The Woman in the Window Review

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It’s time to look at an old school film that shows how one dangerous decision can put you on the path to ruin. I’ll give the credit for not making the main character be an obvious cheat who you can’t sympathize with as he stays classy for the most part. I would still argue that he knew how his decision was pretty iffy though by how many times he mentions that he really shouldn’t be here. At the very least he doesn’t actually do anything serious. It’s a fun movie overall even if you aren’t rooting for the lead.

The film starts off with Richard making small talk with two of his buddies. Richard is sad that he can’t be reckless anymore since he has gotten to be too old. His friends point out that this is true so Richard better not get any ideas. That’s when Richard notices a lady behind a portrait and she invites him to her place for drinks. It’s nearly midnight but Richard doesn’t care so they head upstairs. That’s when a guy runs in and attacks Richard. Richard quickly murders him and hides the body in a forest, but can he stay out of the papers? After all, his friend is a detective so this can get very messy.

While the film is played straight for the most part, I do think it had a little fun with Richard’s character during the early part. Richard is so oblivious to life that he keeps on tipping off the cops on how guilty he is. When the detective finds out that the culprit has a cut on his palm Richard quickly points out that he has an identical cut. I suppose being over the top like this could throw the cops off the trail…but it’s just such an unnecessary risk. Realistically nobody suspects him at all at this point so why put himself out there. There is literally nothing to trace him to the murder as far as he knows. Then he continually says things that he shouldn’t know and even walks over to the spot where the corpse was before the cops officially show him. He makes a ton of rookie mistakes. The film did say early on that he is usually scatterbrained but this is taking that to a bit of an extreme.

He also leaves his pen at the scene of the crime which the villain naturally gets his hands on. So, there was a bodyguard assigned to the victim and now he has decided to blackmail Richard and Alice. This is definitely the weakest aspect of the film as it wasn’t really needed and I would have preferred the tension to be that the cops are slowly zeroing in on the heroes. Instead this guy works well as the fall guy I guess, but naturally the plot turns into Alice having to use her charms to get him to lower his guard. That’s still one of the most tired film cliches out there and it makes the plot pretty bad. Still, the film doesn’t go too far with it which is good so it doesn’t hurt the movie all that much. At most it takes 1 star off. I’m also glad that Richard realized that paying the guy off wouldn’t solve anything since he would just return for another installment at some point. Calling his bluff would be best, but the guy would probably just end up murdering them.

Initially I figured that Alice intentionally set up the meeting with Richard and the other guy to bump him off, but the film never really goes in that angle. As far as I can tell it was just coincidence and the film doesn’t make Alice appear to be malicious. I do like the fact that she is also fairly smart though as she gets some extra insurance from Richard in case he ends up ditching her. That’s definitely the kind of thing you want to do in these films because you can’t trust anyone. She handled the situation much better than Richard in general as she got all of the hard jobs and didn’t panic the way that he did.

As I mentioned I wasn’t a big fan of Richard. He was a much better character than he could have been, but at the same time you still were never going to root for the guy. He also decided to take the easy way out at the end which is definitely never the right call. The ending can be seen as a bit of a cop out but you can also look at it in a more meta sense. It’s pretty clear that the film was not supposed to end the way that it did and since the movie is an indie you always look for the hidden meanings. You could make the case that the ending is actually the dream as he passes over to the next plain. It’s like the film has its direct ending and then the layered one that you can add on. Either way it doesn’t look good for the lead. I do appreciate that the ending gave the film a quick humor moment that actually worked though. In general I thought the film had a good balance of humor and mystery.

What the film could have improved on to be even better would have been to focus on the detective plot more. The scenes with the detective were some of the best in the film. I liked how Richard kept giving himself away and the detective would act as if he started to suspect something. His boss was also pretty solid in that regard with the constant banter. Seeing more of them would have been a lot of fun and that could have ended up being the main plot instead of the black mail guy. There will always be a lot of “Could have” moments in a film of course, but this would have been a pretty easy alteration with a good result. Maybe even throw in a court scene since those are always awesome.

Overall, The Woman in the Window was a solid film. The writing is on point and the cast is pretty good. The film is never too exaggerated and stays realistic without being dreary. You’re able to root for the cops without necessarily rooting against Richard because you can at least make the case that he was never going to cheat and he certainly didn’t expect things to go sideways the way that they did. I’d also say that he had to defend himself the way that he did because he definitely wouldn’t have lived through the night otherwise. As the film explains in the beginning, self defense is certainly way different from murder. This would definitely be the former. If you haven’t seen a good noir film yet then this is the one to watch. It’s not the best one out there or anything, but it’ll give you a good idea of what the genre is all about and holds up well for itself.

Overall 6/10

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Murder on the Orient Express Review

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It’s time for a mystery thriller from Agatha Christie. And Then There Were None is still her best work as it’s a perfect example of how a murder thriller should go. While this one couldn’t quite match that master piece, it’s a very solid film and one that you should add to your repertoire. With all of the suspects boxed in on the train, it’s the perfect scenario for Detective Poirot. Still, he’ll have to work fast since the snow won’t last forever.

Poirot was enjoying a very peaceful train ride and was off duty for a change. He hadn’t expected to have any problems, but then a dead body is found. He quickly begins to deduce that there was something more to the victim than it would appear. Poirot also decides to interview all of the suspects and there were certainly a bunch. First is Harriet, a bold woman who loves to voice her opinions and is constantly chattering. She has something to say about everything so it is difficult to actually find out what she knows. Next is Hector, the secretary of the deceased. He is fairly mild mannered and always nervous. Then there’s Beddoes, a seemingly perfect butler who is always ready to answer politely. He was close to the deceased and delivers the nightly wine. Princess Natalia may be rather old, but that would also make it easier for her to do something while staying inconspicuous. She has a maid named Hildegarde who has served the master faithfully for many years so maybe it was all for this moment. Diplomat Rudolf and his wife Elena appear to be rather quiet for most of the journey. Rudolf does blow up whenever someone talks to him though so are his nerves cracking or are they both quiet because they know something? Mary, the teacher is around as well and her scholarly knowledge could be sinister. The Missionary Greta always seems rather timid and doesn’t know English too well, but is it all an act? There’s also Antonio, a car salesman and one of the only reasonable people here. He’s loud and bold and certainly isn’t nervous like the rest of the passengers. He’s ready to help the country and that could be suspicious. Finally, there’s the actor Cyrus. He always seems to fade into the background and that may not be an accident. We also can’t forget Poirot’s friend Signor. Sometimes friends aren’t as innocent as they appear to be. Poirot has a lot of suspects to flip through so this’ll be tough.

I love a good mystery and the whole film is about that. Poirot’s interrogation of every member is pretty fun as he grills them. Since most of the riders are either lying or hiding something, it really does make his job very difficult. The only co-operative guy was the car salesman who also happened to be the best character in the film. It’s no coincidence as I was glad to see someone being at least a little co-operative. Perhaps he was a little too eager so that makes him suspicious as well, but something to think about for sure.

The pacing is pretty tight here. The opening which shows a crime in progress is fairly short. It just gives you enough time to see each of the characters and then we are quickly taken to the train. Once at the train, it never feels like the movie is dragging on. While the mystery doesn’t start immediately, it gives you a chance to learn about each of the characters and gauge the reactions of each when things finally start. Naturally in any good thriller, you know not to pay too much attention to the reactions though. The guilty party is typically an expert and can feign any reaction somehow.

I was pretty satisfied with the ending. It’s not really a cop-out or anything like that. It’s probably not an ending I would want to see all that much as it would then start to feel like one, but done sparingly like this it works well enough. We’ll see if you can end up guessing what happened.

The underlying story in the prologue is fairly dark, but fortunately the film doesn’t go into it much. It was handled optimally as you know enough to understand the situation, but the film doesn’t go over details or try too hard for the edgy angle. It’s something that I hope the modern remake is taking notes on. The writing is quite good as you likely have suspected. I don’t know how strict of an adaption it was from the book, but I suspect that the writing is rather similar. All of the characters are sophisticated and it makes for multi layered dialogue as a characters says one thing and means the other. It results in everyone trying to manipulate one another.

If there’s one character who’s rather annoying (Aside from the guy who died rather instantly) it would be the missionary who has a hard time speaking English. Her scene dragged on for quite a while and it can be hard to get what she is saying. Moreover, it feels like what she is saying doesn’t actually matter. I’m sure it was relevant in some way as Poirot explained everything at the end and went into great detail with each member. It was probably relevant, but it didn’t feel like it was and I forget what part of it helped solve the case. I would have chopped that scene a little. Still, that’s really my only complaint with the film so you can tell that this is quite a solid one.i

Overall, The mystery genre is a tough one. I personally think it is one of the toughest ones to write and maybe it is The toughest one. Coming up with a good mystery sounds difficult and that’s probably why I enjoy reading them so much. It may be the best genre next to action, but it’s one that has to be handled delicately. Case Closed is an example of an excellent one. The only pitfall that they have is that the mystery only works once. They don’t have much replay value because when you watch it again, you already know the ending. It’s why the remake coming up should tread carefully. Granted, you won’t actually know if it’s the same ending until you’re at the end of the film so maybe it won’t matter all that much. Regardless, if you haven’t seen this film, I’d suggest changing that right away. It’s aged quite well and makes for an engaging watch.

Overall 8/10

Deadline – U.S.A. Review

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It’s time for an old school mafia/gangster film. I haven’t seen too many of these yet so it’s nice to add another one to the list. It’s handled pretty well and makes for an interesting movie from start to finish. I think the main character could have been a little better to make it easier to root for him, but I suppose it was trying to show that he was just an ordinary joe who wanted to stick up for the paper. Bogart plays the role extremely well as always and it’s a film that has certainly aged well.

Hutcheson is a proud newspaper man. He’s never gone for sensational clickbait over the actual news. He goes for the facts and just that. Unfortunately this means that his paper is losing sales and a competitor wants to buy him out to crush it for good. There’s not much Hutcheson can do about it since the board of directors are okay with the sale. He has enough time for one last scoop though and decides to attack the vicious gangster Rienzi after one of his reporters is attacked for following the story. Nobody gets to take down one of his staff, not while Hutcheson is still on the case.

With all of the fake stories being spread around and alternative facts used instead of actual ones, this film is a good reminder that you have to be careful what you believe. All of the papers in this film were either paid off by Rienzi or were too scared to attack him. This meant that Hutcheson and his crew had to dig up all of the dirt on their own. Luckily, these guys are some of the best in the biz and were ready for such a challenge. Hutcheson is also a pretty confident and bold person himself so the villain’s threats never get to him. He defies the villains right up til the end and even if he is taken out of the picture, the facts have now been released for everyone.

The film has a very sudden ending, but one that works well. You can reasonably draw your own conclusions from it and they are positive ones. While we may not have gotten an epilogue, you can see how things will go from here. It may have all come together a little too well in some cases though. For example, Hutcheson’s one flaw is that he’s typically drunk and a little crazy. He forgot that he was divorced to his wife for a while because he had one too many beers and once he remembered, he wanted to call it off. It was a little late for that as she already found the rebound guy. It turns out that the guy didn’t have any dirt on him even though Hutcheson tried to find it. By the end, the ex-wife realizes that she doesn’t want a new man and comes back. It’s nice for the lead of course, but that part was maybe a little over the top. It was the one subplot where I couldn’t sympathize with Hutcheson at all. He’s a great newspaper man, but that was part of the problem for his social life. He had very clear priorities and his ex-wife was apparently not one of them.

As you’d expect from a newspaper film, the plot is very intricate and there are twists upon twists. More elements continue dug up by the reporters and then you get the full story at the end. It’s definitely a sad story all around, but one that will keep you guessing. It always seems like a fair mystery with my only issue being that some characters look really similar. For example, the rebound guy looked just like one of the gangsters so I was waiting for that twist. Rienzi is a decent main villain although he doesn’t get to appear all that much. He’s clearly a lot smarter than his minions, but it wasn’t enough as he gets outsmarted by the newspaper the whole time.

The court scenes were pretty fun. There wasn’t much that the heroes could do there since the paper’s owners had already given their consent, but it was still nice to see. The court rooms definitely haven’t changed much at all as it looks like an exact replica to the one I sat in a while back. The Judge made the right call since an appeal to emotion isn’t the right way to win a case. One of the executives did stand up in the end though so the paper got to have a happy ending thanks to that. Hopefully sales pick up so she can gain back her money.

Again, old films like this one are so good because of the dynamic writing and plot. The script is leagues ahead of anything you’ll see in the modern day. The characters all feel very real and professional. While this may not always help Hutcheson, it does work well with the film. The plot was good and handled well as we got to see how a lone newspaper can deal with a gangster threat. They may have fallen for the fake cops gambit, but they controlled the game otherwise. All of the reporters were very good at their jobs and everyone brought something to the table. The only plot that the film should have cut out was the drama with the ex-wife. It didn’t eat up too much screen time though so at least it wasn’t a huge issue, just a minor thing that would have made the whole experience even better.

Overall, Deadline USA is a good film. It’s certainly one that I hadn’t heard of before so it was a nice hidden gem to find. The film’s not very long so the pacing never slows down. As one of Bogart’s final films, I can safely say that it was a good decision to be a part of it. The film certainly would have lost some charm and charisma without his inclusion. It’d still be a film, but some leads were just made for the roll and he did a good job here. For once he didn’t even get knocked out despite getting in a car with the villains. You definitely have to love that confidence. I highly recommend checking this film out.

Overall 7/10

White Heat Review

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I’m afraid we’re in for another stinker folks! White Heat decided that maybe they could pass off a corrupt mobster as the charismatic main character and get away with it. They were wrong, not only can Cody not hold his own film, but this one ends up dragging quite a lot. It’s nearly 2 hours and that’s pretty crazy considering that this one came out in the 40’s. Whatever they were thinking with this film, it was not in the same train of thought that I had. Sorry folks, but there aren’t a whole lot of positives to say about this title.

The cops have been after a guy named Cody for a very long time. This mobster is ruthless and his crimes against humanity must be stopped. The detectives decide to send an inside man into the jail to figure out why Cody has turned himself in and to stop his plans. Hank (The agent) doesn’t agree, but he is forced into the job and proceeds to follow the gang around. Will he have the heart to betray Cody or will he become corrupted. After all, hanging out with the wrong crowd can always be dangerous.

One of the main problems with this is that Hank takes way too long to make a move. He really takes his directions to the letter here and follows Cody around from base to base. Quite a few people die as the gang goes through and Hank finally makes a move at the very end, but it took a while. He was still overpowered as well since he let his guard down. Not the greatest secret agent is he? Hank’s not even likable as he has to pretend to be a villain the whole time. He almost got away with it too, but it turns out that he had locked up one too many villains in his day so someone was bound to recognize him.

Cody is a terrible protagonist. He’s the average villain that you would expect from back in the day, only he’s the main character so you have to see him a lot longer than you’d want too. He’s not very smart and doesn’t realize that someone tried to bump him off until someone spills the beans later on. He is able to fight off about a half dozen cops with a bait/punch combo that was pretty unrealistic. Still, it’s a feat for him I suppose, but physical strength doesn’t make up for the fact that he is not a very imposing villain. He’s prone to headaches and his minions could really betray him at any times. He gets the last laugh against some of them, but that just shows how weak the other villains are. He puts up a fight in the climax, but it doesn’t save Cody. If you got rid of the fact that he had a fake romance with one of the mobster girls then he would have risen up from horrendously bad to just very bad. I know he’s not that smart, but it was obvious that she was playing him and he seemed to know it at times.

Cody’s Mom is easily the MVP from all of the villains. She talked tough and backed it up throughout the film. She may have bitten off more than she could chew by trying to take down a gang, but at least she was always prepared to fight until the end. She helped the villains get through a lot of tight spots with the police and she would have been a much more engaging lead than Cody. Even Cody’s rival probably would have been a cooler lead, but he was still a bad character so it wouldn’t be much of an improvement.

As you can see, most of the cops were not all that helpful or even good at their jobs so I wouldn’t really say that any of them were particularly likable. Just watch how easily the villains get out of the jail and you’ll be face palming. The security defenses were quite bad to say the least. The government would not have been proud if they had witnessed the whole debacle. At the very least, the cops talk tough like when they interrogated the villains, but even then they were verbally destroyed by Cody’s Mom.

Again, the film is two hours. Why is it two hours when this plot seems rather basic? Well, we have quite a lot of moments that are around to buy time. For example, the storm that hits the villain’s base. They stand around there for a while as the film gives us a lot of exposition and Cody starts to freak out. The scene goes on for quite a while to pad out the run time. White Heat could have easily shaved off a good half n hour and nothing would really change, except that the film could have maybe been a little better. A different main character would be crucial to making a real difference here though.

As per usual, you can tell that this film is really bad because it is not enjoyable. There are no fun scenes here or moments that will get you excited as you wait to see what will transpire next. White Heat never gets you engaged in the story and as a result, you’ll just be sitting there wondering when your next meal is going to occur or when the film will end. The best case scenario is that you start telling yourself how the film could have been better as the scenes go by. “Why wasn’t there any good music themes here” “Why are the characters not doing this?” etc.

Overall, White Heat is a film best left on the forgotten shelf. It doesn’t know what it means to be a good film and it just kept on getting worse and worse. Making a film based around a villain is always going to be very tricky since it’s difficult to make a villain likable. Extremely difficult and even more so nowadays than it would have been in the classic era. The best chance is to make the villain rather mild and petty, going for Now You See Me type of crimes instead of giving someone like the Joker his own film. It’s a lot of trouble to make it good though so it’s a lot easier to just churn out Spider-Man 10 or Godzilla 79. If you want to see a good film where the main character isn’t a hero, check out Madoka Magica Rebellion. Prepare yourself for an epic ending!

Overall 1/10

Neuro Supernatural Detective Review

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It feels like a long time ago, but I actually read this series as recently as the end of May. (May 31st is when I had the original post up) I haven’t read many mystery series in the past so it’s great to finally meet a long one and it naturally has the Shonen twist to spice things up. All that aside, could it end up being as good as Assassination Classroom and join the big leagues? (Not saying that Classroom is in the big leagues yet, but it’s a solid series thus far) Time to find out!

The main character of this series is a girl named Yako and she was leading a normal life until her father is murdered. This naturally distresses her and she’s unsure of what to do next. Luckily, a demon by the name of Neuro appears and he agrees to solve her mystery, but now she will have to be his assistant…forever. That seems like a small price to pay so Yako accepts. There are many mysteries that make up about half of the series (Feels like it anyway) until the real plot begins. An organization of terrorists appear and they want to spread chaos and panic throughout the world. Their actual goals beyond that are pretty vague, but they want to conquer the world. They’re all human and Neuro’s a city busting demon so this should be easy…right? Well, Neuro gets weaker for every day that he is in the human world, so that helps to even the scales a little bit.

The artwork is pretty great and it’s very easy to follow the action along. This isn’t the Sword Art Online manga that we’re dealing with! It can certainly hold its own against just about any other series on the artwork and while it may not stand out as terrific, I would call it very good. The character designs are all fairly unique, which helps you to remember them pretty well. (Names are another matter altogether. I can’t say that I remembered the names of just about anyone after I finished and let my thoughts stew for 4-5 months.)

The humor in the series wasn’t for me and it certainly played a part in the series inevitable drop in the ratings. One of the running gags in the series is that Neuro is constantly making Yako’s life as miserable as he can. He puts demons in her food so that she can’t eat and he never lets her sleep by placing many traps around the apartment. If she tries to go to sleep, she runs the risk of being impaled, electrocuted, or basically destroyed. Keep in mind that this is all in a comic relief/slap stick so to some it may not seem as bad as it sounds, but the humor is still too morbid for me. The stuff that Neuro really crosses the line into being a villain no matter how Yako may try to sympathize with him. It’s just not enjoyable to watch.

As a main character, Yako is pretty good. I still think that she shouldn’t put up with Neuro so much, but she really does want to help solve mysteries relating to crime and she’s always ready for a good meal. I’m not sure who to compare her too in terms of main characters, but she’s likable. Naturally, she won’t be very similar to someone like Luffy or Ichigo since she never gets to fight, but she helps for the brain vs brawn argument. Of course, this does lead to some plot hax during her big action scenes. I have to say that the ending of the series is pretty sad for her.

Neuro is the other main character and I don’t care for him. He has some good parts of course. I like that he’s one of those fighters who never backs down from a villain and he could care less about what the villains are threatening to do. He’s very skilled and he enjoys a good challenge. This is just outweighed by his bad aspects. He loves inflicting pain and misery to people and his whole gimmick is that he eats mysteries so he loves when things happen to create them. No matter what the act is. The only reason why he is against murder is because it eliminates future mysteries that could have appeared. He’s simply too over the top. Also, he may be insanely strong, but it’s simply not enough at times. He grows weaker with every chapter and eating mysteries doesn’t give him back enough strength to counter what he has lost. So, he gets less impressive as the series goes on and it gets to the point where a human (Amped of course) is giving him some trouble. It was still pretty interesting though and Neuro is one of the few main characters in media who uses fear as his weapon. (Nura is the only other one that I know of who uses this attribute)
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X is one of the biggest villains and he/she is decently cool at first. X is a human who can shapeshift and “he” doesn’t even know if he is a guy or a girl. I’m just going to refer to X as a him for this paragraph since the first form that we see him in is that of a guy. He’s pretty quick and since his DNA has been messed with, he’s far superior to an average human. I found myself looking forward to his fights with Neuro. That being said, he was ultimately doomed since he went after a dog. That was the moment of no return for him. His method of destroying people is also rather sinister as he literally turns them into a box. It’s pretty dicey to say the least. I gotta admit that it is a great name for a villain though!

Godai is a former thug who is forced by Neuro to work as the Detective Agency’s bouncer. He does the dirty work for the heroes like filing for an eternity and Neuro messes with him just as much as Yako. Unlike Yako, he doesn’t really get to participate in the mysteries very often though so it’s a pretty rough situation for him. At least he has started to work legitimately so we can thank Neuro for that. I still didn’t care for Godai no matter how much the series tried to make him likable. He just didn’t really add anything to the series.

Sasazuka is one of the best characters in the series. He’s a Policeman with a mysterious past and he has no problems with talking back to Neuro. He’s one of the few humans who is actually very helpful against the villains and he has a pretty emotional wrap up to his plot. His past is rather tragic as you would expect from someone in this series. Upon further thought, I would say that Sasazuka is the best character in the franchise. It’s just hard to top him and he’s basically perfect. It would have been great if he had been the main character.

Sicks is the main villain and he’s certainly unlikable. He’s meant to represent evil in its purest form. Everything that he does is evil and his goals are for the sake of evil. The author makes it clear that you will be rooting against him and we are reminded of this pretty regularly as he attacks people and decimates many buildings as the casualties continue to rise. He’s pretty tough for a human, but it was still pretty hard to buy the fact that he held his own against Neuro. No matter how many power ups he gets, Sicks is still a human so it shouldn’t have been much of a fight. He does have an intimidating presence about him so he was certainly a good match to fight Neuro.

Ishigaki is Sazazuka’s sidekick and he’s typically humiliated throughout the series. Someone is always breaking his toys and all of the villains are able to defeat him rather easily. It’s a running gag in the series on just how weak he is and the worst part is that one of the big tragedies in the series is arguably his fault. It’s because he typically messes up that we assume that he did in one scene, which ends up hurting the heroes. He’s technically pretty likable, but he can become way too full of himself at times.

Usui is one of the higher ups in the police and he’s pretty good. He sets a lot of traps and while Sasazuka may be more of a direct combatant, Usui likes to set traps from the shadows. They both find some success in their methods, but I still prefer Sasazuka. Usui does manage to come through when it counts though, which should not be overlooked. He’s a pretty solid character and it’s easy to root for him.

Higuchi is a top notch hacker who joins the ranks of the heroes about halfway through the series or maybe a little earlier. He’s all right, but he never got a whole lot of character. He’s just what you would expect from a hacker and he’s not quite as tough as Daisy. (The hacker of course) He looks pretty bad as the series goes on since he’s not exactly immune to mind control and that’s what Hal does best.
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Speaking of Hal…he’s a pretty cool villain. After he is built, Hal naturally evolves and decides that he will rule the world on his own. His powers inside of the Cyber World are absolute and he is actually able to give Neuro a good fight. Neuro may be the strongest fighter in the human world, but the net is a different story. It was also a fun way to show off some more of Neuro’s powers since there were no bystanders to worry about. It was a fun mini arc and Hal may be the best villain in the series.

Aya is one of the first villains to be defeated by Yako and she gets a decently large role in the series. Her crime wasn’t as bad as some of the others as she only destroyed two people. Her music has the power to control people’s minds and she’s quite good at it. She is rehabilitated after her first crime and she gives Yako advice from time to time. It would have been cool to see her fight, but I guess her powers probably wouldn’t have much of an effect on the villains. She’s certainly better than some of the other villains.

Ai is X’s assistant and it feels like she just got a bad draw. She’s a lot like Konan from Naruto. She is not inherently evil, but she was an assassin for a while and then she began to work for X. She developed a pretty close bond to the villain and decided to work with him until he discovered his true self. She will do just about anything to help him and she is also one of the only people not to fear him. She keeps him in line and watches over him when it comes to conventional things like reminding him that he needs to eat. You end up feeling bad for her since she seems to be a very nice person at heart.

Hisanori and Yukinori are brothers who get their own mini arc and then help out in the final arc. They’re pretty minor villains at first and they seem to be on their way to being more on the side of justice by the end. Yukinori tries to attack Neuro, which is admirable, but both of these guys are seriously outmatched compared to the real villains. One of them has a fishhook and the other one can’t even fight. I wasn’t really a fan of either character.

Genuine was one of the worst villains from the big 5. She can’t really fight, but she is able to lure men to her and mesmerize them so that they can distract the heroes. We all know that this technique won’t work on Neuro so she was really doomed from the start. Her character is just pretty bad and she is just letting herself get used by the villains. Her story was not going to have a very happy ending.

Of course, at least Genuine got character. You can’t really say the same for DR, Tierra, and Vijaya. Vijaya has poison abilities and he barely gets to appear. He puts up a decent fight with the heroes, but he is the only one who doesn’t even get to fight against Neuro. That shows how he is simply not at the same level. His abilities are dangerous since getting near the poison will destroy you, but it’s simply not enough. DR and Tierra have been modified so that they have animal DNA like claws and sharp fins. They’re decently tough metahumans, but they’re basically throwaway fighters for Neuro to take down.

Kasai has fire abilities and he easily gets the biggest role from the villains. He’s decent for the most part, but there is a scene with an old lady that doesn’t help his case and he’s ultimately just not that likable. He’s probably the only villain to talk back to Sicks, but he’s still extremely afraid of the man so it’s not much of a consolation. It’s sad too since his fire abilities guarantee that he is the strongest human from the bunch. He is not amped up so he may lose to some of the other villains, but there is no defense against a good fire blast.

There are many more villains that I didn’t even name from the mini arcs since each mystery brings a new cast along with it. There is also a new policewoman who joins the force towards the end, but her character arc never really went anywhere. She got her own sub plot and mini arc of course, but it just didn’t have a lot of meat to it. She’s super serious so she is naturally paired with the comic relief guy, which leads to sadness for the both of them.

One of the issues that I had with the series is how gruesome the villains and situations can be. Aside from the main arc there are many small mysteries that take up 3-5 chapters. They usually involve something sinister, but I wouldn’t say that it’s anything too drastic. The plot is where things start to go a little overboard. There are really a few types of violence and I categorize them in various ways. In this case, the one that stands out is fighter violence vs bystander violence. See, it’s one thing to see someone like Ichigo or Goku take a beating and another altogether to see a random cop or expendable fighter get crushed. The first typically isn’t as bad, but not beyond reason of course. Here, many of the characters suffer fates worse than death, which is when things get too dark for me. If the character’s never going to reach the light at the end of the tunnel…just let the character die already! (From an author’s standpoint, not the hero’s)

The atmospheric writing is very similar to Attack on Titan’s. You know how Titan loves to show a scene every other chapter where the heroes remind us that we have to lose our humanity while some expendables talk about how they don’t want to die? It’s supposed to add realism, but you just start to tune out the whining from the expendables after a wile. Neuro loves to do that with the characters as well. They deeply think about life and how pointless it is while others are just sad by how frightened they are. One scene that stands out is when a villain is so scared of the main villain that he obeys an order to destroy himself in a rather painful way. The logical choice would be to attack, run away, or quickly destroy yourself before they can stop you. Just obeying like that out of fear is a little much, but we get tons of speeches to try and rationalize it. There comes a point where all of the self doubt and realism just makes it too “realistic” to the point where it isn’t like the real world anymore. That’s an example of one of the “worse than death” moments, but there are several others throughout the series. Torture, or any other fate that you can think of, which fits that criteria is not acceptable in any medium under any circumstances. It always helps me drop the score from something and that’s where Neuro lost the majority of its points. It probably took it all the way down from a 7 to a 5 because that was really the big negative in the series.

There aren’t many fight scenes to be found until the plot really begins, but the ones that we do get are pretty fun. The author takes the easy way out though since Neuro continues to invent new powers throughout the series. He seems like he can do just about anything that one can think of if he wants too. He has a bad habit of playing around with his opponents until he’s so weakened that it’s a close fight though, which is pretty dangerous. It usually turns out okay though I suppose.
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Overall, Neuro was really teetering between a 4 and a 5 for a while. On one hand, I was pretty hooked once the plot began and it was hard to tear myself away from what was happening. On the other hand, that’s simply an effect of the well written universe that the characters were interacting in. It still had too many unnecessary scenes and themes for me to rank it as a 5. The villains are simply too disturbed and the casualties could have been lessened or made less intense. I also think that Neuro should have been more likable or heroic since it would have made the ending more believable and emotional. This is a pretty good series if you want a mystery and you want something that is pretty dark tones. Otherwise, you may want to check out Spiral for a good mystery title. That one was pretty great and it even has a prequel to check out once you’re done with the main series. After reading this review, you should hopefully recognize him in the PS3 fighting game with Goku and friends!

Overall 4/10