The Exorcist Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be even more negative…literally.
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It’s time to tackle one of the most well known horror films of all time. I’ve never liked horror films and watching the classics hasn’t worked out so well thus far. I had pretty low expectations heading into this film, but The Exorcist managed to surprise me. It delivered a product that was so below expectations that I was slightly taken aback, but quickly realized how I had to respond. This film is one that you’ll want to avoid at all costs and will remind you that shock value isn’t as good as jump scares.

Chris is a popular actress and everything is going right for her at the moment. Life can’t get much better than it already is at the moment. Unfortunately, that changes when her daughter Regan is possessed by a vengeful spirit. It claims to be Lucifer himself and she has been unable to break free. Chris goes to many experts, but they are all unsuccessful in their attempts. Finally, she is forced to call in a pastor/psychologist to try and perform an exorcism, but he has yet to break his drinking/smoking habits. The Church realizes that this guy is out of his league so they bring in another priest who is experienced, but already very exhausted from another exorcism that he performed. Can the two save the day or will the body count continue to rise?

Some films like this one are a little overwhelming as it’s hard to know where to start. I suppose there are so many negatives that I should start with the positives first. The soundtrack isn’t bad. The iconic theme is definitely fun even if it only shows up for a few seconds. It actually felt like a remix since I’m used to a more battle ready version of the song. Still, it’s definitely withstood the test of time. The visuals are pretty advanced for their time as well although they typically go for grotesque imagery as opposed to cool sci-fi elements. Poltergeist III has definitely got it beat in this area. The film puts out a lot of effort….yeah now lets go to the negatives.

The film paints a pretty bleak picture on our struggle against demons. First of all, I’d like to give it props for giving the Church some credibility and having them go up against the demon. However…it acts as if the demons are far more powerful than any of our counters. Our Exorcism (This film’s old, but just in case I’ll give out a warning. Spoilers ahead, spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own peril!) fails miserably as the demon just overpowers the two pastors. The two pastors/priests give it their all as they use a lot of verses from the Bible, Holy Water, A Cross, and more. None of it is effective as the demon breaks one of the guys anyway and then possesses the other as it knocks him off. The spirit is then free to go and possess someone else.

There is no happy ending here at all. The demon won and murdered quite a few people in the process. It also vandalized the Church in the process with no repercussions. It’s a pretty sad message from the film in the end. Evil’s not supposed to conquer all. Now, demons are certainly real and they are powerful. That’s certainly true, but they still cannot ultimately resist when called out in the name of Jesus and God. The counter argument could be that the priests simply weren’t skilled or didn’t have enough faith, but at least one of them was supposed to be the best of the best. It’s hard to say whether or not Regan was a Christian or not in the film. She was still pretty young, but maybe she had put the Cross under her pillow since nobody could figure out how it got there. I don’t believe a Christian can be possessed. One could get tempted or put through trials and tribulations like Job, but I believe that we are given an immunity. Playing with the Ouja board wasn’t a smart idea, but it’s not as if playing with a thing like that can suddenly make you free domain. Especially since Regan clearly didn’t really know the ramifications of that thing.

She definitely got the short end of the stick here as the rest of the film’s pretty painful for her. It’s a really violent horror film and while you could clearly tell where the film cut away in the TV version, there was enough where you can tell that this was an intense experience. Regan got a lot of injuries and had to go through many operations during this period. Quite a few people were murdered as well. The film also goes for gross moments like having characters vomit and have to use the bathroom in public. Those moments certainly didn’t help the film at all either. In case you couldn’t tell, this film’s getting a pretty easy 0.

The only reasonable characters here are the Expert Priest and Chris. Chris can be annoying though like when she went to the various doctors and put Regan through a bunch of experiments. She should have known that it’d do no good since it clearly wasn’t a mental issue. The Expert Priest was good, it’s a shame that he couldn’t win. The main priest, Damien was pretty weak willed. He fell for the mind games rather easily and his subplot didn’t add anything to the film. It added more dark themes and grit of course, but the film was so full of that already that you wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. There was a police chief who liked to subtly imply that various people were murderers and did his best to solve the case. It was naturally futile though since it wasn’t a human opponent who he was up against. I suppose he did his best, but bribery definitely isn’t a very legitimate tactic. There weren’t a whole lot of other characters in the film as it was a pretty small cast. We have the demon of course, but it’s only character is that it is a demon. It’s pretty clever as it makes the ordeal or proving that it’s a demon very tricky for the heroes.

Overall, This isn’t exactly a “Feel good” film. You’re not going to be laughing and taking shots of Pepsi and Doritos during this film as you discuss the current state of the movie industry and Twinkie flavors. It’s very somber from start to finish and you’ll be ready for it to end after 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s a very long film so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If the whole film had just been about Chris and her acting career, I have a feeling that it would certainly be a lot more enjoyable. Even just removing all of the cuts and slashes on Regan would help the film at least be watchable. You’re averting your gaze for most of the film otherwise since it’s pretty distasteful to have a kid be so violently injured for such a long time after all. Better to just look at the ceiling in the film and wonder when it was last painted. If you want a quality horror film, check out Poltergeist III as it’s one of the only good horror films out there. I can see why this one earned its reputation as it is pretty gritty, but that’s all the more reason why you should stay away from it. It’s just not worth it!

Overall 0/10

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X-Men Inferno Volume 1 Review

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Time for a fairly large comic collection. This bundle brings together a lot of the Inferno arc related comics, but ultimately ends up being more of a prelude than anything else. Most of the X-Men don’t even appear for very long or get any real fights. This one focuses on the New Mutants and the Power Pack. Unfortunately they cannot hold their own this time which makes for a rather lackluster collection. It has its good moments, but ultimately never gets all that exciting.

Where to even start with this plot. It’s a huge collection so a lot happens…and yet there aren’t a lot of stories. It’s all fairly connected in one way or another. The basic premise is that a demonic invasion is approaching. The demons from Limbo want to take over Earth once and for all. Fear feeds them and with all of the fearful humans running around, it makes the army very potent. To ensure that the invasion goes well, they also lure Magik and her New Warriors back to Limbo. We can call this Plot A. In Plot B, the Power Pack are dealing with the effects of the Demons in the human world. It’s tough because they also have to evade Nanny, a robot who kidnaps kids. The villain actually comes in handy and saved some of the kids at one point, but it’s only a temporary reprieve. The X-Men get in on the investigation, but then they get distracted by the Morlock troubles and a bunch of other random circumstances. In Plot C, Sinister is making a move and things are all seemingly going according to plan for him. His Jean Grey clone is starting to head to the dark side and it is revealed in a plot twist that she is actually commanding all of the Demons. It’s all been a part of her plan from the start to get revenge on Cyclops for ditching her. (A truly out of character moment that still boggles my mind)

There are a lot of other things happening in the meantime, like the government being shady again, but you get the gist of it. Most of the horror moments are in the human world, but you can probably imagine that Magik’s plot deals with this as well. It was interesting to see a continuation of her story because it wasn’t all that long ago that I read her original saga. It was very dark, but also interesting. As a small child, she fell into Limbo and so the X-Men attempted a rescue mission. It didn’t go well and they all died. Magik was forced to learn Dark Magic and then she escaped to a parallel universe where the X-Men once again tried to save her. They succeeded…except that she fell back in. At least Magik became Queen and joined up with the X-Men again, but she left Limbo in a state of chaos with her old enemy S’ym in charge. Well, this comic shows how he’s controlled the place with an iron grip and has turned the tables on Magik. She is no longer strong enough to beat him and if the X-Men were powerless last time, you can imagine how outclassed the New Mutants are. They are completely out of their depth here. It’s definitely the most interesting part of the comic.

Lets launch right into why this comic was not a success. The big problem here is that the actual X-Men don’t get to appear almost at all. They show up very briefly to help the Morlocks face off against the Mutant Killers and manage to send the group packing, but then they vanish again. Inferno is one of those large graphic novels that manages to collect all of the tie-ins. Usually this is a good thing, but I believe it is ultimately what weakened it this time around. There were so many tie ins with the Power Pack that they took priority. I’m assuming that volume 2 would probably feature the X-Men more, but it’s hard to say for sure. They can’t appear any less I suppose. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem if the Power Pack and the New Mutants were interesting…but they usually weren’t. It took quite a few issues to get to one that would be fun.

Also, a “fun” comic was hard to find since most of the issues were just very dark. It was going for a Poltergeist kind of feel as there is a sinister chill in the air the whole time and the villains can be behind any nook and cranny. The humans could see the demons sometimes and sometimes they couldn’t. It was just like a horror film and I’ll give the comic some credit for actually creating that atmosphere. In a world of superheroes, it can be very hard to create a menacing horror backdrop since a hero can just show up and save the day at any time. It works though because they are all busy dealing with the main alien threat. The Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Defenders (If they’re around) and all of the loners won’t be coming to help. This means that the ordinary humans are left to fend for themselves. This comic probably has more horror undertones than any other comic that I’ve read with the possible exception of some Swamp Thing comics. Those put up a pretty good fight.

However, it’s also a bad thing as the humans have no shot. We have many issues where the demons just show up and start ripping the humans to shreds. It’s never all that violent although some people are literally crushed, but it’s just all so hopeless and sad. There’s no way that the humans can even land any damage on these creatures and for every death that you actually see, there are dozens of others off screen. Most of them go in rather grim circumstances. The whole thing was just so dark and gritty and it went on for far too long if you ask me. We even had some cheating going on as Angel decided to go for a quick one night fling with someone who was technically still married and then decides to continue with this. I never cared all that much for Angel, but this certainly won’t be doing him any favors. In the end, it just didn’t feel like an X-Men comic at all and that was a problem.

One subplot that was handled well was when the Power Pack was finally forced to reveal their true identities to their parents. The parents didn’t overreact, run away, yell, or panic. They took it in stride and said that they wanted to talk about it, but weren’t upset or anything like that. They realized that a demon was still around and that they should finish the fight instead of bickering. Even after that, the parents were okay with the whole thing. This is really how this kind of plot should always play out. Having powers shouldn’t suddenly make the parents back out of a bond that they’ve shared with their kids their whole lives. This also means that the villains can’t blackmail the Power Pack anymore, which is certainly a good thing. The parents even did a good job of dealing with their haunted house.

Yes, there was a haunted house here to further the notion that this was a horror comic in disguise. The demons would take control of all the equipment. They took over the water supply and would make inanimate objects turn to life. Considering that they had no actual hero experience, the parents did all right. They smashed up most of the evil objects and kept on fighting back. They also did their best to protect the kids when they didn’t know about their secret powers. More horror protagonists should be proactive like this. The parents decided to get out ASAP.

As for the rest of the characters, I’m still not much of a fan of the Power Pack or the New Mutants. I like Magik a lot and she’s definitely earned her way into the main X-Men team. Everyone else? I don’t think they’ll be getting past the B ranks anytime soon. They can’t really hold their own issues, at least not in this context. The Power Pack are good for their fun little adventures, but they feel out of place in issues where the whole planet is at stake. The villains aren’t all that interesting either although I’ve always thought S’ym makes for a very intense villain. His super strength and durability are pretty unbelievable. Dark Beast shows up as well, but he’s just annoying and certainly not cool.

Also, the art was solid as expected. The style makes it look a lot older than it actually is, but helps to add that retro effect. Everything is very clear to read and understand. All of the character designs are on point although they aren’t as colorful as the 90’s. I wouldn’t say that the writing is bad either. It works well enough for what the comic is going for. It just should have taken another direction. The comic isn’t quite as engaging as most though. You won’t be on the edge of your seat here and some of the comics actually do drag on quite a bit.

I do think that the next volume will probably be an improvement though. This whole saga was basically the prelude as the fake Jean Grey essentially announces that the Inferno is coming. The X-Men aren’t even at the scene yet. I guess they’ll end up missing most of the demon invasion although I hope it is at least referenced. It was a rather huge deal so the big heroes should still be aware of what happened. While this comic may not have been my favorite, it did do a great job of adding a lot of context to what’s happening. Reading it weekly, I probably would have been more upset about the slow pace, but it does make this saga feel more like an event. Some of the modern day events feel a lot shorter because they’re over so quickly. That’s definitely not an issue that this event will have…for better or worse.

Overall, This is probably the strangest X-Men comic that I’ve ever read. The concept of a demon invasion is definitely interesting and these guys are more menacing than aliens. Demons almost feel a little out of place in Marvel, especially such realistic ones, but they have technically always been around. It just so happens that it’s in an X-Men comic instead of Ghost Rider. Honestly, the comic just needed more action and some bigger heroes to help things out. That would have done wonders since they could have actually saved some of the humans instead of just watching them all die. If not, they could have gone for a total horror angle although that may have been even more risky. If the idea of a horror/action comic sounds good to you than this could be up your alley. It’s probably the closest merge of the two genres that I’ve seen so far. If not, then you should check out the other X-Men comic that I just reviewed. This isn’t a bad comic, it’s just different. You’ll just have to check out for yourself whether it’s different in a good or bad way.

Overall 5/10

Twin Star Exorcists

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Well, I’ve started another new series! This one comes off as a little generic at times, but the action scenes are good and the main character has his moments. I am slightly worried that this series will be one of those titles where the main characters are completely outranked throughout the entire series, but maybe their power ups are close. I’ll have a review for the series when it’s done.

Overall 7/10

Constantine Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version. All thoughts below should be read as such as a review of the unedited version would be even more negative.
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Well well, it’s time to look at a horror film that also happens to be a comic book film. I’m not sure about this combo and it certainly didn’t work out this time. Constantine ends up being a very weak title which contradicts its own message and spends a lot of time wondering just where the plot went. One thing’s for sure, this isn’t the sleeper hit of 2005 and it even makes the recent Ghost Rider film look good.

The film’s about a guy named Constantine who exorcises demons. He wants to be allowed into Heaven since he has done a good job of keeping the demons away, but the angel Gabriel reminds him that one cannot enter into Heaven on good works alone. Constantine shows his contempt for this by slamming a Bible on the ground, insulting and berating a lady who is trying to save her sister, and then torturing a spider that he found in his house. Yeah….I wonder why they aren’t letting this guy into Heaven….It’s impossible to root for Constantine from this point on, but one thing leads to another and he’s the only guy standing in the way of a mad quest for power with human lives in the balance. Looks like it’s time to fight again!

It’s hard to know where to start on how bad this film is. We may as well get the ball rolling with Constantine since I’ve already started taking shots at him. He’s just a horrendous main character. Constantine doesn’t seem to even pretend to follow the Bible’s teachings. He spends the entire film being mean to just about everyone and his opening scene where we’re supposed to be impressed with how he handles the exorcist just makes him look bad. He’s not even that good at his job and barely manages to scratch out wins. Constantine loves smoking as well and even after he gets lung cancer, he decides to keep on smoking anyway. Once he gets a sidekick, Constantine tries to be a little more heroic when he’s not pulling guns at demons at a bar where there’s a truce, but it’s too little too late. I’ll never forget the spider incident. Sure, he had a bad day, but taking it out on another living creature is way past crossing the line.

There’s also this subplot in the desert where a guy finds a spear which mind controls him and forces the guy to come over to the city. Not only does this plot go nowhere until the very end of the film, but it is immensely boring and just slows the film’s pacing down even more. The film never really gets good or exciting so it may not matter all that much while you’re watching, but it doesn’t help matters.

The film can also be pretty violent at times and also just grotesque with the various demons running around. Supernatural films like this one love going for those crazy visuals. There were some good ones here like when Constantine went into hell. I liked how the place looked and the film had potential with some of the fight scenes and other special effects. It was one of the few positives that this title had to offer.

Back to the negatives, the film decides to make God (Yes, the film actually decided to go with the real God in this film. Big mistake considering that they decided to make him look terrible) look incredibly unintelligent and he spends the entire film getting tricked by everyone around him. Part of the premise in this film is that God and the Devil are having a chess game with humans being the pawns in it. Neither one of them can affect the humans directly, but they can tempt them. The Devil tempts them to do wrong things with his demon hybrids while God has the half angels. Full fledged Demons and Angels are forbidden from interfering. Aside from the moral ambiguity of this game, you’d think that God would ensure that the match is fair right? Nope, he doesn’t realize it, but the Devil has rigged the match from the start.

He’s not even subtle as he just summons a bunch of Demons to Earth and directly attacks people. His allies even go to bars and start indiscriminately murdering people. They also murder one of Constantine’s allies and an angel can do nothing but watch since he’s heavily outnumbered. Of course, the fact that the angel was watching and doing nothing the entire time is another negative. It gets even worse as one of the higher ranked Angels turns out to be crazy and evil. God appointed him as one of the 4 big Angels so you’d think that the interview process would have been more rigid. The Angel believes that he’s still a good guy and that genocide will help the human race turn to God before they die. He believes that suffering always has this effect, but you can see how crazy he is.

Also, the Devil is portrayed as incredibly strong and while God won’t set foot on Earth, he has no qualms about it. He shows up and wrecks everybody. The final straw is the fact that he can mess with Heaven as well. So, remember the part where Constantine can’t earn his way into Heaven with actions? Yeah…the film forgot about that. By being heroic and helping someone out, he was able to earn his way into Heaven, but the Devil can’t have that. He literally reaches up and just pulls Constantine back to Earth. Wow…..I can’t even….

So…yeah, this movie had a very warped idea of how Heaven and Hell works. It’s always nice to see a film actually bring Christianity to the forefront and tackle these concepts, but it was done so horrendously that it backfired completely. I don’t believe we even got any lines where the characters remind Constantine that he can only get into Heaven through Jesus Christ. It seemed to completely revolve around being a nice person instead, which is 100% false. No matter how many good deeds you do or how nice you are as a person, it will never be enough to get you into Heaven without accepting Jesus Christ as your lord and savior. The whole point of faith in Christianity is that you know that you can’t make it to Heaven on your own. You need Jesus, but this film decides to go around that. Also, the concept of an Angel being evil is pretty terrible. Lucifer was an angel once and there are other Fallen Angels, but they are fallen. There aren’t any evil Angels still lurking or anything like that. That’s just Hollywood trying for an epic plot twist, but there isn’t any to be found in Heaven. I don’t think for one minute that any bad guy can trick God into letting him in.

As for the rest of the supporting characters, the main heroine was decent. Angela was certainly a big improvement over Constantine and she goes through a lot of trials in order to help her sister out. Her sister committed suicide, but Angela knows that she would never do such a thing and it finally helps her to believe in the supernatural. This brings another negative to light which I almost forgot about. All right, stay with me here since the film decides to use its crazy logic again.

So, a demon possessed Isabel and forced her to destroy herself. That wasn’t her own free will so she surely wouldn’t be penalized for it would she? Nope…she actually is. See, as part of the match, this falls into the whole “Satan influencing people” part so it’s actually a legitimate victory for him with Isabel now being doomed to Hell for eternity. Now you can see how this whole game is so rigged right? Luckily, Isabel ends up having a happy ending, but once again, the Devil was just portrayed as way too powerful here. Essentially, he was the one with power over Heaven and Hell in this version given how he can influence the game to such a degree.

So, Angela’s a good character. I also liked Chas, who’s the comic relief character of the film. He did a good job in the role and helped out as best he could. Things didn’t go too well for him, but he does get a big plot twist in the post credits scene…which may or may not be canon as I also read that it was an alternate ending. I’m pretty sure that it is canon though, but I don’t really care enough about the film to do any searching. If you see the film you can stick around past the credits and tell me if it’s there. None of the villains were particularly likable and the demons didn’t have great designs. The final fights were pretty decent, but Constantine was so far out of his league that it was scary. He’s a human with a gun….there’s only so much he can do against a very fast/powerful demon. Plot hax is really his only weapon at this point.

Overall, Constantine is pretty terrible to be honest. I’d stick far away from this film if I were you. The film defies its own logic and the logic is already super flawed and fake from the get go. You won’t learn anything from this film because there is nothing to learn and the actual movie isn’t well made anyway. Constantine is a very unlikable main character and even the edited version can’t save the film’s writing and the excessive violence that shows up at times. All of Constantine’s allies (One of which is a priest who likes to drink a lot. Gee….the film had to fit that in didn’t it?) are doomed to painful and unfortunate ends at the hands of the demons and since the heroes never had a shot from the beginning…what’s the point? If you want a better comic book film, I recommend Batman V Superman, the original theater version. That film has it all, hype, action, and an epic soundtrack!

Overall 2/10

Slayers Try Review

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It has been a while, but I am finally back with a review for the third Slayers series! I enjoyed the first series and then the second upped the ante in just about every way. Slayers Next will likely be remembered as the pinnacle of the Slayers franchise, but there is still more to come. Slayers Try…tries a little too hard to be a mix of Slayers and Slayers Next by adding some powerful threats, but also trying to go back to the days of random adventures like in the first series. It is a mix that backfires quite a bit like GT, but still ends up being a good show.

Lina Inverse and her gang of heroic crooks are fairly happy about how their latest victory went. They decided to split up for a while and maybe they would bump into each other at some point in the future. Well, this happens sooner than they may have expected! Aside from Sylphiel, the gang meets up with Zelgadis who is still trying to learn the secret of how to transform himself. He’ll never accomplish this goal, but at least he is still trying. Zelgadis decides to stay with Lina and pals after they meet a mysterious figure who goes by the name, Filia.

Filia tells the heroes that they are destined to save the world! Lina refuses, but Filia explains that the heroes are her last hope as all of the best heroes don’t want to do this task. Lina and the gang are forced into accepting the quest under threat of imminent destruction (Lina’s sister is too powerful for them) and they must now….stop this threat. The problem is that they have no idea how to stop the danger that is approaching since the heroes don’t even know what kind of trouble to expect. They only have Filia’s guesses and intuition to guide them! I may as well say that the threat is caused by Overworlder’s (gods) who seek to change the status quo and unleash ultimate darkness across the world!

Typically, it only takes me one paragraph to describe the plot, but a lot has happened so two was necessary here. The lack of plot can be a little eerie, but it works into Try’s gameplan. It want to be episodic like the first series, but with serious stakes like the second one. This is still a dicey mix to achieve and I should explain why it doesn’t work out. The classic way to handle this would be to have the episodic parts for the first half and then to throw in a plot. This has worked in many shows like Trigun, Cardfight Vanguard, Digimon Savers, etc. The problem is that Try threw in the plot as early in as episode 1 and then ditches it towards the middle of the show. We get 6-15 filler episodes in the show.

All right, let’s not guess here. A quick Wikipedia search tells me that we have 7 “filler” episodes. The quotations are necessary as they technically have canon elements. We have a 2 part episode involving a holy grail weapon, which shows us that dark magic can be destroyed for the first time in the series. It is what inspires Lina’s final attack on the monster in the final episodes. 2-3 of the other filler episodes involve finding the characters after they failed in the fake climax, but I would still count them. That’s also not counting the episodes that were 15-18 minutes of filler with a plot heavy beginning/ending.
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So, this really disrupted the pacing. The episodes where the heroes were on the boat were easily the worst ones. Slayers has always been a roller coaster series of ups and downs, but it has typically been more steady than this one. Try’s best episodes rank up there with the best of Next while the worst ones are some of the worst in the franchise. Not really because of anything relating to content, but they simply felt boring and unnecessary. Case in point, the two part episode about getting 2 Kingdoms to make peace with each other. I feel like we’ve seen this plot so many times already and I really didn’t understand what the point of it all was. It destroys whatever tension you had thanks to the villains showing up.

Luckily, that’s where the good episodes come into play. For just about the whole series, I was positive that this show was going to get a 6. Then we got the good climax, which made this more of a real battle. The fights in this series could take up a whole episode at times, which was great. The final batch of episodes is really one big fight that keeps on restarting and it is good to see the feats from both the heroes and the villains. There is no shortage of action and excitement in the climax of the series and we also got a nice batch of fights during the middle of the series as well. During these two high points, you would never be able to tell that this was the same series that we had started with.

Lina Inverse is the main character and she is once again leading the charges against those who would stand in her way. As a human, Lina is essentially the enemy of all other races so she needs to have a strong personality to combat these threats. Lina has also grown more powerful over the course of these adventures. While she used to not be able to deal any real damage to the big threats, now she has two aces up her sleeve. The Ragna Blade and the Giga Slave. These two attacks have been shown to work on almost any opponent with virtually no exceptions. It likely couldn’t completely KO a Dark Lord (The Blade anyway) but these attacks have allowed Lina to stay on the offensive. Her speed is not increased and I’ll mention that a little more towards the end of the review, but this is still a great improvement. Now, she can back up her tough talk!

Lina’s endearing personality is what makes her a great lead. She certainly won’t take any insults from someone without a fight. Whether it is an ally or an enemy, she will quickly unleash her full power. Lina is still not your average hero as she will occasionally blow up villages and mountains by mistake, but she does end up saving the world so hopefully it all balances out. Slayers wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without her in the lead.

Gourry is Lina’s partner and he’s always been a very interesting character to watch even if he is very unlikable. It is a bit of a tricky puzzle eh? The first episodes of this show continue to prove why he will never be likable, but at least he does provide the show with a lot of its humor. He never understands the gravity of a situation, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best. Gourry always has his game face on and with his Sword of Light, he can deal some heavy damage to just about anyone. He did go up against Valgaav after all! He’s about the same from the past two series, which is good. If they made him likable, then that would be even better.

Amelia’s role here is certainly smaller than in the first two series. She is still a member of royalty, but she doesn’t get her own adventures this time. She’s simply tagging along for the ride like Zelgadis. She’s still a nice character and she gets her hits in at times. It’s hard to say who the weak link of the team is at this point as it is between her and Zelgadis. It is very close, but she tries her best and fills the team with optimism. They certainly need at least one hero on the team right?

Zelgadis continues to lose more and more of his dignity. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the writers for Try did not like him as a character. He is literally used as bait, an anchor, and simply tossed around when it is time for jokes. He may have been a decent character in the original series and almost decent in Next, but now he’s just a really bad character. I find it almost impossible to like him. It is too bad since he gets a lot of scenes that are supposed to make you say “Snap, this guy’s cool!” That is not my reaction to the scenes and I can’t think of a single moment where Zelgadis actually did a critical thing here. Not a single scene……his fans will not be pleased.
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Filia is the new addition to the group and she ends up replacing Sylphiel. She is a gold dragon and her powers are impressive during her first appearance. As a gold dragon, her speed was so great that none of the main characters could land a hit on her. (An accurate depiction of speed…impossible!) Unfortunately, that’s where the buck stops as she is not really useful against any other opponents for the rest of the series. She evidently has some useful abilities like super strength and her spells, but the enemies are always one step ahead of her. It’s too bad as the exact same thing happened to Sylphiel.

As far as personality goes, she has a little Amelia in her. Filia thinks of herself as a bit of a hero so she is always dismayed when the heroes engage in criminal activities. She also does a lot of soul searching as the series goes on because of what her fellow golden dragons did. Perhaps she takes this a little too personally as she had nothing to do with most of their evil deeds. It is regrettable, but she doesn’t need to lose all hope over it. She nearly jeopardizes the final battle as she proved to be indecisive. Her rivalry with Xellos is fun though and while she is no match for him in a fight, perhaps she can defeat him in the battle of burns. (Burns=Insulting an opponent so well that you metaphysically burned them) As far as the main cast goes, it is: Lina>>Amelia>>Filia>>Sylphiel>>Zelgadis>>Gourry>>>>>>>Xellos. So, Filia’s rank isn’t all that bad. She could certainly better, but her personality fits in well with the team and doesn’t get old quite as quickly as Zelgadis’ gimmick. It’s also good to have a little more muscle power on the team.

Ah…now it’s time to talk about Xellos. A seriously disliked him from his very first appearance. While he will likely never look quite as bad as in Next, he’s still not my kind of character. For starters, he is constantly betraying the heroes to advance on his own goals. He is a monster through and through so he does remind the heroes that they should never trust him. Just because he makes that clear from the start, doesn’t make it any less sad when he betrays them again. Xellos has physically attacked the team during their scuffles and while he typically holds back so they aren’t very injured, he has come close to destroying the world. The heroes really need to treat him like a total enemy and stop pulling their punches. The sad thing is that Xellos could easily destroy the heroes in an instant if he so desires. He is really just toying with them and that can’t help the egos of the heroes all that much. As a villain, it can be fun to see Xellos act so smug and insult all of the other villains, but I wish that the show would totally keep him on the villain side. It would make him much more bearable. Still, it we’re just talking about this series, he is not that bad. I’ll never consider him as a villain though. How would the rankings change if we just counted this series? I suppose that he would jump over Gourry and Zelgadis. It’s possible that he could also pass Sylphiel, but it would be close.

All right, it is time to talk about the best villain in the show. He is also potentially the best character in the series as well. I’m talking about Valgaav! Valgaav is a mix of monster and dragon so his abilities are quite formidable. He is one of the only opponents to be on the winning side against Xellos and he takes on a good portion of the cast at once. That is before the final power up that he gets, which made him virtually unstoppable. He is a villain who had a tragic past and he loves jumping into peril. He’s simply my kind of villain and he acts like other all stars. (Grimmjow comes to mind) All of his fights are interesting and I’m glad that he didn’t decide to listen to Almayce like the average pawn. If Valgaav wanted to do something, then he would just go and do it! He had a nice blend of emotional moments as well as intense ones. Really, when it all boils down to it, Valgaav is probably the best character in the franchise. I thought about it for a bit and there is really no better character. It is a shame since he will likely never appear again, but at least he got a grand role in this series. Thanks to his final power up, you can definitely make the claim that he is the strongest character in the series. The Lord of Nightmares may contest that though. Valgaav got to prove that he was stronger than the other three villains, which is a good enough start for me! Maybe we’ll get a spinoff/prequel about him someday..maybe. (His origin isn’t exactly something that I’m very interested in though so I’d want it to take place right before Try) Valgaav also gave us the very first, big fight of Try so his debut was a very memorable one.

Almayce is the big villain for most of the series, but it is safe to say that he overestimated his power. He’s actually weaker than the other three big villains of the series although it seems like he could potentially still defeat Xellos. So, maybe he also outranks two of the other opponents, but it is hard to say. His design is great and he looked like a very menacing villain for a while. The problem is that he doesn’t know where he stands. On one hand, he is certainly a villain as he is constantly hurting people and endangering lives. On the other hand, he is trying to save the planet while getting rid of Dark Star…..I’ll just count him as a villain.

Because he is constantly switching sides, Almayce loses sight of what is happening and that’s when the villains make their move. Almayce went down rather easily even though he should have been expecting someone to destroy him. He was causing trouble for both the heroes and the other villains. It would have been cool to have seen him fight more, but he still made for a fun boss to oppose the heroes.
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Erulogs joins the fray towards the end of the series along with Sirius. It was odd to see him join in as the series was already heading to a close, but the more villains the better right? I liked him more than Sirius, less than Valgaav, and slightly more than Almayce. His abilities were very impressive as the heroes could not hold a candle to his power. He felt like the average DBZ villain and that is always a good thing. It is too bad that he didn’t get more of a role.

It was still bigger than the role of Sirius though. Sirius is the more rational of the two villains and he wants to learn as much as he can. He also doesn’t mind sparing the Earth as long as it won’t hurt his chances of survival. He is a villain that the heroes can work with and his abilities are still impressive. He doesn’t seem to be as tough as Erulogs, but he is still tough enough to keep the heroes back. While his design was not too good, his personality made him a decent villain.

It is worth mentioning the Dragon King Elder because he is so terrible that it becomes laughable towards the end. Not literally as this guy did single handily bring two different species of dragons to their extinction. (Filia may be the only dragon in existence anymore. Certainly the only Gold one left and the ancient ones are gone as well) The Elder wants the gold dragons to rule over all, but his life comes first and foremost. He is defiant to the end as he dies while explaining that he regrets nothing and he would do it all over again. He betrays his heroes to the villains and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of common sense. It is regrettable that he became the leader of the Golden Dragons since he definitely did not have their best interests at heart.

Dark Star is the big villain for this series and he lives up to the hype. It is always fun to meet another Dark Lord from the tree of power. Shabranigdo is still the most impressive beast, but Dark Star is no slouch in the power department. Simply by flapping his wings, he can bring the heroes to the verge of death and he can shoot a variety of energy blasts. Dark Star’s flight speed is incredible and he’s a known planet destroyer. Everything about this villain is cool and hie design is actually like the symbiote from Marvel. At least the face resembles Venom. Dark Star is virtually unstoppable and his only weakness are the legendary weapons of light. Without them, you can essentially confirm the destruction of your planet. Spells don’t hurt him because Dark Star’s soul is in another plane of existence so physical attacks are the only way to challenge him. Dark Star made for a great end boss to the series and he’s probably the second best monster villain behind Shabranigdo.

Aside from the serious villains, we also got some low ranking ones to mention. Jillas was mostly played for laughs, but he actually got a serious subplot towards and the end and it hit you right in the feels. (Feels=Emotions. So, if something hits you in the feels, it’s like metaphysically hitting your sad or happy emotion and triggering that feeling inside of you. That’s how I’ve always thought of it anyway.) He has to leave his family at the end to help defend the planet and he also decides to finally move away from his thoughts of revenge. While most of the characters in the series have magical abilities, Jillas is stuck with his sheer intelligence. He is good at making bombs, but that certainly won’t carry him very far against the kinds of villains that are present here. He was fairly likable though at times and he was much better than his partner.

Gravos is an ogre type of demon and he never becomes likable. The writers don’t even try to make him sympathetic aside from an incredibly brief origin story. He means well I suppose as he is just following orders, but he isn’t nearly as interesting as Jillas. At least Jillas has his motivations and desires to keep him going, but Gravos is more of a two dimensional villain. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t exactly help me like his character either.

While the series is typically very light toned, there are a few moments of violence that clash with the rest of the series. The battle between Xellos and Valgaav was pretty brutal and likewise for the origin stories of Jillas and Gravos. This happened in the previous two Slayers series as well as everything would be very chipper until a sudden violent scene makes you take a double look. It’s nothing over the top though and it is typically quick so you don’t need to dwell on it, but the violence is certainly around. The dragons get extinct…twice, and they certainly don’t go down without a fight. Xellos vs Valgaav is still the one that will stick out the most simply because the show still plays Xellos off as a hero of sorts and this is certainly not heroic behavior. He is a monster and he is technically a villain, but the heroes barely treat him as such.

It is also about time for me to quickly address the plot hax that is present here. Now, this is a problem is virtually all forms of media and in almost all titles. Still, the plot hax is especially prevalent here as Lina and her friends are a group of humans who are trying to stop extremely powerful forces. No matter how many great spells they get like the Ragna Blade, there is no way that Lina and friends should last a minute against such powerful foes. Almost all of the high level monsters and gods are shown to move at hyper speeds. Lina is still a human and can’t run much faster than a normal one. At most, she is Captain America level in speed and power. She should still get speedblitzed at the beginning of every match.

The Slayers verse seems to place a lot of emphasis on physical power and none on speed, which is a little misguided. Raw power does not matter if you cannot hit the opponent and that’s my main problem with the title. Lina should be way too slow for any of her attacks to be useful here and she still manages to get in some good hits at times. It’s just a little odd and certainly unbelievable, but it is simply the route that the show has gone. Perhaps the writers feel that Lina and her pals would be less relatable if they had special powers aside from their spells. It’s their choice I suppose.

The animation is a step down from Next, but it still looks good. I’m assuming that the budget was likely reduced, but the series still has enough juice in it for some epic action scenes. The rest of the series is just a little more pale and dated than the vibrantly colorful Next. The fights are the important part though and the long action scenes are as good as you could have hoped for here. The heroes give it their all now that they can finally fight a little more: Gourry with his improved Sword of Light mastery, Lina with her Ragna Blade, Zelgadis with his sword, etc.

There’s not much to say about the soundtrack since it is the same as in the previous two shows. As for the theme song, it is all right, but it could be better. It is just not as exciting and moving as it could have been, but it is not a bad theme song either. Perhaps the end themes of the Slayers movies have simply spoiled me as they would certainly work better as a theme song than what we got here. The theme song is also a little misleading. As the overall soundtrack has not changed, Slayers Try sounds just as good as the first two installments.
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Overall, Slayers Try is a good series. I was hesitant to give it the full 7 as it did have its share of issues with the pacing and just not being quite as fun as the first two series, but it comes very close to reaching that mark. The soundtrack has not changed and the animation has only dipped a little. The main team of Lina and Gourry is still one of the driving forces of the show. The ending certainly feels like it could have been the end of the franchise, but it still would have been a sad one as I disagreed with Gourry’s decision. We got to meet some more powerful beasts from the Slayers verse and I look forward to eventually seeing an ultimate confrontation between the humans, dragons, monsters, and gods. My money is certainly on the monsters, but it would be a good fight. The balance between humor and action can be awkward, especially when mixed. Xellos being defeated by a song towards the end was a little random, but I’ll assume that he is just trolling as per usual. Jumping from serious moments to comedy ones is a delicate art that is hard to master. Slayers Next probably did the best job, but Slayers Try gave it a fair effort. I recommend checking this series out if you want a good fantasy title and while you don’t need to watch the first two series first, I would still recommend doing so. At least, Slayers Next, since one of the main villains wants to destroy the heroes because of what happened there.

Overall 6/10

Hellboy Seeds of Destruction Review

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I’ve seen both of the Hellboy films, but I had not read any of his comics before now. I had to change that and now I can safely say that I have delved into the comics where it all began. Hellboy’s a good action title so far and we can be sure that he’ll face off with a lot of demonic beings before the day is over.

This comic naturally goes over Hellboy’s origin a little. The Nazi’s summoned him during World War II, but the allies found him first and trained him to be a hero. Hellboy joined a group of other supernatural fighters and he now aids them in the war against crime. It’s been 30 years, but the villains are still around. The main plot is about a family who constantly climbs a mountain in the hopes of getting rich. For 9 generations they have kept on trying to reach the top, but they continue to fail and all who travel the mountain eventually die. Hellboy’s father figure was the latest casualty in this quest so Hellboy and his team go to the family’s mansion to investigate. They may run into more trouble than they bargained for when they realize that an evil group is around..the same one from Hellboy’s origin!

This is the first volume in the Hellboy comics so we’re still in the process of getting used to the cast. Hellboy’s allies from the films to get a role, but we mostly only get to know about them through Hellboy’s exposition since they tend to get knocked out of the fight pretty quickly. Abe is a water fighter who can breathe under it. This makes him a good ally to have for tactical missions and he appears to be the smartest member of the group. That being said, he’s not much of a fighter and he doesn’t get much of a role here. He seems like a good character although he’s not particularly interesting.

Liz gets a lot of hype as her fire abilities have not been fully explored yet. It seems like nobody can fully contain them at the moment so she has to always be careful not to cut loose. She is knocked out fairly early on in the story so it’s hard to comment on how likable she is, but Liz is decent for now. As with Abe, she doesn’t have a lot of character development and I’m worried that she will be all hype and no action, but she does have good reason to be confident considering that her abilities are easily the most impressive out of all the heroes around.

Hellboy is the lead, but I would argue that he is not the strongest. He has basic super strength and his right arm is impervious to pain. This means that he is definitely stronger than the average human, but he is only as strong as the average monster of that size. He’s pretty experienced and he always seems to have a plan. His narration can sometimes differ with that thought, but at least he never gives up. He’s pretty likable and easily the best character in the volume. It’s always good for the main character to end up being the most likable one because he/she is guaranteed to have a lot of screen time. Hellboy gets into quite a few close shaves, but that’s why he has allies to back him up right?

The villains didn’t seem to have thought things over very carefully. There is one main villain here and he’s the guy who summoned Hellboy in the first place. Since Hellboy will not comply with his demands, he will have to force him to use his right arm for something. The guy has summoned the legendary monsters and his plans are vague, but deadly for the planet. He talks a very good game as he admits that he could wipe Hellboy out if he chose to do so. Little did he know that he should have held nothing back since it comes back to bite him.

The art is on the grim side to fit the tone of the volume. That being said, it’s not meta at all, which is always a good thing. It’s not quite as polished as what you tend to see in today’s Marvel/DC comics, but it still looks good overall and doesn’t hold the series back. Hellboy’s red design certainly stands out here since there isn’t a lot of color to be found. It’s an art style that you may find nostalgic or associate with some comics from back in the day. It’s a little similar to the Hawkeye/Daredevil series, but not nearly as cartoony or undetailed, which is a good thing.

This series definitely has a lot of text in it and it works in some ways while hurting it in others. On one hand, I like the fact that Hellboy is constantly thinking. His thought bubbles can certainly be amusing and it lets you get to know the character better than if he didn’t think that much. On the other hand, the series does have a lot of exposition and I think some of it could have probably been cut out. At the very least, I would have liked to have made the text a little bigger so that it would be a little easier to read.

The main reason why this volume ultimately didn’t crack a 7 is just because it didn’t have enough popcorn entertainment or interesting characters needed to make it reach the next level. A 6 still means that it’s good, but that I simply have some more reservations than the average 7. For example, this comic likely wouldn’t have a whole lot of replay value compared to the average superhero adventure. As the series goes on and the characters get more likable, it could easily rise up to 7 status. Due to the dark atmosphere of the series, the writer/artist will still have to be careful to keep the atmosphere as it is without going too far. I’m sure that the series can pull it off though and hopefully we’ll see more cool monsters for Hellboy to fight.

I’m not sure if the series will keep the mystery aspect that this volume had, but hopefully it will. A good mystery can always make a comic more exciting and mixing action with mystery is brilliant. Why do you think Batman is so popular? This was a good start and the series should stay episodic for a little bit so that we can really see how the agency fares against everyday threats. After that, then I expect to see some real organizations or at least a really powerful villain. Hellboy may need a power up soon.

Overall, Hellboy starts us off on a good note. He’s definitely a good lead and the art works for the series. It’s an action with some elements of horror, but we haven’t seen anything that goes over the top in either direction so that’s a good show of restraint considering the title of this comic. The supporting characters do need to improve a little, but they’ll certainly have time for that. I recommend checking out this comic if you’re looking for a new action title. Watching Hellboy take on demons is pretty fun and the writing is good. We’re still waiting for Hellboy 3, but this will help to tide you over until then.

Overall 6/10

Beelzebub Review

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Beelzebub was a Shonen Jump series that never reached the level of fame and popularity that Naruto and Bleach received, but it still ran for quite a while and provided us with a lot of action. Like Reborn, Beelzebub starts off as more of a comedy and then quickly turns into the action manga that we had all been waiting for. It has some flaws thanks to the actual plot, but it manages to get past that and actually turns into a pretty great series. At least some of the credit should go to the main character.

The series starts out with some one shot stories before the first big arc arrives. The school is ruled by 4 strong classmates from the shadows. They are the 4 Emperors (Not the title that is used, but close enough) of the school and they each have their own minions/groups who follow them. Oga has been forced to baby sit Beelzebub, the future king of Hell and possibly destroyer of Earth. Oga isn’t thrilled about this since carrying a baby along with hurt his image. So, he decides that he’ll need to find someone who can be Beel’s (The baby) owner instead of him. Beel is attracted to negative energy so he just needs to find someone who’s even meaner than him. (A tougher feat than he imagines) That being said, peaceful negotiations tend to break down so then it’s fight time!

After that, the heroes are barely given a breather before they are taken to another school. Oga has basically accepted his fate of sticking with Beel by now. Unfortunately, his friends are being picked off one by one by the student council of the new school. These guys are apparently great fighters and one of the members is pretty familiar with Oga. Oga had wanted to make it through this new school peacefully until he could go back to his normal place, but he won’t have this. The arc results in a 5 on 5 fight that is pretty awesome! (I love group fights.)

The most popular arc of the series comes around as the demons finally invade Earth. They make their own school and challenge Oga and his friends. They will destroy Earth anyway so the heroes may as well put up a fight. Oga decides that things are getting a little too dangerous so he heads into the enemy base alone. Things also got personal since they kidnapped Hilda, one of Oga’s allies. He’s coming with a vengeance and this arc is where he finally gets his first super form. You can say that this is the arc where the series finished its transition into the ultimate Shonen Jump battle title that we knew it could be.

The final arc is sort of two arcs in one. The heroes return to their school and find out that a lot of new gangs have popped up. Among them, 6 leaders stand out and each one of them seems to be about as strong as Oga. They all want to defeat him to claim their spot as the strongest and they don’t mind targeting his friends to get him to act. (The friends also target the 6 so it evens out. Even if the allies should know that they’re doomed from the start….) This arc is interrupted as Oga decides to go to America to find Beel’s parents and then he eventually goes back home to continue the arc in more of a horror setting.

The series mainly takes place in various schools or in the city, which is definitely fine with me. There aren’t many big manga series that use such a setting for long. Bleach is one of the few that does this, but then we had to go off to Hueco Mundo for a few years, which wasted that opportunity. Beelzebub takes advantage of this local and it’s a fun setting for the fights. We don’t really get much of a city fight until the end of the series, but fighting inside of a building is the next best thing.

From the one shot stories and mini arcs, Beelzebub actually had a few interesting ones. The main one that comes to mind is when Furuichi got powers. He decided that he would challenge all of the characters in the series and it was pretty intense. A certain punching bag gets to fight Furuichi so the comic relief sidekick finally gets some hype of his own. It was good to see Furuichi finally get some props. He may not be a great character, but you never want to see a character be on the losing side for the whole series right? That’d be 20+ volumes of Furuichi getting kicked around. This mini arc managed to give him some wins, which was probably happy for his fanbase. We also had school plays and even a trip into the demon world. All of the stories were typically entertaining unless they were about Beel.

Naturally, Beelzebub is mainly an action series so the tone is pretty light, but it can be rather sad for the side characters. Again, Beelzebub is like Reborn! in the sense that the character power levels are heavily skewed. Oga is the only real powerhouse on the hero side for a while. Kuneida, Tojo, and Hilda are never far behind, but what about their numerous school friends? They never get any real powers ups until the climax of the series so it can be frustrating for them. They get knocked around so many times that you feel bad for them. They used to be the strongest thugs in the city and now they can’t beat the weakest minion from the villains. They try so hard and even go on the verge of tears. It’s great for Oga rage moments, but it does add an emotional touch to the series that it possibly should have avoided.

Back to the rage moments, Beelzebub does do a great job with those. One can argue that it happens a little too often, but I love those scenes so I’m okay with it. You probably know the type since it happens in most anime at this point. Where the main character suddenly get serious and says something that sounds intense as he begins to fight. That happens to Oga constantly as well as to his friends. Rage moments happen in almost every fight alongside a big double spread so that we can see just how intense they are. It gives you the chills while you’re reading it and it’s one of the main reasons why I like Bleach so much. So, this is going to be a mixed bag for many people, but I say “Go for it!”

One of the negatives for the series would have to be the crude humor. This is an issue that is actually rare for manga, or at least Shonen Jump titles. The problem is that the series technically revolves around Beel’s plight as Oga is raising him and that means that a lot of comedy situations will have to happen. Everything is exaggerated with Beel so when he has to relieve himself, he ends up nearly flooding a city. You can imagine how other baby scenarios can go from there. It’s a little too gross for me and I never really like seeing Beel on screen. He’s a character that I couldn’t adapt too and he certainly didn’t help the series. It mostly goes away during action scenes of course, but it’s one of the few negatives of the pre arc. Now it’s time to talk about the characters and there are quite a few in this series.

Oga Tatsumi is a pretty great main character. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of him since the author tried a little too hard to make him a mean character. Yusuke and Ichigo are rebels, but what makes them cool is really the fact that they aren’t afraid to stand up to any villain. They also fight at the first opportunity. Oga is a pretty likable rebel for most of the series, but at the beginning it acts a little too much like a villain at times. Him messing with Furuichi is supposed to be comic relief of course, but he goes a little too far at times. Especially considering that Furuichi just wants to live a peaceful life, but is always forced into dangerous situations because of Oga. So, once Oga learns the values of friendship and mellows out a little more, he quickly becomes one of the best main characters out there.

One of the qualities that I respect the most in a main character is when he/she is willing to help out a friend even if it means breaking the rules. Oga definitely does that and he’ll always come to the rescue when his friends are in danger. (Which is rather often) His super form may not be the most imaginative one out there, but his fights are always fun. His fighting style of using magical seals is very unique and mixing in his extremely heightened physical abilities gives you a very powerful fighter at the ready. It would be hard to make Oga much cooler than he currently is since he’s just so good at this point.
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Furuichi is the most recurring character in the series beyond Oga. He is always around no matter how dangerous the situation is. It’s rather sad for him since he is very weak and he never gets much stronger. He gets some magical tissues at one point that let him become a stronger fighter, but then he just gets beaten up by a new villain for shock value. He never wanted any part of this battle life that Oga has centered his life around, but he can’t desert his friend either. There is simply no winning for Furuichi so his tale is typically sad. He also has a sad origin story as well.

It would be easy to feel bad for Furuichi…until he does something bad and then you don’t feel bad for him anymore. He’s the kind of character who is way too into romance so you stop feeling bad for him since he isn’t a good character. It’s too bad since he has many likable moments and he gets quite a few intense moments like Oga. They’re just spoiled because you know that it’s going to go to his head and he’ll revert back to the character that you didn’t want to see. He has his good moments to be sure, but I definitely wouldn’t call him a good character. There is simply too much material to use against him.

Natsume is one of the only friends that I’m mentioning here, but I had too because he is a very odd character. The author never knew what to do with him so he gets a lot of hype at one point and then he basically vanishes for the whole series. He’s supposed to be very tough, but we never get any confirmation of that since he’ll just go and lose to a random figure when he feels like it. He is still a human so we can’t expect too much out of him, but his power level is never that consistent. He doesn’t take most of his fights seriously so it’s also hard to gauge just how good he is. He’s an interesting character, but you’ll probably dislike him by the end since he is just one big missed opportunity.

From the 4 big fighters of the school, Kuneida probably gets the biggest role. You can argue that she is the main heroine or you can make the case that Hilda deserves that title. Either way, Kuneida steadily improves throughout the series and she gets more training scenes than Hilda. She’s a much better character as well, but I suppose that this shouldn’t really sway you on who deserves the title of main heroine. They both get a lot of screen time I suppose. There aren’t any real negatives with Kuneida’s character and I was thrilled to see a sword fighter appear at last. It is sad that she is partnered up with Koma though since Koma is such an awful character. Luckily, she doesn’t have to actually work with him for most of her fights and she learns how to use some abilities while on her own. By the end of the series, she’s probably in the top 5 strongest heroes so that’s pretty impressive considering that she was just a human tier fighter at the beginning of the series.

Tojo is also a great supporting character, but the situation just isn’t in his favor for the most part. The problem is that he’s like Vegeta or any of your average Shonen Jump rivals. He looks great at first and he’s basically an unstoppable antagonist. Then he turns good and the author realizes that the audience will be shocked if he loses to a new villain. So it happens…and it happens…and it happens over and over again. If a new villain is introduced you may as well start counting the chapters until he crushes Tojo. Tojo always enters the fight with a lot of confidence and tough talk, but you know that he’ll end up on the ground. For extra shock value, he is sometimes taken out off screen or without any effort. He is the ultimate punching bag in the series. That being said, I do like him as a character. He temporarily passed Oga at one point in the series and it stayed that way for a brief while until Oga passed him again. He’s a likable character and he’s nice to animals, which is a huge plus. Unlike most of the other heroes, Tojo was always a good guy. He likes to get into fights, but it’s within reason and he’s a pretty upstanding citizen otherwise.

Himekawa is easily my least favorite member of the opening 4 bosses and he is just hard to like. I was almost warming up to him at one point. Not that he would ever become one of the most likable characters in the series, but I didn’t mind him as an ally. It all fell apart when he pulled a Rossiu on us and decided to wreck everything. We got a twist about that of course, but Oga had to take a lot of extra damage thanks to Himekawa’s rash actions. I couldn’t just let that slide and Himekawa had one of the biggest drops imaginable for an anime character. He was decent and now I consider him to be a downright terrible character. I couldn’t wait for him to get written out of the series.

Kanzaki is the first boss from the series and he must have been pretty popular since he gets to appear a whole lot after that. He’s your average bully who is actually a nice guy deep down and he loves to pamper his little sister. He’s not a bad character per say, but he is pretty generic and he rarely gets to win a battle. He just doesn’t add anything to the story, but his final form was pretty cool for his fans. Things definitely may have gotten dicey for him otherwise. He’s a loyal ally and a good friend to have, but he could have used some more character development or maybe just an epic fight. Seeing him jump into the school with a baseball bat was cool, but we knew how it would all end up. (It was a very frustrating scene though) That was the fate of his character.

It’s time to look at one of the characters who got hit the hardest by Beelzebub’s sudden ending. That would be Ichikawa. He was one of the 4 big characters from one of the final arcs and he got a lot of hype. He was going to be one of the strongest characters out there in theory, but then he went and got pummeled off screen. So much for his tough talk right? It’s too bad since he was a very interesting character and I wanted to see him get a few fights. He was likable in his few pages, but he just got the short end of the stick. We ended the series without really knowing much about him.
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The same can be said about Akahoshi, but to a smaller extent. Thanks to a few filler chapters, we definitely know a lot more about him than Ichikawa. He was also a pretty fun character and I would go as far as to say that Akahoshi is probably one of the best characters in the series. He is main character material and it’s probably no coincidence that he looks very similar to Oga. It’s still a mystery as to why he’s so powerful since I didn’t totally buy the explanation, but he doesn’t get to finish his character arc. He came closer than Ichikawa though so I’m glad about that. He’s a lot nicer than Oga, but he’s still the leader of a gang so you should not underestimate this guy.

Hojo is probably the worst member of the 6 big fighters in that arc, but that also meant that she got to totally have her arc completed. She’s the weakest member of the group and you don’t really need any demonic abilities to take her down. She’s not completely weak though as she still gave Kuneida a decent fight, but she doesn’t strike fear into you the same way that the others could. She just felt out of her depths here and her goals of stopping Kuneida and the Red Tails just felt a lot more petty. If not for Beel pulling his tricks, her arc would have been a whole lot shorter.

Nasu is pretty crazy and he gives Oga a pretty good fight when they meet. He’s not one of the big 6 so his powers still aren’t extreme, but that just makes his battles that much more impressive. He beats up on the side characters for a while before getting to Oga, but he’s seriously bad news for most of the heroes. I don’t care for him personally, but his fights are pretty fun to watch. There aren’t many people who fight with their head smashed through a wall for the entire battle. (Hard to describe, but picture someone being rammed through a door and taking the door with them. Then imagine that person continuing to fight while the door is around their neck. It’s pretty surreal)

Takamiya may not be the final boss of the series, but he is certainly the most impressive fighter since he gets a lot of screen time. He really beats up on Oga and his allies even if there are some special circumstances at one point. He may be one of the strongest figures out there, but I definitely do not like him as a character. It helps that I didn’t care to see him beat up on Furuichi for so long since the hero couldn’t fight back. Takamiya is pretty sadistic and that’s why I didn’t care for how his character ending went. I know that Shonen Jump is about forgiving and forgetting, but it shouldn’t happen to instantly. I would have liked to see Takamiya go to jail for a few years to cool off. He definitely deserved that after everything that he did. His character design reminds me of Mukuro’s and it’s interesting since it’s not what you would expect from a street brawler. Likable or not, Takamiya definitely provides us with some great fights.

Fuji is the final boss of the series and he certainly lives up to the hype. His abilities are possibly a little too exaggerated since he’s been lounging around at home for the last few years instead of training. Having a demon to partner up with definitely gives you some added abilities, but the boost was way too big if you ask me. Well, ignoring that, he’s still a pretty good character. He’s pretty insane and he’s evil as opposed to most of the other guys who are simply “misunderstood.” Seeing him take on the entire cast is also a pretty great feat and he’s fun to fight. He has almost no development though so he’s just an opponent to face, but I suppose that this is fitting for the final boss. His abilities are no joke and he probably has the coolest super form from all of the villains. He’s probably my favorite villain now that I think about it.

Izuma is another hype character who appeared in the school challenge arc and you have to wonder what happened to him. There was a time where it seemed like he might have gotten a role in the current arc to help against the demons along with Tojo, but then he just took a backseat and decided to watch. He still got a decent role in the school battles of course, but stalemating Tojo isn’t the feat that it used to be. Since Oga already had a rival, this guy was basically not given the chance to prove himself. He’s definitely a decent villain though, but he seems unaware of just how badly he has been corrupted. He is sticking up for bullies after all so he should consider who the real villains are since he claims to be a hero. Still, he is interesting, which is good enough.

Miki is Oga’s rival and he knew the main character from their early days. Things happened and they grew apart, which made Miki decide that he wanted to beat up/destroy Oga. I can’t say that I agreed with Miki’s reasoning since it was pretty obvious why Oga did what he did during their origin. Even if Oga had been sincere, destroying him is going way too far. I can sympathize with Miki wanting to defeat him in combat. I’m totally all right with that, but he’s constantly going for the permanent solution so I can’t see him as anything other than a villain. It is impressive to see just how strong he got through his training though. It’s just too bad that he becomes irrelevant as soon as the real villains show up. He had a good roll until then though.

Saotome is a mysterious teacher who shows up at one point to help Oga train and he’s very powerful. You just wonder how he got to be so good and his backstory is never fleshed out. It’s cool to have a mentor figure of course, but he just pops up out of the blue and then he vanishes once things get serious. He does have a few good smirmishes with the villains though, but I would have liked to have seen him fight seriously at least once. That being said, he is significantly better than other mentors like Jiraiya and Master Roshi. At least you can take this guy seriously.
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Beel appears about as much as Oga so it’s too bad that he’s completely unlikable. Just like how I don’t care for kids being main characters in live action films, I don’t care for babies being protagonists in manga. Beel is really just here for crude humor, which is too bad. He also puts Oga in a lot of tricky and/or embarrassing spots thanks to his actions. Beel gets a lot of hype for being immensely powerful, but we never get to see that since he is always just powering up his partner. That’s one way to show off a character’s strength I suppose, but it’s simply not a great way to do it. I don’t think that Beel had a single cool scene in the entire series and it would have been better off without him. He’s certainly one of the worst characters in the series. It’s definitely rare for a series with a pretty bad concept to actually become a legendary title, but Beelzebub pulled it off so Beel couldn’t really hold it back for long.

En is related to Beel and he’s just as annoying. He’s a little older so he’s more of a kid than a baby, but he’s very spoiled and his mini arcs are never that much fun. He’s not very good at video games and he’s just mean to everyone. He doesn’t mind blowing up the Earth so I think it’s fair to say that he’s a villain. There’s not a whole lot to say about him because he never gets to fight in the series, but he’s simply not my kind of villain. He’s certainly not loyal to his allies so he’s not even a respectable villain.

We can’t forget about Beel’s parents. They get a surprisingly small role in the series, but they are still around nonetheless. The Demon Lord is said to be extremely powerful, but he never gets to fight. He’s actually used for comic relief as he has a terrible memory and he’s always playing video games. He also seems to have the mentality of a little child as he sulks a lot and holds grudges when he feels like it. It’s easy to see why other demons keep planning to overthrow him since he does a lousy job of upholding law and order. I think it’s safe to say that the villains would have easily succeeded in their plans if not for Oga. The Demon Lord is just too oblivious to everything.

I can’t say that Iris is much better. She seems to be a lot more reasonable of course and things are pretty sad for her since she can’t walk. That being said, she is basically being played for her entire on screen appearance. She doesn’t even realize what is happening even though it is only thinly veiled. She also did leave Beel for basically the whole series so I really can’t sympathize with her actions. It doesn’t help that this was during the rushed part of the series. Maybe she could have been a better character with more time…maybe.

Athrun is a character who never got to appear much and the author may have forgotten about him. He is pretty powerful and he was much stronger than Oga at one point. It’s safe to say that Oga has surpassed him by now, but it would have been cool to have seen them fight. He’s the cool and calm collected character that you expect to see in a series at some point. He’s a swordsman, which makes him even cooler for me. He should have gotten more screen time! Johan is another intriguing character that I would have liked to have seen more of from the final part of the series. He’s pretty intense and he’s definitely a good agent since he can ride a motorcycle with ease while shooting at Oga. He may be a body guard, but he can hold his own with the best fighters out there. He is also pretty smart and he was one of the guys who tricked Iris for so long.

Alaindelon gives Beel some competition as one of the most annoying characters in the series. He’s always trying to be friends with Furuichi and most of his lines are purposefully suggestive. He acts gay throughout the series and it’s meant to be funny, but is just isn’t. He doesn’t contribute to the series at all even though he is always around and I don’t know how he ever got picked to be one of Beel’s bodyguards. He simply doesn’t help the heroes when it’s crunch time and it’s too bad that he was in the series at all.

Hilda is one of the main characters and she’s pretty decent. Unfortunately, she talks tough for all of her appearances, but she doesn’t get many fighters where she can really show off her skills. She is very tough since she was picked to guard Beel, but her power level is not very consistent. She’s definitely a very likable character though. She gets two personalities as she is usually in her normal one and she acts differently when she temporarily loses her memory. Both forms are pretty good although her normal personality is definitely the best one. She never backs down from a fight and she’s determined to protect Beel at any cost. She should have struggled a little more to stop herself from being kidnapped, but that’s a minor gripe. Through and through, Hilda is a very good character.

Yolda is Hilda’s rival and she’s a character who also could have used some more development. She seems like a nice character deep down even if she typically acts like an antagonist. She’s usually comic relief aside from her first appearances and while she is a decent fighter, Yolda is quickly surpassed by just about everyone after her initial fight or two. I think her character did have a lot of potential though and she is pretty likable. Certainly one of the better villains even if her boss is pretty cheap.

Lamia is the nurse from the demon world and she is good at her job, but she’s not a great character. She becomes friends with Furuichi, which is cool for him since he doesn’t have many friends. That being said, she can’t fight, which really limits her potential in this kind of series. She can heal their wounds, but that’s not the best role to have. She is also used a lot of comedy situations with Furuichi, which is not the greatest fate either.
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Behemoth is an old demon who apparently was one of the strongest fighters back in the day. Unfortunately, we never get to see this so he’s a character who literally has to live off of hype. He’s still pretty strong of course, but it’s apparently only a glimpse into how he looked back in the day. He’s decent for an old fighter, but I just can’t take him seriously. I have nothing against the hype…but he needs to prove himself a little more. He just goes along with the villains and he doesn’t even get a say. Not exactly leader material!

Jabberwock is the big villain from the demon arc and he’s definitely intense. I’d say that he’s one of the better villains even if he’s not all that interesting. The series never gave him a whole lot of character development so he fell by the wayside. His abilities are good though. He’s pretty stuck up, but that makes it all the more satisfying when Oga takes him down. His design is pretty fitting for his character and he was a good villain. Jabberwock is honorable, which is more than I can say for a lot of the other villains.

The art is pretty good for the series and I definitely have no qualms there. The author uses a little too much ink with the demon attacks at times, but it also helps to show us just how powerful the attacks are. Most of the characters have pretty unique character designs, which help the characters to stay memorable. Naturally, this also helps the fight scenes since a good action moment needs great art if it wants to survive. The series also manages to pull off a pair of horror themed chapters towards the end where Oga enters the ghost town that used to be his home. It’s pretty intense since the tone shift was so dramatic, yet the art was able to keep up.

Whether a fight is occurring or not, Beelzebub is always fun to read. I’d compare it to Medaka Box in the sense that it is a fun ride from start to finish. There are no boring volumes and very few chapters that won’t entertain you either. Even the filler moments like Furuichi gaining magical powers are pretty fun as well. There are some serious moments thrown in for good measure, but the series never loses sight of what it is. An upbeat fighting manga that will always leave you feeling content with it.

One angle that I didn’t really discuss was the fanservice part. It’s not there a whole lot, but it is present thanks to Koma and Furuichi. Just about every scene in question that is in the series has something to do with them. Koma is the stereotypical pervert of the series while Furuichi falls into that category as well, but he typically tries to be more subtle. It’s still too bad since this is just a cheap trick that most series use at some point or another for quick views. It could have been worse, but what we did get still shouldn’t have been there. I’m still waiting for more series to take a look at Prince of Tennis so they can see how you do a series without any fanservice whatsoever. That series is still a shining example for all to see.

It should be noted that the series does end rather abruptly and it’s not very subtle either. The author handled it with as much pizzazz as he could, but there are still quite a few plot lines that are not wrapped up. An arc starts and then it quickly shifts to another arc before anything had really gotten to happen. When we go back to the previous arc to end the series, we find out that most of the battles already happened off screen. Naturally, this means that we also get a quick power up with a worse explanation than Ichigo’s big showdown at the end of the X Cution Arc. The situation is rather similar as it involves a rooftop battle and a lot of flashy abilities. I do love Oga’s final form so don’t get me wrong, but it definitely came out of nowhere. It did give us some great DBZ references though so I’ll let it slide. The series almost deserves an extra star for the way that it wrapped things up. The final fight was definitely DBZ level and it’s safe to say that Fuji and Oga could definitely hold their own against any fighter. They won’t be beating Goku of course, but their abilities could give most arc 1 guys a run for their money like Frieza or SSJ1 Goku. If you thought that Gintama was the only main character who could steal abilities…just wait. If a series being cancelled means that the author can go all out with super forms and powers, I wonder what Kubo would do for Ichigo in that case. The possibilities are endless!

How do the characters rank tier wise? Well, they’re nowhere near DBZ level (Except for the final fight) and I don’t see these guys taking down Tsuna, but then things get interesting from there. As I mentioned, there are some really powerful fighters, but the majority of the characters would lose to Naruto’s team from part one of the series. I think that Oga and the generals could probably hold their own against most One Piece/Naruto characters, but they would start to hit some trouble over in Bleach. I would consider the series as a whole to be A rank. I think that they could give Bleach a very good fight and they may have been able to win if not for the serious disadvantage in numbers. Beelzebub against Reborn! would be an incredible fight and I think Beelzebub may have the edge. Tsuna is certainly stronger than Oga, but his supporting cast is even weaker than Oga’s. It’s definitely a tough call, but reaching A-S rank is a pretty great feat!
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Overall, Beelzebub is a pretty great Shonen Jump series. It has a lot of action and cool characters so that’s really all that you could want in such a series. Naturally, there is some mild fanservice to be found here once in a while, but it’s very rare and this series has less of it than Bleach and possibly even Naruto. The main thing that would have helped the series would have been if Beel had not been in it. I think it’s safe to say that the series could have easily reached a 9 with that. Even if the series kept Beel, then maybe getting rid of all the crude humor would have had the same effect. This series rivals Bleach in the number of “epic zoom in” scenes, which is very impressive. I highly recommend this to all manga readers and try not to enjoy the humor filled beginning toooooo much since the series jumps onto the action train pretty quickly.

Overall 8/10

Blue Exorcist Review

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Blue Exorcist is a pretty short show and I can’t say that it ever became supremely popular, but it’s definitely a title that I was aware of for some time. The publicity that it did get was pretty good and the posters always looked fun. What can beat a fire swordsman as you main character? The premise itself definitely had a lot of potential and I love this kind of action show. Blue Exorcist isn’t an all star title and it can’t really claim to be the best at anything, but it’s a pretty fun ride from start to finish.

The plot involved a kid by the name of Rin Okumura. He is the son of Satan, but his life’s mission is to destroy all of the demons since Satan murdered his foster Dad and a lot of the monks. To do this, Rin must become a high ranked Exorcist so it’s time to get down on his studies. Meanwhile, he meets up with a bunch of other people who want to become Exorcists in one form or another. Their teacher is very shady though as he is a high ranking demon himself and nobody really seems to mind. It’s not as if the humans can really do anything about it, but it is rather odd. Will Rin be able to accomplish his goal or is he doomed? Well, if you’re familiar with Shonen titles like Naruto, (I wanna be Hokage) One Piece, (I want to be the Pirate King) or the other Journey manga, you’ll realize that the odds of this happening in 26 episodes are slim. Still, we gotta hope that Rin can make it to the end or at least get Satan to repent of his evil ways.

It’s easy to compare Rin to Kirito in many ways. They both use a blue color scheme during their battles (Animation wise anyway) and they’re both sword fighters. They actually managed to snag Kirito’s voice actor for Rin (Or vice versa) which was pretty cool. (He’s still the best voice actor in the business and it was a great time for viewers since Blue Exorcist, Sword Art Online, and Attack on Titan were airing at the same time) Kirito is typically a lot more humble and quiet while Rin certainly does not fall into those traits, but they still feel pretty similar personality wise. In a fight, I think Kirito would probably have the significant edge, but it’s possible that Rin ends up surpassing him in the manga. I would almost say that it’s likely, but the pacing for power ups can be slow.

Back on topic, Rin is a very good main character. He’s certainly a lot better than you may expect from the posters. He’s not afraid to get into a fight to stick up for his brother, Yukio, and he doesn’t back down from a fight. He just says what’s on his mind instead of thinking about it and his intentions are always good. He’s probably the most reasonable character in the whole series even if he’s quick to leap into any situation. Rin’s basically the kind of guy that you would want to be friends with. He’ll always stick up for you and help with any tricky situation. He’s just a good guy through and through.

Yukio is one of the main characters in the show and he had the potential to be a very good character. Unfortunately, his character development goes in a circle instead of occurring on a straight path. A running theme is that he is jealous of Rin’s personality and abilities. Other times, Yukio just admires those traits. While Rin can use his demonic abilities to fight, Yukio is stuck using bullets so it can be tough for him. You can certainly sympathize with Yukio’s plight at times, but he makes it difficult at other points. I think he crossed the line when he attacked Rin in one of the last episodes and then tried to destroy his demon cat. Yukio basically betrayed everyone at the end and I definitely didn’t agree with his reasoning. Part of the problem is also that Yukio is very gullible. It should be noted that many of Yukio’s worst moments occur in filler. So, he can be a good character at times, but he is usually too antagonistic to be likable.

Ryuji is the rival, but he is just too weak to be taken seriously. It doesn’t help that Rin is already hardcore enough to be the main character and the rival. Ryuji turns against Rin so many times that it’s scary. He sticks up for him at some points, but he is pretty unfair to Rin at several points. I was glad to see Rin show him up when Ryuji made his debut. Ryuji has his verses that he recites against the demons, but it is usually ineffective. I have to say that he isn’t a good character, but he beats some of the other supporting characters, which is pretty scary.

Shiemi is the main heroine. Unfortunately, she can’t really fight. She has a grass familiar with her who makes grass and vines appear to block other opponents. It is pretty useful, but this means that Shiemi is completely defenseless without it. She always wants to help out, but she ultimately ends up getting in the way a lot. She has company since the other characters besides Rin are pretty weak as well. Ultimately, she just isn’t as interesting as she could be. Her character was just not very developed and she was a little too desperate to make friends right til the very end.

Izumo is probably the toughest character from Rin’s main friends. She isn’t much of a fighter on her own, but she can summon a pair of cats/dogs who help her out in the tough times that she gets involved in. Naturally, they are helpless against all of the decent villIns, but at least she won’t have to ne afraid of the minions. She got a decent amount of character development and she managed not to betray Rin unlike some pf his other friends. I liked her more than the other supporting characters, which may not be saying much, but it’s a start.
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Konekomaru is easily the worst friend of Rin’s. He was the first in line to betray Rin and he tries to turn everyone against him. Rin is the son of Satan after all and Satan destroyed a lot of people close to Konekomaru. It is pretty tragic and he should keep his beef against Satan, but Rin had been helping out for the whole series. I just can’t consider this guy to be a true friend and it was pretty tough to bounce back from that. Evidently, too tough for Konekomaru.

Shura joins the squad during the latter part of the anime. Technically, this may be slightly before the halfway mark, but she certainly feels like she was introduced late since everyone else was already established. Her introduction involves an intriguing plot twist and she looks good since she goes up against a powerful foe in the form of Amaimon. This is a Gamechanger. I already mentioned that none of the supporting characters could really do anything against the stronger demons. Well, that was until Shura came along. She is debatably stronger than Rin or at least a match for him. I would likely choose Rin in a no holds barred fight, but it would be a close fight. Shura works for the government, but she is still a pretty good character. She is openly rebellious to the corrupt figures although it can be frustrating to see her just accept their decisions. She talks tough, but she will rarely oppose the government openly. She is also used for fanservice at times, which isn’t cool. She is still a step up from the others though.

There is also a quiet kid with sock puppets and you have to wonder what was going on with him. He never really talks and he makes sure to disappear when the fighting starts. Maybe he is just a random classmate? That could be the case, but the anime gives him a lot of foreshadowing. He gets some ominous lines at the end and you get the feeling that he knows more than he is letting on. It is just one of the plot lines that goes nowhere. I don’t mind all that much since I dislike the character so far, but I’m sure that his true personality would have been a little more interesting.

Shiro is the man who raised Rin and Yukio. He was a very powerful Exorcist and he seemed like he had a bright future. It was literally bright since he was engulfed in blue flames, but that is not what he had in mind. He was a pretty good character. Shiro certainly wasn’t great, but he was fairly likable. He protected the heroes for quite a long time and he made the heroic choices when necessary. If only more of the old Shonen mentors could be like him instead if Jiraiya.

The Paladin is one of the characters who never got to really get any closure on his development. We don’t really know much about him other than the fact that he’s a very strong warrior. He took Rin down without a whole lot of effort and he basically just does whatever the government wants. He has a cool design and I actually like his character for the most part. He didn’t look good in the filler though so overall he would only be about average. He’s still someone to keep an eye out for since he is one of the few humans to be very powerful.

Mephisto Pheles is a character who is hard to understand. If this is intentional, then the anime did a good job. On the considerable chance that it was accidental, then it is not very impressive. Mephisto switches from hero to villain several times as the show goes on. We learn that he helped to save Rin a while back yet he repeatedly tries to destroy him. (I suppose that we can say that he knew Rin wouldn’t die, but this would be dicey to say the least) Does Mephisto want to destroy the human world or Hell? He doesn’t even attempt to stop one of the villains from his plan to destroy Hell so I guess he doesn’t feel any loyalty to his fellow demons. On the other hand, he keeps causing trouble for the human world so maybe he wants to rule it. His goals are not very clear cut so it is entirely possible that he just likes to cause chaos so that he can see what happens next. All villains should have some kind of understood goal by the end in my opinion. (There are probably some exceptions) He also has a good time operating as a hero though so maybe Mephisto flips a coin to decide how he will act on that day. It is heavily implied that he is much stronger than any of the heroes so he could probably end any resistance made by the Exorcists in an instant.

Amaimon doesn’t appear a whole lot, but he makes each appearance count. He gets a cliffhanger for his first appearance and his big three episodes each revolve around big fights with Rin. He is one of the strongest Demons since he is one of the 4(?) Kings. He is a hand to hand fighter, which works out great for us since those fights always tend to be fun. He seems like he just wants to enjoy the human world’s unique features (Like the food) as he finds some solid fights. There aren’t many fighters who really get him intrigued, but he likes to mess with Rin so that keeps him entertained for a while. While Amaimon adds a lot to the show thanks to his fight scenes, I don’t really care for his personality. He doesn’t have a lot of development as a villain and the voice probably prevents me from taking him seriously.

Igor is one of the characters who shows up and he also shifts from being a villain to a hero to a villain as the series goes on. He works for Mephisto Pheles so that makes sense. I definitely consider him to be a villain since he did attempt to murder Rin, but I would also call Mephisto Pheles a villain as well. I don’t trust guys who keep changing sides all of the time. Igor has a rather emotional subplot towards the end of the series, but he mostly tries to stay pretty detached. He has a grudge against demons due to a certain incident, which definitely changed how he acted. He’s a very interesting character and it’s always enjoyable to see him on screen.
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The animation is pretty sharp. It doesn’t use any fancy animation techniques and there aren’t many scenes that will get a lot of buzz for this area, but you can instantly tell that this is a relatively new anime. I was sold on the animation right from the first episode and it really does the blue flames justice. This is the kind of show that could have been hurt by bad or average animation so it’s good that it was able to pull through. The fight scenes can look really great when they occur. They are fairly rare, but we get two big fights with Amaimon and a short sparring match with Shura. Rin and Yukio have a bit of a tussle, but I can’t really call it a fight. Anytime Rin enters his demon mode, you can be sure that something cool will happen. One fight that didn’t involve Rin, but was still cool was when Yukio fought Igor early on in the series. That was definitely pretty fun and the normal danger scenes can still be very entertaining. You’ll never find yourself bored in any of the canon episodes so I can safely say that the director did a great job with the pacing.

The openings are pretty good although the first one is significantly better than the second. I like the main theme a lot and there’s another one that’s pretty good for the battles. My favorite theme may actually be the one that seems to be inspired from the 90’s Xmen show. It’s hard to describe it, but it occasionally plays for a fight scene or for an emotional moment. One time where I remember it popping up is when Rin first meets the giant cat. On the whole, the soundtrack is pretty average, but having 2-3 really good songs is enough to give the whole soundtrack a much needed boost. It certainly won’t wreck any scenes like One Piece. (The big offender that always comes to mind when I think of battle music that takes away from a fight) If you think about it, having 2 terrific themes can make any soundtrack good since they will be popping up quite a lot as the show goes on.

The show didn’t have a whole lot of room for filler so I guess the writers felt that they needed to really remind us how dangerous it can be. The episode sees our heroes head to the beach to fight a Kraken type of opponent and it is a pretty terrible episode. It features a filler character who can’t fight, but he wants to avenge his Dad. His Dad was seemingly destroyed by the beast. Along the way we have a lot of not funny situations that will just make you dislike the kid even more. The ending is clever in a way, but the episode was already sunk by that point. The episode itself would definitely be counted as a negative for me. One bad episode (Within reason) may not affect a show like Naruto (Which can afford about 20-40 bad episodes) but for a 26 episode like Blue Exorcist, you’re probably not going to forget it anytime soon.

The show started to fall off the rails in the final episodes (Enough so that it’s noticeable, but the episodes weren’t downright cringeworthy so that it would really hurt the score) so I shall quickly talk about why it didn’t work. The set up is that a guy who claims to be Rin and Yukio’s uncle appears and he tells Yukio about how he can turn Rin into a normal human. (This is already impossible since he was born from a demon…but let’s keep going!) The casualties will only number a few trillion as he wants to destroy every demon in existence. (Will Rin really be spared?…..) Yukio quickly agrees, even if it means destroying Rin’s friend and hurting the familiars who have been helping the heroes the entire series. Yukio even turns against Rin during one critical juncture. Alas, Rin also gets kidnapped in a pretty sad moment where he couldn’t land a single hit on the Paladin. Then, the Paladin admits that he’s just a pawn of the government and he watches as they start to drain the power away from Rin. Rin has a healing factor, but it’s being exploited to gather the power needed to open the portal enough for the bomb to go through. I’ll stop there so you can watch to see how it goes, but the whole thing is pretty sad.

One character gets a power up out of this, but it’s hardly a good one. This also means that we don’t have a real final fight since the filler writers couldn’t think of a good one. One of the subplots in this arc was also not very good. The writers try to make Satan a sympathetic hero who is simply misunderstood. Remember all of the people that he murdered? He didn’t mean too…he was just trying to find the right vessel to allow him to stay in the human world. He did taunt them as he burned them to death, but maybe we misheard him. He gets like an episode or two just to show how much of a hero he is. He only wants peace and he believes in love at first sight. The problem is that most Earthly bodies begin to catch fire once he goes into them. Luckily, this is where Rin comes along! Any development that Satan has is quickly thrown out the window as he reverts to his villainous ways in the final seconds. Let’s face it, making Satan a likable hero is just not possible. Nobody can take that seriously and the only believable way to make a demon like that good is to help one from birth. (Like in Beelzebub) The writers were really grasping at straws here. As bad as that was, the whole Yukio subplot is what really drove this arc into the ground.

One reason why there is not a lot of hope for the heroes in the series is because the humans are simply outmatched by the demons. Rin, (Who is a demon anyway) Shura, Yukio, and the Paladin are the only capable fighters for the good side. Mephisto Pheles can potentially defeat all of them and he also has Amaimon and many other powerful demons to help him. Not to mention that most of the strong fighters in the demon world haven’t even bothered to appear yet. The heroes have a barrier to stop high level demons from appearing in the human world, but Mephisto likes to invite them for the lolz. (Villain move or simply a test for the heroes?) Normal demons can take down most of the humans and a simple cat was able to take on the Police squads. It seems like the demons are toying with the humans or they just don’t care about invading the human world. The filler episodes strongly point to the latter being the case. Most of the demons just want to either live in peace or just stay on their planet. The vocal minority are the ones who try to destroy the humans. Once again, it just makes the humans look bad since they tend to start a lot of the conflicts. It reminds me of how D.A.T.S. ran things for a little while.
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Overall, Blue Exorcist is just a really fun show. Some episodes can be a little lighter on the action than we are used to, but the characters quickly become interesting enough to hold their own episodes without that element. The show does have some moments of fanservice here and there and the final episodes really cripple Yukio’s character development. Quite a few plot lines go unanswered as the show ends and you’re left waiting for a sequel. We also do get cheated out of the final boss fight, which wasn’t cool. I basically just threw in all of the negatives at the beginning of the paragraph so it may sound pretty negative, but they are still overpowered by the positives. The solid action and the great characters coupled with its fast moving plot still make Blue Exorcist a winner. It’s a very interesting series where you just enjoy seeing their day to day missions. After all, they’ll never actually destroy Satan right? I definitely recommend this title if you just want to watch something action packed and easy to get into. At 26 episodes, you’ll be finished with this title in a breeze and then you can compare it to Sword Art Online like me! Also, you should prepare yourself because the series ends with a cliffhanger that will likely never be resolved.

Overall 7/10

The Amityville Horror Review

Disclaimer: This review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All thoughts written below should be addressed accordingly as a review of the unedited version would likely be even more negative.
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The Amityville Horror is a film that you could probably judge from the title and know what to expect. I came into the film with reasonably low expectations and it still managed to crash way below them. This title is filled with red herrings and uninteresting characters to distract you from the fact that not much really happens in this film. If you haven’t seen it, now’s your chance to quickly back away to spare yourself some time.

The plot involves George and Kathy as they decide to move to a new house. They are pretty strapped for cash, but they really want a new house. Unfortunately, that’s just how it is in the modern world. The house is really beat up and the previous occupants were participants in a gruesome act, but the new owners don’t mind. They quickly pay up and the real estate agent was probably thrilled that someone finally fell for her tricks. The heroes settle in with their 3 kids and things seem to be going smoothly. Then, mysterious things start to happen and the heroes realize that the house may be tougher than it looks.

Well, there are many placed to start with this film. Let’s talk about the characters first. George is a pretty terrible lead and his “strength of character” is nonexistent. All it takes is an artificial chill that the spirit produces to start corrupting him. He loses his temper constantly and yells at the dog just to provide him with some amount of “toughness” for his character. It really just makes him look petty and even worse. I wasn’t rooting for him almost from the second that he appeared. He is distracted by romance, but not enough so that he can resist the influence of the dark spirits. Feeling cold isn’t fun, but his mind deteriorates way too quickly through this feeling. He continues to crack as the film goes on. He gets a heroic scene towards the end to try and redeem his character, but that was basically impossible by that point. It helps his character to be sure, but it’s simply too late for him.

Kathy is the main heroine and she doesn’t really look much better. SHe keeps on telling George that they shouldn’t get the house, but then she relents and they move in. From then on, she basically just has to watch as George goes crazy and she can’t really do anything about it. In the climax, she decides to fight, but it’s one of the worst attempts of all time. She gives up after a few seconds and she really showed no combat experience. That’s all right, but anyone can throw a punch and I would expect a much better fight out of someone who’s fighting for several lives. That was pretty poor form and she never became likable as the film went on.

The film plays out as a reverse slasher in the sense that the spirit picks off everyone one by one, but it doesn’t typically finish them off. It just gives them a scare so they will leave the house. Failure to comply with it will result in a car crash or permanent paralysis. Sometimes both. It’s a unique approach I suppose, but you do have to wonder what the point of it all is. The spirit gets some character development towards the end, but it’s very slight.

The film also really wanted to push the “Even God can’t save you now” angle. I suppose that it can be seen as the ultimate scare since you would really be doomed. Ignoring that this scenario would never even be possible, it just goes very far to show this. The heroes put up a mini statue of the cross and the spirit makes sure to burn it. Later on, the Father at one of the churches comes over to bless the house and the spirit overwhelms him with a powerful curse. We see him try to leave a Bible, but the spirit forces him to pick it back up and run away. Later on, he tries to go back, but the spirit just takes out his car and essentially ends his life since he’s almost brain dead at this point. Most Hollywood/mainstream films like to point out that demons and spirits can be alive while the same isn’t true for Angels and God. It’s a film so they can always mess with the rules that way, but it makes the whole thing pretty lopsided. The film is also trying to claim that it’s from a true story although I suppose that we all knew better about 15 minutes into the film. Demons are real so some horror stories are probably real, but this is one of the tales that was probably just made up for a quick buck and their 5 minutes of fame.

Another negative would be the George getting corrupted part. It’s so overdone and it’s one of the worst horror plots. Give us a supernatural enemy who can’t be stopped (Which is bad enough) but let’s at least give the main characters some determination and a will to fight back. Seeing him turn on everyone is just not enjoyable and it’s an easy way out of using special effects or good writing. The hit towards the end was basically the cliff that the film went over since he was no longer redeemable although he may have already passed that part earlier.

The film is not the most violent horror film that you’ll encounter. There are only a handful of scenes, but one of them is particularly brutal as one of the main characters has a dream. It’s enough that you could instantly guess that this film was a little stronger than your average summer blockbuster and it didn’t do any wonders for the film. Violence against noncombatants always ends up appearing as a negative compared to fighting violence. See, a fighter getting injured is way different than a pedestrian getting hit since they are prepared for two vastly different roles.

The kids are also pretty bad characters. The girl has an imaginary friend once again who turns out to be the spirit of the house. It explains that it wants them to stay in the house forever so that’s basically why it wants George to destroy them all. Or, so it would seem. The spirit is evidently strong enough to destroy them all on his own, but I guess it wants things to end up just like how they did last time. It mostly seems to have power over the mind, but its abilities have a real impact on the human world so it’s not just simple telepathy. Most likely it has advanced reality warping abilities since that’s a favorite for most horror writers. You don’t have to do any work, just make it able to do literally anything and you can call it a day.

I’d say that the film is actually more grotesque than scary. The film came out decades ago so you can mostly anticipate everything that it’s going to do, which is why it can be tough to be scared. The grotesque part goes back to the flies, which were some of the worst scenes in the film. One thing that I’ve never liked are insect scares since it’s just about insects crawling all over somebody so you can imagine the worst. It was a painfully bad scene as they attack the Father and force him out of the house. The guy takes his time leaving even though an ordinary person would have dashed out. The spirit continues to torment the guy with boils and such since the guy keeps trying to warn the heroes of the imminent danger.

The other scary scene would likely be when the babysitter is trapped in the closet. You’re supposed to be extra worried for her since she already has braces so everything is a little tougher for her. It’s really more unpleasant and sad to watch than it is scary and the lights turn off, but we already know that the spirit refuses to destroy anyone. It just wants to scare them over and over again until George cracks and does the work for him. The Babysitter literally had no point in the story. She was just there to get taken down.

The heroes have a dog and he’s probably the only positive thing that I can say about the whole experience. There is a little dog violence unfortunately as he scratches at a wall so hard that his paws bleed. Luckily, the film redeemed itself by saving the dog at the end so he wouldn’t have to bring the film down even more. It’s a shame that the other characters wanted to leave him (Kathy did anyway) but I would expect no less from her. George went back, which was good since it shows that he could have been a good character if not for the mind control.

The soundtrack was better than your average horror film so I guess that’s another positive. Considering when it came out, it’s surprisingly fast paced at times and it’s decently memorable. A horror film having a soundtrack in the first place is pretty surprising and it being a good one even more so. If only we had some good scenes to go along with it.

The spirit’s true form is only shown twice, but he seems like a decently tough demon. He’s pretty large, but he can probably shape shift at will so he will likely look different each time. He would have been a little cooler if he had fought some more, but the budget probably wasn’t there yet unless they used a suit like in the old Godzilla films. That would have been pretty interesting.

Some plot lines never really get time to develop either since the film didn’t know where it was going. We have the Detective who tries to act tough and sneaks around for clues, but he never ends up doing anything. He just abruptly disappears and ends up playing no role in the story. He was just there for filler, nothing more. Another woman is possessed by the spirits and tells them that the well is a gateway to Hell. Okay…I think we could have guessed that when we saw the endless tar coming out of it. What does that have to do with anything? The heroes never decide to close the well and the info didn’t help anyone out. I’m guessing that the original climax would have had the heroes plug it up, but maybe it was written out due to time constraints and a rapidly falling budget.

Overall, The Amityville Horror is not a film that you’ll want to check out anytime soon. The monster design is pretty good and the soundtrack is good as well, but everything else about the film really hit rock bottom. There was only 1 or 2 jump scenes and neither of them worked since we weren’t watching the film in super 3D in the dead of night with speakers that make you shiver with loud noises. The gross scenes will just make you back up a little and George’s plot is extremely wince worthy. The film also gives the Father way too cruel of a fate just so it could make a point that wouldn’t help the film anyway. Burning the cross and effectively destroying the Father…we get the point. (We also can’t forget making the Nun so sick that she has to end up leaving the house almost immediately) It’s hard to tell which negatives pushed my buttons the most to deserve a 1 since there were so many of them and they just kept adding up and up and up. Ah well, at least it was a pretty easy decision. I had the rating set before the film had even ended. While you’re steering clear of this film, just play a scary game like Dirge of Cerberus or take the opposite effect and take this time to rent Megaman Battle Network 5. Either way, you’ll be better off as this film goes into Sucker Punch levels of terrible. If you do watch the film, you should try to make a list of plots and characters that ended up not adding anything to the film.

Overall 1/10

I Frankenstein Review

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This time, I actually had heard of I Frankenstein before watching it. The trailer was easily one of the best ones that I saw this year and the only one that gave it any real competition was the trailer for the new Spiderman film. The trailer reminded me of the Underworld films and apparently it is from the same crew. I definitely had some decently high expectations for the film as I went in and I can safely say that it exceeded them. Considering that this film isn’t part of a big franchise or based on something that I’m familiar with, it did great. I Frankenstein is easily one of the best stand alone films that I’ve seen in a while. (Losing to The One as far as action films go, but it can even match up to DC and Marvel films)

The plot starts off with the usual Frankenstein story. Dr. Frankenstein tries to murder his creation, but he fails miserably, which results in his own death + his wife’s. When the monster goes to bury the doctor; he gets attacked by vampires demons. (I’m just going to call the monster Frankenstein from here on out to make things a little easier to read and type) Frankenstein is saved by some Gargoyles and they take him to their castle base. They are in a war with the demons and the humans have no idea about what has been going on. It’s a supernatural war and the demons are a part of the 666 legions that Satan sent to plunge the world into darkness. The gargoyles were ordered by the angels to hold the fort. (It was either Angel Michael or Gabriel who gave them this mission) The Gargoyles defend the peace and their leader is the only one who can directly communicate to the angels so they strive to protect her at all costs.

Frankenstein decides that he stands alone and he leaves. They supply him with a holy weapon and Frankenstein disappears for well over 100 years. The demons attack him again and Frankenstein decides that he’s going to fight back this time. No more running away…he’s going to end this war and take them all down. Will the Gargoyles approve? Frankenstein has a lot of battles ahead of him and he’s going to need to keep his guard up at all times.

Frankenstein is a pretty decent main character and this is my favorite interpretation of this figure. No longer is Frankenstein the slow monster that we’ve known him to be. No, he now possesses a mild degree of super strength/speed and he’s a solid fighter. He fights pretty well against the demon hordes. He may not be the most heroic character out there, but the film hints that he has softened up a little. (He better have since he starts the film off with a murder. It’s hard to forget that part) He deals a lot of damage to both sides through the film.

Prince Naberius is the main villain of the film. He’s the big boss and he is assumed to be much more powerful than the other demons. We don’t really see this because he takes a more diplomatic approach. He’s the kind of villain who appears to be gentle and nice in public, but he’s secretly as vicious as they come. He does get to mildly fight at the end of the film, but he doesn’t get any satisfying form of closure. As far as main villains go; he can be a little on the generic side and I was a little underwhelmed by his true form. That being said, it was amusing to see him in his human guise. It reminded me a little of Lex Luther in his actions. Naberius was definitely an all right character.

Terra is the main heroine of the film, but she doesn’t appear until we’re pretty late into the film. She’s all right, but I wouldn’t say that she stands out in any way. She’s experiments on animals and that’s something that I never like from scientists. That automatically meant that I would not like her in the film and she was never able to climb back from that. She helps out towards the climax and she’s supposed to be a sympathetic character that we can relate too, but she really didn’t have a purpose in the film. She could have been cut out and nobody would really notice.

Gideon is one of the highest ranking Gargoyles and he really doesn’t like Frankenstein. He’s so antagonistic that one would almost expect him to descend after he is defeated. He’s definitely no hero and he may be a decent fighter, but there isn’t much to suggest that he’s stronger than the others aside from the hype that he is given. I definitely didn’t care for him and I was rooting for him to lose in his fights.

Leonore is the Queen of the Gargoyles and she does not act as holy as you may expect. She doesn’t mind lying and using someone as long as it furthers her ambitions and she does give a kill order at one point in the film. (Again…this is why I’m glad that they decided to make the heroes work under the Angels as Gargoyles. I would be pretty incredulous to see Angels lie and decides to destroy people) She very unlikable, but then again…I didn’t care for any of the Gargoyles by the end of the film. The very first pair of Gargoyles that found Frankenstein were okay, but that’s about it. Leonore looks bad right up to the very end as she stabs a defenseless villain. At that point, they had to get rid of thousands of demons, but while her allies were taking them down by the dozens…she only defeated one. That’s not going to win her any fans.

Zuriel is the right hand man of Naberius and he was easily the best villain. He was a lot stronger than I had guessed and he proved to be more than a match for Frankenstein in a fair fight. Zuriel’s demon form was a little generic, but I can let that slide since he was fun to watch. He doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime, but each scene proves that aside from being a fighter; Zuriel is also a tactician. He proved to be smarter than Naberius when it came to planning.

Now, I have to address the gargoyles. They were supposedly sent here by the Angels so they should be pretty good people right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t really appear to be the case. I’m sure that some of them are heroic, but I just expect a lot more from them. They may not be complete Angels, but when I finally meet an Angel; I expect them to be nothing like the Gargoyles in the film. One of these holy Gargoyles happy tells Frankenstein that he’s doomed to rot in hell for all eternity and he’s really thrilled about this. (He’s also a little sore since he’s being terminated)

One plot in the film is how Frankenstein doesn’t have a soul. The gargoyles are mad at him and also worried because they say that he shouldn’t exist and now God is not the only one who has created life. They act as if Satan will destroy everything with this knowledge and that the world is doomed. First of all, I don’t see how Frankenstein would not have a soul. Even though he was created by another human; Frankenstein has emotions and he can feel pain. He’s completely alive and I would say that this means that he automatically has a soul. An interesting part is that he does something during the final part of the film that proves that he doesn’t have a soul, which contradicts what happens a few minutes after that. Do souls really grow that quickly? I don’t know…that part felt sketchy. He should have had a soul from the beginning.

One scene that I didn’t care for was the scene with the rat as they tried to perfect the regeneration process. Testing on animals will always be wrong. Many say that it’s for the greater good so that humans will be okay, but that’s not okay in my book. If we want to be healthier, then we need to test on ourselves instead of innocent creatures. That scene was pretty awful, but luckily it was only once and we didn’t have any other forms of animal violence.

Another part that I took issue with was how weak the Gargoyles base was. The demons were basically able to take it over at any time. When they finally decided to attack the Gargoyles; it was a blowout. The demons outnumbered them over 100-1 and the heroes quickly started saying things like “It’s Over.” Why couldn’t they call for backup from the other bases that were previously mentioned? They said that Satan only has command over 666 legions so the Gargoyles should definitely outnumber them at this point. It’s definitely a little on the iffy side to see such a gap in power.

The soundtrack is a little on the forgettable side, but it was pretty good. The tunes tend to be a little generic, but it’s generic action mood that fits the tone. It’s pretty fast paced at times and the dramatic themes were also well placed. You likely won’t remember the music in your head after a few days, but they will help to enhance the fight scenes as you’re watching the film.

The fight scenes were very good and this is the kind of action that I want to see in a film. There were sword fights and we also had some monster action, but it was all done smoothly. The blowing up effects for the demons were pretty neat and likewise with the ascending effect for the Gargoyles. The scenes were intense without being gritty in an over the top way.

Overall, this was a pretty fun film. We got to mix religion with an old myth like Frankenstein. I’m glad that the Angels were not the ones fighting because I would never want to see them look so much like the villains, plus the Gargoyles were so weak. I do not believe that a demon would be able to defeat an Angel. Frankenstein was a good lead and Zuriel made for a good villain, but the rest of the characters were either decent or just unlikable. The soundtrack and fight scenes made the film very enjoyable and it’s fast paced. There aren’t many scenes that will really feel dragged out, which is always a plus. I definitely recommend this film to action fans. There may be one or two violent moments, but nothing over the top. If you’ve seen Jason Bourne, then you’ll be okay to see this one.

Overall 7/10