Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Burn The Witch Review


It’s time to take a look at the new title that Kubo is working on. Currently it is just a one shot so I took a look and figured I’d review this one. Bleach is one of the greatest manga of all time so I’m expecting similar quality from Burn The Witch. It’s hard for a manga to start off being a masterpiece though and this one will clearly need some extra time to work things out. The one shot was not nearly as good as I had been expecting thanks in large part to an annoying character who seems like he’ll be one of the main cast.

The special starts by introducing us to Noel. She is one of the two leads and is always pretty deadpan about everything. She works in the London branch of Soul Society and her mission is to destroy all dragons. She has to deal with constant harassment from her best friend Balgo though who is as shameless as they come. After losing him she meets up with her teammate/superior Spangcole and they are given a new assignment. It turns out that some dragons are near Noel’s home. Balgo may be in danger now so the heroines head over to save them. The question is….should she save Balgo? The guy’s pretty cheap so they may want to re think that.

Balgo is really my main problem with the series. Every scene with him is pretty brutal. He’s only got Noel on his mind and only in a very superficial way. While this is supposed to be comedic it definitely falls short of that and becomes irritating almost instantly. There is just no way you can root for the guy or even feel bad for him. The dynamic that the series is going for completely falls flat and it will heavily limit Burn The Witch’s potential. I’m hoping that he will ultimately get written out and was just made up for the opening pilot. They’ve gotta get rid of him.

His best friend Selvie in comparison seems a lot more reasonable. He’s always pretty tired of Balgo’s antics and just wants to live a normal life. He gets a pretty big role in this chapter and is a solid character. I’d like to see more of him. From the main two, Spangcole’s my favorite character so far. She’s definitely the loud character of the duo and is constantly talking big. Skill-wise I assume she is a little stronger than Noel, but it’s far too soon to say. Confidence does go a long way though and I think that should help her out a lot in the long term.

Then Noel’s a solid character as well. She’s a lot more of the quiet type than Spangcole, but she gets the job done when they need to fight so that’s what counts. Interestingly it’s still hard to really nail down Spangcole and Noel’s characters though. You get their basic personalities, but the title goes by so fast that they haven’t shown you too much yet. That’s a good thing in that it means they won’t be two dimensional. The plot with the dragons is also interested. Despite being called that, most of the enemies don’t look like dragons. They are basically shape shifters who take over the bodies of the dead. If you get hit by a train for example one will hop in your body and pretend that you just barely rolled out of the way. There’s no real way for humans to tell the dragons apart from the actual person so it does put them in a lot of danger. I could easily see the series becoming part horror due to that.

There’s a lot of good potential to the overall premise so I can definitely see this becoming a long running title. The artwork is definitely solid and should remind you of Bleach right away. I’m hoping we can see the regular Bleach cast make guest star appearances at some point though. We’ll likely need to hold off on that until the main characters get a power up though because right now they are far too weak to have many real interactions with that group. There’s plenty of time to buff them up though so I would hardly even call that a real concern. Eventually characters always power up.

Overall, I’ll be interested to see where Burn The Witch goes from here. I’m hoping that the movie is able to correct the weaknesses of the manga though. There isn’t really any fanservice so it’s not like that’s an issue but every scene with Balgo is just super annoying. It takes away from moments where the other characters could be shining instead and that is always preferable. If you’re a huge Bleach fan then you should check this out, but just know that there isn’t really even a connection to Bleach yet besides the universe. I expect we’ll have to wait a while for a true crossover which makes sense because you can build the characters up more that way.

Overall 5/10

Manga

Kingdom Hearts III


It’s finally time to take a look at the latest manga adaption of the Kingdom Hearts series. It was definitely a fun game/end to the saga so it should be quite solid as a manga as well. I’ll have a review for this series up once I’ve finished it.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Dragon Quest Monsters+ Review


It’s time to look at my first ever Dragon Quest manga. Dragon Quest is a pretty huge franchise so it’s certainly nice to finally get a glimpse at it. I do own one or two of the games, but I haven’t had a chance to play them yet. The series always looks like a lot of fun with a colorful cast of characters and excellent gameplay. This one does a good job of getting in what appear to be the main mechanics while also introducing a lot of characters. Towards the end the series really starts to change gears before ending quite abruptly. I feel like it must have been cancelled.

The series starts by introducing us to Terry. He is the world’s greatest Monster Master which is effectively what they call heroes nowadays. He conquered evil and became the best, but one day he vanishes. His main monster was Slib who ended up staying behind. This takes us to our new main character, Kleo. Kleo lives in the human world and has always longed for adventure. Well, he gets his chance when a monster summons him to Dragon Quest world. He is quickly given the task of locating Terry and saving the dragon world. It won’t be easy but Kleo will find new monsters along the way and gain new strength. This will be key because if someone was actually able to defeat Terry then this won’t be an easy foe to take down.

First off I’ll say that what Dragon Quest really succeeds in is building a pretty big universe. The series is only 5 volumes long, but there’s a lot of content here. What the series takes advantage of is how big the overall franchise is. It borderline becomes a crossover by the end as you see characters from the various games show up to help. I mentioned earlier that the series changes gears and this is what I mean. At first it is all about Kleo and his quest on being a monster master, but this changes around volume 3. Then the focus shifts more to the old heroes as they fight an evil from the past. We see all of the old leads, get some big hand to hand fights, and it’s all pretty awesome. I gotta admit that I didn’t really miss Kleo at this point.

Kleo gets written out for quite a while but the other heroes handle the story so well that you barely notice. It also feels like a crossover when a hero teams up with Kleo. They may be from the same world but it feels like they’re on completely different dimensions with various rules of combat. If I could compare it to something it would be Tsubasa since that series mixes people from different realities. Had the series kept going then we could have really run with this concept a little more. It would have been a lot of fun, but as it stands at least these 5 volumes are quite memorable.

Unfortunately the series does slip a bit with the ending. There isn’t an ending. Now, I do like a good cliffhanger ending. I actually prefer for a series to end with a hype cliffhanger than to have everything wrapped up because this way there is always room for a sequel and you can rely on your headcanon to fill in the blanks. The problem here is that the ending is just a non ending which is different from a cliffhanger. There was a big rematch/battle that was hyped up all the way from the first volume and it never came to pass. The villain only appears for a panel or two at the end which really feels like a big shame. I can’t help but feel that something was supposed to happen but never did.

We get an epilogue what if story that has more time warps and alternate reality fighters running around, but it’s not nearly as satisfying. It’s similar to how in End Game the Avengers fight a different Thanos. It’s just not the same guy so it’s not as satisfying a victory. I wanted Kleo to have his proper fight and it just didn’t go that way. Perhaps this series will get a sequel some day although I don’t see that being too likely. You never really know I guess and that’s what you have to bank on.

The artwork is pretty solid. It’s got a nice DBZ effect and since some of the designs are made to be like Dragon Ball it works pretty well. The action scenes are on point and these guys feel pretty high tier towards the end. The larger spells are certainly a force to be reckoned with and the villains even get some super forms. You won’t have a problem blasting through the series as everything is pretty clear and never too cluttered.

Unfortunately the series does have a bit of fanservice randomly added in during the end. One character is always teasing Kleo but it never goes very far at all so I wouldn’t even count that. The only bit is naturally a hot springs scene was included and it’s a little more in depth than I would have expected. Fortunately that is really the only time it occurs but it was quite forced and didn’t need to actually occur in the series. Had we gotten more scenes like that then it would have definitely taken a higher toll on the series.

Now lets take a look at the characters. First up is Kleo who is basically your average kid. He’s always wanted to be a hero and now he has gotten his chance. He always wanted to fight monsters mano a mano but that’s just not the way that it works in this world. Gradually he understands how he is expected to fight here and does a pretty good job of it. I don’t expect he will leave a big impression on you but he’s not bad. Kleo does use more and more strategy by the end and his bonds with his monsters are why he is so powerful. I expect had the series gone on longer he would have gotten even better.

Then you have Slib who is never lacking in confidence. It’s a pretty rough road for him since he used to fight with Terry who was the champ so Kleo initially felt like a downgrade to him. Gradually they got used to each other though. While Slib may be a pretty proud monster, he always makes the right decision in the end. His training also made him even more powerful DBZ style as it even came with a humanoid super form. The banter between Kleo and Slib was always fun.

Then there is Terry who was my favorite character in the series although he lost a lot of ground after the big reveal in volume 2. Basically his mind wasn’t strong enough to stay on the light side and so he got persuaded to join the monsters. We never get to see a whole lot from his side so ideally there was more to it than that, but we’ll never really know. It just makes Terry look very weak. It’s not like he’s taking orders from anyone at least. Even by the end Terry seems like the strongest character in the series but I really would have liked for him to have stayed as the ultimate hero. Even if he was defeated it would have been a very powerful moment. The idea of the ultimate hero losing and a new generation having to step in is always a good one. I guess I can’t say that the series dropped the ball here since it’s the whole premise, but I think the series would have been even better had it not gone this route.

Laran is the main hero who appears for a good chunk of the series. There was actually a hero who appeared earlier and also had a good role, but Laran is the one who ends the series off. Interestingly they work under the old rules too so if they die then they re-spawn somewhere else. While that does lower the danger for them, they still don’t want to die because they they’re leaving the town defenseless. The heroes can never lower their guard and Laran ultimately has to team up with a lot of heroes to take down the final villain. I would have been cool with Laran being the main character for the whole series. There was a lot of potential here and he was just fun.

Maruma is a heroine who shows up later in the series. She was on the villain side, but never even really knew why she was. Maruma is eventually shown the light, but she can be a bit too trusting. Since she doesn’t do much until the final volume there isn’t a lot of time for her to get a role, but she’s solid. Maruma is the kind of character where the template is good and you more or less know how her character would go even if we didn’t see it. Her array of monsters was certainly impressive and one of the strongest groups we got to see.

Pazuzu and the Demon Lord were the two big monster villains. Both of them got sizable roles and definitely gave the heroes a run for their money. In the end Pazuzu was the most impressive one though. Like the various heroes Pazuzu was able to keep coming back to life over and over again which takes real skill. He went through a lot of super forms in order to keep testing the heroes limits and had a solid design. Now this was the kind of guy who could strike fear into the heroes and I’d expect no less from the series.


Overall, Dragon Quest Monsters+ is a pretty ambitious manga title. It feels like the big Dragon Quest crossover that I’ve been waiting for. With so many games it makes sense to have a crossover title like Fire Emblem Warriors. I believe Dragon Quest did get its own beat em up like that so now we have a crossover in the games as well as in the manga. Not to worry though, you can read this one with no prior knowledge of Dragon Quest and still understand what is happening. After all, that’s exactly what I did and it worked out quite well I must say. There are a lot of loose ends you’ll notice in the series like various monster hunters appearing and never getting to do much. I stand by my theory that the series was cancelled. Even though the ideas may not have finished being executed, it was still a really solid ride and I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Koro-Sensei Q! Review


It’s time to look at a parody/comedy spinoff to a main manga that wasn’t even that good to begin with. From the start you can tell that this was going to get a little messy and unfortunately it was as bad as I thought. Mind you, I wouldn’t call the manga terrible or anything like that, but it’s pretty bad. You probably won’t even crack a smile as you read through the gags because the manga goes for the low hanging fruit each time. All of the jokes are painfully predictable and never have any imagination to them. The jokes are also repetitive so you will be seeing the sames ones over and over again as the series tries to get the laughs back.

The basic plot of the series follows that of the main one. The heroes live in a fantasy land that is structured a whole lot like an RPG. One day, the big bad of the game shows up and decides to train the main characters on how to fight. None of them are thrilled about this, but at the same time getting instruction from the strongest monster of all time should be quite valuable right? The heroes decide that they will try to destroy him during the lessons. Each of the heroes has a different glitch which either gives them super powers or just makes life generally awkward. Koro will help them learn how to take advantage of these skills and he’ll have to do so quickly. There are other villains in this world who want to make a move as well as heroes who wish to hunt him. One thing’s for sure, Koro isn’t taking this seriously so neither should we!

That’s the basic premise of the title and the series never really gets much of a plot beyond that. There are various mini arcs and little stories in the middle but they’re all just to further this story goal. We get some basic development for the characters, but it’s all usually wiped away pretty quick. The big developments in the series are the arrival of the elite fighters, Koro’s old protege showing up, and the hero group having a civil war amongst themselves. These plots take a few chapters to resolve. Most of the chapters are just one off fillers that don’t really do much.

So what’s the problem? Well, first off the characters are all pretty terrible. Koro is the instructor but he is the worst possible role model for these kids. He lies a lot, tends to be interested in pretty sketchy material, and never takes things seriously. Half of the problems that the heroes face in this series are all because of him. The guy loves messing with the heroes to the point where it feels like he is actively trying to get in their way. The sad part is that the kids are trying to take him down, they just aren’t powerful enough to do so. There’s not much to talk about with the rest of the characters because they aren’t really characters. They’re like distorted versions of their real selves.

The series also has a fanservice issue which is unfortunate. The least a gag manga like this can do is to avoid a problem like that right? It should be beneath such a series, but this one has it occur quite a bit. A lot of the jokes are about the fanservice as well which doesn’t help matters. This already meant that the series was going to be doomed. As I mentioned earlier, the jokes are also very repetitive. All the jokes about Nagisa are that he looks like a girl but his glitch makes him look like Goku once it is activated. Then you have Karma who has a pot fall on his head every time he starts to brag. Considering that he likes to brag a lot, you see a whole bunch of pots and pans falling on him all the time. It probably happens in just about every chapter. One guy always forgets part of his clothes, etc. Every character is a walking gag and so the joke happens whenever they are present. That’s not how you set up a good comedy plot.

Another problem isn’t just for the series but in general with gag manga. Without a story to get behind or actual characters, there is no reason to get invested into the series. The fact that this is a spinoff is supposed to help since you are already used to the characters from the main series, but it didn’t have the strongest cast of fighters to begin with. As a result this one really didn’t have a whole lot of potential to start with. I’ve yet to meet a total parody gag manga that was very good. You need to have some kind of story like Dragon Ball SD at least. That gives you something to work with. A good gag manga should be like an abridged series. It pokes fun as everyone and everything but still has some kind of a focus of narrative to get behind.

At least the art is fairly good. The characters all look correct from the original series and you can always tell what is happening. You can follow the events easy enough and since the series doesn’t really have a lot of fight scenes it’s not like the series really has to exert itself. In the end, this is at least one positive that I can point to in the series. Even in the image below you can see how the art is actually pretty good. In a different series you would actually expect a pretty hype chapter to follow that. We don’t quite go that far but it’s nice to think about.

It’s also fun to see Goku show up even if it’s only for 2-3 panels at most. The series ends with a bit of a cliffhanger that could be cool for just about any other series so I’ll accept that as well. I think the best positive for the series is that it could have been worse. For as unimpressive as it was in the end, there’s always another level of awful you could get to. This series avoided making any lethal mistakes that would have lost it more points even if it is already a pretty negative score.

Overall, Koro-Sensei Q is not a good manga. The humor is pretty bad and the characters are terrible. I’m still trying to find a good reason why you would even want to read this one and I can’t think of any. If you’re going to get into the franchise then you should read the main series as it is still better than this one. This one brings in all of the worst traits from the original and just magnifies them. The art is good and that’s about all I can say for this series. The best thing to do is to simply avoid it. The title may not be that long but you can still use your new found time to do something else. I actually didn’t realize this got an anime, maybe that version would be a little more enjoyable.

Overall 3/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Mythical Beast Investigator Review


It’s time to look at a fairly short manga that I hadn’t heard of before. The Mythical Beast Investigator is a tough role in this series as you have to know a lot about monsters and constantly put yourself in harm’s way. There are some interesting parts of the premise but the series doesn’t last long enough to fully explore them. There is also one story that really ends up bringing the whole adventure down which was unfortunate. You can’t win them all though and at least this is a pretty unique story. It reminds me a bit of Monster Hunter if I had to pick the next closest thing.

The series is 2 volumes long and it’s an anthology. That’s always a risky format of course and I’m afraid that this series was unable to break the curse. Still, there are some solid stories in here. The first one felt like it was the longest story. Ferry ends up wandering to a village that is having a bit of a Wyvern issue. It’s odd because Wyverns do not typically attack humans, but the townspeople are saying that this is the case. Their story doesn’t add up, but Ferry has a job to do regardless. She aims to stop the threat but hopefully without using any violence. She doesn’t have to worry too much about being hurt because she has two bodyguards. First is Trow who’s a little bat thing that can’t really fight. He means well though. The other is the dark king Kushuna who is immensely powerful and basically can’t be stopped. With those two by her side Ferry is pretty fearless which makes sense.

It’s a solid story although some parts of it are pretty dark and don’t make a whole lot of sense. So the dragon always used to hang out with this one girl from the village. One day the village sold her out to another group as they figured maybe the dragon would do something. Unfortunately the dragon was waiting for them to do something so nobody made a move. Now the dragon has decided to murder the villagers to avenge his old friend. It’s great that the dragon is avenging his friend, but he should have helped her from the start. The girl was his friend so he should have made every effort to help her out. That would have made sense to me at least. You can’t just wait for someone else to help out. It’s really not the way that it’s done. The ending is pretty happy though and ends up making this a solid story. It was also the first moment where I realized that Kushuna was the best character.

He is primarily responsible for ensuring that we had a happy ending. He took matters into his own hands. Later on we learn a bit more about his origin story which has some similarities to the dragon’s plight so he was really trying to help. Throughout the series Kushuna is very quick to defend Ferry and threaten all those who would dare to hurt her. He’s vowed to follow her orders and help out whenever possible, but he does say that he can’t obey any order that would put her in danger. As a result whenever she tells him to stand down he won’t if a monster is present. The guy has a lot of style and charisma going for him. Being the strongest monster in the series doesn’t hurt either.

I feel a little bad for Trow because in comparison that guy really doesn’t get to do much. He simply isn’t as interesting as Kushuna and if you cut him out of the story nothing would change. The next story was a lot shorter. The towns folk were worried because one of the eggs that their chicken lay appeared to be a monster egg. It would be one of the most dangerous creatures in existence so Ferry shows up and takes the egg away. The twist is that the egg wasn’t actually dangerous, but fortunately since Ferry took it she was able to ensure that nobody hurt the monster. It was a fun little story.

Next up involved a mermaid who was upset that the men kept leaving. She had a good friendship with one guy in particular and she would always give him lots of gifts. The town would gossip about their friendship a lot though and so the guy came less and the mermaid got bitter. It’s a bit of an odd story and it’s going for more of a romance angle which doesn’t really work all that well. None of the guys would ever be able to stay for good and eventually they would get old while the mermaid is immortal. It’s a bit of an emotional tale, but it wasn’t as engaging as the last few. Next up would be the worst story though so I wouldn’t have minded if the mermaid one had been extended.

Ferry heads to a town where a large water horse had murdered a little girl. The girl’s father has vowed revenge and so he tells Ferry not to interfere since he wants to be the one to end things. Ferry and Kushuna still help out though since the Water Horse is immensely powerful and an old man is just not going to cut it in a fight against such a creature. Unfortunately the man also owned a dog who wanted to avenge the girl as well. It’s a pretty brutal fight and since both creatures are animals it’s not a fun one. In the end the animals both die and you’re left wondering why this story had to be included. You’re happy for the dog that he got to help avenge his owner but it’s a very mean spirited ending where nobody really got to win. In the end everyone lost everything and Ferry really did nothing to help out.

Next up was a quick story about a cat who went to visit an old man. He got startled and injured the cat a bit, but deep down he liked animals so he tried to make things right. Little did he know that the cat sued him so a bunch of them showed up to have a court session. Ferris showed up as well and told the man that he was pronounced innocent. I like to think that she helped plead his case, but it’s hard to tell. She may have just been there to have some laughs. It’s a nice enough story and I’m glad it worked out for the old man since it was an accident and he did his best to make up for it. The cats were right that you should never pick a cat up by its tail though. Same goes for any creature.

After that we got the origin story of Kushuna. It was a little bit on the convoluted side with the time skips and the fact that Ferry looks exactly like his old owner. Why do they have to have the same exact design? I think the manga was going for a reincarnation angle but at least if the clothes were different that would have helped. Essentially she convinces him that sitting alone on a throne all day is pretty boring so they should hang out. He agrees to accompany her and then does the same for the next version of her. It shows why they have such a strong bond since he has her to thank for his freedom from the castle. This was the longest story and goes all the way to the end of the series. It’s a solid way to end off since we had been waiting for his origin since the start. Kushuna’s eloquent way of speaking and protective nature made him a compelling character right away. If only Ferry was as good.

Ferry is more of a blank slate kind of character. She doesn’t have much of a personality and things just don’t seem to interest her all that much. It’s hard to even say how heroic she is. Ferry seems to be a very by the books kind of person who follows the law even if it’s not the right thing to do. I just don’t trust her much and she doesn’t do enough in the series to really change my impression of her. If not for Kushuna constantly stepping in she would have died pretty early on too. Being oblivious may be a charming character trait to some, but it’s not a very practical one when you’re dealing with dangerous monsters.

The artwork is pretty solid though. Even if Ferry looks way too much like her past self, the panels are clear and you can keep up with the action scenes pretty well. You get a nice sense of danger at times. The backgrounds have a good amount of detail and in general are more diverse than you would expect in most titles. A lot of effort was put into this part. While not all of the stories were my favorites, the writing is also good enough. All of the characters sound like they could be real people which is good.


Overall, Mythical Beast Investigator ends as soon as it begins. There really isn’t a lot of time to get enveloped into the world which works as a double edged blade. In general I always prefer for a series to go on as long as possible. Whether it’s good or bad, at least it gives time for some good moments to happen. Just look at Fairy Tail. I may not like the series, but at least it gave us a lot of good action scenes over the years. Maybe this title will continue some day. If you want to see some short stories about monsters then you may like this series. Otherwise I’d recommend reading Dragon Drive instead. It does a whole lot more to fully immerse you in the world of dragons and has a more engaging character cast. A lack of characters does end up hurting this one.

Overall 4/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the latest Pokemon movie manga. This one brings back memories as it had the real Ash and not the reboot version we’ve gotten for the last few films. It’s nice to have the veteran that I’m so used to. This isn’t the most exciting story out there, but it’s pretty solid and I dare say that the pacing is better than in the movie. It’s a solid title with some good action scenes and you’ll get to learn more about the new Pokemon.

So the story starts with Ash bumping into a Pokemon named Volcanion. This guy is pretty upset because his pal was kidnapped by a villain and his thugs. They plan to use the metal Pokemon Magearna in their plans. Magearna is a Pokemon that was created by humans much in the same way as Mewtwo and this makes her highly valued among the villains. Volcanion wants to save her, but he spends the majority of the manga getting beaten black and blue by the various Mega Pokemon. Fortunately Ash is here to help. Can Volcanion get over his distrust of humans long enough to join forced with Ash and save the day?

Volcanion can be a bit annoying with how much he doesn’t like humans but I’ll cut him some slack since most humans are pretty dicey. At least Ash is good, but he has no way of knowing that. My real problem is just how weak he is. Ash has to save his bacon many times in this adventure so when the guy still keeps on talking tough it’s impossible to take him seriously. He’s losing to the random villains of the movie and their Pokemon. That’s unacceptable, especially for a Pokemon who is supposed to be super powerful. Volcanion didn’t really leave a good impression on me.

He still looked better than Magearna though. My issue with her is that she has no character. She sort of just stands around as everything happens. I think part of the point is that she doesn’t have full emotions yet or has a hard time expressing them, but I needed her to show a little more agency in the meanwhile. Even just a quick scene where she fights back against the villains when they show up to capture her would have gone a long way. Mewtwo definitely doesn’t let himself get trapped like that.

Meanwhile Ash looked great though. While being stuck to Volcanion is a big inconvenience Ash takes it in stride and gets right into the action. Nobody’s going to stop him from saving the day and Pikachu also gets some good hits on the Mega Pokemon. If not for Volcanion being unable to keep up Ash probably would have taken them all down. This is really Ash at his peak and its one of his best portrayals in a long time. It’s always good to see him getting his props.

Meanwhile the art is pretty solid. At times Ash looks a little out of character and is a bit inconsistent with how he’s drawn, but that’s about it. The most egregious example of this is definitely the back cover of the manga. Where the artist really shines is when the action scenes come in though. The Mega Pokemon all look quite fierce and the attacks are also pretty impressive as well. The scenes are easy to read so they aren’t convoluted but still have a good amount of scale to them. You can tell that the Pokemon here really know how to fight.

I guess there isn’t a whole lot to this title beyond what I’ve said, but that’s part of its charm. It’s not a grand tale or one of the more ambitious Pokemon movies turned into a manga. Effectively it’s just a fun little Pokemon story with Ash showing more Pokemon why hunmans are decently good at times. I doubt we’ll ever see Volcanion or Magearna again, but if we do that would certainly be pretty cool. I also thought the villain was a step up over some of the other villains. Not saying he’s super memorable or anything, but at least he actually had a good army of Pokemon.

Overall, Volcanion and Magearna are probably the weakest points of this manga but as far as legendary Pokemon go I’ve certainly seen worse. Volcanion took a while to come around, but by the end he sees why everyone loves Ash. Ash always manages to get the job done and that’s really the key takeaway here. Pikachu is fun as always the artwork is good so it all flows together pretty well. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not I would recommend checking out the manga. It’s a good way to spend 20 minutes or so and it’s one of the last times you will get to see the main Ash in the manga so it has that going for it as well.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Gravity Rush 2: Juuryoku-teki Memai Tsuisoutan Review


It’s time to look at a really quick manga that adapts part of the Gravity Rush 2 manga. It seems to be about 2 volumes long based on the chapter count. I remember playing Gravity Rush a long time ago so it’s pretty nostalgic to see the characters back in action. Interestingly the series doesn’t cover all of game 2 when I thought it would have. Usually you don’t do that if you’re a one shot or one volume, but 2? I suppose either this series was cancelled or the author just wanted to go in depth on what could be adapted. Either way it’s a fun series although you won’t remember it much after a little while.

Sometime after the events of the first film Kat and Raven get attacked by some monsters. While the monsters don’t prove to be much of a problem they fall into a black hole along with Syd and the three of them get transported to a new world. Kat loses her gravity abilities and Raven goes missing. Kat must now find her friends and prove that her powers aren’t imaginary. In the meanwhile she will have to get along with the civilians of this world and the harsh working conditions that they all have to endure. It certainly won’t be easy but it’s something that she is ready and willing to do. Meanwhile we have some mysterious new villains on the rise who are aiming to sabotage Kat and possibly take over the world.

We don’t really learn what the villains’ plans are in this series. They don’t get time to have any concrete goals and just show up for a quick fight or two. I like their designs though as the main ones seem to be robotic in nature. It’s also good to have some actual enemies for Kat and Raven to fight beyond the little monsters that they always beat up anyway. I’m guessing most of the confrontations with them are probably in the second half of the game which is why we didn’t see them. The bulk of the villain group don’t even appear until the final chapter which is only around 10 pages or so. The cliffhanger ending does help build up a lot of hype for the sequel game though. You really think about checking it out someday.

When Raven shows up again in the series she quickly goes back to being the best character. She’s a fun rival to have around and is the Shadow to Kat’s Sonic. Her abilities may not seem to be quite on par with Kat’s but she does her best against the opponents. We get one nice team up fight with the duo. Admittedly they are fighting a robot who can barely fight back, but I’ll take that over nothing. At least it’s still an action scene to have some fun with. Kat is also a pretty solid character. She’s always optimistic and does her best to help out the town. Once she got her powers back I would have liked to see her stand up to the miners a little more. Surprisingly she doesn’t really do much to resist the villains and just uses her powers to mine more efficiently. I get the feeling that by the end of the game she probably does more about it because it would just strike me as a little odd that she is just going to wait around and watch the whole time.

Meanwhile Syd is a little annoying here. He acts really shady during the game but I don’t think he’s evil. He seems to have some kind of plan that he doesn’t want to share just yet and ends up being more of an obstacle than a help. In general I’ve never been the biggest Syd fan but at least in the first game he would actively help out. Perhaps he would end up doing more as the series progressed though. I suppose there is no rule that you have to help out right away.

The artwork is pretty enjoyable. It can get a little chaotic at times with a lot of things happening all at once, but the calmer pages allow the artist to show off a bit more. Kat and Raven’s designs are very intricate so I imagine that they aren’t the easiest to draw. When you take all of that into account then the series really did an admirable job here. The writing is good as well. The series ends up being pretty vague and distant, but that’s probably hard to avoid given that it is adapting part of a story. You aren’t really given time to care about any of the characters Kat meets in town so the title is at its best when we are getting fight scenes. I do think the writing being better could have let it take off anyway, but as it stands this is still a pretty enjoyable experience.

Overall, Gravity Rush 2 seems like it would be a good game and the manga works as a good intro for if you end up playing the game. I suppose you don’t really need it if you are going to play the game right away though because then you would just be doing some of the same events twice in a row which may get old. I’d like to have an ongoing Gravity Rush manga since that would really allow us to explore the universe more. There’s only so much you can do in a mini series like this one. Nothing really gets accomplished so you have to enjoy the ride. I don’t believe this would have a lot of replay value as a result. There’s nothing negative about the series so it keeps a solid score at the ready, but it’s unlikely you would ever need to read this with how many others there are to check out.

Manga

Spider-Man: Fake Red


This Spider-Man series is off to a solid start. The general premise of Spider-Man vanishing and someone having to take over for him is pretty interesting. I look forward to seeing where it goes and hopefully the series lasts for a long while. I’ll have a review up for it when the series finishes.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Death Note One Shot Review


It’s been quite a long time since the original Death Note came out. Who’d have thought that it would ever end up getting a one shot sequel like this right? Light was one of the most ambitious main characters of all time and definitely a pretty awesome one. His descent from being a guy with good ambitions and ideals to a total mass murderer by the end was interesting. He was the kind of villain who had a fairly reasonable goal which made him fun to watch. Ultimately he could not win though. Can Minoru have better luck?

The one shot takes place many years after Light used the Death Note but was stopped by L. The Death Note is thought of as more of a hoax than anything nowadays. Ryuk has grown bored since without a human to play with he has no source of apples. He decides to bring the Death Note back into the real world and meets up with a man named Minoru. Minoru agrees to accept the Death Note, but he really doesn’t want to murder anyone. Instead he decides that he’ll sell the book and get rich that way. The book will go for an astronomically high amount of money so of course you can’t just tell it down the block. How can Minoru sell the book without being tracked by the cops or L? That’s the main plot of the story and the problem that he has to try and work around which makes for a pretty interesting adventure.

Right away one thing I liked about this series is the modern setting. A lot of good stories from back in the day would be fun to have re-done in the modern times because of how tech changes the equation. Minoru even mentions how most of Light’s plans wouldn’t work nowadays because of the increase in technology although he also concedes that Light would have simply come up with a different plan. It’s cool to get this epilogue to the original series as well. I certainly miss the original L as Near isn’t nearly as solid but it’s still nostalgic to see him. Near fans might not be happy at the fact that he is getting completely dominated for the entire chapter. There is never a page where he has the upper hand on Minoru and I will admit that I was a bit surprised at this. I expected him to do way better.

As for Minoru, I definitely liked him as a lead. He did a good job of not letting the power corrupt him. In the end his decision to part ways with the Death Note may not have been completely selfless, but he did a good job of spreading the wealth and ultimately allowing almost everyone to win. His ending really isn’t fair in a sense since he planned things out perfectly. There was absolutely no way for him to avoid the fate that he ended up receiving so I really can’t take anything away from him there. His bond with Ryuk may not have been as strong as Light’s due to the fact that Minoru seemed to think of him purely as a business partner, but I think they would have gotten along much better had they gotten to team up for longer.

Ryuk is fun as expected and we even get to see another Shinigami here which was nice. Death Note isn’t the kind of series where we are likely going to see all of the Shinigami since that would be for more of an action title, but the more we see the better. We also got to see other countries weigh in like the USA which was cool. The President also handled the situation pretty well here which involves a high stakes bluff. Sometimes all you can do is play the bluff and hope that it ends up working out.

The artwork is top tier as per usual. There is a lot of detail on every page and in general you can see the amount of effort that went into the story. The plot is well thought out and it could have been a good ongoing series if the author had wanted to do that. Hopefully this story is included as a bonus story in a manga he writes or something because it’d be sad if most people never end up hearing about this. It’s probably too short for an OVA, but maybe they could add some extra details. The Death Note franchise should continue in some capacity, there is still so much that they can do with the premise.

Overall, The story is only one chapter so there’s only so much that can be said about it. Still, I had no issues with the story at all. The characters were good and it had a nice blend of easter eggs and new plot developments to keep things interesting. The way that Minoru handled the sale was quite clever and while reading the story the first time you will wonder how he will be able to pull this off. I think the main morale here is not to be greedy. If you try to get too much at once then you will ultimately end up failing but if you settle for a bit then things will work out. Ironically the ending destroys that moral to an extent, but everyone else gets to have a good time so there’s that.

Overall 8/10