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

Wander Darkly 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

Wander Darkly is one of those films that’s sorta part mystery to an extent as you try to find out exactly what was going on here but also much a drama film. The main two have to try and get past their differences to save their marriage before it’s too late. Unfortunately the movie stumbles out of the gate and keeps jumping from memory to memory without enough interesting elements to keep your attention.

The film starts with Adrienne and Matteo fighting as always. They went to a party and Matteo felt like Adrienne was flirting with one of the guys there while she thinks he’s being overly jealous. Well, they end up getting into a car crash and Adrienne dies. She then wakes up as a ghost that is doomed to travel across the cosmos on her own now. The worst part is she learns that Matteo ends up abandoning their kid and running off. So she goes back to the moment where she died and tries to talk things out with him. Matteo says she isn’t dead since they’re talking and all but Adrienne refuses to see anybody because doesn’t think it’s worth it since she’s absolutely positive that she’s dead. So they take this time to talk things out.

The majority of the film is the big talk between the two of them as they relive all of the major events of their lives. The film’s using a stylistic approach here as they aren’t literally transported back in time but are sort of doing image training like in DBZ. As a result that means that the supporting characters can also change the script up and talk according to their feelings. It’s an interesting approach so I’ll give the film some props there. They hop back and forth between the past and future a whole lot but of course the future is a possible one, not necessarily the real one.

The biggest issue with the film for me is how unlikable both of the main characters are. They were complaining a whole lot right from the instant the movie starts. Mainly you see this a lot from Adrienne initially as Matteo can’t do anything right in her eyes and he keeps getting slammed the whole time. Any suggestion is shot down and she pretty much says that they can’t have any fun no matter what he says.

So you figure she is probably bitter about something and as we look through the memories it’s a lot of somethings. Well, Matteo doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, he’s just got a tough job to do and all that. Well…unfortunately we see that he did cheat on her in one of the memories. Sure it was “Just for an instant” and he snapped out of it but the damage was certainly done and it validated all of her fears. Matteo didn’t have to put himself in such a dangerous situation where that would happen so it’s all on him.

Now all of his scenes where he kept thinking she might be cheating on him loses a lot of its punch. For Adrienne we see that she didn’t get to cheat on him, however she basically admits to wanting to do so. Not a good look for her either and so both characters just look really bad. It would have been nice if their trip down memory lane had actually shown that both of them were innocent as it would have been a very wholesome way to end things. Instead they both look even worse than when the film had even started which is a shame.

Of course the romance here is very weak as a result. There’s just no way to root for any of the characters. Especially with how obviously that one girl was flirting with Matteo and how Adrienne was fine letting that guy flirt with her. Once you’ve made a choice then you’ve got to stick to it. Either you decide to live your whole life alone and just deal with it or you get a partner but there are no second choices there.

Given that this was the entire movie, it ended up failing entirely for me. The writing wasn’t very good and the story just wasn’t interesting. It’s just a ton of bickering until they re fall in love with each other through the memories but given what they have seen it’s hard to really get past that. The switching between memories and the real world is an interesting idea but it’s done so rapidly and constant that it ends up overstaying its welcome early on. You can probably guess where the ending is going eventually as the film goes on but I wouldn’t say it works very well.

It’s not a bad ending by any means but you’re pretty much checked out by this point. It would have needed a much bolder ending to really reel you back in. There’s a lot of ways you could do this from the ghost angle or maybe you could even do some time travel for an actual redo. It would have probably been a little too late though. The movie takes itself so seriously and also could have used some humor or something. For the most part the whole thing is just a lot of doom and gloom. Even the happy scenes are tarnished by the fact that you know it doesn’t end well. Also the twist does put into question how she could have seen the possible future but with the multiverse theory I suppose there’s a few ways you could swing that.

Overall, Wander Darkly is a movie that you will want to absolutely skip at all costs. It’s just not a good movie and I would struggle to find any good parts about it. At the end of the day there is no way to pull off a romantic drama if the two main characters aren’t likable. It’s just not happening and a potential remake would absolutely have to find some way to address that or it’ll be doomed from the start. It’s time to wander away from this one.

Overall 1/10

Noragami: Aragato Review


It’s time for the return of Noragami! Everything you enjoyed about the show returns for season 2 and the action scenes get even more intense. Part of what made the first season a hit was the stellar soundtrack, solid animation, and it was a good time. The humor was really on point with likable characters to go around it. The only thing holding it back was how annoying Yukine was and that plot’s over now so we don’t have to worry about it. As a result what we get is a season 2 that’s devoid of any big issues like that. It may have a little less time for some of the wacky season 1 humor but it finds its moments to get that across. This one’s definitely a winner.

Season 2 starts off fairly quick with Yato and Yukine completing missions and having a good time with Hiyori. One day Yukine makes friends with Suzuha, a guy who really enjoys working on his tree. The two of them hit it off pretty well but one day Suzuha is brutally murdered and Yukine is upset at Bishamon for not spending much time with him. He feels like she has too many regalia and as a result doesn’t truly know any of them too well. Well, he may be more right than he realizes as one of her regalia, Kugaha appears and kidnaps Hiyori and Kazuma. Yato believes Bishamon ordered him to do that so he sets off with Yukine to rescue Hiyori and destroy anyone who gets in their way.

The first arc here is a full revenge arc through and through. We get to see a more serious Yato like how he was back when he was a god of calamity. Hiyori is one of his main ties to the human world so he really needs to save her but even more importantly, she’s a close friend. Yato saved Bishamon in the past even though she wouldn’t admit it but this time he may have to end her. It’s a very solid arc with a whole lot of action and character development. It also has the single best scene in the whole Noragami series when Yato does a spin move to dodge Kugaha’s attack and instantly counters.

For some reason several regalia seem to believe that the gods are powerless when they don’t have a regalia at the ready but that couldn’t be more wrong. Yato has shown time and time again that he can absolutely dish out some serious damage against any opponent even if he is by himself. He wouldn’t be a true god of calamity otherwise, but I believe the same is true for most of the gods. They tend to get underestimated quite a lot which you think wouldn’t be possible given their titles and all.

Yato is really excellent in this first arc but falters in the second one. I like that Yato doesn’t hesitate to save his friends and was really going all in here. He couldn’t afford to hold back against someone like Bishamon and also talks Yukine into helping out at full power. He’s just a dependable guy and someone that you want in your corner for any fight. Now the reason why he falters in arc 2 is because he allows himself to be easily manipulated by Nora and his father. It just feels too easy especially when he had been on such a high earlier. He should have been able to stay strong and just say no or at least get Yukine involved. Yato has a lot of powerful friends after all and while many of them may not be able to do a lot, I feel like coming clean and contacting them would have been way better.

Just vanishing like he did was really the wrong call and put him in a lot of hot water that he didn’t need to be in. Meanwhile Yukine wins the award for most improved character here and it’s not even close. He’s no longer a delinquent and has also learned to master his emotions. Even when Yato goes missing Yukine doesn’t panic in the slightest and stays calm. He knows that any negative emotions would hurt Yato and so he holds back. He does his best not to be a burden anymore and also to live up to his new position and status as a blessed vessel. He does great in that and while he suffers some self doubt, I don’t blame him. Yato just disappearing like that is still a big blow even if Yukine tries to ignore it. Then getting wrecked by Kugaha at first had to hurt.

In the end Yukine overcomes every obstacle thrown his way though and really ends up being a solid character. Meanwhile Hiyori is solid as always. She does try to fight at times which I appreciate even if the situation may be too dangerous for her to do much more than that. Either way she always proves that she has their back at all times. Whether it’s in a fight or just to say something inspirational. She keeps Yato and Yukine’s spirits up and is probably the best supporter you could ask for.

As for Bishamon, well we finally learn the truth behind the tragedy that happened to her family a while back. With Yato murdering all of her followers it’s definitely easy to see why she bares such a grudge. It’s not like she was ever given a full explanation back then and Kazuma was certainly not going to mention anything. To an extent she was in denial which she admits later on but either way that’s not something you can just let go. So I totally get her wanting to destroy Yato since he didn’t give her a chance to try and save them all. Fighting to avenge your family is a powerful motivator after all and she did well to keep fighting even after obtaining numerous blights.

Bishamon really gets to show off her stamina throughout all of this as she’s put through a ton in the arc. Ultimately she is able to get past the situation but having her family murdered twice is not something you can easily forget. I suspect she will still be struggling with this for a long time yet. At least she is trying to look on the bright side of things though and has a better setup now. She also returns for the second arc and does really well in the fight. It’s a little surprising that the new villain was so powerful that even Bishamon couldn’t do much though. I guess it goes to show that the power levels will keep on rising.

Kazuma was surprisingly really solid here. I remember not being a big fan of his in the manga but in the show he’s really been dependable. He’s a solid teacher and I was also glad with how confidently he took down one of the angel guards. At this point there aren’t many regalia who can challenge Kazuma. A big part of being a regalia is having a lot of confidence and with Bishamon trusting him completely, Kazuma’s got all the confidence he needs. Both he and Yukine get a lot of time to shine in the series and have to be the two strongest Regalia in action. The only possible competition is Nora and she seems like more of a tactical type than pure power.

Kugaha is the big villain in the first arc but I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of his. He also gets off wayyyyy too easily here. I get that Bishamon is a nice person but now you have someone who actually is directly murdering her family and the reaction is way milder than it should be. I don’t care that this guy thought he was a hero, Bishamon should still be taking him out right away. The guy tried every underhanded trick in the book. It’s a shame that they didn’t let Yato handle this because he would have definitely taken the guy down a peg. He wasn’t wasting any time like when he took Kugaha’s hand.

Kugaha is one of those manipulator types so he doesn’t fight on the front lines much but surprisingly he actually can fight when there is no other option. Between his summons and strong borderlines, he’s a legitimate threat to a lot of the fighters. I don’t think I’ll ever grow to like him since his motives are so petty but maybe one day he’ll rise up if he ever returns. His last scene seemed pretty open ended.

Aiha is the regalia that Kugaha tricks the whole time so I can’t say I liked her very much. She made his job very easy with how she was already bullying someone and causing blights on Bishamon. Basically Aiha was jealous because she wasn’t on the front lines anymore. Yes, she was blighting her god over jealousy, that’s just awful. Then meanwhile she was fully willing to do anything Kugaha said and would have possibly murdered Hiyori if Yato didn’t step in. So while she has her big redemption arc, I just wasn’t buyint into it here.

Suzuha was a good character, it’s just too bad that his spirit was broken so quickly. A few words from Kugaha was enough to distract him before he was taken out. Realistically he would have died anyway but maybe he could have put up a fight. That’s the only moment in the season that’s surprisingly brutal as he’s ripped apart. It’s mainly off screen but not the way you want to go out, that’s for sure.

In this first arc we also got to see Yukine’s true form which is a solid power-up for him and Yato. It’s good to see them getting stronger because while Yato is fairly high ranked, he didn’t seem to fare as well as you would expect against some of these fighters. I’d say it’s a mix of Yato holding back and Yukine just not being sharp enough yet. Yato doesn’t really want to murder people anymore and I think that ends up holding him back during a lot of the fights as well. He’s worried that he’ll end up being like his old self.

Then we jump into the final arc where Yato gets blackmailed/forced by Nora and his father into going back to his murdering ways. He murders a bunch of crooks and accepts any mission they tell him to complete. The final one is to rescue Ebisu from the Underworld and then he’ll be free again. The tricky thing is that the underworld is ruled by Izanami who is even stronger than the gods. Getting out won’t be easy particularly as Ebisu insists on stealing her brush which will let you summon demons a lot easier.

Right so I had more issues with this arc like the whole Yato thing that I already went into. I also thought the climax was a bit convenient involving the heroes having to figure out Yato’s true name. Perhaps with the kanji it makes more sense in Japan but if Hiyori just misspelled the name by mistake then that’s way too “destiny” for me. That just shouldn’t be happening. Now I do still leave the door open for this to be a kanji rule where you can break the symbol up into different word variations. Then I’d say that’s okay.

Izanami is really impressive with how powerful she is. Her vines just can’t be cut by Yato or Bishamon. I like to think that with Yukine, Yato would have been able to win though. Because the only reason he’s losing is because his blade isn’t sharp enough so that tells me that the match changes as soon as he has a sharper blade. Yukine should be able to cut just about anything right now so that would be a win. Meanwhile Bishamon did better because she had more weapons but ultimately also ran into the same issue where she just couldn’t land any cutting damage.

It’s Izanami’s domain so she gets an extra buff too. Honestly you feel bad for her by the end because she just wants a friend. The heroes ultimately did lie and betray her the whole time so it’s not like she even started the fight. From the context we have, she is just an innocent person in a bad situation. I feel like Ebisu should have stayed with her since he was dying anyway. There’s no indication that she is actually evil or would have done anything crazy to him so then he could have given the pen to Yato to hold onto for him until he reincarnated.

In this arc I thought Kofuku and Daikoku looked a lot better than usual as well. This time they did stick around to back Yato up even when the gods appeared. So there was no backing off or hiding when the going got tough. They just made sure to keep on supporting him even if they were branded as traitors as well. That’s the kind of determination and loyalty I like to see among the friends.

Meanwhile, Nora is super useful in combat of course but you can see why Yato tries to distance himself from her. She’s always acting rather sinister and the fact that she has a contract with just about everyone is a bit unnerving. You can’t really trust that she’s really on your side. I like to think she would choose Yato over the others but who wants to take that kind of a chance right? She is always quick to pull him to the side of evil too so you want to get bad influences like that out of your life.

Ebisu never hit it off for me here but at least I’m glad that he’s able to fight thanks to his regalia. Ultimately it feels like he had no plan though because imagine what would have happened if Yato didn’t show up? He wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes down there. It’s made clear from the jump that this guy isn’t a big fighter like that so this was all very poorly thought out on his end and he should feel bad since strategy is at least something that he should be able to do.

Ultimately both arcs don’t have clear cut happy endings so you can see why this season’s vibes are a lot more serious than the first season. There’s less time for the characters to mess around because something serious is always happening. You even have some romance drama with one guy trying to get together with Hiyori. Unfortunately when he takes advantage of her she doesn’t immediately report him to the school or her friends and just starts running. I’d like to see the guy get called out one of these days for pulling a stunt like that.

The season has a bit more fanservice than the first one though. Bishamon ends up taking a lot of baths to try and wash away the blight but I wonder how effective that can really be. Seems to me like doing an absolution for everyone would still be easier. Additionally it feels low risk since Yukine’s only got dicey since he was already so far gone. When you’re in good shape I feel like the process would be fairly painless. I could be mistaken on that though I suppose.

One them during the series is that gods can’t make mistakes. Yato explains that any action a god takes is automatically the right one and I would disagree with his logic there. Of course he is a god so he would believe that and he was also mentioning this during season 1. Given what we see from Ebisu and Bishamon though, they can still make the same mistakes as anyone else. I’d say they commit sins too and they just don’t get blighted because of how the world’s logic works. I get why Yato would think this since effectively they make the rules but it’s that kind of thinking that leads to so many of the gods getting overconfident and corrupt.

They all look really shady in the climax after all as they don’t give anyone a chance to sit down and think about what’s going on. They just launch right into their attacks and trying to bump Ebisu off. They’re not exactly paragons of moral virtue. The only one I liked here was the Hawaii guy who was eager to go help Ebisu and wasn’t about to get captured. We learn that he waged war against the heavens once before and based on his confidence I’d say that it went pretty well. I like the fire behind this guy’s eyes and he’s someone to keep an eye out for.

I had some slight power level issues here at times but nothing too crazy. I just feel like Yato’s power fluctuates a lot from being able to destroy the most powerful spell of the heavens to having trouble with Ebisu. Yes, his slashing power is dependent on his regalia but his physical abilities are always on point. He was holding his own with Bishamon and had great reaction times with Kugaha. He should not be having trouble with almost anyone here. I just have to go on the theory that he’s constantly holding back but I can only use that for so long before it gets stale. I assume the whole speech Kugaha made about how strong the Nora are is pretty much fake but at the same time I want to see the regalia have more attacks beyond the single shockwave. There should be a bigger bonus to having a contract with the god that would give you an edge over a nora who knows your name. Otherwise it does feel like you’re at a disadvantage.

I suppose the reason the power levels come to the forefront more here is because of how there’s a lot more action than in season 1. At least true fight scenes so not counting quick battles against the minions. Here you have the heroes going up against enemies who can actually fight back so you get to gauge their power a lot better. The show still has its somber moments and happy scenes of course but you can usually expect a big fight scene almost every episode. The stakes are constantly high and the show gets tense. It’s also always good to see the serious Yato return for the battles since he did have quite the reputation back in the day. You know that he can slip into that persona at any time.

As mentioned earlier, the soundtrack is still excellent like in season 1. You’ve got a lot of very catchy tunes that fit all occasions. From serious themes to comedic ones, the show has great variety. The animation is also great here and doesn’t hold back. All of the fights are really good and there’s a lot of detail. It’s a show that will absolutely still hold up 5-10 years from now and well beyond that as well. The show goes by quickly at 13 episodes but the pacing is really fast so a lot happens. There’s also a good amount of setup for the future story moments as well like with Yato’s dad being around. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of the guy at all since his appearances here are pretty bad. Hopefully he’ll end up being more interesting. The one weakness to the series right now would be that the villains are fairly weak. The guy from the season 1 climax stomps all of these guys so far.

Overall, Noragami: Aragato is a very solid follow up to the first season. It does everything the first did but even better and that’s what you always want to see out of a sequel. Yato is also just a great main character. Another standout moment for him is when Tenjin tells him to avoid Hiyori and Yato just doesn’t. That promise was rigged from the start so I’m cool with Yato breaking his word there. Tenjin was just trying to take advantage of a really bad situation and proved that he wasn’t a true friend in the way that some of the other gods were. Yato may have slipped in the second arc which I still find a little hard to buy into but I like to think that was the last time he will stumble. If you haven’t seen this show yet then you’ll definitely want to jump in now!

Overall 8/10

Black Torch Review


Black Torch didn’t last very long which is definitely a shame. The series had a really solid premise and good action scenes. I thought it got good real fast personally and it’s the kind of premise that could have kept on going for a long while. Ah well, it’s still a really fun read either way and you’ll definitely appreciate the epic action that’s here. At least it uses character bios in the final volume to tell you how things would have played out if it had kept on going.

So the story starts by introducing us to Jiro who is living a normal life. Well, mostly normal. See, he can actually talk to animals and one day he finds a cat that is injured. Jiro helps this cat out whose name is Rago but then he’s attacked by a Mononoke, a kind of monster of incredible power. Unfortunately Jiro is destroyed but Rago revives him by fusing his essence into Jiro. Jiro is now a power wielder and so a mysterious group known as the Bureau shows up and forces him to join. He must now help them stop the rest of the Mononoke or they will destroy him personally. Not much of a choice if we’re being honest here but them’s the breaks. Can Jiro get these guys to trust him?

So at its core this isn’t anything new and different. It’s a fairly classic premise with a demon inside the main character and now he is one of the strongest in the verse. We’ve got the demons attacking and a group of heroic fighters who do battle with them. So what made this one stand out to me? Well, it’s the fact that the series really doesn’t waste any time in getting to the good stuff.

For example, by volume 2 we’re already seeing some pretty serious battles with the villains. High speed action scenes and the characters are powerful. This is the kind of series that seems like it was going to give everyone a high power level right out of the jump. The art is also really good and looks a lot more advanced than what you would expect from a new manga. All of the battle scenes are very detailed and the series uses ink really well to emphasize the power of each attack. I can’t stress enough just how solid this looked right from the jump. The level of detail here is excellent and I already liked the character designs. You’ll be blasting through the series really quickly as a result since each volume goes by so quickly.

Black Torch was really firing on all cylinders and another good reason for this is the main character Jiro. Jiro’s an excellent lead who feels a lot like Ichigo to me. He minds his own business but if he sees someone in trouble then he helps out. Jiro was ready to fight with literal monsters to save a cat that he just met and throughout the series he is always ready to jump into the fray. He never really holds anything against Rago or the other characters for keeping secrets and doesn’t let the villains sway him with words either.

Jiro is very self confident and knows that he’s on the right side. No mind games work on him so the guy comes across as a veteran. He’s easily the highlight character here. Then you have the main heroine Ichika who is solid. She’s more of a classic tsundere type who insults Jiro and is always acting rather aggressive. She starts to mellow out later on though and I thought that she was a solid ally. I think she would have only continued to get better as the series wore on. As soon as she finally accepted Jiro as an ally then it was all up hill.

Reiji is the third member of the big 3 and he even has a whole plot to himself involving his brother. Reiji is skilled but I would say he was quickly surpassed by Jiro so it’s hard to really call them rivals. Allies probably works better even if Reiji thinks that he stands a chance. I would say he’s just strong enough where he doesn’t fall into the issue of really holding Jiro back like Renji from Bleach. So I ended up liking him.

Ryosuke’s the leader and he’s a crafty old guy. You always feel like he may be hiding something or probably lots of things. I wouldn’t trust him if I was Jiro but at the end of the day he seems like a good guy. Either way the series ends before anything too tricky happened there but otherwise I feel like he may have ended up becoming a bit of a villain by the end. Not totally sure though, it all depends on if the Bureau itself would have been antagonists at some point. I don’t tend to trust big groups like this, it feels like there is always a mole in there or they just want to destroy Jiro because he has a monster in him.

Hana helps the group as a support member but she can’t really fight which means that she was never going to be too relevant in this series. You absolutely have to have abilities in order to get through to the end. Otherwise you stay as a supporting character. Hana is nice enough but there’s just not much to say about her as a result.

There are two fighters who appear later on in Takeru and Banri who are upper members of the Bureau but the series ends before they can do too much. I did like how powerful they were even if Jiro surpassed them quickly. It’s always good for the heroes to have some upper echelon members who won’t be immediately surpassed in the power creep. They at least give Jiro something to think about if he wants to run off. Granted, it’s always the Bureau starting trouble if you ask me.

Now one character I really didn’t like was the grandpa Toshimasa. This guy is just awful. So Jiro is doing the right thing in saving lives and fighting monsters but his grandpa is not understanding at all and just starts beating the living daylights out of Jiro. Keep in mind that Jiro won’t fight back since he’s not trying to beat up his own grandfather. This continues on for quite a bit and sure we get that Toshimasa has some history with the Bureau (Which he is keeping secret) and doesn’t want Jiro to be in danger but beating him up and landing severe blows isn’t helping. He comes close to murdering Jiro a few times as well. It was annoying and I never like when a hero takes it this far while trying to say that they’re just protecting the guy. Nah, it doesn’t add up.

Meanwhile Rago is a solid character. He has a good bond going with Jiro even if he ultimately tends to fight it out alone. When the going gets tough, Rago is always ready to throw Jiro away to save him instead of fighting as a team. I don’t dock points from a character for doing that but it shows that they didn’t have perfect trust among each other for a while. Rago is sort of like the Nine Tailed Fox but a little nicer from the jump. After all he wanted to protect humans from a long while ago.

One part of the series that I didn’t think made sense was Rago’s reaction in the past though. So the main villain here is Amagi and he wants Mononoke to rule above the humans. Naturally one part of his plan is to murder all of the humans so that they’re not in the way. Okay, I follow up to this point and he wants Rago on the team. Right now Rago is protecting some humans so what does Amagi do? He murders them….yeah he just shows up and destroys them all as well as their families.

Lets not say what happens next for now but in theory shouldn’t that destroy Amagi’s plans? He wants Rago because Rago is the most powerful demon on the planet and right now nobody can beat him. So if Amagi shows up and starts messing around then Rago will probably end him and there goes the plan. So it made no sense for Amagi to approach this the way that he did. The most frustrating part is that it worked. Rago is so sad about all of this that he allows himself to be sealed up in a rock for all eternity while Amagi goes back to murdering everybody.

You’re going to roll your eyes at that because it was so convenient. It is the only possible way for Amagi to have survived in the past and it makes no sense. You’d think that Rago would have finished the guy off first instead of going to sleep. The guy just disrespected Rago to his face and should have paid the price for it. Definitely not a good look for Rago. I like him in the present but in the past that made absolutely no sense.

Meanwhile, Amagi’s plan also doesn’t line up anyway. So his power is that whenever he murders a mononoke, he gets stronger. So right now he knows that he can’t beat the humans and has decided to destroy all of the mononoke in the meantime so he can be strong enough to do so. Except…his goal was to protect the mononoke from the humans. So somewhere along the way he compromised on his goals and so instead he’ll just destroy everybody. At the very least most of the Mononoke would be dead by the end so instead it seems like his true goal was just to be the strongest of them all.

I guess it shows how insane he is, but I’d rather he had just made that his goal from the start. He even comes close to challenging the demon of the forest which would indirectly have been a big help to the humans but ultimately backs off. Amagi is crazy powerful so this strategy did help him rise to being near the top of the verse but regardless, it isn’t going to be doing much for the mononoke. It’s just putting them in another bad situation. At least he does have a cool design though.

I did like Ibuki though. She’s another super powerful demon and is a lot more reasonable than the others. She owns the forest and just lets the humans know not to go in there. If they do then she murders them but otherwise she is content with this space. It’s a solid arrangement considering how powerful she is and it’s quite reasonable. I was glad that Ibuki didn’t back down when Amagi showed up and in general she got a good amount of hype. Now here’s someone that you want on your side.

Another villain I liked was Kouga. Initially he is with Amagi and just follows orders but gradually he realizes just how insane this all is and makes a move. After all, a lot of the Mononoke are on board with destroying humanity and making a better spot for themselves, but they aren’t about to destroy their own comrades for this goal. So once Amagi starts to show his true colors, Kouga really comes in handy. He ultimately isn’t strong enough to stop Amagi or anything like that but he still comes in clutch.

Then we have the most interesting villain in Shinji. He’s the older brother of Reiji who turned evil and fled the scene a while back. The series hints that he may actually be possessed by a Mononoke but at the same time implies that it may just be him in control. Either way he’s extremely powerful and it feels like he would have been one of the end game bosses for a future arc. I thought there was a lot of potential with him here, you get some Itachi vibes. I somehow don’t think there was a heroic reason for doing this so his only chance at still being a good guy is if he is mind controlled. Maybe he tried to stop a demon from hurting the family but it defeated him and then possessed him. He’d probably be traumatized by that point.

There’s another villain named Roren but I wouldn’t say he’s that good. He liked Ichika a lot and while he isn’t gullible enough to fall for her tricks, he makes his goals rather clear. He’s more interested in her than in the big plans at large which says a lot about his lack of dependability. He doesn’t have the drive that the other characters have the whole time and isn’t as powerful either. This guy is not someone I’d depend on even if he fully turned good.

That about wraps it up for the characters. Now with the series ending so quickly, one of the questions would probably be, why? If I had to guess why this may not have hit it off with some folks, I would say that they may have just been bored of the demon hunting sub genre at the time. There are always a ton of those after all and with this one not trying anything different, it may have just felt like the same old thing they’ve seen a ton of times.

If that is the case then it’s definitely a shame because the execution is on point. The only worrisome thing I could see would be how Jiro really likes animals and that’s a part of his character. That could have easily been used against him in a future arc which would get real bad real fast since I don’t want any animal hostages or sacrifices thrown into the mix. If we trust the series not to have gone down that route though then I think it would have been just fine. There are a lot of ways you could go with the plot and it’s not like Jiro had finished powering up. The sky was the limit here.

Why the series worked for me really come down to the action and main character. This feels more like an old school manga like Bleach. Yeah Bleach is old enough where I can call it old school at this point. Black Torch had a very retro vibe to it and the world building was on point. This would have really been something special if it was given the chance. It can be a little violent and the series doesn’t hold back there but I wouldn’t say it ever got too dark either. I think it would have all balanced out. Another volume or two would have really thrown it over the top as the next big great. There goes all the potential. We still needed to learn more about the brother, the organization, world building with the mononoke, etc. There were a whole lot of seeds planted here but the series did an admirable job of at least finishing off the big plots right away.

Overall, Black Torch hit the ground running and never looked back. It had a very interesting setup and cast right from the jump so it’s a shame that this didn’t become a hit. Of course not everything can become super big and that’s just the way that it goes sometimes. I’d still recommend checking this out if you ever see it. It strikes me as a fairly rare title so that may not happen too quickly but don’t miss the opportunity when it arrives. It’s not every day that you find a hidden gem like this one.

Overall 8/10

Just Listen To The Song Review


Time for another Shonen Jump oneshot but this one is surprisingly short. It’s barely longer than your average weekly chapter so there isn’t time for much. It’s got an interesting enough premise here that could have been for a longer story so it’s a shame that it ends so quickly. Ultimately it feels like more of a writing prompt than a full adventure and so I don’t think you will really remember this one much in the future. It does show how tough classmates can be.

The series interestingly decides not to name any of the characters. I assume this had to be an intentional choice so I’m curious on why. Is that supposed to be something to ponder during the chapter? Well, either way the story starts with the main guy deciding to confess to a girl that he has liked since middle school. She’s clearly not interested in him so he has one last ditch effort. He uploads a video to Youtube proclaiming his love and asks her to watch it. Unfortunately she sends it to the entire school body and this guy is now a laughing stock. What’s worse is that the video states that God is not real, takes shots at gun laws in America, and there are ghosts in it. This kid’s video is now a global phenomenon and everybody is watching is. What can he possibly do?

Surprisingly there is no big twist at the end, no crazy ending or any of that. I suppose you can call it more of a sad ending or a happy one depending on how you interpret it. Personally I’d consider it a sad ending. I don’t think the girl is going to suddenly fall in love with him or anything like that. She just doesn’t like the guy and things like that don’t really change overnight. Even if she does suddenly decide to get with him, would it be because he’s famous around the world now? There will always be some doubt but I’m going to take the ending at face value here. He looks dejected as she says that the videos are everywhere so I think he’s doomed. She’s just listening to it again to really rub this in his face.

Compared to most embarrassing videos though, I wouldn’t say his rates that high. If anything he should be feeling a little happy about all of the attention. Sure, in the moment it’s kind of sad that everyone got to see you be rejected but once that moment passes then it feels like everything should be goo right? He can turn monetization on and rake up a bunch of cash. Even if he can’t recreate the magic of the videos, he can cash in through other means and quickly stockpile some cash. That’s the best way out of this for him and also the best method of turning this into a positive experience.

It was rude of the heroine to upload this for everyone to see which is also why the guy needs to move on. Perhaps she thought it was harmless fun but it was a big blow to his trust. I was glad that the school was not overplayed with the reactions though. Sure, they definitely poke fun at him and there’s a lot of teasing but it doesn’t go too far. Perhaps that is just due to the length of the oneshot but I thought the reactions were on the normal side. They made sense and were fairly realistic here.

In general this is a fairly laidback oneshot. It’s all a bit sad for the main character while not being too dramatic. The video has a lot of weird things happen to it which is strange but played out as if this was not a big deal. It’s almost like a Twilight Zone episode. You never actually expect that the story will get into how his video could be defying reality by saying something different in each language. You just sort of roll with it and how that affects his life.

The art is fairly good here. The character designs are all clear and you could always tell what is going on. Of course with no action scenes that is not as difficult but it’s always worth mentioning when the art is good. I think the writer should take my advice and make this into a full ongoing. I think there’s a whole lot you could do with this premise that there just isn’t time for in a short story like this.

Overall, It’s always fun reading oneshots like this because it’s cool to see all of the unique premises out there. I’ve read a lot of short stories when I was a kid, but far less manga titles. I’ll always be more partial to long running titles as my favorite since you can then get attached to the characters and setting but a solid oneshot will always hold up well. I think this one was a little too short for its own good and so there’s nothing to latch onto but it’s not bad. It’s just a title that you won’t really think about afterwards, there isn’t much to ponder here compared to the last one.

Overall 5/10

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Season 2 Review


Season 2 should always beat season 1. That’s the goal of every sequel after all, to beat the original. Well, this one pulls it off. I thought season 1 was good, but not very good. The cast was a bit weaker than your average Shonen title and there wasn’t a ton of action. This one dials things up on the intensity and there is a good amount to enjoy. It may not go down as one of the great titles but being very good is already an accomplishment in itself. If you enjoyed season 1 or just want a good magic title then you’ll have a good time here.

Season 2 starts off quickly as a curse is put on Nana’s friends through the shady game known as Kokkuri so Muhyo (reluctantly) and Roji head over to help. Thing is, there’s a new group in town led by Goryo. He is a talented mage like Muhyo but the guy has less ethics and scruples. He will do whatever it takes to clear the mission and get a lot of money. If he isn’t paid then he will actually let the client get cursed or will take revenge on him. Muhyo and Roji can’t stand for this so the two groups have a little battle. The winner claims control of the city while the loser has to leave. With the stakes this high, will Roji be able to help at all?

Season 1 was more about character introductions and the like instead of throwing you into the action. Season 2 is able to benefit from that by getting you right into the plot. We see from the start that Goryo isn’t a particularly nice guy to the point where it’s fair to just straight up call him a villain. He is certainly no hero after all. The battle between groups is also a nice way to kick things off because you get to see them fighting off monsters. If you’re new to the series you can quickly get acquainted this way.

A running plot in this season is that Roji feels like he is holding Muhyo back. Of course that is true but you’re still hoping he can get his confidence back eventually. Muhyo is certainly tired of Roji’s whining and I want to say that just about everyone is by this point. He’s had a long time to get good but he never shows much improvement. You feel like he isn’t training as hard as he should, at least we rarely see him training so it feels that way.

I wouldn’t say Roji is a bad character but I don’t really care for him all the same. I rarely like the whiny type of character. I prefer my heroes to just be way more confident. Muhyo fits the bill there. Sure, he can be a bit lazy and is probably not the most dependable hero around but at least when he focuses he can beat almost any threat in his way. Even now he is portrayed as one of the most powerful characters in the series. He is absolutely someone that you want on your side. I wouldn’t say he stands out as one of the better main characters or anything like that in Shonen, but he is one of the better characters in this show.

Nana is still a good main heroine as well. She has to put up with a lot when Goryo shows up since he really puts her in harm’s way. Not to mention that several characters act like creeps around her so she has to always keep her guard up. I like Nana, but I do wish she would get some powers so she can beat people up. It would be nice to see her deal some big damage like that and then she could also be inserted into the various cases a lot easier.

Biko is still annoying in this season though. She just isn’t ready for combat on any scale. Wanting to save Rio is great and all, I never fault a character for ultimately wanting to make the hero move, but she really isn’t doing much to get closer to that goal. She helps Muhyo during the mass summoning later on but just isn’t really a fighter and ends up being on the outside looking in most of the time. For this character type to work, you have to try and save the person you want to save but also have to be tough enough to knock them out as needed.

As for Rio, it’s finally sinking in that she made the wrong call I’d say but the problem is that it’s way too late for her. She’s in so deep with the villains that she can barely even function at this point. She is at the mercy of Enchu and his gang so she really didn’t think this through. She certainly serves as a cautionary tale on why you shouldn’t be so quick to trust the villains or expect that joining their side will suddenly make things easier.

With the two new characters, Goryo is much better than Ebisu. Goryo is petty and certainly someone who relies on cheap tricks a lot of the time, but at least he can fight. The guy has bad habits but if all of his tricks were to be squashed, at least he can fight to a degree. He is a very prideful man about his clan and so at least there are things he can get serious about. I still see him as more of a villain than a hero but at least there’s some toughness to him.

I can’t say the same for Ebisu. Ebisu is your classic pervy character who is always whining and acting like the world is against him. In reality the issue here is that there is no reason for anyone to be nice to him. Ebisu’s just a jerk right from the jump who does whatever is asked of him without thinking about it. Nobody needs a minion like that and all of his scenes were pretty sad. The guy can talk tough if he wants but you won’t be taking him seriously.

After the opening battle saga with Goryo’s group, Muhyo and Roji split up for what’s pretty much the rest of the season. For Roji’s plot, he heads back to school to really learn how to be a proper magical sidekick. He gets to take the exam with some familiar faces like Ebisu and also some new characters. Trying to fight off monsters without Muhyo is definitely difficult so while he would end the threat in an instant if he was here, the idea is to see Roji thrive. I can safely say that the Muhyo plot is a lot more interesting.

Sure, it’s nice to see the school again and the characters are fun enough, but you are just waiting to get back to Muhyo and the more serious stakes here. Roji just can’t hold his own episodes in the same way with how nervous he is. The twins at the school talk tough but ultimately can’t back it up at all. Then you have the teachers who barely know how to run a school and really all need some serious training after this. There are some good fake-outs like when the students initially thought they all failed the test but for the most part it’s fairly standard stuff. It was nice to see more of Reiko though. She’s a fun supporting character and is omeone who can at least contribute in the fights while Muhyo is away.

With the Muhyo plot, well he needs a new super summon if he’s going to beat Enchu and pals. He already has some strong ones but “strong” won’t be enough to win the day. So he has to team up with Biko and Yoichi in order to do this. To obtain a summon you have to deal a lot of damage and convince it to come to your side with a spell. I’d compare it to catching a Pokemon but of course Muhyo is aiming for the absolute strongest summon there is so he’ll have to fight rather hard. We get to see quite a few powerful summons in this season between Hell Boy, Thousand Arms, Yuuri, and Hades. The fighters definitely aren’t playing around at this point.

So yeah this was a very engaging saga all the way through. Also, since Nana wasn’t around there was no time for Yoichi to be acting awful all the time. I still don’t like Yoichi since he should really be serious and not constantly messing with Nana though. Too bad Muhyo or someone hasn’t called him out on it yet but by this point I think he’s just too far gone to ever rise back up. It’s all over for him.

We also got to quickly see the origin story of how Muhyo and Roji met around this time. I always like seeing the first encounters with the main character duo like this and I think it’s a good idea not to include it right at the start. Now that we know both characters so well, it makes the whole thing a lot more emotional. I can see why Roji has low confidence since even back in the day he didn’t seem all that qualified. I still say he should have been training a lot harder the whole time though but better late than never.

This kicks off the final arc now. The heroes all reunite to take on the villain group known as ARK. Enchu has seemingly made his move and the Goryo group is taken out real quick. The main villain now is Tomas, someone who has a lot of talent like Muhyo but ultimately went to the dark side. The power sure corrupts quickly when you think about it with the strongest fighters always turning evil. I would say that Muhyo does still outclass this guy in a straight fight but there are usually a lot of circumstances going on at the same time which keeps this from being too easy.

Naturally as this is a full group you can’t expect them all to really appear and fight. In fact, Tomas is the only one with a big role here. Rio is around but her role isn’t big at all. She spends most of the season still being knocked out and then at the end she is finally ready to help the villains get to the next level. Enchu is around and talks tough as the leader but he technically doesn’t do a whole lot either. You can tell that they’ll save him for a while yet. Likewise with Teeki who has built up quite a lot of hype by this point so we’ll see if he lives up to it.

As for Tomas, well this is his chance to really look good. I would say that he is impressive in his fights. It’s clear that he does have a good amount of magical power and that he hasn’t gotten sloppy. His armor makes him a solid threat and there is a good amount of back and forth between him and Muhyo. This fight is a fitting one to end the season with and it’s a good thing that Muhyo got his new summon. Yuuri is probably still my favorite one because of how consistently useful he is, but it was a real team effort here.

Personality-wise, well Tomas is one of those guys who cracked rather quickly so I wouldn’t say he’s all that good. He makes for a solid boss fight and a good villain in that sense but as a character he’s nothing special. I would say that Teeki and Enchu are already quite a bit higher than this guy. We’ll see if season 3 comes out but if not, this one does end things rather well. There are a ton of loose ends and plot lines to look forward to, but what way to end things off than with a big battle right? The heroes will eventually have time to head on out to take the villains down.

The animation is good here. It does use a lot of recycled animations for the magic attacks which makes me feel like the budget wasn’t too big. I mean it’s partially a stylistic choice of course but even so that’s always my default reaction. The colors are good though and we do sometimes get real animation with the summon battles. This isn’t the kind of show where there are usually a lot of martial arts or anything like that though so there is less time for the animation to really shine. Either way it’s serviceable.

The soundtrack is not as impressive though. There isn’t really any singular theme that really stands out as a great one to me. The opening is okay but nothing special either. On a technical level the show just won’t be impressing you there. It makes for a good adventure as the story is solid enough but all of this combined is why this title doesn’t hold its own against the big shots. The anime tells the story without really enhancing it. So at the end of the day it’s like a very standard anime. In fact, you could say this is a pretty decent pick as a starter anime for someone as season 1-2 sort of embody what I would consider the general anime experience. It’s got a little of everything and is a fun watch but it won’t be smashing any records.

There is some fanservice here but fortunately not a whole lot of it so there aren’t a lot of negatives to hurt the show with either. In general the weak point of the show is that the cast isn’t all that great. I like Muhyo well enough but for the most part the characters never really excel to the next level. It’s been a while since I read the manga so I don’t remember if any more big characters are introduced for the hero side but I would enjoy it quite a bit if they could add one more hero to the mix to enhance the dynamic a bit. Give us the cool rival character and that’ll go a long way.

Overall, Muhyo and Roji season 2 is a step up over season 1. With the introductions out of the way we got to have more action scenes which is always good and the villain group finally making their move was solid as well. More lore is introduced too and seeing another group of sorcerers was a good way to make the world a bit bigger. If we were to get a season 3 that could potentially raise the bar even higher if this trend continues. Never say never after all so maybe one day it’ll be here and I wouldn’t complain if they could polish it up just a bit more.

Overall 7/10

Undead Unluck


Definitely one of the rougher starts for a Shonen Jump title although not in a violence kind of way. The series has started to tone down some more of the iffy elements as the series has gone on but one thing that’ll be hard to get away from is that the two main characters are really below average. This is a title that will live or die on the supporting cast. I’ll have a review up for the series when it’s over. If it can just double down on having a lot of cool fights with no time for much else then this can definitely hit the next level.

Overall 5/10

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review


I think it’s fair to say that Phase 4 of the MCU is really doing quite well now. It’s certainly risen above Phase 1 with Doctor Strange now if it hadn’t already. I don’t have all of the phases totally memorized though so one of these days I ought to make a list and just see which is the strongest phase overall. (Likely whichever one has Infinity War) This film certainly holds its own with some of Marvel’s strongest films and is a really memorable one with high replay value. You see quite a lot of people already checking it out a second time and I can see why. With nonstop action and a quick pace you certainly won’t be bored here.

The movie starts off with Strange and a girl named America on the run from a monster which leads to the fight in the middle of the street that’s in all of the trailers. These monsters are after America for her abilities which may present a danger to the entire multiverse. Doctor Strange will have to handle this carefully but multiversal entanglements have already caused him a lot of trouble before and he’s not even the sorcerer supreme anymore. Will he be able to save her alone or will he have to call in some help?

It’s a very quick plot summary but as I said, the movie moves very quickly. There are a lot of twists and turns here and the film does not waste time on any of this. Within 15 minutes everything you expected starts to change and you’re really thrown right into the mix. This is a massive asset to the film because this is the kind of thing that helps with replay value. It’s hard to go 15 minutes without something happening after all. I’ll have a spoiler section later on for going into these things but the main review is assuming you haven’t seen the film so I won’t be revealing much here.

The action scenes here are definitely top notch. The movie still shows Strange’s magic to its fullest and in a lot of imaginative ways. I also enjoyed how he was using his magic in minor ways too like getting his tie set up. If I had magic I would be using it for things like that too so it definitely made a lot of sense. The visuals are also good for the scenery and effects. You can tell that a lot of care and detail went into all of this and it will certainly hold up well even 10, 20, or more years into the future. These kind of effects will always age well.

I want to give a special shout-out to the soundtrack too which was exceptional. I can easily say that it’s one of Marvel’s best soundtracks. Probably the best since Dark Phoenix but if we stick to MCU films then I’d have to think a little harder. As an overall soundtrack it is very likely the best one. It’s got a solid array of horror and action themes here. Each theme really helps to amp up the scene that it’s in. “A cup of Tea” is a very memorable track and there are a ton of others. Part of a theme song also plays in one pivotal scene which was excellent. Now that was a deep reference and one that I certainly appreciated. You can very much here the Spider-Man to Spider-Man 3 type themes in here as well. I feel like some had to be remixes or at least incorporated some of that music in there.

Naturally as I mentioned we do have some horror vibes here as well. There are jump scares, characters contorting their bodies like an undead monster, etc. The imagery is not something you would tend to expect in an MCU film and in fact I would say it’s probably the most violent one as well. It never crosses the line into being distasteful or too excessive though. The film knows how to show just enough so you know what happened without dragging it out which is appreciated. This is really what I would call expert handling of each scene and moment. The film has its humor of course but you don’t have characters throwing jokes in a desperate chase for life and death.

In a lot of ways this had some of the best balance between all the genres that we’ve seen. It’s why I would call this one of the strongest installments in the MCU. It may not top the latest Spider-Man film which also had a lot of multiverse type plot elements thrown in but it’s absolutely on the same level and ends up putting a really close fight in. Also in terms of which movie I would rather re-watch right now, it would have to be this one because there’s more I feel that I could pick up on in the fights and background elements while I feel like I did catch basically every reference and easter egg in Spider-Man.

In terms of the cameos and multiverse elements, I thought this film did a really good job. Yes, one character does look really bad and as a whole I think one group could have done a lot better but they really played the match-up wrong. The power scaler in me may be shaking my head a bit but at least in the way the fight happened I can absolutely buy into it. I wouldn’t say I had any big power level issues here which is always good. I also appreciate that the Wandavision show was actually rather important to this movie.

I’ve never liked when something happens in a show/comic/game that is never really referenced again to the point where it just didn’t matter. That was a vibe you got from Agents of Shield a lot of the time and of course the Netflix shows never really became a big thing. A quick cameo here or there maybe but nothing super important. With this film you can tell that this is starting to change and that’s a good thing because we’re really getting to the point where the films feel a bit like the comics. Anyone can show up at any time and you’ve got a lot of interconnected stories happening at the same time.

So with all of these positives you may be wondering, where are the negatives? Well, I didn’t have any big negatives, the film was a blast all around. I guess I can say that some of the emotional type scenes are maybe a little overplayed so I can’t take it super seriously. Any scene involving some kids comes to mind. I’m glad their roles were rather small. Some of the characters didn’t make the best decisions for sure when it comes time for a fight but that’s not the kind of thing that hurts a score unless it’s particularly egregious and it wasn’t here. I would say I wish the film was longer. Some parts just felt super fast as the film had to keep its brisk pace but some fights could have absolutely been longer or the experiences in the different places. Tons of potential right there.

I’ll get into some minor stuff in the spoiler territory but yeah on the whole you can jump into this film and be reassured that there are no big negatives here. It’s a very excellently made film all around the board. It’s also one of those films that just keeps getting cooler and cooler in your head. I’ve already been listening to the soundtrack a lot since I watched the film and play some of the scenes back in my head. A lot of times a film may cool down a bit once you’ve had time to relax but it’s the opposite in this case which is a really good sign to me.

Doctor Strange is still an excellent main character as always. In a lot of ways he’s like Tony Stark with how he’s super confident in his abilities and isn’t afraid to throw out some insults. He’s also matured a lot like Tony and knows how to talk to the younger heroes and explain the stakes. Strange never falters in the film and has a strong will that is ready for anything. It’s why he was such a great pick as the Sorcerer Supreme and why he should get that title back. No offense to Wong but it’s clear that this was meant for Strange.

As the new heroine here, America is okay but I do think she could have been better. I’d definitely liked her to have been able to use her abilities more. Grin and just demolish opponents. With her sheer abilities this would not be a crazy task against most fighters. She does have a tough backstory and hasn’t exactly had a lot of downtime to prepare but that would have been cool. As it is, she’s not bad but she’s not close to being a solid character just yet. Give her one more film appearance and I can definitely see her changing that.

The movie also has some pretty interesting monster designs during its run as well which were nice to see. I thought the monster in the opening minutes of the film had one of the coolest designs although at one point you see some Minotaur type creatures as well that were really cool. It’s a shame that they didn’t get to fight this time. There’s also a little joke taken at the Avengers expense in the movie to show how much weaker the roster is right now. I thought this was a nice touch because it’s true. Thor and Captain Marvel are never on planet so you can’t count them. There’s no Captain America or Iron Man anymore. So the Avengers are basically Ant Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Bucky, Hawkeye, and maybe the Hulk who is a power hitter for sure but with how the Hulk’s been acting he may not be as strong as he once was. Still wouldn’t hurt to have him on board.

I was cool with how the heroes were handled here. They were acknowledged enough so you know they are around and that the film hasn’t forgotten them but you totally understand why they are MIA for the film. It would be difficult for them to even know what is happening aside from the opening attack and I doubt they have any really solid information networks at the moment so they’d really be doomed here.

Okay now we’re getting into the spoilers territory so skip the next 17 paragraphs if you haven’t seen the film yet. It’s always best to go into the movie blind especially when it’s got a lot of twists and turns like this one. So keep scrolling until you see a message saying End Spoilers in bold.

I really enjoyed the fact that Scarlet Witch was pure evil here right from the jump. The movie wasted no time in having her make a move which was brilliant. Look, I’ve been yelling down from the cliff ever since Wandavision came out that she was pure evil and causing a lot of damage and harm to everyone all around her. Literally enslaving a whole town to the point where they were begging Vision and yelling in pain the whole time showed how sick this was. Mind control is the ultimate invasion of privacy and this was for quite a while too.

I thought an issue with the show was how easily it waved this away and everyone was patting Wanda on the back as if she was some kind of hero. So this film took things to what I considered to be the natural conclusion and it did this very well. So major kudos to that and of course she does make for a really great villain. Seeing her pulling out all the stops to destroy the heroes was really something else. Surely she can’t be a hero after this, keep her as a villain that the heroes reluctantly go to for help once in a while but after murdering so many people she can’t just come back to join. Naturally I don’t think she died here.

The film shows how insane she was with the whole kids plot too. When Strange asks what would happen to the other Wanda, it’s pretty clear that Scarlet Witch would murder her. So much for not being the monster in this scenario right? Scarlet Witch did really well against Thanos and that was before her upgrade so it makes sense that she would do so well here. That said, I still think the Illuminati could have done better. Sure, I like clowning on them as much as the next guy because they always talk tough but the fact is they’ve got a lot of multiverse experience here so you’d think they would do better.

Whenever Mr. Fantastic dismisses Scarlet Witch “We’re not worried about her” you have some doubts but in the back of your mind you figure he must have some kind of plan. Surely he wouldn’t just be saying that for no reason right? Well, he might as well have since he had absolutely no defenses at the ready except for some ultron bots. They all went down in seconds, why was he so confident? The main problem with this is that it just makes him look incompetent and this is supposed to be the smartest man in the Marvel universe.

I really think the film did him dirty here. It was nice to see Jim from the Office playing him (Although whenever I see him I just see Jim with the iconic grin/smirk) but the character needed to do better. Lets see him stretch around and have a big fight. This group is basically the Avengers of this timeline so they should be defending the world rather well if you ask me. Carter and Captain Marvel put up a much better fight at least because they keep moving around but it would have been even better for them if the whole team was helping.

I can’t blame Black Bolt because Mr. Fantastic basically gave Scarlet Witch all of his weaknesses so there was nothing more he could do. The guy was doomed the instant that happened but again, Fantastic isn’t usually the kind of guy who underestimates his opponents so much. Xavier actually did well though and I give him kudos for being the only member of the group to actually act like a hero. I dare say that I couldn’t even say that of Carter. Xavier was the only one who gave Strange a chance.

I liked seeing the telepathic world too which was like something out of X-Men. The fact that he actually saw a version of Wanda in there was also interesting since it really showed the Dark Hold as an outer force manipulating her. I feel like people can try to use this as an out for Wanda not being that bad but I’m not going to give that one to her. It was still Wanda’s choice entirely, it’s not like the world was at stake like with Dr. Strange. That guy had every reason to use the book and he didn’t get corrupted like that. I would have liked the scene to have been longer though so Xavier could have fought in his astral self. That could have been a really solid battle in there and the Illuminati battle in general could have been longer.

One theme in the film is that you don’t have to be just like your other versions and I thought it was a good one. Just because things happened one way in one universe doesn’t mean that it will be the same everywhere. Strange ultimately got to see what it can do to people and I’m convinced that he won’t let this happen to him. The film has a really intense ending and initial after credits scene involving that. I liked it because for one thing, it was an extremely bold ending. Probably the most intense one aside from Infinity War. You just never expect a film to end like that except for a horror movie which is in line with keeping this like one.

Then with the after credits scene, it was cool to see Clea show up and Strange quickly jumping into the portal without fear. I’ve always enjoyed his confidence and he really is a great main character. I think he’s the best bet to stay as the face of Marvel mainly because he’s right in the thick of the action and as a big magician he can be anywhere at any time. That makes it easy to write him into a bunch of stories.

I could definitely go on about how cool the fights are here. It’s just amazing visually and with how all the fights go. Each spell is very memorable like the piano battle or even Strange firing off his snakes to stop Wanda once he saw how unhinged she was. Wanda also works well as a villain because we know her so even though she’s evil now, it’s still like watching a battle between Avengers. It’s kind of surreal because in movies it’s a little rarer to see a hero that’s been around for multiple films turn evil like this. You just don’t tend to see that kind of thing.

Oh yeah Baron Mordo showed up here and the guy is as petty as ever. He makes for a fun villain for that reason though and I liked how Strange called him out. Losing to a guy who didn’t have magic at the time is definitely embarrassing for the guy. Time and time again we see why it’s good that Mordo didn’t become the sorcerer supreme, that’s for sure. Christine appears and looks good in the normal universe but completely unreasonable in the other verse. Okay picture this, a monster is going around murdering all of your friends and allies. She’s heading your way now so you’re asked to find the waypoint so everyone can warp out of here.

Rather than logically start helping, she starts complaining about how she can’t trust Strange and this and that. It’s one thing I couldn’t believe for her and the Illuminati. They act like Strange is such a mega danger and yet….it should be clear that Wanda is the bigger threat. Even if you believe Strange is greater, you gotta acknowledge the context and at this point Wanda is already a mass murderer so Strange should be treated as a follow-up item instead. These guys were not reasonable which made it easy to almost root for Wanda there. Of course you weren’t since her motivations and goals were just villainous the whole time but it could be close.

As a quick note, I didn’t like Wong here. The guy really takes too much pride in being Sorcerer Supreme even though he gets decimated in every fight. Just give Strange the title back already. I forget if the title gives you extra power but I thought it did so give it to Strange so he can win already. Wong just holds him back and naturally makes the wrong calls under pressure. When he said they should sacrifice America at the end I wanted to sigh. Cmon man, the whole film was about learning why that was absolutely the wrong way to go but he went through it anyway. You’ve gotta learn from your mistakes.

Strange absolutely learned from the first version of himself who died as he became a traitor. Then he got to learn some more when he saw how the Dark Hold absolutely messed up another Strange. I like to think this is why he will be able to completely negate the Dark Hold’s abilities. I feel like the ending was him overpowering it personally but we’ll see if that is more of a full sub plot that will appear soon. Strange never doubted himself and kept fighting for what was right. Even when he was up against opponents who were stronger than him, Strange didn’t give him. That’s how you become a real hero.

As for power levels, at this point it’s safe to say that Scarlet Witch would wipe most of the Marvel heroes out. I’d still put Thor and Captain Marvel ahead of her in a battle though provided that they attack fast. Witch’s main strength is that she can rewrite reality so she can do anything if she has prep time. Removing their faces or hearts would even take Thor and Marvel out but Witch’s defense isn’t on the same level. She can and will get bruised/beat up if she takes hits. Those two have the power and speed to make it happen.

Hulk could potentially beat Witch too but I think he’s too slow so that’s out. I could see Strange winning this fight if he was absolutely fighting to kill and could use some kind of advanced spell to get her but at this point he would lose many more times than he would win because he’s just not fast enough and her powers outmatch his. So she’s definitely near the top of the verse in terms of power now.

There’s probably a lot more I could say about the film but this is what I got off the top of my head at least. The movie knows when to be funny, scary, or intense. It’s really quite impressive and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Strange next time. I hope the gap isn’t quite as long though because I need some more cool magic scenes already. The waiting it always the toughest part for these things.

End Spoilers

Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is definitely a great film. I 100% recommend it every step of the way. You just won’t want to miss this one and it’s great how ambitious the films can be now. You absolutely would not have been able to expect a film like this even just 6-7 years ago. It’s able to go completely into its comic book roots with all kinds of flashy colors and abilities. At no point do you feel like the film is going to slow things down for you or make it general audience friendly. You’re either able to keep up with it or you can’t but matching the film’s pace is your job here. If you haven’t watched the film already then you should change that. If you have then it’s time to check it out again! Make sure you stick through the credits for the first of the two scenes at least since it’s a pretty important one that ends the film on a perfect note.

Overall 8/10