ROM & The Micronauts Review

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I haven’t read a lot of ROM so it was cool to see him take center stage here. He shares the main character role with the Micronauts as you would expect but as they are a whole team and he is just one person you can see how calling him the main lead can still be pretty valid. It’s a great comic with excellent artwork and a lot of fight scenes inside. I can safely say that the ROM comics are in good hands if they are like the ones here.

The story takes place after a big crossover event where Optimus Prime and a bunch of other big comic heroes fended off a big invasion. Now the Wraiths have begun to regroup and they are teaming up with the Baron, a big enemy of the Micronauts. They are going to work together to resurrect the Wraith god. Fortunately the Micronauts are on the case. They let ROM know that this is going on so he agrees to help them end the threat. Unfortunately the Autobots are currently busy so this group will have to do. ROM is an accomplished fighter, but what can the Micronauts do? Time to find out.

There’s a lot of action here right from the get go. I haven’t read the previous comics but I felt pretty comfortable with where the story was at. It drops enough little references for you to piece together what happened and what needs to be done. You’re thrown into the thick of it, but you always feel as though you are prepared. Another bonus for a smaller scale story like this is the stakes feel a little more real. I think I speak for many when I say that after the 50th time or so of the multiverse being at stake in DC/Marvel comics it can get a little old. In this universe it feels a lot more fresh at the very least and it’s more of a planetary threat then a universal one.

The writing is on point here. All of the characters seem pretty likable. I’d say that ROM steals the show for me. He just seems like such a great hero. The guy does what he can to save the universe and is focused on being a hero. He can be emotionless like a robot and yet not overdoing it so you can still feel his traces of humanity. He’s also the power hitter that the group needs as he can go toe to toe with any of the other villains in this comic. There’s an advertisement at the end of this collection showing off ROM vs Transformers and I can definitely see how that would be a fun battle. Honestly, ROM would probably have the edge there based on his speed.

That’s not to say that the Micronauts are bad though. They have their own mini robot who is pretty tough. He tends to talk a bigger game than what he can back up though so prepare to see him get wrecked a lot. The others feel a lot like the Doom Patrol or those classic sci-fi groups that would go on various space adventures back in the day. They’re all capable fighters and there’s a lot of history behind them. None of them particularly stand out, but they’ve all got potential to go along with their personalities. There just wasn’t much time to explore their characters with the impending crisis.

I also really liked the villains. Once again, ROM’s side won out here. The Wraiths have excellent designs and their magical abilities make them a legitimate threat to any of the heroes. The high ranking Abstract member can even go through things which is always handy. I think they didn’t need to make a deal with the Baron and come across as a little gullible at times, but I guess technically they did make Baron keep his end of the bargain so it worked out in their favor. Meanwhile the Baron is a cool villain as well. With his armor he looks like the Shredder and his power change ability makes him a tough threat as well. He’s certainly a master strategist and I have to give him some kudos for his plan. It’ll be interesting to see how the Micronauts try to get back at him.

This comic really succeeded in making you invested in both titles. I think a big part of these crossover events that has to happen is a way to get the general audience into the comic. Naturally fans of both series will already be reading it, but what about everyone else? A good crossover event is a great way to get in new readers and I think the writers did a swell job of making sure both series got a lot of representation. Both of them have many exciting adventures left in store. ROM appeals to me more because I love the aesthetic as well as all of the characters in the verse, but both are quite good and would certainly be earning a positive score from me. I don’t know when I’ll be checking out more comics in these titles but if I do you can be sure that I’ll be writing some reviews.

I usually end up talking about power levels a lot in these crossovers but there isn’t much to say. It’s clear from the start that ROM and the characters from his verse are significantly stronger than the Micronaut counterparts. Still, the latter are able to contribute because their small size helps them eradicate viruses pretty easy and they also have experience with the Baron. Shrinking ROM was also a good way to balance out their power levels. If anything I have to wonder how the Micronauts ever handle the Baron on their own because he looks way stronger than what they can deal with. So, ROM and friends may have been nerfed a little bit here, but not much and it was all handled pretty good I’d say.

Overall, This was a great comic. I always love crossovers and this one kept them at the high standard that I am used to. It was cool to see the Wraiths because up til now I never really knew who he would fight. I should also quickly mention that ROM’s two teammates were helpful as well. While they aren’t quite as strong as ROM they are certainly still formidable and should not be underestimated. The fact that these robot hybrids are effectively immortal and self repairing make them very lethal. It’s just such a cool concept behind ROM and I can’t emphasize that enough. Anyway, check this comic out, you’re sure to enjoy it!

Overall 8/10

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Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 5 Review

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It’s time to look at another volume of the Scooby Doo Team Up series. With a lot of the bigger heroes already accounted for this volume mostly focuses on the less known heroes. That being said, these guys are mainly household names, but just not in the same league as the big 7. As always it’s a fun collection with a lot of fun moments and good pacing. By now you will likely know if this series is your style or not, but I’d definitely recommend it.

The first story has Green Arrow and Green Lantern show up. They have been travelling across America trying to find out what the true nature of the country is. Unfortunately their findings have not been all that positive as of yet and they believe that things aren’t going well for the country. Fortunately the Mystery Inc is here to solve a case and along the way they will remind the heroes that there is always hope. Can this band of adventurers and heroes really help this village visit the outside world though? Yes, part of the plot is that a group of people have secluded themselves in a little village and refuse to go to the outside world but now they are being haunted.

It’s a good first story although the whole thing is definitely a little odd. First off, Green Arrow is just really out of character here. He’s constantly being a pessimist and can’t stop thinking about politics. I also wasn’t crazy about the resolution of the story here. Basically the ghosts were the kids of these people who were trying to scare them into going back to town. The reason is that they moved away but are now lonely without their parents. I mean…they could just visit the parents right? It seems like they wanted everything to go their way and it is never necessarily pointed out that this is the wrong approach. The kids just seemed very entitled.

Then we have a crossover with a Kung Fu dog that I’ve never heard of. Essentially the gang are being attacked by fire breathing dragons who know Kung Fu. Scooby Doo and the gang are usually prepared for anything, but for once they have met their match. That’s why calling in the dog made sense, but unfortunately he doesn’t know how to fight and the Kung Fu was all a sham. I feel bad for fans of this character. Fortunately Daphne knows how to fight which ultimately helps the team make it through this adventure. It’s a reasonable comic although I can’t say that I’m a big fan of the dog. If he can’t really fight then I don’t see how he will be able to help anyone.

A pretty fun story features a bunch of obscure groups. They solve mysteries under the sea, in space, etc. All of the groups have similar costumes and egos. This one is pretty strong because the group ends up insulting the Mystery Inc’s effectiveness so naturally this starts a rivalry. Even if this should be pretty lopsided in favor of the team that can actually fight I always like to see the Mystery Inc talk tough. Fred certainly doesn’t back down from a challenge. If Shaggy and Scooby weren’t constantly embarrassing the team I’m sure their rep would be even better than it currently is. By the end the group managed to pull their own weight though and it was fun seeing all of the obscure DC teams. They all seemed pretty likable and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them.

Typically in all of these stories the heroes are teaming up with DC fighters who are much stronger and better equipped to handle a situation. This next story is the first exception to that. There are a group of alley cats who are always causing trouble. This time they have pretended to make a ghost to scare off the cops. Fortunately this cop is pretty smart and calls in the main characters. They decide to solve the case which puts the cats in a pretty bad spot. Things get worse when the Real Estate agents show up to make a mess of the situation. It’s pretty nice to see Fred and the gang get to tackle some actual ghosts here since that’s their area of expertise. You could argue that they controlled the pace and tempo of this case.

Then we’ve got a story that takes place in the distant past. It turns out that there was an original Mystery Inc who worked in the Wild West. They were called in to deal with a monster, but there is also a fugitive of the law in this place who is being hunted by Cinnamon and Jonah Hex. The guy seems innocent though so the Mystery Inc may have to step in. It’s certainly interesting to see the group operating in the past even if it may seem like a bit of a stretch. I suppose it’s the only way they could team up with someone like Jonah Hex though so it’ll have to do. I’ve never heard of Cinnamon, but it’s hard to tell if she’s real or fake. I’m personally thinking that it may be the latter.

Plasticman also shows up. His sidekick was tricked by a fortune teller into thinking that his days are numbered so naturally he is spooked. Fred and the gang don’t believe that the magic was real since they don’t believe in the supernatural but as bad things continue to happen Shaggy and Scooby lose their nerve once more. It’s a fun enough story and I suppose it’s good for some of the guest stars to be spooked so it’s not always Shaggy and Scooby making their group look bad. Plasticman’s abilities are also pretty useful when he uses them right which the comic has him do.

The art is pretty good for all of the comics and is part of what makes the collection so fun to read. The art is very streamlined and everyone has their iconic designs. You can glance at a page and instantly know what is happening. The art is very clear and the colors are vibrant. Each issue has good pacing and writing within so that each story is able to be told without feeling rushed. As the collection contains 5-7 comics it’s also a pretty good value. I hope to see many more Scooby Doo Team Up volumes.

Overall, Scooby Doo Team Up is a fun series. It’s a nice crossover series that gets to put the Mystery Inc in a lot of crazy situations. While they may not always be very well equipped to handle a situation you always have to give them credit for trying. These issues could easily work as normal episodes in the show which is probably the whole point. It shows that the comic writers know what they are doing here. If you haven’t checked this volume/series out then I definitely recommend fixing that. Everything is basically on point here.

Overall 7/10

Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 Review

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It’s time to look at the big crossover between the retro Wonder Woman and Batman series. As they both starred in different eras the comic decides to have adventures that take place in both along with a third that he even sooner. It’s cool how the series was able to tackle all 3 eras and even added a sense of continuity by making them all connect to each other in some way or another. If we ever do get a Justice League comic with these characters it would definitely be intense!

The first comic takes place when Batman was still just a child. The Nazi’s wanted to obtain a book he owned that would lead to the Pit of Eternal Youth and many other places including Wonder Woman’s home. Ra’s Al Ghul and his criminal organization also wanted this info. Finally, Wonder Woman and government agent Steve Trevor also showed up to grab it. Batman’s in a little over his head here, but he needs to try and get the book to safety while also looking out for Talia. Although little does he know that Talia can certainly fend for herself as she was already taught much about martial arts when she was a kid.

It’s a fun comic and probably the only time we will see Batman’s parents for a while. Talia was probably the highlight here as it’s a nice look at how she could have been as a hero if not for the guidance of Ra’s. She probably would have been an even better Batgirl than the one we are all used to. Wonder Woman had a pretty easy time mowing down the opposing troops herself. Protecting the kids would probably be the toughest part and even that seemed rather simple for her as well. Even Steve got to contribute a bit.

The middle story has Ra’s make his way to Paradise Island. No man can arrive there without an escort so Batman convinces Catwoman to take them there. The villainess has a rather large role in both the second and third stories as she even gets a redemption arc. Her fans will likely be pleased as she does tend to go back and forth a lot but at the end of the day she always does have a lot of potential for good. Batman is rather skeptical the whole time as he should be, but doesn’t make a scene. He also doesn’t have much choice since she asks for sanctuary on the island and Wonder Woman grants it to her.

There’s not too much to say about this comic as it’s very to the point. The heroes fight with Ra’s and his team. We do get a cameo from Wonder Girl which was cool as she stood up to Ra’s. Naturally the comic does its best to keep Ra’s away from Wonder Woman because he wouldn’t last a second against her in an actual fight. Honestly that’s why Batman’s villains stay back for most of this collection as well. They can give the Dark Knight some trouble, but Wonder Woman? They are of no consequence to her and that’s considering that this isn’t even close to her strongest incarnation.

In the final story we have Wonder Woman head back to Gotham because Ra’s has returned once more. You have to respect the fact that he keeps on coming back for more each time. The guy just never gives up. Unfortunately she finds out that Batman has retired and now Robin is the only fighter left. Wonder Woman can’t accept this and convinces Batman to come out of retirement. Granted, he basically has to make this choice since Ra’s finds out about the Batcave and brings the fight to him. A more serious Bruce Wayne rejoins the fight and it’s a pretty fun climax.

This is the story that ends off the collection and it’s certainly a great pick for it. Aside from the fact that the stories were intentionally chosen in chronological order, it just feels like the most epic adventure from the 3 with the highest stakes. Ra’s is finally taken out of the equation as well so in theory the heroes no longer have to worry about him. That will certainly be a big relief for them.

The characters were all on point as you can probably guess. I’d say that Wonder Woman looks the best here as she looks out for humanity and saves the day many times. Batman isn’t as impressive since he gave up at one point, but did recover quickly and beyond that he looked solid as always. Robin still tries hard whenever he pops up and it was nice to see him as Nightwing. He deserves his share of respect at that point since he is a veteran and the heroes give it to him.

The artwork looks pretty solid throughout the issues. The character models are on point and the action scenes look nice as always. It’s not quite up to par with the mainstream DC adventures but it does a good job of recreating the look of the old shows. The panels all stand out so it’s always easy to see what is happening at a glance. Even though there is quite a lot of pages in this collection, it will all be over very quickly with how solid the writing and pacing are. This will come to no surprise as both individual series were always very good in these two areas though. If anything the writing is why these titles got so big in the first place.

Overall, This collection hits all the right notes. It’s a crossover where both heroes get a lot of tim to shine. It’s definitely interesting to see a more serious Adam West here even if you will miss the light one from the second story. I suppose that is definitely setting him up to play the role of Batman in Justice League as one more people would be familiar with from newer stories. That or since he was re inspired by Wonder Woman, he will go back to his usual style in time. Either way, hopefully we actually do get a Justice League story soon. That would definitely be a lot of fun.

Overall 8/10

Blazblue Cross Tag Battle Review

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It’s time to take a look at one of the most eagerly awaited games of 2018! The instant that the first teaser trailer came out I knew that this was going to be an all star title. RWBY characters were finally getting a chance in the spotlight and I was also finally able to experience the Blazblue fighting style. Needless to say the game is a blast. Unfortunately while the game was expected to be relatively low budget, I still did expect a little more than what the game had to offer. It’s a great title, but perhaps one that I cannot call masterful.

The premise of the game’s story is that every character from 4 different worlds have been kidnapped. Each world gets 4-8 different fighters who compete in a big tournament to decide all of their fates. The champion must grab all 4 of the Keystones and make it to the end. Sounds simple enough, but will this mysterious cosmic being really let them go so easily? You typically can’t trust these mysterious characters. Most of the characters here just want to fight so don’t expect most confrontations to end calmly.

There are 4 stories, one for each of the various series in the game. The stories have 8 battles within them and a general story in the background. Blazblue is the only story with multiple endings though. The stories are fairly quick at around 70 minutes each and only around 10 if you skip cutscenes. The cutscenes are pretty long and have voice acting which is great but each character only has 1 stock pose. This means that characters look like they’re about to fight in every scene even when it’s a peaceful discussion. The most obvious example of this is the Persona character whose illustration shows her throwing out a kick. You see this same kick for every single scene she is in. Most games come with at least 3 illustrations for exactly this reason and it’s actually a little crazy that this game only uses one. I’ve seen mobile games with what looks like a higher budget.

Also, the story doesn’t even make much sense at all. The high above being needs energy from the combatants in order to take over their worlds. She even has a rule in place that prevents them from fighting unless it’s a tag battle so as not to waste her time. Yet, she loses control of the characters randomly at times. Sometimes she is eavesdropping on the heroes to know their plans and sometimes she just doesn’t. She does such a glorious job of messing everything up that it makes it tough for you to take the game seriously. Her power level is just very inconsistent and most of the characters act completely out of character as well. I just think the story could have been way better and honestly it is the weakest part of the game. I wouldn’t even call the game low budget at all if not for the story. The story is what makes it appear that way with the writers just phoning in the plot and not really doing much with it. If we ever do get a sequel or a full fledged RWBY game, I hope they put ore thought into it.

The gameplay is your standard 2D fighter. You attack other players with long combos and finals smashes as you attempt to get their life bars down to 0. The battles are all 2 on 2 so tagging in and out adds to the strategy of it all. There are easy auto combos that you can use while you start the game, but eventually you want to move onto more advanced techniques or you will be doomed against the stronger foes. I have no complaints with the gameplay as it flows very well and is just very well done.

There are quite a few different modes to play here aside from the story. Naturally there is the training mode which is pretty handy as well as Tactics mode. There you learn combos and complete tutorials about the game. The vast majority of the game’s replay value is through it’s online and local multiplayer mode of course. Knowing this, most of the trophies in the game are obtained through these features. You can even obtain the Platinum in around 3 hours if you are truly rushing. If you don’t have online then you want to play a lot of multiplayer matches locally. If you are just playing for single player content then you will be done very quickly.

The game got a lot of controversy for locking half of the characters behind a paywall and rightfully so. The developers are basically just reusing the characters from previous games so it hardly costs them anything. I do appreciate the price of the game being reduced to help justify this, but it’s still not a good look. As a result you fight some characters in the game that you can’t even play as. We’ll see how much each character is, but I don’t think I will be purchasing any of them. I just don’t play the game enough to make it worth it as opposed to something like Smash 4.

One of the big positives of the game is its rich soundtrack. Blazblue has always had a bunch of great themes and now we get to hear the RWBY ones alongside it. Persona and Under Night’s themes aren’t bad either so it’s just a very complete soundtrack. It’s nice to have voice acting for all of the characters as well since it makes the game look more polished. The graphics are certainly top of the line so the game’s developers spared no expense in this arena. The Astral Finish move that each of the characters have looks great and the gameplay is very bright and dynamic. Even if some aspects of the game were rushed, these certainly weren’t.

Overall, Cross Tag Battle is a great game. You just have to decide on if you want to look at it in a glass half full view where you’re just glad that the game actually got made and licensed or in a half empty view where there is so much more that could have been done with it. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a game that I had a blast playing even if it was a rather brief experience. I’ll at least go back to unlock some more trophies and if I ever buy a month of PS+ to get some online trophies maybe I’ll even go for the Platinum. Surely getting to Silver Rank online won’t be that tough right? I’d recommend checking this game out if you’re a big fan of fighters or just want to be able to play as Team RWBY. That alone makes the purchase worth it.

Overall 8/10

5 Reasons why I won’t main a low tier in Super Smash for Switch.

I take no credit for the images used in this article. Credit goes to their respective creators

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So the next Smash Bros game is coming out soon and you’re wondering who to main. I don’t blame you, this is the kind of decision that is super important and will come back to bite you if you aren’t careful.I’m going to impart some wisdom to you here on not only why I won’t main a low tier, but why you shouldn’t either. I mained Fox in the first 3 iterations of Smash Bros and upgraded to Bayonetta for Sm4sh. For Sm5sh I fully expect to be maining a top tier fighter as well. You need to choose quickly because otherwise you will become stuck. For example, if you approach most players who main a low tier they will deny it. You can yell it as loudly as the character in the picture above but they can no longer recognize that their character is low tier. You simply lose sight of the character’s faults and that’s why you need to make the right choice the first time around.

1. You have to develop your own Metagame.
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When you pick a top tier like Diddy Kong or Bayonetta you’re in for a fun time since you can just toss out the same old combos that you see the top players pulling off. For Bayonetta just keep using her witch twists until it gets the KO. It’s an extremely safe attack so don’t worry about getting punished for it. See, the thing with low tiers is that everybody is always eager for someone else to main them, but nobody wants to do it personally. That’s because you are the guinea pig here. They want you to learn the combos so they can just steal it along with the character once you prove that they can be viable. Of course, that’s hardly a guarantee in the first place. Odds are that you’ll be doomed. Worst case you think you are picking a great character as seen in the picture above, but then the reality is a little different.

2. You can’t have any Johns
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If you lose to someone when you’re playing one of the best characters then you can easily make an excuse like you didn’t sleep well or something and people might believe it. After all, how else could you lose to a low tier? However, if you lose to someone while playing a bottom 5 character then you only have yourself to blame for picking the character. At least that’s going to be the counter argument and it will be a very tough one to get around. How do you debunk such a statement? It gets tricky and this actually leads into my 3rd reason.

3. You always have to settle for 2nd best
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Whether you are second in your pool, in the tourney, or in your half of the pool, there will always be a ceiling that you can’t shatter. After all, when was the last time someone saw Buff The Puff win a big tourney or Melee Kirby doing anything? You’ll ultimately never get to see most of the prize money for the Smash tournaments and that will turn the game into a very expensive hobby. If you can’t make money off of it then why continue to spend money to enter the tournament? It just doesn’t make any sense. Character loyalty will only hold you back in bracket. Better to be just another Bayo than to be known as the Zelda guy who is always stuck at pools. If you don’t know any better you’d think you were out of the range of another character’s attack like in this picture, but hitboxes can be very deceiving.

4. You won’t get Top Player privilege.
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Prepare to be treated like everyone else. Overslept through a pool and want the TOs to give you mercy? Not unless you’re a top player and last I checked, to be a top player you can’t use a low tier. It’s a tough predicament, but one that you will ultimately have to live with. A loop hole that you could use for any of the reasons on the list is to pick a top tier and just call him/her a low tier. Some top players have attempted this and while most will smirk you can probably trick a few into thinking this. Top character privelege is a thing as well. Top tier characters have a lot of cheesy gimmicks and techniques to break their fall so the player can afford to get outplayed the entire set and still win anyway. If you main a low tier then there is nobody to save you from the fall.

5. The more you play, the worse your results get
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This may sound contradictory but it’s true. Low tiers thrive on match up inexperience and gimmicks. Most of them are really one trick ponies. At first they will terrify the opponent but then they realize that their attacks actually aren’t so dangerous. Zelda has her down throw to up air, but that’s it. Ganondorf has his powerful attacks, but will get combo’d to death way before that. Buff the Puff dies against anyone with range, etc. Once your opponents figure out what you are doing then it is over. Unfortunately for you, they will inevitably figure it out since this will become obvious the more you play them. You want to play a character who is really OP so even once they know what you are doing it won’t matter.
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I say all of this to help you enjoy the game more. You may think that as long as you enjoy a character that you will be fine, but this isn’t usually the case. After all, if you are still losing a lot then that will take away the joy. You can play a boring character all day meanwhile but if it delivers the wins then you won’t mind so much. Of course it will be tough to tell who the top tiers for Smash 5 are right away (Assuming it’s not a port although I have my doubts) but just listen to the general consensus and stick with it for a while. Listen to the Twitch chat or the Reddit professionals and just copy their ideas. It will help you win a lot of tournaments before everyone has picked up the pieces. This was a relatively short editorial, but one that I felt was necessary to release before the game came out. Pick a main wisely as you won’t be able to switch right away without the world taking notice.

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 4 Review

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It’s time to look at the next Scooby Doo crossover adventure! The gang is back to solve a bunch of cases, but they may need a little extra muscle to back them up this time. The villains are growing more dangerous and most of them don’t even bother with a mask anymore. It’s unfortunate but the Mystery Inc may be out of their depth this time. As always it is a pretty fun assortment of stories. The franchise has always done a pretty good job of being consistent.

One of the stories involves the Men in Black (Not literally them but same concept) going after all of the alien superheroes on Earth. This is because the Martian Manhunter delivered a press conference to the world where he said that the aliens were going to take over. That’s when the real one shows up and asks the Mystery gang to help him clear his name. They are happy to do so, but it won’t be as easy as all that. Who can they trust and how can they debunk a television broadcast that everyone saw?

There is a bit of a cop out ending to this one, but nonetheless it is a fun story. The stakes probably felt a little higher here than in some of the other stories to be honest. The aliens really needed the help of a good detective and the main characters delivered. Well, most of the detectives did t any rate. This may have been the best story.

Then we’ve got an adventure with Zatanna. Her father is missing so she heads to our usual gang of detectives. They aren’t very helpful though and just recommend that she checks with some other magicians instead. They all meet up with a bunch of spellcasters, but they’ve all been robbed of their magical artifacts and are now helpless. Whoever has done this is certainly a big threat, but the heroes won’t give up. It’s a fun enough comic although I have a hard time believing that all of the magicians would get punked so easily. Zatanna’s always a fun character though so it was nice to see her get a story. The Mystery Inc needs to step up their game a bit though because Shaggy and Scooby always make them look so bad.

Another comic has the heroes go to a concert where the Infinities are playing. They’re a bunch of teenage superheroes who thought it would be smart to use the same name for both their human activities and super ones. Fortunately nobody has suspected a thing yet. A giant robot attacks along with a bunch of giant monsters so the heroes have to stop them. Thing is, the robot is usually a good guy, but he is being controlled remotely by an evil scientist with a criminally devious master plan. The heroes will have to think of something very quickly but what can they do? It’s a fun comic even if I’m not really familiar with any of the characters here. I didn’t like the giant robot but everyone else seemed mostly reasonable. I don’t think I would like the Infinities much either, but at least they can fight so it was good that they were around. This issue was a little weaker than the others.

Then we have a comic where Harley Quinn shows up to join the heroes. Fred and the others are skeptical but allow her to join anyway. It turns out that she is pretty good at the mystery business but the problem is that the Joker is after her. By extension this means that the heroes are also in quite the jam now. Batman is on the way but can they hold out long enough? This comic was fun, but what really took it to the next level was the surprise appearances of Batman and Robin at the end. I definitely wasn’t expecting to see them so that was neat. They do end up stealing the show as you would expect, but that’s par for the course for the Dynamic Duo.

Then we have the worst comic of the bunch. The heroes make it to the wild west where they decide to help out a pair of Donkeys. The Donkey sheriff has a secret identity where he puts on a cape and acts as a Zorro impersonation. The costume isn’t downright terrible but you know what the humor style will be like from the start and it never tries to be anything more than that. I couldn’t really get invested in the comic because the guest characters just weren’t interesting. I suppose they tried their best and it still isn’t a bad comic, but it just wasn’t very eventful.

Then we also can’t forget the appearance of the Space Ghost. He’s all business as per usual while the kid assistants just get captured a lot. The Space Ghost also look just as frightening on the page as in the universe going by how even Fred and the others seemed a little nervous in his presence. The Space Ghost commands respect after all. The villains know better than to mess with him and that’s why they always go after the kids. The comic isn’t really a mystery so much as it is just a fight against the Space Ghost’s usual villains, but it was definitely a lot of fun. The hero’s design has really aged very well.

The art is nice as always. The characters are always on point and it is just very consistent. You will be able to easily fly through the pages on your way to the end. The writing is also on point so you know what you are getting yourself into from the start. If you’re a fan of the Scooby Doo team and their usual antics then you should have absolutely no problem here. If you find them annoying then this won’t change your mind. Honestly, there’s just no saving Scooby and Shaggy at this point since they just aren’t brave enough to hope to stand up to anyone. The team needs to cut them loose. It’s unfortunate of course, but they just don’t add anything to the team.

Overall, This was another solid team up volume. It has the right blend of humor and some action that the franchise is know for. If anything, it probably has a little more action than the show would thanks to all of the superheroes running around. There’s nothing particularly unique about the volume as its just another installment that you could interchange with the previous 2, but that’s why you are focusing on the guest stars. Every time a new issue comes out we have a chance at a new guest star. Hopefully we get many more volumes of this series in the future.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh Arc V Review

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I have finally completed Yugioh Arc V! It was definitely a pretty intense Yugioh series and rose up to being one of the best ones. I had a feeling that it would become really good since this was hyped as the crossover series, but the other titles all left a high bar for it to follow. Initially the series reminded me a lot of Yugioh Zexal with the animation and the music that the dub used for it. As the series went on it came into its own though and peaked during the second arc. It’s definitely a very strong title that I dare say is second only to GX. Usually I put the Yugioh rankings at the bottom, but there aren’t too many so I’ll just put them up here. 1. Yugioh GX, 2. Yugioh Arc V, 3. Yugioh 5Ds, 4. Yugioh, 5. Yugioh Zexal. I won’t bother with season 0 or Capsule Monsters as they aren’t even strong enough to really rank at all next to the others. As always this means that the bar is set pretty high once again for the next Yugioh series. It’ll be interesting to see where that one ranks, but either way I do think that it will be quite excellent!

The series starts off by introducing us to Yuya. He is an aspiring Dueltainer who wants to become the best like his dad was. He even goes to a proper school for it which is led by his best friend’s (Zuzu) dad named Skip. Skip claims that Yuya will become a great star through him. That’s when Yuya is challenged to appear against the World Champion on TV to avenge his father. Yuya can’t turn down such an opportunity but is he ready? The pre arc is Yuya taking on all kinds of opponents and improving his act. He can’t just win, he has to claim victory while having fun and helping the opponent to smile. That’s what being a duel tainer is all about!

The intro episodes do a decent job of setting the stage. The pacing isn’t bad, but the supporting cast isn’t great. As with 5Ds, the main supporting cast is written out of the adventure pretty early on and that was a great move. We lost the annoying kids and only kept Zuzu and Sora. The rest were all left behind. Backtracking a bit, Yuya’s tournament is interrupted when the Obelisk Force shows up and starts turning everyone into cards. Yuya is able to fend them off, but his world takes considerable damage and Declan reveals that he had anticipated this attack. Yuya reluctantly agrees to go along with him and so starts the battle of the 4 universes, Standard, XYZ, Fusion, and Synchro. Yuya must duel as hard as he can to stop the evil plans at work here and to save Zuzu who is one of the main targets that the villains are after.

Once the dimension is initially attacked then the series really accelerates into top tier status. The whole 5Ds arc was just amazing and one of the best arcs in all of Yugioh. Everything happened here and all of the subplots that had been growing converged at this point. It was just amazing and in particular the scene where all of the characters met up in the old subway tunnel was superb. The only downside to this is that naturally the next arc couldn’t quite compete as the heroes went to XYZ world and then to the Fusion dimension. Those arcs were fun as well, but they couldn’t even come close to 5Ds. I suppose that it’s not a surprise though since typically the last arc in a Yugioh series isn’t the best one. Battle City destroys Millenium World, The Yubel Arc beats the Nightshroud one, etc. Still, it needs to be said again that Arc V has no bad arcs, it’s just that the 5Ds one took it to the pinnacle of perfection. It’s probably also because Turbo Duels took the place of Action Duels.

I didn’t actually talk about it earlier so I should do that now. Action Duels were invented for this series and think of it as a more interactive style of dueling. Instead of sitting back and waiting for your turn you get to run around in search of the action cards. It’s purely luck based what the card will do, but typically it lets you block an attack or power up your monster. It’s a decent concept, but the luck factor makes it too easy on the writers. Put Yuya in a sticky situation? Have him get an action card that lets him block the attack. You can even get more than 1 Action Card in a single turn which is sketchy. At one point Yuya even starts to use this as a crutch and the way I see it is if you have to run for the action card right away then you weren’t the better duelist in that moment. I think this gimmick didn’t need to happen, but I suppose it is fun to see everyone running around. They just should have tightened up the rules like how in the manga they mention that only a certain amount of action cards are put on the field per duel and you can only use one per turn. Adding some rules like that would make it more balanced. I have no complaints about pendulum summoning though. It’s just insanely OP, but for the most part only Declan exploits that as everyone else uses it to summon fairly weak monsters half the time.

Yuya is the main character of this installment and one of the best Yugioh main characters to date. Jaden is still the best and Yami Yugi is second, but I’d put Yuya right up there at 3rd. 4th would be Yusei, 5th Yuma, and then currently Yugi’s out at 6th. Yuya’s main gimmick is that he’s a performer so naturally he has to stay cheerful a lot. The problem is that this gets tougher and tougher as the villains get serious and do everything in their power to break him. Yuya gives in to his rage several times and even mentions at one point that he’ll just have to save the smiles for later. When his friends are involved you can bet that Yuya will get serious.

Of course it may be a little alarming if you wanted him to stay in happy world, but realistically it’s hard to be putting on a show and grin ear to ear while your friends are being captured or defeated as you duel. You gotta put your game face on and Yuya’s smile card is a pretty terrible spell if you think about it. Yuya has some of the best rage modes in all of Yugioh. He really was at his best when he was dueling seriously. Yuya was always a talented duelist, but by the end he definitely was ready to be considered as a world class fighter. There are few who can go up against him since Yuya has now mastered all different summoning methods. (At least the ones available in his series. I guess there is maybe Ritual summoning, but there just wouldn’t be room in his deck for that) Yuya definitely never stopped in his quest to fight Zuzu and is the kind of guy you want to have as your friend.

Zuzu is the main heroine of Arc V and fortunately she is also a capable duelist. We don’t get to see her duel much at all in the second half of the series, but she got some quality duels before that. Zuzu learned fusion summoning from Sora so she was certainly highly proficient at it. She even did a good job during the big 5Ds tournament later on. While she may have not been able to win the whole thing she definitely didn’t lose without dealing major damage. Considering that a lot of characters ended up losing out by the end of the series Zuzu definitely got a happy ending. As far as the heroines go I would rank her above Tea and Tori pretty quickly. It’s a little closer with Alexis and Akiza, but I think Zuzu would beat them for now as well so at the moment she is the best heroine in Yugioh.

Yuto probably gets the biggest role from the other 3 personas that Yuya has. It’s a little ironic since Yuto was the first one to get blown away, but this lets him act as a Yami Yugi sort of character. Surprisingly he only takes control of Yuya’s body a couple of times during the course of the series, but he’s usually around to give some advice. The thing is while he gives good advice he is always quick to crack when the pressure is on. Then he actually ends up hurting Yuya in a sense since he’s just weakening the hero’s willpower. He’s certainly a very likable character though. He did fight hard to defend his planet so it’s almost a shame that he didn’t get to do it longer. He’s basically Yuya if the hero grew up in a war torn world, but that’s basically the point. His main dragon has the best design from the 4.
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Then we have Yugo who is the polar opposite of Yuto. His world’s a really happy one as the villains haven’t gotten there yet. He lives without a care in the world, at least until Rin vanished. Then he began searching for her across the 4 dimensions. It’s still a little iffy how he jumped dimensions in the first place, but with the universe being so unstable I guess it’s bound to open holes for the others at times. He has an ongoing rivalry with Yuri. At one point I thought they were never going to get to finish their duel, but at least it finally got to happen near the very end of the series. He’s definitely a very talented duelist although I think he may have been the weakest of the 4. That’s not really a bad thing since they’re all so skilled, someone had to be last right? He’s a fun character even if he has a tendency to joke around a little too much when the stakes are high.

Finally we have Yuri who is the only evil member of the 4. He enjoys dueling opponents weaker than him and then toying with them. It’s how he gets his jollies, but his skills are the real deal. He didn’t become the top ranked enforcer for no reason after all. His dragon looks sort of like Biollante and it’s distorted appearance can also make the creature not even look like a dragon at times. He even came close to taking down Supreme Yuya which is no easy feat. Another really good villain and a reminder as to why Arc V was so great. The cast was absolutely stellar.

Celina is my favorite member of the 4 heroines. She’s the most skilled of the group and is always eager for battle. She started out on Leo’s side, but quickly realized that this may not be the right side. She thinks about it logically and makes the hero call. Celina is basically Zuzu but more aggressive so it’s easy to see why she is one of the best characters in the series. It’s just too bad that she never really got to properly duel in the final arc, but she had a lot of screen time prior to that.

Rin might get the smallest role from the girl although you could make a case for Lulu as well. We never really get to see Rin fight in her own mind, but I like to think that she was a decent duelist. She seems like a nice kid. Likewise, I’m sure Lulu was a quality character as well. We don’t get to see her much beyond flashbacks, but I guess it was tough for even this show to give everyone some big duels. She serves more as motivation for some of the characters to stop the villains than as an actual duelist, but it would appear that she can duel since she does have a duel disc and during the mind control saga her abilities were acknowledged.

Kite is the big guest star from Yugioh Zexal. Surprisingly Zexal only got one guest star while every other region got 2. I suppose maybe it’s because Zexal was fairly recent so there was less nostalgia for it. Well, either way he is the best option they could have chosen from their. His abilities are as good as ever and I always love seeing his Galaxy Eyes show up. He can definitely hold his own with any of the other fighters.

Shay is probably the closest thing to a rival in Arc V except for Sora. The reason why Sora may edge him out there is because Shay’s beef is never really with Yuya and they just don’t get to compete much. Shay is an amazing character though and continues Yugioh’s tradition of having great rivals. He is absolutely determined to save Lulu no matter what it takes. He is constantly barred by obstacles in the form of Declan, The Fusion Dimension, the 5Ds Dimension and others, but he never stops. He’s honed his skills quite a lot to always have the power to save his friends. Always training like that is definitely what you would expect from a character like this. His deck is also great since he uses a lot of monsters that are considered weak but when they activate their abilities they get very strong. His top monster only has 100 attack points before its ability activates. Now that’s what I call a great deck that follows his life philosophy of working together to protect your friends.
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Shay’s only competition for best character in the series is Sora. It’s a very close battle for the top, but I’d give Shay the edge in the end. Still, Sora is an excellent duelist in his own right and could even be the strongest in Duel Academy. Unfortunately we never got to see him have a proper duel with Yuri for the title. That rushed, cheesy battle at the end doesn’t count. Sora ended the series with 13 wins and 5 losses which is quite impressive. I always liked his confidence and he became a bit of a wild card for a while before formally joining the heroes. His turn around was also handled well as he didn’t suddenly become a hero or anything, but he did become friends with Zuzu and decided to protect her even though it was against orders. That makes sense and naturally this eventually led to him being one of the heroes. His nice guy act near the beginning was pretty convincing as well.

Declan is the main hype character of the series. He’s portrayed like Kaiba, but I wouldn’t call him a rival to Yuya. It’s an interesting dynamic and the show keeps him in a very mysterious light for most of the show. It’s hard to know on whose side he is on. Is he a villain or a hero? That will be answered by the end, but he isn’t afraid to sacrifice a few lives to save the world so he can be quite ruthless. It’s hard to call him out on it either as Yuya attempts to, but is quickly beaten down. There just aren’t many fighters who can take Declan down as his cards are the very definition of overpowered. Arc V got extremely high tier by the end with the sheer amount of special abilities that each card had. It was just crazy. I’m not really a big fan of Declan honestly, but he is a good character. He wouldn’t be top 5 or anything, but it was great to have what you could call the lesser of 2 evils teaming up with the heroes the whole time. For the most part he is a nice guy though and the show does portray him as a hero by the end even if you may have your doubts on that. He got to be a lot less annoying once he went with the other heroes to the next dimension and they parted ways. At that point he was on close to equal footing with the others rather than being their boss.

Gong is one of Yuya’s best friends and like me he does not care for action duels. As a result, he will go out of his way to avoid using them in a duel. He prefers to win with his Heavy style. Gong’s not a bad character, but I just didn’t care for him. The strong type rarely works out for me and his deck always felt outmatched before he even started dueling. He’s not annoying so I’m fine with him getting a lot of screen time, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he was very impressive.

Then we have Sylvio who is supremely confident, but his skills can’t really back up his tough talk. He’s one of those characters who somehow keeps his confidence even after he suffers a string of defeats. In a way that is quite admirable. He is a fun duelist to have around and at the very least he is good for morale. His deck isn’t even half bad either. Against most opponents Sylvio would have a real chance at victory, but when the high tier opponents come out to play he has absolutely no shot.
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Crow is one of the big 5Ds guest stars and he’s a good character. He can be a bit annoying and tends to not be very nice to the heroes, but his skills are the real deal. His Blackwing combos are pretty similar to how they were back in the 5Ds anime. He gets a lot of hype and even gets to have a proper duel with Yuya where the right winner was selected. Crow just has to be careful about holding those Ls because he seemed a little salty to me.

Jack Atlas also shows up and naturally he gets a bunch of hype. He’s still the Master of Faster so taking him down isn’t easy. His first duel against Yuya is one of the best in the series. Yuya manages to summon one dragon from each summoning style and Jack is still able to counter him. The guy can be rather harsh on Yuya during their duels as he constantly criticizes him being an entertainer, but most likely it’s just because he doesn’t like for anyone else to be in the spotlight. Jack’s always been a critic so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. From all of the guest stars I’d say that Jack certainly had the best role.

Moonshadow is one of the main characters who never got to be very likable. It’s certainly odd because he is around for most of the series and yet he never really does anything all that important. He can fight and he does save people but half the time you will just be wondering why he is even in the show to begin with. The heroes were doing just fine on their own and this ninja just lacked personality. Ah well, I think he was just a miss for me, but he’s not necessarily a bad character.

We can’t forget about Riley. The character gets 100 episodes of character development as he learns that Declan really is here to protect him. Then…he betrays him just because a girl he’s never even met before tells him that the right thing to do is betray the heroes. This character never really got past that. I get it, Riley’s never been the most outgoing character and getting pushed around is part of his character. It’s still not a good defense for him going against the heroes so easily. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this happened. I’m glad Declan showed him who the true duelist was and I don’t often root for Declan. Riley was just being incredibly annoying at this point.

We definitely got to talk about Yusho for a bit as he is one of the worst characters in the series. He’s Yuya’s Dad so that’s to be expected since the Dads often look pretty bad in all of these card shows. Still, he ditched Yuya for basically no reason and then never even tried to get back. What’s worse is that he was gone for years and yet he made no headway in the Fusion dimension. You’d think that being there for years with his supposed world class abilities would be enough to save the place, but I guess not. For all of the hype that he always got Yusho never appeared to be a skilled fighter. He also doesn’t seem like a very smart one as even when some biker gang people tried to go after Yoko he was talking about smiles and all that. The guy is so incredibly exaggerated and that may not have been too bad if he hadn’t ditched Yuya, but he did. It’s just hard to simply wave that fact away and you just end up disliking the character. He even attacked Yuya from behind when the hero was so close to beating the Professor. Had Yuya done that he could have saved the world right then and there instead of dooming several characters.

Yoko is Yuya’s Mom and she’s a little more reasonable than Yusho. I’d say a lot more, but she has an annoying running gag during the early tournament. Instead of rooting for her son she decides to root for a local cook named Reed since she is apparently a huge fan of his. Naturally this isn’t meant to be taken seriously as it’s just a harmless gag, but an annoying one nonetheless. Imagine trying to win a tournament for your friends and family…then turning to the audience and seeing that they’re not even rooting for you. That’s gotta sting.
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Skip Boyle is Zuzu’s Dad and he’s actually a lot better than the others. Not only is he one of the only characters to remember Zuzu right away, but I believe he is the only one to remember her on his own. He even skipped out on the tournament because he knew something was wrong. It would have been nice to have seen him duel at some point since it is certainly hinted that he has some skills, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The other local supporting characters from the school weren’t good though. They are the 3 kids who try to give the commentary during Yuya’s duel and they fail quite badly at it. They are just annoying and in particular the one who always yells Goose Pickles is really bad. It’s hard to say what the show was going for here, but certainly nothing good.

Back in the early days of the show we had 3 students from Declan’s school who were tough rivals. These characters were Dipper, Julia, and Kit. Julia certainly got the most screen time and character development from the 3 as she came close to uncovering the mysterious happenings with Shay and Declan and even became a rival to Zuzu. Then some memory stuff happened which caused Julia to forget about all of this and that’s around when her role disappeared completely. She was a fun character though so it’s almost too bad that she was left behind, but I suppose her skills had simply reached their limit. Dipper and Kit never seemed like much of a threat anyway so it’s easy to see how they were left behind.

Reed Pepper is a duelist who uses a lot of food puns to throw his opponents off their game. It’s definitely a valid technique and it was always fun to see him duel. He may not have been the strongest duelist out there, but he lasted quite a while and put up a good fight against the Obelisk Force. Definitely not a character that you could take all that seriously, but his character was still executed well. Then there is Aura who is able to look into her crystal ball to see the future and other such things. There wasn’t much of a point to her character so she vanished right away, but I guess the character wasn’t all that bad. Honestly all of these Arc 1 characters just seemed to vanish right off the face of the Earth.

Iggy was a bit of a bully duelist who thrives on knocking around opponents while dueling. Naturally this would usually be against the rules but in an action duel anything goes so that makes it okay. He’s a decent duelist as well as he was certainly outplaying Yuya for most of the duel. If you think about it, if you need action cards to win in the first place then the opponent is probably the more skilled fighter. I can’t say that Iggy was too interesting, but as a minor villain I suppose that he got the job done.

Leo Akaba, AKA the Professor is one of the big villains of the series. He doesn’t do much until the end of the series as you might expect, but he makes for a fairly intimidating presence while sitting on his throne. He gets an origin story for why he is doing this and at least it is one that I can understand. His daughter was destroyed in stopping Zarc so now he wishes to bring her back. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to destroy 3/4 of the current population in the universe. However, this 3/4 of the population were created through her death so do they count as people? Leo doesn’t really seem to care either way as he intends to get his daughter back at any cost. Naturally this doesn’t change that he is a complete villain, but it’s a good motivation which serves him well as one of the final bosses. He is also a pretty good duelist in his own right and possibly top 5 in Arc V…possibly.

Then we have Barrett who is Leo’s most faithful subordinate. He is even willing to betray Selena in order to carry out his orders. He is a soldier first and foremost. This guy won’t give up on the mission no matter what and as a result he makes for a great villain. He put up a great fight against Yuya as well and proved himself to even be capable of taking on Yuya in his rage form. Definitely one of the best villains in the series.
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Next up is Dennis. He’s definitely not a very good character. I didn’t like him before his big twist and I certainly didn’t like him afterwards. He just doesn’t make for a good character as the guy can be rather goofy and hard to take seriously. His character also goes through too many characters arcs as the last one is just impossible to believe. The guy was simply too sinister to suddenly just roll over and admit that he is a good man. Definitely very cheesy and I like to think that he was still arrested after this.

Aster is one of the big guest stars and he gets a nice role here. He is one of the high ranking officials in the Fusion Dimension so naturally he is a very formidable duelist. He gives Yuya a real run for his money and it’s just very nostalgic to see him. The writers chose well in selecting him as one of the GX characters to make an appearance. His elemental hero deck was also pretty good as expected. Then we have his two underlings Gloria and Grace. They are introduced rather late in the game, but don’t really get to do anything so I almost wonder why a fairly big deal was made out of them in universe. They got a considerable amount of hype and I guess they lived up to it to an extent, but they probably needed one more duel to really legitimize them as a threat. Still quality villains, just underused.

Then we have Alexis who is another one of the guest stars. Seeing as how she is one of the big resistance members her fans are sure to be pleased with her role. Alexis is also one of the only characters who realized that there was something fishy with Leo’s plan and didn’t blindly follow along like the rest of the characters. I am a little skeptical of how the happy go lucky students all quickly decided to join into the cause and become mass murderers, but I guess they will do just about anything if it means playing more Yugioh I guess.

The Obelisk Force deserve a shoutout since they were quite skilled for underlings. They were actually beating named characters in their first appearance and typically you would expect them to be about as strong as Storm Troopers or something like that. They definitely surpassed their limits. Naturally they were nerfed a little bit after that, but were still a fun group of villains. Who says that these guys have to just be around to get stomped?

Roget is a fun character from the 5Ds arc. He is very good at manipulating people and naturally he even does this to Yuya by convincing the gullible characters that they are on the same side. Naturally it wouldn’t work on any of Yuya’s close friends, but the others are fair game. Roget can duel but only does so when absolutely necessary. He leads a very balanced life as all people should. He made for a great counterpart to Leo and even had ambitious plans of his own. I wouldn’t have minded if he had ended up overthrowing Leo, would have made for an interesting plot.

Shinji is the very enthusiastic leader of the 5Ds rebellion and boy does the guy love to talk! He gives speech after speech about the rebellion and how they can conquer the surface dwellers. It’s pretty amusing even if that isn’t really the intention. The guy just has a very one track mind and is quick to say that anyone who opposes him is an enemy. That drive isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t even misplaced, but the guy doesn’t seem to know much about tactics. You can’t just storm the streets and defeat the government in a day. Still, he made the most of his soapbox while he was in the tournament.

Then we have Sergey who is essentially a slightly weaker version of Barrett. His character is fairly similar as well but he is the unhinged version. He thrives on pain which can certainly make for a very odd character quirk. The guy is definitely a threat in a duel though and even manages to defeat Zuzu. Without Sergey Roget may have been in trouble, but that’s why they say that it’s always good to have at least one powerful underling. I don’t care for Sergey much as a character, but he is a tough villain for sure.

Ray was Leo’s daughter and she seemed like a very heroic character. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop Zarc. She seems to have some mystical abilities or simply great knowledge to use those cards so effectively and then to communicate with Riley afterwards. I still don’t get why she would tell him that letting Leo win was the best answer though. Sure, fusing the dimensions would bring her back along with Zarc so they could do the whole thing over again, but trying to stop him first seems a whole lot less risky if you ask me.
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Finally we have Zarc. He’s the big bad of the series but before he obtained almost limitless power he was just an ordinary duelist who liked the sport. He aimed to become the best player in the world and was able to realize his dream. That was certainly quite the feat. The power did go to his head and he turned evil though so I guess the guy didn’t have a whole lot of will power. He makes for a pretty great villain though even if he doesn’t always make a lot of sense. He wants a good duel and is always looking for one, but then when people challenge him he claims that it’s a waste of time and is constantly insulting them. I guess it just goes with the whole over confidence thing, but you’d think that he would be a little happier about getting to duel so much right?

I do have to quickly mention that the series does have a pretty bad ending though. I dare say that it’s even terrible. I won’t say who, but there are at least 3 main fatalities, but depending on how you look at it millions of people died. The villains planned to merge the 4 universes into one which merges people too. Well, the plan was sort of stopped, but not really leading to a rather odd mismash of things. Memories don’t match, some people are back and some likely aren’t. We’re just supposed to accept this and know that sometimes the heroes don’t always win, but it’s just a real downer. Especially since I liked the 3 characters who were erased. Only now they are stuck in someone else’ body, but not in the more direct way that Yami and Astral were put on. They’re more like Yuto so it will be tough to take direct control and eventually they will be assimilated. It’s a very dark ending and one that I wasn’t satisfied with at all. I’d say to just skip the final arc, but beyond that last bit the actual arc was really very good. I’d say the best thing to do is watch the final battle with Zarc and then turn off the TV. No reason to see the final mini arc that just destroys what the ending should have been.

As to what the final arc did right, the battle gauntlet with Zarc was great. Pretty much every important duelist lines up to fight him back to back. The duel is several episodes long and everyone gets to do their best. My only question each time is why everyone would jump into the duel midway. All that does is lower your attack points to 2000 when if they waited a few seconds later they would have been at full power. It is understandable if you’re trying to save the person, but not if they are about to lose anyway. You’re just jumping into an unwinnable position, especially since Zarc already had a great combo on the field and over 5000 life points. So, a little plot hax there, but nonetheless it was a great climax. I always like it when a bunch of heroes try to rush the final boss. It’s a fairly rare occurrence as well which is likely why it is so special as well. Zarc was a really fun final boss and he will certainly be remembered.

Since this show showed us that a big crossover show is possible next we need to have one where all of the main characters meet. If it wants to be ambitious it can be a long title where they don’t all meet up at first. The first 12 episodes could just be the 5 main characters having their own adventures until suddenly an event occurs which forces them to meet up and duel. I’d suggest another invasion series with dimension against dimension but that just happened so a fresh plot would probably be good. Some kind of tournament is a safe bet and with their dimensions on the line everyone would have to enter. A standard 3 vs 3 team style tournament would be best and that’d be awesome. It likely won’t happen, but I can dream. Regardless, it was smart of Arc V to make the plot one huge war. It definitely ensures that every fighter is always dueling at their peak since the stakes are so high.

I think that’s actually a pretty big reason as to why Arc V is so great. It probably has the longest ongoing plot from all of the Yugioh titles. For the most part none of them are quite as focused as this one. They usually have long tournaments and adventures, but not one large plot that keeps going the way that this one does. Arc V does break it up into arcs of course, but the war is always going whether it is in the forefront or the background. It’s really just one long mission for roughly 100 episodes and it’s just hard to beat that.

As you can probably guess the animation is excellent here. The character models are all on point and the action sequences are great. It’s really at its best when Yuya’s eyes begin to glow with his Zarc mode. The energy effects in general are just great and you can easily tell that this is a newer Yugioh series as the animation is unmatched. The soundtrack is also quite excellent. We get a lot of great battle tunes and even a retro 5Ds selection as well. No GX tunes that I could recognize popped up, but that’s okay. I’d still give the soundtrack a full 5 stars as it hit all of the right notes and also had a lot of variety. It goes without saying that the writing is dynamite as well.
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Overall, Yugioh Arc V is a superb show and will go down in anime history as one of the all time greats. It has over 100 episodes so that gives time for a lot of duels. The plot is very engaging and the show never lets up in just how exciting it is. The crossover angle just helps with that even more. I would highly recommend this show to fans of the genre and to anyone that likes a good action series. The show has no real flaws which is quite impressive and the main cast is really good too. When a series has all of the elements like this one does (Animation, Pacing, Writing, Music, etc) and executes them well, success is basically guaranteed.

Overall 9/10

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 3 Review

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It’s time to look at another volume of the Scooby Doo and DC team up series. It’s been quite a while since I read the last one so it’s pretty nostalgic to see it return. The Mystery Inc definitely makes for a good crossover cast with how confident they are in their deductive skills. No matter how powerful the villain is they just continue to solve the case their way. It’s admirable even if it causes them to get in a lot of trouble. The stories in this volume are all pretty solid even if the final one is a bit weaker than the rest.

One of the stories has the gang head over to Fawcett city when Shazam and the rest of the Marvel family disappears. Granted, Uncle Marvel stuck around along with the cat mascot. Unfortunately they have no idea what happened but the Mystery Inc is up for the challenge. Along the the way Velma and Shaggy even get their own blend of Marvel abilities do they can finally fight with the best of them. It’s a nice payoff for fans who have always been waiting for some kind of power up. Definitely a nice story and seeing the gang get abilities is always fun as well. It’s not like Shazam got beat in an actual fight either so at least it wasn’t a moment of plot hax for him to be saved either.

Another story had Scooby Doo get recruited to help The Galactic Dog Patrol (Not their exact name but it is nice and descriptive) as their main members where all destroyed by an evil villain group. There are 2 groups running around, a cat group and then there is an evil dog. The cats are defeated rather easily but the dog ends up being an issue. Good thing Scooby is here. Surprisingly the issue actually has quite a lot of action so that helped it get past the issue of the human characters not being around. Pretty much the whole comic was a bunch of fight scenes and I can always get behind that. Scooby Doo can get rather annoying though. Even when the villains are making a move and the stakes are serious he actually tries to desert the team. There is being a coward and then there is just being a traitor. Abandoning your friends to die gets into the latter’s territory so the dog couldn’t save himself after that.

Another issue was with the Phantom Stranger. He visits the gang on Halloween and asks for their help. A villain has been defeating all of the cosmic beings of DC. This should surprise no one and the gang takes it in stride. They figure that the Spectre can save them but alas he was defeated as well and then the Stranger is tricked into falling in the cage. Scooby will have to use a forbidden power to save them all but at what cost? It’s good to see Scooby step up even if it isn’t willingly. A pretty fun comic and it’s always nice to throw the gang into a situation or cosmic significance like this.

We can’t forget the issue with Hawkman and Hawkgirl either. They are up against 3 ghost related villains so naturally the Mystery Inc are the first people the cops call. The superheroes actually seem rather offended about this, but it’s not like the cops have their cell numbers. Meanwhile everyone knows how to contact the detectives. It’s a pretty nice issue like the rest. I may not be a big fan of either Hawk character, but maybe that’s why it’s so good as the Mystery Inc puts them in their place.

The Flash issue brings back Gorilla Grodd who is certainly a classic character for his mythos. It was a little less interesting than some of the other stories for that reason though. I can’t really take Grodd all that seriously usually. A slow villain vs a fast hero? This does not compute. Still, it’s not as straight forward as just tackling the guy sometimes (Even if it could be) and it’s still a good issue. Finally we also have the Aquaman team up. His kingdom is being attacked by Black Manta and the Ocean Master so the King has his work cut out for him. Honestly there wasn’t much that Scooby and the gang could do to back him up in this case but they did give moral support and were always willing to yell if they saw something. If I’m giving them a fair trial then I guess I have to admit that they did help in beating the enemies a little bit, but there just wasn’t much detective work for them to do in this case since the villains were already known.

Now this is probably around the part where I have to point out that Shaggy and Scooby are still as annoying as ever. They constantly let the world know that they are scared of what is happening and it’s just embarrassing for the rest of the gang. They are always ready to ditch the others and prove time and time again that they aren’t really heroes. You just can’t trust these guys and it might be time for Fred to cut them loose. It would be tough to fire a friend like that, but Shaggy and Scooby have failed them for the last time.

Fred, Daphne, and Velma are solid as always though. Their roles here naturally aren’t as big as the dynamic duo’s, but they get their moments. Fred actually manages to knock one of the villains to the ground which prevented him from escaping. Velma manages to use her deductive skills a few times to determine who the villain is and Daphne is always around to keep everyone in line.

The art for the issues is pretty good. All of the characters are on model and it’s easy to tell what is happening at all times. The art style goes for a rather basic approach which is smart if you ask me and it’s easy to read through. It can also make for good fight scenes although of course you shouldn’t expect too many of those. It’s just a nice nostalgic style which will remind you of the classic Scooby Doo days. The writing is also good and helps equally in achieving such a nostalgic frame for the volume. These stories could very easily be turned into episodes and nothing would appear to be out of place.

Overall, This was a fun Scooby Doo adventure. I certainly had fun reading it and not actually having any bad stories is always a plus. It’s a rather quick collection so it won’t take you long to finish it all off. I already have the next volume at the ready so I will be reading that one shortly. We’ll see if it can match this one. The team ups deliver on what you would expect from such a crossover. It has the comedic charm of the Mystery Inc while also adding in a little extra action for the DC fans. Now all we need are more Superman and Batman team ups with the gang.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Review

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If there was ever such a thing as a low budget Mario and Sonic game then this is it. We no longer have the intense campaign mode from the first game and we don’t even get to keep the tournaments. With all of the characters and games already unlocked as well you just have to wonder what the developers were thinking. It’s not a bad game but it doesn’t do anything to help the Olympics legacy. It would have gone over better if this had been the first title in the series.

We do have a new mode though and that is essentially Mario Party mode. Here you run around a board trying to get items and bump into one of the characters who is running around. This will trigger a mini game. You want to win the mini games to get cards that you can put in your sticker album. Once you’ve obtained 16 stickers (or more depending on the length you choose) you will have won the game. Inside your sticker board you have two random items as well which may steal stickers from other players or just give you extras. They’re pretty handy so use them wisely. If you want to blast through the party then simply seek out the NPCs as soon as possible. I’m not sure if there is even a point to delaying it to be honest since grabbing the items didn’t actually seem to be doing anything. There’s probably something that I’m missing though.

I also have to point out that the mini games are starting to randomly get convoluted here. You should always be able to get a basic understanding of the game from the rules section before it starts. That wasn’t the case for the Dream Bike mini game. This one is a team game of 4 vs 4. You have to try and stay in a perfect line and shake your way to the goal. The problem is that you have to switch places during the race and the controls for being in the back were not clear. I struggled as best as I could but I just couldn’t form a line and I ended up losing the mini game and nearly the whole party map. I actually did lose the first time I played the mode, but I got them the second time.

Even the really solid games suffer from dicey instructions. Take the Nintendo/Sega trivia. The questions were solid and with prep time I could probably even get them right. However the game tells you to hold the Wii Remote horizontally when in fact you are supposed to hold it vertically. This cost me the very first question which I knew I would have gotten right. So the main point here is to read the rules carefully and be warned that you may not be able to win some of these games on the first try because you will have to figure out how it works.

One of the new games that is pretty solid is the throwing darts one. You essentially have to hit the bullseye as quickly as possible and try to get others. Essentially I don’t know if you go for all of the bullseyes but that would make sense. I hit 2 and won the mini game so just aim for the center and you will be all set.

We’ve also got some games that I believe are old like Table Tennis and Soccer. Table Tennis is the same old same old so I wouldn’t expect too much more out of that one. It’s a fun game as always but it didn’t take much effort to port it over. I forgot if soccer already existed or not but it doesn’t look good for this game either way since the soccer gameplay is probably the weakest I’ve ever seen in the genre. I know low budget Wii games with better soccer gameplay. Your passes always go too high so it is usually safest to take the bell through the whole field yourself before shooting. That’s just not good gameplay and teamwork is supposed to be the name of the game here. I just don’t know how you can possibly mess up a game like soccer this way.

100mm Swinming is another mini game that doesn’t even try to hide how recycled it is. It’s the exact same controls as always in what appears to be the same background. It’s a good mini game so I’m fine with it coming back of course, but we just should have had more games. Reusing minigames is like bringing back old fighters in a classic fighting game. It’s a great move and one that I stand by 100%. However, if the cast is unchanged then there is no point in upgrading as in the case of Godzilla Save The Earth to Godzilla Unleashed on the PS2.

What this Olympics should have done was have close to 40-50 events. They could easily have brought back events from the previous games in addition to a bunch of new ones. The only reason why I could see this being a bad thing is if they are trying to perfectly emulate the games that will be at each Olympics. If that is the case then I suppose they will need to find another solution (have the old mini games be unlockable) but either way we definitely needed more games than the rather limited amount that we got.

The graphics look nice as always at least. It’s about the same as the last game only without the cinematic cutscenes so maybe it is actually a downgrade. Those cutscenes strike me as being the hard part after all but maybe the gameplay is just as difficult. Either way the last game did manage to do both so I’d give it the edge. When it comes to the soundtrack there is no contest that the last one was better. It blended together a bunch of brilliant themes from both Mario and Sonic which made the games even more fun. While this game has a lot of those songs in the music player, don’t expect to hear them very often.

As far as the replay value goes I suppose that there is a lot to buy here. You can use your money to buy clothes which boost your stats and you can try to earn medals for all of the various mini games. That could take a little while and then you also have a lot of challenges to complete for the bragging rights. Complete all of the challenges and you will really be an Olympics champ. Considering that the game is pretty cheap I’d say that this is already enough value to justify the cost.

Overall, This is one of those games that may have been more acceptable if it had been the first in the series. However it is the third and after seeing what this series could really do with the second game it feels like a total downgrade. The game just lost all of its heart and it felt like the developers just cashed it in this time. There wasn’t much effort put behind this game as far as I could see and even though this is a decent game I would recommend going back to buy the Winter Olympics instead.

Overall 6/10

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold Review

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Batman and Scooby Doo have always made for a very intense pairing. The crossover just writes itself as Batman tends to be a detective series that is very serious while the Mystery Gang prefers to have a lot of fun as they save the day. The groups have very different detective styles and solve crimes in two very different neighborhoods. Still, at the end of the day they are detectives and in this film we shall see them match wits.

The film starts off with Fred and the gang attempting to solve a mystery. Unfortunately this ghost is a formidable opponent and seems to have the upper hand. That’s when Batman himself shows up and he suggests that the Mystery Gang is too young to handle villains in Gotham. This leads Fred to trap Batman while the gang takes down the ghost. They go into their usual explanation about how they knew who it was all the time in a way that is fairly self aware with how exaggerated it is. Batman then shows up and declares that the group passed his initiation and he would like them to join the official Mystery Solvers group which also features Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Question, Plasticman, and Detective Chimp. The group exists to fight the mysteries that no single detective could. Batman only has one unsolved case in his section so the team decides to focus on that one first. A mysterious voice has been scaring Batman lately and now the Mystery Gang are being framed. It’s all connected but how? The heroes will have to find the answer to this question along with some proof, all while trying to elude the Police, Fellow Heroes, and Supervillains!

This film takes place in the Batman Brave and The Bold continuity. It’s a very good selection for the crossover and I’m glad to see the series be brought back. The two animation styles mix together very well and that’s probably why it was chosen. It’d be hard to mix Beware The Batman with Scooby Doo without switching the animation after all. Scooby Doo’s animation has always been consistent for a very long time now and this one is no exception. The animation is very clear and easy to watch. The backgrounds are detailed and the action is easy to follow. It’s definitely some of the best American Animation currently.

Since most of the film is rather solid I may as well change things up and start with the negatives first. For starters, Fred looks pretty bad here. Why is he obsessing over Black Canary when he should just be psyched to be helping out a team of Elite Detectives? This is Fred Jones, the Leader of Mystery Incorporated. I wanted to see him match wits with the others but he is a little too distracted. Meanwhile Black Canary basically mocks him whenever she appears, but given the circumstances I can’t blame her one bit. The insult almost sounded like too much for this film but then you remember that she’s just making fun of his signature tie style which can easily sound like something else if you are not prepared.

My other negative is how bad all of the heroes who aren’t Batman or Aquaman look. When the Mystery Gang is framed and Batman helps them out he is seen as guilty as well. Sure, Batman keeps running off and doing his own thing, but isn’t that par for the course with the Dark Knight? All of the heroes turn against him so quickly that we finally see them for who they are. They weren’t good friends, their bonds are about as strong as the average Naruto character. They made the hero’s job a whole lot harder.

I always think that when a villain framed a hero it shouldn’t be so easy to convince the friends. Especially when in this case Batman has had a solid track record for so many years. The only one with a decent motive is Detective Chimp since he was humiliated by Velma and likely wants payback. Is that how a hero should act? No, but that’s how I can imagine Detective Chimp acting. He really got roasted here, but I’ve never liked the character so I was personally okay with that.

Martian Manhunter’s cookie gimmick is a nice call back to Justice League International. He is portrayed as an unlikable jerk, but I can’t say I have a problem with that. He is fairly memorable in the movie thanks to this and it also helps you root for Shaggy and Scooby a little more since they are effectively being bullied and can’t do anything about it. By the end of the film Manhunter hasn’t really learned anything, but he’ll likely think twice before crossing the Mystery Inc since they’re heroes now.

Aquaman actually looks pretty good now. He is very determined and keeps on pressing Batman until he is finally let into the secret club. He’s also the only hero who didn’t actually doubt Batman which gets him big points in my book. He was really on point with his entire portrayal so I definitely had no qualms with him. Batman also looks pretty good for the most part. The opening scene may get you worried for a bit, but after the twist it’s okay. Now, he may be a little too nervous with the ghost the whole time, but this way the heroes get to console him that there are no such things as ghosts. Aside from when he’s getting mentally wrecked by the ghost, Batman’s still in character and gets some good burns in. He’s always got a plan after all and is still a solo act at the end of the day.

Aside from Fred, the gang looks about as good as you can expect. Shaggy and Scooby don’t look good, but they never do. At least Shaggy finally gets revenge for all the times Scooby steals his snacks. That was actually pretty satisfying since the Shaggy and Scooby rivalry really should be even. The film has a pretty good amount of action for a Scooby Doo film since the heroes and villains can actually fight here. The fights themselves are rather short so as not to take away from the mystery but it’s pretty cool. The special feels more like a Brave and The Bold episode than a Scooby Doo movie, but it manages to have a good balance.

The climax may start to stretch on a little too long by the end, but I’d say that it’s still executed fairly well. The last time the villain runs back into the warehouse for round 5 may have just been one round too long. A slight missed opportunity is that it would have been awesome to have seen the Mystery Gang fight once they got into costume. That would have really sold me on the final act. At least we did see that happen once in the Brave and The Bold show a while back so I guess that’s why they wanted to go a different route here.

As expected the writing is pretty solid. The film also flows by very quickly and the pacing is on point. It’s definitely pretty surreal to have the characters meet up again and hopefully we’ll get a sequel at some point or have the gang meet up with another version of Batman. Either way, I’m always game for crossovers and since Scooby Doo gets so many films, it’s always a good idea to shake up the formula a bit.

Overall, This film was pretty solid. There really isn’t as much of a mystery compared to the average film since they sort of just stumble into fights as opposed to giving us a bunch of suspects and choosing one, but when Batman’s in town you do have to switch gears a bit. The soundtrack and animation are solid and it’s a very good all around movie. I’d definitely recommend checking it out. The movie was pretty close to getting a solid 8, but I don’t think I can quite justify it. Still, it’s a high 7 and one that has quite a bit of replay value. There’s just a lot to like here.

Overall 7/10