Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ski Party Review


I’ve seen most of the old beach party films from this crew so I may as well see their skiing version as well right? It’s certainly not much better than the rest and makes all of the same mistakes. The characters may not be at the beach but they certainly dress as if they are. I would make the case that there is a little less fanservice here than in the beach versions, but I’m not invested enough into the series to do so. You certainly wouldn’t catch me defending this film. Well, let’s take a look at what we got.

The film starts off with Todd and Craig being down in the dumps because they are still single. They joined a bunch of sport programs but it was no use. Then they notice that Freddie is the star of the party and everyone is only interested in him. Perhaps the trick is that he is always skiing. The two leads quickly decide to go to the next big skiing event and are determined that this will put them on the radar. Will such a shallow plan really work or will the film test our intelligence by continuing to make the plans crazier and crazier?

There are a lot of issues here so it’s always hard to know where to start. I guess we should tackle the romance first. Romance was always a hard genre for films to really pin down and that can be especially true for this one. Part of the reason why the film kicks off is because both of the girls don’t seem to love the two guys straight away. They did go with them on two dates though so this is more about the main characters not being very patient. They want to immediately go further in the relationship while the girls are waiting. The guys are Freddie all the time and that really warps their expectations. You also can’t feel any sympathy for them because they would cheat on the two girls in a heartbeat. We have many scenes where they try to go after other girls so there is absolutely no loyalty here. They’ll simply go after the first one who accepts them.

They also use rather underhanded methods in order to complete their mission. One such tactic is to dress up as a girl and sneak into the dorms. This is a pretty bad move for many reasons. It’s also one of the largest gags in the film and it gets old very quickly. Naturally Freddie falls for one of them in this form and nobody can put the pieces together. I think if you cut away this whole sub plot the film will still be pretty terrible but it would certainly have improve. This plot line just didn’t do anything to really help the film rise up. It drags on and on.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of fanservice here even though they are in the snow. Characters just don’t care about the storm at all. They’re dressed for the beach and they aim to keep it that way for most of the film. We get a lot of zoom ins and crazy dances reminding yo that the plot was not the movie’s first priority. At least the singing isn’t too bad, the series has certainly had worse songs at any rate. Then you’ve got the beach scene at the end just to mess with the audience even further.

There are moments in the film that can be reasonably funny. It’s not like the whole duration is one failed joke after the other. While a good chunk of the jokes don’t work, the surreal nature of the movie helps at times. The scene of the main character floating like a balloon was fun. Additionally I liked the Polar Bear scenes. It’s a pretty nice gag to have that guy running around. The problem is that the movie beats this joke into the ground by having the same joke show up around 5-6 times. You never want to spam a joke that often because it will inevitably get quite old. It’s going for the running gag approach but that works better in a series. If you cram it into a single movie then you are bound to have some issues.

There aren’t any characters to root for here either so you won’t be as invested in the film as you could be. The two main guys are chronic cheaters. The two heroines are too passive and ultimately try to say that the guys were right even though that is definitely not the case. Freddie starts out as a pretty intense guy but by the end he is total comic relief to make the other characters look better. The movie definitely could and should have had more restraint. Maybe make it so the heroes get a win but Freddie still keeps his dignity. The parental figure here literally goes insane by the end of the film and I couldn’t give him any consolation points either. It was rather mean of the main guys to mess with him the whole time, but it’s also partially his fault for falling for their gags. They absolutely should not have worked on him. I prefer the guardians who at least talk tough the whole time. This guy was a punching bag so you’ll sooner feel bad for him than find the scene overly funny.

Overall, Ski Party is definitely everything you expect it to be. The film is pretty straight forward on delivering everything it is advertised to be. If this is your kind of film then you’ll enjoy it. However if you want a film with good writing and an actual plot then I’d recommend staying far away from this movie. It will have nothing to offer you. At least the gang sub plot isn’t around to get dragged out forever. The car chase at the end is actually a little better without those guys around to slow the pacing.

Overall 1/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Teen Titans Go! movie. This one brings back the classic Teen Titans for a quick crossover event. While the film doesn’t manage to be quite as fun as the first Titans Go movie it’s definitely still a quality film in its own right. You’ve got action, comedy, and a final boss. What else would you even need right? One thing to watch out for is the opening credits makes the interesting decision of spoiling the entire film. It literally goes section by section from start to finish and shows all of the big scenes. It’s a very odd choice.

The movie starts off by showing us that the Teen Titans have still got it as they beat the Gentleman Ghost. People may doubt their abilities, but they shouldn’t because these kids are the real deal. Things get a little hectic when a portal appears and they’re all kidnapped. It turns out that the Master of Games is kidnapping Teen Titans from various universes to make them fight. The Go Titans are eager to start the battle while the modern ones just want to find a way to save their world. It looks like both of them may have to team up, but can the two groups possibly learn to work with each other in time?

Going forward I’m going to call the original Titans the Gen 1 crew and the others will just be referred to normally since they are the main characters here. The Titans act about as well as you’d expect them to. They’re still treated like comic relief because even they acknowledge that they aren’t serious the way that the Gen 1 guys are. They can’t help but constantly be at the center of the gags. The only one who tries to be serious is Robin and even then he is constantly overshadowed by his Gen 1 version. I’ll give him points for effort though and he’s the only Titan who really understands the gravity of the situation. He needs the portal device and he needed a win to secure the team’s confidence. It’s just a shame that he isn’t able to fight quite as well as the others. The other Titans are all on point except for the fact that Starfire was not taking this seriously enough. None of them were all that serious, but at least they tried in the tournament. Starfire was too busy trying to make friends to do much of anything which was disappointing.

As for the Gen 1 crew, it was fun to see them again. Robin and Raven probably get the most to do here. Raven has a lot of experience with the demonic realm so she coaches the kid version on this. Meanwhile Robin is ready to lead the team and he definitely does not like the baby titans. He’s constantly belittling them and when they don’t listen to reason he is quick to put them down. Gen 1 Robin certainly enjoys being the leader and makes sure to stretch things out when possible. After all this is his chance to lead two different teams to victory so you can bet that he is going to milk this as much as he can. It’s just an opportunity that he cannot miss.

The movie moves pretty quickly through the different phases to the climax so it never drags on. I didn’t feel like any of the humor was all that bad either. I would consider this to be one of the stronger Teen Titans Go episodes if it was on TV. The return of Santa Claus was also a lot of fun. It’s always great to see him as an antagonist and he is one of their tougher opponents. Of course taking on a group this large would be difficult even for the greatest of villains.

Then we’ve got more crossover appeal towards the end of the film. If you managed not to see who was included already then I won’t spoil it for you. Needless to say it’s a pretty solid lineup. I would have liked to have seen them all a little more to be honest, but what we got was pretty neat. Imagine if the whole film was the tournament though and we got to see a lot of different verses duke it out. That would have been really cool and then this probably would have beaten the original film. The animation here does look pretty good, but more standard than the first movie. The colors are a little brighter and there is extra detail either way. There’s no super catchy theme like we got in the first film, but I guess it’s hard for Lightning to strike twice.

Where the film really shines is in how absurd the whole thing is. The Go characters are in full parody mode and they just don’t care what the Gen 1 group thinks. They’re here to have fun and nobody’s going to stop them. That straight forward goal really keeps the film going and it’s why you don’t even need the crossover aspect for this to be a success. The group can hold their own as is. If anything I’m just glad that the Gen 1 group weren’t too obnoxious in trying to question the Go characters at every turn. They quickly learned that the Go characters weren’t going to change and just rolled with it.

Overall, Teen Titans Go vs Teen Titans is a fun film. While it’s a versus title there isn’t a lot of action between the two teams. A good chunk of the action scene is just comedy, but to an extent that is to be expected with these guys. It’s probably the only vs title I would give a pass to because of that. Whether you’ll enjoy this film or not is completely dependent on whether or not you enjoy the Go series. If you like the TV show then you’ll like the film and if you don’t like the show then the movie won’t be for you. This basically feels like an extended few episodes and it’s really a movie for the fans. It brings all the best qualities of the show together.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Lethal Weapon Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to take a look at a thriller from back in the day. Lethal Weapon is a pretty popular thriller series and now I can say that I have finally started it. It’s aged pretty well and will definitely give you a solid amount of action. It’s going to be tough for the sequels to top this one and that’s always what you want to see. The first film of a series should always start off on a good note to keep you around for the sequels.

The movie starts off with introducing us to the two lead characters. Martin busts up a drug deal by pretending to be a buyer. This does lead to him almost getting murdered but he manages to get out in one piece. The fact that he takes unnecessary risks when going on these missions allows him to make it through in scenarios like this. Then you have Roger who is nearing retirement and plays things by the books. He’s told that he will now have to work with Martin since the guy is such a risk and nobody wants to work with him. Roger feels the same way, but it’s an order so he’ll get it done. What starts out as a simple drug crime becomes a big conspiracy as more victims are found and the enemies appear to have government issued weapons. Roger may have to take some big risks this time.

Lethal Weapon’s plot is sound even if it’s not the most original. The characters are basically trying to fight off a drug dealer with a few twists and turns thrown in. I don’t think the movie could go for a grander plot in the first movie since a good chunk of it is also developing the characters. This is something the movie will be able to skip in the sequel. These scenes are worth it though because they’re just a lot of fun. The character dynamic here is sound and the writing backs it up. It never feels like the scenes are wasted or that it slows down the movie’s pacing.

Martin is definitely a fun character even when he is going through quite a lot in his personal life. It’s pretty rare to have a main character who actually is suicidal. As a result he isn’t feeling 100% for most of the film and he acts very recklessly. To an extent this works out in his favor on some cases like when he busted a drug deal. Martin doesn’t let it get the best of him when we see the guy in action though. At one point Roger keeps quipping about how Martin seems to murder everyone but all of the deaths we saw in the film weren’t really avoidable. Martin proves that he is a great cop time and time again in the film. Ultimately he ended up being the MVP and Roger would have been doomed without him. It’ll be fun to see Martin in the second film since he should now be at 100%. He definitely contributes to a lot of the humor in the film as well.

Then we have Roger who is inching closer to retirement and has managed to make it through his career without injury. He has a family and considers himself to have had a pretty fortunate life so far.  Being paired up with Martin definitely changes that as now any case could potentially be fatal. Martin may not be able to fight the way his partner can but he does still have good gun skills. He’s just a nice guy to hang around with and always means well.

Finally we have Joshua who may or be the main villain but he has the most personality. He works as a hit man for the villains and was trained in special forces. As a result he makes for a pretty tough villain to beat. He also did come very close to beating Martin so the guy lived up to his hype. The actual main villain is your classic drug dealer. He’s not bad, I like the confidence at least. He just isn’t quite as memorable as his right hand man. The guy also can’t fight so it’s not like he will be mixing it up with the others.

What really makes this film work is the solid humor. The movie has a solid script with a lot of good humor. There is some language but for the most part the film stays strong. It does manage to get that Christmas dinner vibe while also getting serious when needed. It really goes through all of the emotional shifts as the movie progresses. We also get to see why Martin is known as a living weapon by the end as he gets into some fights. The scene of him breaking free from the chains and taking down a bunch of guys was handled well. If anything it made the actual ending feel a bit superfluous. I know we needed to have a fight with him and Joshua but it was a little dragged out and didn’t really impress me. I actually found some of the other battles to be better but this one still did have some nice choreography.

Lethal Weapon also has quite a few different climaxes. One of them is in the desert and we got to see Martin’s shooting skills. Their plan was quite sound there and if anything Roger’s daughter just messed it up. I understand being a little nervous but once you’re in the getaway car that’s your chance. If she had braked, turned, or done anything then the whole film could have been ended much sooner. Roger also deserves some blame there since he didn’t support Martin at all once the shooting started. That was their best chance to end things. They may have ultimately won out, but things could have gotten very dicey by not finishing the villains off in this moment.

Overall, Lethal Weapon is a movie that has aged quite well. It’s just a fun action thriller that has a nice sense of humor. The movie has good pacing and writing so those are all of the elements that you need in order to be a success. Put one way, the film had no real negatives. I could recommend it to anyone who likes a good action film and the sequel is going to have some pretty big shoes to fill. Since the characters do return in the sequel that shouldn’t be a tall order though.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Scooby Doo Return To Zombie Island Review


It’s time for the Scooby gang to return to a rather familiar location. Zombie Island is known as one of the best Scooby Doo movies and I can confirm that it was quite excellent. This one is trying to play on nostalgia to sell, but does it actually have the quality to back it up? Unfortunately it feels like Zombie Island in name only. I wasn’t really expecting anything more than that, but it would have been nice if the plot had actually been a bit more relevant. Maybe that was hoping for a bit much to be honest, but it would have been nice. As it stands this is still a reasonable Scooby Doo adventure.

The gang has just finished solving a bunch of mysteries. They then sold the Mystery Van (For money I guess? The movie never really goes into detail on exactly why they had to sell the thing, but I assume they were low on cash) so now they are wondering what to do. Shaggy and Scooby pounce on their momentary weakness and force the gang to sign a promise that they will stop investigating mysteries. Shaggy then wins a vacation for the gang so they all head to an island. Interestingly it looks just like Zombie Island, but the gang is determined not to find any mysteries here. The creepy instances continue to add up though and they may be forced to break their promise this time. Can the gang stay strong?

Of course the place they went to is Zombie Island. The film does a good job of at least giving us a good narrative reason as to why they would return. They were basically suckered and the mastermind behind this had a good reason for doing this. The big twist here is on the fun side. It may not be exactly what you were expecting, but it does make sense without messing with the first film. You’ll be glad to know that the film doesn’t retcon the first one. That would have definitely been pretty annoying. It’s really just a completely separate adventure that happens to take place after the first one. There will be some continuity issues here like how the gang is younger now than they were in the original. This movie tries to hand wave that as a summer job, but we all know the truth.

The animation is pretty good and it looks a lot like a DC film with the backgrounds. The opening scene can easily be mistaken for one at first before the characters show up. It isn’t super detailed or anything, but I’ve always thought that this part has been pretty consistent over the years. Scooby Doo looks good and if the films continue with this style I’m certainly satisfied. The music is a bit more of a miss though. It’s trying to go for some kind of pop/scary theme and you can’t really pull both off at the same time. It’s an admirable attempt to be sure, but not one that really works.

As far as pacing goes, the movies have no problem with that. If anything it feels like this movie ends really quickly. By the time we find out the first twist the movie is basically halfway over. Then we get to the second half and it’s done. These movies end so fast that half of the time it’s hard to even pick someone as a suspect because the mystery is all wrapped up. I suppose it feels like that here as well since for most of the movie the gang is trying not to solve anything. If they were actually trying then this would be over very quickly. It’s a complement to the film’s writing though since any time a film ends so quickly that means they did something right. The humor with Shaggy and Scooby may not work too well, but the others are good. Scooby Doo is the kind of movie that will take a good gag and run it into the ground so you do have to be prepared to see the same jokes used a lot. They’re harmless fun though.

The cast is basically the same as you would usually expect. Fred is still the best member as he takes charge and solves all the cases. He does miss the van a lot, but you really can’t blame him for that. The van was a true member of the team and losing a squad mate is never easy. I also do respect the fact that he and the rest of the gang were determined to keep their promise to Shaggy and Scooby. Even when things got tough they didn’t cave. Shaggy and Scooby forgetting about the promise entirely just hurts them even more.

No worries we do get at least one supernatural element in the film. The movie intentionally doesn’t bother finishing this plot so it can just leave it out there. I appreciate having it, but it does basically amount to being a pointless addition in the end. Take this part of the plot away and nothing changes. I wouldn’t say it’s objectively bad to do that because everything within media is subjective, but it’s still an odd choice. You rarely see something like that nowadays.

Overall, Return to Zombie Island can’t beat the original but I don’t think very many of us ever assumed that it would. The first Zombie Island was great because the creatures were real and there was a lot of danger and suspense. You won’t be seeing that in a newer Scooby Doo film because the films go for a much lighter tone nowadays. It’s more comedy than horror while the original tried for a more 50/50 split. I do think it’s interesting how the animation looks worse than the original in many respects but one day we’ll catch up. The animation here is good as I mentioned earlier, it just doesn’t feel quite as detailed and fleshed out. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should check it out as long as you’re still a fan of the franchise. It gives you the experience you’d expect. It’s just a fun film and if we’re dipping into nostalgia I’d like to see a crossover with the other continuities in a film someday. Something like Spiderverse for Scooby Doo fans. Now that’d be ambitious and a blast!

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

House II: The Second Story Review


It’s time to look at the second House film. The first one really did not leave much of an impact because it really didn’t ring any bells for me. I guess that makes sense because the same can be said for the sequel. House II is good and has some really great moments like with the electrician, but it’s not exactly a film that you’ll be talking about for very long. It just doesn’t have that lasting effect on you and a comedy-horror never wants to fall into that. All right, lets dive in!

The film starts off with Jesse and Kate moving into their new house. His family died off so now he gets the place to himself. They’re eager to make the place their own, but unfortunately a pair of third wheels by the name of Charlie and Lana show up. Charlie is basically a free loader and Lana just wants to be rich and famous so the two of them actually work pretty well together. Charlie isn’t going to turn down the opportunity of being rich either so he heads off to his great grand father’s grave so try and find something valuable. He finds a crystal skull which is pretty valuable when you think about it. It brings gramps back to life and he decides to party with the main characters. The one downside is that Slim may be lying in wait to retrieve the skull and murder everyone. Can Jesse stop him?

This is a comedy/horror so there are a lot of parody elements thrown in here as well. One of them is how well everyone takes the fact that Gramps is back to life. The movie takes place during Halloween which is very handy since they can play him off as a costume. Hey, it’s as reasonable an explanation as anything right? At least it gives the party goers something to think about. Unfortunately as is usually the case Gramps is pretty weak. See, the evil zombies who come back to life like Slim are strong, but not the good ones. That always happens. Gramps gets completely wrecked when he tries to go up against Slim.

The other heroes aren’t much better for the most part though. The scene where the Pterodactyl makes off with the skull was particularly sloppy. At least Jesse gets the job done in the end. Charlie really doesn’t help much except to throw in the witty one liners once in a while. He also likes listening to Gramps’ old stories. The real hero here is actually the electrician, Bill. Bill’s appearance comes very suddenly but works extremely well. At first he was just here to fix some cables but then he notices that the cables lead to a portal which can take you to various places like dinosaur world or the wild west. The main characters go in, but they are woefully unprepared so Bill volunteers to help. Being an electrician is just his day job, Bill really excels at being an adventurer as well.

The guy also proves himself as a pro with a blade. He’s not scared of zombies and just goes through the whole scenario with the sacrifice with a cool head. Nothing phases him and he doesn’t even look mildly surprised as he walks in and takes names. I was just sad that he couldn’t stick around for the rest of the film, but I suppose he would probably steal the show very quickly. That’s just the kind of guy that he is. I wonder if he was a guest star or something. Either way that was a parody element handled correctly.

House II’s writing isn’t all that bad. The characters make some bad moves but they feel intentional on the writing’s part since this film isn’t really meant to be taken seriously. The script isn’t that bad and the pacing is decent. Some parts could have been handled a bit better like maybe having Gramps fight a bit. Lana also could have been a bit more realistic as dancing with super loud volume in Kate’s house isn’t the best way to make a good impression. That whole scene was pretty painful to be honest and didn’t actually contribute anything to the story so it could have been cut.

That being said, House II is careful to avoid making any of the big mistakes. It may have a scene here and there that aren’t great like the dancing one, but scores more often than it does not. The cast isn’t amazing, but they can be entertaining enough. The gunfight climax is also handled surprisingly serious with Slim and Jesse. It’s a solid action scene in any context. The ending may be a bit sudden but it works well enough. I wonder if the next film continues from this plot or if we’ll get a new setting once again. I’m cool with either option.

Overall, House II is a solid sequel. I quickly took a peak at my review for the original which did jog some memories. I can’t say that this one was able to match the original. The original one was just funnier and had more to it. I dare say that the character cast was more solid last time. Still, this one does have its humorous moments which is important and the pacing is good. The action scene at the end was solid and I feel like what was ironically missing was probably more scenes in the house. Between the wild west, the past, the portal, and hanging out at the party, it felt like we didn’t get quite as much time just hanging out in the house and experiencing the crazy shenanigans. Still, as long as you don’t mind a film poking fun at the usual tropes this is a good one to check out. Just be on the lookout for Bill, that guy really is the best character here.

Overall 6/10

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

Fruits Basket Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Goosebumps Review


I definitely had a good time reading these books back in the day. The series was a fun little horror title with a good amount of twists and turns. The series peaked with the 12 book crossover event where various villains and leads met up and ultimately ended up fighting it out. The movie brings together a lot of the most iconic villains together and ends up being a solid experience.

We start off by seeing Zach and his Mom heading to a new house. Zach isn’t particularly happy about this but perks up when he meets their next door neighbor. Hannah tells Zach that the only fun thing to do around here is sneak into the abandoned amusement park at night and climb the Ferris Wheel. Ah well, he’ll make it work. Unfortunately her father isn’t quite as welcoming and threatens Zach not to go near her. Zach doesn’t really want to obey this and when he accidentally frees the most powerful Goosebump monsters it forces a most reluctant team up. Zach and Stine put aside their differences to save the town, but can they really defeat the powerful Slappy?

The film is at its best when the monsters are running around causing havoc. The Garden Gnomes do a pretty good job of getting the danger levels up right away. Admittedly I can’t take them all that seriously compared to the bigger monsters but they do have the numbers advantage which is always important. They can also regenerate in this film which is extremely handy and was unexpected. Then of course you have Slappy who is the best villain of the bunch. He is possibly a little too powerful here though. He has the ability to teleport and can also teleport objects that he is not in contact with. Then Slappy can create bright flashes of light which stun his opponents for a second. As you can imagine there isn’t really a way that he can lose here. He probably could have ended the main characters within a few minutes of first appearing. Still, the guy likes to put on a good show and is pretty theatrical about the situation.

The least impressive monsters were probably the Gel monster and the Yeti. The Gel one can’t even talk after all and the Yeti isn’t all that fierce. Some monsters/enemies that looked cool but didn’t get to do much were the aliens and the Kaiju. There are a lot of Goosebump enemies though so it’s hard to grab them all. I’m a little surprised we didn’t see the camera though, that’s still one of the best books.

Zach is a reasonable main character. As far as leads moving to a new house go, he actually takes it fairly well. The whole romance plot happens really quickly though. In context they’ve only known each other for around 2-3 days so that’s not much at all. There’s not much else to say against Zach though. He seems like a nice enough kid and one of his first instincts was to call the cops which is good. The guy is pro-active which is important in a main character. He is someone you can count on.

Then you have the friend who is definitely the annoying character of the group. He’s out of his depth from the start and constantly tries to run away. He also gets a very quick romance plot with one of those endings that probably will make you cringe. It feels a little too easy there and it may have been slightly better if the friend had any good scenes before trying to bite a monster. Otherwise you just can’t take this guy seriously.

The heroine is pretty reasonable here. Hannah probably could have saved them all some time earlier on though by either sending Zach a signal or realizing that the heroes may head for the books. I suppose Stine told her to hide while he talked to the cops and from there on maybe she actually obeyed his orders to keep to herself. I suppose Stine had to keep her hidden so the cops wouldn’t find out one of the twists but that definitely ended up making the situation pretty complicated for all of them. Stine isn’t nearly as solid as Hannah or Zach. He’s definitely more on the selfish side and you can’t really call him heroic. He’ll do what’s best for him and that’s it. The guy probably should have burned the books earlier to be honest.

There aren’t many supporting characters here, but I did like the cops. You’ve got the over eager newbie and the experienced guy who has seen it all. They may not be the most competent cops, but at least they mean well. You’ll probably be wishing they could have put up a better fight against the aliens, but in their defense it is a one hit KO scenario. If you don’t get the first hit then that’s game over.

Goosebumps is a fun film at its core though. It’s got a nice set of monsters to work with and the effects are pretty good. There is a proper sense of danger here as well. I’d say that the film’s main two weak points are the romance and some crude humor. The latter doesn’t happen much, possibly just a scene or two. It’s still pretty gross though. As for the romance, I’d say that both the main romance and the quick one with the friend don’t work well. You could also throw in Stine’s little thing at the very end. None of them feel natural and they’re all just forced in to have some romance thrown in. It really feels like the movie is just ticking a box with this.

I gotta give the movie some props for the ending as well. The ending is really 2 fold here. The first half is expected, but also narrative. If Stine didn’t make one last book it would have made absolutely no sense and the fact that Zach didn’t even think about this does reflect poorly on his character. If this was not a part of the ending I dare say that it could have cost the film a star. Then you’ve got the twist ending which is common for a horror film, but I admit that I wasn’t really sure Goosebumps would do it. Well, the film does add the twist here and I was really glad they did. It may not be a big thing, but personally it just rounds out the experience pretty well.

Overall, Goosebumps is a solid movie and one that is definitely worth seeing. It’s pretty nostalgic to see the monsters return for some action. It’s a nice adaption and it’ll be tough for the sequel to match this one. Not saying it isn’t possible of course, but it’ll need to be firing off on all cylinders to pull it off. If you are on the fence on watching this one or not I would say to just take the plunge. I believe you’ll be glad you did and you may even be surprised at how tough some of these monsters are.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gremlins 2: The New Batch Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to the classic Gremlins film. This one dials the craziness up as the film breaks the third wall and the monsters gain various super forms. It’s an improvement over the first in some ways but I wouldn’t say it’s enough to throw it onto solid territory. At this rate a third film could be the one to do it though.

The film starts off with corporate heading over to the store where the gremlin is being held and they attempt to buy out the building. The owner refuses since he has decided to never sell the place. Corporate is never denied though and the old man soon dies of old age. Interestingly the film plays it straight as if there was no foul play involved. The owner was simply too old. One thing leads to another and after corporate captures Gizmo he ends up being exposed to water and his various clones quickly take over the building. Billy figures that since he has prior experience with the Gremlins that he is the best person to stop them. Can he pull this off or is the city already doomed?

It always makes for a good plot when corporate is involved because I like to see how they handle an alien invasion. Gizmo isn’t technically an alien but with how the plot plays out he may as well be. The company actually did pretty good here. They definitely lost the first round but once the big boss Daniel showed up they were in good hands. From the first scene Daniel was in I had a good feeling about his character. He seems like the kind of guy who made it to the top through his own abilities and he is quick on the uptake. Even with no heads up or survival training he was able to take down one of the powered up Gremlins. That’s not bad. Then he helped execute the final plan really well and even had a Batman type secret exit. He was constantly working hard and showing why he deserved to get the position.

Billy’s direct supervisor’s supervisor definitely doesn’t fare even half as well. Not only is he shaken up and overwhelmed right from the start but then one of the gremlins even forces him into a fake wedding. Clearly the creatures aren’t respecting him as an actual threat which is pretty sad for the guy. He had some potential since he looked good during the opening scene where he negotiates with the shop owner. From there his character fell down though. Then you’ve got Billy’s supervisor whose plot is pretty unnecessary. She decides to try and seduce Billy since he is on the track to success and he puts up very half hearted resistance the whole time. This plot is dropped pretty quickly later on and at the end of the day it just didn’t matter much.

As for the main heroine, Kate isn’t bad, but definitely not as pro-active as some other characters. She doesn’t handle the gremlin in her house too well and doesn’t really get to lay on the damage to the remaining ones. At least she is upset about Billy being so weak willed though. Then you’ve got Billy who makes the wrong choices consistently. You have to give him points for being predictable, but why would you leave Gizmo alone at any point? He should have taken him home straight away. It’s good that he rescued him, but that’s not going to help if you leave him in the villain base.

Gizmo gets a big role of course. He is still the mascot of the series after all. Unfortunately he is really just used as a punching bag by the other characters the whole time. He’s the original so you would expect him to be able to fight but that isn’t the case. The others get cool super forms and such while Gizmo is stuck trying to load a flame arrow to help fight them off. He gets a good moment at the end, but the rest of the film is him losing every round so it only helps a little bit.

The other Gremlins are interesting although their super forms range from actually being fairly threatening to just being grotesque. The fruit ones can be a little hard to look at, but the bat one was pretty cool. Their super forms don’t seem to actually amp up their physical abilities all that much so they’re really here for style points. One of the gremlins ends up getting super intelligence so he tries to give us some reasons for why the Gremlins are attacking. Ultimately it really just boils down to the fact that they want a society and have to eliminate the humans.

On one hand I like that Gremlins 2 does amp up the crazy factor. Having the Looney Tunes actually get a scene was pretty interesting. It’s always nice to see Daffy steal the show. Then there is one point where we break the third wall and a wrestler shows up to tell the theater to continue playing the film. That was definitely out of left field and it’s a bold moment that really pays off. Of course with a lot of extra humor like this there will be moments that don’t work like the wedding sub plot. You have to take the good with the bad in a title like this.

While the film doesn’t take itself seriously all that much, there are a few intense scenes here like one of the Gremlins being shoved inside a blender which leads to a violent death. It’s all rainbow colored so I suppose that’s why it wouldn’t ultimately rate too high as a violent moment, but it can definitely be a bit disturbing. The pacing isn’t bad for the most part. It may drag on just a bit towards the second half, but all in all you should be in for a decent ride.

Overall, Gremlins 2 can be fun. It’s hard to put my finger on it though, but the film doesn’t have any real replay value. It’s not the kind of movie I would ever need to watch a second time. I think it just isn’t a strong enough movie for a second viewing, but on your initial watch it will be entertaining enough for you to make it to the end. Ideally if we get a third film we’ll get to see corporate return. Without them this movie really would have worked so you gotta have them return. Even seeing the employees fighting the Gremlins in the background was pretty fun. I always like a good background gag, they’re subtle but work pretty well.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Hercules Review


It’s time to watch another big Disney classic. This time we are thrown into the world of myths and heroes with Hercules. This is definitely one of the more action packed titles and it holds up quite well to this day. While the songs aren’t quite as memorable as some of the other films, we do get one of the best Disney villains in Hades. The guy has a lot of charisma and steals all of the scenes he is in.

The film starts off with Hercules being born and Zeus has a big party to celebrate this. He invites all of the other gods of course and it’s a perfect day. This changes when Hades shows up and hatches a plan to prevent this. He turns Hercules into a mere mortal and Zeus is forced to banish him to Earth. The only way for Zeus to re-obtain his godhood is to become a true hero by performing many feats. It’s not as easy as saving people though, he has to do something truly heroic for noble reasons. Can Hercules become a god again before Hades conquers both of the worlds.

Lets quickly just talk about some things here that are a bit iffy, but in character when you look at the myths. One thing is how Zeus can’t let Hercules stay once he is mortal. Zeus is the highest ranked god in this universe right? Why does he have to obey a law when he is the one making them? Most people who create laws rarely end up following them and Zeus is always shown to be a pretty selfish guy. I guess this one’s just too heroic for that, but it’s still a bit iffy. He’s also super oblivious like how he didn’t notice that Hades tried to stab baby Hercules. How he didn’t realize that Hades would be a bit upset after being banished to the Underworld is also interesting. I do like Zeus a lot to be fair. He’s just a lot of fun which is rare for most portrayals of his character. That being said, he’s not very smart of strong. In the climax he looks pretty terrible to be honest.

I also have to question how there is a potion that can take away your godhood so easily. Can’t Hades just trick the other gods into drinking it too and then he would rule the world? If the film mentioned that it only worked because Hercules is half human then I’ll have to retract this issue. Both of these are extremely minor observations that don’t effect my enjoyment of the film or the score, but were worth noting. I was definitely thinking about this as I watched the film.

Hercules is definitely a good lead. He reminds me of early Superman when he would work on the farm using his super abilities. Hercules doesn’t have a secret identity to worry about so he just works hard and does his best at all times. The townspeople are annoyed by him which is unfortunate. While Hercules can be a bit sloppy, he really seems like an earnest chap. He does fall for Megara pretty easily and doesn’t listen to Phil as much as he should, but all in all Hercules can easily hold his own film. He already seems more powerful than most of the gods which is also quite impressive.

Phil was always fun in the Kingdom Heart games and is good here as well. He definitely flirts a lot though so I have to doubt his concentration as a coach, but once he actually gets his hat on straight then he’s ready to work. He probably could have done a better job of explaining to Hercules what was up though. As for Megara, she’s a tough heroine. Megara is the kind of character who always tries to get the last word in and is pretty jaded on romance in general. This does result in what I would say was a pretty quick 180 with Hercules but I suppose he is basically a god so I imagine he was impressive in person. I do think it would have been a good dynamic to have had them stay friends though.

As mentioned earlier Hades is definitely the big character here. He is proactive compared to the rest of the gods and characters. While they sit back and eat he is always planning. His plan was pretty much fool proof and while his lackeys aren’t too helpful (They don’t really add to the film and could have been cut out) Hades is prepared for that as well. He probably should have just hurried a little more near the end so Hercules wouldn’t arrive in time. His abilities aren’t tough enough to actually fight head-on with Hercules and Zeus, but it would have been interesting to have seen him fight a little more. Most of the gods lost effortlessly to the Titans though so those guys got quite a lot of hype.

I did like that in the ending Hercules quickly went to the underworld to save Megara. In any story where the underworld is a place you can visit it feels mandatory that the characters should head on over. Hercules was able to win on his turf so he should at least believe that he can win here as well. That’s the level of determination you need in order to be a good main character. What would have made the ending perfect would have been if Zeus said that Hercules and Megara could both come to their world and they could just go back between Earth and the realm of the gods whenever they pleased. It’s the last the gods could do since they’d be dead otherwise.

The scene with Hades talking to the fates are interesting dialogue-wise but the whole eyeball thing was more gross than creepy. I could have gone without that scene to be honest. As for the songs, we do get some catchy songs from the fates, but none of them quite have the same heart that you would see in Aladdin or Frozen. I already can’t say that I remember the lyrics to any of the songs. They have that classic Disney auto tune (Not auto tune, but a voice modification thing that makes them all sound the same) effect which works well and I’m glad they had these songs as opposed to not having any, but it’s not the strength of the film.

The writing is really where the film shines and the pacing is tight. Then we’ve got the solid animation which is as sharp and colorful as you’ll remember. It holds up to any and all of the other Disney films. We also get some fun fight scenes which is great like Hercules vs the Titan or the first bull creature. I was surprised that Hercules didn’t win his first fight with more ease though. Even if he didn’t know how to fight yet, I figured that his super strength would make any fight an easy win. I guess it’s good that he’s not too OP yet, but then it does make you wonder how strong the gods are. It is reasonable to say that the humans could possibly win a fight with them in a few hundred years once they got gun powder.

Overall, Hercules is a very good movie. It’s definitely the definitive version of the story and I’d be down with Disney making a sequel someday. They’ve been doing a lot of remakes lately but not a bunch of sequels. A crossover of all their 90s classics would also be a blast. That’d be very ambitious, but it would make for an excellent watch. I was long overdue to watch this film and it lived up to the wait. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I recommend changing that and watching it as soon as possible.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Fairy Tail Gaiden Review


It’s time to look at another Fairy Tail spinoff. They’ve definitely been a mixed bag over the years as some manage to rival the main series in how terrible they are while others are surprisingly classy. The Ice Trails manga and Fairy Tail Zero are good examples of solid spinoffs after all. They had good action, a solid plot, and good artwork. Then on the other hand you’ve got a title like Fairy Girls which was so bad that you can tell the author wasn’t even trying. That one still makes me cringe. Well, this one’s not quite as great as the first two and does suffer from some of the usual Fairy Tail moments, but at least there’s some effort here and some reasonable stories.

The first volume is about Sting and Rogue as they go on some adventures. In one case, someone sends a letter asking for help from Sting and Rogue to go take down this powerful rock monster. Unfortunately, the two friends are on the outs after Sting accidentally makes Rogue’s animal friend Froze cry. Sting figures he can handle this on his own, but naturally, it is a trap so that won’t be as easy as he believes. This is an example of a pretty solid story. You’ve got a good challenge that Sting has to work to overcome and while the conflict with him and Rogue is admittedly pretty forced, it’s still a good action story in its own right.

The other Sting story is the weak link and definitely the one that keeps this series from getting an extra star. One of his teammates is kinapped and man does she have bad luck. This isn’t the first time things have gotten dicey for her which led to Natsu’s best series of moments in the franchise. Well, fortunately Sting is here to help and we get to see him beat up the entire guild pretty easily. It’s a fun fight, but the whole situation is really just here to try and squeeze in some fanservice which was definitely not needed. Sting makes for a fun alternate main character to Natsu and while he is a lot more weak willed in general he tends to be the better character.

Next up is Gajeel’s volume and he reminds us why he isn’t always the most trustworthy fellow around. One story has him disappear for a while without telling anyone and he seems to have re-joined the villains. He is now re-taking over the town that Gajeel used to rule over with an iron hand and his friend is here to help. That’s pretty believable but of course there is a twist here. The problem is that even once the twist happens it’s hard to see why Gajeel had to make the choices that he did. The guy is definitely a solo act, but not even telling Levy is a bit tricky. Fortunately, Gray was around to help solve the mystery and I appreciated the cameo. He didn’t really get to fight this time, but you could tell that he was in control right from the start.

Then you have the final volume which is all about Laxus. The annoying part of his volumes is dealing with the Blue Pegasus group since those guys definitely aren’t very epic. They run a host club and the leader is definitely not the most reliable guy, but the moral is that he’s actually tougher than he looks. I’m not sure that I can really buy into that, but at the very least I’ll acknowledge that he isn’t a total weakling. One story has him getting kidnapped so Laxus heads out to save him. Along the way he learns that friendship can take many different forms and that you shouldn’t judge a person right away. It’s a nice moral, but the leader does his best to take away from the epic fights.

One reason why Laxus has the best volume is aside from avoiding fanservice entirely we actually get some fights. Laxus has a good fight against the guild master here. Yes, there is a plot twist about how powerful she really is involving illusions, but at least it looked like an epic fight which is what counts. The other story has Laxus and his team head to a village where there is a powerful mirror that can’t be broken. Their mission is simply to break it, but the owner of the mirror attempts to stop them. This guy’s pretty powerful since he is able to combat Laxus on even ground. There are also some mind games that get played on Laxus’ trio of teammates.

Laxus has always been portrayed as one of the strongest Fairy Tail heroes. While I would definitely say that Gray and Natsu have long since surpassed him, he’s definitely still top 5 in the guild. That gives a lot of hype to this new opponent which is why the ending isn’t too satisfying for that guy’s fans. It’s always a shame when you know that someone is never going to get to fight again. I doubt he’ll ever even appear again though so I suppose that’s the least of my worries.

The art is definitely pretty good. It looks like the main series and there’s a good amount of detail here. Actually, it may even be the main artist, I forget but either way it’s very good. You won’t be disappointed here. It’s easy to read and get engaged. The idea of each volume being about a different character who will get 2-3 stories is pretty nice. There are a lot of other characters who could get that treatment so hopefully the author does more spinoffs like this. One thing I can definitely say about Fairy Tail is the author is very passionate about the series. It’s cool to see how much it has expanded.

Overall, Fairy Tail Gaiden is pretty good for the most part. Really there’s just one story that really felt like a Fairy Tail adventure with the unfortunate fanservice and the others were pretty mild. As far as trilogies go it may not be top tier, but it’s an enjoyable read. The power levels get a little tricky at times, but the characters never lose to someone they shouldn’t. Even if it’s a little closer than you may expect, they clutch it out and that’s the important thing. If you’re going to get into Fairy Tail it’s always better to go with the spinoffs. This one isn’t a bad idea for a starting point since each story basically needs no extra context.

Overall 5/10