Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin Review


It’s hard to forget any of the promotional images for this series when it was first starting out. Who wouldn’t have fun with a manga about a tough dolphin right? It didn’t last super long but then again, 40+ chapters is fairly good for a modern Jump title that’s cancelled, feels like they usually don’t last quite so long nowadays. It allows the series to explore its premise fairly well at least.

The series starts off with Samejima taking down a crook but he took big risks in doing so and gets demoted. I have to agree with the demotion to be honest since pointing a gun at someone who has a hostage is going beyond just being a bit reckless. So Samejima is sent to a small island in the middle of nowhere that’s a bit off. One of their leutenants is a buff dolphin, there’s a kid here who was rescued from a cult but kept her super powers, and there are sea animal hybrids going around and causing trouble. Will Samejima’s police training be enough to keep him safe?

It is interesting how to the rest of the world, there are no such things as supernatural creatures and all that. Samejima knew about the cult kidnapping for example but like everyone else he just thought they were crazy. Since the island is so far away from everything (Not even a cell signal in sight) it also makes sense that people wouldn’t learn about these events. I thought the author did a good job of crafting this scenario carefully in such a way where nobody would suspect anything. This was good execution.

Initially you have intro type stories that aren’t really connected but let you get used to the cast. For example we have a one shot story with a few guys riding a car without a license and they basically antagonize the cops until they get shut down by Samejima and Orpheus (The Dolphin). Granted I’m not sure if the main character is right about it not being legal to film a cop on public property. I mean, it’s a made up island so you could say the rules are a bit different but I think it was still a part of Japan. Might be overthinking it though and either way these guys were crooks for speeding, driving without a license and then nearly running someone over.

Another intro case that would end up being important for later was the first confrontation with more of a supernatural fighter. Granted, it has a comedic end but you have a guy who is part octopus that is blowing a lot of buildings up in the town. Every part of him is explosive and so trying to hack him to bits isn’t a great way to try and take him down. Orpheus and Samejima have to reluctantly use some teamwork here.

The villain just wanted pollution to stop but blowing up towns isn’t quite the way to go about it. This was also the introduction to Chako’s (the kid) wish granting abilities which are quite powerful. Whenever a series introduces a power that activates just by thinking about it, well you can bet that this character will be a real powerhouse. She’s just young enough where it isn’t dangerous at this point but all you would need is one time skip for her to either be the world’s greatest hero or most dangerous villain.

The series is mostly good about not having much fanservice but it is definitely present which is unfortunate. There’s a whole chapter about everyone trying to take advantage of the main heroine Umi including even Samejima. What’s even the point of that chapter? It’s certainly a good way to lose momentum and her gimmick of having the shirt rip whenever she salutes will make you cringe. Again, the series isn’t too constant with this or anything but it really limits the overall potential of the title.

The first real arc starts with two powerful hybrid bounty hunters known as Kaji and Hanma showing up. They are here to kidnap Chako on behalf of the cult. As these two both have powers, Samejima will have to step up if he wants to protect her. It was a solid mini arc and had the first true fights of the series. There was some good back and forth here and if this was added sooner in the story I think the series could have launched with a really solid start right off the gate. By the end of the mini arc you have these bounty hunters turning good though which is a bit too quick if you ask me but I can give it a pass since it means they can show up as heroic rivals later on.

Next up was a more serious case where people keep dying near the local dolphin pool. The victims are always missing an arm as well. The cops are naturally called in and this arc taps into the mystery angle a bit as you have some a main suspect in the coach and have to decide if he is the murderer or if it’s someone else. With super powered animal fighters on the loose it’s hard to rule anything out. It’s a bit of a step down from the last arc but it isn’t bad. It introduces some pretty important characters and does further the cult plot by the end. The ending twists get a little too convoluted for its own good though to the point where it’s hard to buy the twists at one point. The coach looks bad no matter how you slice it.

There’s a quick mini arc about the characters moving into a mansion where a rich guy tries to throw them out. It’s a way to go back into the comedy realm a bit with some other short stories before the final arc of the series. So there are 7 legendary artifacts in the world apparently and the cult wants to secure these items at any cost to the point where they have called up all of their big members including the main villain himself. The girl who turned traitor in the last arc is there and so the main characters unite to enter the underwater cave. We also get introduced to a whole new group of fighters known as Squad 7 who are apparently the most skilled police officers around. They’re more like the FBI or CIA. Can the heroes stop this cult once and for all?

This arc felt like the biggest one and while I have a feeling it would have played out a lot differently if it wasn’t cancelled, I thought the author was able to wrap everything up really well. At most the giant dolphin made of water at the end may have felt a little out of the blue but all in all it was a fun way to end the series. While it had a rocky start, I did think the series quickly got better the more it went along. This is an example of a series that is better when it was focusing on action rather than comedy. The series just wasn’t very funny which isn’t a good thing for a comedic based title.

Before going into it further, lets take a look at the cast. As the main character Samejima is decent. He’s a hot head who always just dives into a problem and I like to see that kind of enthusiasm. He may not have any super powers but he can still fight with the best of them. The series is part comedy after all so it’s not all that unlikely to even see him trading blows with the more powerful villains. The fact that he doesn’t follow protocol comes in handy more than a few times. While the other cops are unable to move due to other departments showing up, he doesn’t care and just dives in. He does tend to suffer from some of the jokes like being too distracted by Umi though.

Umi is a nice enough main heroine but the series really just uses her as the token fanservice character most of the time. She really doesn’t have a lot of plot importance beyond that and ends up being the only main character who can’t fight at all. That’s a shame because it also leaves her out of all the big story arcs. I’d have liked for the series to have given her some kind of ability to fight with the others. Well, Umi means well at least, not like she’s a bad character or anything.

Chako is the main kid that all of the villains are after so she gets a big role. That said, she’s a very young kid so it’s not like she can really fight or anything like that. Her wishing abilities are really just a way for the plot to go on. Not much to say about her as a character due to this. I will say that her powers can seem a bit inconsistent at times but since it is used seriously at times and as a gag at others, I guess that is to be expected. By the end of the series we do learn the full story behind her kidnapping though.

Orpheus is a big character and really the selling point for a lot of people. That said, I thought Samejima was a lot more interesting. Orpheus’ main character is that he wants Chako to see him as the main parental figure but she’s taken to Samejima so he is always jealous. That is a large chunk of his scenes in the comedy stories. When it comes to the action parts he does have some good fights though and even a tragic backstory. Much like Korosensei from Assassination Classroom, I much prefer him before his transformation into a dolphin.

Still, he’s okay, just not a standout character to me. He does have super strength and a good fist technique so that’s handy in the battles. Next is Seira, a mermaid girl who appears in a few stories. Initially she seems like someone who’s just a little careless with how she comes close to marrying a normal human who would surely drown underwater. As the series goes on we learn more about her though and she even plays a bit of a critical role by the end. She was solid by that point.

Kaji is one of the early villains who turned good. There isn’t a ton to him beyond potential since he didn’t do a lot but he made for a good villain. At the end of the day he’s a villain with an honor code and it wasn’t hard to turn him. The guy has a distinct character design too. He has a partner in Hanma who is a solid fighter as well but he doesn’t do much in comparison.

Yukari is one of the main characters from the dolphin pool murder case and her character arc goes in a very unexpected direction. She ends up being one of the best villains for sure. She uses the arm artifact well and has one of the best feats in the series when she splits the ocean in two so everyone can walk to the cave. As a villain she has a lot of confidence and doesn’t even get intimidated by Poseidon himself. Now that’s some serious ability on her part.

Jura was her colleague but unfortunately as a hero she doesn’t get any power ups so there isn’t really anything she can do to help out here. It would have been nice if the series could have done something to allow them to have a proper fight. Jura’s a fun character though, she’s up beat and always ready to tackle the next obstacle. She stuck up for Yukari and was a really good friend throughout.

As the leader of the cult, Kamuro gets a big role by the end. I can’t say I’m a fan though. He’s one of those guys who is a comic relief perv as a “good guy” and while he gets serious when he is evil, it’s hard to know if his personality is still on the up and up as a result. Was it all an act? The guy is also a bit out of his depth with these relics as he is surprised at how the first one looks. His backstory is certainly very tragic but I don’t really understand how he went off the deep end.

The idea was that he would infiltrate the villains and then take down the organization from the inside. Instead he effectively just became the leader and kept it moving. His goal at the end is really not good and one of those classic “I’ll destroy almost everything but it’s for good reasons” Ultimately since he became evil because his willpower wasn’t strong enough, I was never going to be a big fan of Kamuro.

Okiura is effectively Kamuro’s right hand woman. She finds out a lot of intel and helps him that way but she isn’t much of a fighter so she doesn’t leave an impact. She’s helpful to the villain cause but there isn’t a whole lot to say about her. I think if the series had kept going we likely would have seen her play a bigger role or at least that’s the vibe I got.

Tome shows up really late in the series but she immediately becomes a fun character. As the leader of Squad 7 she is quite powerful in combat. She has an underwater martial art style that seems to be heavily based off of Attack on Titan. It’s how the whole squad fights too so it’s like the survey corps. They use water pressure to zip all over the place as they strike at their enemies. Tome is the most powerful of the group though and it shows. She gets a few fights in the arc and would have been a fun supporting character for future events.

We meet Chako’s Mom in the flashbacks to the origin of the dolphin cop and how this all happened. Her name’s Yae. Yae was a nice character thrown into a tough situation but I do feel like she kept on making the wrong calls. Getting involved in the cult, having a kid while at the cult only made the situation worse. Eventually it was too much for her and she split. Now there’s a bit more context to that but I’d say she got in over her head and this ended up costing her as well as Chako quite a lot. There was also starting to be a bit of a triangle between her, Kamuro, and the Dolphin which wasn’t really needed.

Finally we have Poseidon who would have almost certainly been the end game boss. He can possess Chako and it seems like each relic would have made him stronger. When he possesses Chako she can actually fight rather well so I can only imagine how strong he would be in his own body. The series has a bit of fun at his expense though like when he gets his powers zapped by the cave though. Not his best look and doesn’t exactly make him someone to be feared as the big villain. Always a tough part when trying to balance the serious action and more comedic elements for a series like this.

So, what would I have done differently to keep this from being cancelled? Well, as I mentioned, the series started off a bit slow and didn’t get really good until the action started to come in. That was over halfway through the series I would say. What I’d have done is have the villains attack a lot sooner. Maybe have them send in normal hitmen at first which would give Samejima a good reason to be able to keep up at first and as he learns more about the island we start to see those tough meta humans. It would be a slow ascent up the power levels.

Now, I guess the author wanted to make a comedy manga initially but the novelty of just having the cop be a dolphin isn’t enough. Throw in Chako and you’ve got a Yotsuba vibe going but it’s hard to keep all of those elements together. The initial stories that were stand alone just weren’t all that funny as I mentioned. If you tone down the fanservice or the characters acting iffy then you would have some potential but even the stories without any of that could be a bit dull. Like Chako breaking a vase and then the characters scramble to find the truth. The humor style seems to be the absurd type where something crazy happens and most characters take it in stride while Samejima panics. Not the most effective way to go about this.

So the short answer for me is to throw in the plot a lot earlier along with the fights. The author was able to easily transition this into a full action series which was a lot of fun. I can only imagine that going in that direction right from the jump would have done a whole lot to improve the series. At the end of the day I would still call this a pretty good title but of course I have the benefit of being able to marathon through it. I’m sure it feels a lot different going through it weekly. I would say to maybe remove Chako but that would change the whole core of the series and for my anti cancellation plans I try to not suggest anything that would make the series completely different.

The art is very solid as you would expect. I would go as far as to say it’s excellent. The action scenes have a lot of detail and the character designs are each distinctive. It just strengthens the case of why the series is at its strongest with the action. It allows you to read the series real easily without a doubt since it’s all so clear. Definitely a strong aspect for the series. While I didn’t find it funny most of the time, the writing for the series parts were good. The idea of having a cult as the villain organization is interesting. You don’t really see that a whole lot.

Overall, The Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin is a good title that will quickly be forgotten amidst a sea of titles that are just better. I would call it a fun series and one I would recommend to anyone but I’m not shocked that it was cancelled. Naturally I wish it could have just kept going and maybe been the next big thing though. As long as a series is good (6 or higher) then I’d like it to crack 50 volumes and continue to surpass its limits. There may not have been any witty banter/solid buddycop dynamics with the Dolphin (It sounds way more natural than using his real name) and Samejima but the action would cover for that no doubt.

Overall 7/10

Monster Hunter Review


Monster Hunter is a franchise that always seemed pretty fun. I haven’t played any of the games yet but I did watch one of the anime and it was solid. The monster designs are on point and so a movie for this could have a lot of potential. In some ways the movie is really stellar like with the effects and soundtrack, but unfortunately that doesn’t translate to the actual movie which suffers greatly from a lack of quality characters and no real good dynamics. The sequel would likely take things to the next level but we’ll see if that ever manages to come out.

The movie starts with Artemis and her team looking for some missing soldiers. They find an abandoned truck with signs of a struggle around it but no bodies. Then a giant storm appears and throws the gang through a portal into a different world. This world is dangerous with lots of giant monsters and crazy creatures running around. There is seemingly no escape from them and one by one they pick off all of Artemis’ team. She is now alone and must try to find her way back to Earth. She will have to reluctantly team up with a mysterious hunter who isn’t the nicest guy around. Can they put aside their differences and stay alive?

So lets quickly talk about what went right for this film and why I thought it had potential rather deep into the film until I realized it wasn’t going to happen. First off, the soundtrack really is excellent. It’s one of the best that I’ve heard in a long time with a good amount of electronic tunes. This sounds like something straight out of the Tron film series. It also has some solid action tunes and as a result this is a soundtrack that you could throw right into a video game without any issues. That’s how solid it is.

Then you have the special effects which are on point. We meet several monsters but of course the Diablos is the main one from all of the trailers. They all look good and rather faithful to the games where they came from. It’s clear that there was a good amount of effort put into the research part of the movie. I would have liked to have seen some more monsters of course but the ones that we did get were solid. Then you have the flame sword and some more intense weapons at the end of the film. The cliffhanger makes you feel like the next film would have really gotten involved with the lore of the series and even thrown in some villains. It could have been a Final Fantasy type experience.

Also, the first chunk of the film about Artemis and her team running around the island is like something out of Alien only much better. The gang are all experienced soldiers in an unfamiliar territory fighting off monsters that are basically Xenomorphs. One by one they are picked off but the scene shave a lot of tension and suspense. You could even call the film part horror for this whole part until the final members die and Hunter appears. This was the best part of the film. Now I still have some issues like with the neck bursters taking the place of the chest bursters. Do we need any kind of bursters in every alien film? I’d rather get torn apart by a Xenomorph than have that happen to be honest.

The film can’t really resist having this happen to one member at least but the film mostly has restraint otherwise. The scenes can be intense but it’s more about the atmosphere than what is actually happening on screen and I do think that is the right approach here. Finally, the last positive I can give for the movie is that Artemis is a very solid main character. She’s a no nonsense fighter who knows how to keep her team focused and not get sidetracked by every little thing. It’s easy to see how she earned the captain role and never falters throughout the movie.

In general the film’s pacing is solid as well so things never drag on. Still, the second half is a big downgrades and a big part of that is Hunter’s fault. So, Hunter can only talk in the language of the new world so he and Artemis don’t understand each other. I think that already puts the film in a tough position since it’s very hard to write good banter in such a situation. I absolutely think it’s possible with top tier writers but do you think Monster Hunter has that level of talent at the ready? Most of the conversations are basically just the two characters making fun of each other. It takes them a while to actually get along and by that point the film is nearly over.

They even have a very serious fight early on where they nearly murder each other. It was certainly quite the way to get introduced to each other. Hunter’s mostly the one at fault here though as he kept on taunting Artemis. She had to put him in his place to establish the chain of command around here. Hunter just never gets all that interesting though and I would have almost preferred Artemis was on her own the whole time.

There’s also one scene that will take you out of the immersion for a bit because of how ludicrous it is. So, after hours of being in the desert and fighting monsters, Artemis reaches in her pocket and takes out a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar. It is perfectly solid and not melted at all. She uses it as a peace offering with Hunter who loves it since this is the best brand of chocolate of all time. Here’s the problem, while I don’t mind shameless product placement since I always find that entertaining, there’s no way it wouldn’t have melted. Try carrying a chocolate bar in your pocket while you’re walking around and handling day to day tasks. I’ve done this a few times in my day and let me tell you, your pocket’s going to be a mess after this.

There is no way that would even resemble a bar by the time she was done with the first act of the film. It may be a minor thing but I couldn’t stop thinking about that because of how obvious it was. As usual for these kinds of films the heroes are rather desperate for whatever they can eat which usually ends up looking rather gross. The characters have to skin the monsters to get weapons and bait which can also be rather messy and gross. That part of Monster Hunter I would be cool with skipping so we can just get to the action already.

That’s not even counting the rest of Hunter’s crew who was completely forgettable. It’s easy to forget they even had an intro scene in the film. I think what this boils down to is that the film was a lot more interesting when it was Artemis and her team. I would have changed it so the whole film was about them trying to survive rather than switching to Hunter and his crew. That would have just ended up being a lot more fun in the end.

One thing you want to have for a sci-fi film like this..or any film really is some fun banter and dialogue while blasting your way through the enemy planet. This film doesn’t have any of that since nobody who can speak English even appear until we’re near the end of the film. You also won’t get answers to the interesting parts of the film yet like who put up the towers to cause the portals between worlds.

At the very end of the film we see a glimpse of the likely culprit but there’s no clue on who this is. There’s so much you can do with this, particularly since there seems to be a castle of some kind at the end. A villain group all fighting with magical swords/weapons would make for an amazing sequel. Sure, the monsters may get less screen time but I would be fine with that. It was fun seeing the government step in again near the end but even then this was a very brief moment.

Overall, Monster Hunter could have been a lot better. It just made a lot of questionable choices in the second half. Hunter could have been much more interesting than how he ended up being. I could do with less of the crude humor like the cat getting his fur in the drink that they end up having to drink. Those scenes don’t need to be there and the writing just doesn’t feel nearly as good as it could have been. Artemis can’t hold the entire film on her own and it’s an issue that the film is trying to give her the full load. At least the excellent soundtrack ensures that you will have a good audio experience, but the solid first act is not enough to keep this movie afloat so it’s time to give this one a skip.

Overall 4/10

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster Review


It’s a really good thing they didn’t call this Frankenstein vs the Space Monster because the fight doesn’t happen until the final 2 minutes of the film. So if you’re looking at the poster and getting hyped…don’t be. At least not for the fight. Also, Frankenstein doesn’t even appear in this film so…heh this film is taking a lot of liberties right off the gate. Now, I would say this is still a good film but it definitely could have been so much better. The writing and characters are fun so throw in a bit more action, better villain motivations and you’d really have a hit here.

The movie starts with a group of aliens from Mars deciding to head to Earth and kidnap all of the women so they can repopulate. Right off the gate I can say this isn’t a great plot. When that is the villain’s entire goal then there is no way to really like the villains or find them very interesting. That is a considerable issue because you need good villains in order to get the film to the next level. There are really three villains of note here. You’ve got the Princess Marcuzan who really just sits on her throne the whole time. She can’t fight and doesn’t do a lot of leading either so I wouldn’t expect a whole lot from her.

Then there’s her right hand man Nadir who does a lot of the actual planning. For some reason he will always stare right at the camera and grin after delivering his lines. I have a feeling that wasn’t exactly what he was supposed to be doing. Then you have the monster himself but he doesn’t do anything until the final 4-5 minutes of the film and is just caged up instead. Not a great way to make me impressed with the villain right out of the gate.

As for the human plot, well the government is getting ready to send a spaceship from Earth. To make sure there are no human risks this time, they are sending up an android named Frank. Unfortunately, he isn’t quite perfected yet as he will randomly go into a kind of stasis where he is frozen. It did make for an entertaining scene where he freezes and the camera just stays still for a while. Now you may think this could pose a problem when he is in space with no back-up but the scientists don’t see it that way. They send him up but he gets blasted down by the aliens. Now he is injured with some memory loss and has turned into a monster who will destroy anyone in his way.

Like the actual Frankenstein monster it’s hard to find this guy all that heroic or likable because he does go around murdering people in the meantime. Now at this point he can only read emotions so he just kind of goes berserk but you’d hope that he could fight the system programming a little better. The film continues to show you why sending this guy into space would be an absolutely awful decision all around. There are two human characters of importance in Adam and Karen but they are pretty much non factors here. Adam sees Frank as a pure robot with no feelings or emotions so he doesn’t feel bad when he sees how beat up the guy is. I suppose to an extent this is probably true since I don’t see this android being sophisticated enough to have a soul but at the same time it still makes him come across as rather heartless.

Then you have Karen who feels bad for Frank the whole time but doesn’t really do much to help him. She may act concerned but if you’re not going to do anything about it then it doesn’t make much of a difference. So both of these humans are rather forgettable and you’re just here for the sci-fi action anyway. I will say the writing is solid and the pacing is on point which you would expect for a retro film like this. It’s the kind of movie that just flows into each scene really smoothly.

The soundtrack is surprisingly fast paced and upbeat. It’s got some classic beach tunes and never really lets up. The fact that the film has a real soundtrack automatically means it beats most of its competitors for this kind of title. The tracks aren’t great or anything but they are memorable and give the movie a little more personality. The film may have had a bit of a hard time deciding what kind of film it wanted to be but if you take it as a really cheesy sci-fi flick then you’ll be fine.

I would have just liked to have seen a bit more action. That would have really helped the film since the whole point of a creature feature is to have some real fight scenes. What’s the point of coming up with a monster design and everything if he isn’t going to do anything until the film is ending? That just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you ask me. I would also get rid of the repopulation plot entirely and just switch the villain’s goals to a classic take over the world kind of plan. It may have been done before but it’s still a better plan than what the film came up with.

That’s the biggest weakness of the film. It sometimes tries too hard to be a beach type film where you have characters modeling for no real reason or having to be shown off like exhibits by the aliens. The film has more fanservice than you would expect and the scenes all feel like complete filler. All of the beach scenes should have been cut out along with this sub plot and the film would have been all the better for it. It still comes off as a storyline that’s really random. Maybe the writers couldn’t figure out how to stretch the plot of aliens attacking without this but if that’s the case, that’s not a good look. There’s so much you can do with alien invasions. For starters I would have liked seeing more of the government’s overall response to this.

Overall, Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster is the kind of film that you feel you have seen many times before. It isn’t trying anything new but at the same time the execution is good enough where you won’t be bored. As the movie goes through the motions you will be engaged. It’s always fun to see how the alien films were made back in the day. There aren’t a lot of explosions or action, it’s really a very down to Earth title..aside from the aliens of course. There is still a body count but even that feels low key. The aliens just go around blasting everyone with their fancy ray guns and the humans don’t take it all that personally. Some of them barely react. It’s the kind of movie that certainly wouldn’t come out nowadays so this is really a relic of an older time. If you like science fiction then I expect you’ll definitely like this one. One advantage to being such a simple film is that you can jump right in at any point and understand what is going on.

Overall 6/10

House of Frankenstein Review


The House of Frankenstein is a big crossover with Dracula, The Werewolf, and Frankenstein’s monster. Once again I found myself impressed at the continuity here with the same settings reappearing and the movie actively acknowledging previous ones. It’s definitely a fun film and really my only issue here is that none of the 3 monsters get to interact at all which is a shame. Dracula shows up in the first act, the Wolfman makes his move in the second, then Frankenstein acts in the climax. Seeing them all duke it out would have really been a blast but the story is strong enough where you don’t need the monster action to have a good time. With good writing and solid characters, the movie was in a good spot from the start.

The movie starts off with Niemann finally getting out of prison along with his loyal sidekick Daniel. (The guard looked awful in the first scene when he got close enough to the door to be choked though. Doesn’t even seem like this was the first time that happened and the scientist is surprisingly strong to do that considering he doesn’t look like he has lifted weights for a day) The villains want to find Frankenstein’s journal for different reasons. Doctor Niemann so that he can finish the research and do some body swapping and Daniel so he can shed his hunchback form and look like a normal person. They murder the guy who got Dracula’s body and head off to the caste where the monster and wolfman were last seen.

Now you have to give the scientist Niemann a lot of credit here. He is extremely well informed to the point where he knows the wolfman’s whole life story. This guy knows the plot of the last film and what the wolfman was doing at the castle. Furthermore, he is able to threaten/blackmail Dracula himself. Now Dracula fans won’t be thrilled at his appearance here because he looks utterly disgraceful. I would go as far as to say at the worst a Dracula has ever looked in a movie, even worse than his slipping and falling off a cliff in an earlier film.

This Dracula is terrified of Niemann and doesn’t have enough strength to overpower him either. What happens is Niemann awakens Dracula by taking the stake out and then threatens to put it back in of Dracula doesn’t obey his every move. It seems like Dracula considers trying to overpower Niemann but then realizes this would not work. Niemann sweetens the deal by saying he will guard the coffin and Dracula is very quick to swear his undying allegiance. You’ll probably be dying laughing instead at how this guy has fallen. It’s even worse when you see how quickly he is dispatched.

One of the strengths of the film though is how each villain brings his own cast in. For the Dracula part of the film we get to meet a group of characters who even seem like they would be the leads. You have the main heroine who is ready for a good adventure, the skeptic who doesn’t believe in vampires and such, the police chief who thinks something fishy is going on, and the heroine’s husband who is cracking lots of jokes. Once Dracula is gone these guys are quickly written out to the point where we never know exactly how their situation ended up. You will have to imagine how all of the reactions were.

Once we get to the Wolfman, Larry Talbot then we are at the emotional part of the story. Larry is still cursed with being a werewolf so he’s hoping to die at this point which is a really dark plot for such an old film. The problem is this is very difficult since it’s like the Hulk where the werewolf has some regen and can’t die easily. The only way is with a silver bullet from someone who loves him. Larry agrees to work with Niemann since the guy promises to give him a new body. Of course that guy is more interested in running other experiments so he takes his time with him. I really question Niemann’s decision making though since each full moon runs the risk of Larry murdering him. I feel like Niemann never even considered that possibility though which is odd.

I always liked the Wolfman so it’s cool to see him appear here. He is certainly the most heroic of the monster group although I suppose that really isn’t saying a whole lot. He is just cursed to transform against his will which is really a rough fate. As for Frankenstein, there isn’t much to say about him because he’s pretty much a mindless monster. He does true to protect Niemann so perhaps he sees the guy as his creator. Either way he still has his weakness to fire though which is always tricky. It was satisfying to see him take down Daniel really quick though since that guy was the new super strong monster and I was rooting for the original to take that round.

Daniel is a character with an emotional backstory too of course. He can’t find anyone who loves him with the hunchback appearance so he follows Niemann in the hope that the guy will cure him at some point. At the end of the day he is still a villain who will murder anyone in his way though. There is a brief romance plot with Ilonka who goes around leading on Daniel and then crushing on Larry. It’s safe to say that this plot was never going to have a happy ending in this monster film. Particularly as she only helped to put Daniel on the darker path a lot sooner than he would have otherwise.

The ending of the film is actually pretty funny. While the film is taken seriously the whole time and I can only assume this is for the ending as well, it’s just the way that it all happens will make you chuckle. Niemann certainly had quite the ending, that’s for sure. In fact, you could say that each of the villains really paved the way to their own demise without the heroes having to do a whole lot.

Overall, this was a really fun film. I still think it loses some energy by not having any of the 3 monsters interact though to the point where the Dracula part feels like a completely different movie with different supporting characters. The pacing is solid though and the film goes by in a flash. Also, I do like the fact that Niemann is quite strong both verbally and physically despite being an old scientist. Choking out the guard was still incredibly impressive and then of course threatening/blackmailing Dracula has to put you up there as well. I would go as far as to say this might be the best evil scientist in these creature features. If you like seeing these supernatural monsters then this is a film that you can’t miss!

Overall 7/10

Fright Night (1985) Review

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

Time for a classic film about a vampire and they even throw in a werewolf and a zombie creature for good measure. As you may or may not know, I’m not typically fond of vampire films. The whole drinking blood aspect is always really iffy at best and they just aren’t my kind of villains. I wouldn’t say this film is really able to escape that. It has its moments to be sure but on the whole it really just devolves into a standard title in the genre. The main characters could have definitely handled some things a bit better as well.

The movie starts with Charley getting some next door neighbors. He’s initially excited about this but this turns into terror as he realizes that his next door neighbor is a vampire. See, people have been dying recently with their blood drained and as Jerry (the vampire) isn’t very subtle, he tends to take down his victims by the window. Additionally, Charley sees him store a body in the basement. He tries to tell the cops but this doesn’t work out and now Jerry is planning his revenge. Charley will need the help of his two school friends Amy and Ed as well as the TV vampire expert known as Peter to stop this guy. Will they be enough to stop Jerry or is it already too late for them?

I do have to say that while Charley started out decently with his explanation to the cop, he really fumbled towards the end. See, when you’re accusing someone of murder, it’s best not to start talking about vampires and such. Charley seemed to know that initially but Billy (Jerry’s right hand man) goads him into talking about the vampires. This makes Charley look crazy of course and so now all he has done is let the villains know that he is on to them. It’s not a great moment for Charley in the slightest.

In general the only thing I will give Charley credit for is believing his own lies and not being fooled into thinking that Jerry is normal. He knows Jerry is a vampire after all so it would have been crazy if someone had convinced him otherwise. There are limits to what he can do as a kid but he definitely should have warned his mother Judy ahead of time more about the neighbor. By the time he does, it’s far too late and the guy has broken in the house.

Charley’s romance with Amy is also rather sub par. I don’t think that element really needed to be in the film. Amy tends to get upset at the drop of a hat and Charley is way more interested in what’s going on outside than hanging out so it’s just not the right time for either of them. Amy’s loyal as she helps Charley out even when she doesn’t actually believe him. So at least she has that going for her there, but otherwise she’s a bit forgettable and she makes it too easy for Jerry to catch her at the party. Splitting up is never a good idea even if it wasn’t intentional there.

As for Jerry, well he talks tough but his abilities aren’t quite as tough as you would expect. Charley was able to wound him with ease and the guy has so many weaknesses that he would be doomed if not for Billy. Jerry’s motivations are also the kind that I don’t like for a villain in that he wants Amy as a bride. It’s not one of the more ambitious villain plots out there, that’s for sure.

He really gets outshined by Billy who ends up being the best character in the film. I like how completely sarcastic he is to Charley right from the first scene. He openly threatens the lead and always has a big grin on his face. Considering that Jerry has to hide throughout the night, Billy is really the one doing all the work. At one point the heroes get the upper hand on Jerry only for Billy to show up and toss them to the side. After all, he isn’t a vampire so the crosses and holy water don’t work on him. It was an intense moment to be sure and he even gets a plot twist by the end.

Then there’s Charley’s friend Ed but I use the term loosely. It doesn’t actually seem like they get along very well at all. Ed also seems really unhinged from the beginning. Finally, the guy makes one of the classic horror movie blunders when he decides to go into a dark alley by himself. Keep in mind that this is a bad idea under any circumstances. Even if Ed doesn’t believe in vampires, why go through this alley? It’s an incredibly long one due to how long he was walking so this was just a bad idea all around.

As for Peter, it takes longer for this guy to show up than I would have guessed. Initially he goes through the motions of not wanting to help the characters and being scared all of the time. Finally he steps up and does well once he gets into the swing of things. The guy is an adult so it makes sense that he could actually fight a bit. Peter was definitely a fun character and the best of the heroes but you do wish that he would have acted a bit sooner. The guy just hides in his house a lot until we get near the climax.

Finally you have Charley’s mother Judy who seemed like she would be a big character initially and then sort of vanished for the whole second half of the film. The reason was she had a late shift but because of that she misses out on the movie. Too bad since now she really won’t believe anything that went on. The film has a twist ending though so make sure you stick around. It ends things off on an epic note.

Fright Night isn’t really a film that you’ll find very memorable by the time you finish it. Billy was the most iconic part with how he changed up the usual vampire storyline. It’s rare to see a main villain that actually needs a bodyguard after all. The actual vampire scenes are still net negatives with the classic blood draining. Never was a fan of that. The final Werewolf transformation back into the human form was also way too drawn out pretty much as an excuse to make the whole thing even grittier. I’d prefer a streamlined transformation myself.

The characters also just aren’t that good which hurts. Even ignoring that the romance wasn’t handled well, Charley is easily distracted by a lady he sees through the window and it’s clear that he doesn’t think about Amy at all. This isn’t exactly the reliable guy you want to have by your side and that hurts him even more as the main character.

Overall, Fright Night is a title you’ll want to skip. I’ll give the film credit for snagging this title though, it’s catchy and memorable. The kind of title you figure must have a film at this point and so a lot of people will probably end up checking this out at some point or another. That being said, it just never grows out of the shadow of being a vampire flick.

Overall 3/10

Alien: Covenant Review

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

It’s time to take a look at the final Alien film on the block. It’s the film to end the franchise so this should be pretty intense right? Well, it definitely brings back the Xenomorphs which is cool and it continues on with a lot of the story elements from Prometheus. That said, some questionable decisions near the end shoot the momentum that the film had going for it.

The movie starts with a quick flashback scene where David effectively threatens his creator by talking about his eternal life and all that. The creator looks shook but still manages to keep his cool. In the present, the android Walter is overseeing a new ship known as the Covenant which is on a mission to land on a planet where humans can colonize again. Unfortunately a solar flare knocks the ship for a loop so Walter is forces to wake up members of the crew.

Naturally they aren’t too happy about this and take shots at Walter…of course. The captain burned up in his pod so now we have to have a replacement leader known as Christopher who is determined to get off on the wrong foot with everyone. Not only does he forbid a funeral for the very well liked captain but he is on a major power trip right off the bat. Yeah this is definitely not the kind of guy that you want in your corner. A human signal is received from a nearby planet that hints there may be life there. Christopher decides to land here instead of the safe planet that was previously scouted out and while there is some opposition, he makes a command decision.

A scouting party lands on this planet but shortly afterwards their craft is destroyed so they’re stranded here. The main ship won’t be able to dock for a few days due to the storm so now the heroes have to try and survive on this planet for a while. It’s filled with alien creatures though and the mysterious David has returned from the first film. Is he friend or foe? Can they really trust him? The heroes will have to think about this carefully because otherwise they’re going to be in a tough spot if they guess wrong.

This is definitely one sequel that’s doing its best to be bigger than the last one. Sequels have a rep of trying to outdo the last ones after all and this lives up to it. That does mean that the violence is at an all time high though. I would consider this to be the most violent Alien film although it’s probably close. As always the characters are completely slaughtered here once the aliens show up. They just don’t stand a chance and the thing is, you know this. There’s no way out for the humans to fight back especially without proper gear.

The chestbursters are back of course, definitely still the most vicious of the creatures. One character in particular acts like a bit of a sucker with how he approaches one though. Why put your face so close? I don’t care what the other characters say I wouldn’t be going near that thing. So if you want to avoid the ultra violence you’d want to skip this one right off the bar.

Then there is also David who was my favorite character in Prometheus but my least favorite one here. The film’s going for a very philosophical angle with his character but one that doesn’t work. He was a crafty villain in the first film to be sure but in this one he discusses the difference between androids and humans and tries to be all high concept. What it boils down to though is him trying to be as immoral as possible as that’s what it takes to be one of the creators. The scene with him and Walter, then him and Katherine are both pretty awful. This guy suddenly turns into a Sword Art Online villain and while the guy may lack emotions on the surface, I would say he’s developed them by this point with how he gets upset.

They just changed him from being a cool villain who enacts his plans in secret to one that is a lot bolder but more in a demented way. I wasn’t a fan of how that played out. He still is in the best scene of the film though when Walter shows up for round 2 and they have a fight. I didn’t expect there would be a fight between androids in an Alien film but that worked out quite nicely. It was a good battle that really went back and forth.

David does also add a lot of suspense into the film. As the only survivor on the planet you’ll be wondering what happened to Elizabeth and also how he has survived for so long. You’ll likely start figuring out the answers to that pretty quickly. There is an interesting flashback with the Engineers as well which was intense. In a way the humans from Prometheus may have been right about them creating humanity although to this day I still find their assumptions to have been rather large ones. They could have just been a random species that visited Earth a bunch of times right? Either way their planetary defenses need a lot of work.

The humans aren’t always great at being prepared for things either though. In Prometheus at least they waited to take off their suits and masks until they did a readout of the air. In this film they take off the suits almost immediately and surprise…one of them gets contaminated by a nearby plant that gets into his system. I mean that should be basic protocol for visiting a new planet right? Who knows what kinds of flus, bugs, and such this place would have. It felt a little lazy on their part. You’d expect better from the last hope of humanity.

As mentioned earlier, Walter makes for a fun character. This time we have an android who doesn’t have as much emotions and such so he is a bit more trustworthy. Like in the first film I feel like the characters are a bit antagonistic to him for no reason but it’s not quite as drastic. Walter shrugs off the blows and keeps going though. He does well against the alien in one skirmish although I feel like he should have taken more of an active role in the battles and that would have helped the team out a lot.

Meanwhile you have the new lead Katherine who is a solid character. She thinks this is a bad idea from the start and it’s hard to blame her since this planet has a huge storm going on and seems ultra suspicious. Once they’re on the island it’s not like there is a whole lot that she can do so she gets credit for doing her best.

Then you have Christopher who is just impossible to like here. He does a really poor job of giving out orders as the captain. He puts people in unnecessary danger and splitting up the crew so soon wasn’t a good idea. I was a much bigger fan of Tennessee who always put doing the right thing ahead of the rules. He would have made for a much better captain. Even once he loses his primary reason for dashing to the planet, he doesn’t hesitate to hurry as much as he can. This was a guy who was in control of his emotions.

A lot of the other characters were really below average though. First you have the two characters who figure it’s the best time to quickly have a shower affair even though they’re on an alien planet. Seems like just a really quick way to throw in some fanservice and both characters had huge red flags the whole time. Then you have the member of staff who locks in one of the girls with the creature. By the time she opens the door it’s naturally too late. Not only did this character choke under pressure but she made sure that someone else died as well which makes this mistake even worse.

I was just not a big fan of the characters here. That may be intentional to a point so you don’t feel bad when the aliens wreck them all but even in a horror film I think you should try to have a good main cast. The main positive here would be that it’s nostalgic to see the Xenomorphs. They look as fierce as ever and maybe even a bit stronger than they used to be. The sheer strength one of them had even as a baby was really impressive.

Then the film does have a really effective ending. You feel bad for any survivors because things are probably not going to go very well for them. In these films it’s often best to die quickly and painlessly early on because the more you survive the worse things get. Horror films should always have some kind of twist and this one was handled really well.

Overall, Alien: Covenant is probably the most intense installment in the series which is really saying something at this point. It makes for an interesting survival mission at times but the first half really destroys the second. Initially landing on the planet and trying to survive is always compelling. The second half devolves more into everyone just getting ripped apart or being played for fools. If you can get past the violence and are a big Alien fan then you’ll enjoy this one but otherwise it’s time to abandon ship!

Overall 1/10

Bone Collection Review


All right, it’s time for the next cancelled Jump title. I pretty much binged the whole series in one day (Aside from the first chapter) but it’s not very long at 15 chapters so that’s not ultra impressive. It’s a series with an interesting core concept about yokai and exorcists so this could have been the next big thing. Unfortunately it stumbles out of the gate and never really got interesting enough to break out. Additionally a huge chunk of the story makes absolutely no sense and I will get into that later on.

So the basic plot is that the world is filled with Yokai and Exorcists have to take them down. Unlike other stories, all humans know about Yokai and Exorcists are given a pretty good amount of social power. For example, the main character Kazami can skip class if it’s to fight an exorcist. It’s just a normal part of life to the point where kids even watch the fights from the roof sometimes as they laugh at the exorcists. It’s all fun and games which means that the exorcists must be doing well since people aren’t afraid of the Yokai.

As we’re introduced to Kazami, we find out that he’s from one of the most well known Exorcist families. In this world there are two ways to become an Exorcist, to have incredible skills and pass some tests or to be born into a family. Kazami’s the latter case so he’s an exorcist but his skills are terrible. His only good skill is a forbidden one that he can’t use as it involves borrowing the powers of a Yokai that he comes into contact with. If he ever uses this power then in the best case he will be stripped of his title and in the worst case he will be quickly executed.

Kazami’s life was going well enough when one day he bumps into a girl named Paira. She’s rather bossy but the only girl who will give him the time of day aside from his childhood friend Rino who is always belittling him. Paira turns out to be a SSS rank yokai with incredible abilities but she wants to be human. So she intends to have Kazami keep on draining her abilities and then she will be human once her powers have been fully drained. At that point she will marry him but Kazami is scared of the prospect. Can he drain all of her power and become one of the world’s greatest exorcists?

Kazami’s a terrible main character, there’s no other way to put it and that always starts the series off on the wrong foot. For starters part of his whole gimmick is that he’s a perv and is constantly desperate for any girl. He’ll even let a Yokai go or ditch his duties if it means he can be a part of a group date. That kind of trait you would usually see in a side character or something but not the lead. It’s an unspoken agreement that your main character can’t be like that because then how can you root for him?

He never learns his lesson throughout the series and as Paira is effectively the fanservice character of the series, it doesn’t make for a great dynamic. Here’s where the series doesn’t make any sense though. Kazami wants any girl to take notice of him and here comes Paira, a girl that he finds to be extremely attractive and he flirts with her instantly. This should be a win/win for both of them. To extract her abilities he has to make physical contact with her, usually in iffy ways so he’ll have fun doing that and it will even help him become a stronger exorcist.

Meanwhile she wants him to do this because each time he extracts her abilities she becomes more human. Her goal is to become human and marry him. Then for no reason, Kazami suddenly changes his goal to any girl but Paira. It comes off like the guy just doesn’t want commitment, he wants to mess around but not to marry her. After all, he still glances at her quite a lot and gets distracted all the time but when she mentions marriage then he bulks to the point where he tries to avoid her. This entire character dynamic makes absolutely no sense.

If the author wanted to write a dynamic where Paira is the pushy one and Kazami is the timid lead who doesn’t want to be in a relationship then they shouldn’t have established him as being someone who is obsessed with girls. This dissonance destroys the manga early on. Now you can still have a good series with a bad main character but it’s incredibly difficult and doesn’t help your case of trying to avoid cancellation.

Also, Bone Collection has a real fanservice issue. It’s quite unfortunate because the last few titles have been avoiding that fairly well but this one didn’t. Just about any scene with Paira tends to get dicey. The series really leans on this aspect which is a shame and it shows that the writer didn’t have a lot of confidence in the story to hold its own without doing something like this.

The art isn’t quite as high end as most of the other titles either. It’s not all that bad, some of the proportions aren’t quite right for obvious reasons but otherwise the action scenes seem good enough. I can picture this series getting better with the artwork the longer it went on. It just didn’t last long enough to get to that point. So now lets talk about the characters.

I already talked about Kazami and why I don’t like that guy. You just can’t get past his personality and nosebleeds so that’s a thumbs down for him. Then you have the childhood friend who you may have thought would be the main heroine for a chapter or two but she is quickly taken out of the story. Rino’s an interesting character because she’s quite unique for the childhood friend type of character. She is consistently insulting Kazami and while this is in a comedic way where she doesn’t realize what she is doing, it happens enough times where you have to think twice about this.

She is a talented exorcist and wants him to do better but doesn’t know how to show it. She also seems to like him but can’t admit to this either which gets a little trickier once Paira enters the fray. At that point Rino is really out of luck in just about every way. There’s more that could have been done with her but ultimately her character arc ends when she is put on silent and her texts go into oblivion which was really unexpected but I think the author just got tired of the character.

Paira has a really big presence here and she’s okay. One issue I have with making her a SSS rank yokai is that she never looks this powerful. She has trouble with everyone and while it’s hinted that this is in due to her powers being drained and being in the human world, this makes it hard to take her seriously. She was casually beaten by one of the exorcists back in her true form. So if this is the power of an SSS yokai then that’s a bit concerning for them. I suppose it’s a twist if the Exorcists are actually the guys with the upper hand this time but it sure doesn’t feel that way.

Power levels aside, I do like how forward she is about her goals. She talks about marriage and wanting to be human right away without beating around the bush. That part’s commendable and her final ability of being able to activate a reality marble of sorts where she summons a wedding was also very original. In a way her fun personality is wasted on Kazami as a foil but I’ll give her a passing grade.

One of the worst characters here has to be Akina. He’s Kazami’s older brother and an expert exorcist so you’d expect this guy to be a big player right? Wrong! Paira humbles him almost immediately when the guy starts to put on airs. She completely breaks him to the point where he becomes her slave. She rides him around the house like a horse and insults him quite a bit. Paira was able to get this power position because she got some strong blackmail material which didn’t help his case either. Akina is a good example of a character who had some potential but then completely blew up in an instant.

Then you have the twins Sakurai and Runa but their inclusion is problematic as Kazami points out. See, the whole “Using yokai energy” thing is completely forbidden. The characters beat this into Kazami throughout the series yet near the end we find out that among the top ranking Exorcists there is a pair who uses this casually. Really?? Why is this such a big deal then? They’re doing the exact same thing as Kazami and Paira but not getting any heat about it.

There’s not enough world building for any explanation here. I’m sure the series could give us something but it just seems to undermine everything about the process. As characters they aren’t bad but they basically exist just to train Kazami and Paira into being stronger fighters and don’t do much on their own. They seem a bit young to be fighting Yokai but when you have super powers I guess that evens things out.

Then you have Abe, the first Exorcist King to appear. She’s a fun character and has a few twists up her sleeve. See, she uses a puppet body which happens to look like a very buff dude but her real form is just your average teen girl. She gets a lot of hype since even Paira is completely terrified of her. Abe’s abilities are definitely the real deal and this time it makes sense since she is one of the highest ranking fighters in the series.

I would still argue that Paira should win this fight easily but maybe being an SSS demon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be right? I liked Abe, she brings in a lot of energy to the team dynamic which is something the heroes needed. She has the power needed to back up her tough talk and she’s also fairly reasonable for one of these higher ups.

Compare her to the next king we meet in Shishino and there’s no competition. This guy thinks all Yokai are evil and won’t listen to reason. He doesn’t really appear enough to get more development than that. Don’t even mention the final 2 kings as they get wrecked by the demon Kyubi off screen. So much for the Exorcists right?

That leads us to the final boss of the series, Kyubi. I was glad we got at least one real boss at the end of the series instead of all the monsters of the week. Don’t get me wrong, you need those guys for pre arc but if the series is going to be cancelled early then I at least want my memorable final fight. Kyubi does well in that role as he takes down multiple kings and establishes himself as a true threat. He had to be strong too since after Kazami and Paira’s training they were so strong that they took down an arc’s worth of fighters in one page. The arc had been shaping itself up Saint Seiya style with the heroes having to destroy a bunch of towers and each one was guarded by a powerful Yokai. Little did the villains realize that the heroes were in a completely different league by this point and would win in a single shot.

Kyubi has a lot of confidence and it’s deserved since he was utterly dominating everyone for a while. The fights are cool and I like his design. Easily a candidate for best character in the series. Surprisingly the series decides to end on more of a comedic note than with a serious climax though. Remember that whole reality warping into the wedding thing? Well, that happens in this part as it ends the series and it turns out that Paira can turn the whole place into a wedding arena.

It was a creative way to bring every single member of the cast into one room, I’ll give the series that. People just pop out of nowhere and since it’s magic you can’t really complain about it right? It certainly feels rushed as this power comes out of nowhere but I do like that it implies Paira has been holding out on us the entire time. I would like that twist because it restores some of her SSS rank hype. It may be a little too late but it’s better than nothing. The series even squeezes in a time skip epilogue which is rare for these titles.

So at least you have a complete story here. Albeit a rushed one but it’s a start. So what would I have done differently to keep this one from being cancelled? Well, the obvious answer here is change Kazami’s character entirely so he is more of a timid kid who wants to be a great exorcist but has no skills. It’s been done many times in the past but it still works and would also explain why he is reluctant to use his skills with Paira since he would be way too shy around girls for something like that.

Now you’ve got a more traditional setup and a main character that won’t have you rolling your eyes the entire time. As a second step, definitely reduce the fanservice and since the series isn’t being cancelled, you don’t have to turn the serious final boss into a happy wedding. Instead you play the fight straight and that will work quite well. These are my quick changes to try and salvage the series. With that it could have worked because then you’ve got a nice adventure story which may tick off all of the usual boxes of a generic adventure at first but then after that it would have time to slowly become its own thing.

Overall, Bone Collection has a decent premise, it just didn’t live up to its potential. That’s to be expected with these quick cancelled series since they were cancelled for a reason right? Some have still been quite solid though, but this was not one of them. It’s not bad like I Tell C but it’s just not very good either. I wouldn’t be recommending it to anyone and if you wanted a classic exorcist title you’d be better off with D Gray Man or Twin Star Exorcists. There is no shortage of exorcist manga titles though so I would recommend any number of them over this one. Bone Collection will just end up fading away into obscurity.

Overall 5/10

Candy Flurry Review


Candy Flurry is a fairly recent Jump title that never managed to get out from the bottom of the rankings. While its cancellation always appeared imminent, it seemed to have a pretty cool gimmick going. Who doesn’t like sweets? In many ways it was going after the One Piece angle of eating a food that gives you special powers while still being different in its own right. It’s a solid series but I think its attempts at humor were ultimately its undoing.

The series begins by explaining the general lore of the series which is that Tokyo was destroyed by a bunch of giant lollipops that rained down from the sky. 5 years later nobody has actually started rebuilding yet but people are still trying to raise funds to do so. A toy company had come out with 100 snacks which gave people super powers. Each candy is unique so no two people will have the same power. As a result the government put together a special unit known as the Recette to track down these 100 power users.

Each user needs to either register with the government or be arrested. You are not allowed to use your powers against non power users and that is true even for government agents unless you’re taking down a criminal. Nobody knows much more than that about the company that released these snacks and so the world is still going ahead as normal but now there are many people who no longer like snacks.

We’re then introduced to our main character Tsumugi. She has the ability to use Lollipops in combat but is not the one who attacked the system. This is dangerous because as the world knows, no two people can have the same power. So nobody will believe her if she tries to say anything and since she knows this is a lie, is it also a lie that there are only 100 power users out there? She aims to find the true culprit and live a normal life in the meantime but it’s difficult with criminals running everywhere.

Her life is changed forever when she meets a guy named Misaki. He’s a young member of the Recette who is determined to be a great agent but lacks real ability. She saves him from a punk so now he is the only one who knows her identity. Together they must catch the criminals while making sure she isn’t detected but that will be difficult. Can Tsumugi pull this off?

At its core this is a classic Shonen Jump title. It’s a very light hearted adventure that is part school comedy and part action. It reminds me a bit of the opening act for Seraph of the End but without the violent beginning. This doesn’t really seem like the kind of series that will go that far. It’s early on of course but definitely happier than most titles and you can get a feel for that from the art style as well. Perhaps World Trigger would be the best comparison.

One of the strongest positives for the series is the artwork. It’s way clearer than you would expect from a new series. Unlike the Ghostwriter, I don’t believe this is from an already established artist either which only serves to increase how impressive this is. The powers are very clear when they’re in use and the fights are on point. The action scenes are always pretty fast though with Tsumugi typically defeating her opponents in a single shot.

I’d like some longer fights but I’m sure the author was trying to cover as much ground as possible so I can see why the pacing is so fast. The fights are good and I do like the overall atmosphere. The school combat routine lends itself well to these kinds of adventures. Many memorable titles started out like this such as Bleach, Buzo Renkin, Seraph of the End and more. There are so many different ways you could take this and there is a lot of groundwork laid out for a lot of extra lore.

You’ve got different classes of fighters and a whole government structure. The toy group will clearly have a nefarious agenda and with 100 power users, that may not sound like a lot but it’s still enough to last for a few arcs until we get more villains. Presumably the Recette isn’t completely useless so lets say they’ve already apprehended about 30 power users. The government probably employs around 30 agents so when you throw in Tsumugi then there should be at least 30+ on the loose. If they’re all strong then that will work out well.

You’ve also got the steroid pills that anyone can use so you can have human villains as well. I do think it was a mistake to show us some of the most powerful government workers this early though. Irie and Amanai are both members of the top 5 agents in the whole government and they are struggling against the villain group right away. That’s why you usually keep the strongest fighters hidden until later. Jujutsu Kaisen pulled it off by showing Gojo right away…but he wasn’t struggling in his first fights. That would be anti climactic and so Candy Flurry should have made these guys maybe Top 30 or Top 20. Going straight to Top 5 is too fast.

Still, it’s all good so far so where does the series struggle? Personally I think the writing is the biggest problem that Candy Flurry has. It’s not nearly as funny as it seems to think it is. One of Tsumugi’s gimmicks is commenting on how cute she is so the guys will always buy her snacks and be nice to her. That’s a rather…narcissistic trait for a main character. I was rather taken aback when she talked like that. We learn that she has been asked out like 30 times or so which I guess has bolstered her confidence every time she declines.

Then she accuses one of the villains of sexual harassment when he pointed out that his gum might get stuck in her hair when he’s shooting his attacks (He has gum powers) so maybe she should cut it. That’s….a very big stretch on her part. It just makes Tsumugi a little more unlikable than anything else because that’s a very out of place line and destroys any chance at bantering.

I like Tsumugi’s confidence when in battle but as a character I actually didn’t like her all that much. She has her share of comedic moments that are solid and she is serious in battle but her personality just doesn’t mesh well with the character. If anything you just feel bad for Misaki when Tsumugi is using him or framing him to higher expectations than he can ever hope to achieve. He is rather slow on the uptake though so a lot of it is his fault.

Not to pile onto her character too much but she also has some of the worst comebacks to the villains. One of them mentions how he wants to make everyone a power user so he can be the strongest with his lollipops at which point Tsumugi says that sweets are for eating not fighting. Keep in mind that she’s saying this after smashing people in the head with her Lollipop and defeating numerous opponents. Her speech about how anything connected to a stick can be a lollipop also felt incredibly random.

So, Tsumugi has her charms but I think the writing hurts her character. Ideally as the series went on she would get a lot better though. Not every character is amazing out of the gate like Bam, Yoh, or Yugi but if a series goes on long enough usually you will improve. So I don’t doubt that she would get better. One step to doing that would be to stop holding back even when you’re about to die but that’s mostly on the series being abruptly ended so I think she wasn’t meant to be as powerful as she was in the final chapter.

Continuing on the writing angle though, it’s not like this only hurts Tsumugi. Irie is another character in the series and one of the Top 5 fighters that I mentioned. She has some of the same iffy dialogue. She accuses another villain of harassment and what I did like is that he calls her out on it. He asks why she has a double standard between him and another villain who’s traditionally more good looking and she struggles for a response. When she accuses him a second time he flat out denies it and she admits that she made a mistake.

This in no way makes Irie even slightly likable. Now, she was stalling for time in the second instance so you could say this was to that end, but it has to be one of the worst ways to stall for time. Additionally she is very one note. Her personality is that she can be really smart at times and really dumb at other moments. She’ll make a great deduction and then fall for the simplest trick in the book. Or she’ll land a great combat technique and then remember that she left her books at home.

Thing is, this happens in every single one of her appearances. This goes back to Candy Flurry trying to move really fast even to its own detriment. Each character has a gimmick and the author wants you to remember this so it is brought up every time. Irie has her forgetfulness, Misaki always follows the rules, Amanai is a tough coach, Tsumugi’s teammate is super in love with Irie and always crying, etc.

Now I get that there is pressure to move fast or you’ll be cancelled but this does end up hurting Flurry a bit. I think to a large extent the series was trying to also be a commentary on Shonen Jump titles like Medaka Box but doesn’t have nearly the same level of writing ability. You have Tsumugi criticizing the trope of just jumping into battle without a plan, a villain getting insulted for wearing a uniform that just so happens to have an image that looks like him, etc. The dialogue can feel really meta a lot of the time but it’s just not executed very well.

You know how when meta dialogue is very well done you don’t think twice and just grin because of how true the critique is? That’s not the case here as you’ll just pause and think, would the characters actually say that? It’s entertaining though even if not very realistic. To underscore, the series is still a lot of fun. There are plenty of humor moments that do land like the dialogue with the Popcorn user and Tsumugi. The debates about which candy is best can be good as well. What truly counts as a Lollipop and what doesn’t. Things like that are interesting and I also like that the characters don’t have exaggerated reactions to the humor. They take things personally and keep joking around while trying to hurt the other one. The moments like this are really good so I think the series is at its best when the humor is being direct like that. So it has its flaws but I do want to underscore that you should still get some good chuckles out of this.

Lets talk about the rest of the characters now. I already talked about Tsumugi quite a bit and also started on Irie. Not much more to say about her but Irie’s ice cream ability seems like it would be really useful. It’s just a shame that she isn’t immune to her own power and can only fight for 3 minutes after activation which is a huge weakness. I also found it a little funny how she disregards Tsumugi as a suspect for being too weak since Irie was stomping her and nearly murdered the heroine but later on we find out that Tsumugi was holding back and is actually way stronger than Irie….

Misaki is the main guy here and while he may be powerless, he has a heart of justice. It would be nice if he were a bit stronger though as he loses to random minions on the street. Additionally, he gets beaten up by the bullies because he refuses to harm a civilian. Sorry but this is taking things wayyyy too far. If someone’s beating you up then you better defend yourself. There’s nothing heroic about being pounded into the dirt so that hurts him quite a lot.

As for Amanai, he doesn’t appear nearly long enough to get much of a read on him. They’re definitely going for an Eraser feel for him as the guy has a similar costume, is sleepy/bored all the time but gets really serious about the rules. He doesn’t get to have a proper fight though as it is interrupted by the main villain and he’s sidelined real quickly. I could see him being a fun character if the series had kept going though.

Umino is the son of the boss of the Recette so he’s a fairly big shot but his opening appearance is him crying a lot. Now, this is a character I can maybe get behind. If you can get around the fact that he is constantly trying to impress Irie even if it means dying in the process and his lack of confidence, and you’ve got a good character. He has enough power to defeat several fighters at once after all and even gives the Popcorn user a good piece of advice.

I dare say that he is probably my favorite hero in the series. I’d have to think about it some more but off the top I’d say that’s true. I also think there were a lot of things he would probably do in the future. My actual favorite character is the pop corn user. What’s his name? Well, this is a slight nitpick for the series but they rarely use names so that makes it difficult to find them. Even for Umino, they only say his name once in his debut appearance chapters on a little tablet when you’re looking at the tournament bracket. Otherwise you just don’t know who he is. Seriously, in the first three chapters where this guy appears they don’t say his name once so I’m just going to have to call him the Popcorn guy.

But yeah Popcorn guy is pretty great. He’s clearly modeled off of Bakugo’s character design to the point where one panel almost seems ripped straight out of MHA. Same costume from that angle and the same pose. I like that this guy is your classic “Really wants to fight” character while also having some original traits. When Tsumugi calls him a loser he refuses to tell her anything about the villains which is reasonable. A lot of times you see the villain still tell everything but he took that insult rather personally.

In fact, he takes every insult she dishes out (And there are a lot) personally and even tries to change himself as a result. Umino points out that this would actually make him a loser if he changes upon request so you feel bad for the guy because everyone is taking shots at him. Still, as a villain he has a lot of personality and just really sticks out. Which I quickly skimmed through the chapters and it looks like none of the villain members aside from the leader gets a power so they’re just off handily referred to my their snacks. I guess like a hero name? Hmmm…..well I’ll go with that for the review too then.

Another villain member is Gum and he’s another good villain. He’s the one who called out Irie’s double standard and he is fairly creative with his ability. Even once the gum is frozen he is able to quickly figure out how to fight with it. The guy is even crying during the battle because of how hurt he is. Candy Flurry really loves its emotional characters that’s for sure. It works well for this guy.

Then you have Gummy who is one of those villains that acts like a hero the whole time. He doesn’t believe in cheap shots and just wants to have a clean fight. He doesn’t like hostages either. Yet…he does use cheap shots and take hostages so the guy is absolutely all talk. He seems to want to help Misaki keep his secret identity though. It’s hard to get a read on him so ultimately I’d say he’s just insane or heavily misguided. We have a quick flashback where all of the villains actually wanted to be heroes the whole time but it never worked out due to off screen events we’ll never know about.

I think it’s an interesting idea to have a villain who feels like he’s a hero. You can do a lot with that but this guy betrays his ideals within the span of a chapter so I can’t take him seriously. Meanwhile there are about 4-5 other members who show up briefly in the third last chapter but they’re all taken out off screen and only appear in one more panel. I guess they were about to have some big fights before the author was told that the series was about to be abruptly ended. They looked like they had potential but we don’t know a whole lot about them at this point. The third member would be cookie I think but he didn’t even get a line so there’s not much to say about him.

It is uncanny how each member of the villain group looks so similar to other characters. You have Bakugo from MHA, Yuji and Megumi from JJK, Zora from Black Clover, etc. I suppose it’s tough to come up with new character designs after a while but with so many characters it’s hard not to notice.

Finally you have the main villain Amato. This guy took out an entire city so he’s definitely a threat and he does take out most of the heroes really quickly. His goal of turning everyone into power users is a pretty interesting one although we don’t know how he would go about doing this yet. I do like that he’s very loyal to the rest of his group though and even sets out to save them.

Based on the flashback we see that he’s a rather caring guy as well. I definitely expect he would be turning good at some point since the series already laid the seeds for that along with the rest of the group. Ultimately he only gets to fight for 2 chapters at which point the series ends but he was impressive. I liked his personality and abilities so he could have gone far.

The snacks lend itself well to the fight scenes because of how much variety they had. They were very different from your average fights and I imagine the creativity would have only continued to increase if the series was given more time. The giant robot at the end felt extremely random to the point where it became a bit of a meme but I think that only happened because the series was cancelled. Otherwise it makes no sense because no matter how Tsumugi tries to explain it…that robot was not a Lollipop in any shape or form.

I did appreciate the twist that Tsumugi was actually the most powerful sweets user around and was just holding back the whole time. I’m all up for having an overpowered protagonist and it also explains her absolute confidence the whole time. I do suspect that she was not meant to be this powerful and had to be boosted since she needed to beat the main villain in one chapter but maybe not. It was hinted in one chapter that she was super powerful when she “barely” defeated one villain only to suddenly be at full strength when fighting another. Even the villain commented that she had seemed tired just a moment ago.

As you can see by the size of the review, there was a lot to discuss here. I think that speaks volumes about the potential of the manga. It was only 19 chapters and yet there is so much to talk about. It really was a unique experience even if a lot of the overall fundamentals were on the generic side. After all, a lot of battle Shonens will have similarities and it’s that extra element you add to it that determines if you will be an all star or not. If this could have gone on for many more chapters maybe it could have been the next big thing.

As a final note, here’s what I would have done differently to keep the series from being cancelled. The first thing is to make Tsumugi more of a likable character. Just don’t make her the kind of character who is too into herself and take away the accusations from the villains. It seems like the author wanted to make her a very confident character based on most of her portrayal so just focus on that.

Maybe throw in some bragging about her abilities or trash talking during combat. Give her the kind of lines you would see Yusuke, Ichigo, or Ryoma have since it seems like she should be that kind of protagonist. That’s a quick fix and I think it would be a good one since Tsumugi does have a lot of instances where she is very likable. Just a tiny tweak here and there and you would stick the landing.

Work on improving the writing as well. Get rid of the dialogue that feels extremely out of place. If you want to keep the humor up, keep doing it with the meta dialogue and all but try to make it feel more natural. A key thing to remember here is also that the heroes should be likable so don’t make them create false claims to buy time or give the villains any chance to make it seem like they are the sympathetic ones. With the government being as extreme as they are here and the lab doing live human experiments on kids…it makes it very easy to be rooting for the villains more than you should. Especially when they’re the ones using the power of friendship while the heroes are fighting among themselves.

Beyond that, I’d say just take it slow and keep introducing everyone. There’s a lot of potential for this to have been a really long running series. There’s not much more to say as those are really the only two things I would change. Writing and Tsumugi. With those two areas improved I think you’ll have a real winner here.

Overall, Candy Flurry is a fun title. It’s certainly got its flaws but nothing super drastic. I would still call this a pretty good title through and through. At only 19 chapters this makes for a very quick read. It seems like most cancelled titles tend to get a bonus chapter when the volume comes out as an epilogue of sorts so you’ll want to keep an eye out for that to give it a read when this becomes available. We’ll see if the next cancelled title can keep up with Candy Flurry. At the very least it’ll be tough to top the fights and artwork since both were quite solid. Who knows, maybe in 20 years this will get a sequel or something.

Overall 7/10

Time Walker Review


So I finally watched the trailer for Time Walker after checking out the movie and let me tell you, it’s pretty intense. I think if the film had kept up that same energy it would probably be remembered a bit more fondly. Play up the alien angle and lets just get it rolling. As it stands, this is a pretty classic old styled horror film where you’ve got a creature walking around and a bunch of humans doing their best to stop him. The characters aren’t that great but the creatures themselves have some decent abilities.

The movie starts with the archeologists breaking into another tomb to see what curse they can inflict on the world this time. They end up finding a giant sarcophagus and figure the best thing to do is take it back to the school. Professor Douglas uses this as a learning exercise for the rest of the gang. There’s a mysterious fungus on the coffin and one of the students is sloppy so it gets all over him. So here’s how this works, the fungus will basically spread across your body until it turns you into a skeleton. Radiation speeds up the process.

Anyone who has touched the fungus is doomed. Now this would be easily contained except unfortunately one of the students is a guy named Peter and he’s not the best guy. He notices some gems in the coffin and steals them. He then gives them to various students. What he doesn’t realize is that these gems are needed by the alien that was trapped in the coffin for some kind of device. Now it is mad and aims to take all of the gems back with force if needed.

Now, what is the point of having the Mummy actually be an alien? Well, that’s a good question because it really doesn’t seem to matter one bit. Yeah you have the very last few seconds but otherwise it doesn’t impact the plot and that is a bit of an issue. If it walks like a Mummy, looks like a Mummy, and acts like one then it might as well be a Mummy right? The alien factor just doesn’t come into play so I can see how this would be pretty disappointing if you were watching it in the theater.

The alien aspect was a huge part of the promotion so for him to not do anything is disappointing. I’d also say the design in the posters is a bit cooler as it has a bit of an Iron Man vibe. The version in the film doesn’t really look like that and just appears to be a Mummy with some kind of power source. At least he does have super strength though so I’ll give him some points for that. A single throw was enough to take someone down for the count.

There aren’t really any likable characters here though. Most if not all of the students are just annoying. They’re busy having parties and messing around with each other the entire time instead of taking anything seriously. One of them has a girlfriend but immediately gets distracted by another girl. Instead of breaking up with this chump, the girl allows herself to be bribed by a gift in the very next scene despite witnessing what just went down. Then you have Peter who actively works against the investigation and it’s due to his need to steal things that the Alien Mummy gets so many victims in the first place. If the gems had stayed in one place then there wouldn’t have been an issue.

Douglas is also pretty suspect as a professor. You really shouldn’t let students be messing around with something that could be extremely dangerous. They weren’t wearing masks so what if there had been some kind of plague in the air when they opened the coffin? He’s also having an affair with one of the students which is another questionable part of his character.

Okay there are some more fun things about the film though. One is that the sound effects are absolutely on point. The warning sounds for the generators and computers sound like something out of an old Galaga game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got the sounds from there. While it wasn’t executed very well, I also liked the idea of the alien needing to grab these gems to accomplish his goal, whatever that was. It’s like a villain collectathon which is different from the usual mission.

I don’t really understand why the Egyptians would bury the alien along with his power gems though. Why not keep them separate in case he ever wakes up? If the gems had been gone then you can only imagine the whole time that the alien would be out of luck because there would be no way for him to find them. He has a hard enough time locating them at short range so I doubt he would be able to find them at long range. I mean, even when he was in the room with the gem he had to look around and check every part before finding it in the case. This was just for an artificial scare and some fanservice but it does make the alien look even worse. Cmon now, if your scanner’s any good you should have known where in the room it was as soon as you entered….

There is one decent character which is the local cop. He’s definitely not pleased about this becoming a big deal and is eager to quickly get this under wraps. The guy’s not super brave though and gets nervous early on when the alien is on the move. I also liked the president of the school who was not willing to listen to the professors and said the show must go on no matter what. He even invited the press to the whole coffin angle. I always like these characters who have a whole lot of bravado. Same with the teacher trying to replace Douglas. He even has a whole Scooby Doo type “I caught you red handed!” speech at the end. You’d think he has bigger things to worry about but the guy just wants his promotion immediately.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. I doubt you’ll remember a lot of tunes by the end but it’s got a decent danger theme when the alien is running walking after the heroes as well as any scene when it’s causing havoc. I know what you’re thinking. How can you ever get caught by an alien that moves with the speed of old molasses? Well the main way is to trap yourself in an elevator with no way out or to charge the alien as if you’re Superman. Otherwise the alien should have no chance the whole time. How hard is it to stay ahead of someone who can only walk at turtle speeds? This is definitely something they need to fix with these Mummy type creatures. Seeing in all green doesn’t exactly make it any spookier either since nothing tends to happen in those scenes.

Now this is an 80s film but you will have to remind yourself of that several times. It really doesn’t feel like one, this could easily pass for a 70s film visually and even a 50s film in terms of writing. It’s all very old school. Now the writing itself isn’t anywhere close to the old films but it does have a grand feel to it. If anything the horror soundtrack here would work really well in those classic films like “Curse of the Fly”. After all, Time Walker does take itself extremely seriously…even if you won’t be able to as a viewer. The whole final scene is meant to be dramatic but I thought it was pretty funny. When you think about it, the angle of the gunshot should never have made hit the guy if he was aiming at the alien. Then you have someone grabbing something that he should have known has been incredibly lethal to anyone who touches it. It was a comedy of errors by the various characters in the climax that’s for sure.

Overall, Time Walker is a glorified Mummy film. I would say it’s a good Mummy film, far better than most but this is not an alien film despite the poster. There is no time travel here and the alien isn’t acting much like an alien. I’ll give the film credit for the ending though. A lot of times these old films tend to end rather suddenly but even for this one I was wondering how things were going to play out since there were only a few minutes left and the film hadn’t ended. Well…that’s because it doesn’t. The film closes out on a big “To Be Continued” screen which was actually impressive. That’s something I’d like to see more films do. Granted, I think they’re slowly getting more accepted in the mainstream like the Hobbit or Infinity War but even those don’t end with a huge “To Be Continued” message like this one does. It’s bold, ambitious, and I like it. It’s just a shame that we didn’t actually get the sequel for this. I’d definitely have been pretty psyched about that.

Overall 6/10

Curse of the Fly Review


Curse of the Fly is interesting with how it mixes together a ton of different plot threads that don’t have much connection to each other. First off, it’s called Curse of the Fly but there is almost nothing to do with the actual Fly movie. The enemies don’t even look like Flies. You have the main heroine who has escaped from an insane asylum but she doesn’t seem crazy at all. Is this place actually a criminal organization? Then you have the actual mansion of criminals performing human experiments. It does make for an interesting combo even if it’s really mixed up the whole time.

The film starts with Patricia escaping from the Asylum and meeting up with a passing driver named Martin. Martin figures she can use some help since she seems distressed and takes her over to a hotel. She has a mysterious past that she won’t talk about and Martin doesn’t want to dig his own skeletons out of the closet so he asks if she wants to be married. She agrees and they head over to his place. He’s fairly well off but nobody in the house seems happy to see Patricia. Has she just stepped into a more dangerous situation than she had expected?

Now the opening scene of the movie definitely does drag considerably. It’s a long montage of Patricia running away from the house which just seems to be there for fanservice. The whole prologue of her getting married to Martin is also more low key as you’re just waiting for the characters to get to the house. Will Martin’s allegiance be to his father and the experiments or to his new wife? Unfortunately it’s the former and he really puts her in a ton of danger. There is so much happening it’s hard to even put the review in order but lets take it piece by piece.

The secret Martin is hiding is that he and his father are still conducting human experiments including teleportation and a drug that will allow Martin to stay human. See if he doesn’t have the serum in time then he starts turning into a Fly. I guess you can say that’s the true connection to the Fly film but even this isn’t really treated like a big deal half the time. It only happens maybe 2-3 times in the film.

Now this wouldn’t be all that bad on its face. If anything there would be no reason to keep it a secret. Well, maybe the Fly part but not the experiments. Where things really go wrong is when we find out that they are also running experiments on humans and keeping them locked up in cages. Among them is Martin’s real wife. So…the guy is married and yet he went on to marry someone else? That’s an instant game over for Martin. Not only is this a rebound but hiding the fact that he is actually married is a huge deal.

Martin’s definitely the antagonist around here. Even when Patricia nearly gets attacked by these creatures the guy doesn’t do much. In fact he does worse than nothing since he tries to convince her that she is crazy. Keep in mind that at this point he knows she is from the asylum so he is intentionally using that as leverage to try and make her doubt herself. It’s a pretty low blow.

Now, it should not have worked though. It’s always annoying when someone sees something and just gets talked out of it. At least Patricia has more of an excuse than most characters because of the asylum background but her self doubt should not have been enough to overwhelm her own senses. She saw everything clear as crystal. That should have been the end of it, she forces Martin to come clean and now they’re on even ground. It’s too bad that didn’t quite work out.

Also, we do have a brief subplot where the inspector from the Asylum is coming around to try and figure out what’s going around. He talks to a colleague who knew Martin from a while back. They try to make some headway on this case but as you can probably guess they don’t really do anything until the climax. I did like the inspector’s confidence though. Initially Martin refuses to see him but the guy calls his bluff with a warrant and gets in. Martin doesn’t want the press around due to his shady experiments and the institution doesn’t want them either so both of their goals align in that respect.

Not to worry, we’ve got more plots around. So Martin’s brother Albert who was also in on the experiments a while back but he did the smart thing and ran out of there. He completely got out of the business but where he made the mistake is when he decides to come back and help out after getting some pressure on him from the father. He absolutely should have stayed far away and that would have really ended up helping him a lot. Going back to the scene of the crime could only end badly.

You also have the rest of the staff doing their best to mess with Patricia the whole time. She probably wouldn’t have caught on so fast if the maid wasn’t letting the old wife run around the house or putting pictures of her by Patricia’s bed to mess with her. There’s a lot of mind games going around and it’s clear that the main staff wanted Patricia out of there. Ironically they’re the ones who bolt out of there pretty quickly.

Patricia is one of the more reasonable characters compared to these guys. At the same time, it shows why you shouldn’t marry someone you’ve only known super briefly because it’s not going to end well. Since she had her own secrets she was more open to letting Martin keep his, but that definitely didn’t go over very well. I’d say she should have bolted the moment she saw the inhuman monster running around the place.

Martin’s father is much more open about being a villain and that’s why he beats Martin. The guy puts science above everything including other lives. He’s very up front about this and is always giving lectures to the other characters with how many risks they take. He reminds me of Lou Chaney with how he sounds and talks as well. The guy’s just very charismatic. Not charismatic enough where he should have been able to convince everyone to go along with his crazy schemes though so Albert and Martin are not off the hook. They’re all mass murderers at the end of the day.

The writing is pretty solid though. It’s got that old Universal type writing style where the characters are all sophisticated and talk like mad scientists. The creature designs are fairly memorable. Really this film should have just not called itself anything having to do with the Fly and I think it would have gone over a lot better. Even with Martin becoming a fly for some reason, there isn’t enough of a connection for this to really make any sense. The movie’s only a little over an hour so it was really cramming a lot of content into it.

That said, it’s for that reason that the film stays interesting I suppose so I can’t dock too many points from it. The characters aren’t too smart but I wouldn’t say that’s a writing thing though and just the characters meant to be that way. Like when the maid antagonizes one of the villains. Doing so can only end one way so you’d think it would be better not to say anything….but I guess that’s how it goes. The film ends on a bang and so by the end you feel like you really had a complete adventure here.

Overall, Curse of the Fly does hold up pretty well as a suspense film. There’s a lot of dramatic music throughout which holds up pretty well. The core story may be basic but it’s pretty engaging at the same time. The body count is surprisingly high for an old film and it really shows how crazy some people will get while still thinking they’re on the right side. Meanwhile, the idea of switching around who the main antagonist may be is something that wasn’t used a whole lot back in the day so that’s different. Initially you think Patricia may be suspicious since she refuses to talk about why she is at the Asylum (We never find out why even as the film ends) and she had to break out which is a red flag since she doesn’t quite tell Martin about this. Yet when she enters the house we find out that Martin is the real villain here. (even if the film doesn’t always treat him like the antagonist) If you’re looking for an old school thriller to check out, this is a good one to pick up and you don’t even need to bother checking out the first film since they really aren’t connected.

Overall 7/10