly. They get the respect you’d expect them to have considering that they have saved the world a few times now. The duels are as sharp as ever and the colors are vibrant. There is nothing negative at all to say about it. Then the soundtrack is just as impressive. I really like the new bumper/music that comes at the start of each episode. It’s a very dramatic theme that has you keep your guard up. It also really supports the feeling of dread that the heroes have. Each character still has a battle theme and most of them are quite epic. Even the few characters whose theme doesn’t absolutely stand out still have a good one. The best theme is definitely the red haired kid’s, but Kazumi’s is also excellent. You have a lot of options to choose from. Cardfight never disappointed on a technical level (Or any level for that matter) and this last season was no exception.

All right it’s time to rank all of the Cardfight seasons! There have definitely been a lot of great ones over the years so it’s tough. I know the first and last place ones off the top of my head, but the rest get really tough. Still, I gotta make the tough choices at some point so it may as well be now.

1st. Cardfight Vanguard: Link Joker. Pretty easy number 1, this was the best season by far and the season was completely amazing. Really has everything that you could ever want in a single season.

2nd Cardfight Vanguard. The original Cardfight definitely helped get the series on the right track. It’s really rare to see a main character who actually loses as many fights as Aichi. If handled wrong that could have been annoying but overall he learned from his losses and got really good. It was just a great season and is also super nostalgic.

3rd Cardfight Vanguard Asia Circuit. This season probably has less memorable aspects to it compared to the other seasons, but this was the big Psyqualia boom. Everyone had it from Leon to the leader of the kid squad to Ren and Aichi. I still miss Psyqualia to this day so that was a lot of fun and the season was basically nonstop tournaments so you really can’t go wrong there. The climax was also super hype as you would expect.

4th Cardfight Vanguard Legion Mate. This season is tough because I thought it was awesome from the plot to the execution. At the same time it was a little short. I guess 33 episodes is a solid length, but it’s really close between this and NEXT. I’ll give Legion Mate the edge because having Kai as a main character was hype and the loser of each match getting burned was definitely a very real way of raising the stakes.

5th Cardfight Vanguard G NEXT. Definitely the best G season. The tournament was really good and Kazumi was just such an awesome villain It was also really long so we had time for a bunch of fights. We hadn’t had a tournament that was this long and serious since the original Cardfight days. The new animation style also worked quite well for this saga and the first episode was the perfect way to hype up the new villain.

6th Cardfight Vanguard G Z. This season is very close to NEXT, but it mainly loses out because it’s a lot shorter. There’s less chance to quite match the hype that was behind NEXT. Still, a great way to end the series and 6th is certainly nothing to be ashamed about when it’s relative to other Cardfight seasons. A superb show in all aspects.

7th Cardfight Vanguard G Stride Gate. We finally got the payoff to the first G arcs here and it was definitely a lot of fun. I liked the main villain and this is really where Chrono came into his own as a solid main character. He didn’t fall for the mind games of the villains and kept dueling as he knew best.

8th Cardfight Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis. The plot started to get moving with this show, but it was still a little slow. Not a whole lot happened here compared to what you might guess from the title. The heroes were still trying to get recognized as serious fighters here, but it would be a while before the grownups would acknowledge them.

9th Cardfight Vanguard G. Still a very solid show, but pretty much the whole season was just character introductions. While that is similar to the first half of the original Cardfight, we didn’t get a big payoff at the end like the original. There was no Psyqualia equivalent or an antagonist quite as interesting as Ren.


Overall, This was a really great way to end the G part of the series. By the end of its run it had really solidified itself as an excellent show even without the influence of the main series. I currently have Cardfight Vanguard as a whole in my top 5 shows. If we count G separately then it would likely still be in my top 15, perhaps just barely making it into Top 10, but no guarantees there. Throughout the various sagas the characters got a lot of development and we got a bunch of great characters. The animation and music were on point and this show has met the high bar that the card game genre has set. I definitely recommend checking this show out. Honestly, it’s best if you start with either the first G series or the very first season as opposed to starting with Z, but either way you’ll have a blast here. I look forward to seeing the retro season coming up.

Overall 9/10

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

Cardfight Vanguard G: NEXT Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Cardfight season! The show has already solidified itself in the Top 5 shows of all time and these extra seasons just continue to cement it there. It’s going to be just about impossible for the series to step down at this rate and it has earned itself a spot as a true rival to the Yu-Gi-Oh series. Both franchises have titles that are above and below the others. The best Yu-Gi-Oh season is above the best Cardfight one, but they’re all pretty neck and neck as they fight for the top spots. This G season is the best installment and it’s definitely up there with the classic seasons now. With G already getting another season that’s currently airing, there’s just no slowing down for this title. If it can even manage to pass NEXT, then G really could pass some of the classic seasons.

This season has a bit of a timeskip. I forgot the details on how long it was, but the three main characters have split up. Chrono has grown bored of dueling to an extent. It’s probably because he is so much better than his current competition, but it’s also because he just doesn’t know why he’s dueling. He’s lost his purpose. This all changes when a mysterious guy walks into the shop and challenges Chrono. Chrono is soundly defeated and the man then tells him to enter the Under 20 competition. Chrono vows to enter to try and take his revenge on this guy, but he’ll need to find 2 new partners. He chooses Taiyou and Kazuma. These three will have to quickly develop into a team if they want to win because there’s some tough competition ahead.

Shion is still trying to balance being a company head and a Vanguard fighter. The latter has been losing out lately. Then he comes across a Cardfight club at his school which is going to be demolished by the school board. He pulls some connections and convinces them not to shut it down until after the Under 20 tournament. If they win then the club gets to stay open. The board agrees and Shion quickly recruits the scrawny club president. They’ll still need a third member so Shion recruits a reluctant Rin into the fray. This team has even less camaraderie than Chrono’s so they’ll have to bond fast.

Finally, Tokoha moved to France to get away from Japan and dueling. There she meets a guy named Miguel and the two hit it off right away. Unfortunately, he is run over by a car and dies instantly. He had been going to enter the Under 20 so Tokoha decides to fulfill his dream for him. She heads back to Japan and decides to team up with her best friend Kumi and the ex sub-leader of the villains from the last arc. He’s a changed man now and decides to help her out in order to pay back his crimes from last time.

As they all enter the tournament, they are unaware of the true threat lurking in the background. The Diffriders are using this tournament to end Cardfight once and for all. A Diffride is when a monster possesses a human. So, three powerful monsters inhabit 3 powerful players including the legendary champion Kazumi Onimaru. They believe that Cardfight forces monsters to be shackled to destiny so eliminating the game is their way out. Kouji calls in some old characters like Aichi and Kai to help out, but at the end of the day the new generation is going to have to handle this. Can Chrono, Shion, and Tokoha take these guys down or is it already too late?

It feels good to have a Cardfight season with 50+ episodes again. That’s always a good sign since it gives the show a lot of time for all of the duels. Considering how many big characters there are here it’s certainly for the best. After all you want to see all 3 of the main characters take on Kazumi. I was worried at first since Shion’s first fight with him was off screen but they had a proper fight after that. This season tries to bill Chrono, Shion, and Tokoha as three equal main characters and they do a pretty good job with it. All of them get pretty large roles in this season, but at the end of the day we all know that Chrono will have to be the one to step up. He’s still a bigger obstacle for the villains than the others because of his unique time deck.

The animation style is very different from the last seasons and takes a little getting used too. Although, it may be more the character designs than the animation that feels rather different. Shion’s in particular doesn’t work too well I have to admit as he just looks extremely overconfident and like the kind of character that you can’t take seriously. It’s not really the personality that’s the issue, but the design just makes it a bad mix. Tokoha’s also doesn’t mix well with her new voice since she sounds really old instead of being the same age as the others. I think her VA gradually gets better as the show goes on. The animation brings its A game when the duels begin and they always look flashy as you would want them to be. The action scenes can be high budget when they happen although the first half prefers to skip most of the actual duel in favor of the talking. I do miss seeing the battles in more depth from the original series but I’ve grown used to the fact that the show has moved on from that. It’s still showing a lot more than it used too. I would certainly give the animation a passing grade here. It may not be quite as catchy as some of the other seasons, but it’s still consistent as always. You can still take one look at the anime and deduce that it is a very modern title.

I appreciate what they did for the soundtrack in this season. Each major character has his/her own theme as opposed to a standard battle theme being applied for everyone. I’ve always been a fan of characters getting their own theme since it makes the duels more personal. There can still be standard themes for when there isn’t a big moment or something and that happens as well. The soundtrack here is easily 5 star material. Unfortunately, Chrono’s theme may be the weakest from the main characters which is ironic, but it happens. The villains tend to have the best themes here, but Tokoha likely has the best hero theme. It’s a nice balance of intensity/emotion to fit her character arc.

I think it goes without saying why this season is one of the best. It’s essentially all just a huge tournament. Right up until the last episode which is the aftermath, the 51 episodes before that are all from the tournament arc. Of course, it doesn’t start immediately though. First the show builds up to it by showing the 3 main characters assemble their teams. Each team gets a few episodes and then they have to deal with their personal issues. There are quite a lot of those and they pop up between tournament rounds. Don’t be mistaken though, the tournament is still quite long and just about every duel is given a full episode. That results in a lot of duels and it was one of the best handled tournaments in the series. It’s a battle royale style like Battle City where you just fight whoever you bump into. The logistics and rules of it could be a little intriguing at times, but it’s handled well and it’s always fun since you never know who you’ll bump into. Plus, you can keep going even if your teammates lose which is a nice touch since I never liked being defeated by default.

It was a wise move from the show since it doesn’t have as many rivals as the original Cardfight. You can’t really compare the two when it comes to threats to the hero team. The only team that could fight well against any of the 3 main characters would be Onimaru’s team or maybe the 3 kids, but everyone else consists of no names. In the old Cardfight we had Ren’s team, Shion’s, the Celebrities, and a few other high tier teams. There are many other characters that G could have pulled out, but since the rules specify that you have to be under 20, most of them couldn’t enter by default. I still think we should have had an Aichi team since he shouldn’t be 20 yet, but maybe he is. It’s certainly possible since even Kamui was getting close to the age limit but still made it in the tourney at least. As a result, the Battle Royale method is good because then the main characters can take on Onimaru’s team without actually getting eliminated yet. It was certainly really hype how he took out all 3 main characters on his own. That’s pretty unheard of and it’s why he’s one of the best villains of the series.

This whole season is also build up for the upcoming Z installment since the real villains are about to make up their move. It’s similar to the last two G seasons where the first was set up for the climax arc. In that case the season was essentially split into two half seasons so this one had even more build up since it was 52 here to lead into what could be another 50+ installment. Unlike the other set up season though, this one was still really exciting and had a lot of epic duels throughout. The stakes were still pretty high as well and that’s because the overall level of dueling has been kept pretty high. Having to deal with actual monsters and former champs makes the road rather tough for the heroes. I do feel like the older ones are being left in the dust like Ibuki and the rest of the Dragon Branch managers, but it had to happen sometime. I definitely have really high hopes for Z as a result but passing this one will be tough.

Chrono is a solid main character as always. He’s certainly more experienced than he used to be and is treated like a pro. His jacket/jersey is pretty cool and he’s just very calm and collected. He’s not as hot headed as he used to be, but will certainly act quickly to protect someone when necessary. His challenge to Onimaru after Kazuma was taken down was definitely one of his best moments. Even if it wasn’t an authorized tournament duel, Chrono wasn’t going to let him get away without a fight. I’d actually say that he is considerably better than Aichi back when Aichi was a main character. Evil Aichi is still the best, but comparing their heroic selves, you want someone like Chrono on your side.

Taiyou is Chrono’s right hand man on the team. He’s still improving a lot and is the most enthusiastic of the team. I like him well enough and consider the kid to be underratted. He’s certainly not one of the strongest yet, but he’s getting there. His personality isn’t as interesting as some of the other characters but he always gives it his 100%. Definitely someone you can root for. Kazuma is the new kid in the group and he starts off as being very unreliable. He’ll quit games in the middle and tends to run off when things get tough. He gets better, but it does take him a while. I always thought he had potential because his design is pretty good, but of course that’s not the best reason to root for a character. His ritual deck is very unique for Cardfight and he’ll definitely go pretty far as long as he keeps appearing. In some ways he’s a lot like Naoki although certainly not in personality. Either way I liked him well enough by the end. He’s not quite top tier yet power-wise, but like Taiyou he is improving very quickly. He’s likely surpassed Taiyou by this point as well.

Next is the rival team. Shion isn’t quite as good as in the last few seasons, but it would be tough to pass that. Gone are the days of breaking into villain hideouts and beating the information out of the minions there. Still, he does a good job of saving the card club and does his best in the fights during the tournament. He’s still one of the strongest cardfighters although he is no longer a match for Chrono. His Paladins are always fun since they remind you of Aichi’s deck. His design works against him, but Shion is still a good rival as always.

Unfortunately, he has the worst teammate in Henri. Heri’s always very nervous and he isn’t a particularly good cardfighter. He holds the team back and none of his scenes are funny, they’re just annoying. He never really improves as the series goes on so he’s the only new character that is actually bad. He’s not a terrible character who would hurt the show or anything, but he simply doesn’t contribute anything. It’s fun to see Rin return since she had a pretty big role in the older episodes. She’s done a pretty good job of keeping up with the newer characters, but I’m not sure about her going pro. I just don’t think she’s quite That good to keep on fighting at that level. Still, I suppose she’ll keep improving as long as she stays with the main characters. She’s a better character than she used to be.

Tokoha gets the biggest character arc from the main leads. It starts out pretty badly for her since she’s in mourning and it heavily affects her dueling. I was wondering why she kept losing at first, but I suppose it was all build up for her to finally get over it. She’s still a strong duelist, but taking a break for a few months certainly did hurt her in comparison to the others. Of course, everyone had breaks for not dueling as much lately so she didn’t fall as far behind as she could have. It’s nice to have her back in Japan and hopefully she is here to stay this time. Tokoha’s definitely a nice character to have around and is a good main heroine. A shame she couldn’t get better teammates though.

Her best friend Kumi is around to help, but she can’t really help. There’s no realistic way she can contribute to the team although she helps get Satoru into his rage modes when he has to avenge her. Onimaru in particular did a number on her in the duel as he defeated her so completely that Satoru had to step in. Naturally he was no match as well but at least he put up a good fight. I still don’t like Satoru since there’s no way to get around how evil he was last time. The whole season is about atonement though so at least he’s working to get past it. I dunno, I should give him a second chance, but it’s still hard to root for him in any of the duels. So as a compromise I still root against him all the time, but at least I tolerate him on the team. Maybe one day he’ll be a more likable character but in this season he technically doesn’t do anything wrong.

Kazumi is the big main villain of the season and certainly excels in the role. He might be the second best villain in the franchise behind Ren. The cliffhanger in episode 15 helped cement this as he took out Shion and Tokoha with ease. It’s one of the best cliffhangers in all of Cardfight G for that matter and it really set the tone for his character. He’s always very confident and his skills can back that up as he took so many fighters down. Clearing the first stage of the tournament in a single day was completely unheard of, but he still managed to do it. The character is really handled perfectly so I’m definitely going to miss having him around. He’s a major part of why the season was so good and he’s likely in my top 10 characters for the series. I can’t stress enough just how hype he was.

To counter that hype, Verno absorbed a lot of the losses in the series. I felt bad for her since she’s one of the big hype characters, but tends to lose a lot so other characters can get some hype. She’s not evil like the other two so that’s likely the reason as she has fun with her fights and doesn’t take them as seriously. She’s not a bad character, but it was a little hard to take her seriously as a result. It’s all well and good to have fun, but this tournament probably wasn’t the best place for it. It would have been nice if she could have gotten more big fights before leaving.

Finally, there’s Saori who has the best musical theme in the entire show. It’s a nice rock song that fits in very well with his very aggressive fire deck. He’ll also be appearing quite a bit in the next season so that’s certainly going to be exciting. I definitely liked him a lot and he was the 2nd best villain in the show. He’s good at messing with the opponents by throwing insults around and he’s certainly a formidable foe. Only Chrono could do well against him at first and then he had a big fight with Kazuma at the end. Hopefully he keeps his confident edge though as he seemed rather nervous at the end of the series. The loss may have broken him and if not, the hype of the new villains may do him in first. Either way his theme should definitely return.

There are naturally other characters around, but only a few more need to be mentioned. Team New Nippon shows up and they admire Chrono’s Dad and his old team. They’re nice kids who want to be good duelists in the future. Surprisingly they will actually be getting a role soon as one of their members, Noa has been possessed and looks to be a big antagonist in the next season. He is with the Link Joker deck and I’m sure everyone remembers how tough those guys were. I can’t speak to his character much yet since he hasn’t really started to appear much yet, but I’m expecting big things. He has a lot of potential.

Some of the old guard like Mamoru are still around, but they aren’t very helpful anymore. I’ve never been a Mamoru fan and it’s not like this season helped with that. He talks a lot, but rarely takes an active role in stopping the villains. The same can be said for Kouji as well by this point. He still doubts Chrono’s ability even after getting consistently wrecked by the kid. Any mystery and intrigue his character may have had is long gone by now. He needs a big scene to bring back the hype, but it may be too late by this point. I feel like the heroes just don’t need him all that much. Kamui doesn’t get any big duels compared to the last season, but his character arcs have all already ended by this point so it makes sense. At this point it’s just nice to see him as a cameo for the fans. He does duel as well, but vanishes whenever the going gets tough.

One annoying thing about the season is that they always hype up Aichi and the other old characters, but they still don’t do anything. I want a big Cardfight G climax with the old characters being around to help out. Aichi does duel Chrono in a practice duel but then vanishes after that. One episode preview hinted that he would fight, but it was clickbait. Since the villains are looking for more hosts, I’m hoping they possess Chrono and then Aichi becomes the main character for a few episodes. It’d be a hype twist and I just want to see how much stronger he is. The old characters are appearing more and more now so I can only assume that the show is building up to something with them. That’s my hope at any rate.

As I mentioned earlier, the show does seem to be going for a more Shonen angle. It feels more like Yu-Gi-Oh Duelist then the classic G episodes for example. The villains are aiming for end of the world type situations now and there’s less time for fun and games. There are episodes dedicated to reminding the heroes not to lose sight of why they play and all, but they can’t mess around either. Even the final episode ends with a very classic villains meeting moment. That’s always fun whether it be the Akatsuki in Naruto or the Espada in Bleach. The new villains definitely have a lot of potential and I want to see them bring the fight to Chrono right away. One of my favorite tropes is when a new villain suddenly shows up to take on the main character in a new arc once the main character has just beaten the old main villain and is seemingly untouchable. Win or lose, it sets a high bar for the rest of the season and then the main goal is simply to keep the pacing up. Yu-Gi-Oh Zexla II had a fantastic season opener in that regard as it followed the trope perfectly, but then the plot vanished for a while. That’s the downside, you don’t want to go back to slice of life after a very intense season opener, but I’m confident Cardfight won’t fall into that trap if previous seasons are anything to go by.

Overall, This is another great season, but I expected no less. I went into this one with high hopes and was not disappointed. While I was cautiously wary about the new animation style at first, I got used to it really quickly. The taller, more shonen character designs work well to make the series feel more battle ready. It’s an effect that I am always enthusiastic about. The character designs may not have been optimal, but they’re not bad. The soundtrack has certainly improved and as we’ve been with these characters for so long it’s easy to get invested with what is going on now. If you haven’t seen any Cardfight shows yet you can still jump into this one pretty easily since it’s a new status quo and isn’t too reliant on the older seasons. Of course you’ll appreciate it more if you’ve seen the other shows though. Either way, it’s a great all around show with no real weaknesses and definitely one of the best.

Overall 9/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Yugioh 5Ds Review


All right, I have finally finished the Yugioh 5Ds series! To think, I started this title all the way back in 2011. It’s been about 6 years, but it was a fun ride. The Yugioh 5Ds manga may have been a little less ambitious than its anime counterpart, but the same could be said for the rest. 5Ds was a lot of fun and the Yugioh game is simply so great that the manga is still an all-star by the end. I’ll compare it to the other Yugioh manga (plural) a little more in depth later. For now, let’s start with the plot.

Yusei is from Satellite sector so he lived in the slums for a while. It doesn’t get him down though and Yusei still has fun dueling everyone. Things change when a mysterious knight challenges him to a duel with his life as the stakes. Yusei manages to fend him off, but his best friend, Sect is corrupted and turns to the side of evil. Meanwhile, Goodwin (Rich guy who has his own tournament) wants to revive an incredibly powerful dark overlord to do his bidding although his real reason will come later on. Yusei will have to win the tournament and defeat the Shadow Spectres at various sites in order to turn Sect to the side of light once more. There are a lot of other obstacles that he’ll have to overcome, but Yusei is ready to ride to the next level!

The manga invented a concept for the 5Ds series about sense. When you drive fast enough and with a lot of passion, you’ll be able to hit opponents with a blast of sense. So, what is sense exactly? Well, it is basically hitting someone with pure telekinetic force, which is enough to get them off course or even cause serious injury. It makes virtual reality real and allows 5Ds to have Shadow Games to an extent. I actually enjoyed this concept, but I can also see how it might not have worked too well in the anime. If Sense was a real thing, then why would anyone want to actually duel under those circumstances? You would always be putting your life on the line and even if the general public couldn’t access this ability, it would be a little strange. Nothing’s too strange for Yugioh world though and I’m sure that I could have gotten behind it. I’m sure the anime could have made the scenes look really intense.

As you would expect, the art is pretty crisp and clean here. The author does a good job of showing the duels and capturing the intensity of the high stakes rounds. I’d say that the animation probably is a little better than what we have in GX. The monsters all look good and the duels are very easy to follow. Had the series gone on any longer, I’m sure that the art would continue to improve. It is an area that can certainly be counted as a strength for the series.

Yusei is a great character as you will have come to expect from Yugioh. He’s a superb duelist and does whatever it takes to keep his friends safe. I’ve always preferred Jaden and Yami Yugi, but Yusei is certainly leagues above Yugi, Yuma, and Yuuya. His Stardust Dragon is certainly a great ace to have up his sleeve and his synchro summon deck certainly seems well balanced. It’s easy to say that Yusei is the best character here. Sect is Yusei’s best friend and the guy was made up for the manga. He’s not a bad friend I suppose, but he’s just not tough enough for me. I like characters who have a certain flair of confidence of arrogance about them. Otherwise, the character just has to be really good at being a nice guy. I just never found Sect all that enjoyable and even once he got his evil form, it wasn’t all that great. It was an improvement though and at least he finally became one of the big shots. I certainly won’t call him a bad character though and he serves his role fairly well, but I think we could have put Crow in his place and then the manga wouldn’t have needed an original character.

Jack is certainly a major character here as you would expect. He’s as tough as always and I would say that he is the second best character in the manga. He doesn’t really get a chance to become a full fledged hero like he was in the anime, but he serves his purpose as the tough rival who always keeps everyone on their guard. His Red Dragon Archfiend is definitely a really cool ace monster to have at the ready as well. We’ve also got Crow who is more of a friend than a rival. He comes out of the blue a little less than he did in the anime so the character wasn’t as forced. Plus, with most of the characters randomly showing up in the manga at some point or another, he fit in well. Crow’s not a bad character either, but he always felt a little bland when placed next to Yusei and Jack. Not to mention that I don’t think he could hold his own against either of those two. He’s no Joey Wheeler, but Crow’s a good pal to have around. You can never have too many dueling friends.

Akiza is a character who is quite different from her TV show counterpart. For starters, she is actually very popular at school and isn’t a psychic who works for a shady organization. That’s too bad since the plot was definitely a lot of fun in the show, but her new role is handled well. It’s a shame that her appearances were so brief in the manga, but I guess the series couldn’t squeeze everyone in. As it stands, she’s a good character. Leo and Luna have also been altered from the show and the result is a little worse than Akiza. Leo is fairly similar as he panics a lot, but since Luna bosses him around a lot in the manga, it makes things dicey for him. He goes along with her plans since she is the boss, even if he doesn’t necessarily agree with it. Luna is evil for most of the series, I believe that this was in part due to some kind of darkness that had infected her. Either that or it was actually natural and then the duel just showed her the light. The two characters were rather boring and I was ready for Yusei to take them down for the count.

The Skeleton Knight is another new character for the series and he serves as one of the main villains. This guy was definitely really cool and he helped the series start with a bang right from the get go. The stakes were real at soon as he appeared since it meant that the plot was starting early. He doesn’t get to duel a whole lot, but the battles that he does get are satisfying and he lives up to the hype that surrounds him. He may not have a lot of character, but you can’t really go wrong with a solid design and the cool demeanor that he has. Director Goodwin is one of the big villains here as you would expect thanks to the show. He’s a pretty good villain. He certainly won’t be matching some of the iconic foes like Marik, but Goodwin does a good job of ensuring that he is a threat and gives the heroes a really good showdown.

A lot of the other supporting characters from the show appear at some point during the series. Bolt, Officer Trudge, (Ushio), Kalin, and others. Kalin in particular was a really cool character from the show, but he didn’t get quite as much to do in the manga due to the limited amount of duels that could be covered. It was definitely funny to see how many people had a grudge with Jack though. Akiza, Kalin, Yusei, Sect to an extent, etc. Everyone wanted a piece of Jack by the end and at least that goes to show that his reputation really does precede him. Defeating Jack Atlas is always something to brag about since few are able to accomplish this.

So, how does this manga stack up against the other Yugioh titles? Well, Duelist is obviously still the best and I’d put R at second. After that, it starts to get a lot closer between the titles. I’d put Millennium World at third followed by Yugioh GX at fourth. GX is the manga that I haven’t read for the longest time though so it is possible that things will change when I re read it. Who knows, maybe it’ll end up passing Millennium World! Next would be Yugioh Zexal and then Yugioh 5Ds at 6th. Classic Yugioh is easily the worst and hasn’t aged all that well, but how good can a Yugioh series be without a lot of duels anyway? It’ll be cool to see where Arc V ranks on this list once the manga finally comes out.

Overall, Yugioh 5Ds is definitely a lot of fun. I was really hoping that it could get past the 9 volume curse for Yugioh Spinoffs, but no such luck I suppose. It looks like Arc V will have to be the one to do that. The series did a lot in the short length that it had though and each volume is power packed with action and duels. The review is a little short, but keep in mind that I did read this series over the course of 6 years so some of the older events aren’t as fresh as they would have been otherwise. The tournament arc was a lot of fun and there were certainly a good amount of events in the series, but it all continues pretty seamlessly so that’s why you don’t need to spend too much time talking about the plot. In the end, you’re here for the duels an the series definitely delivers on that. In the end, this is just a really enjoyable title and you don’t really have to put too much thought into it. It’s the perfect manga to just pick up and read when you’re in the mood. This is a must read for all Yugioh fans and people who simply like to enjoy a good action story as well. With good art and characters to back it up, the title really has no weaknesses. It is a shame that Leo and Luna fell kind of flat, but I never liked them much to start off with so they have no real effect on the final product. With the final Zexal volume already out, you can expect another Yugioh review soon.

Overall 8/10

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

Future Card Buddyfight Review

Future_Card_Buddyfight
Buddyfight really started out strong. It came out of the gate swinging and I liked the new battle style a lot. It didn’t revolutionize the card fighting genre like Cardfight, but it was a fun approach to the new style of play. The characters were likable, which made for some good intro duels. The middle of the series is where Buddyfight began to lose some of its steam as the show started to get a little repetitive. Luckily, the final tournament showed up and helped to break the cycle. We had a lot of fun duels towards the end, which was intense. Buddyfight ended as it started, a very fun show with lots of excitement.

Gao Mikado is the main character and one day he decides to start Buddy Fighting competitively when he draws a good Buddy. His Buddy is Drum and he comes from Dragon World. Let’s take a step back quickly and look at the universe. Drawing a Buddy opens a portal between dimensions and the monster inside of the card actually appears. Luckily, all monsters (for now) are friendly so this is safe for all people. Even villains enjoy having their buddies so that they can improve their abilities and really break the law. Gao and Drum bicker a lot, but they ultimately become close friends who help each other when the going gets tough.

The series starts off cautiously and Gao duels many opponents who become his friends and rivals. Then a tournament is announced and Gao decides to enter to show the world how great he is. The tournament will be tough to win as many new faces show up, but they don’t scare Gao. Gao thinks of himself as the Mighty Sunfighter so he never backs down from a fight or from a challenge.

Part 2 of the series is where the stakes start to get higher. A villain group known as Disaster has shown up and they want to rid the world of adults. By opening a portal to the dark part of the monster world, they can end everything! A betrayal also rocks Gao’s world and the heroes will never be the same again. Gao will have to brace himself as he tackles this overwhelming challenge!

Let’s start off with how to play the game. The gameplay is unique in the sense that it is all about offense. Each turn involves you attacking the other player and you don’t have to take time to defend. Each turn, you can summon monsters until their combined level is three. Then, you attack the other player and try to get his life down from 10 to 0. There are naturally spells and traps to augment the gameplay as well. It results in a very fast moving duel, which makes it difficult to stretch into multi parters. Even the final fight of the series is barely more than one part and if you cut out the subplots, it probably could be one episode.

The clan that you choose will determine what your fighting style is like. Gao uses a Dragon deck so he focuses on attacking until his opponents finally go down. Katana World is about misdirection and fooling your opponent and Magic World is totally for defense and gimmicks. Naturally, Dragon World is easily my favorite since offense is definitely my style, but they all have their merits and weaknesses.

Gao is the main character of the series and also one of the main highlights. He’s one of the better main characters as he is determined and always wins the right way. He doesn’t use any stall tactics or overpowered cards to win as he chooses to talk with his skills. He’s one of the only main characters to ever go from the premiere to the finale without losing once. I doubt that many characters could hope to pull that off and the series isn’t exactly short. There are over 50 episodes to be found in Buddyfight. “The strongest deck in history” is his catchphrase and it shows how tough he is. Gao’s modest at times, but he knows just how good he is.

His partner is Drum and they definitely had a lot of banter during the older episodes. Towards the end of the series, they definitely became close, but still had some banter at times. Drum’s not bad, but he’s surprisingly weak considering that he’s the classic partner of the series. Not a problem though, he has some super forms to help him out in that area. He’s not the best monster, but certainly not the worst one and at least Drum has character.

Zanya is the calm and collected member of the group. He uses ninja cards to defeat his enemies and he has a trap card, which can be used to stop just about any opponent when used correctly. While he is very tough and the characters always acknowledge that, he’s not quite as good as Gao or Tesuku. He’s better than guys like Tetsuya and Shido, but he still needs a game changer if he wants to be among the best. I’m confident that his skills will be at that level at some point and we just have to give the guy some time. The only thing stopping him from being a really cool character is his gimmick, which gets old quickly. Zanya is deathly afraid of girls and he can’t talk or duel when in front of them. You can see how this becomes a problem and it is brought up constantly. I still like Zanya a lot, but this does take away from his coolness factor. Zanya is a big believer in honor and justice so you can see why I like the guy. He has some pretty emotional duels during the series. His buddy has a really cool design, but is almost always silent so he doesn’t get to have much of a personality. Ah well, at least Zanya’s a cool fighter. The next ally of Gao’s is decidedly less quiet and fierce.
Rouga_Aragami_and_Armorknight_Cerberus_Ace
Tetsuya’s whole gimmick is that he loves dancing. His friends fear that it takes up too much of his time and that he’s not totally devoting his energy to Buddyfighting. They’re not wrong, but Tetsuya is still a good duelist. While he is decidedly weaker than Gao or Zanya, Tetsuya always gives it his all and comes through when the team needs him. His jingle is surprisingly catchy and you may find yourself dancing to the tune when he begins the duel. The fact that he mixes in Banana’s with his hair is brilliant and one of the reasons why you shouldn’t underestimate the guy. While he is rarely solemn, Tetsuya knows when it’s time to be serious. His buddy probably has more personality than all of the other monsters. The demon has his own TV show and actually does some undercover work to help the heroes find the location of the villain’s base. He is also a whole species in and of himself, which saves a lot of time for when he has to check out multiple locations at the same time.

Tasuku is the boy genius of the series and it feels like the show heavily considered making him the main character. The show’s endings are always about him and even the opening gave him a decently big role. The show may have also just been trying to make him a fan favorite from the start. It wasn’t hard since Tasuku is a great character from start to finish. He goes through a similar character arc that Kai went through in Cardfight. The series seems to really love using the redemption plot device as a character will get a taste of darkness and the terrifying power that comes with it, but ultimately returns to the light for good. This happened to Rouga, Kiri, and Tasuku in the show and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens to more characters. (To a lesser extent, you could say the same for the final villain of the show)

Tasuku is a nice guy and he always has fun when he is in a Buddyfight. He helps Gao enjoy the game and encourages younger players as well. He gets frustrated when the police force is corrupted and goes too far in his attempts to make everything all right on his own. Luckily, that’s where his Buddy comes in. Jack is a dragon and like Drum, he gets a lot of development. Jack is a buddy who really cares about what is going on in the human world and he plays a pivotal role in getting Tasuku back to the side of the heroes and he refused to become a villain. Having a good friend is always important and the bond between Tasuku and Jack is a strong one. These two will certainly continue to be some of the highlights of the show and Tasuku is easily my favorite character aside from Gao.

Kiri was once one of Gao’s best friends until he changed. He was very timid and also weak when it came to Buddyfighting. As a result, Kiri got bullied all the time and decided that he needed more power. The villains were glad to give him that and now Kiri was able to use his powers in the real world like Rouga, Gao, and Tasuku. He instantly became one of the strongest fighters in the series and he was pretty hardcore as the Grim Reaper. To quickly specify, the monsters are already real for all of the players. The only difference with Disaster Force/Future Force is that you can also make spell and equip cards real. This is still really good as Kiri has his Winter Wonderland (Not the exact name) card that can make a blizzard appear out of the blue.

Kiri was a decent friend at first, but certainly not my kind of character and he was a lot like Syrus. I was glad to see his character go through a mini arc and he ultimately became a hero again. The only difference is that he now has a lot of power. I’m confident that he will be able to help Gao out a lot in future arcs. His power up certainly helped him as a character even if I don’t care for his buddy. He just doesn’t do anything for me at the moment and needs some more personality.

Shido is one of the worst villains in the series. Apparently, he is still one of the better duelists in the school, but I can’t take him seriously. He is typically used for comic relief and isn’t much of a threat to someone like Gao. He is constantly being humiliated and appears far too often if you ask me. His partner is Sofia and she is portrayed as the serious member of the group. The problem is that she’s not much better than Shido and I have not been impressed with her either. She gets nonstop hype, but the hype never seems to transform into something more than that. I feel like the writers really don’t know what to do with her at the moment and it shows. I’m sure that she will start fighting more at some point, but for now…she is simply biding her time.

Rouga was the first real villain to show up and he stays as a supporting character throughout the series. He goes from being a true villain to a misunderstood rival who is just looking out for his friend. The turnabout certainly is cheesy and he looks really bad when he lets the main villain get under his skin. When taken seriously, Rouga is a good opponent for Gao. The problem is that he doesn’t know whether he is a villain or a rival most of the time. It’s safe to say that he’ll just be a rival in the sequel series and that will mean that Gao has yet another on. Depending on how many guys you count (Tasuku, Noboru, Kazane, Zanya, Genma, Tasuku……) it’s a long list. I suppose that a lot of people will be gunning for you once you’re at the top. Rouga’s buddy is pretty cool as he is one of the only monsters to have a decent amount of personality and Cerberus never backs down from a fight.
fdf
He’s decently tough and doesn’t feel like an average monster, which is a good thing. I don’t think that Rouga has been handled particularly well in this series. I still like him as a rival for Gao, but he has certainly dropped in the ranks from his first appearance and it will take a while for me to be able to take him seriously. At this point, he just seems to be a little out of his league.

Genma is another rival of Gao…in a sense. He has less of a role than the others, but he’s a decently strong Buddyfighter. I’ve never been a huge fan of his though and he comes off as very arrogant at times. He also takes it very personally when his friend uses a counter card against his iconic monster. That would be like me getting upset if someone counter picked to Olimar to defeat my Captain Falcon in Smash Bros. It’s a strategically sound move so I can’t really agree with him here. Genma’s tough, but his whole strategy does revolve around his dragon so once it is defeated, he is essentially doomed. I do love his recycled footage yells though and he really gets fired up when dueling. He can certainly be better, but a lack of screen time probably didn’t help his case either.

Jin is a sneaky member who is always hard to pin down. Is he helping the heroes or on the side of the villains? The answers to these questions are eventually answered and he does play a decent role in the series, but he is a bit of a lightweight. I’ve never considered him to be very tough and he gets himself into some pretty tight pickles during the series. He needs a new deck as stealth doesn’t work out so well in this game. He’s not really my kind of supporting character, but he’s not bad.

Noboru is Goa’s original rival. At the very least, I would consider him to be Gao’s main rival as they actually got some trash talking in and Noboru really wants to defeat Gao. I don’t see that happening anytime soon as the gap between them continues to grow, but it’s still good that Noboru is trying to get on top of the situation. Surpassing Gao is just tricky for any opponent. Noboru’s buddy is a little on the dull side though as it is an old man who doesn’t have any cool special abilities. It’s impressive that Noboru can still win with his current deck as it is just a really watered down version of Gao’s. Nonetheless, I do really like Noboru’s character and he should go far in the series. He even gave Tasuku a good fight!

Terumi works for Disaster and she probably has the toughest time out of all the members since she starts to see the light and is quickly thrown out of the picture. The heroes never did give her a happy ending and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change in the sequel series. She was never a very likable character for me as she was infatuated with the leader of the villains even though she should know that he didn’t actually care for her. She was used from the start and never did anything about it.

Elf was another member of Disaster and he was not very good. Elf rarely ever fought and it was hard to gauge out good a fighter he was. It barely even mattered though since he was more interested in talking a good game than actually backing it up. His design was meant to be his whole gimmick and that will never be enough to actually be a very compelling villain. He also didn’t get any real character development unlike the other characters and I wonder if he will return soon.

Gremlin is one of the members of Disaster and he’s a decent fighter. While not quite as impressive as some of the other fighters, his legendary deck building skills are why he is feared by so many. He built the decks for all of the other fighters after all and that takes dedication. By the end, he has essentially seen the light and remembers how the game should be played. I can’t say that I really bought his sob story though as it seems like he just jumped off the deep end for the lolz.

Kazane was Gao’s final rival of the series and she just popped out from nowhere during one of the episodes. She helped Gao to remember what it was like to really enjoy the game and Kazane’s a fun character. She’s easy to root for and while her deck isn’t particularly impressive, her skills are certainly real. Her role has stayed small so far, but I’m sure that the writers have big plans for her at some point although she’s quickly fading away from being a main supporting character in the sequel series. Big plans or not, she’s a fun new rival for Gao to have. He certainly has a lot of them now!

Kemura is one of the weaker supporting characters, but I’m not too surprised since he debuted alongside a group of fighters who were essentially filler. His gimmick is that he’s constantly trying to eat his buddy and it is reused way too often. It wasn’t even funny the first time so you can imagine how tedious it gets by the 5th or 20th time. The only reason why the group was ultimately a good idea was because we got to meet one good character. Kirisame is a swordsman and his skills are about on par with Zanya’s. He’s a strong fighter all right and he even shows that he could give Gao a good challenge.
Noboru_Buddy_Skill
Kyoya is the big villain of the second arc and he is certainly powerful. He took out Tasuku when they fought and he actually stood up to Gao. Granted, Kyoya didn’t stand a chance against the world’s greatest Buddyfighter, but he still tried hard and gave it his all. His goals didn’t make all that much sense though and it is hard to relate to the guy. His voice also wasn’t that good, which may have helped to prevent me frombeing a fan of his. His super form looked cool though and he is a powerful villain. He just wasn’t very good or interesting.

Azi Dahaka got a ton of hype throughout the series and fans of his were likely disappointed that he was used as an after thought in the series. After being shown to be the big mastermind behind Disaster, he didn’t do anything until he was summoned and then Gao still managed to take him out in a single hit. He did have a very ominous speech where he mentioned how Gao and the others have sealed their fate by defeating him, but that hasn’t gone anywhere at the moment. Still, the hype is real and it’s safe to say that defeating him a second time will not be so easy.

Baku and Kuguru are essentially Gao’s best friends. Baku makes the decks for Gao while Kuguru gives him the necessary intel for the fights. It’s too bad that they never got into the game as they could have been good Buddyfighters. They aren’t bad characters and are all right I suppose, but they definitely don’t add much to the series. Baku had his subplot with the Gremlin, but that’s about it. They aren’t bad though and every hero has to have a few friends. They help Gao when he’s down.

Buddyfight’s animation is quite good. I remember thinking that it looked solid from the start and the sequel series managed to improve the series even more. This title can hold its own against just about any other show. It’s still not going to be in your top 3 of all time or anything like that, but the animation is still great. Certainly well above average to say the least. The fights certainly look good and likewise with the overall animation. It’s just like Cardfight Vanguard in that every part of the animation stays consistently bright and solid throughout. The character designs and backgrounds never falter.

The soundtrack doesn’t get overshadowed as it is also quite good. The villain theme is certainly my favorite piece of music in the series. It is definitely dramatic and does a good job of building up hype for a fight. The openings are pretty lackluster though and a little worse than average. Again, the sequel series managed to improve in that area. Still, the overall soundtrack is good. I won’t call it great like the animation, but you’ll enjoy the themes and the villain music really makes up for the rest of the tracks.

Buddyfight is a great series through and through. I remember being properly hyped for the fact that Cardfight was getting a spinoff. The Cardfight cast even appears for an episode as a little cameo before getting written out. I hope to see a crossover between these two series at some point. They are certainly some of the best anime titles to have come out in the last few years and have helped to bring card game shows into the light once again. With those two going on alongside Yugioh Arc V, it’s a good time to be a trading card fan. Now, we just need Buddyfight to get its first film.

Buddyfight is a very light toned show for the most part. For a while, there isn’t much danger so the characters just have fun dueling. As expected, things began to get serious during the second half of the series and Buddyfight was able to bring us some thrilling and emotional battles by the end. Some of the fights between Tasuku and Gao at the end were amazing along with Tasuku’s battle against the enemy. The scene where the Reverse Dragonic Punisher first appears is one that you won’t forget in a hurry and it was certainly one of the best animated scenes of the series. The show really had some good variety when it came time for the duels.

As I mentioned in the intro, the pacing can be a little iffy sometimes. Buddyfight is the kind of show that doesn’t mind having several rematches and seeing the same characters fight too often can take away from the excitement. It’s similar to how I never like to see someone duel twice in a row in Cardfight because we will have just seen the deck. That happens quite a bit here, but luckily the duels are so fast paced that it is typically okay. I think that the show slowed down considerably towards the middle of the series, but the strong beginning and ending kept it in the great category. Buddyfight 100 is starting to make the same mistake though except that it has a weak beginning so far. I’m confident that it will be able to get past this issue.

In the end though, where does Buddyfight rank among the other card shows? Welllll…it would have to be in last by default. It loses to Cardfight and all of the various Yugioh Series that I’ve seen. I’m confident that it would beat the original Yugioh though and if we count it, Capsule Monsters as well. Considering the fact that Buddyfight is still a great show, you can see how steep the competition is in this genre.
maxresdefault
Overall, Buddyfight was a really fun watch from start to finish. Finally, we had another original franchise that was introduced to the market and ended up being a big success. It’s hard to state just how excited I was so see a new series on the air. I was confident from the start that it would be really good and I got to watch it weekly from day one thanks to the official Youtube site. Nowadays, it’s hard to create a new franchise out of the blue that still ends up being so good. Buddyfight was over 50 episodes, which gave it a lot of time to flesh out the characters and give us some good stories to go along with the fights. The animation was very good and the soundtrack was good enough to make sure that it was an epic anime in all categories. Even if Buddyfight temporarily faltered at some points, It’s a show that excelled so much that this is barely noticeable. The sequel will have a very tough time taking it down. I highly recommend this series to all fans and you won’t be disappointed upon checking it out!

Overall 8/10

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

Yugioh Zexal Review



Yugioh is currently the greatest franchise of all time. It has exceled in every area and that is a feat which is nearly impossible to match. It currently possesses the greatest movie of all time and the greatest TV show of all time. Yugioh also has another 9 star show in 5Ds and a great title in the original. The video games have been terrific and R/Duelist ensure that the manga section is elite as well. From this, you can probably see why Zexal has so much pressure on it. Zexal probably has the worst rep from all of the main shows, but it is debatable as many people do not like GX with a passion. Zexal ended up being a great show, but it is safe to say that it could never end up reaching the same level as any of the previous three shows. A fate similar to that if Cardfight G at the moment.

The show takes place many years after 5Ds. Technically, it may not be in continuity, but there are enough nods that we can essentially place it in the timeline. Just in an unofficial way like Avengers Assemble. The story follows a kid named Yuma as he goes through his days striving to high five the sky. He is a terrible duelist, but he never gives up and has a lot of fun. One day, he gets a pendant and a spirit named Astral appears. The spirit has lost his memories and needs to recover the 100 Number Cards to get them back. Naturally, Yuma decides to help and Astral decides to make him a better duelist along the way.

The first arc mainly deals with a large tournament. Mr. Heartland is one of the organizers and it is safe to say that he is corrupt. His boss wants to do something shifty with the numbers and he coerces number hunter, Kite, to join the fray as well. Throw in a bunch of other characters and we’ve got quite a tournament. Can Yuma defeat all of these fighters!?

The second arc deals with the Barian Emperors. They have arrived on Earth and wish to destroy Astral and his world along with him. Yuma will have to level up his dueling abilities even more if he is going to defeat them, but things get personal when he finds out that there may be a traitor or two in his midst. His bonds of friendship are shaken to the core. How can Yuma fight for his friends when they may not even be his friends!? The stakes get higher in this arc and it is also a lot darker. I definitely can’t forget the arc opener…that was intense!

Zexal distinguishes itself from the other Yugioh series with how exaggerated the dueling is. Not that the stakes are the highest or anything like that, but you can do almost anything in a single turn. Need to summon 6-8 monsters at once? Not a problem! Need to do the triple fusion to build the overlay network and summon your favorite monster on the first turn? No worries, you can even deal some damage while you are at it. The combos are seriously overpowered here. It is to the point where you need a dynamite hand from the start or else you are doomed. Luckily, the duelists have luck and Shining Draw skills on their side.
Donthousand3
To counter all of the monster combos, we have constant traps at the ready. There are likely more trap battles here than in the rest of the franchise. Duelists are constantly playing spell and trap cards so often that it feels like a classic DBZ fight! “Are you done?” “Almost, but first I activate…” This happens soooo many times during the series. I thought it was overdone, but I suppose that spell and trap cards are fun to use. It makes for sone great boasts during the duel.

There are quite a few deux ex machinas to be found as Yuma will unveil a new card at just the right time! He also got some new cards when he first leveled up into his Super Saiyan form. A pretty good bonus if you ask me! This is regrettable, but I know that it is pretty hard to avoid considering how strong the villains are at times. The new cards are typically fun, which is always good.

The new gimmick that is added to the actual duels is that you can now Exceed summon. It is similar to fusion and it’s almost the same thing. The main difference is that your monsters need to be the same level. You don’t need to tune them or activate a card to fuse the monsters, the levels just have to align and then you’ve got a new monster at the ready to help out! It’s not a bad gimmick and it’s fairly easy to use. It’s a lot better than Cardfight G’s gimmick, but it’s probably not quite as fun as Synchro Summoning. Also, the show’s exaggerated play style points out the holes in this technique as you can seriously take advantage of the new way of summoning. It was still a fun addition to watch while it was around though.

Zexal’s animation is big, bold, and bright. Similar to how the 90’s comics loved their exaggerated panels and colorful designs, Zexal takes a similar approach. Other anime that have basically done this include Saint Seiya Omega and Digimon Fusion. It is certainly not my favorite style and I prefer something more streamlined like Yugioh GX, but I suppose that it works well enough. The animation is still pretty good even if it is not great. Some episodes spared no expense like Kite’s first duel or some of the big budget battles that would pop up now and again. You certainly would not mistake this for being an older title and it took advantage of the many energy attacks that were present. Unfortunately, a lot of the monsters still manage to be in total CGI, which looks significantly less impressive. Nothing beats watching a hand drawn monster appear to take names and beat up on the opponents. It’s a lot more satisfying to watch after all.

Zexal’s soundtrack is certainly one area where it does not impress. Most of the themes are fairly generic and you will forget them very easily. Most of the tunes aren’t bad, but it just felt like no real effort was put into them. That being said, you will probably start to like them by the time you are done with the show. You will have heard them many times after all and since the array of themes is rather limited, they have to keep playing them for each battle.
h2zkw04f1jri
Kite is the best character of the show so we may as well talk about him first. He is Yuma’s true rival in the show although you can make the case for Shark as well. Kite uses a Photon deck and what is unique about it is that he rarely exceed summons. He prefers to fight with more traditional techniques like tribute summoning. His Neo Galaxy Eyes dragon is a true beast and a worthy opponent to come up against. I liked Kite right from the start and his ability to manipulate the flow of time was excellent. He provided the show with a good enemy and he is probably the only human who was able to help a lot in the final battle while on his own. It doesn’t get much better than facing someone while in outer space!

Shark was Yuma’s first rival although I would argue that Kite fits the roll a little better. Shark duels rather early on in the series, but then he takes a backseat for a while. It is hard to say why, but if just felt like Shark wasn’t around as often as the others until the Barian arc. He did have quite a few important duels and he was in the climax so I am not sure why I get that feeling. Either way, by the end of the series he is easily in second or third as far as the most influential characters go. (Minus Astral)

Shark is a good rival. He lost rather quickly as a lot of shows like to have the hero beat the rival in the first episodes, but things went up for him from there. He was definitely one of the more likable heroes. Then, the final arc happened. Let’s just say that the “I fight for my friends” idea was thrown out the window. Shark was torn between his loyalties to Earth and his real home. Ultimately, he decides to choose the latter and that would have been ok if handled differently.

The problem is that there is no good reason for Shark’s last few decisions. He wants to protect some people, but he is conveniently forgetting that those people have been causing damage and mayhem in the city. He should also know that Yuma and co are not planning on doing anything drastic so they could all talk about this. Unfortunately, Astral is also very frustratingly extreme on the issue, which does not help. The whole climax could have been avoided if Shark had simply agreed with Yuma. That way everyone would coexist in peace. Astral’s clan wanted war as well, but it would be easy for Yuma to calm them down since he did save them a while back. Ah well, Shark still proves himself to be a very good duelist and he still did help out a lot. He is easily one of the best heroes for the first arc and he is an intimidating fighter in the final one. We can’t really call him a hero anymore though since he destroyed another hero and attempted to destroy an entire race.

Yuma is the main character of the show and he upholds the tradition of most Yugioh leads having a name that begins with a Y. Jaden may have not confirmed to this tradition, but he is Jaden. His skills allow him to write his own legacy. Yuma is pretty bad at dueling when the show first starts. He is probably worse than normal Yugi was at the time although it is probably debatable. As the series progresses, Yuma becomes a pro in his own right. I would certainly still consider Yugi, Jaden, and Yusei to be better duelists, but Yuma’s deck is probably better than Yugi’s (Minus the God Cards) and Yusei’s. Yuma’s many variations of Utopia will serve him well. Yuma’s deck has an incredible number of cards as new ones keep on popping up whenever he is in a pinch.

Yuma is the only lead in Yugioh who gets multiple super forms as the series progresses. His first form is probably the best as he becomes a Super Saiyan! That was definitely pretty awesome. Naturally, his forms come with their own special abilities like Shining Draw. Shining Draw is very useful as it allows you to draw any card that you want. This naturally shifts the balance of power in any duel. I am inclined to believe that Yuma also gets a degree of flight, super strength, and speed, but it is a little hard to verify.

As for his personality, Yuma is a decent lead. I prefer my main characters to be more confident and talented, but Yuma still has other good traits. He never gives up on his friends as shown in his final duels with Vector, Shark, and Astral. He’s definitely a hero and Yuma would never destroy a villain. He tries to see the good inside of every character. Yuma may take it to extremes, but at least you know that you can certainly trust him in a pinch! When he is serious, Yuma can be a real threat as a duelist and his skill progression was handled rather well. If he could have fewer comic relief scenes at times, he would be an even better lead.

Astral is a ghost who accompanies Yuma for the duration of the series. He lost his memories and he needs Yuma to get them back. The two heroes have a number of good adventures, but Astral still keeps his original goal in mind. He wants the complete destruction of Barian World. Nothing Yuma says will change his mind so they eventually engage in a duel. It is rather disappointing to see how low Astral has gotten in that final duel. There is a twist which suggests that Astral may have just been testing Yuma, but I still wonder about that. If Yuma had not that the proven the heart of the cards was with him, I think we may have had to say goodbye to Barian World.
ZX13-Kaito_stiehlt_Seele
Astral’s gimmick is that he’s new to Earth so he asks a lot of questions and makes observations. I don’t tend to care for a character like that and Astral may be a pro, but he’s the kind of guy who rarely makes his own decisions and simply listens to the corrupt men in charge. He never ended up being a good character for me, but he could have been a lot worse. At least he fought when the going got tough.

Dr. Faker was one of the first big villains of the series. He was never a favorite of mine, but he had a pretty nifty super form. He also gave us one of the best battles of the series, which was a lot of fun. That being said, he just didn’t have a great design and lacked the personality needed to make a villain really threatening. I would say that Vetrix was an improvement, but not really. Zexal really struggled with the villains in the first part of the series. Vetrix’s voice took away any mystery that he could have had. His deck was pretty handy though and it was certainly dangerous. That just didn’t make him a great villain.

I’m afraid that Yuma’s friends weren’t great. Bronk was your average bully who wasn’t good at dueling, but eventually became Yuma’s friend. Unfortunately, his skills never got better. Flip, Caswell, and Cathy were around, but they never helped out or became likable characters either. Tori is the main heroine of the series and she does her best to cheer Yuma on, but the show missed its big opportunity by never really letting her duel. This means that she was relegated to the background and never had much of an impact on the story.

Rio is Shark’s sister and she doesn’t really get to appear until the start of the second part of the show. She is a very good duelist and a nice supporting character to have around. Finally, we had a friend who could duel! Unfortunately, that was around when the twist about the Barian Emperors came around so her days as a hero were very limited. She was a tough duelist until the end though and her ice deck was fun.

Dextra was one of the allies/rivals from the early part of the series along with Nistro. They faded away in the final arc, but they still tried to help. Dextra was a good character although she never got to do all that much and her overall fight record wasn’t that great. Nistro talks a good game, but his actual skills aren’t quite as good as he would like to think. He still put up a good fight against one of the Barian Emperors, but he was doomed from the start.

Quattro tries to be like a rival to Shark in the series. He doesn’t duel the guy enough for us to really count it, but that’s what his personality is like. He mellows out after the first arc though and manages to be more likable than Trey, but not quite as cool as Quinton. It’s almost hard to imagine how he could have become so nice after he was so evil at first, but it just shows that he had some fast character development. He was a fun supporting character.

I didn’t really care for Trey though. He was the nice guy of the group, but he was tricked rather easily and this leads to disagreements with Yuma. He does help Yuma out of a few jams though so his helpfulness should not be overlooked. Most of the other heroes aren’t quite as useful when push comes to shove. Quinton is still the best of the group and it isn’t just because he has one of the coolest number cards. He’s a good duelist right up until the end and he puts up a good fight against Mizar, which is more than most of the other characters can say. He has an air of confidence about him and that makes Quinton a worthy hero to have on one’s side.

Dumon is one of the nicer Barian Emperors. He’s actually very reasonable and if the other emperors weren’t always looking for a fight, the heroes could have likely made peace through him. It wasn’t to be though and unfortunately, Dumon is also one of the weaker ones. His deck simply wasn’t very imaginative, but his design was cool. Mizar is easily one of the cooler Barian Emperors and I remember how epic his first appearance was. After having to watch Girag for so long, I was thrilled to have someone around who could fight. It was also the first time that Shark, Kite, and Yuma had gathered together in quite a while. Mizar’s Galaxy Eyes made for a great monster and while he may have been cannon fodder for the final boss, Mizar never backed down.

Girag is one of the Barian Emperors and he’s one of the main reasons why the show got off to a slow start at first. (Minus the first episode) It’s really hard to take him seriously and he’s actually a fairly weak duelist. His number isn’t very impressive and he spends a lot of time getting taken out or simply relying on minions. It’s a good thing that he had other emperors to back him up. Alito was a decent one who used to be a bit of a boxer. His deck was the most normal out of the emperors as he didn’t rely on a lot of fancy tricks to win. He simply hit hard and hit fast. Alito’s certainly a little gullible and it can be sad to see him turn on Yuma so suddenly, but he ultimately realizes that he has to fight to win. Behind Mizar and Vector and Nash and Rio……he is the best one…which is sort of saying something right?
zexal___third_form_by_kristianthetiragon-d6og515
We also can’t forget Dark Astral. He was a pretty fun villain to have. It was also a fun plot since we didn’t know that numbers could have a will of their own before that moment occurred. He got several power ups and proved to be a thorn in the side of the heroes for quite some time. I liked his character a lot and his ending wasn’t very satisfying, but you certainly can’t say that he didn’t have a lot of action before that. He got to fight quite a few times and he displayed a whole lot of power while he was around. He was a very threatening villain to be sure.

Eliphas was one of the big members of Astral World and the only one who could fight aside from Astral. His design was very good and you could certainly tell that he was a threat to any duelist. His cards weren’t very overpowered or anything, he was simply a very good duelist. It was fun to see him upgrade his monsters over and over again to be sure. He’s a rather unreasonable character and one of the main reasons why Astral ended up making some bad decisions. I certainly can’t call Eliphas a hero, but he made for a fun villain although his appearances were brief.

Mr. Heartland is one of those characters who will leave you in suspense for a while. He appears a lot in the show, but he rarely ever gets to duel. He gets an intriguing super form in Zexal II, but it certainly didn’t help me become a fan of him. He was another uninteresting villain. Meanwhile, Yuma’s Dad seemed like a good character, but his plot never really went anywhere. It seems like he’s still alive of course, but he just never checks in on Yuma. He prefers to help from the shadows, but he certainly could have helped the heroes save the planet if he had wanted too. I’m not sure how much of a duelist he is, but I’m willing to bet that he was a powerful one.

Vector is one of the biggest villains and also one of the best ones. He uses trickery to make the heroes lower their guards before striking. He’s an excellent duelist as well so you shouldn’t underestimate him either. In terms of raw power, he was easily one of the biggest threats that Yuma had to face. It’s a good thing for the hero that they’re just facing each other in a duel right? Vector spends most of the season pretending to be Yuma’s ally and his scheme works rather well. It’s pretty disheartening for the heroes to find a traitor in their midst, but that’s just how smooth Vector is. His Barian form was certainly cool. Shark should have been a little more alert when around this guy, but in the end, the heroes were ready for his tricks. Without him, it would have been very hard to have taken the Barian Emperors seriously. I’d say that Shark is still the best villain, but it’s between Vector and the upcoming villain for second place.

Don Thousand is the ultimate villain of this series and he was an epic way to end the series. He wasn’t the actual final boss that Yuma had to face, but he felt like it. His true form looks like something you would see out of Toriko and his deck doesn’t disappoint in how powerful it is. Don Thousand can actually rewrite reality thanks to one of his spell cards so he can change your card into another one. It’s the kind of ability that is almost impossible to stop and it’s a lot of fun to see how powerful a card can be. He can certainly hold his own against any other final boss in the Yugioh franchise and he’s also one of the cooler ones. It was seriously fun to watch him duel.

One area where Zexal surpassed the other Yugioh series was in how many filler or “filler” episodes that it had. Some of the battles may have technically been important for the number cards, but they were effectively filler. This happens for most of Yuma’s early tournament battles as well as his early days and even the Barian Emperor had some when Yuma had to fight random people who were taken over by Barian Force. The filler episodes certainly slowed the pacing down and weren’t as exciting as the big episodes. As such, you need to be a big fan of the actual dueling or that will hurt the experience for you a bit. We have a whole episode about Yuma dueling a guy who liked tomatoes and Yuma has to eat them during the duel. It’s pretty surreal.

As with most Yugioh series, the tone is very light at first, but then things get serious towards the end. It’s almost a tradition at this point that the whole supporting cast has to be eliminated towards the end. It happened in GX, and now it happened here. Okay…that’s two out of 4 series, but we’ll see what happens once Arc V arrives. Either way, the stakes were certainly very high. Perhaps not quite as much as GX, which was the original, but still higher than you would have guessed from the beginning.

The climax of each arc is also pretty great as you would expect. I actually preferred the first big battle as it was Kite, Shark, and Yuma against the villain in season 1. Season 2 couldn’t top that so it was just Shark and Yuma against the villain. Still really epic of course, but nothing beats a 3 on 1 duel. The animation and tension greatly improved in Zexal II so it really did put out all of the stops. One of the reasons why Yugioh always has such a great climax is because it already established all of the characters early on in the series. This means that you will be caring about each duel at the end and the stakes keep getting higher and higher. Also, I still have to say that the first episode of Zexal II was brilliant, so brilliant that it holds up against the climax as well.

Zexal is well over 100 episodes, which is a pretty good size. It’s shorter than 5D’s, which was shorter than GX, which was shorter than the original Yugioh, but I’m satisfied as long as we continue to crack 100 episodes. As I already mentioned, it’s not quite as good as the first three shows either, but it’s still a great show. It’s simply tough to top those legends as the first three Yugioh series were basically all stars. The main reason why Zexal can’t top them is because the soundtrack, animation, and duels are typically not as good as say, 5D’s. Ah well, it’s not the newest kid on the block now so a little pressure will leave it for a while.
ZEXAL_episode_82
Overall, Yugioh Zexal is a great show despite its flaws. It easily cracked the 8 stars rating and exceeded expectations that may have been had after the first episodes. We got lot of great duels. The animation was very good and the soundtrack had some good moments although it was certainly unimpressive. Zexal may be at the bottom of the hill for now, but once Arc V starts in America, it should be able to move up a spot. At the very least, I don’t see it passing Zexal until it has 50+ episodes. If you liked the other Yugioh titles, I recommend this one. The card fighting can be a tad exaggerated in their constant traps, but it will be a long, yet fun ride. Even if you just want a fun action title that is fairly light, this is a good bet. Watch out for the statue reference to GX.

Overall 8/10

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

Cardfight Vanguard Review

tumblr_maeos0zI641rv284t
Cardfight Vanguard has quickly risen up the anime ranks and it is currently the third greatest show of all time. The series controversially decided to leave the old cast so that we could get a sequel series in the form of Cardfight Vanguard G. I have no doubt that it will be a great sequel, but I can’t help thinking that they’ve made a grave mistake. It’ll be extremely difficult to pass this series. If you’re looking for action and good visuals, you’ve definitely come to the right place!

The first season is around 60-70 episodes and it starts the franchise off on a high note. The world is engrossed with a mysterious game called Cardfight Vanguard. Aichi Sendou is your average student who is a little on the timid side, but he’s always liked the game. A bully steals his card, but then gets it taken from the local pro so Aichi is forced to duel this kid. His name is Toshiki Kai and Aichi crushes him in the first episode. Of course, that means that Aichi is now on everyone’s radar! The show stays on a day by day schedule for a while until the plot really begins. Kai had a friend who goes by the name of Ren. Ren has now unlocked Psyqualia, which allows you to win any game of Cardfight. This is practically cheating so Aichi needs to put him in his place, but that will be difficult. He enters a lot of tournaments and gains experience, but defeating Ren and crushing his evil ambitions may get dangerous. Aichi is also getting tempted to join the dark side.

Season 2 began the Asia Circuit and once again, life was back to normal. Everyone just had fun playing Vanguard and things seemed right with the world. This couldn’t last as Aichi woke up one day to find that his deck was erased from history. The whole clan had been wiped out or so it would seem. None of his friends have any memory of it. Aichi’s only chance is to win the VF circuit so that he could meet Takuto and force him to spill the beans. Takuto is suspect number one since he always has an evil grin, happens to be rich, and just looked downright sinister. Aichi teams up with Kamui and Misaki, but this isn’t quite the dream team that you would expect because Kai has joined up with Ren on another team. No worries, Ren’s a good guy now, but this will make Aichi’s journey a lot more difficult. Throw in new teams like I.T. Genius and Leon’s group and the journey will definitely get intense. The climax also involves a mysterious entity that sticks around for the next 90-100 episodes.

Next up was the Link Joker arc and it’s easily the best arc in the entire franchise as well as being one of the best arcs in anime history. I would probably say that it is the second best arc of all time behind GX’s Yubel story. The theme song perfectly sums up the plot as Aichi appears with his friends and then they start to disappear. See, a mysterious foe known as Link Joker has appeared on the planet Cray (I’ll talk about that later) and it is eliminating all of the clans. The infection spreads to the human world and it takes over Takuto, using him to take over Kai. Kai is now going across the planet as he defeats many fighters. When a character loses to someone with Link Joker’s power, they are reversed. Being “reversed” means that the person now works for Link Joker and their dueling abilities are greatly strengthened. One by one, most of Aichi’s friends are corrupted by this force and he will have to finally win on his own. His friends have provided him with strength in the past and now Aichi will get to return the favor. Still, can he beat a foe who was able to beat Kai (Arc 1 Boss), Ren (Season 1 Boss), I.T. Genius, (Season 2 Sub Boss) and almost all of Aichi’s other friends? This will definitely be Aichi’s toughest challenge. It’s also the final season of this saga that is dubbed, but at least it got to end on a high note.

Finally, the anime took a pretty big turn as the final arc is pretty different from the others. Aichi has disappeared..the main character is gone! Kai realizes that nobody else remembers who Aichi is (Sounds like season 2’s plot a little eh?) and that people only remember if he defeats them in a Cardfight. He recovers the memories of Misaki, Miwa, and Kamui. Before they can help the other friends, a group called the Quatre Knights appears and warns them not to interfere. The heroes are crushed by these new villains and they will need to get a lot stronger if they want to win. They will have to do this on their own since letting the other friends in on the action will put them in danger. Kai has been through a lot of tough duels, but this will be his toughest challenge yet. The question is…what happened to Aichi and why are these Quatre Knights able to use super powers? It’s time to find out!

Before I go into the characters or why the show is so awesome or even about the planet Cray, let’s go through some of the more basic positives. One of them is the stunning animation. It really looks dynamite and it puts a lot of other current shows to shame. NarutocoughShippudencough. The colors are all very vibrant and I really like just about all of the character designs. You can bet that I won’t be forgetting Aichi or Kai anytime soon. Aichi’s new look for the final 2 episodes of the show is more than a little dicey, but it’s only 2 episodes and I liked his first 3-5 designs so I’d say that the show more than filled the bill there. Watching the monsters duke it out is great and they look very intimidating. Watching the Link Joker arc will let you see just how intense a cardfight can really get. It’s pretty amazing just how great everything looks.

Naturally, this wouldn’t be a proper 9 star rating without an elite soundtrack right? I’m confident that it could have theoretically gotten a 9 anyway, but soundtracks are so pivotal for shows that I’m glad Cardfight brought us such a good one. The themes are great right from season 1 and we also get a signature theme for Link Joker in the third season. I can’t think of any new tunes from seasons 2 and 4, but I’m sure that they brought in something. The battle themes really make sense and some characters like Kamui have their own themes, which makes their battles feel more unique. The show also had 8 openings and they are all good. Some are definitely better than others and I don’t think that the first opening of Link Joker aged very well. That’s quickly countered by the other two Link Joker openings, which are downright amazing. Season 4’s second theme is pretty incredible as well. Once again, Cardfight manages to never let us down in any of the areas that really matter.
Quatre_podiums
All right, let’s take a look at the cast. Aichi Sendou is the main character and he definitely gets a lot of character development as the series progresses. He goes from being a total rookie to being one of the most respected and talented individuals to ever play Cardfight Vanguard. His confidence also goes up through the series and we see him become very heroic and noble once the Link Joker arc occurs. He’s essentially the perfect main character and he’s basically flawless. Aichi can be a little naive as he believes that anyone who plays the game must be a good person deep down, but at least he always tries to see the best in everyone. His role in season 4 is controversial to say the least, but I’ll discuss that later on. All in all, it’s really tough for a lead to pass Aichi and he’ll forever be known as one of the elite characters.

Toshiki Kai is the rival of the series and he eventually becomes the main character for the final season. It’s a pretty big step up since it’s rare for the rival to steal the spotlight from the lead. He starts out as a loner who is obsessed with being the best player in the world, but through his own strength. He doesn’t wasn’t Psyqualia or any shortcuts to get more power. He has a brilliant speech in his two part battle against Takuto, but the ending gets a little dicey for him. His character development is much like Sasuke’s, but you could argue that it’s a little more emotional. Kai’s easily my favorite character in the series and he does a good job of playing the rival role. He maybe gets a little too into the friendship angle in season 4, but he more than makes up for this once he duels the opponents. He is easily one of the best rivals of all time.

Misaki started out as the senior member of Aichi’s little group. Kai was the mean loner, Aichi was the heroic rookie, and Kamui was the inexperienced kid who always rushed in first. The dynamic definitely made the team feel complete. Unfortunately, Misaki started to get the shaft towards the end of the series. After the pre arc in season 3, she only got a few duels and she didn’t even get to win any of them in season 4. She definitely ended on a relatively low note. Her dueling abilities never seemed to be very impressive as her skills seemed to halt after the VF circuit. It’s entirely possible that Kamui and Naoki surpassed her. She’s a good ally to have on the team and her strategic style of playing the game was unique. Misaki may not have had much to do at the end, but she’s probably one of the best main Cardfighting heroines that we’ve seen so far.

Kamui rounds out Team Q4. You could say that he’s the lucky member as he gets to be a main character for the sequel series as well as this one. He does get phased out during season 3 in favor or Naoki, but he still gets a mini arc there, which isn’t bad. His hot headed personality definitely makes him a fun character to root for. Unfortunately, he does have a subplot where he has fallen into romance with one girl while another tries to divert his attention to her. That subplot I definitely could have done without and it never goes anywhere so it really was pointless in the end. Kamui may not always have the skills to back up his tough talk, but he’s definitely an exceptional fighter in his own right. He was one of the few characters to get his own theme, which is pretty impressive.

Ren is the main villain of season 1 and he may remind you of Creed from Black Cat, at least his attire. He was corrupted by the abilities granted to him by Psyqualia and he will use these new talents to take over the world. This skill has allowed him to surpass even the great Toshiki Kai so you can imagine why he is so feared at this point. In season 2, he becomes more of a rival. He interacts with Aichi, but he’s more of a rival/friend to Kai as they used to be when they were kids. Perhaps to make up for his evil ways, Ren is now extremely polite and nice. His character definitely did a complete 180 to how he was before the Psyqualia. That’s how he stays until the series ends. Ren still keeps his dominant Cardfighting abilities though and while he may not be stronger than Kai anymore, they are certainly at the same level and continue to pass each other.

Leon has a pretty sad history and it resulted in him going with a dark power to survive this ordeal. He makes for a pretty climactic boss in season 2 and his skills are to be feared. After that, he helps out a lot in the climax of season 3 and he even trains the heroes in the final season. He’s a rival figure like Ren and I would say that this mainly applies to Aichi this time. Leon rarely interacts with Kai and they don’t even get to fight in season 3. That would have been great, but it’s safe to say that Leon was outmatched. I consider Leon to be a little weaker than Ren and it was cool to see Leon face off against his future self. There are some plot elements that makes this a little dicey, but it was a daring strategy that was fun to see. It shows that you always have to duel with your best effort since the future is now. Leon’s wind gimmick is also a pretty good one as it never gets annoying or too obvious.

Kourin is the main member of Ultra Rare as she certainly appears a lot more than the other two members. She is a mysterious figure who arrives to challenge the heroes randomly during the first 2 seasons. She works for a mysterious man named Takuto and she is also a master Vanguard player even though she is supposed to be a pop idol who shouldn’t even know much about the game. She eventually rises up to become a main character during season 3 and a lot of twists start to occur. Kourin definitely gets one of the saddest conclusions to a character arc from anyone in the show. Things just don’t end on a happy note for her and it can be tough on her fans. She was a good character from start to finish, which is why it’s regrettable that she couldn’t stick around. Her final deck is very dangerous and even Kai has a lot of trouble with it.
maxresdefault
Naoki goes from being a character who missed the first 2 seasons to ultimately being one of the most important supporting characters. His role is probably the most important aside from Kai once he is introduced. He just started playing the game so he is a rookie, but that doesn’t stop him from challenging pros like Kai and Aichi. He improves at a rapid pace as he duels the other opponents and he’s a serious contender for world tournaments by the end. He’s more of a hot head than Kamui and he used to be known as a bit of a delinquent so he definitely doesn’t back down from the villains. He does a good job of standing up to his opponents and his confidence never wavers. His deck may not be as flashy as some of the other characters, but he gets the job done. While his appearance does start to throw Kamui and Misaki out of the show, it’s hard not to like him. The show did a good job of making him likable so quickly considering that he entered the show pretty late.

Shingo is another new character who debuted alongside Naoki and he’s not even close to as talented as Naoki. He loves reading about Vanguard, but that doesn’t always translate well into pure skill. You could say that he is more of a beginner at this point and even by the end he is not a serious threat to any of the villains. He continues to insist that he is a better cardfighter than Naoki, but nobody ever really buys that. His dedication to the game is impressive I suppose, but I definitely wouldn’t have minded if he had not been introduced. Shingo’s a good example of a supporting character who came in too late and didn’t end up becoming likable.

Morikawa is one of Aichi’s pals from season 1 and he eventually becomes more of a guest star figure who pops up once in a while. He’s always very confident and it can be easy to root for him, but his obsession with Kourin definitely hurts any chance that he had of really being a likable character. It turns out that he is actually pretty good at the game when he doesn’t have to create a deck. (So he would fit in pretty well over in Buddyfight) but that’s more of a comedy gag than anything. He never gets any serious moments so he really is used as the comic relief of the show. Admirable, but he could have been better. At least having one cool moment or big fight would have been epic.

Miwa has been Kai’s best friend for quite a while and he always helps the rival when he is in a pinch. Whenever Kai is in a pinch, Miwa is ready to step in and help. His duels are always full of passion and Miwa tends to bring a well rehearsed speech with him, but he is almost always doomed to be defeated. It’s too bad since he’s a likable character, but he rarely ever gets to win. I can’t think of a single high stakes duel where he was able to be the victor and that’s pretty sad. Nobody wants to lose all of the time and Miwa is shown to be a very good duelist, he just happens to always fight top tier opponents.

Emi is Aichi’s sister and she’s a supporting character who appears quite a few times. She never gets a big moment where she has to face one of the villains or anything like that, but it’s good that she likes Vanguard. It’s possible that she could eventually get a big role in Cardfight G since she is probably a very good player by now. Likewise, Manager Shin is another character who is always around, but never gets to duel. He likes to crack jokes and keep the atmospheare light so that the heroes can bounce back a little easier after they are crushed in Cardfights. It would be good if he could at least fight a little though since he’s so far out of the loop that he can barely even give moral support.

Rekka is one of the other members of Ultra Rare and while her role is not huge, it’s of a decent size. She gets a good amount of duels and she even becomes a temporary rival for Misaki. Her abilities are definitely potent even if her deck doesn’t appear to be very good. She’s always pretty cheerful and in that sense she’s similar to Ratie Curti. She does like to taunt her opponents once she’s safely in the lead though so it’s definitely not all nice when facing her. She makes for a good antagonist.

Suiko is the third member of Ultra Rare and you’ll ultimately wonder what the point of her addition was. She mostly just trolls the other two members and she rarely ever gets to duel. She’s meant to be the mysterious member of the group, but since that plot ultimately doesn’t go anywhere, it just ends up feeling a little pointless. I definitely did not care for her character.

Takuto is the leader of Ultra Rare and he’s a pretty sinister figure. He wants to help the Planet Cray so he’s always involving people in his plots. He actually erased the memories of the Ultra Rare members, which is how he brought them over to his side. It reminds you that this guy can’t be trusted and he’s definitely a villain. Takuto also doesn’t let Aichi know why the Royal Paladins were taken away and it’s definitely hard to forget that. When Takuto is taken over in season 3, it’s hard to feel bad for the guy. Takuto ends up being one of the strongest cardfighters to end up playing the game, but it doesn’t help his personality. As long as you remember to think of him as a villain, he’s not bad. He’s definitely pretty threatening and his evil voice is intense. It’s like a DBZ moment as he continues to power up.

Tetsu is the muscle of Ren’s organization and he’s always ready for a good fight. His skills are definitely formidable and while he is not at Kai’s level, he can win some tournaments on his own. He grew up with Ren and Kai so it’s only natural that he inheiret some skills. He does whatever Ren wants and I think that he should have tried to stop his ally when Ren went off the deep end. Tetsu definitely isn’t perfect, but he’s a nice guy deep down, which is what counts. He’s certainly not evil and he makes sure not to drag innocents into Ren’s plans.

Asuka is the third member of the team and she always wants to impress Ren with her circus themed deck. It doesn’t make for very entertaining duels, but Asuka is definitely a talented fighter. She goes up against Misaki a few times and she typically seems like the more impressive Vanguard player. She doesn’t really level up or switch decks though so she always appears to be at the same level. It’s a high level so that’s good, but it would be nice to see her get some development and a new deck to boot. Her infatuation with Ren can be a bit much, but she’s likable otherwise.

Koutei is the leader of Team Caesar and he’s pretty great. He’s extremely optimistic and whenever he makes a speech, the theme song tends to play in the background. He uses a Mecha deck and it has really helped him through the years. He makes it to the final round almost every year and it’s just his bad luck that Ren is always around. It’s a bit of a running gag that he always loses the fights that matter, but he manages to stay really confident despite all this. He never lets anything get him down and he’s a shining beacon throughout the series. I definitely became a fan of his rather quickly and it’s always a thrill to see him duel. It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s one of the best characters in the series!

Yuri is on Koutei’s team and she ends up being yet another rival for Misaki. Misaki ultimately ended up with 3 rivals, which is pretty impressive since some characters like Kamui never got to have a true rival. Yuri is the tough member of the group and while she is not as strong as Koutei, she was good enough to make it to the finals in the team tournament. Koutei always blew that opportunity since he simply cannot beat Ren so Yuri always did her part. She’s a pretty good character and her bond with the other members is a strong one. The third member is the one who doesn’t really have a point here. His name is Gai, but he is usually pushed around by Yuri and he’s actually not a very good duelist. You could say that he is basically just along for the ride….no wonder his role is so small eh?
cardfightv-44-1
Gouki is the leader of Team Handsome and he is only a threat for a couple of episodes in the early part of season 1. He’s fairly weak, but he can be considered tough when you are just starting out in the world. You can compare him to Iruka from Naruto. Naruto probably couldn’t defeat Iruka when he was just starting out, but by the time he got to the Chunin Exams you could make the case that it could actually be a close fight. Gouki definitely helps Aichi improve his skills, but he doesn’t do much after that. He was never my favorite character so I wasn’t sad to see him go, but he was still pretty decent.

Chris is the leader of team genius and he’s the only member who really matters. His two sidekicks never really get to do anything and while they talk tough, I was not impressed with them. Chris unlocks the power of Psyqualia, which greatly improves his game. While one of his partners is distracted with romance and the other one’s desire to be the best isn’t very strong, Chris is the capable leader of the group. He always shows up when there is trouble and he proves to be a tough obstacle when he is reversed. I never liked him as a character though because he is a little too full of himself and he doesn’t seem like he can back it up. He’s too inexperienced to compete with the other big leaguers like Kai, Leon, or Ren. He’s naturally still a pro, but he’s definitely not the best one.

Gaillard is the (unofficial) leader of the Quatre Knights and his abilities are exceptional. Not only is he one of the best European fighters on the planet, but he has supernatural abilities that come from his ring. He has the ability to create blue fire and he can create his own environments for when he is cardfighting. The loser receives “judgment” which means that they suffer a severe burning. Gaillard can be pretty unreasonable at times, but he does everything in the name of justice and he believes that he is doing the right thing. He makes for a good rival to Kai in season 4 and it would be cool to see him appear again. Gaillard could very well be in the top 5 strongest characters in the series and it would be fun to see him fight someone like Ren or Leon.

Neve is another member of the group and his powers involve thunder poles that zap his opponents. He may get to have the most impressive resume from the group since he never loses to anyone aside from Aichi Sendou. It’s all right to lose to the world champ so there’s definitely no shame there. Neve’s country is in the middle of a civil war so his circumstances are pretty dangerous. This has also helped him to close off his feelings for when he’s in the middle of a job and he always brings his A game to a cardfight. He’s certainly not as interesting as Gaillard, but he’s a great fighter.

Serra is the only member who doesn’t have any heroic ambitions for what he does and let’s just say that his sob story is a little sinister. In his family everyone had to fight in order to survive with the loser being thrown out and losing his finances. Serra beat everyone, which is how he survived and he is a tough cardfighter. It’s hard to gauge just how tough he is, but his skills do seem to be worthy for that of a Quatre Knight’s. You’ll likely be rooting against him whenever the guy is on screen and he is certainly the least likable member of the team.

Ratie Curti probably has the best backstory since she always liked donuts. When she first appears, you’ll probably be expecting her to troll the main characters before she beats them up, but she is just naturally happy. It can make losing to her all the more bitter as she’ll be having fun as you get stabbed by her vine powers. She’s doing what she needs too in order to save Planet Cray so she’s all right with taking down a few heroes. If they’re in her way, then it’s time for them to be removed. By the end of the show, she has learned more things and she will probably end up being a more likable character.

Now, you’re probably wondering what the rules for Cardfight are right? It’s significantly different compared to Yugioh, which is good since it means that Cardfight was able to make it into the world on its own merits. On your turn, you are able to “ride” (summon) a unit of your choice as the vanguard. You must start at 0 and every turn you are able to level it up. You can have up to 3 monsters in the front row at once and then you can put 3 in the back to power up the front row units. Whenever you attack with your avatar (center monster) you can flip over a card in the deck. If it has a symbol on the top right hand corner, then it will give you some kind of bonus effect based on what color it is. You may not want to always summon all of the cards in your hand either since those are used to block attacks when it is your opponent’s turn. Level 1 cards can perfectly nullify any attack if you discard another one. Those are the basic rules of the game.

More advanced techniques start to show themselves as the season goes on. You lose when you take 6 damage. There is a chance to not take a damage point when you flip over the card from your deck. Before putting it in the damage zone, check to see if it has a green chest on the top right. If it does, then you can recover one damage. You can also flip over 2 damage points to activate one of your counter blast’s. (A technique that a monster has) You don’t heal the 2 damage, but it’s still useful. A Limit Break requires you to flip 3 cards and it’s an even stronger ability. There are other abilities like riding the same monster on top of another one and using “Seek the Mate!” That’s the final ability used in the series and it’s definitely not the greatest one out there. The whole 4th season was about this, but I was never crazy about the addition. Basically, you can summon 2 monsters in the center circle instead of one, which makes for a better ability. So, it’s technically strong, but it’s just not as impressive as some of the other abilities.

Season 4 will definitely raise a lot of questions and I think that the show went a little too far in its quest to make Aichi look like the ultimate villain. Before now, Aichi was rather timid although he became commanding when the stakes were high. In season 4, Aichi travels the world recruiting powerful Cardfighters to help him and his personality definitely seems a little different. Even as he attempts to recruit Ren, he doesn’t seem like the Aichi that we remember from the old days. Where did he get the money for his constant road trips and how did he harness his Link Joker abilities to perfectly? Aichi created a large fortress on the moon and warped himself there while also giving Kourin back her memories before transporting her to the moon. He found out how to seal the Link Joker seed and also gave the Quatre Knights objects of power that gave them super abilities. It even allowed them to erase everyone’s memories. The abilities are pretty cool, but Aichi naturally loses them when he turns good, which is regrettable. I think the writers could have found some more realistic ways to make Aichi undergo this big character change, but the premise is pretty hard to swallow as it is so I suppose that there wasn’t a whole lot of things that the writers could do this time. He even bashes the concept of friendship and lets the heroes know that it can’t solve everything. The scene will make you take a step back as you quickly start to root against Aichi. (Although he does make for a great villain)
Cardfight-vanguard-link-joker-hen-ep-23-6
The writers do a good job of handling the victory speeches that the heroes make. Typically, a character wins when he makes a really heartwarming speech, but that is not always the case here. There are many times where the stakes are high and the main character makes a huge speech, (Sometimes even a 2 episode speech) but ultimately ends up losing the match. You’ll find yourself shocked at the outcome more than once and that’s definitely impressive. I think that this maybe goes a little too far in season 4 when the heroes manage to lose just about every fight, but it still ends up being pretty unexpected so I’ll give the writers some props there. By the end of the show, Aichi and Kai may be two of the greatest cardfighters on the planet, but the show wasn’t too cheesy and showed that the other characters are still pretty outclassed compared to the pros. I wanted Misaki and Kamui to win at least one match, but technically I suppose that they would be expected to lose such a fight.

Cardfight Vanguard’s writing is very good and that comes in handy for the early part of every season. As with Yugioh GX, the show typically has a very light themed atmosphere that quickly grows darker during the climax each season. So, we know what to expect when a season starts and it’s easy to wish that the plot can start. Typically, the plot won’t begin for maybe even the first 15+ episodes so it can be a long wait. If the wrong writers were involved, it could be a chore to see the heroes tackle their filler opponents. Luckily, the pre arcs are still a lot of fun. There are no real stakes in the duel, but the actual duels are still entertaining enough that you can watch them with ease.

Season 3’s start was probably the slowest as we had to get used to new characters like Naoki and Shingo while losing a fan favorite in the form of Kamui. It still did get better as it went along and it was fun to see the student council oppose the heroes. Season 1 and 2’s beginnings were also rather slow, but we got to see new characters and the heroes entered many tournaments. There are few shows that have as many tournaments as Cardfight and it’s always fun to see them enter these competitions. I’ve been a big fan of tournaments since before I even started watching anime and it’s a great way to develop the heroes while introducing potential rivals and enemies.

Cardfight Vanguard really did just about everything correctly in just about every area. It was able to introduce new main characters, which is always a risk and the progression of the main characters was rock solid. You can clearly see the development that they’ve had if you watch part of season 1 and then skip to season 4 or 3. You are able to grow up with the characters as you watch the show and it’s probably the most realistic cardfighting show that I’ve seen yet. (In a good way since realistic typically doesn’t translate into a positive thing) There is naturally a lot more to the show than can ever be covered in a review so that’s why you need to check it out to see everything for yourself.

The big question is..does this match up to Yugioh? I actually do think that this show beats all of the Yugioh series aside from GX so that’s a pretty great start to the franchise. I do prefer Yugioh’s actual gameplay since it’s a lot deeper and the luck factor is lessened. That being said, Cardfight’s pacing is a lot faster because of the simplistic rules and battles can easily be finished in one episode even if it’s a long fight. Since this is Cardfight’s first show, we should just count it as such and since it’s beating the classic Yugioh show, we can say that the Cardfight anime franchise has the lead at the moment. Yugioh is winning by sheer numbers, but let’s see how close it’ll be when both franchises have 5 shows. G is almost definitely going to lose to GX so we’ll need to see where Cardfight goes from there. Yugioh is likely not going to relax either as Arc V is still airing so the gap may never lessen. This means that Cardfight will likely never pass Yugioh, but at the same time, I don’t see any other card franchise ever passing Cardfight. We’ll have to see if Buddyfight ultimately gets to hold the third place spot or not.
Reversed_Kai
Overall, Cardfight Vanguard is one of the greatest shows of all time. It has a fun cast and the animation is excellent. The soundtrack is certainly worthy of such an all star title and you’ll be at the edge of your seat in each season. The climax of each arc never disappoints and watching the characters develop their skills and personality is part of the joy of watching this title. I recommend this to anyone that wants to watch a fun anime with a lot of action and excitement. At around 200 episodes, it makes for a pretty satisfying watch.

Overall 9/10