Reviews: Death Battle
Cammy VS Sonya: Elephants & Anvils, Oh My!
I owe you all an apology, and not just because if there's one thing the world doesn't need more of, it's complaints about Death Battles. I've written two reviews of episodes I loved, and two reviews about episodes I didn't love, and I was perfectly content to leave it there. I had bored you all enough. Then Cammy VS Sonya came out and... this is bad. Really bad. Honestly, a new low in some ways. And once again, this is a Death Battle where I honestly couldn't care less about the characters, I just wanted to be mildly entertained for a few minutes. And for the most part, I was! Good points; they have a new animator for 2D fights and it's actually really well-done. There are a few too many close-ups, which do not work well at all for heavily-pixelated characters, but it looks good, it really does. And the research is decent too, it goes into the history of both characters well. And I don't even think they got the result wrong. Where things go wrong are the calculations; the worst calculations they've ever done, by far. Worse than pillars and super-lava combined. See, back in Season 1, when they had a battle like Batman VS Spider-Man, they didn't have to come up with arbitrary numbers to put on feats; they just described the characters, their strengths and weaknesses, and came to a conclusion based on that. But now it seems that every episode demands a mandatory visit to the 'Board of Wizdom', which, in Cammy VS Sonya, utilizes some of the worst Insane Troll Logic Chewbacca Defense I've ever seen. This is where my title starts to make sense, because their reasoning is thid. Regarding Cammy's durability, Cammy has fought Balrog. (The boxer? Okay.) Balrog once punched an elephant so hard that it died. (So we're talking about Balrog now?) Some elephants knock down trees with their faces! (... ?) Some trees require up to 10,000 pounds to be knocked down! (!?!) This means Cammy can withstand 10,000 pounds of force! (What the fucking what?) I don't have to explain how this is bad, right? Speculations and assumptions all around - did they make this up on the fly? Are they trying to say that Cammy can knock down trees with her face? Then there's Sonya, and it gets worse. Her entire library of stats comes from the 'Test Your Might' mini-game that any Mortal Kombat character can do - may I remind you that Sonya is the sixth Mortal Kombat character on the show, and they've never used this mini-game for stats before - where she can punch an anvil in half. Not only is it blatantly obvious that this is not canon in any way, but as a mini-game, it depends entirely on player input, something we're repeatedly told they're not allowed to take into account with RPG characters. I swear, I really do like this show, but... eurgh. This feels beyond rushed, and I can't believe for a second that they thought these were acceptable explanations. It's only irritating because we all know by now that they can do so, so much better than this.
The Worst Death Battle: Yang VS Tifa
Yang VS Tifa is not the worst Death Battle because they got it wrong, but because they might have gotten it wrong on purpose. It's the only episode you can watch, knowing nothing about either franchise, in which the result still doesn't make sense. Let's get the boring maths out of the way - apologies to you all - Tifa holds the advantage in strength, skill, experience, and intelligence. However, Yang has the edge in defense (well, maybe, since they never actually calculate Tifa's defense,) so Tifa can't beat her. Yang got knocked through a pillar, which means she can withstand 1,400 tons of force, and Tifa can only dish out 150. Except for her Premium Heart gauntlets (x7.6) and they get stronger as she takes damage (x4) and there's her limit-breaks (x2.625) and if she gets a crit (x2) and... um... that's about 24,000. And this isn't some obscure trivia; this is all stuff they cover in Tifa's run-down in the episode, so it's not like they didn't know about it. It becomes quite obvious at the end that they're making excuses. They claim 'We couldn't take Tifa's limit-breaks into account, because the strength she shows in them is not shown outside of them!' over footage of Tifa lifting and throwing a 2,000+ ton dragon. Brushing over how stupid that is, even if she can't use that strength outside of limit-breaks... why can't she use that strength in her limit-breaks? No explanation is ever given for this. The fight itself - decent animation aside - feels like an advert. It starts with a Call Back to a trailer for RWBY, the battle ends when one of Yang's hairs falls out (haha, RWBY inside joke) and after Tifa is killed, the last shot is a banner unfurling, advertising an upcoming tournament in Season 3 of RWBY. It's very RWBY-oriented is what I'm saying, and that's kind of a problem. Y'see... Rooster Teeth, the company that own RWBY and Yang, bought out ScrewAttack and Death Battle either before or during the production of this episode. Meaning that the people who owned the RWBY character also owned the show that decided whether or not the RWBY character won. I'm not a big conspiracy guy and I don't want to tell you 'This is 100% why Yang won,' but I would ask you to consider it possible. If Death Battle was purchased by Marvel Comics, and the next fight had Quicksilver illogically beating The Flash, that wouldn't guarantee any shady business, but the possibility would cross your mind, right? And to be honest, part of why I want to believe this is that despite this negative review, I really do like Death Battle. Ben, Chad, Torrian and the research team are all awesome, and I find it easier to believe they were strong-armed into something than I do to believe that they all spontaneously became really shit at what they have been shown to be really good at. But at least Rooster Teeth never again used Executive Meddling to adver- what's that? The next episode is just a fight between two Red VS Blue characters? Oh.
Fun, so long as you don\'t take it too seriously
DB is by far the biggest versus show on the internet and even if I disagree with them on stuff (and believe me I do) it's pretty easy most of the time to enjoy the episodes at least, so long as the fight animation and humor of the episode are good. Certain episodes I don't like watching because they're just egregiously wrong (as in....this character is by basic empirical standards on a higher scale), the matchup doesn't interest me, or the humor/fight animation wasn't up to snuff. But honestly that's MAYBE a quarter of the episodes. Most of the episodes are a fun way to pass the time, even if some them I think are wrong.
The Biggest Death Battle: Goku VS Superman
I'm tempted to say that Goku VS Superman is a bad Death Battle, but not for the reasons you would assume. I like to complain. I complain a lot. I complain about everything that it is possible to complain about, which it turns out is everything that isn't RollerCoaster Tycoon. But I cannot summon up the energy to go looking for nitpicks in Goku VS Superman. Let's get right to it; it's a special 30 minute episode, the longest fight animation the show has ever done. They got voice actors who actually play Goku and Superman in web series, and they go more in-depth into each character than they've ever done on the show before. It's a real love letter to two of the biggest fictional personalities out there. The battle itself was greatly animated, and although Torrian has outclassed it, it still stands as an entertaining fight that pays homage to so many things from the respective franchises that it's undeniably and undoubtedly a very impressive episode. As for the outcome, I agree with it, and not even with any sneaky asterisks or niggling doubts of 'Well, technically Goku could have won if-' No. I agree with the outcome. And it's not Ben or Chad's fault that Superman is one of the most ridiculously powerful characters ever created. So please don't yell at them just because they did the research and found that Superman has accomplished the literally impossible. Dude can hear in space. That may give you a hint as to why I'm tempted to say this is a bad Death Battle. The animation is great, the research is more than sufficient, and the explanation, the music, and the voice acting are all top notch. So what could possibly be bad about it? Well... the audience. Their reaction, at least. Goku VS Superman is currently the single most-disliked Death Battle in the series. (Second most-disliked Death Battle: Goku VS Superman Round 2.) Nearly 150,000 people have disliked it. And it just annoys me that a 30 minute, orchestra-backed, 3D animated fight with recognizable voice actors and a clear explanation for the outcome is the one people hate. Death Battle's Magnum Opus is the most-disliked episode. Even from the point of view of someone who frequently criticizes Death Battle, it annoys me that this is the one that people hated. They make a few mistakes, use some shaky logic? No big deal, forgive and forget. But they decide a Dragon Ball Z character would lose? 40% of their audience are telling them 'You're stupid, you suck, and this is terrible.' What kind of message does that send? What kind of show do these people want Death Battle to be? For all the flaws the show has, this is the Death Battle that proves to me that when an episode is good, it can be too good for a sizeable chunk of its audience. As in, more than they deserve. It's remarkable and admirable that Ben and Chad are still making them when this is the thanks they get for their biggest episode yet.
Death Battle\'s Unusual Strengths
While I was watching the Flash Vs. Quicksliver battle, I re-watched one of the last few battles of Season Two: Yang Vs, Tifa. Now, to get this out of the way so I can talk about what I want to: Yang should have lost. There is no doubt about it. While the RWBY world is superhuman, The FF world is super human, as in One Piece levels of superhuman. There, I said, moving on. Now, I've seen quite a few arguments against the outcome, one being that Death Battle was promoting RWBY Season 3. I'm not saying they were or not but it did encourage me to watch the series, which has lead it to be one of the best I've seen. ( Anime brought to you by TV Tropes indeed) And when I was looking in the comments (hotter than heaven down there) I saw that many watched RWBY simply because they saw the death battle. So it occurred to me: Death Battle is an excellent Gateway Show. Because of how much research and effort they put behind the battles, you get a very good rundown of the series just by watching the analysis. It introduced me to the backstory of FF VII and Berserk, both of which are excellent. Another of their strengths is putting the fantastical feats the characters performed into context for us. My proof is the Quicksliver Vs Flash battle. Watch it and look at the end analysis and be amazed. So I just wanted to point out that alongside being nerdvaina in the fictional match ups, Death Battle is a great way to introduce someone to a new series and put said series in a way that makes it extremely comprehensible. That's pretty damn amazing. Also, if you argue the outcome of any death battles on the comments, I'm deleting this review.
The Worst Match-Up: Bowser VS Ganon (Spoilers)
And following what I thought was the best Death Battle, Dante VS Bayonetta, we immediately have... not the worst Death Battle, but the worst match-up, for sure. With 59 episodes under its belt, it's no surprise that Death Battle have had a few iffy match-ups. Sometimes, you just can't find a good opponent for a character big enough that they demand a turn on the show. And when that happens, you end up with Pikachu VS Blanka (Tiny Electric Mouse VS Gigantic Electric Mutant Powerhouse) and Ryu VS Scorpion (Human Martial Artist VS Teleporting Fire Ninja from Hell. Just sayin', Liu Kang was right there.) But Bowser VS Ganon may be the worst because it's the most obvious result they've ever done. It's literally impossible for one of the combatants to kill the other. I was tempted to put '(Spoilers?)' with a question mark because I'm not explicitly going to state who won. However, here are two facts about the fighters that are extremely well-known, and used as part of the explanation of the final result. 1) Ganondorf can only be killed by the Master Sword, or Silver Arrows. 2) Bowser does not have the Master Sword, or Silver Arrows. Can you possibly guess who's going to win this? Outside of the obviousness of the result, the battle just seems off. It's not like Mario VS Sonic where the combatants have nothing in common, but they at least share a rivalry. There's no connection between them. I mean, they both serve as the traditional Final Boss of their respective series and they both have red hair, but by that logic, it would just as much sense to pair either of them up against Akuma. To be fair, Bowser doesn't exactly match up well against anyone else; he's way too powerful to take on King K. Rool or King Dedede, and Ganondorf is a tough one to analyze too, since he generally spends his time sitting on a throne, waiting for Link to show up and kick his ass. It's not that there aren't good points. The battle itself is decent - I really liked the nod to Mario Tennis - and while each character's description was shorter than normal, they were still pretty funny and managed to look at both well-established and slightly more obscure facts about the fighters. And the animation is good - not the Visual Effects of Awesome we've come to expect from Death Battle, but still good. But both the match-up and the battle itself feel very rushed. Bowser and Ganon each get a background explanation of less than 4 minutes, and the battle is over fairly quickly. And that's another thing - we all know that Ganondorf will turn into Ganon at some point in the battle. It's in the name of the fight. But Ganon is only there for maybe 10 seconds before the fight is over, which kind of kills the tension. But at least it's Ratchet & Clank VS Jak & Daxter next time. Oh, erm, I mean, Ratchet & Clank VS 2 mystery combatants we couldn't possibly know. Right.
Rain Drops Cutting Wins
(Spoilers) I seen Death Battle post questionable wins for characters such as Toph Vs. Gaara and the total not biased Yang Vs. Tifa. (This was before Season 3 of RWBY so if things change to make the verdict more plausable then i'll move on to it) But this? This is a probably the worst death battle verdict i seen in a long while. So Dante is faster than Bayonetta because he can cut Rain drops? Lol ok, so let's just ignore some of the instances Bayonetta can do that are actually way more impressive in speed. OH and Bayonetta gets hurt. But let's just ignore the fact that the tons of bosses and all the people she get hurt by and such, would probably provide a challenge or even easily beat Dante. I doubt Dante can beat Jubilius and Asier, And before you mention Mundus, he only made a small pocket of diminsion. Creating something and having the power to destroy it is something different. Oh and Witch Time < Quick Silver is laughable since Quick Silver runs on a time limited in comparison to Witch Time. You know, i think at this point they should be calling this thing 5 minute melee, since considering the big errors in the research and the big leaps of logic required to make such a judgement, it is starting to feel that way to me. As for the actual fight itself? well it is well done as always. The animators never fail to pull off their best stunts and moves. The action is exciting as always, but considering the rather ass-pulling of the winner, i'm highly considering from now on to take Death Battle as a 5 minute melee. Not sure which is worse. Cutting Rain or Yang surviving slamming into a bridge or something
Death Battle only care about money
Death Battle sucks. It's been a long time since their glory days when they were first starting out. Now the power has gone to their head and it's all about making money. Case in point, the unnecessary Goku vs. Superman 2. Why make the battle if you're just going to repeat the outcome, only worse? To make more money, of course. I haven't watched Death Battle in a long time, nor do I ever plan to.
The Best Death Battle: Dante VS Bayonetta
I complain about Death Battle more than I would like to admit. It's a really good show, and I agree with at least 85% of the outcomes, but for some reason, I'm always drawn to complain about the ones I don't like more than I am to compliment the ones I like. I even wanted to write a review on 'The Worst Death Battle', but decided that in the interests of not being an ungrateful twat, I would not do this until I had written about the the best, which brings me onto the Season 3 premiere, Dante VS Bayonetta. If I was describing this fight with no preparation, it would just be 'Holy F@#$, Holy F&%£ing F@#$, that was beautiful.' And true, the first thing to notice about Dante VS Bayonetta is that it is undoubtedly, by a large margin, the best-looking Death Battle so far. The animation is absolutely incredible from start to finish and Torrian deserves nothing but the highest praise for outdoing himself yet again. Dante and Bayonetta use loads of different weapons, forms, summons, and Trish and Jeanne even drop by for some tag-team attacks, which, for an unashamed plug for a new Death Battle spin-off, still managed to be a delightful bonus instead of an unwanted interruption. But the bread and butter of Death Battle is the research, and... well, they did their research. The rundown on both characters is extensive and in-depth, with Bayonetta giving Boomstick many chances to humourously decide whether or not he wants to hit on her, and Wiz gives enough background on both of the characters and how over-the-top ridiculously Crazy Awesome they both are that you really don't know who's going to win. And yet, their explanation for who would win and why (no spoilers) adds up really well. I feel like it's almost unfair to name this 'The Best Death Battle', since with combatants like Dante and Bayonetta, it couldn't really have not been awesome. Dante effortlessly blocks hits from titanic-sized Demon Gods, and anyone who played Devil May Cry remembers the cutscene where he gets impaled to the floor by a magic electric sword, only to pull himself up through the sword, with nothing more than an expression of mild annoyance akin to 'Heh, Mondays, am I right?' Likewise, Bayonetta kicks military jets out of the air, flings satellites at ridiculous speeds through outer space using only her legs, and has a reaction time of less than a thousandth of a second. There is no way that a fight between these two could not be amazing. But if anything, the fight deserves credit for not only living up to those expectations, but also shattering them. Everyone involved, Ben, Chad, Torrian, Nick, the g1 research team, the guy who animated DBX who's getting unfairly criticized because his spin-off wasn't as good as the main battle but was still really good... this was a standout performance from everyone. And in my opinion, it is The Best Death Battle. So far.
Death Battle: Love It or Hate It, You Can't Deny the Effort
Let's be utterly frank here: Death Battle is a controversial show, even on this very wiki. Of course, this is to be expected when a show involves taking two characters from popular series and putting them into a battle to the death: Someone is going to get pissed when their favorite character loses, be it just because their favorite character lost or because something seemingly erred in the research that directly affected the results. Despite this, I feel that some people just take this show too seriously. So what if your favorite character died? You're entitled to your opinion. So what if research erred? The fact they actually made the effort to research in the first place makes it better than battles that just rely on viewer opinion to win. Even then, ScrewAttack has never attempted to claim their results are the end-all, be-all decision. These people go out their way to research, animate, and voice-over a series dedicated to answering the fanboy question of "Who would win in a fight to the death?" And they look damn good while doing it. Sometimes, I feel we just get to caught up with "But Goku can do X", "Toph shouldn't have been able to bend Gaara's X", "Tifa should be able to stomp Yang with X tons of force" to really appreciate the effort the folks at ScrewAttack put into their work, even if it could be wrong. And no, just because my preferred character won each of these fights does not change my opinion. (And anyone who still believes Yang won her fight because ScrewAttack and Rooster Teeth partnered up, despite Word of God outright stating this was never the case, you're lying to yourselves). Me, I just love the entire series, regardless if I believe "Character X should have beaten Character Y", because you know what? I've yet to come across a group willing to put so much time and effort into creating such beautiful fights as them, and that's something to be admired whether you agreed with the results or not. That's why even as I write this, I'm eagerly awaiting to see how Death Battle dazzles me with the next fight. Because I came for entertainment, and they always deliver.
Yang vs Tifa: Worst. Battle. Ever.
And not just because I disagree with the results. Oh no, it's because the battle left a TERRIBLE taste in my mouth. Yang was portrayed HORRIBLY. She assaults a bouncer for doing his job, vandalizes property, casually tries to order a drink like nothing happened, snaps Tifa's neck for rightfully trying to kick her out, then casually puts on her sunglasses and says 'Nailed it!' like she stuck a landing rather than brutally murdered someone in cold blood. It's up there with Peach saying 'did I wiiiiin?' after blowing up Zelda's head, Blanka abruptly grabbing and eating Pikachu and Deadpool using Deathstroke's decapitated head as a puppet and later a hood ornament in terms of disrespect to your opponent, and even then, at least the other three examples were IN CHARACTER for them: Peach probably doesn't have enough functioning brain cells to process what she just did and probably thinks Zelda is sleeping or something, Blanka is a savage jungle man, so it's reasonable to assume that's just how he deals with his prey, and Deadpool...is Deadpool. There is NO excuse for Yang's behaviour in this episode. She acted like a psychotic brat, and got off scot free for it. I really find myself hoping that she got arrested shortly after the battle ended. So yeah, I HATE this battle completely. It's worse than Gaara vs Toph, Peach vs Zelda, Rogue vs Wonder Woman and Pikachu vs Blanka combined. It's wrong, it's INCREDIBLY mean-spirited, it's disrespectful to both Tifa AND Yang... I actually had to go on DeviantArt and read a few of the battles where Yang lost because I was so mad after this fight was over. I was legitimately angry with Yang. Death Battle should not be making me FURIOUS at a HERO. A hero that I normally LIKE. If Lex Luthor beat Iron Man or Boba Fett beat Samus or Deathstroke beat Deadpool or Buu beat Kirby, I'd be mad at the character, but I'd be more okay with it because hey...you're SUPPOSED to be mad at the bad guys. But Yang...was CLEARLY the villain here the entire time, and this time the bad guy wins.
Crazy cool, but covered in caveats.
Wow, it sure took long enough for someone to get this concept right. It's baffling, really. Popular culture icons (and a pony) duking it out in high-octane machinima death matches of no little HSQ. And far from being a popularity contest, the strengths and weaknesses of each combatant are taken heavily into account. The show creators—rather shockingly for fan-created content, I know—tend to keep their biases in check, or at the very least quite subtle, letting logic settle the fights for them. Even when I don't necessarily agree with a fight's outcome (Batman can, and will, beat ANYONE. This is a fact!), I can more often than not respect the end result. Sometimes though, the animation really isn't up to scruff (especially their early stuff, McGruff). I realize they're working on a limited budget here; the endless sponsor plugs, though often entertaining enough, drive that point home. There are few things as dis-immersive to me as low-grade, Gmod-style animation; I'd rather have fewer fights with better animation than let things be as they are now. Especially considering how short the battles tend to be, oftentimes they could do loads better. And, alongside the often patchy character voice impressions (Sam Fisher is not supposed to sound like a whiny bitch!), the commentators, though thankfully foregoing play-by-play commentary during the action, are hit-and-miss; literally, one hit and one miss. Boomstick, at least once he dropped the more stereotypical aspects of his Deep South-ish character, has a deliciously Id-laden delivery that tends to make everything he says solid gold. Wizard, however... Fucking Wizard. Ever the wet blanket, you're not liable to find a more bland, haughty, intellectual posturer this side of Matthew Patrick. When he's not busy acting like a holier-than-thou douche towards his (admittedly, intensely mentally disturbed) co-host, he's boring me to tears with scientific minutiae. This kind of character can be funny if it's done right, but whomever voices him fails to evoke any such entertainment factor. Once you get past these heavily YMMV dealies though, what remains is a fist-pumpingly cool concept that serves as a bit of a video game history lesson on top of it. It ain't perfect, but once someone shouts "Fight!", it's fucking on like Donkey Kong.
Goku vs. Superman: Possibly The Greatest Fictional One-On-One Fight Of All Time
A crowning moment of awesome from the first second of the 30-ish minute running time to the last, Goku vs. Superman is without a doubt the crown jewel of Death Battle. Without spoiling the winner, some highlights include:
- A Beam-O-War between a Super Saiyan 4 boosted Kamehameha and Superman's heat/laser vision.
- Goku absorbing the energy of a Spirit Bomb
- A reference to DBZ Abridged and Superman's iconic "car over head" pose (from Action Comics #1)
- Goku uses the Kaio-Ken technique and all 4 levels of Super Saiyan
- The fight moving from Metropolis to DBZ-like mountains and then to space
- Great music throughout the fight
- Truly nerdy mathematics used to justify the winner
- A to-the-point yet in-depth recap of both fighters' abilities and histories that builds up to the battle quite nicely
- And more.
Pikachu vs. Blanka: Deja vu, Thor vs. Raiden viewers?
Pikachu vs Blanka is quite the weird fight considering the one that came some time before it. Thor vs. Raiden took the oddly specific premise of "Thunder Gods who use electricity in their attacks" and went with it, and Pikachu vs. Blanka is the second "electrical match" of the series (and of Season 1). Why two electrical matches in the same season, and so close (2 espidoses are between them) as well? And even stranger, the winner is victorious for roughly the same reason (both fighters were immune to each other's electrical attacks, so the deciding factor was physical prowess). Anyway, the fight is quite good with decent animation and flashy maneuvers by both combatants, and while I'm a Street Fighter fan, I have no attachment to Blanka and the same goes for Pikachu, but I can only imagine how fans of the loser felt when they witnessed an embarassing and brutal finishing move that makes Master Chief's tea-bagging look like a friendly gesture. A Mortal Kombatant would have puked; for all the brutality of their finishers, I don't recall any Kombatant eating dead bodies. This match, while somewhat a repeat of an earlier one, stands out for one big reason: the preview for Goku vs. Superman at the end. At first, there is darkness and silence. Then we hear a very familiar voice chanting the name of his famous attack, and as the Ki beam surges towards the screen, it illuminates the icon of the world's greatest superhero. But even if the preview had been something different, the episode is still good by itself. You have to love the technical skill put into it all.
Fun, if flawed.
Death Battle is the fun alternative to sifting through forum threads to find out which character would beat who in a fight. The animation is often spectacular (By web standards I mean, it's great.) with decent research done on both parties. And some decent commentary from the two hosts. And if they have a personal bias toward a certain character, they don't really let it show. I can appreciate that the duo don't let fanboyism blind them when it comes to deciding a match, and I can also appreciate when they don't give a character a win just because of popularity power. I mightn't have agreed with every match outcome (I'll always love Doomguy more than MC), but at the same time I know not to get too wrapped up in a show like this. That all said there are flaws. As if often the problem with web-series, there's no real schedule to the show, so you can go weeks and weeks without hearing a peep about the next episode. In addition, the show has a tendency to match characters up based on similarities they have while ignoring any massive gaps in power between them (e.g Superman vs Goku and He-Man vs Lion-O.) Also, maybe it's just me, but some of the match-ups seem like weird choices to base entire episodes around. Bomberman vs Dig-Dug? Really? And Ivy vs Black Orchid? Was there really such a demand for that match in particular? Oh yeah, and the comment sections for the videos can be wretched hives. In the end, if you sit back and try not to get too wrapped up in any personal fanboyism, you can have some real fun with this show.
Justin Beiber vs. Rebecca Black: Worst. Episode. Ever.
Death Battle had some things to smooth over when they were first starting out. The health bars made the fights less intense as it was easy to know who was winning. The hosts didn't have their personalities nailed down. The fights were graphically bland. But that was all fixed. The health bars went away (though the problems of How Much More Can He Take moved in), Wiz and Boomstick firmly established themselves, and the fights began to look like something other than a cheesy arcade game. As season 1 progressed, some really good matches (most notably Goku vs. Superman) were done, but a huge blemish shall always remain on the show: Beiber vs. Black. I have 3 problems with it: First off, it was really just a huge Take That to the two pop stars for no grater purpose. They dedicated resources away from making "real" episodes to produce what is essentially an elaborate insult to two people who already get so much crap. Imagine all the other possible matchups they could have done... Second, I hate the fact that they took two real life people and had them fight to the death. I'm not coming from a moral angle, but a legal one. What if one of them sees the video and gets upset? Nothing good can ever come from that. And yes, while MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch got away with it, a web show on a gaming website is very different from one of the most popular channels ever (as far as money and therefore legal defensive power is concerned). And while Death Battle uses all sorts of copyrighted figures, most of whom belong to big companies that would crush Screwattack.com on a whim, that hasn't happened yet, so it's safe to assume the companies are fine with Death Battle's use of their characters (or at least can't do anything to stop them). Third, it was just a plain bad episode. Most of the characters rundowns were not related to combat at all, the combatants were just headshots of the real life pop stars crappily photoshopped onto sprites, Boomstick implying he wants to commit suicide because of what he thinks is bad music is not funny, and I just found the fight to be boring, focusing on (poorly done) slapstick rather than serious action. I also found the omnicidal ending to be tasteless (I do not find joy in the Jonas Brothers dying in a car explosion, thank you very much). Worst Death Battle episode ever. No denying that.
A Dream Come True
I remember watching Deadliest Warrior, which had the interesting premise of pitting two warriors against each other. Knight vs pirate, Samurai vs Viking, you name it. It was cool, or more accurately, the fights themselves during the last 5 minutes. But no matter how cool the show was, there was something missing: the nerdiness of fictional matchups. I had always been a scholar of pop culture, and as far as violence and combat centered series and shows were, I had always argued with friends and family with what I called "interesting matchups", and many joyful hours were spent discussing the merits of The Hulk vs Superman or John Mc Clane vs Rambo. Death Battle was a dream come true when I found it. The dream matches that fanboys worldwide had always argued about were finally done. Wiz and Boomstick not only settle the fanboy debates, but settle them soundly; they are quite scientific about their rationale for the winner. Don't be surprised if they break out the math and declare with good reason that Character A is 43% faster than Character B. Most episodes are about 5-10 minutes long, so the Death Battles can be watched by a person with little free time. In the first part of each video, the combatants are introduced, and their equipment, skills, and physical abilities are summarized. The show excels here, and I find myself well educated about each fighter even if I had literally never heard of either of them before. During this part Wiz and Boomstick also make jokes and banter back and forth, leading to many moments of hilarity. When the "Fight!" sound is heard towards the end, you know it's about to get real. The fights are all awesome, but the royal jewel is Goku vs Superman. Two of the greatest fictional warriors of all time fighting to the full extent of their power in a 9+ minute ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny is even more awesome than it sounds. And when each fight ends, you get even more hilarious commentary by Wiz and Boomstick. However, there are flaws. For one, I'd like to see more "all star" battles between previous winners, but other than that I just have to say that none of my personal "interesting matchups' have been done. But that's more of a personal complaint than an objective flaw in the show overall, and even still I enjoy the living heck out of Death Battle.
Two Parts, One Good and One Not
After Deadliest Warrior, people everywhere were clamoring to try and apply the format to pop culture's most recognizable characters. Really, it's understandable—the crossover battle caters to the primal urge of throwing two recognizable powerhouses at each other and watching the sparks fly, if only because the resulting fight would (usually) be fucking awesome. Death Battle is one of many bandwagon hoppers, specializing in exactly that. Wizard and Boomstick are two commentators who present a vague overview of each character before throwing in an animated fight sequence to the death—a concept easily summed up. The problem in copying the Deadliest Warrior format, however, quickly becomes evident. The first part of each episode are where the problems lie. Putting a lot of valid criticisms aside, Deadliest Warrior did more than just "who would win in a fight", it also introduced cultures, weapons, and etc that others hadn't even heard of and brought them up. It also (again, a lot of valid criticisms aside) had physical items to measure, test, and compare to the legends surrounding it. At the end of the day, there was something you could tangibly evaluate. Death Battle, on the other hand, often boils down to theory-craft of "He would TOTALLY do this! That means he wins!", picking and choosing bits of canon (and frequently non-canon or fanon) that applies to their arguments while ignoring plenty more. On the other hand, the second parts of the episodes, the actual fight scenes, is where shit gets real. It's amazing to see these characters brought to life on the battlefield again, bringing their signature moves and abilities and putting them to the test. Jordan Lange's talents as of episode 20 only cemented this even further, and every match since has been simply harder, faster, and greater all around. It's such a shame, then, that only the last three minutes are dedicated to his talents, but what a magnificent three minutes they are. In the end, Death Battle is best treated like a You Tube meme video. Roll your eyes at the bullshit, skip to the good part, laugh a little and go about your day. Fans of franchises would do best to steer clear, but those who can bite their tongue and just go "Whatever, it's just a video" to more glaring inconsistencies might find some good times anyway.