Reviews written by registered user
|8 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, I'm gonna skip all the explanations to how Headmasters came to
be, and cut the chase; Headmasters continues relatively straight from
where the season 3 of the American cartoon left off; it ignores the
Rebirth three-parter altogether in favor of giving it's titular
characters an entirely different concept and origin. This time, there
are no little aliens from planet Nebulos; instead, the Headmasters
themselves are human-sized robots who fled the planet Cybertron
millions of years ago. evacuating to planet Master, where some of them
built themselves larger robot bodies they could combine with, called
Taking place a year after the events of the hate plague, the autobots have established a new base on planet Athenia (which, according to the Japanese series guide, is supposed to be the same planet where the galactic Olympics seen in Five Faces of Darkness took place in). For some reason or another, Cybertron's core computer Vector Sigma has become unstable, allowing Decepticons to attack once more. The Decepticons have help in form of Headmasters, led my mysterious Zarak, but the autobots will not remain devoid of their own Headmasters for long.
The first three episodes play pretty much as a single story arc which establish the series premise. Optimus Prime dies again, allowing Rodimus Prime to take the lead once more. This is but one of the show's many weaknesses; his death is handled very poorly, without any dramatic tension, and considering he only came back a few episodes ago (if we include the season 3 into the equation), it feels sort of insulting. Considering Rodimus Prime and pretty much all the 'classic' Autobots take off ten episodes into the series anyway, there's really no reason for it either, they could have kept him along till then. The only major player who sticks around is Arcee, who is reduced to little more than a secretary.
Anyway. Within the first ten episodes, there's a bunch of single-episode stories, in fashion of the old show, where Galvatron tries to come up with new ways to attack the Autobots, which is kind of nice as it gives a sense of familiarity that should ease you up into things after the third season. In one of these episodes, Battle Beasts make an appearance, which is an interesting crossover.
However, the 9th and 10th episodes are a two-parter; Vector Sigma has began constructing a new type of indestructible alloy, which could change the course of war forever. However, while Galvatron's and Rodimus' troops fight, Zarak reaches the conclusion that the risk is too great, and decides to destroy the entire planet. And the scary thing is...he actually *succeeds*.
Yes, Cybertron is destroyed, entirely. This, too, feels downright insulting, considering the entire American cartoon had the two factions wrestle over it's control, and suddenly it's *gone*. It's like all this fighting has been in vain...
After this, Rodimus hands the leadership (but not the Matrix) to Fortress, the leader of the Autobot Headmasters, and after this, the overall story arc becomes increasingly prominent, with Scorponok building his transtector, Fortress showing off his, and both trying to discover each others' weaknesses.
Although the overall story is fairly engaging, and the occasional one-off story is nice...each episode just seems to use it's plot as an excuse for a fight scene. For a bunch of peace-loving Autobots, the Headmasters sure love to run headfirst into battle. Chromedome, who is the Headmasters' field commander in a way, comes off as a bit of a runt (like Hot Rod, only even more inclined to pull off stupid stunts) while Fortress frequently broods. The dialogue is downright goofy, with almost every command being returned with the exact same phrase in form of a question, and even insults being returned with the exact same ones.
And, of course, the show seems to have made Daniel and Wheelie it's stars. As if these two weren't annoying enough...well, at least Wheelie doesn't talk in rhymes with an annoying voice anymore, but Daniel acts like a total crybaby as opposed to the 14-year old he's supposed to be.
Overall...it's mediocre. You'll be delighted to see a sequel to the third season, with many classic characters showing up, even some from the first year (including Jazz, and Prowl who died in the movie!)...while some from the third season are nowhere to be seen (Sky Lynx I can understand since the toy was never released in Japan, but it doesn't explain Grimlock and Springer, to name a few). The Japanese concept for Headmasters is decidedly less ridiculous than the American one as well. However, Headmasters is pretty *stupid* show, with characters doing stupid things for stupid reasons, like Fortress Maximus running around with a giant floppy disc with his own blueprints on it, as opposed to having used a fake. All this, and not helped in a bit by Daniel. Only hardcore TF fans need apply.
It's still better than Victory, though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hokuto no Ken 2 begins from few years after the original series; Bat
and Lynn have grown up and started a rebel army against a new Holy
Capital Empire which has taken over after Kenshiro disappeared from
limelight after Yuria's death. Slave trade and draconian laws naturally
do not motivate our hero to stay out of the way for long.
The Holy Capital arc is probably my favorite story arc of the whole HnK series, right there with the very first (with Shin). Why? It sticks to the basics. Also, Falco is among my favorite supporting characters right after Rei. Seeming like a villain at first, his soldiers' eagerness to give up their lives for him makes Kenshiro suspicious about his true intentions. Also spicing up things is a nonchalant but skilled martial artist and bounty hunter named Ein whose loyalties lie with his mysterious "woman". Another interesting detail is that the primary villain of the arc, Jakoh, is not a fighter in the slightest and deathly afraid of the dark (Jakoh was actually voiced by the same guy who took over the narration for Banjo Ginga after the first story arc of the original HnK).
Unfortunately, the Land of Asura arc is where everything falls flat on it's face. At first, the concept of Kenshiro traveling over the sea to a land inhabited by nothing but warriors sounds too good to be true...and it is, because this place is filled with innocent farmers and the like to be saved from the evil people. But that's not the only bad thing. The original series' ugly habit of introducing cool supporting characters only to kill them off a few episodes later increases tenfold here; pretty much *everyone* besides Kenshiro can and WILL die, leaving me more frustrated than happy. Also, the 'history of hokuto shinken' gets even more confusing here, as if the series had been written as they went on without any actual plot outline thought out. Last and worst, the whole 'bad guys get redeemed at death' gets a very ridiculous aspect when the main bad guy, Kaioh, has absolutely no redeeming aspects whatsoever! How can you try and save someone who has absolutely no likable qualities? And the fact that Kaioh is practically a rehash of Raoh, down to the same voice actor, doesn't help things.
The only thing that saves this series is it's ending. Kenshiro rides off into the sunset with faces of enemies from the past, starting from the very beginning of the original series, which is a very touching and almost nostalgic experience after watching the whole series. Like, it's been a long road, but it's finally over. Also, I noticed that the character designs have improved a great deal, you can no longer tell from the face who's a bad guy and who's not. Oh, and how could I forget the music? "Tough Boy" is definitely a tough competitor for the classic "Ai o Torimodose" for sure!
Seriously though, I'd recommend you to only watch the Holy Capital arc and skip the Asura arc completely if the former didn't end in a cliffhanger, which creates a very annoying dilemma; so much crap just to see how Kenshiro saves Lynn.
This OVA is split in two parts: the first half is just recap and
recycled footage from the American cartoon episodes 'More Than Meets
the Eye' and 'Master Builders', resulting in slightly over 10 minutes
of actually new footage.
Even if the original Transformers cartoon was basically just half-hour toy commercial, it was never quite so blatant about it as Scramble City is. SC basically uses that 10 minutes of new "story" to show nothing but big robots fighting, which it uses as an excuse to throw all the season 2 gestalts on the screen, silently telling children "do you have these yet?".
Scramble City was meant to bridge the 20-year gap between season 2 and *The Movie* and not season 3 as you are most commonly told. The Movie actually IS part of the Japanese continuity, and although it didn't make it to the far east until 1989, most people did know the basic premise of the film, thanks to generous coverage by TV Magazine which published much of Transformers printed material at the time.
However, it does not fit into the American continuity for one big reason; the episode ends with Trypticon making his debut, and if you've seen Five Faces of Darkness, you know that he hasn't even been built yet (the Japanese dub of the cartoon changed this). Scramble City was meant to be the first part in a series, but for some reason, no other parts were made. "Scramble City 2" is not a sequel, but merely a retelling of this one using the actual toys with stop animation.
Despite having received something of a cult status in the west due to being a part of Japanese G1 Transformers that never made it into the English-speaking territories, I have to say that you'll be better off not having seen this. Like I said, there's only about 10 to 12 minutes of actually new animation, and the storyline is nonexistent.
Southern Cross was the third series done under the 'Super Dimensional'
moniker (others being Macross and Century Orguss; none of the three
share common elements besides this), but failed to capture the
popularity of it's predecessors, and after having seen it myself, I can
For one, the mecha designs are uninspiring; there's none of the awe one would get from watching Valkyries in action, but then, most of the action takes place on ground anyway. The chosen method of transport/combat for our group of heroes is a sort of anti-grav tank that can also transform into a robot.
Second, the characters are pretty two-dimensional. I concur with the other reviewer, Jeanne is what would have happened if Lynn Minmay had been a military commander. Likewise the character development is pretty ham-handed and forced.
The biggest problem is the plot; the show was cancelled after only 23 episodes, and the series proceeds at it's own leisure until the last story arc which goes on at breakneck pace unlike anything before them and still fails to tie up several loose ends and plot points; we are never given an explanation to who exactly the Zor are nor are we told why they became the way they are. It's irritatingly confusing and frustrating.
To put it short, Victory is worse than Armada. Whenever I hear people
talk about how great Victory is, I'm convinced they never SAW it.
I hate to say this, but the "awful" new shows are actually better than Victory. Sure the animation is nice, but the plots are anything but. It isn't until the very last episodes when the show gets imaginative, and until then every single episode follows pretty much exactly the same plot: Decepticons attack, Autobots arrive, Star Saber goes on about he doesn't forgive the decepticons for threatening mankind/destroying nature/walking on flowers, Star Saber gives them all a major asspaddlin', decepticons run off with their tails between their legs, episode ends with autobots standing against sunset with the narrator saying how autobots' hearts burn with rage and they will fight even harder in the future.
Of course, there's no point to them fighting harder, considering they never even break a sweat (or lubricant, as Ironhide would put it) when they kick the decepticons' butts. The bad guys seem to be there just to prevent the autobots from being bored. They're about as threatening as the easter bunny...
Like I said, the last episodes are pure awesome, but what does it matter when you've grown to loathe the pompous gits that are the autobots? And the token human kid is little or no better than Daniel was. In fact, I recommend you to skip the majority of the episodes and only watch the three opening episodes, God Ginrai's recreation as Victory Leo, first appearance of Victory Saber and the last three episodes.
Transformers: Zone takes place some time after the events in Victory, and was meant to be another full-fledged series like it's predecessors, but the declining popularity of Transformers in Japan left it at only one episode long...which is truly a shame, because this the best animation of all Transformers! The story is rather simple, but that is not surprising since we only have one episode, so not much of a story is developed, but new characters are introduced at least. Right at the beginning, Star Saber vanishes on an exploding planet as three gigantic decepticons (Overlord, Menasor and Predaking, I think) arrogantly steal the planet's Zodiac energy. It seems that a mysterious new evil named Violenjiger has resurrected 'Nine Great Destron Generals' (which in itself is rather silly since Overlord is the only one of them who has actually had any commanding force), and when they appear on planet Zone to steal their energon as well, autobots are forced to go to earth to prevent them from destroying that planet as well.
Toxic Avenger part II receives a lot of flak from reviewers, and I am
not surprised: Troma, in their foolishness, decided to sell the R-rated
version on DVD with cover boasting an unrated cut. Ignorant consumers
naturally thought this WAS the unrated cut, which is but a pile of
forgettable dross with all the gleeful violence and nudity cut out by
the MPAA. (and most inexplainably of all, the fate of the Japanese thug
girl is completely removed, which doesn't contain any hardcore violence
in the first place!) Unfortunately (or fortunately, rather) I have only
heard about the notorious censored version, as I myself got the Tox Box
which contained the TRUE unrated cut, and trust me when I say that it
is almost on par with the first movie. The first film was a huge hit in
Japan, and Troma received additional sponsorship from that very
country, which is why they went there to make their film. Naturally,
the plot to get Toxie to Japan is absolutely ridiculous, but that's
Troma for you.
Personally, I rate this film actually higher than the first, mostly because of the much higher production values which do indeed show: gone are the pumpkin-head children and cheap gore effects, as this time we see some genuine splatter, such as a man being squeezed to death in a wheelchair, literally causing him to spill his guts...or a man being chopped up by a very distracted fish marketer!
Many people see this as nothing else but another stupid hentai title with
cute little girls being raped and killed for no good reason. Well, with
way of thinking, Neon Genesis Evangelion would be nothing more but stupid
big robots fighting for entertainment that little boys can watch. Well,
of course isn't the case, is it? Such an opinion is a serious
First of all unlike other hentai titles I've come across, this series is strongly plot driven. In fact, (almost) all of the sex scenes serve the storyline and drive the story forward in some way, let it be consensual or not.
As for the characters, this movie is unique already in the fact that it's one of the very few films that actually has made me feel something for the characters. Like the character of Niki for instance, or the doomed love of Nagumo and Akemi...I wanted to shed a tear or two for them.
To sum it up simply, Urotsukidoji is very much worth of watching, if you can take the content, that is. If demons with multiple penises raping schoolgirls (which actually happens quite a little, in the first series at least) and the excessive violence doesn't disturb you, I highly recommend this one. As a hentai title, it's 5 out of five. As a movie among others...3 1/2 out of 5.