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

Future Card Buddyfight Review

Buddyfight really started out strong. It came out of the gate swinging and I liked the new battle style a lot. It didn’t revolutionize the card fighting genre like Cardfight, but it was a fun approach to the new style of play. The characters were likable, which made for some good intro duels. The middle of the series is where Buddyfight began to lose some of its steam as the show started to get a little repetitive. Luckily, the final tournament showed up and helped to break the cycle. We had a lot of fun duels towards the end, which was intense. Buddyfight ended as it started, a very fun show with lots of excitement.

Gao Mikado is the main character and one day he decides to start Buddy Fighting competitively when he draws a good Buddy. His Buddy is Drum and he comes from Dragon World. Let’s take a step back quickly and look at the universe. Drawing a Buddy opens a portal between dimensions and the monster inside of the card actually appears. Luckily, all monsters (for now) are friendly so this is safe for all people. Even villains enjoy having their buddies so that they can improve their abilities and really break the law. Gao and Drum bicker a lot, but they ultimately become close friends who help each other when the going gets tough.

The series starts off cautiously and Gao duels many opponents who become his friends and rivals. Then a tournament is announced and Gao decides to enter to show the world how great he is. The tournament will be tough to win as many new faces show up, but they don’t scare Gao. Gao thinks of himself as the Mighty Sunfighter so he never backs down from a fight or from a challenge.

Part 2 of the series is where the stakes start to get higher. A villain group known as Disaster has shown up and they want to rid the world of adults. By opening a portal to the dark part of the monster world, they can end everything! A betrayal also rocks Gao’s world and the heroes will never be the same again. Gao will have to brace himself as he tackles this overwhelming challenge!

Let’s start off with how to play the game. The gameplay is unique in the sense that it is all about offense. Each turn involves you attacking the other player and you don’t have to take time to defend. Each turn, you can summon monsters until their combined level is three. Then, you attack the other player and try to get his life down from 10 to 0. There are naturally spells and traps to augment the gameplay as well. It results in a very fast moving duel, which makes it difficult to stretch into multi parters. Even the final fight of the series is barely more than one part and if you cut out the subplots, it probably could be one episode.

The clan that you choose will determine what your fighting style is like. Gao uses a Dragon deck so he focuses on attacking until his opponents finally go down. Katana World is about misdirection and fooling your opponent and Magic World is totally for defense and gimmicks. Naturally, Dragon World is easily my favorite since offense is definitely my style, but they all have their merits and weaknesses.

Gao is the main character of the series and also one of the main highlights. He’s one of the better main characters as he is determined and always wins the right way. He doesn’t use any stall tactics or overpowered cards to win as he chooses to talk with his skills. He’s one of the only main characters to ever go from the premiere to the finale without losing once. I doubt that many characters could hope to pull that off and the series isn’t exactly short. There are over 50 episodes to be found in Buddyfight. “The strongest deck in history” is his catchphrase and it shows how tough he is. Gao’s modest at times, but he knows just how good he is.

His partner is Drum and they definitely had a lot of banter during the older episodes. Towards the end of the series, they definitely became close, but still had some banter at times. Drum’s not bad, but he’s surprisingly weak considering that he’s the classic partner of the series. Not a problem though, he has some super forms to help him out in that area. He’s not the best monster, but certainly not the worst one and at least Drum has character.

Zanya is the calm and collected member of the group. He uses ninja cards to defeat his enemies and he has a trap card, which can be used to stop just about any opponent when used correctly. While he is very tough and the characters always acknowledge that, he’s not quite as good as Gao or Tesuku. He’s better than guys like Tetsuya and Shido, but he still needs a game changer if he wants to be among the best. I’m confident that his skills will be at that level at some point and we just have to give the guy some time. The only thing stopping him from being a really cool character is his gimmick, which gets old quickly. Zanya is deathly afraid of girls and he can’t talk or duel when in front of them. You can see how this becomes a problem and it is brought up constantly. I still like Zanya a lot, but this does take away from his coolness factor. Zanya is a big believer in honor and justice so you can see why I like the guy. He has some pretty emotional duels during the series. His buddy has a really cool design, but is almost always silent so he doesn’t get to have much of a personality. Ah well, at least Zanya’s a cool fighter. The next ally of Gao’s is decidedly less quiet and fierce.
Tetsuya’s whole gimmick is that he loves dancing. His friends fear that it takes up too much of his time and that he’s not totally devoting his energy to Buddyfighting. They’re not wrong, but Tetsuya is still a good duelist. While he is decidedly weaker than Gao or Zanya, Tetsuya always gives it his all and comes through when the team needs him. His jingle is surprisingly catchy and you may find yourself dancing to the tune when he begins the duel. The fact that he mixes in Banana’s with his hair is brilliant and one of the reasons why you shouldn’t underestimate the guy. While he is rarely solemn, Tetsuya knows when it’s time to be serious. His buddy probably has more personality than all of the other monsters. The demon has his own TV show and actually does some undercover work to help the heroes find the location of the villain’s base. He is also a whole species in and of himself, which saves a lot of time for when he has to check out multiple locations at the same time.

Tasuku is the boy genius of the series and it feels like the show heavily considered making him the main character. The show’s endings are always about him and even the opening gave him a decently big role. The show may have also just been trying to make him a fan favorite from the start. It wasn’t hard since Tasuku is a great character from start to finish. He goes through a similar character arc that Kai went through in Cardfight. The series seems to really love using the redemption plot device as a character will get a taste of darkness and the terrifying power that comes with it, but ultimately returns to the light for good. This happened to Rouga, Kiri, and Tasuku in the show and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens to more characters. (To a lesser extent, you could say the same for the final villain of the show)

Tasuku is a nice guy and he always has fun when he is in a Buddyfight. He helps Gao enjoy the game and encourages younger players as well. He gets frustrated when the police force is corrupted and goes too far in his attempts to make everything all right on his own. Luckily, that’s where his Buddy comes in. Jack is a dragon and like Drum, he gets a lot of development. Jack is a buddy who really cares about what is going on in the human world and he plays a pivotal role in getting Tasuku back to the side of the heroes and he refused to become a villain. Having a good friend is always important and the bond between Tasuku and Jack is a strong one. These two will certainly continue to be some of the highlights of the show and Tasuku is easily my favorite character aside from Gao.

Kiri was once one of Gao’s best friends until he changed. He was very timid and also weak when it came to Buddyfighting. As a result, Kiri got bullied all the time and decided that he needed more power. The villains were glad to give him that and now Kiri was able to use his powers in the real world like Rouga, Gao, and Tasuku. He instantly became one of the strongest fighters in the series and he was pretty hardcore as the Grim Reaper. To quickly specify, the monsters are already real for all of the players. The only difference with Disaster Force/Future Force is that you can also make spell and equip cards real. This is still really good as Kiri has his Winter Wonderland (Not the exact name) card that can make a blizzard appear out of the blue.

Kiri was a decent friend at first, but certainly not my kind of character and he was a lot like Syrus. I was glad to see his character go through a mini arc and he ultimately became a hero again. The only difference is that he now has a lot of power. I’m confident that he will be able to help Gao out a lot in future arcs. His power up certainly helped him as a character even if I don’t care for his buddy. He just doesn’t do anything for me at the moment and needs some more personality.

Shido is one of the worst villains in the series. Apparently, he is still one of the better duelists in the school, but I can’t take him seriously. He is typically used for comic relief and isn’t much of a threat to someone like Gao. He is constantly being humiliated and appears far too often if you ask me. His partner is Sofia and she is portrayed as the serious member of the group. The problem is that she’s not much better than Shido and I have not been impressed with her either. She gets nonstop hype, but the hype never seems to transform into something more than that. I feel like the writers really don’t know what to do with her at the moment and it shows. I’m sure that she will start fighting more at some point, but for now…she is simply biding her time.

Rouga was the first real villain to show up and he stays as a supporting character throughout the series. He goes from being a true villain to a misunderstood rival who is just looking out for his friend. The turnabout certainly is cheesy and he looks really bad when he lets the main villain get under his skin. When taken seriously, Rouga is a good opponent for Gao. The problem is that he doesn’t know whether he is a villain or a rival most of the time. It’s safe to say that he’ll just be a rival in the sequel series and that will mean that Gao has yet another on. Depending on how many guys you count (Tasuku, Noboru, Kazane, Zanya, Genma, Tasuku……) it’s a long list. I suppose that a lot of people will be gunning for you once you’re at the top. Rouga’s buddy is pretty cool as he is one of the only monsters to have a decent amount of personality and Cerberus never backs down from a fight.
He’s decently tough and doesn’t feel like an average monster, which is a good thing. I don’t think that Rouga has been handled particularly well in this series. I still like him as a rival for Gao, but he has certainly dropped in the ranks from his first appearance and it will take a while for me to be able to take him seriously. At this point, he just seems to be a little out of his league.

Genma is another rival of Gao…in a sense. He has less of a role than the others, but he’s a decently strong Buddyfighter. I’ve never been a huge fan of his though and he comes off as very arrogant at times. He also takes it very personally when his friend uses a counter card against his iconic monster. That would be like me getting upset if someone counter picked to Olimar to defeat my Captain Falcon in Smash Bros. It’s a strategically sound move so I can’t really agree with him here. Genma’s tough, but his whole strategy does revolve around his dragon so once it is defeated, he is essentially doomed. I do love his recycled footage yells though and he really gets fired up when dueling. He can certainly be better, but a lack of screen time probably didn’t help his case either.

Jin is a sneaky member who is always hard to pin down. Is he helping the heroes or on the side of the villains? The answers to these questions are eventually answered and he does play a decent role in the series, but he is a bit of a lightweight. I’ve never considered him to be very tough and he gets himself into some pretty tight pickles during the series. He needs a new deck as stealth doesn’t work out so well in this game. He’s not really my kind of supporting character, but he’s not bad.

Noboru is Goa’s original rival. At the very least, I would consider him to be Gao’s main rival as they actually got some trash talking in and Noboru really wants to defeat Gao. I don’t see that happening anytime soon as the gap between them continues to grow, but it’s still good that Noboru is trying to get on top of the situation. Surpassing Gao is just tricky for any opponent. Noboru’s buddy is a little on the dull side though as it is an old man who doesn’t have any cool special abilities. It’s impressive that Noboru can still win with his current deck as it is just a really watered down version of Gao’s. Nonetheless, I do really like Noboru’s character and he should go far in the series. He even gave Tasuku a good fight!

Terumi works for Disaster and she probably has the toughest time out of all the members since she starts to see the light and is quickly thrown out of the picture. The heroes never did give her a happy ending and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change in the sequel series. She was never a very likable character for me as she was infatuated with the leader of the villains even though she should know that he didn’t actually care for her. She was used from the start and never did anything about it.

Elf was another member of Disaster and he was not very good. Elf rarely ever fought and it was hard to gauge out good a fighter he was. It barely even mattered though since he was more interested in talking a good game than actually backing it up. His design was meant to be his whole gimmick and that will never be enough to actually be a very compelling villain. He also didn’t get any real character development unlike the other characters and I wonder if he will return soon.

Gremlin is one of the members of Disaster and he’s a decent fighter. While not quite as impressive as some of the other fighters, his legendary deck building skills are why he is feared by so many. He built the decks for all of the other fighters after all and that takes dedication. By the end, he has essentially seen the light and remembers how the game should be played. I can’t say that I really bought his sob story though as it seems like he just jumped off the deep end for the lolz.

Kazane was Gao’s final rival of the series and she just popped out from nowhere during one of the episodes. She helped Gao to remember what it was like to really enjoy the game and Kazane’s a fun character. She’s easy to root for and while her deck isn’t particularly impressive, her skills are certainly real. Her role has stayed small so far, but I’m sure that the writers have big plans for her at some point although she’s quickly fading away from being a main supporting character in the sequel series. Big plans or not, she’s a fun new rival for Gao to have. He certainly has a lot of them now!

Kemura is one of the weaker supporting characters, but I’m not too surprised since he debuted alongside a group of fighters who were essentially filler. His gimmick is that he’s constantly trying to eat his buddy and it is reused way too often. It wasn’t even funny the first time so you can imagine how tedious it gets by the 5th or 20th time. The only reason why the group was ultimately a good idea was because we got to meet one good character. Kirisame is a swordsman and his skills are about on par with Zanya’s. He’s a strong fighter all right and he even shows that he could give Gao a good challenge.
Kyoya is the big villain of the second arc and he is certainly powerful. He took out Tasuku when they fought and he actually stood up to Gao. Granted, Kyoya didn’t stand a chance against the world’s greatest Buddyfighter, but he still tried hard and gave it his all. His goals didn’t make all that much sense though and it is hard to relate to the guy. His voice also wasn’t that good, which may have helped to prevent me frombeing a fan of his. His super form looked cool though and he is a powerful villain. He just wasn’t very good or interesting.

Azi Dahaka got a ton of hype throughout the series and fans of his were likely disappointed that he was used as an after thought in the series. After being shown to be the big mastermind behind Disaster, he didn’t do anything until he was summoned and then Gao still managed to take him out in a single hit. He did have a very ominous speech where he mentioned how Gao and the others have sealed their fate by defeating him, but that hasn’t gone anywhere at the moment. Still, the hype is real and it’s safe to say that defeating him a second time will not be so easy.

Baku and Kuguru are essentially Gao’s best friends. Baku makes the decks for Gao while Kuguru gives him the necessary intel for the fights. It’s too bad that they never got into the game as they could have been good Buddyfighters. They aren’t bad characters and are all right I suppose, but they definitely don’t add much to the series. Baku had his subplot with the Gremlin, but that’s about it. They aren’t bad though and every hero has to have a few friends. They help Gao when he’s down.

Buddyfight’s animation is quite good. I remember thinking that it looked solid from the start and the sequel series managed to improve the series even more. This title can hold its own against just about any other show. It’s still not going to be in your top 3 of all time or anything like that, but the animation is still great. Certainly well above average to say the least. The fights certainly look good and likewise with the overall animation. It’s just like Cardfight Vanguard in that every part of the animation stays consistently bright and solid throughout. The character designs and backgrounds never falter.

The soundtrack doesn’t get overshadowed as it is also quite good. The villain theme is certainly my favorite piece of music in the series. It is definitely dramatic and does a good job of building up hype for a fight. The openings are pretty lackluster though and a little worse than average. Again, the sequel series managed to improve in that area. Still, the overall soundtrack is good. I won’t call it great like the animation, but you’ll enjoy the themes and the villain music really makes up for the rest of the tracks.

Buddyfight is a great series through and through. I remember being properly hyped for the fact that Cardfight was getting a spinoff. The Cardfight cast even appears for an episode as a little cameo before getting written out. I hope to see a crossover between these two series at some point. They are certainly some of the best anime titles to have come out in the last few years and have helped to bring card game shows into the light once again. With those two going on alongside Yugioh Arc V, it’s a good time to be a trading card fan. Now, we just need Buddyfight to get its first film.

Buddyfight is a very light toned show for the most part. For a while, there isn’t much danger so the characters just have fun dueling. As expected, things began to get serious during the second half of the series and Buddyfight was able to bring us some thrilling and emotional battles by the end. Some of the fights between Tasuku and Gao at the end were amazing along with Tasuku’s battle against the enemy. The scene where the Reverse Dragonic Punisher first appears is one that you won’t forget in a hurry and it was certainly one of the best animated scenes of the series. The show really had some good variety when it came time for the duels.

As I mentioned in the intro, the pacing can be a little iffy sometimes. Buddyfight is the kind of show that doesn’t mind having several rematches and seeing the same characters fight too often can take away from the excitement. It’s similar to how I never like to see someone duel twice in a row in Cardfight because we will have just seen the deck. That happens quite a bit here, but luckily the duels are so fast paced that it is typically okay. I think that the show slowed down considerably towards the middle of the series, but the strong beginning and ending kept it in the great category. Buddyfight 100 is starting to make the same mistake though except that it has a weak beginning so far. I’m confident that it will be able to get past this issue.

In the end though, where does Buddyfight rank among the other card shows? Welllll…it would have to be in last by default. It loses to Cardfight and all of the various Yugioh Series that I’ve seen. I’m confident that it would beat the original Yugioh though and if we count it, Capsule Monsters as well. Considering the fact that Buddyfight is still a great show, you can see how steep the competition is in this genre.
Overall, Buddyfight was a really fun watch from start to finish. Finally, we had another original franchise that was introduced to the market and ended up being a big success. It’s hard to state just how excited I was so see a new series on the air. I was confident from the start that it would be really good and I got to watch it weekly from day one thanks to the official Youtube site. Nowadays, it’s hard to create a new franchise out of the blue that still ends up being so good. Buddyfight was over 50 episodes, which gave it a lot of time to flesh out the characters and give us some good stories to go along with the fights. The animation was very good and the soundtrack was good enough to make sure that it was an epic anime in all categories. Even if Buddyfight temporarily faltered at some points, It’s a show that excelled so much that this is barely noticeable. The sequel will have a very tough time taking it down. I highly recommend this series to all fans and you won’t be disappointed upon checking it out!

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Gorgeous Review

Looks like it is time to check out the next Slayers movie! We are nearing the end of the franchise so let’s see if this film could hold its own. After the last OVA, I was ready for something to get the Slayers formula right this time. Luckily, I was not disappointed as this film is the best Slayers one yet and besides the shows, it is the best Slayers product. This is how you get the blend between comedy and action right. I hope that the writers are taking notes.

Lina and Naga head over to a peaceful looking town to have their next meal. The tacos/wraps in this place are really good and it seems like the heroes will finally have a peaceful time. This does not last for long though as the inhabitants of the town go indoors. There is a civil war going on in the city between the King and The Princess over a matter so serious and deadly that the heroes have no real response to the issue. Lina decides to help the King out, but her mission proves to be much more difficult than expected when Naga joins the Princess’ side! Why is Naga doing this? Can Lina still win!? That’s the basic premise of the film.

This may sound like the average Slayers plot so what makes this one so much better than the others? (Keep in mind that I did like the first film as well, but this film is simply the best one) For starters, the film wisely decided to let go of the fanservice problems that have plagued the two OVAs. Naga’s outfit is still fairly revealing, but the animators don’t pay special attention to it. It’s essentially reduced to a non factor. We have no random hot spring scenes to get us either so the film effectively solved the problem. There is no real fanservice here and that’s already a big advantage over the OVA.

Next up, the animation is much better than the OVA and it could be the best animation that we have seen in Slayers aside from Next and even that is debatable. Next had better animation for the overall character models, but this one gives it a run for its money when it comes to energy blasts. You could tell that the animators gave the battle between the princess and Lina their all as the animation was much better than the other scenes in the film. It really worked out well for the action scenes. The rest of the film looks good as well, but its the fights that take it out of the good range and into the greats!

The final big reason for why this film was an improvement ties into the animation somewhat. As I’ve mentioned before, the balance between comedy and action is a tricky one and Slayers does mess it up quite often. The important thing is that Slayers has been able to get it right and this is an example of just that. There’s a good amount of comedy here like why the Princess is in a war with her father, and numerous other scenes that I could mention throughout the film. Naga’s actions are almost all for crazy reasons that could be called comedy. This is the bets way to use comedy, crazy reasons and illogical motivations to do things may be the best way to use humor.

Then, still play their actions off seriously even if their reasons or not. That is what the film does and we do get more than one serious fight. This film had the best Lina vs Naga fight that we have seen and the battle with the princess was also really good. That’s 2 really good fights in one movie and 2 more than we saw in either OVA. Slayers typically doesn’t have any real fights for the spinoffs as Lina quickly dominates or comedy steals the fight. Not this time! That was great since watching a movie level fight is a good incentive for any film.

Slayers still uses a lot of retro tunes, but there are some remixes, which are present. That livens things up as I have been saying that Slayers needs a new soundtrack. Remixes aren’t completely new, but they are the next best thing so I suppose that they will do. The songs still sound good and my favorite one is easily the end song that plays during the end of all the movies. The final scene with the coin is always slightly altered, which is fun. The most satisfying ending was probably the second time as Lina got away with the coin. In this one, a bird jumps in to save the day. Good for the bird if you ask me!

As always, Lina is a very good main character. While not always heroic, she still does whatever’s necessary to earn her gold. It is sad for her since she never manages to get her gold coins in the end thanks to various circumstances. She may have been able to have gotten her reward money if she had stuck around during the ending, but chasing off The Princess was evidently more fun for her. Lina’s reputation continues to grow larger and larger. Whole armies of dragons back off at the sound of her name now, which is pretty neat. Her spells ensure that Lina is still the strongest fighter among the humans and she proves this on more than one occasion. While Sailor Moon may be the most popular main heroine for anime, I dare say that Lina could be the best one.

Naga is back to being a traitor, but she is an amusing one and doesn’t make a single bad joke this time. That means that her portrayal in this film was actually really good and she makes for a fun rival. Her laugh is certainly iconic and potentially one of the best ones of all time. Joining the enemies on a whim or just to help them laugh more effectively is pretty ingenious. You certainly can’t say that she is not an original character. While Naga will never be as powerful as Lina, her abilities still aren’t bad and she can land a decent amount of damage. If Naga could always look like this, I’d certainly be a fan of hers. Unfortunately, her portrayal is rarely this good. I don’t think that she’s ever looked this good to be honest.

The final Dragon Boss is very intense and fans should definitely like him. He’s very huge and his abilities are so great that he is able to block a Dragon Slave blast at point blank range. There is a big twist about him, which could affect how fans see him, but he still looked so good before the twist that I think we can excuse him a little. Learning about the twist should actually give you more respect for the character depending on how you look at it. The final boss really talks tough and isn’t someone that you will want to mess with.

As for the two main filler characters, they weren’t bad. The King was more reasonable than most of the others and an actual character. I could agree with his thought processes and the demands of the Princess were certainly a bit much. The King is fairly courageous and a good person deep down. The Princess is rather unreasonable with her demands and did attempt to destroy some people so I’d say that she was a loose cannon. That being said, she could actually fight, which was impressive. Of course, there is a plot twist, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that she is able to fight in close quarters and doesn’t back down after hearing Lina’s name. She gives us a proper fight and that’s a good thing.

Overall, Slayers Gorgeous finally presents us with the Slayers film that we’ve needed. This is exactly how a film should be handled and every part of it was satisfying. The fights were excellent and really got to show off some solid animation. The writing was at its best and all of the characters were fairly good. The humor was finally back on track as well. This film eliminated all of the negatives that I had for the franchise and that resulted in a film that had no negatives. Everything about it was good. That doesn’t mean that I am about to throw out a 10 or a 9 as other films still outrank it and thiss title was very short, but it is still much better than the average title. I highly recommend this if you are a Slayers fan and it is also a great way to get started with the franchise. You certainly don’t need to watch much else to get what is happening since Slayers doesn’t bother much with exposition in the films beyond what you need to know. The next film is going to have a very tough time keeping up with this one!

Overall 8/10

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

Slayers Try Review

It has been a while, but I am finally back with a review for the third Slayers series! I enjoyed the first series and then the second upped the ante in just about every way. Slayers Next will likely be remembered as the pinnacle of the Slayers franchise, but there is still more to come. Slayers Try…tries a little too hard to be a mix of Slayers and Slayers Next by adding some powerful threats, but also trying to go back to the days of random adventures like in the first series. It is a mix that backfires quite a bit like GT, but still ends up being a good show.

Lina Inverse and her gang of heroic crooks are fairly happy about how their latest victory went. They decided to split up for a while and maybe they would bump into each other at some point in the future. Well, this happens sooner than they may have expected! Aside from Sylphiel, the gang meets up with Zelgadis who is still trying to learn the secret of how to transform himself. He’ll never accomplish this goal, but at least he is still trying. Zelgadis decides to stay with Lina and pals after they meet a mysterious figure who goes by the name, Filia.

Filia tells the heroes that they are destined to save the world! Lina refuses, but Filia explains that the heroes are her last hope as all of the best heroes don’t want to do this task. Lina and the gang are forced into accepting the quest under threat of imminent destruction (Lina’s sister is too powerful for them) and they must now….stop this threat. The problem is that they have no idea how to stop the danger that is approaching since the heroes don’t even know what kind of trouble to expect. They only have Filia’s guesses and intuition to guide them! I may as well say that the threat is caused by Overworlder’s (gods) who seek to change the status quo and unleash ultimate darkness across the world!

Typically, it only takes me one paragraph to describe the plot, but a lot has happened so two was necessary here. The lack of plot can be a little eerie, but it works into Try’s gameplan. It want to be episodic like the first series, but with serious stakes like the second one. This is still a dicey mix to achieve and I should explain why it doesn’t work out. The classic way to handle this would be to have the episodic parts for the first half and then to throw in a plot. This has worked in many shows like Trigun, Cardfight Vanguard, Digimon Savers, etc. The problem is that Try threw in the plot as early in as episode 1 and then ditches it towards the middle of the show. We get 6-15 filler episodes in the show.

All right, let’s not guess here. A quick Wikipedia search tells me that we have 7 “filler” episodes. The quotations are necessary as they technically have canon elements. We have a 2 part episode involving a holy grail weapon, which shows us that dark magic can be destroyed for the first time in the series. It is what inspires Lina’s final attack on the monster in the final episodes. 2-3 of the other filler episodes involve finding the characters after they failed in the fake climax, but I would still count them. That’s also not counting the episodes that were 15-18 minutes of filler with a plot heavy beginning/ending.
So, this really disrupted the pacing. The episodes where the heroes were on the boat were easily the worst ones. Slayers has always been a roller coaster series of ups and downs, but it has typically been more steady than this one. Try’s best episodes rank up there with the best of Next while the worst ones are some of the worst in the franchise. Not really because of anything relating to content, but they simply felt boring and unnecessary. Case in point, the two part episode about getting 2 Kingdoms to make peace with each other. I feel like we’ve seen this plot so many times already and I really didn’t understand what the point of it all was. It destroys whatever tension you had thanks to the villains showing up.

Luckily, that’s where the good episodes come into play. For just about the whole series, I was positive that this show was going to get a 6. Then we got the good climax, which made this more of a real battle. The fights in this series could take up a whole episode at times, which was great. The final batch of episodes is really one big fight that keeps on restarting and it is good to see the feats from both the heroes and the villains. There is no shortage of action and excitement in the climax of the series and we also got a nice batch of fights during the middle of the series as well. During these two high points, you would never be able to tell that this was the same series that we had started with.

Lina Inverse is the main character and she is once again leading the charges against those who would stand in her way. As a human, Lina is essentially the enemy of all other races so she needs to have a strong personality to combat these threats. Lina has also grown more powerful over the course of these adventures. While she used to not be able to deal any real damage to the big threats, now she has two aces up her sleeve. The Ragna Blade and the Giga Slave. These two attacks have been shown to work on almost any opponent with virtually no exceptions. It likely couldn’t completely KO a Dark Lord (The Blade anyway) but these attacks have allowed Lina to stay on the offensive. Her speed is not increased and I’ll mention that a little more towards the end of the review, but this is still a great improvement. Now, she can back up her tough talk!

Lina’s endearing personality is what makes her a great lead. She certainly won’t take any insults from someone without a fight. Whether it is an ally or an enemy, she will quickly unleash her full power. Lina is still not your average hero as she will occasionally blow up villages and mountains by mistake, but she does end up saving the world so hopefully it all balances out. Slayers wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without her in the lead.

Gourry is Lina’s partner and he’s always been a very interesting character to watch even if he is very unlikable. It is a bit of a tricky puzzle eh? The first episodes of this show continue to prove why he will never be likable, but at least he does provide the show with a lot of its humor. He never understands the gravity of a situation, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best. Gourry always has his game face on and with his Sword of Light, he can deal some heavy damage to just about anyone. He did go up against Valgaav after all! He’s about the same from the past two series, which is good. If they made him likable, then that would be even better.

Amelia’s role here is certainly smaller than in the first two series. She is still a member of royalty, but she doesn’t get her own adventures this time. She’s simply tagging along for the ride like Zelgadis. She’s still a nice character and she gets her hits in at times. It’s hard to say who the weak link of the team is at this point as it is between her and Zelgadis. It is very close, but she tries her best and fills the team with optimism. They certainly need at least one hero on the team right?

Zelgadis continues to lose more and more of his dignity. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the writers for Try did not like him as a character. He is literally used as bait, an anchor, and simply tossed around when it is time for jokes. He may have been a decent character in the original series and almost decent in Next, but now he’s just a really bad character. I find it almost impossible to like him. It is too bad since he gets a lot of scenes that are supposed to make you say “Snap, this guy’s cool!” That is not my reaction to the scenes and I can’t think of a single moment where Zelgadis actually did a critical thing here. Not a single scene……his fans will not be pleased.
Filia is the new addition to the group and she ends up replacing Sylphiel. She is a gold dragon and her powers are impressive during her first appearance. As a gold dragon, her speed was so great that none of the main characters could land a hit on her. (An accurate depiction of speed…impossible!) Unfortunately, that’s where the buck stops as she is not really useful against any other opponents for the rest of the series. She evidently has some useful abilities like super strength and her spells, but the enemies are always one step ahead of her. It’s too bad as the exact same thing happened to Sylphiel.

As far as personality goes, she has a little Amelia in her. Filia thinks of herself as a bit of a hero so she is always dismayed when the heroes engage in criminal activities. She also does a lot of soul searching as the series goes on because of what her fellow golden dragons did. Perhaps she takes this a little too personally as she had nothing to do with most of their evil deeds. It is regrettable, but she doesn’t need to lose all hope over it. She nearly jeopardizes the final battle as she proved to be indecisive. Her rivalry with Xellos is fun though and while she is no match for him in a fight, perhaps she can defeat him in the battle of burns. (Burns=Insulting an opponent so well that you metaphysically burned them) As far as the main cast goes, it is: Lina>>Amelia>>Filia>>Sylphiel>>Zelgadis>>Gourry>>>>>>>Xellos. So, Filia’s rank isn’t all that bad. She could certainly better, but her personality fits in well with the team and doesn’t get old quite as quickly as Zelgadis’ gimmick. It’s also good to have a little more muscle power on the team.

Ah…now it’s time to talk about Xellos. A seriously disliked him from his very first appearance. While he will likely never look quite as bad as in Next, he’s still not my kind of character. For starters, he is constantly betraying the heroes to advance on his own goals. He is a monster through and through so he does remind the heroes that they should never trust him. Just because he makes that clear from the start, doesn’t make it any less sad when he betrays them again. Xellos has physically attacked the team during their scuffles and while he typically holds back so they aren’t very injured, he has come close to destroying the world. The heroes really need to treat him like a total enemy and stop pulling their punches. The sad thing is that Xellos could easily destroy the heroes in an instant if he so desires. He is really just toying with them and that can’t help the egos of the heroes all that much. As a villain, it can be fun to see Xellos act so smug and insult all of the other villains, but I wish that the show would totally keep him on the villain side. It would make him much more bearable. Still, it we’re just talking about this series, he is not that bad. I’ll never consider him as a villain though. How would the rankings change if we just counted this series? I suppose that he would jump over Gourry and Zelgadis. It’s possible that he could also pass Sylphiel, but it would be close.

All right, it is time to talk about the best villain in the show. He is also potentially the best character in the series as well. I’m talking about Valgaav! Valgaav is a mix of monster and dragon so his abilities are quite formidable. He is one of the only opponents to be on the winning side against Xellos and he takes on a good portion of the cast at once. That is before the final power up that he gets, which made him virtually unstoppable. He is a villain who had a tragic past and he loves jumping into peril. He’s simply my kind of villain and he acts like other all stars. (Grimmjow comes to mind) All of his fights are interesting and I’m glad that he didn’t decide to listen to Almayce like the average pawn. If Valgaav wanted to do something, then he would just go and do it! He had a nice blend of emotional moments as well as intense ones. Really, when it all boils down to it, Valgaav is probably the best character in the franchise. I thought about it for a bit and there is really no better character. It is a shame since he will likely never appear again, but at least he got a grand role in this series. Thanks to his final power up, you can definitely make the claim that he is the strongest character in the series. The Lord of Nightmares may contest that though. Valgaav got to prove that he was stronger than the other three villains, which is a good enough start for me! Maybe we’ll get a spinoff/prequel about him someday..maybe. (His origin isn’t exactly something that I’m very interested in though so I’d want it to take place right before Try) Valgaav also gave us the very first, big fight of Try so his debut was a very memorable one.

Almayce is the big villain for most of the series, but it is safe to say that he overestimated his power. He’s actually weaker than the other three big villains of the series although it seems like he could potentially still defeat Xellos. So, maybe he also outranks two of the other opponents, but it is hard to say. His design is great and he looked like a very menacing villain for a while. The problem is that he doesn’t know where he stands. On one hand, he is certainly a villain as he is constantly hurting people and endangering lives. On the other hand, he is trying to save the planet while getting rid of Dark Star…..I’ll just count him as a villain.

Because he is constantly switching sides, Almayce loses sight of what is happening and that’s when the villains make their move. Almayce went down rather easily even though he should have been expecting someone to destroy him. He was causing trouble for both the heroes and the other villains. It would have been cool to have seen him fight more, but he still made for a fun boss to oppose the heroes.
Erulogs joins the fray towards the end of the series along with Sirius. It was odd to see him join in as the series was already heading to a close, but the more villains the better right? I liked him more than Sirius, less than Valgaav, and slightly more than Almayce. His abilities were very impressive as the heroes could not hold a candle to his power. He felt like the average DBZ villain and that is always a good thing. It is too bad that he didn’t get more of a role.

It was still bigger than the role of Sirius though. Sirius is the more rational of the two villains and he wants to learn as much as he can. He also doesn’t mind sparing the Earth as long as it won’t hurt his chances of survival. He is a villain that the heroes can work with and his abilities are still impressive. He doesn’t seem to be as tough as Erulogs, but he is still tough enough to keep the heroes back. While his design was not too good, his personality made him a decent villain.

It is worth mentioning the Dragon King Elder because he is so terrible that it becomes laughable towards the end. Not literally as this guy did single handily bring two different species of dragons to their extinction. (Filia may be the only dragon in existence anymore. Certainly the only Gold one left and the ancient ones are gone as well) The Elder wants the gold dragons to rule over all, but his life comes first and foremost. He is defiant to the end as he dies while explaining that he regrets nothing and he would do it all over again. He betrays his heroes to the villains and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of common sense. It is regrettable that he became the leader of the Golden Dragons since he definitely did not have their best interests at heart.

Dark Star is the big villain for this series and he lives up to the hype. It is always fun to meet another Dark Lord from the tree of power. Shabranigdo is still the most impressive beast, but Dark Star is no slouch in the power department. Simply by flapping his wings, he can bring the heroes to the verge of death and he can shoot a variety of energy blasts. Dark Star’s flight speed is incredible and he’s a known planet destroyer. Everything about this villain is cool and hie design is actually like the symbiote from Marvel. At least the face resembles Venom. Dark Star is virtually unstoppable and his only weakness are the legendary weapons of light. Without them, you can essentially confirm the destruction of your planet. Spells don’t hurt him because Dark Star’s soul is in another plane of existence so physical attacks are the only way to challenge him. Dark Star made for a great end boss to the series and he’s probably the second best monster villain behind Shabranigdo.

Aside from the serious villains, we also got some low ranking ones to mention. Jillas was mostly played for laughs, but he actually got a serious subplot towards and the end and it hit you right in the feels. (Feels=Emotions. So, if something hits you in the feels, it’s like metaphysically hitting your sad or happy emotion and triggering that feeling inside of you. That’s how I’ve always thought of it anyway.) He has to leave his family at the end to help defend the planet and he also decides to finally move away from his thoughts of revenge. While most of the characters in the series have magical abilities, Jillas is stuck with his sheer intelligence. He is good at making bombs, but that certainly won’t carry him very far against the kinds of villains that are present here. He was fairly likable though at times and he was much better than his partner.

Gravos is an ogre type of demon and he never becomes likable. The writers don’t even try to make him sympathetic aside from an incredibly brief origin story. He means well I suppose as he is just following orders, but he isn’t nearly as interesting as Jillas. At least Jillas has his motivations and desires to keep him going, but Gravos is more of a two dimensional villain. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t exactly help me like his character either.

While the series is typically very light toned, there are a few moments of violence that clash with the rest of the series. The battle between Xellos and Valgaav was pretty brutal and likewise for the origin stories of Jillas and Gravos. This happened in the previous two Slayers series as well as everything would be very chipper until a sudden violent scene makes you take a double look. It’s nothing over the top though and it is typically quick so you don’t need to dwell on it, but the violence is certainly around. The dragons get extinct…twice, and they certainly don’t go down without a fight. Xellos vs Valgaav is still the one that will stick out the most simply because the show still plays Xellos off as a hero of sorts and this is certainly not heroic behavior. He is a monster and he is technically a villain, but the heroes barely treat him as such.

It is also about time for me to quickly address the plot hax that is present here. Now, this is a problem is virtually all forms of media and in almost all titles. Still, the plot hax is especially prevalent here as Lina and her friends are a group of humans who are trying to stop extremely powerful forces. No matter how many great spells they get like the Ragna Blade, there is no way that Lina and friends should last a minute against such powerful foes. Almost all of the high level monsters and gods are shown to move at hyper speeds. Lina is still a human and can’t run much faster than a normal one. At most, she is Captain America level in speed and power. She should still get speedblitzed at the beginning of every match.

The Slayers verse seems to place a lot of emphasis on physical power and none on speed, which is a little misguided. Raw power does not matter if you cannot hit the opponent and that’s my main problem with the title. Lina should be way too slow for any of her attacks to be useful here and she still manages to get in some good hits at times. It’s just a little odd and certainly unbelievable, but it is simply the route that the show has gone. Perhaps the writers feel that Lina and her pals would be less relatable if they had special powers aside from their spells. It’s their choice I suppose.

The animation is a step down from Next, but it still looks good. I’m assuming that the budget was likely reduced, but the series still has enough juice in it for some epic action scenes. The rest of the series is just a little more pale and dated than the vibrantly colorful Next. The fights are the important part though and the long action scenes are as good as you could have hoped for here. The heroes give it their all now that they can finally fight a little more: Gourry with his improved Sword of Light mastery, Lina with her Ragna Blade, Zelgadis with his sword, etc.

There’s not much to say about the soundtrack since it is the same as in the previous two shows. As for the theme song, it is all right, but it could be better. It is just not as exciting and moving as it could have been, but it is not a bad theme song either. Perhaps the end themes of the Slayers movies have simply spoiled me as they would certainly work better as a theme song than what we got here. The theme song is also a little misleading. As the overall soundtrack has not changed, Slayers Try sounds just as good as the first two installments.
Overall, Slayers Try is a good series. I was hesitant to give it the full 7 as it did have its share of issues with the pacing and just not being quite as fun as the first two series, but it comes very close to reaching that mark. The soundtrack has not changed and the animation has only dipped a little. The main team of Lina and Gourry is still one of the driving forces of the show. The ending certainly feels like it could have been the end of the franchise, but it still would have been a sad one as I disagreed with Gourry’s decision. We got to meet some more powerful beasts from the Slayers verse and I look forward to eventually seeing an ultimate confrontation between the humans, dragons, monsters, and gods. My money is certainly on the monsters, but it would be a good fight. The balance between humor and action can be awkward, especially when mixed. Xellos being defeated by a song towards the end was a little random, but I’ll assume that he is just trolling as per usual. Jumping from serious moments to comedy ones is a delicate art that is hard to master. Slayers Next probably did the best job, but Slayers Try gave it a fair effort. I recommend checking this series out if you want a good fantasy title and while you don’t need to watch the first two series first, I would still recommend doing so. At least, Slayers Next, since one of the main villains wants to destroy the heroes because of what happened there.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Slayers Great Review

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Slayers has returned with its next film! The prequel series has certainly had its ups and downs in the past so I was hoping that this one would be able to survive with the classic Slayers atmosphere. It’s a fun adventure that manages to avoid most of the pitfalls that you may have been worried about. It’s a fun adventure that may be a little light on action, but ends up being a nice addition to the franchise.

Lina and Naga are walking through town as usual when a rampaging Golem nearly trampels over a young lady. They help her so that they can possibly win a free meal, but they don’t realize that they will now be involved in an even deeper threat than they could have realized! Two Kings are fighting for control of the land. Well…I guess, they’re more like dukes as the actual king is the one who tells them how to settle this like gentlemen. They must have a golem fight and the winner claims the land. The father of the girl that Lina saved asks her to help with his golem and Naga gets an offer from the man’s son who works for the other king. It looks like money has broken the bonds of friendship between Lina and Naga. Things get personal once Lina and Naga go inside golems shaped in their forms. Everything rides on this duel!

The film is certainly very short as it barely reaches an hour. That’s not a whole lot of time so the film has to try and keep the pace up. It does help to limit the amount of screen time for some of the filler characters as they could have certainly been a little dull. I highly doubt that you will find any of them likable by the end. The main heroine is constantly complaining about how her life sucks. If you think about it seriously, her current situation is pretty sad, but she doesn’t need to keep on reminding herself of that. Her brother is very self centered and he doesn’t play fair, which makes sure that he isn’t likable. Finally, the Dad can be a little inconsiderate and over confident at times. Considering that he’s supposed to be the greatest Golem maker in the city…he doesn’t really live up to the title.

Luckily, you don’t need filler characters to be likable when you have a good main character right? Lina is as good as always. She still does the right things for the wrong reasons so that she can end up being rich and famous. These things never work out for her in the end, but at least Lina gives it a fair try. She’s also very competitive in nature so once the Golem match starts, she gets ready to win it! She is still one of the best sorceresses out there. From all of the humans in the Slayers verse she’s the most powerful hands down. The film tries to show that Naga is almost as powerful as Lina (Not equal as Lina was winning the battle when we disregard the comedy shenanigans) but I don’t buy that for a second. Lina is more experienced and tactically sound.

Naga’s attacks are good as well, but she just strikes me as a little inexperienced. Her attire of choice still leaves much to be desired, but at least the film has the decency to not focus on it all that much. The golem actually gets more fanservice than her, which is good since rock can never actually be convincing fanservice. That certainly kept the film at a higher level than it would have been otherwise. Naga’s laugh is still iconic at this point and I’m unlikely to forget it anytime soon.

The fight scene between the two Golems was done very well. It’s not taken seriously as it is a comedy battle, but it is a well written comedy battle. It goes on for a long time, but it never actually drags on. You feel bad for the Lina statue because it looks much better than Naga’s, but it’s also a lot weaker. Lina’s statue is short and chibi because that’s how the builder wanted to make it, but it means that Lina has a hard time dealing any damage. Ignoring plot hax, Naga’s statue had the clear advantage. It ultimately bites off more than it can chew when Lina goes outside to tip the scales, but since that was basically against the rules, we can essentially say that Naga actually won this battle.

Lina and Naga had a short fight in their human forms before that. The actual animation was really good for the battle, but I didn’t like how it played out. I never like it when an anime has two characters use two versions of the same attack, which results in such a stalemate. Seriously, it’s like saying that they were simply not enthusiastic enough to think of a real battle. So, the battle wasn’t handled very well, but at least Lina was shown to be the big victor there so I suppose that I can be satisfied with that.

The animation is very good here. The movie certainly has a theatrical feel to it. It feels very similar to the Pokemon movies in that respect. The soundtracks are almost identical at some points and likewise with the animation. It’s just like the first Pokemon film and you can even contrast certain scenes in the Mewtwo vs Mew fight to the Lina vs Naga battle. That’s pretty neat and Pokemon has experience being in the theater so Slayers is taking a good approach. It’s still hard to describe what the “theatrical” effect is, but the colors are simply deeper, the energy attacks darker, and the music more operatic or grand. Beyond that, it’s really in the eye of the beholder. It’s like how Battle of Gods felt anything but theatrical while the Broly film embodied everything that I could have wanted in that style. It’s all in how you handle it I suppose.

Naturally, the only mild negative is that the film still loves to use chest insults. Naga is constantly insulting Lina’s and it can certainly get old. It’s much preferable to actual fanservice, but it’s still not the greatest running gag. The fanservice is almost entirely gone here. There is a statue that’s meant as fanservice, but it’s a statue so I don’t really count it all that much. Naga’s attire certainly counts, but as I mentioned before, there is no real attention drawn to it, which helps to mitigate almost all of the damage.

That probably helps to keep it from a 7. It’s certainly a fun film, but I feel like a 6 is more deserving in this case. It’s a fun experience, but at the same time, it’s simply lacking something. A little more action would probably have been all that it would have needed to reach the next level. Maybe even some kind of epic tune although we certainly did have some good ones. I always like the end themes on these prequels as the song is quite catchy and the finishing montage does give the appearance that you just finished watching some kind of really grand adventure.

Overall, SLayers Great is fun. It may not literally be great, but it’s a good experience that brings us some classic Slayers charm. I dare say that the humor is the most well done that I’ve seen since Slayers Next and it can be good to see the old cast as a change of pace. I still think that Lina’s accent is quite brilliant and it helps you to contrast the old Lina from the current one. If you’re a Slayers fan then it goes without saying that you should watch this one. If you’re looking for a fun fantasy film to watch, then this is a good bet for you as well. You don’t need any prior knowledge of the Slayers universe to enjoy this film so just hop on and get ready for some fun.

Overall 6/10

9 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Yugioh GX Review

It’s time to finally review the greatest TV show of all time. Even better than Cardfight, Digimon, Pokemon, Justice League, Avengers, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Trigon, Full Metal Alchemist, I love Lucy, The Odd Couple, Twilight Zone, The Honeymooners, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barney, The Powerpuff Girls, Breaking Bad, The Big Bang Theory, The NFL, The Walking Dead, Dr Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Godzilla, even the original Yugioh. This show beats them all and that’s a pretty incredible feat if you ask me. Yugioh GX just had all of the necessary traits of a great show and the stakes kept increasing as the seasons passed. It all starts with the terrific characters and continues to the legendary music. Prepare yourself for the ultimate show, for Yugioh GX!

There are 4 seasons and typically they each have one arc, but the third season is so good that it has two. The series revolves around a kid named Jaden Yuki. It takes place sometime after Yugi’s big win over the forces of evil in Millenium World and he is now travelling the world. (Probably to win more tournaments) Kaiba left his mark on the world by creating a Duel Academy, which Jaden is a part of. He only barely gets in since he was late, but Jaden quickly beat the Professor in a duel so they had to let him join. There are three dorms and they are based on the Egyptian God Cards. The Slifers are the lowest rank and then you move up to Ra. Finally, the elites go to Obelisk and then you get ready to leave. Jaden tests the waters by crushing just about everyone at the school. That’s when the plot really starts as the Dark Riders attack the school. They have quite a few members, but Jaden is backed up by his (un)dependable friends so that evens the playing field. “All he does is win” is a trait that can be applied to Jaden as he takes on the group.

We get some one shot episodes in the 2nd season before the plot truly begins. They do help bolster the hero ranks though since we get some new characters like Hassleberry. A new rival also appears in the form of Aster. He uses a mysterious group of cards as his deck when he fights seriously and Jaden counters by switching up his hero deck into a Neo Spacians one. He now uses a lot of aliens in combat and that will come in handy since a cult has arrived. They wish for everyone to see the light and they do this by defeating duelists. When you lose, you become brain washed and must do The Light’s bidding. Sartorius goes after Jaden’s friends and that’s where he made his big mistake. Jaden’s going to have to show him what it means to duel a pro.

Season three decides to start off with…more new characters! A tournament is held so that the old veterans can fight the new guys so Jaden quickly takes them to school. Unfortunately, it appears that these newcomers may not have arrived for fun and games. The new teacher seems like he’s up to something, but he definitely picked the wrong school to mess with. Jaden isn’t playing games now and he’s going to take the win as always! He also heads to the world of the Duel Monsters where he gets to duel a mysterious being named Yubel.

This is where things start to change. One of his friends didn’t make it back out of the world so Jaden decides to go back in. His friends quickly jump at the chance to help, but little do they know that they’ll just get in his way. It’s too late to turn back now though so they head into a dark world filled with the sorrows of many characters. Zane and Aster have been fending for themselves for a while and Jaden realizes that even his skills will have a tough time getting through this. Can he take on the Supreme King and stop Yubel or was it all for naught? The ultimate tale of heroism and determination is finally here.

Jaden’s adventures were not done yet though as the final season began. Mysterious beings of darkness appeared to destroy Jaden’s friends one by one. The friends resisted since they’ve seen this tune before, but it is all for naught. Ultimately, Jaden has to step up and use his newfound abilities to take these guys down. He’ll have to duel the ultimate being, a foe even stronger than Zorc if he wants to win. Knowing the stakes at hand, “All he does is win” will need to be true in order for Jaden to rise to the top.

I realize that the plot sounded awesome so you can probably tell why this is the greatest TV show of all time. Don’t worry though, that’s just the beginning. Another one of the reasons why this show is awesome is the great soundtrack. Just about every theme is a nice guitar/rock theme that works very well with the duels. They’re all very heart pumping so you really get excited about what’s going to happen next. It’s no stretch to say that it does have the greatest soundtrack of all time. I would expect nothing less from the show and it’s all thanks to the dub. I’ll admit that I’m not crazy about the original music. There’s one really good track there and a couple that hold their own, but nothing beats the American version. It probably would have still been the greatest show of all time anyway, but the music really makes a difference.

Next up, Yugioh GX also had some stellar animation. Season 4 is clearly a cut above the rest and I definitely liked Jaden’s new hair style. You could tell that he was a changed man and his abilities were also a nice improvement. That being said, Season 3 also looked really good and the colors are vibrant. Season 1 had its charm since it was the original and the characters looked a whole lot younger. Season 2 was pretty close to season 1 in animation and definitely held its own. Watching the show’s animation transition as it went from 1 to 4 is pretty cool. The characters grew older and their personalities also began to change, which was fun to see. Jaden certainly had a lot of development, but he never stopped being a downright awesome character.

GX had another big thing in its favor when it came down to the writing. Yugioh GX had a pretty light atmosphere going for it during the average episode and then it would quickly transition into a darker theme. The average show would just create a fake light tone by adding in as many jokes as they could before things got serious. Look at the dialogue in Pac Man or Hulk and come back to me. That kind of thing wouldn’t fly in Yugioh GX and it always stays classy. The light tone is natural since the characters just want to have fun dueling. It is their biggest hobby and they’re serious enough about it to go to a school just for the card game. That’s dedication and it makes sense that they want to play. It’s easy to lose sight of this when the fate of multiple planets is hanging in the balance, but they always give it their A game.

I also give the show props for the fact that there isn’t really any fanservice in it. There’s a very quick bath scene in arc 1, but 4Kids quickly helped us stop that and it never really came back. I was pretty proud of GX to say the least since it would be easy to try and add some in today’s culture. Many shows have it, but GX stayed firm and decided that they were going to operate on a high level. That takes guts and character, both of which GX ends up having in spades.

The show’s new addition to the dueling system is also my favorite. It’s much better than the whole concept of Synchro Summoning and I prefer it over the Numbers system of Zexal. Merging monsters is the big deal here and while that was mildly featured in the classic series, it has been refined since then. Merging monsters doesn’t mean putting a swordsman on a dragon and calling it a day. Now, you’ve got a lot of cool hybrid monsters as a result of fusion. Jaden is known as the fusion master and he uses a whole lot of them in his deck. I like the fusion idea and since it plays a central role in the series, that’s good for me. Flame Wingman is one of the best examples of a fusion done right and he’s a pretty awesome card with a cool special abilitity.
We can’t forget that Jaden Yuki is also one of the big reasons why the show is so good. He’s a great main character and an even better person. He always has fun when he’s dueling and he definitely doesn’t back up from any opponent. No matter how tough or intimidating they may look, that won’t deter someone like Jaden. He’ll keep on fighting all the way until the bitter end. The serious duels do start to take their toll on him though and he begins to have less fun once arc 3 hits.

To his defense, all of his friends were murdered in that cruel world so he didn’t really have a whole lot of reason for hope. This didn’t just happen once by the way since they are all taken down again in season 4. He starts to rely on the power of darkness a little more as he is able to use the Supreme King’s power from within and then he also gains Yubel’s abilities for season 4. He becomes more of a loner like Batman who protects people from the shadows and may seem like a pretty cruel person to others. It’s all just a facade though as he’s still out to help his friends.

In season 3, he decides to become “a devil” to save his friends during one of his final battles. It depends on the translation though and what’s really happening is that he decides to use the forbidden Supreme King ability to fight even though it’s pretty risky and soul damaging. Risking one’s life to save someone is one thing, but risking your soul is definitely another. Jaden’s the kind of friend who will do anything to save an ally, which is why he’s such a great friend. I find his allies to be rather ungrateful sometimes, but it can be hard to appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Alexis in particular looked pretty bad during her team up with Jaden in season 4. They were winning and Jaden wasn’t really being that rude so it was a bit of a stretch for their disagreement at the time.

Either way, Jaden’s a winner. He goes through a lot of changes as the series progresses, but he ultimately sees how fun dueling can be once more as the series comes to a close. Dueling is something that Jaden will always be doing and it’s one of the reasons why he is so much better than Yugi, Yusei, and Yuma. He has the most passion for the game and I dare say that he’s been through tougher situations than the other main characters. Jaden is definitely one of the best characters of all time and he elevated this show to the next level.

Another great thing about GX is that it doesn’t just have an interesting cast, but it also makes sure to bring characters back from the original show. Did you miss Yugi and Kaiba? Well, they both return for guest star roles/cameos. Kaiba doesn’t actually get to duel, but he looks as good as you would expect. Yugi gets a pretty big role at the very end of the show and it was a pretty legendary moment. They definitely looked as good as you would expect and we get a lot of references and appearances that let us know that GX is still relevant to the original days. This is something that 5Ds and Zexal dropped the ball with as they decided that they would have nothing to do with the old days. This is an edge that GX has and it won’t let it go so easily. All right, let’s look at some of the characters in GX.

Syrus is a kid who looks up to Jaden and eventually he learns how to be a brave and capable fighter. He’s not my kind of supporting character since he typically drags Jaden down with his lack of dueling ability. He means well, but he opposes Jaden sometimes to show how far he’s gone and it always makes him look bad. He got a lot of development, but it didn’t win me over. The Chazz is a character who actually regressed thanks to his character development. He has a crush on one of the other heroes, which becomes a pretty big thing as the series goes on and it really hurts his dueling ability. He was around Jaden’s level when the series began and he’s not even close by the time that the series ends. He is even reduced to wearing a chicken costume on national television in his final big episode. He was one of my favorite characters in the beginning, but he definitely lost his edge.

Alexis is one of the main characters who arrived in season 1 and stuck with Jaden and the others all the way through season 4. She may not have gotten as many duels as you would expect, but she’s a pretty likable character. She challenged Jaden in one of the earliest episodes and she tries to help against the villains when needed. Ultimatly, the supporting characters rarely manage to actually help, but they do tend to surprise you once in a while. Her deck lacked firepower, but that doesn’t stop her from giving the match her best effort.

She’s certainly an improvement over Bastion. He started out as the genius of the series and then he fell all the way down to the comic relief role. It may not have been all that bad except that he was used for comic relief in a crush role and it doesn’t get much worse than that. He got lost in the desert and he continues to prove himself as a very unreliable friend. I’m not sure why the writers decided to mess with him so much, but he definitely became one of Jaden’s worst friends.

Zane is Jaden’s ultimate rival and he is one of the only characters who actually manages to get a win against the hero. Zane’s role is similar to Kai’s as he starts out as an aloof rival before turning over to the dark side. By the end, he sees the light once more, but it may be too late as he gets into a life or death duel. He’s the second best character in the show and it’s always great to see him duel. He was easily able to overcome the shocks in the underground dueling tournament and his Cyber Dragon deck is pretty fun to watch. He easily satisfies the “rival” character that every good show needs
GX is so great that it has two big rivals for Jaden. Aster shows up in season 2 and he gets to duel Jaden at least 3 times in a very short period of time. He’s pretty full of himself when he first starts out, but Jaden quickly puts him back in his place with his new deck. Aster may not be quite as good as Zane, but he’s still a pretty great character and he’s one of the better GX fighters. You could say that Jaden has a third rival in the form of Jesse, but he came into the show during season 3 so you could say that he arrived a little too late. He’s a pretty likable character, but the show tries to make him a little too similar to Jaden. Highlighting their differences would have made it easier to like him as a character. I was never impressed with his Jewel deck either and I believe that it holds him back. It’s thanks to Jesse that we did have a fun 2 on 1 climax duel in season 3 though so that was pretty cool. He’s certainly better than most of the other supporting characters.

Professor Crowler is a character who is always in the background, but he rarely ever does anything important to progress the plot. He duels a few times, but he always loses and he’s not a great character. I never found him to be particularly funny and while the show tries to convey to us that he is a good guy deep down, we are never given a reason to care. Crowler is around, but his role is basically filler. Professor Banner’s role is definitely not much better, but his saving grace is that he actually gets a super form at one point. It’s pretty great and truly fitting for a Yugioh boss. The moment was notable and it gave Banner a lot of personality, but he was ultimately doomed to a similar fate as Crowler. He just wasn’t interesting and letting him fade into obscurity was fine by me.

Hassleberry was a pretty decent friend. His dinosaur gimmick could be a bit much at times, but he was still an improvement over the other characters. He tries hard to secure victory for his team and he has a lot of confidence. What he lacks in character development, Hassleberry makes up for with his passion for the game. He never becomes one of the top players, but he gets a good amount of duels. Atticus is actually a pretty minor character even though he’s related to Alexis. He becomes Nightshroud once in season 1 and he does so again in season 4, but he never became one of the big villains. He’s mostly relegated to background status and the manga fleshed him out more than the anime. His role is probably smaller than Crowler’s and that’s saying something. He’s not my kind of character.

Axel is one of those characters that I couldn’t get myself to like. It was probably a mix of hype and overconfidence on Axel’s part that made me grow weary of the character very quickly. He just wasn’t interesting and I really didn’t like his duel with the Supreme King. Axel just rubbed me the wrong way and I wasn’t crazy about the fact that he sort of became a main character. He even got an origin story at one point and I knew that the series had gone too far. Jim is another one of the transfer students from season 3, but he got less character development than the others. His eye came in handy at one point, but that’s really the only big contribution that he made to the series. He’s a nice guy, but he just seemed a little outmatched.

Gecko let power consume him and he became one of the antagonists in season 3. It was almost sad watching him go up against Yubel since you knew that he was doomed. It was similar to the Shademan vs Laserman scene from Axess, but even more lopsided. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of Gecko so I was waiting for him to lose the entire time. He had no real reason to turn evil and the power corrupted him pretty quickly. He got to humiliate Chazz before he left, but that isn’t anything new at this point. Gecko’s Exodia themed deck was definitely pretty neat though. Chumley is a character who was written out of the show after season 1 or 2. He liked to eat a lot and he had the famous “Now I know what a grilled cheese feels like” line, but that wasn’t enough to make him a good character. He had one of the worst decks in the entire show and you never got the feeling that he actually improved a lot. It’s a good thing that he decided to pursue another career since he wasn’t making a whole lot of headway here. Ah well, we can’t have all of the supporting characters be too cool right?

Blair is a supporting character who didn’t get a whole lot of development. She just popped up one day and stuck around for the end of the series. She’s a decent duelist, but she doesn’t get a whole lot of chances to show off her skills. She seems like a nice kid and she realizes that Jaden is one of the best in the biz. While Blair was likable, it would have been nice for her to have had more of a role. She does help to introduce Marcel, who ends up becoming the vessel for Yubel. That is really it for Marcel’s character though since he’s basically being used the whole time.

Trueman seems to be a tribute to Agent Smith from the Matrix. There are many Trueman who haunt the multiverse and their dueling abilities are not to be underestimated. Aside from Jaden, they seem to be a match for just about any member of the heroes. Their dark cards are simply that tough and their supernatural abilities give them an edge over the average foe. Their sheer numbers is enough to discourage even the bravest of opponents and they made for pretty fun villains.

Yusuke is a mysterious antagonist who appears in season 4 and there is more to him than meets the eye. He was never a great character and he probably got one plot twist too many, but he’s another classic case of someone who went to the darkness for power and was unable to return with his personality intact. He’s pretty confusing and he is not as intimidating as the other villains, but he’s still a pretty cool figure to face in battle. All of season 4’s villains had a dark theme about them and Yusuke was no different. The darkness certainly gives him some cool points.

Kagemaru is the final boss of the first arc. He is overshadowed by the other three, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a pretty great villain. He fits all of the classic Yugioh tropes as he’s really built. It’s a running gag at this point that each Yugioh series has to have a villain who’s really muscular so it can look even funnier to see the guy playing the card game. Since the other three villains weren’t buff, you could say that Kagemaru saved the series from missing out on the gag. He had the three sacred beasts, which made for a pretty powerful deck. He didn’t have a lot of character on his side, but he was a cool villain anyway.
Camula is one of the Shadow Riders and she’s pretty notable since she gets to duel 3 times. That’s pretty unheard of for a mere minion and it was pretty emberassing for the heroes. I loved the arc because it destroyed the concept of teamwork in GX. Jaden basically had to beat the entire team on his own since his partners just couldn’t get the job done. Camula has some special abilities since she seems to be a vampire and she’s certainly one of the more dangerous members of the Shadow Riders. I can’t say that she’s a great character, but at least she can duel. She has more character than most of the other Shadow Riders.

Nightshroud is the final boss of the series and you can really tell by his epic design. He is basically darkness incarnate and his power is absolute. It’s totally hinted that he could just end the planet and maybe the galaxy if he wanted too, but he chose to duel Jaden first and that was his big mistake. It’s a bit of an honor thing since not dueling would prove that he doubted his abilities. He definitely had a lot of over powered cards at his disposal and he was worthy of being a final boss in the Yugioh franchise. He definitely did a good job of weakening the heroes and Nightshroud is a villain who shall not be forgotten as time goes on. From the 4 big villains, he’s definitely the second best.

Sartorius is the big boss of season 2 and he was definitely a lot of fun. He’s pretty similar to Marik since he practically transforms when he enters rage mode. He uses a lot of light based cards and I’ll admit that they don’t look very fearsome. They are tough to be sure, but you never get that flight or fight instinct that the other villains may trigger. Sartorius is definitely a villain to be taken seriously and I liked him, but his appearances should have ended with season 2. He gets a brief role in season 4 and it is not very flattering. Ah well, making that season transition can be tough for some characters.

Yubel’s the ultimate fighter of season 3 and she’s definitely my favorite end boss. Her origin story is definitely pretty sad since she’s marooned in a far away place with no other sentient beings. It’s definitely a pretty tough fate so you can see why she heads over to the dark side for her revenge. In her true form, Yubel is virtually unstoppable. Simply attacking her will cause you to lose since she reflects damage and she has so many special abilities that it isn’t even funny. She’s certainly one of the strongest Yugioh characters of all time and she could definitely give some of the other OP final bosses of the franchise a good run for their money. (Interestingly, the big boss of Zexal’s deck matches up against hers in a favorable way for him, but that’s another story) Yubel had great fights with Gecko, Jaden, and Zane. Each battle was great and Yubel always put up a terrific fight. Whether she was using the Sacred Beasts deck or her true one, you can bet that the heroes would not be able to rest easy.

Tania is another one of the Shadow Riders who got to duel more than once. She humiliated Bastion when they fought so it makes sense that she would get to duel Jaden afterwards. I don’t care for her deck since it’s mostly made up of Tigers and other animals that are threatening in the real, but not in a fictional world with monsters. She may have actually gotten to appear in season 3, but she’s definitely not my kind of villain. She has a lot of determination and a fiery will, but it’s not enough to make her cool.

Professor Viper is actually a pretty big villain in season 3, but it’s easy to forget him since he’s completely outshined by Yubel. One of the only reasons why I can picture him so clearly is because he got to make a cameo in the Bonds Beyond Time film. Every moment of that film is unforgettable so that’s mainly why I remember him. He was a pretty tough antagonist. Viper is definitely not likable, but he works for his role and the duel against Jaden was definitely very intense and one of the better moments of season 3.

Brron is one of the sub villains of season 3 and really the only one who’s noteworthy. (Not counting Yubel, Viper, and Gecko) He is the villain who finally gets to crack Jaden. He took care of the supporting characters, which got Jaden riled up and he’s a decent duelist. The main thing that Brron overlooked was the fact that he simply wasn’t at the same level as Jaden. It’s a common mistake since villains tend to underestimate our invincible protagonist.

As you can see, GX has a pretty colorful cast. Because of this, even the filler episodes are usually entertaining. There are some that are not great like the cooking contest, but they could definitely be worse. When the canon episodes do start though, they tend to run for quite a while without any interruptions and that’s always a good thing. The series has action, drama, and finesse. Three things that can be used to make a show great and GX naturally pulls them off without a fault. Season 3 was my favorite one with 2 being next and then 1 coming in third. Season 4 is still great of course, but it’s much shorter so it makes sense that it wouldn’t rank quite as high as the others.
Overall, Yugioh GX is the ultimate show. It really has no negatives and the 180 episodes are a blast to watch. The soundtrack is dynamite and the animation is very good. Jaden is easily one of the greatest characters of all time and you’ll be hooked from start to finish. The plots get going pretty quickly here so it’s a thrill seeing the new villains each time. The seasons are typically 50+ episodes so that gives the show a lot of time to pace itself and allow the plots to progress naturally. If you haven’t seen this show yet then you’ll want to correct that immediately. I don’t know what your favorite show is right now, but watch this one and I have a feeling that it’ll get bumped down to second. It’s tough to be a perfect show, but GX comes closer than any other show could ever hope to reach.

Overall 10/10

Update 03/31/2018 It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that Yugioh GX has been surpassed. RWBY is now the greatest show of all time, but Yugioh GX will always hold a special place in my heart.

Overall 9/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Chaotic Shadow Warriors Review

Chaotic is a franchise that I never actually got into. It looked pretty interesting, but I just didn’t have time for it. The concept had some similarities to Pokemon and Yugioh and the formula is tried and true. Any toyetic show with monsters is usually a lot of fun so I had to get this game. I’ve owned this game for a long time, but I never really played it until now. I dug up the old game and started playing. It’s a decently fun experience, but there are enough negatives to turn this into a one time play through.

Tom is the main character of the story and he’s isn’t happy when he finds out that something fishy is going on in the Chaotic world. Maxxor is keeping him in the dark, but Tom won’t have that. These Shadow creatures have begun to impersonate the heroes and it would appear that they will stop at nothing short of world domination. Tom’s going to have to get out his old gear and hope that things don’t get Chaotic. (Which is his “epic” catchphrase) The main villain is unknown and it could be anyone, but that won’t stop our Hero as he gets to the bottom of this adventure. He’s going to have to find all 7 of the Mugic pieces in order to save both worlds.

First off, the graphics are pretty bad. Bad is a strong word since it may technically look better than some games that were created decades ago, but I expect more out of the PS3. Everything feels dated and the characters move around a lot. Tom appears as if he’s having a panic attack half of the time and all of the characters appear impatient. They just can’t stop moving! Tom has a yelling match with one of the monsters and the animation makes it pretty humorous. I suppose that it isn’t too bad since it can make you laugh, but I definitely would have liked for it to look as good as Bakugan.

The gameplay is the main chunk of any game so that’s something that you will want to know about. At it’s core; Chaotic plays out like a Pokemon. Turn based combat and the battles can go up to 5 on 5 at a time. There is some strategy involved as you will want to take out some opponents before others for maximum epicness. Health seems to be the most important factor in this game and I just made a team out of the strongest monsters that I had. You’ll typically be okay without using any health items as they will just prolong the battle.

After that, there are more complicated aspects. Chaotic has the element system like in Pokemon so certain attacks will do more or less damage depending on what’s happening. Unfortunately, it’s not as obvious as Pokemon, but Chaotic fans who watched the show will likely understand who they should aim for right away. If not, just look at the number next to the attack and based on whether it’s lower or higher than usual; you’ll know if it’s good to use or not. Either way, you’ll typically just want to use the strongest attack possible. One feature that helps to make the battle easier are commands that are placed on the screen when your creature attacks. Correctly inputting them will add a bit of damage and help to recover AP points. Likewise, you can hold the R2 button and hit X a lot to block an attack and mitigate the damage that you take from it.

From your 5 monsters on the field, only the three in the front can use their attacks. The two in the back are forced to rely on long range spells and Taunts to keep their turns going. You’ll want to stock up on a lot of mugics through the levels or else you’ll have to listen to the taunts all of the time.

The downside to the gameplay is definitely how long each battle can be. There are a set amount of battles in the game and there are no extra ones to stay and level up. (There is a mild level system where you improve their rank by combining monsters that you’ve scanned, but it’s not the best option) This means that the enemies will typically be weaker than you and you don’t have to worry that much about losing, but they will delay the inevitable. Constant health items will ensure that each battle can take 10+ minutes. That’s a lot of time for a simple battle and eventually you will really get tired of them. I dreaded the battles whenever they came up and that’s never a good sign.

Aside from fighting, there is also a platforming part to the gameplay. You get to play as Tom and explore the world. Look for ruins hidden in the rocks and find all of the mugics while blasting away alien insects. This part was pretty fun and you can’t die so feel free to take a lot of risks. I do wish that Tom could run a little faster and a boss battle in this mode would have been fun, but it was still a fun section. I’m always up for some platforming!

The soundtrack can definitely get annoying pretty quickly. I didn’t care for any of the tunes, but the monster lines during the battle can be tough to watch. They have a very limited vocabulary and they will say the same things over and over again. I do appreciate the fact that nearly all of their lines are puns, but they get old after you’ve heard the same one 20 times over. The monsters will talk when they attack so you can’t go through a battle without hearing the lines about 4-5 times over. Hopefully you are a Huge fan of these lines.

You can’t go through the levels freely once the game is complete so I recommend obtaining all of the collectibles in each level before moving on. This can be toughest before the final boss, but you should be fine as long as you keep an eye on the map. It’s highly rewarding for the trophies and you get the maximum enjoyment for your purchase.

The trophies for the game are decently fair except I don’t care for the online ones. Don’t count on getting the Platinum trophy for this title because getting 50 Ranked wins in such a dead online community will be next to impossible without boosting. I don’t believe in trophy boosting so that was the end of the line for me. I managed to get all of the online trophies except for one that I managed to miss. The trophies aren’t very hard and you’ll do fine as long as you make sure to grab those collectibles!

Overall, Chaotic is a decently fun game. The graphics and soundtrack may be sub par, but the gameplay is decent. If the battles weren’t so long and repetitive; I would likely have given the game a 7. As it stands, the game just doesn’t have enough positives and I do wish that there was a better level up system or a level select. One playthrough is likely all that this game will get for most players, but it’s only 9 dollars so it’s a decent purchase for that price. It took me around two days to complete and that was mainly due to the insanely long battles. That’s a decent length for a game though so the overall length isn’t a negative. If you want a more exciting monster game for PS3, check out Bakugan! (Either game works)

Overall 6/10