Posted on 11 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Finished Series: Action, Reviews by Lenlo, The Reflection

The superhero genre has been undergoing a surge in popularity in recent years. From the Marvel movies in the West to anime series like My Hero Academia in the East, super heroes are everywhere.  As such, for good or ill, it was inevitable that we would get a merging of the two. The Reflection is one such result of this union. The Reflection tries to do a lot, succeeding on some and failing terribly at others. The end result is a an inconsistent mess of seemingly stitched together episodes and story moments.

Lets jump in.

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Posted on 10 October 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

Welcome to the final episode of The Reflection. This week is both the best and worst episode of the season, with highs and lows, in both animation and story. Rather than my usual fare of just walking through the episode bit by bit though, I am going to try something different. We are going to focus on what made this final episode what it was.

There are four main areas to touch on with this final episode of The Reflection, those being the Idols, X-On, I-Guy and Wraith. Each one represents an issue with this episode and the series as a whole. Before I get into that though, lets talk about the animation for this final episode. For the first half, it was great. Combat against no-named background characters was iffy, but between our named characters it worked well. The flaming dogs from Flaming Fury, the tiger from X-On, colliding in the air all looked great with Reflection’s art style. With everything coming to a head and the time finally being taken to use this art to its fullest, it really worked. It flagged in the second half, as as less important characters fought, but that still ended up being about average for the season.

Now on to the problems. First, the Idols. This pop idol group exists only because they sing the ED of The Reflection. They were absent the entire season, quick snippets of their life being shoved between other scenes, as they were slowly ferried to the plot. Their one saving grace is that they were not used as a Deux Ex Machina to finish the plot. Yet with that taken from them, they no longer have any purpose! They provided some amusing scenes together, gave us the beautiful opener in episode 1 and had some cute interactions with I-Guy, but that is it. As a piece that already had character focus problems, adding in more ancillary characters was not a good idea.

Speaking of I-Guy, lets talk about the best part of The Reflection, that being Ian Izette. Ian was not the best character ever seen in anime. In fact he would no doubt be out of place in most. Yet he was still to good for The Reflection. By this final episode, Ian was the only character I cared about. He had a clear history, clear motives, clear goal and clear faults. The entire season Ian was getting hit. First his ego, as I-Guy became more famous than him, the opposite of what he wanted. Second when X-On chastised him for how he conducted himself and finally when his friends and coworkers were killed. He had a clear path and story arc. Even in this final episode as he strips away the armor of I-Guy to simply be Ian, standing up against evil and walking towards Wraith when no one else could. He went from a cartoony superhero to simply a man trying to be a hero. Ian was the best part of The Reflection, and he wasnt even the main character.

That label belongs to X-On, or more accurately X-On and Eleanor. The problem with X-On that he wasnt a character, atleast not to the viewers. He rarely spoke and everything about him was shrouded in mystery. Where did he get his powers, what happened with the lab, who actually is he? Instead of getting any answers we are instead given more questions. Flashbacks to his life, just enough to tease us, but far to late to have any meaningful impact on the plot. He epitomizes the lack of character growth or focus in this series. Had they taken some time to focus on his life in those black and white flashbacks, perhaps we would care about him more.

Finally, lets touch on Wraith, our main villain. Wraith is a faceless villain with unknown powers, unknown origin and a tenuous connection to Eleanor, one of our leads. Wraiths issue is that he has to many things going on. At first he was interesting, as he taunted Ian and distracted him from his team. Yet as we learned more about him, his background only got weirder. Is he the dead, now alive again, brother of Eleanor? Did her soul get split in two by the Smoke and Light?  They tried to do alot of things with Wraith, so much so that they started to run into each other. They didnt have the time to flesh any of them out, instead opting for an end of the world like story.

All in all, The Reflection finished acceptably, but not well. It avoided Deus Ex Machina, mostly, and gave us a clear view of what is to come for our characters. They attempted an interesting idea, the super powers clearly a focus of the story and not just made to profit off of Hero Academia and other comic book like anime. Sadly, it just didnt work out. There is an obvious setup for a second season, yet I would be surprised if The Reflection got one after the poor reception this season.

That wraps up this episode everyone! The full review should come soon. I have alot to say, and some of bled into here, so apologies for that. See you then!

Posted on 2 October 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

In the penultimate episode of The Reflection, we finally get to see Wraiths master plan come to fruition and the Idol group finally becomes relevant. Lets jump in!

Reflection starts off with a flashback to 3 years ago, to the event of the Reflection. We see a young Elen looking out her window, as she is hit by both the black smoke and the green light. Hopefully we get some more explanation as to what this does. Did it bring her dead brother back to life? Split personality? Who knows, but considering its become a main plot point, it better get explained. Afterwords we cut back to Wraith, X-On and Steel Ruler in the underground cave. Wraith does a minor monologue about how she/he needed to remove Elen from themself, but that Elen had to do it herself. This raises more questions, was she not real? Which one is the original? Does it even matter?

Regardless, after the monologue and a quick side jaunt to lecture X-On, we cut to the desert. Here there is a ring of woman, the Allen women I presume. We are given a glimpse of a map of the United States, with purple and green dots all over it. Forcing them to use their powers far beyond their ability, we see the Allen women all begin to glow green. In a flash of light everyone, every Reflected in America, is teleported to White Sands New Mexico. Yes, that does include our illusive Idol Group. Turns out even Wraith was so fed up with them that they literally teleported them into the middle of the plot. This combined with their general uselessness has caused myself and many others to fear they are going to pull some deus-ex machina idol song to save the day in the final episode.

With the Idols part in this episode done, we not pan over to X-On and our heroes. They are all standing together on the top of a hill. I-Guy prepares to soar up to Wraith and deliver a beat down but X-On, now bearing ‘Flaming Furys’ fire power, holds him back. Wraith steps forward at the top of a dune and prepares to make another speech. Luckily, its not a speech about destroying humans but about how they number to few to do anything against the humans. There doesn’t seem to be much purpose to it now, but later on in the episode we see that this is all setup. X-On however gets a random cell-phone call at the end. The ringtone got me, I was unprepared for this, so credit where credit it due. The call itself from the government woman, as she has something to tell him.

Apparently the US Army is reacting to their sudden appearance in the desert and is bringing in a number of helicopters. We see them approach on the horizon, in formation. The soldiers yell over the intercom, asking the Reflected to leave peacefully. With this all part of her plan however, Wraith has one of her cronies make the Soldiers fire on the Reflected. In reaction, the Reflected naturally fight back. We get to see some interesting powers on display here, as the Reflected attack the soldiers, X-On and co hold the Reflected back, and the Soldiers retaliate. It will be interesting to see if, in the final episode, X-On manages to take all of these powers.

Our heroes aside though, this is all a very clever plan from Wraith. She/he makes it out as if the military is starting this conflict. By bringing them all in one place however, she is the one to have instigated this. She becomes a savior to the Reflected. Over the course of this fight, through Michael’s Reflected vision however, we see some of the Brightstar Reflected become Darkness Reflected. There was zero evidence of this earlier in the series, but it seems sufficient anger or whatever will cause a Reflected to change. I suspect it works in reverse as well and that is where the Idol group will come in.

With X-On and the others interfering in her plan though, Wraith is not content to sit idly by. She sends Steel Ruler and her other minions out to stop them, though Ruler appears to hesitate. Disappointingly, we see the Bat Man return, this time in a shiny new metal costume. Say what you will about evil, it has great health care apparently. After getting his wing blasted off by I-Guy and apparently not dying, he has returned for one final showdown. With all of the fights set, Wraith reaches out and shoots dark electricity out at all of the Reflected gathered. Is she taking their power? Mind controlling them? We have no idea what her power is, so there is no way to tell. Finally, The Reflection pans over to our Idol Group, who have found their luggage and are ready to save the day!

All in all, another disappointing episode of The Reflection. There’s no consequences, no one gets hurt (Except for I-Guy) or stays dead (Except for I-Guys team). The writers took their time with the story in the first half, but have sped through it in the second. The pacing is all over the place and we still don’t know the Idol groups powers! There’s far to much to cover in a final episode, I just dont see how they will get it done well.

Suppose we will see next week on, The Reflection! See you then.

Posted on 26 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

This week The Reflection finally gives us some quality time with our main villain, as Wraiths plan hits its final stages. Lets jump in.

Reflection opens on Elen arriving at the mansion we saw at the end of last week, meeting evil!Stan Lee. Deciding that her decision to give herself up for the sake of others was a poor one, Elen immediately starts running through the mansion. Teleporting from intersection to intersection, rather than simply… exiting out a window? Not sure what she is doing here, but its necessary for the big reveal at the end. Meanwhile, our crew continues to follow Vy as she leaps through the streets. Eventually she reaches the mansion, busting in through a side window! Inside, as Lisa and co arrive, we see evil!Stan Lee sipping a nice cup of tea, expecting them. Apparently, he was the one telling Vy where to go and how to reach him, leading her to this very room, but surprise! Its a trap!

The mansion begins to burst into flame, as the Russian Ninja and Human Thunderbolt appear in the room. The man who can phase through walls comes up from the floor and whisks Stan Lee through a wall to safety. Unprepared, our heroes are quickly overwhelmed. The floor gives out, causing them all to fall. As they do, we see Elen through a doorway, walking down a hall. Its a slow-motion shot, with her looking into the room, so clearly this isn’t real. Could it be the one who can create illusions from before? (more…)

Posted on 19 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

This week The Reflection continues on towards its finale. Finally all of our characters are in one place and raring for a fight.

Reflection starts off right back with the Idol group, being unable to decide between beef or fish. Apparently an episode named for the dilemma wasn’t enough. Reflection quickly cuts back to Elen and Steel Ruler though, in the street where we left them. A van pulls up and Elen quickly gets in, riding away with Steel Ruler and her group. Right behind them however is the Government woman and her squad, tracking them. I am curious if Elen knew about this and set it up, or if this is happening without her knowledge. I would also like to know what assurance’s Elen has that the hostages will be released, since she so meekly stepped into the van.

With Elen on her way, Reflection cuts back to X-On, Lisa and the Detective. Its very quiet as Lisa is “asleep”, X-On is brooding and the Detective is drunk. Its a pretty weird scene that hangs for awhile, panning from each character doing nothing. Suppose we deserve to know what everyone is doing right now. We cut back to Elen and see the Government Woman tailing her, very very closely. Its almost ridiculous, as no one could fail to notice them. Steel Ruler tells one of her lackeys, Conman we learn, to do something. We saw him in action briefly before, and it appears his ability is to cause illusions. He fills the Government truck with fake snakes and it almost causes them to drive off the road.  Unfortunately for them, the Government Woman holds out and takes control of the wheel, keeping them on the road.

With that plan foiled, Steel Ruler tries something else. Using the ability we have seen before, they begin to phase the car through buildings, driving as if they weren’t there. This allows them to completely ignore roads. However, somehow, the government managed to put a tracker on their car and through clever driving manages to keep up with them. Somehow in all this, the streets of LA are empty and not a single person sees any of this, but hey, budget concerns I suppose. Eventually Steel Ruler and the Government are driving along a large storm drain. With all of her previous plans foiled, Steel Ruler only has one thing left, raw power.

We see the Lightning man, from Vy and Michael’s first episode, leap out the back of the moving van. The Government smashes into him and goes flying, no doubt because of his electricity. As he approaches the wreck to finish the job, Vy arrives to hold him down. Its a quite fight, before the helicopters and such appear. He steps into the water and zips away, using his power intelligently. Before we continue however I have a quick question. If you had helicopters and that large a group, why not use them to track Steel Ruler? They clearly weren’t being stealthy about it already and a squad of helicopters is much more difficult to take down. If flown high enough they are also difficult to notice. It all seems rather poorly planned to me.

The helicopters arrive and take Vy and Michael away. We cut back to the motel and find it surrounded, with X-On and Lisa taken into custody. They are escorted to an underground base and briefed on the situation. The entire time X-On hasnt said a word, yet everyone here seems to know who he is, whispering his name as if hes Voldemort. We are given a quick repeat of a few scenes and some more explanation as to the Darkness and the “Brightstar”, but none of it is particularly interesting. During all this, we see Lisa and Vy wanting to leave, though for different reasons. Lisa just hates the whole situation while apparently Vy is being “drawn” to Steel Ruler/Wraith. Deciding that’s a good thing, X-On tells Lisa to let Vy go and she escapes through the ceiling. Apparently the military wasn’t prepared for giant robots and metal monsters.

Soaring through the air after Vy, they are seem by Ian who is driving along looking for more punks to smash. He diverts course to follow them, meaning he will definitely be at the upcoming final battle. While driving away, Ians fancy new car passes by the Idols school bus, marking them as finally being in LA. The episode ends with Elen arriving at a nice house and meeting evil Stan Lee. Apparently, Wraith is ready and waiting.

Not much happened this week, and little of what did was interesting. Lots of bad shots and weird directing, but the car chase at-least was nice to watch. A good amount of action and some nice animation. The Lightning Man in particular, with the flat blue shades, looked great. Most important of all this week though, the Idol group is final in place to actually do something. Will we learn their names? Maybe their powers? Will we get to see them do anything near what they have been hyped/built up for? Find out next week, on The Reflection.

Later.

Posted on 12 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

This week, The Reflection opens on a young girl with black hair, running through a ruined town. She clutches food to her breast and hides in a broken down car in some rubble. From the picture of her family to the trash lying around, we can assume this is her home. Later she walks through the bleak streets, everything around her sad and forlorn. As she looks to the sky, asking for help, we finally see her face and the scene cuts to last weeks end card. Elen and Steel Ruler, same skin and hair color as the little girl, stand apart on a street. It would seem we are going to start getting some backstory on our villains.

After the OP, we see a Reflected biker gang claiming some turf from a rival. As expected, super powers go a long way against normal people. As the conflict ends, a car approaches and I-Guy hops out. Wearing all black armor, Ian has transformed from Tony Stark to Batman between the two episodes. Still upset about his team, Ian has no time for these fools. Hes breaking bones and running people into the pavement, looking for Wraith. Nice to see there was real effect on him, but sadly this is all we get of him this episode. Instead, most of this week focuses on Elen and her relationships with those around here.

After Ian’s only scene, we cut back to Elen and Steel Ruler. A short chase scene ensues, with Elen using her ability to teleport and run away. Eventually, after some interesting metal bending scenes with Steel Ruler, Elen finds herself on-top of her opponent. Apparently, Steel Ruler is unable to kill Elen, as Wraith wants/needs her for something.

Throughout this whole thing, ham-fisted dialogue is being thrown back and forth, awkward pauses still occasionally there. During on of these exchanges, we get a flashback of Steel Ruler before the Reflection, after she had been mugged. Dying in the street, the black smoke falls on her and saves her, giving her the power she has today. Naturally, the first thing she does it kill the guy who knifed her. Once this is over, we get the core of why she is here. Wraith wants a trade, Elen for the swamp hostages.

To help Elen make a decision, Steel Ruler hands her a USB stick, said to have information on X-On. After some more back and forth, about how Elen can actually save people this time, they agree to meet again at dawn. Elen is quickly found by the government woman from episode 1, who has apparently been spying on them. During this Elen sticks the USB into a government computer, with absolutely no one trying to stop her, and opens it up. Inside are files detailing a laboratory explosion, with one survivor, presumably X-On. With this little tidbit though, we cut to our favorite idol group.

Really, these idols are doing nothing. We only have 10 second clips of them and no character development, we don’t even know their names. I have no idea how The Reflection is going to introduce them and make us care about them in the time remaining. Who even knows when they will finally meet our main team! All these little cuts do is distract us from the actual things happening to our main cast. If I cared about any of them besides Ian, it would infuriate me.

The pop idol group aside, soon Elen confronts X-On, who once again refuses to say anything. We know that the lab event couldn’t have caused the Reflection, as it happened 20 years ago, yet there isn’t much else to go on. Their little tiff over, X-On returns to their motel to talk about what has happened with the government woman and his detective friend. While they are talking, we pan over and see little Lisa wide awake, hearing everything. We cut one last time to the Idols, before seeing Elen step into the plaza with Steel Ruler. Cut to ED.

As it currently stands, there are few things to like about The Reflection. The story has its moments for sure and is clearly building to something, but the majority of the characters simply are not likable or very engaging. The few that are, such as Ian/I-Guy, get little screen time and the random cuts to the Idol group isn’t helping. With Elen joining the bad guys in exchange for the hostages, maybe we will get some more time with them. An opportunity to learn why they are doing what they do and to finally learn who Wraith is. Should that happen, The Reflection might end on an upswing. We shall see.

See you next week folks!

 

Posted on 5 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

For the first time this season, while watching The Reflection, time just flew by and the ending arrived with my noticing. This week, The Reflection stepped up its game. Lets jump into it.

Reflection opens up right where last week left off, with I-Guy bursting in through the ceiling. A short exchange of dialogue, and then the fight begins! There are multiple battles spread through this first half of the episode. I-Guy versus Dead Wing, X-On versus the Fire Witch and Lisa versus Steel Ruler. All in all some good stuff. Aside from some curious still frames when Elen is teleporting, this was the best animated episode yet. The fire during X-On’s clash. The metal from Steel Ruler when she was flinging cars around. It all looked very nice with the flat color style. Well done Reflection, though the projects from I-Guy looked rather out of place.

As the fights wind down Nina and Margaret, the old woman from Texas and her daughter, are caught by the unnamed man who can slide through objects. While being taken, Nina is teleported away by some unknown force and Margaret… dies. Unexpected to say the least. There is some quick dialogue between Elen and Steel Ruler before the former flees the scene, their job done. Meanwhile I-Guy is on his way back and arrives to have a chat with our heroes.

As it turns out, X-On is not happy. I-Guys performance turned the whole event into a mess and X-On calls him a lighthouse rather than a hero. This hurts I-Guy, the man who know only wants an audience. The whole thing spirals down into a quick fistfight between the two and what a fight it is. Short, only a few seconds long, but the animation here was great. X-Ons duck, I-Guys lazer, and then the burst of fire. The subsequent throw. It was easily the best animated shot Reflection has had this whole season. With Reflections artstyle, it looked great in motion. Now just give us that for a whole 30 seconds.

Animation aside, this punch shows us things are starting to crack among our heroes. I-Guy flies away pissed and we see later on Elen is getting fed up with X-Ons attitude. Both head off to spend some time on their own. Elen wanders a bit, but I-Guy, also known as Ian, heads on home. X-Ons words clearly struck him, as he grabs his guitar and heads out to perform on the street abit. We see once again his need for attention and recognition. We see some flashbacks of his career. His first demo, the success of his song, and let me say real quick here: I want all 3 versions of this song. During his time on the street though, Ian is confronted by a very mysterious figure, Wraith.

Wraith shows up and simply dumps money into his case, congratulating Ian on a job well done. She calls him a lighthouse, a fool, a “Hollow King”, parroting X-On a lot. Pointing out that he’s nothing without his team. She drives his inadequacies home, before disappearing. Ian runs back to his home after this, only to find something terribly wrong. His entire team, lay dead in their control room. This was completely unexpected. I wasn’t expecting anyone to die this season, yet not only did they kill Margaret, but I-Guy’s team as well. The red light flashes, tinting the entire scene, harsh black lines over everything. The art is used well here, it really works. Ian is the best-written character so far, and this is exactly the impetus he needs to better himself. The Reflection is giving us a hero’s journey for Ian and he isn’t even the main character!

All in all, a solid episode. I am excited for what is to come. Elen looks to be considering other options, Ian is preparing to go Punisher with a new suit and renewed drive and X-On is lost with nowhere to go.

Last week I mentioned how The Reflection was starting to feel empty with its episodes, but I can see now it was still working on setting itself up. It took awhile to do so and it wasn’t perfect, but we have a compelling story ladies and gentleman! See you next week!

Posted on 29 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

Hello everyone, apologies for the joint Reflection review, but driving 1400 miles from Texas to DC made for a busy weekend. I ended up late on episode 5 and just decided to bunch it an 6 together. Shouldn’t happen again and with that said, let’s jump into it.

Alot happened during these 2 episodes, of varying levels of quality. First, lets talk about episode 5. We start with an introduction to some of those staying with Merchant and Trader. As suspected, they aren’t selling Reflected, but rather protecting them. Some of the scenes here are odd, with the lack of eyes and the silence, but I get its purpose. After this we jump to Lisa, searching New Orleans for Elen and real Jazz. Sadly, she doesn’t find much good Jazz. Eventually she finds a bar, where the child Elen saved is playing however! A bar fight ensues and the child manages to get Lisa out of there.

Little did either of them know however, Steel Ruler and the Racist Cop from earlier episodes are meeting on a balcony. Looks like the Cop does have much love for Merchant and Trader. As we see later on, this is all building to a final confrontation. We cut back to Merchant and Trader, who we now learn are named Vy and Michael. We are gifted with some nice backstory for the two, revealing their abilities and how Michael is blind. Loving the handicapped cast so far. We get some exposition with Elen about the types of Reflected, and some warm words towards Vy. Sadly not everyone is having a good time right now, as we jump back to Lisa.

Turns out, people are still after her and the child. A truck comes by and swipes them up, taking them who knows where. Taken to a construction site, it looks like they are being interrogated about Michael and Vys location. The child, of course, spills the beans and reveals their location in the swamp. With this info, the Cops gather a group and head out. They get on their boats and head towards the swamp, where they are intercepted by Vy, Michael and Elen. What follows is one of the more disappointing fights i’ve seen. Vy has her armor destroyed quickly, Michael is useless and Elen is the actually the most useful for once. As well, in the middle of the fight Vy is miraculously cured and able to control her powers!

All in all a disappointing episode, and Reflection doesn’t do much better in episode 6. We continue investigating the Allen family, finding more and more are kidnapped. Along with that, everyone in the mansion got taken behind their backs. How? No idea, but it happened. We do get to see more of the Japanese Idol group though, as we transition from one burger scene to another. Looks like they have been fighting their own battles and will soon be having a trip to America. Suppose they had to get involved in the plot somehow.

For the rest of the squad however, they next stop is San Antonio Texas! Nice place, but expensive to live in. Just as they arrive and track down some Allen’s, Steel Ruler and her group of evil Reflected arrive as well. Battles over the Allen family members occur, with our group losing each one and public perception going down. One amusing scene in all this is Lisa’s inexperience though. She pops her robot in the middle of a crowded shop, unable to move without destroying it. Love it when characters aren’t immediately competent.

With all these losses, X-On decides to call in a favor to try and even the odds. He calls in Jim, a private investigator and a friend of his. In just a few seconds on his computer, he tracks down one last Allen. An old lady in a barber shop named Nina. Some old texan lady banter occurs, Nina refusing to budge, before eventually being taken anyways. Our heroes give Steel Ruler the slip and head off to California to find Nina’s daughter. Once they do however, they realize their mistake. Steel Ruler was using them to find this missing Allen and now wants her for herself. But whats that? Whats that song playing?! Its I-Guy, the best character in the show!

He smashes through the roof, challenges Steel Ruler, and we end on a cut of grimacing metal headpiece. Am I excited? Alittle. For the plot? Hardly. But I-Guy is back and we get some more great music and a better character.

All in all, some packed but ultimately empty episodes. There were many minor things I could have pointed out, but with 2 episodes in a single week and my tendency to write more than I should, I wanted to keep it short-ish.

Expect a single episode cover next week! Talk to ya later!

Posted on 15 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

The Reflection shows its strengths this week with strong character arcs, a deepening overall plot and some subtleties with its setting. Only thing left to fix is the frame count, but i’ve beat that horse to death, so let’s just jump right in.

Reflection opens up the episode right after the end of last weeks. X-On, Lisa and Elen sit in Elen’s pickup truck in the middle of nowhere. Not sure where she’s getting wifi from, but that’s a small matter. After some banter, where X-On once again shows himself to be a lovable jerk, we get to see what happened after they flew away. Turns out Lisa has a limit to her power, as they power down in mid air and plummet to earth! It’s a fun scene and makes Lisa seem a lot less powerful than she did before. Cutting back to the truck, Elen has found that the women of the Allen family are going missing across the country. Furthermore, each was hit by the Reflection. Apparently Wraith and our band of villains have a plan, kidnapping Reflected one by one. Their next stop? New Orleans. Let the race begin.

While they travel to the South, we jump over to best-man I-Guy who having a crisis of confidence in the West. Turns out he’s not some boy-scout, but a thrill seeker who only wants a stage. Saving people is not his priority, but rather getting seen saving people. While talking all this out with his crew, I-Guy learns of a gang gathering in a warehouse. Not one to leave such a meeting alone, he flies out and crashes the weapons deal. Rather than waiting the gang immediately shoot at I-Guy, which I appreciated, before being taken down. The real threat however is the sociopath businessman selling them the guns. Every blow explodes, marking him as a Reflected. Looks like we are in for a fight!

Or so I though. The fight ended as quickly as it began, as I-Guy grabs him and flies away! Dumping both of them in the ocean. Always one for flare I-Guy makes it another show, ending in a pose for the camera. From that pose we transition to a newspaper, which Ian Izette the man behind the mask of I-Guy, is reading. Ian is not a fan of how popular I-Guy has gotten, upset that people aren’t focusing on him and his song. Its interesting to see a man try to compete with himself. Im curious if Ian will give up on this and become I-Guy in full, of if the persona of I-Guy will start to take some hits. Either way its intriguing to see a man hate himself, while loving himself as much as Ian does.

To deal with this attitude, Ian decides to go out and write a new song! Only for his producer to shut him down, instead wanting to work with I-Guy. Upset and in a downward spiral from this, Ian visits a club and jacks the mic from the current band. He soon gets hit with stage fright and backs down however. Its an awkward and very vulnerable moment for the character, as he slowly falls apart. After running away however he reappears as I-Guy, blaring the song and being a true sky show. Even through his helmet he seems sad. We can see from this that Ian gains confidence from the armor, that he is afraid of being judged as Ian Izette the One Hit Wonder. I really hope this arc continues into future episodes and isn’t just a one-off event, as Ian is currently the most interesting character in The Reflection. Sadly that is all we get of Ian this episode as we jump back to X-On, Lisa and Elen, but I look forward to seeing him again.

Now in New Orleans, our group sets out in search of the Allens. Lisa is loving the trip, exclaiming how beautiful the ocean is only to have it pointed out as a lake. That was such an unexpected comedic moment for me, I actually laughed. Soon after arriving in New Orleans though the comedy dies down and we learn something is very wrong. Reflected, or refs as people here call them, are being kidnapped by a duo known as ‘Merchant’ and ‘Trader’. They kidnap and ‘scrap’ the Reflected, feeding into the racism of the city. Turns out when racism based on color is outlawed, the south will just find something else. We see this throughout the town even, as a group of children pick on another child who hung out with the kidnapped Reflected. Being the beautiful idiot she is, Elen can’t let this stand. She pops in, saves him, and pops out only to be quickly snatched up by ‘Merchant’ and ‘Trader’. Boy these guys are fast with interesting designs to boot!

X-On and Lisa later learn about Elen’s kidnapping, Lisa being determined to save her. X-On seems to not care, only to be guilted into it. Once again we see that our heroes are not perfect. Ian is arrogant, X-On is uncaring, Lisa is naive and Elen acts on a whim. Its good character moments as we head into what appears to be our first running arc. Elen wakes up in a fancy house out in the swamp, filled with what I can only assume are all of the kidnapped Reflected! ‘Merchant’ and ‘Trader’ are bad guys, posing as good guys! Kidnapping people to keep them safe in this swamp. I am legitimately interested to hear from these guys, their plans and ideals, to see where they go. They could side with our heroes or, since they want to defend Reflected, side with Wraith. They really are 3rd party right now.

All in all, a plot packed episode. Characters got fleshed out, the story progressed and everyone has their own goals and are actively heading towards them. The only complaint I have continues to be the animation quality/frames. Its a shame that so many people will write this series off because of this issue.

At least we who watch it to the end will have something they wont. Japanese pop-idol magical girls, which got hinted at through the entire episode. My body is ready Stan Lee, don’t disappoint.

Posted on 8 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, The Reflection

Another week and The Reflection continue to improve. This week we get introduced to another character, more information on the Reflection and more stylish action. Lets dive in!

We open up right where we left off last episode, with Elen investigating the mysterious individual known as ‘Wraith’. During her search, she finds something and X-On appears over her shoulder! Curious how he got there. Has it been a day? Same night? Didnt he leave last episode or did she call him there? Confusing to say the least, and the silence as Elen clicks on the computer makes the scene rather akward in places. We soon hop into the OP on the image of a cloaked figure on a security camera. No doubt this is the enigmatic Wraith, the villain of our series?

Once the OP wraps up, we head back into Elen’s apartment. Presumably this is after X-On has left, after a few days have passed so she could research. Being oblivious to her environment, Elen fails to notice her entire apartment is on fire until she touches a hot soda can. I’m no expert, but I don’t believe fires work like that. Oddly, X-On is outside when this occurs. Either this is the same night as episodes 1 and 2, or he’s psychic. Considering they talk about Dayton, I believe this is all the same day and The Reflection is simply failing at conveying what is actually going on. After a brief argument, X-On agrees to take young Elen with him to Dayton in search of Wraith, if only because she has a car.

Before heading to Dayton, there is a brief interlude as our Japanese Idol group is getting interviewed. For some reason, these scenes are actually some of the most interesting. The still speaking scenes work well with The Reflections art and the voice acting sounds very natural. With them being a thousand miles away, I am legitimately curious how this idol group will become relevant to the story. They arn’t the only ones getting interviewed though.

We next cut to Lisa, the character the episode is named for, being interviewed just like the idol group. Makes me believe there is a connection, if only between the purpose of the interviews, but its a nice cut. Lisa says little here before we cut to X-On and Elen in the car, but only a few minutes of exposition laden banter later, our heroes collide! Quite literally in this case, as Elen almost hits the wheel-chair bound Lisa with her car. We learn a lot in these scenes, even if its thrown at us unabashedly.

We learn that the Reflection, the even that dolled out super powers and killed people, came in 2 forms. Green light and black smoke. Green light changed people internally, giving people like X-On and Elen their powers. The black smoke however changed people externally, resulting in people like the Lizard-man and the Water Skeleton. Apparently this smoke also effected their minds, causing them to become violent, making those hit by the smoke the obvious bad guys for our story. Simple but its good to get some more explanation of the even, fleshing it out as the season goes along.

Going back to Lisa, I have to call out Stan Lee. This is pretty lazy. Lisa is almost a carbon copy of Barbara Gordon from the Batman comics. A woman, trapped in a wheel chair, with an obsession on superheroes. Her father is even a cop, just like Commissioner Gordon from Batman! Similarities aside, Lisa is taking her condition better than Barbara Gordon. She competes in sports events and refuses to let her father coddle her. Its good to have a strong disabled character, who get little representation in anime. Lisa and her father wrap up their scene and we jump back over to X-On, who tracked someone to a junkyard. Surprise, its female Magneto! Another surprise, X-On isn’t stupid, has he points out a junkyard isn’t the best place to fight someone who can control metal. A rather dull fight, but an improvement in frame count once again.

What hasn’t improved though is the music, or in this case the lack there of. Aside from ‘Sky Show’, the best song of this season, there has been next to no background music. Nothing exists to augment the scenes. Lisa and her fathers kidnapping hits very weakly because of this, as there is no buildup. It just… happens. At least the kidnapping itself is interesting though, as the villains also bring out a new character. Apparently Lisa is a Reflected! Not surprising, but the villains strategy to use her powers is. They want to force her, through trauma, to awaken her powers and no doubt attempt to recruit her. Not a well thought out plan, but points for trying. As it is, the whole event seems almost comically designed to force Lisa and X-On/Elen into a team.

Once our heroes arrive on the scene, a quick fight breaks out and before I go any further there is one thing I want to talk about. You see the picture above this paragraph? That’s Putrid, a new villain. The man splits in to and turns into a crushing machine. That was the most unexpected thing to occur all season for me, and shockingly enough the art style and CGI make it work. Its still comic book levels of stupid, but visually it works. However he isn’t the only person with a power suited to the art style, as Lisa crawls to her chair and transforms into a giant robot! You read that right folks, The Reflection is actually a mecha anime. Jokes aside, it doesn’t look to bad. In most other styles such obvious CG would look out of place. With this rotoscoped style however, it only looks a little out of place. Some really fluid metal animations and a quick fight later, our heroes peace on out. We close on them flying into the horizon.

All in all a dull, but necessary episode. It setups up the larger story, introduces some more characters and explains some more about the world. The fight at the end had a noticeable up-tick in animation quality as well, which is a good sign. With any luck, our main cast will be introduced and we can leap into our first major arc soon.

Until then, this was Lenlo with Star Crossed anime news. See ya next week!

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