Azumanga Daioh Review

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It’s time to look at my first pure comedy anime as well as the first one to take an anthology style to it. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that the mix worked too well. The series got off to a rocky start but was able to at least balance the ship by the end. It’s not the best one out there, but you’ll be used to the characters by and end and will have had a fun ride.

The plot follows a group of teenagers as they go through the various years of high school. Tomo and Yomi are already friends when the series starts, but Sakaki is a loner. The situation changes up when a little girl by the name of Chiyo shows up. She is a prodigy and got to skip enough grades to make it to high school. Another transfer student nicknamed Osaka also joins up. With the gang together, they can go on many adventures and try to achieve glory in the sports fest!

Lets quickly go with why the show had a rocky start. The anthology format is a huge warning bell for me because I just don’t like it. The concept of an anthology just sounds like a bad idea as each story is so short that you can’t fit much story into it. Some of the episodes here were split into 5-6 parts so each one was only 4-5 minutes. At first this was very jarring as nothing would happen and the segments felt like they had nothing to do with each other. I also think the writers didn’t know what to do because they acted like each 5 minute segment had to be as contained as possible. For example, if a segment had a joke, it would just keep on getting repeated and drawn out for the whole time. The show tried to limit itself to one main gag in the segment. It would even recycle animation and use a ton of stock footage to literally repeat the gag.

Another thing is that one of the few aspects where anime may lose to Western animation is in comedy. Westerns seem to prefer snappy dialogue as comedy with characters just rapid firing a ton of puns and subtle burns while anime really like having a perverse character say something crazy and then everyone either blushes or starts yelling at him. The former can be great while the latter is absolutely never funny. Daioh actually has a big problem trying to be funny throughout. I feel like the vast majority of the jokes didn’t work because either they were never funny from the start or they were dragged out way too long. That’s why it couldn’t really pick up til the second half where it started to get more of a plot or at least longer segments.

For now, one last problem is that the series is extremely low budget. I wouldn’t be surprised if the series originally debuted as 5 minute shorts behind various shows and was eventually compiled into a series. It would actually make a lot of sense with how I said that each segment limited itself to effectively one scene/joke. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show with as much recycled animation as this one. The animation can be decent at times, but usually it is satisfied with as few motions as possible. You’ll notice a lot of times that if there are two characters on screen only one will move at a time. If two are talking on screen, they’ll each only use one mouth animation which continuously loops. So, I think the show just didn’t have a budget. Sure, there aren’t any action scenes so I guess it didn’t need much of one, but it should have at least gotten enough to reasonably bluff through it.

Now, here’s why the second half was better. For starters, they gave Kimura a shorter role. Kimura was one of the reasons why the humor was hit hard as his moments were just really bad. He would make scenes tougher to watch by making inappropriate comments and pointing attention to what the characters were wearing. He took advantage of his position constantly so he could be around. The show didn’t really have much in the way of fanservice but by going to the pool and trying to create it, that sort of defeated the purpose. The fact that he is still a teacher is appalling and every scene with him just reminded me of this fact. He was never completely written out, but he didn’t do a whole lot after the opening episodes. After that, the only iffy moments left where when the characters would have quick remarks about someone’s chest and those were slight in comparison. While the show show is pretty fun for the most part, he made it hard to enjoy the early episodes. As I said those just had issues with pacing and writing, but they certainly didn’t need more problems. Without Kimura the show would have definitely jumped up a star and possibly 2.

The next reason why the second half was better is that it had less segments. Episodes would be able to have a longer plot and the segments actually did continue from each other. The characters finally had goals like getting to college or studying for it. The last few episodes were all consistent in this regard. The show also stopped relying on one joke since it had plot to cover. Most of the characters stayed pretty much the same throughout the years, but Sasaki got a considerable amount of development by the end. It was a little hard to like her at first because she is extremely quiet and spends 90% of her time blushing at various animals or anything that she finds adorable. It’s cool to like animals, but it just made for a very limited personality. By the end of the series she starts to speak up more and blush less. She becomes a lot more open about playing with the animals and had a nice bond with Chiyo. She stuck up for the kid during the final sports fest when the other teens started to mock her. It was a nice friendship between them.

Chiyo is effectively the main character even if she doesn’t always feel like it. She’s rich and a genius so that makes it easy for her to be at the top of this class as well. She’s probably the nicest character of the group and constantly tries to get everyone to get along. They make it difficult though since bickering is what they do best, but all in good fun. Chiyo invites everyone to her summer home each year and is certainly popular in the classroom. She gets traumatized after a certain car trip and doesn’t do too well at the sport competitions since she technically is just a kid but Chiyo always tries her best. She’s a nice all around character.

Osaka is a total space case as she can’t think about something for more than a minute. As a result her mind is always wavering and she says random, abstract things at times. She finds studying to be pointless because she won’t remember what she looked at anyway. Osaka is a nice enough character. She’s one of the weaker members of the main cast, but she is a nice contrast from the others. I also like how bold she is like when she decided to take a nap right after getting to Chiyo’s place even though everyone was supposed to study.

Tomo is one of my favorite characters. She was surpassed by Kagura by the end, but Tomo always kept it close. Tomo is very loud and overconfident. She doesn’t do well in school but brags about it instead of stressing. She’s constantly sabotaging the team and failing to win when it counts. She’s effectively trolling the main cast throughout and even rubs it in when something goes wrong for the others. She has fun teasing them all but it encourages the team to try harder. It was infinitely satisfying when she got accepted to college before Yomi since the latter had constantly insulted her and studied so hard. You don’t need to study when you have good intuition ya know? Tomo certainly made all of the interactions more fun.
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Yomi is the most boring member of the group. She effectively plays the straight man in this series as she doesn’t understand any of the jokes and is always wondering what everyone is doing. She studies hard and doesn’t mess around like the others. Yomi tries to act mature for her age and everything but as a result she never seems to really have any fun. This act that she puts up also results in her getting sick before the big amusement park vacation so that one was really all her fault when you think about it.

Kagura is the best character and it’s mainly because of how competitive she is. Kagura is always trying to surpass Sakaki. Honestly it’s like the whole Goku vs Vegeta thing, but even more sad. Sakaki never actually trains or exercises at all while Kagura trains 24/7. Yet, Kagura can never manage to beat Sakaki….at anything. Kagura really deserves the win, but at least she continues trying and never holds it against Sakaki. She’s actually happy when Sakaki wins as it means she just needs to train more. Kagura didn’t become a main character until the first time skip in the series, but from then on she stole the show. She’s essentially Tomo if Tomo was actually good at something and is a little less extreme. She certainly doesn’t mock the others or try to sabotage anything. The two of them do get along quite well though as they both aren’t great at school work. I guess Kagura couldn’t be perfect at everything right?

Kaori is sort of one of the main characters, but she always got the shaft next to the others. Her role is just a whole lot smaller and in the second half her only role is to get harassed by Kimura. I never liked her though as her subplot is that she is admires Sakaki and has a hard time trying to talk to her. It gets old before it even begins. Finally we have the two teachers. Yukari is the main one. She doesn’t like being a teacher and doesn’t hesitate to let the kids know this. I dare say that most of her scenes are the ones that are legitimately funny. At least most of the examples I can think of involve her in some capacity. She’s effectively terrible at her job which is her character arc. Yukari is definitely crazy and she doesn’t mind manipulating her students if it will let her win the contest. I can respect her drive to win even if it’s always hard against Nyamo’s squad.

Nyamo is the other teacher and she is an example of a perfect teacher. She supports her students and is also really good at all things athletic. That being said, she can’t really handle the rowdy things that Yukari likes so if she starts drinking then things get tricky. Nyamo is fun enough. She’s not quite as interesting as Yukari but she doesn’t shut down all of the jokes like Yomi. She does a much better job of bouncing off of the moments such as when she got revenge on Yukari for mocking her students by stealing her money. (Granted, she wasn’t “stealing” it because Yukari owed her money for something else)

An example of one of the jokes that I did like was the donation box. The kids forgot to get Yukari a gift and she was pretty obvious about it so the gang decided to bring her a donation box and then they would throw nickels in it. Yukari didn’t take it well, but it was a pretty fun scene as everyone approached the box very grudgingly. A scene that was more random than anything was when this cat creature would appear. He claims to be Chiyu’s father and only shows himself once in a while. He may have some special abilities, but he’s so abstract that you don’t really need to worry about him.

One big plot that actually had an ending was the cat that would always bite Sakaki when she was in the neighborhood. She certainly fell for its tricks many times, but only once at the end. Fortunately she got her own cat guardian which stopped the bullies from messing with her. I guess the cat was just a mean person because even at the end it seemed to have a grudge with Sakaki. The gag was a little overused in the early episodes, but it was handled a lot better by the end. I also am glad that Sakaki got her own cat since it really helped give her some kind of payoff for being bitten so often.

While the animation was quite limited it did have some good shots. I liked the chibi style it would use when characters gave a thumbs up or be in the background agreeing on something. Their arms would turn into noodles at times and it was a better effect than in some other shows. It doesn’t really make up for all of the stock footage but the actual animation certainly wasn’t bad. It may be more that the character designs were simply solid, but it’s hard to say. The soundtrack isn’t very good though. It’s also quite limited/repetitive and I would have liked a little more variety.

Even if the comedy may not always have been on point, one thing you can say for the series is that is was pretty much always fun. The negatives I have with the show don’t involve language or being super dark/violent. At the very least you can always leave the show feeling happy since it is so lighthearted. It’s one thing that I always like about uplifting shows because they should be enjoyable to watch. The characters are always having fun even if things don’t really work out. If there’s any reason I’d recommend watching it, this is the main one. To that end, I actually do tend to like slice of life shows. Sonic Boom is a great example of one that’s currently airing and to date it is the best in that genre. It perfectly pulls it off every episode and I dare say that it is the greatest comedy of all time even if that is a little bold. The show hasn’t ended yet so we’ll see if it can keep that up.

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Overall, Azumanga Daioh was somewhat limited from the anthology style it had, but I suppose it was to be expected since the manga was close to a 4 koma at times. Still, with full sized episodes I think it would have been more fun. The cast was solid though and even if you’re skeptical of the show at first you should be able to get on board by the end. After all, that’s one of the points of being a full show, by the end you should be used to the characters which will make the series more enjoyable. You’ll see the characters develop over the 3 years they’re at school so surely you’ll be a fan of at least one by the end.

Overall 5/10

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Future Card Buddyfight Triple D Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Buddyfight series. For a little while there I was worried that it would only get 2 seasons and die out because many great anime don’t make it to 3 seasons. However it did make it and now has a 4th season so we can safely say that the franchise is safe. Even if it were to end soon, it’s had a great run. It’s awesome to be living in a time where we have Yu-Gi-Oh, Buddyfight, and Cardfight all airing new episodes. Buddyfight is the weakest of the 3 at least when it comes to the franchises, but it always puts up a good fight. This season had a rocky start, but by the end I’d say that it surpassed season 2 while still not being able to catch the original.

Gao doesn’t have his Drum Bunker Dragon anymore so he has to get a replacement. He ends up getting a buddy named Bal. Bal is a lot younger than Drum and acts like a little kid. It takes a while for the pair to really get along, but they gradually develop a tight bond. They decide to enter the local tournaments to prove that they are the best and gradually approach the World Cup. However, they will have to get past some powerful rivals like Tasuku, the boy prodigy, and Gaito, a mysterious newcomer who wants to prove his strength above all. Meanwhile, Kyoya has been replaced as the head of the financial company and has decided to enter the tournament as a normal participant. What are his goals here? There are many other foes who have surfaced like the new head and a mysterious scientist with a split personality. Gao will have to keep his guard up at all times since these games may not just be for fun anymore.

Lets talk about why the season had a rough start. It acts a little bit like a reboot at times. It’s not a full reboot though so the best way to describe it is like Pokemon. Ash has gone on all of his adventures, but he is still only 10 years old and forgot a lot of his battle experience and even acts like he doesn’t know some of the original Pokemon at times. That’s how it is here. Gao and friends act like they barely know some of the old characters like Tasuku and many supporting characters. This is only relevant in the first episodes as they all become friends again and act like their old selves, but the early episodes are fairly bizarre. It feels like the writers couldn’t decide if he knows the others or not so it goes back and forth on that.

Another issue is that the show seems to aim a little younger this time. Particularly in the first episodes again, it seems a little like Pokemon Sun and Moon. There are a lot of visual gags now with characters faces getting exaggerated and crude humor jokes. One new addition to the show is Zom-B. His whole character is made for excessive humor as he constantly panics and destroys himself. It’s a running gag that the show spams in almost every episode of the first half along with recycled animation the whole time. None of his jokes are funny at all and he does drag down some of the battles to an extent. I was glad when he slowly started to appear less. As you can tell, I didn’t care for the humor. It did not work well at all.

So you may be wondering how this season could possibly top 2 right? Well, it has less repetition. What severely brought Buddyfight 100 down was how many times Gao had to fight the same enemy. That’s never an issue here fortunately. The season is also filled with nonstop tournaments the whole time which was really good. As a result, the action never let up and there were a lot of interesting fights in the mix. In the end we watch card game shows for all of the epic duels and that’s one of the reasons why this show succeeds. Tournaments are particularly fun to watch in this genre although I’d say that they work in just about every genre as well.

As always, the show doesn’t disappoint with the over the top visuals. Every final smash ends up severely damaging the planet and you wonder how the player can survive the intense virtual damage. All of the character designs are on point and a lot of the monster designs look really good. Gaito’s design is solid and his monster is very cool as well. The show’s soundtrack is also amazing. The show is now at its height in that regard. This is mainly because Gaito’s theme is really good and may even surpass the arena theme from 100. Fortunately that one returns along with the despair theme. Combined, those themes make this show one of the best in the business.
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Gao is a likable character as always. He’s not quite as awesome as he was in the first two seasons, but he’s still solid. He’s less intense, but still has a lot of skills. It’s just a shame that he’s not as overpowered as he used to be. I remember when winning every single battle was child’s play for him. Kuguru and Baku don’t really do much in the season. They’re even more irrelevant than they were in the previous two seasons which is a little disappointing for their fans. Fortunately, I don’t like either character much so I’m pretty fine with this.

Bal is certainly no Drum. By the end of the show I didn’t mind him. He beats the new Buddy in the current season, but Drum is still the best. Bal’s true form is really epic to watch and I’m glad that he can actually fight. He didn’t master the form for quite a while, but the payoff was good once he got going.

Tasuku’s as cool as ever. He (finally) quit the Buddypolice for most of the season although there is a slight twist about that. Anyway, he is one character who did not lost his character development. Since he already had a bunch in the previous seasons there is no longer any room for doubt or worry. He is completely sure of himself here and doesn’t have to enter any morally grey areas. Unfortunately this also does make things tricky for him near the climax. He disagrees with challenging Kyoya because he wants to wait for the cops to make a move and thinks it’s dangerous. I disagreed with the rationale there because stopping Kyoya is the safest way to save the world. It’s risky, but still the best move. Still, Tasuku ultimately relented and was pivotal in taking down some of the minions. With Gao being slightly nerfed in the personality department you can make a case for Tasuku being the best character. His buddy Jackknife Dragon is as reliable as ever and serves as a mentor to Bal.

Gaito is the new rival on the block and he’s a really good character. He uses a Dark deck and has shadow energy at all times. This instantly meant that he was going to be my kind of character. His Dragon Abigail gets a lot of development throughout and has a big subplot to himself. I liked him a lot and he is probably my favorite hero dragon in the season. That may seem a bit specific but if we count enemies then I’d probably have to go with Kyoya’s dragon. Gaito gradually does get a little more friendly, but he always stays serious compared to the rest of the characters. Heading off to face Kyoya alone is the kind of decision that I’d expect him to make and it’s one that I supported. I didn’t like his odds going into that fight, but everyone is outmatched against that guy.

Kyoya is the main villain once again. This means that he was the final boss in 2 out of 3 seasons. It could seem repetitive if you see the plot summaries from afar, but it makes sense. True, Kyoya may have had a bit of a personality shift since he seemed like he was turning good after the original season, but his motives are fairly complex. Season 1 was like the opening act for him to gather data and season 2 was something he just didn’t calculate on. I was surprised to see him lose there, but it helped to legitimize the threat. It’s like if an alien attack our world, heroes and villains alike would team up to stop them because we want the world for ourselves. Kyoya just didn’t think it would be enough to beat him. He regained all of his hype in this season though. His new card is great and without plot hax it is virtually unbeatable. There are always some tough questions to ask like if creating your own card is really legitimate or not, but Bal gave Gao, Gaito, and Tasuku one so fair is fair right? It’s no coincidence that the 4 created cards are the strongest either. Why would you make yourself a weak one right?

Azi Dahaka has always been a fun dragon in the series. His fans may be a little upset that he doesn’t really get to activate his master plan and is basically used by Kyoya the whole time, but he still has a very intimidating presence. He’s a good villain to have around for sure. I’ll miss him if he doesn’t return, but I somehow get the feeling that Kyoya will bring him back. If not, maybe this finally was Kyoya’s last hurrah, but I won’t believe that until I see it. Even if he returns as a rival instead of an enemy, I’d be on board with that. Kyoya’s 2 on 1 duel against Gaito and Tasuku is one of the most epic moments of the franchise. The duel may have been off screen, but it’s unheard of to beat multiple opponents. In Buddyfight, that is basically impossible to accomplish thanks to the structure of the game.
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Rouga also gets to appear a little, but I have no idea what the writers are even thinking with him anymore. His character serves no point and I just don’t like the guy anymore. That may be a bit harsh, but I used to like him. It just feels like his character has gone nowhere and he hasn’t gotten any stronger while everyone else has improved. He’s not a threat anymore and I think the franchise should just write him out unless they have a specific plan in mind for him. Noboru is the opposite as he’s still a great character as always. It’s just rather tragic as he loses basically every big battle that he gets involved in. He always gets to make a good speech and it gets emotional, but he can’t close it out. It’s because he always ends up fighting the big villains. It’s a shame, but at least he is a character who tries. Actually, maybe he should be known as the best character in the series now. He’s certainly consistent and I’m always rooting for him at any rate.

Lets talk about some of the new characters. Kaido is a guy who loves yelling about festivals. He never gets serious, but that’s part of his character. He always makes sure to have fun when playing Buddyfight even if everyone else forgets that when the world is at stake. He has the largest monster in the franchise which is essentially his gimmick. It’s pretty impressive and he’s a nice guy. I don’t mind him all that much and he’s a decent rival. I don’t find him to be all that cool, but his gimmick doesn’t get too annoying which helps a lot. He’ll either be your kind of character or not. As far as the new additions go, he’s probably the weakest not counting the one shot characters.

Doctor Gara is one of the big villains who shows up and I liked him. His happy personality as a scientist is pretty boring, but his deranged form works really well. I don’t know how everyone kept getting tricked by him, but I suppose it was the Team Rocket effect. He was actually a very powerful opponent and nearly took Tasuku down. Mix that in with his cool design and he was one of the best parts of the season. Buddyfight is probably one of the few shows where the new villains always seem to be cooler than the new heroes. Maybe that isn’t too rare depending on who you ask, but I liked all of the new villains. He may be no Kyoya, but at least he was a threat. His monster: Zodiac was really good as well. He had a great design that was on point.

Genesis is the other big villain who entered the fray. He replaced Kyoya in the company and now makes it his life’s work to mess up Kyoya’s plans when possible. We get a lot of episodes where both characters are constantly trying to one up the other and it makes for an interesting plot. Kyoya always seems to win in the end, but Genesis came close. He may be the single strongest duelist in the game to be honest. His one hit KO combo is incredibly good and it really should have won. He only lost due to the cheese factor and the fact that someone came back from the grave. Yes, one character’s ability lets him keep on dueling even if his life points hit 0. All right, it’s Gaito, I may as well say it since the ability isn’t a huge plot point. Genesis’ final monster form has a really cool design and the next Buddyfight season even brought back the concept. I guess it must have been a big hit.

As always, the show has an incredible climax which just made the rest of the show even more awesome. It made me really realize what a fun show it had been. The original still wins because it had consistent writing and quality the whole time. The climax may not have been quite as explosive and awesome, but everything else made up for that. This show’s climax is easily the best of the 3 seasons and one of the best anime climaxes in general. Part of it is the fact that Kyoya returned as it feels like a big payoff from the 3 seasons.

I have to say that there’s going to be a lot of pressure for the next season I’m roughly 10 episodes in for that one so it’s way too early to say how it’ll fare. Buddyfight generally starts to ramp up the plot and intensity in the 20s as it loves to use the early episodes for character development and world building. You may think that’s a little excessive but it does work. Hear me out, it can be tough to sit through a bunch of episodes that feel like filler, but it absolutely does make you care more about the characters. Why do you think Cardfight was so successful? It takes just as long to get started at times and G gave us roughly 40-50 episodes of pure character development in the form of the first season before the plot really went underway. As long as the episodes are good anyway (Which they were in Cardfight. Buddyfight admittedly does struggle in this area) then it’s fine. It’s shows with lackluster plots like Naruto which gives the impression that development episodes are bad.

A big element in this season which I almost neglected to mention is the legendary Dragon Force. It is a super ability that only the chosen may wield which naturally means that the main 3 characters obtain it. Gao, Tasuku, and Gaito. The ability is pretty handy. Aside from the cool visuals it also gives some nice abilities to the users. Gaito gets the ability to obtain a second life, Gao can attack multiple times, and Tasuku’s also increases his attacks. Clearly Gaito got the best one if you ask me. Each character also gained an Impact Card which is essentially a super attack that their main monster can use. Gaito’s so good that he obtained two of them though.

These attacks and forms get a pretty high budget animation, but it is one that is reused constantly so it’s a mixed bag. Personally I’m all for it. Recycled footage can be a little dicey at times, but it seems more like a fun gimmick than a crutch in this case. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to have to reanimate these moments every single time. It would certainly get old fast.

When it all boils down to it, one of the best parts of the show is the large amount of hype that everyone gets. Unlike World Trigger where it is a little overdone at times, the characters all live up to the hype. Gaito gets some really epic scenes where he takes down enemies even after they figure out his Impact ability. He quickly grew to be one of my favorite characters because of it. Similarly, Kyoya, Genesis, and Tasuku had big moments as well. Unlike Sengoku Basara where the show didn’t want to give up on the hype, this show knew when it was time to choose a winner though. For example, Gaito and Genesis got to fight when both of them were near the height of their hype reputations. There wasn’t a draw though and a clear winner was chosen. The show is pretty good at not having draws overall as there was only one big one that I can recall and even in that instance, Kyoya would have won, unfortunately the machine couldn’t handle the power of his card.

There are some power level stuff that gets a bit tricky. I didn’t really buy into how Genesis was defeated and there may have been a few cheesy moments here and there. Nothing major though and a big part of card games is the luck factor involved. For the most part it was all fairly believable. I’m definitely hoping for a big reunion season soon though with a tournament that encompasses characters from all of the seasons. You have to admit that this would be hype. On one last note, Kiri fans will be disappointed by the fact that he looks terrible here. He nearly resorts to kidnapping Bal to run away from the enemy threat and doesn’t fight almost at all despite gaining these super powerful abilities of his. Not a good look considering his character development.

For fun, here are the card game seasons off the top of my head. Shows without subtitles are treated as the same though and I’m merging Zexal and Zexal II since that’s what I did on this site. The order would be Yugioh GX, Cardfight Link Joker, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, Yu-Gi-Oh Arc V, Cardfight Legion Mate, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight Vanguard, Cardfight Asia Circuit, Digimon Tamers, Future Card Buddyfight, Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, Cardfight G GIRS Crisis, Scan 2 Go, Buddyfight Triple D, Cardfight NEXT, Cardfight G, Buddyfight 100, Buddyfight NEXT, Yu-Gi-Oh Capsule Monsters. I’m pretty sure I got them all. It’s pretty tough to put them all in order since most of the shows are really close to each other. Some are still ongoing as well so they may move up by the end. The worst card show (Minus Capsule Monsters) on the list is still a very good title overall which is why the genre is just so much fun. I’m glad that it has been doing so well as of late.
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Overall, This was a great anime. I highly recommend watching this season. The best part is that since they tried to target newcomers with this title, you can go ahead and watch it without knowing much of the series beforehand. The rules are easy to follow and the plot is pretty basic. After all, a tournament is as straight forward as it gets while still being incredibly epic. We also get the awesome climax and there is a real time fight during the night where Bal fights Azi Dahaka outside of the game rules. That was fun and I’d love to see more of that. Please bring Azi Dahaka back as well, there’s still so much that the franchise can do for him. Buddyfight’s action and pacing ensure that this is a show everyone can check out.

Overall 8/10

Sengoku Basara II Review

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The first Sengoku Basara was incredibly good. It had a lot of action, good graphics, as a hype soundtrack to boot. All of the tactical scenes were also handled well thanks to the music and it made for one complete package. It’s only slight issue was that the end of the show started to feel like a cop out since basically all of the characters survived. This season takes that a little more to the extreme and is just a lot weaker than the first season. It’s still a really good show, but one that should have been better.

The Devil King has been defeated so all of the various clans are back to fighting each other. Unfortunately, this peace was never going to last too long. A new villain named Hideyoshi has arisen and he wishes to take over the world for the sake of his ideals. He quickly begins to take over land after land so Date realizes he’ll have to deal with this threat personally. Meanwhile, Sanada heads to the beach to overcome his mid life crisis, but will he be able to deal with all of the dirty techniques his opponents use?

Let’s start off with the positives that stayed with the show from the first season. The animation is still really solid. The character designs are on point and this makes for some really fun action scenes. There is a nice contrast whenever it is night or day. Also just about all of Hideyoshi’s fights get a high budget and look spectacular. Furthermore, the soundtrack is excellent as you’d expect. Basically all of the themes from the first season return except for the Devil King’s. I’m glad his didn’t return since it should be exclusive to his character. Replacing that one is Hideyoshi’s theme which is virtually as good. “This is a fight to change the world” makes the fight feel larger in scale and more theatrical. The normal battle themes and talking themes are very solid as well. They did a good job with the selections.

Hideyoshi makes for a great villain. While I still prefer the Devil King and consider I’m to be more powerful as well, Hideyoshi doesn’t disappoint in the strength department either. The scene where he punches a hole in the sky was an incredible start and then draining a river with a single punch was also super impressive. If not for some plot had at the end, he would have certainly achieved his vision. More on that later. He may have a twisted sense of justice since he’s a classic “I’ll destroy everybody, but then we’ll be at peace” kind of guy. Sometimes tricking yourself is the only way to get out of answering the tough questions I suppose. Either way, it was a nice surprise to see the show churn out yet another really cool final boss.

His subordinate Hanbei was also a good character. Unlike the Devil King who had a few minions, Hanbei is really his only minion. Still, he is in charge of all the tactical operations and is actually loyal for a change so that’s nice. He’s a good fighter although he’s a little naive. I don’t think Kojuro would have ever joined his ranks so the mind games felt rather futile. I would have liked to have seen him fight more since he only got 2 action scenes, but he did well in both of them. He had the upper hand against Date and was also beating Kojuro until his illness took control of him. He made for a great lieutenant and I definitely wish that Yukimura had gotten a swing at him.

As expected, the cast of returning characters here is very solid as well. Date has moved up from being a dual main character in the first season to being the complete lead in this one. He may lose a few fights here and there, but overall I’d say that he definitely looked really good. After all, his personality is the main important thing. Even without his right eye, Date continued to show some strategy and foresight into his plans which was nice to see. He didn’t become a commander for nothing after all. He definitely worked well as the main character in Yukimura’s place.

Kojuro got a larger role here as well. He’s always been one of the main characters, but he has another big role here since he was kidnapped and forced to watch the villains plan things out for a while. He eventually got out and was able to claim his vengeance, but his intelligence was certainly praised a lot. Even when he was entirely out of the loop he could predict what everyone was doing. He’s probably the best tactician in the show and was shown to be capable of foiling Hanbei as well. I suppose Mori could give him a run for his money in the intelligence department, but I like to think Kojuro has the lead.

Motochika also got a much larger role here. His army is usually at a disadvantage since it’s smaller in size when compared to the other, but his large battleship always keeps him in the running. He’s got a pretty good personality and doesn’t back down from a fight. I was definitely cool with seeing more of him here and I’m just sad that we wasted an episode with him during the whole mountain exploding debacle. I think having him team up with Date to fight Hideyoshi made a lot of sense instead of sending him off to an off screen climax. He did a great job while he was on screen though and his weapon is pretty unique. The show’s actually pretty good with that as most of the characters use different weapons as opposed to the same sword. One other new character was a ninja who served Matsunaga. He’s apparently extremely strong and he ends up winning his only fight in the series. He’s another character who just appeared out of the blue and I would have liked to have seen more of him. Ah well, perhaps in the next season. What I just want to know is how Matsunaga can hold his own against guys like Date when he seems like the kind of guy who just sits on a throne all day? I can’t picture him training.

Despite all the positives, there were certainly some negatives that got thrown into the show and became a bit of a problem. Let’s start with Yukimura. His character seems to go in circles as he deals with fears that he overcame in the first season. Once again, he is unsure of whether he is doing the right thing or not since he is taking a lot of lives even if it’s for the sake of peace. This causes him to go train on a beach…for almost the whole series. Those episodes are all complete filler and Yukimura doesn’t even get to take on the final boss like Date. Yukimura’s fight with Date in episode 1 is great, I’ll give him that. Unfortunately, that’s the only fight you’ll get to see Yukimura have. Even his big climax battle isn’t really a fight, it’s just him doing one really big tackle and maybe 1-2 minutes of actual swordsmanship at best. Yukimura is still my favorite Sengoku character so this was pretty disappointing. He was absolutely given the shaft here.
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Also, the show made it seem like he made the wrong decision by trying to help Motochika instead of continuing with the mission. His effort to save him was in vain (Although Motochika lived since Sengoku Basara lets everyone live) and then everyone basically blamed him. Yukimura was rather half hearted the whole time, but it was still the right decision. That carries into another point, the show seemed to just have a very poor director or whoever plotted the scenes. Several times an episode would end with an epic cliffhanger only for it to just be skipped over in the next episode. This episode had ended with Yukimura’s team taking the field. The next one starts with the battle already over and they explain that Yukimura lost. A significant amount of fights are off screen in this title which is pretty unacceptable. I feel like the writers weren’t sure if they should continue their story or turn the show into a history lesson at times. It was just very inconsistent and as a result, we saw less fights than we should have.

The show’s problem of having everyone avert death is another issue. It was starting to get bad in season 1, but it’s far worse here. Motochika is basically destroyed by Hideyoshi as he is punched through a battleship and the episode heavily implies that he is dead. Nah, the guy shows up in the next episode. Matsunaga died in season 1, but returns here. Honestly, his episodes have no point and are basically filler. There was no reason to bring him back. Lady Nohime also comes back from the grave. I’m telling you, nobody stays dead here except for the main villain group of the season and even then subordinates seem to come back if they try hard enough. The show needs to just be bold and let the characters die. At the very least, fix the power levels.

If Sengoku Basara’s death problem is basically turning it into the Fairy Tail or Shonen, it’s wonky power levels are second only to Dragon Ball Super. The problem here is that the show acts as if everyone has the same exact power level. Date, Yukimura, (Lost by a fraction) Motochika, Yukmura’s master, the Ice Master, Keiji, Hideyoshi’s lieutenant, Matsunaga, Matsunaga’s assistant, etc, etc. They all have the same power level so just about every fight in the entire season is a stalemate. That gets really old after a while. I don’t want to constantly be seeing matches end in a draw over and over again. I feel like this is because the writers want all of the characters to stay hype and cool when that is not what should be happening at all. Even if your favorite character loses, at least you’ll know that it was a good fight. If it’s a tie, then it ultimately ends up feeling like a waste.

For the matches that aren’t ties, they can be even worse. Look at Date vs Hideyoshi the final round. Date was getting completely clobbered during the entire fight. Hideyoshi was way stronger and he also appeared to be faster. Then after Hideyoshi “won”, Date gets up with the power of friendship and defeats him in a single hit. Of all the anticlimactic, plot hax endings, that’s how you finish it? It has to go up as one of the most random victories along with Soul Eater’s ending. The anime built up Hideyoshi way too much during the arc which ended up backfiring horribly. He was simply too strong so the anime had two options. They could have had a big team up fight where Date allies himself with other commanders or they could have simply not built him up as much.

Also, I mentioned that Samurai Jack’s ending was pretty rushed. Well this one told tat show to hold its Katana because this one tops that. We have around 6-7 big fights going on and a ton of plots in the final episode. This may attribute to why Date’s fight was so rushed at the end and likewise the other scenes don’t get much screen time. Quite a few new characters even show up in this last episode which was just really weird. They got some hype and appeared in the shadows, but only had time for one clash before we got a cut away and then the rest of the fight was off screen. The whole thing was bizarre. I suppose it was meant as a homage to the games since the characters probably had their own stories there, but if you’re going to include them in the story, find a role for them. It’s like how Brawl couldn’t squeeze in Toon Link, Wolf, or Jigglypuff so they put them in secret rooms. Fortunately, there is a movie and a third season so this should hopefully help with that. If anything, they would have worked well as a stinger in that case.

As with the first show, there is a bonus episode/OVA that is included along with it. It shows how Yukimura participated in the Man event with Date back when they were nursing him back to health. It’s a fun enough special as they get to have some fighting accomplished and all. The power levels were still out of whack as Sasuke got way too much hype, but at least Date didn’t actually lose. It was a fun enough episode and while it wasn’t serious, we never did get a chance to see the characters just hang out before this so I’d say that it worked pretty well. Yukimura’s squad definitely has the most fun out of all the groups.

Aside from Yukimura’s character being wrecked in this season, most of the characters were on point. Date shined quite a lot in his main character role. All of the other captains were around as per usual even if they didn’t do much. Kasuga’s recycled fanservice image is as old as it ever was, but fortunately it is only used once or twice this time since her role was greatly reduced this time. Her commander also doesn’t appear much, but does a good job of not actually harming anyone. Stalling Date for no reason definitely seemed rather pointless if you ask me though. However, I said that most of the characters were on point, there is one other figure who looked really bad here, Keiji.
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Keiji’s whole gimmick is that he’s all for peace and rarely tries to fight. He wants to be diplomatic and he used to be friends with Hideyoshi. However, it’s heavily implied that Hideyoshi destroyed one of their mutual friends (The anime never goes into it and I’m sure glad they don’t to be honest. The plot should have never even existed since it just seems to go against his character entirely) so a rift formed between them. He tries to solve things peacefully but it doesn’t work and he gets ignored. Finally, he realizes that the time to act has come and heads off to meet Hideyoshi. Unfortunately, he gets cold feet at the last second and lets the guy steamroll him, losing without trying to fight back. That scene was pretty brutal since you can’t just keep trying the same tactic over and over again and hope to win. Especially since Hideyoshi made it clear that he’s going to conquer the land and innocents are also targeted in his campaign. After a while, it you refuse to fight the enemy, you may as well be aiding them.

Keiji’s friends are just as bad though. Even after the Devil King back stabbed them, they have decided to join forces with Hideyoshi once more. I don’t get their rationale for this at all. They know that he is evil, but they still go through with it. It’s like they’ve learned nothing from their last encounter which could be another example of no character development or regression. Fortunately, Keiji breaks his rule this time to take them out and becomes head of the clan so they can’t do anything, but those guys were definitely annoying.

Keep in mind that this episode is only 12 episodes long and we have all of these characters and various plots running around. It’s no wonder why the whole thing was so rushed. I feel like the writers really wanted a 26 episode show and were only given 12, but they didn’t want to cut anything out. That would certainly explain quite a lot in the show. It’s not really a legitimate excuse, but at least it’ll make the whole thing make sense.

While I definitely had a lot of negative things to say about the show, that’s mainly because the first season just set such a high standard. Compared to the rather tight plot of the first season, this one was incredibly scattered. It just included too many characters and plots that should not have arrived since they ultimately didn’t contribute anything to the story. Still, it kept all of the elements that made the show as good as it was. We get a lot of really Hype moments throughout even if you discount the Hideyoshi moments. (Those were certainly the best ones though) Just about all of the characters get to shine. While the show has about as many hype characters as World Trigger and should probably have a few of them lose, it still does make for fun matchups. While it got a little more jaded here compared to season 1 since you knew they would all be ties, it still works to an extent. It’s a step down, but just as a Lasagna is a step down from pizza, it’s still a very good product in the end.

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Overall, Sengoku Basara crumbled under the pressure of its own ambitions. Still, the animation is rock solid and the soundtrack is amazing. The character cast is very solid and the writing is on point. You’ll never be bored during the show except for possibly the Yukimura filler episodes. Even just seeing the characters talk and plot strategies on the board is always interesting. I do enjoy that kind of thing as I like to see strategies unfold. It further emphasizes how ambitious the show was as many different pieces would be moving as once. Everyone had a plan and the villains would try to anticipate these plans and counter with their own. It was all very intricate and interesting. That’s why it would always be regrettable when the outcome would be off screen. Anyway, I definitely recommend watching this show. It may drop the ball on a bunch of things, but still has more than enough to let it compete with just about any other title. It’s definitely still one of my favorite recent franchises and I look forward to seeing what they do in the sequels. Ideally Yukimura will get a larger role coming up.

Overall 7/10

Samurai Jack (2017) Review

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Samurai Jack is one of the best American cartoons out there. If we don’t count super hero shows like Justice League then it takes the title quite easily. The show had awesome fights and episodes that were nonstop action the entire time. It may have ended rather suddenly with no real ending, but that’s fine since you could always imagine your own ending. Still, everyone was rather hyped when they announced that the series would finally be getting a conclusion. Everyone…except me. From the start this was promoted as a far darker, grittier, more violent take on the classic show to fit in with the modern times. I had a bad feeling that this show was not just going to be bad, but terrible. Unfortunately…my fears turned out to be correct.

This new season was fairly misleading as the first episode was actually really good. We got a nice fight scene and it was against a robot so there wasn’t any blood or anything. I felt like things would maybe be okay. Right after that is where the show went downhill and never recovered. Episodes 2-3 are the most action packed and intense episodes of the show, but are also overflowing with over the top violence. Jack also ends up murdering a few of his opponents who were brainwashed girls who were raised to despise him. The fact that they are rather young is there to increase the grit factor.

Episode 4 was more like a classic Jack episode. It still couldn’t be bothered to avoid some animal violence, but was a big step up from the last two episodes. Episode 5 was the final episode before the show lost its focus. We see the Scotsman have a very pointless return as he gets one shotted by Aku and Jack is tricked into thinking that he murdered a bunch of kids. Honestly, I thought they were dead too so props to the show for not going down that rabbit hole.

Episode 6 is about cameos as Ashi meets up with a bunch of old allies. You can say that it’s filler as it’s just a homage for old fans, but the good news is that this means we didn’t have to see any unnecessary grit. I think this may be the episode with a pretty wince worthy line, but more on that later. Episode 7 leads us back to grit as it’s one of the most violent episodes. Ashi murders a bunch of villains and you’ll just want to fast forward to the next one.

Episode 8 is one of the worst episodes. This time it’s because of the very forced romance and the fact that it doesn’t work at all. Jack’s wayyyyyyy older than Ashi and as people had been pointing out on the sub reddit for weeks, it couldn’t work. The show surely wouldn’t go down that path right? Well, they did even though everyone was hoping for a more father-daughter bond which would have made more sense. Episode 9 still has some of this plot to deal with, but luckily the second half is better as Aku steps in. Episode 10 is extremely rushed with a rather lackluster ending and one of the more anticlimactic final fights. The season ended as it ran….a disappointing and unnecessary final season.

Lets look at the negatives more generally now. First off is obviously the violence. Samurai Jack was originally a kid’s show, but this season decided to get extremely violent and dark. You could barely go a single episode without some kind of animal violence. Whether it be a bird getting stabbed, a dog being slashed to the verge of death, or random bugs squashed there was something always happening here. Animal violence is always a big no-no and having it show up over and over again certainly doesn’t help the show’s case. Naturally, the human fight scenes were just as bad. It gets to the point where you actively hope for an episode with no action and that’s where the show goes to the other extreme of having an episode that’s all about walking and talking. The only good fights are the one against Aku and robots, but those are typically quite brief.

To make the show a little more dark as well, Jack destroys the brainwashed daughters of Aku as I mentioned earlier. They were only added to the show so that Jack could justify his choice to destroy them and so he could stop being such a dramatic hero who saved everyone in his path. This was their only purpose which meant that the writers didn’t even care about their power levels. They started out as being incredibly strong and much quicker than Jack, but ultimately turned into light weights that Jack could defeat with ease.

The show’s writing also drops down quite a few levels. Just to keep up the edge factor the show has Scaramouche use a p word to describe someone’s head and it felt so out of place and unnecessary. It was about as forced as Wolverine’s catchphrase in virtually every X-Men film. The whole romance angle was also written quite poorly. Jack’s sudden lack of confidence and debates with his inner self were just as hard to watch. Aku was really the only character who stayed in character during this season. He was great and definitely a highlight here. Without him, I wonder how the show would have fared.
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To expand on why Jack isn’t a good character here, he has to compromise on his ideals far too often and doesn’t seem to have a shred of will power left. He decides to commit suicide after not being able to save a bunch of kids, but all that will do is doom even more people. He decides not to help a village that is being destroyed because he’s tired of being a hero. By the time he changes his mind and goes there, everyone is already dead. Jack even got a bunch of clever nicknames on Youtube as a result since he certainly seems to have gotten more ruthless over the years. His new (pretty bad) design didn’t help matters either. They really dropped the ball on this.

While Jack may have been butchered as a character, he still got some pretty good lines during the season. “It always seems bad at first, but then I find a way” or “I will give you a new choice. Turn back now or stay and face your destiny.” Those may not be word for word, but they were pretty intense. The latter especially as it comes from the preview for one of the first episodes. It was the most exciting preview and easily one of the best Toonami previews of all time. The music for that one was also pretty awesome and it will make you wish for some good tunes in the actual show.

Ashi is the main heroine and she’s a pretty decent character. She gets the short end of the stick on this show, but it was nice to finally have another supporting character who could fight. It’s a shame that we then had to throw romance into the picture and that we couldn’t see Ashi’s true form appear more. She was a good character and probably the best member in the series. She’s as brutal as Jack thanks to her origin and also mows everyone down during the course of the series. She got significantly weaker after turning good, but that’s to be expected. I like the concept of her character more than the execution, but she definitely wasn’t bad.

Scaramouche was great in the first episode. He made for a really good villain and his tuning fork is a potent weapon. That being said, his character was wasted in the rest of his appearances. The show just didn’t know what to do with him. His voice really helped to sell the character if you ask me. I already talked about how great Aku was so I don’t really need to go into it. He was just on point and while the show made him a little too powerful, (Jack can only win with plot hax) it made for an interesting dynamic. Aku is evil, but he doesn’t seem like a mean guy compared to the other villains. It’s something that I wouldn’t mind more titles playing around with. To an extent, Fairy Tail did this with Zeref for a while, but then he suddenly became full psychotic while trying to convince people that he was a nice guy.

The animation is basically the same as the old Jack show. It’s a little more streamlined and modern as the colors are sharper and the contrast works well. That being said, it’s still not my kind of animation and I wish they’d switch it to something more modern. The show looks very dated and I’ve seen 90’s shows that look a lot sharper. Just check out DBZ or Pokemon. The fight scenes are also a big step down from the old series. That one could have fights that lasted the entire episode and they happened multiple times. All of the fights in the 2nd half of the series are short and the first half felt long and intricate but also super violent and bloody.

There isn’t really much of a soundtrack here. The classic Jack end theme is still around for most of the episodes which was pretty cool. I’m not really a fan of the theme song either. I typically don’t care for narration in my openings as it should just be illustrated through the lyrics and animation. If the show can’t do that, then it just needs to try again until it can pull this off.

The show is only 10 episodes so you’ll be able to get through it in a breeze. I can’t say that there is any real replay value to be found here at all. It may help convince you to re watch the old series again though so that would definitely be a good side effect of watching this one. At the very least, Samurai Jack serves as a cautionary tale to other old cartoons that fans want to get a new season. Odds are that the new season won’t be able to live up to the original episodes and it’ll just throw mud onto your cherished memories.

Before ending this review I should at least come up with one positive fro the show. It’s not a 0 so it’s not as if the show had 0 potential. What it did do well was establish a pretty apocalyptic atmosphere. It’s clear that Aku has won the war when the season picks up. Everything that I say here refers to the first 3 episodes by the way. The rest of the season became a complete trainwreck. The episode with Ashi and Jack teaming up in the factory was the final episode to try and salvage itself. Still, the first 3 episodes were pretty hype. There was a nice level of intensity and flare to each episode and the fights had real stakes. While the daughters of Aku were nerfed, they still felt like a nice threat. Seeing Jack use a variety of weapons instead of his sword was also interesting since he is a master in virtually every form of combat. If the episodes had been handled in the same vein as the original show, I think that these three episodes could have easily reached a solid 9. It wasn’t to be, but at least Jack never got boring during this trilogy. It really should have come out as some kind of 70 minute movie.

To address the ending, I can safely say that it wasn’t satisfying. As mentioned earlier, I wanted a big final fight. Even if we ignore the fact that we got cheated out of that, it’s just pretty mean spirited to Jack. The show basically just got him a companion just so they could take her away at the end so he could die alone. Jack also got over it a little too quickly in that last butterfly scene. I would have much preferred it if Jack had simply gone to the past, defeated Jack in a very long drawn out fight, and then became King. It would have been so much more effective and concise. That or have a big team up with Aku against a new villain, but I somehow feel like fans wouldn’t like that option very much.
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Overall, Samurai Jack deserved another season, but it didn’t need one. This season could have had a lot of potential since you can always make another story arc for Jack since he is immortal and the world is extremely large. Unfortunately this season couldn’t even decide what it wanted to do and half of the season felt like filler. The show could have ended on a more epic note after the first 3 episodes. It would have been a pretty conclusive ending. It even could have adapted episode 10 just without Ashi. Make no mistake, the show wouldn’t have gotten a positive score or anything since that would fix nothing, but you wouldn’t be missing out on anything by cutting the other 6 episodes out. The poorly constructed romance and pointless cameo of the Scotsman could have been left on the shelf. Next time you think about watching this show…don’t.

Overall 3/10

Mob Psycho 100 Review

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This show is a nice contrast to Attack on Titan. That show had amazing animation, soundtrack, and writing which helped to counter the terrible source material. It managed to bring up the manga which is like a 1 all the way to a 5. Granted, it hasn’t had to adapt the really sketchy stuff yet so we’ll see if that can last. Mob Psycho is the opposite as the animation is terrible and the soundtrack is only average at best while the plot isn’t bad. It’s funny how two shows can be so different and so similar at the same time. It’s no One Punch Man, but the series manages to pick up its game just enough in the end to save itself.

The series is about a kid named Shigeo. He was born as the strongest being in the universe and he could end all life on the planet if he wanted too. Shigeo was unable to deal with this so he locked away his true powers with his emotions and decided to train under a con artist named Reigen. As a result of losing his emotions, Shigeo is now super timid and unsure of himself. He basically says whatever he is thinking and is typically a very oblivious person who is also not fit physically. He is forced to come to terms with his powers more when an evil organization known as Claw kidnaps his brother. Can Shigeo defeat them without losing his cool or is it curtains for him?

Right from the start you’ll notice a lot of similarities to One Punch Man. I like to think of it as the poor man’s version of OPM as it does everything on a lower level, but at least it still tries to be like that show. If you’re gonna copy something, you should copy from the best. It’s from the same guy so at least he’s just copying himself, I imagine there would have been a lot of waves online if this had really been a ripoff from another person.

Lets start with the negatives and then go into the positives. Mob Psycho is hurt by a very slow start. The show is only 12 episodes and the plot doesn’t really begin until around episode 8-9. The first chunk is just for filler and character development. Most of the development isn’t any good though which doesn’t help its case. The show isn’t so much boring as it’s just very underwhelming because of the animation. You won’t really begin to like any of the characters aside from Reigen and most of the supporting cast is pretty bland and lackluster.

The beginning of the plot didn’t help matters either as it covered Shigeo’s brother Ritsu on his descent into darkness. He turned completely evil and wrecked some lives before being beat up a few times and realizing that being a hero is less paiful. He was definitely one of the worst characters in the series so getting multiple episodes to himself wasn’t a really good idea on the show’s part. Next up is the biggest negative of the series though…the animation.

You can call the animation indie or experimental, but it leads to the same result. It’s just really bad. The average episode will look like hastily drawn title by the Dragon Ball Super B team. (Not even the starters) The character designs are only good when the episodes get serious or during a battle so otherwise they don’t look very good at all. It’s like we’ve time traveled decades into the past for this show. Moreover, the show looks ugly on purpose at times. The show has a really awful way of drawing characters sweating and we get some dicey facial expressions the whole time as well. The animation focuses on elements that don’t help the show’s case and parts of it will even seem like FLCL. It can be subtly gross if anything.

Now, the animation isn’t terrible 24/7. It magically transforms into a solid spectacle once the action gets underway. Suddenly the show remembers that this is 2016 and it looks top of the line. For the final 3 episodes, this is mostly the case for the entire adventure which also proves that this “experimental” style as intentional. It’s a little insulting that the show looked so bad on purpose. It would be like if the One Punch Man anime had decided to look like the web comic sketches. It would make no sense and would have severely hurt the show. Unlike Mob Psycho, the OPM series is just a lot better in general so it’d probably still get a 7, but it would be a massive two point drop.

As for the soundtrack, it’s not bad. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a little standard, but I’ll take it. It has 1-2 really good themes with the rest not being very notable. I wasn’t a big fan of the theme song and I still don’t care for the visuals, but the actual music grew on me by the end of the show. It’s definitely pretty catchy and the serious Mob themes are good. I’ll give this area of the show a thumbs up. All right, lets talk about the characters.

I definitely don’t like Shigeo. He’s not very smart and is way too timid. While the first trait can work to a character’s favor if handled well, the latter pretty much never works. Shigeo gets serious when he reaches 100% rage of course and he quickly jumps into the other extreme since there’s no middle ground for him. I wish he’d stay like that though. Not only does his design get a lot cooler, but he actually has a personality. Normal Shigeo has no character and just lets everyone walk right over him. He stays in normal mode for so long that a member of Claw even defeats him and then he loses another round later on for losing control again. Shigeo’s just not a good character and he is extremely annoying whenever he is on screen. For being the world’s strongest fighter, he’s got a ways to go.

Luckily, Reigen is the best character in the series and he gets a lot of screen time as well. Since he is a professional con artist, he doesn’t fall for any of the tricks that Shigeo steps into. Reigen knows how to steal money from people and trick them into enjoying the process. While he doesn’t have any powers, Reigen does know basic hand to hand skills and has most of the best moments in the series. He takes on the final bosses and it’s just great. While his advice at the end was completely terrible, it was the only out of character moment for him. The rest of it was all pretty legit and he just steals the show plain and simple. He’s the kind of character who should definitely stay powerless as it’s part of his charm, but I’d still love to see him beat up more villains at some point.

Next up is Dimple. He was a big villain who got turned into a powerless spirit and now Shigeo allows him to hang around. It may just be to fuel his ego though as Shigeo will threaten him now and again. He is definitely a villain even if it’s not played too seriously so the other characters need to watch out. He’s not a great character, but he can definitely be amusing. Ritsu on the other hand never gets amusing or likable. He’s the classic “jealous brother” trope along with characters like Yukio from Blue Exorcist. He doesn’t have any powers so that makes him feel bad. Ritsu does whatever he can to gain powers, but nothing works so one day he decides to take a shortcut. After he gains his powers, Ritsu immediately uses them to bully people because of his inferiority complex. This is the part where Ritsu makes sure to never redeem himself. He really only turns into a good guy because he was completely humiliated by the villains and spends the last episodes just getting beat up over and over again. He got to keep his powers so now he can fight to a degree, but he’s nowhere near Mob. Like One Punch Man, if you’re a supporting character then you’re doomed.
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Ritsu does officially turn good so he’ll probably be a solid character in season 2, but it was too late for him here. He already ruined the lives of a lot of classmates by framing them and he just really crossed the line into full villain territory. It’s hard to reverse that in a handful of episodes as opposed to Naruto where Sasuke had hundreds of episodes to show you why he was a villain before turning good. Granted, it wasn’t handled any better than this show though, but that’s another story. Ritsu actually does bring down the show.

The last member of the heroes is Hanazawa. He has a similar plot to Ritsu as he starts off as a bully and then becomes a good guy after Shigeo shaves his hair off and beats him into the ground. There’s a trend here if you’ve noticed, the only way to turn a villain into a good guy is to beat him up. The series goes even further with this by the end of the series. I actually liked the ending of the show quite a lot. Just about everyone turned good, apologies were made, etc. It was a nice uplifting ending to the series and while Shigeo looks bad as usual in his epilogue, it hit all of the right notes. Since this is supposed to be a light hearted parody anyway, it should have an ending like this to match that beat. It’s why I have much higher hopes for the 2nd season. If it plays its cards right, I could definitely see that one getting a 7. Hopefully they don’t get the same animation studio though.

Time for the villains. Shou is the hype antagonist who they are saving for season 2. His abilities are certainly extraordinary as he was able to take down one of the strongest villains in the blink of an eye. He’s pretty charismatic and I think that I actually will end up liking this villain. He’s the best villain in the series at the moment. Another big villain was Sakurai. He’s a swordsman who uses psychic energy to amp up his equipment so he can take the fight to the heroes. He’s very strong and is certainly the most no nonsense of all the fighters. His role may not have been huge, but he was one of the big villains and I’d say that he was the best member. (Shou doesn’t count as a member of course)

Koyama was another one of the big members. He has super strength and it was quite formidable since he was actually able to punch a hole through Shigeo’s defenses. He wasn’t at 100% yet, but that was still really impressive. Furthermore, he was able to survive a long combo from Shigeo’s true power and had enough strength left to counter-attack and take him down. This guy was definitely no joke even if he was treated like one during round 2. He was another really good villain. There were other members of the group who shows up like one guy with fire powers and another who used a whip. The organization definitely had some really talented fighters under their belt.

Ishiguro was the leader of the group and “her” design while in villain mode was pretty cool. The gravity balls were also a nice touch. Gravity powers are some of the most underrated abilities in all of media if you ask me. They can definitely be very lethal and she was holding her own even after Mob stepped in. The ultimate reveal for Ishiguro may have been underwhelming for some and funny to others. It was mildly expected that something like this would happen, but at the same time it’s still a little surprising. It definitely destroyed Ishiguro’s character so hopefully it was worth the laugh.

One element of Mob Psycho 100 that can be a mixed bag is the fact that it’s a parody. Shigeo is meant to be virtually invincible which means that he can beat people whenever he wants. The reason why it doesn’t work as well as One Punch Man is because he’s just not likable. Also, Shigeo does lose 2-3 times in the series unlike Saitama who has yet to even come close to losing. It hurts the whole concept a little. Also, this means that there is never any real danger in the show. The show did randomly get dark at a few points in the series like with Ritsu’s plot and when the organization showed up for the first time. It’s a little all over the place with the tone and especially when the show would just go full parody mode and have some big comedic reveal to disrupt a tense moment. It just didn’t always work well. Some episodes had a perfect blend like with the last episodes as Reigen wrecked everybody, but others like the super strength guy getting one shotted by Shigeo didn’t work. I do think that it’s a formula which could work like OPM proved, but this show just isn’t as good at it. As a result, many of the fights in this series are completely one sided which is never a lot of fun for the viewer. Whether it’s the hero outmatching the villain or vice versa if you make it too lopsided then it’s not going to be any fun. It has to at least be at the level where the other side has a slim chance like with Aizen wrecking the Bleach cast or Broly dishing out the pain. Those were lopsided battles, but they still felt like battles, not just one guy murdering everyone else or knocking them out with a thought.

Also, the supporting characters just need to be written out. The Alien, Psychics club is really just a waste of time. None of their scenes are funny and the characters aren’t likable. At least the body improvement club members help out Shigeo when he needs them. Those guys are honorable and you can count of them. Unfortunately, they are still side characters so they get beat up quite a lot. I definitely felt bad for them at any rate since they didn’t really deserve it. It was also one of the moments that hurt Shigeo a lot as he just watched all of his friends get beaten up in front of him and didn’t move a muscle to help. Considering that these guys only got into this mess to protect Shigeo from the bullies and it’s pretty messed up. The bullies sure get away with quite a lot in this show.

On a final note, making Reigen the main character would really help the show. As I mentioned, he has most of the best scenes in the show. He takes out the villains while staying classy and not breaking a sweat. One problem with the show is that all of the fights revolve around someone beating Shigeo black and blue until he turns into rage mode and then crushes the opponent while insulting him the whole time. There’s no middle ground so the supporting characters are your only chance at a good fight. It’s just Shigeo turning into rage mode constantly, but not even a really cool version like Kirito. (Best kind of rage mode) Reigen wouldn’t have that problem since he never even gets upset. The show could just tap into its comedy/parody nature and think of cool ways for Reigen to win through his scams. A show like that would definitely be a lot of fun and that’s the key thing. It would be fun as opposed to just being dark and brooding at times.

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Overall, I wasn’t really a fan of Mob Psycho. It had its hype moments and did get really good at the end, but the painful beginning really held it back. It could get a little mean spirited and the fact that Shigeo’s not a good lead doesn’t help either. That’s why I make the comparison to Attack on Titan, they’re both similar when you think about it. Mob Psycho has a whole lot more potential, but actually realizing it will be the struggle. Improving Mob as a character and getting the animation to a reasonable level should be the show’s two top priorities. Along the way it should also try to get the blend of genres balanced and write out some of the supporting characters as well. If it can do all of that, then Mob Psycho will be a success. Looking at One Punch Man and learning how to use humor as effectively would also be a valuable use of time. If you love One Punch man, then I guess you should check this out. I’d recommend just watching the first episode and then skipping the next 5-6 and starting with the plot if anything. That would probably help the experience quite a lot. Alternately, just check out One Punch Man instead.

Overall 5/10

Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis Review

I had finished this review up by the time that GIRS Crisis had finished, but the episode count kept on going so I decided to keep the next season under the same review. I already had the review done though so I decided to keep it instead of scrapping it. As a result, the first half is essentially still a review of the G season with its own rating. I’ll just add onto it once the next season is finished and then add the final rating. Think of this like a doubleheader review!
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It’s time to take a look at the big Cardfight G sequel. This is what G had been setting up for after all. To an extent, this season is also mostly set up as well, but the plot does begin to start up. Think of this as the second film in a trilogy where the villain finally makes a move so more heroes are called in to come up with a plan. The big confrontation hasn’t happened yet, that will be for the third season. The main draw for GIRS Crisis is that the heroes have finally acknowledged that they can’t win on their own so pretty much the whole cast from the older seasons return. The crossover appeal is always strong and we get to see how Try3 handles the likes of fighters like Q4, Dreadnaught, Asteroid, etc. This season is a big improvement from the last one as it keeps all of the positive things from G and throws in more hype moments.

Chrono and friends may have stopped Kanzaki, but the hunt for the Depend Cards is still on. Chrono has 3-4 of them in his possession and he can only awaken them through strong emotions. He must engage in powerful duels to do this so he decides to enter the G quest with his team. They will need to conquer 6 areas to get enough points to be known as Generation Masters. Chrono will use this to learn what he wants to do with his life. Shion has been in a difficult situation as well. After losing to the mysterious fighter known as Ace, his family was thrown out of his company. Shion went from being very rich to barely scraping by and his parents had to move away. Shion wants to get revenge and to exonerate his family. He is entering the G quests to get closer to Ace and also just to keep up appearances. Tokoha has decided to go aboard so her goals are set. As a result, she can enter the G quest with a clear mind.

Meanwhile, the GIRS Crisis has begun. A mysterious man named Myoujin has started to summon monsters from Planet Cray to the real world as slaves. They will be his personal army for some kind of master plan. Kouji has started amassing a group of skilled cardfighters of his own to counter this. Mainly, his group consists of the best and brightest Cardfighters from the original series. To determine if Chrono and his friends are up for this task, they decide to test them through and G Quests and Cardfights. Can they prevent Myoujin from summoning his final units and bringing the world to ruin?

As you can tell just from the summary, things are really happening now. In a sense, the filler episodes now are the ones where the heroes go through the G quests, but those are technically important. Not to mention that they are all tournaments in one shape or form and those are always hype. You know a series is doing well when the tournament matches aren’t always the hype moments. Also, the tournament sagas are always the crossover episodes as Chrono’s team duels with the likes of of Ren, Leon, Kai, Kamui, and other big shots. Each tournament is definitely great.

As for the non tournament episodes, those typically follow the trials that the heroes are facing individually. For example, Shion decides to gather information on Ace the old fashioned way. He beats up a lot of thugs and keeps on breaking into strongholds until he gets the answers that he is looking for. He starts to get a little unhinged and Kai also takes him down a few pegs to remind Shion why he is doing all of this in the first place. Kai helps Shion shed his former self and just start from scratch. His riches are gone so Shion has to adapt or fail. Shion does a great job and I don’t mind him getting into a slump again because it is for good reason. Anyone who goes from being insanely rich to losing it all in a day would be crushed. Not to mention the fact that you know it was all your fault because you lost a duel when everything was on the line. Shion gets back up and is poised to be a much better character than he was. I already liked him in season 1, but I can safely say that he is much better now. His upcoming fight against Ace is definitely going to be great. They’ve both taken a win so the next and probably final encounter between the two is surely going to be something great.

With the black coat that he inherited from Kai, Shion’s also able to pull off this new personality quite well. He’s suddenly become the “expert” of the group and you could argue that he may have surpassed Chrono. I’m tempted to say that Chrono’s still the best since he keeps dispatching incredibly strong Card Fighters, but I feel like Shion should definitely be the strongest after all of the training he’s gone through. He’s been put through the ringer, but these tough scenarios have only made him stronger.

As for Chrono, he’s heading into a dangerous spot now. Being Miyoujin’s adversary can be fatal if he truly did have something to do with his Chrono’s father’s accident. Chrono warns his friends as well, but he had to deal with a more personal ally. His mother was never thrilled about Chrono starting to Card fight and lets him know that she’d rather he doesn’t do this. Shin backs her up and challenges Chrono to another serious duel. It’s a tough battle, but Chrono decides that he has to go further and his Mom ultimately gives him her support. It can definitely be tough letting someone know that you’re about to go into an extremely dangerous situation, but it is the right thing to do and Chrono knows it. Now that Chrono’s sure of himself it’s been good to see him just get set in his duels without having to worry about anything. He can really go all out at this point and he continues to be a strong lead character.

Tokoha doesn’t really have any more trials left at the moment. She wondered briefly about what she should do in the future, but after deciding on her goal that was basically it. As a result, she’s sure of herself in the duels pretty much from the get go. One source of drama may be coming up though once she found out about Ace’s plot twist. I don’t think that she’s handling it very well, but I suppose it is good to have an optimistic approach. She just needs to be careful not to let it become a liability and endanger the team. That’s where you have to draw the line.
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Kamui returns as a regular once again. He even gets his own episode where he attacks an enemy strong hold. It was one of the big plot episodes so it was cool to see Kamui getting such a big role. He did good when it counted. His duel with Chrono was particularly intense as he did all that he could to win. If he won, then Chrono would not be allowed to join them to fight Miyoujin. Kamui doesn’t want to put Chrono in danger so that’s why he has to win. Yes it is a bit of a selfish wish since Chrono has decides to fight on his own, but it is one that I can definitely get behind. After all, who doesn’t want to keep their friends out of trouble? Kamui had to watch Aichi and Kai go through a lot of trials and even turn evil during them. It makes sense that he would do everything that he could to stop that from happening a third time. Plus, he was just trying to win. He didn’t try to do anything crazy like kidnap Chrono the way that Chris tried to nab Sonic in Sonic X. Kamui may be around a lot so it can be easy to underrate him, but as he showed in this series, he is still one of the best.

Kouji’s role is surprisingly small in this one. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do here, but he is technically the mastermind behind Plan G so that is a good enough role I suppose. He has embraced his role as another mentor figure to Chrono so there is no case of mistaken identity this time. He is still not as cool as he could be though. There is just something about him that I can’t take seriously. I dunno what it us, but at least he isn’t a bad character though.

Kai is pretty epic as per usual though. He is the hardcore rival that I remember and he managed to take down Shion rather easily. Seeing him take Shion down numerous times was definitely impressive and awesome. He still proved that he is still a nice guy as well though as he did all of that to help Shion get out of his situation. Kai has always been good at encouraging people after all. He is great and still my favorite character. Having him back as a main supporting character is definitely going to be awesome and nostalgic. The other guest stars are cool as well, but their roles are a lot smaller. Ren and Leon are among the big characters who show up.

The only problem with these guest stars is that they are a little underpowered to make the new fighters look better. For example, Chrono actually manages to defeat Ren and Leon. I don’t really think he should be portrayed as quite that powerful at this point. Kai lost to Shion as well. I get that they’ve got to hype the main characters up, but it goes a little far. Still, it was awesome to see the old cast and the crossover factor was handled really well in G. I look forward to all of them getting serious fights soon the way that Kamui did.

Luna is the new beginner of the show. She’s a pop idol, but she wants to learn how to play Cardfight so she can duel with her friend Am. Luna has improved quite a bit. She’s not a big threat just yet, but dueling a lot always helps out and she’s at the point where she is no longer a novice. She really wants to be friends with Am and as a result she is quite hyper. Ultimately, I’m sure that they will become friends and Am is lucky to have Luna around. That being said, hopefully Luna is brave enough to stand up for herself once the plot entangles her in its web as well.

Am is much more laid back and keeps to herself. While on the job Am will throw on a smile and get to work, but she can be a little too serious. It’s often hard for Luna to get Am to relax and Try3 has to have a little chat with Am as a result. Am gets a lot of character development and she will likely have a major role in season 3. Her role will be even bigger than Luna’s and 90% of the supporting cast as well depending on how they go with this. Hard to say what I think of her here without spoiling the twist. Before the twist she was a solid character and I prefer her to Luna. After the twist, she is still a cool character…but in a different way and I’m hoping that the mask doesn’t come back on so to speak so the post twist Am sticks around. That version is cooler.

Ace is a fairly hardcore villain and one of the better characters in the show. Since Shouma barely appeared, I’d say that Ace took over the spot as the best villain. This is partially due to the fact that he came out of nowhere and took over Shion’s company like it was nothing. His successful mind games are also impressive since Shion was supposed to be over the whole thing and their first big duel was one of the best in the series. After all, it doesn’t get much more high stakes than having millions of dollars on the line and your whole financial future along with it! While Ace may not have done quite as well in the rematch, he didn’t completely crack either. Rest assured, Ace will likely continue to have a powerful role in the next season although his confidence may not be as absolute since his standing in the villain organization is in jeopardy after the loss.
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Myoujin is the big villain who will make his move in the next show. He hasn’t done anything as of yet though. His design isn’t that good as he is very old so I don’t think he can be a very menacing villain. Still, I am glad to have a villain who is lasting a while and for all we know he isn’t the mastermind behind the operation. With someone like Shouma still in the fold, I could definitely picture a betrayal. Shouma doesn’t play well with others after all. Still, I want Myoujin to put up a fight if that happens. Shouma’s role is small as he just makes a few cameos to remind us that he is still around. I was rather annoyed that Kouji stopped Shion from beating him up though. Shion was winning and taking a villain out of the picture this early would be incredibly helpful. Ironically, it seems like he’ll be the first boss of the third series. It’s not as if Shion was going to destroy him or anything. The heroes could have quickly captured Shouma and that would have been awesome. At least they forced a retreat though.

The animation is solid as in the last show. The characters all stand out and the battle scenes are fun to watch. There may have been one or two low budget episodes where physics started to get a little wild, but for the most part is was all consistently good. I’ve always liked the animation style of this company. It feels modern and I think the animation will hold up quite well. It’s not overly flashy, but that’s why the fundamentals will age well. The soundtrack is better than the last season’s. Perhaps it is because the stakes are more intense, but it could also be the crossover effect. For example, Kai’s theme returns briefly during his fight with Shion and we finally also have a bit of a villain’s theme for some of the duels. It’s still not quite at the level of the original Cardfight, but we’re definitely getting there. Good themes can always elevate a series.
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Overall, GIRS Crisis added the excitement and stakes that I had been waiting for. This series was still more set up for the big battles to come, but it set the more interesting plot elements as well. Shion’s ongoing fight to restore his company (Although that isn’t really his goal anymore or so he claims) and Chrono’s quest to find his father should be pretty interesting. The father better have a good excuse for just wandering around unless he is a friend of the Dad or something. Seeing the old characters actually get to duel should be awesome and I’m fully expecting Aichi to finally get in on the action as well. The return of Psyqualia would be a nice added bonus as well. There’s a lot to look forward too and the third season should end up being the best G adventure.

Overall 8/10
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Well, not all of that ended up happening in the next part, but we did finally get all of the big battles and the epic climax that I was waiting for. The heroes made their big move and the GIRS Crisis finally ended. It definitely was the best part of Cardfight G so far. If the first season of Cardfight G was to establish all of the characters and the world building and part 1 of this season was to bring back all of the old characters and get the main characters some training, then this is the big payoff where the heroes finally confront the villains.

Just about the whole second half is a gauntlet of battles against Ryuzu’s chosen warriors. Things don’t go well for the heroes at first as the season couldn’t be around 26 episodes if the heroes just won everything right? Chrono and Shion may have reached a really high level where they can fight with the best of them, but the side characters like Taiyou and Mamoru still want to help and that gives the villains some opportunities. Plus, the main characters can’t be everywhere all the time.

Unlike the last half, there is also an immediate sense of danger. The villains go as far as to blow up all of the empire branch headquarters and seriously injure all of the leaders as well. As part of Ryuzu’s plan, they also use Luna as a power source and prepare to destroy the world of Vanguard. The heroes have to move fast this time and while Chrono is the first to take charge as per usual, the others aren’t far behind. The climax involves a giant laser knocking everyone out as they prepare to enter a never ending dream state so it comes down to the main heroes against the big villains. They each get their own episode which makes for a lot of epic fights.

Not much has changed for some of the characters so I’ll keep those brief. Chrono is still a very solid lead. Ryuzu comes close to tricking Chrono, but the young hero stays strong. Shion stayed on his vengeful path, but ultimately decided to help Am and the heroes to rescue Luna. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but at least he made the right call. Shion’s still really close to Chrono with who the better main character is. I may have to say that Shion has the slight edge and likewise in terms of dueling skills. It’s always cool to have two leads at similar strengths.

While Tokoha didn’t have too much of a role in part 1, she gets thrown into the fray here since the situation with Luna and Am is personal. I think she was probably a little naive with how she handled it though since at least Am was actually evil for a while. It turned out okay since Am had a change of heart, but she could have put everyone in danger by meeting up. A hostage situation would have been sad. Kamui doesn’t really have a role this time. He maybe gets 1-2 duels, but part 1 was really his final hurrah.

Taiyou gets a big role here since Hiroki is his rival. He’s gone through a lot in the series and has become one of the sleeper members of the team. The show treats him as a semi weak-strong fighter depending on the episode. I consider him to be underrated considering how skilled he was back in his evil days. He does a good job of taking on his opponent. He’ll likely never become an outstanding duelist the way Shion and Chrono are, but he’s definitely a guy that you can root for. His rival Hiroki was also a decent villain although he came across as completely delusional. At first he would stand up to bullies, but then he became the bully. After that, he convinced himself that everyone who opposed him was evil while he was the true hero. It was an interesting point of view, but one that didn’t follow any logic. It made for a lot of nice crazy ramblings though. I’d say that Hiroki was one of the weaker villains, but he was tough enough to still be a threat.

Luna is an example of a nice character who allowed herself to make a bad friend. Trying to save Am only led to her being turned evil and being put in a bad spot. I definitely prefer AM a great deal to Luna. Luna isn’t bad, but she’s just not all that tough and lets everyone use her. She never really gets a moment where she stands up for herself or becomes a great duelist. Am was a great villain as I mentioned earlier, but I felt like the writers dropped the ball with her character a little. I just don’t see how she was so naive with the villain’s true agenda when her whole gimmick that she knew the world better than Shion since she wasn’t rich. Her turning to the hero side was a little cheesy, but now that it’s the status quo she could potentially become a cool hero. It’ll be hard to match her days as a villain though. She was easily one of the best villains in all of G.

Kouji still tries a little too hard to be the mysterious character, but I suppose he’s not bad. He’s just not very good at the role, but he spends less time on that here since he ends up focusing on actually fighting this tie. He puts up a pretty good fight against Ryuzu and more importantly, he’s able to give Chrono a new card which is critical in the final fight. Ryuzu doesn’t change much from part 1. Perhaps you will sympathize with him more after the back story, but I dunno. He just ended up going off the deep end and probably still would have done so even if not for Chrono. Chrono’s Dad probably should have done more to stop him though. Ryuzu is a cool villain whether he’s in his kid form or adult mode. I missed the latter, but the former was pretty catchy. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him return some day.
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Shouma remained a really epic villain. His gimmick about chaos and discord seemed rather plot convenient as the villains had the whole thing sewn up otherwise, but seeing him sabotage everyone was pretty entertaining. He’s definitely not the kind of guy who blindly follows orders. That’s Wakamizu’s job and he’s probably the blandest villain of them all. He just wants to see what will happen to satisfy his scientific curiosity. There really wasn’t much to his character and he wasn’t a particularly strong duelist either so I was never all that interested. He’s probably the most evil of the members though as most of the others had their reasons for doing this or had some conscience about the whole thing. Wakamizu was happy to go along with all compared to the rest.

Finally Enishi was the last member of the group. They tried to make him sound noble as a villain with his whole “I’ll protect you” attitude towards Luna. The problem is that he still allowed her to be used as a power source and wasn’t going to do anything about it. That’s a pretty lousy way to protect someone and she would have died if the heroes hadn’t stepped in. It’s a little hard to see him hanging out with everyone as a good guy after that. How I see it, Enishi let the villains push him around and didn’t have the strength of character to stop them. I definitely was not a fan of this guy.

My only real disappointment here was that the old characters didn’t get to do anything. Apparently, they only showed up to train the next generation and to get their cameos in, but that was it. There’s no real narrative reason for them not to help. The heroes should have been protecting the Empire branches. Of course, the villains would have been stopped right away if that had been the case, but it’s still something to think about. It would have certainly made the whole thing even cooler. I’m waiting for the day when the old characters are heavily involved with the plot again or at least get some more fights in a serious setting. The tournaments were awesome of course and I could always use more of those, but seeing them help against a world ending event is what I want to see next.
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Overall, Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis does a good job of improving on the first and making its way to the original series and its level of greatness. Essentially, everything that G did, GIRS Crisis did better and upped the ante. Better fights, more intensity to the duels, higher stakes, better animation, better soundtrack, etc. It did exactly what a sequel is supposed to do. It’s not quite ready to beat the original Cardfight series yet, but lets see where it stands after 4 full seasons. The first season was a lot of fun, but my one complaint was that it didn’t have a huge climax like the other seasons. This one fixed that and just generally had a lot more action and intensity. The tournaments for part 1 and then the big battles in part 2. That’s a great way to pace a season. The animation and soundtrack were certainly on point. I dare say that they got even better during part 2 and at the very least, I’m positive that the soundtrack improved. It’ll be tough for the next season of G to top this one with the new animation studio and all, but I’m sure that it’ll give it a fair shot. NEXT has a pretty interesting premise and plot at the moment. Plus, I’m sure that a lot of elements have yet to even appear. I highly recommend this show and you can get into it even if you haven’t watched the original G. Of course, you’ll be missing out on a lot of character introductions and development since that was the point of the original. Also, you won’t understand why it’s so hype when Kai keeps on crushing Shion. Allow for a little plot hax at the end of that subplot, but it’s pretty real otherwise. The show also ends with a big status quo change so prepare for that!

Overall 8/10

Pokemon Generations Review

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It’s time to review the recent web series that Pokemon got. It was a relatively short show as it only had 18 episodes and they were each 5 minutes. It was a good show, but also very disappointing as I had been expecting something a little more grand. From the premise and the poster, I was awaiting a magnificent look at the best moments in Pokemon history, filled with a lot of great high budget fights. Unfortunately, that was not to be. There are little to no fight scenes to be found here so the series plays out like a commercial. Really, I feel like these were made to be little cutscenes inside of a Pokemon game and wouldn’t be shocked if they announced something like that in the future. It’s important to go into this series knowing this beforehand as you’ll enjoy it a lot more. There won’t be any fights, just think of the series as a commercial for the games.

The first segment is just an overview of what’s to come. We see Pikachu take on a lot of Legendaries and prove that he is the strongest Pokemon of all. It was an interesting way to start the series and I wasn’t against it since I love seeing Pikachu wreck everyone. Unfortunately, it did give the wrong impression as this segment did have a lot of Pokemon action. No full fights as they were all interrupted, but it was still epic. The second episode sees Looker attempt to capture Giovanni, but the mastermind had already escaped. It was a fun little sleuthing episode even if you knew from the start that Looker was doomed. He’s no Red and that’s the only person who can stop him. Looker actually appears quite a lot in the series so if it ever got a full anime, I could actually see him being the main character.

The third segment is easily the best one. It’s about how Blue took down the Pokemon League and became the champion, only for Red to arrive and dethrone him. While most of the fights are skipped over, we do get some nice trash talking and Blue’s voice actor does a great job in the role. The whole thing felt epic and it’s always good to see Blue getting his props. Especially since he didn’t look particularly good in Origins. Next up, we see Lance and Dragonite attack a Team Rocket base and they witness the Red Gyarados. This was another fun segment and Dragonite got a lot of personality. It’s safe to say that the villains stood absolutely no chance against an opponent of Lance’s level. He could wipe the floor with them without even trying.

Next up is the weakest one so far. Looker asks Silver to tell him where Giovanni is, but the kid doesn’t have any answers at the moment. It was also bad timing since Silver was getting ready to take on the Pokemon League and Looker was throwing him off of his game. The discussion is interesting enough, but since you know that the series isn’t very long in the first place, it really just feels like filler. Following that is a story about how Suicune, Entei, and Raikou originally started out as normal monsters and after dying, Ho-Oh brought them back as Legendary Pokemon. I was glad about the twist since the animal violence would have been terrible otherwise. The story is still a bit of a downer as the humans chase off the legendaries anyway. This segment was probably the most boring one as nothing really happened.

The next two segments are essentially flipped versions of each other as one deals with Kyogre and the other with Groudon. It’s not surprising that Groudon had the much cooler version as we see a trainer infiltrate the base and some really cool music is playing in the background the whole time. That part was the best part of the segment and even beat the main plot of Groudon’s awakening. The legendary Pokemon waking up was neat and then they destroyed the world, but it was more of a disaster scene than a fight so I was still hoping for some extra action. The music ensured that the Groudon segment was good though while the Kyogre one was a little underwhelming.

After that was the Deoxys vs Rayquaza segment. Finally, a segment with a big fight scene! Naturally, this was one of the best ones and perhaps it was the best aside from the Blue one. This fight was handled really well in the movie and I was glad to see it return here. Deoxys is easily still one of the best Pokemon out there. After that was a horror episode as a girl and her Chansey walk into a spooky mansion. It was a change of pace and wasn’t so bad I suppose, but the main character really annoyed me. She was scared of everything even though she has a Pokemon and likely dies in the end. Cmon….I expect that from horror movies, but not in Pokemon land where you have Pokemon fighters at the ready. I thought that the scenario didn’t make much sense.

Now we arrive onto the Dialga and Palkia plot. They get captured as per usual, but luckily Giratina is here to lend a helping hand. This was a fun segment and I did like that Giratina got the last laugh against the villains. Legendaries should always show the humans who’s boss in situations like this. They certainly have the power so there is no excuse not to humiliate the humans. The 12th segment had Heatran show up and take on Looker and a kid. It was a fight scene so that was neat and while Heatran isn’t the most interesting Pokemon to fight, he is still pretty tough. Looker showing up again also made the episode feel plot important.
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The next episode saw a bunch of the gym leaders come together to try and fight the region’s equivalent of Team Rocket. Naturally, the special ends before the fight can really get started, but it’s still a fairly neat premise. Usually the cliffhanger would be exciting, but it doesn’t work when you know that the next episode is just going to completely ignore it. After that was a segment where the world is frozen. This one was probably one of the weaker ones again. It had some nifty energy blasts and what not, but it’s the kind of segment that could have really used an extra battle scene or two. It just felt a little hollow.

Luckily, we returned to the action with the next segment as N showed up to try and save the world. He gets crushed, but at least we actually got to see the fight this time. I feel like he should have put up a better fight to be honest. The segment ends when the main character comes in as backup and that’s a good thing for the villain since he would have been doomed. This one was solid so it was followed up by a more underwhelming one. Lysandre tricks the world into thinking that he is a good guy by day while actually being a villain by night. The special doesn’t really go anywhere so it is the ultimate definition of a 5 minute filler episode. We are nearing the end now so episodes like this one are the kind that you do not want to see.

The second last episode sees a girl get a meta human suit and perform super feats. Unfortunately, she uses her skills for evil since she has been mind controlled. It was a good special although her Pokemon should have dodged the blow. Looker returned once again for his final appearance and showed that he still had some moves. Finally, the last episode was very underwhelming as it was the most disappointing episode in the whole batch. It starts off with some hype as a guy showed up to challenge the champion, but then cuts away to an incredibly boring flashback that lasts all the way through the special. Disappointment….that’s basically what the whole series boils down to.

Well, the animation is pretty solid for the segments. I suppose they were able to save a lot of the budget by not having fight scenes so it could be used for the environment and destruction moments. I’d like to see a whole series of this, but I suppose it would take a while. That’s why I would have settled for one well done 30 minute episode as opposed to 18 5 minute ones. Hopefully they do something like this soon as an Origins sequel or something. The soundtrack was also fun as it had a lot of good themes and some familiar ones. The show had fun experimenting with different genres and tones so that allowed it to use a bunch of different themes.
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Overall, You can kind of get the gist of what I think of the review from the tone alone. The show should have done a better job of marketing itself as a series of commercials rather than a revisit to the best moments in Pokemon. They wasted too much time on stories and flashbacks when they could have been used for fights instead. The Pokemon anime has more action on a week to week basis, which is too bad since I was hoping that this series would have focused on all the action since they could use a higher budget for the 5 minutes. Despite all the disappointment, it’s still a good show in its own right. It won’t last you very long of course as combined it’s only about an hour or so, but it’s a good little watch. At the very least, it should be a little nostalgic if you’ve played all of the games. I’m still behind on those, but I’ll catch up one day. The final takeaway that you should get from this review is that the directors, producers, and anyone who had a say in Generations should be fired ASAP and replaced with people who know what they’re doing. There’s no excuse for having a Pokemon anniversary series that is light on action. Now, the next big Pokemon product to look forward to is the reboot movie. I’m definitely pretty hyped for that one so hopefully it doesn’t let me down!

Overall 6/10

The Legend of Zelda Review


It’s time to take a look at a rather infamous cartoon from back in the day. I only got to see 2-3 episodes back in the day so I had always wanted to check out the whole series. Well, I finally got my chance for Christmas as I took the plunge and purchased the whole series. I mean, for only 6 dollars how could I not take the plunge? These 13 episodes may fly by, but they still deliver with a lot of content and you’ll find yourself grinning throughout. It’s a fun show that you can recommend to anyone and it should feel very nostalgic.

The story follows a young hero named Link. He guards Princess Zelda and her magical object of power (The Triforce) from the evil Ganon and his demonic followers. They want the Triforce and will stop at nothing to get it. The only way to stop Ganon for good is to claim his Triforce for themselves, but it’ll still be a very dangerous undertaking. As a result, the two sides are at an eternal stalemate and that’s where the show picks off. Oddly enough, Ganon’s side is the only one that continues to attack and press the advantage. Link and Zelda are content to just relax all day and not actually get anything done. It’s a rather risky move and honestly, it feels like their team should lose after a while. Ganon’s big advantage is that the heroes don’t dare wander into his domain while he breaks into their castle every day. The heroes have no guards or defenses and the villains are able to teleport into the room anyway. They broke in while Link was sleeping once and many times they even nab the Triforce. They’re always caught of course, but it just shows how easy it should be for the villains to claim the win here.

It’s pretty admirable how the show just launches into the episodes without explaining much. The mystical weapons? Nah, the viewers will understand what is happening right off the bat. It’s the way most shows should go about this and this lets the pacing be very fast. The heroes just go about their business and we follow as best we can. If anything, the show developed such a fun little world that it makes you want to see more of it. Where are all the citizens of this big kingdom? We see some briefly in 1-2 episodes, but for the most part the Kingdom is completely deserted, which may seem odd at times. At least this means that Link and Zelda can go anywhere at any time without having to worry about a crowd. That’s definitely a nice perk.

Link also isn’t your average selfless hero as he doesn’t care for the job. He just wants Princess Zelda, which isn’t the greatest reason to stay. He isn’t even a great fighter half the time as he lets his sword do all the work. It must be nice to have a sword that can fire energy blasts which destroy most foes in a single hit. Even with that weapon, Link is overwhelmed most of the time and gets captured/defeated many many times. It’s quite telling that he is still the strongest warrior in the kingdom. That should speak volumes. While he may not be much of a hero, Link is still pretty charismatic. His catchphrase “Excuuuuuuuse me Princess” is one of the greatest in all of television and it’s really cool that he is able to say it almost 30 times in the span of 13 episodes. He is only cut off once so Link usually gets to squeeze the whole line in. Link may not have any magical abilities, but his weapons certainly seem to be magical as they can shrink and enlarge at will. Link can even materialize his shield to help him out in the tougher fights.

Zelda’s a fun heroine as well, but she definitely does openly use Link the whole time. She insults him quite a lot and always makes sure to dodge his advances. I can definitely get behind her on that, but then she’ll also lead him on or accept his advances in other episodes which makes the whole thing really odd. She changes her mind on how she feels about Link quite often so you never know which Zelda to expect. It’s also strange to see her not fight all that much since her magical abilities seem to make her a much stronger fighter than Link. Her sorcery seemed to not really have any limits, especially when she was with the Triforce. It would probably be safer with the heroes than locked in an isolated room next to the window, but I suppose that I shouldn’t question royalty.

The King also appeared a few times. I liked how similar he was to the CDI games. He even said “Mah Boi” and we had some other homages like Link saying “Oh Boy” and a variation of “It sure is boring around here” The show always knew how to include some really good dialogue. Throughout the show, the writing is very strong. The voice acting is also top notch as all of the characters really give it their all for all of the lines. The King may have been overly naive, but it’s just to show that the people in the Kingdom are super innocent. They aren’t really prepared for Ganon and his onslaught of evil.

Speaking of Ganon, he was a decent villain I suppose, but probably the weak link from the main cast. I actually liked his screechy voice as it helped to make him sound whiny. On the other hand, it was a little odd to see that he was also interested in Zelda. That’s certainly not the Ganon that I remember. His magical powers seemed to be pretty decent for the most part, but since a sword blast will also take him out Ganon doesn’t get too many chances to fight. His blast was able to get past Link’s shield so that was impressive I suppose.

One character who gets a pretty big role in the show during the early episodes is Sprite. She’s a fairy who likes to interrupt Zelda and Link before things get tricky. She is a little on the gullible side as she falls for Link’s tricks, but she means well. She can fire energy blasts, which is pretty useful in a fight and comes through for Link in one of the episodes when he was trapped as a frog. It’s interesting to see her so antagonistic to Zelda considering that Zelda is her boss, but at least it shows how fearless she is.

The show’s soundtrack is pretty solid as it uses a lot of classic Legend of Zelda tunes. You’ll recognize the original music as it plays quite a lot. It’s pretty fitting for the scenes. The animation is also pretty smooth and crisp. Once in a while the show will show its age as a character model won’t really move as he/she is blasted, but that helps give the show that retro feel. It’s certainly aged really well considering how old it is and I dare say that it looks even better than Captain N. The theme song is also pretty fun as it gives you a nice wrap up of what the show is about off the bat so you know what to expect.

Given that this is an old cartoon and that it is only 13 episodes, you can probably guess that there isn’t a big plot or anything like that. All of the episodes are stand alones with attempts by Ganon to steal the triforce. Luckily, the episodes are all pretty solid. The best episode is probably the one where another Prince shows up and Link feels threatened. It’s a classic trope and you know that the new prince is doomed, but it was still nice to see him talking so tough. Also, Ganon was actually a little worried about his presence and the Prince was a good fighter so he was given more credit than I was expecting. That was a nice twist and Link still took him out in the end.

Another classic one is when Ganon gets a duplicate Zelda to make Link bring the Triforce over to his lair. The plan actually works fairly well even though Link figures out the trick right away. Still, the problem is the same as it always is. Ganon’s henchmen can’t do anything so even if he gets the Triforce, Link will just steal it right back. The “romance” in the episode was pretty sad though and it still shows why Link isn’t really a hero here. He just wants his thrills and saving the kingdom is just a way to keep from being bored. The rest of the episodes are more such attempts. Sometimes Link is a ghost, a frog, or just bored, but he always finds a way to win along with help (Sometimes quite a lot of it) from Zelda. While most of the episodes follow the same formula, they stay fresh and epic because of the great writing. I can’t stress enough just how important it was for this show to have such a solid script.
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Overall, Legend of Zelda is a really fun show. I definitely wish that it could have gotten more than 13 episodes. The title is gone just as soon as it is started. Especially since each episode is shorter than the average episode for another show. The main cast are likable and we do have a nice array of action scenes which are great as well. Even if you’ve never played the Legend of Zelda games, I’m confident that you can get behind this show. It’s the kind of classic fun that can appeal to all audiences and who doesn’t know the legendary hero of time? Naturally I need to wrap up the final box set of Mario as well so I can give that one a review as well. Eventually it’ll be fun to check out other similar shows like Captain N, Mega Man, and Street Fighter. These retro shows are just too good to resist. I really wish Nintendo would come up with a new show. There are so many possibilities here!

Overall 7/10

Batman Beyond Review

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It’s time for the final main show in the DCAU lineup. I still haven’t seen the Zeta Project or Static Shock yet so those two won’t be getting reviewed for quite a while. I’ll probably be watching them at some point though. Batman Beyond took a very different approach to the Batman mythos and it certainly worked well. I imagine it was probably pretty controversial back in the day and I can only imagine the reaction it would get nowadays. Still, that’s why you have to take a chance sometimes since it can pay off very well.

Batman Beyond takes place well after the events of the original Batman show. Bruce Wayne started to get older and suffered heart problems. He was forced to take off the Cape and cowl. (The final movie in the series has a plot twist so old age wasn’t the cause for Batman’s retirement, but that’s another story) Gotham City has completely reverted back to how it was before Batman showed up. Crooks are everywhere and the civilians are all scared out of their minds. Terry is a teenager who has grown up in this era and has developed into a tough individual who can look out for himself. One day, his father is murdered by the Joker gang so he decides to steal the Batman suit to avenge him. Wayne is reluctant to agree at first, but gets on board and that’s how Terry becomes Batman for the rest of the series. He may not be the genius that Bruce was, but Bruce assists him through a communicator which makes that a non issue. Terry was also already a fighter so we don’t have to watch him act like a total rookie. He handles his tenure as Batman very well.

Terry is the main character and for the most part he is a great lead. While he may not have Bruce’s charisma, he has the passion and hot headed nature that most great anime characters possess. His first episode was a little rough as he was acting out quite a bit, but a tragic attack forced him to mature a lot in that regard. He always sticks up for the weak and keeps his emotions in control when it counts. Terry has no shortage of confidence either and is never afraid to go up against an opponent, even if Batman thinks he should wait. Like Peter Parker, (A character who has a lot of similarities to Terry) Terry has to deal with a lot of romance drama, but it never becomes the main theme of the show or a priority to the point where it would take away from the plot. I was definitely satisfied with having him as the main character.

Bruce Wayne may not be Batman anymore, but he is still rich and retained his intellect. Batman was never feared purely for his amazing hand to hand combat. His genius is what also intimidated opponents. It can be frustrating to see him so old and unable to defeat opponents like Inque, but at least he continues to try so you have to give him points there. That’s why it was cool to see him turn young again in the Ra’s episode since he got to finally fight at peak strength again. The show even managed to give him a stronger sound effect than Terry’s to show the difference in power. Bruce was only a little unlikable in the first episode and you can understand his reasoning for wanting the Batman legacy to die. The last thing he wants is for another ally to bite the big one. Terry wasn’t even formally trained so he would be in a lot of danger. I can get that, but shutting down Terry’s suit while he was being attacked was going a little overboard. Not to mention that sending Terry away without any real help was also pretty bad since he was essentially helping the villains by doing that. Letting Powers steal the company is also something that is hard to picture for such a strong willed individual. I guess you can say that Bruce also regains his old spark while Terry learns how to be Batman. We also can’t forget that he has a real cool guard dog by the name of Ace. I didn’t care for Ace’s episode as it was one of the iffy ones, but he’s definitely a great character. Ace is fearless and never backs away from an enemy. Terry was lucky to have him around quite a few times.

Max is one of Terry’s friends. She has good hand to hand skills and after she finds out his secret, she helps out in the background a lot like Oracle. The heroes are always hesitant to accept her help, but by the end she is one of the gang. She did give us the weakest two part event with the King Cobra villain, but you can’t really blame the character for that. Max was a solid supporting character and I’m sure that her role would have grown more f we had gotten another season since the heroes were working with her more.

Dana is the main heroine of the show. She is around to give Terry a reason to have a daily life, which prevents him from being Batman close to 24/7 like Bruce. Bruce was always in the Batman mindset at any rate I’d say. Dana is pretty reasonable for the most part and there is certainly less drama than some other super hero romances like Mary Jane and Spider-Man. I’m definitely on Dana’s side more than Terry’s for the show since she was always loyal while Terry did cheat on her with someone else. He broke it off fairly quick, but it shows that he went on the rebound fairly quick. It would have been cool to have seen Dana get a crime fighting suit, but I suppose every supporting character doesn’t have to turn out to be a fighter. Dana is smarter than some of the other characters as well since she actually put the pieces together about Terry’s mysterious disappearances.

Barbara Gordon lost a lot of her personality in the transition to the new era and has become another pencil pusher with no real idea of what goes on in the field. The worst part is that she knows who Batman is so she can effectively blackmail the heroes. It is definitely annoying but luckily Batman is always ready for things like this and Barbara got a fairly small role in the show. It’s a shame, but I guess some superheroes lose their likability after they hand the costume in. Powers is really the main villain of the series. There are other recurring villains of course, but Powers is the only one who lasted a full season. He would show up a lot in both major and minor roles. Powers even got special abilities of his own that made him a real threat. The radiation that he emits would allow him to beat many foes despite a difference in power. Sure, he would lose to a really strong foe, but he would give them cancer so it would essentially be a draw. He was a good villain to have since having someone who’s not one and done is always a good thing.
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Inque was another villain who shows up a few times and I thought that she was definitely better than most of the others. Her powers make her a really powerful threat to Batman. It’s hard to capture her or to even land any damage because of how she can almost become liquid. Electricity is her only weakness and even then you have to be careful how you handle her. Forcing Batman to swallow her was definitely one of the most traumatic moments of the series I’d say since it looked quite painful. Mr Freeze is one of the few old villains who shows up in Beyond. His fate is rather tragic here as he was a head for many years and once he finally gets his body back, he is promptly betrayed. He really wanted to turn over a new leaf and become a good person, but it wasn’t to be. The betrayal made him go off the edge once more and then he lost his motivation to go on. He was easily one of the best “villains” here and it’s too bad that he couldn’t have a happy ending.

Shriek had a cool design. I figured that was worth giving him a quick write up here. He’s basically a generic villain otherwise. There’s not much to him otherwise. Kobra is a fairly annoying villain who took over the big villain organization at a young age. He’s just that much of a prodigy I suppose, but he went from being a fairly decent rival/classmate to being a generic villain. Now, Ra’s is a more interesting opponent. Granted, his method of kidnapping Bruce Wayne and going about his plan was rather off. He could have planned things out a bit better and then maybe his plan would have been successful. It was still neat to see how he had survived all of these years though. He certainly was a very cunning opponent for the dark knight.

The Royal Flush Gang went after Batman a few times. This show’s Ten got the biggest role out of all the members. They made for good opponents because while they were weak individually, they were a threat as a group. Defeating Batman with sheer numbers was always their plan, even if it wasn’t always an effective one. I like the designs and the concept is fun too. They’re just rich people with a bunch of time on their hands so why not become thieves right?

Finally, we also had the Justice League show up. Their members may not be as impressive as the ones you’re used too, but they can still deal some damage. Superman is still around and while his powers have lessened over the years, he’s still quite powerful. He’s as smart and dependable as always even if his will power isn’t quite as good as it should be. I do like his Justice Lords design, but I do have to wonder why he would ever don that costume. It certainly makes you wonder. Aquagirl’s probably the only super nice member of the group and she does her best to help Batman fit in with the others. She doesn’t seem to be all that powerful when it comes to combat though. Green Lantern comes off as rather annoying and is easily my least favorite GL. He doesn’t appear to have a great imagination and his voice just got on my nerves. It’s easy to see how he died in Justice League. Warhawk is basically a male version of Hawkgirl. He’s loud and talks a good game, but he’s not all that strong. The design was good though and at least he did have enough strategic awareness to come up with a plan when things started to get out of control. I’d say that this already makes him a better character than Hawkgirl for me. Big Barda’s another tough member who doesn’t like Batman. It should come as no surprise that Batman was eager to get away from the team as soon as possible. Lets face it, there was no reason for him to stay somewhere where he’s not wanted.

Lets take a look at some of the episodes of Batman Beyond. Naturally, the opening two parter was a lot of fun. It got a high budget and started the whole series off. It was very fast paced and I was satisfied with the origin. It’s sad that gangs can break in and out so easily in Gotham, but the city has always been like that so it’s not too surprising. The place has always been corrupt and that’s why Batman is always needed. A Gotham without any crime fighters is a very scary place indeed.

There was an episode with a homage to the Fantastic Four as an experiment went wrong (Don’t they always?) and a group of individuals got super powers. It was nice to see how the FF would fare in a DC world and needless to say, it goes as you’d expect. They can’t really handle Batman, but it made for some nice battle scenes. Another good episode was Inque’s debut. As mentioned, she’s an interesting villain and a very deadly one. Batman really had to think fast in order to keep up with her. Since she also ends up finding the Batcave, the heroes have to think about making the place even more secure. Not that it worked as Return of the Joker showed us…

The Mr. Freeze episode is golden. His fight with Powers was a lot of fun. Now, I think Powers should definitely have the edge here and he was winning, but it was good to see Mr. Freeze put up a fight. Powers’ brief fight with Batman was also good. The episode just had a lot of action throughout and the animation was stellar. It’s the kind of episode that you could even watch directly after the first Batman series since it’s a sequel in part to the original. It’s a tragic episode, but an enjoyable one.

Another episode saw the debut of Curare, a skilled assassin. I forgot if the show explicitly said that she was from the League of Assassins, but if not, then an equivalent organization anyway. Her skills were certainly very good and as she has never failed an assignment before, Batman really had to be careful here. By the end she has to watch her back as well since the League is after her, but given her track record, she should be able to hold her own right? Well, that’s exactly what happens as she appears in another episode and we find out that she simply got rid of the organization. That’s why you probably shouldn’t try to destroy your best agent on a whim like that. Both episodes were great and some of the best in the series.

Lost Soul was a pretty interesting episode as someone takes over the Batman suit so Terry must used his hand to hand skills without backup for a change. It’s a fun change of pace since we don’t get to see Terry do a lot of formal sleuthing. He does check things out in his alter ego, but seeing him stick to the shadows is rare. Back to a more conventional episode, Terry is challenged by The Stalker. The Stalker wants to destroy Batman to prove that he can hunt anyone. Unfortunately, he’s bitten off more than he can chew and starts to suffer delusions by the end. Batman completely broke him. The Stalker made for a good enemy though. Babel was another fun episode as Shriek eliminates language. Nobody can understand each other now so that makes Batman’s job a lot harder. He’s got to find Shriek without Bruce’s help. It’s tough, but Terry never gives up so he’s got this.

Another solid episode is when Spellbinder frames Batman for murder. Barbara Gordan is very quick to jump on this so Batman must dodge the official lines and find a way to win. I believe that Mad Stan was also in this episode. I forgot to mention him earlier, but he’s easily one of the best villains in the entire series. I’m being serious here folks, Mad Stan is just amazing. He’s a conspiracy guy who is always yelling and talking a good game. Tell me with a straight face that he doesn’t sound amazing. It’s just not possible. He’s easily one of the funniest figures in the show.

Sneak Peek is a good episode where a reporter learns how to go intangible. Unfortunately, this slowly corrupts him since the powers were too much and he ultimately meets a sad fate. Batman got lucky here since he was completely out of his league by the end. Seriously, there was basically nothing that he could do against this guy since no attack would work. It’s why nobody likes dealing with intangible foes. Repeller had a villain who couldn’t be touched. He had a barrier around him at all times. This guy was also crazy strong and Terry needed some luck to take him out. It’s always been a fun concept and the original X-Men comics had a villain named Unus with the same ability. It’s not used too often though because of how overly powerful it is. Finally, Where’s Terry is another good episode as we see Max and Bruce be the main characters instead of Batman for a change. It plays out like a mystery as they follow a lot of clues to see where Batman is. The episode is a little embarrassing for Terry, but you can’t win em all right?

The show’s animation holds up very well to this day. The futuristic look ensures that it looks about as good as Justice League despite airing sooner. The colors are very good and everything is sleek. Batman’s suit is better than a lot of the redesigns that you see nowadays and is still one of Batman’s best costumes. It may be the best besides the classic DCAU one. (Yes, Batman had 2, so I’m talking about the Justice League one) Likewise, the soundtrack is excellent and one of the best that you will hear in a show. Certainly the best in western animation. It’s just hard to get better than this since every theme is very fast paced and techno. It fits the future environment very well. It also goes without saying that the writing is very solid in this show. It’s the DCAU so you’ve probably come to expect this by now, but it’s still a nice credit to its resume. Nowadays, shows would do a lot to grab writing as solid as this.
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Overall, Batman Beyond is a great show. It did a good job of showing what it would be like to be Batman in a future DC universe. It was dark toned throughout, but it was usually not dark for the sake of it and never got super violent or anything like that. There may have been one or two episodes that went a little too far with that, but they were few and far between. The average episode was very solid and this is a series that I recommend to all action fans and especially to DC fans. It’s the next generation of Batman, how can you afford to miss it? Even if you don’t ultimately end up finding Batman Beyond to be more likable than the original, you should end up being a fan by the end. To be fair, Bruce Wayne is still the definitive Batman for me as well, but I actually like Terry more than all of the Robins in the DCAU. He was just written really well.

Overall 8/10

Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On

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I’ve now started the new Monster Hunter series! It looks like it’ll be a decent show although it’ll be hard to ascend its limits. It’ll remind you a little of Buddyfight and Pokemon. I’ll have a review for the series when it finishes and we’ll see if the main character can keep his status as the best character in the series!

Overall 6/10