Slender Man Review


The Slender Man was definitely a character who got pretty big for a while. Perhaps not as big as Freddy Fazbear but since Slender Man was involved in court proceedings and such he may have gotten more screen time for a while. Naturally the movie came out very late once most of this was already done. It’s not a very impressive horror film though. Slender Man himself doesn’t even get to do anything for the longest time and the film is more about setting up the atmosphere than doing anything with it. Slender Man just doesn’t stick out.

The movie starts with the 4 main girls Katie, Wren, Hallie, and Chloe deciding to have a girls night out to summon Slender Man after hearing that the guys were going to do it. Little did they know the guys decided not to summon him in the end. So the girls watch the tape that summons him and immediately they all feel the fear. Usually after something like that you would expect the characters to just laugh it off or something but they take it deadly serious. You can already tell that the film is going to be rather dramatic the whole time. They figure they will go about their lives as normal except then Katie goes missing a few days later. Can they possibly rescue her from Slender Man or is it already too late?

You feel like it probably is too late at this point since usually you aren’t able to do much against these supernatural creatures but at the same time since a lot of focus is put on trying to bring her back then maybe there is a slight shot. Mainly Wren is the one trying her hardest as she does a lot of research to the point where she basically goes insane and manic over a lack of sleep. She does well in learning about him but also takes far more chances then you would want.

For example, she goes to the message boards that Katie was posting in about Slender Man. The main user there quickly lets her know that Katie is gone and the only way to try and bring her back is to make a deal with Slender Man. As part of this deal she needs to go into the wilderness and blindfold herself in the dead of night along with her friends. Here’s the problem, based on the videos that Katie sent in the chat, this user knows roughly where she lives.

The user would also then know where the forest is so saying that you will go there at night blindfolded is not a great plan. Even if Slender Man isn’t real, the alternative is that this user may have had something to do with her disappearance. If that is the case then you’re pretty much throwing your life away by following his advice. It’s also a shame to see the characters throwing away their prized possessions. Of course if you actually think this could be real then it’s admirable to take these risks to try and save your friend.

Wren is definitely the best character in the movie. She easily takes the most chances and puts in a lot of work to save Katie. Without her the other characters probably wouldn’t have done much of anything. After all, they were doing their best to avoid even thinking about the video. Even when Wren was being up front with them about the nightmares and such they kept trying to act as if it wasn’t happening. They weren’t too convincing about it either.

Slender Man throws in a bunch of jump scares of course but nothing too noteworthy. You have people looking distorted or Katie’s drunk father breaking into the house but for the most part it’s all rather standard like that. You figure Slender Man himself won’t try anything for a while. One scene that was at least visually interesting was when Slender Man started rewriting reality so the library started looking off. He would extend the distance to go anywhere which sort of locks you in a bad spot.

This helps to offset that his design doesn’t look very intimidating. Not only has he skipped leg day for decades but he doesn’t have any real muscle either. He does have one moment where he causes someone’s face to be empty like his which certainly seems like a tough trick to get around since you can’t talk at that point. His actual screen time is so small though. For a film called Slender Man you would expect to see him a little more right? It’s not like we’re ever meant to think he’s not real. It’s clear from the start that he is actually around.

By the end of the film there really isn’t much of a happy ending considering the body count. At the same time, there was never any way the heroes could have defeated him which makes this an exercise in futility. It’s something that particularly happens in horror films a lot that can be annoying. If you write a villain out to be absolutely untouchable then what is even the point? Slender Man has no weaknesses. You can barter with him but that’s about it.

When you remove any chance of even damaging the guy then it’s like the heroes are fighting against an abstract force. At least with films like Friday the 13th and Scream you can see the heroes putting up a fight. You figure they’ll lose in the end anyway but at least it’s close. Although supernatural forces are more interesting to battle with, it’s nullified if the whole journey is pointless.

I’ll give Slender Man the slimmest of credits for at least being fairly tame though. It’s not throwing out gratuitous violence or super gritty deaths at you. There isn’t a lot of crazy language which is usually the norm for these films. All in all it’s a lot tamer than you may think although it’s still quite dark. Slender Man seems to always be going after kids and teens after all which may also mean that he’s nervous about getting adults. That’s pure head canon though since his abilities would suggest that this would be easy as well.

Overall, Slender Man set the tone early when the characters got super disturbed after watching a low quality video about Slender Man. It was just a few images looping at high speeds so it’s hard to see why they were so affected. Apparently they all felt something as Wren would later state but that’s when you knew that the characters were doomed. They were terrified long before they met Slender Man. Katie also seemed to have made a rather iffy choice once we learn more details about what happened with her. She could have at least left the other characters a note or something right? It’s certainly nice that Slender Man got a film I suppose but it’s really just a standard horror film about a group of teens trying to survive for as long as they can against an utterly invincible foe. The characters aren’t particularly likable and there’s just nothing to hook you on the film.

Overall 3/10

Jujutsu Kaisen


I’ve now started the Shonen Jump title that’s been the talk of the town as of late. Demon hunting tends to be a pretty popular genre among Jump with titles like Yu Yu Hakusho, Demon Slayer, Bleach, and a whole lot more. We’ll see if this one is able to tangle with those guys as it goes on. The series is off to a solid start and it’s definitely one of those series that could and should go on for a super long time since there’s a lot you can do with this. I’ll have a review up once the series finishes.

Overall 7/10

Demon Slayer Review


It’s pretty neat to be reviewing the anime and manga versions of Demon Slayer almost back to back. When Ufotable jumped on to animate this series it was definitely a big deal. The manga went from being a pretty big Jump title to suddenly being a house hold name and breaking all kinds of records. It’s easy to see why though, Ufotable easily appears as the best animation company at the moment. (Although I’ll still take Studio Pierrot as my favorite company. They are able to keep a top rate level of animation for long running shows which is just as impressive but more on that in a future editorial) Their animations are just spectacular and the adaption of the manga is quite accurate. It’s certainly top notch in that respect but of course that also means the anime can get extremely violent. Ufotable isn’t about to shy away from such things so while this series is held back in that regard, you won’t be forgetting the battles.

The series begins with a kid named Tanjiro heading down the mountain to sell some wood and gain money/supplies for his family. Unfortunately when he returns it turns out that his family was murdered by demons. The only survivor is his sister Nezuko who has also been turned. Fortunately she is able to resist the urge to eat humans but she can no longer be in the sunlight. Tanjiro convinces an ex Demon Slayer to train him so that he can fight demons and ultimately find a way to turn Nezuko back to normal. It’ll be a difficult journey since we don’t even know if a cure is possible and most people won’t trust her since she is a demon. Still, Tanjiro does not intend to give up and is ready to brave any hardship to protect her.

We get quite a lot of training initially and you can see why being a Demon Slayer is not something that just anyone can do. Most people simply wouldn’t be willing to train for years at a time risking their life in the process just to get a job that we don’t even know has a salary to risk your life against monstrous evils. Fighting demons has to simply be something you are very resolved to do. Otherwise it simply won’t work out. In fact we see this later on in the series as a lot of people either dropped out or didn’t have the proper motivation and got bumped off pretty quick.

I’ll quickly talk about the animation part right off the bat to get it out of the way. It’s exceptional as you would expect. One thing I really liked here was how the show gives all of the characters very distinct eyes. Eye colors have always been a fun anime thing and I really enjoy when titles go all out with it. For example Shinobu has very dead eyes which makes sense for such a mysterious character and then Tanjiro has two layered eyes which are cool. They just stand out. It’s a little harder to get this across in a manga although Slayer did that well there too. To date the best example of a manga doing something similar is Kaguya: Love Is War but for the most part you usually have to wait for the anime. The fight scenes are absolutely on point with Tanjiro’s battle against the spider creature getting a ton of hype back when it came out. You would see that one everywhere. The animation’s just very consistent and even small things like the little character heads for bumpers during the more comedic episodes were fun.

Naturally the soundtrack is also quite good. It really sounds like a Fate soundtrack to me at times with maybe a little Naruto on occasion. I wonder if Ufotable has some kind of jurisdiction over soundtracks so they have to have a certain style. It all works very well for the series though of course. You can expect a lot of high intensity tracks to be played during the fights really cementing how high the stakes are.

Naturally as mentioned the series can be incredibly violent. While I wouldn’t put it on the same level as Fate Zero, it’s probably right after Attack on Titan for being the third most intense series I’ve seen. Characters are blown up, ripped apart, and suffer catastrophic injuries over and over again. Since the demons can regenerate it isn’t always a big deal to them until they finally lose their head. The show isn’t afraid to just show all of this straight up. Naturally a lot of random civilians also get thrown into the crossfire and don’t quite make it.

Some of the demons have pretty twisted backstories as well. The Spider demon saga probably had the most moments like this even though it also had the most epic fights. The spider demon son who was the main villain for example would just rip another demon’s face off and liked to punish them with his whips. The father demon was also demented as he terrorized the others. It was an extremely warped version of a family and you would expect no less from a demon tribe. Still, those scenes are definitely quite dark. In the final episode we basically have Muzan crush and dismember a bunch of his demons to remind them of their place as well.

In such a world even the heroes are rather jaded to the point where you even have one of them stab Tanjiro’s sister a few times. Those scenes are pretty tough since it makes it hard for you to root for some of these heroes. It’s always good to see Tanjiro jump in to help out. He’s definitely a very solid protagonist in any medium. Nezuko also deserves a lot of credit for staying strong in these circumstances. The level of violence means I’d be recommending this to a very select crowd based on their tastes but overall it really does limit the show a lot because of how frequent it is. More realistically this wouldn’t ever make the list on my recommendations for anime viewers.

Season 1 covers a pretty good amount of content even going into the big Hashira meeting and through to the beginning of the Train section. As the train arc is getting a movie I figured the show would end with the heroes walking out of the house so it was nice that we got a bonus scene at the end here. It also makes for a good ending point with a fresh adventure on the way and the opening act stories completed. Lets turn the clock back a bit though and talk about some of the opening stories.

The first mini arc is Tanjiro’s entrance exam to becoming a Demon Slayer. To do this he must survive a few days in a deadly forest with a lot of demons. This is one of those tests where you feel like the proctors could probably keep an eye on things a little more. After all it turns out that a super powerful demon is around picking people off and nobody figured it out. Ah well, it’s fortunate for the demons at least. It worked well as a first big fight for Tanjiro and he got to show off his opening water breath techniques this way. By avenging all of the students who came before him, Tanjiro started off his journey on the right foot.

Then you have the arc where Tanjiro meets two demons who are on the side of good such as Tamayo and Yushiro. They were good allies to have around for sure. Yushiro may have given Tanjiro and Nezuko a hard time throughout but he was quite devoted to protecting Tamayo which is important. Tamayo’s mastery of medicines was also handy. In this arc the group is attacked by a pair of demons who can use a soccer ball and one who can control the direction you move in. These were definitely deadly opponents to fight and Susamaru had to be the standout villain of the series. She was really confident in her abilities and even fought Nezuko rather fairly in a battle of brawn with her kicks. Ultimately Nezuko was still getting stronger at this point so she wasn’t quite ready to win such a battle but she made it awfully close.

Susamaru’s partner isn’t quite as memorable but his attacks were great. Honestly it’s hard to see how this guy could be defeated once he gets the arrows on you. Tanjiro did a great job of surviving but that had to be one of the deadliest fights for him. If Susamaru had just kept the arrow going up it could have been the end. I assume he has some kind of ability limit which prevents him from doing so, however it’s still a great attack. This arc was a great showcase for Tanjiro and Nezuko to fight.

After that we have the arc with the house that is always changing rooms. Tanjiro and a guy he just met on the road named Zenitsu. This Demon Slayer is afraid of just about everything though so he won’t exactly be the most reliable ally to have around. The demon in charge of this mansion may not be the most powerful in a direct fight but he can cause the house to keep shifting gravity angles so if you jump at him you’ll suddenly find yourself going backwards or to the side. He can also shoot shockwaves at you while you’re disoriented. Fortunately the heroes have some backup with a guy named Inosuke who is another demon slayer in the mansion.

It was nice to get 3 different Demon Slayers at the ready here. The fight with the demon was also pretty solid here with a lot of dynamic visuals of having to get used to the place shifting so much. I imagine even the toughest of fighters would have some difficulty adjusting to such a thing. Initially Inosuke was definitely a very antagonistic member of the group though, going as far as being ready to destroy a fellow demon slayer in order to take down one of the demons. Tanjiro had to go in and teach him a lesson. It’s definitely a common theme here that Tanjiro has to headbut/punch people back onto the right path. Inosuke ends up being more of a regular hero after that.

Then we have the iconic mountain arc. A family of spider demons have been murdering a whole bunch of Demon Slayers and essentially own the mountain. It’s difficult to deal with them because they can use their strings to manipulate the movements of the slayers and force them to destroy each other. Additionally one of them has the ability to turn others into spiders and then you have a member with pure power. Tanjiro’s crew is sent over to help out and it’s quite a bold order if you think about it since they were sent in as backup for a group of much higher ranked fighters. Needless to say this isn’t exactly easy. The three of them get split up and all have to deal with their own opponents now.

It was a nice showcase for all of the fighters. Ironically Zenitsu is really the only fighter able to handle his opponent without help. I guess it goes to show that his thunder breathing is really good. The show also highlights the weakness of only knowing one style though. Then you have Inosuke’s battle which is pretty solid. He has his confidence shaken at one point but then recovers enough to attack. Ultimately it wasn’t enough for him to win but he put up a really valiant effort. Finally you have Taijiro who had the iconic fight that everyone was talking about with the final sequence. The fight’s definitely top notch with all of the speed and energy attacks going into it. Nezuko and Tanjiro also got to team up for that effort.

The spider arc is probably also the darkest one though with the origin of how the demon spiders came to be. You’ve got betrayal but also a whole lot of punishments within the ranks. Anyone who defies Rui really ends up getting punished. He shreds his own family of demons quite a bit. The flashback where he effectively takes off one of their faces is pretty brutal and he also puts Nezuko through a lot. At that point Tanjiro definitely knew he had to step in. Rui’s tactic of taking his own head off to prevent anyone else from doing so was a pretty smart idea though. We know that demons can’t destroy each other so it makes sense that if he delivers himself a fatal blow then it’ll be tough for anyone else to do so.

You can definitely be a bit sympathetic to some of the other demons. Particularly the mother one had a pretty tough road. The sister seems sympathetic initially but then she has the flashback where she betrayed another demon and you figure she’s more manipulative than anything. One of the standout scenes of the arc aside from the flashy Tanjiro fight is certainly when two members of the Hashira show up. It’s always hype when you see backup of this level. You only get to experience the first fight for an upper rank once so this was a great way to do it. Gyu and Shinobu show up to offer much needed support and also show how much stronger they are than the average fighter.

Giyu immediately shows why he is the best character in the series (At least as of season 1) here. He’s incredibly powerful but also very reliable. Giyu was quick to defend Tanjiro when it counted. He’s certainly a lot slower to jump to murdering everyone compared to Shinobu. Shinobu’s also a great character though. I appreciated her backstory of why she hides her emotions. Effectively she is trying to fulfill someone’s last wish even if she really doesn’t agree with it. Her style of combat is also unique. She’s quietly quite sinister at times with the demons and it’s hard to say if she would have even kept her end of the deal with her offer to one of the spider demons. Perhaps though, we’re also shown that she has a kind side so maybe if the spider demon had agreed to the terms she would have been okay. That said, I can’t see this demon being able to resist humans the way that Nezuko could.

Finally the show ends with the heroes training at Shinobu’s estate and also meeting up with the Hashira. Naturally a lot of these guys are all in for murdering Nezuko and don’t really want to listen to reason. Giyu appears to be the only reasonable one again, even having to step in to stop the snake pillar from crushing Tanjiro. These hero meetings are always pretty hype though because now we’re really getting to see the whole roster of top level allies. All of these guys will be important down the road that’s for sure. I was glad Tanjiro wasn’t standing for their attacks on Nezuko and quickly jumped in. Nezuko is definitely given quite a hard time being forced to restrain herself so often.

This was a nice way to end things. We essentially got a preview of the future here and the villains had a similar meeting. For contrast Muzan spent it slaughtering all of his members except for one who is given another chance. Compared to how the leader of the Slayers handled the meeting by building everyone up, it was quite the contrast to be sure. We also get a good training arc here and I would say Tanjiro once again proves to be at the front of the class with Inosuke and Zenitsu both throwing in the towel early on. You can’t be a quitter and expect to reach the same heights as someone who trained hard from the start. Tanjiro’s good deeds are always rewarded as the teachers were inclined to give him tips on how to be stronger due to this.

I didn’t really talk about the characters earlier so lets run through the main ones. Tanjiro is an exceptional lead as you would expect. He’s always a nice guy who is still resolute in his mission to take down the demons. He’s very quick to protect Nezuko as well as anyone else who is threatened as seen in the proctor exam when he stopped another trainee from threatening the overseer. Nezuko is also a very solid heroine. From the start she is able to restrain herself from eating humans which is huge and she is also quick to support Tanjiro in his more difficult fights. She is a demon after all so her abilities are quite solid even if Tanjiro tries to protect her from having to engage in these battles.

Zenitsu is pretty good at his role of comic relief but he’ll likely always pale in comparison to the other characters. He’s not exactly the most heroic guy to the point where he hesitates a lot and always waits at the back of the line. He’s not a reliable sidekick to have and he is a little too obsessed with every girl he meets. For those reasons I wouldn’t say he is a quality character. Inosuke on the other hand is pretty great. He’s a vicious fighter who doesn’t give up very often. Inosuke loves competing with Tanjiro and in this way he continues to hone his skills. I like his competitive attitude although Tanjiro pretty much never jumps at the bait which really works Inosuke up. He certainly helps the dynamic.

Then you have Kanao who will have a much bigger role in the future. As of now though she has a pretty solid role here as she starts off pretty emotionless but Tanjiro at least shows her the potential of unlocking her emotions. She definitely had a rough backstory though so it’s easy to see why she sealed her emotions off. At the time I’m sure that was very helpful so she wasn’t hurt as much as she would have been by the tough conditions. Tanjiro’s teacher was also a pretty reasonable character although I thought he did a particularly poor job at preparing Tanjiro for the road ahead. Some basic things like teaching him more about breathing for long periods of time or at least a heads up that all of the other students went missing so something may be going haywire at the school. Instead he basically left Tanjiro to his own devices and we learned later on that he partially just didn’t want Tanjiro to succeed. It’s easy to see why since he doesn’t want anyone else to die but it’s rough on Tanjiro.

Overall, Demon Slayer is definitely a pretty intense show. It has really high production values and a lot of hype moments. While the best fight has to be Tanjiro vs Rui, I would say the most hype moment of the show was when Giyu faced off against Shinobu since there’s nothing Tanjiro can really do there except hope that Giyu comes out on top. The pacing of the episodes are solid and it all goes through in a breeze. The show tends to go too far with the violence though so expect some intense scenes in virtually every episode. As long as you don’t mind thing getting a little violent then I can definitely see you enjoying this one quite a bit. If you love the concept but want something a little tamer then I’d say to check out Yu Yu Hakusho which also involves quite a bit of demon hunting while also throwing in some tournaments for good luck. It’s pretty unique that the show continues with a movie before presumably going back into show format so if you want to stay current then you’ll need to check out the movie.

Overall 5/10

Devil Survivor


The idea of being chosen in a demonic survival contest is definitely a pretty intimidating one but the main character is taking it in stride so far. The premise here is sound so with the execution being on point so far this title has good potential. We’ll see if the friends can shape up to match his skill soon. I’ll have a review up for the series when I finish it.

Overall 7/10

The Gate Review


Whenever you find a portal to the demon world in your backyard you know that something’s just not right. Well, that’s definitely the case here as the characters tamper with forces well beyond their comprehension. There are some fun ideas in this one but the film is ultimately held way back by the main characters. I’ll give the film some credit for having very unique visuals though.

The movie starts with Glen having some nightmares but at least the tree is finally taken down. Unfortunately there is now a huge hole there which leads to the demon world thanks to Glen’s friend Terry reciting an ancient chant. See, it turns out that some old records/music tapes actually contain real chants and summons for demons. Wouldn’t have expected that eh? Well, turns out that the battle against the demons has been going on for centuries. With the demons at the ready that means Glen and Terry will have to seal the portal but getting near it without dying will be tough. Also, Glen’s parents aren’t home so his older sister Alexandra will have to do.

In a way this film is sort of mixing Poltergeist with Home Alone. The parents leaving early on ensures that the kids are going to have to solve this on their own with no real backup. It makes sense as having parents around would likely have meant there would be a lot less tension the whole time. Most of the demons may have had some trouble there.

Going into the visuals though, the film goes all out with how the demons can appear. If you try to squash them then they can appear as tons of tiny little rodents. They can possess people, shape shift, and do all kinds of things. It’s pretty crazy. While the film is fairly tame for the most part, it can also get rather violent randomly at times. One such appearance is when Terry gets taken in or even when the parents show up in their deformed states.

The movie goes all in on being a true horror during these moments. The kids being fairly isolated also helps to up the danger feeling. Where the film really falters is with the characters. Kids have a hard time holding up their own film and this one is no exception. Glen tends to be fairly annoying a lot of the time. I’m also not sure why he got so emotional from levitating. It didn’t seem so scary and now at least he got to see some supernatural elements at work.

Glen spends a lot of time saying he wants to call his folks. I don’t blame him to an extent since Alexandra was shredding the rules instantly but it doesn’t help their case of not needing a babysitter. Then you have Terry who is always acting rather edgy. He hasn’t gotten over his mother’s death which is understandable but he definitely is not coping very well. Getting into all of this demon lore definitely cannot be good for him. He also has the weakest scene in the film when he throws the dog while being afraid. A very poor scene to be sure.

The film didn’t need any animal deaths for shock value here. I was like c’mon guys..at least it didn’t get murdered by the demons or anything like that. Then you have Alexandra who is supposed to be the reasonable member of the group and yet she was quick to host a party and just be very immature about the whole thing. She was even willing to leave Glen by himself even though her whole job was to watch over him. It’s not like it would have helped her out in the long run either since Glen would be sure to have said something. Ultimately Alexandra made the right decision and didn’t leave but this was not her best appearance. At least she did tell the friends to go away later on.

The friends in this film were pretty annoying the whole time. They definitely weren’t trying to help in the slightest and were just getting in the way. They didn’t really contribute anything to the story. You’d think that since one of the characters here is actually able to move things with her mind that maybe she would show up to really help out here. Well, I’m afraid that isn’t quite the case. In the end she still vanishes with most of the other characters while only 2 friends stay to act as comic relief and panic whenever the demons get close. The writing is decent although not the most engaging I’ve seen. Again, that’s mainly due to the main cast just being the kids. I think it would have worked out a lot better if the parents were there to keep them in line.

While some of the visuals are pretty inventive like the minis running around, others could just get pretty grotesque and violent like the eye appearing in someone’s fist and then having to be slashed away. Definitely pretty intense stuff to be sure. I definitely wouldn’t be able to give that one a thumbs up. In general while the plot is reasonably interesting, I don’t think there is anything that will really keep you tied to the film. Ultimately it still gets beat by many other films. I’d say to make this film better just age up the characters a bunch and cut away the dog from being part of the summoning ritual. While the ending helps to keep the movie from really going down, there are just too many things limiting it.

Overall, The Gate has some interesting ideas here. It’s certainly a title that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It also does give you a nice sense of danger here as the demons are quite powerful and can take many different forms. That helps set them apart from your average supernatural villain. The characters just aren’t good enough to really support this premise and some of the horror visuals can be a bit more shock value than needed. It would definitely get quite out there at times. If you want to check out a horror film involving other dimensions then you can do better than this one.

Overall 3/10

The Nun Review

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

I definitely remember this film making the rounds when it came out. After all there’s definitely a novelty to having a film about an evil Nun. Of course the villain isn’t literally a Nun but that’s what the imagery is going for. This one plays out a lot more like a classic horror film than the other installments in the Conjuring franchise. I wouldn’t give this one a thumbs up but I will say that it definitely ends up being one of the most intense installments. Get ready for a creepy trip through their Church.

The movie starts with two Nuns unsealing a door and taking something away from it. This turned out to be a critical mistake as a demon destroys one and the other Nun destroys herself. The poor delivery guy Frenchie comes across the body and lets the town know. This news makes it all the way to the Vatican where the higher ups instruct Burke to go and check it out. They tell him to bring along trainee Irene for this quest. She has not yet taken her vows and wonders if she can really be of help. Still, one simply does not refuse an order from the Vatican so they head to the manor. The place feels quite ominous and the townsfolk are too afraid to even go near the place. Burke and Irene prepare to spend the night over there but surviving to the dawn may prove to be trickier than they thought.

While this may seem like a minor element, I really liked the backdrop of the film. The Church made for a very interesting layout and reminded me a lot of the first Resident Evil film. It’s a great location that’s quite atmospheric and since the Church is rather dark from the start there are plenty of areas for jump scares. Be prepared to see a whole onslaught of them with the demon peeking around every corner. The opening scene of the shady Nun talking to the heroes and then revealing her true form to Irene was pretty fun. The whole adventure is really a setup from the villain after all so she did a good job of setting that up.

Now, I do have to question the Nun (Gonna just call the demon “The Nun” so there’s no spoilers here) in what her real plan was though. It seems like there is just enough holy energy here to prevent her from leaving the premises or doing anything drastic. That’s good I suppose, but at the same time she can clearly destroy everyone in the castle at any time. Is there really a point to toying with them? She probably could have broken the seals and escaped already if she were really trying. Perhaps she has stopped because even without the Nuns she wouldn’t be able to escape. Were the two Nuns from the opening scene the final ones and the rest were dead from the jump or were they all only murdered while Irene closed her eyes leading to the fake out?

The film leaves some things up to interpretation which is nice but I do feel like a little more detail on what the Nun was thinking would be nice. Most of these vengeful demons and spirits just want revenge but put it pretty plainly to the heroes. Others just don’t want you watching their DVD so if you put it in then that’s game over. The Nun was definitely a fun villain though. If you take away the plot armor of the heroes then they were completely outmatched. Probably should have destroyed Burke while he was buried or pushed Irene in as well tbh and that would have ended the movie in an instant.

Usually in horror films you don’t get to have the explosive moment where the hero arrives in the nick of time but this one actually managed to include that in which was pretty neat. Frenchie comes in handy and the fact that he has a gun at the ready was pretty wise. The Nun feels like it actually has an action packed climax which is pretty interesting. The way the Nun is taken on gets a little on the gross side by the end but I suppose that’s what happens when you lower your guard. Getting overconfident has taken down a whole lot of villains over the years.

Frenchie would have to be the most interesting character but in this case all 3 of the main characters were solid. Irene may have been taken by surprise at everything going on but she was quickly able to gather her bearings and contribute a whole lot here. She’s a lot more proactive compared to many horror leads and is also pretty fearless. You have to have a lot of guts to keep on fighting against these demons or walk around the place at night when any wrong step can lead to your doom. Burke is not quite as bold and falls for every single one of the mind games though. Seriously the demon has a field day with him. He has a tragic origin story of course which allows the Nun to get a foothold there. He seems reasonably skilled at least and did bring some holy weapons. Whether they work or not tends to vary on film to film but they can usually at least stall for time. Given Burke’s high rank though I would have liked for his abilities to have been a little more impressive. Show us something he can do that the average person cannot. That would have been pretty neat.

The Nun naturally ends up being ultra powerful to the point where the chants and usual techniques don’t really work. Only the ultimate weapon is able to do anything here. These demons sure do tend to be quite strong, it makes you wonder how the characters would deal with them originally. We get a flashback where the army was called in but I can only assume that their abilities worked because the Nun was a lot weaker back then or because they were just stronger at the time. Either way I suppose the whole war through a wrench into the eternal banishment thing. It’s why whenever possible you need to finish these demons off rather than capturing them. Otherwise they start making zombies and the whole situation becomes even more unwinnable as time goes on.

Overall, The Nun is not really trying to be a very unique experience this time around. It’s really more about the classic jump scares as the heroes try to survive in the haunted Church. It’s definitely got a whole lot of action and a lot of fun visuals. On the other hand it can get pretty gruesome with the Nun shredding through everyone. I wasn’t a fan of how the Nun got taken down in the end, but she was a much better villain than a lot of the recent ones I’ve seen. If you’re up for a pretty intense horror film then the Nun should be right up your alley. If you’re looking for more of an atmospheric horror then you’re better off checking Annabelle instead.

Overall 3/10

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Tomioka Giyuu Gaiden Review


It’s time to look at a quick prequel that takes place pretty early on in the Demon Slayer series. Based on some flashbacks here I’d say its probably around season 1 of the show. I still haven’t reviewed the manga yet so in a way I’m reviewing another spinoff before the main thing like with Sakura Wars. Unfortunately this prequel was pretty bad. It’s the kind of event that might happen in the main series but without the length and positives that an ongoing has to try and counter this kind of thing. This prequel is only two chapters long and squeezes in some animal violence which is definitely not a good thing. It means that this title was doomed from the start and just wasn’t able to pull ahead.

The adventure starts with Giyu murdering some more demons. Unfortunately it does seem like he’s murdering civilians so the cops try to take him in. Fellow pillar Shinobu shows up in time to rescue him. The two of them agree to team up briefly as there appears to be a demon on a nearby mountain. Unfortunately the only witness is a young girl who refuses to talk. She claims there is nothing here but the heroes know better. Will the Slayers be able to stop the demon or will it claim one more victim before they can stop it? It’s always rough when you have to deal with demons in an isolated area like this since they can hide just about anywhere.

Ultimately they just have to follow the girl and eventually find the demon. The story is going for grim dark right from the start. See, here’s how it plays out for her tragic origin story. Her father became a demon and murdered everyone except for the girl and her dog. He was able to control himself enough to escape but instead of telling anyone the girl vowed to destroy him herself. She trained for years and finally thought she was ready. Unfortunately that was not the case and the dog ends up getting murdered. The pillars show up and save her but it feels like too little too late. After beating the demon they head off.

So this is really just a quick story about taking down another demon. Why did it have to be to grim dark though? It seems like this tends to happen a lot with demons but for a quick one shot (Technically 2 chapters) this wasn’t a good move. Especially having the dog die the way that it did. There’s no reason for that. The art is good at least. It looks like the main series and the action scene isn’t bad. Of course, it’s not much of a fight because the two heroes here are pillars and this is just a random demon. It’s not like it would have been able to do much of anything against them.

Giyu is one of the more reasonable pillars. He’s not quite insane the way a lot of the others are and at least seems to have some compassion and empathy. He’s also one of the more skilled fighters if you ask me. Then you have Shinobu who is pretty fun. She’s definitely quite ruthless when it comes to demons but with other humans she is nice enough. She doesn’t really get to fight here as she mainly watches but would be able to destroy the demon in a hit if needed. I guess having both of them double team the demon would have felt like overkill.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this one because it’s so short. I’m always up for expanding the series with different prequels and side stories. This one may have fallen flat but I still appreciate the idea behind it. The final page had an afterward hinting that we would get a bunch of others but either that fell through or they just haven’t been scanned yet. I’m confident that we could get some stories that are way better than this one so I’ll just keep on looking forward to those. The world is vast and the main series only covered part of it so there’s still a lot they can do.


Overall, This was a short story that was pretty bad. The plot is paper thin and the adventure relies on a ton of shock value. It’s a shame because the art is god and the two main characters have some decent banter. A good idea would have been to have the whole story be a clash of ideologies or something. A day in the life of the pillars would be fun and we don’t necessarily need demon slaying here. If you do have it in, just have the characters fight them in the background while talking. Keep the pets out of it and you’re good. Ah well, better luck next time. Even if you like Demon Slayer I recommend skipping this one. There’s really no point to the story and as a result there’s no reason to ever read it.

Overall 2/10

The Promised Neverland Review


It’s time to look at a manga that ended pretty recently. The Promised Neverland is a very different Shonen Jump title. It’s a lot darker than most and is going for a full horror vibe. Don’t expect to find big super forms or hyper fights running around in this title. It’s more of a slow burner with the heroes trying to escape the demons, at least for most of the series. The series peaked rather early on with the final arcs getting to be a bit much with the plot armor. It’s an interesting series but one that I’m not really a fan of.

The plot starts by introducing us to Emma and the other kids who currently live at an orphanage. They have to take many tests each year which gives them various scores. The 3 smartest kids by far are Emma, Norman, and Ray. They are geniuses at this point. Unfortunately their lives are turned upside down when they find out that one of the kids has been murdered. It turns out that their home is actually a breeding ground for demons and they murder all of the kids. Emma now needs to find a way to save everyone but that will naturally be a difficult task. Can she accomplish this mission along with Norman and Ray?

You can already see how this series will be pretty dark. The heroes literally live on a farm where they are the meals. You also have to live with the knowledge that there are other farms out there with kids who won’t be quite as fortunate as the main characters. We get some pretty interesting mental battles between Norman and Ray during this arc which are typically the highlight. They’re definitely the smartest characters in the series after all. Norman is definitely a bit smarter than Ray though and tends to come out on top.

The second arc changes things up a bit as they finally escape the place. They manage to make it to another farm where Lord Bayon has trapped a bunch of other kids. The rules of this farm are different as it is a pure survival game. Everyone already knows that they are the prey in this case. Every day a few more kids are lost. Emma decides to help their commanders Oliver and Lucas take down the demons. The heroes are through with running and this time they’ll be taking the fight to the villains. Can mere human kids really take these guys down though?

We get quite a bit of solid action here and the heroes learn how to fight back against the demons. It’s definitely the best arc in the series. Granted, this is also where the power levels initially start to get a bit wonky. So the demons have a weakpoint that can be shot. It’s good since that lets the heroes do something but half the time they only win because the demons barely move. There’s no way they could hope to defeat these demons in a straight fight even with a weakpoint. The battle with Leuvis was great for sure, but it’s one that he definitely should have won. That was one reason why it was fun to throw the adults in here, you can definitely see them doing a bit better.

I’d say the third arc is probably protecting the base but it’s almost more of a transition arc. I’d say this could basically lead us to the final arc. We’re introduced to the concept of metahumans who have been developed to stop the demons. The problem is that they are still outnumbered. If they can murder the Demon Queen then this long fight will finally be over. The problem is that Emma doesn’t really want to murder the demons. She wants a world of peace and her inaction threatens to jeopardize the heroes. Will they have to take her down to ensure a better tomorrow?

This final arc definitely added quite a bit of new elements to the series. One of those things was an alien/god who would show up and it all got very meta. It’s an interesting angle even if it doesn’t feel like it’s from the series. A positive element was the metahumans. These guys have actual powers in the form of strength and speed so now this was a group I could see actually taking down the demons. I also liked that Norman’s group was taking a more active approach. They were shutting down farms left and right in what was a very effective campaign during the war between humans and demons. They were really doing just fine on their own so the whole time it felt like they absolutely did not need the main group. If anything it felt like Emma and Ray were holding them back. If they had stuck to just the metahumans running around and fighting I think it would have helped with the power levels.

Lets talk about Emma. She’s a character who changes quite a lot as the series goes on. Unlike the other kids she is not willing to make any sacrifices. She wants to save everyone without a doubt. It’s a noble cause even if the others give her grief about it. She’s a little more unhinged than most leads and the manga does a good job of showing this with the various zoom ins. The art really knows how to get very dynamic. That said, her resolve starts to get a little shaky in the final arc. Suddenly she doesn’t want to destroy any of the demons either? At some points it’s really a decision of whether you save the kids or the demons but you couldn’t possibly do both. This request is a bit more unreasonable on her part. I can’t fault it morally because it’s good to be able to save everyone but it does ruin all of the plans. Without plot armor her decisions would have definitely destroyed the rest of the group.

It just seems like a very different perspective on her part. The demons ruined everything for the heroes and they all couldn’t stand them. A big part of what changed Emma were the two nice demons who helped her out but even so, it was pretty surprising to see. Her final decision was also pretty selfless although it definitely did totally go against what everyone else would have wanted. A selfish choice to help out others, that’s one I can agree with. So Emma’s a good character, but a little too extreme at times. Of course all of the main characters tend to be extreme in some way or another.

Norman gets a really big role in the series. At his core he’s more merciless like Ray but he always tries to help Emma out as much as he can. He’s the brains of the group and does a good job of making sure Emma succeeds in whatever she wants to do. He looks pretty great throughout the series. If anything, if Emma hadn’t shown up I feel like he probably had everything under control. I can also see why his subordinates were pretty upset at the change of character. Then we have Ray who is the best member of the 3 if you ask me. He’s definitely got solid ambition. He’s easily the most rational of the 3 even if Norman is the smartest. Ray always goes for the highest chance of success even if it means sacrificing some people. Ray still does his best to be heroic though and Emma helps change him on that. He has no problems eliminating the demons though.

Then you have Isabella who is the first big villain we see. After all, she’s looking after the children and getting them set up to be eaten. She’s rotten to the core. So you can probably guess how her character arc will go during the series and all I can say is that it isn’t really earned. She did break Emma’s bone intentionally and that’s not even counting the people she actively delivered. While she can make for a good villain, it’s hard to see her as a sympathetic one. Then we have Krone who shows up early in the series. She’s pretty intimidating and also has some good tactics up her sleeve. She can’t compete with Isabella in terms of wit but does a good job regardless.

After the main 3 kids, most of the others weren’t particularly solid at least from the first house. Don and Gilda always felt like they were just getting in the way. They would ignore the wise advice from the main 3 to go ahead and do their own thing. Just because it works out doesn’t mean it was the right move. They’re always a few steps behind. Phil is another kid who gets a roll although he’s one of the youngest so he’s not exactly out in the field. Mostly his character was fun out of universe as there were many theories about him. None of them ever actually happened though so his role is extremely small. It makes sense though since having him fight would be odd.

Mujika is one of the two special demons that meets up with the main characters. She’s not much of a fighter as she is typically known as more of an intelligent demon. She tries to stay ahead of things in that sense so that she won’t even need to fight with the others. Her partner Sonju is the main fighter. Sonju is able to take down several demons at once. The guy’s pretty shady and doesn’t mind murdering humans either. He comes awful close to taking down the kids at one point. He’s not as bad as the rest though so that’s definitely a start. I thought he was one of the more interesting demons and a solid rival to have around. It would have been cool if he could have gotten a few more fights.

Then you have Leuvis who is a solid villain. he likes to have a good fight and I always like that about a villain. He’s willing to let the kids get prepared or whatever they need to make things interesting. It does make for a lot of plot armor on the heroes’ side but that’s to be expected. Regardless it was probably one of the better fights in the series. That arc also introduced us to some new kids and even two adult characters who would go on to be some of the best characters in the series. It reminds me that if the series was based around the adults it probably would have been quite a bit better.

First off is Yugo who initially doesn’t like the kids but gradually gets used to working with them. While he eventually mellows out I can’t say that he starts as anything less than a full villain. He actively did try to murder one of them after all. His fight scenes with Lucas against the government were quite solid. One thing’s for sure, Yugo was never the kind of guy to go down swinging. He went full blast from the jump. Lucas is just as solid if not more so. He never gave up the fight and kept on going the whole way. He’s not quite as skilled as Yugo, but it’s close and he definitely is very good at planning.

Then we have Oliver who is probably the most experienced member of the new kids. He’s a solid fighter and is also a bit older than the others which helps him stay ready for what’s about to come. He’s not on the same level as the metahumans who pop up but that’s okay. He’s strong enough. For the metahumans who appear we’ve got 5 main ones. First up is Vincent who is all about following the plans. He does whatever Norman says. After all, it tends to work out. He’s not really a fighter but he makes sure that all of the characters are in the right spot. I suppose it makes him a little redundant since Norman is smarter but it’s always good to have a backup.

Cislo is pretty fun. There’s not a whole lot to him but he loves murdering demons just like the others. He’s pretty strong and a capable guy to have around. Same for Barbara only she is even more zealous about this. She just loves destroying demons to the point where she eats them. I thought she was definitely the best member of the group. She was always right there on the front lines and could put up a great fight. Finally there’s Zazie who is also strong although he’s a bit more on the mindless side. The powers came at a huge price for him which was pretty unfortunate. He definitely made sure to come through when it counted though.

Ayshe had a sad backstory where she was raised by wolves and definitely does not like Norman or the metahumans. She doesn’t really care for demons either though so she doesn’t really have any friends. She’s a solid fighter though. Ayshe probably gets a smaller role than most of the other characters but the scenes she is in are quite solid. Finally we have the Queen who is of course the strongest demon. She gets a few super forms and looks good. Unfortunately she is way too powerful for this series though. The instant she appears you know that there is no way the kids will be able to do much of anything here. There is no realistic way they could hope to take her down so the final battle gets a little interesting. Either way I did like her as a final boss though. She did a good job of leading the demons even if she should have stepped in sooner to crush the humans.

The art for the series is pretty good. There’s quite a lot of detail in all of the shots. As mentioned earlier, the author did an especially good job of drawing Emma. For some reason Emma became less and less sinister as the series went on though. I don’t think she got any “evil” shots after arc 2. It seems like the author maybe had a different plan for her but ultimately decided to make her more of a hero in the end. I liked the more morally dubious Emma who was willing to blow everyone up to make a point. It did make her look a bit sketchy but that was the point. I can’t be the only one who feels like the Emma in the final arc is a completely different character right? Emma not dishing out veiled threats to people just doesn’t feel right.

Neverland can get pretty dark though so definitely keep that in mind if you start the series. Not only is there a considerable bodycount here but a lot of the people who die are kids. That’s ultimately what holds this series back. When people die it’s pretty fine if they’re main combatants. Context is key of course, but in general having a kid die is a pretty tricky element. Especially a series based around that whole fact. The whole farming thing is about as grim as it gets. You’re unlikely to find another series quite so dark. Attack on Titan’s up there though. It’s in a different way but I would say that it’s pretty comparable.

The series definitely stays pretty interesting throughout. There’s quite a lot of suspense built into it with twists at every corner. As with most mysteries you’ll have to see what you preferred, the build up to it or the payoff. A lot of times the best part of a mystery is the opening act because it’s fun to not know anything. I wouldn’t say any of the twists are bad though. I would have gone in a very different direction with the ending though and added 1 more arc but I suppose the series definitely didn’t want to drag itself out. At least like this people can point to it as a series that’s complete so you can now marathon it from start to finish.

Overall, The Promised Neverland delivers on being a very different kind of manga title. It’ll probably go down as the definitive horror title in Shonen Jump. That said, as horror is already not my genre it’s not surprising that it lagged behind the other manga titles. I’d be down for a sequel series that’s more of a sci-fi thriller with everyone trying to move forward in the new world. I think that could be pretty interesting. That said it’s not like the franchise needs to continue. The ending ties everything up. There are open plots that could be continued but if they don’t you can easily assume what happened on your own. So if you like horror titles then check this one out, otherwise I’d say to go and check out another modern Shonen Jump title like One Piece.

Overall 3/10

Kurozakuro Review


It’s time to look at a manga that I had definitely never heard of before. It seems pretty obscure to me, but it lasted for around 7 volumes so I suppose it must have had a fanbase back when it existed. It’s pretty fun and it’s a bit of a shame that it ended so soon. The series had enough going for it where it could have been a few volumes longer. That said, at least we still did get all of the big fights in the end. The series really picked up once the lead character got his act together. This is a pretty traditional action series that will give you a good amount of fun. I’d recommend it.

The series starts with introducing us to Mikito, a pretty ordinary guy. He is definitely a bit of a pacifist and really prefers not to fight but the guy gets bullied quite a bit. The heroine at school encourages him to stick up for himself. Well, one day Mikito does just that and beats the bullies up quite violently. His power seemed greater than a normal human’s and this is actually the case. The legendary being known as Zakuro has implanted himself inside of Mikito. He lives in the character’s psyche and once Zakuro’s powers have completely returned he aims to take control of the world once more. Mikito is now a danger to himself as well as the rest of the world. This sinks in when a monster comes close to murdering his sister. Mikito decides to run away from home while he is still in control of himself but aside from the villains who want to murder him, the various monster hunters are also after his head. Can Mikito keep them all away or is this the end for him.

When it comes to the idea of a demon residing within the main character pretty much every character has taken a shot at it. To an extent this is pretty much mandatory for the main character because it ensures he will always be very powerful. Naruto, Ichigo, Yusuke, Toriko, pretty much all of the big characters have it. Then the leads who don’t like Goku, Gon, Kenshin, have a darker persona within themselves that can grant them extra power when needed. It’s always a pretty nice idea. That said, Zakuro himself is considerably less interesting than most of the monsters and to me he is one of the weakest (not physically but as a character) characters in the series.

At first I wasn’t a big fan of Mikito but he did really improve as the series went on. For starters, his decision to leave home early enough was pretty solid. A lot of characters seem to hesitate about that kind of thing but it is the safest way to ensure his family stays safe. Mikito’s monster genes seem to attract monsters and they certainly attract the hunters as well so he does need to put some distance. The brief scenes of him working for the hunters right under their noses was pretty fun though. It was an interesting dynamic to be sure. Around halfway through the series Mikito finally starts to talk with Zakuro more. Once they’re on the same page Mikito gets more confident in his abilities and that’s when he’s at his best. He dons a cloak and starts to be one of the heavy hitters. I’d have liked the series to go on longer in part because we could have seen him more.

Zakuro never really went up though. He has an interesting backstory and he gets a lot of character development but I just never found him all that cool or entertaining. He got overshadowed by the rest of the cast and villains for sure. The guy can fight though which is always good. Kugai is one of the main characters here and the first hunter we meet. The guy’s a pretty sharp fighter and he’s managed to stay totally human instead of becoming a hybrid. As a result his power definitely does have its limits to be sure, but he isn’t planning on surviving this either way. He does a good job of being the mentor in the series who grudgingly helps out Mikito most of the time. Kugai is pretty solid and definitely one of the better supporting characters.

Gogyo is one of the elite squad members and gets a pretty great entrance. The guy can really fight and is the best hero if you ask me. The guy comes in clutch on many occasions. Ultimately by the end of the series the power levels get too high for anyone who isn’t named Mikito to help but Gogyo manages to keep up with the heroes better than most. He was also a lot more reasonable than the other hunters who would just follow orders no matter what. Thinking for yourself is a critical ability to have.

Then we have Hagi who is another government higher up. This guy is definitely more about following orders until he doesn’t. His scenes near the end of the series are a bit interesting in that respect as he defies orders to try and make a grab for extra power. It’s hard to say what his motivations are most of the time but I would consider him to be a villain. He willingly uses people as sacrifices to get his way so no matter what nice things he tries to do by the end you just can’t buy into it. This guy’s only looking after himself. He is a solid fighter though and holds his own against Gogyo. He made for an interesting villain to have around.

Suguri is one of the first big villains that the heroes fight. You can think of him as a super ogre that is stronger than most. Most ogres are fairly mindless and all they have going for them is a bit of super strength. The Super Ogres have all of their stats amped up further while keeping their human intelligence in check. Then they continue to eat more and more monsters to grow stronger. As with most series this was part of the turning point. By introducing this elite level ogres it ensured that the characters would need power ups to deal with them and that was fun. As far as the villain group goes, Suguri is definitely one of the most memorable members.

Seri didn’t get to do much next to the other White Claw members but he got at least one big fight which is still solid in a 7 volume series. He’s the classic kind of character who really likes to fight and puts his life on the line in each battle due to how risky his combat style is. It all just works out quite well. Azami is one of the members who gets a much bigger role. The others always treat her like a kid and give her little weapons that won’t hurt her as much as the stronger ones. She resents this and is determined to get everyone to really see her true abilities. She is decently skilled but not to the point where their worry isn’t unwarranted. When Azami does manage to fight she tends to get herself in trouble. She did a good job with the sword at the end though so I’ll give her some points there. She was quick to turn on Mikito though even if I suppose everyone was at the time. She wasn’t bad, I think Azami’s final battle helped to solidify her as a solid character.

The rest of the villains in the series are pretty solid. In general I don’t think that any of the super Ogres were bad. They each got a quality fight against the heroes and had interesting ideas. Quen ends up being the final boss and he gets a super form so that’s always cool. He wants to destroy the world and gives them all a hard time. I’d definitely give him a passing grade as far as villains go and the group was pretty neat. I would also call the White Claw (Government group) villains as well with how eager they were to destroy everyone. Especially with the twist of who the leader was since it all ends up throwing you into a loop. It was a pretty cool twist though.

The art is pretty solid. It can be a little rough at first but the art improves rather quickly and by volume 3 or 4 it’s definitely holding its own with the rest. The action scenes here are pretty solid as well. The villains have a lot of creative abilities and they’re all pretty different. It never gets too chaotic on the page either so you can always tell what is going on. That’s always important for any series. The writing is on point as well with each character being pretty reasonable. The story is also engaging and some of the concepts are pretty original even if the general story is basic.

The hunters all use weapons that slowly destroy themselves every time they use it. This is a pretty heavy cost and it shows how desperate they are to beat the villains. It feels like a losing battle for the humans the whole way through because as their numbers continue to shrink and the hunters grow weaker, the villains keep on getting stronger. By the end of the series we learn a lot about all of this and it’s supposed to be a balance, but I think the odds are stacked in the villains favor. They can keep expanding their ranks at any time with the hollow monsters and they’re all pretty powerful which doesn’t bode well for the heroes. Without Mikito they would be totally doomed so it can be annoying when some of the hunters are so insistent on murdering him. It’s not like D-Grayman or Seraph of the End where the humans are completely doomed either way. In this series the humans have a shot if they team up with the main character but that’s really their only chance.

Overall, Kurozakuro is a pretty fun series. It’s a tale about demons and demon hunters so you sort of expect it to be pretty good right away. There are a lot of different plots which is always good and the cast is surprisingly strong. The series may be short but it still gets to use quite a few different backgrounds and settings. They’re all pretty enjoyable and even the school days were pretty good too. The writing in general is solid and I think that ends up helping the series in all areas. It’s a quick read and I definitely recommend checking the series out. It’d be pretty cool if this ever got an anime someday. I think there’s certainly a lot you can do here and the premise would be easy enough to market to the general audience.

Overall 7/10

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while. Disgaea always looked like a blast and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Most RPGs tend to languish for a while though as I focus on the shorter games, but it was time to finally just jump in and this game was worth the wait. The game definitely takes a lot of strategy and grinding levels to get through but it always feels like you are making good progress here.

The game follows the demon prince Laharl. His dad died when choking on a pretzel and Laharl nearly got assasinated in his sleep, but the assassin messed up and didn’t give him enough poison. Laharl is now determined to prove that he is the Overlord as the rightful son of the former king, but he will have to earn this respect by beating up all of the other demons. An angel named Flonne is sent to assassinate him but she can’t go through with it because it doesn’t seem like a holy thing to do. She is determined to prove that even demons can experience love and other emotions so she tags along with Laharl.

There’s a lot of plot in the game, but needless to say it involves a lot of big battles with the humans of Earth, the Angels of Celestia, and even other Demons. Along the way Laharl, Flonne, and Etna gradually become more like actual friends and we meet other party members as well. Can Laharl ensure Flonne’s safety through all of this or will he see this emotion as weakness and ultimately leave her on her own? He’ll have to face his many insecurities along the way in this journey.

The story’s definitely solid here. The game has a lot of fun with the various accents that the characters have. The Dark Adonis (Or Mid-Boss as the characters call him) definitely has the best voice. He’s a very quirky character but one that works quite well. A lot of his scenes are pretty fun. I like how he laughs with such confidence and you can always count on him showing up in various chapters. He’s also one of the most deadly bosses as losing to him will cause you to go all the way back to level 1 and have to replay the whole game. Just reset the console at this point, resetting the game is not worth it if you ask me. There isn’t really any benefit to going through multiple cycles.

The Defender of Earth, Gordon is also pretty fun. He has that very over the top hero voice that most shows use as a parody nowadays. He may not be very smart but his heart is in the right place. Some of his decisions towards the end of the game are questionable though and do hurt his character. Jennifer was fun, she’s definitely the real brains behind his team. She certainly likes to mess with Laharl a lot though. The only weak part of their trio and one of the weakest characters in the game is Thursday. He’s not nearly as entertaining although he has one or two good lines. He just takes way too long to get to the punchlines.

There are a solid array of villains here. I really don’t get the Seraph’s plan though. I can’t talk about the ending much so as not to give spoilers here, but the test wasn’t very good. It’s all a bit convoluted on his end and you can’t really justify any of it. The game has multiple endings so things will change a bit based on how you play the game. I got the standard ending which is definitely pretty emotional. I wasn’t expecting such a sad ending considering that there are a few sequels. So far they don’t seem to tie into this one very much though. It was a good emotional ending.

One side character that is a lot of fun is Kurtis. He doesn’t get a huge role but whenever he appears you know that something hype is about to go down. In general the game really turned up during this part of the game although all of the chapters were pretty fun. From the main 3 characters Flonne is the weakest one although she’s still reasonable. She’s definitely a bit on the naive side and can be quite pushy but she’s a nice friend to have. While I didn’t have a proper mage she was still reasonable for healing a bit at times.

Etna was another main character and she’s a blast. She narrates the next episode previews for most of them and likes trolling everyone. She’s completely unhinged so you never know if she will help out or stab you in the back. I suppose that makes sense for a demon though and Laharl always seems proud of her for that reason. She’s pretty entertaining and a good example of how to properly make a crazy character. Finally we have Laharl. He’s a bit whiny and self conscious because nobody ever pays him any respect but I liked him overall. He’s definitely quite powerful even if there are some enemies who are clearly above him in power. He may be the Overlord but that doesn’t make him the strongest. He gets a lot of development as the game goes on and we also get glimpses into his tragic past.

The gameplay is quite smooth. The levels can take a little while because of the nature of the game though. You command up to 10 characters at a time and levels can have up to 15 enemies. That’s 25 character turns you have to watch each time with unskippable animations for their attacks. It’s not as long as it sounds but that’s part of why you will be playing the game for around 30-40 hours. The game is quite long and there’s a huge post game to consider as well. This game can really last you just about forever if you stick around.

The level cap is 1000 which gives you a good indication of what to expect. One thing to note here is that equipment is more important than levels. Your top priority is absolutely getting the best gear you can. If you get stuck for a while on the final boss as I did then I recommend capturing some enemies and selling their equipment. It’s a great way to earn cash. There’s a lot of features I haven’t even touched on here like the Dark Assembly where you bribe senators. There’s a ton of things to do in this game but there are a lot of tutorials to help you out. It’s easily the most complex game I’ve played in a while and the best part about that is you really have a ton of freedom to play it however you like.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The animations are really good and some of the attacks get quite out there. It’s like you’re watching DBZ at times. Then the soundtrack is pretty catchy too. You’ll know the themes quite well by the end of the game but that doesn’t make them any less exciting. This is really a very well balanced game. There are no weak links to be had and it’s part of why I jumped right into the sequel. I’ll have a review for that one up as soon as I complete it.

Overall, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was really a great start to the franchise. It’s a pretty long RPG so you really have time to get used to all of the characters and master your Xcom skills. This kind of strategic gameplay is really satisfying to get through. You do need to really enjoy the gameplay to really get the most out of this game because replaying levels is effectively mandatory here. There’s no way you can beat the game without getting some good level ups and equipment. I probably spent almost half of my play time replaying levels and the final boss was still a real challenge. How difficult the game is will depend on how you build your team though. The best part of Disgaea is that you can play it hundreds of different ways with some loadouts being better than others. My mistake was not having a mage on my side which I made sure not to repeat in the sequel.

Overall 8/10