8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

River City Girls Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent beat em up game for the PS4. The game always did look pretty solid ever since the first promotions for the game came out. WayForward and Arc SYS working on the game also ensured that it was going to be a great title. It does not disappoint. The game may be rather short but I think you could reasonably expect that based on the arcade style. It’s definitely a really fun game that doesn’t cut any corners.

The plot involves Kunio and Riki getting kidnapped by someone. Their girlfriends Misako and Kyoko get a text letting them know what’s going on so they quickly break out of school and will stop at nothing to find the guys. They may have to tear down the entire city to find them, but that’s fine by them. Whatever it takes they aim to get to the bottom of this. You’ll get a lot of fun backdrops as a result. The heroes go through the school, a mall, a boat, a music show, and more. Each location brings new enemies to beat up.

The gameplay is a very classic beat em up. You won’t have a ton of different moves so it’s about making the most of the ones that you do have. I bought a few moves near the beginning of the game, but I didn’t get anything after that. I’m sure the extra moves after that can be handy, but at the same time some moves will hold you back so watch out. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but take the move where you can pick someone off the ground and hit people with him. This one’s more of a hindrance than a help because it’s the same button as your standard punch. A lot of times I would be getting ready to punch someone and suddenly I’d be picking someone up instead. It’s not exactly a welcome surprise in those cases. Likewise while the Dab looks cool, it does mean you have to be extra precise with your kick so you don’t use this attack instead. I suppose it adds to the strategy although it’d be nice if you could turn off some attacks. Perhaps it’s possible to do so in the dojo or something.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward so you should get the hang of it very quickly. You’ll also see loose weapons on the ground that you can use to slam people with. I feel like the damage is pretty much the same as just whacking someone so you’ll rarely ever want to use it. The best combo actually seemed to be your standard 3 punches into a kick routine. I used that to great effect against every enemy and boss. It certainly paid off. When you’re surrounded by multiple opponents I recommend a tactical retreat. They’ll just land way too many blows if you stick around. Your best bet is to get out of the way and then make your way back towards them. If you hit them all at the same time you eliminate the risk of a counter attack. Dash combos will be your friend.

Each of the bosses also have a set pattern so once you learn that you should be good to go. The bosses are stil pretty tricky though and I needed food items for some of the latter ones. Surprisingly the final boss is pretty easy so I didn’t need any for her. Just keep on hitting her and try to dodge the kick counter attacks. It’s really not that hard to do so and then you’ll have made it through the game.

The story is pretty short and you can beat the game in about 4 hours. Granted there is still a lot of bonus content to explore here. You can go and deal with some extra fights to help your next door neighbor out. Additionally you can break a bunch of statutes and buy all of the collectibles. The platinum seems pretty achieveable here so you’ll just need to invest some extra time in and it’ll be yours. One thing to note is that when you switch characters your levels don’t transfer over so if you’replaying by yourself then I recommend sticking to one character.

As far as the graphics are concerned this game is top notch. Not only are the in game models and backgrounds really great but the game even has fully animated cutscenes. The comic book ones are also really shark and work extra well for the emotional bits. This is an area where the game really excels and the fact that it has full voice acting is really fun. I always feel like that helps to enhance the game even further. Then you’ve got the dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs to be found here and the sound quality is top notch. The game was basically booming out of my TV in every scene to the point where I’d have to turn the volume down a few notches. The game is incredibly high energy and you can’t go wrong there.

Then you’ve got the writing which is a lot of fun. As you’ve probably guessed the story isn’t 100% serious. You can see how the game pokes fun at the premise quite a bit here and there with the main characters’ proof on why Kunio and Riki have been kidnapped getting slimmer and slimmer. This leads to an incredible plot twist as the game ends which I did not see coming. It really threw all of the classic tropes out the window and flipped everything you thought you knew about the game upside down. It’s just brilliant and the script is really solid throughout the game. With the exception of the next door neighbor all of the characters are pretty solid.

Misako is the tough character of the group who is always threatening to beat people up. She’s actually a bully which several characters comment on. Nobody wants to mess with her because she’ll definitely take you to the hospital. Misako is a fun character to follow even if she may not be a traditional hero. At the very least she is trying to help the guys out so her goals aren’t so bad. Kyoko is a lot nicer but also a little dense in comparison. Things tend to go over her head. She can fight as well as Misako but isn’t as aggressive. Naturally I liked Misako a lot more, but I chose Kyoko at the beginning of the game so I ended up being stuck. From the way the menus looked I assumed Kyoko was gonna be the tough one. Ah well, lessons were learned.

Throughout the game you meet a lot of supporting characters and villains that you have to take down in each chapter. They’re all fun and quirky. I could see a full manga or anime being based around this game and it would be a lot of fun. While you won’t feel bad for the bullies or the villains, you will probably have some sympathy for the school girls who believe they are friends with Misako and Kyoko. They’re really nice at times and help us in our quests, but get absolutely no gratitude. Again this is partially foreshadowing for the twist ending I’d say but you hope they end up finding new friends soon.

Overall, River City Girls is a great game. It is really short which is the only tag against it, but it’s just so high quality that you can overlook this. It reminds me of the average Platinum game which tends to be fairly short, but gives you a lot of quality in that experience. (They do a lot of long games too, but I’m thinking along the lines of Transformers Devastation or the TMNT game. Their franchise titles are usually short) Where else are you going to get such smooth animations and gameplay? The humor is on point here and this is the kind of game that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I’d definitely recommend getting it right away. Look at it this way, even if you don’t like it quite as much as I did, it’s not like it’s going to last all that long right?

Overall 8/10

Game Records

River City Girls Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 14/30
Completion% 55%

Character Levels

Riki 1
Kunio 1
Kyoko 13
Misako 20

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the My Little Pony spinoff comics. This one is about the Cutie Mark Crusaders so right away you know that it’s going to be pretty good. These guys have always done a tremendous job of holding their own stories and I don’t expect that would change here. I was right and these are quality adventures. The mystery angle is also really nice since it adds that extra element of tension into the mix. Lets take a look at the various stories here.

In the first story the Crusaders learn that someone is stealing supplies from a hospital. This is pretty big news since you wouldn’t expect that kind of behavior from anyone in Ponyville. The new nurse is also being blamed for this so the crew have to solve the mystery very quickly before things get out of hand. Fortunately they have connections with almost everyone in town so they get to work on finding out what is happening here. It’s a pretty good way to start off the volume. The hospital actually has a bit of a point with the nurse being partially responsible for the thefts though. After the fist few times you would expect her to keep a closer guard on the supplies. suppose it may not be entirely her job to be security as well as being a nurse but to keep your job it’s worth doing a little extra for a while.

These are mainly fun issues so don’t expect big villains or the like. Typically there are just a lot of misunderstandings going on, but that doesn’t take away from the fun factor here. The next story has a pony getting ready to break the bowling record, but the pins keep being stolen at night. As a result he isn’t getting any chances to practice and this could hurt his chances at smashing the record in the real game. The Crusaders are put on the case and suspect that it may be a rival team. After all they would stand to gain quite a lot from knocking out this team. When it comes to sports sabotage is definitely a big deal so if anyone is responsible for this they may end up being banned from the sort. The crusaders have to be extra careful not to catch the wrong person here.

This next comic likely had the highest stakes. That’s because a fire appears in the Ponyville retirement home. Whoever is responsible for this could have easily destroyed a few ponies even if that wasn’t the intention. Due to this it is unlikely that anyone will fess up for the crime so this is another job for the Crusaders. Naturally they have a hard time believing that any of the nice elders of the village would do such a thing, but the evidence is pointing that way. They have to put aside their feelings for this one and just dive in. While my favorite issue is the second one, this story definitely continued the comic’s solid level of quality.

Following that up is an issue where the spa water in Equestria is being drained away. This isn’t good for the ponies who all look forward to a quick spa visit so the Crusaders try to figure out what is going on. They follow some pipes over to the Apple farms and Apple Bloom is saddened to learn that her own family may be stealing the water. She decides not to question them though and the group run around town trying to figure out what is going on. Have the apple family finally become criminals or is it possible that someone is framing them? This is a fun issue, but definitely one where things would have been solved quite easily if the ponies had either confided in the Mane 6 or just followed the pipe to the end. They sort of just stopped at the tree rather than making sure that the pipe actually stopped. They didn’t see any water so why would they assume that it just ended abruptly on the farm? Once a certain villain shows up then you’ll quickly realize what just happened.

Finally we come to an issue where Rarity is forced to ask the group for help. Songbird Serenade is coming to Ponyville in 2 days and she wants a lot of outfits to be ready. Rarity was also looking after her priceless artifact, but took her eyes off of it and so naturally someone stole it. The crusaders need to figure out who would do such a thing and put a stop to it right away. There are a lot of people who have openly stated that they would like the artifact, but sometimes the true crook isn’t the one that you initially suspect. This was a pretty fun story and the heroes definitely cut it really close. A few more minutes and they likely wouldn’t have made it in time to stop the villain from making a clean getaway.

As expected the artwork is pretty good here. It actually beats the main series as it just feels more consistent. I won’t say that it’s absolutely top notch but it gets the job done and the character designs are on point. You’ll always know what’s going on and it makes for an enjoyable read. The writing is on point here and none of the stories were weak. They all had their charm and an interesting story to back them up. Ultimately what else could you ask for?

Overall, Ponyville Mysteries was fun. It’s a shame that it never got another volume, but I suppose at the time the series was trying to have a lot of mini titles as opposed to multiple ongoing stories. That’s fine, it’s a legitimate strategy so long as the others one shots are solid as well. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet then you definitely should. Whether you are a fan of MLP or not, this is just a fun comic to read. It’s good entertainment to sit and read on a weekend. It’s long enough to tell complete stories while still being short enough where you can down it in one shot. I’ve rented a few more MLP comics so you can expect more reviews on the way!

Overall 7/10

Manga

Black Clover Gaiden: Quartet Knights


Looks like Black Clover’s finally got a solid spinoff to expand the franchise. I played the video game that this manga is based off of and it was definitely a lot of fun. The manga looks to be adapting the material pretty well and I’ll have a review for the series up when I’ve finished it.

Overall 8/10

Manga

Detective Conan: Police Academy Arc Wild Police Story


Looks like we’ve got another Conan spinoff in the works! This one continues to show us more about Zero which is always good and the title is definitely off to a great start. The guy is just an excellent lead and now he has a good rival too. I’ll have a review for this series up when it finishes.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Fairy Tail Gaiden Review


It’s time to look at another Fairy Tail spinoff. They’ve definitely been a mixed bag over the years as some manage to rival the main series in how terrible they are while others are surprisingly classy. The Ice Trails manga and Fairy Tail Zero are good examples of solid spinoffs after all. They had good action, a solid plot, and good artwork. Then on the other hand you’ve got a title like Fairy Girls which was so bad that you can tell the author wasn’t even trying. That one still makes me cringe. Well, this one’s not quite as great as the first two and does suffer from some of the usual Fairy Tail moments, but at least there’s some effort here and some reasonable stories.

The first volume is about Sting and Rogue as they go on some adventures. In one case, someone sends a letter asking for help from Sting and Rogue to go take down this powerful rock monster. Unfortunately, the two friends are on the outs after Sting accidentally makes Rogue’s animal friend Froze cry. Sting figures he can handle this on his own, but naturally, it is a trap so that won’t be as easy as he believes. This is an example of a pretty solid story. You’ve got a good challenge that Sting has to work to overcome and while the conflict with him and Rogue is admittedly pretty forced, it’s still a good action story in its own right.

The other Sting story is the weak link and definitely the one that keeps this series from getting an extra star. One of his teammates is kinapped and man does she have bad luck. This isn’t the first time things have gotten dicey for her which led to Natsu’s best series of moments in the franchise. Well, fortunately Sting is here to help and we get to see him beat up the entire guild pretty easily. It’s a fun fight, but the whole situation is really just here to try and squeeze in some fanservice which was definitely not needed. Sting makes for a fun alternate main character to Natsu and while he is a lot more weak willed in general he tends to be the better character.

Next up is Gajeel’s volume and he reminds us why he isn’t always the most trustworthy fellow around. One story has him disappear for a while without telling anyone and he seems to have re-joined the villains. He is now re-taking over the town that Gajeel used to rule over with an iron hand and his friend is here to help. That’s pretty believable but of course there is a twist here. The problem is that even once the twist happens it’s hard to see why Gajeel had to make the choices that he did. The guy is definitely a solo act, but not even telling Levy is a bit tricky. Fortunately, Gray was around to help solve the mystery and I appreciated the cameo. He didn’t really get to fight this time, but you could tell that he was in control right from the start.

Then you have the final volume which is all about Laxus. The annoying part of his volumes is dealing with the Blue Pegasus group since those guys definitely aren’t very epic. They run a host club and the leader is definitely not the most reliable guy, but the moral is that he’s actually tougher than he looks. I’m not sure that I can really buy into that, but at the very least I’ll acknowledge that he isn’t a total weakling. One story has him getting kidnapped so Laxus heads out to save him. Along the way he learns that friendship can take many different forms and that you shouldn’t judge a person right away. It’s a nice moral, but the leader does his best to take away from the epic fights.

One reason why Laxus has the best volume is aside from avoiding fanservice entirely we actually get some fights. Laxus has a good fight against the guild master here. Yes, there is a plot twist about how powerful she really is involving illusions, but at least it looked like an epic fight which is what counts. The other story has Laxus and his team head to a village where there is a powerful mirror that can’t be broken. Their mission is simply to break it, but the owner of the mirror attempts to stop them. This guy’s pretty powerful since he is able to combat Laxus on even ground. There are also some mind games that get played on Laxus’ trio of teammates.

Laxus has always been portrayed as one of the strongest Fairy Tail heroes. While I would definitely say that Gray and Natsu have long since surpassed him, he’s definitely still top 5 in the guild. That gives a lot of hype to this new opponent which is why the ending isn’t too satisfying for that guy’s fans. It’s always a shame when you know that someone is never going to get to fight again. I doubt he’ll ever even appear again though so I suppose that’s the least of my worries.

The art is definitely pretty good. It looks like the main series and there’s a good amount of detail here. Actually, it may even be the main artist, I forget but either way it’s very good. You won’t be disappointed here. It’s easy to read and get engaged. The idea of each volume being about a different character who will get 2-3 stories is pretty nice. There are a lot of other characters who could get that treatment so hopefully the author does more spinoffs like this. One thing I can definitely say about Fairy Tail is the author is very passionate about the series. It’s cool to see how much it has expanded.

Overall, Fairy Tail Gaiden is pretty good for the most part. Really there’s just one story that really felt like a Fairy Tail adventure with the unfortunate fanservice and the others were pretty mild. As far as trilogies go it may not be top tier, but it’s an enjoyable read. The power levels get a little tricky at times, but the characters never lose to someone they shouldn’t. Even if it’s a little closer than you may expect, they clutch it out and that’s the important thing. If you’re going to get into Fairy Tail it’s always better to go with the spinoffs. This one isn’t a bad idea for a starting point since each story basically needs no extra context.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia Review


It’s been many years since I played the original Pokémon Ranger so it’s nice to finally be checking out the sequel. Shadows of Almia takes you through the full experience of being a ranger and does a great job of giving you a lot of content. It’s a very solid all around game with no real weak points. The level up system is solid and it delivers on everything it sets out to do.

The plot follows a kid who is in ranger school and learning to be one. As time goes by he actually does join the rangers and quickly begins to rise up the ranks. However, it isn’t all fun and games as a villain organization known as Dim Sun shows up and begins mind controlling Pokémon. The ranger must now find a way to save the Pokémon and stop this villain group once and for all. He doesn’t have enough power on his own but if the lead can capture enough Pokémon for temporary duties then he has a shot.

Right away I can say that the gameplay plays a big role in why this game is so much fun. It revolves around making circles around the Pokémon to weaken it until you eventually have trapped it which counts as a catch. You only keep the Pokémon until you’ve used it once so be sure to wait for the right opportunity. You can then use that Pokemon to help you catch others down the road. You can’t stockpile a whole lot of Pokémon so it’s best to be using the abilities here and there. Usually if you see a big Pokémon it is there for a good reason like an obstacle or something so keep an eye out for that and don’t use the Pokémon too soon.

It’s a very quick paced gameplay and one that feels like it has a lot of rewards. You get level ups pretty quickly and it does give you a noticeable boost in power. As a result you can really feel yourself getting stronger as you progress through the game which is great. Personally I think level ups should always matter so it should never feel like you are basically the same. Running around the large hub world is never tedious because you learn how to fly later on and the first half isn’t so large that it would take forever. The directions are always clear and there are no forced encounters so that’s a recipe for a leisurely time.

As for which Pokemon abilities you will want to use, I recommend the thunder shock the most. Hopefully you chose Pachirisu when the game first starts as his ability is the best if you ask me. The opponent is frozen for 2 seconds so you get to spin a lot of loops around the Pokemon. You’re gonna need to go very quickly to pull this off, but the more you play the game the easier that’ll be. It can be tough when a Pokemon goes to the edge of the screen, but you’ll always find a way. You don’t even really need the abilities as the upgrades to your base pointer are good enough, but the abilities definitely make things easier. You can also skip Pokemon encounters, but I don’t recommend doing this since the EXP is very important and you’re gonna want it down the stretch.

As far as the graphics go it all looks pretty solid to me. The sprites hold up well and I do like the victory pose that the lead uses whenever he takes a win. The soundtrack is also pretty solid although it does feel very limited. For example you are going to hear the Dim Sun theme more times than you can count. Fortunately it is catchy so that works out. I’d say that the best theme in the game is the boss theme. It gives those fights a good level of importance.

The story’s definitely a lot of fun and one of the villains here definitely ranks as a top tier character even among the main games. His name is Ice and he is one of the big members of Dim Sun. This guy’s actually very intelligent and is able to keep up with the main genius in the game. He’s got a cool personality and always hits the dab. For a while all of the members were your standard grunts so when the 3 big villains were introduced I was pretty thrilled. They come into the game fairly late, but leave an impression. In general the game turns the story up a few notches towards the end as the villains invade your base and a lot of chaos ensues.

The heroes are also fun, but definitely less useful. Typically it’s up to you to save them time and time again. While the others are supposed to be your equals that rarely feels like it’s the case. The lead is just really good at being a ranger and the others inevitably become second fiddle in comparison. There’s no shame in that though and the important thing is that they can keep up at least a little. Sven is one of the pros here and that guy holds his own. He certainly does better than Keith who takes a whole lot of Ls throughout the game. Then you’ve got the scientist but he’s suckered pretty easily so he didn’t quite rank. At least he didn’t go into full traitor mode unlike a certain other character. Granted, that character was evil from the start so maybe calling him a traitor is uncalled for.

In terms of replay value there is quite a lot here. The main story took me around 15 hours and that’s considering that I didn’t really do any of the side quests. If I had then you could jump that number up quite a bit since there are many extra quests. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this installment that’s for sure. I can’t stress the enough the importance of having a good hub world. I’m not talking purely about size of location, a good hub world means your character should move quickly enough so you can get through it. There should be minimal distractions and the exits should be clearly labeled so you don’t have to use much memory on it. Pokemon Ranger does a solid job of everything above.

Overall, Shadows of Almia is a great game and one that I highly recommend checking out. It continues to do justice to the Pokémon brand as even the spinoffs tend to be quite well rounded. The length is pretty good and the plot/gameplay are enjoyable. As I mentioned there really aren’t any negatives to be found here so as soon as you see this game in stores you’re gonna want to snag it. Now I look forward to getting the final game on the Ranger series at some point.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Yugioh Arc V Review


Yugioh Arc V certainly lasted a while but every Yugioh series must end at some point and 7 volumes is a go to number for the franchise. As with the other Yugioh titles this one opted to go for a completely original plot which is always a good idea since you don’t need to experience the same story twice. That being said, It wasn’t quite as engaging as the other spinoffs and from the manga sequels it is probably the weakest. I think it will probably make for a stronger read in volume format but monthly it could feel a little scattershot and rushed at times. As always you can look forward to having nonstop duels though.

Yuya is the main character and he has the spirits of 3 other people inside of him. Like Yugi he can body switch with them at any given point and they help a lot with the duels. Yuya is trying to stop a bunch of time travelers and enemy groups from using the G.O.D. card to wipe out humanity. He then runs into the main heroine Zuzu. She is determined to be his agent so she can make a lot of money. Certainly not the most noble of goals but at least she is trying for an honest living and not exploiting his skills. Can Yuya save the day or will this turn of events prove to be a distraction?

As with most Yugioh titles Arc V starts off rather low key with the stakes and by the end the lead is engaged in cosmic duels. It’s always fun to look at the progression there. I may be getting ahead of myself with the skipping here but the climax is excellent. We get a battle between two G.O.D. cards. Naturally both of them are comically OP with how their special abilities are basically all powerful. Landing a crazy infinite combo is basically all you can do to stop him. All of reality is at stake here since if Yuya loses then it’ll be like nothing ever happened the way he remembered it. Making an alternate reality is always an interesting idea but as the hero will always point out, it’ll always be “alternate” and not the real deal.

The art is pretty solid. It can get a little chaotic at times but not to the point where it would hurt your enjoyment or cause you to get confused. The action is captured pretty well by all of this. The character models are on point as well which is always important. There isn’t much to say about the writing as it is quite good. The name changes from the show can take a little getting used to, as with the characters’ new personalities. There isn’t a lot of time for most supporting characters. They show up for a duel and that’s about it. Technically I suppose that’s probably the case for most of these spinoffs. You only have so much time for duels after all.

The big villain of the series is Eve and she makes for a great final boss. It seems to be a bit of a trend with the final villain being a cosmic lady but I guess having it happen twice in a row may not be enough for a trend. Regardless she has a cool design and a great ace monster in G.O.D. The manga titles have always been on point with the original villains and she is no exception. Her right hand man was also pretty good. He definitely never felt like a big time threat the way that she was though. He was just there to stall the heroes a bit and was successful at his mission.

I do have to question the Adam guy though. He feels like a total villain even though I think the manga was a little ambiguous on that part. He basically goads Decklan into fighting Yuya one last time in the end. The thought was barely in his mind before that happened. I do think that Yuya deciding to destroy the god power right away may have been a little hasty but with how often power corrupts it was likely the right move. Likely the right move…but I was a little more on Declan’s side in the end. He wasn’t going to use the illusion but was hoping he could learn something from the power. It’s something that is worth doing. Imagine the technological innovations such a power could produce. It could be magnificent.

Meanwhile, Declan was pretty good here. I think he was more likable here than in the anime. Technically his character isn’t all that different, but maybe having him be the big final boss here made him feel more like a threat. His plans also seemed more well thought out here as opposed to the anime where it felt like he was on the losing side for a good part of the mental battle between him and the Professor. It goes without saying that Yuya’s dad is better here than in the anime because Yusho was terrible there. He’s one of the few characters where the anime probably dropped the ball a bit.

Meanwhile Yuya is definitely a solid protagonist. He has a goal right from the start and stays on the course til the end. He’s a little more serious than his anime counterpart and I dare say that he’s a better duelist at least in the start. That being said, he doesn’t have all the cool rage moments that his anime version had so he loses out there. The manga made the interesting decision to have him share a body with his other universe selfs and dropped the whole universe thing entirely. This was the part I wasn’t a huge fan of, but the whole plot is built around it so for better or worse it was here to stay. It’s interesting having Yuri act as a hero here. All of the personalities were pretty solid, but I’d say that Yugo takes the win here. He was definitely ready to take charge and made the hard calls.

I think Shay and Sora got the shortest end of the stick from all the characters. Shay is nowhere near the calm and collected guy he once was. He’s basically just a crazed lackey here. Sora isn’t much better. He’s at least a bit of a spy and still has skills, but after getting wrecked that’s basically it for him. Silvio’s pretty much the same. I think even if I hadn’t seen the show first I would have had a hard time liking Shay here. Suffice it to say the supporting character roster wasn’t amazing. Zuzu’s pretty decent though. Her decision to become Yuya’s manager is a pretty smart one since that’ll put her in a position to get fame and glory once he saves the multiverse. As for it actually turning out that way…well I wouldn’t get my hopes too high.

As far as the Yugioh spinoffs go Here are my current rankings. The best one is still Zexal then GX then 5Ds then this one. I think the VRains one has a good chance of beating Arc V as well. Again, this is still a great manga but it just wasn’t quite as much fun as the others. The other Yugioh titles simply set the bar a little too high I think. In particular it’s tough for Arc V since it was following Zexal which had an intense climax and around 3 different rivals. Against that, Arc V didn’t even really have a true rival character. Declan was more of an enemy than one after all.

On a more positive note, the manga did fix most of what I didn’t like about action duels in the anime. In the anime it all felt luck based as cards would just happen to be around to save the day. In the manga you know exactly how many cards are on the field from the start and you can only use 1 per turn. This prevents crazy strategies like in the anime where one guy picked up like 6-8 cards in a row and kept on using them. We also get a good amount of normal duels and even one turbo duel to keep it varied. At the end of the day this is still a Yugioh manga so you can expect a lot of amazing duels. Card duels are why I love the franchise so much in the first place and so long as the writing is solid (Which it was) then the manga is destined to be quite excellent!

The ending of the series may come across as a bit rushed. This is mainly due to the fact that the final events come out of nowhere and the ending isn’t really all that satisfying. It’s certainly nowhere near one of the worst endings though. Some aspects of it are pretty hype like the lead-up to a fight that likely won’t ever occur. The timelines possibly being rearranged and people not remembering the characters can be more annoying though. We won’t know any of this per say since the series ends so abruptly, but there’s a chance that things really didn’t go well for some of the heroes here.


Overall, Arc V is definitely another great Yugioh title to add to the collection. It delivers with a lot of great duels and maintains a pretty epic feel throughout. It reminds you why the Yugioh franchise is just so much fun. Arc V is a complete manga containing pretty much every positive element that you would want to see in such a title.. You’ll be sad to see it go and hopefully the next Yugioh manga starts up soon. I would highly recommend checking this manga out and if you buy the new copies you can even get a rare card. Now that’s a steal!

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review


It’s time to look at the second Fantastic Beasts film. I’m really still not sold on this series. Try as it might, this title just isn’t nearly as fun or interesting as Harry Potter. I can’t think of a single way in which it matches up. The title doesn’t even make any big mistakes like animal violence or being super violent. There isn’t even any fanservice to speak of. The main problem with Fantastic Beasts is just the fact that there currently aren’t any real likable characters. Everyone’s just fairly annoying and so without anyone to root for the film becomes less engaging than it should be.

The film starts off with a flashback as Grindlewald escapes confinement along with one of his henchman and begins to amass his army of followers. We cut to the present where Newt refuses to join the Wizarding army and has his VISA denied. He makes contact with Dumbledore who tells the kid that he must do one of two things. He needs to either take down Grindlewald (HA!) or he can find Credence and prevent him from turning to the dark side. Newt agrees to do this, but quickly gets sidetracked by a romance plot involving Jacob and Queenie which takes up a large chunk of the film. Meanwhile Grindlewald has to get Credence to he can destroy Dumbledore. To accomplish this he prepares to unleash some spectacles on the world which will wow the people with low will power to his side.

Quickly we’re gonna jump way out of order and talk about the ending. The film had the perfect chance to salvage the whole 2 hour experience with a single line. Grindlewald is explaining to one character what his true name. The final line of the film should have been “I now dub you…VOLDEMORT!!!” and then have the film end with an extremely loud guitar solo followed by some fast paced rock music. The revelation would have shocked everyone to the core because of how little sense it would make but it would have been absolutely amazing. I would have gained so much respect for the film. It would have finally tied into Harry Potter.

See, that’s one of the big problems here. This spinoff is like Attack of Titan Before The Fall. It really has almost nothing to do with the real series. Sure, Dumbledore is here and Nagini finally gets to appear, but their roles are pretty small so far and it’s not like they were huge characters in the main series. I want to see Harry or Snape! Too bad the prequel takes place so far in the past right? So, really the prequels need to try and develop their own series so they can be a solid entry in their own right without tying into the present. the problem is that the story’s just not interesting.

It’s a shame because at the same time I do appreciate the ambitious nature of the film. It may sound contradictory, but I think the overall plan for the film wasn’t bad, it’s just that the execution was painful. This film is clearly trying to throw in a bunch of plot threads which will all get wrapped up in the future. It can work out really well like in the old Spider-Man comics where at one point you had almost 10 different subplots going on in the background. When handled right it makes each issue a whole lot more exciting or in this case it would help the future films. There would be so many characters running around in the background that it would keep you really hyped. The problem is that this only works if you really enjoy the characters or find the plots engaging which is what the film fails to do. It’s more focused on the plot than the characters and you gotta have both. I do think huge fans of the Harry Potter lore may still be excited about all this, but it really wasn’t doing much for me.

The Ministry of Magic is really stuffy and antiquated. There’s no reason to root for them because their rules aren’t very sound. They are determined to keep the magic and human worlds separated to keep the balance so it’s no wonder why people are betraying them. They are trying to rule over everyone and that never goes well. All they do is hold each other back like when they shackled Dumbledore. The cabinet leader admitted that the principal was the only one who stood a chance against Grindlewald and even then he did this. The group makes no sense so I agree with Newt on not joining them. Still, they are the lesser of two evils so lets keep that in mind.

Then we have DUMBledore. All right, maybe not all of this is his fault, but we can blame him for quite a lot. That bloodpact he made a long time ago is really causing him trouble here. Even if he can’t attack Grindlewald directly he can still attack his troops. After all, Grindlewald has absolutely had no problems attacking Newt and every other hero here. Seems to me like Dumbledore is hiding when everyone was counting on him the most. He gets a tremendous amount of hype here, but he has yet to do anything of note. All he does is teleport and run around a lot. He also needed help getting the cuffs off. At this point in his career Gandalf had done more to prove himself so Dumbledore better shape up.

As for Newt, I still don’t like the guy. He’s constantly acting petty and being a downer in every single situation. He never explains himself and always has a sulking expression on his face. The guy’s too timid to be the lead and his magic skills don’t seem terribly advanced. He seems like a nice enough guy, but someone who should really be a member of the supporting cast and not trying to be Harry’s successor. Tina is the main heroine (Well, debateably. In the first film it was unquestionably her, but her role is reduced here) and she is a lot more interesting. At least she is actually being very pro active in trying to stop the villains even if her progress is quite slow like the others.

Then you have Jacob who gets mind controlled in his first scene. Don’t worry, he’s not being used as a hostage or anything, but he might as well be since he was nearly forced into marriage. By the time the spell breaks he tries to recover, but I think he could have been a little stricter with Queenie about not doing that again. He’s just not safe as she can dominate his mind at any point. Meanwhile, Queenie makes no sense here. Why show up at Newt’s place when he would obviously know that a spell was active? She should have gotten married first if she actually wanted to get away with the plan. She also has low will power and makes all of the worst decisions in the film. She definitely had a very different character arc than what I was expecting. It’s handled pretty well, but there’s no way I’ll be a fan of hers after this.

Then we have another plot with Credence and Nagini. Credence is one of those characters that everyone is hunting for different reasons. That can go down an interesting path of course as it’s always interesting seeing what side the character will choose. Unfortunately Credence has about as much agency as a pawn in Chess and just goes where the flashy colors are. In this case they belonged to Grindlewald so that’s it for him. He seems like the type of character who will be manipulated with ease. Nagini’s certainly a lot more interesting although I can see this being the start point for her descent into darkness.

Then we have the main villain Grindlewald himself. The film sets him up as being the big villain right away as even children aren’t safe from his terrors. He’s certainly got big goals, but is taking his time in going about them. Since he’s apparently the strongest sorcerer out there I’d like to see him make some more direct moves soon. I know that with magic there are a lot of convoluted reasons on why they must wait, but he needs to take the stage more. Just look at the climax. He murdered a bunch of spell casters with ease just with a single spell. He nearly took down all of Paris! If it’s that easy he should just keep blasting away. I get the feeling that he’s going to have some pretty big fights coming up.

The effects here definitely look really good. The magic spells are on point and the aerial fight with the lightning bolts coming down was definitely handled really well. More fights like that and the film definitely would have went up. The movie is at its best when we’re getting magical battles like that. Unfortunately they are few and far between. It does show the potential of the series though as we could potentially get more moments like that which would be very cool. It’s definitely jumped up visually from the last film. That’s a good thing since the average scenery in this film isn’t all that fun to look at. It does take place in the 1970s I believe though so that’s likely intentional. The effects are what you’ll be looking forward to.

Overall, I would have liked the film to have had some court scenes given that the title is literally referencing Grindelwald’s crimes. Instead he doesn’t do a whole lot after he escapes. The big climax at the end is pretty great and certainly the best part of the film. The characters all have to make a choice and it does set the stage for the third film to be the big payoff moment for a lot of characters. At the same time, this title really dragged its feet the whole time and still hasn’t given us a reason to root for most of the cast. I dare say that most of the Harry Potter characters had more personality after 1 film than these guys have after 2. I’ll stop comparing the two titles now, but Fantastic Beasts really needs to step it up. The review probably sounds pretty negative, but I’d still give this one a positive score. It just feels like empty world building right now and so there’s very low replay value. It still makes for a good initial watch though. I’d recommend checking it out if you like fantasy titles or are a big Harry Potter fan. That’ll let you really get the most enjoyment out of this title.

Overall 6/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Fairy Tail Blue Mistral Review


It’s time to finally check out one of the only good Fairy Tail spinoffs. Blue Mistral follows Wendy around on some adventures. As this manga is aimed more at her fans and she is just a kid it manages to stay away from most of the negatives that plague the franchise. It’s not amazing or anything as it naturally lacks the fights as well, but I’d say that it is a pretty solid series overall. It’s short and to the point.

The series is a bit episodic. There are 4 volumes and typically each adventure lasts for one volume. I’d say that there are maybe 5 main stories tops. I guess this approach works fairly well for spinoffs and as each story is pretty long it feels more like an ongoing story than an anthology. One thing you’ll notice right away is how nerfed Wendy is though. She is one of the Fairy Tail members so in theory she could end the whole island in an instant, but usually the villains still end up spooking her. I suppose she doesn’t want to hurt them though.

In one story Wendy arrives in a village where a girl believes that she is an angel. The reason for this is that there was a prophecy/spell that said a angel would soon be arriving and since Wendy arrived with wings (Her partner Carla flies her around which to the untrained eye looks like a pair of wings) the connection was made. Wendy decides to humor her since the girl’s had a rough past, but this town could be tougher than it looks. It seems like Wendy may need the help of Natsu and the other members of Fairy Tail to make it out of here alive.

The series does try to not use the other members as a crutch and succeeds at it. Natsu only steps in during one story so that’s pretty impressive. Naturally having them around would be pretty cool and would certainly add to the epic tone of the series, but it would probably defeat the point. It’s time for Wendy to prove that she can handle her own series and the quality of this title proves that she is ready.

In another story Wendy and Carla find themselves in a haunted house. This house has a ghost living in it and now the heroes are unable to live. They find out that this is actually a more tragic case than what it seemed like initially though. For starters, there is a witch in the town who turned this guy into his ghost like state and then all of his friends were turned into trees. Fairy Tail does like going for the emotional spins for moments like these so there are a bunch of twists and turns. The story isn’t quite as emotional as the other one, but I suppose it works well enough.

So you’ve got a general gist of how the stories play out. Typically they involve a friendship problem and then Wendy is able to save the day with her wind abilities. The fights are typically quick and Wendy sometimes needs help, but if you’re worried about there being no action then worry no more. The series does make sure to shake things up. The stories are all pretty interesting and as long as you treat this title as more of a slice of life than an adventure you’ll be fine.

I can’t say that I was too thrilled with the artwork though. It’s considerably weaker than the other Fairy Tail titles. It’s just ever so slightly harder to read when compared with the rest and that can slightly take away from the title. Still, it’s not bad art and isn’t enough to really take away your enjoyment of the title. At 4 volumes it’s also not as if the artist could immediately start drawing a lot better compared to the beginning.

There isn’t really anything negative here which is good. At the most, like I said I think Wendy was a little too nerfed for drama. She should really have been clobbering these guys. Otherwise, the only way you’re liable to be disappointed here is if you expected a big action series. It’s just not that type of title. As far as the Fairy Tail titles go it definitely beats Fairy Tail, The 100 Years sequel, S, and Fairy Girls. I’d probably put it under Ice Trails and Zero though. In terms of story this one’s a little lower though as the plot aspect isn’t quite as interesting as it could have been. Of course then the manga would have had to try and juggle between being very interesting and not suddenly becoming an end of the world plot. Of course that would be hype, but then you’d be worried about the other issues in case Natsu and the gang showed up.

Naturally the characters are always changing, but Wendy and Carla are always around. Carla’s a pretty decent sidekick. She’s a lot better than Happy and always does her best in trying to look out for Wendy. She’s a sidekick that you can count on. Meanwhile Wendy is a good protagonist. She may not be the smartest character out there and tends to not keep her guard up, but at the end of the day she means well. She wants to finally be able to contribute more to the group and so setting off on her own is a good way to get that experience.


Overall, This was actually a pretty fun spinoff. It’s definitely always interesting to see characters you know drawn in a totally different style. It’s a pleasant read and one that would have worked well as a spinoff or as a completely original manga. If you need to read some kind of Fairy Tail manga so you can say you’ve joined the fandom without having to check out the main manga I would certainly say that this is a good one to read. You don’t need prior knowledge of Fairy Tail to immediately get involved with the plot. Plus, Wendy does add some plot details when the series first starts which will bring you up to speed.

Overall 7/10