Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Review

This review is of the 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

Wait we’re back to the Exorcist again? Not to be outdone by the third film, this one adds animal violence, nazi’s, and an evil tribe here to cause some trouble. Now I would say that the third film is nothing if not competitive when going to the bottom and still does end up surpassing this one as being worse but Dominion put up a good fight and nobody can take that away from it. There aren’t many exorcisms here at all as we’ve come to expect from the series since that was mainly focused on in the first but we still get a dramatic finish with a lot of yelling.

So the movie starts with the Nazi’s rushing in to terrorize a small village. First they make sure to break father Merrin by having him choose 10 sacrifices and it was all a cruel test to break his spirit and resolve. Merrin changed paths to being a travelling architect as he digs around in ruins that may have some religious ties. Well this time he is accompanied by Father Francis as the group is worried about Merrin. Turns out that they should have been worried about the whole village. See the temple was protecting them from the devil demon and now he’s here to destroy them all. He decides to inhabit Cheche, a guy who can’t really talk much and suffered a grave injury but is healing really quickly. The heroes are going to need to watch out now.

It’s hard to know where to begin with this one. Almost immediately when the film starts up we see a bunch of people torturing an animal to weaken him up for being a sacrifice and it reminds you of what a cruel practice that is. Any cruelty to animals is always awful and so right away you’re not really rooting for the village at all. Merrin and the translator Chuma try to defend the practice but to no avail. It’s definitely something that should be completely outlawed by force if necessary. There are animals dying and being injured throughout the film and that definitely serves to ensure that the film never gains any momentum. It is quickly stripped away whenever that may be close to happening.

There also aren’t many likable characters here at all. The only one who seemed decent was father francis but of course he is powerless to stop the demon. The holy water doesn’t do much and when he tries to read the scriptures he is promptly taken down. You would think that he would have moved faster with the water when the demon was waking up though. Just push his head into the water or something, don’t want and dramatically drop a few driplets on him. I always thought this is something the heroes should do more of, forget the small sprinkling and just chug a gallon of the stuff at him. It would be way more effective in theory.

Unfortunately a big part of the movie is about how the demon’s influence eventually catches up to everyone and that happens here as well. Basically just by existing the demon turns people evil and so the humans start to turn on each other. There’s this whole subplot where the British come in with an army and start shooting the tribe members to enact revenge on them. The divide between the two gets worse as the film goes on and then at one point a tribe member murders a bunch of kids so that they can’t learn from Father Francis anymore.

There aren’t really any winners here. By the end of the film everyone is really broken. There’s the main heroine Rachel who stays strong for a while but then also gets corrupted. One of the worst scenes for Merrin is when she shows up and effortlessly seduces him while he was on the trail of the demon. Not the best time to be tempted and you’d think that he would have held strong here. Well, actually I’m not sure how much confidence I really had in the guy to be honest but he still disappointed me there.

Merrin gets to sort of relive the past thanks to the demon and try some other things out but ultimately there was no easy way to get out of the situation. He definitely shouldn’t have sold the 10 people out though. It was a really bad situation but honestly the best thing to do there is make a play for the gun and hope for the best. Sometimes there are no perfect ways out of a scenario and you just have to try your best. By the end of the film Merrin gets his confidence back at least.

The character you probably feel the most sorry for here is Chuma the whole time. It’s rough being a translator because half the time you are having to translate messages that are no fun for anybody and as a result you’re in the line of fire now. If I was him I definitely would have gotten out of there real fast after a while. Unfortunately there probably aren’t many opportunities in the area so leaving is a risk all on its own but anything surely has to be better than staying there right? At least it feels like that would be the case.

This film does remember that it’s supernatural and isn’t trying to hide it most of the time like in III so we do get some decent visuals at times. The green light as everything got trippy near the end was pretty intense. I also liked the clock that appeared in one scene but I have to admit that the effects were so bad that the scene was unintentionally a bit funny. Just a bit mind you but I was starting to crack up. It just made for a really funny visual even if that was not the intent.

The demon’s final form was also the opposite of intimidating even when his face would turn pale like a true demon’s. It’s just not easy to take him seriously as a great villain but they never are in these films. If the characters would just grab some guns and rock the guy you feel like he would go down. Temporarily I suppose since you can never seem to truly get rid of them.

There just isn’t much to enjoy here as with the other Exorcist films. The whole thing is so dark, dreary, and relentless. The heroes don’t have much of a chance at stopping the demon for a while because they don’t even know that they’re fighting one. By the time they do there are so many dead bodies that the heart of the village is gone.

Overall, This is another film to avoid for sure. An exorcist prequel just didn’t need to exist, much less two of them. At least this one has a decent ending, in fact I would say it easily beats the rest since it’s actually happy if anything. I suppose that’s the benefit of being a prequel since you can’t just bump everyone off or ends things rather grimly. I suppose they could have and suddenly the film wouldn’t be canon but that’s a very risky move at best. In theory it’s all uphill from here but we’ll see if that’s actually the case or not for the series.

Overall 0/10

Phantom Seer Review


Phantom Seer is a manga that may have ended early but it certainly still got a whole lot of traction. You would recognize the cover art anywhere and it did get people talking. It succeeds well as a fun supernatural title and it’s a shame that it had to end so soon. The main cast was rather solid and in particular they did a good job of giving the main heroine abilities that were not just supportive but also physical powers to get there in the frontlines. It’s a well written title and I’d still recommend checking it out.

We kick things off with Riku, an ordinary schoolgirl except for the fact that she has a 6th sense for danger. If there is danger approaching then she will know about it in a vague spider-sense kind of way and will try to help people out. She really likes helping people and will actively go around to accomplish that while others would be more passive. She’s a big contrast to Iori, a mysterious guy who is said to be able to talk to spirits. He tends to just be by himself in a dark room and people rarely notice him. Their fates get intertwined as Riku nearly loses her life to an evil spirit.

Basically her 6th sense is a double edged sword as it attracts monsters and bad luck to those around her. Iori is sort of an exorcist by trade and his sister Yayoi orders him to help Riku out until she can either master her powers or they get the spirits away. The issue is that Iori just wants to be a normal guy. He doesn’t want to deal with any of this but he is rather intimidated by his sister so reluctantly he helps out. Additionally he isn’t quite as cold as he tries to make himself appear. That said, there is a reason why he is so aloof and wants to be normal. Iori is a bit of a living contradiction as well as there is one monster he wants to slay before he becomes completely normal so in a way he should still be practicing hard but doesn’t want to do that.

It’s a pretty solid pre arc as we slowly start to learn more about the characters. I’d say that once we learn more about Iori’s past and meet the monster is really when things start to go into high gear though. Additionally there’s a fire character we get towards the end of the series who is a blast. The manga’s strongest aspect is absolutely the character roster because they’re all fairly solid which is still hard to do. I would consider this to be a stronger cast than even some bigger Jump titles.

Riku has no hesitation in trying to be a good person. She does her best to help out everyone around her and when Riku learns that her own powers put people in danger then she works hard on surpassing that. She is constantly working to improve herself and even gets her own Shonen training arcs. Riku never takes a backseat here and just feels like a true Shonen lead the whole time. Her water presence/divination type abilities were also unique both visually and in how they work. Basically she can summon barriers that destroy anything they come into contact with along with basic healing abilities and blasts of holy water that can damage foes. The more the series goes the more she is able to master these abilities and use them in a whole variety of ways.

Phantom Seer actually sets up its own power system which may feel similar in some areas to Muhyo and Roji with the summoning but goes a step further since other characters have their own style of fighting. Maybe calling it a cross between that and FMA would be the best way to describe it. Iori can control shadows and turn them into solid weapons which is definitely really useful. He can also summon monsters but fighting up close is definitely his specialty. This makes for a lot of great visuals as you’d expect.

Iori starts out a bit rough with how he just really doesn’t want to help. If not for Yayoi forcing him a lot of the time he would really just take the easy way out and mind his business. Yes by the end he is definitely a lot more selfless and someone you can rely on, but how much of that is because of his revenge or true character development can be hard to see. If the series had gone on longer we could have seen more of him as a hero with his newfound goals. This is a series where the side characters tend to outshine him for sure but he’s still good.

Later on in the series we get another powerful ally in Tsumuji, but unfortunately she doesn’t get a ton to do before the series. She’s part monster so she has actual abilities and gives us a fairly solid mini arc in dealing with an evil counselor villain. It’s always rough being part monster since that opens you up to a few new weaknesses like being mind controlled and manipulated but ultimately she is someone you can count on when there is nobody at the controls. Perhaps she is more of a villain at the start since things almost got dicey for Riku but in general I tend to like Tsumuji’s character type.

She’s very outgoing and will just go for whatever she wants. No beating around the bush or hiding, she just goes for it. Meanwhile the villain was one of the more petty ones in Kanzaki though. He’s just your average creep who wants to wreck lives pretty much just for the fun of it. He doesn’t exactly have great aspirations beyond testing the limits of his chimera type creations and without any human shields he would go down really quick.

Before going back to the villains we also have Yayoi as an ally. In fact she is considered to be one of the strongest exorcists in history which is really impressive. Whenever characters talk about her it is always with a whole lot of due respect and reverence. I would have liked to have seen her fight a bit more though. I feel like the series was hinting that something may have happened which is reducing her powers or maybe she’s using a lot to seal something off screen but there was something off here. She is so powerful and yet she almost never aids the heroes in fighting. I’m sure she would have been the focus of a really great arc in the future.

Yojiro is an ally who basically lets the heroes know if monsters are near or quests to take. I like how he’s very chill about this though. He will just casually be walking into a villain’s lair with the group even though deep down he knows he’s not the most powerful fighter or anything like that. He’s just not scared and is content to live at a rather casual pace which is admirable. I like that he isn’t worried or anything like that. He doesn’t get as much to do as you’d expect considering how early he appears in the series but he’s fun to have around.

Kenma is more of the true rival of the series. He doesn’t like how Iori handles things (And you can’t really blame him) since the kid doesn’t want to work hard and never trains. Kenma does things by the book and you can bet that he has been training a whole lot. The whole thing has to be super annoying for him because no matter how hard he trains, he can never catch up to Iori in power. Sure, he can get strong on his own and has some really loyal tengu type creatures but he just has more limits. At the end of the day they’re still friends but Kenma just wants to push him farther.

Now for the best character in the series, Kurose. This guy is always cool, calm and collected. He can be a bit of a flirt but he’s not obnoxious about it the way most characters are. His flame abilities are cool and there’s even a full bonus chapter with him teaming up with Yayoi. You get the feeling that nobody else would be able to keep up like that. His powers are very impressive and he feels like a pro. The perfect guy to watch over the heroes while they are still learning the ropes. Without him they definitely would have been in some real trouble on quite a few occasions. I’m not surprised that he’s so high as fire characters tend to be great.

Senjudoji is the big master villain here. She’s ultimately the one behind the tragedy that really put Iori in a bad space mentally. She goes after all people who have a 6th sense ability like Riku. They are called Beckoning Hands and she even took down Iori’s old friend Yukizuki. So their fights are super personal to be sure but the frustrating thing for Iori is that she really is quite powerful. A simple rage boost would not be nearly enough to take her down. She’s just in a completely different league.

Maybe if he had been training….then he’d be in a better spot. It’s still my main complaint against his character because if you want to avenge your friend and fight the big fight then you have to train. I don’t care how powerful his strongest shadows are, they just won’t be enough against someone like this. There is a really great subversion towards the end of their fight as Iori is consumed with rage and getting wrecked which was handled really well. It makes Iori look better s a fighter at least because he thought things through with the twist but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he really should have trained. Senjudoji definitely makes for a very impressive villain though. She has a ton of tricks up her sleeve and is quite strategic. She hasn’t lasted this long for no reason after all.

Then we get the Dollmaster Amelia, or at least she assumes that role for a while. She’s one of those villains who is very quiet and distinguished the whole time. She acts very polite but all the while she is still as evil as can be. She’s also really powerful as it’s hard to hit her with all the strings and puppets in the way. I was definitely impressed with her combat style and how she goes about it. Then we have the true Dollmaster Reta who is more of a kid so she may no seem quite as imposing or intimidating but she can fight really well too. I mean in a way she is stronger as the true one so you have to take that into account.

We also got a new hero for this arc in Kondo. She’s a solid close quarters fighter. She probably debuted a little too late so there isn’t a whole lot of time for her to do much but she did well with the time that she had. I think she would have added a lot to the dynamic if she had just gotten to keep on appearing a little more. If the series ever returns she would be in a great spot there. Likewise Yukizuki doesn’t appear much but as a character who was dead prior to the series beginning that definitely makes sense. She seemed like a likable character though.

The series gets a whole lot of credit for the artwork. It’s really very impressive with a whole lot of memorable moments and it’s all super clear. I had a tough time even choosing which images to use for that reason. There are a lot that just pop out at you. I was also on the fence about the horror image because it is really intense but it does a good job of showing some of the horror visuals you can come across here. That scene was probably the darkest moment in the whole series. That character was basically forced to do the villain’s bidding since the villain was already inside her. It’s like she was dead but still alive and the more you think about it, the more disturbing it gets.

Phantom Seer isn’t afraid to get a little violent and dark like that as it goes on. I wouldn’t say it crosses the envelope but it’s not quite as light as the average Jump title. The villains definitely aren’t messing around here with how much they loathe the humans. It’s too bad that we didn’t get to see two members of the villain group fight though. We got a big splash page with all of them appearing but then the rest of the series only focused on the puppet master so there was no room for them. At least because of that the puppet master fight wasn’t rushed which is good so you could really enjoy that as a main arc.

Usually I talk about what I would have done to try and keep the series from being cancelled but it’s tough here because I can’t think of any real errors it made. The series had a very clear goal and developed all of the characters really well to get there. I wouldn’t really change anything. I guess for some minor stuff you could make the fire guy appear earlier, maybe make Iori a bit more heroic but they’re not the kinds of things that would help you avoid the series end axe. So it just got a bad shake and that happens sometimes.

The author does a good job of still making the ending feel like a real finale though. Sure there are definitely a lot of plot threads still going on but at least this big fight is done and the characters have learned a whole lot so that still works in that sense. It’s a satisfying journey all the way through with a lot of great action and story beats throughout. There may be a lot of titles with evil spirits and exorcism but I’d say that the series differentiated itself well enough. It also kept most of the characters at a fairly even power level which is always tricky to do. So a lot of characters would still be relevant for the next fights.

It’s also nice because then you can still have a lot of fun banter with all of the characters as they get to follow along to each adventure. Riku’s friend from school gets completely written out after chapter 1 but otherwise everyone else still sticks around. The series is very disciplined as it avoids any real fanservice and you can see that it’s a series that is confident that it can hold its own without relying on any cheap tricks like that. I’ve definitely got a lot of respect for a title like this. With the cast slowly growing more and more with new fighters it also felt like the author really wanted to expand the universe into something big which is the tragic part here. It was a slow burner just enough to know the characters well while being fast enough that something big happened in each chapter. I guess lasting to 30 chapters is still better than a lot of the cancelled manga nowadays though.


Overall, Phantom Seer is a really solid action/horror series to check out. It definitely becomes more action oriented as the series goes on but the artist never holds back with the big horror splash pages. Those always spook you as much as possible. It’s a fairly short read at around 30 chapters so you can definitely blast through this series and see what you think. Who knows with how things get revived from time to time maybe there will come a day where this one can make a comeback.

Overall 7/10

I walked with a Zombie Review


You ever watch a film and it’s like you’re seeing it from the sky view? You can see the movie gradually going uphill but there’s a massive landmine in front of it and you can only watch in horror as it self destructs? That’s this movie, it starts out decently well but then it just crashes and burns in a quite tragic fashion. By the end this is a film that you can confidently skip.

So the movie starts off with Betsy getting a job as a nurse to help treat Paul’s wife. She has been in an unfortunate coma type state for a long time now and is barely even alive at this point. Betsy isn’t even really sure what she can do and unfortunately there is also a lot of drama going on. See Paul has a brother named Wesley and both of them do not get along at all. There is constant tension there and they also both seem to like her. While she is sharing a meal with Wesley one day, she overhears a song about how Paul’s wife had an affair with Wesley and the two of them nearly ran off together before she was stopped and then got sick.

Its not a good look for Jessica (the wife) or Wesley. Wesley still seems to like Jessica as well and Paul is ready to go with Betsy but he still has a wife since it’s not like she’s dead. It also seems quite cruel to be going after someone when your wife is in such a poor state. You’d expect Betsy would have a lot of mixed feelings about this, maybe shut down the advances and go home but she actually ends up falling for Paul. I was surprised that she would considering the circumstances and they barley even know each other.

I take a lot of shots at movie romances but this has to be especially bad. How can she be calling for this guy like that? I definitely can’t buy into it and it’s not like Paul is even super nice to her or anything like that. Betsy at least does really want to heal Jessica to make Paul happy even if it ends up hurting her chances so that’s selfless of her. We’ve just got a really messy drama here but at this point it’s not like the movie was that bad or anything. Perhaps contrived with no likable characters but that’s all.

Then we get to the more supernatural part of the film. There is a nearby tribe that has been messing around with witchcraft and spells like that. So someone tells Betsy to take Jessica there and perhaps they can cure her. This is where things get messy as we get a lot of spells and chanting with super drawn out scenes. These scenes take forever to get through and really hurt the movies pacing. It’s like everything grinds to a halt at some point.

Ultimately they aren’t all that helpful anyway. Jessica is too far gone but now they want to finish the job since they consider her undead like state to be unnatural. Roping them in just made things worse. It also turns out that Paul’s mother Mrs. Rand is involved with the tribe as she heals a lot of them by pretending to believe in the supernatural and became a witchdoctor of sort. It’s an interesting approach and if it’s to save people then I do think the deception was necessary there. It wasn’t a bad plan by any stretch but we’re really starting to lost focus on the movie itself.

I would have absolutely cut out the tribe as a whole. They didn’t blend in very naturally to the film and if you were going to do a supernatural spin then you should probably have put less drama into the film. Did we really need the romance triangle with the zombie? That could have been trimmed out and the film could have been a little more structured as a result. I wouldn’t say the writing was very good in this film either so that limits the possibilities as well.

As a main character you already know why I didn’t like Betsy. She falls into the romance too easily and also knows that Paul is still married so that should have stopped her right from the start. She also has a scene early on that doesn’t go well for her. They explain that you have to be brave to work in this position as a nurse and she figures that she’ll be fine but screams the first time Jessica walks around at night. When she wakes up, Betsy again says that she doesn’t scare easy and…you just don’t believe her at that point. I don’t like Paul for most of the same reasons with the romance. Additionally, the guy comes off as rather cold the whole time and doesn’t handle the situation well. Wesley’s awful for trying to have an affair with a married woman. That’s a massive blow to his character that cannot be overcome.

Jessica doesn’t really get to do anything in the movie since she’s an undead so there’s not much to say about her but based on what we know in the past she wasn’t a good character either. Finally there is Mrs. Rand who is at least making a difference in the village but ultimately she doesn’t contribute a whole lot beyond that. She barely had much of a point to even being in the film when you think about it. Also the supernatural seemed real here since the tribe could manipulate Jessica and use actual voodoo so the real science approach didn’t really work here.

Overall, This is a film you will definitely want to skip. It doesn’t really know what it wants to do. While the romance wasn’t very good, this could have been a decent drama film but once you add in the half hearted thriller elements and the tribe scenes it was all over. You can only endure scenes of them just staring at Betsy or chanting for so long before the movie just goes down as a result. This title is not a winner and it is probably also the most low key Zombie film you’ll see. It barely even qualifies as a zombie film in that sense since Jessica really only walks around like once or twice not counting the mind control.

Overall 3/10

Pandora Hearts Review


It’s time to experience the world of Pandora Hearts. It was always a very unique title with a whole lot of fantasy and adventure but at times it would get so convoluted that the story couldn’t really move forward. The anime finishes rather early into the series or at least it felt early. It was nostalgic to see the old characters again. I’d still say that it doesn’t end up being one of the stronger titles out there but at the end of the day I’d still call it a good show.

The series follows a kid named Oz who has had a really rough time of things. He is in line to be the King eventually but his father barely ever talks to him. He seems to dislike Oz on a personal level for some reason and no matter what Oz has done, he just never seems to be good enough. As a result Oz seems chronically depressed even if he always forces a smile on his face. One day during a ceremony a group of villains known as the Baskervilles appear and attempt to murder Oz. He ends up falling into the Abyss where he makes a contract with a chain known as Alice. This allows him to return to life rather than being stuck in purgatory but 10 years have passed. There is a lot of mystery about what happened on the fateful day that caused Oz to disappear. Why did his father seem to be in league with the villains and why does Alice have no memories anymore? All of the mysteries appear to converge around Oz’s lineage and so together with his childhood friend Gilbert, he seeks out the answers to these questions.

In a way you could say that the series is part mystery. A lot of characters know much more than they let on but they are always rather dodgy with their answers. Good luck getting a straight answer out of anybody. Everyone here appears to be shady so Oz can’t really trust anyone, not even his best friends. So this also causes him to be even more alone but at the same time part of the theme in the show is about trying to trust people again which is something Oz and Alice both have trouble with.

The show balances out the more serious moments with a lot of humor. The characters will get drunk and run around and we get a decent amount of slapstick humor. Alice certainly enjoys beating people up if they don’t listen to her and there are a lot of antic around. I’d say that the humor lands well and in some ways it even feels a bit nostalgic like an older humor style. While the cast may not be the strongest overall, they all have good dynamics with each other which makes for a lot of good banter.

Another thing the show does well is the soundtrack. It’s got a very grand feel to it like Sword Art Online. There are quite a few operatic themes in here and so it just sounds great on all accounts. It’s definitely a very good strength of the show. Meanwhile the animation is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say it’s anything amazing but it’s consistent and the fights are on point. I wouldn’t call this an action show even though there are some fight scenes so it’s more about just making sure that the visuals are on point and the show does well there.

One thing the series does not do well is to convince us that Alice (AKA B Rabbit) is one of the strongest Chains out there. So in the Abyss there are a bunch of chains which are effectively monsters. Alice is so advanced that she has a human form and interacts just like a normal person. Everyone is always afraid of her because she basically rules the Abyss. Think of her like Godzilla on Monster Island. He is the unquestioned King. Well, you would expect her to be extremely powerful then and yet she loses so many fights.

There is always an excuse of course like she’s low on energy or Oz isn’t controlling her properly but these are things you would expect her to fight past. If she really is the best then what’s the problem with having a little handicap right? Much like Saber in Fate, I didn’t think Alice actually lived up to the hype. She’s a great character but the power levels in the show just felt a little screwy because of this. If anything Xerxes seemed to have a more useful ability at times since Alice is more about brute force and doesn’t have any hax type powers.

I’d say the other weak point of the show is the actual mystery. Keep in mind that a big chunk of the series is about “The Tragedy Sablier” and you’ll probably hear this phrase at least once an episode. It’s a really big thing and so we get flashbacks and everything but often times you’re more interested in the present. It’s because they really drip feed you things that are happening in the past so after a point you want them to just show you the whole thing or keep it moving. The show is often at its best in the present with the characters having a good time and getting past their personal issues. Each of the main characters have some kind of trauma that they have to get past so focusing on that works really well.

You’ll notice that there are quite a lot of really sad scenes in the show and the OST has a good amount of emotional tracks to reflect that. These scenes are always executed well and you could probably keep the mystery element to a smaller focus and the show would really be able to just focus on the present instead. The lowest point of the show is during one of Alice’s flashbacks where she deals with the other Alice and things get a little rough for one of the cats. One guy even loses an eye in the process. Xerxes and Alice went through a lot back then, that’s for sure.

Now as to the characters, as mentioned earlier Oz is a really good character. For starters I like that he doesn’t feel bad for himself. He’s been through a lot but always puts that big smile on his face so that nobody will worry about him. It works with most of the characters at least. People all handle sadness differently but in general the ones who put on a brave smile and try to keep going always tend to make for the best characters. Then you have characters like Gilbert and Alice who can see through this but they are rare for sure. Oz is always ready to stand up for his friends as well.

He’s definitely not a fighter but will pick up a sword so he can defend his allies and is also not quick to trust others. He’ll say all the right things but always keeps his eyes open and that’s a really smart thing to do. Then we have Alice and while I had the power level issues, I do like her a lot as a character. She’s one of those characters who may have a difficult time speaking her mind without putting in some tough talk but is very attentive. So she’ll notice if something is up right away even if the other characters don’t realize it. Oz would have been in a tough spot without her. I’d argue that she had an even tougher backstory than Oz with everything she had to go through in the Abyss, not even knowing if she would ever get out. That has to be an absolutely frightening prospect. Even if you are the strongest in that realm, being immortal and knowing there is no end in sight while also losing your memories is a raw deal.

Gilbert is Oz’s best friend but the whole thing is a bit awkward for him since he aged 10 years while Oz hasn’t changed at all. Additionally they didn’t part in the best of ways with how the incident went down. Oz is naturally glad just to be back together though and Gilbert is able to warm up and go back to the way he used to be even if it does take some time. It also can’t be quite the same way it used to be now that he’s older. He tends to fight with Alice a lot which makes for some fun scenes. Gilbert also had to make some concessions during these 10 years including leaving the service of Oz’s family for the Nightrays. I was glad that Oz took this in stride because it was a reasonable move. Gilbert needed to get more power and this was the way to do it.

In comparison Oz’s uncle Oscar is not quite as interesting. He didn’t do a ton during these last 10 years and while he is one of the only characters that Oz can really trust, he doesn’t know a lot of the answers that the other characters have. They basically kept him out of the loop so he is rarely all that helpful. He’s a nice guy and all so he’s not bad but you just wish he would be able to contribute a lot more than what he does in the show.

Oz’s sister Ada also gets a decent role here. Naturally the situation is tough on her as well since she was Oz’s younger sister but now she’s so much older. It’s gotta be tough to adapt to that. She’s not really a fighter but she is always ready to help out and stand by Oz’s side which is important. He needs a strong cast around him to make sure he doesn’t break under the strain of everything going on.

Sharon’s got a much bigger role here. She rules over Xerxes as a very mysterious third party. She’s someone who seems to know a whole lot about the tragedy, the abyss, and the Baskervilles so as you can probably guess she rarely ever tells Oz what he wants to know. It’s not that she knows everything, there is plenty that she doesn’t know but the fact that she won’t say what she does understand is why you can’t trust her. I found her and Xerxes to be two of the most suspicious characters in the show.

They can be very helpful and they get a lot of comic relief scenes but that’s not enough to consider them as allies for sure. One of the benefits of this style is that even villains can get comedic moments to try and hide their true evil. It’s an effective ploy in a mystery like this because then you really can’t rule them out. Likewise they could not be the main villains but still have goals that are at odds with the heroes. If Sharon is the planner then Xerxes is the muscle.

He is always sent off to do battle or aid the heroes when things get dangerous. He gets a lot of development here and even a bit of an origin story. It’s the kind of series where everyone is hiding something. Xerxes does come in handy a lot and saves Oz’s life on more than one occasion so whatever his true mission is, you know that Oz is still happy to have him in his corner for the time being.

The Baskervilles make for a very interesting villain group. Their objectives are wrapped in vague shadows but they say Oz is a curse and want him back in the Abyss so something is going on there. They seem to have some kind of cause that they believe in and a flashback gives more depth to this. Part of what helps them as a group is that they all seem to have their own character. They aren’t just mindless minions even if you’re unsure of exactly what their end game is. I guess you can add that as another mystery to the pile.

Never out of mysteries, the show gives us another one with the character Jack. He is one of Oz’s predecessors in the family and for reasons unknown his dead spirit can inhabit Oz’s body and take control of him. While Oz is frail and can’t fight all that well, Jack was known as the greatest member to ever be born into the family. He’s strong and commanding, even the villains will always stop and listen to what he has to say. This doesn’t help Oz’s confidence issues but Jack helps out a lot and he’s definitely one of the best characters in the series. He also tends to be cryptic though and would prefer to just vanish for a while than answer Oz’s questions. So again I would not trust this guy but he’s always cool to see even if his role is small so far.

Then there is Vincent who is up front about being a big villain. He mistreats his maid and comes across as a very intense guy. He’s quite cruel and a big change from Gilbert even though they are brothers. While he will listen to a request from Gilbert, he can ignore everyone else and follows his own agenda. Whatever his end goal is, you know that it’s not good. He makes for an interesting villain as he helps to mix things up even further but hasn’t done a ton yet.

Echo is fairly emotionless but it’s still rough to see her working for Vincent. It would be great if she could strike out on her own and just get away to a happier life. Working for that guy is just plain confusing and she seems like a nice enough character. She just happened to be on the wrong side. One character that is only hear to add more questions is a guy named Rufus. He is one of the dukes and a man of great stature but he spends most of his time messing with the heroes or intentionally spoiling someone’s backstory instead of answering the relevant questions. So he’s intentionally annoying to the characters even though he is someone who could also shed some light on things.

Then we have one of the best characters in the show, Elliot. This guy is great. He’s got a solid honor code and is a really stand up guy. He knows how to fight with a sword and has a very traditional mindset where he will do the right thing no matter how hard it is. He may seem out of his depth at first as a normal guy in a world with a lot of craziness but he always holds his own. He has a good skirmish with the Baskervilles and protects Oz. He may not get along with Oz at all really but he doesn’t let this slow down his sense of justice. That’s how you know that he is a real one. Other characters could have been petty about the whole thing. Unfortunately his role is small so you don’t see him much.

His partner Leo is also around but I was never as big a fan of that guy. He can be a little harsh to Elliot and can’t quite quite as well. His banter isn’t as funny as some of the other characters and so ultimately he doesn’t do anything to really enhance the show. Finally we have Oz’s father who is presented as one of the big villains. We still don’t know exactly why he wants to get rid of Oz but you can bet that his role would continue to get bigger as the series went on. Right now there’s no reason to like him as he just feels like a traitor who is on the wrong side.

So there is a lot going on here. Pandora Hearts builds up quite a large world with a lot of rules and mechanics. At times it feels bigger than what the show can possibly adapt as well which ends up being true since it ended early anyway. I still say that focusing on the present would be more fun but I understand that the mystery is a big part of the experience. One advantage the show has over the manga is it’s much easier to tell characters apart. In the manga quite a few of them look so similar that it’s hard to keep them straight while in the anime you can easily tell who is who. Ultimately I look at the show more favorably than I did the manga. It may not be quite good enough to get to the next level and lacks the replay value that some other shows have but I had a good time here from cover to cover and could easily recommend it. It’ll definitely make you engaged in what’s going on or laugh at the funny moments but either way there is something for everyone.

Overall, Watching Pandora Hearts is like reading half of a mystery novel. You’ve got the setup and all of the questions but the show ends before you can actually get the answers. Maybe one day the show will continue but it seems just old enough and the series just not popular enough to get that chance. You can’t rule out anything anymore though so I’ll just hope that it does return. At least because of this the ending does leave things off on a very intriguing note and you can do your best to fill in the blanks on your own unless you read the manga. I’d still recommend checking out the show. The ost is amazing as I said and it makes for an interesting watch. It’s fairly unique too so it’s got that going for it.

Overall 6/10

The Craft Review

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

When I hear the term “The Witching Hour” I think of Football since they use that term every week on Red Zone when the games are entering the final quarter. I don’t watch a whole lot of movies about witches either so I don’t hear it in this context as much. Well in the end that may be a good thing because this one’s not very good. The characters are all pretty bad for the most part and any scene involving a witch initiation or ceremony tends to drag on quite a bit. This one did not end up being a winner.

So the movie starts with Sarah moving into town and it looks like this place is filled with creeps so she’s going to have a hard time fitting in. One guy seems to like her but it quickly becomes apparent that he’s just using her and does the same to all the newcomers. This drives Sarah into the arms of the 3 witch outcasts at the school. They believe that Sarah is the person needed to complete their quartet so they add her to the initiation and begin their spellcasting. At first things seem harmless enough like little coincidences or love spells but then the 3 girls start getting more and more extreme about using their magic to hurt others and have a good time. Sarah wants out but much like a gang…once you’re in there is no way out. Can Sarah stop these 3 or is it game over?

One thing I’ll give the film props for is that it does cover a lot of ground. Keep in mind that at first Sarah isn’t part of the clique so gradually she joins them, then they all explore their abilities, then they see how these powers are causing damage to people, then they become cool with this, and then they turn evil and go after Sarah. So there’s a whole lot of turnarounds going on here and the film does a reasonable job of giving each section time to breathe. As I mentioned earlier it only really drags on during the witch ceremonies.

We don’t need to see them huddled in a circle chanting to the winds or forming blood pacts. Those were dated when they first came out and you feel like Sarah is really letting them take her down the dark side here without much resistance for a while. They are cool with just stealing books from the local witch expert and while Sarah doesn’t steal anything, just hanging out with these guys is a bad look.

Because if you keep being friends with people who are criminals then to an extent it seems like you are condoning it right? You have to take a firm stand against such things if you really want to make a difference. Sarah just gets in a bit too deep here and it feels like the film wouldn’t have even started if she didn’t hang out with these girls. Now you don’t want to judge them on the reputation of course so it’s good Sarah didn’t buy that but once she saw that they were actually not good people then it was time to cut out.

Sarah isn’t exactly blameless in this whole debacle either though. She casts a love spell on Chris, the guy who messed with her in the intro and apparently it’s basically permanent and can’t be turned off. From there he really goes off the deep end with how obsessive he is over her to the point where he becomes dangerous. She finds this amusing at first and disturbing later on but doesn’t take a very active role in trying to remove the spell.

There is one lady named Lirio who at least knows about witches and can maybe help to an extent but surprisingly she ends up doing nothing in this film. She gets to talk tough and come up with ideas but Sarah runs out of there before they can properly try out the spell. I think Sarah should have stood her ground there since maybe they could have fought off the 3 witches together but I guess we’ll never know from there.

Throughout the film they explain that Sarah is a prodigy in magic so you’re waiting for her big power moment but this isn’t quite Shonen Jump so that doesn’t get to happen. Would have been really cool though. Sarah still does get her clutch moments in the end though and we do get a witch battle by the end. Sarah gets to confront all 3 witches and shows them what true power really is. I appreciated having some action at the end.

The ending of the film is also quite solid with Sarah really laying down the law. It’s not quite sequel bait but you know if there was another film that Sarah would be in good shape now. These other 3 won’t be able to do much against her anymore. So in the end I wasn’t big on Sarah’s character but at least she ends well. Bonnie and Rochelle were played up as if they were going to be sympathetic characters for a while there so I was definitely surprised when they went into full villain mode. It wasn’t a bad decision, the film subverted my expectations in a solid way there. These two didn’t really plan things out very well but at least they were following some kind of path.

Nancy was definitely the main villain of the group in the end though and was certainly the most ambitious. She probably should have tried a more direct way of taking Sarah down before it was too late though. Beating around the bush just put her in a tough spot here and gave time for Sarah to get her bearings. The way the witch powers work here is typically more mental than physical like messing around in the dreams but when push comes to shove you can also use telekinetic abilities. There isn’t much in the way of defense though so if they all ganged up on Sarah and just beat her up there would not have been much of a counter to that.

Overall, The Craft wasn’t really my cup of tea. The witch ceremonies drag on a whole lot and the main characters just aren’t very likable. There’s a super random scene with a guy and his snake that pops out of nowhere but for an instant opens up the door to some interesting plot threads. I thought things were going to go in a different direction with some kind of shady group showing up and the main characters having to team up. The 3 witches actually being evil by the end was unexpected and could have worked but ultimately just didn’t take this title to the next level.

Overall 2/10

Body Snatchers 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 another Body Snatchers film. This one doesn’t really take the concept as far as it could have gone though. There isn’t a whole lot of focus on the actual alien dopplegangers running around until near the end and by then the film is almost over so it’s more about running and shooting. I would have liked to have seen the humans have to walk among them a bit more, use some strategy and all of that. It felt like we missed out on a pretty hype amount of potential scenes there.

So the film starts with Steve and his family heading over to a military base to run some samples. Steve is part of the EPA and it seemed like their might be some health issues over here. Little did he know that the issues run deeper than he could suspect. The base is slowly being taken over by aliens who are kidnapping the humans in their sleep and replacing them with an alien body double. A guy tries to warn Steve’s daughter Marti inside of the bathroom but considering how crazy he looked and how he had a knife, the guy just seemed insane. Once the heroes start being picked off, they have to wonder if it might already be too late.

One thing that the film does really well is the dialogue from the alien version of Carol. While Steve looks horrible during this whole sequence, she starts talking about how there is no place to hide. The aliens are everywhere already and the instant he falls asleep it will be game over. She makes a solid case for why he should give up. This is usually where the guy would yell about friendship, determination, how he’ll fight to the last breath, etc. Instead he doesn’t do any of that and falls into her arms. It was quite embarrassing really but the speech was given in a good way. The film made the speech actually appear to be rather creepy which isn’t easy.

Lets talk about Steve though and why he’s such a bad character here. The guy just doesn’t take any hints and he’s not very available for Marti. I’d say he was right to chase the military guys off for letting Marti drink and missing curfew. That’s certainly reasonable and it’s not like it was hard to get home at 12. I’d never want them to see Marti again either. Where he falters is in not taking any time to connect with Marti here especially since he went on the rebound so quickly. Then after being told about how people are acting differently he takes no steps with that. Maybe he could have at least connected the dots that Carol was a bit different.

Additionally, he absolutely falters at the end of the film. So by this point he knows about the aliens and all of that so he needs to get back to his family. What does he do? He sits down and begins to cry. This is not the time for that! We don’t see how the scene ends but presumably this is when they grabbed him and took the guy out. There’s a time to get emotional and all but this wasn’t it, not by a longshot. It just made him an easy target and in the end that was game over.

Meanwhile Carol was taken out rather quickly so there’s not as much to say about her. She and Marti didn’t get along but you can blame a lot of that on Marti as well though since she wasn’t trying to keep an open mind for any of this either. It’s really a mixed bag with both parties not doing so well here. Marti never grew on me during the film either. She lets bad influences corrupt her rather quickly. There’s no way she should be drinking yet and staying up past curfew is just asking for trouble. She’s also easily fooled by one of the aliens into looking back and giving away her position and takes a while to make a decision near the end.

Marti is not the kind of main character that you want in your corner. Her younger brother Andy also isn’t quite old enough to help much at this point either. So even though he can see the aliens…what’s he going to do about it? Nobody will believe him anyway and that can be annoying. I also have to question a few scenes with him like how he actually escaped the school of aliens. Surely they could catch one kid right? That whole bit seemed like a poorly written way of trying to alert the rest of the characters.

Jenn may not have been a good influence but at least she had some character. It would have been nice if she could have done more once she found out that her mom was acting strangely though. Her character just sort of vanishes after that. Tim is the standout character here. The guy is jumped by a bunch of the villains but keeps his cool and also does well in hiding his emotions. The guy is a soldier and that training really came in handy here. It was nice to see a character who wasn’t panicking or cracking under pressure like that. He should have been the main character to be honest.

The way the creatures take over the humans is definitely interesting with how the worms slowly get you. Why don’t the aliens just handcuff the guys once they are in the process of turning though? I assume they have a hive-like mind so they know when this is in process but if not it would be easy enough to coordinate. As soon as the character is asleep and the process has started, have a few aliens run in and just pin the character down. That way if they wake up there is still no way to escape. Given how this happens several times you’d think that would be an option.

You certainly feel bad for the humans who notice and are unable to escape though like one army guy who fights off several aliens before being taken down. He did good to last that long. The initial period during the alien attack is always the most hectic so if you can survive that then your odds of survival increase. It’s why this would really be an excellent plot for a whole TV show. It’s the kind of story that can really keep going and be really exciting for 10 seasons. Of course you want to be careful with pacing but there’s just so much you can do and it’s why the plot is golden.

Now because of the length of one movie you know that the movie can’t do everything with it but I still feel like it didn’t do much. I like the intrigue of not knowing who has turned and so more scenes of the characters just existing and living out the day before the grand climax would have been really good. I’d like a strategy session with the heroes where they think about next steps and things like that. The film’s just too short to get into all of that.

I also like to think there should be a more visually interesting way of making the clone than using the little worms everywhere. It’s sci-fi so how it works doesn’t really matter (I assume the worms transmit the energy or something) but make it cooler like a ray or something. The time it takes to make a clone also seems inconsistent with some taking forever like when they grabbed the main girl but other times it’s really quick like when the Dad was taken. There are time jumps in the film so you could say that a lot of time had passed I suppose. It’s probably one where you could do the math and see if it really adds up.

I really liked the scream that the aliens do when they have caught somebody. Now that’s eerie. The movie really nails down a lot of the horror elements of what would make an alien invasion scary. In some ways it’s scarier than a Xenoomorph invasion because at least there you know who to blast while here you have to be careful about friendly fire. Especially the longer the invasion goes on since people will be pretending to be like the aliens in order to survive.

Overall, Body Snatchers has a great plot but finishes before it can be fully executed. We don’t get a lot of scenes for the intrigue of exactly what this means for the Earth. The story is focusing on a small area which is fine enough but then I want to see them reacting. The way the body transfers go is also a little on the gross side so they should switch that method up in the future. The obligatory bath scene will also make you shake your head since it has no relevance to the movie. Nobody is seriously falling asleep in the bath at a time like this. Cmon now. The movie could have used a better main cast too since the family wasn’t likable and you’re just waiting for the army guy the whole time. If you really like the plot then it may be worth checking this one out in order to see it in action but otherwise you’re better off checking out one of the older versions.

Overall 3/10

Night of the Comet Review


This is a movie that’s definitely real crazy but in a good way. It manages to be a horror film that really stands out because it’s got a lot of humor and isn’t afraid to throw in a bunch of genres. You’ve got a government conspiracy going on here along with zombies and an apocalyptic setting. You can’t really go wrong with this or rather, it’s possible but the film executes it pretty well. It’s got some issues but you’ll have a good time here.

The film starts by introducing us to the protagonist Reggie. She’s really into arcade games and has even got all of the top scores at the local arcade. This causes her to disregard her actual work duties at times though. Well, one day when she leave work she sees that everyone is gone. It turns out that the comet which had been passing by somehow vaporized everyone who was outside. The ones who didn’t die instantly have been turned into the undead. Anyone who has been contaminated will slowly succumb and fade to dust or become a zombie. Reggie needs to find a way for her and her sister Sam to survive but what can they possibly do?

So this is part comedy as I mentioned and because of that the film doesn’t take this premise seriously at times. This allows the film to go all in with the music. Usually you’d expect a lot of tense tunes and such but instead we’ve got some loud rock and roll type music playing throughout the entirety of the film. It’s great! I can only imagine how much fun it would be in theaters to have that music playing the whole time. It gives the movie a lot of energy that it wouldn’t otherwise have and it’s also just fun.

Another good scene was the main two girls deciding to go to the mall to have a good time. After all, if everyone’s already dead there’s not much you can do about that so why not have a good time right? Of course it would figure that people have gone crazy and they were hanging around the mall just to cause trouble. This felt like the most random part but it also seems to just be a common thing where there are always a lot of crazy people just looking to make a bad situation even worse.

These guys clearly have no endgame strategy, they’re just here to mess around and go crazy. It was nice to have a prolonged gun fight scene though. I can’t say that I was really expecting that and the movie really would just move from one thing to the next. We get a big climax involving breaking into a government base and taking names. That was definitely an intense sequence and I also just liked that the government was getting involved at all. That was nice to see and while I should use the term loosely, most of the world is gone so they may as well count.

We don’t know exactly how many survivors there are but I’d wager a few million or so. If you were inside, underground, or properly insulated then you’ll likely have tanked the rays. So just like the main characters were still good, then it stands to reason that there are probably a lot of other people who are okay as well. While the doctors had their own theories on this, it also feels like some people are just naturally immune so if you grab that subset then you’ll just have a ton of people running around. I don’t think the Earth is effectively over the way it seems to be in most disaster films like this.

One weakness for the film is the romance though. This is about as weak as you get with Reggie being with one guy at the opening of the movie but after he is eaten then she rebounds with Hector when he shows up. Keep in mind that it hasn’t been a long time as of yet so this rebound was way too fast. There’s no way to buy into the romance when it’s like this and naturally Doris tries to get a romance of her own but it’s so fast that she just seems desperate. You don’t need romance in a disaster film so that could have just been sidelined if you ask me.

Beyond that, Reggie is a good character here though. I like the fact that she knows self defense and was able to take out the first zombie when he attacked. She did have a bad tendency of letting her guard down though as there were two times where she knocked the zombie over but then allowed it to get up and grab her from behind. IF you’re fighting a zombie, don’t take your eyes off of him! That’s got to be the big moral there because it was nearly curtains for her even though she had the lead for so long. You can’t let the enemy turn the tables on you like that.

Sam is a bit slower on the uptake and isn’t as prepared to fight as Reggie but she does well in keeping the atmosphere light and morale high. She does have a bit of a subplot where she’s jealous of Reggie but ultimately gets over it. The two do get along even though they have their differences and made for a good main duo. Hector was also a good guy. He had a gun right away so he was ready for action and I thought that he had a good head on his shoulders. He didn’t forget about the main characters when he went on his journey and he’s just a likable guy.

Most of the humans are knocked out of the running early on but I do think the film had a little fun with Doris’ character. She’s the mother of the main duo and is shown to be as unlikable as possible even landing a solid punch against Sam. She doesn’t have any strong moral values and is ready to cheat at any given time so…yeah that’s her character in a nutshell.

Finally there is Audrey who seems to be the only government agent with a soul. Everyone there is willing to do insane experiments and whatever they need for more data while she still has a little humanity and empathy left within her. She takes risks, has a lot of attitude, and can fight. Those are all traits that you want to see in a quality character so she fits the bill. It was always fun to see her on screen although her role isn’t huge. The whole government component isn’t important until the end but the climax definitely delivers. Even genius scientists can get overconfident.

Overall. Night of the Comet was better than I thought it would be. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting from this one, but definitely more of a traditional survival film. The comedic elements here are what puts the film up a notch because it can have fun with the premise and also let the main characters fight a bit more. They know how to use a gun and are even familiar with the model numbers. It’s clear that they aren’t like your average main characters and that’s a good thing. I like the heroes to be ready like this and so I would recommend this film if you’re looking for a fun sci-fi flick.

Overall 7/10

Doron Dororon Review


I remember when Doron Dororon first came out that my first reaction was to shake my head at the name. It’s a little too hard to spell or remember and that started the series off on the wrong foot. Still, it somehow manages to keep on surviving over and over again to the point where I was rooting for it on the sidelines. I wanted it to succeed…no, I needed it to succeed! It carried the hopes and dreams of a whole new era of manga readers but alas it was not enough. After finishing the series, I can say that Jump made a mistake in cancelling it. Sure, it hadn’t really come into its own yet, but it was a fun series and I think it could have been pretty good. It’s just not the most memorable title.

The series takes place in a world where Mononoke are monsters that terrorize everyone. They’re beings of pure evil with a lot of fantastical abilities and the only ones that can stop them are the Samurai. “Samurai” are people who have been recruited because of their incredible abilities or synergy with the cursed energy to stop them. Dora wants to be a samurai because these creatures murdered his mother so he lives for revenge. It won’t be easy but he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately there is one problem.

Dora has no magical energy. Yes, he is completely doomed to be unable to use it at all. It’s not something you can just develop either so that means he is really out of luck and the samurai will not allow him to join. He still tries to help when a girl is attacked by a monster though and that’s when he is saved by Kusanagi. This creature is a Mononoke as well but he wants to spread friendship and harmony to the world. He believes that making the world kinder is his mission and so Dora agrees to help him. Kusanagi can turn into any object including a sword and with Dora’s impressive physical abilities, they may end up being the strongest powerhouses out there!

So there’s a lot of elements that will sound really familiar here. It’s a classic demon hunting manga with a main character who can’t use the energies of the world. Fortunately with his new monster buddy he is already one of the stronger fighters. So it’s rather textbook stuff but this is the kind of story that I always enjoy so I can’t say that it’s really a bad thing. Put it this way, the series is trying to be like Black Clover which is one of the greatest titles of all time so I’m not sad about that. If it could be even half as good as Clover then we’re in for a treat.

I will say right off the bat that the manga’s biggest weakness is how forgettable it is. The art is good, the fights are good, and the story is good. It’s just not even trying to do anything different so you’ll just forget about it fairly quickly. For example, I write down the names of the various characters ahead of time when I’m reading a series that has already ended. This way I don’t have to look through various chapters in case I forget a name so it saves me a lot of time. In this case, even with the names I couldn’t place a few of the characters which is not good.

This is the kind of series that could really benefit from an anime because often times that is what helps make a title more memorable. Of course that’s also a decent reason not to make an anime because the manga should be able to hold its own. This is still a pretty solid manga but I can see why it was cancelled. Ultimately my advice to the series on a way it could have stayed alive would have been to not have expanded the cast as soon as it did. Keep things small for a while and that could have let things get built up naturally. Instead I think it was just a bit of character overload.

Also, this tends to happen a lot lately with the cancelled titles but a bunch of new characters appear at the very end as the series is ending. By then it’s just way too late for any of them to be all that memorable. I suppose the author may not have known that it was ending by then but that’s just unfortunate. Lets talk about some of the characters though.

First up was Dora who is the main character here. He’s a solid main character and he just wants to avenge his parents and stop all of the monsters. Always a good goal and he does well in living up to it. Kusanagi gradually helps Dora stop thinking about revenge all the time. It’s a classic character arc and I like Dora well enough. He’s not quite as ultra heroic as other leads since he finds it all to be a bit cheesy but at the end of the day he makes the right calls. I don’t get why he gets so embarrassed when Kusanagi is just talking about basic hero things though.

Kusanagi is not very good though. One of my main problems with him is that he is way too naïve. At one point we get a villain who shows up and used to be his friend but has obviously turned to the dark side. All it takes is a word or two and Kusanagi is willing to help him out. It’s great to be heroic but it’s never an excuse to be gullible as well. You have to be able to tell what is going on and stay out of trouble. Otherwise you’re just creating a lot more toruble for everyone instead of just resolving it on your own. That’s not a good look for any character. Kusanagi never really grew on me and his dynamic with Dora is definitely one of the weaker ones that I’ve seen.

Then we have the main heroine Yagyu but she falls into the Rukia trap a bit where she is technically a strong fighter but loses almost immediately to a random minion. From there she works on slowly becoming more of a hype character and regaining her honor. I do like her confidence even if it isn’t always properly placed. I think the series could have handled her character better but I still did like the character type they were going for. Down the road I’m sure she would have kept getting a lot of good fights.

Then you had Heisuke who was another one of the hype characters. He reminds me a lot of Levi as he’s on the shorter side and is one of those prodigy types. He tends to speak his mind and doesn’t get along with most of the characters but his skills speak for themselves. He’s a fun character and I appreciate that he could fight really well. This is one of those series where the heroes seem to have quite a lot of powerful fighters at their disposal which is definitely important.

Yet another hype character here was Naotora. She’s one of the strongest in the business, a prodigy, etc. Her main gimmick though is that she’s super shy and acts like a stalker as a result. She tends to try and follow Dora around all the time from a distance. She can fight so at least that explains why everyone tolerates her acting so weird all the time but it’s not a very endearing character trait. I can’t say that I ever became a big fan of hers.

Of course we can’t forget the first big villain in Hidehisa. He’s a fun fighter and once he got into his super form then he could really hold his own without any problem. I thought his fight with Heisuke was really good and was the first big definitive fight of the series. It was when the manga started to really live up to the hype with its action scenes and showed me the promise of what it could have ultimately turned out to be if it didn’t end so quickly.

The most annoying villain in the series has to be Dosan. Again, this guy isn’t as tactical or smart as he thinks he is so when the guy is tricking Kusanagi you can’t help but cringe a little. I haven’t seen a fighter look that obviously evil in a long time and yet the trick still worked. That’s just a bad look for the main monster and Dosan isn’t a super good fighter by the end of it all. Take away the tricks and that’s it for him so the quicker he was out the better.

There’s a scientist named Asahi but there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to her character. She’s someone who probably would have benefited from the series being a whole lot longer. She can help examine monsters and provide equipment but that’s about it. She’s always pestering Yagyu and is like Kuroko from Index, but without abilities to fight with, you know that she is doomed from the start. If you can’t fight in an action manga then you’re going to be in for a tough time.

As for the story, the first 11 chapters is basically the pre arc which leads to Dora having to confront the monster that murdered his mother. So you get all of the character introductions and Dora beats up his first monsters. I will say that I thought the series moved with good pacing here. He fights off quite a few monsters and this helps readers get a chance to be acquainted with the series before moving on to the big plots. So I wouldn’t say the series made any mistakes by this point. The approach actually made a whole lot of sense. Then the big fight at the end as we got our first humanoid villain was a blast. It was fairly high scale for the series and was a good preview of what we could expect down the road.

As Dora trains to get stronger we meet up with Toda who used to get beaten up by Dora all the time. He’s a nice enough character and this way we finally got another good ally who wasn’t already one of the big shots in the organization. He seems to be meant as Dora’s rival. I’d say it doesn’t work perfectly since it feels like Dora has already surpassed him by the time they meet up but Toda’s still cool enough. I can’t say that I had any real major issues with the guy.

The next arc was the first real serious one for the heroes I’d say. We get to meet the villain group led by Kanbei and they decide to lure the samurai into a trap. Fortunately the squad consists of Dora, Toda, some scrubs, and Heisuke. They’re ready to take on these villains and it’s a good way for Dora to start improving his technique and for all of the fighters to get a little stronger. It’s a very classic kind of arc with the heroes splitting up to fight their opponents. One thing that was a bit different was Heisuke fighting 3 on 1. It reminded me of Gojo in Shibuya.

This was probably the series at its peak with a lot of big fights and all so it was hard to recapture that hype in the same way later on. Still, by this point you had to assume that people were really on board with the series. The first of the villains was Yoshihime and she is one of those villains who is rarely serious. She’s super sinister but does her murdering with a smile. In a way that makes her one of the cruelest fighters right? I thought Yoshihime was okay and a fairly decent villain.

Then you have Tameemon who was one of the stronger ones but he’s not very smart. We’ve all seen the type before. It works well for when the hero is still inexperienced as he has to try and dodge while getting stronger and landing a good attack. It was a good team up fight without a doubt and one of the better fights in the series. Finally there was Kanbei as the tactical leader. He is good with plans and has a solid amount of ability but I can’t say he was super solid for me. This kind of strategic villain who can’t usually fight as well as the others is always up for a tough time. He’s not bad or anything by any means but he wasn’t going to win a championship anytime soon. He does appear a lot though so there is plenty of time for you to become a fan as you read through. Being the leader by itself is a pretty good role if you think about it.

After that we get to the weakest arc with Naotora. Her gimmick just isn’t super entertaining so a whole arc of fighting with her just couldn’t match up to the others. There is still a lot of action so it’s not like it’s a bad arc or anything but it certainly wasn’t going to make any waves for the series. Of course we also had the worst villain for this arc so you could say the series hit a bit of a speedbump. It’s relative of course since it’s not like it was a big drop but if fans started to weaken on the series then I would have guessed this would be the reason why.

Now we enter the final arc where the heroes get ready to fight Hanzo. So Hanzo is the most powerful villain out there and he’s so good that if you defeat him the Momonoke will vanish. It’s clear by this point that the author was speeding things along so it’s safe to say that the series had already been cancelled. That didn’t stop him from introducing a bunch of new characters as the senior fighters among the samurai. They are fun with some hype characters like Rui and Namishiro. They just didn’t get to do enough to really make a name for themselves yet. For example, Rui is the sassy kind of character who is always a lot of fun but she barely gets a full fight before the series is over. Likewise Namishiro is a very determined character who gets the job done and has a hype fight but the series is over by then.

It’s a shame that the more interesting characters were the final ones rather than the early ones. If we had these guys from the start then that would have been a whole lot of fun. Still, the final arc gives us a lot of fight scenes and Hanzo makes for a good villain. In fact I would say he was the best villain easily. He just wants to get super strong as his gimmick. It’s not the most impressive motivation to be sure but it’s a start and I still like that as a goal. It’s very direct and to the point.

So that basically wraps up the series. If you’re looking for a classic action story then this should still be a good title for you to check out. It’s not doing much different or unique all the way through but it’s still a really fun watch. I had a good time with it at least. It could have been better and I think it deserved the chance to do so. With another arc or two perhaps it would have finally been able to break out into its own. It would have solved the issue of the series being a little on the forgettable side. Even my advice to the series on how to not be cancelled wasn’t very extensive because I didn’t think it made a lot of mistakes.

I guess cutting out the stalker plot would have been a good idea but that’s about it. It had a lot of nonstop action and the training arc was brief at only 2-3 chapters so it’s not like it slowed down the pacing much. I also thought that the art was pretty good. Not great or anything but it was easy to follow the action at all times without getting confused. The fundamentals of the manga were sound. It just needed better characters and it could have been great off the bat. Perhaps the main dynamic doomed it since Kusanagi was a very weak character and you usually want your main duo to be great.

Overall, Doron Dororon is a pretty good series and I would recommend checking it out. It may be very generic and nothing that you haven’t seen before but it still does justice to the classic tropes. I’m always up for more combat manga after all and the series tried hard. That’s why it was able to last over 30 chapters. It’s still a decent run for a cancelled title and not everything can be the next success. I doubt we’ll see this series get a revival so this will have to be the end of it. It does have a real ending though so even if it was rushed, you’ll feel like you got the whole conclusion here. We’ll see if the next cancelled title can keep up with this one.

Overall 7/10

Topper Review


Topper is one of those films where everyone acts rather crazy so it becomes a bit of a surreal kind of comedy title. It’s got its share of humorous moments without a doubt but I wouldn’t say the character cast is quite as solid as some of the other comedy films. That keeps it from getting to the next level but the movie is still fun enough so I would recommend it to people looking for a fun time.

The movie starts off by introducing George and Marion who believe in just having a good time no matter how inconvenient it is for everyone else. In particular George seems to like messing with his company and driving every meeting off the rails for no reason. Well, one day he takes the corner a little too quickly when driving so George and Marion are instantly destroyed. They then awaken as ghosts and seem to be stuck on the planet. Marion figures that they have to do a good deed in order to move on and their best bet is to help out old man Topper.

Topper is a married man who hasn’t gotten to have a whole lot of fun so far. His wife prohibits anything that she deems to be without class such as owning a cool car or doing anything outside of her planning for the year. As a result Topper isn’t a very happy camper. George figures he may as well go along with this but he isn’t really happy about the prospect. He’d rather have fun on his own than help someone else out. Will they really be able to help Topper or is their idea of “Help” actually going to hurt him?

Naturally there is no concrete evidence given to the main two that doing a good deed will help out at all so they’re really taking a swing in the dark here. They also have to hope that it’s a package deal because George is not helpful during the movie at all. He follows Marion’s lead but for the most part is just the same guy that he always was. He keeps on drinking and messing around but now that he’s invisible he can mess with more people. You could almost call him an antagonist if you really think about it.

I guess he’s not actively hurting anyone but at the same time he is just making a mess of things. That makes for an entertaining character. As for Marion, well she likes to do things at her own pace but is trying to help Topper at least. Her flirting and teasing of him can go a bit far though. She is still married to George after all and Topper doesn’t have the strongest will so trying to lead him onto the wrong path isn’t a good idea. In fact I would say that’s the weakest part of the film as he does actually seem to get tempted. His marriage may be no fun at the moment but he would still needs to end things before starting something new.

This hurts Topper as well in my book. At the end of the day it feels like he could have solved all of his problems if he could just talk more directly and not simply taker things as they happen. Why not have more of a candid talk with Clara as opposed to just feeling sorry for himself? The guy just needed to have more backbone and he’s whiny enough where he doesn’t really work as the lead.

The movie is good in spite of the characters rather than because of them. The cast is just very weak in the end which is unfortunate. You could easily have made this premise a lot more effective with a solid cast of main characters. The rules of being a ghost are also rather interesting as for once they can fully interact with everything. In fact the ghosts can even allow people to see them if they want to. It takes up ectoplasm which seems to regenerate over time a bit so for the most part they stay invisible but they are absolutely around.

Here’s the interesting thing, if they can’t move on right now, they could have just pretended that they survived. Think about it, they’re fully physical and are always around. What’s to stop them from just going back to the house and living it large? They can still eat and drink as well so there is no real difference from being alive except that they can turn invisible. It actually could be interesting as an alternate premise here, like just going all in with that story instead.

Of course that would be totally different but it’s nice to think about. We do have a good climax with the cops trying to take the two ghosts down but of course they aren’t quite strong enough to pull that off. Just being invisible is such a huge benefit that a single person probably could escape a whole army for a long while. Particularly back in these days before we had a lot of great technology at the ready.

By the end of the film it feels like the main two have been very lucky too in that they actually did guess correctly that they needed to do a good deed and that they actually succeeded. Because you can make a decent argument for them not doing a good deed at all. They were really just messing around with Topper the whole time and things could have easily gone sideways. I suppose the restriction cared more about the results than the method. That or they may have triggered some other condition to moving on that was totally unrelated. It’s not like there is any way to know since it was all assumptions by the main characters.

Overall, Topper is a decent comedy film with some laughs. I liked the premise more than the execution but if you’re looking for a light hearted title then this should still fit the bill for you. It flows by very quickly and it’s not like I had any major issues with it. It would be interesting to see if the sequel can match the original. In theory it very well could but it may be a while before I check that one out.

Overall 6/10

Underwater Review


It’s time for an underwater film that starts off rather quickly. It reminds me why I would never want to work underwater. While I (probably) don’t have to worry about giant monsters there will always be that nagging feeling that a screw could come loose and the place comes apart. All it takes is a single mistake/miscalculation and that would be game over for me. There’s nowhere to run and so the movie uses that sense of tension and danger to get the ball rolling. It succeeds in some elements while failing in others.

The movie starts off as a normal day in the ship until a big “earthquake” strikes and all of the areas of the ship start to flood. A bunch of crew members either die instantly or manage to get into the escape pods. Around 6-7 crewmates are still around including Captain Lucien who decided to stay until he could be sure that everyone else got out. It’s an admirable move on his part and I liked him right from the start. Norah and the others must now try to get to the surface but keep in mind that this ship is thousands of miles underwater. It’s deeper than any other ship has been to the point where they’re in nearly uncharted territory so it’s not like you can just swim up. If they don’t find more escape pods or a way to go up soon then they are all doomed.

I mainly just have two issues with the film but they’re quite big. The first issue here is that this has to be one of the most forgettable main casts in a thriller movie like this. Norah and Lucien leave an impact but the others don’t really do as much. They all fulfill the roles as you have the boy friend, the mechanic, the main girl’s friend, etc. They just don’t really make much of a name for themselves outside of that so you can easily start to forget them as they blend together with any other character you’ve seen before. Norah does well as the lead and it’s not like the rest of the characters are bad but I feel they should have been able to stand out more.

The other issue is that you’re going to have to wait a long while for the monster. Unlike most films like this where you would have the monsters running around the whole time, this one doesn’t really get serious about the sci-fi parts for a while. In fact if you managed to avoid the poster and the trailers you would actually think this is more of a realistic film like Deepwater Horizon with the heroes just having to get out of the ship. The futuristic visuals for the ship would probably clue you in but I think the monsters should have played a bigger role. Once the monsters do show up, we do get some classic horror action as they take fighters down one at a time. There’s usually a lull between the big action moments so it just isn’t very nonstop. The mini monsters also just don’t look quite as cool as the main one.

The big monster itself is actually a fairly well known one. I was impressed that we got this beast in here but it doesn’t do anything until the very end of the film and so it can’t have as much of an impact as you would want. The design was cool but the film keeps everything dark so you can’t really see the creatures too much. I suspect this was a budgetary choice over a stylistic one.

Now for the good parts of the film, a good main character goes a long way and so Norah gets some good credit here. She prioritizes saving as many people as possible and makes the hard calls as needed. She doesn’t give up and just keeps on fighting throughout the whole film. Ina way she was like having another captain on the ship. Her bravery would also help to keep the rest of the crew in good spirits as well.

Likewise Lucien did well in bringing everyone together when needed. The crew didn’t have a bunch of selfish characters the way you would expect from a film like this. Time and time again you would see characters sacrificing themselves to help the others out like when one guy put on a faulty helmet because they were out of the real ones.

Norah’s friend Emily was also a good character. She did good in realizing that something was wrong during the climax even if she wasn’t able to fight her way out of her current spot. Emily was quick on the uptake and another good supporting character. I should mention that as a minor subplot we also got to see that the company behind the ship was being corrupt as always. You’re always kind of expecting that to an extent but I think the film could have built it up a whole lot more. If you ask me that would have been the right way to not only set up a sequel but add some more danger to the adventure.

Like the heroes realizing that even if they can get out of this in one piece, it doesn’t mean that they are completely safe. They may need to be silenced or something. It would add another element to worry about and for the heroes to prepare for. It would make the final shots of the movie a little more ominous as well. I can’t say I’m expecting a sequel to this film but it certainly could be done without a lot of issue.

There’s not much of a soundtrack to speak of but the effects are good. The ship looks very realistic and it’s quite large so there are a lot of things to explore here. I think to make the movie better it should have either had more monster action from the jump or it should have made the film a bit brighter. The film’s so dark that at times you can’t see as much as you would like so it can’t work as an adventure film. That’s why you need the creatures and then the lack of light becomes a real plot point there.

I wouldn’t say the film is super violent compared to some others in the genre. Of course you will still see the monsters taking the crew down but this isn’t exactly Alien. That’s always a good thing as you can have a lot of scares without going into that level of detail. I would say the viciousness of the creatures still gets across without any real issue at least.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this is a very solid monster type film as it’s lacking the monsters but it also shows more restraint than a lot of the others. At the end of the day it’s a decent experience. While I probably wouldn’t watch the film again, I wouldn’t say that it’s very bad or anything. It has its moments but is partially limited by the underwater setting since being on land gives you a lot more opportunities. If you’re going to watch this film I would say not to expect as much action as you may think from the poster and trailer but it should still keep you excited all the way through. After all the monsters are appearing and taking fighters down, it’s just not as relentless as you would expect. If the film gets a sequel then I think it’s time to bring the fight to the surface!

Overall 4/10