7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Krull Review


It’s time to look at a classic Sci-Fi film from a while back. This one is definitely going for that classic Lord of the Rings feel with a bit of Star Wars thrown in. That said, aside from the energy blasts and a quick scene at the beginning it’s harder to see that. LOTR is first and foremost the angle this one is going for. I wouldn’t say it did a poor job. It destroys the Lord of the Rings with ease of course. The film may be a tad slow at times but it’s an adventure that will keep your interest and the climax makes for some good action scenes.

The film starts by introducing us to the Slayers. A group of monsters that have taken over many planets over the years. There is seemingly no way to stop them and so they have quickly become one of the driving forces of the universe. They are led by the Beast. On one planet two kingdoms decide to unite so that they will be ready. Princess Lyssa marries Prince Colwyn so they can usher in a new era. Unfortunately the Slayers couldn’t care less so they break in and kidnap Lyssa anyway. Both kingdoms were burned to the ground and just about everyone was murdered. Colwyn swears to find Lyssa. Fortunately an old man named Ynyr agrees to help him. The two will find more allies along the way and Colwyn is given an ancient weapon to use to slay the Beast. Will this be enough to turn the odds?

It’s interesting that for the magical weapon they went for more of a Shruiken Star/Chakram disc as opposed to a sword. It’s certainly more original so I’ll give the film props there. It’s also just a handy weapon in general since you can throw it and then it will return to you like a boomerang. You can’t go wrong there right? He’s told not to use it until the end of the film though so you don’t get to see it in action for very long. It does look good at the end although I got nervous when it was stuck on the villain. That would have been rather anticlimactic but it’s just that Colwyn couldn’t draw out its full power.

The scenery and effects are fairly good. The forest and deserts here aren’t exactly my ideal setting but the film did a solid job with what it had. There was definitely a good amount of effort behind this one and that’s the important thing. The fight scenes are pretty solid and I like the energy blasts. The kingdom’s soldiers had solid armor but they all looked terrible so I guess it was just for show. The villains turning into mini xenomorphs when their masks break was definitely disturbing. It makes you wonder exactly how they are able to operate the larger bodies. Must be high tech. It can make for a bit of a violent look at times but that’s mainly just the color of the creatures themselves.

As a lead Colwyn is pretty good I’d say. For starters he easily resisted the charms of an enemy agent. Even entertaining the notion would have been a death cry to his character since the entire point of this journey is to arrive and save Lyssa. Messing that up would have had me shaking my head to be sure. You just can’t make that kind of mistake and he didn’t. Colwyn turned out to be a solid leader and he was resolute in his quest. He may not stand out a whole lot as someone you’ll think about in the future but he did everything he needed to do.

Then we have Lyssa. She certainly wasn’t very intimidated by the Beast with how she kept talking back to him so she gets points there. She doesn’t get a whole lot to do here as part of the fact that she is captured for most of the film. It’s regrettable but expected. If we ever get a sequel hopefully she could fight more. The Beast himself is definitely a lot like Sauron with the huge eye. I can’t say I was a fan. His whole goal is basically to marry Lyssa aside from ruling the universe. Why? It’s a goal that just seems pretty much out of the blue and it’s always hard for me to get on board with a villain like that. A villain’s motivation is a huge indicator of if I will like the character and this didn’t work out.

Then we have some supporting characters like the shape shifter Ergo. He’s a fun enough character. He’s going for Usopp vibes where he talks a really good game but at the end of the day he is scared of just about everything and isn’t all that strong. By the end he has his big moments of course but we’ll see if you can take it seriously by then. Then there’s Rell who is a peaceful Cyclops. I wasn’t a big fan of his character. He doesn’t really add much to the story beyond having another ally at the ready.

What fantasy epic would be complete without the old man who serves as a mentor to the lead right? Ynyr is here to provide guidance and even gets his own subplot where he has to infiltrate a spider lair. Unfortunately I can’t really give him a lot of props here. The subplot was one of the weakest parts of the film which is the first mistake. There didn’t seem to be much of a point to having this in at all. We learn that his son was murdered and it involves the master of the lair. The whole thing gets pretty intense but it has nothing to do with anything. Why not just have the first fortune teller find out the truth? I felt bad for that guy, left defenseless by the rest of the group and picked off with ease. The heroes aren’t always the best about staying together and often times that was Ynyr’s fault since he would ask to be left alone. Unity is when the heroes are strongest so they shouldn’t split up so easily.

The soundtrack has that Star Wars feel to be sure. There are a lot of happy themes that play throughout that should fill you with hope and energy. They’re all rather solid. Perhaps not the most original themes out there but they still do the job and give you the correct ambiance. At the end of the day this is a fairly light fantasy adventure even if by the end the body count is rather high. The climax itself is very serious and I got a Rogue One feel from it. When you go on a mission like this I suppose you never expect everyone to live through it. That’s just not going to happen when the villain is of this magnitude.

Overall, Krull works rather well. Old school fantasy adventures usually aren’t my thing so adding in the brief Sci-Fi bits definitely helped out. The Slayers have solid designs even if I would have preferred that they kept them and not turn into little lizard things when they blow up. At times the film may go through a few slow patches here and there but for the most part it’s pretty consistent. If someone tells you to watch LOTR or the Hobbit, tell them to watch this one instead. It’s not very well known but a lot of effort definitely went into it initially.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey Review


It’s time for the big sequel to the original Bill & Ted! These two definitely went on quite the adventure the first time around. I enjoyed the film well enough and this one throws in androids which is always cool. I would say this one even improved upon the first. It does have some scenes where the film can get a little slow but for the most part the pacing is solid and the androids made for pretty intimidating opponents. They’re definitely not people that the heroes can really hope to defeat straight up.

This movie opens up in a similar state to the first. Bill & Ted still can’t play music at all and that’s not good since the big battle of the bands is coming up. They think about using time to help them out with this but in the meantime finally propose to the princesses from the first film. Everything is going well until alternate versions of themselves appear. They think it’s the future selves here to help them out once again but instead they are actually evil doppelgangers sent from the future to foil Bill & Ted’s career. These robots murder Bill & Ted and proceed to accomplish their goals. The heroes last chance to save the day is to quickly find Death so they can come back to life and then interfere before the Battle of the Bands performance is over or there will be no hope left. It’s a tough journey but someone’s got to do it.

I definitely enjoyed having some evil androids in the mix. Having villains like that can definitely take things to the next level if you ask me. Think about it, these guys have built in super strength and they easily crush the leads in their first battle. I’ll admit that the loss is a bit embarrassing if anything but it’s not like you could have expected anything less. It was still the most hype set of scenes in the film. Unfortunately there isn’t a real rematch later on so you need to enjoy the initial struggle.

The adventures through the characters’ personal hells were fun too though. You’ve even got a giant bunny that is around to mess everyone up. The scenes could get pretty tense. Death himself is probably the least intimidating member by default. The guy just wants some friends deep down. The scenes of the main characters playing him in a bunch of board games was definitely fun. Especially since I had even played a bunch of them back in the day. Bill & Ted are definitely really good at playing these which isn’t too surprising. I bet they played these games quite a lot over the years, probably instead of studying or anything like that.

As for Ted and Bill as characters, they’re pretty much unchanged from the first film so you either like them or you don’t. I appreciated the air guitar gimmick they have where they use that whenever something cool happens. Part of what helps them succeed as characters is their comedy gags aren’t even all that annoying. The characters are pretty fun and just work out rather well if you ask me. The cast is fairly small but they work well. The princesses don’t look great but they don’t really have a lot of screen time. There’s also a super smart inventor from another world who was passable at best but these side characters don’t really take away from the main adventure or anything like that.

There’s also a big twist that happens near the end of the film which is pretty fun. It just goes to show that when time travel is in play you have to expect the unexpected. Anything can happen at any given moment which is part of the point of this method. The film’s pacing is pretty solid so it’ll be over before you know it. Ultimately if I had to really say why it beat the first film, I’d say that the evil Androids and the film mainly taking place in the present are what did it. I love time travel but of course I prefer going to the future than the past. There’s just a lot more to explore when you’re going forward.

Overall, Bill & Ted manage to improve upon what made the first film solid. This is one I could definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys comedies. The writing is on point and we’ll see if the third film can keep it up. I don’t see why not, the trailer for it certainly looks pretty solid to me. The end of the big saga at long last. At the end of the day it’s still almost frightening how the future society is doomed to be modeled after these characters. I mean, there are far worse people you could pick to represent the planet but also much better ones as well. At least the clothing seems to have gone the LazyTown route in the future so fashion is on an upwards trend.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Your Name Review


It’s time to take a look at the manga version of a film I watched a long while ago. It’s definitely a very straight adaption so if you liked the movie then you would definitely like the manga and vice versa. If you haven’t actually checked this one out in any form before then I’m confident you will still like it. The story here is pretty good and I always like the body swapping plot. Of course you have to handle it with care but if done right then it opens up a lot of possibilties of what you can do. The premise here is also pretty original in how the two main characters switch bodies every few days as opposed to it being permanent for a while.

The manga starts with a teenage girl named Mitsuha remarking that her small town is rather boring. She wishes she were a guy in a big Tokyo city where more interesting things happen. One day she wakes up as a guy and has one of the best days of her life. She figures it was a dream but then Mitsuha starts to notice signs that this wasn’t. Writing in her notebook and people commenting that she was odd the other day. She also has no memory of the days in which she “acted off”. We then meet the other main character named Taki and his situation is really the same as hers. He wakes up one day as a girl and then this continues to happen. After some experimenting they find out that they exchange bodies every 2 days and this goes on for weeks. They try and give each other signs so they don’t mess up each other’s life but something’s bound to go wrong. Will they ever discover why this is happening?

A lot of the fun naturally comes from seeing the characters operate outside of their element. Who handles the other situation better? Well, it’s hard to say since both of them improve the life of the other but I’d have to say that Mitsuha ends up being the MVP here. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each. Mitsuha managed to score Taki a date, she made his father the best chopped potatoes ever, improved Taki’s job performance, and even got people into thinking he was a nice guy. The main con is that she had a bad habit of spending all of his money. While that may sound dismissive, it is a pretty big deal. He ends up being fine with it but imagine if he was saving up for something. That would have been pretty disappointing for sure.

Then you have Taki. Well, for the positives he got the bullies to stop messing with Mitsuha and made her a popular star among all of the sport teams. He even got a bunch of people asking her out. On the other hand, he doesn’t even try to act like a normal girl and puts Mitsuha in a bunch of embarrassing situations. Additionally, he definitely oversteps his bounds quite a bit by taking advantage of the fact that he’s a girl. While it’s played off as a comedic subplot that he is always acting rather pervy, it really makes you lose respect for the guy. They’re supposed to be friends and yet he keeps pulling this off and even at the end of the series in an emotional moment he lies to her face about this. Taki’s just not a great guy no matter how much the film tries to play him off as a good guy. Nah, I’m not buying it.

I also have to dock some more points for Taki not bothering to write his name down so she would remember him. The whole plan was to write their names in each other’s hands and he broke that on a whim. Yeah, Taki can be pretty selfish and a lot more petty than Mitsuha. In case you haven’t guessed, I thought she was the much better character. She really did her best to improve his life and I also thought she was ore sympathetic. The manga goes out of its way to show that she’s really not happy in her town while Taki was having a pretty fun time in his. Even if they hadn’t switched bodies things were going pretty well for him when you think about it.

The ending’s not very good but of course I can’t go into details on this. All I’ll say is that it’s just not very satisfying. Even if things turn out well in the long run, it’ll never really be the same without the history behind it. The ending could have been far worse though like if Your Name had opted to go for the whole destiny can’t be changed thing. I never bought into that so it always makes for a pretty bad ending. You just can’t let that happen and fortunately this series did not.

I’d say part of why the adventure works is because it’s always easy to think of what it would be like to experience a day in someone else’s life. New scenery, new experiences, etc. Of course a whole month is a bit much though, halfway through you may be wishing to go back to your own life. The risk of having someone else in your body during all that time would add an extra layer of stress as well. Who knows how your social reputation may be by the end of that right? There’s no going back depending on how some of the actions go down. It’s definitely something you’d probably say no to in real life although if it’s a magic comet then that’s another story.

The technology being wiped towards the end felt like a bit much though. The characters were pretty rational in how they planned for things to work out. Usually I’d critique the characters for not thinking of something but they actually did which is the worst part. Everything vanishing was just messed up. Of course this is all fantasy but that part didn’t really make sense. I suppose we needed that to be a part of the drama of course. A lot of these choices just come down to me writing things a little differently if I was directing the story but it’s still a solid adventure through and through. Take away some of Taki’s dicier moments and this is a pretty great story. We need more solid body swapping titles like this.


Overall, Your Name is a pretty fun adventure. I’m still not a big fan of the ending though and the first part of the adventure is the best bit. It’s still hard to believe that even though the whole premise of the adventure is the body swapping, it only really happens a lot during the first volume or two. Then the big plot starts and this quickly begins to fade as Taki tries to uncover the truth behind this. I think they could have focused more on the first bit and also switched up the ending, but either way this is a solid adventure. The character cast is small but pretty focused. If you haven’t seen this yet then you should check it out. Since the experience is about the same you can check out either the manga or the movie. As they say, you never get the first experience back so choose carefully on which version will be more emotional for you.

Overall 7/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Sakura Wars: The Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms Review


It’s time to look at the Sakura Wars OVA. I actually saw the show before the OVA but this one certainly makes for the quicker review since it’s only a handful of episodes. It’s a pretty solid alternate look at the series. It’s got a greater focus on the origins of the characters and works as a solid prologue for the most part even if it ultimately ends up catching up to the main series a bit. You could almost watch the first 2 episodes of this show and then cut right to the main show for an almost seamless experience. Of course, you will have to get used to the new voices if you’re watching the Dub though so that’s one thing to keep in mind here.

The show introduces us to the setting. It’s old style Japan but the world is a lot different than the one we are used to. Monsters continue to attack the capital so the Flower Brigade has been tasked with taking them down. A lot of the older members are already dead or not strong enough to win though so now we need a new generation. Several characters are brought in who I will talk about shortly. The main character is Sakura and as the daughter to one of the strongest warriors of all time, people expect big things from her. There is certainly a lot of pressure. Will she be up to the task and do the heroes really have what it takes to defeat an entire army of fighters?

Right away you can tell this show is buffing the power levels quite a bit compared to the show. It feels more accurate to the game to me. I haven’t played the original Sakura Wars but I played the Wii game and the characters were all quite powerful there. You had elemental attacks and special abilities while in the TV show for the most part that just wasn’t there. Kanna is able to punch through solid brick and Sumire/Maria are using elemental energy blasts. It’s definitely nice to see and the battle on the bridge was pretty exciting due to that. I also liked the aerial fight scene against one of the monsters where Iris took him down for the count. Iris is greatly improved from the TV show here. In general I think the OVA’s short length helped it really focus on giving you a solid peak into the video game.

I also always like seeing the heroes get together for the first time. It makes for a lot of solid banter and the OVA doesn’t disappoint here. It’s not surprising in the slightest that Sumire and Kanna would be bickering right from the jump. Their idealogies and personalities are just completely different so they won’t see eye to eye. They do work well once a battle is on though and that’s the kind of dynamic you want to see. Constant bickering is fine if at the end of the day you still join forces to stop the enemy in front of you. That’s exactly how these things should go. Sakura and Ogami start to take the show over for the last two episodes but the first two are really about the other characters who get the starring spot.

The writing is definitely solid. The characters are introduced well and you quickly get a feel for them. The animation also holds up rather well. It looks pretty much identical to the show. It’s certainly old enough where you can tell the OVA’s age to an extent but there aren’t a lot of shortcuts taken or anything like that. It’s very smooth. To an extent the fact that it’s going for a very steam based aesthetic also means it won’t look quite as flashy as some of the other titles. It’s not exactly Gundam but that’s also why it’s good that we finally got some more energy attacks here. It gives the show a chance to show some solid energy effects here.

Sakura is the main character of course and she’s solid. Sakura is definitely quite nervous at first and doesn’t believe in her abilities as much as she could but she gradually gets over it. I feel like she’s not hazed quite as much in this version although the characters can definitely be tough on her all the same. I’m glad that at least Maria and Kanna would stand up for her at times but even then Sakura had to fend for herself at times. Even Iris was surprisingly antagonistic towards Sakura. You’d think that she would at least cut Sakura some slack but I guess she didn’t want to risk being out with the in crowd. Well, Sakura does a good job of pressing past this and shows them why they need her on the team.

Sumire is definitely the meanest character of the group but it’s part of what makes her fun. She adds a lot of division to the group and you always need a member like that stirring up the pot. Her rivalry with Kanna is especially good and we even get a bit of a fight scene between them which I wasn’t expecting. That was a lot of fun and if they hadn’t gotten interrupted I fully believe Kanna would have won that match. Based on the strength we saw earlier she would have punched through Sumire’s weapon like it was butter. Sumire’s technique is the best from the group though and against the aliens she is an absolute machine.

Kanna is the best member of the group although she and Sumire are close. I just like Kanna’s confidence and how she is always ready for a fight. She also makes the right choice in heading off to avenge someone. The OVA is a bit vague on this and she settles her business off screen. Still, she has to go and do this while the enemy is around. Why should she have to wait in the building? I’d say that Yoneda made the wrong call here. Then we have Maria who is not quite as emotional as the other characters. She still likes to enjoy life and its experiences though, she just keeps it to herself more. Her main weapon is a gun though which I’d say puts her at a bit of a disadvantage next to the other characters. In shows like this guns just don’t do a whole lot. If anything they just hold you back and prevent you from really accessing your full abilities. Part of why I like Maria is she doesn’t bow to Sumire like some of the others. When Sumire threatens to not be in the play because Sakura will lead Maria basically shows her the door and tells Sakura to lead anyway.

Then we have Iris who is greatly improved from the show. In the show Iris could often be annoying, had no idea how to use her abilities, and would just get in the way a lot. Here Iris is a whole lot more confident and takes down the enemies like it’s nobody’s business. The heroes would have been in considerable trouble without her. She can still be a little mean to Sakura but for the most part Iris is a much more consistent character. I think when you’ve got a kid with overwhelming ability it’s nice to see them confident for a change instead of still working to train at it. Then we have Kohran but from the main girls she gets the shaft here. She spends most of the episodes still working on building the mechs and as a result doesn’t even get to interact with the other characters much. By default she would be my least favorite character for that reason.

Ogami takes a little while to really show up here but to make up for that he gets a whole episode to himself where he tries to write a play. It was a pretty fun episode and I’d say that the plot was handled well. We even have an interesting meta subplot where his inner self is following him around and helping out. He’s a solid character. I do feel like the fact that he can’t fight as well as the other characters hurts him a bit but as commander the main thing he just needs to be able to do is make good plans and execute them. At the end of the day he does good in this task so it all works out for him. He is a pretty solid commander and he’ll only continue to get better. He would have gotten even more props from me if he was able to take down all of the monsters by himself. Now that would have been impressive!

Ayame doesn’t get a huge role but she definitely makes for a solid sub-commander. You get the feeling that if she was able to harness the energy abilities the way that the others could she would have been commander instead of Ogami. She certainly seems well equipped for the task, but I suppose if you can’t access the power then that’s the end of that. Yoneda is also a better commander here than usual. I still don’t particularly like the guy all that much but he was absolutely correct in yelling at everyone for prioritizing a stage play over an alien attack on the city. Really guys? That one’s a no brainer. I know they worked hard on the play but you’ve absolutely got to go after the aliens right away. The sub-general should have told them all right away and they all run off after Ogami. So Yoneda seemed like a capable leader here and he also knew when to stay out of the action.

The mecha themselves are let clunky here which is good. I remember thinking at times that it seems like the heroes could fight better without them than in the suits in the show. In the OVA it seems more like they help channel the abilities to their fullest so the heroes can use elemental attacks. I feel like that helps to justify their use a lot more. I still have my issues with the suits like the fact that if you fall down in them you can actually get trapped though. That seems like a huge oversight. I think that’s the point of the designs to an extent but I still think they could have been better. I’d also have liked to see one fight where the heroes try to fight without them and lose to really spell out that they need the mechs. As it stands I have some doubts but I will definitely give the series this, the suits have a very unique design. I can’t think of another anime where they look quite like this.


Overall, Sakura Wars is definitely fun to check out. With only 4 episodes it’s not like it’ll take you a long time to get through either. The characters are well written and the plot is pretty interesting. It does feel like the adventure just doesn’t end of course, but it’s not like this was meant to adapt the whole game. If you want a full adaption then for that you get to watch the whole show. This is like a preview of the story which I have seen less of in anime format. It would have been nice to have seen more of the villains but that’s why I appreciated the fact that we got a few more action scenes early on. In some ways that’s why I would say it even beats the full length TV show but at the same time that one’s just so much longer that it gets to do a whole lot more. SO for example, on average each of these 4 episodes would beat the show’s, but when you take the full 26 vs 4, I would still say that the TV show wins. The climax was pretty intense there. If you want a solid mech anime adventure then you should definitely check this one out.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Sword Art Online Progressive Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the more well known Sword Art Online spinoffs. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Progressive over the years and how it brought the series back to its peak. Being back in Aincrad from Arc 1 was definitely pretty cool since I did think that those had the best stories. Unfortunately the manga takes the easy out of adding in a bunch of fanservice during the second half of the series which does ultimately hold this title back. It’s a shame since it had started out pretty well. Apparently the manga adds quite a bit and changes the story/personalities as well so it’ll be interesting to see how the novels stack up. That said, if you’re a mega SAO fan then you’ll probably still want to check this one out.

Mainly this series is adapting Arc 1 all over again but doing it very slowly. The castle has 100 floors and the only way to beat the game is to clear them all. Naturally in the main series they weren’t quite able to go through all of the floors so the goal of this manga is to show them to us one by one. As a result, after the 7 volumes of this series the heroes are still only up to volume 3. That’s a pretty good amount of pacing I’d say. We’ll see if they can continue to use up so much time. It’s fun though and helps make the series more about the fantasy setting and slice of life aspects. We still get fights of course, but Progressive is more about the character interactions.

We see Kirito start out as the loner he always was with Asuna being a bit of a newbie to the game world. Gradually she grows more experienced and he learns what it is like to be in a team. It makes for a pretty good dynamic between the two of them. We see them train up and gradually improve their abilities. While there isn’t much of an ongoing plot for the most part, the final 3 volumes give us a mini arc of sorts that was completely not in the original story. It’s a quest arc. Basically Kirito and Asuna run into a group of elves who are duking it out. They are given the option of joining either the light or dark factions. Kirito lets Asuna pick and she decides to help the Dark Elves. They help the leader (Kizmel) take down her opponent.

The full quest is a bit on the longer side. They have to help her deliver a key, find the traitor and take down the opposing army. The tricky thing is that some other players have taken the light side and of course if they die in the game they die in real life. This means that the heroes are going to have to tread carefully here. You’ve also got a shady Sword Art Online player who wants to challenge Kirito and possibly eliminate him from the world. It’s nice to see Kirito going all out here and it makes for a pretty nice fight. It’s probably the most intense battle in the series with a lot of back and forth with good swordplay. Kirito rarely finds a challenge for himself so this guy did pretty good in managing to match him.

As for Kizmel, she’s a pretty solid character. It’s a shame that the series uses her for fanservice almost constantly. The series throws in multiple bath scenes which is pretty forced. She’s portrayed as a big sister figure to Kirito and Asuna. She is pretty advanced for an A.I. as well since she can understand human phrases and adapts rather well. It further shows just how advanced Sword Art Online was as a game in this universe. The A.I. systems were already pretty adaptive and this is only arc 1. Her skills were also far above Kirito and Asuna’s at the time. It makes sense since they are still in the opening floors I suppose. At this point nobody really had a whole lot of levels yet and this is the kind of quest where you are mainly playing as support.

It’s also interesting to see a time where Heathcliff had not yet formed his own group. At this point there are only two main attacking squads and neither of them are particularly helpful. They have numbers but not a whole lot of power. This was one of the more interesting points in the game because it’s fun to see Kirito and Asuna teaming up and clearing a bunch of quests on their own. It shows that they really don’t need the army and are prepared to handle everything on their own. If you were ever trapped in a game it does make sense to train a lot solo or in a small party rather than joining an army. It would be a lot harder to level up with so many people around.

Really the series is at its best when it’s letting the characters just enjoy the SAO environment. Learning new skills and having fun in the world is what the arc is all about. While Kirito and Asuna are both great characters, the supporting cast is a bit weaker so you don’t really want the focus to be on them. I could never really get behind the rest of the characters but fortunately each arc would add at least one good character so the series as a whole has a solid cast. It’s part of why Kizmel was a good addition here since she’s easily one of the better characters. I was also glad that she could fight at such a high level. Arc 1 will definitely always be nostalgic.

I was also glad that Asuna got a pretty powerful rapier here. It helped close the gap with Kirito and for a while near the end she was the power hitter. It’s what makes them such a dangerous combo. Asuna can land hits with lightning speed and then Kirito finishes the job with a crispy combo. As they said, it’s almost unfair for the rest of the players who are still struggling with the basics. Still, they’ll learn the ropes eventually. You just can’t hope to match up against the main characters. I wouldn’t mind if the series took some queues from the games and started adding in future characters. The series would have to completely be known as an AU after that, but I think it would be worth it.

The art is pretty solid and definitely one of the best for SAO. It has a pretty simple design set up like an online manga or Bleach. This allows the character designs to be pretty smooth and we also get a lot of great fight scenes. It’s all very clear and lets you read through the adventures with ease. You can clear all of the volumes in no time at all. At 7 volumes the series is a reasonable length although I always think you should aim to be at least 10 volumes long. That’s when you know that you’ve made it to the big leagues.

Overall, Sword Art Online Progressive is a series that is a lot of fun but does get bogged down by the fanservice. To an extent you can certainly block it out, but the series goes pretty overboard with how often it occurs. After a point it can’t help but lower the score of the adventure. It’s a shame that SAO tends to fall into this trap because the series is so awesome otherwise. Where else are you going to get a main character quite like Kirito? It’s really tough to match a guy like that. From what I’ve heard you are better off reading the novels for this part of the franchise. The original adaption of the first arc is also better as it plays the concept pretty straight even if the art isn’t that good. I’m ready for the sequel though and hopefully that one will fix some of these issues. After all there are still plenty of floors left to conquer and I want to see them all!

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

The Brave-Tuber Review


It’s time to look at a quick manga that I was definitely not familiar with before reading. This one’s pretty short at 2 volumes long so it probably makes sense why I had never heard of it before. It’s an interesting parody about stopping the Demon King but trying to get popular at the same time. It’s a pretty fun gimmick and I definitely enjoyed the manga. It would have been cool if it could have gone on for a few extra volumes though. As it stands, it ends before they could really go all out with the concept. Still, if you’re looking for a fun little manga this is a solid one to check out.

We start out by being introduced to Zane. He saved the world from the Demon Armies and is the strongest in the land. He hasn’t gotten around to destroying the Demon King yet but doesn’t see a reason to do so since the villain has yet to really make a move against the world. The reason for this is that Youtube and Witter have gotten really big in this world. It got invented out of nowhere and now everyone uses these services to have fun. Zane’s goal is to become mega popular so he can get rich off of his videos. Unfortunately even with the help of his holy sword Kuku they only have a handful of subscribers and nobody likes them. Can Zane find a way to get more people to watch his videos?

It is a pretty emotional battle for him because getting your Youtube account to be big does take quite a lot of work. It’s very rare that you can suddenly get big without doing any of the legwork. Unfortunately that is pretty much what Zane is doing. All of his videos are just about him beating up demons real quick which is not what people want to see. Additionally it seems like there are more demons than humans using these services so naturally they want to see themselves win. What probably hurts the most is that one of the only characters to follow Zane and Kuku’s account is the Demon Lord himself. He usually leaves comments with some quality smacktalk and posts of that nature. It makes the heroes feel a little bad about the whole thing. Still, they are determined that they’ll get big someday.

Zane reminds me a lot of the main character from Barakamon. He tends to get excited about any and everything. The guy has a lot of spunk and motivation in the moment although he loses it as soon as things go wrong. Then he reverts back into being emotionless. While he can be a little desperate to be rich he ultimately tends to do the right thing in the end. It may not always be for the right reasons but the important thing is that he is helping out right? That at least gives him a little credit I’d say. His fighting skills are also the real deal. In his burning form he effortlessly defeats even the strongest of demons and that’s not something that just anyone can do.

Kuku is his loyal partner and she is the one who usually tries to think of stuff they can do. She is the true brains of the operation. Although, to be fair most of her plans don’t actually end up working but at least she is actually trying. Zane’s strategy seems to be more like he’ll just wait and hope that success comes to him. Not exactly the most pro-active strategy right? It makes for a good dynamic between the two of them. Then you have Hellheit who joins the cast for volume 2. She’s a nice enough monster who has always just wanted to have some true friends. While I don’t think she ultimately added much to the dynamic, I suppose it made sense to add her so their subscriber count could jump a little. It adds a little subplot where Zane is annoyed since the viewers are only watching for her. It seems like things just never go his way.

The Demon Lord is probably the most wholesome character in the story. He’s always encouraging up and coming streamers to be the best that they can be. He leaves comments right away and is always on social media. You just can’t respond faster than this guy and is also good at provoking others. It’s one of those things where if he wasn’t evil and trying to destroy the world you could see him being a pretty good friend. The guy just seems dependable and like a solid character all around. The cast in the series is pretty small though. Effectively these are the only 4 characters who matter. It’s not a bad idea when the series is so short though. Keep the cast small and that way you can really expand on them rather than having a bunch and then nothing happens.

Brave-Tuber does a good job of not really rushing any of the character arcs. It’s only two volumes but I feel like the series succeeds at what it set out to do. The premise is a lot of fun and I could see an enjoyable anime out of this with a solid budget and all. The invention of social media would definitely change the RPG landscape in one of these retro adventures quite a lot. This is a parody done right as it can all be quite crazy but all of the characters take it in stride. Part of what makes a parody good is everyone acting like this is all normal. The writing here is pretty impressive. Additionally I enjoyed the artwork quite a bit. It’s all very clear with memorable character designs. If this series had decided to take itself seriously I believe that would have worked out as well. That’s the hallmark of a solid series.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out The Brave-Tuber. It’s a pretty good series that balances a pretty solid tone of comedy and adventure. While each chapter is effectively a standalone story the series manages to tackle more of the core topics you would be waiting to hear about in a world like this. The characters try all kinds of videos in order to become popular. They may not ultimately have worked but the important thing is that they tried. Who knows, maybe we’ll get some kind of sequel to this someday. It’s the kind of series where you have to be careful not to overuse the gags, but I’m confident this series will be safe. The writer showed that he is able to balance the humor and think of a good variety of jokes to keep things fresh.

Overall 7/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Magia Record Review


It’s time to look at the follow up to the original Madoka show. Technically this is more of a spinoff than a direct sequel though as it’s based on the mobile game. In true Madoka fashion a lot of the background is shrouded in mystery. We don’t yet know when this show takes place or in what timeline. Thanks to the time travel elements and alternate timelines there are many ways this can go. I have my own theory about it which I’ll elaborate on later on. It’s tough to come after the first show since I currently have that in my top 5 all time anime. (Black Clover and One Punch Man are both gaining ground fast though so we’ll see if it can ultimately stay in the 5th spot) While this show isn’t quite ready for that level, it is very good with a dynamite ending.

The story follows a girl named Iroha. She used to have a sister who was very sick and so she entered into a contract with Kyubey to restore her health. Unfortunately, now her sister no longer seems to exist. Nobody remembers her either although since Iroha has her abilities now that means the wish should have been granted. Is something wrong with her memory and did she potentially wish for something else? Iroha works with other magical girls to get to the bottom of this mystery. In the meantime they also work on shattering many myths and legends around the school. These myths are dangerous and many people die until they are busted. Iroha also has to deal with the fact that witches have begun to appeaer in the town much more frequently than usual which is attracting attention from other magical girls who are willing to murder each other so that they can be the ones to defeat the witches. Is this all part of some sort of elaborate plan?

Magia Record has more of a slice of life feel than the first show. In the first half of the show typically each episode is about solving a different rumor and stopping the villain. There are subplots hanging out during these adventures like various magical girls acting cryptically in the background and of course Iroha’s plot to save her sister. Those seem like they will mainly be saved until season 2 though. The final episode is really what starts to set the stage for everything as we get big fights and hype guest stars. That tells me there is a lot to look forward too. The show mainly runs on how interesting you find the cast to be and they hold their own. There were a pair of characters that I could mix up at times since they both had blue hair and looked rather similar but everyone else is pretty distinct.

Iroha is the main character and she’s a rather timid character. She’s one of the weaker magical girls around and is used to fighting in a city where the witches are a lot weaker. Still, she had to come here to find her sister and fortunately the other magical girls are willing to help her. Iroha is a pretty decent character even if I wish she was a bit more aggressive. It feels like she sort of goes with the flow half the time and is pretty soft spoken like Madoka. Fortunately unlike the old main character we actually do see Iroha fight quite a bit. She rarely wins but she does contribute.

Yachiyo is one of the characters with the biggest role here and serves as the Homura of the group. She’s very serious compared to the rest of the characters and always has to remind them that this isn’t a game. She has very personal reasons for being a Magical Girl (As do the rest of them) and we slowly find out a bit about what has made her so jaded. She’s a pretty solid fighter and one who has unlocked her hybrid form. I’ll speak more to that in a minute. Yachiyo is pretty strategic and also probably the strongest member of the main cast. While she can’t hold a candle to the original Magical Girls, she does better than the rest.

So what are these hybrid forms? Well, it seems like they are a pretty clever way of balancing the power gap between the original main characters and the new ones. Think of it sort of like how in Cardfight Vanguard G they added Grade 4 units so the new main characters could keep up. In a human 1 on 1 fight the original cast would slaughter these guys as Mami showed when she appeared later on. However, the new iteration of magical girls have the power to turn into a witch when they are close to despair. This allows them to gain great powers and stamina. It’s rather interesting that a magical girl could turn into a witch temporarily instead of it being perfect. In a way that makes them superior to the originals in that it’ll be harder for their stones to break. With these monster forms the heroes were still losing but it’s a lot closer. Once the rest of the cast gets these forms it should be interesting to see how they fare. I’m definitely glad they got these power ups.

Tsuruno is a very fun character in Magia Record. She has supreme confidence all the time and her fire abilities mixed in with the fans are quite impressive. She feels like one of the strongest Magical Girls and doesn’t mind letting the others know that from time to time. She even owns a cafe which is pretty impressive considering her age. At least it seems like she owns it. Might be a family shop but seeing as how she is the only worker there whenever the heroes meet at the shop it’s fair to say that it’s hers. I look forward to her appearing more in season 2 and taking names.

Felicia has a hammer which is pretty cool because I don’t think any of the characters used that weapon before. She’s definitely more of a power fighter who likes to just run in and start hitting Witches. Her wish is easily one of the most direct ones of the group as she wants to eradicate them all. It’s a nice change of pace as most only destroy witches because they have to and it isn’t their ultimate goal. I feel like she’s the kind of character who will start out strong but quickly get surpassed by everyone as the series goes on. We’ll see though, perhaps she will stay as top tier. I thought she looked pretty solid here.

Momoko’s role is unfortunately a lot smaller than the other characters which is a shame. She’s one of the more mature members of the group and is always trying to keep everyone’s spirits up. It’s a difficult job considering how much they all have to go through on a daily basis between the witches and everything. One potential red flag is that she’s very upbeat all the time right now which usually means that she is hiding some kind of deep pain. I expect she’ll get a much bigger role in season 2. I’d like to see her in more fights because she was talented and her battle style is fun to watch.

Kaede and Rena get their own plot as their friendship is tested quite a bit as the show goes on. Rena isn’t good at making apologies and Kaede can be a little too quick to say sorry which makes Rena get even more upset. It’s a pretty tough dynamic they’ve got going on. It’s particularly tricky since they are both magical girls since one moment of despair can quickly prove to be the end for them. Then you’ve also got the cult of magical girls running around trying to get everyone to join the darkness. More on that group in a sec but they’ve definitely become pretty influential in the series. They’ve assembled a whole lot of magical girls.

For guest stars we get to see Mami, Kyoko, and Sayaka. Mami gets the biggest role out of the group and proves to be the one with the weakest will as always. It’s a shame because she always seems like a nice person, but one who is easily manipulated. She cracked in the alternate timeline of the first show, didn’t look so good in Rebellion, and then now we have this show. Kyoko only really gets a guest star role here but it does let us know that she’ll be around so she’ll probably do more in season 2. Right away she looked better than Mami here though as she realized that things were not adding up and was quick to assist the real heroes. Finally we have Sayaka who finally steps up at the end of the show. Her regeneration is as good as always but in a battle of pure force she’s nowhere near Mami’s level.

So the big plot going on throughout the show is about the group known as the Magius. They consist of a group of Magical Girls who claim to have found a way to rid the world of Witches once and for all while also ending the curse of Magical Girls being fated to die and turn into them. Naturally this is a pretty tempting offer so a lot of girls join their ranks. It’s still unclear exactly what their true purpose is, but even some of the main characters join their flock. I wouldn’t say that this is such a bad thing if they appeared to be on the level but they don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re shady. One of them openly threatens to murder anyone who disagrees with her and they also created a sketchy program to trap people in an endless abyss until they die. These are the “heroes”?

I’m glad Iroha, Kyoko, and Sayaka didn’t get fooled. The girls who did definitely lose some points there. I do like the idea of a group of evil Magical Girls though. It’s something that this franchise hasn’t really explored before. I admit it was always a little disappointing when a fight was getting ready to break out with them only for it to be called off. This show has quite a few fakeouts like that but it looks like they want to leave all of that for the sequel. Here they mainly summon Witches to fight as their proxy. Still, the group clearly does have a goal and who knows, maybe it is on the level. Perhaps they are just a more extremist version of the Girls who want to use any means necessary to murder the Witches. Not to build up too much hype for season 2 but it does seem to be when everything is really going to meet up and all the plots hit their climax.

The show mainly relies on a new ost but there are some old themes here as well. The ost is still pretty hype and whenever the heroes end up in a labyrinth you know things could get tricky for them. The animation is also quite good and it’s nice to see the characters fighting with more updated animation. In that regard the show certainly did surpass the original title. Everything is quite streamlined and the fight scenes are smooth. This isn’t really a show where fights are the main focus although I expect season 2 will have more of them so I’m always glad to see good animation.

So, where does this show take place? For now I am going to assume you have seen the first show. If you have not then skip the next two paragraphs. After all, it doesn’t make sense to discuss the future seasons if you haven’t seen the original. So here’s how I see it. At the end of the original show Madoka sacrificed herself to end all Witches. This created the Wraiths in their place. This show still has the witches so the first guess would be that they are before the show ended right? Alternately you could say it takes place after Rebellion since Homura undid Madoka’s wish and brought back Witches although they weren’t quite real. I don’t think this would work though because Walpurgisnacht wasn’t revived. As a result, I think this is one of the broken timelines.

We know from the first show that Homura tried to stop Walpurgisnacht hundreds of times and failed in each timeline until Madoka saved the day. So it stands to reason that this is one of the many timelines where she failed. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is the one who has formed this group of rebel Magical Girls to try to end the curse and finish off Walpurgisnacht. It would make sense as Homura took a different strategy in each attempt. While it would mean that ultimately every action in the show would be futile it would be a pretty epic twist. So right now this theory makes the most sense to me and it’ll be fun to see how season 2 goes with this. I really doubt the show would do something to reverse Rebellion’s ending as that would be saved for a proper sequel. I know Homura shows up in the game though so I expect she’ll make her presence known in season 2 and that should answer a lot of questions.

Overall, Magia Record is definitely a lot of fun. It can feel more episodic and it’s not trying to be quite as deep as the main show but there are always elements beneath the surface just waiting to pop up. The ending is also pretty excellent. It was quite possibly my favorite part of the whole show. It feels like the tone suddenly shifted and it helps that the song was really great as well. In a way, the first 11 episodes were all setup for these final moments. It really sets up the sequel season quite well and also raises the stakes. It ties in a bit to where this takes place as I mentioned earlier as well. I’m hoping season 2 jumps us right into the action there. I’m expecting we’ll see more of the old cast as well since they are destined to show up for this confrontation. I highly advise watching the original show before checking this one out so you can understand the framework. After that, definitely jump into this show and if the wait for season 2 is too long you can always download the mobile game and try to reach the end.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review


It’s time to look at a fun action RPG. This game was on my radar for a very long time even though I ultimately did not end up picking it out when the game first came out on the Wii U. I just ended up waiting until finally it came out for the Switch and I knew I needed to pick it up. Cut to my video game backlog going under 70 for the first time and to celebrate I got this game along with a few others. The game is definitely a blast and I always love playing a big RPG adventure like this one. It’s definitely a very fun game that is also quite difficult. Without the Bloom Palace and it’s super grinding areas I dare say that I could still be playing this game right now.

The game starts by introducing us to the mass disappearance event. A show was being conducted by two mega famous idols but then suddenly everyone vanished. Cut to 5 years later and people still don’t know what happened. Our main character Itsuki is waiting at the mall for his friend when he bumps into a childhood friend of his, Tsubasa. She is trying to be an idol herself and is pretty close in the auditions to finally hitting it big. Unfortunately, that’s when tragedy strikes. The director is actually being controlled by a mirage and kidnaps her. Itsuki heads in as well and ends up harnessing the power of the mirages to save her. He is bonded with Chrome and Tsubasa also gets a Mirage of her own. They find out that there is a larger war between humans and mirages at play right now and they all have a role in it. Can the heroes find out why everyone at the concert vanished 5 years ago and stop any future threats? In the meantime they also have to work hard because they now work for an actual Idol company so Tsubasa’s dream of being a professional is almost complete.

While this is partially a Fire Emblem game to the loosest extent, it’s totally a stand alone adventure. It’s also a very character driven game so the main story takes a backseat for the most part. Each chapter will have someone get possessed and then the heroes head in to save the victim from going over to the dark side. In the final chapter or two we find out about the real main villain and that starts the climax. In between each chapter is an intermission where you get some dancing instructions and it’s also a chance for you to hang out and complete some side quests. The story may not be the deepest, but it’s still pretty fun. I’m always up for seeing the Fire Emblem characters even if they’re basically just ghosts here.

The game also shines with how it throws in fully animated cutscenes at times. It’s pretty epic when the transitions happen. The normal cutscenes are also pretty solid though as they go for more of a cell shaded look. There are quite a few cutscenes here to be sure so this really feels like a AAA title. The soundtrack is also pretty good I’d say. There are a wide range of themes here and they all work rather well. One of the things I like about RPGs is they are long enough where you get to really know all of the characters and enjoy the wide range of activities in the world. There is a ton of replay value to enjoy here after all and the main campaign is over 20 hours long. If you don’t take advantage of the Bloom Palace then it’ll probably be even longer.

So the main gameplay is that of a classic turn based RPG. When it’s your turn you can choose to use one of your skills or an item. The game has an elemental system so some attacks will be super effective on different kinds of enemies. A pretty fun thing the game does is make those elements secret until you use an attack. So if it’s an enemy you haven’t fought before then all of his elemental resistances will show a question mark. Once you beat him then for all future occurrences you will see the strengths and weaknesses. It’s something that could work well in Pokemon if you ask me since it would give more reason to actually fill out the Pokedex.

You can use 3 characters in a party and when you use a super effective attack then the others can jump in and get an extra attack if they have an applicable skill. As you level characters up and gather materials you can also unlock passive abilities for the cast. These can be quite helpful. For example, there is one passive skill that allows every character in the back row to get a turn as well. What this ultimately means is that you can have 7 attacks in a single turn every turn. You can see how much of an advantage this would be right? Ultimately I only unlocked one of these skills before beating the game though. You need a high bond level to unlock them and that requires fighting with the character for a while or working on their side quests. You also need materials and since I did all of my grinding in the dungeon I didn’t really have almost any materials.

It’s actually something that caught up to me by the end of the game. I got all of my characters to level 99 but without materials it meant that my characters still had really weak weapons. Surprisingly those make such a difference that even being level 99 didn’t help to balance things back out. So if you do decide to train up there then be sure to still go in and fight some real minions. Those materials are absolutely essential and I can confirm that you will be really glad to have them on hand. I really love how in depth the complex the game goes with the mechanics though. Each of your weapons also have passive effects you can unlock which encourages you to fight with the sub weapons as well. Then you can use dust to increase your stats. There are a ton of ways to beat each boss so the strategy is entire up to you. Choose wisely.

The cast also isn’t bad although they’re fairly weak compared to most RPG titles. Itsuki for example is a reasonable main character, but he’s borderline an avatar character because the guy has no real character. He’s a nice guy who’s super humble and always does the right thing. That’s nice and all but he never really shows much personality. Tsubasa is also a fun heroine but shows a similar level of energy. Her thing is that she tends to mispronounce words. It’s a reasonably solid gimmick I’d say. The best character here is probably the rival who shows up a few times to get in your way. He’s definitely not someone to be trifled with.

Overall, Tokyo Mirages is a game that lived up to the hype. The story may not have been the greatest compared to other big RPGs, but I was still entertained the whole way through. The most important thing is the gameplay of course and that was definitely on point from start to finish. I’d certainly be up for a sequel at some point. I’ve definitely got more RPG titles to work on as well so I’ll be ready for another big adventure soon. In the meantime if you haven’t picked this game up yet then you should. Just don’t go in expecting a whole lot of Fire Emblem characters. They help a bit with the lore but that’s about it, no Roy or Ike or anything like that. If you remember your Fire Emblem elemental types for the weapons that should help you quite a bit with guessing what attacks to use off the bat though.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Review


It’s time to look at the long awaited sequel to the first Maleficent film. That one was definitely quite good and I remember being impressed because it actually did surpass my expectations. It showed that there are still new ways to adapt some of the old classics. Maleficent also made for a quality character. Unfortunately the sequel is quite the step down from the first one. It’s not a massive shift in terms of score as this is still a good movie but there are a lot of questionable moments of characters making terrible decisions and Aurora’s character was completely wrecked.

The movie starts out with Aurora deciding to finally get married to Phillip. She is a princess and he is a prince so this will be a good way to unite the two kingdoms so everyone can live in harmony and forget about the corruption of the world. Unfortunately that’s not the way it is to be. Phillip’s mother Ingrith is not pleased with this and decides that she will fool these suckers into letting their guard down. She invites Maleficent into the castle and frames her for the murder of the king. Maleficent leaves and gets sniped out of the sky like a rank amateur while Aurora loses all of her intelligence and obeys Ingrith’s every whim. Realizing that the humans are going to win at this rate, Borra convinces all of the demons to attack the kingdom. Can they stop the evil humans?

I’ve got several problems here and the graphics aren’t one of them. The film looks quite solid. I like the energy effects and the destruction scenes we have are very good. The soundtrack isn’t terribly memorable but it does work well for the dramatic scenes. There’s a good amount of technical effort that was put into this film. Additionally the script was solid and the pacing was on point. You won’t be bored during this movie and it is careful not to make any big mistakes. So far so good eh? Well, lets talk about some of the issues here because the writing was not up to the task this time.

First off is Aurora. I haven’t seen a character catch as many Ls as this princess in a very long time. She’s one of the more unlikable characters and is now my least favorite Disney princess. First off, she doesn’t believe Maleficent when the lead tells her that she didn’t murder the king. Instead Aurora chooses to passively believe the quite obviously evil queen. Then Ingrith convinces Aurora to turn her back on the dress that the fairies made for her in order to fit in. Aurora is very quick to ditch her heritage and even agree to live in Ingrith’s castle. Aurora has absolutely no agency in the film and sides with all of the worst people. She’s proven here that she is not ready to leave and completely betrays Maleficent’s trust. It’s too bad because Aurora used to be a good character but I think she let romance cloud her judgment and forgot that she has an equal stake in this.

Then you’ve got the gullible monsters who walked straight into the murder house. Why didn’t any of them suspect something when no humans were walking in to the church? They do know that the humans have despised them for a long time so as soon as they noticed that Aurora wasn’t there they should have left. You never walk straight into a villain base without a plan. Then as some of them started getting murdered by the smoke they all started panicking and running. Why didn’t the massive tree monsters try breaking one of the many windows in the castle? They also should have attacked the girl playing the trumpet a lot sooner since she had no real protection. The monsters just looked incredibly weak and I had an issue with that. The scene made no sense.

We also can’t forget how weak the demons were. They were a disgrace as the humans were actually beating them. Humans! You can’t lose to a human, it’s just not done. This only happens when the humans are evil, when they’re good guys then they suddenly can’t fight for beans. It was pretty annoying to see everyone get wiped out by Ingrith’s armies and when they finally start to make a comeback they are forced to stop fighting. The worst example of this was Borra. After watching most of his allies get murdered by one guy he flies in to avenge them but prince Phillip stops him and gives the other guy a full pardon. They’re back to being friends in the next scene. Really? This army guy just betrayed everyone and murdered tons of people but he gets a full pardon? I think a full rebellion is liable to break out in this kingdom over the next few days because that was just wild. I still don’t get how you can lose to humans but let us press on.

Prince Phillip is super oblivious to everything. Aurora should have been telling him what was going on sooner but he also should have kept himself in the loop a little more. He let Ingrith handle everything and that’s really not the case when you’re king. He also clearly did not visit his father in the hospital bed at all since he didn’t notice the obvious wound on him that would have proven that Maleficent was not to blame. He just trusted the report and had no real agency. That’s a big red flag for a character.

Ingrith makes for a good villain in part because she is the only intelligent character around. She actually makes a lot of good plans and takes down all of her opponents with ease. She comes close to murdering Maleficent twice and also takes down whole armies. While she is on the right side at least she is actually an effective ruler. Ingrith knows how to lead her armies and how to take down opposing armies. Something tells me that Aurora and Phillip will not be able to do the same.

Then we have Maleficent who is all bark and no bite in this film. She loses most of her hype with how she has to try and be nice to everyone while Ingrith doesn’t bother with such things. Maleficent loses every verbal debate they have quite badly. I was shocked at how one sided all of their discussions were to the point where I couldn’t really blame Maleficent for running away. I do blame her for getting sniped so easily though. Then in the final fight she should have taken more of the enemies down or at least beaten Ingrith. Losing to her 1 on 1 was the ultimate moment of sadness for her character.

When you boil down to the heart of things, my main issue with this film was the writing. The characters all just looked terrible and seemed to have the average IQ of a slasher film protagonist. They made it awful easy for the villain to do what she wanted to all of them. I would have preferred more of a balanced fight and for the humans to have actually taken some losses. They get away with literal murder in this film as it feels like an unconditional surrender for the fairy folk by the end. The humans now have complete reign over everything.

Overall, This sequel just couldn’t match the original. It’s a decent movie and one I could see again but it makes a whole lot of mistakes. Aurora is hard to watch with how terrible she is and the ending just doesn’t feel fair. Maleficent should have just wiped everyone out and moves somewhere else where she would have been better appreciated. I think that would have done quite a lot to balance things out. If you like the original then you should still check this one out. Logic aside the film is still pretty entertaining with only some slow parts to hold the pacing back. If we get a third film hopefully it embraces the action a little more with a better outcome to the fight. The rest of the demons also need a buff since they looked so weak.

Overall 6/10