What If…? Season 1 Review


Lets take a look at the latest in the series of MCU related TV shows. This one’s a bit different from the rest as it takes place outside of the normal universe although you could probably guess that from the title. The What If comics from back in the day were always a lot of fun. There’s a ton you can do with the concept to the point where there are really limitless possibilities. A single story can turn into 20. Any scene where you might have called for “plot hax” or something can now be rewritten so you can see how it “should” have ended. This show’s off to a good start, lets break down each episode.

The first episode is What If Peggy Carter became Captain America instead of Steve. In this case Steve ended up getting shot and was in no condition to continue the experiment so Peggy went in his stead. Can she still end the war and save the world? It’s a decent way to start off the season but at the same time the reason this was not very exciting is because it doesn’t feel much like a What If. Put it this way, Steve had no real combat experience and was rather scrawny before taking the serum. Carter knows how to fight and has kept in top shape.

After taking the serum they would more or less be equal and Peggy should actually be more skilled initially thanks to her combat experience. So completing the events of the movie is sort of a given. The show tries to add a bit of a change here with a random monster at the end which was fun but for all intents and purposes this is just the first film again. It’s a good story, just nothing that you haven’t already seen before.

Next up we have an episode that really goes out there. The Ravagers head to Earth and pick up T’Challa by mistake instead of Peter Quill. T’Challa ends up becoming the Star Lord and is rather good at it. He ends up being an accomplished Ravager and even ends up convincing Thanos not to snap half of the universe away and gets the guy to join the team. The Black Order is still on the loose though and they could do a lot of damage with the “Embers” so the team has to put a stop to this assuming they can trust Nebula.

Now this is what you would expect from a What If episode. By changing one thing you’ve changed a whole lot of other aspects. Thanos being a Guardian of the Galaxy is a good example of this. It’s fun seeing how T’Challa would work as a Ravager and the episode has quick pacing and a lot going on at all times. It’s an engaging story although it does have some power level issues.

Namely Thanos and this is not the only time he will be clowned in this series. I can’t believe for a moment that Thanos would be having any kind of trouble against these guys. He was actually losing against the Order and it’s like he just became a huge punching bag the instant he turned good. Remember that Thanos was casually beating the Hulk in Infinity War and that was without using any of the stones. Given that, there is no way he would be having any kind of trouble against the Order. This should have been an easy stomp. Still, power level issues aside this was quite solid.

The third episode is one of the highlights of the season as we get a true mystery episode. Someone is picking off members of the Avengers but the trick is that the Avengers haven’t actually formed yet. So someone knows who was going to be on the roster and is taking them out ahead of time. This ends up bringing in some attention from Asgard as well since Thor was one of the targets. Who could possibly be strong enough to defeat everyone?

This is a well written story in large part because I can actually buy a lot of this. At first you may be skeptical as to how this person could take down all of the Avengers and the episode has a pretty good explanation. At most you may just be skeptical with the Hulk. It’s a question of if the radiation and blood would be enough to break through and prevent this from happening or if the skin was strong enough to resist. In both cases I would say there is enough room for doubt where I would buy into it. I had no issues here which is impressive for this kind of story. The reveal at the end also makes sense.

Following that up is a Dr. Strange story. Basically he doesn’t go into a car crash initially and lives long enough to have a good relationship going with Christine. Well, one day she dies in a car crash and so Strange decides to become a magician to bring her back to life. Everyone warns him against this but he correctly decides to go back in time. The problem is that every attempt seems to end in failure so he has to find some way to save her life for good. What depths of power will it take to pull this off?

I definitely like this kind of story quite a lot where we see the lengths Strange will go in order to save Christine. Now where he crosses the line is when he starts to actually destroy other monsters to get stronger. There’s nothing wrong with altering time and going back to make things better as long as you aren’t hurting anyone. The moment time travel is established you don’t know if someone else has been messing with time so it’s all fair game. It does seem as though the universe is rigged as Strange tries to save her many times and I appreciate the effort. You really can’t give up and have to just keep trying until the end. The climax fight with the two Stranges was also a blast. I felt like this episode really fit a whole lot into it.

In the 5th episode we get the big Zombies episode. So what if the Wasp came back but she had the Zombie virus and quickly started transmitting it. Before long the Avengers are infected as well so there is just a small group of heroes left to fend them off. Either they will find the cure and save the world or the entire planet will be covered with zombies before long. It’s a solid thriller kind of episode. Now this one does feel a bit more iffy with how the heroes are infected though. Now granted there are a lot of ways to make the zombies do well here. The way it was shown just didn’t seem right.

So the Avengers fly in and land in the middle of a bridge only to be surrounded by zombies and quickly got slaughtered. There were thousands of zombies by this point so it was impossible to miss them. Why fly to the middle of the bridge? You either blast from afar or if you don’t want to hurt the zombies, then stay in the air. Going to the bridge was effectively a suicide mission. The twist ending I also have a hard time buying because I don’t see how a certain someone would get infected. Unless a bunch of other planets already got infected, I don’t see how Earth would have had time to tag this guy.

It was cool to see the last remnants of humanity banding together here. It was a good team up here and the end of the world always gives a good opportunity to see some team ups that you wouldn’t otherwise have. I’d say this is probably around the middle of the season. It doesn’t beat a few of the others that I’ve mentioned but still offered a good scenario. This is such a famous story that you almost feel like it could and should have been a multi parter though.

In episode 6, what if Killmonger was the one to save Tony from the events of Iron Man 1? This causes him to be promoted to a very high position and he convinces Iron Man to help him build a bunch of armors. The guy is surprisingly quite smart with tech here to the point of it maybe being too convenient. He then decides to slowly start taking control of the world. This one’s definitely quite out there which is good but I do feel like the characters got sloppy at times. There’s no way Killmonger should have made it out of the room once Tony knew what was up. I had a hard time believing he could beat the robot or that Tony’s room wouldn’t have some kind of evidence of what really happened.

Things certainly worked out quite well for Killmonger that’s for sure. It was a good episode although a bit on the unbelievable side to me. You know, come to think of it this has been a rough stretch for Iron Man, seems like he’s died quite a few times in this series. Surprisingly this is one of the only episodes where the twist ending actually gives the heroes some hope as opposed to almost all of the others where it ends with the villains getting ready to win.

Next up is the party Thor episode. What If Loki stayed as a frost giant so Thor grew up on his own and got super spoiled. He decides to throw a big party that’s so powerful it starts to destroy the planet. Fury is forced to call in Captain Marvel and the two have some big fights. It’s definitely the most light hearted episode to the point where you can call it a comedy. There’s more slapstick here, the characters are having fun and Thor’s mom even gets to have some hype.

It’s a nice enough episode. The fight with Thor and Marvel is absolutely the highlight and really why you will be watching this. It’s nice to see both characters blasting each other back and forth. I would say Thor definitely has the edge based on how the fight was going here since he was holding back the whole time and just having fun while Marvel was clearly going all out. Even with her best attacks Thor was just having fun the whole time which speaks to his skills. I think the episode would have benefited from being taken just a bit more seriously though. The next two episodes get quite serious though so I suppose this was a way to brace yourself for those parts.

In this case Ultron ended up getting the full download into Vision’s body and was able to quickly wipe the team out. He even one shotted Thanos (I had a hard time buying into that one) and then proceeded to take over the world. Black Widow and Hawkeye are the last lines of resistance against him and need to find some kind of way to take him down. It’s difficult because of how strong he has gotten though so they may need some unexpected help.

Part 1 is the best episode in the season so far. The fight scene between Ultron and the Watcher is really solid and I like how far the series went with it. We have reality breaking and Ultron even eat a universe at one point in one of the rare moments where we see what a universe buster can do in a practical setting. Now this does come back to haunt the show in part 2 with how powerful Ultron looks here but the whole thing is definitely very impressive. It also shows us what a threat Ultron is and why we will have to band the team together.

The final episode is really a big team up as we have reps from almost every episode show up to try and take Ultron down. It’s nice to see what reality’s final line of defense can do. The only one you can take seriously as a threat to Ultron at this point is Dr. Strange. I liked the show’s decision to have a magic barrier blocking all damage for the rest of the heroes since it at least gives a reason for why they don’t all get one shotted. I still don’t see why Ultron couldn’t just beat everyone a lot quicker though.

Keep in mind that he should be able to destroy the planet in an instant with no real effort that would have put most of the heroes in a bad spot. At one point he even ponders out loud why he is having so much trouble. I don’t know myself, Ultron was shown to be so powerful that he should have easily been crushing these guys. If you can get past the power level angle then you’ve still got a solid end here. It’s naturally fun to see all of the characters teaming up at the end like this.

And that wraps up season 1. There were definitely a lot of fun adventures here. They’re entertaining and the writing is on point here. I may have some power level issues mainly with Thanos in all of his appearances and Ultron at the end but the scenarios themselves are on point. I also like how each of the episodes have a twist ending at the ready. Usually you can assume that the heroes are doomed to be destroyed but if season 2 continues some of these scenarios then we’ll see how they get past them.

Personally I’d rather season 2 is completely filled with new scenarios though. Keep each one as a one and done because there are just so many slots that you don’t want to have to go back and revisit any with such a limited amount of episodes per season. Trust me when I say it would only take an hour or less to come up with a full 10 seasons worth of great scenarios so the more new ones you can do the better.

One thing I would like them to change for season 2 is the animation though. It’s well below average and just doesn’t look all that good. The art style is trying its best to look fairly realistic but as a result it doesn’t stand out and the colors are very faded except for some of the fight scenes. The fights can be quite solid but another style would really do the show some wonders. Give it a more traditional animation style like Spider-Man or the Avengers EMH show and then you’re in business.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Watcher keeps claiming that he won’t interfere during the pre episode narration in season 2 now that he has broken his vow. Hopefully he doesn’t so we can acknowledge that now he is ready to step in if things get too dangerous. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Watcher because of how slow he is to act. At least in this show he can fight rather well so I give him some props there. It is his best appearance in all of Marvel but he needs to start interfering to save these universes and then I would really start liking the guy.

Overall, Marvel’s What If is a solid show and it’s a great premise for a title. This is a good way to really bring up some fun scenarios that you couldn’t do in the main universe. As the seasons expand I like to imagine we can expand the character roster too and really get in some more characters like the X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc. If you’ve been curious to see how things could quickly go off the rails then you’ll want to check this out. Hopefully season 2 doesn’t take too long to come out.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 2: Inferno Review


It’s time to return to the world of Saint Seiya. The first OVA was a solid start to the Hades saga. I really liked the creative use of CGI which helped to mask the lack of animation at times. It also gave the OVA a very grand feel. Well, that is gone from this special but the animation is much better so it feels like we’re back to the original show in a good way. I would say this OVA improves on the first one even considering that the amazing clash of Athena Exclamations has already passed.

The OVA starts off with with the saints making it into the heart of the Underworld. Their mission is clear, they need to take Hades down and bring Athena back to the world of the living. It won’t be easy though as the Underworld has many castles and specters at the ready to foil their every move. Seiya and Shun are the characters in one plot while Shiryu and Andromeda work with Gemini Kanon in the other. Will the divide and conquer tactic work (Not like it’s really their choice though) or will they now be picked off. Also, where is the man known as Phoenix Ikki?

Maybe part of why this OVA feels like we’re going back to the roots of the show is because we’re going through the whole “Take down each Specter at each castle” routine that each arc of the show always went through. It’s nice and nostalgic to see the characters going through the motions. The big difference here is that we actually have a Gold Saint who can hold his own this time. Kanon really does well in each of the fights and reminds me why he is one of the best Saints in the show. The guy seems more reasonable than most and gets several fights in this OVA.

Before going further, I have to say that it’s still such a cool move when the heroes start taking their opponents down while keeping their eyes closed. It’s probably more of a stylistic approach then their literally closing their eyes at key moments but the animations have always kept this detail and I appreciate it. What’s more hype than letting a villain know that you don’t even have to keep your eyes open to win a fight right?

All right, so back to the plot. Most of the episodes are focused on the Seiya and Shun plot. They make quite a lot of progress through the temples. There is a time limit though so they have to beat these specters quickly. It’s just good nostalgic fun to see them going from place to place. They also make for a good duo with Shun as a support type while Seiya is all about offense. Meanwhile Shun and Shiryu are also on the case but are having trouble defeating any of the specters. It’s a rough stretch for them but up til now they’ve never seemed to be so out of their depth so it’s kind of interesting to see them like this. Then you have Athena and Shaka moving forward with their own plan to defeat Hades which takes a while for any pay off but it’s always fun to have their cameos.

As always Seiya is a great character here. He’s always the last one to give up and keeps on fighting until he gets the edge. It takes a lot of resolve to always be getting up with the ways that the opponents disrespect his Meteor Punch all the time. It never works the first time and yet Seiya keeps at it. You also see a lot more of his personality here as he trolls the judge specter who wanted everyone to keep it down. I haven’t seen Seiya like that since the pre arc.

He has a mischievous side to him after all but rarely gets to show this given that he is in nonstop fights all of the time. This arc actually have him a little time to slow down and have fun with this which was cool. Then there is Shun who still manages to lose all of the time but at least he gives Seiya a lot of moral support. His chains also do save him on more than one occasion so this is far from Shun’s worst appearance. I wish he could get some more clear cut wins but this OVA does throw him a bone so you can expect him to contribute.

Probably for the first time Shun actually does a lot more than Shiryu and Hyoga. I almost don’t need to mention them because these two get one shotted by one of the 3 Judges and then don’t do anything for the rest of the ova. Kanon hard carries them through this arc and they would have been dead many times otherwise. At this point it feels like the gap between them and Seiya is massive. Not so much in pure cosmos but in terms of drive as Seiya gets up while these two stay down. They will have to prove themselves in the next ova.

Ikki takes a while to appear but when he does show up it is certainly worth the wait. He comes in as if he is one of the most powerful Gold Saints. That’s the kind of ability he has and Ikki can really shake the whole battlefield to its core. He even has an expanded origin story that includes Pandora. It feels a bit out of the blue but makes for one of the more suspenseful flashbacks in the series. Ikki was really tough even as a kid.

Part of why Ikki is my favorite character in the series is due to his grand entrances and this one doesn’t disappoint either. He just seems to be a few steps ahead of the other Bronze Saints at all times and knew just when to show up. The villains get lucky that he is summoned away later on or the Specters would have kept taking some heavy hits. Additionally while Ikki is the tough member of the crew and makes the tough calls, he will always put Shun above everything else. Ultimately he makes the right decisions here and it’s a great moment.

The only Saint who deals out as much damage would be Kanon who steals the show as I mentioned earlier. He talks tough to all of the Specters including the 3 powerful Judges. He overpowers their techniques and is even able to fight without his armor. As someone who was not one of the original 12 Gold Saints, Kanon has to deal with not being given the same level of respect as the others and handled it well. It never feels like he will turn to the dark side again and has instead become one of Athena’s most reliable fighters. He has really come a long way here and while he may not do much more for the rest of the series, you can be really satisfied with his role. The guy beat up a whole army of Specters like it was nothing and the judges even have to tell them to leave Kanon alone.

Dohko is still around but he really doesn’t do as much as you would expect in this special. He provides some weapons which are useful during the climax which will have to do. All of the Gold Saints get one last hurrah here before leaving things to the bronze saints. Virgo Shaka’s is the most memorable though as the guy actually did well against Hades. I liked that he didn’t entertain the idea of stabbing Athena for an instant and just went straight for Hades. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like breaking the rules so it’s a powerful moment.

Honestly this is why I still really don’t like Athena’s plan. It just seems like an awful way to waste most of her own men. Shaka would have done a lot better if Athena wasn’t getting in his way. Her plan to effectively beg for mercy is awful. What’s to stop Hades from claiming he will save the world before murdering her? By the time Athena realizes the flaw in this plan it’s too late because she’s already stabbed. From the start I had major reservations about this plan and this ova did not help matters at all. If anything it just makes every traitor gold saint and Athena look even worse. I’ll probably go more into this after the final ova since we’ll see her complete plan but it’s not looking promising.

Now as for the villains, first up we have Charon who may just be the guy that drives the boat but don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is weak because that is far from the case. He can fight really well and even gives Seiya some trouble. If not for some cheap shots I think the fight would have been over quicker but I give Charon some credit for being a little honorable. That’s more than you can say for most Specters and I thought he was really entertaining.

Then you have Rene who is mostly memorable for all the scenes with Seiya trolling him. It really was one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. The guy’s abilities are good too with how he can toss you around dimensions and use that whip of his. It ties into one of Kanon’s better scenes but without the illusion he may have even beaten Seiya and Shun. Never underestimate the powers of a good illusion.

Pandora is a memorable villain with how much hype she gets. She really does have the specters on a short leash but it seems more like a respect thing than actual power. Unlike Lost Canvass where she can really fight, here she seems to be the ultimate glass cannon. If she can hit you with the harp then she has the edge but otherwise even a normal attack from a Bronze saint can take her down. She spends a good chunk of this special looking shocked or trying to land a sneak attack.

Pandora is a nice change of pace within the villains and I like her well enough but I do think the series could have done more with her as the counterpart to Athena. She is ruthless though and has a lot more agency so that’s still an improvement. In any continuity Pandora is always better than Athena. I doubt Athena would have stabbed the suspicious package the way Pandora did. The tactic may not have worked but it was worth a shot.

A fairly minor villain was Sphinx who did have a good ability to rend the opponents unconscious. If not for Lyra being around he would have been difficult to defeat. You may not remember him for long but Sphinx was reasonable. I had more issues with Lyra in the end. The guy has a tragic backstory but you mean to tell me that he never suspected that the whole thing may not have been an accident? Basically he and his girlfriend had to leave the underworld without looking back but sure enough she did by mistake and turned into stone. This was due to a random bright light.

Naturally it was one of the villains but really Lyra? No suspicions on that? I feel like he should have realized and made a move a lot sooner. His plan was actually not that bad but ultimately it just didn’t work the way he wanted it to. As a silver saint the guy is really impressive, I dare say that he would beat some of the Gold Saints in a battle.

The final one of the normal specters is Valentine who gave Seiya a really good fight. Now granted that Seiya was super weakened and in enemy territory but I think it’s still worth mentioning. You have to have great physical stats to even do that much and you can see why Valentine is such a trusted fighter in the army.

That takes us to the big 3 Judges. Of the 3, Minos hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but his puppet techniques are really lethal. Even Gold Saints are unable to break through his strings. Aiacos has his burning techniques like the Garuda wing and then Rhadamanthys really feels like the strongest member of the 3. He’s also the best one as the guy gets real development and even a true rivalry with Kanon. I like the idea of having a big 3 among the Specters because it really builds up the hype well.

Aiacos has his own rivalry with Ikki and it was a solid fight with a lot of back and forth. Unlike most Specters these guys won’t go down to a single counter attack. As for Rhadamanthys, I liked that he just wanted a good fight and he takes great offense to Kanon saying that the Gold Saints would have wrecked him if their powers weren’t limited. It’s the whole reason he wants to fight Kanon and that’s always a great motivation for me. I was absolutely on board with this.

Finally we have Hades who is the big bad of this saga. He finally shows himself in the second half of the special. I would say it’s worth the wait but he’s not particularly memorable just yet. The guy speaks in a very grand fashion and has a divine aura that forces opponents to back off but we haven’t seen him fight yet. As a god in the series he doesn’t really need to I suppose but he better keep his guard up. I just wish Athena would look tough like this since theoretically she should be about as powerful as he is.

Hades has a great fake out involving a dream which was cool. Ultimately he may get lucky on more than one occasion but you don’t get to be King without having some good luck at times right? I look forward to seeing more of him in the next special. He may not match the 3 Judges but it’s always good to finally meet the big bad and see what his plan is. An eclipse is a fairly original way to cause death and destruction.

There are some meanwhile scenes back on Earth but I haven’t mentioned them much because they don’t really add anything. It’s nice to see that they’re still alive and all but trust me, they won’t be impacting the story in any real way. They’re mainly just here to remind you that they’re around. The best scene on Earth is really the flashbacks with Ikki and Pandora. Those scenes are almost like something out of a horror with how dark the city was that night and how creepy Pandora can be. Ikki having to deal with such painful attacks as a kid is still something else, that kid had grit!

As mentioned earlier, the animation is much better here than last time. We finally have a lot of really good hand to hand battles like the old days and good movement with the energy blasts. It feels like the TV show has come back for real and that definitely feels good. The attacks look solid and the characters’ desperation is really illustrated well. Saint Seiya is a series that really relies on characters giving each other a lot of motivation and pep talks and so you can expect them here as well. They’re handled very effectively.

As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly a lot of classic tunes so they should sound familiar. The opening though really stands out. It’s incredibly high energy and works really well. In general this ova has a lot of energy and helps excel the series. When I say that this ova is near perfect it’s because it shines in all aspects. The Hades are really was quite excellent. Part of what makes it so great is again because it isn’t purely about the Bronze Saints this time. You’ve got the Gold Saints making moves, Athena, Hades, even the Specters get their own development and character moments. It makes this feel like a really complete adventure.

Overall, This will definitely leave you hyped for the third ova to conclude the Saint Seiya saga. I’m ready to see how exciting that one will be. You should probably watch the first ova to really get what is happening here. It won’t make Athena’s decisions look any better but at least you’ll have the context. The ending to this ova is quite striking, Athena’s last scene in particular may take you by surprise. Things aren’t looking great for the heroes but as long as they keep trying there’s always a chance. This ova is just a blast.

Overall 9/10

Eden Review


Eden’s a show I hadn’t heard of before. It’s fairly short at 4 episodes so this almost could have just been a full movie. The animation feels very RWBY inspired which is a good thing and this ends up being a fun title to check out. Having Sara be the only human in the present setting was a bold move but one that works out well.

The show starts by introducing us to the far future where humans seem to no longer exist. Two robots named A37 and E92 are completing their tasks as normal when they come across a baby named Sara. They are supposed to immediately alert the high council to dispose of the human but they can’t bring themselves to do so and instead raise her as their kid. She grows up with them and while she isn’t thrilled about always having to be in hiding, she still has a good life. One day, she discovers a robot and a message. It would appear that the human race is still alive but trapped in stasis. Sara will have to find the unlock code to save them and she will have to do this quickly or they will never wake up again. This is going to be dangerous but it’s a mission that she is ready and prepared for.

A and E make for interesting characters since they are pure robots. We’re not talking about androids who have human emotions or anything like that but robots who do their best to understand what is going on. They’re inherently good robots as we see them taking a stand compared to most. Perhaps the fact that they are protecting Sara at all suggests that they do have true emotions. They can be rather awkward and don’t always know the best way to talk to her but I’d say they did a very good job of raising her.

The whole plot is very wholesome and I like the way that it was executed. Potentially it could have been a bit dull at first before the danger elements come into play but Sara is a good character and the robots make for solid supporting ones. It ends up being a solid dynamic either way. As for Sara, she’s a good lead and one who isn’t even that unreasonable. She does take some tremendous risks like jumping from high heights because she knows that her robot friend will catch her. I don’t blame the parents for being worried about that and of course Sara likes to venture fairly far away from her home.

She’s ready to jump into action when she finds out about her mission. It’s not an easy one either since the world is filled with robots that are after her. They’re fairly powerful ones too led by the mighty Zero. Zero has a design that really stands out here. It’s sort of like the Shredder from the TMNT 2003 show. He has a futuristic armor and a really booming voice so you can see why everyone follows him. Among the robots he seems to have the most character as well.

As the show goes on we learn more about Zero and more about the world at large. It’s pretty easy to see how Zero ended up going down the path that he did. In any show or movie where the villain makes the case that the world would be better without humans, it’s always hard to debate their point. Take this instance, with humans stuck in stasis, the world has become a utopia with no crime. Life and nature have prospered as well. If the humans return then Zero says they will bring war and crime back with them as well as polluting the Earth.

It’s not as if they would change and the issue is that he’s right. Now you can still root for the humans to return and everything but it will be sad to see the Utopia go away. That’s mainly the conflict at the end of the series. There is also a quick mecha battle near the end of the show but action definitely isn’t the main part of the show. It’s a fun little battle with the fighters but the emotional battle is really what the focus is on.

As mentioned earlier, I did like the animation style here. It may not be quite as polished as RWBY, you can see how the animation is a bit more stilted, but the art and backgrounds are definitely on point. I’ve always wondered why more titles don’t try to go for the colorful CGI style that RWBY has so I’m glad that this one finally embraced it. The character designs are memorable and I like the world that it’s based in. It all just looks very descriptive.

Eden is really a family drama title at its core. Sara learns what it means to really have a family while in the past segments we have someone feel the pain of losing one. These two focuses act as complete contrasts to each other and also show us how each character made it on both sides. So while I say this is a light hearted title there are definitely quite a lot of sad moments throughout. Enjoy the first two episodes while you can as they’re really about showing the happy times first like Sara growing up. I thought it was a good move that she grew up so quickly as well since she’s able to do a lot more as a teen compared to being a toddler.

The flashbacks about the final humans before they all went into stasis definitely have the most sad moments throughout its run. You can tell that not everyone will get a happy ending which makes sense. They each have their own struggles to go through after all. I didn’t really have any issues with the show by the end of its run either. It’s a pleasant little title with all the proper elements an adventure needed. The writing was on point and the conflict was solid.

I will say the only part that felt like it was edging towards a plot hole was how inconsistent the timer was. There’s a timer that consistently shows how close the humans are to being locked in stasis forever. Each episode has the timer appear a whole lot but it just doesn’t make sense based on how much time was there before her time skip and afterwards. I think they either shouldn’t have shown the timer when she was still a baby and only showed it afterwards or just set it to a different time. With a calculator it shouldn’t be hard to have set that up properly especially since it is so crucial to the story.

It’s a small thing overall though and my head canon is that the A.I. was just malfunctioning at times and showing the wrong values. That seems like it should be within the realm of possibility. If you want to go a bit farther, it’s hard to see Zero and the robots not stamping out the two protecting Sara instantly but I suppose for a while she just wasn’t on their radar. Also, Zero’s minions don’t seem to be very intelligent and just have basic skills developed so that would make sense. His personal A.I. would be the only exception there. The heroes have an A.I. too and they even have a very brief skirmish which was fun. The two A.I. were always entertaining so it’s too bad that they didn’t appear a bit more.

Overall, Eden is a fun title and really gets the adventure/journey across well. It’s a fairly personal story that it just pleasant to watch. It’s definitely got a rather somber end so I won’t say it’s a huge feel good title but throughout the 4 episodes there are a lot of fun moments. You can also interpret the ending as still being happy in a sense as Sara won’t give up and will create more experiences but to me it would have been perfect if one more thing could have been fixed in-universe. Ultimately the title is really about Sara experiencing the world for herself and seeing that robots can be a real family just as well as a human one. A & E really did a great job for as long as they could and this was an impressive effort considering that they had no formal training before now. If you’re looking for a good family drama title with some action elements at the end then this is a good one to pick up. It really feels like a solid one shot movie that gives you a complete experience from beginning to end.

Overall 7/10

Beyblade G-Revolution Review


When I watched V-Force, I figured that Beyblade had reached its peak. How could it possibly top that series which was so amazing? Well, somehow Beyblade pulled it off. G-Revolution is the definitive season and it’s so good that it actually entered my Top 5 anime of all time, something that hasn’t been done since Madoka Magica which has now been bumped off. My Top 5. is now 1. RWBY, 2. Yugioh GX, 3. Beyblade G-Revolution, 4. Digimon Data Squad, 5. Cardfight Vanguard. Some titles had to make way for the champ. This series has incredible replay value to the point where I’ve watched almost all of the duels a second time. If you want a show that fires you up, this is the way to go.

G-Revolution really has two main arcs. The first one takes up the majority of the series and the basic plot is that the world championships have returned yet again. Tyson and the Bladebreakers won the first two years but this time there is a bit of a shift. See, the World Championships are going to be tag-team style which means that not all of Tyson’s friends can join in like they would in the 4 man squad. No, this time there can only be one and so Tyson’s friends all bail out on him. He is now forced to team up with Daichi, a new kid around the block who thinks he’s hot stuff.

Tyson and Daichi don’t get along at all. To Tyson, Daichi is an amateur who is going to hold him back and Tyson is also really upset at his friends for just ditching him the way that they did. Meanwhile Daichi sees Tyson as a rival who doesn’t respect him and he really wants to keep on winning until Tyson sees things his way. It’s going to be a rocky road and they have to get better quickly since they are going up against the world’s best. Can Tyson prove that he has what it takes or is it true that he only won the previous years because of his friends?

This arc is completely masterful, there’s no other way to put it. It’s a huge tournament with the best of the best. Sure, it would have been fun to have had some teams from season 2 or 1 to show up, but by and large you have all of the big characters here. Since the tournament is round robin style, you also get to see each team play against each other which is a lot of fun. There are a ton of matchups to be had and of course you don’t know which team will win any given match since you can lose a set and still make it to the finals.

I always like the hype before a tournament match goes on. Seeing the characters slowly walk up to the screen and dredge up their courage is intense. Beyblade knows how to hammer in the hype as you have the announcers going crazy and a whole lot of great music. You’re definitely not likely to be disappointed here I can tell you that much. Each episode delivers with a great amount of intensity.

It helps that the character roster is so amazing. There are tons of excellent characters in the mix to the point where you’ll like almost every team. The only one I would roll my eyes at was the cheating group with the scientist but I’ll talk more about them later. Everyone else were legitimate contenders but of course only one team can win so that really ends up making things pretty tense.

As for the second arc, it’s a lot shorter but still really hype. This time we actually have a whole villain group by the name of BEGA. They intend to really change the Beyblading world and the only way to participate is to join their group. If they have their way then it will be impossible to blade in the city without joining their affiliation. You can see how that would be a big issue. Tyson and the gang have to defeat them and this time we do get a full team of fighters. It’s a 5 on 5 battle so Tyson will have to choose his fighters carefully. While the arc is really just building up to a single team battle, there is a lot of hype leading up to it.

There is a real sense of danger here since a loss will be a loss for the global community but even more important than that, they just can’t afford to lose to these guys. The new villains are mostly rather sympathetic but they all have a lot of confidence and believe they’re the best so if a hero loses he will never hear the end of it. The heroes will need new Beyblades to win and they will have to do it without the help of their old pal Kai. Still, Tyson is up for the challenge.

So the first arc wins for me in part due to how much I love a great tournament but it’s also so much larger that it’s hard to go against it. It has more hype duels by default and of course seeing Tyson go up against Kai again like the good ole days is impossible to pass up. That said, the Brooklyn vs Kai duel is in my top 3 fights of all time for the franchise. It was incredible and the arc has several other fights at that level. Kai takes a beating in the arc but it also shows how the game is so serious. It’s no longer a kids game as Hiro would say.

The animation is really solid which helps as well. You can’t really compare it to the first two seasons. Season 2 had good animation as well but the designs are a straight upgrade here and I would say the animation improved as well. You have some moments where the characters even get DBZ style auras now and some fights feel like they even have hand to hand with how the characters move with their blades.

Another big win for the series is the soundtrack. You can’t underestimate how much a good soundtrack will help take a series to the next level. Unfortunately most of the themes were never released and Youtube only has some of the episode ost but all of the lyrical songs are online. Rise Above The Storm and Swing Low are the top two with ease. All of the songs are solid though so the selection has improved a lot since season 1. These songs pump you up in the battle and the suspense themes leading up to the battles do the job too.

A top tier anime needs to be an all star in every category and that’s exactly what Beyblade achieves. The voice acting, writing, characters, animation, soundtrack, it’s all there. There’s just nothing to dislike in the series and each episode continues to add on to the previous one. Many characters get significant character arcs so nobody really ends as they started. They just keep on fighting to new heights.

Now’s a good time to talk about the characters and man are there a lot of them. So strap in because this is going to be a pretty big review. First up we have to talk about Tyson of course and he doesn’t disappoint. He’s always been a fairly head strong main character. I would say he was definitely the most hot blooded in V-Force but he certainly has a ton of moments like that here. One of his stand out moments is when he calls Ray out and refuses to fight Lee. That was crazy but set the stage as Tyson is not someone who will be disrespected without putting up a fight.

Any scene with Tyson is great. Even when he was being lifted several feet off the ground by Crusher, Tyson didn’t back off. His pure ability with a blade is second to none. It’s extremely difficult to have a masterful series without a top notch main character and fortunately Beyblade got a winner right off the gate.

Then you have his partner Daichi who is pretty fun. I’m still sad they had to cut out his subplots from the manga though. It was cool how we slowly got introduced to his character way before he ever met up with Tyson and friends. Here he just shows up out of nowhere but ultimately I still liked him. He’s definitely more crude than Tyson and friends and his confidence isn’t as well deserved but he has his moments.

I find it a bit funny how Kai seems to have nothing but disdain for him though as he falls asleep during their first match and in the second he chooses to forfeit instead of fight. I think it’s because Daichi doesn’t fit into his label of what a true Beyblader is. Daichi definitely has a heart for the game though even if it doesn’t show in the traditional sense and he even gets a good rivalry with Tala by the end.

Ray has always been one of the strongest members of the Bladebreakers and that doesn’t change here. He has incredible endurance, second only to Kai. At this point he has really mastered his blade. He seemed to be way more harsh to Tyson than anyone else when leaving the team but he definitely does take his Beyblading seriously. In a way you could consider him the secondary rival in Beyblade or just the 3rd strongest in the team. It’s always a fun spot to be in since you get a lot of hype around the board and it’s also good to have the distinction that you are the strongest aside from the MC and rival. Most series don’t have a resolute #3 like that.

He has to carry Lee in a lot of battles as well so it was tough to claw his way to the top. Still, Ray was up for the challenge and is definitely one of the best characters. Speaking of Lee, he really looks bad in this season. Almost every fight has someone overpowering him, outsmarting him, or just tricking the guy. Lee feels like a season 1 character in the worst way as his power level has not kept up. I felt bad for him after a while because it seemed like he could do nothing right. Whenever he tried to help it would just backfire.

I guess there was nobody stronger Ray could pick, but yeah Lee ended up losing almost every fight. In comparison, Max had the best teammate in Rick. You could make the case that Daichi’s a bit stronger but Rick’s very impressive from start to finish. He’s one of the meaner Beybladers and even participates in a lot of underground battles. Still, because of that he has honed his power to an incredible degree. Even Kai was not able to win in pure brawn and had to use his skill to win their fight.

Rick also has a theme song of sorts when he puts his boombox on. The guy doesn’t care that it’s loud, he just cranks up the volume and does whatever he wants. I liked his absolute confidence and I looked forward to his battle with Kai quite a lot. He’s not a team player but definitely an amaing character.

As for Max himself, he was always the nice guy of the 4. I found him to be the weakest main member of the Bladebreakers but it’s all close I suppose. He has a good match with Kai and gets a lot of good moments throughout the series. His defensive style holds him back in my eyes as attack power will almost always be the right way to go but it is undeniable that he is one of the top ranked fighters in the world. He’s a good character, Max may not stand out as much as the others like Ray, Kai, or Tyson, but he still puts in a good show.

Now lets talk about the best character in the series, Kai. This guy’s just incredible no matter how you slice it. Yeah, he always tends to betray Tyson but it’s so that he can fight him in the final round. You can’t fight your teammate after all and the only way to fight him at 100% is to have the world championships on the line. Tyson can’t hold back that way and it’s sure to be a great fight. I would make a solid case for Kai having the most natural talent among any Beyblade character.

His final fight with Brooklyn shows how he can adapt mid-fight and continue with new strategies. It’s always a lot of fun to see him battle and I’ve seen his duels many times. Kai has a cool demeanor about him and the season 3 costume was great. Kai’s just the perfect kind of rival. He’s trained to such a degree that most fights are boring to him at this point and he just wants a true challenge. He certainly puts up with a ton of punishment but it shows how much he loves the game as he gets back up each time.

Boris had a big role in season 1 so it was cool to see him return. The guy definitely lays it on rather thick with how he is a changed man and all of that. Honestly if he dialed it back just a bit his goals would actually be all right. He just had to ruin it by trying to be all controlling. If he hadn’t tried to force everyone to register and all that, I don’t think the heroes would have had a problem with him. Additionally, he actually did not cheat during the tournament which I was surprised about. Maybe to a degree he has started to change. He’s still a jerk but I wouldn’t call him evil anymore.

Garland is one of the new villains in the final arc and he was a lot of fun. The guy thinks he is destined for greatness due to his family history and his abilities are impressive. The fact that he could stalemate Kai speaks volumes. His fans should be satisfied with his showings and he gets more duels than just about anyone else in Bega. His hand to hand martial arts along with his play make him very memorable.

Same goes for Brooklyn and then some in terms of being a memorable character. He starts out as being rather aloof and bored of everything but during a duel his true sadistic self starts to appear. He really enjoys taunting Kai and then completely cracks during his battle with Tyson. This guy’s basically a super villain with how he has powers and his unnatural way of learning everything. He’s definitely one of the best villains in the series and I would put him as a high tier option in the all characters list. He’s not the kind of character you will forget.

Next up is Ming-Ming and she was a surprise hit. I ended up liking her way more than I expected. In part I’d give some credit to the dub voice as the Mini Moon voice is incredibly nostalgic but she also tended to exceed expectations. Not only did she crush just about every opponent in her way but she even won in her big tournament battle. It was hard to see that coming and she shut down all of her doubters. Ming-Ming can be a bit of a troll with how she toys with Hilary as well. Ming-Ming definitely earned her spot on the team.

Mystel gets the least to do from the main members though. For starters, he has no personal connection to the rest of the team or a sob story to fall back on. He’s just a mysterious guy who goes around playing Beyblade. In a way there’s a lot more you can explore with him. He’s certainly very talented and has a unique fighting style. He didn’t stand out to me compared to the others but was a good addition to the team.

Finally you have Crusher who is fighting in Beyblade while his sister is in the hospital with a serious condition. The stakes are higher for him than anyone else as the virtual damage seems to go to his sister. So if he falters in a match then she seems to falter in the hospital. Of course this could be dramatic timing but I can see it being linked since the spirit plays such a big role in Beyblade battles. It can give you great power like with Kai’s transformation or zap all of your strength like with Tyson.

Miguel’s team is the only one that I couldn’t find myself caring about during the tournament. It felt a lot like a similar team in season 2 who ended up cheating a bit. This guy may want to be a good Beyblader but as long as he cheats he will never be on that level which is a lesson Tyson gives him. Miguel does ultimately shape up but it takes him a long while. Maybe because it feels like an old character beat but I just never liked him much. His duel with Tyson was mainly just really fun because of all of Tyson’s trash talking and because every duel in the series is a blast. Miguel had some teammates like Mathilda and Claude but there wasn’t a lot for them to do. Claude was a tattletale who didn’t really help out so it’s not like I would become a fan of that guy either.

Their leader Barthez is effectively just a weaker version of Boris. He’s also in it for direct cheating a whole lot more. It did give Rick a good chance to shine though. At one point Barthez frames the PB All Stars which would usually throw the team into disarray but Rick couldn’t care less. He’s used to playing the villain after all and still won the fight without breaking a sweat. It was one of the earlier moments where I knew Rick was just built different. In short, Barthez makes other characters look good but I still wasn’t a fan of his.

Julia and Raul made for a much more interesting team. They are experts in tag team battles but Raul has developed an inferiority complex since Julia is always claiming victory. He feels like his skills aren’t up to par and gets a whole sub plot about it. They were a likable team and actually got more wins than I had been expecting. They’re a fun underdog team to root for and have a good sibling bond. They may fight a lot but ultimately they always stay close. It’s fitting that they would be a great tag team combo.

Their coach Romero also ends up getting a decent role as he helps Kai when he has to get used to a new Blade. The guy hadn’t done anything in Arc 1 so I thought he was just a forgotten character but he ended up doing quite a lot. I’m not a big fan or anything but my opinion of him definitely improved in Arc 2.

Kai’s partner Tala ended up looking solid as well. He’s one of the season 1 characters so I expected him to look really weak like Lee but this guy actually ended up putting in the work. He was able to contend with a lot of the big leaguers even to the end. He ended up with a tough fate that made him miss a good deal of Arc 2 but he left an impression. His ice attacks are cool and his rivalry with Daichi was fun. His other teammates Bryan and Spencer are the ones who got the shaft though. There just wasn’t a whole lot for them to do except to get wrecked by Garland.

Michael used to be the leader of the All Stars so it’s a bit weird seeing him on the bench the whole time. The dub also gave him a rather odd new voice that makes him sound a lot more whiny. Between that and him not winning a single duel in this season, it was a rough time for his fans. Emily and Eddy also don’t really do anything. I didn’t care for them much because they didn’t do anything to support Max either. It should have felt like a home team for him but that didn’t end up being the case until near the end.

Likewise, Ray’s old teammates didn’t get to do much aside from Lee. Mariah for example gets a duel here and there but that’s about it. Tao gets to appear more as he gives Ray a lot of advice but he had one of the only boring subplots in the series when he takes Tyson shopping. This guy always talks tough but never really contributes so I tend to just tune him out whenever he is on screen.

Ten you have the noncombatants like Hilary. She had a much bigger role in VForce but she is still around for moral support here. She gets along with Tyson a lot better now but they still fight on occasion. It would be nice if she could actually blade with the others so that she has a more active role in the story but at least she tries to help the team get Bey parts when Bega starts to ban everything.

Kenny definitely doesn’t look very good here as he ends up falling for Ming-Ming and just embarrassing himself the whole time. It would have been good if he could have kept some dignity but unfortunately that doesn’t happen so in Arc 2 he just looks dreadful at all times. Any scene with him is one where you will find yourself cringing in shame.

Finally, the last character to mention here is Hiro. He starts out in his Jin of the Gale form which was really cool before eventually appearing as Hiro. He is Tyson’s brother so as you can expect, he has some pretty good skills. He doesn’t actually get to duel a whole lot but he is a cool character. I really liked him as a mysterious figure who popped up out of nowhere and in that sense maybe it’s good that the anime kept him as nonexistent until this season. Whether he is a coach for Tyson’s team or the villains, he is very good at taking his squad to the next level.

He can be quite harsh on Kai though. Almost every interaction they have ends with Hiro picking on him. He even made Brooklyn fight Kai intentionally as a way to get Kai out of the picture. Hiro certainly doesn’t hold back but I would have liked to have seen him fight more. His only real full fight was when he defeated Ray so we do know that he is a championship caliber player but it also leaves you wanting more.

Surprisingly the Bit Beasts are really not a factor this time around. They were a big deal in V Force but in this show they may as well not even exist. They are only mentioned once in a while but aren’t a big deal anymore. I don’t really mind either way but it’s just odd to see them effectively written out like this.

As a final note, I was glad that Tyson and the others beating the singers who were parading around in front of BEGA. When you start a new arc you usually expect the heroes to lose in the opening round but they managed to stay strong and clutch it out. It was an excellent way to start the second arc. We got a great duel and the heroes kept their hype. It was a nice way to subvert expectations.

Overall, What else can I say? G-Revolution is absolutely amazing and an anime I highly recommend checking out ASAP. Gems like this don’t come every day so you really want to dive in when one is discovered. Beyblade has always been a franchise I was eager to start and it’s been living up to the reputation so far. It’ll be really tough for Metal or Burst to pass this one, but it’s Beyblade so anything’s possible. I’d really like a revival of the original timeline someday though. With everything getting revivals nowadays though who knows…maybe it is in the cards.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter Sanctuary Review


It’s time to take a look at the first Seiya OVA. I debated back and forth about how to style the title since there seem to be a ton of ways to put it out there, but I figured modeling it more after how the recent Transformer trilogy went down made sense. I’d keep the Hades chapter structure and then add the sub title after that. It makes for a busy title but works well enough.

The story starts with a lot of dead Saints reviving. It turns out that the time for the next Holy War has commenced. Usually it is every 250 years but for some reason it has started early. A mysterious man appears along with two Gold Saints and tells Mu that he needs to murder Athena. Mu doesn’t want to obey but this man is hard to deny. Seiya showed up to help but Mu doesn’t want any of that so he beats the hero up and sends him off. Now Mu will have to try and defeat multiple opponents on his own.

On a grander scale, the heroes have to try and protect Athena for 12 hours. If they can do that, then the danger will be passed. The issue is that this will be quite difficult since Hades is not only sending his loyal spectres but also several traitors from Athena’s own squad. Seiya and friends murdered a great deal of her followers back in the day and it looks like they want revenge. Looks like Seiya and friends will need to help out one last time. Although if the heroes continue to get in their way, Seiya may have to take them down first.

Right off the bat you can tell that although the OVA is newer than the show, the animation went downhill. For almost half of the OVA, there is virtually no animation. Characters barely move during the fights and it’s all very disjointed. I was puzzled because you’d expect everything to just look really amazing in an OVA. I mean, that’s not always the case but that’s still how you go in.

That said, I thought the director did a good job of making the most with what he had. Since the animation wasn’t up to snuff, we had some solid CGI cuts. Now, the CGI does look obvious but it’s styled as a very fancy thing. We often get CGI visuals when the characters are preparing to walk up some stairs or go to the next temple. The show cuts away to Athena’s statue numerous times as well. So while this may not be considered top tier animation or anything, the CGI is used in a way to make you feel just how grand this whole thing is. It’s like you’re stepping into a battle of the gods here.

So if we did have top tier animation it would be even better but at least this way you don’t feel bad. Also, the last few episodes actually do give us some solid cuts and fights so things do pickup. The whole OVA has a fairly sinister feeling of dread since it feels like the heroes can’t possibly win. Everyone is turning traitor and the heroes that do remain are all pretty stuck up so it’s hard to assist them even if you wanted to.

Saint Seiya has always made a big deal about honor and true friendship. Like in the original series when Hyoga is beaten near to death and Ikki doesn’t even look back to help Hyoga as he declares that he will conquer the next enemy. Hyoga then explains to the other characters that this was the correct decision since it allowed him to keep his honor. It’s not a system I agree with but they are big on pride.

Unfortunately that comes back to bite the Gold Saints a lot. Take Mu for example, he’s easily the worst character in this OVA. He has great respect for his mentor and so he must obey the guy even if it means doing something that will put Sanctuary in danger. By the time he does actually start standing up for himself, he’s already badly beaten. Beating up on Seiya was also the wrong move since the guy was here to help. Not only did it seem like Seiya was holding his own against one of the villains but he probably would have won.

By this point in the series Seiya is incredibly strong so the whole scene made no sense at all. Throughout the OVA Mu continues to make the wrong decisions. He always either sides with the villains or holds the other heroes back. It was the same thing in the original series, just not to the same effect. So any respect I had left for the character definitely vanished in this one. His crystal wall technique is still good but ultimately can’t stop the villains anymore. He needed Seiya and just didn’t want to admit it.

You can’t help but think that the arc would have been over a lot quicker if either the traitors had stayed on Athena’s side or the heroes had accepted the help of the Bronze Saints. That would have really changed a whole lot, that’s for sure. Now, there is a lot to be said that the destiny of the dead Saints is a bleak one so you can see how they would change sides, but it’s still disappointing in the end.

The soundtrack is pretty nostalgic. You’ve got some of the classic tunes from the main series as well as some new ones. The opening song is very emotional which is odd for the series. You’d expect something a lot more action packed but it does work with how this OVA is being so dramatic though. It’s a sad song I guess since everyone’s dying and there isn’t really a way to win in this Holy War. Since it’s a cycle that happens every 250 years, deep down everyone probably sees how it feels a bit futile the whole time. I prefer the classic theme song, but this one did grow on me as I heard it more.

The Bronze Saints don’t get a whole lot to do, but it’s nice to see them. Ikki in particular only gets a scene or two and yet he does steal the show in those moments. He seems to at least know a bit of what’s going on and has plans of his own. It’ll definitely be a blast to see him jump into the fray. The rest of the team eventually get to match up against Rhadymanthis. He’s not exactly an easy opponent to defeat but they still put up a good fight. This season’s more about getting them prepared for what is to come.

Seiya gets the biggest role as expected though. When the other Saints begin to give up, he’s still fighting as hard as he ever did. Nobody’s keeping him down and his Pegasus punch always gets stronger with each use. I also liked how he went to Sanctuary immediately when Athena told him to stay away. She historically has pretty bad judgement and sure enough, this was the right move. If not for being backstabbed, Seiya was really starting to cook there.

As for Athena, she does have to share in some of the blame. Mainly I said Mu did everything wrong, but she is not without fault since she also put in the order to keep the Bronze Saints out. That was just such a bad move. Did she forget how they already beat all of the Gold Saints back in Arc 1? If there is anyone you want to have by your side here, it would definitely be them. I also heavily disagreed with Athena’s final act in the OVA. It’s never good to just give him and stab yourself. I’m sure we’ll see more of her plan soon but I was definitely not impressed.

Virgo Shaka looks pretty good here. He’s always been known as one of the most powerful saints and may even be the strongest depending on where you put Gemini Saga. He has unlocked the deeper senses that most Saints struggle with and the fact that he is taking on 3 Gold Saints combined in this OVA is incredibly impressive. It’s got to be the best fight here and Shaka really shows them a thing or two. It would have been nice if he was just a second quicker on the draw but ultimately his effort was second to none. It also seems like he may not be done yet.

Tauros gets some hype as well but it’s a lot emptier to me. Lets just say that his fight involves the most delayed counter I have ever seen. Usually when someone gets sliced a minute after someone slashed I’m already calling foul. This one is several magnitudes greater than that so you already know what I’m thinking. That just doesn’t work but at least he got some dignity as a result.

Scorpio Miro gets a role here too but the guy is also doing a lot of in-fighting. One thing about the Gold Saints is they love picking on fellow heroes. Perhaps the villains just aren’t strong enough to be worth their time? Whatever the reason is, Miro spends a good amount of time beating up on someone who won’t even fight back which will make you shake your head. The guy talks tough but there was just no reason for that. Athena also isn’t able to command enough respect among her subordinates in order to put a stop to this either which is unfortunate.

Finally, we can’t forget about Aiolia. That guy is easily the best Gold Saint here. He acts quickly and without hesitation. One of the best moments in the entire OVA is when he shoves Mu out of the way and speed blitzes all 3 of the traitor saints. They couldn’t even see him coming as Aiolia just pounds them into the dirt. It was amazing and that’s the kind of response you would expect when someone just murdered one of your friends. Aiolia is a credit to the gold saints that’s for sure.

As for the villains, well Hades does not actually appear yet so don’t expect to see him. Instead, Pandora is acting as the leader of the villains. She’s also pretty tough here as just playing her harp is enough to bring one of the 3 judges to his knees. It’s hard to say how powerful this Pandora is without her weapon but at least she is confident enough to talk tough to the heroes and villains so we can assume she is fairly high up there.

Interestingly though, Hades army itself doesn’t really do a lot of the heavy lifting. The 3 traitor knights handle most of Athena’s men. It’s heavily implied that the Gold Saints would have wrecked all of the spectres with ease. Only the Judges or Celestial Stars would have been able to do much. One of them volunteers to go and fight but Pandora says it is not part of the plan.

That’s all well and good but take away the traitors and I have to say that Hades is at an absolute disadvantage. In fact, if not for Seiya and friends murdering about half of them, this could have been a landslide win for Athena’s group. So far at least, Hades army just isn’t nearly as impressive as you would expect. The only powerful member we have met thus far is Rhadymanthis who to his credit is very powerful.

He was able to take on multiple gold saints at once but granted, this was at their castle. This series hasn’t said anything yet but usually the castle heavily decreases a Gold Saint’s abilities so we can’t say for certain if he could have done that in a level playing field. Perhaps since he is so high ranked but then again, Aiolia is definitely no pushover.

As for the evil saints, Gemini Saga carries the team quite a bit. Not only is he the one with the big plans the whole time but he’s also shown to easily be the strongest. It’s not surprising since he has always been a whole lot more impressive than most. I don’t think any Saint aside from Shaka would be able to stop him. So here when the other two saints are getting rocked, Saga is always able to get up and keep fighting. He seems to have far more drive and determination than the other two, not to mention that he can see through the tricks as well. Twice, fighters try to use illusions and the other two fall for it while Saga is able to break the spell.

It’s just a shame that he’s on the wrong side. It does lead to a fun confrontation with Kanon who used to be evil as well. The sides have been reversed now with Kanon serving Athena loyally while Saga is trying to murder her. The irony in this is certainly not lost. This is Kanon’s best appearance to be sure and it’s really when I started to be a big fan of the guy. This is really a good redemption story and when you see him, it’s a pretty great reveal. That’s why he didn’t deserve to be beaten up so much by Miro.

As for Camus, he’s another one of the 3 big Saints but the guy doesn’t do a whole lot. Same with the owner of Excalibur. They’re mainly there as backup for Saga but they don’t tend to do a whole lot. I didn’t realize the gap between Gold Saints could be so large but evidently the Saints are not nearly as close in power as I would have assumed.

We also get to see Roshi finally fight in his true form as the Saint known as Dohko. He battles the previous Pope known as Shion. It’s cool to see them after checking out the Lost Canvass since they were such good friends there. Shion has certainly fallen since then in order to help the Dark Saints out. Granted, personalities tend to shift a bit with such a big franchise and it’s hard to see the old Shion acting that way, but I would have said the same for Camus and Saga. Their plan better be amazing to be worth murdering so many people everywhere.

I was never a big fan of Roshi so seeing him actually fight is cool. It at least gives him a purpose to watching the waterfall for so long even if he was not quick enough to actually warn anyone of what was coming. The entire point of his staying there was to let Athena know that something was coming so what was this guy doing? The whole task seemed a bit pointless in that respect.

This OVA includes one of my favorite moments in the franchise which is the Double Athema Exclamation. I remember reading that in the manga and thinking it was so hype when Aiolia and the other two Saints quickly assumed the pose and told the villains that they weren’t the only one capable of this kind of power. There is something about two groups using the power of a big bang against each other that just gets you hyped. I was certainly feeling good when seeing that.

Even the first use of the technique against Shaka was really hype too. It’s really an incredible attack although I don’t see why Athena banned it. Sure, it’s powerful but sometimes you need that kind of power. If it’s another honor thing…and it’s implied that it is, then it’s even less of a reason to ban the technique. You really need to use everything at your disposal whenever possible and this fight is no exception.

Now, this is less about this OVA in particular, but I think Athena should have attacked Hades before he woke up. We learn here that when a Saint dies he is thrown into the Underworld which is ruled by Hades. He can torment their souls for all eternity unless they join him in his mission. Shouldn’t Athena just dismantle the place then and either rule it or destroy the system? Even if the soul is then wiped out for good, at least it will be at peace and not forced to attack you.

The very existence of the Underworld is just a really somber thought for the Saints because it means that the only goal at the end of their eternal struggle is to be inflicted with more pain. There just isn’t a big grand prize or any reason to celebrate. I wonder if Athena has even thought of that. There may be a plot reason why this isn’t possible but I’d like to see someone mention it.

Meanwhile, another point in the OVA’s favor is that it’s just so good to see the Gold Saints actually fighting. They really didn’t get to do anything outside of fighting the heroes in the first two arcs. This is the first time we get to see them actually fighting the villains on their own. It sure took a while but ultimately it happened which is the important part. It’s definitely something to look forward to. These are the best of the best or that’s what we’re led to believe so lets see how they defend themselves.

Again, the Spectres themselves are mostly unimpressive though so I think they would go down pretty fast. You have the Beetle who doesn’t seem very tough and was getting the hands quickly. You have the guy whose back seems perpetually broken and just likes gossiping the whole time. When it comes time for a fight he goes down extremely quickly. Of course most of the really powerful ones will probably show up in the Underworld but be that as it may, the Spectres who were around were definitely no match for Sanctuary.

Overall, This was a great start to the Hades saga. I look forward to seeing the Bronze Saints get a more active role in the next one. It would also be good if the animation could take at least a bit of a step up. It should definitely keep in the selective CGI shots. I’m usually not all in for CGI but you can’t deny that it really increased the intensity and emotional moments here. It feels like a true war where there are big losses on both sides and in part that’s because we see what a grand place this is. Fighting in the temples really feels sacred. The OVA jumps you right into the action so you’ll probably want to have checked out the show first, but granted you can also leap into action and get what’s going on since it’s clear who the good guys and bad guys are. The villains are all in black/purple while the heroes are in gold. It’s tapping into classic Greek mythology like Athena vs Hades as well. Get ready for the cliffhanger though as the saga isn’t quite over yet. It’s an epic cliffhanger to end on though.

Overall 8/10

Fruits Basket Season 3 Review


Fruits Basket has finally reached its conclusion. The anime certainly did a great job of adapting and improving upon the source material. Who knows, it may also have the reverse effect of making the manga more fun if I were to ever revisit it some day. That said, I would say the first two seasons still defeat this final one. It’s pretty inevitable that in any rom-com the final arc will have to get serious and tie up all the loose ends. Well, this one certainly does but it doesn’t allow itself to have as much fun as in the earlier seasons and one villain gets off a bit too easy.

Shigure and Akito really have the biggest roles in this season to the point where you could make the case that Tohru is not the main character. Still, Tohru is still wondering about how to break the curse and what needs to be done. Meanwhile Akito is getting ready to end Kyo’s freedom once and for all. The promised time is nearly upon them after all. There is one thing that could destroy Akito’s plans though and that is the fact that the curse is starting to weaken. Is it finally time for the final banquet?

An interesting part about how Fruits Basket ends is that Tohru doesn’t end up stopping the curse. In fact, nobody does. It’s just an old one that is naturally decaying so characters break free from it randomly. It’s a bit of a twist because the whole series some characters have tried rather hard to break it but it turns out that it was futile all the time. There really was no way to break the curse and you just had to wait it out. That’s also a bit depressing in its own way too.

My main issue here is that Akito was never stopped. She pushed someone out the window and inflicted a lot of mental torture on all the main characters. She drew blood from Tohru in season 2 and landed physical hits on a lot of characters. In this season she goes as far as to grab a knife and actually stab 2 characters as well. Akito is as unhinged as she ever was so by the time you get to her origin story you’re already skeptical.

That won’t change after watching it. This is Fruits Basket, every character has had a rough upbringing but they’ve learned to deal with it. Akito’s isn’t even as bad as some of the others. I would argue that Kyo and Tohru had it worse. It’s maybe on par with Yuki’s but ranking origin stories is pretty sad since they’re all so tragic. Either way the point is that Akito can’t use it as the big slam dunk that she thinks she can.

Akito also hasn’t limited the suffering to herself and has really been forcing everyone else to stay in misery alongside her. If she wasn’t actively attacking the rest of the cast then I definitely wouldn’t have had as much of an issue with her. So all of her scenes would still make me shake my head here. I still say that the characters should have fought back or defended themselves. The curse may turn them into animals but I don’t buy their not being able to fight back. Even here Hatsu comes close to attacking Akito but ultimately stops and just runs off. The characters really let Akito get the better of them.

Yuki had the majority of his character development earlier so he doesn’t do much in this season. Still he has his quick rebound with the student council member Machi. This was definitely one of the more rushed romances since she didn’t get to appear a whole lot but in real time I think they knew each other for a whole semester so at least there was 3 months there. Machi is another character who went through a lot of trauma and definitely still goes through some tough times but she’s handled it pretty well for the most part. This wrapped up that plot in a very resolute way.

Now you could make the case that this is less of a rebound since Yuki took himself out of the competition for Tohru before she made a decision. There’s a fair case for that so while this feels sudden, perhaps you could say it was not a secondary pick. I think Machi probably could have been introduced earlier to set this up but either way she was fun. Yuki’s always been considerate so they’ll get along just fine. Machi’s another character who I would say had a worse origin story to survive through than Akito. Getting framed as a kid will definitely leave you with a lot of trauma after all.

We can’t forget about Kyo of course as he had one of the big plots here. Since Akito plans to lock him up soon, Kyo’s coming to terms with the end of the era for him. He’s pretty much resigned to his fate so he’s still in the phase of trying to push everyone away during this season. Unfortunately by now he has pretty much accepted his fate and is no longer fighting with the same passion he once had.

We get to see his full origin story for the first time. Quite a lot happened to Kyo over the years and unfortunately most of the Zodiac spirits are quite passive so nobody would really help him. Tohru’s mom was probably the first person to really care about him until the Dojo guy stepped up. Even in the present we see that this hasn’t changed. Everyone knows he will be locked up soon but nobody’s doing anything about it.

Aside from Shigure who confirms he would not lift a finger to help, I won’t blame the others yet. For all I know, many of them had plans they would enact on the day of. So in case that is what would happen, I can’t really dock any points there. I’d like to see what kind of legal right the Sohma family would have to lock him up though. I feel like if Kyo went to the cops or something then things would play out pretty differently. I get that the Sohma is a rich family with a lot of power but even they should have their limits.

Of course the romance with Kyo and Tohru wraps up here. It’s not rushed or anything since this has been going on for 3 seasons at least. Fruits Basket is known as one of the Top Shojo’s after all and while I’m not sure I would go that far, the romance is done in the correct style. It’s built up over many episodes to the inevitable conclusion instead of all happening very quickly. At most you may just have to shake your head as how Kyo brings in the drama by suddenly running off again in this season. There’s a lot of running between both characters that’s for sure.

From all of the romances in this series, this is easily the best one without a doubt so it deserves some props there. As for Tohru, she may not get a particularly large role here as I mentioned, but she is still officially the lead and as such, gets a good send off. As a character she is solid as always. She actually does some detective work and tries to talk to as many characters as possible. By the end she does give Kyo a solid answer in response to his origin story while still choosing to believe in her Mother to the end. It was a good way to wrap things up while also staying true to her ideals. So that was a solid way to wrap things up.

Then we have Shigure who is a pretty bad character. He’s not as bad as Akito but I would definitely put him in the bottom 3. The guy is every bit as shady as Akito but always tries to play the fool and act innocent about it. He loves to play both sides and mess with Akito while also pretending to be a friend. The thing is, he is like that to everyone. I don’t see how any character can trust the guy. He’s also rather mean to his editor for no reason as he causes her as much stress as possible. It’s nice to see a Zodiac spirit who isn’t terrified of Akito but there’s really nothing to like about the guy.

Akito’s mother also shows up here. I like the idea of having a character that even Akito can’t mess with, but ultimately she doesn’t do a whole lot. She adds some drama as she is easily able to corrupt Shigure and sets up another character but that’s about it. If you were to remove her from the story it really wouldn’t change much. Especially given that Akito’s origin story doesn’t really end up making the villain more sympathetic.

As for Akito’s right hand man Kureno, I didn’t care for him either. In a way this guy caused a whole lot of the problems that would end up infecting the rest of the characters. If he had come clean about breaking the curse then it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache. The guy also allows himself to effectively be used out of pity by Akito which is a high price for this affair. He should have just stayed strong and been a friend but not go beyond that. Instead he lets himself get abused constantly.

Next up is Rin who was doing a lot of sleuthing of her own. She definitely takes a lot of risks but in this season she just didn’t look very smart. Why believe some random person who is extremely shady when she says that she knows how to break the curse? That’s just ultra convenient and if it requires breaking into the main villain’s room then that is definitely not going to end well. Rin really walked right into that trap and of course she ended up freezing so she couldn’t fight back.

It’s one of those scenes that will make you shake your head. I was glad Rin wasn’t as quick to just forgive and forget with Akito later on. As for Haru, he’s not bad but I definitely think he should have stepped in sooner. He didn’t know about Akito pushing Rin off a building but he did know that she was missing for a while. I’d expect him to have been poking around and Akito’s building should have been suspect number 1. His whole split personality and Dark Haru element isn’t that great if it never shows up when it counts.

Tohru’s two friends from school show up a bit as well in this season but I wouldn’t say their roles are too big. In some respects they have never had as much importance to the story as the various Sohma members but they do remain more relevant than the school friends in a lot of other Shojo titles like this. They’re not bad but they don’t usually tend to have scenes that are quite as interesting as the main cast.

Hiro and Kisa definitely don’t do much here either but at least now that he’s a bit older Hiro isn’t as unreasonable the whole time as he used to be. It was always annoying how he would insult Tohru for no real reason and nobody would really defend her. In his current state that wouldn’t really be much of an issue. Kisa is also here for moral support. She hasn’t really had to deal with as many tragedies as the others and that’s good. It’s nice that at least one character isn’t having to deal with a dark past.

Momiji doesn’t do much but it is odd how he appears to be a lot meaner and more sinister after the time skip. Maybe part of him realizes that he should have protected Tohru when Akito attacked in the last season. Either way, this would be an interesting new wrinkle to his character provided that he is actually able to be tough when it counts. Only time will tell on that front.

There are more characters of course but this really tackles all of the big ones I would say. The cast itself is large so there will always be a few more hanging around the bends. With 3 seasons I would expect no less. Even some of the Sohma clan members don’t really get to do a whole lot here which shows just how many characters have to be juggled.

The animation is solid as always. It’s not like there are any big action scenes to really test the series but the characters always look on model and everything’s pretty clear. It’s a very consistent show and delivers on that front. The soundtrack can be a little bland though. I wouldn’t say that any of the tunes really pop out at you and the theme song could have definitely been a whole lot more exciting if you ask me. It just feels too basic.

Now time for some final thoughts on the series. Season 3 is shorter than the first 2 so it definitely goes by really quickly. At the end of the day I definitely consider the anime to be a huge improvement over the manga. You’re given a lot of time to get used to the characters and root for them. I’d say the strength of the series is that it does a good job of showing the various emotions of the characters.

The writing is pretty solid as well with each character having to deal with a different issue as they grew up. There are a ton of sob stories and yet I would not say that any two are the same. Most of them are sad without being overly gritty either. This show goes through a lot of different tones but manages to achieve them all pretty well. You definitely won’t be bored.

There is naturally a lot of romances here as well. I would say most of them miss the mark as per the course for most romance titles but at least Kyo and Tohru was a strong one so that’s good since it is the main romance in the series. I wouldn’t say the romance ever really takes over as well so if you’re here for the plot then you should still be okay in the end.

On the flip side, one issue I have is with how passive all of the characters are. I’ve already beaten the point about everyone bowing to Akito into the ground so I’ll sidestep that one this time. Even just with how they obey the formalities and everything feels like they aren’t trying though. So Kyo is going to be locked up in a cave right? Have him decide to move out of town or something. He would certainly be able to leave if he wanted and good luck trying to bring him back. The guy can turn into a monster after all so he could repel any attackers.

The same is true for the rest of the Sohma family who feel like prisoners in the estate. Just get out of there and things will be better. Now granted, the curse is still annoying but it’s not like Akito would ever help you cure it anyway so I’d say your best bet is still high tailing it out of there while you still can. It would have been cool if Tohru brought that up.

As for her mother’s death, I do think part of the scenario was a little forced just to scar Kyo further. The whole “I won’t forgive you” part being spoken out loud out of the whole speech is just hard to buy. It’s the only way you could misinterpret the speech to be something negative so of course that’s what happened. Given how solid her character has been throughout the series, it doesn’t really work as a fake out to the audience and to Kyo it’s just a bit on the contrived side.

Overall, Fruits Basket had a pretty good run. There are definitely a lot of different events that occurred here. The 13 episodes did a good job of really packing themselves in with a lot of content. If you watched the first two seasons then you owe it to yourself to watch this one as well. There aren’t a whole lot of light hearted moments or happy events for the characters this time, but they all finally confront their inner demons so in that sense you get an uplifting feeling there. You know it’ll be all uphill for everyone going forward. Throw Akito out of the show and this would probably be bumped up even further but of course it would be a different show at that point. Time to see what the franchise brings to the table next.

Overall 6/10

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Kingdom Review


Transformers has been quite busy. Since the end of the second part in the trilogy I got to review the Rescue Bots Academy show as well as the recent Battlegrounds game. Well, now we’re at the final part of the trilogy. Part 2 ended off with a ton of plot lines to explore but since each part only has a few episodes I’d say a lot of us expected there would be loose ends. The only question was, would these be in the form of direct cliffhangers or more like threads that aren’t really mentioned but you know they’re out there? I’d say it’s closer to the former to we’ll see if there’s a part 4.

This part pretty much opens with the Autobots and Decepticons crash landing on this mysterious planet. They are greeted by the locals which are the Maximals and Predacons. Unfortunately for the heroes, the Decepticons and Predacons hit it off really quickly. Meanwhile Prime has to figure out a way to defeat the Maximals and to find the All Spark once and for all. If he can get that, then all the sacrifices will have been worth it.

Now you may be wondering about what’s going on with the subplot back on Cybertron but there’s no time for that so we don’t get one. We find out what happened in the aftermath though. The Kingdom saga is only 6 episodes so those are all really spent on this planet as the gang tries to work together. The series has certainly come a long way from the original days of war on Cybertron that’s for sure.

It’s fun to see the Maximals return. It’s been a while since I saw Beast Wars but the old characters are all pretty familiar. Primal and the gang actually do pretty well in the fight. I would even argue they should have beaten the Autobots pretty quickly. The heroes have been running on the last smidges of Energon pretty much since the beginning of the trilogy so I’d expect they would be out of luck by now. I suppose Autobots are naturally tougher than Maximals so it balances out but if the fight kept going they really should lose.

We don’t really get to see the heroes fight much in any part of Transformers so it was a cool skirmish and I wouldn’t have minded if it kept on going for a while longer to be honest. The heroes look good as you would expect. Prime is still calling the shots well. While I may not have always agreed with him in the previous two parts, at this point he is committed so I’m with him on seeing this mission through to the end. Turning back now would just not make any sense and they all know it.

Prime’s so close to the goal after all. The rest of the Autobots are solid as well but Prime really gets the biggest role. Bumblebee also gets his moment to shine as he is acknowledged by Prime as being the best candidate for the Matrix and leadership position. In context I definitely think it’s a stretch since Bumblebee just joined the team but you can also interpret it as a diss to the other members not being ready for this.

For the Maximals, Primal is fun of course. He definitely does not like Nemesis at all which is why it’s hard to work with him at first but gradually he softens up. He doesn’t really have the same commanding presence as Prime but does what he needs to. Then you have Airazor who does the most dangerous jobs for the team. It doesn’t always go well for her but she stays strong and does well at convincing a Predacon to rethink things.

Then on the Predacons side you have three main members. First is Megatron II but I wasn’t a big fan of that guy. He basically worships Megatron and is always mentioning how great the guy is. He doesn’t exactly feel like a leader and acts like a minion. The guy needs to have more self respect to be taken seriously here.

Dinobot was great as always though. He looks very strong and is also reasonable. His decision to go along with Starscream for a while may have been shaky but ultimately he wisened up and got out of there pretty quickly. He was one of the best characters in Beast Wars so I wasn’t surprised that he was great here as well.

Then you have Blackarachnia. There are so many spider themed villains in Transformers that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Still, she’s a fun member and definitely likes goading Starscream on. Both of them aren’t exactly the most loyal fighters out there so they make for a good team. Both will need to watch their backs though.

As for the Decepticons, Megatron is a fun leader as always but at this point he’s just a complete villain who is running around and trying to destroy things. Gone is the Part 1 Megatron who you could make the case of having a stronger argument than Prime. That’s one thing I miss from the first part which is that we had a whole lot of nuance between both factions. Due to the show skipping the initial outbreak of what set off the war, you really didn’t know who was right. We could assume that Prime was given the entire franchise history but the fact that it was close was interesting.

Megatron insists on using the Matrix in this season but you can’t help and think that it is just holding him back. The matrix doesn’t offer any super abilities and all of the characters let him know that it refuses to be used by a Decepticon. I’d toss it or lock it up if I was him.

Then you have his loyal follower Soundwave who finally gets some action here. He’s definitely not portrayed as a big fighter here but Soundwave still gets his hype. Mainly through Laserbeak who really does good here and takes on several challengers. Finally there is Starscream who has his plans as always. You wonder if he will end up being the main villain since that happens a lot. Either way you’ll be satisfied with his portrayal. He’s as cunning and quick witted as ever.

Throughout the part we have a lot of fights between the 4 factions but gradually we are given more and more hints that something else is coming. Galvatron appeared in the opening episode after all with the golden disc of destiny and there was all the foreshadowing with Unicron early on. Well, here’s where this all comes to play as Nemesis and Galvatron show up. I wish they could have appeared more because to me this was the most interesting part of the whole saga.

In season 2 the show already delved into the idea of a multiverse with the whole Dead Zone aspect. (Which comes into play here) Well, it looks like in one timeline Unicron ended up winning and took both Prime and Megatron as his lackeys. In a Galactus kind of way, Unicron reformatted them so they would work for him as Nemesis and Galvatron. It’s very interesting and cool to see both a Prime and Megatron teaming up like this.

Sure, they may be evil and potentially not in their right minds but it’s a great team up nonetheless. I love it when a show introduces multiple timelines and parallel dimensions. There is so much you can do with that and even if you don’t go the guest star angle, you can still get a lot out of it just through discussion and lore.

Mind you, Netflix sometimes likes to go a little too far with sci-fi lore and there was an instance where I was worried this was going to happen here as well. We do get some info dumps and pondering about the universe but it ends as quickly as it begins so we’re good. The climax is really a big battle as everyone tries to fight these invaders off and it’s pretty epic. Galvatron and Nemesis were pretty outnumbered but otherwise I dare say they would have crushed everyone.

In theory we’ll see them more in a Part 4 if we ever get that. You know how I’m a big fan of cliffhanger endings so of course I had a blast with the ending. If we ever do get a sequel it’ll probably be the best part. Nemesis may not talk but he has a cool aura around him and Galvatron is as fun as ever. I like that he has a lot of plans going and was doing his best to defy Unicron. In a way he’s like Starscream in that respect as Megatron doesn’t like to work for anybody. He’ll likely continue resisting Unicron until he ceases to function.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s CGI so it won’t look quite as clean as all of the animes but you can always tell what is going on and who is who. CGI will likely never quite stack up to hand drawn for me but if you are going to go the CG route, you should always try to be colorful. That way the fight scenes will pop out at you and you can still get a lot of cool visuals. So I’d say the CG here is good because there are definitely a lot of moments where you can pause and what is happening on screen will look pretty good. The soundtrack is more on the underwhelming side though. I couldn’t tell you about a single theme in the show. I’m sure there is music of course but none of it is memorable.

It’s worth mentioning that this is another Transformers title that didn’t need to add any humans. It’s all about the bots and it works well. There’s a whole lot you can do with the franchise without even needing the humans because the Transformers world is incredibly vast. Part of the fun in season 2 was seeing the world with Soundblaster because it was a whole alien culture that the Transformers had to visit. You could make a Star Trek type story just about exploring other planets as well. The battles with Prime and Megatron are classic but those are all other avenues we could explore.

Of course in a Part 4 we need to go into the whole Unicron angle. That said, I think the toughest part about incorporating him into the mix is it’s hard to picture him being defeated. Take this trilogy for example. Both sides are incredibly low on energon and the combined armies had trouble with his heralds. What would they do when the actual Unicron shows up? They would need a bunch of the celestial Transformers and some of those living cities to do much of anything to him and even then I’d find it pretty hard to buy into them winning.

In the end I’d put this one pretty close to the Machinima Transformers show. This one went the more conventional route initially but by the end we had a lot of guest stars and pretty ambitious plot lines. This one wins in terms of it being so much longer than the few minutes per episode and it had time to do more. At the same time, I’d give Mach the edge in terms of the actual story and scale of what was going on. It was cool seeing all of the obscure Transformer characters showing up and doing their thing like the Mistress of Flame. This one wins overall though as the extra length is just too good to pass up. Now we just have to wait and see what the next CGI experience is, hopefully it arrives sooner than later.

Overall, The War for Cybertron trilogy was pretty fun. It does feel like the name was more applicable to the first two parts though as the third was mostly unrelated. I suppose the battles are an extension of what happened previously though so in that sense you can say it was still a war. I don’t think this will go down as one of the more memorable Transformer shows but I am glad they keep pumping out titles left and right. At this point Transformers has so many shows you’d be hard pressed to name them all without thinking about it. If you haven’t checked this one out yet then you definitely should. If you combined all 3 shows you’ve effectively got a full season’s worth of content.

Overall 7/10

Kiznaiver Review


If you watch a lot of anime you know that summer vacation is usually high stakes. Either you get thrown into a cybernetic world, scouted for a professional sport, or you end up getting run over by a bus and have to thrive in a new world. It’s rare that you actually end up just having a blast and these characters are about to learn that the hard way. It’s a pretty fun show and ends up being unique as well.

The show starts off by introducing us to Katsuhira who gets bullied every day. He is forced to hand over his lunch money to these bullies and get pounded for a while anyway. The thing is, he doesn’t really mind. He does not have the ability to feel pain, it’s just not something his body can do. So he doesn’t mind being beaten up since he doesn’t feel it. Additionally, he doesn’t really possess emotions or they’re too muted to really be felt. So he’s rather apathetic about life itself.

His best friend Chidori is always really upset about Katsuhira being beaten up like this but she can’t convince him to fight back. One day his life changes when a girl named Noriko shows up. She decides to murder him and pushes the guy off the stairs. Katsuhira manages to survive somehow, only he is trapped in a facility. She explains that she is going to run an experiment by which his pain will now be transmitted to the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins. These are 6 other students she has chosen from the school who will now be forced to partake in this experiment. The Kiznaiver program.

The 5 don’t have a choice as they are kidnapped and taken to this school. Here’s how the program works, whenever any of these 7 experience any kind of pain, it will be split 7 ways and everyone will feel it. So the good part is that no pain you experience will be as bad as it usually was. The bad part is that if someone gets beaten up by bullies a lot….prepare for extra pain. The 7 students must survive the entire Summer Vacation in order to be released from this program. They’re all from different social circles and circumstances though so they will have to try and get along first.

That’s really what this show is about, seeing if the students can come together. In a way the show’s even a metaphor for how anyone can get along no matter what their background or situation is. The show creates a scenario that forces each person to have to at least make an attempt to get along. It’s in their best interests if they want to make it through the Summer without too much pain after all. They’ll be put through many different situations and scenarios before they can get out of this.

So lets do a roll call of the characters. I’ve already talked about Katsuhira for the most part. He doesn’t know what his dark secret is (Everyone is tested on this during the first trial) I wasn’t a big fan of his. His lack of emotion does mean that for a while he lets anyone push him around and doesn’t really think for himself. He does get a character arc around this though so by the end he is considerably improved from how he started. I still wouldn’t say I’m a big fan or anything but I am glad that he made progress.

Then you have Chidori, (I could have sworn they pronounced her name as Chitori the whole time though. I really thought that was her name until I looked up the spelling for this review) the best friend. Her darkest secret is that she’s in love with Katsuhira so that’s pretty tough for her since he doesn’t have the emotional knowledge to know how to respond. She’s a nice character and one of the more likable ones. She does her best to try and take this all in stride but Noriko’s presence makes it rather difficult. Usually if you start off strong it makes it difficult to stick the landing though as she takes the final episodes the hardest. Still a quality character throughout though.

Next up is Hajime, the tough guy of the group. His darkest secret is that he’s extremely afraid of dogs to the point where he plans out his routes so he doesn’t pass any dog owners. It would wreck his image so you can see why he hides that away. He’s quick to step in and help Katsuhira out in the opening episode which was good. At his core Hajime is a good person such as how he ignores his own romantic feelings so they don’t get in the way of this adventure. He’s not always great as he can be rather crude like his threat to Noriko but for the most part he definitely stands out and is loyal. He’s more likely to have your back than most of the other characters even if he did beat someone up a little too quickly near the end. I know he cracked but it still felt uncalled for.

Nico is the quirky member of the group. She loves talking about fairies and just bouncing around all the time. Her darkest secret is that…she doesn’t actually believe in any of that stuff and just acts quirky so people won’t think she’s normal. I thought that was actually a pretty interesting subversion and in a sense, thinking up a whole elaborate act like that means she was already quirky to begin with. It’s definitely an interesting development. Overall she’s one of the strongest characters for sure. Nico probably takes the end of the series better than the rest as well.

Tsuguhito was my favorite member of the students. He’s the cool kid in class who is super popular and has a lot of friends. His darkest secret is that he used to be fat and has tried to make sure nobody knows that part of him. Honestly, while it’s good as a comedic moment, it’s probably the lowest stakes from all of the secrets. To most that’s actually more of an impressive moment than anything because it showed that he was able to lose a lot of weight and turned his life around.

Part of why I like him is because he’s just a good guy. He doesn’t brag about it or show off like the others but just does the right thing when it counts. He gives Honoka a lot of pep talks and sticks up for Katsuhira. He really doesn’t pick fights or get anyone into trouble throughout the show. He does put up a tough façade at times and throws some insults around but never anything too serious. He does just enough to keep the act going and also wasn’t about to rush into a romance like certain other characters in the show.

Then you have one of least favorite members of the group Honoka. She’s definitely not a people person and likes to keep to herself. Her darkest secret is that she murdered someone a while back although of course there is more context to that later on. Honoka is just the meanest member of the group by far and carries this attitude on for way too long. Right up through the last 2 episodes or so, she is still going on about how none of them are friends. She does her best to hurt everyone else’s feelings as well.

Her origin story was definitely a sad one but even that got worse because she didn’t face it head on. If she had then she would have been in a much better place since she did misinterpret things. Should have just read the manga…. I would say her backstory was probably the weakest part of the show.

Finally you have my actual least favorite member of the group, Yoshiharu. His thing is that he’s really into pain and even enjoys injuring himself just to get that sensation. He’s got a few screws loose so to speak. I don’t even remember what his darkest secret was. He missed the first trial so maybe it didn’t come up. Part of what hurts him is that the guy never really contributes to the story. You could cut him out and I dare say that not a single thing would change. He really felt like he was added on to an extent. Even how the other 6 characters all match up in pairs while he’s just running around. Yoshiharu’s gimmick wasn’t really funny either so he just fell flat as a character.

Of course you have the two teachers who are in on this. Both of them signed off on this very corrupt experiment so it’s hard to like either one of them. Both are willing to put the students in danger on multiple occasions. Mutsumi seems to at least have more of a conscience than Kazunao though. She finally has a breaking point while he never backs down even to the end. The students definitely shouldn’t forgive these two anytime soon.

Finally you have the mysterious Noriko. She also appears to be rather emotionless and didn’t feel a thing even when she nearly brought Katsuhira to his doom. So that’s a character you want to be wary of. I’m not a big fan of hers for the same reason I wasn’t a big Katsuhira fan for a while. When you’re emotionless like that there’s just less opportunities to have cool moments where you really stand out.

By the end we learn her origin story of course and it does help her case. She definitely went through a lot and made some rather big sacrifices to make sure things went well for everyone else. I can respect that without a doubt. Noriko definitely takes the cake for the hardest path in the show and had to endure way more than the rest of the characters combined. It’s very dark and I’m glad she at least got a happy ending since it would have been really tragic otherwise. She was a lot of fun in the flashbacks too.

That’s mainly it for the cast as there aren’t many supporting characters beyond that. The show is 12 episodes after all and it’s heavily character driven so there’s not much room to throw in others. The two bullies appear for a bit but Chidori put them in their place when they try to complain. They haven’t been through nearly as much as the main characters so they definitely had no room to complain. It’s not like it’s a competition of who had it the worst but when you’re a bully you don’t get to suddenly say that life isn’t fair. They really picked this battle for themselves.

Now there is a whole lot of romance here as you might have gathered. It’s summer vacation with 7 students who are forced to hang out with each other constantly. Naturally there was going to be a lot of drama here. Moreover, you’ve got multiple triangles going. Katsuhira likes Noriko, Chidori likes Katsuhira, Hajime likes Chidori, and Nico likes Hajime. Tsuguhito likes Honoka but there isn’t a third party in that one. With characters all connected like this, it makes it hard for them to approach.

Even more so once the characters begin experiencing each other’s emotions as well. In a way that’s the scariest thing about the Kiznaiver program. When everyone knows every little thing about you, it means that privacy is now a foreign concept. You’re really boxed in and when you’re forced to be honest as opposed to doing it willingly, that’s naturally going to bring in a little more tension.

The Kiznaiver program is a very fascinating concept because even if you could implement this in real life, the show depicts why this would be dangerous. For starters, you could simply die from the sudden pain of someone else feeling something. Throw in the emotional pain and you could suddenly have a group of suicidal people. From the start the show makes sure to depict this as a very dangerous experiment that would be outlawed by any government. The main characters have to thrive in spite of it.

So going back to the romance, that part could get a little overly dramatic. I’m not the biggest romance guy and aside from Chidori who knew Katsuhira ever since he was a kid, the rest only just met each other. A little quick to be developing romantic feelings right? Perhaps the Kiznaiver accelerated the program since it connects people so thoroughly but even then it all just feels fast.

Now, most of the characters do keep their feelings hidden which is an interesting twist. See, I usually judge the characters for moving too quickly but for the ones who were hiding their feelings until Kiznaiver exposed them, is it really the same thing? I’d say no. See, in this case that means the character might subconsciously know it’s too soon so that’s why they didn’t say anything. I don’t think Chidori, Nico, or Hajime would have said anything. They’d just have kept their feelings in their heart and squashed them eventually.

It’s a very interesting dynamic and one I could get behind here. Particularly in the triangles since they were all holding their feelings back since they knew that their friends were already interested. If you like a girl but your best friend has already made the same interest clear, then stepping back is a pretty honorable thing to do. Now, if you friend doesn’t do anything for ages then absolutely you can jump in, but the core concept is sound. So I’ll give them some credit for that. That said, it does feel like Chidori going with Hajime would feel like an absolute rebound if Katsuhira chooses Noriko in the end. Kiznaiver probably has more romance sewn into its themes than most other shows I’ve seen and yet it handles them better than a lot of others too. I wouldn’t mind if you cut out a lot of the drama of course but if you’re going to do it, then you should do it well of course.

While things get really serious by the end, I’d say the show keeps a good balance of being light hearted along with this. Nico for example is a character who keeps everyone feeling pretty chipper the whole time. The characters also have opportunities to just hang out and have a good time once in a while. Don’t expect it a whole lot but they at least aren’t having to worry about the Kiznaiver program all the time even if it’s not exactly something you can forget either.

I said it once and I’ll say it again, the Kiznaiver system itself is absolutely terrifying when you think about it. The fact that these 6 strangers (Lets be real, they’re basically strangers since you don’t know them well) will eventually know your every thought, emotion, and pain is pretty intense. It’s enough to make you decide to just move away like in the Kino’s Journey episode only in this case you can’t quite escape the pain so it isn’t a full proof solution. Then if you keep residual effects even after the Kiznaiver implant is gone…well I guess there’s no real escape at that point.

The animation looks pretty solid. This is more of a slice of life so there’s not a chance to show off with the graphics most of the time but the city shots look great like in the climax. This is also probably why they gave Chidori’s hair a sharp color since that always stands out. The show also takes advantage whenever there is a chance to use some bright colors so the Kiznaiver energy bands are an example of this or when Noriko is standing in front of a data computer. As for the soundtrack, it’s not very memorable but it’s decent. The opening is one of the weakest I’ve seen in a while though. It’s going for more of a low key route but give me a hype opening anytime.

The writing is solid throughout and the episodes really go by in a flash. It feels like a very natural journey to the point where this could easily be turned into a movie. You’d have to remove some of the trials of course but it would work pretty well since it’s all 1 grant story here. You could probably cut some things out if needed like Honoka’s origin story and even most of Noriko’s or at least the parts that are still around in the present. I wouldn’t mind if they threw some more scenes Tsuguhito’s way instead.

By the end you will question why the company was looking into these Kiznaiver experiments though. If you think about it, there’s still no long term gains for this project. At least not without some kind of redesign because even if you make it safe to an extent, nobody is going to want to sign up for this. I can’t see it being useful in military applications either as it would just confuse the soldiers. Maybe it can help with medical research if a doctor wants to see exactly what kind of pain you are experiencing but I still can’t see that ending well. So in that way it almost feels like the kids were put through a whole lot for no real reason other than learning how to be nicer people.

It is cool how the company has a bunch of people in mascot costumes going around and kidnapping the main characters though. They have a whole lot of pull when you think about it. Even enough to hide some pretty deep secrets in the school. I admit that I was taken aback at how a few select students are just sorta sitting around. When you get to the final episodes you’ll see what I mean but they were just hanging around there the whole time? That was absolutely crazy, not in a plot hole way or anything as it’s easily explained but I was just surprised at how suddenly they appeared. Not everyone gets a happy ending in this show I’m afraid as the Kiznaiver program definitely has a lot of skeletons in the closet.

Overall, Kiznaiver is a pretty fun show. It’s got a solid concept going for it and is also a fun new approach to showing how characters can learn to get along. It certainly gets serious as the characters have to really look inside themselves to discover their true feelings. It’s over in a flash but has a good run throughout. It also starts off with a bang as the characters initially get trapped in that facility. I wouldn’t call the show high stakes for the most part but they are put in some real danger at times and for a while it’s hard to tell what the intentions behind the tests are. Also the final episode raises the stakes pretty suddenly as well which made for a good climax. You should always end on a high note right? I’d recommend checking this one out.

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

God of Highschool Review


It’s time for another Webtoon adaption. The God of Highschool got a ton of promotion back in the day. I dare say that from the 3 Crunchyroll productions they gave this one the most publicity by far. It’s a tournament with a ton of action so what’s not to love right? Well, after seeing it I can definitely say it’s a great title. I did have a bit of an issue with the art style but the animation itself was great without a doubt.

The show starts with some politicians making a deal only for the entire island to literally be slammed with a giant hand and those guys are murdered. With nobody left in the way, a tournament is announced called the God of High School. If you win this tournament then you will get whatever you wish for. Anyone can enter it as long as they’re in High School so people flock to the tournament from all over. Winning this will take skill but these characters are ready. Still, the whole situation is rather sketchy…is there more to this tournament than meets the eye?

The God of High School is a show that goes fast and doesn’t mess around so you really have to make sure you keep up. You can probably identify moments where there are scenes that would be skipped to make the pacing work better but you always get the key details. I haven’t read the Webtoon yet although I plan to do that shortly. So I can say with confidence that even without reading the source material you’ll be able to keep up.

The last few episodes are also the best ones in the season so this really ends on a high note. You’ll absolutely be hyped for season 2 by the time you’re done with this one. It almost feels like they would need to change the name soon though since it seems like it won’t really be relevant to the next season. I guess if you think of the title as being a title in universe as opposed to referring to the tournament then it works out pretty well though.

Since I mentioned the art style lets knock that out now. The thing I didn’t like is how everyone’s nose and ears are always shining bright red as if this is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I haven’t seen a show do that before. The closest I can think of is the permanent anime blush in shows like Accel World. I dislike that art style as well, I dunno it just doesn’t seem natural and it can be a bit distracting.

It takes away from the visuals in general. Interestingly, I quickly took a look at the original trailer for the show although I think it was a conceptual trailer since the animation studio looked totally different and it shows events from the complete first season which is an odd choice. There were no glowing noses/ears there so I don’t know why they were added here. Perhaps this is how the art looks in the Webtoon and they wanted to be accurate but it just doesn’t work. I do like the chibi scenes when they occur though. I think Chibi works really well for quick humor bursts. We see similar techniques used in Tower of God and Demon Slayer to great effect as well.

The animation is great though. There’s a lot of finetuned hand to hand combat here. It’s easy to see how this company would then go on to do Jujutsu Kaisen later on. That show took this one’s fundamentals and then improved the animation with a lot of great energy effects and even more wrestling type moves. In a way you could say the studio used this anime to train and then mastered it with Kaisen. There are definitely no complaints with the animation here, the fights are all very high energy and get you in the moment. The shading on the darker moments also helps show the intensity of a scene very well.

I enjoyed the soundtrack a lot as well. The theme song is great and the more you listen to it, the more into it you get. It’s got a lot of replay value that’s for sure. The images for it are also hype. Then you have several great themes in the show like the Young Tiger theme as well as Mujin Park’s music. Each one helps to build up the hype and as this is completely a battle story, it’s not surprising that the music would be geared that way.

Now lets talk about the characters here. The main character is Mori Jin. He loves fighting and is trained in the arts of Taekwondo. Mori is very confident in his abilities and believes he can take on anyone. Winning the tournament is prize enough for him so he has no real wishes to be granted. He’s a nice guy who sometimes projects sob stories onto others but always does his best to help his friends.

Mori’s a pretty charismatic guy and I was definitely a fan. He’s quick to jump into the arena when a match is going too far and that’s something I was glad to see. Mira loses some points for trying to constantly tell her teammates not to jump in. It’s just the right thing to do. It goes against the spirit of the tournament to be torturing your opponent and for Mori I imagine it was especially personal since the villain was using Taekwondo.

The show doesn’t go into it a whole lot but I do like how each of the different hand to hand fighters use unique fighting styles here. You’ve got Karate masters, self defense, sword style, etc. Mori never falters throughout the whole season so he was a great lead from start to finish.

Then we have Mira who is one of the first characters to appear in the show. She doesn’t crave battle the way that Mori does but her sole goal in life is to get the Moonlight sword back into the spotlight. She wants to prove that this style is good and it was her father’s last wish. She will do whatever it takes to make the sword popular again which is a good and bad thing. The good thing is that it gives her drive and something to fight for.

The bad thing is that it limits her. She seems to fight a lot better without the sword most of the time. Her enemies seem to be able to use it with more skill than she does. Additionally it also sidetracks her from her goals like when she was quick to jump into a wedding with someone she didn’t even know. That was the weakest part of her character arc to be sure. How do you marry a random celebrity when you’ve known him for 5 minutes?

Mira was quick to throw her friends away at this point too so it’s good that they beat up the guards and forced the issue. Mira also doesn’t believe in interrupting matches as I mentioned before so that ends up hurting two. From the 3 characters she had the shakiest resolve to be sure, but she can fight and tends to do well in battle. Eventually maybe she can catch up to the other two if she masters her sword.

Then we have Daewi as the third member of the crew. He is fighting to save his friend who is currently dying. It’s a pretty rare condition so even the nanomachines that the GOH tourney providers have only may give him a chance. Daewi is the mature member of the 3 so he usually tries to calm the other two down or just stay out of the way so they don’t embarrass him. For the most part he’s a rather decent guy.

There is one point though where he loses it and very nearly becomes a villain. He beats up some random punks but they initiated so I don’t even count that to be honest. You can’t pretend to ignore them forever so take them out and that’s that. Now if he murdered them that’s different, but I didn’t necessarily get that impression. It’s hard to say though, I suppose they might have been dead.

Daewi even attacks Mira in rather savage fashion but I would say it’s in a completely different league than what Manseok did in the first episodes. Daewi didn’t torture her or anything, he landed a few solid blows and then she went down. Now, he was about to attack again before he was stopped which would have crossed the line but ultimately no extra hits were landed. Perhaps this is something where it’s more dragged out in the Webtoon but from the anime it doesn’t seem as shocking and savage as the characters acted.

I suppose you’d expect him to hold back more when fighting a friend and yet the characters always talk about how you better not hold back or they’ll take it personally. It might be an unspoken rule where you should still hold back I suppose. Regardless it wasn’t quite as crazy as you would expect so I didn’t lose a ton of respect for him the way I would if a character really turned traitor like that. It does mean he’ll likely never catch the top tiers of the series like Mori, Ilpyo, or Taek but he’s reasonably in the middle somewhere.

The resolution to the plot did feel a bit cheesy and perhaps unearned though. Mori was really mad at Daewi at first and then a few minutes later they’re back to being best friends. That part I will say felt rushed and it seems like they wouldn’t get along so easily like that. Additionally, I don’t see how Daewi was looking so good. Mori seemed to be way stronger but more on that later.

Ilpyo was easily the best character in the series though. I liked his confidence and he’s just a classy guy. Ilpyo felt like he would be the main character in another title. He has cool fire powers and even a nice super form that he can use at will. The guy’s hand to hand skills are completely out of almost every other character’s league. He misses the first half of the season but once he shows up at the end he gets a great role.

It’s clear that he would have beaten Mori if he wasn’t sandbagging to teach him the whole time and at full power I would have gone for him over Taek as well. That guy’s abilities are hard to deal with but the same is true for Ilpyo. I hope he gets a lot to do in season 2 as well because he’s just a blast to follow.

Then we have some of the various fighters from the tournament. First is Seungchul who likes to fight using intelligence and wit over brute strength. This makes him difficult to defeat although at the same time it doesn’t seem sustainable. At the end of the day you need pure power to back up your moves. Then there’s Gamdo who is a martial artist that likes fighting with honor.

Unfortunately he’s in the wrong tournament for that because these fighters are too desperate to win. They don’t have time for honor or things like that. I liked the guy but I feel like he may never appear again. Then you have Manseok who was surprisingly weak. Seriously the guy talks really tough and after getting embarrassed he breaks down into tears and never appears again.

I’m sure he will return but it’s going to be hard to take that guy seriously. He’s like a textbook bully who can take on weaker fighters no problem but ultimately gets outmatched by the stronger ones and doesn’t have the confidence to continue. I didn’t like that guy so I don’t mind him getting taken out. It was just really surprising.

Taek is one of the big villains of course so we have to talk about him. Now this is a villain I could get behind. He made for a great antagonist who kept on getting stronger and forced the heroes to keep up with him. Hi goals about wanting to be the strongest and proving that he wasn’t a loser was intense. The guy is whining a lot in a sense but he continues to get stronger on his own so at least he’s doing something about it.

His rivalry with Ilpyo just worked really well and was the best dynamic in the show. Whenever he was around you knew things were about to go down. The scene where he nearly took Mori down with a single strike was a very intense moment and was also good hype for Ilpyo. I also liked how he kept remembering how Ilpyo beat him up that one time. Shows why he wants revenge on everything. It’ll be hard to top him as the next arc villain.

Taejin is worth mentioning because he’ll clearly be getting a big role soon but this was not a very impressive start for him. He got beat up pretty quickly. Yes, he left big craters in the ground and looked strong but Mori could probably pull such things off by the end of the series with his impressive power ups. Taejin gets a ton of hype so to see him tied up and beaten so early on…it was surprising to say the least.

Then we have the tournament organizer Mujin. This guy’s pretty interesting right now. He’s clearly not a hero with how extreme his actions are at the moment. It’s strongly implied he’s the one who took out the island in episode 1 although we don’t know for sure. He’s searching for the Key and it doesn’t sound like this is for heroic reasons. Perhaps he is a hero who just seems shady at times but right now I see him being a very interesting third party character who keeps everyone at the ready.

It’s a shame he had to play defense for the whole season though as we couldn’t see what he could really do yet. The fact that he was able to put up barriers to block the giant summon from the villains was impressive though. The guy’s tough without a doubt but I want to see him in the ring. He has a bunch of members in his organization who are powerful as well but most don’t get to do a whole lot yet.

I expect we’ll see them all fight more soon. They beat up on the random monsters but anyone could do that. Q gets the biggest role as he shows a lot more emotion than the others. He gets upset when one of his comrades dies and even confronts Mujin. There’s a lot of life to this guy and he disregards procedure if it gets in the way. It costs him a lot of money each time but he doesn’t back down.

There are other characters running around here of course like in the tournament and assassins from the mysterious organization that is also trying to find the key. I won’t go into those guys because they haven’t done a whole lot yet. You’ll want to watch the show to see what they’re doing. I am pretty interested in how that will play out since it seems like that will be more of a focus in season 2.

While the tournament was the main plot there were definitely times where the outside world was more interesting. There’s just so much happening out there and I love tournaments but the other parts were so appealing too. It’ll be fun to see how the heroes contribute since in theory most of them are still weaker than the grown ups. Mori is probably an exception to that though.

The Power levels in the show could be rather suspect at times though. From the start Mori is portrayed as being so much stronger than Daewi and Mira that you can’t believe it when he is having an even fight with Daewi. Particularly since given the circumstances Mori shouldn’t be holding back and is going in hot to make Daewi regret attacking Mira. Somehow Daewi is not only holding his own but even winning at times. That didn’t make a lot of sense.

Then you have the celebrity who had his own Charyeok manifestation and yet he got knocked out in one blow. How? This guy is a part of a dangerous organization and had a lot of abilities. That didn’t make a lot of sense. Granted, in general Charyeok seems like a pretty vague power scaling system. Effectively you borrow power from some kind of legendary figure and turn that into power. One character uses Lu Bu for example while another one has Jaws. (Or just a random Shark) Then you have Mori who doesn’t need to borrow anything since there are other factors at play here. Way I understand it is Mori is the legendary figure, I won’t say who for now. It’s a pretty good way to explain why he is so strong.

Charyeok has a lot of different manifestations so the best way to think of it is just as a form of Ki and then you get any kind of special ability. I don’t see how you can lose with it so quickly though. Power levels aside, I do like how the characters just launch into the fights. A benefit of the fast pacing here is there’s no time for chitchat so often times the fighters just start swinging their fists and don’t stop. The opponents have to figure out each other’s abilities in silence. Nobody stops until one person is on the ground.

The God of High School may start out fairly realistic but it jumps up into superhero world by the end. The last episode or 2 in particular suddenly turn this into something like DBZ and I’m all up for that. It was a pretty powerful match-up at the end and the designs were really good for the powered up modes on the hero and villain.

Overall, The God of High School is a great anime that I would recommend. You won’t be disappointed here. It’s really over in a flash at only around 12-13 episodes but each one covers a lot. You’ll likely end the show with a ton of questions since it doesn’t mind opening up a lot of plot elements that don’t go anywhere yet. It’s why you just have to wait until it’s continued or check out the written version. You’ll get introduced to a lot of characters but I dare say you’ll actually remember most of them. They’re all fairly unique and have their own personalities. It may take a little while to fully learn the names but that will come in time. My only real gripe here is that I wish they would take away the Rudolph nose part of the art style. It just doesn’t fit so maybe in season 2 it’ll be cut. With this review done I’d say it’s a good time to check out the Webtoon and see how the adventure continues.

Overall 8/10