Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Review


It’s been quite a while since I saw the first Goosebumps film, but now it was time to see how the sequel turned out. Slappy returns here with his biggest adventure yet. The kids will have to work hard in order to stop him and may even need Stine’s help for this round. It’s a fun Halloween title to check out and balances the action and comedy well.

The movie picks up with Sarah having trouble with her essay. She is usually good at writing but for some reason she just can’t seem to get into this assignment. Meanwhile her brother Sonny is working on a school project to demonstrate electricity but is having no luck with that either. His friend Sam suggests he takes a break on that to work on his new side job. Sam started a garbage picking up business in their name to earn some cash on the side although he has to work on his negotiating skills since he accepts the first job for free. They find a book and accidentally awaken the dummy known as Slappy. Slappy wants to just be a part of the family but does he have a hidden agenda her?

With a character like Slappy you’re always wondering if perhaps he could be on the side of the heroes if they let him into the family. Of course they have to be careful with this. The first red flag is that he wants the boys to keep him a secret from the others but also makes a lot of noises so people will notice Slappy. It’s a bit of an odd mismatch there and the main characters should have called him out on this.

Slappy quickly takes things to the extreme though as he humiliates some bullies and also beats up Sarah’s ex. The characters realize that Slappy is too dangerous for his own good and that’s really where the conflict starts. I will say Slappy definitely works as a solid villain. He really keeps the kids at bay and has a memorable laugh. It’s a catchy chuckle that you won’t forget by the time the movie is done. He may not have the same level of durability as someone like Chucky but this guy’s telepathic abilities are not to be underestimated.

Slappy summons up some minions to help him out as well but there’s never any doubt as to who is in charge. Most of the other villains don’t have much of a character. You have the store clerk who turns into a Hyde kind of monster. He’s the only other one with a role but I wasn’t a big fan of that guy. His romance with Kathy didn’t really work and felt a bit out of place in the film. As a monster he also didn’t seem quite as smart as he once was.

Stine’s role here is very small but it’s an effective one. I think the movie was having a bit of fun trolling the audience with how he is used. At the very least you won’t be forgetting his role by the time that it’s done which does show how memorable it was. The supporting character who really stole the show here was Mr. Chu. Chu takes all of the holidays extremely serious including Halloween. The guy has a whole army’s worth of costumes in his house and you feel a bit bad in how nobody really gives him any attention.

It’s clear that he would like someone to check out what he’s done with the place but the characters don’t give him the time of day until their lives are literally at stake. I thought they were a bit rude to be honest but Chu doesn’t take it personally and still helps them out the whole time. Definitely the kind of neighbor that you would want to have around when the city is in crisis mode.

As for the main characters, it’s a reasonable cast although I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of any of them. You have Sarah with her writing block issues and she isn’t the most responsible babysitter until she is betrayed by someone at school and then learns to put family above the others. She lands a good hit on Slappy and is more ready for physical confrontations than the other characters so she gets some points there.

Kathy is a bit oblivious to what is going on the whole time but granted, it is hard to jump to the conclusion that there are a bunch of monsters out there trying to take over the town. It is more sensible to think that they are all just wearing costumes as normal. After she is captured though I would have liked to have seen a little more urgency from her. Ultimately Kathy really goes down without a fight.

Then you have Sonny who is completely scared of Slappy right off the bat. I know a talking dummy is rather spooky but your best bet is absolutely rushing him and landing some quick combos before he can activate his tk abilities. Whether this is DBZ, One Punch Man, or Mob Psycho, overwhelming a mental specialist with physical blows is always the best way to stop this kind of fighter. Sonny just stays on the defensive the whole time which costs him. He also isn’t as pro active as Sam is in regard to earning money or even doing anything really.

When the bullies show up, Sonny is quick to surrender immediately while at least Sam is ready to fight back. So Sam gets a higher score here without a doubt. Sure he may not win the fight with the bullies but standing up to them is a very important first step. Now with the character critiques you do have to factor in that the movie is part comedy so of course the characters don’t tend to make the right moves a lot. Whether it’s a comedy or a thriller though, I’m still taking these decisions into account.

Slappy has the absolute edge in terms of ability an character over all of the heroes combined. They are really lucky that he didn’t pull out the win here because that very easily could and dare I say should have happened. There just isn’t any counter to him so as long as he keeps his guard up there isn’t anything they can do.

The film flies by very quickly and the pacing is on point. I was cool with the writing and while it isn’t earth shattering or anything, it was solid. I liked the various monster designs we got. The standout there had to be the gummy bear creatures. I liked the teamwork they used and their abilities are also versatile enough where you can see how they would be one of the more terrifying enemies to go up against. The first film has the edge in how sinister the designs were (The Werewolf was played more seriously in that film than any monster in this one) but this one went a little more all out with how crazy these creatures could be. It isn’t taken as seriously but there’s a lot of variety over here.

Overall, Goosebumps 2 is a pretty solid film. It makes for a pleasant watch and there are really no negatives here. The main cast may not be great but this is the kind of film where you are here for the villains anyway to see how they can scare the heroes at any point. The movie also has a true twist ending like a horror film and it sets up the third movie nicely. It’s really the perfect way to end the film and even if we don’t get a third film you can certainly imagine how things will go from here. I think it’s clear that it will be difficult or almost impossible to stop this threat.

Overall 7/10

Dreamscape Review


If you were able to weaponize a dream that would have to be one of the more dangerous prospects out there. How can you defend yourself if you’re still dreaming? Well, this film delves into that and it makes for a very interesting watch. It’s the kind of sci-fi concept that’s cool to check out and the film keeps it engaging by throwing in some monsters too.

The movie starts off with Alex using his psychic powers to win at the horse races again. Unfortunately he’s not too subtle with his constant winnings and so people are starting to hunt him down to get some of those profits. This leads to him being desperate enough to get into a car with some shady characters who take him to Professor Paul. Paul was a part of the group that originally ran the tests with Alex and got him these psychic powers.

Well, the experiments have continued and they need Alex once again. Alex was always one of the most promising cadets after all so they need him now. The idea is that Alex can jump into a person’s dreams and help them contend with previous traumas or even just give the scientist some info based on the dream. Ideally this is a way to help humanity because you can end nightmares and other forms of stress. Unfortunately, the government has other plans for this.

If you die in the dream you die in the real world so what better way than to use this for an assassination right? There is a particularly disturbed guy named Tommy at this lab and he has psychic abilities that rival Alex’s own. Alex will have to decide if he stays at the lab to help the patients who really need him or if he should get out before he is in some real danger.

Now when I say psychic powers, I should emphasize that we’re talking purely mental here so don’t expect people to be throwing trees. Alex can see through trading cards and into the mind to an extent. He can go into someone’s dreams but he can’t go into their minds like that when they’re awake or at least not to a serious degree. He can pull out some thoughts from the top of their minds at least.

Alex is a solid main character and I can see why he ran off the first time. It definitely doesn’t seem like this is the kind of place where you would be safe for too long. They’ll use you for the intel and then you’ll be taken out. Growing up in such a facility is probably why Alex is very tough in the present. He’s always got a barb ready for the other characters and has a lot of bravado. He ultimately does decide to help a little kid who was having nightmares even though a lot of other people died earlier.

So Alex does have his heroic qualities as well. Mainly the only scene I really didn’t like is when he went into Jane’s dream to have an affair when she had been declining him in the real world. It’s definitely a low move and it’s hard to see how their romance was still able to flourish despite this in the present. That seems like it would be a relationship killer to me.

As for Jane, well she tries to keep things professional but Alex isn’t interested in that from the start. Jane’s not on board with the more shady elements of the job so she does have more of a moral compass than the other staffers but there wasn’t a whole lot to her character. You’ve got Paul who wants to keep the experiments on the level but he ultimately reacted a little too slowly. Maybe if this was less of a charged area he would have been okay but the instant he stayed late at night and said no to the villain I knew it was game over. It was a tense scene when he walks into the hallway though. The guy just didn’t act until it was too late but he does at least have a backup plan set into motion by then.

Bob is the main villain here and the guy is rather intense. The film plays out a bit like a government conspiracy title at times and he does a really good job in that role. You can tell that he’s willing to do anything in order to have that weapon. These corporate kind of villains always manage to be very interesting and this guy’s no exception. Then you have the crazy Tommy who is all too happy to join in with this.

He’s a guy who always liked using his psychic powers for evil so it’s a perfect fit. Alex is really the only person that Tommy can’t intimidate. In the fight scenes that take place in the dream, I like how creatively Tommy uses his abilities. Really he could have murdered Alex in an instant if he wasn’t so busy toying with the guy the whole time. It’s why you never want to play with your food.

There’s also Charlie who is definitely the most random character in the film. Somehow or other he knows about what is going on with the dream wars and manages to track Alex down. The guy must have a lot of connections but at the same time he had no exit plan which doesn’t go over very well for him. Choosing a crowded location was a good idea but ultimately it just wasn’t safe enough. I was glad about his inclusion though because the conspiracy scenes are some of the most tense ones in the film.

Finally there is also the President but he’s not the smartest member in the group. I don’t think having bad dreams would be enough for me to subject myself to a super risky dream experiment that is still in the trial phase. Nah, I’m definitely not doing that. He also comes across as weak with how he isn’t able to touch Bill even though he was almost murdered. This guy’s the President? I don’t care about red tape at that point, you blast Bill and then cover it up. He should at least have that much power.

The film definitely has a really intense ending on two fronts. First is Alex’s final decision and battle which is a really effective scene. Then you have the final moment which will make you really think everything over again like Inception. My view is that the ending isn’t quite real, but it’s hard to say how far back it goes. Depending on how far back we’re talking…well that could be depressing for Alex.

An area where the film really excels is with the actual dreams. I liked the visuals we had there from the Nuclear aftermath to that creature that Alex had to fight. The dreams had a solid atmosphere to them and even the opening dream with the guy getting cheated on had a very grainy look to it that let you know this was a dream right away. I could have done without that crazy dream but it certainly felt weird enough to fit right in.

Overall, Dreamscape is a solid thriller. It has that classic 80s feeling as well where something just isn’t right but it’s hard to put your finger on it. Everyone seems dodgy and the whole area seems unsafe. You get the feeling that Alex is always being watched even when no one is around. That general atmosphere of unease is hard to nail and the film did a good job with it. I’d recommend checking this out if you want to see how the world of dreams can be a very dangerous thing.

Overall 6/10

Notting Hill review


Notting Hill is one of those films where you feel like the main guy allows himself to be used a little too much. Get ready for an adventure filled with cheating, betrayal, and in general a rather unhealthy relationship that is not likely going to go anywhere. It can make for a fun watch at times with some fun accents but at other times you’ll be shaking your head. Ultimately it may have done well to have reduced the length of the movie by a bit.

The movie starts off by introducing us to William at his humble book store. He has always done all right for himself but has no spectacular memories or events that he can talk about. Deep down he has always hoped that something fantastic would happen to him. Unfortunately that just has not yet been the case. One day, a famous actress known as Anna walks into the store and changes his life. They quickly begin to have an affair and everything is going well until he finds out that he was just the side man and she is already seeing someone.

Still, it’s not every day that you have an affair with a celebrity. Anna is willing to continue anyway but can William be satisfied with this arrangement? He will have to have some serious conversations with his family to see what to do. All along he has to wonder if this is really happening or if it’s all some kind of fantasy he has cooked up.

A lot of my issues with the film do come down to William. I would say Anna as well but primarily I’m looking at William since he is so passive here. First off, I will say he can be an entertaining character. He reminds me of the Dragons from Dragon’s Den with how he tends to speak his mind in a passive aggressive sort of way. He has a rather decent set up at home and his life isn’t bad. He may not have had that spectacular experience yet but do you need one if your life is consistently positive?

Once he meets Anna is when things start to sour for him. First off, she knows him for about 10 minutes and then suddenly on impulse decides to make a move. He’s thrilled of course but also mystified. She then calls him into her office to say that it didn’t mean anything only for them to have another affair moment shortly thereafter. They go out for a while before he catches her with the other guy.

William decides to take a step back since this may not be quite right. Still, Anna shows up again and William decides to give it another try. Only this time the reporters showed up and she blames him so they split up again. He decides that he won’t fall for this again but when she is filming in town he shows up to say hey and overhears her talking about him in a rather dismissive way. He leaves once again and then she returns. This cycle keeps on repeating over and over and over again.

Perhaps if the writing was utterly brilliant this could work but I wouldn’t say the script was that impressive here. It’s not bad mind you, but it’s rather standard stuff. You have some clever moments like one of William’s family trying to give Anna acting tips on how tough the profession is before he knows that she is an actress but then you have more cringe worthy stuff like William’s inferiority complex showing in full display as he asks Anna about famous actors.

That scene involving the ice cream drags on for a day and a half. So the film’s writing is okay but it would pale next to many comedies. It’s less of an up and down ride with laughs and jokes that fail but most of a steady cruise that you will rarely find super funny but shouldn’t get all that annoying either. It’s just the endless cycle that gets really annoying because you feel like William should eventually just stop falling for the bait.

Part of why I put the blame on him each time is that he’s the one who chooses to continue going on like this even though he ends up getting hurt each and every time. It’s not like Anna takes it as hard since to her it seems less personal. Well, I’ve slammed on William a lot for now so lets turn to Anna.

It’s hard to sympathize with Anna as well because she clearly had no problem being with two guys at once. She would have continued with that setup had she not been caught. That already speaks volumes about her character. Anna just doesn’t have a lot of class in that respect. She is completely unreasonable about the reporters showing up considering that William did not sell her out. She had no reason to speak ill of William to her co-star except to try and prop herself up.

All in all, I found it impossible to root for the romance. It has to be one of the weakest ones I’ve seen in a while. These two have been hurt way too many times over a single relationship in such a short time frame for all to be well. It’s also always hard to just overlook cheating when the relationship is just getting started because you will then always have the doubt in the back of your mind. What if the other person is still cheating at this very moment? You really can’t know for sure.

As for side characters, the main one would be Spike. He’s William’s roommate and a pretty bad character. He results in most of the worst humor moments because the guy just isn’t funny. His thing is that he’s a big slob who always lets William down when it counts the most. He forgets to remember who called, how to take notes, and even rats out on Anna for a few seconds of fame. It’s easy to forget how these two could even be friends in the first place. They certainly don’t seem to get along much but I suppose the argumentive dynamic may be what keeps them together. Spike doesn’t take anything personal and William vents a lot but doesn’t let it really affect him much.

The rest of the family shows up for a while too but I wouldn’t say they were that great. William’s sister is a little too obsessed with trying to be Anna’s friend. She comes off as rather odd the whole time and the “romance” with Spike near the end comes out of nowhere. The married couple was good at least as they had a solid dynamic going and the ex-wall street investor had a lot of confidence which was good. So I guess the supporting cast was decent.

Overall, What really holds Notting Hill back is that the romance is absolutely bonkers. The characters go through the cycle way too many times. It’s also a bit laid back for a comedy film so laughs are few and far between. The best sequence of moments was when William had to interview a lot of people on a film he knew nothing about. You’d think he could have done a little better on the spot with thinking up questions but at that point he was too obsessed with Anna to think of much else. If you want to check out a film where you live through the fantasy of a rich actress deciding to have an affair with you at first sight then I guess this is the right stop. If you want something a little more realistic like finding your future wife in a data world and being tasked as the savior of humanity then I would recommend checking out Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale instead.

Overall 4/10

The Law of Ueki Review


The Law of Ueki is a manga that was a lot of fun back in the day. It tends to be overlooked when talking about some of the top action titles but it can certainly hold its own. The series had a lot of fun characters and engaging fights. It’s no surprise that the anime really handles this quite well too. You can really divide the anime into two sagas even though it’s all the same tournament. Pre Celestials and Post. Either way you should have a blast with both versions and with a satisfying conclusion you can put this away as a very complete anime.

Law of Ueki opens up with a premise about a big tournament about to be held by the Celestial King. The winner of this tournament will receive the Talent of *Blank* meaning that you can write down whatever is there. Naturally that’s a very enticing prize for most. Each Celestial is able to choose one human to represent them in the tournament as this is a battle through proxy as the celestials would be too overpowered. You are allowed to give your candidate one power that you currently possess.

The candidates then have to seek each other out and defeat their opponents. Each time you defeat an opponent you also gain a personal skill like the talent to dance or things like that. Defeat them all and you will presumably win the tournament. Injuring non ability users is a strict no no though as you will lose a talent for each person you injure. Lose them all and you will cease to exist.

That brings us to the main celestial Mr. K who is thinking about having Ueki be his candidate. Mr. K is determined to see if the boy has an air of righteousness about him though and gives a lot of tests. Ueki completes each one as the guy is just a nice kid by default so Mr. K selects him. Ueki makes the rather interesting decision to take the power of turning trash into trees. Will he really be able to win this tournament with such an ability? His best friend Mori isn’t so sure so she decides to tail him everywhere to keep him safe.

Mori’s definitely a great friend to have. She really has nothing to do with this battle and prior to the series it’s hard to say if they really were true best friends. Still, she knew he was in danger so she jumped in to help which is definitely a heroic thing to do. Throughout the series she always has his back. She may not be the biggest fighter but she does participate in the tournament and does well when needed. Mori is quite determined and doesn’t go down easy. I would go as far as to say she is one of the better Shonen heroines.

The opening episodes of the show are mostly about introducing us to Ueki’s opponents, future rivals, and how the fights will go down. Ueki will typically end up going against a power user not because he really wants to win but because he realizes that it will be a bad thing if these guys get the talent of blank. Let’s just say that they don’t exactly have an air of righteousness about them after all so they would definitely end up leading the world into ruin. Sometimes their wishes aren’t super crazy evil but they’re always very selfish.

Ueki shows these guys what’s up by taking them out and he also gets more familiar with his ability. He doesn’t mind using it on humans when he sees anyone acting with evil intentions though. Due to this Ueki quickly starts losing a whole lot of talents. It’s a good thing Mori is here or he would probably go down to 0. Still, aside from one episode about track and field where he wasted talents for no real reason, each of the other times it felt necessary for him to use his ability or people would really get hurt.

The power to change trash into trees is a unique one so I give the series credit there. In general I thought the author was very creative with the abilities. Being able to turn towels into iron is another unique one for example or being able to put a portrait of someone’s face to simulate their voice. They aren’t abilities I’ve seen anywhere else or that I expect I’ll see in the future.

Ueki’s power system is also pretty well thought out. Each ability has a limiting condition that must be applied in order for it to work and also to negate it. That means there is a lot of strategy here instead of going for the I win button each time. Every character has to watch their actions closely which makes for a lot of nice back and forth battles.

Then the second half of the series I’d say is when the Robert’s 10 shows up although you could also make the case it should be when the tournament’s next round starts so they all go to the Celestial World. If we go with the latter, a big change is this is now a team tournament to Ueki teams up with Ai, Sano, Rinko, and Hideyoshi to form their 5 man team. Additionally, Ueki starts to learn some new abilities thanks to being a celestial and the concept of a grade 2 weapon is introduced as well.

Ueki getting some twists and a power up was pretty good because it does explain why he survives some absolutely brutal attacks throughout the course of the show. They are moves you wouldn’t expect a normal human to walk away from but taking a beating in anime isn’t exactly a new concept. So even without the twist I don’t think it would be a big deal but it is part of what makes this knowledge effective.

The major change here though are Ueki’s new abilities. Now that he has celestial weapons, super speed, and a bunch of ranged weapons, the whole tree power grows less and less helpful. It makes sense because such an ability had huge limitations from the start but you do feel to an extent like it changes all battles going forward. Now instead of strategy it was more about spamming your celestial weapons so for better or worse it completely changes how all of the fights go.

Personally I was a fan of it though. No matter how you slice it, it would have been a little cheesy for Ueki to have caught up to the others without some kind of big boost. Most of the other characters still have to rely on their natural talent so for their battles you still have the strategy. Ueki also does his best to mix and match weapons so it’s still unique.

Ueki’s just a pretty great character. At times they definitely use him to parody some of the usual moments. One such scene is when a guy he barely knew gets super injured so Ueki goes into a rage mode to fight Robert. The next episode Ueki doesn’t even remember who the guy was though which is super random but he did barely know the guy so maybe it actually makes sense. Ueki’s all about winning the right way and saving everyone he can. He’s a classic main character who always stays very heroic.

You could say the main rival of the series is Sano although Li-Ho could make a case for that as well. Sano’s another heroic guy and his ability of turning towels into iron may not sound impressive but he makes it work. Sano is a master strategist so coming up with plans on the fly like that is really what makes him stand out. He ended up easily being my favorite character in the series due to how impressive he was.

Sano makes up for his lack of pure strength with plans and this is something that comes in handy right through the final episode as well. Whenever you need a hand, Sano is your man. Rinko is another one of the main allies and while she is also a strategist, her methods differ greatly from Sano’s. She prefers to think everything through before making a move while Sano acts as he goes to test out his theories and troubleshoot. While neither approach is objectively better I would go with Sano’s in a fight.

Both of them have issues thanks to this during their team fight and in that case I thought Sano was right since you can’t just hide. Rinko’s power is to turn beads into bombs which is handy but since it’s not the most mobile technique the opponents tend to use that against her. She gets a glove near the end of the series that amps up her powers to a great degree but it’s so late in the game that she doesn’t get to use it a whole lot. She’s a fun character though.

Finally you have Hideyoshi who was added so late in the game that I don’t really think there was a reason for him to be included. He doesn’t really add anything to the dynamic that wasn’t already there and he can’t fight for beans. I won’t take any shots at the guy because he’s okay, but he just didn’t feel necessary is what I’m trying to say here. His power needs a lot of work.

Mr. K gets a fairly big role of course but I admit that he tended to be more annoying than anything. I liked him when he was alive. Despite his tough talk he did come to help Ueki when it counted. Where he got more annoying was once he was dead. The guy went out of his way to try and not hear about how Ueki was doing. It’s all just an act of course but he goes to such extremes that he just ends up being unlikable. So…yeah I wasn’t a fan by the end.

Tenko’s a much better ally for Ueki. He’s willing to make a lot of sacrifices to help him out and isn’t ashamed to be helping him. Now that’s a true ally. Then you have Yodogawa who is not the most loyal guy around to say the least but he gets a lot of fun scenes. There’s a certain track from the OST that plays for all of his scenes and it’s really great. So this guy worked rather well as a comedy character.

Now lets check out some of the villains. First off is the main villain Hanon. I guess I should say final villain as opposed to main since he doesn’t appear for quite a while. The guy is very powerful and really sets his own plans. I like that he’s not just someone who simply follows orders. He also likes a good fight and even entertains Li-Ho on this for a while. That said, he did try going after a random dog so it was lucky that Ueki was there. It could have gotten very dicey. I like his combat energy but going after a dog is just plain petty.

The other big villain is Robert and he really serves as the first huge obstacle in Ueki’s way. His bubbles ability is actually a lot cooler than it sounds with how it can raise and drop objects. Once he takes out the celestial weapons don’t expect that you’ll see a lot of this again though. He served as a good benchmark for how you could measure the rest of the characters. Robert is quite twisted to be sure and the show executes this well. He’s quite the intimidating villain.

Li Ho isn’t really a villain per say but he is a powerful obstacle in Ueki’s way. Part of this guy’s hype is he is so strong in martial arts that he doesn’t even use his super power. The show really milks this since the whole time you are waiting for him to use his abilities. The guy is very determined not to do so which means you can certainly appreciate his resolve even if you feel like he should put his pride aside to just win the fight. His battles against Ueki and Hanon are most excellent and he is definitely one of the best characters in the show.

Onimon is one of the earlier opponents but worth noting as he’s a fun character. He’s really powerful with his whole cannonballs attack and he has a good honor code in place. He’s definitely determined not to win his fights with cheap shots or anything like that and I always like characters like that. Winning isn’t enough, you have to win the right way.

I should also mention the King. He doesn’t get to do a whole lot but as the Celestial King his abilities are absolutely top caliber. There are very few opponents who can take him on. You feel like he probably should have acted a bit sooner though as his plan was very shaky and full of holes from the start. If he had a better plan or thought things through a little more then things would have been very different here. He’s a charismatic guy but there’s no excuse for not acting so I’d give him a thumbs down.

Each of the Robert’s 10 gets a role of course but lets talk about some of the biggest members. First has to be Don as the guy had a big grudge against Ueki from the start. His power to turn rings into rockets was also very impressive. His raw power was absolutely insane and he’s a good example of someone who just isn’t very compatible with the trees ability. Ueki needed something more to take that guy down.

Then you have Marco with his lava ability. Honestly if not for being with Rinko and then trapping Ueki in a tough spot, he would have gone down quick. The guy is good at playing dirty though so he’s pretty memorable. Then you have Taro who is the strongest member of the group. With his lasers and saws it’s tough to take him down. Of course that’s against the rules but it’s not like the Celestial King is paying any attention right? People break the rules constantly in this tournament. Taro was a solid villain though.

Kabara is another tough member. While the guy got humiliated in the end, he did look good in his fight with Mori. A fight that was quite original I might add and really stood out. Then you have Carpaccio who is more like a street gang guy but a very tough one to be sure. His ability to copy powers was already tricky to deal with and then when you combine it with all of his other abilities the guy was a true menace. Definitely not someone who could be taken down easily.

Margarette is a villain who doesn’t appear until near the end of the series but he was also impressive. His grand master plan is certainly ambitious and even end of series Ueki would have a tough time with him. (Ueki would probably still win though) This guy was fun and I wouldn’t have minded seeing him appear a little more just so we could learn more about the guy.

Team Marilyn was certainly one of the most impressive teams in the tournament. Mainly due to their leader, Marilyn herself. Her super speed ability is so broken that even by the end of the fight there was no way for Ueki to beat her. It’s why you have to wonder where she was during the climax as she could have actually given Hanon a good fight. The celestial weapons are all too slow to hit her after all so maybe she could have even won.

Her fight against Ueki is probably the best battle in the series as well. It’s just really good and it fits in well with the rest of the fights because the team battle was also the best in the series. Each member was very dangerous so everyone on Ueki’s team had their work cut out for them. It also helps that nobody on Marilyn’s team was even evil so at times you aren’t sure who to root for. You can just enjoy a battle between two elite teams.

In comparison, Team Barrow at the end isn’t quite as impressive. Sure, maybe they could beat Team Marilyn but I think it would be close and not a guarantee. They have no single member stronger than Marilyn, however as a whole their members are way stronger than her teammates so it does even out. Barrow’s members are all solid. They have Celestial weapons that have different gimmicks so each one has to be handled in a different way. Underestimate them at your own peril.

Law of Ueki has a lot of great humor which is worth noting. The characters lend themselves well to the humor such as Yodogawa being foiled in his plans or Ueki trolling his music friend. Mori’s antics as she tries to use her powers can be a great bit of fun as well. The show also subverts your expectations at times like when one character is gearing up to use some kind of super ultimate attack only to be foiled in the end before he can even do it. Scenes like that really land.

The show has a solid balance of being serious, funny, emotional, and dramatic. To an extent this is true for any good show of course. I’d say where this show really hit the next level and got big was the Robert’s 10 arc. Now I think Ueki took a huge risk that he didn’t need to in trying to join but he was definitely determined. The challenge where he had to lift a block up for several days without moving was crazy. Especially with the characters beating him up and jumping on the rock during the process.

That has to be one of the most intense scenes in the whole show. I’m sure Ueki was definitely ready to take them out after all of that. Even while being undercover Ueki made sure that nobody was going to push him around which I appreciated as well. He matched them blow for blow. That’s also the arc where we started getting a lyrical song before the episode would end which was a great way to end the fights.

The theme song just sounds really epic and it’s part of why you should always choose an opening with that in mind. A similar scene is when Ueki shows up near the end of the series with another inspirational track. The show puts the heroes in some really tight corners so when they get out it definitely feels pretty hype.

The animation is definitely very nice here. The battle scenes are on point and there are a lot of nice effects. Each attack looks good and the hand to hand battles have a lot of smooth transitions. The soundtrack is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say most of the tunes seem to stand their ground when listened to on Youtube but when you mix them into the scenes with context I thought they were quite impressive. Both of the openings are also really good. The first one in particular stands out and really works well when the heroes have a big moment to end the episode.

Overall, The Law of Ueki is a great anime. It’s a show built around a tournament which is always a lot of fun and they are able to develop each character really well. The 50+ episodes all flow by really quickly. Before you know it they’re gone and that’s always the hallmark of a solid title. I can easily recommend this to anyone who likes a good action anime. It’s written well and every aspect of the show holds up well. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Plus anime someday to see the characters return.

Overall 8/10

Tower of God


With the anime review out now I figured I’d also post the web toon post. Of course this series is still going to I’ll have a review up for it when it ends. It’s definitely shaping up to be the most elaborate universe I’ve seen since One Piece with how many different factions are running around. The cast is huge at this point with a huge variance in power levels so I look forward to seeing how this concludes. It’s my first manwa/manhua and paints a very impressive picture of them to be sure. The art is really nice and it goes without saying that the characters are spectacular.

Tower of God Review


Tower of God is one of those anime titles you saw everywhere. The amount of promotion it got was insanely widespread which is impressive. I’ll give Crunchyroll this, they absolutely know how to promote their materials. I would argue ToG and that tournament show got way more promotion than their third webtoon production but I guess by that point they felt the awareness was pretty good. You couldn’t turn the corner without seeing this one and now I’ve gotten to check it out. It’s an excellent anime to be sure and it’s the kind of show that gets better and better the more you think about it. Usually when you sit back and relax as you think about a show, movie, or game the score might stabilize a little lower since you’re past the initial excitement. This is one of the reverse cases as I walked away from the show thinking it was great; Then after reading a good chunk of the web comic, thinking about it some more and basically ended up going from re watching some clips to the whole show this is really a masterpiece.

The show starts off with a character explaining what the Tower of God is. It’s a tower that goes up to the heavens and contains everything that exists. Any answers, power, or goal you want can be attained by climbing it. Due to the tower having such prizes, the risks are also great. We then cut to a boy named Bam and a girl named Rachel. Rachel wants to see the stars some day and she tells Bam not to follow her as she vanishes. Bam decides to follow as best he can though because he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He grew up along in a cave with only Rachel’s visits to break up the monotony of each day.

Bam suddenly appears outside the tower where he is allowed to take the entrance exam. He passes and makes it to the tower’s ground floor. He really doesn’t care about the tower or any secrets it may hold, but he does intend to climb the tower so that he can see Rachel again. He wants to understand more about why she left him and how the stars can be so important. He meets up with a mysterious boy named Khun and a powerful dinosaur hybrid named Rak. Together, these three must rise up the tower and conquer the various tests but can they pull this off?

Right away you can see how this will be quite the ambitious series. The Tower is huge with an unknown amount of floors and each floor has a game/challenge that must be completed in order to make it to the next floor. Each challenge can range from an episode to several and there is always the possibility that you might die. You’ve also got a ton of lore ranging from the 10 great families to Jahad and his Princesses. Then you have the Rankers, assassins, and a bunch of other factions all running around.

Part of the fun of the series is that everything’s all one big mystery. Bam has never even been outside before so he knows nothing about this world. We all have to learn about it along with him and most of the answers won’t even be in season 1. The web comic is around 500 chapter so far and this one covers the first 75 so it’s the tip of the iceberg. It perfectly covers season 1 of the Web comic though so the timing was really on point here.

The writing is also really excellent. A big part of the show are the various mind games as everyone tries to out think the other. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and while characters may tend to overthink things at times, it pays to be cautious. Around every corner is someone who is absolutely brutal and may slay you without a second thought. The power levels in the universe can also get quite drastic as the characters have to remember that while they may be strong…they are only on floor 1. The higher you go the more crazy the opponents will get.

Right away you can tell that the animation style here is a little different. It seems to be modeled after the web comic and has a little less detail at times. It flows together really well for the action scenes though and the character designs are on point. I definitely liked the animation quite a bit and it does shine for the battles like Hatz vs Anaak or Yuri styling on the others at the end. It’s all very smooth and flows into the next scene well.

Where the series really shines though is with the soundtrack. It’s got a very interesting techno theme. In fact, I’d say for the most part the soundtrack sounded like they got it from Toonami bumpers and commercials. The whole thing felt a lot like I was watching Toonami which is pretty nostalgic and also very unique. It’s not a soundtrack I would have immediately connected to Tower of God but it absolutely worked well.

As for the characters, well I have to say that Bam is probably the blandest main character I’ve seen in a while. It may be a bit strong to say he’s the blandest I’ve ever seen but he has to be in the conversation. He’s always got a lifeless look on his face and is basically a one track character who can only think of Rachel. I have to say I was not a big fan of his. This is one of those titles where all of the supporting characters ended up being more interesting. Not to say that Bam is a bad character but if anything you think of him more like a plot device ready to go see Rachel as opposed to his own person. Due to the ending of the season though, you’ll want to see where he goes from here.

There isn’t a lot to say about Rachel in this season without spoilers. She leaves Bam rather quickly and then he sees someone who looks like her in the tower. Can it possibly be the same person? Either way the fact that she ditched Bam so easily and basically told him to stay in a dark cave by himself will probably set off some warning bells for you. She’s a very interesting character to be sure. She definitely wouldn’t rank as one of my favorite characters or anything but I don’t dislike her. If the show was playing her up as a misguided hero or someone we couldn’t understand then I probably would be in that camp. Again it’s hard to say much more for now but I am intrigued at how her plot goes.

Khun is definitely one of the standout characters here. He’s the strategist of the team and those do tend to be a lot of fun, particularly when they are confident in their abilities. Characters like L, Lelouch, Kurama, Eren, Kurapika, and other strategists who know how to break down a plan and acknowledge their own abilities tend to be great. If you’re a genius who isn’t confident like Armin or to a lesser extent someone humble like Shikamaru tend to not excel quite as high for me. Khun is one of those geniuses who knows he is a genius and tends to rub it in everyone’s face.

That’s part of what makes him such a fun character. Whenever he is on screen you know that something hype is about to happen. Right from his very first appearance you already get a good feeling about him and he ends up being one of the most loyal characters in the show. He’s constantly thinking about how to help Bam. Khun’s physical abilities also seemed very impressive when he was able to speed blitz to the crown so he can fight as needed. Then you have the third member of the group Rak. Now, from all of the big characters in the series I felt like he didn’t live up to the hype as much as some of the others. Mainly because the show has to balance a lot of characters so not everyone gets their chance to shine but Rak doesn’t really get to fight any big opponents.

He talks really tough the whole season so I’m hoping he ends up being very impressive but you start to have your doubts after a while. Still, as a comrade he is absolutely someone you want to have on your team. He may not admit it, but he has a good bond with the other characters as well. His chocolate gimmick is also a lot of fun and his brute force contrast to Khun’s intellectual approach gives their team a lot of balance. They may be at odds a lot of the time but at the end of the day Rak does listen to him.

On one of the other teams we have Shibizu. Like Khun he is also a strategist although he’s more low key about it. He may not be a super genius or anything but he is able to figure out most puzzles rather easily. He doesn’t have a lot of skill as he’s more of a standard human but he has a lot of determination and does his best to help out his friends. Like Bam he’s not super stoked to climb up the tower for any one reason and is able to try and help others out without just thinking about himself.

Then you have Hatz who is my favorite character in the series. It’s a pretty impressive title because this series has quite a few high tier characters such as Endorsi and Khun who could be the best character in many other shows or secondary characters like Anaak and Yuri who are also quite solid. Part of why Hatz is at the top is because his intro scene was dynamite. His line that “running away is only for opponents stronger than me” was really good as he attacked the strongest opponent in the area at the time. His twin blade style is also unique as he throws a sword in the air to block an attack while he deals with the other one. His skills are definitely on point.

Hatz gets quite a few action scenes here so I look forward to him fighting again more soon. The third member of the team Anaak is also a really powerful fighter though and someone who sticks out since she has the title of Princess of Jahad. Her Green April is a tough sword to stop too since it can alter its shape and strike from any angle. It’s the kind of weapon you don’t really want to mess with. Even without it she has a good deal of super strength and speed to back her up as well though. That makes her a very solid all around character. While Hatz has his whole thing about being honor bound at all times, Anaak just wants to crush the Jahad family at any cost. We see her origin story and why she wants to do this as well.

Next up is Hoh and we’re finally at one of the weaker characters in the series. The guy gets jealous from day 1 at how much stronger everyone is and so you can’t help but shake your head whenever he is on screen. You can tell that things are going to get dicey for him from day 1. I’m cool with someone just wanting to go up the tower and not making friends but Hoh’s jealousy just makes him such a petty character. I don’t think he quite deserved the big send off/funeral everyone gave him.

Then you have Serena who is more of a normal human like Shibizu. She has a bit of a rivalry going with him and they have a decent fight. Like Shibizu she feels a little out of place next to these guys who can crush mountains but she does well for as long as she can. Her character arc also has a bit of a surprising end to it so that was not something I had expected. Finally there’s Lauroe from their team who is quite powerful. The guy is constantly sleeping and whenever you have a character who is always asleep you can be sure that he’s hiding away a lot of power. His battle with Anaak was quite impressive and so was his big blast of Shinsu. Not many opponents would have been able to endure that. Lauroe’s a very laid back guy and while the sleeping may be a bit much, he’s a decent character.

Endorsi is another one of the standout characters here. She has absolute confidence in everything she does. Whenever Endorsi is on screen you know that someone is going to get absolutely crushed. It’s part of why she’s so much fun. Her only weakness is that her high heels tend to break which is something the anime has a little fun with. Regardless, in a straight fight you can expect that she would absolutely crush almost anyone in this tournament. Her skill are just off the chart and while she at first tries not to get close to anyone, she eventually gets caught up in the spirit of things. At the same time though, she’s not someone you can easily trust as her goals always take priority. You just have to make sure that your existence isn’t in her way. She was very close to passing Hatz as the best character in the series but at least if we go purely from the anime she is still behind him.

Then for one of the other supporting characters we have Paracule who is just annoying most of the time. He’s incredibly weak and is very quick to betray the other characters when it suits him. He’s not someone you could ever trust and he’s always whining. The character is around mainly to serve as a character to dislike but that doesn’t make him any better. It’s hard to even picture how this guy has made it so far. He is quite lucky that’s for sure.

Yuri doesn’t get a whole lot to do here but that makes sense as her abilities are far beyond anything we are expected to see this early on in the tower. You can think of her as a completed Princess of Jahad. A single blow is enough to destroy multiple giant monsters at once and there are few who could hope to be her equal. Then you have the mysterious gate keeper of the tower known as Headon who tests those who wish to join the challenge. He is definitely someone you can expect to be quite powerful although he hasn’t made a move yet. Whether you’re a regular or an irregular he lets you move up the tower. This guy appears to have big plans so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

Then we have some of the rankers like Lero Ro. This guy’s pretty fun. He definitely has a merciless persona to him as he isn’t afraid to put people in their place but at the same time he has more of a conscience than a lot of the other characters. He still wants to have a fair tournament and games here after all and suspects that something is up. He’s quite sharp and has quite a few mind battles with Hansung Yu. I certainly look forward to seeing what he does next. You also have Quant who has a lot of speed at his disposal and is pretty strong in his own right. He’s a lot more headstrong though so you can see how these two would make for a good team. Quant tends to take everything very literally and personally but I like the energy he has. He also does not care for traitors in the slightest.

Hansung Yu is easily the shadiest of the rankers though. He appears to be playing all of the sides so we’ll have to see how that plot goes. He’s also clearly a lot more powerful than he lets on but that makes sense since you would expect the ruler of the floor to be at a high level. Lo Po Bia Ren is one of the assassins’ of the tower and is a bit of an odd ball. He seems to have a real form underneath his animal costume but we never get to see it. It’s also hard to say if he’s still around as if he has more than one body at the ready or if it was a robot. Either way he’s a very intimidating villain to be sure. He doesn’t hold back and has a very creepy vibe to him. He’s not quite able to hold back his giant monsters from attacking either. He’s not really my kind of villain next to most of the others so I wouldn’t rank him too highly but he was a very real threat.

Finally there is Hwa who is a mysterious character. Her first appearance has her taking on Endorsi in a straight fight so her abilities are actually pretty good and she mostly sticks in the background after that. Needless to say it looks like she will be playing a big role coming up. I’m liking her character so far and there’s a lot of potential here.

There are other characters of course but I think that sums up most of the big ones. I tried keeping the review fairly spoiler free so you can jump in and see all of the twists and turns. In adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes you can bet there are some changes but for the most part the series only cut minor stuff out. A ton of Urek Mazino references were cut for example but he won’t be appearing anytime soon anyway. There were a few questionable changes that could come back to bite them if we get a season 2 though like completely changing one character’s personality in the final episode and Khun’s final conversation in the final episode. Both are things you can easily walk back but do go against what initially happened.

For Endorsi, a good chunk of her one way romance with Bam scenes were cut out but I’m cool with that. In the web comic she is pretty much obsessed with Bam to the point where she is constantly flirting with him so the fact that the show dialed down her character is fine with me. The only change that’s a little regrettable is they cut out quite a few of Bam’s speeches which helped to really make him stand out as a character. Perhaps that is why he came across as bland in the show. In the web comic he has easily become one of the best characters although that’s more due to season 2 content than 1 so this wouldn’t have brought him to the top but it would have helped him rise quite a bit. Either way you are safe to jump straight to season 2 of the web comic if you don’t want to wait for the show.

The show ends on a rather perfect note with how episode 12 finishes also. It’s just such a powerful moment as the credits song plays. Honestly this could have been the perfect way to end although episode 13 is pretty interesting as a way to see a different side of events. It’s a good way to connect the dots and all. That said, the very last shot of the season is definitely a huge spoiler for season 2. I’m thinking it’s mainly there for the web comic fans so they would already know about the twist. In fairness to the show, I think most people figured out the twist in the web comic immediately. It’s sort of like Tobi from Naruto. The instant he appeared most people connected the dots. It’s a similar thing here so it’s nice for fans to see this guy but…I would technically still consider it a spoiler.

It’s rare that there is so much to talk about for such a short series but that’s part of what makes Tower of God fun. The lore is already absolutely massive in the series and it’s why you can easily see this going on for hundreds of episodes. There is so much to cover and I skimmed over most of the lore in this review but the show breaks it down well. I also really enjoy the way the games are presented. Each game is quite unique and you really have to think your way through them in order to win. Just relying on power won’t help although it is useful. I would say it’s a little like Phi Brain in that sense. My favorite game is definitely the Crown game though as that was a blast but a close second is the very first game as the opponents had to be reduced from 400-200. Less strategy in that one but it was a great way to introduce the characters.

Overall, Tower of God is definitely an elite title. There are less than 20 TV shows I’ve ever seen that were able to grab a 9 star rating and this one is good enough to join them. The characters are fantastic and a whole lot happens. It’s rare that you see a show be able to cram so much into each episode but when you’re adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes it makes sense that you have to move fast. Especially with how big the web comic chapters are. All told, the show is an excellent adaption and I do hope we get season 2 at some points. There’s enough chapters for at least 5 more seasons minimum and since season 2 of the web comic is close to 4 times as large as season 1, a 52 episode season would be pretty nice to see. Either way this is just the tip of the iceberg so I hope the franchise continues on. If you haven’t seen the anime yet then I would recommend changing that right away!

Overall 9/10

Lunar: Dragon Song Review


What were they thinking with this one? Dragon Song easily has some of the worst video game mechanics I’ve ever seen. Another issue here is at least most titles stick to just having one awful gimmick that was thrown into the game. This has a bunch of them and we’re definitely going to have to talk about why they are an issue. There is a decent game buried in here somewhere but the game makes it as difficult as possible to try and find it. I can see why the franchise basically died with this one.

The story takes place many years before Lunar Legacy so now we can see why everyone looked up to the Dragon Master and why all of the dragons were in poor shape from the start of the first game. Well, Jian is just your average main character who looks up to the old legends of strong fighters. One day he and Lucia are on a usual delivery job from their guild when they wander into a town and fight some monsters. That’s when they find out that the town general is actually a mad man chasing power. He takes out the dragons and becomes the Dragonmaster. After that he kidnaps Lucia.

Jian has to get her back but the only one who can defeat a Dragonmaster is another Dragonmaster. Jian needs to take down all of the dragons and get some powerful friends by his side if he is to save her but it won’t be easy. Fortunately Jian is the kind of guy who learns really fast and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the enemies. In fact, he does have more character than the first game’s protagonist even if he is unreasonable a lot of the time. Get ready to hear Jian constantly talk about how he has to save Lucia and he will do whatever it takes. He says this a whole lot.

Dragon Song has a fairly weak character cast though. You won’t remember any of the heroes for very long which is a shame. Additionally, the main villain is so unremarkable that the game doesn’t even let you fight him. Yes, you have a main villain who actually goes out without a fight. If that’s not anticlimactic then I don’t know what is. It was such a bad way to go out too. Then for the heroes you have a revolving door here as your party members keep on changing. Maybe that’s part of what makes it hard to really sync up with them. They also don’t level up with you so be prepared for a level 1 guy to join you when you’re past level 10. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

While Jian’s determination to save Lucia is good, he does come across as unreasonable parts of the time. A big moment of this is when the world is at stake and he has deliveries to do but gets baited into joining a tournament to prove that humans are just as cool as the Beastmen. It wasn’t really a good time for that and he ended up being cursed for his efforts. The game has a theme about humans vs beast men similar to Arc the Lad, but it is not handled nearly as well to be honest.

Lets talk gameplay now though. On its surface this is a turn based combat game where you attack enemies and level up to victory. Here’s the first issue..you can’t choose who you attack. Yes, it is completely random by the system so get ready to always be attacking in the worst possible combinations. Enemies who you should defeat easily suddenly become an issue due to this. At least you’re earning EXP the whole time right?

Wrong! You only earn EXP if you switch to EXP mode but then you won’t earn any materials or items. Moreover, the enemies and bosses level up with you. The issue with this is that your efforts are largely wasted as the bosses get a whole lot of extra health for leveling up. Grinding up your levels just isn’t as satisfying as it usually is. Also, you don’t get money from minions no matter which route you choose so earning enough to buy the good equipment takes a long while. The best way is to just farm guild missions which is still quite slow and tedious.

It’s also worth noting that your weapons and equipment can break. Yeah, this has never been a good gimmicku and Lunar Dragon of all games was not going to be the exception here. Did I mention that you can run at your own peril? The game encourages you to walk because if you run then you will rapidly lose health points. If you get too low on health then you have to walk until you can find the nearest healing statue. It’s incredibly inconvenient when you’re at lower levels and don’t have a whole lot of health to speak of.

There is no quick travel system for each town. You can use ports to skip some areas but at the end of the day be prepared to do a lot of running. If you want to open the chests in an area you have to defeat a bunch of minions within an allotted time while in EXP mode. The game really wanted to make sure every aspect of the game was as painful as possible. Now you may be wondering, why isn’t the game a negative score then? Well, the answer is because the game still has enough interesting points where I would say it’s worth a playthrough. Even if just to see how bad these mechanics are.

The graphics are decent even if I would definitely not call them very good. I would have liked actual cutscenes or at least some illustrations instead of the hard to read text that is spammed at you. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable though so you won’t remember it for long. The game took me around 20 hours to complete which is really not all that bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse that’s for sure. There isn’t really any post game to speak of though so forget about having any replay value.

Overall, Lunar: Dragon Song is definitely what I would call a soulless RPG. A lot of the decisions are completely baffling as to why you would ever even want to add them in. They straight up take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience. This game should have been an easy 7 and yet I couldn’t give it a positive score. The gameplay is just slowed down far too much. To run away you even have to blow into the microphone which is also horrible. There are probably even more mechanics I could mention but you get the general picture. Dragon Song was just never going to be all that good because the gameplay is a huge part of any RPG. Same with the story and that was just pretty bland.

Overall 5/10

Lunar Legend Review


Lunar Legend is one of those games that has been buried in my backlog for many years. As I finally approach only having 20 games left though, it was time for this one to come out and have some fun. Lunar Legend is a solid RPG even if it feels like it’s running on speed mode half the time. While it isn’t quite able to match up against a lot of the bigger RPG titles, it’s a fun game.

The basic plot starts out with Alex still looking up to the old heroes of legend. There used to be a Dragonmaster who tamed the 4 dragons and saved the world. While it seems like the age of heroes has long passed, things change once Alex and Luna make it to a nearby town. See, the Evil King Ghaleon has risen and he quickly murders the 4 dragons. The only way to stop him is for Alex to become a Dragonmaster. To do so he will have to pass the 4 dragons’ tests even though they are already dead. Will that be enough to stop this new evil?

Lunar Legend is shorter than most RPGs as it is a few hours under 20. Typically you expect an RPG to be at least 20 hours although of course that isn’t always the case. This one just feels like it’s abridged though. You’ll be spending a large chunk of the game running around with Nash until they mention the Dragonmaster bit. Suddenly you beat all 4 dragons within an hour or two and are running through the climax. You can’t say the game drags on though that’s for sure. I do like the brisk pace of the game but I think it could have used a few more hours to feel like we went through all of the plot points.

Additionally, the characters are a bit weaker than most. Take Alex, he has to be one of the blandest RPG heroes I’ve seen in a bit. He has some good moments near the end of the game but for the most part there isn’t much to him. The same goes for the main heroine Luna. The two allies who do stand out are Nash and Jessica though. Both of them talk a lot tougher than the other characters and don’t mind throwing around the insults. Nash believes himself to be an elite so he always has that air of arrogance although his skills don’t back it up. Jessica’s more of a fighter so she backs up her tough talk more but together they have a solid dynamic.

Kyle gets most of the back and forth with Jessica though as they tend to bicker about everything. I can’t say he is one of the better characters though. Finally there’s Mia who is a lot quieter than the others and always tries to be super polite. She’s a nice person but not very interesting. The big villain Ghaleon was cool though. I liked his evil king persona and the guy just did a good job of taking everyone down. His plan was quite sound.

So on the whole the character cast could have been better and that is probably a factor in why this RPG didn’t manage to break through to the next level. It’s all relative though because in a vacuum this game is still quite good. The gameplay is your classic turn based system filled with special attacks, items, and physical moves. You will want to get some good level ups to deal with the final bosses. The game can be challenging but never overwhelmingly so. The game has a good balance at all times which is important.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of replay value after the main game has concluded so no big post game to talk about but the main campaign is long enough where that’s fine. The graphics are solid as well. I’m glad we got some illustrations at least even if there weren’t any cutscenes around this time. The soundtrack is decent too, nothing to write home about but it gets the job done.

For gameplay tips I would just say that your physical attacks are sometimes better than the special ones. Yeah it’s a bit odd but sometimes throwing out a normal move is just way stronger than the special attacks. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps they don’t scale up when you increase your level? Maybe it’s also that critical hits are just really good here so that helps to make up the difference. Take your average 3 hit combo. If you get no lucky hits you may deal 150 damage while the super attack deals out 170. Well, if you get a lucky hit that does around 80, then you’ve just beat out the super attack by 10 points. If you get more than 1 lucky blow, then you can see how the special attack easily gets left out.

Don’t even get me started on the final smash attacks. Those are surprisingly very weak. At one point I decided to use it for kicks and it didn’t do much damage at all to the boss. Those are best used for fighting minions since they deal damage to all units at once. It’s a good way to fight those skirmishes but I would say not to bother for bosses. Passive supers like restoring everyone’s health is always good though so that’s one I would keep at the ready. The single best passive super in the game is the one that makes your team invincible for 3 turns.

While I said the game was not crazy difficult or anything, the final boss was pretty insane. For a little while there I thought I was going to have a big issue with him but fortunately the attack of making you invincible for 3 turns was just what I needed. It allowed me just enough time to win. It was a close one but that just shows why this ability is absolutely critical so don’t waste it on minions since it takes a long time to recharge.

Overall, Lunar Legend is a solid game. It might speed through the interesting parts of the game a little too quickly but you do feel like the characters are being proactive about shutting down the villains so it explains why everything is moving so quickly. I already have the prequel DS game so I’ll be reviewing that soon but I can safely say right now that it is a big downgrade from this one. Lunar Legend played it very safe and got a solid score while the other one took some big risks but unfortunately none of them paid off in the slightest. Ah well, hopefully the Lunar series returns some day with a proper next installment.

Overall 7/10

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Stats and Records

Stats time!

Total Game Completed 49%
Total Discovery Points 630/4360
Portrait Passwords 16%
Ghosts 2/4
Flying Creatures 4/5
Characters Met 57/58
Chess Players beaten 0/3
Exploding Snap players beaten 1/2
Gobstones Players Beaten 0/4
Luna’s belongings found 0/5
Fred and George Packages 2/12
Chess statues 1/12
Wizard Plaques 0/15
Animal Footprints 3/3
Teacher Mini Quests 0/4
Top Grade 0/3
Defensive Spells in 1 encounter 5/6
Tidied up Hogwarts 6/66
Hogwart Insignias 4/12

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Review


Harry Potter has had a very interesting history over the years when it comes to video games. On one hand, most of the original games were actually pretty decent. You had some fun gameplay and a good assortment of levels. On the other hand, we then got the Goblet of Fire which was a very weak game. How does this one stack up? Well, I wouldn’t say it stacks up super well. My main issue here is that at times it feels less like a game and more like you’re watching a bunch of cutscenes. The final boss is effectively just about moving your wand a bit to try and psych out the opponent. That doesn’t feel like a real boss battle.

The plot of the game is a little crazy when you think about it because of how random everything is. So everyone knows that Voldemort is coming but the school doesn’t allow people to practice their magic spells anymore. Harry decides to start teaching people subtlety but to do that he will have to recruit everyone into the army. Over half of the game is about assembling the team as you complete a lot of missions and get used to the place. Let me tell you, I did not expect this to be such a big focus in the game. It’s a unique development choice I suppose.

This is a 3D adventure kind of game as far as the gameplay is concerned. There is a pretty big hub world to explore but I’m not sure you’ll really be planning to do a whole lot of that anyway. Most of the time you was wondering from place to place. Fortunately you do have a map to help you locate students and locations, however it doesn’t help for a few missions like where you have to find a bunch of stone gargoyles on the premises. That was easily the toughest mission in the game because of how big the hub world is. In a sense you have to hope you get lucky and you can probably see straight up why this would not be a good idea.

To break up the monotony you can engage in some minigames though. Honestly they are probably better than the main game. One of these games is one of those memory match titles where you have to recall what cards were flipped over and then select them. I always tended to enjoy these back in the day. There are other minigames like Chess and such here that I didn’t really try out but look pretty fun from what I’ve seen. The issue is that the main gameplay style isn’t great. If I had to make a comparison, it’s like a second rate Telltale Game but those have the fun gimmick of making choices during the game. This one has none of that.

The graphics definitely aren’t great. It doesn’t quite look PS3 level that’s for sure. You can tell that any effort that was put into the game was not put into the graphics department. Those guys were really left by their lonesome. The soundtrack is good though. It’s still got that very regal style to it which works very well. It’s memorable which is good and can at least make you feel like you’re about to play something hype…for a little while anyway.

The game isn’t too long. I beat it in around 5 hours. You can definitely bump that up a bit if you do the side missions and knock out the minigames too though. I don’t think you would bump up the playtime a ton though since it’s not like there were a lot of bonus missions. When I beat the game there were only 3-4 left and I can tell you that I did not go out of my way to do any of them.

In a sense I would say Order of the Phoenix feels like a very unfinished game. It’s almost like an extended demo in some ways. After playing Half Blood Prince you’ll see what the completed version is like. I would say this game had a great setup going but it just didn’t. The wand mechanics for moving things around and firing off energy blasts wasn’t even close to being streamlined. Additionally, the walking around took forever. Occasionally the kids would ask you to climb up somewhere to grab something so you’d have to very slowly climb up to the top and then back down.

At the end of the day, what this game is missing are qualify of life upgrades. Something to make the game more fun. Faster run speeds, a smaller hub world, things of that nature. All of those would result in a significantly better game that would run well and would also just be fun. That is the absolute best case scenario. So while the game isn’t as bad as the last one and I wouldn’t even call it a bad game upfront, it’s just not a lot of fun to play. There isn’t any compelling reason to play this game while other, better options exist. It’s for those reasons that I would say it is best to just skip this one entirely.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had potential but the game just didn’t live up to it. It’s impressive how big they made the castle here but they should have added more shortcuts or something. Not having any Quidditch was pretty bad too since that used to be a lot of fun. You get the idea that they just phoned this game in. Honestly it’s not really all that uncommon for movie based games which is a shame. They deserve a better reputation but instances like this absolutely don’t help their case. I already beat the next game though so I’ll have a review for that one pretty soon. Good news is that it’s a lot better and starts to get us back to how this game series should be.

Overall 5/10