Bleach: Can’t Fear Your Own World Review


Bleach will always be known as one of the greatest manga to ever walk the planet. It balanced together a ton of action and hype moments but at the same time fans will note that we were left with a lot of unanswered questions. Well, this book seeks to answer at least some of them. Others will need more novels but if you had any questions about Hisagi or the origins of the Soul Society then this should answer them. It’s a pretty fun trilogy even if it probably would have been better to have sidelined Hisagi since he’s so far out of his depth.

The books starts with Aizen finally being sentenced to prison again. He may have helped out during the Thousand Blood War but nobody wants to see him since he makes them feel bad. The guy is successfully able to manipulate the whole cast in his few pages of screen time at the beginning. He says some rather disturbing things though which causes Hisagi to decide to run a newspaper. He aims to get to the bottom of the dark web of lies known as the Soul Society. To do this he will have to interview every character who had a role during the Bleach manga series. There’s just one problem: he may have just walked into a conspiracy.

Meanwhile Tokinada has decided that it’s time to act more openly. He’s the head of one of the 4 sacred houses of the Soul Society. This means that he can do just about whatever he wants whenever he wants. In this case he just wants to stir up some trouble and intends to use his protégé Hikone to accomplish this goal. With Ichigo away on vacation, do the heroes have any chance against this guy?

Since there are 3 books here there is a whole lot of time for story progression. As such the books are able to be very dialogue heavy with character discussing abstract concepts such as what it means to fear someone and if it makes you stronger. In particular Hisagi loves discussing such topics since he is obsessed with them. In a way I would say Tosen leaving seems to have traumatized Hisagi in some way because the guy is really obsessed.

You’ll have long monologues of Hisagi wondering if what he is doing is right or perhaps he made a mistake somewhere. It’s definitely a rough road for the guy that’s for sure. Hisagi’s not a bad character, I’ve never minded him at least although I would say he is probably better in the manga than in the novels because we didn’t know he was so dramatic. In the books he tends to panic whenever anyone talks to him. In his defense he is rather outmatched by everyone though. He still gets to participate in the climax though and I would say that was handled really well.

In terms of moments where he overthinks things, I would say that the answer usually isn’t all that hard to find. For example, he talks about the kind of justice that Tosen has but no matter how you try to explain it away, that guy was just crazy. You can’t find meaning in his actions due to that being the case.

Then later on when he’s panicking about Tokinada getting the better of him, you realize he just needs to beat that guy. Now, some of the characters have valid gripes against the Soul Society like Ginjo. I thought he looked really good here as well. I would argue in the fights he should have looked a lot stronger but he doesn’t train as much as Ichigo so I guess it’s not a big deal.

His main issue is really just that the Soul Society did betray him and they murdered a bunch of people. You can see why he is always upset at them because they get away with everything without any issue. That’s where the problem lies because you’d think that by now things would be different but they really aren’t.

Look no further than Mayuri’s subplot. Sure it’s mainly used as a dark humor kind of plot but he’s literally enslaved a bunch of hollows and quincies. The Soul Society looks the other way because they don’t like those factions at all but you’re really going to let them live such a tough existence? Mayuri doesn’t hide this at all either and is just as demented as he ever was. All of his scenes are painful just because of how dark they are. The guy gets his kicks out of experimenting on everyone but nobody stops him. It’s why I could never root for the Soul Society in any arc.

First they tried to murder Rukia on rather flimsy reasoning. That event is mentioned here a lot since of course Tokinada had something to do with it. That was one of their first appearances and things never really changed. They’re on Ichigo’s good side but that doesn’t mean that they are actually heroes. Throughout this trilogy we find out many other dark secrets about them which just keeps on adding up. Honestly I don’t think Hisagi will ever get to finish his story. He’ll probably be bumped off at some point.

Even characters with high ranks like Shunsui threaten Hisagi about this a lot. He really will have no friends if he goes too far to the point where it’s hinted that he would need to call in Ichigo. Ichigo gets a lot of hype here which was nice. Every tie the books hype up the new villains they always make sure to mention that Ichigo would still win. It’s nice to see because the power levels had be a bit worried. Sequels tend to surpass the heroes pretty quick like Granolah surpassing Goku and a bunch of Androids all surpassed Naruto with ease. So far that has not happened to Ichigo here.

In general the power levels in these books aren’t too bad but I definitely have some issues. Mainly it’s that too many of the characters seem deadlocked. You’ll be surprised at how many ties there are in this trilogy. Characters keep tanking everything until the battle gets interrupted. Most of the battles in the final book end at least which is good.

We get to see some of the Espada show up like Harribel, Nel, and Grimmjow. Harribel is currently the leader of Hueco Mundo and still looks good here. She doesn’t get a very big role but looks tough. The same is true of Nel as well. Grimmjow definitely gets a bigger role than the other two. He has several fights to himself and looks pretty good. It was always fun to see him get involved and was nostalgic in a way too.

Urahara knows a lot more than he lets on as always. He’s certainly a crucial piece to the heroes’ arsenal even if he tends to help behind the scenes. The guy hasn’t lost his edge. Then there’s Shunsui who may be the leader of the Soul Society but he has to play politics so often that he rarely gets to do what he wants to do anymore. I would say that holds him back as a character because he feels like someone who ended up joining corporate and can’t be trusted anymore. At the end of the day it’s clear that he will choose duty above all else.

Yoruichi and Shinji are other characters who get quick roles here. Yoruichi is confident as always and likes testing various characters but only participates in a fight briefly. Shinji also gets one fight but it’s quite the important one. He’s one of the few side characters to get a full fight to himself which is pretty big. His fans should definitely be satisfied with the results since you really can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.

Not to be outdone, Zaraki gets some hype as well. He doesn’t fight until nearly the end of the trilogy but it’s really a fight that’s worth your while. His power level has to be one of the strongest among all the captains at this point if not the absolute strongest based on how everyone acts around him.

Tosen is important only in the sense that his justice speech gets mentioned a lot by Hisagi. Honestly I think Hisagi reads way too far into everything. Tosen was pretty much insane and made his choice. You can’t use him as a beacon of hope anymore. Then you have Aizen who looked great in his initial appearance as I mentioned. He gets a flashback as well and appears a bit near the end so it’s always good to see him show up. The guy gets so much hype that you can’t help but feel he would able to win against the heroes if he were to ever return.

Mayuri gets a bit role as mentioned earlier as he really tries to make the Soul Society look as evil as possible. Between him and Tokinada they make a compelling case for why the place needs to be taken down. Then we get onto the 4 new characters in the series. First up is Tokinada since he is the main villain. The guy is certainly going for an Aizen vibe but a crazier version of the character.

Aizen always spoke very respectfully and had grand ideals. He knew how to talk about those in a very regal sense. Tokinada is also a master strategist but he likes really messing with the heroes. He’ll constantly bring up old traumas to see how everyone reacts. His back story really hits different as a result of that. It’s not an origin where you’re supposed to feel bad for him. Far from it, it shows that he was always twisted to the core right from the start.

He makes for a very powerful villain but not a likable one. You feel like Shunsui or Byakuya should have taken him out long ago. The main problem is that they just accept what happened each time without retaliating. That would lead to Tokinada growing more and more bold. It is impressive how he is able to hold his own against everyone though. Maybe a little too impressive since taking on Espada, the Quincy, and the Gotei 13 is just insane. This guy could have even ended Arc 2 based on how good he looks here.

Then you have Hikone who is Tokinada’s right hand man. As a human, arrancar, quincy hybrid creation the kid doesn’t know anything about the world except what Tokinada has told him. To that extent he’s a rather tragic character since he has no possible way to know that what he is doing is wrong. All he can do is keep on moving forward and hoping for the best. This guy’s power is also very impressive and he keeps on getting stronger throughout the series. I ended up liking him. Hikone’s true personality shines through since he doesn’t murder his opponents the way he would have if the guy was pure evil. He simply doesn’t know better and I can’t really blame him for that.

Then you have his sword Ikomikidomae. That guy’s a very interesting character and I would have liked to have seen more of him. He’s a very old being who has so much power that it’s hard to even say what he is. The guy ultimately gets overshadowed by the other two villains but looked really impressive in the meantime. In a 1 on 1 fight it’s hard to say that anyone else would be able to defeat him. Not the way he was dominating the other characters.

Finally you have Aura. She’s certainly an interesting character with the way her intangibility powers work. Aura is quite broken in that sense as nobody could really land a hit on her throughout the whole trilogy. Only one specific blade would even have a chance against her and since Tokinada is a master strategist she would need to be careful of him. She gets her own backstory and everything so by the end you feel like you know Aura quite well. She got a very satisfying ending to her character I would say.

In the books there are some illustrations which is fun. It would be nice to see this turned into a manga or anime at some point since there’s a lot to absorb here. I don’t read a whole lot of novels though so it’s fun to see how the information is presented in a different medium. For sure it allows you to have a lot more dialogue and characters really processing the events. To an extent I would say that a novel will always be more dramatic than other versions since you have the characters thinking and using hyperbole about everything. (“This is the strongest attack I’ve ever seen!!!!”)


Overall, This was a really fun trilogy. The only goal the trilogy didn’t succeed with was getting me to like Hisagi. The guy is just too filled with self doubt and panicking all the time. Since that was part of his character arc perhaps he will be better going forward though. I liked how the series handled the Ichigo aspect since the guy would have cleaned shop if he was around. I thought the reason for why he wasn’t around was logical though and there’s even potential room for a sequel explaining more in depth what happened to him. What really seals the deal for the trilogy being great though was the ending. It’s really the ideal ending in many respects and an ending is always important since it leaves an impression. I was pleasantly surprised at some of the final outcomes. So if you’re looking for more Bleach content until we hopefully get a sequel soon, these 3 books are great ones to check out.

Overall 8/10

James Bond 007: From Russia with Love Review


From Russia With Love certainly left quite an impact to even get its own video game eventually. Bond has had quite a few games which tend to range from being first person shooters to third person. Fortunately this one is the latter as I tend to prefer that style. It’s a pretty good retelling of the movie’s story and even throws in some extra moments to extend the playthrough. The game’s at a reasonable length and has some bonus levels to strive for as well.

The basic plot is that the villains at Octopus (Yeah that’s their new name now instead of Spectre) have decided to trick Bond once again. They get a former Russian agent known as Tatiana to pretend to work with Bond and get him to take many risks in obtaining a device. She believes this is a legitimate mission from Russia and doesn’t realize that it’s a trap. Bond knows it’s a trap but wants to enjoy himself so he looks the other way. The characters are now on a collision course and Bond will have to watch out for an assassin that is coming after him. Will Bond be able to survive?

There are around 22 levels in the game and the goal is usually to grab some intel or just make it to the end in time. Each level has a few different objectives and once you complete them all then the mission is over. Pro tip, if you’re close to dying but about to clear the objective, just run as fast as you can. If you complete it even for a second before dying, it will create a new checkpoint so you recover all of your health when you wake up. This saved me quite a few times.

The game is rather difficult so you really need to make each shot count. Just go in guns blazing and don’t worry about the rest. The toughest enemy to deal with is a big guy who runs in with a machine gun. He can completely destroy you with just a few hits so you desperately need to pepper him with assault rifle rounds of your own or it’s game over. It’s really impressive just how daunting of an opponent he is to fight. If you lower your guard that’s it. He’s even stronger than most bosses.

Most of my losses in the game are due to this guy showing up. You can switch through your weapons and gadgets during gameplay so always try to keep an eye on which one has ammo. Another tip is that most guns have a second kind of ammo so if you run out of the first, go into the menu to switch to the other one. For that reason you should start with the backup ammo since when you finish it automatically cycles back to the normal one. It’s a pretty good way to do things.

The stealth mechanics are also handy. If you sneak up on an opponent from behind you can take him out in a single blow. This can often be very handy since you don’t have to use up any health. It’s also worth noting that the game has an upgrades section. You can build up your guns or even your armor by spending achievement points. I never quite figured out how you earn those points but by the end of the game you should have a good amount. I highly recommend using these on your armor since it extends the health bar which is incredibly useful.

If you ever do end up getting stuck in the game you could probably go back to old levels to earn more points. I assume that would work and the more level ups you get the easier the game would be. That being said, you should be in a good spot for most of these levels. The toughest level in the game by far is the first boat level. I lost that one many times before finally winning. It’s definitely difficult when you’re not at the wheel. The driver really tends to turn at the worst moments.

The graphics are definitely sharp. The game felt rather cinematic as it used cutscenes to reenact a lot of big moments from the film. We even get true fight scenes in the cutscenes which is impressive. The game put in a lot of effort and I’d say it was rewarded since the game is rather well known. This may be based on a movie but it’s no cash-in. The soundtrack is good as well with the classic Bond theme playing a few times. Aside from Bond’s voice sounding noticeably older, the game really sounds just like the movie.

So the base game is probably around 5-7 hours and then with the extra levels you can bump that up a bit. Earning all achievements should take a while too and then the game also has a big multiplayer mode. That really helps to amp up the replay value since you can have a blast staying there for hours. I’d expect no less from a big Gamecube game that’s for sure. The game was very well done and I look forward to seeing what Bond comes up with next. The series lends itself well to a third person shooter style.

I’d like the next ones to keep in the upgrading system as I always like things like that. It incentivizes you to grind the old levels to get stronger and stronger. If I had my way then all games would have some kind of level up system since it’s just so much fun to have. You never truly feel stuck when you can go back and get even stronger.

Overall, From Russia With Love is a pretty fun game. It’s a title that should be nostalgic for long time Bond fans. Even if you haven’t seen the movies you should be pretty well set here though since the game adapts the whole movie so it’s pretty new user friendly. At its core this is a story about agents from different countries all being manipulated by the villain organization. That’s a plot that you can dive into without any issues.

Overall 7/10

Sword of Mana Review


The Sword of Mana is a game I’ve owned for many years at this point. It just kept getting passed by other games but no longer. I finally went in and completed it. The game certainly played really well and lives up to the Mana brand. The real time action is a nice touch and the story got rather intense with a lot of twists and turns along the way. It’s a good reminder as always on why I like the RPG genre so much. There’s always so much to do in these games.

The two main characters don’t have formal names so I just called them Terry and Daisy. Well, the game starts out with the two characters on the run as their parents are hunted by the Dark Lord. Unfortunately Terry ends up tripping so the two get split up. We fast forward a bunch of years to where Terry is now forced to fight as a gladiator for the villain’s amusement. One day he manages to escape and meets up with a girl who looks just like Daisy. Together, the two of them will find the legendary Granz and take the Dark Lord down!

Of course for an RPG like this you already know there is a lot more to the story than just that. The Dark Lord is not so easily defeated after all. The heroes meet up with a man named Bogard who was a friend of Terry’s parents and a lot of other characters. Along the path to saving the world the heroes will see other kingdoms, meet a demon, and other villains are also along the way.

This RPG isn’t quite as long as some others as it’s a little under 20 hours but you still get to do a lot. I would say you’ll end up pretty satisfied here to be sure. Not every game needs to be crazy long after all, although I will admit that for RPGs I like to see them 20+ hours long. For normal games I strive for at least 10 but of course each genre tends to have their specialties in that respect.

Sword of Mana also has a lot of replay value with the side quests going on. I assume some are probably skippable so you’ll want to do them as you play through the game rather than just waiting until the end. There does not seem to be a post game though as the game just freezes after beating it so you have to turn it off at that point. Perhaps that triggers something to change within the game itself so you do unlock the post game but I’m not sure of that myself. Either way there’s enough to keep you busy.

As expected the graphics are quite sharp here. The sprites are well animated and also have a lot of depth to them such as the characters whisking out their swords and even sitting down for dinner. The developers added a lot of extra animations to really make this as realistic as possible which was cool. This was clearly not the kind of game that was thrown together at the last second but had a lot of effort.

The soundtrack is also pretty solid. Now, I wouldn’t say it quite matches up to a lot of the all time greats when it comes to RPGs but there are enough quality tunes for this one to still hold its own at the end of the day. The main boss theme for example is a pretty solid one.

As for the gameplay, it’s a real time combat title as I mentioned earlier. You obtain many different weapons during the course of the game but you’ll get the most mileage out of the Sword, Bow/Arrow, and your long baton of sorts that extends. You will use this to cross large chasms. Perhaps you will grow a liking to another weapon along the way but I just can’t go wrong with swords. They’re always just so much fun to use.

I will say that the game’s way of letting you power up your sword can be a little complicated. You need a lot of materials and have to find a blacksmith. So due to that I just used the basic level 1 sword for the whole game until the final boss where I finally got a really cool one. I can tell you that I felt the immense difference as soon as I picked that one up. Now that was true power right there.

Whenever you level up you are given one point which you can put to any attribute. This will determine what your stat boost will be so choose carefully. You also unlock classes depending on what your focus is. If you don’t have a focus then it could get a little tricky for you. I went for one of the warrior classes which means putting the points away into strength, random, and a little into magic I think. It’s worth it because you get a crazy power boost which really served me well.

The game knows that you’ll be focusing on the sword though so there are quite a few bosses where you can’t even attack the bosses that way. A lot of them fly away so you have to use a projectile weapon. This could be a little cheesy but they probably knew that otherwise you would really be steam rolling through these guys. That’s how insanely powerful the sword is. There’s no enemy or boss who can last for very long against it.

My final note would be if you’re ever in doubt, grab some level ups. The EXP system here is pretty well balanced so leveling up doesn’t take too long. As soon as you get $10,000 make sure you buy the EXP brace to double your EXP. Trust me that is worth the purchase because it makes a huge difference immediately. There are a few puzzles that can be tough near the end of the game so brace yourself for them. In particular Dime Tower doesn’t hold back. If you see that a light isn’t showing up to signify that you completed a puzzle on the floor, go back down. For some reason puzzles can be on the wrong floor to trip you up so don’t fall for it!

Overall, Sword of Mana was definitely a lot of fun. It’s a very well balanced RPG and one that had a really wide cast. The story certainly shifts a lot by the end with all the new villains and plot twists. The Dark Lord was a really fun character throughout it all and he got quite a few battles with Terry. The game wasn’t afraid to have the hero lose a few fights that’s for sure since he took quite a few Ls as the game went on. If you’re looking for an old RPG that has aged incredibly well, look no further than this title. The Sword of Mana is just what you’re looking for.

Overall 8/10

Taito Legends Power-Up Review


This is a game that I sort of got out of the blue because I wanted to finally check out the original Legend of Kage. Not only did this collection have the original but it also had the remade version that had a more 3D look to it. There’s a pretty solid collection of games here as well so it’s got some pretty decent value. At the end of the day it’s hard to really deny that this title has a lot of replay value. Surely you should be able to enjoy most if not all of the titles here.

None of the games really have much of a story mode of course since these are really arcade titles. Mainly the point of the game is to play all of these titles out and get your high scores in there. You’ve got sci-fi games, ninja titles, and even a game that’s sort of like Monkey Ball. The amount of variety here is impressive and while you may not put these games up against the true classics like Mario and Pac-Man, they hold up well enough.

Super old games are usually not really my thing since I can only play them so long before I need a break. That being said, I’ll still have fun while I’m along for the ride. Since Legend of Kage is the reason I was buying the game in the first place lets lead off with that. The game involves you throwing stars and slashing away at the enemies. The goal is to make it to the end of the game before they take you down. It’s a rather difficult game but with enough tries you should be able to conquer it. When you lose you can restart as many times as needed so you don’t need to worry about getting a game over. That would have definitely hurt the momentum.

You’ve got games that feature skiing, monkey ball, a bunch of sci-fi shooters, and a game that works a lot like Pac-Man. Basically you have to race around the stage and get all of the pellets before these opposing airships tag you. It’s very difficult because they are much faster than you. I don’t want to say that the game is luck based…but it sure feels that way at times. Escaping these guys is really hard to be sure.

As a collection Taito Legends accomplished what it set out to do. None of the games may stand out on their own but when together they make for a decent game. The graphics are pretty solid here so the quality of the old sprites is on point. The soundtracks are good too. I wouldn’t say they are particularly notable but they do have a lot of energy so they fit right in while you’re playing through the game. You probably won’t even notice the tracks a lot of the time. Maybe if there was some extra rock or something.

Since a few of the games have the original version as well as the enhanced remake it’ll be interesting to see if any of the originals can beat their powered up versions. I find it is usually very difficult to beat a newer version but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Sometimes the new version may try too hard in trying to be better and miss something that gave the original its charm. This title allows you to try both versions back to back to see how it really stands up.

There isn’t a whole lot more to say about the collection due to the nature of the game. Really this will either be your style or it won’t be but you should know right away based on the kinds of games you enjoy. That is really the deciding factor here. I’m not sure I would buy a future Taito collection but if they ever decided to bundle up a lot of very new games that could have a lot of potential.

Overall, Taito Legends Power-Up is a good game. I’d recommend checking it out if you like playing the classic Arcade Games. Naturally you would want to skip it if you’re more into the modern titles with story and cinematics. That’s mainly where I’m at but at the same time it can be fun to relive how the games used to be. After all, for their time I’m sure these were considered to be top notch.

Overall 6/10

Creature from the Haunted Sea Review


When you have a film with a title like this you know you’re in for a treat. After all, films with monsters in them tend to be fun and this one is no exception. A whole lot happens throughout the movie so while it is fairly short, it doesn’t really feel that way. Roger Corman’s films tend to be rather sub par but this one surprised me as it was actually fairly good.

The movie starts out with Capetto making a deal with some resistance leaders. He will get their men onto safe land and will transport their treasure using his boat. He’ll get a nice commission of course. The general and his men agree to this deal but what they don’t know is that Capetto plans to backstab them and take the money for himself. His plan is simple, he’ll leave traces of a fake monster aboard the ship and bump the henchmen off one by one. Eventually they will all get scared and run off while Capetto keeps the money.

What Capetto doesn’t know is that an American agent known as Sparks as infiltrated his crew and is trying to find some proof of their wrongdoing. He intends to fight as hard as he can in part because he thinks Capetto’s main girl Mary-Belle needs saving. The guy is so hopelessly obsessed with her that no matter how many times she says she likes the life of crime he doesn’t believe her. What none of these characters know is that there is a true monster running around as well.

From the start you can tell that the film is having a lot of fun with this concept. It’s definitely not a serious creature feature as even for its time you’re not meant to take it seriously. The costume for the monster is really good though. His eyes kind of pop out at you that’s for sure. He also has good gripping strength so if he grabs you then it’s all over. There is just no escape at that point. It doesn’t do a whole lot in the film at first but by the end lets just say that the body count is pretty high here.

Capetto and his crew are to blame for a lot of it as well though since they bump off a lot of the resistance guys themselves. They want the treasure after all and bumping people is really the only way they know how to get it. Capetto is a smooth customer and works well as the main villain. He is able to gain people’s trust rather easily considering that he is openly a criminal. That takes a lot of skill and intelligence.

Then you have Mary-Belle who is a reasonable heroine. She certainly doesn’t mind insulting the rest of the characters quite a lot. In particular she definitely insults Sparks a lot but it’s certainly justified since the guy is way too obsessed. He has a lot of fun dialogue as the narrator but as the character himself he is clearly too distracted to do his job properly. The guy is always messing up and if he is America’s best agent then we are certainly in trouble.

Then you have Jack who falls for one of the island girls in a subplot that seems rather pointless. See, the characters crash land on an island where naturally they meet up with an island girl and her mother. Both of them get their own romantic subplots as Pete, the animal guy also falls for one of them. Pete’s gimmick is that he can mimic any animal cry with ease. He can sound like an elephant to suddenly a giant monster. Naturally you can see how this would help the plans that Capetto had in store for the others. It also leads to a rather odd sequence of Pete and the island girl communicating through the roars. One of them was also throwing a lot of insults constantly but these guys only understand English so they never picked up on it.

A comedy/parody like this really thrives on having a lot of fun moments and poking fun at a variety of story elements without dragging on. I would say this one definitely pulls that off without issue. For starters the film is pretty short as mentioned earlier and it is very entertaining. The writing is pretty solid with some good one liners and characters stating the obvious. It can all get quite dramatic like something out of a Noir title but without earning it the way most films would.

The ending is even a little unexpected I would say. There was one character that I didn’t think was going to die in the end who ultimately wasn’t able to survive. As mentioned, the body count here is high, perhaps a lot higher than the average creature feature. The ending is also pretty cool with the monster actually getting some personality in the final shot. Now that’s how you do it.

The voices for some of the characters was also something else. The voice imitation guy for example would sound really deep at some points and then would go back to normal. I would say this was true for a few characters but mainly his guy. I think the sound mixing guy was having some fun while getting this all ready. Ultimately I wouldn’t say this is a film you’ll never forget or some kind of amazing title but it was pretty good and a lot of fun. Ultimately that’s the proper foundations towards making a good movie.

Overall, Creature from the Haunted Sea was pretty good, definitely better than I had expected. It has a good mix of humor and suspense along with an interesting cast. While they are interesting, saying that they are fully likable may be a different ball game. Most of these guys are all either crooks of desperate flirts who may as well be crooks. None of them are meant to be all that likable but at the same time the film doesn’t go out of its way to paint them as terrible characters or anything. They do murder people but by and large they stick to knocking people off rather quickly. If you want to check out a film that’s rather outside the box then this one will be up your alley. Just watch out for the monster because he means business!

Overall 7/10

The Personal History of David Copperfield Review


Time for a film that I guess I would call a slice of life but it also has a decent amount of tragedy and drama for the main character. There’s a lot going on here as we go through Copperfield’s whole life and the visuals are interesting with how the past blends into reality. Ultimately I wasn’t really a fan of it though, quite a few of the characters kinda seemed nutty and Copperfield didn’t make for the most interesting character.

Copperfield started out as a kid who had trouble reading because the letters were always flying all over the page. By the the time he would track them down it was too late. His mother ended up remarrying to some other guy after his Dad passed and the Step Dad was not a fan. This results in David getting beat up quite a bit before finally managing to be sent off. He escapes and works at a bottle factory for a while but then he finds out his mother has died and he goes off to live with a crazed writer who thinks he is a dead King and a nice old lady who really doesn’t like having any animals on her porch. Perhaps now David can start a new life and even get people to think he is rich.

A lot of times what gets David into trouble is the fact that his web of lies grows too large. He continues to spin the truth around for the sake of his reputation to the point where he isn’t really able to keep it straight. He has to continue to double down in front of everyone over and over again until it catches up with him. His friends also aren’t the reliable sort. You have one guy who is on the run from all kinds of tax payers and then you have a fellow student who is not the nicest guy and serves as a bad influence.

Even the butler can’t be trusted as that guy evidently wants to be in a position of power so he can gain revenge on all of the people who weren’t nice to him back in the day. Instead of being a good person otherwise he grows completely corrupt. So it would seem that no matter where David goes, there is always trouble around the next corner.

So lets talk about these guys. For David there’s not a whole lot more to be said. He’s very busy trying to get everyone to like him as a scholar to the point where he has to make up stories about it. I wasn’t a big fan of his. He gets a romance plot later on in the film but I wouldn’t give that one a big thumbs up. Romance is the last thing he had time for considering everything that was going on.

Mr. Micawbar is the one being pursued by the taxpayers and it’s hard to sympathize with the guy since it does appear that he is willingly scamming everyone. Sure, tough times and all but he’s just digging the hall bigger and bigger. Then you have Mr. Dick who is the guy that is slowly going insane. The whole flying a kite idea was certainly interesting. I’m glad it worked but unfortunately it was only temporary which means they would have to continue doing that forever in order for it to work. Hopefully eventually he is able to just overcome the spirit of King Henry.

Betsey was a good supporting character. At least she was taking things in stride and seemed to know what was going on. It was a difficult situation but she was making the most of it which is the important thing. She even tried giving advice to Dora that the romance may not work out well with David but the heroine didn’t listen. Dora could have been better, the main issue with her is that she has a hard time keeping up a conversation because her mind tends to wander.

In a way there was a second romance plot at the accounting firm but David tended to not notice since he only had eyes for Dora. Of course the accounting area is where you had a lot of the main conflicts in the film since the dispute was over a great deal of money. Effectively the main villain was trying to swindle Copperfield and the others. The guy was completely succeeding to. Just goes to show you’ve always gotta stay alert.

The review’s a little all over the place but that’s because the film jumps around a lot as well. After all, this is the complete story of David Copperfield so you get to see the whole journey but with little flashbacks thrown in or meanwhile scenes that overlay over the present scene. It does look pretty cool as I mentioned earlier for sure. So on a visual level that was neat.

My only real issue with the film is that it could be a little on the boring side. Even by the end of the film you don’t feel like a whole lot happened. I think part of the issue lies with the characters as it’s hard to really get on board with any of them. There’s also the fact that some of the characters seem so obviously shady that when they leave and betray the others you aren’t surprised. Like David’s “friend” who decided to take off with one of the girls from the first village. He ditched her of course but she was also to blame there. How can you just leave your fiancé at the drop of a hat?

Later on she comes back since the relationship didn’t work out but why should the guy even want her back? It’s now clear that he was the second choice and she only returned as a last resort. So….yeah that’s not a good sign. The characters keep falling for tricks or get busted by someone else. Either way, I think adding in some more likable characters of changing the setting could have gone a long way.

Overall, I wasn’t a big fan of the stuff that happened when David was a kid. The Step Dad was pretty bad and his Mom didn’t do anything to help him out either which was annoying. His teen years weren’t bad though. The main issue is just that the film won’t keep your interest. There isn’t a lot of witty banter or comical scenes to break things up either. The film is mainly serious after all, although I wouldn’t say in a dark way. It’s just going about things in a matter of fact way so how interesting you find the film will depend on how interesting you find the lead to be. It’s sort of like the Henry or Ramona books, perhaps Huckleberry Finn and yet not as interesting as my memories of those books. Perhaps a sequel would be able to do this a little better if we could get some kind of big time skip that would be cool too so tings are a little more modern.

Overall 4/10

Tea for Two Review


Time to look at a classic Doris Day film. This one may not be as strong as most of her other titles but it’s still a pretty good movie all the same. It definitely goes to show that you have to be pretty careful when entering into a deal because you never know how things will turn out.

The movie introduces us to Uncle Max who is having a rather bad day. See, he’s a very rich man, however the stock market just crashed and he lost all of his money since he had placed it in stocks against the advice of his accountant. Now Max is utterly broke but he doesn’t know how to tell Nanette this so he stays quiet. Meanwhile Nanette is getting swindled by a corrupt talent show owner named Larry. Larry has fed her a sob story about Jimmy’s family being under some tough times so she needs to donate a few thousand to his failing show. She agrees to do it, however Nanette has to be the leading lady. Larry agrees while also promising the part to another girl.

Nanette asks Max to give her the money but he doesn’t want to. In part because he doesn’t have any money to give and in part because it’s Larry and everyone knows what a crook that guy is. This leads them to make a bet. If Nanette can resist saying the word yes for a full week then she will have won the money. If she loses then she won’t be able to buy anything crazy for a full year. The race is on!

Tea For Two embraces how crazy the plot is rather well. I would say the best gag in the entire film is when we find out that the accountant is effectively the one who bankrupt Max since he short sold all the stocks that Max owned. Rather than holding a grudge Max never even calls him out on it so you can’t help but think that he didn’t realize this or jus isn’t very smart. Either way the accountant had the last laugh there but is still right by Max’s side the rest of the film. I guess it’s nice that he wants to help now but the damage is already done.

The accountant has a bit of a rushed plot near the end that doesn’t make much sense though. It’s one of those romances that happens so fast you have to shake your head. It doesn’t feel like it was set up at all. Pauline is another side character in the film who is mainly here to help Nanette out. After all, Nanette tends to be fooled rather quickly so Pauline does her best to get the lead not to say yes very easily. Unfortunately Nanette is not easily stopped. It’s always fun to see Pauline throwing a lot of insults at the villain though.

Nanette does get fooled way too easily though especially considering how she already knows that Larry is no good. They constantly mention this and everyone mocks the guy. Why would she believe such a fantastic story from him without at least asking Jimmy straight up first? That would have been the best way to handle things. At least Nanette is quite persistent in trying to win the bet and never falters no matter how many sacrifices she has to make.

Jimmy is equally to blame though as the guy never clued Nanette in. He only does once he admits that he has fallen from her so he felt bad keeping the secret any longer but the translation to that is that unless he loves someone he has no qualms with keeping important secrets. That’s not a good sign in the slightest. As a result I couldn’t back this romance up either.

Larry is as much of a total villain as you can be here. The guy is extremely pushy, lies all the time, and isn’t even very smart so he makes a lot of mistakes. You’re not meant to sympathize with him in the slightest. He’s fooling around with multiple girls at once and of course nobody tries to stop him. Ultimately it seems like all of the main characters were rather weak and would rather look the other way than to try and set things right. It does make for some fun shenanigans but at other times it just backfires.

He gets away with a whole lot with Nanette like greeting her with a kiss and constantly grabbing onto her. She always breaks free and insults him but after the fact it feels a bit late. Stopping him first off should be the main goal and you’d think one of the other friends would help out but they’re always just twiddling their thumbs.

Max was definitely my favorite character. Sure, the stocks didn’t work out but it is hindsight. You can see why he went there instead of bonds as those don’t tend to grow a whole lot. They just stay in the same place over and over again but are safer. So it’s a tough call of course but Max means well. He brings a lot of fun humor to the film throughout. He doesn’t hold back when it comes to trying to win the deal but doesn’t cheat or do anything like that. He just goes all in.

At the end of the day the writing is good and the film really flows by so I wouldn’t say I had any real issues with the movie. At most it just feels like the plot is a bit forced because I don’t see why Nanette would believe Larry’s story for even a minute. Not after all the crazy scenes we see of him trying to trick everyone and generally acting as awfully as possible. The guy has no manners and somehow thinks he is still together with Nanette. You can’t reason with someone like that and so that part has not aged well in a logic sense. Somehow everyone still trusts the guy which is crazy but the ending for his character is done really well.

Overall, Tea For Two is weaker than the other Doris Day films in part due to the cast not being quite as solid as normal and both romances not being very good. Still, the movie excels with its humor and you are bound to have a good time. Even if the characters annoy you it’s not as if any of them are awful. You’ll be glad for the flashback to start though as the film begins with you thinking that the kids are going to be main characters and that would not have been good. If you like Doris Day films or just want to watch a fun little comedy then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 7/10

Goke, The Body Snatcher from Hell Review


I actually had some reasonable expectations for this film but ultimately it fell flat. Goke just wasn’t able to really live up to my expectations because the film decided to go the vampire route instead. Things got a little gritty and instead of cool hand to hand action scenes the humans were just bickering a lot. You can’t win like that, that’s for sure.

The movie starts with a bunch of people on an airplane. They’ve all got big plans for the rest of their lives and are enjoying the pleasant cruise when there is a bomb scare. Sugisaka along with attendant Kuzumi try to find out who has the bomb but then the plane crashes. The heroes are now isolated in a desert region and have no way to salvage the ship. They also must deal with the fact that one of the passengers may have a bomb. Additionally, they know that nobody is coming to save them after turning on the news and hearing the reporters confirm this. One of the passengers quickly breaks the radio though since it was being too helpful.

So that’s a fairly interesting story dynamic you’ve got there. These passengers who each have their own story and values must put aside their own differences in order to band together. There is just one problem and unfortunately it is a big one. There is also a body snatcher from hell that is here to destroy them all. The creature arrived in some kind of meteorite and quickly takes control of a passenger. The only way to know who is the alien is to look for someone with a huge scar on their face and the characters are too busy fighting with each other to put up much of a fight.

Goke started off on the wrong foot as the movie opens with a bunch of birds dying. See, Goke’s influence is able to stir up the wildlife around him which forces the birds to take down the plane. It’s hard to say what the exact purpose of this is. Is it merely the birds growing afraid or Goke mind controlling them because he wanted a vessel? If you think about it, there isn’t even much value in having a vessel since their spaceships are already strong enough to really do whatever they need to do.

Once we’re on the island, the film makes sure to show us that none of the characters are likable which leads to a Lord of the Flies kind of scenario. Sugisaka is easily the character with the strongest moral compass. Ultimately he wants to make sure everyone is able to walk out of here in one piece. I’ll give the guy props for trying to keep everyone together. I just disagreed with one of his decisions when he said nobody should even think about leaving the ship. Hehe…lets just say I’ll talk more about that later.

Kuzumi was also good. She did her best to help out and make sure things were going well. These are the only two reasonable characters. Next up you have Neal who is the sole American in the film so that’s always fun. She is very dramatic the whole time and cries a lot which unfortunately makes things easy on Goke. I ended up losing respect for her when she was on board with the plan of sacrificing some of the crew for her own personal survival. Yeah that’s the kind of thing that is not going to go over well in the slightest.

Mano is a senator who is really unreasonable throughout the film. He’s always telling people to hurry up and get him out of here when it’s clear as crystal that there isn’t anything anyone can do at the moment. Why is this such a foreign concept to him? The guy is also having an affair with Tokiyasu’s wife. Mano is also very quick to betray the others and does this numerous times throughout the film.

Then you have Tokiyasu who willingly threw his wife at Mano in order to try and secure a deal for his company. That tells you the level of ethics that this guy follows. Noriko is also content to go along with this plan which is unfortunate as well. In horror films being unfaithful usually ends up being disastrous for all parties involved and this movie is no exception.

There’s Momotake but he doesn’t last long. The guy is actually happy about the plane crash because he has a theory that humans will always devolve into their base instincts and he wants a chance to prove this. Yes, great for him…but that’s naturally going to only lead to one conclusion right? Momotake talks a big game but he still seems a little surprised by what he had predicted.

Finally there is Sagai who seemed to be reasonable for most of the movie but then he also decided they needed to start sacrificing people. So he went down the drain. It’s a common theme in the film that at the end of the day you can’t trust anyone. Ultimately everyone will betray you and it’s just a very cynical way of looking at things. It would have been nice if they weren’t all so corrupt.

The idea of the cast slowly all going mad as they’re trapped in a small plane with no water or food can definitely be interesting but it has to be handled really carefully. I saw a film sort of like that (I forget the title) where the characters are locked in a house by an invisible force and all start to go crazy. That one was handled better to be sure even if it had some issues.

Now you would think the alien plot would automatically fix things right? Well, I wouldn’t say that the process is automatic because these aliens are basically vampires. Yes, that’s one of the last things this film needed. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather violent with these interactions as the humans are slowly drained into oblivion. Each of these scenes certainly drags and the movie ends up falling into the classic horror hole of being violent for shock value. Throw in all of the animal deaths from earlier and this movie did not know what it was doing.

Even the design for when the aliens inhabit the human hosts is not very fun to look at. They have to make a giant incision in the person’s face which looks like an obvious weak point. The vampires also aren’t very fast so you know that they can be outrun if the humans would stop tripping and looking back. Just keep on going full speed and you’ll be okay. Why turn back like that? All you’re doing is speeding up your own demise!

Okay, so a lot happens by the end of the film and I won’t spoil the twist since it’s like something out of an M Shyamalan film. Of course the heroes crashed somewhere so a few of them suggest running outside for a while to get to the next town. This idea is slammed down but what if they had actually gone? The ending gives you a look at what would have happened and it does make the characters look pretty bad. From the start I thought it was a terrible idea to stay put. Sure the outdoors are dangerous but you have no water or food so isn’t it better to leave now while you have energy than later?

The one thing I will say for the film is that the ending is pretty hype. Things start accelerating a lot quicker than I ever would have suspected and really changes the whole context of what’s going on. I would actually be reasonably hyped for a sequel. The issue with this film…or at least one of them is that we were just focused on the wrong people. I want to see the rest of the planet now which should make for a much more interesting narrative.

Overall, Goke, Body Snatcher was disappointing. Honestly I was expecting it to be significantly better than how it turned out. The aliens being vampires is such an awful idea and making the characters this unlikable was not a good decision. Whenever any film decides to make the whole cast villains for some reason I have to shake my head because that will never work. It’s just not a good idea because you need someone to sympathize with and this completely removes the chances of that happening. If you want to watch an interesting alien film then you have much better options that you can take a look at. This one is best left to the remnants of history.

Overall 2/10

Mario Party DS Review


Mario has returned. I’s been a little while since I played my last Mario game so naturally something had to give. I needed to be able to jump back into the Mario groove and really see how the series is doing. Fortunately that was absolutely part of the gameplan. Ebay had a good price on this one so I knew it was time for the plunge.

The story here is fairly basic as you’re likely here for the minigames anyway. Bowser tricks Mario and friends into heading over to his place for some food. They are all desperately hungry so they show up but promptly get cursed into being tiny by Bowser. Bowser’s just in a whole different league thanks to his magical abilities. The only way for the heroes to make a comeback is to find the legendary shards and become large again. It won’t be easy though as Bowser is up to something.

It’s reasonably short as the game only has around 5-6 worlds total. Each world is effectively a mini party mode that lasts for 10 turns. Your goal is to complete the game and come in first place by having the most Power Stars. If you come in second or later then you lose and have to start from scratch. Naturally that is the toughest part here. Mario Party has a lot of luck thrown into the mix after all in addition to skill. You may win a bunch of minigames or even all of them but you can still lose a match due to how that all works out. The computers put me through the wringer here.

So that should help extend the game’s play time a bit. I would say the game is only a few hours long otherwise. Of course one way that can help you with this a bit is the fact that you can reset the game if you have a bad turn. This will help nullify part of the luck factor as you can keep on spinning until things go well. From minigame results to power stars, the power is in your hand now.

Outside of the story you have a lot of other modes of course like minigame mode and local multiplayer. There isn’t really a lack of content here which isn’t surprising since Nintendo always gives you a lot of bang for your buck. In this case all of these extra modes and impressive array of minigames will ensure that you can keep on playing for a long while. At 10 bucks it was quite the steal.

The best minigames here might be the hide and seek one or some of the combat types. For Hide and Seek I like the idea of running around and looking for someone even if it feels like it is heavily favored against the one person who is alone. Dodging everyone for the duration of the match sounds crazy. Of course then you have minigames like with the coins falling where if anything it is really easy for the player to get most of the coins. I’d say it balances out in the end.

As expected the soundtrack is also pretty good. Don’t expect the same level of intensity as in the mainline Mario games but it still has a high energy feel to it. This is all AAA music. The you have the graphics which have aged well on the DS. All of the characters are on point and the backgrounds are good. It would be nice if you could taunt like in the other games but it’s really not a big deal. It’s the kind of thing you notice for a few minutes and then forget about entirely.

Mario Party DS is a rather simple game which is executed well. You could even say that the title would live or die based on the quality of its minigames. A game like this can’t work nearly as well if you don’t have fun games to play. If they were to drag on then that would take the fun away right then and there. A good minigame should be short and to the point which this game really nails down.

Overall, I would say this game is a big step up from the Mario Party for GBA. It’s not quite touching any of the big console ones yet though. There are still a few more portable Mario party games I don’t have yet though so we’ll see if they continue to improve. If you like the Mario Party series then you should definitely get this one. There’s no reason you wouldn’t like the hand held version. Additionally while it may be old, I wouldn’t say it’s out dated or anything like that. You can easily plug and play at any time. Just work on grabbing those unlockables to really fill the game up.

Overall 7/10

The Legend of Kage 2 Review


This is a game I bought at Gamestop a long time ago but I hadn’t gotten around to playing the original so I just kept it on the backburner. Well, I finally got around to beating the original (Review coming soon) and the sequel does a good job of really improving upon the original in every way. We now have a real story and more streamlined gameplay.

The game starts with Kage being given a new mission. He is to protect the princess who turns out to be his childhood friend. It’s really not a bad gig but unfortunately he does not know the true dangers that are around him. A group of villains want to kidnap the princess because she has latent abilities that could allow them to conquer the world. Clearly the stakes have been raised but will Kage be able to raise his skill level to match?

Right away I liked the visual style of the game. It handles the energy effects well from how the blue and red blades look to how the whole game’s atmosphere is. Ultimately this game looks very good. The boss designs are on point as well and if the game ever got an anime, I’d want them to use the designs from this game rather than the original.

The gameplay is pretty simple and to the point. You can jump extremely high and swing away at enemies with your blade. A new addition to the series is that you actually have special abilities now. You can increase your attack, defense, or even shoot out projectiles. Personally I recommend sticking to the attack and defense options since those are really the best bets. The difference is actually noticeable here.

Now the main knock against the game is the length. It’s around 3 hours which is pretty bad. The original game was only about an hour or even less but it could get away with it more since this was the original title. For a big sequel that’s a little harder to overlook because you just expect a certain amount of length. Imagine buying this day 1? That would probably get pretty dicey and you would feel cheated out of your cash.

There is some replay value I suppose in that you can try to grab more collectibles in the level. If you grab everything then you’ll be really powerful but the main issue is that there would be nothing to do with it. There are no bonus levels or anything so you would just be flexing on minions. Certainly that’s cool and all if you are having a blast with the gameplay but it’s not enough for me to say the game truly has real replay value.

This is the kind of title you are really playing as a one and done experience. It is a fun experience at least for the reasons I stated above. The main rival makes for a really good antagonist. He’s quite skilled but also has an honor code. The fact that he fought to the end while remaining as a human as an impressive twist. It shows Kage that you can become truly strong even without becoming a monster. The other characters didn’t always seem to have such fortitude.

Hanzo was also very interesting. He spends the entire game getting beaten up left and right but then you see that he is actually a whole lot more skilled than we may expect. Personally I still think Kage and the blue rival are too powerful for him but maybe he would be third in the verse. A third game seems unlikely but I would definitely be really hyped to see that at some point.

My main gameplay tip here is to just experiment. When you die you can always continue again so see what went wrong the first time and adapt. There is no penalty for trying a lot as you get your health and magic meter restored to the sky’s really the limit. The only chance of failure is if you give up. Additionally, the bosses have very set movement patterns so once you memorize them then you really should not have any problems here.

I wouldn’t say the soundtrack is super memorable but the tunes aren’t bad. You have a pretty good idea of what is going on and it fits with the ninja theme. I’d love some more rock based music themes of course but it’s hard not to be satisfied with what we did get. The boss battles are also intense as you would expect.

Overall, Legend of Kage 2 was a lot of fun. The only thing keeping me from calling it a great game is how short it is. No matter how polished the gameplay or interesting the story, there is only so much you can do in 3 hours. Maybe the developers weren’t given enough time but still wanted to make a high quality game so instead of sacrificing that, they cut off the length. If they were forced to make such a choice then I definitely have to say that I agreed with the call. Better to have a short high quality title than a long one that’s not very good. Better luck next time for Kage but if you find this game for $5 like I did then it is definitely worth it.

Overall 7/10