Mob Psycho 100 Review

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This show is a nice contrast to Attack on Titan. That show had amazing animation, soundtrack, and writing which helped to counter the terrible source material. It managed to bring up the manga which is like a 1 all the way to a 5. Granted, it hasn’t had to adapt the really sketchy stuff yet so we’ll see if that can last. Mob Psycho is the opposite as the animation is terrible and the soundtrack is only average at best while the plot isn’t bad. It’s funny how two shows can be so different and so similar at the same time. It’s no One Punch Man, but the series manages to pick up its game just enough in the end to save itself.

The series is about a kid named Shigeo. He was born as the strongest being in the universe and he could end all life on the planet if he wanted too. Shigeo was unable to deal with this so he locked away his true powers with his emotions and decided to train under a con artist named Reigen. As a result of losing his emotions, Shigeo is now super timid and unsure of himself. He basically says whatever he is thinking and is typically a very oblivious person who is also not fit physically. He is forced to come to terms with his powers more when an evil organization known as Claw kidnaps his brother. Can Shigeo defeat them without losing his cool or is it curtains for him?

Right from the start you’ll notice a lot of similarities to One Punch Man. I like to think of it as the poor man’s version of OPM as it does everything on a lower level, but at least it still tries to be like that show. If you’re gonna copy something, you should copy from the best. It’s from the same guy so at least he’s just copying himself, I imagine there would have been a lot of waves online if this had really been a ripoff from another person.

Lets start with the negatives and then go into the positives. Mob Psycho is hurt by a very slow start. The show is only 12 episodes and the plot doesn’t really begin until around episode 8-9. The first chunk is just for filler and character development. Most of the development isn’t any good though which doesn’t help its case. The show isn’t so much boring as it’s just very underwhelming because of the animation. You won’t really begin to like any of the characters aside from Reigen and most of the supporting cast is pretty bland and lackluster.

The beginning of the plot didn’t help matters either as it covered Shigeo’s brother Ritsu on his descent into darkness. He turned completely evil and wrecked some lives before being beat up a few times and realizing that being a hero is less paiful. He was definitely one of the worst characters in the series so getting multiple episodes to himself wasn’t a really good idea on the show’s part. Next up is the biggest negative of the series though…the animation.

You can call the animation indie or experimental, but it leads to the same result. It’s just really bad. The average episode will look like hastily drawn title by the Dragon Ball Super B team. (Not even the starters) The character designs are only good when the episodes get serious or during a battle so otherwise they don’t look very good at all. It’s like we’ve time traveled decades into the past for this show. Moreover, the show looks ugly on purpose at times. The show has a really awful way of drawing characters sweating and we get some dicey facial expressions the whole time as well. The animation focuses on elements that don’t help the show’s case and parts of it will even seem like FLCL. It can be subtly gross if anything.

Now, the animation isn’t terrible 24/7. It magically transforms into a solid spectacle once the action gets underway. Suddenly the show remembers that this is 2016 and it looks top of the line. For the final 3 episodes, this is mostly the case for the entire adventure which also proves that this “experimental” style as intentional. It’s a little insulting that the show looked so bad on purpose. It would be like if the One Punch Man anime had decided to look like the web comic sketches. It would make no sense and would have severely hurt the show. Unlike Mob Psycho, the OPM series is just a lot better in general so it’d probably still get a 7, but it would be a massive two point drop.

As for the soundtrack, it’s not bad. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a little standard, but I’ll take it. It has 1-2 really good themes with the rest not being very notable. I wasn’t a big fan of the theme song and I still don’t care for the visuals, but the actual music grew on me by the end of the show. It’s definitely pretty catchy and the serious Mob themes are good. I’ll give this area of the show a thumbs up. All right, lets talk about the characters.

I definitely don’t like Shigeo. He’s not very smart and is way too timid. While the first trait can work to a character’s favor if handled well, the latter pretty much never works. Shigeo gets serious when he reaches 100% rage of course and he quickly jumps into the other extreme since there’s no middle ground for him. I wish he’d stay like that though. Not only does his design get a lot cooler, but he actually has a personality. Normal Shigeo has no character and just lets everyone walk right over him. He stays in normal mode for so long that a member of Claw even defeats him and then he loses another round later on for losing control again. Shigeo’s just not a good character and he is extremely annoying whenever he is on screen. For being the world’s strongest fighter, he’s got a ways to go.

Luckily, Reigen is the best character in the series and he gets a lot of screen time as well. Since he is a professional con artist, he doesn’t fall for any of the tricks that Shigeo steps into. Reigen knows how to steal money from people and trick them into enjoying the process. While he doesn’t have any powers, Reigen does know basic hand to hand skills and has most of the best moments in the series. He takes on the final bosses and it’s just great. While his advice at the end was completely terrible, it was the only out of character moment for him. The rest of it was all pretty legit and he just steals the show plain and simple. He’s the kind of character who should definitely stay powerless as it’s part of his charm, but I’d still love to see him beat up more villains at some point.

Next up is Dimple. He was a big villain who got turned into a powerless spirit and now Shigeo allows him to hang around. It may just be to fuel his ego though as Shigeo will threaten him now and again. He is definitely a villain even if it’s not played too seriously so the other characters need to watch out. He’s not a great character, but he can definitely be amusing. Ritsu on the other hand never gets amusing or likable. He’s the classic “jealous brother” trope along with characters like Yukio from Blue Exorcist. He doesn’t have any powers so that makes him feel bad. Ritsu does whatever he can to gain powers, but nothing works so one day he decides to take a shortcut. After he gains his powers, Ritsu immediately uses them to bully people because of his inferiority complex. This is the part where Ritsu makes sure to never redeem himself. He really only turns into a good guy because he was completely humiliated by the villains and spends the last episodes just getting beat up over and over again. He got to keep his powers so now he can fight to a degree, but he’s nowhere near Mob. Like One Punch Man, if you’re a supporting character then you’re doomed.
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Ritsu does officially turn good so he’ll probably be a solid character in season 2, but it was too late for him here. He already ruined the lives of a lot of classmates by framing them and he just really crossed the line into full villain territory. It’s hard to reverse that in a handful of episodes as opposed to Naruto where Sasuke had hundreds of episodes to show you why he was a villain before turning good. Granted, it wasn’t handled any better than this show though, but that’s another story. Ritsu actually does bring down the show.

The last member of the heroes is Hanazawa. He has a similar plot to Ritsu as he starts off as a bully and then becomes a good guy after Shigeo shaves his hair off and beats him into the ground. There’s a trend here if you’ve noticed, the only way to turn a villain into a good guy is to beat him up. The series goes even further with this by the end of the series. I actually liked the ending of the show quite a lot. Just about everyone turned good, apologies were made, etc. It was a nice uplifting ending to the series and while Shigeo looks bad as usual in his epilogue, it hit all of the right notes. Since this is supposed to be a light hearted parody anyway, it should have an ending like this to match that beat. It’s why I have much higher hopes for the 2nd season. If it plays its cards right, I could definitely see that one getting a 7. Hopefully they don’t get the same animation studio though.

Time for the villains. Shou is the hype antagonist who they are saving for season 2. His abilities are certainly extraordinary as he was able to take down one of the strongest villains in the blink of an eye. He’s pretty charismatic and I think that I actually will end up liking this villain. He’s the best villain in the series at the moment. Another big villain was Sakurai. He’s a swordsman who uses psychic energy to amp up his equipment so he can take the fight to the heroes. He’s very strong and is certainly the most no nonsense of all the fighters. His role may not have been huge, but he was one of the big villains and I’d say that he was the best member. (Shou doesn’t count as a member of course)

Koyama was another one of the big members. He has super strength and it was quite formidable since he was actually able to punch a hole through Shigeo’s defenses. He wasn’t at 100% yet, but that was still really impressive. Furthermore, he was able to survive a long combo from Shigeo’s true power and had enough strength left to counter-attack and take him down. This guy was definitely no joke even if he was treated like one during round 2. He was another really good villain. There were other members of the group who shows up like one guy with fire powers and another who used a whip. The organization definitely had some really talented fighters under their belt.

Ishiguro was the leader of the group and “her” design while in villain mode was pretty cool. The gravity balls were also a nice touch. Gravity powers are some of the most underrated abilities in all of media if you ask me. They can definitely be very lethal and she was holding her own even after Mob stepped in. The ultimate reveal for Ishiguro may have been underwhelming for some and funny to others. It was mildly expected that something like this would happen, but at the same time it’s still a little surprising. It definitely destroyed Ishiguro’s character so hopefully it was worth the laugh.

One element of Mob Psycho 100 that can be a mixed bag is the fact that it’s a parody. Shigeo is meant to be virtually invincible which means that he can beat people whenever he wants. The reason why it doesn’t work as well as One Punch Man is because he’s just not likable. Also, Shigeo does lose 2-3 times in the series unlike Saitama who has yet to even come close to losing. It hurts the whole concept a little. Also, this means that there is never any real danger in the show. The show did randomly get dark at a few points in the series like with Ritsu’s plot and when the organization showed up for the first time. It’s a little all over the place with the tone and especially when the show would just go full parody mode and have some big comedic reveal to disrupt a tense moment. It just didn’t always work well. Some episodes had a perfect blend like with the last episodes as Reigen wrecked everybody, but others like the super strength guy getting one shotted by Shigeo didn’t work. I do think that it’s a formula which could work like OPM proved, but this show just isn’t as good at it. As a result, many of the fights in this series are completely one sided which is never a lot of fun for the viewer. Whether it’s the hero outmatching the villain or vice versa if you make it too lopsided then it’s not going to be any fun. It has to at least be at the level where the other side has a slim chance like with Aizen wrecking the Bleach cast or Broly dishing out the pain. Those were lopsided battles, but they still felt like battles, not just one guy murdering everyone else or knocking them out with a thought.

Also, the supporting characters just need to be written out. The Alien, Psychics club is really just a waste of time. None of their scenes are funny and the characters aren’t likable. At least the body improvement club members help out Shigeo when he needs them. Those guys are honorable and you can count of them. Unfortunately, they are still side characters so they get beat up quite a lot. I definitely felt bad for them at any rate since they didn’t really deserve it. It was also one of the moments that hurt Shigeo a lot as he just watched all of his friends get beaten up in front of him and didn’t move a muscle to help. Considering that these guys only got into this mess to protect Shigeo from the bullies and it’s pretty messed up. The bullies sure get away with quite a lot in this show.

On a final note, making Reigen the main character would really help the show. As I mentioned, he has most of the best scenes in the show. He takes out the villains while staying classy and not breaking a sweat. One problem with the show is that all of the fights revolve around someone beating Shigeo black and blue until he turns into rage mode and then crushes the opponent while insulting him the whole time. There’s no middle ground so the supporting characters are your only chance at a good fight. It’s just Shigeo turning into rage mode constantly, but not even a really cool version like Kirito. (Best kind of rage mode) Reigen wouldn’t have that problem since he never even gets upset. The show could just tap into its comedy/parody nature and think of cool ways for Reigen to win through his scams. A show like that would definitely be a lot of fun and that’s the key thing. It would be fun as opposed to just being dark and brooding at times.

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Overall, I wasn’t really a fan of Mob Psycho. It had its hype moments and did get really good at the end, but the painful beginning really held it back. It could get a little mean spirited and the fact that Shigeo’s not a good lead doesn’t help either. That’s why I make the comparison to Attack on Titan, they’re both similar when you think about it. Mob Psycho has a whole lot more potential, but actually realizing it will be the struggle. Improving Mob as a character and getting the animation to a reasonable level should be the show’s two top priorities. Along the way it should also try to get the blend of genres balanced and write out some of the supporting characters as well. If it can do all of that, then Mob Psycho will be a success. Looking at One Punch Man and learning how to use humor as effectively would also be a valuable use of time. If you love One Punch man, then I guess you should check this out. I’d recommend just watching the first episode and then skipping the next 5-6 and starting with the plot if anything. That would probably help the experience quite a lot. Alternately, just check out One Punch Man instead.

Overall 5/10

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Mobilize!! Pokemon Ranger Review

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You may remember that I started this series about a month ago. I ended up finishing it about a day or two later, but I didn’t get a chance to put up the review til now. It’s only 12 chapters long so it makes for a very fast read. The chapters are also small so it’s considerably shorter than the average manga volume. It basically adapts the first game, but think of it as an abridged version.

A Pokemon Ranger wants to be the very best. He’s at a pretty low rank at the moment, but his heart’s in the right place. He completes several missions and then becomes aware of a new danger lurking over the horizon. They are essentially the anti Pokemon Rangers as they use their capture nodes to control Pokemon and bring them over to the dark side. Is there anything that our young hero can do to stop them? Luckily he is not alone as he has two main comrades who help him when they feel like it. They are far more experienced so typically they’re busy on other tasks.

Grabbing this series was pretty tough since Deviantart is really the only place that has it all. It’s so obscure that websites even say that it has 12 volumes as opposed to chapters. I suppose the chapters may have been called volumes or something, but I think that’s just because it was labeled that way on the site. I read it all in one batch and I’m glad that I did because finding it again would be a bit of a hassle. It’s mostly due to the fact that the site doesn’t load well and the same goes for the pages so it takes a while. That’s the main reason why I didn’t go back to grab the names. You don’t really need them here anyway since the personalities are what’s important.

The main hero isn’t bad. He’s a nice kid who is very determined. In effect, he’s a generic Shonen kind of character who doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. Luckily, he’s just got a lot of natural skills and Pokemon just want to work with him. He’s courageous and can definitely hold his own story. His more experienced partner is a good character as well. As I mentioned earlier, she doesn’t get a whole lot to do though. For the most part, she pitches in once in a while along with the boss, but it’s all up to the main character. Without him everyone would have been doomed anyway.

The art is a little basic, but it works just fine. It’s certainly clear at the very least so you always know what is happening. It’s nothing that’ll win awards, but it gets the job done. With each chapter being so short, I imagine that the artist had a lot of time to make sure that each page looked just right. As this story is essentially a one shot, you don’t really need to know anything about Pokemon to jump in and enjoy this one. The title gives you the basic premise and explains what is happening.

I played the first Pokemon Ranger game a while back. It’s been a while, but I’d say that the volume felt pretty faithful for what is adapted. Either that or the pre-arc and the main villain were just very similar. One thing that was a little sudden was how the main character jumped from around rank 1 all the way to the max in the final chapter. I guess he did save the world and all, but it seemed a little sudden and out of left field. Well, at least he can boldly proclaim how he got to his goal a lot faster than most other heroes. It didn’t take him almost 6 years to be the Hokage or 10+ years to finally unlock Super Saiyan 4.

Overall, This is a nice little title. It’s a bit of a fluff piece as you’ll read and enjoy it, but then never come back to the title. There isn’t really a need to ever re read this piece, but it’s still good. It didn’t really make any mistakes and it was just a pleasant little tale to read. There’s a lot you can do with the Pokemon universe and I’d like to see more manga titles like this. A longer one would be nice as well, but this is better than nothing. I’d recommend checking it out if you can find it. Maybe it’ll convince you to buy the game since that’s the whole point of this. I aim to buy the next few titles at some point, but it could be a while.

Overall 7/10

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown Review

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It’s time for the third Charlie Brown special in a row. The main plot in this one isn’t that bad and may be the most entertaining, but we also got the worst subplot of the trio. Yes, Linus actually got the worst plot for a change and it was a little surprising since you’d expect his story to be pretty interesting most of the time. I suppose it just wasn’t to be, but at least we got to see Snoopy pranking people and just making the day more fun in general.

It’s Valentine’s Day and Charlie is hoping that he’ll actually get one for a change. The problem is that the system is rigged against him as it involves students each writing Valentine’s to the other kids and then someone hands them out later. Since Charlie has no friends to send him Valentine’s, this means that he has to sit around and wait as they slowly show him all of the letters that are for everyone else. I’m surprised that Charlie was surprised at this result, but I guess you have to be in a state of denial sometimes or the school will overwhelm you. The main plot sees Charlie get down about this, but he must hang in there. Surely someone will give him a card before the day is over…right?

As for the Linus subplot, he buys a chocolate for his teacher. The problem is that she’s always dashing around so he can’t find an opportunity to give it to her. Can he make it in time or will he have to start looking for a refund. I’d say that it was an emotional trip, but it really wasn’t. The subplot didn’t really add anything to the special except for an opportunity to see Sally chase after him for the chocolate. I’m definitely in the mood for such a large quantity myself. It looked pretty filling although assorted chocolates usually don’t end up taking away your hunger all that much. The pieces are just too small.

The end of the special has a pretty tough choice. Would you accept a used valentine? That’s the question that you’ve gotta ask yourself. I’d definitely say “Lol no” but maybe I’d say that I appreciate the sentiment if I didn’t feel like it was intended as an insult. It just seems like you’d be better off with no card than to get a fake one. I guess Charlie was pretty desperate at the end though. Once again, his imagination takes off with him though as he starts to believe that he is actually really popular all of a sudden. It’s a little hard to take seriously, but everyone has to start somewhere right? Maybe Charlie’s time has finally arrived.

A decent interlude during all of this was Snoopy’s live puppet show. It really reminds you just how intense the dog could be. He deliberately used the play as a ruse so he could attack Lucy and laugh about it. Charlie didn’t seem to mind much so I guess Snoopy already had him on the payroll. The scene wasn’t too long which prevented it from dragging on or getting obnoxious. It’s always good to have a change of pace as long as it is handled well.

The animation is consistent as always. The chocolate box looked pretty good and all of the character models were on point. It’s nothing to write home about, but there are no real flaws either. It’s a tried and true recipe to success. This special didn’t really have any songs though and it feels like the specials just ditched the concept of a soundtrack all of a sudden. Where’d all the music go? I always like to have some music as it makes the whole special more endearing.

Overall, The special was decently good. The Linus part could have been left out, but Charlie’s plot had the right mix of tragedy and comedy. You never felt too bad for him because this was probably one of the most minor sad events to ever happen to him. Seriously, it’s usually a lot worse. Not getting a Valentine on Valentine’s Day is like not getting a turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s sad, but you’ll live so long as you have Mash and a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese. I’m not sure when I’ll see my next Charlie Brown special, but there are always more out there so they shall return. In the meantime, prepare for some more intense reviews coming up.

Overall 6/10

You’re in Love, Charlie Brown Review

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This Charlie Brown special was definitely a lot more true to what the series is all about. It’s another story of Charlie Brown trying to win the red haired girl’s attention, but getting embarrassed along the way. However, it’s certainly not as personal as in the last one. Everyone is mean to him, but that’s to be expected at this point. It was just more enjoyable and this special was even older so it makes sense. Peppermint Patty has her first real role here since the Chuck gimmick happens for the first time based on Charlie’s reaction and it just feels retro.

Charlie tries to impress the red haired girl quite a few times or to at least stand out, but it keeps backfiring. You can appreciate his effort as he was able to write some really cool equations on the whiteboard, but it turned out that he didn’t know how he got there. It was still impressive that he knew them in the first place though. Hiding under a paper bag when the girl approached was a little harder to sympathize with though as it showed that he lacked the nerve when it counted.

The ending is a little on the cheesy side to be honest and I like to think that the letter was written by one of Charlie’s friends so he wouldn’t be moping during the entire summer vacation. If it was real then at least Charlie got some attention for once and hopefully she wouldn’t forget him over the summer vacation. Charlie will also have to stay on his best behavior since he’s now on the school’s naughty list for yelling at a teacher. It’s definitely not something that you’d expect from Charlie, but he was wound pretty tight by this point. Eventually he was definitely going to crack after all of the pressure.

Peppermint Patty and Linus are really the only two people that Charlie can count on. The former may have let him down with her plan to meet on the baseball mound, but at least her heart was in the right place. Linus also offers words of encouragement even if they turn into subtle insults at times. He certainly made things worse by telling Lucy and the others about the red haired girl. Snoopy is around as well although he doesn’t do much. His shenanigans are always cool though and help the special pass by. It was another romance centered one, but the special was still layered. We got to see the whole cast and the comedy was handled well. It was just far more entertaining than the last one.

The animation is as consistent as ever. This special is even older so it’s all the more impressive to see how it’s held up over the years. That really speaks to how good the overall style is. You can easily glance at the special and immediately recognize all of the characters and what’s happening. It’s changed a little over the years, but by and large it is the same style that we all know.

Overall, I’m one step closer to watching all of the Charlie Brown specials. I can definitely see their appeal as it’s easy to watch these. They’re just nice, light hearted fun. Now, whether a happy ending makes up for a sad beginning and middle for Charlie is another question altogether. In this case, I’d say that it sort of does since Charlie doesn’t take it personally and the stakes were a lot lower. It really depends on how it’s handled since this kind of thing can easily turn mean spirited if the writers aren’t careful. It has already happened a few times after all, but by and large the franchise has always been good with that. This one is winning as of now, but next up is the final special that I’ve seen at the moment. Can the special with Valentine’s Day in its title take the win or will it fall into the trap of the former? Time to find out!

Overall 6/10

Scooby Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon Review

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All right, time for one of the latest Scooby Doo adventures. The first WWE adventure was actually pretty fun. I’ll take any excuse to throw in some fight scenes to the classic Scooby Doo formula you know? The problem is that this one takes the wrestling out of the WWE for the most part as it tries to be a racing film. That’s a verrrrrrry odd strategy if you ask me and it really didn’t make any sense. Sure, we still had some fights, but not as many as you would expect. The writing is a clear step under the last few films, but it’s still a reasonably enjoyable film.

Shaggy and Scooby have finally realized their dream of owning a burger joint. Now they can take customer orders and then eat the burgers instead of serving them. They’re still in business somehow, but hey…that just shows how strong the economy is at the moment right? Their favorite wrestler is the Undertaker and they’re rooting for him to win it all. Unfortunately, his partner was attacked by a mysterious foe and now they will have to take part in the race since Undertaker needs a partner. Can they win the race and stop this interloper or are they completely doomed?

I have to give myself numerous pats on the back here as I correctly guessed who was the villain within the first 10 minutes of the film. I don’t like to brag, but I just have that knack for this kind of thing. The person seemed rather suspect. Not in an obvious red herring way, but in a more legitimate fashion. Lets talk about the suspects. There is Undertaker and his sidekick. The sidekick may be doing this to make Undertaker look good and this is a nice way of taking out the competition. There’s the Russian team who may be using this as a way to undermine American confidence in racing. There’s the All American hero who loves messing with his hair and his tough female co-rider. They bicker a lot, but it could be an act. There’s the crazy twins who can teleport and throw dust at their opponents. They’re clearly not ordinary humans so they could have a stake in this. There’s the daughter of the president of the company who enters against his wishes along with her partner so they’re suspect. Finally, there’s the president who always wanders away right when the ghost shows up. Suspicious? Not at all! He makes it way too obvious to be suspicious.

There are quite a lot of suspects here and the cool thing is that most of these characters are real so that ups the stakes. Can you picture these celebrities actually doing this? Although if you’re a Pro Wrestler I suppose you’re used to acting. The actual race isn’t bad as anything goes so all of the cars work on bumping each other out of the way. There aren’t a whole lot of gimmicks to most of the cars, but Fred built Undertaker one that has rocket boosters so that helped to give him a bit of an edge. Not to mention that he could eat on the go with the original food truck. 3 day races like this are always interesting since the first 2 days barely matter since the winner of the final stretch takes it all anyway.

Before I talk about some of the negatives, lets keep on talking about the strengths to get them out of the way. One thing I really liked here was that the “civilians” actually fought back. Usually everyone just runs away from the ghost in a Scooby Doo film even if he/she isn’t all that threatening. That’s not the case here. One guy sees the ghost approaching and actually decides to hide behind a pickup truck to plan his attack and then launches at the guy. He actually puts up a really good fight even if he ended up being defeated instead. Likewise, nobody cowers at the sight of the villain aside from Shaggy and Scooby and I loved this change of pace. Imagine how awesome it would be if this became the norm.

The animation is as good as always. The Scooby Doo formula is certainly written in stone at this point and animated as such. I don’t think they need to worry about switching up the style because it just works so well. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any good music themes this time. The main theme was pretty solid I suppose, but we only got to see it very briefly. The writing is fairly bad though and that takes us into the negatives.

This first one may not really be the film in particular, but I have to address it. Shaggy and Scooby get more and more annoying with every film that passes by. I can’t really say that their antics are funny and they are easily the worst members of the Mystery Gang. I wish they wouldn’t be so scared all of the time and they’re very over the top. How can the Undertaker be their favorite wrestler if they’re completely terrified of him? The whole thing just doesn’t make any sense. Their food gimmick is good, but that’s where the buck stops at this point and the rest of their character is just sad.

Next, the characters are too gimmicky in this film. Every character is extremely exaggerated like the Russian guy or the American who was focused on his hair, but actually wasn’t very tough in the end. They’re all caricature at this point instead of real characters. Most films have quirky characters of course, but you have to do it with some tact in order to be really effective. The twins with the dust were just as bad as they were constantly waving their arms around and talking nonsense. I can’t picture their fans being very thrilled about their portrayal because it was just pretty disappointing on the whole. There were very few reasonable characters in this film.

It also reused the Daphne/Velma plot for what must be the 6th or 7th time at this point. Daphne gets a new friend so Velma gets jealous, but the new friend turns out to be shallow so they become buddies again. It’s a really old plot at this point and shows that they’re running out of ideas. At least the ghost was cool though. I mean, he barely even pretended to be a ghost this time around, but a physical opponent makes sense so the heroes have something to fight. The design was good and he was decently formidable so that was satisfying.

Overall, This film was a bit of a step down from the last few Scooby Doo films and just most of them in general. The positives are quite good at least like the fact that we got actual fight scenes. They weren’t as solid as the first WWE film, but they were still fun and that’s why I want more WWE films. We just need to focus on the wrestling and the fighting instead of trying to throw in races and all of that. Also, where was John Cena? I was really surprised that he wasn’t in the film as that seemed like a no brainer. If you’re a big Scooby Doo fan then you should check this out, but otherwise the first WWE film is just better in every way. It’s a better way to start off with the series. I expect the series to make a recovery with the next one.

Overall 6/10

A Charlie Brown Celebration Review

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It’s been a little while, but time for another Charlie Brown review. This one was pretty big since it was celebrating one of Charlie Brown’s big anniversaries. Unfortunately, the special fell a little on the flat side. It decided to basically be one large anthology instead of containing one full plot. Doing something different for this special makes sense I suppose, but this was definitely not the right call. The Anthology format has never been all that good and this special doesn’t change my mind on that.

Well, there’s not much of a plot here since the segments keep cutting to another one. The one that probably appeared the most was Peppermint Patty being tricked into graduating dog school and then getting beaten up by a cat. To her defense, the cat was extremely powerful and definitely wasn’t playing around. You gotta love that level of dedication eh? Snoopy was around to back her up at least so that helped quite a bit. This was easily the best plot in the special if you ask me as it was fairly entertaining.

Other plots included Charlie Brown getting humiliated in Baseball as per usual and the Piano kid getting upset as always. In Charlie Brown’s plot, he was actually a little tougher than usual as he didn’t let the other kids know how they could buy caps. His discretion worked pretty well if you ask me as he can’t give the other kids all of the answers all of the time right? They probably wouldn’t be very grateful anyway. For the Piano kid, his instrument was flushed down the sewers so it was a sad day for him. He called in to get a replacement, but it’s safe to say that Lucy had the last laugh this time. The replacement wouldn’t come for quite a while so the piano kid would have to hang out with her now. (Or just cry in his room)

As always, Snoopy is the best character in the special. He’s a professional lawyer who may trick his clients from time to time but he means well. He did ultimately go back to help Patty so you have to give him some props there. Charlie’s definitely the next best character as he’s consistent as always. Linus surprisingly didn’t get much of a role here at all. Considering that this is a big anniversary project, that was a little bit surprising. They basically got everyone else back though so I guess that’s good enough.

The animation is consistent as always. The Peanuts style has certainly aged well and the animators have always done a good job of keeping everything on point. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see other styles like if we get another modern Charlie Brown special or the infamous flash one. I can’t see them being quite as catchy as this one although CGI works well enough. The modern film was proof enough of that.

The only thing holding this film back is the format. Each story ends way too quickly and it would have been better off picking a few stories and just stretching them out for a while. The Patty plot could have easily been the main plot of a special with the Piano kid one being the subplot. That would have worked a lot better if you ask me. At least the special was a little longer to help compensate for that, but this should be a lesson to all franchises…never do anthologies. It’s just not worth it. There will always be a story that’s better than another one that you’ll want to see more of and a weak one that you’ll wish they had excluded. It comes with the territory.

Overall, It’s still a Charlie Brown film so I wouldn’t call it bad or anything. My only gripe with it is that the film can be a tad bit boring at times. There’s not really anything happening after all so it’s like seeing a bunch of Charlie Brown gags without the actual plot to back it up. It comes across as a little odd and dare I say low budget? Still, the writing was good and the film is still pretty short so I wouldn’t say that it drags on or anything. If you’re a big Charlie Brown fan, then you should check this one out. If not, then this isn’t the best way to get into the series. I suppose it could work as a preview of the franchise, but it’s still not worth it. I’d recommend watching the Christmas special first.

Overall 5/10

Fire Emblem If: Invisible Kingdom Comic Anthology

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Looks like another anthology is being scanned. I’ll have a review for the series when all of the chapters have been scanned. It’s off to a decent start as the art is good and each story seems like it’ll get a decent amount of pages. Hopefully it can keep it up!

Overall 7/10

The She Creature Review

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It’s time for a really old film that I didn’t really hold out much hope for. I fully expected another Voodoo Woman kind of movie that would leave me shaking my head. Luckily, this film actually wasn’t half bad. It had a pretty decent plot and while the characters were annoying and kept making the wrong decisions, they weren’t too bad either. It’s a fun little film that works as a creature feature and the design for the monster is actually pretty solid.

A mad scientist/hypnotist by the name of Lombardi is at it again with his fantastic experiments. A skeptic of his notices Lombardi leaving a house in the middle of the beach and checks the place only to find 2 corpses in his wake. The cops go after Lombardi, but they can’t find any proof about what he has done and the hypnotist claims that a monster did it. Every time Lombardi has one of his hypnotism shows for a crowd, the monster shows up and murders someone. The cops decide that they’re going to have a stake out and wait for the monster to show up. Will their guns be enough to stop it?

This plot only works at all because Andrea is very weak willed. The whole show revolves around Lombardi hypnotizing her and then leaving her in a trance for hours. She’s told him not to do it, but he does anyway. She never leaves though so her complaints seem quite half hearted at best. Hypnotism like this is also super fake. I’ve seen it tried in person and I was yawning at the futile attempts to put me to sleep. The hypnotist would have had better luck if he had brought in the LoTR collection for everyone to watch. Her will power is extremely weak and you’d think that her subconscious would at least order the monster within her to destroy Lombardi.

You heard that right, her subconscious awakens her original self…a monster. Apparently all humans were once monsters according to Lombardi’s theories and it is so powerful that we can only wonder as to how intense the world was back then. The monster has a cool design and it is completely bullet proof. That alone is enough to make him a pretty intimidating threat. Well, I guess I should say she. She uses her claws slash away at the heroes and one hit is usually enough to claim victory. The catch is that she is very slow. One guy had the right idea in this film as he’d fire off a pair of shots and then walk away. He’d turn again and fire a few more shots…then walk away. Finally, someone was fighting a monster as they’re meant to be fought. He still didn’t last forever and made the mistake of trying to take a quick jab at the monster. Naturally this didn’t go over very well. He did put up a better fight than the first guy. That guy just stayed in his bed so the monster turned him into a sandwich.

Yes, the body count is pretty intense by the end of this film. Even the main cop who was helping out the whole time managed to underestimate the monster. It’s too bad since he was the best character in the film. He may not have believed the tale about the monster, but he took precautions against it just in case and even threw in some good burns to boot. There were a lot of insults flying around in this movie. Even the butler of the house got his moments although it was sometimes a little hard to hear what he was saying thanks to his thick accent. His most notable moment was getting chased away by the dog. The dog was easily a highlight in the film by the way. He may not have done too well against the powers of hypnosis, but he was always brave enough to give it a whirl the next day. He could bark with the best of them.

The main lead wasn’t so good though. It’s interesting because he’s not even mentioned in Wikipedia’s plot summary and why should he be? The guy doesn’t do a whole lot and never becomes a good character. He constantly laments about how he can’t fit in well with rich people since he’s a farmer boy by nature. He leers at Andrea as soon as she enters the room and never really has any class. He may also be a hypnotist, but he is apparently powerless to stop anything that Lombardi is doing. The main guy likes to criticize Lombardi the whole time, but ultimately can’t prove anything himself so he comes across as all talk. Sabotaging Lombardi’s show in front of everyone may have been satisfying to him, but he made it so obvious that it was practically petty. The guy was just annoying whenever he was on screen.

As for Lombardi, he was a pretty bland villain. His plan was still pretty awful since anyone with even a little common sense wouldn’t have stood around to get hypnotized. He also didn’t think the ending through very carefully as the monster is naturally going to go after him. What beast in its right mind wouldn’t at that point in time? I guess Lombardi had fun bumping people off left and right, but he didn’t have a master plan so you could only guess as to his purpose in the end.

This is definitely not a film that you watch for the plot. You’re really just here to see the monster take everyone down. It was definitely more than a match for all of the humans who tried to oppose it here. Beyond that, the film was just light and fun as it should be. A proper monster flick should give you some fun monster scenes and a plot that doesn’t take itself too seriously before wrapping up. I’d say that this movie followed the formula correctly. It definitely went all the way with some characters like the butler and Lombardi’s boss as the boss would throw out a lot of insults and the butler would spread gossip and secretly help the cops out when the dog wasn’t chasing him around.

Overall, The She Creature isn’t a misleading title where the monster barely gets to appear. It gets a good amount of screen time here and the ending is pretty solid. You will have to suspend a lot of disbelief for all of the hypnotism moments and they will get you as annoyed with Andrea as you are with Lombardi. The main guy never ends up growing on you so you’ll just be waiting for someone to bump him off by the end. It’s not exactly Godzilla, but this film’ll do just fine. I’d recommend checking it out if you enjoy these ind of monster films. If not, you’ll still enjoy it just for the nice retro feel that it brings to the table.

Overall 6/10

Assassination Classroom Review

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So, I started this manga around April back in 2013. It lasted for a decent amount of time I suppose and the concept was certainly original. That being said, the series gradually got worse as it went on. It started out okay and I had actually given it a 6 after the initial volume or so. Maybe it was the premise that got old or the author just was not prepared to keep the series going. Whatever the case, Classroom ends on a whimper and ends up losing another point for mainstream manga.

The series is about an alien who destroyed most of the Moon. He then decided that he wanted to teach a class. Koro chose Class E, a class that is shunned by the rest of the school and treated pretty poorly. The government agrees to this deal in exchange for being able to try and destroy Koro whenever they like. The students are also encouraged to try and destroy him and they could get rich doing so. As the series progresses, the kids grow attached to Koro and decide that he may not be all that bad. Should they still destroy him or have the kids finally learned that murder is wrong. Spoiler alert, they do not.

So, this series is really a comedy first and foremost. There are some action scenes during the series as this is technically still a Shonen, but the vast majority of it is pure slice of life. You could compare the series to Nisekoi except replace the occasional plot chapter with an action one. Unfortunately, this ends up hurting the series. Mainly that’s because the cast isn’t all that good. This ensures that you’re never too invested into the series. Furthermore, the author just isn’t very good at writing a comedy. It’s rarely all that funny or engaging. I was actually pretty bored for almost the entirety of the second half of the series. It felt like nothing was happening for a very long time and I was waiting for the plot to return.

The author also doesn’t even try after a certain point and just starts including fanservice for no real reason. The fanservice is really the only main problem in the series, but it is a significant one. Naturally, being a rather boring series in general is bad as well, but it’s not something that will take too many stars off. Coupling that with recurring fanservice is another issue entirely. It’s almost as if the author is admitting that the series can’t stand on its own and that it needs this element to keep people reading. I wouldn’t be too surprised since most of the comments on the online discussion boards would always focus on this and the Nagisa cross dressing subplot. I don’t think people ever really cared about the plot and most people like it for the comedy and the drama. So if the comedy style works for you, then you’ll like the series. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a long ride.

Surprisingly, the series never really deals with one of its main themes. These kids are being told to murder Koro throughout the series and they naturally accept since they’ll be making a lot of money. The students never really ask themselves if this is the right thing to do. They wonder if they shouldn’t at times since they grow to like the teacher, but never because the act of murdering someone is wrong in itself. It seems like they just don’t really care since Koro’s an alien anyway. It’s rather alarming that they’re all so quick to accept this deal. Having a few kids decide that this just isn’t right would have been a good way to advance the plot and maybe have some characters get kicked out of the class because they refuse to sacrifice their morals. That would have made for an engaging premise if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the series never went in that direction and just continues to do its best to justify why murder is necessary in this case. There will be spoilers coming up in this paragraph so skip it if you haven’t finished the series yet. I’m gonna keep all of the spoilers confined to this paragraph to make it easier to read the rest of the review. Are you out of this paragraph yet? You have been warned! From the start, the kids are told that murdering Koro will make the world a safer place and the money seals the deal. Capturing Koro would be difficult, but it is clearly achievable as several villains do it during the course of the series. Already murder is not completely necessary. Then the end of the series takes it a step further. There is a .001% chance that Koro will blow up and take the Earth with him. It’s simply a flaw in his DNA. Even so, the people decree that Koro must die and after an extended fight, Koro lies on the ground. He is unable to move and cannot do anything. So…the “heroes” wouldn’t destroy him after all that right. The kids have been through a lot with their teacher and they should be friends at this point….nah. Nagisa plunges his knife into Koro and ends him for good. Nothing personal of course, but Nagisa was goaded into doing it and everyone was practically egging him on with their moral support. It was a terrible ending and really brought about the wrong message in the series. It tried to say that destroying Koro was the right thing to do, but that could never be the case. It goes without saying that I lost all respect for the characters and I didn’t really have much to start with. I’d say that was the final nail in the coffin for this title.

All right, lets talk about the characters. Karasuma is the government contact who teaches the kids how to effectively destroy people. He has more of a heart than the rest of the government and is known as one of the best fighters on the planet. He does a good job of pulling his weight, but does tend to let red tape stand in his way. He’s not someone that I would count on in times of trouble, but he is one of the more likable characters in the series. At the very least, he isn’t all talk. Irina is another professional who joined the group, but unfortunately the series gives her absolutely no respect. She is only used for fanservice during about 99% of her screen time and another subplot that’s not even remotely humorous is that the kids always curse her out when she appears. It’s a very mean spirited nickname. She’s able to get past them since all of the kids fall for her feminine wiles, but all that does is degrade her character further while taking the kids with her.

Koro is the big alien in the series and one of the worst written leads that I’ve seen. He’s a very perverted character similar to someone like Master Roshi. This is bad since he appears so often, this personality gets to appear constantly. He is always being tricked through this weakness and uses his super human abilities to make it all the worse. There’s not a whole lot you can do when you’re up against an invincible alien so it’s not like anyone can stop these habits of him. Any time Koro is on screen is usually going to be a cringe worthy moment.
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Karma is the big rival of the series and he’s the best character in the series. It may not be saying a whole lot, but at the very least he checks most of the boxes for qualities that a rival should have. He talks a good game even if he loses most of his fights. While Karma is surpassed by Nagisa rather easily, he tries to cover up his humiliation by dishing out a lot of burns. He has a lot of confidence and doesn’t put up with a lot of the stuff that Nagisa has to go through. It would have been nice if he could have gotten a power up or something, but the series was having none of that.

Nagisa is the kind of main character that I don’t like. He’s comic relief 90% of the time, but then he’ll suddenly get serious and unlikable. When he’s in assassin mode he turns into a try-hard rather than a hardcore character. He does manage to score a win against an actual villain, which is one more than just about anyone from the students so I’ll give him that. Still, the contrast between him as a pushover who lets people dress him as a girl and his assassin mode is way too drastic. The ending of the series doesn’t help his case at all either.

There are a lot of other students in the class, but only hardcore fans will bother to learn their names. Even the author probably came close to forgetting them because some don’t actually get introduced until you’re past volume 10. That’s a long time to wait to learn about someone who is in the background since day 1 right? Aside from Karma and Nagisa, some of them are important though. Ritsu is notable because she is actually a computer program who is just allowed to be in the class for kicks. She acts like a student at the very least and while she ultimately doesn’t help out much, she ensures that the group can always communicate with each other. Kayano is the main heroine I suppose. Her role is extremely small until the series gets close to the end, but that’s good enough. Even if she tends to jump the gun and come to hasty conclusions, she actually plans things out well. She’s definitely the best student behind Karma even if a lot of her potential was wasted by the end. Her plot could have been so much more epic if it wasn’t shut down as soon as it began.

Itona was one of the early villains, but he was quickly defeated and turned into a good guy. This is one of those characters who was completely ditched as soon as he turned good. Suddenly he became completely powerless and never did anything again. It was a shame because he could have brought something new to the table. Instead he just ended up as a personality-less student who had no real stake in the whole business. To think that he started out as a mysterious villain who was actually a threat.

Gakusho is the big rival of the series and especially likes to compete with Karma. He’s in class A so he always has a lot to prove. His father is the principal so he is always in a lot of pressure. He actually does a good job of living up to it and excelling though. He’s a little more fair than his father and will honor his agreements even if he doesn’t like them. He made for a fun antagonist and helped make some of the events more fun like the athletics competition and the test arcs. Gakuho was also a good villain. He looks a little like Aizen and is as exaggerated as a principal can get. He’s supposed to be purely human, but he can mind control people and even knocked out three really strong guys with no real effort. It was 3 against 1 and they were pros, but he downed them with ease. The author never gave him powers or added anything extra to it as expected, but he was still a great character. Honestly, he should have kept on appearing. Giving him powers or something would have been awesome.

The God of Death is one of the big villains in the series. He’s definitely the most likable villain even if he does come across as rather petty in his origin. He’s very good at what he does and his plan was basically fool proof. His design is really cool and while his abilities are a bit of a stretch, it showed that he wasn’t like your average human. You definitely don’t want to mess around with this guy. It’s a shame that he never got to appear much. I don’t even count his final appearance because he cracked by the end and was nothing like the character that I got to see the first time. Takaoka is a relatively minor villain who showed up from the government. He overworked everyone and was basically a bully who always got his way. The students had to take care of him since everyone else kept turning the other way. It was definitely one of those subplots that was annoying to watch since nobody would help at all. You’d think Koro would have been a little more vigilant right?

Finally, we have Shiro. He’s the main villain of the series and wears a cloak to hide his true form until the very end. The true form is a little underwhelming as is the character in general. He was portrayed as a very mysterious individual, but after getting thwarted several times in a row, it was hard to take him as seriously. You could go whole volumes without seeing this guy appear and I don’t get why he was waiting so long. His master plan just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and without his constant hostages, the guy wouldn’t even be all that tough. He could have been a cool villain, but squandered his opportunity.

Another problem with the series has to be the power levels. It’s always annoying to see the main characters because none of them can fight for beans. They’re all just kids so whenever an actual villain shows up, they just have to hide. They can’t hold their own because all of the big villains have super powers and could beat the kids in an instant. At first I was waiting for a time skip or some kind of power up, but gradually I realized that this wasn’t that kind of series. It actually tries to be very realistic for the most part which means that the kids just stay as kids the whole time. They never really get any development or improve at all in combat. Maybe you won’t mind that, but I found it extremely annoying by the end. I mean, what’s the point of having them around if they’re never gonna help? I haven’t seen a group of main characters as helpless as these guys.

As mentioned earlier, I think this series just lasted too long. I believe the author just couldn’t come up with enough ideas which is why some plots were stretched to oblivion and why the series had a noticeable dip in quality in the second half. Some characters were basically ditched and others never got a whole lot of development. The series was just all over the place and made sure to mess up its opportunities whenever possible. It’s a shame, but I guess they can’t all be winners in Shonen Jump.

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Overall, There’s a reason why nobody really talks about Classroom anymore. It was a huge thing when the first anime was airing and everyone was talking about the manga. It still sells well, but people just don’t talk about it anymore. The series just went downhill and should have quite while it was ahead. As it is, the series was at a 4 for a very long time, but then the author just had to go through with the terrible ending and lower it even further. A bad ending can go a long way and this was one of the worst endings that I’ve seen in a manga. Another title that I’ll be reviewing soon also had a dicey ending, but at least he was so bad that it was played for laughs which worked to an extent. This one played it serious and seriously giving out bad morals is a good way for me to shave off some points. I’d recommend skipping this series. It simply doesn’t live up to the hype and you’re better off just reading DBZZZZzzzzz yet another time.

Overall 3/10

The Invisible Man Returns Review

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It’s time to look at another classic film from the old days. The Invisible Man was a decently fun film the first time around, but could it strike once more? An unfortunate hamster scene holds this one back along with the unlikable main character. It’s not a bad film and the writing is pretty solid as expected, but it just can’t live up to the legacy that the first film left. It was a sequel that was simply doomed from the start.

Radcliffe is being sentenced to death for the alleged murder of his brother. He claims not to have done it and Doctor Frank believes him. Frank decides to use the Invisible Man serum to save Radcliffe, but it has some serious side effects. It causes a person to become crazy so Frank won’t really be able to count on Radcliffe after this. Is Radcliffe truly innocent or has Frank just created a super villain?

One thing that you’ll likely find irksome is how everyone has an overreaction at seeing Radcliffe. I don’t think that seeing an invisible person should make you panic or faint. Especially if you know about it beforehand so it’s not as if this should come as a shock. Helen’s the main heroine here and she is easily the most guilty of this. She really gives Radcliffe a hard time with all of the extra drama. She was definitely not a likable character and helped spur on Radcliffe’s descent into madness.

Of course, we can only truly blame the madness on Radcliffe. He fell down the rabbit hole almost instantly as he spent 90% of his screen time laughing like a maniac. He definitely didn’t take to the serum very well, but luckily the craziness also made him very easy to deceive and subdue. Radcliffe actually gets a happy ending this time though so the invisible adventures were worth it. Honestly, I’d love the power of invisibility. I’d make a fortune in magic shows and could pull a lot of pranks on people.

Frank was the scientist, but he wasn’t very good. He decided to experiment on animals which is always a huge no no. Destroying a rat to save a person is not a good idea. Trading a life for a life is as corrupt as it gets and I just had to shake my head at that. I suppose he means well, but his character was dead to me. Detective Sampson tries his best to follow the law even if he is after the wrong man. It’s hard to blame him though since Radcliffe keeps disappearing and acting suspicious. At the very least, the cops should be glad to have a determined officer on the force.

One part of the film that was pretty fun was when the heroes decided to hide out in the middle of nowhere. This old man gave them shelter, but his dog knew what was up so one of the cops came along. What followed was a shouting match for whole minutes as both characters kept bumping into each other as the guy tried to stop the cop. The yells would always get progressively louder as they neared the top of the stairs. It was definitely fun even if it may not have been very plot important in the long run.

As expected, the writing is very on point which helps make the film flow. It never really drags on and the film isn’t all that long anyway. The effects for the Invisible Man are fun as he always has to shed at least 50 layers to escape. The costume certainly stands out and if I were him I’d probably just stay invisible for the long haul. It’d be a little tough in the Winter of course, but you could always hide in a house for naps and nobody would even notice. Being invisible is definitely a very dangerous power which the first film showed quite a bit. This one was more of a mystery/drama so there weren’t too many fights, but Radcliffe did make sure to get in on the action to find out the truth.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the film since the cast is rather limited and the plot is direct. You just see Radcliffe slowly descending into madness as the supporting characters wonder what they need to do. It would have been fun to have seen the mystery angle pushed to the forefront a little more instead of the constant laughing plot, but I suppose it got a good amount of screen time in the end. It just would have helped with the danger part of the film since most of it doesn’t feel like there’s any stakes.

Overall, The Invisible Man Returns is a peaceful film. It’s a nice little adventure with a good ending. A film like this would typically get a 6 or a 7, but we have to factor in the unfortunate Hamster scene. That moment was definitely sad and ensures that I can’t give the film a positive score. If you can get past that, then you should check the film out. If not, then I’d recommend just checking the first film out instead. Honestly, that may be your best move regardless right? The Invisible Man is definitely still a cooler part of Universal than Dracula, Werewolf, or the Mummy so I’m looking forward to the sequel. The Invisible Woman could be a nice film as well if they handle it right. Lets just stick away from the animal experiments.

Overall 5/10