Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Goosebumps Review


I definitely had a good time reading these books back in the day. The series was a fun little horror title with a good amount of twists and turns. The series peaked with the 12 book crossover event where various villains and leads met up and ultimately ended up fighting it out. The movie brings together a lot of the most iconic villains together and ends up being a solid experience.

We start off by seeing Zach and his Mom heading to a new house. Zach isn’t particularly happy about this but perks up when he meets their next door neighbor. Hannah tells Zach that the only fun thing to do around here is sneak into the abandoned amusement park at night and climb the Ferris Wheel. Ah well, he’ll make it work. Unfortunately her father isn’t quite as welcoming and threatens Zach not to go near her. Zach doesn’t really want to obey this and when he accidentally frees the most powerful Goosebump monsters it forces a most reluctant team up. Zach and Stine put aside their differences to save the town, but can they really defeat the powerful Slappy?

The film is at its best when the monsters are running around causing havoc. The Garden Gnomes do a pretty good job of getting the danger levels up right away. Admittedly I can’t take them all that seriously compared to the bigger monsters but they do have the numbers advantage which is always important. They can also regenerate in this film which is extremely handy and was unexpected. Then of course you have Slappy who is the best villain of the bunch. He is possibly a little too powerful here though. He has the ability to teleport and can also teleport objects that he is not in contact with. Then Slappy can create bright flashes of light which stun his opponents for a second. As you can imagine there isn’t really a way that he can lose here. He probably could have ended the main characters within a few minutes of first appearing. Still, the guy likes to put on a good show and is pretty theatrical about the situation.

The least impressive monsters were probably the Gel monster and the Yeti. The Gel one can’t even talk after all and the Yeti isn’t all that fierce. Some monsters/enemies that looked cool but didn’t get to do much were the aliens and the Kaiju. There are a lot of Goosebump enemies though so it’s hard to grab them all. I’m a little surprised we didn’t see the camera though, that’s still one of the best books.

Zach is a reasonable main character. As far as leads moving to a new house go, he actually takes it fairly well. The whole romance plot happens really quickly though. In context they’ve only known each other for around 2-3 days so that’s not much at all. There’s not much else to say against Zach though. He seems like a nice enough kid and one of his first instincts was to call the cops which is good. The guy is pro-active which is important in a main character. He is someone you can count on.

Then you have the friend who is definitely the annoying character of the group. He’s out of his depth from the start and constantly tries to run away. He also gets a very quick romance plot with one of those endings that probably will make you cringe. It feels a little too easy there and it may have been slightly better if the friend had any good scenes before trying to bite a monster. Otherwise you just can’t take this guy seriously.

The heroine is pretty reasonable here. Hannah probably could have saved them all some time earlier on though by either sending Zach a signal or realizing that the heroes may head for the books. I suppose Stine told her to hide while he talked to the cops and from there on maybe she actually obeyed his orders to keep to herself. I suppose Stine had to keep her hidden so the cops wouldn’t find out one of the twists but that definitely ended up making the situation pretty complicated for all of them. Stine isn’t nearly as solid as Hannah or Zach. He’s definitely more on the selfish side and you can’t really call him heroic. He’ll do what’s best for him and that’s it. The guy probably should have burned the books earlier to be honest.

There aren’t many supporting characters here, but I did like the cops. You’ve got the over eager newbie and the experienced guy who has seen it all. They may not be the most competent cops, but at least they mean well. You’ll probably be wishing they could have put up a better fight against the aliens, but in their defense it is a one hit KO scenario. If you don’t get the first hit then that’s game over.

Goosebumps is a fun film at its core though. It’s got a nice set of monsters to work with and the effects are pretty good. There is a proper sense of danger here as well. I’d say that the film’s main two weak points are the romance and some crude humor. The latter doesn’t happen much, possibly just a scene or two. It’s still pretty gross though. As for the romance, I’d say that both the main romance and the quick one with the friend don’t work well. You could also throw in Stine’s little thing at the very end. None of them feel natural and they’re all just forced in to have some romance thrown in. It really feels like the movie is just ticking a box with this.

I gotta give the movie some props for the ending as well. The ending is really 2 fold here. The first half is expected, but also narrative. If Stine didn’t make one last book it would have made absolutely no sense and the fact that Zach didn’t even think about this does reflect poorly on his character. If this was not a part of the ending I dare say that it could have cost the film a star. Then you’ve got the twist ending which is common for a horror film, but I admit that I wasn’t really sure Goosebumps would do it. Well, the film does add the twist here and I was really glad they did. It may not be a big thing, but personally it just rounds out the experience pretty well.

Overall, Goosebumps is a solid movie and one that is definitely worth seeing. It’s pretty nostalgic to see the monsters return for some action. It’s a nice adaption and it’ll be tough for the sequel to match this one. Not saying it isn’t possible of course, but it’ll need to be firing off on all cylinders to pull it off. If you are on the fence on watching this one or not I would say to just take the plunge. I believe you’ll be glad you did and you may even be surprised at how tough some of these monsters are.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

A Quiet Place Review


A Quiet Place is a film that got a reasonable amount of hype before coming out. After all, it’s premise was fairly original as most of the film is completely silent. The trailers hinted at the monsters but made sure not to show them. Well, I can’t say that it was a good film, but it was a pretty interesting one so I’ll give it that.

The film starts off by putting us at month 3 of the alien invasion. The humans have mainly been wiped out by this point but there are still pockets of survivors in the various cities. The humans have learned that the only way to resist destruction at the hands of these incredibly powerful creatures is not to make a sound. The aliens can’t really see so they only rely on sounds. It’s a good defensive strategy at least but the kids will make this a little tricky. Can the main characters survive until the end?

While you aren’t supposed to overthink these kinds of films because the background can be a bit of a stretch, I have to question multiple things about the setting. A prequel could hopefully address this but in the meantime it seems like a stretch. For starters, the newspapers say that these monsters are basically indestructible and cannot be stopped. This is theoretically what explains how the human race lose to these guys. That’s fine but we learn at the end that a single shotgun blast can take one down, albeit it that the monster opened its mouth because of its terribly impractical design. I don’t see how the humans could have lost to them. Granted, the shotgun is one of the best weapons in Fortnite, but even so I imagine that some other main guns would work as well. Sound aside, the creatures love roaring so getting the shot in wouldn’t be hard.

Meanwhile the main characters also come off as being very selfish. Near the beginning for maximum shock value one of the kids is murdered. This leads to the main characters deciding to have a kid. Naturally the process isn’t always the same amount of time so you could make the case that it was right before this happened rather than after, but either way it’s not a good idea. Why would you want to have a kid who is going to grow up in such a dangerous environment. How are they going to keep him from crying or making a ton of noise? It would be impossible, particularly with how sensitive the monsters are. Having a kid is basically inviting the end for them all. Let’s face it, this plot was just added to give this film a random birth scene to add to the tension but the writers didn’t stop to think if it made any sense or not. It’s definitely one of the more unbelievable moments.

The film does also love reminding you that it’s a horror film with random moments of violence. The scene where the heroine steps on a nail is already a terrible scene in the surface but it gets even worse when you think about how crazy it all is. Put it this way, the main guy crosses these steps all the time. I don’t see how he could not have noticed it. He would definitely have covered it up since stepping on it just once could tip off the monsters. Even if he didn’t expect anyone else to go down there for a while, it just makes sense. Then we also get the obligatory animal death as part of horror film tradition. All I can say is that as soon as I saw the raccoons I had a bad feeling about all of this. It’s definitely not something to help the film.

As a positive, the script isn’t half bad. Since there is very little dialogue throughout the movie this helps it avoid that land mine. It does come at the expense of a good soundtrack as well though since the film is so silent all the time. This film also avoids having any fanservice which is great and in general comes off as a little classier than other horror titles.

Back to the bad though, the kids were quite annoying. They are constantly making noise and getting the main characters in trouble. Whether it be through knocking down lanterns or playing with electronics it is easy to see why the main lead wouldn’t let them into the basement. The main lead did totally give up at the end though which is unfortunate. Leading the monster away from the family is good and all but at least don’t go down without a fight. Why make this even easier for the creature? If he ran then in theory it would also buy some time for the others.

The kids also make everything too dramatic at times. One of them thinks she is to blame for the kid dying so she decides to discourage the main character from trying to contact the rest of the world. I guess giving up is fun and all, but then what will they be doing for the rest of their days? Without a goal to strive towards they would probably just lose their will to live after a while. Even if it’s futile, working on some kind of plan is better than not having a goal. This is why kids don’t do well in survival stories.

At least the ending is pretty solid though. It’s a pretty nice cliffhanger type ending that doesn’t have to lead to a sequel. In your head canon you already know how this could end. It either succeeds or it doesn’t. Either way it makes for a nice visual. I do also have to say that considering she just gave birth, the heroine had quite a lot of energy left. She was certainly ready for this fight.

Overall, A Quiet Place is basically just the same ole horror film but in a new package. While it is slightly better than the average one, (Which is around a 2) it still doesn’t cross the border into becoming a good film. To accelerate to the next level it would need a better cast of characters. The silence gimmick is also unique but not one that really works after a while so that’s better for just part of the film. The monster designs prioritized being spooky over practicality and I can’t say that I liked them. They looked more demented than dangerous instead of it bring the other way around. On a final note, the main character roaring into a waterfall is another move that isn’t very smart as there is no guarantee that the monsters would not hear him and that would have put everyone at risk.

Overall 3/10

6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On Review


It’s time to look at Monster Hunter. An anime that may be different than what you’re expecting as it is based on a very specific game in the series that is about riders instead of hunters. The series never really manages to break out of its shell and become something too epic which is a shame. There are certainly some more interesting things they could have done here and it could have potentially opened up into something like Pokemon. Still, it’s a reasonably good show and one that lasted for a long time so the show had time for a lot of things to happen.

There are two main arcs, but lets say 3 since the pre arc was rather long. The start of the show is about Lute, Cheval, and Lilia as they journey throughout the village and into towns as they learn more about being Riders. Unlike Hunters who destroy monsters for rewards and safety, Lute and the gang grew up in a village where they live as pals. Lute aims to prove that having kinship with a monster is the right thing to do while the hunters aren’t very sure. Hijinx ensues and the cast often have to wonder if this is the right call. Even if it is, how will they convince anyone to change sides? To become a rider you have to get a special jewel and to do that you basically have to join a village so that’s a tough sell for anyone.

The next arc is the darkest of the show as Cheval’s life is forever changed when a blighted monster destroys the village. He decides to avenge his family by hunting down and destroying all blighted monsters. Lute doesn’t think that this is the way to go though and decides to purify all of the crystals instead to stop the corruption at its core. The two of them become enemies now and while Lute is convinced that they can still be friends with differing opinions, Cheval doesn’t agree. He aims to destroy Lute once and for all to prove that sometimes Kinship isn’t enough to keep two people together.

Finally, the series brings in a new group of villains known as the Black/Ebon/Dark Riders who show up and kidnap Avinia. They aim to bring the world to its knees by performing a forbidden ritual and getting unlimited power. Lute and Cheval have to try and stop these guys, but the problem is that they are outnumbered and these villains are also way too powerful. They will need some kind of power up to hold their own. The other villagers realize that they will have to get stronger as well, but can they bridge the gap in time?

The show’s tone was all over the place, but for the most part it was rather light. Think of it as a classic slice of life series for a while as the heroes head to various towns and chat with people. That’s why in some cases the episodes could get a little boring since the cast isn’t amazing. Then the show gets really dark for the main Blighted Monsters arc. One thing the show is rarely clear about is if defeating monsters means destroying them. It seems like this is the case due to how everyone reacts and Lute always tells everyone not to defeat the monsters except for when he does. The show’s just really not consistent here. This may be more the dub than anything, but it really tried to never use the word destroy. As a result, “defeated” is the term always used even when a monster is slain.

That’s why the middle arc gets really dark as Cheval goes around destroying all monsters who have been in contact with the blight and even any other that just gets in his way. Lute and the others are unable to save any of them. Chieval even commands a Nargacuga of his own as a revenge of sorts for the main one dealing with his family. He is very mean to it of course and then abandons it. Cheval never really had to answer for all of this much and I just felt bad for the monsters. Then of course we have the hunters running around slaying them all. It’s definitely a rather brutal world that Lute and the others live in. The worst part is that Lute has his kinship stone which can purify all of the blighted monsters but he typically forgets about this and still tries to take some of them down at times. This whole part of the saga definitely brings it down quite a bit and is one of the main reasons why the Black Rider arc ended up winning. At this point the monsters started getting written out a bit although Shadow still destroys quite a few along the way as well. I guess they all need to become pals with a main character quickly before it’s too late.

Lute is your typical main character. He believes in the power of friendship (Known as Kinship here) and is always willing to lend a helping hand. He’s really close with Navirou so they trade insults quite a lot but all in good fun. Lute’s only real flaw at times is just how much of a pacifist he is. Even when being attacked he refuses to fight back if he is up against a fellow rider. This is at its worst during the final arc when he first fights with Gale. Considering that this guy kidnapped one of his friends and may destroy the village, Lute really has no time to keep trying to dodge the fight. You’ve got to make a stand and it’s not like simply fighting the opponent is the same as destroying him. Aside from that it is nice to have a more experienced Lute for the final arc. He is treated with a lot of respect at the end since he did help save the world and his new design does a good job of getting that across without any words. As soon as you see the design for the first time you can tell that he has gotten stronger.

Navirou is Lute’s travel companion and he is very useful for navigation in his mind at least. He is the main comic relief character of the series so you can probably guess that he isn’t very good at almost anything. He does have some thunder abilities which are really handy when Navirou actually remembers that he has such a power. Unfortunately that isn’t very often so don’t expect to see it much. Navirou’s cross armed salute is probably his best running gag but I also don’t mind his “Navi rules.” Cutting out some of his comic relief would probably have been nice though or even some of the cat episodes in genera. Overall I think he worked well as a support character and I’m glad he was around but the character could have been better.

Lilia is technically one of the 3 main characters for a while but starts to get written out by the end. Her path in the show was doomed from the start as she did t have a monster to protect her. Without a monstie in an action show like this, of course she wouldn’t ultimately stand a chance. It’s the same situation as being in a Pokémon show without catching a Pokémon. Lilia decided that she wanted to be a researcher instead which is fine but that kind of character rarely gets to do all that much. Lilia ends up being rather bland as a result.

Then we have Cheval who is the main rival. He gets a very Sasuke esque role here as he starts out by being one of the more heroic characters, but quickly starts to let the darkness consume him. He goes as far as to try and destroy Lute multiple times and nearly destroys one of his own Monsties. His whole arc gets rather dark at times. Naturally he also gets the redemption arc at the end as well. It may be a little tough to buy into as well especially since he did claim quite a few victims. Lute may accept him, but should he? Ultimately it’s hard to see Cheval as anything but a villain even by the end. It’s a shame because his character type is always nice as he becomes the rival that he always should have been by the end. The guy certainly went through a lot of character changes.

Avinia is a mysterious figure who shows up in the series from time to time before getting a big role in the final arc. She does lose this mystique almost right away but it was nice to finally have another rider who could fight. At the time Lute was the only heroic rider so he really needed an ally. Unfortunately, we never did get that Avinia vs Cheval fight I was hoping for. Once again I can say that the show dropped the ball with Avinia quite a bit. She has one of the best designs in the show and a monstie with a lot of potential. Despite this she rarely fights in the series and spends most of the final arc on the sidelines. Considering how powerful she apparently is, I would have liked to have seen her play a more active role. Still a cool character but one who wasn’t given enough to do in the show.

Of course we can’t forget about Deb….Li. Every character in the series likes to mess up his name and it is heavily implied that this is intentional. That’s because they say his name normally when he isn’t around. We already have a handful of comic relief characters but I guess you can never have too many as this one was thrown in as well. For the most part he is about as obnoxious as you would expect. He yells quite a lot and can’t seem to do anything right. The one running gag that he does right (Aside from the whole name thing since that one is decent because of how Debli panics every time) is when he Rides on. The animation and fake sound effect that he gets for it is handled beautifully. Debli toes the line between being a sympathetic character and an annoying one and does a good job of making it ambiguous. In the end I was okay with him although I wouldn’t have been sad if he had never shown up.

Reverto is probably one of her biggest unintentional jokes in the series. He gets a lot of hype throughout the series as being one of the world’s greatest hunters. If that really is the case then that doesn’t bode well for the hunters in general. He can barely handle any legitimately strong monsters and forget about taking down a plot important villain. In this show all hunters can do is swing their sword around and hope to land some good hits. They have no special abilities or even any enhanced physical ones. They are just guys with swords. Of course one of the main themes of the show is that the Riders are right and the Hunters are wrong so I wouldn’t expect them to look that good but they look downright horrible by the end. Hundreds of hunters can accomplish what a single rider can because they have no special abilities. Why would they possibly not want to become riders then? How have they not all been wiped out by this point? Anyway, there isn’t anything actually wrong with Reverto as he is a decent character but you just can’t take him seriously when he is fighting because despite all of the tough talk you know that he won’t end up coming out on top. He is just there to buy time for Lute.

Simone would fall into the same issue except from the start she is portrayed as a researcher rather than a fighter. Her intel is rarely useful and barely goes beyond the realm of common knowledge but I guess her role isn’t all that bad. She’s just not a very interesting character and none of her scenes really leave an impact. Cut her out from the show entirely and nothing really changes at all. That’s never a good sign.

Dan is one of those comic relief characters where you aren’t sure if it is intentional or not for a while. Technically you would think that he is rather skilled since he is rather old and teaches the kids, but they end up surpassing him very quickly. Part of the issue is the fact that he chose a very weak monster to be his monstie. He never explains why he doesn’t just pick a different creature. Perhaps it has sentimental value or perhaps he just isn’t the smartest rider in the group. Either way, his character doesn’t work too well and his “In top Form” battle cry is so half hearted that you will wonder why they built a whole character around the line. As you can tell, many of the supporting characters just aren’t very interesting. I won’t even get into the various elders who never do anything or the riddle master who is just annoying.

Mille is one of the side characters who is actually good. She can fight and in the final arc is probably the strongest rider aside from the main 2. (Lute and Chevall) O would have liked her to have gotten more of a role though. From the start of the show you got the impression that she may turn out to be a bit of a rival or at the very least would remain as one of the main fighters for a while. Instead she is effectively kept to the background for most of the show. Still a good character but she could have been even better.

Instead a lot of screen time is wasted on Hyoro as he tries to overcome his timid nature. The plot does not go well and he even sides with the villainous Chevall to take on the village. Yes, Mille does this as well but at least she was already a quality character. Hyoro never ends up becoming a good character and even after he gets stronger off screen for the final arc it’s hard to ever gain respect for the guy. He just never had a big moment where he got past his fears and did something amazing. Instead he essentially proved his doubts right as he never got to be all that strong. Genie is Hyoro’s older brother and the main reason why the kid turned out the way that he did. Genie can be overly critical of Hyoro but of course he says it is only to make Hyoro better. I didn’t mind Genie, but he was a rather half hearted bully who couldn’t back up his tough talk. Ultimately he was about as weak as the other side characters and Hyoro likely surpassed him in the end.

Gale is the Shadow Rider with the biggest role in the series. He gets to fight Lute quite a few times and his skills are the real deal. He is also the strongest member I’d say although Shadow would give him some competition for that title. He gets quite a few plot twists. While his plan may not have been amazing and he probably should have tried doing something a little earlier, he did make for a good rival. He just kept getting stuck in rather bad situations. While he was also unable to make the hero move at the end which nearly caught him, it’s a mistake that I could sympathize with since he was so close to finally accomplishing his goal. It was an intense moment and he’s in my top 3 characters in the series. I’d say that he is second only to Lute.

Next is Shadow who is certainly the 2nd coolest member of the group. Her speed is astounding to the point where the heroes can’t even keep track of where she is. There is a plot twist about this that I was a little mixed on. It is essentially a nerf, but I didn’t see it coming so I’ll give the show that. I also think Shadow’s rage mode should have kicked in instantly after what Anvis ends up doing to someone instead of waiting til their next meeting. It’s not as if anything would have changed in the outcome though.

Then we have Mad who is one of the villains that you can’t take seriously. I guess in the end the Riders could only score a 50 as 2 of their members were good and the others weren’t. Mad is just one of those guys who only cares about his looks and as a result he can be defeated if you simply get some dirt on him. Even his monster’s design isn’t all that good. It’s basically just a huge worm so that’s not too impressive. Same goes for Wrath but to an even bigger extent. Wrath is the strong but not smart type, but he isn’t even all that tough. There’s nothing original or interesting about him as a character.

Finally we have Anvis, the leader of these guys. Somehow he was able to gain control over an Elder Dragon even before undergoing the complete power up ceremony. Considering this, he does earn the title of being the strongest rider in existence. He makes for a solid final boss and a solid character all around. He definitely thought things through and stayed one step ahead of Gale and the heroes for a while. He’s a considerable improvement over the doctor who was the main villain of the first few arcs. He is reduced to comic relief for the final arc and was never much of a threat anyway. His episodes had a tendency to simply be rather boring so I was fine with him being gone.

There are also the Numbers, but they never had much of a point in the story. They are really just around to get their long piece of recycled animation over and over again. The show certainly loved doing that to save on the budget. The animation for the show is fairly decent. It does take a lot of shortcuts by using recycled animation constantly though. This becomes a bigger issue in season 2 as we even get little scenes of the characters reaching out when calling their monsties. It feels really forced and I could have done without that. I’m happy they all got armor but it just feels like another way to save on animation. It also uses quite a bit of CGI. We do get some real animation whenever a big fight happens though. Some of the special abilities also look really good like Chevall’s energy disc. Overall, the animation wouldn’t hurt the show, but it wouldn’t really help it either.

The soundtrack is rather bland as well unfortunately. You will definitely start to remember the tunes after a while since they keep on popping up, but that’s because the soundtrack is just really limited. I would have loved to have had some really great tunes to amp up the fight scenes, but alas it was simply not to be. This title could not deliver.

Finally I have to say that the show’s ride on mechanic seems rather odd. Basically the monstie that is summoned shows up when a character strikes the pose. The show portrays this as the monsters are just hiding nearby until they are needed but what are they doing in the meantime? Shouldn’t they just be with the heroes then? Lute has over 6 monsties in the show, but only uses his main one for basically the whole series. What is even the point of everyone having up to 6 if they only use one for all of the fights? They should have just had Pokeballs of some kind to keep the others in as that would make more sense if you ask me. I think the show dropped the ball a little on the collect them all aspect of the series.


Overall, This isn’t a bad show. I’d say that Monster Hunter is fairly decent. The problem is that it’s only average or below average in most areas. There isn’t a single section that I could point to and say that the series was amazing. On the contrary, the series could be a little boring at times. The characters just aren’t strong enough to hold the show as well as others could. It got a little more exciting towards the end but the show also amped up the crude humor and comedy to match. I’d recommend checking it out at some point if you need a good fantasy show, but there are many others that I would suggest seeing before this one. At least there is a lot of content here since the show managed to make it to around 70 episodes. That was actually pretty impressive.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Monsters, Inc. Review


It’s time to look at a retro Pixar film. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this one, possibly even over 10 years at this point. I enjoyed the Dodgeball game that they made for the Gamecube so it was about time that I gave the film a revisit. It’s definitely aged really well and I’d consider it to be one of Pixar’s better films. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve done any kind of rankings for it so I’m going to have a list near the end. I’m not sure why this film needed a prequel when a sequel makes more sense, but that’s an adventure for another time. Lets dive into the plot.

There exists a world filled with monsters who sneak into kids’ rooms at night in order to scare them. This is because their world runs on scream energy so they scare the kids and then dash back. They have to be careful because if a kid makes contact with them they will die from the poison. As such they can’t even touch anything that has been in touch with a kid. Sully is the best Monster Scarer in the business and is getting ready to break another record. The big hitch in this plan is that a kid manages to sneak out of her door and grab onto Sully. He must now find a way to return her to the human world without anyone noticing. His reputation is at stake, but he quickly finds out that kids may not be as dangerous as he was told. Will he make the right decision and help her out or follow corporate and not ask any questions?

Pixar has definitely come up with another very interesting world here. Doors that lead you to other worlds really sounds like something out of Kingdom Hearts. A whole society being born out of it is also very interesting. There’s definitely a lot you could do with the concept. If only Watermoose had adapted to the plot twist that laughter works just as well, he could have really been raking in the money. It’s sad because he seems like a decent guy for the majority of the film. I suppose they usually do seem nice at first though. He shows his true colors by the end though and the cops had the last laugh. Still a fun antagonist though and he can fight which is pretty impressive.

The writing is pretty solid for the film and that quickly makes the main characters pretty likable. Monster, Inc. has good pacing as well so it never really drags on. The film goes by in a snap with no real weak points. Even the brief Yeti part of the film had the potential to drag on, but the characters didn’t stay there for very long so I’d say that it wasn’t bad. The door hopping shenanigans at the end of the film do raise some questions though. They would jump in one door and escape through another. This is because Boo powered up all of the doors, but then can’t Randall do the same? I mean, if he is still alive anyway. If he isn’t, then there was no reason to break the door either though. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry though.

The animation is pretty consistent with Pixar’s usual style. The character designs for the monsters and the humans are classic at this point. We even get a quick fight scene which looks good even if you’ll wonder how Randall can be so much more skilled than Sully. You’d expect the main character to put up a better fight considering how much raw power he has right? I guess he just wasn’t ready for invisibility and I suppose it can take you by surprise. There isn’t much of a soundtrack here, but maybe next time.

Sully is a good main character. He never let the fame go to his head even when he was the fear champ. He looks out for his friends and while he didn’t plan for Boo to be around, he still takes her appearance in stride and then aims to protect her. He’s just a nice guy who always makes the right call. There’s nothing really bad to say about him. He has no real negative qualities unless you count his poor combat showing, but that really can’t be held against his personality.

Mike provides a nice contrast to Sully. He is interested in the records and getting onto the covers of various magazines. He has bad luck with a stamp always canceling out his face, but always looks on the bright side of things. He talks a good game and doesn’t really fear anyone. His only downside is the romance plot. It’s one of those romance plots that is rather small, but still cringe-worthy and doesn’t add anything to the film. It’s just there so the film can say that it had a romance plot, but we didn’t need one of those. Mike and Sully may bicker at times as they disagree on what to do with Boo, but at the end of the day they’ll always be friends.

Boo is the little kid who tags along with the crew and she can be rather annoying. She can’t talk and keeps on trying to get the heroes in trouble. Not a very nice thing to do if you ask me and she does seem to know what she is doing. Boo is young enough where it’s hard to pin the blame on her, but that’s why I still prefer for kids to not be main characters. She’s more of a plot device than a character here I suppose, but her only role is to make things tougher on the heroes. I’m guessing she’ll be a
better character in a sequel since she’ll be older and more experienced. At least she can fight though which is really good since self defense is a must.

While Watermoose is the head honcho of the villains, Randall is still the main antagonist. He really wants to be the scare king and will do anything to get the title. He gets rather drastic by the end and is willing to attack the heroes to get what he wants. Of course, his skills don’t matter much against full fledged adults as we see by the end of the film. He’s a solid villain who is nice to have in the film. Whether he is acting as a rival or a pure villain, he’s definitely a lot of fun. Randall is able to be charismatic while also being a threat.

There is a group of workers who try to keep the place sanitary and they are definitely some of the best characters in the film. One of them goes for a full body slam on an unsuspecting citizen. They are certainly over the top with their methods of keeping the germs at bay, but you can never be too safe. There will definitely be no contagion event in this film since they have the place under lock and key. They may not be appreciated by the monsters, but their duty and service is the only thing keeping monster world together.

All right, it’s time to take a rough look at how all the Pixar films stack up. Here we go! Cars, Cars 3, Inside Out, Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Cars 2, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Up, Ratatouille. At the very least this is how I’d rank them at the moment. There are quite a few close ones in there but there can be no ties so I had to make the tough calls. We’ll see how Toy Story ranks once I finally check that one out. I’ve heard pretty good things about that series.

Overall, Monsters, Inc. is a good film that has definitely aged well. It’s the kind of movie that has quite a lot of replay value so you could watch it multiple times because of how fast it moves. It’s just a charming film with a lot of heart and an upbeat tone all the way through. The ending gives it a nice boost as well since it’s the perfect way to wrap things up. Ending another way would have just been needlessly sad. If you haven’t seen it yet then I’d definitely recommend giving this film a whirl. It’s a fun premise and doesn’t go too far in making the monsters appear cowardly either. The writing is solid enough to keep the film balanced. Hopefully the prequel is as good although it’ll certainly be tough.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Asdivine Hearts Review


It’s time for another installment from Limited Run games. It’s had a pretty good run so far and this is probably the best game they’ve ported yet. It’s a classic RPG with all of the old elements in tact. It started out as a mobile game which explains why they didn’t mess around with the formula too much. Maybe it’s just me, but I think you only need the core aspects of an RPG to do well. A solid leveling up system, a map, and a convenient way to heal/save. As long as you have that then you’re okay. Modern RPGs sometimes get lost in all of the extra features that take away from this basic concept. This title pulls it off flawlessly.

The game starts off with the Light and Dark gods fighting it out. (Okay, a little cliche, but who doesn’t like a classic Good vs Evil theme?) The Light god is defeated and falls to Earth where she possesses a cat. This takes us to our heroes Zack and Stella. They grew up in an orphanage and are now getting ready to head to the outside world so they can earn money and support the other orphans. As they traverse the forest, they notice their cat change. It wasn’t very subtle since the Light goddess loves to talk. They call her Felix since that was the cat’s name. They also don’t believe her story about being all powerful after all, but I don’t blame them since Felix basically has no power for most of the game due to possessing such a small animal. The fate of the world now rests with these two teenagers and their pet cat goddess. Can they really stop the Dark god from destroying the world?

There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot, but I’m trying to avoid them to you can see for yourself. In short, the Dark god has his reasons for doing this even though the two gods used to be best friends. I don’t agree with them at all though as even being sympathetic is a stretch. It’s one of those cases where the whole game would have been averted if there had been a little more communication between the characters. I’d also say that he went off the deep end either way so you just can’t defend him. Felix was surprisingly shady as well, but she finally learned the values of friendship.

The gameplay is your classic turn based combat. You can use physical skill attacks or magic against foes. I used magic for the first 70% of the game until I found out that skills are actually far more powerful. I recommend focusing on those but always have a magic stone equipped so you can learn new spells. Uriel and Stella’s are especially helpful since they weaken a boss’ defense and attack. It’s a simple gameplay style but you always learn new things. I had been using Stella’s final smash throughout the game since it restores everyone’s HP and MP, as well as increasing all of their stats to the max, but little did I know that Uriel’s is even better. I used it against the Final Boss and he was frozen for almost 20 turns. It was crazy and that Final boss was definitely unforgettable. He had a similar move where he’s paralyze you for the whole fight so it was merely a question of who used the ability first.

Be warned that whenever you flee a monster encounter you lose some final smash meter. (9% to be exact) My strategy was to run until I made it to the end of the dungeon. There is always a save point near the end which tells you that a boss is up ahead. Then I’d quickly fight a bunch of monsters to get my full meter back and then fight. The save point heals your HP and MP as well so this way you don’t have to waste any items on the way. You will almost definitely need to do some serious grinding before you finish the game, but it goes by pretty quickly here. The enemies give you a lot of EXP.

Also, make sure you break any rocks that you see by the enemies. They have a chance to have 3 AHP points within them. You can save up to 20 of those to buy a 20% up EXP item for a character or save up to 100 points so you can have a full team revive during a boss fight. I went the whole game without getting 100 so I’m glad I just went for the EXP right away, but it depends on how you play. I’m sure there is a way to find more rocks, but you can’t find out much from the game online. It’s just trial and error so these are the paths that worked for me. As you can see, the gameplay was simple, but pretty detailed. I could spend a while just talking about that aspect, but you get the idea.

Zack is a solid main character. He’s your classic adventurer who rushes into danger and is always confident in his skills. He’s a nice guy but doesn’t tend to be very formal so all of the characters call him out on this. I’d think that formalities wouldn’t matter much when the planet is at stake, but evidently it is still a priority. He has to make some tough calls at the end, but chooses the right ones. I definitely have no qualms with Zack and he was an engaging protagonist to follow.

Stella is the main heroine and she’s pretty nice. Her unfortunate tendency to try whipping the main character when he’s being nice is a little suspect, but she actively tries to control herself as the game goes on. She’s a little more timid than the other main characters which is another part of her character arc. Based on her design in the sequel, she has learned to be more independent so it’ll be cool to see how she is there. She’s a good character even if she’s not a great one.

Celine is a high priestess who ends up joining the cast and becoming a main character. The fact that she knows hand to hand combat is certainly helpful. She also objects to Zack being nice to everyone all the time but gradually learns that he doesn’t mean it as an insult. I’d probably rank her last among the main heroines, but they’re all rather close. She just didn’t seem to bring as much to the table as the others and her subplot about lacking confidence didn’t really help matters.

Uriel is a mysterious girl who claims to know Zack from the past even though he doesn’t remember her. To pay Zack back for saving her life, she will now help him save the world. Her dark magic is incredibly useful in combat and she is the most loyal of the allies. She was my favorite member of the team and I relied on her Final Smash attack for the final boss. If I’d known it was so good, I would have used it sooner.

Felix is an intriguing character since she acts nothing like what you’d expect based on her role in the universe and character design. Instead of being a wise old lady who brings peace, she’s always insulting the humans and picking fights. She talks quite a lot and doesn’t follow any orders even if they’ll save a lot of trouble. It’s all about her pride here. She’s a fun character to have around since this results in a lot of banter. It was unexpected, but certainly in a good way. I already talked about the Dark god. He comes across as very whiny and completely unsympathetic so you’ll just think of him as another obstacle in the road. I preferred his two Legion generals.

Finally we also have the Dark Copies. The heroes end up travelling to a Mirror World towards the second half of the game where they meet evil copies of Zack and Stella. They were definitely interesting characters. I don’t like either of them, but they make for really good villains. It always ups the stakes when you find an evil version of yourself. They were also quite powerful and had some of the more challenging boss fights in the game. They were a great addition to the cast. You need human opponents like that once in a while because just having monsters isn’t as personal. Throwing in the humans shows that you can’t trust anyone in the mirror world.

There are a few supporting characters like the Queen, Lars, Luna, etc. They are fairly good. They add to the plot and come in handy, but aren’t really main characters. There are 3 different levels of characters here. The main characters who appear frequently and go on the missions. The supporting characters, these still have full character portraits like the main ones, but don’t get on the front lines. Finally, the non characters, the ones with names, but no accompanying picture. It was a pretty good way of knowing who was important and who wasn’t right off the bat.

The graphics look really clear and smooth. One positive for mobile games in general is that they don’t have the budget to add in the fancy stuff so they make the fields clear so the sprites that they do have look great. Throw in the PS4 resolution and this game really looks modern. There is absolutely nothing dated about the graphics and the character portraits are also high budget as opposed to the interesting Street Fighter V ones. I enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s noticeably limited as there are only 3-4 themes in the game for the most part, but fortunately they are catchy. I really enjoyed the main battle theme which plays for virtually all of the bosses. The game also did throw in a unique theme for the final boss which was definitely appreciated. I have no qualms with this area of the game.

There is a good amount of replay value here as you can try to get all of the PS4 trophies. During that process you can try to hit Level 600 with all of the characters and unlock the various endings. I got the normal ending, which I’m pretty satisfied with, but it would have been nice to have gotten the others. I thought I had enough of a trust level to get one of the bonus endings, but apparently not. The main game will last you over 25 hours as well so it’s not like the game even needed bonus content at all. It’s well worth the price.

Overall, Asdivine Hearts was a really fun game. The plot starts right away and even the intro which is probably the slowest part as you get the feel for the game was fun. A lot of that is due to the smooth gameplay, but the characters and story deserve a nod here as well. I definitely love RPGs since turn based combat/grinding is fun and you spend so much time in the story that you’re almost guaranteed to get to like the cast. The map in this game is also perfect so you’ll never get lost which is huge. I’m not going to say that this was one of the best RPGs ever, but it actually is pretty high up there. I hope the sequel ends up getting a PS4 release as well.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Gormiti: Lords of Nature Review


I’ve never heard of Gormiti before, but I’m a sucker for this kind of Wii game. When I saw it in the 5 dollar bin I knew I had to snag it fast. The cover promised me an action game and it did deliver. The game isn’t high budget or anything, but it is a solid step above some of the recent cash in titles that I’ve been playing. It’ll hold your attention a little while as you power your way through the game.

The title follows 4 kids who are your normal citizens by day. What is different about them though is that these kids can teleport to a mystical world where they are actually Lords of Nature. Everyone respects them in the other world and they get a lot of hype. They have to stop the evil monsters because the things they do there affect the real world as well. The villains are trying to merge several amulets so they can open up a portal to Earth in order to destroy it. The heroes must stop them at every turn, but the villains have the numbers advantage and always seem to get back up no matter how many times they are defeated. The heroes are going to want to be careful in this round.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the Legos. It’s mostly overhead but the camera is low enough where it can give the illusion of a 3D game at times. Each character can activate different gimmicks. Blue gets water, Green gets grass, etc. You have to activate various switches and break all of the flashlight statues to get through a level. Interestingly enough, beating the enemies is never mandatory aside from boss fights. As a result, I figured I’d cheese my way through the game and it worked pretty well. Why stop to fight the minions when you don’t really get anything out of it? There are no level ups so it’s not as if I’d miss out on EXP. You can just jump over them.

Honestly, I beat the game in probably half the time I was supposed too since I skipped all confrontations. I would just run to each obstacle, activate it, and then dash to the exit. It was pretty fun even if it was a little insensitive to the hard work that the developers may have put into the level designs. I just couldn’t help myself. You also get infinite lives and you respawn right where you died so the game isn’t really challenging either. For all boss battles you can just keep attacking because even if they knock you out a few times, it doesn’t matter. Just spamming the hit button is the fastest way to win.

You only have two attack options anyway. You can fire a projectile, or throw a punch. Those are your only options so make the most of them. It’s basic and it’s fairly low budget, but at the very least you can’t say that the gameplay isn’t tried and true. I’ll take this kind of gameplay any day over low budget minigames. It’s still action after all and I’m all for combat. Just keep it coming is my motto.

The graphics are okay. It’s sort of like a really old cell shaded style or its CGI. The game’s one or the other, but it’s hard to place. I can roll with it and the character models aren’t bad, but the level designs need some work. There’s just too much orange the whole time. Surprisingly, the soundtrack is actually pretty decent. The boss theme that plays over and over again is nice as it’s very fast paced and gets all of the right beats in. I can’t remember any other tunes, but that was the main one so it did good.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though. The actual game you can likely complete in about 3 hours or so. I guess you can try to get all of the collectibles so you can unlock a bunch of puzzles, but that is honestly one of the worst incentives I’ve seen in a while. You can keep your puzzles man, I’ll just move onto a Layton title if I want to challenge my mind. There isn’t a multiplayer vs mode either so after beating the game there really isn’t much point to playing it again. At the most you may want to tackle some of the tournaments but I don’t see why.

As for the plot, it’s a little too formulaic and generic for its own good. The stock footage of everyone yelling to the chair is easily the most annoying part. Beyond that, the kids are okay. They all seem like classic 80’s-90’s kids with their contrasting personalities and at least all of the villains have designs as well. They’re all fire villains which limits the variety a bit, but I guess I can live with that. The ending is a little rushed though and I wonder why the game chose to have the final boss be one of the older bosses. Not just that, but they chose the easiest one as you just keep hitting him til he dies. At least the others force the fight to be tedious by retreating for a few minutes every time you shave off 1/3 of his health bar. This guy just stays there, but that works for me I guess.

I will give the game some serious credit for having a bunch of animated cutscenes though. You unlock them all after beating the game and it’s a pretty significant amount. It at least shows me that the game had some amount of budget put into it and separates it from the more generic titles. It’s still not exactly Street Fighter, but after the game I feel like I know the Gormiti cast well enough.

Overall, Another Wii 5 dollar bin game has been conquered. I probably would have played this one a lot sooner if I’d known how short and easy it was. For some reason I just never thought of it before. If you can find it for the same price that I did, then it’s worth checking out. It is a fun game, but its biggest problem is that it is incredibly short. It’s hard to justify any game for around 20 dollars if it’s only 2 hours right? Even 10 dollars get to be a stretch, but you can make a reasonable argument with that one. One last tip, use the Blue Gormiti for all boss fights, he has an infinite combo where he just keeps punching forever. Watch out for glitches though.

Overall 7/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis Review

I had finished this review up by the time that GIRS Crisis had finished, but the episode count kept on going so I decided to keep the next season under the same review. I already had the review done though so I decided to keep it instead of scrapping it. As a result, the first half is essentially still a review of the G season with its own rating. I’ll just add onto it once the next season is finished and then add the final rating. Think of this like a doubleheader review!
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It’s time to take a look at the big Cardfight G sequel. This is what G had been setting up for after all. To an extent, this season is also mostly set up as well, but the plot does begin to start up. Think of this as the second film in a trilogy where the villain finally makes a move so more heroes are called in to come up with a plan. The big confrontation hasn’t happened yet, that will be for the third season. The main draw for GIRS Crisis is that the heroes have finally acknowledged that they can’t win on their own so pretty much the whole cast from the older seasons return. The crossover appeal is always strong and we get to see how Try3 handles the likes of fighters like Q4, Dreadnaught, Asteroid, etc. This season is a big improvement from the last one as it keeps all of the positive things from G and throws in more hype moments.

Chrono and friends may have stopped Kanzaki, but the hunt for the Depend Cards is still on. Chrono has 3-4 of them in his possession and he can only awaken them through strong emotions. He must engage in powerful duels to do this so he decides to enter the G quest with his team. They will need to conquer 6 areas to get enough points to be known as Generation Masters. Chrono will use this to learn what he wants to do with his life. Shion has been in a difficult situation as well. After losing to the mysterious fighter known as Ace, his family was thrown out of his company. Shion went from being very rich to barely scraping by and his parents had to move away. Shion wants to get revenge and to exonerate his family. He is entering the G quests to get closer to Ace and also just to keep up appearances. Tokoha has decided to go aboard so her goals are set. As a result, she can enter the G quest with a clear mind.

Meanwhile, the GIRS Crisis has begun. A mysterious man named Myoujin has started to summon monsters from Planet Cray to the real world as slaves. They will be his personal army for some kind of master plan. Kouji has started amassing a group of skilled cardfighters of his own to counter this. Mainly, his group consists of the best and brightest Cardfighters from the original series. To determine if Chrono and his friends are up for this task, they decide to test them through and G Quests and Cardfights. Can they prevent Myoujin from summoning his final units and bringing the world to ruin?

As you can tell just from the summary, things are really happening now. In a sense, the filler episodes now are the ones where the heroes go through the G quests, but those are technically important. Not to mention that they are all tournaments in one shape or form and those are always hype. You know a series is doing well when the tournament matches aren’t always the hype moments. Also, the tournament sagas are always the crossover episodes as Chrono’s team duels with the likes of of Ren, Leon, Kai, Kamui, and other big shots. Each tournament is definitely great.

As for the non tournament episodes, those typically follow the trials that the heroes are facing individually. For example, Shion decides to gather information on Ace the old fashioned way. He beats up a lot of thugs and keeps on breaking into strongholds until he gets the answers that he is looking for. He starts to get a little unhinged and Kai also takes him down a few pegs to remind Shion why he is doing all of this in the first place. Kai helps Shion shed his former self and just start from scratch. His riches are gone so Shion has to adapt or fail. Shion does a great job and I don’t mind him getting into a slump again because it is for good reason. Anyone who goes from being insanely rich to losing it all in a day would be crushed. Not to mention the fact that you know it was all your fault because you lost a duel when everything was on the line. Shion gets back up and is poised to be a much better character than he was. I already liked him in season 1, but I can safely say that he is much better now. His upcoming fight against Ace is definitely going to be great. They’ve both taken a win so the next and probably final encounter between the two is surely going to be something great.

With the black coat that he inherited from Kai, Shion’s also able to pull off this new personality quite well. He’s suddenly become the “expert” of the group and you could argue that he may have surpassed Chrono. I’m tempted to say that Chrono’s still the best since he keeps dispatching incredibly strong Card Fighters, but I feel like Shion should definitely be the strongest after all of the training he’s gone through. He’s been put through the ringer, but these tough scenarios have only made him stronger.

As for Chrono, he’s heading into a dangerous spot now. Being Miyoujin’s adversary can be fatal if he truly did have something to do with his Chrono’s father’s accident. Chrono warns his friends as well, but he had to deal with a more personal ally. His mother was never thrilled about Chrono starting to Card fight and lets him know that she’d rather he doesn’t do this. Shin backs her up and challenges Chrono to another serious duel. It’s a tough battle, but Chrono decides that he has to go further and his Mom ultimately gives him her support. It can definitely be tough letting someone know that you’re about to go into an extremely dangerous situation, but it is the right thing to do and Chrono knows it. Now that Chrono’s sure of himself it’s been good to see him just get set in his duels without having to worry about anything. He can really go all out at this point and he continues to be a strong lead character.

Tokoha doesn’t really have any more trials left at the moment. She wondered briefly about what she should do in the future, but after deciding on her goal that was basically it. As a result, she’s sure of herself in the duels pretty much from the get go. One source of drama may be coming up though once she found out about Ace’s plot twist. I don’t think that she’s handling it very well, but I suppose it is good to have an optimistic approach. She just needs to be careful not to let it become a liability and endanger the team. That’s where you have to draw the line.
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Kamui returns as a regular once again. He even gets his own episode where he attacks an enemy strong hold. It was one of the big plot episodes so it was cool to see Kamui getting such a big role. He did good when it counted. His duel with Chrono was particularly intense as he did all that he could to win. If he won, then Chrono would not be allowed to join them to fight Miyoujin. Kamui doesn’t want to put Chrono in danger so that’s why he has to win. Yes it is a bit of a selfish wish since Chrono has decides to fight on his own, but it is one that I can definitely get behind. After all, who doesn’t want to keep their friends out of trouble? Kamui had to watch Aichi and Kai go through a lot of trials and even turn evil during them. It makes sense that he would do everything that he could to stop that from happening a third time. Plus, he was just trying to win. He didn’t try to do anything crazy like kidnap Chrono the way that Chris tried to nab Sonic in Sonic X. Kamui may be around a lot so it can be easy to underrate him, but as he showed in this series, he is still one of the best.

Kouji’s role is surprisingly small in this one. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do here, but he is technically the mastermind behind Plan G so that is a good enough role I suppose. He has embraced his role as another mentor figure to Chrono so there is no case of mistaken identity this time. He is still not as cool as he could be though. There is just something about him that I can’t take seriously. I dunno what it us, but at least he isn’t a bad character though.

Kai is pretty epic as per usual though. He is the hardcore rival that I remember and he managed to take down Shion rather easily. Seeing him take Shion down numerous times was definitely impressive and awesome. He still proved that he is still a nice guy as well though as he did all of that to help Shion get out of his situation. Kai has always been good at encouraging people after all. He is great and still my favorite character. Having him back as a main supporting character is definitely going to be awesome and nostalgic. The other guest stars are cool as well, but their roles are a lot smaller. Ren and Leon are among the big characters who show up.

The only problem with these guest stars is that they are a little underpowered to make the new fighters look better. For example, Chrono actually manages to defeat Ren and Leon. I don’t really think he should be portrayed as quite that powerful at this point. Kai lost to Shion as well. I get that they’ve got to hype the main characters up, but it goes a little far. Still, it was awesome to see the old cast and the crossover factor was handled really well in G. I look forward to all of them getting serious fights soon the way that Kamui did.

Luna is the new beginner of the show. She’s a pop idol, but she wants to learn how to play Cardfight so she can duel with her friend Am. Luna has improved quite a bit. She’s not a big threat just yet, but dueling a lot always helps out and she’s at the point where she is no longer a novice. She really wants to be friends with Am and as a result she is quite hyper. Ultimately, I’m sure that they will become friends and Am is lucky to have Luna around. That being said, hopefully Luna is brave enough to stand up for herself once the plot entangles her in its web as well.

Am is much more laid back and keeps to herself. While on the job Am will throw on a smile and get to work, but she can be a little too serious. It’s often hard for Luna to get Am to relax and Try3 has to have a little chat with Am as a result. Am gets a lot of character development and she will likely have a major role in season 3. Her role will be even bigger than Luna’s and 90% of the supporting cast as well depending on how they go with this. Hard to say what I think of her here without spoiling the twist. Before the twist she was a solid character and I prefer her to Luna. After the twist, she is still a cool character…but in a different way and I’m hoping that the mask doesn’t come back on so to speak so the post twist Am sticks around. That version is cooler.

Ace is a fairly hardcore villain and one of the better characters in the show. Since Shouma barely appeared, I’d say that Ace took over the spot as the best villain. This is partially due to the fact that he came out of nowhere and took over Shion’s company like it was nothing. His successful mind games are also impressive since Shion was supposed to be over the whole thing and their first big duel was one of the best in the series. After all, it doesn’t get much more high stakes than having millions of dollars on the line and your whole financial future along with it! While Ace may not have done quite as well in the rematch, he didn’t completely crack either. Rest assured, Ace will likely continue to have a powerful role in the next season although his confidence may not be as absolute since his standing in the villain organization is in jeopardy after the loss.
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Myoujin is the big villain who will make his move in the next show. He hasn’t done anything as of yet though. His design isn’t that good as he is very old so I don’t think he can be a very menacing villain. Still, I am glad to have a villain who is lasting a while and for all we know he isn’t the mastermind behind the operation. With someone like Shouma still in the fold, I could definitely picture a betrayal. Shouma doesn’t play well with others after all. Still, I want Myoujin to put up a fight if that happens. Shouma’s role is small as he just makes a few cameos to remind us that he is still around. I was rather annoyed that Kouji stopped Shion from beating him up though. Shion was winning and taking a villain out of the picture this early would be incredibly helpful. Ironically, it seems like he’ll be the first boss of the third series. It’s not as if Shion was going to destroy him or anything. The heroes could have quickly captured Shouma and that would have been awesome. At least they forced a retreat though.

The animation is solid as in the last show. The characters all stand out and the battle scenes are fun to watch. There may have been one or two low budget episodes where physics started to get a little wild, but for the most part is was all consistently good. I’ve always liked the animation style of this company. It feels modern and I think the animation will hold up quite well. It’s not overly flashy, but that’s why the fundamentals will age well. The soundtrack is better than the last season’s. Perhaps it is because the stakes are more intense, but it could also be the crossover effect. For example, Kai’s theme returns briefly during his fight with Shion and we finally also have a bit of a villain’s theme for some of the duels. It’s still not quite at the level of the original Cardfight, but we’re definitely getting there. Good themes can always elevate a series.
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Overall, GIRS Crisis added the excitement and stakes that I had been waiting for. This series was still more set up for the big battles to come, but it set the more interesting plot elements as well. Shion’s ongoing fight to restore his company (Although that isn’t really his goal anymore or so he claims) and Chrono’s quest to find his father should be pretty interesting. The father better have a good excuse for just wandering around unless he is a friend of the Dad or something. Seeing the old characters actually get to duel should be awesome and I’m fully expecting Aichi to finally get in on the action as well. The return of Psyqualia would be a nice added bonus as well. There’s a lot to look forward too and the third season should end up being the best G adventure.

Overall 8/10
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Well, not all of that ended up happening in the next part, but we did finally get all of the big battles and the epic climax that I was waiting for. The heroes made their big move and the GIRS Crisis finally ended. It definitely was the best part of Cardfight G so far. If the first season of Cardfight G was to establish all of the characters and the world building and part 1 of this season was to bring back all of the old characters and get the main characters some training, then this is the big payoff where the heroes finally confront the villains.

Just about the whole second half is a gauntlet of battles against Ryuzu’s chosen warriors. Things don’t go well for the heroes at first as the season couldn’t be around 26 episodes if the heroes just won everything right? Chrono and Shion may have reached a really high level where they can fight with the best of them, but the side characters like Taiyou and Mamoru still want to help and that gives the villains some opportunities. Plus, the main characters can’t be everywhere all the time.

Unlike the last half, there is also an immediate sense of danger. The villains go as far as to blow up all of the empire branch headquarters and seriously injure all of the leaders as well. As part of Ryuzu’s plan, they also use Luna as a power source and prepare to destroy the world of Vanguard. The heroes have to move fast this time and while Chrono is the first to take charge as per usual, the others aren’t far behind. The climax involves a giant laser knocking everyone out as they prepare to enter a never ending dream state so it comes down to the main heroes against the big villains. They each get their own episode which makes for a lot of epic fights.

Not much has changed for some of the characters so I’ll keep those brief. Chrono is still a very solid lead. Ryuzu comes close to tricking Chrono, but the young hero stays strong. Shion stayed on his vengeful path, but ultimately decided to help Am and the heroes to rescue Luna. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but at least he made the right call. Shion’s still really close to Chrono with who the better main character is. I may have to say that Shion has the slight edge and likewise in terms of dueling skills. It’s always cool to have two leads at similar strengths.

While Tokoha didn’t have too much of a role in part 1, she gets thrown into the fray here since the situation with Luna and Am is personal. I think she was probably a little naive with how she handled it though since at least Am was actually evil for a while. It turned out okay since Am had a change of heart, but she could have put everyone in danger by meeting up. A hostage situation would have been sad. Kamui doesn’t really have a role this time. He maybe gets 1-2 duels, but part 1 was really his final hurrah.

Taiyou gets a big role here since Hiroki is his rival. He’s gone through a lot in the series and has become one of the sleeper members of the team. The show treats him as a semi weak-strong fighter depending on the episode. I consider him to be underrated considering how skilled he was back in his evil days. He does a good job of taking on his opponent. He’ll likely never become an outstanding duelist the way Shion and Chrono are, but he’s definitely a guy that you can root for. His rival Hiroki was also a decent villain although he came across as completely delusional. At first he would stand up to bullies, but then he became the bully. After that, he convinced himself that everyone who opposed him was evil while he was the true hero. It was an interesting point of view, but one that didn’t follow any logic. It made for a lot of nice crazy ramblings though. I’d say that Hiroki was one of the weaker villains, but he was tough enough to still be a threat.

Luna is an example of a nice character who allowed herself to make a bad friend. Trying to save Am only led to her being turned evil and being put in a bad spot. I definitely prefer AM a great deal to Luna. Luna isn’t bad, but she’s just not all that tough and lets everyone use her. She never really gets a moment where she stands up for herself or becomes a great duelist. Am was a great villain as I mentioned earlier, but I felt like the writers dropped the ball with her character a little. I just don’t see how she was so naive with the villain’s true agenda when her whole gimmick that she knew the world better than Shion since she wasn’t rich. Her turning to the hero side was a little cheesy, but now that it’s the status quo she could potentially become a cool hero. It’ll be hard to match her days as a villain though. She was easily one of the best villains in all of G.

Kouji still tries a little too hard to be the mysterious character, but I suppose he’s not bad. He’s just not very good at the role, but he spends less time on that here since he ends up focusing on actually fighting this tie. He puts up a pretty good fight against Ryuzu and more importantly, he’s able to give Chrono a new card which is critical in the final fight. Ryuzu doesn’t change much from part 1. Perhaps you will sympathize with him more after the back story, but I dunno. He just ended up going off the deep end and probably still would have done so even if not for Chrono. Chrono’s Dad probably should have done more to stop him though. Ryuzu is a cool villain whether he’s in his kid form or adult mode. I missed the latter, but the former was pretty catchy. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him return some day.
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Shouma remained a really epic villain. His gimmick about chaos and discord seemed rather plot convenient as the villains had the whole thing sewn up otherwise, but seeing him sabotage everyone was pretty entertaining. He’s definitely not the kind of guy who blindly follows orders. That’s Wakamizu’s job and he’s probably the blandest villain of them all. He just wants to see what will happen to satisfy his scientific curiosity. There really wasn’t much to his character and he wasn’t a particularly strong duelist either so I was never all that interested. He’s probably the most evil of the members though as most of the others had their reasons for doing this or had some conscience about the whole thing. Wakamizu was happy to go along with all compared to the rest.

Finally Enishi was the last member of the group. They tried to make him sound noble as a villain with his whole “I’ll protect you” attitude towards Luna. The problem is that he still allowed her to be used as a power source and wasn’t going to do anything about it. That’s a pretty lousy way to protect someone and she would have died if the heroes hadn’t stepped in. It’s a little hard to see him hanging out with everyone as a good guy after that. How I see it, Enishi let the villains push him around and didn’t have the strength of character to stop them. I definitely was not a fan of this guy.

My only real disappointment here was that the old characters didn’t get to do anything. Apparently, they only showed up to train the next generation and to get their cameos in, but that was it. There’s no real narrative reason for them not to help. The heroes should have been protecting the Empire branches. Of course, the villains would have been stopped right away if that had been the case, but it’s still something to think about. It would have certainly made the whole thing even cooler. I’m waiting for the day when the old characters are heavily involved with the plot again or at least get some more fights in a serious setting. The tournaments were awesome of course and I could always use more of those, but seeing them help against a world ending event is what I want to see next.

Overall, Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis does a good job of improving on the first and making its way to the original series and its level of greatness. Essentially, everything that G did, GIRS Crisis did better and upped the ante. Better fights, more intensity to the duels, higher stakes, better animation, better soundtrack, etc. It did exactly what a sequel is supposed to do. It’s not quite ready to beat the original Cardfight series yet, but lets see where it stands after 4 full seasons. The first season was a lot of fun, but my one complaint was that it didn’t have a huge climax like the other seasons. This one fixed that and just generally had a lot more action and intensity. The tournaments for part 1 and then the big battles in part 2. That’s a great way to pace a season. The animation and soundtrack were certainly on point. I dare say that they got even better during part 2 and at the very least, I’m positive that the soundtrack improved. It’ll be tough for the next season of G to top this one with the new animation studio and all, but I’m sure that it’ll give it a fair shot. NEXT has a pretty interesting premise and plot at the moment. Plus, I’m sure that a lot of elements have yet to even appear. I highly recommend this show and you can get into it even if you haven’t watched the original G. Of course, you’ll be missing out on a lot of character introductions and development since that was the point of the original. Also, you won’t understand why it’s so hype when Kai keeps on crushing Shion. Allow for a little plot hax at the end of that subplot, but it’s pretty real otherwise. The show also ends with a big status quo change so prepare for that!

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Godzilla Resurgence Review


Godzilla is a series that I had always wanted to check out, but it took me quite a while to do so. Finally, about 2-3 years ago I went back and checked out every movie in chronological order. To this date, it is probably one of my biggest achievements. This film would be my first Japanese Godzilla film in theaters so I was ready for a blast and a half. It’s definitely a very solid film and Godzilla certainly does appear more than he did in the American film, at least it felt that way to me. While it definitely loses to a lot of the classic Godzilla films as I enjoy the Mega Monster brawls, this will certainly be remembered as a classic.

The plot is fairly standard for a G film. Godzilla has arisen and now the Government must try to find a way to suppress him before the whole planet is put at risk. Japan will have to do this while also keeping the foreign governments happy. America is willing to use their nuclear options and wipe Tokyo off the map if necessary. The old guard is at the end of their ropes so it is time for the next generation-led by Yaguchi, to save the day. The real question is..can they defeat the King of the Monsters?

Controversially, this film was confirmed to not have any antagonist for Godzilla from early on. That was a shame in my opinion because the monster fights are the main reason why I love the Godzilla films so much. There are many films that only have a single monster like the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or King Kong, but the battles are what separates Godzilla from the pack. Not to mention that in my very controversial opinion, the films where Godzilla has no antagonist are typically the weaker ones. One day I want to come up with my personal list of where I would rank each Godzilla film. It’ll be difficult though since there are so many and you can make a great case for most of them. Sometimes I can barely put Final Wars as my favorite because GMK and the classic Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster are so good.

Lets launch into the positives. I was expecting this Godzilla film to be really serious and over the top dark based on the title. “Shin” usually means that something is going to be dark and dreary. The film is serious, but Resurgence has a lot of light hearted moments. I got to see this in a fairly packed theater with an energetic crowd and people were laughing constantly. The film feels just as comedic as the original Showa films at some point. It may not always be intentional, but I think it definitely was for at least 80-90% of the scenes. It’s good to be able to mix these tone shifts and the film does it quite well.

The humans never come across as annoying. Yaguchi is a good lead. He may panic from time to time, but he also comes up with a lot of good ideas and never gives up. The American representative Kayoko is also pretty likable. I always like having an American character step into the fray and she feels American right from the start. She is very direct and quippy as opposed to the other serious characters. I also appreciated the film’s restraint with not pushing for a very unrealistic and sudden romance and keeping things professional instead. Friendship isn’t dead quite yet and people can get along without having to take the next step. The Prime Minister was also fun as he was clearly out of his depths, but tried to keep on a tough face. Watching him and the group switch from room to room was definitely entertaining.

The film showed how having a lot of bureaucracy can be a very bad thing. It’s hard to act on a situation when you have to jump through so many hoops. The film portrays America in a very good light as a result as the country does whatever it wants whenever it wants too. America promotes young people who have fresh ideas and it has led to them becoming a global power. America was also portrayed with the might that is appropriate for them as their missiles are the first thing to actually injure Godzilla. They dealt quite a lot of damage and while I don’t think a nuclear missile would have finished Godzilla off, they are one of the only placed to have such an arsenal up their sleeve. I was definitely very satisfied.

Naturally, seeing Godzilla was also a blast. Shooting Atomic Breath out of his spikes and out of his tail was awesome and the whole crowd cheered quite a bit during this moment. It’s a little morbid since he basically took out an entire city, but who wasn’t rooting for Godzilla? I was definitely on Team Kaiju from the start. Godzilla keeps the army at bay for quite a while and he looks fairly tough as you would expect. However, I wasn’t completely thrilled with his portrayal as I had some negatives.

My first gripe is that they went with CGI for Godzilla instead of a suit. CGI can work decently well at times I suppose, but this wasn’t one of them. This is easily the worst Godzilla design of all time aside from the 1998 film which barely counts. People chuckled when Godzilla first appeared in his Rooster form and I was fairly shocked. Luckily, it was just something to throw us off, but I don’t think that Godzilla’s first stage should look like that. Even once he turned into his final form, Godzilla felt fairly off. I’m not crazy about the fact that it always looks like he is bleeding when he walks and that he has to shoot out blood in his first form.

While I don’t mind the narrow stream of Atomic Breath, it certainly looks more impressive when it is a wide blast. Also, I don’t like the way his face has to completely open up in order to shoot the blast. It looks a little gross and disturbing like the Predator’s true face in the classic horror series. It almost makes it seem like a weakness as he will be very vulnerable during that time. The back rays are still cool as they can react in time to stop high speed missiles, but Godzilla shouldn’t run out of energy so quickly. I always have to mention moments that I deem as “plot hax” in these films and Resurgence is no exception. The humans obviously have to come up with some kind of plan at the end, but I would have been more content with Godzilla just walking away like in the 2014 movie. Without going into detail, the plan should not have worked. Godzilla seemed to lose all of his smarts as he walked into every trap and expended energy when he did not need too. It should have been game over for the humans right from the get go and even knocking him down was a bit of a stretch. Either this Godzilla is less durable than some of the others or he just underestimated them. If the film was trying to portray the latter, I didn’t quite buy into it.

The soundtrack for the film is definitely pretty good. There were one or two themes that were memorable like the opera esque tune. Seeing the original Godzilla theme return with a new remix was definitely a lot of fun as well. I was actually expecting more homages to the original films, but I suppose you don’t really need them since the film holds up so well on its own. I really would have liked a good cliffhanger to end the film though. I suppose you could count a certain scene as a possible cliffhanger, but I wanted another monster to roar or something. This film seems like it isn’t really leading up to a sequel so maybe we’ll the next live action film will be another take on the classic franchise.

While listing all of the films in order is tough, in order to celebrate Godzilla’s latest film I thought I’d give it my best shot in this review. Tentatively here’s how I rank them and each row is in order. Keep in mind that these ranks are comparatively so just because a Godzilla film is in D rank doesn’t mean that I consider it to be remotely as bad as films like Pixels and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I’m doing this list off of my head so I’m not looking at my older reviews or blog posts for reference. As a result, the list may look a little different than it would if we went purely by the scores that I gave. It’s been a while since I saw these films so I may remember them differently, but I also didn’t have time to look at all of my posts so this was a little simpler.

S Rank Godzilla Final Wars, GMK, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster, Godzilla vs Hedorah, Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II, Godzilla (2000), Terror of Mecha Godzilla

A Rank Godzilla vs King Kong, Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla Against Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla Tokyo SOS, Invasion of the Astro Monster, Godzilla vs Destoroyah, Mothra vs Godzilla

B Rank Godzilla vs Space Godzilla, Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs Ebirah, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs Gigan, Godzilla vs Mothra, Godzilla vs Megalon

C Rank Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla (2014) Son of Godzilla, Godzilla Resurgence

D Rank Godzilla Raids Again, Gojira (1954), Godzilla vs Biollante, Godzilla (1998), The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla vs Megaguirus

It’s definitely tough to list them all and my feelings on the films can be really contradictory. Take Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla Resurgence as they are the two latest films. On one hand, I feel like Godzilla was easily the more intense film. The action scenes were great and the Muto made for a really good villain. The mythos around the film are more interesting and the ending was much better. On the other hand, the human characters in Resurgence were far superior as well as the writing and the pacing. Resurgence never drags on or has any real filler scenes. It captures the impact of Godzilla’s first appearance a lot better and the comedic tones work really well. So…should Godzilla really beat Resurgence? Both films are just so close that it is really hard to stick with one over the other for long, but alas decisions must be made at some point.

Overall, Godzilla Resurgence is definitely a fun film. The humans are easily some of the most interesting and least annoying ones that I have seen in a very long time. I also haven’t seen a Japanese live action film in a very long time so it is interesting to see how they film the movie as opposed to the ones that I’m used too. There are a lot more close ups on the characters, which worked well for comedic effect, but I don’t think I would want that to happen too often. The only real weak point of the movie is the fact that there are no other monsters and that Godzilla’s design isn’t all that good. Still, I definitely recommend it to all Godzilla fans and to anyone that likes a good creature feature. The pacing is very quick so the film never drags on. I look forward to seeing the new Godzilla animated film or the American one coming up. Either way, I will be awaiting them at the theater.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yugioh 5Ds Duel Transer Review

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It’s been a while, but I finally got to go back and complete one of the old Yugioh games that I’ve had on the back burner for a while now. It feels good to finally take it down for the count. It suffers from the usual problem that Yugioh games have on the home console and that’s the long loading times. Still, that’s really the only main problem for the title as it still does a good job of capturing the Yugioh enjoyment that I’ve come to expect from the series. It’s long and it’s difficult, but the game can also be very satisfying. After all, what’s more fun than having a quick round of Yugioh?

This title also does have a plot which is something that you can’t really say for many of the other Yugioh games. Where this takes place in the anime is a little vague, but all that you really need to know is that many of the world’s greatest duelists have been trapped inside of a large tower. The only way to get out is to duel everyone and prove yourself to be the strongest. The problem is that there are no pushovers here and some of the villains may decide not to play by the rules. You control an original character who has arrived at this tower. He may not have a rep yet, but he is actually the greatest duelist of all time. Not too shabby eh? Can Terry (That’s what I called him) save the world or is he doomed? Time to find out!

We may as well go over the technical aspects of the game first. The graphics look fairly good here. Everyone is a little pixelated, but in retrospect, a lot of the Wii games had similar issues with the character designs. It still looks rather well considering. I also liked the designs for the new characters. They stood out and were original. Odin had a cool armor and his true identity was also pretty intense. That definitely worked well for the final boss. As for the soundtrack, it is fairly solid. A theme will come up if you are close to winning and likewise if you are close to losing. There are quite a number of good tunes here although the soundtrack definitely could have been larger. It’s mostly all fast paced and fits well for the duels.

Time to quickly explain the gameplay system in case you have never had a duel before. Each player starts with 5 cards and then you draw another one each turn. You summon monsters to the field (1 per turn although you can special summon others) and use them to attack your opponent’s life points. Spell and Trap cards are also allowed into the mix of course. The first person to land at 0 life points loses the round. The concept is simple enough, but there are many rules and complexities surrounding this so you’ll still have a lot to take in when you first boot up the game. I recommend working on building your first deck to start things off. Choose each card yourself so you know exactly what they do and when to activate each card.

I recommend holding down the B button during the turns if you know that you won’t be using a Trap Card. Otherwise, it will ask you this question throughout every phase of the turn, which can slow the game down considerably. I ended up going with a deck that was heavy on trap cards and anti trap cards. My deck was a little larger than most people would recommend it be, but this served me well twice. There is one character in the game who has an incredible defensive strategy. Her name is Luna and she won’t hesitate to time you out. Our duel went into the 80s I believe, but luckily my deck was a lot larger than hers so that ended up earning me the win. She tried the same tactic later on and I used the same counter. Don’t underestimate trap cards. They are extremely valuable in this game.

You will need to really enjoy the duels to get any fun out of this title. That’s because the game is over 20 hours long and that equals a lot of duels. There are roughly 13-15 levels in the game, but each one has up to 5 duels and sometimes even more. You also shouldn’t expect to coast by either as these guys tend to put up quite the fight. Many of them took me several tries to defeat, but naturally none of them could ultimately stop me from reaching the goal. Ironically, the second last boss is probably the easiest in the game. I happened to get a really good hand, but even considering that, a perfect 8000-0 battle is pretty rare.

As for replay value, there is a lot of that. After beating the game, you will unlock a few more levels where you can fight opponents with incredibly strong decks and get more cards. There are hundreds, if not thousands of cards in this game so collecting them all will be a very tough thing to do. That is sure to buy you a lot of time. One thing that I don’t like is that you can’t use some of the cards that you obtain because they are deemed illegal. If that’s the case, why put them in the game at all? Even if the computers keep on using them anyway, we shouldn’t be able to buy those cards if they are just going to sit around.

The gameplay’s a lot of fun as you can tell, but the game did have one thing holding it back. The long loading times. I can’t stress this enough. If a game takes a while to get through each duel, then the adventure will start to feel a little too much like a grind by the end. For some reason, this always happens to the home console version of these titles. The DS World Championships and the PSP Tag Force games are always lightning fast and I dare say that they are more intuitive. After all, in those games, you could activate magic cards whenever you want. Now, you have to wait until it’s your turn.

Overall, It feels good to have finally completed Duel Transer. That game was certainly on the backburner for a long time so this is a big moment. Next up, I aim to take down the Yugioh game for the Gamecube. The plot is definitely very odd (and boring) and the game is even slower paced than this one. Ah well, we’re just going to have to wait a while before we get a really fast title I suppose. At the very least, this just goes to show how popular Yugioh is. It’ll always have more games to play. If you’re a big fan of Yugioh, then I definitely recommend this game quite a lot. You may never get to Synchro Summon since the rules seem more complex than usual, but at least you’ll get to fight many powerful foes. If you’ve never played Yugioh before, then you may want to start with World Championship instead as it does a good job of easing you into the challenge.

Overall 7/10