RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant Review

This book came out a long while ago so it’s about time that I check it out right? It’s a spinoff so the main characters aren’t here and it’s really a bit of a meta book as this is basically meant to be a book that exists in universe as something that Professor Ozpin would hand out. As a result the stories aren’t exactly real per say. It’s heavily implied that parts of them are real or at least based on something which is really the point of the book in the end but at the same time since the complete stories aren’t real it does make you give it the side eye a bit. I think instead the stories should have been real since that would have been a lot of fun but either way it’s interesting. Since the stories are so short there will be spoilers as I describe them so definitely read this before checking the review out.

Each story is 6 pages so they all go by very quickly but it does mean that the book gets to store a lot of content. You’ll be able to breeze through the book in no time that’s for sure. The first story is about a boy who meets a huntress and this is a fairly novel concept back in the day. The rest of the village believed they were just lucky which is why Grimm don’t appear but the kid knows better now. He visits her once a year and they become friends but ultimately after a few years she stops appearing. Either she was defeated by the Grimm or eventually just got too old to keep on fighting. In the end that is probably the fate of just about every fighter because the Grimm are limitless while eventually every human gets old. This was a pretty good story to kick things off and ultimately while the ending can be tragic, it worked really well in this fairy tale setting.

The next story was about a man who challenged the Sun to a staring contest. If he won then the Sun had to be extra careful about his family’s crops for generations and if the Sun won then the family would have to worship it forever. Ultimately the human proves his determination and wins but it costs him his eyesight forever. It’s certainly a cautionary tale on one side that you have to be careful when challenging someone because you might lose a lot but also a story about how you should keep on going once you have started. If he quit midway then he would have really been in trouble since he would have lost a lot with nothing gained. This story was definitely a lot sadder than the first even though the hero won here. I feel like I’ve read a story sort of similar to this one but it works well.

In the 3rd story we have a god showing up to try and bring everyone to his utopia. He grabbed a bunch of humans and told them to follow him onto his island. Some did and gained animal traits but others were too scared and stayed away. Ultimately this would begin the big terror among the humans and faunus which would become a never ending civil war. Ozpin basically confirms that the story is fake but wanted to include it as another cautionary tale of not letting your fear get the best of you. I think what weakens this one a bit is Ozpin confirming that it’s fake and us knowing that it is because of the true origin of the Faunus but it’s still a decent what if.

Then we get a bit more of an action packed story as a hunter dies and his kids all think about what they want to do with their lives. One of them ends up becoming a hunter as well, one an adventurer, a protector, researcher, etc. Ultimately they learn that divided they will accomplish none of their goals and that they must work together if they really want to succeed. It’s a solid message here and in the end unity is the strongest weapon against the grimm. I think the kid who was planning to be a hunter as well had the right idea though. From all of the kids that one made the most sense and I guess in the end he just wasn’t strong enough to see it through. The teamwork moral is always a classic one.

Next up we have a story about a King who was the wisest in the land. Unfortunately after that he was given a crown which showed him some kind of future and he lost all of his confidence. It’s a shame since he was doing so well and I do think he looks pretty bad considering how overwhelmed he was. If he had just held on to a bit of his confidence then he would have ended up being all right but in the end that just wasn’t in the cards. The ending is at least happy thanks to a widow showing up and helping him overcome these fears. That tied the beginning and ending in well as she appeared right from the start and got good advice from him so this time it was her turn. The king looked pretty bad but it’s a solid enough story.

After that was easily the scariest story as a girl is performing a challenge with her brother one day to go into the woods. He’s scared since the Grimm are generally around but she forces him to go. Unfortunately he gets gravely ill and it turns out that he was possessed by the Grimm and ends up murdering everyone in the town. The girl tries to escape but eventually realizes that she is dead as well. It’s a chilling tale all the way through and Ozpin confirms that this could not happen but that the chill grimms are still very dangerous. The moral is obviously not to perform silly dangerous dares like this. In a world filled with powerful monsters everywhere it’s just not a very smart idea to wander off by yourself. That is how you get absolutely devastated.

Following that up is another story where a god decides to meddle with the animals and human affairs. He shows up and asks if they will listen to him. Each side figures he is about to destroy the other and quickly agrees but instead he merges traits from each side which effectively creates the faunus. Neither side is happy as animals and humans both turn on the faunus and now they are on their own. The moral basically is that they should have tried getting along at the start or having some unity afterwards but they let their differences get in the way. As always if the characters had just been reasonable then this could have been avoided.

After that is the worst story in the collection. It’s about a guy with immortality and it’s heavily implied that this is Ozpin. Basically he ends up taking in an apprentice and before long has a whole following. As he dies the girl convinces him to return to them which is something he never does but he ends up paying a visit to the organization (The Circle) and everyone is ecstatic because now they have proof of someone who can return from the dead. Unfortunately that means a lot of people start attacking them to challenge him so he decides to lose on purpose and dies. What he didn’t realize was that by doing this the organization was defenseless and they were all murdered. The moral is not to put all your trust in one person but really it should be that the main character wasn’t smart at all. You should never allow yourself to be destroyed on purpose. Of course the villains weren’t going to keep their word about sparing everybody. Cmon now!

The Two Brothers is a fun story since the show actually adapted this one, granted with some differences. The show version is the true canon one of course but basically it goes through similar motions as the god of darkness creates the grimm while the light one creates animals. Eventually they team up to create humans but there is still a lot of friction as they sabotage each other for no good reason. As a result they decide to hold a truce by going into a deep slumber and if the humans are finally united in the end then they will say that this was a success. If there are differences then the humans will be murdered so the stakes are high. Knowing that these two corrupt beings are still out there should absolutely scare everybody. I still say the heroes might need a plan for that since the gods are almost certainly going to be evil when they appear.

Then we have the story of seasons which is another story we already know from the show. Basically an old wizard is lonely and gets visited by 4 ladies who each represent a season. They help instill new life into him and as thanks he gives them each a quarter of his magic. He may be powerless but is more alive than he ever was before since they have shown him how to enjoy the day and just have fun doing normal activities. It’s a very cheery story and a nice change of pace from the more serious ones. At the end of the day it’s a classic moral of always doing nice things to people because there is no downside and sometimes it can be really helpful.

Next up is effectively Rapunzel but with a bit of a twist. A girl is locked up in a tower by her father, one of the most powerful warriors in the world. She wants out and so she throws letters out the window begging people to save her. Many heroes arrive but they are all defeated by her father until one rescues her. It’s a classic saving the princess story but the tale makes sure to note clearly that a ton of people still died during the rescues so it wasn’t quite as happy as it may sound at face value. You do feel bad for those guys but at the same time they died following their own sense of justice so it was definitely a pretty good way to go out. I don’t think they would have any regrets.

Finally we come to the end with a story about the Moon but it’s probably the most boring story. It’s not bad but there isn’t much to it. The Sun has a hard time trying to make everyone happy and it crashes from over effort. The humans build a second one which becomes the new Sun and then they turn the old one into the Moon. It’s certainly interesting how humans are advanced enough to do this so it’s also probably the fakest story of them all. It’s also a shame for the Sun since he lost in both stories that he appeared in. I guess in the end he just can’t quite keep up with those pesky humans.

Overall, There are quite a few stories in here and they do make for a fun read. As with all anthologies there will be some fun stories and some weaker ones. Ultimately the balance works well enough to make this a good book but I will always prefer a central narrative to the anthology style. It’s higher reward all the way around. Still, I’m always glad to see more RWBY books and hopefully they keep coming. There is a whole lot of additional content that we could stand to learn about the world of Remnant.

Overall 6/10

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Review

I remember seeing the trailer for this film so many times in theaters. It always looked so good. This was easily one of the most exciting looking film trailers I had seen in quite a while and fortunately the movie absolutely delivers on this. The action here is absolutely on point and we have a great cast with lots of fun banter to back it up. This movie is the all around experience and a reminder that we need this movie series to keep on going for a long time. More spinoffs would be a good idea although I wouldn’t expect any of them to touch this title.

The movie starts off with a parallel showing us the lives of Hobbs and Shaw as they go through their day. They beat up on a bunch of enemies and show why they are the best at what they do. They are then called in to team up with each other to locate a powerful virus that has seemingly been stolen by a lady named Hattie who allegedly betrayed her team. What makes this complicated is that she is Shaw’s sister and that either way he doesn’t wan to team up with Hobbs. They will have to put their differences to the side quick because a metahuman named Brixton is on their tail and he is not someone that you want to mess with.

First off the big draw of this film is the endless banter with Hobbs and Shaw. They can’t stand each other and they make no attempt to hide this. Whenever one of them is on screen you can expect a lot of bickering and name calling. They are absolutely relentless with this but again it’s just great. They can be rather creative with all of the insults and they also take this really far like when Shaw intentionally sabotages Hobbs at the airport. That could have derailed the whole adventure for the heroes but fortunately Hobbs is always very resourceful.

This does lead to a great after credits scene with Shaw getting into a little trouble. The film adds in a lot of little bonus scenes and cliffhangers in the end which was pretty cool. There is certainly a whole lot for a sequel to tackle even if it appears that a sequel is never happening at this point. Hopefully they reconsider because there’s a lot more you can do with these characters. I can’t think of any duo currently active in cinema with banter that could come anywhere close to this. It’s just not happening.

There is a whole lot of action here but less in the way of car action than your average furious film. These guys are really confident in their hand to hand skills after all so that’s what the film really focuses on. Just the two characters really knocking the life out of all their opponents. They are taking villains down by the dozen and it’s great and it’s also why they needed to have someone with super powers in Brixton because otherwise there is no normal guy who could really handle these two. The battles here all live up to the hype and at most my only issue is that Brixton is so much stronger than the other two that this fight should have been over in an instant. There just isn’t a whole lot that they could do to injure him and all he needed to do was follow through on some of his hits.

Brixton did make for an interesting villain the whole time. He clearly doesn’t like being manipulated at all but isn’t really able to do much about it. It can work as a fun misdirect though because the whole time you’re expecting him to turn the tables on the true leader and it just doesn’t happen. The true leader seems interesting but of course we haven’t gotten to see him yet since he was being saved for the sequel. In the end that proved to not be the best call since we may not see him but on the plus side that means he will always look very impressive since he may never lose in the franchise.

As always Hobbs is a great character. He constantly has comebacks for every insult someone tries to throw at him. Additionally he talks really tough even while the heroes are being zapped which takes a whole lot of will and determination. Not just anyone can continue to hurl insults and such when they are at death’s door but he’s just built different like that. He is also really great at planning ahead as we see when the film ends.

Then we have Shaw who is also a lot of fun. I still say that Hobbs is a little more skilled in the end but Shaw is close enough where it is always a close fight. I’ve already spoken about how great their dynamic is but Shaw can also hold his own on the solo scenes. It was cool seeing him take out a bunch of thugs in the apartment and I like how he tries to always work smarter not harder. He’ll take an elevator if there is one instead of just jumping down and likes coming up with smart ways to avoid a fight. He was also very quick to try and protect Hattie when he finds out she is involved and never wavers in trying to protect her. He’s just a very high quality character.

As for Hattie, she had to make a pretty tough decision in absorbing the virus early on. She can fight well and while she may give up quicker than the other characters, the odds were pretty bad so you can see why she did that. She makes for a good heroine and can keep up with the main two with all the action going on around which is great. You don’t want a heroine who is panicking or anything like that while going through so you are definitely going to be satisfied here.

Then there is Hobbs’ brother Jonah who comes off as a bit of a jerk the whole time. Sure I guess Hobbs just up and left which wasn’t good but he’s working for the government and saves the world a whole lot. You’d think he would cut him some slack. Meanwhile Shaw’s Mom was a lot more entertaining. I like how she is always prepared and no jail can ever hope to keep her. It’s part of what makes her such a fun character since she only stays at jail for as long as she wants too.

There is a new character in the franchise named Victor who was actually rather fun. Certainly a rather random character I admit and I do think some of his scenes do tend to drag on a bit long. What I liked here is that he’s so unpredictable that you do get the feeling that he’s very dangerous. Even though his scenes always tend to be comedic, you get the feeling that the only reason he can joke around with Hobbs like this is because he’s so skilled that Hobbs can’t just bump him off so easily. I’d be interested in seeing this guy appear more and see what he can do. There’s also a fun cameo for air marshal Dinkley who is fun. Now this cameo may not have had much point to it even if he does help out once but it was neat to see him.

This film actually expanded the verse quite a bit which is good for a spinoff and it made the film feel a whole lot more important than it would have otherwise been. That’s what is very admirable here. Now when it comes to the soundtrack I will say that it’s less impressive than the main films. Some decent tunes in here but most of the songs just didn’t click for me. They may have been fast so they fit with the tone of the film but they just weren’t very good. The effects are top notch as always though.

What really makes this a great film is just how much replay value it has. The movie always has a very fun tone the whole time. You get your action scenes and hype dialogue as the characters get closer to their objectives but the film doesn’t slow down. We get a whole lot of big action scenes and then the film continues to top them over and over again. The only weak point of the film I would say is the romance which feels like it is just tacked on here. I gotta say that the characters are way too busy to worry about romance right now so they should be focusing on the fight. I’d also say some general power level issues throughout the film so you are going to have to suspend your disbelief a few times while the heroes are fighting.

Overall, Hobb & Shaw is a great film that I would recommend to anyone. I would say you don’t even need to watch the older films to understand this one. It works well enough as a stand alone title and with the basic premise of the two not getting along that is the only context that you really need. I could even rewatch this film now to be honest which is always a good sign. If they do surprise us with a sequel someday then I will definitely be ready but in the meantime I’m just glad that we got this one. Of course make sure you stick around after the credits because that last scene was just epic and a perfect way to end things off.

Overall 8/10

Beast Complex

This one’s not quite as dark as Beastars yet but at the end of the day it’s an anthology with a lot of animals not doing so well and so I don’t see this getting much higher. The chapters come out fairly random so if I get caught up in reviews and no more chapters are out I may do the review at some point but if you liked Beastars then you’ll like this one and vice versa. Anthologies are already at a disadvantage from the jump though so this will have to do something big to try and make a comeback.

Overall 2/10

Kuroko’s Basketball – Replace Plus Review

This is a series I was reading for a very long time until it finally finished. The original Kuroko’s Basketball was excellent and I enjoyed the sequel a lot as well. This one’s more of an “Eh” kind of series though. It’s a comedic slice of life title that can be borderline 4 koma at times although usually it’s still traditional. It’s basically about the characters messing around and having fun the whole time. The only catch here of course is that the cast isn’t the most varied in terms of their personalities. They’ve all got their gimmick that is dialed up to 11 for the series but that’s about it.

There isn’t exactly an ongoing story for the series either but I have to say that it’s impressive how the series ran for 10 volumes. That’s surprisingly good and so there are a lot of different stories here. It’s a series that is very easy to just turn your brain off and check out at any time. I would say that is its biggest advantage. None of the stories are going to be bad either. Maybe some of them will be a bit dull but they tend to be very consistent. You watch the characters all overreact to classic situations and there are a whole lot of different scenarios you can put them in.

The artwork isn’t bad. It’s close enough to the original where you can easily recognize all of the characters so there’s no issue there. It’s not quite as high tier as the main series would be but I can’t think of a time off the top of my head where a spinoff beat the main title anyway. Additionally this series is focused more on comedy as it is so that’s where the focus would be anyway. As long as the art is good enough to be clear then I don’t have any issues on that front.

It feels like it can be a bit harder to go in depth about this series as well just because it’s all pretty straight forward. Either you like the anthology type stories contained in the series or you don’t. For my money I just don’t have much of a strong opinion on them one way or the other. They make for a fun enough read as you go through but it’s why the series is right in the middle. I wouldn’t have any reason to read it again but if someone wants more adventures with the Kuroko gang then this is a solid recommendation. They are all still in character after all and this works as a way to see them outside of the matches.

The main series had a good amount of character development either way but this one helps to take a step further by constantly having them hang out outside of the game context. It’s almost like you have a whole series that would usually just be a bunch of bonus chapters. It’s always a pretty interesting way to think about this. I could absolutely picture these chapters just being shown at the back of each volume. It’s almost like how the slime diaries could just be bonus comedy bits at the end of main episodes.

This one has no fanservice issues or any real demerits but at the same time there is also less happening here on a story level. Occasionally you will have a more serious mini arc like one where two of the characters go to an abandoned school to find some basketballs. That worked pretty well in context and was probably one of the more engaging stories. Other times it’s just a matter of finding somebody or getting part time jobs to help grab some money. The stories have a lot of variety in what is happening even if the tone and atmosphere of them are often the same. They make for easy reads but it’s probably not the best series to marathon because then it might get a little repetitive. Of course whenever someone tells you not to marathon something that doesn’t sound good because it will always feel like a bad thing no matter how it is phrased.

Personally what I would have done here would have been to give some kind of central focus that would make all of the stories more interconnected. I think the easiest way to do this would have been some kind of summer camp. So the heroes are all taken somewhere where there is no basketball and then all of the stories happen there. It would take them away from their comfort zone and even if the stories are anthology style, it feels like they are connected because of the new landscape. Of course alternatively you could have some kind of a big overarching plot as well. It’s not like these things are necessary but I do think the series would have stood out more as a result.

Alternately you could have more of the stories taking place at the same time so it all feels like one big adventure. For example you can merge the chapter where the club all gets jobs to raise money with one where the main heroine is trying to convince Kuroko to go out with her with one where there’s a big party going on. Just keep everything going as more of a serialized comedy as opposed to anthology. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a big fan of the anthology format. To me there is no winning there because each story is so short. Either the story is weak and drags the good ones down or it is good and then it ends before you can really enjoy it. By going with these short stories you are effectively always behind the curve and there just isn’t much opportunity to change that.

If you did longer stories that had more of a full continuity to them then the comedy would really have a chance to excel and soar to new heights. That is definitely the best way to go if you ask me. I also think it would make this easier to marathon. You can probably think of many comedy and slice of life titles where you’re eager to see what happens next because there are still dynamics that continue and some kind of goal at the end. This one doesn’t have that which is why it just feels like a bunch of bonus chapters all stuck together.

Additionally because of this the series will try too hard to be funny. Now the link is not necessarily true that being an anthology will have you try to hard but it does make sense to me. Because the stories don’t continue then they have to try and cram all of the random gags in as quickly as possible. Usually this just means repeating the same jokes like Kuroko being invisible. The main series does a better job of the comedy because of this as it gets to make the most of the little moments between games while this one is just trying to throw everything at you all at once. Some jokes may land but more often than not you’ll just keep reading without much of a smile. Fortunately the stories are still interesting enough where you want to get through them even if you aren’t laughing though.

Overall, Kuroko’s Basketball is a solid franchise and it’s always cool to see more installments but this one won’t be moving the needle for you much at all. It’s a series that you will read and then once you put it on the shelf that’s probably the last time you will think about it. There aren’t any deep themes to unpack or serious plots to have fun with. It’s not even super funny so at the end of the day while there are no negative aspects to the series and it is in no way bad….it’s just not going to be keeping up in the end. You should only check this out if you’re a huge fan of the franchise but otherwise you can skip this title.

Overall 5/10

The Slime Diaries: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Review

Slime is one of those series I always mention as having improved greatly from the start to be one of the premiere light novel adaptions. Well this spinoff is more like a return to the old days. It’s more of a slice of life adventure about the cast hanging around the village and having fun which can absolutely be a fun angle to have on this. The only issue is that when the series isn’t focused on the action it always gets real tempted to just focus on fanservice instead and….well this one falls into that trap as well. The fanservice is pretty much a constant in every episode and so this one was a bit doomed from the start. It can still be a lot of fun but it’s certainly not a title you would recommend to someone to enhance their view on the main show.

As the title would suggest this series is about adventures that Rimuru has written down in his diary. During the rare times when the heroes aren’t defending themselves from another kingdom or fighting off demon lords they get to have a whole lot of parties. The village loves their parties and why not, they’re a great way to build up morale and get everyone excited. Quite a few of these episodes have some kind of a party to the point where it is almost a running gag. As someone who likes making a big deal out of just about any kind of event I can definitely get that.

So the show is completely revolving around how interesting the day to day life of the characters can be without the fights. Because there are no big fights here, this is all about just having fun around the village. Slime’s cast is pretty solid but I would say they got more of the good characters to the cast by season 2. This one doesn’t have Veldora as a main member yet or Diablo but Milim is here a lot and she’s always a real highlight in the show.

The show’s humor is typically fun too. You have Rimuru having to teach the monsters about Christmas and New Year’s which results in some fun scenes. The holidays probably do sound a bit odd to someone that’s never heard of them before but simplifying things to just say that it’s a big party works for the cast. Milim is also a lot of fun because she can end the whole kingdom with a punch and is thousands of years old but she still acts like a kid the whole time so Rimuru has to be careful how he talks to her about anything really. If she gets the wrong idea or gets upset then it can all be over for them.

Now as mentioned the fanservice is the main issue here. It feels like quite a few episodes through in the obligatory hot springs type moment. Shion’s outfit has never been the most practical one but this show certainly makes sure to jump in with the zoom ins from time to time. Every episode will have some iffy fanservice moments like that. I wouldn’t say the scenes are ever super egregious and the light hearted comedic nature of the show ensures that it never gets too serious or anything. It’s just the sheer frequency with which they happen that really bogs this one down. It’s always the low hanging fruit, the easy way to try and generate clicks but the show should have more confidence in its own humor and characters to not have to rely on this. Instead of being another advantage it just works against the show.

It’s also been a while, maybe ever since I saw a show that had both Christmas and New Year’s in a single season. So that was nice to see. As a slice of life I wouldn’t say that the show is able to keep up with the bigger titles like Kanon or Clannad though. Maybe in part it’s because the characters are more suited for action and aren’t built for comedy or maybe it’s just that the setting doesn’t work as much. I’ve thought about this and a lot of times the best slice of life casts and circumstances are in worlds that are more like real life. Of course you could make the case that it just makes sense statistically because a lot of them take place there. It’s hard to make such a sweeping generalization there either.

So at the end of the day it just comes down to writing and character dynamics. There are a lot of fun dynamics within the cast and Rimuru is a good main character so that makes for a lot of good humor. I do think the show would have absolutely have been able to hold its own well enough if it focused on the humor entirely. Probably not an award winning show or anything but it had enough pieces there.

The animation is decent. I wouldn’t say that it’s great or anything but it’s good enough and you can always tell what is going on. I wouldn’t say they’re trying to make this an S tier title with animation and you can certainly tell that but it’s still good. Part of the show is about seeing the seasons in the village and you can clearly see the differences the whole time so the animation succeeds there. The soundtrack is much more on the forgettable side though. There aren’t any big emotional or action tunes to really focus in on.

In a way there also isn’t a whole lot to talk about in this show compared to most since there isn’t as much of a plot here. So you can expect this show review to be shorter than the last few. As it is when a show is only around 12-13 episodes like this one then it’s always going to go fast. It works in this sense though because then the show doesn’t drag on. I also think they would have had a hard time thinking of more ideas after a bit because it’s not like there are any other holidays to grab. If the show went too much further in the timeline then you would be questioning how they are able to have this much time before the next attack.

I don’t think the show needs to worry about continuity and being in canon too much to be honest but it’s still something they were probably trying to keep in mind. I do think that a season 2 would benefit from taking place later in continuity because then you can have Veldora as a main character and he could have a lot of fun interactions with Milim. That would be a recipe for greatness right away. As it is Milim does a lot of the heavy lifting here already. Throw in the fun Veldora and then things will get even better. After all he’s one of the only characters who can hold his own against her in power so they’re able to have even conversations.

Plus he’s another immortal who acts rather young but I feel like he’d end up being a bit of a father figure to her. Shion and Milim have a bit of a rivalry going but it’s so one sided in terms of power level that it just doesn’t work nearly as well. It does help to show that Milim is still fairly nice on the inside. No matter how heated things get it’s not like she blows Shion up or anything which would be easy to do even accidentally with how powerful Milim is. It was nostalgic seeing the old Rimuru though. He gets teased for looking like a girl quite a bit here as a result though and his old design could seem like that at times so it’s not super surprising. I feel like this pretty much stopped once he got the cool black leather jacket so in a season 2 if it takes place late enough then Rimuru can probably look forward to the teasing ending.

Plus later on he ends up being strong enough where he is finally in Milim’s league so he doesn’t have to be quite as nervous either. I mean Rimuru is a bit nervous just due to his personality so he’ll still be panicking a whole lot but it’s a different kind of panic. The village idolizes him so much that you’d think it would have improved his confidence more though. I get that it can be a bit weird to have everyone making statues of you and everything but Rimuru needs to either embrace it or find a way to stop it. By meekly accepting it, that just means that nothing will be changing anytime soon.

It doesn’t go to his head though so at least I don’t really see the harm. It’s something for the village to unite around and it gives them hope. Rimuru directly saved most of their lives from futures that would have been way more dire after all so this is still an upgrade. The average townsfolk is living a near perfect life in the village protected by powerful fighters all around. Who wouldn’t want to live there? None of them take this for granted.

Overall, Slime Diaries is a reasonable show to pass the time by. The fanservice is what keeps me from giving this one a positive score and being able to recommend it though. It would be interesting to see this get a season 2 though and if they can build on the good aspects of the show to make it better. Imagine a jump in quality similar to the main Slime seasons 1 and 2? That would be great and also a fun coincidence. I also think there is an audience for this kind of a show as just a very calm slice of life title. You can watch it as something peaceful in the background or something to watch before bed. A show filled with good feels can be fun so I’ll be rooting for the series to surpass its limits.

Overall 5/10

My Hero Academia Vigilantes Review

This series finished up quite a while ago so this review has been on the backburner for a minute now. My Hero’s done a good job of fleshing out the franchise by having several spinoff manga and this is certainly the most popular one of them. It helps that the story beats here would actually end up being important to the main series and the final battle is legendary for how long it was. In the end this was definitely a pretty good title and one that was getting better the longer it went on. I still hope we get to see Koichi appear in the main series some day but until then at least he got plenty of adventures here.

The story starts by introducing us to Koichi who is a big fan of All Might. He even has a hoodie based on the guy and so he does his best to save people and lead a good life. Unfortunately civilians are not allowed to use their powers unless specifically authorized. That makes Koichi a vigilante and someone who must be stopped. His powers allow him to slide across any surface which is why he’s called the Crawler but he’s not really an offensive type fighter so going up against the heroes would be tricky. Fortunately he meets up with Pop, a vigilante who likes to sing and dance, and Knuckle Duster who is a brawler that beats up villains. Together these 3 would make for quite the fighting force.

Before we get into the big story arcs we get some introduction stories to help get you used to the cast and they work rather well. The artist is also able to improve quite a lot. You can see a good amount of difference from the first chapters to the last ones and that worked out really well since you want a lot of great spectacles for the climax. The series does not hold back there at all. You can always tell what is going on here so I give the art a lot of credit there and the characters all tend to be very distinct. I’d also note that the art was never bad even at the start, I liked the shading, particularly for Knuckle Duster as it really helped him be like Batman. There was just more and more detail as the series went on.

The series had a mild fanservice issue initially as it would seem to follow Pop wherever she went. Her outfit definitely isn’t combat ready as they would say but as the series goes on that basically vanishes which is great. This is a series that can absolutely stand out on its own merits and doesn’t need to rely on any tricks like that. Since this is a spinoff that takes place before the main series, the author is able to really make the most of the timeline by adding in a bunch of references and foreshadowing. Quite a few heroes appear here from time to time including a rather large role for Aizawa. Even Endeavor and All Might join in on the fray and we also have a flashback arc which brings more in. There are important plots like Aizawa’s backstory that you have to read in this series to get the full context.

It’s rare to have a spinoff that is so important but Vigilantes pulled it off. So lets talk about the first main arc. Even though I was talking about the pre arc adventures, the first arc’s story is ongoing in the background almost immediately as the series starts. Basically there is a drug known as trigger out there and someone is giving this to a lot of people with quirks. This causes their quirks to massively power up but its at the cost of their sanity and this starts turning people to the side of darkness. Knuckle Duster’s mission is to get this off the streets and he may even have a more personal reason for wanting to get rid of the stuff. Koichi and Pop end up agreeing to help out and that’s how they all get mixed in with this. They have to stop the ringleader at all costs!

This was a good way to kick off the series. We meet a whole lot of characters and there are also a good amount of villains for the heroes to all fight against. Between the guest stars and original characters there was something to be enjoyed for fans of each part. Tensei gets to appear in a few stories here and since we heard a lot about Ida’s big brother but never got to see him fight before, that was definitely a lot of fun. He seems like a good guy and isn’t quite as strict about everything as Ida is.

Stain also gets to show up here and he leaves quite the impact. His fight with Knuckle Duster is really good and we really got to see how this battle helped to shape his ideology for later on. Stain got to keep his hype all the way through and even stood up to Kuin, the true final boss of this arc. It made for a really solid event during this arc and one that you weren’t likely to forget afterwards. So like the other guest stars this was enough to enhance the story without taking the spotlight away from the original characters too much.

For one original character that was rather low key the whole time, we have Soga. Soga is someone who is around for the entirety of the series but it’s easy to overlook him because he doesn’t fight all that much and doesn’t have any real powers. He basically becomes something of an assistant for Koichi. He makes sure that things go without a hitch whether it’s dodging the cops or fighting villains. He handles the strategy element so Koichi can focus on just landing attacks and taking out villains. I can’t say he ever really stood out to me but he’s effective at what he does.

Makoto is a character who gets a really big role. She takes over as Koichi’s agent of sorts and helps him quite a lot. Her stance on vigilantes isn’t nearly as drastic as the police officer’s but ultimately she is still on the fence about the whole thing. When the chips are down she does help Pop and Koichi though. The series tries to spin in a little romance here but you could interpret it as her just testing Koichi to see what he would say. It’s a little hard to say, I remember it feeling ambiguous. Vigilantes isn’t afraid to throw in some romance in general as there is some with Pop as well but ultimately it never becomes a focus and that’s for the best. I don’t think there is really a lot of time for romance here.

Captain Celebrity makes his first appearance during this arc although he would return later on. Think of him like a discount version of All Might. He’s got the strength, speed, and flight but all to much smaller extents. His powers may not work the same way as All Might’s but he can make them appear like that which is the important thing. I like his confidence and thought he was a quality character right from the start. If anything I’m surprised he didn’t do more in the climax or show up in the main series yet as this is the kind of international hero that would make a lot of sense to appear. Captain Celebrity can be a bit vain and you can probably tell that from his title but he is the kind of character that is fun to root for.

Finally we get to the main villain Kuin. She’s the mastermind behind the first big chunk of the series and definitely does really well. She can use her bees to great effect whether it’s fighting at close range or going for a more long range assassin type of attack. Kuin gets a full backstory and everything and lasts longer than you may have expected. The series did a good job of really developing her so you definitely aren’t likely to forget her by the end. Her power set was also unique and let her go toe to toe with several fighters. Even by the end of the series I would say that she could still be considered rather powerful in her prime and the power creep effect never really happened to her there.

In this arc is when we start to see the professional heroes showing up but unfortunately I would say they tend to come across as really annoying. Yes the vigilantes aren’t going through proper channels so the cops do need to do something about them but half the time they’re actively helping fight the villains so shouldn’t you prioritize getting those guys out of the way first? That feels like it would easily be the most efficient way to do it right? Of course it ultimately goes higher up to the very laws themselves. I always felt that the laws in the MHA verse are super restrictive with how civilians can’t even help each other without breaking the law even in an emergency setting. It’s no wonder that the Vigilantes become so popular.

Koichi lives in a rather small town that is apparently often overlooked by the police. So if he doesn’t help them then odds are that nobody else will. So he just has to put on a disguise and help out because otherwise they would be after him too. It’s a rather stressful way to operate and you just feel like that shouldn’t be necessary. So the pro heroes aren’t fully to blame here but they could handle things better either way. At least Aizawa will pretend to look the other way at times which is a decent start.

He skirts the line the most there and he should understand that the casualties would be worse without the vigilantes. Fans of Aizawa will appreciate that he also gets his own flashback arc so there is a lot of room for development there. Someone like Endeavor is solidly back in his antagonist days so he shows up here just to throw some fire around and doesn’t care as much about collateral damage. He’s lucky that Koichi isn’t one of the more aggressive characters because by the end of the series I’d say that he surpassed Endeavor by a longshot. This is one guy who wouldn’t go down easily.

All Might’s role is much smaller than most of the heroes because he would end each arc too quickly but he looks good. It’s nice to see how he just shows up and dominates the field at any given moment. That’s what you would expect from the #1 hero, particularly since he hasn’t been too weakened yet and should be at full strength. The cop who always follows him around (Tsukauchi) also gets a fairly big role. This guy is more of a stickler for the rules though so I can’t say that I was a big fan of him. He’s the kind of guy who absolutely would try to arrest a vigilante even if the city was burning down all around him. He needs to work on his priorities a little better.

After that arc we start to set up more seeds for the future. Villains using the trigger drug are still around so someone appears to still be mass producing the drug. A mysterious speedster known as Six also starts to make some moves and this villain is difficult to stop because of how crazy fast he is. In an instant he can land any number of blows and fighting anyone with speed like that is difficult. The main plot is about Captain Celebrity though and he is targeted by the new mastermind. Koichi will have to try and help out while Knuckle Duster takes care of Six but are they ready for this?

This arc was especially good for Captain Celebrity because he got a whole lot of character development as a result of this. We got to see his true heroic side. He may posture a lot for the cameras but at the end of the day he’s still a hero and certainly didn’t lose sight of that. Koichi also started to slowly improve his powers. Perhaps a little too slowly as he tries to be really careful about not causing any harm with them which is good but when he even fires a tiny blast Pop and some other characters always get on his case. I feel like it’s a bit overdone. As long as Koichi is pulling his punches and just knocking people out then I don’t really see the issue with it. This saga was a little more low key than the first one but it was definitely solid.

Then there is the Aizawa arc with Oboro, his old childhood friend. We get to see how the two of them and Present Mic were the best of friends. The 3 of them aimed to really take the hero world by storm and they had the quirks to do it. Aizawa was still more on the quiet side like in the present but Oboro had a way of getting everyone excited and so even Aizawa bought into it. Unfortunately as Oboro isn’t in the main series you can probably guess that things don’t go very well for him. It does make things very interesting for a character in the main series though and it’s an emotional arc. I had a good time with it and while Oboro may not have been around for very long, he definitely left quite the impact. I’d enjoy seeing more adventures with these 3 in the past, it actually gave me a lot of Naruto vibes.

After that we go into more of a romance focused arc. Pop is still confused about her feelings for Koichi and this allows her to be in a vulnerable state which Six takes advantage of. He turns her into an evil mind controlled fighter so Koichi has to try and stop her without hurting her. The tough part about that is the pro heroes aren’t so lenient, particularly Endeavor. So Koichi in a way has to take this guy down as well and it won’t be easy but at this point his powers have continued to evolve. The tough situation really helped to speed up his development on that front quite a bit.

Props to the series for trying to focus on the romance here but ultimately they were good friends so you’re cool with it staying that way. I was glad that we got to see Pop fight with her powers now that she was on the dark side though. As a hero you didn’t get to see her battle all that much at all so this way she can really go in. It was also nice seeing the pro heroes so that’s why this made for a very well balanced arc and further helped set up Six as the big villain to come up.

As the series prepared to enter the final stage we finally got Knuckle Duster back in his younger days. We saw how he used to be a very powerful hero and he got to go undercover to check out an underground fighting circuit. We get some fun guest stars here like Rappa, Mirko, and the High-End. There are quite a few solid battles in here and all of these fighters are quite powerful. It really makes for an impressive collage of characters here. So this flashback didn’t feel like some minor flashback.
Instead it was a great showing of the heroes working together back in the day and how Knuckle Duster could even convince villains to help. You get the feeling that Rappa was really close to becoming a full hero if things had turned out differently. The High-End was also really powerful even back before he got powered up further by All For One. Mirko being here for the fights also makes a lot of sense since she loves to get in on the chaos. The arc may not have had Koichi and friends but it was a really fun change of pace.

Then we enter the final arc which is rather massive as you would expect. It’s finally time for Six to make his big move and he holds nothing back. He has half of the city exploding and with his speed even the pro heroes don’t know what to do. It’s fun to see Endeavor and all of the pros but you know that they stand no chance against this guy. Only Koichi can possibly do something but even he is at the end of his rope. With Pop currently out of action that makes the stakes a lot more personal as well. We get to see a lot of teamwork between all of the heroes that Koichi has helped out in the past and the civilians as well so it’s really a great team effort.

You may figure that Koichi is completely out of his depth here since Six ends up being one of the strongest characters in the franchise but fortunately like Deku, Koichi is effectively able to use multiple quirks at once. In a way it’s even more impressive because it’s technically one quirk that he mastered so well until it could act as multiple. He found so many uses for the glide ability that it would make you surprised to see how far he had come. It definitely made for a great climax and this arc has a whole lot of memorable moments.

The author also did a good job of handling Six’s speed. When someone can move this fast you will always find some issues with it but Six’s speed has some defined limits and the characters make good use of it. So the climax ended up working out rather well. Six is also my favorite villain in the series and it was nice to see him getting so much action. This is definitely a villain that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. He’s really memorable and the series even gave him some ties with All For One. It really helped make the finale more and more grand. At one point I thought it was going to tie in with the first chapter of the main series in a specific way but didn’t go down that route.

As a main character Koichi is really solid. He’s fairly unassuming and may not have that Shonen aggressiveness that you’ve come to expect from a lot of heroes but he gets the job done. Even by the end of the series he thinks of himself more as an everyman who will help to take down the villains but isn’t expected to be the main act. He is a supportive fighter for most of the series so that makes sense and it’s only near the end that his powers really begin to go crazy. So he’s very consistent and ranks fairly high up there in the verse. In terms of power level he’s absolutely on the highest tier but even in terms of character he’s one of the better ones. That was important since you need quality characters to keep your series high up.

Then there is Pop as the main heroine. It’s a little unfortunate that she got sidelined for so long since it kept her from appearing more. She did well as a villain but as a hero she never really got to use her powers to the max. I suspect that she would have been quite good in combat but we didn’t really get to see to what extent that would have been true. Pop helps to encourage Koichi throughout the journey though and he would not have made it nearly as far without her. She’s a good friend to have.

Finally we have Knuckle Duster to round out the main trio. He’s a really tough fighter and should remind you of Batman. I’m pretty sure that’s the whole idea and it works well. While All Might takes out villains during the day and makes a big spectacle of it, Knuckle Duster works as a vigilante by night who takes out any villains that happen to get in his way. That’s just how he rolls and he gets a lot of the best stories here. He is often fighting opponents who are out of his weight class and so he has to fight smart.

Upon first glance you may figure that he’s your average bruiser but he does use his head a lot and fights strategically. That’s what separates him from the average character and it works out quite nicely. He may not get the most screen time in the series but he gets enough to leave you very satisfied the whole time. It’s always easy to root for an underdog like this who has no powers but is mixing it up with all of these crazy fighters anyway. Knuckle Duster is someone who absolutely will not back down!

I have to give another shoutout to the final climax. I just can’t end this review without talking about it because that was so much fun. This is one of those times where reading the series live was so neat because the fight just kept on going and going. I can’t recall a fight that was so much fun to see live like that since probably one of the final Bleach fights. A long battle where the villain is surpassing his limits as well as the hero makes for a very satisfying conclusion because you know that they both gave it their all. You want a villain to be determined in his goal and to keep on giving the match 100% or it just wouldn’t be nearly as high tier. It helps that Six was the best character in the series, that guy was intense!

Overall, My Hero Academia Vigilantes is a great series. It may start off a little slow but each arc keeps the series moving higher and higher and that’s the kind of trajectory that you want your series to take. Better to start off light and get great by the end than to start off great and slowly go downhill to the end. You always remember the ending after all and a satisfying one goes a long way. The series is a bit long for a spinoff so if you decide to read through this series you will definitely have a lot of content. I definitely recommend jumping in whenever you can. This is one title that you don’t want to miss!

Overall 8/10

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Review

It’s time to take a look at the Lost Girls OVA that came out a while back. This one mainly focuses on Annie and Mikasa in side stories outside of the main story. One of them even works well as an AU of sorts that helped with the timeline theories from way back when. It always feels a bit odd to have a Titan story without the Titans really doing much here but it’s a good way to get some character development in and I can’t say that I really miss the titans must at all.

The first story focuses on Annie and it’s a two part adventure. Basically it’s almost time for her to pull off her plan of betraying the Survey Corps and kidnapping Eren but she needs an alibi and so she asks her roommate to cover for her as she takes a day off. The roommate says sure…as long as Annie does her a favor first. In this case it’s following up on a missing persons report that the girl just left hanging. The Military Police have a rather bad reputation of being extremely corrupt and not doing anything about it so Annie’s expected to just do the bare minimum but she has some free time so why not right? She is at a disadvantage though since the events happened a few days ago but she will give this her best effort.

So this is a detective story through and through. We get to see Annie checking around the city for any trace of Carly (The girl who vanished) and asking around. Most people would be far too scared to do anything like this because the city is so shady that you could die at any corner but when you’re a living titan with regen that makes things a little easier. Annie also knows a lot of hand to hand combat and takes out anyone who messes with her. The thugs of this town will certainly know not to mess with her next time. She uncovers the clues rather quickly and then has to decide how to handle this.

It’s not as simple as just solving the case since she can’t be tied up with any extra details when her mission is the next day. Additionally this isn’t just someone getting lost. It becomes clear that Carly disappeared deliberately so that also complicates things. Annie is quite efficient at solving the case though to the point where I thought this was only a single episode before checking and seeing that it was two. The mystery was handled well though so this was a good pair of episodes.

There were a good amount of twists and the writing was on point so it kept your attention the whole time. The animation looked good and the soundtrack was on point as well so definitely no issues there. Carly’s father was also a good character. I liked how perceptive he was. He wasn’t just some NPC to be tricked or discarded. Instead he had some good insight of his own and made sure that he wasn’t just being led around the whole time.

Meanwhile Carly does well for herself too. I wouldn’t say she is quite the strategic mastermind that the father is, but she was clearly able to strategize enough to pull off this whole plan so that’s impressive enough in itself. Then Annie did good in actually solving the whole case. In the end it’s one of those case where all of the characters are being rather corrupt and acting like criminals but I would expect no less from the world of Attack on Titan. After all, even the investigator herself was a titan traitor so that’s just how the ball bounces.

The only part of the special that may make you think twice is when Annie transforms for an instant near the end. No way the people of the town wouldn’t have seen that with such a large/bright flash of thunder. As a side story you want to make sure you don’t mess with the main timeline and I feel like this definitely does. The odds of nobody else seeing that is slim to none. You’re definitely going to notice that and so they probably should have had Annie win this without transforming. Sure, I bet they wanted to have her use the power at least once but it is a potential issue there.

The final story is about Mikasa and this one gets really trippy the whole time. You get lots of flashbacks, flash forwards, this is partially an AU and so everything is odd. There are random flashes of different times that Mikasa will get. Now this is fun for theory crafting and foreshadowing for sure but you definitely need to be ready for it. I was having a good time with it all the way through though. The actual main plot though is that Eren is coming up with a Hot Air Balloon so that he can finally escape this city and see the rest of the world. Mikasa desperately wants to go too so that she can always be by Eren’s side but a clown stands in her way. If she doesn’t get by him quickly then it’ll be too late.

This clown guy is definitely a rather odd figure. So his goal is to make Mikasa murder him and he figures he’ll prove that he can use his magic to corrupt anyone. Mikasa is just a little girl at the moment after all so this should be seemingly impossible. The anime uses a lot of fun effects to make this guy appear as deranged as possible and it definitely gets rather spooky. More props to the animation with this and the whole thing is framed very dramatically. It’s an effective way to use a short bit of time and make it intense.

Then by the ending we see more of how this is an AU although the balloon was a good first guess on that. It’s a solid special that may not be as important as the Annie one since the things there actually happened but it’s an interesting look on how things could have gone over here. Eren is just as ambitious and single minded as ever so the guy is always in danger no matter what timeline it is. The idea that the characters can see other timelines while they’re dreaming or asleep was always a good one. It’s nostalgic thinking of all the Attack on Titan theories from back in the day.

The animation for both specials is good as I mentioned earlier and the soundtrack is on point too. It’s a nice complementary piece for any fan of the series and I’d be cool with more OVAs for smaller adventures like this. You could probably have a lot of fun with it while keeping the Titans out although the series doesn’t have the most interesting cast so you probably would want to keep it to these characters and Eren. Not sure there are more than 3-4 other characters who could hold their own episode like this.

Doing more mysteries is probably the easiest way to generate more stories unless you want to do more AU type stories. The reason being, it’s not out of the question for the survey corps and military police members to have some down time between missions. There are quite a few empty gaps in time during the series and with the sheer amount of crime and craziness going on in the city, it would be believable that they were short staffed enough to add the characters in. You probably would want to keep it to short one shot adventures though instead of going for the big conspiracy mystery ongoing though because otherwise then you start to make things a little tricky. Having Carly’s father return would be fun as well.

Overall, Lost Girls is a good OVA. The title may not make sense in a literal sense but maybe what they’re going for here is how both of them have lost their purpose at the moment. Annie is being a traitor but doesn’t really know why so in the meantime she’s solving a mystery case. Meanwhile Mikasa is lost in a whole other timeline but rolls with it in order to save the day. At least that would be my interpretation of the title. There may not be much action here but the OVA is still interesting so I’d recommend giving it a shot. I think you’ll have a good time watching it.

Overall 6/10

Tokyo Mew Mew Olé! Review

It’s time to talk about an absolutely brutal manga that is just awful on so many levels. Man this one was bad and I had a bad feeling about it right from the jump. The original Tokyo Mew Mews may not have been fantastic manga but they at least had a lot of fun moments and cool things happening at all times. This one? It’s trying its very best to be a nonstop reverse harem at all costs while destroying all of the characters in the process. Even having some serious fights was not enough to save this one.

So the plot starts out rather similar to the main series but in reverse. Shibuya is a rather shy guy who keeps to himself. Some think he’s cool in an aloof way while others just think he’s a jerk but he doesn’t care. Unfortunately, a mad scientist (The mother of his crush Anzu) ends up firing off a powerful energy blast that transforms 5 teenage guys into cat warriors. Shibuya is now the leader of this Mew Mew group and he has to try and hide this from the world or he will be a laughing stock.

The only way to get rid of these powers is to find a bunch of “Mew Aqua” crystals. Along the way he will also have to fight off powerful Chimera monsters and a villain group led by Deep Blue who seem to want to destroy the planet. Along the way Shibuya must now try to confess his feelings for Anzu. The tough part is that the other 4 guys are in love with her as well and the same is true for the 3 big villains. Anzu loves the attention from the 8 guys but the problem is that she is slowly falling for all of them as well. Can she choose…must she choose? She will have to handle this carefully.

The original Mew Mew series was a classy affair. The cat gimmick may have been a bit much but hey it was a classic magical girl show about fighting monsters. You had a wholesome romance with the nice guy and the “bad boy” trying his best to get the lead’s attention. The romance itself may have been super weak but the show as a whole was just classic. This series just feels desperate right off the jump. The whole series is about getting in as much shipping as possible and it’s absolutely nonstop.

The plot even curves around this for no reason. Let me give you an example here real quick. One aspect of this is how the Mew Mew formula not only turns you into a cat but it also affects your personality this time. Shibuya is forced to yell stuff like “Pleased to be of service”! and every time he tries to gag himself but it’s too late. By the end of the series he stops resisting but apparently it’s something that happens to all of the characters. Part of the transformation is a mental suggestion that forces you to strike up different poses and say crazy catchphrases. This is obviously not serving any point except to try and make the characters as embarrassed as possible. It’s not a good look.

Then there is the romance which is awful. As mentioned in the intro, everybody likes Anzu. They just can’t stop thinking about her and while it’s obvious that she will choose Shibuya in the end, did we need everyone to fall for her like this? It’s just really excessive but the absolute worst part of it is that Anzu gets her own feelings confused as well. If she was just being very stoic about it the whole time or patronizing that would help but when she actually starts to think that she likes the other guys as well then it becomes an issue.

The series could have easily tried to make Anzu better by being decisive but this was just here for the drama. At the end of the day the whole series is just here for a lot of shipping. You even have the guys showing off so much that they all start to be in awe at times. At one point they’re stranded at the desert and have to make some desperate crazy calls. The plot takes a backseat all of the time and so this ends up being a horrible manga. Every single moment is weaker than its original incarnation but not by a little, it’s by a lot. There is no reason to actually read this manga in the end. There’s just no replay value here and it feels like the worst possible way to continue the franchise. I’m glad the original show got a reboot so people can check that out instead.

So as you can see, I didn’t like Anzu as the main heroine. She’s just not decisive enough and gets kidnapped a whole lot. Anzu may have been brave to enter the villain base on her own at one point but she’s captured so effortlessly that it just makes the whole decision look bad. Shibuya is also bad as the main guy because he is way too timid. He also has no control over his cat form so he will suddenly get real serious and possessive, then back to normal. These massive mood swings don’t help his character in the slightest or help you see how Anzu could have fallen for him in the first place.

Yoyogi is the smart member of the group so expect him to be talking down to everyone all the time. It isn’t very impressive though considering that his abilities aren’t even above the others and intelligence barely matters in this series. You either land your attack and destroy the enemy or you don’t. There’s no room for big fancy plans or any of that stuff. This guy’s annoying all the way through and you know he has no shot at the romance either way. While you can’t have a team without a bunch of team members, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to this guy. There’s nothing interesting or endearing about him.

Ryusei is the youngest one of the group and he’s very headstrong as a result. Usually I like that kind of character but of course it’s more to show him as the naïve character who gets some feelings for Anzu but isn’t able to express himself. He can be really wild in his cat form as well and is often a liability. I think he could have been a decent character if handled right but of course the series was not going to handle anything right like that so it was game over right from the start.

Ayato is the rich member of the group who tries to be the mature guy who keeps everyone in line. Of course that doesn’t prevent him from falling for Anzu as well. He mainly tries to stay out of the race at least so he doesn’t complicate matters but of course it would have been even better if he could have just been a mentor figure. At least he can pull his weight more than some of the other characters and actually seems to understand the stakes. I can give him some reasonable props next to the other characters but wouldn’t say that I liked him much at all.

Finally we have Taichi who is the worst member by far. It’s not even close, the guy whines a lot and is super weak so it gets to his head and he starts to think about the dark side. C’mon now, you can’t be switching up this quickly. It’s a really bad look for him and he never really rebounds from this. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to make a comeback from that because once you’re a traitor then you’ve crossed a line that must not be crossed. Getting back from that is incredibly difficult to the point of being nearly impossible. This guy got off really easy if you ask me.

Then for the 3 Wiseman group: Latte, Chai, and Mocha, none of them were all that good. Latte was another guy obsessed with Anzu the whole time and he wanted her to love him but of course that wasn’t possible. It’s an awful motivation for a character as well. Then you have Chai and Mocha whose motivations were weak enough where they were also ready to quickly jump in and help the heroes out when things got rough. If you were a villain with a lot of convictions then that surely wouldn’t happen right? I like the title since the 3 Wisemen sounds impressive but there’s nothing particularly wise about them.

Additionally, they could have murdered the heroes so many times but kept choosing not to which was a big mistake. They’re so much stronger than the Mew Mew fighters that it’s scary. They would often win in a single blow but just let the heroes live because they can. That certainly came back to bite them later on. Then you have Dark Blue who has no conviction of her own here either.

She wants to effectively reset the world as humans have messed everything up. Okay that’s great but then all it takes is a few words for her to rethink everything? That felt way too fast if you ask me, there was just no compelling points brought up beyond the obvious. So that shouldn’t have been enough to turn Dark Blue. Not at all, it just serves to show us that she really didn’t have much drive before now.

This series probably has the most reverse fanservice I’ve seen in a minute as well. One look at the costumes and you can see how they aren’t practical at all. I’ve always said that a bad costume isn’t necessarily fanservice on its own. It’s all in how the camera zooms in or how the manga panels are meant to draw your attention. Well, here they are obviously meant to be fanservice bait. It’s a little hard to take seriously compared to traditional fanservice but I’ll still dock points in the same way because it’s yet another element that is taking priority over the plot.

When you stop to think about it, there is barely a plot here. None of the characters actively work to remove their powers after the opening chapters. The 3 Wisemen want to change the planet so they send one shot monsters out once in a while but don’t do much about that until the very ending either. Even the whole environmental theme is mostly removed from the original series. The villains own a company where they talk about going green as a front which was interesting but it’s ditched almost immediately. Going more into that could have been interesting but ultimately it didn’t happen. This series just feels like a waste all the way through.

The series works to have a bit of a body count by the end and a lot of emotional scenes but they ring hollow as you don’t like any of the characters by this point. The only consolation I can give the series is that the art was actually fairly good. There is a lot of detail put into each of the pages so I can appreciate that but at the same time a series cannot survive on art alone. A bad story will be just as bad even if the art is excellent. So the fight scenes look good at least but don’t do much to salvage the overall product.

At the end of the day, if the series wanted to be anywhere close to the original then it should have grabbed the stronger elements from the first title and built upon them. For example, the main girls there were all friends by the end and had solid banter. These guys? Well, they’re all jealous of each other because of Anzu so there’s a lot of fighting but it’s more personal and not as bantery like with the old cast. You don’t really have any scenes of the characters getting to know each other and having a good time because they have one track minds. The characters don’t have great development and again there are no big story beats or deeper themes to keep track of. It’s like the series just grabbed the concept but didn’t actually read the original series.

Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew Olé! is a really awful series. The romance here is probably some of the worst that I’ve seen since Black Bird and that one was historically bad. The whole series is really focused on the romance as everyone tries for Anzu but at the end of the day there isn’t any substance here for it. The series tries to bring you back every month with the shipping but it’s just not enough. I mean that’s probably one of the worst ways you can try to promote a series. By the time things get serious in the final chapters it is way too late. This is really a series that never needed to be made. The concept itself isn’t awful automatically of making the guys the magical fighters for a change but it feels like the series never intended to take its own premise seriously and that’s the most disappointing thing here. Definitely skip this series if you can, it’s not worth checking out.

Overall 1/10

Shokugeki no Sanji Review

One Piece is one of those titles that’s so huge you’d expect there to be more spinoffs than there actually are. Still, it was about time that Sanji got his own and with a full 6 chapters, that ended up being a fairly decent run. We get to see a day in the life of Sanji across several different arcs and fans of his character will be thrilled about all of his extra screen time. It helps that he looks pretty great in all of the stories. You can definitely expect him to come out on top with his expert cooking skills. Each story is stand alone so it’s an easy one to just pick up at any time.

The first chapter is fairly straight forward to introduce Sanji to the general audience. A world class food critic appears on the restaurant ship and she threatens to shut the place down with her reviews if the food isn’t top notch. She seems to have a lot of contempt for the place so Sanji is eager to change her mind with his top tier cooking. We get to see how bold Sanji can be when it comes to the food and he isn’t going to back down here. Sanji lives by a lot of rules of honor regarding food which is that it must not be wasted and he will feed anyone, even if that person is a villain.

Of course his food turns out great and she ends up being conquered by the excellent taste. The chapter really goes into detail showing us just how good the food looks and all of the preparation involved. This artist’s really detailed style definitely works well for that. I feel like it must take a lot longer than usual to draw like this but either way you have to give the artist a ton of credit here. Give a bunch of people any amount of time and they could not possibly match this style. It’s just super impressive.

The second chapter actually has the Strawhats be around a little more. A guy shows up with a super hard animal to cook, some kind of advanced eel. It’s so tricky that no ordinary blade will do so Sanji is forced to ask Zoro for help by borrowing his blades. I thought it was a nice teamwork moment and also showed that Zoro would help him out. At the end of the day they may be rivals but they are still on the same side and Zoro hypes him up a lot. It’s a very wholesome chapter for that reason and Zoro even says that Sanji’s a good cook. I also thought it was nice how Zoro endured the food explosion so his clothes didn’t blow up the way that everyone else’s always does. That’s why Zoro is the power hitter of the group. The stakes aren’t as high as the other chapters but it was just a nice chapter.

In the following chapter, Sanji and friends are preparing for their big banquet after stopping Crocodile but some petty bandits prevent the supplies from getting there in time. Ultimately the cooks are kind of doomed so Sanji steps in to save the day because he’s a true trooper. He is able to make the best use of the rations in order to make some great dishes and doesn’t even ask for thanks. It’s one of those times where Sanji is just being a really good guy and that’s reward enough for him. Again, you can see why I like Sanji here because he’s just one of those ultimate heroes who helps everybody out.

The 4th chapter is definitely one of the more crazy ones. Sanji is stuck on the island with Ivankov’s gang and the only way to get out is to get a bunch of recipes. If they catch him then it’s game over so he has to try and make the best recipes possible. It’s difficult but not impossible for someone like him. So the big challenge this time is trying to make recipes on the go while constantly moving. It’s got to be the toughest battle in this mini series and also the highest stakes because losing would be really rough for the guy. It’s not nearly as solid as the other chapters in the end. The villains aren’t really my kind of characters.

Then we have the 5th chapter where Sanji heads to Wano. Unfortunately there is a ramen villain who is cheating everyone with his ramen and not letting other people make their own. Sanji challenges him to put this guy out of business but the deck is stacked against him so it won’t be easy. It’s always nice to see Wano show up. This chapter was fun because we finally had one of those corrupt villains to beat up. Perhaps not physically but we get to see Sanji humiliate him in a food contest and that’s just as good. Never mess with an honest chef! Yeah this was a satisfying read.

In the final chapter, we get to go back in time to Sanji’s origin. The first time he was able to make a dish for a customer. Basically some ladies thought he was a really nice guy and asked if they could eat something he prepared personally. He’s thrilled to do this but his colleagues aren’t as happy and decide to sabotage him by hiding the ingredients. Will Sanji still be able to make it or is this game over for him? I feel like those guys got off really light here because messing with food like that is a huge taboo. Especially since they would be costing this place a lot of money.

Fortunately Sanji is a pro no matter what dish you get him. He never gives up and is always thinking of ways to get by. It’s clear that he earned his way to being the top chef on merit and he takes it all very seriously. This spinoff manga really got to let him shine because his usual vice of being obsessed with the ladies doesn’t get to be much of a factor here. Instead his cooking skills are played up which is good because that’s the best part of his character. It’s exactly what you want to focus on.

Now the manga isn’t perfect on this, we still do have some fanservice issues. You’ll probably have expected that since this is by the Food Wars guy but at least one time per chapter you have someone’s clothes exploding because the food was so good. It’s definitely not needed and if you take that away it would be a good thing for the manga. It’s not too excessive at least but it would have kept on adding up if the series kept going. Once a chapter may not sound like a lot but to have it show up every time like clockwork is a bit much. It doesn’t add anything to the story after all.

If you take out the fanservice then the manga is really the perfect Sanji experience. Of course battle manga are always the best but sometimes it’s nice to see what I would call a laidback experience for the hero. Put him in a setting where he is the strongest and just has to handle more day to day stuff. That’s the appeal of a title like this or Zero’s Tea Time and it works really well. The hero should be allowed to have some downtime once in a while right? As opposed to just being in battle against battle getting dealt painful injuries all the time with no moment to savor the fact that you’ve gotten really strong. This at least gets to show Sanji having a lot of fun all the time and just being the people’s hero. None of these kingdoms will forget how Sanji saved them.

Overall, This was a fun manga experience. I would like it if everyone could have their own spinoff manga. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few chapters like this one and that’s all that you need. Plus each chapter was fairly long so it still felt like a lot happened here. Seeing Sanji just get to do his own thing is nice because you get to really see how he acts as a character. I’m really not the biggest Sanji fan at all but at least in this chapter he’s pretty cool. He has an answer for everything and is just so skilled at cooking that he can turn anything into a meal. Now that’s talent.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard YouthQuake

This is a pleasant manga so far. I’ve knocked out the first volume and it captures that low key energy of discovering a trading card game for the first time and having fun with it. I don’t see this being a super long running story but technically there are a lot of stories you can do here. I’ll have a review up as soon as I’ve completed the series.

Overall 7/10