Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review


Mario’s certainly had quite a few RPGs over the years. It’s always been interesting to see Nintendo balance having both the Paper Mario series as well as the M&L titles. It used to be that the former would have the darker plots while M&L would have the hype dialogue. Gradually the Paper Mario games turned into the more fun titles without much of a plot and I’m not deep enough in this franchise to see if it’ll go the same way. Well, this is definitely a fun sequel and I would put it above the first game. The story is a little on the short side for an RPG but at around 15 hours I can’t reasonably say that it’s super short either. It’s long enough and gets the job done.

The game starts with the team deciding to time travel to the past for fun. Apparently that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re bored now. Peach heads to the past but when the time machine returns there is a monster in there instead of Peach. The Mario bros are able to barely take him out and head to the past. There they are quickly defeated by the Shroobs. Fortunately they are saved by Baby Bowser as well as Baby Mario/Baby Luigi. Now these guys are going to need to team up to find out where the present Peach is and save her. The stakes are high because this group is also looking to conquer the kingdom in general. They already own the Mushroom Kingdom in the past and Mario must now stop this from happening in the present.

Of course along the way a lot of hijinks ensues and you know Bowser will want to have a word in. Surprisingly Bowser’s role here is rather small. He gets a solid role at the end of the game though which was pretty tense. I was definitely not expecting things to go that way. The game does not disappoint with the climax. It’s pretty high-end as you would expect from an RPG experience. The boss has more than one phase and it’ll take everything you had to win. The game is rather difficult if you don’t stop to get some extra level ups along the way. I spent a few hours just going back to get level ups and the final boss was still pretty tough.

The best advice I can give it to really spam the Copy Flower and the Mix Flower. These are really your best options if you ultimately want to score the win. You can deal hundreds of damage just by using the flower once and at the same level my standard attack would do around 70. I don’t see how you can beat the final bosses without these items. I ran out of items the first time I tried to challenge the final boss and ultimately that put me in a real spot. I wouldn’t lose since I was good at dodging the attacks but I couldn’t deal enough damage to ever win. See, the boss has 3,000 HP and she is protected by a lot of other parts. The idea is to destroy the shields and then attack her but the shields regenerate every few turns. So by the time I would destroy 2 shields another would pop up so I would never get to the actual villain. You need the items for this fight. I can tell you that right now.

Also, it’s important to use the roulette to increase other attributes. Initially I was putting everything into Health but I didn’t realize that the roulette gets worse and worse if you focus on just one stat. You’ve got to increase them all to really put yourself in a good spot. It’s the only way to get far here. I recommend always increasing HP, Attack, or Defense. They’re the only 3 stats that really matter if you ask me. Earning XP isn’t super easy in this game though. Enemies don’t respawn unless you time travel so it can take a while to get anywhere. Additionally the EXP amounts just aren’t great. I beat the game at Level 25 and just getting to that point took quite a long while.

The gameplay is classic turn based although it’s fairly interactive. Pressing buttons at the right times will allow you to extend a combo or deal extra damage. You are also given the option to dodge enemy attacks if you time the buttons correctly. It’s a nice little touch that keeps you sharp the whole time. You can’t just space out as the enemy uses their moves. It’s not quite as crisp as your average RPG but I’ll give Nintendo props for keeping things different here. I do think it’s a pretty good idea.

As for the graphics, I’d say that the game looks pretty clear. The character sprites are on point. The animations are a little limited along with the sound effects so you’ll see and hear the characters do the same things a lot but at the end of the day it always feels pretty in character. The soundtrack is okay but the game was really lacking a danger theme. As a result even during the really serious moments you would have a happy theme play and it could dampen the mood a bit. The game could have really used a dark theme or something with a little rock for these moments.

There isn’t much replay value in this case because there isn’t anything to do after beating the game. You can earn more level ups I suppose but there isn’t much of a reason to do so with no post game. It’s short for an RPG as I mentioned but you can get it for a decent price nowadays and 15 hours is nothing to sneeze at. Additionally, the game is just a lot of fun. The dialogue is on point. Now, Luigi does get thrown into the dirt quite a bit as the series always love making fun at his expense. If you’re a big Luigi fan then this could be a rough ride for you. For the most part it’s all done in good fun but you may have doubts.

Overall, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time is a solid sequel to the first game. I thought that the story was a little better and I do love time travel adventures. It’s not a game that will stick with you for long as it’s off to the next thing right away but it’s a solid title nonetheless. I look forward to playing the next one soon. I feel like back in the day Bowser’s Inside Story was known as the best game in the series so I’ll be interested in seeing if that’s the case. I’m definitely expecting another really solid adventure. Mario hasn’t let me down before and I don’t expect he’ll start now.

Overall 7/10

Tron Legacy Review


It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Tron. I remember how impressed I was when I first saw this title. The effects just looked flawless and the film as a whole really had a great high energy feel thrown in. The characters were cool and this really felt like the series was completely on the right track. It’s a shame that the third one is taking so long to come out. Well, the film definitely holds up and is just as great as I remembered it to be. It’s certainly underratted.

The movie starts by explaining that Kevin has vanished and so his son Sam had to grow up without him for a long while. Sam is now the chief for the company but he just doesn’t really see the point. He wastes his days away doing nothing until one day Alan shows up and tells Sam that he received a buzz from Kevin’s pager. Sam heads to the arcade and is blasted into the grid. There he meets up with a program named Clu who rules the Grid with an iron fist. Kevin has been exiled to the wastelands and resides with another program named Quorra. Quorra helps Sam escape and now they must think of a plan to get out of here. The main issue is that the heroes are completely outnumbered here.

Things tend to happen very quickly here which is always nice. There is no dead time here. The heroes are on the clock and have to do what they can. The film shows right away how much the Grid has changed since the first film. The “graphics” have gotten a lot better so the programs now look like people. Time travels differently in the system so it makes sense that everything has been updated. We now have more action scenes on the Lightcycles and disc throwing games. Those are still a lot of fun and I wish we could get more games with that kind of gameplay. It’s one thing I really liked about the Tron Evolution video game back in the day. It’s fun to watch as well and is just a fun way to race.

The hand to hand action scenes are also on point. We see one flashback where Tron was taking on a lot of opponents this way. I do question how he was overpowered so easily with the final opponent though. That guy didn’t seem so skilled. Of course I blame Kevin more since the guy didn’t do anything to help that time. He was okay with just watching the whole time which was definitely no good. In the present we get a lot of action scenes like this as well such as in Zuse’s bar. That was a fun action scene for sure and the mysterious right hand man of Clu always provides some good action.

As I already mentioned the film just looks great as well. The Grid really stands out in every scene it is in. Any scene in the Grid is bound to be a good one and that’s definitely really good if you ask me. Whenever I talk about films needing to have interesting backgrounds to help the story along, this is exactly what I am talking about. Legacy is ahead of its time in many ways to the point where it’s hard to see many other films topping this one. The outfits just hold up so well and everything about the film still feels futuristic even many years later. The writing is also on point here as we have a solid cast of characters.

Sam is the lead this time around and he’s defintiely solid. It’s easy to see why he has decided to goof off nowadays since with his Dad missing he doesn’t see much of a point in anything. It all just happened too suddenly for him. In the Grid he quickly gets caught up to speed and comes up with some plans. I’m glad that he wasn’t as passive as Kevin was with the ideas. Sam just wants to save the day and he’s ready to take some risks to do it. Kevin is a far cry from his older self. The whole battle with Clu just broke him I guess. He’s now quite scared of going back in to fight. He should also be ashamed due to the fact that if he had helped Tron out in the past then none of this would have happened in the first place. His Star Wars esque abilities are fun to see though.

Tron is definitely a great character even if we don’t see him a whole lot. We learn what happened to him since the first film and it makes for a great role. He’s still the definitive character in the series to be sure. I don’t see any of the other characters really coming close to matching him. At the end of the day Tron is just a really impressive character and the best fighter in the series. It’s the reason why he is known as the hero of the grid. Then you have another hero in Quorra. She’s definitely good and has several pivotal moments in the series. Quorra is a lot bolder than Kevin and certainly wants to help out even if she isn’t quite as aggressive as Sam. She makes up for this with her superior fighting abilities though. She certainly gives the villains the work on several occasions even when she is outnumbered. Without her Sam would have definitely been in trouble several times here.

For the villains I’d say that we really have Clu as the main one. He shows up rather quickly and gets involved in the action personally. Right away that’s when I knew he would be a good villain. Good villains aren’t afraid to get into the ring themselves. It’s what separates the truly feared leaders from the guys who just sit in the chair. I was very satisfied with his portrayal and his reason for fighting was also a good one. He saw some flaws in the world and was trying to fix them. At the end of the day isn’t that exactly what you want the program to do? The only miscalculation was that the program would be so effective in its mission but who could have predicted that right?

Then you have Zuse who definitely likes having fun with the case. He’s not the smartest character in the film though. The guy acts like he is intelligent sure, but that’s not really enough when his actions are so weak. When you enter into a deal with the main villain you should always make sure you have some kind of leverage or a backup plan. He had neither but it did make for a cool visual and a fun scene in general. Clu’s right hand man is pretty great. He’s a man of few words but really delivers on the action scenes and gets a great arc/final scene.

Yeah there’s definitely a lot to like here. The soundtrack is also pretty stellar with some 80s type songs spread into the early part of the film as a tribute to the original. In some ways it embraced the era more than the first film did. Don’t expect to see the present timeline much since most of the film takes place in the game. That’s definitely okay with me though. The game is where all of the interesting things are going on so that’s really what I’m interested in seeing and it delivers. I sort of thought the board would have a bigger role or at least the main one who seemed to be leading the company down a corrupt path again. Maybe that’s something for the third film.

Overall, Legacy is definitely a great follow up to the original Tron film. It’s got great action, characters, a solid plot, solid soundtrack, etc. It really manages to get just about everything correct which is definitely good. I highly recommend checking this film out. It takes place far enough after the first film where you don’t need to see it to understand what is going on, but it does help you recognize the various Easter eggs here and there. It was fun to see this one have so many tributes to the first. Well, supposedly the third film is finally coming out sort of soon so I hope it’s able to maintain this level of quality. It’s definitely a tough act to follow.

Overall 8/10

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Review


It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Tales of Symphonia game. As I recently beat the first one I knew it was time to jump right into the sequel. It’s definitely a very worthy successor. Is it as good as the first one? Well….it’s a tricky one. I do appreciate that we no longer have to worry about big dungeons and there are a lot more cinematics here. On the other hand, the original game had the better story if you ask me. So overall I would say that the original wins but it’s very close and that’s definitely impressive considering how good the first one.

It’s been a few years since the original game’s events concluded. The heroes succeeded in merging the two worlds together but this didn’t result in the perfect utopia that they expected. Instead of war about to break out between the half elves and humans, now there are big battles between the inhabitants of both worlds. The Church of Martel seems to have become more radical as well. The game starts with Lloyd appearing and murdering everyone in the city of Palmacosta. Emil barely manages to escape and saves a girl named Marta as well. We then skip forward a few years. Emil doesn’t remember these events and has had a pretty tough time of it. Nobody likes him as they believe him to be a bad luck charm. One day he meets up with Marta again who is being chased by a bunch of villains. She asks him if he will serve her as a Knight of Ratatosk and since he has nothing to lose, Emil agrees to this and gains a lot of power.

Marta explains her mission. She has to find all of the Centurion Cores and awaken them. This will restore Lord Ratatosk who will bring peace to this chaotic world. There are a lot of questions here to be honest but Emil doesn’t care. He’s finally found someone who needs him and so he has a purpose at long last. Emil agrees to help but he also wants revenge against Lloyd along the way. Emil doesn’t understand why people seem to love Lloyd so much despite the guy being a mass murderer. Most people don’t even believe Emil. Then you’ve also got the Vanguard which is an army of extremists who are trying to murder everyone and Emil’s mentor of sorts named Richter is a part of their group. The heroes will definitely need to take some sides here.

There’s a lot of story going on here and that’s why it’s always interesting writing reviews for an RPG. It’s a lot different from my standard game reviews where the plot doesn’t have to be mentioned much. Even from what I’ve written below, there’s just so much more to get into. Of course, it’s a story that is constantly evolving as you go through the chapters so you don’t want to get into it too deeply either. Needless to say there is a very large cast of characters here along with a ton of plot twists. You’ll need to play through the game in its entirety to really get the payoff here. I’ll still give a few thoughts here.

One of the big plots here is naturally involving Lloyd and how he went from being the main character of the first film to now seemingly murdering a bunch of people. If you played through the first game then I’m sure you’re thinking that there’s no way Lloyd would actually be evil. It would certainly be a bold move though that’s for sure but it would likely be a very unpopular move that would turn the fanbase against you. Well, the game explains why he’s doing all of this by the line but I just don’t buy into it. The whole thing is a huge stretch if you ask me. The guy’s just out of character, there’s no other way around it. It’s great to see him of course but he just doesn’t act like Lloyd.

It is always nice to see the old cast show up when you’re with a new group though. To date the game that did this the best was the second Golden Sun game. It was handled masterfully. Here you aren’t squarely against the old cast although you do get to fight Lloyd a few times which was neat. The game comes so close to making Lloyd the final boss which was impressive. It’s also just hype to see the characters acknowledge that Lloyd and the others saved the world a while back. It’s rare to go back to a world where the heroes are now famous for saving the world from the brink of disaster. Richter managing to fight off the whole original group was certainly impressive.

The game also retroactively shows us why the villain from the first game had some good points. Uniting the planet did nothing to stop the class battles. It just switched the sides. Now people from both planets are getting into even more fights than the old days. The characters are far from perfect and the world is in desperate need of someone saving it once more. The problem is that without a tangible villain to fight against for the most part, this battle is a lot tougher on the heroes. Then you’ve got the fact that Emil and Marta are working for a powerful spirit named Ratatosk who may or may not be evil.

So it’s a very ambitious story and certainly one that I enjoyed quite a lot. As for the characters, they’re definitely solid. Aside from Lloyd, I’d say that the rest of the old characters are in character. I’m glad that most of them are still trusting Lloyd although I don’t blame the ones who stopped due to how shady he is. If Lloyd doesn’t trust them then why should they trust him right? For the new characters, I’ll start with Emil. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of his. He’s just too timid. The guy backs down to everyone and always tends to panic. When the others get in trouble Emil is forced to call out for Ratatosk mode to save the day each time. Emil’s standard form is just in over his head and to save his character he would have needed to get with the program a lot sooner.

As for his Ratatosk mode, that’s when Emil’s at his best. It’s a similar dynamic to Jekyl and Hyde or Yugi and Yami Yugi. They are effectively different characters. As Ratatosk, Emil is a fun character even if you may not be able to call him a very heroic one. He’s always ready for a fight and isn’t passive this time around. When there’s someone in his way Emil will just blast through them. I wouldn’t have minded if he was in this form all the time. Then you have the heroine Marta. She’s a pretty unique characters. For starters she is constantly flirting with Emil due to admiring him after he saved her as a child. Emil doesn’t remember this and isn’t as brave as Marta expected him to be but that could also be why she was enjoying teasing him the whole time.

Beneath that she has a solid character arc though. Like Emil she has a lot of reasons for being fairly withdrawn and creating an external persona. She wants revenge on some characters but tries to hold this back. At the end of the day she is doing what she can to save the world and does well at this. I would say that she is better than the heroine of the first game. So the these two characters make for a solid duo. Then you’ve got Richter who is one of the major players of the game. He’s definitely a solid villain. No matter what justifications he uses, one of the guy’s first appearances is to try to murder Marta so there’s no way you can stretch him into being a hero. The guy has his goals and the motivations are solid but he definitely goes too far in trying to achieve them. He has the best theme in the game though which makes it extra fun whenever he appears. I also liked his weapon of choice.

The game’s story has a ton of cinematics which is fun because it makes this feel like a movie type event at times. There is always something happening and a benefit of being a sequel is having a lot of nostalgic moments everywhere. Pretty much every town is accurately recreated from the first game including the dungeons. The hub world is gone so now you go directly from place to place. I was definitely pretty cool with that. The graphics are quite solid and the soundtrack is good. While the first game wins with the music overall, I really liked Richter’s theme as well as the various remasters from the first game.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value here. The game itself is over 20 hours long and there are a lot of side quests and bonus cutscenes you can experience during the game as well. Add onto that the various collectibles and this will definitely last you for a while. It’s not quite as long as the first game but still quite long in its own right. There are also some new mechanics compared to the first game like being able to train up monsters. While it’s always sad to see them go back to level 1 when they reincarnate, their stats go quite high. They were super valuable during the final bosses here and they level up faster than the human characters so at least to me it seemed to balance out pretty well.

Overall, Dawn of the New World is a great sequel to the first Tales Of. I definitely recommend picking this up whether you’ve played the first one or not. Either way it’s a great RPG that really succeeds in every area. The fact that most of the dungeons are already completed when you start the game is fine by me. It just means that there’s more time to focus on the story and battles. We get quite a few action scenes in the cinematics like Lloyd taking on Richter or the main duo going up against Alice and her partner. The story gets quite deep at times and doesn’t pull its punches. The ending is pretty tragic in some ways but I was glad that at least some of the characters got a happy ending here. It would have been pretty sad if the game had cut out a bit early. Hopefully they bring these characters back for another adventure some day.

Overall 8/10

Children of the Damned Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to a film that you would have thought would just end. I suppose there’s always room for a sequel though and I’ll never fault the idea of it, but this movie clearly didn’t have much of a plan. The villains themselves don’t have much of a plan and since the alien angle has been removed the movie is lacking that big punch that it could have had. Throw in some animal violence and I’m afraid that you’re in for a bit of a bumpy ride.

The film starts by reintroducing us to the 6 miracle children. As in the last film they all share a brain and so they all know what each others learns. Then you’ve got the fact that they have advanced hypnosis where they can control a person to do whatever they want with ease. These abilities make them hard to control or defeat. Tom and David are two people who are interested in these children but the situation quickly goes above their paygrade. Members of each embassy have decided that the children are too dangerous and are led by a man named Colin in destroying them. Can Tom and David stop them or will they ultimately decide that perhaps Colin is right and these children are too dangerous to live?

Naturally this film confronts you with the question of if it’s right to destroy these kids. Whether they’re aliens or not, the kids still appear to be children so right off the bat destroying them does not seem to be just. It’s also true that they tend to not strike unless someone attacks first but due to the nature of their powers you can never know if that is correct. When you are mind controlled you have no memory of this happening and so they could have already been manipulating people. Their abilities are effectively impossible to stop so your only bet is to take them down from afar.

I don’t think we needed to be reintroduced to the gang though. Having Tom and David know about the kids beforehand would have been pretty good I’d say. They make for solid main characters though. At first they’re just interested in what’s going on. They have some fun debates with Colin, a man the government has sent to put a stop to this. There is a lot of theorizing going on until eventually everyone is forced to choose a side which even leads to some in-fighting. At the end of the day they don’t handle the situations very well though. From Colin’s side, since he wants to destroy the kids that should be very easy. If you blow up the buildings or snipe from afar then there’s nothing their mental abilities can do. Instead a lot of the time you see them send in guards at close range who are promptly defeated. The worst attempt was likely when they had 3 guys walk up to the main kid and try to attack him. As if that stood a chance of succeeding.

The film could have gone a long way if it actually made the kids likable. Then you’d be able to sympathize with them or something. The problem is that they act like emotionless robots. Additionally they all seem to be evil from the jump, forcing their parents to crash into cars and messing with the dog. Yes, the film had to force in a dog death which did not do it any favors. I don’t see what the point of having the dog in the film was either. It’s not like it changes anything so in the end all it does is give the film another chance to fail. Why were the kids acting like this anyway? I suppose it’s the ole power corrupts case where growing up with invincible telepathy made them turn to the dark side. I could see it I suppose but from the first film the kids seemed evil from the start as if they were being controlled.

It’s why the film should not have gone away from the alien angle. These kids just being ahead of their time makes a whole lot less sense. I suppose aliens could be trolling by evolving people at random but the idea that aliens sent in advance scouts makes a lot more sense. Of course that could still be the case since the humans are just guessing but usually when the guess is presented like this is means that we’re supposed to take it as correct. Too bad, the film could have had a lot more mileage out of the alien idea. Towards the end the characters even ask the kids if they have any kind of plan and they basically shrug and say no. So much for the villains being interesting.

All I can say for the film is that it had some decent characters at least. I enjoyed the banter with the main 3 guys as well as Paul’s guardian who did her best for most of the film. She was effectively held as a hostage for the second half of it though so there wasn’t a whole lot she can do. The scenes of the kids just staring into the screen can get old pretty quickly though. It’s just hard to make a kid look scary at that age so you’re more likely to chuckle than grimace.

Overall, This is definitely not a film that I would recommend. It feels rather aimless for most of its run to the point where you question why the film has come out. What is the message that the film is going for? I suspect you will still be puzzling through that notion at the film concludes. The ending is pretty bad even if it was all part of the kids’ plans. It still makes the characters not look so good and you feel like things never had to escalate to this point. Surely characters with genius level intellect could think of another path or something right? Almost any other plan would have been more effective.

Overall 1/10

Selector Spread WIXOSS Review


It’s time to look at the next season of Wixoss. This one directly continues from the first since there was such a cliffhanger there. The characters are still trying to pick up the pieces as their next adventure starts. Unfortunately some characters have been gravely broken to the point where they are practically written out of the show (Midoriko, Kazuki) and others have been mentally drained and no longer have the same fire that they once did (Ruko, Akira) so have the villains already won? This season is weaker than the first in almost every way but the Yuzuki plot takes a backseat here which is always great. Thanks to the body snatching the scenes with Hanayo and Kazuki also aren’t as bad although since he doesn’t know it doesn’t make him look any better.

The series picks up with Ruko on the rooftop staring in shock as her partner is now Iona instead of Tama. Iona proclaims that her wish was to be teamed with the strongest so now it has come true. Ruko isn’t thrilled about this and vows not to fight in anymore Wixoss battles as she tries to save Tama. The problem is, how can you hope to find and save Tama without battling? It’s a difficult problem that Ruko doesn’t really have a solution for. Her friends are no help as they constantly pressure her not to fight. Additionally the villains are on the move. Urith has decided to manipulate Akira so that she can plunge more people into despair. Ruko’s realistically the only one who can stand up to this menace.

Mainly I had some issues with Ruko here as her character went south very quickly. In the first season she finally steeled her resolve in the climax that she would do whatever it took to save all of the Lrigs. To that effect she lied to Tama and tried to sacrifice herself. Tama saw through this goal and stopped her so Ruko is back to square one. Instead of continuing with that same energy Ruko is back to being way more hesitant to fight. Even when Hitoe is being beaten up in front of her it takes an awful long time to battle. Battling is really the only way you can stand up to the villains. No matter what her friends may think, Ruko’s only recourse here is to fight. If she doesn’t fight then they don’t stand a chance and at the end of the day that’s the big hurdle that they need to get past.

So even by the end I wasn’t a big fan of Ruko here. She does what she has to do very reluctantly all the way through to the final episode where Tama has to ask her to actually fight seriously. As a result of her half hearted determination the ending doesn’t exactly seem to work out for everyone as smoothly as it could have. In contrast Tama was pretty solid here. She makes all of the right moves. Tama is given a chance to escape but doing so would have unlocked her dark side for good so she stayed in. She figures out how to exit a cage on her own and in general just seems to have a good grasp on the situation. Now that her memories are back she’s also able to reason things out rather well regarding Mayu’s goals. She’s still the strongest LRig out there even if her max power form makes her lose control.

Then you have Iona. Now that could be referring to quite a few characters at this point but I’m talking about the one from season 1 who is Ruko’s LRig the whole time. You can’t help but feel bad for her here since she seemingly got her wish but it’s nothing like what she was expecting since Ruko refuses to fight. Now she has effectively trapped herself in a card for no reason. She doesn’t let it get her down though and does a good job of hanging in there throughout. Iona looks good throughout the whole series. I was still half expecting the twist about her being Ruko’s mother since I felt like season 1 foreshadowed that a bit but I guess that’s not the case. Probably for the best since Ruko’s mother didn’t appear to be the nicest person back in the flashbacks.

As you’d expect Yuzuki’s role here is a lot smaller than in season 1. She’s trapped in a card after all so she can talk a lot but there’s no chance for her to act. I can see her fans being a little upset at this since once you’re in a card it just feels like you aren’t as important. The worst part for her is that Hitoe owns her so she can’t expect to get many wins either. In her only big battle I was rooting for the opponent. So Yuzuki’s okay here compared to season 1 but she gives the worst advice all of the time. She’s one of the main reasons why Ruko is so confused.

Naturally this doesn’t reflect well on Hitoe as well. She manages to get kidnapped here and just seems to hold Ruko back. I’d like to see her improve her Wixoss skills a bit and actually become an ally Ruko can rely on. I think that would do a world of good for her character and would be the first step to getting her on the map. It doesn’t seem likely but I suppose there is always a chance in the world of Wixoss. Hanayo also appears a bit of course but not a whole lot. She’s definitely not taking the situation all that well and ends up panicking near the end. She is far gone from her days of being the cold calculating LRig.

It goes without saying that Kazuki is still pretty annoying here. He suspects nothing to the point where the only explanation is that he just doesn’t know Wixoss anymore. Why else would he completely stop contacting Ruko and Hitoe? If he had talked to them at all he probably would have gotten a better sense of what is happening. How did he also not suspect that something was up? Yuzuki is back but no more cards and she never hangs out with her friends anymore? I say, Kazuki’s either extremely dense or extremely gullible if Hanayo just made up some story. Either way it’s not a good look for him.

Chiyori gets a much bigger role in this season and it’s for the better. She quickly rose up to be one of the best characters in the season with ease. She brings a lot of energy to the game and doesn’t get scared the way the others do. She really wants to win and has already accepted the risks. Her final duel is definitely the most emotional since everyone is against her. The “heroes” have decided that her being knocked out of the game would be best and her own LRig is trying to lose. It’s very difficult to win under those circumstances. I definitely felt bad for Chiyori since she easily gets one of the saddest endings out of all the characters in the series. Still, she had a great run though and ended up being one of the best characters either way. She definitely won’t be forgotten.

Fumio appears briefly but doesn’t have much of a role in the season beyond giving the heroes a quick info dump. Doesn’t really do anything beyond that though so you would be forgiven for forgetting that Fumio exists. Urith gets a bigger role here than in season 1 but I wouldn’t say that she looks great. She’s going for more of a manipulative angle for sure as she messes with Akira the whole time but the main problem is just that it shouldn’t work. Akira has never been portrayed as such a gullible character before so why start now? The whole plot was rather weak and it didn’t do wonders for Urith. She is good as a card but not great as a human.

As for Akira, she has taken the biggest fall this season. In season 1 she was hardcore as she went around stomping everyone in her path and just dishing out damage. In this season she is portrayed as extremely needy and gets depressed if Urith isn’t around. What happened to her? Gone are definitely the days when she was a big threat that everyone had to fear. It’s a shame because almost all of Akira’s scenes are just painful now. She will get the occasional good moment but they are very rare. The stab for example was good but the fact that it was not fatal wasn’t. She had quite the character turn but it’s so sudden and so massive that it just doesn’t feel like the same character anymore. I gotta say that this was just a mistake and this is the kind of plot that does hurt a season. Her scenes can be tough to watch.

Finally we have Mayu who is the mastermind behind all of this. She’s fairly spoiled and seems twisted from the start. At first you may figure that she’s a good person who went down the wrong path but that’s not the case at all. She’s portrayed as being clearly twisted right from the start. So much for that idea eh? It’s hard to feel bad for her. Sure, she is trapped in a room for all of eternity but she has magical powers by which she can make an entire game. If she had left it at that she would have been good. Why add the final rule that the lower has to get corrupted and live a life of misery while the winner turns into a card? These are rules that are completely unnecessary and definitely destroy any chance Mayu had at being sympathetic. She just wants to see the other characters suffer which isn’t very heroic of her.

The animation is definitely solid like in the first season. There isn’t a noticeable difference between them which makes sense since the season came out shortly after the first. If anything the first season may still have some of the most dynamic scenes like Yuzuki’s contract still being the most awe inspiring with all of the crimson effects everywhere. All of the contract scenes are always stunning with all of the energy effects being used though. Beyond that the animation is just smooth with the action scenes being very dynamic. Tama landing her hand to hand combo while in dark mode for example was definitely pretty intense. There’s definitely nothing to dislike there. As for the soundtrack the themes are mainly the same as in the first season. We do get a new opening though which is pretty solid. Both openings are very close to each other so it’s hard to say which is better. They both have a solid ominous theme behind them.

Ultimately I would say that the season is a little weaker than the first thanks in part to Akira really being thrown away as a character. She was so cool in season 1 so I don’t know why the show would go in this direction. It was unexpected so I’ll give the writers that but she just doesn’t feel like the same character. Her Akalucky name just doesn’t work now with all of these bad things happening to her. It’s also always hard to quite match the first season for a mysterious anime like this. Now we know the rules of the game and such so the main obstacle is the heroes trying to stop Mayu and get Tama back as opposed to figuring out why they are battling.

We get more origin stories and such which are good for lore but not quite as interesting as the main story itself. I still feel like Fumio doesn’t serve much of a role in the story and Mayu is a pretty weak villain. Her goals and plans aren’t all that good. That’s not a writing thing though, I’m pretty sure you’re meant to think that Mayu has just confused herself over and over with her plans. She could have easily had a happy ending if she had actually tried for it. The season itself has a far more definitive ending than the first season though. This is the kind of ending where you almost wouldn’t even need another season. Of course it’s always good to have more and more since I think all franchises should strive to be as long as possible. There’s always a way to bring more to the story and future plotlines for Ruko are pretty obvious. Her goals are not yet 100% complete so she’ll need to work on that.

The rules of the game are still not really explained but this season tries to show them a bit more. We actually acknowledge trap cards now and we see opponents using counters and strategies against each other. Evidently the elemental nature of the decks is also quite important here to the point where it’s hard for some elements to beat others. I have to say that this seems like a potentially troublesome mechanic since that invites a bit of rock paper scissors into the mix. It’s all the more reason to feel bad for Chiyori since she was trying her best. Not everyone can be a winner of course as there will be a loser in each fight but it would have been nice to see her win more. At the end of the day she is just a kid though and I suppose she hasn’t come into her own in terms of ability quite yet.

Overall, Wixoss continues to be a pretty interesting magical girl show even if the execution isn’t quite there yet. It’s still not able to get the same sense of dread as Madoka or if it’s slowly trying to transition it still doesn’t have the same energy as Angelic Layer. So it’s sort of stuck in the middle where bad things happen happen to the heroes and there is a sense of danger but not at the same level and the heroes are a little too hesitant to do anything about it. In a way it’s tough for the cast because Ruko is the only hero who can really fight well. It’ll be good for her to get some more reliable allies at some point in the future. If you already saw season 1 then you should definitely continue the saga. There’s less Yuzuki and Kazuki which is always good but Akira’s plot is really bad so get ready to shake your head once she appears. How the mighty have fallen!

Overall 5/10

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey Review


It’s time for the big sequel to the original Bill & Ted! These two definitely went on quite the adventure the first time around. I enjoyed the film well enough and this one throws in androids which is always cool. I would say this one even improved upon the first. It does have some scenes where the film can get a little slow but for the most part the pacing is solid and the androids made for pretty intimidating opponents. They’re definitely not people that the heroes can really hope to defeat straight up.

This movie opens up in a similar state to the first. Bill & Ted still can’t play music at all and that’s not good since the big battle of the bands is coming up. They think about using time to help them out with this but in the meantime finally propose to the princesses from the first film. Everything is going well until alternate versions of themselves appear. They think it’s the future selves here to help them out once again but instead they are actually evil doppelgangers sent from the future to foil Bill & Ted’s career. These robots murder Bill & Ted and proceed to accomplish their goals. The heroes last chance to save the day is to quickly find Death so they can come back to life and then interfere before the Battle of the Bands performance is over or there will be no hope left. It’s a tough journey but someone’s got to do it.

I definitely enjoyed having some evil androids in the mix. Having villains like that can definitely take things to the next level if you ask me. Think about it, these guys have built in super strength and they easily crush the leads in their first battle. I’ll admit that the loss is a bit embarrassing if anything but it’s not like you could have expected anything less. It was still the most hype set of scenes in the film. Unfortunately there isn’t a real rematch later on so you need to enjoy the initial struggle.

The adventures through the characters’ personal hells were fun too though. You’ve even got a giant bunny that is around to mess everyone up. The scenes could get pretty tense. Death himself is probably the least intimidating member by default. The guy just wants some friends deep down. The scenes of the main characters playing him in a bunch of board games was definitely fun. Especially since I had even played a bunch of them back in the day. Bill & Ted are definitely really good at playing these which isn’t too surprising. I bet they played these games quite a lot over the years, probably instead of studying or anything like that.

As for Ted and Bill as characters, they’re pretty much unchanged from the first film so you either like them or you don’t. I appreciated the air guitar gimmick they have where they use that whenever something cool happens. Part of what helps them succeed as characters is their comedy gags aren’t even all that annoying. The characters are pretty fun and just work out rather well if you ask me. The cast is fairly small but they work well. The princesses don’t look great but they don’t really have a lot of screen time. There’s also a super smart inventor from another world who was passable at best but these side characters don’t really take away from the main adventure or anything like that.

There’s also a big twist that happens near the end of the film which is pretty fun. It just goes to show that when time travel is in play you have to expect the unexpected. Anything can happen at any given moment which is part of the point of this method. The film’s pacing is pretty solid so it’ll be over before you know it. Ultimately if I had to really say why it beat the first film, I’d say that the evil Androids and the film mainly taking place in the present are what did it. I love time travel but of course I prefer going to the future than the past. There’s just a lot more to explore when you’re going forward.

Overall, Bill & Ted manage to improve upon what made the first film solid. This is one I could definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys comedies. The writing is on point and we’ll see if the third film can keep it up. I don’t see why not, the trailer for it certainly looks pretty solid to me. The end of the big saga at long last. At the end of the day it’s still almost frightening how the future society is doomed to be modeled after these characters. I mean, there are far worse people you could pick to represent the planet but also much better ones as well. At least the clothing seems to have gone the LazyTown route in the future so fashion is on an upwards trend.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia Season 4 Review


It’s time to take a look at the long overdue season 4 of MHA. My Hero’s definitely been going pretty strong getting season after season. It’s definitely good to see because when you’re a Jump flagship title like Hero is then you definitely deserve to get it. Back in the day it was more common to see long running anime that just wouldn’t end as they adapted like Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach but seasonal is the new in thing and I’d say it works pretty well. Especially in MHA’s case as the next season is announced almost immediately each time. In general I’d say the seasons have been getting better and better with 3 being my favorite followed by 2 and then 1. 4 breaks this trend as I would consider it to be the weakest one. Still very good of course and I suppose if a series continues to go up it has to stop at some point. This one happens to involve a what I’ve always considered to be one of the worst decisions by the main hero. More on that later.

As with the other MHA seasons it is divided into 2 story arcs here. The main one is easily the Overhaul arc. So it turns out that a gang of Yakuza led by Overhaul is making a bit of a comeback. The Yakuza have an interesting setup because even though everyone knows they’re evil, the live out in the open and can’t really be attacked. The heroes need to find some proof of their wrong doing and the Yakuza’s new alliance with the League of Villains is the perfect tie to do so. Additionally, Overhaul has a girl in his custody who he is forcing to create anti-hero bullets using her body/quirk. Deku and the team had a chance to save her early on but did not take it. Now he is extra determined to save her this time around. The heroes launch an all out assault on Overhaul’s base. Can the heroes really get through to the goal?

That takes up the first 14 episodes and we have a lot of action here throughout the arc. Right when the heroes approach the mafia base they are quickly attacked and from here on out the whole arc is a bunch of nonstop fight scenes. I always enjoy when the heroes have to split up and take everyone out. It’s a tried and true arc setup that doesn’t disappoint because you really get to see everyone fight. It’s not like the main character can take everyone on so this is the time for the secondary characters to shine and it’s why you need a strong supporting cast. None of the fights in this arc are weak. They’re all quite good and it makes the whole thing feel pretty grand. Perhaps not with the same literal stakes as All Might vs All For One but it’s more of a personal fight which ends up making it pretty equivalent.

Let’s get the Deku stuff out of the way early and then go into the rest. Early on in the arc Deku and Mirio head out on patrol and run into Overhaul and a little girl. The girl has obviously been through quite a lot and is injured. She has bandages over her arms and legs. Still, Eri manages to run from Overhaul and over to Deku where she literally tells him not to go. Now, before this you could make the case that he wasn’t sure she was in trouble but by now there is no way this isn’t happening. Ultimately once they go into the dark alley Eri realizes that the heroes aren’t doing anything while Overhaul is getting ready to make his move so she runs back to him while Deku and Mirio just watch. It’s a terrible scene all the way around. Even ignoring the fact that Overhaul is running live experiments on Eri which the heroes couldn’t have known about, they do know that he’s been injuring her. He basically confirms that to them in his speech. She’s just a little kid, they’re obligated to help her out.

It’s not a morally gray situation or a scenario where the heroes aren’t sure of what to do. The solution is clear as day and it is that they need to help her. This really hurt both Deku and Mirio’s characters as heroes. I dare say that a lot of characters who are vigilantes or heroes with heroic tendencies would have stepped in. These two are both heroes and that’s what their whole lives are all about. It’s inexcusable of them to just ignore Eri when she’s in trouble like this. They spend the rest of the season and even future seasons reminded of this at every turn but it’s just not a mistake that should have happened in the first place. Some mistakes make sense, but this was really something.

So that takes care of that and it’s why Deku gets a low grade from me in this season. There’s just no way you can bounce back from that in the same season. As for Mirio, he’s one of the new characters in this series. He’s the man who wants to save a million people. While that isn’t quite the same as saving everyone, it shows that he acknowledges that it won’t always be possible to save everyone. He has one of the best quirks in the series. With permeation he can make parts of his body intangible and can slip through the ground very easily to attack someone from behind. He’s portrayed as not only being one of the strongest students in the series but even one of the strongest heroes. It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s easily Top 5 among the pro heroes. Obviously All Might would defeat him but after that it gets interesting. Personally I think Endeavor matches up really well against Mirio so I would give him the win. It’s very close with Hawks so I’d say Mirio is either 3rd or 4th which is really good.

Naturally Mirio is also to blame for the earlier season. Debatably more because he was the one holding Deku back although it’s still equal since as a hero you can’t let others tell you what to do. Mirio does have one of the best fights in the series. While the animation isn’t quite given the special budget the way Deku’s fight was, I would consider Mirio’s fight second in the season only to Deku vs Gentle Criminal. Part of what makes it work is how intense the fight is. The music is top tier and the fight is a mix of regret and utter determination. Mirio’s fighting overwhelming odds. It’s a fight that as the viewer you know he cannot win which makes it all the more intense. I’ve rewatched this fight more than any other in the series. Part of it is also the stellar voice acting and that the fight is fairly short so it’s easy to go back and check out quite a lot. In some ways it’s a more powerful fight than with the Criminal although that’s still my favorite because of how great the action choreography is. That first shot of Mirio taking down both villains and grabbing Eri was super impressive though. Without a hostage he definitely would have won this round rather easily.

Suneater is another member of the big 3 and he gets a pretty big fight. The guy is super nervous and doesn’t believe in himself the way that Mirio does. He prefers to stick to the shadows and just observe what is going on. His quirk is that he can take animal attributes from what he eats and uses that in combat. It’s a very unique quirk. Perhaps not as useful as Mirio’s but it works out pretty well either way. I prefer characters who are more confident so he’s not one of my favorites but I really enjoyed his fight. It’s rare to see villains using so much teamwork and yet they were acting like a well oiled machine. I actually think Suneater should have lost that fight in the end but ultimately it was a satisfying encounter either way.

I’ll give this to Overhaul’s minions. A lot of them aren’t very memorable as I don’t remember their names but when you rewatch the fights they did rather well. This trio was very good against Suneater. Then you have the guy with the dizzy powers who fought Mirio. It may not be a very offensive ability but it was a useful one to have. I’ll probably never remember that guy’s name but he was quite solid. Then you have Rappa who is one of my favorite Hero villains. The guy loves a good fight and he fights fairly. No underhanded tricks for him because he’s confident in his abilities and that’s how it should be. If you doubt yourself then what’s the point right? When you really think about it, Overhaul has a much better villain group than Tomura. I’ll take these guys over the League of Villains any day.

Unfortunately the only member of the Big 3 to not really get anything to do was Nejire. Her abilities of flight and energy blasts would lend themselves well to a fight. Hopefully one day she gets a proper match. She’s a fun enough character but I want to see her get some action. Even Fat Gum got a big fight here. I’m not a big fan of the guy but he’s a reasonable hero. The ability of being able to soak up damage and then release it is very handy and we’ve seen quite a few characters use that effectively in media like Yang from RWBY or even Adam from the same series.

Eri is a nice enough character even if she can’t fight. She always prioritizes other people’s safety which is quite mature for a little girl like herself. Once she learns how to control her ability she will end up being one of the best support characters in the field. Aizawa is another great support character since erasing an entire quirk is an incredibly useful ability to have. It’s why the villains always have to try and knock him out of the fight early. In a 1 on 1 fight it’s unlikely that you’ll defeat Aizawa. I can’t say I was sold on him in the beginning but I’ve grown to enjoy his character more. Between his origin story (Not in this season though) and his various appearances throughout the series he has solidified himself as a solid mentor you can count on.

Sadly Bakugo pretty much misses out on the whole season. He’s around for the babysitting arc of course but that’s about it. It’s a shame because having him in the Overhaul arc would have been a blast. He has a decent matchup against Overhaul as well. He’s still the best character in the series and has already appeared a ton so I guess taking a season off isn’t bad. His main partner Kirishima gets more of a lead role instead. He has a few notable moments here but the best one is definitely his fight against Rappa where he has to try and shatter his limits. His ability to shore up his defense by becoming as hard as iron is definitely handy. The fact that he was able to awaken this to a level 2 ability was definitely useful as well. If he keeps growing like this he can definitely be one of the top heroes. It’s a simple quirk, but a highly effective one all the same.

Nighteye is one of the new heroes and since he used to work with All Might that makes for a pretty personal connection to Deku. His ability to see the future is a very useful one. In general I always like that ability. It can be hard to write around but s long as you define some limits then it works out. I would make the case for example that Deku still should have crushed him in the fight because even when seeing the future you can’t hope to keep up with Deku’s speed. That’s the one thing about seeing the future. Just because you can see what the opponent is about to do doesn’t mean that you can hope to stop it. He was a quality character either way though. I actually thought he was in the right with his arguments about the future with All Might. It’s an incredible useful ability and the two of them could have worked out a way to try and change things. All Might’s decision to just get out of there wasn’t good. Nighteye at least stayed in the field and continued using his ability for the good of everyone.

Tomura appears here but he definitely plays second fiddle to Overhaul. Sure, Tomura gets his big moment at the end but it’s more petty than anything since he didn’t dare go in on a frontal assault. There are quite a few parallels with the two such as their similar quirks. A single touch can obliterate either one of them. In that sense I don’t think Tomura would lose to Overhaul as it would be a mutual kill but that wouldn’t benefit anyone. It’s still fair to say that Overhaul had the edge in their meetup though. His group was better prepared and it was a tough one for the League of Villains to overcome. It’s why they needed to get their revenge in the end. It’ll be good to see Tomura take up more of a role in the future although the nature of his ability means that it’s tough to have a real fight with him. The current arc addresses this though.

Finally we have Overhaul himself. Well, the guy is about as evil and corrupt as you can get. Only the most evil of villains tend to mess with kids and since his whole plan involves effectively destroying Eri over and over again that’s very twisted. He makes for an imposing villain even if he lasts longer than he needs to. Based on the Mirio fight from earlier it’s safe to say that Mirio could have defeated him in the alley. His ability to become intangible is the perfect counter against a villain like this. I don’t like Overhaul personally, but he does make for a threatening villain. If you give him enough time to power up and stockpile abilities then he becomes quite the threat. He’s also very confident and does have a whole organization backing him so you can’t take the guy lightly.

The next arc we get is the School Festival. Deku is determined to make this a fun one for Eri but there’s one possible obstacle that could get in the way. A villain known as the Gentle Criminal has made UA his next target. He aims to break in just to prove that he can. While the goal is harmless to the actual students, the school has been warned that if yet another villain breaks into the school they will go into emergency lockdown and the festival will be cancelled. That means Deku will have to take this guy out very quickly and decisively. Can he really win though? Gentle Criminal is easily one of the most dangerous villains he has ever tangled with. It’s a very quick follow up arc but one of the highlights of the season.

Right when this arc occurred in the manga I knew it was going to be a good one. I also thought it was a way to show that Deku had learned his lesson this time. The circumstances are fairly different but he is once again forced to decide between overlooking the villain’s actions or stepping in even though it would not be advised by the pro heroes. Deku doesn’t hesitate this time and launches into battle. You want to see that kind of character development. Additionally, Criminal’s quirk is really quite impressive. Initially it looks like creating air pockets may not be very helpful but the guy is really good with using it. I’d also make the case that any and all elemental abilities tend to be very useful in combat. In particular gravity and air tend to have many different uses which is good. Their fight has quite a lot of back and forth which both fighters giving it their all. It’s not just a clash of might but a clash of ideals which is part of why the fight is so effective. I would consider that the best fight in the arc no question. In all of My Hero I would consider it one of the best fights in the series, the animation is also incredible.

Gentle Criminal may not be around for too long but I hope he gets to return someday. He may have given up on being a hero but he has fine tuned his abilities to a degree where he would definitely be quite useful. He may have been a villain but at least he did his best not to hurt anyone. His main goal was really just showing that he can do something when he puts his mind to it and that La Brava’s editing skills are on point. They make for quite the difficult team to conquer. If Deku had not been the one to go up against him I doubt the Criminal would have been captured right now. I like the guy’s charisma. He’s the kind of villain who’s easy to root for just due to the nature of his criminal actions and the fact that his theme is pretty great. You really can’t count this guy out.

After that the season is effectively over but we do get a little bit of a lead up to the next season which will heavily involve Hawks and Endeavor. We get to see one of the new Noumu creatures in action as well. The season ends rather quickly so the next season should pick up almost immediately which is cool. While this season adapted the fan favorite arc in the Overhaul saga, the next season looks like it’ll be adapting some of the most important parts of the manga which will be pretty intense. I’d make the case that coming up are some of the darkest arcs in the series so we’ll see how the anime handles it. Some parts can definitely be quite twisted and while I expect My Hero will be going on for a very long time, I do feel like we’re getting close to the end of “Part 1”

The final bit does its best to try and show Endeavor in a more positive light but at this point it feels very late for that. It’ll be good if his character is ultimately redeemed but if you ask me it’s way too soon for that. While Todoroki’s brother is portrayed as being the unreasonable one here in how he can’t forgive Endeavor, I can’t blame him. The others are very quick to welcome him back except for Todoroki although he’s getting rather close, but if anything that will just widen the gap. Todoroki’s brother just can’t believe how easy this is for Endeavor. Of course at the end of the day they’re all hoping Endeavor doesn’t get destroyed by a monster though. Not only would that not atone for anything but it makes things too easy on him. Endeavor needs to live so that he can really turn into a better person. He’s certainly working at it so hopefully this works out for him.

We don’t see Hawks for long but right away you can see why he’s such a fun character. The guy takes his hero work very seriously but is far less rigid than the other heroes. He’s more about being practical than just blindly following orders. He’s got a lot of thoughts of his own and you certainly don’t feel like you can trust him for that reason. His feather abilities are very handy and it’s yet another versatile quirk. It’s easy to see why he is one of the Top 10 heroes even if he lacks the sheer power that some of the other heroes have. Technique will certainly trump raw power any day of the week although it also means you have to be 100% focused the whole time as one mistake can mean the end for you.

As always the animation is very solid. It’s no surprise though, the show has always been very consistent with this. To date I wouldn’t say that any episode has had bad or even average animation. It’s all looked quite solid from the start. It’s easy to see this as clips from season 1 still age really well and yet you can see the improvement from season to season. The Deku vs Overhaul fight definitely got the maximum amount of budget here. Meanwhile Mirio’s fight was more still based but all of the images were very dynamic so it still looked very good. The colors pop out at you and the fight scenes are on point so My Hero definitely delivers as always.

It almost goes without saying that the soundtrack is very solid as well. I wouldn’t say that any of the openings quite have the same iconic energy as the very first MHA opening but they’re solid. We get a lot of the classic tunes here as well and then there’s also a new theme for Gentle Criminal. The theme is excellent and really shows you what kind of character you can expect from here. It’s a theme that has a lot of intrigue and a hint of mystery which is the perfect blend for this character. It definitely helps to take him to the next level. “Brawl” and “Sword and Shield” are two other excellent themes in the show.

In a way the Deku vs Overhaul battle gives us a preview of what Deku will look like at 100% power. He won’t be able to use this consistently until we get some kind of timeskip I imagine since his body won’t keep up but it’ll be fun to see. The form effectively has him go Super Saiyan and like this there is no hero who can even dream of stopping him. Just one 100% punch is enough to take down almost any fighter so using it consecutively? That’ll be fun. I’m always glad to see Deku going all out at last so that worked out quite well. Definitely makes Overhaul’s defense also look very impressive when you think about it since he was able to keep regenerating from that. We’ve got a lot to look forward to with Deku power wise after this.


Overall, My Hero Academia has definitely become the next big show in America. It has been for quite a while at this point and I expect it will continue to be quite mainstream with the consistent releases and solid story arcs. There’s just a whole lot you can do with this universe and the solid cast built around it. If you haven’t checked the show out you should certainly do so. With 4 seasons out you’ll have a lot of episodes to binge through and perhaps that will take you up to the season 5 release date. I don’t recall when that is coming out but it definitely can’t be much longer I’d say since this review took me a while to write. With excellent music and animation throughout you really owe yourself to check this title out.

Overall 7/10

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Review


After quite a while it’s time to look at the next Kingdom Hearts adventure. I enjoyed the 358 game quite a bit back in the day. The gameplay was definitely a bit simplified but it was all very smooth. The story was also pretty intense and it was interesting to see the organization’s side of things. Roxas as a tragic story right from the start since you know things aren’t going to end well for him. It’s easily the most underrated game in the series. The manga is a pretty solid adaption of this. I’d say that it goes for a bit of a lighter tone but all of the events still happen and we even get some extra development on Xion’s side.

The manga starts with Roxas joining the organization. He is a “Nobody” a shell of a person who died long ago. Nobodies don’t have souls and thus can’t feel human emotions although they can emulate them based on their life experiences. They don’t have memories of who they used to be although they will occasionally get flashes. The mission of the organization is to gather a lot of hearts to open up Kingdom Hearts. Once they do that the goal gets a little more vague but opening up the gate will take a while as it is. Roxas doesn’t feel one way or another about the goal, he just goes ahead and does it. Things change when he starts to become friends with Axel and Xion. He begins to see the organization’s true nature and wonders if he is really in the right place at all.

Of course it is a little difficult to betray an organization when they are all that you knew. Since Roxas has a difficult time with emotions he also isn’t sure how he should feel. One thing’s for sure though, Roxas does develop a real heart by the end of all this. His adventures and emotions are too real for that not to happen. Ultimately he does choose Xion over the organization which was the right call. He’s definitely a solid character for sure. It’s neck and neck between him and Sora for who the better lead is but of course Sora will appear a whole lot more during the franchise. Roxas’ role was brief in comparison, but memorable all the same.

I get the feeling that the author really liked Riku because he looks quite solid here. No complaints from me because I do think Riku is top tier. At this point in the series he has really become accustomed to using the powers of darkness so he even wears a blindfold to increase his abilities. In this series he was actually able to take on the vast majority of the organization members at the same time which is pretty impressive. He’s definitely a fighter who doesn’t do down easily. Roxas gave him a good fight but even this guy couldn’t win in the end. It’s nice to see the original characters looking so solid.

Part of why the struggle is pretty personal here is because both Riku and Roxas are fighting for good reasons. Roxas wanted to save Xion from her deadly fate. Xion’s death would result in Sora’s resurrection but not only does Roxas have no reason to allow this to happen, Xion’s his friend. He can’t just let her throw her life away. The scales are reversed with Riku since Sora is his best friend so he mainly just wants him back no matter the cost. At least they do give Xion the choice although it’s a very pressured one so it’s hard to say how much she got to influence this. Also, Sora’s soul is large enough where Roxas had to go eventually as well.

When you think about it the plot here is actually rather dark. Perhaps that’s why the manga tries to squeeze in a lot of lighter moments to help balance it out. Otherwise this could get rather grim pretty fast. Definitely makes for an engaging read the whole time though. The manga throws you a lot of hints about Xion and her fate from early on. The organization isn’t exactly subtle about it to the point where you think they probably could have hid their intentions a bit more from Roxas so he wouldn’t stand in their way. I’d have liked to see Roxas take down the whole organization which he maybe would have done if he escaped from Riku. I could definitely see him wanting revenge here.

As for Axel, I’m not a big fan of his. At the end of the day he stood down when it counted and his secrets played a large part in dooming Roxas. If he had been more open about what was going on then perhaps they would have been able to think of a plan to escape with. Axel’s decision to keep to himself was a poor one and it’s hard for his character to rebound from it. Xion also made a lot of bad calls. She also didn’t trust in her friends enough. If she talked to Roxas more then she could have had a better chance. I have more sympathy points for her though because she’s living with a ton of veiled threats against her. She also doesn’t want to get him into further trouble. Still not a great reason to keep secrets but it’s better than Axel’s. I always thought Xion was pretty fun and it’s too bad she couldn’t appear more.

The art is pretty solid. It’s not quite Shounen looking in the sense that you shouldn’t expect any big fight scenes here. Most of the time the fights are over in a bit or two even if they are serious battles. The series juggles comedy and action so the art also fluctuates based on that. At this point the artist is pretty experienced so the characters are all looking sharp and the style is refined. I’d like to see longer fight scenes at some point but that’s more of a writing decision as opposed to having to do with the art. From the cuts we get I think the fight scenes would work out pretty well.

The manga isn’t very long so you should blast through it pretty quickly. If anything I wouldn’t have minded a longer bit based on the final act. Once Roxas finally leaves the organization for good it’s one of the more intense moments in the series. His fight with Saix is an example of a fight that could have been extended. Roxas may be relatively new to the Keyblade game but since the manga takes place over the course of a year it’s possible he even has more experience than Sora now. I’m not sure how much time passed during the first two games. Either way my money would be on Roxas to take Saix out and that would be a really grand battle. The final chapters are intense either way so you better enjoy them.

I imagine it would be pretty interesting to start with 358. There are a lot of references to older events and such so while it would increase the mystery angle it also means you will have less reason to root for Sora and friends. It would probably up the tragic angle of the series. It’s always rare to get a video game about the villains so it can be interesting to see their side of things. Especially in a case like this where the organization is evil but the younger members don’t really know better. After all, as Nobodys they don’t have a heart or any emotions so it’s a slot tougher for them to choose between good and evil. At least Roxas and Xion proved that you can get past this and generate a real heart eventually.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 358 is definitely a solid title and I’d recommend checking it out. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it beats the adaption for 2 or anything like that but like the game it makes for a pretty intense story. By the end of it you will feel like things are pretty unfair for the main characters. There really weren’t many options available to them and even the heroes wouldn’t try to save them. Makes it a little harder to get out of an evil organization when that’s the case. Roxas and Xion were really left to their own devices. I think if they could have convinced Axel to run away with them the 3 could have been ok for a while but at the same time they would spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders so in a way it’s not like they would have been living on Cloud 9 or anything like that.

Overall 7/10

Danball Senki Wars Review


It’s time to look at the manga adaption to the Wars series. It’s a pretty short one which makes for a pretty easy review. While you can tell that this is one of those adaptions that’s more of a tie-in than anything it still has a good story and I thought the art did step up whenever a fight scene would occur. It’s not exactly going for top tier, but I’d still say it’s pretty solid and that’s how I would describe the manga in general. It’s not something you may particularly remember but it doesn’t really do anything wrong either.

The manga starts with Sena finally making it into the elite LBX school. Now he can finally play the game as much as he wants and it even counts as part of the curriculum. The battles are for teams of 3 so he is paired with a former 1 on 1 champ named Hikaru and a strategist named Haruki. Together the 3 of them will do their best to win the big tournament and become the best in all of the land. To do this they will need to get past the legendary fighter known as Muraku. That guy is known for being pretty much impossible to stop in a fight due to the fact that he can beat most opponents in a single instant before they have a chance to react. Hopefully Sena knows what he is getting into.

Sena is your standard protagonist. He loves to eat and fight. Sena also believes that you can become friends with just about anyone just by having a friendly battle. He certainly isn’t afraid of Muraku and why should he be? Sena came here to fight and naturally that means he wants to go up against the strongest fighters that this school has to offer. His confidence also isn’t without justification as the guy does manage to win most of his fights. The only part about Sena that can be a bit much is in the climax when one guy’s trying to explain how he grew up in a war zone and had to fight to survive. Sena barely seems to care and just points out that they’re friends now.

In general the climax felt a bit rushed. You throw in the big antagonist in the form of Kouji who hints at a greater plot but there’s no time to really go into any of this. The show had time because of how long it is, but in this series almost the entire thing is the tournament. We get a quick fight near the end but that’s about it. At that point it’s all over so Sena just has to beat this guy and keep it moving. I like the concept of how he handles it though. All of the characters pool their resources together and create an ultimate LBX of sorts. If you’re going to win against a strong opponent like that then this is definitely the most logical way to do so. I just would have liked for this plot to have been a little longer but Kouji was a solid villain.

As for Sena’s partners, they don’t get to do a lot. Haruki never did much in the show either so it’s not too surprising. He’s not bad, but definitely comes across as super nervous next to someone as brave as Sena. The guy is never ready to just jump in and try his best. It’s why he ends up staying behind the others. Then you have Hikaru who is an LBX expert. I remember being really disappointed with this guy in the show because a big deal is made about his strength during his intro and then that vanishes completely. The guy doesn’t get to do much of anything so…..he shouldn’t have had any hype. It’s hard to believe this guy was the champion of anything and in the manga he really gets nothing to do so that doesn’t help matters.

Muraku is still pretty cool here though. He’s definitely a very solid rival and one who pushes Sena to the brink. He reminds me of Chaud and Protoman. This guy’s a classic rival and he has the confidence down. At the same time, he’s not super antagonistic or anything like that. The guy still enjoys a good fight and if anything is glad that Sena is around. It gets lonely at the top. It would have been nice if he could have gotten a rematch against Kouji since their first scuffle had a cheap shot involved. Still, Muraku makes his presence known.

Then you have the other rival Gendou and you may feel bad for him. The guy is actually incredibly strong but ultimately just gets held back because his partners are so weak. The manga even addresses this with Sena surprisingly targeting them. It’s a very effective strategy in combat of course but it’s not something you typically see the main character do. If this guy had solid partners then I dare say that the main characters would have been doomed. Gendou is definitely a good sport about all of this though so I’ll give him props for that. I always appreciate it when a character can take a loss since that’s pretty important.

As I mentioned, the art isn’t anything particularly impressive but during the action scenes I feel like a real effort was made. The LBX designs are solid and you do feel a good amount of weight behind each of the swings. It’s definitely important to have that in a fighting manga so this title delivers. The series may be short but that’s why it’s good that we kept the character roster small. You’ll remember the characters more than in some other titles even if it naturally isn’t as impactful as the main title.

Part of the issue when it comes to stakes is that this adaption basically ended while the series was still in pre arc. It would have been a lot of fun to have seen the series keep going and adapt a lot of the bigger fights that were coming up. Of course, here the power creep happened a whole lot quicker than in the show so it’s hard to see how the supporting characters would have been able to do much of anything. They’d definitely need new LBX machines at their disposal and very quickly if they would want to remain relevant in the battles. There are a lot of ways to write around that though.

Also, the series ends with Kouji possibly having some valid points. At the end of the day he still comes across as a villain because he is so he undermines the points themselves. Still, if apparently LBX are being used for war outside this facility then maybe the kids should be doing something about it. In the show this actually does become a main focus so the manga was certainly heading in that direction. This works great as a preview to the show itself. Sort of something to get you interested and then have you check out the full anime. If anything you can skip the first few episodes and start near the end of this one if you want to directly continue although the reason you should start near the end is because the manga does diverge a bit.


Overall, Danball Senki Wars is a solid title. I do think everything should get a quick manga tie-in so even if it’s short it’s always nice to see this one. How I see it, a franchise should expand as much as it can. It may not get a ton of fans but as long as you get some then it’s a win. If you like action titles or Megaman in general then this is a good one to check out. It’s really quick so you’ll finish it in a flash but that doesn’t take away from the quality here. We get quite a few battles since the series goes full blast into them. The fights all have some strategy to them and as I mentioned, they’re drawn pretty well. I look forward to getting more manga for Danball Senki in the future. It’s a series that really shouldn’t end because there’s so much more you can do with it.

Overall 7/10