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

The Devil’s Rain Review

Now it’s time for a film that definitely never made the transition into being a good movie. In fact, you had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be awful as early on as when the opening credits played. That was definitely the first sign that things just weren’t right here. The movie never recovers from that and just goes into shock value moments in every other scene. This is one title you’ll want to avoid.

The movie starts with Corbis launching the opening strike on the Preston family. He desperately wants a book that they have and figures he will attack and kidnap them until they give in. Once he murders Mark’s father it is time for the lead to fight. Or at least you hope so but that doesn’t exactly happen here. Mark gets wrecked so then his brother Tom heads in to stop this guy. Can anyone succeed or will this group of nuts end up defeating everybody?

There’s definitely a ton wrong with this film so it’s almost hard to know where to start. I guess the first main thing here is the opening credits are really drawn out right from the jump. It’s all very dark and dramatic as you see a bunch of disturbing images that set the unfortunate tone of the movie. This is a film where the demons will really be getting a lot of undeserved wins and the humans don’t make it any easier on them at all. If anything they tend to come unprepared.

One of the opening scenes has the father showing up just to get melted down into parts. The effects are impressive considering how old this is which is at least one thing I can say for the scene. Unfortunately the movie is only just starting its descent into madness. Mark initially has the right idea since he shows up to Corbis’ place with his gun. Now there’s a few things he could have done to end the movie. One would have been to shoot Corbis right from the start. Sure the villain acted like it wouldn’t do much but later on we see that it is quite effective on these guys so taking the shot would have really been the right move to make. I don’t think there’s even a question about that.

Instead Mark challenges him to a battle of faith but the main mistake here is actually expecting the guy to play fair. Walking into this crazy parody of a church where he will be surrounded by other villains is not a good move. By this point it’s going to be way harder to actually get out. Even with a gun you aren’t invincible if there are enough people around so you shouldn’t be testing your luck like that. It will inevitably backfire and just put you in harm’s way.

There’s also one scene right before this one where he decides to have a cup of water. Why even take that risk here? Well, he finds that it’s bitter and….then keeps drinking anyway. There wasn’t any logic in that scene and the whole confrontation with Corbis wasn’t written nearly as well as it could have been. Once Mark is captured then you have to sit through a ton of drawn out scenes as they break him physically and mentally. He definitely got a really raw deal here.

Then you have Tom who shows up to become the true main character and I can’t say that he was great either. At least he tries to call in the sheriff but naturally the guy doesn’t believe that there is a threat so Tom has to go in with his wife. Unfortunately they weren’t super prepared for this and don’t fare so well against the ghouls. There’s also a research guy who is with them and at least knows enough to say they should break the jar but even then he isn’t fast enough to do it himself. Nice idea but you should probably drop it before you say you are going to do that.

As for Corbis, well the guy is crazy evil but there’s not much more to him than that. He’s effectively the personification of the Devil or at least one of his higher ranked minions and even gets to show off his beast form. The film wasn’t afraid to throw in some extra effects and all but it’s just squandered on a film like tis. The whole movie is very dreary the whole time. I don’t think there was a single happy scene in the entire film which is really crazy to think about.

You know that the heroes don’t stand a chance from the start and the villain are really toying with them. From what we see here there is no reason they couldn’t have just stormed the house to grab the book and murder everyone. In a way they probably just enjoyed picking them off one at a time. It was rather easy for them to seemingly take over the whole town and the rest of the family too. You have to wonder how nobody noticed that people were vanishing like this. The Sheriff clearly didn’t know this was going on so maybe the members were taken from different areas or something? It’s too bad because maybe he could have helped out. For all their tough talk, the villains were not bullet proof so you should be able to just keep blasting them until they’re dead.

Overall, The Devil’s Rain is just as bad as you would expect from the poster. If you had not seen the poster you would figure this out almost immediately either way though once the credits start playing. It’s the kind of movie where there just doesn’t seem to be any point to it. It’s trying to be as dark and disturbing as possible but to what end? The film shows you that the whole area has descended into being evil and you can only delay the inevitable by trying to run. It’s not like a suspenseful horror either where you get engaged with the struggle. The whole film has an odd vibe where it’s all like an abandoned ghost town where there is no backup for miles but that also means no real lore of backstory from the side characters. Just the basic demon stuff. The heroes weren’t smart either and I still can’t forget the scene of just drinking out of the evil water there. Didn’t make any sense when you’re here to fight off a murderer. Why risk drinking at all? Just get the job done and then head back home. Either way the movie’s biggest flaw aside from being awful is that there weren’t any good scenes here. There weren’t any moments that would make you think “This was hype” at all. Hopefully there will be no remake or reboot for this and we can just let this one be forgotten.

Overall 0/10

God Eater Review

God Eater is a series that very much feels like Attack on Titan. It’s got a pretty interesting premise and fun concepts but it ultimately focuses too much on the tragedy and horror surrounding the characters. They’re all put through the wringer quite a bit and this only escalates as the series gets closer to the end. Ultimately the series goes way too far into this and ends up shooting itself in the foot so it can’t end up taking advantage of the interesting art style.

God Eater is effectively divided up into two stories that are being told at the same time. The present where Fenrir trains fighters known as God Eaters to fight the Aragami and defend the Earth and the past where we see how the Aragami first appeared on the Earth and how the scientists reacted. The past is told in a black and white art style while the present is full in color. Each story gives new information and context to the other so they end up bouncing back and forth on that.

The main character is a boy named Lenka. His goal is to destroy all of the Aragami and it’s his motivation for being a God Eater. He is one of the new types but unfortunately he doesn’t know what that means or much about the world. His only focus has been on destroying the monsters so he never really bothered to find out more about the world than that. Well when the defense force is low on fighters, Lenka takes that chance to run out of the base and fight. Unfortunately he gets crushed rather quickly and has to be saved by the First Unit. This happens again in the next episode so it’s rough for him but ultimately he is allowed to enter their squad. Can he make a difference or will he learn that aspirations alone are not enough to win?

God Eater is one of those titles that is tragic in a way because I do think this could have been an absolute top tier if it could just tone down the edge a bit. So lets get the negatives out of the way here because those are pretty easy to go through. First off, the series is just incredibly violent. You have a character who gets eaten alive in a really disturbing way. People are chomped, blown up, and very few characters get a happy ending here. Whenever you have a flashback to a character’s past you now that things are going to get crazy.

Like with Attack on Titan there is a lot of focus on how despair is all that most of these guys have to look forward to. These monsters are just too numerous and keep on coming. Aside from a select few top tier fighters, the rest can only hope to defend themselves for a few minutes before getting eaten. While this is the case throughout the series, Lenka’s backstory definitely gets the most drastic about it.

God Eater is just unrelenting on this. Soma’s backstory also gets rather tragic with a birth going wrong and you probably wont go more than an episode or 2 without something twisted happening. The crazy thing is that the show didn’t start out quite so violent. I felt like the first 2-3 episodes seemed normal. Perhaps a little intense but nothing crazy. Then the show just dialed everything up to 11 all of a sudden. Even in other ways like the scenes with Lenka’s sister got rather crazy by the end even outside of the violence. Don’t think we needed that kind of subplot there.

This is why I said it was easy to go through the negatives pretty quick though. Really it boils down to the show being way too extremely edgy the whole time. With this kind of premise it could be expected to an extent (Even the opening starts off on a rather dark note) but there’s so many possibilities here. If you focused more on the story and less on the violence this could have been really great.

Now for the animation, it’s a little different as I mentioned earlier. The style is heavily shaded and it’s hard to describe but it feels like there’s a ton of detail in the shots. Some scenes almost feel like an illustration. It takes a little getting used to because it is so different. It’s certainly not touching Ufotable’s big hand drawn titles like Demon Slayer or Fate but I would say it’s still a high tier production in its own right. Then the animation randomly seems to change later on.

I felt like the first episodes looked a lot more high budget than the latter ones at first but that’s when it dawned on me that it was just a very different style. It didn’t necessarily get worse, just different. The deep illustration style was gone and it looked more hand drawn I’d say or at least trying to emulate that style. It threw me for a bit of a loop because both styles are good but just different. So this was a roundabout way of saying that I liked the animation style. Once you get used to it, it holds up well and it’s the kind of style that looks really good even when you pause at any point. It works well for the dark atmosphere the show is going for as well.

The show starts to fall into the fanservice trap a little more during the second half though. It was virtually nonexistent in the first half outside of Alisa’s impractical costume but the show never really puts any attention on it so that’s easy to overlook. The fanservice in the second half just feels out of nowhere and just added in for kicks. Too bad on that, it’s enough to be noticeable but not excessive enough where I would deduct big points or anything.

As for the soundtrack, I thought that was excellent. There are quite a few lyrical songs that show up and they all have a fun electronic feeling to them. They really get the hype going in each scene like when Lenka’s escaping the base to go and try to save the day or when the heroes finally fight as a unit. There are quite a few different songs too so it’s not like they’re just spamming the same lyrical song either. You’ve got battle ones, somber ones, and montage types. There’s a good variety here. They all have the same feel but work well. I also like how the opening starts with that great rock beat although I feel like the rest of the opening falters a bit after that. Either way, this is definitely a 5 star soundtrack that I would recommend without a doubt. You can just listen to the music without context and get how it would work really well in the show.

Now lets talk about the characters real quick. It took a little time to really learn the main guy’s name since it’s so similar to the captain. Lenka is really like Eren Yeager. He wants to save the day and destroy all of the Aragami but as the series goes on he starts to learn what that really means. It’s really not as easy as it sounds and while the first unit makes it look easy, every monster can be a threat under the right circumstances.

Lenka quickly gains a lot of development from being someone who wants to jump into the action each time to becoming more of a strategist. For a minute there I actually thought the show was going to totally have him shift roles so I’m glad that he still stayed in an action arrangement. It would have been a shame if he didn’t get to fight again. Lenka goes through a lot but always gets up no matter how grisly the injury. He also hasn’t abandoned his morals and will try to help people as long as he can even if it means going against orders. I always like main characters who prioritize doing the right thing over following orders like that so in the end I did like him quite a bit. He would be the second best character here.

The best is captain Lindow and that guy earns every bit of it. He really knows how to lead a team and has the right amount of discipline while still being a hothead. He doesn’t just accept how Fenrir does things and has his own plans to save the day. This does mean that he’s always in a dangerous position though and doesn’t really let his teammates on it. The guy prefers to do things on his own. He’s also not a new type but has strong enough abilities to compete with them. By the end it’s fair to say that he is still one of the strongest characters in the series. It was always fun to have him around and Lenka owes a lot of his development to this guy.

Sakuya is the right hand woman on the 1st Unit and she is always there to provide backup to Lindow. She specializes in strategy and also helps a lot with making sure that the plans are good. Her sniper skills come in handy when training Lenka as well and you could say that she’s the heart of the team. She doesn’t want to be the leader and is always satisfied just being there to support the team. She’s another good character and I feel like Lindow could have trusted her a bit more and told her what was going on. I’m sure she could have helped out.

Soma is another one of the core members of the team and he’s quite powerful. He can shoot out a giant energy blast that takes down a lot of monsters. I wonder why more characters don’t have a cool finisher like that but I suppose it ties into his backstory. The guy certainly had a rough time of it as a kid and so now he just tries to avoid everyone as much as possible. You can’t blame him because that does seem like the safest bet at this point. Things never work out when he’s around others so at this point it makes sense to go in solo. He’s not afraid of dying and even puts himself in positions where that’s likely.

Lenka is able to give Soma a little hope which was good. The guy was certainly drowning in his despair by this point so it was nearly too late. I like his cool demeanor although I wish he could have done a little more. I suppose he would have a larger role in season 2 if that ever came out. Then there’s Kota who feels a little out of place next to the others because of how weak he is. I suppose that’s the fate of being the old friend of the main character, you’re not one of the hype characters nor do you have a lot of power ups coming into play. I like to think he’ll do better soon but as it is the guy just didn’t stand out to me. I thought he was okay I guess but not too impressive in any way.

Alisa is interesting because initially I thought she was going to be one of the best characters. She has a dynamic intro where she is shredding the Aragami and shows Lenka what a real new type looks like. She has absolute confidence and even makes sure to save everyone on the plane even if it meant that she wouldn’t get out alive. So she has top notch skills while still looking out for the innocent. All right, count me in! That’s a great start for any character and she still keeps up her tough personality after that.

Unfortunately she falters once we start seeing more of her past. There is one Aragami that is stronger than all others and he takes a real pleasure in destroying humans. You can probably imagine that her family didn’t have a good time here. This traumatized Alisa to the point where she needed serious therapy. It worked for a while but unfortunately during the course of the show she relapses and from there she’s just never the same. She spends whole episodes hiding and letting everyone get eaten around her because she can’t move. It lasts for way too long and it’s always just sad to see everyone dying when a character could have prevented it.

If Alisa had been able to help at all in the village then things would have been over really quick. A single new type is a game changer in any battle so having her off the board like that was unfortunate. I’ll give her some credit for not going too far in the end and being able to resist her brainwashing and trauma. Alisa does eventually get over it all but it just takes way too long and it did hurt her character a lot. It shouldn’t be an issue for a sequel but at least in this season she dropped hard from temporarily being around the top.

Back at the base you also have Tsubaki who is head of operations. She is also doing her best to look into the darkness plaguing the world but I tend to disagree with most of her decisions. While she does have a tough job of trying to balance being careful with going on the attack, she is too quick to give up and let the areas plunge into chaos. She should have just let Lenka jump in each time. Sure, he’s untrained but you have to take a risk to save a lot of lives right? Even if he did die, the risk would have been worth it because everyone would have died otherwise.

Then you have Johannes who has a big role in both stories. In the past he is the head researcher studying this Aragami threat and the origins of how that appeared. He ends up hiding some research and acting shady but everyone is shady here. In the present he is the head of Fenrir so you can directly blame him for some of their policies like not letting any nonpowered individuals in. The guy is incredibly shady and you always have to wonder if he is really a hero or a villain. I’ll talk more about this later on.

There are some parts of the show where you feel like they are missing something from the game though. For example, we see that Lenka can boost his speed somehow and presumably this is a feature from the God Arc weapon he wields. How come he only uses it once or twice in the whole season? It would be really helpful in a combat scenario. In fact, he should be able to absolutely crush the Aragami with this but ends up getting wrecked by basic types early on. Soma has that cool energy attack I mentioned, why don’t the other characters have something like that? I bet every character has a super attack in the game so I’m wondering why they aren’t here. Either way I think the show could have gone more into detail on how the powers work.

Getting some exposition and lore is good in cases like this. They went more into detail on how the Aragami work inside the weapons at least which is good. I thought that was a very interesting idea and as we saw it in action, it was an effective one as well. I dare say the heroes should use them right off the bat instead of waiting towards the end. Seems like it’s a one hit KO in most instances so why not use it sooner right? Would save the team a lot of heartache that’s for sure.

Okay time for some spoilers so skip this paragraph and the next 2 if you haven’t seen the show yet. You’ve been warned so proceed at your own peril. Lets gooooooo. Begin Spoilers So near the end of the show we find out that the Aragami can’t be destroyed because they are produced from the very planet. Meaning no matter how many you destroy, they will keep on coming endlessly. The members who have found this out either retired in despair or left the combat role. It’s hard to find out that your efforts seem to be completely futile. As a result there are a few different plans here on how to deal with it. The first is to build an arc. It will take hundreds of thousands of monster cores but in a few decades this goal may be achievable. Humanity will be able to move in there and be protected from monsters forever because none can break through it.

That’s the idea but you should be very skeptical about that. No dome is unbreakable and we see some really powerful monsters in this series. It feels unlikely that this would work and Johannes agrees with this. So his idea is he believes that the monsters are some kind of way the universe keeps the balance. The monsters will destroy the planet and reset everything. So his plan is to get a bunch of people into space and then blow up the Earth himself to speed up the process. The obvious downside here is that the rocket can’t carry everyone so a whole lot of people will be left behind to die by the monsters or get blown up by Fenrir. So it’s a plan that has a better chance of success than the dome but it is also giving up in a sense. He also went full villain by the end with how he’s intentionally sabotaging the characters and undermining their efforts. When you’re trying to injure some of your best fighters, you have to wonder at what point you’re just helping the Aragami out. You need someone to guard and launch the rocket right? I think he needs to think this through a bit more.

Finally, the rival doctor’s plan is to have humans coexist with the Aragami. He figures if they keep on evolving then it will be possible to coexist. We already have one case where the monster evolved enough to develop emotions and feelings. Of course the downside is that this monster ended up turning evil as he enjoyed all of the negative emotions. This plan feels really far fetched. Imagine if this guy is actually intentionally evolving monster and we find out that he created the big one? That will cause a lot of drama within the ranks for sure. We don’t yet know what route Lenka will take but I think he would lean towards the dome. That said, he may not be able to see it since his death is being accelerated. I feel like the ending ends up confirming that he has surpassed the illness and won’t die anymore but it is open to interpretation for sure. End Spoilers

By the end of the series you probably won’t like Fenrir though. As with many titles involving the end of the world against a common threat, the lone government group left is as corrupt as can be. Seraph of the End, Attack on Titan, Resident Evil, etc. This is how it always happens and God Eater is no exception. As mentioned before, Fenrir doesn’t even let you go within the walls unless you are compatible with a God Arc or have family who are. Everyone else is left outside to fend for themselves against the monsters.

Now, we do have several instances of monsters getting within the borders anyway (As early as episode 1) so maybe there’s not a huge difference but it does make the group come off as cold. On a practical sense you can see how they can’t possibly house everyone but at least try to do more against these monsters right? Provide some support or slowly keep on extending the walls to get more people in. It is a little idealistic and since I was with Ironwood to an extent in RWBY I should be with Fenrir right? The difference is that Ironwood’s plan actually seems to have a chance and isn’t actively sacrificing everyone while Fenrir seems to just be delaying the inevitable by locking people outside. Surely you could come up with more weapons or ways for the outsiders to fight. At least give them mechs and some better guns to work with. It’s why I was glad that Lindow and Lenka helped out.

Finally, I’ve mentioned him a few times but Pita is the big monster who gets a lot of hype here. The guy is evolved to an extremely high level and has no problems slaughtering both humans and Aragami. It makes him a real mystery as well as for why he enjoys murdering people so much. The monster toys with his prey and also has a good memory as he remembers his victims. The show really makes sure that you know this guy is a threat. Even if there was just one more of him then I don’t think the heroes would have a chance. It took everything they had to just take one on. There are other fighters around the world but it doesn’t seem like there are a ton of them and even with reinforcements it wouldn’t change a lot since most would be taken down in an instant.

While I did think some aspects should have explored more, I do want to say the writing was still pretty solid. When the show wasn’t going for max edge, it did take time to really establish each character’s personalities, motivations, and why they are here. There are a few different factions running around and you get just enough details to keep you interested while also making you feel like you want to know more about what’s going on. The dialogue between the characters is also strong as they wrestle with the situation they’re in and discuss things like what they could have done differently. In each case where Lenka had to fight without a God Arc, I agreed with him that he had to do something. Abandoning others because you didn’t have the right equipment just won’t fly.

Overall, God Eater is a series with a very interesting world and a whole lot of world building. There’s a lot going on here and a whole lot to discuss and theorize. It’s the kind of title where you will leave with a lot of questions and the ending has so many sudden twists and cliffhangers that you’re ready for season 2. Whether the sequel could capitalize on that is another question. The game had several sequels but it looks like the show may not get there. That’s why it’s too bad they couldn’t just tone down the darker aspects. A lot of times the shows with the most interesting premises are the ones that jump off the deep end like Attack on Titan, Fate Zero, and a bunch of others. The dark atmosphere plays a part in why these get so interesting but you can absolutely keep that without all of the extra content. Madoka Magica certainly pulled that off, Digimon Tamers got rather dark at times and there are more as you go down the list. Madoka would be my top recommendation if you’re looking for a show where things get dark and the heroes seem to be up against impossible odds.

Overall 3/10

The Last Wave Review

The Last Wave is certainly a strange film. It doesn’t mind lingering on a shot of the sky or an empty house for a little while. There’s always a mysterious humming tune playing and so this helps to keep you off balance the whole time as you don’t know exactly how this is going to play out. It’s all just a little too dragged out though which hurts the film’s momentum.

The movie starts with a powerful hail storm striking a school and knocking one of the kids for a loop. We then see a bunch of guys at a bar and things get out of control when one guy gets drunk and then ultimately drowns. The group at the scene of the crime are taken in on the charge of murder. This leads us to our tax expert named David who is picked as their lawyer for some reason. Seems kind of random but David never turns down an assignment. He tries to make a connection with the main guy named Chris but he’s super vague. Chris also brings in his mentor Charlie who is also quite mysterious.

These two are from a tribe with supernatural customs including a bone that you could point at someone to make them die instantly. David’s best chance is if he can prove that they murdered the guy in this supernatural fashion and since that would be considered tribal law, the group could get off as being innocent. Unfortunately proving tribal law will be difficult especially since Chris and the others won’t play ball for some reason. Why are they keeping so many secrets and why is David starting to have a lot of visions? The whole thing feels rather strange so he is going to have to find answers for that.

From there we get a lot of scenes with David thinking or wondering what’s going on. Naturally the people around him either start to think that he’s crazy or making a mistake. His wife isn’t thrilled about this as Charlie even appears outside of the house in the dead of night and really spooks her. She didn’t exactly sign up for this but props to David for confronting Charlie the next day.

Unfortunately he doesn’t really get any answers out of him. Charlie just spams the “Who are you?” card over and over again. David has a partner who also thinks this is insane and that David should stop trying so hard. The case looks open and shut so there might not be anything he can do, especially when his own clients refuse to help out and seem to be on some kind of order of silence. More tribal law perhaps?

Throughout the film weird things are happening with the weather too. You have black rain falling from the sky which people claim to be pollution but it seems weirder than that. For example, it only starts falling in a small area as opposed to falling everywhere. It’s a bit hard to explain that. One thing that also helps David start to believe that are his visions where he starts seeing things that he shouldn’t even know about.

There’s a court scene in the movie which is fun as David tries to present supernatural evidence. The court actually considers it far more than you would typically expect. It definitely makes for a surreal scene as is the rest of the movie. While I’m skeptical that things would play out like this…at all. It still made for a fun moment as I always like to get a court scene thrown in.

While the movie is mainly focused on being super strange and doesn’t jump into the realm of action too much, the climax suddenly gets a little intense. We get a little wrestling as David turns into Indiana Jones and really investigates the cave. The whole thing turns into a bit of a conspiracy you could say as the tunnels go throughout the city. This leads into a pretty solid ending. You can take the ending in a few different ways but I consider it to be “Game Over”. There’s no coming back from this and in a way the futility of David’s whole adventure hits him all at once here. It’s like he never stood a chance.

The most annoying character in the film has to be Chris though. David’s trying to help him and the guy remains cryptic and completely unhelpful for the entirety of the film. You’d think that he would step up at least once, but no he never does. Even by the end he just ditches the main character because it got too dangerous. Then you have Charlie who seems completely insane. That could make for a good villain but he’s not good at using his abilities at all and just appears to be completely ineffective in the climax. Surely with his abilities he could do much better than how he performed here.

The Last Wave does a good job of being strange but where it loses me is in how long it’s got to be. We’ll have a conversation with David and Chris that takes eons as they have to have a dramatic pause at the end of each word and then just stare waiting for the other person to slowly have a response. These artificial delays occur for every conversation in the film involving Chris and the other characters. A random scene like the bathtub overflowing will take several minutes as David slowly walks up the steps and ponders his life as he turns it off.

So that does bring the whole eerie feel of the movie across but it also means that the pacing is simply dreadful. The events take too long to happen which hurts the replay value and even the experience of making it to the end. If you cut out how long some of these scenes were then this would easily jump up a point or two. Maybe if the payoff was even bigger then this would have gotten another point that way as well. There’s a lot to interest you here but it just takes too long to get there.

Overall, The Last Wave is a film that’s right in the middle. It’s far too drawn out to be good but there’s enough interesting angles here where it’s not bad. If you want a film that’s very original and off the normal path then this is the one to check out. It is difficult to make a film this strange without being nonsensical or making big mistakes so the film deserves some credit there. The ending is also very memorable so you aren’t likely to forget it anytime soon.

Overall 5/10

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Review

It’s definitely good to be in an age where all the big anime films get to go to theaters now. It’s nice having that complete experience there and the audience was pretty engaged throughout the experience. Seemed like a mix of people who knew the future events and anime onlies. There was certainly one guy the whole time who thought Maki was quite mean and well, she is rather aggressive with the main character for a while but she mellows out by the end. All in all Kaisen’s definitely a great film and I look forward to seeing how the next one stacks up.

The movie starts by introducing us to Yuta Okkotsu. If you saw season 1 of the show you’ll likely remember him getting a lot of hype throughout. He hasn’t gotten to appear yet but the others mention him as being a big threat so you get to see how he made it there. As a kid Yuta became engaged to his best friend Rika. Unfortunately she was hit by a car and died almost immediately afterwards but their connection was so strong that a curse came between them and now Rika lives on eternally as Yuta’s protector. Any who would dare stand in his way will get obliterated by her. This has depressed Yuta to the point of being suicidal but then he is contacted by Gojo, the strongest sorcerer of the human world.

He takes Yuta to Jujutsu High where he will become a sorcerer. He joins the first years Maki, Panda, and Toge. Yuta may not be strong on his own yet but his cursed spirit Rika is incredibly powerful to the point where Yuta is considered to be a special grade fighter. Unfortunately this has also caught the attention of the evil sorcerer Geto. Can Yuta stay alive long enough to master his abilities and free the curse on Rika so that she can be free or will he be defeated and the modern timeline isn’t what we think?

The movie moves at a fairly quick pace. Yuta appears and gets recruited within a few minutes. Then you have the origin story with Rika thrown in very quickly and more details are spread in throughout the movie. We get several missions so you could see as Yuta improves his abilities. There is a little time skip near the end so we don’t get to see the exact point Yuta goes from being a decent member of the team to a super powerful one but it helps make the final battle more intense. When Yuta suddenly shows up with all kinds of new abilities and techniques, you can tell that he’s been training very hard.

It’s also nice seeing Yuta in the younger days here. He almost feels like a completely different character from the Yuta I’m used to. He’s more like your classic Shonen lead here even if he might seem to have a bit more of a subtle edge than others. He was quick to volunteer to destroy Maki’s clan along with her and it shows how he values his friends above all else. I like Yuta in all of his appearances so far so he’s a character with a lot of range. He may start off as timid but ultimately he still steps up to do the right thing when it counts.

He is also a quick learner and doesn’t shrink away from combat. The way he handles Rika is also part of what makes him a great character. He never goes through a phase where he is afraid of Rika or blames her for everything. Even when he’s upset he just blames himself and never tries to make this appear to be her fault. It was a mature way of handling things since Rika was just doing her best to help him. Perhaps it was not in quite the way he was hoping since she could be quite violent but she is a cursed spirit at this point so it’s likely not easy to hold herself back.

While we don’t get to see the human Rika much, she was definitely a very solid character. She is extremely loyal as evidenced by her cursed spirit form and always had Yuta’s back. She really helped to make things as easy as possible on Yuta and I appreciate that she stood up to the bullies. Yeah it felt a little hard to believe that her first 3 victims survived the attack. I suspect this was a way to make sure that Rika never turned too close to the dark side but the way we saw their bodies mangled and the amount of blood that they lost….I don’t see how they could have possibly survived. Well, good on Rika I suppose.

As always Gojo is a very fun character here as well. When you have a character this powerful you do have to suspend a little disbelief for how he doesn’t just obliterate everyone. It feels like he could have dismantled his opponent and kept on going unless he has grown exponentially stronger in the year after this prequel takes place. You could say that he’s sandbagging a little as well but from how the movie’s story went you feel like he would want to be there in the climax.

Either way he’s definitely a fun character as always. I liked that he made it clear to the elders that he would protect Yuta if they tried to murder him. He’s always been the kind of guy who stands against corruption and that’s what I like to see. As you’d expect with a film like this there is a really big climax so you get a ton of guest stars and cameos from the rest of the Kaisen verse. It was nice seeing Todo and the crew as well as all of the pros. They may not get to be here a lot but they all get to use their signature attacks which is fun. I always enjoy seeing everyone come together for the climax for some action.

Of course the biggest roles go to Yuta’s teammates so lets talk about them. Maki gets a large role as she is teamed up with Yuta in the first mission and they get to hang out a bit. She has her own baggage which is touched upon in this film a little bit. As a result Maki’s gotten to be rather aggressive and always picking fights since she feels the need to prove herself. I tend to like this character type and Maki does well here. Ultimately her fighting style means the character would likely be limited against stronger opponents but she still does her best to fight back and also helps to improve Yuta’s close combat skills quite a lot.

Panda probably gets the smallest role out of the 3 but he gets to have the longest fight against Geto which helps to even that out. He really did well all things considered and was able to move quickly enough to hit Geto while also repelling the spirits. That’s not an easy thing to do. His fans should definitely pleased with his role. Then you have Toge who does his best to try and get Yuta to fit in. The fact that he can’t really talk at all for fear of using his abilities makes this a bit difficult though.

I’ve always had a major problem with Toge’s abilities before and the movie doesn’t change that. Just using a single word causes him to be in absolutely terrible condition. With the throat medicine he can do a little better but when your ability’s drawback is that huge it just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s a great ability but I think they should give him enough durability to be able to use it a few more times. It would definitely make his technique a lot more dangerous.

Then we have the main villain Geto. The villain has some depth to him as his goals are quite grand but in the meantime he keeps up a good front so he is able to earn a lot of money. A lot of the times it feels like the villain wouldn’t bother putting up a front even though it would cost him a lot in the long run. So it was a good way to show that Geto was quite smart and wouldn’t be falling for those kind of traps. It’s also impressive that he can fight from both long and short range. Not just any kind of opponent can do that.

So I liked him quite a bit. He makes for a memorable villain. He also has a whole team of villains with him for the attack but there isn’t enough time for any of them to get a lot to do. They seemed interesting enough and I’ll give the author credit for giving them all distinct designs and character designs. There’s just no way to give them enough to do to make them really memorable without stretching the film out another 30 minutes or so. Of course I would definitely be cool with that but I can see how it wouldn’t be needed.

The soundtrack is excellent as expected. You get a few new lyrical songs here and a lot of solid tunes. They really help to enhance the scenes and you can feel the danger in every moment. As I mentioned earlier, the pacing here is fairly quick and the music’s always moving quickly as a result too. It doesn’t mean there is a fight scene every moment of course and the big fights tend to be in the second half but there’s always something going on and any time you think it’s about time for another action scene to pop up, it does.

As always Mappa delivers with the animation as well. The action scenes are really good and the hand to hand (Or rather blade to blade) fights are extremely fast and savage. The choreography is excellent and you can feel the power behind the hits. These are the kinds of fights that you figure will age well forever. Even 20 years from now you won’t be able to deny that these are great fight scenes. Not surprisingly my favorite battle is the one between Geto and Yuta. It’s a fight that the film builds up for a while so you know it’ll be good but even with the time skip you may not be prepared for quite how good Yuta is.

The action can get intense but I wouldn’t say the film is too violent. The most disturbing scene is likely when one guy’s head is stretched apart by demons. That one was definitely a gruesome way to die but for the most part the attacks are limited to the combatants or aren’t too intense like that. So I wouldn’t say there’s anything extra to worry about beyond the usual action you would expect to see here.

The movie has its share of humor which lands well. The characters tend to have rather crazy facial expressions whenever Gojo mentions something out of the blue or is messing with them. The chibi effects are used well and since Yuta is out of the loop on everything, he tends to have some good reactions. It never gets excessive so it’s just enough to keep that nice balance. The writing is also really solid. Outside of the Gojo power level moment I wouldn’t say I had any other big items to mention. Even the romance here with Yuta and Rika was decent enough. I’m usually not all for the romances in films but this one was executed well. No drama, rebounds, or any crazyness here. Just two good friends who hit it off and their bond even surpassed death.

I guess on the power levels part I’d give a small mention to Gojo just letting Geto run out in the first place when he shows up with the crew. (All roads go through Gojo I suppose) I think with his speed and ability Gojo could have saved the hostages and stopped Geto. Again I guess that’s just what happens when you have someone as impressively powerful as Gojo. You expect him to solve everything when he’s around.

Now the film does have an after credits scene which is great since you should always have that. I think I would have picked something a little more exciting as the final scene to be honest but it’s nice enough. It’s more of a happy scene to confirm some characters in the present. Won’t say much more than that to keep you in the dark about it, but as always that means you should stay past the credits.

Finally the question you’ve been wondering. Would Yuta in this film be able to defeat Yuji from the TV Show? If you include Rika then I would say Yuta wins without question. It’s hard to see Yuji being able to defend himself from a two pronged attack like this. If Rika is out of the picture then Yuji wins because he’s just a better street brawler and has more control over his black flash techniques. Rika should always be counted in a Yuta battle though so as of now the original main character wins. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was definitely a great film with a lot of replay value. The action was on point and it made for a very solid introduction to Yuta. I always like the idea of building up two main characters but not having them meet for a long time. The longer you wait, the bigger the payoff when it finally happens. It’s rare to see this though. Beyblade (Manga only), Seraph of the End, Fate/Zero, and a very few select others have done this but it’s very rare. After all, it’s tougher than it sounds to have two characters keep getting separate plots and adventures without having them tie in since you have to be careful that neither side feels rushed all the time. Kaisen’s a good example of a series doing this well as you are definitely ready for Yuta to meet Yuji. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out whether you have watched the anime or not. I would say it’s fairly friendly to newcomers as the TV show events are not really referenced so this can feel like more of a stand alone.

Overall 8/10

It! The Terror from Beyond Space Review

Whenever you see a film with a title like this, you know that it’s about to get very interesting. Aliens are always a lot of fun and with a film this old school you know that the writing will be on point as well. It’s got a very classic feel to every scene and the movie is short but still crams a lot in. Ultimately you should have a pretty good time with this one.

The film starts off with Carruthers and his crew on Mars. This was expected to be a big success but unfortunately all of the other crewmembers aboard are dead. A second spaceship is sent to retrieve him but the government believes that Carruthers murdered them all so this group is to bring him back to Earth to have him executed. Carruthers claims that some kind of monster took them out but the evidence doesn’t look good. After all, one of the crew’s skulls appears and has a bullet hole in it which certainly doesn’t sound like a creature is responsible. Carruthers quickly adds that it might have been accidental friendly fire from someone……then some members of the crew mysteriously start to vanish. Is Carruthers really insane and has started to bump everyone off or is it possible that there is an alien on the ship?

It’s not much of a mystery since the film shows you that an alien has come aboard right away but the dialogue can still be fun to see how Carruthers will get out of this. After all, even circumstantial evidence might be enough to take him down since most don’t believe there would be a whole lot of alternatives in space. If you don’t believe in aliens then odds are that you wouldn’t believe in the guy’s story. In particular, Heusen seems to have it all figured out. He gives a full speech about exactly why Carruthers bumped everyone off as he cites the lack of supplies and how this was the safest way to go. It would be tough talking him out of it although the rest of the crew tries to get him to ease up a bit.

You end up feeling bad for Carruthers the whole time because he’s just been through a very traumatic experience and having to be grilled and mistrusted after that really doesn’t make the experience any easier. It’s like he’s 100% truly alone now. I’ll give him a lot of credit for continuing to fight hard for the team and investigating the vanishings right away. He’s far more on the ball about this than any of the other characters. It takes a whole lot for them to finally get on board and see how serious this is.

There’s also a little romance started near the end but I can’t say that there was a whole lot of purpose to it. You would feel bad for Heusen if he was a nicer guy since this doesn’t bode well for him. Who’d have thought there was any chance of losing your girlfriend while on a space trip to Mars right? There isn’t a whole lot of time to dwell on this with an alien on board though even if not for a lack of trying on the guy’s part.

If the film has a weakness, it’s that the climax can be a little drawn out. At one point they figure out that they can use some fire to keep the alien at bay. So once guy stays downstairs with the fire gun while the others make some plans. This stalemate lasts for quite a while at one point. Both sides are feeling good about staying on their ends so there’s just a lot of talking about what to do. The monster is bullet proof and quite intelligent so that removes a lot of their possible options right away.

I like to think the heavier artillery might have done something but of course the first guy with the super gun has bad reaction times and allows the alien to get in close enough to bend it in half. So much for the gun right? That definitely did not go as planned but it made the guy look so bad. You have to be ready to shoot right away and not let the villain grab your gun. That’s a really easy way to get bumped off. One of the guys who goes down doesn’t even yell before being taken out. All of this is what allows the alien to stay in the game longer than he should have been.

The alien has a cool design though. It’s a little bit like the Gill Man but different so I would still call it unique. It does help further the classic “Green Martians” visual you get from those aliens which is cool. If anything this might have been one of the films to help strengthen that concept from the start. He is strong and surprisingly quick at times so this villain definitely gets to look good. It adds to the sense of danger in the film. While the climax can be a little long without a whole lot happening due to how durable the creature is, it does help to show why the crew would fear him so much.

By the end of the film it’s safe to say that nobody else will be going to Mars for a very long time. The place just isn’t safe anymore. Just one alien did a lot of damage, imagine a whole bunch of them? Space is also the last place where you want to face off against any enemies because there is just no escape. If you lose then that’s game over because you don’t have room to retreat. If anything the main characters were lucky to last as long as they did because the ship had a lot of different levels.

Overall, This was a fun film. It had good dialogue and an engaging plot. The government may have only gotten two scenes but they were both fun. The film is fairly short so you’ll knock it out quickly. This allows the alien himself to appear right away at least, I want to say he showed up within a few minutes although the first battle with the humans wasn’t for a little while after that. It’s not quite ready to top some of the other classic Alien stories but it’s a pretty good movie all the same. It also seems rare that we get an alien movie in actual outer space like this, at least back in the 50s. The effects were good though so this has aged well.

Overall 7/10

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Review

It’s really been a super long time since I’ve read the Muhyo & Roji books. I was certainly surprised when it got a show pretty much out of nowhere but I guess the fans must have been loyal here. It’s a very retro kind of title and I’d say you can even feel that from the character designs and such. I thought the manga was decently good although nowhere near the top of Jump and would be more mid-low tier compared to the average one there. the show is decent as well, not very good or anything but it makes for a good adventure watch.

The show starts by introducing us to Muhyo and Roji who have a supernatural agency where you can go in and tell them about your problems. They will help you overcome whatever supernatural menace is wrecking your life. It’s sort of like the Mob Psycho setup there. This is how the group gets to meet new characters and friends as their agency keeps on completing quests. Roji is really the assistant here as he has no talent with the supernatural and tends to get in the way. This is balanced out by his being the much more emotional one who really wants to help others. Muhyo tends to always be in a bad mood or just be sleepy. He’s one of the most skilled executors in the world so he can exorcise spirits with ease but doesn’t always find the energy to do so.

That’s effectively the pre arc here although it ends almost immediately so the show can skip right to the plot type elements. Pre arc’s fun and all but usually the story is where things get good so I can see why the show would do that. This way we get to see the main villain and a preview of things to come. Naturally as season 1 this won’t wrap up all of the plot threads but a good amount of things happen here and the heroes get their first true fight.

So first lets talk about some of the pre arc adventures and the characters that are introduced as a result of that. One of these cases involves a kid named Kenji who doesn’t buy into the supernatural. In fact his group of friends are doing a test of courage at a “haunted” temple. You just have to run up the steps and tag the house so he shows up to basically rub it in Muhyo and Roji’s face. Unfortunately they know that the danger is very real and show up to save him in the nick of time.

Kenji never quite stops being rebellious but at least now he knows about the supernatural. His role in the show is really pretty small after his opening appearance but he’s around. There’s one fun scene where we see how he broke into Muhyo and Roji’s office. As far as the kids go I didn’t really mind him.

Then you have Nana’s introduction case. She is a photographer but lately weird things are appearing in her photos like a hand or even a face that she doesn’t know. The fact that even a normal human* can see this is pretty concerning so Muhyo and Roji are on the case. It’s one of the more emotional cases here as the spook isn’t quite evil although I would say he did a very poor job of expressing that. It ties into Nana’s backstory where her father began taking fake pictures for money. This led to his eventual destruction and then as a spirit he wanted to watch out for her but eh….he just wasn’t very good at this.

Now, Muhyo mentions that as a spirit you start to lose your mind so I guess the father just couldn’t think of anything very well. The fact that he didn’t turn violent too quickly helps a bit but I don’t give him much points for willpower because it was definitely the bare minimum. Nana is a solid heroine. Unfortunately she doesn’t have any powers here so there’s not much she can do to support the characters. She’s around and is a nice person but in this kind of series I do feel like that puts you at a bit of a disadvantage right from the jump if you can’t fight at all. She also has to put up with sketchy types like Yoichi so you feel bad for her from the start.

There’s also a pre arc story with a girl whose friend fell in the train tracks and seemingly wants revenge. The friend was not a very good person from the start though as she got super jealous right from the start. I think both characters could have handled it better, but I really don’t put the fault on the main girl for trying to have a normal life. She wasn’t rude to the friend or anything but the other girl took it way too hard. At least we got a happy ending of sorts there…not super happy honestly but Muhyo does his best to make sure the punishments aren’t too bad.

I should explain about the punishments and the overall system now. So as an executor Muhyo is able to invoke different passages from his book which summon creatures to come and take down the evil spirits. These summons take up a lot of energy and if you aren’t strong enough then you will be absorbed as well. Only some have the talent to be executors which is why you don’t see everyone with books. There aren’t a whole lot of them based on what we see in season 1 and even less that are quite powerful.

Muhyo’s summon depends also in part on where he wants to send the creature. If it’s a total monster with no redeeming value then he’ll send it to hell or one of the more deadly places. If it’s a misunderstood creature that went down the wrong path then he may try to get it into purgatory or somewhere where there could be a happy ending. Beyond that the series doesn’t go very in depth with it but it’s really all that you need to know.

The only downside to this is that you can’t have very interesting action scenes in this way. The battle ends when Muhyo finishes his summon which is pretty much a one hit KO technique. There’s not much else to it so usually the action scene might be the villain blasting at him while Roji or one of the other characters block. The only true action scene I’d say is in the final episodes. That’s why I’d call this more of a supernatural adventure or case of the week kind of show. Action can be a bit misleading even though this is Shonen Jump but then you get into the arguments of chase scenes being action scenes and so all of these are action scenes. A better way to put this might be that there aren’t many fight scenes but still action scenes. All in all, I just wouldn’t use the term action to describe this one too much.

I’d prefer if the characters could fight physically since I think that would make the whole thing more engaging but I suppose it’s just not like that sometimes. As for the first main plot, well we have a brief adventure where Enchu makes his first move. He unleashes a curse that spreads through touch so everyone has a face growing on them and it’s spreading fast. Muhyo will have to hurry if he wants to solve this before the sickness goes too far. If that happens that it’s game over since the rest of the exorcist/executors aren’t very powerful.

It’s a solid adventure although one that’s over as soon as it has begun. It’s a particularly rough ride for Roji who just can’t compete at this point and slows the team down. Additionally, it’s the introduction of Yoichi who is easily the worst character in the series. All he does is harass Nana most of the time and remind the heroes why they should be beating him up. Turns out he was a childhood friend of Muhyo although they don’t really hang out anymore and I don’t blame Muhyo.

Yoichi’s a character I definitely would have liked to have seen toned down a bit here. He’s just such a bad character and I don’t think we’ve seen a character this pervy in quite a while, at least on the heroes side. If you think about it, the days of characters like Keigo, Roshi, and Jiraiya are pretty much gone. The modern Shonens don’t really go that route which is definitely a good thing and I suppose in another way that shows this title’s age a bit. So yeah the sooner Yoichi’s written out the better.

The show is fairly good about not including too much fanservice. Of course you have all the Yoichi moments of him being sketchy but beyond that there’s only one hot springs episode. It’s the worst episode in the whole bunch though because it ends with the characters actually encouraging this random guy to be a perv to finish his novels. Really? Also, Nana is okay with this and being the one watched but it’s still completely awful for every character involved. Ugh, it would have been nice if at least someone had said this was a bad idea!

The final arc is the longest one as the gang heads over to a mansion where the monsters are getting out of control. The heroes were requested to help by the young Biko who found out that one of his tags was removed. Without the tag, the spirits will get free and cause mayhem so Muhyo’s the guy for the job. The issue is that this is a whole mansion filled with evil spirits and it’s hard to exorcise more than 3 in a day without being completely drained. Making matters worse is that one of the demons is Sophie the face ripper, a being that can assume someone’s appearance after ripping their face off. Anyone in this mansion is now a suspect so they have to keep their guards up.

This is definitely the most intense arc in the season and certainly the most violent one as well. They don’t call Sophie the face ripper for no reason after all as she really goes all in on this. The show doesn’t hold back and the sound effects will probably seal the deal for you on this being a very intense moment. On the whole I wouldn’t say the show is super violent or anything but mixed in with the designs for the demons and the moments are quite striking. The series has some unique designs like the faces that appear on everyone and even chomp other people as they get close.

Sophie herself makes for a very imposing villain. Her abilities are the real deal although the only reason she wasn’t quickly sealed away is because Muhyo was busy beating up on the weaker ones first which zapped his energy. Otherwise she probably wouldn’t have lasted but you do have to use strategy to help out and so Sophie did a good job. She also took out a fair number of fighters on her own so she deserves some credit there.

We get some new characters here as well like Biko. I wasn’t a fan of Biko though. She’s one of those characters who cries quite a bit and talks tough but can’t back it up when it counts. She really gets in the heroes’ way most of the time and can’t even do much in the way of blocking. All she has are the seals which don’t always work but can’t use barriers or spells. That’s really not going to get you far here and she was just annoying most of the time.

Rio is the other big character to show up and she’s better than Biko although I can’t say that I’m a big fan either. She gets an origin story where we see how the town was awful to her. It does always make it hard to root for the city to be saved when you get an origin story like this though. Absolutely nobody defended her and that was disappointing. You’d think that there’d be someone to report this too or someone who could help out unless the city was truly corrupt all the way through like the Hidden Leaf Village. If that is the case…then yeah this place is pretty awful.

Rio went through a whole lot without a doubt but of course that can never be an excuse for going down the wrong path. What hurts Rio for now is that she’s not all in. I always say if you want to be a good villain or a good hero then you have to be all in. You can’t be on the fence or regretting your actions the whole time. Same when you make a hard call and destroy a villain or save a city instead of another one. I don’t want a scene with the character yelling in regret later or crying the whole time. You just have to own it and move on which Rio has not done yet. She is strong in a fight though so at least she will be ready for the adventures to come.

As for the other villains, Teeki gets to appear a bit but he doesn’t have any real fights yet. As Enchu’s right hand man you have to assume that his role will only get bigger. I can see why he was upset at Enchu for not letting him finish off Muhyo though. This was the perfect chance to get the heroes out of their hair once and for all but of course it wasn’t quite the right time for Enchu.

Enchu is the main villain of the series and certainly makes some moves in this season. We see that he was rather unbalanced from the start as the pressure to be the Executor was too much for him. His mother was super sick as well so he really needed the position to get higher up, more money, and more connections. Unfortunately for him it just wasn’t to be and so he basically went crazy. He went crazy so fast though that it does seem like he would have turned evil at some point. For now he’s not a great villain or anything as I’ll need to see some better motivations than a quick revenge here. I would argue that Rio’s backstory was a lot sadder than his at this point in time.

Finally we have the main characters. First up is Roji who isn’t very talented but tries his best. He’s a very earnest character who means well so he’s not bad. You wish he could improve a little quicker though as he spends most of the season getting in the way the whole time. He finally learns how to make some basic barriers in the climax though so that should follow him through into season 2. As a comic relief character Roji also works well. From the duo I much prefer Muhyo but Roji holds his own as the partner.

Finally there’s Muhyo and while his attacks may not have a lot of variety, they get the job done so it’s hard to argue with the results. When you need a demon/spirit taken down then you can always count on Muhyo to accomplish this. He may be grouchy a lot but that only serves to make the character more entertaining. His weakness of losing stamina so quickly is a big one but since it’s built into the universe it isn’t like that’s a weakness exclusive to him either. The duo have a good working relationship going with solid banter so that’s good.

In short, Muhyo & Roji’s a fun adventure. It doesn’t really feel like your average Shonen Jump adventure either since there’s less big fights and it’s more focused on the supernatural elements but that does help it stand out. The character cast isn’t great and like the manga there aren’t any super strong aspects of the series that would have me put it at the next level but it does enough to stay in the green.

The animation is good. It’s nothing particularly noteworthy but the animation is smooth and there’s a lot of good movement here. It’s the definition of average for me. You can tell that it’s a modern show and things get a little flashy during the climax so it serves its purpose. The designs look intense in motion and I like the effects for the summons (Although the recycled animation each time is a bit much) and barriers as well. The soundtrack didn’t have any real memorable themes though. The opening wasn’t great either but it’s not bad.

Overall, I guess that described a lot of the show. It’s certainly not bad but everything is just good enough to keep it that way without going further. We’ll see if season 2 is able to improve on this. Still, if you like the supernatural and dealing with spirits/demons then this is a show you could have some fun with. At the end of the day as long as you can have a fun time watching the show then it’s worth checking out. Especially since it’s only 1 cour for the season so it’s not like it’ll take you all that long to check out.

Overall 6/10

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Battle of Kimluck Review

It’s time to take a look at Orphen season 2, not to be mixed up with the season 2 to the original show. This one delves into the Kimluck battles and I’m always still curious at how the novels played things out. The events in this show compared to the first one are just so massively different on every level that it’s pretty interesting. I am glad that Azalie gets more to do in this version though as she is easily one of the standout characters. It’s a fun show but considerably weaker than the first one mainly due to some slow pacing with new characters that you’ll find it hard to care about and Orphen’s main plot being a little hard to buy into.

So the gang are finally arriving at Kimluck. This is a place that is incredibly dangerous for sorcerers aside from those who are already within the kingdom but Orphen has to go there anyway. Azalie was interested in the place and that’s the best lead that he’s got. Plus, he’s Orphen, what can these guys do to him? Well, he’s about to walk into a situation that’s much bigger than he was expecting as there are some mysteries involving the origins of the dragons, the origins of the sorcerers, and even the legendary sword from season 1. It turns out that pretty much everything has roots within Kimluck and Orphen won’t be able to use his true powers anymore after being traumatized during a fight with one of the villains. Can he escape these tunnels alive?

The heroes are stuck in the tunnels for quite a bit after being betrayed by one of the locals. Of course Orphen did say they couldn’t trust anyone here but the gang ends up following their lead anyway so the warning pretty much didn’t matter. At the end of the day I suppose if they want to find the secrets of this place it’s not like they have a whole lot of say in the matter anyway. This leads into the weakest aspect of the film though.

See, the characters are stuck in this underground passageway where the water could come flooding in at any point. This means they can’t really blast their way out or it could cause a cave in. Usually Orphen could at least try some kind of spell but here’s the kicker. So Orphen murdered this one guy who was in his way because he used too much power accidentally. Orphen blames himself because even in the life or death situation he thinks he should have been able to hold back and just knock the guy out.

I have a lot of issues with this, one of which being that this guy was trying to murder Orphen and had a bunch of steroids so he was moving very fast. Orphen was nearly the one who died there. Even beyond that, Orphen doesn’t strike me as someone who would be traumatized so easily like that. In this world magic is based on your emotions so while he is in a fragile state like this there isn’t a whole lot that he can do. I find it hard to buy into personally. It’s also to such an exaggerated level where he is down in the dumps for almost the whole season from that point.

It’s a shame because Orphen’s usually a lot of fun for being such a confident main character. He’ll talk back to anyone and fight with the best of them. We don’t get to see that version of Orphen for very long here. So I can safely say that the murder guilt plot was just bad. It doesn’t help to enhance the story in any way and instead only serves to hold it back. If you had to do this kind of plot then I think it needed to be a bystander. For example, Orphen didn’t hold back enough and his attack murdered an onlooker or something. That would make a whole lot more sense for why this incident would break Orphen.

Okay so that plot wasn’t great but the show does have a fantastic climax. Azalie’s always a lot of fun like I mentioned before because she’s the tough rival for Orphen. Their relationship is a bit different than the average rival one though as she was also a mentor to him. He doesn’t even know what her true goals are here but she tends to find herself in dangerous spots most of the time. While he did beat her that one time, she is always portrayed as being far more skilled than he is.

This also seems to be the case in the climax as we finally get to see them team up against Quo. Now granted, Orphen is nerfed for the whole guilt thing from before but Azalie is definitely doing the heavy lifting here. The magic fight is a lot of fun because we don’t always get to see these large scale battles in Orphen. The series typically ends up being more about adventure and world building which are both good as well of course but sometimes you just want that big fight to end things off with and the show manages to deliver on that.

The final fight has some super forms and a lot of strategy as well. Quo’s battle style is rather fun as he has a solid defense and offense but isn’t really able to use them at the same time. In that respect it’ll remind you of a video game as the characters have to try and hit him with perfect timing before he resets. There’s also a very memorable part near the end where he pulls out a gun. It’s always very impressive when the villain just pulls out a gun in any kind of show where there are super powers because you just wonder how useful it can possibly be. Well, it comes in clutch here that’s for sure.

In general I thought Quo was a rather fun villain. At first he is more of a minion who just takes orders so he didn’t stand out but he finally realizes that the whole thing is nonsense and makes a move later on. With his level of abilities it makes sense not to just meekly follow orders and the leader did seem rather crazy with how he would murder off his subordinates for no real reason. Quo at least tried to have an honor code and thought he was doing the right thing. Throw in his super forms and he may be the most memorable Orphen villain aside from the clone doll in season 1 or Azalie if she still counts.

Salua is a returning character from season 1 but he definitely does not look very good here. So he was taken down off screen by the Kimluck church and the best you can say for him is that he never talked no matter how much they interrogated him. I’ll give him credit for that but that’s about it. Considering that he was a death instructor who gave Orphen a tough fight in season 1, he’s treated like fodder in this season. He gets wrecked in every fight and just can’t seem to hold his own against everyone. He constantly looks to Orphen for help which tells me that he doesn’t have a ton of confidence in his own abilities either. It’s like without his special sword he’s not as tough as he once was.

In this verse the power levels don’t go too high yet so I get that he has limits but he does not look impressive in the slightest. Volcan and Dortin don’t get a big role in this season but I was cool with that. They’re the comic relief characters who will have a fun scene once in a while but usually don’t really do anything to enhance the scene. They just slow it down and you wait for them to go away. They’re traveling with Azalie for most of the season which is a change of pace but even then they don’t do anything.

Cleao’s role isn’t huge as the main heroine either but she still manages to be helpful quite a few times. It really helps that she has Leki (I always think she’s calling him “Lucky” though) around since that little dragon type creature can take almost anyone out. It’s not always a get out of jail free card but it does work quite a bit. Cleao also isn’t opposed to getting into the field and trying to swing at the enemy either. She has a lot more energy than you would expect and so she’s a lot of fun.

Definitely a big improvement over Majic who I’m still not sold on. He at least tries to fight in Orphen’s place at times here while Orphen is unable to deal any damage. That said, he’s still ineffective at almost all points so it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of improvement there. For every step forward he takes, he seems to fall backwards almost immediately. I look forward to the days when he becomes someone that can be counted on.

Childman’s dead by the time season 2 pops around but he still gets a whole lot of hype. For example he is the only sorcerer to ever break into Kimluck and then escape with his life. We also get a flashback where he is the chosen one able to meet the god who broke away from the other gods to deliver the power of the dragons. The guy really got around so in a way it’s too bad that he couldn’t have fought more in the present before being taken down. I’d have liked to have seen more of his skills.

For example, could Orphen really beat him in a fair fight? It seems like the answer to that may be a no. At least Orphen still has the cool title of being the Razor’s Edge. It’s brought up constantly and I do like it as a title. It’s just got some gravity behind it and makes him really sound like a tough customer. I am still a big fan of Orphen so when he’s not down in the dumps he is usually coming up with some good lines or solid fight scenes.

Madchen is one of the main new characters here. She fights for the resistance and opposes the will of Kimluck. Naturally this means that her whole squad is murdered in the opening episode and she spends the rest of the show getting styled on by all of the villains. In particular the worst appearance for her is when she tries to assassinate Carlotta who is asleep in bed but fails. Of course we learn that Carlotta was awake and would have easily bested Carlotta but it doesn’t help Madchen’s hype. Really the issue for Madchen is that she’s a normal human with a sword who has no magical enhancements. That is really not going to take you far in this kind of show. At least she is on the right side so maybe one day she will get a power up.

Carlotta’s an interesting villain but it’s hard to say exactly what she is thinking. She enjoys being a villain for sure but is quick to walk out on the main villain when the tides turn. She’s just looking after herself but you have to assume she may lose her wealth if she isn’t careful about being so openly rebellious. I’d like to see more of her because there is some potential here but I get the feeling she won’t be returning as the heroes leave Kimluck for good.

Then we have the Pope who is at the head of this and there’s an interesting twist about him. He’s not just some old guy in the chair but can actually fight. The doll in that place may or may not even be the real guy although I like the idea that it is. It’s hard to get a read on him. At first glance he seems like some insane villain who isn’t planning for the long game but maybe there’s more to him. He’s still more interesting than Name who is the villain that only exists to traumatize Orphen.

Name starts rambling on about the Church of Kimluck and trying to be of use to the place. The guy is completely brainwashed by the church to the point where he fills himself with steroids so that he’ll die but is fine with it. He even starts questioning Orphen’s resolve and messing with his mind. I would have liked if Orphen had just laughed all of this off but unfortunately he takes it pretty hard the whole time. The guy is surprisingly skilled so he does last quite a bit. I’ll at least acknowledge that he is powerful considering that the guy’s only human. Those drugs really did the trick.

There’s not much more to say about Azalie as I already explained why she’s so much fun. She has Orphen’s confidence but with an even higher level of skill. She’s always mysterious about her intentions but at the end of the day she still does help Orphen out when he’s in trouble. Azalie’s like an anti-hero in that sense as she is quietly helping Orphen out at every turn. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is leading him somewhere or has some kind of grand plan in the end but we would probably need more seasons for that and I’m not sure what the odds would be on this getting a season 3.

As for the plot with the gods, it is interesting in concept but right now it’s hard to care too much. The series tries a lot of worldbuilding throughout but I’d say it’s just not all really connecting quite yet. We have dragons, gods, humans, sorcerers, and they all mix together with the origins. It seems like it’s possible that the other gods may intervene at some point but what would that really do with the plot? Who knows so we’ll just have to wait. It was impressive that the girl behind the door survived being choked by a god for many years but since they were partially in the other dimension and partially in the real world, I guess this was due to being between realms. I have to say that being choked for years sounds like a pretty awful experience though.

So if they want the gods and dragons (Or they may even be the same thing with how regal the dragons here are. It’s like they’re an elevated life form) to be relevant then I really need season 3 to make this more of a focus. With Sorcerers effectively being humans who have some of the dragon blood within them, I wonder if that means we could get some super forms in the future. I’d definitely be down with that. For the animation, the show looks pretty solid as you’d expect. I liked how vibrant everything was in season 1 and that continues here. I would say it looks just as good and while most of the show is pretty low key so the animators don’t get to show off, the climax is able to go all out.

As for the soundtrack, there aren’t any real new themes that I can remember but it was decent. None of the tracks really stand out in particular. The ending is decent enough and the opening’s good. I wonder if it’s some kind of remix because the opening sounds like one I’ve heard many years ago but it could just be that it’s the same band or something. The visuals in the opening are a lot of fun though and while it may make you think that the show is more action packed than it is, it certainly serves its purpose of getting you hyped to see what’s coming up next.

While the middle of the show may not be the strongest, ultimately Orphen is able to continue to be solid because it did have a strong start and ending. The intro where Orphen shows up to save Madchen and fight off the dolls was a good way to start things off and I already talked about the climax. The show also makes for a pretty easy watch because it’s an upbeat fantasy adventure. I’d also say there is a good amount of replay value for the title as a whole because the writing and banter are good. So while this didn’t match season 1, I would be pretty hyped for a season 3 if we ever get that.

Overall, Battle of Kimluck doesn’t ultimately end up matching up to season 1. Mainly I’d say this is due to the Orphen guilt plot and the underground episodes just not being very exciting. I want to say that way more happened in season 1 than 2 and maybe that’s partially because it was pre arc but the pacing was always on point. Season 2 can be more of a slow boil leading up to the final fight. It’s still a good show though. The writing is on point and I do like the character cast as a whole. The graphics are good and the music is solid enough so that has all of the makings of a good show. It doesn’t make any big mistakes either and will leave you hyped for season 3 to see what Azalie is going to do next and what all of this lore is leading up to. If you want a good fantasy watch then this is up your alley.

Overall 7/10

Yugen’s All-Ghouls Homeroom Review

It’s time to look at a one shot in Shonen Jump from a while back. The idea of supernatural exorcists is nothing new but very few have used a school setting like this. Depending on when it came out I wonder if it was trying to capitalize on the success of Assassination Classroom. Well, either way this experiment didn’t really work. The title has potential and solid art but ultimately this did not work out. The main character hurts this series quite massively.

The story starts off with someone asking Yugen to help him with a supernatural situation. He agrees and then we never go back to that plot so it was a completely pointless opening page. The story really starts on page 2 as we’re introduced to Mishiro who is super excited to be a teacher at a very prestigious academy. She will be teaching a year 2 course and it ready to uphold the school name. Unfortunately one student named Saeri has not been feeling very well lately. She has become withdrawn in her house and refuses to go outside. This is bad news for the school.

See, the school is known as a perfect finishing school for young ladies and prides itself on a 100% success rate. They’ve never had a troubled student drop out or anything like that. They’re so desperate that they call in a local counselor who just so happens to be Yugen. Mishiro doesn’t like this because Yugen immediately sets a bad impression as he does not dress professionally and flirts with everyone. Can she keep him under control long enough to help Saeri or is this game over for all of them?

I can see what they are going for with Yugen (As the title throws this in your face throughout the one shot) but it doesn’t work. See, as an exorcist Yugen is completely oblivious to a person’s outside appearance. It’s why he falls for those who are much older and much younger than he is. He looks only to the soul and his goal in life is to one day find a wife. By the end even the main heroine starts to get on his side for that reason which is certainly cheesy and sudden but this is a one shot.

You can’t make a good main character like this though. The flirting kind of character is one I usually dislike and Yugen is no exception. He should be taking his job more seriously and not be flirting while on the clock. Naturally it turns out that he is a genius, but even so that doesn’t excuse him here. He’s easily the worst character in the one shot and since he is going to end up being the main focus, that’s a really bad sign for any future potential here. If you were going to do this kind of trait then the only way it could have worked would have been to make him a high schooler as well. He could just be a teacher because of what a genius he is. That would make the plot of him flirting with students not so bad and you could still have him irritate the other teachers. Of course then you can’t have a possible romance with the teacher but that shouldn’t be here anyway.

In this one shot Yugen quickly takes down the spirit possessing Saeri easily enough. It reminds me of Muhyo and Roji where it’s not really a fight so much as Yugen just pointing at the enemy and taking it down. I assume this would likely change as the series went on but I suppose that isn’t a guarantee. I’m not really sure at this point if the series would have turned into a full action or just been more of an adventure title as each kid has their own issues.

The artwork isn’t bad. The designs are suitably creepy and ominous for this kind of title. It doesn’t look like a brand new kind of series which makes sense since the artist is experienced. I do hope that whenever a spirit is exorcised this isn’t just an excuse for fanservice here as the soul ends up appearing each time. The one shot was fairly reserved so I won’t take that as a point against it for now.

As for the other characters, well Mishiro seems reasonable enough. You can tell her dynamic will be about calling Yugen out every time but always being surprised as his antics end up turning things for the better. Ideally she will be able to do more than that as the series goes on. Then you have Saeri who is the victim here so we don’t get to see her full character much. She seems nice enough though and now that she has learned to break the rules (The moral of the story here) she should be able to keep other spirits from possessing her.

Naturally the one shot does end with a big cliffhanger as more spirits attack and the students are going to be in a tough situation now. At the end everyone’s missing which seems to include Saeri. If that is the case then she is supremely unlucky to have been possessed twice. That or she’s in a different class which is definitely possible. After all it’s not the whole school that has vanished so this is certainly possible when you think about it.

A one shot should be intriguing enough to make you want to read a full series about the premise. That’s the entire point so the question is…did this one pull it off? I would have to say no to that. There is potential here but the one shot didn’t make the best use of that. As far as supernatural worlds go, this one has less to it than most. I wouldn’t say that there is a lot to make the series stand out in any way. As mentioned, it is definitely trying for a Muhyo and Roji kind of feel but without the humor and the main character is a big step down.

The series feels a lot more grounded than other titles as the rest of the characters all seem like normal humans. Of course they could introduce more tough fighters eventually but I don’t see as much potential in this one. Throw in how the main character’s not very good and I have to give this a thumbs down. It’s not a one shot that I can recommend and I can see why it has not gotten a full ongoing at the moment. It’s just not ready for that.

Overall, Yugen’s classroom is already out of session and I don’t think any more classes will be coming up. Perhaps we’ll see more of this title in the future but I have major doubts on that. The art is the strongest part of the story and that’s not really a good thing. Of course I am glad that the art is good but you seriously need way more than that if you want to end up being a big story. That’s just how it goes but as they say, it definitely could have been worse.

Overall 4/10