Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros Review


It’s time to look at the Mario OVA which is so obscure that I wouldn’t blame you for not hearing of it before. There are 3 episodes in this OVA which each tell a story that shows why Mario is a true hero. They decide to mess with his origin a bit and each story is a stand alone, but it’s interesting to see Mario be used in a bunch of classic fables like this. It may not be the greatest Mario adventure, but they aren’t bad.

The first story starts with Peach and her Hammerbro parents. They are not able to protect her from the mighty Bowser. That’s where Mario comes in as he is born from a shooting star and grows up very quickly. He heads off to save her, but he will have to deal with many powerful threats like the King of the Koopas. Mario isn’t scared though and quickly gets ready to take them all down. This is a more vicious Mario than we are used to as he even wields a gun. It’s cool to see Mario fight like this. He actually uses some hand to hand skills which is something that never happens anymore. We seriously need the upcoming big budget Mario film to have some real fights. This is the Mario we deserve. The whole special is very surreal though, like how are Peach’s parents Koopas? I figured they would at least be Toads or something. Bowser doesn’t look very good as can be expected though. It’s a short little story and one that is fun enough.

The second story is about Mario but this time he is only 1 inch tall. Mario doesn’t care about this and wants to go check out the big city anyway. He knows that this will help him quickly become one of the all time greats. He meets Peach along the way and has a great time. Unfortunately, Mario’s plans are cut short when Bowser appears and decides to take Peach away. Mario can’t have this so he grabs his sword and then begins a fight for the ages. Mario may be small, but he has some serious moves and Bowser makes the mistake of swallowing Mario without chewing. I never quite get why the big villains do this since of course Mario will stab him from the inside. Bowser didn’t really think this plant through, but I suppose I can give him some kudos for the attempt. It’s a fun special as well although I prefer the first story. Mini Mario just doesn’t make for as endearing a character as his normal form.

Finally, the OVA decides to end with a bang on the last episode. This one is a Snow White homage as Bowser dresses up as an old lady and tricks Peach into biting the poison apple. Mario arrives too late to save her, but breaks into the castle in a rescue attempt. Surprisingly he wasn’t doing too well this time, but granted Mario was outnumbered. Fortunately Luigi comes in to save the day and the duo finally get to team up. It was nice to see Luigi actually show up for a bit since I thought the OVA had forgotten about him. This was the last special but probably also the best one so it was a good way to close things out. The action was on point.

So, it’s hard not to like this special as how can you not enjoy a Mario anime? Granted, the anime is fairly low budget. There is a lot of reused animation throughout the specials and they went for stills whenever possible. There’s not much of a soundtrack here either so on a technical level the OVA is pretty bad. That’s why you always want to have a good story to help counter balance these elements. If this wasn’t a Mario product then it probably wouldn’t rate quite as highly as it does. Still, it is great to see Mario on the big screen so I guess he deserves some props for that.

Even if you combine all 3 episodes the OVA isn’t all that long. You can fast blast through this with ease. The pacing for each special is pretty good as a result. It’s all pretty easily available online if you decide to check it out. Mario makes for a good hero and Peach is pretty consistent. Bowser isn’t a great villain though and you probably won’t be able to take him seriously for any of the specials. I think Bowser Jr/Baby Bowser may have been a better pick here or perhaps a made up villain. Bowser just seriously needs a better goal than constantly trying to marry Peach. It’s a futile mission and one that was doomed to failure from the start.

Overall, The Amada series may not have put Mario on the map, but they gave it a good shot. The special is reasonably fun, but there isn’t too much replay value to be found here. Watching it once is good enough to enjoy the surreal elements of the OVA. After that you’ll probably want to stick to the main Prince Haru movie. That’s where most of the Mario elements stayed after all. Of course, if you want to see Mario with a gun, then you have no choice but to run to this series. Either way, if you’re a Mario fan then I recommend checking this special out. If not, then I probably wouldn’t recommend it quite as highly as you could find better alternatives, but it’s a good adventure story for any viewer.

Overall 6/10

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Kino’s Journey: Life Goes On Review


It looks like Kino is back on the job with this prequel OVA. We’re back in the days of her youth before she became devoid of personality but still after the tragedy of the original Kino. At less than 30 minutes long, this OVA is fairly short, but it’s not bad. We get to see more crazy customs and a lot of pondering by the cast. In a way, you could say that Kino’s Journey is like a grim Charlie Brown…just think about it.

So, Kino wants to find the village where the original Kino used to live. After all, she may have taken his name, but she feels like she can’t properly use it until she wraps up these loose ends. Her master allows her to go, but gives Kino a gun just in case. Kino may run into all kinds of dangers and having some form of self defense has never hurt before. What could have happened to change Kino from the happy girl that she used to be into the emotionless person that she would transform into? It is all explained in this special.

We may as well get down to business right off the bat. The series likes to show a lot of odd superstitions and customs from the various places that Kino visits and this one is no exception. The villagers have decided that anyone beyond their village is someone who cannot be bound by their laws. As such, they decide not to do anything while an old lady murders all travelers who come by so that she can avenge her son. Many travelers meet an ill timed fate at her hands until Kino shows up one day and puts an end to it. Kino ultimately puts her gun skills to use and the taking of a life took its toll as she immediately became a different person. I suppose it’s hard not to get jaded after that, but Kino should have suspected something.

I figured that the old lady was approaching nut bar factor 6 once the animation gave her a red tint and she started glaring at Kino. Kino didn’t quite realize this even after she started to tell the lady about how her son was murdered by Kino’s parents. Probably not the best way to go about this although the lady was going to take her down anyway. Remember, never accept a tea from a stranger or it’s probably going to be spiked. I suppose the old lady was almost a decent antagonist, but I’d like to see another gun pro as the main villain at some point. It would give Kino more of a challenge.

I can’t say that I’m crazy about Kino’s animation. It’s not really my style as it goes for a more retro, grainy look. I suppose making it look older can help make the atmosphere a little more mysterious, but I’m sure you could do this with modern animation as well. There’s not much of a soundtrack since this is a rather quiet show, but it was neat to hear the classic sound effects from the show.

While this special was good, there is one area where the franchise could improve a lot and it would help future titles. The main cast needs a serious revamp. As it stands, there aren’t really any likable characters at all. I liked Kino until she reverted to her TV show form in the end, but nobody else stands out. The Motorcycle is a pretty bland character and the master didn’t seem to have a personality. The main villain probably stood out the most and she’s totally insane. Adding in good characters can definitely make a difference and it’s probably what separates this from Twilight Zone as the two have a very similar concept. This show just doesn’t have the cool alien episodes or supernatural adventures and prefers to stay old school. Not a bad decision per say, but it does limit its opportunities.

Overall, Life Goes On is a good way to continue Kino’s Journey. I clearly did enjoy it more than the show as this kind of series is definitely a case by case basis. If the story is good then we’ll have a winner, but if the traditions are too dicey then it won’t have the same effect. This special was interesting enough and the time went by at a good speed. If you enjoy adventures where you get to see different lands and situations then this should be up your ally. It’s a special that easily stands on its own so you don’t need to have seen the show to get what’s happening. It’s not the most exciting thing out there, but it’s good enough to warrant a watch.

Overall 6/10

Slayers Excellent Review

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Slayers has had some ups and downs as a franchise. Due to its unique mix of comedy and action in the main shows, it can be hit or miss. The shows are able to utilize this quite well and the movies have had success as well. For some reason, the OVAs are the ones that have a lot of problems. Just like the first OVA, this one was not very good. It focused way too much on the fanservice and comedy angle while neglecting the action that brought this series a lot of fame and fortune.

There are three episodes in this OVA. The first one involves the initial encounter between Naga and Lina, which is how their adventures ultimately began. Naga will stop at nothing to defeat Lina, which proves to be a thorn in the side of the main character. Naga may be decently powerful, but she’s also reckless and leaves a lot of damage and devastation in her wake. She claims to be Lina’s rival, but she’s really more of a tag along at this point.

It’s intriguing to see how these two met, but I can’t say that a whole lot came out of it. After the first few minutes, we are essentially back to the status quo except for the fact that Naga is trying really hard to surpass Lina when in the current days, she is already accepted as a rival. The episode had potential, but then the OVA decided to play up the fanservice angle. I’ll mostly talk about that towards the end of the review. Needless to say, of the three episodes, this was likely fell in the middle. I’m glad that Lina essentially proved that these two fighters aren’t even close, but more of a serious fight would have been nice.

The second episode involves a rich girl who has hired Lina to be her bodyguard. Lina accepts because of the huge sum of money that will be given to her as a reward, but this appears to be a rather large error in judgment. Lina has to pay for travel expenses and for the food so she quickly spends her reward. To teach the rich person a lesson, Lina arranges for some bandits to kidnap her, but this may backfire when real ones show up to take her!

The rich person seemed to be par for the course as far as these individuals tend to be in anime. Her laugh was very similar to Naga’s, which was eerie for Lina the whole time. Still, it wasn’t a bad segment at first, but the ending quickly drove it down to last place from the 3 episodes. It was simply terrible and an example of why mixing comedy with action is rarely done. Typically, the result is that both areas will fail and that’s what happens here. It’s one of those stories that was simply better off not happening.

Finally, we go to a village where two fashion designers argue about whether clothing should be classic or modern and risky. Lina and Naga naturally choose two different sides so then they argue about which one is better as they burn down each other’s bases. By the end, they start to learn the values of friendship, but I can’t say that it was a very entertaining episode. It’s actually tough to decide if this one actually beats the first episode or not, but I believe that I gave it a slight lead. At least Lina hesitates a little when asked to blow up the opponent’s base. Something that Naga certainly didn’t do!

All right, let’s look at the main reason why Slayers Excellent was doomed from the start. It all goes back to the fanservice angle. There isn’t a ton of it visually, but when you consider the chest insults directed at Lina, it gets to be a bit much. There was also a random hot springs scene thrown around and a lot of attention is given to Naga’s outfit. It’s seriously sad and I haven’t seen this much fanservice associated with Slayers since the first outfit. There’s nothing over the top, but it still happens enough to make me give it a thumbs down right away. This really just exposes the fact that the writers were not confident with their story so they felt like they had to add something to throw the viewers in at the expense of a few stars. A good Slayers story should always be a 7-8, but this one was not good.

At least the animation is decently good as can be expected. It’s rather old so J.C. Staff doesn’t look quite as good as they do nowadays. Right now, they are one of the best animation companies of all time. I would need to compare Slayers to other shows of this era to properly rank it, but it looks good enough. There aren’t many energy blasts after all so it’s a little harder to gauge. It has that 90’s feel, which is always a good nostalgia boost to any series. I consider DBZ to look great even though I have seen many say that it wasn’t very good even for its time.

Excellent’s soundtrack is decent although very generic at this point. The series needs to try and add in some new tunes at this point. Relying on the same classics is all well and good, but more variety is always a good thing. The new tunes may not be instant classics, but you’ll never know how good they can be if you didn’t give them a chance. These tunes are decent, but they certainly aren’t very thrilling or memorable at this point.

Lina is a good character as always. She may not be a hero, but you can still root for her as she typically only beats up opponents who get in her way. Getting rich is a noble goal and she typically doesn’t take any short cuts. Unfortunate things just tend to happen to her so that she never ends up with any money in the long run. She seriously has no luck when it comes to anything financial so it is a good thing that Lina is one of the strongest sorceresses on the planet.

Naga is really the only other recurring character and she still isn’t a good supporting character. She has some good traits like being overconfident and constantly trying to one up Lina, but that’s just not good enough to overshadow her negative qualities like the fanservice and chest comments. She also gets the duo into a lot of trouble by not thinking things through and just being very reckless. I like when characters are reckless, but when it is intentional, not accidental.

Overall, Slayers Excellent is a trilogy that you should just skip. It doesn’t add anything worthwhile to the Slayers mythos and you can essentially say that it is just poorly written filler. The actual filler in the series is better than these episodes, which really says something. The animation and soundtrack are decent, but that’s not enough to save this one. I’d advise you to skip this and just watch Slayers Next if you’re looking for a nice fantasy adventure. Slayers has a lot of different shows and movies so you just want to memorize the full titles. Next>>Try>>Gorgeous>>Whatever else the others were>>>Excellent. I do like the fact that all of the movie/OVA titles are basically synonyms. It’s a fun trend, even if the OVAs can’t live up to their titles.

Overall 4/10

Slayers Special Review

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Looks like it’s time for the next Slayers adventure. This one also takes place in the past so Lina is with Naga instead of the other fighters. This special is basically an OVA that consists of 3 episodes so you can also think of it as a mini series. Each episode has a stand alone plot, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the series. It doesn’t work this time though as this is probably the worst Slayers product yet. It’s not awful, but it just doesn’t have most of the qualities that makes Slayers a likable franchise in the first place.

The first episode involves a deal that Lina almost made with a mad scientist. Ultimately, she decided not to team up with him since he wanted to turn her into a giant monster. Years later, he has finally hunted her down with clones of Naga. Their laughter overwhelms Lina and she is brought to the enemy’s lair. Naga will now have to get past her clones to save Lina before she is turned into a Chimera. This could be her toughest mission yet!

This was definitely the weakest of the three episodes. The villain wasn’t very interesting and having the clones beat Lina so easily was pretty anticlimatic. It was unique to have Naga be the one to save her, but the actual episode just wasn’t that funny. It would have been cooler if they had just played it seriously since the actual plot could have been good otherwise. The dream sequence at the beginning is good though.

Next up, Lina and Naga are hired to protect a boy named Jeffrey. His mom wants him to get more confidence and experience in the real world so she hired some fake bandits to go on a mountain. Lina and Naga are to escort Jeffrey up the mountain so that he can vanquish these hooligans. Unfortunately, real bandits have defeated the fakes and Jeffrey turns out to be an incredibly weak fighter. Lina and Naga must defeat the villains while making it look like Jeffrey has done this on his own…which could be harder than expected.

This was the best episode of the three although that may not be saying a whole lot. The running gag of Jeffrey’s mom beating up the heroes starts to get old pretty quickly. The final boss was pretty intense until the plot twist that we had (not) been waiting for occurred. While the episodes try to start off on a serious note, they quickly go back to their comedy ways. It’s one of the things that typically makes Slayers a fun franchise, but this OVA just didn’t know how to transition from serious moments to happy times. As a result, it basically destroys the episode. At least Jeffrey has good intentions…he’ll need them since he has nothing else at his disposal.

Finally, Lina and Naga chase after a sorcerer who has stolen a mysterious mirror. He uses it to make shadow clones of the two heroines and they are opposites in every way. This means that the clone of Naga is really shy and Lina’s is a humanitarian who’s always ready for peace. Lina and Naga must get past these clones if they ever want to break the mirror once and for all. They can’t let these clones tarnish their reputations!

Using the clones plot two times in three episodes? You can tell that the writers were getting pretty desperate by now. It is certainly more entertaining than the first episode and the actual concept is pretty fun. That being said, I would have preferred a serious battle with the fakes than just watching them humiliate themselves. It’s also a bit much since I like to think that an opposite Lina would still know how to use self defense. The villain was better than the one in the first episode, but he still wasn’t a very good character.

Lina still has her accent, but she doesn’t seem as tough as in the film set around this period. She is overwhelmed by the laughing of the clones and she just doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to prove herself since there are no real villains to be found. She’s still a good main character and she’s still adventuring for riches and glory, but Lina is only a shell of her former self. We have her personality from the previous installments, but she is just there. Lina doesn’t get any big moments or fights.

Naga definitely looks a lot worse here than in the film. She may have done a good job against her clones, but she really seems to serve no purpose. When she’s not teasing Lina, she’s taking sides with the villains who fight her. She also gets blasted quite a few times by Lina when she stops paying attention to her surroundings. We know that Naga can fight, but as with Lina, she doesn’t get a chance to show this.

One of the problems that Slayers has always had is the fanservice. Typically, it is limited to chest comments, but it goes a little farther here. Naga seems to primarily appear for fanservice, which means that she doesn’t get a whole lot of character this time. Since all of her appearances involve fanservice with the usual chest comments still around, it doesn’t make for a good combo. This certainly drags down the OVA as it definitely would have gotten around a 6 without this unnecessary addition. The fantasy aspect can hold its own so the animators definitely didn’t need to resort to cheap tricks.

I never thought that I’d say this, but another one of the problems is what usually gives Slayers its greatest strength. I’m talking about the writing. It just was not up to par with what I’m used to seeing in the series and it really showed. The jokes typically relied on fanservice or overused tropes that have been played out. The banter between Gourry and Lina is gone since he isn’t here right now and Naga just doesn’t complement Lina’s character very well. It’s one of the reasons why the prequel continuity will never be as good as the main one. The supporting cast just isn’t very good. (The lack of action compared to the real deal is also a factor to be considered of course)

The animation is pretty decent. It’s definitely not what you’d call high budget, but it doesn’t look bad either. You could just call it standard or average, which will suffice. There are no real fights so that makes it hard to gauge the animation anyway. As long as the talking scenes look good and the backgrounds are clear, then the OVA is doing well. I have no qualms with it in this area. The soundtrack is pretty plain though. You will quickly forget that there is one and it may work well with the scenes as you are watching the episodes, but it is instantly forgettable. Again, that’s better than not having a soundtrack or having a bad one, but the OVA could definitely do better.

Overall, Slayers Special is not quite as special as it seems. Slayers Perfect did a better job of being good and I would still recommend the normal TV shows over both of them. At 3 episodes, you’ll be done with Slayers Special before you know it, but it’s still an OVA that you’d be better off skipping. At most, I would recommend it to ultimate Slayers fans who want to watch everything related to the main series, but it’s essentially three filler episodes so it’s not like it’s going to develop the characters at this point. The OVA just makes too many mistakes and a switch in writers may be called for at this point. At the very least, you’ll like the design for the main villain of the second episode.

Overall 4/10

Chunin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs Konohamaru! Review

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It’s time for a review a pretty short OVA. This is probably the shortest thing that I’ve reviewed since the Superman shorts! It’s only about 13 minutes, but that’s still decent I suppose since it’s mostly about a fight. (30 minutes is still the minimum length that is acceptable for an OVA though) This OVA is pretty good and it definitely beats most of the other Naruto shorts…even if the ending is a little predictable.

After all these years, Naruto has finally decided to retake the Chunin Exams. This will help him to finally move past the Genin handle that has haunted him for so long. Unfortunately for our proud shinobi, Naruto is faced off against Konohamaru in the first round. This will certainly be a fight to be remembered and Naruto is going to have to use all of his techniques. After all, Konohamaru has been waiting for this day for over 3 years!

It’s cool to see Naruto actually take the Exams again, but that’s even more of a reason for this short to have been longer. Wouldn’t it have been cool to see Naruto participate in all of the trials up to the fight? That would have been pretty fun, but I guess they didn’t want to squeeze all of that in. I’m not sure if you guessed the ending yet, but you should realize that Naruto was still a genin in the manga at the time….so it would be hard to move up.

Nevertheless, Konohamaru puts up a fight and I’m happy to say that Naruto takes the fight a little seriously as well. He says that he can’t hold back since it would make Konohamaru feel bad. To an extent, Naruto has to be holding back since his first punch didn’t shatter Konohamaru, but we get the overall message of what he is trying to say. Konohamaru tries a lot of different jutsu and apparently he even knows the Giant Rasengan. That’s pretty cool for his fans since he is definitely learning at a quicker rate than Naruto. Technically, this means that he should be able to surpass Naruto at some point, but I don’t see it.

One thing (There is Always one thing) that I found the writers to have made a mistake on was Naruto’s Rasengan barrage. We get that he’s not holding back, but attacking Konohamaru with dozens of Rasengans is a little much. If any of those hit the poor kid..he’d be dead. There’s no way he could survive a full encounter with one of those devastating attacks. It looks cool to see Konohamaru dodging them the whole time, but that was definitely a bit much.

The animation is decently good for this OVA. It’s basically TV show quality, but considering some of the episodes during the War arc, I guess this is still an improvement. At this point, we’ll take what we can get. Also, it’s not like the OVA had a big budget to back it up so I’m sure that they did what they could with it. As long as the animation doesn’t look bad, I’m fine.

Overall, Naruto vs Konohamaru is a pretty fun special. It’s certainly not something that is going to keep you talking for a while, but who doesn’t like to see a fight scene? Naruto got to prove that he may be a Genin, but he can still hold his own against anyone. The ending is pretty cheesy and a little sad, but it’s unfortunately one of the only paths for the writers to go. I would have gone with the “I surrender” route, but that wasn’t in the cards. I recommend checking this out one of these days when you have the time. It’s brief and fun, which is all that you would expect from this. After that, check out Shippuden film 3!

Overall 7/10

Tsubasa Spring Thunder Review

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It’s time to review the second Tsubasa OVA, which is also the final one to ever be created. For better or worse, the franchise ended (On TV anyway) with this installment so does it provide us with a lot of closure and such? No….not quite. Luckily, this turns out well for us in the sense that it is basically nonstop action. This OVA raises the stakes from the last one and we have less exposition so more time for fights. As you can tell, this one easily defeated the last OVA!

The plot continues after the heroes saved Fai from the sorcerer….is that really how the last OVA ended? Wellllll…maybe not, but they assume that you guys read the manga so it’s okay to jump a lot! Kurogane loses his arm and someone goes to get him a replacement when an old foe appears. Remember Seishiro, Syaoran’s mentor? Well, he’s back to keep on searching for the vampire twins and he also decides to intimidate the heroes as a consolation prize. Syaoran isn’t having any of that and he attack the man. He shall get the feather at any cost! Unbeknownst to the heroes..the other Syaoran also approaches! (The original Syaoran who was with us for the whole series before turning evil…that Syaoran)

Now, this OVA can be a little cruel to longtime fans of the series who didn’t read the manga since it skips a whole bunch of story arcs while including flashbacks that reference them. It’s an intriguing strategy and one that many will not really appreciate. It’s probably a lot more fun if you’ve never seen Tsubasa before since it’ll be a mystery. (I said something similar for the last OVA) Starting off with the heroes escaping from a dying world after murdering the magician who had been hyped as one of the ultimate villains since the very first episode is rather anticlimatic as well. I’d be pretty disheartened if Frieza or Aizen had been taken out off screen like that. We also don’t really hear the plot twist about Fai’s name. (Tsubasa loves its name twists…..just wait for Kurogane’s!)

So, the continuity of this OVA is definitely a little dicey, but if you read the manga everything will still make a lot of sense. At first, I was pretty skeptical about Kurogane losing his arm since it seemed to be counterproductive at the time. It would just reduce his chances of escape right? Luckily, we just find out that he had to sacrifice his arm to save Fai and escape. (Fai’s always getting rescued now and that’s a trend that won’t end anytime soon) Tsubasa saved itself from that small stumble.

This OVA is only two episodes so it’s extremely short. Luckily, it tries to make up for this with all of the action and its a winning strategy. The first episode mainly deals with Syaoran’s fight against Seishiro and it’s nice to see how Syaoran’s improved since their last encounter. (Different Syaoran, but same fighting techniques) However, Syaoran has not improved nearly as much as you would have thought and he’s still losing pretty badly in this fight. I love his determination, but it’s disappointing to see him so outmatched here. Things get even dicier for him in the second episode since he goes up against Dark Syaoran. (I’m going to just say Dark before his name to make it easier to tell them apart) Dark Syaoran is much stronger than Seishiro in my opinion although I’m sure that many would disagree on that. Syaoran puts up a brave fight, but I seriously don’t see him posing much of a threat for the experienced villain. The fight scene is fun and it’s nice to see the contrast of fire vs thunder.

I definitely enjoyed the action scenes in this OVA more than the last one’s. They weren’t rushing and the fights were allowed to really develop. The energy attacks from Seishiro’s blade as well as the two Syaorans also helped since energy attacks tend to look pretty great when they’re used in such a high budget OVA. One area where this OVA lost to the last one is the theme song. The last one was lacking in images, but the overall atmosphere helped it and the green circle was ominous. There really isn’t anything redeeming in this opening and it’s just very boring. I don’t know what happened, but it feels like it was created as an afterthought. There’s no action scenes or anything and it just shows all of the characters a bunch of times. Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z has openings over 20 years ago that were better than these. There’s no excuse for a bad opening these days since so many anime produce great ones every year!

Aside from the opening, the soundtrack is pretty good. Naturally, most of the selections are from the show so they are tried and true. They never get old and it’s very well rounded. I’m pretty sure that my favorite theme didn’t play this time, but I suppose that it can’t make the cut every time. (Even though it is the best theme….)

I would almost say that Syaoran is a 5 star protagonist in this OVA. (5 out of 5 of course) However, there is one scene that holds him back and it is near the beginning. Seishiro starts to intimidate the heroes and he beats up on Fai for a while…and nobody helps. This is actually worse for Kurogane (Since he does nothing, but Syaoran should have done something. Syaoran does challenge Seishiro to a match, but it’s only because he wants the feather. He seemed to not care about what was happening to Fai, which was pretty out of character. Aside from that brief moment, Syaoran was basically perfect.

At this point, Sakura is basically avoiding him (As seen in a new flashback) so he is basically alone. He’s still intent on getting the feathers so that Sakura can have her memories back, but he’s going to have the short end of the stick either way. He’s still very resolute in this decision and he’ll face anyone to get the feathers. He never backs down and Syaoran is just a great hero. He’s certainly more heroic than your average fighter and he doesn’t even need any comic relief scenes to balance his personality out. He’s completely serious and stone faced the entire OVA and it works for his character.

Dark Syaoran mainly appears for the second episode, but he does get a pretty epic cliffhanger for the first episode. He definitely means business and to be honest…I’m basically rooting for him. I try to root for both Syaorans equally, but Dark Syaoran is technically the character that I’m more used too and if you didn’t see the last OVA, you wouldn’t know just how evil he is. From this perspective, he seems more like an anti-hero, although a strong case can be made that he’s the villain since he’s willing to destroy the other Syaoran. Regardless, his goal is to help Sakura get her feathers back and the main difference is that he doesn’t take no for an answer. His design is epic and you can tell that he’s more on the dark side than the regular Syaoran. Dark Syaoran definitely helped the series excel to new heights!
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Sakura is a lot better here than in the last OVA. She is typically awake…well, she’s awake inside of her dream anyway. It’s an interesting moment since she has a meta conversation with Watanuki and it’s all very deep. (Literally since they’re basically underwater) It can be a little upsetting to see her avoid Syaoran, but we do find out the reason for it at the very end and it’s explained more at the end of the manga. It makes sense to an extent since we wouldn’t want Syaoran to get any false hopes. Her final moment is not that great though since it’s something that we’ve seen a lot of characters do in the past and it’s always a clock stopper. (Not in a good way…I want my action scenes to keep on going!) She doesn’t fight in this OVA, but we can always hope that she’ll grab her gun and take on a villain someday.

As mentioned earlier, Kurogane looks really bad here. Not only does he freeze up when Fai is attacked, but he has been reduced to sitting on the sideline for all of the battles. Gone are the days when he was a big fighter. (He does get a big fight soon, but it is not animated at this point in time) He does have some scenes with the princess where we find out new twists and such, but it’s not really going to help him rise up the ranks. I like him as a character, but I just didn’t care for him here. Just counting this OVA and not the previous one + TV show, Kurogane just wouldn’t be that great.

Although, Kurogane would still be better than Fai. Now that Fai is basically powerless, he’s really no help to the team. He tags along and gets beat up by the enemies, but that’s about it. We know that he’s a very good hand to hand fighter from the TV show…unless he was just amping up his abilities with magic. Still, I would expect him to do better and I’m sure that he would have some good moments in the future. This OVA just happens to take place at a time where he doesn’t really have a role to speak of. It’s a sad time for him and Kurogane.

It’s good to see Seishiro appear after being gone for so long. He’s easily one of the best characters in the franchise and his character is still a mystery. He seems to have joined the side of the heroes in this OVA sine he’s a lot friendlier then he once was, but you still have to question his goal. What will he do with the vampires once he finds them? It’s too bad that Seishiro won’t stick around to help since he could definitely do a lot of good. He may be the strongest hero at the moment and that’s saying something! I guess he’ll just have to let the main characters do their thing, but it would have been nice if he had stayed with the party.

The tone of this OVA is a little more like the show. There are still a lot of twists, but it’s a little lighter. The stakes haven’t gone down, but these two episodes feel like they could have been in the animated series. Maybe the director changed or it’s just a coincidence in the story. The Kamui arc was likely darker in the manga as well. This one had more nostalgia for me in that sense and that’s always a nice plus.

The ending may be more than a little dicey for Tsubasa fans and for those who just picked this OVA up on the fly. The ending gives us a huge cliffhanger with the heroes deciding to take out the main villain once and for all as they make another dimension jump. After all of the adventures, we are finally at the final battle! Only to find out that the series was not going to be continued and that you would have to read the manga and try to decipher the fight scenes to see it! On one hand, it’s not cool since you’ll never see the ending, but I do have to admit that I’m a sucker for a good cliffhanger. That type of ending really makes me jump on the hype train! It’s just so intense and it’s one of the ultimate cliffhangers! (Another example of an ultimate cliffhanger is Goku finally arriving to his allies’ aid against Frieza or Sasuke preparing to fight Gaara after some intense training. Shonen Jump is full of these scenes and it’s one of the reasons why they are awesome!)

Overall, Tsubasa definitely ended on a high note with this OVA! It’s a mixed bag since it doesn’t really tie up most of the loose ends and it doesn’t really end, but it was still a very fun ride. We had a lot of action and the soundtrack/animation will hold up very well for many years. Bringing back Seishiro and Dark Syaoran was a good way to bring in most of the villains and Fei Wong got his little cameo. Kurogane and Fai looked really underwhelming and this is their last animated appearance to that could be a little disheartening to their fans. (Not quite as bad as being a fan of the evil sorcerer though…) I definitely recommend this OVA to Tsubasa fans and to anyone who enjoys a nice anime fight! It doesn’t really have any negative qualities and it fixes the mild issues that I had with the first OVA. (I’ll miss the Angelic Layer crossover from the manga, but I suppose that this was how it had to be. Hopefully it’ll get animated someday) This is something that you’ll be glad you saw!

Overall 8/10

Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations Review

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I watched the Tsubasa show pretty recently (Or it feels recent anyway) and it was an enjoyable watch. It was a great adaption of the manga and I dare say that it was more interesting except for the fact that it didn’t cover the second half of the series. The half of the series where the action really kicked into high gear and the part where I became a fan of the series. Well, this OVA covers the Kamui arc, which was my favorite volume of the series. It helps that this is the first part of the story where I really began to enjoy the series. Let’s see if it has the same effect on the animated adaption!

The OVA is three episodes long so it’s actually still shorter than your average theater film and it may be a little longer than your average animated film. This story takes place immediately after the library battle so the filler from the TV show has been ignored for the sake of the canon plot. The heroes arrive in a land where it is always raining acid and the world’s inhabitants have all been destroyed except for a handful of people. They have divided into two groups who protect their supply of water as they try to survive. Both groups don’t like each other and the heroes bump into a group that’s led by a vampire named Kamui. Syaoran needs to find the feather that is in this island, but what if it means extinction for the poor inhabitants of the city? Meanwhile, the Syaoran who has been trapped in the water tomb finally awakens and Sakura has to go on a solo adventure.

A lot of things definitely happen in this OVA so hopefully you are prepared for a fast paced journey. Right away, you’ll likely be able to tell that the animation is much different from the show and the tone has shifted as well. This one is a lot darker and it’ll be tough for you to locate any cheerful moments. (Whereas the anime had those in spades) Of course, we do get plenty of action scenes, which is always a solid consolation prize!

The soundtrack is pretty good and you should recognize most of the tunes from the anime. My favorite opera theme only appears once, but that’ll have to do. The rest of the themes are pretty good and while Tsubasa doesn’t end up having anything that will become iconic, the overall soundtrack is well above average. The theme song is intriguing since nothing really happens and we just see a glowing object. I think it works really well for a theatrical experience since it would slowly build up the hype for you. It definitely would have been more fun to look at if there were fights and fun images in the song, but this was still pretty good. For me, it’s a natural hype builder.

The animation is solid and I supposed it’ll be based on your personal preferences on whether you think it beats the show’s animation or not. I think the animation here is more fluid, but the fight scenes may have been a little hurt by this. It’s hard to describe, but the action scenes aren’t really fleshed out as much as they could be. The characters are fighting and yet, not much is happening. Either the screen will cut away or they’ll only have time for a few blows to be exchanged. (The next OVA is better in this area) This OVA really only has two fights. Kamui vs Syaoran and Syaoran vs Syaoran. Both fights are very short though, which could also be why I wasn’t very impressed with them. Good action scenes take time and the OVA covered so much that they breezed through them. Sakura fights with giant monsters, but I can’t say that it’s much of a consolation prize this time.

Syaoran is the protagonist that we all remember, but his personality quickly changes as the OVA goes on. He starts out as the happy camper that we’ve come to expect and by the end you can only call him a hero who has strayed from the path and turned into the villain. He wants to get the feathers at any cost and that cost may now include murder. (Of course, he did risk the lives of everyone in the village to get a feather in the TV show so…) One can argue that the change is beyond his control since a soul is taken from him, but he still has his soul so I like to think that he can control it. He still has his memories and everything so this was basically his decision. It’s intriguing, but I would say that he is my favorite villain in the series. He gets a pretty huge power up to coincide with the trope that a hero who turns evil gains great power.

The mysterious Syaoran in the container wakes up and he gets a role in this OVA. He uses a mixture of sword techniques and thunder abilities to contrast with the other Syaoran’s fire sword and spellcasting. He is similar to the original Syaoran, but he’s definitely more sullen. He’s not very cheerful and his thoughts always seem to keep him preoccupied. His arrival brought many questions along with it and it’ll be tough for the other heroes to get used to him being around. Which Syaoran is to be trusted right? All is explained in the OVA and they’ll continue to bring up more plot points as Tsubasa goes on.

Kurogane is really more of a non factor here. He proves that he can go up against Kamui in a fight and he’s definitely a skilled warrior, but he doesn’t really have a stake in the whole situation. He does get a lot of character development with Fai though since they have definitely become closer as allies. Fai still keeps his secrets, but it doesn’t stop Kurogane from making a dangerous decision to save his life. It’s also frustrating for Kurogane since he’s unable to help when the two Syaorans face off against each other. It wasn’t a great moment for him, but I’m sure that he’ll do better in future stories. He’s still a pretty good supporting character and he just needs a good power up to keep him in the helpful section of characters.

Fai doesn’t look very good in this OVA. He has a lot of power and he’s finally willing to use it to help the others, but he underestimates his opponent. This is a critical mistake and he ends up losing just about all of his power. He went from being immeasurably skilled to suddenly being the weakest member on the squad. Kurogane makes a deal to keep Fai alive, which also gives Fai some superhuman abilities, but it’s regrettable that the situation had to occur at all. I would have expected Fai to have put up a better fight. I definitely didn’t care for him in this collection, but I’m sure that he’ll do better in the next OVA. He just needs to learn how to fight in his new state and he’ll be set.

Sakura is mostly asleep or unconscious in this OVA due to circumstances that happened earlier. All of the clone drama and other twists have likely weakened her condition as well. She is unable to prevent the tragedy of the two Syaorans fighting and when she finally wakes up once again, Sakura is given a task. She must find a treasure and bring it back to the base so Yuko can grant a wish to help the heroes. This results in Sakura going on her own adventure to get past giant monsters and prove that she can help the team as well! It’s a noble gesture and Sakura is a good character although it would be great if she was conscious more often. Going on the trek by herself did grant the other heroes some much needed rest so it certainly helped.

Kamui quickly became one of my favorite characters in the manga so it was nice to see him appear in the OVA. He’s still one of the better characters although he may not be quite as high for me here as he originally was in the manga. He was just a little weaker than I remembered since he looks bad against the other squad of humans and his showing against Kurogane wasn’t great. He still pulls through when it counts, but Kamui wasn’t quite as awe inspiring as I had remembered. Still, his design is pretty good and he’s one of the few vampires that I actually like. Kamui is also pretty unreasonable to the other group. They just want to share resources to last longer in this world, but Kamui just wants to fight. Perhaps they did something in their series to make Kamui distrust them, but strictly speaking from a Tsubasa viewpoint, Kamui and his team seemed to be at fault. Kamui’s twin, Subaru, isn’t quite as memorable since he doesn’t really get to appear until the very end. He spends most of his time being trapped, which doesn’t help his case.

This OVA definitely takes place at an interesting time since there is really no conclusion. The animators likely should have just made this a 13 episode OVA to adapt everything since there isn’t a whole lot of time in 3 episodes. Still, it was good to see that Tsubasa’s popularity was still strong enough to get it this far. Viewers of the show may not appreciate how different the OVA is from the show, but this also occurred in the manga. The OVA isn’t very violent although one character does steal someone’s eye, which is definitely the most graphic part here. I never liked that kind of violence since attacks against the eye are rather sensitive. It’s just not the same as losing an arm or something like that. Still, it’s not very graphic and it’s just the thought that can be stomach churning. The OVA is certainly a lot more intense than the show, but likely nothing that you can’t handle if you’ve seen Naruto Shippuden or Bleach. The only other scene that may not be a lot of fun is the Sakura vs Giant Monster part. She has a gun so you can likely tell that the monsters are doomed. That part’s a little iffy since giant monsters are practically the same as animals at times so those scenes would be a little negative as well.
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Overall, Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations is a pretty solid OVA. I think the adaption may have went more smoothly if they had kept going in the show format and I have to wonder how the scenes would have been altered to fit the show’s format. I’m sure that it would have been a little more cheerful and the fights would have been longer. So, in that sense, I still think the show was their best bet, but this OVA does a good job of continuing the series. The soundtrack and animation are very solid and the plot has definitely moved forward. We have been waiting for the Syaoran in the water tank to get out for so long that it’s refreshing to see him finally get out. There isn’t much of an ending and it’s basically a “To Be Continued” so it’s good that this OVA got a sequel. (Which I shall review shortly) This is a fun stand alone story that I could recommend to people who didn’t see the Tsubasa show as well as those who did. It’s pretty atmospheric after all and it’ll play out like a mystery if you didn’t see the show. We get a lot of references to other old villains and even Fei Wong makes a cameo as he takes down his assistant. Of course, every viewer can appreciate Mokona and all that he does for the team! The eye scene and giant monster violence are the only things that you may want to be on the lookout for as the rest is all clear sailing! (The next OVA has more action so get ready for epicness!)

Overall 7/10