Howl From Beyond the Fog Review


Well, this film was definitely not quite what I had imagined based on the title. It’s going for a very retro action figure type style. At first when you see the characters appear you’re wondering if maybe there was a budget issue so they had to use mannequins for the characters. Then it hits you that this is actually the style. I’m not a big fan of stop motion and it’s one of the animation styles I would put below CGI. It didn’t do the short film any favors this time around.

The movie introduces us to Eiji. He has moved back to his hometown after news came out that his brother had been destroyed. His cousin Takiri is there but she’s supposed to be dead so Eiji can’t mention that and his mother is also around. The biggest secret though is that they effectively have a secret Kaiju in the backyard. This will come in handy since a bunch of thugs are trying to force them off the land. When in doubt, it’s time to call in the Kaiju! Can this monster save the day?

Unfortunately the humans don’t make it easy on him. It’s always pretty annoying when the Kaiju is doing pretty well only for someone to say “Stop!!” and distract the Kaiju as he gets blasted by the villains. That happens here quite directly and unfortunately the Kaiju isn’t too durable this tie around. A quick shot is already able to deal some pretty decent damage to the point where the Kaiju nearly gets knocked out. It was concerning but the Kaiju has a lot of determination which is good.

The design’s not bad, I guess I would say it looks a lot like a Brontosaurus. It’s got a long neck and just has that kind of shape. While it doesn’t have Godzilla’s fire attacks, it does manage to use a heavy breath attack by inhaling the fumes. I wonder if that might have even been a tribute to the Atomic Breath given that it acts like true breath rather than an energy blast. It was cool to see though since it gives us some action.

So the movie isn’t very long at 35 minutes. It really picks up once the monster action gets going, but until you get there it does have some issues. It just feels like the movie isn’t very interesting without the Kaiju. You don’t really get to like any of the characters all that much and they don’t get to stand out with the brief time they have. When a film’s this short you really have to either develop the characters real quickly or you have to just focus on the Kaiju I suppose. The thing is, this is still more of a character driven story which is problematic when the characters have no time to be introduced.

For the first half you’ll probably end up being a little bored here. So you’re waiting for the second half which is more fun but it takes a little bit to get there when you compare it to the overall length of the movie. Finally, the animation itself gets in the way here. It’s just hard to find this style all that hype or engaging. If you’re a fan of the style then you’ll like it, but otherwise it’s just very jarring as you’re trying to get into the story. None of the effects look as real as you’d like.

This style really works when you throw a lot of humor into the mix. Think of Robot Chicken or something like that. The animation isn’t supposed to look great but you don’t really mind because you are laughing the whole time. That doesn’t work with this short because it is played 100% seriously. You won’t be grinning or smiling at any point because it’s not really that type of film. Unfortunately you can’t pull off a more serious type of story with this style or at least, it will be very difficult to do so.

Overall, Howl from Beyond the Fog is an interesting idea but this was just the wrong medium to do this. At its core it’s a story about a Kaiju living in the backwoods and defending the main characters from danger. It’s seen as a scary entity by most but the main characters know that it’s actually a good guy deep down. That’s a classic kind of story but one where you just aren’t able to get invested into this time. If we ever get a remake or something like that I think there would definitely be a lot of potential. Otherwise, I would say to pass on this one.

Overall 4/10

Godzilla Singular Point Review


Netflix has had a very interesting history with Godzilla. By interesting, I meant that they tend to throw away the usual Godzilla playbook and come up with something very different. It’s an interesting attempt but they tend to fail a lot more than they succeed. Unfortunately this one is no exception. It’s easily one of the worst anime I’ve seen and I don’t have a ton of hope for the sequel unless it decides to actually have a purpose this time. My main issue with season 1 is that often times there is no point to what’s going on. This anime also shouldn’t have even called itself Godzilla.

The story starts out by following Yun and Habero. They work for a robotics company that sends robots out to their clients. Yun is a genius who can predict events up to 2 weeks into the future simply by analyzing behavioral patterns and such. One day, a song rings out from a nearby facility and they decide to investigate. They end up being captured and escorted out but now crazy things are happening around the planet. A red smoke is appearing and Kaiju are descending onto the planet. It may be the end of the world as they know it, but can this be stopped? They’re going to have to take their Jet Jaguar robot out for a test drive.

Meanwhile Mei Kamino is the main character of the other plot. She has been called in to help the company decide what’s going on with the song since they don’t want to be the ones responsible for the end of the world. Well, the good news is that Mei mostly knows what’s going on. It’s a song from the future using a computer that can’t possibly exist yet and for a material that doesn’t exist in this timeline. Now she just has to figure out what’s going on and they’re good. Can she do it before the calamity wipes out the universe?

There is a ton to unpack here so strap in guys. Before doing that though lets get the rather unimaginative cast out of the way first. You’ve got Michael who is a politician that has a lot of connections. We barely even know what he wants out of this but clearly he needs to be one step ahead of the instance so he can capitalize on it and help his political career. I like the guy’s confidence at least even if he doesn’t really contribute to the story.

Lina is Bearach’s daughter and she doesn’t really do much until the final episodes. She’s not thrilled about how all of these crazy situations require her dad to be away from home so often. Still, Lina has a good head on her shoulders and at least rolls with what’s going on. You won’t be seeing her panic. Bearach is a more tragic character since he’s a complete genius but the problem is that within this series there are at least 4 other geniuses who are smarter than him. At least this guy is pro-active though and does a whole lot more than most of the other characters around here.

Li is one of those characters that the anime ditches without a second thought. She’s pretty smart and has a lot of influence since she made the most headway with the impossible materials. The main issue though is the fact that Mei has surpassed her. Mei continues to find out new things about the material while Li does nothing with her knowledge. Seriously, every episode has her saying things like she is already aware of what Mei has discovered…but to what end? We never actually see Li doing anything to help out beyond just giving speeches.

Kai is a character who will probably be getting a bigger role in season 2. He appears to be a reporter or at least that’s what he claims but the guy is very suspicious. He seems to know a whole lot of what’s going on and the guy just so happens to be trespassing whenever he appears. Not that the heroes can say anything since they’re guilty of the same thing. I like this guy’s energy though so he’s definitely one of the best characters.

Tsunetomo is one of those troll characters who insists on getting in everyone’s way and making a mockery of things. He’s got to be the absolute worst character in the series and every scene with him is incredibly annoying. His partner should have called the cops and had him arrested. When you choose to do nothing like this guy then you’re just a flat out villain.

Goro talks a good game but he’s also a very weak character. The guy just can’t fight and his robots were getting absolutely shredded. I like when characters have a lot of confidence about them but it has to be earned. This guy has yet to do anything that would make you respect his abilities. In the end he just ends up being someone that you will be shaking your head at. He’s effectively the comic relief of the show but never ends up being funny.

There’s not a lot to say about Haberu despite him being Yun’s friend. The guy just doesn’t get much in the way of character. Of course, that’s fairly true for Yun as well. He’s pretty emotionless and his only character is the fact that he’s a genius. I suppose at first they were building him up to be rather skeptical and not trusting of anyone but that vanished after episode 1. He has a lot of good back and forth dialogue with Mei over texts even if the guy always likes to start his sentences with “Let’s assume that..” even when they’re talking about something that has already been proven to be true. I like the genius aspect though so he’s good at least.

As for Mei, she’s okay at best but unfortunately she’s a lot more timid than Yun. She may know all of the answers but has a tough time just jumping into the fray and pointing them out. She ultimately does get the job done I suppose but with none of the main characters being very emotional or aggressive, it means that the show will usually be very low energy.

That’s where Pelops II comes in. She’s really the energy of the series. Effectively she is a free domain AI that Yun came up with and downloads into anything. Each Pelops II is different though and they all have different names despite the base code. This way each plot always has a Pelops with it. I’ll give her more credit than the rest of the characters since half the time the only way to progress is for Pelops to run some simulations and see what’s going on.

All right, we’re through the characters. Unfortunately the animation here is also very sub par. This never looks like a show that came out in 2021, not even close. It’s Netflix so there’s a lot of CGI running around here. Unfortunately it’s not the good kind. This gets shredded by most of the CGI stuff I’ve seen of late. In part I suppose it’s because this isn’t an action oriented series so it can’t really show its stuff.

Godzilla is once again barely able to move. He’s not literally made of rocks like in the trilogy but you can’t expect any real action scenes here. The Rodans can fly a bit and their tussles with Jet Jaguar are about as good as it gets. The hand drawn parts are okay but there are no noticeable moments. So the animation is better than things like FLCL and Pop Team Epic but compare it to almost any traditional anime over the last few years and it’s likely getting stomped. I’ve seen 80s and 90s anime that looked far superior to this one.

I’ll throw the animation a little bone though. The final two episodes actually give me a little hope. Sure, the ending was anticlimactic but I’m talking pure animation here. Godzilla’s Atomic Breath looked really good. You might be thinking that energy effects are the low hanging fruit since they should always look good but you have to start somewhere. It at least made for a good backdrop in the final episodes and looked rather impressive. If the next season has more action, particularly more beam battles then the animation should improve around the board. Now that’s a part of the show that has some potential. If you pause the screen at the right time some of the still images also look good like the Jet Jaguar one I picked out. I really dislike the character design they gave him but the image looks sharp. So it’s very rough around the edges right now but at least there is potential.

As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty solidly low tier. You have a remix of the classic Godzilla theme which is always memorable but it’s a very slow song so it’s not going to make the show seem any more exciting. The only musical theme that I liked a lot was the opening. The intro to the show has a lot more energy and suspense than the entirety of the anime. I’ve listened to it quite a few times now and it’s really solid all around. The images are also cool as they’re vague without being nonsense.

Okay, now lets talk more about the actual show/anime. A huge chunk of the show is told to us via text messages between the main characters. See, when the Kaiju start attacking the first thing everyone needs to find out is why the red dust is appearing. The red dust seems to be connected to the Archetype, a mysterious new kind of object that can use time travel to replenish energy.

We’re first shown this at an expo where it is able to capture two lights, one from the present and one from the future. The kicker? This material is from the future so how did it get to the present? Well, the Red Dust conveniently brought it. How did it do that? The show won’t bother explaining that part but we can assume Ashihara somehow brought some from the future.

Here’s the thing, the show is really focused heavily on the time aspect but it doesn’t make sense most of the time. Okay put it this way, you can have a super computer that brings information from the future. It’s not solid so that’s fine. How are you transporting actual objects from the future without a time machine though? No matter how you slice it that’s pretty iffy. Not as iffy as hiding a code that can physically change the size and shape of an object to also be given super abilities mind you but it’s pretty suspect.

I enjoy all of these theoretical discussions though. That’s the kind of topic you could listen to for hours and at least follow along since it’s usually pretty interesting. Where things go wrong is that the series is supposed to be a Godzilla title. Godzilla himself doesn’t really appear much until episode 8 where he ends up murdering himself by mistake and then he returns later on. Why is Godzilla disrespected so much here?

A single blast from his Atomic Breath was enough to melt him from the inside out? That’s just awful durability. This is also bar none the worst Godzilla design I’ve ever seen. I’ve made fun of the Bear face from the American Godzilla films from time to time and that his design sometimes looks a bit too thick to be ready for hand to hand fights but at least it looks like Godzilla all the way. Same with the chicken form from Shin Godzilla but I still make fun of that one so I wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark.

This one looks absolutely like Titanosaurus and doesn’t look like Godzilla. I don’t know what the animators were doing but they definitely weren’t watching the original films. This is also truly just a mindless monster called Godzilla. Most of the Kaiju here are really only the characters in name only. You have the droves of mindless fodder called Rodan that are barely even sentient as they crash into everything. Are we supposed to take them seriously? You have the climbing Kaiju who doesn’t even get named and a bunch of Manda.

The only Kaiju treated with a lot of respect here was Anguirus. He’s given some pre cog abilities where he can predict the future and dodge attacks. That was cool and a good way to make the time manipulation work for you rather than it being the other way around. It was one of the only moments in the whole show that I would actually say was “cool” and not just emotionless.

Going back to the core issue of the series though, it’s just relentlessly boring and aimless. So all the talks between the two main characters are at least leading up to something right? Well, not really. They spend a few episodes discussing a possible code only to find out in the final episode that there is no code. It was already sent in the past so they just wasted all of their time and ours.

All right, at least we will be able to figure out a way to stop the Calamity right? Wrong, Ashihara figured that out decades ago and put in a program that would make Jet Jaguar ready for this. Pretty impressive that he predicted 50 years ago how the company would build Jet Jaguar and that they would turn on the machine at the precise moment needed to download it.

There’s coincidence in shows and then there’s just the plot saying it’s time to go. The only explanation for this that isn’t awful is that Ashihara is actively time travelling to fix events in the future into his favor. While that is possible, that’s not how the show has been showing us time travel so far. So far it’s mainly been about calculating the future as opposed to travelling.

Let me put this plot in order real quick so we can break it down. This is effectively the timeline of the show. 50BS (Before Show) Ashihara realized that a calamity was going to destroy the world so he built a song into his company’s computer and left instructions for it that were to be opened 50 years later. He then hid the broken bones of an old Godzilla in the basement to transmit the song. Next, he created a computer that is able to read data from the future and buried it into the center of the Earth. He left it with some instructions on how to locate Archetypes and how to build the Orthogonal Diagonalizer which is the only weapon effective against the stronger Kaiju. He then vanished.

So we can now cut over to the present. Everything is unfolding exactly as Ashihara predicted. That’s why we have a Super Computer that is slowly being dug out of the planet and a bunch of Archetypes for things that don’t exist. So we’re in a good spot except why did he have to be so coy about this? If he just left clearer instructions then we’d be good. Perhaps he is a villain since he seems awfully shady but then why even leave all of these notes?

Part of why the show feels utterly pointless is because the main characters didn’t accomplish anything. Ultimately Ashihara did all of the work. The heroes were just following his ideas and recreating the steps he took but even by the end they were too late and he effectively had to step in with the song. That’s why it’s all so aimless and it’s why even the techno babble couldn’t save it.

Usually for these things there is a purpose. Watch A Certain Magical Index/Railgun for a great example of technological speeches and concepts that always serve a purpose. Whether it’s to get a leg up on the enemy or to try and solve some ancient puzzle that crosses the boundaries of magic and science. There’s always a reason that they’re discussing things. Even the Ironman Technovirus movie which was not the best at least had a reason for why they were talking about morality and destiny.

Here? Even the characters seem unsure at times. I still say Yun was bluffing to an extent such as when he started back pedaling in his texts saying “Let’s assume such a material could exist” when Mei just sent him photo evidence of it existing. Maybe he was on auto pilot by then but it could be that he was trying to sound really smart but knew that she had surpassed him by this point.

I’m just not yet convinced about the time aspects of this either. If you could see information from the future then you must be looking at an alternate timeline or else it would keep on changing. So lets say that’s true then it’s still really handy but it doesn’t change the fact that obtaining materials from the future would be impossible. Creating mini loops using the Archetypes would also defy every kind of science law imaginable. If you could pull that off then what’s to stop you from putting the world on loop accidentally? The instant someone weaponizes this it’s all over.

The sad thing is that this show could have really worked if it went in a different direction. First off, this should not be called Godzilla as I mentioned. The Kaiju scenes are all just time wasters and serve no purpose in the story. Cut them out entirely. All right, so we’ve got them out and now there’s no Jet Jaguar either. Refocus Ashihara as the main villain who is introducing this tech into the world. The world is in danger because messing with time is dangerous and the Archetype will cause the calamity.

Now you have Mei and Yun debating about whether the risk is worth it or not. Have one of them think it’s a good idea to keep the Archetypes while the other doesn’t. Now you’ve got an engaging series and a reason for their discussions. Suddenly each conversation has a lot of weight to it because both side is pretty valid. No matter what option they choose, it would be a fun ride all the way to the end.

Because when you think about it, Kaijus just showing up is extremely random. Why would using Archetypes even summon these guys in the first place? The only option the show gives you is that Godzilla is effectively a manifestation of the universe. He keeps things from going out of control. It’s stated almost explicitly that using the computer too much brings about the calamity. So the universe calls in Godzilla to protect the past from being altered?

Now that’s actually a very interesting angle so of course the show doesn’t go there. The Kaiju are all just mindless acts of nature. They serve no purpose here and should have just not been around. Hopefully Season 2 can handle them better. If we get a change in plot I think it’s definitely possible, it just has to be handled with care but surely it will have more of a focus than this one.

Don’t call yourself Godzilla if the star player misses the first 6 episodes. You just can’t do that. We have some mild action scenes but it’s not that kind of show and you can tell since it’s all rather half hearted. I’d also say the show’s directing needs to be more focused. Stop having every news channel cut the other one off. They’re never able to have a full conversation and it’s a gimmick that gets old almost immediately. Come on now, there’s no reason for that. Just let each broadcast play. It’s an intentional design choice so it’s not an error but it’s bad design.

As a final note, the calamity is supposed to wipe out the entire universe. My question would be…how? Godzilla’s laser isn’t destroying a city, let alone the universe. If Godzilla is the calamity then there is no way he is going to destroy the universe. So presumably there has to be another layer here like destroying Earth will somehow affect the rest of the universe. That or when Godzilla died in the explosion, it would destroy the universe. Kind of a desperate move for the universe itself if it’s summoning these Kaiju. I suppose the easiest solution is just that meddling with time causes a paradox which destroys the universe but you definitely have to use a lot of head canon for this show.

I could probably keep going but I think you get the gist of it here. Netflix clearly wants to turn Godzilla into a deep philosophical series and I have no idea why. You can turn any series into that direction of course so Godzilla is just as qualified as anyone but it does take away from the appeal of the series. People watch Godzilla for big action scenes and a lot of special effects. Not for talks on the inner mechanics of the universe. Again, if there was a point to it and not just “Eh, lets just let Ashihara save the day” then it would be different. As it stands, you could remove every human character from the story entirely and Ashihara would have still been able to save the world with Pelop II. That’s the most depressing part when you think about it. (Climax made no sense power level wise)

While this is definitely a show that is getting a low score, what prevents it from going lower is that at least it did have some positives. There were some characters I liked as I mentioned earlier and at least the discussions were interesting. They may have been fruitless but introduced unique concepts at least. I can’t imagine majoring in a field to study things that don’t exist though. How do you get a job off of that or is it something you just have as a personal achievement? The energy effects looked good and we get the occasional battle scene. Anguirus’ time pre cog was neat. It also helps that the show didn’t make any huge mistakes either. There’s no fanservice here or anything like that. If it was less boring it would probably jump up a star or 2 as it is. It’s not like the writing is bad either, it just didn’t know where to go.

Overall, That’s Godzilla Singular Point in a nutshell. I really didn’t think it was possible for the show to fumble the ball so badly but it is what it is I suppose. The show ends with a direct cliffhanger so I have to assume that a season 2 is in the works. Hopefully it should beat the first season. In a lot of ways it shouldn’t be hard but if we’re going to just do everything all over again then there may not be a reason for it to improve. What’s so hard about playing it straight for a change and having a Godzilla anime about giant monsters battling it out all the time?

Overall 4/10

King Kong Escapes Review


King Kong is back for another adventure. This time we get to see a bit of a different take with him as he fights a mecha opponent without having any guest stars here to help him. It’s a fun title and I would even say that it is the best of the solo King Kong films. There’s good action to be found here and a solid amount of humor which makes for a good combo.

The movie starts with Commander Carl and his team heading to King Kong’s island after the weather and their poor ship force their hand. Kong rules Mondo Island and takes down powerful fighters like Gorosaurus and an aquatic Kaiju. He wants Susan to stay with him but she decides to head back with the rest of the gang. This allows Hu and Piranha to show up and kidnap King Kong.

This is certainly an issue though since they can now access a mysterious element that will allow them to take over the world. Carl and crew are tasked with stopping their ambitions. The easiest way would be to free Kong from their control but can they really stop the villains or will they just end up getting captured as well? After all, if the villains can even capture a Kaiju, what hope do a pair of humans really have?

Now this film does raise some questions about when this takes place. The heroes have a hovercraft at the ready and Hu was able to build a Mecha Kong of his own. So when you think about it, this has to take place in the far future right? The rest of the movie doesn’t support that but I do think it makes the most sense.

King Kong Escapes is a very light hearted film which works pretty well here. There’s a lot of fun dialogue between the characters. The film even seems to poke fun at how the main guy would usually fall for the villainess as here he couldn’t care less. Carl doesn’t even come close to falling for her trap which is pretty fun. While this is a King Kong film, it’s fair to say that the humans have the biggest focus.

The most ambitious character here would be Piranha. She is a villain who works for a government that is never named. Her people look Japanese but are stated to be from somewhere else. There is a lot of mystery around her but the issue is that nothing ever comes of it. I’m fairly confident that she is part of an alien species but at least if you only go from the film then it’s really hard to say one way or the other if that is actually accurate.

Piranha talks a very good game throughout the film but slowly as the adventure goes on she starts to lose her hype. Hu starts to call her bluff until she basically quits so she can have some tea and things really turn out poorly for her after that. Her character was odd but fun. Meanwhile Hu is a little hard to take seriously as the main villain. He wasn’t nearly as interesting and since his mecha version of Kong was getting wrecked by the elements in the opening scenes it is hard to take that thing seriously.

It’s probably good that they didn’t call this a vs film because the two fighters are just not equal. King Kong is shown to be far more powerful than this robot and isn’t afraid to show it. If not for the humans constantly mind controlling him and messing with the poor guy, it would have been a very short film. Of course, fans of king Kong should appreciate how good he looks here. The guy is definitely not taking any prisoners.

Aside from Carl and Susan, the other main character here is Jiro. He’s the first so suspect that Piranha’s group is probably not legitimate. That said, the heroes basically had to go along with the trap to try and get some info while foiling Hu’s plans but it’s good he noticed what was going on. He and Susan did well in withstanding the freeze room as well while Carl was enjoying a nice warm drink.

The writing is solid as expected and the pacing is good as the film really flows by. The action scenes are solid like with Gorosaurus giving King Kong the combos for a while. It has the feeling of an old Godzilla film but with an American touch. That certainly seems like a fitting combo for a King Kong film and it’s just too bad that they couldn’t have made more installments in the series. That may have been their chance to explain what Piranha’s group was really after and if they are aliens or not.

Overall, King Kong Escapes is a good film. I wouldn’t say there are any real issues here. I will admit that the human plots may be more interesting than the Kong stuff though even if the fights were fun. It was just nice to see the heroes talking it out with the villains and a little spying going on. The retro atmosphere of the film just makes it all flow together. It would have been nice to see more of the robot or King Kong resisting the villains more but at the end of the day I suppose mind control is just too powerful. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely say it’s time to change that. It’ll be hard for any King Kong film to surpass this one.

Overall 7/10

Pacific Rim: The Black Review


I’ve been awaiting the Pacific Rim show for quite a while. From the start it looked like the show was doing all of the right things that the movies couldn’t quite capitalize on. I mean, I did enjoy both films pretty well to be honest and would definitely recommend them but the idea of Kaiju vs Robots has a lot of potential out of that. An animated format will always be the answer for taking something to the next level and The Black definitely pulls it off. I’d be game with them just continuing the rest of the franchise in this style.

The show starts off with introducing us to the main characters’ parents. They are trying to help with the evacuations particularly since their kids are still around but the government has declared this place as lost. The parents manage to protect everyone and then leave to go and find help. Unfortunately help never came and many years have passed. Taylor and Hayley are the two kids who couldn’t escape in time. As siblings they are quite close but have taken the loss of their parents in different ways. Taylor thinks he has to protect Hayley at all costs and wants to stay safe in the village until they return while Hayley is convinced that they are dead and thinks they need to leave. Well, their hand is forced when a Kaiju attacks. Taylor and Hayley take a test Jaeger (Giant mech suit) and escape. Their best bet is to try and find civilization but can they survive in this Kaiju wasteland?

There are 7 episodes out currently as season 1 concluded. I’m hoping we should get season 2 pretty soon. If they could fast track that and get it out quick that would be ideal. The show does manage to conclude a lot of the main plots pretty well but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg here. The show doesn’t reference the movies all that much beyond a few names you might recognize like easter eggs for the suit and the pilot. Otherwise this works as a standalone title which works for me. We’ve already got a pretty solid cast and world going on here after all. Then we can build to an eventual crossover so far. Right now we haven’t really had time for any aliens to show up for example so throwing that in will be cool.

A lot happens in these 7 episodes after all. We get a new villain faction and it’s hard to say if they are human or alien yet. My bet would be alien but it’s hard to guess. Either way they get the stinger at the end of the season and it’s a pretty hype way to get season 2 rolling. Then there is the bio form running around. Won’t get into specifics since that would definitely be a spoiler but it seems like an interesting take that’s different than what Uprising did. It’s another kind of fusion and based on the dialogue we should see some more of these soon.

Meanwhile the animation here is pretty solid. It looks like it’s straight out of a Fire Emblem cutscene. That video game kind of look works well and the animation’s pretty smooth. It may not be quite like Castlevania or a true anime look like that but it works well enough. The fights are also nice and colorful with the Kaiju and Jaegers. If you’re going to do CGI then this is the level you’ll want to be on. The soundtrack is a lot more forgettable though. I can’t say that I could really recall any themes by the end of this.

Taylor may take a little time to get going as one of the main characters but he does get better. Hayley handled the situation better initially but eventually Taylor came around. He still panics quite a bit and I see more character development incoming for him. At the end of the day he is ready to step in and help Hayley and is determined enough to reach his goal that he even goes through the solo diving process. Meanwhile Hayley is solid from the start with how she jumps into battle and always tries to have a plan. They make a good team and who knows, if Taylor had gone with her initially and helped with waking up the Jaeger then they may have had time to train a bit more.

Loa is the main A.I. for the bot and I like that she has some good personality here. The series is already hinting at an origin story for her. It’s hard to say how it’s going to play out. Is it simply that she used to be the A.I. for another Jaeger and the pilots have traumatized her or is there something more to it? A lot to explore here but she definitely helps to keep you guessing. Then you have Mei who is the best character of the season. She’s the right hand woman of Shane and so starts out as an antagonist. From the start you can see that she has a lot more humanity than the other members though. She’s not just going to destroy humans without giving them a chance.

She is also the most skilled human in the series. That doesn’t mean she will stand a chance against any of the Kaiju but it’s good to have a solid human fighter on board with how many corrupt people are out there. There’s no end to the humans trying to take them down. I imagine this will only continue as the seasons go on. Mei still has some more demons to get past since she isn’t quite 100% past them but I do think she’s at a point now where she is ready to actively participate and be a part of the team. I look forward to seeing this play out.

Then you have the main villain Shane. Effectively he’s a black arms dealer who sells things for a profit and makes sure that he always has some plan at the ready. The guy suffers a lot of losses to his troops though and doesn’t make for a great general. Just look at how he sacrificed so many brains in the experiment to try and get a pilot on the Jaeger. Not the smartest move when you already don’t have a lot of men and are living in a Kaiju wasteland. By the end of the season you’re sure he will be back but the guy doesn’t have a whole lot of resources left. You feel like it’s going to have to be a big coincidence that he ever catches up with them at this point.

Then you have Boy. Now, I think everyone will know exactly how his plot is going to go the instant you see him in the tube but I won’t say just in case. He has to be the weakest character though. Most of the time Boy is just holding the characters back. He doesn’t have much common sense so he runs off all the time picking on little animals. There’s nothing heroic about this guy for most of his screen time because a more heroic soul wouldn’t be attacking all these creatures. He gets the heroes into a lot of trouble all the time. I’m hoping he improves but his core personality is one that doesn’t usually change all that much so I admit that I am having some doubts here.

Then you have the mysterious Apex, a being that seems to be part Kaiju and part Mech. In the film we saw aliens piloting mechs by sort of infusing the two so this is like a more advanced version of that. It’s got a pretty great design and has a great role. Definitely one of the more hype characters and he gets a lot of really pivotal scenes. One of the best things about this guy is that he shows some real intelligence so I can call him a true character more than most. Whether we see an army of them soon or stick to just this one, I don’t see any passing the first. This guy will come in handy soon.

As for the Kaiju, we get to see quite a few as the series goes on. The Rippers which are like little dog Kaiju. I was a bit on the cuff with these guys. They were a little close to looking like real dogs. I would say there was just enough Kaiju where they weren’t, maybe in part because the blood is blue or they just didn’t show a whole lot of animal type mannerisms and mechanics compared to others. If any of them had been taken in as a pet or something it could have changed things entirely since the viewpoint shifts but it’s hard to say for this kind of thing. They are fairly weak though and only good against humans. Then you have the Eel who goes down awful quick. The best Kaiju personally is Acidquill. The two tendrills it shoots out are very impressive and I liked the fightstyle. That’s a good way for a Kaiju to stand out among its peers and this worked out quite well for it.

The Kaiju with the biggest role here is definitely Copperhead. He follows the heroes around quite a lot and is a very determined Kaiju. He gave us some solid fight scenes and made for a good opponent. Most of these Kaiju likely won’t be returning for the second season so we’ll see who the replacements are next time. As long as their are mechs, Kaiju will continue to show. Right now the humans are definitely on the back foot since the aliens can seemingly summon an infinite number of Kaiju to keep on bumping up the ranks. No wonder the humans are always running.

All right, time for a spoiler paragraph so skip this if you haven’t seen the show. It won’t be in depth spoilers but just my quick theories on things. So for the parents, I’m thinking right now that the Dad is dead but the Mom escaped. The reason for this is based on what we saw, the Dad definitely seemed to be crushed in the ship while the Mom did run out of the hatch in time. Now, why is the father’s body not there? Well, someone took it so perhaps the Sisters will turn him into a Kaiju or something like that. There’s a lot of possibilities so it’s hard to say for sure but it’s definitely going to be a pretty interesting path to watch.

Rim: The Black definitely has quite the body count at times. Someone’s head gets blown off, a village is blown up, etc. This is definitely not a world that has worked out very well for the humans. The show can have some violent moments on occasion like this but usually they are either mostly off screen or stylized quite a bit. The show has an intense atmosphere but at the same time by and large I wouldn’t call this a violent series all that much. Again, if the dogs had been more like real dogs then we may have had some real problems but as it is the show has stayed the course.

Part of what makes The Black so much fun is really just boiled down to the premise. Giant robots vs Giant monsters and the characters keep this working well. The main suit is Atlas Destroyer and I definitely like the design of this Jaeger. I also like that it becomes more of a hybrid later on which enhances the design anymore. I expect the main characters will be fighting a little more in the second season now that they are more experienced so that will be fun to see. There’s a lot of adventure and action throughout the show so you should be on the edge of your seat. The writing is also quite solid so the show ends up being really balanced and makes for good marathon watching. I saw all 7 episodes back to back after all and it definitely didn’t drag on.

As a final note, am I the only person who thinks Hayley completely looks like Link from Breath of the Wild? I think it’s due to using a similar shading system but you would really mistake her for Link easy. I’d also say she has a strong resemblance to Samus from Metroid. I guess you could say that some similarities can be drawn from Link to Samus by extension and I would say that is true at least in Breath of the Wild. Maybe it’s just a character design that is easy to make you think of other characters but the instant the trailers came out I remember thinking that right away and that never changed during the show. It’s just a random observation but it was interesting.

Overall, Pacific Rim: The Black is a great show. I had been pretty hyped for this ever since the trailer since it looked so dynamic and the show did not disappoint. It definitely ends up finishing in the blink of an eye but it really delivered on everything the show promised. The characters are a lot of fun and the fights are dynamic. The water type effects when trading out blows or when they are used in place of the blood is an interesting one. It could have been hit or miss but it works well in this one. The show opens up a lot of plot lines to be completed at some point in the future. I’ll be looking forward to how that goes. I’m sure there will be a lot of theories on everything going on right now. Lets see if Rim keeps going strong and finally re-establishing Rim as one of the premiere mech titles.

Overall 8/10

Godzilla Raids Again Review


Godzilla has had a rich history with lots of films and adventures over the years. He has easily become the most well known monster of all time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. He’s just too legendary at this point. Well Raids Again was one of the first films to come out in the series and it’s pretty interesting to see him back in the original days. Godzilla was still a pretty heroic Kaiju at this point in time but this was back when the government really didn’t understand him so they spend the whole film trying to bring him down. It’s a movie that has aged pretty well and gives us a lot of the fun Kaiju scenes you’ve been waiting for. There is a little less stomping on the buildings here but we still get our share of action.

The movie starts with the main characters doing a routine patrol when one of their planes has engine trouble. Tsukioka goes to rescue Kobayashi from his fate but getting out of here will be quite difficult. They have landed on Monster Island where Godzilla and Anguirus are currently duking it out. The two characters figure they should get out of there and escape as Anguirus and Godzilla fall into the ocean. The government quickly decides that they have to find a way to destroy Godzilla and fast but how to do it? Without the Oxygen Destroyer they are at a loss. Meanwhile while they focus on Godzilla what if Anguirus ends up making a comeback?

Anguirus is a pretty solid supporting character but is typically portrayed as one of the weaker Kaiju. He’s usually more of a sidekick to Godzilla compared to Rodan who’s portrayed as an equal. In this film he looks pretty good though and even has Godzilla on the defensive for a good chunk of the film. The king of the monsters just can’t shake the guy and he also appears to be immune to the Atomic Breath which is very handy indeed. Anguirus just shakes it off each time. Ultimately once Godzilla gets his bearings he is still the stronger Kaiju here though. He won twice fair and square.

This movie seems early enough in the mythos where Godzilla was more of a mindless monster and doesn’t seem to think a whole lot though. He’s distracted by bright lights and just seems to go everywhere on instinct. Even at the end of the film while the heroes are burying him alive Godzilla doesn’t really do anything to escape. He roars a bit and looks around but doesn’t do anything more than that. You feel like he should have been able to escape this either way though so I would say this was probably one of Godzilla’s least impressive appearances. He would only get stronger from here though and the movie does portray him well. It’s always fun to see Godzilla show up and I feel like we didn’t have to wait as long as normal to see him this time around.

It’s definitely good to have Godzilla showing up but that’s not to say that the human plot is bad. Of course when you’re watching a film like Godzilla then you’re really in it for the Kaiju. Anything else would be considered a bonus at best. The most important thing is that the human plot should not take away from the Kaiju one. So as long as you don’t have a bad plot in you’re good. There are two main human plots going on. The first is the prison break with the villains escaping from transit to another jail. As you may expect things don’t go great for them but it’s a pretty fun scene. They all band together for the plan and then dash like their lives depend on it. I think it does underscore why travelling in a van like that with only two guards is incredibly dangerous. If you don’t almost immediately fire off your guns then you’re going to be on the defensive.

Then you’ve got the main characters with “Mr. Groom” who are all just trying to have a good time. Things tend to end rather tragically for most of these characters. Kobayashi definitely didn’t play the ending right as he let things get too personal and it clouded his judgment at a critical time. The plan was always going to be very dangerous though so it’s not surprising that Godzilla took most of them down. He doesn’t tend to start the fights but he certainly ends them. Tsukioka and Yamaji meanwhile are pretty good friends to Kobayashi and make sure to keep on working hard. Tsukioka’s on the field so he gets to directly try to avenge him while Yamaji helped him have a lot of fun while he was around with playful banter and teasing about the secret name he had in his book.

Overall, Godzilla Raids Again is a solid film. It’s got your classic monster action at the ready and some decent characters running around. Just having a second monster always makes a huge difference in these films and I’m of the opinion that this was actually better than the original entry in the series. The film’s pacing is on point and the movie has no real weaknesses. It’s just a lot of fun and the pacing is fast so something is always happening. It’s also nostalgic to see one of Godzilla’s first suits. It’s aged pretty well I’d say and same for Anguirus I’d say as the suit looks a lot like the newer ones. He’s definitely not a character you can really afford to underestimate. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely change that and check it out.

Overall 7/10

Monster from a Prehistoric Planet Review


It’s time to look at a pretty retro Kaiju film. I wasn’t familiar with this title before watching it so it was pretty cool to jump into this world. It’s a pretty standard creature feature. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly great but avoids making any key mistakes. The Kaiju have cool designs and do a thorough job of stomping on all of the buildings. One thing’s for sure, these monsters are definitely playing for keeps!

A group scientists head to a nearby island to try and get some research for a magazine. Ultimately their head wants to open a resort and he’s not the kind of guy that you want to let down. That being said, the heroes end up with more than they bargained for when they run into the monster known as Gappa. The islanders warn the heroes not to take him away or he’ll get upset. Hiroshi and the others laugh this off as they bring him back. The President has decided that this monster will put their magazine on the map and could even be a star attraction once he’s tamed. The monster’s parents aren’t particularly thrilled about this though and head off to save him. They don’t intend to let anything get in their way. Will the government be able to stop these monsters or is it all over for them?

This is one of those films where you won’t find yourself rooting for the heroes at all. Put it this way, they’re kidnapping an animal from its natural habitat just to get rich and famous. Sure, only the President is after the money but the rest are going along with it since they want to keep their jobs so it’s not like they’re really standing up for the monster at all. If I was Gappa I would definitely be upset as well and I can see why his parents had to step in. This is one of those cases where the humans just seem really corrupt and could not be trusted. The creatures don’t know any better and were just trying to live in peace. It’s why it’s always hard to root against the monsters in these instances.

The first half of the film can be a bit slow. The Kaiju attacks feel like they don’t really start until well into the second half of the movie. The first bit has the heroes explore the island for a while and messing with each other. We get a lot of banter between Hiroshi and Itoka but you can make the case they would come out of that more as enemies than friends. Hiroshi certainly took a lot of shots at her the whole time that you can’t just wave away. If I were her I would definitely still have some issues about that. The rest of the characters aren’t all that memorable outside of the President. He’s about as antagonistic as you can get without being a downright villain. He only cares about himself and getting rich. At least he’s pretty honest and direct about this.

So what about the monsters? Well, I’d say the best way to think of them is Godzilla if he were part bird. They have the classic Atomic Breath and I would make the case that their design is rather similar as well. They just have more of an aerial base than the King of the Monsters. They also look pretty impressive as none of the government weapons is really able to do much against them. They won’t go as high tier as most of the G monsters simply due to a lack of opposition. It’s not like they had to deal with the same armaments that Godzilla has endured over the years. They’ll definitely be remembered though.

The main Gappa is still pretty young so he doesn’t get to do as much. If this film ever gets a sequel then I’m sure he’ll go around dishing out the pain to the humans. The film’s ending is pretty happy when you think about it so things end off on the right foot. The film’s only real weakness as I mentioned is that it can be a bit slow. The pacing isn’t amazing but you don’t always expect that here anyway. Kaiju films are typically meant to be slow burners. The first half is rather standard but then once the Kaiju shows up things then things get interesting. The film definitely doesn’t try to make any waves here and just goes through the motions. It does everything you would expect it to and that’s why I’d say it’s pretty standard.

Overall, If you like monster films then you should definitely check out this one. You can never have too many creature features right? I wonder if anyone still remembers Gappa at this point. Also, how come every big monster likes to start with a G? Godzilla, Gamera, Ghidorah, Gyaos, Gabera, Gigan, Gappa, etc. I guess that’s just how it goes. It does make for a pretty solid starting letter I would say. You’re going to have a really hard time rooting for the humans at all though. If anything I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re actively rooting against them. This is one of those films where the monsters are portrayed as the absolute heroes through and through. The body count is probably still pretty high when you think about it though so if you see these monsters it’s still good to get out of there as soon as possible.

Overall 7/10

War of the Gargantuas Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film. This one is about monsters that I’m not all that familiar with. They look a bit like King Kong but even more humanoid. The movie has a bit of a pacing issue near the end as it feels like they could have shaved some time off, but overall it’s a solid film. You’ve got some good action and the government is surprisingly able to defend themselves pretty well against the monsters. These guys definitely couldn’t go toe to toe with Godzilla, but you can definitely respect their power.

The movie starts off with a sailor getting attacked by a Giant Octopus. He is saved when a monster shows up and begins to do battle with it, but this becomes an “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” scenario as the monster begins attacking the ship. Somehow the sailor survives all of this and heads home to warn everyone else. The cops don’t buy this story for a second, but they become true believers once the monster shows up and starts terrorizing towns. Some believe that Frankenstein has returned, but his creators aren’t so sure. One thing that they do know is this monster must be stopped and stopped pretty soon or everyone will be in trouble. It is weak against sunlight so they will have to weaponize that.

Paul and Akemi are the main characters here. They raised the original Frankenstein who ultimately ended up becoming Sanda. It’s rather interesting that they call him Frankenstein because to me at least the monsters look nothing like that icon. I’m glad the Kaiju ultimately got different names later on. The problem here is that another monster known as Gaira has shown up and he is against the humans. He wants to destroy everyone and is definitely a rather vengeful creature. Akemi wants to protect Sanda but it’s a tough challenge right from the start since he is protecting Gaira. Sanda later realizes that Gaira isn’t on the right side, but it takes a while for that to become apparent.

Akemi is a solid heroine and means well. I’m glad that she sticks by Sanda throughout. She has a more active role than you would suspect. Paul is also pretty solid and does his best to help out, but he isn’t quite as personally invested in the situation. He seems to think of everything as a game with how laid back he is. That could just be his way of dealing with the situation though so that’s not to say that he was completely uncaring about how things were going. He was a good character.

As for the monsters, they weren’t my favorite ones. As I mentioned they look a bit like King Kong, but you could cross that with the Yeti. Together that really makes up the Kaiju pair. There aren’t any real differences between them except that Gaira is evil while Sanda is the heroic one. They are pretty evenly matched and get into a lot of battles. They aren’t extremely durable as the government is able to combat them, but this government was surprisingly high tech. They have a bunch of energy lasers at their disposal and endless rockets. If this was the government going up against Godzilla and the other popular Kaiju maybe they would have had a real shot. Electrifying the water was also a solid plan and they really had Gaira pinned down at that point. It is always a little sad to see the Kaiju on the losing end, but it’s handled well. If anything you’ll just feel especially bad for Sanda at the end.

The writing here is pretty fun and the Dub always makes these Kaiju films even more enjoyable than they would be otherwise. The voice acting is just great. There’s a good blend of humor here while still staying serious when the situation calls for it. The police chief breaking into the room and forcing the guy in a coma to talk was just brilliant. Characters just push themselves through situations and that’s the kind of persistence you need in order to stay alive in these films.

The main cast is really small here, but that’s fine. You’re mainly here for the monsters after all and they appear within the opening 5 minutes. They showed up so fast that I was pretty impressed. Naturally there are still a lot of moments without them, but the humans can hold their own scenes pretty well I must say. There’s also one long song that comes out of nowhere. I can’t say that it was my kind of tune, but I’m still glad she managed to get out of there in one piece. For a second I thought she wasn’t going to make it out in time.

Overall, War of the Gargantuas is a solid film. I admit that it will have less replay value than some of the other Kaiju movies due to its sheer length but it is a good film. I think the best special effect in the film was the Octopus’ glowing eyes. It really made him look fierce and that’s why these Kaiju suits have all aged well. You just can’t beat that level of detail. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I would recommend changing that as soon as possible. It’s really got everything you could ask for and while it may not ascend to the same heights as Godzilla or Gamera, it’s a great example of what a Kaiju film is. Show this to someone who is getting ready to jump into the genre and needs reassurance that the whole genre isn’t just Godzilla movies.

Overall 7/10

Ultraman Review


It’s time to take a look at the original Ultraman show from a while back. Ultraman is a character who is pretty big in Japan but never really got to attain the same success in America. It’s a little odd, but maybe the whole creature feature thing just ends up working better as a movie in getting people’s attention. I will say that the Dub really did its best to make the show more interesting. The DVD we had would randomly shift between sub and dub during the episodes but for the most part the dub worked which was good. There are issues which prevent this from really being a good show but it is something that can be fun in small doses.

The general plot is that on Earth there are so many disturbances thanks to giant monsters that we had to create a whole unit to deal with them. This unit is called the Science Patrol and their duty is to stop these monsters no matter what. Unfortunately they are rarely strong enough to defeat even the weakest of monsters. That’s where Hayata comes in. He has been chosen to be the host of Ultraman, a powerful alien from another realm. Ultraman can only be summoned in Hayata’s place for 5 minutes so he has to try and win quickly. Will this new guardian be enough to save the planet or is Earth already doomed to fall to the monsters’ assault?

The show has close to 40 episodes with the majority of them being stand alone adventures. The formula for each episode is typically that a monster shows up and beats up on the Science Patrol before Ultraman steps in to save the day. It’s a classic formula and it’s like watching an abridged version of a Godzilla film. The only tricky part about having a monster of the week kind of series like this is that you need a strong cast of characters and great writing. This series has neither so that can make it a tough sell when you are effectively seeing the same adventures over and over again. Some titles like Pokemon or Case Closed can pull off the repetition even for hundreds of episodes, but it’s not as easy as it looks.

One issue here is that the Science Patrol doesn’t always seem to be in the right. Often times I was actively rooting against these guys because they seem to be awfully selfish and don’t look at the bigger picture. Most of them just follow orders without question and the ones who think long and hard about it are ultimately reigned in. There’s no sense of unity on the team and Captain Mura is quick to push out any who doubt him. Without good characters to root for that makes the format a little tricky. I’ll go into this more, but lets quickly talk about the main characters. The cast isn’t particularly large.

The main character is Hayata. He can use the pen to shift places with Ultraman but does try to do his best on his own. Hayata is easily the best member of the main group since he does at least talk tough to the villains. Hayata does wait way too long to transform into Ultraman though and makes it clear that he is willing to let tons of people die just to prove a point. He wants humanity to be able to get along with Ultraman and never checks his ego at the door. Watching all of the death and destruction that is all Hayata’s fault is enough to make him sink as a character a bit. Ultraman has his own character, but rarely ever gets to talk or do anything. Skip an episode or two and you would assume that he still is Hayata.

Ultraman is a fun guy to have around even if he does seem to make up super powers on the spot at times. Unfortunately Ultraman isn’t the most heroic character though. He’ll take down any monster even if they are harmless and aren’t making a move to attack. He seems to have a no tolerance policy and just destroys whoever gets in his way. I suppose he is doing his job of protecting the Earth, it would just be nice if that could have also included the monsters who really don’t want to do anything wrong.

Mura is probably the worst character of the bunch. He’s a total Yes Man who will do whatever the government says. He rarely ends up helping out on missions and just gets in everyone else’s way. You want a boss who will stick up for his subordinates and Mura won’t do that. Arashi probably gets the smallest role out of the main characters. He gets a good episode where he defies orders to save some children though. Unfortunately the government didn’t like that and so he is temporarily fired and then reprimanded for saving the day. The whole thing was so crazy that I hopped Arashi would quit in defiance. He really doesn’t need to be taking any of this. He should have gone somewhere where they would have appreciated him more.

Then we have Ide who is the comic relief character of the group. He has a lot of funny dialogue and was a good highlight. At least he actually thinks about the monsters and how they’re feeling at times. I’ll give him some credit for this, but not too much since ultimately he does end up pulling the trigger each time. His inventions are pretty good, but he did have a valid point that Ultraman always does all of the work even if everybody dismissed the notion. Finally we have Fuji. She goes out into the field less than the others as she typically stays with the comms, but she does help out sometimes. Some of Fuji’s scenes can definitely be odd though like when she makes a long speech about why girls love jewels and then when she tried asking one of the monsters to give her some gems. I guess this is probably why she ism’t out on the field as much as the others. She seems nice enough I suppose.

In the first half of the series we see a kid named Hoshino who wants to join the Science Patrol. I’m guessing nobody liked the kid though because he is completely written out during the second half of the series and trust me when I say that this was a really good move. He didn’t add anything to the story and as a kid he really couldn’t keep up with the others either. In general the kids all stopped appearing near the end which was good.

Naturally the monsters showing up is the highlight of each episode. It’s always nice seeing the quick wrestling fights between them and Ultraman. Then throw in the martial arts and you’ve got some quality action. I like a good monster battle and that is really the center of what you need in a monster show like this one. That being said, the show does mess up a bit with the monster vs monster fights. Some of them actually get pretty violent which is surprising and also inconsistent. Most of the time the monsters fall apart like bags of potatoes with no blood inside of them. It’s like they are puppets filled with air which is definitely what you want to see. It also only gets violent when it’s monster against monster which is odd. Hopefully that’s not a trend.

Now lets go back to the Science Patrol being the enemies which is the trickiest part of the series. They are basically a hit squad hired by the government to take down all monsters. They are to do this without question whether the monster is acting hostile or not. There are numerous times where this happens and it’s always very annoying because of course the science patrol has to end up winning here even though they don’t deserve it. One episode where this happens is the ice one. Some kids decide to bully a girl to death so a monster shows up to try and defend her. The Science Patrol quickly puts an end to that. It’s a very somber ending and the Patrol just looks terrible since they were played by a bunch of kids. It doesn’t get worse than that. Another episode involves a peaceful monster from the graveyard dimension who literally doesn’t attack anyone. The government tells the Patrol to destroy him anyway so they just duck their heads and pick a fight. Ultraman beats him up pretty badly before they send him back into space. That was a terrible episode.

With 39 episodes the quality is naturally going to vary. The important thing is of course that you have more good episodes than bad ones and that the bad ones aren’t too bad. The problem is that some of these episodes are just really bad. The 2 that I just mentioned are prime examples of this. The series can just be really mean spirited at times. I think in part how the show plays out is due to the cultural difference here. In Japan following the rules is a very important part of the culture as seen in a bunch of anime and such. In these Ultraman episodes it is seen as a good thing to follow the rules even if the rules themselves are bad. That just hasn’t aged well.

One episode that’s real mean spirited is when a little red monster showed up to help the heroes. He informs them of the incoming alien invasion and the heroes follow him to the site. This little guy’s reward for being so helpful? He is murdered by the enemy kaiju and Hayata could have saved him but chose not to in order to prove a point to Ide. This is another episode where the heroes should have checked their Egos at the door. It’s always especially tragic when a villain tries to turn good and make the hero call but ends up being destroyed anyway. It just goes to show why most informants are worried about blowing the whistle on their alien boss. It’s just extremely risky.

Other episodes are just on the boring side. The first half of the show is affected more by this. One example is definitely the monster who loved the jewels a lot. It’s meant as a comedy episode, but it’s not particularly funny and just ends up dragging on a bit. The best parts of monster films for me are the monster fights so when you have an episode that is centered around the humans you can see how that wouldn’t work quite as well. The Dub really does its best to save some of these episodes but when it goes back to the sub you just don’t feel the energy or witty dialogue.

All right, lets look at some of the more enjoyable episodes. I did like the Baltan aliens. Their laugh is a lot of fun and I like how they troll the humans. They have more personality than any of the other creatures and I’d like to see them get more of a role. We got 2 alien invasions in the last few episodes and I would have liked a 2-3 episode saga with the Baltans trying to take over. Maybe we could have seen more of the other Science Patrols which were mentioned during the series. A large scale episode like that would be cool.

Another fun episode was when the shape shifter alien showed up. He acts like a long lost member of the Science Patrol but is actually working on the enemy side. He is definitely pretty suspicious right from the start. I do like a good shape shifting plot even if it can be tough to watch the heroes get played at times. There is just so much potential whenever it is used as is done well here. Surprisingly I have to say that the best episodes in the series are the ones that involve alien races as opposed to the Kaiju. It may be because the aliens are always evil so you don’t have to worry about rooting for the Science Patrol.

A lot of the other monsters have cool designs as well. There are a bunch of them so you probably won’t remember most of their names, but at least the designs you’ll take to heart. Zetton is a monster with a very memorable design. I like the black/yellow look, it works well for villains and does usually indicate that the character is going to be a real threat. Then you have Jirass who is basically Godzilla. The show doesn’t reuse monsters much so you’ve got 30+ monsters to look forward to. Choosing which one is your favorite won’t be easy. Mine was Baltan of course.

Overall, Ultraman is definitely a pretty unique show. I certainly hadn’t seen anything quite like it before now. As I mentioned, it’s like checking out a bunch of abridged Godzilla movies only with a Power Ranger as one of the main character. I think it might have been even cooler to have had Ultraman literally be Hayata transformed since it wouldn’t really change anything. If you want to see a bunch of cool monsters and action scenes then this is definitely a good show for you to check out. It’s pretty old so of course there aren’t a lot of special effects yet but the monster suits are practical effects so it’s not as if the test of time really affects them. You will have to get past the fact that the main characters are completely unlikable though and that the “villains” end up winning a lot of these fights. The monsters get the short end of the stick and watching this is actually perfect to really understand Garou’s argument in One Punch.

Overall 5/10