Friday, 15 December 2017

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

I'll be honest.
After the utter disappointment "GAMERS!!" was after episode 6 I almost didn't want to give this show a chance.
However all that changed about 2 seconds into the intro song.
I knew immediately that not only would i love this show... it would be one of my favs of the season and probably in my top 5 of the year.

We follow Morioka Moriko, a woman in her late 30s who recently left her job so she could become a NEET (or as she puts it... Elite NEET).
The previous MMO she played however shut down so she looks for something new to fill the void.
Wanting a change from real life she chooses a male avatar and works hard to get the hang of this new game "Fruit du Mer".
She's utterly terrible until she bumps into a healer named Lily.
Together they go on adventures and over the course of the show we see hoe much the online world and real world are connected.

This show is sweet, sincere and overall just a joy to watch. The smaller cast allows for some interesting meet ups and I cannot even begin to describe how nice it is to see older gamers not portrayed as awful lazy slobs.

It's funny, it has just the perfect amount of MMO referencing and my only complaint is that as of right now it's only 10 episodes + 1 OVA.
Considering how popular the show has become though... I wouldn't be surprised if we got another season down the road... because even though the story has a wonderful finish there is always more to tell.

I do think people who have never touched an MMO would still get a kick out of a series like this since overall the show focuses more on the real life then the game and i think in the end thats why this succeeds where GAMERS!! utterly failed.

I hope the manga also gets licensed eventually because I would love to read it.

Also I was watching quite a bit this season so these may end up being a little rapid fire..... man this years top 10 is going to be hard (other then number 1 which i already know and if you know me.... well you know my number 1 as well...)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection

Also known as Zwei 2.... which yeah is pretty redundant.

Anways This game is about Ragna Valentine after he crash lands on Ilvard and is saved by making a blood contract with a Vampire Alwen du Moonbria.
two two decide to team up inorder to get Alwen's castle back so she will break their contract.

The controls are fairly simple.
Ragna fights with an anchor gear, this can slash or spin and later on in can even grab and glide (honestly gliding was wasily my fav)
Alwen fights with Magic... each spell had a different attack pattern... my favs were force arrow (yeah the very first one you get) and Holy Lance (it's a lit like force arrow just much horter range and stays where you fire it.
as you got through dungeons you get new abilities which allow you to explore more dungeons and so on.
The leveling system is the real unique bit because you level by eating food. I like this concept in theory... in practice enemies do not drop near enough food and even with quite a bit of grinding i was still two levels short for the final boss.

Overall the story is good... nothing amazing but it's sweet and funny and really well written and acted (even if the music often overpowered the voices in cutscenes.... even though I lowered it....)

The music is fantastic and fits the feel of the game perfectly (but this is falcom so of course the music is good)

Finally the art direction is lovely... i kinda wish falcom would make more games that look like this (don't get me wrong Ys 8 is beautiful but i'm always a sucker for more stylized games) and now that i have seen the sprite work for Zwei 1..... yeah i really wish ore falcom games looked like this... it's just so pretty.

Is it one of my altime fav Falcom franchises now?
no
Do i hope that eventuall we may see zwei 3?
hell yes... I mean it'll never happen but if it did i'd be right there.

I have no idea why this game did poorly in japan... it's really really enjoyable and at about 20 hours isn't too bad as far as length is concerned. I will probably go back and try to tackle those lv 99 dungeons (which should be super fun at level 27 : D )
but for now i'm just glad i got to finish out the year with this sweet little game.

You can get it on Steam and GoG and it ran perfectly fine on the highest setting on my computer that is pushing 6 years old.

and now to wait for Tokyo Xanadu Ex+.... it came otu dec 8th but VGP hasn't shipped it yet : ( may not see it till the new year....)

Friday, 24 November 2017

A silent voice

I saw this a while back in theater and forgot to write a ramble.... my bad!

I went into this having read the manga. Seeing how the interpreted some things so flawlessly in animation was a treat.
This film is a wonderful visual representation of dealing with anxiety, ptsd and seeing how people treat those who don't quite fit into the norm.
at times it feels like kyo ani is just trying to be like "how pretty can we make the scenery" but unlike a few of their latest shows i didn't find it too distracting.

it's a sweet film that will probably make you cry... i'm glad they cut out what they did since it helps the flow. I hope to own it on dvd sometime in the future.

Persona 5 (spoiler free)

Took me a little longer then most to beat this game but now that I have it's time to talk about it... without spoilers of course.

I guess it's best to start with my history/bias towards this series.
Back in high school all my friends were talking about Persona 3 and how it's the best thing ever. I had never heard of it but when they told me the FES edition just released that there was never a better time to jump in.

I remember looking at the back of the box and thinking "80 hours? yeah OK I doubt it"
120 hours later.... i was hooked.

I love the characters, the art, the music, the life sim aspect... it was all so new and different.

Eventually persona 4 came out.... and i played the shit out of that (until i got one shot in a dungeon and lost all my progress for that day [enemies shouldn't have insta kill attacks when the main character can't be revived by friends]... and then i put the game down till... well till i got the vita versions....) And i loved this even more. the deceptively lighter tone, the same and yet better music, art, dungeon design and gameplay... it was all so wonderful and i was sad when it ended.

So that pretty much gets us to the present right?
well not exactly.
I have tried to play both person 1 and 2... and while i did like the latter a bit more i didn't get far in either. apparently I'm not a fan of first person grid based dungeon crawlers.... who knew.
So now... having loved half the series and..... experienced the other half how was persona 5 going to fare in my eyes.

Well right off the bat I loved it. It came out at the worst time for me because I was literally going on a trip to japan for three weeks shortly after it came out... but still I played what I could and knew I'd get back to it when I returned.

However besides that one little hiccup I was in love. this game oozes style, the music fits perfectly and the art makes me want to push myself as an artist. Hell I even enjoyed the "stealth" mechanic and the only thing I hate more then first person grid based dungeon crawlers it's stealth... The battles had a few more kinds of attacks and the dungeons were so much more interesting then the previous two titles.

So then why did I find it so hard to sit myself down and just beat it?
Why did i end up taking it out of my ps4 for other games.... why did other older titles keep beating it out of my currently playing slot (ok obvious answer is they were all falcom games and falcom wins every time for me)
As I got further and further in I felt there was one truth about this game that I couldn't ignore.

I didn't like the theme.
Or more accurately... the theme of persona 4 resonated with me so much that the fact this theme didn't hook me made it hard to get into the game.

Persona 4 deals with that ugly voice that sometimes pops up that we try to ignore or deny... it's something that is universal... we have all had thoughts like that... and we all have the capacity to be better people despite our occasionally ugly nature.

Persona 5 deal with Corruption... a very real corruption that I think everyone is seeing in the day to day life of the world...  and while the game has a message of hope... it's hard to feel like you have any power in the situation... in the end I'm just one voice...

I want to say the theme rings a bit hollow to me but that is not accurate, more like "I wish there was more I could do to see a similar outcome" and perhaps that is the point... to spur people to do what they can to show that corruption can't win.

still I did love the game... well most of it.
Remember that I mentioned I didn't mind the stealth in this game... yeah about 3/4th through the game I realized "no i still hate stealth" and by the end of a certain dungeon i was just wanting it all to be over.
Also the fact that the dungeons are no longer procedurally generated (excluding mementos) led to some awesome puzzles and set pieces..... on the other hand it made the dungeons incredibly long do to the fact that a lot of the puzzles involve backtracking which just feels like padding for an already long game. (my play though was around 95 hours)

Still I did enjoy it... I know I'm being harsh but trust me I really did love it and I got emotional more then once.

Is it my game of the year? probably not but I can see why so many others say it is.
I may do a newgame plus run of it... see what trophies I need and try to platinum... no promises though since it is a bit of a beast.
If you haven't picked it up yet and you were curious or you loved any other persona or SMT titles then yeah i would say give it a try.
Nothing is done poorly and all my criticism is 100% due to things I like or dislike in games.

Still I do wish other games had even 1/8th the amount of style this game has. you could teach a course on the menu design alone.

Alright that is enough rambling for now... time to figure out what to play next! (probably tokyo Xanadu ex + since that comes out in a few weeks.)

Sunday, 22 October 2017

First Impressions: Fall 2017

We are well into October and yet the weather thinks we are still in the dead of summer. Still new anime has started to air and here are my first impressions...

But first!

Ground rules


1. I will TRY to give every show on Crunchyroll a chance but that doesn't mean i am obligated to watch a full episode. If i stop early i will give a time stamp and reason for stopping. I will not be looking at shows on Netflix or Amazon's anime Strike because the former won't simulcast and the latter Is just too much of a pain and expense to set up.

2. No shows that are under 20 minutes in length, i don't like waiting a whole week for a 3 min gag. there are some exceptions but it's rare.

3. No shows with Brother, Sister, Father or Mother in the title... too often it goes into incest... which i really do not like.

4. If the show is a second season of a show i didn't watch before I'm not going to talk about it here.

5. No card game shows, i may give them a chance but they really aren't my thing.

6. All opinions are my own and based solely on what i have seen. I tend to go into these shows completely blind. If i don't enjoy the show after 1 episode or even quit out of an episode early I'm not saying the show is bad... just that i didn't enjoy it.


Returning Shows.


Elegant Yokai Apartment

Ok I'll admit this show took like... 3/4 of last season to figure out what it's about... but i still enjoy it. not as good as another show with yokai that i miss terribly but I'm still having fun with it.

Mr. Osomatsu

so about a year and a half ago i watched this show and just fell in love... it's so stupid and i should hate it but it's really funny. Still i never heard anyone talking about it so i figured it didn't do well.
Then i went to japan in May... these Sextuplets were EVERYWHERE. Apparently it's one of the highest grossing shows all time in japan. And honestly I'm not surprised because again the show is so funny. It took quite a long time to get another season but I'm looking forward to this.
and for those wondering my fav matsus are Choromatsu (i mean hiroshi kamiya) and Ichimatsu (whom i identify with far more then i am comfortable admitting)... the others are great but when the story focuses on these two i just get so happy.

Blood Blockade battlefront & Beyond

....
i mean i did watch season one.... i should probably give this one episode...
even though i didn't like the first season...
It's so hard to believe this is the same creator as Trigun... trigun had heart and charm and interest and this.... really doesn't.
And now it doesn't even have bump of chicken...
Yeah sorry this is a pass for me... i can't do another 12 episodes of this show.

March come in like a Lion

YAY! I'm so happy this show is back.
This show is as visually stunning and heartfelt as the first season and i really look forward to more.

New Shows!


THE IDOLM@STER Side M

The hit game but with male idols instead of female ones?
look i haven't really been able to get into idol anime cause... honestly the whole Idol thing kinda creeps me out. at first i thought it was just cute and innocent and people were having fun but yeah.. i think the culture around it really gives me the creeps.
This show seems to be addressing some of the less desirable aspects of Idol culture BUT... it also seems to have a lot of info from the Original IdolM@ster anime which i haven't seen so yeah lots is just going over my head.
I will give it props for relying more on drawing the guys dancing over freak CG models (they are used but not as much as a sow like Love Live season 1 used em)
Still probably not going to watch but who knows, we will see.

Black Clover

Crunchyroll is pushing this show hard... so lets see if it's any good or if it's just typical desaturated shonen crap.
I want to enjoy this... but wow Asta has the most annoying voice ever. it's cause he's constantly shout growling and ugh... just stop... please i am hoping this is a good show and you are giving me a headache.
So the plot. In this world magic is everything and everyone can use it.
Well almost everyone.
Yuno and Asta were orphaned in front of a church, 15 years pass and one is a magical genius while the other one can't even seem to use it. However when Grimoires are being passed out it's expected something will awaken inside. Only no one could have predicted this outcome.
Other then Asta's shouting it's an interesting enough concept that I'm willing to give a few more episodes till i make up my mind... honestly not the strongest first episode... maybe if what happens at the end happened at the midway point it would be a different story? still I'm curious.... i just hope there isn't a tournament arc.

JINO TAISEN: ZODIAC WAR

This is a battle royal animal where all the killers have a zodiac animal attached to them.
It's got really fluid animation... but it seems like more of a hyper violent gore fest. All the combatants swallow poison and it will kill them in a day, if the retrieve all the zodiac gems then they win and get to make one wish.
This kind of show has never been my cup of tea cause more often then not all the participants are terrible.
So i'll pass.

SENGOKU NIGHT BLOOD

Idea factory? so... I'm guessing cell phone game or Otome title--- *first male characters show up* otome... for sure
Oh and it's a nobunaga story to boot.. as well as being warped to another world.
i mean... I know Otome titles can be full of cliches but this is like it's trying to get them all at once... it's kinda impressive.
Anyways i hate to admit it but I'm a sucker for these pretty reverse harems... even though it ends up hurting me in the end more often then not I'm sure... uh... *looks up name* . . . uh... female protagonist (i shit you not that's the best they could do) will be... full of interesting character or something....
 ...
ok yeah probably not... she's barely even giving a shit that she's in another world.
but hey, a supernatural boy (yeah i forgot to mention that they are werewolves and vampires right?) where there is a decent amount of blood and violence in what is essentially a dating sim for girls? yeah sure lets give this another episode.

Love is Like a Cocktail

It's a 3 min gag show about alcohol.
Though I will say when someone says "I'm not good with alcohol" and you say drink up... yeah that's a really shitty thing to do.
granted alcohol culture in japan is different then here... i still wish people would respect boundaries.
but yeah pass.

KONOHANA KITAN

Do you want to see cute girls work at an Ryokan? Was Hanasaku Iroha lacking in animal ears? then this show may be for you. Also ugh the whole "i can bath myself" sexual harassment thing is so old and can we not? Overall the show is cute but it is a bit too much for me to stomach. I prefer a show like Hanasaku Iroha where there was a bit of weight to why she was at the inn. this is just too cute for me.

URAHARA

uhhhhh
um...
Ok so.... harajuku.... and uh... aliens and... um...
maybe this is all just a fever dream? I mean every season has at least one show like this but yeah... it's uh..... very unique.
Oddly it seems to fall into the cute girls doing nothing trope as well as possibly magical girls? but yeah this just isn't my cup of tea but if you like batshit crazy give it a try.


TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION

More idol anime.
Corrention - More CG idol anime... the cg looks better then I've seen but still.... yeah it's not good. At least they are using the models in order to utilize the freedom the camera has?
Hell when they are far away it looks good just... no close ups please.
for being idols that seem to be gaining popularity they seem to have a ton of free time.
This is a... docomo ad? i mean... anything is possible with anime but you would think Docomo wouldn't need it...
It's literally like "oh look how perfect we are but we are troubled by pressure here's a song... now ad time... song... oh man shower montage.
like at least the other idol story had a plot... at least more then "we are pretty but troubled"
oh wait no... we find out why they are troubled and they all make peace with it... so yeah... no plot.
the music is good but yeah... I prefer a bit more plot.

King's Game

At first i thought it was a battle royal type situation but instead it's more like it's title implies.
If you've seen Persona 4's anime you've see a kings game, people draw straws, one person is the king and they tell two other numbers to do something, the two holding those numbers then have to do the thing. Though in this case it's more like some absolute being that always gets to be king... and if you don't do the thing in question you are killed.
to what end or what the reward is for surviving the game hasn't been made clear.
Also (this could just be fore the start of the game) the orders seem innocent but probably difficult for a high school student to do.
I have a feeling this show is a neat concept that will have a lacklustre or non-existent conclusion. I may watch more but it's really gory so if you have a weak stomach stay away.


Recovery of an MMO Junkie

normally I'd be dreading a show like this... but the title of the episode has me intrigued. Also the intro song is really good. The ending is also really good... anyways synopsis time!
After dropping out of Cor-porate life Morioka Morito declares herself an Elite Neet and stays at home playing an MMO since the last one she was on closed it's servers.
After creating a male character in game she's off to do quests and... well she's terrible at it, constantly dying.
Eventually an adorable white mage takes pity oh the poor swordsman and the two become fast friends.
Of course all the characters are in decently close proximity to eat other but since none of them are like their characters they never seem to figure it out. It's a fairly cute show and i look forward to giving it a few more epiosdes... i hope it continues to charm and well... hopefully it doesn't pull a gamers and lose it's plot 6 episodes in.
Yeah I'm still not thrilled about that.

Dies Irae

The main art on the poster looks like a show i already watched an episode of a few seasons ago....
Coincidence but yeah it just looks so familiar.
Ok... well this is easily one of the worst shows i have seen in a while.
being all over the place with no real plot is problem enough... but you know this piece of shit couldn't stop there.
No it had to go be set in 39.... from the perspective of a certain group that is making a lot of noise lately.  it seems like it'll just be this episode that focuses on them but yeah that is a shit first impression to make. I mean none of the characters on the poster showed up so who knows... but yeah not sticking around to find out.
So yeah... in short i hope this show completely fails... I'm sad Junichi Suwabe is connected with it but yeah will not be watching.


Kino's Journey

I mean technically this should be in returning? anyways it's going here cause it's been like at least a decade (probably more) since i saw the older anime.... and i remember loving it (even if a certain episode destroyed me.
Still i am REALLY looking forward to this show.
And it doesn't disappoint.
Kino is a traveller, he spends three days in each new place... no more no less.
it's a hard life but he can stop at any time... for now him and his talking motorcycle travel.
the show is episodic and absolutely stunning and i can't wait for more.


Anime-Gataris

Ever have something you watched as a child stick with you though you can't remember what it is? well that is the starting point of this show. after talking about this anime she can't remember to a friend the blond hair princesstype girl takes an interest in her as a fellow anime fan... too bad the main girl barely knows anything about anime. Still together they work to set up the anime club...
but also talking cat and mind control beret? I think if this was just a show about an anime club it could be good but this extra magical/supernatural layer seems.... unnecessary?
Oh boy second episode goes full on Haruhi Suzumiya... similar music and everything.
but anyways based on first episode there isn't enough there... luckily the second episode is out so maybe that'll make it more interesting.


BLEND-S

What do you do when you are looking for work but you happen to have a really nasty look in your eye? work at a Cafe that has you playing a sadistic character if course.
So yeah it's a comedy show like working except it's in a Cafe and they are playing these characters for the customers. I think it'll be a fun time.


Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~

I actually know this is based off an Otome game... I'm surprised how many of these we are getting in a season... most of the time we are lucky to get even one.
Well she has a name so that is immediately an improvement over most otome adaptations.
Cardia lives alone in a mansion due to the fact everything she touches with bare skin disintegrates thanks to a poison of some kind. The British Army have come to steal her away but Gentleman Arsene Lupin steals her from them. Now she'll live in a mansion with all these pretty boys as the gentleman theif tries to steal her heart.
It's got a nice steam punk feel to it and again... a otome game where the characters aren't just blank slates... they have base names and personalities are so much better in my opinion.
The art is odd in some places... oddly saturated in shadows and things like that but hey I'm a sucker for reverse harems so I'll be giving this a shot.

TWOCAR

It's Moe racing... like... that seems to be it based on the way the show opens.
I'm sure there are other characters (at least at this point i have no clue who the mains are) but this is just not for me at all.

A Sister's all you need.

I know my rule, i just was thinking "maybe my rule is unfair"
so i clicked this.... and the first thing you see is a guy fantasizing about a littler sister waking him up in the morning, sitting on top of him naked.
Now it's obviously a dream sequence (or i should say i hope it's a dream sequence cause i immediately closed the episode) but seriously this is why no shows with sister in the title.
seriously japan get your shit together and bury this awful trope.

EVIL OR LIVE

Internet bad... so is this show... it's just trying so hard to be artsy and yeah this is a quick pass..

The Ancient Magus' Bride

I actually saw the first three episodes in theatre and have known i was going to enjoy this show for a while. Stunning to look at, interesting concept i am so curious to see where it goes. We follow a young girl who is being trained by one of the last remaining magus... he plans to make her his bride. but first we need to learn more about the magical world... so yeah this could possibly be my fav of the season... we will see.

and that is it, this is a season with a lot of stuff to enjoy.


So it looks like I'll be watching

Elegant Yokai Apartment
Mr. Osomatsu 2
The Ancient Magus' Bride
Black clover (tentative)
King's Game (tentative)
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Kino's Journey
Blend-S
Code: Realize
March Comes in like a Lion

More then I've gotten in the past few seasons so looking forward to it.
what shows are you looking forward to?

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Danganronpa V3 (spoiler free)

So... uh... this will be short.

I have always enjoyed the Danganronpa series. Personally I like Spike Chunsofts other series "Zero Escape" a bit more but the style and themes of the Danganronpa series was always interesting.

It's been a long journey over these 7 years.
some games.... a spinoff (that I admittedly never played) and even an anime that you need to watch in the most convoluted order (coming from someone who like the original airing order of Haruhi Suzimiya) and now we have arrive at Danganronpa V3
It's everything you've come to know and love from the other games.... plus even more.
and after finally beating it I think I only have a few things to say.

This game is really good, if you liked the other games you'll probably like this one.

If you wanna get into this series then start from Game 1, trust me it's worth it (though I honestly don't think the spinoff is 100% necessary)

And last but not least.

F*ck Danganronpa

Thursday, 28 September 2017

GAMERS!

When the first episode of this show aired i dreaded watching it. Looking like typical male harem nerds are actually cool despite their simple design bullshit design.
Still there are reasons I try to give every show at least a chance... because sometimes I am surprised with how good they are.
This is one of those surprises. This shows is far better then a show called "Gamers" has any right to be.

We follow Keita, a gamer in a store buying the latest harem game full of blond characters. Suddenly the most popular girl in his school (who is also blond) speaks to him. It's like a dream but poor awkward Keita just can't handle talking to a girl without falling into fanboying.
Still the girl doens't seem to mind and in fact invited him to a club she set up just for gamers.
Hilarity ensues.

This 6 episode season is full of gaming references interspersed with rom com goodness that never feels like it's over staying it's welcome and then ending is a perfect release from all that build up.
Whats that you say? It's a 12 episode season?
...
Look can't you let me dream.

Ok I have some explaining to do.
The first 6 episodes of this show are great. Perfect balance and as I mentioned before a great conclusion that easily could (read as: should have been) the ending.
While there is one story element that was added after episode six that I did like it goes nowhere and really adds nothing.
Also past episode we lose the balance between gaming goodness and Rom com funtime... it becomes all rom "com" all the time...
except the final episode which is just 24 minutes of Meta-bitching
I mean it's bitching I agree with but seriously framing it over such pathetic pandering fanservicy bullshit..... let's just say for a season finale it was weak.

The music is good, the characters (up to episode 6) are good and the story is sweet with a dash of nerdyness.
Just.... stop halfway through... the other episodes aren't bad but episode 6 is really the best part of the whole damn show and I think had it been saved till episode 12 I would be a little kinder to this series.

Granted.... I wouldn't be surprised if this got another season... I just don't know where they can go with it from here... the main story has been told (it was done by the halfway point of this season for crying out loud)

However no need to take my word for it
You can watch it all over on Crunchyroll!