One Piece – Defeat Him! The Pirate Ganzack Review


It’s time to jump far into the past with this one for a retro One Piece adventure. It’s a full original story with just the first 3 Strawhats so that’s pretty fun. The team has grown a lot over the years but there’s still something special about seeing the first crewmates team up to take a villain down. The special goes by very quickly but makes the most of its roughly 30 minutes. We get some good action here and Luffy gets one step closer to being the King of the Pirates!

The story starts with Luffy and the crew chilling on a boat when they are attacked by a giant monster. Unfortunately they are at sea so Luffy isn’t able to fight once he hits the water and this prevents Zoro from claiming the easy victory because he has to save Luffy. So Nami is kidnapped and eventually Luffy finds himself on a mysterious island. He saves a girl named Medaka from two pirates and finds out from her that the pirate known as Ganzack has taken down the whole village. They no longer have enough food to survive and need someone to save them. Luffy may not be a traditional hero but he likes his food so he is ready to help.

Ganzack actually does rather well as the villain here. For starters he actually takes down Luffy twice which is likely way more than anyone was expecting here. He just takes him down like it’s nothing and you may expect that once, but twice? Granted Luffy was much weaker back then but it’s still fairly unheard of to be taken out like that. Ganzack also talks about being the King of the Pirates several times which helps to really establish him as a big threat. He’s not someone who’s just playing around here but trying to accomplish his dreams.

There isn’t much more to his character beyond this but it’s enough to still make him a solid villain. I liked his fighting style with the little crab arms. It wasn’t something that you’d quickly forget. I dare say Zoro would have had a tougher time beating him though. This was early enough in the series where you could make the case that Zoro was stronger than Luffy. Some would say Luffy didn’t truly pass Zoro until he obtained Gear 2 but it would be a fun debate either way.

Regardless Zoro definitely looks great here though. He commands a lot of attention as the pirate hunter and pretty much takes down the whole army on his own. He didn’t need any help and he didn’t take any Ls. He was just around dominating the whole time with his 3 sword style. Meanwhile Nami is surviving as bet she can with a little trickery and it makes sense as a strategy. When you can fool the villain really easy then you may as well do that right? Luffy and Zoro should still have enough confidence in her not to think that she has actually turned evil or anything like that. I’m cool with the plan because it didn’t seem super risky and it’s not like she had to do anything villainous in order to gain Ganzack’s trust. So it worked out pretty well.

Meanwhile this is probably not Luffy’s best appearance since he was getting wrecked so often but I guess we can chalk it up to him being overconfident. By the end he was ready to make his comeback and start winning. It just took him some time to really get settled. Luffy gets credit for not backing down from a fight although that’s the bare minimum for any good lead.

It’s definitely interesting seeing One Piece with such a different animation style. It feels extra retro and not having the same sound effects when Luffy does his attacks will take a little getting used to. Still, I think this group could have done a fine job with the series. I liked the speed showings they gave to the characters and the action scenes are on point. I wouldn’t call this high budget but it has aged well enough so it works on that level. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side for the most part. There are a few scenes where it feels like the music is about to pick up but then the scene ends real quick before that can happen.

The special is really short as I mentioned but it does work well. You’ll be engaged from start to finish and it’s really just a chance to see the characters get to fight some villains. It would have been nice if Ganzack had a right hand man or something so Zoro could fight him instead of the normal minions though. That would have helped make the film even cooler but this way at least they had Zoro taking on the whole army.

The original character here was also not bad. Medaka may just be a kid who wants to help her town but she doesn’t get in the way and actually saves Luffy twice. Once directly and the other indirectly by triggering his rage mode. So she really did a good job here and was likable which isn’t always easy for the heroes made up for the movies and specials. In general the writing here was on point which really goes a long way to making this a solid special.

Overall, If you’re looking for more One Piece content then this is a special you will want to check out. Ganzack makes for a memorable villain and there is a lot of action here so that’s all you really need. There is never a dull moment here and everyone gets something to do. It’s too bad they don’t make short specials like this quite as much nowadays. Personally with how One Piece sells I’d be trying to generate one of these every year. I’m sure the profits would be enough to cover the expenses each time. Maybe have a dedicated company that would handle these so it doesn’t impact the show.

Overall 7/10

Earthchild Review


I remember all the hype this series got when it was first announced. It was going to be the next big title, a really great superhero story that was also part romance between an ordinary guy and the super talented heroine. Well, the series swerved that premise right off the bat in chapter 1 and it felt like the series never recovered. Now I got to binge the whole series so my experience may be different than someone reading weekly but I can get why the route the series ended up taking wasn’t as exciting. It was fairly different than I had expected even knowing the twist. It’s a good series but I can definitely see why it was cancelled, you can only bait and switch the audience so many times.

The series starts off by introducing us to Reisuke who is a super average guy in every way. That’s his complete character personality but then one day he is saved by a superhero. She quickly erases his memory and goes back to saving the world but for some reason he is still able to remember her. Why? Because he has fallen in love! The power of love is able to negate the memory erasure and so after trying again the heroine decides to let Reisuke hang out with her. Her name is Kareri and she’s never been able to open up to anyone before. Since her life is so crazy and full of danger, being with someone ordinary like Reisuke puts her at peace. They decide to have a kid together…and then she dies stopping a meteor from hitting the Earth. Now Reisuke will have to raise their child by himself.

So of course this is the big switch that nobody wanted. Everyone was hoping for a fun story about a couple raising their kid and a lot of adventures from there. It would almost be something like Spy X Family at least on the surface level but very different with the superhero angle. Well, that’s out the window and chapter 1 ends with Reisuke realizing that he now holds the worlds future in his hands. The writing for the series is awful like this whole line when his wife just died but we’ll go into that later.

The series quickly changes gears because a chapter or two later we find out that Kareri is still alive but trapped in stone. So yeah the plot’s changing again. The actual plot of the series is that Reisuke has to find a way to get into space and save her but to do this, he will have to teach Mamoru (Who is still a baby) how to control his powers. So lets get into the lore here. Kareri was an “EarthChild” which is why she had superpowers. This just randomly happens to people of Earth where occasionally they’ll be born with powers.

How occasionally is “occasionally?” well, there have only been a small handful of these types in the last few decades. There can only be one primary Earthchild at a time and they are given their powers to save the Earth from a world ending threat. It is then their destiny to die against this threat and the power moves onto someone else. If the user somehow survives past their allotted time then they will naturally start to lose their powers as the next user gets it. So one of the themes here is people telling Reisuke not to save his wife since he will be defying destiny. If he listened to them then he would be an F rank main character so fortunately he doesn’t.

The series is 27 chapters long and this plot takes close to 20 chapters. We then get a final arc that’s about 5 chapters long but lets talk about this saga some more because I think it’s probably where the series doomed itself. This is already far too many plot changes. Usually you need to have some kind of focus before you get into the next arcs but the author didn’t really seem to plan things out all that much.

It also feels like the chapters go in circles a whole lot. For example, at one point Reisuke takes their kid Mamoru over to space to save Kareri but then he realizes that Mamoru wouldn’t recognize her in the stone. So they head back to Earth and waste some time talking to her parents where we get a whole subplot about how their memories were removed. We then head back into space again and here’s where the ping pong starts. Reisuke goes outside to save her but…he fails so he has to head back to the station. Then he goes out to save her again and succeeds, but dies in the process as she wakes up. Then she risks her life to save him and fails so she goes back to the space station. Then she goes back out again to stop a new thread and Reisuke comes back to life and helps her out.

It’s a really long sequence of repetitive steps before the arc is over. A lot of these were for big cliffhangers to make you think that one of them really was going to die but that never felt very likely. Why introduce the twist of her still being alive if she was going to die right? What took us past chapter 20 should have only lasted until around chapter 10-15. There was just a lot of unnecessary steps here like failing the mission only to try again in 2 chapters and succeed this time. There wasn’t a lot of point to that.

After a while I thought that the series would just end with this arc. I’m glad it didn’t since the final arc is a bit more exciting. I never became a big fan of any of the characters either. There was one that I liked at least but for the most part the others could be annoying a lot of the time and it’s hard to succeed without great characters. Lets start off with the main character Reisuke.

His gimmick of being totally ordinary gets old fast but the guy also whines a whole lot. He cries in almost every chapter since he wishes that he could be stronger and often makes the wrong call like putting power inhibitors on his kid before realizing how crazy that is. Then he runs towards death on multiple occasions before being pulled back by the other characters who remind him that dying would be bad for his kid. They have to remind him of this numerous times. The reason Reisuke takes these risks is he gives up on controlling Mamoru’s powers and wants his kid to have fun even if it means dying in the process. That’s just not a very good option.

Almost every chapter will have him giving up before someone gives him a speech about how great he is and then he gets up to get the job done. I figure this must be what it’s like for people who watch CW’s The Flash. Yeah Reisuke ends up saving the day in the end but a lot of the time it’s cheesy. Remember that time he actually died? There is never an explanation given for how he is able to come back to life aside from his love for his family.

Apparently this love is so strong that even death cannot claim him which is…..not a great explanation. Everyone also respects this guy a whole lot considering how he’s always breaking rules and causing a fuss. One character who slaps him ends up thinking of him as a very mature hero by the end. Nobody can stay mad at this guy. I like some of his qualities though. I like that he’s determined to save his wife no matter what. I think he can come up with good ideas sometimes (Rarely) and that he is determined.

These are all great qualities but the way he executes them can be awful. There are several times he basically decides to go no a suicide mission because he figures it’s better than doing nothing so the other characters have to remind him that it is worse than doing nothing since he has a kid to look after. Eventually they talk him down and come up with a real plan each time. There’s also one moment where he takes off his helmet in space and it’s supposed to be an emotional moment but you just wonder how he’s not dead yet.

The author is actually bold enough to claim that taking your helmet off in deep space may not destroy you and cited some scientific paper about a one time exception that supposedly happened in real life. I didn’t bother googling that so maybe it’s legit but I have my doubts. The romance here is also really cringe at times but I’ll get into that more later. Needless to say, I wasn’t very impressed by this guy.

Then we have Kareri as the main heroine. I think she could have been a lot cooler as well. Her character arc is fairly classic as she used to be super cold and efficient at her job but after meeting Reisuke and falling in love with him her whole life started to revolve around him. She couldn’t help but talk about him nonstop, she was a lot nicer while being a hero and she gets flustered whenever someone brings him up. Pretty much all her scenes with Reisuke have one of them closing their eyes in embarrassment or covering their eyes because they can’t handle this.

I think we should have seen more of Kareri’s actual missions before getting together with Reisuke. That’s probably the riskiest thing about having them get together in the very first chapter. Yes there are some time skips so it’s not like they immediately got married but since it’s off screen it feels like we didn’t get to know the cold version of her. So when we learn about how she used to be a lot more serious through exposition and the occasional flashback, it doesn’t hit as hard.

Her powers are also kept rather vague. Basically all Earthchildren have the same ability which is telekinesis and it seems to be just strong enough to accomplish whatever goal they need to. It just seems inconsistent as sometimes she is really strong and other times she isn’t. It’s clear that this isn’t an action series with how none of this is thought through all that much. I guess just roll with it as it’s not too important and it’s not like there are any traditional supervillains either.

The main supporting character from the government is Yuma and he’s an agent of Waste. (Yes that’s the main organization’s name so Reisuke can’t help but make a pun about Trash later on) Their job is to watch over the Earthchild and ensure that he/she is able to complete the mission. In the first chapter this guy is ruthless and almost insanely aggressive as he starts to force Reisuke to lose his memories and is tossing out insults left and right.

Then Reisuke gives a speech and he immediately switches up to being more of a soft spoken nice guy. It’s such a dramatic shift that even Reisuke comments on this. For the rest of the series Yuma is actually the encouraging member who tells Reisuke to believe in his marriage and drive to save Kareri. He’s all on board for helping people and making Waste less of a shady organization. It’s all just such a drastic character change that they should have removed his role in the first chapter. We even get a flashback from his POV for chapter 1 later to do some damage control but I wasn’t buying it.

There are two next door neighbors from Waste in Todoroki and Kasuya but even though they’re introduced as if they will become big characters, they don’t get to do much. Maybe they would have been bigger if the series had kept on going. They seem decent enough even if they’re trying to get Reisuke to give up his kid as well. These guys are definitely relentless that’s for sure.

Now for the first character who is actually rather solid we have Albert. His gimmick is that he thinks the world is one big adventure and that makes him the main character of the story. He believes that he is the true main character but to a lesser extent everyone else is the main character of their stories. He has some very minor abilities which were used as a big cliffhanger but after that he never looks as impressive with them again. He is mainly here to give Reisuke some encouragement when he’s feeling down but at least he is actually convincing with it.

I can actually get behind this guy and root for him. He wants to help people out too but isn’t as wishy washy as Reisuke is. Albert also has the saddest character backstory in the series by far. I have to say that his brother was also a terrific character and I would say he’s the best in the series if we count him. The guy only appears for a chapter after all but he was great. That’s definitely the right way to complete your mission and defy destiny.

After that we’re introduced to Maromi who is on the space station and she’s a super whiny character. She literally writes in a journal about how Earthchildren are unfair because they can do whatever they want and she has to work hard to succeed. Maromi has barely met any of them and is still so jealous the whole time. You can understand why she is jealous to an extent but it’s a terrible first impression when that is her whole focus for her first chapter. Couldn’t she have had some positive character traits to balance that out? She never ended up growing on me but don’t worry, she gives Reisuke a pep talk later on as well.

That about wraps up the character cast from that arc. So lets head onto the final arc now which is really rushed but it’s interesting. So of course Reisuke saved Kareri and they were now at peace so we get a time skip of around 6 years. Mamoru is older now and can use his powers. They’ve also figured out that Reisuke is an amplifier with the power of love. Physical contact with his family makes their powers stronger and likewise the farther away he is, the weaker they get. So he has to be around at all times and the 3 of them stop threats together. One person doesn’t like this though…Earth.

Earth appeared earlier briefly but the planet takes the form of a high school girl as its avatar. Basically she explains to Reisuke that he’s getting in the way since she controls destiny and Kareri was supposed to die. This is the scene where she keeps murdering him but he keeps reviving because of the power of love. So she returns for vengeance and is once again trying to murder him. The climax of the series is the 3 characters fighting Earth but they have to be careful because if they destroy Earth….well they’ll have destroyed Earth.

That said, she’s shown to be far above them so that’s not much of an option anyway. She can cause natural disasters on a whim and her avatar is for visual purposes but can’t really be hurt anyway. Earth also points out that she has time on her side and can attack 24/7 for years and years until they die from exhaustion. Realistically I don’t see them being able to fight for more than 3 hours nonstop with how much power she had. Of course this leads to the power of love and the climax is…a family meeting at the dinner table with Earth invited.

It’s a very cheesy ending but I was expecting it since the series is all about sitting down and chatting. Earth was also shown to be way too powerful to be stopped. Regardless I did like the arc because it was interesting to have Earth itself as the main villain. I thought that she was a very fun villain. The whole thing is a bit contrived though because you can’t tell me that she couldn’t have found a way to bump Reisuke off during those 6 years. Just have a big piece of hail randomly fall down while he’s walking one day or an Earthquake happen to murder him. There are plenty of opportunities given how many powers she has.

I also like how the lollipop she is always eating is a mini version of Earth. Just a stylistic thing that’s kind of fun. So that’s the series in a nutshell and as you can see I had quite a few problems with it. It also has that annoying tendency to have someone narrate from the future the whole time. The narrator is confirmed early on to be their kid Mamoru. You can see why this is bad right? It confirms that he survives the first arc since he’s talking from the future and we even flashback to the future a few times. From the way the dialogue goes we can also confirm that at least the father dies but with just a little bit of analysis you can see that they both lived.

Considering that the “will they live?” question is supposed to be massive with the constant cliffhangers, this removes all of the tension. I never liked future narration as a concept and it doesn’t work at all here. The other big negative as I mentioned is that the romance isn’t written well at all. It’s one of those romances that is super over the top with both characters constantly blushing because the other one said something so bold. Wouldn’t they get used to it after a while? No, every time they talk you’ll have Reisuke hiding his face in embarrassment because he said his true feelings or Kareri saying something nice and then blushing right away.

I might be spoiled from reading/watching romances that are a lot more subtle and feel more realistic but this one could be hard to read with those pages. There was no variety either, it’s the same gags for all of their dates and character moments. A lot of the dialogue didn’t make sense either like Kareri asking Reisuke if he was embarrassed to have her as a girlfriend when he panicked at her using her powers in the open. No…he just pointed out that people don’t know she has powers so that could cause an issue. It’s like she jumped to a really crazy conclusion there.

The writing in general is bad though. Like I mentioned earlier, in chapter 1 right after she seemingly dies, Reisuke has this inner monologue where he is stressed because now he has to raise the kid on his own and this kid is the future of humanity! Is this really what you would be thinking of right away? It’s a little bold to come to that conclusion too. There are too many speeches here and Reisuke is such an annoying main character even though he should be good. The series goes in circles a whole lot during the first arc and all of this add up to the series being cancelled early.

So, what should it have done to avoid being cancelled? Well, right off the bat I would say that they shouldn’t have killed Kareri off in the first chapter. That just destroys the premise and makes no sense. If you’re going to do that, do it much later in the story so we can see the dynamic first. If you have to bump her off though, rescue her by chapter 10. Cut out the visit to the parents and training the baby at the abandoned beach. We go right to a plan to save her with the other Earthchild and then we jump to the time skip with Earth’s revenge. Fast forward after that and Waste can be the main villains as they try to weaponize the fighters.

You could then jump into their shady history of speeding kids up from the age of 1 to 11 and all of that other stuff. It would make the series a bit more fast paced and cut right to the action. It wouldn’t resolve the writing issue as you would just need another writer for that but I think it could have captured people’s attention more. Now this probably sounds like a brutal review with all the shots I’m taking here but I wouldn’t call this a bad manga still. It’s basically a 6 on the large scale.

The reason for that is that it’s still an interesting manga and an easy read. I blasted through the whole series in one day. Well, it’s only 27 chapters so that’s not super impressive but still it was enticing enough for me to keep going. It also helps that the art is really solid. There are the occasional moments where there’s a small mistake or a character is off model but for the most part I was quite impressed. This looks more like a veteran manga than a new one.

While this wouldn’t fit the bill as an action manga since there aren’t a lot of fights, it can still be a good adventure. I liked a lot of the concepts that were brought in like Earth which could have gone into more interesting things had the series kept on going. Death’s waiting room is also an intriguing concept although it probably brings more problems than fixes when you really think about it. There would have to be more of a plot twist about Reisuke for me to ever accept how he kept defying death like that.

One thing that also earns it points is how the series is very anti-destiny. Every time the Earth talks about destiny or other characters do, Reisuke just keeps yelling that he’ll defy destiny and all of that. He never takes no for an answer and keeps on fighting until his family can have a happy ending. That’s always the right approach to me because someone talking about destiny shouldn’t deter you at all. Call their bluff and keep on fighting, it’s the only way to go!

Overall, Earthchild was definitely very different than I imagined. If it ever bothered to stick to the main setup of the two parents raising their superpowered kid then this could have actually been solid. The series just got a little too ambitious before immediately backpedaling and then being caught in a circle. I don’t think I’ve seen a manga so unsure of what to do before but maybe that’s part of what keeps you reading. You’re just wondering how long they can possibly stick this out for. Personally I was expecting the rescue to take up the whole series by the end. The script is also so cheesy that you may get a few chuckles in there at times. I absolutely see why it was cancelled but reading it as a mini series, it’s a good read. I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a fun sci-fi romance to check out. Just don’t read it for the actual romance but instead for the emotional journey of seeing how far Reisuke will go to save his wife.

Overall 6/10

Doron Dororon Review


I remember when Doron Dororon first came out that my first reaction was to shake my head at the name. It’s a little too hard to spell or remember and that started the series off on the wrong foot. Still, it somehow manages to keep on surviving over and over again to the point where I was rooting for it on the sidelines. I wanted it to succeed…no, I needed it to succeed! It carried the hopes and dreams of a whole new era of manga readers but alas it was not enough. After finishing the series, I can say that Jump made a mistake in cancelling it. Sure, it hadn’t really come into its own yet, but it was a fun series and I think it could have been pretty good. It’s just not the most memorable title.

The series takes place in a world where Mononoke are monsters that terrorize everyone. They’re beings of pure evil with a lot of fantastical abilities and the only ones that can stop them are the Samurai. “Samurai” are people who have been recruited because of their incredible abilities or synergy with the cursed energy to stop them. Dora wants to be a samurai because these creatures murdered his mother so he lives for revenge. It won’t be easy but he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately there is one problem.

Dora has no magical energy. Yes, he is completely doomed to be unable to use it at all. It’s not something you can just develop either so that means he is really out of luck and the samurai will not allow him to join. He still tries to help when a girl is attacked by a monster though and that’s when he is saved by Kusanagi. This creature is a Mononoke as well but he wants to spread friendship and harmony to the world. He believes that making the world kinder is his mission and so Dora agrees to help him. Kusanagi can turn into any object including a sword and with Dora’s impressive physical abilities, they may end up being the strongest powerhouses out there!

So there’s a lot of elements that will sound really familiar here. It’s a classic demon hunting manga with a main character who can’t use the energies of the world. Fortunately with his new monster buddy he is already one of the stronger fighters. So it’s rather textbook stuff but this is the kind of story that I always enjoy so I can’t say that it’s really a bad thing. Put it this way, the series is trying to be like Black Clover which is one of the greatest titles of all time so I’m not sad about that. If it could be even half as good as Clover then we’re in for a treat.

I will say right off the bat that the manga’s biggest weakness is how forgettable it is. The art is good, the fights are good, and the story is good. It’s just not even trying to do anything different so you’ll just forget about it fairly quickly. For example, I write down the names of the various characters ahead of time when I’m reading a series that has already ended. This way I don’t have to look through various chapters in case I forget a name so it saves me a lot of time. In this case, even with the names I couldn’t place a few of the characters which is not good.

This is the kind of series that could really benefit from an anime because often times that is what helps make a title more memorable. Of course that’s also a decent reason not to make an anime because the manga should be able to hold its own. This is still a pretty solid manga but I can see why it was cancelled. Ultimately my advice to the series on a way it could have stayed alive would have been to not have expanded the cast as soon as it did. Keep things small for a while and that could have let things get built up naturally. Instead I think it was just a bit of character overload.

Also, this tends to happen a lot lately with the cancelled titles but a bunch of new characters appear at the very end as the series is ending. By then it’s just way too late for any of them to be all that memorable. I suppose the author may not have known that it was ending by then but that’s just unfortunate. Lets talk about some of the characters though.

First up was Dora who is the main character here. He’s a solid main character and he just wants to avenge his parents and stop all of the monsters. Always a good goal and he does well in living up to it. Kusanagi gradually helps Dora stop thinking about revenge all the time. It’s a classic character arc and I like Dora well enough. He’s not quite as ultra heroic as other leads since he finds it all to be a bit cheesy but at the end of the day he makes the right calls. I don’t get why he gets so embarrassed when Kusanagi is just talking about basic hero things though.

Kusanagi is not very good though. One of my main problems with him is that he is way too naïve. At one point we get a villain who shows up and used to be his friend but has obviously turned to the dark side. All it takes is a word or two and Kusanagi is willing to help him out. It’s great to be heroic but it’s never an excuse to be gullible as well. You have to be able to tell what is going on and stay out of trouble. Otherwise you’re just creating a lot more toruble for everyone instead of just resolving it on your own. That’s not a good look for any character. Kusanagi never really grew on me and his dynamic with Dora is definitely one of the weaker ones that I’ve seen.

Then we have the main heroine Yagyu but she falls into the Rukia trap a bit where she is technically a strong fighter but loses almost immediately to a random minion. From there she works on slowly becoming more of a hype character and regaining her honor. I do like her confidence even if it isn’t always properly placed. I think the series could have handled her character better but I still did like the character type they were going for. Down the road I’m sure she would have kept getting a lot of good fights.

Then you had Heisuke who was another one of the hype characters. He reminds me a lot of Levi as he’s on the shorter side and is one of those prodigy types. He tends to speak his mind and doesn’t get along with most of the characters but his skills speak for themselves. He’s a fun character and I appreciate that he could fight really well. This is one of those series where the heroes seem to have quite a lot of powerful fighters at their disposal which is definitely important.

Yet another hype character here was Naotora. She’s one of the strongest in the business, a prodigy, etc. Her main gimmick though is that she’s super shy and acts like a stalker as a result. She tends to try and follow Dora around all the time from a distance. She can fight so at least that explains why everyone tolerates her acting so weird all the time but it’s not a very endearing character trait. I can’t say that I ever became a big fan of hers.

Of course we can’t forget the first big villain in Hidehisa. He’s a fun fighter and once he got into his super form then he could really hold his own without any problem. I thought his fight with Heisuke was really good and was the first big definitive fight of the series. It was when the manga started to really live up to the hype with its action scenes and showed me the promise of what it could have ultimately turned out to be if it didn’t end so quickly.

The most annoying villain in the series has to be Dosan. Again, this guy isn’t as tactical or smart as he thinks he is so when the guy is tricking Kusanagi you can’t help but cringe a little. I haven’t seen a fighter look that obviously evil in a long time and yet the trick still worked. That’s just a bad look for the main monster and Dosan isn’t a super good fighter by the end of it all. Take away the tricks and that’s it for him so the quicker he was out the better.

There’s a scientist named Asahi but there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to her character. She’s someone who probably would have benefited from the series being a whole lot longer. She can help examine monsters and provide equipment but that’s about it. She’s always pestering Yagyu and is like Kuroko from Index, but without abilities to fight with, you know that she is doomed from the start. If you can’t fight in an action manga then you’re going to be in for a tough time.

As for the story, the first 11 chapters is basically the pre arc which leads to Dora having to confront the monster that murdered his mother. So you get all of the character introductions and Dora beats up his first monsters. I will say that I thought the series moved with good pacing here. He fights off quite a few monsters and this helps readers get a chance to be acquainted with the series before moving on to the big plots. So I wouldn’t say the series made any mistakes by this point. The approach actually made a whole lot of sense. Then the big fight at the end as we got our first humanoid villain was a blast. It was fairly high scale for the series and was a good preview of what we could expect down the road.

As Dora trains to get stronger we meet up with Toda who used to get beaten up by Dora all the time. He’s a nice enough character and this way we finally got another good ally who wasn’t already one of the big shots in the organization. He seems to be meant as Dora’s rival. I’d say it doesn’t work perfectly since it feels like Dora has already surpassed him by the time they meet up but Toda’s still cool enough. I can’t say that I had any real major issues with the guy.

The next arc was the first real serious one for the heroes I’d say. We get to meet the villain group led by Kanbei and they decide to lure the samurai into a trap. Fortunately the squad consists of Dora, Toda, some scrubs, and Heisuke. They’re ready to take on these villains and it’s a good way for Dora to start improving his technique and for all of the fighters to get a little stronger. It’s a very classic kind of arc with the heroes splitting up to fight their opponents. One thing that was a bit different was Heisuke fighting 3 on 1. It reminded me of Gojo in Shibuya.

This was probably the series at its peak with a lot of big fights and all so it was hard to recapture that hype in the same way later on. Still, by this point you had to assume that people were really on board with the series. The first of the villains was Yoshihime and she is one of those villains who is rarely serious. She’s super sinister but does her murdering with a smile. In a way that makes her one of the cruelest fighters right? I thought Yoshihime was okay and a fairly decent villain.

Then you have Tameemon who was one of the stronger ones but he’s not very smart. We’ve all seen the type before. It works well for when the hero is still inexperienced as he has to try and dodge while getting stronger and landing a good attack. It was a good team up fight without a doubt and one of the better fights in the series. Finally there was Kanbei as the tactical leader. He is good with plans and has a solid amount of ability but I can’t say he was super solid for me. This kind of strategic villain who can’t usually fight as well as the others is always up for a tough time. He’s not bad or anything by any means but he wasn’t going to win a championship anytime soon. He does appear a lot though so there is plenty of time for you to become a fan as you read through. Being the leader by itself is a pretty good role if you think about it.

After that we get to the weakest arc with Naotora. Her gimmick just isn’t super entertaining so a whole arc of fighting with her just couldn’t match up to the others. There is still a lot of action so it’s not like it’s a bad arc or anything but it certainly wasn’t going to make any waves for the series. Of course we also had the worst villain for this arc so you could say the series hit a bit of a speedbump. It’s relative of course since it’s not like it was a big drop but if fans started to weaken on the series then I would have guessed this would be the reason why.

Now we enter the final arc where the heroes get ready to fight Hanzo. So Hanzo is the most powerful villain out there and he’s so good that if you defeat him the Momonoke will vanish. It’s clear by this point that the author was speeding things along so it’s safe to say that the series had already been cancelled. That didn’t stop him from introducing a bunch of new characters as the senior fighters among the samurai. They are fun with some hype characters like Rui and Namishiro. They just didn’t get to do enough to really make a name for themselves yet. For example, Rui is the sassy kind of character who is always a lot of fun but she barely gets a full fight before the series is over. Likewise Namishiro is a very determined character who gets the job done and has a hype fight but the series is over by then.

It’s a shame that the more interesting characters were the final ones rather than the early ones. If we had these guys from the start then that would have been a whole lot of fun. Still, the final arc gives us a lot of fight scenes and Hanzo makes for a good villain. In fact I would say he was the best villain easily. He just wants to get super strong as his gimmick. It’s not the most impressive motivation to be sure but it’s a start and I still like that as a goal. It’s very direct and to the point.

So that basically wraps up the series. If you’re looking for a classic action story then this should still be a good title for you to check out. It’s not doing much different or unique all the way through but it’s still a really fun watch. I had a good time with it at least. It could have been better and I think it deserved the chance to do so. With another arc or two perhaps it would have finally been able to break out into its own. It would have solved the issue of the series being a little on the forgettable side. Even my advice to the series on how to not be cancelled wasn’t very extensive because I didn’t think it made a lot of mistakes.

I guess cutting out the stalker plot would have been a good idea but that’s about it. It had a lot of nonstop action and the training arc was brief at only 2-3 chapters so it’s not like it slowed down the pacing much. I also thought that the art was pretty good. Not great or anything but it was easy to follow the action at all times without getting confused. The fundamentals of the manga were sound. It just needed better characters and it could have been great off the bat. Perhaps the main dynamic doomed it since Kusanagi was a very weak character and you usually want your main duo to be great.

Overall, Doron Dororon is a pretty good series and I would recommend checking it out. It may be very generic and nothing that you haven’t seen before but it still does justice to the classic tropes. I’m always up for more combat manga after all and the series tried hard. That’s why it was able to last over 30 chapters. It’s still a decent run for a cancelled title and not everything can be the next success. I doubt we’ll see this series get a revival so this will have to be the end of it. It does have a real ending though so even if it was rushed, you’ll feel like you got the whole conclusion here. We’ll see if the next cancelled title can keep up with this one.

Overall 7/10

Sakamoto Days


It’s time to start another big Jump title. This one’s got a clear premise with a lot of appeal from the jump and the execution’s been solid. The action/comedy angle works with a fairly strong main character cast. I’ll have a review for the series once it’s finished but I like to think that won’t be for quite a while yet.

Overall 7/10

Dr. Stone Special: Ryusui Review


As the wait for season 3 continues, it was time to check out the quick special for Ryusui. I’ve been looking forward to seeing that guy show up for quite a while now so it was neat to see him in the mix here. It’s a fun special all around and should be nostalgic for Dr. Stone viewers. You get some more adventure here and a solid amount of plot development so you will absolutely want to watch this before you officially check out season 3. Unless they decide to readapt this part I suppose.

The special starts with Senku and friends realizing that they are going to need a good ship captain for the voyages ahead. They’ll be dealing with some rough waters with a ship that isn’t ideal so not just anybody can pilot it. Fortunately there is but one man who can get them safely across any storm no matter how turbulent. That man is Ryusui, the pirate captain of legend! The downside is that this guy is rather egotistical and a huge fan of capitalism. He’ll bring back the currency system and could even take over the world. With another top notch mind around, Senku will have to be extra careful how they handle this guy. One wrong move and it could be the end for the kingdom of science.

The special’s a little under an hour so it’s a good way to fully introduce him into the mix. The characters prepare to build their first boat and before that they even build a blimp so they can see what the terrain is like. At that point is when Ryusui really gets to prove himself although Chrome looks really good as well. You definitely can’t count that kid out. He even has a little rivalry going with Ryusui since they are both explorers. Ryusui just focuses on the oceans while Chrome is a land guy. Immediately you can see how Ryusui is a good addition both for his skills and then also for the dynamic.

With the whole blimp scare near the end, the special does a good job of having a little danger in the mix while also being fairly low key. Ryusui’s introduction arc is actually perfect for a TV special like this because it has a beginning, middle, and end structure. I don’t think it would have been as easy for other points in the series to be used like this without some big cliffhangers. This way the story wraps up perfectly.

Gen is also useful for a change. One issue I always had with him is it felt like his skills as a mentalist never worked. The villains would always see through it or tell him not to talk so they wouldn’t get confused. That doesn’t happen here and aside from Senku, Gen successfully tricks the entire cast. It may be a small thing but I thought it was important because that’s Gen’s whole angle so you do want him to succeed at some point. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a point to keeping him around.

In general it was a good time for the supporting cast to shine as we saw Yuzuriha get to work on the sewing. She also showed a lot of other characters how to do this and before long it was a full community effort. Even Magma got to show off his boat skills even if he wasn’t the top ranking guy around. Everyone got to pitch in and help out which is a nice way to built unity within the kingdom. They have to savor this now too as not everyone will get a big role in the next arc. The series is finally at the place where the hero size is just big enough where you can’t bring everyone all of the time.

If Senku’s team had died on the blimp that definitely would have been a sad way to go out. Like you survived all kinds of threats and tough situations only to die like this? Yeah there couldn’t be much more disappointing news than that. In a way you could say that going on the blimp was an incredible risk that they all took. Personally I’ve never been tempted to go on a blimp myself for that reason. I always felt like it just wasn’t as secure as the others.


Overall, This was a fun special. At the end of the day this special gives you a chance to see all of the characters again and that’s always a good thing. It’s a pleasant little adventure. I’m almost a little surprised we didn’t get some foreshadowing for a villain showing up but maybe that would be going too far ahead. Ryusui is immediately a likable character and adds a lot of fun to the series. Senku and friends should definitely be real glad to have him around and of course now you want to see what Tsukasa says when he gets up since he was against all of these profit schemes right from the start. He may have a big “I told you so” coming to Senku. Still, Senku made the right choice here because as he said, skills have to trump personality right now. You need the best of the best to survive in the stone era. It’s worked so far so why change approaches now? This may be a special but it’s fairly important to the rest of the story so I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Demon Slayer Season 2 Review


This review has been waiting for a few months at this point so it’s time to finally look at season 2 of Demon Slayer. This one readapts the movie and then takes us into the entertainment district arc with one of the longest fights yet. The battle goes on for more episodes than you would guess which is good. I would certainly consider this one to be stronger than season 1. It still does tend to dwell a bit on the gritty side of things which always holds it back but I would say a bit less so than the spiders arc in season 1.

The first arc has Tanjiro and friends called in to assist the Hashira, Rengoku in exterminating a powerful demon. This demon has been lulling people to sleep on a train and then taking them all down. Even several other slayers have gone in and been taken out so the threat is very real. While the main characters are skilled, they don’t have the skills to be a Hashira yet so they have to be careful not to get in the way or be taken hostage either.

One thing that is new here is a prequel episode of sorts as we see what Rengoku did before getting to the train. The show has some dynamic animation right out of the gate this way and we see why Rengoku is one of the top fighters. This episode is a little more violent than the actual arc and serves to remind you why demons are so terrifying. Fortunately our hero takes this guy down real quick and the sheer speed when he runs is always impressive. In that stat it feels like he may be the best out of all the Hashira but of course there would be some competition there.

The actual train arc is still a highlight of the season because it’s great like in the movie. Each character really gets to test their limits as they confront their teams and make it out in one piece. The tough dynamic of having to destroy yourself in the dream to wake up while not accidentally doing that in real life was always a good one. It was a unique challenge that you don’t see very often and Tanjiro really had to fight hard to get around that. This was always one of his better appearances and was a good example of him surpassing his limits.

I’m still not a fan of seasons re adapting movies because it feels a bit lazy to me but at least a good story will always be a good story. I thought the movie was great and that transfers over to the arc as well. It’s effectively the same thing after all as I don’t think they switched the animation or anything like that. The first theme song that plays for this part is also excellent. I forget if that song had already been used in the movie but either way it was a blast. I already reviewed the movie so you can see my more in depth thoughts there.

Now the meat of this is the next arc. So the next Hashira has arrived, Tengen. His gimmick is that he always likes to be flashy about everything he does. He was originally going to take a few girls with him to do some investigating but Tanjiro and his pals get to quickly volunteer for the job. They will have to go undercover as ladies in this district and each work in a different house to find where the demon is. This appears to be an upper rank demon so they have to stay on their guard at all times. Once they have found the demon responsible, then Tengen will handle the rest.

The first part of the arc is a bit on the slower side. I felt that way in the manga too and mainly it’s because the main trio aren’t quite strong enough to hold their own screen-time without some action going on. They’re fun characters for the action but in terms of dialogue and all they aren’t super engaging. Fortunately that’s not an issue for long as the fights start up fairly quick and once the climax is here, it sticks around for the rest of the adventure. There is 3 episodes of build up and then around 8 for the fight so that’s a very good mix. You want fights to be long like that.

As always the animation is top tier here. It’s easy to see why Ufotable is considered the best in the biz by a wide margin. Pierrot will always be my favorite anime company but even they don’t tend to be as flashy all the time. It’s closer than people may think though. When the show was on you would typically see tweets about how good it looked just about every day. It’s just impressive how great each moment looks and this season really outdid itself. I doubt any other show in the season would come close. It helps to also show off just how powerful the Hashira are. They’re always drawn to be on a completely different level than the main fighters.

As mentioned earlier, the soundtrack is also top notch here. There are a lot of great themes all throughout from the theme songs to the battle themes within. I’ve definitely heard that first theme song a whole lot of times. There’s also one episode that ends on a powerful note with the villains seemingly winning and the music’s very emotional. It was one of the better cliffhanger endings I’ve seen to an episode.

The series absolutely soars on a technical level as always. It’s high budget all around the board. As for the arc itself, I would also say it was solid. With all of the action going on it’s hard not to rank it highly within the series. Daki and Gyutaro also made for good villains in the end and I’ll write about them more later on. The next arc will have a hard time topping these guys so we’ll see how that goes.

Really the only thing that limits Demon Slayer a lot will always be that the violence tends to be over the top. It’s still trying to be like Attack on Titan in some ways with the poor humans getting destroyed by the demons. Of course the humans are going to be doomed in pretty much any title with big villains but how much you show will vary from title to title. This is one that likes to go more in depth. Like near the end we get the big reveal on another upper rank demon and of course he has to show up with a body in tow that he’s still in the process of eating. It turns what should have been a really hype moment into a groaner. Why couldn’t he get a cool intro like Akaza?

Another moment where the detail was just too much is during Tanjiro’s fight with Daki. So there’s a lot of back and forth, big cuts and blood as they go all out and that’s all cool. It’s combat injuries and they know the risks so the battle’s a blast. The only point in the whole fight that felt iffy was when Tanjiro gets stabbed through the chin so you have the blade sticking out of him a bit as that goes on. It’s just enough detail and such a painfully specific wound that it throws you out of the mix there a bit.

I do feel like it’s toned down from season 1 which could really get crazy at times but ultimately I’d like to see season 3 dial it back even further. Otherwise the action is absolutely great and would be enough for high scores all around. This is just the one thing to get around and we get that the demons are all evil and everything so it’s not like we need any big reminders there.

As for the characters, Tanjiro is very solid as always. He got a massive power boost over the months that passed since the train arc to the point where he can temporarily hold his own against an upper rank like Daki. Of course once she got serious then he would be toast but he looks very impressive the whole time. There is a lot of good strategy going on here throughout like with how he’ll use the breathing arcs to go faster or switch to more powerful strikes depending on the circumstance. Humans have to fight with tactics since the demons have so many advantages after all.

Then it’s always fun to see Inosuke get in on the action. The guy still has a whole lot of confidence in himself and lands good blows when needed. By this point he and Zenitsu already seem completely outclassed by Tanjiro but at least they can perform search and rescue parts of the mission while also keeping some of Daki’s limbs busy. Her ability is really broken in a one on one fight since the heroes were barely holding their own even while she was distracted. Inosuke never backs down and that’s always good.

Zenitsu still isn’t my kind of character though. If there was ever a time for him to step up and be great then this would have been it to protect all the women in the houses but he still can’t do much without putting himself to sleep. We’ll have to wait longer to see him actually get brave and fight to his full potential. Nezuko gets a really good role here. Her abilities continue to improve and with her demon abilities she can regenerate and fight with the top warriors now. It’s always good to see just how far she has come as a solid ally.

Then we have Tengen and while he doesn’t beat Rengoku, (That would be really hard for any character) I did think he looked good here. I certainly enjoyed his flashy style of fighting with all of the explosions and everything. Tengen prioritized saving everyone and once the fight was going he would lose himself in the action. Determined characters like this who put it all on the line always tend to be really high for me. That’s exactly what you want in a hero.

Next up are the two villains. First up is Daki and she’s one of those sadistic villains who bumps everyone off for Muzan and enjoys making it rather painful. She’s also petty and will eat someone if they do any small thing that displeases her. There is an origin/sob story for her and Gyutaro later on where you can feel bad for them but then you see her in the present and are reminded that she’s completely twisted. As I said earlier though, I really like her power set. It’s super versatile and works as a close and long range weapon. Now that’s something that’s super handy to have.

Gyutaro is also impressive with his blood arts. The guy’s physical abilities are also on a completely different level. He tanks a ton of attacks and makes for a super powerful tag team with Daki. The Upper demons do seem more powerful than the Hashira on average so you really need 2 at once if you want to beat them in a fair fight. His character gimmick of constantly scratching himself can be really grating but once he’s in battle then you can’t lower your guard. As a character I’m not really a fan of his but as a villain he fits the bill.

The character cast for important figures is rather small here and you could say that goes hand in hand with this arc mainly focusing on the fights. Also the season itself was a little shorter than usual and then part of that was to redo the movie. So when you add all of that up, it makes sense that the season felt short. It really just breezes by at the end of the day and the wait for season 3 is probably going to feel long. At this point while the demons and humans have both taken losses, it’s fair to say that the demons have the advantage right now so the slayers are going to need to think of something and quickly. If they don’t then they are in big trouble.

Muzan needs to make sure not to mess with his demons too much though. I thought he was rather harsh on Akaza without good reason there. Akaza took out one of the Hashira so that should be a moment of triumph, not to act petty again. Muzan can get away with it since he’s the leader but no good can really come out of antagonizing one of your best fighters like that. Sure, Akaza didn’t murder everybody but taking out a Hashira is no joke since there aren’t too many more of them left at this point.

Even with his power ups, I wouldn’t consider Tanjiro to be quite a match for these guys yet. So have Akaza take out each Hashira one by one. It’s easy to lure them out too since all you have to do is to keep bumping off a bunch of humans in one spot and wait for the slayers to arrive. If you wanted to be fullproof about it, you could even show up with the whole force of Upper ranks and just start taking over the world one city at a time. When the Slayers are forced to respond, you take them out all at once. The gap in power isn’t as hopeless as something like Seraph of the End but it’s still enough so where that would be a real easy win for the villains. There isn’t much the humans could do in response to that.

In a final note, I’m almost surprised they don’t just make this a movie series. I can’t stress enough how great the animation is. It puts most movies and shows to shame. Instead of doing a 12 episode show every few years, why not do a 2 hour movie every year? I’d imagine that’s about the same amount of time to produce but the studio would be making bank every year. People would absolutely pile in to watch this each time. Even as I was getting screenshots from the show they all stand out enough where you want to watch the fights again. Needless to say there should be tons of great AMVs for the action.

Overall, Demon Slayer always delivers with the top tier action. If you’ve been following along with the series then you should definitely check the season out. If you haven’t yet, you’ll probably want to jump onto season 1 first even if it’s easy to follow along with what’s happening. It can be a little intense but as long as you enjoy a good fight then you should be set. The show probably has one of the most realistic fire effects as well as it almost looked real for a little bit there. The arc definitely has a lot of tension as the villains just keep getting up over and over again no matter how many finishing moves the heroes use. It’s why demons tend to be scarier than zombies since one mistake could cost you here while the zombies are slow enough where you can regroup each time.

Overall 6/10

Witch Watch


I’m nearly caught up with Witch Watch now and it’s a fun SJ title. It’s got more of a comedy/action dynamic going for it than some of the others so it’s not constant battling as of yet, but the cast is good. It doesn’t yet have that one hook you need to enter the next level but it’s a manga that is very easy to binge. I’ll have a review up as soon as the manga is completed.

Overall 7/10

Haikyu!! Review


It’s time to dive into Haikyu, a series so well known that even Slam Dunk and Prince of Tennis had to give it a side glance before resuming the race to the top. It’s definitely a great title and I can see why it got so big. The volleyball really goes into depth and there’s time to develop a whole ton of characters. The tournaments really don’t hold back either. It’s too bad it had to eventually end since I feel like the time skip had the potential for a whole lot of other stories but maybe someday we’ll get a true sequel series here.

The series follows a kid named Shoyo who is really into Volleyball. Unfortunately nobody else in his school seemed to care that much so it was hard to form a team. Even when he did, he was promptly knocked out of the tournament right away. Now in High School he is eager to show the world what true power really is but he will have to be on the same team as his rival Kageyama. Kageyama is a prodigy and one of the best up and coming setters out there. Meanwhile Shoyo likes being a spiker but he’s rather short which is tough to get around in this sport.

At least if you aim to be a spiker. It’s not as bad if you want to be the guy digger or another position but that’s not Shoyo’s passion. He did get to see someone on TV in the pros who was also short and made a name for himself though so now he is eager to go all the way for the win. Along the way he will meet a lot of friends and enemies but as long as he is alive, Shoyo will continue to get better. The other teams have to watch out!

With 40+ volumes at the ready Haikyu is really able to give a lot of time to both character development and the actual matches. It’s not all that uncommon for a single game to cover 2 volumes and longer which is really impressive. I don’t think any other series has the games go on for this long on such a consistent basis and you love to see it. Each game has a whole lot of emotion to it and you can feel the drama. Part of why the series is so good is because whether you’re a fan of the sport or not, you know the characters well enough to where you can feel their sorrow.

Fortunately I do find Volleyball interesting so I also like the sports aspect on its own too. I can’t say I knew much about the professional rules beyond the basics so I even learned a few things here. It’s really a team sport too so you can’t just dominate the whole game on your own. Of course there are some players that come close and a good spiker/setter can get a lot of points but at the end of the day a balanced team will always be your best bet to claiming victory.

One of the benefits of being a sports title is also that the series is basically devoid of fanservice. That can be a little rare for the average series but Haikyu passes with flying colors. There isn’t really any big romance here either. A few crushes and such but the characters are just so busy with volleyball that they don’t have a whole lot of time for anything else. That’s the manga’s focus and it knows it so I applaud the author in not trying to cram too much in. It’s always the right balance here.

The artwork is also really good. It’s got a lot of detail to it and the action scenes come across very well. You can always tell what is going on and you don’t get overwhelmed. It makes the books a real page turner but at the same time I wouldn’t say it’s a super fast read. There’s a surprising amount of dialogue even during the matches as everyone has a lot of inner thoughts and plans. As far as the sport series go it’s probably the longest read on a chapter to chapter basis.

As I read the series I wouldn’t say there are any weaknesses. The cast is very solid all around, I liked a lot of them. At most I guess you could say that the series doesn’t have any standout characters the way that PoT, Kuroko’s Basketball, or Eyeshield 21 has. Even my favorite characters here aren’t ones I’d really write home about but they’re all consistently good. So instead of a few characters who transcend their limits, it’s more that everyone does good and helps the team out.

The only other thing I’d say is that the ending feels rushed which is something you may not expect from a series that’s over 40 volumes long. Surely by then you would have been able to set everything up. That’s what I figured at first but with how the time skip happens it just feels like there was a lot more of the story to tell. The ending is pretty emotional and does leave room for a true sequel but this series had a lot of gas left in the tank. It’s not the kind of thing that hurts the series since I naturally want any good title to end. This one just stood out to me.

As the series really focuses on the high school adventures, you could say that the heroes have 6 chances to become the champions. There are 2 big tournaments a year and they’re around for 3 years. Of course the seniors wouldn’t be around for future years so that’s something to keep in mind. Not everyone gets to dash off into the sunset here and often times sport titles can be about sacrifice as well.

So each tournament that goes on in the series starts to feel more and more important as they are all really running out of room. Their time is ticking after all and meanwhile every other team has reasons on why they want to win too. Everyone has their own aspirations and goals so in trying to accomplish their goals, the heroes know that they are sinking someone else’s. So it becomes a battle of wills and you don’t always know who is going to win.

Now lets start talking about the characters. First up is Shoyo and he isn’t an expert prodigy at first or one of those super talented players. Initially he’s rather weak in all of the areas and gets better as the series goes on. He has a solid rivalry with Kageyama the whole time and he’s a fun lead. Even by the end it’s fair to say that Shoyo isn’t the greatest player or anything like that but he has certainly made a name for himself and is no pushover. He can hold his own and really came a long way. Shoyo even builds a lot more confidence in himself.

I did prefer his rival Kageyama though. Kageyama is a very serious guy who wants to be the best setter there is. He was talented right from the jump but initially he wants to be more of a one man army and as the series goes on he learns about the true values of friendship. It ultimately makes him a better player since taking other teammates’ preferences and skills into effect is a skill in itself. I thought he was consistent all the way through and was a lot of fun. You need this kind of character to keep the fun dynamics going as Shoyo needs someone to compete with.

Tsukishima is another fairly big character here. He isn’t obsessed with volleyball the way that the others are and so he starts to doubt himself several times. He wonders why he is putting so much effort into this and starts slacking off a few times. Gradually he learns to love the game as much as the others and that’s when he really comes into his own as a big player. He also knows how to trash talk which is always important. You need that in your teammate to keep the other team off balance.

Daichi is the all around kind of character. He’s a solid captain who keeps the troops in line. He doesn’t have a specific specialty for the most part but it’s still good to have someone who can do a bit of everything. In that way he’s definitely still one of the most important players on the field. I don’t feel like he ultimately got to do as much as some of the others but as one of the older players he was quite desperate to win. He stood by for all the years when the school didn’t have a great team. He just kept at it until victory was at hand.

Then there’s Sugawara who is a nice guy and used to be the setter before Kageyama. As you can guess that pretty much means he was doomed from the jump. I appreciated that he never got petty or super jealous about this though. Sure, he wishes he could be out there but he put victory above all else and didn’t make a scene. Even then he had some moments where he would come off the bench and land some key points. He’s a real good moral booster at all times.

Azumane is the big spiker on the team so in a way he’s also a rival to Shoyo. Shoyo utilizes his quick speed and Kageyama’s instant throws to land points while Azumane just smashes the ball in there. As the power hitter that means a lot of teams will have a moment where their player stuffs Azumane to show how good they are. The worf effect hits Azumane the hardest and he can be a little timid for my liking. I never felt like he could compete with some of the other setters. He’s a good guy to have around but I think he should have been portrayed as just a bit stronger if you ask me.

Nishinoya is the libero, the defensive player of the team. He does really good in this and starts out as one of the best in his position. He actually stays near the top for the whole series so that shows how much time he put into this. His position won’t get a lot of the splash plays that others get but he gets a good amount of focus and can always be counted on. I liked his energy and spirit throughout, he’s definitely one of the more enjoyable characters here.

Tanaka is the punk type of character from the team although while he is loud and has the signature haircut, he’s a nice enough guy. He has a crush on the team’s manager and is always acting rather desperate around her. He’s a spiker but isn’t nearly as skilled as the others. It feels like he is often stuffed at the line and just can’t move forward. He has a lot of drive though and never gives up no matter how tough things get. It’s definitely something you can appreciate about the character.

Kiyoko does well as the manager, she keeps the team focused and makes sure they have what they need for the games. Whether it’s getting the equipment or even something like making sure they have their lunches for away games, Kiyoko takes care of it. It would have been nice if she could have joined in the games as well at some point but ultimately that’s not one of the duties.

An underclassman Hitoka works under Koyoko to be her eventual successor. She’s a lot more nervous though and isn’t quite as capable at first. She continues to improve as the series goes on but just doesn’t have Koyoko’s poise. Then there’s Takeda who acts as the coach for a while. I forget whether he or Keishin has the official position but Keishin really helps with devising up the plays and strategies. Takeda is more about reminding the team to play fair and have a good time. As long as they try their best then there’s nothing to worry about. He’s a good guy and doesn’t make any real mistakes. Keishin is also solid and while he only very reluctantly joined the group at first, he ends up getting very invested in it.

That about wraps it up for the main character’s team. Now you can see why the character roster is so big since every team has that amount of players. They all get real designs and things to do as well but for the most part every team has 2-3 really memorable guys who ends up playing a big role. I’ll mainly stick to the big members of each team. So first off is Oikawa who was easily one of my favorite rivals. He’s always taking shots at Kageyama and is immensely confident in his own abilities.

The guy deserves to be confident too because he actually does back it up. He’s one of the most impressive setters in the whole series and he has to pull off his big plays without someone like Hinata to break through the enemy lines. Part of what makes the main team (Karasuno) so good is the combo that Shoyo and Kageyama have where they can put the ball anywhere. The fact that Oikawa can keep up without that is impressive.

Then you have Kyotani, known as the mad dog who is a big player on their team. His offense is really good and if he would follow the plans and play sensibly then he would be an even bigger threat. Either way he’s not someone that you are able to take on lightly. I liked him well enough and he made for a very solid villain to pit against the heroes.

Kenma is probably the smartest character in the whole series. He is a big video game player and treats everything like an RPG. He’s always looking into how to make the team more efficient and how to get past the opposing team players. Considering how many players there are on both teams, it’s really impressive that he can plan things out so thoroughly. I was really impressed all the way through at least. Not just anyone could pull off what he did. He was also a good friend to Shoyo. While there isn’t often a lot of time for things to happen between games, the series gave them some moments to just have a good time.

Then there’s Kuroo who is really the opposite. He’s great friends with Kenma but he’s all about throwing the insults and getting inside the heads of the opposing teams. It’s quite the valid strategy and I thought he did a good job with it. They really didn’t know what hit them the whole time. I liked his confidence and I would often root for this team when they weren’t fighting the main one. They’re just a likable crew, particularly as their team is an underdog like Karasuno.

Bokuto is one of the more memorable characters because the series went all out with his design. He’s got spiky hair and a very loud personality. His play can be a little too affected by his emotions so he’s not the most consistent player out there but he can play very well when he is in the right mood. His name also just makes me think of Boruto the whole time. His teammate Keiji does a good job of keeping him focused at all times though. I think it would have been a lot tougher if his team was without Keiji because then they would all fall flat as soon as Bokuto got knocked off his rhythm.

The twins Osamu and Atsumu definitely have a good role as well. It is easy to mix them up which is intentional but even their personalities are rather similar. It was cool to see them pull off a team combo as well. Hey, if anyone could copy the bond between friends that Shoyo and Kageyama had, twins would make the most sense right? They’re on the same wavelength and all much more than standard players could be. They were quite skilled as well and made for good antagonists.

Sakusa is one of the best spikers around and he got to train with Kageyama at one of the summits. Beyond being a great spiker I can’t remember too much about him but it’s always nice to meet the top players. Ushijima really left an impression for that reason as he is known as the very best. In every sport there will always be someone at the very top and it just so happens that Ushijima got that spot this time. He has quite the rivalry with Shoyo as well. The guy seems to take the main character very seriously which in a way is a pretty big complement.

I liked Ushijima, he always had a whole lot of presence to him. When he appeared it was easy to see that he was the best. That’s probably true even by the ending as well so if this was a 1 on 1 sport then things would be tricky. There are a lot of other players and also some new characters who appeared after the time skip but that’s it for a lot of the big ones. It’s a pretty well rounded cast with a whole lot of people to meet. Also, not all of them would go on to stay with volleyball forever which makes sense. So in the time skip we see that a lot of them have moved on to other things and it’s not something you see usually. I thought that was interesting, they can still play but it makes sense that they would have other passions as well.

As you go through the series you really get to know all of the characters and the teams which is why it isn’t as simple as just saying that you’ll root for the main characters all the time. Of course you still might which is totally fair as they are the leads but as you read through the origin stories and character motivations that really could change. For the most part a lot of the teams are likable but of course you’ll find a few that aren’t quite as easy to root for. None of them turn into actual villains or anything as these are still school tournaments and all but not everyone has a tragic backstory. Some are just here to play volleyball and that totally makes sense. If anything there would be something funny about a team like that winning it all.

The series has its share of humor as well which is handled well. The games themselves tend to be deathly serious to the point where characters have to remind the lead to breath (He actually faints at one point because he forgot to even drink water) and so you can see how everyone’s stressed out. As a result they all hang out and relax between games. It’s the only time where they really have any down time so they have to make the most of it. It never get boring or drawn out and works well in getting more character development. It is still very character driven in as much as it’s also super detailed with the sports. That’s why it’s got such a good balance.

Overall, Haikyu is definitely a great manga and I’d recommend it to anyone. There’s really no reason to miss out on it. Whether you like sports or not, you should be able to enjoy this one just on account of the solid writing and plot development. There is always something happening here and the manga does a great job of getting the emotions across. Once you start the manga it’s a real page turner so you don’t want to put it down. I would say that it’s one of the best sports manga titles. I’d put it right after Prince of Tennis and Kuroko’s Basketball as the third best one. That could change once I finish Eyeshield 21 and Slam Dunk, but either way it’s in very distinguished company. All of those are heavy hitters worthy of the top rank.

Overall 8/10

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