6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Doctor X Review


It’s time to look at a very old film. This is probably one of the oldest films I’ve seen at this point which is definitely saying something. Even though it’s from the 30’s it still feels pretty modern compared to some I’ve seen. It certainly has aged better in some respects than the original King Kong for example. The sound quality is definitely clear and the visuals work well enough. It’s definitely not going to remembered as one of the better murder mysteries but I would say that it was fairly decent. A little predictable in places to be sure though.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the Moon murders. Basically someone is going around and eating people in the dead of night. It happens whenever there is a Full Moon and unfortunately there seems to be a full Moon almost constantly in this town. The cops figure it has to be someone from Xavier’s institute since the murder weapon is there. Xavier is certain that none of his professors have done this but introduces them to the cops. All of the scientists are pretty quirky and have suspicious personas. Dr. Wells has often studied cannibalization and is fascinated by it. Another one doesn’t want the police around for some reason and the others range from rude to distant. The cops rule out Wells because the guy only has one hand and the victims were all strangled but are unable to further deduce who it could be. Xavier gets the cops to agree to give him 48 hours to run his own experiments and find out who the guilty party is. Will he really be able to crack the case.

Figuring out who the murderer is shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes once we’re introduced to all of the suspects. There are at least 2 big things that sell him out as the culprit. When you watch the film let me know if you spotted them. Still, the film keeps on going as the characters try to put the missing pieces together. Xavier’s idea to get everyone to a secluded place to find the killer is a good idea until you think about it. If one of these guys is the murderer then what’s he going to do about it? Most of the professors are quite old so it’s not like they could fight the guy off. This plan also has to hope that the murderer doesn’t make a move and agrees to strap himself to a chair. Additionally, the villain could also have the strength of will not to suddenly throw himself into a fit of rage after watching a play. The fact that everyone is convinced that the villain would expose himself like that is a bit much.

The main character here though is the reporter Lee. He gets a lot of screen time. He’s very earnest about his work but definitely is not the most skilled agent. He tends to bump into just about everything and makes a lot of noise in the process. He does show up when it counts though and the final fight is pretty fun. There’s a lot of back and forth as he gets thrown around but keeps on getting back up. His fire idea was also pretty good. I’m not sure about his rushed romance with the heroine Joan though. It always seems suspect when they get together after one of them just had their life saved. Almost feels like gratitude going too far. Movies tend to always have rushed romances like this though.

Joan was ahead of her time in some ways though. I like the fact that she actually had a gun with her when confronting Lee the first time though. You definitely should have a gun with you when confronting would be burglars. She also foils Lee from stealing some pictures for the newspaper as well which is definitely good. Keep in mind that even after this deceit and such she falls for him. On the flip side, she does panic quite a lot. Screaming upon finding the father in his own room was rather odd. The dialogue makes absolutely no sense in that scene. Then later on she is unable to move while the villain is getting ready to move. She was not tied up or anything so why wouldn’t she at least put up a fight or attempt to escape? Joan definitely froze up at the worst possible time.

Overall, Doctor X is definitely a slow boil horror film as they examine all of the possibilities. It’s a pretty interesting film at least even if you already know the answer. The suspense will really come from trying to figure out how many victims the villain will get before he is caught. Some of the characters can be a bit annoying though like the butler. He went quite overboard in trying to scare the maid the whole time and she certainly made it easy on him. You’d think that Xavier wouldn’t be tolerating any of this but he doesn’t do anything about this. If you’re up for a classic horror film then this one could be up your alley. It’s not the best but I’ve certainly seen worse and it does avoid the animal violence error. Even the actual murders are largely off screen or not really violent which is nice since you never know what to expect if a film’s old enough.

Overall 6/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Targets 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 far more negative.

It’s time to take a look at a pretty old horror/thriller film. It’s got two main plots that have a big contrast both in tone and quality. The plot about the old movie star was actually pretty interesting and if the whole film had been about that then I think it would have been quite good. Unfortunately the other plot about the serial shooter ends up holding the movie back considerably though. Ultimately the film isn’t quite able to rise back up and make a comeback.

The first plot starts with Byron announcing a sudden retirement. This throws the studio into chaos since they were really counting on him for a few more horror pictures. He’s their main guy and without him these other movies are doomed. Sammy is particularly crushed since he had a movie all lined up. Byron is convinced to go through one last presentation though and heads off to a drive-in theater to do it. Unfortunately this is the same location that the wandering murderer Bobby is going to appear at. Bobby one day cracked and went off to buy some guns and shoot everyone down. He manages to get quite a lot of people down for the count before Byron is forced to step in. Can Byron take Bobby down or will the 40+ year age difference make him lose this fight?

As mentioned, the Byron plot is pretty solid. The story of an actor who has grown tired of the biz is a classic. We see him try to push everyone away but his secretary isn’t having any of that. She’s definitely a very loyal worker and always has his back. Byron’s a pretty charismatic lead as well and his scenes are pretty interesting. You do have to know when to call it a day and he was pretty old so it makes sense that he would want to retire and finally enjoy life a bit. I definitely don’t blame him for leaving. It was sudden but no more so than when a company tells you to skedaddle as well. It was nice that the film was actually using real films for Byron’s character though. I’ve seen quite a few Karloff films over the years and so the footage they showed of the two movies were for films that I had actually seen. I thought that was a real nice touch and helped to make the experience feel a bit more real. It adds some realism to the context of Byron getting ready to retire.

The Bobby plot though is going for more edge. He murders his family and then heads to a highway where he murders a bunch of other people. It takes forever for someone to take him down and his scenes are the equivalent of a guy just shooting at people who can’t fight back in the slightest. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about his plot and it just makes the film drag on. The tone and pacing of the Byron plot was excellent while this one is a perfect contrast in that sense. Bobby also can’t hold his own plot because he has no real charisma. The guy is meant to be very plain and in that sense the film succeeds. There’s nothing interesting about the guy and so a whole plot about him was destined to fail. This plot is definitely also a little more violent than the Byron one. You do actually see everyone getting shot whether it be from a zoomed out distance or up close.

The final confrontation of the film also can’t end up being too exciting because Byron is super old. There’s not really anything he can even try to do against Bobby realistically. The film’s trying to go for some deep messages in the end or to show that Bobby is super insane, but realistically he would have won that battle. His sudden breakdown there seemed awful convenient for everyone. The slow reaction of the staff was pretty realistic though as they initially figured the sounds were from the movie or something and didn’t get with the program for quite a while.

Overall, Targets is not a film that’s aged particularly well. It tried to ambitiously have two plots where the characters ultimately have to meet up in the end but it just didn’t work out. You can definitely have two plots meet up at the end for nice results but it’s very difficult in a single movie. If you do it, you also have to ensure that both plots are pretty interesting or it’s just not going to work. Off the top of my head I can’t even think of any big films I’ve seen recently with two plots like that. I think the closest would be Infinity War but that was a sequel so it’s a lot easier for a bunch of plots to converge like that. I’ll try to think of more films where that actually happened, but needless to say this will not be one of them.

Overall 3/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review


It’s time to look at a fun action RPG. This game was on my radar for a very long time even though I ultimately did not end up picking it out when the game first came out on the Wii U. I just ended up waiting until finally it came out for the Switch and I knew I needed to pick it up. Cut to my video game backlog going under 70 for the first time and to celebrate I got this game along with a few others. The game is definitely a blast and I always love playing a big RPG adventure like this one. It’s definitely a very fun game that is also quite difficult. Without the Bloom Palace and it’s super grinding areas I dare say that I could still be playing this game right now.

The game starts by introducing us to the mass disappearance event. A show was being conducted by two mega famous idols but then suddenly everyone vanished. Cut to 5 years later and people still don’t know what happened. Our main character Itsuki is waiting at the mall for his friend when he bumps into a childhood friend of his, Tsubasa. She is trying to be an idol herself and is pretty close in the auditions to finally hitting it big. Unfortunately, that’s when tragedy strikes. The director is actually being controlled by a mirage and kidnaps her. Itsuki heads in as well and ends up harnessing the power of the mirages to save her. He is bonded with Chrome and Tsubasa also gets a Mirage of her own. They find out that there is a larger war between humans and mirages at play right now and they all have a role in it. Can the heroes find out why everyone at the concert vanished 5 years ago and stop any future threats? In the meantime they also have to work hard because they now work for an actual Idol company so Tsubasa’s dream of being a professional is almost complete.

While this is partially a Fire Emblem game to the loosest extent, it’s totally a stand alone adventure. It’s also a very character driven game so the main story takes a backseat for the most part. Each chapter will have someone get possessed and then the heroes head in to save the victim from going over to the dark side. In the final chapter or two we find out about the real main villain and that starts the climax. In between each chapter is an intermission where you get some dancing instructions and it’s also a chance for you to hang out and complete some side quests. The story may not be the deepest, but it’s still pretty fun. I’m always up for seeing the Fire Emblem characters even if they’re basically just ghosts here.

The game also shines with how it throws in fully animated cutscenes at times. It’s pretty epic when the transitions happen. The normal cutscenes are also pretty solid though as they go for more of a cell shaded look. There are quite a few cutscenes here to be sure so this really feels like a AAA title. The soundtrack is also pretty good I’d say. There are a wide range of themes here and they all work rather well. One of the things I like about RPGs is they are long enough where you get to really know all of the characters and enjoy the wide range of activities in the world. There is a ton of replay value to enjoy here after all and the main campaign is over 20 hours long. If you don’t take advantage of the Bloom Palace then it’ll probably be even longer.

So the main gameplay is that of a classic turn based RPG. When it’s your turn you can choose to use one of your skills or an item. The game has an elemental system so some attacks will be super effective on different kinds of enemies. A pretty fun thing the game does is make those elements secret until you use an attack. So if it’s an enemy you haven’t fought before then all of his elemental resistances will show a question mark. Once you beat him then for all future occurrences you will see the strengths and weaknesses. It’s something that could work well in Pokemon if you ask me since it would give more reason to actually fill out the Pokedex.

You can use 3 characters in a party and when you use a super effective attack then the others can jump in and get an extra attack if they have an applicable skill. As you level characters up and gather materials you can also unlock passive abilities for the cast. These can be quite helpful. For example, there is one passive skill that allows every character in the back row to get a turn as well. What this ultimately means is that you can have 7 attacks in a single turn every turn. You can see how much of an advantage this would be right? Ultimately I only unlocked one of these skills before beating the game though. You need a high bond level to unlock them and that requires fighting with the character for a while or working on their side quests. You also need materials and since I did all of my grinding in the dungeon I didn’t really have almost any materials.

It’s actually something that caught up to me by the end of the game. I got all of my characters to level 99 but without materials it meant that my characters still had really weak weapons. Surprisingly those make such a difference that even being level 99 didn’t help to balance things back out. So if you do decide to train up there then be sure to still go in and fight some real minions. Those materials are absolutely essential and I can confirm that you will be really glad to have them on hand. I really love how in depth the complex the game goes with the mechanics though. Each of your weapons also have passive effects you can unlock which encourages you to fight with the sub weapons as well. Then you can use dust to increase your stats. There are a ton of ways to beat each boss so the strategy is entire up to you. Choose wisely.

The cast also isn’t bad although they’re fairly weak compared to most RPG titles. Itsuki for example is a reasonable main character, but he’s borderline an avatar character because the guy has no real character. He’s a nice guy who’s super humble and always does the right thing. That’s nice and all but he never really shows much personality. Tsubasa is also a fun heroine but shows a similar level of energy. Her thing is that she tends to mispronounce words. It’s a reasonably solid gimmick I’d say. The best character here is probably the rival who shows up a few times to get in your way. He’s definitely not someone to be trifled with.

Overall, Tokyo Mirages is a game that lived up to the hype. The story may not have been the greatest compared to other big RPGs, but I was still entertained the whole way through. The most important thing is the gameplay of course and that was definitely on point from start to finish. I’d certainly be up for a sequel at some point. I’ve definitely got more RPG titles to work on as well so I’ll be ready for another big adventure soon. In the meantime if you haven’t picked this game up yet then you should. Just don’t go in expecting a whole lot of Fire Emblem characters. They help a bit with the lore but that’s about it, no Roy or Ike or anything like that. If you remember your Fire Emblem elemental types for the weapons that should help you quite a bit with guessing what attacks to use off the bat though.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Operation Logic Bomb Review


It’s time to look at a game that seems to have borrowed some inspiration from Wolverine. I don’t really know which one came first though so it’s possible that the reverse happened. Either way Logic Bomb is a pretty solid SNES game and one that has aged quite well. It’s a lot of fun and the bosses are pretty unique and challenging. If I had an SNES back in the day this is definitely a game I would have been glad to have owned. It’s got all of the solid gameplay that you could ever need.

The game starts with a lot of vague cutscenes but they seem to amount to a guy being fitted with metal into his bones. You are now a super soldier and you’re ready to save the world. Some scientists seem to have created powerful machine hybrids that naturally turned evil and are breaking the place down. You’re sent in to take these monsters down. As the game goes on you are able to access various computer terminals which give you a better understanding of what’s going on here. It’s definitely a dangerous place but you’ve got a lot of skills so you should definitely be okay. The key here is to destroy all of the monsters and advance to the end of the facilities.

The gameplay is that of an overhead shooter. Think of Centipede Infestation or Alien Syndrome and that’s the gameplay you have here. You have a standard gun with you but as the game progresses you unlock more like a flamethrower and a gun that bounces off walls. You have unlimited ammo so you never have to worry about finding any. I definitely liked that since it meant I could really go all in and not have to worry about anything. The gameplay is tough enough as is since the enemies deal out a whole lot of damage. At times you will need to pace yourself as you go in because the enemies will just completely overwhelm you due to sheer numbers. You have to hit them at an angle or trick them into approaching you one at a time.

One ability that you obtain later on is a shadow double and it is without a doubt the most useful ability you will learn. It tricks all of the minions and keeps them out of your hair as you take them out. That’s another positive about the game. I always like feeling as if the power ups are making an active difference. You should always feel like you’re at the next level with a new upgrade. If you get a weapon that’s weaker than your current one, then what’s the point right? That’s basically the same concept here and the game handles the situation well. That’s not to say that the game gets less challenging. It just has to offer up new enemies and such to try and slow you down. The final boss was certainly tough to deal with and took me quite a few tries.

If there’s something that can hold the game back it’s that it can be easy to get a little lost. The teleport pads take you to different places in a set loop but because of that you might stay in the wrong room for a while before finally trying the portal out. Once you’re free then it definitely feels satisfying to be out. A better map system would go a long way to helping out here. Still, it’s far better than something like Metroid in that regard so you still wouldn’t be lost for too long. The puzzles aren’t too crazy. The game is also a little longer than the other retro games I’ve been playing. It should last you for about 2 hours which really isn’t that bad.

The graphics definitely look pretty good here. The game handles the sci-fi backdrop rather well. The blasters are on point and the enemy designs are also good. The soundtrack also works really well and is fitting for the overall game experience. It’s all pretty ahead of its time. There is also a real story which is nice. There aren’t any text bubbles or anything like that though so you have to get the context from the little cutscenes and animations that go on. There’s more than enough context for you to put the pieces together and gets what’s going on though. Even if it may not be what the creators ultimately intended, you will still have a general story which is good.

Overall, Logic Bomb is a really fun game. It’s got solid gameplay, graphics, and a good soundtrack. The premise is really interesting as well and I’d like to see more games of this in the modern era. Nintendo’s been slowly feeding us more and more SNES games and this latest batch was definitely a very good one. I’d like to see more in the next few batches and hopefully we have more hidden gems like this one. After all, I definitely didn’t know this game existed before and now I’m glad that I got to check it out.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Bros Review


It’s time to look at the classic Mario Bros game. I remember playing this one a lot back in the GBA days because it came as a special feature along with Super Mario World. It’s definitely a fun title to spend some time with. It’s also nostalgic seeing the level layout since the stage usually makes it into the Super Smash Bros titles or at least it’s been there for 2-3 of them I believe. The game uses the good ole jumping gameplay from the 2D adventures while switching things up a bit as the levels don’t have you going after a goal. It’s definitely a lot of fun and I’d recommend giving this one a look.

So the gameplay involves a bunch of enemies appearing out of pipes on the top layer of the stage. Your job is to jump and hit the ground they are walking on. This will cause the enemy to flip over. At this point they are vulnerable and you can jump onto the layer and kick them off. It’s definitely the tactic I would recommend here. The earlier you knock them off the better because once there are a lot of enemies on the map it can get difficult to isolate them. Additionally there are fireballs that roam through the levels and touching any of them means instant death. You also have a Pow Block that will hit all of the enemies at once but you should really only save that for when you are being completely overwhelmed. It’s not a resource that you just want to bust out at any ole time. Think of it as your secret weapon.

I made it pretty far here into the 20s. I don’t know how many levels there are but that seemed like a reasonable push. At latter levels you get to fight with minions that are a little faster than the original ones. You have to choose your jumping spots carefully because if they get past you then it may be all over for your chances of success. There are also little ice minions who will freeze the ground which makes it a lot more difficult for you to move around freely. You’ll end up skidding or stopping in your tracks whenever you try to change directions.

The graphics are definitely solid. This is also a game where the main theme is pretty catchy and memorable. It works well when you’re taking down the enemies. I didn’t see an option to play as Luigi but since this game is called Mario Bros I assume that there has to be some kind of way to choose him. Otherwise the title just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and I’d have to question why the game called it that. This is a very peaceful game but also so different from the other Mario games. The series really shifted gears after this one. It would be interesting to see more of a homage to this game in a future Mario installment. After all, this game did serve as a stepping stone to launch the franchise.

In terms of replay value it’s really all just about trying to see if you can beat your high score. Whether the levels have an end or not, there isn’t really an actual story here. You just jump right into the game and work on defeating the minions. It’s got that arcade feel to it where the levels are just a lot of fun to play through. You shouldn’t have any problem getting the hang of the controls and just diving in. Nintendo’s always done a good job of making the first levels pretty easy which gives you time to get comfortable with the controls. Then slowly but surely they start giving you some real challenges to work with.

Overall, Mario Bros is a solid NES game. As with most of Nintendo’s original titles it has a lot of character. You can feel the effort that went into this game. It’s just a very well designed one and so you won’t get bored here as you play it for a while. Ultimately the lack of content will prevent it from getting a higher score but I imagine it is always tough to add more content like that back in the day. The games could only hold so much space in them after all. I’m one step closer to completing all of the NES games which will be a cool milestone.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wrecking Crew Review


It’s time to look at a game I never really got to try back in the day. It’s a fun one though and there are 100 different levels in the game as well so it’ll definitely last a while. None of them are super hard to the point where it’ll take you a while thanks to the rewind feature but the level designs are pretty well thought out. You will probably need a few resets to beat some of the levels. They just aren’t the kind that you can glance at and figure out the answer right away. As there are puzzle elements you also have to be careful what item you break first or it’ll become impossible to clear the level.

How the game starts off is you have to break everything in the level. This ranges from doors to ladders and everything must go as if this is some kind of mega sale. You just can’t afford to leave anything intact and that’s actually what stumped me for a little while on the first level. I just couldn’t figure out how to clear the level and it took a lot of running and smashing things to figure out that ladders counted as well. The gameplay is very simple. You press A to break the object in front of you. You can run from left to right as you go through the stages and climb ladders. You can’t touch any of the enemies or you die in a single hit. Eventually fireballs will also show up so make sure you avoid those as well. You can actually walk off stage so do that in order to avoid the enemies. It’ll at least buy you some time in that way.

It shouldn’t take you very long to master this gameplay. From there it’s just a matter of thinking things through. None of the levels are particularly long either so it’s easy to just boot up the game and start conquering some levels. With 100 to choose from this should definitely take you a few hours. The levels are similar enough where you may want to take some breaks though. Playing through all of them in one shot sounds like a way to get yourself bored of the gameplay style and that’s definitely not a good idea. The game is fun after all. You just need to pace yourself here.

The graphics are pretty solid as well. It’s pretty nice to see all these old versions of Mario. He really got around back in Nintendo’s original days. The enemies are also pretty interesting. It’s like a sort of creature but hard to say exactly what it is. The looks have definitely aged pretty well as with the gameplay. I can’t say quite as much for the soundtrack. It’s a very peaceful background kind of theme but not one that you are likely to remember for very long. It’s so quiet that you may not even hear it at all while you’re so focused on getting through the level.

Overall, Wrecking Crew is a pretty fun Nintendo game from their past. While I always remember Mario Bros and Donkey Kong, this is one game I tend to forget exists at times. It’s got a pretty unique gameplay style though and this is yet another Nintendo franchise that could use a modern revival. I think there’s a lot you could do with a modern take on the Wrecking Crew. Think of everything you could break in a more modern city environment and this time you’d have Goomba and Koopa minions to fight against. In the meantime I’d recommend checking this out on the Switch Online. It’ll at least buy you a few hours to have fun with.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Panel de Pon Review


It’s time to look at a very obscure SNES game. I was pretty surprised they got this one for the latest update but it’s always nice to have more games to check out. The menus aren’t translated but it’s easy enough to figure out where you have to go. I started the equivalent of what arcade mode would likely be and ended up beating the first 3 chapters and a boss which was nice progress. The gameplay takes a little bit of getting used too after doing a lot of Tetris but I eventually got the hang of it. You certainly have to move fast or you’ll be buried in blocks.

There seems to be a bit of a plot. I assume that a demon lord is trying to invade the world and now the magical girls are asking you for help to stop this impending crisis. Along the way they’re teaching you how to play to see if you’re really worthy. I don’t know Japanese though so that’s my best interpretation of what’s going on. The game has blocks coming from the ground rather than the sky so think of it as a reverse Tetris. You have to match 3 blocks together in order to eliminate them. The key is to keep the blocks from reaching the top or you will lose. Once you have blown up enough blocks then the level will end and you’ll be safe. Boss battles work in a similar fashion except you keep matching blocks until the boss’ health goes all the way down. At that point you will have concluded the battle.

How you play is you move the icon over the blocks and then click to flip them. Your icon has 2 slots so you can leave one slot empty to move the block to it. Alternately you flip them horizontally so that you will be able to make more matches. It’ll take some trial and error at first but gradually you’ll start seeing patterns a lot quicker. That’s good because the levels get really difficult. I had quite a few deaths on the third level and a ton on the boss. It’s just hard to keep on matching when everything is going so fast.

One thing I’d recommend doing is to sometimes just randomly move pieces along in the bottom of the screen to get things moving. I found that I would make matches that I didn’t even know were there. I don’t think it’s the most efficient method in the longrun since you want to actually find the real pieces soon but if you’re in an absolute pinch then go for it. The worst thing to do in this game is hesitate or do nothing so just moving things around can really help you get a fresh perspective. It’s a pure desperation move but it did save me a few times. Well….that and the rewind feature of course.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The colors are very vibrant and it’s aged really well. This game could pass for being a bit newer than it actually is. At worst it may seem a little blurry at times but at best it’s all very smooth like an N64 title. The soundtrack is less memorable to me but it’s handled pretty well I’d say. It fits in with the game. It’s all pretty peaceful and serene.

Overall, Panel de Pon is a solid puzzle game so long as you really enjoy the gameplay. While I was starting to get used to it, it’s not quite as fun for me as traditional Tetris. There are less movements you can make due to the nature of the game so while the strategy isn’t any lower, it feels like there is less to do at times. The story probably could have also helped boost it up real quick if I knew what was going on. Still, it’s great that Nintendo is letting us play this game. I’m sure people probably thought the day may never arrive at this rate. If you like this style of gameplay then you should definitely check it out.

Overall 5/10

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

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in Blue Exorcist. This is a pretty unique season two because for starters it completely ignores the second half of the first season. That’s because the first season diverged and ultimately went to filler. It’s a pretty interesting tactic but one that makes sense and more titles should give it a try. That said, I don’t mind series going all the way back to the starting point because it means more adaptions of hype fights. That said, one problem here is that most of the characters have slid way back in terms of character development. It’s a solid show but definitely one that has its flaws.

The show starts with Rin and Yukio stopping a kidnapper from getting away. The guy seems rather skilled though and was able to easily best Yukio before escaping. This compounds with Yukio’s inferiority complex over Rin getting all the power and friends which causes a bit of a rift between them although Rin is oblivious and Yukio tries not to show it. They each go their separate ways as Yukio is called to a mission in the mountains while Rin goes with his friends to a temple mission. The problem is that nobody likes Rin anymore after the events of the forest arc. Even the super nice childhood friend seems to have turned on him.

Rin does his best to cope with this though. At the temple things aren’t quite as they seem. The two main factions are feuding with each other and the leader always skips meeting. They suspect he may be a traitor now which would be devastating. See, the temple is in charge of protecting two eyes because should they ever be brought together then a giant monster would appear and end the planet. Rin wants to help but he is not allowed to do so on account of his devil powers. Will the heroes be able to get past all of their individual dramas in order to help save the day?

As you can see, this season does bring up a lot of plot points from the past and they are necessary to fully get what’s happening here. The show has a lot of flashbacks though so you’ll be up to speed real quick. Here’s why part of the season can feel like a retread though. In the first season once it turned to filler, the series decided to delve into Yukio’s character quite a bit. It makes sense because the manga had been building up this plot since the start and if the anime was doing its own thing anyway they may as well finish it right?

In the first show Yukio briefly turned evil due to mind control and such and he finally got to properly have a talk with Rin. They squared away their differences and vowed to get stronger in their own ways. While the filler arc wasn’t all that great (Trying to turn the Devil into a sympathetic guy who didn’t know any better is still pretty crazy) this plot was handled reasonably well. It’s about at the same level as how the real one went although Yukio not flat out turning evil here is a plus.

The other plot was about Rin’s friends not trusting him after he saved their lives in the forest. (By the way the friends are pretty awful about this in every possible context. If Rin didn’t step up and fight the guy then they all would have been murdered. The friends are so petty the whole time that it’s crazy) That one was handled in the first show as well so the got back to being on good terms. This show has to go through all of that again since they are back to square 1. It’s not that the show does any of this poorly though. Other shows also handle the same plots over and over again with changes like the Fate series as you go through the different paths. It’s rare that you see it in a classic Jump anime though.

All right, that’s enough about the similarities. The whole thing is pretty fun to look at though. Ultimately it makes sense why the series would ignore it and do things the canon way. The series is only 12 episodes so it definitely goes by you in a blast. It’s very nostalgic seeing the old characters and part of what helps seal that effect is they grabbed all of the classic themes. The Blue Exorcist series had a terrific OST so this was a smart play. I’d liked to have seen more of Rin’s theme as it only gets played once or twice but he doesn’t get to fight much here so I suppose that makes sense. I also like the 90’s techno/jazz theme that plays. It’s hard to describe that one but it’s always sounded pretty great and gets you pumped for what’s about to happen.

The animation is definitely on point as well. I always like how they draw the blue flames here. They pop out at you and the same goes for the fire blasts as well. All of the shots look crisp and modern so I’ve definitely got no qualms about this. On a technical level the show definitely holds its own and maintains a consistent quality throughout.

Rin’s still a pretty solid lead. That’s a good thing because at times it feels like he is holding the entire show on his shoulders as far as the cast is concerned. He’s definitely the most interesting character and always puts up a brave front. One subplot here is that Rin has lost a lot of his confidence after his friends undermining him the whole time but he tries to never let this show. To an extent I feel like it was also the sword trolling him or someone preventing him from using it though. I feel like he should have been able to use it sooner. Regardless, Rin always dives into action and definitely handles the situations pretty well.

Shiemi is the main heroine here but she doesn’t manage to stack up as well as most. The reason for this is even she is unable to stay by Rin’s side and is a big reason as to why he has lost confidence. Later on it’s played more like she was too nervous to talk to him but it was hard for her to rebound from this. In comparison Izumo handles things a lot better. She’s already mean to everyone and isn’t afraid to talk to Rin throughout the adventure. She treats him the same way as normal and at least that helps Rin’s experience feel a little more normal at times. Izumo is also portrayed as one of the most skilled exorcists here. She is quick to help heal the monks and also thinks fast during the invasion. From the supporting cast she was definitely the best one.

Ryuji is more of a mixed bag but I would definitely put him on the lower side. He mainly just gets in Rin’s way and gets the lead into trouble on quite a few occasions. It would help if he could fight a bit more or something but most of the main characters can’t really fight for beans. He had his big moments at the end of the season since this is his arc so I think he’ll be a much better character in the next season. At least he ended strong right?

Konekomaru is definitely the worst character though. He’s the one most actively afraid of Rin and getting everyone else to fear the lead as well. The guy never really minds his own business. Look, I would cut the characters a little more slack if I could see why they were scared of Rin but I’m not really buying it. He totally saved them all. Konekomaru just needs to remember that. He’s also one of the most reluctant to go and help Rin when it counted.

Shima is also pretty sketchy although not specifically for Rin. The guy just never wants to risk his life so he’ll run for safety even if it means that all of his friends will die. There’s no real way to support him after something like that. I did appreciate that he was a little quicker to start being cool with Rin again though.

Yukio is still pretty jealous of Rin’s abilities for most of the series. He covers It up by acting calm and collected but as Shura pointed out that makes it a lot easier for demons to manipulate him. Todo plays a ton of mind games with him for most of the series although Yukio ultimately stays strong. He looks better than his first series self in that respect. I liked the magic trap that he used near the end of the series. It was pretty well thought out and at least helped him start to make a comeback. Todo was a supremely difficult opponent to stop so any measure that slowed him down is solid.

So right now I don’t really care for Yukio but hopefully he’ll be on the upwards trend now. He is still keeping secrets from Rin though so I can’t see that ending well. Mainly Yukio’s worst scene here was leaving Rin to die and even trying to stop him from using the sword. For a proper redemption arc we need Yukio to step in and save Rin next time or at least defend him when the chips are down. That’ll go a long way to raising him up the ranks.

Then we have Todo who is the big villain of the arc. The guy definitely does pretty well here as he holds off multiple exorcists and even eats two different spirits. This gives him incredible powers in addition to what he already had. The heroes really had a hard time taking him on to the point where he probably should have crushed them almost instantly based on the speed we saw from him. The guy was just out of their league and when you mix in his regeneration abilities this makes the matter even worse. He was a fun villain. Ultimately I don’t think that guy will be super well remembered but this series hasn’t really had many good villains so almost by default he’s my favorite villain in the series right now.

The show does suffer from a bit of fan service at times. For the most part it’s nothing crazy but it seems like the mentor’s only role at times. Shura’s whole attack on Mephisto is one of those scenes because everyone knew the plan had 0 chance of success. If anything it just makes her look pretty terrible. Is she really so scared of this guy? Why even pick the fight if this was out it was going to end? She also doesn’t look too impressive considering she’s a mentor since Rin is able to shake her a few times and in the final fight she helps a bit, but not a ton.

It’s always a bit dicey to have a villain like Mephisto working with the heroes when he’s way stronger than them and they know it. I don’t see how they can all get along so well. I don’t think the dynamic works to be honest. He puts them into a ton of danger and helps the demons out a lot. Why is the guy still here? While the heroes are very weak compared to the villains, I wouldn’t yet call it a hopeless situation for them. The reason being that there isn’t really much of a villain group yet. The villains just do whatever they want and usually almost beat the heroes. This random monster (Well the Impure King is a pretty cool name and I guess he’s not totally random but there could be a lot of other monsters like this guy around) is apparently pretty strong but for one monster to basically have the whole order in check is a bad sign for them. Without Rin the heroes would be doomed and they should really start to realize that soon.

We get quite a few characters from the two sects over at the temple although most of them won’t stand out. Mamushi gets a big role since she gets involved in the conspiracy. She appears to be a bit gullible the whole time but is certainly dedicated to the cause. I do think she had good reason to doubt that Tatsuma was on the level though. She was a fun character. Then you have Juzo who was my favorite character from the group. He had some good fire abilities and took more of a leadership role compared to the others. That being said, I do think it was a bit odd that he tried to stop Mamushi from saving the eye. At that point nobody knew who the traitor was, but it was about to be burned in flames and the whole point is that they need to protect it right? Seemed like an odd moment in the show and the defense for doing that was real weak. Finally we also have Tatsuma as a character with a big role but he’s pretty terrible from start to finish. The guy was just impossible to redeem by the end and his actions still make no sense if you ask me. Stirring up trouble and getting the sects to suspect each other of treason was not the right way to handle this.


Overall, It’s nice to see Blue Exorcist back. The manga seemed to start diving off the deep end and going nowhere fast but anime is a solid medium that can make things more exciting. The directing here seems solid so I’m sure they could pull more seasons off. It seems a bit unlikely right now since this one came out a while ago, but there’s always a chance for another season. Considering that this one had to work with almost no fights and was still entertaining I think the next one should be in a good position.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pursuit Force Review


It’s time to look at a pretty exciting PSP game. This is definitely not a title that I had known about until I received the second game as a gift. Naturally this meant I needed to hunt down the first title. It’s sort of like Need For Speed only this time you’re actually on the side of the law. We also have quite a few different gameplay styles which is interesting. It’s a fun game, but one that is relentlessly difficult. Completing the final levels will likely prove to be some of the toughest racing you’ll have to do and should give you F-Zero GX flashbacks. It’s definitely a game I’d recommend checking out.

There isn’t much of a story here. There are 5 different chapters with each chapter having 6 levels. Completing them all lets you see a quick cutscene as you put the boss away. The main character never talks or anything so you have to sort of think about what the guy’s character is really like. His boss does all of the talking as he takes constant shots at you and always threatens to fire you when you lose. The gangs range from the Mafia to Ninjas, to Jewel Thieves so there is a good amount of variety here. With 30 levels there’s a decent amount of content to get around here but the game shouldn’t take you a super long time. You’ll have it done in under 10 hours for sure and then I suppose you can work on getting higher scores. Unfortunately there isn’t really anything in the way of replay value so the main campaign needs to be what hooks you.

Let’s take a look at the gameplay. The main style is the car sections of course which makes sense. Usually these missions are about blowing up all of the enemy cars or recovering an artifact. The idea is you drive after the cars and start blasting at them with your gun. There is a strategy aspect to this as well though. You can choose to finish them off from your car or jump over and take control of it by taking out the drivers. Usually it’s better to take over the cars but near the end of the game you have to be careful about it. You have two different health bars, one for the car and one for the pilot. If you just finished blasting the enemy car to near death and then jump over, you’re about to take over a car that is severely weakened. Additionally, their guns pack a punch and when you leave your car you are pretty defenseless.

Sometimes it’s better to avoid a confrontation a bit so you can get some health back since it regenerates over time. You also want to build up justice meter as fast as possible since it recovers all of your health and is really good to have when you’re in a jam. Trust me, this will help you out of a whole lot of sticky situations. The time limit will be your biggest enemy in the boss fights though. In those levels you have to beat the boss before he/she escapes so you’ll have to adopt more of a risky style here. I haven’t played combat racing games quite like this one so it was a lot of fun. I could see Need For Speed borrowing some ideas from this someday.

Then you have the first person shooter levels where you are riding in a helicopter and have to blast away at the boats and cars that the villains are using. These levels don’t show up often so they were a fun change of pace. I would say that the car levels were still better of course, but I’ll give the game some props for deciding to switch it up like this. Finally you also have the levels on the ground where you have to strike your enemies down. These are pretty fun even if it feels like not a lot of time went into them. The controls are not quite as smooth as in the other two areas but it does give this more of an arcade kind of feel. You basically run around blasting everyone. If you get close to someone you can also activate a quick cutscene where you knock them out and put on the handcuffs. That’s always pretty satisfying and I actually had the most fun in this mode. I just love a good third person shooter gameplay and you just don’t see a whole lot of those anymore.

As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The PSP always was pretty ahead of its time in terms of the graphics it had. I’d make the case it can hold its own with the 3DS despite that console being a lot newer. As a result you definitely won’t be disappointed at the visuals here. They’re all on point for sure. The soundtrack is a bit more limited since each world seems to only have one main theme but they’re still solid. My favorite theme is probably the one that plays all throughout the Vixens chapter. It’s very fast paced and really gets you ready for the high speed race that’s about to start. For any game it’s important to have a good soundtrack, but especially for a racing/battle title because you need quick tunes to stay in rhythm.

Overall, Pursuit Force is a pretty solid action game. It’s a little on the short side but the difficulty level helps to ensure you won’t beat it so easily. You really have to master each level so some may take you quite a few tries. No worries though, you’ll get the hang of it the more you play. The gameplay is pretty tight and the music themes are also good. There’s not a whole lot more to ask for here. I’m looking forward to playing the sequel shortly and we’ll see if it’s able to match up to the first. I like to think that a sequel should always be better than the original so I’m expecting some big things here.

Overall 7/10

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

Cardfight!! Vanguard: Shinemon Review


It’s time to take a look at the next season of Cardfight Vanguard. The franchise has definitely been going quite strong for many years now. It’s easily outlasted Buddyfight at this point and now there are over 10 seasons of the show. That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. When’s the last time you had a show go all the way through, do the big next generations series with a new cast, get several sequels to that one, and then do the modern reboot of the original? Well, that’s what Cardfight has done and now we’re getting the prequel to the reboot and it looks like we’re getting close to a reboot of the next generation show. It’s really quite impressive and this is definitely staying up there as one of my favorite franchises of all time. Shin actually holds his own show quite well. While this one can’t match some of the earlier seasons for sure, it’s still a great anime.

The show starts by introducing us to Shin, possibly the youngest cardshop owner out there. However, his ownership of the place is a bit questionable. See, he decided to take it over when Misaki’s parents died as a last wish in order to keep her safe. Shin feels like he owes it to them and has quickly found his place in the cardshop setting. The problem is that he is still attending school and so he can’t be at the shop most of the time. A rich lady by the name of Esuka also wants to own the shop for personal reasons of her own. She has a fair argument for why she would be the best person for the job. She’s not a random villain or some petty person that wants to make some cash. She knew the parents as well and to be honest she seems like she would do a much better job. The show debatably has 2 main arcs, the fight against Esuka and then the G prequel arc about dimension hopping.

For most of the first half of the show Shin does his best to fight against Esuka and her corporation. The thing is, are you even rooting for him? Neither side is evil so you don’t have to worry about that. At the end of the day you have to think about who would run the shop better and I have to give the nod to Esuka here. Fortunately for Shin she also looks after him quite a bit and goes easy on the lead. For most of the series she seems to be way more skilled than he is and definitely has more resources. I have to admit that I was rooting for her the whole time. Shin’s a solid lead and all but he was too young to run a cardshop and I think this begun to sink in a little later on. Shin can be pretty stubborn though.

Then for the climax of the series we have Ryuzu showing up. Fans of the G series will remember him as one of the big villains. The guy is a little less crazy at this point in time though so this is sort of seeing how he went off the wrong path. He wants to harness energy from the other planet in order to make Earth a better place. The warning bells that trigger with statements like that though is that when you take energy from one place to make the other one better, it’s inevitable that one of the worlds won’t be doing so well at this point. It’s a conversation that he doesn’t seem willing to have at the moment. None of the other characters are really persistent about bringing it up though so it’s hard to blame him. How does Shin even fit in to all of this? Well, Rive is on Shin’s team but he may have to miss the tournament because of all this so now Shin has been roped into finding out what’s going on. It’s a pretty fun climax even if the characters could be a bit annoying at times. I think Ryuzu could have easily been encouraged to keep doing his research in a safe manner but nobody was really trying.

Going back to Shin, it’s amazing how far he has come from the original series. The other way of looking at it is how far he has fallen since his younger days I guess. This version of Shin is a lot more fiery and isn’t afraid to pick a fight. He does lose his motivation pretty quick when defeated but he always starts out strong. He has a great fight against Esuka in their first round and shows similar energy in most of his duels. I also like his go to card. It’s incredibly strong and also shows how one powerful card can take you a long way. Shin uses this as a crutch for a while in the series before eventually improving his all around skills.

While I wasn’t on Shin’s side in the debate against Esuka, at least his reasons for doing so were good. At the end of the day he just wanted to make sure Misaki could retain ownership of the shop and he needed to keep custody of it until she was old enough to do so. Shin’s always thinking about how he could help Misaki. Really my only problem with Shin is how he basically threw away one of the tournaments. After Mark had gone to the trouble of exceeding his limits and winning so many battles I thought that was just disrespectful. It’s a horrible way to lose the tournament if you ask me.

Mark is one of Shin’s best friends and so he gets a pretty big role here. Like Shin I was never particularly a fan of the guy in the main series. He is reasonable here though. While the series tries to make him look a little too powerful towards the end for plot convenience, the guy always had Shin’s back which is definitely important. Without him the heroes would have been in trouble during the tournament. He’s also a lot more reliable than Rive, who is mainly just here to be annoying most of the time. He participates in risky experiments and flakes whenever a big match is coming up. Shin and the others cut him a ton of slack but the guy is really not trust worthy. It just comes across as a betrayal when the team is counting on him to win the big tournament and he just ducks out of there. That’s completely unreasonable and I never liked him in the main series either so it’s pretty consistent. His big moment at the end also feels pretty pointless because he could have jumped to the monster along with Chrono. Deep down he didn’t seem to care a whole lot about getting back to Earth. That ending was rushed in quite a few different ways. It makes the monsters in Chrono’s deck actually seem a bit on the evil side with how they just allowed Rive to be trapped when they clearly could have done something.

Tatsuya’s role here is definitely a lot different than what I would have expected. He starts out as a nice enough kid who looks up to Shin and gradually gets a much bigger role. By the end of the series he’s a solid genius who has his own goals. Tatsuya makes for a solid antagonist because his motivation is a solid one. If anything the counter arguments that the heroes give in return are quite weak. It’s at the point where you are likely to be rooting for Tatsuya for a while. The heroes’ arguments all rest on hypotheticals and things that they can’t actually prove. Either way it’s a pretty fun battle though.

Mikuru is another one of Shin’s best friends and gets a big role. She never really gets to duel which does limit how much she can contribute compared to the others. Still, I did enjoy all of the crazy nicknames she would give Shin. His name rhymes with a whole lot of adjectives and she makes sure not to miss a beat. Misaki and Chrono don’t get to do a whole lot since they’re kids in this version. We briefly see them back to normal age at the end though and they should be quality characters as always. This just wasn’t their story this time.

Esuka’s a really fun character and she goes in a much different direction than what I would have expected. She’s definitely not your average rich tycoon. If anything it’s a bit of a subversion because to the characters she acts in much the same way as most rich villains. She uses some bribery and tricks to get her way so the heroes never trust her. The thing is, she usually means well and just has a hard time not acting like a rich tycoon. For example, she offers to make one of the characters rich and famous. The heroes assume she has some kind of ulterior motive and get out of there but she actually was going to try and make that happen. It’s fair that the other characters are suspicious though, it’s just a fun thing to note. She also isn’t afraid to go into the front lines herself like when she infiltrated Ryuzu’s base.

Nanami is Esuka’s main fighter and she gets a pretty big role in the series. She’s effectively a child prodigy and can keep up with the pros. Her deck’s pretty solid and I definitely like her confidence. Tonori is another one of Esuka’s top fighters alongside Nanami. His thing is that he gets stronger the hungrier he is. It’s a bit of an odd gimmick but it works well. He’s a bit underused though as he gets maybe 1-2 big fights in the series and that’s it. I also thought he was really nerfed because he shouldn’t have lost the final fight. The plot demanded it but I wasn’t able to buy that. He’s fun enough though.

Kanzaki got a big role in G and while his role here is a lot smaller, it’s a nice throwback to the G days. He still only thinks about power and yells that weakness is a crime. It can be a bit hard to take him seriously with that at times but he does win most of his fights here so I guess he earned it. He also paid Mark some respect in their close fight which was pretty solid. I probably would like his character more here if I hadn’t seen G first. He’s a bit one note though and his cool design can’t save him. Ryutarou is one of the members of Kanzaki’s team. I think he tries too hard to be Kanzaki’s opposite. He doesn’t really care about winning and just likes a good fight. That’s fine, but he tends to lose a lot so it almost seems like an excuse. The whole “I only lost because I didn’t care about winning” thing doesn’t tend to go well. To be fair, he never uses that excuse but I do think he should take the fights more seriously.

Ruga is definitely one of the most tragic characters in this series. All he wants is to have a serious fight with Rive and yet the guy always runs off. I don’t get why Rive is being so cold here. They used to be best friends and then Rive grew distant as soon as he got married. Yeah, both of them agreed not to get married but Ruga would have been a lot more understanding if Rive didn’t suddenly ditch like that. The only reason Ruga was opposed to this was because he felt like it would take up all of Rive’s time…and then his fears came true. Rive could have absolutely mended the bridge with Ruga if he wanted too and as a result Ruga became even more obsessive.

Finally we have Ryuzu who has always been a fun villain. His goals are pretty interesting. In this series at least I wouldn’t consider him a villain since he is still trying to help the world. Things don’t always go his way but at least he tries his best. His deck is solid and he is usually one step ahead of the other characters. At least he is actually doing something important. Towards the end of the series they try to make a case that playing a normal game of Cardfight is just as important as making research that can save the lives of millions. Ryuzu is really at a loss for words at this and I kind of was as well. Ryuzu may not be perfect but at least he is trying to better society, can Shin and the others really say the same?

Shinemon is definitely the right way to do a prequel. Each episode is a lot of fun and it develops the characters rather quickly. You know the setting and everyone in it within the first 3 episodes. From there we are able to jump into the duels. The series doesn’t really have high stakes like some of the other seasons but that’s fine. In a prequel you already know most of the characters are safe anyway and it would be difficult to jump to end of the world stuff so quickly. That’s why the series focuses more on powerful character moments and sharp duels. The series is just a lot of fun and taps into the early G feels. Shin’s also a very different main character from Chrono and Aichi which helps to differentiate him. I really had no complaints with the title. If anything I wouldn’t have minded if it got more episodes but in a way I like the short seasons because it helps the franchise keep going further. I want to see how many seasons it can churn out.

As expected the animation here is quite sharp. The animations are very clear and smooth. Whenever a monster is summoned it also looks quite crisp and it’s clear that they’re not phoning it in for any of these episodes. I’ve always liked the style that they use for Cardfight. It’s pretty simple in terms of design and such so they’re able to put a lot of effort into the colors. I’ve greatly enjoyed anime with detailed or simple designs so both can definitely work as long as you put the effort in and this one definitely did. Meanwhile the soundtrack is pretty great as always. I’m not really sure if this one added any new themes but at this point the series has so many that you barely need to do that. It grabs some themes from G and the reboot seasons so that’s already a good amount of variety.

Overall, Shinemon is a great season and a nice way to handle the prequel. It really shows us that Shin used to be a cool character as opposed to being one of the blandest characters I had ever seen in the main seasons. I’d consider that to be a bit of a soft reboot since it’s impossible to picture Shin being this great back in the day. The final episodes even try to give a reason for why he changed so much at the end and it’s a nice attempt although you will still have a tough time buying it I’m sure. Since this is a bit of an origin story you can easily watch it without seeing any of the previous seasons. It is one of those prequels made to be watched after experiencing the originals but that doesn’t matter much until the final 2-3 episodes. Either way you should have a blast.

Overall 8/10