Paris Blues Review


Paris Blues is one of those films that is very dramatic the whole time with each character really making the wrong moves here. Be careful who you choose to go out with because it could come back to bite you. That’s the lesson that the characters here desperately needed to learn. It would have made them all quite a bit happier in the end. I wouldn’t say the movie succeeds because I didn’t really care for most of the cast but you do get some fairly decent tunes to listen to which is always important.

The movie starts with Connie and Lillian arriving in France for their big trip. They only plan to stay here for a few weeks but they know that it’s going to be a magical place. A guy named Ram shows up to flirt with Connie immediately who is less than impressed. Unfortunately her friend Lillian insists that they go check out the guy’s little band setup in the cafe. So they go and Lillian is desperate for a relationship and goes after Ram the whole time. Meanwhile Ram’s partner Eddie ends up falling for Connie and so they start to get close. I guess that wraps up the film right? We’ve got the two pairings and everything’s going just swell.

Well, that’s not exactly how it plays out. For starters, Ram seems seems to like Connie more initially and doesn’t really give Lillian a second chance but ultimately goes with her because he wants to be with someone. The whole time Ram keeps letting her know that this won’t be serious though and it’s just a fling but she wants to change his mind on that. Meanwhile Eddie and Connie take it slow here. The dilemma in this pairing is that Eddie wants to stay in France. The people treat him well and he has a successful gig going as a musician. Unfortunately Connie wants to go back to America so they can help to change the world socially. At the time there was still a lot of racial division and Eddie just doesn’t want to have to go back to that. Defending himself left and right and having to prove himself each time while apparently that’s not an issue here in Paris.

So there are our two conflicts here and they stretch for the entirety of the movie. In both cases I’ve definitely got my stance here. With Eddie, I think he should stay in Paris. If Connie is ready to make this serious then she should definitely be sticking with him. He’s got his whole life here and would need to make serious changes to adapt to America. Connie certainly wants to change the world but I’d say it would have to come at the expense of losing Eddie. The advantages don’t outweigh the risks here. It’s relatively easier for her to talk tough about this when he’s the one who is going to have to get out there and try to get a whole new setup.

The romance definitely felt doomed here. Then you have Ram and Lillian. Well, I think Lillian shouldn’t even be trying for this guy so hard. Ram’s been a free spirit who messes around a lot from the start and even told her that he didn’t want to get serious. Then on Ram’s side, Lillian keeps throwing herself at him to the point where it seems a little suspicious. Perhaps she isn’t doing well financially and needs someone to support her? It would be hard not to start thinking that a bit since Ram even made it clear that he was not interested in her several times. So when she ignores that and keeps after him, it feels more suspicious than endearing.

Ultimately Ram doesn’t seem like the type who will ultimately commit to anyone. Music is his passion and he will stay true to that but that’s where the buck stops. Beyond that you have to decide if this could ever work and I don’t think that it could. He’s only just barely gotten over being with someone else so that shows how quickly he changes and moves on to the next thing.

I didn’t care for the guy as one of the main characters. He’s never portrayed as being all that likable. At best you just feel sympathetic when he is being shot down as the guy tries to get his music published. Then you have Lillian and I didn’t like her mainly because of how desperate she was the whole time. Like Ram she seems like someone who plays the field and again I don’t see how this would end up working very well.

Eddie and Connie are more likable than the first pair. Part of the problem is really just that Connie wants him to come to her side. I dare say that he has more to lose than she does so she should have stayed. Hopefully she does well in her quest to make the world a better place though. Then Eddie’s a fun character and someone who stays classy. He isn’t always thrilled at Connie’s conversations but still answers her questions and keeps things as civilized as possible. He helps to keep Ram grounded when that guy’s getting to be a bit much and he also takes things slower. You don’t see him just jumping into bed the way that Ram does.

Paris definitely looks really nice throughout the film and I’d say it did a good job with the location sets. The place is quite big and the heroes take in the sights. We also get to see how their music gig really works and it reminds you that they are not always in the best of company though. Everyone here seems to be a bit down on their luck or a little desperate. The lady Ram has a relationship with seems a bit too open to the fact that he is messing around all over the place so I wouldn’t have been able to root for them anyway. Then you have the one guy who is addicted to drugs and can’t break out of it.

The characters certainly had their share of issues. Mainly we just see what Ram and Eddie have to deal with but that’s because the others are on vacation so we don’t really see into their lives. That’s another thing to consider, the main guys really don’t know a whole lot about the girls as a result. They can only guess but the whole thing is too fast for this to be a true relationship. The girls have only been here for less than 2 weeks as it is. You probably just shouldn’t be starting a relationship while you’re on vacation. The odds of it working out successfully seems really slim to me.

Overall, Paris Blues is a film about two doomed romances where the characters are just never on the same page. While Eddie’s a good guy, Ram is hard to root for right from the start. He also plays a really big role in why the ending is the way that it is. Ram was just never going to work things out and in the process he may have stopped the rest too. He did make it clear from the start that music was his only priority but then he should have stuck with that all the way through instead of waffling. The movie’s fairly serious and could have used a little humor to it in the end. I think that would have only served to have helped the dynamic a bit. All in al, you can do better with romance films and you can do better with dramas. This one won’t end up being very satisfying and I think it could have used some more music to take the film to the next level. Focus on the goal and give us some competitions or challenges that Ram has to overcome. Maybe that could have helped him be a decent character.

Overall 4/10

I Still Believe


I Still Believe is one of those films where you probably already know about the true story. Due to that you know you’re going to be in for quite the emotional experience. I’m definitely more a fan of happy films from the jump so that puts this one at a disadvantage. Still, it seems to be faithful enough to the actual events which is good, at least as far as I know the real ones. There’s a lot of good music and solid writing here so you should be good, but again if you’re not up for a sad movie then you’ll want to skip this one.

The movie starts with Jeremy heading out to College to begin a new chapter in his life. He’s very interested in music and is quickly able to get backstage at a concert. He meets the lead singer Jean-Luc who quickly becomes Jeremy’s mentor. Jeremy also meets a girl named Melissa and immediately likes her. The issue is that Jean-Luc does as well. Jeremy is determined to win this round though and he’s in luck as Melissa likes him back but doesn’t want Jean-Luc to know about this since it would crush him. They have to try and keep the relationship secret but is this possible at such a small town? Additionally, Melissa may not be as healthy as she appears. Will she really be okay with all of this stress going on?

The romance comes in pretty fast and it’s rare to see a love triangle in a film based on true events. It adds an extra layer of tragedy from the start since you assume Jean-Luc is doomed from the start. I have to say that I didn’t like Jeremy and Melissa really beginning this relationship right in the sound testing room when they knew Jean-Luc was right there. There have to be hundreds of better places to have started that. I blame Jeremy for calling her over but Melissa takes some blame as well for not shutting him down there.

It is a little hard to root for the romance all things considered since someone has to lose out here. Now it’s not like Melissa was actually together with Jean-Luc so I don’t have an issue with Jeremy going after her. It’s all fair game at that point when both are available. The keeping is a secret part was a bad idea on Melissa’s part from the jump though. She never liked him either so it isn’t a rebound but they definitely should have just told him everything right away instead of just dragging this out.

The movie gets a lot darker in the second half as we find out more about Melissa’s condition and what’s going on. There aren’t a lot of points where things are ever happy in this film. Every brief happy moment is immediately met with a setback or something else happening which negatively effects the characters. I would usually pile on the movie by this point for doing this but it all happened os I can’t say the film should have changed events. That said, I would have absolutely cut out the ending. It involves a rebound and because of how quickly the ending has to move, it just feels like its in bad taste. Now that’s a romance that’s really impossible for me to root for at least based on how it appears in the movie.

Jeremy’s a good lead. He can be a bit awkward when interacting and has to deal with a lot here but ultimately he does a good job. Jean-Luc is a good rival and really did try to help Jeremy out a whole lot. He took the betrayal of trust really hard but it’s easy to see why he would. It’s not easy to get over the fact that your best friend just took your love away. Then Melissa rounds out the main cast as a good heroine. There was certainly a lot of trials that she had to go through as well.

The cast is good here and the writing is on point. The film is able to get across that this is going to be a tough challenge for everyone. I would have liked to have had some happy scenes to grab onto for the second half but I guess it wasn’t in the cards. We do get some solid music during the film though. The famous “I Still Believe” song is here of course and a few other really good Christian worship songs. The film shows that you can’t always have everything your way and not every prayer will be answered the way that you want it too. Many have become shaken in their path when their prayers aren’t answered but it’s why prayer isn’t a simple wish list to Santa. The answer won’t always appear the way that you want it.

After all, you have billions of people praying and so naturally there are countless instances of two people praying for the exact opposite things. Naturally that means one person will get their wish and one won’t. You have to accept that everything happens for a reason and everything has a good purpose. Even if it is negative for you, the outcome may help a bunch of others in some way. Just keep up the faith and the ultimate reward of Heaven is worth any measure of strife.

Overall, I Still Believe reminds you that adversity will always appear no matter how calm your life may appear to be. In those times you need to pray and seek God’s help so that you aren’t crushed beneath all of your issues. This is certainly not a feel good movie so don’t expect to have a good time here but if you need a film to help teach someone about always getting up after a tough moment and never losing faith, then this will at least help you to show an example of true loss. It’s a good way to prepare someone for the future.

The Prince of Tennis II Rising Beat Review


This was definitely a pretty random app game that’s for sure. Who’d have thought that Prince of Tennis would be coming out with a rhythm game right? This is really the first one I’ve played. I can see the appeal but I think there’s room to improve on the execution. Ultimately this isn’t a game that I stuck with for very long as you’ll see based on the various brief stats page I’ll be uploading. It just doesn’t feel as interactive as I’d like although the songs are cool.

The plot seems to basically be handling the early parts of the New Prince of Tennis series. It’s been so long since I read those parts that this really feels brand new at this point. That also means no Ryoma at least in the levels that I played so you’ll miss him a bit. The game is still relatively early on so there aren’t a lot of story levels yet but I imagine that will change as the game continues to update.

Aside from the story mode there are a lot of other things to do like playing through normal battles or customizing your characters. In fact you have to play through some of these normal levels in order to progress through the story or you’ll get stuck very quickly. After two story levels is when you have to play your first side mission. I’d rather the game let you just play through the story without having to go on a side tangent. I suppose the gameplay is all the same so it shouldn’t make a big difference but I want to just see what happens next in the story.

The graphics are pretty good. The art style is colorful and I like the gameplay effects. On the other hand, it’s all fairly repetitive. Every stage looks very similar and the characters are chibi style which can be fun in short doses but I don’t think it works for the whole game. It’s fun and looks nice though which is the important part. The soundtrack is definitely impressive with all of the lyrical songs. That makes sense of course since you can’t have a musical game without the songs to accompany it right?

As for the gameplay itself, the goal of the game is to tap precision. It’s effectively like Dance Dance Revolution except instead of dancing to the beat you are tapping to it. If you click the circle when it’s in the right spot then you can either hit the ball or even return it. It’s not very hard to get the hang of it either. At times you will hold onto the icon in order to complete the action and other times you will just need to tap it really quickly.

A lot of mobile games have a heavy emphasis on tapping so this isn’t anything new but at the same time it just doesn’t feel very interactive. Maybe it’s because the animations are set and your actions don’t change it. Usually at least the animations change like in a fighting game or something. Here you will be seeing the exact same animation back and forth as the two characters hit the tennis ball around no matter what you do. There’s not really any variety either.

I think that’s really what hurt the game for me. It’s just not all that interesting after a while and I wouldn’t say the story is enough of a legend to hold the whole game up. For that you could probably just read the manga or watch some of the shows and movies. I wouldn’t call this a bad game but it doesn’t really have enough strong points for me to call it a really good one either. As a result it ends up lagging behind the other apps.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this one. In terms of replay value there is certainly a lot as long as you enjoy the game. Customization alone is already quite extensive and then you have the level up system and wide array of characters to work with too. The game will likely continue updating as long as it gets support so you shouldn’t have to worry about content drying up anytime soon either. Just keep on chugging along and you shouldn’t have any issues. The game is free too so it’s not like you’re spending any money here.

Overall, I’m glad Prince of Tennis got a game even if this one didn’t really hit it off for me. I’m still surprised it came out since the title doesn’t seem too huge anymore, particularly the sequel. It was hard to find on the app store initially due to the way it appears in the search results too. Hopefully it does well enough for them to consider another game in the series but with a different gameplay style. A tennis focused game would absolutely have a lot of potential if you ask me. You can definitely achieve that with mobile. Now for mobile I’m really just waiting on Megaman X Dive to show up. That’s a title I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time.

Overall 5/10

Anonymous Noise Review


It’s been a little while since I reviewed the Anonymous Noise anime so it’s time to take a look at the manga. The events between the two titles are pretty much the same except that the anime stops a whole lot earlier while the manga throws in all of the extra drama. Anonymous Noise is one of those titles that’s surprisingly long so prepare for a whole lot of rebounds and constant romances. Nobody ever ends up with their original pick.

I’ll never not find it a little humorous how Nino effectively has two origin stories here. So first she has a next door neighbor named Momo as a kid and together they sing songs and hang out. He is always ready to stick up for her when the bullies show up and enjoys her company. Well, one day he just vanishes out of the blue and Nino gets depressed. Fortunately she meets a boy named Yuzuriha who starts writing music for her. Perhaps if she sings loud enough she will be able to reach Momo some day. Unfortunately one day Yuzuriha vanishes as well so Nino gets depressed all over again.

Fast forward a bunch of years and Nino is now a teenager who always wears a face mask since it contains her need to scream. She has been psychologically scarred by her childhood at this point and so that’s her last safety measure. At her new high school there is a music club so naturally she intends on joining. It turns out that this group is also the secret metal band that has been taking the world by storm. Nino will need a disguise as well and shall be called Alice while performing.

Both of her old friends have really come a long way over the years. Momo is a super successful music writer who works with another band and is acknowledged as a prodigy considering that he’s also still in High School. He no longer wants anything to do with Nino though and treats her quite harshly. Then you have Yuzuriha who also tries avoiding Nino but to no avail as they attend some of the same classes and are in the same club. Nino needs to find out why they are avoiding her and in the meantime she will have to improve her singing voice. Ultimately that is how she will reach the top. She wants Momo to be with her but is it possible that she may like Yuzuriha as well?

The classic love triangle is a plot as old as time. Momo is the mean guy who’s always insulting Nino and yet you know that he has a great chance of winning in the end as a result. Then you have Yuzuriha who is the nice guy in comparison and who gets to spend the most time with Nino. As a result you feel like he is doomed from the start. Who knows maybe the series will surprise you in the end with who Nino chooses….

As a main character I would say Nino is decent. One part of her character that is fairly unique is how she completely ignores the other characters even when they’re talking to her. Deflecting is her chief conversation tactic so if things are starting to get serious she’ll bring up some nonsense to throw the conversation to the side. While you may think this is coincidental, I think it’s far too exaggerated for this to be anything but intentional. Nino knows exactly what she is doing the whole time.

She gets quite a bit of character development as the series goes on. For starters, while she always had a lot of volume, her actual singing ability wasn’t all that great until we got to near the end of the series. She had to approve a lot with different coaches but always put in the work. Where she falters though is in the romance. You really need to be decisive in this kind of thing. Can’t have two guys fighting over you forever. While she does make a choice at the end of the series, it feels like both guys are in the mix for way too long.

She has moments and affairs with both of them at times and while Momo is the only guy she’s ever serious about, she is never fast enough to stop Yuzuriha when he makes a move. He manages to get her while her guard is down several times and it’ll just make you shake your head. Nino always does her best to try and act normal afterwards but she really should have shut the guy down a lot earlier. It’s something that deducts points from all 3 characters throughout the series. It’s one of the reasons why some of the supporting characters tend to be the real hype members.

As for Yuzuriha, well you’ve already heard why I don’t like that guy. The ole Shojo trope of stealing a kiss from the heroine and playing it off like it’s no big deal definitely doesn’t work. He pulls this several times even when he knows that Nino already likes someone else. Sure, you can keep trying to win someone over until they actually start dating someone else but it’s got to be with good discussions, not with just making a move like that.

Yuzuriha also handled their initial reunion rather poorly. I don’t think he or Momo had good reasons for avoiding Nino and being so antagonistic at first. Yuzuriha has an extended plot with his mother as well which at least gives him something to do besides chasing after Nino. Their father died in a crash a long time ago but his mother never truly accepted that fact. So the home situation is a little rough and they’re still trying to battle through that. It’s a pretty serious plot to be sure.

Then you have Momo who is basically an antagonist most of the time. He goes really far with insulting Nino as well as her music. There’s no way to actually sympathize with the guy even after we learn his origin. He also has a situation with his mother but in this case she doesn’t oppose music the way that Yuzuriha’s does. She enjoys it because she wants the money. Basically she uses Momo as her piggy bank to get rich. This doesn’t really cover the Nino aspect though. Effectively Momo wanted to keep her at a distance so his Mom wouldn’t try anything but that always seemed like an overreaction at best.

Momo is also quite successful in his own right and is supposed to be some kind of genius. If he really wanted to then he definitely could have found a way to talk with Nino and explain things. He also chooses the worst possible moments to throw big twists at her like a certain break up scene during the concert. His rivalry with Yuzuriha with Nino thrown in the middle can be a bit much as well.

They fight over her throughout as they keep bragging that they will be the one to claim her voice. It’s certainly a unique dynamic as they both want her to only sing for them. It’s different than the usual fights you would have for the heroine but at the same time I wouldn’t say it puts either one of them in a positive light. I should say this isn’t in a literal sense as they still want her to do concerts and such but they want her to only think of them during the songs. That’s a rather tough order to fulfill though.

Technically the three characters are actually friendly with each other at times by the middle-end of the series but you can never think of it as a true friendship. How can it be when both characters have already told Nino that they don’t see her as a friend? As a result they are quite envious of each other as well so it ends up being more toxic than anything.

Miou is one of the main supporting characters and while her role was greatly diminished in the show, she does a whole lot in the manga. She originally liked Yuzuriha but of course that didn’t quite work out so well for her. Miou ends up rebounding with Haruyoshi with the added twist being that they both acknowledge this is a rebound. Haruyoshi is just confident that he can eventually get her to like him for real.

So they go along with this as an experiment but despite Haruyoshi’s tough talk he is soon not satisfied with being the rebound which causes him to be upset a lot. I didn’t care for his character in the end. He likes goofing off and messing with Miou a lot while hiding his true feelings inside. The guy is often a lot more serious than he appears but the contrast just didn’t work for him. I may have liked him more if he had more patience with Miou but considering that they both knew the terms of the deal, I didn’t think he was very consistent.

Back to Miou, one aspect of her character that was particularly strong is how she would tutor and assist Nino throughout the series despite knowing that Nino was effectively taking over her spot on the team and even stealing her man. It proved that Miou was really a good person as not many people would have been able to do that. She always took the high road and had a very consistent character arc. I wasn’t on board with the rebound plot at all to be honest but at least she was someone you could root for.

Kuro is another member of the band but he definitely has the worst plot out of the whole group. So basically he and his brother both liked the same girl back in the day. Kuro was slow to make his move though so his brother confessed and they got married. Fine, good show. Well played by the bro. Kuro should now move on since the girl is no longer an option right? Wrong and that’s the cringe part. Kuro still likes her and even asks her out at one point and confesses his feelings.

That’s a big no no. One of the most basic rules of romance is that as soon as someone is married that’s game over. Honestly, even while dating that person should be off your radar but even more so when marriage has occurred. This was easily the worst romance in the entire series and I couldn’t wait for it to be gone. Of course that inevitably means it had to be replaced with a rebound story arc.

A new girl joins the band near the very end of the series who ends up liking Kuro. It’s certainly convenient for the guy since he needed a rebound at this point. She doesn’t have a lot of character beyond just being added in to finish the romance plots. Her personality is that she tends to play things very cool and not show much emotion but bottling it in like that ends up hurting her on quite a few occasions. A running theme in the series is definitely not to hold everything in and to cry as needed otherwise the characters always end up breaking down.

There are also two adult characters who get a decent sized role here. First is Yana who is the manager for the main band. He’s definitely very good at his job and is always busy booking lots of different gigs for the heroes. Without him they would definitely be quite lost. He’s also got a competitive streak against him and always responds when Momo’s team challenges him. Then you have Kuze who effectively has the same role for Momo’s team. She’s always ready to psychoanalyze him and stay one step ahead of Momo. She’s the only one who consistently flusters him because everyone else is too scared of the guy to talk tough.

There are a few side characters as well like a group of up and coming music stars who also get involved. They made for decent rivals even if I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of them. We did have a fun duel between Nino and one of the singers near the end of the series as she tries to keep up with them in a pretty meta battle about proving that she could sing with the best. She has the volume for it but this is in more of a tempo sense. She can’t just sing loud but has to be able to create an opening and take the lead.

Anonymous Noise definitely treats its music very seriously. It was fun to hear the actual songs in the anime while of course the manga is limited by trying to visually show what it would sound like. You can picture the metal aspect though based on the costumes and how her voice is always supposed to be eat splitting. Quite a few times her voice ends up breaking down so she is simply shouting into the audience but the fans seem to love this so it works out.

Now while the series is very serious, I should mention there can still be light hearted moments and some humor now and again. These scenes are just easy to forget with all the drama going on but this is still a light hearted series at its core. The main characters laugh a lot and get to really enjoy their youth. They make the most of their experiences abroad with the singing careers and even develop solid bonds with each other. By the end of the series everyone is really on good terms with each other.

The series probably could have just lost a few volumes in order to cut out some of the extra drama though. Some characters seem to go back and forth a whole lot before settling down so you could easily cut out a few of the fake outs and that would get things to the point quicker. A certain break up involving the main heroine always comes to mind since it still feels like that was completely unnecessary. So the weakest element in the series is the romance itself.

Now you may be wondering, was this a good series overall though? I would still say yes, the writing is on point and you are engaged with what is going on. While I wasn’t on board with the romance, it also wasn’t bad enough where I would deduct serious points away or anything like that. Kuro’s plot is the only one that would be enough to shave a star off because that was just crazy. You’ll still be blasting through each volume as you arrive at the end of the series. The competitions are always a blast and if anything you wish we could have had more of those. Battle of the Bands is always worth the wait. So in the end, Anonymous Noise is a journey that is worth experiencing. It isn’t the best Shojo or anything like that but it holds its own.

The artwork is also pretty solid. The artist is good at giving everyone a lot of expressions and from letting the characters look too similar. The only time it can be hard to recognize the characters is when they’re in the disguises since a lot of those look so similar. It’s part of the point of having the disguises in the first place though so I’ll cut the series some slack there. I would say the art does the job.

Overall, Anonymous Noise is a good series that gets bogged down by some unnecessary plot lines. We really didn’t need nearly as many romances as what we got. There were rebounds all around so I wouldn’t trust any of the characters. You would never know if you were the first choice or just the runner up. Just about every character in the series had to settle for their second option which is not a very satisfying place to be in. I will say that the final pages of the series were solid though. At least one character dynamic was really solid there and it’s the kind of closing relationship I’d like to see more of in these titles.

Overall 6/10

The Music Never Stopped


Time to check out a drama film involving a whole lot of music. Music has been shown to have a lot of positive effects on the mind over the years so it’s not surprising that it would have a lot of medical applications as well. Even for exercise and studying it’s been shown that having music on helps a lot as well. In this film we see it put to practical use.

The movie starts with Henry and his wife Helen being called to the hospital as their son has been admitted to the hospital. He suffered severe damage to his brain and an operation was needed. He has now lost the ability to store new memories and also can’t really move or talk much. It’s not that he physically can’t, but his mind has been crippled to a very serious degree so his actions are limited and don’t always make a lot of sense.

Henry takes this especially hard as he finds it hard to talk to Gabriel in this state. Ultimately his job quickly fires him since corporate saw this as their chance so Helen ends up getting a job which means that Henry will be the one who visits Gabriel. The situation doesn’t change for a while and the doctors offer no hope but that when we get a breakthrough. Music is the way to reach Gabriel. Henry is able to find a music doctor who specializes in using music like this although she has not handled a situation quite like this before.

The music works but only for tracks that Gabriel has a history with. Each song is tied to a specific memory and as the film goes on he is able to have normal conversations outside of the memory but he is still doomed to forget them as soon as the song ends. So it’s a tough situation but clearly a better one than from the start of the film where any kind of conversation was completely hopeless.

The movie is apparently based on a true story or at least from a story created by a neurologist based on a true experience so it’s sort of 2 layers deep. I’m not sure exactly how closely it follows those events as this film is an indie title so it’s not easy to get a lot of details out there. I’m sure it’s around if you’re willing to look such as Wikipedia and such but if you haven’t seen the film yet then it may make sense to go in without knowing the details or you may spoil the ending and the adventure for yourself.

Henry’s a good main character. He certainly isn’t perfect with how he handles the situations but you can also see from his side why he’s not too happy with Gabriel’s decisions. The guy decided to skip college, started losing track of time and hanging out with his friends at long hours and even tries to sneak away to a concert. Just when things seemed to be going well he went and burned the flag which is something I doubt the two could ever properly see eye to eye on. It’s no small thing to do something like that.

Still, Henry does make the effort to get to know Gabriel more in the present as they start creating new memories. Even if Gabriel may not remember them, at least the events did happen. As for Gabriel, I definitely didn’t like him in any of the flashbacks but at least he’s mellowed out a lot after the accident. The film also shows enough improvement where you can reasonably believe that he will continue to get better after the end of the movie as well.

Helen’s role grows smaller after the beginning scenes since most of the movie is about Henry and Gabriel finally connecting but she was consistently good in all her scenes. She put on a brave face at all times and when Henry would make a questionable move or wasn’t ready to handle the situation yet she was always right there to make things right.

There were also some supporting characters of course like the music psychiatrist who helped make a lot of the breakthroughs with Gabriel. Without her the characters definitely wouldn’t have seen nearly as much progress. There’s also Celia who was one of the cooks at the hospital. I would say her plot is definitely more on the somber side due to how it goes though.

One thing you’ll notice about the film is that it likes to keep on throwing more emotional moments at you. The characters are never really allowed to just rest and have a good time. There’s always another tragedy they have to deal with to the point where even by the end you’re always waiting to see what will happen next. Gabriel and the others really can’t catch a break.

Overall, The Music Never Stopped is certainly an emotional film. The events had to be really tough on everyone who was involved in the real situation. If you want to watch a film about tragedy and overcoming it then this is a good one to check out. While it keeps a rather sad tone throughout the movie it never goes out of its way to be too dark and you do have your share of happy moments even if they don’t stay for long. You’ll also get to hear a whole lot of different music during the film as well so maybe you’ll see a few tracks that you like.

Anonymous Noise Review


Anonymous Noise is a title where I started the manga much sooner than the anime, but ended up finishing the show version first. Sometimes it just ends up working out that way. The anime is pretty quick after all. It’s a really solid adaption of the manga to be sure and while it does end really early, there isn’t a big divergent point so the anime could just get a season 2 someday and wrap things up. There’s definitely nothing about the adaption I would give a thumbs down.

The series starts with Nino at her first big day of school. Right away you can tell she probably has some kind of story since she’s wearing a medical mask as if this took place during Covid-19 but of course the show came out way before that. We gradually learn that she had two different origin stories. First she met up with a kid named Momo who she would hang out with. They had a great time singing and such but one day he vanished. Nino got depressed but then she met another boy named Yuzu. Yuzu couldn’t sing because he would vanish if he did but he would write music for her to sing. This went well until he vanished as well.

Cut to many years later where Nino is a teen now. She is still really into music though and decides to join the school’s music band. Surprisingly….Yuzu is the leader of this band. That’s right, they are reunited although he doesn’t seem thrilled about it and won’t even talk to her. Then Nino finds out Momo might be around but he is avoiding her as well. The only constant she has is music and she is going to use her voice to reach everyone. She aims to reach Yuzu as a friend and Momo as something else.

The opening episode has to be one of the strongest premiers I’ve seen in a while. It really does a good job of introducing all of the characters and setting the stage for the plot. The animation was really solid and there was a lot of energy throughout the episode. The colors are used well and the songs are really on point. I dare say it may even be the best episode of the series although the one where the cliffhanger had the characters finally meeting was pretty hype.

A lot of the suspense here is really because initially as the audience we know all of the characters but naturally they don’t know each other. For example, Yuzu and Momo actually become good friends but neither one of them know about the other’s relationship with Nino. You know that eventually they will find out though which is where the suspense comes in. The only question is, how long will it be until they find out?

Also, giving Nino two different origin stories was certainly a bold move. It’s not really something you see all that much. I remember there being one show/movie where the character’s friends all got murdered twice with a few years in between so I guess that counts but it’s super rare. So that was also another pretty interesting thing in the series.

The writing is on point and the character cast is pretty strong for the most part. The animation is also really solid. I like the contrast with all of the colors the whole time. It helps make the show feel even newer the whole time. A lot of effort was clearly put into this for sure. Then you have the soundtrack which is pretty excellent as you would expect from a music based show. The band Nino is a part of specializes in rock songs so you can expect to see a whole lot of that. There isn’t a big variety in songs but the series is only 12 episodes after all so that makes sense. You can only squeeze so many things in.

The opening and ending songs are both really solid as well as the songs they play in the show. So with all of this in its favor the show is basically firing on all cylinders right? There is only one thing that’s not so great and that’s the romance. Granted, I would say the romance is actually better here than in the manga in many respects since it ends sooner so there’s less jumping around. That said, you aren’t really given any good reasons to root for either guy.

First up is Momo. He’s taking on the role of the “mean boy” so get ready for him to constantly give Nino the cold shoulder. Now that might not be bad if he was just ignoring her or something but he openly goes past that with how rude he is. He insults her singing voice in front of everyone, tells her not to talk to him, insults her friends + the band, etc. So he goes out of his way to be as much of a jerk as possible. This never really stops Nino from chasing after him but you feel like it should. There’s just no good reason to root for the guy.

The only redeeming part for him is that he does have a fun supporting character in Kuze. She’s always messing with him and basically forcing him to make the right decisions once in a while. Without her at the ready he probably would be really doomed right about now. If anything I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of her in the series. Her scenes always tended to be a lot of fun.

Then we have Yuzu. So he is definitely the nicer guy even if at first he tries to play it cool as well. It doesn’t last past the first episode though and after that he’s good friends with Nino. The problem of course is that he doesn’t want to be just friends but doesn’t know how to tell her this. He’s always trying to climb out of Momo’s shadow but it’s a pretty tough challenge since the guy is just so talented. Yuzu’s best chance is to beat him in a battle of the bands but since he can’t sing he’ll just have to hope his song can do it. Both of them are primarily song writers after all so that’s where it will hurt the most.

I can’t really get behind the guy though because aside from the fact that he’s not straight forward with his feelings, he tends try and make advances to Nino even when she’s in a vulnerable spot. He’s not above winning as the rebound guy and he even steals a kiss at one point. That definitely doomed him absolutely. While I do like him more than Momo in the manga, if we strictly go by the anime Momo would probably have the edge here. It helps that his character hasn’t done multiple 180s at this point yet.

Naturally not all of the subplots can have a chance to shine just yet. With a limited amount of episodes that mainly meant some of the supporting characters would have to bow out. For example, Miou is one of those characters. To make the romance situation even more complicated, she likes Yuzu and is always dismayed since he only has eyes for Nino. Meanwhile, another member of the band named Haruyoshi likes her. The anime hints at this a bit but there’s never anytime to go into it.

That’s probably for the best since it would have been really rushed if anything happened just yet. He actually tries to confess to Miou at leas once but she assumes its a joke and keeps on going. Haruyoshi wasn’t very confident though so he did say it as if it was a bit of a joke. He’s a fun enough character here. Haruyoshi helps keep the band together and never really panics much.

Miou’s also a solid character as she’s one of the only characters who feels like she has always got Nino’s back. Some of the other characters may waffle around a while but she’s always right there with some good advice. That’s considering that she didn’t even intend to become friends with Nino for quite a while.

Speaking of which I didn’t really talk about Nino herself all that much. From all of the main characters I’ve seen she may be the one with the shortest attention span. Characters will be talking to her and then she’ll suddenly talk about something completely unrelated. Other times she’ll just tune out mid conversation. Fortunately the characters don’t take it as being rude but it’s so extreme that Nino feels quite unique.

When she isn’t having more comedic moments like this, she is quite serious about studying and everything. Even when she loses herself in song, she is able to keep concentrating on the outside such as when she was able to save Yuzu when he dropped his pick. She has a good awareness about her at all times except when it comes to romance of course. She makes for a fun main character.

Kuro is the last member of the band but his subplot never even starts or gets hinted at. That’s fine with me but effectively that means he is an empty character here. Aside from being in the band he doesn’t actually have a role in the story. He seems like a nice guy though and his drumming skills are certainly necessary to make sure the whole group has a good time. Finally you have Yana who is the manager of the band. I like his confidence and he doesn’t back down from a challenge. He gets them good gigs and really earns his keep.

The big climax here is really the battle of the bands which is a fitting way to end the show. All of the plots have a big update here and while nothing ends, it’s the kind of ending where you can easily fill in the gaps yourself. In general as I mentioned the romance wasn’t really my thing but I did find the story to be very engaging. The directing and everything was solid so the show never got boring. It’s a pretty easy title to binge.

As the story goes on you’ll end up seeing why Momo and Yuzu ended up leaving so suddenly. You can judge their actions further from that. Thing is, for me at least it doesn’t excuse their actions anyway. Couldn’t they have apologized, tried to find her, or at least acted friendly at school? A random bully from pre-school made more of an effort to be Nino’s friend than they did. In a way that’s just embarrassing for the two main guys.

At the end of the day, what makes the anime work is that it’s just a fun watch. There’s a lot of good banter between the characters. Nino definitely takes a lot of shots at Yuzu’s height but he never takes it personal which is good. Miou’s probably the most sympathetic character here since you get the feeling that she has absolutely 0 chance with Yuzu from the start since Nino exists. It’s a lot harder to sympathize with Momo/Yuzu since they’ve created a lot of their problems just by how they handle each situation. They would still have some family issues regardless but the situation would have been better for them.

It’s also fun how the band has such a revolving roster depending on the time of day. For example, Nino’s band is technically a secret one which is why they all wear masks. So by day at the school there is the music club which is the full team + Miou. Then at night it’s the team without Miou while she joins Momo’s team. Then by day Momo is writing songs for other groups. Each character is really wearing a lot of hats here. Of course Nino should be a giveaway in either team since she has a tendency to start screaming out the lyrics. The anime handled how this works really well as she effectively yells out all the lyrics. Fortunately since it’s a metal band that doesn’t seem to bother the audience much so they tend to get into it.

It partially ties into why she wears the mask. I didn’t delve into it much but it’s also more of a focus in the manga with how she begins to suffocate/want to scream without it. Basically the mask psychologically helps her not break down while she’s wearing it. It’s similar to how Yuzu believes he can’t sing and Momo can’t even think about writing if he sees Nino. Each character has a lot to deal with which is why the show can also be quite dramatic.

Overall, Anonymous Noise definitely makes for a fun show. If you’re looking for a good slice of life/romance title to watch then this is a good one. The musical scenes definitely help to take the series to the next level. It’s almost like a sports anime in that sense and that’s why the show is at its best when it is focusing on this aspect. The CGI for the shows is quite noticeable to be sure and can’t match the hand drawn parts of course but it’s nothing too bad. You’ll probably be focusing on the music anyway. After watching this one you will be all set to continue on with the manga to see how the story ends.

Overall 7/10

Rez Infinite Review


Thanks to the new PS Home promotion where they put up a few games for free I got to play through Rez. It’s a pretty quick game so you should have it done within an hour or two but it’s a fun ride all the way through. It seems like this is really meant for VR and I can see how that would enhance the experience but it’s really solid as a traditional game as well. It will test your reflexes and how well you can adapt to each incoming threat.

The basic plot seems to be that the system of the world has gone haywire so now you have to hack in and save the universe. During the game you will see people asking for help and a lot of crazy things going on in the background. It’s certainly something that will make you take a double look. The final level even seems to be about putting someone back together. I’m sure there’s a lot of fun lore to be found here but really the gameplay is the main thing you are here for along with the fun musical beats.

The goal of the game is to vanquish all of the enemies in front of you without getting hit. The game is a 3D auto runner so you blast the enemies as they appear. If you don’t hit them fast enough then they will deal you some damage and even lower your level. Getting your level lowered is a big deal here since it reduces your attack power and stretches out each level. I highly advise keeping the enemies at bay.

Your method of attack is holding down the X button so that your attacks lock onto the enemies and then you release it. You can’t use an attack without locking on first. That said, the lock on is fast so another thing I would recommend is just pressing the X button as quickly as possible which also works. For bosses you will likely want to charge up to your max of 10 shots though as that does a lot of damage and hits them before they can regenerate their shields. Most of the bosses have pretty intense shields at their disposal after all so you want to make sure you get past all of that.

Meanwhile the graphics look good. I like the whole cybernetic aesthetic the game was going for. It worked pretty well and the whole thing looked high tech from start to finish. The music is also good. I wouldn’t say it is particularly memorable but it is going for a solid cyber feeling that matches with the games style. You also have some beats that play when you hit an enemy so if you launch your attacks quickly enough it’s as if you are building your own song.

For replay value you can try to go back and get a perfect score on each level. You will need to do so in order to get the Platinum Trophy for this game so that definitely does not seem like it will be an easy task. As long as you enjoy the levels though then that’s a nice way to keep bringing yourself back for more. Either way since the game is free temporarily for Home then I wouldn’t say there is any reason to avoid this game. Whether you beat it in an hour or two or play it longer, it’s free so it won’t cost anything. I highly recommend downloading it now while you can.

Overall, Rez is a fun game. It’s got a simple control scheme and then makes the most of it. The gameplay is very smooth and the levels go by in a flash. Usually I’m not thrilled about the no checkpoints option so if you die in part 9/10 of a level then you go back to the start. That said, the levels are still short so you can finish all 10 parts within 10 minutes or less. Given that this is the case, it’s fine not to have any checkpoints. I never died during the game either so I wouldn’t say it’s crazy hard or anything either. It ends up being just right and that’s why it’s an easy game to recommend to anyone. You should have fun with it.

Overall 7/10

Anonymous Noise


This manga utilizes masks even before COVID came out so it’s definitely interesting to see the main character rocking the mask ahead of time. The series is off to a good start so far with a pretty engaging plot even if the main character has a tendency to completely ignore everyone for kicks. I’ll have a review for the series up when I’ve finished it. I’m expecting a big battle of the bands to end the series with.

Overall 7/10

The Mad Genius Review


It’s time to look a a film from a while back that shows why you’ve always gotta stand up for yourself. If you just allow yourself to be a tool you’ll always end up on the losing side. Part of why this film ultimately ends up failing on every level is that the main characters don’t handle the situations very well at all. They end up appearing to be quite gullible and have low will power. It’s never fun to see them get tricked by the villains so easily. They just were not ready for the real world and it shows.

The movie starts off with Ivan deciding to adopt a kid. Ivan was never able to be a world famous dancer but he will make sure that Fedor will succeed where Ivan had failed. Things are going quite well for many years as Fedor is shaping up nicely. Unfortunately that all changes when Fedor falls in love with one of the dancers named Nana. Falling in love with a co-worker is pretty dangerous and usually doesn’t end up working out but that’s just how it went in this case. Ivan is determined to break these two up even if he has to use trickery to do so. Will he be able to keep Fedor as his living puppet or will he ultimately be unable to truly control Fedor’s life to such a degree?

To start with, Fedor is a pretty terrible character. Ivan’s a villain so that goes without saying for him, but Fedor handles himself poorly in every regard. Once he finds out about Ivan’s deception he quickly runs off with Nana which is at least a good start to what’s going on. That’s the right approach but where things go wrong is he starts sounding like Ivan and even guilt tripping Nana a bit. This leads her to decide to sell herself off to one of Ivan’s friends. Fortunately that guy ends up being rather decent to her the whole time but it felt like we went to 0-100 in an instant. Why couldn’t they just have talked things out real quick? Why did Fedor suddenly change overnight? He is a large part of why Nana felt so desperate in those scenes.

Fedor was also quick to believe Ivan and go back to being on his side. You’ve got to be a real sucker to believe someone who has made a career out of tricking others. Whenever Fedor showed up you could count on him to make the wrong decision. While Nana was a nice character she makes a lot of the same mistakes as well. She makes massive assumptions throughout the film and is too quick to ride the waves or go along with what the others are saying. She shouldn’t have even gone to meet Ivan the second time around as there is no way that could have ended well. It’s not so much a case of Nana being too nice as just being overly naive the whole time.

As for Ivan, he’s definitely one of those guys who quickly abuses his power as soon as he gets it. He allows his dancers to move up the ranks by giving personal favors. It goes against his entire motivation of wanting to have the best ballet. You can’t take his goal seriously if he doesn’t. That’s one of those things a villain just can’t do. If he can’t stand by his goal then that means it wasn’t really much of one to start with. Ultimately things start to catch up to him by the end of the movie but it certainly took a while for this to occur.

The Mad Genius can be rather slow paced at times and the weak characters don’t help matters either. You’ll struggle to find the film all that entertaining or interesting. The title also gives Ivan more credit than he is due as the guy doesn’t seem particularly intelligent. He could have very easily allowed the two main characters to be together and then they would have stayed in the show. By getting rid of them he lost his two best dancers so of course the show wouldn’t be quite as good. Ivan really didn’t think anything over particularly well.

Overall, The Mad Genius is definitely a film that you can skip. The writing isn’t all that good and the film can be quite slow. It feels like not a whole lot happens during the movie and with the characters making so many illogical choices it’s hard to sympathize with them either. The film also loses track of time within the scenes. There’s one scene where one of the ladies tells Ivan she will be right back. We then get a very long scene of a drunk Ivan talking to his partner, listening to his ideas and having an argument. After the argument they go back and forth a bit and then the girl finally returns as Ivan is leaving. That was a whole lot of time to vanish and didn’t really make sense. The film doesn’t really dwell on this though so neither should you. If you want a more interesting piece of media about ballet I would advise you to check out Princess Tutu instead.

Overall 3/10

RWBY Volume 7 Review


It’s always a sad day when a RWBY volume ends. It’s a pretty long wait til the next one but at least in the meantime we can keep watching this one over and over again. The volume had a bit of a slow start in terms of action so initially I was a bit concerned but the final few episodes made for a really epic climax. This ended up being one of the best volumes yet. The fight scenes have improved again to the point where they are finally back up to around volume 3 level.

This volume starts off with team RWBY finally making it into Atlas. It’s been a long journey for the team but now they can talk to Ironwood about stopping Salem. He has been quite busy since volume 4 and has amassed an impressive army to combat her including the AceOps, a group of powerful fighters who are known as the best of the best. The heroes train and get some upgrades while in Atlas, even meeting up with a rebuilt Penny. The peace doesn’t last for long though as Salem sends Watts and Tyrian over to create some general chaos in Atlas. Meanwhile Cinder and Neo are after the maiden and the artifact. If the heroes aren’t careful they may lose everything. Do they retreat or hold their ground? Ironwood, Robyn, and Mr. Schnee all have their own ideas on what to do next.

A lot happens here even if the experience will feel pretty short due to how much fun it is. I believe this was one of the longest seasons to date and Rooster Teeth has done a good job of getting the episodes to pretty consistent run times. I’d like to eventually see every episode be around 25 minutes, but one step at a time. There’s so much that the volume does right so it’s almost hard to know where to start. First, one big positive here is that the story moves along quite a bit. We get through a solid chunk of the Atlas arc here to the point where the next volume should end it. We get to wrap up Weiss’ plot as well as get to the heart of Ironwood’s character arc. The pacing is solid.

The animation is definitely top notch. As I mentioned earlier, these are the best that the fights have looked in quite a while. It’s not like RWBY ever got bad at that though. Volume 4 did have the Team vs Tyrian fight which is still one of the best fights in the series and Volume 5 of course had the big Raven vs Cinder match. Volume 6 had the Grim Reaper battle as well as the climax with Adam. I’d say that the main difference is that in volumes 4 and 5 it felt like the team only had time for one big fight so the rest of the fight scenes suffered a bit. Volume 6 got past that and then Volume 7 is really thriving. We’re back to fun team combos and good background effects that amp up the battle.s

Ironwood’s battle is a good example of this with gravity playing an effect in the confrontation. It really adds an extra dynamic to the whole thing. Then Team RWBY’s fight was excellent. While most of it isn’t a pure 4 vs 4 fight, you’ve still got a lot of people moving at the same time which is something the series was infamously unable to do in the Volume 5 climax. (I’d still like to see the team re-make that fight someday) It’s a good benchmark to see how the series has really grown since then.

Then we’ve also got an excellent soundtrack which should come as no surprise since the series always has great tunes. We get the excellent Hero theme that plays during Ironwood’s fight. I’ve listened to that one a very large number of times at this point. The song that plays during the RWBY fight was also really solid. Those are the 2 best themes for me, but the credits villain theme is also solid as well as the intro. I look forward to seeing the full soundtrack for this volume coming out so we can hear the full versions of these songs.

Now we’re going to enter the more detailed part of the review so these parts will have spoilers. If you need to know the score now then know that it is a perfect 10. RWBY never delivers anything short of perfection. RWBY is definitely still the best show out there and it’s also part of why I have to discuss it in such detail. I can’t leave a stone unturned and I’m always browsing the reddit to see what everyone else thinks of the big events. It’s a title where there will always be a good amount of discussion.

The first big topic for debate here is Ironwood’s decision of course. Ironwood himself is a pretty complex character. He’s been doing his best to fight Salem since Volume 3, but things never turn out so well for him. In Volume 3 things don’t go well because Ozpin stays tight lipped about everything and doesn’t let Ironwood in quick enough. By Volume 6 2 of the 4 Kingdoms have already been defeated (Haven is still around, but without a headmaster or a relic it can’t do much to help) and so Atlas seems like it may be the next target. Given this, Ironwood has been building up his army. He has everyone fully mobalized and even got the AceOps ready for action. He’s done a tremendous job of getting everyone in tip top shape. The army may still need a little work since team RWBY got in so easily but it’s still pretty solid as a whole.

Unfortunately intruders are still getting into Atlas and Salem threatens to make an appearance as well. There is no time for Ironwood to achieve his goal of getting the communication tower up in time and the heroes could barely fend off the first wave of Grimm so the whole army would dominate them. Ironwood then makes the controversial decision to jettison Atlas into space to avoid the Grimm and in theory Salem won’t be able to chase him there. At the very least it’ll take some time for her to get up there so he can smoke out the intruders and think up a plan. Team RWBY disagrees which leads to their big fight with the AceOps.

Ruby does have the moral high ground here since abandoning a whole half of the country to die is not heroic no matter how you slice it. On a practical level Ironwood is right that they’ll all die down there given how powerful the Grimm are. It’s a matter of do you let everyone die or half of them? It’s not the heroic move, but Ironwood’s decision is the most rational. I think a good compromise team RWBY could have gone for would be to quickly gather everyone who wasn’t already evacuated into Atlas. They already got some of them over, just not everyone. This would also seal the deal for the rest of the survivors though so in effect helping Ironwood would also go against RWBY’s goals here. It’s easy to see why this would lead to a fight.

I hope the series keeps Ironwood as an anti-hero who is doing what he can, but finds himself on the wrong moral side each time rather than becoming a full villain. He’s getting dangerously close to that with how he shot Oscar. The line he used for that was pretty awesome though and one of the best lines in RWBY. This volume helped Ironwood rise up from just another character to being in my top 5 now. I may need to make a new top 10 RWBY characters editorial soon since it’s been shaken up so much. At the moment my top 10 would be 1. Adam 2. Ironwood 3. Cinder 4. Yang 5. Raven 6. Neo 7. Torchwick 8.Weiss 9.Mercury 10. Ruby but it’s definitely a list that tends to change quite a bit. Ironwood’s just made for a great character and now that he is officially becoming a third party to contend with it makes him that much more interesting. I really hope he doesn’t die in the next volume although it’s looking likely. Realistically he won’t be defeating Salem or Cinder but hopefully he can bump off at least one more side villain like Mercury or Hazel.

The whole Atlas debate was a pretty big part of the volume. Meanwhile we had the Atlas election which was the setup for all of this. The Weiss family drama was less interesting, but still a necessary part in all of this since we had been waiting so long for some closure. I’m still not a big fan of Weiss’ Mom. At least Whitley is a little interesting with where his character may go. There are a lot of options for him for sure. Then Weiss’ father gets his end. He had a pretty good run and he’s a fun guy to have around. I’d have liked him to manipulate the others a little more instead of getting manipulated but I suppose that’s how it goes some times.

Winter is a character who hadn’t appeared in a long while so it was good to see her return. She’s still a little too fixated on following the law though to the point where she isn’t choosing to step up and help Weiss. For characters like her I always like to see them ultimately betray the law to help their family out. Those who do not end up suffering a big fall and it’s hard to rise back up as a character. Byakuya from Bleach pulled it off so Winter could as well, but this was not her best volume. I’m fine with her getting wrecked by Cinder since I don’t consider them to be in the same league, but I’d have liked her to have been more supportive of Weiss. I do like to think that maybe she would have helped if Weiss was actually brought in although I have my doubts.

Penny’s return was another controversial part of the volume. Especially since it was confirmed that she wouldn’t be coming back several years ago after her death. Plans change so you should never put too much stock into interviews and such outside of the show though. In-universe she is a robot so it makes sense that she could come back. Personally I would have rathered she did not. In general not bringing a character back is the right move, but it can all work out if the character has great scenes. Take Cinder for example. I’m glad she was brought back since she has had several great fights since then. At the time I’d have preferred she stayed dead, but what’s done is done. So going forward in volume 8 it’s not like I’ll still be dwelling on it. She’s here so now I’m looking forward to her getting some big fights. She’s going to be a real powerhouse now so hopefully Ironwood is unable to take control of her or the heroes are going to be in some major trouble.

Watts gets his first big role of the series and looks pretty good. His battle with Ironwood is handled really well and they both got a good amount of hype there. Watts’ motivations may be weaker than some of the other villains, but it’s still one you can understand. He feels like he should have gotten the headmaster position at Haven. I think he would have done a way better job than Lionheart, but I’m sure Ironwood had his reasons for doing that. It’s still no excuse for being evil. I’m surprised that Ironwood let him live, but Watts could end up being pretty useful going forward.

Then we have the AceOps who all become pretty big characters by the end. Clover gets the biggest role for sure. He’s a solid commander who seems to be going for a bit of a Captain America vibe. Unfortunately he makes one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen as he decides to prioritize going after Qrow instead of Tyrian. Qrow even points out that this is crazy but Clover won’t listen to reason and gets murdered over that decision. It was hard to feel bad for him there because the entire thing was completely his fault. Qrow did his best to go after Tyrian, but Clover made that impossible.

The rest of the AceOps come across as more reasonable. While they are trying to take out Team RWBY, it’s because they see their orders as being the right ones. Harriet is the main fighter of the group and she has the right idea of going all out from the start. Marrow mentions that he doesn’t want to destroy the heroes, but ironically Weiss tries to slice off their heads at the exact point he says that. Team RWBY isn’t holding back so they can’t either. Besides, you aren’t able to destroy someone if they still have Aura unless your attack is that much stronger like Adam’s famous slash which took off Yang’s arm. Either way holding back will only get you injured. Harriet was determined and even after being tied up gave Ruby a good fight.

Marrow comes across as the most reasonable of the members. He doesn’t fall for Robyn’s mind games which was impressive since everyone always falls for that. His power to stop time of either one person at a time or everyone in his line of sight is a really good ability. He’s nigh unstoppable in a 1 on 1 fight but Weiss ended up being a bad match up for him. Elm and Vine get the smallest roles of the group. Vine is the most emotionless of the group and doesn’t find any of this personal. He’s just following orders and doing what he’s got to do in order to claim victory here. Elm takes this very personally as she is quite eager and willing to put team RWBY down for good.

One thing I greatly appreciated here was the fact that Team RWBY beat AceOps fair and square. I was worried that the fight would get broken up or they would get saved, but fortunately that does not happen. RWBY just shuts them down systematically and it was quite satisfying. I also liked Ruby’s confidence there as she doesn’t always show that lately. Flat out telling AceOps that RWBY is more talented was really great. This is the kind of development I like to see from her as team leader.

Meanwhile we had one more big new character in the form of Robyn. Unfortunately I was really not impressed with her. For starters her fighting abilities are really just now impressive. She has a crossbow as her weapon which is a questionable choice at best because there just isn’t anything you can really do with that. All of the characters fighting at this level can move fast enough to catch or dodge any such arrows. It leaves her with no real room to grow. She goes down quite quickly in each match. I was hoping she would have been more of a serious third party character to worry about, but in the end Ironwood ended up taking that role so there was nothing really left for her to do. A shame of course, but I suppose it couldn’t be helped. I hope she is able to make a comeback in the next volume. She talks really tough every time so that makes me think there is still hope for her to make a comeback if she can just get a little stronger.

I can’t say that I really have any formal negatives with the volume. Even the weakest aspects of RWBY are quite solid. If there’s a plot we could remove, I wouldn’t mind losing the Ren and Nora one. Their romance hasn’t really worked since day 1 and they were better off as close friends. It is also quite telling that the instant Nora distracted Ren was when the villains attacked so he was unable to help out. It ended up costing quite a few lives. Maybe the show will use that to end this sub plot. Ren’s also been panicking a lot so if one member of the team gets bumped off I could see it being him. Team Jaune in general spent the volume not doing much and getting wrecked along the way. They haven’t really kept up with Team RWBY in terms of power although I wouldn’t expect them to. The main characters should always be in a different level compared to the supporting ones. That’s just how these things go.

Cinder and Neo still make for a pretty dangerous team. Cinder needs to watch her back since a betrayal could happen at any point. It’s a little hard for me to believe that Cinder was unable to get past the other Maiden’s ice abilities though. Cinder is a maiden herself and I can understand losing to Raven since Raven had years of experience, but an old maiden who’s getting ready to die? I’m not sure I can buy into that one. For Neo it was great to see her take down the heroes. I’ve always seen her as a top tier fighter close to Maiden level so it’ll be interesting to see who is actually able to stop her. The longer she goes undefeated the more she will stay in her mythical status of being seen as basically untouchable.

As for Team RWBY, they all look good. Blake doesn’t do too well in the big fight at the end as she has to get saved twice, but she still does contribute in the fight. Yang looks great throughout here as she helps the team make their decisions and also has the power to get things done when it counts. She is still using a lot of strategy in her fights which is good to see. Ruby looks great in the volume as she takes charge and gives orders with one exception. She only didn’t look very good in Salem’s big scene where Ruby bursts into tears right away. I thought she fell to tears way too quickly if you ask me and it just wasn’t very deserved at the time. It also made Ironwood’s decision that much easier since if the leader of the heroes bursts into tears when the villain shows up then they really don’t have much of a chance. Hopefully Ruby can keep it together when they actually fight Salem.

For Weiss this was an especially big volume. At long last she won her first true 1 on 1 fight which was awesome. It’s about time since she has trained a whole lot over the years. She earned this victory and also helps the team out quite a lot. Her summoning is only going to get better from here on out and that’ll make her a true threat in combat. Then we have Qrow who looks pretty good here. He still has some trouble with his bad luck like nearly tripping once, but as least he doesn’t spend the volume looking super nerfed or feeling sorry for himself this time. He looks pretty decent as he keeps up with Clover and Tyrian. It’ll also be interesting to see if he does try to assassinate Ironwood in the next volume. I’m surprised he let himself be captured though because that’s always a very dangerous risk.

Finally we’ve got Oscar who is doing his best to fit in with the crew. He still feels way weaker than the others, but always does his best to give good advice and talk to the various characters. Ozpin misses most of the volume so this is really just good ole Oscar. I’m not his biggest fan, but he’s not bad. There’s no way he should have actually landed that punch on Neo though. I don’t think anyone was buying that. She’s way too nimble and if she meant to knock him out then Oscar should not be waking up anytime soon.

So in the end I thought about it quite a bit and I would actually put this as the second best volume in the series. Right now I’m going to put the volumes as 3>7>6>2>5>1>4. 2 and 5 are pretty close but the train fights are still just too amazing to pass up. If the trend continues then Volume 8 could finally be the one to pass 3. It’ll be tough but with how many cool things are set up to happen we could reach that level. I’m ready for Salem to finally step in the ring herself. Sadly there is no after credits scene in this volume but I’d recommend sticking through the credits just for the song.

Overall, RWBY Volume 7 is a really great volume. We got to see more of Cinder and Neo which is always great as well as some excellent action scenes with RWBY and Ironwood to close things off. The first 9-10 episodes are a little slow, but the final few really help to give us the action we needed. It’ll work well in movie format since you can see all of that as set up for the big fights in the end. The ending is always super important and RWBY always delivers there. If you haven’t watched RWBY before then you need to do yourself a favor and check it out. You can watch this volume from the start and get what is happening since the volume is made in a clear way so you can watch it as a stand alone title, but you’d be missing out on so many hype scenes from the earlier days. I’d advise you to start from scratch.

Overall 10/10