London Has Fallen 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

It’s been close to 7 years since I originally saw Olympus Has Fallen. It’s fun to look back to my old review of it. I ended up seeing the film again to get ready for this one and would score it higher nowadays. I’d probably bump it back up to around a 7. I still do have an issue with how easy the whole takeover was. No way that plane should have been able to take out the two jets like that and I feel like everyone wouldn’t go down so quick…but that’s how it goes. This film isn’t quite as strong as the first and I do have to suspend my disbelief again but it’s still a solid sequel.

Following up on the events from the first film, Mike is back on the security detail protecting the president. They have been invited to attend a funeral for the prime minister along with the presidents and leaders of many different countries. I have massive doubts that everyone would actually attend in person due to the great security risks this would bring but the President does want to go in person. A virtual meeting would have been best but it looks like America is going. Mike and the President head in with the team but of course it’s a trap and nearly all of the leaders are assassinated while London is burning. Mike has to help the President get back to safe ground but comms are down and enemies are everywhere. Will Mike be able to pull off one more rescue?

The film is definitely escalating the situation a lot more than the first film. We’ve got traitors everywhere, the villains have a plan so big that they outsmarted the G8 and tons of cops were planted on the inside. The film points out that this is a plan that was years in the making but even then I have doubts on this all going through. It seems like the USA was the only place to even think of bringing in any guards. Everyone else just folded immediately when the enemies attacked. No extraction plans or anything, they all just curled up and died. Even at the end of the film they nonchalantly mentioned that a new government has been installed and everything’s all good….but it’s not a focus.

You may as well have had this take place in the U.S. again because it feels like the other countries just did not matter at all. They don’t ultimately do anything and feel incidental. The villains don’t even seem to care about the other governments at all anyway. I could go on about that angle but it would go in circles pretty quickly. Bottom line is I don’t think this plan would really work nearly as well as the film is trying to spin it. I always have a lot of skepticism on these outside attacks at least on this scale.

Mike continues to be a great lead here. He takes charge right away and gets the President to safety. Each time he manages to take on several opponents at once and is quick under pressure. He has a lot of good lines here and is just really talented. He doesn’t let the team pull him off the field and lives up to his reputation as a one man army. Soon the villains are going to need to start factoring him into the equation if they really want to win these battles. Otherwise it’s really curtains for them.

The President is also fun. I still wish they would let him fight at least once since we did get the whole boxing scene in the first film. He shoots someone here but I’m talking a true hand to hand fight. He always ends up taking a beating instead but the guy always stands strong so I’ll give him credit there. He’s not going to give up or crack in the end.

Trumbull is also a very solid character. He really did an excellent job of filling in during the events of the first film. His role isn’t quite as big in the second film but he gets a really good scene at the end where he turns the tables on the main villain. I also liked how he turned the guy’s line against himself. The ending is also a bit ironic for him since the villain was rambling about how the U.S. blows people out of the sky all the time and this and that. Well, now he had the honor of being blown out from the sky himself.

The villains aren’t quite as memorable as in the first film though. You’ve got the classic “I want revenge for my fellow terrorists” kind of guy who doesn’t realize that he should be blaming them for being terrorists in the first place. The U.S. does look a bit iffy with one explosion where it turns out that we blew up a bunch of civilians as collateral damage as a result. Sounds like it was a rough choice but since we didn’t even get the villain that did make us look bad. We ultimately got him on the second shot though. Certainly there was not going to be any other decision after the President was taken hostage and nearly murdered though.

The action scenes are on point as you would expect. Definitely a lot of very intense battles there and nobody is taking prisoners here. We get some solid hand to hand fighting and Mike surprisingly has a bit of a tough battle at the end. Of course he has to be utterly exhausted by this point so that makes sense. He does spend a little too long gloating at the end which nearly leads to one villain getting away but I suppose after beating so many enemies he has earned a little speech to himself.

Overall, London Has Fallen is a good sequel to the first film. It doesn’t surpass the original as it’s weaker in almost every way but it’s still a good movie in its own right. The characters are on point and you’ll be engaged with what’s going on in the story. The villains aren’t as memorable and I would say the film isn’t quite as tense as the first though. It’ll be interesting to see what the third film’s all about. I’d assume the only way to get even bigger is to have the whole world engaged in some kind of World War III as Mike has to protect the president from every country. That might start entering the point of parody if they were to do that though so we’ll see how that works out. Either way, this is a film I could recommend checking out without a doubt.

Overall 6/10

The Flash Volume 3 Gorilla Warfare Review


It’s certainly been quite a while since I’ve checked out a Flash comic, that’s for sure. Or any comic for that matter. Volume 2 ended with Gorilla Grodd and the troops heading to Earth just when the Rogues Gallery had been having a big fight with the Flash. Now they have to break that up in order to fight off the invasion but it may already be too late for Central City. That was a good cliffhanger to end things off with so Volume 3 is really able to start quickly. The arc really takes up almost all of the volume but you would expect no less for Grodd.

So as mentioned, Gorilla Grodd’s army is here and the Flash has a very tenuous partnership with the Rogues for now. By that I mean that the Flash definitely has to watch his back at all times or it could be game over for him. This won’t be as easy as normal though because Gorilla Grodd has obtained super speed of his own. Meanwhile Iris and friends are still stuck inside the speed force and trying to get out but they have to make sure not to mess with the timestream too much. That never tends to end well.

The arc takes up the first 5 issues out of 7 in the volume so quite a lot happens. I always had a hard time taking Grodd seriously as a Flash villain because super speed means this guy should not be able to do anything. Giving him the Speed Force as well helps to change that because now Flash is the one in a tough spot. I won’t say unwinnable, but it would be difficult to cause an upset if they both have the same level of speed only Grodd is massively stronger. You could argue that the Flash’s experience would allow him to win but I’d argue that the experience isn’t enough to even give him the advantage let alone make this an easy win.

It’s honestly a very impressive showing for Gorilla Grodd to the point where the Flash pulls a Dr. Strange and thinks through hundreds if not thousands of scenarios and can’t find any way where he can directly defeat Gorilla Grodd. Ultimately he has to think outside of the box on this one. The plan is certainly an interesting one. Depending on how his plan went I may have been shaking my head but ultimately it was well thought out. It may not guarantee his victory but it does stack as many possible advantages as possible in order to at least make this close.

The volume really shows off Barry’s intelligence which is always good. He is a genius in his own right even if he’s not as smart as Batman or Superman. Barry knows how to come up with a plan and is quite self sufficient. The guy’s been the hero of Central City for a while after all and the volume treats him with a lot of respect. Part of why the Justice League is so fun is because you can make an argument for several members ultimately being the deadliest person in the group. Flash is no exception with how he can bend time to his will and move so quickly. Usually this means you may have some power level hax but the comic solved that issue by giving Grodd his speed. Ultimately the arc was a lot of fun.

There are two main subplots here, one of which is solid and the other which is underwhelming. The good one is with the Rogues fighting off the Gorillas. It’s always fun to have a villains vs villains kind of confrontation and this one lives up to that. The rogues are just lucky that the rest of the Gorillas don’t have super speed. Captain Cold is still bickering about trying to be the leader a lot but the group does ultimately team up to stop the threat. I look forward to seeing them step in as villains again in a future arc.

The plot I was not really feeling was with Turbine, Iris, and the gang. So they were hopping around a lot and ultimately show up in the speed force to help but it was a little hard to care. They didn’t help a whole lot and while I know Turbine needs to get home, you would just be waiting to get back to the Barry plot. It seems like Turbo’s plot will end up being important in a future arc so maybe next volume will be his time to shine. In the meantime though it just wasn’t very big yet. Also, Iris is just so unlikable in the New 52 so far so she tends to be annoying in most of the scenes.

We get a flashback where she went on a date with Barry just to try and use him to get her brother out of prison. Manipulating someone with a fake date’s definitely not good. In the present they’ve patched things up well enough but Barry is currently dating Patty and you can’t help but feel that Patty is ultimately doomed. It’s too bad because Patty seems like a good character throughout. She’s been very understanding of his Flash persona and has just been nothing but supportive throughout the series. I’d like to see Iris and Barry just have a very constructive friendship but we’ll see how that goes.

The final two issues deal with the Trickster being charged with murder. He denies the charges and Barry believes him because he knows the Trickster wouldn’t murder someone. Personally….I’d be a little dubious since the guy is a villain even if he usually seems harmless. Also, some of the guys who went into the Speed Force have started developing super speed. Interestingly, only Iris has not awakened her abilities yet which concerns Flash but he doesn’t have time to tackle every issue at once. He needs to convince these guys to stop using their powers so freely and he needs to find evidence to help out the Trickster. One last problem though…his speed has mysteriously vanished. Can he still prove that the Trickster is innocent?

Albert and Gomez are the two guys who awakened the super speed abilities and they are rather annoying. They get themselves into trouble almost immediately and are extremely aggressive right from the jump. Sure, they’re right that they can’t just get rid of their powers and may as well use them but you’d think they would take babysteps first. Maybe train in abandoned areas, get used to the speed, etc. There are so many ways to prepare yourself with super speed since it’s such an amazing power. Jumping right into big fights is not the way to go. I think what rubs me the wrong way is how upset they are and it really feels like they will turn evil in short order. They’re also quite rude to the Flash for no reason. If they keep their powers I definitely expect things to get dicey.

The Flash losing his powers feels pretty random for now. At the end of the volume we find out that this may tie into a Batman case involving a power syphoning device. Cyborg is looking into it and this is a nice nod to the rest of the League being around. It’s the perfect way to include their presence while still having the Flash doing his own thing. Without this happening the mini arc would be extremely easy so I see why the plot device was included.

After all, the stakes here is that a group of rebels are planning to break the Trickster out and that could cause some political strife as the group is a part of an independent nation. It’s certainly impressive that they started this up since these guys don’t seem all that ready for politics. Still, apparently this could cause huge issues so the Flash has to be careful on how he handles this. We get to see how he would fight with gadgets and such to also try and avoid hurting anyone. It’s a fun adventure which may be a lot more low key than the Grodd fights but works well enough.

Finally, the cliffhanger is about the Reverse Flash showing up. I have no idea which version or iteration this one is but he seems to be taking the title literally as he may have just saved someone he murdered only to destroy the guy again? The whole setup is about doing things in reverse which is fun. I want to see more of this gimmick going forward. He’s already talking big and I expect he’ll try to bring some pseudo moral argument over to Barry which the lead should just disregard. Reverse Flash is historically one of his most dangerous foes though so this should be a tough fight.

As expected, the artwork is really solid here. The New 52 era always looked super impressive visually and this comic is no exception. The fight scenes are on point and it makes the comic very easy to read. You never have to pause and wonder what’s going on or anything like that. The whole story just flows together real easy. The writing is good too with all the characters remaining in character and acting sensible. Even Iris who I wasn’t a big fan of is still written well. I just didn’t like the decisions she would end up making.

Overall, The Flash continues to be a strong run for the character. Each arc is interesting and brings a good amount of action and adventure. With the Reverse Flash coming in, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next arc is the best one yet. The beginning to a long comic run is always super important and I’d say the writer’s been nailing it here. Each story keeps introducing new elements for the future so there’s always quite a few plot threads to juggle. The toughest thing will be keeping the Flash from instantly winning without constantly reverting to taking his powers away or just making the enemies also gain super speed. Of course if you have to choose an option to reuse, I would always go with the latter because high speed battles never get old. Also, it just makes sense for his gallery to have super speed as it’s logically the best way to put up a fight against him.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia Season 5 Review


It’s always impressive how the MHA seasons keep arriving like clockwork. You can usually expect a season every year and the next one will certainly be coming soon as well. The seasons have all been rather consistent as well with really solid animation throughout. This is probably the first one where it felt like the production started to catch up with them in the end but ultimately you’ve got another great season here. There’s a lot going on so lets hop right to it.

The show quickly opens up with the aftermath of last season as Dabi shows up to taunt Endeavor a little bit. As one of the enemy top commanders it would be great if the heroes could take him out but he’s too crafty and slips away. We then go to the heroes who need to get stronger and have a tournament between classes to pull this off. Class 1A will have to try and take out Class 1B once and for all. Can they really pull this off though or are they already doomed? Class 1B has far less real world experience than 1A but of course their quirks are still the real deal.

This lasts for the first half of the season and it’s a fun arc. The animation really helps to increase how intense the battles are but either way I’m always up for a good tournament. We get to see everyone contribute this way and you know that Bakugo is going to be set. Honestly I think Class 1B should have won the third round based on how things played out but I’ll go into each individual match in a second. All of them were fun though and I liked how 1B’s teacher was openly rooting for them. He may not be impartial but he’s certainly loyal. I’d like 1A’s teacher to have been a little more supportive like that.

After the tournament ends we get the mini arc of Todoroki, Bakugo, and Deku working under Endeavor. We get to see more of his family drama and the heroes learn how to make the most of their quirks. In the background Hawks is working on a mission of his own and it’s hard to tell if he’s a double agent that the heroes can trust or if he’s gone off the deep end. Either way he’s their best hope for secret intel but of course he has to be careful how he transmits the data. This arc’s definitely more on the low key side but it’s another way to build up experience for the main characters and to get them strong enough for the battles that are to come. There’s not a whole lot to say about these episodes but of course it’s still going to be a long journey to even begin to forgive Endeavor. I don’t blame Todoroki’s brother for still being super sore about the whole thing. I can’t say Endeavor ever bounced back for me personally.

Then we get to the arc that most people were really excited for in this season. The big My Villain Alliance arc where Shigaraki and the gang are forced to fight against a new villain group led by Re-Destro. It’s always fun to see a villains vs villains arc and so of course that would be the case here too. The new villain group has the absolute massive advantage in numbers since it’s really hundreds against less than 10 fighters. The league of villains are also heavily weakened since they’ve been fighting almost nonstop for days already. With their abilities weakened can they claim victory here?

Imagine if Re-Destro hadn’t been so determined to beat the villains on his own and had called in the heroes? He could have ended up ending the series early but fortunately his hubris made him want to fight personally. I don’t think he realized that this would be the best path for him as well but figured he couldn’t lose either way. Now there was a lot of controversy about how the arc would be adapted though. The events got shuffled around a bit to try and build up synergy with the movie. As a result, the anime put the training arc with Endeavor before the villain arc. Not a really bad thing on its own, both events are far enough away where they shouldn’t reference each other.

The big problem here is that the anime still includes future scenes…including spoiling the ending of the arc with the result of who won the war and what happened to both team members. Everything is absolutely spoiled with a classic villain meeting scene where we see everyone. We hear about the destruction on the news in the episode and I don’t understand this choice by the writer/director. Surely it would have been incredibly easy to move that scene to the end right? Also, due to so many episodes being for the other events, the my villain arc had to be rushed quite a lot. Many scenes are cut and so the arc doesn’t feel quite as complete as in the manga. It only gets 6 episodes to itself (Although 5 since the last episode is really after the arc) so there just wasnm’t a lot of time. It’s still a very solid arc but it is heavily weakened to the point where it’s fair to say that the Class 1A vs Class 1B arc is stronger. At least in the anime I would say it absolutely is. The first arc has better animation, more big battles, etc.

So that part was unfortunate but even if you know how the arc will end, it’s still a fun journey here. You get to see the villains gaining more power and how this will make things tougher for the heroes going forward. They can’t hope to just roll on past the villains now, although that was never really an option. The heroes are gaining power at a much slower rate than the villains so now the villains may have even taken the lead. To be honest, I would say the villain group is more powerful than the heroes right now. Their abilities are simply too good to be stopped.

So lets go back to the battles for a minute here. Class 1B messed up in the first battle because they really had the edge once Kirishima was taken out of play. On paper 1A is much stronger there but 1B had such a promising start. Unfortunately for them they got a bit overconfident. It was a fun way to start the tournament off. Ultimately most if not all of the other battles would surpass this one but we got to see what Shinso could do in the fights.

In the second battle we had another match that appears to be a stomp for 1A on paper but 1B came out with the better plan once again. This time they were able to close the deal and I was glad to see that. Momo and Kendo have a big rivalry here and it was nice to see. Momo seems to usually come out on top so at least Kendo has a win here. Her plan was well thought out and they took advantage of how emotional the heroes could get. I liked how their shadow guy baited Tokoyami at one point. Ultimately this is a main theme for the tournament with how 1B would make up for their lack of physical abilities with really smart planning.

Then we go to the third battle which is the most lopsided because of how stacked it is for the heroes. I’m not a big Ida fan but I can still say that he is quite fast and a threat in a fight. Then you have Todoroki on the same team? Well, that’s a wrap. This fight may have had the best animation out of the 5. We got some great scenes of Ida dashing around at limitless speed and Todoroki’s fire was really sharp. That said, the tie was not satisfying here. While I think 1A should have won from the start, at the end they should have just lost if this is how it was going to go. With the bar hitting Todoroki like that Rocketti needed to come in clutch for 1B.

After that it was time for Bakugo to take the stage. It’s the most one sided battle out of the 5 and for good reason. Up until now 1B has had all of the planning but Bakugo had enough of that. He conducts a really solid plan for 1A and they have a perfect win. It was a good way to show how Bakugo has been improving over the course of the show and now knows how to be a team player. It isn’t something he likes doing but it makes sense that he would know how to work with others since that will be necessary when he is a pro.

Finally we get to the 5th match with Deku. Of course Deku could solo the entirety of Class 1B on his own so we have to have something to prevent this. In this case it was that Deku develops his new ability during the fight and loses control which gives 1B a chance to come back. I really like Monoma so I was glad that he got to have a good role here. Certainly the standout of 1B. The match is never in doubt but it’s suitably dramatic and works as a good way to end the arc off.

So the arc was definitely a lot of fun. Constant fights and everyone got to show off their stuff so I was satisfied here. I would like to see 1B get to do something more in an action context at some point though. I know that they’re probably outmatched against the League of Villains but surely there’s some fodder they can fight against. It would be good to show that they are still contributing and can fight when the chips are down.

In terms of people choking when they’re about to win though, that happens to Re-Destro’s side a lot in the villain arc. At the very least you feel like Shigaraki and Toga should have lost their battles. Toga was getting utterly devastated throughout the match to the point where she was exploded several times when her opponent rigged the blood flow. Toga should not be getting up from that, much less turning the tables. I know the reporter got overconfident but that was the match to me. Meanwhile Re-Destroy also had such a huge lead but then he started admiring Shigaraki and losing his resolve. It was a shame because that guy was so cool but now he has faltered. I guess that’s why he is no longer the mastermind though. He doesn’t have the grit for this.

Now lets talk about the characters. Of course the main cast has already been appearing for a while so I won’t go super in depth there. Deku still makes for a solid lead. As far as Shonen Jump leads go he has always been one of the weaker ones for me but just going off of this season he doesn’t really do anything wrong. He does well in the fights and you can excuse him sandbagging a bit because if he goes all out he could murder someone by mistake. As the seasons go we should see him displaying more and more power in a safe way.

Bakugo gets a really great role of course with how he commanded his team to victory. It was nice to see and he’s never lacking in confidence. Jiro had a great assist in the match and she is quick to act on the orders. I see them having a good dynamic on the field going forward. Uravity doesn’t get to fight a lot here but she does come in handy for helping Deku come to his senses. Ida has his speed moment and while he ultimately has a rough matchup here, he does help his team a lot.

Likewise, Todoroki has a good moment with his fire and ice abilities but ultimately it’s really hard to use those abilities at their peak without murdering someone so that nerfs him in the tournament. The rest of class 1A is mainly uneventful but of course they are all in this tournament so you’ll see all of your favorite characters doing their own thing and upgrading their powers. We still don’t get to see much of Invisigirl so she is truly living up to her name.

For Class 1B the standout characters start with Monoma of course. His ability to store powers and use them at will makes him a true threat. He even has his delayed effect on one of them which is used strategically. You can see how his ability has its own share of weaknesses since he always has to use borrowed abilities which means that he has less experience than his opponent but his high IQ helps to balance that out. He is not someone that you want to go up against in the field.

Kinoko is an interesting case because she’s like Deku where she has to be careful of how she fights. She can cause mushrooms to appear all over your body which impairs your ability to move and breath. She is also shown to be able to do this across an incredible range as she covered a good chunk of the battlefield. What this means is she could conceivably cause this to appear in your lungs and you’d be dead instantly. Her abilities have countless ways to be used but many are lethal and even with knocking out opponents she has to be careful not to suffocate them. I doubt she’ll ever get to do much again but honestly she would be a huge help against the villains.

As mentioned earlier, I was glad that Kendo got her moment to shine. Even if she doesn’t get to fight later on. That’s at least something she can hang her hat on and she really is a solid strategist. Mudman deserves some credit too for being able to react to Ida’s speed and still land his counter blows. He did quite well in using his ability creatively. Certainly not someone that you want to underestimate.

Shihai also gets kudos for the mind games he was playing the whole time. It was quite effective and he’s a good actor. Then you have Spiral who isn’t super remarkable but his abilities are so basic that it makes him feem like a very earnest guy. Ultimately I think he could have done better here but I won’t forget his abilities too soon. The way he punches while spinning reminds me of Jin from Yu Yu Hakusho.

Shinso gets a good role here as he gets to participate in both team sessions. His ability to mind control you is super handy. Even if it won’t work too well on Deku or Shigaraki, most opponents are immediately going to lose if he can hit them. The trick to his ability is that he needs the villain to talk back to him. Assuming that most don’t yet know about his ability, that makes him a real asset on the field. He also wants to learn mor close quarters combat which is a good idea since that never hurts.

Then we have Endeavor who is of course trying to turn over a new leaf. Props for effort of course. I may not like the guy but it is still important to start trying to make amends as it’s better than just continuing down the dark path. As the number 1 hero he has huge shoes to fill but is doing his best. I would still consider him to be the second strongest hero in the series (That we have seen so far) but I would argue Deku has surpassed him. Endeavor is just able to control his abilities better and then go all out.

Meanwhile Hawks still has the toughest job here as he has to hang out with the villains and learn things. He could be murdered at any moment so he really has to be careful. He does well in his role though and knows how to use his laidback attitude to his advantage. Now that takes us to the villains and of course quite a lot happens with those guys. I’ll start with Spinner since he gets the least to do. Most of his scenes are the ones that had to be axed although to be fair, if I had to axe any scenes I would have gone after Spinner too. He’s just not super interesting compared to the others and he’s a bit weak as well. Right now the guy doesn’t have nearly as much drive as the others.

So first off we have Twice who gets a lot of big moments here. For starters he is able to awaken his quirk so he can now copy anybody he really knows including their powers. That’s a huge power up especially considering that he can now make hundreds of clones. It was nice to see him be able to recover from his split personality issues as well. His backstory is definitely something I’m sure everyone imagined at least once in Naruto as a dark what if route. Well, he’s back and stronger than ever now. He may be a villain but Twice is the kind of guy who really cares about his comrades and so you end up liking him well enough. He’s easily one of the more likable members.

Then you have Toga who is still as crazy as ever. We get her backstory which doesn’t make her any more sympathetic but it isn’t really supposed to. We just learn now that she really was crazy from the start. I’m not a Toga fan and this certainly wouldn’t change my mind in that respect. I have to say that I was rooting for Curious from the start and I still say that she deserved that win.

Next up is Dabi who is great as always. It was a hype moment when the team called him in to help in the fight. Makes sense because without him things would be difficult. His fire attacks are great for fighting many enemies at once after all and one hit could be deadly. Surprisingly he seemed to still be on the losing side against Geten and is lucky that backup arrived. It was a rough matchup for him though.

Finally you have Shigaraki. Oh there’s a guy called Compress? Well he didn’t do anything so he may as well not exist. Anyway back to Shigaraki, I’m not really a big fan of his. I mean he’s your classic crazy villain who wants to see the world burn and all. The insane types can be good sometimes, sometimes not. I’ve always found that specific kind of villain to be very hit or miss. He’s slowly starting to get past his issues like always needing the hands which is good and he’s gaining focus. Down the road Shigaraki could end up being a stronger villain personality wise.

His origin story is also the weakest part of the show as of course he has a dog and you can imagine how that goes. He grew up in a toxic household which ultimately ended up speeding his descent into madness. It’s too bad since things could have been different for him otherwise but the heroes were just not around in time. Not like they can be in every household though. Shigaraki’s father just looks terrible here. You can’t really blame the sister since she’s just a child but he deserves a lot of the blame here.

Of course you aren’t likely to sympathize with Shigaraki much here. Even if his childhood was rough, he ultimately ended up becoming a mass murdering villain so that was that. With his new powers he seems nearly unstoppable though so the heroes are really going to have to put out all the stops here.

As for the other villain group we have to start off with Re-Destro. This guy was great at the start, he has a ton of confidence and has his own empire. He blackmails the league of villains openly and it shows you just how many connections he has. He was making a case for being one of the best villains in the series but unfortunately he completely cracks once he is humbled by Shigaraki. He goes to being someone that is absolutely loving being a minion but way too much. He has no more self dignity anymore and I lost all respect for him so fast. He’s just a shell of himself now.

Gigantomachia is sort of a third party villain until he accepts Shigaraki but now we can say he is in the league. He’s super powerful to be sure but one of those really big and not very fast guys so I can’t take him ultra seriously. He’s really good for obliterating tons of fodder quickly though and since it’s hard to damage him, he’ll end up being one of the big players in the upcoming battles.

Back to Re-Destro’s allies, we have Curious next. She’s effectively a twisted reporter who always has to get the scoop even during battle. She’s quite good at her job and made for a fun villain. Curious may be short lived at the end of the day but she certainly made the most of her screen time. Then there’s Geten who also doesn’t appear much but this guy stole the show for me. His fight with Dabi is great and I love the guy’s confidence. Usually you’d assume that ice won’t do anything against fire but Geten showed why his abilities surpass all of that. The fact that he can use water to create a near infinite supply makes me think that he may be more powerful than both Todoroki and Dabi at using his abilities. I dare say Geten was going to easily win if not for the fight being interrupted.

Finally we have Skeptic but he’s more of a support villain than someone who will go in personally. He uses his pseudo hypnosis to get everyone on board and fired up. His abilities also seem to give his fighters a little extra strength so he’s useful to have around. Not really my kind of villain though and he doesn’t leave the same kind of impact as Curious and Geten. Both of those villains you won’t be forgetting any time soon.

For the soundtrack we’ve got a lot of the really solid tunes that are from the older seasons which are always good. There are also some new tracks particularly in the villain arc which are solid. I’m not sure what the name of the theme is, but it plays quite a bit during the villain fights and is a good way to build things up. I like the idea of the villains having their own ost to counter the heroes as well. Ultimately the only aspect that still remains on the disappointing side is the openings. For some reason MHA has really started to have really below average openings. It reminds me of One Piece where the openings just never tend to be all that great. At least MHA had the first opening which was exceptional though, there’s never been a standout tune for One Piece. Maybe it’s a tough thing for long running titles in general as I can’t think of any really top notch Naruto openings. Black Clover would be the exception although Bleach had some solid ones in the mix.

I will give the show credit having 2 intro songs though which is how it should be. When you have 25-26 episodes you should have 2 openings, 4 for 52, and 1 for 13. Every 13 episodes you should have a new opening. Them’s the rules. As for the animation, well it’s pretty great as always. Particularly the first arc with the heroes against heroes. We get a lot of great animation cuts there and top tier moments throughout. The famous cubes for the big moments and the heroes look plus ultra as a result. You could say some of the best animated cuts in the whole series are in the first half.

As mentioned earlier, it does come at a bit of a cost though. The villains arc noticeably seemed to get the worst animation of the series. In the other seasons every episode always looked consistent so even if some fights got more attention than others, it was always at the same level. Here it just looks really different at times, almost outsourced. Even the color palette looks different as it gets a lot brighter and less detailed at times. It may not be on point compared to the rest of the show but I would say it still looks good if you take it as a stand alone. Additionally they still pull out the budget for the final fight of the season which is good. I would say even that one doesn’t look as good as most of the cuts in the first half of the season but it still ends on a solid note.

Also, a part of me is just wondering if maybe the show was just trying something different with the animation. Like if you see the Dabi screenshot above or watch some episodes, it just looks different. It’s why I mentioned potential outsourcing. Perhaps it was a different style they wanted to experiment with and it just didn’t work out as well. I remember Black Clover tried some experimental animation in one of its fights when things were going through a big time crunch and if the style is quicker to animate then it would make sense to use it.

The arc definitely had a lot of really solid animated moments as well even if I don’t think the style was nearly as good as the first half. The less detailed approach may help to mask if this was rushed which could be the intent. I love bright colors like this so the art style worked even if it was less detailed. To put it one way, I wouldn’t mind if it ultimately went in this direction next season even if I would prefer traditional. After all, I really enjoyed the Dabi fight and I thought the scene I attached a screenshot of looked great. It’s certainly eye catching and pops out at you.

Overall, My Hero wraps up another important saga in the mix. It may have been a little less high stakes compared to the last few seasons but we do have a solid cliffhanger to set things up for the next season. Season 6 is really going to be intense from start to finish with nonstop battles so if they need to take a few extra months to set this up that’s fine. It has the potential to be the best season in the show depending on how this all goes. Also, how many shows get to have 5+ seasons like this? Definitely shows how big the series has gotten and I’m expecting more movies coming up as well.

Overall 8/10

In/Spectre Review


I know what you’re thinking. Inspector Gadget finally got his own anime right? Well, not this time but this is still a mystery type show. It’s a very unique kind of approach to it though as the cases revolve around finding an explanation but not necessarily the correct one. I’ll explain what I mean in a moment but it’s a nice way to change things up. Ultimately this is a show you will remember quite well after watching it and I’ll be interested to see what cases season 2 covers.

So the series starts off by introducing us to Iwanaga. She was kidnapped as a child and when she was found, Iwanaga was missing a leg and an eye. In exchange she has now gained the ability to see yokai and helps them out as the goddess of wisdom. There is still some mystery regarding what exactly happened to her but the outside world is unlikely to ever know the full truth here. Well, Iwanaga has been solving mysteries for a while now but her top goal is getting Kuro to fall in love with her. Now that he has broken up with the girl he was dating for the last 2 years, it’s time to make her move!

Okay that’s the plot for the first episode and after that we get the cases. The first episode is important though because it sets the stage for the rest of the series and the dynamic between Kuro and Iwanaga. Also, I would say the first episode is the best episode in the series. Not a diss to the rest of the show but I didn’t feel like it ever quite matches up to the first adventure.

The first episode really has a similar vibe to Death Note. We know there’s something odd about Kuro but it’s hard to say exactly what. Iwanaga is odd in her own way too so who is the hero and who’s the villain here? Kuro gives a story about how his girlfriend Saki broke up with him because a Kappa appeared and Kuro was too scared to help out. Iwanaga counters that this is unlikely and we get an interesting dynamic there. There’s a lot of verbal battles as they compare theories. Finally the episode ends with a massive cliffhanger as Kuro seemingly outs himself as a villain and walks away.

From the first episode you almost get a Death Note meets Carmen Sandiego feeling as Kuro will keep avoiding Iwanaga while she chases him. Things don’t quite go in that direction though as Iwanaga is not scared of his abilities and is still in love with him anyway. From there they end up forming a very reluctant team as they are “dating” and Kuro has to protect her at all times since the world of Yokai is a dangerous one. It’s a different dynamic compared to the first episode but still a good path. That first episode just really leaves a strong impact.

The first case is a fairly small one. So a body was found inside the lake of the Great Snake and so he summons Iwanaga to ask what happened. If the answer is not satisfactory then he will create a giant storm and cause a lot of destruction. Throughout the two episodes Iwanaga poses several theories and explanations on what has happened. This is really the meat of what makes the series interesting. So in most detective shows/movies you will have the main character explain everything as we get flashbacks as to exactly what happened and then we call it a day.

Well we get the explanation and the flashback but then the Snake starts poking a lot of holes in the theory. So Iwanaga switches her story up and you quickly realize that she was completely bluffing the first time. It’s a fun subversion because you are used to the main character being correct the first time around, not having to backtrack and try again. I can’t think of the last time I saw something like that. It happens over and over again as the Snake keeps dismissing the theories until he accepts the last one. Thing is, we don’t know if it’s actually correct. Iwanaga ultimately admits to Kuro that it’s still a guess since it’s not like she was actually there.

Although she did have her mystic Yokai informants to fill in some of the holes but ultimately she doesn’t know if this is the truth. Iwanaga points out that it’s close enough though and works as an “Alternative Truth” which is a main theme of the show. As long as you get to the correct outcome, the details themselves don’t matter and can therefore be made up. Iwanaga’s job is to make everything make sense, not to necessarily uncover the truth behind these mysteries. You can see how that’s a very different perspective from what you may be used to. It makes for a fun watch and becomes a bigger debate/point of emphasis in the upcoming arc. The snake adventure was a good way to kick things off as we see different flashbacks which keeps contradicting themselves as the story goes on. I’ll give the Snake props for shooting down so many theories initially though.

Now we enter the final arc. You may be thinking that this was awful quick but the final arc is quite long which is why it shows up immediately like this. So there is a rumor going around about “Steel Lady Nanase” which is believed to be the undead spirit of Nanase that is going around and murdering people. Nanase was crushed when a giant construction beam broke and fell on her. The circumstances of her death were very suspicious though. Why was she alone in the middle of the night at an abandoned construction area? She was a very well known voice actress of world renown who should not have been there at the time. Additionally, the way she died makes it appear that she didn’t react to the beam falling down at all as if she was already knocked out or put to sleep. Thing is there are no other injuries to be found or any traces of a drug. Naturally Iwanaga is called into action.

With almost 10 episodes for this arc it’s quite a long one as you can expect with quite a few twists and alternative truths mixed in. We also meet a new villain and several new characters. This is a good place to talk about Kuro’s abilities since they will play a big role in this title. So Kuro ate part of a mermaid at some point which is part of his origin story and so he is immortal. Any fatal wound he receives will quickly heal up at all times. Additionally, while he is dead, Kuro has the ability to grab onto the literal strings of fate to determine what path he takes.

This isn’t an invincible ability where he can change the future though as it has some limitations. First, he can only see some branches into the future and can’t follow them along too far before his healing factor kicks in and he regenerates. Additionally, if the future is something very strong then he can’t change it. For example, if a villain is attacking someone, it’s probably too late to change their fate to spare the victim because the action is already in progress. Another wrinkle to the equation is that he’s not the only one with fate altering abilities so if the other user is more powerful than he is, then Kuro will be blocked out.

A side effect of Kuro’s abilities is that his blood is poisonous to monsters/yokai now. So most avoid him by default. Mix that in with his immortality and getting eaten intentionally is an actual battle tactic for him since he can walk away from that while the monster will blow up. So that wraps up Kuro’s abilities and it makes him a very valuable asset to have. Iwanaga always wants him to help out but unfortunately for her he isn’t a great team player and tends to vanish a lot. Ultimately he will show up to help out in each arc though.

It does also feel like the show jumps around a lot. It feels like there is a significant jump between the giant snake case and then Steel Lady Nanase. Personally I’m thinking the show may have skipped some stories to get to the big Nanase case or something but it may just be a normal jump. Either way the duo have really grown comfortable with each other by this case and Kuro no longer denies being her girlfriend. The two of them are just partners in for the long haul at this point although if Kuro’s immortality includes his age then that could be tricky for Iwanaga eventually.

Back to the arc though, here’s a bit more of the details. So of course Yokai exist in this world and the Steel Lady Nanase is very real. The trouble is that spirits grow stronger based on how many people believe in them. Initially there weren’t a lot of people who believed in Nanase, but a certain website has helped her become big through its active forums. It turns out that Rikka, Kuro’s cousin is at the helm and she appears to be using this as some kind of experiment. That makes the case extra personal for Kuro. The problem is that it’s not so easy to figure out how to beat Nanase since Rikka keeps using fate alteration to prevent her defeat.

So the goal here is really for Iwanaga to convince people on the forums that Nanase isn’t real. Effectively she has to make the truth appear to be a lie and the lie appear to be truth. It’s interesting because we know that the villain in this case is telling the truth about Nanase being an evil spirit murdering everyone so in a way you’re hoping that the forum won’t fall for Iwanaga’s fake news. On the other hand, this is the only way to stop the spirit since if nobody believes in her then she will fade from existence.

We get a lot of rules about how this specifically works. The fact that everyone knows how Nanase looks and that someone drew an image of her also made the spirit more powerful since everyone would have the same illustration in their minds. It was really quite the impressive trick by Rikka. Rikka is quite fortunate that the forum was so supernatural though as on Reddit I can’t imagine a lot of people buying into this. They may ironically post about it but that’s really it.

It was a lot of fun to see the forums going though as Iwanaga and Rikka both infiltrated and pretended to be random users. We get multiple episodes of all these users interacting as Iwanaga provides story after story. Like with the giant snake she just keeps on throwing out constant theories until one sticks. I personally thought she should have used a different user name with each one to really split everyone up though. See, her goal isn’t to win everyone over at once but to gradually split up the group so that everyone is believing in different things at the same time. That would weaken the collective image and allow Kuro to take Nanase down.

After all, while Iwanaga is typing all of this, Kuro is fighting Nanase so that she can’t murder anyone else in the meantime. I did have major issues with this fight though. So Nanase isn’t super strong on her own, I mean she is decent but you can absolutely wrestle her to the ground. For someone like Kuro this should be easy right? Nanase’s only big weapon is her steel beam which murders Kuro several times. That’s fair, I accept those losses since the man seems to have 0 fighting instincts. There are 3-4 times in the fight where he throws her beam off of the stairs or she is separated from it.

In those cases he should absolutely be grabbing the beam right? No, each time he’ll just throw her back into the beam, just stand there with a stunned expression on his face, or he’ll destroy her but then she’ll regenerate and just pick up the beam again. Kuro’s win conditions aren’t too hard here. Just keep the steel beam out of reach since she can’t summon it remotely and then get her in a choke hold. He successfully did this and murdered her once but then ran off. Instead keep holding onto her as she regenerates and wait for Iwanaga to solve the case.

I feel like they made Kuro fight super poorly the whole time so that her solutions would work completely but it would have been more impressive if he was just holding her in place the whole time. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as visually interesting but then just keep the focus on the inside world with the texts and the virtual selves. I think that would have worked out quite well if you ask me. That fight just didn’t make sense the whole time and since the climax is so long, it just makes this impossible not to notice.

So lets talk about the characters. First off you have Kuro who works well as the main guy. You feel bad for him to an extent as he clearly doesn’t want to get back into a relationship but Iwanaga is quite persistent. Even now when they are together you feel like he’s just there to protect her but doesn’t really return her feelings just yet. They work better as just being friends but I think we know that’s likely off the table right away. Kuro is never quite as mysterious as he was in the first episode but you always get the sense that he could crack at any second.

He does have some character weaknesses though like how he runs off to take care of the Rikka element by himself and that ultimately comes back to bite him. The whole plot with Rikka does no favors for Kuro either. They are still cousins after all so I don’t care how big the family is, that means Kuro needs to stay out of that arena. At least he’s finally starting to get over that but in the meantime it does hold him back as a character.

As for Iwanaga, her detective skills are on point. When solving cases she is second to none and I do like how quickly she is able to pivot from one story to the next when they are proven to be incorrect. She’s quick on her feet in that respect and is also willing to jump into danger as needed. On the minus side, she can be rather crude at times. That’s almost her whole gimmick with how she obsessively chases after Kuro and tries to keep his ex Saki at a distance. Iwanaga is always calculating and that includes when she is talking to her friends. I’d like for her to be a little more dignified at times though. So like Kuro I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of her so far.

Saku is the ex girlfriend who gets a big role in the Nanase case. Her first appearance in that arc is quite good as she charges Nanase and tries to fight. Of course it doesn’t work since Nanase is a ghost but I did like her enthusiasm there. She really went for a big punch and since she is usually scared of the occult that was a big character moment. I was surprised when it happened but very much in a good way. You’ve probably noticed a trend with the characters so far though which is that they all have a weak point as well. Saki is no different and my issue is with how she ditched Kuro so easily.

Mainly the show points to the incident with the Kappa as why she ran off. When she noticed that the Kappa was scared and not Kuro, she had to dash out of there because it was all too scary. If she broke up with Kuro because he was emotionless I could buy into that. Or if he started acting evil and edgy, sure that makes sense. Running off because of that? I think that’s a real stretch and even in the present it doesn’t make much sense to me. Later on we see that she knew about his regeneration after witnessing it at one point so I don’t see why this was so much of a shock to her.

At the very least I would have expected them to sit down and talk about it a bit. So that really hurt her character since it makes her look bad. At least it looks like there won’t be a “Take Two” so they will just stay as friends now. One minor character who stole the show for me was Terada. He’s Saki’s superior in the office and while he doesn’t believe in the supernatural he keeps his mind open about it. I was glad that he was trying to crack the case and didn’t just say Saki was crazy or something like that. Unfortunately, going up against a spirit will usually be the end of you and that’s how things went here. At least he was a lot of fun while he was around and that’s how you develop a good one shot character.

Finally we have the villain Rikka. Eh, I’m not a fan of hers either although we don’t really know her full goals yet. It appears that ultimately she wants to die since immortality is a bit of a curse for her. So, perhaps by figuring out how to make spirits come to life, she is trying to find a way to reverse her own immortality. I don’t really know why she was trolling at the hospital for a few years though as with her immortality she seems to have been okay. When the hospital discharges her eventually she just walks off. Maybe she just liked scaring Saki. (Yeah Saki’s also scared of her which isn’t a great look) I’ll need to see what Rikka’s real motivations are but in the meantime she’s just not a very interesting villain. It is fun to picture her typing on the keyboard as the enemy troll in the final debates though.

I doubt she really knows what she wants to do at this point but it would be hard for the heroes to stop her if she got serious. Put it this way, there’s nothing stopping her from creating a lot of myths around the world and summoning more monsters. Maybe they wouldn’t be as powerful if she doesn’t get the circumstances just right but the heroes can’t be in more than one place. Just summon a bunch of them and watch the world burn. It’s not like the humans can do anything against Yokai so that’s game set and match. Her goal isn’t to destroy the world but if she needs the spirits for her goal…well that’s how you do it.

That about covers it for the characters. There are a bunch of random yokai running around too of course but they’re not quite big enough to go in depth on. As you can see I wasn’t the biggest fan of the cast but they hold their scenes well enough. You’ll still be entertained while going through it mainly because the detective angle is a blast. The series is at its best when the characters are debating viewpoints and trying to find flaws in each other’s arguments. Since Iwanaga is creating lies each time, it makes sense that there will usually be a hole to exploit somewhere.

It does have a bit of a fanservice issue in the final case with Nanase. The fanservice is effectively built into her reputation which is why it’s emphasized and mentioned so much but it’s not really needed. Kuro doesn’t miss a chance to tease Iwanaga on her appearance with this and they mess around a bit but it ultimately felt like a bit of an excuse to use Nanase for fanservice. The rest of the show is pretty much devoid of this so I like to think it won’t be an issue for season 2.

The opening song is very solid here. It’s quite catchy and I particularly like the guitar strum at the beginning. It’s the kind of opening you can listen to a whole lot. Within the show the ost isn’t quite as memorable but it’s hard to top that intro. As for the animation, it’s pretty solid. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly memorable but works well enough for a more mystery based show. The action scenes aren’t quite the focus after all and everything is still clear enough. There are good contrasts with the colors and you can’t mistake the fact that this is a newer anime.

As this is a mystery show you can also expect some of the backstories to be a little dark. Usually with murders that’s how things go but I would say the show never goes too dark with the backstories. At times things can get a little violent as the show exploits how Rikka and Kuro can keep regenerating anyway. Rikka keeps destroying herself to grab onto fate and I would say Kuro is sandbagging to an extent to keep grabbing fate as well. As a result they do die a lot and quite brutally in some ways. It certainly can be a bit much at times and they could tone down the violence in season 2 but for the most part it’s usually not excessive like that. Certainly none of the other cases aside from Nanase were that violent so I wouldn’t expect it to be a trend.

Overall, In/Spectre is definitely a fun show. It may not have gone the route I was expecting with the dynamic between Kuro and Iwanaga but ultimately down the road you always expect a two man show for the detectives. The one solving the cases and then the muscle to back the detective up. (Alternately the second person would be comic relief like with some variations of Watson) The show maintains really solid dialogue throughout with the cases and I like how unique the whole thing is. To get to the next level I’d like the characters to get a little more likable and then we’re really in business. If you’re looking for a good mystery show then this is one to check out. The first episode will almost certainly have you hooked.

Overall 7/10

Tokyo Mew Mew Review


I read Tokyo Mew Mew a while back and it was fun enough. I preferred the manga to Sailor Moon by a large margin but would the same be true of the anime version? Not in this case as the gap between the manga and anime for Moon is like night and day to the point where I would say the anime is really quite good. In Mew Mew’s case I would say the anime does enhance the manga as well but it’s still not quite topping Sailor Moon. This is a fun show all the way through so you should have a good time here.

The show starts by introducing us to a happy girl named Ichigo. Her life has been rather ordinary so far as she tries to balance her school life while also trying to build up the courage to tell Aoyama how she feels about him. Well, that will have to wait as she is blasted with a strange ray along with a few other girls. They are now destined to be the Tokyo Mew Mews. A fighting force of epic proportions that must defend the world from aliens who seemingly wish to destroy it. These powers come with some unfortunate side effects like how Ichigo will gain cat features if she gets too excited. That will make her confession to Aoyama rather difficult. Her only chance is to save the world quickly and put these powers behind her. Will she be able to do this?

At first the show is mainly a monster of the week format. Ichigo will fight a monster and then we move on to the next adventure. Along the way she meets the other fighters in the group and then once the team is assembled we really start to learn more about the villains and their motivations. It’s not quite so simple as just destroying the world and they have some interesting reasons for attacking. You’ll never stop rooting for the heroes but at least you can see where the villains are coming from.

The show does tend to use the same kind of plot cycles like Saint Seiya for a while though. For example, if one character gets a power up, you can bet that the next 4 episodes will be about the rest of the team getting power ups. If one character gets an adventure then the others will each get an episode in turn. It may make things predictable to an extent so I’d like the show to have changed things up more. Fortunately the adventures are all fun though and you’re not really expecting the show to veer off into a crazy direction so it works well enough. The whole episodic kind of experience is one that can always work as long as the writing is good.

One of the reasons why I preferred the show to the manga version is it felt like each of the characters got more personality and development. I usually feel that way for anime adaptions and consider it a strength of the medium. For example I did not like Pudding very much in the manga but thought she was a lot more likable here. Her antics would actually be funny and she did her best to help out. I’m still not a big Lettuce fan in any version but I never tend to like the timid member of the group as much as the more intense ones.

The animation here is solid. In fact I would say it’s surprising just how good it is. The colors are very sharp and the show looks a lot newer than it actually is. I suspect it’s because of the bright color pallete that makes all of the characters stand out at all times. Or maybe this show just got a bigger budget than I thought. The fight scenes that we do get are quite solid too even if they aren’t really the focus here. I definitely had no complaints on that end. Of course there is a ton of recycled footage here for all of the transformations. That always feels like a lazy way to save budget for the show though. Imagine if we got a redrawn transformation every episode. That would take more effort but it would be neat. I’m not a big fan of long transformations though so I wouldn’t mind if you did the DBZ instant change version instead. It’s cool to have a long transformation for the first time though to show what a big deal it is. The soundtrack was also solid. It had quite a few tunes as well so there was a lot of variety here. The theme song is only okay though, I didn’t find it to be too memorable. The best soundtracks tend to be the character themes when they transform and enter battle.

With 52 episodes this means you’ll be seeing a lot of monsters but the show does a good job of not really reusing those. You’re also having fun throughout so it never feels like the show drags on. In fact, I would make the case that it is always good to be a very long show if you’re a slice of life because it lets you get used to the characters. For example Cardfight G may have been one of the weaker seasons for me for a while but it had almost 60 episodes of the characters just hanging out and so when the plot stuff started you were already invested. Perhaps the new Cardfight season could have been better with more than 12 episodes.

So with 50+, you get to know the Mew Mews very well by the time we’re entering the climax. They are all solid characters for the most part too which is important. The writing here is solid from start to finish. Now, I may give the dub the edge slightly because I love how they made all of the characters extremely overconfident and aggressive but this review is really of the subbed version where I saw the whole thing. The writing is still good there as the characters have good dialogue and the episodes don’t drag on. If an episode drags on that usually means either the writer or director did not do their job and that never became an issue here. The show has good humor and dialogue at all times so you’ll be feeling good after each adventure. Now lets talk about the characters.

Ichigo is the main heroine here and she does well in carrying the show. Ichigo has a lot of energy and is a hero through and through as she sacrifices her social life to fight the monsters. She has a bit of the Parker luck at times as things usually don’t work out for her. Fortunately Aoyama is probably the most understanding guy I’ve ever seen in a Shojo series as everything bounces off of him. Ichigo stands him up for 3 different dates? He shrugs and figures she was busy. Ichigo avoids him at school for a few days? Must be a coincidence.

I mean he does get sad at times but he pretty much always gives her a pass. It’s nice to see him be so understanding but at times it feels like he has no real character. He’s just standing around to be the love interest and that’s about it. It’s why I was glad he got some twists and character development since he needed that. Ichigo does well in her spot as the leader here and also appears to be the most determined Mew Mew. So I definitely liked her quite a bit and would even put her above Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon as far as the Shojo leads go.

Since I already talked about Aoyama a bit, lets wrap up his part of the plot. He does have one episode where he has a really good character arc which is when he has to fight Ichigo’s dad in order to date her. The episode wasn’t always played seriously but his resolve was and it’s the first time he really seemed to step out into being his own character. It was satisfying in that respect and it was his best episode. Ichigo’s dad is also cool. The guy doesn’t get to do a whole lot but I do like how protective he is of Ichigo. The guy is absolutely going to make sure she doesn’t get mixed up with the wrong crowd. I also like Ichigo’s mother and how she is always cheering the father on. They have a really good bond going there and it makes for one of the more wholesome relationships I’ve seen for parents in anime.

Next up we have Mint and she is sort of like the rival or Sailor Mars of the group. She is rich and can be rather stuck up at times. She isn’t going to be quite as selfless as Ichigo but she does want friends. Mint is just one of the tsundere types who can’t really admit this. Ichigo helps her reconnect with her family and make more friends so they have a strong bond by the end. Mint also gets a good fight with Zakuro at one point which was really hype. Mint seems like one of the stronger Mew Mew fighters and I liked her tough personality. She’s certainly a standout.

Then we have Lettuce and I never quite warmed up to her. She’s one of those characters who seemed a lot more powerful when she was “evil” than when she formally became a Mew Mew. She has a hard time expressing herself and is really timid which holds her back in fights. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being timid but usually that means that you won’t end up being one of my favorite characters. I tend to like the bold characters and that’s really not her style.

Pudding is a character I usually wouldn’t expect to like very much. She’s the youngest member who can’t really take everything seriously. So Pudding tends to goof off even when things are tough and doesn’t understand that the villains are evil. I think what separates her from some of the other characters though is how she does still have a lot of responsibilities and appears to be a mature character when it counts. She looks after a bunch of orphans and in one episode we see how she has to take care of all fo them in between missions. Throw in the fact that she works in the Mew Mew cafe with the others and she is very likely the busiest member of the group.

I’d still like it if she was a little more serious during the fights or not being oblivious to how the villains are fighting against her but by the end I was a fan. The episode with the orphans is the one that ultimately won me over. Finally we have Zakuro, the most powerful member who is also on the shady side at first. Her character is really impressive here. She gets a lot of powerful imagery like when she appears in the church initially. Now that was a great way to introduce her and she has an aura of mystery that no other character in the show was able to attain. Zakuro gets a lot of cool poses and fights to herself as well which is rare for a supporting character. She seems to be the only fighter who can really take care of herself without Ichigo having to come in and save the day.

I also thought the show was fairly consistent at showing her as the most powerful member. (Aside from Ichigo of course although I do think Zakuro is more skilled but Ichigo has the 1 hit KO moves) Zakuro is the oldest member and likes to play the bad cop routine to get everyone focused. At times she goes a little too far with this though like her attack on Mint and the crew. That felt completely unnecessary and the plan just never ends up justifying that. Should have just stuck with the heroes and attacked the villains from the start. Regardless, she was certainly my favorite character in the series. Definitely a winner through and through.

Then we have the mysterious Blue Knight. The show does a pretty good job of keeping the mystery of who his true identity is. It adds a little mystery to the series and he’s effectively the Tuxedo Mask of the group. He’s strong and makes for a very good ally to the group. He comes in handy on more than one occasion and I like his design. This guy’s certainly someone you can count on to always deliver in his scenes.

I haven’t talked about them much but the Mew Mew girls have two benefactors who set this all up. Their named as Shirogane and Keiichiro and they’re responsible for the alien rays. Basically they needed a fighting force against the aliens and so the girls were chosen. These guys aren’t super apologetic about what happened from the lab experiments but I guess deep down they get worried. Shirogane is your classic tough guy who always keeps an attitude up while Keiichiro likes to appear as a really nice guy. Keiichiro was rather boring for me though and I never liked him much.

Shirogane gets a good character arc though and we learn about the big risks he had to take. He even gets a very emotional backstory that ties into one of the monsters that the group ends up fighting. Shirogane probably had to endure the most before the series starts. I forget what the male version of a tsundere is, but that’s basically him as well. He hides his feelings behind the constant insults but you can always count on him to help out. So he’s a fun character and even Aoyama gets intimidated by the guy and runs off at one point.

I should mention there is a little robot named Masha who helps the heroes by finding Mew Aqua fragments that they need for saving the world and also detects monsters. I wasn’t a huge fan of Masha though as he fails absolutely every time when it counts. By the time Masha senses any incoming monsters they have already arrived so there’s no real point. The heroes are getting absolutely devastated in their home base and this guy’s quiet as a whistle. I will say that episode was really cool though because it makes sense that the villains would eventually attack the Mew Mew home base. It’s hardly a secret and everyone knows about the cafe as it is. Surprisingly the villains never attack after this though despite the overwhelming success of the plan.

It makes so much sense to attack this place directly but maybe it’s against the villain honor code. Not that they all have much of one but at least Kisshu seems like the type of guy who would have unwritten rules. He’s certainly the most popular villain but I was not a fan. His first scene is of stealing a kiss from Ichigo which is always a super annoying shojo trope for villains. How do you end up liking that guy after such a moment? He becomes more and more desperate to be with Ichigo from that point on to the point where it becomes his complete motivation.

It’s not written horribly like in Tokyo Mew Mew Au Lait, but it’s still not a great villain motivation. Especially once we learn his full backstory and what happened to the aliens you feel like he should be staying focused here. He has some good fights and is always ready with the insults but I’d prefer if he had kept his romantic feelings out of this. It ends up completely taking over his character by the end but at least he does get some quality fights in the mean time.

I didn’t care for Taruto either. This villain’s more of a rival to Pudding as he’s the youngest villain who also messes around. He has his whole emotional character arc and all but I just didn’t like him. His romance is even more unbelievable than Kisshu by how much he despites the heroes at first and tries to murder Pudding only to have a change of heart. Nah, I wasn’t on board with this guy. Finally we have Pai as well and he’s also an annoying villain. Ultimately he’s the kind of guy who will follow orders without thinking about it. He’s supposed to be the smart villain of the group who thinks this through but it’s not like he has any big plans either.

Finally you have Deep Blue sama who is mentioned a lot. He is the ultimate leader of the villains after all but rarely appears. For most of the series he is a disembodied voice that just zaps the other villains or reminds them that he won’t give them a 300th chance to beat the Mew Mews. When he finally gets to do something he makes for a deep villain but I admit that for most of the series I only liked him ironically. Your villains can only defy and fail you for so many times before I stop respecting the guy. He did leave Kisshu in a critical state at one point though so he did do something there.

Well that wraps up the characters. So it’s a pretty fun cast overall. As you could tell I much preferred the heroes to the villains here. None of the villains really clicked with me all that much. They could fight which is good but most of the time they let their minions do all of that so it’s not like they are even on the front lines all that much. When they did go there they could usually stalemate or buy some time but they weren’t exactly getting any big wins or anything like that. The heroes meanwhile were putting in the work right from the start.

Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew is a fun show. I had a good time with it and each episode will entertain you from start to finish. It’s the kind of show that could have run for several hundred episodes and you would still have a good time even if the plot didn’t move much. It’s a credit to the writing and characters which were handled well. I can see why the series has such a big fanbase. I’m not going to call it great or boost the score further for being entertaining but at the end of the day an anime’s job is to give you a good time and keep you engaged. This show completely succeeds at that and makes for a very consistent experience. With no real weaknesses to speak of, I can recommend this show to anyone. Whether you like adventure, action, or slice of life, this will tick off all of the boxes.

Overall 7/10

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler Review


The Gambler is an interesting wild west film because it’s not focused on the shootouts and instead the card playing is a big focus here. Of course with a title like The Gambler you would expect that. The actual card game has to be one of the big highlights in the film. It’s definitely a good film and holds up pretty well compared to a lot of wild west kind of titles.

The Gambler starts off by introducing us to Brady. He is an extremely good gambler to the point where nobody can really hope to defeat him. He sees a young guy named Billy Montana who is getting himself into trouble by cheating a lot and beating everyone. Brady saves him from a rough fate and then takes most of Billy’s money after beating him in a bunch of games. The two of them head on to a train which is heading to a world championship tournament for big gamblers. Billy is super excited to be entering the tournament of course although Brady isn’t heading there. He got a message from his son Jeremiah that he and his mother are in trouble so Brady’s off to the rescue. Can he really stop the new guy who has taken over the town though?

Brady didn’t even know he had a kid before now. He had ultimately split up with Eliza a while back and as the film goes on we learn more of the circumstances surrounding that. I wouldn’t say every question is answered but we see that it wasn’t really up to Brady. This ultimately doesn’t make Eliza look great especially getting together with this new guy who was Brady’s rival. I’d like more of an explanation on how this whole situation went down because it’s just hard to see. Rufe is shown to be a really awful guy right from the start.

As you can expect he doesn’t end up doing great once it’s time to fight personally. All he can really do is hide behind others to stay in the battle. Otherwise he’s completely out of his league and he knows it. His scenes are definitely the worst ones in the film like striking Eliza and threatening Jeremiah. It’s always more fun when we’re focused on the Brady plot.

The train isn’t the safest spot either though. The owner of the train is one of those sleezy types who wants his customers to do him favors. Fortunately Brady was around and we even get a quick fight scene where he takes someone out with his cane. Brady may be a great card player but I should mention that he is also an excellent fighter. He is old so Brady can’t move as well nowadays but he does have his gun at the ready. One of his better moments is when he breaks into the tavern to save Billy.

Of course his card game against the old rival was another great moment. We got to see how each player would wager their bets and there was a lot of good strategy here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that was truly just about the cards and from this film I can safely say that it would probably be a lot of fun. I may not play card games very often myself but they were fun to watch. It may be a little more luck than most gamblers would like to admit but there is also skill involved. This almost could have been the climax of the film since the fight with Rufe feels more like an after thought.

Billy ends up being an excellent character by the end too. At first he is a bit annoying with all the cheating. The guy claims to be confident but he is cheating so often that it’s hard to take this very seriously. If he was really super good then surely he wouldn’t need to cheat right? Then there is the fact that he enters the super suspicious tavern even after he is warned not too by Brady. Brady made it obvious that this was a bad idea but of course Billy didn’t listen and it nearly cost him everything.

So the first half was rough but in the second half he has a lot of good moments like sticking up for Eliza along with Brady, throwing the gun out the window, and of course his role in the climax. Billy was able to take down a whole lot of enemies at once and seemed really good with the gun considering that he just got it. It was a good way to continue his character arc and you could tell that he did learn from his earlier mistakes. That was nice to see.

I wasn’t a big fan of Jeremiah though. The kid definitely gets into a whole lot of trouble and blames Brady quickly before learning the full story. For Eliza I question her decision making here in being with Rufe from the start and leaving Brady. Without more details I can’t say this for sure of course but it doesn’t seem like the right decisions were made. At least we learn that she did try escaping a few times but he would always find her so I guess at that point it was too late. She should have gone with Brady and Jeremiah at the end though. There’s really no reason to stay.

So The Gambler is a pretty well balanced film. The adventure is good and it’s nice to see Brady sharing the wisdom the whole time. He has a lot of good dialogue and shows his wisdom throughout the film. He’s great at cards, gunfights, and just knows what he is doing the whole time. His final scene about calling bluff with the villain was also handled really well. Really a perfect way to end things for his character.

The only part of the film that’s weak is any scene where we have to see Rufe. Any scene with him is usually very annoying and can be brutal. Part of why you would never want to live in the Wild West is because there was really no justice in a bunch of these places. It seems like the villains would often own the towns and then that would be game over. Even the train of course was corrupt and things would have gotten dicey if Brady wasn’t around. Definitely not a whole lot of people to trust out here.

Overall, If you’re looking for a very climactic card fight this is the film to check out. The battle with Brady’s rival is a lot of fun and the game goes on for quite a long while. It’s nice and I wouldn’t mind if they ditch the gun angle entirely and we just focus on the gambling. It could really hold a whole film by itself without a doubt. We’ll see if the sequels are ultimately able to keep up with this one.

Overall 6/10

Scoob! Review


Scoob got a lot of hype when it was first coming out as that big theatrical level Scooby Doo animated film. With the live action films not doing very well, this was the next chance to do something big. Well, it’s a pretty fun film I’d say. Ironically I would say the animated dvd films look significantly better visually but this movie is better than some of the more recent films. So all in all I was satisfied with this one. It’s not one of the best Scooby Doo films but it is easily not one of the weakest ones either.

The movie starts off with a new origin story for Scooby Doo and the gang as we see how they meet up and stop their first criminal. From there we get to the present where the heroes want to go professional. Unfortunately their potential investor says that Scooby Doo and Shaggy are liabilities. The two of them storm off without actually getting to hear what the gang really thinks and then they get kidnapped outside of the bowling alley by the Blue Falcon and his crew. They explain that these two are crucial in the fight against against Dastardly as he tries to get some relics together for his plan of unspeakable evil. Shaggy and Scooby want to prove that they aren’t the weak links of the team and agree to help.

So we’ve got our adventure here but of course that does mean Fred, Velma, and Daphne are stuck in the subplot for most of the film. It’s an enjoyable one though and at least they were ready to help their pals from the start. They even confront the Blue Falcon’s squad without fear when they see how the team is belittling Shaggy. They were loyal friends despite the guilt trip from the bowling alley employee. Honestly that’s really on Shaggy and Scooby for just running out of there before the rest of the gang had a chance to do anything.

Still the portrayals for the 3 characters are on point. I’d have liked Fred to have gotten one really solid scene where he gets a good trap ready or something though as it felt like he got the biggest shaft from the crew. Velma is a lot better than usual here as they balanced her skepticism well with actually helping the crew out. She does a lot of detective work the whole time and contributes quite a lot. Hacking Dynomutt so easily may be a bit cheesy but that was a big contribution. Then Daphne does well in building up everyone’s morale and establishing a friendship with one of the enemy robots. That would end up being absolutely massive in the film.

For Shaggy and Scooby…well I’m still not big fans of them. I think Shaggy is definitely the weaker character here though. As a kid we see how he was really lonely and meeting Scooby really helped him get his life back on track. They have a great friendship but Shaggy gets jealous way too easily later on. I’m confident that if he told Scooby to keep the collar he would have done so. Scooby was just focused on saving the world while Shaggy wasn’t focused at all. He would just make passive aggressive comments at Scooby throughout the movie and it didn’t feel justified. Mix that in with Shaggy dashing out early and he was too emotional here.

He also needs to face the facts that he and Scooby are the weak links since they’re scared of everything and always running away. It’s why I like the idea of them trying to prove themselves here but you just know that it won’t stick and they’ll be back to running away. Unfortunately that’s just completely part of their characters now. At least Scooby tries to step up when he gets the super hero costume which is why I give him more points here. You can see some improvement.

As for the villains, well Dastardly is fun. He’s a classic kind of villain who is super confident and always has a trick ready to take the heroes out. He come sup with a lot of clever plans and outsmarts the Mystery gang on more than one occasion. His classic partner Muttley doesn’t get to appear much but he was a fun character. They definitely make for a good duo. The robotic minions were also fun and had a nice design and transformation feature going.

Then we have Blue Falcon who is definitely one of the highlights here. That guy’s a blast. He may not be a good hero yet but he doesn’t let that get him down. He has a lot of confidence in himself. The film goes out of its way to remind you that he’s not very strong or smart as it goes on but I like how genuine he is. The Blue Falcon is at least trying his best and that’s the important thing.

Then you have the two allies who are always taking shots at the Blue Falcon but I think deep down they look up to him. Dee Dee is the genius of the group so she finds out the villain plans and gets the tech ready. She can also fight with her equipment which is always very helpful. Then you have Dynomutt with all his features and the guy is constantly daring Blue Falcon to do better with how often he is breaking him down.

It’s fun to have all of these characters running around. It does mean that this is a very different kind of Scooby Doo film as there isn’t a true mystery this time around. I mean you have the whole Scooby Doo ties to the plan and what Dastardly is trying to do but it’s less of a mystery and more about just following him along. The Blue Falcon’s group also makes this feel more like a superhero film but that’s always fun. This works as a good change of pace for the series. It’s risky as the first title in this franchise to not be a traditional Mystery Inc adventure but I had a good time with it.

I think a very important thing here is that the writing is considerably better than some of the recent ones. The characters aren’t super exaggerated and the story is fun to follow. Those are exactly the kinds of story elements you need in order to make for a good movie. I wouldn’t say any of the jokes are laugh out loud funny but the movie has some funny scenes and lines. So all in all you’ve got a very strong all around film here. It’s nothing great that will change your life or anything but I wouldn’t say it has any true weaknesses either. The pacing is right, you’ve got a good cast and the film really goes by quickly. I’d be glad to see more adventures here.

Overall, Scoob! does a good job of setting up the future of the franchise for a new audience. I do think you could and should switch the animation style as it isn’t great but it works well enough. If you aren’t comparing it to the main series then it really works well enough to do the job. It’s just hard to beat classic hand drawn animation of course. If you’re looking for a fun film to watch and spend some time with, then this is definitely a solid option for you to check out. I’m looking forward to the sequel and seeing where they go with it. You can never have too much Scooby Doo! Hopefully Scrappy gets to show up next time though, now that would be fun.

Overall 7/10

The Predator 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

Whenever you decide to have a bunch of villains be the main characters it doesn’t seem to end well. One of the Alien films tried pulling this off with the prison movie and that wasn’t great. Suicide Squad tried this with super villains and no dice. Now you’ve got The Predator where the main character is surrounded by a bunch of lunatics and unsurprisingly none of them are particularly likable. That’s a bit of a problem because that means the rest of the film has to work that much harder. This one was ultimately not able to succeed.

The movie starts off with McKenna and his squad of army fighters going through the forest when they are attacked by something out of this world. McKenna manages to survive but the rest of his squad is taken out. McKenna quickly mails himself some of the alien tech he was able to grab to prove the truth about the aliens but the government quickly catches up to him and naturally they want to keep this a secret. So they send him to a prison to possibly be lobotomized or just buried there forever. The Predator appears once again to take names though so McKenna convinces the rest of the crew to knock the cops out and escape. Now it’s their turn to hunt the Predator. They were all trained professionals at one time or another before being taken to the asylum so surely they can beat this Predator right? That is McKenna’s hope at least and he has to hurry because the Predator is now after his son since the kid has the equipment now.

McKenna is really the only good character in the film and that’s a shame. He’s not a bad lead or anything but it’s really hard to hold a whole film on your back. McKenna does his best but ultimately you just wish there was a better supporting character. He is determined to help his kid and does get a lot of solid moments as the film goes on. His gun skills are on point and he lives up to the hype that he builds for himself. The main heroine Bracket isn’t bad I suppose although criticizing the Predator’s name along with another one of the characters kinda feels petty considering that she’s just found out that aliens exist on the planet. The name can wait. While it’s played for laughs, she did have the right reaction in going for the gun and firing it when she woke up in an unfamiliar spot the way that she did. You always want to play it safe after all.

The rest of the guys from the truck are just super annoying though. They contribute quite heavily to the poor writing in the film as they just talk like criminals. We get a whole lot of crude dialogue the whole time and they can’t keep their eyes on the prize. They’re easily distracted and also lack reaction times like when one guy started shooting at a barrier instead of jumping. Not a really good move there. I really would have preferred if the main characters would have been McKenna’s squad. I guess that would be a clone of the first film but I can get behind that.

Naturally this movie is super violent so if you’re not up for that then this is a movie that you will certainly want to be skipping. Characters are ripped apart and really taken down a few pegs. The Predator isn’t holding back and then of course you also have the Super Predator running around. I feel like we’ve already done the whole Super Predator thing like in the third film but with all the films soft rebooting or at least taking things to a new location, why not go through it again. It is interesting how they switched up the Predator’s motivations a bit here. So now they hunt in order to improve their species through some kind of spinal fluid. It’s like Attack on Titan I guess.

It’s a reasonable explanation for why they hunt but it doesn’t really add or change anything so I don’t have much of an opinion on that. It’s just there I guess. I will always still prefer Aliens to Predators. As for the kid Rory, he has a few scenes that might stretch your disbelief with how he operates the Predator tech but at least he doesn’t immediately figure it out like the girl from Robocop. I’m not a big fan of kids getting a big role in these things since they always become a hostage at some point like how this kid is inevitably grabbed later on. I guess Rory handles the situation decently enough but I just want to get back to the big battles.

The movie easily has the best ending for a Predator film though. It’s like something out of Skyline or Iron Man. The heroes are finally going to have a way to fight back against the Predators. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the sequel may be coming at this point but if it does I could see this being the very best entry in the series. I would have a whole lot of hype for that one because it’s just such a good ending. It would really change the entire tone and feeling of the franchise and for the better. This would be more of an action series going forward and I am absolutely down with that.

Overall, The Predator is pretty much what you would expect from the series. The Predator goes around bumping everyone off as he dashes around. I do think it is not the weakest entry in the series or anything like that as it destroys the second film but it does feel like the series is completely stagnated. It makes all of the usual mistakes like being ultra violent and having an unlikable cast. That’s why the ending is interesting to me because it would show that the series is finally about to change things. That would be a massive win for the series. Not sure they would succeed but at least it would give them a fighting chance. If we just go back to basics with another Predator showing up to destroy a bunch of random humans then it feels like the series is just going in circles at this point. I’ll give the third film some props for at least massively changing things up.

Overall 3/10

Saint Seiya: Heaven Chapter – Overture Review


After all these years it’s time to check out the original sequel to the Saint Seiya manga/anime. After the big battle with Hades, Seiya was greatly injured and this movie explores just how bad those injuries were since the manga just ended immediately so we didn’t know exactly how this played out. I am glad that he gets up sooner than later though as writing Seiya out for the movie would not have been a great move. The film’s definitely a lot of fun, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best Seiya movie but it’s cool to see another original adventure and the ending’s definitely hype.

The movie starts with showing Seiya in a wheelchair and he is completely despondent. He has lost his ability to use his abilities and can’t even walk. One day, a group of fighters show up to assassinate him. These are angels led by Artemis. The gods have decided that Seiya and the other saints must be punished for taking out 3 gods during the Hades arc. Athena doesn’t like this but as always she chickens out and goes along with the villains. After meekly handing over her throne and saints, Athena is gone and Seiya is fortunately able to get up. He has to find Athena and take down Artemis and her troops. Can he pull this off now that he is truly back to being a bronze saint? (Even weaker than one to be honest) Also, where are his fellow Saints when he needs them?

If you can’t tell, I was not a fan of Athena at all here. Once again she is betraying Seiya….why? By now you’ve got to trust him since he has saved the day so many times. This is one main thing I would hold against the film which is that everyone’s betraying Seiya again. Aside from Athena you also have the other bronze and silver saints beating him up. Seiya really can’t catch a break and as always he’s got to do everything by himself. It would be nice if everyone could have his back for a change.

Athena in particular has to get the more criticism though. She saw what the Saints did against Hades previously. She should have confidence that they can beat Artemis and whatever army of gods are behind her. Just summon the Saints and announce a full war against them. Otherwise you lose any kind of turf advantage and Athena handing over her staff was not a good move. She’s just lucky that Artemis allowed her to take it back later on.

The other Bronze Saints like Unicorn do look bad here though. Come on now, you’re that eager to start working for Artemis now? A true Saint never stops their allegiance so calling this Artemis’ temple now and things like that make them look bad. I also thought Marin and Shaina looked really bad for going along with this. Enough about those Saints though, Seiya himself looks great which is good. He’s determined as always. Seiya knows how to take a beating, every enemy has the advantage at first and that’s true here as well. Initially he takes a lot of hits but that’s because he’s so weakened.

I can see why this nerf was necessary because otherwise Seiya was stronger than the gods by the end of the series. It should be easy for him to utterly dismantle all of the Angels and take down Artemis. The only opponent worthy of him would be Apollo and even then my money would be on Seiya. Because of this though I have no power level issues with Seiya’s fights. It all makes sense given what we know about his situation.

I do have some power level issues with the rest of the Saints though. Ikki, Hyoga, Shiryu, and Andromeda should all be close to Seiya’s level. Not quite as strong of course but strong enough to be taking these guys down for the count. Instead Hyoga and Shiryu are initially knocked out off screen and then Ikki and Andromeda are having a tough time winning a 2 v 1 against one of the opponents. They don’t have their gold armor at the ready this time (although I’d make the case that they should be able to awaken it with their burning spirit) but they should still be winning these fights. Only Apollo should be able to take them out at this point.

Still, it is nice to see these guys. Their role is very small but at least they all have an action scene which is good. Based on how the film starts to end, I do think they would have done a lot more in the sequel though. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have continued though. Even if we have a different timeline, just have some branching paths. It may not be canon or something but it’d still be nice to see. Or go the Fate route where you have 3 initial paths and then like 5-8 branching futures. The more expansive the franchise the better after all.

The animation here is really solid and I would agree with anyone who says that this is the best that the series has looked. The animation is really solid and this feels like a true theater experience. The colors are sharp and the backgrounds have a whole lot of detail to them. The fight scenes are also on point as well and it’s always fun to see Seiya’s classic Meteor Fist with the accompanying sound effect. The soundtrack is also good here. We get a nice song at the end and the classic fighting tunes are always good. The movie definitely delivers here.

On the other hand, the film’s only real weakness comes in part from the animation although it might not be related. At times the film tries a little too hard to be super grand and emotional. We get lingering shots at the water as it splashes or the moon in the sky. Characters will intently stand in the distance and it did make the pacing feel a little slow at the start. Everything’s just so dramatic and I think it gets to be a little too overdone at some points. Of course this isn’t the kind of thing that would hurt the film’s score but you tend to see this in films where they are really proud of the animation. Happens a lot in Pokemon as we stare at the grass blades twirling in the wind.

The film can also be a little cheeky with mild fanservice when Shaina and Marin are fighting. Could just be more dramatic shots that the movie is going for and since we see that for the environment, it’s possible that it just extends to the characters too. Nothing quite like the obvious camera angles you’d see in SAO though so it’s super mild at best. Saint Seiya is a franchise that really doesn’t have much fanservice in general and has always stayed strong there.

So we’ve talked about the heroes and how Seiya steals the show here. (Ikki’s role is just too small for him to take center stage this time. It was nice to see him and Andromeda teaming up as equals though. It shows some really good character development for Andromeda at this point) Now lets talk about the villains. Artemis is like Pandora in that she acts a lot more like how you would expect the evil god to be. She isn’t afraid to go on the battle field and talk tough to the heroes. I liked her well enough as one of the villains.

Then you have the Angels. From the 3, only the one who fights Seiya really gets a role. The other two look tough and talk tough but they’re obliterated in short order. The angel who fought Seiya actually got a twist involving Marin though and got a lot of moments to himself. He made for a good villain. Not good enough where I’d remember his name though although I could swear that they just called him “Angel” each time while the other two had true names. Either way he made for a good villain.

Finally you have Apollo who shows up at the end. He talks tough and backs it up with how he looks there. My money would still be on Seiya to beat him if he was at full power, but as discussed that wasn’t the case this time. Apollo works as a good final boss and I’d like to see where he stacks up with the rest of the gods who are so upset at this state of affairs. Seiya does land a good hit but it doesn’t seem likely that he would get a chance to win until the sequels. Apollo’s appearance is extremely brief as the film just ends but he makes the most of it.

I should mention the Gold Saints have a quick cameo here but they are quickly discarded as the gods have the last laugh. I would have liked to have seen them fight a bit or something but I guess there wasn’t much they could do there. It was a fun little cameo but at the same time it feels like they didn’t get to do anything. At least have them send the heroes some gold armor or something, that would have been cool. It’s been a rough road for the gold saints over the last few arcs….actually for the whole series to be honest.

As for the ending, it’s intentionally vague but here’s my take on it. Apollo decided to neutralize Seiya as a threat by erasing his memory along with Athena’s after defeating them. That’s why they’re now in a flower field just hanging out. It means the other Saints are going to have to hurry but it’s a fair bet to say there’s a slight time skip before the final scene so I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Saints were already defeated as well. In the second film I’d expect to see the 5 Saints battling 5 gods or something like that. The more I think about a possible sequel, the more hyped I get.

Overall, Heaven’s Overture is a great film. We’ve got all the hype action you could want and a great cast of characters. The animation is excellent and there’s always something going on. The film can be a bit dramatic but I can appreciate the boldness of nerfing Seiya for a while. It’s better than just having these guys wreck him, now that would have been iffy. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get a novel continuation or something at some point. Either way if you’re a Saint Seiya fan then you’ll want to check this one out at some point. It’s a nice look at a possible future path.

Overall 8/10

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan Review


Ty and friends are back for another big adventure as we conclude the trilogy. This one takes elements from the first two games which is neat and I would even say that this is the best game in the trilogy. It’s really a good way to end things off and while there is one big quality of life update I would have liked to see, it makes for a very fun adventure all the way through.

The game starts with Ty and friends taking down a big alien invasion and it’s a very climactic opening. Just when it seems like the game is ending before it’s truly begun, Ty gets trapped in the wormhole due to an outside attack. By the time he returns to the real world, 6 months have passed. Bush Rescue is disbanded and the villains have basically taken over the world. It’s a shame how everyone has absolutely no heroic instincts without Ty. One of the members went off to be a professional racer while the world is falling apart! Well, Ty has to bring the band back together one last time to stop the Quinkan from taking over the world. Can he pull this off or is it already too late?

So from there you might expect a really focused plot with constant action but it turns back into game 2 where you have a bunch of stand alone quests from there. Where the game improves from game 2 though is that the missions feel far less like filler this time around. Usually they all end up tying into the story in some way or another. You’re always getting closer to the truth of the invasion and finding a way to stop the Quinkan. The hub world and map appears the same from game 2 so get ready for a lot of exploring. They’ve also brought the shop back but fortunately this time there are mobile vans where you can buy the upgrades at instead of having to go all the way back to base each time.

That does lead into my one main complaint though which is that we really should have had fast travel here. I guarantee that would have been an amazing quality of life update. See, you have to drive back and forth along a really big hub world after every single mission which can get old. The car isn’t super fast so you’ll be driving quite a bit and quick travel would have solved that entirely. I suppose you’d spend less time on the hub world but that’s fine by me. This just makes sense for any game with a hub world this big.

Not a super big deal and the game’s pretty short as it is so you’ll still be finishing quickly. The gameplay has some more combat moves this time around so aside from throwing the boomerangs you can also smack opponents. This does mean that sometimes you’ll punch an opponent instead of throwing your weapon by mistake since it’s the same button though. I would have put the different attacks to different buttons personally but you should be good since both attacks are strong anyway. I found the actual combat gameplay to be rather weak but fortunately it is rarely necessary. You can almost always just skip the enemies. There’s no level up system in the game so fighting them doesn’t really matter much.

The game is split up into several gameplay styles so you have the levels where you are in the ground but you also have plane levels and mech suit ones. For the plane levels, you typically have to bomb enemy installations and shoot at others. Then in the mech suits you have a lot of fights and powering up generators. My favorite levels were probably the mech suit ones, it’s just a lot of fun to be in the suit and spamming lasers the whole time. Now that’s a good way to just barrel through the levels.

The graphics are solid as expected. Some of the night levels can get a bit dark but the game knows how to build the atmosphere up well. The action in the cutscenes is really good too. I question how someone was able to outrun a laser in the final part of the game but sometimes adrenaline will help you pull off some really good feats I guess. Either way it worked and that’s the important thing. The soundtrack is good too, it’s really got that retro platformer feeling to it.

I also enjoyed the story. I think it would be even better if you would just continue the story each time without having to go through the missions structure, but at the same time it is really nice that every single cutscene is voice acted. I can’t state enough how impressive that is and it always makes me feel like the game had a good budget behind it. This makes the whole game so much more immersive than if there was no voice acting like that. Ty’s parents also get to step in near the end of the story but their role is super small so I wouldn’t blame you for wanting something more this time.

So in all this was just a fun all around game. The gameplay is fun and while the combat may not be the best, it is almost never necessary so you don’t have to worry about it. The level designs are fun and I liked the various bosses. The final boss in particular is quite a bit of fun even if I bluffed my way through most of it. I would definitely be up for a new Ty game someday. The boomerang gameplay would lend itself really well to some modern mechanics with that. I think they would be able to do a tremendous job of taking things to the next level.

Overall, Ty 3 is my favorite game in the trilogy and even has an emotional ending. If you are looking for a fun platformer or just want to see Ty and the gang again then you can’t afford to miss out on this game. It’s really got everything you could be looking for here and then some. There is also some replay value as you can buy the rest of the boomerangs. There aren’t a bunch of other levels to play but still enough where you can have fun running around the island and checking out all the sights.

Overall 7/10