Warning from Space Review


It’s time to look at a retro sci-fi film complete with aliens. I’m always up for a good sci-fi epic and aliens approaching usually means some kind of invasion is here right? Wellllllll…not quite this time. I was really surprised because for the first time since 2001: A Space Odyssey this was a sci-fi film that was a little…boring. Nothing really happens for a large portion of the film which was disappointed and even the climax is fairly underwhelming. Should have gone the invasion route.

The movie starts with a group of starfish aliens discussing what to do about Earth. They need to contact the scientists of the planet. There’s a few ways they can go about this of course. One would be to send some kind of radio transmission from space while allowing their spaceship to be seen to prove that they are who they say they are. Perhaps they could beam a few people down and start talking to the humans real quick. Preferably in a bullet proof suit since the humans love to blast things right away. Send some cool signals, send a UFO, maybe kidnap a few of the humans real quick. Well…instead they try slowly walking out of the ocean and breaking into homes but don’t really talk so people naturally think they’re monsters.

You may be questioning the alien’s intelligence at this point but then they decide they’ll just copy the appearance of a human and send someone in undercover. Perfect…except what’s the next move? She spends some time playing tennis with the group and acting human except for when she jumps 10 feet and walks through doors that are still closed for kicks. She’s not great at staying undercover. She burns some notes and only after the main characters make some deductions does she finally reveal her intentions of why she is here and how to save the planet. I just don’t understand what the aliens were thinking, there were so many better ways of getting around this.

It’s hard to say how much of the plot to explain here because I suppose the reason they are here at all would be a spoiler to an extent. Still, the main characters do get on board with this plan rather quickly. While that may be a little too trusting on their part, it does end up working out so I suppose it was for the best. Without going into specifics, the whole thing once again makes the aliens look kind of suspect. They are very quick to destroy the formula to a super weapon since it’s too dangerous and yet they didn’t think that this weapon would be useful against the upcoming crisis? Hmmmmm.

Lets talk about the main characters now. First up is Dr. Matsuda who is a genius and has discovered a weapon even more powerful than atomic energy. He stays strong throughout the film even when put into great danger and at least he does take some things in stride like when Ginko (the main alien) confronts him. The guy does well to memorize his formula as well so that came in handy. Then you’ve got Toru and his father Mr. Itsobe who get major roles. Mr. Itsobe is effectively the leader of the heroes because of how he’s quite intelligent but also very resourceful. Without him the characters would be in trouble although he is a little quick to dismiss the possibility of aliens. He also refuses to even speculate on things until he has a lot of evidence so you don’t even need to bother asking him for an opinion initially. Toru may not be a brilliant professor yet but he helps out quite a bit and is one of the first people to find evidence of Ginko not being your average mortal.

One thing that doesn’t help the film’s case either is that some animals don’t quite make it by the end. This even includes a dog and you may be wondering what the point of the scene was. There wasn’t one really. I thought perhaps the film would save itself in the end as we see some animals running around but it’s heavily implied that these are completely different animals and that the originals are all dead. If we had seen one of the old ones then maybe we could say they lived but otherwise I feel as though that would be a jump on our end. So the film loses points there as well.

As to what the film did right, I did like the design of the star creatures. It was pretty fun seeing them walk around even if it could be a little hard to understand them at times. That’s probably more due to the quality of the film since it’s so old at this point compared to the costumes themselves. The graphics definitely looked quite old as I guess the film has probably deteriorated at this point. The sets were on point though.

I wouldn’t call the writing particularly impressive but I didn’t think it was bad either. There’s just not a lot going on for most of the film and the characters don’t engage in any real witty banter or memorable one liners which limits the film’s ability to keep you engaged. It’s not a super long movie but it is one where you feel the length. The average James Bond film which is around 2 hours will typically feel shorter than this one due to how things are always happening. At the end of the day I feel as though the film just went with the wrong tact. It should have gone with the classic alien invasion storyline.

If you are going to go with more of an undercover story as the aliens try to contact the humans, I think the plot needs to be nailed down a little more on why they did things so out of the way. Why couldn’t they just contact the humans in another way or explain the plot as soon as the transformation occurred? It felt like Ginko just didn’t know exactly what her plan was initially. There are ways to make this plot work but it is a little more difficult than actually having a real villain to go up against. That’s probably why some random gangsters were added in the end but lets face it, their roles are extremely small.

Overall, Warning from Space is a very accurate title but this just isn’t a particularly engaging film. There isn’t a true sense of danger for almost all of it and the dialogue isn’t very engaging. The characters don’t really progress much in what they’re saying so it feels like they are talking in circles a lot of the time. This movie really needed to add some more excitement and also definitely leave the animals out of it since they had no business being here. A sequel to this film could be quite good though if they up the action and make it so another race of aliens is here to end the planet or something like that. Now that could work out quite nicely.

Overall 4/10

Animal Land Review


Animal Land is a very unique series. It’s essentially going for a bit of a Tarzan vibe at first but then throws in time travel, chimeras, world ending threats, magical fruits, and more. By the end of the series it’s clear that it was able to attain a full Shounen feel and is as out there as any other series on the block. Unfortunately due to the nature of the series that means there is a ton of nonstop animal violence. Animals are taken down for the count left and right and it’s even a main part of the plot. The series has some good ideas but ultimately falls far short of its potential due to the premise itself. If this had all been done with robotic animals then things could have been different.

The series begins with a little boy named Taroza being discovered by a Tanuki named Monoko. He decides to bring Taroza into his village and take care of him. Taroza initially starts the series as a little kid which is true for a good chunk of the series until we get a time skip and he becomes more of a classic Shounen hero. He slowly learns how to talk but doesn’t have a big need of it because he can speak through the mind. Taroza has the unique ability of being able to communicate with all animals across the planet. Because of this he can also hear the voices of animals pleading not to be eaten.

Taroza has 2 main goals. The first is to find a mythical fruit which is said to be so good that even meat eaters can enjoy it. He aims to develop this fruit enough so that no animals are ever eaten again. His other goal is to stop the animals from fighting in the meantime and so he continually builds up his army to establish such a set of rules. It goes against animal nature though so this is a very difficult task to accomplish. There are also just so many animals in the world that it’s hard to keep up with all of them. How can he ever hope to meet them all?

You also can’t have a big series without some villains and we have two main villains here. The first one is Jyu and he’s certainly a standout character. He enjoys things the way that they are. The idea of a survival of the fittest concept being front and center here is exactly what he was looking for and he thrives in it. He’s a chaotic wildcard as well since he’ll still prefer to help Taroza and the others over the other villain that shows up. His little computer is also very handy and they make a good team. Jyu certainly set himself up well in this series and it’s all the more impressive because he had no allies who were there to help him aside from one trusted partner.

Then you have Giller who is the true mastermind here. He is a powerful man with science far beyond what anyone thought was possible. As a result he is easily able to cause a whole lot of damage and even builds an army of Chimera. This is one time where you can say he maybe got a little too powerful here. His Chimera are absolutely massive and it’s hard to see the animals really being able to take them down. Taroza links the minds of the animals to coordinate their attacks and it also gives a slight power boost but even then I definitely remain skeptical. Some of those chimera were absolutely huge and had so many special abilities. Giller never quite gives up even in the end and makes for a very memorable character. He was definitely a lot of fun and a really solid villain.

Capri is a human raised by lions. She’s certainly not on board with Taroza’s plan at first but makes for a solid ally when the chips are down. She plays the field a bit initially but as the Lions would have taught her to hunt other animals right away, his plan would have definitely been a foreign concept to her. Caperi is definitely a solid fighter. She doesn’t get power ups like the rest of the humans but does already know how to fight so that’s important. She’s a better fighter than Reimu who is the final main human around. Reimu is from the gorilla tribe but tends to be more of a pacifist by nature. She’s probably one of the first human allies to really help Taroza as much as possible. Reimu’s a decent character although I wouldn’t say she stands out much until the end. Then she gets a pretty big role as she’s quite critical in keeping morale up and supporting Taroza.

Finally we have Taroza and after the time skip he is a pretty solid character. He’s resolute in his goal to save the world to the point where it has definitely been breaking him on the inside. While he was super cheerful as a kid, he barely ever smiles once he is grown up. He’s just seen too many animals suffer over the years and so until his goals are fulfilled he doesn’t seem to find enjoyment in anything anymore. Taroza can’t quite fight physically with these villains anymore but with his telepathic abilities he makes for a great commander at all times. I’d definitely say that he is a solid main character and his goals are certainly good.

Quo is a mysterious character who orchestrated all of this to an extent. You certainly find out a lot of interesting things about him once he appears. The guy makes for a solid character even if he definitely makes quite a few mistakes as time goes by. He has a tendency to lower his guard. His overall master plan is pretty great though. You definitely see why he went to all the trouble of doing this even if it definitely did not work out all that well for him.

One character who showed up near the end is a lady named Elaine. Despite not appearing for very long she is very integral to the plot. Her fire abilities are also incredibly handy and she was a very memorable character as well as a powerful one. She stands out as one of the cooler characters. If she kept her guard up a little longer that would have certainly helped but even without that she was a fighter to be feared no doubt. In effect, being introduced so late into the game helped her in a power sense because she started out as a super powerful fighter and did not need to evolve into one.

Monoko is one of the main supporting characters from the early part of Animal Land even if she wasn’t quite able to keep up with the others later on. She’s a nice character and really helped kick the series off. Without her things could have been very different. Taroza’s other best friend was a cat named Kurogiri. Kuro is a solid fighter and helped Taroza out of a lot of pinches. During the initial volumes of the series he was the strongest ally to have around and came in handy many times. Things definitely would have gotten tricky without him around to help out.

There are a number of other animals that help Tarozo out over the years. You’ve got members of almost every different species helping out and they’re certainly quality characters. Some don’t do much til near the end but their presence is felt. One such character is Dougen. He’s one of the most powerful Lions in the series and he even gets a cool powered up mode near the end. His fight is a very intense one that lasts multiple chapters and the fact that he was fighting one of the Chimera basically 1 on 1 was very impressive. He was a standout character to be sure.

There are quite a few Chimeras here but the most notable ones are the members of the Babel Three. Belheim is one of these guys. He’s a fairly powerful villain with a star shaped head and takes down quite a number of the animals sent out against him. He talks a big game and certainly thrives on being a villain. It’s part of what makes these guys a big deal as a lot of them didn’t have any character prior to this. Clover was another such member who was crazy strong and hard to deal with. Each of the 3 members were pretty hype villains though and some of the best characters in the series.

The best Chimera of the group though is Robin. He’s the final member and easily the most powerful. He likes to have a good fight and has more honor than the rest. He gives what is probably one of the most impressive battles in the series. The final battle with Giller has to be the best one but this fight can really compete. The stakes are high and he’s just a very interesting/engaging villain to go up against. He’s also able to resist his programming to an extent which is always a good sign to me because then he’s no puppet. Same goes for Luke who was an A.I. partner to Giller who realized that things weren’t quite right.

Ultimately as mentioned earlier, what holds the film back is the nonstop animal violence. The series is certainly one of the more violent ones I’ve read with characters really being torn to shreds. It holds nothing back and then when you consider the fact that it’s the animals being crushed, it hits that much harder. It’s not something that you’d expect to have been avoided just considering the name and all, but it is the definition of a series crushing negative. No matter how strong the other aspects could be, this is something that persists in every volume and pretty much every chapter so it continued to drag the series down into the abyss time and time again. If only Taroza could have achieved his dream of world peace sooner so that no animal had to be injured.

It’s impressive how the series started out as a very realistic title and by the end of it we’re completely into planet busting abilities. I’d say the series did a good job of slowly escalating things. At first the big threat was when a fully grown Lion would show up. Later on the characters face off against a villain as tall as a building without blinking an eye. The final boss is around the size of a small city. The amount of escalation here was intense.

That said, it does mean that the power levels are very wonky throughout. No matter how you slice it, there’s no way that ordinary animals can be dealing with these kinds of threats. No matter how much teamwork they use I’m not really able to buy into it. These monsters can even regenerate and move at hyper speeds. So you do have to really just look the other way here and accept that the fights are likely not going to be all that realistic. I think the only way to make this work would be to have given Taroza the ability to turn the animals into chimera’s as well or simply powered them up to a point that would not be possible to reach. His current ability takes them up to 100% of what a body can pull off but you would need to go further than that.

Outside of the power levels the writing was pretty solid though. The characters all have a lot of great dialogue. The villains are well developed and so are the heroes. A lot of the animals also make valid points about why there’s a need for meat eaters and plant eaters. Of course I’m with Taroza on finding a fruit so that no animal ever has to be eaten again. It’s tough to get used to though and there are a lot of quality debates on this throughout the series. Ultimately until an animal is able to hear the true language of another it would always be tough to just hold back but once that bridge is crossed then there is really no limit against a world of peace. Especially as there aren’t many humans left in this world at the moment. Once more of them pop up then I suspect that things will get a lot more chaotic in the world. With regard to the time travel themes I’ll let you read more of that so you can see for yourself the impact of it. The time everyone comes from is a twist to an extent. There are multiple time periods at play and the fact that the humans are each from different eras is important because it does factor into their actions and why they all have different viewpoints.

Animal Land’s art is quite fantastic though. It’s got an incredible amount of detail and that’s absolutely necessary considering just how many big characters are running around. The fights are always intense and awe inspiring with the various zoom ins and big character spreads. You won’t be forgetting the character designs and such anytime soon. I would go as far as to say that this is the manga’s greatest strength even if it does still help to hurt the score by highlighting exactly how badly the animals are being affected. These battles can hold their own against any of the big Jump titles and then some. If you just switched out the animals for humans the whole time then this series could have really jumped up a large number of scores. It wasn’t to be I suppose. Even the character designs themselves and each member’s powered up modes are incredible. You can feel the fear of the characters as the Chimeras get more and more unbelievable with each transformation. By the end of the series you could almost say it’s part horror in some respects.

Overall, Animal Land has a lot of interesting ideas and the art is quite good but it serves as a double edged sword with all of the animal injuries that occur afterwards. If you’re a big animal fan and don’t want to see them being taken out left and right then this is definitely a series that you’ll want to pass on. That aspect of the series is just impossible to overlook and so in a sense you could say this series was doomed from the start. If you want another action series to check out which dodges this pretty well then I would say it’s time to check out Bleach instead. Now that one’s an old classic.

Overall 2/10

From Russia with Love Review


James Bond continues on another adventure with this second film. From Russia with Love is definitely a very well known film in the series and the title is certainly iconic. What’s better than seeing Bond have to go up against his Russian counterparts right? Well, while the action is dialed up and we have some interesting ideas here, I wouldn’t say that it’s a match for the original film. This is still not quite as the point where the James Bond films were epic to watch. I wouldn’t quite give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with SPECTRE returning to the forefront. After Bond messed up their plans last time they are not eager to see it happen again. The leader calls in a big chess master and the former head of Russia’s special agent program. They are to find a way to get a device over from Russia and then bump Bond off. Rosa decides to use special agent Tatiana for this mission, all the while pretending that she is still in the Russian program as an officer. Meanwhile M16 sends Bond in to obtain the device after Tatiana claims she wants to defect from Russia. (All part of the plan) Bond figures he’s walking into a trap but doesn’t really mind.

This film has a lot going on at all times and the plot is certainly crafted well. It’s quite hard to predict exactly how things will shake out all the time. I like the idea of SPECTRE trying to pit Russia and the US against each other from the shadows. As an international organization it makes sense that they would be messing with all of the countries. It’s also good to see the organization return since it does work as a nice ongoing plotline in the series. They have trained their fighters rather well.

Grant makes for a very impressive villain, although perhaps too impressive. Throughout the film he saved Bond and gets the upper hand on him. He’s shown to be more powerful and smarter. At that point, what’s left for Bond? His presence is felt throughout the movie and it makes Grant a fairly unforgettable character. His opening appearance was definitely impressive as well so from start to finish this guy made for a good villain.

On the hero side we had Ali this time who was a head of M16 for this division. He’s a pretty good agent who may not be the best at fieldwork but he is highly resourceful and has kept up a good system for many years. Naturally once Bond enters the picture these plans tend to go haywire since everyone is always targeting the agent. Ali did well in his screen time though. M and Moneypenny appear as well of course and they’re always fun supporting characters as well. M likes to shatter all of Bond’s plans all the time while Moneypenny likes to play along. It makes for a good dynamic at the office.

As for the main heroine of this film, I can’t say Tatiana was one of the better ones. She is put into a rather tough mission of course but I feel like she was tricked rather easily. This is definitely a weakness of being in a super secret organization if they never even told their members that the head had been let go. Does Tatiana have no contacts here she could have contacted? The organization itself is to blame for a lot of it but Tatiana should have done some more research as well or just defected for real once she was betrayed. The villains give her so much distance she would have had a lot of good opportunities to pull this off. At the end of the day she does manage to step up though.

Then that takes us to Bond and he takes so many Ls in this film that you wonder why the 007 title is so legendary. He gets beaten more times than you can count to the point where he isn’t even as cautious as he used to be in the first film. I suppose at this point he’s just decided that there’s no point and rolls with whatever the next challenge is. Due to this though, it’s hard to picture him looking really good in a movie. The guy’s just let his overconfidence run wild within himself. As long as he is unable to clear his missions without flirting or getting distracted I imagine that his potential will always be rather limited. He has his moments but on the whole I wouldn’t be able to call him a good lead.

Bond’s worst moment might be near the end where he notices Grant ordering a drink combination that doesn’t make sense. Bond had already been suspicious from the start but he still allows Grant to put something in Tatiana’s drink. Bond calls him out on it and buys the very suspect explanation that it would be easier this way. The whole thing makes him look like a rookie. I thought he was also incredibly harsh with Tatiana during the interrogation in the car afterwards. If Bond was unlikable before that moment then he was really doomed after that.

I’ll throw out a quick mention to Rosa who had a lot of fighting spirit for an old lady. She certainly knew that returning to base with no results would be a bad idea of course so that was good thinking on her part. Her main mistake is that she definitely should have fired right away rather than waiting so long. That’s the mistake most villains make here. With the amount of people who get Bond at gunpoint you’ll definitely always be surprised to see him still alive.

The main issue with the film naturally is its over reliance on fanservice and having Bond have an affair with every female character he runs into. The film always includes a lot of romance only since Bond is constantly jumping to the next character we know that it’s not actually a true romance anyway. The opening credits for the film are fairly painful to get through as well as the film’s artistic style here is really just to sell more tickets with fanservice once again.

At least the movie has a good soundtrack though. The Bond theme never gets old no matter how many times they play it. It’s just classic and I’m up for as many remixes as they’ve got. The action scenes are fun when they happen as well. We even get a train backdrop for a good chunk of the film which works out quite nicely. A change of scenery is always a good idea. I’d also say the writing is solid for the most part. There’s a lot of good banter here and the film handles the light hearted action tone rather well. The movie doesn’t drag on and at close to 2 hours that’s fairly impressive.

Overall, From Russia With Love is a very classic Bond film. It’s got the usual spy adventures along with a number of mysteries and intrigue that Bond must sift through in order to get to the heart of the problem. He takes every single stop on the journey that can be had though and is never in a hurry. His number 1 ability here is really just having a lot of luck and also is fortunate that the villains decide to show him mercy so often. I’d recommend watching a movie like Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible if you want a film that focuses more on the stealth aspects though. They operate at a much higher level.

Overall 4/10

Dr. No Review


Can it be? Yes, James Bond is back in the running! It’s been many, many years since I saw the original James Bond film. Well before my reviewing days at the very least. Well, now was the chance to re-watch it. It does a good job of establishing Bond’s character and setting the franchise up but at the same time makes a whole lot of errors that remind me why I was never a big fan of the Bond movies. It was only very recently where I would say they were very good. This one for example I would have to give a thumbs down although I do maintain that Sean is still the definitive James Bond.

The James Bond films always start off with an opening montage of fanservice with a random song to let you know that you’ve arrived at the right film. It’s a great way to kick things off on a low note. Fortunately after that we get to the actual movie. It opens up with 3 crooks pretending to be blind so they head on over and murder someone. Meanwhile Bond was winning at the casino when he is called in by M-16 Intelligence. They tell him about the murder and he is being sent over to investigate this. Bond heads off and as soon as he arrives the villains make their first move by having a fake car at the ready. Bond dispatches the agent real quick which establishes him as a skilled agent who won’t be going down easily. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the murder though. Bond’s only hint is that it may involve someone by the name of Dr. No. Time to go and explore his secret island.

So Bond is shown to be a capable agent. The film tries to suggest that he is a brilliant one but I am not convinced. For starters there is one scene in this film where the villain gives him a cup of coffee…and he drinks it. He’s then surprised to find out that it was drugged. On another occasion he follows a suspect to a secluded area knowing it’s a trap and falls for it anyway. He’s lucky that the group he thought were villains turned out to be okay. There’s also the scene where his partner and him go to fight the dragon tank and Bond basically just gives up. You’d think since he took one eye out that he might as well continue at that point. He was close to winning too, but just missed way too many shots. I’d consider that to be another loss though. I think what’s going on here is that Bond has absolute confidence in himself to the point where you could say it is also a weakness. He will jump into any trap without hesitation because he believes he can best it. The problem is that this just isn’t the case. Bond is tough but will still lose against a gun or with sheer numbers just like anyone else. The fact that he can’t control his confidence is his biggest issue.

He has a lot of solid moments as well of course like when he devised a method to find out if anyone had been in his room. He handled the opening car scene rather well too. I also like how his theme music appears almost every time Bond is on screen. It’s a nice little addition there and if anything it’s something I miss from nowadays. I always like the classic approach of having a hero’s theme play when he is around. It helps give the scenes a whole lot of impact. No matter how many times the theme plays though, I doubt it would have helped me like Bond. At the end of the day he’s a big flirt who has affairs with everyone and constantly gets distracted from the mission. No matter how skilled he is, it means that he could have done a lot better without all of that going on. That’s the tragic part of all this.

On the whole I wasn’t a big fan of the soundtrack though. The main theme sounded like something out of Beetlejuice which kept playing on the island. It’s just not really my cup of tea so mainly the only theme that I liked was the classic Bond theme. I suppose in this case it would have to do. The writing was solid though with a lot of good one liners here and snappy dialogue. Bond in particular definitely knows how to go back and forth with the villain rather well. His dinner discussions with Dr. no was certainly interesting to watch. Of course, Bond quit being friendly once Dr. No had Honey taken away. So at that point he just tried to antagonize the guy.

We get 3 different ladies who appear at different points in the film to have an affair with Bond. It’s why no matter who the final heroine is you always know that it’s not going to last. Bond doesn’t even care if the lady is a villain so long as he gets to have his fun first and then admits that he knew all along. I wouldn’t say that any of the 3 are all that good. At least the first one has no shady dealings or anything so she’s about as legit as possible. The second one’s a foreign spy and Honey who serves as the main heroine was illegally trespassing on a private island. I suppose she needed the money and a villain owns the island so it sort of equals out in the end. She certainly gets a needlessly tragic backstory that could have been avoided if you ask me.

Dr. No makes for an imposing villain though. I forgot that the SPECTRE organization was referenced so early in the Bond films so that was nice to see. No definitely commands respect as well as shown by the fear he put in his subordinates just by talking. None of them are going to cross him anytime soon that’s for sure. His robotic hands also make him a bit of a difficult opponent as otherwise he wouldn’t be able to fight much.

There’s a good amount of tension here for sure and whenever Bond catches one of the villains that’s always fun. He certainly gets to show off his skills in hand to hand, espionage, shooting, and even at wit. If not for his overconfidence issues and distractions you can see how Bond would be a really good agent. In a way he’s a lot like this film. This movie would have been really solid without all the affairs, fanservice, and scenes that just don’t further the plot in any way. This would then be a really solid spy thriller but instead it holds itself back which has always been something that the series struggles with.

Overall, Dr. No is definitely one of those films where you can tell that it had a good budget and a lot of effort put behind it. The effects look really good considering how old the film is and the plot definitely works well. The movie has a nice balance between action and light hearted humor so it’s also the kind of flick that should reach a large audience. James Bond just isn’t a particularly likable main character. He’s charismatic and you’ll have a lot of fun with him at times but he could stand to be a little more focused when carrying out his job. You feel bad for his boss who always has to put up with this. Bond definitely gives that guy a hard time. I’ll be reviewing the second film pretty soon so we’ll see if Bond does better in the second film or if it’s all over for him.

Overall 4/10

Black Christmas Review

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

It’s time to look at a true stinker. This film’s always had that reputation of being a pretty terrible film that has only shined a little more with the recent reboot coming out with the review I’ve seen. It definitely ends up even underperforming despite that. There’s really nothing positive to say about this film. The writing is terrible, the cast is awful, and the ending is sour. The whole thing just seals the deal as a film best left forgotten to history so I don’t see why it’s already been remade more than once. I can’t say I have high hopes for those films either.

The movie starts by introducing us to Jess and her friends. They are having a solid Christmas party and are just having a good end to the year in general. Or at least…that’s how it appears at first. Each of the characters are having their own share of issues. One of them is a chronic drunk, you’ve got Jess who ended up getting pregnant prematurely, and the main policeman who fields the calls doesn’t take them seriously if anything were to start happening. Well, one by one the girls are being bumped off and the murderer keeps calling in to gloat about this as he plays the deaths live. Will Jess be able to escape or is everyone in the house doomed?

When you’re making a bad film you’ve got to start with constructing a poor cast and this film accomplishes that with ease. The main villain never actually appears but he always calls himself Billy so we’ll go with that. He’s about as poor a villain as you can develop. The guy has no real motivation for destroying everyone beyond just causing chaos. He really relies on a lot of luck and all the characters handling things terribly in order to succeed. With a better cast he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did. The ending is just insulting if anything because everyone was acting to half heartedly about checking the house.

Think about it, you know that there’s a murderer who was in the house and a bunch of fatalities resulted from this. There are still other people unaccounted for as well. Wouldn’t you actually check the attic or the other rooms in the house before leaving? Leaving the room unguarded is also very sloppy and I don’t know how the cop in the car at the front yard was taken down so easily. I’d also argue that staying in the car doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s good for making a quick communication but you’re barricading yourself inside a vehicle which limits your field of view.

The writing here is just terrible throughout. You’ll be rolling your eyes the whole time as you wait for the film to get interesting but it never happens. The TV broadcast had a field day having to censor everything because all of the characters are also obscene most of the time. Why would this house have paintings with people flashing the birdie? The characters look at dicey magazines and one of them coaxes a kid into drinking while he is under age. That scene is just painful because it goes on and on while someone else is on the phone. The movie goes out of its way to paint these characters as terrible role models and really as terrible people as they’re ruining Christmas for everyone else too.

Then the film also makes sure to be as gritty as possible as we learn that someone met with a cruel fate before being murdered in this town. Was that all really necessary? I suppose the idea is that if a Christmas movie is usually happy and well written then if you’re going to do the reverse it has to be very somber with poor writing throughout. The movie does succeed at this to be sure. It goes without saying that the rest of the film is also fairly violent anyway as each character is bumped off. All of the phone calls are pretty ugly as well and Jess is basically forced to listen to all of them so the cops can try to tap the phone. Even Jess who at least tries to be more responsible than some of the others does not seem to be since her affair with Peter went a little too far which leads to the drama of her wanting to abort the baby.

Peter looks terrible here as well as he quickly jumps into threatening her and really putting himself in a bad light. There’s no way to really get around the fact that he was seriously threatening her. Then at the police headquarters even after a kid is murdered and several girls vanish, the guy at the desk doesn’t take it seriously when Jess calls to report that they are being harassed by someone on the phone. After a while it just gets way too out of this world and not in a good sci-fi way. There’s just a whole lot of plot conveniences here in order to give the murderer a clean way to take everyone down.

Overall, Black Christmas is a movie that really drags on and on for the entirety of its run. Just when you think it’s going to end the film keeps on going. Horror films are basically required to have a twist ending but this one was pretty terrible. Aside from just being so obvious that it barely counts as a twist, it happens at the expense of every character’s ability to think rationally. There’s no replay value in this film and I would definitely recommend staying as far away from it as possible. I certainly wouldn’t consider it to be a true Christmas film and you’re better off checking out something like a Charlie Brown Christmas or the classic Jingle All The Way title.

Overall 0/10

Framed Review


Framed is an old noir film which is a very solid depiction of the genre as a whole. You’ve got every character keeping secrets and acting rather suspicious the whole time. They’ve definitely got a lot of attitude and smoking/drinking is what all of the characters turn to in a pinch. With solid writing and a good story at the ready this is certainly a good movie to check out. You don’t really see a low key Noir title like this nowadays and it’s a solid genre that has faded away.

The movie starts with Mike trying to drive a vehicle into town but the brakes gave way. He eventually makes it but not before crashing into Jeff’s car. The town refuses to pay for the damages even though it was their defective vehicle that caused Mike to bump into the guy’s car in the first place. Mike pays for the damages but gives the sheriff too much attitude so they prepare to arrest him. A waitress named Paula shows up to pay for his bail just in the nick of time though. She wants to be Mike’s friend but the whole thing seems a little odd to the lead. Mike wants to leave town as soon as possible and he may have a ticket out. Jeff’s starting up a silver mining company soon as long as he can get a loan from the bank.

We’ll see if that happens though. Paula is in cahoots with Steve, the vice president of the bank. They intend to steal a ton of money but they need a fall guy. Mike is exactly the guy they’ve been looking for so they intend to bump him off after setting the stage just right. Can Mike really see this trap coming or will he be far too distracted by Paula to do much of anything? There’s definitely a lot of tension as you watch him try to come out on top.

Now, with a premise like this there’s a lot going on. It’s also a reverse mystery to an extent since we know Paula and Steve are the villains from the start but nobody else does. So there isn’t any deductions being done on our side. It’s all about following Mike on his quest. He probably would have even done better with that if he wasn’t always getting drunk though. Keep in mind that he got himself into a lot of trouble early on in the film for drinking so much that he passed out and it happens to him again in the climax. Both times could have been absolutely fatal.

It also makes it a little harder to like Mike. He feels very out of his league in this mystery. He’ll make a decent deduction at times but he’ll handle the execution poorly. There’s one scene where he very nearly gets poisoned and instead of saving himself, someone else has to come through for him. It’s a fun moment in a sense because he had a plan of his own all set and he would not have been able to execute it if he had taken the drink. Things could have very quickly gone south for him. Mike talks tough a lot but he ends up being manipulated quite often and I dunno, I just couldn’t pull for the guy.

The only thing that I will say for him is at least he was quick to try and get Jeff out of a jam even if it meant confessing. He wasn’t just going to let Jeff rot and there was no hesitation there. That’s the only credit I’ll give Mike but at least his heart was in the right place there. Jeff’s also a fun character. The guy has a good business idea set up and you get the feeling that he is very on top of things. If not for the villains messing with him I think he would be in a very good spot to get rich. He takes everything in stride too so he’s an easy guy to root for.

As for the two villains, well they definitely don’t plan things out too well. First off is Steve who just doesn’t think things through. He goes through a cycle that he should have predicted. He cheated on his wife to get along with Paula and doesn’t suspect that she may do the same thing? He’s not the brightest guy out there that’s for sure. Then you have Paula who could have easily ended things without a hitch for herself but let her feelings get in the way which ended up ruining things for her. You can’t mix sentimentality with criminal affairs. That’s just not going to end well in any circumstance and she certainly learned that the hard way.

The movie has a fairly small cast as these 4 are the only characters or note. The heart of the film is really about the strong writing and character interactions between all of them. Most of the scenes feel like they’re taking place at night time, even the ones during the day. Even the bar always feels ominous as the characters walk in to get a drink. It’s always interesting to see how these things looked back in the day because it all feels so different in the present.

Overall, Framed is a pretty solid movie. I probably wouldn’t put it as a top Noir title but at the same time it is a very consistent one. It really gives you all of the elements that you would want to see in such a film from the characters to the backgrounds. The reverse mystery idea is a nice twist as well. Usually most of the film is about finding out exactly what is going on so this time we get to see Mike try to put the puzzle pieces together himself. He’s not the nicest guy so that works in his favor at times as he uses strong tactics. Sometimes just hiding out in front of the house is a good way to gather info as well which worked out nicely for him. He got off a little lucky being able to down someone with a single punch though but I suppose that guy wasn’t as big a fighter as he thought. The key takeaway from this film is that if you don’t want to get framed or be put in a tough situation, just don’t get drunk out of your mind. You should maybe avoid the drinks entirely but at the bare minimum you shouldn’t drink so much that you pass out….

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya Review


Saint Seiya is a very well known series. To call it a legendary title would actually be pretty accurate. It was effectively the DBZ before that title actually came out. It’s got a ton of quality action and solid characters. While the show is a little more formulaic than most with each arc following a lot of similar beats, the anime adds a new arc which really changes things up. it’s an example of a filler arc that’s actually pretty solid. (Still the weakest arc in the series but solid nonetheless. You’d never know it was an anime original) I’ve had this review on the backburner for an extremely long time so it’s time to finally take a look at it.

The series starts by introducing us to Seiya. He’s an orphan who grew up in a rather tough place. One day he was sent out along with a few others to different parts of the globe to train to be a Saint of Athena. Seiya has no interest in this but he was told that doing so and obtaining the Bronze Cloth (Proof of conquering the Saint trials) would be the only way he could ever see his missing sister again. So Seiya has conquered this task and arrives back home where the agreement has been changed. He will have to win a tournament against the other bronze candidates now. Well, Seiya’s up for the challenge because nothing will stop him from finding his sister.

This was a really great way to start the series. After all, who doesn’t like a good tournament right? It’s always a solid way to set up the characters and let us learn about them. It also weeds out the rest of the Bronze Saints who would never really be main characters after this. Only the main 5 would continue on. I thought Unicorn left more of an impression on me in the anime than the manga though. I liked his rivalry with Seiya here even if he would ultimately be out of luck early on. Seiya just surpassed him by a ton and never looked back.

Additionally we then got to see the Dark Saints and that was a really fun arc as everyone fought their shadow selves. One thing I greatly enjoyed was seeing the characters actually fighting out in the real world here. One fight was on the highway for example. While that may not seem like a big thing, you’ll never see that for the rest of the series. All other battles take place in enemy territory or at Athena’s home. I suppose there was no reason to fight in the city after that but I always get really excited when it happens. I find the city environment to be the perfect backdrop to a fight.

We are introduced to quite a lot of the characters in this arc. First off lets talk about Athena I suppose. She is effectively a lady who has been imbued with Athena’s spirit and has effectively become her as Athena is born again in every generation. She has one of the highest cosmos (Power level) in the series but for the most part can’t use it in an offensive context. She is great at using it for defense and healing though. I’d say she’s a solid character but I do think she allows far too much corruption to occur at home.

For example, her butler Tatsumi gets away with absolutely everything. We see that he would actually beat up the Saints when they were kids and in particular he really would beat up Ikki. At the time it was Athena’s father running the show but the all knowing Athena should have certainly let him go after that. This is mostly a comedic plot later on with the Saints messing with him, but Tatsumi never actually changed his ways. They just became stronger than him. In some ways I feel like Tatsumi was the real villain behind all of this. Athena is a good character otherwise but I do wish that she would fight more. For example, instead of jumping into the water chamber to stop Poseidon I’d prefer if she called in the Knights to assist. With all of the Golden Saints they would have beaten Poseidon’s generals with ease.

Seiya is of course a great hero. He never really wanted to be a part of this but when Athena is in danger he steps in. At his core Seiya is a hero of course so he can’t just leave someone behind if they’re in trouble. He’s also a lot more hot headed than some of the other characters and is quite willing to invade any territory to help Athena. While the Gold Knights are just holding back and staying at the castle Seiya is actually jumping in to take center stage. From all of the Knights he may be the quickest to jump into action and his dedication is rewarded time after time with his power ups and the fact that he surpasses most of the characters right away. His fighting style is the most basic and yet because of that he can move with so much speed and power that it is hard to stop.

Next up we have Shiryu and he solidly represents the third most powerful Bronze Knight. Every good Shounen series always has a guy in the solid third place. You’ve always got the main character and the rival, but then you also need the dependable third in command who stays near the top of the power scale to the end. That’s Shiryu’s role and it’s a painful one because the show really liked to put him through the ringer. He’s a fairly solid character though. All of his scenes are definitely on point and his Shield is probably one of the most impressive equipment items in the whole series. While it isn’t 100% completely indestructible, it is still durable enough to block almost any blow and gets him through most of his fights.

Shiryu also works as the voice of reason a lot of the time. He isn’t quite as headstrong as some of the others. Next is Hyoga who can be one of the meaner saints at times. He never actually turns evil like Ikki though but takes the whole thing very seriously. His Diamon Dust technique is certainly a classic and he holds up with the rest of the Saints pretty well if you ask me. I probably wouldn’t put him quite above the others power-wise (Aside from Andromeda) but he’s got a good amount of skill. I like all of the Bronze Saints and Hyoga is no exception. He’s a solid hero who is always ready to step up.

Then you have Ikki who is easily my favorite Saint. I would argue he is also the most powerful one. He can keep on coming back to life forever thanks to the regenerative abilities of the Phoenix cloth. That’s an incredibly useful ability to have at your disposal and it really sets him apart from the rest of the characters. What can you do against a character who just keeps regenerating like that right? Ikki did have a period of time where he turned evil but he did have to go through a whole lot of craziness so you can see how it happened. From there he would end up being the most dependable character on the squad. Whenever his brother Andromeda is in danger you can count on Ikki to jump in immediately and start saving lives. It’s just what he does and he makes it look easy.

Finally we have Andromeda and he’s probably the weakest of the Saints. He’s one of those characters with a ton of potential but ultimately doesn’t like fighting so it takes him a while to actually get serious You can draw up a lot of parallels with him and Gohan from DBZ. Andromeda does have one of the best weapons in the series though with the Chains he carries. They can follow an opponent across whole planets and even into other dimensions. They automatically protect him from harm and attack on their own as well. It’s a very versatile weapon to be sure and as Andromeda grows stronger, the chains will as well.

Then we have the two Silver Saints Marin and Shaina. Both of them are pretty helpful characters who assist the Bronze Saints in times of great peril. They’re both reasonably tough although I would definitely take Shaina in a head to head battle. She’s much fiercer in combat and has beaten Marin in the past. Both of them have to hide a lot of secrets and appear to switch sides a lot as a result. I never became a big fan of Marin but Shaina was always fun. She was definitely willing to risk her life quite a bit to help Seiya out of a pinch.

The next big arc is the famous Gold Saints saga. It’s an incredibly long one and deserves the praise as it really took the series to a new level. Well, after some Silver Saints showed up to cause trouble and were thwarted, Athena was struck by an arrow. The only way to keep the arrow from claiming her life is to get to the top of Sanctuary and turn the shield monument. To do so the heroes will have to get past the 12 Golden Saint temples. Each Golden Saint is thousands of times stronger than the bronze ones and their armors have been created to effectively be indestructible. Attacks simply bounce off of them or get absorbed entirely. The heroes also have a time limit of 12 hours so they can’t afford to waste time. Can they surpass their limits and save Athena?

This arc’s just a blast. Seeing the heroes have to go into the temples and take down the Gold Saints is just incredible. You can feel the tension in each match particularly as the heroes are completely outmatched each time. Each of the Golden Saints are far more powerful and faster than the Bronze ones. Their armor is better as well so all of the advantages are at their disposal. It means you can prepare for a lot of good heroic speeches from the Bronze Saints as they call these guys out and dredge up their inner power.

The Golden Saints do deserve to be called out because they all either get played for fools or just make the wrong decision. I couldn’t call almost any of them heroes to be honest. I would just say that about Aiolos because he was willing to stand up to the other Golden Saints to save Athena and stop the Pope’s evil plans. Nobody else tried helping, in fact they actively tried to fight him off. Others simply ran off never to be heard from again. So Aiolos is easily the best Golden Saint and it isn’t even close. The rest of them should probably have renounced their titles after this arc was over.

Aries doesn’t play a big role in this arc as he is one of the Golden Saints who decides not to interfere anymore. He prefers to just watch over everything without picking a side. I’ll remind you that choosing not to pick a side is actually choosing one anyway. As a result this guy’s definitely one of my least favorite Saints. He is not someone you can count on and could have helped the Bronze Saints so many times but chose not to. As a result I’d think of him more as a villain if anything. Particularly since he actively threatens anyone who says they are going to help. Definitely a very poor character I must say.

Taurus is the first true Knight to take on the Bronze Saints so he looks really good but we can probably say he’s the weakest one around. He’s a very direct guy who has an honor code and just lets his fists do the talking. He seems like a Saint who can at least be reasoned with so I’ll give him some respect there. He’s a fun guy so it would just be nice if he could fight a little more. I suppose at this stage it is relative though because there’s no shame in being a little weaker than his fellow Gold Saints since those guys are so powerful as it is.

Gemini Saga has a huge role to be sure. He’s a critical part of the Sanctuary arc and makes his presence felt at all times. I would put him as the strongest Golden Knight. I think there is a case to be made that Virgo or Aiolos could take him on 1 on 1 but it would definitely be a great fight either way. I’m a big fan of this guy for sure. He’s definitely dealing with a lot of issues and you can probably guess based on what sign he represents what is going on here. His Galaxian Explosion technique is also famous. It’s sort of like how Sephiroth blows up the solar system in his cutscene. Gemini Saga has an attack that’s like a galaxy crushing into you. It definitely looks cool and his “Another Dimension” ability definitely deserves some praise as well.

Virgo Shaka is low key one of the most evil Saints around though. He knows exactly what was going on the whole time and chose not to do so. He seems to think that he is above good and evil and that’s exactly why you can’t trust him. When someone gets such an inflated opinion of himself it can be quite dangerous. Virgo is basically saying that anything he does is justified. I’ll give him props for being able to fight so well with his eyes closed though. He is undoubtedly powerful. It’s just a shame that he always picks the wrong side. I’d have to list him as a villain here.

Deathmask is an interesting Golden Saint because he is the only member who is downright evil 100% through. He really couldn’t care less about fighting for justice and actively goes around murdering people. It’s a shame that the other Saints allow this…. I was not expecting one of the Saints to be truly evil back when I first read the manga though so that was interesting. He makes for a pretty intense villain to be sure but definitely not a particularly likable character.

Aiolia is a fun Saint and as one of the most heroic ones that naturally means that he has to be mind controlled so he can fight the heroes. Without that there’s no way he would have gone to blows. He did really well even while mind controlled so at full power he should definitely be one of the most powerful Golden Saints. He actually acts like a true warrior worthy of his position so he is definitely one of the best knights around. You can’t go wrong with this guy.

Scorpio is one of the more vengeful Seiya characters. Due to a big misunderstanding he thought he was fufilling the will of Sanctuary. For that reason I’ll give him a little credit as he was at least trying to protect Athena in his own way. It just didn’t work out the way that he thought it would. His abilities are definitely pretty good. I wouldn’t say he stands out as much as some of the other characters but he’s a well developed character all the same. Then we have Shura who has some of the most impressive scenes in the series. He can strike with his fast energy blows in the blink of an eye. Most of the characters can’t even keep up with him and even Shiryu’s defense couldn’t hold his power. Shura was very impressive throughout the series and is one of the best members of Sanctuary. He’s at least one Knight who acted quite heroically in the end.

Next up is Camus He’s an ice user and has some history with Hyoga’s mentor so this naturally ends up making them rivals. Camus is a pretty interesting member. He seems to be one of the most senior Saint members so he doesn’t blindly take orders like some of the others. He even voluntarily leaves his temple to seek out a fight which was pretty neat. I liked him, Camus may not have been one of the most reasonable guys and his methods are rather drastic but he’s a solid fighter and at least his motivations did make a lot of sense.

Finally we have Aphrodite, but this guy wasn’t particularly noteworthy. His fighting abilities are good and the rose based abilities are neat but compared to the rest he felt tacked on to an extent. I don’t believe he ever gets a big role after this. I’ll take him over Aries any day though. At least this guy stays by his temple and actually contributes to the plot instead of waiting for it to come to him. I should also mention that Dohko appears but that guy annoys me as well. He basically hides from the fight and chooses to pretend to be an old man so that he does not need to get mixed up in any of the action. Not exactly the heroic nature you would expect from a Saint now is it?

It was always going to be tough to follow up such a masterful arc but the Asgard arc would try its best. In the remote land of Asgard, Queen Hilda has been corrupted by an evil influence. She summons her God Warriors to prepare for a war on the human world and even attacks Sanctuary. This forces the hand of Athena and the Knights who show up to stop them. Athena can hold back the ice and water for a while but not forever. The Saints must now defeat all of the God Warriors and take down Hilda before Athena perishes. This will be difficult as each of the God Warriors are as powerful as a Golden Saint! The Bronze Knights will have to once again surpass their limits and claim victory.

One nice thing about this arc is that as an original one it could deviate from the usual Saint Seiya script a bit. As a result we actually got some group fights and even Athena got to very briefly show what she could do offensively. The God Warriors were also introduced well so you could see why they were a threat. The only thing holding it back is that this arc introduced some animal violence which the other arcs had been good about. One sob story involves some bears and of course Fenrir uses a lot of wolves at his disposal. What’s even the point of using wolves against a Saint of Athena anyway? I think everyone knew that Shiryu would take them out yet Fenrir acts surprised and even gets super upset with Shiryu for doing that. He only has himself to blame for making such a poor decision in the heat of battle.

Hilda is one of the big players here and she works well as a foil to Athena. Effectively she is an evil version of the goddess and she actually fights from time to time which is pretty neat. She’s a lot more interesting than her sister Freya who doesn’t really fight and just pleads with Hilda to stop the madness all the time. I think it’s safe to say that there was never such an option once Hilda had been corrupted. I would have liked to have seen Freya fight a bit.

Siegfried is effectively the leader of the God Warriors and he is naturally the strongest member. His fight at the end against all of the Saints is definitely a blast. In particular he has a really good fight with Ikki before Seiya eventually steps in to have his tur at back. Siegfried definitely made a few wrong calls near the end of the arc that had me shaking my head but otherwise I did like the guy. His final scenes are also on point as he contributes and takes on one of the future villains. I should mention that the ending of this arc directly connects to the Poseidon arc which I thought was a really cool twist. It was like a sneak preview of what was to come.

Hagen is the lava warrior. He’s a good friend of Freya but I have to say that he was completely unreasonable the whole time. He was given so many chances to stop and keep his life but he just kept on going. It makes it a little harder to feel bad for this guy. I did like him in the flashbacks though. In the present he just wasn’t smart. Meanwhile Thor’s more of a fun fighter. All of the God Warriors have tragic pasts to an extent but Thor’s really just here to fight and take the Saints down. His battle with Seiya is a lot of fun and man, Thor’s huge! Probably the biggest fighter in the series, taking him down wasn’t easy.

Alberich may not have been the strongest member of the God Warriors but he got the most done. If he had any real backup then that would have been game over for the team. What I like about this guy is how cunning he was. He’s got a lot of big ideas even outside of working for Hilda. He takes down almost all of the Saints back to back which is absolutely crazy. It’s really just lucky that he didn’t finish them all. He has a lot of cool abilities and absolute confidence. I would definitely say he’s my favorite villain of this arc and it was sad to see him go.

Meanwhile Fenrir is the worst member. I already spoke about the wolves so I’ll keep this brief. He just failed as a pet owner here and didn’t even realize that it was his fault and started blaming Shiryu instead. You can’t do that, he needed to at least own up to his mistakes and that would have gone a long way. He brought the worst fight of the series in so I could have done without this guy. Even for Saint Seiya standards the fight was one sided too. Am I really supposed to believe that Shiryu could get up after the injuries he sustained? The guy was getting beaten up, bit, and stabbed for whole episodes and then managed to get up. I dunno about that one, but it’s a great durability feat for Shiryu that’s for sure.

Then we have Syd and Bud who are effectively two sides of the same coin. I liked the dynamic here as it was sort of like Gemini Saga only they weren’t quite as aware of each other as Saga was at all times. It also explains why Taurus lost so easily or at least partially. I still don’t see Taurus going down like that. As a Golden Knight of Athena you have to be able to take a few hits and keep on going. They did give us some of the better episodes with the battles involving Ikki and Andromeda though.

Finally we have Mime who had a pretty emotional fight with Ikki. There were quite a few plot twists in that battle to be sure as Ikki kept showing the guy more of his own past in a way to force him to see the truth. I should mention that Ikki’s ability to mess with a person’s mind is pretty impressive. Mime’s a solid villain either way though. I wouldn’t say he’s one of the absolute best but he did well in his appearances.

So the Asgard arc had a lot of great moments. It easily would have passed the Poseidon arc if not for the various animal backstories. I liked that we got more freestyle fights here and I also thought the initial attack as the Asgardians approached Sanctuary was cool. This arc did feel like it was stepping up the intensity at all times and the villains were developed very well. It’s just a solid arc through and through.

Finally we end with the Poseidon arc. While attending a fancy party, Athena is approached by a man of great renown. He is the reincarnated vessel of Poseidon and he has decided to flood the entire planet. Athena pleads with him to stop but he will only do so if she marries him. Athena refuses and offers her one chance to slow the flooding down. To do this, Athena will go inside of a locked chamber where the water will drown her. This will keep the Earth from flooding for as long as she lives. The Bronze Knights will have to defeat all of Atlantis’s powerful Generals in order to break the pillars down and rescue Athena. The issue is that the generals are around Gold Saint level in power. Can the Bronze Knights surpass their limits one last time in order to save her?

Poseidon’s cronies all have a whole lot of confidence and I suppose it’s easy to see why. They are very powerful and did manipulate Asgard into getting destroyed with ease. With Sanctuary weakened as well this is the perfect time to strike. The arc also gave us one of the better Saint Seiya bonding moments as Ikki explained to Hyoga that they’re never allowed to give up while they fight for Athena. The other characters thought it was harsh at the time but Hyoga explained that Ikki was right. It also gave Ikki some time to shine as he went straight for Poseidon instead of bothering with the minions. I always liked that guy’s confidence.

Poseidon is the big bad here and he’s probably the weakest leader villain. Mainly that’s because part of his motivation here is just to marry Athena. Not quite the villain mastermind goal you would really want to see from this guy. He can fight decently well thanks to the powers of Poseidon but the human host isn’t super skilled so he really has to rely on the power as a crutch. The arc as a whole is still excellent but I definitely wouldn’t say that Poseidon is a big reason why. Thetis a loyal minion and the first one to really get a role here. She’s around Silver Saint level so this gave the Sanctuary Silver Knight a chance for a real fight. Beyond that Thetis is reasonable but doesn’t stand out a huge amount.

Baian probably has the least amount of character from Poseidon’s warriors but he has a ton of confidence which is all that I need. His punches are insane to the point where he can knock you across an ocean. He’s very simple, no gimmicks and no tricks. Baian just takes you on face to face and I can appreciate that. Io was cool because of his attacks more than because of his character. Each of his attacks is based on a different animal and it can be tough to predict which one he will use next. It was a good fight with Andromeda and the guy was pushed to his absolute limit in trying to counter each move. Without the animal skills though, Io would definitely be out of luck so he needs to work on his fundamentals more.

Krishna was a fun member of Poseidon’s army. His unstoppable spear was an excellent match to Shiryu’s indestructible shield. Their battle was very solid to be sure. At the end of the day Krishna’s not the kind of guy who’s going to back down in a fight like this so naturally it went all the way down the wire. Caca is more of a deceptive villain. His physical abilities aren’t amazing but he can shapeshift which makes it difficult for the heroes to really go all out against him. It makes sense that he wouldn’t fare quite so well with Ikki though. His fights are always a bit sketchy because you do feel like the heroes shouldn’t take it so hard. He does a number on pretty much the whole cast though so while I’m not a big fan of the guy…he definitely gets results.

Isaac was a very interesting figure. I do find it a bit hard to believe that we had someone who was important to Hyoga’s childhood but wasn’t even referenced earlier. This is one time where some advanced foreshadowing would have been good. The guy was excellent in the flashbacks we see of him though. He is put into a very difficult situation in the present but did as well as he could have. If things could have been different then maybe he would have really been a good ally. Then we have Sorrento who is such a major player that he even appeared in the Asgard arc earlier as a preview. His playing on the flute makes him a tough enemy to deal with to be sure. I’m not really sold on the guy though. He’s decently good but I wouldn’t call him a standout character either.

When Kanon appears he definitely changes everything quite a bit. He’s certainly got big ambitions and it was really nostalgic in a sense seeing him since he’s so similar to Saga. At the end of the day I prefer Gemini Saga but both of these guys are really close and also evenly matched so you can imagine some pretty good battles behind them. He feels like he wasn’t 100% needed in the arc but he adds an extra level of drama to be sure. He’s a wild card that nobody can trust so that’s always interesting to see.

So as mentioned earlier and you can probably tell from the plot descriptions, most of the arcs have that same format. Athena is always at death’s door and the only way to save her is to defeat a specified number of enemies within a restricted time. The Hades arc would actually change this up quite a bit but that’s really the plot for every other arc of Saint Seiya. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the classic Justice League stories from around half a century ago or older where each story would be divided into 4-5 parts and they would all follow the same format with new villains. I suppose repetition may have been encouraged back in the day to show consistency or something. It’s purely conjecture as I don’t know.

Regardless, I’m fine with the arcs having the same format because at the end of the day it’s the execution that is truly important. Each arc is handled really well and the fights are always excellent. Saint Seiya is a series where the action and characters are super important. So long as those areas continue to be strong then the show succeeds. There’s always a great sense of heroism and self sacrifice among the knights. They’re heroes through and through and it makes each fight compelling.

I do have big issues with the Gold Saints at large though. In the first arc I guess I can accept the fact that most of them were following the Pope over Athena since they figured he was telling the truth. Well, not all of them can use that excuse since some knew better and didn’t act. There is 0 reason not to jump in during both the Asgard and Poseidon arcs though. They stand idly by while Athena and co. are in danger. Their entire job is to protect Athena. That’s the number 1 priority even over Sanctuary and yet they never actually act. I’ll give Aiolia some credit for at least assisting by sending his armor in the Poseidon arc but the rest of the characters should have done something. I’ll never be able to come to terms with the fact that the Gold Saints just leave Athena to her own devices each time. Perhaps some of them still hold a grudge against her for the events of Arc 1.

The animation is also very solid. It’s got that classic look and feel to the old days of Shounen. You really feel each and every blow. The heroes are put through the wringer time and time again. I dare say that few main characters have endured the same level of abuse and punishment as the Bronze Saints. Every arc ends up having them beaten to an inch of their lives repeatedly with each battle. In particular Dragon Shiryu takes the brunt of this. His fights tend to rage on for a long time with him taking every bit of punishment possible. At the end of the day though the Saints always get back up and it’s pretty inspiring.

The soundtrack is also good although I wouldn’t call it stellar or anything. The soundtrack as a whole seems a little limited considering how long the show is. That said, the main battle theme is sound though and I never had a problem with the music while watching the show. The songs match the scene in question really well so they did a good job of making sure that things were pairing up nicely.

Overall, Saint Seiya is a timeless classic. It’s aged really well and I expect that this will still be true 20 years from now. This anime doesn’t adapt the Hades saga but it covers the rest of the manga and is a great starting point for fans. The franchise has definitely expanded quite a bit since these original days and I look forward to seeing how the sequels fare someday. The show can be pretty intense so you may be surprised when starting it how badly the heroes get beaten but it’s all in a combat context and never gets too crazy. I’d say that anyone who enjoys a good action anime will definitely like the series. It’s just a blast. Between the strong writing and solid pacing, you’re bound to love the series.

Overall 8/10

Blaster Master Zero 2 Review


After playing through the first Blaster Master I knew that it was definitely time to dive into the sequel right away. Blaster Master 2 definitely ups the stakes with more of a detailed story and more areas to explore. Rather than be stuck on one planet you can now travel across the universe. With the graphics and soundtrack being on point there is absolutely a lot to enjoy here. You just can’t go wrong with this classic gameplay.

The game starts with Jason and Eve attempting to find a cure for her mutant corruption. The first game ended with her deciding to destroy herself to prevent the spread while Jason was unaware but there was a true ending so I suppose in that version he was able to save her in time and this is continuing off of that. Due to this illness, Eve is unable to leave the ship so Jason has to explore on his own. He is determined to heal her and then they can destroy the mutant plague once and for all. Many planets have been affected already though and there’s a mysterious fighter who keeps getting in Jason’s way.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the first game. You pilot the tank and fly through the levels as you blast through any opponent in your way. You can also get out of the tank and go through dungeons as the pilot which takes more of an overhead approach to the shooting gameplay. As a tank you have a whole lot of defense so as long as you play things out carefully you should be able to take your opponents down. There is a greater emphasis on switching weapons to combat the bosses so some weapons are better for some occasions.

Your main blaster is always handy though so I definitely recommend it. As the pilot I like his L8 and homing variations as well but for most of the bosses I would just stick to the standard gun. It does a whole lot of damage. One thing that’s important is to really learn the boss attack patterns. Towards the end there is a big boss rush like a Mega Man game where you have to take down multiple bosses without gaining any health. That was pretty tough and definitely took me a few shots to get through.

Pure gameplay-wise I would say the game is a little weaker than the first one. It’s only really noticeable in the tank where it’s harder to hit enemies with how fast it moves. That said, it’s a very small difference. Also, it’s worth noting that this game is considerably harder than the first one so you need to take that into account as well. It’s definitely not exactly going to be a walk in the park that’s for sure. I would recommend at least grabbing some of the optional upgrades and power ups since they make a difference in a pinch. Without the extra health I would have certainly lost more fights since a lot of bosses literally came down to my final health point which was pretty intense.

For the story you should definitely be engaged from the start. The fact that we’re expanding the lore with other mech pilots running around was pretty neat. We run into 4 of them. 3 who are allies on different planets and then one who is out to murder us. The whole time I was expecting a plot twist that this guy was from the future where things didn’t work out for the lead. The game doesn’t go in that direction but I still like the theory and it hasn’t been ruled out so that’s my head canon for now. It explains why he really can’t stand Jason and keeps on trying to destroy him. Makes for a lot of great dialogue and boss fights too of course.

As good as Jason and Eve are doing in their campaign though, it does feel like they’re outmatched at the moment. For every villain they take down more show up. Even some bosses from the first game have returned along with the same name so I assume the mutants revived them? This game has a few bosses who are recycled so I won’t count the second versions of them but at least for the initial ones it does seem like they are back from the grave. With the heroes being away from Earth for so long as well you know that the main planet won’t be doing so well either. Hopefully if we get a third game they get some backup because otherwise they may be doomed.

The graphics are really solid. The sprites all look very good and we get more illustrations here for the story. Jason’s outfit is like something out of Kamen Rider or Power Rangers and he’s even got a cool cape. The main rival/villain also has a pretty great design as well. You’re always in store for something visually cool as you go through the levels so that’s certainly a credit to how solid the game is. For the soundtrack, it’s definitely got a nice Mega Man vibe going. All of the tunes were solid and definitely kept up the solid sci-fi themes.

The game took me around 6 hours to conquer. Outside of that there is a lot of replay value here as you try to assemble all of the maps, weapons, and bonus items. Then you can go back to conquer the true final boss and along the way collect the rest of the PS4 trophies. I imagine that this should extend you to at least 10 hours of play time by the time this is all over. You’re definitely getting good value for your dollar here.

Overall, Blaster Master Zero 2 is a great follow up to the first game. The ending is also pretty surprising although of course there is a true ending so you can always play through some more to get that as the more satisfying climax. It depends on what kind of ending you’re looking for of course. The sheer suddenness of this one was pretty intense though and you can also see how it would work as a real ending because there are still some glimmer of hope here. This would definitely make for a great anime someday. Well, I definitely recommend playing through this game, you don’t want to miss out on the hype.

Overall 7/10

A Certain Scientific Railgun T Review


Railgun’s definitely had a great track record so far to the point where it has even been crushing the main series and the spinoff led by Accelerator. To this day I still say that Railgun S was the best season for any of the Raildex shows so far. T comes pretty close and I would put it in second but ultimately I give S the slight edge. It’s just really difficult to take that one down for the count. There are quite a lot of story arcs and characters here to prepare yourself for quite the long review.

The first story arc takes place at the Festival and it’s certainly the longest story arc here. With the festival at play all of the classes are participating so they can prove that they are the best. During this there is a group that is trying to capture Misaka as well as the Misaka clones in order to gather information on the Misaka network and get the Level 6 project ready. Meanwhile Misaka’s friends have all forgotten about her and she suspects that Shokuhou is responsible for this. The tricky part is actually confronting her since it’s difficult to reverse the mind wipe and of course without proof it’ll look like she’s attacking another student without provocation. As her friends begin to get targeted though, Misaka grows less reluctant to cause a scene.

This arc was a solid jumping on point since it continues the Sisters plot and introduces a quite a lot of characters who would be important down the road. It also gave Misaka’s friends a chance to shine before she intervened and had some pretty intense moments. One of the scientists beating up on Misaka’s friends was intense because it took her so long to get there. If anything I thought that guy got off incredibly easy since he basically just got to escape after being threatened and didn’t even get beaten up a lot. I feel like after everything he did they should have at least taken him down officially and shut down the group before handing him over to the cops. I suppose with the threats that should be it for him though.

Kongo and her clique had their first really serious fight in this arc and it was nice to see what they were capable of. All 3 of them seem reasonably powerful but Kongo in particular has a great power set with air. If the circumstances had been just a little bit different then I dare say she would have been able to come out on top. I was glad she got her respect here because she has always been a very loyal ally to Misaka but rarely gets a lot of recognition. Kongo definitely had a very solid role here though.

Then you have the villain Mitori who is pretty interesting with her ability to create a metal version of herself that attacks and defends on its own. Naturally she’s not very tough when you take the clone away but getting past it is quite troublesome. It seems like she will be appearing more in the future but under Shokuhou’s watchful eye I don’t see her trying anything crazy.

With the Level 6 project completed here it feels like we ended a plot line that had been going on since forever. Even in the original days of Index people were trying to get Espers up to Level 6. I don’t doubt that more people will try in the future of course but now that we’ve actually seen Level 6 I feel like it won’t be as much of a focus. We now know what it can do after all so it’s no longer some kind of huge mystery.

As always Misaka is an excellent main character here. One of the reasons why she is so likable is that she is never afraid to just jump in and get on the action. She’s a very pro active character and if the red tape looks like it’ll take too long to go through then she just skips it and goes undercover with her baseball cap. It may not be much of a disguise but it works, particularly due to the fact that she tends to short-circuit the cameras and hide from building to building anyway. I didn’t expect we’d see Misaka acting as a renegade so soon after S so that was nice to see. If only her friends were more understanding she probably wouldn’t even need to hide this from them but until then I definitely agree with her decision to be low key about it. You never know quite how the others will respond.

Of course Touma shows up in this arc as well and it keeps showing me why the guy works even better as a side character than as the lead. He always looks really good in the Railgun titles such as him being able to help Misaka even as she’s a Level 6. The fact that he’s mastered his right arm here more than even in Season 3 of the Index show is pretty telling. He just launched those dragons out without a care in the world and it worked out. He’s just brimming with confidence here even with his arm canceling out good luck. If Touma was always like this then he would probably be one of the best characters.

Touma got to team up with a new character named Gunha who also stands out as an excellent character. He’s one of the other Level 5 Espers from Academy City but didn’t really get to appear much until now. Well, they definitely ended up saving one of the best characters for last because this guy really stands out. He’s just an excellent character all told. Gunha is all about fighting with guts and that allows him to really surpass his limits and get to the next level. It’s clear that his raw power would even rival that of Misaka’s and I would imagine that he could put up a decent fight against any of the fighters that we had previously seen in the series. The show hasn’t gone out of its way to explain his abilities yet but it seems to involve wind manipulation. That would be my guess at least and it helps him display feats of speed and strength as a result.

This arc also brought Shokuhou back into the mix. She would end up being a main character in most future arcs as well so get ready for that. Fortunately it works out because she is just a great character. Pretty much any scene that involves her ends with Shokuhou completely stealing the spotlight. Her memory manipulation ability is incredibly handy, especially mixed in with the fact that she has absolutely no qualms about using it. As a result she’s really got the city in the palm of her hands. Whenever she is in a jam she can just mind control someone to help her out. Shokuhou can be a bit spoiled as a result but she also uses her personality as a clever way to prevent other characters from realizing just how smart she really is.

Her ability involves a lot of mental mathematics and using her abilities super creatively. Her 1 on 1 battle with Gensei was a super intellectual battle and she held her own quite well. It’s effectively a battle of traps both physical and mental the entire time. There was a ton of back and forth with a lot of fake outs as well. Then we eventually see Shokuhou’s emotional backstory. As the show goes on and we learn more about her, Shokuhou goes from being a very good character to an excellent one. It seems like she will be sticking around as a supporting character down the road and that definitely sounds good to me. You also can’t help but like the fact that she never missed an opportunity to mess with Misaka. The fact that she has memory altering abilities makes it too easy. Misaka is just super lucky that her electrical abilities prevent such abilities from working on her as things would definitely get ugly otherwise. Low key her butler is also a great character. I do like that he actually knows how to fight and understands military strategy. He’s out of his league in this season but handled the situation as well as possible.

Gensei was surprisingly a solid villain as well. Usually with a guy like this you’d expect him to be a fairly boring villain who is just here for the plans and such but he surpassed my expectations. His goal was actually really well thought out and the fact that he even gave himself super abilities was impressive. He planned things down to a T and has to be one of the best mad scientists I’ve seen in a very long time. He’s a villain through and through but one who plans for every contingency. Usually you see heroes having to overcome great odds but in this case he was the underdog. Who’d have thought that an extremely old man with no way to really be able to fight physically could take on two Level 5s the way that he did.

Time for a mini arc about Indian Poker. This was definitely an odd little thing that has a lot of plot relevance to the rest of the season and even the future beyond that. It’s going for more of an emotional saga as opposed to being the next big thing. The first two episodes focus on Kuroko’s team. Saten as usual is trying to pick up on more hobbies to tease Uiharu about. Well, this new Poker system allows you to buy a card where you pick up on someone’s dreams. So for example, as the recorder you would go to bed and dream about eating pizza. Well, the dream is now recorded so putting it on your head will allow you to keep reliving the dream. You can also sell the dream so others can experience it.

In this way you can learn someone’s secrets or even their talents. The idea is that if you’re an expert at juggling you may dream about juggling as well and then when someone roleplays as you during the dream then you’ll be an expert by the end of the dream. I don’t think picking up a hobby would be so easy just from a few dreams but I guess if you do it enough you can become an expert. Naturally that also means a lot of people have rather sketchy dreams which they turn around for a considerable profit. The sketchiest dreams tend to be the most lucrative.

Now, the success of Indian Poker will depend on users actually controlling their dream so they sell a good product. That part seems easy enough though as controlling your dreams isn’t that hard once you actually try it out. For example I find that an easy way to target your dreams is to pick a scenario to think about and then as you slowly fade into sleep it’ll continue as your dream until you wake up. I use it quite extensively as I reimagine tournaments in Smash Bros going a bit differently or I win the lottery and have fun spending the money. It’s a good mental exercise as you retire for the night and then it’s also a positive dream which is fun.

Back to the arc though. One episode is mostly just a comedic one with Misaka fighting over cards and is forced to relive a lot of dreams to find the right one. The whole adventure ended up being a bust though. I’d have to put that as one of the weaker episodes. It had some fun moments of course but does take the low hanging fruit here at times with the dreams. The other two episodes have Kuroko and Uiharu meet up with a kid who can see the future. He uses the cards and his camera to record the dreams and hopes that Kuroko will be able to stop them. He only tends to see disasters after all. The heroes help him out and it leads to an emotional journey to save his dog as well.

These episodes can feel like filler to an extent and in the grand scheme I would say it’s fair to call them that. There are technically elements that make these episodes important though so it would depend on your definition there. The episode involving the dog could have gotten dicey for sure but fortunately things turned out well. I’m still not a fan of Uiharu or Saten so I don’t mind that they’ve had a very small role in the season.

Kuroko’s a fun character but ironically only tends to not be quite as enjoyable when Misaka is around. Kuroko’s always been a far better protagonist when she’s on her own. Some heroes are just like that I guess as being around others reduces their character personality to one note. So on the whole I would say Kuroko’s okay. At least in these episodes she did well. Teleporting is always a useful ability to have and when Kuroko’s serious she does get some good wins in this season. Her battle of wits with the living metal user in the mall was also very solid.

Next up is a 2 episode mini arc featuring Frenda and Saten as the main characters. They make for a very unlikely lead duo and the saga works out quite well. Frenda is a ruthless assassin after all but part of how she copes with this is by being a fairly cheerful teenager otherwise. She really likes her canned mackerel and that’s what leads her to Saten. Frenda repays the favor by saving Saten from being kidnapped but is then attacked by the assassin Yumiya. Frenda could win easily in most circumstances but they are fighting inside of a crowded mall and Frenda was already injured prior to the battle.

Now these two episodes were exceptionally good. It’s really the ideal mini arc as it’s a self contained story with characters who don’t get to appear a lot. It’s easily Frenda’s best appearance in the entire franchise to be sure. We really get to see her mastery of bombs and hand to hand combat as well as her solid strategy tactics when cornered. Saten may just hold her back the whole time but Frenda still doesn’t run away or anything. If anything the whole situation feels all the more tragic since you know what happens to Frenda in Index season 3. This way we at least got to see her a little longer.

Yumiya was also a pretty solid character. She’s a very delusional villain to be sure and has a complex personality. She wants to be popular at school and tends to misread everything. Her job as an assassin is also very inconvenient of course since it gets in the way of being at school. While she is very shy and timid at school, she is a vicious murderer otherwise who will use any means at her disposal in order to win. It’s a solid character contrast and it would be fun to see her return someday. Of course she will need to heal quite a bit in order to be as much of a threat as she used to be since Frenda did quite a number on her.

The final 5 episodes take us to the final arc and it was a great way to close everything out. We are introduced to Kuriba, a scientist of great renown. She has been experimenting with the idea of splitting a person’s soul in two and proving if one really exists. Well, she accomplished this but it may have been more of a dangerous experiment than she anticipated. There now exists a Doppelganger who has all of the same knowledge and experiences as Kuriba. When Doppelganger finds out that she is the fake she does not take it so well and is now threatening to blow up Academy City as well as murder Kuriba. A team of assassins’ are sent after her but they won’t be enough. Fortunately Misaka is also on the case and ready to take this foe down.

There are a few twists in store as with any big arc. The climax is also really high end as the Doppelganger continues to upgrade from form to form. She even brings out a giant Kaiju mode at one point which was really cool. Now, you can sometimes worry about a giant opponent taking on someone who’s human sized since it can devolve into 0 choreography where they whack at each other but this fight was handled really well and also animated on point. Misaka gets to unleash one of her largest Railguns in the series. I also liked that in this arc Misaka made more use of her black iron ability. I find it to be one of the most versatile weapons at her disposal but she rarely ever uses it in combat. I suppose she prefers to use electricity through her Railguns but I think long-term she may find even more success with this.

The Doppelganger made for a great character. It’s always tough finding out you’re not the real thing after all. It’s pretty understandable that she would go off the deep end. Additionally Academy City is so corrupt and we learn more and more with each arc. It becomes increasingly harder to defend them and if the villain were to destroy the city they would take out a lot of bad guys instantly. Of course they can never truly win because we would also lose a lot of heroes. Doppelganger’s plan is solid though and she’s also a terrific fighter with how quickly she can adapt and learn new techniques. She works out quite nicely as the final boss.

For the assassin group Scavenger, it’s fun to see them after they got trounced in the Accelerator series. Unfortunately for them they are once again completely out of their league here. There’s never a doubt in your mind that Misaka or Doppelganger could take them out. I’ll give props to the kinetic energy girl for actually trying but of course she was dispatched like an after thought. The group is very lucky that Misaka bought into all of their excuses because she would have been able to take down the rest of the group with ease. If anything they get off a little too easy here.

The final episode nicely wraps up all of the various subplots and gives the characters one last scene. Naturally there are still a ton of ongoing plots occurring in the background. Some of these would likely get wrapped up in other titles but I’m sure some will make it for the next Railgun series. It’s part of the fun of being an interconnected series. You really need to see all of the titles to get the complete context. Some characters show up here with direct repercussions from the Accelerator and Index series so if you came here directly from Railgun S there would probably be a bit of a disconnect there. You can just watch all 3 seasons of Railgun on their own and be okay of course but checking out the rest really helps to give you that extra context.

The only thing to say against the show would be that it has a decent amount of fanservice. Certainly the dream episodes have fun with that and Misaka’s ongoing insecurities are only magnified by having Shokuhou appear all the time. There’s a consistent level of this to an extent but the show always keeps this aspect reigned in well. It doesn’t really hold the show back much. It would be nice of course if the show side stepped this entirely but it seems almost inevitable that some fanservice would appear. As long as it’s always overshadowed and outnumbered by the high quality scenes here then we should be good.

As always the animation here is most excellent. The animation may have even gone up from the first two seasons. There are a number of excellently animated fights here like Misaka vs the robotic Kaiju, Touma and the new Level 5 taking on Misaka, and low key the battle with Frenda and the assassin. It never really lets up and makes for a very consistent experience throughout the show. There are no poorly animated episodes which is always great since it shows that a good amount of time and effort was put into the show.

Next up we have the soundtrack which is unsurprisingly very good. You’ve got a lot of the classic tunes here along with new ones. The new intro to the season is also very solid. I would definitely take the first one over the second but they both sound very good. The battle themes are on point and so on a technical level Railgun does really well as expected. The writing is on point and Railgun gives so many characters so much development that it’s just really impressive. I’ll definitely be ready for the next season. Each episode is just handled in a way where you’re always interested in what happens next. Even the bust upper episode which I consider to be the weakest one still has a lot of very solid humor moments. The sign of a great show is when every episode is engaging in its own way and Railgun T pulls that off.

One thing that the Raildex series has always done well is throw a lot of fancy terminology and lingo at you. I always love seeing characters babbel on about their crazy abilities and plans. Railgun T is no exception to that with a lot of great concepts thrown in there. It’s willing to tackle any idea or premise no matter how crazy and it works. I just really enjoy a good speech and the villains and heroes both make a lot of those. It all just ends up being very compelling and the series is so fleshed out now with over 10-20 groups running around that you never really know what’ll happen next.

While a big reason as to why the show is so fantastic is the fight scenes, it does manage to blend together a lot of different emotional moments as well. For example, Shokuhou’s backstory ties in with one of the sisters and another character. The 3 of them have a lot of pretty emotional moments there since they all grew up with rather tough backgrounds. To go from there to having a very light hearted episode would be tough for some shows but Railgun pulls it off. All of the characters get satisfying endings to their stories and so the sad moments have great payoffs. Then of course we have the action episodes where it goes without saying that those are really satisfying. The single best fight scene here would likely be Gungha and Touma’s team up against Misaka but I would put Frenda vs Yumiya and Misaka vs Doppleganger as close runner ups. There’s a lot of good action here to be sure.

Overall, Railgun T is a great successor to Railgun S and shows that the series has still got it. Not that there was ever any reason to doubt this after how good Railgun S was though. I’m wondering if the next season will be called Railgun U or if they’ll just switch to another letter. If we assume that each one meant S (Second) T (Third) then maybe Railgun F makes sense for Fourth. Either way I can’t imagine that they would want to wait too long before continuing the adaption but it is pretty cool how they keep on adapting more of the franchise. So whether we get more of the main series, Accelerator, Railgun, or another spinoff, it’ll be fun to see how that turns out. If you haven’t seen Railgun T yet then you definitely need to change that asap!

Overall 8/10

Garou: Mark of the Wolves Review


The Fatal Fury series has always been a lot of fun and I remember playing through the collections not too long ago back on the PS2. Well, Garou takes an interesting turn here as the main character is Rock Howard, son of the infamous Geese Howard from the OG games. He doesn’t want to go down that same dark path but is there any way for him to actually avoid it?

As with most street fighter type games there isn’t one singular story mode here but an individual arcade mode for each character. It’s been a while since I got to do this so I went in and beat the Arcade mode with all characters so I could get a good sense of the full story. After all, each character has a different route and you find out a lot more about them this way. In some sense I like to imagine that all of the stories happened back to back but of course some are accurate and some would not be based on how their endings go. Personally as the main character I feel like Rock’s story had to happen and by extension then Terry’s does as well and then the rest would be suspect.

One thing you’ll notice right away is that the dialogue here is absolutely great. The characters have a lot of fun with what is going on here. Cain’s right hand man actually sympathizes with a lot of the heroes as they go up against him. He tends to adapt his personality to who he is fighting as well. Sometimes he will be talking a really good game as a dark overlord and other times he’s very casual and just seems to be here for fun. Cain is much more of a consistent villain through and through who has a fun time seeing through people using his fists. One of his best moments is when you play in his story mode so he confronts the fake Cain at the end. The fact that the game acknowledges the characters meeting their shadow doppelganger at the end is great.

The meta aspect of this helps to really push Garou’s arcade mode to be one of the more memorable ones that I’ve played in a long while so going through all of the stories was fun. Naturally some of the other characters aren’t quite as memorable but at least the big guys like Terry, Rock, Cain, and the others are all a blast to play through. The villains tend to have the best movesets but you definitely can’t go wrong with Terry’s classic blows and shockwaves. He’s a good character to start off with.

It’s also interesting seeing an older Terry who’s effectively retired and now just likes a good game of pickup Basketball. He’s really got his life in order at this point which is nice to see. It’s not like you can stay in the ring forever right? Eventually you age out and so Terry quickly found his new life’s purpose just the way you would have hoped that he could have. Based on the ending to the game though there’s probably going to be some drama between Terry and Rock since it looks like Rock is making the same mistakes again.

The average arcade mode will take you anywhere between 15-25 minutes to complete based of course on the match settings you used. For the first story I played it straight with 3 rounds of 60 seconds but for the rest I did 1 round to speed it up. Completing the game with all of the characters should take you around 3 hours I’d say. Then you can get some extra replay value by trying to grab all of the PS4 trophies here. An extra mode that’s around is Survival so you can test your skills against waves of opponents. It goes without saying that this will not be an easy endeavor because there are definitely a lot of these guys just waiting to knock you out. There’s also limitless replay value with the versus mode as well which is always a perk of being a fighting game. The fun just never needs to end since each match is different.

The gameplay is of course that of a 2D fighter. You use punches, kicks, grabs, and the occasional energy move in order to chip away at your opponent’s life bar. The characters don’t move very fast on the ground so you are really going to need to learn what your character’s safe moves are and attack accordingly. Take measure of your opponent and then go in with your own moves. Patience will definitely serve you well in this game. If you are looking to cheese the opponent though, then I recommend characters with long reach like using Cain’s claw type energy attacks.

Graphically the game has aged well. The characters all look to be on point and the illustrations are solid as well. The game has a bunch of catchy themes within it so the whole package works well. The only odd thing visually is that not all of the characters fit on the character screen so if you keep scrolling right to the point where you can’t see anything, you’ll see two extra characters. These are the two main villains so maybe it’s actually a little secret on the game’s part that you can play as them. It’s pretty neat as a surprise of course but I feel like once you find them then maybe the roster screen should expand or something. I’d never seen this done before though so that was interesting.

Overall, Garou is definitely a solid fighting game that I would recommend checking out. It gives you a look at what the Fatal Fury characters are doing now which is nice to see. It’s definitely a series that could have a lot of future potential with spinoffs and sequels down the line. There’s no need for it to really end which is key. The gameplay is all on point so it’s a game that will hold up even in the modern era. The A.I. is also impressively good at dealing with projectile spam in this game. You can’t fly through arcade mode with little energy blasts or grabs like in most games. You’ll need to string some real hits along so playing this game should help with your fundamentals.

Overall 7/10