Demon Slayer Review


It’s pretty neat to be reviewing the anime and manga versions of Demon Slayer almost back to back. When Ufotable jumped on to animate this series it was definitely a big deal. The manga went from being a pretty big Jump title to suddenly being a house hold name and breaking all kinds of records. It’s easy to see why though, Ufotable easily appears as the best animation company at the moment. (Although I’ll still take Studio Pierrot as my favorite company. They are able to keep a top rate level of animation for long running shows which is just as impressive but more on that in a future editorial) Their animations are just spectacular and the adaption of the manga is quite accurate. It’s certainly top notch in that respect but of course that also means the anime can get extremely violent. Ufotable isn’t about to shy away from such things so while this series is held back in that regard, you won’t be forgetting the battles.

The series begins with a kid named Tanjiro heading down the mountain to sell some wood and gain money/supplies for his family. Unfortunately when he returns it turns out that his family was murdered by demons. The only survivor is his sister Nezuko who has also been turned. Fortunately she is able to resist the urge to eat humans but she can no longer be in the sunlight. Tanjiro convinces an ex Demon Slayer to train him so that he can fight demons and ultimately find a way to turn Nezuko back to normal. It’ll be a difficult journey since we don’t even know if a cure is possible and most people won’t trust her since she is a demon. Still, Tanjiro does not intend to give up and is ready to brave any hardship to protect her.

We get quite a lot of training initially and you can see why being a Demon Slayer is not something that just anyone can do. Most people simply wouldn’t be willing to train for years at a time risking their life in the process just to get a job that we don’t even know has a salary to risk your life against monstrous evils. Fighting demons has to simply be something you are very resolved to do. Otherwise it simply won’t work out. In fact we see this later on in the series as a lot of people either dropped out or didn’t have the proper motivation and got bumped off pretty quick.

I’ll quickly talk about the animation part right off the bat to get it out of the way. It’s exceptional as you would expect. One thing I really liked here was how the show gives all of the characters very distinct eyes. Eye colors have always been a fun anime thing and I really enjoy when titles go all out with it. For example Shinobu has very dead eyes which makes sense for such a mysterious character and then Tanjiro has two layered eyes which are cool. They just stand out. It’s a little harder to get this across in a manga although Slayer did that well there too. To date the best example of a manga doing something similar is Kaguya: Love Is War but for the most part you usually have to wait for the anime. The fight scenes are absolutely on point with Tanjiro’s battle against the spider creature getting a ton of hype back when it came out. You would see that one everywhere. The animation’s just very consistent and even small things like the little character heads for bumpers during the more comedic episodes were fun.

Naturally the soundtrack is also quite good. It really sounds like a Fate soundtrack to me at times with maybe a little Naruto on occasion. I wonder if Ufotable has some kind of jurisdiction over soundtracks so they have to have a certain style. It all works very well for the series though of course. You can expect a lot of high intensity tracks to be played during the fights really cementing how high the stakes are.

Naturally as mentioned the series can be incredibly violent. While I wouldn’t put it on the same level as Fate Zero, it’s probably right after Attack on Titan for being the third most intense series I’ve seen. Characters are blown up, ripped apart, and suffer catastrophic injuries over and over again. Since the demons can regenerate it isn’t always a big deal to them until they finally lose their head. The show isn’t afraid to just show all of this straight up. Naturally a lot of random civilians also get thrown into the crossfire and don’t quite make it.

Some of the demons have pretty twisted backstories as well. The Spider demon saga probably had the most moments like this even though it also had the most epic fights. The spider demon son who was the main villain for example would just rip another demon’s face off and liked to punish them with his whips. The father demon was also demented as he terrorized the others. It was an extremely warped version of a family and you would expect no less from a demon tribe. Still, those scenes are definitely quite dark. In the final episode we basically have Muzan crush and dismember a bunch of his demons to remind them of their place as well.

In such a world even the heroes are rather jaded to the point where you even have one of them stab Tanjiro’s sister a few times. Those scenes are pretty tough since it makes it hard for you to root for some of these heroes. It’s always good to see Tanjiro jump in to help out. He’s definitely a very solid protagonist in any medium. Nezuko also deserves a lot of credit for staying strong in these circumstances. The level of violence means I’d be recommending this to a very select crowd based on their tastes but overall it really does limit the show a lot because of how frequent it is. More realistically this wouldn’t ever make the list on my recommendations for anime viewers.

Season 1 covers a pretty good amount of content even going into the big Hashira meeting and through to the beginning of the Train section. As the train arc is getting a movie I figured the show would end with the heroes walking out of the house so it was nice that we got a bonus scene at the end here. It also makes for a good ending point with a fresh adventure on the way and the opening act stories completed. Lets turn the clock back a bit though and talk about some of the opening stories.

The first mini arc is Tanjiro’s entrance exam to becoming a Demon Slayer. To do this he must survive a few days in a deadly forest with a lot of demons. This is one of those tests where you feel like the proctors could probably keep an eye on things a little more. After all it turns out that a super powerful demon is around picking people off and nobody figured it out. Ah well, it’s fortunate for the demons at least. It worked well as a first big fight for Tanjiro and he got to show off his opening water breath techniques this way. By avenging all of the students who came before him, Tanjiro started off his journey on the right foot.

Then you have the arc where Tanjiro meets two demons who are on the side of good such as Tamayo and Yushiro. They were good allies to have around for sure. Yushiro may have given Tanjiro and Nezuko a hard time throughout but he was quite devoted to protecting Tamayo which is important. Tamayo’s mastery of medicines was also handy. In this arc the group is attacked by a pair of demons who can use a soccer ball and one who can control the direction you move in. These were definitely deadly opponents to fight and Susamaru had to be the standout villain of the series. She was really confident in her abilities and even fought Nezuko rather fairly in a battle of brawn with her kicks. Ultimately Nezuko was still getting stronger at this point so she wasn’t quite ready to win such a battle but she made it awfully close.

Susamaru’s partner isn’t quite as memorable but his attacks were great. Honestly it’s hard to see how this guy could be defeated once he gets the arrows on you. Tanjiro did a great job of surviving but that had to be one of the deadliest fights for him. If Susamaru had just kept the arrow going up it could have been the end. I assume he has some kind of ability limit which prevents him from doing so, however it’s still a great attack. This arc was a great showcase for Tanjiro and Nezuko to fight.

After that we have the arc with the house that is always changing rooms. Tanjiro and a guy he just met on the road named Zenitsu. This Demon Slayer is afraid of just about everything though so he won’t exactly be the most reliable ally to have around. The demon in charge of this mansion may not be the most powerful in a direct fight but he can cause the house to keep shifting gravity angles so if you jump at him you’ll suddenly find yourself going backwards or to the side. He can also shoot shockwaves at you while you’re disoriented. Fortunately the heroes have some backup with a guy named Inosuke who is another demon slayer in the mansion.

It was nice to get 3 different Demon Slayers at the ready here. The fight with the demon was also pretty solid here with a lot of dynamic visuals of having to get used to the place shifting so much. I imagine even the toughest of fighters would have some difficulty adjusting to such a thing. Initially Inosuke was definitely a very antagonistic member of the group though, going as far as being ready to destroy a fellow demon slayer in order to take down one of the demons. Tanjiro had to go in and teach him a lesson. It’s definitely a common theme here that Tanjiro has to headbut/punch people back onto the right path. Inosuke ends up being more of a regular hero after that.

Then we have the iconic mountain arc. A family of spider demons have been murdering a whole bunch of Demon Slayers and essentially own the mountain. It’s difficult to deal with them because they can use their strings to manipulate the movements of the slayers and force them to destroy each other. Additionally one of them has the ability to turn others into spiders and then you have a member with pure power. Tanjiro’s crew is sent over to help out and it’s quite a bold order if you think about it since they were sent in as backup for a group of much higher ranked fighters. Needless to say this isn’t exactly easy. The three of them get split up and all have to deal with their own opponents now.

It was a nice showcase for all of the fighters. Ironically Zenitsu is really the only fighter able to handle his opponent without help. I guess it goes to show that his thunder breathing is really good. The show also highlights the weakness of only knowing one style though. Then you have Inosuke’s battle which is pretty solid. He has his confidence shaken at one point but then recovers enough to attack. Ultimately it wasn’t enough for him to win but he put up a really valiant effort. Finally you have Taijiro who had the iconic fight that everyone was talking about with the final sequence. The fight’s definitely top notch with all of the speed and energy attacks going into it. Nezuko and Tanjiro also got to team up for that effort.

The spider arc is probably also the darkest one though with the origin of how the demon spiders came to be. You’ve got betrayal but also a whole lot of punishments within the ranks. Anyone who defies Rui really ends up getting punished. He shreds his own family of demons quite a bit. The flashback where he effectively takes off one of their faces is pretty brutal and he also puts Nezuko through a lot. At that point Tanjiro definitely knew he had to step in. Rui’s tactic of taking his own head off to prevent anyone else from doing so was a pretty smart idea though. We know that demons can’t destroy each other so it makes sense that if he delivers himself a fatal blow then it’ll be tough for anyone else to do so.

You can definitely be a bit sympathetic to some of the other demons. Particularly the mother one had a pretty tough road. The sister seems sympathetic initially but then she has the flashback where she betrayed another demon and you figure she’s more manipulative than anything. One of the standout scenes of the arc aside from the flashy Tanjiro fight is certainly when two members of the Hashira show up. It’s always hype when you see backup of this level. You only get to experience the first fight for an upper rank once so this was a great way to do it. Gyu and Shinobu show up to offer much needed support and also show how much stronger they are than the average fighter.

Giyu immediately shows why he is the best character in the series (At least as of season 1) here. He’s incredibly powerful but also very reliable. Giyu was quick to defend Tanjiro when it counted. He’s certainly a lot slower to jump to murdering everyone compared to Shinobu. Shinobu’s also a great character though. I appreciated her backstory of why she hides her emotions. Effectively she is trying to fulfill someone’s last wish even if she really doesn’t agree with it. Her style of combat is also unique. She’s quietly quite sinister at times with the demons and it’s hard to say if she would have even kept her end of the deal with her offer to one of the spider demons. Perhaps though, we’re also shown that she has a kind side so maybe if the spider demon had agreed to the terms she would have been okay. That said, I can’t see this demon being able to resist humans the way that Nezuko could.

Finally the show ends with the heroes training at Shinobu’s estate and also meeting up with the Hashira. Naturally a lot of these guys are all in for murdering Nezuko and don’t really want to listen to reason. Giyu appears to be the only reasonable one again, even having to step in to stop the snake pillar from crushing Tanjiro. These hero meetings are always pretty hype though because now we’re really getting to see the whole roster of top level allies. All of these guys will be important down the road that’s for sure. I was glad Tanjiro wasn’t standing for their attacks on Nezuko and quickly jumped in. Nezuko is definitely given quite a hard time being forced to restrain herself so often.

This was a nice way to end things. We essentially got a preview of the future here and the villains had a similar meeting. For contrast Muzan spent it slaughtering all of his members except for one who is given another chance. Compared to how the leader of the Slayers handled the meeting by building everyone up, it was quite the contrast to be sure. We also get a good training arc here and I would say Tanjiro once again proves to be at the front of the class with Inosuke and Zenitsu both throwing in the towel early on. You can’t be a quitter and expect to reach the same heights as someone who trained hard from the start. Tanjiro’s good deeds are always rewarded as the teachers were inclined to give him tips on how to be stronger due to this.

I didn’t really talk about the characters earlier so lets run through the main ones. Tanjiro is an exceptional lead as you would expect. He’s always a nice guy who is still resolute in his mission to take down the demons. He’s very quick to protect Nezuko as well as anyone else who is threatened as seen in the proctor exam when he stopped another trainee from threatening the overseer. Nezuko is also a very solid heroine. From the start she is able to restrain herself from eating humans which is huge and she is also quick to support Tanjiro in his more difficult fights. She is a demon after all so her abilities are quite solid even if Tanjiro tries to protect her from having to engage in these battles.

Zenitsu is pretty good at his role of comic relief but he’ll likely always pale in comparison to the other characters. He’s not exactly the most heroic guy to the point where he hesitates a lot and always waits at the back of the line. He’s not a reliable sidekick to have and he is a little too obsessed with every girl he meets. For those reasons I wouldn’t say he is a quality character. Inosuke on the other hand is pretty great. He’s a vicious fighter who doesn’t give up very often. Inosuke loves competing with Tanjiro and in this way he continues to hone his skills. I like his competitive attitude although Tanjiro pretty much never jumps at the bait which really works Inosuke up. He certainly helps the dynamic.

Then you have Kanao who will have a much bigger role in the future. As of now though she has a pretty solid role here as she starts off pretty emotionless but Tanjiro at least shows her the potential of unlocking her emotions. She definitely had a rough backstory though so it’s easy to see why she sealed her emotions off. At the time I’m sure that was very helpful so she wasn’t hurt as much as she would have been by the tough conditions. Tanjiro’s teacher was also a pretty reasonable character although I thought he did a particularly poor job at preparing Tanjiro for the road ahead. Some basic things like teaching him more about breathing for long periods of time or at least a heads up that all of the other students went missing so something may be going haywire at the school. Instead he basically left Tanjiro to his own devices and we learned later on that he partially just didn’t want Tanjiro to succeed. It’s easy to see why since he doesn’t want anyone else to die but it’s rough on Tanjiro.

Overall, Demon Slayer is definitely a pretty intense show. It has really high production values and a lot of hype moments. While the best fight has to be Tanjiro vs Rui, I would say the most hype moment of the show was when Giyu faced off against Shinobu since there’s nothing Tanjiro can really do there except hope that Giyu comes out on top. The pacing of the episodes are solid and it all goes through in a breeze. The show tends to go too far with the violence though so expect some intense scenes in virtually every episode. As long as you don’t mind thing getting a little violent then I can definitely see you enjoying this one quite a bit. If you love the concept but want something a little tamer then I’d say to check out Yu Yu Hakusho which also involves quite a bit of demon hunting while also throwing in some tournaments for good luck. It’s pretty unique that the show continues with a movie before presumably going back into show format so if you want to stay current then you’ll need to check out the movie.

Overall 5/10

Fruits Basket Season 2 Review


Fruits Basket has returned and really picks up right where it left off. To the point where it can be easy to mix up events from both seasons so won’t have any trouble getting into the action. The first season was definitely pretty solid. It was a good slice of life drama with Tohru helping quite a lot of characters deal with their issues. Ultimately she helped a lot but was not able to actually fix their circumstances quite yet. In this season Tohru works even more to find out about the Zodiac curse. It does feel like we’re approaching the end here as several characters have effectively completed their character arc now. It won’t be much longer until they are all set.

It’s a bit hard to give this show a direct plot synopsis though. There are a ton of little mini arcs here and even stand alone episodes since so many characters have their own subplots at work. I suppose the basic premise is about Tohru finally deciding to end the curse but not being sure exactly how to do that. After all, all of the Sohma family members want to break the curse but it’s still around and they haven’t found out much of anything about it. It’s not the kind of curse you can just snap in an instant after all. So in lieu of a more general plot synopsis I’ll talk about some of the mini arcs in general.

In season 2 the student council gets more of a role which is fun. Their episodes with Yuki are always a lot of fun and make for a pretty solid meanwhile plot. Of the members naturally the leader Manabe is the best one but the group as a whole works well. First you have Sakuragi who gets the smallest role of the group and is probably the least friendly. He gets worked up a lot more than the others and just doesn’t appreciate all of the shenanigans going on. He thinks the student council should be working like a well oiled machine but I can say now I don’t think that was ever part of the plan.

Then you have Kimi who basically just likes flirting with everyone for fun. She’s a pretty cheerful character who gives the council a lot of energy. Kimi is pretty charismatic so whenever she is around the scene tends to be fun. Then there is Machi who is having a tough time with this gig. She’s not exactly one of the more outgoing members of the group. She tends to stay silent and keep to herself at all times. She gets her own plot in this season as we see her backstory and she starts to get past this. Machi is a solid enough character.

Then we have Manabe and that guy’s just a blast. Pretty much every scene is him proving why he should be the Council President. He’s the leader but technically Yuki has that job. Manabe is able to defuse pretty much any situation really quickly. He likes to take life on the fast lane and doesn’t really worry about things the way Yuki does. Manabe just goes with the flow and has a lot of fun in the process. He’s also around to listen whenever Yuki needs to talk about things. It’s clear that Manabe is a lot more intelligent than he allows others to believe and just acts in whatever role will help the other succeed. He has quickly become the best character in the series. The guy’s role may be smaller than most of the Zodiac members but he does well with it.

The Student Council episodes serve as development for the members but also for Yuki. While Machi is slowly going through her character realizations, Yuki is also coming to terms with his life. He finally realizes the truth about how he views Tohru which is nice. Not a lot of series deal with this but just because you think you might be in love with someone doesn’t mean you are. Now, he does mention faking it for some scenes but I’m not sure I quite buy that. I think he just didn’t really realize it until this point. It’s similar to the hero scenario where someone saves your life so you think you are in love with them now. I’d say in a lot of action movies this happens unironically with the character never realizing it. Yuki going in a different direction is likely the biggest event of the season and in a way I would say Yuki’s plot is now 100% closed. He has come to terms with his parents, his brother, Kyo, and Tohru. Even his relationship with Akito is basically finalized now. They’re not exactly friends, nor will they ever be but I’d say they have both said their piece at this point.

Naturally Kyo gets a lot of attention as well. He’s gone to the point where he has completely decided not to let anyone in his life. Kyo’s not quite as battle hungry as he was in season 1 either which also shows how he has been improving. Yuki doesn’t set him off the way he used to and Kyo’s a little more okay with acting nice to Tohru. Of course the two still occasionally fight and Tohru’s always ready to break it up. Kyo’s seeing things from a different lens now and it works well. Of course he still does have his aggressive personality such as giving everyone a tough time at the play but after all of the grumbling he still heads in to do his part. At the end of the day Kyo is someone you can count on and from the main guys I still think he’s a more enjoyable character than Yuki. Both are strong characters with deep character arcs, but I’d just say Kyo’s consistently won out.

Tohru appears constantly so it goes without saying that she gets more screen time and development here. The show is now at the point where it has enough characters that she doesn’t have to appear at all moments but she is still the lead for a reason. We finally found out who actually gave her the cap as a child even if she doesn’t know. Tohru gets to be very proactive in this season as she actively heads to the Sohma estate and does a lot of ground work for the investigation. It’s always nice to see because you shouldn’t wait for the answers to come to you. In a case like this with everyone trying to hide the truth, that means you’re going to need to ask some of the tough questions.

Shigure continues to troll everyone and hide a lot of what he knows. While I always appreciate the fact that he is the only character who ever talks back to Akito and mess with the villain, you can’t call him a good guy by any stretch. By this point Shigura’s inaction is just becoming antagonistic to the point where he doesn’t have anyone’s back. He basically gets in the way of the investigation as well. His poor editor doesn’t show up much this time but he’s not exactly reliable as an author either. At least he gives the main characters a place to stay I suppose.

Arisa and Saki don’t get to do much this time around. As Tohru’s friends they do maintain a presence here of course but that’s about it. Arisa has her whole troubled romance plot still going but it seems like that will be resolved in the third season. We do get some moments on it here though like Arisa finally breaking down and begging Kureno to come back. Kureno has a pretty big role in this season though as we see exactly why he continues to put distance between them. As a Sohma he has his own drama to deal with after all. He is the one always with Akito so as it is the guy doesn’t have a whole lot of freedom. Unfortunately I would have to say that he is one of the worst members of the group. Precisely because of the fact that he could be helping out a ton.

A lot of the Sohma are in pretty tough spaces. There’s not a whole lot they could do to help their situations. Throughout the series they get the strength needed to make their situation better but it was an uphill battle. In Kureno’s case you really can’t compare his trials to the others. He basically makes things tougher on himself but he reasonably could have done a whole lot. I also don’t buy into his reasoning for staying and being shackled. He should have at least told everyone what he knew. Kureno was also in a good position to prevent Akito from going off the deep end by using his avenue to escape as leverage. The guy didn’t do any of that so I definitely did not like him in the slightest.

A pair of characters who got a pretty big role here were Rin and Hatsuharu. Rin basically missed season 1 so this was her chance to make a name for herself. She basically starts off by dumping Hatsu, insulting Tohru, and threatening Shigure so it’s a solid start. She wants to end the curse at any cost but insists on doing it alone. She’s built a wall between herself and the rest of the Sohma. Rin does deserve some credit for getting out from under Akito’s gaze though. The villain basically doesn’t mess with her anymore which has to be great. Unfortunately Akito did catch her back in the day through a flashback which leads to Rin not doing so well. Once again, Akito just looks way too good.

While Rin has a suitably tragic backstory like everyone else, I do think she took things way too far at every opportunity. Hatsu was a great ally so just pushing him and everyone else away like she did felt pretty forced. Rin just made a lot of unnecessary steps the whole time. She would have been a much more likable character if she had pushed everyone else away but stayed with Hatsu. I feel like that would have made more sense. As for Hatsuharu, he’s definitely a very loyal guy. He’s still got Rin’s back even after all of this. He’s also a good friend to Yuki in this season as he offers a lot of advice the whole time. He tends to be more of a low key character but one who gets the job done.

Naturally we can’t forget about Akito. I have to go on a bit of a tangent here as this is the one part of the show I still can’t buy into. Akito is a seriously ill person who is on death’s door all the time. Akito can barely even more or anything for long before going down with coughs. Yet, every character is deathly afraid of Akito. They all freeze up and allow themselves to be physically assaulted without trying to resist. Tohru got her face scratched, Yuki got a glass slammed on his head, Rin was pushed off a building, Hatori got his eye cut out, etc. Even Kyo allows himself to be pushed around. Whenever Akito talks the rest of the cast suddenly act like they’re Shaggy in a Scooby Doo film with how they tremble and whimper. Akito’s just flat out not that tough.

It’s also worth noting that the Sohma family is incredibly strong politically but it’s not like they will use any physical violence against you. So the characters don’t have to worry about that. They just really overexaggerate this part. You can make the case that this is part of the curse which has power over them but I also don’t buy into that being the case. The characters will occasionally act defensive when something hits a nerve but then go back into getting wrecked mode. The worst instance of this with Akito scarring Tohru while Yuki and Kyo just watched. To date that’s the worst scene in the franchise to be honest.

I have to retroactively take credit away from Kyo and Yuki here as in my season 1 review I wrote that I’m sure they would be able to get over their fear of Akito if it was to protect Tohru. Apparently that was not the case. Akito still continues to dominate everyone but this scene was horrible for both of those characters. Just standing by while she was attacked because they were afraid is the kind of move you don’t want to see any quality character have. It’s not like I’ll say they are bad characters as a result of that but I definitely did lose a lot of respect for them there. Tohru was basically left to fend for herself and it would have been even worse if not for Momoji and Kureno. We learn Akito’s backstory here but none of it makes the character any more likable or sympathetic. Ever since Akito was a child, dealing out pain was always priority number 1. So when you consider that, it still makes Kureno look even worse for not doing anything to correct this path. If the show tries going down the road of redeeming Akito that will definitely be a tough task to accomplish.

Hatori doesn’t get much to do in this season. He mainly reminds Shigure not to do anything crazy. Likewise Kagura and Ayame already got a lot of their character development. It was nice to see Ayame help out with the costumes and such for the festival/play. Ayame is a character who always comes through so you can appreciate that. He may not have done great back in Yuki’s origin but the fact that he continues to try and improve on this is the important thing. Momoji has a quick episode where we get to meet his sister but due to Sohma rules she can never know the truth about them. It’s definitely one of those tragic things but at least if they can continue to meet and stay on friendly terms, Momoji should be able to tell her in a few years once the trouble has died down.

Two common themes in most of the character arcs here is forgiveness and redemption. All of these characters either dealt with relatives or friends who were quite cruel to them originally and have to try and let go of their grudges or starting out not being a great person and trying to come to terms with that. The show balances out the emotions quite well. While on the whole I’d always say Fruits Basket is a pretty light hearted series, it knows when to get serious. You can go from episodes of the characters smashing watermelons or visiting the beach to characters contemplating suicide or being stuck in isolation for large periods of time which permanently scarred their psyche. Sometimes you have an episode that combined both such as the beach visit where everything is super happy until Akito makes a surprise visit to attack Tohru and just embarrass Yuki/Kyo. When a character is having an important moment they are able to do so with a somber tune playing in the background and fairly downcast colors. It’s part of why a character like Manabe can really shine here since he’s great at reading emotions and acts accordingly.

The writing is on point here as well so the origin stories don’t get boring or anything like that. Of course I’ll always have my issues with the Akito stuff and a lot of the characters just not doing anything to actively make their situation better. All that considered, it’s worth saying that Fruits Basket never drags on which is really important. A lesser series would have definitely crumbled under this kind of weight. Either focusing too much on the drama or making things overly sad to the point where the characters don’t have a happy ending or it doesn’t outweigh the past. The series always addresses the past but doesn’t dwell on it which is an important distinction I’d say. For example while Yuki shares his past with Manabe, we get to cut to the present time quite a bit where a soccer game is going on and they have some nice banter. It’s a nice contrast there.

Fruits Basket has quality animation as you would expect. All of the scenery is on point and the character designs are good. The whole thing is fairly low key as the show isn’t doing anything crazy to show the animation off but it always looks consistent. You won’t be finding anything off model or low budget here. It’s just all on point as you would expect it to be. For the soundtrack of course you have a lot of emotional themes here. I would say they are pretty good although it would be difficult for me to remember specific ones off the top of my head.

Overall, Fruits Basket Season 2 continues to move the series along at a good pace. There is a ton of ground that gets covered in these 20+ episodes as every character got to have some time to shine. It’s still hard for me to take Akito seriously and everyone constantly bowing to him can really be something else. With Tohru as a quality lead throughout I can only assume that season 3 will continue the solid streak of seasons for Fruits Basket and end things off on a high note. Even though the Student Council plots all seem to be complete, I’m hoping they still get another episode. Manabe just steals the show and their episodes tend to be some of the most entertaining ones in the whole anime. Fruits Basket has definitely been a really solid adaption of the manga, making the story a lot more interesting in this format. It’ll be a shame to see it go but maybe not Fruits Basket Another will finally be able to get an anime adaption of its own like everyone has been waiting for.

Overall 7/10

Astra Lost in Space Review


I remember reading the manga for Astra a while back and it was a lot of fun. It’s not every day that you get a space exploration manga like this. It’s sort of like an anime version of Star Trek only all the exploration is for one singular purpose of getting back home. Part of what really makes the series succeed is the quality character roster. I like almost all of the characters and even the weakest ones still bring something to the table. The story here is very character focused so if the writing wasn’t on point or if the characters were forgettable then this could have easily been rather lackluster. Instead, it’s a great anime that I could easily recommend.

The series starts off with a group of kids getting ready for a field trip to space. Aries is excited for this since she can make some new friends. The trip almost comes to a screeching halt when a pickpocket steals her bag but Kanata shows up to foil this theft and introduces himself as the captain. The other kids don’t agree with this proclamation but quickly allow him to take the title. The heroes do some exploring on the first planet but before they can head home a black hole sucks them up. Fortunately a spaceship was nearby and the heroes manage to get inside. They are now many light years away from home. Their only chance to get back it to go from planet to planet grabbing supplies and doing what they can to survive. There’s only one problem…this was no accident. One member of the crew is attempting to murder everyone on board.

Including the bit about a murderer on board really helps to take the series to the next level. It’s just a great plot line because it also gives you extra reason to really look at each character. Every character gets at least an episode to themselves and they all have distinctive personalities. None of them appear to have a motive but of course they’ve only just met each other so technically they don’t even know a whole lot. Each character could easily have a motive here. This extra layer of danger is always present on the journey which changes this from potentially being more of a slice of life to a high stakes adventure. You’re always assuming that the murderer will help out while the heroes are stranded in space but of course at any time this could change. With that said, lets talk about all of the characters.

First we have the fearless leader Kanata. He’s a world class athlete who doesn’t believe in giving up. A friend of his died a long time ago when he fell off a cliff and Kanata wasn’t strong enough to hold on. He blames himself for this even now and it’s his motivation for becoming strong. He has a lot of survival tips and sayings that he utters throughout the series. They’re all rather basic so the other characters make fun of him but at the same time they are quite true. Kanata’s easily the best character in the series and that’s always the ideal situation for a show. When your main character is great then the show’s already off to a brilliant start. Is all this bravado and heroism just an act to bump everyone off?

Then you have Aries who is the main heroine. She can be a bit of a space case at times and her main quirk if that she sometimes can’t hear what someone says and instead thinks they said something that rhymes with it. Like if a character tells her “Go get some help” she might think they said “Go and fry some kelp” which leads to some tricky situations. It doesn’t happen very often though. She has a photographic memory and wants to be friends with everyone so she is always very nice to all of the characters. Aries is a fun character and is quite useful on the team. Having a photographic memory is no small potatoes after all. Of course that ability would also make it easy to systematically take down every character.

Next up is Luca. He’s got a quick wit and likes having fun with the rest of the characters. He’s the only person who can easily approach Ulgar. He quickly figures everyone out and as a result is able to connect with everyone. Luca’s got a pretty sunny disposition but of course that could just be his way of coping with guilt for blowing everyone up. Luca’s definitely a solid character, you really want to have someone like that on your team to keep people from feeling too tense or anything like that.

Following Luca is Charce. He’s really into science and all of the foreign wildlife in these planets is fascinating to him. Charce is a good cook and just a man of many talents. He can also be a bit of a flirt at times. From the main characters I would say he is one of the weaker ones. The science angle isn’t quite as interesting as some of the other character quirks. Of course by cooking a lot of the meals he could potentially poison everyone so that’s something the gang will have to take into account.

After Charce is Zack. Zack is the genius member of the group. He remains rather emotionless at all times and is ready to repair whatever gets broken. He tends to find out a lot of the clues for the mystery going on and always reports to Kanata. Of course discovering the clues should not make him any less of a suspect as it could be a way to deflect suspicion. Zack makes for a very solid right hand man to Kanata and may be the most important member of the crew. He’s definitely a very high quality character and the show wouldn’t be the same without him. It’s nice to have a genius character who isn’t a jerk or anything the whole time and is actually quite reliable when it counts.

Quitterie is the next heroine on the ship. She’s definitely more aggressive than Aries and being friends with everyone isn’t her goal in the slightest. She has a colder disposition to the rest of the crew initially including her younger sister. Quitterie just isn’t good with people so she always has a wall around her emotions and is quick to dish out insults. You can probably guess how her character arc will go and she is a very necessary member of the crew. You always need a character like her to balance out all the super friendly ones. She just tells it like it is and serves as the ship’s doctor. Of course that means it would be easy to give people the wrong treatment intentionally.

Then there’s her younger sister Funicia. While she may seem too young to be a suspect, that could be what she wants you to think. She also has a toy bear she talks through which always acts a little meaner. Based on the show’s explanation it seems like the Bear acts out her thoughts which explains the different personality but at times you get the feeling Funicia is just messing with everyone. She’s a charming little kid and doesn’t get in the way you might expect one too. That’s the main reason why she is pretty fun here. She does her best to contribute. She may get in trouble at times, but who doesn’t on this ship right?

Ulgar changes things up and makes Quitterie look nice in comparison. This guy gets set off by anything and doesn’t even want to talk to the other characters. He makes it clear that he’ll only help out when it’s life or death. Of course there are 100 reasons to suspect him but one big thing against that would be that it may feel too obvious. Ulgar is a solid character and I enjoyed him on the show. He talks a good game but I wouldn’t say he’s ever overly mean or anything. The closest is when he piles on Yun-Hua with everyone else and you wish she would speak up a bit. Ulgar helps keep the crew on edge.

Speaking of Yun-Hua, she would have to be the weakest character in the series. Her main gimmick is that she’s super timid and is afraid to ever speak up. She feels like she has no particular talents and this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as her hesitant nature causes her to mess up at times. Perhaps she wants to bump everyone off so that she will have accomplished something. By the end of the series I don’t feel like she ever really left a big impact though. Even her big moment basically involved singing while everyone else did the work. I wouldn’t go as far as to call her a bad character but I admit that I just didn’t like her. Substituting her with another person for the final member would have worked out well.

There’s one other important character in Paulina, but she doesn’t appear until near the end of the series. She’s a nice enough character. I wouldn’t say she does enough to really leave much of an impact though and is mainly here for some more plot twists. Paulina may panic a little too much with her fainting spells though. You can cut her some slack for just being really surprised I guess. Eh, she’s basically just around so she doesn’t change much of anything in the dynamic.

Naturally we do get some meanwhile scenes on Earth. You have the classic round table meeting type scenes with a bunch of the hype characters. These discussions were always very interesting and naturally they are quite crucial to the plot. You definitely need them around and this is one time where I didn’t mind when we would cut away from the main plot. For a mystery like this you want to see other points of view so this worked out quite well. The parents of the kids naturally have to appear as well and this was a good way to do it. Naturally Kanata’s father was the most interesting member of the group to me. The guy just has a very cool disposition.

The show also did a good job with its pacing here. Pretty much every episode ends with some kind of plot twist. As a result there is a final scene (Like a movie’s after credits scene) quite often where the twist is unveiled. You may feel bad for Kanata in each case as it almost always happens when he’s getting ready for bed. I haven’t seen a show consistently dish out so many hype twists like this in each episode before so it was quite nice. This show was just built really well for the 12 episode format. It pretty much lines up perfectly with each episode.

As for the animation, it’s pretty good. There aren’t a lot of chances for the animation to really shine for a show like this since it isn’t very action packed of course, but the character designs are on point and the level backdrops work well too. There’s definitely nothing to really say against it. The soundtrack is relatively low key. You won’t be finding any standout tunes here but nothing holding it back here. It’s basically just a sci-fi 101 kind of ost.

I already talked about the writing and naturally it is great. The question is, was it enough to make you sympathize with the traitor once that person was outed? Well, I would say no. To me the traitor still loses a lot of points in the end. I can more or less get over the original attempt from episode 1 because the character didn’t really know the others yet and the backstory covers this really well. I can’t overlook the issues from the last episodes though. By that point the traitor has absolutely no reason to go through with this particularly because of everything they know at this point. The character would have been redeemed in my eyes if they had just admitted to the whole thing or even not made any more attempts. Let the whole thing be a secret to the end. So acting on this and trying to murder everyone again is why this character was no good.

With as many plot twists running around as Astra had, naturally you may not be able to buy into all of them. For me there was just one that I find to be super sketchy. Lets just say it involves historical revisions. The sheer scale of this one just makes it impractical to me to the point of being impossible. If it was hundreds of years or something then I can buy into it as things can easily be suppressed in a long enough period of time. It was all too recent for it to be this complete though. I think the only way it would work out is if we were introduced to the world as some kind of closed off dictatorship where information is heavily funneled. That would then work out quite nicely because even in modern days we see that countries or areas where information is regulated leads to a lot of misinformation. It wouldn’t be beyond the pale for this to happen here. The issue is that Astra’s land functions as a very well run place with a lot of safety and access to information. They can bump people off when they find out the truth but they would have to have done it a lot more often. So, I don’t really buy into this twist but I wouldn’t say that it hurts the show either.

Each planet was fairly different which helped the adventure angle. So you could look forward to the heroes hanging out at the ship but also all the unique dangers that each planet would bring. Whether it would be not having enough food to survive or giant plant monsters trying to eat everyone. The show always had a good contrast going which was nice to see. The episodes just really fly by because they’re all just very interesting. It makes for being a very complete show and one that could have easily been stretched into 26 episodes and I’m sure it would have worked out quite nicely.

Overall, Astra Lost In Space is definitely a great anime. Fitting in a classic adventure story with a good deal of mystery is always a good idea. The genres support each other really well and you’ve got an engaging watch here which is really what you were hoping to find. It’s a self contained anime that you can really watch at any time so I’d recommend it to fans of all genres. Of course I’d be down for a sequel even though there aren’t any real loose plot threads left. Just seeing the characters again would be fun and with space exploration there is naturally a whole lot that you could do with it if you really wanted too. We can see how Kanata would handle future situations.

Overall 8/10

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Earthrise Review


All right, we’ve made it to season 2 of the War for Cybertron trilogy. The first season started things on a high note as we had some good debates between Prime and Megatron. Both characters were written really well so you could legitimately choose which side you were on. Both of them made moves that even their own sides questioned. This season adds in a lot of extra elements. Both teams have their own plots for most of the season before converging at the end. It’s really hard to say how things will play out from here but one thing’s for sure, it’s definitely going to be interesting to see how this ends.

The season starts off with Megatron’s plot. Since Prime stole the All Spark, Cybertron is slowly dying. Megatron has been stalling the inevitable by using the sparks of robots to power up his rocket ship. He intends to find Prime once and for all to bring the All Spark back or at least avenge his planet. However, this is one of those times where the end doesn’t justify the means. He’s effectively slaughtering many members of his own people as Elita points out and this causes a lot of friction even among the Decepticons. Can Elita stop him or is Cybertron really doomed?

Meanwhile, Prime and his crew exit stasis but find that they have been taken prisoner by a group of bounty hunters. These hunters are going to sell them off to the Quintessons. The Autobots will have to find a way out of this predicament and soon but the issue is that these villains are actually quite powerful. Both Autobots and Decepticons are at their wits end here which ends up leading into the solid climax. It’s clear from the start of the series that there are more Decepticons than Autobots so they have the edge there but they are consistently a lot weaker so it helps balance things out in the end.

I feel like there was more action here than in season 1 although it’s close. We got to actually see Shockwave get his own fight which was really nice. Additionally, we have a guest star show up from the future or another dimension. That’s easily the most intriguing plot for me right now. When this character jumps out of a portal and starts fighting Megatron it’s just really interesting. It’s also rare to see Megatron be dominated so completely but it makes sense that he wouldn’t be able to defeat this opponent. This fighter is one of the stronger Transformer characters out there and he really lives up to the hype. He leaves as suddenly as he appeared but not before leaving something. Personally I take this to be a warning from a possible future as opposed to the present. It would work out well with all the distortions taking place.

Of course, the ending of the season is pretty open at the moment. You can have a lot of different theories on what just happened here. Personally I’m going to assume time travel once more. That’s pretty much always my default response but I feel like it just makes a whole lot of sense. Then there’s an equal debate on if the characters are going to the future or the past. I would say past personally. Of course we should know pretty soon once season 3 starts. There’s so much going on that it’s almost a bit hard to picture the series already coming to a close. Maybe we’ll get a sequel series or something.

There’s one part of the show where the characters enter another dimension where willpower is how you fight. This was pretty neat and reminds me a bit of Accel World’s Incarnate system or even the one SAO invented later on. Megatron really adapted to it quite well. At the same time I was really underwhelmed by another character who was in this universe for a very long time and claimed to have mastered his mind. Despite this, he was easily dispatched in a single move. You’d think that in a world where mental power is absolute experience would be vital. I guess the difference in their abilities was just that drastic though.

The animation here is definitely solid as expected. The designs are very full and detailed so the robots really feel sturdy. You can feel the power behind all of the blows. We get another solid Prime vs Megatron fight here as well as a whole group battle with Scorponok. If we ever get the mental world again, I’d like to see more of the energy effects there. The colors were pretty striking so it worked out quite well. The soundtrack is a little less memorable but it works well enough for the scenes that are present. I certainly had no complaints at least.

There are quite a few character arcs at play here as well. Naturally for Megatron we’re seeing him go on a darker path. He’s slowly going from more of a misunderstood anti-hero to full villain. The instant he decided to destroy an entire factory worth of Cybertronians you knew there was no turning back for him. He doesn’t yet realize it but Megatron is now a villain simply justifying his every move. He is a very interesting villain though and the character arc’s been handled well. As always he is still quite confident and self assured in his own power.

For Prime, his arc is a little different from what you may expect. He’s had to live with the fact that a lot of Autobots don’t support his decision to remove the All Spark and then to search for it, including Elita. These feelings of guilt seem to have made him even more obsessive now such as when he was beating up on Megatron. Prime was really losing control there to the point of going crazy, even begging Megatron to forgive him before murdering the guy. Prime is done taking prisoners although circumstances ensured he didn’t finish things off yet. I’m assuming in the next season Prime will regain control of himself although if he doesn’t then things are really going to get crazy around here.

Naturally we have a lot of other characters on both sides. Some characters like Bumblebee and Soundwave don’t get a whole lot to do this time. Bumblebee already had a good amount of screen time in season 1 though so that’s fair. He is also around in every episode so it’s not like he goes missing. I would say the Autobot with the biggest role after Prime would have to be Elita. Not only does she get her own big fight scene but with Prime gone she is effectively the Autobot leader on Cybertron. She’s also doing a good job in this role as well. She does her best to be fair to everyone and take the villains down without hurting anyone in the middle. Perhaps she can be too trusting in these times of war, but she is focused on not losing her ideals even if it means her defeat and I can certainly respect that.

Jetfire also has a sizable role here. As a former Decepticon he’s definitely not as quick to offer mercy as Elita. He makes a lot of good strategic points. Technically his methods are correct if you simply wish to win the war. Particularly with how the Autobots are totally outgunned in terms of energon and numbers they do need every advantage they can get. Continuing to hit every base to free Decepticons does truthfully sound like a task that will backfire horribly. He continues to help though and never turns away so this guy is quite good.

Naturally Starscream gets quite the role here as always. You’ll probably think he gets off a bit easy and that’s exactly why Starscream continues to pull these stunts. He knows that nobody is going to mess with him. This confidence is part of what makes him such a solid villain. His abilities know no bounds. Then you have Shockwave in what’s his best appearance in a long time. We get to see him using his tech in the field of battle instead of in the lab for a change. He has to be one of the most fearsome opponents to have to face here because of the fact that he has no emotions. He will do whatever it takes in order to claim victory and doesn’t care what the price is. There is no negotiating with this guy.

Quick shoutout to Scorponok as well for being a very interesting villain. He even got his own origin story where we find out that things didn’t go well for his people and then he goes right on the attack. He’s not the kind of villain to get overly sentimental or anything like that. His sheer defenses are also pretty crazy considering just how many opponents he was taking on at once. Right now you would have to put him as the strongest fighter in the series. The Quintessons get a solid mention for being powerful as well. Although in their case it’s more due to prep time and tech than sheer fighting ability. Don’t underestimate them though. There’s a pretty intense scene involving in-fighting among the group and lets just say we definitely know the hierarchy of the group now.

Naturally with so many spoiler filled events here I had to keep things vague. Still, there’s a ton to unpack here and most importantly, the story is just very engaging. Transformers has a lot of lore and characters within the franchise so it’s nice to see the show taking advantage of this. It’s also cool to have a different kind of story line here as opposed to the usual Autobots vs Decepticons story on Earth. That one’s a classic too of course, but with a space setting you’re free to branch out a whole lot. There are enough villains and plots going on now where it’s hard to say who the next opponent will be. The heroes may need some kind of power up to come out on top though.

At most the only thing I would say against the show is that the Decepticons look a little too weak most of the time. Aside from the named bots like Megatron and pals, the rest are treated quite poorly. A single Autobot will beat half a dozen Decepticons with ease. I don’t see why the gap would be so large. It explains why a group of a dozen or so Autobots who are all almost out of energon are beating 5-7 times that amount of fighters on the Decepticon side but I just don’t think it adds up all that well. Particularly since the Decepticons have more energon which powers up most functions. In a way I think this was the easiest way to keep the Autobots in the fight as otherwise they all should have been taken out a long time ago. The show paints a very drastic picture of just how massive a disadvantage the heroes are at. It’s a fairly minor thing in the grand scheme of things though but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Decepticons make a comeback in the third volume.


Overall, Season 2 of the War for Cybertron trilogy continues to take things in the right direction. I would say it even beats the first season. With the introductions and world setting out of the way, this season was able to jump right into the action. Seeing the Quintessons again was fun and the bounty hunters were also pretty interesting even if they didn’t look great in the end. This is exactly why you must never underestimate your opponent and keep your guard up at all times. Scorponok was given a ton of hype here being able to take on the combined forces of Autobots and Decepticons for so long. Now with the ending we can look forward to more characters being introduced to the action. Again, I’m not sure how everything can be addressed in the next season but I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Overall 8/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia Season 4 Review


It’s time to take a look at the long overdue season 4 of MHA. My Hero’s definitely been going pretty strong getting season after season. It’s definitely good to see because when you’re a Jump flagship title like Hero is then you definitely deserve to get it. Back in the day it was more common to see long running anime that just wouldn’t end as they adapted like Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach but seasonal is the new in thing and I’d say it works pretty well. Especially in MHA’s case as the next season is announced almost immediately each time. In general I’d say the seasons have been getting better and better with 3 being my favorite followed by 2 and then 1. 4 breaks this trend as I would consider it to be the weakest one. Still very good of course and I suppose if a series continues to go up it has to stop at some point. This one happens to involve a what I’ve always considered to be one of the worst decisions by the main hero. More on that later.

As with the other MHA seasons it is divided into 2 story arcs here. The main one is easily the Overhaul arc. So it turns out that a gang of Yakuza led by Overhaul is making a bit of a comeback. The Yakuza have an interesting setup because even though everyone knows they’re evil, the live out in the open and can’t really be attacked. The heroes need to find some proof of their wrong doing and the Yakuza’s new alliance with the League of Villains is the perfect tie to do so. Additionally, Overhaul has a girl in his custody who he is forcing to create anti-hero bullets using her body/quirk. Deku and the team had a chance to save her early on but did not take it. Now he is extra determined to save her this time around. The heroes launch an all out assault on Overhaul’s base. Can the heroes really get through to the goal?

That takes up the first 14 episodes and we have a lot of action here throughout the arc. Right when the heroes approach the mafia base they are quickly attacked and from here on out the whole arc is a bunch of nonstop fight scenes. I always enjoy when the heroes have to split up and take everyone out. It’s a tried and true arc setup that doesn’t disappoint because you really get to see everyone fight. It’s not like the main character can take everyone on so this is the time for the secondary characters to shine and it’s why you need a strong supporting cast. None of the fights in this arc are weak. They’re all quite good and it makes the whole thing feel pretty grand. Perhaps not with the same literal stakes as All Might vs All For One but it’s more of a personal fight which ends up making it pretty equivalent.

Let’s get the Deku stuff out of the way early and then go into the rest. Early on in the arc Deku and Mirio head out on patrol and run into Overhaul and a little girl. The girl has obviously been through quite a lot and is injured. She has bandages over her arms and legs. Still, Eri manages to run from Overhaul and over to Deku where she literally tells him not to go. Now, before this you could make the case that he wasn’t sure she was in trouble but by now there is no way this isn’t happening. Ultimately once they go into the dark alley Eri realizes that the heroes aren’t doing anything while Overhaul is getting ready to make his move so she runs back to him while Deku and Mirio just watch. It’s a terrible scene all the way around. Even ignoring the fact that Overhaul is running live experiments on Eri which the heroes couldn’t have known about, they do know that he’s been injuring her. He basically confirms that to them in his speech. She’s just a little kid, they’re obligated to help her out.

It’s not a morally gray situation or a scenario where the heroes aren’t sure of what to do. The solution is clear as day and it is that they need to help her. This really hurt both Deku and Mirio’s characters as heroes. I dare say that a lot of characters who are vigilantes or heroes with heroic tendencies would have stepped in. These two are both heroes and that’s what their whole lives are all about. It’s inexcusable of them to just ignore Eri when she’s in trouble like this. They spend the rest of the season and even future seasons reminded of this at every turn but it’s just not a mistake that should have happened in the first place. Some mistakes make sense, but this was really something.

So that takes care of that and it’s why Deku gets a low grade from me in this season. There’s just no way you can bounce back from that in the same season. As for Mirio, he’s one of the new characters in this series. He’s the man who wants to save a million people. While that isn’t quite the same as saving everyone, it shows that he acknowledges that it won’t always be possible to save everyone. He has one of the best quirks in the series. With permeation he can make parts of his body intangible and can slip through the ground very easily to attack someone from behind. He’s portrayed as not only being one of the strongest students in the series but even one of the strongest heroes. It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s easily Top 5 among the pro heroes. Obviously All Might would defeat him but after that it gets interesting. Personally I think Endeavor matches up really well against Mirio so I would give him the win. It’s very close with Hawks so I’d say Mirio is either 3rd or 4th which is really good.

Naturally Mirio is also to blame for the earlier season. Debatably more because he was the one holding Deku back although it’s still equal since as a hero you can’t let others tell you what to do. Mirio does have one of the best fights in the series. While the animation isn’t quite given the special budget the way Deku’s fight was, I would consider Mirio’s fight second in the season only to Deku vs Gentle Criminal. Part of what makes it work is how intense the fight is. The music is top tier and the fight is a mix of regret and utter determination. Mirio’s fighting overwhelming odds. It’s a fight that as the viewer you know he cannot win which makes it all the more intense. I’ve rewatched this fight more than any other in the series. Part of it is also the stellar voice acting and that the fight is fairly short so it’s easy to go back and check out quite a lot. In some ways it’s a more powerful fight than with the Criminal although that’s still my favorite because of how great the action choreography is. That first shot of Mirio taking down both villains and grabbing Eri was super impressive though. Without a hostage he definitely would have won this round rather easily.

Suneater is another member of the big 3 and he gets a pretty big fight. The guy is super nervous and doesn’t believe in himself the way that Mirio does. He prefers to stick to the shadows and just observe what is going on. His quirk is that he can take animal attributes from what he eats and uses that in combat. It’s a very unique quirk. Perhaps not as useful as Mirio’s but it works out pretty well either way. I prefer characters who are more confident so he’s not one of my favorites but I really enjoyed his fight. It’s rare to see villains using so much teamwork and yet they were acting like a well oiled machine. I actually think Suneater should have lost that fight in the end but ultimately it was a satisfying encounter either way.

I’ll give this to Overhaul’s minions. A lot of them aren’t very memorable as I don’t remember their names but when you rewatch the fights they did rather well. This trio was very good against Suneater. Then you have the guy with the dizzy powers who fought Mirio. It may not be a very offensive ability but it was a useful one to have. I’ll probably never remember that guy’s name but he was quite solid. Then you have Rappa who is one of my favorite Hero villains. The guy loves a good fight and he fights fairly. No underhanded tricks for him because he’s confident in his abilities and that’s how it should be. If you doubt yourself then what’s the point right? When you really think about it, Overhaul has a much better villain group than Tomura. I’ll take these guys over the League of Villains any day.

Unfortunately the only member of the Big 3 to not really get anything to do was Nejire. Her abilities of flight and energy blasts would lend themselves well to a fight. Hopefully one day she gets a proper match. She’s a fun enough character but I want to see her get some action. Even Fat Gum got a big fight here. I’m not a big fan of the guy but he’s a reasonable hero. The ability of being able to soak up damage and then release it is very handy and we’ve seen quite a few characters use that effectively in media like Yang from RWBY or even Adam from the same series.

Eri is a nice enough character even if she can’t fight. She always prioritizes other people’s safety which is quite mature for a little girl like herself. Once she learns how to control her ability she will end up being one of the best support characters in the field. Aizawa is another great support character since erasing an entire quirk is an incredibly useful ability to have. It’s why the villains always have to try and knock him out of the fight early. In a 1 on 1 fight it’s unlikely that you’ll defeat Aizawa. I can’t say I was sold on him in the beginning but I’ve grown to enjoy his character more. Between his origin story (Not in this season though) and his various appearances throughout the series he has solidified himself as a solid mentor you can count on.

Sadly Bakugo pretty much misses out on the whole season. He’s around for the babysitting arc of course but that’s about it. It’s a shame because having him in the Overhaul arc would have been a blast. He has a decent matchup against Overhaul as well. He’s still the best character in the series and has already appeared a ton so I guess taking a season off isn’t bad. His main partner Kirishima gets more of a lead role instead. He has a few notable moments here but the best one is definitely his fight against Rappa where he has to try and shatter his limits. His ability to shore up his defense by becoming as hard as iron is definitely handy. The fact that he was able to awaken this to a level 2 ability was definitely useful as well. If he keeps growing like this he can definitely be one of the top heroes. It’s a simple quirk, but a highly effective one all the same.

Nighteye is one of the new heroes and since he used to work with All Might that makes for a pretty personal connection to Deku. His ability to see the future is a very useful one. In general I always like that ability. It can be hard to write around but s long as you define some limits then it works out. I would make the case for example that Deku still should have crushed him in the fight because even when seeing the future you can’t hope to keep up with Deku’s speed. That’s the one thing about seeing the future. Just because you can see what the opponent is about to do doesn’t mean that you can hope to stop it. He was a quality character either way though. I actually thought he was in the right with his arguments about the future with All Might. It’s an incredible useful ability and the two of them could have worked out a way to try and change things. All Might’s decision to just get out of there wasn’t good. Nighteye at least stayed in the field and continued using his ability for the good of everyone.

Tomura appears here but he definitely plays second fiddle to Overhaul. Sure, Tomura gets his big moment at the end but it’s more petty than anything since he didn’t dare go in on a frontal assault. There are quite a few parallels with the two such as their similar quirks. A single touch can obliterate either one of them. In that sense I don’t think Tomura would lose to Overhaul as it would be a mutual kill but that wouldn’t benefit anyone. It’s still fair to say that Overhaul had the edge in their meetup though. His group was better prepared and it was a tough one for the League of Villains to overcome. It’s why they needed to get their revenge in the end. It’ll be good to see Tomura take up more of a role in the future although the nature of his ability means that it’s tough to have a real fight with him. The current arc addresses this though.

Finally we have Overhaul himself. Well, the guy is about as evil and corrupt as you can get. Only the most evil of villains tend to mess with kids and since his whole plan involves effectively destroying Eri over and over again that’s very twisted. He makes for an imposing villain even if he lasts longer than he needs to. Based on the Mirio fight from earlier it’s safe to say that Mirio could have defeated him in the alley. His ability to become intangible is the perfect counter against a villain like this. I don’t like Overhaul personally, but he does make for a threatening villain. If you give him enough time to power up and stockpile abilities then he becomes quite the threat. He’s also very confident and does have a whole organization backing him so you can’t take the guy lightly.

The next arc we get is the School Festival. Deku is determined to make this a fun one for Eri but there’s one possible obstacle that could get in the way. A villain known as the Gentle Criminal has made UA his next target. He aims to break in just to prove that he can. While the goal is harmless to the actual students, the school has been warned that if yet another villain breaks into the school they will go into emergency lockdown and the festival will be cancelled. That means Deku will have to take this guy out very quickly and decisively. Can he really win though? Gentle Criminal is easily one of the most dangerous villains he has ever tangled with. It’s a very quick follow up arc but one of the highlights of the season.

Right when this arc occurred in the manga I knew it was going to be a good one. I also thought it was a way to show that Deku had learned his lesson this time. The circumstances are fairly different but he is once again forced to decide between overlooking the villain’s actions or stepping in even though it would not be advised by the pro heroes. Deku doesn’t hesitate this time and launches into battle. You want to see that kind of character development. Additionally, Criminal’s quirk is really quite impressive. Initially it looks like creating air pockets may not be very helpful but the guy is really good with using it. I’d also make the case that any and all elemental abilities tend to be very useful in combat. In particular gravity and air tend to have many different uses which is good. Their fight has quite a lot of back and forth which both fighters giving it their all. It’s not just a clash of might but a clash of ideals which is part of why the fight is so effective. I would consider that the best fight in the arc no question. In all of My Hero I would consider it one of the best fights in the series, the animation is also incredible.

Gentle Criminal may not be around for too long but I hope he gets to return someday. He may have given up on being a hero but he has fine tuned his abilities to a degree where he would definitely be quite useful. He may have been a villain but at least he did his best not to hurt anyone. His main goal was really just showing that he can do something when he puts his mind to it and that La Brava’s editing skills are on point. They make for quite the difficult team to conquer. If Deku had not been the one to go up against him I doubt the Criminal would have been captured right now. I like the guy’s charisma. He’s the kind of villain who’s easy to root for just due to the nature of his criminal actions and the fact that his theme is pretty great. You really can’t count this guy out.

After that the season is effectively over but we do get a little bit of a lead up to the next season which will heavily involve Hawks and Endeavor. We get to see one of the new Noumu creatures in action as well. The season ends rather quickly so the next season should pick up almost immediately which is cool. While this season adapted the fan favorite arc in the Overhaul saga, the next season looks like it’ll be adapting some of the most important parts of the manga which will be pretty intense. I’d make the case that coming up are some of the darkest arcs in the series so we’ll see how the anime handles it. Some parts can definitely be quite twisted and while I expect My Hero will be going on for a very long time, I do feel like we’re getting close to the end of “Part 1”

The final bit does its best to try and show Endeavor in a more positive light but at this point it feels very late for that. It’ll be good if his character is ultimately redeemed but if you ask me it’s way too soon for that. While Todoroki’s brother is portrayed as being the unreasonable one here in how he can’t forgive Endeavor, I can’t blame him. The others are very quick to welcome him back except for Todoroki although he’s getting rather close, but if anything that will just widen the gap. Todoroki’s brother just can’t believe how easy this is for Endeavor. Of course at the end of the day they’re all hoping Endeavor doesn’t get destroyed by a monster though. Not only would that not atone for anything but it makes things too easy on him. Endeavor needs to live so that he can really turn into a better person. He’s certainly working at it so hopefully this works out for him.

We don’t see Hawks for long but right away you can see why he’s such a fun character. The guy takes his hero work very seriously but is far less rigid than the other heroes. He’s more about being practical than just blindly following orders. He’s got a lot of thoughts of his own and you certainly don’t feel like you can trust him for that reason. His feather abilities are very handy and it’s yet another versatile quirk. It’s easy to see why he is one of the Top 10 heroes even if he lacks the sheer power that some of the other heroes have. Technique will certainly trump raw power any day of the week although it also means you have to be 100% focused the whole time as one mistake can mean the end for you.

As always the animation is very solid. It’s no surprise though, the show has always been very consistent with this. To date I wouldn’t say that any episode has had bad or even average animation. It’s all looked quite solid from the start. It’s easy to see this as clips from season 1 still age really well and yet you can see the improvement from season to season. The Deku vs Overhaul fight definitely got the maximum amount of budget here. Meanwhile Mirio’s fight was more still based but all of the images were very dynamic so it still looked very good. The colors pop out at you and the fight scenes are on point so My Hero definitely delivers as always.

It almost goes without saying that the soundtrack is very solid as well. I wouldn’t say that any of the openings quite have the same iconic energy as the very first MHA opening but they’re solid. We get a lot of the classic tunes here as well and then there’s also a new theme for Gentle Criminal. The theme is excellent and really shows you what kind of character you can expect from here. It’s a theme that has a lot of intrigue and a hint of mystery which is the perfect blend for this character. It definitely helps to take him to the next level. “Brawl” and “Sword and Shield” are two other excellent themes in the show.

In a way the Deku vs Overhaul battle gives us a preview of what Deku will look like at 100% power. He won’t be able to use this consistently until we get some kind of timeskip I imagine since his body won’t keep up but it’ll be fun to see. The form effectively has him go Super Saiyan and like this there is no hero who can even dream of stopping him. Just one 100% punch is enough to take down almost any fighter so using it consecutively? That’ll be fun. I’m always glad to see Deku going all out at last so that worked out quite well. Definitely makes Overhaul’s defense also look very impressive when you think about it since he was able to keep regenerating from that. We’ve got a lot to look forward to with Deku power wise after this.


Overall, My Hero Academia has definitely become the next big show in America. It has been for quite a while at this point and I expect it will continue to be quite mainstream with the consistent releases and solid story arcs. There’s just a whole lot you can do with this universe and the solid cast built around it. If you haven’t checked the show out you should certainly do so. With 4 seasons out you’ll have a lot of episodes to binge through and perhaps that will take you up to the season 5 release date. I don’t recall when that is coming out but it definitely can’t be much longer I’d say since this review took me a while to write. With excellent music and animation throughout you really owe yourself to check this title out.

Overall 7/10

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Siege Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Pokemon: Twilight Wings Review


It’s time to look at a recent Pokemon web series that ended. It’s always nice to get some new animated material. Pokemon recently did something similar with Pokemon Generations although that one was way too ambitious in scope and ended up being rather disappointing. Twilight Wings from the start is going for a much more inspirational/somber feel to the shorts. These aren’t about big action scenes or colorful backgrounds. It’s actually all very subdued which is where the somber part comes from while also showing that everyone is trying hard to get ready for their futures. It’s a fun little collection of shorts.

There are 7 shorts in all and they’re all under 10 minutes. So if you merge them together this could be around a 40 minute OVA or something like that. Each short changes main character except for the first and last shorts which are about a kid who is rather sick but wants to be a Pokemon trainer. His friend’s definitely a good kid to have around as he tries his best to make sure that the main character is able to get closer to his friend. The rest of the shorts vary in plot and will always have an ending scene that teases the lead of the next main character. I’ll talk briefly about each short.

The first one I already went over. It’s one of the weaker ones in the collection but is fun enough. It’s always nice to see the kids have a happy ending especially when they’ve clearly been through a lot already. The second one is about Bea who is training for her next fight. She actually spars with her Pokemon which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately she gets stuck in a cave in, but this helps her remember that her strength is with her friends as a team and not by doing everything on her own. We get a little action here which is always pretty neat so this was a solid followup.

Then we have one about Hop who is admiring how great Leon is as per usual. His Wooloo feels bad about this and runs away though so now Hop has to find him. Sometimes it can be obvious that the main character is in the wrong but this time I think Wooloo was making a mountain out of a molehill. It showed that Hop was as close to Wooloo as ever though by having him chase after his friend. This was one of the shorts going for a more emotional angle and it worked well. Hop may have been one of the least impressive rivals in Pokemon but it doesn’t take away from him being a pretty good guy in general.

The 4th short is about Nessa as she tries to balance her career of being a model and a gym leader. People say that it can’t be done and she will have to choose one. Ultimately she chooses to keep going in both fields and will prove her doubters wrong. It’s part of why she is one of the better gym leaders as it takes a lot of drive to maintain two careers at once like this. I was glad she didn’t choose to sacrifice any of them.

Next one’s a slice of life short about Oleana as she tries to deal with Chairman Rose’s rather impromptu ideas. He tends to vanish or get sidetracked very easily. It’s clear that she’s got a tough job on her shoulders. Another good special but a lot more low key compared to most of the others. Then we have the short with Allister which is the weakest short in the series. Still not saying it’s bad or anything but the gym leader’s personality doesn’t work for me. The character doesn’t really talk and the kids don’t have enough snappy dialogue to really make the atmosphere work. It’s hard to hold your own episode after all.

Finally, we end with the kid finally getting to meet Leon. Leon helps him realize that his dream to simply meet Leon wasn’t what he was actually meant to do. The kid really wants to go out there and beat Leon and so the champion gives him a little hope that he can pull this off someday. It’s a fun way to end and while the gym leaders seem to not understand Leon (Some going as far as to say he was holding back or not taking the fight seriously) at least they all understand his strength. I like the idea of an unbeatable champion like Leon because it makes the fight with him feel all the more grand.

So those are the 7 specials. Due to the length of the specials the summaries of each special pretty much tell the whole story but I tried to keep them brief. The series is so short that you should really go ahead and check them out. Especially since it’s only 7 episodes in total. They’re all fun and it’s a nice, calm series to check out. The animation style is going for the washed out look which isn’t exactly my favorite but I think they were going for a look to try and resemble the games a bit more than the anime. Something like Generations is going a lot more traditional with vibrant colors but since this one is going for that somber atmosphere perhaps they thought it would be a little distracting. The brief fight scenes we get still look good though with a lot of shockwave effects to show the scale of the attacks.

This is more about the stories than the visuals or soundtrack though so it makes sense that this would be the focus. I can’t really recall any particular big themes either but we had no long fights that would have taken advantage of them anyway. Twilight Wings thrives on the fact that it makes no real mistakes. After watching each episode you’ll be satisfied with what you saw and can easily binge the rest of it or do one episode at a time. Hopefully we get more Pokemon web series like this in the future. I think these bite sized portions are always a good idea for any series. They help to expand the franchise and give each character more development. They could also work as brief character moments in a future game. Imagine the next Pokemon game having 5-7 minute cutscenes that play out showing a character’s origin. I think it would work rather well.


Overall, Pokemon: Twilight Wings is a solid series. I would definitely recommend it whether you are a Pokemon fan or just a general viewer of media. You don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the themes it’s going for. At the end of the day it’s about showing that you make your own path and to keep going when things are getting tough. None of the characters in the series give up and it ultimately ends up benefiting each and every one of them. The payoff may not always be as great as literally becoming champion of the world but you can still get some personal victories in the meantime. Of course aside from more mini series I would still like to have either a bug budget anime version of Pokemon Ruby (Or Omega Ruby so we get Zinnia) or Pokemon Adventures. It’s time we get more media and it’s Pokemon so it would sell really well.

Overall 7/10

Prétear Review


It’s time to look at a magical girl anime from the not so distant past. I haven’t seen a whole lot of titles from the genre but they tend to be pretty solid. This one’s no exception and makes for a good adventure. It’s not really trying to do anything particularly special and just tries to hit all the usual beats for what you would expect. So that means the show just has to execute well and I’d say that Pretear manages to do this. The show really ends before you know it and we get our good share of fight scenes.

The show starts off by introducing us to the Leafe Knights. They protect the world from demons and such that seek to suck the life out of the world. They operate in secret but have slowly been losing ground to the enemy. What they need is to find the legendary Pretear who is a teenage girl living somewhere on Earth. That leads us to Himeno whose father recently married into a rich family so now she has two step sisters and a step mom to get along with. Himeno really does her best to fit in but unfortunately her new family is not very receptive to her at all. Himeno never allows herself to get down about it though. One day a monster attacks and the Leafe Knights confirm that Himeno is their champion.

Himeno is a little reluctant to join at first but after getting insulted by Hayate she decides to become the Pretear. The only issue is that transforming is a little more awkward here as she has to merge with one of the guys to actually use her powers. Effectively which guy she merges with determines what element her abilities are. From there on she is tasked with destroying monsters as they appear but is there more to this than they are telling her? The Leafe Knights appear to be keeping quite a lot of secrets so this won’t be an easy journey for Himeno.

As the show is only 13 episodes it has to move at a pretty steady pace. While it doesn’t take a real dark turn the way Madoka did, we do get a pretty serious plot for the second half of the show that I thought was handled really well. We are introduced to the Princess of Disaster Fenrir. She is a very imposing villain and gave us a real threat. Her design was sharp and I liked her raw power output as well. I do think the series tries to go a little too hard for the emotional beats with her. It’s a little hard to buy into her backstory because she takes the whole thing way too hard. She is also quick on the rebound as well. Fenrir is at her best when she is just being an evil mastermind and messing with everyone. Her debut appearance in particular was really solid as she completely dismantled the team. I dare say that Fenrir did a lot in making the show’s plot pretty interesting.

Pretear is a very focused show which I appreciate. The episodes all tie into each other and something is always happening. There were no episodes that I would consider to be pointless/filler which is good since the title is so short. There is one character that I would consider to be pointless though and that is Yayoi. She’s supposed to be Himeno’s best friend from school but she rarely appears. When she does appear it’s just to talk about crazy ramblings and she really adds nothing to the story. Cutting her out entirely would have been fantastic because her scenes drag on and have no purpose. If you’re not enhancing the story then that’s just a bad thing.

Lets talk about the main character though. Himeno is pretty great. I like her enthusiasm throughout the show. She takes things in stride a lot better than most heroines. I would actually put her above Ichigo (Mew Mew Power), Sailor Moon (From…Sailor Moon), and Sakura (Cardcaptors) because of how resolute Himeno is. She just jumps into action and also proactively tries to get stronger. How many other leads do you see actually training between missions? I can’t think of a single time I saw the others actually training their abilities although it’s possible I’m not recalling their scenes. The point is that Himeno has a pretty tough living situation with characters actively trying to sabotage her and she never takes it personally. She has to put up with quite a lot but always ends up being the bigger person. Gradually this gets through to her new family and then they end up getting alone.

Himeno has some reservations about merging with the others but I don’t blame her there. Actually having to merge with someone doesn’t seem like an easy decision. Additionally it does lead to the show’s only real weak point in that the merging scenes are a bit fanservicey. More so than the other magical girl shows I’d say. It’s nothing too crazy but since she transforms in every episode with the same recycled animation it still does appear quite a bit. A good transformation scene shouldn’t need any fanservice. Just go for full silhouette and you’ll be okay.

Mayune is one of Himeno’s sisters and loves playing tricks on her. Most of the time they’re fairly harmless of course and Himeno dodges them all but that does mean Himeno always has to be on her guard. That’s got to be exhausting after a while. Mawata is the other sister and gets a much larger role. She has had a difficult time of it because she has always had to be the mature and sensible member of the family but that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. She’s naturally very quiet as well so the others don’t really reach out to see how she’s doing. Having this be a main plot in the show was good because we get a satisfying conclusion to it all. Ultimately Mawata doesn’t look great for parts of this but she has a much better excuse than other characters. Overall I thought she left more of an impression compared to most of the cast and she was solid. Definitely a character you can sympathize with.

Kaoru is Himeno’s father and he’s very annoying. For starters he doesn’t notice everyone picking on Himeno at all. He’s played completely for comic relief and is also oblivious to everyone’s insults. It’s great that he’s so in love with Natsue of course but I would have liked him to have been portrayed a little better. He should at least be aware of some of the things going on right? At the end he gets serious but it’s way too late. Meanwhile Natsue seems reasonable. I thought she was going to be portrayed as the extreme step mom but for the most part she’s amiable to Himeno. She may be slightly biased towards the others but it never gets too crazy. She also seems to think Kaoru goes a little too far at times but tries not to let it show.

Hayate is the main Leafe Knight so he gets a huge role. You probably know where his plot is headed the instant the show starts. He has a fun design and is definitely the “toughest” member of the group with how he acts. He’s always got a burn at the ready and doesn’t play nice like the others. In general the Knights are pretty weak without having a Pretear to merge with but at least he puts up a better fight than the others. I thought he worked pretty well. Meanwhile you have Sasami who is the quiet Knight but ends up being the worst one. He just can’t control himself very well and loses sight of what’s the right thing to do. He’s the kind of guy who lets romance end up ruining his life as he throws his morals away for a quick chance. I’ll give the show props for playing the second half straight though. Sasami completely goes in his direction. There’s no way I could forget that so he was one of the worst here but it was unexpected.

The show did a good job of throwing some twists and turns at you. For example there’s one character who is around quite a lot but in a very low key way so when a twist happens you’re pretty impressed. Sasami gets a plotline like that which is handled really well. It also gave Pretear an extra layer compared to what you would have expected and enhances the story quite well. It makes the show more memorable and when you throw in the action scenes you’ve got a solid show. It’s able to shift genres and get quite serious when needed as well.

After the main two Leafe Knights, the rest don’t have a whole lot to do. If anything the show probably had too many of them because the rest never get to do a whole lot. They show up and get their transformation episodes but otherwise they’re mainly around to get wrecked. I think the reason they are here is so we could have a whole team. I wouldn’t say any of them are bad characters though. I didn’t particularly like them much but as far as supporting characters go they served their purpose of being around for moral support. Mr. Tanaka on the other hand is more like Yoyoi in that he could have been cut out. His job in the series is to be the but of everyone’s jokes and to constantly get wrecked by everyone. The show didn’t need him as a comic relief character.

The show’s humor could get a little repetitive in that sense. There’s one running gag where Mayune constantly tries to seduce every guy she meets and this results in the exact same scenes over and over. Once or twice is fine I guess but it happens at least 3 times if not more. I feel like low key this was to save on budget but I dunno. The animation is good I’d say. It’s nothing particularly spectacular or anything but it’s not bad. It’s smooth enough where you can enjoy the fight scenes and the character designs. There’s one scene that is animated a bit oddly as Hayate tries to find Himeno though. We get a scene where he seemingly sees her and isn’t able to save her from a car in time but then later on it seems like that was a red herring and he never saw her. The whole thing was odd but that’s probably more of a directing thing than an animation error. So it’s not anything special but it works well enough.

The soundtrack isn’t too memorable but there was one theme I really liked. I guess I’d call it the danger theme or the Leafe Knight theme since it appears in one of the very first scenes in episode 1. Sadly after that it doesn’t appear much at all but it was good. It started the series off on a high note and let you know that things were getting serious right away. The villains may not have great designs but it quickly let you know that the aliens were ready to invade the planet. Fenrir may be the only big villain but she’s the only one we really need because of how powerful she is. The heroes aren’t ready to deal with someone like her.

Outside of the humor gag that didn’t work, the show’s writing and humor are solid overall. I like the banter with Hayate and Himeno. He definitely feels like a throwback to the classic Shojo hero who would always be rather standoffish with the main character. He insults her quite a lot but they still manage to grow fairly close. Now you knew this was coming but the romance isn’t particularly great though. Himeno seems confused on who she likes for a bit and there are a lot of rebounds happening here. I think you could cut out all of the romance to be sure but it could have been a lot worse. At least the tight script helps to make things work out here.

Overall, Pretear is definitely a really solid magical girl show. I haven’t seen too many in this genre so it was fun to jump on board. It develops the characters pretty quickly and gives us some nice writing and banter as well. The story is very direct and there are actually some twists and turns to keep you interested. If you’re looking for a fun little show to check out then this is definitely a good one to keep an eye on. That’s one thing that is always a lot of fun about shows that are only 12-13 episodes long. It’s easy to jump into them and more often than not the pacing is going to be fantastic because of how fast the plot has to move. Not every show has to be the next big all star and as long as you have solid fundamentals you’ll end up being a good adventure. That’s exactly how Pretear rolls.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony: Pony Life


MLP has returned with a new series! It’s off to a fun enough start. The animation has taken a bit of a nosedive and I’m never a fan of going for 10 minute shorts rather than 20 but I think this one should manage to be consistently good. I’m hoping the series starts throwing in some fight scenes but either way I’ll be in it for the longhaul.

Overall 6/10