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

Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup Review


Quidditch was a lot of fun to play through in the first Harry Potter game so it was fun to see it make a return here. I definitely missed it when the latter games were cutting it out. Of course with a whole game built around this concept that means that you really need to have tight gameplay. Fortunately it is quite good and a lot of fun. I just think the game should have had a bit more of an ending to be honest.

When the game starts you are told to pick a team. I naturally went with Griffindor because you just can’t go wrong with that group right? The first few levels are about taking down all of the other schools. Then you can enter the World Cup where you have to go up against the other countries. Once you’ve done that then you’re done. The game loops for extra matches and you work on getting the rest of the cards. I ended up with 33/104 so I suppose that’s not too bad. It would be nice if the game could save your spot in a tournament though. While you can save your title at almost any time, it always takes you back to the menu when you boot it up again to start a tournament from scratch.

I should quickly talk about the gameplay since Quidditch is a pretty unique sport. So the goal of the game is to pass the ball to your teammates to earn points or to shoot the ball through one of the 3 hoops. Each time you do so you get 10 points. Once the meter is fully charged an event will start where you and the opponent try to grab the Quidditch ball. Whoever grabs it first gets 150 points and then the battle ends. So this keeps the hoops points from being meaningless or anything like that but at the same time the points don’t matter much. I was beating an opponent by around 400 before I realized this match wasn’t ending. That’s why scoring shouldn’t be your top concern. It doesn’t build the meter much at all.

The best way to win a match is to use combo passes. Hold down the L button and keep on passing the ball around. This will build the meter very quickly and the more meter you have, the more time you have to boost your broom in the final chase. Be careful about turning the ball over though as that will negate any meter build up you had amassed from the current combo. Clearly there are a lot of variables to consider here and you really want to try and take them all into account. Of course if you want to be really safe you can still score around 200 points so that way even if the other team grabs the Quidditch you would end up winning. You should always be able to grab the Quidditch first though, at least I found that part to be pretty easy.

You also have some special abilities but they aren’t all that necessary. Often times I found it easier to just do a basic tackle with A to knock the ball away then to get into the fancy stuff. For example, if you press B you get a mini cutscene where you take the ball away. Y allows you to gain a quick boost that lets you go forward and there’s X which lets you fire off one of the balls to hit the opponent with. I don’t mind the abilities but in a way they have 0 impact on the game. Whether you use them or ignore them they will not affect the entire match at all in which case I wonder why they are even around. You’ve also got the final smash attacks for a team which give you instant goals but it takes a while to build up enough energy for this. I got to see the computers use it a few times but I never had enough energy for it unfortunately.

The graphics are pretty decent. I wouldn’t say they are anything special but the character designs are on point and the whole thing looks pretty nice. The only time you may have some trouble is with navigating the turns during the final chase but that’s not really a graphics thing so much as it’s just about the gameplay. On the whole I would say the gameplay is pretty legit but those turns are just rough. I wouldn’t say any of the game’s tunes really stood out though.

In terms of length this game will probably last you around 2 hours to beat every opponent I suppose. Outside of that the only replay value is in collecting all of the cards by completing specific challenges. It’s a reasonable incentive to at least add a bit more punch to the usual gameplay but I’m not really sure if that would really be enough to get you back to play a bunch of extra matches once you’ve already won. I feel like it would be a hard sell at least.

So the game is pretty fun but I do have to emphasize that it is just very short. You need to make sure that you pick it up at a good price or you may end up with a few regrets there. There is multiplayer mode as well though which should also increase the replay value. As long as you find the gameplay fun then I suppose that’s really the most important thing here.

Overall, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup is a pretty fun spinoff. It’s nice that this sport got an entire video game to itself even though the sport itself does not yet exist. It just makes for a very original game. A bit of a story mode would have been nice but I suppose it’s not something that would have been expected. Hopefully the new PS5 Harry Potter game coming out will include some Quidditch gameplay as well. I look forward to seeing how it looks with the modern technology backing it up.

Overall 7/10

Detective Conan: Wild Police Story Review


Detective Conan may be one of those never ending stories with tons of volumes but that doesn’t mean that a spinoff can’t eventually conclude. The Wild Police Story is one such spinoff and at only 13 chapters it had a really brief run. I enjoyed it well enough. It’s always nice to see Zero in his various jobs. While this title doesn’t quite have the same charm as Zero’s Tea Time, it’s definitely a solid adventure. The ending is also pretty intense for setting up Zero’s role in the main series. It goes without saying that the final chapter will spoil a ton of his development and plot twists from Detective Conan if you haven’t read that yet so you wouldn’t want to read this one until you’re deep into the Conan series.

The series starts off with Zero and a few new cadets getting to the police academy. They all have their own dreams and aspirations for joining the core and naturally that tends to put them at odds with each other. Jinpei joined in order to punch out the boss while Zero has very secretive reasons for joining. The two of them get into fights quite a bit as Jinpei is more of a rival to him. They’ve got a pretty solid amount of banter going on for them and definitely stand out the most from the crew members. All of them are solid characters though.

Wild Police Story is effectively like having more detail to Zero’s origin story but having it as a separate spinoff rather than throwing it into Detective Conan. It’s a pretty interesting approach and I definitely would say it’s a good one. I always like to see a franchise continue to expand and that’s exactly what this series does for the Conan franchise. There isn’t time for a whole lot to happen of course so we get a few one shot stories a mini arc and then a final arc to end things off on. The final chapter is also a nice epilogue where you see what has happened to each character in the present.

Zero is the best character of course. As always he’s pretty much an expert at everything he does and additionally he’s just a pretty nice guy who always does the proper thing. Zero’s confident but not arrogant. He’s always willing to lend a hand and he’s a bit younger here so he’s not completely all powerful the way he tends to be in the later appearances. So you really couldn’t ask for much more out of the main character if you ask me.

Then we’ve got Jinpei who is also very solid. I like his hot headed approach to things. He’s a nice foil to Zero’s cool and calm persona. This guy doesn’t just wait around to see what happens next. He’s always right there on the front lines dictating how things are going to play out. He’s certainly pretty rash with his decision making but it tends to work out all right and that’s the kind of energy you want to see in your unit. It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Wataru has a pretty solid character arc where he learned more about his father. Initially he didn’t quite understand why his father took some of the actions he did so when a bank robbery occurs then he and Zero are able to talk things out while figuring out how to escape the situation. One of the cases had a pretty nice resolution where the cops just walk in low key in civilian gear and quickly subdue the villains. It really pays to have a bunch of close friends who are all expert fighters that’s for sure. Wataru doesn’t stand out as much as Jinpei or Zero but he’s still solid.

Hiromitsu definitely has one of the biggest character arcs here. He doesn’t do a whole lot for a while but he gets the final case which is pretty big. He finally has a lead on the guy who murdered his parents and wants to get revenge after all these years. So it took a long while to find him but that’s why you’ve always got to stay on the case because you never know what can happen. The rest of the gang are quick to pitch in and help him out here which was good. It’s definitely a very intense case next to the other adventures which typically had a happier tone. It’s also interesting because if you re-read the very first chapter of the series there were already a few hints about what would happen with his character so it was nice foreshadowing. Clearly the author already had a vision of how this would play out.

There are 2-3 other characters but that’s about it. The cast is fairly small and that makes sense since their wouldn’t have been much time to really develop everyone else otherwise. This series isn’t really about the depth at the end of the day. It’s just about having a fun story with some quick adventures. It’s all about team bonding and it works out really well. A little Conan cameo would have been fun too but I suppose the series doesn’t want to get too obvious. It would be odd to see him just walking around and also depending on how long ago this was maybe Conan wasn’t born yet. Zero definitely looks a lot younger but it could have just been a few years I suppose.

The artwork is really solid here as you would expect. The panels are all very clean and the character proportions are on point. You really will have an easy time following the action at all times. There’s nothing confusing to be said here and that’s always an important part with the artwork. You shouldn’t have to squint to see what’s happening.

Overall, Wild Police Story is pretty fun. It’s definitely over in the blink of an eye but you’ll have a good time reading it. Seeing the gang slowly bond as they’re all on the same missions is pretty nice. They really become a unit by the end to the point where they’re able to save lives without anybody even noticing. One of the most intense cases was definitely when they took the car on the highway and managed to stop a truck by jumping across. It was a pretty nice maneuver and one that definitely required a whole lot of teamwork on each character’s part. I also really liked the first arc since it literally opens up with a quick fight between Zero and Jinpei. That’s how you get the ball rolling right away! If you’ve ever wanted to see the Conan cast in a different setting then this is a great title to check out. I also highly recommend Zero’s Tea Time but note that it has not finished yet.

Overall 7/10

Sakura Wars: School of Paris Review


The Sakura Wars marathon continues as we now focus completely on the France division. Aside from Ogami that means it’s time for a completely new team to shake things up. The OVA has 3 episodes so it’s definitely a pretty quick experience but that’s enough time to get all of the characters introduced. It looks like the team will have a fun dynamic. I certainly wouldn’t put these guys above the original Flower Division or the hype New York Branch quite yet but it’s definitely early as I’ve been with those guys for many hours while this group only about an hour so far.

The first episode focuses on Erica and Glycine meeting up for the first time. Glycine has royal heritage from her Viking ancestors so she believes in always holding her ground and behaving in a prim and proper fashion. Meanwhile Erica is more of a spacey person who gets distracted easily. She is a little more capable than she lets on though as Erica is actually a member of the Paris division. A group of secret fighters who protect the country from alien monsters who would attack it. Unlike Japan, Paris isn’t attacked very often but the government wants to be ready as they fear the attacks will soon increase in intensity. It’s why they are looking to bring Ogami in but at the moment their group is pretty small. In fact, Erica may have been the only member.

It’s a pretty fun way to start the OVA. Erica is a fun enough lead and her banter with Glycine is good. We also get a solid action scene in the museum which gets pretty intense. The monster was actually giving them a pretty good fight here. It’s why I always advise not having a gun as your main weapon because it will always be limited in how much damage the bullets can deal unless you are somehow able to augment their abilities. Otherwise you’re just not going to win the big battles. Fortunately for Erica, Glycine was able to use her super strength to turn the tides.

The second episode is more of an elaborate chase. So there is a villain known as Lobelia who seems to have the same spirit energy as the main heroines. Unfortunately she uses it for evil though as she is a burglar although the government says she performs just about every kind of crime. They’ve decided to take her down alive so they can force her to join the other heroes. It won’t be easy though so the two political leaders decide to have a chess match while waiting. The episode has a lot of subtext going on here as the chess battle mimics the actual events. It’s also pretty interesting to see onw of the future Sakura War members actually be a villain. She may be forced into helping them out but it doesn’t mean that she’s happy about it.

While not as solid as the first episode this is still a pretty reasonable follow up. I always like being able to see the actual powers on display since that gets a lot more focus in the game than in the actual OVAs and shows. Lobelia’s abilities are definitely the real deal with her master over fire. It’s pretty impressive how long she is able to elude the heroes and even to the end her reaction times served her well. I may not really be a fan of the character but she would definitely add quite a lot to the overall dynamic.

Then we’ve got the final episode which probably does end up having the most action. So the team is finally all united with the various members. Ogami is running them through a typical practice session when the robot ends up being corrupted by the clown villain. The Team has to then try and team up to take it down but this robot’s actually pretty tough and most of the members don’t have their robots ready. As a result it’s really Erica and Ogami doing their best to take it down. The fight switches between hand drawn and CGI a lot which makes for a pretty interesting action sequence. You definitely couldn’t have ended with a more fitting episode. You’ve now got the team assembled and also got to see what they’ve got against a true villain even if most of them were caught resting on their laurels here.

With only 3 episodes not all of the characters get a lot of development quite yet though. Coquelicot for example joined the group later on but doesn’t have much to do yet. We know that she likes animals but haven’t gotten to see much more than that. I can only assume that she is able to fight pretty well with the spirit power but we’ll have to wait and see that. Then you’ve got Hanabi who seems rather timid and trying to get over a recent death. She’s very polite and seems like a pretty kind hearted soul who’s a little in over her head. She doesn’t get a focus yet either.

Mainly the OVA is trying to give the screen time to the main 3 plus Ogami. Ogami definitely looks pretty good here even if it does seem like he’s not ready to handle this group yet. They’ve already started driving him crazy and he’s brand new there. I can only imagine how it’ll be for him soon. He probably just misses the gang but maybe he’ll warm up to these guys soon. In the meantime his sword skills are as good as ever.

As mentioned, Erica is a fun enough lead. She can maybe be a bit too oblivious at times and doesn’t have her priorities straight at times but at least she is good when it comes time to fight. She’s definitely experienced there. Glycine was definitely my favorite character here. I like her confidence and she was ready to jump right into the action when needed. She also doesn’t put up with Lobelia’s attitude the way the rest of the characters do. One thing she definitely does not tolerate is disrespect.

As for Lobelia, I do typically like when the characters show a lot of attitude and are rebellious. Lobelia fits those qualifications but at the same time her bar adventures are pretty suspect at best. She definitely goes all in on keeping her edge as she refuses to help even when her teammates are in trouble and about to be blown up. At least they definitely know where they stand with her. I imagine she’ll soften up a little more with the rest of the group eventually but for now even Sumire would have to be impressed with how antagonistic she is.

The animation is pretty solid here. You can definitely tell that it’s a bit newer than the last few. The colors are sharp and it’s all smooth. For the fight scenes it is interesting that they’re using more CGI. It’s definitely noticeable but CGI can work well. I’ll never put it quite above the classic hand drawn but it’s still good enough where I’d say the fight scene with the robots was pretty solid. It’s nice to see the mechs looking pretty fast now and having some real fight scenes here.

The OVA definitely leaves you with a good amount of questions to wonder about for the future. The villain appears briefly here as a clown but other than that we don’t really know anything about him. Most of this you’re not supposed to figure out as this is a supplementary OVA to the game as opposed to adapting the whole thing. It’s a pretty fun thing about these materials because if you own the game you can really pop these episodes in and have the complete experience. I’d definitely be down with more series doing this where you get to see the characters a little more in different scenarios.

Overall, The Paris Division is off to a pretty solid start. The Sakura Wars series is still in good hands here. The group dynamic may be a bit weaker but it’s always hard to catch up to the original bunch. I definitely hope we can have a crossover with the original cast from the Japan branch someday. After all we know without a doubt that these guys are in the same universe so I don’t think it’s too far fetched or anything like that. They just need to go ahead and do it. I think it would definitely be a pretty big hit. Hopefully we can also get more Sakura War titles licensed in the U.S.

Overall 7/10

Annabelle Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

The Conjuring verse has definitely gotten pretty big at this point. With the main titles plus two different spinoff series I dare say that it’s easily the biggest horror universe in cinema. It may not have as many installments as some others but I’d like to see any other one have two spinoffs. Then maybe we could have a time travel story at some point that brings them all together at once at their peak and maybe even bring some of the human characters from all of the films along. This one’s pretty solid for a horror film. I wouldn’t say that it’s without fault but I wouldn’t call it a bad movie either.

The movie starts with Mia and John getting ready to finally have a kid. John has the bright idea to give Mia a doll that looks like it was run over several times as a gift. She likes it so I guess maybe this is just the style she’s into but I dunno, I get bad vibes from it right away. That night they are attacked by a bunch of lunatics and Mia ends up getting stabbed. Fortunately they all live including the baby. Now the three of them should be okay but Mia keeps seeing ghosts like the evil lady showing up or Annabelle herself giving her the evil eye. Is Mia going crazy or does the doll actually want to take her down?

The first scene with the home invaders caught me off guard because I was so sure that they were apparitions and weren’t really there. I mean that’s just horror 101 that the heroine thinks she sees something but it’s all fake right? The fact that they were actually here was pretty interesting. It also made for an intense fight scene as John had to try and take both of them down on his own. He handled himself pretty well until the cops were able to show up and fortunately put an end to things. It definitely helped to establish the world as being a pretty dangerous one and also showed us why Mia would be on edge for the rest of the film. She just can’t feel safe anywhere.

It doesn’t help that Annabelle is causing a lot of mischief. She turns the toaster on by itself, loves to turn on music over and over again, and doing other things like that. She rarely ever moves to do anything on her own though. She likes to scare Mia but never presses the issue more than that. In fact when going on the offensive she seems to prefer to summon a ghost of an older lady or even uses a kid form to take names. Seeing her try to fight as a doll would have been a little more entertaining but I guess she didn’t want to chance it. Like the Nun she is technically a demon inhabiting the doll or using it as a medium but I guess she has freedom to do other things as well.

She’s at least strong enough to mess with Perez even when he’s literally in front of the Church and has his full gear on. He definitely should not have looked back though. Why even look back when you could do a Football dive into the Church and be safe? That’s definitely what he should have done if you ask me and then he would have been in good shape. At least he wanted to help the heroes though so I’ll give him props for the attempt. He was definitely a nice guy. Then you have Evelyn who also did her best to help the main characters out. She may have been a little out of her league with these supernatural forces but who isn’t right? At least this way Mia had some support.

John made for a good supporting character here. He was supportive of Mia the whole time and really did everything he could to help her out in the end. Taking the night shift was a bit dicey but I suppose there’s not a whole lot he could have done to stay home. If anything losing his job would probably make things worse for both of them. In the end he also helps prevent her from making the ultimate mistake which would have been really unfortunate. Mia does her best to stay sane the whole time and escape Annabelle’s attacks but they do start to get her on the edge. The most intense trial she probably had to go through here was heading to the basement. The elevator definitely was not in her favor but it makes sense. If anything I feel like it should happen more often in horror films. I don’t know about the elevators they use here but if you’re being chased by someone and jump into an elevator the odds of it shutting instantly are slim to none. At my elevator at least if you click to go up or down it’ll open up the elevator right away before you can move to a new floor. It always has top priority.

Mia does her best to look into the whole Annabelle situation but ultimately it’s one of those things where there isn’t a whole lot to dig up. There isn’t a way out and she’s basically unbeatable. When you think about it that’s the moral of the story. I can’t say that the ending was particularly satisfying either. We don’t really get a twist ending so instead Annabelle gets a lot of props in the normal one. My real issue here is that one of the characters basically plays Annabelle’s game thinking that this will balance the scales but it has no real effect. Perhaps at most it slows Annabelle down but based on the grin at the end and everything it’s definitely not something that will be a permanent win. Thing is, you can’t trust demons so why even play their games in the first place? Annabelle certainly isn’t one of the stronger demons but she is still a demon nonetheless.

Overall, Annabelle is definitely more of an atmospheric kind of horror title. The demon isn’t going around murdering everyone for the most part. Usually she just causes a lot of dangerous pranks and tries to mess with Mia’s psyche. I’m glad that the film actually incorporated this into the plot though. There are a few deaths but really not all that much when you think about it and close to half the body count here was unrelated to Annabelle herself. I didn’t care for the ending which was a bit sour but I wouldn’t say this film was bad. It didn’t rely on much or any shock value which was pretty nice. We didn’t have to hear some super long and tragic origin story either. Annabelle is just a crazy demon that wants your soul and doesn’t need much more of a background than that. The crazy murderers from the origin got a bit of an origin story which I thought was pretty pointless but I suppose it tied into Annabelle’s origin so we needed it to an extent. I wouldn’t call this film super strong but it’s a decent horror film if you want to check out out. I would sooner recommend Ghostbusters though.

Overall 5/10