Time Paradox Ghostwriter Review


It’s time to start looking at some of the Shonen Jump titles that were cancelled early. The Ghostwriter is a good place to start since it ended extremely quick with only 14 chapters. The author does a good job of still closing it out in a normal way though. You could easily read this like a normal one shot and it actually flows together pretty easily. You could definitely make this into a movie so long as the audience can get around the main character’s plagiarism.

The series starts by introducing us to the hapless Sasaki. Sasaki has always wanted to be a great manga author/artist and he actually started out well when he was a kid. He won the rookie award and everything but since then his editor has shot down every idea he has thought of. The problem is that Sasaki wants to make a manga that everyone will enjoy and as a result his manga has no soul. Just when he is about to give up, a bolt of lightning strikes his microwave and it spits out a copy of Shonen Jump from 10 years in the future. Now Sasaki finally knows exactly what he has to do in order to claim victory in the rankings. Still, is it really okay to became an amazing manga writer by stealing someone else’s work?

Now, we do get a half hearted excuse for Sasaki at first since he actually thinks it was all an hallucination since he loses track of where the magazine was. Once he finds it though, then he is still going through with the plan. His rationale is that if he doesn’t draw the manga, then he’s effectively removed it from this universe’s timeline since the true author will never get to write it now. It’s definitely an excuse to be sure but Sasaki is running with it.

Complicating the issue is that a girl named Itsuki appears and she is the one who would have created the title in 10 years. Fortunately for Sasaki it’s impossible for anyone to guess what is going on with the time travel so while she does think it’s a huge coincidence, they do become friends. She aims to create an even better manga than what Sasaki has created as her true goal is also to make a manga that everyone can enjoy but that still seems like an impossible task. How can you possibly make something that everyone will enjoy?

The first half of the manga is really setting all of this up and it’s a fun slice of life title. Right away the art jumps out at you for being really advanced. This is not the kind of art you would expect for a brand new series. There is a lot of detail throughout and it helps the whole adventure flow really well. It’s also fun to have a manga based on the overall writing process since there aren’t a lot like that.

Perhaps the author figured that would be too low key though because the second half ups the stakes. It turns out that this wasn’t a random lightning bolt that hit Sasaki’s house. It was actually created by a time travelling robot who claims he is a being from another universe’s story. (The story hints that he may be Itsuki’s father or something though) He explains that his mission is to prevent her death but in every timeline he travels to, she dies anyway. Fortunately he has not lost his drive to try and save her anyway unlike a certain speedster..

Sasaki is his last hope. The only way to save Itsuki is to defeat her upcoming manga (Anima) with his current blue knight series. This will be difficult though because she is a complete genius who succeeds in drawing the best manga in every timeline. Why would this prevent her death? There are no time for questions and now Sasaki just has to try his absolute best!

Later on we get the reason for her death but that’s definitely more of a spoiler kind of area. Needless to say the series definitely gets a lot more emotional at this point and also gets rather out there. The time travel aspect plays a big role in the climax and it was all pretty interesting. Sasaki had to go through a whole lot of trials here. Now, I assume if the series wasn’t axed then some events would have gone a little differently but I do wonder how different the plot would have been. The whole story arc about saving Itsuki starts out rather early.

My main guess is that if this was a long ongoing Sasaki would have tried to save her in many different timelines before ultimately being defeated and going for the final trick we see in the ending here. Sort of like an Edge of Tomorrow kind of plot. It definitely could have been interesting although at this point we are far removed from the original plot of the manga. The whole process of becoming a big author felt like a big deal for a few chapters and then vanished as we got time skip after time skip.

Maybe the author saw the low ratings and just decided to go for a big genre shift? It’s another interesting aspect of reading a manga that got axed as you try to just piece together what is going on here. From the start the cast seems extremely small as the duo are the only big characters. You have Sasaki’s two editors and his assistants I suppose who could have been big but they’re pretty much non factors here.

So how is Sasaki himself? Well, he’s not one of the more likable leads but he’s okay I guess. He does start out as a really earnest guy with a solid dream. It’s nice that he wants to make the best manga ever and he does have a lot of drive and dedication. That being said, he definitely should have walked away from the microwave instead of starting that series. I do cut him some slack for the one shot since he somehow thought it wasn’t real but starting the ongoing was the point of no return for him.

Sasaki is immediately guilty but he’s constantly bashing himself which isn’t really an endearing trait in a main character. He is also as obvious as he can be that something is wrong about how he is making the manga. People may not be able to guess time travel but this gives them a reason to suspect something is up for no real reason. Sasaki either needed to stop drawing or just keep going with confidence, but his half hearted attempts can be annoying.

Meanwhile Itsuki is a solid heroine even if she isn’t always very reasonable. When we find out the cause of death for her, it’s tragic but you’re also shaking your head quite a bit. Obsession is definitely a dangerous trait to have and that’s unfortunately a word that fits her quite a bit. While I don’t believe the robot tried nearly enough if she couldn’t be saved in any timeline, it also shows that she won’t give up.

I would say she definitely does beat Sasaki as a character but it would have been good if she was a little nicer towards the end. She started out as a very cheerful person who was always nice to everyone so her transformation into someone who is rude to everyone was very sudden. It also doesn’t mesh well with her dream of creating a manga that everyone will love. Wouldn’t that mean she should be nice in real life as well?

As for the editors, well Sasaki’s first editor was definitely rather mean spirited. Telling the main character that he would never be good and that he should go home was definitely out of bounds. No wonder he didn’t last long. The second editor was a lot better. He doesn’t know the context of why Sasaki doesn’t want to draw so it makes sense that he would take such a hard stance on why the series must go on. This guy was earnest so he was a fun enough character. He definitely tried his best to help all the authors under him.

As for Sasaki’s assistants, they seriously didn’t appear enough to get much of a personality. One of them seemed rather hyper while the other was the calm and collected type. I’m sure at some point they could have become rivals like in Bakuman but it was too late. I think part of the issue here is that the series was rushing a lot compared to Bakuman. You can’t skip ahead months to years so quickly without ruining the chances of having some great opening rivalries. Part of the fun in these series is seeing how things go early on since that’s when the main character will be learning the ropes.

Still, we got some fun concepts here. I certainly will never turn down a good time travel element either. The ending is very satisfying and is really a good way of escaping this time loop. When you’re given a chance to change the past then you’ve definitely got to go for it as soon as possible. It’s too bad the series was cancelled since I don’t really see the plagiarism angle as being such a big deal. Yeah the main character made a mistake and continues to double down on it but there are a lot of ways it could have developed around that. Maybe have a new main character enter later who will be the real hero of the story if need be or have Sasaki see the error of his ways. Time travel and defeat himself with a better story.

So, what are some things I’d have changed to hopefully keep the series from being cancelled? Well, I guess the biggest way to address the plagiarism angle would have been to have Sasaki continue thinking that he was hallucinating. Have him see the magazine in his dreams every night as the robot beams the chapters directly into his brain. That way when Itsuki shows up, Sasaki has some doubts but has no reason to believe that he is stealing her work. You can still keep in his self doubt and lack of confidence so it doesn’t dramatically change the story but it would make him less unambiguously antagonistic.

Next, I think you can’t just change Itsuki’s personality completely. There’s no reason why she should go from being the nicest character in the series to the meanest. It just doesn’t make sense and you could still handle her whole character arc including the death without having to go this far. Now if you want the personality shift, then I think the way to do that would be to have her find out that Sasaki is stealing her ideas. Have her find the robot and happen to see when it blasts the magazine into his mind or if we still go with the paper versions, have her see it at his house.

That would at least solve some of the weaker areas in the series. Beyond that, I did think it was quite good so it’s not like I would change a whole lot. Not every series can be the next big thing so more often than not you just have to be ready to part with any of the titles. Who knows, maybe the series will come back someday, you never know when something will get a revival after all.

Overall, Time Paradox Ghostwriter is a good series. It’s one that moves at a very rapid pace but when you have to end this quickly it makes sense why that would be the case. There are a lot of good concepts in here and while it isn’t a battle manga, it was a good addition to Jump. The writing and art were on point and this was a true page turner. I blasted through all of the chapters in a single day after all. I’d definitely recommend this one if you want to read a rather low key title about the dedication you need in order to save a life.

Overall 7/10

Loki Review


The next Disney+ show is now upon us. Can it continue the upwards trend of each show? I would say yes and that this is the best of the first 3. Loki’s always been a pretty fun character so it makes sense that he could hold his own show pretty well. Throw in time travel, dimension hopping, and you’ve got yourself a pretty fun premise. There’s definitely a lot to unpack here even if the show is only 6 episodes so they did a good job of throwing in a bunch of concepts. Lets start taking a deep dive into this.

The show starts with Loki’s escape from Endgame where he narrowly got away from the Avengers. Unfortunately this was short lived as he is then kidnapped by the TVA. He is approached by a man named Mobius who explains that this organization is effectively in charge of the multiverse. They make sure that nobody messes with time and they keep things progressing in the way they ought to go.

Put it this way, according to the TVA, all of life is predestined to go in a certain way. If a character so happens to defy destiny and step off the path, they go to that world and destroy not only the character but the entire timeline. Rinse and repeat as often as is necessary. As the characters are not aware of their destinies either, this just happens randomly and must be quelled. If a timeline goes too far off the beaten path, it will cause calamity and destroy everything. Now you may question why TVA even bothers to erase individual characters when they will immediately erase the entire timeline right after. It’s a fair question and one that is addressed by the end.

Mobius basically asks Loki to join them. They are on the hunt for a particularly dangerous Loki variant (“Variant” is any being who has gone off of the natural timeline) and they could really use his help. After all, who better to stop a Loki than another Loki right? It’s not exactly a proposition that Loki really likes but he’s not exactly in a good spot right now. If he declines then he will be erased. Loki will play their game for now but he vows to be the one who wins in the end.

So right there you’ve got a pretty interesting angle. This is the kind of show with a lot of twists and turns but I’ll leave those to the spoiler paragraphs since it’s naturally more fun to see those play out if you don’t know what is going to happen. Most of the show is about the gang trying to get on the other Loki’s trail but it’s difficult. The TVA may have been around for a while but most of their members are normal humans so they aren’t the most powerful group around.

Lets get the basics out of the way first. The soundtrack here is really good. It’s easily the best out of the 3 with some really ominous themes going for it. You’ve got different remixes as well. The special effects are also on point with all of the magic being thrown around here. The Loki show lends itself well to this kind of thing that’s for sure. The fight scenes are also pretty solid.

Now, I would argue that Loki looks a bit too weak at times though. He struggles against humans on multiple occasions. The TVA beats him up in the first episode, he gets wrecked by a mind controlled human 1-2 episodes from there, and then he gets overpowered on a train and thrown out the window. There are many other times he gets owned as the series goes on but these were the 3 that are the most striking. Yes, Loki has been used as a comedic character for quite a while now but I would say this is stretching it.

Loki is still a frost giant raised as an Asgardian. He should have more than enough power to easily dispatch these opponents. Still, as a character he’s fun. Loki gets a lot of constant witty dialogue throughout his appearances so you can always bet on him saying something smart. The humor is a large part of what makes the show so much fun. He also gets a lot of personality development as well.

I don’t agree with all of it like Loki saying he doesn’t actually want to cause people pain and all of that. You’ll find yourself rolling your eyes a bit during his confession scene with Mobius where he talks about how he’s misunderstood and all that. I don’t buy it…nobody buys it. Like Mobius I’d just pull out the scene of him zapping that poor guy’s eyeball from Avengers 1. Loki’s defense is that it was an act that he was even playing on himself…sure. I think this is trying to retroactively make him less evil but whether he was tricking himself or not, he was totally evil at the time. I don’t think there can be any doubts about that.

On the other hand, I do like that he gets some closure with Freya in this version and that it’s part of what starts setting him off on a different track. Ultimately, acceptance by his family was something he really strived for. If things had played out differently he could have been a hero someday. Since he now knows how the adventure would have ended for him, it makes sense that he would start looking at life in a different way. By the end of the series or even fairly early on into it, you already feel like he’s becoming more heroic. Not sure I’d call him a full hero just yet but he’s close to it. I mean…he’s already more heroic by the end of the series than Scarlet Witch who is an Avenger soo………just something to think about.

It was fun to see clips of pretty much every old film Loki was in as well. Thor 2 seemed to be the only one that was skipped over a lot except for what happened to Freya. Maybe there just weren’t enough really good Loki scenes to pull. It’s been a while since I saw that film but I feel like there should still be a good amount.

Loki definitely carries a lot of the show with how much fun he is, but he does have a lot to work with. Mobius is another main character and he’s really solid. The guy has a fairly sarcastic attitude towards everything and he tends to have the best conversations with Loki. The two of them really go at it on different occasions. Mobius usually has the edge thanks to the TVA tech but otherwise Loki has the edge in overall charisma.

Mobius is old and set in his ways but you have to give him credit for eventually getting up and actually starting to take a hard look at what is going on. He’s certainly more dedicated than the average worker at the TVA. By the end he was one of the best characters. Then you have Ravonna who is one of the higher ups who serves the mysterious head of the TVA. She’s very by the books which naturally means things will be a bit dicey for her here.

Ravonna starts out better than how she ends up. She was acting pretty questionable by the end and that’s a weakness of being by the books. She was unable to adapt while everyone else was. I’ll be interested to see where she goes from here since in theory her next appearance will really be a fresh start. Then you have B-15 who seriously needs a real name. She was pretty solid. Right now she has a bodyguard type of role where she dishes out a lot of damage but doesn’t have too much personality yet. I expect she will have a bigger role going forward though. She already has a lot of confidence which is good.

While not a character, I wanted to give Miss Minutes a quick shoutout. This mascot is very amusing and works well in the TVA atmosphere. Her job is to constantly yell propaganda at everyone 24/7 through all of her TV shows and things like that. The tech behind her also seems very advanced. Naturally I would advise not believing anything she says but maybe the big trick is that what she is saying is actually legit. Who knows right? Either way you won’t be forgetting her anytime soon.

Then you have Sylvie, who is a variant that gets a pretty huge role in the series. She is pretty powerful which is why she is considered to be such a threat. In her first appearances she manages to take down quite a few TVA agents. She’s a fun enough character and is quite determined to achieve her goal. By the end of the series you have to decide if you’re on her side or not and that’ll probably determine how much you like her as a villain. I thought she did a pretty good job in the role.

Finally you have the leader of the TVA. Throughout the series they hype him up which makes sense since the guy running this whole multiversal company has to be pretty solid right? He knows everything that’s going to happen and as a result he is always at the top of the ranks. A cosmic being like that can always be a bit hit or miss depending on how powerful you find them to be. He’s interesting but I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan. He’s certainly not much of a fighter and that never helps a character’s chances in my book.

I would say the show’s biggest weak point is the romance though. It just doesn’t work at all. I’ve always found it hard to believe that two characters would fall for each other so easily and in Loki there is just no time for the characters to really learn about each other. Loki and Sylvie know each other for a few days at best before this starts up. You could definitely have had the whole adventure without the romance if you ask me and it would have probably worked better. Just have them be friends who understand each other in a way most could not. Since they are effectively the same person in different timelines, that could be a great way for them to empathize with each other. Would have made for a better dynamic.

Okay, it’s time we enter spoiler territory so tread the following grounds only if you have seen the show already or don’t mind spoilers. It’s time to really talk about what went down in the final episodes. While I would say the Cap and Winter Soldier didn’t really have a lot of twists in the end, this one’s like WandaVision where a whole lot happens in the second half. At only 6 episodes you expect a fast pacing of course but one impressive thing has been how big the effects of the shows are. Now to an extent you expect a lot of things to wrap up so people who are film only won’t be lost. WandaVision goes in a way where if you missed it, I get the feeling that you will still be okay. Likewise you can probably handle this in a similar way so you shouldn’t get your hopes too high but it certainly does change the game quite a bit.

So the TVA is basically a front for Kang (Kudos to the people who figured he was the head of the TVA from the start) as he tries to stay master of the timelines. See, he created them because without the TVA, a Kang ends up being born in all timelines and they inevitably fight for control in the end. With the TVA he is able to prevent any other Kang from being born. So it’s not that he prevents all timelines from splitting, he only stops this one outcome. It serves as a good way to add purpose to the organization and show that they don’t just act randomly.

It doesn’t change the idea that the TVA is a villainous organization though. They are openly brainwashing people to follow them and erasing entire timelines. This may be to stop the greater evil as they would say but the end doesn’t justify the means. They are still wiping out a bunch of people on a daily basis. So at the end Loki and Sylvie are given two options. Destroy Kang and dismantle the TVA or assume the throne and keep the status quo going. Naturally Sylvie wants to finish the job while Loki likes the idea of keeping things the same.

They both have merit of course but ultimately I think Sylvie’s on the right track. You don’t have to murder Kang but definitely you should dismantle the TVA or assume control in a new way. Wiping out people’s lives and brainwashing them can’t be the answer. There has to be a better way and at least this forces the issue. The final fight with Loki and Sylvie is pretty cool even if you know how it’s going to play out. Once you let emotions get to the top, you’ve already lost.

So in the ending, the war of the Kangs starts up again and a different one claimed victory this time. So, Loki retained his memories (Presumably Sylvie will keep hers as well) but everyone has been reset to the new timeline. Here’s the interesting part, the war has already ended since it takes place at the end of time like the last one and then scales back. So the reason the rest of the Marvel universe might not notice is they would have all been reset already. Perhaps Scarlet Witch and Dr. Strange would notice and perhaps not. The universe has already been reset in the past after all.

So I’m not really sure what Loki can possibly do in Season 2 since everything is already over. Perhaps he can convince Sylvie to murder the next Kang but based on the show’s logic, he would need to allow this since he would foresee it coming. In a way the show has probably written itself into a corner here. Kang is all powerful and he has already won in this universe. There are statues of him and the TVA is alive and well. No matter what Loki does, the universe has already been completely changed. You would need something crazy to stop Kang and change the universe, but again…Kang would know about it. That’s the tough thing with time travelers, they already know the future.

Still, I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out of course. It is a pretty unique concept to have battles across space and time since they’re already over before you were even born. It’s a fun concept to play around with in your head. It made for a really exciting ending to be sure. I’m much happier to see Kang at the top then the lizard creatures that turned out to just be a façade in the end.

As for the actual twist behind being erased, honestly I’d prefer if that just wasn’t a thing. It turns out that when you’re erased you fall into a desert land where a giant being just eats you. It takes the power of several Lokis to stop this long enough to escape. I’m not sure I buy this creature being able to destroy too many more powerful fighters but maybe Kang got lucky and only fairly weak ones ever caused another Kang to appear.

My main issue with the whole erasure plot twist is it just feels unnecessary. Why not just have the characters actually get blown away when they’re erased? I don’t see why you would need to send them somewhere and honestly blowing them up would be simpler for the TVA. Less variables and loose ends to worry about. Your target is just gone for eternity and you now have nothing to worry about. It was fun seeing the other Lokis though.

One of them even points out how using a knife is not as practical as general energy bolts. There was also a long standing fan theory that Loki escaped from Thanos with an illusion so those fans will feel vindicated here. Of course it was a different incarnation of Loki but it does show the strategy was feasible. Presumably you could even make the case that perhaps the main Loki did this trick as well and we just wouldn’t know until the future pops up. It seems unlikely though so I wouldn’t hold your hopes out for that.

The battle royale between them was fun as well. I would have liked to have had more cool action scenes like that. I do think the show had the proper balance between action and comedy though. Each episode was sure to get you some good laughs and treat you to fun action scenes. I wish Loki had thought of a better way to dodge or defend himself in the Sif situation but it was intense to see him get beaten up so many times. Throw in the cool time travel concepts and that’s a wrap. The show was a complete experience. I also like the TVA as well. I may not take them seriously as an organization because they seem far too weak but considering that they’re really just a front for Kang messing with everyone, it starts to add up quite nicely.

Overall, Loki was a pretty fun show. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how season 2 goes. I hope Loki is ready to focus on the task at hand and isn’t moping about romance though. That would put a damper on his spirits in season 2. He’s definitely at his best when he’s being overconfident and smug about everything. It’s what makes him a really enjoyable character so you need to keep that in. There’s still a lot of places you can go with the plot even if I think it will be constrained in other areas. Loki’s probably going to need a whole lot of plot armor if he wants to get through this which is pretty unavoidable when time travel is involved anyway. We’ll see if the “What If” show coming up can match this one.

Overall 7/10

Tenet Review


Tenet is a film that certainly got a lot of hype before it came out. You really would see it just about everywhere and the trailer promised to bring in quite a lot of concepts. Tenet definitely delivers on bringing in an intricate experience. While I would say the film itself may end up getting lost in its own concepts, it makes for a pretty solid film that keeps up with Nolan’s previous adventures.

The movie starts with the main character in a pretty tough mission and unfortunately he isn’t able to get out in time. He’s captured by the villains and his whole team is murdered. He manages not to cave in when they start torturing him though and tries to eat his cyanide pill, only it was a fake. He wakes up back in a hospital where he is recruited into a global secret organization known as Tenet. They use technology from the future to keep the present in safe hands. Right now, a force is threatening to unleash World War III using this technology. The only lead is a man named Sator so our hero is going to have to find out what is going on by learning about him.

There’s a lot going on here right from the start. There are also a lot of plot twists and new developments of course along with time loops so you do want to keep track of things. The main concept here is the introduction of the “Inverted” premise. For example, an inverted bullet is one that not been fired yet, but it still exists anyway so you can fire it. Essentially you are reversing cause and effect.

As a quick aside, I always thought that would be a really useful power. In Fate, Lancer’s Gae Bulg has this ability and yet it has never worked a single time in every Fate media I’ve seen. It’s a shame because there’s a lot of potential there. Back to Tenet though, it rarely seems to work here either so maybe reversing these things isn’t as effective as I thought it would be? It’s interesting to see the bullet holes before the bullet appears and things like that though. An inverted nuke could even destroy the past according to a character in the film.

Mainly all of this works due to time loops. Tenet follows the time travel theory I like where you can always go to the past and change things as opposed to it being stuck by destiny. In a sense all timelines run at the same time so when you change it you probably end up creating another verse but to the characters here there is only one base universe. Due to that, in a way they will keep on reliving the same days for all of eternity with no end but each self only experiences it once.

I like time travel so these things are always pretty interesting. That said, at times it does feel like Tenet is trying to hard to throw in a bunch of new elements that it doesn’t actually consider how they would all work together and gets lost in its own experience. For example, take the Inverted humans. (Yes, humans can go inverted as well) We are shown that they can create body doubles by time leaping more than once and can invert at will. At one point the hero is fighting one agent and every time he comes close to winning the guy would rewind time a bit to try different tactics. No matter what he tried, the hero would keep countering but with unlimited retries the guy would eventually find a good option.

How can a normal human beat them? At the end of the film we have a chaotic battle where there are 4 sets of teams fighting, two inverted and two normals. The normals are holding their own though and that’s hard to buy considering all of the advantages that the inverted ones have. It’s hard for me to see how they would lose. If you take this a step further, you also don’t see how the future team can possibly lose since they started this and have the full glimpse into the past. Keep in mind that the hero is absolutely essential to crushing the villains and he wouldn’t have been around for the first loop.

That gets you into a debate on time loops itself though. For a time travel film that’s why you can typically protect yourself from official plot holes. If something doesn’t make sense, you can say that it’s just because it hasn’t been explained to the protagonist but for another character it would make sense. Time loops aren’t meant to make a lot of sense either because somehow they started without an entrance point and in theory there should be no way to end it or it would have already ended unless you have a specific point of entry. So I wouldn’t say any of these things are plot holes, but more like logical inconsistencies where I would argue the heroes never would have stood a chance. If you ask me, the inverted humans should have just been a little nerfed. Take away their ability to rewind time at will and I think that solves everything.

Back to the film, while the story and time travel is a major part there’s still other things to talk about. For starters, the writing is pretty solid here. You couldn’t even attempt to do such a grand plot without good writing and this film pulls it off pretty well. From the start you’re definitely interested in what is going on. I would actually say the first half beats the second half in that regard. I liked the mysteries going on as the hero tries to find things out. Their “Mission Impossible” on breaking into a building and also breaking into the safe later on were a lot of fun.

The movie has strong dialogue throughout and partnering that up with these stealth missions worked really well. In a way you’re even more invested in these moments since the poor hero is really thrown into a rather strange situation. While the climax has a ton of action, with all of the time looping going on you don’t feel the same amount of tension since you can always redo it if things go wrong. It made for some nice visuals but it’s a bit of an emptier climax than you would expect.

The actual ending of the film is quite excellent though. We get a great final conversation between two great characters and one sub par guy who always follows rules even when they’re awful before cutting to the “present” for one last great scene of closure. It ties back to another scene really well and delivers an excellent final line for the hero. I was definitely quite pleased with the ending that’s for sure.

One plot I didn’t really care for was with Kat and Sator though. Sator’s the main villain here who is also an abusive husband who has his wife Kat trapped in a relationship she can’t get out of. Part of the drama here is that she is hoping the hero can get her out of this but he can’t get rid of Sator directly without causing more trouble. I wouldn’t say Sator ends up being even a remotely decent villain. He certainly knows how to describe the violent ways he ends his enemies but that’s about it. The guy can’t fight for beans and is only in such a powerful position because he lucked onto a great connection with future tech. Kat’s plot is definitely quite tragic so you’re rooting for her to get out of this, but it’s not the kind of tragic element you really needed in this film. The plot comes full circle and does tie in so it’s not extra baggage or anything but I would have just substituted it with something else. Their scenes tend to be the weakest ones in the film.

Tenet is at its best when the main character’s partner Neil is around. I liked this guy from the start. He’s quick on the uptake so no matter how crazy things sound, he wraps his head around it. He’s not constantly being shocked at everything or panicking. He’s just ready to get the job done no matter how dangerous it gets. He was easily my favorite character in the film and the hero should definitely be glad he was around.

The hero is also solid. In case you haven’t noticed by now, he never shares his name in the film which is why I haven’t said it. It’s an interesting approach, almost like a video game since you can make his name out to be anything. He gets the job done and is always ready to make the right call which is also like something out of a game. As a result I could certainly say he’s an ideal lead and someone you can count on as well. Teaming up with Neil, the two of them could clear any mission here.

Overall, Tenet is definitely a solid film. I can see how the plot could make this a trickier watch but films that go for deep/ambitious stories end up being really well done when executed well. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so well like the Godzilla trilogy or the final Iron-Man anime film which went for deep themes but it felt more on the empty side. This one may try at times to get things a little too entangled but I did like the core concepts introduced here. As long as you like a well written mystery/thriller then you’ll like this one. There’s also one theme that plays many times during the film which is quite catchy. It has a nice ominous feel to it. If the film starts to get too crazy, don’t overthink it and focus on the main crisis at play here of stopping WWIII. If we do get a sequel that would definitely be pretty interesting but in a sense I think the loop would need to be broken to get some more tension in here unless you have the sequel take place far enough in the loop where we’re not sure of how it ends.

Overall 7/10

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time Review


This is a Justice League film I remember hearing about ages ago and always thought it sounded interesting. You can’t go wrong with time travel after all and so this was bound to be a pretty fun adventure. It’s not the most ambitious film to be sure and at under an hour there is only so much that the movie can do. Still, I thought it was a good journey and the film even delivered on a really solid fight scene with Robin. It won’t be making a name for itself among the other big DC films but ultimately I would give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom fighting the Justice League once more. They have a new freeze cannon that can end all life on the planet. The legion actually puts up a pretty good fight but ultimately Captain Cold gets a bit greedy and puts the machine on a setting that’s too high so it blows up and Lex gets frozen. Around 1000 years later we cut away to the Legion of Superheroes where Karate Kid and Dawnstar are walking around one of the Legion bases. They have been declined entry into the Legion one more time which they are sad about. Karate Kid feels like he is ready for this and to demonstrate to Dawnstar he even comes close to breaking Lex out of the exhibit he is in. Unfortunately he actually did break it.

Lex manages to escape back to the present and the two kids follow him. Lex now has possession over one of the more powerful time villains and intends to use him to let his team go to the past and prevent Clark Kent from ever being Superman. Can the young heroes in training alert the League to this before it’s too late or will they ultimately be doomed here?

Now there’s one thing I have to mention about the time travel here because the film fumbles the ball rather early in this respect. We don’t know exactly when Lex woke up except that he is generally in the 31st century. When he breaks out of the ice he sees that he was found around the year 2800 so when he gets the hourglass he wishes to be brought back exactly 1000 years. There’s no reason for him to assume that it has literally been 1000 years to the very day. Naturally it works out though and he arrives just as he had been frozen but the years didn’t really add up to me. I was more than a little skeptical at this point. Beyond that the time travel is handled well though.

It’s using more of a linear timeline theory so if you change something in the past then it alters the future so things never really happened. Naturally with a short run time the film can’t delve into this too much though. That part’s unfortunate because you feel like there’s a lot you could do with showing a world where Superman doesn’t exist. Technically that part probably only lasts for a few minutes really. The film moves at an incredible speed at all times so it can cover the plot as it is.

The writing is solid here though. All of the heroes act suitably heroic and the villains also look good. It’s always nice to see Lex as the leader of the villains of course and Bizarro got to have some fun which was nice as well. This is actually a very powerful roster for the Legion of Doom. They can definitely give the JL a run for their money in this film. The group fights are a lot of fun and we get two of those but the standout fight has to be Robin vs Karate Kid. I was glad that Robin was able to hold his own. The Kid is known for being a top tier hand to hand fighter but Robin was trained personally by Batman so he’s not someone who should go down without a fight.

Fans of Robin will definitely be satisfied with his portrayal here. In general the League looks pretty good. Naturally Flash is the most nerfed of the group as per usual since otherwise he would really be messing up most of the villains. Wonder Woman also doesn’t get a whole lot to do next to the others as she surprisingly has a smaller role than the backups like Aquaman and Cyborg but it helps that they got to go into the past. Batman was also fairly low key here although at least he had his space battles. The opening group fight was a good way to introduce the heroes and villains while also keeping the stakes high. Toyman’s design here was also a lot of fun. He may not be as powerful as his DCAU version but he still did good all the same.

The animation is good although most if not all of the character designs are a bit suspect. Superman’s face makes him look a lot meaner than usual or at least a lot more stern I guess. If I had to choose, Aquaman may have had the best design here. Still, the fights are on point which is ultimately what counts. The battles are all really good with a lot going on. It’s a shame that this film never got a sequel because it would have been fun to have had another Justice League film series go on. The movie even has a pretty big cliffhanger at the end. There’s a whole lot you can do with that and the ending was so sudden that it also really worked as a plot twist. It’s not exactly something you would have seen coming.

As for the two new characters, they were reasonable. Naturally I enjoyed Karate Kid a lot because he’s super headstrong and always jumping into battle. His skills certainly aren’t nearly as good as he claims them to be though. The only time he looked impressive was his brief fight against the evil trio in the Arctic and that was brief. Otherwise he spent a lot of the film getting kicked around. Dawnstar reminded me a lot of Dagger from Marvel with her light based powers. She may not be as quick to jump into the fights but she can brawl when needed. She can also put the fear in other characters like when she blessed someone’s car. Towards the end of her chant it almost sounded like a threat with some of the things she put in there.

Overall, Trapped in Time is definitely a good film. I would certainly recommend it. It gives you a lot of fun scenes, good battles, and a plot involving time travel. You really can’t go wrong with those elements. It’s definitely going for a Super Friends vibe just modernized a bit with the animation/fights and having a slightly more serious tone. The final battles with the prisoner of time were enjoyable and it’s just always hard to turn down a film with the Justice League in it. I feel like if it had not been Target exclusive then perhaps it would have sold more and even gotten those sequels on deck. You can’t win them all of course but we need more films like this. If you haven’t seen it yet then I definitely recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review


Mario’s certainly had quite a few RPGs over the years. It’s always been interesting to see Nintendo balance having both the Paper Mario series as well as the M&L titles. It used to be that the former would have the darker plots while M&L would have the hype dialogue. Gradually the Paper Mario games turned into the more fun titles without much of a plot and I’m not deep enough in this franchise to see if it’ll go the same way. Well, this is definitely a fun sequel and I would put it above the first game. The story is a little on the short side for an RPG but at around 15 hours I can’t reasonably say that it’s super short either. It’s long enough and gets the job done.

The game starts with the team deciding to time travel to the past for fun. Apparently that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re bored now. Peach heads to the past but when the time machine returns there is a monster in there instead of Peach. The Mario bros are able to barely take him out and head to the past. There they are quickly defeated by the Shroobs. Fortunately they are saved by Baby Bowser as well as Baby Mario/Baby Luigi. Now these guys are going to need to team up to find out where the present Peach is and save her. The stakes are high because this group is also looking to conquer the kingdom in general. They already own the Mushroom Kingdom in the past and Mario must now stop this from happening in the present.

Of course along the way a lot of hijinks ensues and you know Bowser will want to have a word in. Surprisingly Bowser’s role here is rather small. He gets a solid role at the end of the game though which was pretty tense. I was definitely not expecting things to go that way. The game does not disappoint with the climax. It’s pretty high-end as you would expect from an RPG experience. The boss has more than one phase and it’ll take everything you had to win. The game is rather difficult if you don’t stop to get some extra level ups along the way. I spent a few hours just going back to get level ups and the final boss was still pretty tough.

The best advice I can give it to really spam the Copy Flower and the Mix Flower. These are really your best options if you ultimately want to score the win. You can deal hundreds of damage just by using the flower once and at the same level my standard attack would do around 70. I don’t see how you can beat the final bosses without these items. I ran out of items the first time I tried to challenge the final boss and ultimately that put me in a real spot. I wouldn’t lose since I was good at dodging the attacks but I couldn’t deal enough damage to ever win. See, the boss has 3,000 HP and she is protected by a lot of other parts. The idea is to destroy the shields and then attack her but the shields regenerate every few turns. So by the time I would destroy 2 shields another would pop up so I would never get to the actual villain. You need the items for this fight. I can tell you that right now.

Also, it’s important to use the roulette to increase other attributes. Initially I was putting everything into Health but I didn’t realize that the roulette gets worse and worse if you focus on just one stat. You’ve got to increase them all to really put yourself in a good spot. It’s the only way to get far here. I recommend always increasing HP, Attack, or Defense. They’re the only 3 stats that really matter if you ask me. Earning XP isn’t super easy in this game though. Enemies don’t respawn unless you time travel so it can take a while to get anywhere. Additionally the EXP amounts just aren’t great. I beat the game at Level 25 and just getting to that point took quite a long while.

The gameplay is classic turn based although it’s fairly interactive. Pressing buttons at the right times will allow you to extend a combo or deal extra damage. You are also given the option to dodge enemy attacks if you time the buttons correctly. It’s a nice little touch that keeps you sharp the whole time. You can’t just space out as the enemy uses their moves. It’s not quite as crisp as your average RPG but I’ll give Nintendo props for keeping things different here. I do think it’s a pretty good idea.

As for the graphics, I’d say that the game looks pretty clear. The character sprites are on point. The animations are a little limited along with the sound effects so you’ll see and hear the characters do the same things a lot but at the end of the day it always feels pretty in character. The soundtrack is okay but the game was really lacking a danger theme. As a result even during the really serious moments you would have a happy theme play and it could dampen the mood a bit. The game could have really used a dark theme or something with a little rock for these moments.

There isn’t much replay value in this case because there isn’t anything to do after beating the game. You can earn more level ups I suppose but there isn’t much of a reason to do so with no post game. It’s short for an RPG as I mentioned but you can get it for a decent price nowadays and 15 hours is nothing to sneeze at. Additionally, the game is just a lot of fun. The dialogue is on point. Now, Luigi does get thrown into the dirt quite a bit as the series always love making fun at his expense. If you’re a big Luigi fan then this could be a rough ride for you. For the most part it’s all done in good fun but you may have doubts.

Overall, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time is a solid sequel to the first game. I thought that the story was a little better and I do love time travel adventures. It’s not a game that will stick with you for long as it’s off to the next thing right away but it’s a solid title nonetheless. I look forward to playing the next one soon. I feel like back in the day Bowser’s Inside Story was known as the best game in the series so I’ll be interested in seeing if that’s the case. I’m definitely expecting another really solid adventure. Mario hasn’t let me down before and I don’t expect he’ll start now.

Overall 7/10

All You Need is Kill Review


It’s time to look at a pretty interesting story about time travel. What if you could keep on redoing a day until you had perfected it? It’s an interesting idea for sure and if you could master the concept then I could see why anyone would want to do it. Keep replaying the day where you took a test to get the right answered or entering a tournament until you won. There are no limits to what time travel can help you do and that’s why it has always been such an amazing concept. One difference here compared to most that it isn’t exactly all fun and games for the main character. The time travel is quite serious.

We open up the story by being introduced to a very different world. We have been at war with aliens for decades now. They’ve always been one step ahead of us so no matter how many improvements we make to our mechs they always win. There is only one soldier who has been doing well against them lately and her name is Rita. She is able to take down dozens of attackers with the greatest of ease. The rest of the soldiers just watch in awe. Well our lead here is Keiji and he is promptly murdered as soon as he sets foot on the battlefield. The only issue is that he then wakes up back to the start of the day. He then repeats the day and dies again, which sends him to the beginning of the loop. He can’t find any reason as to why this started or how to get out but he suspects that it has happened for a reason. Can he now find a way to win this war and save humanity?

Of course you gotta take it one fight at a time but winning this battle would be huge. Keiji quickly realizes that every action that he takes a little differently affects quite a lot. The only worrisome part is that the aliens never act the same way so it seems like they are aware of what he is doing. Well, no matter. Keiji still aims to win this fight and he may need Rita’s help for that. It’s effectively Groundhog Day but in the middle of a war so the stakes are pretty high and it’s not like he can just have fun. Of course, living the same day over and over again for too long in any circumstance would get old quickly.

Keiji definitely makes for a good main character. He may not be thrilled at what’s going on but what I liked is that Keiji gets with the program right away. He quickly sees the benefit of this and trains as hard as he can to be the perfect soldier. He’s a very determined main character and doesn’t get distracted so easily. At one point in one of the timelines someone offers to “console” him and Keiji quickly turns down the random 1 night affair. Even though he could have done so and just went back to business the next day he kept his eye on the prize. Keiji wasn’t going to walk away without getting more knowledge on the enemy. It seems like he went through the loop hundreds if not thousands of times and never lost his sanity. For sure it did take an emotional toll as he would look terrible but he always said and did the right things anyway.

When a plan would fail Keiji would try the next best option. I definitely had no issues with him here. He fought til the end. There isn’t really much of a cast here. There are supporting characters of course but the only other important one would be Rita. She’s definitely a very solid character as well. As the ace fighter of the whole army her abilities greatly exceed those of anyone else. The only one who is able to keep up with her later on is Keiji thanks to all of the looping. Rita is a very no nonsense character who is always ready to fight. Even when the aliens try surprise attacks she doesn’t fall to those and just regroups. At the same time, she would like to have someone she could talk too, but just doesn’t see the point. It’s not like anyone can keep up and most are too scared to even talk to her. Her quiet confidence and overwhelming talent makes her quite memorable. If the army did not have her around then even with all the resets in the world I wonder if Keiji would have ever been able to make any real progress here. Perhaps, but it would take such a long time that his psyche would be in even worse shape.

The idea behind the story is just excellent. The idea of being able to keep on trying over and over again until you can solve things is brilliant. The manga also touches on other aspects of this. For example, even if you can figure out how to win that’s not enough. You then have to keep on going until you find a method that can save the most lives. If you assume that you have endless tries then you don’t need to worry as much but that’s also a big assumption. You have to ultimately figure things out as fast as possible so you don’t risk too much. Make the wrong call and it could blow up in your face. The writing will definitely remind you of something like Death Note where you have to consider all the implications that a single action can have.

The artwork is definitely excellent. There’s a lot of detail put into each of the pages. The characters really stand out and the artist does a good job of helping you feel the dread they experience when they get out into the field. This isn’t the kind of series where you can expect everyone to have a happy ending. There’s a war going on after all and the humans are just trying to survive as best they can. The ending is very solid though and you could reasonably continue with a sequel at some point. I would say that there is still as lot more you can do with the concept although I suppose the series was trying not to be redundant. It’s the kind of ending where you can easily picture how things will go either way. Whether the heroes or aliens win the war is up to you.

Overall, All You Need is Kill is definitely one of those titles that you’ll probably need to take a second look at to make sure you read it properly. The grammar might not really make sense but you’ll still get the idea right away. At the end of the day the kill is really the important part to the characters here. This is a very well crafted story with a fun premise that the writer takes advantage of. Everything is executed well and it’s a title I could recommend to anyone. It can get a bit violent as it’s in a war with aliens stabbing people to death but it’s nothing too crazy I’d say. The alien designs were definitely intense and the manga did a good job of showing how fierce they could be while highlighting that there is no room for hesitation there. You either land the first blow or you won’t be around to see the next one.

Overall 7/10

Deadpool: Samurai Review


It’s time to take a look at a quick one shot that came out for Deadpool a while back. It’s always nice to see Marvel have some collaborations with Shonen Jump. It definitely breaks the wall quite a lot as you would expect from a Deadpool comic and definitely delivers on all the action you would expect. It’s pretty entertaining and at only one chapter you’ll be breezing through this story real quick.

It starts with a bunch of samurai gangsters attacking a girl. Fortunately they are interrupted as Deadpool shows up inside of a baby carriage. He decides to stop these guys and save the girl while hurling insults the whole time. The gangsters have never dealt with anyone quite like Deadpool so as you can imagine they are definitely not too well equipped to handle this guy. They’ll have to try using all the weapons at their disposal, but against a guy who is basically immortal all this will ultimately do is prolong the inevitable. The victor is never in doubt in this title.

The artwork is certainly pretty nice. The action scenes are on point and there is a lot of detail here. Whoever drew the comic definitely gave it their all and didn’t phone it in. I could easily see this getting some more chapters and doing well as an ongoing series. There’s just a lot you can do with Deadpool and the art would be able to keep up.

The actual story may not have a lot of stakes since it’s obvious that Deadpool will beat up on these humans, but for a one shot it’s not like you’re trying to build up any big plots anyway. It’s really just about introducing people to Deadpool and throwing in some one liners. There are a lot of third wall breaking moments as Deadpool keeps plugging in the comics. I’m definitely fine with skipping his origin story here since as he mentioned most people will likely know it anyway. Even if he was a brand new character, I feel like the origin story isn’t something that you worry about for the pilot. It would take too much time away from everyone else.

Most of the story is Deadpool just owning everyone and reminding the audience that he isn’t a total hero like the others. Ultimately he is protecting the girl but he is murdering everyone else so think of him like the Punisher. His goals align more with the average hero’s, but he doesn’t go all in on trying to save everyone the way that they do. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. The manga can get a little violent even with the parody nature so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re reading of course. Pretty much everyone gets bullets and stabs into them before the day is through.

Overall, It was a little surprising to see Deadpool as one of the first characters to get his own manga one shot, but I suppose he should have a lot of international value. I wonder if the movies did well in Japan. The final scene of the manga is definitely pretty fun and it’s something I would like to see more characters do. Since nobody in this world knows who Deadpool is he can really go crazy with trolling everyone. We get a quick guest star near the end which was fun. I think the artist could definitely do a good job with this character as well. If you haven’t read this story yet then you should check it out. It’s quite fast and a solid enough read on its own.

Overall 7/10

Valley of The Dragons Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty misleading title. The beginning had a good premise but once the time travel occurred it quickly fell out the window. Now, I do like time travel but I prefer to go forward in time rather than backwards. If you ask me it’s just a lot more fun that way. There’s not much in the past that interests me, at least not when you get into the caveman era.

The film starts with two guys about to have a duel to the death. Apparently, they seem to like the same maiden and naturally one of them has to die for this. They ready their guns and move a few paces to take their shot but that’s when an earthquake occurs and scatters them to the winds. When they get back up they appear to be on a new planet. They’ve done their first dimension jump and are in the distant past where “dragons” currently roam. Now, you can make the case that it’s past Earth or another planet but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a scene where they notice that the stars don’t match so it’s probably a new world. They each end up going to different cave factions that have been warring with each other for eons. Can they help the two teams make peace or will they all die against the monsters?

As far as the dragons are concerned you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Their appearances are few and far between. If we’re being honest the big one doesn’t appear til the end. Most of the little creatures running around are the kimono dragons which are basically just lizards. They aren’t exactly all that scary. The big one is fun enough but definitely pretty mindless and lets the heroes attack him over and over again until they eventually take him down. If he had done just about anything else then he could have won. The monster still did rack up a decent body count I suppose.

One weakness with the film is definitely the whole caveman element. I’ve never cared much for the trope of having the main guy try to teach English to these guys. For one thing, Hector isn’t all that understanding and gets frustrated pretty quick. Does he really expect them to learn English overnight? His voice can also be a bit annoying but that part’s not bad as it fits the character. He’s supposed to be annoying.

The other guy (Michael) is a lot more patient with the cave people and becomes the leader real quick. I suppose I would probably say that he is the better character of the two as he had more personality. He also became a leader real quick and did most of the hard work in the climax. I wouldn’t say either character was all that great, but he got the job done.

The writing was reasonably solid I suppose. The scenes with the ancient people weren’t that good but the banter with the two leads was pretty decent. It’s always god to have a dynamic where the two characters initially want to destroy each other but are then forced to work together. It is a bit clichéd I’ll admit but as this was back in the 60s it pulls this off unironically.

Then it almost goes without saying that the romance element is very weak here. The cave women basically throw themselves at the main two guys since they dominate the pack so easily but it’s all so fast and doesn’t feel real. We even get jealousy plots and also see why the two factions are warring from the start. Without the main two guys keeping them in line it is pretty clear that the two factions can’t control themselves and would be picking fights constantly. Having one “strong but not smart” character is enough for most films, make that the majority of the cast and then the movie has really got a big problem to deal with.

I can’t really say that the pacing was all that good either. While it almost goes without saying that a boring plot will drag on, this one really goes as slowly as possible. One scene in particular that really takes forever is when the heroes are trying to stab the giant monster. It’s the same action over and over again for at least 10-20 minutes with no variation. After a point it just comes across as having no real meaning and the scenes are complete filler. The action isn’t filler, but redoing it over and over certainly is. You could tell that the writers had run out of material by the end.

Overall, Valley of the Dragons is a film that was pretty decent for the most part but the actual plot holds it back quite a bit. It should have been a film about the leads getting trapped in some kind of vicious world for sure, but not one this far back in the past. If it was more modern we could have gotten around all of the scenes of them trying to teach the people everything and more banter instead. Of course by this point I am describing an entirely different film, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. If you don’t mind the past element then I think you’ll reasonably like this movie since it’s the main thing holding it back. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of actual dragons.

Overall 4/10

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus Review


It’s time to look at a classic short about the origin of Santa Claus. It involves cosmic beings and a debate on if mortals should become immortals. It’s a pretty fun special but one where the length works against it to an extent as it ends so quickly. The plot appears to be on turbo mode the whole time so you’ll stay entertained, but Santa doesn’t get to properly prove himself. By the end of the special you’ll be on the fence about making him an immortal. If anything you may want to give him the thumbs down.

The short has a time jump near the beginning but essentially when Santa was a boy he was raised by a tiger. After that he was stolen by a fairy god and taken to the realm of the gods. They showed him how to live and eventually showed him how sad Earth was in comparison. Still, Santa decided that he needed to go there and help those who couldn’t help themselves. He was given a few holy beings to help him as well as some sprites. At last he could make the world a better place for those who didn’t have enough. He would make Christmas fun for everyone. Unfortunately, some cave trolls don’t like this and decide that they will rob all of Santa’s presents for themselves. Can Santa stop them or will he needs the gods to save him?

Naturally you’ll hope that it’s the former right? Unfortunately, Santa is able to do very little against these guys. He barely even tries to come up with a good plan and just does the same things over and over again. He insists on just walking through this dangerous valley over and over again to no avail. Santa is a nice guy of course, but he just doesn’t seem all that capable. Without all of the magical beings helping him I feel like he would have been absolutely doomed. The guy wouldn’t have even known how to live on his own since he was raised in a world where food is unlimited.

I will admit that the scene where the gods show up to fight the trolls was hype though. In particular, the Great Ak (The main god) shows up and basically tells the trolls to surrender or die. They choose the latter option and that’s it for them. In stories like this the high above beings usually just watch from afar and do absolutely nothing. I’m glad that this wasn’t the case here as they should be willing to come and help Santa out. They were his friends for a while after all and want him to succeed. Maybe they should have prepared him a little more before sending him to Earth.

Also, why should Earth have all of these supernatural beings anyway? You’d think that the gods would have wiped them out or established some rules as otherwise the normal humans are basically doomed from the start. These are all world building questions though and the special is way too short to deal with all of that. These aren’t really negatives, just observations. At the end of the day I thought this special was pretty fun. It had a little more action than I had expected and the premise is pretty interesting. It’s really not what you’d think of at all when you picture a movie about Santa Claus’ origin.

I’m still not a big fan of the animation style, but what else is new right? You either like it or you don’t by this point, but it won’t really hurt the film. It does limit how good it can be from the get go, but the movie stays in the positive area. I think if it had been just a little longer it could have possibly earned an extra star, but as it stands the movie ends up losing to most of the big Santa Claus titles or the more iconic Rankin/Bass productions. There’s a reason this one isn’t very well known.

Overall, This film will certainly teach you a very interesting way to look at Santa’s origin. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re curious. You certainly aren’t very likely to see the story play out like this again. It’s not their best production but it gets the job done and since it is fairly short it’s not like it’ll take a whole lot of time out of your day to check it out. Maybe one day we’ll get another Santa origin and it’ll draw inspiration from this one.

Overall 6/10

Dragon Ball Side Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha Review


The manga trilogy has finally ended so it’s time for the review. This mini series only got three chapters so it’s pretty short. That’s too bad because the premise just had a whole lot of potential in it. The basic plot is that a kid in the human world is a big fan of Dragon Ball. Unfortunately in the real world he’s just a really unlikable guy who has no redeeming qualities. One day, he decides to fall even lower on the moral totem pole when he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his neck. It’s surprisingly a happy moment since he felt like the main antagonist. Instead of dying, the kid wakes up as Yamcha in the Dragon Ball series. He must now find a way to become a better character and avoid dying. Since he knows the events in advance he has a real shot here, but can he do it?

You can probably see why the premise has potential. There’s so much you can do with this kind of story since you know what is going to happen and can take steps to avoid it. Yamcha may not be able to do much against the final threats like Cell and Buu but even those are things that he can get past if he knows the origins. For Buu, just eliminate Spopovich and the other ally before they can get Gohan. For Cell, attack him in his first form or tell everyone where he is and that should be easy enough. You can escape almost any scenario.

The main character actually does do quite a bit of this at first. He trains hard so he is able to actually help against Frieza and the foes before him. He basically gives up on doing this by the Cell arc and decides to just watch which is fine I suppose. He knows he’ll come back to life anyway. You just can’t explore this concept as much as you could have if this was an ongoing series. Additionally, the series throws in the twist of having another human being warped into the series and the lead has to find out who he is. Naturally, this character is evil so they have a fight but the power of being a DBZ fan wins him over. This is all so rushed and unnatural that you have to wonder exactly why it was added.

Again, this could be a really interesting concept especially when you find out that if you die you get to retry your time in the universe. It could have been like a Groundhog Day where they explore many different avenues. Instead the whole second human plot is finished in one chapter. The ending was certainly an interesting twist as we at least get a reason why the human got into the world. Unfortunately, even the ending is wrecked as the main character immediately goes back to his old shady ways of being a creep. I thought the whole point was that he was going to learn a lesson…not that he would use his newfound abilities to be even worse in the real world.

Really, this manga is only held back by the main character. Otherwise, it’s pretty solid. The art is quite good and really does resemble DBZ at some points. It isn’t as consistent and has some flaws in that respect, but I would say that the art is quite good. It’s certainly a lot better than I would have anticipated from a short title like this one. I wonder how many people even know that this manga exists.

Overall, it’s a fun concept but you can only do so much with it. I’d recommend checking it out as many fans have always wanted a fun little alternate universe story like this one. You can even argue that the story could be cannon and wouldn’t make a difference. It would raise a lot of questions of course, but it could work. Hopefully we get more Dragon Ball spinoff mangas. Despite its overwhelming popularity we haven’t gotten as many titles as I’d like. We need to keep it rolling and get the Saiyans in a bunch of different adventures. Just resist the urge to add a human original character to the mix and then we’re golden. If you do add one, just keep in the death from the first chapter without actually bringing him back, now That would be funny.

Overall 5/10