Pandora Hearts Review


It’s time to experience the world of Pandora Hearts. It was always a very unique title with a whole lot of fantasy and adventure but at times it would get so convoluted that the story couldn’t really move forward. The anime finishes rather early into the series or at least it felt early. It was nostalgic to see the old characters again. I’d still say that it doesn’t end up being one of the stronger titles out there but at the end of the day I’d still call it a good show.

The series follows a kid named Oz who has had a really rough time of things. He is in line to be the King eventually but his father barely ever talks to him. He seems to dislike Oz on a personal level for some reason and no matter what Oz has done, he just never seems to be good enough. As a result Oz seems chronically depressed even if he always forces a smile on his face. One day during a ceremony a group of villains known as the Baskervilles appear and attempt to murder Oz. He ends up falling into the Abyss where he makes a contract with a chain known as Alice. This allows him to return to life rather than being stuck in purgatory but 10 years have passed. There is a lot of mystery about what happened on the fateful day that caused Oz to disappear. Why did his father seem to be in league with the villains and why does Alice have no memories anymore? All of the mysteries appear to converge around Oz’s lineage and so together with his childhood friend Gilbert, he seeks out the answers to these questions.

In a way you could say that the series is part mystery. A lot of characters know much more than they let on but they are always rather dodgy with their answers. Good luck getting a straight answer out of anybody. Everyone here appears to be shady so Oz can’t really trust anyone, not even his best friends. So this also causes him to be even more alone but at the same time part of the theme in the show is about trying to trust people again which is something Oz and Alice both have trouble with.

The show balances out the more serious moments with a lot of humor. The characters will get drunk and run around and we get a decent amount of slapstick humor. Alice certainly enjoys beating people up if they don’t listen to her and there are a lot of antic around. I’d say that the humor lands well and in some ways it even feels a bit nostalgic like an older humor style. While the cast may not be the strongest overall, they all have good dynamics with each other which makes for a lot of good banter.

Another thing the show does well is the soundtrack. It’s got a very grand feel to it like Sword Art Online. There are quite a few operatic themes in here and so it just sounds great on all accounts. It’s definitely a very good strength of the show. Meanwhile the animation is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say it’s anything amazing but it’s consistent and the fights are on point. I wouldn’t call this an action show even though there are some fight scenes so it’s more about just making sure that the visuals are on point and the show does well there.

One thing the series does not do well is to convince us that Alice (AKA B Rabbit) is one of the strongest Chains out there. So in the Abyss there are a bunch of chains which are effectively monsters. Alice is so advanced that she has a human form and interacts just like a normal person. Everyone is always afraid of her because she basically rules the Abyss. Think of her like Godzilla on Monster Island. He is the unquestioned King. Well, you would expect her to be extremely powerful then and yet she loses so many fights.

There is always an excuse of course like she’s low on energy or Oz isn’t controlling her properly but these are things you would expect her to fight past. If she really is the best then what’s the problem with having a little handicap right? Much like Saber in Fate, I didn’t think Alice actually lived up to the hype. She’s a great character but the power levels in the show just felt a little screwy because of this. If anything Xerxes seemed to have a more useful ability at times since Alice is more about brute force and doesn’t have any hax type powers.

I’d say the other weak point of the show is the actual mystery. Keep in mind that a big chunk of the series is about “The Tragedy Sablier” and you’ll probably hear this phrase at least once an episode. It’s a really big thing and so we get flashbacks and everything but often times you’re more interested in the present. It’s because they really drip feed you things that are happening in the past so after a point you want them to just show you the whole thing or keep it moving. The show is often at its best in the present with the characters having a good time and getting past their personal issues. Each of the main characters have some kind of trauma that they have to get past so focusing on that works really well.

You’ll notice that there are quite a lot of really sad scenes in the show and the OST has a good amount of emotional tracks to reflect that. These scenes are always executed well and you could probably keep the mystery element to a smaller focus and the show would really be able to just focus on the present instead. The lowest point of the show is during one of Alice’s flashbacks where she deals with the other Alice and things get a little rough for one of the cats. One guy even loses an eye in the process. Xerxes and Alice went through a lot back then, that’s for sure.

Now as to the characters, as mentioned earlier Oz is a really good character. For starters I like that he doesn’t feel bad for himself. He’s been through a lot but always puts that big smile on his face so that nobody will worry about him. It works with most of the characters at least. People all handle sadness differently but in general the ones who put on a brave smile and try to keep going always tend to make for the best characters. Then you have characters like Gilbert and Alice who can see through this but they are rare for sure. Oz is always ready to stand up for his friends as well.

He’s definitely not a fighter but will pick up a sword so he can defend his allies and is also not quick to trust others. He’ll say all the right things but always keeps his eyes open and that’s a really smart thing to do. Then we have Alice and while I had the power level issues, I do like her a lot as a character. She’s one of those characters who may have a difficult time speaking her mind without putting in some tough talk but is very attentive. So she’ll notice if something is up right away even if the other characters don’t realize it. Oz would have been in a tough spot without her. I’d argue that she had an even tougher backstory than Oz with everything she had to go through in the Abyss, not even knowing if she would ever get out. That has to be an absolutely frightening prospect. Even if you are the strongest in that realm, being immortal and knowing there is no end in sight while also losing your memories is a raw deal.

Gilbert is Oz’s best friend but the whole thing is a bit awkward for him since he aged 10 years while Oz hasn’t changed at all. Additionally they didn’t part in the best of ways with how the incident went down. Oz is naturally glad just to be back together though and Gilbert is able to warm up and go back to the way he used to be even if it does take some time. It also can’t be quite the same way it used to be now that he’s older. He tends to fight with Alice a lot which makes for some fun scenes. Gilbert also had to make some concessions during these 10 years including leaving the service of Oz’s family for the Nightrays. I was glad that Oz took this in stride because it was a reasonable move. Gilbert needed to get more power and this was the way to do it.

In comparison Oz’s uncle Oscar is not quite as interesting. He didn’t do a ton during these last 10 years and while he is one of the only characters that Oz can really trust, he doesn’t know a lot of the answers that the other characters have. They basically kept him out of the loop so he is rarely all that helpful. He’s a nice guy and all so he’s not bad but you just wish he would be able to contribute a lot more than what he does in the show.

Oz’s sister Ada also gets a decent role here. Naturally the situation is tough on her as well since she was Oz’s younger sister but now she’s so much older. It’s gotta be tough to adapt to that. She’s not really a fighter but she is always ready to help out and stand by Oz’s side which is important. He needs a strong cast around him to make sure he doesn’t break under the strain of everything going on.

Sharon’s got a much bigger role here. She rules over Xerxes as a very mysterious third party. She’s someone who seems to know a whole lot about the tragedy, the abyss, and the Baskervilles so as you can probably guess she rarely ever tells Oz what he wants to know. It’s not that she knows everything, there is plenty that she doesn’t know but the fact that she won’t say what she does understand is why you can’t trust her. I found her and Xerxes to be two of the most suspicious characters in the show.

They can be very helpful and they get a lot of comic relief scenes but that’s not enough to consider them as allies for sure. One of the benefits of this style is that even villains can get comedic moments to try and hide their true evil. It’s an effective ploy in a mystery like this because then you really can’t rule them out. Likewise they could not be the main villains but still have goals that are at odds with the heroes. If Sharon is the planner then Xerxes is the muscle.

He is always sent off to do battle or aid the heroes when things get dangerous. He gets a lot of development here and even a bit of an origin story. It’s the kind of series where everyone is hiding something. Xerxes does come in handy a lot and saves Oz’s life on more than one occasion so whatever his true mission is, you know that Oz is still happy to have him in his corner for the time being.

The Baskervilles make for a very interesting villain group. Their objectives are wrapped in vague shadows but they say Oz is a curse and want him back in the Abyss so something is going on there. They seem to have some kind of cause that they believe in and a flashback gives more depth to this. Part of what helps them as a group is that they all seem to have their own character. They aren’t just mindless minions even if you’re unsure of exactly what their end game is. I guess you can add that as another mystery to the pile.

Never out of mysteries, the show gives us another one with the character Jack. He is one of Oz’s predecessors in the family and for reasons unknown his dead spirit can inhabit Oz’s body and take control of him. While Oz is frail and can’t fight all that well, Jack was known as the greatest member to ever be born into the family. He’s strong and commanding, even the villains will always stop and listen to what he has to say. This doesn’t help Oz’s confidence issues but Jack helps out a lot and he’s definitely one of the best characters in the series. He also tends to be cryptic though and would prefer to just vanish for a while than answer Oz’s questions. So again I would not trust this guy but he’s always cool to see even if his role is small so far.

Then there is Vincent who is up front about being a big villain. He mistreats his maid and comes across as a very intense guy. He’s quite cruel and a big change from Gilbert even though they are brothers. While he will listen to a request from Gilbert, he can ignore everyone else and follows his own agenda. Whatever his end goal is, you know that it’s not good. He makes for an interesting villain as he helps to mix things up even further but hasn’t done a ton yet.

Echo is fairly emotionless but it’s still rough to see her working for Vincent. It would be great if she could strike out on her own and just get away to a happier life. Working for that guy is just plain confusing and she seems like a nice enough character. She just happened to be on the wrong side. One character that is only hear to add more questions is a guy named Rufus. He is one of the dukes and a man of great stature but he spends most of his time messing with the heroes or intentionally spoiling someone’s backstory instead of answering the relevant questions. So he’s intentionally annoying to the characters even though he is someone who could also shed some light on things.

Then we have one of the best characters in the show, Elliot. This guy is great. He’s got a solid honor code and is a really stand up guy. He knows how to fight with a sword and has a very traditional mindset where he will do the right thing no matter how hard it is. He may seem out of his depth at first as a normal guy in a world with a lot of craziness but he always holds his own. He has a good skirmish with the Baskervilles and protects Oz. He may not get along with Oz at all really but he doesn’t let this slow down his sense of justice. That’s how you know that he is a real one. Other characters could have been petty about the whole thing. Unfortunately his role is small so you don’t see him much.

His partner Leo is also around but I was never as big a fan of that guy. He can be a little harsh to Elliot and can’t quite quite as well. His banter isn’t as funny as some of the other characters and so ultimately he doesn’t do anything to really enhance the show. Finally we have Oz’s father who is presented as one of the big villains. We still don’t know exactly why he wants to get rid of Oz but you can bet that his role would continue to get bigger as the series went on. Right now there’s no reason to like him as he just feels like a traitor who is on the wrong side.

So there is a lot going on here. Pandora Hearts builds up quite a large world with a lot of rules and mechanics. At times it feels bigger than what the show can possibly adapt as well which ends up being true since it ended early anyway. I still say that focusing on the present would be more fun but I understand that the mystery is a big part of the experience. One advantage the show has over the manga is it’s much easier to tell characters apart. In the manga quite a few of them look so similar that it’s hard to keep them straight while in the anime you can easily tell who is who. Ultimately I look at the show more favorably than I did the manga. It may not be quite good enough to get to the next level and lacks the replay value that some other shows have but I had a good time here from cover to cover and could easily recommend it. It’ll definitely make you engaged in what’s going on or laugh at the funny moments but either way there is something for everyone.

Overall, Watching Pandora Hearts is like reading half of a mystery novel. You’ve got the setup and all of the questions but the show ends before you can actually get the answers. Maybe one day the show will continue but it seems just old enough and the series just not popular enough to get that chance. You can’t rule out anything anymore though so I’ll just hope that it does return. At least because of this the ending does leave things off on a very intriguing note and you can do your best to fill in the blanks on your own unless you read the manga. I’d still recommend checking out the show. The ost is amazing as I said and it makes for an interesting watch. It’s fairly unique too so it’s got that going for it.

Overall 6/10

Count Yorga, Vampire Review


Now this is an awful film so prepare yourself. Dracula already set the bar extremely low with all of those installments but somehow Yorga is even worse. The film’s extremely annoying with characters not making the right moves and it goes for being gritty for no reason. They definitely want to show that Yorga is as demented as possible but he’s the Count so we already knew that.

The movie starts with the main characters doing a seance so that Donna can see her mother again but unfortunately the whole thing doesn’t go well. It just gives Count Yorga a chance to mind control Donna a bit. He scurries off but later on Erica and Paul end up driving the guy home which is a big mistake. Now the Count has them in his sites and things get tricky from there. Will the count be taking everyone down or can Dr. Hayes be brought in to stop this?

So where to even start with this one? We’ve got the usual blood sucking everywhere but that is really the least of our worries at this point. Where the film really surpasses its limits here is it decides to also give the Count a sidekick. This guy is basically desperate to have a lady of his own and so he ends up attacking one of Yorga’s mind controlled victims. This is the scene that absolutely should have been cut out of the film. It’s off screen but he basically has his way with her.

It’s purely here for grit and shock value because it has nothing to do with anything. This guy has no business being in the film in general. We’re here for the vampire, not the right hand man who is messing around here. The film was basically doomed to be a 0 from this point although that was rarely in doubt.

Yorga is also shown to be one of the more perverted villains as the guy has fun commanding the victims to mess around with each other while he watches. You wouldn’t see this kind of behavior from Dracula who at least kept some dignity most of the time. This guy also can’t handle himself in a straight fight. Half the time he has the mind controlled zombie vampires go in to fight for him. Near the end Yorga is confronted so he immediately runs off.

Then he has the element of surprise along with his supposedly superior vampire physical abilities and yet he gets rocked. The guy has no defense to the stake but he also doesn’t have the speed to dodge or the strength to mess with the aim? He just looks so weak by the end that it takes away from his tough talk the whole film.

I’ll just give him one thing, I liked his banter with Dr. Hayes. It’s the only good part of the film as they both subtly threaten each other. Hayes hints that he knows Yorga is a vampire while Yorga advises him to leave while he still can. I like these threatening conversations like this. It keeps things interesting and you keep wondering which character will back down first.

That is the only good part of the film though as the rest goes back to the film just being awful again. Why do the heroes decide to attack only once it’s night time? I suppose they still thought there was hope to save some of the captives but they really took forever and should have attacked at the crack of dawn when they had to leave early. That would have definitely been their best play here and it would have taken Yorga by surprise. Once it was night time the deck was stacked against them.

Another issue with the film is that none of the characters are particularly likable. Donna doing that seance didn’t help matters and everyone was rather rude about it the whole time. Just don’t participate in it at that point. Paul and Erica were messing around too much in the van and didn’t keep their guards up.

The only good character here was Hayes and unfortunately things don’t go very well for him there. He definitely should have prepared himself a bit more but at least he did last for most of the film so I’ll give him some props there. It’s not like he had a whole lot of help in the film anyway.

Michael was the only other one to fight and unfortunately he lets his guard down a lot too and was too slow to help in the end. We do get the classic jump scare at the end of the movie though. It may not be the most impressive one but it gets the job done. You’d expect nothing less here.

It’s hard to make a vampire film that’s all that good but you could absolutely do one that’s way better than this. Make the Count someone who needs to drink blood to survive so you keep his cocky attitude and have him take everyone out but he just destroys them instead of keeping them alive to play with. Remove his right hand man and make the main characters a little more likable. Have them be more focused on trying to figure out what the Count’s deal is and cut out the half hearted romances squeezed in for no reason. Then without all of the shock value scenes perhaps this could actually be a decent movie…perhaps.

Overall, Count Yorga is a huge miss. It’ll end up sinking the vampire genre to new lows for you so I’d advise you to just skip this one entirely. There’s no reason to check it out at all so instead watch a Dracula film if you have to but of course I would advise just completely not watching a vampire film as it is. It’s just very rare that they end up being good anyway so why bother right? I doubt anyone will remember Yorga in a few years though. The guy is already over the hill.

Overall 0/10

The Dark Crystal Review


This film was trying really hard to be a Lord of the Rings type adventure but unfortunately….it succeeded. Yes that’s the worst part of this because as a result I just can’t say that it’s very good. It is a little on the boring side and everything is way too drawn out. Mix that in with the visual style of the movie and it was a thumbs down.

So a long time ago there was a big great battle and the ultimate crystal was broken. Jen’s entire clan is wiped out by the villains and as the last survivor he is told that the only way to save the day is to heal the crystal. He can do this by finding a shard. Along the way he meets up with a girl named Kira and they have to overcome many powerful obstacles in order to survive. This world is huge and brimming with all kinds of creatures and other forced out there. Will they be able to claim victory or will this be game over?

Now this is an ambitious film so I’ll grant it that. There are a ton of new terms to memorize and of course you have to watch out for all of the different races running around. It is a full story in that sense as this could even be 2 hours plus with all of the content in here. The problem is that just having a story is not enough, you need to have a very good story.

After a while you just aren’t very invested in Jen’s journey. For starters I didn’t think that he was a great character. He felt a little weak and helpless to me, even dropping an easy catch near the climax. Sure, he ends up doing decent by the end but he’s not a main character that can really drive the film. Then you have the main heroine Kira who is a quality character. I thought she was consistently better than Jen. She was more helpful in combat and had better situational awareness as well. You could count on her.

There was one villain who stood out though and he was a bird that was a lot like Starscream. He was always plotting and thinking of ways to rise to the top. I like to see that kind of ambition in a villain so I liked him quite a bit. He wasn’t good enough to save the movie or anything but his scenes were the most engaging.

At the end of the day what hurts the film is the visual style. So this one is going for a puppets style where all the characters are puppets that are running around. It is definitely not my favorite style and would actually be one of the weakest ones for me. It’s hard to get too invested in what is happening because it all looks fake. I’d even take CGI and a lot of other styles over this one.

It really doesn’t help the plot which was already on the dry side. Now when there is nothing all that fun to look at, the whole film ends up suffering. Just like how good animation or camera angles can help elevate a film to the next level, the opposite can be true as well. A good chunk of why I’d give the film a negative ranking is because of this. It couldn’t keep my attention and would have needed some really drastic positives to change things up.

For example, if the soundtrack was incredible then that’s one way that you can bounce back. Have a lot of rock themes or something like that. Usually I’d throw in fight scenes but we did have some action segments here. They just didn’t work because of the puppets style so that’s a no go. There’s only so much that you can do with this style and the cracks were showing immediately. It’s a shame but that’s just the way that these things go sometimes. I think this could have potential with a remake in full traditional animation.

Live action probably wouldn’t fare much better. Again the plot seems like something out of LOTR and the main character is fairly young. So if this was live action then I don’t think the film would really be able to do too much with this concept. The old school fantasy adventures need a little extra boost than that. Most of my favorite fantasy type titles have some sci-fi thrown in or really cool visuals. Despite being popular, LOTR and films of that nature have my least favorite kind of fantasy.

Everything looks really old all the time and everyone fights with old swords. It doesn’t feel fantastical at all and just an AU of how the old era would have looked. It’s not what you want to strive for in a story like this. I understand this movie eventually got a prequel series so maybe that improves upon things but unless it looks considerably different then I think it’s going to be in for a world of trouble. To make this work you need a whole lot of special effects and CG.

Overall, The Dark Crystal wasn’t for me. It’s a film that will end up being very forgettable with no real good characters to surpass the limits of the medium. You can blame 90% of this on the puppets though. You just aren’t able to convey any kind of emotion or excitement when using those. So it’s like you’re watching an adventure from a very detached position and that’s never what you’re aiming for. I would recommend most fantasy adventures over this one. Watch a title like Final Fantasy Advent Children instead. That one delivers on the action and also has a very interesting story. It may be hard to follow at times but you’ll know that things are getting intense.

Overall 3/10

Ragna Crimson


Ragna Crimson’s got an interesting premise off the bat with a time travel redo of sorts going on. It’ll be interesting to see how this one goes and the power levels already look like they should get high. The humans are gonna want to stay out of the way on this one. I’m fairly early on after 1 volume but it’s off to a solid start and I’ll have a review up for the series as soon as it’s finished.

Overall 7/10

Dr. Stone: Terraforming Review


The Dr Stone manga may have ended a little while ago but the franchise lives on with the anime special, future seasons, and now this one shot. There are certainly a lot of other stories to tell here in the verse and I was glad to see that the one shot takes place after the series. It’s sort of like a speed run of readapting the first arcs but with the whole gang already around. It goes by quickly and captures the classic charm of the series.

The story starts with Senku lost at sea and no memory of how he got there. Gradually he remembers and basically the cast was on a plane when lightning struck and knocked them all down. They were able to use the revival formula to turn into stone but Senku fumbled the grab and so he revived himself by mistake. Now he is all alone in the middle of the ocean and has to try and survive now. Can he really pull this off without freezing to death? He may be the mighty Senku, but this is no easy scenario.

The reason why I say it’s sort of like a speed run version of the actual series is because from here Senku works on reviving the rest of the characters one by one and getting to safety. If not for the subplot with Dr. Xeno and the others, you could easily play this as an alternate take on chapter 1. What if Senku warped back but with his current knowledge? In a way it probably wouldn’t change a ton but he would have had an easier time of it. Sure enough, Senku does really well here and gets everyone up to speed.

I wouldn’t say any important developments happen here and that’s the norm for special chapters. This is really just a chance to get to see your favorite characters one last time. After all, there probably won’t be any other Dr. Stone manga chapters for a long while so you have to savor them as they come. It’s a fun adventure that definitely ends quickly but makes for a good all around story. We get some more inventions as well as the formulas for how to make them. For example, making sails out of fish skin definitely seems like a very obscure tactic that you probably wouldn’t think of right off the bat.

The characters are all around to help but for the most part Senku is really the one pulling the strings. Suika and Chrome get to help out with one idea though and as always Kohaku is good as actually doing the manual work. She may not succeed in getting Senku flustered but completes all of her other missions. I’d say the chapter is the author trying to really re-confirm to everyone that Senku is still a man of science who doesn’t have time for the more emotional moments. So anyone hoping that would change here probably will be in for a bit of disappointment but the series had been setting this up for a very long time at this point.

The artwork is as good as always. The series has a lot of detail and there’s just a whole lot of ways that it enhances a story like this. The oceans look good and all of the background details as well. It’s definitely the way to go. This artist certainly has a lot of skills so I look forward to him doing more stories whether it be Dr. Stone adventures or some more One Piece stories. Either way works.

In a way the story also sets up for a bunch of other sequels as well. There’s a lot of materials that the heroes need to get after all on their way to building the time machine. What I’m most interested in is how this will play out. What are the time travel rules that this series will use? Additionally, it may be easier said than done to actually prevent the whole stone event from happening. Senku has enough clout where maybe he could convince someone like Xeno to help him in the past but he would have to handle it very interesting. That could easily be enough for a full oneshot volume or something like that. I think it’s the next logical step in the Dr. Stone mythos.

Overall, This was a fun story. It just goes to show that no matter what kind of situation you put him in, Senku will be just fine. It helps that the revival fluid can help you cheat death at any time. A series about how this affects society would also be interesting. The fact that there’s a substance which can heal you indefinitely has to have had a major effect on the world right? It changes the way everyday life would be played out, particularly for risky kinds of situations that would be more standard now. If you enjoyed the main manga then you should certainly read this oneshot. It’s a very solid self contained adventure.

Overall 7/10

Black Clover Review


This has certainly been a long time coming, but it’s time to finally review the Black Clover anime. I finished this show almost a year ago at this point but it’s a really long one which meant the review would be long too so it kept on getting pushed back on the priority list. Well, now it’s time to jump in and the series certainly earns its rep as being the next big Jump title. It’s today’s version of Naruto and quickly gets you into the mix with a lot of hype characters and storylines.

The series centers around a boy named Asta who has grown up with no magical abilities. He literally has no mana and seems to be cursed as it just won’t generate no matter what he does. In this world it is difficult to function at all without magic because society will brand you as a failure. It means you will be constantly teased and picked on, additionally Asta is a commoner which is another strike against him by the masses. Asta has sworn to get around this by honing his body to its absolute limit though to the point where he can still fight with magical users.

Asta keeps on going and is eventually selected by the Black Bulls, the worst of the magic squads and known for having a bunch of crazy members. Still, they chose Asta to be one of them so he will help transform them into the greatest squad that the world has ever seen. Asta’s goal is to eventually become the Wizard King and prove himself as the strongest of all. He can then change the world to make it more just for everyone no matter their individual status. This won’t be easy but he is determined to see this goal through to the end.

When I say there is a lot to discuss in this review, trust me it’s not an understatement. I’ll talk about the technicals first now and then we’ll jump into the story arcs and characters. You don’t see too many long running action titles like this nowadays since most anime go for the seasonal route. Aside from Boruto and One Piece, this may have been the last big Shonen ongoing like this. So in a way Black Clover was around for the end of an era. Seasonal shows certainly have their advantages and it’s always a fun debate but I was glad that Clover really got to go in with so many episodes here.

Right from the jump I thought the show looked really good. It’s by Studio Pierrot after all so I wasn’t surprised. They have animated some of the absolute best shows around. They may not be Ufotable but in my earlier animation editorial I showed why they are absolutely one of the best around. Black Clover gets a good budget. I thought it may not have looked too impressive before watching it because for some reason you see it mentioned online a lot that the show doesn’t look good but clearly they haven’t seen the fights.

Even when the animators were rushed and it was tough to meet the deadlines, they made the show look epic. There was only one fight at the end of the witch arc that I thought went too far with the experimental style. Experimenting a bit is good but go too far and it starts to look like a fan animation. I understand that was one of the fights where they really had to hurry though so that’s understandable. The series can switch between a very detailed art style one moment and then go into a streamlined one the next. Each fight is really fast paced so you can feel how powerful the characters were. I can confidently say that the animation is at a great level throughout the series. There are just many standout ones throughout so you never feel like the series is lagging behind.

Then you’ve got an excellent 5 star soundtrack up next. I did an editorial ranking all of the openings a while back because one of its particular strengths is how great those were. The openings all have a lot of life to them and just sound incredible. Whenever one is played for a big battle then you know that things are going to be epic. The themes inside of the actual series are also very good. There are a ton of great battle themes and emotional ones in there. A benefit of being such a long series is that there are really a whole lot of themes to choose from. You’ll be very familiar with all of them by the end but they really don’t hold back.

On a technical level the series is just excellent and so it helps to elevate the story. Fortunately the manga is also quite awesome so then what you have is a show that’s virtually perfect. It’s always interesting and has a great cast of characters to balance out the fun stories. The series can get serious as well and you feel a sense of danger. There also isn’t too much fanservice and the anime even cut some moments out which was really nice. I won’t say that a series like this is devoid of it, but they do a good job of avoiding it for the majority of the time.

Black Clover also has a good amount of humor to it as well. There are a lot of fun scenes throughout the show and sometimes the visual gag is what really helps seal the scene like when Asta’s eyes turn into sparkles. That’s usually a whole lot of fun and each of the characters have a fun dynamic with each other. This is a very well balanced anime that you could recommend to anyone. There’s definitely no doubt on that. This wraps up the general thoughts on the series so now it’s time to dig deep and really look at the characters and story.

The show starts off with the pre arc where we get to meet each of the Black Bulls and the team starts to form some good bonds with each other. We see how the day to day missions play out and each of the characters also gets a lot stronger. The show’s got good pacing here and while most of these original villains won’t be too memorable, they do serve their purpose in the fights. They look fairly menacing and give the heroes a run for their money. At the end of the day that’s what we’re looking for here right?

Asta is a terrific main character and one of the best leads in recent history. He works really hard and doesn’t let his lack of magic get to him. Throughout the 150+ episodes, he probably only gets down about it once or twice. The rest of the time he is busy training and getting himself fired up to be stronger and stronger. That’s exactly what you want to see in a main character here. His anti magic would not be nearly as useful if he wasn’t constantly training it so that he could be the strongest fighter around. Asta’s just an inspirational guy and he makes everyone around him that much better.

His rivalry with Yuno also has to be the healthiest that I’ve ever seen in Shonen Jump. They constantly build each other up even as they have their friendly banter. They never say something that they would regret later on or take advantage of the other one being in a bad place. Yuno never turns evil in the show and it seems unlikely at this point. That’s because the heroes aren’t jealous of each other. They respect each other’s strengths and keep is moving. That’s what it means to have a true rivalry and I feel like the show really understands that.

Yuno is a great character too of course. He fights hard to defend his friends and prove that he deserves the 4 leaf grimoire. He never backs down from a fight and he is always improving his wind abilities. Yuno wasn’t much of a team player at first but as the series goes on he gets more and more accustomed to working with others. Gone are the days where he was purely a solo act, he’s now ready to help everyone out on his road to being the Wizard King. We’ll see who makes it there first, him or Asta.

Noelle is the main heroine of the series and she is with Asta on the Black Bulls. She is a royal but has a hard time controlling her abilities which causes the other members of the family to ridicule her at all times. As a result Noelle struggles with confidence issues throughout the series but has one of the best character development arcs around. Each arc has her learn to trust in her friends as well as herself to get the job done. So while at one point she wouldn’t even shoot a single spell straight, now she can launch finishers with ease. She’s very much a tsundere so she has a hard time expressing her feelings. Usually you can find her just beating up on Asta and friends but in a pinch they know they can count on her.

Luck is another member of the Black Bulls and he’s one of those characters that really loves a good fight. He will do anything to get the fight that he has been longing for but sometimes that does mean that he will bite off more than he can chew. Considering that Luck is the kind of guy who likes to fight a lot, I wouldn’t say that he is one of the strongest members on the crew though. He does tend to get beaten out by a few of the others but he always has fun and he’s a character that you’ll probably find to be very likable. His backstory is also rather emotional so you can definitely see how things turned out the way that they did for him.

Luck’s rival is Magna who is more of a street punk kind of character. He lacks the overall talent and abilities that some of the other Black Bulls have which can end up making him feel bad but he rarely stays down for long. You feel like Magna will never actually catch up but at least he’s trying and the guy does use fire magic which I like. The problem is that there are at least 3 other characters in the same series who are better at fire magic which is not a good sign for him. Magna’s best chance to be more relevant in the future will be for him to switch attributes or go for magic techniques that are very unique from the other fire attacks.

Then we have Yami who is the captain of the Black Bulls and naturally has a very big role here. He’s a fan favorite and it’s easy to see why because he knows how to take charge of the team at any given moment and also just has a lot of pull. When he’s on the case you know that the troops are going to fall into line right away. His dark magic attacks are solid and he always makes sure to prioritize saving his comrades over following the rules. That’s the right order to do things if you ask me so that’s a very good look. He’ll always be one of the best.

Finral is another member of the Black Bulls but he is a weaker character. The guy does start to have a character arc where he won’t be flirting with all of the ladies as much and that’s good but in the meantime it’s not like his character has really been any good. He may get his moments but ultimately I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of his. He’s just not my kind of character and the series taking that long to try and turn him into one just didn’t work out for me. Perhaps in a sequel series he will end up being really good. He’s helpful in combat at least but that still isn’t enough yet.

Vanessa is more of a support fighter on the team but she takes this to new limits as her cat of fate can allow her comrades to escape death. It’s a fate alteration technique which is incredibly helpful. It’s the kind of ability you rarely see a hero have since it can easily make it hard to write the villains into a scenario where they can win but Black Clover’s done well with this so far. She’s a fun character and while she may not stand out as much as some of the others, she gets the job done.

Gauche is a character who had some potential but his running gag sort of ruins it. He’s always talking about his sister Marie and while it’s nice that he wants to protect her, the whole thing is overplayed way too much. He’s an example of a character with a lot of comedic scenes that actually aren’t that funny. That’s not a good thing when that represents the vast majority of your character moments. He’s another character who isn’t likely to rise up all that high for me.

Finally there’s Charmy and we don’t know a whole lot about her compared to some of the other characters. She gets a lot of comedic moments as well but you can tell that she’s hiding a great power behind it all. That kind of character can work but it’s certainly a lot trickier than it would be if she was just a solid fighter all of the time. They’re always hinting at a backstory involving the elves or something similar with her but we haven’t really gotten it yet. All in all, I can’t say I’m too impressed with her.

Another character who appears early on in the pre arc is Sekke. This guy’s the Hercule/King of the series in that he’s a really big comic relief character who tends to fall upwards. Things just work out for him even though Sekke is as weak as a character can get. He does have one or two spells but just about any fighter would defeat him with ease. The only way he gets out of the situations is to be lucky. That said, I loved his character gimmick of adding a little “haha!” to the end of each of his sentences. Usually a little word at the end gets old fast but sometimes it works like in Air and now this series. So Sekke I do like in his role, he’s a better comic relief character than most.

Klaus is one of the Golden Dawn members who works with Yuno. You’ll realize early on that aside from the Black Bulls, most of the other squads don’t have a ton of characters with their own individual character designs and arcs. It’s fitting since the Bulls are the main team but at least the Dawn have a handful. Klaus is one of them and he’s not bad. At first he’s one of those classic royals who dislikes all commoners but he is quickly able to shed that opinion and that’s when I started liking him. It takes a good character to be able to get with the program that quickly and I thought he did really well. His magic may not be super helpful but it’s the thought that counts.

Then you have Mimosa who is the healer of the group. She can heal most injuries at a really rapid speed which comes in handy with how many dangerous missions the characters go on. That means she isn’t often on the front lines but when necessary she can scrounge up an attack spell or two. Mimosa is a decent enough character even if she is rather harsh to one of her brothers during the tournament. The Silva family tends to be rather crazy so she probably has a lot of justification for this but at least from what we see it feels like she is a bit too relentless there.

Of course we also have Bell who serves as Yuno’s nature spirit to further amp up his abilities. She’s not really my kind of character though. She tends to get jealous really quickly, almost instantly at every moment. So in a way she starts to get in Yuno’s way instead of helping and she reminds me of Tinker Bell a lot. If Bell could fight more on her own that would help but as it is, it never feels like she serves much of a role in the story.

I can’t forget about Sister Lily either. She is crucial to helping with Asta’s character development as one of his goals is to get together with her. The issue though is that she can never be with a man because of her job so this always leads Asta to be rather depressed. Lily doesn’t get to do a whole lot beyond her initial appearance but she’s a fun character and at least she does have a water spell as a last resort.

Now lets dive into the first story arc here which is the mission into the Diamond Kingdom dungeon. We get to see how the Black Bulls deal with a foreign squad here as both Yuno and Asta’s group fight off the invaders. This was a good way to show us how one of these battles would go and I thought the whole thing went rather smoothly. We had a big team up with Asta and Yuno as well as a future rival of sorts in Mars. Now, I do think Mars could have been used a lot more in the series. He ends up vanishing for pretty much the rest of it but he was a good antagonist.

Mars even gets his own backstory and everything. It should at least come across as pretty sad the whole time. His abilities also made him a true threat. There was another villain in this arc by the name of Lotus and I thought he was surprisingly really solid. The guy has a very laidback kind of vibe to him but it’s one that worked well. Lotus can absolutely fight as need be and was even overwhelming Luck the whole time in their battle. He doesn’t get to do much after this but he’s a villain who leaves a lasting impression on you.

After this we get to have Asta and friends invited to the capital to get their awards and recognition from the Wizard King. Pretty much all of the captains are here so they also get to really meet them. It turns out that a lot of these guys are just as bad as the random royals with how they all insult Noelle. It does have one of my favorite scenes in the series though when Asta steps in to defend her and even goes up against several fighters at once. It was one of many moments that propelled him to being so high tier for me. This then transitions into a mini invasion arc as Rades sends a bunch of undeads out to take down Asta and friends. The actual arc isn’t as exciting as the smaller event but it’s a good chance to see Asta taking more names.

Rades will end up being a reoccurring villain later on. He’s not the most threatening villain I’ve seen and he’s borderline comic relief at times but he works well enough. I don’t think you’ll remember him as being much more than an afterthought most of the time though. For the heroes, well we’re introduced to quite a few bad ones like Noelle’s siblings. Those two characters are just extremely petty and don’t have the strength to back it up so they’re just awful.

We meet Nozel who is the leader of the 2nd strongest guild but he’s one of the guys who really encourages everyone to be mean to Noelle so there’s no way to like him. You’d think that he would be more considerate of her since they’re siblings but if anything he ends up going after her even harder than the others. That’s not the kind of thing I can easily overlook. So he is strong and I can’t deny that but I just never liked him. Later on the series tries to walk it back a bit but it’s just way too late.

On the other hand, Fuegoleon gets to look really solid to start things off. He actually has a good honor code and even gives Noelle a good pep talk. This is a man of honor who also has great power and I was glad that he was able to stand on his own like that without having to step on someone. Unfortunately he gets written out of most of the series with something that happens to him later on so that was unfortunate.

Another one of the captains is Vangeance who gets a really big role here. He has tree magic but that’s never been one of the more impressive kind of spells to me. Give me fire or water any day. Trees just don’t feel as versatile. Either way I don’t like this guy though. He’s not decisive in his actions and ends up causing more trouble for everyone. He may be a part of the strongest guild but he certainly doesn’t feel like the strongest captain. You get the feeling that a whole lot of the others could mop him up if they wanted too.

Now the wizard king Julius actually lives up to his hype. That guy looks fantastic in all of his appearances. There were a lot of jokes about him basically being Naruto and they worked because this is how you imagine Naruto would be when he makes it to the top. Julius has created a world of peace and he’s so powerful that almost nobody dares to challenge him. His fight in the series is really intense and the kingdom can really feel safe with him at the top. I definitely liked the guy quite a lot.

While not a captain, Asta obtained a new rival in this arc in Leopold. I use the term a bit loosely because it feels like Leo never really got to do a whole lot. It’s like he’s set up to be a major player at some point but it never quite happened. I still think he has a lot of potential but he hasn’t really kept up with the power creep which hurts him a lot. If he is going to have a big moment it is going to need to happen soon or it’s all going to be over for him. Well, I guess he will still be likable even if he’s not one of the strongest but I would like to see more out of him. I have high expectations here.

After that there is an arc involving Gauche trying to save his sister. The arc is fairly low key and I don’t need to go into it much here but the big thing is that this directly leads into the leader of the midnight sun, Licht showing up. We then get a big fight with the heroes going up against him which then escalates further as the other members of the group appear and a few captains show up. The battles here were really high tier and Yami vs Licht is still brought up a lot to this day. This was when the series first started showing signs of the grander plan that would take us to the big Elf arc. There’s a lot of great setup here and one of the impressive bits may even be the fact that it was thrown into a story arc that felt like it was going to be very minor all the way through.

Licht appears in a very impressive way here. Not only can he attack at the speed of light which is crazy in itself but he also appears to care about his comrades. I always thought that was a solid trait for a villain since it makes them feel like more of a fleshed out character instead of some random villain wanting to destroy the world. His moveset is solid and he gets a lot of great fights here. I definitely don’t believe you will be disappointed at all when this fight is all over and done with and in the character either. He opens and finishes strong.

Vetto is then the most impressive member of the Midnight Sun. His big role is in the arc after this one as he gets to go up against pretty much the entire Black Bulls team on his own. The guy fights wave after wave of enemies and just keeps on going. It’s absolutely crazy how much stamina the guy has and while he does tend to ramble on and on about despair, the guy can back up the crazy talk. I ended up liking him quite a bit and he is really the reason why the underwater temple arc was so good.

Rhya is also a solid villain. He’s more the cold and calculating type but that doesn’t mean he can’t fight. He still ends up being very helpful to the villains with how his copy ability works. There aren’t too many fighters who can stand up to him and he was also the first to realize that something was up with the devil even if it was just too late by that point. In a way he doesn’t get to cut loose as much as the other two members but he also doesn’t go crazy.

Fana is like Vetto in how much she dislikes the humans. She tends to yell a lot about the whole thing and just goes in guns blazing. She certainly isn’t conflicted about the whole situation. Fana has some solid fights here and makes for a solid all around villain. Definitely not someone that you want to mess with. From the hero side, we get to see Charlotte in action here. She’s another captain with grass type powers only hers are vines instead of trees. She’s much better than Vangeance and while her crush on Yami can mean that she is often flustered, she doesn’t let this show when she goes up against the big villains. To them she is just another really powerful captain that they have to watch out for. Charlotte commands a lot of respect in a battle and I’d say that she’s solid enough.

Then there is Jack and I do like the guy but my one issue is that I don’t feel like he’s as strong as you’re meant to believe. see, he’s Yami’s rival but it feels like the gap in power between them is absolutely massive. If they are as evenly matched as the show would have you believe, then Jack should look way better during his solo moments. He is usually portrayed as either being all talk or on Yami’s level and the two versions of him are completely mutually exclusive. You can’t be both at once no matter how much this show may try to trick you otherwise.

Now we get to the underwater temple arc which is one of the highlights of the series. The heroes are finally making a move to try and get a step ahead of the Midnight Sun, but naturally those guys were ready for this. So we get to have a bunch of big fights against Vetto. This time the heroes are not leaving without taking him down for good and it’s a very tense fight all the way through. The animation is really excellent and it’s just a super memorable experience. For a lot of people this was the turning point and while the series was already amazing for me prior to this, it certainly kept on raising the bar.

We got to meet the singer Kahano who quickly hit it off with Noelle. Kahano was a very nice character along with Kiato as the two of them did their best to help out. Unfortunately the burden of trying to help out the main characters while not being a part of them is that you tend to get absolutely crushed into the dust. These two really did their best but ultimately they weren’t ready. I liked them well enough and they actually remained relevant to a much larger extent than I expected.

Also, I didn’t talk about her much before but Grey is another member of the Black Bulls and she’s around the whole time too. Her ability is seemingly to shapeshift which isn’t too handy though. As of now you could say that her role is still very minimal so she hasn’t done a whole lot yet. Grey can be way too timid for me though which keeps her from being one of the top characters. Gordon is another Black Bull member and his gimmick is that he talks so silently that nobody can hear what he is saying. It definitely gets old rather quickly. His powers are all poison based which is handy at least but that’s still not quite enough to turn him into a good character. For now he’s just too gimmicky but I’d like to see him develop into a really solid character down the line.

Then we have a small filler arc or at least it felt like filler to me where Asta helps his (novel exclusive) mentor find Dominate after she has vanished. The heroes have to deal with the traitor Mariella and figure out what’s going on. I’d say the main issue with this one is that the villains feel way too weak so the heroes should be absolutely stomping them the whole time. Instead Fanzell just doesn’t feel very impressive at all. You get the vibe that Asta surpassed him a very long time ago. It was a decent little story saga but nothing to write home about.

Same for the characters. Fanzell is okay but he’s not making my top 20 list any time soon. Dominate doesn’t appear long enough to leave much of an impression either and of course Mariella didn’t really make the best calls. All in all I would be fine if they never appear again. It’s not like they were super bad or anything but they just don’t add anything to the dynamic so you could just give their scenes to someone else.

Now the next big arc is the Witch queen one. The heroes needs to find a way to heal Asta’s arms after the events of the temple saga and this is the best place to do it. The Witch Queen is supposed to have abilities far beyond that of anyone else when it comes to reversing curses and such. Naturally she isn’t super nice though so that won’t be easy. Additionally, the diamond kingdom and midnight sun are attacking again so the heroes have to deal with that too. It’ll be a busy time for them but they’re ready for this.

The Witch Queen herself is about as shady and nefarious as you would expect. She would absolutely murder all the heroes at the drop of a hat if she got her way. I do think she’s a bit shortsighted in this since the villains would then be able to take her out really quick though. She’s confident in her defenses but shouldn’t be because they just wouldn’t hold up. So I wouldn’t really say I’m a big fan of hers at the moment. She could turn out to be good down the road but for now I’m not impressed.

Likewise, the big villain here is Ladros and there’s just not much to him. He’s super strong so he’s absolutely a threat in combat but that doesn’t translate to him being a great villain. He can absolutely decimate his opponents in combat but there’s more to being a villain than that. He doesn’t have much personality or any super likable traits so that’s game over for him.

Mereoleona gets to appear after the climax as she gets ready to train the heroes and go with them to the elf invasion. Now here’s a top tier character who has a lot of great moments throughout. Whenever she is on screen you know that the heroes are finally going to learn a lot and will be able to push their skills to the next level. She loves fighting even more than Luck and has the skills to back it up so that’s good enough for me. Any scene with her is always fun.

After that we get to the big tournament and I’d been waiting for this. After all, tournaments are always super hype. All of the big characters are in this including some that we hadn’t gotten to see much of before now. It’s mostly a friendly tournament but Langris starts to go a bit crazy here so you can expect him to make some noise. It leads into one of the most intense scenes in the series though when the Black Bulls come close to ending him. They certainly weren’t about to let anything happen and I love to see teamwork like that. You gotta look out for each other in a moment like this.

Suffice it to say, Langris never really went very high for me. Sure, mind control played a part in some of the scenes, but not all of them and that’s an important distinction to make. By and large he is still responsible for what he was doing the whole time. He just had a bad attitude, there’s no two ways about it. The guy has a tremendous amount of power too so you would think that he would be more content with what he’s got instead of always looking around. That’s definitely a lesson that he needs to learn sooner than later.

Zora is a new member to the Black Bulls and right away he becomes one of the best members. I like how this guy openly takes on the royals and doesn’t put up with any of their nonsense. To an extent he acts like a vigilante at first and never really loses his edge but by the end he’s also a team player. His trap style of magic is also very effective although I feel like by its own nature it will never make him quite as powerful as some of the other fighters. It just inherently has some limits to it but he’s shown that he can work with those so far.

Sol is Charlotte’s right hand woman and she’s a decent enough character. I like that she’s always got a fiery spirit. Unfortunately she never gets to fight all that much but I see her having some potential as a strong side character. Sol is someone who could probably shine if the series ever got a true spinoff manga. Then you have Kirsch who is Mimosa’s brother. He’s the one where I feel like she’s too harsh at times. The guy is rather vain but compared to the rest of the nobles he is a decently nice guy. His abilities are also handy especially in a team format. He’s not really my kind of character but the guy does well enough.

In the tournament Rill gets to enter and I always thought that was a bit odd since he is a captain. Well, I suppose he’s one of the younger ones but even so I would have expected him to not have been allowed. His fight against Yuno is one of the highlights of the arc and it was great to see one of the main characters finally going up against a captain. To me this cemented what I had known for a very long time which is that Yuno and Asta were already captain level. Rill’s abilities are cool but his overall personality isn’t really my thing. He tends to space out and not be as focused as he should be.

Finally you have Alecdora who was trying to be a rival to Yuno for a long while. Unfortunately for him, his abilities aren’t nearly at a level that would cause Yuno to sweat at all. Seriously, this guy just doesn’t stand any kind of chance against him. Alecdora’s also rather stuck up so it takes a while for him to acknowledge Yuno’s overall abilities. Once he does then he becomes a much better character.

This leads us to the Elf arc which is widely known as the best saga in the series. I would absolutely agree with this too. Part of what makes the arc work so well is because it was being built up since near the beginning of the series. It’s also a very long arc much like Hueco Mundo where every character gets their own fight. Even the supporting characters finally get some action and there are a lot of villains to go around. The arc also has two parts to it as you have the initial invasion where the heroes try to take the Elves out and then the counterstrike where a bunch of people end up getting mind controlled.

There are so many iconic moments in this like Yuno using his strength of will to overcome the brainwashing or actually seeing the previous wizard king get to fight. There were just so many amazing scenes here and of course the battles were all top notch. The amount of replay value here is also incredibly high. You just don’t want to peel yourself away from the episodes and can probably blast through the entire thing in an instant. That’s when you know that you’ve got a really elite show by your side.

One villain in this arc is Sally who technically has been appearing here and there but this seemed like a good time to bring her up. She’s not really my kind of villain though as she’s one of those crazy scientists who runs a ton of twisted experiments but it feels like the heroes let it slide to an extent. At this point she is practically here as an anti-hero but she should be getting big jail time right away. She’s not someone you could ever hope to trust.

Then we have another Black Bull named Henry and his gimmick is that he talks really slowly. Unfortunately that destroyed the character for me. Gimmicks like that where you talk too slowly or too quietly just hurt because then it takes forever for the character to make any points. So any scene with Henry was more on the painful side than being emotional which is really not a good idea. His ability to absorb mana is cool at least.

Next up is Dorothy who is one of the captains but unfortunately for her fans she doesn’t get to do a whole lot. Her dream powers are incredibly powerful but she always happens to fight opponents who can hard counter it. Put it this way, she should be able to beat over 80% of the cast easily but she always goes up against the final 20%. She’s a fun character though who is always relaxing because deep down she knows how strong she is. Dorothy is quirky but not in an annoying way so there’s a lot to enjoy about her.

Secre is another Black Bull and you can tell how the series keeps adding new members as it goes along. Technically she was around since the start of the series as a bird but only gets to use her human form later on. Secre is another solid character who keeps all of the others on their toes with her quick wit. Her ability to unseal things is a very specific power but one that certainly has her uses. I enjoy what she brings to the table in terms of the character dynamics.

Of course a big character in this arc is Zagred as the first devil to fight the heroes. The show goes all out with this guy as he pretty much takes on the entire cast at once. If the show was trying to prove why this guy is an absolutely huge threat then it completely succeeded. He definitely strikes fear into his opponents and it’s all well deserved. Anything he says comes true which is a really scary power to go up against. Also as a Devil he just wants to cause chaos and misfortune to everyone around him. Not exactly the kind of villain you can reason with.

Finally there is Lumiere and I liked him a lot. He’s not quite as cool as the current Wizard King but you can see how this guy once had the rank and did a lot of good with it. His abilities have a lot of versatility to them and his raw power is exceptional. Put him up against almost any other character in the series and it would be an easy win for him. I also liked his bond with Secre, they were definitely good friends.

Finally we head to the final saga in the series. First there is a bit of a court drama as the people want Asta executed for being a devil host but the Black Bulls put a stop to that really quick. I was glad that they did not entertain this notion at all and just broke in. It was another great scene to show how much unity the Black Bulls have and how they will do whatever it takes to protect each other. Of course the real final saga comes after this and we even get a time skip.

The characters now have new designs although the one that stands out the most is certainly Asta. The devils are finally making their move as the Spade Kingdom sends the Dark Triad to capture 3 fighters while also invading the Heart Kingdom. Asta and friends have to go to each of the spots to defend their allies but these villains are far more powerful than any that they have encountered before. The Elf arc previously showed how powerful one devil was so you can imagine how taking on 3 would be an incredibly difficult task. The only thing that helps the heroes a bit is that the devils are using human hosts and can’t fully manifest the way that the last one did. If they could do that then the heroes would absolutely have no shot at taking the win. It would just be completely impossible at that point.

While not quite as long or ambitious as the Elf Arc, this one certainly comes close. Once we get a sequel anime to adapt the rest of the arc it’ll get even closer as it still is a super long arc with a lot of great fights. I also always enjoy a good timeskip and getting to see how all of the heroes have grown stronger with their techniques. The new opening theme song for this saga was also excellent to the point where I put this as the best intro in the series.

Damnatio is the judge who wanted Asta executed and he certainly gets a solid role here. I liked the guy, he may not be a big fighter or some kind of super villain but his abilities are cool. I don’t think he would have lasted long against the Black Bulls in an even fight but this guy is not meant for the front lines anyway. He’s a good way to represent what the general public of the Clover Kingdom think and how they are always very ungrateful. So he’s a fun antagonist here.

We also meet the leader of the Heart Kingdom in Loropechika, but I definitely can’t say that I was really a fan of hers. She cries way too much and being a klutz is part of her whole character personality. That’s never too endearing for me, I wish she would be able to get serious a lot quicker. If you commander can’t really fight, what does that do for morale? Maybe she’ll look better right now but so far she’s one of the weakest characters for sure.

She has a group of warriors who fight below her but the only one with actual development is Gaja. The others are around but you can’t take them too seriously and feel like they are going to get absolutely dominated the whole time. At least Gaja can actually fight the whole time and his abilities are the real deal. He gets to train the heroes and he is very devoted to protecting the queen. So I’d give that guy a thumbs up even while the rest of the group did not seem very impressive.

Then we get to the Dark Triad and they are all powerful fighters. That said, Dante is not really my kind of character. For starters, the guy is one of those villains who is obsessed with women and distracts him from the actual fight at hand. He’s also one of those proud villains who feels like he shouldn’t have to fight commoners and all that. He’s the kind of villain you’ve seen a million times before but who doesn’t really leave an impact. As a villain to be fought he lives up to the hype and looks great but as a character he wasn’t my kind of villain.

The second member Vanica was a lot more interesting. She is on the insane side at times which isn’t always my thing but at least she loves a good fight and is all about the action. Vanica likes to insult her opponents while fighting them as well but isn’t getting distracted from her core purpose. Now she’s a villain who you don’t want to mess with at all and she has personal ties to Noelle and the queen which adds a personal dynamic to the whole mix.

Finally there is Zenon who is easily the best member of the trio. This guy is very serious and down to business as he attacks Yuno and the squad. His bone magic is cool to watch and the guy just feels unbeatable. It’s clear from the jump that he is the strongest member of the triad by far. He doesn’t show any moments of weakness or even come close to appearing to be on the losing side. He dominates his fights from start to finish and that’s the kind of villain you want to see the heroes go up against.

Then as we end the series and get the setup for the next arc, two more characters show up. First is Liebe who is the devil that has been residing inside of Asta. We’ve been waiting for this guy to show up for so long that it was surreal to finally see him appear. Of course as luck would have it, he’s considerably weaker than all of the other devils who have appeared. So don’t expect him to be showing up to take names immediately but he does have a lot of character development. We even get to see his backstory which was very emotional. I’m excited to have him become a main character now since his dynamic with Asta is really going to be intense. Their battle was also a fitting way to end the series because of how emotional it was and all of the callbacks that got to be included.

Finally there is Nacht, the final Black Bull. He’s not as happy go lucky as the rest and even tends to insult Yami which is something that Asta and the others don’t like. He has several devils at his disposal though and is currently a very mysterious character. We don’t know a lot about him yet but I can say that he is starting the series off strong. I would say the mystique works really well here and you definitely want to see what he can do in a fight.

Overall, Well there’s always more to say about a series like this but I’d say that’s good for now. Naturally there are more characters and events out there but you should watch the series yourself to see all the extra details. Black Clover is a super all around show and I definitely recommend checking it out when you have the time. It is over 150 episodes long so you will need a lot of time but the episodes really blend together with how quick the pacing is. Hopefully they hurry up with the movie and the sequel show because it feels like we’ve been waiting for a long while. The post time skip events were just getting started after all so we need to see how it all ends. It’ll be tough for another title to top this one but we’ll see how it goes.

Overall 9/10

Red Lights Review

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

Red Lights is a bit of a trippy film that has a lot of good ideas but the execution isn’t as good as it should have been. It gives you a lot to think about though and I like the concept. You’d probably never guess the actual story of the film just based on the title though, it’s not one of those titles that makes it obvious or anything. There aren’t a ton of magic films like this one out there either so that adds a little more reason to check this one out.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Margaret and her assistant Tom. Their job is to discredit people who call themselves magicians by uncovering their tips and tricks. They’re quite good at this and Margaret really commands the field. In her day she was only defeated once by the magician known as Simon who was the best of the best. He retired rather suddenly when one of his critics died during a performance. Well, now he’s back but for some reason Margaret refuses to go after him. She even tells Tom not to try because they are hopelessly outmatched and outgunned. Tom doesn’t listen though and wants to take this guy down as the ultimate triumph.

Red Lights shifts gears rather quickly so don’t expect this plot to remain static but right off the bat I like the premise here. The idea of a movie about people busting magicians is really interesting. Particularly if you don’t believe in magic then you’re rooting for them to claim the win. Margaret is also a very solid character with how confident and prepared she is. Of course she isn’t unbeatable and we get a flashback showing how she lost to Simon. It’s not easy to prove the others are a phony, particularly on the spot. Part of her regret though is that it should have been easy for her in that moment.

He claimed that her son’s ghost was around as if he was dead, but only Margaret knew that he was still alive. If she had called him out there then her career would have been perfect but ultimately she hesitated and just didn’t think of it in time. That’s her only loss in the film though. While Tom gives her a hard time during an interview later on, I wouldn’t say that she was actually losing that one. Personally I thought she did fine and I suppose it’s how you look at the interview but what did he really want her to say? I thought he was unreasonable the whole time.

That’s one of the weaker parts of the film since Tom is really the main character here and he’s just annoying all the time. He constantly loses his cool and falls into every trap imaginable. There’s a scene where he keeps on threatening the head researcher so that he can get in and the whole time I’m just thinking that they really shouldn’t let him in now. It’s clear that the guy isn’t stable at all and the film really goes out of its way to show this. He’s just way too obsessed with Silver.

Tom also just isn’t as talented as Margaret is. Intensity and youth can only get you so far, ultimately you also need the technique to go along with that. He’s also rather mean to one of the assistants. He doesn’t even let the guy talk and just keeps on brushing off the guy’s ideas. Tom’s girlfriend acts the same way towards the guy so you start to feel bad for him. He’s the one trying to help out and staying up late trying to crack the case too. He deserves a little more respect there.

During the film you’re also supposed to ask yourself the whole time if Simon’s powers are real as well. It’s a nice angle to the film since it gives you a reason to really think about each scene a lot. Fantastical things do seem to happen a lot when he’s on stage like lights breaking or people dying for seemingly no reason. Of course part of you will think that may be a little too easy in that case. Either way it should give you a lot to think about and Simon makes for a solid villain. He’s definitely not someone that the characters can really afford to take too lightly.

There is a big twist near the end of the film which answers all of the questions and should make or break the experience for you. The twist itself I’m fairly cool with although I wouldn’t say it’s handled super well. One scene is dragged out a bit too much which lowers the impact of the moment. I also feel like this raises some extra questions throughout the movie which don’t do it any favors. It also leads to a rather bad ending so in the end the film starts off a lot better than it ended. It had some good humor and a fun cast but it just made some really big mistakes in the second half that erase a lot of the good that the first half pulled in. I’ll jump into that now so skip the next two paragraphs if you haven’t seen the film yet.

All right so here we go into spoiler land. First off, Margaret gets bumped off early on which is a shame since she was the best character here. Tom isn’t able to fill in for her effectively at all. Then the other big twist is that Simon was a phony but Tom is a real psychic. Yes, all the crazy stuff that happened during the movie was his doing. It seems like he didn’t actually know he was doing this to himself. Towards the end of the film he says he regrets how he didn’t tell Margaret sooner so she could have some closure though.

So that means he knew he had powers but just didn’t know he was using it at those moments? It’s rather sloppy. His whole motivation seemed to be to find some other people like him with psychic powers and he had started giving up on this dream. It’s too bad he couldn’t have confided in her though or at least been less desperate about things. At least the movie didn’t cop out with powers not existing but it just should have been so much better. Also, at the end Tom takes Margaret’s son off of life support so he can die now but that was a very iffy way of ending things. He snuck in there without any consent and just turned it off? Even if it’s meant to be a helpful/hopeful kind of thing, it didn’t turn out that way.

Well that’s it for the spoilers. There’s also an action scene we get in the bathroom that really doesn’t go very well for Tom. The scene is super random and shows up out of nowhere though. On a plot level you get to piece it together real quick on how this happened but the ending of the fight felt really convenient. If you’re going to start a fight and take a huge risk on someone seeing you, then shouldn’t you make sure that the fight is won? Stopping at the end just doesn’t work and makes the whole thing futile.

Overall, Red Lights is a film with a lot of ups and downs for me. The concept is sound and there are some interesting visuals here. On the other hand the ending is no good and it felt like the movie should have trusted its own premise more. The more interesting scenes in the film where about the heroes trying to prove that the magicians are a fraud as opposed to Tom’s obsession. If we focused on that then this would have been pretty good.

Overall 5/10

Mashle: Magic and Muscles


Mashle’s one of the next gen Shonen Jump titles and it’s definitely off to a good start. It’s essentially a Black Clover meets One Punch Man title so far. I can see a lot of potential here with great fight scenes and humor so hopefully this ends up being one of the really long running titles. I’ll have a review up for this one as soon as I have completed the series.

Overall 7/10

The Legend of Zelda Gaiden: Quark and the Fairy Queen Review


Now this is a very unique oneshot because this time Link isn’t the main character. Or I guess he technically is in a sense but they call him Quark here. I found that a bit odd myself but I figured I shouldn’t question it. It’s a fun story, I don’t see what the point of not calling the lead Link was, but this would fit in well with the LoZ mythos for his younger days.

The story starts with Link walking around when he meets a fairy and an old man in the forest. Whoops…I meant “Quark”. So Quark is on a quest to grab the 3 legendary artifacts so that he can awaken the Master Sword. Once he has that then he will be able to save Zelda from Agahnim, a powerful sorcerer who has taken over Hyrule. Unfortunately Quark isn’t able to pull the Master Sword out yet and literally cries to these two people about it. The guy is introduced as Lepton and the fairy is called Ellie. They explain that there’s another villain on the loose named Graviton. Perhaps Quark could practice his skills by defeating that guy and saving a great deal of lives? Lepton will even throw in some free lessons so Quark agrees to the terms.

Right off the bat you can tell that this Quark is a little whinier than the others. Of course he is still a rookie here but even so it’s just odd to see Quark not be more of a leader kind of guy. At one point Lepton asks Quark why he’s fighting and the hero responds with “For myself” which was not the right answer. After getting beaten up by the villains for a bit, Quark remembers that he’s fighting for Zelda and the kingdom. Better late than never I guess?…..and Quark’s sword skills aren’t great yet either as he has to be saved by Lepton. By the end of the oneshot it’s safe to say that he’s back to being more courageous.

So this isn’t the best portrayal of Link I’ve seen, but Quark’s an okay main character. I wasn’t a big fan of Lepton for most of this story because it felt like the guy was making things hard on Link for no reason. He already explained that Graviton is quite powerful but then tells Quark that he has to fight on his own against him? Why? This inevitably leads to Lepton getting stabbed and things could have been different otherwise. There’s a plot twist at the end that makes all of this meaningless anyway but it’s still not a good look for him regardless.

The idea of the character’s not bad though and if Lepton would just let go of his ego a bit more then I think he’d be a much better character. Ellie’s nice enough as the sidekick. She is looking out for Lepton and tries to make Quark polite at all times which is good. As for the villain, there’s not a whole lot to say about Graviton. He has a really solid design but the guy is partially comic relief so I wouldn’t say that you can take him all that seriously. The guy even wants to go to sleep at one point because the wait to get his power up was too long.

The humor is done well enough in the story though. It all flows together pretty well and the fights are good when they happen. There is a lot more dialogue than I was expecting initially though. The oneshot really makes sure that you have on your reading glasses at all times. If you take them off then that’ll definitely be game over for you right off the bat. It’s not boring at any point though and the oneshot is of a decent length at 30+ pages. There’s enough time for the plot to settle and this feels like a legitimate sidequest. Something that would help Quark in the long run.

The art is solid here and it’s a quality story so there’s not much more you could ask for. Quark feels out of character but I know there are a lot of different Link incarnations. I am completely used to the more serious version from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess at this point so it’s hard to go back to the spunky, younger versions. Still, I will say that Quark stepped up when he had too which is the important thing. I’m surprised Ganondorf didn’t appear but I suppose he can’t show up every time.

Overall, This was a fun story. Graviton had a cool design even if his personality wasn’t quite up to par. It’s always nice to see Link (I’ll just call him Link at this point. Quark just doesn’t feel right) having some help along his quest. It always feels like he has to do just about everything by himself when you hope that someone will step in to help him eventually. This was finally that moment even if Lepton didn’t want to directly help too much. I think there’s a time for training and a time for action but Lepton messed this up. If you want to see a fun little story about Link as he prepares to save the day, this is a good one to check out. You’ll definitely be blasting through it in no time.

Overall 7/10