The Dragon Prince Season Two Review: Improved Animation and Story Telling.

4 stars
Although I did enjoy the first season of Netflix’s The Dragon Prince, I did find it to be a frustrating experience.
Created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, there was a lot to love about season one but its animation and story telling left much to be desired.
Thankfully, I think season two improves and even fixes many of the series’ prior failings.
The biggest issue of season one, for me and a lot of other people, was the animation, with the frame rate being so abysmal that it took me out of many scenes.
This season, however, the animation has been improved greatly.
There are still a few instances of odd animation but it very rarely took me out of the moment and looks great most of the time.

Animation
The animation for the second season of The Dragon Prince is greatly improved, feeling more fluid this time.

Another element of the show that it improved on is the story.
While there was a lot to love about the story telling in the first season, I found some elements were introduced too abruptly and some story points felt a little odd.
Not for this season though because it all flows naturally.
Admittedly, the first few episodes are a bit of a slow burn but once the season hits episode five the story becomes highly engaging, with fantastic scenes and character moments.
Episode five, “Breaking the Seal,” and episode six, “Heart of a Titan”, are probably the best of the season, allowing me to care for characters I had not previously like Harrow (Luc Roderique) and his wife Sarai (Kazumi Evans).
Speaking of the characters, almost all of them have fantastic arcs.
Callum (Jack DeSena) has one of the best, with him struggling to regain his magic, the one thing that made him feel like he had purpose, which made me sympathize a lot with him.
Then there is Claudia (Racquel Belmont), who goes down a very dark path in the final episode, which has me excited about what will happen with her next season.
We even get some new characters who are just as great as the old ones.
There is the young leader Queen Aanya (Zelda Ehasz), who reminds me a lot of Lyanna Mormont from Game of Thrones, and a funny blind pirate named Villads (Peter Kelamis).
My favourite new character of the season is, without a doubt, the intimidating new villain Aaravos.
He is voiced by Erik Dellums, the voice of Koh in Avatar: The Last Airbender, which makes him even more threatening.
Aaravos is already one of the most interesting characters in The Dragon Prince and I found his storyline with Veren (Jason Simpson) to be the best of the season.

Aaravos
Aaravos looks set to be very important to the series because he is also the one who narrated the beginning of season one. This is good because he is a very interesting character.

What is not the best storyline of the season, however, is definitely Soren’s (Jesse Inocalla).
It is clear the writers were trying to make us sympathize with his character this season but, given his actions, I found it extremely hard to.
Although, they did redeem him somewhat by the end of the season.
Another small negative I have is the way the season ends.
The final episode, “Breathe”, ends pretty suddenly, making it a jarring experience.
It is not a huge issue but I think they should have ended the season on a different scene.
Overall, the season season of The Dragon Prince is a big improvement on the first, animation and story wise.
I can now confidently say that I am invested in this story.

 

The Umbrella Academy Review: Family Drama First, Superhero Series Second.

4 stars
Superheroes are everywhere these days.
There have been so many TV shows and movies about them that every piece of media that has them now has to incorporate something new to be successful.
Well, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy does this in spades by being a family drama first and a superhero series second.
Based off the graphic novel series by Gerad Way, and adapted by Steve Blackman, The Umbrella Academy follows a dysfunctional family of superheroes who reunite after the death of their terrible adopted father (Colm Feore).
After the reappearance of their time traveling brother Five (Aidan Gallagher), they learn that the world will end in eight days and set out to stop it.

five.png
Gallagher does a fantastic job as Five, a fifty-eight year old trapped in a young teen’s body.

However, despite the coming apocalypse, the series focuses more on the relationships between its characters and it is all the better for it.
The Umbrella Academy is at its best when it pairs different characters together to play off one another.
This is helped by how great these characters are and how good of a job the actors portraying them do.
I cared for every member of the academy, from the sympathetic Vanya (Ellen Page), to the tragic Luther (Tom Hopper), to the regretful Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), to the stubborn Diego (David Castaneda), to the drug addict Klaus (Robert Sheenan).
Even the villains are likeable, with me actually cheering for the time traveling assassin Hazel (Cameron Britton) by the end.
The way the story revolves around these characters is fantastic, especially with the ending to episode eight, “I Heard A Rumor”, which had me screaming in shock at what happened.
The CGI is also amazing, with monkey butler Pogo (Adam Godley) looking like he came directly from the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.

Pogo.jpg
The CGI on Pogo is stunning, given the budget the series probably had.

Then there is the music, which is well chosen, even incorporating some from Gerad Way himself into the mix.
But, while I did love all of this, The Umbrella Academy is not without its faults.
While the setup for the story is very interesting, with 43 women giving birth simultaneously, despite not being pregnant, there are numerous questions surrounding this that are never addressed.
For example, what happened to the other children who were not adopted?
Did they get powers too?
Even though these questions are not essential to the overall story of the season, it felt like some potentially interesting lore was being thrown away by it was not being addressed.
Another problem I have is with the final episode of the season, “The White Violin”, which just feels too short.
There are so many moments in this episode that are supposed to be powerful ones but they happen so quickly that there is no time to take it in.
That said, the ending cliffhanger is great.
In the end though, The Umbrella Academy season one is a great start to this series.
The character drama elements to the show are fantastic and bolstered by strong performances from all of the cast.
I hope it gets a second season because I will certainly be watching.

Alita: Battle Angel Review: A Fast Pace isn’t Always a Good Thing.

3 and a half stars
Live action anime adaptations do not have the best reputation.
They often end in failure by making so many changes to the story and characters that the film is almost unrecognizable from its source material.
Case and point, Dragonball: Evolution and Death Note. 
However, this does not appear to be the case with the latest anime adaptation Alita: Battle Angel. 
I cannot say that this film mostly adheres to the source material, because I have not read the manga or watched the anime, and some things obviously had to be changed for the film, but it still felt like I was watching an anime series in movie form.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, Alita: Battle Angel follows the titular Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg who sets out to uncover her past, while sinister forces attempt to kill her.
The film is a visual spectacle with many stunning shots.
Alita herself is completely CG and, while there is the occasional uncanny valley effect, it often looks incredible.
Her struggles and relationships with the other characters also does enough to get you to invest in the story and where it goes.

Battle Angel
Salazar does a great job as Alita and I did not find the CGI too distracting.

This is helped by a great cast, among them Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connely and Ed Skrein, as supporting characters.
As a result of these characters and the way scenes are shot, the action is especially thrilling, with my favourite scene of the movie being a battle between Alita and another cyborg Grewishka (Jackie Earl Haley).
However, even though I am throwing a heap of praise at Alita: Battle Angel, there are sadly a lot of problems.
I said that the film felt like it was adapting a lot from the manga and anime and this causes it to have a very fast pace.
As a result, storylines begin and end very quickly, without much time to take in the impact of it all.
All the story that gets thrown in also makes the film feel a bit too long, with the third act having so many action sequences that I am not sure which one of them is supposed to be the climax.
Another feature that suffers from this fast pace is the character arcs.
Specifically those of Connely and Keean Johnson’s characters.
These two have very similar arcs but, although they have a beginning and end, there is no middle.
Because of this, their characters just seem to quickly change with no build up.
It felt like there should have been a few more additional scenes to make these arcs flow better.
Along with this there, is a storyline line concerning Johnson’s character Hugo, which I found to be rather pointless, considering how it ends.

Hugo
Hugo, Alita’s love interest, is difficult to route for because of how his arc is cut down and a storyline that feels pointless after the film ends.

There are also negative effects to the positive I mentioned earlier that Alita: Battle Angel felt like an anime series in move format.
Because, while some things may work in an anime, this does not mean they will work in a film.
This caused many of the scenes and lines to produce quite a bit of cringe.
I found the line, “I do not stand by in the presence of evil”, to be particularly eye rolling.
Despite these problems though, I would still recommend Alita: Battle Angel.
Like I said, it is a visual spectacle, Alita is an interesting character, and the action scenes are thrilling.
Just do not expect this film to get a sequel because, even though it sets one up, I highly doubt it is going to make back the immense amount of money this movie cost so the studio will not want to risk it.
Alita: Battle Angel has its issues, but it is still one of the better live action anime adaptations.

 

The Walking Dead Issue 188, Falling into Place Review: Building to Something… Hopefully?

3 stars
Aside from Dwight’s death and some interesting political commentary, there has been very little that I have found to be investing in the last ten issues of The Walking Dead.
However, Issue 188, “Falling into Place”, seems to set this up to change.
The issue is average, just like many other issues in this arc, but it thankfully looks to be the one that will set the wheels in motion for the Commonwealth’s civil war.
Initially, this does not appear to be the case because Mercer is quickly arrested at the beginning of “Falling into Place”, before he can set his revolution into motion.
But, by the end of the issue, this revolution looks to be gaining full steam as Laura sets out to recruit George and the rest of Mercer’s men to rise against the establishment.
This looks set to commence next issue because the cover features Laura and two others storming the cell that Mercer is being kept in.
Rick and Michonne seem to have caught on to Laura by the end of the issue though, so it will be interesting to see what they do.
Speaking of Rick and Michonne ,this issue continues to disappointingly move away from their conflict, which was set up at the end of Issue 186.
It still feels weird to see that they have made up after Rick explicitly said he would never forgive her for putting him in a situation where he had to kill Dwight.
Despite Robert Kirkman seemingly abandoning Rick’s role to play in the upcoming civil war, Mercer thankfully continues to be a key player.
He gets one of the most interesting scenes in the issue where Pamela confronts him about his actions, only for Mercer to rightly criticize her hypocritical actions.
Along with the brewing the civil war, there is another feature that looks to bring much intensity to the next issue.
This is the cliffhanger of “Falling into Place”, which sees a heard of Walkers heading straight for Eugene and Stephanie, who have been left to work on their train.
While I did like this cliffhanger, the way the issue built up to it is a little contrived.
It all starts when Carl, Jesus, Arron, Dante and Siddiq, who were sent by Maggie to check in with Rick at the Commonwealth, come across Princess.
The synopsis of this issue tries to be dramatic with the line “is Princess friend or foe?” but we all knew she was not going to be.
This turns out to be the case when she runs away, only for them all to run into a herd of Walkers to create some artificial tension, oh joy!
Even though I did not like how obviously set up this scene felt, I will admit it did lead to some good banter between Carl and Princess.
I chuckled when Carl told her that being a loner is “total bulls*!t” and she replies, “you don’t have to curse.”
It makes me wonder what a scene between Princess and Negan would be like.
She would be horrified.
After this, the group diverts the herd and it unfortunately reaches Eugene and Stephanie at the end of the issue.
As for their fates, I am unsure if Kirkman will kill them off or not.
Eugene has become a very important character in the comics and I do not know if Kirkman would kill him off right after Dwight.
As for Stephanie, I find it unlikely she will be killed of because we just met her and she has not received much proper development yet.
Still, I do have some hope that this herd and the coming civil war in the Commonwealth will finally bring the excitement needed for this arc.
Overall, “Falling into Place” was another average issue in The Walking Dead. 
Things look to get more exciting in the next few issues but, if they do not then I cannot see the Commonwealth story arc being anything better than just average.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Review: Prepare to be Confused.

3 and a half stars
I fondly remember the first time I came across Kingdom Hearts.
I was nine years old and had gone over to a friend’s house, where he was playing the first section of the game on the Destiny Islands.
The game looked like a lot of fun to me and I looked at the cover to see what it was called and was shocked to see Donald and Goofy on it.
My friend explained to me that the game was a mix between Disney Properties and Final Fantasy, which intrigued me further, so I bought the game at the first opportunity.

Kingdom Hearts cover
My first time seeing the Kingdom Hearts cover left me very confused about why Donald Goofy were on it.

Needless to say, I absolutely loved the first game and, after finishing it, quickly moved on to play the sequel Kingdom Hearts 2, unaware there had been an installment in between, Chain of Memories.
Despite my confusion about this, I loved Kingdom Hearts 2 even more than the first one and eagerly awaited Kingdom Hearts 3.
Over a decade later, the game has finally been released, and, boy, is it confusing.
This is because, in between Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3, there have been numerous spin off games that tie into the series.
I managed to play most of these games because of the remixes that were released and I looked up the rest of the story for the games I did not play.
Despite this, I was still incredibly confused by Kingdom Hearts 3‘s story to say the least.
What was once a simple story about light vs darkness has devolved over the years into a convoluted mess involving time travel, clones, people trapped in other’s hearts, multiple versions of the same people, and numerous story points that need to be seen to be believed.
This, unfortunately, makes the story of Kingdom Hearts 3 quite a slog to sit through, and the game itself is only saved by likeable characters, the worlds you visit, and strong gameplay.
The characters and their relationships were one of the few things that kept me invested in the story.
Had it not been for the likes of Sora, Donald, Goofy, Riku, Mickey, Axel, Aqua, and others, I would have completely zoned out.

Sora and the gang
The characters are what keep the overly convoluted story in Kingdom Hearts 3 from falling apart.

Although, that said, Kairi continues to be the useless Princess Peach of this franchise.
As for the villains, I actually liked how a lot of them were handled during the final stretch of the game.
I especially liked Master Xehanort’s motivations and how his story concluded.
Then there are the gameplay and worlds, which are by far the highlights of the game and expands on the previous Kingdom Hearts games in every single way.
Whereas previous worlds felt confined and somewhat lifeless, the worlds of Kingdom Hearts 3 have a massive scope and feel alive.
The beauty of these worlds is also highlighted by the excellent upgrade in animation.
Not to mention the nostalgia of visiting these various worlds.
Some of the worlds like Toy Story and Monsters Inc. are a treasure to visit.
Sadly, some of the worlds like Pirates of the Caribbean  and The Final World are a chore to play through, but the other great worlds more than make up for them.
Then there is the gameplay accompanying these worlds, which leads to extremely fun combat scenarios.
Utilizing different Keyblades and trying out various Disney ride themed attacks is very enjoyable.
The bosses are also incredibly fun to fight and very inventive, with many forcing you to use different tactics to beat them.
I would say though that the game is a bit too easy until the end.
I was looking for a real challenge when playing and I did not get this until arriving at the Keyblade Graveyard.

armor zehanort.jpg
While most of the game is very easy, the final series of bosses are much more difficult, especially the final forms of Master Xehanort.

Still, despite how easy most of the game is, it is still really fun to play.
Again, it is the story and how convoluted it has become that drags down this game.
The story is full of plot holes, unnatural dialogue and enough deus ex machinas to make a drinking game out of it. 
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a fun game but good luck trying to understand what is going on.

Attack on Titan Chapter 114 Review: An Explosive Ending… Literally.

4 stars
The previous chapter of Attack on Titan hinted at Zeke’s past and motivations, and now we got the reveal of both of those with Chapter 114, “The Only Salvation.”
Most of the chapter is devoted to a flashback of Zeke’s childhood and the emotional abuse he suffered from his parents, along with him finding a new father figure in the previous Beast Titan, Tom Xaver, and how this all contributed to his motives.
“The Only Salvation” did a great job of making me sympathize with Zeke after seeing the treatment he has been subjected to all his life, especially in childhood.
Just like Reiner, Zeke is revealed to have been the weakest off the Warrior candidates when he enlisted.
He was also subjected to attempted brainwashing from both sides of his family.
Zeke’s parents wanted him to believe Eldia is a good thing while his grandparents wanted him to believe all of Marley’s propaganda.
Because of how both sides constantly tried to influence his decisions and worldview, Zeke rarely experienced love from his family in his childhood.
The way his parents, Dina and Grisha, treated him is borderline emotionally abusive.
Upon seeing that Zeke is weaker than the other Warrior candidates, Grisha storms off with Dina in pursuit, leaving Zeke to cry as he watches his parents leave him.
This would have cast Grisha in an extremely negative light had his past tragic experiences not been brought up in the chapter.
We see how the death of his sister influenced Grisha to the point of becoming like his father and neglecting his own son, which inevitably leads to his downfall.
So, Zeke did not receive any kind of love from his family and was in desperate need of a parental figure.
Enter stage right, the surprisingly kind Tom Xaver.
I had an idea coming into the chapter that Xaver would be working with Eren Kruger to manipulate Zeke and Grisha into following their plan, so it was surprising, in a good way, to see that Xaver was just a kind man who wanted what was best for Zeke.
And after seeing Zeke suffer so much emotional abuse from his family, it made me happy to see Xaver making it his personal mission to look out for him.
Xaver is also very likeable because of this and, even though he will probably not be featured after this chapter, he is still a character I will remember because of his personality and tragic backstory.
Xaver is basically Marley’s version of Hange, with him wanting to know the Titans’ secrets, and he has one of the most tragic backstories of the series.
He tells Zeke that he fell in love with and married a Marleyan woman, who did not know he was an Eldian, and had a child with her.
When his wife found out about him being Eldian, she killed herself and her child, once again highlighting the strong prejudice and hatred Marleyans have towards Eldians.
This made Xaver want to die, but in a “luxurious” way, which is why he became a Warrior.
However, then he met Zeke and saw his dead son in him, and, upon knowing his backstory, this is apparent when looking at how the two interact.
The scene where Xaver convinces Zeke to turn in his parents is the most emotional moment of the chapter.
I could feel Zeke’s pain when he said he would remember Xaver, even if he is turned into a Titan.
The following three panels of Xaver’s face are very striking because we can see what he is thinking just by looking at him.
In the first panel he is horrified by the thought that this might happen to Zeke, then in the second panel Xaver realizes he must convince Zeke to turn in his parents to keep him safe, and in the final panel we can see him accepting this.
These panels show how greatly Xaver cared for Zeke just through visuals and make him a very sympathetic character.
After the scene of Zeke turning in his parents, we get a flashforward of an older him playing catch with Xaver, before he is set to inherit his Beast Titan power.
Here, Xaver admits he has learnt that the Founding Titan can change Eldian body compositions.
Influenced by the emotional abuse he suffered, and an event seen at the beginning of the chapter when Zeke and his family were yelled at by a racist Marleyan that they should stop having children, Zeke’s motives are revealed by what he says next.
He wonders if the Founding Titan could be used to sterilize all of the Eldians so there would be no more Titans.
This appears to be Zeke’s ultimate goal to bring peace to the world because it will stop Titans from killing people but also stop Marley from being able to wage war with them.
However, if this is his true motivation, then it is highly unlikely that Eren is on Zeke’s side.
Eren has always been about freedom and would not agree with sterilizing all Eldians.
Zeke seems to think Eren is on his side though, based on earlier chapters, so Eren is almost certainly manipulating him.
Either way, what “The Only Salvation” revealed about Zeke made me sympathize with him and gave me a greater understanding of his character.
The flashback was not all perfect, sadly, because I do think Zeke’s backstory is a little too similar to Reiner’s but, other than that, it was pretty great.
But this is not where the chapter ends, oh no.
After Zeke’s flashback we are taken back to the present with Zeke stuck as Levi’s captive, being continually tortured so he cannot transform.
It is here that the most shocking moment of the chapter happens, when Zeke, in an act of desperation, pulls his neck down hard, triggering the thunder spear impaled in his stomach.
The chapter ends with the explosion sending both Levi and two halves of Zeke flying, leaving us to wonder if either survived.
In all honesty though, I think both are still alive.
Zeke has a lot more story to give and Isayama makes a point of showing the front half of his body flying away from the explosion where it can possibly regenerate.
As for Levi, if he was going to die here, Isayama would have shown his dead body but all we get is a shot of him being thrown away from the explosion.
This said, he might have lost a limb because we do not get a clear shot of one of his arms and one of his legs, and there does seem to be a lot of blood trailing from Levi.
If Levi does lose a body part, then it is unlikely that we will see the stand off between him and Eren many of us have been hoping for, which is disappointing.
So, in conclusion, I am fairly certain both have survived.
Sure, it is pretty contrived for both to have survived the explosion at such close proximity but Reiner survived having his head blown off in the Shiganshina Arc so anything is possible.
Overall, I really enjoyed Chapter 114, “The Only Salvation.”
It made me finally understand Zeke’s motives and has me very excited to see what will happen to him and Levi next.

Mindhunter: Realistically Terrifying.

4 and a half stars.png
Based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, the Netflix show Mindhunter presents a mostly fictionalized version of events in this book.
Created by Joe Penhall, The series follows special agents Holden Ford (Jonathon Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they travel the country to interview captured serial killers and figure out what makes them tick.
Along the way, they are joined by psychology professor Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), and the three of them strive to help the FBI adapt to a terrifying kind of killer that has yet to be officially recognized.

the gang
The series follows Ford, Carr and Tench in their efforts to make the FBI more aware of serial killers. A term they actually coin in the show.

Mindhunter is very different from other crime TV series.
Most shows of this genre take an extremely fictionalized angle but not Mindhunter. 
Sure, a lot of the characters are not real people, but many of the serial killers interviewed are.
The series also takes a realistic approach to the murders from the sole perspective of law enforcement.
Apart from the opening, we never see anyone die.
All the show gives us is pictures of the aftermath and the killers’ own words on what happened.
You would think this would make it hard to feel scared about some of these murders but this if far from the case.
The photos are often brutal and disturbing, and the way these killers talk about the murders they have committed is the most frightening feature of the show.
One of the main serial killers the shows focuses on is the real life Ed Kemper, the Co-ed Killer, who murdered ten people.
Kemper is portrayed by Cameron Britton, in a terrifyingly brilliant performance.
Watching his lifeless eyes while he talks about murder as if it is the most natural thing in the world always sent chills down my spine.

creepy killer
Britton is terrifying as real life serial killer Ed Kemper. He was nominated for an Emmy for his performance, which he absolutely deserved.

The other killers are just as creepy and, whenever Ford and Tench take on an active case, the details and progression of the case often lead to more disturbing scenes.
The impact these scenes have on the characters is shown fantastically because we see how it affects both Ford and Tench’s relationships with their loved ones.
Mindhunter also tackles the time it is set in, of the 1970s, incredibly well.
Subjects like the mistrust of the government, and the slowly changing tactics used to catch killers by the FBI, are handled realistically, just like everything else.
In fact, if I had to describe Mindhunter in one word that is what it would be: realistic.
There are no death matches between the FBI agent and the serial killer, there are no explosions, and there is no happy resolution.
Mindhunter feels like real life in all of its terrifying ways and that is what makes it so great.
I cannot wait to see season two, whenever it comes out.

Attack on Titan: Season Three, Part Two. Trailer Thoughts.

When the second part of Attack on Titan season three was delayed for six months, I was not happy about it.
I found the lack of communication surrounding this information to be quite unprofessional.
Still, this does not change the fact that I am incredibly excited for the second half, and the recently released trailer has only served to increase my excitement.
I have read the manga since the first part of season three ended so I know where a lot of the shots in the trailer are from and what they mean.
I will not spoil these things but I will say that all of the shots look like they are from the first couple of episodes, just like the trailer for the Uprising Arc.
This makes me even more excited for this arc because of the excellent ways the panels of the manga have been adapted to the anime, which can be seen just by looking at this trailer.
Shots like Eren using his O.D.M Gear to rise above Shiganshina and bite his hand are amazing expansions of manga events, and look absolutely beautiful animation-wise.
We even get a few shots that I do not think were in the manga, like the one where Levi draws his swords while standing on his advancing horse.
This makes me interested in what other additions and changes will be made for the anime.
However, I know that not all of these changes will be for the better, based on the trailer.
This is clear from the shot where Levi stabs Reiner in the neck.
In the manga, the depiction of this scene is brutal and bloody, but in the trailer a sword blocks our view of this violence.
Reading the manga version of the Uprising Arc, it is easy to see how the series has been censored in the anime version and, unfortunately, this censorship looks set to continue in the Shiganshina Arc.
Granted, censorship will not completely destroy the impact of these scenes but it will certainly lessen them.
Although, if there is one thing that has not lessened in this trailer, it is, without a doubt, Attack on Titan’s excellent soundtrack.
Accompanying the trailer is a new variation of the song “Attack on Titan”, which was prevalent in season one and one of my favourite OSTs of the series.
I am very excited to hear its return and look forward to what new songs we will hear in this part of the season.
Overall, this trailer only added to my excitement levels for this arc.
In my opinion, The Shiganshina Arc is the greatest arc of Attack on Titan so far and I cannot wait to see how it is adapted.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly Review.

3 and a half stars
Created by Akira Toryama, The Dragon Ball series is still going strong, decades after its initial conception.
Now, with the new series, Dragon Ball Super, recently coming to a close, a movie has been released as a continuation, Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
Directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, the film introduces the Legendary Super Saiyan Broly into the Super universe, retconning all of the prior films he has featured in.
The movie also retcons various other stories to suit the film, like that of Bardock, Goku’s father.
Picking up 41 years before the epic battle of the film, we see the new beginning of the series, with Broly being exiled, instead of almost killed, and his father, Paragus, following him.
Along with this, Dragon Ball Super: Broly also changes Bardock’s backstory, having him send Goku away to protect him, rather than Goku just being sent to conquer earth.
Personally, I do not really care for this retcon because it in no way affects the film.
On the other hand, I think Broly’s changed backstory is a great improvement for his character.
In the earlier films, Broly was a very one dimensional character with terrible motivation.
He literally wanted to kill Goku because he cried too loud when he was a baby.
In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, however, he is a well developed character who we actually sympathize with.

Broly.jpg
Broly is a very relatable character in this film. A stark contrast to prior ones where he was a one dimensional, but incredibly strong, idiot.

What also helps in this is the addition of two great side characters, Cheelai and Lemo, who come to care for Broly, causing us to relate to both him and them.
Moving past the backstory now and onto the main focus of the film, which is the battle between Goku, Vegeta, and Broly, it is very enjoyable with many intense sequences.
But, I still have problems with this fight, like the implementation of CGI, which does not always work.
Sometimes the regular animation looks a little off too.
Also the soundtrack during this fight could be really distracting at times, with it being someone annoyingly shouting the characters’ names.
Aside from this, the epic battle of the film is very enjoyable, mindless, fun.
The comedy that is implemented works as well and there is a lot of heart to some of the scenes, especially with the ending.
Overall, I would say that Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a very enjoyable film.
It may have a few problems, but the big fight sequence and the great changes to Broly’s character more than make up for them.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion – An Unpopular Opinion.

3 and a half stars
Directed by Goro Taniguchi, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is considered a masterpiece by many fans so my opinion on this anime will be unpopular.
This is not to say I think Code Geass is a bad anime, because it is not, but I certainly do not consider it to be the masterpiece a lot of people say it is.
Still, there are many fantastic features in this anime that I really enjoyed and made me understand why people think so highly of it.
One of these features is the main character Lelouch vi Brittania, an exiled prince of a conquering nation, known as Brittania.
After the death of his mother, and witnessing the atrocities commited during Brittania’s occupation of Japan, Lelouch swears revenge.
His opportunity comes when a mysterious girl, named C2, gifts him with the power of Geass, which allows him to control anyone just by looking at them.
Adopting the persona of Zero, Lelouch sets out to defeat Brittania, liberate Japan, and make a better world for his sister Nunnally.
Lelouch is an amazing main character, with his growth from beginning to end being nothing short of spectacular.
He really reminded me of Light Yagami from Death Note, however, unlike him, Lelouch is fully aware of how terrible some of the acts he commits are, which makes him all the more compelling.
A lot of the supporting cast are also great with characters like C2, Kallen and Xingke being particular standouts.

Code Geass cast.jpg
Code Geass has some great characters, specifically its main character Lelouch.

The action of the series is engaging, with giant mechs known are Knightmares being used in most of the fights, and many of the story beats are very compelling, with episodes 22-25 and the final few episodes providing some amazing scenes.
However, all of this greatness is weighed down by various problems, which, for me, brought down the anime quite a bit.
Despite the fact that there are many great episode of Code Geass, there are also some that are not so much.
Any time the series would focus on Lelouch’s school and friends it would get pretty boring for me because I did not care for many of the characters involved in these storylines.
Speaking of characters, besides those I mentioned earlier, I did not care for many others.
The character of Nina, for example, came across as a creepy stalker who has one of the most cringe inducing scenes in anime.
You know the one I am talking about.

Nina.jpg
Please, for the love of god, do not let Nina anywhere near a table again. Please.

Even when I did like a character, the anime would often take them in a direction that led me towards hating them.
Suzaku Kururugi is a perfect example of this.
At the beginning of Code Geass, Suzaku is Lelouch’s childhood friend but he is cooperating with Britannia to ensure peace.
This creates a great dynamic between him and Lelouch because of their opposing world views but this changes for the worse when Suzaku becomes a complete hypocrite, ruining this dynamic and making Suzaku very unlikable.
Worse still, the way some storylines concluded were downright terrible.
Season one ends on an epic cliffhanger in episode 25 and I was dying to know what would happen next.
Then, when I went to watch the first episode of season two, I discovered that the storyline the previous season had ended on had been completely thrown away to basically restart the story.
So many scenes in the ending moments of the previous season are undone, making it pointless.
Looking into the production issues Code Geass faced, I know why this happened, but it does not change that, for me, the way season two picks up from season one is terrible.

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The way season two picks up from season one is a disaster, in my mind. It got good again, after a few episodes, but it still left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Then there is the rushed way certain things are introduced or handled, the fact that some character arcs are set up but never resolved.
Finally, there are some storylines that are repeated so much that it gets aggravating.
I lost count of how many times a character experienced amnesia or flat out lost their entire memory.
All of these problems moved towards damaging the series for me.
As I said, Code Geass has some fantastic elements and these make it more than worth watching.
However, at the same time, it has numerous story and character problems that drag it away from being a fantastic anime, for me.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a good anime that had a lot of potential, but its numerous problems stop it from reaching that potential.