Saint Seiya: Origin Review


Saint Seiya returns with the next spinoff. It’s another trip to the past as we see more of Gemini Saga. It’s interesting how this one adds a few new angles to how the events played out. They’re all completely self contained too and even knock themselves out so it doesn’t affect canon much. It’s a nice way to make the journey more unexpected though so I’m certainly on board with this. Sadly Aiolos doesn’t return but I suppose he already got his title.

This title is 2 chapters long and starts out with Seiya bringing the pain to Gemini Saga. It’s the climax of the arc and Seiya has just landed the final blow. This causes Saga to remember how this all went down. In the past the Pope and Roshi have a discussion about trying to keep the realm strong since Hades will be showing up soon. They sense something sinister in the air but figure that it’s probably nothing. Roshi will be monitoring the waterfall after all so if something happens then he will be ready.

Well, one day a pair of comets appear and land by the Pope. It is Gemini Saga and his twin brother. They will make for great gold Saints but then another baby lands on the island. Roshi realizes that it is the dark star of legend, a sign that one of Hades heralds has arrived. He commands the Pope to destroy this baby..but it’s a baby so who’s gonna do that right? The Pope declines of course and the baby vanishes into thin air and is absorbed into Gemini Saga. Little did anyone know, that is why Saga turned evil and it wasn’t actually a split personality. It’s actually one of Hades’ minions…….

So that is a pretty interesting change that’s for sure. His name is Gemini Lemur and he is way stronger than Saga at least mentally so taking control of him during the saga was child’s play. He doesn’t actually get to talk in this special though as he just takes the form of smoke and manipulates events how he wants it to play out. It’s a nice concept but the guy barely feels like a character.

The more interesting subplot is with Ker, one of the highest ranking fighters in Hades’ army. I’m pretty sure she was made up for this prequel but I’m not positive. She woke up early somehow and decides to “play a prank” on Athena by summoning Lemur. She also mocks Kanon for kicks which backfires horribly on her. It was nice to see Kanon getting his hype here. With the Trident of Poseidon it makes sense that he would be pretty powerful. It also gave the prequel some action since this is more of a lore heavy story. So that was a nice confrontation. I always liked Kanon as a solid villain.

Ker is also pretty interesting. Honestly she probably should have just stepped in and destroyed Athena if she really wanted to make Hades proud. He certainly wouldn’t have been against it and this would have been an easy task with all of the infighting going around. It’s why narratively speaking it may be a little questionable to have someone so powerful just watching on the sidelines the whole time.

The art is pretty good as expected. The character models are on point and the action can look dramatic. You can tell that the fights would look good here if we actually got some of them. It definitely would have been a cool touch if you ask me. At only two chapters this series really goes by in the blink of an eye though. It’s not quite as strong as the other one but I had no issues with this story. It’s pretty interesting and hopefully they put it at the end of some kind of volume release as a bonus chapter. More people should get to see this part of the lore.

It doesn’t do the Gold Saints any favors though. I never cut these guys any slack because they haven’t earned it. Even here, Roshi has one job which is to watch the Waterfall in case Hades approaches and yet he doesn’t do anything even when Ker infiltrates Athena’s lair (Roshi doesn’t even realize this) and when the shadow comet lands by the Pope he still does nothing. What’s the point of standing guard if you will always just sit back and wait to see how it all plays out?

It was nice to have a lot of easter eggs and foreshadowing at the ready for the Hades arc though. Roshi explaining that a shadow comet is the sign of their arrival is something that did happen at the beginning of the Hades arc. Likewise, that the reason he can’t move by the Waterfall is that he has to wait for the Hades seal to come undone. Of course, it’s pretty easy to add Easter Eggs when a prequel comes out way after the series completed but it’s still nice to see. It helps everything just feel more expansive.

Overall, Saint Seiya: Origin is a good little story. You almost feel like a title that says “Origin” would be about the original Saints though and not how Saga got his dark side. Even in this chapter they reference the events of the original Holy War and how a lot of the Golden Saints died. They’re the ones who would need a prequel. I’m sure they’ll show up in one of the many spinoffs but a title literally called “Origin” would definitely be very fitting for those guys. Either way this is definitely another story I can certainly recommend.

Overall 7/10

Selector Infected Wixoss – Peeping Analyze Review


It’s time to finally check out the Wixoss manga which shows Kiyoi’s journey across the seasons. In the anime she was typically just a supporting character until season 4 where she would effectively take the lead route. So this manga really details what was happening with her through the first 2 seasons and pretty much ends before her mission in season 3. It’s a fun spinoff and I like that it adds a lot of details to her journey. Kiyoi certainly ended up with one of the more confusing story arcs with how many times she body swapped.

The manga starts out by introducing Kiyoi as a rather happy kid. She was brimming with hope and everything so you know something bad is going to happen since in the shows she was never particularly happy. Sure enough she is betrayed by her childhood friends and bullied relentlessly. She has carried this trauma with her even into high school and is unable to believe Sakaguchi when the girl attempts to be her friend.

Sakaguchi ends up being hit by a car as she throws Kiyoi out of the way and enters a deep coma. She is seemingly going to die at any point now. The only way to save her is for Kiyoi to risk her soul and join the Wixoss game. Her LRig “Remember” tells her that if they win enough matches Kiyoi’s wish will be granted and all will be well. If Kiyoi loses….well, Remember figures they don’t need to worry about that because they won’t lose of course. They will just keep on winning.

The manga is able to go into a little more detail on exactly how the wishes work which I liked. So here’s the general gist of it. If you win a certain amount of games as well as unlocking your own personal condition (This depends on the heart of the user) then you will be able to become an Eternal Girl and get your wish granted. Not all wishes are possible though as an LRig can only grant something within their power. Keep in mind that they are only human (Outside of special cases like Tama) so you can’t wish to gain super powers or bring back the dead.

That said, the wording of your wish is important. Your LRig can still go through with the contract if they believe that they are completing your wish or that they can do so. So if you wish to be rich, they can still complete the contract because they’re probably confident that they can pull it off. If they are unable to meet the conditions, then the LRig will vanish and the whole thing becomes void. That is the winning condition.

When losing, your wish reverses itself. So if you wished to be rich and lose, you will then become poor. This reversal is decreed by Mayu, the goddess of Wixoss and so her ability has no limits. She can warp reality itself so this is a very important thing to keep in mind. While wishes have limits, punishments do not. If you lose 3 times, then your wish will be reversed.

Then there’s the whole concept of the franchise as well which is the truth about the Eternal Girls. When you win, you body swap with your LRig and the LRig will live out the rest of your life. It’s why you have to be careful with your wishes and even then, you can never truly enjoy the results of your wish. Clearly there is quite a lot to think about here.

This manga is two volumes and it goes by really quickly. The dynamic also changes right off the bat since Kiyoi’s quest to save Sakaguchi ends in a few chapters. See, Remember is an LRig and a rather devious one at that. She ends up fulfilling Kiyoi’s wish to “save’ Sakaguchi in her own way. It’s one of those literal word fulfillments that will have you feeling rather dubious about how it can be allowed. Nevertheless, this leads to Kiyoi’s quest for revenge. The bulk of this manga is about Kiyoi trying to find a way to murder Remember but it’s tough since she is currently stuck as an LRig and cannot affect the real world. She needs to get a human body again, but is it worth it if she has to trick someone else through the same path?

While in the anime it seemed like you would be punished if you mention the trick about winning and the hidden truths of the game, the manga makes it explicit that you can actually do whatever you like. LRigs just don’t tend to tell their owners this because deep down they want to be human again and doing so would lower the chances of that which does make sense.

Wixoss is always about testing your own morality and seeing how far you would go on your personal dreams. Each match is a clash of ideals as the only way to get closer to your goal is to knock someone farther from theirs. Additionally, when you defeat someone and it’s their third loss, then you’ve just doomed them. The very first chapter deals with that as an opponent begs Kiyoi to throw the match. It does come off as a desperate ploy to get Kiyoi to lower her guard though since that’s not something you just tell the opponent like that.

The cast is fairly small so we’ve mostly just got the core members here. Mayu is still around as the ruler of this establishment of course, but I’ve never been a big fan of hers. She really likes to throw a lot of tantrums when things don’t go her way. She has a lot of power but tends to lose control of the situation a lot as well. Ultimately that just doesn’t make her look very strong.

Aki shows up for a bit since she owned Kiyoi at one point. She was always a very fun character in the show so it was nice to see her here. She was quite powerful back in her day and we see her defeat several opponents in her brief screen time. Aki really knows how to make the most of Kiyoi’s special ability to see the wishes of her opponents. Nobody in the series was better at mind games than she was.

Sakaguchi doesn’t appear a whole lot for obvious reasons but she was a nice character. She did her best to help get Kiyoi out of her shell and never gave up. It’s a shame that things didn’t work out for her. Then you have Amika who is very similar personality wise and to Kiyoi’s shock she looks absolutely identical. You’d think that the two of them had to be twins without a doubt.

Amika has her own reasons for entering the Wixoss fight which was to save her mother who is in critical condition. It’s a story that hits pretty close to home for Kiyoi which makes their partnership rather rocky since Kiyoi is hiding a lot from her. Ultimately Amika proves to be a really selfless individual and always tries her hardest to do the right thing. Kiyoi couldn’t ask for a better partner.

then you have the main character Kiyoi who is a lot of fun. She is not one of the more emotional main characters so it can be quite different to see how she was back in the day before all of the betrayals. It’s hard to get over something like that so it’s easy to see why she acts the way that she does. Kiyoi starts to lose herself the more that these tragedies add up until eventually she meets up with Amika. Kiyoi’s plan near the end of the series was brilliant and cements her as one of the smartest characters in the series.

Kiyoi is tough and that’s a very important character trait to have in a world as rough as Wixoss. You can’t exactly trust a whole lot of people here since they’re all fighting for their own wishes after all. It’s why talking just doesn’t help since lives are at stake. Two fighters can’t come to an agreement when they’re both trying to save family after all.

Finally you have the main villain, Remember. She certainly jumpstarts a lot of the issues that the characters all have. She does a good job of acting innocent initially and playing it off like she’s completely innocent. By all accounts, Remember is a very intelligent character as well since she is able to lead different fighters to victory. It doesn’t matter who it is, her fortune telling is always on point. The only time Kiyoi lost with her was when the girl decided to go against the predictions after all.

Remember is a very memorable villain and leaves an impact on the story. She certainly gets a lot of closure here as well. Her methods were as sinister as they get but I would say she was a good villain. Ultimately Remember had a mission/goal and took steps to achieve it. She was careful all the way through and never wavered. If not for Mayu trolling a lot it’s not like anyone would have figured out what she did either. Remember was always very careful to cover her tracks.

The art is very solid here. The character designs are on point and you can follow the action with ease. It’s fun seeing how all of the characters from the show look and the artist knew how to draw them on model. It all looks like it’s directly obtained from the anime which is good for consistency. We even had a cameo for the season 1 cast. Otherwise they miss out on Kiyoi’s adventures but that makes sense since they were busy. It’s part of why it’s fun to see Kiyoi’s scenario since you may have wondered what she was doing the entire time.

Overall, This is a great Wixoss spinoff. It really captures the essence of the game and tells a complete story. The ending is satisfying and it feels like a whole lot happens during the two volumes. Naturally it’d be nice if we got more volumes but I suppose at that point you would just be looking at a Wixoss sequel. Kiyoi had her story so now it’s time for the others to get theirs. We still don’t get almost any explanation on the Wixoss game itself. Don’t expect any rules to be explained or for the turns to even make a lot of sense. This manga is much more focused on the story outside of the game rather than on specific matches. So you can come into this as a Wixoss veteran or completely fresh and will still be able to get a lot of enjoyment out of this one.

Overall 8/10

Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy Review


It feels like ages since this show started. It’s already impressive that the original Rescue Bots got a sequel series and even more so that it got 2 seasons. Clearly the series is doing something right and it does feel like we’re back into a renaissance for the franchise. We’ve got a live action film coming up, another TV show, some animated movies, etc. And if you like the Beast War characters then even more so. Now this series is naturally a lot smaller scale than most of the other titles coming up as it’s more of an educational series but it’s fun enough.

The series takes place several years after the original Rescue Bots show. Cody is now a lot older and Heatwave is the main teacher at this academy. The goal of the school is to train a whole new generation of Rescue Bots now that the others are all masters of their craft. It’ll be difficult though because the new kids are ready for action and on its surface, rescuing isn’t quite the same thing. In particular Hot Shot is a global champion in Cube and it’ll be difficult to get him to switch gears. Well, Heatwave and the other bots have their challenge. Now it’s time to watch the journey on getting these recruits to be the best rescue bots ever.

Each episode is around 10 minutes which is definitely a trend in the west. So if you go by that logic then the series has over 100 episodes but I always merge them to be fair so lets say we have 52. That’s still a pretty good run for this show. There’s a lot you can do with that many adventures and a lot of lessons to learn for the kids.

Rescue Bots Academy is a very laid back show so from the start you have to make sure that you’re not expecting big action scenes or anything like that. This is a slice of life adventure that is aimed at a very young crowd after all. Still, it has to stay interesting and have some kind of focus in order to keep a positive score since whether you’re aimed at 1 year olds or 10, there should be a point to the whole thing.

Fortunately Rescue Bots Academy makes for a good watch. I don’t think it’s a title that you will want to marathon a whole lot but each story is very different so that does help. It’s also fun to see the old Transformer characters running about. You could even say that Hot Shot makes for an even better character than Heatwave was back in the day. I do miss the humans a bit here though. Yes, it’s rare but this is one of the few cases where humans help to enhance the experience.

Back to Hot Shot, the reason why he is the best character here is because of his absolute confidence. The guy is a cube champion which you will be reminded of a whole lot. Most of his morals are about learning to trust others and not keeping so many secrets. He’s a hard nut to crack but gradually throughout the show Hot Shot learns what it means to be a true leader. Ultimately he has the clearest character arc out of the whole cast and he never lost his edge. There’s just no way Hot Shot could be anything but the best. Even his transformation ability is the best as he can turn into any kind of vehicle even if he can only do it once a day.

Then we have Whirl who is the second best member of the group. She’s a stickler for the rules so she’s the polar opposite of Hot Shot. She is willing to bend them a whole lot more than Chase though and I suppose that’s why she is a cadet. She’ll probably be much more rigid about it once she grows up. A lot of the times she is the one coming up with plans and as a detective in training you would certainly say she is the brains of the group.

Wedge is the tough guy and in a way tries to be the rival to Hot Shot. He can’t quite keep up but at least he tries right? He has a good amount of power and part of his personality is that he really looks up to Bumblebee. This results in him trying to show off a lot of the time and it ultimately ends up backfiring quite a bit.

Then we get to the final two Rescue Bots who can’t really hold their own with the main 3. Hoist is the most nervous bot of the group and has a lot of self confidence issues. He does his best to get over his fears but that doesn’t really happen until the very end of season 2. Hoist just wasn’t quite able to get into the action like the others for a while which is why for me he was a lot less entertaining. I prefer when the characters just dive in.

As for Medix, I dare say that he’s even more by the book than Whirl. The guy doesn’t really know how to have a good time for the most part. A lot of his morals are about learning how to adapt due to this. It’s always good to have a medical bot on board at least even if nobody ever really gets injured in the show. At best you have Chuck, the indestructible testing bot who gets beat up a ton but the point of his character is that he can’t be injured anyway.

For the humans we have Cody as the main character. Unfortunately you won’t really be seeing Chief Burns or any of the other classic characters beyond a quick cameo or guest star appearance like the mayor. Cody’s a good character but he rarely gets to do much more than say a wise line or two. Cody has a friend named Wes who gets an episode or two to himself. The kid wants to hang out with the Rescue Bots but they’re not the biggest fans of humans yet as they find them to be a bit too weak.

This does lead to one of the cheesiest scenes in the series when Wes actually manages to snag the Cube when it’s tough even for robots to do it. Hmmm, I guess he got his hype though. For the true Autobots, we get a few of them from time to time. Optimus Prime shows up at the beginning and ending of the show to drop some sage advice on the characters. His role is never more than a quick cameo here and there though so don’t expect anything big.

Bumblebee gets a few episodes as we explore what it’s like to be a true scout. Wedge also gets to see his hero in action. We also get to see that he really is faster than Hot Shot when Bumblebee tries to humiliate the little guy. The moral of that episode was about teaching the right way so it was good that he showed Hot Shot what’s up although it would have been fun if Hot Shot had actually won that match. Now that would have put Bee in a rather sticky situation. It was nice to see at least one of the old guard getting to do quite a bit.

Perceptor and Ratchet also get to show up from time to time. Everyone tends to like their classes since they know their stuff and how to make things exciting. Surprisingly we even get Lazerbeak from the Decepticons only the bird has turned over a new leaf now. He’s here to help and support the heroes whenever possible. It’s definitely a pretty emotional sub plot I suppose although his change of heart seemed rather sudden. I suppose he never wanted to be evil and just followed Soundwave around? Hmmm…not sure I buy that one.

From the old Rescue Bots it’s very noticeable that Blades, Boulder, and Chase don’t get a whole lot to do. They may show up for a few episodes here and there but it’s a very rare sight. Especially Blades who is an exceptionally rare guest star. At least we do have Heatwave though and that guy shows up in virtually every episode. It makes sense that he would be the teacher after being the main Rescue Bot. He’s learned a lot of lessons as it is so it’s easier to teach them.

Then we have the Dinobots. Grimlock easily gets the biggest role as he became a Teacher himself which was pretty impressive. Just goes to show that anyone can do it if they put enough effort into the mix. Unfortunately Grimlock was objectively not a good teacher as he would constantly break equipment and even taught the wrong moral by mistake so the kids had to correct him. The guy always tries hard though.

The other Dinobots like Sludge and Snarl don’t do much until the final episodes. They become friends with Hoist which keeps them around as supporting characters since they’re needed for the morals. They’re definitely not the smartest characters which even leads to them being framed. I would say they’re some of the weaker characters personally. Then you have Slash who shows up at the very end of the series. She’s not a fan of humans and seems to be more of a rebel compared to the others.

She’s fun even if she ultimately has to lose her edge really quickly since being a rebel wasn’t going to be tolerated in the academy. Finally you have Scorch who also has a small role but as a rival of sorts to Hot Shot he was a fun character whenever he appeared. Part of why the Cube episodes in the show are the best ones is because I like to see some good competition and for Hot Shot to live up to his hype. To his credit, Hot Shot was not bluffing. He really is a cube master.

While there is never any real action in the show, occasionally we get some moments that at least give you a sense of competition like the Cube episodes and even this one tournament episode that occurred. Hot Shot may not have looked so good there which basically means that humans have built robots that surpass Cybertronians but at least it was cool to see. Who’d have thought this show would have a tournament? It may not be played super seriously but that’s just how it goes.

The writing in the show is good. You clearly see each lesson and moral as the show goes on. It stays interesting enough which is always good. It’s 1 peg below the average title I would say just because it is a little more limited in what it can do. I would sooner pick all of the other Transformer shows which makes sense since they’re allowed to execute on the actual concept of the series which is battles with Decepticons. Naturally this one can’t go quite so far.

As for the animation, I would say it’s fairly below average. You definitely wouldn’t expect to see any cutting edge spectacles here. Shows like Sonic Boom, Kim Possible, and other shows tend to look quite a bit better than this one. I suppose the character designs and environments aren’t bad though. At the very least everything is always clear. Potentially the animation could have gotten a chance to show off if we got some action scenes sort of like My Little Pony, but without those the series just never jumped up like that.

The soundtrack’s a little limited but it’s not bad. Each theme gets across what it was going for in the scene. You have the danger themes, happy ones, etc. It’s all rather by the book but because of that you’re never confused on what the themes are going for.

It would have been fun if the series could have maybe gotten around the no danger rules a bit more though. If the show can’t put anyone in true peril, have some more sport competitions. The fun thing about those is that you’re not in mortal danger but it still ups the stakes because you absolutely don’t want to lose. A mini arc about the Rescue Bots having to put aside their differences to be the best team in the land would have been a lot of fun without a doubt.

Overall, Rescue Bots Academy is a good follow up to the original show. I would say the original one still wins though as it felt like they were able to do a whole lot more. Not only was the cast significantly bigger but they were allowed to have real danger scenes. You had a Decepticon show up once, an evil scientist, characters nearly getting squished, etc. The first show had way more danger than this one so I suppose this one was aiming even younger. Still, if you really like Transformers and don’t mind watching educational type shows then this one makes for a decent watch. There are certainly no real negatives to be found here, it just won’t have any episode that really pops for you.

Overall 6/10

Bleach: Can’t Fear Your Own World Review


Bleach will always be known as one of the greatest manga to ever walk the planet. It balanced together a ton of action and hype moments but at the same time fans will note that we were left with a lot of unanswered questions. Well, this book seeks to answer at least some of them. Others will need more novels but if you had any questions about Hisagi or the origins of the Soul Society then this should answer them. It’s a pretty fun trilogy even if it probably would have been better to have sidelined Hisagi since he’s so far out of his depth.

The books starts with Aizen finally being sentenced to prison again. He may have helped out during the Thousand Blood War but nobody wants to see him since he makes them feel bad. The guy is successfully able to manipulate the whole cast in his few pages of screen time at the beginning. He says some rather disturbing things though which causes Hisagi to decide to run a newspaper. He aims to get to the bottom of the dark web of lies known as the Soul Society. To do this he will have to interview every character who had a role during the Bleach manga series. There’s just one problem: he may have just walked into a conspiracy.

Meanwhile Tokinada has decided that it’s time to act more openly. He’s the head of one of the 4 sacred houses of the Soul Society. This means that he can do just about whatever he wants whenever he wants. In this case he just wants to stir up some trouble and intends to use his protégé Hikone to accomplish this goal. With Ichigo away on vacation, do the heroes have any chance against this guy?

Since there are 3 books here there is a whole lot of time for story progression. As such the books are able to be very dialogue heavy with character discussing abstract concepts such as what it means to fear someone and if it makes you stronger. In particular Hisagi loves discussing such topics since he is obsessed with them. In a way I would say Tosen leaving seems to have traumatized Hisagi in some way because the guy is really obsessed.

You’ll have long monologues of Hisagi wondering if what he is doing is right or perhaps he made a mistake somewhere. It’s definitely a rough road for the guy that’s for sure. Hisagi’s not a bad character, I’ve never minded him at least although I would say he is probably better in the manga than in the novels because we didn’t know he was so dramatic. In the books he tends to panic whenever anyone talks to him. In his defense he is rather outmatched by everyone though. He still gets to participate in the climax though and I would say that was handled really well.

In terms of moments where he overthinks things, I would say that the answer usually isn’t all that hard to find. For example, he talks about the kind of justice that Tosen has but no matter how you try to explain it away, that guy was just crazy. You can’t find meaning in his actions due to that being the case.

Then later on when he’s panicking about Tokinada getting the better of him, you realize he just needs to beat that guy. Now, some of the characters have valid gripes against the Soul Society like Ginjo. I thought he looked really good here as well. I would argue in the fights he should have looked a lot stronger but he doesn’t train as much as Ichigo so I guess it’s not a big deal.

His main issue is really just that the Soul Society did betray him and they murdered a bunch of people. You can see why he is always upset at them because they get away with everything without any issue. That’s where the problem lies because you’d think that by now things would be different but they really aren’t.

Look no further than Mayuri’s subplot. Sure it’s mainly used as a dark humor kind of plot but he’s literally enslaved a bunch of hollows and quincies. The Soul Society looks the other way because they don’t like those factions at all but you’re really going to let them live such a tough existence? Mayuri doesn’t hide this at all either and is just as demented as he ever was. All of his scenes are painful just because of how dark they are. The guy gets his kicks out of experimenting on everyone but nobody stops him. It’s why I could never root for the Soul Society in any arc.

First they tried to murder Rukia on rather flimsy reasoning. That event is mentioned here a lot since of course Tokinada had something to do with it. That was one of their first appearances and things never really changed. They’re on Ichigo’s good side but that doesn’t mean that they are actually heroes. Throughout this trilogy we find out many other dark secrets about them which just keeps on adding up. Honestly I don’t think Hisagi will ever get to finish his story. He’ll probably be bumped off at some point.

Even characters with high ranks like Shunsui threaten Hisagi about this a lot. He really will have no friends if he goes too far to the point where it’s hinted that he would need to call in Ichigo. Ichigo gets a lot of hype here which was nice. Every tie the books hype up the new villains they always make sure to mention that Ichigo would still win. It’s nice to see because the power levels had be a bit worried. Sequels tend to surpass the heroes pretty quick like Granolah surpassing Goku and a bunch of Androids all surpassed Naruto with ease. So far that has not happened to Ichigo here.

In general the power levels in these books aren’t too bad but I definitely have some issues. Mainly it’s that too many of the characters seem deadlocked. You’ll be surprised at how many ties there are in this trilogy. Characters keep tanking everything until the battle gets interrupted. Most of the battles in the final book end at least which is good.

We get to see some of the Espada show up like Harribel, Nel, and Grimmjow. Harribel is currently the leader of Hueco Mundo and still looks good here. She doesn’t get a very big role but looks tough. The same is true of Nel as well. Grimmjow definitely gets a bigger role than the other two. He has several fights to himself and looks pretty good. It was always fun to see him get involved and was nostalgic in a way too.

Urahara knows a lot more than he lets on as always. He’s certainly a crucial piece to the heroes’ arsenal even if he tends to help behind the scenes. The guy hasn’t lost his edge. Then there’s Shunsui who may be the leader of the Soul Society but he has to play politics so often that he rarely gets to do what he wants to do anymore. I would say that holds him back as a character because he feels like someone who ended up joining corporate and can’t be trusted anymore. At the end of the day it’s clear that he will choose duty above all else.

Yoruichi and Shinji are other characters who get quick roles here. Yoruichi is confident as always and likes testing various characters but only participates in a fight briefly. Shinji also gets one fight but it’s quite the important one. He’s one of the few side characters to get a full fight to himself which is pretty big. His fans should definitely be satisfied with the results since you really can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.

Not to be outdone, Zaraki gets some hype as well. He doesn’t fight until nearly the end of the trilogy but it’s really a fight that’s worth your while. His power level has to be one of the strongest among all the captains at this point if not the absolute strongest based on how everyone acts around him.

Tosen is important only in the sense that his justice speech gets mentioned a lot by Hisagi. Honestly I think Hisagi reads way too far into everything. Tosen was pretty much insane and made his choice. You can’t use him as a beacon of hope anymore. Then you have Aizen who looked great in his initial appearance as I mentioned. He gets a flashback as well and appears a bit near the end so it’s always good to see him show up. The guy gets so much hype that you can’t help but feel he would able to win against the heroes if he were to ever return.

Mayuri gets a bit role as mentioned earlier as he really tries to make the Soul Society look as evil as possible. Between him and Tokinada they make a compelling case for why the place needs to be taken down. Then we get onto the 4 new characters in the series. First up is Tokinada since he is the main villain. The guy is certainly going for an Aizen vibe but a crazier version of the character.

Aizen always spoke very respectfully and had grand ideals. He knew how to talk about those in a very regal sense. Tokinada is also a master strategist but he likes really messing with the heroes. He’ll constantly bring up old traumas to see how everyone reacts. His back story really hits different as a result of that. It’s not an origin where you’re supposed to feel bad for him. Far from it, it shows that he was always twisted to the core right from the start.

He makes for a very powerful villain but not a likable one. You feel like Shunsui or Byakuya should have taken him out long ago. The main problem is that they just accept what happened each time without retaliating. That would lead to Tokinada growing more and more bold. It is impressive how he is able to hold his own against everyone though. Maybe a little too impressive since taking on Espada, the Quincy, and the Gotei 13 is just insane. This guy could have even ended Arc 2 based on how good he looks here.

Then you have Hikone who is Tokinada’s right hand man. As a human, arrancar, quincy hybrid creation the kid doesn’t know anything about the world except what Tokinada has told him. To that extent he’s a rather tragic character since he has no possible way to know that what he is doing is wrong. All he can do is keep on moving forward and hoping for the best. This guy’s power is also very impressive and he keeps on getting stronger throughout the series. I ended up liking him. Hikone’s true personality shines through since he doesn’t murder his opponents the way he would have if the guy was pure evil. He simply doesn’t know better and I can’t really blame him for that.

Then you have his sword Ikomikidomae. That guy’s a very interesting character and I would have liked to have seen more of him. He’s a very old being who has so much power that it’s hard to even say what he is. The guy ultimately gets overshadowed by the other two villains but looked really impressive in the meantime. In a 1 on 1 fight it’s hard to say that anyone else would be able to defeat him. Not the way he was dominating the other characters.

Finally you have Aura. She’s certainly an interesting character with the way her intangibility powers work. Aura is quite broken in that sense as nobody could really land a hit on her throughout the whole trilogy. Only one specific blade would even have a chance against her and since Tokinada is a master strategist she would need to be careful of him. She gets her own backstory and everything so by the end you feel like you know Aura quite well. She got a very satisfying ending to her character I would say.

In the books there are some illustrations which is fun. It would be nice to see this turned into a manga or anime at some point since there’s a lot to absorb here. I don’t read a whole lot of novels though so it’s fun to see how the information is presented in a different medium. For sure it allows you to have a lot more dialogue and characters really processing the events. To an extent I would say that a novel will always be more dramatic than other versions since you have the characters thinking and using hyperbole about everything. (“This is the strongest attack I’ve ever seen!!!!”)


Overall, This was a really fun trilogy. The only goal the trilogy didn’t succeed with was getting me to like Hisagi. The guy is just too filled with self doubt and panicking all the time. Since that was part of his character arc perhaps he will be better going forward though. I liked how the series handled the Ichigo aspect since the guy would have cleaned shop if he was around. I thought the reason for why he wasn’t around was logical though and there’s even potential room for a sequel explaining more in depth what happened to him. What really seals the deal for the trilogy being great though was the ending. It’s really the ideal ending in many respects and an ending is always important since it leaves an impression. I was pleasantly surprised at some of the final outcomes. So if you’re looking for more Bleach content until we hopefully get a sequel soon, these 3 books are great ones to check out.

Overall 8/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Rimuru’s Glamorous Life as a Teacher Review


That title’s definitely a mouthful isn’t it? In theory I could have taken out the franchise title since you don’t always need to have that as part of the intro but in this case it did make sense. This one’s a 3 episode special about Rimuru’s days as a teacher. It’s a fun little adventure and works well in this universe where Rimuru already does get to have a lot of down time between battles. You can picture him hanging out at the school for a while to flex and show why he’s a better teacher than the rest. It’s a solid adventure that goes by in a flash.

The special starts with Rimuru slacking off at school as per usual when Jeff shows up. This teacher has always had something against Rimuru. Rimuru doesn’t know if it’s because he’s always slacking off or the guy is just jealous that he transformed the most problematic class into the most powerful one. Either way Jeff lets him know that a big protection test is coming up at the school and as always Rimuru’s class won’t be invited since they don’t have equipment. Rimuru quickly changes that so now his class can in fact enter. The rules are simple, the kids will drive a van/wagon past the mountain plains and into town where they will drop off the teacher unharmed. They will all then participate in a cave challenge fighting monsters.

To keep things fair, the students will be guarding different teachers. So for example Jeff’s students will be guarding Rimuru and his students will be guarding another teacher named Tiss. Your points are based on how quickly you make it to the castle along with how smooth a ride it was. Rimuru’s not particularly concerned since his kids are far more powerful than your average class. They each have spirit animals and basic offensive magic skills at the ready. Still, this trip may be more dangerous than they had expected.

The special does deliver on the action as the kids are inevitably attacked by bandits. They handle them rather well and then even have to fight off an actual demon. They don’t look quite as good in that battle but I don’t think anyone would have been quite prepared to handle this guy. Not only does he have regeneration but he is also very fast and powerful. Such a foe is completely outside the limits of a usual school test. Fortunately we had Diablo show up to clean things up by the end. The guy continues to prove why he is one of the best characters in the series which is why it’s almost a bit funny that he hasn’t technically appeared in the main show yet outside of a cliffhanger, a prequel episode, and now an extra episode.

You can tell he will definitely make a splash when he gets a proper role. There’s also a bit of an epilogue as Rimuru helps cure a fatal illness because he’s just that good. One thing you figure out very quickly while watching the slime adventures is that there isn’t much that Rimuru can’t do. Thanks to Great Sage he is a super genius and he has so many extra abilities that he is also a whiz at combat. This makes him pretty much untouchable to at least 90% of the cast which is no small feat. He’s a fun character and definitely looks good in these episodes.

Then you have the rival Jeff who is fun. I mean, you know he is completely and utterly out of his league in the fight but it doesn’t take away from his being a rather amusing character. It’s always fun seeing these characters give the lead a hard time, particularly when like here it isn’t overdone. He’s not trying to frame Rimuru or do anything drastic, he just throws out a lot of insults.

Then you have the third teacher Tiss. She’s a nice person but you feel like she should be a lot stronger than she is. My main issue is that she looked up to Shizu as a great role model and aspires to be as powerful as her. You would expect that she would have started training then right? Unfortunately she acts like she has never held a sword a day in her life. How does that work out? It just doesn’t make any sense no matter how you slice it. I’m hoping when she next appears she would have gotten a lot stronger.

Meanwhile the kids are good, they continue to defy expectations and actually appear as very solid characters. I would say the weakest of the group is Gale mainly because the guy barely seems to have any character next to the others. Kenya is a blast though and is always ready to charge the enemy. With his sword and design he looks like someone out of Dragon Quest. Then you have Chloe who is also always ready for battle. Her chosen weapon may not be the best one but she makes up for it in hidden talent. Then you have Alice who is quite possibly the most powerful of the kids. She is a little more on the timid side but definitely fights when it counts. Ryota is also a fairly quiet kid so you won’t see him make a name for himself, but he is there ready and willing to help at all times.

While the special is a fairly light hearted endeavor, the action scenes are pretty serious. Kenya actually sliced off one guy’s arm which was unexpected but of course the guy had a potion to regenerate it. I’m glad Kenya had been prepared for this though. The kids put up a brave stand against the demon as well which was nice to see and of course this led to Diablo stealing the show as always. It was a great climax and the perfect way to end the special. If you merge the three parts this works quite well as a mini movie. It’s got a complete plot and while Rimuru doesn’t get to do a whole lot in terms of fighting here, he’ll have plenty of chances in the main series anyway. This one really focuses on why he is known as such a great teacher. He may be rather hands off in his approach but his sheer genius makes up the difference.

The animation is on par with the main show. It’s a very solid display for the character designs and backdrops. I definitely have no complaints with how anything looked. The soundtrack is also taken from the show so this is good as well. It is able to really capture the feeling of just being another pair of episodes which is good. It’s a seamless transition. The pacing is on point so this will also keep your interest all the way through.

Overall, This was a fun trilogy of episodes. I wouldn’t say there is a ton more to discuss since it’s a rather straight forward plot. It’s a quick challenge to see which class is best and we all know that Rimuru’s absolutely destroyed the others no matter what Jeff says. Of course, they all have super powers and spirit boosters so it may not be super fair, but that’s neither here nor there. I’d be cool with Jeff returning in the main series for more of a rivalry with Rimuru from time to time. The kids also still want to visit Rimuru’s village so I assume that is probably going to happen soon. If you want a fun little adventure to see the old characters again this is definitely a good special to check out.

Overall 7/10

Edens Zero


As with Fairy Tail, Mashima continues to deliver high energy products. Edens Zero has a pretty nice setting and the art is top tier as expected. there’s definitely going to be a lot of fun adventures here, however the series is holding itself back with fanservice right out of the jump. Hopefully it can get a little more focused as the series goes on and that will help a lot. I’ll have a review up once the series finishes.

Overall 4/10

Warriors Orochi 2 Review


After many years it was finally time to jump into the second Warriors Orochi title. The first one had definitely been a lot of fun so I was eager to see how the sequel would respond. Once again this is definitely a great title. I do think there’s a bit more they could have done with the story to highlight the crossover aspect but on the whole you should be very satisfied here.

The game lets you choose between playing as the Dynasty Warrior series, Samurai, or Orochi. I went for Dynasty and it’s fun that the fire team gets to be the head fighters here. The Sun clan is always a fun team to get behind even if the leader Sun Jian doesn’t look his best this time. He is determined to keep the kingdom at peace so he doesn’t make a move against the new villains until he is effectively forced into doing so. Then he is ready for action but it all feels a bit late in the game.

With Orochi destroyed everyone is just trying to get used to living in this strange world since there appears to be no way back. Unfortunately peace isn’t something that will be maintained for long as Lu Bu has returned along with one of Orochi’s trusted followers and they intend to plunge the world into chaos once more. Meanwhile, a bunch of other villains from Samurai Warriors and Dynasty have decided to use the confusion to take over as well. It’s going to be a tough few days for the Sun clan but they have to take them all down without mercy.

The gameplay is pretty self explanatory but I’ll quickly run over it anyway. The goal of the level is to take down the enemy generals. You have to do this without letting your own men be destroyed. You have your standard attacks, power moves, and super attacks. Use them wisely as you take opponents down. As this is a hack n slash there are hundreds of opponents to defeat to the point where they are practically never ending. Never let yourself get distracted in any one area too long or your partners will die pretty quickly. I died in the first level but never after that. As long as you stay sharp you’ll be fine. It’s also worth noting that this is a rare game where you keep your EXP even when you lose a level. I was really glad to see that.

There are 8 levels in the game and on average you should complete them between 10-13 minutes. The levels feel fairly short but that’s because they are a lot of fun. Your attacking speed is a little on the slow side but you can call up your horse to move great distances when needed. Initially you’ll want to beat a lot of the minions to gain EXP but then in latter levels you can run straight for the enemy generals. Once I unlocked the 5 hit combo which burned my opponents I was definitely ready to go with a more aggressive strategy. This combo could even be used repeatedly if the opponent didn’t block the launcher move which would result in a lot of damage Without that move the levels would have certainly been a lot more difficult to navigate.

The graphics here definitely look good as expected. The character models are on point and the stages are suitably ominous. I like how everything looks, the game just has an epic feel from start to finish. It feels like a grand crossover and that’s exactly how this game is supposed to be. The character roster is also impressive although not surprising since the warrior games usually shine like this. The soundtrack is always very good. Optic Lines is the most memorable track (The name is at least something like that) but there are a lot of good tunes throughout.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. You can play the other story modes and really perfect your skills. Maxing out all of the characters is bound to take a lot of time as well since there are so many and level ups can take some time. I think I got my character to around Level 50 by the end though so that was a pretty reasonable jump. You’ll easily be able to find 20+ hours here by the time you do everything.

One unfortunate thing though was that in the end I beat Orochi before I could even see his little pre rendered cutscene. I had too many backed up by this point as I ran through the level so it wasn’t quite up to his I suppose. Unless he didn’t have one but I would be surprised since every other boss has one. It was definitely cool to see him there though. I’m wondering how Orochi 3 will handle the plot since I’m sure they don’t want to go for the same angle of him reviving again and yet it feels like that is what they will have to do. A lot of tough decisions there to be sure.

Overall, I am one step closer to being caught up with all of the Warrior Orochi games now. Orochi 2 was definitely a blast and I expect the rest will be as well. It’s a fairly simple/direct game so there isn’t much more to say on it. If you like the main Warrior games then of course you’ll like this one. The more you’ve played the other two series, the more you will really enjoy the unique interactions here as well. I’d like to see more interactions in future games but as it is, it was fun seeing the final boss of Samurai Warriors Katana show up here since I just beat that game the other day.

Overall 8/10

Samurai Warriors: Katana Review


Katana is a very unique Samurai Warriors game. The fact that it was for the Wii was already interesting and right away you can see that it’s nothing like the standard ones. The whole game is in first person view. I’ve never played a first person beat em up before so that was cool. The whole game also plays like an experiment or a tech demo as the game continues to change gameplay styles quite a lot. There aren’t many levels in each campaign scenario but a lot of different gameplays. It’s a fun enough game but best left forgotten as an experiment rather than giving it another try in the future.

In the game you are a mysterious soldier who has decided to help the cause of uniting the country under Nobunaga’s rule. You end up being the greatest soldier of all time and take everyone down. Each level has you defeating a ton of soldiers and even rescuing the leader. You get to battle with some of the iconic Samurai Warrior characters. The story isn’t the most ambitious or memorable, but it’s a fun enough journey. The plots for these games usually don’t take a lot of twists and turns anyway. I’d prefer to have played as a real character though.

As for the gameplay, like I mentioned it tends to shift a lot. The core gameplay has you pressing the A button to swing your weapon and you swing the Nunchuk for the super attack. Then the B button is to shoot your Gun at enemies. You also have a crossbow but the gun is just way better. It’s a little slow but the damage is on a completely different level so you definitely want to be using that one. Blocking is also very important in this game since it’s difficult to swing at all enemies before at least one of them swings back at you. There’s a good amount of strategy involved here. You don’t move as the enemies come to you.

Then you have the more traditional style where you run around to face off against enemies. This gameplay style doesn’t show up until the end of the game. It’s still in first person but the ability to move around in the large environment is definitely like something more out of the core Samurai Warrior games. There’s also another kind of style where you click on arrows to move your character one space in that direction. You keep on clicking until you are out of that maze/level. It’s a lot to take in but the actual gameplay isn’t very complicated at all so I don’t expect it will take you all that long to conquer this one and ace the opponents.

I will say that I did die several times in the game though. You can buy upgrades and items at the shop which are helpful. I maxed out attack power first and then worked on defense and health. The item shop’s healing items are also pretty good as they’re cheap to buy and even just being able to restore your health fully once is a big help. The final level has multiple bosses going after you so any advantage you can get will go a long way without a doubt.

In terms of graphics the game isn’t super impressive. It’s definitely not quite as detailed as the usual game but the illustrations are on point. There isn’t any lag in this one so that’s pretty good. With the in game graphics you always know what’s going on which is the important part. The soundtrack is largely forgettable. I can’t recall any specific theme here. So I think the bottom line in all of this is that the gameplay is solid but the rest of the areas don’t stand out. You should be playing this because you’re just a big fan of fighting gameplay or the series but it won’t beat any mainline entries.

In terms of replay value, the main campaign isn’t very long at about 3 hours. However, there are 3-4 other campaigns to play so completing them all should take you to around 10 hours. From there you can work on maxing out all stats and having a good time. Considering that the price isn’t too crazy on this one either it’s a pretty good deal I would say. You also have the added benefit of getting a bit of a workout with the controls as one level even has you run by shaking both controllers rather vigorously. If that doesn’t get you excited to rock out and have a blast then I don’t know what will.

Overall, Samurai Warriors: Katana is an interesting experiment in the series. It really feels like a one and done game but one that had a good amount of effort into it. The sheer amount of gameplay styles they squeezed in was impressive. It can even be a little difficult at times so you can’t just close your eyes and blast everyone away like you usually would. Still, when you have a core gameplay style that is already amazing, you don’t need to experiment like this. I would absolutely recommend any other Samurai Warriors game ahead of this one but if you’ve already played the others and want something fresh then this is a fun hidden gem to bump into. After having it on the backlog for almost a decade it was fun to finally knock it out.

Overall 7/10

Ocean’s 8 Review


It’s been a while since I saw the original Ocean films so it was time to check out the spinoff. I do enjoy a good heist film like this where it’s not about breaking in with guns and taking everyone out but using a lot of trickery and deception to get to the bottom of things. It’s certainly weaker than the main installments but makes for a good film overall. You shouldn’t have too many issues with the execution.

The movie introduces us to Debbie who has finally gotten out of jail after 10 years. She has promised not to commit any more crimes but can’t help herself. She wants revenge on the guy who got her into jail and wants to make some money on the side. Her objective is to steal a super fancy necklace. To do this she’s going to need to form a whole team. Her main partner Lou is ready for this but they still need 6 more people. It’s time to go recruiting and then the game is on. Can they really outwit the insurance team as well as the people who are in charge of keeping the necklace safe? It’ll take all they got.

As with most ensemble films like this the movie’s first act is mainly about getting the team together. Each character is good at a different task so once they have the team assembled then they’re ready to move out. It’s a tried and true formula which works out pretty well. The characters are decent although there are few standout characters. Then we move to the actual heist which is always a lot of fun because of how much planning goes into that. The real question is always, do you buy into it?

Well, I think most of it works out rather well. Mainly due to the twist of the heroes covering their bases by the end of the film. Without that final twist the whole thing would have blown up and been completely unbelievable. With it, there’s only a few parts that break the case I would say. One is that the necklace was secured so that it could not be removed so easily. Because of this, I don’t see how anyone would believe for a second that it just fell to the floor during the party. It actually would have been easier to just slip the replacement necklace on at that point. Initially I thought the plan was going in a different direction but the whole “I found it in the water” excuse didn’t really fly. I also doubt it would have had the same kind of lock installed so the company would have realized something was wrong from the start.

The other issue here is when the heroes get greedy at the end and start stealing everything. Really guys? That last move would sabotage everything. Put it this way, they now all had to drive off in a big getaway vehicle that was caught on camera. What if the detectives decided to search the vehicle? When you add that onto the fact that Debbie is already a wanted criminal then you’ve definitely got a big issue here. Fortunately they got a certain inspector on the case but things could have easily gotten dicey there.

Those are the two reasons why I don’t think the whole heist would have gone over very smoothly but otherwise I thought the adventure worked out well enough. The film’s pacing is pretty decent. The writing is okay but it does have a tough balance to fill with the humor and heist aspects at times. For example, some of the characters here really aren’t very well prepared to handle a heist so what happens is there will be a lot of gags for the audience like the characters being obvious about what they’re doing but then in universe is raises quite a lot of questions. Again, the film’s final twist does help with this a bit though. The dialogue itself is also decent for the most part but you feel like it could have been a lot better. One thing I would have liked to see was more discussion on planning the heist rather than Debbie setting everything up off screen. The heist itself is a lot of fun though which is always the main goal here.

Debbie is the leader of the crew and the main character so she is the one coming up with all of the plans. She does pretty well at making sure everything is thought through and you do understand why she wants to squeeze the revenge in there as well even if it does ultimately put the whole thing into jeopardy. She could have easily destroyed all of their hopes and dreams with this. After all, the guy could have turned the tables had he not fallen for every trap so obviously. There’s no real excusing the second scene where he receives a call at a very convenient time and still goes to her house to have an affair even though he should know that he’s being framed. He was literally given all kinds of information and Debbie even revealed herself just to rub his nose in the situation. Any halfway decent intelligent character would have figured something was out so Debbie’s risk was pretty huge here. She’s a solid character but not a good leader.

Lou was Debbie’s main ally and certainly the one who got the biggest role here. She was solid and helped to keep the lead grounded most of the time. She’s also got a lot of talents which helps her blend into the role really well. Amita came in handy for the jewel cutting which was one of the most crucial parts. Tammy was fun as one of the more down to earth characters who had a pretty content life before getting mixed up in all of this. If anything she should have said no since the risks heavily outweighed the rewards here.

Constance was one of the standout characters here since her sleight of hand is quite impressive. Without those abilities the plan would have to be dramatically altered. Nine Ball gives the team the tech advantage they would need for this case. She’s not as solid as the other characters but does well when needed. The weakest link is definitely Rose though. She’s the old art dealer who helps out with getting the necklace but she is not good at the criminal game and really puts everyone at risk. Then you have Daphne who is a main focus here since the heroines are trying to manipulate her into being in the right place at the right time. She’s much more self absorbed than most of the other characters but does come off as one of the more likable ones. I was also glad she was shown to be a little more intelligent than she would let on.

Overall, Ocean’s 8 is a good movie. It has more positives than negatives. It may ultimately feel a lot weaker than the main one so if you compare them directly then this will lose out but on its own I would still say it’s worth a watch. I’d certainly be down with a sequel as well. That said, the movie should be a little more careful with its title. If you’re paying attention to that then you’ll know more about the film than you’re supposed to. All while it’s playing you’ll be counting to 8 and so if the numbers don’t match up….well it’s something to think about. I was surprised the ending didn’t have some kind of big reveal or plot twist for the climax but I suppose they didn’t want to tip their hand in case we don’t get another film. Perhaps that is for the best but I have to say it would have been a hype way to end things off and an improvement on the ending. The ending was satisfactory though.

Overall 6/10

Garou: Mark of the Wolves Review


The Fatal Fury series has always been a lot of fun and I remember playing through the collections not too long ago back on the PS2. Well, Garou takes an interesting turn here as the main character is Rock Howard, son of the infamous Geese Howard from the OG games. He doesn’t want to go down that same dark path but is there any way for him to actually avoid it?

As with most street fighter type games there isn’t one singular story mode here but an individual arcade mode for each character. It’s been a while since I got to do this so I went in and beat the Arcade mode with all characters so I could get a good sense of the full story. After all, each character has a different route and you find out a lot more about them this way. In some sense I like to imagine that all of the stories happened back to back but of course some are accurate and some would not be based on how their endings go. Personally as the main character I feel like Rock’s story had to happen and by extension then Terry’s does as well and then the rest would be suspect.

One thing you’ll notice right away is that the dialogue here is absolutely great. The characters have a lot of fun with what is going on here. Cain’s right hand man actually sympathizes with a lot of the heroes as they go up against him. He tends to adapt his personality to who he is fighting as well. Sometimes he will be talking a really good game as a dark overlord and other times he’s very casual and just seems to be here for fun. Cain is much more of a consistent villain through and through who has a fun time seeing through people using his fists. One of his best moments is when you play in his story mode so he confronts the fake Cain at the end. The fact that the game acknowledges the characters meeting their shadow doppelganger at the end is great.

The meta aspect of this helps to really push Garou’s arcade mode to be one of the more memorable ones that I’ve played in a long while so going through all of the stories was fun. Naturally some of the other characters aren’t quite as memorable but at least the big guys like Terry, Rock, Cain, and the others are all a blast to play through. The villains tend to have the best movesets but you definitely can’t go wrong with Terry’s classic blows and shockwaves. He’s a good character to start off with.

It’s also interesting seeing an older Terry who’s effectively retired and now just likes a good game of pickup Basketball. He’s really got his life in order at this point which is nice to see. It’s not like you can stay in the ring forever right? Eventually you age out and so Terry quickly found his new life’s purpose just the way you would have hoped that he could have. Based on the ending to the game though there’s probably going to be some drama between Terry and Rock since it looks like Rock is making the same mistakes again.

The average arcade mode will take you anywhere between 15-25 minutes to complete based of course on the match settings you used. For the first story I played it straight with 3 rounds of 60 seconds but for the rest I did 1 round to speed it up. Completing the game with all of the characters should take you around 3 hours I’d say. Then you can get some extra replay value by trying to grab all of the PS4 trophies here. An extra mode that’s around is Survival so you can test your skills against waves of opponents. It goes without saying that this will not be an easy endeavor because there are definitely a lot of these guys just waiting to knock you out. There’s also limitless replay value with the versus mode as well which is always a perk of being a fighting game. The fun just never needs to end since each match is different.

The gameplay is of course that of a 2D fighter. You use punches, kicks, grabs, and the occasional energy move in order to chip away at your opponent’s life bar. The characters don’t move very fast on the ground so you are really going to need to learn what your character’s safe moves are and attack accordingly. Take measure of your opponent and then go in with your own moves. Patience will definitely serve you well in this game. If you are looking to cheese the opponent though, then I recommend characters with long reach like using Cain’s claw type energy attacks.

Graphically the game has aged well. The characters all look to be on point and the illustrations are solid as well. The game has a bunch of catchy themes within it so the whole package works well. The only odd thing visually is that not all of the characters fit on the character screen so if you keep scrolling right to the point where you can’t see anything, you’ll see two extra characters. These are the two main villains so maybe it’s actually a little secret on the game’s part that you can play as them. It’s pretty neat as a surprise of course but I feel like once you find them then maybe the roster screen should expand or something. I’d never seen this done before though so that was interesting.

Overall, Garou is definitely a solid fighting game that I would recommend checking out. It gives you a look at what the Fatal Fury characters are doing now which is nice to see. It’s definitely a series that could have a lot of future potential with spinoffs and sequels down the line. There’s no need for it to really end which is key. The gameplay is all on point so it’s a game that will hold up even in the modern era. The A.I. is also impressively good at dealing with projectile spam in this game. You can’t fly through arcade mode with little energy blasts or grabs like in most games. You’ll need to string some real hits along so playing this game should help with your fundamentals.

Overall 7/10