RWBY: Roman Holiday Review

All right it’s finally time to jump into the last RWBY book that I had not read. This one’s a prequel involving Neo and Torchwick so I had high hopes from the jump. Needless to say this one did end up passing the other two to be the best book in the series. It feels really plot important next to the others and Torchwick has always been a really entertaining character. Seeing more of him was nice and this is the most we’ve learned about Neo’s personality in the whole franchise. There’s a lot to enjoy here.

The book changes POVs in each chapter from Neo to Torchwick and so their stories stay separate for a while until they inevitably meet up. It makes for a good way to get invested in each of their plots and wait for them to collide. First up is the Neo plot where we see how she grew up in a rich household but this came at the expense of a loving environment. She was always trained on how to be a very dutiful child but she was rebellious and bored as a result so she made up an imaginary friend and caused a lot of mayhem. Eventually she was sent to a private school to be formally educated but even this is boring. What she needs is a new environment and someone who treats her as an equal but where can she find someone like this?

Meanwhile for Torchwick we see him in his younger days. The guy grew up in a rather rough environment in Mistral so he’s used to having to steal to survive and he fights off anyone who gets in his way. He steals wallets, etc. One day he is noticed by the big crime lord of the area who gives him a choice of serving under her or dying. Torchwick decides to serve while earning some petty cash on the side until he’s caught and leaves town for Vale. Now he has to try and succeed in a new environment but this won’t be an easy task. Of course this is where Neo lives so the two are about to cross paths.

Naturally I am assuming that you’ve watched the show before reading this book so that you understand the characters but even if you haven’t, I dare say that the book is pretty new reader friendly. It’s a story that is understand with a fun dynamic of a girl who wants adventure and a criminal who has pretty much hit the limit of what he can do without a partner in crime. So when you mix these two together then you are in for a fun adventure all the way through.

Torchwick is one of those fighters who is easy to underestimate because he doesn’t use a semblance but in the show he was able to easily defeat Blake and held his own against Sun for a while there. He was also obliterating volume 3 Ruby so you aren’t surprised when he wins most of his fights in this book. Ultimately he only goes down when the numbers are really against him and that’s when he’s in a position where most other fighters would be going down as well. Torchwick has a lot of wit when he is dealing with the others and he also never makes excuses. When he loses he just blames himself for not preparing and that’s the end of it. He doesn’t really have time to hold grudges or anything like that, he just keeps it moving.

He’s certainly a crook through and through so you never have any illusions about him being some kind of misunderstood hero. He’s just a very entertaining villain and that really goes a long way. He’s the kind of guy who is easy to sympathize with. Then you have Neo who has certainly been through her share of troubles. You get the feeling that her parents really need to take 90% of the blame for how she turned out because at her core she was a nice kid. She just never got enough attention and that ended up putting her on the wrong path. Naturally even at the school she was trying to be nice and the bullies came out of the woodworks so of course she turned to a life of crime.

The book focuses on how skilled she is at close quarters combat too. Neo always had a knack for it but at the school they helped perfect her skills. That was certainly the biggest benefit of being there. Neo also got street smart very quickly thanks to Torchwick and he was already at a level where she could likely deal with pro huntsman given that Torchwick was giving them the slip and she surpassed him very quickly.

There are a number of supporting characters here like Miltia and Melanie. They’re fun enough but I preferred them when they were going on missions and taking out targets of the gang as opposed to when they were just being petty bullies at school. I guess even villains need their downtime but it would have looked a whole lot better for them if they were cooler outside of their work. Lil’ Miss is impressive with how much clout she has even if physically she doesn’t seem like the most powerful fighter. You always wonder how the person at the top isn’t super powerful. I know in part it’s about how many followers you have but you’d think that a lot of them would jump ship if they knew that they were stronger than the leader right? I mean that would just make sense.

One of her stronger fighters was the Chameleon who had a pretty good fight with Torchwick. The power to camoflauge is certainly a good one to have. We saw Iliya use this fairly well back in volume 5. Ultimately you still can’t count Torchwick out of a fight though as he adapts to everyone quickly. Brick and Mortar found this out the hard way. The book has several fights here and it’s always fun to read a fight and try to visualize it. The tactics are on point and it’s nice to see another side of vale. While it may seem like a great place by day, apparently it’s still got a whole lot of crime once nightfall hits.

Not even the professional huntsman and Ozpin can keep a steady leash on them. Since Torchwick had the whole city running scared by volume 2 it’s fair to say that nobody was really in a position to stop him at all. The guy just got too powerful too quickly. A little cliffhanger ending with Cinder approaching him could have been fun but maybe they’re saving that for a sequel if this book ever gets one. We’d have to see why Torchwick ended up working for her. I mean we can all guess why (She probably forced him) but it’ll be cool to see that unfold. There are countless adventures that you can tell through the books and one day I hope they come up with more stories. This can’t be where the novels stop! Not when we were just getting started like this.

Overall, Roman Holliday is a great book. It really helps to expand the RWBY universe as we know it. Not with a lot of lore or anything like that but just the inner workings of how the kingdoms operate. We see just how rough people in Mistral have it where apparently people get mugged every day as a casual thing to the point where no cops will even appear. Then seeing the criminal underworld of Vale was enlightening. These are things the show probably wouldn’t have time for so using a book on them is perfect. More books like this would definitely go a very long way. So I highly recommend reading this one and hopefully they announce more at the next RTX convention.

Overall 8/10

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Review

This review is of the TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Wait we’re back to the Exorcist again? Not to be outdone by the third film, this one adds animal violence, nazi’s, and an evil tribe here to cause some trouble. Now I would say that the third film is nothing if not competitive when going to the bottom and still does end up surpassing this one as being worse but Dominion put up a good fight and nobody can take that away from it. There aren’t many exorcisms here at all as we’ve come to expect from the series since that was mainly focused on in the first but we still get a dramatic finish with a lot of yelling.

So the movie starts with the Nazi’s rushing in to terrorize a small village. First they make sure to break father Merrin by having him choose 10 sacrifices and it was all a cruel test to break his spirit and resolve. Merrin changed paths to being a travelling architect as he digs around in ruins that may have some religious ties. Well this time he is accompanied by Father Francis as the group is worried about Merrin. Turns out that they should have been worried about the whole village. See the temple was protecting them from the devil demon and now he’s here to destroy them all. He decides to inhabit Cheche, a guy who can’t really talk much and suffered a grave injury but is healing really quickly. The heroes are going to need to watch out now.

It’s hard to know where to begin with this one. Almost immediately when the film starts up we see a bunch of people torturing an animal to weaken him up for being a sacrifice and it reminds you of what a cruel practice that is. Any cruelty to animals is always awful and so right away you’re not really rooting for the village at all. Merrin and the translator Chuma try to defend the practice but to no avail. It’s definitely something that should be completely outlawed by force if necessary. There are animals dying and being injured throughout the film and that definitely serves to ensure that the film never gains any momentum. It is quickly stripped away whenever that may be close to happening.

There also aren’t many likable characters here at all. The only one who seemed decent was father francis but of course he is powerless to stop the demon. The holy water doesn’t do much and when he tries to read the scriptures he is promptly taken down. You would think that he would have moved faster with the water when the demon was waking up though. Just push his head into the water or something, don’t want and dramatically drop a few driplets on him. I always thought this is something the heroes should do more of, forget the small sprinkling and just chug a gallon of the stuff at him. It would be way more effective in theory.

Unfortunately a big part of the movie is about how the demon’s influence eventually catches up to everyone and that happens here as well. Basically just by existing the demon turns people evil and so the humans start to turn on each other. There’s this whole subplot where the British come in with an army and start shooting the tribe members to enact revenge on them. The divide between the two gets worse as the film goes on and then at one point a tribe member murders a bunch of kids so that they can’t learn from Father Francis anymore.

There aren’t really any winners here. By the end of the film everyone is really broken. There’s the main heroine Rachel who stays strong for a while but then also gets corrupted. One of the worst scenes for Merrin is when she shows up and effortlessly seduces him while he was on the trail of the demon. Not the best time to be tempted and you’d think that he would have held strong here. Well, actually I’m not sure how much confidence I really had in the guy to be honest but he still disappointed me there.

Merrin gets to sort of relive the past thanks to the demon and try some other things out but ultimately there was no easy way to get out of the situation. He definitely shouldn’t have sold the 10 people out though. It was a really bad situation but honestly the best thing to do there is make a play for the gun and hope for the best. Sometimes there are no perfect ways out of a scenario and you just have to try your best. By the end of the film Merrin gets his confidence back at least.

The character you probably feel the most sorry for here is Chuma the whole time. It’s rough being a translator because half the time you are having to translate messages that are no fun for anybody and as a result you’re in the line of fire now. If I was him I definitely would have gotten out of there real fast after a while. Unfortunately there probably aren’t many opportunities in the area so leaving is a risk all on its own but anything surely has to be better than staying there right? At least it feels like that would be the case.

This film does remember that it’s supernatural and isn’t trying to hide it most of the time like in III so we do get some decent visuals at times. The green light as everything got trippy near the end was pretty intense. I also liked the clock that appeared in one scene but I have to admit that the effects were so bad that the scene was unintentionally a bit funny. Just a bit mind you but I was starting to crack up. It just made for a really funny visual even if that was not the intent.

The demon’s final form was also the opposite of intimidating even when his face would turn pale like a true demon’s. It’s just not easy to take him seriously as a great villain but they never are in these films. If the characters would just grab some guns and rock the guy you feel like he would go down. Temporarily I suppose since you can never seem to truly get rid of them.

There just isn’t much to enjoy here as with the other Exorcist films. The whole thing is so dark, dreary, and relentless. The heroes don’t have much of a chance at stopping the demon for a while because they don’t even know that they’re fighting one. By the time they do there are so many dead bodies that the heart of the village is gone.

Overall, This is another film to avoid for sure. An exorcist prequel just didn’t need to exist, much less two of them. At least this one has a decent ending, in fact I would say it easily beats the rest since it’s actually happy if anything. I suppose that’s the benefit of being a prequel since you can’t just bump everyone off or ends things rather grimly. I suppose they could have and suddenly the film wouldn’t be canon but that’s a very risky move at best. In theory it’s all uphill from here but we’ll see if that’s actually the case or not for the series.

Overall 0/10

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Review

It’s definitely good to be in an age where all the big anime films get to go to theaters now. It’s nice having that complete experience there and the audience was pretty engaged throughout the experience. Seemed like a mix of people who knew the future events and anime onlies. There was certainly one guy the whole time who thought Maki was quite mean and well, she is rather aggressive with the main character for a while but she mellows out by the end. All in all Kaisen’s definitely a great film and I look forward to seeing how the next one stacks up.

The movie starts by introducing us to Yuta Okkotsu. If you saw season 1 of the show you’ll likely remember him getting a lot of hype throughout. He hasn’t gotten to appear yet but the others mention him as being a big threat so you get to see how he made it there. As a kid Yuta became engaged to his best friend Rika. Unfortunately she was hit by a car and died almost immediately afterwards but their connection was so strong that a curse came between them and now Rika lives on eternally as Yuta’s protector. Any who would dare stand in his way will get obliterated by her. This has depressed Yuta to the point of being suicidal but then he is contacted by Gojo, the strongest sorcerer of the human world.

He takes Yuta to Jujutsu High where he will become a sorcerer. He joins the first years Maki, Panda, and Toge. Yuta may not be strong on his own yet but his cursed spirit Rika is incredibly powerful to the point where Yuta is considered to be a special grade fighter. Unfortunately this has also caught the attention of the evil sorcerer Geto. Can Yuta stay alive long enough to master his abilities and free the curse on Rika so that she can be free or will he be defeated and the modern timeline isn’t what we think?

The movie moves at a fairly quick pace. Yuta appears and gets recruited within a few minutes. Then you have the origin story with Rika thrown in very quickly and more details are spread in throughout the movie. We get several missions so you could see as Yuta improves his abilities. There is a little time skip near the end so we don’t get to see the exact point Yuta goes from being a decent member of the team to a super powerful one but it helps make the final battle more intense. When Yuta suddenly shows up with all kinds of new abilities and techniques, you can tell that he’s been training very hard.

It’s also nice seeing Yuta in the younger days here. He almost feels like a completely different character from the Yuta I’m used to. He’s more like your classic Shonen lead here even if he might seem to have a bit more of a subtle edge than others. He was quick to volunteer to destroy Maki’s clan along with her and it shows how he values his friends above all else. I like Yuta in all of his appearances so far so he’s a character with a lot of range. He may start off as timid but ultimately he still steps up to do the right thing when it counts.

He is also a quick learner and doesn’t shrink away from combat. The way he handles Rika is also part of what makes him a great character. He never goes through a phase where he is afraid of Rika or blames her for everything. Even when he’s upset he just blames himself and never tries to make this appear to be her fault. It was a mature way of handling things since Rika was just doing her best to help him. Perhaps it was not in quite the way he was hoping since she could be quite violent but she is a cursed spirit at this point so it’s likely not easy to hold herself back.

While we don’t get to see the human Rika much, she was definitely a very solid character. She is extremely loyal as evidenced by her cursed spirit form and always had Yuta’s back. She really helped to make things as easy as possible on Yuta and I appreciate that she stood up to the bullies. Yeah it felt a little hard to believe that her first 3 victims survived the attack. I suspect this was a way to make sure that Rika never turned too close to the dark side but the way we saw their bodies mangled and the amount of blood that they lost….I don’t see how they could have possibly survived. Well, good on Rika I suppose.

As always Gojo is a very fun character here as well. When you have a character this powerful you do have to suspend a little disbelief for how he doesn’t just obliterate everyone. It feels like he could have dismantled his opponent and kept on going unless he has grown exponentially stronger in the year after this prequel takes place. You could say that he’s sandbagging a little as well but from how the movie’s story went you feel like he would want to be there in the climax.

Either way he’s definitely a fun character as always. I liked that he made it clear to the elders that he would protect Yuta if they tried to murder him. He’s always been the kind of guy who stands against corruption and that’s what I like to see. As you’d expect with a film like this there is a really big climax so you get a ton of guest stars and cameos from the rest of the Kaisen verse. It was nice seeing Todo and the crew as well as all of the pros. They may not get to be here a lot but they all get to use their signature attacks which is fun. I always enjoy seeing everyone come together for the climax for some action.

Of course the biggest roles go to Yuta’s teammates so lets talk about them. Maki gets a large role as she is teamed up with Yuta in the first mission and they get to hang out a bit. She has her own baggage which is touched upon in this film a little bit. As a result Maki’s gotten to be rather aggressive and always picking fights since she feels the need to prove herself. I tend to like this character type and Maki does well here. Ultimately her fighting style means the character would likely be limited against stronger opponents but she still does her best to fight back and also helps to improve Yuta’s close combat skills quite a lot.

Panda probably gets the smallest role out of the 3 but he gets to have the longest fight against Geto which helps to even that out. He really did well all things considered and was able to move quickly enough to hit Geto while also repelling the spirits. That’s not an easy thing to do. His fans should definitely pleased with his role. Then you have Toge who does his best to try and get Yuta to fit in. The fact that he can’t really talk at all for fear of using his abilities makes this a bit difficult though.

I’ve always had a major problem with Toge’s abilities before and the movie doesn’t change that. Just using a single word causes him to be in absolutely terrible condition. With the throat medicine he can do a little better but when your ability’s drawback is that huge it just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s a great ability but I think they should give him enough durability to be able to use it a few more times. It would definitely make his technique a lot more dangerous.

Then we have the main villain Geto. The villain has some depth to him as his goals are quite grand but in the meantime he keeps up a good front so he is able to earn a lot of money. A lot of the times it feels like the villain wouldn’t bother putting up a front even though it would cost him a lot in the long run. So it was a good way to show that Geto was quite smart and wouldn’t be falling for those kind of traps. It’s also impressive that he can fight from both long and short range. Not just any kind of opponent can do that.

So I liked him quite a bit. He makes for a memorable villain. He also has a whole team of villains with him for the attack but there isn’t enough time for any of them to get a lot to do. They seemed interesting enough and I’ll give the author credit for giving them all distinct designs and character designs. There’s just no way to give them enough to do to make them really memorable without stretching the film out another 30 minutes or so. Of course I would definitely be cool with that but I can see how it wouldn’t be needed.

The soundtrack is excellent as expected. You get a few new lyrical songs here and a lot of solid tunes. They really help to enhance the scenes and you can feel the danger in every moment. As I mentioned earlier, the pacing here is fairly quick and the music’s always moving quickly as a result too. It doesn’t mean there is a fight scene every moment of course and the big fights tend to be in the second half but there’s always something going on and any time you think it’s about time for another action scene to pop up, it does.

As always Mappa delivers with the animation as well. The action scenes are really good and the hand to hand (Or rather blade to blade) fights are extremely fast and savage. The choreography is excellent and you can feel the power behind the hits. These are the kinds of fights that you figure will age well forever. Even 20 years from now you won’t be able to deny that these are great fight scenes. Not surprisingly my favorite battle is the one between Geto and Yuta. It’s a fight that the film builds up for a while so you know it’ll be good but even with the time skip you may not be prepared for quite how good Yuta is.

The action can get intense but I wouldn’t say the film is too violent. The most disturbing scene is likely when one guy’s head is stretched apart by demons. That one was definitely a gruesome way to die but for the most part the attacks are limited to the combatants or aren’t too intense like that. So I wouldn’t say there’s anything extra to worry about beyond the usual action you would expect to see here.

The movie has its share of humor which lands well. The characters tend to have rather crazy facial expressions whenever Gojo mentions something out of the blue or is messing with them. The chibi effects are used well and since Yuta is out of the loop on everything, he tends to have some good reactions. It never gets excessive so it’s just enough to keep that nice balance. The writing is also really solid. Outside of the Gojo power level moment I wouldn’t say I had any other big items to mention. Even the romance here with Yuta and Rika was decent enough. I’m usually not all for the romances in films but this one was executed well. No drama, rebounds, or any crazyness here. Just two good friends who hit it off and their bond even surpassed death.

I guess on the power levels part I’d give a small mention to Gojo just letting Geto run out in the first place when he shows up with the crew. (All roads go through Gojo I suppose) I think with his speed and ability Gojo could have saved the hostages and stopped Geto. Again I guess that’s just what happens when you have someone as impressively powerful as Gojo. You expect him to solve everything when he’s around.

Now the film does have an after credits scene which is great since you should always have that. I think I would have picked something a little more exciting as the final scene to be honest but it’s nice enough. It’s more of a happy scene to confirm some characters in the present. Won’t say much more than that to keep you in the dark about it, but as always that means you should stay past the credits.

Finally the question you’ve been wondering. Would Yuta in this film be able to defeat Yuji from the TV Show? If you include Rika then I would say Yuta wins without question. It’s hard to see Yuji being able to defend himself from a two pronged attack like this. If Rika is out of the picture then Yuji wins because he’s just a better street brawler and has more control over his black flash techniques. Rika should always be counted in a Yuta battle though so as of now the original main character wins. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was definitely a great film with a lot of replay value. The action was on point and it made for a very solid introduction to Yuta. I always like the idea of building up two main characters but not having them meet for a long time. The longer you wait, the bigger the payoff when it finally happens. It’s rare to see this though. Beyblade (Manga only), Seraph of the End, Fate/Zero, and a very few select others have done this but it’s very rare. After all, it’s tougher than it sounds to have two characters keep getting separate plots and adventures without having them tie in since you have to be careful that neither side feels rushed all the time. Kaisen’s a good example of a series doing this well as you are definitely ready for Yuta to meet Yuji. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out whether you have watched the anime or not. I would say it’s fairly friendly to newcomers as the TV show events are not really referenced so this can feel like more of a stand alone.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya Episode. G

The art is definitely odd for this one. It seems to be trying for a webtoon look but the character designs don’t work so well with everyone having huge eyes and the details getting a little messy. Still, the action is good and the story’s off to a fun start so we’ll see where it goes from here. I’ll have a review up for the series when I finish it.

Overall 7/10

The Seven Deadly Sins: Original Sins Review

As you probably know, I was not the biggest fan of the Seven Deadly Sins main series. Much like Fairy Tail, it could have been one of the all time elites but was held back by fanservice issues and a really poor main character in Meliodas. Still, with the concept being good, that always means that the spinoffs have a lot of potential since you can possibly get all of the highs without the lows if the stories end quickly enough. I would say this spinoff does a good job of that. It’s not amazing or anything like that but it’s a pretty good collection of stories where the Sins get to do their thing and take out the enemies.

The main story in this book sees Meliodas and the crew take on the vampires. This story is from before they disbanded so it’s fun to see the team together from back in the day. Even at this point they were all incredibly powerful and I think you could do a whole prequel that would be a lot of fun about this era. There isn’t a lot of danger as the heroes completely outrank the villains in every possible way but at least we get to see them all use their signature techniques.

From the vampires the only real notable one is Gelda as she would later go on to have a big role in the climax of the series. She’s certainly smarter than the average vampire and quickly knew the score and exactly how everything would play out right from the beginning. Her request to be destroyed by Meliodas still isn’t the right move here though even if winning would have been impossible. At this point she had no true allies or reasons to keep on going but she could have found some if she stuck around. It all ultimately ended up working out for her but if you read this story before reading the main series then she will come off as being someone who gives up way too quickly.

The strongest vampire was probably the leader who fought Escanor but even then you knew that he was doomed from the start. The art is great as always though so you can really appreciate the villain designs here. They just emit power in every panel. Likewise the heroes all look powerful here and you can see why they are known as the ultimate fighting force in the kingdom. It’s rare to have a hero group who completely outshine the villains like this but that’s just how good they are. It would be difficult for any group of villains to match them. The fights are solid so that’s why the vampire story is very good.

Then there’s a very short story where a few bandits decide to break into the cafe Meliodas owns to harass Elizabeth. Fortunately the rest of the Sins show up and beat up/intimidate those bandits for a while. The group’s always ready to watch out for her that’s for sure. While the story may make it seem like they arrived by accident, you get the feeling they’re all always on the lookout so as soon as the bandits showed up they knew what to do. This was before the popularity poll results in the volume so it was a good way to give everyone a moment to shine first.

Finally we have the pilot to the Seven Deadly Sins series. It’s always interesting to read the pilot to see how things changed from the original oneshot. For starters, Meliodas actually seems like a decent person here. He has a huge sword as well instead of the hilt that’s missing a blade. The plot itself is the same as Elizabeth shows up to try and locate the Seven Deadly Sins to help her retake the kingdom but they are all scattered to the winds. Her personality is very different though as she doesn’t really have any manners here and is super oblivious to all social rules.

In this case, her being a princess means that she doesn’t have much common sense and doesn’t know basic tasks. Unfortunately this is an excuse for some fanservice. The villain here is a little more deranged and one of those pervy type villains who is extremely annoying so the main series definitely had a better introduction when it comes to the villain. Both the original first chapter and pilot have different positives and negatives so in a way the series just changed up what held it back. It’s a decent pilot but it’s easy to see how this could have taken us down the wrong path.

The artwork has certainly improved from then though. You can’t really compare the character designs from the pilot to the main series, it’s just a world of difference and that makes sense since the artist is a lot more experienced now. With these 3 stories in here, this makes for a fun one shot. It’s always good to see the gang again and I’m glad these stories were put into a manga volume instead of staying in limbo for all eternity. This is certainly the better deal.

The Seven Deadly Sins may not be the best group of heroes out there as I’m not a huge fan of most of their members but it is a nice dynamic with how they’re barely a team. They don’t work very well together to the point where it’s extremely rare to see them all teaming up at the same time. They’re all just too strong so naturally they all have big egos and rivalries of their own. Merlin and Gowther always seem super suspicious so it’s hard to know what they’re thinking. King and Ban are always fighting, same with Ban and Meliodas. Escanor’s personality does a 180 based on whether it’s night or day and Diane is nice enough. Their chemistry makes for a lot of fun banter but usually won’t turn into teamwork. They’re so strong that it’s rarely needed though.

From the 3 stories my favorite one was the vampire story for the reasons listed above. It’s just a very classic action story and seems like the kind of plot you could expect to see in a movie. Second would be the short story about the Sins beating up the random bandits. It was really short but it was nice to see everyone defending Elizabeth there. Finally the pilot would be in last. Still a decent story but between the villain being pretty bad and Elizabeth not being at the top of her game it just couldn’t compete with the others.

Overall, Original Sins is a clever title for having the original story in here but at the same time it makes you think that this might be more of a full prequel instead. I still say that a story about their original adventures in full would be a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of the main series then you’ll definitely want to check this one out. If anything you may enjoy checking this one out if you haven’t read the original as well as it’s a decent jumping on point. The vampire story at the beginning tells you all of the character personalities and abilities while the pilot gives you a good idea of the story. So that way you’ll have a good idea on if you will like the series or not.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas Review

Saint Seiya is one of the most iconic action titles of all time and I even had it in my top 20 manga series of all time. It really is like the original Dragon Ball with its nonstop action and flashy attacks. I ended up reading this prequel a while back (About half a year ago at this point) but the review took a while as this is such a big series. The Lost Canvas is extremely impressive because it is able to really match the original series and even go beyond. I tend to waffle between the two of them quite a lot because they’re so close and each have their strengths. I figured I would leave my final decision until I finished this review as it would give me a chance to really reflect on the series and the original now that I finished it in both the manga and anime versions. Ultimately, the Lost Canvas does take the win but I’ll go into more detail later on.

The Lost Canvas has over 200 chapters and yet you could really say that the story only has one big arc. It’s probably more fair to say that it’s one overarching storyline with a lot of arcs in it though. This series covers the Holy War between Hades and Athena that is referenced in the main series. The Holy War occurs every 200 years so it truly feels endless on both sides. This futility is something the characters are fully aware of and yet there isn’t really much of anything that they can do about it. This is just the way that it has always been.

The Pegasus Saint to be born into this era is a kid named Tenma. He grew up with his childhood friends Alone and Sasha. The 3 of them led a normal life for a while but one day Sasha was proclaimed to be the new incarnation of Athena and taken away. Alone went crazy and became Hades as he ruthlessly murdered everyone in his path and Tenma ended up becoming a Bronze Saint. Now Tenma and Sasha feel like it is their specific duty to stop Alone since he ended up becoming the ultimate evil in the land. Can they really pull this off or is he too far gone?

There’s a lot to talk about here and a lot of characters to go through but first lets go through one of the aspects that really helps the series. That is the fact that it gives us a ton of lore that helps enhance the original story while also making this one stronger. For example, we find out that when you fight in Hades’ castle, your power is automatically cut to 1/10 of what it normally is. The original series referenced the characters being weaker but it wasn’t made explicit like how this one is.

We find out how Hypnos and Thanatos were sealed away for the main series and we also get to see Dohko and Shion team up here. We get to really see how the two became such good friends among the Gold Saints. Pandora gets a lot of development and one of the biggest things here is that the Gold Saints actually look really strong. In the main series you’re used to them getting schooled by every possible opponent so the Bronze Saints can save the day.

Well, this one plays out more like how you would expect. The Bronze Saints are effectively helpless for the entirety of the series until the climax and before then the Gold Saints have to pick up the slack. They’re shown to be the best in the business and all give the Specters a strong fight. So the catch is that we don’t meet a lot of notable Bronze Saints and the ones that we do see tend to be weak but it’s only fair since that’s what the Gold Saints had to deal with for a while.

We also see the inherent disadvantage that Athena’s forces have against Hades. For starters, Hades has the 108 Specters, 3 Generals, and 2 gods serving him. Athena has her 12 Gold Saints and that’s the extent of her reliable forces. I guess we can throw in Tenma and a small tribe that brings 2 fighters in but that’s really it. Then since Hades rules the Underworld, his fighters can resurrect infinitely which is another problem. That’s one of the big dilemmas that the heroes had to tackle early on since the war was really running out of control.

Compared to the first series where this was completely nonexistent, Lost Canvas does have a little fanservice once in a while. Nothing crazy but compared to the original series anything can feel notable. It’s rare enough where it’s never an issue though. The art is mainly used for the fight scenes which is great since the art here is quite high tier. You really feel the power behind all of the attacks and the designs are on point. Every battle is treated with a certain grandness to it so you know just how special the Gold Saints are. The amount of detail is also very impressive.

So lets talk about our hero Tenma. He doesn’t tend to win all of his fights the way that Seiya did, but Tenma’s a hard worker and does his best to claim victory at every turn. He is a strong fighter in his own right, there’s no doubt about that. He is also trying to save Alone the whole time without murdering him. It reminds me of the Naruto and Sasuke dynamic a lot. Tenma holds the series well as the lead and I don’t think you’ll have any issues with him. He’s just a very solid character.

As the main villain Alone is also very good. I actually preferred him to Hades here. The series even shows that they aren’t truly the same character even though they share the same body. There are times when Alone is pretending to be Hades but they have their distinct goals and wishes. Alone’s main weapon is an easel and a paint brush which is probably the craziest part of the series. Whatever he draws dies. So if he draws a portrait of you, then you will perish. It’s almost like the Deathnote but even more deadly since he doesn’t have to know your name.

The way his power works doesn’t always seem to be consistent though. For example, sometimes when he draws you, you will die immediately. Other times you do not so I assume he has the power to decide when the effect takes place. It’s a very ominous moment when he draws a picture of the Earth. this does tie into the title of the series very well though. For most of the series, Alone is building himself a giant portrait but the challenge is getting “real” colors which cannot be drawn so easily. You can probably imagine that blood is one of these “real” colors.

Now, while Tenma wants to save him, it’s safe to say that Alone is really insane though. The amount of people that he murders during his journeys is absolutely staggering. The guy just does not stop and takes out several villages and quite a lot of innocent bystanders. So whenever Tenma is trying to talk him down, you feel like it’s just too late for all of that at this point. Alone made his choice.

As for Hades himself, well he really doesn’t get to do much of anything here. The guy’s role is incredibly small so while he is very powerful, there’s not much to say about him. I would also argue that his willpower is not very great since Alone was able to overpower him the whole time. So much for his abilities right? At the end of the day Hades will always return so you should respect his power but I wouldn’t have minded the series going on a little longer so I could have really seen that.

Pandora’s role here is a lot bigger than in the original series and I was definitely a fan of hers. See, Pandora can actually fight and rather well at that. In this version she can fire off energy blasts and was able to take out many enemies on her own. Perhaps she isn’t a match for a Gold Saint but she is able to take out all other challengers. She is really attached to Hades and wants to protect him at all times but doesn’t take a passive role in this. She goes out to find and destroy any threats to him which is really what you should be doing as a bodyguard at all times. You definitely won’t be forgetting her by the end.

She does have a rather twisted first appearance where she takes out an animal though. I thought that was a rough start to the series in general as this happens in chapter 1. Fortunately the manga doesn’t tend to fall into that hole after that but you’d think that you want to start a series on a super high note. Whenever a chapter 1 is this rocky I feel like the editor needed to step in and do something. It’s always risky not to have a 5 star chapter 1 4 sure.

Shion was the Pope who got utterly wrecked in the first series so it’s nice to actually see him looking tough here. He crushes Worm in his first fight and he gets a particularly big moment in the climax against one of the gods. He is around the whole time though so there is no shortage of action for him. You get to even see him teaching Mu how to use his spells here so that bond’s established early on.

Sasha is the new Athena and I can tell you right away that she is a huge improvement over the main one. Sasha can actually fight and does do so as she goes up against Pandora at one point. While Sasha is still on the losing end most of the time, I appreciate the fact that she is actually fighting. I always thought it didn’t make sense how all of the gods are these super powerful fighters while Athena couldn’t do anything. It just didn’t add up and this version fixed that by making her a true fighter right out of the jump. The moment where she puts on the armor is a powerful moment as well. She wants to save Alone too and ends up being a very loyal companion all the way through.

Dohko is the first Gold Saint to show up (He wastes no time since he’s beating up Specters as early as chapter 2 with the war already starting. I guess it’s more of a cold war at that point since Hades and Athena have not directly acted but you can tell where it’s all going) and he ends up really being the first mentor that Tenma gets. He’s always around with some wise words and can fight really well. I like Dohko’s absolute confidence and it’s something that we got to see a bit of in the gold saints spinoff. Here he is in his young form the whole time of course and it’s crazy what a better character he is when he’s not being Shiryu’s mentor.

Yuzuriha is the member of the third party faction that I mentioned earlier. It is always interesting to add another group in and personally I tend to love the idea. Her group isn’t strong enough to be a threat to the villains but they do come in handy when it comes to the supernatural elements like bringing people back to life. She can also fight well on par with a Silver Saint which is handy here. Her role is rather large as a supporting character. Often times she is with Unicorn who also gets a bigger role than usual here. Unfortunately he can’t usually contribute to the fights too well but he always has Tenma’s back and that means a lot on its own. He really takes it hard when Tenma is murdered the first time.

Albafica is the first Gold Saint to have a serious fight with one of the judges and he does well in the role. His poison abilities are really handy even if they are a double edged blade to himself. That means he has to handle himself with great care at all times. To also be protecting a whole town is a testament to his skill as a Gold Saint. He may not have gotten to appear a whole lot but he certainly left an impression.

Asmita was another big hero to show up. I wasn’t crazy about his role considering his power though. I feel like he could have helped out so much more in the fights if he had chosen to just keep on going. His role was still pivotal in terms of sealing the enemy’s resurrections but with his power level I just wanted him to fight more. He helps spur Tenma into action and gets a suitable backstory and all. I guess I have to be satisfied about that.

Aldebaran has the same name as the guy from the first series but it’s definitely a different person. Perhaps it’s part of his Taurus constellation and he just chose not to give his name out. Either way I thought he was a big improvement over the main version. For starters, he does actually appear to be one of the strongest of the Gold Saints which is fitting with his being a power type. I always thought it didn’t make a lot of sense that he is a power type but was treated like fodder the whole time. Here he gets to fight off against the strongest of the 3 judges, at least in my opinion after seeing them all fight. He also does extremely well in the fight and I like his competitive spirit. He ended up being one of the more memorable Gold Saints.

Sisyphus gets a bigger role towards the end of the series. From the start we know that he is one of the stronger Saints as he is able to overcome Hades’ intimidating presence while the other Gold Saints were take out right away. It would seem that the one with the bow and arrow is always quite strong in Saint Seiya. I thought he was a solid character although he was easily manipulated and had some confidence issues. Sisyphus may not stand out as much as some of the other Gold Saints but he is certainly someone that you would want to have watching your back.

Cancer wasn’t my favorite Gold Saint initially, I found him to be a little weak but also super unreasonable. At one point he captures Tenma so the hero can’t escape to go and train. I never like when the heroes lock up their own allies, it feels counterintuitive. Fortunately Hades was locked up by his troops at the same time so that ended up well enough. I gained some respect for Cancer when he went to the villain base to attack Thanatos though. I thought that was a good moment to show that he feared nobody and was a very emotional kind of fighter.

The Pope also got to have his fight around this point. His spells are handy which makes u for his not having a whole lot of super abilities. I don’t think he can hold his own as well as some of the other fighters but in the end he did help out so that’s what counts. He also has his brother from the tribe who helps him train as well and the two make for good partners.

El Cid shows up to get some action but in a way you feel bad for him. He has to deal with villains who really come out of the blue as the “Dream gods” who fight him on different realms. I thought the whole thing just felt like it was thrown together at the last moment. It was also a complete counter to his legendary sword. He gets back up and keeps on fighting but he definitely had a lot to deal with right out of the gate. Ultimately it was a good way to show his determination as he had to fight many battles in a row.

This also meant that poor Tenma had to deal with more ghosts from his past again so in a way we got that arc twice. While the dream gods felt random, they were still decent enough for the most part. Morpheus was the most impressive and did well against Tenma. All 4 were strong though and they even had a fusion mode which was as strong as you’d suspect.

Kardia is the Scorpio Gold Saint of this era and he’s fun. He does have a bad habit of toying with weaker opponents while he looks for strong ones though. You’d think this would be beneath him as a Gold Saint but I suppose he doesn’t have that level of honor. That’s what keeps him from being one of the all time greats here. I like his burning passion though and his fight in the Poseidon arc is good.

Meanwhile Degel does well in his battle. It’s a little harder to get invested in his fight since he’s battling with someone who isn’t super interesting. Degel does do well in the fight though and works well enough as one of the last Gold Saints to show up for action. There’s only so much time for everyone to get involved with so many fighters on the field after all.

Gemini also makes an appearance late into the series and his first fight is later still. He does end up having a very big role though. The whole Gemini angle is always something that means he will be dealing with his own issues during the fight but he is ultimately able to push past them. I wouldn’t say he’s as good as Gemini Saga but he contributes a lot and is as powerful as you would expect.

Then you’ve got Leo. He’s the youngest Gold Saint and has a lot of passion in each of his blows. He ended up being one of my favorites by the end. He did well in guarding the ship and had a lot of responsibility for one so young. The series is quick to show that he’s a true prodigy. That can often be a red flag for a fighter this deep into the war but regardless, I think you’ll be invested in his character right off the bat.

Bennu is easily my favorite villain in the series and I would go as far as to say he was my favorite character in general. The guy reminds me of Garou in One Punch with how he would get stronger after every fight. Bennu starts out as a match for Gold Saints right out of the gate and only goes higher from there. He has a strict honor code which I like to see in a villain. His dark fire abilities are also very impressive. The guy isn’t a yes man and follows his own ambitions to the end. Any scene/fight with him was always guaranteed to be a blast.

Niobe may appear whiny from his design and how you know him in the original series but he actually doesn’t look all that bad here. He almost wins his first fight and has a natural counter to a Gold Saint’s ability. “Almost” may not count for much in a fight but it was still a good look. Then you have Minos who really got to go all out as one of the 3 Judges. His ability to move people against their will like a puppet is certainly incredibly dangerous. It has to be one of the more frustrating skills to go up against as well. Albafica was a really good match-up for the heroes because of his poisons. Otherwise this could have been a really tough fighter to bring down.

Cat Sith was a reasonably strong Specter. While he may not stand out as much as some of the other high ranking fighters, he got his own fight against Tenma which automatically means he got more of a role than most. I would have liked to have seen more out of him but he had a good design and was a solid fighter so in the end I can’t ask for much more than that. He can be rather subservient to Pandora out of fear at times but seeing as how Pandora brutally beats and murders her opponents you can see how that would happen.

Rhadamanthys is another one of the Judges to fight and he does really well. He reminds me of Bennu with his absolute confidence and dark element attacks. I would give the other guy the edge but Rhadamanthys is close and certainly not someone to scoff at. When he enters the arena, the whole dynamic changes. He is that one guy that absolutely nobody wants to face off against. His battle with Scorpio was a lot of fun. I’m not crazy about his whole servitude angle later on though. He allows Pandora to completely humiliate him because he says that doing anything else would be traitorous but there’s limits to this.

I felt bad for his subordinate Valentine who was trying to stand up for his honor. You can’t stand up for someone who refuses to defend themself though. To an extent it will end up being futile and that’s exactly what happens here. He gets credit for not backing down though. Additionally, this was how we got Pandora’s biggest fight in the series so that was a blast.

Then you have Unity but he’s a villain that I don’t like. One of those petty villains with a short sighted goal that won’t make anybody happy. Sure, he is powerful but that’s not enough to make him a really solid villain. At least that was definitely not the case for me. He’s more interesting because of the mini arc he’s in and how this all relates to Poseidon but that’s all I can say for him.

Veronica is one of the more twisted specters from the Underworld and she really doesn’t mind using any underhanded tricks to get the upper hand. As a villain with no honor code, you can bet that I wasn’t much of a fan of hers. I much prefer villains who just get out into the open and start landing attacks. That’s the best way and if you can’t win like that then you just take the loss.

Violate is the first big villain to arrive during the boat arc and she’s a fun specter. She is one of the highest ranking members and can really fight quite savagely. Her battle with Leo was excellent and she remained a loyal ally to Aiacos right through to the end. Aiacos liked to talk about bonds and even he had to recognize hers by the end. The two of them had a good dynamic going. Not enough where you were rooting for them over the heroes or anything like that but it was nice to see. Both of these villains were memorable and helped make the boat arc a complete success.

Sphinx is one of those villains who tries to act fair and just but naturally there is a plot twist about him cheating. A villain like that definitely takes a big hit with me because I tend to like my villains to have a bit more honor. If you’re going to cheat then do it boldly and right in front of the heroes to show that you mean business. Don’t slink around or anything like that.

Gemini Aspros is one of the villains who shows up near the end and he’s definitely an intense fighter to have to go up against. His abilities are impressive. The guy ultimately couldn’t defeat his own inner ambitions which means that his willpower is rather weak but at the end of the day he had a decent character arc. Too bad he just couldn’t be stronger a little sooner. That could have turned the whole war upside down.

Mephistopheles is another boss to show up at the end and he almost feels like he’s from a completely different series. Hie design just doesn’t really feel like a Saint Seiya character, perhaps it is because of the costume he uses. He does not wear a Saint’s armor or anything like that. I remember being really surprised when he showed up. I didn’t like the guy though. I know they’re going for the big troll who’s the mastermind behind everything angle but I just don’t think he needed to be here. I’m also confident that Hades or Tenma would have quickly crushed him if the guy wasn’t always running around.

Partita also shows up as another twisted fighter to face off against Tenma. Sure, she does have a super convoluted plot about why she is acting this way but honestly it didn’t help her case for me. She really put Tenma through a ton of grief and pain both physical and mental. There was no excuse ready for this. While she is still a lot better than Mephistopheles, I was not able to like her by the end. I just see Partita as a full villain all the way.

Thanatos and Hypnos certainly get their time to shine as well. As always those two look quite powerful here. As lesser gods, they still have more power than any of the Judges and even more than a standard Gold Saint. Fighting them always proves to be quite the hassle. It’s impressive that Hades got them on the payroll considering you’d think that they would want to do their own thing. I mean, to an extent they do manipulate him regardless but in their own way they think they’re being really loyal.

So yeah there’s a lot to like here and it’s really a terrific cast of characters. At worst you may just get annoyed seeing Tenma and the Bronze Saints lose so often. It does make sense with how the Bronze Saints are supposed to be the weakest though. In a way the power levels make more sense here as a result. Aside from Tenma who is able to shatter his limits by the end, each rank is accurate. A Silver Saint can never beat a Gold Saint and a Bronze can never beat a Silver. That’s just the way that it is and whoever evaluates the power within Athena’s circles is better at his job here.

In general I do think the power levels are really solid here as well. The Gold Saints are far more powerful than any ordinary Specter (They seem to be the equivalent of a high bronze or low silver) but the 3 Generals are each as strong as a Gold Saint if not a bit stronger. Than the 2 gods are more powerful than any Gold Saint so you need 2-3 to take them on. Naturally at the top, Hades is even more powerful. It’s a very straight forward power level system which allows for a bit of flexibility for some fighters who keep on getting stronger. Tenma of the heroes and Bennu of the villains are strong examples of this. They continue to rise up the ranks as the series progresses until they are near the very top.

So lets talk a bit about Alone’s goal now. It’s a very classic goal you see a lot of villains have nowadays. Basically he thinks this endless cycle of violence and knights destroying each other needs to end. So his goal is to destroy everyone completely to the point where they are taken out of this cycle. It’s the classic “Death is Peace” kind of argument that the villains like to throw around. Now, this is usually one of those pretty insane ramblings that you ignore but in the context of the Saint Seiya world it’s a little interesting. I go more into depth on this later on in the review but basically when you die you get tormented for all of eternity in most cases. If you are a hero then you are absolutely doomed and if you were an evil villain then you might get some peace. This is because the villains own the world after death.

So Alone knows first hand that there is no peace. If he can successfully dismantle this system, then perhaps everyone could finally rest. Since the Underworld is tangible, he could try destroying that but he needs to destroy everything at once. I don’t recall if he gave a specific reason why he couldn’t just destroy the Underworld first. I think this goes back into his being a villain. He wants everyone to be absolutely dead so if he destroys the Underworld first then Athena’s forces could wipe him out. So he has to take out both sides to end the conflict. Still a villainous goal of course but I would have loved to have seen Athena or one of the heroes figure out a way to take out the Underworld for good. If you ensure that death is permanent without destroying anyone, then that seems like a fair compromise. You still get to live your life as well as possible and don’t have to worry about the villains messing with you after death. Because as this series shows repeatedly, they absolutely don’t mind doing so.

Even though the arcs are all related to the big war, I’ll quickly break down some of what I would consider to be the mini arcs. First you have the trip to Italy which does not go well as Tenma is murdered and Alone takes everyone out. It was the first big loss for the Gold Saints and the various fighters all around. It was a good way to establish Alone as a true threat though. It’s so short that even calling it a mini arc may be generous but either way it made for a good time. It’s what really kicks off the war since we have our first casualties.

After that you have the mini arc where Tenma needed to be resurrected. He really got to experience the Underworld very quickly didn’t he? It’s a good adventure here and we meet the next Specter known as Fedor who was reasonably tough. Granted, he was fighting some of the weaker fighters there but it still made for a good entrance fight as the heroes went deeper into the Underworld to complete their quest. While not as over the top exciting as the future arcs, we were still slowly building things up so it made sense.

Now the next event was what really marked the turning point for Lost Canvas as an elite title. Hades sends the first judge over to take down Athena so Minos shows up along with a bunch of minions. The first battle is against Albafica, the first Gold Saint. Technically his temple isn’t the first one but he went down early to prevent them from going any further. The battle is epic and lots of nonstop action. It’s why I can’t state enough how endless the battles are here. It really is a big part of what makes the series so fun. You’re never done with the action and it’s a very dramatic arc as well as the fight comes down to the wire. Really an all star fight.

After that, we get the big fight with Bennu and Aldebaran as the next big battle. This was a sizable encounter which was the next really cool fight. It was the first full showing that Bennu was not just some mindless Specter like most of the others who craved battle above all else. No, he actually had drive and determination which made the fight even better. It was a really good way to also raise the stakes right away.

From there we had the fun meetup where Hades attacked the palace and he has his big meetup with Alone. Lots of cool things happen there and Aldebaran even gets to fight some more challengers later on but the next big event was the forest of illusions. It’s always a classic plot to have the lead have to confront the memories of his dead friends. In this case it’s particularly disturbing for the characters because the villains rule the Underworld. So here’s the dark twist in the Saint Seiya verse. When you die, you go to the underworld. There is no other place, your soul is sent down there for Hades to mess with.

If you’re really lucky, then you go to Elysium which is a fairly nice place, but again it is still under the rule of Hades. So if you were helpful to the heroes or did anything that attracted his attention, then you’re basically doomed. I thought this was a really sad moment even more so than usual because that means the heroes have no hope in this verse. When you die, the villains capture you. There’s no way to live forever so your only hope is for your opponent to have a soul destroying attack so that you are obliterated from reality. I feel like the heroes should have a realm of the dead so that they can save the innocents. Since they don’t, I’d say the responsibility falls on Athena since she should have wiped Hades and the Underworld out long ago. So this arc really gives you a lot to think about. This concept is revisited near the end of the series to really confirm this and how hopeless the whole situation is.

After some more battles the heroes would launch their next big offensive on Hades’ castle. Of course the tough part there is that it weakens all Saints so the pope decided to go on his own to lower those defenses first. A pretty risky move for sure and I feel like they should have just all attacked. I get that they’d be weakened but surely the odds are better than just the Pope going right? At least it was the best display he’s ever had as the guy took on tons of opponents. Now that was super impressive and he lived up to the hype. The siege doesn’t last very long though as the heroes were out of their depth again. This is certainly one war where the heroes don’t win every battle.

We then split to two different plots. In one of them, Tenma gets trained by the Gemini Saint while in the other one the two Gold Saints Degel and Kardia head over to Poseidon’s area to see if they can get some help or at least a weapon with which to fight Hades. I thought this was a good idea, why not try to make an alliance at this point right? Naturally Hades sent his own men there to cause some trouble so it wouldn’t be as easy as all of that. Poseidon’s an interesting wild card so it makes sense that each side is super interested. The way it plays out is also interesting. I would say it doesn’t make Poseidon look great but the whole reincarnation angle makes things tough for everyone in these things.

After that is the big boat arc where the heroes have to construct the boat so that they can reach Hades and the Lost Canvas. Of course that means that the villains want to get over there and stop them by any means necessary. This makes for a really solid arc with lots of battles and of course Hades steps in himself. That guy absolutely does not mind entering battles on the front lines, he seems to rather enjoy doing so if anything. I think that’s part of what gives the villains an edge in this series, having your leader fight alongside you is a big moral boost.

Finally that leads to another invasion of Hades’ castle but this time it’s the final one. The series isn’t afraid to add in a bunch of new elements at the very end of the series though. Were you wondering about Tenma’s parents? No? Well that makes sense since we saw Tenma at the orphanage but it turns out that he did have parents and they were both incredibly powerful fighters back in the day who are now on the side of evil. I thought this was super random personally but hey, it means we get more fight scenes which is always a plus. Naturally the climax is really crazy with a ton of action at all times which is good. That’s how you want to end the series.

The series really has a 7 Samurai kind of feel to it. One by one the Gold Saints continue to be bumped off during the war so you know that even if the heroes win, it will be at a huge cost. These wars certainly go all out every 200 years and you can also see why the characters would be utterly sick of them by this point. Most of the players change and yet they know about the history really well. For characters like Athena and Hades, it must feel repetitive even if they think each time will be the last one.

One thing I also liked about the war here is that it feels more like a war than in the classic version. What I mean by that is you have battles going on at different fronts with Athena and Alone (Acting as Hades) making moves directly. For example, at one point Alone is tired of waiting so he breaks into Athena’s domain on his own to fight against the Gold Saints and take her down. Later on you also have Athena taking the fight to him. Since Athena isn’t just kidnapped for the whole arc this time, it makes the war a little more strategic as they both have to make their moves to take the other out while protecting their domains. Also, seeing Hades actually confront the Gold Saints and bend them to his power helped to establish him as a big threat here.

So finally, why does this one beat the original Saint Seiya. Well, lets look at this area by area. Lost Canvas easily wins in terms of artwork, I don’t think many would debate that. There’s a world of difference between the two series. The OG has better Bronze Saints and I would say Seiya beats Tenma as a main character. This series has better Gold Saints who aren’t constantly betraying Athena and the heroes. The villains are also better in this one although it’s close. As a whole the Lost Canvass wins in the character cast.

I’d also say the plot is more engaging. With a war going on throughout the whole series, there is no time for breaks. While the original also had a lot of nonstop battles, this one took it to the next level. There are a ton of twists and turns around every corner too which keeps you off balance. Now, not every plot twist needs to be here to be honest like Mephistopheles and his whole plan. (His final twist was really good though) Others were a blast though like one that plays out like Aizen’s big plan from Bleach. Lets just say that there was more than one puppet master running around in the shadows. Finally, I’d say that this one was able to take the hype to the next level. It was able to do everything the original did in the Hades arc and then some. The first series had 3 gods fighting it out in the final arc, this one had close to 10. The characters had to keep on surpassing their limits because of how powerful the villains are. We had several factions by the end so it was hard to predict exactly what would happen.

Hades’ army also just looks more impressive. In the original they had the help of many Gold Saints and still couldn’t do much. Here they had many more powerful fighters which helped to make this an even war. I’d also say the massive upgrades to Athena, Pandora, and Alone help to put this ahead too. So, Lost Canvas just wins in more areas than it doesn’t. This is still a pretty close battle, I would say they’re absolutely still in the same league and everything. I would just have to lean towards The Lost Canvas for the win here and with the plot being a lot more dynamic and less formulaic, it also has more replay value as an added bonus.

Overall, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas is a spectacular title. Athena and Alone/Hades were big improvements in this version and I was also glad to see Pandora get a big role. Just look at the picture I put right above this paragraph. Could you have imagined Athena fighting on the front lines with the others before now? It’s really got top tier action at all points and the character roster is very solid. The art is excellent as well. You can’t go wrong with this one and you’ll be blasting through it at high speeds from start to finish. It sets a high bar for the other Saint Seiya spinoffs and I don’t think they will be able to match up but I look forward to seeing the attempt. Whether you read this after the original series or before it, you’ll really have a great time here. It’s no wonder that this Holy War is referenced a lot because it ended up being extremely important and this is really the peak of Saint Seiya.

Overall 9/10

Seraph of the End: Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen

It’s impressive how badly this manga has started off but I’m only done with the first chapter so it could rebound. I might even be missing the vampires at this point but we’ll see how it goes from here. It definitely is interesting to see the demons around instead. Can Guren really save the world!? I’ll have a review up for this series as soon as it’s finished.

Overall 2/10

One Piece: Episode A Review

It’s no surprise that a title like One Piece would keep on getting more spinoffs. Ace is a really big character among the fanbase so it’s quite fitting that this mini series would be about him. He always was a fun character. I wouldn’t put him as one of my favorites or anything but his skills were good and the guy was always ready to jump into a fight. I can certainly admire that kind of dedication. The 4 chapters go by quickly but it’s a fun read and the battles are certainly intense.

The series picks up with a guy named Deuce who wants to write some amazing stories. Unfortunately he is stranded on an island and doesn’t really know what he should write about now. Well, one day Ace crash lands on the island and Deuce agrees to help him build a ship to get out of there. Deuce never imagined that he would be a pirate someday but hanging out with Ace has been fun. Ace is leading them down a dangerous path though as he says that his goal is to defeat one of the 4 Emperors, Whitebeard. This sounds like an impossible goal but Deuce figures that if anyone can do it…it would be Ace.

Naturally the bulk of the first chapter is the two characters meeting each other and Deuce slowly coming around. So that there is a little danger we do have a giant bird that appears which causes a bit of a misunderstanding at first. It’s quickly defeated which wraps up the first story. It introduces the setting and how things will be but at this point Boichi isn’t really trying to hide the Dr. Stone influences here. Deuce looks like he’s straight out of Dr. Stone and this chapter has a lot of building and crafting scenes as the characters build the boat. It’s an interesting look at how he might have tackled One Piece.

Then we get to chapter 2 where they finally get close to Whitebeard but first have to contend with Jinbei. Jinbei gets a really striking splash page. The realistic artstyle that this series uses certainly makes for some memorable shots. While I wouldn’t say that it beats One Piece’s standard art, it’s definitely fun to see the changes to how everyone looks. The fight between Jinbei and Ace is also a blast. It’s over quickly but both fighters get to show what they can do. Ultimately Ace comes out on top here I would say as he’s in better shape after the 5 days. I call foul on their actually fighting for 5 days though. I find that incredibly hard to believe. Whitebeard showing up at the end to get in a good fight was a nice way to end things off. Ace finally got to experience what a loss was and we get a classic look at the nice sky which turns into Gold D. Roger. It’s a nice little detail in the background.

Chapter 3 is the most action packed chapter as Ace keeps trying to take Whitebeard down over and over again but simply isn’t strong enough to do so. By this point he is slowly coming around to respecting Whitebeard although of course he can’t quite admit it. Whitebeard was always his goal to surpass after all so working under him just doesn’t feel right at the time. Still, he does recognize that they aren’t in the same league. Ace’s strongest attacks don’t even singe Whitebeard and the emperor has yet to use his devil fruit. It’s a fun chapter that balances comedy with the despair Ace feels at losing. Thing is, he starts to take it in stride too and this all becomes one big training session for him. It’s nice to see how understanding the crew is even if they would destroy Ace on the spot if he were to somehow destroy Whitebeard.

Finally we get to chapter 4 where Ace joins up with the crew and we get some flashforward scenes to the most influential Ace moments. We even get a few panels of Yamato showing up at the end which was neat. It shows how popular she has gotten to where she would even be squeezed into this adventure. This ends the adventure off on a nice note. You know that things ultimately don’t end well for Ace but at least he got to have a lot of fun in the meantime and really made a name for himself. His journey was brief but it was a good one.

One thing I definitely enjoyed here is how they retroactively added Haki to a lot of the scenes. Ace uses it to fight with Jinbei and also gets to experience it when fighting some of the challengers to Whitebeard. We see Ace learn how to mix it in with his logia abilities and it shows why he was a solid first commander. Now we see that every Yonko’s next in command had Haki so it wouldn’t have made sense if Whitebeard’s didn’t. I do think it’s hard to make everything connect since Haki wasn’t thought of for a while in the series but ultimately it’s a smooth addition here and does help show off Ace’s solid abilities.

The artwork also makes the most of his fire powers. The fire really stands out and we get some great spectacles. At one point Ace uses an attack where he creates a bunch of fire dragons and uses them to attack Whitebeard with. As someone who has mastery over fire, it’s nice to see Ace really getting creative here. There’s a whole lot you can do with fire after all even if the fire fist is his signature move. As a logia type there are few who can stop him. It’s why I wouldn’t mind a time travel arc where the heroes go back to save Ace. It would really tie things over well as Luffy finally saves him and they get a big teamup.

There’s not a whole lot more to discuss since the 4 chapters are over in an instant but you won’t be disappointed with this adventure. Ace really gets to show his stuff and it’s also fun to see Whitebeard again. We don’t get to see him fight very often and he really gets his proper respect here. No attack can really phase him and Whitebeard’s attacks are off the charts. It’s an intense story and this is also a title you can easily read even if you have not read One Piece. It’s still easy to see what’s going on since the story starts from the beginning and you understand Ace’s goals.

Overall, Episode A is a really solid mini series. With how the title is, it makes me wonder if they’ve already got Boichi ready to do some other stories. Like Episode S for Sabo, Episode Z for Zoro, etc. There are a whole lot of characters who could have fun little stories to themselves. Well, I guess we’ll see how that goes when it happens. In the meantime you should start by checking this story out anyway. There’s a good amount of action and adventure here with quality writing. You’ll be having a good time from start to finish as the story just carries you along for the ride. Each chapter is close to 50 pages but it won’t feel that long with all the big art pages and battles going on. The art is super clear which always makes reading the story that much easier.

Overall 7/10

Joker Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film below. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version may be more negative

Making a movie with the villain as the main character is always a rather tricky thing to try and accomplish. You either go the route of trying to make the villain sympathetic so you can root for him or you go all in on just making him evil. It’s such a tough balance that it’s usually not even worth making the attempt. With the Joker of all characters you already know him as one of the most evil villains in the Batman series so this is certainly a very different portrayal. Ultimately it doesn’t work as the film just seems to be a never ending story of bad things happening to everyone.

The movie starts by introducing us to the Joker who is an aspiring comedian. Currently he works as a clowns but it’s a rough city and things don’t work out from the start. His sign is stolen and then he’s beaten up in an alley. The job threatens to fire him for losing the sign and then Joker makes the big mistake of taking a gun to a children’s hospital by mistake. It does come in handy when he is attacked on the subway as he murders the three attackers but now his life is in a tailspin. He begins to learn things about his origin that he never knew and funding is cut off for social services so he no longer has pills to keep his laughing condition in check. Now it’s time for him to become a full villain and take down the city.

Right away I can tell you the film’s biggest weakness is how hopeless it all is. The movie is really just about how bad a place Gotham is. Bad things happen to Joker and everyone else at pretty much all moments in the film. Joker, Thomas Wayne, Murray, Randall, Penny, two random detectives, everyone gets a bad hand in the film. There’s no one who walks away from this with a really happy ending except for Sophie and even then I wouldn’t say it’s super happy either since she’s probably going to have to move or may just feel terrified for a while assuming she made it out of the film.

Joker starts off as a sympathetic character since he is trying hard to be a comedian but it never works out for him. People mock him and his laughing condition makes it hard to hold a conversation at times since it can get triggered at any time. The first two people he murdered were certainly in self defense so I wouldn’t hold those against him at all. You definitely need to fight back in such a scenario and if anything it would have been nice if he had gotten up to defend the lady rather than the situation ultimately happening because he stayed back. The third guy who ran away is definitely more on the iffy side since he was no longer a threat and was running away. It makes sense to bump him off in case he could ID Joker later on but at that point it’s more to protect his own skin.

The rest of the murders in this film are completely on Joker and show how deranged he is. Joker definitely had a complete decent into being a psychotic villain by the end. You know it’s coming the whole time since this is a film about the Joker but the issue with having a villain who is so unrelentingly evil as the lead is that there is nobody to root for. If you look at some of the best villains out there like Eren Yeager, Light Yagami, Venom, or Thanos, they worked well as leads or co-leads because their goals at least made a lot of sense. In a way Light and Thanos even had good goals of saving people in a broad sense but went the wrong way about trying to improve the world and as such became complete villains.

You’re rooting for them to be stopped but at least you understand why they are doing all of this. With Joker he pretty much admits that he is just seeking out revenge against everyone who has wronged him and is just enjoys the insanity of it all. You’re not rooting for him to win at all here and his scenes can just be painful to watch. Ultimately while he blames all of the other characters for everything, some moments are his fault as well like bringing the gun to the hospital and letting Murray rile him up. The guy was clearly mocking him so Joker could have either decided not to go or to use that opportunity to prove himself anyway rather than trying to become a symbol and start a movement even if he claimed that is not what he wanted to do.

Joker was just an awful lead here and I don’t see this Joker being one of the better versions even down the road. I much prefer the classic Joker origin where he was a random bank robber who fell into the acid and became Joker. He just went from villain to super villain rather than it being Gotham which broke him down and sped up his descent into madness. As for the other characters, well Randall is a mean colleague who makes fun of his co-workers height and is generally a rather toxic person. He is quick to lie and manipulate others. You know he’s not going to make it out of this the instant that he appears.

Then you have Murray who loves making jokes at other people’s expense. He has created a whole career out of it. Joker was even a big fan of his until the jokes began to be about him. Again this is where Joker loses more sympathy points because of course he doesn’t mind others getting mocked but when it’s about him then it’s a whole lot different. Next on the list of characters is Thomas Wayne who wants to be mayor but has a complete disconnect with the people of Gotham.

I have to assume that he is planning to buy the election because otherwise he is doing absolutely nothing to win new votes. He makes fun of these guys and calls them clowns as well as goes out of his way to antagonize them at every corner. The movie presents him as a rather arrogant man who is so full of himself that he doesn’t see what’s right in front of him. I forgot we were going to squeeze in the origin here so that was unexpected. This version of Thomas appears quite unsympathetic compared to most but of course as we’re only seeing some instances from Joker’s perspective here, it’s likely not the full story.

Joker’s mother Penny also gets a decent sized role. Like Joker she has her own issues which seem to due with memory loss at first but later on we see that she is also quite crazy. Joker doesn’t see the complete irony of trying to get revenge on her later on since she likely doesn’t even remember the past and seems to believe her own delusions here. Also, she is completely powerless when they have their final confrontation and it’s got to be the worst scene in the movie. Her backstory is really gritty of course as the film continues to pile on.

The only decent character in the whole movie outside of quick cameos is Sophie. She’s Joker’s neighbor and they have a brief meeting in the elevator where she tries to be friendly but Joker doesn’t talk back at all. I guess he was worried about the laughing starting up so he kept his distance but she gave him the benefit of the doubt on a second occasion when she noticed him following her. Considering we’re in Gotham that’s a scary feeling but she didn’t immediately call the cops or get people to beat him up. She really did her best and so I’m glad she at least made it out of this. I would have interpreted her as losing her life to be honest but I remember it was a huge deal when the film came out and the director or writer had to come out and confirm she was okay. I don’t see the point of having the ambulance whizz by after the scene though. It’s only purpose is to hint at that but I’m guessing they may want her around for the sequel if we get one.

Either way it’s a good decision because the film is mainly about Joker getting revenge on everyone and she would not be deserving of that considering that she was in his corner. Not as often as he thought given how his delusions work but in her real scenes she was on point. There’s not much to say about effects as this is a more down to Earth film but I did enjoy the jingle from the game show that Murray’s on. It had a catchy beat and the happy tone really made for a great contrast to the rest of the depressing scenes.

Otherwise, prepare for the film to really drag on. There’s no real happy scenes here as the film sets the tone early. From the kids beating Joker up in the intro to the asylum in the end, there is never a scene for you to smile. There’s always something bad happening or about to happen. It’s almost impressive how unrelenting the film is with this approach as you would expect things to start working out even for a little while before the next fall but that’s really never the case. The closest is when Joker’s act starts to succeed and then this is taken away in the next scene.

The film keeps trying to balance whether it’s Gotham that turned an innocent person into the world’s greatest criminal or if he was just unstable and psychotic from the start. It’s hard to say since we’ve just got a small picture into his life but by the end it seems to be leaning towards the latter. His excessive punishment towards everyone who wronged him backs that up at least even if the crime was a long time ago. The city didn’t help of course as Gotham will be Gotham and keeps on sinking. I don’t even see how the custody angle would have worked out after everything in the file to be honest. If there is a Metropolis in this continuity then you should definitely try to get out. Being homeless in Metropolis is likely better than trying to survive in Gotham.

Overall, Joker is really an awful movie that’s extremely mean spirited. This is exactly the kind of scenario you try to avoid when doing a film based on a villain. In fact, this can be the poster film for what I’m talking about when I say how risky it is. You end up having a main character you can’t root for and so you’re rooting for him to be taken down already but since the film is about this villain, you know that’s not happening until the very end if you’re lucky. We see that the Joker is evil throughout but with no real goals or big ideas. He has an awful speech at the end where he blames society and this and that, but at the end of the day it’s all excuses on his part. This was just the origin for Batman’s villain but unfortunately in a world where they are unlikely to do battle. There were no silver linings I could find in this film so I’d definitely say to skip this one.

Overall 0/10

Prometheus Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Prometheus is a film that I saw the trailer for more times than I can count. It just kept playing for every film in theaters and it always had a very ominous vibe. Creating a prequel to the alien franchise in general is a very move since the series is so well known for how cryptic and mysterious it is. This was definitely a very bold move and while it is interesting to see how the aliens were first developed, I don’t think the attempt was ultimately successful as you need Aliens in an alien film.

The movie starts off with a crew aboard the Prometheus getting ready to land on a planet to ideally meet their creators. They have a theory that the creators are here using some symbols from cave paintings. The evidence may seem flimsy but it’s the future so why not right? Meredith is the daughter of the guy who funded this expedition and she reminds them not to engage with any aliens they might meet and this is just a mission about exploring. She doesn’t think they will find anything though. Little does she realize that the team is about to run into something extremely dangerous.

Watching films like this where the heroes are stuck in space reminds me why I would never want to go on such an expedition. I’m quite fine on Earth and you have to be able to trust everyone 100% while in space. That seems like a difficult task for me because everyone always seems this close to cracking in these things. It doesn’t take long for the pressure to get to the characters after all.

In this movie the standout character is an android named David. Almost everyone on the crew seems to despise him because he isn’t human which I have to say does make them seem like jerks. David shrugs off the insults though and usually has a counter blow of his own. He makes for a very interesting character as it is hard to get a read on him. It’s also this trait that makes the humans distrust him as well. As the film goes on he continues to get more and more sinister.

The guy’s very interesting though and helps bring that horror element into the equation. At the same time, his super strength would be a good asset for fighting off these creatures. The only character who is actually kind to him is Elizabeth. She treats him like a real person and he saves her life at one point so she is grateful for that. Elizabeth is the real main character of the film. She’s definitely no Ripley but does well enough. She wants to get off of the island early on which was the right move but unfortunately the group doesn’t have such plans.

A strong positive for the film is also the impressive soundtrack. Not only is it the best soundtrack in the alien franchise but it’s one of the most impressive horror soundtracks I’ve heard. Aside from Resident Evil I’m not sure if any would beat it. The music is really grand and hammers home the surreal feeling of being on an alien planet. At all times you have some great tracks going so at least you will be having fun on the journey.

The movie does make the usual mistakes when it comes to alien films like this though. The violence is quite over the top with everyone getting destroyed once the aliens come out. The deaths tend to be quite painful as well as you have the chest bursters showing up as always and the aliens like to destroy the humans from the inside out. Much like the Carnage scene in the recent Venom movie, they tend to go in through the mouth at times with their attacks. I’d definitely rather they go for more conventional kills like with a bite or something instead.

Aside from Elizabeth and David, the cast isn’t all that good either. Meredith is basically just on the mission to prove herself as a high ranking officer but she doesn’t do a whole lot. Ironically I would say she had one of the most painless deaths in the film though. Surely getting squashed by thousands of tons of steel in an instant is better than living with an alien incubation or being torn to shreds right?

There’s Peter who is the old man in charge of the mission but the guy really should have known better than to come to this planet. There was a flaw in the plan all along. So the characters believe that humanity was created by a race of aliens and then abandoned to fend for themselves. Given this…why would the aliens be happy to see us? It should come as no surprise to see that they would be quite aggressive and that didn’t go over very well.

These guys are called the Engineers and it’s an interesting concept. So they are basically like androids that are more powerful than humans and have a good amount of geniuses on their team. That said, I think the film is trying to point out that creatures will always surpass electronics and so these guys don’t last too long against a creature. It opens the door for interesting side stories and maybe some Engineers vs Predator battles. I would assume the Predators would win that but it would be a fun fight.

The Engineer doesn’t do a lot and basically refuses to talk but this does make them an interesting enemy. There are a few more members of the crew but you already know that most of them aren’t going to survive. You’ve got the gung ho guy who is all set to learn about humanity but he’s quite mean to David which doesn’t bode well for him. You have the loud complainer who doesn’t even want to be here and the timid guy who is in over his head. Naturally things don’t go well for them.

There is one more likable character in Janek though. He’s the captain of the ship and knows when not to take orders from corporate. He’s willing to take big risks to help the characters and readily puts himself into harm’s way. I liked his determination and without him the Earth would have been in a lot of trouble. He gets some good credit for that and additionally even when he gets a lot of bad news, he never breaks down or cracks. He just keeps on going.

Overall, I’d say that the idea behind the prequel wasn’t bad. Seeing the start of how the aliens form is interesting but it also means that we don’t get to see any real aliens until the very end of the film which is really a shame. Classic Xenomorphs easily have some of the best designs in all of sci-fi. It’s really hard to top them and these little amoeba creatures don’t have the same impact. If you throw away a lot of the usual violence and everything then this could have been better but as it stands, it just isn’t able to break out into its own.

Overall 2/10