Saint Seiya: Next Dimension


I definitely have my share of issues with this series like the power levels making no sense and formally making Lost Canvas not canon but it’s still a great Saint Seiya story. It’s got all the action and fights you could want after all. I’ll have a review up for this series when it finishes someday.

Overall 8/10

Spy X Family


Spy X Family has proven to be quite the hit so far and it’s easy to see why. The setup is really quite solid and the characters are all a lot of fun so far. I definitely see this being a great light hearted adventure all the way through and hopefully it can keep up that energy for a long while. I’ll have a review up for the series as soon as it’s completed.

Overall 8/10

The Seven Deadly Sins: Original Sins Review


As you probably know, I was not the biggest fan of the Seven Deadly Sins main series. Much like Fairy Tail, it could have been one of the all time elites but was held back by fanservice issues and a really poor main character in Meliodas. Still, with the concept being good, that always means that the spinoffs have a lot of potential since you can possibly get all of the highs without the lows if the stories end quickly enough. I would say this spinoff does a good job of that. It’s not amazing or anything like that but it’s a pretty good collection of stories where the Sins get to do their thing and take out the enemies.

The main story in this book sees Meliodas and the crew take on the vampires. This story is from before they disbanded so it’s fun to see the team together from back in the day. Even at this point they were all incredibly powerful and I think you could do a whole prequel that would be a lot of fun about this era. There isn’t a lot of danger as the heroes completely outrank the villains in every possible way but at least we get to see them all use their signature techniques.

From the vampires the only real notable one is Gelda as she would later go on to have a big role in the climax of the series. She’s certainly smarter than the average vampire and quickly knew the score and exactly how everything would play out right from the beginning. Her request to be destroyed by Meliodas still isn’t the right move here though even if winning would have been impossible. At this point she had no true allies or reasons to keep on going but she could have found some if she stuck around. It all ultimately ended up working out for her but if you read this story before reading the main series then she will come off as being someone who gives up way too quickly.

The strongest vampire was probably the leader who fought Escanor but even then you knew that he was doomed from the start. The art is great as always though so you can really appreciate the villain designs here. They just emit power in every panel. Likewise the heroes all look powerful here and you can see why they are known as the ultimate fighting force in the kingdom. It’s rare to have a hero group who completely outshine the villains like this but that’s just how good they are. It would be difficult for any group of villains to match them. The fights are solid so that’s why the vampire story is very good.

Then there’s a very short story where a few bandits decide to break into the cafe Meliodas owns to harass Elizabeth. Fortunately the rest of the Sins show up and beat up/intimidate those bandits for a while. The group’s always ready to watch out for her that’s for sure. While the story may make it seem like they arrived by accident, you get the feeling they’re all always on the lookout so as soon as the bandits showed up they knew what to do. This was before the popularity poll results in the volume so it was a good way to give everyone a moment to shine first.

Finally we have the pilot to the Seven Deadly Sins series. It’s always interesting to read the pilot to see how things changed from the original oneshot. For starters, Meliodas actually seems like a decent person here. He has a huge sword as well instead of the hilt that’s missing a blade. The plot itself is the same as Elizabeth shows up to try and locate the Seven Deadly Sins to help her retake the kingdom but they are all scattered to the winds. Her personality is very different though as she doesn’t really have any manners here and is super oblivious to all social rules.

In this case, her being a princess means that she doesn’t have much common sense and doesn’t know basic tasks. Unfortunately this is an excuse for some fanservice. The villain here is a little more deranged and one of those pervy type villains who is extremely annoying so the main series definitely had a better introduction when it comes to the villain. Both the original first chapter and pilot have different positives and negatives so in a way the series just changed up what held it back. It’s a decent pilot but it’s easy to see how this could have taken us down the wrong path.

The artwork has certainly improved from then though. You can’t really compare the character designs from the pilot to the main series, it’s just a world of difference and that makes sense since the artist is a lot more experienced now. With these 3 stories in here, this makes for a fun one shot. It’s always good to see the gang again and I’m glad these stories were put into a manga volume instead of staying in limbo for all eternity. This is certainly the better deal.

The Seven Deadly Sins may not be the best group of heroes out there as I’m not a huge fan of most of their members but it is a nice dynamic with how they’re barely a team. They don’t work very well together to the point where it’s extremely rare to see them all teaming up at the same time. They’re all just too strong so naturally they all have big egos and rivalries of their own. Merlin and Gowther always seem super suspicious so it’s hard to know what they’re thinking. King and Ban are always fighting, same with Ban and Meliodas. Escanor’s personality does a 180 based on whether it’s night or day and Diane is nice enough. Their chemistry makes for a lot of fun banter but usually won’t turn into teamwork. They’re so strong that it’s rarely needed though.

From the 3 stories my favorite one was the vampire story for the reasons listed above. It’s just a very classic action story and seems like the kind of plot you could expect to see in a movie. Second would be the short story about the Sins beating up the random bandits. It was really short but it was nice to see everyone defending Elizabeth there. Finally the pilot would be in last. Still a decent story but between the villain being pretty bad and Elizabeth not being at the top of her game it just couldn’t compete with the others.


Overall, Original Sins is a clever title for having the original story in here but at the same time it makes you think that this might be more of a full prequel instead. I still say that a story about their original adventures in full would be a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of the main series then you’ll definitely want to check this one out. If anything you may enjoy checking this one out if you haven’t read the original as well as it’s a decent jumping on point. The vampire story at the beginning tells you all of the character personalities and abilities while the pilot gives you a good idea of the story. So that way you’ll have a good idea on if you will like the series or not.

Overall 7/10

Gintama


I have started the myth, the legend, the all time comedy known as Gintama. It certainly got tons of hype back in its day that’s for sure. I can see how it got so big since it really leans into its own unique comedy style with confidence. I can appreciate how out there it is and things are off to a fun start. We’ll see if it continues to rise and I will have a review up once I have finished the series.

Overall 7/10

Hyde and Closer Review


It’s time for an action series that isn’t super well known. It’s certainly on the more obscure side I’d say as even I hadn’t heard of it before starting the series. It feels like Reborn in a lot of ways with how the main character isn’t very brave but the chibi mobster helps him learn how to defend himself and fight back. Only instead of a baby gangster it is a toy gangster. So there’s a lot of similarities there but while this series never makes it up to Reborn’s level, I would say it’s still a pretty good title.

The manga starts out with introducing us to Shunpei who is a nervous wreck and never really developed his magical abilities. His grandfather Alsyd is known as the greatest sorcerer in the world and always leaves souvenirs for Shunpei. Well, one day the grandpa vanishes but not before leaving Shunpei with a stuffed bear named Hyde. Shunpei’s too old for toys but when he is attacked by one, Hyde is the only one able to come to his rescue. Hyde explains that sorcerers all over the world are going to be going after Shunpei to take him down for good. Each Sorcerer uses a toy of their own and if Shunpei wants to live through this then he’s going to have to man up and work with Hyde. Shunpei isn’t thrilled about any of this but doesn’t have much of a choice and he is worried about his grandpa.

The manga’s reasonably short at 7 volumes but gets to do quite a bit before the ending suddenly blazes in and everything just ends. It’s a very retro kind of story that feels old while you’re reading it. Not in a bad way per say but you can immediately tell that this isn’t a newer manga. Likewise the art is a bit old like that but it works out well enough for the fights. It’s the kind of artstyle that can get a little busy during the fight scenes so the pages may take longer to read. I would still say it looks good though, not very good or anything but it gets the job done. The series has quite a lot of action and all so it’s reasonably balanced. It just never hits its stride and becomes a great manga.

I would say that’s in part due to the characters. The cast isn’t bad but they’re not great and that seems to sum up most of the manga. A lot of the villains are quite forgettable and the side characters were only just coming into their own by the end. The strongest aspect of the story is the whole toys angle as that’s fairly unique. I also like the idea of the curses bouncing back at the user if they lose a fight. It makes each battle more high stakes for the villain for a change which is certainly a twist.

Shunpei starts out as a very underwhelming main character because I never like the nervous types but he really turns things around in the second half. I haven’t seen such a big turnaround in a minute but he gets very serious and is suddenly jumping into fights. Shunpei learned how to use the barrier skill which was his first big power up and he certainly does make the most of it. While it’s not an offensive move, it can protect him from almost all attacks. I suppose in that sense it’s more of an absolute domain since he creates the rules within the pocket he draws. Shunpei could directly contribute this way and when you mix in his confidence, that definitely helped a lot. You almost don’t recognize the guy from the first half.

Then you have Hyde who isn’t quite as charismatic as Reborn but he has the tough guy personality where he talks like a mafia member. He really wants Shunpei to learn what it is to be a man and has a lot of speeches for it. I like his personality and what they are going for here but the only underwhelming part is I feel like he’s quite weak half the time. He needs Shunpei to take out the Chainsaw from his back during the first fight and that seemed like a huge weakness. After that Hyde is able to fight on his own but he seems to “Meet his Match” in just about every fight so Shunpei needs to help out. I would expect more out of Alysd’s most powerful creation. I know he is always running on low energy due to plot reasons but I would have liked for him to have gotten more solo wins before he was outmatched.

As for the grandfather, he misses out on most of the story of course. When he does appear, Alsyd does look good though and lives up to his hype as the greatest sorcerer. The manga has a good reason for keeping him out of the action for so long even if it’s a shame that he had no way to contact anyone. He certainly performed his part well and bought the characters a whole lot of time. He’s one of those manga old guys who seemed to have gotten even more powerful with age given how long he was able to hold out without food or drink.

Tatsumi is the main heroine here and she’s fun enough. She reminds me of the heroine from Law of Ueki although she doesn’t actively help out in the fights quite on the same level. Tatsumi gets to see Shunpei’s character development first hand and is always around to support him. I wouldn’t say she ever makes a mistake of trips up and remains a loyal ally throughout the whole series.

The first big character to show up is Shindou as the first assassin to be going after Shunpei. He uses his doll Tomiko in order to fight and her hair is indestructible. Their dynamic is very similar to Yuta’s from JJK. A curse is essentially the reason why Tomiko is a doll now and Shindou fights in part to get rid of that curse. As a rite of passage usually the first villains are the ones who have the greatest chance of becoming a hero and he does end up helping Shunpei for most of the series. He’s the smart member of the group and is always careful to measure the odds. I liked him well enough and Tomiko was a good fighter. She’s the best shield you can have and is really the one doing all the heavy lifting since Shindou can’t fight at the same level. This series is all about teamwork and since these two have such a strong bond, they were in a good spot from the start.

Kazan is another one of the allies who helps out Shunpei. He protects a lot of kids but feels guilt over having murdered someone by accident. While he was ultimately forgiven and not hanged as a result, it took him a while to come to terms with that. Nothing a good speech and beating from Hyde won’t cure though. Kazan’s the tough kind of character who will rush into action but isn’t quite as powerful as some of the other members. His doll Desmond also feels weaker than the others. I like the suit of armor but beyond that it doesn’t feel like he has a game changing ability like Hyde or Tomiko.

Ana is another one of the fighters who wants Shunpei’s power. Initially she appears as a villain due to that and then gradually becomes another one of the allies. She actually gets a full backstory which ties into one of the villains later on and so she has a big role throughout the series. Her doll is one of the more versatile ones with the boombox abilities and music type skills although I would say that it lacks the raw power that some of the others have.

Then there’s Pacqwa who is an items seller but the gimmick is that she isn’t very good at being a seller which I wasn’t a fan of. I feel like she could have put more effort into her craft. Ultimately it works out since Shunpei is able to believe hard enough though and belief is how you get the magic to function in these things. He really had to do all of the work though so I hope she will improve in time for a sequel series some day.

There are a ton of one shot villains here of course which is good since that way you won’t be able to tell which ones will turn good and which ones are doomed. The more evil they are, the stronger the curse is when they lose so some of these guys end up dying or being sent to the hospital in critical condition. Either way, it’s a good explanation for why these guys don’t return since they won’t be in a position to do so for a very long time.

Schubert was personally one of my favorite villains. The guy’s a rich CEO and so of course he has a lot of toys. With his ability he is able to use tons of them at a time and it’s very much a quantity over quality kind of thing. Even with that he is able to give the heroes a good fight though and I would say he was the most impressive villain in the series. He really had them on the ropes for most of the fight and why does he want the power? Because as CEO he just wants everything of course. The reason is so simple that you just can’t help but find it funny. This guy was just a blast.

Enrique is another one of the villains who is ultimately being manipulated here. He thought that he needed to take Shunpei down and really went for it but the hero realized that something was up and didn’t finish him. Not that Shunpei finishes most of his opponents off but he was able to end the fight before the curse could flip so nothing really bad happens to Enrique. Nice enough kid but he definitely needs to be careful not to trust too easily.

Now as for The Watcher in the Window….this guy isn’t all that great. It’s probably the biggest risk of having a villain who is always hiding in the shadows when the series has to quickly end. He doesn’t really get to do anything until the very end where he is quickly dispatched. There’s no time to really get to enjoy his character or anything and since he loses quickly…he doesn’t look as impressive as he could be. Now, he is certainly powerful and deserves to be the final boss but I would have liked him to have done something a whole lot sooner. The egg plan wasn’t even that bad in terms of unlocking pure evil but the watcher’s whole character arc goes so fast that it’ll leave your head spinning. I would have handled his character in a different way as the potential there was great. Still, I imagine the author had different plans too.

There are a few more villains we should talk about though. Next up is Punch, he’s ultimately one of the stronger opponents and makes for a good rival to Hyde. Their battle goes to the wire and it’s always good to have the dark version of the lead show up. In a lot of ways he is like an alternate look on what would happen if Hyde turned evil. Fortunately that was never in the cards as it would go firmly against Hyde’s code of ethics.

Ronove is completely psychotic and basically just likes to see people and things die. She started from plants and went all the way to people with this. I can’t say that I liked her right from the jump. The psychotic villains like this tend to just be so over the top that there no longer is anything interesting about them. I’d rather if she had a lot of plans and ideas but instead she is just crazy with no bigger goals than dishing out pain. Of course her boss has big plans but she is only following to inflict damage. Her character was just sort of doomed but I can acknowledge that her flames made her one of the most powerful villains in the series. Possibly second to the Watcher.

Finally you have her partner Asmodai who is also evil from the jump. In fact, he was murdering people while he was still in the womb and wasn’t born yet which is kinda crazy. He starts murdering people over something super petty as well and just never went back from there. He’s not quite mindless but Asmodai is basically just a brute who goes around destroying everyone he can. There’s not a whole lot to this character and while that can potentially work if you are very charismatic or have cool powers, that’s not the case with him.

So that wraps up the cast. As you can tell I was much more impressed with the heroes than the villains. The Watcher was an interesting character though but I just don’t think he stuck the landing. Ultimately Hyde and Closer is a fun series but not one that you would call great. It doesn’t have enough special aspects that would cause you to really remember it among all of the competitors. The whole curse and puppet angle could have helped make it big since that’s a fairly small sub-genre. The biggest one I can think of like that would be Zatch Bell.

It felt like the series was gearing up for a big arc in the future but ultimately the series ended before that could happen. I think the author did have a lot of plans for this one but the series couldn’t manage to make it that far. Definitely too bad. The series did have a little animal violence during one of the sob stories and the final two villains were trying to be as twisted as possible so it’s possible that extending the length of the series could have hurt it. For example if the author decided to double down on that and keep making things darker. I don’t ultimately think the series would have fallen off of that cliff though so I would have liked a few more volumes.

The series does get to conclude its arc of turning Shunpei into a man though so the author made sure that wasn’t left unfinished. He does have a brief moment near the end of the series where he effectively gives up and reverts back to his old self but fortunately that was temporary. It would have been a shame to have wiped out his character development like that but instead he stays strong. It may be a rather basic message but it’s executed well. Shunpei learns how to stand up for himself and how to create his own sense of justice. That’s always good for a lead to have.

Overall, Hyde and Closer is a solid adventure title. I think that’s the best way to think about it as you will have a good amount of fun reading it and then the whole thing will be over. The art was good and we got solid fight scenes even if it could be hard to read at a glance sometimes. Shunpei showed tremendous improvement as a main character and I believe he would have only continued to improve from there. The monster of the week format was working well enough but it was nice to get a big villain organization near the end and amp up the fights. It all feels like we were still in the first act though and things could have really kept on going for a while yet. Don’t let that stop you from reading it though as the series does have an ending. Maybe one day it’ll get a sequel.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia Season 5 Review


It’s always impressive how the MHA seasons keep arriving like clockwork. You can usually expect a season every year and the next one will certainly be coming soon as well. The seasons have all been rather consistent as well with really solid animation throughout. This is probably the first one where it felt like the production started to catch up with them in the end but ultimately you’ve got another great season here. There’s a lot going on so lets hop right to it.

The show quickly opens up with the aftermath of last season as Dabi shows up to taunt Endeavor a little bit. As one of the enemy top commanders it would be great if the heroes could take him out but he’s too crafty and slips away. We then go to the heroes who need to get stronger and have a tournament between classes to pull this off. Class 1A will have to try and take out Class 1B once and for all. Can they really pull this off though or are they already doomed? Class 1B has far less real world experience than 1A but of course their quirks are still the real deal.

This lasts for the first half of the season and it’s a fun arc. The animation really helps to increase how intense the battles are but either way I’m always up for a good tournament. We get to see everyone contribute this way and you know that Bakugo is going to be set. Honestly I think Class 1B should have won the third round based on how things played out but I’ll go into each individual match in a second. All of them were fun though and I liked how 1B’s teacher was openly rooting for them. He may not be impartial but he’s certainly loyal. I’d like 1A’s teacher to have been a little more supportive like that.

After the tournament ends we get the mini arc of Todoroki, Bakugo, and Deku working under Endeavor. We get to see more of his family drama and the heroes learn how to make the most of their quirks. In the background Hawks is working on a mission of his own and it’s hard to tell if he’s a double agent that the heroes can trust or if he’s gone off the deep end. Either way he’s their best hope for secret intel but of course he has to be careful how he transmits the data. This arc’s definitely more on the low key side but it’s another way to build up experience for the main characters and to get them strong enough for the battles that are to come. There’s not a whole lot to say about these episodes but of course it’s still going to be a long journey to even begin to forgive Endeavor. I don’t blame Todoroki’s brother for still being super sore about the whole thing. I can’t say Endeavor ever bounced back for me personally.

Then we get to the arc that most people were really excited for in this season. The big My Villain Alliance arc where Shigaraki and the gang are forced to fight against a new villain group led by Re-Destro. It’s always fun to see a villains vs villains arc and so of course that would be the case here too. The new villain group has the absolute massive advantage in numbers since it’s really hundreds against less than 10 fighters. The league of villains are also heavily weakened since they’ve been fighting almost nonstop for days already. With their abilities weakened can they claim victory here?

Imagine if Re-Destro hadn’t been so determined to beat the villains on his own and had called in the heroes? He could have ended up ending the series early but fortunately his hubris made him want to fight personally. I don’t think he realized that this would be the best path for him as well but figured he couldn’t lose either way. Now there was a lot of controversy about how the arc would be adapted though. The events got shuffled around a bit to try and build up synergy with the movie. As a result, the anime put the training arc with Endeavor before the villain arc. Not a really bad thing on its own, both events are far enough away where they shouldn’t reference each other.

The big problem here is that the anime still includes future scenes…including spoiling the ending of the arc with the result of who won the war and what happened to both team members. Everything is absolutely spoiled with a classic villain meeting scene where we see everyone. We hear about the destruction on the news in the episode and I don’t understand this choice by the writer/director. Surely it would have been incredibly easy to move that scene to the end right? Also, due to so many episodes being for the other events, the my villain arc had to be rushed quite a lot. Many scenes are cut and so the arc doesn’t feel quite as complete as in the manga. It only gets 6 episodes to itself (Although 5 since the last episode is really after the arc) so there just wasnm’t a lot of time. It’s still a very solid arc but it is heavily weakened to the point where it’s fair to say that the Class 1A vs Class 1B arc is stronger. At least in the anime I would say it absolutely is. The first arc has better animation, more big battles, etc.

So that part was unfortunate but even if you know how the arc will end, it’s still a fun journey here. You get to see the villains gaining more power and how this will make things tougher for the heroes going forward. They can’t hope to just roll on past the villains now, although that was never really an option. The heroes are gaining power at a much slower rate than the villains so now the villains may have even taken the lead. To be honest, I would say the villain group is more powerful than the heroes right now. Their abilities are simply too good to be stopped.

So lets go back to the battles for a minute here. Class 1B messed up in the first battle because they really had the edge once Kirishima was taken out of play. On paper 1A is much stronger there but 1B had such a promising start. Unfortunately for them they got a bit overconfident. It was a fun way to start the tournament off. Ultimately most if not all of the other battles would surpass this one but we got to see what Shinso could do in the fights.

In the second battle we had another match that appears to be a stomp for 1A on paper but 1B came out with the better plan once again. This time they were able to close the deal and I was glad to see that. Momo and Kendo have a big rivalry here and it was nice to see. Momo seems to usually come out on top so at least Kendo has a win here. Her plan was well thought out and they took advantage of how emotional the heroes could get. I liked how their shadow guy baited Tokoyami at one point. Ultimately this is a main theme for the tournament with how 1B would make up for their lack of physical abilities with really smart planning.

Then we go to the third battle which is the most lopsided because of how stacked it is for the heroes. I’m not a big Ida fan but I can still say that he is quite fast and a threat in a fight. Then you have Todoroki on the same team? Well, that’s a wrap. This fight may have had the best animation out of the 5. We got some great scenes of Ida dashing around at limitless speed and Todoroki’s fire was really sharp. That said, the tie was not satisfying here. While I think 1A should have won from the start, at the end they should have just lost if this is how it was going to go. With the bar hitting Todoroki like that Rocketti needed to come in clutch for 1B.

After that it was time for Bakugo to take the stage. It’s the most one sided battle out of the 5 and for good reason. Up until now 1B has had all of the planning but Bakugo had enough of that. He conducts a really solid plan for 1A and they have a perfect win. It was a good way to show how Bakugo has been improving over the course of the show and now knows how to be a team player. It isn’t something he likes doing but it makes sense that he would know how to work with others since that will be necessary when he is a pro.

Finally we get to the 5th match with Deku. Of course Deku could solo the entirety of Class 1B on his own so we have to have something to prevent this. In this case it was that Deku develops his new ability during the fight and loses control which gives 1B a chance to come back. I really like Monoma so I was glad that he got to have a good role here. Certainly the standout of 1B. The match is never in doubt but it’s suitably dramatic and works as a good way to end the arc off.

So the arc was definitely a lot of fun. Constant fights and everyone got to show off their stuff so I was satisfied here. I would like to see 1B get to do something more in an action context at some point though. I know that they’re probably outmatched against the League of Villains but surely there’s some fodder they can fight against. It would be good to show that they are still contributing and can fight when the chips are down.

In terms of people choking when they’re about to win though, that happens to Re-Destro’s side a lot in the villain arc. At the very least you feel like Shigaraki and Toga should have lost their battles. Toga was getting utterly devastated throughout the match to the point where she was exploded several times when her opponent rigged the blood flow. Toga should not be getting up from that, much less turning the tables. I know the reporter got overconfident but that was the match to me. Meanwhile Re-Destroy also had such a huge lead but then he started admiring Shigaraki and losing his resolve. It was a shame because that guy was so cool but now he has faltered. I guess that’s why he is no longer the mastermind though. He doesn’t have the grit for this.

Now lets talk about the characters. Of course the main cast has already been appearing for a while so I won’t go super in depth there. Deku still makes for a solid lead. As far as Shonen Jump leads go he has always been one of the weaker ones for me but just going off of this season he doesn’t really do anything wrong. He does well in the fights and you can excuse him sandbagging a bit because if he goes all out he could murder someone by mistake. As the seasons go we should see him displaying more and more power in a safe way.

Bakugo gets a really great role of course with how he commanded his team to victory. It was nice to see and he’s never lacking in confidence. Jiro had a great assist in the match and she is quick to act on the orders. I see them having a good dynamic on the field going forward. Uravity doesn’t get to fight a lot here but she does come in handy for helping Deku come to his senses. Ida has his speed moment and while he ultimately has a rough matchup here, he does help his team a lot.

Likewise, Todoroki has a good moment with his fire and ice abilities but ultimately it’s really hard to use those abilities at their peak without murdering someone so that nerfs him in the tournament. The rest of class 1A is mainly uneventful but of course they are all in this tournament so you’ll see all of your favorite characters doing their own thing and upgrading their powers. We still don’t get to see much of Invisigirl so she is truly living up to her name.

For Class 1B the standout characters start with Monoma of course. His ability to store powers and use them at will makes him a true threat. He even has his delayed effect on one of them which is used strategically. You can see how his ability has its own share of weaknesses since he always has to use borrowed abilities which means that he has less experience than his opponent but his high IQ helps to balance that out. He is not someone that you want to go up against in the field.

Kinoko is an interesting case because she’s like Deku where she has to be careful of how she fights. She can cause mushrooms to appear all over your body which impairs your ability to move and breath. She is also shown to be able to do this across an incredible range as she covered a good chunk of the battlefield. What this means is she could conceivably cause this to appear in your lungs and you’d be dead instantly. Her abilities have countless ways to be used but many are lethal and even with knocking out opponents she has to be careful not to suffocate them. I doubt she’ll ever get to do much again but honestly she would be a huge help against the villains.

As mentioned earlier, I was glad that Kendo got her moment to shine. Even if she doesn’t get to fight later on. That’s at least something she can hang her hat on and she really is a solid strategist. Mudman deserves some credit too for being able to react to Ida’s speed and still land his counter blows. He did quite well in using his ability creatively. Certainly not someone that you want to underestimate.

Shihai also gets kudos for the mind games he was playing the whole time. It was quite effective and he’s a good actor. Then you have Spiral who isn’t super remarkable but his abilities are so basic that it makes him feem like a very earnest guy. Ultimately I think he could have done better here but I won’t forget his abilities too soon. The way he punches while spinning reminds me of Jin from Yu Yu Hakusho.

Shinso gets a good role here as he gets to participate in both team sessions. His ability to mind control you is super handy. Even if it won’t work too well on Deku or Shigaraki, most opponents are immediately going to lose if he can hit them. The trick to his ability is that he needs the villain to talk back to him. Assuming that most don’t yet know about his ability, that makes him a real asset on the field. He also wants to learn mor close quarters combat which is a good idea since that never hurts.

Then we have Endeavor who is of course trying to turn over a new leaf. Props for effort of course. I may not like the guy but it is still important to start trying to make amends as it’s better than just continuing down the dark path. As the number 1 hero he has huge shoes to fill but is doing his best. I would still consider him to be the second strongest hero in the series (That we have seen so far) but I would argue Deku has surpassed him. Endeavor is just able to control his abilities better and then go all out.

Meanwhile Hawks still has the toughest job here as he has to hang out with the villains and learn things. He could be murdered at any moment so he really has to be careful. He does well in his role though and knows how to use his laidback attitude to his advantage. Now that takes us to the villains and of course quite a lot happens with those guys. I’ll start with Spinner since he gets the least to do. Most of his scenes are the ones that had to be axed although to be fair, if I had to axe any scenes I would have gone after Spinner too. He’s just not super interesting compared to the others and he’s a bit weak as well. Right now the guy doesn’t have nearly as much drive as the others.

So first off we have Twice who gets a lot of big moments here. For starters he is able to awaken his quirk so he can now copy anybody he really knows including their powers. That’s a huge power up especially considering that he can now make hundreds of clones. It was nice to see him be able to recover from his split personality issues as well. His backstory is definitely something I’m sure everyone imagined at least once in Naruto as a dark what if route. Well, he’s back and stronger than ever now. He may be a villain but Twice is the kind of guy who really cares about his comrades and so you end up liking him well enough. He’s easily one of the more likable members.

Then you have Toga who is still as crazy as ever. We get her backstory which doesn’t make her any more sympathetic but it isn’t really supposed to. We just learn now that she really was crazy from the start. I’m not a Toga fan and this certainly wouldn’t change my mind in that respect. I have to say that I was rooting for Curious from the start and I still say that she deserved that win.

Next up is Dabi who is great as always. It was a hype moment when the team called him in to help in the fight. Makes sense because without him things would be difficult. His fire attacks are great for fighting many enemies at once after all and one hit could be deadly. Surprisingly he seemed to still be on the losing side against Geten and is lucky that backup arrived. It was a rough matchup for him though.

Finally you have Shigaraki. Oh there’s a guy called Compress? Well he didn’t do anything so he may as well not exist. Anyway back to Shigaraki, I’m not really a big fan of his. I mean he’s your classic crazy villain who wants to see the world burn and all. The insane types can be good sometimes, sometimes not. I’ve always found that specific kind of villain to be very hit or miss. He’s slowly starting to get past his issues like always needing the hands which is good and he’s gaining focus. Down the road Shigaraki could end up being a stronger villain personality wise.

His origin story is also the weakest part of the show as of course he has a dog and you can imagine how that goes. He grew up in a toxic household which ultimately ended up speeding his descent into madness. It’s too bad since things could have been different for him otherwise but the heroes were just not around in time. Not like they can be in every household though. Shigaraki’s father just looks terrible here. You can’t really blame the sister since she’s just a child but he deserves a lot of the blame here.

Of course you aren’t likely to sympathize with Shigaraki much here. Even if his childhood was rough, he ultimately ended up becoming a mass murdering villain so that was that. With his new powers he seems nearly unstoppable though so the heroes are really going to have to put out all the stops here.

As for the other villain group we have to start off with Re-Destro. This guy was great at the start, he has a ton of confidence and has his own empire. He blackmails the league of villains openly and it shows you just how many connections he has. He was making a case for being one of the best villains in the series but unfortunately he completely cracks once he is humbled by Shigaraki. He goes to being someone that is absolutely loving being a minion but way too much. He has no more self dignity anymore and I lost all respect for him so fast. He’s just a shell of himself now.

Gigantomachia is sort of a third party villain until he accepts Shigaraki but now we can say he is in the league. He’s super powerful to be sure but one of those really big and not very fast guys so I can’t take him ultra seriously. He’s really good for obliterating tons of fodder quickly though and since it’s hard to damage him, he’ll end up being one of the big players in the upcoming battles.

Back to Re-Destro’s allies, we have Curious next. She’s effectively a twisted reporter who always has to get the scoop even during battle. She’s quite good at her job and made for a fun villain. Curious may be short lived at the end of the day but she certainly made the most of her screen time. Then there’s Geten who also doesn’t appear much but this guy stole the show for me. His fight with Dabi is great and I love the guy’s confidence. Usually you’d assume that ice won’t do anything against fire but Geten showed why his abilities surpass all of that. The fact that he can use water to create a near infinite supply makes me think that he may be more powerful than both Todoroki and Dabi at using his abilities. I dare say Geten was going to easily win if not for the fight being interrupted.

Finally we have Skeptic but he’s more of a support villain than someone who will go in personally. He uses his pseudo hypnosis to get everyone on board and fired up. His abilities also seem to give his fighters a little extra strength so he’s useful to have around. Not really my kind of villain though and he doesn’t leave the same kind of impact as Curious and Geten. Both of those villains you won’t be forgetting any time soon.

For the soundtrack we’ve got a lot of the really solid tunes that are from the older seasons which are always good. There are also some new tracks particularly in the villain arc which are solid. I’m not sure what the name of the theme is, but it plays quite a bit during the villain fights and is a good way to build things up. I like the idea of the villains having their own ost to counter the heroes as well. Ultimately the only aspect that still remains on the disappointing side is the openings. For some reason MHA has really started to have really below average openings. It reminds me of One Piece where the openings just never tend to be all that great. At least MHA had the first opening which was exceptional though, there’s never been a standout tune for One Piece. Maybe it’s a tough thing for long running titles in general as I can’t think of any really top notch Naruto openings. Black Clover would be the exception although Bleach had some solid ones in the mix.

I will give the show credit having 2 intro songs though which is how it should be. When you have 25-26 episodes you should have 2 openings, 4 for 52, and 1 for 13. Every 13 episodes you should have a new opening. Them’s the rules. As for the animation, well it’s pretty great as always. Particularly the first arc with the heroes against heroes. We get a lot of great animation cuts there and top tier moments throughout. The famous cubes for the big moments and the heroes look plus ultra as a result. You could say some of the best animated cuts in the whole series are in the first half.

As mentioned earlier, it does come at a bit of a cost though. The villains arc noticeably seemed to get the worst animation of the series. In the other seasons every episode always looked consistent so even if some fights got more attention than others, it was always at the same level. Here it just looks really different at times, almost outsourced. Even the color palette looks different as it gets a lot brighter and less detailed at times. It may not be on point compared to the rest of the show but I would say it still looks good if you take it as a stand alone. Additionally they still pull out the budget for the final fight of the season which is good. I would say even that one doesn’t look as good as most of the cuts in the first half of the season but it still ends on a solid note.

Also, a part of me is just wondering if maybe the show was just trying something different with the animation. Like if you see the Dabi screenshot above or watch some episodes, it just looks different. It’s why I mentioned potential outsourcing. Perhaps it was a different style they wanted to experiment with and it just didn’t work out as well. I remember Black Clover tried some experimental animation in one of its fights when things were going through a big time crunch and if the style is quicker to animate then it would make sense to use it.

The arc definitely had a lot of really solid animated moments as well even if I don’t think the style was nearly as good as the first half. The less detailed approach may help to mask if this was rushed which could be the intent. I love bright colors like this so the art style worked even if it was less detailed. To put it one way, I wouldn’t mind if it ultimately went in this direction next season even if I would prefer traditional. After all, I really enjoyed the Dabi fight and I thought the scene I attached a screenshot of looked great. It’s certainly eye catching and pops out at you.

Overall, My Hero wraps up another important saga in the mix. It may have been a little less high stakes compared to the last few seasons but we do have a solid cliffhanger to set things up for the next season. Season 6 is really going to be intense from start to finish with nonstop battles so if they need to take a few extra months to set this up that’s fine. It has the potential to be the best season in the show depending on how this all goes. Also, how many shows get to have 5+ seasons like this? Definitely shows how big the series has gotten and I’m expecting more movies coming up as well.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Heaven Chapter – Overture Review


After all these years it’s time to check out the original sequel to the Saint Seiya manga/anime. After the big battle with Hades, Seiya was greatly injured and this movie explores just how bad those injuries were since the manga just ended immediately so we didn’t know exactly how this played out. I am glad that he gets up sooner than later though as writing Seiya out for the movie would not have been a great move. The film’s definitely a lot of fun, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best Seiya movie but it’s cool to see another original adventure and the ending’s definitely hype.

The movie starts with showing Seiya in a wheelchair and he is completely despondent. He has lost his ability to use his abilities and can’t even walk. One day, a group of fighters show up to assassinate him. These are angels led by Artemis. The gods have decided that Seiya and the other saints must be punished for taking out 3 gods during the Hades arc. Athena doesn’t like this but as always she chickens out and goes along with the villains. After meekly handing over her throne and saints, Athena is gone and Seiya is fortunately able to get up. He has to find Athena and take down Artemis and her troops. Can he pull this off now that he is truly back to being a bronze saint? (Even weaker than one to be honest) Also, where are his fellow Saints when he needs them?

If you can’t tell, I was not a fan of Athena at all here. Once again she is betraying Seiya….why? By now you’ve got to trust him since he has saved the day so many times. This is one main thing I would hold against the film which is that everyone’s betraying Seiya again. Aside from Athena you also have the other bronze and silver saints beating him up. Seiya really can’t catch a break and as always he’s got to do everything by himself. It would be nice if everyone could have his back for a change.

Athena in particular has to get the more criticism though. She saw what the Saints did against Hades previously. She should have confidence that they can beat Artemis and whatever army of gods are behind her. Just summon the Saints and announce a full war against them. Otherwise you lose any kind of turf advantage and Athena handing over her staff was not a good move. She’s just lucky that Artemis allowed her to take it back later on.

The other Bronze Saints like Unicorn do look bad here though. Come on now, you’re that eager to start working for Artemis now? A true Saint never stops their allegiance so calling this Artemis’ temple now and things like that make them look bad. I also thought Marin and Shaina looked really bad for going along with this. Enough about those Saints though, Seiya himself looks great which is good. He’s determined as always. Seiya knows how to take a beating, every enemy has the advantage at first and that’s true here as well. Initially he takes a lot of hits but that’s because he’s so weakened.

I can see why this nerf was necessary because otherwise Seiya was stronger than the gods by the end of the series. It should be easy for him to utterly dismantle all of the Angels and take down Artemis. The only opponent worthy of him would be Apollo and even then my money would be on Seiya. Because of this though I have no power level issues with Seiya’s fights. It all makes sense given what we know about his situation.

I do have some power level issues with the rest of the Saints though. Ikki, Hyoga, Shiryu, and Andromeda should all be close to Seiya’s level. Not quite as strong of course but strong enough to be taking these guys down for the count. Instead Hyoga and Shiryu are initially knocked out off screen and then Ikki and Andromeda are having a tough time winning a 2 v 1 against one of the opponents. They don’t have their gold armor at the ready this time (although I’d make the case that they should be able to awaken it with their burning spirit) but they should still be winning these fights. Only Apollo should be able to take them out at this point.

Still, it is nice to see these guys. Their role is very small but at least they all have an action scene which is good. Based on how the film starts to end, I do think they would have done a lot more in the sequel though. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have continued though. Even if we have a different timeline, just have some branching paths. It may not be canon or something but it’d still be nice to see. Or go the Fate route where you have 3 initial paths and then like 5-8 branching futures. The more expansive the franchise the better after all.

The animation here is really solid and I would agree with anyone who says that this is the best that the series has looked. The animation is really solid and this feels like a true theater experience. The colors are sharp and the backgrounds have a whole lot of detail to them. The fight scenes are also on point as well and it’s always fun to see Seiya’s classic Meteor Fist with the accompanying sound effect. The soundtrack is also good here. We get a nice song at the end and the classic fighting tunes are always good. The movie definitely delivers here.

On the other hand, the film’s only real weakness comes in part from the animation although it might not be related. At times the film tries a little too hard to be super grand and emotional. We get lingering shots at the water as it splashes or the moon in the sky. Characters will intently stand in the distance and it did make the pacing feel a little slow at the start. Everything’s just so dramatic and I think it gets to be a little too overdone at some points. Of course this isn’t the kind of thing that would hurt the film’s score but you tend to see this in films where they are really proud of the animation. Happens a lot in Pokemon as we stare at the grass blades twirling in the wind.

The film can also be a little cheeky with mild fanservice when Shaina and Marin are fighting. Could just be more dramatic shots that the movie is going for and since we see that for the environment, it’s possible that it just extends to the characters too. Nothing quite like the obvious camera angles you’d see in SAO though so it’s super mild at best. Saint Seiya is a franchise that really doesn’t have much fanservice in general and has always stayed strong there.

So we’ve talked about the heroes and how Seiya steals the show here. (Ikki’s role is just too small for him to take center stage this time. It was nice to see him and Andromeda teaming up as equals though. It shows some really good character development for Andromeda at this point) Now lets talk about the villains. Artemis is like Pandora in that she acts a lot more like how you would expect the evil god to be. She isn’t afraid to go on the battle field and talk tough to the heroes. I liked her well enough as one of the villains.

Then you have the Angels. From the 3, only the one who fights Seiya really gets a role. The other two look tough and talk tough but they’re obliterated in short order. The angel who fought Seiya actually got a twist involving Marin though and got a lot of moments to himself. He made for a good villain. Not good enough where I’d remember his name though although I could swear that they just called him “Angel” each time while the other two had true names. Either way he made for a good villain.

Finally you have Apollo who shows up at the end. He talks tough and backs it up with how he looks there. My money would still be on Seiya to beat him if he was at full power, but as discussed that wasn’t the case this time. Apollo works as a good final boss and I’d like to see where he stacks up with the rest of the gods who are so upset at this state of affairs. Seiya does land a good hit but it doesn’t seem likely that he would get a chance to win until the sequels. Apollo’s appearance is extremely brief as the film just ends but he makes the most of it.

I should mention the Gold Saints have a quick cameo here but they are quickly discarded as the gods have the last laugh. I would have liked to have seen them fight a bit or something but I guess there wasn’t much they could do there. It was a fun little cameo but at the same time it feels like they didn’t get to do anything. At least have them send the heroes some gold armor or something, that would have been cool. It’s been a rough road for the gold saints over the last few arcs….actually for the whole series to be honest.

As for the ending, it’s intentionally vague but here’s my take on it. Apollo decided to neutralize Seiya as a threat by erasing his memory along with Athena’s after defeating them. That’s why they’re now in a flower field just hanging out. It means the other Saints are going to have to hurry but it’s a fair bet to say there’s a slight time skip before the final scene so I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Saints were already defeated as well. In the second film I’d expect to see the 5 Saints battling 5 gods or something like that. The more I think about a possible sequel, the more hyped I get.

Overall, Heaven’s Overture is a great film. We’ve got all the hype action you could want and a great cast of characters. The animation is excellent and there’s always something going on. The film can be a bit dramatic but I can appreciate the boldness of nerfing Seiya for a while. It’s better than just having these guys wreck him, now that would have been iffy. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get a novel continuation or something at some point. Either way if you’re a Saint Seiya fan then you’ll want to check this one out at some point. It’s a nice look at a possible future path.

Overall 8/10

Whistle Review


At this point it’s been around 10 years since I started Whistle but I’ve now reached the end of the series. It was certainly an emotional journey filled with a lot of great matches and character moments. I would not put it in the same league as the more intense sport titles like Prince of Tennis, Haikyu, or Kuroko but it’s definitely a solid title in its own right. We even get a physical fight at the end of the series.

The manga is about a kid named Sho who really wants to be a great soccer player. It’s his favorite sport in the world and the guy is always living and breathing soccer 24/7. Unfortunately he’s fairly small which makes it difficult to power his way through against the bigger kids and he’s just not super gifted at the sport. He’ll have to train and practice much harder than the other kids in order to catch up to them but he’s not afraid of the effort. Sho needs to first make it on the team and then he needs to earn his way into a starting position.

The opening volumes of the series really showcase how much distance Sho needs to cross in order to be one of the very best. He does train quite hard each day so it’s not like he’s slacking off but it’s just hard to keep up with the others. Just look at the range for example, they can kick the ball from double the length which is naturally a big advantage. Additionally, it’s harder to body slam someone who’s a lot bigger than you are and while you shouldn’t target players in Soccer, there is a lot of physical contact.

What Sho has for advantages is his speed and determination. It is a little easier for him to maneuver throughout the field and steal the ball if someone lowers their guard. Additionally his stamina is quite good and he’s usually the last player to go down. That works as a good morale boost to the other players when they are starting to weaken a bit. By the end of the series Sho is surprisingly still one of the weaker players. Whistle is definitely going for a higher level of realism than most of the other sport titles and while Sho kept training, so did the rest of the cast. So in the end he didn’t make nearly as much progress as you would have assumed otherwise relative to the others.

The best character in the series was Shigeki though. He’s one of Sho’s rivals and you could also call him the final boss of sorts. He’s one of the guys who helped get Sho into soccer and continued to inspire the lead. He ends up leaving the series for a few volumes but returns better than ever. He’s got a very confident demeanor to him which is important and the guy is an ace in soccer.

Additionally, he is able to fight physically. This comes in handy as he has to save someone from getting bullied. Even when he was outnumbered 8 to 1 the guy held his own. Shigeki never ran from a challenge and only continued to get better and better at the series went on. That’s why he was my favorite character, he left a real impact here.

Tatsuya is the other rival but he doesn’t hold his own quite as well as Shigeki. The main reason for that he that Tatsuya tends to lose sight of what’s really important a few times. He gets jealous of Sho and tries to show up Shigeki on a few occasions. Things never work out for him so he inevitably gets upset and starts playing rather sloppy. It’s not a trait that’s good for the rival since you can’t take him nearly as serious after that. It also happens to Tatsuya more than once which is always a bit worrisome.

I still liked him in the end but those scenes really did a number on the guy. Now that he’s more confident in his own abilities I expect he would look a lot better in the sequel. Then there’s Tsubasa who has a run rivalry with Daichi. Both of them are goalie/keepers for the team so naturally each one wants to be the starter. Interestingly even by the end of the series it’s hard to say who the better player is. I would give the edge to Tsubasa because I found him to be more consistent but it’s really close.

It’s not as decisive as you would expect and due to that both of them get big roles in the final match as they alternate. Tsubasa did start for more periods in the match though so take that as you will. Tsubasa is a very fiery character who is very loud and outspoken. Daichi is more of a quiet guy who tends to speak his mind rather than mincing words. So in their own ways they are both very confident in their abilities but go about showing it in different ways.

Technically Whistle’s cast is a fairly large one but it’s also large to the point where it’s hard to develop them all as much as in other titles. For example Haikyu is the sport title with the closest comparable cast I would say but the series really took the time to develop all of them. Granted, Haikyu is almost double Whistle’s size but by volume 20 I would say they already had more personality.

In Whistle if you weren’t one of the two keepers or rivals then you were most likely not a very notable player. The other kids were good enough to keep Sho out of the starting roster for a while but that’s about it. You wouldn’t really expect them to do much in an actual match though aside from yelling at Tatsuya at times when he would steal the spotlight. Usually they’d start losing points for the team which is when Sho would have to be called back in.

There are some supporting characters outside the team though like the various coaches in the series. They tended to be solid even if they didn’t make too much of an impact outside of the main one. The main coach always chose to believe in Sho and support him when it counted. She did take a bit of a risk near the end of the series but when it’s the main character it’s never a bad idea to try and let him surpass his limits. There was a pro player who happened to be in Sho’s neighborhood. That guy was nice he always helped give Sho some quality advice and told the kid not to give up.

Then you have Sho’s brother Ko who doesn’t do much for most of the series but he does come through when it counts at the end. Whistle goes for a rather emotional ending to be sure but one that has a satisfying ending. If the ending had been fully sad with no recovery at the end then that would have been more on the fishy side. As it stands, it works pretty well as a way to close things out.

Whistle’s artwork does look fairly old. It reminds you of something like Saint Seiya only without the fight scenes of course. It doesn’t hold up to a lot of newer titles but it isn’t bad. You can still recognize all of the characters pretty easily and the soccer games have a proper amount of intensity. The manga isn’t actually as old as it looks but it could be an intentional style choice I suppose or it’s from an artist who grew up drawing in that style so he just stayed in that style.

With 24 volumes at the ready you can expect a whole lot of matches throughout the series. It also gives the author time to let the characters just have some fun and dialogue outside of the matches too. We have time for the heroes to enjoy some good food and hang out. Some titles don’t have a whole lot of time for that so it’s a pretty balanced set up. With this many volumes over 10 years it can be easy to forget some of the early opponents though but the you won’t forget Sho’s struggles.

Part of why the main characters are all so memorable is because they got such strong character arcs. Each of them had to deal with something. Sho had to deal with his lack of skills, Daichi had to deal with improving his skills and not relying on only hunches, Tsubasa had to deal with everyone always underestimating him, Tatsuya had to deal with self confidence, and Shigeki had to deal with his rich father who owned another soccer club. There was definitely a lot going on here so even if you don’t remember some of the specific matches it was a lot of fun.

Overall, Whistle is definitely a very good series that I would recommend. It’s a very easy read and like with most sport titles there is a ton of replay value here. There may not be anything super deep or genre breaking going on here but you know that in each volume you can expect some high quality soccer content. It would have been nice to perhaps have seen a time skip where Sho is now one of the best players out there but I guess that will be a job for the sequel series. It would be nice to see Sho’s hard work pay off at some point since so far he has only made some progress. If you like sports or a good story then you should definitely check this one out, the writing is always consistent.

Overall 7/10

Jujutsu Kaisen Review


Jujutsu Kaisen has quickly become one of the big names on Shonen Jump. It’s quickly approaching the big 3 and hunting demons is always a good concept for a show. This one’s off to a very solid start so I hope to see it continue down this path. With a movie already on the way and a season 2 probably coming pretty quick, this franchise is well on its way.

The story starts with introducing us to Yuji. He’s a nice kid who was born with physical abilities far exceeding that of a normal person. He can run extremely fast and casually match world records on throwing and things like that. He’s a part of an occult club at his school since it gives him a place to just hang out. One day he meets a sorcerer who tells him that Yuji’s friends are in great danger. Yuji manages to save the friends from the demon by teaming up with this guy and swallowing the magical item that was putting them in danger.

The item turned out to be one of Sukuna’s fingers. Yuji is now the vessel for the most powerful curse to ever walk the planet. He has 2 choices, be murdered or locate the rest of the fingers and after eating them all he will be murdered. Yuji chooses the second option so that he can at least save people in the meantime. He is placed into Gojo’s squad along with Nobara and Megumi. Gojo will help his squad get very powerful and perhaps one day he can convince the elders not to murder Yuji.

I’d say that’s the general premise at least. Naturally it’s the kind of series that should have a ton of arcs by the end so the plots will change but it works well as a general story scope. There’s already a lot of lore within the series such as ranking the curses as well as the sorcerers from Grade 3 to Special Grade. The lower you go, the more powerful you are. You don’t need to pay too much attention to it though because as Gojo points out early on, these rankings aren’t super reliable anyway. Special Grade comes too soon so as a ranking it’s incredibly broad.

Right away you can definitely tell that a whole lot of effort was put into the animation here. Mappa didn’t hold anything back and so the show can keep up with just about any other. In particular the show got pretty big for the hand to hand choreography which lives up to the hype. You’ll see characters actually go for wrestling throws and other pretty impressive moves the whole time.

Yuji’s fighting style even feels like that of a boxer at times. He definitely knows how to both land and take a hit. Every fight has really quick movements and nice contrasts with the hits. This one definitely holds up with the animation. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening but maybe it’s one of those that will land more later on.

In terms of music the show is top notch as well. “Looming Threat” is probably the best theme in the show. It only plays very briefly when Yuji nearly gets sniped by the traitors on the other team but the full version even transitions to more of a rock tune by the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lyrical song Megumi gets during one of his fights as well and a pretty inspirational theme for the end of the series.

The show avoids fanservice entirely which is great. I dare say the modern Shonens have all been rather impressive with this so if that’s a trend that will continue I’m definitely on board with it. Black Clover, My Hero, Dr. Stone, and now Jujutsu Kaisen are all modern titles that really don’t have any fanservice which is great to see.

Due in part to the very nature of demon hunting the show can get violent at times though. Definitely be ready for things like a character ripping his heart out or characters basically being blown up/deformed by the villainous Mahito. You certainly get some rather crazy visuals in the world of JJK. It’s also rough for the heroes since they can’t exactly heal someone who has gone through the process. Once you become a demon there’s no way back.

Yuji is the main character and a very solid hero. He wants to ultimately make the city safer and becoming a sorcerer was the easiest way to pull this off. It’s definitely shady how the sorcerer government keeps wanting to bump him off but Yuji doesn’t take it too seriously. I didn’t really have any issues with how he acts throughout the story. He’s always making the right moves and also does a good job of always getting right back up again even when he has to power through a bunch of attacks. Now that’s some solid dedication right there.

He’s sort of like a good mix of Naruto and Ichigo. Then you have Sukuna who is always waiting for his chance to emerge. So far the series is playing him off as a full villain who won’t be turning good. We’ll see about that since it usually feels inevitable in these things but he definitely leaves a strong impression. Whenever the guy appears you can feel his strength and that’s considering that he’s not even at 50% yet. If the guy ever fully awakens then the heroes are going to have a lot of trouble.

Megumi is definitely one of the biggest characters in the series and he looks good here. While it’s one of those unique cases where you could argue that the main character has already surpassed him, Megumi is tough in his own right. Hey, not every rival can be stronger than the lead right? Megumi talks tough and knows how to effectively fight along with his summons as needed. I do think that summons will always limit you in the end so I’d like to see him focus on hand to hand going forward.

he’s a rock solid character though so I see a good future for him. Then you have Nobara as the main heroine. Her fighting style may be the most unique in the series since you almost always see Voodoo as more of a villain technique. She uses her hammer to punch nails through her opponents and as long as she has a piece of DNA she’s good. It’s really a difficult combat style to get past although her weakness would naturally be against long range foes or close range ones who can get around that. Her skills aren’t up to par with Megumi or Yuji’s yet but she has solidified herself as a tough fighter through and through. Her tag team battle with Yuji was pretty great.

Then you have Gojo, the most powerful fighter in the series. His inclusion is really a big part of what makes JJK so much fun. He’s just a fun guy even without his abilities. He’s very laidback and really allows the students to express themselves. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Kakashi and I suppose he fits that mentor role. On the other hand, he just feels a lot younger and more confident. His absolute confidence is one of the most enjoyable things about him. A lot of characters are strong but will act oblivious or be modest. Gojo’s not modest in the slightest. He’ll tell people to their faces that he’s the strongest and can back it up.

His ability is the Infinity. Nothing can hit him because the distance to infinity will always be just beyond your grasp. It’s a really great ability and you can see how versatile it is right off the bat. He can use it for offense, defense, and even just for speed. There are probably limits to the ability that he hasn’t yet explained but even with those it’s just really hard to get around. Effectively you need to just be able to purely overpower him and break through infinity itself or at least to whatever Gojo’s limit is since true infinity cannot exist.

It’s also a fun dynamic with the villains since they acknowledge from the start that they cannot defeat him. That’s the whole point of why they want to trap him instead. The only other time I’ve seen this is with RWBY where Salem and her cabal have to be careful of approaching Ruby since her Silver Eyes can one shot them. Of course, they overthought it since nobody helped teach Ruby about her abilities which was a cool subversion in itself. Here though Gojo’s power is very much the real deal.

Now, this is part of why I see Gojo turning evil. There have yet to be any signs of this happening yet in the series but it sort of adds up. He’s already mentioned the idea out loud about murdering all of the elders in the Kaisen world. Those guys are so corrupt that they’re practically villains anyway but of course the instant Gojo uses his abilities on someone like that there would be no going back. Gojo continues to be frustrated with the way things are going and I just see him snapping. Who better as the final boss than the man who commands Infinity? Of course it will need to be handled carefully since right now he is easily the best character in the series. You don’t want to mess that up by having him turn evil in the wrong way.

Meanwhile you have the principal Yaga. He has the power to make cursed spirit objects but beyond that he hasn’t really gotten to fight yet. He seems like a good enough supporting character but there really isn’t a whole lot to say about him. We already know he’s much better than the Jujutsu leader though. That guy wants to murder Yuji immediately just for being a vessel. He seemingly has no logical comebacks to Gojo’s arguments on why they should keep Yuji around so the guy already lost the battle. His guitar skills have been shown only off screen so we don’t know how tough he is yet.

Mai is one of the fighters from the other sorcerer division and she’s certainly rather ruthless. She has no problems with the murdering Yuji plan although I guess none of them have any issues there. Her gun skills are really sharp but you do feel like she will need a better weapon if Maki can already catch those bullets. Using a gun against curse spirits also feels like a dead end. I can’t possibly see any special grades having trouble with such a weapon. I do like her confident façade even if she starts losing hype when she starts complaining about the past. In short, Mai made for a good villain but I’d like to see her grow stronger.

Then we have Toudou who is easily the most impressive fighter. He’s so powerful that he is able to take on Yuji in a proper fight. His teleportation ability is also very sharp and makes for some good strategic moments. He has a rather odd tradition of finding out if someone can be worthy to fight him though. It seems to be related to an origin story that hasn’t actually happened yet.

Right now I’d say he’s definitely a standout character. He’s certainly quite obsessed with an idol but at the same time I wouldn’t say Toudouu acts creepy about it or anything. It’s not something I’d deduct points for yet at least and he was also nice enough to give Mai his ticket to one of the concerts at one point which was nice of him.

Mechamaru would be one of the lower members of the team for me so far. Mainly because this guy was absolutely trying to murder Panda and was throwing a pity party for himself from the start. Now, I think its fair to say that he has had a rough time of things to be sure, but it’s still no excuse for going all in like this. His battle with Panda was definitely a highlight in the show though. No doubt about that.

Noritoshi seems like the group’s leader and he does a good job in the role. His skills are impressive and it’s implied that he would have probably beaten Megumi if he was actually going in with 100% of his skills. He isn’t able to do much against Hanami but to be fair, pretty much nobody could do anything at that point. His blood arts seem quite versatile so I’d like to see more of him.

Momo has one of the smaller roles from the team. She can fly rather quickly with her broom and that makes her a tricky opponent to catch. In a fight though? She’s not going to be able to do much at all. She’s also on board with Mai feeling bad for herself. Honestly at that point half the team are feeling sorry for themselves, you definitely can’t compare these guys to the main team. I hope she’s hiding some extra skill beyond her broom.

Then you have Kasumi who’s a lot of fun. She goes down fairly quick against Mai but from the team her moveset might be my favorite. It’s simple but I like her little en field which serves as an attack range and her sword. She is lacking in experience right now but if she can improve her base skills then she should definitely be ready for the big time. Hopefully this loss doesn’t discourage her too much.

Now lets talk about Yuji’s senior teammates. First up you have Maki who may not be able to use curse energy like the others but she’s a master at close quarters combat. Way I see it, you can never go wrong there because when all else fails, you can always count on the abilities you learned on your own. She takes down several opponents on her own and even has a good fight with Hanami so she’s proven herself to be one of the most powerful fighters here. Catching the bullet with her bare hand was also very impressive. She’s off to a great start.

Panda is another fun character. He may be a cursed object technically but at this point he has a will of his own and emotions so you may as well consider him a sentient being like any other. In a way he is a special object in that sense because he is truly alive at this point in time. His battle style is sort of like Yuji’s as well with the various combos he throws out. If he hadn’t been so injured I’m sure he would have contributed a lot to the Hanami fight.

Finally you have Toge. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of his yet. He has the ability to turn his words into power which is really handy. Effectively he can tell you to go away and a blast of sonic energy will accomplish that task. He has fairly low durability though and can only talk for a little bit before being taken down for the count. Additionally, the amount of words he can say goes down further based on the strength of the opponent. So that’s all things to keep in mind. He means well but I really think he needs another ability on top of that to really make it here.

Now lets talk about some of the villains. First up is Jougo. As the first big villain to attack you know he’s doomed from the start. Still, I do appreciate his confidence since he’s the only villain to just flat out attack Gojo. He wanted to see what this fighter was all about and got his wish. Jougo’s fire abilities look really fierce and against anyone other than Gojo he may have really had a fair shot at winning.

The anime does a good job of showing that he’s clearly in a different league compared to most of the other villains. So he may not have gotten to do as whole lot in the grand scheme of things but I definitely liked Jougo. Then there’s Hanami who is my favorite villain from the show. Effectively she can manipulate the planet itself for a lot of great combos. She can also absorb energy through spores and has terrific hand to hand combat.

Group fights are always a lot of fun with everyone jumping in and out of the fray. This one pretty much goes in that direction as she takes a lot of foes down. The battle with the heroes is one of the most memorable and her defenses were enough to survive Purple as well. That’s no easy feat. The villain group’s off to a pretty solid start all things considered.

Then you have Mahito who is one of the main villains. He isn’t the leader or anything but has a big enough role where you could see him growing into that role. He has a lot of similarities to Shigaraki both in terms of personality and design. Mahito’s ability to alter his soul is also not something you really want to underestimate since it makes attacks really difficult to land. How do you hit someone who’s always something else right?

The guy’s pretty twisted so I don’t see a redemption arc for him or anything like that. He likes to fight which is a plus and the guy gets very active no matter what the situation is. I’ll need him to score some wins or just look more impressive though before I like him more. I have a hard time taking him too seriously since it seems like he’s always getting absolutely pummeled no matter where he goes. Technically the guy is tough though.

Then you have Junpei and I was not a fan of this guy either. Now granted he did get a pretty bad shake. He gets bullied at school for no real reason and no matter where he goes he always runs into jerks. However, this doesn’t give him a free pass to turn evil and do whatever he wants. What really hurt his character for me is when he goes home and sees the murder, he doesn’t come to the obvious conclusion. Why didn’t he stop to think for a moment that the evil curse he was working with may have done this?

The person who died…died to a curse. If you ask me that can really only mean one thing. That should have been the natural train of logic but instead he went in a different direction. Even by the end he’s really slow on the uptake. So I can see why he is a bit of a sympathetic character but he made way too many mistakes throughout the show. It made the task of liking him too hard and ultimately I just never got behind the guy. He needed to be smarter.

Finally you have Nanami who is another senior exorcist. He’s more on the level of Gojo in that he’s a sensei. His ability is naturally not as strong as Gojo’s but he’s still very tough in his own right. His cuts have a lot of power to them and he can even increase his strength in short bursts when necessary. He doesn’t exactly love being a sorcerer but he does what’s needed. His origin story where he helps the cafe owner was definitely pretty fun. Allowing her to keep the curse would have been very suspect. So this guy’s a fun character to have around.

There’s not much to say about Getoh yet since he’s mostly still planning in the shadows. He’ll certainly get a pretty big role in season 2 and going forward though. The guy’s not going to hide forever after all. It is pretty surreal how you see the villains just having fun and goofing off in the little specials after each episode though. Not that you should take those too seriously but it would be something if they do actually just hang out and have fun when they’re not messing with the heroes.

The highlight of the anime for me is definitely the tournament arc. After all that’s basically what it is as the two schools fight each other in the Exchange event. We first see how the Kyoto team are all tools who are willing to murder people aside from Toudou and it adds some stakes to the event. Yuji also gets a chance to show what he can do after perfecting his skills. The fact that he was taking on an entire team at once is crazy impressive.

The climax with Hanami is also really hard to beat. Now that’s how you end the story arc in a big way. There are technically 2-3 other arcs in the show but this was definitely the biggest one. You’ve also got Junpei’s arc which is a pretty solid one. It’s the arc that gives Yuji his resolve to fight on as well as his motivation for the rest of the series in stopping Mahito. The tag team battle with Nanami was also on point and it was the first time Yuji really got to cut loose.

Then you have the final arc with Megumi and Nobara. Megumi’s power up was a good way to end his arc although you definitely feel like he should have used the ability a little sooner since he almost died a bunch of times. It is a last resort and he goes kind of crazy after using it, but it’s still worth it. Yuji and Nobara’s combo attacks against the twins was also really solid. While the two villains weren’t very memorable, it was just a great showcase of the heroes’ abilities.

There was definitely a lot to cover here that’s for sure. The show has pretty nice pacing so there’s always another adventure around the corner. The writing is on point so the show is really good about not having any big weaknesses. Hopefully the heroes do something to keep the elders at bay though because it’s always annoying when the heroes are effectively working for the villains but can’t do anything about it. Even in Naruto and Bleach you always had the bosses basically act like villains the whole time. Yuji is a lot stronger now so he can defend himself, but he really can’t let his guard down.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen definitely started off strong with this show. It’s clear that Mappa put in a ton of effort as I can’t overstate how good each episode looked. There were constantly top notch fights that got a big budget and it helps to enhance the overall quality of the show. The story is good and the character cast is on point right now. If you’re up for checking out the next big Shonen title then this is a pretty good one to check out. It’s got all the classic action elements you could want.

Overall 8/10

Hunter X Hunter (2011) Review


All right it’s time to look at the second anime adaption of the Hunter X Hunter show. The original anime ended quite early as the OVAs had to continue the arcs and even then it didn’t make it all the way. Since the manga is still going this series wasn’t able to finish either, but this time it did make it through the Chimera and Election arcs so it’s getting closer and closer. The series has a lot of dynamic scenes and has some of the best strategic battles in all of Shounen Jump. While the series has a few jump the shark episodes in the Chimera arc the series is still solid as a whole.

The world of HXH centers around professional hunters. In this world this is the most lucrative position as you can get rich just for selling your license. Of course if you went to all the trouble of passing the exam it is very unlikely that you would ever do such a thing. The hunters keep their licenses as a matter of pride and serve as body guards or go on quests. The options are endless. There are quite a few main characters who each have their own goals and ambitions which lead to the various story arcs. Unlike most other series you can get arcs where the main characters shift more than once. Otherwise I think the only other series I can think of where this happened is Naruto where Sasuke got his own arc. Potentially Dr. Stone will count as well if the other guy ever gets his own arc.

The first arc follows Gon in his quest to become a hunter. He is finally old enough to take the Exam and dashes on over. He meets up with a few other applicants known as Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio. The tests are quite rigorous though as you have to go through a forest of death, run for miles, escape a death zone, and then engage in one on one battles with other fighters. This won’t be easy, but Gon has trained quite a lot to be in shape so he would be ready for this. Unfortunately for him this happens to be the exam where a villain has entered the ring as well. His name is Hisoka and his goal is to cause quite a lot of chaos.

It’s a pretty good introduction to the series. We get to meet the main cast and there’s even a tournament. While the Chunin Exams from Naruto do still take the cake for this format you can see how similar these two are. Adding Hisoka into the mix also adds a good level of tension. It would have been interesting to have had Killua and Hisoka meet up early on here, but realistically that probably would not have gone well for the kid. At this point Hisoka already had nen which means he is effectively invincible here.

The next big arc was the Heavens Arena which is another big tournament. Now this arc isn’t very large compared to the others, but it’s a lot of fun. Gon and Killua learn about nen which will be crucial later on and Gon gets to have his rematch with Hisoka. That’s basically his motivation here and Killua works to keep everyone out of Gon’s hair. I don’t think this arc is remembered quite as well as some of the others, but it was another solid way to build more character development. I’ll also take any excuse to have a bunch of extra fights. HXH does a lot of “about to fight, but then doesn’t” moments so it was nice to enjoy these days while you could when every fight did happen.

Next up is the arc considered to be the best in the series and I would agree with that. Yorknew brings Kurapika into the center stage this time. His goal in life is to destroy the Spiders since they murdered his entire clan. It’s his whole reason for becoming a professional hunter and he never lost sight of this goal. This is his chance to take them down, but these guys are world class threats for a good reason. It won’t be easy for Kurapika to bump them off. Meanwhile Gon and Killua wander into the fray, but at their current level they sometimes prove to be more of a liability than a help. We also get the government involved and a bunch of other characters.

Yorknew is just a very packed arc with cool moments around every corner. Kurapika vs Uvogin is still a very iconic fight and seeing Chrollo take on Killua’s father and grand father was epic as well. At this point in the series there are also a lot of fun dream match-ups. For example while Killua may not have much nen yet he still does have a lot of strength and speed. Would he have been able to at least take one of them down if Gon wasn’t around? Kurapika also did good in taking on Uvogin, but would he be able to take down the others? Most of the Spiders have fairly broken abilities so in a sense Uvogin was the easiest to beat because he’s all about strength. His strength was certainly crazy though.

Then we have Greed Island which is more of a peaceful arc in comparison. Gon and Killua enter a video game to find Gon’s father an instead they wind up stuck in the video game. To escape they have to clear it, but in the meanwhile there are a bunch of bombers running around in there as well. Their goal is to clear the game first and they’re willing to murder all of the other players to get their way. They don’t appear to be quite as tough as the Spiders, but the ability to blow someone up with a single point of contact is always helpful. The arc is fun enough and we meet more characters like Biscuit. It’s never quite able to capture the same level of energy and excitement as the earlier arcs though.

Next is the Chimera Ant arc which was certainly anticipated because it had never been animated before. It’s the author’s shot at a DBZ type arc. If you’ve noticed each of the arcs seem to switch genres time and time again. Well this arc focuses more on power levels and the whole alien invasion even makes it part horror. This arc is very long and it feels like the longest in the series although I don’t know if that’s accurate. Basically these insect creatures have taken over a kingdom. They are slowly growing more and more powerful as well as intelligent because of the humans they eat. When they eat someone with nen they start to grow nen as well. The government is trying to hide this, but as a result the situation is quickly growing out of hand. Hunters are sent in to handle this. Gon and Killua will have to prove themselves against professional hunters as well if they want to make the cut. This time they will need to master Nen and have special abilities to help out.

This arc gives the heroes the biggest power upgrades they’ve ever gotten in the series. That’s why it’s a shame that neither Gon or Killua have really gotten to fight after this arc. Not only have they likely surpassed Kurapika now but they’re possibly Spider/Pro hunter level at this point. I’d say certainly since they were taking on Ants that the pros were having a lot of trouble with. There are a ton of fights in this arc and the heroes even have to split up at one point to take down a lot of enemies. That’s why it’s a shame that this is ultimately the arc that really holds the series back. On the one hand, it’s easily the most epic arc in the series. It has a lot of the best battles and the set-up is really solid. This is basically an alien invasion and it’s the most ambitious arc yet. We even see the Hunter association chairman Netero fight for once.

What hurts this arc is how the violence steps up and also covers animals. The insects murder a bunch of animals in this arc. They take down kids and in general the arc gets really dark. We even have a human villain out of nowhere who is basically doing trafficking amidst the chaos in a plot that has no point. The author also started to get a little more experimental around this point so we get an episode about nothing much as a guy with a terrible past is wondering what’s going on. He had an abusive father or something and while I’m sure the episode tied in to something, it feels like half an hour of nothing. The new characters here weren’t all hits so when they get a lot of focus it takes away from the main characters.

That’s why this arc is a mixed bag. It has the largest amount of great moments and the animation is also stunning. The Nen affects and how they affect everyone is handled very well. One character ages many years in an instant which is a dramatic but effective way or showing just how fierce these enemies are. After all, the heroes know that if they’re caught then they’ll definitely be dead. Put it this way, this arc would get the lowest score in the series at a 4 or a 5. Everything just adds up, but it is the most interesting arc. It does get the same atmosphere you’d expect from something like Attack on Titan or Fate/Zero which always does keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s just a shame that usually in creating that atmosphere the series usually has to go into some pretty dark places. You could take away those scenes and the arc would be fantastic. It’s rare to get a series to such an interesting place with so many pieces so you always hope it’ll be the next big thing.

Finally we have the Election arc. This one is more of a return to form as it feels like the first arcs. The Hunter Association is going to pick a new chairman and naturally there are a lot of candidates to choose from. They’ve all got their own motives and agendas so the people have to vote carefully. There are a lot of rules here to prevent anyone from being chosen too easily and I always enjoy this complexity. In the sub-plot Killua has to go back home to rescue another family member and then try to help out Gon. This leads to a lot of chase scenes and clashes of brawn and brain. It’s a pretty fun adventure arc and a nice little adventure to cap off the anime. You definitely feel how there are a ton of loose ends left, but hopefully the manga ends someday so we can get a sequel show. There’s almost no point in making another season yet because there isn’t a ton of content available at the moment.

So lets look at the characters. Gon is our lead here and he certainly goes through a lot of development. He’s a pretty happy kid at first, but as the series goes on we see more of his serious side. I dare say that he showed glimpses of being a little unhinged near the beginning though. All good main characters get upset when their friends are put in danger or threatened and Gon’s no exception. However, mix that in with his stubborn nature to never back down and he completely loses it. Gon tends to lose himself in his emotions which is good for building up his Nen, but it does mean he’ll often do anything for a quick boost of power. He gets the job done, but by the end he does tend to push people away.

Then you have Killua who sort of has the reverse character arc of Gon. At first he’s a deadly assassin who has a hard time fitting in. Eventually he learns to believe in teamwork more and even talks about friendship. He makes some close bonds with Gon and the others and really has come a long way from when he first started. He gets a lot of character development and is the best ally you can ask for. He’s always got your back and balances out his impressive fighting abilities with a strategic mind. Killua’s my favorite character in the series.

Then you have Kurapika who is also a big focus in the series. His origin story is similar to Sasuke’s and his goal of revenge is certainly the same. He’s put everything on the line to stop the spiders including giving himself an ability that is only useful against them. As a result he’s permanently limited himself against any other kind of enemy. He’s the smartest of the main characters and rarely lets his emotions get the better of him. It’s a shame that he misses the final half of the series because he’s a very interesting character. Well if the next arc ever gets animated he’ll be the main character of that one.

Then we have Leorio who quickly gets left in the dust by the other characters. He used to be reasonably skilled, but he never learned a lot of Nen so he quickly fell out of the picture. Nen is something that you absolutely need to have or you just won’t stand a chance as the series goes on. He was never as serious or determined as the other characters though so maybe it’s for the best that he was written out. He can be a fun character, but you won’t really miss him while he’s gone.

Hisoka is one of the biggest villains in the series. He’s a constant thorn in the heroes’ path and the guy’s talents also ensure that it is hard to get past him. He’s incredibly powerful and right now it’s hard to say who in the series could really beat him. He’s at least around the level of the leader Chrollo and that would put him at the very top. His obsession with Gon can border on being a character wrecking trait, but so long as that never goes anywhere dicey we should be good. He’s definitely a wild card for all characters in the series.

As for the Spiders, Chrollo is their experienced leader. His ability to copy other powers is always something really hard to defend against. Mix that in with the fact that he is a tactical genius (Isn’t everyone in this series a genius?) and you’ve got a solid threat. One thing that makes the Spiders especially dangerous is the fact that they’re all reluctant friends and will go to war to help one of their own. They’re a unit so mess with one of them and you mess with all of them. Feitan is one of the stronger members of the group. He’s pretty quiet but beneath that are the abilities of the strongest member of the group. Next to Chrollo I just can’t see anyone else challenging him in a fight. Feitan is incredibly fast and strong and his heat abilities mean that escape is basically impossible.

Machi is the most enjoyable member of the group. She has a lot of fun while doing her job and while that doesn’t take away from her being evil, she’s just a nice contrast to the others. Her thin wires are also a tough ability to fight against for sure. It won’t be an easy match for any of the other Spiders against her. Nobunaga hasn’t done much yet and his abilities are pretty straight forward. If you get close to him then he’ll slice you to ribbons. That being said, just because the technique is simple doesn’t mean that beating him will be easy. His idea to get Gon and Killua to join the Spiders was interesting, but quite far fetched so I guess he doesn’t mind going for long shot plans.

Shalnark is probably the most cheerful member of the group though. He just likes hanging out with the group and seems to think of them as just a group of people hanging out. His ability to mind control people is definitely a scary ability to fight though. You never know when you’ll actually be taking on an ally. Then there is Shizuku who is one of the more inexperienced members of the group. Her vacuum does most of the work but her physical strength is in the higher end from the Spider members. All she needs is one good hit to possibly win a fight. She’s one of my least favorite Spider members but she’s not bad. Her personality just doesn’t click with me.

Uvogin is a fun member. He’s all about beating people with raw strength. The guy did allow himself to get captured pretty quick which didn’t work out well for him, but he always knew that the other Spiders would come to help him out. Had he fought almost anyone other than Kurapika in Yorknew he would probably still be around. He certainly had the best fight out of all the Spiders. As for other villains, Illumi is another big name in the series. He’s always messing with Killua and it can be hard to tell what his ultimate goal is. I believe it is just to break Killua down so he recognizes Illumi as his boss and everything else is to get to that point. He certainly doesn’t want anyone murdering Killua before that happens and is willing to fight for him. I’ts a pretty twisted state of affairs. He does seem pretty powerful so I hope he fights someday.

Genthru is the big villain from Greed Island. He’s probably one of the pettier villains though. He just wants a lot of money and to blow people up along the way. There isn’t much to him beyond that. He’s an okay villain, but not one you will remember. Biscuit left a much bigger impact in that arc and she was a fun coach to have. I do feel like she was surpassed in strength pretty quickly though. I don’t think she would be able to hold her own so well if she were to return.

As for the ants, Meruem is their leader so he should go first. He’s like a DBZ character who was thrown into HXH. He’s way too strong for everybody else. Even when he isn’t fighting seriously he’s able to handle the strongest hunter of them all. I like hie design and skill set. He gets a big character arc with a Go player. Mereum started out as a total villain, but was quickly getting redeemed. He’s an interesting character and by the end of the arc it’s quite telling that you’re almost rooting for his side over the humans.

His three generals were also great. Youpi is the weakest of the group (In terms of personality) He starts out as one of those guys who only wants to fight, but quickly begins to learn strategy. He actually outsmarts the heroes a few times which was cool and his final form would have been really tough to deal with in a fight. Pouf is the strategist of the group. He may not be as strong as the other two, but his abilities ensure that it is difficult to trap him. His voice actor did an excellent job with the character. He’s just a lot of fun whenever he is on screen. Finally we have Pitou who I consider to be the strongest of the 3. She took down Kite like it was nothing and was brave enough to make a move on Netero. If not for power level stuff and overthinking she should have been able to take everyone down.

As a quick aside, that’s another issue with the second half of the Chimera arc. I think the author wrote the heroes into too big of a hole. They were heavily outnumbered already and then he added the 3 generals who were stronger than all of the Hunters. There was no way they were going to mount a real comeback here and it shows. The heroes were so far out of their depth that the arc basically got cancelled and had a sudden ending that was not satisfying in the slightest. The power levels had just started to get out of hand so maybe it was a good idea to suddenly stop it, but as a result there are a ton of battles that should have happened, but ultimately didn’t. It was a very anti climactic end to the arc considering how much build up there was. I think the arc could have used another 20 or so episodes which would have been enough to cash-in on all the anticipation built up throughout the saga.

Ikalgo is a chimera who gets a big role as he eventually joins the heroes. He means well and while the guy was a total villain initially, his redemption arc is handled quite well. Ikalgo contributes quite a lot during the arc and while he may not be the strongest guy on the block, he is pretty sneaky. Then you’ve got Cheetu who is just a fun villain. He’s incredibly fast so it’s hard to tag him and he causes a lot of damage. If anything it’s just too bad that we couldn’t see him fight a bit more. It’s hard to really see anyone taking him down in a straight fight. He can destroy most opponents before they even notice he is around. Cheetu also continued to improve more and more as he developed new powers mid-fight. Rammot’s role isn’t nearly as big but he’s also a fun villain. The guy was really the first Nen chimera. Of course that means he isn’t quite ready to take on any of the commanders, but he still gives a good fight. I think his design is what really made him interesting. It’s a cool hybrid type look.

Then we’ve got Netero. This guy likes trolling everyone and by the time he is ready to act in the Chimera war it’s a little too late. The guy is definitely powerful and is probably still one of the strongest characters in the series. He couldn’t quite match up to Mereum but otherwise there are probably just a handful of characters who could give him a good fight. I wasn’t a big fan of his, but he beats most other old mentor type characters. As for Ging, he’s definitely one of the worst parents you’ll see around. He still has no good reason for ditching Gon and his wife. The guy just likes adventures and doesn’t want any responsibility that comes along with it. I want to see him fight because the guy gets to much hype, but at this rate it’ll be a long time before that ever happens.

A real standout character was Pariston. He really stole the show in the election arc. The guy has a charismatic presence so it’s easy to see why he was a front runner to be the next chairman. He destroys the opposing arguments with ease and is always one step ahead of the other characters. Everything goes according to his plans and it’s safe to say that he is still in control. I wonder if he’ll ever get a big role again, but even if he does not he left a great impression. Morel is a pro hunter who can manipulate smoke. He’s a very calm and calculated guy who knows not to bite off more than he can chew. He’s definitely a solid ally to have around and was a fun supporting character. His partner Knov may have cracked, but I liked that guy a lot as well. Ultimately he wasn’t able to press on with the rest of the heroes, but he was inches close to death. His older design also worked pretty well. It was really surreal to see that.

Knuckle is like an old school brawler character from an 80s anime. His power is pretty good because unless you have broken levels of Nen it’ll seal you off very quickly. Calling his attack Bankruptcy was also pretty neat. I do think Killua surpassed him a while back though and at this point Gon should be able to take him down. The guy was a good coach though and he was always nice to the local animals. In comparison Shoot never left as much of an impact. He did fight hard to the end though. Even while dying he wanted Knuckle to continue the fight. It’s always good to have that level of determination in battle.

Then there is Palm who is an odd heroine. She’s very unhinged and is always throwing threats around. Fortunately the heroes are tough enough where they don’t need to worry too much, but she is not an ally you’d want to have on hand. She wasn’t really my kind of character. Then you have Kite who is nice enough. He seems a lot more reasonable than Ging at any rate. He wasn’t terribly interesting either, but I did like his weapon. It’s pretty unique and the fact that even he doesn’t know what it’ll do next makes it a very interesting weapon to see in action.

Zeno is Killua’s grandfather and we can see why he was such a big threat back in the day. Even now he has some powerful moves and the fight with Chrollo was a lot of fun. We also saw what a large range his attack had in the Chimera arc. Pretty much everyone got affected by that. Then Silva is also a powerful fighter. We haven’t seen a whole lot of him either (Such is the fate of many characters in this series) but you can tell that he is the real deal. Killua’s family is just stacked with great fighters. Just take a look at Alluka. Alluka has never even trained before, but was born with a great ability to grant wishes. There is no wish that Alluka can’t feasibly grant in some way or another. I wouldn’t want to have that ability since I couldn’t grant my own wishes though. Seems like a big downside to me.

This likely won’t come as a surprise but the animation is definitely top notch. The colors are very strong and the battle animations are smooth. Everything about the shows looks quite modern. It’s got that sleek new look while still having a good color contrast for the dark nen abilities. Meanwhile the soundtrack is great as well. It’s a shame that my favorite track was never officially released but you’ll hear it quite a few times like when Killua fought the darts guy. There are many other great themes that you’ll be hearing as you go through the series as well.

One big factor in why the show is so good is the writing. Every character is written to be pretty intelligent and three dimensional. The narrator in the chimera arc also adds to the hype by building up each scene. A good narrator goes a long way and this guy definitely succeeded. The play by play enhanced each of the scenes as opposed to slowing things down too much.

Overall, Hunter X Hunter is definitely a fun show. If you’re looking for a good action/adventure anime then this is the one to check out. In some ways it is still one of the most ambitious titles out there. The mind games are incredible and the universe built around the characters is very interesting. There are so many complexities and various characters running around that the series could last for many years even without all the breaks. Once you watch this show you’ll likely want to go read the manga to see what happens next. It may have had a rough patch with the Chimera arc, but the series is long enough where it was able to survive this. Just dive in and enjoy the ride.

Overall 7/10