Dr. Stone: Terraforming Review


The Dr Stone manga may have ended a little while ago but the franchise lives on with the anime special, future seasons, and now this one shot. There are certainly a lot of other stories to tell here in the verse and I was glad to see that the one shot takes place after the series. It’s sort of like a speed run of readapting the first arcs but with the whole gang already around. It goes by quickly and captures the classic charm of the series.

The story starts with Senku lost at sea and no memory of how he got there. Gradually he remembers and basically the cast was on a plane when lightning struck and knocked them all down. They were able to use the revival formula to turn into stone but Senku fumbled the grab and so he revived himself by mistake. Now he is all alone in the middle of the ocean and has to try and survive now. Can he really pull this off without freezing to death? He may be the mighty Senku, but this is no easy scenario.

The reason why I say it’s sort of like a speed run version of the actual series is because from here Senku works on reviving the rest of the characters one by one and getting to safety. If not for the subplot with Dr. Xeno and the others, you could easily play this as an alternate take on chapter 1. What if Senku warped back but with his current knowledge? In a way it probably wouldn’t change a ton but he would have had an easier time of it. Sure enough, Senku does really well here and gets everyone up to speed.

I wouldn’t say any important developments happen here and that’s the norm for special chapters. This is really just a chance to get to see your favorite characters one last time. After all, there probably won’t be any other Dr. Stone manga chapters for a long while so you have to savor them as they come. It’s a fun adventure that definitely ends quickly but makes for a good all around story. We get some more inventions as well as the formulas for how to make them. For example, making sails out of fish skin definitely seems like a very obscure tactic that you probably wouldn’t think of right off the bat.

The characters are all around to help but for the most part Senku is really the one pulling the strings. Suika and Chrome get to help out with one idea though and as always Kohaku is good as actually doing the manual work. She may not succeed in getting Senku flustered but completes all of her other missions. I’d say the chapter is the author trying to really re-confirm to everyone that Senku is still a man of science who doesn’t have time for the more emotional moments. So anyone hoping that would change here probably will be in for a bit of disappointment but the series had been setting this up for a very long time at this point.

The artwork is as good as always. The series has a lot of detail and there’s just a whole lot of ways that it enhances a story like this. The oceans look good and all of the background details as well. It’s definitely the way to go. This artist certainly has a lot of skills so I look forward to him doing more stories whether it be Dr. Stone adventures or some more One Piece stories. Either way works.

In a way the story also sets up for a bunch of other sequels as well. There’s a lot of materials that the heroes need to get after all on their way to building the time machine. What I’m most interested in is how this will play out. What are the time travel rules that this series will use? Additionally, it may be easier said than done to actually prevent the whole stone event from happening. Senku has enough clout where maybe he could convince someone like Xeno to help him in the past but he would have to handle it very interesting. That could easily be enough for a full oneshot volume or something like that. I think it’s the next logical step in the Dr. Stone mythos.

Overall, This was a fun story. It just goes to show that no matter what kind of situation you put him in, Senku will be just fine. It helps that the revival fluid can help you cheat death at any time. A series about how this affects society would also be interesting. The fact that there’s a substance which can heal you indefinitely has to have had a major effect on the world right? It changes the way everyday life would be played out, particularly for risky kinds of situations that would be more standard now. If you enjoyed the main manga then you should certainly read this oneshot. It’s a very solid self contained adventure.

Overall 7/10

Just Listen To The Song Review


Time for another Shonen Jump oneshot but this one is surprisingly short. It’s barely longer than your average weekly chapter so there isn’t time for much. It’s got an interesting enough premise here that could have been for a longer story so it’s a shame that it ends so quickly. Ultimately it feels like more of a writing prompt than a full adventure and so I don’t think you will really remember this one much in the future. It does show how tough classmates can be.

The series interestingly decides not to name any of the characters. I assume this had to be an intentional choice so I’m curious on why. Is that supposed to be something to ponder during the chapter? Well, either way the story starts with the main guy deciding to confess to a girl that he has liked since middle school. She’s clearly not interested in him so he has one last ditch effort. He uploads a video to Youtube proclaiming his love and asks her to watch it. Unfortunately she sends it to the entire school body and this guy is now a laughing stock. What’s worse is that the video states that God is not real, takes shots at gun laws in America, and there are ghosts in it. This kid’s video is now a global phenomenon and everybody is watching is. What can he possibly do?

Surprisingly there is no big twist at the end, no crazy ending or any of that. I suppose you can call it more of a sad ending or a happy one depending on how you interpret it. Personally I’d consider it a sad ending. I don’t think the girl is going to suddenly fall in love with him or anything like that. She just doesn’t like the guy and things like that don’t really change overnight. Even if she does suddenly decide to get with him, would it be because he’s famous around the world now? There will always be some doubt but I’m going to take the ending at face value here. He looks dejected as she says that the videos are everywhere so I think he’s doomed. She’s just listening to it again to really rub this in his face.

Compared to most embarrassing videos though, I wouldn’t say his rates that high. If anything he should be feeling a little happy about all of the attention. Sure, in the moment it’s kind of sad that everyone got to see you be rejected but once that moment passes then it feels like everything should be goo right? He can turn monetization on and rake up a bunch of cash. Even if he can’t recreate the magic of the videos, he can cash in through other means and quickly stockpile some cash. That’s the best way out of this for him and also the best method of turning this into a positive experience.

It was rude of the heroine to upload this for everyone to see which is also why the guy needs to move on. Perhaps she thought it was harmless fun but it was a big blow to his trust. I was glad that the school was not overplayed with the reactions though. Sure, they definitely poke fun at him and there’s a lot of teasing but it doesn’t go too far. Perhaps that is just due to the length of the oneshot but I thought the reactions were on the normal side. They made sense and were fairly realistic here.

In general this is a fairly laidback oneshot. It’s all a bit sad for the main character while not being too dramatic. The video has a lot of weird things happen to it which is strange but played out as if this was not a big deal. It’s almost like a Twilight Zone episode. You never actually expect that the story will get into how his video could be defying reality by saying something different in each language. You just sort of roll with it and how that affects his life.

The art is fairly good here. The character designs are all clear and you could always tell what is going on. Of course with no action scenes that is not as difficult but it’s always worth mentioning when the art is good. I think the writer should take my advice and make this into a full ongoing. I think there’s a whole lot you could do with this premise that there just isn’t time for in a short story like this.

Overall, It’s always fun reading oneshots like this because it’s cool to see all of the unique premises out there. I’ve read a lot of short stories when I was a kid, but far less manga titles. I’ll always be more partial to long running titles as my favorite since you can then get attached to the characters and setting but a solid oneshot will always hold up well. I think this one was a little too short for its own good and so there’s nothing to latch onto but it’s not bad. It’s just a title that you won’t really think about afterwards, there isn’t much to ponder here compared to the last one.

Overall 5/10

Ayashimon Review


Whenever a series gets cancelled you feel a little bad because it could have kept going and become the next Naruto. A series that everyone respects as one of the all time greats. I know that’s what I was thinking the whole time for many titles since if you ask me, a series that it good should just continue forever. Never end the series unless it’s actually bad. Now, this one may not have been super amazing or anything like that but it was pretty good and definitely should have lasted longer.

The series starts by explaining that the demons used to all be ruled by a single man named Kioh. He was a strong monster who kept everyone in check and under his rule things just worked out. Unfortunately he died under mysterious causes and so the group descended into a bunch of small gangs. In particular there are now 4 gangs that rule the world and they are all striving for power. We are then introduced to the main character Maruo.

Maruo is really obsessed with Shonen Jump and has read all of the big titles. He lives his life like he’s a protagonist and is bored because everyone’s too weak. That’s when he bumps into a girl named Urara who is being chased by a bunch of demonic yakuza. Maruo beats them up and decides to serve her as a Yakuza member. She is the daughter of Kioh and intends to destroy all of the demons and become the top family again. Maruo will help to the best of his ability because he really wants to get some good fights. Can he pull this off or is it game over?

So lets start off with some of the good parts here. The series has solid action. I enjoyed the action scenes here and the series has good art from the start. Usually you’d expect it to be a little rough around the edges but it holds up from the jump. At worst I would say some of the designs may not be all that memorable but you won’t have any trouble reading what’s happening in the scenes. It all just flows together really well.

I also thought the character cast was good. Perhaps a bit small but I think this would have ended up being a solid team. The manga moves rather quickly and it’s already getting a little high tier with the feats. There’s a lot to like here and while the manga delves into some darker subject matter, I wouldn’t say it goes too far. The idea of uniting all of the Yakuza gangs is also a classic. Just replace “Yakuza” with almost anything and you’ll see that it’s a classic kind of plot. Maruo and his friends need to be the best and it’s a tested formula.

So what happened, why did this series get cancelled? Well, I do think some of the world building elements may have been a little too much too soon. For example we learn about different kinds of ghosts here and how they can only stay alive through coins and belief. It’s hard to say which is more important but we know for a fact that demons turn into coins when they’re destroyed. The others can then use that to strengthen themselves. Belief somehow helps keep you tangible as well but it’s hard to say if this turns into more coins or not.

Otherwise, how does it help when you’re made of coins? The series goes on to show that demons exist in another realm and the coins help them get a physical form. That’s a little odd to buy into though, what is this other realm and are they always just floating around but invisible and intangible? As you can see, you can make sense of this whole thing if you make some assumptions and connect the dots but the series overcomplicates the issue a bit too much.

Especially because it’s honestly not that important. Just say that yokai are made out of money and when they die other demons use the money to get stronger. Boom, you’ve still got everything you need without big info dumps. Especially when a series is new you don’t have time to be throwing info at people like that. Still not a big enough issue for the series to have been cancelled though.

I suppose Maruo’s backstory was a bit grim with his having an abusive father and all but main characters have had worse. I was really surprised by this but it’s handled fairly well. It explains why Maruo got into manga and how he trained to become so strong. Usually you have the heroes training to fight some end of the world boss or something but here it was just so that he wouldn’t get absolutely crushed day in and day out. It was a pretty interesting change of pace there.

As a main character Maruo may not stand out a whole lot but he’s a good kid. He likes to fight and is always trying to get stronger. That’s already the most important step for a main character so he’s off to a very good start there. He may be a little too one note in how obsessed he is with Jump but I’m cool with it. You have to establish character traits early so I can see why he is this obsessed. I think it would calm down a bit as the series goes on. His physical strength was impressive and I always like a brawler fighting style.

Maruo is a loyal guy and doesn’t give up easy so I’ll always remember him as a pretty solid character. Then you have the heroine Urara who is good. She has mixed feelings about exactly why she wants to be at the top. In part it’s because she wants to bring honor back to the family name and in another way it’s also because she wants to find out the truth about what happened to her father. I’m sure there would ultimately be tons of twists about her father had the series kept going. Still, she did her best and tried to follow the rules the whole time. Things just didn’t work out for her.

She ultimately becomes a good character once she decides that her friends take priority over the revenge. At that point she was really making all of the right decisions and goes from being a shady boss to one who has found her priorities. Hopefully she’ll get a longer time limit on her super form eventually though because only being able to use it for a few minutes is pretty iffy. It would also be nice if she could fight at least a bit in base considering how powerful her father was. Perhaps as the series went on she would have gotten stronger.

So the first story arc has the heroes decide to find a weak gang to beat up so they can have a base of operations. They run into a demon named Ten who gladly invites them over to take out his mean boss. Maruo pulls this off easily enough and it works well as an introduction to show how strong he could be for a human. The series does give an explanation for this like every few thousand years a human is born with incredible power. I almost feel like you didn’t need an explanation for this but I suppose it’s better than nothing so that is still fine.

The villains here are mainly one shots aside from Ten who actually joins the team. I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with the guy though. He’s your classic coward type character who is afraid of everyone and can’t fight. That’s definitely not the kind of guy that you want to have on your squad. He gets one fight before the series ends and the whole thing is really cheesy. Ultimately he wouldn’t have done much to help the dynamic if the series had kept going on.

Then we get to the first big arc which introduces us to the leader of the strongest gang, Doppo. Doppo kidnaps Urara’s informant Hashihime and it’s clear that he plans to take her out for the count. She was a bit of a double agent which is always a super risky job. Maruo figures he can take this guy down since Shonen Jump heroes never lose. It’s a good way to show off one of the end game threats of the series and to have Maruo lose. The action was good and everything but I just had one big issue here.

You immediately realize that what will give Maruo some pep back in his step is that he’ll remember how leads can lose the first fight but then will win the rematch. The reason the plot is too contrived here is because Maruo was already established as a complete manga expert. There’s no way he would somehow forget that the heroes lose from time to time. DBZ is one of the series that he said he read and Goku lost his share of fights. So the author could and should have handled that part a lot better.

Hashihime was a really solid character and I definitely missed her once she was gone. She could fight and did rather well in combat. At the end of the day that’s just not enough when you’re up against Doppo’s group. Her flame powers were fun while they lasted. Then you have Doppo as the big leader of his group and that guy was a solid villain. He is one of those quirky types who likes his artwork and making sure his victims don’t die easily.

He explains that this was actually difficult because of course in this world the demons will die naturally without money and if they recover too well it could be dangerous. Well, his idea is to let them partially regenerate and turns them into piggy banks which forces them to stay alive. The whole thing was very clever on his part. It’s good that they’re made out of coins though or the scene could have been a little too grisly. Either way it is rather disturbing for anyone who gets captured by him. You do not want that to happen.

Doppo’s power is able to suck fire out of anything or anyone which is interesting. I haven’t quite seen a power like that before and I thought it worked really well. It helps the ability really stand out next to the others. A normal ice ability wouldn’t have stood out as much. I may not be the biggest fan of the guy but he certainly lives up to the hype with how powerful he is. Even by the end of the series he isn’t taken out.

Next up is more of a small arc as the heroes realize they need to get much stronger while also increasing the fights at their disposal. The best option is to form a truce with the biker gang. Naturally this ultimately leads to a clash between their leader Kotton and Maruo. Kotton reminds me of an Accel World type character with how he zooms all over the place. He’s incredibly fast, maybe too fast as it’s hard to see Maruo fighting with him at all. Sure, Maruo is getting wrecked for most of the fight but maybe it should have been for the whole fight. The water weakness was convenient against Kotton but he should still be too fast to fall for any traps.

It could have been worse as the author at least tries to cover the bases but that’s always an issue with speed types and I think it would have continued on even further here if it had kept going. I liked Kotton as a character though and now he’s a guy who could really add onto the dynamic. He likes a good fight and is all about friendship and protecting his men. He’s the kind of leader you want to have on your side.

Finally we enter the last arc where Urara is kidnapped at a hotel by Tamagawa, another one of the leaders. His ability is to shapeshift and he even gains that person’s powers. It’s a solid ability with the only downfall being that if he stays in the shape for too long then he can’t transform back. That’s certainly a risk here but one that is likely worth the extraordinary powers that he gets. This guy is one of those by the books fighters who doesn’t like to live on the edge. He’ll take the safe option every time.

He didn’t really stand out to me even though he did make for a very solid boss. He’s more of an obstacle than a big character. This worked as a preview to the final boss with Doppo though as the guy turned into him. Since the author likely knew the series was ending at this point, it makes sense why he would have the guy turn into Doppo. If the series did end then at least Maruo got his revenge in a sense.

At 25 chapters long the series escaped the U-19 club but ultimately it still didn’t last a very long amount of time. It feels like you have the series wrapped up in an instant. As you can tell I had a good time with it. Sure, it may not have broken out on its own as some kind of elite or really stood out a ton but ultimately it got a lot more things right than wrong. Each chapter was fast paced and the story was engaging.

The story also had a good amount of humor which worked well. Maruo constantly talking about beating people up or using his special attacks was always entertaining. The series was even going for almost a One Punch Man kind of vibe with Maruo one hitting everyone for a bit but it branched out early on so I wouldn’t say that it was trying to rip that off. In general I thought the power escalation was handled well. Maruo faced off with his first real challenge right away but won enough fights where his hype was warranted. That’s a good way to go here and of course the series had its emotional moments as well. I think you could easily retool this into a one-shot movie since the series didn’t keep going.

Occasionally it would have some tonal clashes like the heroes having a comic relief, slapstick fight against the villains in the hotel but for the most part it was relatively serious. The action was good and I do think the author was working hard to get in a solid main cast. I always have a section on what the series could have done differently to avoid getting cancelled and I listed them earlier, but I do think the author tried really hard. I’m a bit surprised that it didn’t go further. The series didn’t really have any fanservice and it seemed primed for big things.

Overall, It’s a shame that Ayashimon ended but I suppose they can’t all be winners. I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a solid action manga. Maruo was getting stronger and stronger so it would have been nice to see what heights he could have reached. Perhaps a sequel will be out someday but I’m always super skeptical. It is a longshot after all but never rule it out. This is at least one series that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, especially with how bold it was to have characters like Goku and Joestar actually appearing in Maruo’s head.

Overall 7/10

Death Note: Short Stories Review


It’s time to return to the world of Death Note. The concept/premise has so many possibilities that I’m surprised this isn’t revisited more. You could say it’s a bit of a gold mine of ideas. Think of it like Twilight Zone or something and you could have a different person get it each time. After a point you’ll probably want to make them fully standalone with the prior events not happening though because I think the longer it goes on, the tougher it would end up being with handling the reactions since having it first happen in the world is part of the fun with how shocked everyone is.

There are quite a few stories here as well as some 4 koma adventures. I won’t go into the mini strips but I’ll dive into the main stories. Of course one of the stories is one I reviewed back in 2020 so check out my full review for that one in this link. The story definitely holds up really well and is still a great What If. You feel like the Shinigami King effectively had to cheat to stop this guy because otherwise it was completely a perfect plan. There were no weaknesses and even Near had to admit defeat. So I thought that was really impressive and it’s a plan that holds up under scrutiny. Even if you think about it a lot of put yourself into Near’s shoes, there was likely no way to break apart this strategy.

There’s a story here for L’s origin which is fun enough. We see how he was a genius ever since he was a kid and how he got rich. Ultimately L gets inspired to be a detective which ends up being a strength of his. The guy is very quirky and has a lot of odd habits so it’s good that he became a detective because he probably would have struggled in more traditional situations. After all, the guy likes to do things at his own pace. I suppose he would be rich enough where he wouldn’t have had to worry either way but this way he has something to put his mind to focus on. There’s not much to it but seeing a glimpse into L’s past is always cool.

Now we dive into the 2 main stories that I hadn’t read before. The first one is C-Kira. Basically someone has appeared with the Death Note and is murdering all of the senior citizens who say they want to die. This Kira is effectively trying to be a mercy killer who only destroys the people who really want to die. Then it starts to go further as he’ll murder people getting in his way, people who criticize him, and this all starts to go down a path we’ve seen before. The police quickly contact Near but unfortunately he doesn’t care enough to help.

The ending to this story is incredibly convenient to the point where it does weaken the whole thing though. You can’t get me to believe that this guy could be stopped with a sentence or two on the air like that. I think the author wrote himself into a hole here because there would be no way to track this guy much like the previous story. After all, in this case people were volunteering their information so they could be murdered and anyone with internet or a TV could see them so the suspects are unlimited.

It helps to underscore how even with Light nobody could have ever tracked him down if he had played it safe. If he relied on public information rather than using classified police files then the heroes would have been cooked. Even if he hadn’t responded to L’s taunt with the big screen then it would have been that much harder to find him. Light technically did make a lot of mistakes and it was only his overall genius which kept him in the game so long. In this compilation you’ll notice that the characters constantly put him on a pedestal.

Of course they don’t agree with Light, that’d be crazy but they constantly talk about how he was so smart and how these new villains shouldn’t even be called Kira. It’s almost like a running gag where every chapter you can expect them to talk up Light to some extent. Light was a very fascinating character though so that makes sense. To date he’s one of the top main characters, I don’t think we’ll see very many villains who could match this guy.

Finally, we end with the pilot story involving the magic eraser. A kid gets a Death Note and accidentally takes down the bullies who had been messing with him. Naturally he didn’t realize that writing their names in the book would murder them but fortunately the eraser comes in handy. The cops get involved eventually and it becomes a whole big thing. As you can guess the eraser was a pretty big deal here. It would completely change the dynamics of the main series if it were to actually be here. After all, any and all deaths could be immediately reversed in the series which would lower the stakes but also add a whole new element into the mix.

Ultimately the eraser is an interesting idea but you can definitely see why it wasn’t put into action. I think there’s enough potential where you could do a whole series with that concept and I’d be interested to see how the characters react to that, but I doubt it would past the original. Still, from these various stories you can see the overall potential of the universe. There’s just a whole lot here and this is only scratching the tip of the iceberg.

For example we see that a lot of people still look up to Kira. Apparently Light’s actions caused all war around the world to end and lowered crime by 70%. It’s one of those classic examples where the ends don’t justify the means but once someone already did all of that, you have no choice but to accept the benefits. Some characters still resent that this had to happen while others have made peace with it already. Still others continue to root for Kira. In the story where he is murdering the people who want to die, it’s an interesting discussion. You could ultimately use the Death Note to help someone pass on peacefully without any pain. (Conceptually at least. This guy still went for the heart attack in each case since he didn’t seem to know about the rules)

As always though we see how this corrupts each of the users. No matter the intentions, the Death Note will ultimately cause its user to want more and more power until they start murdering just anyone. It’s just not a good idea to use it and murder is always wrong. Seeing the characters wrestle with the notion of this being wrong while also being tempted to let it play out is the most interesting dynamic here. You could probably talk in circles about how cool the premise is for quite a while to be honest.

If you’re a Near fan then you might not be super pleased with him here. Personally I never cared for the ugy much and this volume reminds me why. He barely ever tackles any cases and he’s out of his depth when he does. His only win here is pretty much by chance since the villain should not have lost and I just feel like he never has the charisma or genius of L. The government is going to need a new L at this rate if any more Kiras show up. Meanwhile the art is really good too so it’s easy to follow the action. It’s a very detailed style that works well for a serious mystery title like this. The Shinigami world can be a little hard to visualize but that may be intentional to show how odd that world is.

Overall, It was nostalgic to see more Death Note stories here. I think the author needs to get to work on more of them. The idea of having a Death Note appear in real life would certainly be terrifying. Imagine everyone having to conceal their real names at all times so that nobody would find it out? A person’s birth certificate would suddenly be worth its weight in gold. It also makes you wonder how it affects things like changing your name. Does the Death Note take that into effect once it’s legally certified or the instant you change it? There are infinite things to discuss so ultimately the best thing to do is to read this for yourself and see what you think.

Overall 8/10

Dr. Stone Review


Now it’s time to review Dr. Stone, a manga that ended a while back but I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing it yet. It was pretty nice to see this title get successful. It’s fairly outside of the box with the premise and is going for a different feel than the average Jump title. Yes, I still tend to lean towards the fully action packed ones myself but it’s never bad to have a change of pace title. My thoughts are, if a series is good then no matter the genre I want it to go on for as long as possible. That includes everything that’s a 7 or up, for a 6 I suppose so but I’m less invested. Either way this title ends up being above both scores.

The series starts off by introducing us to Senku who is a brilliant worker who isn’t very emotional. In contrast his friend Taiju is always acting very emotionally as he runs off to make confessions and do his thing. Well, one day the Earth is blasted with a powerful ray that turns everyone to stone. All of the characters slumber for thousands of years until Senku finally wakes up due to his incredible mental fortitude. He must now bring humanity back from the Stone Age and find out what happened here. Will he be able to pull this off or is humanity already completely doomed?

Now that’s a very early plot summary of course but no worries I’m going to be diving into the arcs in a minute. Right off the bat I can say that part of what makes the science work is how some of it is actually possible. As the series goes on some parts may be a little tricky or stretch disbelief a bit. I suspect it’s because the manga needed to be wrapped up so things were going fast, but especially in the first half the attention to detail is really great. I even put the series to the test. Yes that’s right, I decided to find out if this was actually real and so I made the Senku Cola.

To this day that was a very memorable moment for me and I had a blast with it. The drink actually did taste really good too and that’s when I really gained respect for the series. The author clearly did his homework and so then you get extra enjoyment out of seeing how it goes since you could make some of the other stuff yourself. I was mildly tempted for the homemade ramen but to me the Cola looked the best either way.

There are some fights here but I do want to stress that the series is more about the journey. Seeing how the characters overcome all of their hurdles without the benefit of high powered technology. I’d say the series does well with that throughout. The characters are fun and it’s just a solid series through and through. I’ll list some issues I had with it down the line but for now lets focus on the main aspects that really worked aside from the science.

One big thing is that the artwork is really solid. This artist really knows how to add a whole lot of extra detail here. It makes for a solid read when you want to really narrow in on a page or set of pages. The backgrounds hold up to the extra scrutiny and the character designs are on point as well. The clashes we get during the fights are also solid. On the flip side, you will rarely see a prolonged fight for that reason as the art style is better suited to powerful stills than a lot of choreography. You will see the rare extended fight but not very often. It does show glimpses of the author being able to draw a long fight if he wanted too though. I think if he made that a focus then it would be done well, this just wasn’t the series for it.

I also give the author credit for having Senku get everyone up to speed so quickly. I do not like stories about cavemen and such. Never have and this series could have easily gone in that way but fortunately with his tech, Senku keeps things civilized right from the jump. Definitely a really good move and even the people who grew up in the village can speak English normally and aren’t just being super quirky the whole time. Characters do have their quirks of course but not the cavemen type.

There are also some solid philosophical debates here with the villains having very different reactions to a world of stone. In a way this is a chance for humanity to reset so some characters like the heroes want to make everything normal again while others want to radically change the world. It never gets into a very gray area as you don’t doubt Senku and the crew but at least the villains do have some solid thought processes behind their actions which makes most of them rather solid. I do think it’s important to have good villains to balance out with the heroes whenever possible.

Now for my main issue, it would be that the final part of the series moves at such breakneck speed that you feel like it misses some opportunities and also that some parts are impossible even for their mastery of science. Building multiple rockets in a super short span of time? We needed some more time skips there. The whole final twist? It wasn’t super satisfying, now there were a lot of theories for this and I liked the future Senku one the most but what we got just didn’t lead to any real big moments. If you do go with this angle for the reason as to why the Earth got turned to stone, then you need to take it further and have a follow up arc. Finally, there’s a moment where we nearly got another huge timeskip of many, many years that ended up being a fake-out. That said, I wasn’t particularly torn up about it since it would have been about a character that I wasn’t a huge fan of. I think it would have been interesting of course but I wouldn’t call that one a bad thing.

Now that we’ve talked about the series on a large scale, lets dial it back and talk about the sagas. First up is the pre arc which involves Senku and his childhood friends being split up so they go with Tsukasa as spies while Senku heads over to Ishigami village to recruit some troops and get started on his transformation into a world of science. This was a good way to introduce a lot of characters and it’s a fun pre arc. Senku gets to show how he fights with science and it was also a really solid way to introduce Tsukasa as a true threat. I definitely would have removed the whole him fighting an animal part though as he already know that he’s tough. No need to stress the point.

As a main character Senku is definitely solid. He’s not going to be joining the top ranks of protagonists anytime soon but he gets the job done and always has a plan. His lack of emotions help him in a lot of ways since he doesn’t panic easily. I like his confident demeanor and he just doesn’t make mistakes. Senku’s a very well rounded character who even learns to lighten up a bit by the end and has some emotional moments like with Tsukasa. He may not change a ton but he doesn’t need to, he was already equipped with good skills from the start.

Then you have Taiju who was also solid. The guy doesn’t get to appear or do as much as you might expect but he’s always a good friend. He did well in standing up to Tsukasa initially and can always be counted on. My main problem with him is that he takes being a pacifist way too far at times. You should absolutely still be able to punch someone in self defense or to protect a friend. He takes his ideals a little too far at the expense of the safety of his crew. Fortunately he is rarely put in a position like that but it is a slight mark against him.

Yuzuriha was sort of the main heroine for about a volume before vanishing and she’s another good character. Like Taiju she ended up vanishing early but made the most of her screentime. She’s a nice person who wants to help out. Ultimately she didn’t get a lot more character than that but she is around so you’re not going to forget her or anything like that. She helps out as needed.

Tsukasa is the first villain to show up and right away I liked the guy. So his goal is very simple, he figures that grown ups are the reason for all of the strife and corruption in the world so he wants to spare only the children and remove everyone else. That means he’ll go around busting up all of the adult statues and then he’ll revive the youth to take over the world. It’s a pretty interesting way to rebuild the planet but you can argue that it just delays the inevitable as they will be adults someday. If humanity is just that corrupt then this strategy won’t work.

His only chance is if he can raise the next generation personally so that they don’t end up twisted but it seems hard to stop that if the adults are that bad. It’s an interesting idea though and why not try to make the world a better place instead of resetting it to how things always were right? It’s just that his methods involve murder which destroys his chances of having a good discussion about it. What would have been interesting is if he decided to instead keep them as stone and made a case to Senku that they shouldn’t revive them yet as they think about what to do. I want to say Senku may have at least heard him out for a while even if ultimately I don’t see them coming to terms on this.

Tsukasa can fight and lead really well though so he was the perfect character to put in as the first major villain. He really has a lot of presence in the story and he’s so powerful that even great plans can end up crumbling in front of him. That’s what it means to wield great power. Back to the village characters though, we get a mini boss in Magma. Eh, the guy never interested me much though. He’s the kind of villain who is fighting for the girl and is super petty all around. Not much to cheer on in that case and he ends up lagging behind.

Kohaku is the character who really takes over the main heroine spot and I enjoyed her character as soon as she went up against Tsukasa in the forest. She had no fear as she charged in and while she ultimately didn’t prove to be a match for him, I respected the courage there. Kohaku was absolutely not going to back down and that’s the right approach here. Always try to go for the win and don’t back down. It’s the best way to go about this. Throughout the series she is really handy whether it be for scouting missions or helping with the inventions. Her excellent eye sight and hand-eye coordination really come in handy.

From all of the village characters she is certainly the best one. Chrome is another villager and his thing is that he’s a scientific mastermind like Senku. Of course he doesn’t have the benefit of formal education like what Senku has but in a way that makes it more impressive that he’s able to keep up. He’s not really my kind of character though. He’s helpful in a pinch but the whole time you just feel like he’s a weaker version of Senku so he doesn’t get to make as much of an impact. He contributes a lot but he just can’t catch up to Senku even if he does mean well.

Finally you have Suika and she is just too young for this. There’s only so much that you can do as a kid and while her watermelon crawl is handy and all…she just never ended up being all that interesting. Kids often just get in the way in Jump titles and while she wasn’t panicking or being taken hostage a lot, I would put her as one of the weakest villagers. She definitely needed to be a little older to really help out.

The village has a high ranking member in Ruri who is good for the info dumps, but she doesn’t ultimately get to do much. Once she is cured from her disease she just sort of fades into the background. She isn’t a fighter so that was probably inevitable though. Someone had to give out the news right? So at least she had that job but ultimately her sister Kohaku ended up being a lot more fun.

Kinro and Ginro are two supporting characters in the village but I never ended up being a big fan of either of them. For Kinro, he is technically a good fighter and he tries to be strict, but often times it’s hard to take him seriously. I feel like he needed to be a little stronger to have really had an effect like that. Meanwhile Ginro is the comic relief character who is scared of everything. Unfortunately he never gets to be endearing so instead he just ends up being annoying the whole time. If I had to pick a comic relief character who was better then I’d go with Kaseki. He really just has one gag that is used on repeat with his whole turning buff thing but at least it’s not a super annoying gimmick or anything like that. I’m not a big fan of the guy but he’s not really around much anyway.

Okay now it’s time for the first big arc of the series which is the famous Stone Wars. Tsukasa and his group make their move so Senku and friends are forced to respond in kind. It’s a great way for the heroes and villains to finally meet up after all of the build up. It certainly lived up to it too with the best climax out of all the arcs. To date this fight has not been passed in the series. It was a great way to wrap up all of the character arcs and aside from the whole finding out why everyone was turned to stone thing, would have even worked as the series ending. It was a lot of fun all the way through and the arc really blasted through at a quick speed. It never dragged on and the whole thing had a very fast paced feel to it.

We got to meet more of the troops during the war as well. First up is Hyoga who is certainly very ambitious and a talented fighter. Next to Tsukasa he was likely the strongest one here and really looked impressive. He makes for a fun villain and while he’s nowhere close to Tsukasa, I liked his fighting style. His weapon certainly does have a long range which is really handy for any fight. His opponents always have to make sure they’re out of range or they’re plum out of luck.

Homura is another fighter on their side and her acrobatics are impressive. She was even able to stalemate with Kohaku for a bit there. Senku looked bad in letting her go at one point but she definitely showed why Tsukasa trusted her with the dangerous recon jobs. At the end of the day she did good. Then you have Ukyo with his super hearing. Not the most loyal fellow to have around but he’s got good aim and is another solid fighter. I wouldn’t say he ranks against the other villains but he’s reasonably good.

We can’t forget Gen the trickster who always has everyone on the ropes…at least for a few arcs. My only gripe with him is that his mentalist abilities don’t tend to help out much later on. In a way his biggest weakness is the fact that he’s well known so nobody believes him anyway or he’s going up against other geniuses who aren’t going to fall for that kind of trick. So either way he ends up being put in a tough position. Gen’s a fun guy though even if he is ineffective a lot of the time. He just needed some kind of power up although I’m not sure how that would work in this context.

Yo is another one of the villains in Tsukasa’s army and I liked him well enough. He’s a corrupt cop who is used to using a gun so he is actually very helpful on the battlefield. I thought he was a rather unique character who worked well in this context. Definitely someone you don’t forget too soon. He may not be super talented but he’s better than the no names so he at least earned his spot as one of the guards.

Well with the Stone Wars done, it was time to get a boat and then head off to the next adventure. This time it’s a big battle on an island against someone who knows how to manipulate the Medusa stones in order to turn people into stone. It makes for a very dangerous weapon and this is definitely not someone that you want to go up against without a plan. The villain here isn’t as interesting as Tsukasa by a longshot but it’s still a fun arc. We get some memorable visuals like the villain jumping head first towards the water while yelling. That could be a good jump scare in the show if handled right.

Ultimately it doesn’t have the hype and pure stakes as the Stone Wars but it’s still a good follow up arc. Plus it probably would have been very difficult to have topped that initial saga. The villain being rather lackluster is the arc’s biggest weak point but as a whole I would still say it does more good than bad. It’s the weakest of the big arcs pretty much by default and that’s because I merge the Xeno and aftermath as one arc. If you split them then this beats the epilogue.

Ryusui got to join the crew during this adventure and he’s really a standout character. Now here is someone who can absolutely hold his own with the old guard. He brought a lot of confidence to the table and ended up being a very memorable character as well. His expertise with the boats were absolutely unmatched and he always knows how to have a good time. I’d argue that the cast really needed a high energy guy like this to keep everyone focused.

Then you have his assistant Francois who does well with the cooking. This character doesn’t get a ton to do but is still fun enough. Ibara is the main villain of the island arc and he never grew on me. In a way he’s the perfect example of the kind of corrupt grown up that Tsukasa was talking about. He found out how to use the medusa power and immediately used it to be an evil ruler. Literally the guy wasted absolutely no time in doing so. If he was a little less greedy and focused more on leveraging that into being an unstoppable king who at least cared for his tribe then he may have actually made it out of this.

Matsukaze is a solid character. I like that he can fight well and it’s just a shame that he happened to decide to serve a comic relief character. Man he could have really gone places but he was introduced rather late so it’s possible that he wouldn’t have had a chance to do much more than that either way. It’s just nice to have another fighter on the team. Mozu is another strong warrior but he doesn’t have much to do. Again as this isn’t really a battle manga, you can’t expect the characters to get to mix it up with the others too often.

Finally we approach the Xeno arc and this time we got to have some real competition for Senku. Xeno is the first villain to actually be able to keep up with Senku on an intellectual level and it works extremely well. Basically he is a part of the Nasa group and he actually had a plan for if this ever happened and he got a chance to rule the world. The guy thinks ahead, that’s definitely his forte without a doubt. Can Senku and friends really stop him? The guy has homefield advantage since they’re in America or maybe Senku and friends have finally picked an opponent who is too powerful.

It was great to see America and part of what I also liked about this arc was it showed that Senku wasn’t the only one to defeat the stone conditioning. You have to assume that at least someone else was able to keep their mind active the whole time and it’s fitting that Xeno could pull this off. They don’t call him a genius for nothing after all. When the heroes land in America and see that the place actually still looks okay, it was a great shock value moment. The villains had already started tending to the crops and such to build a civilization of their own.

For the first time Senku and friends were truly out of their depth in a modern world. Stanley also does give us some really good action scenes as that villain’s an expert with a gun. The series also paid special attention to show that as a soldier he was still bound by a code of ethics and didn’t suddenly become a monster or anything like that. It was a good way to give the villains some nuance here. Stone Wars is my favorite arc still but this one was definitely a blast.

If I have one issue with the arc it’s that at this point with a way to not only undue the petrification but also to glue the parts together, there isn’t a lot of stakes anymore. At one point the villains start blowing up the heroes to kingdom come but you know they can be revived anyway so it’s not particularly a big deal. At least in DBZ the planet might blow up so there are no dragon balls but here it’s not like the villains are going to do anything. As soon as the heroes found out that the serum pretty much makes them immortal, it meant that traditional fights wouldn’t have the same impact as they used to. At least it was a good way to show how effective guns are as even Tsukasa couldn’t do much against them. Guns are truly overpowered in a world where only one side has them.

Xeno definitely lives up to the hype here as the big bad. His discussions with Senku are really solid. Even if they both disagree on a whole lot of things, they have respect for science which is what still unites them. They never ended up forgetting that part of themselves. He has a cool design too and has to be one of the stand out characters here. Likewise Stanley is excellent as the muscle of the crew and is also very smart in his own right. He picks up on all the clues Xeno sends him, no matter how subtle they are. He’s also an expert at reading the room and using his expertise in a fight to get the upper hand on the heroes. These two are a big reason as to why the arc was a lot of fun.

After the main fights we also get a lot of new characters added into the mix for Senku’s group. For the most part they’re all added in too late though and don’t really get much to do. I dare say they didn’t need to be added like the watch guy or the girl who can read the land. It’s nice to have some more support but ultimately I didn’t feel like their roles were so big that they had to be around. At least Sai got to give us some video game moments which is always fun but for the most part you knew the series was ending so you were more interested in seeing the Whyman plot come to an end.

Now for that part, that’s where things crumble a little bit. So lets overlook how the science goes really fast here. While I don’t buy into them creating numerous rockets back to back in a short timespan like this, we had to get the heroes into the Moon somehow. My issue is that Whyman does not live up to the hype. This guy had great moments where he yelled to the planet and even had Senku’s voice somehow. Needless to say, the hype was through the roof here!

Then when he shows up, the guy has no passion, no vision. His true form isn’t very interesting and his whole plan makes absolutely no sense. The heroes even mention this and Whyman has no real response to this. Because even he knows that his actions made absolutely no sense. I didn’t think the manga did a good job of really explaining this guy. Considering that this plot was around for almost the whole series, it feels like the author didn’t really think it through. There were so many interesting routes that could have happened for this and they all ended up fading away.

It’s not a train wreck ending or anything but I thought it was super underwhelming. If ever there was a time to throw in some action and fighting then this was it. It would have made for a very memorable climax with everything at stake instead of whatever this was. At least the aftermath/epilogue for the series was cool though. We finally get the high tech gizmo I had been waiting for and it would work really well for a sequel series. There’s a lot of potential there.

Before wrapping things up, I should quickly mention that the series handled the mini flashback saga well. I liked Byakuya and Lillian as the two leads to that adventure. The old ship crew all had a good dynamic and it was nice seeing them end up creating their own small world on Earth as well. Naturally they couldn’t wait 3700 years for Senku and friends but they did well to accomplish a lot on their own without a resident genius.

Overall, That about wraps up Dr. Stone. It was definitely a great series with a solid amount of characters and action. It certainly had a long lasting career with all the chapters it ended up with and it’ll be nice to see some kind of sequel or spinoff eventually as an ongoing. Of course if the author is busy with more One Piece projects I’d definitely understand. I’m sure he’s having fun getting to tell a lot of different stories. If you haven’t read Dr. Stone yet then I would definitely recommend changing that. It makes for a very interesting read and you should definitely try making the Senku cola once you get to that point.

Overall 8/10

Undead Unluck


Definitely one of the rougher starts for a Shonen Jump title although not in a violence kind of way. The series has started to tone down some more of the iffy elements as the series has gone on but one thing that’ll be hard to get away from is that the two main characters are really below average. This is a title that will live or die on the supporting cast. I’ll have a review up for the series when it’s over. If it can just double down on having a lot of cool fights with no time for much else then this can definitely hit the next level.

Overall 5/10

Bleach the 3rd Phantom Review


Now this is a game that I’ve owned for generations but never went around to beating it. The game’s just so crazy long and back then I wouldn’t have made it. Well, I finally got to play the game from start to finish now and it’s a lot of fun. Be prepared to be here for a while though as the game definitely takes its time with you. Be prepared to grind out some extra level ups and use some cheese as well. Without that you will be in for a rough time here.

The game starts off by introducing us to two siblings named Fujimaru and Matsuri. They grew up in the rough part of Soul Society but get taken in by Captain Seigen and his sister Konoka. They decide to look after the kids and eventually they grow up into fine Soul Reapers. Their time together is cut short when they disappear into a time portal through to the future. Now Seigen is on the side of darkness along with Matsuri while Konoka is no more. Can Fujimaru find out exactly what happened? Also…why is Aizen poised to be the greatest threat that the heroes have ever fought?

The game has 25 chapters and each one can take over an hour so you’ve got a lot to do here. I dare say that you may even spend over 50 hours here by the end of its run. The game does not hold back on how long the levels can be and even some of the cutscenes can be on the long side. So this isn’t a game that you can rush through and as a result we also get quite a lot of story to discuss. That’s for sure. A lot happens here across the two time periods.

First we should talk about the gameplay style here. It’s a tactics game so the idea is to maneuver your pieces around the board and attack the enemy when you have a type advantage. Don’t get greedy here and just take what they give you. You will be moving up to 9 characters at a time. Once you have moved everyone once then it is the opponent’s turn so you have to wait as they attack. The idea is to pick your moment so that you can attack and take the opponent down without eating a counter attack.

There’ a whole lot to describe here if I was going to go into detail on how to play a tactics game but I’ll let you look that part up. It’s fairly self descriptive anyway. You just have to find out exactly how to move everyone and what combination of moves to use. Once you have that figured out then you’ve already won half the battle. Each character can move, attack, use a skill, use an item, or raise spirit pressure. Raising your pressure lets you recover spirit energy quicker which is used to activate your skills or bankai. So naturally you want to have a lot of that at all times.

I didn’t take advantage of the items much until the end but I can definitely tell you that they came in handy. One key thing to always remember here is to keep your healer in the back. Healing usually takes up a lot of health if you’re Orihime or isn’t versatile if you’re using someone like Shiho. You have to take all of that into account when playing through the levels.

Additionally, be careful when you have to split up your team. If you put everyone on one side then the other team will end up being in a tough spot. Try to keep it as balanced as possible. Worst case if you forget you can quickly grind by using free battle. You can do this while at the character selection screen through the options. This lets you raise everyone’s level in the bonus stage. Still, you need to be careful because hypothetically you could find yourself in a position where your team is unable to beat the practice level. If that happens then there is no way to train and you’d have to start the game again. I can definitely say that I did get a little nervous during some levels in the game due to this.

Also, one tip for the final boss. The final level is a really long one and the final boss has 8000 health points while more enemies only have about 1000. That means you’re going to be in for 30+ turns of trying to take him out. The thing to know is that he can attack in any row he is facing and can seal your attacks if you get too close. He cannot hit you at a diagonal angle though so that’s how I got him. Slow and steady was my measure as I gradually drained the energy out of him while he couldn’t retaliate. It’s a tough strategy but one that saved my bacon there. I highly recommend having a strong projectile user like Uryu at the ready to pull this off. Also make sure that you upgrade each character between levels.

I’m mixed on if you should upgrade your sword or go with pure stats. I went with the sword but there were a lot of times where it didn’t seem to help much and I wondered if I should have just paid more attention to health and attack points. Those were the 2 main stats I would raise aside from the sword. Personally that’s probably a better deal than the sword so keep that in mind. I could talk more on the gameplay but I do think you get the general idea here.

The graphics are pretty solid. I would have liked some true cutscenes though instead of images all the time. I feel like the DS could have pulled this off. Ah well, the story is a lot of fun either way and I do like the visual effects here. Activating Bankai always feels fancy in a very good way. You can tell that the technique will make a difference in combat. Some Bankai are better than others but they’re all still better than not having one. I didn’t unlock Fujimaru’s though so I ended up playing without it.

The soundtrack is surprisingly good as well. There are some fun tunes here and the game knew how to get that danger feeling across. There’s a good variety of tunes here as well so you don’t have to worry about hearing the game one too often. In terms of replay value, the main campaign is so long that you don’t even need it. Still, there is a lot since you unlock the Bleach Tower where you get to go through all of the floors and take out a bunch of enemies. Apparently the main campaign is short next to the tower so take that as you will. I can’t say I would be too tempted to try my might up there. It would just take too long plus having the story is definitely a good chunk of the fun.

It was nice to see Aizen and friends here to take some names. He definitely gets a lot of respect in the game as you’d expect. Fujimaru is the main character here and I thought he was okay. He’s not really my kind of character as he slacks off/goofs off way too much but he tries his best by the end. Matsuri is way too gullible which hurts her character. She doesn’t have a lot of conviction of her own which ends up putting her in a sticky situation. Seigen suffers from the same issues to an extent. He gets suckered a lot but the guy does have conviction. Unfortunately he just tends to join the wrong side which isn’t a good look. You absolutely understand why he’s so upset but even so, he’s just going to the wrong side here.

Konoka is more on the side of reason. She’s a fun character through and through who tries her best. Finally you have Shiyo who is a bit too clumsy for her own good. This holds her back considerably. I would have liked to have seen Ichigo be the main character here and I suppose he already gets to be the lead all the time but it would have been nice to see him take names. Now he’s got to share the spotlight for a change.

Overall, This is a game that will require a lot of patience because of how long every match is. Tactic type games really are meant to have you focus on every play so it’s hard to go too fast. I would often be reading while playing because of how long every turn takes. I think there should have been a way to turn off attack animations or something like that but it’s not the kind of thing that would end up hurting the game’s score. I would still say this one was great. There is a lot of attention to the Bleach mythos so you really shouldn’t be disappointed here. It did everything it could to be one of the definitive Bleach titles and it was also cool to see the Wii game’s villain return. That guy was always pretty fun even if he couldn’t match up to Aizen. If you want to check out a tactical game, this is the one for you!

Overall 8/10

Goodbye Eri Review


It’s time to look at a one shot that just came out recently and it’s a very interesting one. It gets rather meta to the point where it’s hard to interpret just how it ended although I’ll throw my take in there later on. The one shot is 200 pages long which is crazy but at the same time there are so many pages that are recycled or just don’t have art in them that I can see why it was so long. I’d say the ending goes a long way to making the story as it helped make this one real memorable. Even as I type this I’m still sorting out exactly how good it was in my head but by the end it’ll be clear.

So the story starts by introducing us to Yuta whose mother is terminally ill and will be dying soon. She has asked him to start recording her daily life and eventual death so that she can be remembered. Yuta does this but at the last second he doesn’t have the heart to record her death and storms out. Fast forward many years and he has decided to show the video at school but edited in a scene where the hospital explodes as she dies to make up for the fact that he doesn’t have the footage. The entire student body and faculty are furious at how he handled his mother’s death and he grows suicidal until he meets a lady named Eri.

Eri says that she liked his movie but that he wasn’t very professional in how he crafted it so she will train him to make a new one. They’ll meet every night and weekend to watch a bunch of movies at an abandoned building she hangs out at. Yuta agrees to do so and now he will be recording her but will this really give him peace and is she really just trying to help him out or does she have some kind of ulterior motive?

To be honest if she had an ulterior motive then Yuta was probably doomed from the start since he went along with her plans anyway. At its core this is a fairly emotional story about overcoming loss and grief while trying to restart your life. The story is self contained in this adventure so there is a beginning, middle, and ending. The cast is very small though with Yuta and Eri being the only real characters with a big role. Yuta’s father does get some solid scenes near the middle though which I thought were handled well. He comes across as a very understanding guy and one who made his share of mistakes but does his best to make things right.

So onto the positives, I thought Eri was a solid character. Whatever her reasons may have been, she did stop Yuta from taking his own life which is massive as a start. From there on she helped give him courage and drive to keep on going and find a new path. Even when she was sick she handled it well and ultimately was the kind of character who helped make a difference in the world. To combat that, I did not like Yuta. The explosion at the end of the video was fine enough, I can see how it would be a scandal but apparently that’s how he usually tends to end his videos. He likes putting a fantasy element in it.

My real issue with him is that he’s not a very classy guy. He throws in some crude humor here like filming himself using the bathroom. Really? That’s just taking things way too far and he’s also not very classy about the kinds of movie scenes that he likes. He’s so obvious about it that he even has to comment on those moments. So yeah Yuta’s not a very stand up guy and probably not someone that would be super easy to get along with. I think he could have toned down these parts of his personality. It’s probably to show how comfortable he is with Eri but it doesn’t make him look any better.

The story can be rather dark although you probably guessed that by the subject matter. Even towards the end we get some sad twists about the mother and it all plays into the theme of how people can be very different in real life than they are from the recordings. Even though Yuta is recording these characters himself, it is only a small part of who they really were and anyone can fake things in front of a camera. I thought the twist about the mother was a bit much tbh, particularly as it doesn’t directly impact Yuta all that much. It’s more of an effect for the reader at this point.

As for the artwork, it’s okay. It’s not one of the better art pieces that I’ve seen but it does the job. I’d consider it slightly below average but you always know what’s going on. It’s also partially the style as it’s trying to be very live action-esque which often does not translate quite as smoothly into manga. I also think you shouldn’t even strive to look as realistic as possible. There’s a fine line between coming close in a stylized way like One Punch Man and then just not being visually appealing.

Now I was mixed on how much I should put a spoiler warning for a one shot because either you’ve read it or you haven’t but I’ll throw it in just in case. Skip the next 5 paragraphs if you haven’t read the one shot because there are a lot of twists at the end. As I said earlier, the twists are what make the story after all so you probably don’t want to know them ahead of time or it’ll take part of the fun away. It is the kind of story that could change a bit when you know the twists though so either way you may want to re read parts of it.

Okay so in the end Yuta makes his new movie about Eri as he is able to film her all the way to her dying breath this time. The movie is received very well by the school this time and Yuta goes on to have a family and live a good life. The life has its ups and downs but then his family is in an accident one day and they all die so he is the last survivor now. He decides to take his own life once again and goes to where Eri used to hang out except she is still there and hasn’t aged a day. She mentions that she is a vampire and will never die but her brain resets so she had him create the video so she could remember her old life and never be sad anymore. This gives Yuta a new lease on life so he heads out…and then the building explodes.

So what does this mean? Was the entire adventure actually a part of his movie? If so, when did the movie start and was any of this actually real or was it a video the entire time? Did he actually blow up the building because he was that insane? There’s a lot of ways to read this and you could have fun bouncing it around in your head for a long while. To be honest this was probably going to be a 4 or a 5 without the twists at the end because it would have been relentlessly sad if Yuta survived all of that only for his whole family to have died. If he also died in the end the score would have been lowered even further without a doubt.

Instead, this actually ended things on a more positive note. Whether you think it’s real or not, it’s at least a little upbeat that he got to walk out and the explosion was a nice touch. Still, I’m not going to cop out on you here so I’m going to give you a real answer on how I interpreted this. I was on the fence about the two so real quick here was my runner up theory. At the end Yuta really did blow up the place so this way there would be fantasy in his story again. There really was no vampire (Is what he would rationalize in his head) and the ending would have been true from his story. It’s an interesting theory but I don’t think it’s right.

So what I think is that everything until he meets up with Eri is completely real. Yuta recorded his mother’s life and then he made a movie which was shunned by the school. He met up with Eri in the shed and they watched a ton of movies together. Eri got sick and then she died. This is the turning point. At this point Yuta started recording the extra scenes including the fake ending. The fantasy angle that he always talked about is why he added a vampire at the end and the big explosion. He didn’t actually grow up and have a family. That was all narration from him inside the film. So every scene after Eri dies is a part of the actual movie. It would be easy to fake his being older with special effects and since he discussed with Eri the whole film before hand, they would have filmed the scene in advance.

To me this makes the most sense. I feel like the constant mentions of his wanting to add a fantasy edge to it were all leading up to this. The strongest counter argument to this is how strongly you believe the narration that isn’t within the film panels. Alternately you could just say that the whole thing is a movie to be extra meta but I think doing that weakens the story as a whole. If nothing was real then it’s all a bit pointless. I also just don’t think that’s even a possibility. I’m sure there are a lot of other fun theories you could come up with after this one shot, but this is the one I stick to at least. Eri’s death was the final real scene here and the rest was within the film that everyone was watching. Of course if you play it straight and everything was real including the explosion at the building that would be a really intense way to go. It’s why I was torn on which option to go with and that ended up being my runner up.

Overall, Goodbye Eri is one of those stories teetering on the brink of total destruction and being a good story. I was even a bit stressed for it the whole time because it was hard to tell just how it was going. Fortunately the ending pulls through and in the end this would be a story that I would recommend. It’s sad without throwing this in your face the whole time and while none of the characters are particularly noteworthy, they all accomplish their tasks well enough. The writing is solid enough to hold this all together and so overall it holds its own. It’s long enough to be collected into volume format one day so I wonder if this would ever get printed over here. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll turn out that this was actually the pilot to an ongoing story.

Overall 6/10

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Review


It’s definitely good to be in an age where all the big anime films get to go to theaters now. It’s nice having that complete experience there and the audience was pretty engaged throughout the experience. Seemed like a mix of people who knew the future events and anime onlies. There was certainly one guy the whole time who thought Maki was quite mean and well, she is rather aggressive with the main character for a while but she mellows out by the end. All in all Kaisen’s definitely a great film and I look forward to seeing how the next one stacks up.

The movie starts by introducing us to Yuta Okkotsu. If you saw season 1 of the show you’ll likely remember him getting a lot of hype throughout. He hasn’t gotten to appear yet but the others mention him as being a big threat so you get to see how he made it there. As a kid Yuta became engaged to his best friend Rika. Unfortunately she was hit by a car and died almost immediately afterwards but their connection was so strong that a curse came between them and now Rika lives on eternally as Yuta’s protector. Any who would dare stand in his way will get obliterated by her. This has depressed Yuta to the point of being suicidal but then he is contacted by Gojo, the strongest sorcerer of the human world.

He takes Yuta to Jujutsu High where he will become a sorcerer. He joins the first years Maki, Panda, and Toge. Yuta may not be strong on his own yet but his cursed spirit Rika is incredibly powerful to the point where Yuta is considered to be a special grade fighter. Unfortunately this has also caught the attention of the evil sorcerer Geto. Can Yuta stay alive long enough to master his abilities and free the curse on Rika so that she can be free or will he be defeated and the modern timeline isn’t what we think?

The movie moves at a fairly quick pace. Yuta appears and gets recruited within a few minutes. Then you have the origin story with Rika thrown in very quickly and more details are spread in throughout the movie. We get several missions so you could see as Yuta improves his abilities. There is a little time skip near the end so we don’t get to see the exact point Yuta goes from being a decent member of the team to a super powerful one but it helps make the final battle more intense. When Yuta suddenly shows up with all kinds of new abilities and techniques, you can tell that he’s been training very hard.

It’s also nice seeing Yuta in the younger days here. He almost feels like a completely different character from the Yuta I’m used to. He’s more like your classic Shonen lead here even if he might seem to have a bit more of a subtle edge than others. He was quick to volunteer to destroy Maki’s clan along with her and it shows how he values his friends above all else. I like Yuta in all of his appearances so far so he’s a character with a lot of range. He may start off as timid but ultimately he still steps up to do the right thing when it counts.

He is also a quick learner and doesn’t shrink away from combat. The way he handles Rika is also part of what makes him a great character. He never goes through a phase where he is afraid of Rika or blames her for everything. Even when he’s upset he just blames himself and never tries to make this appear to be her fault. It was a mature way of handling things since Rika was just doing her best to help him. Perhaps it was not in quite the way he was hoping since she could be quite violent but she is a cursed spirit at this point so it’s likely not easy to hold herself back.

While we don’t get to see the human Rika much, she was definitely a very solid character. She is extremely loyal as evidenced by her cursed spirit form and always had Yuta’s back. She really helped to make things as easy as possible on Yuta and I appreciate that she stood up to the bullies. Yeah it felt a little hard to believe that her first 3 victims survived the attack. I suspect this was a way to make sure that Rika never turned too close to the dark side but the way we saw their bodies mangled and the amount of blood that they lost….I don’t see how they could have possibly survived. Well, good on Rika I suppose.

As always Gojo is a very fun character here as well. When you have a character this powerful you do have to suspend a little disbelief for how he doesn’t just obliterate everyone. It feels like he could have dismantled his opponent and kept on going unless he has grown exponentially stronger in the year after this prequel takes place. You could say that he’s sandbagging a little as well but from how the movie’s story went you feel like he would want to be there in the climax.

Either way he’s definitely a fun character as always. I liked that he made it clear to the elders that he would protect Yuta if they tried to murder him. He’s always been the kind of guy who stands against corruption and that’s what I like to see. As you’d expect with a film like this there is a really big climax so you get a ton of guest stars and cameos from the rest of the Kaisen verse. It was nice seeing Todo and the crew as well as all of the pros. They may not get to be here a lot but they all get to use their signature attacks which is fun. I always enjoy seeing everyone come together for the climax for some action.

Of course the biggest roles go to Yuta’s teammates so lets talk about them. Maki gets a large role as she is teamed up with Yuta in the first mission and they get to hang out a bit. She has her own baggage which is touched upon in this film a little bit. As a result Maki’s gotten to be rather aggressive and always picking fights since she feels the need to prove herself. I tend to like this character type and Maki does well here. Ultimately her fighting style means the character would likely be limited against stronger opponents but she still does her best to fight back and also helps to improve Yuta’s close combat skills quite a lot.

Panda probably gets the smallest role out of the 3 but he gets to have the longest fight against Geto which helps to even that out. He really did well all things considered and was able to move quickly enough to hit Geto while also repelling the spirits. That’s not an easy thing to do. His fans should definitely pleased with his role. Then you have Toge who does his best to try and get Yuta to fit in. The fact that he can’t really talk at all for fear of using his abilities makes this a bit difficult though.

I’ve always had a major problem with Toge’s abilities before and the movie doesn’t change that. Just using a single word causes him to be in absolutely terrible condition. With the throat medicine he can do a little better but when your ability’s drawback is that huge it just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s a great ability but I think they should give him enough durability to be able to use it a few more times. It would definitely make his technique a lot more dangerous.

Then we have the main villain Geto. The villain has some depth to him as his goals are quite grand but in the meantime he keeps up a good front so he is able to earn a lot of money. A lot of the times it feels like the villain wouldn’t bother putting up a front even though it would cost him a lot in the long run. So it was a good way to show that Geto was quite smart and wouldn’t be falling for those kind of traps. It’s also impressive that he can fight from both long and short range. Not just any kind of opponent can do that.

So I liked him quite a bit. He makes for a memorable villain. He also has a whole team of villains with him for the attack but there isn’t enough time for any of them to get a lot to do. They seemed interesting enough and I’ll give the author credit for giving them all distinct designs and character designs. There’s just no way to give them enough to do to make them really memorable without stretching the film out another 30 minutes or so. Of course I would definitely be cool with that but I can see how it wouldn’t be needed.

The soundtrack is excellent as expected. You get a few new lyrical songs here and a lot of solid tunes. They really help to enhance the scenes and you can feel the danger in every moment. As I mentioned earlier, the pacing here is fairly quick and the music’s always moving quickly as a result too. It doesn’t mean there is a fight scene every moment of course and the big fights tend to be in the second half but there’s always something going on and any time you think it’s about time for another action scene to pop up, it does.

As always Mappa delivers with the animation as well. The action scenes are really good and the hand to hand (Or rather blade to blade) fights are extremely fast and savage. The choreography is excellent and you can feel the power behind the hits. These are the kinds of fights that you figure will age well forever. Even 20 years from now you won’t be able to deny that these are great fight scenes. Not surprisingly my favorite battle is the one between Geto and Yuta. It’s a fight that the film builds up for a while so you know it’ll be good but even with the time skip you may not be prepared for quite how good Yuta is.

The action can get intense but I wouldn’t say the film is too violent. The most disturbing scene is likely when one guy’s head is stretched apart by demons. That one was definitely a gruesome way to die but for the most part the attacks are limited to the combatants or aren’t too intense like that. So I wouldn’t say there’s anything extra to worry about beyond the usual action you would expect to see here.

The movie has its share of humor which lands well. The characters tend to have rather crazy facial expressions whenever Gojo mentions something out of the blue or is messing with them. The chibi effects are used well and since Yuta is out of the loop on everything, he tends to have some good reactions. It never gets excessive so it’s just enough to keep that nice balance. The writing is also really solid. Outside of the Gojo power level moment I wouldn’t say I had any other big items to mention. Even the romance here with Yuta and Rika was decent enough. I’m usually not all for the romances in films but this one was executed well. No drama, rebounds, or any crazyness here. Just two good friends who hit it off and their bond even surpassed death.

I guess on the power levels part I’d give a small mention to Gojo just letting Geto run out in the first place when he shows up with the crew. (All roads go through Gojo I suppose) I think with his speed and ability Gojo could have saved the hostages and stopped Geto. Again I guess that’s just what happens when you have someone as impressively powerful as Gojo. You expect him to solve everything when he’s around.

Now the film does have an after credits scene which is great since you should always have that. I think I would have picked something a little more exciting as the final scene to be honest but it’s nice enough. It’s more of a happy scene to confirm some characters in the present. Won’t say much more than that to keep you in the dark about it, but as always that means you should stay past the credits.

Finally the question you’ve been wondering. Would Yuta in this film be able to defeat Yuji from the TV Show? If you include Rika then I would say Yuta wins without question. It’s hard to see Yuji being able to defend himself from a two pronged attack like this. If Rika is out of the picture then Yuji wins because he’s just a better street brawler and has more control over his black flash techniques. Rika should always be counted in a Yuta battle though so as of now the original main character wins. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was definitely a great film with a lot of replay value. The action was on point and it made for a very solid introduction to Yuta. I always like the idea of building up two main characters but not having them meet for a long time. The longer you wait, the bigger the payoff when it finally happens. It’s rare to see this though. Beyblade (Manga only), Seraph of the End, Fate/Zero, and a very few select others have done this but it’s very rare. After all, it’s tougher than it sounds to have two characters keep getting separate plots and adventures without having them tie in since you have to be careful that neither side feels rushed all the time. Kaisen’s a good example of a series doing this well as you are definitely ready for Yuta to meet Yuji. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out whether you have watched the anime or not. I would say it’s fairly friendly to newcomers as the TV show events are not really referenced so this can feel like more of a stand alone.

Overall 8/10

Tokyo Shinobi Squad Review


Time to check out the next cancelled title. Tokyo Shinobi Squad did make it over 19 chapters so I suppose that it deserves some kudos for that. Still, it is easy to see why this one did not continue. It’s a shame because there was a lot of potential here but I guess it just didn’t get good enough, quick enough. If you like ninjas and/or sci-fi then you will have a good time here. Since it didn’t get many chapters before ending, it makes for a quick read.

The story starts off by introducing us to the current world. In the future, ninjas are back in business since the entire world has devolved into a chaotic region. The world is unified, however it is unified by the darkness thanks to Globalization. Basically the Japanese Prime Minister thought that uniting the world would be a good thing but instead terrorists and other villains used this as their chance to make a move. As a result, there are no real governments or police officers anymore. What remains are really just there for show. No, every big company and group hires ninja to actually do the dirty work. This has created an entire movement of ninja within a master association and a lot of freelancers as well.

There is no safe spot in all of Tokyo or the rest of the world now. That takes us to the intro where a kid named Ed is being chased by a bunch of thugs. He’s saved by a ninja named Jin. Jin’s ninja squad is different from most as he is very selective about his targets and only accepts missions that he perceives as just. Ed can’t pay him for being rescued but Jin decides to look after the kid anyway. Ed has a legendary scroll of memory manipulation and now he is being chased by villains all over the place. Can Jin protect him?

The other part of the world building is that scrolls are effectively guides on how to learn special techniques like elemental blasts. If you study one for a long time you can eventually use the power. Some takes years and some take months depending on both the rarity of the scroll and the talent of the user. Fortunately the main character Jin is a prodigy so he’s master lightning spells like crazy. Although there are some power level issues here but we’ll get into that here.

The intro is really just about beating up some gangsters. The first real arc has the heroes go on a mission to grab some data. Taiga is one of the members on Jin’s crew and he doesn’t approve of En joining up. He thinks that the kid will hold them back (Valid point) and that this is too dangerous. (Fair) Jin uses this as a way to show Taiga how En can contribute. See, the villains are attacking so there’s no way to download the files. Fortunately En has a complete photographic memory so he is able to memorize 1TB of data within a few minutes. That is impressive and it’s also impressive that the computer could show that much info at once. That’s the most impressive part tbh.

Jin deserves some praise for putting En in a position to succeed here. It was a fun enough story but the first chinks in the power level armor are discovered here as Jin gets nervous about having to deal with fodder. After all lets think about this for a second. En had to memorize this quickly because the heroes had to run. This implies that Jin and the crew were possibly going to lose to random minions?? Now that’s wild.

In the next arc, the heroes have to guard a model since a lot of models have been attacked lately. This time the main characters are Jin, En, and Papillon who is the strategic member of the group. We get some decent action scenes here as Papillon fights her opponent while Jin and En dash out of there. Why did they have to dash? Because the villains are too strong! Notice a pattern here? It all ends well and Jin gets a good fight in the intro as well but you just feel like he should be doing better considering how impressive his reputation is supposed to be.

We then enter the climax of the series as a training arc begins. I’m starting to think it’s true that doing a training arc nowadays is ill advised as series seem to keep getting cancelled after doing that. So each squad has to go back to the association once a year to validate their ranking and potentially move up. This is apparently Jin’s squad’s first full year so this is a big moment for them. They end up partnering with another group of fighters who know Jin from way back in the day. Their leader is like Rock Lee, he has physical powers but no ninja abilities.

The test has several steps including beating up minions and heading to a gladiator arena to fight off a bunch of opponents. Honestly the tests were fairly entertaining. Perhaps a little generic but I had a good time with them. The battles were solid and Jin was finally winning his fights without being in a lot of trouble so that was good. In a way this ended up being the final arc even though we had some stories after that so at least we ended with some action.

After that we got two one shot stories and then the final event. The first oneshot story doesn’t have much of a plot except as a very convoluted excuse to have Papillon and Jin share a kiss accidentally. It involves a cleaning lady bumping them together which is as contrived as it sounds. The next story was Taiga’s origin on how he joined the group. He was certainly more of a delinquent back in the day. It’s nice to know his origin but with the series winding down it felt like this was something that could have been skipped.

The final two stories have the head of the ninja association show up to demand that Jin hands over the legendary scroll that he’s holding onto. Apparently it’s actually one of the 5 McGuffins and they feel Jin’s squad isn’t ready for this responsibility. He might be right to be honest and Jin does get wrecked here so they have the right idea. We then get a big time skip and a huge cliffhanger to end things off with so it’s time for that sequel to be announced someday. I think it is better to end things off on a cliffhanger instead of abruptly ending things because it at least does open the door to a sequel someday. Perhaps your next series will be a huge hit and then you can use your clout to continue this one. At least I like to think that’s what the author was thinking.

So the story was good here and the artwork is also pretty solid. It’s certainly better than a lot of the other titles that I had been reading through and it’s very easy to follow the action scenes along. The fanservice is mainly kept to a minimum, Papillon is the only character who has to go through this. I do think the way her powers are set up (She fights by using her clothing which disintegrates the more she fights) was really only created for fanservice which is disappointing but she only gets 1 real fight in the series so it doesn’t end up becoming a big issue.

Now, like I said, the power levels are a bit iffy here. It really all revolves around Jin. So when the series starts we are introduced to Jin as a super prodigy. They haven’t seen his level of talent in a long time and he’s going to shake up the entire ninja world. If this is the case then why does Jin get nervous when random chumps show up? Either the average fighter is so weak that even as a prodigy Jin should be having trouble here or the author just didn’t execute well.

I have to assume the latter here. They really should have just cut all mentions to Jin being a prodigy and treat him like a normal main character who gets the job done. I think that would have gone a long way towards helping his character make more sense. After all, I do like his personality and he does well as the lead. He has a lot of confidence and is always trying to help everyone. I can certainly appreciate that and while it may all sound generic, it really works. The guy is clearly a good leader and would only get better. It just feels like he doesn’t live up to his tough talk nearly as much as he should and it seems like this is because the bar was raised way too high right from the jump.

En was okay but not great. As with many kids in action titles like this, he just can’t fight much so I feel like he holds the characters back a bit. In that sense I thought Taiga had a point, the kid’s just too young. After the timeskip En seems like he’s really ready for this and would make for a good addition to the team. Before then he can be a support member but shouldn’t be out on the field. Naturally he gets captured at least once during the series and it makes things tough on the heroes.

Then we have Papillon who is a solid heroine here. Her whole romance towards Jin feels completely out of nowhere though especially considering how the two were making it clear that this wasn’t the case early on. She does well in the fights and helps Jin accept the right missions when even he has doubts. Without her the group may not have lasted too long since he needs someone to reign them in. Then we have Taiga who is the power hitter of the group. Potentially he may be even stronger than Jin based on the opponents he takes out. Again, this should make absolutely no sense so I like to think Jin would still win with his speed but you’d think that this shouldn’t even be debatable. I like how loyal he is to Jin and he beats up anyone who badmouths him.

There’s Kenryu who is the guy who knew Jin from back in the day. It’s always good to have a human in a world filled with magic just to show that they can keep up. Ultimately the power creep would ensure that this guy is doomed but at least early on it’s a good idea. I like the guy well enough and he has a solid honor code which is always important. The guy has a good rivalry with Jin although long term I think Jin’s going to need a rival that poses more of a serious threat.

Finally for the heroes we have Shimon who was Jin’s mentor and he’s one of the highest ranking members of the ninja alliance. The guy is strong and proved it by absolutely wrecking Jin. He seems like a nice guy who is ultimately shackled by the rules but does his best to give Jin a chance. It’s a shame that he only got to appear in the last 2 episodes of the series but he still makes his presence felt the whole time. That’s how you know that he’s for real.

Then there are a few big villains. We’ve got Kanan who knows how to go in disguise to mess with the heroes. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that he was all that memorable. In fact, that’s an issue with most of the villains. There weren’t any who really made me think “Wow this guy’s amazing!” I think part of the issue is that they all feel like similar characters. They’re evil Shinobi who are evil because…they’re evil. There isn’t a whole lot of character outside of that even if their powers are different. The guy with ice abilities gave Jin a good run for his money for example but beyond his abilities what could I really tell you about the guy? He talks tough and all….but that’s about it.

So the villain cast was on the weak side even though I enjoyed the heroes. Now, I think it’s safe to say that this was cancelled in part because of the training arc and in part because the series did not do everything it could with the lore. There was a ton of lore and world building at the beginning but ultimately it just didn’t amount to much. So what could the series have done to avoid being cancelled? There are 2 changes I would suggest. The first is to remove any reference to Jin being a prodigy or he needs to win his fights a lot easier and not be scared of random minions. You have to do one or the other and that would fix the main character’s inconsistencies. I get the feeling that the series was trying to make him like Gintama who is a top tier fighter in his verse but constantly sandbags. The issue here is that we have no indication that Jin is messing around, he’s always talking really tough after all while Gintama has more gags.

The other thing is we need some kind of mystery or intrigue. This may seem random but here’s why. Globalization destroyed the world here but how? Perhaps there is some conspiracy in here so what I would do is make that the real reason for why everyone wants En’s memory scroll. This could also give En a reason to wonder if Jin is really helping him or just wants the scroll. As the series goes on and En starts to learn his abilities, he would find out more about the events and that could last for the first few arcs. It gives you something to think about in addition to the immediate issue. That’s my 2 cents on what could have helped this series at least.

Overall, I did enjoy this series. I thought that the action and heroes were good. It definitely worked as more of a unique title for me and I do think it had a lot of potential. It already had a very different feel from Naruto so I don’t think it would have felt like a clone even though it is ninja based. Jin’s Lightning Blade technique does feel like it’s straight out of Naruto but that’s where the similarities really end. I would recommend giving this one a read. Even though it’s cancelled it still makes for a good story and it’s never a bad idea to meet more characters right?

Overall 7/10