Black Rock Shooter Review


Black Rock Shooter is one of those shows that I knew nothing about except the design of the main fighter. One of the oldest music themes in my favorites list is “Battle of BRS” which may be from this show but I was listening for it during the show and didn’t notice it so maybe it’s from the OVA or something else. Either way it’s cool to be entering into this adventure now and it’s definitely a great show. It’s a fun divide between the human world and the other place where fights rage on forever. It’s short but makes the most of the length.

The show starts off by introducing us to Mato who has had a very fun life up to now. She really enjoys reading a book about the bird who saw a million colors and has lives her life modeled after that. Mato enjoys everything and sees life as being something amazing. When she sees her classmate Yomi is really by herself and not having a good time, Mato tries being her friend. This will be tough though as Yomi is shackled by her sick friend Kagari. Mato will have to learn what it means to go through both emotional and physical pain on this journey of hers but she doesn’t want to stop trying to get Yomi to a better place.

The plot changes over the course of the 8 episodes but a large chunk of this is really about Mato learning that there’s more to life than just pure joy even if it would be cool if that was the case. So by trying to help Yomi she ends up throwing her own life off of the clear path it was on. That’s why throughout the show Mato is just great. She doesn’t get down easy and she’s always going out of her way to help out the other characters. She helps out quite a few characters before this is over.

Now I should talk about the other world. It’s a very interesting concept and one that the show dives into quite a bit by the end. So in this show, every character has an inner self which is quite literal. This self is born to fight on your behalf in the other world. Mato’s counterpart is Black Rock Shooter. So BRS’s objective is to protect Mato’s soul and get rid of anyone who endangers it. It is quite literally a life built for nonstop fighting. There is never an end to the battles and there are always more fighters to battle.

As a result it can be a depressing existence for these beings. Fortunately they are built to have no emotions by default but as we see in the show, it is possible to develop them. So all these years BRS has been fighting off enemies and protecting Mato. I’d say she has done an excellent job of it considering that Mato’s had a near perfect life. It’s important to note that the humans don’t know about their inner selves or at least most don’t. Mato has dreams about BRS on occasion but that’s really the extent of it.

When your inner self is destroyed, you lose all memory of whatever had been causing you pain. So, lets say someone bullied you at school and stole your lunch. Your inner self absorbs that pain and if the despair is too much then it will cause your real self to also be empty inside. If someone destroys your inner self containing the despair, your real self will completely forget it. It’ll be like that deed never happened to you so you now have peace but it’s a false peace since you’ve lost your memory. So one of the trials here is deciding if what BRS is doing is right. After all, aside from protecting Mato she is going around and destroying all of the negative inner selves.

This is helping these other people by conquering their despair. It takes Yomi and Kagari from each being near suicidal to being able to be happy again. So it does seem like a really positive thing but it completely erases all of their bad memories which does have a big impact. There’s a whole debate to be there for sure. My short answer though is that BRS is doing good. She is protecting Mato and if she didn’t destroy those inner selves then they would have possibly destroyed the human hosts as well. It’s hard to say for sure but it definitely seemed to be going that way.

BRS seems like one of the only positive inner selves though. So I wonder if you have to have despair in order to generate one of these or if we just don’t see the positive ones. I am going to assume it’s the latter for now and BRS is intentionally only going after the evil ones. If so, it speaks even better of BRS even if by the end some characters are convinced that she may destroy the entire world. BRS is very determined and gets the job done, that’s definitely very impressive. She is easily my favorite character as well. She takes some really heavy blows and always manages to get back up. Additionally, just imagine what it’s like to be locked into a never ending conflict for years and years at a time. You have to have strong mental fortitude to keep up with that and we see that BRS really is a strong soul.

That’s about all I need to say on the Other World so you get the gist of it. We see several other inner selves of course as each main girl has one and they all try their best to fight off BRS. Aside from Strength none of the others get any real character but the designs are all fun. Of course they do give us a ton of great action scenes as well. It’s all very styalized and is using a noticeably different animation style than in the human world. It helps to make the fights stand out and I definitely liked it quite a lot.

The fights are great throughout and you really feel the blows. If handled wrong this could have been excessively violent but it’s all styalized so it never actually feels that way. The characters are almost like machines fighting and I’d say this is intentional to show how they have been containing the despair for so long and nothing phases them. BRS will be getting pummeled over and over only to jump up and land a powerful combo. The other world scenes are definitely the best part of the show.

Not to say the human stuff is bad, I’ll get onto that shortly. The human stuff is really good too but it’s nice to have a literal battlefield where we see how the emotions are affecting these fighters. It also adds the action genre to the show which is never a bad thing. The fights remind me of Madoka a bit with how everyone has an absolutely massive arsenal where they can spam their attacks at will. These fighters never run out of attacks to use and will fight until one of them is completely destroyed.

So now lets get to the human part which is almost like a different show. Maybe that’s part of what makes the show so effective, it’s like two shows for the price of one as we switch into worlds. For an emotional story like this where Mato is helping everyone out, I’d say a crucial part of whether it succeeds or not depends on how dark each person’s story is. It’s very easy for a show to write everyone going through absolutely horrible tragedies where the scars will be with them forever. Fortunately the show has a lot of restraint and while all of the characters are in bad situations, it never crosses that line.

The darkest situation is the first friend for sure which is Yomi. So here’s the situation. When they were kids, Yomi was best friends with Kagari. Unfortunately Kagari got injured and blames Yomi for this. Yomi must now play with her and her alone at all times. If she tries to play with anyone else Yomi will guilt trip her further. Unfortunately Yomi’s mother is also in on this and doesn’t notice how Kagari completely terrorizes her the whole time. Yomi is now too scared to do much of anything and even allows Kagari to physically injure her. This is where Mato steps in to save the day.

This is the kind of situation though where I have to blame Yomi quite a lot though. I get why she feels guilt here but at the end of the day the injury was actually more on Kagari when you think about it. Additionally, guilt can only go too far. Yomi has already given Kagari many years but when it comes to letting your friend stab you and scare everyone away that’s just going way too far. I wanted to see Yomi stick up for herself a bit here. It’s a character arc I’ve seen before definitely and each time I think it just goes way too far.

Yomi ended up being my least favorite character in the series as she just keeps sinking even after the arc. You’d think that the experience of having a possessive, abusive friend would help Yomi learn what not to do in friendship. Instead she becomes unreasonably jealous of Mato’s other friend Kotari. It would have been so easy for the 3 of them to be friends. Mato and Kotari were both all for it but Yomi of course had to make sure this couldn’t happen. It takes forever for Yomi to finally turn into a decent character. In a sequel I’m sure she would look better but in this show she was really annoying with how this all ended up. I still think there was no reason for her to go off the deep end. (Not gonna blame the inner self for any of this)

Kagari was of course an awful bully in the first half but fortunately after BRS saved the day she was able to become a good character. I mean she still has some moments that seem off like when she yells Yomi not to be too clingy but I guess she was trying to be nice about how she framed it and just didn’t know how to do it. It’s hard to just forget about the first half so I wouldn’t say Kagari is a good character. She is on a good track to be a better person going forward though.

Another character who needed help was Arata. Her situation isn’t nearly as bad though. Basically she likes a guy but he’s a wimp who lets his friends make fun of her for that and does nothing to stop them. Now that Arata had her heart trampled on like this she has retreated within herself. She has always internalized all of her issues and believes that anything bad that happens is her own fault. It’s a rationale she uses to make sure that she never gets sad but of course this is catching up to her. It doesn’t help that Saya is always making some little comments about this but I’ll talk more about her shortly. I liked Arata quite a lot though.

Internalizing like that isn’t healthy but it is certainly better than blowing up at the other characters and causing a scene. Arata never does that and does ultimately stand by her ideals of rising or falling on her own merits. You’re rooting for her to have a happy ending by the end of all this. Her inner self is probably the weakest one as she doesn’t really fight but it makes sense. Her inner self has no despair to absorb since Arata keeps it to herself and the inner self probably doesn’t even know what to do at this point.

Now lets talk about Saya. So for most of the series Saya was my favorite villain. She’s the counselor at the school but her actual role is the opposite. She will call in a student who is having a bad time and will intentionally give them bad advice. For example Yomi arrives in a very bad mental state and Saya tells her that nobody needs her. Arata mentions how things went badly for her and Saya basically says that’s a good thing. Mato goes in for help and Saya literally starts choking her before saying that she lost control for a sec.

It’s how not subtle Saya is that really sells the character for me. It’s also just surreal because I’ve never seen a character like this. Everyone is caught up in their feels so nobody ever complains about her to the administration so Saya’s really in the clear. The comments are always obvious but when the character questions this Saya will say that she misspoke or just do the classic “Huh?”. It’s very twisted of course since this is a villain who only targets you when you’re already down and in a delicate headspace. It’s why this makes her so unique as a villain though. She doesn’t do anything over the top, she’s not using swear words, beating people up, or doing anything crazy. She’s just using mild comments but ones that are specifically tailored to each character to maximize how hard they will take the comment. Now there are some twists about this that make you think about her character some more. It’s an interesting twist but whether it truly helps her or not can be debatable.

Finally we have Mato’s best friend Kotari and from the start you probably figured that something would happen to her eventually. She’s always happy and cheering Mato on so clearly something is wrong here right? Well, she gets quite a lot of development such as a burning house and growing up in an awful household. It’s certainly not a good situation for her and like Arata she seems to internalize this. At least..that seems to be the case at first. So the next 5 paragraphs are pretty big spoilers so avoid them if you haven’t seen the show yet. This will also tie into Saya as I untangle this a bit. Get ready to skip nowwwwwwwww.

Begin Spoilers. So Kotari actually switched places with her inner self “Strength”. How is this possible? Anything is possible in these things if you believe hard enough. So now Kotari is the one who receives all of the despair and it’s sort of driven her crazy. She has a whole speech about this at the end where she’s screaming about how it hurts but how she’s also still here and she won’t let the pain beat her. The speech itself could be rather inspirational if she wasn’t so crazy by this point trying to murder BRS. The message is good how Kotari has been through a lot but won’t let the pain define her. At the same time, Kotari has completely abandoned the human world so is she really dealing with the pain or avoiding it? She’s clearly been through a lot and was a really good character.

Then of course the character we thought was Kotari for most of the series was actually Strength. As a result I can safely say that Strength is a great character as well. She takes a lot of risks to help Mato throughout the series and was really a nice person to everyone. It seems like she takes her life very seriously since she knows first hand how any sadness would affect the real Kotari in her world. So the setup they have is pretty good and it’s a credit to both characters. Ultimately this can’t last though and the real Kotari will need to go back and hang out with everyone. Hopefully she still has all the memories of Strength and knows what is going on or school’s gonna feel crazy.

Now lets talk about Saya’s plan. It turns out that there was a method to her madness. So she was intentionally breaking each student down to expose their true selves so BRS could destroy them. This would grant the students their inner peace. Then once BRS had absorbed all of that negativity, Saya would destroy her so then Mato would be free and everyone would be free of despair. It’s one of those plans that doesn’t sound crazy at first glance. If Saya succeeds then everyone will be happy so isn’t that good?

Well, it would be except how can she beat BRS? We see how powerful BRS is in every fight and she seems to get stronger after each adventure. Saya’s inner self is powerful as well but definitely not on the same level. Maybe the fact that Saya seems to pretty much be able to control her inner self would make her stronger but I still see no way to close the gap. Saya is also tempted to murder Mato at one point which would have really not solved anything and would have made everything worse. I don’t think BRS ever needed to die though as she only happened to go crazy because of the failed fusion with Mato. Otherwise I think she would have stopped once the threats were gone. So Saya’s plan was very convoluted and was no good.

Here’s another huge flaw in the plan. What if she broke down Yomi and the others too well and they ended up doing something they’d regret? If they died then her plan would have been completely off the rails since she would have indirectly murdered the people she was trying to help. That’s why I think they should have played it straight and kept Saya as a villain. Make her the final boss and that would have been more satisfying. This plan just doesn’t make much sense to me even if it was well intentioned. Reminds me of Athena’s plans in that sense. Plus Saya was just so much fun as a villain. Ah well.

End spoilers. As mentioned, Mato is a great main character so that wraps up what I would consider to be a very impressive lineup here. You really won’t have any issues with Mato because she does her best to protect everyone at all times. She is willing to put her physical and emotional selves in jeopardy to help out as well. Mato really doesn’t hesitate to put herself in harm’s way and while it ends up hurting her, she’s okay if she has helped someone. You can’t ask for much more out of a hero.

The animation for the human world is good too. It may not stand out as much as the inner world but of course that’s because we don’t have big action scenes in the real world. Either way it works well as the animations and designs are on point. The soundtrack is also good. I wouldn’t say there are any really standout themes but the battle theme is good. The opening and ending are okay but I wouldn’t say they are too memorable. I don’t think you’ll be humming these tunes after the show ends or anything like that.

Black Rock Shooter works in large part because of the writing. Of course the fights are good as well but this is really a show that could have gone sideways. Writing an emotional show will always be tougher than a standard action one because you have to be sad without being too tragic. It’s a tight line that you have to walk and this show did a great job with it. It’s why it ended up surpassing expectations for me and is definitely a top notch show that I would recommend checking out. At only 8 episodes you’ll be done with this one in a flash. The story breezes by and the pacing is always quick so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall, Black Rock Shooter is a great show that is emotional by day and action packed by night. The contrast between both worlds is really handled excellently. I would be cool with a whole show for either world but by merging it like this you really get a complete adventure. From the two though, a full show for BRS in her world would be a lot of fun. Since nobody there talks though I can see why this would have to be more of a sub plot though. I mean, not that they can’t talk but as emotionless fighters they don’t tend to talk much. Only BRS and Strength really show any kind of emotion here. Well, it’s nice to know the story behind the fun battle song “Battle of BRS” now. I’d recommend looking up that tune if you haven’t yet and of course you should check this show out if you’re up for a solid adventure.

Overall 8/10

Blaster Master Zero 3 Review


Blaster Master’s been a pretty fun series. It has the exploration components from Shankar and then your classic Metroid shooting gameplay. There is some extra variety since you can switch gameplay styles from the ship to fighting as a human too. Throw in an excellent plot and you’ve got yourself a great game here. It’s a good way to end the Blaster Master epic.

After the events of the second game, Eve and Jason are kidnapped by the government. Our lead isn’t sure why this is happening after he already helped save the world in the second game. Fortunately the area is attacked and he is able to escape in the confusion. He meets up with his old enemy Leibniz who was also attacked by the government and they ended up destroying his ship. This means they will have to reluctantly team up now. The only clue Jason has is that the government is seeking to destroy Eve because she may be in league with the monsters. Jason doesn’t believe this and has to get to her before it’s too late.

Game 2 had multiple endings similar to this one and the one I got was not exactly the true ending so this one ended up picking up at a different spot than I left it. There is a quick flashback/explanation of the first two games though so it’s easy to know what’s going on right from the jump. This game also has a true ending and it’s pretty creative how you unlock it. I dare say you won’t get it naturally on your first try but you’ll be ready for the second. I haven’t gone after the secret ending myself but it’s something I could see myself having fun with some day.

The story here is very engaging right from the start. The quest to find Eve is exciting and there’s always a lot happening. The only slow part of the game is when we run into Kanna in the veggie planet. We learn a bit about her and all but this really felt like filler. Once we got back in the chase for Eve then things got really good again. We also got to meet Kane who is apparently the main character of the Japanese version of the original game. He gets a good role here so his fans should be pleased.

For the most part this is a fairly small cast that we’re working with here so the dialogue needs to be sharp. I can say that the game pulls it off and in particular I had a lot of fun with Leibniz. For the longest time I thought he was the main character from an alternate dimension but by now I have to accept that he’s just a guy who was in a really similar situation only things didn’t work out well for him. I can definitely see how the guy got jaded very quickly. Would have been nice to have seen him actually go into the field and help us in battle at one point.

The graphics here are definitely sharp. The game really captures that Megaman ZX feeling throughout. It’s futuristic and full of energy as everything is all happening at once. The attacks look nice and the illustrations for the cutscenes are really good too. These are all amplified by the excellent soundtrack that is playing throughout the game. There isn’t a large variety but each time is great so when you add them up then you have a very satisfying roster here. In a technical level the game never fails and that isn’t surprising since Blaster Master has always been good at delivering on its Sci fi elements.

I also liked the gameplay a lot. 2D shooters are fun and when you also factor in all the sub weapons and movement options, there is a lot of depth to the gameplay. You’re not going to just run in and take names or you’ll lose your energy quickly. Particularly before you learn how to hover you have to go forward with caution. As your machine grows stronger you are able to engage in every fight which is nice since you really feel the character’s progression into being a mighty warrior. Then for the dungeons where the machine can’t fit, you go in on foot and the gameplay becomes more of an overhead adventure with your blaster. It’s a different gameplay style that is still similar enough where you can easily transition between the two. You can also access the VRW world which boosts all of your abilities but it’s supposed to be dangerous to stay in there for too long. I didn’t use this a ton outside of the areas where you have to use it but I like the transformation effects and how everything changes while inside of that world. So in a way you have 3 different styles here and the best part is how responsive it all feels. You’re always in complete control of what’s going on.

The length of the game is pretty good as well. I’d say it’s around 7 hours or so and then you have the bonus endings and power ups to get which should take you to 10+. You can also try to get the Platinum trophy so when you consider all of that, you’re getting a good bang for your buck. Even without the replay value the main story is strong enough where you would be feeling good about this either way.

Overall, Blaster Master 3 is a great game and I dare say it’s the best title in the trilogy. It takes all the good aspects from the first two games and keeps them going with good momentum. The story is as good as ever and the graphics/soundtrack is on point. Hopefully we do end up getting more games with these characters but if not I think we can safely say that it was a satisfying ride. By the end you will feel like the true Blaster Master!

Overall 8/10

Ad Astra Review


Ad Astra is a fairly low key space adventure. You’re not going to have a lot of explosions or anything like that but you do get to see space which is always fun. I do think the movie would have benefit a lot from some actual aliens and explosions though. Maybe have the humans turn into space apes or something. Still, it’s a fun film and it should keep your interest the whole time.

The movie starts by introducing us to Roy. He is one of the top astronauts and one thing that really makes him stand out is how he has no real emotions. Rather, he is so good at suppressing them that this comes naturally to him. He is the son of the legendary Clifford, an astronaut who was doing great work on the Lima Project but unfortunately died in space. The Lima Project was all about finding any aliens in space. Well, the government lets Roy know that Clifford may actually be alive. Unfortunately, it appears that as a byproduct of the Lima Project, mysterious power surges are rocketing across the cosmos and causing all kinds of dangers. Roy was almost destroyed by one of them. The government needs Roy to make contact with Clifford so they can ask him what’s wrong and fix this. Is that really all they plan to do though?

As always in these films, you have to take what the government tells you with a grain of salt. If they say they just want to talk…you have to assume there’s more to that than meets the eye. Of course with Roy not showing his emotions much, he’s not really going to talk about any of this. It’s not until we’re deep into the film that he gets to show off his emotions more like when the government tries to take him off the case. Roy’s a very capable soldier and proves his worth in several fights like when bandits nearly end his mission from the start.

Roy also seems to dislike the fact that space has become a really big retail mall. When you go onto the Moon the first thing you see are a bunch of food stores and things for sale. He mentions that his father wouldn’t have enjoyed this either. It’s clear that everything has been turned into a place for shopping and Roy figures humans will continue to wreck every planet they come to. It’s a jaded opinion but one that’s probably correct at this point. So yeah I liked Roy as a main character. He had to make a lot of tough choices but I would say he always made the right ones. He didn’t back down and aimed to complete his mission from start to finish.

He’s a good contrast to some of the other characters who are doing the whole “Just following orders” routine. Some of them really don’t think for themselves and just obey all commands even if they don’t make sense. There are 3 agents in particular who look really bad here as they are ready to instantly try and murder Roy. Fortunately for the lead he ended up being more powerful than they were and stopped them. It was a needless loss of life though and only serves to weaken their chances at completing the mission.

As for Roy’s father Clifford, he gets a decent sized role by the end. We get a few plot twists on the Lima Project and the extent to which he wants to complete it. Needless to say, this mission is really Clifford’s life. Now he hasn’t done a great job with some parts of it though like putting the whole universe at risk. Clearly there are some bugs with the project that need to be resolved. He’s not really addressing the issues though and by the end you could say he feels like a total villain. Same with the government here but at least their overall objective will protect everyone. Clifford seems willing to sacrifice the known for the unknown which isn’t good. Even if he were to find his objective, there would be nobody left to celebrate this.

The writing here is solid. The film can move a little slowly at times and it’s certainly not meant to be a thriller but you will be engaged. In some ways it feels like a very old school sci-fi adventure where it isn’t relying on action or explosions to get by. It’s just telling a story about space. Of course I’ll always take a more action packed adventure but when executed well this can certainly work and Ad Astra will end up being a good example of that. The dialogue is good throughout and most importantly, you won’t be bored. Even while plot developments are slowly tossed over to you, the characters are able to hold the scenes up well. At worst the emotional scenes just won’t land so much but they’re typically quick and then you get back to the adventure.

Due to the nature of the film there isn’t a whole lot to discuss though. The story is very straight forward with Roy needing to find the source of these power surges and stop it, even if it’s Clifford at the helm. Most of the film is about the journey there and realizing that space has quickly become the new Earth. If anything it’s probably even more lawless judging by how easily the pirates were able to show up and cause trouble. I wonder where the pirates live though, it must not have been easy to create another base on the Moon. Perhaps it started as a revolt and they overtook one of the sites. Either way you’d expect the government would be able to take them out then. The film’s not about that but I would have been interested to learn more about that.

Overall, Ad Astra is a solid Sci-Fi film. It’s not a game changer or anything like that but it’s just an all around quality movie. I could recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-Fi since it’s so accessible. One of the benefits of not being super deep or having a lot of foreign concepts is you could even watch this as your first sci-fi film and immediately understand everything. It’s basic and not in a bad way. I’d be up for a sequel that goes more all in on the action but they’ve shown that they could do a low key movie once so I’m sure they could do it again.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 3: Elysion Review


It’s time to wrap up the Saint Seiya saga. Chapter 3 closes out the Hades arc. It took 3 OVAs to knock out the arc but I’m glad that they persisted and kept churning these out until it was over. The arc ends in an epic fashion and is certainly not an adventure you are likely to forget. It’s been an emotional ride with the Saints from start to finish but every adventure has to end at some point. With great fights, story, soundtrack, and animation, you are in for a very solid time here.

The OVA picks up immediately where the last one ended. The heroes are finally closing in on Elysion, but are confronted by some more spectres. Shiryu stays behind to fight them while the other Saints arrive to take down Hades and the other two gods who serve him. Meanwhile Phoenix Ikki is getting ready to make his own move but what secrets of the past bind him together with Pandora? Her assistance could be the critical point of the war or if she stays evil, that could signal the final defeat of the Saints. Will Athena’s awful plan look any better in hindsight? Time to find out!

With only 6 episodes the OVA has to move quickly but we still get a good amount of time for the fights which is the important thing. There are a lot of characters running around at this point but the OVA juggles them well. At this point the only plot you probably won’t care about is with the other bronze and silver saints at home. They have a crucial moment where they protect against Hades’ attacks but otherwise you’re ready to go back to the Saints where all the battles are taking place.

Shiryu gets a big role to start things off with his fight against 3 spectres at the same time. I always thought that was a really impressive moment in the manga and it definitely keeps that same intensity in the OVA. Each spectre is no joke power-wise so beating 3 is impressive. You don’t expect the Saints to get a whole lot to do now that we’re near the end so it’s cool that Shiryu got to have one last hurrah. He is around during the climax fight as well but this is a match he can say that he won completely on his own.

For example, Andromeda and Hyoga get moments of their own of course but not in quite the same way. Hyoga takes on one of the top 3 Spectres and even manages to win on a technicality that they can’t exist in the void since they have no god blood while Hyoga does. Then you have Andromeda who is closely tied to Hades with a lot of twists there. This was a good way for Andromeda to finally be relevant though so I was all for it. In a power sense he’ll never be one of the top Saints but he at least did well in trying to hold Hades back the whole time. Ultimately Ikki was never going to sacrifice him though.

Phoenix Ikki looks great here as always. You have to give him a lot of props, right up through the final arc he is holding his own with Seiya and getting involved in the battles. He actually gets to go up against Hades and is the final Saint left standing with the main character. I like Ikki’s confidence and he also tends to be the most perceptive of the Saints. He was able to get here on his own after all which is impressive and he officially took down the final Spectres as he swore to avenge Pandora.

Even the scenes of him as a kid protecting Andromeda are really intense since most kids would have folded at that point. Ikki really did the rest of the Saints proud and I would expect no less from such a true fighter. He always reminds me why he is my favorite Saint Seiya character although Kanon and Aiolos are both very close. Saint Seiya really has a stacked cast here. Then of course you can’t forget Seiya himself who does well here as always. He really has to put up with a lot of punishment but always manages to get up.

He embodies the saint saying that no attack will work on him twice. He may go down after the first hit but once he gets up then you know that there is no chance left for the villains. Seiya’s an inspiring character who leaves his defeated opponents to trail behind him. Ultimately he steps up when it counts at the end of this OVA as well and does well in his golden mode. I would say he tanked the ending and made it back safely but there are definitely different ways to interpret the ending as you see the credits start to roll. Either way it makes for an emotional end to Seiya’s character arc.

The only aspect that isn’t very satisfying is how Seika reappears. So throughout the entire series Seiya has been looking for her but she was nowhere to be found. Even Saori with her vast resources and wealth could not locate her and we find out that Seika just had amnesia and was wandering around for a while. That’s really not a very satisfying resolution, certainly not the one you would expect to see after such a big build up. She comes in clutch with motivating Seiya to fight on but it just felt like this was a forgotten plot point that was thrown in at the last second.

As for the villains, in general I liked all of the important ones. The throwaway Spectres were mainly forgettable but the three judges and then the two gods were on point. The only exception to this would have to be Hades himself. I just never cared much for the villain and seeing as how I didn’t like Poseidon much I guess you could say that Saint Seiya has a bit of a main villain problem. It’s not that Hades is weak or anything but his goals and motivations aren’t super interesting.

So he wants to create a great eclipse so that the underworld will rise and he will rule over all. Athena tries to talk him out of the plan a few times and he refuses but it’s hard to even get a gauge on the guy’s character. He seems to be annoyed when anyone attacks him since the guy sees himself as being above everyone. He has the arrogance of a god type villain but none of the usual charisma that you need with it. I like his character design at least. Hades looks the part and appears as a very intimidating threat. He’s just not interesting and always lets things escalate until it’s far too late for him to stop the heroes. Even in the Lost Canvass he didn’t get to do much and that series went out of its way to develop everyone a whole lot.

For a main villain who improved here, I have to say that Poseidon was impressive. I didn’t like him in the last arc but it was cool to see him pitch in a bit here to help out when the chips were down. It shows that at the end of the day he will protect the planet and that makes sense since if Hades wins that will be the end for everyone. The oceans won’t be exempt from such a fate. It’s a very small cameo but I thought it was an effective one.

As for the gods Thanatos and Hypnos, both of them were fun. Hypnos certainly seems to be the wiser one and also a little more powerful. He warns Thanatos time and time again not to get too overconfident and yet the guy does so anyway. This is often the folly of any fighter who goes up against Athena’s saints. Lost Canvass retroactively makes this look even worse for Thanatos since he never learns his lessons. In this case, I prefer Thanatos’ confidence to Hades though. Thanatos has the charisma that Hades was lacking and I just like to see him talk a good game. He was able to back it up for a while as well with how his fight against Seiya went. Ultimately he gave it his best effort but he just wasn’t strong enough. Hypnos also gets a good fight but it is quite a bit shorter.

Then we have Pandora who I always thought was a very interesting character. At first glance she is just the evil version of Athena only in her case, Pandora was pretty much forced into this life. Her whole family was murdered and two gods threatened to make things quite rough for her if she didn’t help them out. While you can’t really throw out excuses for her since Pandora still acted as a villain, there’s not much stronger coercion than that. Unlike Athena she can actually fight as well. The Spectres are actively afraid of Pandora and she ends up being rather helpful in the arc. Without her, Ikki wouldn’t have made it to the end and without Ikki, Seiya would have certainly been defeated. So it’s no exaggeration to say that she saved the day here. That’s why she is a very memorable character and also a solid villain. Ultimately you know that things won’t end very happily for her but that’s just how it goes.

Finally, to answer the question on if Athena’s mission/plan looks any better in hindsight….it doesn’t. So lets look at the plan here. Athena decided to destroy herself and allowed the evil Saints to murder almost all of her guards so she could go to the Underworld. From there she would travel to meet Hades and ask him nicely to stop his plan of destroying the world. She would let him murder her and in exchange he would stop and allow the world to continue. I have so many problems with this plan but the biggest one is that there’s no reason to assume this would ever succeed. I don’t think Hades has any problems with lying so he could just say “Sure, I’ll be good” and then after murdering Athena he goes through with the plan.

Alternately he doesn’t even need to lie. He could just wink and say he’s going to destroy the world anyway. Athena is far too weak to stop him and she has helped decimate her own forces. Athena is probably one of the worst rulers I’ve ever seen. She is consistently attacking her own members by proxy like when she refused to let Seiya help out and her plans are poorly thought out. At no point in this entire scheme did she do something that made sense. Stopping the Spectres from the start would have been the absolute best plan of hers. Given how powerful the Gold Saints are shown to be, they likely would have won the battle.

The villains can regenerate which is true, but not when Shaka uses his beads so there is a counter. It’s not full proof but the odds of victory would have still been terrific. Athena’s Saints are simply stronger and that’s all you really need to know in such a battle. I never quite forgave Athena’s plan here. At the end of the day it just resulted in countless deaths that were completely needless. None of the characters call her out on this which is probably the worst part.

As expected, the animation is solid here. Considering how much newer it is than the show, it may not look as spectacular as you would hope but it does the job. The character designs are on point and the fights are good. The armors are really shiny which is always cool. If anything that’s the first part that always catches your attention for any Saint Seiya product so you want to make sure that it looks on point. The OVA did well here so I was satisfied.

As for the soundtrack, it’s got all the usual tunes you would expect from the show so that’s good. The battle theme and every other song are just iconic by this point. Eventually I’d like to see the series experiment with some more songs but considering that this was the end of an era, I really don’t see an issue with bringing the same tracks back. It can work as a very nostalgic kind of thing.

Overall, This was a great way to end the Hades arc. It really ended up being a blast and it’s good to have made it to the end. It’s easy to see why the Saint Seiya franchise has expanded so far. The characters are fun and the battles are always intense. The plots are easy to follow so it’s the kind of title you can pick up and watch at any time. The fights are dramatic and the stakes are always super high. Sometimes pride will keep the characters from making the right decisions but you know that the bronze saints will always be around to reign in the Gold fighters if they go too far off the path. If you haven’t seen this OVA yet, then you will want to change that so you can say that you’ve ended the saga once and for all. It’s only 6 episodes so it won’t take long and it’s almost all nonstop battles. After all, this is the climax now so there’s no time to rest.

Overall 8/10

King Kong vs Godzilla Review


It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen this film. Definitely a long time from the past and it’s interesting to see the scenes I remember and the ones that are more foreign. One big change for me is that the fight is a whole lot shorter than I remembered. They don’t really meet up until near the end although the fight is certainly worth the wait.

So the movie starts with a TV head wanting his crew to do something to make the channel more interesting. The idea he comes up with is to have the crew find some kind of monster to put on the air. There are rumors of a giant monster on a remote island that has come up with some special berries that are like alcohol. The crew heads there and manages to secure their safety by offering cigarettes to the natives. It’s a strategy that works well enough but not what should they do? Grabbing this Kaiju will be difficult. Then you have the sobering fact that Godzilla has risen from his icy grave and demands vengeance. With humanity in the balance, these two creatures will ultimately end up facing off against each other. The only question is…who will win?

Naturally even if it is a small part of the film, the actual battle is definitely the big topic here. King Kong and Godzilla are both big icons after all. So I’ve always been on Team Godzilla, he just seems more powerful to me and has more options. The Atomic Breath is hard to overlook after all. In a fair fight Godzilla should win 10 times out of 10 so the question is, how can King Kong put up a fight?

Well, the film went about it in an interesting way. First odd, Godzilla got a new weakness for this movie which is that he isn’t very good against electricity. Then you have the fact that King Kong is powered up by it and a lightning storm shows up out of nowhere and lands several direct hits on him. Prior to this happening, Godzilla did end up crushing Kong in the fight. Only after the power up took effect did King Kong start to take the edge which led us to the famous final scene. Godzilla can breath underwater and usually fight there rather well so you’ll definitely have some big questions but I think we have to take the ending at face value here so there was a true winner.

All told, I would still bet my money on Godzilla and it’s hard not to root for him when you see the inevitable comeback beginning from King Kong. That said, the fight itself is satisfying. Another good thing about this film is it wastes very little time in having Godzilla show himself. He appears pretty much right away in the film which is a bit rare for any G title. Usually you’d expect him in the second half or almost the climax depending on the film. Here it seemed like the opening 15 minutes or so.

The pacing is on point and the film really breezes by. While the human plot may always feel like filler until you get to the Kaiju action, you should have some good laughs with the characters. The main duo have a classic setup where one of the characters is a comic relief guy while the other is the no nonsense leader. Both of them get humbled by King Kong at least once during the movie though. They have a lot of fun banter the whole time. The humans can be a bit exaggerated to an extent but it works out well for fun moments.

This was the English dub version I saw and it’s fair to say that the movie is part comedy. It’s a very light hearted creature feature film from start to finish. There are also quite a lot of reporter scenes where people just talk to you from the TV station. You have to really enjoy the dialogue or those parts can definitely end up being a bit slow. Fortunately they were definitely really solid to me. The style of writing and dialogue is just fun.

The special effects are on point. The suits look good and the fight was also good as mentioned earlier. Godzilla lands a super speed kick at one point that was sped up in a way which seemed surreal but also worked to great effect. If the film has any weakness, it’s that you may have a hard time remembering the character names since you are waiting for the creatures the whole time. The humans are fun but still feel like filler since you just want the monster battles. I didn’t remember any of the names by the end although granted, the cast isn’t very large. You have the main duo and then a bunch of supporting characters.

There’s not as much of a soundtrack as you might expect from your typical Godzilla movie though. You do have the iconic Godzilla roar which will have to do though and King Kong’s island always has its unique beats. Of course, the soundtrack will differ greatly depending on which version you watch so keep that in mind. This review is specifically for the dub version which is important since a review of the subbed version could be quite different based on how many changes there are. Unless it’s basically a different film I don’t really go back and review separate versions so you’d have to check that out on your own. I would recommend the English dub though as it’s so much fun.

Overall, There isn’t a whole lot more to say about the film due in part to how short it is. It’s a movie that really breezes by and should keep you grinning at all the effective comedic moments. Close your eyes and the movie is over in a snap. You’ll have a hard time finding a better Godzilla movie from the classic era though. I’d consider this to be one of the strongest of the Showa films and I’ve always loved a good crossover. This one is no different. If you haven’t watched the movie yet then you definitely need to change that. You don’t want to miss out on the Kaiju battles.

Overall 7/10

RoboCop 3 Review


It’s time for the end of an era with RoboCop 3. The films have a strong continuity which I do like. We have seen OCP run the city of Detroit into the ground and by the 3rd film things are worse than ever. At this point the city seems beyond saving which leads into the current circumstances. We’ve now got another company in the running and the technology is finally catching up to RoboCop. It could be the end of the road for him.

The movie starts with OCP pretty much going out of business so they are forced to jump in with a Japanese company Kanemitsu who begins to take over really quickly. Together they create a more aggressive police unit that will strive to uphold the peace without robot members. Of course what they are really doing is pushing everyone out of their homes to try and earn more bucks by upgrading the places. Anyone who doesn’t want to move is taken away by force or destroyed. This leads to a little girl named Nikko losing her parents. Fortunately she is a computer genius so she is able to join the resistance and help them steals guns and other equipment.

One day, the army comes after her and the resistance so RoboCop defends them but of course he is easily dispatched and barely escapes with his life. He will need Lazarus to reprogram him so he can fight back against OCP agents but will even that be enough? He will have to get past Otomo, a Japanese android of unimaginable power who seems to be much faster than RoboCop. One thing’s for sure, he can’t afford to let his guard down.

Like with the last film we have a kid as a main focus here but this time it’s as one of the heroes. Nikko’s scenes are always rather cheesy though as she is somehow able to hack the greatest robots in the world with a few clicks of the button. She knows about Robocop’s specs and can even take out Otomo’s. There is nothing that she cannot do with her laptop which is supposed to be cool and all but it doesn’t seem likely. She really could have been cut out of the film entirely and that wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

The rest of the resistance members are around but the only big one is Keiko who serves as the main leader. She does well in rallying the troops. Without RoboCop around you get the sense that they would have been wiped off the map but it is hard to oppose the OCP so that makes sense. As it is, she kept them around for quite a while which is impressive. RoboCop’s partner Anne is around as well but her role is even smaller than in the second film. I doubt fans will appreciate how she looks here. It’s not a great appearance to be honest and even if her limited screen time is rather important to the film this time.

Otomo was very impressive, I think it’s about time we had a true robotic opponent for RoboCop. This guy was easily the most powerful opponent that RoboCop had faced thus far but there was definitely a big issue here. RoboCop is just too weak. It hurts the battle because it’s so lopsided that you know the only way for RoboCop to win is with significant plot armor. Look, a little plot armor can be fine but when you see how RoboCop isn’t even in the same league, it just makes you worry for how the fight will go. Sure enough, the ending isn’t very satisfying. Otomo was a great concept but in the end the execution was not on point.

McDaggett is one of the new villains and he’s fun enough. Definitely a step up over the last film. he’s one of those guys who certainly relishes being a villain and likes to do whatever he can to make everyone else’s lives worse. It’s hard to even say if he believes in his cause or if he’s just having fun with it on a power trip. Either way the guy is quite straight forward in how he acts around his goals and I prefer that over pretending to have some kind of high ground.

As for Lazarus, she’s a good scientist and it’s nice that Robo has at least one person in his corner. Ultimately she puts her career on the line to help him out and it shows that she is a loyal person who can be trusted. The fact that she is familiar with how his suit operates is really helpful since he now has someone who can run repairs on him consistently outside of OCP. Finally with RoboCop himself, well I still find the guy way too weak for his own good. He still walks into every fight as if he’s Superman. RoboCop doesn’t even try to dodge enemy attacks so he sits there and takes it every time. I would much rather he fights more tactically considering that he isn’t even all that durable.

He’s a good character but one who is way too overconfident. If you take away his battle performance, at least his intent is correct. Like when he decided to protect the civilians in the church. Yes he got wrecked in that fight but it was absolutely the correct move to save the there. Then you have the scene at the end which is something straight out of the DBS Broly film where he says that his friends call him Murphy but the villains can call him RoboCop. I thought that was a very epic way to end the film because he’s saying once and for all that he will oppose the OCP. You could do a lot of interesting sequels and such with this so it’s a shame that the films had to end now. I’m not sure if I would trust the mayor of Detroit if he is put back into power but surely he has to be better than the OCP right?

Overall, RoboCop 3 got back some of the shine it had been lacking in the second film. Not all of it mind you but this is a good start. It can be the cheesiest film though with the kid and even the media scene where one of the reporters finally has enough of this. That said, we get some fun fights and RoboCop’s jet pack was fun. The police going back on strike feels almost like a running gag at this point but at least this time they all walked out to oppose the villains which is good. In the final fight it felt like there was quite a body count though so hopefully they all went in with no regrets. None of the sequels may have caught up to the original but it was fun seeing all of these adventures. I’m glad that RoboCop was able to achieve a full trilogy since that is not an easy feat.

Overall 6/10

RoboCop (1987) 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

Robocop is a very famous character to be sure. Even if you haven’t seen the film you have likely heard of it in some way or another. It’s a movie that has aged rather well and I do agree with many that it beats the reboot. I enjoyed both the serious scenes of the movie as well as the moments that parody the media to an extent. Now those were some pretty fun commercials in there. All in all, it’s not a title you are likely to forget.

The movie starts off with corporate trying to find a way to cut costs. In this world they own the police force in Detroit but naturally they don’t want to pay them a whole lot. The police have even started organizing a strike. Their chief doesn’t like this but there isn’t a whole lot that he can do about it now that the union is on board. Unfortunately for Jones, his project doesn’t work so well and his robot murders someone. This allows Bob to get in and suggest his RoboCop project.

RoboCop is the process of basically turning the remains of a dead cop into this robotic police officer who will enforce the law. The timing couldn’t be better as officer Murphy was just gunned down by a group of gang members. While his memory should be wiped, RoboCop seems to remember his days as Murphy and his police partner Anne recognizes him as well. Will RoboCop be able to get past his sense of confusion to take down the gang and make the world a better place or is this game over for him? Additionally, with the OCP owning him and the cops, will he really be able to enact true justice?

I would really call this an action comedy because of how well the film executes on both genres. For starters you have the opening scene where the robot murders one of the board members. It’s a rough fate for the guy but I would say it’s still played for laughs and it works. These dark comedic moments are perfect in RoboCop and show how merciless the corporate world is. This scene doesn’t deter any of the workers there which is saying something.

I rather liked Bob quite a bit as an antagonist. He saw an opening and immediately jumped right in. He wasn’t afraid of Jones and talked tough right to his face. That’s the kind of resolve I want to see out of the up and coming villain. Things don’t turn out very well for him in the end but there wasn’t a lot he could have done. While I thought Jones would be a rather forgettable villain by the end, he impressed me with how he got his revenge later on. I’m telling you, this company does not play around and you don’t want to make an enemy out of anyone there. They all play for keeps.

The Chairman is also really good. He was extremely quick on the take during the climax which is ultimately how he kept his life. Otherwise that would have gone sideways for him very quickly and he would only be a memory. The actual main villain Clarence wasn’t as memorable though. He’s a rather unhinged guy who deeply enjoys his job but there still isn’t much more to him other than being a mobster. He’s like a C grade Joker. The guy does well in fights but he’s just not super interesting.

As for RoboCop, well he’s a fun character. I liked him quite a lot as Murphy so it was rather sad to see him go. The way Murphy dies in the intro was really effective. In large part because this is how you picture a lot of these encounters ending without any plot armor for the main character. You can’t just attack a whole gang on your own and expect to win. Murphy was just too hot headed in this case and it really ended up backfiring on him. It just felt very realistic, but definitely a painful way to go out.

In his transformed state, Murphy isn’t quite as hot headed as he used to be. He does keep some parts of his personality like twirling the gun but for the most part he is quite different now. He also has the disadvantage of being a robot owned by OCP so they can brainwash him at any point. Still, RoboCop does his best to dish out some peace to the villains and he does well. From the 3 films this is easily his best portrayal. He takes out a lot of thugs and is quite durable without being way too slow. He also thinks of good ways to get around his programming weaknesses. As for his partner Anne, she’s a good cop. Ultimately she wasn’t quite fast enough to help Murphy out but I would say she is solid. She just doesn’t get quite as big a role as you might be expecting. She provides moral support but that’s about it.

The effects are on point here and the movie has definitely aged well in that respect. If you’ve seen Judge Dredd, you’ll probably be thinking of that film a lot during this movie because of how similar they are. RoboCop is just a fun film all around. As mentioned earlier, the media parts are great too. If you focus on the news headlines behind the reporters you see a lot of interesting items and of course they report on quite a few stories. It shows how hopeless the world is with constant bad things happening. The movie really depicts a rather bleak world where corporate is running the Earth into the ground. Then you have the parody commercials as well which will give you some laughs.

Overall, RoboCop succeeds not just because it’s a fun action film but also because the writing is incredibly clever. It can give you a very powerful moment and then immediately hit you with a really funny moment. I like seeing corporate as the villains since they can be entertaining and this film adapts them well. We even get the full board meetings and the rushed version of RoboCop that isn’t quite so effective. I felt bad for the clunky robot by the end because he meant well but just wasn’t built for success. It even throws a bit of a tantrum on the stairs when trying to follow RoboCop. This just wasn’t his day. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10

Dune (2021) Review


I really did not like the first Dune film so I certainly went into this one with a lot of reservations. Fortunately it is an improvement in every area. When you watch this version you can see how people could have the franchise up to be the next Star Wars. While I don’t think anything will be the next Star Wars, this one has a solid story and builds up a good universe. Throw in the fact that we should be getting the sequel pretty soon and this title has a whole lot of momentum. Ultimately if you like Sci-Fi then you should like this film.

The movie starts by introducing us to the setup of the world. The Emperor rules just about all of the solar systems and there are houses that are under him. Each house has its own ruler, army, and population. The main character Paul is the prince of the Atreides house and they’ve done rather well for themselves. Unfortunately they are suddenly given a mission by the Emperor to go and take control of Arrakis as the Baron will be pulling his people out. The kingdom isn’t thrilled about this since Arrakis is a desert wasteland that is hard to survive in. Additionally their house has never gotten along with the Baron’s house so this seems to be a trap.

Meanwhile, Paul is not sure if he even wants to be king. Making this more complicated is the fact that he has been having a lot of dreams about Arrakis and a girl on that planet. The dreams range from her staring at him to seemingly stabbing him. He is also involved in some shady prophecy from his mother’s side of the family that he will be the chosen one. This will likely put him under an even greater spotlight which could make the emperor go against him. It’s going to be a difficult journey for Paul.

There’s a ton of world building here so that’s really just scratching the surface. I will say, the quicker you learn the names for each of the planets and houses, the quicker you will be able to not only understand the plot but really get into it. Memorizing the names is crucial here. The effects are pretty solid and definitely help for the fight scenes. It’s cool to see the barriers that the suit emits as they are quite unique. You can stop most projectiles but close range attacks get more dangerous.

The training fights Paul has to go through really show this effectively. Now I wouldn’t say the film is super action packed as I would call it more of an adventure but you do have the occasional battle. Duncan easily gets the best battle near the end of the film. He really shows off his skills and proves himself to be the best fighter in the army without a doubt. I wouldn’t say any of the musical themes stuck with me but as you go through the scenes there aren’t any distracting moments either.

As a main character Paul is decent. He can definitely panic a bit with the burden that he is given but for the most part he takes things well. He’s not as tough as he acts at times but his skills should keep on improving so that by the sequel he will be ready to engage anyone in combat. As it stands he is already powerful enough to beat many fighters in a 1 on 1 situation.

As for his mother Jessica, she was quite impressive here. She has mastered “the voice” which is an ability that lets you mind control someone just by talking. It’s very handy to have and she can also fight hand to hand as well. The scene where she and Paul take on some fighters near the end was a really good showing there. Her pact involving the prophecy could certainly end up being troublesome so we’ll see what choices she makes going forward.

Paul’s father Leto is also solid here. I thought he did well at leading his kingdom and it’s hard to blame him for how things turned out. I don’t feel like he had a realistic option of turning down the Emperor’s order. It was going to happen whether he made it easy or not. Then for the invasion, well every factor was against him and it’s hard to win like that. Leto seemed like a good man and at the end of the day that’s all you can really ask for.

Duncan’s the best character in the film by far though. He is a true adventurer through and through. He keeps up a fun attitude throughout the story and takes a lot of the risks. Duncan doesn’t back down from a fight and serves as a great role model for Paul. Gurney is another good character here. He’s tough like Duncan and is always willing to speak his mind. I’d have liked to have seen some more action from him since I bet this guy can fight at a high level as well.

If the film has a main weak point it’s that none of the villains are particularly interesting. We don’t really see the Emperor yet and the guy Arrakis really exists to get wrecked by Paul. The Baron is someone who will have a big role but he just isn’t my kind of character. The guy doesn’t participate in the action unless his opponent can’t move. Baron needs to have the absolute advantage in every encounter which doesn’t speak well to his confidence. His son Glossu could be a fun enforcer but he hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet.

As for the main heroine Chani, she doesn’t even get to appear outside of dreams until the end so there isn’t much to say about her yet. Based on the dreams Paul has been having, he should definitely be careful around her. I could do without the constant dreams though. That’s one area where I feel the film could have shown the dreams once and we’d be good. It’s not like you will forget the dreams over the course of the movie so there’s no reason to show it again.

Some aspects of surviving on this desert planet can also be a bit gross like the whole recycled water bit. It reminds me why I prefer to be in more city type environments. That said, even in the film none of the characters want to be here so that tracks. Since the emperor seemingly set them up to fail, you wish that the heroes would have fought back instead of simply complying. They were likely doomed either way but better to turn and fight while you can then to slowly die out right? Ultimately the villains had really good execution on their plan though so it was definitely going to be tough to thwart them.

Overall, Dune sets the stage pretty well. In a lot of ways it does feel like the whole movie was the opening act so all of the events were set up well. The characters are interesting and the plot moves at a good pace. Both things that you would have a hard time saying about the first film. I can safely say this was a lot better than I had been expecting and of course you will get to see the sand worms with the updated graphics here so they look quite impressive. Once Paul masters all of his abilities we should be in for some more fun fights coming up.

Overall 7/10

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster Review


It’s a really good thing they didn’t call this Frankenstein vs the Space Monster because the fight doesn’t happen until the final 2 minutes of the film. So if you’re looking at the poster and getting hyped…don’t be. At least not for the fight. Also, Frankenstein doesn’t even appear in this film so…heh this film is taking a lot of liberties right off the gate. Now, I would say this is still a good film but it definitely could have been so much better. The writing and characters are fun so throw in a bit more action, better villain motivations and you’d really have a hit here.

The movie starts with a group of aliens from Mars deciding to head to Earth and kidnap all of the women so they can repopulate. Right off the gate I can say this isn’t a great plot. When that is the villain’s entire goal then there is no way to really like the villains or find them very interesting. That is a considerable issue because you need good villains in order to get the film to the next level. There are really three villains of note here. You’ve got the Princess Marcuzan who really just sits on her throne the whole time. She can’t fight and doesn’t do a lot of leading either so I wouldn’t expect a whole lot from her.

Then there’s her right hand man Nadir who does a lot of the actual planning. For some reason he will always stare right at the camera and grin after delivering his lines. I have a feeling that wasn’t exactly what he was supposed to be doing. Then you have the monster himself but he doesn’t do anything until the final 4-5 minutes of the film and is just caged up instead. Not a great way to make me impressed with the villain right out of the gate.

As for the human plot, well the government is getting ready to send a spaceship from Earth. To make sure there are no human risks this time, they are sending up an android named Frank. Unfortunately, he isn’t quite perfected yet as he will randomly go into a kind of stasis where he is frozen. It did make for an entertaining scene where he freezes and the camera just stays still for a while. Now you may think this could pose a problem when he is in space with no back-up but the scientists don’t see it that way. They send him up but he gets blasted down by the aliens. Now he is injured with some memory loss and has turned into a monster who will destroy anyone in his way.

Like the actual Frankenstein monster it’s hard to find this guy all that heroic or likable because he does go around murdering people in the meantime. Now at this point he can only read emotions so he just kind of goes berserk but you’d hope that he could fight the system programming a little better. The film continues to show you why sending this guy into space would be an absolutely awful decision all around. There are two human characters of importance in Adam and Karen but they are pretty much non factors here. Adam sees Frank as a pure robot with no feelings or emotions so he doesn’t feel bad when he sees how beat up the guy is. I suppose to an extent this is probably true since I don’t see this android being sophisticated enough to have a soul but at the same time it still makes him come across as rather heartless.

Then you have Karen who feels bad for Frank the whole time but doesn’t really do much to help him. She may act concerned but if you’re not going to do anything about it then it doesn’t make much of a difference. So both of these humans are rather forgettable and you’re just here for the sci-fi action anyway. I will say the writing is solid and the pacing is on point which you would expect for a retro film like this. It’s the kind of movie that just flows into each scene really smoothly.

The soundtrack is surprisingly fast paced and upbeat. It’s got some classic beach tunes and never really lets up. The fact that the film has a real soundtrack automatically means it beats most of its competitors for this kind of title. The tracks aren’t great or anything but they are memorable and give the movie a little more personality. The film may have had a bit of a hard time deciding what kind of film it wanted to be but if you take it as a really cheesy sci-fi flick then you’ll be fine.

I would have just liked to have seen a bit more action. That would have really helped the film since the whole point of a creature feature is to have some real fight scenes. What’s the point of coming up with a monster design and everything if he isn’t going to do anything until the film is ending? That just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you ask me. I would also get rid of the repopulation plot entirely and just switch the villain’s goals to a classic take over the world kind of plan. It may have been done before but it’s still a better plan than what the film came up with.

That’s the biggest weakness of the film. It sometimes tries too hard to be a beach type film where you have characters modeling for no real reason or having to be shown off like exhibits by the aliens. The film has more fanservice than you would expect and the scenes all feel like complete filler. All of the beach scenes should have been cut out along with this sub plot and the film would have been all the better for it. It still comes off as a storyline that’s really random. Maybe the writers couldn’t figure out how to stretch the plot of aliens attacking without this but if that’s the case, that’s not a good look. There’s so much you can do with alien invasions. For starters I would have liked seeing more of the government’s overall response to this.

Overall, Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster is the kind of film that you feel you have seen many times before. It isn’t trying anything new but at the same time the execution is good enough where you won’t be bored. As the movie goes through the motions you will be engaged. It’s always fun to see how the alien films were made back in the day. There aren’t a lot of explosions or action, it’s really a very down to Earth title..aside from the aliens of course. There is still a body count but even that feels low key. The aliens just go around blasting everyone with their fancy ray guns and the humans don’t take it all that personally. Some of them barely react. It’s the kind of movie that certainly wouldn’t come out nowadays so this is really a relic of an older time. If you like science fiction then I expect you’ll definitely like this one. One advantage to being such a simple film is that you can jump right in at any point and understand what is going on.

Overall 6/10

The Fly (1986) 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

The Fly is one of those films that starts out reasonably well but once the whole fly aspect enters the film then it starts to stumble quite a bit. The fly angle takes a while to show up but you wish it didn’t and instead just kept going as an interesting sci-fi drama. I suppose you couldn’t call the film “The Fly” at that point though so you’d need a new name.

The movie starts off with Ronnie at a party where she is trying to get a scoop on the latest inventions. Unfortunately there is nothing here that’s very interesting. A mysterious guy named Seth shows up and informs her that he has one of the greatest inventions of all time. She has to come to his place to see it though since he wants to keep this a secret. Ronnie agrees and it turns out that he has created a teleportation device. This is revolutionary but the issue is he can’t teleport people yet, only objects. Ronnie figures this is good enough to report on so she ignores Seth’s wishes and quickly tells her boss Stathis. Stathis doesn’t believe her though. Seth asks her to hold off this time until he perfects it and she agrees, but will this invention actually end up changing the world?

Seth’s certainly a genius to come up with this invention, that’s for sure. He is quite greedy in wanting to wait until it has been perfected though as just teleporting objects would already be huge. Think of how you could move food around, supplies, etc. You would really change the world in no small way. It goes without saying that any kind of teleportation device in the real world would be absolutely massive.

Unfortunately the dark history of this invention quickly starts to become apparent. For one thing, Seth was running experiments on animals which is as unethical as it gets. You should never experiment on animals or any sentient life. Stick to plants and then if you have to go further, voluntary humans who know the risks, but not innocent animals. At that point Seth was already too far gone to be saved.

We then see that he is quite petty and head strong as he goes through the invention just because he was upset at Ronnie potentially being with someone else. I mean, she made it clear that she was ending an old affair so if he just doesn’t believe her then their relationship was never going to work anyway. Seth’s just not a great guy and this ends up being his undoing. Everything that happens to him in the film is a direct result of actions he took.

Naturally that takes us to the Fly aspect of the film. It seems to affect his emotions almost immediately as he won’t listen to reason and starts rambling a lot. It’s unfortunate because this prevents him from actually realizing the issue here and how to correct it. His computer seems exceptionally advanced so I like to think there would have been an easy way to reverse the process otherwise. Just retool the settings to remove the fly dna or something like that. If it can be merged so quickly it could probably be separated as well. One idea I had was to merge with a fly repellant which could do the trick here. A side effect is maybe you could shoot out bursts of raid.

In the end though, I just didn’t like Seth. Whether it was the Fly dna or not, he was just completely unreasonable. Once he became the Fly he becomes your classic horror villain who just wants to cause carnage and destruction. He’s quite selfish in his motivations at the end and his final plan just doesn’t make sense. He was simply too far gone at that point to really go back.

Then you have Ronnie who is an okay heroine but not as good as she could be. For starters it was iffy that she was going to run to the paper and exploit Seth’s research when he asked her not to. Sure she was expecting a story but maybe she could negotiate something instead of just burning that bridge right away. If he did end up changing history so drastically, wouldn’t you want to be on his side for that? It doesn’t seem like a smart move to make him your enemy.

Finally you have Stathis who is an annoying character the whole time. He used to have an affair with Ronnie and never got over her after they broke up. He follows and pesters her the entire movie and even resorts to blackmail. The film tries to show him as more of a hero by the end but it’s just way too late for that. I’m glad he stepped up and tried to help but in no way does that make him a good character.

The film certainly had an issue with the romance throughout though. It just wasn’t very good. It was all rushed and not all that realistic. The whole time you know it’s just moving way too fast and again, Seth was way too quick to get jealous. He just didn’t trust her which is a huge red flag. That’s not really what destroys the movie though. It’s just how gross the film is and it also manages to throw in some animal violence.

We see what goes wrong when an animal is put in the machine and you have to remember that Seth knew exactly what would happen since he had done this before and only did it again to show Ronnie the effects. That means he destroyed another animal for no reason. It’s certainly a rough way to go out too as the whole procedure looks really painful. Then you have his transformation into the Fly and how he has to vomit on everything. It’s a form of acid that also works as an attack but it’s certainly not a fun one to look at. The film really prioritizes being as gross as possible over the actual story.

Overall, The Fly is a film that you should definitely skip. It can’t quite match up to the original version which is what you should watch instead. This one just goes too far with all of the imagery and throwing in the animal was completely unnecessary. The concept is interesting and you can make a good film out of that but you would definitely need a full redesign of the Fly itself which would be a good starting point.

Overall 2/10