Tag Archive: anime


Because I need stupid puns in my writing!

Puns in my blog mean we've reached an all-time low

More school hijinks this episode. I find it cool how Vice-president and Haru can potentially have all these experiences without any time passing. In this case the entire storyline taking place within a short amount of time will actually make sense! As far as vice-president and Haru are concerned, this episode throws a wrench into things, since it’s heavily implied that Chiyu, Haru’s childhood BFF, also likes him to some degree. And here I was hoping for a simple tale about a school idol and the fat kid going on the internet together. Ah well.

I'm honestly surprised there's not more fanservice in this show all things considered...

Afterward we get into super exposition time. Something that might throw people off is that since people are speaking through their internet connections in this show, they don’t have to use their voice. Basically, thought speak, with them staring at each other and reacting in real time despite not actually talking. It’s pretty crazy.

What we learn is that leveling in Brain Burst is really difficult. Like worse than DnD. The game is apparently capped at level ten, where you get to meet the developer and throw a party or something. However, no one has been able to do this. Vice-president used to be one of the seven badasses in the burst linker program who reached level nine. Most of the level nines decided to maintain a truce, since getting to level ten would require beating five other level nines without losing once, risking the loss of the brain burst program if they did. Basically, it’s so ridiculously harsh that they all stopped playing, with the exception of vice-president, who wanted to throw a giant level ten party or something. She killed the red king with a surprise attack, then was forced to retreat when the others teamed up on her.

They forgot to turn off friendly fire.

Another interesting thing to note is some history about Accel World. It’s been 15 years since people installed Neuro-Linkers, the devices that allow people to enjoy the matrix lifestyle. As a result however, the only people who have literally had them their entire lives are kids. A prerequisite for the brain burst program, other than hating social life, is to have one of these permanent models. In other words, all Brain Burst players are kids. I suppose that could explain their behavior.

 

Finally, we get to the plotline of the next story arc. Someone in school is after the vice president. They know her identity and want all her points. If she uses her full shonen power however, that person will run away screaming and altert every other burst linker in brain burst to her location. And so Haru, the newly christened “lackey #1” agrees to help with next to no hesitation.

She's actually pretty casual about sticking it in, all things considered. *Ba-dum tish!*

Only problem is, the culprit might be Chiyu. Of course, being the protagonist Haru has a heart of gold, so he’s very troubled by this decision and goes off to confront it head-on, much to vice-president’s annoyance. Fortunately Taku, who is also Haru’s childhood BFF and Chiyu’s boyfriend, shows up and reassures him vaguely using a half-assed socratic method, thus leading Haru to go and do the intimate cable connection with her to read her memories. Because he’s her FRIEND, DAMMIT and that’s totally OKAY! I’m sure that’s exactly what Taku had in mind. What follows is an awkward, extended sexual metaphor. Granted they did state right out that such a connection is something only lovers typically do, however it’s hard to justify Haru’s position in this case even though he does find something suspicious.

I think Haru’s characterization is consistent and though out pretty well, since despite his generally nice personality he’s also extremely unsure of himself when he’s not gaming. Real life circumstances are challenging his morals and frankly he doesn’t have the backbone to back them up. Hopefully we’ll see some consequences to this and some positive changes in Haru’s character. Or they could just play video games online. That’d be cool too.

Kids nowadays just don't understand the concept of grinding...

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Too bad stage selection is stuck on random

In my attempt to actually keep up with a series, I’m starting with Accel World. This is complicated by the fact that I really didn’t summarize the plot of the first episode much. So, a quick re-cap:

Haru is at the bottom of the food-chain at school. Picked on and forced to be a bully’s lackey, his only escape is virtual reality, which seems really advanced, as it turns him into a cartoon pig. His only accomplishment is apparently online squash. His life reeeally seems to suck right now, and he inadvertently takes it out on people around him since he doesn’t want to be pitied. Enter the student council vice-president with a really long name. She takes a liking to him and beats his high-score in squash. Then invites him to lunch where she gives him the brain burst program, which amps up his reflexes using computers or something. After that she warns him not to go on the internet for a while. He ignores this advice and suddenly gets assaulted by a psycho on a motorcycle.

This was when Haruyuki learned the benefits of grinding.

The second episode picks up immediately afterward, with Haru and his fancy new avatar getting their ass kicked. As it turns out, Brain Burst is basically a fighting MMO with high stakes. The points you get from the game let you use hax in real life, but the only way to get more is to beat people up online. Since Haru wants to repay her for getting rid of his bully, he decides to team up with miss vice-president, because it’ll obviously endwell. He displays more intelligence than your standard protagonist by insisting to keep their relationship strictly business, but he didn’t count on her being a maser troll. Ah, high school drama.

What do you mean you didn't stick it in?!

The rematch between Haru (AKA Silver Crow) and the ghost rider knock-off is kinda funny. After getting in a surprise attack Haru intends to use the timer to win automatically. Not just incredibly cheap, it’s something you wouldn’t expect from a main character. Haru continues to be unique… 😀 Things don’t as planned however and Haru is forced to reach his hidden shonen potential to kick reason to the curb and surpass the impossible. Or in this case a guy who confused an MMO with a racing sim. I could’ve done without the Harley-Davidson trivia though….

My dream of a world where people use usernames in everyday conversation...

What is even a street fighter?

Black Rock Shooter (BRS) is a cool concept. The sales figures for her figurines probably say more about how cool her design is than anything I could say. Narratively speaking, a badass alter-ego that not only spawns whatever artillery or sharp objects she can think of, but ignores all forms of stabbing, bludgeoning and harsh words, is also pretty self-explanatory. Heck, most people who watch this probably know about BRS in some form. The crazy part of this anime was that the “normal cast” was just as compelling as their sharp and pointy counterparts, after a point.

How about some support, mother? After all your daughter is in a battle to decide the fate of high school girls everywhere!

The plot revolves around Kuroi Mato and her crazy high school friends, albeit only the female ones, because let’s face it, the BRS franchise mainly catered to otaku who like the character design before the implied les-yay showed up during the OVA. Now all sorts of people can enjoy it! Well, except for the normal people, but no one likes them. Anyway, as it turns out, high school girls deal with a lot of shit in their day-to-day lives, and they have to blow off steam somehow, so they… create spiritual alter-egos who use those emotions to fight it out in an alternate world based on a child’s book! I mean what else can they do to relax between homework, school clubs, social lives, chores, and japanese societal expectations of women? Understandable, I think.

 

Yeah baby!

 

The character design for Mato threw me off initially, since I thought she should have looked more like her counterpart in the face area.

As the series progresses (all eight episodes of it), you learn the backstories behind all five of the main characters, essentially the people connected with the titular alter-egos important enough to get their own design. Much character development is had by all, with notable scenes of the characters freaking the hell out. This is probably why the artist for the “real” world is noteworthy. The character design doesn’t seem to stand out until you see some of the various expressions on all their faces. Of course, you also get several exciting CG fight scenes, which fulfills the action quota that many fans expected. Initially I felt like the action was just there to show off the cool CG, but by the end it grew on me, particularly the girls’ penchant for unique weaponry.

 

That moment when you realize you're only here for the psychadelic mega-cannon

 

The main thing that kept me from watching the series for a while was the whole “touchy-feely girls” thing. Watching this, Rinne no Lagrange, Hanasaku Iroha, and others, I’m a bit tapped out on anime focusing on “girl-talk.” Each of these have female leads in high school, and as a result their character development is, well, girly. It’s understandable, but really, I should probably invest myself in a hardcore shonen title before going back to new anime after this run… That doesn’t mean BRS isn’t a show you shouldn’t watch however. It’s got a unique style to it, along with mindfuckery thanks to the CG world. I highly recommend it.

 

...and then my sanity shattered!

BRS was produced by Ordet with CG production by Sangizen.

Now if only they’d localize the PSP game so I could review that….

Like a bad Monday

Asura’s Wrath is an exciting game. Mythological adaptations fighting each other while screaming at the top of their lungs plus space ships? How can you go wrong? To be honest, I loved the game. On a basic level, the game works really well. The melee combat and Quick Time Events (QTE) work great, the voice-acting is… enthusiastic, the art style is really emotive, the core aspects of the game are great. It’s the extraneous stuff that really screws up the game.

The shooter segments are little more than you mashing buttons until a QTE occurs. Everything in these segments is a barrier between you and the next fight. While I can understand the placement of some random bosses to break up the story, these just seem odd to me. Similarly, story events between “episodes” are still pictures (drawn by different artists each time) with voiced dialogue. It’s little better than telling the story through random text files. Considering how great some of the cutscenes in this game are, it seems odd for them to resort to this.

When you’re in the melee combat segments, the game is great. Brutal and dynamic. Why the game couldn’t be just this is beyond my understanding of game design I suppose. It starts off relatively easy, seeming to skip from QTE to QTE, but the battles get harder and harder (if not bigger in scope), with more on the line. It reminds me more of Enslaved than Devil May Cry, however the controls are responsive and I encountered no glitches. Asura has a huge amount of unique animations for different enemy types, and Liam O’Brien’s yelling really brings out the brutality. Considering how short his effective range is I was surprised how smooth the combat was. The character animations remind me of Street Fighter IV, and you really see it when getting a close-up of character’s faces. Speaking of faces, what is Ganondorf doing in a Capcom game?

And from the darkest depths I heard a voice.... "Tingle Tingle Kooloo-limpah!"

Speaking of storytelling, why in the name of all that is anime are there episodes? Why not just continue to tell the story? If they wanted an anime, why not make an anime? It interrupts the action at the worst time, every time. Not only that, but they show a “next episode” preview literally seconds before the next segment is about to start. It makes me want to go to a restaurant and punch it so hard it turns into a TGI Mondays.

Every anime needs a hot-spring episode!

There is also a fundamental flaw in the presentation of the game’s story as a whole. They present a prologue telling you who the character is, what he’s fighting for, and what happens to set him on this path of revenge. Immediately afterward, there is a tutorial segment establishing that Asura has amnesia. Throughout the game he learns of his past. This is redundant and stupid. It’s poor storytelling, and ruins any attachments to the reveals later on in the story. Without the prologue, we would be learning about Asura’s past and the world at the same time as him. Instead, we already know, and so the reveals are negligible.

It's as if they were planning this all along...

That’s not to say the story isn’t good however. The tale of revenge, religious idiocy and awkward parenting is awesome while it lasts, and while short, combines some of the best elements from not only God of War and CyberConnect’s Ninja Storm series, but Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil 4 and Zelda as well. I’ll let you find those references for yourself.

Still, the real meat of the game is in the melee combat. The game has been described as an “eastern god of war” in some publications. While that certainly seems to be what CyberConnect went for (with a touch of shonen anime), it doesn’t measure up as a game. In fact there’s almost no “levels” in this game. You’re either in an arena combating enemies with melee or running through a rail-shooter segment. QTEs placed between cutscenes round out the levels. I swear to god the next time someone complains about Final Fantasy XIII I’ll simply reply that “at least it wasn’t as bad as Asura’s Wrath.” Only… XIII-2 seems to be doing the same thing as seen here. Oi…

In the end, this game tried to get me emotionally involved, but the episodic bullshit coupled with the sporadic storytelling quality kept it from being as good as it could have been. In the end, as badass as some of the characters are and as interesting as the story ended up, all I really wanted to do was punch things. Thankfully, this game delivers that in spades. Then again, maybe I should expect this from Capcom. Goofy storytelling that you shouldn’t take seriously coupled with typically good gameplay.

I think I’ll just draw from the wisdom of Augus: “Relax my son. Enjoy every moment: You fight, then eat good food. You fight, then drink fine wine. You fight, then sleep with beautiful women. Hell, fight with beautiful women! That’s what it truly means to live.”

As there were previously no pictures of Augus in this review, I was forced to rectify that.

Asura’s Wrath was developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Capcom.

If this review seems to have mixed opinions, it’s because Capcom.

Anime viewing~

This is a new sort of post for my blog. Seeing as how I regularly watch anime, I figure I could at least try to write something related to it, since I’m putting off the Dragon Age 2 review (because people care about that game right?) and Mario’s Time Machine (also relevant!). That and I need practice for my writing that isn’t related to school, because in school you only write about BORING THINGS!

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You can just tell this is going to be the best thing ever

~ Daily Lives of High School Boys – Picking on me just because I’m the younger brother…

Daily Lives of High School Boys is an anime based on the manga by Yasunobu Yamauchi. The show is literally exactly what it sounds like, but the characters are… exceptional examples. Whether it’s creating their own skits out of everyday situations or lamenting their complete lack of success (or interaction) with the opposite sex, you can be pretty sure it’ll be hilarious. Or disturbing. Hasn’t been both yet, however. It’s up to episode five and I have to say I’m enjoying it more than I thought it would, since I take fiction too seriously. The interesting part about this show is that a lot of the jokes are hilarious regardless of cultural background, or at least I think so. The situations are ridiculous, true, but the characters are also easy to identify with, a contrast with most anime protagonists who are defined by their power-ups or harem.

Basically, watch it. The thought of this anime being ignored makes me depressed for some reason.

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You may be surprised to find that PLOT is, in this case, being used in a misguided fashion.

~High School DxD – So much PLOT.

I watch it for the PLOT! YES! NOTHING SUSPICIOUS HERE GUYS!
…well, falsification aside, it’s really nothing special. The show starts off with the oddly perverted protagonist being killed after his first date impales him and reveals herself as a fallen angel. Then the female lead shows up naked with him in his bed, reveals herself as a devil, informs him of his new job as her servant, and introduces him to the oddly compartmentalized supernatural world. He then sets out to become a “harem king” even though he’s basically powerless. Then he gets a deus ex machina and goes about being a protagonist. I don’t even care.

I had hoped there would be more humor in the show, but so far it’s made up of pointless action with unnecessary gore, as well as… plot. Yes. Totally stole that joke from somewhere. To be honest I think the show would be more interesting if they dropped the action parts and just detailed Issei doing odd jobs around his town in order to rank up as a demon. That would allow for both humor and PLOT. Unfortunately this anime has something to prove, and it continues to go down a generic shonen path, barely dealing with Issei’s issues of having been betrayed by then forced to help kill his first love. I honestly can’t see this anime going past 12 episodes. The manga defines things a little more clearly, but I doubt it’s going to run that long without doing something really… different. I daresay the only reason I found this anime noticeable was because of the ending. Poledancing anime girls? Eh, why not… it’s not like I have a life or anything to get back to.

I don’t recommend watching this one unless you’re bored and need animated PLOT in your life.

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Are you guys done yet?

~Zero no Tsukaima f – same old same ol- wait, where are we going?

Zero no Tsukaima is about a normal Japanese boy named Saito whose only defining trait is his uniqu ski jacket, and how he gets pulled into a strange portal that forges a contract between him and Louise, a rather craptastic mage in some fantasy world somewhere. He gains the admittedly badass ability to use any weapon with maximum proficiency upon touching it, based on the Norse Gandalfr myth. Soon afterward it’s revealed Louise is actually good at magic, just not the kind that anyone can teach her. Then there’s fighting and explosions and the two of them trying to advance their relationship. They fail, at least for three seasons.

This is supposedly the final season of Zero no Tsukaima. Admittedly, I only watchd the first season and skimmed through the next two, but I can tell that it only dragged on the plot. Whatever hijinks have ensued, it seems like they’ve only barely explained Louise’s powers and the reason for Saito being summoned. If the plot were really going to go anywhere I don’t think they’d still be at the school where the series started, so it’s no great loss. Five episodes in one of the character’s father tries to start a war, fails, and everyone goes back to what they were doing. While it seems they’ve shifted the setting to Saito’s new “kingdom” or something, I’m not holding out that much hope. I can only hope the plot does something new and interesting with the characters. I already know not to expect much action out of the show unless we’re in the final story arc of the season, but at least the romantic aspects of the show will be forced to actually go somewhere if this is really the end.

I’m gonna have to give it a “tl;dr.”

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I support this reboot

~Naruto Shippuuden – Tearing apart my heartstrings, datteboyo!

Why am I writing about Naruto? You either like it, or hate it. Or think it’s one of those weird animes that has gone on too long. Regardless, I have to say that Naruto has really gotten good. Without going into detail about the plot, I have to say that Kishimoto is pretty good at tugging at my heartstrings. You wish these characters could’ve had a nice relatively peaceful ninja life together, but the villain basically prevented all of that. I will be quite happy when that masked prick gets a swirling mass of “believe it!” shonen power down his throat.

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You have to be under 18 to pilot mecha

~Rinne no Lagrange – Fun in the sun at 200MPH.

Back to new anime, Rinne no Lagrange feels to me like a new Nadesico series. It’s just so upbeat, and while the characters obviously take things seriously, there’s room for humor and slice-of-life stuff alongside the plot, which has yet to be revealed. Said plot is about a high school girl who likes helping people out while wearing her PE uniform. She helps out an alien girl who isn’t wearing pants by piloting a cg mech reminiscent of Macross. Apparently the mech saved her from drowning when she was a kid, and only wants her to pilot it. How adorable.

The battle scenes are painful to watch due to CG and the oddly designed mechs. Say what you will about Gundam, the action scenes are always done well. I actually found myself disappointed when the mechs in this show transformed OUT of jet mode. One thing I will say is that this show has very cool music. Also, I love tropical settings. In the end, I’ll continue watching it as long as the plot keeps progressing somewhere.

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How she stuffs her hair into that hoodie I cannot fathom. Probably magic.

~Black Rock Shooter TV – Welcome to my CG-enabled nightmare.

Black Rock Shooter was originally a fan-made permutation of Vocaloid’s Hatsune Miku I believe. Having gained popularity with various figmas, fanart and one PSP game that I’ll never be able to play, they finally made an OAV telling some sort of story about the titular character. They even gave here a real identity.

Kuroi Mato is a Junior High School Girl who dreams of kicking ass and taking names in leather shorts, a kickass jacket and not much else. Her choice of weaponry just screams shonen and her bland expression tends to be one of her more endearing factors. While I don’t have a statue or figure of her, I do want one. Someday perhaps.

Plot-wise, the TV series is an elaboration on the OAV. While the OAV foused on Mato and Yomi becoming friends and having crazy battles in some kind of nightmare-metaphor world, the TV series seems to have expanded the number of core characters and made the battle sequences more than just a sort of metaphor.

The one thing I really don’t like about the TV series compared to the OAV is the character design. In the real world everyone has gotten rounder and a bit more cutesy, which is admittedly fitting for the “girls having feelings” bits. Meanwhile the battles between Black Rock Shooter and the other dark magical girls are done in CG. While they’re entertaining, they’re just not as cool as the OAV, and it has little to do with the OAV having high production values. CG scenes just look awkward to me. Fortunatey it hardly ruins the experience, and I’m happy enough that there IS a Black Rock Shooter TV series to accept the new design choices. Now if only that PSP game would come out over here…

And that’s essentially all the anime I’m watching at the moment. Come April that’ll probably change as there are quite a few series I intend to get into, specifically Accel World and Fate/Zero. With any luck, I’ll also finally start watching the Persona 4 anime. Tell me what you think, non-existent audience!

Or don't. That's fine too.