Saint Seiya Review


Saint Seiya is a very well known series. To call it a legendary title would actually be pretty accurate. It was effectively the DBZ before that title actually came out. It’s got a ton of quality action and solid characters. While the show is a little more formulaic than most with each arc following a lot of similar beats, the anime adds a new arc which really changes things up. it’s an example of a filler arc that’s actually pretty solid. (Still the weakest arc in the series but solid nonetheless. You’d never know it was an anime original) I’ve had this review on the backburner for an extremely long time so it’s time to finally take a look at it.

The series starts by introducing us to Seiya. He’s an orphan who grew up in a rather tough place. One day he was sent out along with a few others to different parts of the globe to train to be a Saint of Athena. Seiya has no interest in this but he was told that doing so and obtaining the Bronze Cloth (Proof of conquering the Saint trials) would be the only way he could ever see his missing sister again. So Seiya has conquered this task and arrives back home where the agreement has been changed. He will have to win a tournament against the other bronze candidates now. Well, Seiya’s up for the challenge because nothing will stop him from finding his sister.

This was a really great way to start the series. After all, who doesn’t like a good tournament right? It’s always a solid way to set up the characters and let us learn about them. It also weeds out the rest of the Bronze Saints who would never really be main characters after this. Only the main 5 would continue on. I thought Unicorn left more of an impression on me in the anime than the manga though. I liked his rivalry with Seiya here even if he would ultimately be out of luck early on. Seiya just surpassed him by a ton and never looked back.

Additionally we then got to see the Dark Saints and that was a really fun arc as everyone fought their shadow selves. One thing I greatly enjoyed was seeing the characters actually fighting out in the real world here. One fight was on the highway for example. While that may not seem like a big thing, you’ll never see that for the rest of the series. All other battles take place in enemy territory or at Athena’s home. I suppose there was no reason to fight in the city after that but I always get really excited when it happens. I find the city environment to be the perfect backdrop to a fight.

We are introduced to quite a lot of the characters in this arc. First off lets talk about Athena I suppose. She is effectively a lady who has been imbued with Athena’s spirit and has effectively become her as Athena is born again in every generation. She has one of the highest cosmos (Power level) in the series but for the most part can’t use it in an offensive context. She is great at using it for defense and healing though. I’d say she’s a solid character but I do think she allows far too much corruption to occur at home.

For example, her butler Tatsumi gets away with absolutely everything. We see that he would actually beat up the Saints when they were kids and in particular he really would beat up Ikki. At the time it was Athena’s father running the show but the all knowing Athena should have certainly let him go after that. This is mostly a comedic plot later on with the Saints messing with him, but Tatsumi never actually changed his ways. They just became stronger than him. In some ways I feel like Tatsumi was the real villain behind all of this. Athena is a good character otherwise but I do wish that she would fight more. For example, instead of jumping into the water chamber to stop Poseidon I’d prefer if she called in the Knights to assist. With all of the Golden Saints they would have beaten Poseidon’s generals with ease.

Seiya is of course a great hero. He never really wanted to be a part of this but when Athena is in danger he steps in. At his core Seiya is a hero of course so he can’t just leave someone behind if they’re in trouble. He’s also a lot more hot headed than some of the other characters and is quite willing to invade any territory to help Athena. While the Gold Knights are just holding back and staying at the castle Seiya is actually jumping in to take center stage. From all of the Knights he may be the quickest to jump into action and his dedication is rewarded time after time with his power ups and the fact that he surpasses most of the characters right away. His fighting style is the most basic and yet because of that he can move with so much speed and power that it is hard to stop.

Next up we have Shiryu and he solidly represents the third most powerful Bronze Knight. Every good Shounen series always has a guy in the solid third place. You’ve always got the main character and the rival, but then you also need the dependable third in command who stays near the top of the power scale to the end. That’s Shiryu’s role and it’s a painful one because the show really liked to put him through the ringer. He’s a fairly solid character though. All of his scenes are definitely on point and his Shield is probably one of the most impressive equipment items in the whole series. While it isn’t 100% completely indestructible, it is still durable enough to block almost any blow and gets him through most of his fights.

Shiryu also works as the voice of reason a lot of the time. He isn’t quite as headstrong as some of the others. Next is Hyoga who can be one of the meaner saints at times. He never actually turns evil like Ikki though but takes the whole thing very seriously. His Diamon Dust technique is certainly a classic and he holds up with the rest of the Saints pretty well if you ask me. I probably wouldn’t put him quite above the others power-wise (Aside from Andromeda) but he’s got a good amount of skill. I like all of the Bronze Saints and Hyoga is no exception. He’s a solid hero who is always ready to step up.

Then you have Ikki who is easily my favorite Saint. I would argue he is also the most powerful one. He can keep on coming back to life forever thanks to the regenerative abilities of the Phoenix cloth. That’s an incredibly useful ability to have at your disposal and it really sets him apart from the rest of the characters. What can you do against a character who just keeps regenerating like that right? Ikki did have a period of time where he turned evil but he did have to go through a whole lot of craziness so you can see how it happened. From there he would end up being the most dependable character on the squad. Whenever his brother Andromeda is in danger you can count on Ikki to jump in immediately and start saving lives. It’s just what he does and he makes it look easy.

Finally we have Andromeda and he’s probably the weakest of the Saints. He’s one of those characters with a ton of potential but ultimately doesn’t like fighting so it takes him a while to actually get serious You can draw up a lot of parallels with him and Gohan from DBZ. Andromeda does have one of the best weapons in the series though with the Chains he carries. They can follow an opponent across whole planets and even into other dimensions. They automatically protect him from harm and attack on their own as well. It’s a very versatile weapon to be sure and as Andromeda grows stronger, the chains will as well.

Then we have the two Silver Saints Marin and Shaina. Both of them are pretty helpful characters who assist the Bronze Saints in times of great peril. They’re both reasonably tough although I would definitely take Shaina in a head to head battle. She’s much fiercer in combat and has beaten Marin in the past. Both of them have to hide a lot of secrets and appear to switch sides a lot as a result. I never became a big fan of Marin but Shaina was always fun. She was definitely willing to risk her life quite a bit to help Seiya out of a pinch.

The next big arc is the famous Gold Saints saga. It’s an incredibly long one and deserves the praise as it really took the series to a new level. Well, after some Silver Saints showed up to cause trouble and were thwarted, Athena was struck by an arrow. The only way to keep the arrow from claiming her life is to get to the top of Sanctuary and turn the shield monument. To do so the heroes will have to get past the 12 Golden Saint temples. Each Golden Saint is thousands of times stronger than the bronze ones and their armors have been created to effectively be indestructible. Attacks simply bounce off of them or get absorbed entirely. The heroes also have a time limit of 12 hours so they can’t afford to waste time. Can they surpass their limits and save Athena?

This arc’s just a blast. Seeing the heroes have to go into the temples and take down the Gold Saints is just incredible. You can feel the tension in each match particularly as the heroes are completely outmatched each time. Each of the Golden Saints are far more powerful and faster than the Bronze ones. Their armor is better as well so all of the advantages are at their disposal. It means you can prepare for a lot of good heroic speeches from the Bronze Saints as they call these guys out and dredge up their inner power.

The Golden Saints do deserve to be called out because they all either get played for fools or just make the wrong decision. I couldn’t call almost any of them heroes to be honest. I would just say that about Aiolos because he was willing to stand up to the other Golden Saints to save Athena and stop the Pope’s evil plans. Nobody else tried helping, in fact they actively tried to fight him off. Others simply ran off never to be heard from again. So Aiolos is easily the best Golden Saint and it isn’t even close. The rest of them should probably have renounced their titles after this arc was over.

Aries doesn’t play a big role in this arc as he is one of the Golden Saints who decides not to interfere anymore. He prefers to just watch over everything without picking a side. I’ll remind you that choosing not to pick a side is actually choosing one anyway. As a result this guy’s definitely one of my least favorite Saints. He is not someone you can count on and could have helped the Bronze Saints so many times but chose not to. As a result I’d think of him more as a villain if anything. Particularly since he actively threatens anyone who says they are going to help. Definitely a very poor character I must say.

Taurus is the first true Knight to take on the Bronze Saints so he looks really good but we can probably say he’s the weakest one around. He’s a very direct guy who has an honor code and just lets his fists do the talking. He seems like a Saint who can at least be reasoned with so I’ll give him some respect there. He’s a fun guy so it would just be nice if he could fight a little more. I suppose at this stage it is relative though because there’s no shame in being a little weaker than his fellow Gold Saints since those guys are so powerful as it is.

Gemini Saga has a huge role to be sure. He’s a critical part of the Sanctuary arc and makes his presence felt at all times. I would put him as the strongest Golden Knight. I think there is a case to be made that Virgo or Aiolos could take him on 1 on 1 but it would definitely be a great fight either way. I’m a big fan of this guy for sure. He’s definitely dealing with a lot of issues and you can probably guess based on what sign he represents what is going on here. His Galaxian Explosion technique is also famous. It’s sort of like how Sephiroth blows up the solar system in his cutscene. Gemini Saga has an attack that’s like a galaxy crushing into you. It definitely looks cool and his “Another Dimension” ability definitely deserves some praise as well.

Virgo Shaka is low key one of the most evil Saints around though. He knows exactly what was going on the whole time and chose not to do so. He seems to think that he is above good and evil and that’s exactly why you can’t trust him. When someone gets such an inflated opinion of himself it can be quite dangerous. Virgo is basically saying that anything he does is justified. I’ll give him props for being able to fight so well with his eyes closed though. He is undoubtedly powerful. It’s just a shame that he always picks the wrong side. I’d have to list him as a villain here.

Deathmask is an interesting Golden Saint because he is the only member who is downright evil 100% through. He really couldn’t care less about fighting for justice and actively goes around murdering people. It’s a shame that the other Saints allow this…. I was not expecting one of the Saints to be truly evil back when I first read the manga though so that was interesting. He makes for a pretty intense villain to be sure but definitely not a particularly likable character.

Aiolia is a fun Saint and as one of the most heroic ones that naturally means that he has to be mind controlled so he can fight the heroes. Without that there’s no way he would have gone to blows. He did really well even while mind controlled so at full power he should definitely be one of the most powerful Golden Saints. He actually acts like a true warrior worthy of his position so he is definitely one of the best knights around. You can’t go wrong with this guy.

Scorpio is one of the more vengeful Seiya characters. Due to a big misunderstanding he thought he was fufilling the will of Sanctuary. For that reason I’ll give him a little credit as he was at least trying to protect Athena in his own way. It just didn’t work out the way that he thought it would. His abilities are definitely pretty good. I wouldn’t say he stands out as much as some of the other characters but he’s a well developed character all the same. Then we have Shura who has some of the most impressive scenes in the series. He can strike with his fast energy blows in the blink of an eye. Most of the characters can’t even keep up with him and even Shiryu’s defense couldn’t hold his power. Shura was very impressive throughout the series and is one of the best members of Sanctuary. He’s at least one Knight who acted quite heroically in the end.

Next up is Camus He’s an ice user and has some history with Hyoga’s mentor so this naturally ends up making them rivals. Camus is a pretty interesting member. He seems to be one of the most senior Saint members so he doesn’t blindly take orders like some of the others. He even voluntarily leaves his temple to seek out a fight which was pretty neat. I liked him, Camus may not have been one of the most reasonable guys and his methods are rather drastic but he’s a solid fighter and at least his motivations did make a lot of sense.

Finally we have Aphrodite, but this guy wasn’t particularly noteworthy. His fighting abilities are good and the rose based abilities are neat but compared to the rest he felt tacked on to an extent. I don’t believe he ever gets a big role after this. I’ll take him over Aries any day though. At least this guy stays by his temple and actually contributes to the plot instead of waiting for it to come to him. I should also mention that Dohko appears but that guy annoys me as well. He basically hides from the fight and chooses to pretend to be an old man so that he does not need to get mixed up in any of the action. Not exactly the heroic nature you would expect from a Saint now is it?

It was always going to be tough to follow up such a masterful arc but the Asgard arc would try its best. In the remote land of Asgard, Queen Hilda has been corrupted by an evil influence. She summons her God Warriors to prepare for a war on the human world and even attacks Sanctuary. This forces the hand of Athena and the Knights who show up to stop them. Athena can hold back the ice and water for a while but not forever. The Saints must now defeat all of the God Warriors and take down Hilda before Athena perishes. This will be difficult as each of the God Warriors are as powerful as a Golden Saint! The Bronze Knights will have to once again surpass their limits and claim victory.

One nice thing about this arc is that as an original one it could deviate from the usual Saint Seiya script a bit. As a result we actually got some group fights and even Athena got to very briefly show what she could do offensively. The God Warriors were also introduced well so you could see why they were a threat. The only thing holding it back is that this arc introduced some animal violence which the other arcs had been good about. One sob story involves some bears and of course Fenrir uses a lot of wolves at his disposal. What’s even the point of using wolves against a Saint of Athena anyway? I think everyone knew that Shiryu would take them out yet Fenrir acts surprised and even gets super upset with Shiryu for doing that. He only has himself to blame for making such a poor decision in the heat of battle.

Hilda is one of the big players here and she works well as a foil to Athena. Effectively she is an evil version of the goddess and she actually fights from time to time which is pretty neat. She’s a lot more interesting than her sister Freya who doesn’t really fight and just pleads with Hilda to stop the madness all the time. I think it’s safe to say that there was never such an option once Hilda had been corrupted. I would have liked to have seen Freya fight a bit.

Siegfried is effectively the leader of the God Warriors and he is naturally the strongest member. His fight at the end against all of the Saints is definitely a blast. In particular he has a really good fight with Ikki before Seiya eventually steps in to have his tur at back. Siegfried definitely made a few wrong calls near the end of the arc that had me shaking my head but otherwise I did like the guy. His final scenes are also on point as he contributes and takes on one of the future villains. I should mention that the ending of this arc directly connects to the Poseidon arc which I thought was a really cool twist. It was like a sneak preview of what was to come.

Hagen is the lava warrior. He’s a good friend of Freya but I have to say that he was completely unreasonable the whole time. He was given so many chances to stop and keep his life but he just kept on going. It makes it a little harder to feel bad for this guy. I did like him in the flashbacks though. In the present he just wasn’t smart. Meanwhile Thor’s more of a fun fighter. All of the God Warriors have tragic pasts to an extent but Thor’s really just here to fight and take the Saints down. His battle with Seiya is a lot of fun and man, Thor’s huge! Probably the biggest fighter in the series, taking him down wasn’t easy.

Alberich may not have been the strongest member of the God Warriors but he got the most done. If he had any real backup then that would have been game over for the team. What I like about this guy is how cunning he was. He’s got a lot of big ideas even outside of working for Hilda. He takes down almost all of the Saints back to back which is absolutely crazy. It’s really just lucky that he didn’t finish them all. He has a lot of cool abilities and absolute confidence. I would definitely say he’s my favorite villain of this arc and it was sad to see him go.

Meanwhile Fenrir is the worst member. I already spoke about the wolves so I’ll keep this brief. He just failed as a pet owner here and didn’t even realize that it was his fault and started blaming Shiryu instead. You can’t do that, he needed to at least own up to his mistakes and that would have gone a long way. He brought the worst fight of the series in so I could have done without this guy. Even for Saint Seiya standards the fight was one sided too. Am I really supposed to believe that Shiryu could get up after the injuries he sustained? The guy was getting beaten up, bit, and stabbed for whole episodes and then managed to get up. I dunno about that one, but it’s a great durability feat for Shiryu that’s for sure.

Then we have Syd and Bud who are effectively two sides of the same coin. I liked the dynamic here as it was sort of like Gemini Saga only they weren’t quite as aware of each other as Saga was at all times. It also explains why Taurus lost so easily or at least partially. I still don’t see Taurus going down like that. As a Golden Knight of Athena you have to be able to take a few hits and keep on going. They did give us some of the better episodes with the battles involving Ikki and Andromeda though.

Finally we have Mime who had a pretty emotional fight with Ikki. There were quite a few plot twists in that battle to be sure as Ikki kept showing the guy more of his own past in a way to force him to see the truth. I should mention that Ikki’s ability to mess with a person’s mind is pretty impressive. Mime’s a solid villain either way though. I wouldn’t say he’s one of the absolute best but he did well in his appearances.

So the Asgard arc had a lot of great moments. It easily would have passed the Poseidon arc if not for the various animal backstories. I liked that we got more freestyle fights here and I also thought the initial attack as the Asgardians approached Sanctuary was cool. This arc did feel like it was stepping up the intensity at all times and the villains were developed very well. It’s just a solid arc through and through.

Finally we end with the Poseidon arc. While attending a fancy party, Athena is approached by a man of great renown. He is the reincarnated vessel of Poseidon and he has decided to flood the entire planet. Athena pleads with him to stop but he will only do so if she marries him. Athena refuses and offers her one chance to slow the flooding down. To do this, Athena will go inside of a locked chamber where the water will drown her. This will keep the Earth from flooding for as long as she lives. The Bronze Knights will have to defeat all of Atlantis’s powerful Generals in order to break the pillars down and rescue Athena. The issue is that the generals are around Gold Saint level in power. Can the Bronze Knights surpass their limits one last time in order to save her?

Poseidon’s cronies all have a whole lot of confidence and I suppose it’s easy to see why. They are very powerful and did manipulate Asgard into getting destroyed with ease. With Sanctuary weakened as well this is the perfect time to strike. The arc also gave us one of the better Saint Seiya bonding moments as Ikki explained to Hyoga that they’re never allowed to give up while they fight for Athena. The other characters thought it was harsh at the time but Hyoga explained that Ikki was right. It also gave Ikki some time to shine as he went straight for Poseidon instead of bothering with the minions. I always liked that guy’s confidence.

Poseidon is the big bad here and he’s probably the weakest leader villain. Mainly that’s because part of his motivation here is just to marry Athena. Not quite the villain mastermind goal you would really want to see from this guy. He can fight decently well thanks to the powers of Poseidon but the human host isn’t super skilled so he really has to rely on the power as a crutch. The arc as a whole is still excellent but I definitely wouldn’t say that Poseidon is a big reason why. Thetis a loyal minion and the first one to really get a role here. She’s around Silver Saint level so this gave the Sanctuary Silver Knight a chance for a real fight. Beyond that Thetis is reasonable but doesn’t stand out a huge amount.

Baian probably has the least amount of character from Poseidon’s warriors but he has a ton of confidence which is all that I need. His punches are insane to the point where he can knock you across an ocean. He’s very simple, no gimmicks and no tricks. Baian just takes you on face to face and I can appreciate that. Io was cool because of his attacks more than because of his character. Each of his attacks is based on a different animal and it can be tough to predict which one he will use next. It was a good fight with Andromeda and the guy was pushed to his absolute limit in trying to counter each move. Without the animal skills though, Io would definitely be out of luck so he needs to work on his fundamentals more.

Krishna was a fun member of Poseidon’s army. His unstoppable spear was an excellent match to Shiryu’s indestructible shield. Their battle was very solid to be sure. At the end of the day Krishna’s not the kind of guy who’s going to back down in a fight like this so naturally it went all the way down the wire. Caca is more of a deceptive villain. His physical abilities aren’t amazing but he can shapeshift which makes it difficult for the heroes to really go all out against him. It makes sense that he wouldn’t fare quite so well with Ikki though. His fights are always a bit sketchy because you do feel like the heroes shouldn’t take it so hard. He does a number on pretty much the whole cast though so while I’m not a big fan of the guy…he definitely gets results.

Isaac was a very interesting figure. I do find it a bit hard to believe that we had someone who was important to Hyoga’s childhood but wasn’t even referenced earlier. This is one time where some advanced foreshadowing would have been good. The guy was excellent in the flashbacks we see of him though. He is put into a very difficult situation in the present but did as well as he could have. If things could have been different then maybe he would have really been a good ally. Then we have Sorrento who is such a major player that he even appeared in the Asgard arc earlier as a preview. His playing on the flute makes him a tough enemy to deal with to be sure. I’m not really sold on the guy though. He’s decently good but I wouldn’t call him a standout character either.

When Kanon appears he definitely changes everything quite a bit. He’s certainly got big ambitions and it was really nostalgic in a sense seeing him since he’s so similar to Saga. At the end of the day I prefer Gemini Saga but both of these guys are really close and also evenly matched so you can imagine some pretty good battles behind them. He feels like he wasn’t 100% needed in the arc but he adds an extra level of drama to be sure. He’s a wild card that nobody can trust so that’s always interesting to see.

So as mentioned earlier and you can probably tell from the plot descriptions, most of the arcs have that same format. Athena is always at death’s door and the only way to save her is to defeat a specified number of enemies within a restricted time. The Hades arc would actually change this up quite a bit but that’s really the plot for every other arc of Saint Seiya. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the classic Justice League stories from around half a century ago or older where each story would be divided into 4-5 parts and they would all follow the same format with new villains. I suppose repetition may have been encouraged back in the day to show consistency or something. It’s purely conjecture as I don’t know.

Regardless, I’m fine with the arcs having the same format because at the end of the day it’s the execution that is truly important. Each arc is handled really well and the fights are always excellent. Saint Seiya is a series where the action and characters are super important. So long as those areas continue to be strong then the show succeeds. There’s always a great sense of heroism and self sacrifice among the knights. They’re heroes through and through and it makes each fight compelling.

I do have big issues with the Gold Saints at large though. In the first arc I guess I can accept the fact that most of them were following the Pope over Athena since they figured he was telling the truth. Well, not all of them can use that excuse since some knew better and didn’t act. There is 0 reason not to jump in during both the Asgard and Poseidon arcs though. They stand idly by while Athena and co. are in danger. Their entire job is to protect Athena. That’s the number 1 priority even over Sanctuary and yet they never actually act. I’ll give Aiolia some credit for at least assisting by sending his armor in the Poseidon arc but the rest of the characters should have done something. I’ll never be able to come to terms with the fact that the Gold Saints just leave Athena to her own devices each time. Perhaps some of them still hold a grudge against her for the events of Arc 1.

The animation is also very solid. It’s got that classic look and feel to the old days of Shounen. You really feel each and every blow. The heroes are put through the wringer time and time again. I dare say that few main characters have endured the same level of abuse and punishment as the Bronze Saints. Every arc ends up having them beaten to an inch of their lives repeatedly with each battle. In particular Dragon Shiryu takes the brunt of this. His fights tend to rage on for a long time with him taking every bit of punishment possible. At the end of the day though the Saints always get back up and it’s pretty inspiring.

The soundtrack is also good although I wouldn’t call it stellar or anything. The soundtrack as a whole seems a little limited considering how long the show is. That said, the main battle theme is sound though and I never had a problem with the music while watching the show. The songs match the scene in question really well so they did a good job of making sure that things were pairing up nicely.

Overall, Saint Seiya is a timeless classic. It’s aged really well and I expect that this will still be true 20 years from now. This anime doesn’t adapt the Hades saga but it covers the rest of the manga and is a great starting point for fans. The franchise has definitely expanded quite a bit since these original days and I look forward to seeing how the sequels fare someday. The show can be pretty intense so you may be surprised when starting it how badly the heroes get beaten but it’s all in a combat context and never gets too crazy. I’d say that anyone who enjoys a good action anime will definitely like the series. It’s just a blast. Between the strong writing and solid pacing, you’re bound to love the series.

Overall 8/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Review


This is a show that you must have seen somewhere over the years. It’s pretty popular and there was always advertising for it. The idea of being transformed into a Slime when entering a fantasy world is pretty interesting. I would argue that the show cheats on the premise later on by including a human form but…..it’s good because honestly the human form is way better. I’ll talk about that more in a minute. The show has its ups and downs for sure, but I would say this is a pretty good season 1 to the show. It develops the cast and gets us some good action scenes. I see a pretty bright future for the title as long as it doesn’t get too cheeky with fanservice. If it keeps going at its present rate I’d say the pros will continue to outweigh the cons.

The show starts with an average guy getting ready for another average day at work. He’s content with his life but at the same time everything just feels so ordinary. Is this really all that there is to life? One day though he gets stabbed and ends up dying. He is then reawakened as a slime with a ton of excellent abilities. He is effectively impervious to damage and most elements while also keeping a good amount of strength and speed. Most importantly, he now has the ability to absorb other creatures and gain their abilities. That’s a pretty good deal eh? Before long he ends up helping out a village and quickly becomes the chief. He is now the head of the Rimiru Tempest alliance. His human name was something else but as a slime he will be known as Rimiru. Together with the villagers he will make the world a better place and fighting is only done as a last resort.

That’s a super loose premise but it’s in part because the series has several little arcs going on. For the most part Rimiru hands out in the village with the goblins, orcs, trolls, and other magical allies that are around him. Each arc typically expands his life of allies as well as his territory as more people join the alliance. Rimiru’s abilities are so vast that it makes sense to join him because if you don’t then you’re probably going to get crushed. The show has a pretty fun atmosphere about it. The fantasy world is well created and it’s vast enough where you can already see how countless stories can be placed in this world. You’ve got the demon lords, human kingdoms, and a bunch of other elements that season 2 will probably follow up on.

There’s a dragon named Veldora who appears in the first episode and hasn’t really had a chance to pop up since then. Rimiru absorbed him so you get the feeling that he should be able to spit the guy back out as his abilities improved but maybe Rimiru just hasn’t thought of it yet? I’d assume there’s a better reason than that of course but having Veldora has helped Rimuru out in quite a few battles thanks to the flame immunity so that part’s already been paying off quite nicely.

The first arc I’d say is basically the origin stories with Rimiru taking down some Direwolves and helping out a bunch of Dwarves when they are given impossible orders. This leads to both factions joining up with Rimiru and starting the basis for the village. The Direwolves part was a bit of a rough start to the show as I would consider it to be the weakest story. There is quite a bit of animal violence there as Rimiru takes the wolves down. He doesn’t destroy all of them at least. Meanwhile the leader becomes a supporting character.

Ranga is a powerful Direwolf whose abilities are fairly relevant even by the end of season 1. The ability to hide in shadows and cast powerful bolts of lightning definitely can’t be underestimated. He’s quite loyal to Rimiru at all times and is just someone you can count on. Most of the Dwarves aren’t all that notable but Kaijin is definitely the main one. He has some ties to the main human kingdom so I imagine that will keep him important for some time. The fact that he is able to craft materials really well and build just about anything is also handy. The guy’s just very versatile and a reasonable character.

I suppose now’s a good time to talk about Rimiru. Well, he’s not exactly the most heroic guy out there. He definitely gets distracted quite easily by the heroines around him and I don’t always think he’s reasonable with how hard he tries to keep his army from fighting anyone. If the humans start something you should absolutely take them down in self defense. Rimuru’s definitely not as bad as Haruyuki with his questionable moments but he doesn’t hold a candle to the cooler light novel leads like Kirito, Orphen, or Lina. I wouldn’t say I ever became a big fan of the guy, he’s just decent at best.

In his slime form is definitely seems very powerful but I guess there’s less ways to use his magic. Once he gets a human form then that’s no longer a problem. As mentioned though, I do feel like this cheats on the premise a bit. The idea was that it would be a slime as the lead because the whole thing is so crazy that you’d have to see it to believe it. How could a Slime function as a main character indefinitely? The tough part of the premise is that a lot of people wouldn’t really find the design all that interesting and so the show would have to be really creative to keep him at the head. I feel like even the writer realized this was only going to work for so long and then introduced the human form.

I do think the human form is an improvement over the slime one so I’m definitely okay with it. The fight scenes are better with it naturally and while the Slime’s abilities are technically the same I do feel as though Rimuru is more skilled when using the human mode. Perhaps that is placebo but it appears to be the case right now. Rimiru is also one of the most powerful characters in this world due to all of the abilities he’s accumulated. He can copy and distribute wealth at will and even grants many different monsters a name which causes an instant level up. That was a pretty interesting idea and shows that names have a whole lot of power in this world.

The most effective tool at Rimiru’s disposal is the Predator ability. It allows him to eat/absorb any opponent and get their abilities. So far there has been nothing able to surpass it so we’ll see if that rings true long term. At the very least if Rimiru keeps absorbing a lot of characters during the series his power should continue to grow. We do know that there are opponents who can best him though like the demon lords. Right now their fighting abilities are on a different level so Rimiru wouldn’t even have time to use his absorption. That seems to be the only way to stop him so far.

The next arc introduces us to Shizu. She is a legendary fighter who looks like the hero of legend. She was transported to this world from Earth like Rimiru and fights as a solitary warrior. She always has to be careful because the fire spirit is within her ready to take control at any moment. She’s a very solid character to be sure. She may not have gotten to appear for very long but her role was quite solid. She did a good job of holding back the spirit as long as she could.

Her fighting techniques were definitely on point as well and the mask was cool. It would have been nice if Shizu could have appeared a little longer but there’s always the flashback option for that. I’m a little surprised her human friends took the way Shizu went out as calmly as they did but I suppose they understood what had happened. Rimiru took the loss especially hard despite not knowing her for very long. As the first major action arc in the saga this one definitely went over very well. The show was able to handle the serious tone here and Ifrit made for a tough opponent to deal with. This also introduces some elements like the first demon lord that will come into play soon.

Next up is probably the biggest arc of the series which introduces the Orcs. A mysterious mage has appeared and transformed the leader of the Orcs so that he becomes a huge monster. The rest of the Orcs have also been upgraded so they are effectively undead monsters who grow ever stronger by eating their foes. This unnatural army has been gaining ground and troops as they go through the land. It’s finally become a problem even for the alliance so Rimiru decides to step in after making an alliance with a nearby Orc village. This gives us a few new allies such as Benimaru, Shuna, and Shion. The Orcs are really outmatched but with Rimiru here to help they should be fine.

A wild card though is that the Lizard tribe is under attack as well and their troops may not be quite as thrilled about a partnership. Rimiru makes them an offer though and whether they accept or not could have a big impact on how things play out. Rimiru’s always trying for a peaceful alternative so it’s not like he would force the Lizards to join the team. If they refuse then Rimiru would leave them on their own but of course they stand no chance of beating the Orc army on their own. Whether they admit that or not.

Lets quickly talk about the characters from the Orcs, Ogres, Lizards, and even the Goblins since I haven’t mentioned them yet. Rigurd was the chief of the goblins and ends up being Rimiru’s most devoted follower. He’s a nice guy who means well. The guy may be a comic relief character most of the time but he’s well meaning and always tries to help out. He may not be a great fighter but he gets the job done. Gobta is a much younger Goblin but one who can actually fight fairly well for his age. He gets some solid swordplay moments during the series although I would still not trust him to be out there in a serious fight. I don’t think he has quite enough battle experience yet.

Then you have the Ogres who are easily some of the stronger fighters after Rimiru. Benimaru is the main one and along with his fellow warriors wants to avenge his village. He is able to form large explosions with his magic. The range on those things is absolutely crazy so the characters definitely need to keep their distance when fighting him. I like the guy, he has a lot of spunk and personality. He’s also a solid tactician and has contributed a whole lot. Then you have Shion who is also a very determined fighter who gets violent very quick. If anyone badmouths Rimiru then she steps in. Shion’s also one of the more heroic fighters as she is quick to volunteer the alliance’s help to stop villains when a threat is approaching. At times Rimiru isn’t even ready to declare such a thing but naturally at that point he has no real way out of this.

Shuna doesn’t get quite as much to do as the other to. After her transformation we have yet to see her really get to fight along with the others. Her abilities seem to be based on poisons and such but hopefully she has an offensive ability along with that as well. She’s a nice character though and also someone you can count on at the end of the day. Then there’s Soei and in terms of ability I have to say that I find him to be the most impressive fighter. His wires are super thin so it’s easy for him to lay a ton of traps. He’s also got great speed as well. The scene where he easily intimidates all of the Lizards was great. Due to his ninja training as well it’s just hard to see many opponents give this guy a real run for his money.

Hakuro is effectively the coach of the group. He’s a lot older than the others but thanks to Rimiru giving him a name the guy can still fight rather well. His speed is really on point and his technique should still be the best among all of the Ogres. While I do think he’s been surpassed by them, I can see how he would be very useful in combat. Abil is the leader of the Lizardmen and he’s definitely a solid guy to have around. He doesn’t let pride get in the way like Gabil. That said, he doesn’t get a whole lot to do in this season because of all the characters ganging up on him. Then you have Gabil and I appreciate his confidence but his unwillingness to work with the heroes leads to a whole slew of issues. To an extent it’s good to want to solve your problems on your own but it does get to a point where he is just getting in the way the whole time.

Geld is one of the big villains of the Orc arc. He ends up getting a ton of power thanks to the spellcaster but it’s not like he ever really wanted this ability. He just got desperate because of how tough the circumstances were for them. I’d say now that he has a proper name he should be set as a solid good guy. He could make for a decent ally although in terms of personality I wouldn’t say he adds much to the dynamic so I’m cool with him just being a supporting character. Gelmud is the spellcaster who put the Orcs into this position and the guy’s not very smart. You’d think that when summoning a monster of near limitless power like this that you wouldn’t antagonize and insult him right? There’s no way that is ever going to end well and naturally he found this out the hard way. It’s hard to feel bad for him because…really? Not a great moment for him.

Gazel is the King of one of the human kingdoms. He hasn’t done a whole lot yet but I could see him having a good role soon. At least right now he gets along with Rimiru fairly well although he is also a bit cautious which makes sense. It’ll be interesting to see how his character goes. Then we get onto the next arc which debuts Milim, one of the Demon Lords. There are quite a few demon lords by the way although most of them haven’t done much yet. Leon’s still causing trouble in the background like how he messed things up for Shizu but he hasn’t really gone to the forefront yet. He is responsible for this next arc though.

So after Milim shows up and joins Rimiru’s team, we then find out that a giant monster has been awoken. His name is Charybdis and it’s a monster of unimaginable power. With a single blow he can do this and that. While Milim could beat him easily enough, Rimiru is pressured into declaring that he’ll handle this without help. Lets just say that it’s not so easy especially due to the size. Even Predator would probably have a tough time here. It’s a fun enough mini arc mainly thanks to Milim being so much fun. She’s really a standout character.

Milim is easily the most powerful fighter we’ve seen so far. She’s able to end most threats in a single punch and has boundless confidence. She is absolutely someone you want to have on your side and the heroes should be lucky that she is so well natured. Milim is like a kid so as long as she has good food and the people are nice to her she’s happy. If anything Rimiru gives her a tougher time than he should because she is always ready to help the others out quite a bit. Without her the alliance wouldn’t be in quite the good spot that it is. I’m sure there will be a moment coming up where she has to choose a side though and that could get tough for the heroes. I like to think she would side with Rimiru but we’ll see. She just puts the rest of the characters to shame so if she’s an enemy then the whole alliance may as well throw in the towel now because they’d be doomed.

Then there’s a mini arc where Rimiru goes to teach Shizu’s students. It’s a fun little adventure and the kids have some fairly promising abilities. If anything you feel bad for them because Rimiru’s just way too powerful so there’s no way they can hope to defeat him in a fair fight. I could see them being fun supporting characters down the road though especially now that they have powered up spirits which should really increase their abilities in the long run. The series is really built around every character powering up so why should the kids be any different right? They fit right in.

Finally we end off with an episode all about Shizu in the past which was nice. She gets to go to a kingdom where everyone is uniting against a common threat. The issue is that there’s a lot of infighting and then it turns out a demon is in their midst as well. We get to have a pretty great fight with Shizu and a demon known as Kuro. Interestingly enough he got the big cliffhanger stinger scene at the end of the season so getting to see him in action here was a little unexpected. It’s like a nice hinting at things to come though. Already I can say he’s one of the best characters in the series. Milim would be my favorite but this guy is a solid number 2. Shizu would be 3rd and the legendary Hero might be 4th but we really don’t know much about her at all yet. Additionally I fully expect her to be evil when she showed up. This episode also shows that Shizu could have held her own series rather well because this last episode is a blast. It makes a case for possibly even being the best episode of the season.

As for negatives, well as mentioned I really only had 2 issues here. The Direwolves in the first few eps. Rimiru definitely could have found a way to defeat them without murdering a bunch of them. Animal violence is always a risk in any fantasy setting because creatures are all around. Fortunately it’s not particularly explicit plus they’re combat animals and the scenes were brief so all in all it wasn’t a total show crusher the way it could have been in other contexts.

Same for the fanservice, it’s around but it’s nothing too crazy. If anything the show tends to dial it down early on so after Rimiru’s initial moments it’s not a huge focus. It just tends to happen here and there. At most for most of the second half you could say that the designs may not be the best but a design in itself I wouldn’t consider to be fanservice the same away as intentional scenes. The show has both but as long as it keeps to this level and doesn’t get crazy I don’t see this holding the show back either. So the Slime franchise looks to be in good hands.

The animation throughout the show is very good. There’s a lot of consistent animation throughout and everything is very smooth. In particular the fire effects always look really nice. It’s definitely got a budget and looks like how a modern show should. The final episode also really stands out for looking excellent. Then there’s the soundtrack which is also very good. There are a handful of different fighting themes that all work out quite well with the action scenes. The themes are very memorable and I definitely listened to them quite a few times after the show ended.

One thing that was interesting though was in the opening we see a cool sword fight between Rimiru and a mysterious sword fighter but it never actually happens. The whole time you’re waiting and in the season 2 promo it appears so I feel like the animators maybe jumped the gun on that a bit. I guess it works as solid foreshadowing though.

Overall, This first season of the slime adventures definitely went over very well. It’s got a pretty solid atmosphere and assortment of fights and humors. I like that it had fun with the classic “Protagonist is overpowered” angle as the first episode is basically the system giving Rimiru a ton of extra powers so that he will be broken in every single way. The A.I. is also fun to follow although I don’t buy into her losing so easily against the Orc. You’d think that with her vast intelligence she would have used Rimiru’s abilities a little more wisely. The animation is solid and the show covered a whole lot of ground in these episodes. It does have some issues keeping it from being a great show but for now very good is a solid starting point. I look forward to seeing if season 2 can top this one. It certainly looks like it’s gonna be very action packed that’s for sure.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard Extra Story -IF- Review


Cardfight Vanguard’s had a very impressive run. Not only did the original series have 4 extremely impressive seasons but when we got another set of installments that took place in the future G verse. After that the series went into reboot mode readapting all of the original arcs but using the manga as a reference this time so there were a lot of changes. That finally leads us to this installment which re-adapts the Legion Mate saga to close things off. This means the next step could be the G remake but whether it’s that or just a completely new adventure I’m sold. Even “If” is a unique adventure in its own right as the plot is so drastically different from the original that it shouldn’t really be called a remake. At this point Cardfight has long since left most franchises in the dust.

The series starts with Kouji as the main character. Following up on his adventures in the last season, he has finally come to terms with his past. He may have deleted a lot of cardfighters but he has put that past him now. Unfortunately his ghosts won’t rest. Suiko shows up one day and tells him to get in the car. He reluctantly does and she explains that the timestream is unraveling. The Tatsunagi family needs him to go inside a book to a parallel universe to set things right. Kouji’s not really on board with this but he isn’t given a choice as the book sucks him in.

In this alternate world Cardfight Vanguard never became a huge thing. Instead there is a dark castle in town that only some can see. Ruling over the castle is Aichi who has somehow become a dark mastermind surrounded by his faithful knights Kourin, Naoki, Shingo, Morikawa, and Miwa. The two heroes who oppose them are Aichi’s sister Emi and her friend Suiko. In this universe they are magical girls who are able to cause their cards to materialize in the real world to fight off Aichi’s minions known as the Jammers. The Jammers want to keep on corrupting the timestream so they go through the past and future as they take control of various characters to force them on an alternate destiny.

Naturally this causes Emi and Shuka to meet up with Kouji and Suiko. They all have the same goals of course but their methods certainly vary. At the end of the day Emi and Shuka really do the hard lifting with the actual duels but since Kouji and Suiko are familiar with how the characters should be acting they are good at spotting the Jammers. The first half of the show is really focused on these day to day adventures as the heroes find a problem and correct it.

The show is quite good at these adventures. It brings in a ton of characters from all of the old arcs which is pretty cool. It really feels like a grand crossover which is neat. Even the very first episode deals with G themes as Kouji has to make sure he gives Chrono a deck. From there things would only get more and more expansive. It’s also a fun way to see what things could have been like had the characters made different decisions in their lives. Some would have become quite successful and rich while others like Shinemon would have just become traumatized by having to make the same foods over and over again. The show isn’t afraid to get pretty out there.

One of the reasons why the show is so much fun though is because of Kouji. He steals every scene he is in. The guy’s been through a lot for sure as he’s been both a hero and villain in the past. You can really understand why at this point he just wants a chance to relax and forget about all of this. Kouji just desperately wants to have a Cardfight with someone but the Jammers always prevent this from happening. It’s a bit of a running gag where Kouji constantly tries to get in a fight but it never actually ends up working out. I’ll give him props for effort though as Kouji tries this a bunch of times.

This season definitely has the most humor out of all the Cardfight shows and it’s all handled so well that I wouldn’t mind them incorporating more of this into the main titles. Kouji is extremely exaggerated in all of his reactions to everything but it works well. He’s also quite talented as during the course of the game we learn that in addition to being a top rate duelist he’s also an expert chef which comes in handy a few times. There’s one episode built around the concept of cooking from the start.

Eru Nakagami gets a big role in that episode which was cool to see. The guy has always wanted magical powers after all so finally getting to flex them on the characters was amazing. He always gets great music to accompany his appearances and knows how to milk the drama. The instant he got involved I knew that things were getting interesting. I would have to put that as one of the better episodes in the season.

It’s just so great to see all of the old characters showing up. Meanwhile Suiko gets a lot of character development here. I suppose it’s about time as Kourin always stole all of the screen time from the main 3 and you could argue that Rekka had a lot of character from the beginning. Suiko is a very by the books character who follows orders so she is never quite as free as the other two. Now’s a chance to see how she adapts on her own. There’s one critical moment where she takes down Kouji with a cheap shot that results in the two of them getting kidnapped so she doesn’t always make the right moves but for the most part she’s a pretty solid character here. It’s easily her best appearance in the series that’s for sure. I’d probably still put Rekka and Kourin ahead of her but this season definitely showed how Suiko should be portrayed.

Then of course you have Emi and Shuka who have big roles here. Shuka is a character with suspicious origins as she hides quite a few secrets for a while. Naturally the show can’t let this one go without some fun moments so there will be times where she looks like a horror character with her eyes glowing. Naturally you get the feeling the show is going for some red herrings here but it works well. I like that the show was really going for all genres. Shuka definitely made some big mistakes here and I would say that she is completely to blame for them. Coming clean from the start would have probably helped out a lot. At the end of the day though I would put her in the good character range here. She always speaks her mind and has more bravery points than Emi and is always there to protect her.

Emi being one of the main characters was definitely a switch from the rest of the series. Usually she is a minor supporting character at best so seeing her take such a prominent role was pretty cool I must admit. I also like the fact that she is wearing Aichi’s original gear too. She is doing all that she can to save Aichi and while Emi does waver in her goals at times, it makes sense. From her perspective Aichi’s never been involved in Cardfight so even though everyone says he is distorted, that isn’t necessarily the case for her version. Of course either way she needs to shut down the castle to stop Aichi from being a super villain though so that’ll need to happen regardless.

Emi’s personality here is pretty similar to the original series although she tends to throw insults around a lot more even if they are in a passive way. It’s a fun addition to her character though so I approve. Between her, Suiko, and Kouji they have a pretty great dynamic. Kouji may talk tough but he’s always ready to defend and help them out when needed. Emi also does get a duel near the end so she was training up her dueling abilities. It’d be neat if she and Shuka would be supporting characters in some future seasons. I guess she wouldn’t have powers anymore but who knows, anything is possible with imagination in this series so maybe she would have them unlocked.

Aichi is quite different from the classic version as well. Usually he is super polite and always willing to go the extra mile to help someone. How did he go from that to being a world conqueror who is fully ready to murder everyone in his way including his friends and sister? Well, we get some background to this via a flashback later on. How believable the transition is will probably vary. It’s interesting because it is totally played off as this still being Aichi. He’s not being mind controlled or anything. If anything he just cracked because he learned a little too much about the future. Takuto should be ashamed at his performance here but the scene was really cool because it felt like such a horror moment.

The animation got rather dark and Aichi even had a super sinister expression on his face. Effectively Aichi turned to the darkness as a form of self sacrifice to an extent to help someone out. He goes as far as to say the person he is helping has no say in the matter though so it goes back to the old question of “If you’re helping someone out and know that they will be better off, does it matter if they don’t want it?” For example, if you can see the future and know that someone’s going to be in a fatal plane crash the next day. Once peaceful means have failed, would you be able to go as far as to kidnap the person or sabotage the plane prior to taking off so that nobody is hurt? In the present everyone will be upset at you including your friend who would never find out the truth so it’s not like they would know better. In this case Aichi is preventing a possible future from occurring so the more drastically he tries to prevent it, the more likely it is that nobody would ever forgive him.

It’s a pretty interesting dynamic here for sure. That said, I do think Aichi loses his credibility here when he starts actively trying to murder people though. Put it this way, he may prevent the timeline he thought was coming to pass but this one is getting far worse. Effectively the person he was helping escape their future is going to have an awful time here. So Aichi really lose sight of his true goals and completely cracked. For most of the series he was relatively restrained. I would say for at least half of the series he handled things really well as nobody got hurt and he saved lives. He just ended up going too far and started messing up which is common for villains. The morality of reshaping time to make things better is a debate for another day but for now all I’ll say is that I wouldn’t fault Aichi for that. It’s only once he started taking things too far that things went off the rails.

The animation throughout the series is excellent by the way. The character designs are on point and all of the attacks are sharp. I wouldn’t say the real time battles are always quite as high end but I don’t think the show was really focusing on the fights. If they were really top notch that probably would have taken the show to the next level. Still, it was all very consistent. Naturally the writing was also exceptional as well. It’s just very witty and it makes all of the episodes a real blast from start to finish.

Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is naturally excellent. A lot of the classic themes are back from V including Kouji’s excellent Deletor theme. Now that’s always a tune you’re ready to hear as he gets ready to start dealing damage to his opponents. The theme song for the series is also pretty catchy. The real standout would be the ending for the second half of the series though. It’s really fast paced and just makes for a super action packed theme that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It was a good way to note the shift in tone between arcs as the series would change quite a bit.

Speaking of which, now’s a good time to discuss the second half of the series. Things take a very different approach here. The first half was really a comedy most of the time with a lot of crazy scenarios that Kouji and Suiko were put into. Well, Aichi and his Knights have decided to take the offensive in the second half of the series and the first thing they did was eliminate Kouji by throwing him out of the planet. The new main character now is Kai. He finds out that his life isn’t quite correct since his parents are now alive. The sad thing for him is that his life truly is perfect but now he’s going to have to find out what’s going on.

It’s one of those things where if he never found out that things were different then he would be okay but as soon as it became known to him it meant that he had to act. Unlike Kouji, Kai is able to merge with the cards that are summoned so whenever Emi and Shuka fight, Kai is able to directly get into the action as well. Usually he will merge with Blaster Blade who could definitely use the power boost here since he tends to lose a whole lot in the series.

Kai’s definitely a fun main character. I wouldn’t say that he is able to match up to Kouji of course but it’s always great to see him getting a starring role. Kai is definitely one of the best Cardfight characters after all and a top duelist. It’s also fitting that the series gets a lot more serious and emotional once he shows up since that’s Kai’s whole thing. We get a lot of flashbacks during this half as we learn the origins of Shuka, this version of Aichi, Kai, and a lot more.

Kourin is one of the big characters of this half as well. Things never tend to work out very well for her. In the first continuity she was manipulated by Takuto the whole time and had to sacrifice everything to serve him. In this series she was forced to part with her memories and couldn’t get them back again. Despite all of this she is always willing to defend Aichi which is exactly what she is doing now. No matter how far into the darkness he goes, Kourin is quick to follow him. As a result she has mastered her abilities to a higher degree than most.

Kourin can bend reality, time travel on a whim, merge with one of the strongest monsters in the planet, and even mess with someone’s mind. Her abilities don’t seem to have much of a limit which is pretty interesting. Of course in general I wouldn’t say the series puts a lot of thought into the abilities. Even Suiko and Emi seem to be able to do all of that when they want to but rarely do. Everyone here seems to have a lot of fantastic abilities so I guess it’s no wonder that nobody wants to bother with an ordinary Cardfight. Why bother settling everything with cards when you can just blast them out of existence right? It’s always been a meme that this was the case so it was pretty cool to actually see it get acknowledged here.

Kourin gets the short end of the stick every time so I was definitely rooting for her to win or at least get a happier ending this time. The other knights get less of a role but usually at least get a pair of episodes. Naoki for example was a pretty solid opponent. He’s definitely someone who’s always got Aichi’s back at well but once his memories are back he’s not the kind of guy who would keep following orders without questioning them. I did enjoy the twist on what his end game plan was though. It was a pretty interesting one. Meanwhile we have Shingo but that guy is far less interesting. Even this season couldn’t really change that for me. Morikawa loses so quickly you can forget he’s even in the show. Miwa gets a sizable role and looks pretty good. He takes a while to make his move but definitely did more than most so you have to give him some credit there. At least he had his suspicions early on.

Then you have Nome who is effectively Takuto’s replacement for monitoring the universes. I don’t think the guy did a very good job at all. He underestimated the book and at the end he’s ready to just run away instead of solving the issue. He’s certainly no hero which I suppose is pretty clear from the start but I don’t even think he can duel nearly as well as Takuto. For those reasons I would definitely have to give the guy a thumbs down.

Aside from Kouji and Suiko, Ren and Rekka were also sent in to fix the disturbances. There is a twist about this though so lets just say they didn’t do a great job. The heroes should be pretty mad at Ren for sure. At least he was having a lot of fun with his costume as a tribute to Tuxedo Mask though. The show pokes a lot of fun at his character to be sure but he does step in to help when the threat gets really serious. Otherwise he’s content to just troll everyone. Rekka also has a lot of fun with her own gig. She vanishes for large portions of the show though and doesn’t get to help out quite as much as the others.

As for the show’s ending, I suppose it’s pretty satisfying but still not perfect for one character who seemingly can’t win in any timeline. The characters all get their closure though. I do wish that they would all retain their memories of the season though as a little thing I never like is when the characters just forget. I think they should remember and be forced to acknowledge these events forever since it helps make the adventure mean more. Ah well, maybe next time I suppose. I guess with this, this version of the series may be over now. We’ll see what the next timeline brings.

Overall, Vanguard If was definitely an excellent way to celebrate all the characters over the years. It was a very different kind of Cardfight show to the point where it was really like a comedy/parody of the whole thing and it was executed excellently. Kouji was a stellar pick to be the main character here and the show did a really nice job with Emi, Shuka, and Suiko as well. The 4 of them had a great dynamic going which you may not have expected at first. Low key I also thought the show’s decision to have a character narrate each opening was great as well. The dialogue was handled super well along with one of the show’s original themes created for If. That music would make any scene entertaining and mixed in with the fun dialogue it was perfect. Since this show functions more as a spinoff it’s a good launch point if you’re not really into card games and duels so you just want a magical girl show. With all the timelines and flashbacks going on you should be nice and confused and can make this feel like a mystery title. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next show in this series.

Overall 8/10

Beyblade Review


Beyblade has always been one of the biggest anime franchises left that I had not seen yet. In fact I would argue that it was by far the biggest franchise I had not started. Not that honor would probably go to Bakugan, Pretty Cure, or Duel Masters. It’s a lot more debatable now though while Beyblade was unquestionably the top spot. Well, it easily lives up to the hype. This initial season was fantastic and really contains everything you could want in such a title. The cast is incredible and you really feel pumped thanks to the excellent action and soundtrack. It’s easy to see why this one hit it big.

There’s quite a lot going on here but the series opens up by introducing us to Tyson. He’s a kid who really likes the game of Beyblade. One day his life is forever changed when a bully shows up and beats the best player in school. Tyson isn’t about to let that slide so he takes that guy down and realizes he has what it takes to compete in the big tournaments. Tyson gradually meets with other skilled Beybladers like Max, Ray, and Kai. Together they form the Bladebreakers and aim to clam the top spot in the world. They’ll have to win a lot of tournaments along the way if they want to reach that title. It means travelling to far off places such as Russia and England and dueling everyone in their path. Not every match is in an official tournament setting either as the Dark Bladers and evil scientists also want to get in their way.

With 50+ episodes you can tell that there are going to be a whole lot of characters and story adventures to cover here so prepare for a pretty long review. There’s so much to cover that it’s always tough to know where to start but lets go with the technical areas here. The animation is quite excellent as you would expect. You really feel the intensity behind the Beyblade battles. It’s all nice and hand drawn which allows the tops to really have a lot of great movement. For the most part the power levels don’t get too crazy but by the end of the series you have dimensional rifts being opened up by the Beyblade’s power so they still shouldn’t be underestimated.

I also have to give the character designs some major props as well. The characters are extremely built considering that they’re just kids. You certainly would not want to mess with these guys that’s for sure since it looks like they could wreck you in a fist fight as well. It helps to add a sense of danger to the series. For example, there’s one episode where Kai has to infiltrate a facility and tape out a bunch of drones and automatic defenses. Between the serious character design and excellent animation in that episode, it got pretty tense. You always knew the series was not pulling any punches.

As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty large. There are a ton of themes here and they’re all pretty great. Sure, there may be one or two songs that don’t land if you were to really go back and listen to all of them but for the most part they’re all pretty fitting and get you into the moment. One song that really sticks out is Kai’s theme. It’s more of a rap song than the others and seems to be about someone underestimating him. It really works well as his “evil” song during part of Kai’s character arc. It just felt like the beginning of a new era and was a perfect way to launch the climax of the series.

The pre arc of the series is really about Tyson meeting up with his future teammates Max, Kai, and Ray. They all get along pretty quickly aside from Kai who’s always pretty aloof. Interestingly Kai is really the team captain for the first tournament which means that he doesn’t get to actually fight much. That’s the only thing that can be unfortunate as until the final tournament Kai is basically on the bench permanently. He only gets to duel occasionally when someone is injured or in a match outside the ring. Since at that point Kai was the big fighter it would have been nice to have seen him duel a little more. Still, we got a lot of different matches this way which was always a lot of fun.

While all the tournaments are leading up to the World Championship you could say that the others are all part of one grand arc. The heroes get to fight Ray’s old team, then they fight Max’s Mom’s team, and then they fight Kai’s team relating to his past. Each team tends to have something to do with one of the members which makes for a pretty good dynamic there. Each arc consistently gives great moments so there’s never an arc that just feels dull. It sort of goes without saying but the final arc is the best one. We get a lot of great character moments with Kai and the final villains just feel like huge threats. Certainly not the kind of guys you can afford to underestimate. It’s also always a good sign for the show to end on the best arc.

The writing with the show is definitely excellent as well. There are countless great moments and one liners. It’s part of what helps make the character cast so great. If I had any issue with the series it would be that the power levels can be a tad inconsistent. It’s hard to see the White Fang being any kind of threat to the All Starz based on what we’ve seen from them. Their feat of busting a boulder was also good enough where you don’t see how Max was able to compete much in the tournament. At the end of the day though it looks like the energy of the Beyblade depends on the owner’s will power so I suppose a lot of that is really subject to change here.

As you can tell I was quite impressed with this series throughout. It really just kept slamming home runs throughout. Same with the character cast and I suppose now is a good time to launch into those guys. First lets go with the Bladebreakers. As the leader of the group Tyson’s a pretty incredible character. For starters he’s never afraid to jump into battle. When the bully attacks his school Tyson is the first person to jump into action. Similarly whenever any opponent shows up disrespecting Tyson or his friends our lead doesn’t take that lying down. He’s always ready to jump in and put an end to that. His skills are also the real deal. Tyson is extremely confident in his abilities but it is absolutely earned. The fact of the matter is that Tyson is always taking care of his business so why shouldn’t he be confident?

He quickly became the leader of the group and while all of their skills remained fairly equal for a while, by the end Tyson easily surpassed the others in ability. His bond with Dragoon is really strong and helped him unlock a completely new level. Then you’ve got his rival Kai who is the best character in the series. Not only are his skills able to match Tyson’s for a while to the point where he even surpassed Tyson, but Kai is also good at fighting outside of the ring. One of his pretty hype moments was when he infiltrated the villain base as I mentioned earlier. Kai’s definitely more of a loner compared to the others and rarely gets in on the team atmosphere. He does mellow out a bit near the end of course but otherwise he keeps that calm and cool persona throughout.

His Dranzer has to be the coolest Beyblade in the series as well. I also liked the Dark Dranzer form quite a bit. The sheer power level on that thing was insane. Naturally you don’t want to be using an evil Beyblade for long but if Kai had kept that then it’s hard to see him losing to just about anyone. There is a brief moment where Kai turns on the team for power and how much you like the character will likely depend on how you feel about Kai’s heel turn there. I was all for it to be honest. You always want to see the rival turn evil at least once and it was a good excuse to see him take on all of the Bladebreakers.

I would consider Ray to be the third member of the group. In most series you’ve got the big 2 (Main Character and Rival) but then there is usually a third character who is under the top 2 but still considerably stronger to the rest. For example I would say that is Gohan in DBZ, Todoroki in My Hero Academia, Shiryu in Saint Seiya, and T.K. in Digimon. Ray can’t quite defeat Tyson or Kai but he’s still a very intense fighter. He takes a lot more punishment than the others as well as he gets beaten up to the point where his clothes are shredded and his hair comes undone. Nothing is able to take him out of the fight as long as he’s still conscious though. His Drigger is a fitting Bit Beast for Ray as well due to his aggressive fighting style.

I was definitely a pretty big fan of Ray. He’s a lot of fun to watch and you always feel like he has a chance at victory. Then you’ve got Max. From the Bladebreakers who can fight he’s easily my least favorite member although I wouldn’t call him bad. He doesn’t take things as seriously as the first 3 and isn’t really one of the stronger members. That being said, he does get a significant power up near the end which boosts his Beyblade’s defense to an extremely high level. You could make a very strong case that at the very end of the series he actually surpassed Kai and Ray. Not that this is likely to stick for the second season but at least the writers threw him a bone. He gets a big role in the tournament against the American team since his Mom is their captain. It made for a lot of drama that’s for sure even if Max usually ended up getting psyched out in the end.

Then we have Kenny who is more of a coach than an actual fighter. He mostly consults with Dizzi before and after every match as he gives tips to the team. I wasn’t a fan of Kenny. Part of the issue is that since he can’t actually play, it’s hard to really buy into him giving the characters such critiques. He wouldn’t really know how to improve their game if not for Dizzi giving him the play by plays. At least in the Dub version. Kenny also tends to complain an awful lot and doesn’t have fun like the other characters. he would have to easily be the weakest main character and one of the lest interesting ones in the whole show.

Time to talk about the White Tigers. They certainly made for a good threat early on. The leader is Lee and he’s pretty upset with Ray for leaving which you can understand to an extent. It sounds like Ray could have explained things better. Of course once you’re in the ring then there’s no chance for mercy. He was a good villain although it was hard to buy him being able to match the American representatives later on. He must have gotten a lot stronger to compete with them at that point. Mariah gets the biggest role aside from Lee and is also one of the most impressive ones. I still remember how she shattered a boulder with a single swing from her Blade. From the whole show that’s still one of the best feats. It’s why it was hard to buy into her not doing so well in the actual tournament but I could definitely see her getting some good wins later on. She’s a fun Blader and one who is easy to root for. It’s clear that she has honed her skills to a great extent.

The other two members Kevin and Gary don’t get to do nearly as much. Both of them seem to be a lot weaker than the main two members. Gary’s your classic power type fighter while Kevin is more about sneaking around an opponent. The fact that Kevin tried to take down his opponents with trickery outside the ring tells you all you need to know about his skills. He was benched from the team for good reason. Not to say he’s awful or anything but he can’t keep up with the other two.

Then we have the All Stars led by Michael. This team was definitely a lot of fun, I’m always up for seeing an American based team appear and make some noise. Michael was also a solid power hitter even if he didn’t get to duel until pretty deep into the arc. I’d say he’s definitely the strongest member of the team even if they sometimes hint that Emily can keep up with him as well. He has a lot of confidence and is a pretty tough blader. While he is no exception among all the side characters who get surpassed by the end he has a solid road to that point.

Emily is the next strongest member of the group and she’s pretty solid as well. She’s more about analytics than high energy and just pushing her way to the top. That said, it’s an effective tactic which seems to work out pretty well for her. She certainly enjoys messing with Max. Then there’s Steven, the Football member of the group. I like his direct, no nonsense style of blading. He goes all in on trying to take these guys down for the count. Steven definitely had a lot of great moments here. Then you’ve got Eddy who is good friends with Steven. Both of them seem to be pretty equal in strength and both have a lot of confidence. Again, you can see why the All Starz are such a great team. Pretty much all of their members are on point.

Judy is the coach of the team and as Max’s mom she gets a pretty big role here. Naturally she is a bit torn on who to root for and at times it seems like she is rooting for the Bladebreakers. It was good to have a parent who is actually here and contributing to the story though. Tyson’s Dad could learn a thing or two. Even Kai’s grandfather to be honest. The guy seems to be a villain with some big plans but he really has almost 0 impact in the series. You could blink and miss the guy’s scenes to be honest. Boris has a much bigger role as a villain. Now that’s a guy who makes his presence in the series felt and has a lot of pretty good master plans. You don’t want to mess with this guy.

We can’t forget Tyson’s grandfather Ryu. This guy’s pretty fun. He definitely loves being the center of attention and at the same time doesn’t care if people think he looks kind of crazy. He’s just determined to have a good time. Ryu can’t fight in the world of Beyblades but he does teach Tyson how to fight hand to hand which is still very helpful. Nobody will get the best of Tyson in the real world. As for Mr. Dickenson, he’s good for scheduling fights but doesn’t really come through when it counts. I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of the guy although I do like how occasionally he’ll launch a secret plan. It shows that he is at least fairly cunning.

There’s one group known as the Dark Bladers who to me seem like the most pointless characters in the show. No offense to these guys of course, but in their very first big appearances in the “New World” they all get wrecked by the European champs. There’s no point where you can take them seriously for the rest of the show. None of the characters were all that interesting either. It’s a cool name too so it kind of feels wasted on these guys. They’re like B leaguers thinking that they can actually take on the real characters and naturally that does not go over well.

If anything the big villain team led by Tala should have been called the Dark Bladers. Tala was a great villain. He didn’t get to do a whole lot at times but he has a terrific character design and is definitely a real threat which is what you want to see here. He can definitely hold his own with the other characters even if you feel like he wouldn’t stand a chance at all against Kai and Dark Dranzer. His only chance was with Kai in his normal form. Tala really took away the character chances from his teammates though. For example Spencer seems like a pretty tough guy. In fact his water battle was really good and solidified him as a true threat. He never got to duel again after that though so it was a very brief appearance. Same for Bryan. He’s clearly hooked on fighting and is like a battle machine. A lot of potential there but he never really got to take advantage of it.

Finally we have the European fighters. Oliver is pretty interesting since he seems very two faced. He acts nice to the Bladebreakers most of the time and then suddenly he’ll be insulting them behind their backs. As a result I definitely got to give this guy a thumbs down. The fact that the team did not participate in the tournaments because they were unable to work as a team was also pretty interesting. He is a good fighter though. Then you have Enrique who fights in a Colosseum which is a pretty nice power move. How many people can say they’ve done that in the past right? He’s definitely more of a flirt than the others but he hasn’t let his skills waiver so he clearly still practices. I’m not a big fan but he’s okay.

The other two players are a lot better. Johnny is a pretty tough fighter and he is always ready to rock and roll. From the 4 characters he probably gets the smallest role but he’s always a lot of fun. His skills are the real deal and he’s probably the strongest on the team aside from Robert. Robert is the best of the 4 of course. He’s very emotionless so it can be a bit jarring when he tries to be one of the gang and have some fun at the end. In general the European group is pretty interesting because they are all supposed to be top tier fighters but they spend a lot of their time getting wrecked or dodging the big fights so it’s hard to take them seriously.

The show did a great job of having the power levels slowly go up though. Tyson started out as a local fighter who wasn’t really ready to take on any of the bigger members to being a world champion class fighter by the end. At the end Tyson was taking on multiple fighters at once with no real effort which is impressive. Of course the power scaling means that nobody should ever be able to keep up with him again but I suppose with new technology that helps even things out as the excuse can be that new Beyblades have been created which just have better specs.

Overall, Beyblade is just a great series. You can easily get into it and just watch at any time. It’s got the right balance of action and solid character moments. There are a ton of duels here and the replay value is quite high as a result. These episodes really hold up to a rewatch and have a lot of replay value. I look forward to seeing if season 2 can match this one. After all here we got all of the hype initial meetings but of course sequels are always pretty nostalgic when you get to see all the characters return. Either way this is definitely a must watch anime.

Overall 8/10

Lostorage conflated WIXOSS Review


Time to take a look at the final Wixoss season. Well, the franchise isn’t over but this was the latest season at the time at least so that was a big deal. It also serves as a big crossover event bringing the characters from the first two seasons together to meet the ones from the third. It’s pretty balanced because the first cast had more episodes to work with but this whole thing is a lot fresher to the cast of season 3. Additionally the main character this time around is Kiyoi who is the only character to really have ties to all three seasons. She’s a very appropriate pick for that reason. This is definitely my favorite season. I do feel like a little more could have been done with the crossover concept here but it’s a solid adventure.

The season starts with Kiyoi asking Suzuko to help her out. She needs powerful fighters at her side in order to stop the next round of Selector battles. Satomi may have been defeated but all that means is that Carnival now controls his body and is using it for her own ends. Her goals are just as twisted as his ever were. Unfortunately Suzuko is not eager to join the battles again and decides not to help. Desperate Kiyoi also approaches Ruko for help but…Ruko says no as well. It looks like the adventures took an extremely heavy toll on both of the previous leads so Kiyoi will have to deal with this on her own. That’s not a promising prospect.

This is true for several reasons. The main one being that the heroes are all divided right now while the villains have united stronger than ever. You’ve got Akira, Carnival, and an extremely powerful new villain named Layla. Additionally there are other fighters here and even another cosmic being. If the heroines don’t get their act together soon then it’ll be too late. The rules are different yet again. This time there is no end to the battles until there is only one girl left standing. In addition to your LRig you can also summon another one, even having as many as 3 in one battle. The LRigs from season 3 still have their unique special abilities which puts them at an advantage over most of the original cast. Although, super LRigs like Tama can still activate their Rank 6 stage to balance things out.

Another new thing here is if you lose one battle then you lose your LRig immediately. The winner captures the LRig and can use it in future fights. You don’t have the luxury of being able to ask for a rematch or anything like that. It’s a pretty interesting approach although the rules aren’t explained too well. For example Carnival can summon 3 but when Kiyoi tries one of hers gets blown up. I believe the reason is that Carnival’s ability is that she can disregard the rules..but that’s a bit suspect at best. In general my favorite style of play would be the original way but I do like how they are always innovating.

It’s part of why I really enjoyed the Ruko vs Suzuko battle even if the ending was not as bold as it could have been. Ruko fights using the skills and tactics from the opening seasons while Suzuko uses her fancy game altering abilities and tag team LRig style. It may almost seem unfair but it’s how they play the game so it makes sense that a match would go that way. It’s like seeing someone from Yugioh 5Ds fight someone from Yugioh Arc V. The rules are so different by that point but it’s why a fight would be a lot of fun. Ruko’s LRig is far more powerful than Suzuko’s two so then she needs the special abilities in order to balance things out. It just makes for a great back and forth with a lot of tension as they both acknowledge the other’s strengths. Replace the ending of the fight with something more satisfying and this would be the best fight of the franchise.

One thing this season does really well is the slow build up to the eventual meeting. Now, with the season being fairly short this is a risky gambit. I think it would have really benefited from having 24 episodes personally. Of course Wixoss has never had a long season like that but it would have been really good. We would have really fleshed out more of the battles and gotten everyone involved. Still, it’s a great strategy. The tension for the fight starts building early and then they finally fight in episode 10. When you consider that there are only 12 episodes you can see how the build up was done so well. You may already get this from how this review is going but I also just love crossovers. You can milk the hype for the battles as long as you want because once it does happen I’m definitely going to be thrilled to see them return.

Even just little things like seeing the old cast hanging out is pretty nostalgic. It’s great to see Tama as a human since it took so long to get her to that point. The ordeal certainly put the characters through the ringer. Tama’s also such a nice character that you’re glad she got a happy ending. She’s easily one of the most heroic characters and is probably the only one to not hesitate when hearing that her friends were in trouble. Hitoe and Yuzuki could learn a thing or two from that. Seriously, I can’t state enough how annoying they are with all the bad advice to Ruko. Ruko’s the strongest fighter there so why not let her get involved with the battles? At least let her know what’s going on. The constant lying to her is always a pretty bad idea and just makes the situation that much worse.

As a quick tangent, this is also why the opening theme song is so good for this season. I’m not sure if I’m going to say that it is the best theme song out of the 4 but it certainly has the best intro. It’s a very ominous opening beat and it helped that most of the episodes would begin with an ominous note as the theme song starts. The soundtrack as a whole is pretty solid as always and the graphics are up to the task as well. The series has always managed to keep itself operating at a consistent level. In particular Tama’s fight against Layla was excellent, in part because we had been waiting so long to see her cut loose. Both of them are savage hand to hand fighters who don’t have to rely on energy blasts or special abilities. It’s part of why their fights can cut loose with the choreography. It doesn’t hurt that they are also two of the strongest characters in the series so naturally neither one of them is just going to go down without a good amount of back and forth.

So the build up is good and the season really takes its time. As effective as it is, I do feel like the season maybe bit off more than it could chew with the concept. It’s a grand tournament with all of the characters involved but several of the fights have to get cut short as they resolve off screen. Even big characters like Yuzuki only get 1 real duel before being taken out. I mean…in some ways that’s probably a good thing to be honest. At the same time, she should easily be one of the strongest fighters since she is an LRig herself but you definitely wouldn’t know that from how she performs in this show. Then you’ve got brand new villains like Layla walking around with a lot of hype but there isn’t a ton of time for it.

Due to this you can’t say that the season drags on at all though. There’s always something happening. It’ll always be hard to beat the first viewing of the season but this should hold up really well on a re-watch as well. It’s like a Secret Wars event as you have all of the villains going up against the heroes. At the end of the day that’s why it’s easy to see why this is my favorite season. It’s nice to just get everyone on the same page and have a ton of battles.

Kiyoi is a very solid main character. She’s doing her best to take down Carnival and finally end the eternal battles once and for all. If anything you have to give her more credit than a lot of the other characters who are content to sit back until they are literally forced to join in the fights. Kiyoi gets so many twists in her backstory it can be a little hard to keep the timeline straight but clearly she has been through a lot. I was glad she finally got to get some attention here. She certainly does really well in the climax. The climax is basically a free for all with the rules thrown out the window which was a lot of fun to see. The cosmic being may not have had much of an identity but a faceless opponent like that can make for an imposing final boss either way when you think about it.

Of course there are a lot of characters to discuss here so lets talk about them now. One of the big characters who got to return was Akira Aoi who was a big player in the first two seasons. She is back to take names and fortunately she acts a lot more like herself from season 1 before season 2 threw all of her character development into the waste basket. Here Akira is a tough fighter as she is supposed to be. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of time for her but I can’t complain since she gets more duels than most of the characters. She’s just such a great villain that any scene with her is always a lot of fun.

In general the villains have a pretty stacked lineup here. Instead of Satomi we have Carnival as the lead villain and she is a vast improvement. Finally we have a villain who isn’t twisted in some way. Season 3’s Satomi is obvious, The villain from season 2 was also about emotional manipulation with Akira, and then we had Season 1’s main villain who was just messing with people because she could. I still couldn’t buy into that character’s origin story. Carnival just wants to take revenge on the humans which is a very reasonable goal for an LRig. LRigs were either born into misery or forced into it afterwards so they certainly have some very strong feelings towards the characters and for good reason.

Then we have Layla who as I mentioned is a great new addition to the cast. In fact, she may have risen up to be my favorite villain. Of course I love Akira as an imposing threat but as much as I can’t stand what season 2 did to her…it’s technically canon so I have to take that into consideration. Layla has no such events hanging over her head. She’s just an incredibly strong fighter who really wants to take down everyone she fights. She gets quite a few solid wins which was excellent. Her fighting style is bold and impressive as well. There’s really nothing not to like about her character. She was even willing to fight Carnival which was superb. Layla is a character who I wish could have gotten more time. I wanted to see her fight Ruko at her best for more of an extended amount of time.

Chinatsu sort of gets a big role here. So in season 3 she is one of the characters who didn’t get a happy ending. At the end of the day her memories were erased. Suzuko tries to tell Chinatsu not to worry about it but that’s easier said than done. Chinatsu sees this as her way to get her memories back but of course this means that she is no longer a powerhouse in the skills department. The show even teases the possibility of a fight with her and Yuzuki/Hanna vs Yuzuki although they end up not happening. That could have been a lot of fun. Again, this is where extra episodes could have come in handy. In the end she isn’t able to accomplish much on her own but that’s what her friends are here for.

Suzuko naturally didn’t want to enter the battles again but the situation with Chinatsu forces her hand. She does want to get those memories back no matter the cost after all. I would argue this isn’t as selfless a motive as just wanting to save the world like Kiyoi but at least this gets her into the fight. She doesn’t fight much here but is treated with a lot of respect as a Wixoss veteran. At this point in the story she is considered to be the second strongest fighter behind Ruko. She even gets the honor of fighting against Carnival which was nice. I was very satisfied with her fights here.

The same can be said for Ruko although I would have liked to have seen her fight just a bit more. As with Suzuko, Ruko is a veteran to the point where it seems like she doesn’t even fight much anymore. She’s grown too powerful for the game and as always her friends are around to give her the worst possible advice and hide secrets from her. Due to circumstances Ruko is without Tama again for a period of time which is unfortunate since that serves as a big nerf to her. I suppose the writers needed a way to ensure Ruko wouldn’t just clean shop but I do admit that I really wanted to see Ruko and Tama take names. After all, that means even with the fight against Suzuko, Ruko couldn’t use Tama. That’s the fight we all wanted to see after all the build up.

Hanna and Hitoe are examples of big supporting characters who ultimately are forced to stay by the sidelines. There’s just no time for them to do much so they are promptly taken out for the count. Neither fighter was ever that impressive to me so that’s not very surprising. There are a whole lot of other characters running around though as almost every old LRig and Wixoss player were brought back into the fold. It’s just a lot of fun to see these guys back in action. Even characters like Shohei aren’t forgotten as he finally gets some real closure here. Kazuki is given the shaft as he appears for like 5 seconds but that’s definitely for the best.

So this ends up being a very balanced season and a nice way to see all of the characters one last time. The final episode definitely ends things off on a high note. My main complaints would just be the season’s plot being a little too ambitious to the point where it couldn’t totally deliver on what it was hyping up. We should have gotten many more battles with the characters all finally getting to duke it out with each other. I’d also say that Tama seemed to be a little nerfed here by falling in the cage. Fortunately her shadowy partner was around to help out and I’m glad she wasn’t forgotten but they should have been able to bust the cage with ease.

To an extent the new Wixoss rules are there to help mask the short length by having each player eliminated after 1 match. It’s not a bad idea particularly with the LRig being taken each time but I think to make things simpler it should have been that the player is also taken out of the picture. Keeping the human around adds even more variables and potential plots to keep track of. This is the kind of thing that I would consider to be more of a minor issue at best though. It’s not something that would lower the score or anything. I do feel like the score could have definitely gotten higher with more battles and episodes though. Even just having a real ending to the Ruko vs Suzuko battle would have probably added a star. We got a 8-9 episode build up to that fight so I was really counting on a true ending to show who the strongest character of all was once and for all.

Overall, This was a really fun way to end the saga. It may not have all ended up exactly as I would have written it out but I can’t deny that it was a lot of fun. Akira and Layla were great villains while Ruko and Suzuko still make for great heroines. Kiyoi did a good job of taking on the mantle of taking on the mantle of main character as well. At the end of the day that gives you a very balanced show firing on all cylinders. While the Ruko vs Suzuko battle may have gotten the most hype, I would say that Ruko vs Layla was another big hitter and one of the best fights of the season. It probably did have the best animation at the end of the day. Then Layla vs Carnival was great because I always like to see in fighting amongst the villains. It adds a lot of tension and underscores that Layla isn’t some pawn who will just follow orders. She makes sure to have her presence felt the whole time. If you’ve made it this far into the series then you should definitely check this season out. If you haven’t gotten into the series yet then you should at least watch season 3 to really get what’s happening here. Otherwise you’re definitely going in blind and will have to prepare for exposition based on things you don’t know a whole lot about yet.

Overall 8/10

Selector Infected WIXOSS Review


It’s time to look at the first season of Wixoss. Wixoss is one of those series that has a pretty cool concept but limits itself with a particular subplot. Online a lot of times you see people mention how they love anime but have a hard time recommending them to people who are not yet initiated into the format because of a plot or character that can be iffy. I can definitely see what they mean as even the best of titles tend to have some iffy elements that you more or less get used to as you watch them. That said, this one definitely sabotages itself early on but I’ll get more into that in a bit.

The series follows a girl named Ruko who doesn’t really have any friends. As a result her brother and grandma tend to worry about her. One day she is introduced to the game of Wixoss and can even talk to one of her cards. The card is an Lrig named Tama. Ruko then meets up with a girl named Yuzuki who challenges her to a battle. Ruko is winning the battle but it is then interrupted and she is told the full story. Ruko has been chosen as a “Selector” which means that her battles of Wixoss will be different from most. If she wins enough battles then she will have her wish granted. The problem is that Ruko has no wish that she wants to grant. All of the other girls are fighting as if their lives are on the line because their wish is so important. Can Ruko really fight and destroy these wishes with none of her own? At the same time, Ruko has only started to make some friends because of the game so if she stops now then she may lose them all.

Right from the start I imagine you’ll have some doubts on how legit the game is. In magical girl shows like this there is always a catch. Just look at Madoka where you end up turning into a witch at the end. I’ll go into this more later on in a spoiler paragraph that I’ll warn you about before entering. In the meantime lets talk more about the show in general. The rules of Wixoss are never really explained. The show doesn’t bother to lay the groundwork here which is a shame. Scripting out entire battles can be pretty difficult which is why it’s always so impressive when Yugioh does it. This show takes the easy way out as it focuses on just showing us the characters attacking and you have to trust that they’re following the rules. There’s no way to really tell though so that makes things a little easier on the writers.

The animation for the show is definitely pretty solid. The character designs are on point and the energy effects look sharp. When we do get the occasional hand to hand technique combo the animation is quite smooth as well. This isn’t really an action title at its core but it can certainly deliver. The animation is also really sharp whenever a contract is made. I liked the lighting during episode 12 as well which helped solidify that as the best episode. It had a very theatrical feel to it as the end drew near.

As for the soundtrack, it’s a little less memorable but I did like it. It’s not a huge soundtrack or anything but I wouldn’t expect it to be for only 12 episodes. There will be a handful of tunes you will enjoy though. I also liked the opening well enough. Wixoss definitely did well in all of the technical areas as you would expect. It’s basically like Megaman or Angelic Layer with the setting and this is just taking a darker look at the genre. Even then it’s nowhere near as dark as Madoka or something but throughout the show you know things are not going to go well for the heroes.

All right, lets talk about the troublesome plot. Yuzuki is one of the main characters and her wish is for her to be together with her brother Kazuki. Unfortunately along the way she started to like him and not in a family sense. It’s an unfortunate plot here in part because it takes up so much space. This isn’t super uncommon for anime. Usually though it’s played for laughs like in Black Clover or Railgun. It’s a comedy plot that shows up every now and then and you can almost write it off as not actually being serious from the character’s perspective in some anime. I’d say both of those are serious but they’re gag plots in the background that don’t effect much. Wixoss decides to take this plot quite seriously and have them deal with everyone’s reactions and how society considers it taboo. Unfortunately it doesn’t land.

Sword Art Online gets attacked a lot for its similar plot with Suguha and Kirito but that series actually tackled it a lot better. Suguha actually tried to get over Kirito by playing video games but unfortunately the next guy she liked turned out to be Kirito in disguise. So at least she tried to escape. When Kirito found out he very quickly and decisively shut that down. He did it in a nice way of course but did not entertain the notion for an instant. She’s his sister even if that’s not literally the case it’s how he sees her so it wouldn’t work. In this show Kazuki very quickly crumbles after 10 minutes of Yuzuki being direct and it’s all over for him.

The show definitely approaches this in a serious way but it’s not a good idea from the start. That’s because there’s no way you could spin this into a good thing. It just comes across as creepy immediately and gets way more screen time than it should. I was originally hoping Yuzuki’s wish was that they weren’t related so she could then make her move. That would have at least helped but since it wasn’t then this issue was not solved. So this plot is really what would prevent me from being able to recommend this show. It’s just a hard plot to get around and ends up dramatically hurting both of their characters. Kazuki in particular since he folds so easily. You’d think he could have stayed strong for more than a day. Instead he proves to be quite weak willed.

As for Yuzuki, it’s a shame since she was probably the most enjoyable character for a little while there. I like that she has a tougher disposition than the others. When the two characters get held at knifepoint by Akira Yuzuki is pretty quick to push her away. When the bullies are after Ruko Yuzuki is also key to eluding them and helping her evacuate the school. There’s just no way to overlook this plot though which definitely has her take a huge hit in the character department. I do doubt her skills as a Wixoss player though since she was losing to a girl who had never played before and didn’t even know the rules. How does that happen?

Ruko is the main character and she ends up being a strong one by the end. She really just wants to have some friends and is glad to have someone to talk too. She didn’t have the greatest childhood although her situation is a lot better now that she’s with her grandma. Getting involved in a game of life or death to her wishes is a pretty big next step though. While she is fairly undecided for a good portion of the story, she does get herself resolved by the end. I greatly enjoyed her character in the final episodes as she finally got serious. She’s consistently been shown to be the strongest character in the series here and the only thing that holds her back is self doubt. Without that she would be able to crush her opponents with ease.

Tama is one of the main Lrigs and definitely the best one. She’s not manipulative the way the others are. In a way this is because she lost her memories though. Unlike the others she has no idea on what is going on here and just wants a good fight. She loves fighting and as a result is always asking Ruko to participate. It’s definitely good to have an LRig who enjoys the game. It makes things easier on Ruko at least and they make for a good combo. Tama’s card must have great stats as well with how she easily takes care of her opponents.

Then you have Iona who is one of the main antagonists here. She’s rich and one of the most powerful players so she can come across as rather intimidating. She’s not unhinged the way that Akira is but still exudes an aura of great power. She’s not someone that you want to mess with and she’s a very solid character. She’s probably the only person who doesn’t back down to Akira. Aside from her fights with Ruko you never get the feeling that she’s in trouble. It’s why she makes for a great villain and the back and forth with Ruko in the final episode made for a very intense final battle.

Then you have Hanayo who is Yuzuki’s partner. She comes across as one of the wiser Lrigs although because of that you can’t really trust her. After all, the more you know about the game the more that you are keeping from your Selector. Hanayo certainly has plans of her own. The show tries to make her a sympathetic figure but it’s hard to buy into it. She knew exactly what she was doing and the only reason she didn’t say anything is for her own benefit. So no matter how you slice it, she’s not someone that you can trust.

Akira is one of the villains of the series and easily the best character by the end. She is definitely willing to win by any means necessary and is the most savage fighter. What I also liked about her was her quick wit. She can read into the wish of her opponents and always twists it in such a way where the opponent loses confidence. She does this to all 3 of the main characters with great success. In particular it was impressive with how she handled Ruko since you’d think that not having a wish would trip her up but Akira takes it in stride. She can be rather insane and cruel but that’s what makes Akira so good. Her nickname gimmick is fun as well. You won’t find a character tougher than Akira. From this season you can tell that nothing will break her. The fact that she even tried attacking the characters in the real world showed her true resolve.

Chiyori is a character who shows up briefly in the series but doesn’t get much of a role here. She basically serves as a quick opponent to be defeated and someone who still plays the game for fun. By the end of the season she won’t have made much of an impression on you although her outfit is cool. Midoriko is probably the worst of the LRigs in the series. Just a very weak character all around and doesn’t make any of the right decisions. As an LRig you either need to embrace being the villain or try to be a rare hero. Midoriko tries to act sympathetic the entire time but when you’re always saying the plot twists a bit too late, it starts to ring as hollow.

Urith is an example of an LRig who likes being the antagonist. She talks tough throughout the series and definitely isn’t afraid of anyone. She is a very interesting character and definitely one that you like to have around. It helps that she can back up her tough talk. Finally we have Hitoe who is definitely the most timid member of the main group. She’s not really much of a fighter at all and tends to lose just about every battle she’s in. Her backstory is rather tough since she’s never had friends before and wants some but isn’t sure how to go about it. I was glad that her mother appears as a very reasonable character and not one who is making things even tougher on her. Ultimately Hitoe has a solid character arc but she never quite rose up for me. She stayed as a fairly weak character and I’ll need to see her step up to the plate to change that.

These next 2 paragraphs are the spoiler ones so please keep that in mind and skip them if you have not seen the show yet. You don’t want to keep on reading. So it turns out that the cost for losing 3 battles is that your wish becomes distorted and you forget about Wixoss. For example if your wish is to make friends then you can never make friends again. It’s a tough penalty but not one that really sticks. We find out in the series that you can override the negative wish if you have enough willpower. It makes sense though because the wish also has limits. It turns out that the Wixoss cards can’t really use magic to make wishes come true. What happens is if you win enough battles, your Lrig takes over your body and you take its place. It actually makes a lot of sense since it’s pronounced Elrig and the girls are told they will become Eternal Girls when they win. If you spell that backwards it would be GirlE. (Eternal Girl) It turns out that it’s spelled a different way as I found out when writing this review but because of that you may figure out the twist almost immediately.

With few exceptions, the Lrigs have no real powers. So that means if your wish is to take over a Kingdom or something it’s not going to happen. Literally how the pact works is once the LRig takes over your body it has to fulfill the wish you asked for to the best of its abilities. A lot of these wishes are pretty easy like becoming an author or making friends. Some like claiming a romance should be more difficult but the Lrigs tend to have some charm. It does then make sense why they can’t enforce the negative wishes so well either. I do still question how Akira overrode hers so easily though. She didn’t forget the game for an instant and went right back on the attack. I suppose her will is just rock solid. So the whole game feels like a scam the more you think about it but of course the characters don’t know this. It’s an interesting twist since usually the powers are absolute.

The best episode of the series is definitely the last one for me. I was glad that Ruko finally had a strong resolve and fought for it. Her deception to Tama was a pretty big one though. I suppose she figured Tama would never know but in a game where your LRig can read your mind at times that is very risky. I do think Ruko’s decision was a good one but while I understand the lie, she should have been upfront with Tama. It may not have worked but it’s a risk you have to take. The idea of a quick tournament while climbing up the tower made for a solid climax as well. It’s just a great way to end the season and the cliffhanger is intense. You definitely know there will be a season 2 from how it ends but if not that would have been quite the ending for sure.

Overall, Wixoss had a rocky first season. If you take away Yuzuki’s plot then this definitely gets bumped up a pair of stars but ultimately that plot is absolutely crucial to the season in the sense that it appears in almost every episode. It would basically be a different show without it. There are ways the show could have fixed it and had a similar plot instead but the past is the past. With how events unfold in this season the next one will have changed the dynamic a bit. So the show handles most of its aspects rather well but I’d sooner recommend checking out the original Magical Girl show with high stakes known as Madoka Magica. To this day that’s still one of the all stars of anime.

Overall 5/10

Sakura Wars Review


Looks like it’s time to finally review the original Sakura Wars anime. This one has definitely been waiting its turn for quite a while now so it’s time I get right to it. Ultimately I would consider this to be the definitive Sakura Wars experience at the moment from what I’ve seen. While the OVAs may have more energy to them, this is a complete 26 episode anime so it gives us a full plot complete with an array of enemies. You also get a lot of interactions with the cast and natural character development as a result of it. I’d classify this as a slice of life that transitions slowly into more of an action series for the second half. Lets take a deeper look at one of the classic mech franchises!

The show starts off by introducing us to the Flower Division. This is a group of undercover fighters who use mech suits to take down the alien/robotic creatures that attack the capital. In order to not draw too much attention to themselves the group operates a theater by day. It’s a pretty detailed disguise as the group actually performs quite a few plays throughout the show. It’s a career they have dedicated themselves too. Then when the enemies strike they get into their uniforms and get ready to strike the opponents down. Well, one day Commander Yoneda is finally able to recruit the final member of the team. Her name is Sakura and part of the reason why he is eager to recruit her is because she is related to one of his old partners who saved the world a while back. There’s a decent chance that she would have inherited those abilities plus her own maiden ones.

See, in this world maidens are able to use a sort of energy that powers their mechs and allows them to unleash super moves. Guys aren’t able to draw out this energy with the exception of Sakura’s father as well as a man named Ogami. This suggests that men can use the energy but it is an extremely rare occurrence. How the energy manifests will differ from person to person. Of course at its most basic level it will move your mech but after that you can do so much more. For example, Iris can teleport and Sumire seems to amp up her spear’s attacks with this. Sakura channels the power into her sword and Kanna may use it with her fists although she may just be naturally strong. That’s a real possibility as well to be honest. The show doesn’t go into the energy abilities all that much to be honest as the OVAs show more of that like with the elemental abilities. Still, the process of controlling it is a big part of the show.

The Flower Division is definitely not a big fan of Sakura’s when she first shows up so the heroine gets a very cold reception. Eventually she wins them over but it takes a while so you may not even like them for a while there. At the very least you feel like they showed their true colors initially. I can’t imagine Sakura giving other characters a hard time like that although she is by far the nicest character of the group. By the end of the series they are a close knit group even if you feel like Sumire will continue to give Sakura a tough time as long as they are teammates. Some things never change after all.

Sakura Wars goes for a pretty interesting tone here. The whole time the villains keep on invading and being pushed back and yet this often feels like an after thought. A lot of times the main plots for the episodes will be about the theater which leads to a lot of character development. You’ll have an episode where Sumire wants to be the star over Sakura or one where Kohran has another crisis of confidence and runs off. The villains don’t become more of a major factor until near the end of the series. You should think of this as more of a slice of life and then it’ll all feel pretty natural. Just don’t think of it as an action series despite the mechs.

I wouldn’t have minded the action part coming in a bit sooner but the slice of life stuff is fun enough as well. It’s a pretty good cast. Perhaps not the strongest out there but most of the characters are good which is important. The heroes are also a bit lucky that the villains don’t use much in the way of teamwork because just one villain is enough to put the heroes on edge so if they had all attacked initially then that would have been game over for the heroes. As it was, the heroes should blame Commander Yoneda for not leaving them more prepared. Sakura had a meeting with one of the villains and had no idea of his true identity until later on since so many secrets were being kept.

I’m not a big fan of the robot designs because they are so old school and don’t feel very streamlined. It’s going for a very steam type design here which does match the rest of the era. It’s to the point though where you feel like the heroes would be better off fighting without them some times. I don’t think the show did a great job of making them appear to be stronger than the heroes individually. Meanwhile the villains go down like butter except for the high ranking members of the cabal who seem to easily crush the robots. Those guys definitely can’t be defeated 1 on 1 at all. You really want to have the whole group ready for them.

The soundtrack is a little on the forgettable side but I’d say that it works out well enough. It’s a pretty peaceful ost that never feels repetitive. It isn’t the easiest bit to remember by heart but as soon as it plays during the scene you’ll immediately be able to recall it. Likewise the animation isn’t anything special but it gets the job done. I’d consider it to be standard animation so it’s good and I have no complaints. In a lot of ways that is how the show is in general. It’s not about to become the next Railgun or Madoka but it’s a quality adventure where you’ll have a lot of fun. You’ll have fun with the case before very long and this is the kind of series where I feel like an anniversary OVA/TV show reboot would probably do pretty well.

Lets quickly take a look at the characters. Sakura is the lead so it makes sense to start with her. She can be a bit of a timid character so at first she definitely gets steam rolled by the others. I wouldn’t say that her character has any negative qualities though. I’m not usually a fan of timid characters though so I was ready for her to regain her confidence. Fortunately that happened sooner than later. She begins to stand up for herself more by the middle of the series and since by then she was awakening her abilities it’s not like the other characters could say a whole lot about it. Once the hazing period was over she was able to make a good connection with the other characters. I wouldn’t say that Sakura has a ton of personality, but she’s a good character and definitely a nice person. She brings a good contrast to the group.

Then you have Sumire who is always pretty entertaining. At first she may come across as overly mean spirited though since she is pretty unrelenting in how she hounds Sakura. As the show goes on you learn that she is like that with everyone so her character will be hit or miss. I ended up liking her by the end although at first she wasn’t quite my favorite character. By the end you can see how Sumire really enhances the character dynamics though and the show wouldn’t be the same without her. She’s also a lot more eager to just jump into the fray and let the chips fall where they may. That’s definitely the kind of character that you need in a group. Sumire pretty much took down one of the enemy commanders on her own and then also won in the rematch.

Kanna is next and she’s a lot of fun as well. Her deal is that she’s very good in hand to hand combat and sensitive to changes in nature. She’s the only character who can really stand up to Sumire on an even playing field in part because she has a lot of confidence as well. Kanna is unquestionably a much nicer character than Sumire while still having that absolute confidence which makes for a lot of banter between the characters. These two definitely have the best dynamic to be sure. Kanna doesn’t really get to show off her strength quite as much as in the OVAs but you still know she is the power hitter here.

Then we have Iris who is one of the weaker members. I’m talking in terms of character as power-wise she should be the best. She has much greater amounts of spirit energy than the other characters but she is also a lot younger so she is unable to control it. As a result what tends to happen is she’ll panic and teleport away from the characters rather than actively using her abilities to help out. That bit is unfortunate because she would have been a great asset to the team. She never quite gets her confidence even by the end of the series. Sure, Iris has her big moments on occasion but it’s more like Luigi or Scooby having a quick brave moment. It doesn’t exactly stick which is unfortunate.

The worst member of the Flower Force is Kohran though. It’s hard to know where to start with her. I guess the main thing is that she ultimately ends up running out on the team when the going gets tough. I understand (very slightly) that there would be some shock upon learning that the inventor of the legendary robots is evil, but it should be very mild. Certainly not enough to run away and hide while the heroes are fighting for their lives. It was a terrible moment and every other character handled it better. She had not even met the guy before so why is there such a strong connection just from reading his notes? I also felt like Kohhran never really did much in the way of improvements for the mechs. She would repair them a lot but that’s about it.

Finally we have Maria. She’s a very serious member of the group who is effectively the leader of the team when Ogami, Yoneda, and Ayame aren’t around. She’s a Russian fighter who specializes in gunplay to take down her opponents until she gets into her mech suit. One thing I hadn’t mentioned up til now is the series has the Flower Division be a global group of sorts. All of the girls are from different cultures which also helps to make this a pretty interesting dynamic since they have different ideas on everything. One episode had Iris throw a fit because French parties are different from how they celebrate in Japan where it’s about festivals. That episode still came across as very petty on Iris’ side though which is another reason why I wasn’t a big fan of hers. The whole group went out of their way to make her birthday exciting and that’s how she reacts? Yeah, definitely not a good look.

Back to Maria though, she’s a solid character. I’d say that she’s one of the better ones. Her serious nature means she doesn’t have as much fun with the group for the most part but by the end I’d say that they have started to chip away at her. She is a solid tactical fighter and never backs out on the team the way that others (Iris and Kohran) do so I’ll give her points for that. She also acts as a mentor to Sakura at times and is easily the most supportive member of the group.

That covers the Division but then you have Ogami who is effectively the captain. It’s pretty tough for him because he doesn’t have the same level of ability that they do. At times he tries to compensate by having the drills run very strictly which tends to backfire. He goes through his own sets of issues during the series like struggling with confidence and such so he never has an easy road. I liked Ogami well enough. He may not be the most exciting character but he did a good job of hanging out with the team. He took some key steps in improving their unity like when he made everyone have dinner together. That was definitely a pretty good move.

Then you have the higher ranking Yoneda who didn’t do a very good job. For one thing he tends to get drunk quite often. It’s mainly played for laughs of course, but even so this isn’t someone I would trust to have my back. He also decides to go up against the villain completely on his own which was a really bad idea. I understand not wanting to get everyone involved but he should have at least left some kind of letter in case he was defeated so people would know what was going on. As it stood, to them it looked like he just vanished without a trace when they needed him most. Then he also took the bomb and hinted that he would have used it if the heroes had failed. You can assume that it was a bluff, but I’d have liked to see him throw it away later on or something to show that he wasn’t serious. As it stands, I just wasn’t impressed with Yoneda.

Ayame was his right hand woman. She didn’t really get much of a role although we can assume she used to have a much more active role within the group before the series started. Maria and Yoneda both trust her guidance quite a bit although now she tends to decline on giving her thoughts so the others can grow. The last hero to really talk about would be Kazuma. He died before the series started so we only see him in flashbacks but it’s easy to see why Yoneda believed there was so much promise to Sakura’s future with the group. Kazuma was an incredible fighter who could harness spirit energy better than anyone else in the series. He really did a good job of making his last stand count. At most maybe you could say that if he kept fighting with his sword he could have won without sacrificing himself but there were still a ton of monsters at the end so his sacrifice felt pretty justified. It’s too bad we couldn’t see more of him, the guy was definitely cool. A prequel TV show about the guy would definitely work well I’d say. Since they had to fight without the robots I can see those fights being pretty tense. Additionally, it seems like this is a case where the previous generation may have been stronger than the current one so I’d like to see what other abilities they had. Although if like in the games every character should have special moves, maybe the TV show just toned down the super abilities a bit.

Yamazaki is the main villain of the series and makes for an interesting guy in general. He’s easily my favorite villain of the series. His motivations for being evil are a little on the weak side to be honest as the guy just totally cracked but since he does completely remember how things used to be it makes him a pretty deadly opponent. For the most part the enemy forces tend to be rather mindless so when they finally got a leading figure I was happy about that. He made for some good fights with Sakura and the team as well. Between a solid character design and impressive abilities, I would definitely say that Yamazaki is a winner in my books.

Then you’ve got Miroku who was the first big villain to make a move. She gave Sumire a solid fight and the two almost became rivals in a sense. It definitely got personal there and was one of the first moments where you really saw what a great character Sumire was. I’m not sure if the others would have fared so well in this battle. Miroku is a fun villain. She doesn’t have quite as much personality as Yamazaki but she is dedicated to the cause and doing what she needed to. She represented a shift in the series from mindless drones to an opposing army so she was effective in that respect.

Then you have Jade who looks like a kid but can actually be a pretty dangerous opponent. It’s hard to land a hit on him because moves tend to go right through him. He definitely has his way with Ogami’s friend for a while there before they learn how to counter him. I wouldn’t even say that his physical power is anything to be afraid of, but his abilities are tricky. You’ve got Silver to compensate for that though. This guy is rather slow but has a lot of super strength. He’s like a Frankenstein of sorts who just barrels into his opponents. This guy’s the definition of a mindless opponent though and is my least favorite member of the group. At least Jade gave us the closest thing to a horror episode here and was a thorn in the heroes side. Silver would have been doomed without backup.

There are other characters but I think I’ve covered most of them. The show definitely has a lot of events happen during its run. In part because of how stand alone a lot of the episodes are it lets the show cover a lot more with all of the characters and their personalities. I’d say it’s a pretty organic way of adapting the game if it’s anything like the Wii installment I played where you focus on improving your bonds with the other members while also defending the capital at the end of each chapter. That format lends itself really well to a show like this. At the end of the day what is really key here is the writing and characters. So long as those are strong then the show will be a success and that’s exactly what happened here.

Overall, Sakura Wars is a pretty fun show. It’s definitely going for a different angle than other mech series like Gundam or Transformers. It’s really balancing the action element with more slice of life themes like the girls all trying to get alone despite having such different personalities. Sakura Wars can definitely handle the action elements really well though as you can probably tell from some of the images I chose. The stakes do get pretty high and the series definitely picks up the action at the end with the quick onslaught of fights but I expect you should enjoy the series before then for the strong writing and pacing. I’d definitely recommend this series no matter what genre you like. It’s a fun title that should satisfy you with action, adventure, and comedy.

Overall 7/10

The Promised Neverland Review


It’s time to look at a quick anime that came out a while back. Season 2 shouldn’t be far after though and with the manga being over they can really fast blast now. At 12 episodes this is a pretty quick anime and your classic seasonal type show. It makes for a nice quick watch with a compact cast. The show was pretty unique in its premise so it made some waves. While I wasn’t a big fan of the manga as the concept grew darker and darker in its execution, the beginning always starts off pretty ominous. I think season 1 was a pretty solid adaption with definitely a lot of notable moments within.

The show starts by introducing us to Emma and her friends at school. They live in an orphanage and don’t know anything about their parents. They have numbers tattooed on them but beyond that it’s a very ordinary home where they live perfect lives. The kids all eventually find foster parents before they enter their real teen years which is good too. One day Emma decides to follow one of the kids who is sent out along with Norman and then they find out the truth. They actually live on a human farm where the kids are sent off to be eaten by demons. As the oldest kids with the highest test scores, Emma, Norman, and Ray will be the next ones to be shipped out. Do they tell the rest of the kids, bump off Isabella, or try to escape? There are a lot of ideas but not a lot of time. The heroes will also have to try and keep a straight face in the meantime but will they really be able to do that?

This is definitely a horror anime. The kids know that their odds aren’t particularly good and finding out that you were born to be shipped off isn’t a great feeling either. There’s a lot of things that the kids just don’t know either. What exactly is this planet and how does it work? They can’t trust anything they learned at the school and it seems like escape will be nearly impossible as well. There are a lot of natural defenses to take into account as well and since they are just kids it’s not like they could fight off the demons either. They don’t have any true weapons either and there is a tracker built into each of the kids so the villains know where they are at all times. The deck is stacked against them so the show is mainly about their planning a way out of this.

The season adapts the complete arc and doesn’t really even end with a cliffhanger so it handles all of this rather directly. It feels like a pretty complete story even if there obviously has to be a season 2. The cast will definitely grow in the next season so you can eagerly await that. The main cast we have here is pretty solid though. First you’ve got Emma who is extremely determined and wants to save everyone. Her view is that they can’t escape unless everyone is safe. I feel like they toned down how crazy she can be a bit in the anime as the manga did a terrific job with her close ups. Still, she is still the same character here and does everything she can to make the plans succeed. Emma isn’t afraid of death or pain and will go to drastic measures to make sure things work out. As she is here, Emma’s definitely a solid character.

Then you have Norman who is easily the smartest kid in the class. He has a bit of a rivalry with Ray on this but I think it’s fair to say that Norman is always a step ahead. He finds out quite a lot during the season. He may not always beat Isabella in wits but always comes close so it’s neck and neck. I like Norman’s calm demeanor here even if he’s always got something up his sleeve. He’s also determined to make Emma right so his plans are built with that in mind. By throwing his plans on top of hers he makes them sound even better.

Then you’ve got Ray who is not quite as much of a “Gotta save them all” person as Emma. He looks at things scientifically on what gives him the greatest chance of escape. If he has to sacrifice others to do it then so be it. Naturally this is a very ruthless way of looking at things but you do have to look at the situation from his point of view. Emma wants to bring along kids who are only 2-3 years old with them on a journey through the forest that could last for months and they will be on the run from demons. While anime can help kids be a lot tougher than in the real world, there is only so much you can do with a 2 year old. Can you picture such a kid making this kind of journey? So Ray’s right in that sense that taking everyone would be pretty crazy.

In a way the best thing to do would be to bump off Isabella but at most that would only buy them some time. She has to make regular communications to the demons so if she suddenly stops then that will really raise some red flags on their side. That’s why escape is still the best bet but they’ll need a terrific plan to bring everyone together. As planning is one of the core focuses of the show you can rest assured that the plan is sound. A lot of thought goes into all of this and it ends up being pretty satisfying. If you think about it hard enough of course there are many ways Isabella should have been able to stop the kids. At the end of the day a big part as to why the kids get away with so much is her overconfidence. She thought she had more power than what she really did and also underestimated the kids quite a bit. That can definitely be a fatal mistake.

Isabella is still a good villain though. While she may have made some mistakes here, she’s had a long track record of doing well in the meantime. You can’t say that she didn’t do a great job when she’s maintained the place for so many years. She also has an interesting origin story showing the lack of choices you have in this society. Ultimately you end up being another one of the villains or you die out. There aren’t exactly a lot of rebel fighters out there. She’s still a villain as a true hero would have fought despite all of that though. Sister Krone is in a similar spot as she had to go through the same trials to get this far. After a point the characters just stopped worrying about others and started thinking about themselves. Krone really wants a win here so she can be back in control.

There are two other kids who get a main role in the form of Don and Gilda but they aren’t that great. I feel like they’re just here to get in trouble. There’s one scene where they decide to break into Isabella’s room just to stick it to Emma and friends. It ends up working out but that was such a petty thing to do and it could have literally gotten everyone murdered. Gilda also tends to panic quite a bit. These guys feel a bit out of their league next to the main characters. In some ways it’s not their fault since the main 3 happen to be super geniuses. Don and Gilda are technically still above average in intelligence but in this fight that’s barely even a consolation at the moment.

A lot of the fun in the show is thinking about the various arguments the kids make and who you agree with. There’s also a traitor subplot throughout the show that’s pretty interesting to follow. With all of the dynamics going on in the show there is always a lot of story to follow. Now as for who is right. Emma is naturally right morally since leaving anyone to die is a sacrifice. As it is, kids have been getting sacrificed left and right but you can’t change the past so you may as well change the future. That said, she doesn’t really have a concrete plan to do so. In that case taking Isabella out makes the most sense. In terms of probabilities Ray’s plan makes the most sense. The 3 of them leaving on their own would work pretty well. Then in theory you’ve still got about a year or two before you need to go back and save the rest. Of course sometimes a shipment leaves early so it’s a complete gamble either way. If your test scores are low you get shipped out a lot sooner as it is. If you had someone to protect then that would give some strength to leaving people behind but that isn’t the case so you do need to bring everyone. Better to all die together than 2 surviving instead of most right?

The animation is good. I wouldn’t say it’s anything great, but for a show like this you don’t need anything fancy. As long as the animation is solid you can still get across the horror vibes. The show likes its quick 3D looks as well which are fun enough. The whole thing feels very standard and since this is a pretty modern show that means it still holds up rather well. The real test will be once we get more fight scenes in a future season. Then we’ll see how the animators handle that. As for the soundtrack, I’d say that one’s pretty good. I like the opening song and the tunes during the episodes are suitably ominous. You’re not going to hear a lot of super happy tracks or anything like that of course. The soundtrack fits the tone which is crucial.

Overall, The Promised Neverland is definitely a pretty unique show. As far as the various dystopia futures go, this has got to be one of the darkest. There is really no backup for the heroes and not a lot of hope either. Still, they’ve made progress so in season 2 we’ll see how they use that. If you’re up for a dark thriller then this will be up your alley. It never gets violent or anything like that, it’s just dark because of how the kids are being eaten off screen and all. The show doesn’t beat you over the head with this fortunately so it doesn’t turn gritty. It’s just the premise of the show and Neverland runs with it. If you managed to watch the show without knowing this beforehand then the first episode is especially powerful although odds are that you’ll already know the twist before that happens. Usually even the promos spoil that part since it happens so early. The show builds up the tension through the atmosphere as opposed to crazy shock value or anything outside of that. You might quickly yell plot armor during the final episode when someone isn’t instantly murdered the way the last few were but I suppose it helps to build up the hype for season 2 as well.

Overall 6/10

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Siege Review


It’s time for another Transformers show to enter the fray. This one’s more of a mini series since there are under 10 episodes but it is confirmed to be a trilogy so by the end of it this’ll be like a normal length show. It’s a take on the original Transformer battles from G1 but throwing in some extra elements. It’s like the Final Fantasy VII Remake in that a lot of things are similar but things start changing a bit by the end to the point where you’re confident that the sequels are really going to change things up. It’s definitely pretty solid and I look forward to seeing where the show goes from here.

The show starts us a little after the war has begun. The Decepticons currently have the edge in this war and the remaining Autobots are outnumbered and almost completely out of energon. If they don’t replenish soon then they will die out before the Decepticons even attack. Optimus Prime has gone for more and more risky endeavors to the point where some of his team are losing faith in him. The window for victory is closing rapidly though so Prime decides to take one last gamble to ensure their survival. Meanwhile Megatron knows he needs to squash the Autobots before they do come up with some kind of plan to take him down.

Since the show skips the actual start of the war you’re left to rely on context clues on who to root for. Naturally the Autobots are not as merciless as the Decepticons and don’t just go around blowing everyone up. That said, it does look like they would quickly fall to that level without Prime intervening all the time. We just don’t know what the actual treaty will be. The old system hardly sounds like it was that good with the Decepticons being enslaved. Of course, it looks like they’re just trying to turn the tables and do the same to the Autobots. Megatron doesn’t seem completely off the rails for most of the show though so I feel like there may be some nuance here. Regardless, there’s no way you will be rooting against the Autobots in the meantime. It’ll be up to the Decepticons to prove that their goals aren’t bad.

This show is CG like the last online title. It’s going for more of a War for Cybertron aesthetic whole the former went for a bright PS2 look. Both animation styles are solid and I remember thinking that the old show looked quite a bit better than I expected. CG can absolutely work well as long as the character models are on point and the other show handled that rather well. At the moment I would say the other show had the better animation. Still, the show looks really solid and definitely has a lot of detail. It had some really epic shots and a lot of fun fights. It’ll naturally take some time for this one to get there since we’re at the start of the war so it’s trying to go for a very dialed down approach for now. Everyone has standard power levels at the moment and the fights aren’t the main focus yet. I look forward to seeing the fighters go all out soon.

The character who is most changed from the original show is definitely Bumblebee. Here he is completely disillusioned with the war and does what he can to survive. He scouts out energon and gives it to the highest bidder. It’s an interesting way to keep him as a scout, he just isn’t an Autobot this time around. You sort of know who he will join in the end but I like the idea of making him a wildcard in the beginning. The Autobots are definitely pretty persistent in trying to recruit him though. They certainly have some good points here such as the fact that you can’t just avoid the war forever. The whole planet is involved and at some point you will either join a side or get taken out as a casualty in the end. Not choosing is a choice in itself.

Optimus Prime is a solid Autobot leader as always. He seems a little weaker than Megatron here but that makes sense since he is new to combat while Megatron grew up as a gladiator. It always made sense that Megatron should be stronger initially even if Optimus Prime ends up catching up to him at the end. Prime’s leadership skills also aren’t at the point where they would be later on. He makes a lot of tactical mistakes and continues to push for riskier and riskier plans. If the Decepticons didn’t have the aim of a Storm Trooper his group would have been doomed many times over during the opening episodes. Honestly if the Decepticons played this a little better the war should have been over. There is only so much you can do when you’re out of energon and that’s the status of the Autobots. You may as well go with one last all out assault instead of dragging it out at that point.

Of course we do have some wild cards in the show which help things out. One pretty interesting change here is how the show introduced Soundblaster. You may remember him as Soundwave’s super form in the G1 show but why would he have a super form already? Well, the show takes a different approach and it works out pretty well. Soundblaster is pretty interesting and I’d like to see more of him. The show does a nice job of building the environment in Cybertron so there are already a lot of characters to root for here with different personalities. Not everyone will be a winner of course but it does help you remember them.

For example, this is probably Elita’s biggest role in the series. Surprisingly she doesn’t end up as one of the more supportive characters here. She disagrees with Prime on a whole lot. To an extent this is fair since I agreed with her sentiments for a while. However, once the plan is underway at that point you just have to do your best to make it work. It’s not like you can turn back halfway yet she was still giving Prime a really hard time about everything. I would have liked to have seen her get on board with the plan for the second half. It would have made a nice difference to her character. Then you have Ratchet who definitely isn’t a big fan of the Autobots and feels like this war is a waste. Still, in the end he helps the heroes out. As a medic he prioritizes saving lives above all else so he’s a good ally to have around. He doesn’t forget about the rules of war and makes sure not to cross them.

The characters here all have their own plots which is good. Then you’ve got the Decepticons. I think just about anyone will predict that Starscream will be having a pretty big role coming up. The guy always has a lot of ambition and nothing slows him down. Jetfire really doesn’t help his case much though. He could have explained his side a little better. I don’t think it would have ultimately made much of a difference to be honest since the Decepticons were gradually growing darker and darker but at least it would have helped him out. I also like to think he could have taken out just about all of his opponents in his main fight if he started fighting a little sooner. Jetfire’s a fun character even if he ca be a bit naive so I’d like to see him more.

Soundwave and Shockwave get solid roles as well. Shockwave is the guy who really helps bring Megatron to the dark side. He’s that classic bad influence who keeps suggesting tempting ideas until they eventually get to the guy. He’s a large part of why Megatron ultimately started disregarding the ideals that kept him close to being less of an evil mastermind and just someone who wanted to help. Then you have Soundwave who is a very loyal officer and one that Megatron can count on. The fact of the matter is that the Decepticons have more key players than the Autobots so it’s easy to see why they were winning the war. This side is just very stacked. Then you’ve got Megatron himself. I’ve already talked a bit about him so I’ll keep it brief, but he’s a great villain as always. The slow descent from being a reasonable villain to going more off the rails is always pretty interesting.

From his point of view you can also see why Prime would feel like a villain. Megatron just broke free from society and now Prime is going to blow up the planet? Prime knows that taking the core will likely blow up the planet but sees this as necessary over losing the war. It’s a very drastic step and one you don’t usually see from the heroes. It really underscores that this is a war and both sides are incredibly desperate. They’re willing to make sacrifices in order to win. I imagine in part 2 there is definitely not going to be any mercy or quarter given from the Decepticons. The time for talking is over.

It was already over to an extent though which is why Ultra Magnus was a little annoying here as always. Walking over to the villains to talk never works out well. Naturally they can’t be trusted and will end up doing whatever they want now that you are effectively a glorified hostage. Even if Magnus doesn’t mind risking his life, what he doesn’t understand is that he’s risking everyone else’s lives as well. Magnus does a good job of handling the situation once he’s in there but he should not have gone in the first place. It was just a bad decision through and through.

At the end of the day Transformers just makes for a very interesting show. We’ve already had plenty of shows about them on Earth with the humans so it’s also nice to just have a title where it’s the robots. The writing is absolutely on point and you could definitely have the robots continue to fight for a long time on this planet. Of course Part 2 looks like it’ll change that, I doubt there will be any humans if they do wind up on Earth but if it turns out they arrived in present day that would certainly be a huge twist. I doubt it would be well received, but it would certainly be a twist.

Overall, This was a solid start to the War for Cybertron series. It starts out fast and keeps the pacing up throughout the whole season. There’s never any down time in the action and that makes sense. Part of the point of small seasons like this is that they can be very focused with tight pacing through and through. The Transformers franchise has always delivered with a lot of solid shows and this one will certainly be no different. I’m looking forward to seeing which characters are thrown in for part 2. Personally it would be nice to see Rodimus show up a bit more but as he got a big role in the last CGI title I suppose they may want to give him a break. That’s fair, but it would still be cool of course. If you like Transformers or just enjoy a tense action series then this is a good one for you to check out.

Overall 7/10

Makai Senki Disgaea Review


It’s time to take a look at the anime adaption to a game I played pretty recently. This anime isn’t a straight adaption and has quite a bit of fun along the way. It’s certainly not a great show and mileage will very but I thought it was solid. It’s certainly entertaining and the cast is strong enough to hold their own here. With solid writing behind it, Disgaea is a show that is good to pass the time with and they do quite a bit with the 12 episodes they had. I’d definitely be game for the second title getting an anime someday as well.

The show starts with an angel trainee named Flonne showing up in the demon world to assassinate the King. She finds a boy who is asleep and wakes him up. It turns out that this is Prince Laharl and his father actually died by choking on some food. Laharl is now the demon king and Flonne decides to accompany him and prove that demons have feelings too. Laharl isn’t thrilled to have company but he won’t let this distract him from assuming command. The demons won’t follow Laharl until he possesses the legendary book which proves ownership and also gets back to his real castle. His “loyal” retainer Etna also arrives to come with him on the journey. Will these 3 really be able to get alone and is Flonne right that Laharl has the potential to be a good guy?

This is a main plot in the show that is actually played pretty seriously or at least relatively so for this title like in the game. The idea of demons being capable of feeling emotions and being heroic is quite foreign for a lot of characters. The demons themselves certainly don’t think it’s possible but at the same time they all act like regular people so you never find the idea to be all that outlandish. If you’re familiar with this kind of plot you’ll also be very willing to believe that it might happen as well. Flonne can be a little naive about it but she’s still on the right track here.

I’d say that the biggest difference here compared to the game is while the game was a blend of action and comedy, this show is going for full comedy. There are rarely any serious moments until the final episode. For the most part the show is actually going for a slice of life feel as the main character visit different areas and have a lot of stand alone adventures. There are plots that reach through the whole series in the background but they don’t really take center stage here for quite a while. So how much you enjoy the series will really come down to how funny you find it to be.

As I mentioned earlier I thought it was pretty entertaining. The dynamic between the three main characters is a solid one. Laharl definitely takes everything pretty personally so he’s always fighting with the other two. Etna is openly antagonistic with Laharl and is constantly trying to get him assassinated which is a fun subplot. Then you have Flonne who keeps talking about love and forgetting that the mere mention of the word ends up weakening Laharl considerably. This also means that Laharl is rarely able to go all out in a fight. It might be for the best as he is clearly one of the strongest characters in the series and would end most fights really quick.

He’s definitely a solid lead character. Laharl’s design is certainly memorable and he would make for a really good overlord. The guy knows how to run a kingdom even if he acts like a kid a lot. The most memorable part of his character is easily his laugh though. It’s brilliant and I dare say it’s the best laugh in media. It’s just epic and the shows even ends off with this laugh. That’s when you know that the laugh itself has hit the big time. You just can’t watch this show without giving it some credit.

Etna is a fun side character to have around as well. I do think she looked a bit weaker than I expected at times though. If she really wants to be the overlord then she is going to need to hit the gym quite a bit if she wants to compete. As it stands right now she is nowhere near strong enough to become the leader that everyone will end up following. It’s another reason why the sequel needs an adaption because she got much more powerful in that title. She may be constantly trying to destroy Laharl but she’s still someone he can count on in the meantime. It may seem like a contradiction but that’s a crucial part of her character. Logic is flipped with demons so the fact that Etna wants to murder Laharl is why he wants her by his side. The show also has a nice gag with this when someone tries to take some demons hostage. As if that would work on Lahalr.

Flonne is definitely the nicest character in the series and always trying to convert the characters around her. She may not always live up to her standards such as accepting the Prinnies carrying the heroes around for a while even when told that she should probably get off to help them out. Flonne has her limits but at the end of the day she tries her best to make the right move. Laharl doesn’t make things easy for her though by doing things like stranding her in the desert and such. Flonne always takes on each new challenge with a smile. I would argue that she had no reason to accept such a punishment in the final episode of the show but heroic sacrifice is the whole idea of her character.

Then we’ve got the Team Rocket of the series which is Gordon, Jennifer, and Thursday. As the protector of Earth Gordon is pretty full of himself but he really can’t fight at all. I like the team because the camp works quite well in this setting. I would have liked Gordon to have looked a bit better against Curtis though. I think the fact that the show uses them as a full Team Rocket blasting off again approach weakens their characters a bit but they still work well enough. Similarly Kurtis doesn’t appear nearly as much here. He was one of the best characters in the game but I couldn’t rank him quite as high up here as a result. Still, he is fun to have around.

Then you have one of the standout characters, The Dark Adonis. The show pretty much spoils his twist early on but I suppose they thought people might find it obvious anyway. Now this guy is a show stealer. He’s always around with a cool line and shows up whenever the heroes are in trouble. Unlike Laharl he doesn’t mind being openly heroic although that doesn’t mean he will always do the right thing. The guy is as chaotic as can be and just does whatever he feels like. He is not someone you can count on. Even if he is usually portrayed as more of a good guy the fact that you are never sure means he is not the guy you want to absolutely have in your corner. You want someone that you know will have your back right?

Then you’ve got the Angels. Vulcanus gets a big role and is one of the main villains here. The guy can’t fight much though so he focuses on summoning demons to help him out. That definitely means you won’t really be seeing him as a threat here. The tougher angel is Lamington who is also a villain. The guy may try to justify his actions later on but there’s just no way he can. At the end of the day his decision was to try and murder a bunch of people to answer the question of if love was real or not. The guy does a lot of back pedaling. Laharl doesn’t buy it and neither do I. If anything Lamington seems to get off really easy by the end of the series. If only Laharl could have acted a little quicker.

While parts of the ending feel a bit forced due to one character making a terrible move, the show still manages to have a pretty satisfying conclusion by the end of it. The ending is definitely close to ideal if you ask me with the final twist being excellent. The ending could have easily swung the wrong way if you left out the final scene because that is critical. It just provides the closure we need for such an adventure.

The animation for the show isn’t all that good. I liked the art and the character model style though. The character designs look like they’re out of the show but when they start moving that’s when things fall apart. It’s not very consistent and a lot of shortcuts are taken. We maybe get 3-4 very solid animation scenes throughout the whole series. It’s rare to see so when the scenes pop up it’s pretty nice to see. It feels like the show had a very low budget and perhaps that’s why it decided to go for the comedy angle. That takes up less budget than if you decided to go full action. The soundtrack is certainly good and nostalgic though. It grabs all of the classic themes from the video game which work really well with all of the scenes. The game did a masterful job with all the tunes.

While there’s definitely lots of room for a sequel the show stands up well on its own so you don’t feel like there needed to be a second season. I imagine it would have gone more into some of the plots here like Laharl’s fake sister. At the end of the day that plot didn’t appear as much and goes about how you would expect. I have to say Laharl absolutely did get punked there though. It happens to him a few times though so it’s nothing new for the overlord. He’ll only improve from here though. I should also quickly mention that the Prinny makes for pretty fun creatures. Their plot is a little sad if you think about it, but they really are nice followers. They put up with a lot and their whole purpose is to support an overlord and his army of demons who don’t actually care for them in return. The idea is that they’re working towards their salvation in the end though so that’s probably what gets them going. The world has quite a few unique rules and the show lays them out nicely.

Overall, Disgaea is a solid story. If you could only choose one way to experience this series then you should do it with the games. The game does a much better job of telling the story. Still, if you want to see it in another way then going with the show is not a bad idea. The show is still a lot of fun. It may add a lot of gags and extra stories but at the end of the day it’s still relatively close to the main game’s plot. The creative liberties help you to experience things in a fresh way which is not a bad idea. It’s only 12 episodes too so you’ll definitely be blasting through it and whenever you see a critical story moment from the games the show does its best to adapt it sometimes even word for word. I definitely need to go and get Disgaea 3 at some point even if it will be with whole new characters.

Overall 7/10