Finally catching up to "Buffy, Season Eight." They had a ball in this one doing stuff the TV show's special effects budget wouldn't have allowed, like Giant Dawn vs. Mecha-Dawn. That was the funniest part of the battle in Tokyo against a gang of shapechanging Japanese vampires. Also, the banter between Xander and Dracula was cute.
Otherwise, this is what I would have called an "average" episode if it were airing on TV: good but not outstanding, though it did move the plot arc forward a bit. Overall, I thought the bad guys' plan was defeated a bit too swiftly considering the scale of it (take away the powers of all
the Slayers in the world!), and the self-conscious satirizing of every Japanese fanboy trope they could stuff into the "Buffy goes to Tokyo" episode got a little wearing. Good that the Japanese vampires acted like modern smart-asses and weren't all "Let's pretend we're ninja or samurai or some other medieval bullshit," bad that they acted like Western smart-asses with pretty much the same sense of style and humor. (Seriously, why
would they build a Mecha-Dawn just to fight a giant teenager?)
The adherence to Whedon's style and use of "Buffyisms" sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, but for the most part I liked the dialog and the banter. And they did what they also might not have been able to get away with on TV: Buffy decides to "experiment" with another girl. So, this could have totally read as titillating lesbian action for the male reader (especially since it's the hot Japanese Slayer she sleeps with) and I'm sure a lot of readers read it that way, but humorous bits aside, it's actually dealt with in a fairly realistic way, which is to say, it ends messily and uncertainly since, as Buffy admits before they start, she's really not gay. I'm not sure if this would please or further incense all the Buffy fans who were furious when Whedon killed off Tara.
Speaking of killing people off, everyone knows the Whedon Law of Happy Relationships, right? You'd think by now everyone on the Buffy crew would know that two people falling happily in love is a guaranteed death sentence for at least one of them.