Yugioh Vrains Review


It’s time to link into the Vrains! Yugioh was always known as the big trading card franchise for a long while as even Duel Masters could not keep up but as the years went by it started to lose its ground at the top. Nowadays you could make a fair case for Cardfight Vanguard surpassing it in discussion at least for the shows. That said, Vrains is the end of the old guard in a sense since Sevens is really the start of a whole new direction. Vrains is another great show so Yugioh continues to go strong there. While I do think it ended up being the weakest of the classic Yugioh shows (Aside from Capsule Monsters and the original show) that’s more due to the high bar set by the franchise as opposed to this one lacking in anything. GX, 5Ds, and Arc V still remain at the top by a longshot, then you have classic and then Zexal, then Vrains comes riding through. We’ll see if Sevens can break into this very exclusive group of shows or if it’ll lag behind.

The show here follows Yusaku, whose alter ego is Playmaker. He was involved in an experiment as a kid that traumatized him as well as a lot of other kids and then the incident was buried. Yusaku has some issues with his memory, why he was there in the first place, and also has trust issues now. So he really stays by himself and the only person he truly trusts is Kolter. Yusaku now works as a hacker so he can find out the truth in the world and he’s also an expert duelist on the side. The only leads he has is the group known as the Knights of Hanoi and SOL Technlogies, and an advanced A.I. program (Ignis) named Ai. Will Yusaku be able to put this puzzle back into focus?

So lets talk a bit about the show as a whole first before getting into the arcs and characters. I do like the idea of dueling while on airboards now. It’s a natural piece of progression after being on motorcycles before. Arc V had rollerblades and flying through the arena so it’s only natural that fighting while in the air would be next right? The characters have to watch out for the constant tornadoes but it’s pretty intense. I would say motorcycles is still the best aside from normal dueling but this one is still cool.

The gimmick for Vrains is also considerably better than the one in Arc V where you could just randomly grab cards. Here you get to use a unique skill once per turn and every player has a different unique skill. It’s an interesting mechanic that doesn’t completely take over every duel so it actually feels rather balanced. At the very least I thought it was handled pretty well personally. It’s a visually interesting ability and with the characters already in the air, the whole thing helps to augment the duel without distracting from it.

I also enjoyed the mystery angle in the show with Yusaku trying to find out about his past. If he had full amnesia or something then that would have been annoying but instead it’s about that one specific event which always raises a lot of questions for Yusaku. Why wouldn’t it right? The whole thing seems incredibly suspect so it’s no wonder that he wants to find out exactly what was going on there. It’s a slow boil as you gradually find out the details of the mystery and that’s handled well.

Yusaku also makes for a very fun protagonist with how rude he can be the whole time. Yusaku is very much not a people person and he reminds the case of this a lot with his subtle burns. He’s never sarcastic but he will put a character in their place with a sharp remark at the drop of a hat. Yusaku is a master duelist so he can also quiet other characters down that way. As the series goes on he gets to be a nicer guy and someone who even believes in the power of friendship but he never completely loses his edge. He’s a solid character through and through as well as someone that all of the villains have to respect as a solid threat.

It was also nice to have various factions running around here. You had SOL Technologies and their various duelists and fighters running around. They even hire a bounty hunter at one point. You’ve got Yusaku and his friends on the heroes side and then you have the Knights of Hanoi with their own schemes to hack the world. So at all points in the series there are at least 3 factions running around and I think that’s a good thing because it always means there could be a wild card running around. It helps to keep things from being too static or straight forward.

Naturally the animation is very solid here. Yugioh never goes for looks that are too fancy or anything but it’s all well detailed and I had no issues with how anything looked. The designs and backdrops are always solid as well as the dueling effects. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable than some of the previous Yugioh titles though. I can’t really recall too many of the individual dueling themes and the English version of the theme song at least was rather underwhelming. So on the music side this one doesn’t quite hold up.

Now I suppose the question is what keeps Vrains from beating the other Yugioh shows. Well, I do think the soundtrack and animation play a part as it doesn’t look or sound as good as any of the others. While it’s not a major deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s still an important factor when you’re going up against elite titles. Faster music would have been good and the animation just didn’t get as out there as you would expect. GX and 5Ds for example came out ages ago but the animation still holds up even better I would say, especially in some of the biggest duels. I don’t even have to go into the soundtrack since those were amazing.

The cast is also a bit weaker overall. There aren’t a whole lot of Vrain characters that I would say are really high tier. One character who eventually got high tier didn’t reach that point in the final season. This was Ai as he was annoying for around the first 100 episodes before finally getting good. For the most part the characters just didn’t reach the next level though and as a result you had less heart pumping duels. The climax of each arc would get fairly intense but I would say that it could take a little while to get to that point.

Now all of these points are speaking relative to the other titles. This is still an 8 star title so you can tell that it is great all around. When you look at the show by itself, I wouldn’t consider these to be true weak points as the show still handles them well. It’s just the little things that can keep you from reaching the top and shattering all of the limits. It’s also difficult following a title like Arc V which was the big crossover saga for all of the series. That may be why this one intentionally tried to be a little more low key and about the mystery/world instead of always being about the duels. At least early on it’s going more in that direction which isn’t even a bad idea. It’s pretty enjoyable to see Yusaku playing detective and to see where that goes.

Now I’d say that’s a pretty good time to start jumping into the story arcs and talking about the characters a bit. The show had 120 episodes so as you can probably imagine, there was a whole lot going on here at all times. It makes for a great adventure and the longer you go the better. So if you’re 100+ episodes and an 8? Well that means you’re in for a treat because that’s a lot of content for greatness. If you’re 100+ but a 7 or lower then that’s still pretty good but it isn’t nearly as mind-blowing or anything like that.

The first part of the season’s more about the introductions. So while Yusaku is on his quest to find the answers, he gets to meet up with a lot of characters both friend or foe. Those who enjoy Link Vrains and those who want to see it go down. The Knights of Hanoi have taken a very drastic approach in this endeavor as they seek to completely delete it which will keep A.I. from taking over the planet. See, part of their concern is that humanity relies on the A.I. too much and so if they ever revolt, the world could be in trouble. While this may seem a little drastic, the show does give them some ammo here.

See, everything in this world relies on A.I. From entertainment to schoolwork, to hobbies, and normal work. Everything is connected with the sci-fi elements at this point. The Knights of Hanoi have seen firsthand how dangerous this can be and so they aim to nip this in the bud. It will of course be a huge inconvenience to everyone who uses Link Vrains but at least it’s not like they’re trying to blow up the planet or anything. It makes for a very interesting goal on the villains part. Then in a way SOL Technologies would be the good guys since they control Link Vrains but they have so many secrets and shadowy figures that it’s not like you can trust them either. At the end of the day Yusaku can only really rely on himself.

That said, I do think SOL Technologies could have done a little better with their council of elders. Those guys talk a really tough game but at the end of the day they can barely fight. You never see them actually running to the frontlines or anything like that. SOL has the money to buy a bunch of bounty hunters and such but I would have liked to have seen these guys getting in some action too. Now that would have been a lot of fun.

As mentioned earlier, Kolter is Yusaku’s main friend and he’s not bad. Hostage situations do force him into some tricky calls later on in the series but for the most part he’s dependable. I just wish he could duel a little better so that he could actively help Yusaku instead of always being on the sidelines. He helps out with the coding and all but dueling is the best way because you can just get right in there without any delay. He and Yusaku also have some good conversations on hot dogs and whether they’re a sandwich or not. I always thought those conversations were pretty cool.

Then there’s Ai. Well, I’ll talk about him a bit more again for the final arc but for the majority of the series I didn’t really care for him. Each Yugioh series always needs a mascot/advisor to the main character. The one in the classic Yugioh is Yami Yugi of course and he’s really serious but then sometimes you may have someone like Astral where you can’t trust him all that much and he’s not a great character. Ai is more on that level as he talks tough but is proven to be wrong every time. His confidence is never warranted and he just holds Yusaku back so there’s no way for me to like him much. It’s not until the final saga that he suddenly becomes a pretty good character.

Now Zaizen is a high quality character. At first he may seem like your classic government worker type villain who can’t fight and just sends goons after Yusaku but there’s a lot more to him than that. One of his motivations for getting to the top is so that he can protect his sister Skye and he even tries to prevent her from dueling for that reason since it can get rather dangerous. He does take it too far but you can get at least why he has that general view. Then when it’s crunch time he actually is able to duel. Sometimes Zaizen does take the easy way out and just follows the company line, but otherwise he will stand up for himself which is always what you want to see.

He looks into SOL Technologies on his own as well and gets a lot of character development. Ultimately I wouldn’t call him a hero but he was one of the most interesting characters in the whole show. Then you have Emma aka Ghost Gal who he would hire to get info sometimes. She’s sort of like a bounty hunter who will do missions for the right price. Typically she leans more on the side of being a hero and doing the right kind of tasks but I wouldn’t say exclusively. Ultimately if you’re willing to pay then she is willing to help out. She can duel very well too so she can take care of herself when a mission goes sideways. She brings a nice dynamic to the series.

Next up is The Gore but I never ended up liking this guy. He’s your classic strong but not very smart guy. There’s a nice touch to his character with how he fights so that the orphans can have someone to look up to. I think if that was played up then he could have been really good but he gets entranced by the darkness several times. It feels like he was always being a traitor and it’s not like he’s an expert duelist either. If his character had gone in a different direction then it could have worked but not like this.

As for the villains, lets start off with the leader Varis. He has a personal vendetta against all Ignis because he believes that they go too far. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with A.I. and technology itself but since the Ignis have a will of their own they become too dangerous. He really thinks that this level of technology should not be around and so he tries to eliminate them and make a mess of Link Vrains. He has a very solid backstory here to set up this goal and his confidence is always high.

In a lot of ways he will definitely remind you of Kaiba. The two of them have a lot of similarities as characters and are both top of their field. Even by the end of the series Varis still has some edge to him. There’s one fight that he ends up throwing near the end of the series that I found to be a little cheesy though. I get that he wanted to end the cycle of violence but I would have liked him to have stayed the course and gone off to destroy the Ignis anyway. That would have been the ideal scenario for me.

Then you have Specter who I like to think of as the right hand man. The Varis group doesn’t necessarily have full rankings like that but this guy always proved himself to be the most capable fighter. His fight with Skye was really a highlight in the series as it was one of those battles that subverted your expectations several times. His backstory was surprisingly emotional and he just made for an excellent all around fighter. The guy is one of those villains who loves taunting his opponents and he puts this to great effect. The characters just have no idea how to deal with him since he throws them so far off their game.

Then you have Dr. Kogami who is a mysterious scientist who ends up having a big role later on. He’s overshadowed by the other two villains for me but this guy wasn’t bad. He has grand ambitions and has quite a few “All according to plan” moments so I’ll give him that. Maybe if his deck had more of a shiny gimmick to it that would have helped him be even more memorable.

I mentioned her before, but of course we can’t go on without talking about Skye. She plays a big role here as the main heroine and has to balance being a celebrity in Vrains while not letting her brother realize that she even uses the system. That makes for a difficult balance of course but she pulls it off. I liked Skye well enough even if she probably could have used a few more wins in the dueling world. After a while you realize that none of Yusaku’s friends can hold their own (Until Soul Burner arrives) so he really has to pick up the slack for everyone. Ultimately you can always count on Skye to do her best in helping out though.

Now we enter the meat of the first arc which is that Varis and the Knights of Hanoi have constructed a tower. Each duelist they defeat is destroyed and put into the tower. If it isn’t stopped quickly then all of Link Vrains will be taken down for good. Yusaku will have to rely on his friends to help him here but when they are soundly defeated then it’s up to him as expected. Seriously the friends do their best to help but often times they don’t really help much in the grand scheme of things. Yusaku has to do the heavy lifting at all times.

There are a lot of hype duels throughout the tower experience as you’d expect. The three highlights are Yusaku vs Varis, Skye vs Specter, and then Specter vs Yusaku. As I mentioned earlier, Specter is just a master of mental manipulation and I was really impressed with him the whole time. Initially I figured he was going to be more of a throwaway villain who was not going to be ready to fight in the big leagues like this but he proved me wrong. This guy was absolutely ready to swing for the fences.

As for Varis, well the series was hyping up his duel with Yusaku for a very long time and it lived up to it. Technically they had several duels but this was the big one to end the arc so it was extra special. A few other villains also appeared here who were reasonably solid even if they couldn’t top the big two. One was Faust and he’s a bit of a genius although all of the villains are to an extent. He has a solid duel and makes his presence known. After this season he would continue to appear but he doesn’t get to duel nearly as much. He’s more of a supporting character.

Finally there is Baira and she came up with a solid computer glitch that can damage you even in the real world when you duel in Link Vrains. That was no small feat and she made for another solid villain to go up against. Then you’ve got one hero I hadn’t talked about yet in Shima. This is the comic relief character of the series and so I don’t have many positive things to say about him. Comic relief characters can be cool of course but the first step is that they need to be funny and Shima never was. He just tries too hard in his scenes and he’s not even a good duelist. That’s a bad sign in a show about dueling.

Now with season 2 we enter the main arcs of the series. The planet that the Ignis lived on has been destroyed and so now they are appearing on Earth. Some of the Ignis wish to conquer it while others want to take a peaceful approach. Lightning ends up being the ring leader here and he quickly gets Windy on board. Then he uses the cyborg Bohman and his brother Harlin to back him up. Even the Ignis who were on the fence like Earth have to take a stand and the Knights of Hanoi aren’t making it easy to convince them of a peaceful solution since they vow to destroy all the Ignis either way. Yusaku will have to try for peace but is that even possible?

Lightning even ran simulations which showed that eventually war would break out between the Ignis and humans which would cause everyone to die. He ran this simulation numerous times and it always ended up the same way which is why he decided to make the first move. I do like that this does at least give a good reason for why he turned evil like this. If you see that in the future everyone ends up dying every time, then you would probably feel really tempted to attack.

Lightning also just made for a really solid villain. He’s easily the most memorable of the Ignis for that reason and is an exceptional duelist all the way through. Then you have Windy who is also a solid villain. I would say that he doesn’t quite keep up with Lightning in part because he had to be convinced and isn’t a true leader in that sense. Still, Windy does his share of damage and doesn’t crack when he is nearly destroyed by the humans. This was definitely another villain that the heroes had to watch out for.

Earth was my least favorite member of the Ignis. He decided to stay on the fence and also didn’t confess to Aqua quickly enough. He tends to take forever to make a point and ultimately gets captured. His fate is the darkest by far among the Ignis and it’s probably the darkest scene in the series to be honest. You definitely feel bad for him and at the same time it really makes Lightning’s point on why the humans can’t be trusted. There will always be some of them around who will show up to try and destroy the Ignis. This was just the latest example of that.

Then there is Aqua and she’s nice enough but unfortunately her dueling skills aren’t quite on the same level s the others. She’s more of a pacifist but at least is more determined than Earth was. Aqua ends up having a good bond with Skye and does her best to help out. At least she did choose a side instead of staying in the middle so I give her props for that.

Finally we have Flame and I liked him well enough although I expected better out of both him and Soulburner. On their initial appearance it felt like they were going to be the cool rival character to give Yusaku a run for his money and then it never happened. It helps that Soulburner’s human alter ego just isn’t as cool as you would expect. Part of the point is that he’s actually not a super cool dude in the real world but I would have switched that so he was cool in both realms. Would have just worked better right? As for Flame, he does a good job of backing Soulburner up but it felt like he didn’t have a ton of personality most of the time.

He’s a good guy and he can hurl some insults but that’s about it. At least Soulburner has some good rage moments when it comes time to deal with his backstory or fighting against Varis. So there would be full episodes where Soulburner actually was really cool. It doesn’t happen all of the time but when it happens that’s definitely cool at least. Now it’s time for the 4 villains in this arc. First up is Jin and sure he’s being manipulated the whole time but that means he is still showing up as a villain here.

He just didn’t end up being nearly as cool as he could have been as a result. The guy has no willpower and is really just a puppet to be used the whole time. Considering how long it took Kolter to find him, it would have been nice if Jin was more helpful. Maybe give him one big duel before he gets brainwashed. Then you have Bohman who gets brainwashed a lot as well. The guy is given different memories each time just to mess with him. The reason Bohman is cooler though is because at least he can duel really effectively.

He gets stronger in each duel and by the end he even learns how to have goals of his own. He has some really solid duels throughout and you just grew to like the guy. Bohman is a great example of a fun villain. Not saying you’ll be rooting for him or anything like that but like Lightning he at least has a fairly good thought process on what he’s doing.

Then there is his brother Harlin. That guy’s more on the emotional side for the villain as he has a hard time really appreciating Bohman until it starts to be too late. Harlin’s confidence well exceeds his overall dueling ability so he doesn’t stand out quite as much. He’s decent but you just won’t be putting him above any of the other big villains. Finally you’ve got Shepherd who is a bounty hunter and a nice wild card to throw onto the field. You definitely don’t want to underestimate this guy and he even got Yusaku into a sticky situation several times. He also can’t stand A.I. like Varis and that makes him another good character to have around. He’ll attack both heroes and villains depending on the job and I like those kind of characters. Shepherd will do whatever it takes to fulfill his own ambitions.

Finally we’ve reached the final arc which is rather short but very impactful. It raises a lot of good questions and it also what made Ai go to being a fairly high tier character. So the season starts off with Ai making a big choice. He realizes that the Ignis were right and declares war on humanity. He will take them all out and just needs to obtain the two card keys from SOL Technologies. After Ai obtains the first one, the heroes know that he is serious about this. Somehow he has become a world class duelist with exceptional cards though so defeating Ai won’t be easy. Pretty much every available character is rounded up to stop Ai but will they really be enough to defeat him? With Yusaku being shaken up at the revelation, it won’t be easy this time.

The whole A.I. vs humanity angle is something that the show goes into quite a lot as I discussed earlier in the main Ignis arc. It’s really an interesting plot and I like it when the show goes into this. The humans are always attacking them after all but it was still very surprising to see Ai going to the other side. He usually just gets beaten up by everybody but still bounces back with a smile. It turns out that he was looking at things a lot more seriously than he let on. He probably should have talked with Yusaku before going out on his own though. Ai ends up being very impulsive when it matters.

It would normally be hard to take him seriously though which is where the show did an excellent job with his character. He gets a whole new design and actually looks really good. Now he is a fighter that the heroes can’t afford to underestimate at all. Doing so could cost the planet. Naturally there are a lot of twists and turns here as well as infighting with the heroes. After all, the season is still close to 20 episodes so it’s not like the whole thing could just be the Ai duels. Fortunately the other duels are still a blast as well. This was a fitting way to end the series and it was really hype as a climax.

The ending of the series is very final and does feel like a good way to wrap things up. There is one scene in the final episode that definitely helps to give it a good buff. It’s the kind of scene that I enjoy having there as a positive twist at any rate. So that’s the story of Yugioh Vrains and it’s a good one. Of course I didn’t go into details on some of the twists and turns here so you can get into it on your own. That way they’ll really have a lot of bite and substance to them. There’s no way you walk away from the series with any feeling other than just being happy and thrilled.

Overall, Yugioh Vrains is definitely a great series. I would recommend it to any anime fan, whether they’re someone who is already into Yugioh or someone looking for a good show. Either way it’s easy to follow and a good enough starting place for any future Yugioh fan. As I wrote above it’s a great show that’s well balanced in all areas. It’s also emotional that this is effectively the end of the traditional Yugioh shows. We’ll see if Sevens is able to top it as the start of the next gen or not. Either way you won’t be forgetting Vrains anytime soon.

Overall 8/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress Review


The Cardfight Vanguard franchise has really come a long way. It went from being the new kid on the block to being able to stand shoulder to shoulder with pioneers like Yugioh. At this point it can hold its own with any title in the trading card genre. overDress is the start of the newest generation in the franchise. It has a lot to live up to with the original, G, and the reboot era all churning out stellar titles. This one is off to a weak start so far with the weakest season in the franchise but knowing this franchise, you can’t count it out. Both G and the original series had a weaker first season compared to their sequels so this could be a similar path.

The series starts off by introducing us to Yu-Yu (Which sounds like a Yugioh protagonist name) who is rather timid and as a result he is pushed around by his family. They aren’t antagonistic and certainly don’t mean to be pushy but they have a lot of fun dressing him up and he doesn’t do anything more than half heartedly complain about it. One day they dress him up as a girl and he finally has enough of this so he storms off. He meets up with a girl named Megumi who introduces him to the world of Vanguard.

See, the players in this town use an abandoned amusement park to have their games in. It’s like a sanctuary here and it’s led by Danji, who is known as Big Bro by the community. He takes Yu-Yu under his wing and the hero quickly realizes that his life can be a whole lot brighter with this game by his side. Slowly Yu-Yu learns to open up and be more independent as he gains a lot of friends through this. When a challenger named Tohya shows up and threatens these bonds, Yu-Yu will have to fight for his friends.

It’s a fairly quick season at 12 episodes. That may be the standard for a cour but it’s rare to see Cardfight shows with any season less than 20 episodes and usually it’s higher than that. As a result this is more of an introductory view into the series. We get to meet the characters and see what makes them tick. Don’t expect quite as many big battles here, it prioritizes being a slice of life over being a dueling series. You can even go full episodes with no true duels here.

Slice of life isn’t a bad approach and to an extent Cardfight G did this. I think that one still had many more duels but it did use up the first 30-40 episodes just on introducing the characters without introducing big villains. This one does have an antagonist by the very end but it is very low key. There’s a whole episode where Yu-Yu is sick and the characters have to help him out after all.

There are some moments of foreshadowing like Daji hinting that he used to have someone he looked after and a lady who has some kind of ties to his past. Also Yu-Yu may already be developing Psyqualia to an extent near the end of the season. That’s about it though and the series is a lot happier than you would expect from the opening. The opening is surprisingly somber the whole time so don’t let that fool you. This isn’t nearly as sad a show as it would have you think. For the most part it’s usually fun and games here.

Where the show falters is that it isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is. The scenes with Megumi getting the wrong idea about Yu-Yu and Danji for a few episodes barely qualifies as a comedic subplot since you won’t be laughing. Everyone loves to mess with Yu-Yu to an extent where even Aichi would have told everyone to knock it off. The characters just don’t click for the most part. The main, main characters are solid but most of the guys at the club feel like throwaways.

I’d also say that this is a show where you need the cardfights because those are the moments that really give the show its spark. Not including them much is like taking the show’s strongest aspect and keeping it on the backburner. Doesn’t feel like the show is playing to its strengths in that way. There’s a reason why the best moments in the show are all regarding the Tohya plot because that feels like peak Cardfight.

So Danji is an unbeaten Cardfighter with 20 victories in a row. (Not a lot so this guy clearly doesn’t duel too many people. We also see him lose at several points so it seems like only “official” duels in the ring count towards this) One day a guy named Tohya shows up to duel him and break that streak. Tohya has personal reasons for wanting to win this fight as it will help determine his future path. Their battles are great.

The first one in particular goes all out with the animation. On the whole the animation doesn’t pop out as much as the previous seasons. It seems to be using more of a faded color palette so it doesn’t strike you as quickly but when the fights come in we get some really streamlined moments. The speedblitzing and high end attacks are great and it will make you want even more Cardfights. It’s also a glimpse of what overDress could be like in the future with how high energy and epic these moments are. The fight animation deserves a lot of credit and unsurprisingly, episode 11’s animation as a whole is really solid.

Tohya even has a true origin story that is suitably tragic. It shows how serious it can be to misread someone’s final wish on their death bed. Tohya is chained by his past and it shows in his fights. He gets a lot of development and is easily the best character in the series. I was also glad that they played his final moments straight with no cop outs or sudden plot twists. He made his decision and went down a dark path, there wasn’t any hesitating or anything like that.

Out of the 12 episodes he really gets 3 full ones to himself and those are not surprisingly the best episodes in the show. He duels with a fiery passion that you just don’t see much in this season. He doesn’t even feel like one of the normal characters. To him Cardfight isn’t just a game and that really goes against the whole worldview of Yu-Yu and the others. If the show ultimately becomes more of a Shonen battle title in the next seasons then we’ll see if he’s proven correct. That said, while I do like this guy, I do think the final scene and decision with Danji is undeserved. If I were the side characters I would certainly be upset as well.

That’s enough about the best character though, lets talk about the others. Yu-Yu is one of those really timid main characters so he’s not really my style. I always prefer characters who are able to defend themselves and really get into the battle. I can already see his character development in place as he talks tough to Tohya near the end of the season. I can see him being a tough character down the road but he just isn’t quite there yet. Give him another season and we’ll see if he has really made it to the next level or if he just won’t be able to make the jump. At the very least he won’t be dressing up anymore..presumably. The season already gave an excuse in the wrestling episode for that to come back so we’ll see.

Danji is one of the most hyped up characters in the series and it is deserved in a combat sense. The guy is undeniably the strongest character in the series right now. It takes a whole lot to bring this guy to his limits and he will win 9 times out of 10. He isn’t always reliable outside of a duel though like arriving late when the flag was going to be burned and the whole outcome was his fault. The team needed him and he bailed. His sudden decision to step away from the game also rubbed me the wrong way.

He seems like a character who is just very carefree but he takes it to the point of just being irresponsible. Perhaps if we have more context to his decision then that will help things out but in the meantime that just hurts him as a character. I like him well enough and he beats most of the side characters but at this point in time I’m not super impressed with him. I want him on my side in a duel but that’s about it.

Megumi is the main heroine here and she can duel which is always a good thing. That’s a must at this point if you want to be a solid character. She has a tendency to lose a lot though because she lets her emotions run wild with her. That’s something she will definitely have to watch out for in the future but I can see her improving there. Her crush on Danji is probably not going to go anywhere at this rate either so she should be careful there. Like Yu-Yu I expect she will be getting a lot more development.

Now we get to the side characters who don’t get quite as much to do. Zakusa used to be a punk so he can revert to that mode at times where he can’t talk but…it’s not really that cool and more cringeworthy. He’s trying really hard to be the tough guy in the room but I can’t take him all that seriously. He did get one really good win in the show but that’s about it. You don’t feel safe with him as the second in command so he needs to train a lot more.

Tomari is a much more charismatic character and does well in announcing the fights. She gives the duels that old school energy and does her best to support Yu-Yu as well. Unfortunately she doesn’t really duel which will limit her potential a whole lot. Next up is Masanori who is Tohya’s right hand man. We don’t know a whole lot about this guy yet. He seems like a comic relief character most of the time but will then suddenly get serious at the drop of a hat. He really is a mystery but I suppose that’s what is supposed to make the character interesting.

Unfortunately I just don’t like the guy. Tohya has concrete goals and visions so you can at least understand why he is doing what he is doing. This guy? Not really, he just seems to like chaos so far and that’s not really enough to make for a solid character. He’s also just not funny even though he tries to be which is game over there.

The soundtrack is a little limited so far but it works well enough during the duels. The serious duels have good soundtracks to accompany them and that’s what counts. The opening is also good as far as the music is concerned even if it can’t match the originals. Then as I mentioned the combat parts of the animation are really solid and the day to day episodes have their moments. They certainly aren’t bad at any rate.

Right now overDress is like a roller coaster. Episode 1 was solid, 2 was rather weak, 3 was good 4 and 5 were weak, 6 was solid, 7 was straight up bad, 8 was weak, 9 was very weak, then 10-12 end the series on a high note with some intense battles and even a serious mini arc. In particular 11 was the pinnacle of the series as we had a great clash of ideals with Yu-Yu and Tohya. Nothing makes a great fight even better by putting that emotional weight behind it as each character fights for their beliefs. I saw that fight 3 times while prepping this review because it was really spectacular.

Season 2 just needs to continue that energy and that will be enough to keep it soaring. It’s not to say you can’t have stand alone episodes or be an episodic series. That can work but a whole episode where the main character is sick? That’s the kind of episode that’s probably not going to fly even in all star titles like Yugioh GX, Digimon Data Squad, or Beyblade. Being sick just isn’t an interesting plot point in the slightest and I’d say not to even have it as a subplot. The wrestling episode just felt pointless but it’s at least got some dueling there.

The series may prefer to be a slice of life show or at least something more grounded than in previous generations. If that is how it wants to be, then the key will be to make the characters better. Straight up that’s the way to do a slice of life. The characters have to be charismatic and/or humorous. As I said before, the show just isn’t very funny at the moment which limits the slice of life appeal. We need some more banter and having Tohya around as a main character could help with that to an extent. Of course I’m hoping we double down on the hype duels since you can have a lot of great banter and intensity with that. It all ends up snowballing into being a great show when you start introducing those factors.

Ultimately it all goes back to this being the origin of a new generation as I mentioned. It may have been a rocky start but many titles have had a rocky start and gotten really good so we just have to see how season 2 goes. Presumably this title won’t be in continuity with the older titles but right now I don’t think there is anything in the show that would contradict the others so who knows, maybe by season 3 or 4 we’ll have a guest star or two. I won’t have my hopes up for it or anything but that would be fun.

Overall, Cardfight overDress feels like a step down from the average experience in the franchise but it isn’t bad. I would like more of an emphasis on dueling in season 2 or at least more of an ongoing plot though. Some episodes here like the wrestling one or Yu-Yu getting sick just weren’t all that fun. The technicals are on point so once the show finds its footing then it should be all set. I’ll certainly be ready to see where season 2 takes this show. Hopefully Tohya continues to get a solid amount of screen time here because there really is a whole lot you can keep doing with him. I also want to learn more about the mysteries surrounding Danji and see where that goes.

Overall 6/10

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Avatars!!


Dragon Ball Heroes just doesn’t stop with all the expansions. This one’s early on with just 2 chapters but it’s got potential to be another winner. How can you go wrong with card game battles? I’ll have a review for this series up when it finishes.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Review


When I play a game like Lunar: Dragon Song I figure that the days of bad gameplay mechanics are behind me. Then I play Spirit Caller and I remember that there is no end to this. Here’s the problem with Spirit Caller right off the bat, you can’t duel the person you want to without RNG and a lot of luck. That’s a big issue but I’ll go more into that in a moment. Anytime RNG dominates your game like this without a specific purpose you know that things are about to go sour and it’s just a shame.

The basic plot is that you are a new transfer student to Slifer Academy. You joined up a few days after Jaden and pals so now you will be around for the events of the TV show. I believe this covers the first two seasons. You have a fairly small map world that is divided into about 6 areas. You can jump into each area and then wander around for duels. After fulfilling specific criteria that is not mentioned anywhere in the game, you can trigger story events. Good luck triggering them without a walkthrough by the way. Keep on going until you have defeated all of the enemies.

So here’s problem number 1, at first you will just have to click on each red circle and hope it’s the right duelist. NPCs give off the same frequency as duelists so you’ll have to waste time bumping into the same guy time and time again when looking for an opponent. Also, until you register an opponent in your PDA he is completely anonymous so you may end up fighting someone you’ve already beaten. How do you get them registered? Well, you have to beat the opponent a bunch of times but there is no exact number. So just keep on defeating these guys until their icon eventually shows up over an area so you know how to avoid them.

Also, there’s a day and night system here. You only have time to check out a few spots before it goes dark and it’s time for bed. This is definitely a shame since you may want to play more than that. The whole day and night system is always really bad if you ask me. Particularly as there seems to be no point to it here. The amount of days and nights are endless anyway and the only difference is that once a week or every other week you have to do a test that has no impact on the story or on your stats anyway.

Some story events also take a really long time to trigger. For example, one event was I needed to just keep going to sleep until Jaden randomly wakes me up for a duel. The problem is that it took several cycles before he did that and there’s no way to speed up the time except to keep on visiting areas over and over again. The quickest way is to pick an empty area and then another one across town. It’s all rather tedious though.

So those are my main issues with the game. I don’t like that you have to just wait for story events to come to you or that the day will run out so you are forced into bed. Also, just let me duel whoever I want instead of having to search the forest to fight a random opponent. It just doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. The World Championship games may not usually have a plot but at least you can jump in and duel whoever you want whenever you want. Now isn’t that a much more balanced system? I would certainly say it is.

The actual gameplay is good though. The duels go very smoothly with fast loading times and a lot of interesting decks. Some Yugioh games suffer from being a little slow but this isn’t one of them so that’s good. I think you can definitely have a good time with this if you focus on the duels. The problem is that there are other Yugioh games which can give you a similar experience with less hassle. Still, at least it’s an incentive to buy the game since the gameplay is at least good which is important..

It’s hard to say how long the game is, but at my current pace it would easily take around 30+ hours I would say. It’ll take you a long while to earn up enough money to buy all of the best cards as well and you will need that if you want to take on the future duelists who will appear. Also, EXP allows you to level up which includes more card packs and dueling opportunities so it’s important to keep battling as much as possible. There is definitely a lot of content here.

At least you can expect to have a true challenge here. The game starts you off with a truly terrible deck and since buying new cards comes down to luck you will definitely be held back for a while before you can get a really solid deck. Once you do though, then the sky’s the limit. Creating and managing your deck is one of the most enjoyable parts of Yugioh after all since you get the satisfaction of really getting to build from scratch and knowing that each card was carefully placed into the mix. That is definitely the way to go.

Overall, Spirit caller is one of those games that tried to get a little too fancy for its own good. As a Yugioh game all this title needed to do was supply the duels and give a fun plot/story to work off of. That’s really it. Just have a nice hub world to walk around or put it in an arcade mode kind of setting. The whole time system and constant RNG have no place here. Think about it, you’re already going to be using a lot of RNG for the actual duels so do we need it in the hub world as well? I would say definitely not personally.

Overall 6/10

Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 7h 9m
Battle Record 24-7

Deck Stats

Legend of the White Dragon 12% Complete
Powerful Seal 7% Complete
Established Chaos 59% Complete
Shadow Magicians 52% Complete
Scarlet Firestorm 52% Complete
Ultimate Power 52% Complete

Lostorage incited WIXOSS Review


Wixoss returns with its third season. The first two seasons were pretty fun and mainly just got held back by an unfortunate subplot. This time around Wixoss has no such characters to stop it. I mean, the main villain is kinda suspect but nothing too crazy. Lostorage incited is a very solid all around show. It does a good job of introducing all of the characters and giving us another good installment here. The ending’s a bit somber for some characters but since there’s a season 4 you suspect that this isn’t quite the end to the story. That said, it would actually work really well as an ending either way so if you’re not a big sequel person you can end it here and still be fine. The ending may not be super happy but it is pretty definitive.

The show starts by introducing us to two characters who were best friends as kids: Suzuko and Chinatsu. Eventually Suzuko had to move away though. Despite writing to Chinatsu consistently the two lost touch because none of her letters were returned. Suzuko figures Chinatsu probably moved away as well. She’s ready to have a good time at school when a Wixoss card appears and tells Suzuko that she has been chosen as a Selector. This isn’t something you can say no to either. This time around the characters are given 5 coins. If you don’t fight within a certain amount of time then you will lose one of them. If you win a fight then you get to claim one. Additionally you can bet a coin on the match to use a special ability. If you win then you will get the coin back in addition to a new one but if you lose then you’ll lose 2 coins this way. Even though you have 5 coins at the start, 2 are grayed out since otherwise a single win would have you win a tournament right off the bat.

Suzuko would usually be happy to play a game like this but she doesn’t appreciate the stakes. There are quite a few rules here to consider. If you lose all of your coins then you will disappear. Much like the first seasons, your LRig will take over your body while your original self gets thrown into the void hopefully to be reborn as an LRig someday. If you win all of your coins then you can manipulate your memory. You can remember something that you’ve forgotten, forget something you no longer wish to remember, or even alter your memories to be happier ones. There is nothing to suggest that this will actually rewrite events though so worst case you’ll have inaccurate memories that can trip you up. The winning prize isn’t quite as enticing as getting any wish of your desires so a big thing here is just that you may not want to destroy other people by winning your match.

The time limit here is a pretty interesting way to up the stakes though. In the first two seasons you could theoretically just not fight and you would be okay. With the time limit here you absolutely have to participate at some point or you’ll lose your memories. I suppose you may not disappear and would just forget a bunch of stuff since your coins would just be grayed out. It’s hard to confirm that though as no character gets to that point. There’s a chance you would just completely disappear in the same way as losing. A pretty good chance honestly so that’s a pretty good incentive to keep on fighting.

Suzuko is just one half of the main plot. Meanwhile Chinatsu is also a main character. It’s a nice dynamic as I always like having two characters sharing the lead spot particularly when they’re split up. It works as a nice build up to the inevitable confrontation they’ll need to have. So Chinatsu was always a kid who tried to do the right things. She would stick up for Suzuko and help her succeed. She would support her parents when her father was having trouble holding down a job and would keep all of the things she was worrying about to herself. She just did her best not to make anyone worry but now that she’s a teenager this is becoming more than she can bear. Her father has lost his job again so they may have to move which means Chinatsu won’t be able to get into her next school. Chinatsu also lost her current job so she isn’t able to help bring in money.

That’s when the game of Wixoss really brings her in. She is offered a job by Satomi to basically trick people into signing contracts with him and then they are stuck with playing more and more matches. It’s obviously a scam set up and not something she should really be doing but she is desperate enough to make this call. She wants to lose her memories of Suzuko because she believes that they are part of the problem. Deep down Chinatsu really blames herself here. She wants to be able to be a tougher person who can make selfish decisions but feels like she can’t do so without discarding her past. As a result she will get the other characters into sticky situations if it means that it’ll benefit her. So she’s going on the dark path while Suzuko is staying heroic so you can see how their clash of ideals will be a big plot point later on.

That’s probably the longest plot description I’ve given in a while but there’s just a lot to unpack there so it’s necessary. The animation is definitely pretty solid here. We get a lot of nice shots during the action scenes and in general the character designs are on point as well. The animation is nice and smooth. I wouldn’t say there has been a big change since the first two seasons. The contract scenes are still the best looking ones in the series and you don’t really get much of that here but it’s a consistent art style that always looks good. The soundtrack is also really solid. You’ve got a lot of good tunes here including some nice battle themes and a catchy opening. The series has never disappointed in those areas.

Suzuko is a solid new main character. She’s fairly quick at getting used to the game and really giving it her all. While I wouldn’t say she can get as fiery as the original lead, she’s still a fun heroine to follow around. Her main goal is to finally be friends with Chinatsu again and she is resolute in that. It’s enough of a motivation to keep her character interesting. I don’t expect she will really break out as one of the big characters in the series though. Her partner Ril is also solid. When the season first began I thought to an extent it was Chinatsu. Sort of like a fake version of her born from Suzuko’s mind. The show doesn’t really go in that direction but she acts enough like her where I consider that to be true in my head canon. She’s a solid companion. Ril may not be as strong as Tama but I would say she is one of the stronger fighters.

Then you have Chinatsu who really goes into the dark side. She’s a fun hero to have around but she goes so far as being a villain that it’s hard to buy into her being a sympathetic character by the end. In particular she pulls some big tricks on Shohei who was just trying his best to be a hero til the end. Her goals are also naturally a lot shakier than Suzuko’s. Chinatsu believes that cutting out her memories of Suzuko using this game will allow her to be free but will it? Part of the goal here is that by being free she will no longer have to be such a nice person but she seems to be doing a good job of pushing everyone away even with her memories in tact. It’s not like this would make her home situation much better either.

It’s a solid plot because it does show that the burden of always having to be the tough mature character helping everyone out will take its toll. In the end it did end up breaking her and unfortunately she got in with the wrong crowd. I wasn’t really a fan of her by the end. I don’t mind a character arc of going to the dark side but also dooming everyone else through the contracts and being Satomi’s underling? Yeah that’s pretty suspect. Her partner Mel is also interesting because she actually acts sorta shady. It makes it less likely that she is a version of Suzuko. While this isn’t really delved into, you get the feeling that she was goading Chinatsu on at times. She certainly made no effort to put her back on the right track and seemed to enjoy being the villain.

Shou is one of the other Wixoss players. He had a tragic story of his younger sister vanishing after getting involved with the game. He hadn’t paid much attention back then and regrets it now. This may be part of what got him into the game although he never makes much progress. I wouldn’t say he does all that well as one of the big characters. His whole dynamic with his L Rig is definitely not all that great and at the end of the day he’s kind of weak and easily manipulated. Especially given what the stakes are here like finding out what happened to his sister I would have expected him to be a whole lot more serious when it counted.

Then you’ve got Shohei who is actually a great character. In fact I would say that he is the best character here. He actually takes the high road over the other characters by refusing to play the game so nobody gets hurt. It’s an easy strategy to use at its core except for the fact that you’ll end up losing all of your memories and then disappearing from the world forever if you don’t battle. At the end of the day none of the other characters no matter how heroic are willing to make this sacrifice. They want their wish no matter what even if the other characters end up falling to the wayside. Shohei wasn’t having any of that and I can respect it. At the end of the day in the first series I applauded Ruko deciding that her wish was to save everyone. I much prefer that kind of goal because you save everyone while fighting. In this case there are no wishes though so it’s hard to see what else Shohei can do. Sitting back to just accept your death doesn’t sound great but he isn’t hurting anyone this way and it’s hard to think of a workaround. Things may not have gone over very well for him but I can’t fault the decision. I’ve got a lot of respect for the guy and if anything it’s too bad he couldn’t have appeared more.

Hanna is Suzuko’s main friend here. She’s a step up from the friend in the first seasons but I never became a big fan. Hanna is said to be an excellent Wixoss fighter and strategist but you don’t see a whole lot of that here. To me she seemed rather average and quickly surpassed by Suzuko. She certainly has a tragic past of her own to get to. Considering what her goal was I thought she could have handled the new knowledge a little better but I suppose it was pretty intense either way. Her fighter is Nanashi, a fairly mysterious fighter who doesn’t really give her input much. She doesn’t mind being a villain or a hero so long as she is having fun. In a way that makes her one of the more dangerous figures since you absolutely can’t trust her at any point.

Aya is Shou’s LRig and definitely one of the meanest ones. Usually your LRig is someone you can count on at all times but not in this case. She’s constantly insulting him and granted, he does earn it some of the time. Holding back against an opponent in this game is something you must never do since your life and memories are on the line but Shou has a lot of easily exploited weaknesses. In comparison you’ve got Dona who is Shouhei’s LRig and a supportive partner to have. She’s not thrilled about his decision to stay away from the fights but does support him as best she can. She gets a fairly big role for being an LRig and is always right there ready to participate in the action.

There’s not much to say about Sou as his role here is pretty small. He’s definitely a pretty rude guy who only likes fighting people he thinks is weak so that tells you what you need to know about the guy’s confident. He’s pretty willing to be a lowly subordinate if it means he can get wins. Then he’s got a super timid LRig in Guzuko who is one of the worst ones in the game. It definitely makes them an odd pairing but also shows why they are so weak. They aren’t on the same page at all.

Then you have Rio who is a little kid that was selected. In a lot of ways that makes her a tragic character because she can’t possibly comprehend the stakes at the moment. She wants to make her mother well again and figures that by being in the game she will be able to do this. Well of course that may have been true in the first two seasons but since the prize here is only to manipulate memories and not change real world events, you can’t help but feel like this plan couldn’t possibly work out. This also makes her a bit of a tough opponent to fight against since nobody wants to actually take her out for the count since they know what’ll end up happening. Her LRig is named Mama and seems like a nice LRig on the surface but I’m not so sure. I guess it seems like I don’t trust any of them but why would I? They all know the rules but rarely ever let their controllers know until it’s too late. Rio isn’t as charismatic as the little girl from the first two seasons but she was still fun.

Satomi is the big villain of the series and well he’s definitely not my kind of villain. Every single line he has is an innuendo as he constantly messes with the heroes and heroines. The guy manipulates them so easily that you’ll be shaking your head. Why do they always get so flustered so easily? In general this season just had a lot of fun with that and it would continue on to the next season too as the characters intentionally frame things in a suggestive way. It’s all obvious enough where I’d love a character to play dumb and just accept the challenge. At the end of the day the characters are just asking if you want to have a match with them. Instead of being flustered or stammering just accept the challenge with a “Yeah, let’s have a great game ” and that would be an excellent comeback.

Back to Satomi though. His general goal is he wants to make everyone as miserable as possible. He’s definitely in the right field for this since that’s not a very difficult task to do at all. He’s also a very strong Wixoss player so it’s not like you can just disregard him either. The guy needs to be treated as a serious opponent and taken down right away. The problem is that there are very few characters in the series who can match him. This is because his chosen fighter Carnival is incredibly powerful. Carnival can reach elusive levels that only fighters like Tama could match and she has the nice ability of being able to use everyone’s ability. It’s always really hard to match a fighter like that because it breaks the balance of the game. If your opponent knows you’ve only got 1 skill while they can choose any, that’s naturally going to be very difficult to counter.

Kiyoi appears here but very briefly. She is seen as a powerful opponent who was even able to dominate Chinatsu. Then just as quickly she disappears from the season after having one more big fight. She clearly wants to stop Satomi’s plans but isn’t working with the rest of the group. She’s a mysterious loner and makes for a very interesting character. We’ll learn more about her in the next season though so this was really just a little quick set of appearances to set that up. Kiyoi was definitely a great character in this season.


Overall, This is the best season of Wixoss yet. While the memories angle seems like it makes the stakes a little lower than putting your immortal soul on the line for a wish, the end result is still basically the same. At the end of the day if you lose all of your memories you still do vanish so that hasn’t changed. The writing may not be amazing at times like with all of the characters getting flustered so easily by the most basic of suggestive phrases but the show has a lot of good plot lines and action to keep it going on a strong note. It’s a pretty interesting story all told and one that was able to survive on the new characters without needing the older ones to appear. I don’t have any real issues with the season and would definitely recommend giving it a watch. You don’t even need the first two seasons for context since it’s a whole new cast although it should be noted that this is in the old continuity and there are definitely references to that.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard: Shinemon Review


It’s time to take a look at the next season of Cardfight Vanguard. The franchise has definitely been going quite strong for many years now. It’s easily outlasted Buddyfight at this point and now there are over 10 seasons of the show. That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. When’s the last time you had a show go all the way through, do the big next generations series with a new cast, get several sequels to that one, and then do the modern reboot of the original? Well, that’s what Cardfight has done and now we’re getting the prequel to the reboot and it looks like we’re getting close to a reboot of the next generation show. It’s really quite impressive and this is definitely staying up there as one of my favorite franchises of all time. Shin actually holds his own show quite well. While this one can’t match some of the earlier seasons for sure, it’s still a great anime.

The show starts by introducing us to Shin, possibly the youngest cardshop owner out there. However, his ownership of the place is a bit questionable. See, he decided to take it over when Misaki’s parents died as a last wish in order to keep her safe. Shin feels like he owes it to them and has quickly found his place in the cardshop setting. The problem is that he is still attending school and so he can’t be at the shop most of the time. A rich lady by the name of Esuka also wants to own the shop for personal reasons of her own. She has a fair argument for why she would be the best person for the job. She’s not a random villain or some petty person that wants to make some cash. She knew the parents as well and to be honest she seems like she would do a much better job. The show debatably has 2 main arcs, the fight against Esuka and then the G prequel arc about dimension hopping.

For most of the first half of the show Shin does his best to fight against Esuka and her corporation. The thing is, are you even rooting for him? Neither side is evil so you don’t have to worry about that. At the end of the day you have to think about who would run the shop better and I have to give the nod to Esuka here. Fortunately for Shin she also looks after him quite a bit and goes easy on the lead. For most of the series she seems to be way more skilled than he is and definitely has more resources. I have to admit that I was rooting for her the whole time. Shin’s a solid lead and all but he was too young to run a cardshop and I think this begun to sink in a little later on. Shin can be pretty stubborn though.

Then for the climax of the series we have Ryuzu showing up. Fans of the G series will remember him as one of the big villains. The guy is a little less crazy at this point in time though so this is sort of seeing how he went off the wrong path. He wants to harness energy from the other planet in order to make Earth a better place. The warning bells that trigger with statements like that though is that when you take energy from one place to make the other one better, it’s inevitable that one of the worlds won’t be doing so well at this point. It’s a conversation that he doesn’t seem willing to have at the moment. None of the other characters are really persistent about bringing it up though so it’s hard to blame him. How does Shin even fit in to all of this? Well, Rive is on Shin’s team but he may have to miss the tournament because of all this so now Shin has been roped into finding out what’s going on. It’s a pretty fun climax even if the characters could be a bit annoying at times. I think Ryuzu could have easily been encouraged to keep doing his research in a safe manner but nobody was really trying.

Going back to Shin, it’s amazing how far he has come from the original series. The other way of looking at it is how far he has fallen since his younger days I guess. This version of Shin is a lot more fiery and isn’t afraid to pick a fight. He does lose his motivation pretty quick when defeated but he always starts out strong. He has a great fight against Esuka in their first round and shows similar energy in most of his duels. I also like his go to card. It’s incredibly strong and also shows how one powerful card can take you a long way. Shin uses this as a crutch for a while in the series before eventually improving his all around skills.

While I wasn’t on Shin’s side in the debate against Esuka, at least his reasons for doing so were good. At the end of the day he just wanted to make sure Misaki could retain ownership of the shop and he needed to keep custody of it until she was old enough to do so. Shin’s always thinking about how he could help Misaki. Really my only problem with Shin is how he basically threw away one of the tournaments. After Mark had gone to the trouble of exceeding his limits and winning so many battles I thought that was just disrespectful. It’s a horrible way to lose the tournament if you ask me.

Mark is one of Shin’s best friends and so he gets a pretty big role here. Like Shin I was never particularly a fan of the guy in the main series. He is reasonable here though. While the series tries to make him look a little too powerful towards the end for plot convenience, the guy always had Shin’s back which is definitely important. Without him the heroes would have been in trouble during the tournament. He’s also a lot more reliable than Rive, who is mainly just here to be annoying most of the time. He participates in risky experiments and flakes whenever a big match is coming up. Shin and the others cut him a ton of slack but the guy is really not trust worthy. It just comes across as a betrayal when the team is counting on him to win the big tournament and he just ducks out of there. That’s completely unreasonable and I never liked him in the main series either so it’s pretty consistent. His big moment at the end also feels pretty pointless because he could have jumped to the monster along with Chrono. Deep down he didn’t seem to care a whole lot about getting back to Earth. That ending was rushed in quite a few different ways. It makes the monsters in Chrono’s deck actually seem a bit on the evil side with how they just allowed Rive to be trapped when they clearly could have done something.

Tatsuya’s role here is definitely a lot different than what I would have expected. He starts out as a nice enough kid who looks up to Shin and gradually gets a much bigger role. By the end of the series he’s a solid genius who has his own goals. Tatsuya makes for a solid antagonist because his motivation is a solid one. If anything the counter arguments that the heroes give in return are quite weak. It’s at the point where you are likely to be rooting for Tatsuya for a while. The heroes’ arguments all rest on hypotheticals and things that they can’t actually prove. Either way it’s a pretty fun battle though.

Mikuru is another one of Shin’s best friends and gets a big role. She never really gets to duel which does limit how much she can contribute compared to the others. Still, I did enjoy all of the crazy nicknames she would give Shin. His name rhymes with a whole lot of adjectives and she makes sure not to miss a beat. Misaki and Chrono don’t get to do a whole lot since they’re kids in this version. We briefly see them back to normal age at the end though and they should be quality characters as always. This just wasn’t their story this time.

Esuka’s a really fun character and she goes in a much different direction than what I would have expected. She’s definitely not your average rich tycoon. If anything it’s a bit of a subversion because to the characters she acts in much the same way as most rich villains. She uses some bribery and tricks to get her way so the heroes never trust her. The thing is, she usually means well and just has a hard time not acting like a rich tycoon. For example, she offers to make one of the characters rich and famous. The heroes assume she has some kind of ulterior motive and get out of there but she actually was going to try and make that happen. It’s fair that the other characters are suspicious though, it’s just a fun thing to note. She also isn’t afraid to go into the front lines herself like when she infiltrated Ryuzu’s base.

Nanami is Esuka’s main fighter and she gets a pretty big role in the series. She’s effectively a child prodigy and can keep up with the pros. Her deck’s pretty solid and I definitely like her confidence. Tonori is another one of Esuka’s top fighters alongside Nanami. His thing is that he gets stronger the hungrier he is. It’s a bit of an odd gimmick but it works well. He’s a bit underused though as he gets maybe 1-2 big fights in the series and that’s it. I also thought he was really nerfed because he shouldn’t have lost the final fight. The plot demanded it but I wasn’t able to buy that. He’s fun enough though.

Kanzaki got a big role in G and while his role here is a lot smaller, it’s a nice throwback to the G days. He still only thinks about power and yells that weakness is a crime. It can be a bit hard to take him seriously with that at times but he does win most of his fights here so I guess he earned it. He also paid Mark some respect in their close fight which was pretty solid. I probably would like his character more here if I hadn’t seen G first. He’s a bit one note though and his cool design can’t save him. Ryutarou is one of the members of Kanzaki’s team. I think he tries too hard to be Kanzaki’s opposite. He doesn’t really care about winning and just likes a good fight. That’s fine, but he tends to lose a lot so it almost seems like an excuse. The whole “I only lost because I didn’t care about winning” thing doesn’t tend to go well. To be fair, he never uses that excuse but I do think he should take the fights more seriously.

Ruga is definitely one of the most tragic characters in this series. All he wants is to have a serious fight with Rive and yet the guy always runs off. I don’t get why Rive is being so cold here. They used to be best friends and then Rive grew distant as soon as he got married. Yeah, both of them agreed not to get married but Ruga would have been a lot more understanding if Rive didn’t suddenly ditch like that. The only reason Ruga was opposed to this was because he felt like it would take up all of Rive’s time…and then his fears came true. Rive could have absolutely mended the bridge with Ruga if he wanted too and as a result Ruga became even more obsessive.

Finally we have Ryuzu who has always been a fun villain. His goals are pretty interesting. In this series at least I wouldn’t consider him a villain since he is still trying to help the world. Things don’t always go his way but at least he tries his best. His deck is solid and he is usually one step ahead of the other characters. At least he is actually doing something important. Towards the end of the series they try to make a case that playing a normal game of Cardfight is just as important as making research that can save the lives of millions. Ryuzu is really at a loss for words at this and I kind of was as well. Ryuzu may not be perfect but at least he is trying to better society, can Shin and the others really say the same?

Shinemon is definitely the right way to do a prequel. Each episode is a lot of fun and it develops the characters rather quickly. You know the setting and everyone in it within the first 3 episodes. From there we are able to jump into the duels. The series doesn’t really have high stakes like some of the other seasons but that’s fine. In a prequel you already know most of the characters are safe anyway and it would be difficult to jump to end of the world stuff so quickly. That’s why the series focuses more on powerful character moments and sharp duels. The series is just a lot of fun and taps into the early G feels. Shin’s also a very different main character from Chrono and Aichi which helps to differentiate him. I really had no complaints with the title. If anything I wouldn’t have minded if it got more episodes but in a way I like the short seasons because it helps the franchise keep going further. I want to see how many seasons it can churn out.

As expected the animation here is quite sharp. The animations are very clear and smooth. Whenever a monster is summoned it also looks quite crisp and it’s clear that they’re not phoning it in for any of these episodes. I’ve always liked the style that they use for Cardfight. It’s pretty simple in terms of design and such so they’re able to put a lot of effort into the colors. I’ve greatly enjoyed anime with detailed or simple designs so both can definitely work as long as you put the effort in and this one definitely did. Meanwhile the soundtrack is pretty great as always. I’m not really sure if this one added any new themes but at this point the series has so many that you barely need to do that. It grabs some themes from G and the reboot seasons so that’s already a good amount of variety.

Overall, Shinemon is a great season and a nice way to handle the prequel. It really shows us that Shin used to be a cool character as opposed to being one of the blandest characters I had ever seen in the main seasons. I’d consider that to be a bit of a soft reboot since it’s impossible to picture Shin being this great back in the day. The final episodes even try to give a reason for why he changed so much at the end and it’s a nice attempt although you will still have a tough time buying it I’m sure. Since this is a bit of an origin story you can easily watch it without seeing any of the previous seasons. It is one of those prequels made to be watched after experiencing the originals but that doesn’t matter much until the final 2-3 episodes. Either way you should have a blast.

Overall 8/10

Cardfight Vanguard Zero Review


It’s time to look at a recent app that I downloaded. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Cardfight Vanguard show so I figured playing through an app game would be pretty fun too. It’s got a unique gameplay style that is different from Yugioh and I’ve never gotten to play it in action before. This was my chance to change that and the game is definitely a lot of fun. It’s also very challenging so you can rest assured that it will force you to become a better player as the levels go on. With an active user base and ongoing events there will be enough content to keep you entertained for the long haul.

As with most mobile games there are a ton of options that greet you on the menu. It can all be pretty overwhelming so the game wisely locks a lot of the options behind level ups so you experience them all gradually. You’ll likely be spending most of your time in the story of playing online battles. Aside from that you can also clear daily missions, fight practice battles, customize your deck, and buy more cards. While there are some paid options you can do the game is 100% free to play and you can do quite well without spending any money. It’s the kind of game where you can absolutely hold your own without spending a dime.

The story mode has 11 chapters which consist of around 50 rides. While you might think you can clear those right away, it will take a lot of time. Every 3-4 rides you have to go and do other tasks to unlock the next ones. These range from beating an opponent 5 times to fighting online for 3 battles. There are a lot of different tasks and it is the game’s way of making sure you try everything out. I could be a little annoyed at having to take a break from the story so often but I understand the logic. I don’t approve, but it is what it is and the rest of the modes are all fun as well which helps a lot.

The story mode covers the first season of the show although I expect as more and more levels are added it will eventually cover the entire series. It’s been pretty detailed at trying to grab almost every fight and the game actually plays whole anime scenes which is pretty cool. You don’t see a lot of mobile games do that so it was pretty nice. I made it through around half of the rides before doing this review and they’ve been fun.

I’ll quickly go over the gameplay but it’ll be difficult to go too in depth due to how many rules there are. First off you start with a hand of 5-6 cards and then each player rides a grade 0 Unit. As each turn passes you can ride a card with 1 grade higher until you get to the max of 3. (There are future cards that go higher but I doubt they’ll be added anytime soon) There are 3 columns and 2 rows which you can rill with monsters. Only the 3 monsters in the front row can attack and the one in the middle is your Vanguard. He gets a Drive Check which has the potential to strengthen your team, heal your damage, or do something else. The first player to get to 6 damage loses the match. The only way to deal damage is to attack your opponent’s vanguard with a monster stronger than his own. The attacking player has the advantages of having a support monster to boost attack as well as the drive check so attacking is quite easy.

You’ve also got a bunch of other mechanics like sentinels and intercepts so you’ll want to study a bit. There are a few rules that are simplified here compared to the actual show and I imagine it was to help balance the game as well as make it go quickly. Depending on how many rules were added each round could take forever. As it stands most duels aren’t very long although I can’t say that I’ve actually counted how long any of them took me. I imagine they may be around 10 minutes or so. The deck I went with was Kagero and it served me well. Ultimately the battle I ended up getting stuck on was Aichi on Hard mode. That guy’s pretty hard to deal with and he’s also got a permanent attack boost on all of his monsters which is a little suspect if you ask me.

As for the graphics, the game looks quite good. Aichi’s character model is the only one that looks unfinished but everything else is very polished and holds up quite well. The soundtrack is excellent with the full anime opening being the intro music. I definitely appreciated that nod and in general it’s all very high energy so you’re always right in the thick of the action. It makes every duel even more enjoyable and for a mobile game the key is making the game easy to pick up and play at a moment’s notice. This game achieves that because you’ve always got time for a quick duel. I think card games really excel in the card game format and this one is no exception.

Overall, Cardfight Vanguard Zero is a great game. You’ll have a lot of fun here and even if you’ve never played before you’ll be fine. The game gives very detailed tutorials and the online community will also be more than willing to help you out. There’s a good amount of support here and a lot to do. I’m definitely confident that you will be engaged for the long haul. Right now I’m pretty busy with Final Fantasy VII Remake but Zero was definitely a whole lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the game grow. As with most mobile games this is where my journey will end, but it was still a pretty fun experience.

Overall 8/10

Yugioh VRAINS

Vrains_Promo_Poster
The latest Yugioh series is finally here! I’ve only seen the first episode of this show so far, but it’s already setting up a lot of hype plot points for the future. Make no mistake, this is a show that is certainly going places. It’s already got all the makings of a great show, the only question is how it will fare against the other Yugioh titles. I shall have a review with all of those answers once the show is over.

Overall 8/10