Psyren Review

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It’s time for a pretty fun manga that went under the radar and had to hurry to a rushed conclusion. It’s a shame, but I can see how people never gave it a chance. Personally, I always thought it was a manga about competitive hip hop dancing. I don’t know why, but it just looked like one thanks to a screencap on Mangastream. I didn’t learn better until I got to read a few volumes from the library. It’s a series that takes a few different twists compared to your average Shonen and the series was very ambitious. Unfortunately, it just couldn’t last long enough to unleash its full potential.

The main character is Ageha and he’s your average Bully hunter for hire. He takes out the bullies as long as you can pay him. One day he notices Anamiya getting bullied by a few other girls and saves her wallet. She dashes off, but not before asking him for help. The next day she goes missing and the town goes on full alert. Ageha decides to call the number of a mysterious card that he received and solves its puzzle so he can get some answers. The next thing he knows, he is whisked away to a desolate world that is overrun by monsters. Anamiya is here, but with a completely different personality as she is very cold and antagonistic to the rest of the characters. Still, she needs Ageha to help her clear the game. If you die in the game you die in real life!

There are a few rules. One: They just have to live through it. Two: Clear the daily missions. Three: Tell nobody. As long as they follow those 3 rules, they will be allowed to leave the game in peace. Of course, this is difficult since there are monsters everywhere as well as an evil organization that is bent on taking over the Earth through any means necessary. Fortunately, this world amps up everyone’s natural psychic abilities and you can gradually learn how to use it for combat. Along the way, a kid Ageha used to bully, a rockstar, and a random joe are brought to the world as well. Technically, a bunch of people are brought in, but the rest are all slaughtered almost instantly by the monsters. Hey, you can’t save em all right?
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At first the manga plays out like a survival horror. The humans have no business fighting giant monsters and basically just have to run and hide. Anamiya is the only one who can fight them and even she can’t take on too many of them at once. If the series had stayed like this, it could have certainly gone for an Attack on Titan vibe. Honestly, it could have maybe worked, but I’m glad the manga shifted gears into full action instead. Once the characters all got powers and the monsters were phased out in place of humanoid opponents, the manga truly began to excel.

It plays out a lot like Hueco Mundo in Bleach. The heroes get in really large scale battles against the enemies. The series jumps between the present and the future a lot. As you’d probably expect, the future has all of the best scenes and fights. The technology doesn’t really change this time, but everyone is just a lot stronger so the visuals are more spectacular. This series really knew how to draw your attention the whole time. Lets quickly go through a bunch of the characters.

First up is Ageha. He’s a good protagonist even if he definitely doesn’t care about being a hero. Lets move past his childhood where he was apparently a bit of a bully. He does act like your typical main character for a while as he tries to save everyone and does his best to complete the game. What separates him from most is how absolutely ruthless Ageha is. He’s totally on board with destroying any opponent who gets in his way. Some of the villains comment on this as Ageha will go for a kill shot right off the bat. Given the stakes and all, it’s easy to see why, but not something that all main characters will go for. He embraces his dark abilities from the start and never enters into a self doubt phase. All of these elements together make him a very engaging lead. You can draw a lot of similarities to Yusuke Urameshi.

Amamiya is the main heroine and she was always rather odd. We find out the reason why by the end as she has a split personality. One side of her is very shy and timid while the other is aggressive and outgoing. She starts to lose control of her other personality by the end, but eventually gets it back. You could say that the two sides of her made a truce to share the body and each gets a turn now. It’s an intriguing concept anyway. For the most part, the more aggressive one is naturally better although the flirting can be a bit much. I’m glad that Anamiya can fight, but she’s just not a very charismatic heroine.

The same can be said for the big rival of the series. That is Asaga and he is probably the most soulless rival I’ve ever seen in a series. He barely even counts as a rival since he is never in Ageha’s league to begin with. He has a lot of brute strength and that’s how he wields his psychic powers. He just has no real personality though besides possibly liking the main heroine. Ageha’s gravity abilities are both stronger and more versatile. There’s just nothing Asaga can contribute to a fight and he was basically written out of the series for a while as he had some adventures on the alien planet by himself.

Next up is a character whose development never really got to end. Oboro is a famous pop star who got into the game and began to excel. He can heal others which is incredibly useful and his abilities began to morph into disintegration. He can also heal others too well which results in them merging with other monsters and dying. The series was really hinting that he was going to turn evil and he was beginning to fit into the rival role. Then…the series just ended and he never really got to have any closure. I think he barely even got a final fight if he did at all. I did think the character had a lot of promise though and he was probably the best supporting member.

Kirisaki’s essentially the scaredy cat of the group. Every series seems to need one and he fits the bill. His ability is that he can sense the future as long as he is in danger and this allows him to dodge any traps. Think of it like a very good Spider Sense and you get the general idea. This isn’t the kind of character that I’m typically a fan of though so I’ll have to give him a thumbs down.

Now lets talk about some of the villains. Miroku is the big villain in the series and he’s certainly a strong fighter. He doesn’t have a whole lot of personality and can come across as generic, but I’d say that he’s good enough. His design’s not bad. Grana is the strongest member of the main villain group so he’s second only to Miroku for most of the series. He’s sort of like Zaraki from Bleach and I like his personality. He’s always itching for a fight and he can dish it out as well as he takes it. That makes for a pretty good villain if you ask me. Unfortunately, as the story goes with most of these characters, he didn’t get to do a whole lot.

Junas was one of the most impressive villains. He went up against quite a few of the main characters and kept on rolling. His design is on point and he made good use of his abilities. WISE was very fortunate to have him on their side. There’s not much to say about Uranus. He’s another member of the group who puts up a good fight, but doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as Junas. Finally we’re up to a villain who did get a lot to do. Dholaki was probably Ageha’s first real challenge and the guy kept coming back for more. He would train and learn new abilities to stay relevant. He had a good work ethic for a villain. Shiner was another member of the group and he also got a good role. I’d say that he was maybe a little nerfed by the end of the fight, but he did a good job weakening the heroes.

Mithra is basically the real final boss. She’s a very imposing entity and her true form helps increase the stakes of the series. I definitely think just about all big action titles should end with a big cosmic being suddenly showing up. It makes the final battle really feel like a final stand as opposed to just another fight against the bad guys. Mithra didn’t appear all that much, but she is memorable.

Yusaka is technically a pretty minor villain as he doesn’t appear much, but he was a pretty critical traitor against the heroes so he was memorable. He takes down a lot of humans in a rather brutal action scene and proves to be a lethal opponent. He’s not really my kind of villain, but he made for a good fight scene. While his design isn’t as impressive as most of the villains, it makes sense since he is basically just a human.
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There was a group of kids in the future who were the last defenders of humanity. They were a pretty fun bunch and all of them got some good screen time. Frederica is a fire expert who’s extremely confident and she always managed to live up to the hype. I’m not sure I’d call her the strongest member despite her boasts, but she’s definitely fun to have around. She’s effectively the leader of the team. Marie is the nicest member of the team which also happens to mean that she is basically the weakest. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really a fan of hers. She’s not a bad character, but rarely seemed to help out all that much. She did contribute of course, but I would have liked to have seen more action from her.

Kyle looks up to Ageha and pretty much modeled his fighting style after him. Kyle’s a hand to hand specialist who attacks with incredible power. I’d say that he is the most powerful member of the group and he sure did a good job whenever he would appear. He definitely grew a lot from his days as a kid. Shao probably got one of the best fight scenes in the series as he fights with strategy as well as power. He’s about as strong as Kyle and really helps the group have an edge over the villains. Every time you get a strong fighter like that, it really helps everyone’s odds. He’s rather quiet, but it’s not about confidence. It’s simply a choice in his case and he lets his actions speak for him.

Nemesis Q was more annoying than helpful. I still don’t understand what the point was of calling everyone to the game world, but destroying them if they told anyone. By the end of the series we learn that she is basically stuck in a wheelchair and just gets her thrills out of mocking Ageha. She got some kind of origin story, but it still seems like the best plan would just have been to tell the heroes what was going on. They could have changed the past a whole lot easier if they knew the details.

Matsuri was one of the only players who ever got out of the game alive. As such, she knows about it, but isn’t really allowed back. She can still help in the real world though. Her abilities are potent, but not quite as deadly as most of the main characters. She essentially got surpassed by everyone as the series went on, but did well in the mentor role. Kagetora is her friend and essentially a bodyguard who also got some psychic abilities. He handles psychic crime in the real world, but has a tendency to get in a little over his head at times. His regeneration ability at the end is really handy though since it fits in with his constant aggression.

Tatsuo is a friend of Asaga’s who got stuck in the game. In the real world he was super frail, but he was able to excel in this other world as a hybrid monster. At first he is evil from the experience, but gradually learns to accept the situation and becomes a hero. He’s a fairly decent character, but one that still just feels more like a trope than an individual. Asuka is Ageha’s father and he actually shows up to fight by the end of the series. His ability has a lot of drawbacks and can’t be used for too long, but it’s very powerful. He is one of the only characters in the series who is able to use a certain burning/ascendence which amps up all of his stats. The series may not have explained too much about why he knows so much about the psychic wars and all, but it was nice to see him help out. He’s not a very nice guy at times though so that hurts his likability.

So the character cast is fairly decent. I like Ageha and the Actor worked fairly well as a shady rival. I don’t think the author initially planned for that subplot to just end like it did, but you never know. The rest of the heroes were rather weak compared to most titles though, but fortunately the villains held their own. They were all pretty cool for the most part even if I started to mix them up. It’s important that Ageha was good since if the main character had also only been standard, it might have had more of an effect on the series. What helped to compensate for this was the solid artwork throughout. The artist has a nice clear style that works well with the series. It’s also nice since Ageha’s powers could have easily turned into something very wavy and chaotic. With a lesser artist It would have been easy to get lost during the action scenes.

The series could get pretty intense like the massacre inside the government base. You couldn’t help but feel bad for the government the whole time since they were just so out of their league but they kept on trying anyway. At the very least, you have to admire their commitment. We even got the cops involved at one point as they try to arrest Ageha, that was fun. There’s a lot to like in this series which is why it’s a shame that it never hit 20 volumes.
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Overall, Psyren is a fun action series. It won’t go down as an all star like Dragon Ball Z or Kenshin, but I’d say that it did a really good job. The idea of fighting in the future is always a good one. Reborn! probably did the best job with it, but many titles have pulled it off. The action was large in scale and Ageha readily embracing his dark abilities was nice as well. It’s a shame that the series ended so suddenly since it still had quite a lot of potential left in it. Sometimes we just don’t get to see it all though. That’s just the way it goes. I’d definitely recommend checking this manga out. It’s pretty epic and I’m confident you’ll like it if action is your genre of choice.

Overall 8/10

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Assassination Classroom Review

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So, I started this manga around April back in 2013. It lasted for a decent amount of time I suppose and the concept was certainly original. That being said, the series gradually got worse as it went on. It started out okay and I had actually given it a 6 after the initial volume or so. Maybe it was the premise that got old or the author just was not prepared to keep the series going. Whatever the case, Classroom ends on a whimper and ends up losing another point for mainstream manga.

The series is about an alien who destroyed most of the Moon. He then decided that he wanted to teach a class. Koro chose Class E, a class that is shunned by the rest of the school and treated pretty poorly. The government agrees to this deal in exchange for being able to try and destroy Koro whenever they like. The students are also encouraged to try and destroy him and they could get rich doing so. As the series progresses, the kids grow attached to Koro and decide that he may not be all that bad. Should they still destroy him or have the kids finally learned that murder is wrong. Spoiler alert, they do not.

So, this series is really a comedy first and foremost. There are some action scenes during the series as this is technically still a Shonen, but the vast majority of it is pure slice of life. You could compare the series to Nisekoi except replace the occasional plot chapter with an action one. Unfortunately, this ends up hurting the series. Mainly that’s because the cast isn’t all that good. This ensures that you’re never too invested into the series. Furthermore, the author just isn’t very good at writing a comedy. It’s rarely all that funny or engaging. I was actually pretty bored for almost the entirety of the second half of the series. It felt like nothing was happening for a very long time and I was waiting for the plot to return.

The author also doesn’t even try after a certain point and just starts including fanservice for no real reason. The fanservice is really the only main problem in the series, but it is a significant one. Naturally, being a rather boring series in general is bad as well, but it’s not something that will take too many stars off. Coupling that with recurring fanservice is another issue entirely. It’s almost as if the author is admitting that the series can’t stand on its own and that it needs this element to keep people reading. I wouldn’t be too surprised since most of the comments on the online discussion boards would always focus on this and the Nagisa cross dressing subplot. I don’t think people ever really cared about the plot and most people like it for the comedy and the drama. So if the comedy style works for you, then you’ll like the series. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a long ride.

Surprisingly, the series never really deals with one of its main themes. These kids are being told to murder Koro throughout the series and they naturally accept since they’ll be making a lot of money. The students never really ask themselves if this is the right thing to do. They wonder if they shouldn’t at times since they grow to like the teacher, but never because the act of murdering someone is wrong in itself. It seems like they just don’t really care since Koro’s an alien anyway. It’s rather alarming that they’re all so quick to accept this deal. Having a few kids decide that this just isn’t right would have been a good way to advance the plot and maybe have some characters get kicked out of the class because they refuse to sacrifice their morals. That would have made for an engaging premise if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the series never went in that direction and just continues to do its best to justify why murder is necessary in this case. There will be spoilers coming up in this paragraph so skip it if you haven’t finished the series yet. I’m gonna keep all of the spoilers confined to this paragraph to make it easier to read the rest of the review. Are you out of this paragraph yet? You have been warned! From the start, the kids are told that murdering Koro will make the world a safer place and the money seals the deal. Capturing Koro would be difficult, but it is clearly achievable as several villains do it during the course of the series. Already murder is not completely necessary. Then the end of the series takes it a step further. There is a .001% chance that Koro will blow up and take the Earth with him. It’s simply a flaw in his DNA. Even so, the people decree that Koro must die and after an extended fight, Koro lies on the ground. He is unable to move and cannot do anything. So…the “heroes” wouldn’t destroy him after all that right. The kids have been through a lot with their teacher and they should be friends at this point….nah. Nagisa plunges his knife into Koro and ends him for good. Nothing personal of course, but Nagisa was goaded into doing it and everyone was practically egging him on with their moral support. It was a terrible ending and really brought about the wrong message in the series. It tried to say that destroying Koro was the right thing to do, but that could never be the case. It goes without saying that I lost all respect for the characters and I didn’t really have much to start with. I’d say that was the final nail in the coffin for this title.

All right, lets talk about the characters. Karasuma is the government contact who teaches the kids how to effectively destroy people. He has more of a heart than the rest of the government and is known as one of the best fighters on the planet. He does a good job of pulling his weight, but does tend to let red tape stand in his way. He’s not someone that I would count on in times of trouble, but he is one of the more likable characters in the series. At the very least, he isn’t all talk. Irina is another professional who joined the group, but unfortunately the series gives her absolutely no respect. She is only used for fanservice during about 99% of her screen time and another subplot that’s not even remotely humorous is that the kids always curse her out when she appears. It’s a very mean spirited nickname. She’s able to get past them since all of the kids fall for her feminine wiles, but all that does is degrade her character further while taking the kids with her.

Koro is the big alien in the series and one of the worst written leads that I’ve seen. He’s a very perverted character similar to someone like Master Roshi. This is bad since he appears so often, this personality gets to appear constantly. He is always being tricked through this weakness and uses his super human abilities to make it all the worse. There’s not a whole lot you can do when you’re up against an invincible alien so it’s not like anyone can stop these habits of him. Any time Koro is on screen is usually going to be a cringe worthy moment.
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Karma is the big rival of the series and he’s the best character in the series. It may not be saying a whole lot, but at the very least he checks most of the boxes for qualities that a rival should have. He talks a good game even if he loses most of his fights. While Karma is surpassed by Nagisa rather easily, he tries to cover up his humiliation by dishing out a lot of burns. He has a lot of confidence and doesn’t put up with a lot of the stuff that Nagisa has to go through. It would have been nice if he could have gotten a power up or something, but the series was having none of that.

Nagisa is the kind of main character that I don’t like. He’s comic relief 90% of the time, but then he’ll suddenly get serious and unlikable. When he’s in assassin mode he turns into a try-hard rather than a hardcore character. He does manage to score a win against an actual villain, which is one more than just about anyone from the students so I’ll give him that. Still, the contrast between him as a pushover who lets people dress him as a girl and his assassin mode is way too drastic. The ending of the series doesn’t help his case at all either.

There are a lot of other students in the class, but only hardcore fans will bother to learn their names. Even the author probably came close to forgetting them because some don’t actually get introduced until you’re past volume 10. That’s a long time to wait to learn about someone who is in the background since day 1 right? Aside from Karma and Nagisa, some of them are important though. Ritsu is notable because she is actually a computer program who is just allowed to be in the class for kicks. She acts like a student at the very least and while she ultimately doesn’t help out much, she ensures that the group can always communicate with each other. Kayano is the main heroine I suppose. Her role is extremely small until the series gets close to the end, but that’s good enough. Even if she tends to jump the gun and come to hasty conclusions, she actually plans things out well. She’s definitely the best student behind Karma even if a lot of her potential was wasted by the end. Her plot could have been so much more epic if it wasn’t shut down as soon as it began.

Itona was one of the early villains, but he was quickly defeated and turned into a good guy. This is one of those characters who was completely ditched as soon as he turned good. Suddenly he became completely powerless and never did anything again. It was a shame because he could have brought something new to the table. Instead he just ended up as a personality-less student who had no real stake in the whole business. To think that he started out as a mysterious villain who was actually a threat.

Gakusho is the big rival of the series and especially likes to compete with Karma. He’s in class A so he always has a lot to prove. His father is the principal so he is always in a lot of pressure. He actually does a good job of living up to it and excelling though. He’s a little more fair than his father and will honor his agreements even if he doesn’t like them. He made for a fun antagonist and helped make some of the events more fun like the athletics competition and the test arcs. Gakuho was also a good villain. He looks a little like Aizen and is as exaggerated as a principal can get. He’s supposed to be purely human, but he can mind control people and even knocked out three really strong guys with no real effort. It was 3 against 1 and they were pros, but he downed them with ease. The author never gave him powers or added anything extra to it as expected, but he was still a great character. Honestly, he should have kept on appearing. Giving him powers or something would have been awesome.

The God of Death is one of the big villains in the series. He’s definitely the most likable villain even if he does come across as rather petty in his origin. He’s very good at what he does and his plan was basically fool proof. His design is really cool and while his abilities are a bit of a stretch, it showed that he wasn’t like your average human. You definitely don’t want to mess around with this guy. It’s a shame that he never got to appear much. I don’t even count his final appearance because he cracked by the end and was nothing like the character that I got to see the first time. Takaoka is a relatively minor villain who showed up from the government. He overworked everyone and was basically a bully who always got his way. The students had to take care of him since everyone else kept turning the other way. It was definitely one of those subplots that was annoying to watch since nobody would help at all. You’d think Koro would have been a little more vigilant right?

Finally, we have Shiro. He’s the main villain of the series and wears a cloak to hide his true form until the very end. The true form is a little underwhelming as is the character in general. He was portrayed as a very mysterious individual, but after getting thwarted several times in a row, it was hard to take him as seriously. You could go whole volumes without seeing this guy appear and I don’t get why he was waiting so long. His master plan just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and without his constant hostages, the guy wouldn’t even be all that tough. He could have been a cool villain, but squandered his opportunity.

Another problem with the series has to be the power levels. It’s always annoying to see the main characters because none of them can fight for beans. They’re all just kids so whenever an actual villain shows up, they just have to hide. They can’t hold their own because all of the big villains have super powers and could beat the kids in an instant. At first I was waiting for a time skip or some kind of power up, but gradually I realized that this wasn’t that kind of series. It actually tries to be very realistic for the most part which means that the kids just stay as kids the whole time. They never really get any development or improve at all in combat. Maybe you won’t mind that, but I found it extremely annoying by the end. I mean, what’s the point of having them around if they’re never gonna help? I haven’t seen a group of main characters as helpless as these guys.

As mentioned earlier, I think this series just lasted too long. I believe the author just couldn’t come up with enough ideas which is why some plots were stretched to oblivion and why the series had a noticeable dip in quality in the second half. Some characters were basically ditched and others never got a whole lot of development. The series was just all over the place and made sure to mess up its opportunities whenever possible. It’s a shame, but I guess they can’t all be winners in Shonen Jump.

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Overall, There’s a reason why nobody really talks about Classroom anymore. It was a huge thing when the first anime was airing and everyone was talking about the manga. It still sells well, but people just don’t talk about it anymore. The series just went downhill and should have quite while it was ahead. As it is, the series was at a 4 for a very long time, but then the author just had to go through with the terrible ending and lower it even further. A bad ending can go a long way and this was one of the worst endings that I’ve seen in a manga. Another title that I’ll be reviewing soon also had a dicey ending, but at least he was so bad that it was played for laughs which worked to an extent. This one played it serious and seriously giving out bad morals is a good way for me to shave off some points. I’d recommend skipping this series. It simply doesn’t live up to the hype and you’re better off just reading DBZZZZzzzzz yet another time.

Overall 3/10

My Hero Academia Review

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It’s time to review one of the most popular anime from a year or so ago. This show was talked about quite a lot and was compared to One Punch Man constantly since both shows came out at around the same time and dealt with superheroes. I’m not going to prolong the drama this time though, One Punch Man wins this fight. Both of these titles are great shows, but there is a big gap between incredibly amazing and great. My Hero Academia is a great show, but it’s not stellar to the point where I could easily rewatch the whole show again. One Punch Man has a better cast, universe, animation, soundtrack, fights, potential, and just hype in general. The two shows can’t really be compared as it stands now, but OPM did have a really fast start. Season 2 will likely not be quite as hype although there are some big scenes coming up while Hero Academia’s season 2 should be leaps and bounds above the first if handled right. Perhaps that is when the comeback will happen so either way, we’ll be comparing both of these when the season 2’s come out.

The story follows a kid named Deku. In this planet, almost all people are born with quirks. Typically you’ll gain one that is similar to your parents. Unfortunately, Deku is one of the few who is quirkless. He has no powers, but Deku has always looked up to superheroes and wants to be one anyway. Fortunately, he meets up with All Might, the world’s number one hero. All Might decides to give Deku a portion of his powers. Deku can now join up with the other students at the most prestigious school in the world, but will he be able to keep up with these borrowed powers? He also has to be careful since he is now one of the world’s strongest beings and he could easily destroy one of his classmates by accident if he were to go all out.

As this is just season 1, most of the episodes are for world building and character introductions. They do manage to squeeze in one fight with the villain group during the final few episodes though. That is definitely the best part of the season although I also liked the hero vs villain mock battles that occurred a little before that. The only part that gets annoying is Deku’s narration during the episodes where he foreshadows events. It usually ends up just being clickbait and the show doesn’t really need it since the actual content is interesting enough to get you to check in anyway. Of course, I believe that it was in the manga as well, so it’s not as if the show just randomly added it.

My Hero Academia has a lot of energy and instantly feels like a modern show. All current shows should feel like this and the same thing applies to a video game. If it doesn’t feel new and modern, then something is wrong. My Hero Academia definitely had a pretty good budget. The colors stand out and the characters are streamlined. The show did a good job with this since some of the designs could have easily been a little clunky. Kaachan’s in particular stands out since the design is very convoluted when he’s in his superhero form.

That about covers the animation. The best animated scenes are typically when Deku is about to throw a huge punch. The energy effect through his arm came out well. Naturally, the soundtrack is also really good. The theme song is still one of my favorites in anime and I listened to it quite a few times. There’s a lot of competition nowadays though so it could easily drop off of the top 10 given time. The villain theme is also very good and brings the hype when the villains make their move. There’s also a decent hero theme and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a pretty diverse set of themes, but there are only 13 episodes so some don’t get to appear too much. Between the opening, fight themes, and the villain themes, My Hero Academia is definitely set and has a great soundtrack that can hold its own with the best of them.

Deku’s a reasonable lead. Standing up to Bakugou near the middle definitely helped his character a lot. If he had been super timid and just run away the whole time, it would have been annoying. Even if they ultimately decide to make Bakugou nicer so he can be one of the main heroes, at this point he is just a bully. The only way to deal with those is to teach them a lesson and claim the win. The sad part is that Deku could easily beat Bakugou with a single hit, but such a blow could easily kill him so Deku has to try and win with strategy. Deku just kept making the right calls throughout the anime and they were ones that other leads might have hesitated for. For example, Deku jumped in with a 100% shot at Shigaraki when All Might was cancelled. The attempt didn’t work, but at least Deku was willing to blow his arm off to help. He kept on jumping back into the fray even when the teachers and other kids told him not too. Deku’s definitely one of the bravest guys here and now that he also has more self confidence, I look forward to him continuing to improve in the next season. Having a main character who is extremely powerful and smart without being arrogant is also very unique. There aren’t many characters like that around.
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Bakugou is the rival in the show and he’s certainly a little more extreme than some others. He’s not as bad as Gajeel from Fairy Tail since he doesn’t go around crucifying all of Deku’s friends before immediately turning good, but it is still impossible to sympathize with him. He threatens Deku constantly and even burns a notebook that Deku spent years filling up with data. He’s never remorseful about this either and still has the gall to be upset at Deku for actually defending himself. This plot line will continue for a while and the whole time it’s just hard to even remotely see Bakugou’s side of the story. He’s a solid character when he’s not around Deku though and he does help out a lot in the final battles. He’s one of the few characters with a combat quirk so he really needs to put it to good use. Bakugou’s a good character as an antagonist, but if he’s meant to be more like Sasuke from pre Shippuden or Mika from Seraph in the sense that we should empathize with their goals and motivations…then it’s not working so far.

Uraraka is the main heroine, but she surprisingly hasn’t gotten to do much yet. She’s a nice enough character and she went out of her way to save Deku from what could have been a very embarrassing entrance into the school. She can be rather oblivious and unfortunately her power is one of the worst in the series, but at least she’s a good friend to have around. I am hoping that she gets a power up at some point though. Iida is another one of the supporting characters. He’ll get a major role in the second season (or 3rd) so stay tuned for that. He’s a good character at the moment. Iida’s an ultra “Follow the rules” kind of character, but he pulls off the role well. Abandoning the others to go and get reinforcements was a bit risky though. I’m not saying that it was totally the wrong call, but this is where you separate the champs from the supporting characters. True, getting reinforcements is good to secure a win, but you’ll likely lose some friends along the way. Staying can be dangerous, but then you’ll all live or die together. I think a true hero has got to stay and if anything, act as a decoy or a sacrifice to let the others get away. I think that would have been the right move here.

Todoroki is another rival for Deku and he’s my favorite character in the series. He hasn’t done much yet, but he’s the strongest student at the school (Aside from Deku) and he has a very cool and calm demeanor. He’s the kind of character who would really stand out in just about any show and you can never have too many rivals. His personality will get heavily nerfed in the future so enjoy him while you can. Having elemental powers is always really handy as well since what you can do is really only limited by your imagination. Another student who is around is Asui. She’s also not much of a fighter, but she gives Deku a lot of support at well and is really good in that kind of role. Her frog-like athletics allow her to cross large areas with a large bound so she can get teammates out of harm’s way.

There are a lot of students and it’s going to take a while for the show to really introduce them all. I suppose that more of them will show up in season 2, but in the manga some of them never got to really do anything. That’s the problem with such a large cast, but at least it means that every supporting character is actually a real character and not just a nameless individual. The others are good so far and they’ll make for a decent supporting cast. It’s hard to say where they stack up against Naruto’s. One day I’ll have to compare them more. The only bad one is Mineta, but man….he is a terrible character. He’s the one bad aspect of the show. The show really has virtually no fanservice, but Mineta always has to have the sketchy lines and his running gag of going after the female characters to grab them is just unnecessary and terrible. Even if the characters try drowning him afterwards, it’s a little too late and the problem is that none of the characters seem to even care. I hope he’s written out of the show at some point.

As with the students, there are a lot of pro heroes, but most of them haven’t done much yet. All Might is the main hero of course and while he is a homage to Superman, he’s not quite as transparent. As he appears more and more, you get glimpses into the fact that he has to keep a lot of secrets from the rest of the world. He believes that he is a symbol of peace to he has to seem invincible so villains won’t try to make a move. I can understand the logic, but people are going to find out about his weakness so he needs to tell more of the heroes as soon as possible or they’re going to be in a lot of danger. I also think All Might could have let the other heroes help out a bit more. Surely Todoroki would have been some help against Noumu. He did save All Might after all and the fact that his abilities are long range means that it’ll be tougher for the villains to hit him. From All Might’s point of view though, he made the right call. No need to put the others in danger, but I would have liked to have seen the kids defy him more.
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Aizawa is the other hero to get a big role. He’s a cool enough hero and basically plays the Kakashi role here. He’s very strict and pushes the students to their limits. He’s also a fairly good fighter although his powers are really only good for one on one fights. The fact that he can nullify powers means that he can potentially take down some of the strongest villains in the series, but unless he can improve his physical abilities, he’ll inevitably hit a wall when the foes become faster and stronger than mortal levels. We already see that here to an extent, although most villains won’t be quite as strong as Noumu. The principal also appears and I like to think that he’s the spy within the hero ranks. I don’t like him so that’d be a double bonus.

Shigaraki is the figurehead of the villains. We don’t know much about him yet, but he wants to destroy All Might and bring the world to chaos. His ability to destroy whatever he touches is certainly very dangerous. It’s not instantaneous, but it will cause severe damage. His ability is a good counter to Deku since he just needs one good hit to make up for the fact that he would die to a single hit as well. He nearly defeats Deku several times and they’ll definitely meet up more soon. His costume involves multiple hands grabbing him, which is a little odd. He’s definitely a strange villain and not quite as interesting as his partner, but he’s not bad. At least he can fight, which is a good start.

Kurogiri is Shigaraki’s partner and definitely a cooler villain. His shadows ability is actually very overpowered and makes him one of the most dangerous threats in the series. He can appear just about anywhere at any time and the only place where you can hit him is his neck. I’m still a little skeptical on how the heroes missed him the first time if there is a real guy underneath the shadows so I’m going to assume that there’s another trick to his powers. (Or plot hax) He has a very intimidating voice and he’s the main reason why the villain’s plan could work at all. He may not be the leader, but he’s very deadly.

Noumu is a mindless monster with a lot of attack power and durability. This makes him a good match-up for All Might. The design is okay, but it would score more cool points if the brain wasn’t always showing. He’s good as an opponent and isn’t a bad villain. He’s clearly not as interesting as some of the others, but he’s fast, strong, and nimble. He doesn’t suffer from the strong, but slow curse and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

The show has a good character cast and that definitely goes a long way. The actual universe isn’t quite as interesting as other titles since there isn’t much to explore or other areas to be interested in. As far as we know, it’s just a pretty happy world with heroes. To make up for that, it was essential that there were a lot of likable characters, solid animation, and just good all around writing. Luckily, My Hero Academia does all of this well and the big fight at the end was a nice, epic way to wrap up season 1. Hopefully the series can continue to go on for a long time so one day it’ll be long enough to actually have us compare it to flagship titles like Naruto and Bleach. It’s a solid start to the next generation and it just needs to keep up the momentum.

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Overall, I definitely recommend this show. It has a lot of action and likable characters. The producers, writers, and staff involved definitely put a lot of effort into the show. The 13 episodes will fly by before you know it, but luckily season 2 is already on the way. It’s definitely going to be an exciting sequel and the OVA that came out also looks really great. I don’t believe that they ever fix Deku’s costume either, which is good since I much prefer the blue suit that he ended up using for most of the series anyway. This is one mainstream, popular anime that really lived up to the hype. Between this, One Punch Man, and Madoka, that helps to counter Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. I’ll be reviewing another super hyped show soon so we’ll see if I can say the same about that one.

Overall 8/10

My Hero Academia

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I’ve finally started one of the new big hits. This series definitely looks like it’ll be a fun one even if one of the plot twists shouldn’t have happened. The fire/ice kid is definitely the best character so far so we’ll see if he can hold this place for the entire series or if he will be surpassed. I’ll have a review for the title when it is all done.

Overall 7/10

Boruto

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Boruto is the sequel to the Naruto series so it will have a lot of pressure. It’s going to be very hard to live up to one of the most successful series of all time, but hopefully it can manage to be great. The series is off to a decent start. The art may need a bit of work and the upcoming plot seems to read like a generic fanfic, but as long as we get some good battle scenes then it should be fine. I doubt this will be ending for quite a few years, but when it does I’ll be sure to have a review up for it.

Overall 7/10

Knights of The Zodiac

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I’ve finally started this legendary classic! I consider Knights of The Zodiac to be the final Big manga title left that I had not started. This series can be mentioned in the same sentence as DBZ…that’s how good it is. I’m anticipating a 9 star series, anything less would be a disappointment. That’s how bold this series is. I look forward to seeing if Gemini Saga lives up to the hype. I shall review this series when I finish it…at some point.

Overall 8/10

Naruto Review

Naruto is one of the first manga titles that I ever read. Not quite the first as I started Dragon Drive, Legendz, Zodiac PI, and others first, but this was still an early read for me. The anime is really what got me into the manga and the movies is what helped get me into the show early on. I actually didn’t read most of part 1 Naruto until way after the first two-three arcs of the Shippuden arc. When I went back to the early days of the manga, it took a while to get used to the art. I certainly remember Naruto fondly and it was definitely an excellent series with a lot of memories attached to it.

Naruto takes place in a world where technology isn’t really present and ninjas still reign. The Village Hidden in the Leaves is Naruto’s home, but the villagers do not trust him because hidden within Naruto is a beast that murdered the Hokage (The leader of the village) and wrecked the whole place a long time ago. Naruto fights to win everyone’s trust and he ultimately wants to become Hokage! It will be a long journey, but Naruto never gives up. It’s simply not his way.

This series was around 70 volumes long, which is fairly huge. As you can expect, this review will be very long as well. I will essentially go through the series arc by arc and talk about the characters as they appear. In a sense, it will be a look back through the years for Naruto. If it proves to be too long to read, feel free to jump to the last paragraph as I wrap everything up.

The first arc of the series had Naruto and friends try to protect a bridge builder from assassins who were sent to end the guy. This was the first big mission for Naruto’s team so it was an intense way to kick things off. Zabuza was the big villain for this adventure and he certainly became popular with the fans. Zabuza was a cold hearted killer when the arc started, but he slowly began to see the error of his ways once Haku was lethally injured. His story was certainly emotional and I did like him by the end. I am still pretty unsure about him keeping up with Kakashi though. It was early on in the series so Kakashi had not yet earned his elite titles, but I would expect a Sharingan user to be much more skilled than this. Zabuza may have only been around for a little while, but he left a strong impression with the fans. Like Zabuza, Haku was an intense adversary. Haku is a good example of what could happen to any character who is raised by a villain. He respects Zabuza and does whatever his mentor wants because of their strong bond. If Haku had been raised by heroes, he would have undoubtedly thrived in such a situation. Haku was certainly ahead of his time as his abilities were also very impressive when he showed up. His skills were second to none.

This is a good time to mention Iruka since he never got much of a role past this part of the series. He was Naruto’s original mentor and much more timid than the ones who followed him. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the guy and his decision to try and stop Naruto in the final arc wasn’t a great one. Konohamaru and his cronies were also around, but there’s not much to say about them except that they were not good characters by any means.

Next up was the classic Chunin Exams. Certainly one of the best Naruto arcs and the hype was very real. An onslaught of new characters were introduced and most of them would be main supporting characters from here on out. Naruto and his pals were deemed worthy of entering this grand tournament and if they won, they could move up from the Genin ranks into Chunin level. The heroes were certainly not going to miss this opportunity! There were 3 main stages to the exams: The Written Exam, The Forest of Death, and The Fighting part. The arc didn’t really get to end because the invasion immediately followed it, but that saga was still a lot of fun.

Most of the characters who were introduced would end up becoming very important for the rest of the series. Kiba was one of the new characters and he was a hot headed genin like Naruto. He would later decide that he even wanted to become Hokage. From all of the Genin, Kiba would likely be in the middle of the pack. His only big role in the series was when he had his big fight with Sakon. After that, he became a permanent member of the supporting cast. He’s not a bad character by any means, but he never really made a name for himself and comes across as petty or too overconfident for his own good.

Shino was one of Kiba’s partners and he was always my least favorite of the new heroes. His insect gimmick gets old immediately and he never really had a big moment in the series. A lot of the characters were really only developed through the anime and that includes Shino. That being said, I just didn’t like his personality anyway. He essentially considers his insects to be expendable. Hinata was the third member of that group and she would actually grow to get a decent sized role in the series. She’s certainly more important than Kiba or Shino, but at the same time, her character is mostly developed through the anime and the sequel movie. Her fight against Neji was certainly very good and she stood up to Pain in one of the latter arcs, which showed off her bravery. I would consider her to be significantly more powerful than Shino and Kiba, but still not strong enough to handle most of the big villains. She’s a decently good character, although admittedly she was a little too timid and shy for me to like her all that much.

For the next group we’ll start off with Rock Lee. He certainly gets a big role in the series, particularly the first part. He is a ninja who cannot use Ninjutsu so he relies on hand to hand combat. It serves him well and he ends up being much faster and stronger than the other Genin at first. Somehow, we’re led to believe that Neji could still beat him in a fight, but I wonder about this. Without his weights and if he needed to use a gate or two, Rock Lee easily looked like the most impressive fighter in the Chunin Exams. I feel like he basically should have won the fight if he had fought anyone other than Gaara. I was fine with how he lost to Gaara as Gaara’s sand abilities were a perfect match for Rock Lee’s talents. Rock Lee’s infatuation with Sakura can be a little annoying at times, but aside from that he is a great character. He never gives up and his dedication certainly paid off.

Neji is another member of the group and between the two of them (Rock Lee, Neji) you can see why their group is known as the strongest. Neji doesn’t have Rock Lee’s speed or power, but his martial art skills are at a very high level and he has an absolute defense where he can generate a chakra bubble that protects him from attacks on all sides. (Almost all sides, there is a slight hole in the barrier, but it is hard to target) His attacks injure you on the inside so if he lands a blow or two, it becomes infinitely harder to defeat him since you will be unable to use chakra. He’s certainly another likable character and easily one of the best Genin members.

Finally, we have Tenten. Unfortunately for her fans, her role is much smaller than that of her teammates. She never really gets a big fight in the whole series as her match against Temari is off screen in the manga. She never really got to contribute to the story, which is unfortunate. I probably still like her more than Hinata and possibly Sakura, although the latter may win as she had more time to shine.

Next up is the weakest team when it comes to attack power as each of the members has his/her own gimmick. Ino is essentially Sakura’s rival and was on her level before part II. After that, she essentially stopped leveling up. I can’t say that she was a good character in the manga as she was essentially filler. Choji was the muscle of the group, but the fun part is that physically, I’d take Sakura, Naruto, or Rock Lee over him. Choji’s also very slow so he can’t hold his own against most of the real fighters. He had a big fight against Jirobo and he helped out when the going got tough, but I never became a fan of his either.

Luckily, Shikamaru is on the team so he saves it from not having any likable characters. He is the brains of the group and his Shadow Possession jutsu is his trademark attack, which can take control of an enemy’s body. The problem is that this won’t work on any really strong opponents and Shikamaru can’t really fight if an opponent is fast or strong. He goes far and gets a much bigger role than most of the other Genin fighters so there is plenty of time to grow to like the character. He may not be very powerful, but he’s likable and the heroes would be in a jam without him.

Now, let’s go on to one of the enemy teams. Kankuro was a puppet style user who worked for the Sand Village. While his hand to hand skills are certainly lacking (As even Shino seemed to have the edge in that form of combat) he is a threat from long range. His puppets are able to poison you and it can be fatal. I never really cared for Kankuro. He’s the gruff villain who eventually starts to act like a nice guy, but his banter was always more impressive than his fighting. Temari was an improvement over Kankuro and she actually got to fight against foes like Sasuke. Her competitive personality is certainly more enjoyable than Kankuro’s. She’s also a long range user who uses wind to fight. Her fight against Tayuya and Shikamaru are likely her big moments in the series. Temari was always more reasonable than Kankuro and while she definitely did start out antagonistic, she wasn’t as downright evil as Kankuro so it was more believable when she turned good.

Finally, we have the main fighter of the group, Gaara! Gaara would go on to become one of The most important fighters in the whole series as he even became the Kazekage. He can manipulate sand to protect him or to go on the offensive. It makes him a very tough fighter to deal with and Gaara doesn’t even need to move unless he feels like it since the sand is almost impossible to get through. He started out as one of the big villains in the series, but Naruto showed him that it was still possible to have friends and to get people to stop treating him like a monster. In the series, Gaara rarely started fights, but assassins were always trying to kill him so he would simply return the favor.

He had a very troubled origin and it was a tough road trying to get people to trust and befriend him again, but Gaara pulled it off. He went from being someone who was feared to being someone who was loved and it was a great character arc. Unfortunately, I do feel like he got a little too emotional at times once he turned good, but it was much more pronounced in the anime and not quite as bad in the manga. He’s still acknowledged as one of the tougher fighters and while he is no longer my favorite character in the series, he still ranks fairly high in the rankings.
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After the Chunin Exams were interrupted, the stop Gaara arc showed up as Naruto was tasked with his first S (Maybe A) rank mission. His team set off to stop Gaara, but with Sasuke’s curse mark getting out of control, it would prove to be a very difficult challenge. Orochimaru, a mysterious ninja who defected from the Leaf long ago, also showed up to assassinate the Hokage and throw the Hidden Leaf Village into a frenzy. That certainly shook things up quite a lot! It was a short arc and you could almost just call it part of the Chunin Exams. I greatly enjoyed this arc although the final fight wasn’t nearly as good as the end arc fight in the first two story arcs. The Chunin Exams blew both the Zabuza and the Invasion Arcs out of the water.

Kabuto was around during this period and while he pretended to be just another Genin, it was obvious that he was certainly more than that. He traded blows with foes like Kakashi and we found out that he worked for Orochimaru. I actually liked him because his hand to hand skills were good and he felt like a good rival for Naruto. Little did I know that he would go on to become on of the biggest villains in the series! He actually became one of the masterminds for the final arc. Unfortunately, he became less of a hand to hand fighter for a while and I didn’t like his new design. He fixed that in time for his final fight though and it was definitely an impressive way to go out. He got a chance to look over his life and see what went wrong which was nice.

The Naruto series likes to try and redeem all of the characters. Some naturally stay as enemies, but most of them accept that what they were doing was wrong in the end. While it can be a little cheesy for some and just not make sense for others, it’s always good to see a villain turn over a new leaf and join the side of the heroes. The character should still pay for his/her crimes, but at least now the character can work to make the world a better place. Naruto typically helps to do achieve this personally in most of the villains.

Next up is Orochimaru, who would also become a major player in the series. You could say that he was one of the hype characters of the series and always knew something that the heroes didn’t. He just seemed to be in control for just about the whole series and even once he was gone he still had the answers. I can’t say that I ever liked the character though and my problem with his fight scenes was that they typically didn’t have a lot of hand to hand in them. I also didn’t find his actual power level to be very impressive either even though he did get a lot of hype whenever he fought and managed to take down some fairly tough opponents. He was definitely a major player here though so you can certainly expect to see a lot of him.

The Third Hokage didn’t get to appear for all that much and I don’t mind since I found him to be a bit of a bland character. He was around to uphold the piece and you could certainly not deny that he tried his best to stop the villains, but he was just so old and didn’t feel strong enough to be given the title of Hokage. If he could have fought more or had some cooler moments, then that could have certainly helped his case.

With the invasion over, Itachi and Kisame showed up and we found out about the existence of the Akatsuki. They won’t be back for a while, but it was still a very interesting plot point and both characters were certainly dead. This led into the next arc as Sasuke and Kakashi were severely injured so Naruto decided to travel with the legendary Jiraiya to find a lady named Tsunade who could heal them and also become the next Hokage. That being said, Orochimaru was also looking for her so it would be a race against time!

This arc was not quite as interesting as the others and I would say that it may have been the worst. It did have some good moments of course like the Naruto vs Kabuto fight and Tsunade’s strength made for some great feats. I loved the whole Itachi and Kisame part as well although I probably wouldn’t count it as actually being part of the arc since it felt more like the breather between arcs. Now, let’s talk about some of the new characters.

Itachi was definitely a very cool character and he was supremely impressive right from the start. He took out Sasuke and Kakashi without any effort and you could tell that he would end up being a big threat. That being said, it was hard to expect him to be quite as impressive as he turned out to be. Even by the end of the series, he could outclass just about any fighter and his Sharingan prowess cannot really be matched. He was a lot of fun and the series gave him a lot of development. Like Orochimaru, I’d call him a hype character.

Later on, the series tried to give a lot of reasons to explain why him murdering the Uchiha Clan was necessary and how he wasn’t actually a bad guy. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the author originally intended for this to happen so a lot of it still doesn’t actually make any sense. For one thing, everyone in the Uchiha Clan was murdered including kids and innocent civilians. No matter how Itachi tries to justify that like saying that they were plotting a rebellion, it simply couldn’t be true of everyone. So, no matter how sympathetic the series tries to portray Itachi, he’s still a mass murderer in the end who’s no hero. At least he did help the heroes at multiple points though.
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Kisame was a big player as well, but not quite as important as Itachi. He was a sword user and ended up being a rival for Might Guy. He used raw power a lot more than a technical fighter like Itachi and this ended up working out quite well for him. He was certainly not as likable and his origin story didn’t really do anything for me, but he made for a good opponent. While he wasn’t the best Akatsuki member, he was closer to the top than the bottom and appearing so early definitely allowed the hype to build up for his next fight.

Jiraiya was a terrible addition to the team and he certainly didn’t earn the manga any points. While his abilities were fairly advanced, he was the stereotypical master who was irresponsible and only cared about girls in his old age. It’s always sad to see and there was nothing he could do to make himself appear likable after that. Luckily, Tsunade was far superior to him and made for a good character. She would also get quite a big role as the series went on since she was the Hokage for a good portion of time and helped in the final battles against Madara. Her healing abilities make for a great combo with her high attack power since she can afford to take larger risks compared to most fighters.

Tsunade had an assistant by the name of Shizune who helped out a little. I can’t say that she ever really did anything though so it’s hard to have much of an opinion on her. She keeps Tsunade in line, which is good I suppose. The Nine Tailed Fox didn’t get a whole lot of development by this point, but I may as well quickly talk about him. He started out as a monster who seemed to just want to make Naruto’s life as difficult as possible. As the two survived battle after battle, he eventually became a nicer guy and started to learn the values of teamwork. By the end of the series, he became a good character. He’s much cooler than all of the other Tailed Beasts as I didn’t really like any of the other ones. The 8 Tails was all right I suppose and he was certainly far more reasonable than the others, but at the same time, he just wasn’t that cool. The Nine Tailed Fox always had that cool factor about him and he can fight quite well without a host.

Next up was the big arc to end the first part of Naruto. Sasuke decided to leave the Leaf Village in order to get stronger. Orochimaru promised him great power if he followed so Sasuke obliged him. His comrades naturally couldn’t accept this and the move could have also placed the village in danger so Tsunade sent out a team comprised of Shikamaru, Choji, Naruto, Kiba, and Neji to go after him along with some well placed back up. The heroes would have to get past the Sound 4, The Hidden Boss, and Sasuke himself to get through, but they weren’t about to go down without a fight!

To this day, this was probably the best arc in the series. That being said, the anime is mainly why I was such a huge fan of this arc as it was handled perfectly. The final arc is so long that it technically has a whole lot more action and hype moments than this one so I will still have to think about whether this arc deserves to be the best in the manga or not. It’s a tough call and it is over a lot quicker there. The final arc also has more moments where it drags or cuts away to other fights though, but that’s not as much of a problem when in volume format. For now, I guess I’ll say that the final arc was still the best, but this would be an easy second. There were a lot of characters introduced in this arc to let’s get to them!

From the Sound 4, let’s start off with Sakon/Ukon. They share one body and are always eager for a fight. Their Curse Mark form easily has the best design from the team and I also consider them to be deadlier than the other 3. They are certainly as evil as you get and have no problem dragging out a fight. Jirobo was not quite as cool and he got to fight Choji. His whole character is that he’s big and strong so he doesn’t have to use any real strategies. He did manage to trap all of the heroes at one point, which was impressive though, but I like to think that most of the Genin could have taken him down had he been matched with anyone other than Choji.

Tayuya was a technical fighter so she was a perfect match for Shikamaru. I wouldn’t say that she was likable either so she falls into the same rank as Jirobo. She talked tough of course, but there were so many ways to possibly win. Throwing her kunai would have been effective instead of walking over to Shikamaru and getting within range. Her flute techniques are good, but I always feel that fighters like her are doomed since they can’t handle close range pressure. Kidomaru is another long range specialist, but I feel like he’s the bigger threat thanks to his incredible accuracy. If he had been fighting in a different environment then he probably wouldn’t have lasted too long against Neji, but the fight was certainly intense. As you can tell, Sakon was my favorite member of the 4. Kidomaru wasn’t bad though, but he didn’t get a whole lot of character. He was fairly intelligent, which helped to distinguish him from the rest I suppose.

Then, Kimimaro showed up and he was much cooler than the first 4. This guy essentially lived to serve Orochimaru as he thought of the guy as his master. Kimimaro was already dying when he first showed up, but that didn’t stop him from taking on the heroes and nearly coming out on top. He faced off against Naruto, Rock Lee, and Gaara in back to back matches. That’s certainly impressive and another second or two and he would have been able to claim victory. He certainly never gave up and he was easily one of the most impressive villains in the series when you think about each intro. Berserk Naruto has never been so easily defeated and I can’t think of another fight which made him look so helpless.

Time to wrap up some other characters from Part I that I have not mentioned yet. We have Asuna, who was one of the Senseis for the Genin. He was a decent fighter, but didn’t get a whole lot of development. He’s smart and his chakra weapon is unique. Kurenai used illusions to fight. It was just her bad luck that her only fight in the series was against Itachi, someone who can see through any illusion.
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There was also Might Guy, whose abilities wouldn’t even be fully shown until the final volumes of the series. He is essentially an adult version of Rock Lee so his raw power and speed are really impressive. He’s a fun character and feels like a Goku or Superman type of fighter since he doesn’t use ninjutsu either. He came to Kakashi’s rescue several times in the series and he never went down without a fight. Even by the end of the series, you could say that he’s probably in the top 10 power wise.

We can’t forget about Kakashi either. He would prove to be a major player throughout the series and many of his plots ended up affecting the whole series like his origin. He was always a good sensei for Naruto and his friends. He even managed to keep up with his training as he could finally use the Sharingan for very long periods of time in Part II and played a critical role in the climax, which was a good endurance feat. Kakashi was certainly a great character and one of the better Naruto leads. He may not have been the strongest character by the end of the series, but he could hold his own.

Sakura was a part of Team 7 and she underwent one of the most dramatic changes between Part I and Part II of the series. In the original story arcs, she couldn’t really fight, which was unfortunate for her fans since it meant that she would rarely get involved in the action scenes. Luckily, she trained under Tsunade for a few years and came back with incredible strength. She could now fight alongside Naruto and Sasuke as she even took down a member of the Akatsuki. It was certainly one of her best moments in the series. Her only real drawback was typically that she was too interested in Sasuke even when he decided to go to the dark side and essentially betray everyone. I think it was just a bit much and lying to Naruto during the snow adventure was also pretty iffy. Overall, I’d say that she was a good heroine and got quite a lot of development. She may have had her flaws, but Sakura was certainly a good character.

Time to talk about the part I versions of Naruto and Sasuke! Sasuke was the cool rival of the series who constantly one upped Naruto and wasn’t afraid to bring this up. He was one of the strongest Genin and his abilities continues to grow at a rapid rate. Unfortunately, this was not enough for him as he felt that he was not growing fast enough and decided that the powers of darkness held greater rewards. He left the village, which began his decent into the shadows. Still, he was easily my favorite character in the series. Despite his aloof and sometimes rude demeanor, he and Naruto definitely had a strong bond and their banter was always a lot of fun. While Naruto would just wander into traps, Sasuke was very smart and always one step ahead of the group. He made the series a whole lot more fun.

Naruto started out as your average Shonen lead. He can be loud and is always talking about something or other. Luckily, this comes along with the classic trait of fearlessness, which is why Naruto was a good character. He doesn’t hesitate when it comes to entering a battle and he always believes that villains can be given a second chance. He was a lot more reckless compared to his Part II counterpart and that was a good thing. When Naruto entered his Berserk Mode, there wasn’t really anyone who could stop him. His rampage was essentially a force of nature and could not be stopped. His dream about being Hokage was a good one and it made it easy to see him develop over the years as he learned what it truly meant to be worthy of the title.

That’s essentially the end of Part I, which was 27 volumes. Time to get into Part II, which took up a large chunk of the series and ended things with a bang. While Part I was fairly down to Earth and lower in scale than the average SJ series (Although about on par with One Piece at the time) Part II upped the stakes and introduced some planetary level threats! Part I will always be classic, but Part II had more action and I have to say that I preferred it. It’s a different story in the anime version, but that’s for another time.

To break up the format a little, let’s quickly talk about the artwork. Naruto’s art started out a little rough for part I and I’d say that it started to get better as Part II started. That may sound like a long time for rough art, but it still looked good. It just wasn’t as polished as the anime and Part II essentially corrected that. You could barely tell that it was the same manga at times, which is always a great sign as it means that the artist is continuing to improve. By the end, Naruto was certainly one of the best looking manga titles out there!

All right, time to start Part II! The first arc saw Naruto return the village after being away for almost 3 years, but he didn’t have a whole lot of time to relax as news came that Gaara, the Kazekage, had been kidnapped by the Akatsuki. Along with Sakura and Kakashi, Naruto’s team headed out to stop the attackers, but would they make it in time? The Akatsuki had finally made their move and Naruto would have a tough time stopping them so Might Guy’s team was also dispatched just in case.

This arc was decently fun. Seeing Itachi and Kisame again was certainly interesting and since the Akatsuki had finally begun to make their move, it felt like the plot was finally starting. Everyone was eager to see where the plot would take us and we also got a glimpse of the other Akatsuki members although it would be almost impossible to identify them at the time.

Deidara, another Akatsuki member made his debut in this round and he would go on to get a rather large fanbase. He was obsessed with art and believed that explosions were the pinnacle of it as they appeared for an instant and then left. His forte is long range combat and he gave Gaara a fairly good fight using his techniques. I’d say that his powers are actually a bad match-up against the sand user, but he could give most of the other opponents a run for their money. He’s a decent Akatsuki member and a likable member.

His partner was Sasori, a puppet master who made Kankuro look like a rookie. He wasn’t quite as likable at all, but I was glad that his true form was more impressive than his Chimera body. It helped him out a little as he was finally able to fight in close quarters combat without relying on his long range puppets. He can control 100 of them at a time, which instantly made him the best puppet master on the block and his fight against Sakura was quite good. With his poisonous attacks, he is a threat to any fighter as one hit is all that he needs.

The next arc had Naruto decide to finally bring back Sasuke once more. An old informant of Sasori had turned up information so the team figured that they would impersonate him and find out as much as they could. Kakashi got injured on the last mission so two new recruits would be coming along to help Naruto and Sakura. One of them was an Anbu Black Op known as Yamato and another was from the Root faction led by Danzo known as Sai. It would be hard to trust either of them, but that didn’t matter to Naruto as long as he got to save Sasuke!

This was certainly one of the shorter arcs, but it was important since we finally got to see the new and supposedly improved Sasuke. His abilities had definitely jumped a lot as he currently outclassed Naruto at the point. More signs to pointing that his choice was the right one if power was all that he desired. Aside from Sasuke appearing, it was a relatively mild arc and certainly not one of my favorites. More action and less Sai/Yamato would have been good.

As you can expect, I didn’t like either character. Sai came way too late and the whole
“being devoid of emotion” gimmick was already taken by Sasuke. Sai doesn’t even have a lot of power to back it up as his skill is in drawing things that come to life. A useful ability if handled right I suppose, but I found him to be far weaker than just about any member of the original Genins. While he got character development as the series went on and learned how to use his emotions, I never liked the guy. He simply wasn’t my kind of character. Likewise, Yamato didn’t work for me either. He liked to use fear to control Naruto and his wood style can be useful for trapping him, but Yamato is far too by the books at times. He may have been an Anbu member once, but he’s a shinobi now so he’s got to keep the act up a little better. He rarely contributes at all as well and I just missed Kakashi whenever Yamato was on screen.
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After this arc was one that had a lot more action and was simply more fun. Two new Akatsuki members who went by the names of Hidan and Kakuzu murdered the sensei of Shikamaru and his team. To avenge him they headed out for a rematch, but Kakashi caught them and decided to tag along. Meanwhile, Naruto was still training to achieve a whole new level of power. The question was…would he be able to make it in time to save his comrades from the Akatsuki? As these are Akatsuki members, you can typically expect that Naruto will be needed in the fight.

Hidan was fairly neat. I don’t care for his ritual gimmick, but the banter between him and Kakuzu was always good. I actually ended up liking him more than the partner. Hidan’s immortality was a useful ability even if it had a lot of limitations. Immortality is typically paired up with regeneration because it is essentially useless otherwise as you can hack off a limb and then just tie the opponent down. The heroes realized this at the very end and then utilized this effectively. Still, it was great to see a pure short range fighter who gave us a nice action scene with Kakashi.

Kakuzu was certainly more of a long range fighter although he was also quite adept at hand to hand combat. He was the calm and collected member of the group and it’s tough to destroy him because he has 5 hearts so you have to beat him 5 times. He was certainly giving the heroes a lot of trouble, but he didn’t count on the super powerful main character showing up! This pair beat the Sasori and Deidara combo, but weren’t as cool as the classic Itachi and Kisame.

The next arc focused on Sasuke for a change as he decided to locate Itachi and finish things once and for all. To do that, he would need to build a team so that they could distract Kisame. He found old experiments and comrades of Orochimaru to join his Team Hebi. Then, they finally arrived and had their climactic showdown with Itachi. Naruto would have tried tagging along, but his team was held up by the mysterious masked man who claimed to be the legendary Madara Uchiha. He must have gotten quite the haircut…

I never liked any of Sasuke’s new teammates so I can’t really say that I was thrilled to see them appear. Jugo is pretty similar to Choji, but he can get out of control at times. He’s tough, but a nice guy deep down who is always ready to help his friends. He has super strength and a slight amount of speed as well. He’s not much of a threat to most fighters, but he’s not weak either. Karin is the healer of the group who has an obsession with Sasuke. The Uchiha typically just ignores her, but the plot wasn’t very great and she never transitioned into being a good character. She was really just around to allow Sasuke to fight multiple battles with a plot reason that allowed him to keep on fighting well past his limits. Finally, we had Suigetsu. He was a decent fighter with a sword and easily the best member of the group, but I wouldn’t say that I was a huge fan of his either. He was just a bit generic and we already had a nice amount of hot head fighters who could put up a decent fight. In many ways, Suigetsu was similar to Kiba.

In essence, Sasuke’s team was basically just necessary filler to allow him to fight Itachi one on one. The thing is, Itachi would have permitted the battle even without the other fighters so I don’t think that it would have been a problem. Naturally, it was just awesome to see Sasuke get such a big role so the arc was still quite good and the big battle with Itachi was also very epic. This was the confrontation that we had waited years for and it finally got to occur!

Killer Bee also made his debut here as he fought Sasuke. He was a surprisingly difficult opponent to defeat and his bond with the Tailed Beast put him in a different league of power than when compared to Naruto. Unfortunately, I didn’t like his whole rapping gimmick. That was definitely not cool and his character certainly didn’t do wonders for me. He would have some cool moments once in a while, but mostly he was a miss for me. Either way, his role was decently large, but he mostly disappeared for the final fights.

Next up was the Pain arc, which grew to be quite popular. After Jiraiya was murdered by Pain, Naruto left to train some more so that he could defeat the leader of the Akatsuki. While he was gone, Pain used the opportunity to strike at the Hidden Leaf Village along with his assistant, Konan. Pain was 6 bodies to use in the invasion and the Leaf Village was essentially crushed. They put up a rather embarrassing effort against the villain, mainly due to the fact that Rock Lee, Neji, and Might Guy were away from the village. Rock Lee could have likely been strong enough to take down 1-2 bodies and along with Might Guy, they could have certainly defeated Pain. Alas, that would have been too easy right? When Naruto stepped in, it was certainly an epic moment!

This was certainly one of the best arcs in the series and there were quite a few casualties and fatalities. If not for the final part of the arc that essentially reset everything, I think more fans would look at it as the definitive Naruto arc. Either way, it was very good and you were on the edge of your seat in each chapter to see who would be able to live through this and who would fall before Pain!

Pain definitely got a lot of hype leading up to the arc. After all, he was the leader of the Akatsuki! He certainly met on the hype as he easily started to demolish all of his opponents. His main body was naturally my favorite as he had a cool personality and went up against Naruto in a fair 1 on 1 fight. His other bodies were also fairly neat. He had a plot twist as we learned more about his real body and his origin. It wasn’t bad and he was certainly a decently likable character. It was a tough road to be sure and Naruto showed him that there is still a chance for peace…at least for a little while before new fights inevitably continue to appear. From all of the Akatsuki members, Pain is certainly in the top three and few villains can match him in personality or power.

Konan was a loyal friend who stood by Pain’s side through thick and thin. Her paper abilities are quite good and while her physical abilities aren’t quite as impressive as many of the other fighters by this point, her long range paper abilities ensure that her opponents have to keep their distance. She was a nice character and while her role wasn’t too large by the end, she had some key moments.

After that, the 5 Kages decided to have a meeting and Sasuke realized that this was his chance to finally destroy Danzo, the new Hokage, and avenge Itachi. He quickly headed for the meeting and Naruto also began to head there to try and stop the leaders from officially deciding to destroy Sasuke. This was essentially a very short arc, but a lot happened here. We finally got to meet the 5 Kage and Naruto had his epic rematch with Sasuke. It was short as this was mostly to set up the true rematches that would be held soon. Sasuke vs the Raikage was also one of my favorite battles in the series so this arc definitely had a lot of good memories.

The Raikage was great and he was instantly one of my favorite characters in the series. He didn’t wait for things to play out, but launched himself into the action whenever it became necessary. His fight against Sasuke was great as I mentioned earlier and his lightning abilities were very impressive. Having such a good mix of speed and power is very rare to see and mixed in with his determined personality, he was certainly my kind of character!
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I couldn’t really say the same about the Tsuchikage. His back pain joke started to get old after the first few times he used it and he was far too old to really be much of a threat at this point. He was still a decent character in the end as he made the right calls and trusted in Gaara’s ability to lead though. I also liked his particle techniques as they looked really cool and reminded me of Kekkaishi.

Danzo was the only Kage who was openly evil so he was certainly a big contrast from the others. He’s definitely pretty unlikable and the reason why the Uchiha Clan was ultimately destroyed. His fight against Sasuke was certainly neat, but as a character he was definitely not likable. He was a very old guy who could fight with his eye jutsu, but didn’t have a whole lot going for him when it came to close quarters combat. Definitely the opposite of what I look for in my kind of character.

As for the Mizukage, I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers eithr. Her gimmick of not hearing what the other person if saying can certainly get old fast. Why to the Kage need gimmicks? The Raikage didn’t need one and he turned out to be the very best! Her poison abilities are decently good, but she’s probably the weakest of the Kage and a good speed blitz would take her out of the runnings right away.

Next up was…The War! This would be the big arc that would last for the rest of the series. Trust me, it went on for quite some time and I believe that it was nearly 20 volumes in the manga. We got plot twist after plot twist and there was certainly a lot of action. Kabuto and the Masked Man’s alliance finally came into being as they revived an army of essentially every villain who ever died to fight the 5 Villages who had united with the Samurai. This was an excuse to basically bring every past villain back to fight the heroes at their current levels of power. That was fun as I’ve always thought that the final arc should have a plot similar to this. Naturally, this also means that a lot of the fights are off screen or extremely rushed, but it’s still nice to have the battles to think about.

Slowly, most of the weaker villains were dispatched so only the final ones remained like Kabuto, Masked Man, and Madara. Naruto and Sasuke really had to power up to their limits to defeat these foes and a secret boss also showed up at the last second to challenge them. It’s incredible that the characters could fight for so long as their Chakra Reserves were almost limitless by this point. Finally, we had reached the end of the Naruto series. There was a quick epilogue at the end, which will launch Part III, the Boruto saga. Hopefully it can last for quite a while, although I don’t totally care for how everyone looks like their past selves, but as kids again. It’s a little intriguing, but this problem doesn’t really plague the three main characters so that’s cool.

When Madara was finally summoned, everyone was thrilled. We had waited for this character for over a decade and he did not disappoint! He ended up being the best villain of the show and his large array of jutsu were really cool to look at. This was a guy who certainly lived up to the large amount of hype that had surrounded him and his “eager to fight” personality was a pleasant surprise! I was thrilled when he started getting power up after power up and it’s safe to say that Naruto and Sasuke didn’t have a chance against him one on one. In fact, I’d say that he’s probably the best character in the series. It’s no wonder why he made the cut for the recent Jump game for PS3/PS4.

Kaguya was the secret boss who showed up at the end of the series and she was pretty cool. Her dimensional warping ability was definitely something to be feared. It would have been neat if she could have had more lines, but ah well, at least she put up a good fight. It was good to end the series on a cosmic level like that so you could really see how far the series has come!

The Masked Man played a huge role in the Naruto series and fans had fun trying to guess who he was. There were some iffy moments and possible plot holes after it was revealed who he as, but nevertheless, it was as almost every fan predicted. The hair was always the big clue that he couldn’t be who he said he was and I was also hoping that he wasn’t since Madara Uchiha has always been serious and wouldn’t put up such a facade. The true identity of the Masked Man was a bit of a let down though because his character arc really took a shot there.

I liked him a lot as the goofy Tobi and I also enjoyed him as the really serious “Madara” but in his true form he just wasn’t as cool anymore. He did get some really cool fight scenes though and I liked him during the fights, but his sob story and conversation with Naruto did not do him any wonders. In a sense, he became a completely different character during that moment and one who wasn’t bad, but one who wasn’t very likable either. Madara ended up being the true villain of the final arc!

Minato was definitely a cool father for Naruto and he had a really cool fight against the Masked Man. That was one of the few flashback arcs that actually ended up being pretty cool and I definitely gained a lot of respect for him there. The Leaf Village looked really bad as expected, but that’s all right. They’re essentially bullies who need to be led by likable characters like Minato. Kushina was also neat and helped Naruto inheiret a lot of his likable qualities like being so determined. It’s too bad that we couldn’t see her fight more, but her role shall still be remembered.

The 1st Hokage also got a lot of development in the Madara part of the arc since they used to hang out as kids. Eventually, they were forced to fight and the 1st claimed victory. Honestly, I feel like the 1st Hokage was a little full of himself the whole time and despite the hype, I think I would probably say that Minato was the better fighter. The 1st’s statue technique was cool though and his battle against Madara was fun to watch although not as impressive as Madara’s fight against Might Guy.

Part II Sasuke was certainly very different from part I. He completely went over to the Dark Side to stop Itachi, but then found that nothing could satisfy him. He kept making new goals over and over as he learned the hard way that the dark side will never be able to leave you truly content. He definitely had one of the ultimate character arcs of redemption and getting a second chance. While it was a little on the cheesy side how he switched over in the end, it was definitely a good thing. It helped Sasuke to end out as a good character and to realize that no matter how his past was, he always has a chance to change his future. He’s still one of the strongest fighters of all time and I loved his tag team match with Naruto. Next time he fights, we can look forward to him being a hero who will protect the Leaf! That’s the Sasuke that I remember. He was cool as a hero and cool as a villain, but Sasuke is certainly at his best when he stays on the hero side.

Naruto in Part II is less reckless than he was in Part I and doesn’t charge into battle quite as often. Nevertheless, Naruto’s still a very good character who gets the job done. Aside from one or two little events, he never uses the sexy jutsu anymore and has become a figure that the rest of the heroes can respect. He went from being a kid that nobody could take seriously to finally becoming Hokage. Seeing him finally achieve his dream was great and it ended a legendary character arc. Unlike some of the other goals which may never happen (Ash Ketchum becoming a Pokemon Master or Luffy becoming the Pirate King) Naruto actually went ahead and completed his personal challenge. Things can only look up for Naruto now and him being Hokage gives the Leaf Village a pinnacle of hope and a figure to aspire too.

Naturally, there are dozens and dozens of other characters who could be mentioned as the series is chock full of them, but I essentially named all of the really important ones. There are numerous villains invented for the final arc and a lot of supporting characters like people at the various villages and their subordinates who I skipped as well. There are dozens of things that you could really write about for days and days, but for a series as long as this one, it’s probably time to read it yourself. Also, this review is now over 9000 words and while 10000 would be pretty epic, I’d say that it’s about time to wrap things up.

Naruto definitely deserves to be known as one of the greatest manga titles of all time. Megaman NT Warrior is my current favorite, but where does Naruto rank? It’s tough to say as other, shorter titles like DBZ, Kenshin, Yugioh Duelist, and others give it a really good fight. I’m tempted to say that along with the powerful nostalgia value behind it, I may put Naruto in 5th place for now behind Yugioh, Bleach, and DBZ. It’s tough to say for sure though as the series are so long that it’s really tough to think straight. I already reviewed the sequel series, Naruto Gaiden, so we’ll have to wait and see what the author has up his sleeve next. I’m hoping that he’ll personally write a new installment although another author doing it is fine I suppose.
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Overall, Naruto will certainly be a title that I’ll always refer people too when asked. It certainly has a lot of nostalgic value for me and I’ll always remember my younger days as it was one of the first manga titles that I read. It was also fun because the anime got me into the manga so I basically continued from there, which meant that I started out with volume 28 and after being nearly caught up, I went back and fast blasted through Part I. That’s probably why this is one of the few cases where the anime completely holds more weight for me with character development and everything. It’s a similar case with Sailor Moon. If you somehow have not started this series yet, then I definitely recommend it! It is full of action, character development, interesting stories, solid writing, and essentially has every good feature that you could ask of a series! You won’t regret starting it and you’re sure to be in for quite a ride! One thing about starting late like this is that you won’t have to wait between volumes. You can just blast through the whole series at top speed! One day, I’ll likely re read the whole thing as almost all of the volumes are already at home in the manga collection excluding roughly 20-25 volumes. That’ll be a fun re read! I don’t see another review ever being quite as long as this one, but One Piece shall certainly have a huge one as well once it finishes so that could potentially pass this. That being said, we’re quite a whiles away from that happening!

Overall 9/10

Rurouni Kenshin Review


It’s time to review a manga title that I consider to easily be one of the best titles of all time. This was a series that I started all the way back in 2011 and finally finished a few months ago. It essentially has everything that I could want in an action title along with an excellent main character. The Kenshin manga was on the road to success from the start and never looked back.

The series is about a wandering swordsman known as Kenshin. He used to fight in the wars, but has now decided to retire to a quiet life after traumatic events, which are eventually told to you during a mini flashback arc. He believes that peace will always be better than violence, but knows that it is not really possible to have one without the other. He wanders across a dojo where he meets up with Kaoru. After he helps her take out a random thug, he decides to stay there a while.

Essentially, the first part of the manga deals with a lot of one shot adventures. Kenshin meets up with several of his soon to be rivals like Sanosuke, Saito, and Aoshi. He takes down several villainous groups and helps people out as often as possible. Kenshin solidifies his standings as a peaceful warrior who only fights for justice and his friends in the current days. That being said, his opponents could not accept this.

A villain by the name of Shishio has gathered a group of the most dangerous villains on the planet to aid him. He wants to purge Kyoto into madness and he gets ready to basically kick off some new wars and battles with the destruction that he is causing. Kenshin is asked to help out and he reluctantly goes, but Aoshi will stand in his way and Shishio ends up proving to be one of the strongest enemies that Kenshin has ever faced. Can Kenshin defeat him or have his skills simply been lost with how long he’s been inactive?

The final arc deals with an enemy from the past. He blames Kenshin for the death of his sister and wants him to know what it’s like to despair. Kenshin warns his allies that this man is dangerous and that things may get personal. There are a lot of fights and even some casualties as the arc goes on and Kenshin loses his will to fight. Can he regain it in time or are the heroes doomed?

Naturally, a whole lot happens during the span of the series as it is 28-29 volumes. While there are only 2 big arcs and a lot of mini ones, one could make the case that some of the mini arcs were basically real ones. It has been years since I read some of the original adventures although I did re read the first several volumes a while back. This is a series that has a very large amount of replay value.

Let’s get the technical aspects out of the way first. The art is spectacular and it is why the fights really end up popping out at you. The fight scenes can hold their own against any other manga title and they are long enough where you can really enjoy them and get a feel for how each character fights. Having good art is almost half the battle for a good manga series.

Naturally, writing is the next half and Kenshin certainly excels there as well. The characters are all pretty mature in how they handle things and most of them are very likable. Another good sign of this is how the series virtually has no fanservice. That was certainly impressive considering how long the series went on and it’s always good to see a series that doesn’t need to rely on such cheap tricks.
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There are many cool/hardcore moments scattered throughout the series. I always get hyped when a scene like that is handled well, which is why I like Bleach so much and enjoy Kirito a lot in Sword Art Online. That high level of confidence and great moments before fighting an opponent can make a big difference between a good character and a great one. Whenever Kenshin, Aoshi, or Saito gets serious, you know that something cool is about to happen. Those characters don’t mess around and you’ll always be treated to a great action scene.

My favorite part of the whole series was probably the final gauntlet against Shishio. First, Saito attacked him and was crushed, then Aoshi took his turn and was also defeated before Kenshin jumped in. Sanosuke also took his chance there. I always like group scenes where a bunch of heroes run at one villain only to all be thrown back by his overwhelming power levels. This was similar to the big Aizen battle from Bleach, but to a slightly smaller extent as Shishio took out 3-4 fighters instead of the 10+ that Aizen defeated. Still ultra impressive though and a truly great scene.

Time to look at some of the characters as the cast is one of the reasons why the series excelled. Kenshin is essentially a perfect main character. He started out as a samurai who destroyed many people during the war. It was war so he just went along with it, but after it all, he decided to never slay another person again. Circumstances made this tough as many criminals continue to get in his way in the modern day, but he does his best so spare them and only destroy when necessary. He doesn’t even fight unless pushed into that situation. At one point, the weight of his past crimes start to drag him down and he enters a hopeless state, but he is eventually shown that he can move past that.

Kenshin’s story is one of redemption and I’m glad that it has a happy ending. He went through a lot, but he ultimately accepts what he’s done and that he can still make sure that he lives a good future. He’s certainly a main character that you can look up too and he stands up there with Goku and the others as a very noble hero. He’s also very skilled and while he is a human, there are very few mortals who can swing a blade quite as efficiently. With a sword in his hand, Kenshin can be a threat to anyone.

Kaoru is the main heroine. While she gets a decently large role, she isn’t quite as integral to the plot as some of the other characters. By and large, she’s a good character even if she doesn’t have as much personality as other heroines. She can fight to an extent and she is always there to reassure Kenshin and give him some confidence. Kaoru’s certainly a decent character and beats Yahiko. I can’t say that I ever became a fan of the kid. He looks up to Kenshin and wants to be a hero like him someday, but he will just need to get a little older first. He gets his big moments as he fights serious opponents more than once, but it’s typically just cheesy in the end.

Sanosuke is the friendly rival of the series. Kenshin has several in this series, but Sanosuke’s the closest to a friend. I would say that they are friends and rivals. Unlike the other characters, Sanosuke doesn’t use a sword and just fights with his fists. He’s not quite as strong as any of the heavyweights in the series, but he’s much better than most of the average fighters so he’s essentially in the middle. I like Sanosuke and he always fights with honor. In another series, he could have been the best character, but he got trapped in this manga so he has to settle for 4th place. That’s just how good the cast is and Sanosuke could easily hold his own series.

Saito is another one of the rivals for Kenshin and he’s easily the most antagonistic of the bunch. He works with the cops and respects Kenshin as a fighter although he believes that the hero’s senses have dulled. Saito fights for the side of justice even if his methods make you wonder a little. He may be a little over the top at times, but he’s certainly a very likable character. Easily one of the best in the series and I’d put him as number 3 for me. In case you were wondering, I’d say that Kenshin is number 1.

As for my second favorite character in the series, that would certainly be Aoshi. He was my favorite rival of the group. While he started out as a bit of a villain, he quickly turned into the rival who fights on the side of justice. He unfortunately did not get a huge role in the series and would be gone for large amounts of time, but when he did show up things would typically get very epic! His fighting style was a lot of fun to see.
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Misao is a kunoichi who works with Aoshi at times. Like Yahiko, she wants to be a pretty good fighter. She’s decent at the moment, but far too young to go up against any of the big bads. She’s more charismatic than Yahiko, but still not quite on the level of the other characters who I just mentioned. Megumi is a supporting character as well, but she really doesn’t do anything in the series. She heals their injuries when necessary, but for the most part her path just doesn’t cross with the others.

Jin-E was the first real villain of the series and I actually liked him. As a villain he’s certainly imposing. He’s not incredibly powerful or anything as he’s taken down in an instant, but the design was neat and we needed a villain to go down quickly to show off how powerful Kenshin was. To that extent, I’d say that it worked out quite well.

Shishio was one of the true threats in the series and his fighting abilities were second to none. You could even make the case that he is stronger than Kenshin since Kenshin has grown a little weaker over the years. While his goals would have likely been impossible since the army would have eventually blown him away, he did do a good job of forcing Kenshin to make a move. He was certainly an imposing figure and if not for the fire illness that plagued him, he certainly could have won. I can see why this guy was a fan favorite.

Yumi is always at Shishio’s side. I can’t say that she was very good or had a whole lot of character here, but most of her character development was in the spinoff/prequel that came out a while back. At least she is loyal and Shishio knows that she would never betray him…unlike some of the other members. Seta is very ambitious and is actually a lot tougher than you would have guessed upon seeing him for the first time. While he is one of Shishio’s generals, he’s at Shishio’s level when it comes to a fight. He actually had the upper hand against Kenshin for a while due to his insane speed. While not as cool as Shishio, I can definitely respect this guy as a villain. He’s always very smug though so you couldn’t wait to see Kenshin take him down.

Usui was a pretty decent villain. I liked his gimmick since he was a defensive fighter in a series where everyone relied on offense. Naturally, he didn’t last too long against Saito, but I still liked the change of pace there and I remembered him, which is always a good sign. Anji was the power hitter of the group who used hand to hand combat in his fights so you can imagine who he fought. Anji was an impressive villain and he put up quite the fight. He had some honor, which is always good and made for another solid member of Shishio’s team.

Cho was another member who was interesting. He certainly wasn’t much of a threat next to the other members, but he had fun with his fights and was still talented. Fuji also deserves a mention as his size was quite impressive, but he had the unfortunate luck of fighting Kenshin’s master. Kenshin’s teacher was actually really cool and it’s a shame that he did not get to appear any more. Finally, a sensei who was actually serious, cool, and could fight. It’s a true shame that his screen time was so severely limited.

Enishi was the big boss of the final arc. He was certainly a great fighter and he gave Kenshin a run for his money, but I think it’s safe to say that he was not quite as good as Shishio. If Kenshin had been at the top of his game, he probably would have won with less difficulty. Enishi’s on a mission of revenge, but he does like to ignore several facts to make Kenshin out to be the bad guy. While you can sort of understand what he’s saying, he’s not a very sympathetic villain in the end even if it’s possible that he won’t go all the way through with his demands at times. Still, he made for a decent final boss.

Gein was a puppet master who had a pretty big role in the Shishio arc when you think about it as his puppet did a lot of damage. His true form is pretty anticlimactic and won’t be gaining him any fans, but his puppets were certainly lethal. If only his puppet had been real, that may have helped him. Hyogo was a pretty neat fighter as he actually gave Kenshin a decent fight, which was unexpected. His attacks are a lot quicker than you would expect based on his large size and I actually liked him as a villain to an extent. Not the greatest villain out there, but more enjoyable than I would have thought.

Banjin is a skilled hand to hand fighter so he was Sanosuke’s final big opponent. I can’t say that he had a whole lot of character other than being a bit of a hot head, but that was good enough for me as he meant business and gave Saonosuke a decently good fight. He was a little generic, but served his purpose. Yatsume was interesting because his appearance was definitely based off of Venom’s. That was amusing and it’s the main reason why I remember him. Otherwise, he’s not the most impressive fighter, although his long limbs can certainly come in handy when in a sword fight. The heroes have a hard time getting him to stick to one place.

There are naturally many more characters to be found in the manga. I’ve also read another one of this author’s series named Busou Renkin. I thoroughly enjoyed that one and would give it a solid 8/10, but this was definitely the definitive series by the author. Everything that Busou Renkin did, Kenshin basically improved on, although I think it came out first anyway, but I may be mistaken on that.

Aside from all of the non stop action, Kenshin was just a very deep manga series that dealt with serious topics while keeping that fun Shonen feel. Even the throwaway fights tended to be fairly interesting since the art would ensure that the fights would still be a lot of fun. I’m sure that the TV show adaption would also be a lot of fun, but the fights would likely not be quite as good since it’s tough to match up to the art style here.

It’s tough to say whether Kenshin even had any slow moments or parts of the series where it grew boring for a while. Naturally, I did marathon through some sections, but it was always interesting. I know that the series got a remake/AU thing called Restoration, which should be interesting to check out. There’s almost literally no way that it can beat the original, but just putting up a good fight would be most impressive. Kenshin shows that even if a Shonen Jump manga stays down to earth with low power levels during a 20+ volume run, it can still be an elite fighting manga!

Kenshin was one of the final “Big” manga series that I had not read. Now that it is gone, the only one that I can think of is Saint Seiya. I don’t believe that there are any of the super legendary, hype manga left, which is neat. I’m essentially at the end of an era and we’ll see if the modern titles are able to reach these levels of epicness. Toriko and Bleach are doing a good job of helping the modern era while One Piece is pretty solid, but we need more! What I’m waiting for is a new ongoing DBZ title or a full fledged Kenshin title to help the ranks. That would be awesome!
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Overall, Kenshin is easily one of the best manga titles out there. I haven’t really made a top 10 for that yet, which I should probably get around too. I’ve basically got most of my top 10 for anime, but aside from knowing that Megaman NT Warrior is my favorite manga, the rest of them are all just shuffled in there somewhere. Nevertheless, Kenshin basically has all of my pros while avoiding the typical negatives. While I’m sure that there are some to be found in the series if you look hard enough (Like some origin stories being a little iffy or possible animal violence although I can’t recall any) they end up getting lost in the flood of positives.

Overall 9/10

Dragon Ball Z Resurrection ‘F’ Review

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Well, it’s time to look at the latest DBZ film. I got to watch it dubbed right off the bat, which is great thanks to the limited theater release over here in the US. Battle of Gods was a lot of fun, (9/10) but I still did walk away from it with a lot of mixed feelings. I thought this one ended up being much better and it certainly felt more action packed, which is a good thing!

For the plot, Frieza’s men go to Earth and grab the Dragon Balls in order to awaken Frieza. With their master back, they head out to space so that Frieza can train a little before going back to Earth to fight Goku. Unfortunately, Goku and Vegeta are training with Whis at the moment and are far away from Earth. Can the Z Fighters hold out for long against Frieza’s entire army!?

All right, there is a lot to talk about here so let’s start with the technical factors, move on to the characters, and then wrap up with the power levels discussion. Heh heh, let’s just say that there is quite a lot to talk about on that subject and I even had a member of the audience to back me up on that part!

First off, the animation looks quite good. As you would expect from a modern DBZ film, the fights are very intense and it’s great to see all of the attacks with the modern animation. (Except for the Spirit Bomb, which is still being saved. Probably for one of the final gods) The film still uses that intriguing CGI effect at times for when the characters are clashing. I could honestly do without it, but I’ve never minded having cutscenes in the middle of the epic fights so it’s all good. Would the scenes be better if they were purely animated? Most definitely, but the fights still look great.

One interesting thing to note is that the fights really emphasize power over speed for the most part. Gone are the quick flurry of blows from the older films and I thought that Battle of Gods actually showed off their speed more. Goku and Frieza is actually a slow fight as the film slightly slows the speed in the background so you can focus on each blow. It’s a good effect although I’m hoping for some more speed in the next film since I always love a really fast fight. It’s just epic to behold!

Resurrection F’s soundtrack is one of the big areas where this film beats out Battle of Gods. We had some pretty great themes here while there were no memorable ones in the other film. Frieza’s opera theme is certainly epic to behold and that rock intro to it was great as well. It sounded like Death Note’s second opening. I also really liked the remix of the main DBZ theme even if we only got a short glimpse of it. I guess it’s straight to Youtube for the full version eh?

I’d also say that the writing is good as you may expect from the legendary Akira Toriyama. Even Master Roshi seems like a likable character if you didn’t know any better. He’s portrayed as one of the smart fighters since he quickly estimates how many soldiers need to be defeated and he also looks impressively good at the expense of the other Z fighters as he takes down multiple waves of soldiers with his original Kamehameha and solid fundamentals. That being said, there are still some things that I’m a little iffy on, but I’ll leave that to the individual character pages.

An interesting part of Frieza’s plight is how hell is portrayed. It’s always been a fun interpretation in DBZ world, but Frieza essentially states that Hell is only valid for Earth. If you die somewhere else, then it is a different hell or afterlife so to say. It’s a very intriguing premise and I suppose that it is a little similar to Marvel’s universe where there are many different hells. Hela, Mephisto, and Death all have their own version of the place and that seems to be what DBZ is gunning for. I don’t think it will really be delved into, but that would be an interesting concept to tackle.

Goku is the lead character so it’s only natural that he is a solid character here right? I’ve always liked Goku as he is a great character and he was written really well here. He constantly warns Frieza that fighting him isn’t really the best move. Goku is actually more overconfident, maybe even slightly arrogant than usual, but with his power level, why shouldn’t he be? While his weakness may apparently be that he lets his guard down, I woudn’t call it much of a problem. It doesn’t happen too much and shouldn’t have even happened here except for plot hax and Whis needing to make a point.

Goku still tries to spare Frieza multiple times showing just how heroic he is. However, at the very end, he unleashes a final blast as he makes a critical decision. Considering that hell here is actually quite pleasant and not painful in the slightest, one can argue that destroying Frieza isn’t so bad. It’s still the concept that you should think about, but Goku isn’t a stranger to destroying his foes. Whether accidentally or not, he typically unleashes a final Kamehameha that does the trick. Since a lot of fighters are reincarnated eventually once they turn good, Frieza should be back as well. I didn’t really have a problem with Goku finishing Frieza off though as they can still continue to fight in Hell if Goku so desires. (He probably won’t since he has a good sparring partner with Vegeta!) Since Hell is just a part of Earth according to Frieza, it will be interesting to see if the heroes have to visit the real deal in a future film if one of the gods lives there. The future films have a lot of promise even if I don’t see them getting quite that serious for a few more films as the heroes build up their power levels a little more first.

Vegeta was naturally an exceptional character in this film as always. My one gripe with him was probably that he waited a little too long to do anything while Frieza was messing Goku up. I (Along with the audience who were stating different ways that they thought Vegeta would intervene) expected Vegeta to come in with his iconic neck kick or at least catch Frieza’s punch. While he still did get his turn to fight Frieza, I thought that he could have moved in sooner. His fight with Goku was pretty awesome and his unwavering confidence is back in full force. I’m also glad that he doesn’t want to team up with Goku since a 2 on 1 fight isn’t the Saiyan way.

Whis mentions that Vegeta thinks a little too much before he fights while Goku has the opposite problem and it’s nice to see the film depict this in the fight scenes. Whether intentional or not, you can see that Vegeta fights Frieza in more of a standarized way as he chooses optimal ways to hit the guy while Goku just unleashes on him with a flurry of solid blows. Vegeta uses several of his combat techniques from the video games which was a lot of fun and his personality is still one of the most enjoyable in the franchise. It’s easy to see why Vegeta is such a fan favorite and I still consider him to easily be the best character in the series. I’m glad that they’ve cleaned up his portrayal since Battle of Gods. It’s also worth noting that he continues to show more natural talent than Goku. Goku needed the death of Krillin to make him turn into a Super Saiyan and Vegeta just trained for it. Goku needed the power of 5 Saiyans to unlock God Mode. Let’s just say that Vegeta’s classic approach continues to work wonders for him.

Frieza always was one of the best DBZ villains and it was great to see him return. While Perfect Cell is still the coolest of the big 3 DBZ villains, I do prefer Frieza to Buu. Frieza had a nice amount of arrogance to him and his final form just looks so great. It’s very easy to see why he is such a threat and his theme song in this film is amazing. There’s really not much to say about his personality as it stays very true to his manga counterpart. It’s also nice to see that he was dedicated enough to train to surpass Goku, making him look much better than the average villain. His banter with Goku is one of the better parts of the film and he’s deceptively intelligent at times.

Gohan looks pretty bad as expected since he doesn’t train at all anymore. He really doesn’t care about fighting and just wants to live his life as a normal dude. He doesn’t even arrive to the fight in his full uniform. I do appreciate the fact that the film still showed him to be a bit of a pacifist though as he makes sure to take down all of the minions without actually destroying any of them. That shows a lot of control on his part and also hints at his true power level. If only he could have had more of a fight against Frieza. Since I consider the new films to be the Goku and Vegeta adventures, I’m not sure if this will change anytime soon, but maybe at some point. Gohan getting SSJ God mode as well would be pretty awesome. As a character, he’s certainly still likable.

Piccolo is also a good character and he actually gets his own fight. The only side character to pull that off! He’s still confident in battle while being a nice guy despite his gruff exterior. Unfortunately, he’s the only character who doesn’t use his trademarked attack (Special Beam Cannon) unless I’m missing something. He just uses generic energy blasts against the opponents unless it was supposed to look like his Hell Grenade technique. It’s also possible that he used it in his fight against Tagoma. That was a really enjoyable fight and it was cool to see Piccolo really have to put some effort into his match.

Krillin has a nice role here. He’s now a respectable cop and he even went back to his iconic bald look. Krillin does a good job of weeding out the enemy troops and his confidence is always nice to see. He’s certainly a good supporting character. Jaco got to make his animated debut here and his character was also pretty amusing. His ray gun’s delayed effect is as potent as ever and he’s brutally honest about how he will only help the heroes a little. He’s a nice guy, but he just doesn’t want to mess with someone like Frieza. He would get destroyed in an instant so you can’t blame him there.

Master Roshi got a good role for the first time in DBZ history, which is fantastic for his fans. It’s safe to say that he had quite a few as people cheered and laughed for his scenes. Beerus is still a character that I don’t like. He simply gives himself way too much hype and I can’t stand how everyone is afraid of him and gives the guy so much respect. It’s honestly completely out of character for Goku and even Frieza’s scene will make you wince a little on the inside. Beerus blowing up a planet with a sneeze was cool though as more feats is always a good thing! I could have done without Goku saying that the blast would have destroyed him though. We don’t want anti-feats…granted, he wasn’t in his final form yet. Once Goku and Vegeta inevitably surpass him, that should make things better. That being said…have they already surpassed him. If you remember, God Goku was able to give Beerus a decent fight and SSJ God Goku would likely be 50X stronger thanks to the power boost. That means…Goku should be much stronger, and by extension, Vegeta as well. Good Game Beerus!

Whis also gets a lot of hype, but he’s more likable than Beerus and never tries to get people to fear him. He doesn’t bother with empty threats as he just has fun eating all the desserts that he can stomach. Whis not noticing that he had a phone message was a little….intriguing since his scepter should have let him know immediately, but I’ll assume that he was trolling. He’s not exactly the hero type and just does whatever he feels like doing. His unique ability is certainly handy in a fight although it has more limitations than most other characters who have this kind of technique. Thanks to his high level of hand to hand combat and speed, he should definitely be fine in a fight. It’s hinted that he’s stronger than Beerus and the heroes certainly shouldn’t trust him as I could see the guy ultimately become a villain.

Sourbet is one of the new villains and he’s essentially a Babidi kind of character. He can’t really fight, but he makes plans and gets things done. He’s not a bad villain and I applaud the fact that he went to Earth himself, but he’s not my kind of bad guy. Some more feats would have helped him tremendously. That being said, while his plan worked, it was still a bad plan as it shouldn’t have succeeded. The heroes should have been able to stop him as soon as Shenron appeared thanks to their incredible speed. Ah well, more on plot hax later.

Tagoma is the power hitter of the group and he ends up going against Piccolo in the film. While I think he should have been crushed immediately since that kind of feat would put him on second form Cell, it’s good that at least one of Frieza’s henchmen could really fight. His name is a lot easier to remember than the underlings and as a result, I’ll definitely remember him as the films go by. He made for a good mid-film boss, but I am glad that Piccolo never went down. Had the fight gone on, I’m confident that Piccolo could have made a comeback. (The Gohan fan to the left was panicking during the fight as he thought that Piccolo should clobber the guy so when the fight started to go south, the guy was really going crazy in his chair!)

Shisami had a much smaller role as he got on Frieza’s bad side. It’s safe to say that everyone knew he was doomed from the start once he questioned Frieza. You simply don’t do that! Shenron looked nice and fierce, which is an improvement from his scared days in older films. (As recent as Battle of Gods!) Bulma also got a good role as she assembled the heroes and talked tough to Frieza. Tien’s mostly a nonfactor, but it was still nice to see him contribute to the fight. Pilaf’s crew weren’t even that annoying and they actually did well this time. It’s a little on the plot hax side that the Z Fighters just leave the Dragon Balls lying about, but it works out well for Pilaf. Those 3 were certainly more likable than in Battle of Gods and they even tried to put up a fight!

The audience was certainly very enthusiastic for this film and I’m tempted to say that it was more intense than the Avengers, beating it out for second place. DBZ is a lot shorter than Avengers so the latter had more time for cheers, but DBZ had constant yells and cheers throughout the film. It was great to see the dedicated DBZ fanbase attending the new film. This must have been what it was like in the early 2000’s when DBZ was at its height. People were yelling and making one liners as the film was starting and then yelled a lot with anticipation and tension during the fight scenes. Everyone especially liked Goku’s Ryu inspired backfist hit. It was good to see Goku use an actual advanced martial arts move in that moment!

I have to give a lot of credit to the guy sitting towards the left of the row that I was on. He was really on point for just about every inconsistent power level moment. He was a big fan of Gohan so I knew that he would be pretty upset by the time the film was over since it was already a known fact that he wouldn’t look so good. None of the other Z fighters will ever be acknowledged as a tough fighter who can help out Goku and Vegeta anymore unless something drastic changes. Gohan has a slight chance of improving, but I think that DBZ will just become the Goku and Vegeta adventures for the foreseeable future. The guy had to say “I”m done” about 10 times because Gohan kept underwhelming him with lines like “I can’t win!” or getting one shotted by Frieza in the guy’s first form before Gohan could even turn Super Saiyan.

The thing is, the whole film is built around a plot hole in terms of power levels. Frieza is revived and trains for 6 months. Somehow, this is enough for him to go from being pre Arc 2 SSJ1 level to post Battle of Gods Super Saiyan God mode tier? Seriously? Let’s put this into perspective for a second. Frieza’s final form was on par with Goku’s SSJ1 form and par is a strong word since Goku was clearly stronger at that point. Super Saiyan 2 is around 2-3 times stronger than SSJ1 and SSJ3 is 4x stronger than that. So, if SSJ1 was a 1, SSJ3 Goku is a 8-12 star fighter. After that, we have God mode Goku. Considering that SSJ3 Goku couldn’t last a second against Beerus and God Goku gave him a good fight, let’s say it’s a power boost of about 10x. Then, we have SSJG Goku from this movie, which amps up his strength another 50x. That’s not even counting all of the various zenkai boosts like Base Goku from Battle of Gods easily being stronger than SSJ2 Goku from the older days and maybe even SSJ3. Frieza passed all of that in a mere 6 months? He couldn’t do that if he had 60 years! He is literally making himself hundreds of times stronger just like that. He’s no Saiyan, that’s just not possible. Even for a Saiyan it would be impossible. Remember, Goku had to use the Time Chamber, which turned one year into a day. That’s already more time that he spent training than Frieza.

So, considering that the plot was a power level inconsistency, I figured that there would be plenty more in the film. This doesn’t affect the score in the slightest as the stronger a character gets, the more plot hax there will be, but it’s still worth noting. After all, if there was no plot hax, the planet would have blown up many times over from the intensity of the battles. Goku getting pierced by a random ray gun is also complete plot hax. Granted, Goku let his guard down according to Whis, but even so, in SSJ God form, Goku’s ki should have deflected the blast with ease. There’s no way that it would do any damage to him.

Gohan pretty much deserves his own paragraph. He should be able to wipe the floor with the entire cast. Losing to Frieza in an instant was embarrassing. Now, we can overlook this by saying that Frieza is on Goku’s level now, but then why was Gohan not fighting at full power at that point? Also, if Master Roshi, with a power level of 139 could stand up to dozens of Frieza’s soldiers, then Gohan, Krillin, Tien, and Piccolo should look far more impressive than they did. The fact of the matter is that Roshi should have died instantly when the fight started. Even Frieza’s henchmen aren’t that weak. Saibamen are vastly stronger than Roshi.

There’s no way that the henchmen are that weak. We had one good scene where Gohan moves so fast that it looks like everyone is frozen. The problem is that this should be how things look for the Z fighters the entire time. That’s how wide the power gap is at this point. The minions simply looked too impressive even though they were being crushed the entire time. The heroes should really not need any effort to defeat them. Frieza states that Gohan could take out the entire army if he wanted too…and that’s what should have happened. The gap between the talking and the on screen action was considerable.

It’s interesting to note that Majin Buu doesn’t get to appear even though he was mentioned. That was just really odd and I’m assuming that he’ll be in some kind of Director’s cut. Still, it doesn’t make any sense that he would be out of the picture. This was his chance to shine after all and he blew it! Hercule would have been nice to have as well. At least Shenron finally gets his props here as the villains start to fear him again. He’s probably gotten much stronger since his last fight. It’s a missed opportunity here as the wish should have been to make Frieza stronger than Goku. While that would have to mean that Shenron would be stronger than Goku, it would have involved less plot hax.

One last note on the plot hax side. Aside from Buu not appearing, Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and Android 18 didn’t join the fight either. (Although at least 18 got a cameo) Where’s Android 17 as well? All of these guys should have joined the fight considering what a threat this was and it would have been cool to see the gang fighting. Considering that Roshi could beat the minions, the other fighters wouldn’t have a problem. If you think about it, Android 18 is stronger than quite a few of the fighters who did go to fight Frieza. (Krillin, Tien) It goes without saying that Majin Buu would have been helpful and what about Goten and Trunks? With their SSJ3 Gotenks form, they would have really done well and without power level inconsistencies, they could have probably defeated Frieza. The reasoning for keeping all of these characters out was pretty bad.

So, where did this film rank in the overall DBZ franchise? It goes without saying that it clobbered Battle of Gods and that film was in my top 5! Well, I would actually probably put this as the second best film. It was close, but it barely nudged Super Android 13 out of the spot. After all, Roshi was still being a little dicey here. This film really had no such negatives. Broly will always be the best DBZ film though as I still think that it has the best fight scenes in the series. You want a film where the stakes are real (No Whis and Beerus to keep things light) and the fights emphasize speed as well as power? Broly’s the film to see. While the animation may technically be better in this film on the whole, Broly had more of a theatrical feel to it. The animation just seemed to be on a higher level in that regard and didn’t use any CGI tricks to help itself. I can only imagine how intense seeing that one in theaters would be! It’ll be hard for any film to pass Broly, but if Broly really does return in the next film, that could present a challenge to the classic!

Overall, This was an incredible DBZ movie for sure. It had a lot of great action scenes and a dynamite soundtrack as well. The writing was good and while Beerus annoyed me, the movie did a good job of making almost everyone likable. Even Master Roshi actually acts like a good character, which impressed me. I’m definitely ready for more movies in this series and it’ll be great to see Gogeta appear again as it was certainly hinted at as well as a normal Goku and Vegeta tag team. Considering that they’re both able to fight at such a high level now, it’s easy to see why they would overwhelm any opponent when it is two against one.

Overall 9/10