Lunar: Dragon Song Review


What were they thinking with this one? Dragon Song easily has some of the worst video game mechanics I’ve ever seen. Another issue here is at least most titles stick to just having one awful gimmick that was thrown into the game. This has a bunch of them and we’re definitely going to have to talk about why they are an issue. There is a decent game buried in here somewhere but the game makes it as difficult as possible to try and find it. I can see why the franchise basically died with this one.

The story takes place many years before Lunar Legacy so now we can see why everyone looked up to the Dragon Master and why all of the dragons were in poor shape from the start of the first game. Well, Jian is just your average main character who looks up to the old legends of strong fighters. One day he and Lucia are on a usual delivery job from their guild when they wander into a town and fight some monsters. That’s when they find out that the town general is actually a mad man chasing power. He takes out the dragons and becomes the Dragonmaster. After that he kidnaps Lucia.

Jian has to get her back but the only one who can defeat a Dragonmaster is another Dragonmaster. Jian needs to take down all of the dragons and get some powerful friends by his side if he is to save her but it won’t be easy. Fortunately Jian is the kind of guy who learns really fast and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the enemies. In fact, he does have more character than the first game’s protagonist even if he is unreasonable a lot of the time. Get ready to hear Jian constantly talk about how he has to save Lucia and he will do whatever it takes. He says this a whole lot.

Dragon Song has a fairly weak character cast though. You won’t remember any of the heroes for very long which is a shame. Additionally, the main villain is so unremarkable that the game doesn’t even let you fight him. Yes, you have a main villain who actually goes out without a fight. If that’s not anticlimactic then I don’t know what is. It was such a bad way to go out too. Then for the heroes you have a revolving door here as your party members keep on changing. Maybe that’s part of what makes it hard to really sync up with them. They also don’t level up with you so be prepared for a level 1 guy to join you when you’re past level 10. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

While Jian’s determination to save Lucia is good, he does come across as unreasonable parts of the time. A big moment of this is when the world is at stake and he has deliveries to do but gets baited into joining a tournament to prove that humans are just as cool as the Beastmen. It wasn’t really a good time for that and he ended up being cursed for his efforts. The game has a theme about humans vs beast men similar to Arc the Lad, but it is not handled nearly as well to be honest.

Lets talk gameplay now though. On its surface this is a turn based combat game where you attack enemies and level up to victory. Here’s the first issue..you can’t choose who you attack. Yes, it is completely random by the system so get ready to always be attacking in the worst possible combinations. Enemies who you should defeat easily suddenly become an issue due to this. At least you’re earning EXP the whole time right?

Wrong! You only earn EXP if you switch to EXP mode but then you won’t earn any materials or items. Moreover, the enemies and bosses level up with you. The issue with this is that your efforts are largely wasted as the bosses get a whole lot of extra health for leveling up. Grinding up your levels just isn’t as satisfying as it usually is. Also, you don’t get money from minions no matter which route you choose so earning enough to buy the good equipment takes a long while. The best way is to just farm guild missions which is still quite slow and tedious.

It’s also worth noting that your weapons and equipment can break. Yeah, this has never been a good gimmicku and Lunar Dragon of all games was not going to be the exception here. Did I mention that you can run at your own peril? The game encourages you to walk because if you run then you will rapidly lose health points. If you get too low on health then you have to walk until you can find the nearest healing statue. It’s incredibly inconvenient when you’re at lower levels and don’t have a whole lot of health to speak of.

There is no quick travel system for each town. You can use ports to skip some areas but at the end of the day be prepared to do a lot of running. If you want to open the chests in an area you have to defeat a bunch of minions within an allotted time while in EXP mode. The game really wanted to make sure every aspect of the game was as painful as possible. Now you may be wondering, why isn’t the game a negative score then? Well, the answer is because the game still has enough interesting points where I would say it’s worth a playthrough. Even if just to see how bad these mechanics are.

The graphics are decent even if I would definitely not call them very good. I would have liked actual cutscenes or at least some illustrations instead of the hard to read text that is spammed at you. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable though so you won’t remember it for long. The game took me around 20 hours to complete which is really not all that bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse that’s for sure. There isn’t really any post game to speak of though so forget about having any replay value.

Overall, Lunar: Dragon Song is definitely what I would call a soulless RPG. A lot of the decisions are completely baffling as to why you would ever even want to add them in. They straight up take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience. This game should have been an easy 7 and yet I couldn’t give it a positive score. The gameplay is just slowed down far too much. To run away you even have to blow into the microphone which is also horrible. There are probably even more mechanics I could mention but you get the general picture. Dragon Song was just never going to be all that good because the gameplay is a huge part of any RPG. Same with the story and that was just pretty bland.

Overall 5/10

Mary Poppins Returns Review


Mary Poppins is certainly a classic film that just about everyone as seen or at least heard of. The idea of it finally getting a sequel after all this time was certainly fun. It basically retreads the same ground as the original but it’s the kind of story that works well even more than once so this ended up being fun. I do think some characters don’t look great since their memories aren’t too good though.

The movie starts with Michael having a rather rough time of it. He has fallen behind on his payments. Despite getting a job as a teller, he hasn’t been able to make enough money to support his family. He took out a big loan with the house as collateral but forgot to make the payments on it so now the family is close to being evicted. Ever since his wife died things have just been tough and this adds another wrinkle to that. His sister Jane says they should find the stock certificate that their father had with the bank. If they can find it, William, the current chair of the bank, says that they won’t have to leave the house. The stakes are high but the 3 kids are a bit of a handful.

Fortunately, Mary Poppins has returned to be a housekeeper. She hasn’t aged a day since the characters saw her last but Michael and Jane are too busy to worry about such things. They figure that the events from the first film didn’t really happen anyway since it was all in their head. Mary is determined to show the kids what true imagination really is and along the way will try to help the main characters as well. Can she pull this off?

Of course she will be accompanied by a whole host of songs here. The music starts pretty much immediately in the film and never really lets up. You can expect song after song to be sure. Fortunately the songs chosen are pretty good. They may come out of nowhere at times and you feel like it slows the plot down but they could have been worse. For me the slowest part was when they went into the wonderland since I was ready to go back to the bank plot to see them take on William. That’s got to be the most intense part for sure.

I’ll give the film credit for allowing the kids to actually be useful this time around. Take Annabel for example, she’s a kid who is quite mature for her age. She helps with the chores and is always ready to jump in to help Michael out when she sees that things are a little overwhelming for him. Same with John who doesn’t mention that they don’t have enough money for groceries and tries to make do with what he has. The kids are young but they at least know how to improvise on their own and don’t really make things tougher on the others.

Georgie is the youngest of the kids and definitely isn’t as solid as the others. He runs off to grab a balloon despite the others warning him not to and runs on the grass as well. It’s a shame because the other two are so responsible but perhaps in time he should be able to match them. Then you have the caretaker Ellen who has a fairly small role but she’s a fun character. I would have liked her to have had a few more scenes but at least she didn’t back down to William’s minions.

There’s one subplot in the film about two sailors who fire off a cannon every hour. I admit that their plot may be the most forced as it’s a bit over the top so it’s hard to take seriously. It has an emotional end so at least the plot ends on a high note but I dare say you could have trimmed that plot out entirely. Instead we could have more scenes of Jack showing the world how talented he is. The guy is resourceful and definitely someone who likes to spread a lot of cheer around.

He’s certainly a reliable ally to have around and also works as Mary Poppins’ unofficial hype man. When the others are in doubt he just drives on through with his bike. He also has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. As for Mary Poppins, she is solid as usual. She has a lot of confidence and doesn’t really care when the other characters doubt her powers. She is very self assured of her abilities and that’s all that matters to her. Along the way she teaches the other characters how to have a good time in whatever they do. Alas, they will certainly miss all of her magical abilities.

We even meet one of Mary’s relatives in this film which was interesting. She can fix anything which is a nice magical spell of her own even if she has a weakness on 1 day a month. Now that the heroes helped her solve that she should be even more powerful in the future. Her role is very small but she was a fun supporting character. Then of course you have the villain William who was really good. I like how that guy really pretended to be a hero while manipulating people from the shadows. That’s certainly how you rise up the chains on the dark side. This guy took every opportunity possible and didn’t miss a beat.

His underlings are less memorable though. You have the mean one who is 100% on board and the nice one who wants the heroes to win but is worried that helping them out will cost him his job. Ultimately he steps up by the end though. Then you have the parents. Unfortunately Michael wasn’t a particularly strong character in this case. He panics far too often and always ends up taking it out on the kids by yelling at them for no good reason. He doesn’t even try to hear there side of the story and just forgetting to make a payment on the loan when he puts his house on it was pretty irresponsible. He’s generally a nice guy but folds too quickly.

Jane was holding it together much better in comparison as she was working her union job while helping out with this. It never broke her though so she was always around to lend a helping hand. The film also resisted the urge of setting her up with a romance plot here with Jack. She’s doing quite well for herself as it is and any kind of romance here would have been really rushed.

The writing and the effects are pretty good here so at the end of the day everything appears to be on point. The film will go by pretty quickly. They did a good job of making this film feel rather old school. There aren’t any giant explosions or anything and the characters talk in a rather distinguished manner like they did in the original film. It’s a very calm movie where you can just relax and watch the events proceed. Mainly my only gripe is just that the two parents look really bad thinking even for a second that everything was in their imagination. How could you possibly think that? Hopefully if we get a third film these kids don’t make the same mistake.

Overall, Mary Poppins Returns is a solid sequel and does a good job of bringing back all of the elements that made the first film good. In a lot of ways this is a film that is playing it super safe. It’s effectively a remake of the first film despite being a sequel so I’m sure they were banking on everyone enjoying it for that reason. It works well enough as it carries over the fact that there are no real negatives to be had in the film. If anything you might even feel sad for the main villain at the end since the film hits him with one last burn at the end. Of course when you consider how he was going to mess everyone over, you may just crack a grin instead. If you want to check out a nice little musical then this is a good movie to watch.

Overall 7/10

RWBY Volume 8 Review


It’s always great to have RWBY back in action because the world of entertainment just isn’t the same without it. RWBY is the greatest show of all time and Volume 8 continues to operate on that high level. The show just has the perfect blend of action, story, and excellent musical themes to accompany the scenes. Throughout the season it’s always fun to watch reactions and learn new things about the show through interviews and such. There’s just a lot to take in and you can bet like last year I’ll have a few editorials for the show up before the next volume ends. Lets dive into Volume 8 and what it added into the table. Keep in mind this review is meant to be read after you have seen the show as it will go into a detailed discussion of important plot details

The show starts off with the heroes still in a dangerous spot. They are currently on the run from Ironwood and the Aceop’s but ultimately they do have more leverage since Penny is now the Winter Maiden. Ironwood orders the heroes to give her back or he will be forced to take drastic measures. Meanwhile Salem has finally arrived and intends to destroy Atlas while obtaining the next relic which is the staff of creation. Team RWBY is also having some issues among their team with each person wanting to try a different plan. Ruby wants to go with Ironwood’s initial plan of getting Amity Tower up to try and contact people around the world to help out while Yang wants to prioritize saving Mantle first. They’ll need to split up which is dangerous.

Naturally quite a lot happens along the way from there. So lets take things one step at a time. The first half of the season deals a lot with a new villain called The Hound. It’s a powerful Grimm to be sure and it was really giving the heroes a hard time. It’s got a cool design and I like the concept behind it. I would argue that Team RWBY shouldn’t have had as much trouble with it as they did though or team Yang when the Hound embarrassed them in the first skirmish though. Ordinarily I’d expect Yang to have taken the creature out pretty quickly but they ended up freezing for a little too long. With this Hound out of the way I expect Salem to be bringing in more of them soon. Potentially at least different Hound variations for Summer and Hazel.

We also get Cinder’s backstory at long last. It’s a play on the Cinderella fairy tale but a much darker twist. Cinder was effectively a slave working for a rich family that would torment her with a shock collar for quite a while. Eventually she was able to harness her abilities and escape but not before having to murder a huntsman as well. It was a pretty intense origin story to be sure and had one of the most impressive tracks in the season. Interestingly that song is one that already existed as opposed to most RWBY songs debuting in the volume they appear in. Cinder’s backstory shows that she didn’t quite start out being as evil as she is now but that certainly escalated quickly.

Rhodes really helped push her to the next level here since he was very quick to attack her. I would have to put pretty much all of the blame from the origin story on him. He knew about all the crazy things that were being done to Cinder or at least it would be hard to miss since they spent so much time together. Additionally he was telling her to be careful and such so he had an idea that things were dangerous but he never tried to help her out. Escaping with her or something like that would have solved the issue but instead he just trained her and told her to wait a few years. Ultimately she did try to wait but one day the family caught her with the swords so she had no way out. He was also the first one to draw his weapons and prepare to attack after this.

In the current story Cinder’s certainly an absolute villain and an unrepentant one so since then she has clearly taken it to heart that she needs absolute power. We can see why she is always trying to get stronger now. Her role in this season is really good. While she does have a rep for taking quite a few losses over the years she has also earned quite a lot of great wins. Up until now she has beaten Pyrrha, Ozpin, Winter, Jaune, and a whole lot of other fighters. I would say that she has certainly earned the amount of hype that she has gotten and is still one of the best characters in the show.

Another big event in the season is Salem finally arriving. We are 8 volumes into the show so this was definitely a big deal. Everyone is always very afraid of Salem but we’ve always had to wonder exactly why. The Maidens are incredibly powerful after all. It was hinted that the reason everyone fears Salem is because she is immortal but would there be more to it than that? So far it doesn’t appear so. I would make the case that right now Salem really isn’t all that impressive. Of course she will have plenty of time to show off more of her abilities soon since I don’t see her going away anytime soon. I still think Cinder will ultimately be the one to take her down though in a big betrayal scene.

Salem dies here and we find out that she has been destroyed several times by Hazel. Due to her immortality she is able to regenerate pretty quickly though so it’s only a minor setback. She showed some decent speed in the fight before going down, but as of right now I would still take any of the Maidens over her in a fight. Salem’s a fun villain though. She may not be quite as interesting as Neo or Cinder but as an immortal leader of the Grimm it’s nice how she manipulates the other villains so well. She also got a pretty tragic backstory a while back so you can potentially see why she wants the relics. We don’t know for sure yet of course but in theory she will want to bring the gods back so she can try to wipe them out or so they can wipe out the planet.

This volume introduced some pretty interesting new angles since we now know what the staff of creation can do. It can create pretty much anything although at the expense of something else. So now you have to start asking yourself some questions because it seems like this could easily destroy Salem. Create a box filled with fire or holes where you can put weapons in and keep destroying her over and over again, have her fall into the endless void. Well, the void leads to another realm seemingly so that might not do the trick but if that place isn’t connected to the main world that would be interesting. Finally, just open one of the vaults, throw her in and then close it again. Presumably if she could open a vault then she wouldn’t be searching so hard for the Maidens. None of these plans would be all that easy but this is why Salem needs more than just immortality. To recover from her showing this volume she’s going to need to go all in during the next volume.

Ironwood gets a big role in this volume as you would expect. After all, in the last volume he and RWBY really differed on their approaches on how to do things. He even went as far as to shoot Ozpin so he wouldn’t get in his way anymore. He went from being a fairly unremarkable character to completely stealing Volume 7 and helping to escalate it to the second best volume of the series. Well, it seems like his approach may have went too well. This volume decides to take him to the extreme of being a complete villain filled with ominous backgrounds like in his TV broadcast to suddenly just shooting people for not much of a reason.

Now you could say part of this is his semblance but despite being confirmed on a writer’s zoom call, I don’t put much stock in it. Ultimately there is no visual or audio queue to the semblance in the show and it is never referenced so for all intents and purposes it just does not exist. What seems to have happened here is that they wrote Ironwood too well as a morally gray character to the point where a lot of people were rooting for him. You’d look online and almost nobody was supporting Team RWBY in their debates against him.

The main reason for this is really that Ironwood at least had a plan but whenever Team RWBY was asked for specifics they didn’t seem to know what to do next. That happens in this volume as well when Mantle is being attacked so one of the Happy Huntsmen shows up to tell them it’s time to evac but Ruby insisted on staying. When they pointed out that they have been getting wrecked by the normal Grimm and the numbers are about to multiply Ruby didn’t have an answer except a vague “We’ll get through this”. Not having a plan is always the quickest way to lose support. It’s similar to a debate that happened in Attack on Titan although there we still have the gray character staying that way.

Maybe it was always the plan for Ironwood to go totally off the rails but I do feel it’s more likely that the writers saw how a ton of people were rooting for him and knew they needed to weaken his case quickly or people wouldn’t be happy with Ruby and co. So in this volume Ironwood is just straight up evil most of the time but he’s still a fun character to have around. He’s a little on the gullible side at times but at the end of the day he’s still a fighter. His battle with Winter is really solid and really cements him as one of the strongest characters in the series. To think, at one point he was considered the heavy underdog in that battle. Personally I think there’s still a decent chance he is alive. His ending was intentionally rather vague with no body shown so it’s not beyond the pale to say that he would have escaped. I doubt Watts would be as lucky though.

Ruby gets a solid role here. She does lose her will to fight at one point again but it is a pretty tough time for the team. At this point Weiss would probably be the best option for the leader as she’s gone through the most and has really matured into being a character everyone can count on. She’ll always support Ruby though so the team is in good hands. Ruby’s speed also makes her a very capable opponent in any fight. I look forward to her getting to fight more in the next volume. Here she may have mostly just taken losses but when up against foes like Neo and Cinder that is to be expected.

Weiss is great as always. She may be a little hard on Whitley but it’s hard to just get over something like that with what she had to put up with over the years. I’m glad that we’re seeing her use her glyphs more in combat now like the old days. If she keeps that up I could see her potentially becoming the strongest member of the team since those abilities are just so versatile. There’s a lot you can do with glyphs from gravity control to elemental attacks. Then she always has her summons available too.

Yang has a lot to do here since she gets her own solo quest and also has the task of cheering up Ruby. I would have liked her to have fought more in the climax but it also makes perfect sense that the villains would try to take her out of play right away. If you take out the strongest hero on the team that will always be the safest path to victory. She has to be the mediator quite a lot in this volume since Ren also deals with some issues here.

Blake gets to fight the Hound and has some good blows in the finale as well. Her role here is quite solid. She may not have quite as many individual moments as the other 3 but she did just have her big volume with Adam back in 6 so that makes sense. She still makes the most of her moments although she absolutely needs a new weapon soon. I still say she should use Adam’s sword since that would be cool but either way she has come a long way from her early days on the team and isn’t really a loner anymore. I expect she’ll be getting more hype battles in the next volume.

Jaune’s role here is small for the most part but he’s low-key a very solid leader. He knows how to handle each character and add moral support. He’s just a very well rounded character but I have to admit that I heavily disagreed with his choice at the end of the volume. Effectively Penny asks Jaune to murder her to that Cinder won’t be able to do so. The idea is that you die when you are killed so this can Penny can control who she gives the maiden powers to. I’m pretty surprised that she didn’t give the powers to Ruby to be honest but maybe she knew Winter was going to need those abilities more. Jaune just shouldn’t have obliged her in this case. By stabbing her like that he was basically conceding defeat to the villains and admitting that there was no way out. There’s always a better way and he should have just fought til the bitter end.

I have to say this was a very weak volume for Ren though. He looks pretty bad the whole time. Ren started his path of panicking ever since last volume but here it gets worse as he intentionally attacks each character using their pasts like Jaune and Yang while not actually contributing to the situation. It looks like he’s getting back to his usual self by the end of the volume so he should do better next volume but he was easily one of the worst characters here. Nora does a lot better as she is also attacked with feelings of self doubt but just pushes through them and helps the heroes as much as she can. Now that she is close to fully recovered I expect to see her fighting more soon.

Penny is a character I’ve never been a huge fan of. Her super cheerful persona isn’t a bad thing per say as I still like characters like that but I guess she just felt hollow. I don’t know, I got more from her in the first few volumes before her first death. It’s quite ironic that she was brought back only to die again although a lot of people did suspect this would be the case. At least she got to briefly wield the powerful abilities of a Maiden. I’ll still take her over Oscar/Ozpin though. I’m still waiting for Ozpin to betray the heroes but at this point I’m not sure if he could. Part of the issue for Ozpin is that he has not done very well at all against Salem over the last thousand years. Evidently he’s not as great a tactician as he thinks he is. He really accomplished nothing over many years which is why so many people left him. It looks like he is trying to do better this time but I have my doubts.

Oscar’s at least trying his hardest but every time he uses magic, the two of them fuse even more so at this point I wonder if Oscar still exists. Is he still really separate or at this point are they basically the same character? I could see the next volume delving into that a bit more. The AceOps are all still here of course but you could make the case that Harriet is the only one with a real role. She is the most extreme of the group and the only one who is ready to listen to Ironwood without hesitation. While the others are portrayed more as following orders, I would say Harriet goes into full villain mode. She just wants to blow everyone up as part of the mission so she fits in with Ironwood.

I like her as a villain though. She keeps the heroes on their toes and having super speed is such an incredible semblance to have. Aside from Ruby’s which has super speed as well as flight, I don’t think there’s any other semblance I would take over that one. It’s just way too good. The fact that she was dunking on Qrow is still solid even if the guy can’t catch a break lately. Qrow went from being one of the best characters in the series to fading fast. Qrow was fantastic in Volume 3, Excellent in Volume 4, and then I liked him quite a lot in Volume 5. The cracks in his armor began to show a bit as he had trouble with Lionheart but you could attribute that to animation. Fine, I can accept that.

Volume 6 Qrow was brutal though. He was so lost in his own misery and apathy that he nearly let Ruby and Yang die right under his nose. That would have happened without him doing a single thing about it. His depression just held him back real hard and when mixed with the fact that he seems to have been extremely nerfed, it’s not a good look for him. Losing to Harriet is just yet another loss to the mix and since Ruby was winning/put up a way better fight…that’s not good for him. I’m hoping he can make a comeback because he needs it.

Now Winter is a character who looks really good here. I’m not really a fan of when characters just follow rules even if they are evil ones. It can be a bit much or when a character goes against the rules but does so too late. Here Winter ultimately made a stand before that happened and then stood up to Ironwood. Since that goes against everything she had been working towards, I can appreciate her resolve and drive to stay on the path. I think she’ll make for a fantastic Winter Maiden as well and look forward to her going up against the villains more soon. It’ll be a tough matchup against Cinder though with the whole fire vs ice thing but if anyone can pull it off, Winter can.

Emerald also gets a considerable role here as she finally joins the heroes’ side. It’s definitely been a long time coming. Originally she was the pure evil one while Mercury was the guy questioning if this was the right path like in Volume 2 when Emerald was having a blast watching people get eaten by the Grimm while Mercury didn’t seem happy. That changed in Volume 3 as Mercury began to revel in the misery while Emerald no longer enjoyed it. Her only real tie here was to Cinder the whole time and Cinder really treats her poorly so the other side would definitely sound better. Now, if Cinder comes back asking Emerald to join her, will she stay strong or defect again? Personally I think Emerald’s a hero to stay now. She may end up dying for it but I think she may get to live through her redemption arc. If Mercury goes for a similar position, I don’t think he’ll survive as the guy has a lot of death flags written all over him.

Meanwhile Hazel finally got his big ending here. I was never a big fan of the guy personally, just because he’s ultimately working for the lady who murdered his sister. He blames Ozpin for sending her on a suicide mission and yes that’s fair, but how can you work for the one who ultimately orchestrated her death? Hazel would make a lot more sense as a third party kind of villain. Still, he eventually saw the light and I have 0 complaints about the way he went out. Hazel ultimately went out on his own terms and you can’t really do much better than that. Again, we don’t see his body so he may be alive but with Salem right there at best he can hope to be a living grimm or something but death would probably be preferable for him.

For Robyn there’s nothing much to say. You may still be confused why she is in the show since she’s had close to 0 impact on the entire franchise. Well…maybe next volume will be when she finally pops off. I have my doubts personally but she has to have been kept alive for a reason right? Watts had a solid volume as well. I like him as a charismatic villain. He may not go into the field a whole lot but the guy has guts to talk to Cinder the way that he did. I can respect that and while he may have ultimately been manipulated, I don’t think he would have had much of a way to escape anyway.

Finally there’s Neo who is always fun. I’ve always considered her to be a demi maiden power-wise just because of how effortlessly she handled Yang back in the day and how she even had the upper hand against Cinder until she activated her maiden abilities. This volume continues to support that as she completely shattered Yang’s aura in a single hit (Surprise attacks don’t affect aura as far as we know so that’s still a power feat) and then she was handling both Blake and Ruby teaming up with ease. I really hope she doesn’t die anytime soon because I want to see her get some more action. Her moveset is just very unique and I like the fighting style. Ruby just needs to convince Neo that Cinder is more to blame for Torchwick’s death which is fair since it’s a Grimm that ate Torchwick. It’s not like Ruby did anything to cause that.

Now for the volume ending stinger, I think the safest bet is they’re now in some kind of lost pocket dimension that the gods built but forgot about. That’s probably why they were warned not to go there since it’s so desolate the whole time. It is for the best that the show quickly confirmed the team was alive though because I don’t think anyone ever thought they were really dead. Even if the show only kept Yang as the one who had fallen down, she’s just too important of a character to go down like that. If a member of RWBY dies it wouldn’t be until the last arc and even then I would be surprised to see it. It’ll be interesting to see what’s down there especially since Neo and Jaune are crashing the party. If Jaune gets a big power up that will definitely be cool to see.

In theory with the delays to this volume and all the next one probably won’t start until November but hopefully it debuts earlier since that would be great. At least in the meantime we should be getting the CD soon so the full music tracks will be online. We’ll see if the next volume has any animated shorts like the Adam special or if those are going to be gone for good. If it helps to speed up airing the season then it’s worth it I suppose but those are always a lot of fun.

Now lets compare the volumes. It’s always fun to update the rankings as each volume airs. Naturally Volume 3 is still the all time best if you ask me. It was the absolute peak of the series’ nonstop action along with the plot settling in. The stakes were raised immensely and you just could not change the channel. The second best volume would be 7. Ironwood was just developed into a fantastic character here and the battle with RWBY vs AceOps is still the best one in the series. Mix that in with one of the best OSTs and it’s hard to see this volume getting beat.

3rd place would be Volume 6. It’s a pretty close one but the Adam climax was a really powerful one to end the series on. Additionally, the Grim Reaper’s origin as well as the return of Neo are scenes that are hard to be beat. Bringing her back into the fold was a fantastic idea. It’s also when the new animation style really got going. 4th would be Volume 8. It was a great volume and we got to have the heroes make a comeback and take a big win. It’s been a while since they made any serious headway against the heroes so it was nice to see how they could coordinate here.

5th would go to Volume 5. I tend to waffle between this one and 2 a lot because it’s pretty close. I would say 2 probably had longer stretches of hype fights and action but 5 had the better climax. The Raven vs Cinder fight is just fantastic. The More the Merrier episode is probably the biggest missed opportunity in the show just because the setup was absolutely perfect with all of the battles going underway but then there wasn’t really any animation to them. Volume 5 will always be the most awkward volume for fights in that sense but the story beats were still right up there. 6th is Volume 2, the big Neo fight was hype as well as the battle with the Giant mech. I always liked seeing Torchwick in the focus as well and it’s just a volume that really holds up quite well.

7th would be Volume 1, where it all began. The climax with Torchwick is a lot of fun and it’s always easy to forget that at the time you could make a legitimate argument for Blake being the most powerful member of Team RWBY. She had more real life experience than the other 3 and even went on her own to fight Torchwick. It didn’t go well until Sun stepped in but it was a good effort. Last place would be Volume 4. A very solid volume to be sure since this is all relative by RWBY standards but there was a lot of info dumping here and not a lot of action. The Tyrian fight is really the only big battle in the volume until the final episode. Qrow vs Tyrian was worth it though as it’s still one of the best fights in the season but it just couldn’t keep up with the others.

So that’s the rankings for now. 3, 7, 6, 8, 5, 2, 1, 4. I imagine as I continue to revisit each volume that could change but the rankings are pretty solid. Really the closest ones that I can see changing is the middle group (6-2) but the top two and bottom two volumes would be pretty hard to move at this point. I imagine with the series in the middle of so many events all future volumes will be in a pretty good spot as well as they aim for the top. Can any possible dethrone 3 though?

As always the animation is top notch here. The character models are really smooth and I wonder why all CGI shows can’t look this sharp. I understand it’s now using MAYA technology as opposed to POSER from the first 3 volumes which is completely open software, but it should still be possible for professional studios. Yet, I have yet to see a CGI show look as good as RWBY. It really shows how talented the staff is to make this a reality.

The writing is excellent as well. While I have my share of complaints with how Ironwood was written into a villain, that’s a narrative choice more so than a writing flaw. They just wanted him to be as evil as possible. The episodes are all very engaging and you want to see what happens next. The soundtrack is also excellent. I wouldn’t say it matches 7 quite yet but I liked the theme that played during the snow chase with the hound as well as the one during Cinder’s origin. Every volume usually has at least 2 stand out themes and those would be the ones for me. I’m definitely looking forward to the CD coming out though since I’m hoping some of the normal episode themes also make it in since there are a few instrumental battle themes that also stood out like the one in the final episode.

There’s certainly always more to talk about but I’ll start wrapping it up here. There will be at least 2-3 editorials about RWBY before the next volume comes up so if there’s any big discussion topic I need to bring up I’ll certainly write something about it. The possibilities for going forward are definitely pretty endless. With Atlas down the villains are also one step closer to destroying all 4 of the kingdoms. Haven is all but destroyed, Beacon isn’t doing great, and Atlas is certainly over. Vacuo is the last place standing in full health and it’s less of a formal kingdom and more of a bandits lair type of place so that’ll be different anyway. That’s why I definitely want to see their reaction to all of this.

Overall, RWBY is definitely as great as ever. The toughest part here is going to be waiting for the next volume. Each volume continues to be excellent so I look forward to seeing what they’ve got coming up for Volume 9. Ideally I’d like to see Raven return and for Yang’s Dad to finally get a fight. As a member on such a powerhouse team that guy has got to be a good fighter. Then once we get the team back to the surface I’m expecting a lot of big battles for sure. It feels like we’re getting closer to the ultimate climax although I would still expect that not to happen until around Volume 11 or 12.

Overall 10/10

Sakura Revolution ~Blooming Maidens Review


This latest incarnation in the Sakura Wars series is definitely a pretty interesting one. Since this is just a quick OVA to hype up the game I don’t expect we may see these characters again for a while. Still, the OVA does a terrific job of getting you hyped for what is about to come up next. This is the right way to set-up the game and the stakes seem a lot higher than any of the other incarnations since the heroes have effectively already lost this time. The villains seem to control Tokyo so it’s time to win it back. It’s too bad that it seems like the OVA isn’t super popular based on how hard it was to actually get a true anime poster for it so I pretty much settled for the mobile version and an anime screenshot at the end so you could see the actual animation. Maybe it’s one of those things more people will discover as the series gets bigger.

The OVA starts off with a mysterious lady who is accompanied by a trio of monsters decimating one of the combat teams. One of the heroines tries to get up but is promptly murdered. We then cut to the home base where The leader and her right hand man are the only ones left. She instructs him to go to an island to find Sakura and then bring her back to Tokyo. They’ll need her fighting ability if they are to succeed in this war. He heads off as the villain attacks once more and has a big confrontation with the leader. Presumably the villain won since we see her later but she was attacked by another mech shortly afterwards which may have been the leader.

Either way, the guy arrives onto the main island where he meets up with Sakura. Her grandmother Kirin isn’t thrilled about Sakura being thrown into the action like this but relents to her going. The 3 monsters show up to the island and the OVA ends with Sakura getting her sword and being able to create a mech suit around her made of psychic energy as opposed to jumping into a formal suit the way the others would. With this power humanity may finally have a chance against the demons and monster hybrids that threaten all of Japan.

As the Sakura War series has gone on we have definitely seen a whole lot of changes. The original series was very straight forward with humanity using steam powered mech suits to take on aliens. This continued although in the France division we started seeing more people with true magical powers. The New York version made flying suits a normal thing so everyone could fly and turn into jets. Then we had the recent animation which introduced the idea of humanoid monsters and hybrid life forms that were both human and monster. This OVA is continuing with that concept as the main villain seems to be another hybrid form. Additionally her aliens have the most sci-fi type designs yet as they look like something out of Gurren Lagann.

In general the animation here is just top tier. You can tell that the company put some solid effort into this. The fight scenes are a blast and in particular when Sakura is shredding the competition the animation is on point. The colors are sharp and there is a lot of potential here. Additionally this has the best soundtrack for any Sakura Wars product I have encountered. The battle themes are on point and this feels a lot like a modern installment in the series. It’s all a lot more high energy than the older versions would tend to be. Not to say that any of the Sakura War soundtracks were bad since I’ve enjoyed them all but this one easily takes it to the next level. Even the stage play theme from the intro was the best one I had heard yet.

Now, with only around 30 minutes to introduce the plot, new setting, and characters that does mean it has to go pretty quickly. Sakura and Kirin are the only two characters whose names you will remember off the bat. Kirin has a lot of hype but she is rather old at this point in the story so it’s not like she is about to go out there and fight. That’s really for the next generation of fighters like Sakura. Sakura is introduced well. She is ready to fight and seems a lot more enthusiastic about this than other versions. While I wouldn’t be ready to say she is the best Sakura from the various titles, she easily seems to be the most powerful and we’re only at the intro of the game. I can tell the power creep should jump up considerably with this one.

The main guy is less impressive since he’s not really a fighter nor does he have the bravery that you would find in guys like Captain Ogami, Taiga from New York, or the more recent one from The Animation. I do like that he has some skill with his eyes where he can detect an enemy’s movement. It may not have done much of anything against these powerful aliens but if he was fighting humans then I dare say that it would have taken him far. Clearly the leader does trust him so I’m sure the guy has some talent.

Overall, As soon as the OVA had begun, it was over. It really does serve its job well of throwing you into the experience though. It’s just a great title all the way around as it makes every minute count. In general that can be a fun thing about pilot OVAs like this though. Since they want you to play the game they can throw as many concepts and fights at you as possible along with a bunch of cliffhangers to make sure that you play the game. It definitely has a very epic feeling to it from the start. Now, I assume the actual mobile game will dial things back for a bit since you can’t stay in climax mode all the time but I’m sure it would begin to build up to that again. This OVA is definitely one that I would recommend whether you have played/watched the older Sakura War titles or not since either way this OVA gives you everything you need to know in order to succeed. After all, the idea of humans vs demons/aliens is a pretty quick one to get and all you need to know is that Sakura is humanity’s last hope. Without her all will be lost. Maybe one day they’ll make a full anime based on the mobile game, now that would be hype.

Overall 8/10

Sakura Wars: The Animation Review


It had been a long time since Sakura Wars had gotten a complete TV show before this one came out so it was definitely a big deal. Between this and the new game the franchise was finally going to hit it big again. I get the feeling it wasn’t quite as big a hit as they intended at least since to me the series seemed to vanish again. That being said, the show is great. It’s easily the most complete Sakura Wars product out there and in 12 episodes it accomplishes a whole lot. This is absolutely the kind of vibe you want to have for the show and the new cast is a lot of fun.

The show starts out with a very engaging scene as a monster shows up to kidnap a kid named Klara. She is stopped in her tracks when a mysterious lady shows up known as the White Cape. Both of them are interrupted when Seijuro along with two guest stars from foreign combat revues show up. Seijuro takes the girl over to his team to look after her since it’s clear that a lot of villains are after her. While he will be away in Europe tracking down some clues, he leaves Sakura in charge of the team. She vows to watch over Klara with her life and the two of them hit it off really well. The rest of Sakura’s teammates are pretty cool about this as well. It won’t be so easy though. The Moscow team have arrives and claim that Klara is one of them and demand that the team hands her over. They refuse but the Moscow team is appealing to the government so this may be taken out of their hands. Can Sakura and her team protect this kid?

When you think of Sakura Wars, action usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s more of a drama or slice of life that includes a lot of action. Well, this show definitely tossed that out the window. There is a ton of action here and as you can probably guess, I was a big fan of that. The first scene in the show is a pretty powerful battle between the various characters. We got to see Excalibur and another girl briefly as they helped Seijuro fight these girls off. They definitely feel more like guest star characters and so you shouldn’t expect to see them do much again until the very end. Still, they had excellent character designs and just really helped to start things off on the right note. They’re exactly the kind of allies that you want to have by your side at all times.

This was also a nice way to build up the stakes and get the show ready from the start. It wouldn’t let up after that either as you could typically look forward to some kind of fight going on in each episode. Surprisingly the heroes don’t fight the demons quite as much as usual since it’s mostly the Moscow group getting in their way and the Black Cape. The monsters probably figured they should lie low for now and I don’t blame them. They do look pretty good when they appear though as the main unit had a lot of trouble with them. There is even one moment in particular that is pretty rough for the group since they had to be saved. It just goes to show that there is always someone stronger after all.

This time around the animation is in pure CGI. Fortunately this is an example of using CGI the right away. The character designs are on point and the fight scenes look good. Naturally with hand drawn animation I’m sure the show would have looked even better but this one handled everything pretty well so I had no complaints. The energy effects are still quite vibrant whenever the characters are attacking and the fight scenes are good. There’s one scene where White Cape has to deflect a ton of bullets and she does it with ease. Then you’ve got Leila blocking Hatsuho’s punch with ease which was another pretty hype moment. You can still feel the impact each time which is definitely the important part.

Then we’ve got the soundtrack. The opening is pretty solid and it feels like a nice remix of the classic intro. That said, the ending is what really stands out here. It is quite stellar and just feels like an epic way to end each episode. You’ll be at the edge of your seat each week as you wait for things to continue. In the actual episodes the music is a little more forgettable though so mainly it’s the beginning and ending where it shines.

Still, this wouldn’t be Sakura Wars without at least having some time to calm down and just enjoy the sights. We get one full episode where Sakura gets to go on a family outing with Seijuro and Klara. The main villains as well as the rest of the heroes all decide to tag along and wreck this little trip of theirs. It’s pretty interesting to see even the villains get in on this. I suppose it may have been a decent time to try and steal Klara away but you feel like they’d never get away with it. You could say that this is the only episode that doesn’t seem to further the plot so in a way it’s like filler.

It was a fun episode though and it gave Shiba some much needed screen time so that alone makes the whole thing worth it. The show balances out the genres pretty well. Aside from that happy episode then you get a more emotional one early on with Hatsuho as she feels bad that Seijuro didn’t choose her to be leader. The tough truth is that Sakura was just better suited for it. Then of course you have the pretty serious episodes of the climax where the villains are making their big play. The show succeeds at every theme so whether the heroes are just having fun on their own or jumping in to make some kind of great stand against the villain, the episode really flies by.

The writing is on point throughout but you would expect no less. The ending to the series is also very satisfying. There are a few ways they could have gone about this of course but this was the optimal route. Additionally, there was one character moment that would have just been plain unfortunate but the very last bit of the ending made sure to correct this. Make sure you stick around til the very end of the show. Ultimately the ending was just great when you consider all of that and so the whole show benefits as a result.

Lets talk about the characters now. First up is Sakura, the leader of the team. She is a very dedicated fighter who stuck to her guns and wouldn’t let Klara go. She also took a lot of big risks in putting her life on the line to protect Klara. Sakura also mastered the more powerful suit of armor pretty quick. It’s clear that she is the most powerful member of the group, especially thanks to her sword skills that she can use even without a suit. When you put that all together, her allies just don’t have anything on her. Seijuro made the right choice.

The bond between Sakura and Klara is also just a lot of fun. Sakura’s always got her back. As for Seijuro, he doesn’t get a whole lot to do here. The higher ups keep throwing him on wild goose chases so he can’t help out at home. From what we see he is clearly a good fighter though. While Black Cape was able to take on the entire Sakura team and do well, Seijuro was able to take on 2-3 of them at once and came out on top. He’s easily one of the most impressive fighters in the series so that’s why it’s a shame that we couldn’t see him fight more. He has trained the team well though.

Klara has a big role of course and she’s good. Now it’s not always easy for a kid character to be very impressive as worst case they can just be really annoying and hold everyone back. Fortunately that isn’t the case with Klara. She’s just a nice kid from the start. While English isn’t her first language (Well, technically it would be Japanese since this is a translation) she does well at fitting in and even throws in a few Russian lines on occasion. The fact that she has some special abilities helps out quite a ton as well. There’s a lot of build up to this so when she finally gets to join the team the scene feels very well earned.

I was also glad that Seijuro was quick to let her help instead of just wasting time and trying to stop her. She is a member of the team after all so it only makes sense that she would jump in right? This is one case where Klara feels necessary to the team’s dynamic so it was good that she was on board. She ended up being a lot more fun than I had expected. Then we have Hatsuho who is the power member of the group. Unfortunately because of this she loses just about all of her fights. It’s sort of like Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon or Tauros from Saint Seiya. Since they are the power members of the group, they are always the first to get wrecked to show how powerful the next villain is and after a while you wonder if they really are the strong member. I guess physically yes, but when Hatsuho is physically weaker than every villain she encounters in the series, that makes things rather difficult for her.

It does lead to one of the best scenes in the show though when she throws a punch and Leyla casually catches the hit while also bringing Hatsuho to her knees. Hatsuho has a tough time here in other scenes as well like when she lost to the demon twice and then growing jealous of Sakura. Fortunately the two talk it over with Sakura being oblivious to what the chat was truly about and then Hatsuho was able to get over it. It was good character development because staying jealous would have just made her look really bad. As it stands I do like Hatsuho quite a bit but she’s got to work on that.

Azami’s the ninja of the group and is not nearly as talented as she thinks she is. This leads to a lot of fun little scenes where she does her best. My main issue with her is the fact that she seems insanely weak in a fight. Ninja stars aren’t going to work on giant monsters. Additionally she seems like the character who would be quickest to betray Klara so I definitely would not trust her in the slightest. Anastesia is another member of the group but unfortunately she really gets nothing to do here. I guess maybe she had enough screen time in the game so they decided to skip her here but it is a shame since everyone else got a big role. All we know about Anastesia from the show is that she’s probably the most serious character of the group.

Claris is more of a low key character but she is quite solid. Her magical attacks definitely look a lot more impressive than the bullets and ninja stars everyone else is using. She is a very pleasant character who is happy to help and doesn’t really worry about anything. She’s quick to try and cover for Azami despite not being too invested in what’s going on just because she is a good friend. So while she doesn’t do a lot in the show, she leaves a very good impression. Their boss Sumire doesn’t do much either but you wouldn’t expect the boss to get mixed up in all of this. Mainly she is notable just because she was on the original show so it’s nice to see that she moved up. Hopefully one day she can access her powers again and suit up, defying what we thought was possible.

Then you have Hakushu, the White Cape. The show makes it plain as day that they are the same character so you don’t have to worry about spoilers. The show is definitely self aware about this the whole time as her disguise is completely obvious. All she does it put on a mask and a cape but everything else is the same from her voice to the hair style. In her first scene we have Sakura chasing White Cape and when she turns the corner there is Hakushu who half heartedly says the Cape ran off. Hakushu also tends to make errors when talking as if she was White Cape and always has a weak excuse as to why that happened.

The show has a blast with this so get ready for the big reveal. Either way Hakushu is easily the best character in the series though. The fact that she is portrayed as the most powerful character while not having a robot is pretty incredible. She always jumps in to help and is willing to do a whole lot more than any of the other characters. The scene of her deflecting tons of energy blasts using super speed is pretty incredible. It’s clear to see why she commands so much respect as Sakura’s boss. Part of why she is the best character is because of how many times she saves the characters. Aside from that, she also seems to be the most intelligent as she stays one step ahead of everyone else. She also finds time to run an orphanage so she is truly a woman of many talents. She steals any scene she is in.

Then you have the main villain Kaminski. This guy is your classic take over the world kind of villain. There’s not much different about him but he does have a flair for the dramatic which works really well. In general he tends to be a fun guy. He keeps a polite demeanor about him at all times even though you know it’s most likely fake the whole time. Considering how long he kept up this charade though, you feel like he gets really sloppy by the end. If he hadn’t suddenly tried being as evil as possible and being cold to Leila then he had a good chance to win this. It almost felt a little out of character for him to be honest as he made things really easy for the heroes. Well, either way he was a pretty charismatic villain that’s for sure and definitely not someone to underestimate.

Leila is his right hand woman and a great villain. She’s the standout villain because of her great character and hype demon form. Her story is a tragic one since she looks up to Kaminski and sees him as a hero so she chooses to ignore the fact that he is manipulating her the whole time. Again, at least he was pretending to be nice which is good so why wreck a good thing and start pushing her away? Leila does all of the hard work throughout the series and is quite powerful. Not only is she able to take on the whole Sakura team with ease but I dare say even White Cape would have a tough time with her. Part of what makes things tragic for Leila is there’s also a lot of memory and emotion tampering going on within her so she is rarely in her right state of mind. You’re certainly rooting for her to break free the whole time.

Then you have Shiba who is a solid mechanic here. One thing that separates him from most is that the guy can actually build useful things that don’t break. It’s a bit of a foreign concept in Sakura Wars where usually the geniuses are a little eccentric to put it mildly or just build walking disasters. This guy even showed some leadership experience like when he had the team tail Sakura. This guy’s a pure comedy character that’s for sure but he excels at it and all of his scenes are a blast. Now, would I sacrifice a scene of his to get some more of Excalibur and the other heroine? Absolutely, but that was likely not on the table anyway so I’ll take what I can get here.

This show even manages to avoid having much of any real fanservice. The fact that the show is CGI probably helps a bit with that since even if the character design for Leila’s super form could have gone tricky, the show didn’t go there. Aside from CGI, that’s just a directing thing though so the director did really good to always play the scene straight. She’s a demon fighting the heroes, the show never tries for anything other than that. That’s when you know that the show is going to be a really solid adventure from start to finish. I suppose we have the gag of Shiba running out of the shower to get slammed but I wouldn’t really count that to be honest. If you like the gag of someone yelling as the camera fades out though, Shiba gets a lot of that.

While the animation is quite solid as I mentioned, I will say that it’s still hard not to chuckle during the dance scenes. Maybe it’s because of how smooth and gracefully the characters move, but it’s just hard to take the villains seriously when they’re just dancing as they talk about the plans. I will say that it’s fun when Leila styles on the heroes while dancing though. Now that’s a whole other level of disrespect right there. There’s even a dancing battle so you can tell the show was having some fun with this. Hey, if you can do solid dance numbers and want to show off the animation why not right? Then you have the epic stills where the colors really jump out of the page and you’re reminded of the potential of CGI all over again. Honestly if every CGI show looked like this we wouldn’t have any problems. Hand Drawn would still be the best but this would be a much more respectable backup plan.

Overall, Sakura Wars: the Animation is a terrific anime. The government looks pretty bad as they fall for every trick in the book but Sakura’s team stays strong throughout and makes sure to protect Klara. When they fail that job White Cape is always around to help out so they have a great system going. Part of what sets the show apart from the rest of the titles in this series is how much action it has. The rest of the Sakura War titles just can’t match this. The best bet would be the OVA for Revolution but that is shorter so by definition it can’t match up. This one’s got fights in pretty much every episode. The final episode especially goes bold with this as the whole episode is really a big fight scene. By the end of the series we learn why one character is so exceptionally strong and I dare say that leaves room for a nice sequel someday. Honestly the humans are in a fantastic spot right now so they don’t need to worry but it’s still good to be prepared. One plot still going is the demons approaching. It’s implied that as long as Klara exists they will keep on coming so ultimately they need to find a way to take out the demons for good. That would make for a fun sequel.

Overall 8/10

Beyblade: V-Force Review


Beyblade is ready to make its big return with this second season. The original Beyblade season was great, no doubt about that. However, this season takes things to a completely new level as it easily jumps up to one of the best anime out there. That’s right, this one is an easy 9 no questions asked. You’ll get to see a ton of hype duels and a bunch of great new characters. Effectively this season accomplishes everything that the first did and then even improves upon it.

The season starts with explaining that the Bladebreakers have gone their separate ways. Effectively the group has broken up since each member has gone their separate ways. Unfortunately a group of mysterious individuals appear and manage to defeat or at least tie every member of the Bladebreakers. Tyson in particular gets slammed twice by the mysterious Ozuma. These new enemies intend to steal their bit beasts so the Bladebreakers decide to reunite to stop them. This group known as the Sacred Shields aren’t the only group after them though. You’ve also got a group of scientists who keep on sending bounty hunters and trained professionals after them as well. With everyone wanting a piece of the team, can the heroes really escape?

The first episodes are really about establishing the new group led by Ozuma and allowing the heroes to get used to Bey battles at this level again. One thing I was surprised about was Kai’s sudden retirement. That plot didn’t really work for me. So Kai retired because there was nobody left who was worthy to fight and yet it’s not like he beat Tyson the last time so why retire? You’d think he would at least want to end on a win first before stepping out of the game and Wyatt even points that out. Wyatt’s a kid at school who knew Kai and his role is actually rather big due to the influence he left behind on Kai. I wasn’t a fan of the guy personally and stealing someone’s Beyblade is never the right answer. Still, he was right that Kai shouldn’t just ignore a fight like this, especially when someone is targeting him.

Kai does recover from the slow start though and did put up a good fight against his opponent. In general the Saint Shields are a lot more interesting than the scientist villains so whenever the focus was on them that was definitely a good thing. The season really started out with a bang by introducing these Saint Shields and having them easily dismantle the main characters. They didn’t waste any time with that episode 1 fight coming in to the mix of a new rock song. That has to be one of the most influential fights in the series just because of how sudden it was. I always like the plotline where a hero just became world champion or beat the best there was and suddenly is defeated by a new challenger. It really establishes the new villain as being tough.

Naturally this can be tough to execute because you also might just not buy into it. Like Tyson was shattering universes with his Beyblade and now he can’t beat this guy? In some ways I would say they’ve scaled down the feats from the first season so don’t expect the Beyblades to look quite as powerful. Still, the intensity is always present in the battles which is the important thing. The animation is a lot different for the actual Beybattles here but I was definitely enjoying them quite a lot in the season. In general I would even say the battles were better here. In part because the season had the heroes powering up a lot more.

You could mistake this for DBZ as the characters start yelling and powering up their Beyblades. This was executed exceptionally well and really made you engaged in what was about to happen next. The character designs aren’t quite as good as season 1 though even if I think the animation is a little better. The characters just don’t look nearly as powerful. Tyson was ripped in season 1 and now he looks like a kid. Kai’s new outfit also isn’t nearly as cool as the old one. They do keep their strength though even if it doesn’t show like Tyson being able to race across the entire city. At the very end of the season we also get some power levels introduced to the series which was cool. I had definitely not been expecting that.

So the first half of the season is really solid but it’s the final chunk where the series kicks it into high gear. First, with the scientists out of the way, we get the final battles with the Saint Shields. One of the fights takes place during a rainy battle at the amusement park which was a lot of hype. Kai and Ray got to tag team against one of the big opponent teams. Then we had Ozuma and Tyson finally have their big rematch. It was a terrific way to end the arc and you couldn’t ask for better.

The final arc is the best though. A new kid named Zeo has been hanging around with the heroes for a while. He even saved them from the Saint Shields at one point. Well, he goes from being a happy, mild mannered kid to a really intense villain almost over night. The heroes aren’t sure what to do about this yet but there isn’t much time to think about it. The World Championships are starting up again so the Bladebreakers have to defend their title. This time the tournament is in a 2 on 2 setting though where the teams compete in a best of 3 set, one at a time. The bladebreakers split into two teams. You also have the Saint Shields stepping in, the hunters King and Queen, two of the international fighters from the earlier team that got mind controlled and of course Zeo’s team. That means that you have every big character in the season all rolled into one big tournament.

It would have been fun to have seen some of the season 1 guys as well but to be honest most of them would probably get stomped and the season 2 fighters are more interesting anyway. The more the better though if you wanted to make the tournament last a few more episodes. Every single duel in this tournament is incredible and a big part of why this season will be so hard to beat. Every duel just draws you in because of how strong each character’s motivation is. For example, I would say the big highlight battles in the tournament are Ozuma vs Zeo, Kai vs Zeo, and of course Tyson vs Zeo. There are a lot of other hype battles to be sure but in each fight the hero really wants to take Zeo down no matter what.

This leads to a ton of solid back and forth. The soundtrack is also so amazing in the season that each duel is really built up. The first season’s soundtrack was already excellent and this one took it to the next level. It reduced the amount of time the weaker songs played and even introduced some new ones. Swing Low is the standout theme here for sure which always shows up when the opponent is dangerous. Whenever you hear that theme you know things are about to get real.

This climax can hold its own with any anime. Then you also have the fun tournament meetup scene where the fighters get to interact. It’s a small thing but I always love to see this moment especially when it leads to a little fighting the way that this one did. King and Queen definitely love to stir the pot. They are even bold enough to directly cheat in one of the tournament battles. If you ask me that should have automatically disqualified them but of course they are allowed to proceed a bit since the judges just want to see good battles. Otherwise you feel like the Saint Shields may have actually won that battle. I was surprised at how quickly King turned over a new leaf by the end though. Hopefully they return at some point.

Tyson is a fantastic main character as always. You’ll notice that he does seem to be a lot more tense than usual here though. He picks fights with the characters quite a lot to the point where he is always breaking up the band. Being the champion of the world has certainly gotten to him. That said, his skills are still the real deal. If not for Dragoon chickening out on him he may have very well had fewer losses by the end of the series. When he’s not blowing up at everyone Tyson also does have a ton of great lines where he does pat himself on the back. A high energy main character like Tyson tends to always be a lot of fun. He enhances every scene he is in and is just fun to root for. He gives a good amount of pep talks as well. I’d still go with Kai as the best character but it’s awful close.

Then you have Ray who is the team’s consistent third strongest member as always. He is a blast to have around and I always like when a series has the big three established. Think One Piece, Saint Seiya, DBZ, etc. You can always count on Ray to go in there and get some wins. In some ways he even looks better than Tyson as Ray never even entertains the idea of cheating while the others get tempted to do so during the tournament. Ray is all about fighting with honor and to the end. His fights tend to get more intense than the others with how much physical punishment he takes, but Ray always gets back up. It’s too bad that he was the only one who didn’t get to fight Zeo, that would have been fun.

Max is around the whole time so he has a pretty big role but he always tends to get overshadowed by the other members. His Beyblade fighting style is all about defense and to his credit it is handled rather well. He is always relevant in the battles and gets a good fight to end the series. I’m not the biggest fan of Max but he’s fun enough and a good friend to have. At the end of the day he’s a nice guy who fights fair so what’s not to like right?

Kai is the main rival and so of course he is a blast here. Again, I wasn’t big on his first episode though with the whole retiring and then mellowing out. It just didn’t feel like Kai, especially just letting an opponent stomp him like that. As the season went on he quickly rose back to his old levels though and that was great to see. He really serves as a mentor to the group and was probably the only one actually making sure Hilary was okay during the big fights like saving her from the boulder and a big fall. Kai was also determined to stop the part hunters and did a great job. He always brings a ton of intensity to the battles which is important.

Hilary is a new addition to the cast and she’s fun enough. She gets a lot of fun banter with Tyson. Tyson certainly takes a lot of shots at her but she can dish them out just as well which makes for a pretty good balance. If she could duel that would be even better since she could help out in the climax but as it is she’s solid. I prefer her to Kenny who is technically more important to the battles but at the same time I’ve just never been a big fan. He should duel at this point and he is always doubting the team and putting them through a lot of training. Dizzy doesn’t do much as the A.I. but she gets some good one liners and tends to be pretty sarcastic the whole time.

Lets talk about some of the other big characters here. First up is Zeo of course since he is the big villain. He was a fun hero so it made for a fun character arc. I do have to say right off the bat though that I still don’t buy how he was able to take on the complete range of Saint Shields with a single blow and then go back to rookie status after that. I wouldn’t say Beyblade is the tightest when it comes to power levels but that just felt like a stretch. None of the characters seemed to think it was off either. Even if it was a surprise attack, the match should have just kept going.

I also have to admit Zeo’s reasoning for turning evil is very weak and does make him look bad. At the end of the day he turned against his friends incredibly easy which was disappointing for them. Zeo makes for an excellent villain but I will have to say that I’ll remember him as a traitor pretty well too. So, great character but his betrayal was too sudden and too easy. I did like the explanation for why he was so strong by the end though, that did make a lot of sense.

Then you have the various Doctors. Doctor K probably had the most personality since she actually got kicked out and then went right back into the ring with her own team. You have to admire her persistence that’s for sure. She even grabbed a gun to try and shoot the tops herself so you can’t say she does things halfway. Then there’s Doctor B who gets scared a lot. He does a lot of the grunt work of actually challenging the team and bringing the robots so kudos for that. He’s just never really much of a threat though.

Dr Zagart is someone you don’t mess with though. I’d have liked to see him duel a bit too but he does have much more of an imposing presence about him. The guy feels like a main villain and you can tell that he’ll back it up as needed. Much more so than Gideon who basically gets shoved aside and frightened by all of the other villains. You feel bad for him because essentially he is a henchman who is forced to act like a leader until he is tossed aside. Cool character design though. By the end of the series there are so many layers to the hierarchy in the organization that it’s quite impressive.

King and Queen are added near the end of the series but they leave an immediate effect. What better way to solidify yourself as a threat than taking Kai down right? I wasn’t exactly expecting Kai to be dispatched like that so this was a pretty epic way to introduce them. Both of these characters make for really epic fighters. I also like how both of them are ready to jump in when one of them is in trouble. Queen cheats on King’s behalf the first time against Kai and King returns the favor against Mariam. Their costumes are pretty cool too and at the end of the day the impressive thing is really that their skills are the real deal. Even without crazy power ups they were doing well.

That’s one thing you’ll see a lot of here compared to the first season though, rampant cheating everywhere. You have characters using Beyblades that keep on regenerating. Then you have the 2 on 1 battles like I just mentioned with King and Queen. Kai gets double teamed, Mariam gets double teamed, it happens a lot in the series. The most annoying part is when the heroes just get frozen though. If you see your teammate being double teamed you’re really obligated to jump into the fray immediately if you ask me. Anything less and you’re not watching your partner’s back as closely as you should.

Time to talk about the Saint Shields. Mariam gets a lot of development in the group. I like her confidence and she does like a clean fight. You could say she appreciates it more than some of the other members who just want to win at any cost. She certainly taunts Dunga quite a bit but the group is pretty close knit so they definitely get along well when it counts. Dunga is also a solid fighter although he’s naturally not quite as charismatic as Mariam. His brute strength takes him pretty far in the series but ultimately falters when it counts.

Then you have Joseph who probably gets the smallest role out of the group. He just doesn’t have a true character arc next to the others but does have consistent skills. The best member has to be Ozuma though. He seems to take this mission the most personal when it comes to trapping the Bit Beasts. He has a lot of passionate duels and the way he stole the show in the first episode of V Force was just incredible. His entrance was absolutely perfect and his victory over Tyson was decisive. There was nothing questionable, no dirty tricks or cheating. He just won straight up.

Then we have some of the other characters who appeared briefly and then got turned by the Psychic team. Salima tried to stay strong and even did some detective work but ultimately her will power was no match for the power of the dark blades. It was definitely unfortunate but nobody in the series seems to be able to resist its powers so she isn’t alone in this. Kane is another such victim. He was a decent rival to Tyson but you did feel like he had no real shot once he was a good guy again despite a pretty impressive intro. Both of these characters were pretty interesting. They got overshadowed but had a good run. I can’t say much for their two partners though. They were definitely not very impressive in the slightest.

Wyatt is someone who’s worth more than a mention since he was integral to Kai’s plot. My main issue with him is how weak willed he was. First he stole Kai’s Beyblade and then after that he was very quick to turn to the dark side again. I can see why Kai didn’t want to train him because this kid absolutely could not be trusted. No matter how many sympathetic flashbacks the guy got, I was never a fan. Finally we have Gordo who was Zeo’s partner in the finals. It’s clear that the whole purpose of his character was so Zeo could have a partner but the guy was fun. I liked his design which is a total reference to DBZ and the guy can fight so he was a worthy partner.

Right from the first episode V-Force establishes the stakes as being quite high. These fighters are extremely powerful and it’ll be fun to see Season 3 up the stakes again. The question is, can they top this one? The fun part with Beyblade is you know there is always a chance even if it’s hard to picture when you’re coming off the incredible highs of this climax. The season has incredible replay value to the point where you could easily go back to watch some of the big fights again right now. While I’ve mostly been praising the second half of the show, I do want to say the first half is great as well. A lot of the Saint Shield battles are there after all and you’re guaranteed a lot of great moments with the cast filled with action and intensity. You can’t go wrong there.

You can also tell how impressive a show is when there’s a fight where the outcome is already all but determined and they still keep you invested. In a fight like Kai vs Zeo you already know there’s no way Kai can end the arc prematurely. At the same time you want to see just how close he can get. Even fights with throwaway villains end up being a lot of fun because of how well the show executes the battles. There’s also a lot of solid character development everywhere. The main characters are obvious, but take someone like Hilary. She starts out despising Beyblade and giving Tyson a hard time but by the end she is as invested as the rest of the characters. Admittedly she was a lot of fun as one of the antagonists but as an ally she’s cool to. The show has a lot of fun with the dynamics and banter. It almost goes without saying but the writing is absolutely phenomenal here. The trash talking is top tier with Tyson getting a hype line about how he’s seen better duelists in Kindergarten at one point when fighting Ozuma. Lines like that are why Tyson’s still the Beyblade champ.


Overall, Beyblade V-Force is a terrific anime. It’s just incredible how intense the duels are and how excellent the characters are. You can really get behind this as one of the all time greats. I can really see why Beyblade got to be so great. There’s nothing that this show doesn’t execute at a masterful level. It definitely deserves to be up there with the all time greats like Yugioh and Cardfight. The best part is knowing that Beyblade still has tons of episodes and seasons left to go. If you haven’t watched Beyblade yet, you definitely need to change that as soon as possible.

Overall 9/10

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review


After playing the first game in the Dragon series I was expecting pretty big things here. Unfortunately it just wasn’t to be. The sequel really ended up fumbling the ball here. The main issue is that the gameplay has been completely changed so now you’re riding a dragon in a very limited environment over and over again with no story. So this feels like more of a free to play minigame than an actual title. If they had only kept the cool action combat from the first game then this could have had potential.

So the game starts off with showing you how to fly. You fly around the world in 3D. You can go up, left, right, and down. You can fire off fireballs as well and during the races you can use items to boost or throw things at people. That’s the extent of the gameplay. So what’s the goal of the game? Presumably it’s to play all of the tournaments and events but they just keep on spawning. There are trophies for getting golds in everything though so eventually they should end. Honestly what the game could have done right off the bat to make things more interesting would have been to just have added a little story here. Maybe a cutscene where the bully is teasing us for not being able to fly so well so the main character wants to prove him wrong. At least that gives you a reason to keep on playing since you have to show them what’s up. Without that in the mix, it just doesn’t feel the same.

There are 4 main kinds of minigames. The first is the classic ring challenge. You have to fly through a bunch of rings within a certain time frame. Fly through them all to get a perfect score or at least go through most of them in order to pass the challenge. It’s a very basic game and while it’s not bad, there’s just nothing to it. So having to do this over and over again isn’t exactly thrilling when you think about it. Next up is..more rings. This time you have to get to the goal at the end of the level and you fly through rings to extend the timer. You’ll want to fly through as many rings as possible so the timer doesn’t run out too quickly. I mean…it’s a different variation at least but I wouldn’t say there is too much to it.

Next up is a minigame where you have to try and blast cardboard cutouts of villains. You have to make sure not to blast heroic ones by mistake. The idea is to blast them all very quickly before the time runs out. This one is a little tricky with how many points they want you to grab. A few mistakes will definitely be too much for you to come back from so you will want to keep that in mind. Finally we have my least favorite minigame which is one where you have to pick up Sheep and deposit them either at the finish line or in their pen. It’s really hard to land to grab the Sheep without crashing. The game is quite sensitive about the crashes so when it happens the pilot is completely thrown off of the dragon and ends up crashing somewhere after a full cutscene. It’s certainly not something that you want to see happen but it’ll probably happen quite a bit by the time you’re done with this minigame.

Aside from the challenges then you will also encounter occasional tournaments. These basically just fuse the minigames together only now you are playing against computers. The A.I. is actually pretty good in these. Mix that in with all of the luck factors in the game such as items, and sheep spawning in the wrong places and you are going to have a tough time winning. Not that winning seems to matter though. Whether you come in first or last you progress to the next challenge on the list. At least that means the game is relatively low pressure right? It also means that each level feels like it doesn’t matter though which is an issue. The tournaments also feel a little too long. They may only have 5 events but they feel like they end up dragging on quite a lot.

For the first time since Ninjabread Man also expect to hear the same voice clips repeated forever and ever. The main character just can’t stop talking while you are flying on the dragon. He’s constantly yelling and panicking. If you’re in first then he’ll be bragging the whole time. Either way the actor seemed to only want to record around 5 lines or so which means that he has to keep running them on loop the whole time. Not the best way to handle things, in that cast the developers should have turned down the voices a bit. He shouldn’t need to talk all the time unless you can record a ton of lines.

As for the graphics, they’re okay I suppose. They haven’t really changed since the first game but at the same time it’s a bit hard to judge because there isn’t a lot to animate in general. Pretty much all of the levels take place in the exact same environment to the point where I feel like they started reusing backgrounds almost immediately. The hub world is rather small as well. At least that helps if you want to find all of the collectibles although without a map or anything that sounds a bit tedious at best. There isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of either so the film couldn’t even try to save itself that way.

It’s hard to say how long the game is since it just keeps on going and going. I played it for a few hours and I think that’s a reasonable point to stop. Of course if you do enjoy the game I suppose there is a decent amount of replay value to be found. For starters you can try to grab all of the PS3 trophies. Earning that Platinum seems like it won’t be too tough but that it will take some decent time so prepare for that. Beyond that I guess that’s about it.

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon 2 definitely just wasn’t on the same level as the first one. Gone are the fun dragon battles and all of the excitement that the first game left on the table. This title feels like the developers just didn’t know what to do with it. As a result the whole product suffered quite a bit. If they made a third game or if they ever make one, I hope it goes back to the combat gameplay of the first. If not, at least it should involve platforming and have some kind of story. Just being a minigame title without much variety with gameplay is a losing strategy.

Overall 5/10

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Toothless Tokens 48%
Mouth on Fire 25%
Dragon Surfer 65%
Commander of the Skies 35%
Watch your Melon 37%
Fearless Rider 100%
Beard Trimmer 25%
Cave Dweller 14%
Skydiver 100%
Dizzy Rider 82%
Fire Breather 100%
Like A Chief 75%
Watch where you’re going 5%

Megaman X3 Review


Megaman X has had a pretty good run with the various manga titles. The author really knows how to expand on the general plot and put in ew details where it would help enhance the story. I wouldn’t quite put this above the second X adaption but it’s a good way to kick off the first three stories. In a way this one has the most climactic end of the 3 so far as you feel the whole series could have ended here. There are no loose ends and X has finally mastered his abilities to their fullest.

The series kicks off with Megaman admitting that he is retiring yet again. He doesn’t want to fight anymore and has even deactivated his Mega buster. He is confident that the world has no need of violence. Unfortunately he is betrayed by his own men once more and gets kidnapped by the mad scientist Doppler. Zero shows up to save him but now there are 8 robot masters running around causing havok. Megaman X is forced to suit up once more to stop these guys. Can he really come up with a way to stop them or is it gonna be game over for him this time?

You do have to feel bad for X because every time he has conquered a challenge, a brand new one takes its place. X seems doomed to never truly have a moment’s peace. Every time he even attempts something so bold he is quickly put back in the arena. I do think it may be a bit naive of him to fully expect that no more battles will be needed though. Getting kidnapped was pretty tough. The series does delve into his psyche a bit here. Being betrayed so many times and having to fight has naturally taken its toll on him. This is the series where X finally cracks to an extent. We get a sub plot where X is metaphorically turning into a demon which is a big plot point towards the end of the series. It’s a pretty intense plot to be sure.

It does make for some epic battles as well although I do have to say it hurts X’s character tremendously. Not so much that he is using the power since he is using it to help everybody but he also starts snapping at the main heroine and anyone who tries to help him. He completely goes off the deep end. It’s clear that X has become desperate but I think this was a bit too much. You’d think he would have been able to control himself a bit better. The final chapter has him back to normal though so I think he’ll be okay going forward but it was quite the change in personalities.

The ending is definitely interesting though. Without going into specifics, X gets a huge power up that makes him very hard to stop. He’s essentially life itself. I’ve never seen a portrayal quite like this for X before so that was definitely a twist. It feels a bit like plot convenience rather than something that should have happened but I suppose it’s unique at least. Just felt like it was like robbing the victory at the end since it wasn’t earned quite as hard as it could have been otherwise.

Zero gets a pretty big role here compared to the other titles since for once he isn’t presumed dead this time around. He has the perfect entrance here since he saves X and uses up so much power that everyone is in awe of him. How can you possibly top that right? I was surprised to see even Zero get overpowered near the end when he had to fight his opponent but it just goes to show how powerful some of the new villains are. Zero even got some character development from the previous titles. as he was more willing to spare his opponents.

Meanwhile the artwork here is definitely on point. The action scenes are intense and you feel the weight of each blow. It can get a little busy at times during the more high-end fights like with Vile and Sigma but you can still get what is happening. The heroes are just fighting at such a high level that there is naturally a lot more power involved at this point. The scale is handled well for sure and then you’ve got the subtle effects like X’s eyes not being shown when he’s in his demon mode to show just how much he has changed from his peaceful self. Even if it hurts his character a bit by the end.

While most of the normal bosses were a bit forgettable this time around, we did get two fun opponents in Bit and Byte. These guys are a cut above the rest of the mavericks and were actually overwhelming X and Zero with ease when they battled. Not just any opponent can do that. The opening fight was definitely one of the standout moments of the manga series because it’s just so rare to see Zero and X on the defensive like this. Particularly Zero who to this point was pretty much unbeatable in 1 on 1 battles. Nobody was really giving him such a difficult time prior to this battle. It makes sense that eventually there would be mavericks who could surpass him in ability though. While these guys may not have been super brave in the end, they definitely left a lasting impression. It was X’s last battle before going into the next stage too so it’s hard to forget that.

For the other robot masters, most of them just come across as rather insane this time around. They’re following the orders of their master but partially this is because they are being controlled like Doppler. It’s not about choosing the side because they wanted to like in the first two games. Only one of them is really able to stay strong. He was an aerial fighter who is sort of like Storm Eagle so he always wanted to surpass Zero in strength. I don’t think that’s going to happen but it’s always important to have lofty goals after all and why not at least aim high right?


Overall, Megaman X3 is definitely a great manga. The ending in particular is really solid. It’s the longest of the X adventures to this point so there was time for a lot of extra scenes and development to the individual battles. Despite this I would say the first two games had the more memorable villain cast. Maybe that’s because I’ve been through the original adventure in so many ways already though. Either way this one really upped the stakes with the grand finale and getting all of the robots to unite for once. I also enjoyed the beginning with X getting kidnapped since that was just such a different way of starting things off compared to usual. Typically you definitely would not expect things to start like that. X3 remains rather grim and somber a lot of the time with things always turning out tragically for the heroes. The ending is no exception, in some ways its the saddest ending yet so we’ll see how X deals with this in his next adventure. Will he retire yet again or this time will he stay in the front lines?

Overall 8/10

Sakura Wars: Le Nouveau Paris Review


Sakura Wars returns with the Paris troupe once more. Like the last adventure we’ve got a 3 episode OVA here. The stories are all pretty solid so this one holds its own with the last batch. I’d say there’s a little less action in this case and the first batch had the team’s origin which is always nice to see but we get some good character dynamics here. I would ultimately say that the third episode was the best one and that’s good since it means that things end off on a high note just as you’d hope.

The first episode focuses on Hanabi which is nice for her fans since she had a pretty small role in the last adventure. Her father is coming to town and he doesn’t know about Hanabi working on stage as part of the troupe or of her secret role in protecting France. Hanabi decides to make things a little difficult on herself by explaining that she is in a circus. Honestly the easiest thing here would have been to have just told him she was part of the theater and that would have worked a lot better. Still, misunderstandings happen awfully quick and so she lost her window of opportunity right away.

Hanabi was just a little too stressed out so even though her father turned out to be a reasonable guy who probably would have heard her out either way she ended up going through these elaborate measures. Give the rest of the team props for quickly having her back though. They are certainly quick thinkers as always which was really important here since Hanabi would have pretty much been out of luck otherwise. It’s a fun way to open up the saga. It may not be one of the more high stakes missions but we do get some danger towards the end of the episode. Mainly this was for Hanabi’s development and I would say it was handled well. Her father was also reasonable which is nice to see since sometimes parents in these things tend to be quite extreme.

The second episode gives us a mystery and this time the main characters are two of the assistants at the troupe rather than any of the main characters so that was also a twist in itself. Basically someone’s clock gets stolen and the issue is that he is an ambassador from another country. They want to use this as an excuse in order to infiltrate the troupe and find evidence that they are actually related to the secret defense force. It’s actually not a bad plan, especially considering that they didn’t fake the theft. It actually happened so they really were thinking on their feet here.

Lobelia looks really good in the subplot as she actually tracks down the thief. We also get a James Bond homage there as M16 appears along with their star agent. In his defense, the agent actually tried to hold his own even if you knew there was no chance he could beat someone with advanced fire magic. Those kinds of special abilities just give you a big advantage that can’t be solved without some kind of extra edge.

The main plot is still with the attendants though who are put in a pretty tough situation. The episode actually gets rather intense here while they are being interrogated and zapped since they won’t relinquish the information. It takes the heroes a while to get there so it’s impressive that they stood strong. I didn’t really recall their names but in honor of their efforts I figured I’d look it up so the two attendants are Ci and Mell. They ultimately make the heroic move to spare the villains at the end as well so give them points for not murdering those guys. Honestly I think the Paris group should try for harder punishments on the foreign groups after this incident though. It went rather far so the heroes should be able to get something out of this. From the 3 episodes this one had the most going on for sure. The idea of several intelligence agencies all getting involved along with a random criminal trying to pull the moves on everyone was fun to see.

Finally the third episode ends one of the subplots that had been going on throughout the first two episodes. When Ogami left he didn’t really get to choose who would take over as leader. He deserves full blame for this by the way as a quick line would have been enough to have gotten everybody on the same page. Instead he kind of waffled on this and gave every character a cryptic message making them think they would be leader. Naturally this hasn’t gone over well. Now there’s an old man who has taken over the Paris tower and is basically threatening to blow up the island. The Paris group has to finally choose a leader so they can unite and fight.

I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise who they pick as leader. The choice makes a lot of sense although I would argue that Glycine is the most qualified for the position. This is a fitting way to end the OVA because the leader plot was a big one and also because this special did allow Erica to get back in her robot so we got some big action scenes here. The second special had some good action too of course but no mech suits were involved so this one got more of the full Sakura Wars experience. It also felt rather grand due to the tower takeover because now the stakes were high. The old man and his abilities/tech may feel a bit random but in a world of aliens and mechs everywhere there are bound to be a lot of characters around who get their hands on things. Additionally I wouldn’t be surprised if he was from the game or a previous media because with the dialogue between him and Erica it’s clear that he’s not just some average joe. Based on his high position he’s in a good place to disrupt everything.

So while I wouldn’t say this beat the last Sakura Wars OVA, it’s a pretty well balanced one. The first episode would probably be the weakest for me with the final one being the best. The second one is in the middle. The Lobelia plot was definitely the best part since it’s always nice to see one of the team go rogue to an extent and just solve things on her own. Ci and Mell deserve credit as well of course. Meanwhile Coquelicot definitely gets the smallest role here. She doesn’t really get to do anything this time around while the other characters all got their big moments here and there. The cast works well together and there are a lot of different personalities so the contrast is effective. It would have been fun if Ogami had gotten to show up a bit but I suppose he can’t come rushing in to save the day every time. This way the group was able to stop the villains without any outside help.

The writing is solid here as you would expect and the animation is solid. It might not be anything breath taking but there isn’t a whole lot of action or anything so it’s not like the animators are really trying to stretch their limits. This is more of a little bonus adventure for fans who played through the video game and in that sense it succeeds quite well. The episodes all flow together well and you’ll have a good time with it. The soundtrack is a little less on the memorable side but it works well enough while you’re watching it so I’d definitely have no complaints there.


Overall, The Paris adventures end on a solid note. It’s been fun hanging with this group. With the New York group coming up we’ll see how those guys hold up. Personally I would consider them to be the best group but of course that’s the first one I was introduced to so they will always be rather nostalgic. At the same time the Sakura branch is the one I’ve seen for the longest period of time so they’re hard to beat as well. In a sense the deck was stacked against the Paris group so they’ve really done well in spite of that. It’d definitely be nice to see them get a full anime someday or something like that.

Overall 7/10