Knight Artorias
HP: 3750
Skills: Forward Thrust, Jump Slam*, Leaping Strike, Spinning Slash*, Black Sludge, Sword Strikes, Power Up*
Souls: 50000

Difficulty: 5/5
Times died on 1st playthrough: 10+

After beating Sanctuary Guardian and wandering into Oolacile, you know things are going to be hard. Anyway, make your way to the center area, where a great arena resides. If you have played enough games, seeing a great arena should alert you immediately...especially with a fog gate right at the entrance. As if that wasn't a bad enough warning, you should stay away. But, since we are fated to die tens of thousands of times, head into the fog gate and meat one of the toughest bosses in the game, Knight Artorias. He is the boss of Oolacile Sanctuary.

May the best man win...

As far as looks go, Artorias is cool as shit. Being a knight with the powers of the abyss surrounding him, he might be one of the most imposing bosses in the game with just looks alone. And that's just how he combat, Artorias is a monster. His swordsmanship is second to none, and he will cut you down, over and over and over. He hits very hard on almost every one of his skills, he strikes fast and with precision. You will need to be at your best to defeat the abyss walker, because he is absolutely no freaking joke. Whatever strategy you're going to use to defeat him, you'd better be prepared for an insanely hard fight.

Forward Thrust - Used at mid range. He dashes towards you with a piercing strike with his sword, dealing heavy damage. Dodge to the side to avoid, blocking works too.

Jump Slam* - Used at short-mid range. He'll jump short distances and slam on the ground. He may do this 2-3 times in a row, which is deadly, to say the least. Dodging in rapid succession is advised, since it may not be possible to block multiple hits of this attack.

Leaping Strike - Used at far range. He jumps towards you at an incredible range with great speed. Easily dodged by running TOWARDS him, blocking is also a good idea.

Spinning Slash* - Similar to Sif's spinning slash, only for this, he spins TOWARDS you instead of on the spot, and he's way faster. Very deadly, dodge it if possible. Its risky to block it if your stamina isn't great.

Black Sludge - He flings some black goo towards you. Does minimal damage, but will damage you if you walk to it.

Sword Strikes - Simple combos consisting of swings and strikes. Simple to avoid and dodge, but he may chain these together to form multiple hitting combos.

Power Up* - He charges himself up with the power of the abyss, eventually causing a massive explosion around him, dealing high damage. He also receives a massive damage buff if he successfully casts this.

Alright, so to beat this guy, you'll need guts, and you'll need the attentiveness of an A grade student in university. Your eyes need to be on Artorias at ALL times, because making a single wrong decisions can cost you the fight. Artorias strikes hard and fast, and you may not be able to recover from receiving a fatal blow. Despite him being a scary knight with a huge sword, its in your best interest to stick close to him, because he has plenty of ways to stick to you. Even if you're going for a magic, pyromancy or bow kill, be respectful and stick near at all times.

Let's first talk about gap closers, because if you're going to need to heal you'll need to do it away from him. At mid range, forward thrust is his most common move. Its fast and it takes off a good chunk of stamina upon blocking. Dodging to the side works, since he uses this at mid range, you have some time to react. Leaping strike makes Artorias come at you from afar, this one hurts a lot, but is easy to avoid. Just run towards him or roll towards him, and if you're feeling ballsy, you may want to block it as well. For both of these attacks, its possible for you to damage him when he's recovering. might be dead.

Okay, so lets talk about actually beating this guy. For starters, he has a small opening every time he does one of his attacks at melee range, so you can actually hit him. Sword strikes is probably his most common option when you're trying to stay in his face. These are multiple sword swings, but its hard to tell whether he'll do it once or multiple times, making it a tough move to read. You might go in for a jab on his face but if he decides to swing again you're f**ked, always pay close attention, both when trying to attack or heal.

Jump slam is another move that'll actually murder you like an insect. This one is like leaping strike, only deadlier and more relentless, it has shorter range, but he will use it multiple times in a row to home in onto you and inflict some massive hurt. For starters, since its closer range, its faster and harder to see coming. You need to dodge it, since if you decide to block it and he uses this move 3 times in a row, you're screwed on the stamina side. Getting stun locked by 3 jump slams is just depressing, and often leads to death. Always, ALWAYS try to dodge this move, don't get greedy and try to land hits on him unless he uses this 3 times (that's the maximum), then go in for some hits.

And of course, since this bugger is Sif's master, he's going to have her signature move, the spinning slash, only for Artorias, he moves forward and is quicker. Being quicker is not that much of a big deal, but the catch is him moving forward, because one: he can use this as a gap closer and two: you might not be able to land hits on him after this move. Of course, this should almost always be blocked, because like Sif's version of the attack, the stamina consumption upon block is monstrous, and if you are not able to block it...its big damage.

Who wouldn't shit bricks at the sight of this?

Now let's talk about his final move, and easily his deadliest one. Through the course of the fight, Artorias might just stand still and start charging up, drawing energy from the abyss towards him. When you see this, try to run towards him as fast as you can and smack him continuously to stun him, because you don't WANT him to finish casting it. He receives a massive damage buff, and will likely become able to one shot you, or at least deal massive stamina upon blocking. The drawback is that if you fail, a massive explosion will occur, and you'll take a lot of damage.

That's all for this beast of a boss. Artorias nets you 50000 souls upon death, a worthy amount for a worhty adversary. Of course, your journey isn't over, there are more monstrous things out there in Oolacile. Still you should congratulate yourself for slaying the infamous abyss walker, he is insanely hard after all.


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Database (Man With A Mission)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Your Song (Yun*Chi)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Episodes: 25

As if the online virtual reality stuff would come to an seemed like the likes of ".Hack" and "SAO" weren't quite enough. "Log Horizon" is an anime that would seem like a ripoff of those before it, solely because of one thing: it borrows the unique identity and concept of virtual reality, where the characters get "sucked" into an online game and have to live as their avatars. While it IS a fact that "Log Horizon" is another one of those anime, its also true that it is VASTLY different from "SAO" OR ".Hack". Instead of talking about the likes of an incredibly powerful main character that can solo 10-20 other players at once or talking about a compelling story, "Log Horizon" is perhaps the closest representation of what we have to modern day MMORPGs and their communities. Needless to say, if you like MMORPGs and how they actually run, "Log Horizon" is a pretty impressive run through the eyes of an avid MMORPG player.

Presenting to you: the most fun guild in any MMORPG.

Now lets talk songs, sucker. "Database" by Man With A Mission is one of the most intense, heart pumping songs I've heard in awhile, especially featured in anime. While I wouldn't say that it completely aligns with the theme of the anime or its overall feel, its an awesome song nonetheless. Plus, database seems to complement well with an anime that's about virtual reality. "Your Song" by Yun*Chi is the ending theme, and while the opening song was intense as hell, the ending song is really the opposite. It feels too...normal, soothing even, at times. Its not to my liking, but that's just me.

Rating: 8.0/10

"Log Horizon" was a blast, for the different reasons though. Its not ridiculously emotional like "SAO" or ".Hack". For the matter, its not even as action as the both of them, but its was still great. Why? Because its different, so different that its familiar. Familiar in a sense that it relates so much to modern MMORPGs, so much that its honestly a little bit scary. Instead of fighting against other players in a contest of pure strength or having an incredibly overpowered main character, we admittedly have one that is rather weak, and that's the beauty of it. "Log Horizon" has a very likable protagonist, one that doesn't make you go "Damn, this guy is cool!", but more rather "Damn, this is one sick bastard...". Not just our protagonist, the rest of the cast is surprisingly likable as well, making the entire ride a complete thrill. To top it off, the plot for the individual arcs are magnificent...there's not much else you can ask for.

These 3 make a beast of a party.

Shiro is a regular university graduate who likes his games, especially "Elder Tale", an MMORPG that he has been playing his games. One day, after a certain major patch to the game, all players in "Elder Tale" who logged in were "sucked" into the game. It was like virtual reality, the characters were all trapped in their avatars, and everything around them seemed so real. Shiro, known as Shiroe in game, understood the situation completely, and immediately contacted his best friend, Naotsugu. Together, they met up with their level 90 characters (level cap at the time) to discuss about what happened. In the midst of their discussion, they were interrupted by an assassin throwing stones at them. They confronted him, only to realize that that assassin is an acquaintance of Shiroe's...but the assassin had a female voice. Seems like the player was a girl, and she requested an appearance change potion from Shiroe. After changing to her normal self, she introduced herself as Akatsuki, and the 3 of them braced the new world of "Elder Tale". The new world that experienced the phenomenon known as the apocalypse... 

With the end of that, I was a little bit sad that I had part ways with such an enjoyable anime. However, with the announcement of a second season, I was more than just a little bit excited. Among the current anime based on virtual reality, I would say that "Log Horizon" is the most accurate when we're talking about modern MMORPGs.


She can't get enough.

Name: Tokugawa Sen
From: Hyakka Ryouran Series

Being a fan service anime at its core, you should already know what to expect from the "Hyakka Ryouran" series, especially with character designs like Sen. She is the definition of a big breasted high school girl who just can't get enough of the protagonist. While there are plenty in the series with nice tits as well, Sen is the one that makes it count the most, because she has easily the most fan service scenes. Well, you can't complain, with someone as sexy as her. If I had to choose from the entire cast a girl with the most sex appeal, it'd be Sen.

The proportions are enough to get you on.

Name: Bullet
From: Blazblue:Chrono Phantasma

One of the newest female additions to the "Blazblue" cast has got a lot of people steaming for more. Bullet is as sexy as they come, with a character design like that, she would be sure to attract many players. I mean, just look at her, she's about as busty as Litchi, but with a sexier face and a more revealing get-up (one can argue that Litchi's outfit is also revealing, but come on, just look at Bullet). With pants that short, she might as well just not wear them. Plus, the way she jumps around doing kicks and stuff....what can I say? If you haven't seen Relius's astral on her, I recommend it (*wink*).

Megane bishoujo!

Name: Satellizer El Bridget
From: Freezing Series

Why do people watch "Freezing"? For the most part its because of the series' cover girl, Satellizer El Bridget. She has the most revealing school uniform apart from all the other students in the anime, she is sexy as hell with just her body alone, and she goes all "dere" when Kazuya decides to do anything to her. Nothing turns anybody on more than a fierce, defiant girl like Satellizer become as timid as a mouse when she's not in her territory. To make things even better, there are tons of fan service scenes surrounding Satellizer, with her getting stripped most of the time. Its like they want us to look at her and only her, not that I complain, I'll take Satellizer over anyone else in the series.

In that state, I'd be aroused as f**k

Name: Yuri
From: Angel Beats!

Yuri was one girl that didn't really get all that much credit for her sexiness, with all of that being thrown at Kanade. Sure Kanade was cute in her own right, but for the sexiness level, its Yuri that manages to pull it off nicely. With her personality, she was already plenty attractive in combination with her looks, easily the sexiest in the anime. There were certain service scenes with her, but since "Angel Beats!" isn't centered around fan 
service, it was all up to our minds to fantasize. Still, I would definitely hit on her, though in that state, she just looks all the more sexy.

Just be the cupid.

Name: Elf
From: Dragon's Crown

With all the overheated debate and love for the Sorceress AND the Amazon (wtf world), the girls in "Dragon's Crown" already got their placement. The Elf is the least popular, but to me, the Elf is the most attractive out of the cast, because lets face it, the Sorceress and Amazon are a little too out of hand (especially Amazon). Being voice Asami Imai is one thing, in a fantasy setting with no characterization like "Dragon's Crown", its easy to fantasize, and since the game includes animations for your characters in various situations, its easy to...picture it in your mind (the "captured" animation, for example). The Elf is beautiful, her clothes aren't the most revealing like her other 2 female counterparts, but she wins in the art of everything.

Its not a stretch to say that the action harem genre in anime is one of my favorites out there. Well, it may not be a stretch to even say that its my FAVORITE among all other genre types. Harem animes have always been rather entertaining, I'm not one to dis-welcome fan service, and if you throw in some awesome fight scenes along with some cheesy lines, I'm sold. Plus, if there's a good story behind it (its usually decent), then we have an extremely enjoyable ride for the most part. There a ton of great action harem animes out there, but I'll just list some of my favorite ones here, and I'll share why I feel that these animes are generally awesome in the long run.

The Awesome Ones

Everyone has heard of "Index", at least everyone in the otaku community. Its concept of mixing magic into a mostly scientific based fictional world is an interesting one. As if that wasn't good enough, you throw in girls and a very harem centric cast...boom, instant cash in. The story was decently good, but it was the overall lore and fiction of the world that made it so interesting. Fan service is everywhere, and its because of "To Aru Majutsu No Index" that one of the most popular tsundere female characters ever existed: Misaka Mikoto. Not only that, it spawned another series based off her, "To Aru Kagaku No Railgun". Because of all these combined, the franchise is currently one of the most well known ones out there in the world of action harems.

This one is a little less well known, but its amazing nonetheless. "Tenchi Muyo:War On Geminar" is a great example of living an awesome harem school life. A very cheerful and bright cast of likable female characters, a simply overpowered air headed protagonist along with a fairly interesting world was enough to make the show likable. To top it off, it one of the most interesting mecha esque plots out there, making the harem elements seem....seemliness. The anime made itself so that it was a serious show on its own, but still had this harem esque thing going on. Its a little hard to explain...but you know what I mean.

"Campione" is pretty much how we determine "A powerful king and his magical whores", because the entire gives off this feeling. Not that its a bad thing, because if fan service and cool abilities are what you are looking for, you have hit the jackpot with "Campione". The anime's lore about "Campiones" in general is interesting enough, though the main plot by itself is iffy at most. While 3 of the heroines are nice enough to be well received, the fourth felt a little rushed and underdeveloped. Despite everything else though, as action harems go, its great enough.

Now this is one that I absolutely love, for all the right reasons. One, a nice diverse cast of characters with tons of likable and attractive girls. Two, fan service up the balls, GOOD fan service. Three, the story, world and lore is awesome when put together, its simply amazing the way they do battle. And yes, the action in "High School DxD" is just devastatingly good. The entire concepts of characters being chess pieces on a great board of events is just too cool to pass up. While the initial first season might be a little bit too light on plot and heavy on the boobs, season two makes up for the serious side in an awesome way.

"So I Can't Play H" is a little bit more unique than most in this list, because the main character has an obvious love interest right from the get go. What's better than a regular action harem is an actual one where the main character actually chooses his girl at the end. "So I Can't Play H" doesn't have an incredibly strong cast per say, other than the 2 main leads, but it DOES have a nice story that develops well into romance. The action may not exactly be the best thing out there as well, but its serviceable. And of course, fan service is pretty well above average.

One might not consider "Unbreakable Machine Doll" an action harem anime, but if you think closely enough, look at the cast and actually watch the damn thing, it easily qualifies as one if you ask me. Having a good majority of the cast as girls that actually flock around our unusually moody main character and wanting to sexually tempt him 99% of the time (especially Yaya) can be easy to define. The character cast is fine (though the best character IMO isn't a girl), the story is alright, but what really strikes as the benchmark here is the innovative action segments. Action harem isn't complete without "Action" after all.

With just these examples alone, you'll find plenty to like in the action harem genre by itself. Still, there are other genres that are worth taking note of, but this is one that I'll never be able to let go, even at this age. Currently watching "Strike The Blood" now, and I stand by my word, action harems are just great!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hearthstone:Heroes Of Warcraft

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 9.0

(+) Pros: - Probably the best free to play MMOTCG at the moment, - Incredibly well polished interface and great visuals, - Massive variety of heroes and cards allow for a ton of different strategies, - Doesn't focus too much on "pay to win" with the ease of earning gold, - Arena is a nice side distraction and allows for tons of ridiculous setups, - Addictive card collecting and crafting system, - Massive replay-ability.

(-) Cons: - Some minor visual glitches now and then.

Gameplay time: - (Quite possibly infinite)

I do enjoy online TCGs, especially the anime themed ones like "Sword Girls". I've been searching for a decent one for quite some time (not counting the mobile ones), but to no avail. Then "Hearthstone" popped up. Since it was based on "Warcraft", I wasn't too excited about it, and after seeing some videos online, I thought it was "alright". Then boredom struck and I went to download god, I never once regretted that descicion. At the moment, "Hearthstone:Heroes Of Warcraft", is probably the best free to play MMOTCG out there, and for many reasons at that. It excels in its presentation, gameplay, visuals, and many more. For something that's free, you can't possibly ask for more.

Let the battle begin.

First, let's do a little bit of a case study. A MMOTCG is an online trading card game, simple as that. You collect cards, make a deck, and either play against the AI or other players. "Hearthstone" is based on "Warcraft", so if you played any of its iterations before, many of what you'll see will be familiar. Compared to most other games in its genre, "Hearthstone" is downright fantastic. The interface is so well polished, the visuals are amazing, ranging from card designs to visual effects in game, like minions colliding with one another or spell animations. Even something as simple as drawing a card from your deck looks slick as hell.

Let me explain how "Hearthstone" works. The closest thing that comes to mind is "Magic:The Gathering". Both players at each side of the board will summon minions to run into the enemy hero. Each player's hero has 30 health, and minions have attack/health values of their own. Running into the enemy hero until one dies is the way to go, but of course, the game isn't as shallow as that. When you take into account the individual minion types, their battle cries, the heroes, their special cards and special heroes abilities, there's a lot that can go wrong if you just plan to "smack an enemy until he/she dies".

Plain old rushdown is good, but things can go wrong quickly against a mage.

"Heartstone" is huge. Like, huge huge, its massive in the way that you can play it. Before you enter a match, you'll have to build a deck based on a hero that you want to play. Each hero has their own hero specific cards to build their deck with, as well as neutral minion cards that can fit into every deck. Each hero's own specific cards feature their own style of play and their own hero ability that can synchronize with how they want to deal with their opponent, and each hero needs to be dealt with differently depending on the match-up that they'll have, and each hero will benefit differently from different kinds of neutral minions available, the amount of combinations and strategies can be very overwhelming.

For starters, different minions have different effects. Battlecries activate when you summon a minion, and these can range from drawing a card, dealing damage to an enemy target, summoning an extra minion or silencing something. Deathrattles activate when a minion dies, and these range a lot as well. There are extra factors to take into consideration, like taunt minions, which are minions that prevent you from damaging the opposing hero until you deal with them. Windfury minions attack twice a turn, while charge minions attack the moment they are summoned. And its not just the minions, different heroes deal with their opponents differently. 

The arena serves as another source of fun.

Mages pin their opponents and minions down with freeze spells, as well as building up damage through spells like "Fireball" and "Pyroblast". They also clear the field well with multiple AOE clear cards, making them strong against heavy rushdown strategies. Shamans control the field with clear cards and buff cards alike, making their minions strong. Paladins focus more on the late game, while rouges are all about the early rushdown. Druids control the field and flow of battle to their favor and priests buff their minions to no end. Warriors take a mass focus on weapons and hurting their own minions for more power, hunters are most possibly the best heroes to use for turning around losing fights. Warlocks are just purely annoying with their minion massing.

There's a lot of ways to play "Hearthstone", and everything is free to play, I literally mean so. Every day, the game pegs you with quests, and clearing these nets you gold. Of course, defeating players on a daily basis nets you gold as well, though you earn it that way very slowly. Gold from daily quests can accumulate for you to buy a pack, and by TCG standards, these packs contain cards for you to use in your decks. There are a lot of cards, and getting new ones might take some time, but that doesn't mean you can't use your own money to buy these packs. Its all about skill and strategy in the end, though having better cards DOES give you an edge of sorts.

Deck customization says hi.

While endlessly searching for opponents through the game's effective match making system and crushing them is fun, there's another source of entertainment known as the arena. The arena is a mode that requires 150 gold per entry, which is rather expensive. In the arena, you are given random cards, and you need to choose them. Keep choosing these cards being thrown at you at random until you have 30 cards for a full deck, and the game throws you into battle with this randomly made deck of yours against other opponents with their own randomly made decks. In here, you get to play with cards that you may never get to use (like legendary tier cards), and deck restrictions are removed, so you can have more than 2 of the same card, which can lead to many ridiculous situations. In the arena, consecutive wins lead you to better rewards to compensate for your 150 gold, and 3 loses means you're out. Without enough wins, you'll net a lost for your 150 gold, so winning more is ideal to earn profit.

Needless to say, collecting cards to make the ultimate deck for your class is very very addicting. You'll constantly want to get those packs and see what they hold, and whether or not the new cards will be good for your deck. That's not all, if there are good cards that you DO NOT need, the game features a crafting system. You can disenchant cards that you don't need, giving you arcane dust, a currency you need for fusing cards. If you don't get the card you want in a pack, you can always accumulate arcane dust to fuse it in the future. All for the greater good and to create the ultimate deck that you so desire.

You like crafting stuff? 

There's not much bad to say about "Hearthstone", because of how wonderful it is in its current state. If I had to point out, there are some minor visual glitches now and then. These aren't anything TOO huge, but to be honest, I've lost once or twice because of them. These glitches include card artwork being stuck ON the board during a match, making it hard to see your side of the board. You being unable to play a card you want because something is obstructing your on and so forth. These don't happen too often, but if they do, consider yourself unlucky. Some might screw you over big time, some are just annoying and can be gotten over with. Most of these glitches just remove themselves if you give them time.

"Hearthstone:Heroes Of Warcraft" is an amazing free to play MMOTCG in its current state. Addictive gameplay and the desire to craft or collect cards gives this game enormous replay-ability. The combinations are endless, and with 9 different heroes to play around with, you can really go all out in perfecting your skills here. The upcoming "Hex" looks promising, but I don't know if it'll be as good as this.

Happy gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Ready Go! (May'n)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Akazukin-chan Goyōjin (Otogi8)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance

Episodes: 12

Just when you think high school girls can't get any more tsundere...

"Okami-San & Her Seven Companions" isn't exactly a very original type of anime. It's not really one of a kind, just look at the genres and you'll know, this is the kind of thing you see everyday. However, not being the most original thing ever doesn't mean that its bad. In fact, its far from it, "Okami-San & Her Seven Companions" is one of the most entertaining animes that I've seen in quite awhile. It's not exactly cool, arousing, incredibly fantastic or tear jerkingly emotional either, it just ends up as something entertaining. The same things that make all good animes good apply here: likable characters and a good story (or at least a semi-good story). While not everything is fully explained and we don't really cover too much of the "Okami-San" universe in this one season, its substantial enough for us to enjoy ourselves as viewers.

Yep, there're girls here, lots of them.

If you do enjoy May'n's work, then you should be pleasantly surprised here, because as an opening song, "Ready Go!" is not something that you think May'n would sing. Its not a bad song on its own, but I'm more used to May'n's more explosive and exciting tunes, this sounds something right out of a high school idol anime. The ending theme is "Akazukin-chan Goyōjin" by Otogi8, which consists of the seiyuus of the main female characters. Its your typical affair of a cutesy ending theme with tons of transitions here and there, nothing too special really.

Rating: 7.5/10

As I mentioned earlier, "Okami-San" really doesn't have anything too special, new, innovative or different from most anime. It's just an entertaining affair overall, and its pleasant to watch, from start to finish. The characters grow on you easily, even though most of them have little to no character development, its still easily to fall in love with some of them, just because they're either so silly or work so well together (Urashima and Otohime, Otsu and Majo). Some are great on their own though, and its really hard not to like them. I particularly like the president the most, he has the swag. Lack of character development on almost ANYBODY can be a little disappointing (Ryoshi is still half a pussy at the end), but it doesn't take away from the experience too much. The action is serviceable, the comedy is alright, and while it is a little half assed on many ends, the romance IS there. It all works well together, so you can't really complain. If you like your standard affair of a bunch of high school students kicking ass together, you'll like this one.

How tsundere can a girl get?

The story focuses on a strong willed, delinquent like high school girl known as Okami Ryouko. She dresses different from all the other female students, she walks like a punk, she acts like one, and everything about her spells "gangster". She's a badass girl, and many try not to get too involved with her. She and her best friend, Ringo, both work for the Otogi bank, a service bank that acts as a club up front. It involves solving the problems of others, and then accumulating the favors for that individual so that they will have to repay the favor to the Otogi bank some time in the future. One day, Okami goes up against a thug in an alleyway and almost gets stabbed, but the thug's hand gets hit by a stone, allowing Okami to successfully defeat him. She wonders who helped her out, and later on, she gets confessed to by a timid boy known as Ryoshi. After many complications, Ryoshi joins the Otogi bank to win Okami's favor. When she found out that Ryoshi was the one to distract the thug the other day, she starts to trust him. Thus begins the start of a lovely (or not so lovely) relationship!

"Okami-San & Her Seven Companions" is enjoyable at its best. Lovely characters and clever writing make the other "not-so-strong" points less noticeable. Lack of proper or good character development can be rather disappointing, but when all is said and done, this is an anime that is hard to dislike. Since the light novel already came to an end...maybe its time for a second season? Or how about adding Okami Ryouko as a character in "Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax"?! She's under the "Dengeki Bunko" imprint, after all.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Parties In RPGs (7th Dragon 2020 II)

High School Samurai Students!

Class: Samurai
Traits: Physical Damage, Tanky, Support, Status Effects, 100% Hit Rates
Rating: 9/10

Samurais in "7th Dragon" are pretty damn strong. While in most games you get your standard warrior class with decency in everything, the Samurai excel in almost everything here. They are your basic tank class, perhaps taking more hits than the Destroyer. They do the 2nd highest in terms of physical damage between all the classes in the game, they can buff the team well with a health buff which is VERY MUCH NEEDED against the likes of Takehaya. Whats more, a good deal of their Lai stance skills can inflict status effects on enemies, and they have a ton of attacks that hit with a 100% hit rate. Screw blind.

With very high damage, being extremely tanky, tankier than perhaps every class in the game, having the ability to inflict bleeds, stuns, burns and frostbites on enemies, the Samurai are your go to pick if you're playing the game for the first time. Having so many tools up their sleeves just makes them a very sensible choice! Before you know it, you'll be cleaning house with them. My one only issue with them is that to proc their extra turn, they need to take an extreme amount of damage, which is risky as hell. Their EX skills are pure damage, which is to be expected. The 2nd one hits AOE and applies bleed, but you'll probably be using the first one the most.

These guys do it in style.

Class: Trickster
Traits: Physical Damage, Fast, Evasion, Status Effects, Crits
Rating: 7/10

The trickster are an odd class. They thrive on hiding behind their allies and covering them with attacks from the darkness. Its a cowardly tactic befitting of them so, because they are very squishy. But by doing so, they also become the sole survivor of big attacks in most fights...they have a lot in their arms to bring a team back. Their damage may not be on the high side without sufficient buffs, but their strength lies in inflicting status effects on their enemies, reaping benefits off them, scoring crits and getting a ton of extra turns. The trickster can easily rake up the most extra turns out of all the classes.

They do primarily physical damage, and while its not the most impressive thing (they probably do the least out of all the classes except Idol and Hacker, which are pure support), they act fast, and will probably go first unless the enemy dragon is crazy fast. Their extra turn system thrives on  scoring critical hits, which can be fairly easy if they set up properly, but that's the thing, they require insane set-up, getting the full set of proper buffs for a crit storm probably needs about 3 turns. Status effects are their friends, and they have a ton of ways to stick these on enemies, the most noticeable way being their EX skills. While their EX skills don't do TOO much damage, the status effect sticks really profit them with their "Pain Eater" skill.

Destroyer? What about the girl? She looks too cute to be one!

Class: Destroyer
Traits: Physical Damage, Debuff, Counter
Rating: 7/10

The destroyer are a very simple minded bunch. They break shit, they kill shit, and they destroy, hence the name destroyer. Their single damage output is easily the highest in the entire game, they are great to have against bosses, and if they you play around to their D-depth mechanic, you can really make it big and deal major, major, MAJOR damage to bosses. The destroyers simply kick ass, their skills revolve around kicking ass, and nothing else. That means that if you're running a destroyer, you'll be running the risk of putting a pure damage dealer in your team with almost zero utility. The destroyer alone can fill the damage needs of your party if he/she gets going, so having two other support types in there can really help them out.

As mentioned earlier, the destroyer simply does the highest damage in the game to a SINGLE TARGET. They excel against major bosses, and do badly against multiple dragon encounters. The destroyers require some massive set up time for their extra turn combo, and even then, its luck based. Inflicting D-depth on your opponents is key, and if your destroyer manages to chain multiple skills in a single turn, he/she can absolutely decimate the enemy. They can inflict debuffs, more importantly, the defense debuff, which makes them hurt EVEN harder. They are also the perfect class to solo the game with, because if you can predict boss attacks, their counter abilities work wonders. Their EX skills destroy stuff, that's that.

Wrong part of town, baby.

Class: Psychic
Traits: Magical Damage, Healing, Support, Status Effects
Rating: 8/10

They say healers are absolutely important when you games such as this, but in the case of the "7th Dragon" series, its not entirely necessary. The psychic are the main healer class in the game, and while they ARE incredibly useful to have in almost EVERY team, its not a must to have them around. Not only are they the main healer class, they are also the primary mage class, and they are probably the only class in the entire game to hit the enemies with proper magic damage. In short, they can kick ass, they can save lives, and they look f**king badass as well. Using them to strike at an enemy's elemental weakness can really be one of your only hopes in a difficult battle.

They can inflict status effects like paralyze, frostbite and burn. While that is useful, its not particularly their best strength. Healing and magical damage are their best forte, but they can take a hit worth nuts. If any class were to go down to a powerful AOE attack in one hit, its the psychic, thus the samurai's HP buff. They go very well with the samurai, and these 2 together already make 2/3 of a potent beginner friendly team. You can't go wrong with the psychic if you want a relatively safe run through the game, just make sure to make them stay out of harms way, and they can kick ass OR save ass for you. Their EX skills are mixed, both reflecting on their traits. One deals major damage and severly debuffs the enemy, while one fully resurrects and heals all allies.


Class: Hacker
Traits: Support, Buffs, Debuffs, Status Effects
Rating: 6/10

The hackers are really, really situational with the addition of the idol. That doesn't mean they suck, they are just really hard to use efficiently. They have a lot of tools at their disposal, and they are the ultimate support machine in the game, they just have very little (or none at all in some situations) damage to provide in a dragged out fight. The buffs they provide are irreplaceable, but when all you get is buffs, sometimes its just not enough. They have the best EX skill in the game, but other than that, you really need to play to your best for the hacker to work, and even then, if they don't manage to hack the bosses, its all for naught. Some luck is involved here, and sometimes, luck isn't the most reliable thing.

The hackers do what they do best, and no one does it better than them. That's applying buffs. They have attack buffs, defense buffs, they can attach elements to their allies' attacks, and more. They can revive allies or heal them in a pinch, though their burst heal isn't much, its more of a sustained measure. They have a lot to provide here, but they also can provide a lot if they manage to pull off their hack mechanic. Against a hacked enemy, they can apply debuffs and status effects to no end, like attack/defense debuffs, burn, frostbite and more. But then again, its limited, because hacked enemies become un-hacked fast. As usual, they have 2 EX skills, one of which is the best in the game - turning your entire team invulnerable. The other hacks the enemy and does massive damage, which is also useful to some extent.

Fight! Fight! Go go team Murakumo!

Class: Idol
Traits: Team Syncing, Buffs, Mixed Damage, Evasion
Rating: 7/10

And here comes the Idol, the new class in "7th Dragon 2020 II". They are an oddball class, but that doesn't mean they are bad. They are somewhat similar to the hacker in the way that they are support characters, but they bring...quite a few things to the table that the hackers don't. For one, their class specific mechanic, the superstar mode. Through certain skill chains and by dodging attacks, they can increase their fever meter, and when that's maxed, the idols enter superstar mode, a mode where they become godly and receive a super buff to all their stats. Needless to say that in superstar mode, the idols become f**king beasts, though it doesn't last too long, so you'll need to make it count. Sad to say, it all depends, because the idol doesn't offer too much of one thing, they are more of a mixed batch.

They can call upon to team and have them perform coordinated attacks on the opponent, sometimes even procing high level abilities. This is luck based, but if you get lucky, you definitely score some really nice combos, like landing D-depths on your destroyer or crits on your trickster for extra turns. They can buff the team as well, but unlike the hacker, their buffs come with a penalty, so this must be used wisely (aka Attack form can be used as a finisher, nothing else). They can do some form of damage as well, but its wishy washy, nothing to the levels of the samurai, destroyer, psychic or even the trickster. The damage is decent in superstar, but you need to get there, which is mostly accomplished by evasion. Idols have a skill that allow them increased evasion, successful consecutive evasions lead to superstar. Their EX skills are...very situational. One instantly makes the idol enter superstar (this is the preferred EX skill), the other allows all allies to use their best skills (luck based).

I've played with every class before, but if you want team formations, I've got some in mind.

Team A (Beginner team)


Team B (Defensive team)

Psychic,Samurai, Hacker/Idol

Team C (Yolo team A)

Destroyer, Samurai, Trickster

Team D (Yolo team B)

Destroyer, Idol, Trickster

Team E (Team "F**k you")

Hacker, Idol, Hacker

Team F (Permastun team aka "Takehaya slayer")

Trickster, Trickster, Samurai


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Last Resolution (Emblem Of The UNLIMITED)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Outlaws (Eyelis)
ED 2 - Darkness Night (Junichi Suwabe, Koji Yusa)

Genre: Action, Drama

Episodes: 12

The "Zettai Karen Children" series should sound quite familiar to otakus. Why? Its one of the more iconic "magical girl" esque animes out there, with school girls going out there to fight baddies. Its a simple thing that lasted for a grand total of 52 episodes, quite ridiculous if you ask me. Well, to commemorate that series even further, they made a spin-off featuring the series' main antagonist, Hyoubu Kyouske, and thus we got this, "Zettai Karen Children The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyouske". The long title aside, I can say this, "The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyouske", being a spin-off title, is brilliantly badass on its own. I've never touched "Zettai Karen Children", and I went straight into this. Without much relation to the main series,  "The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyouske" makes for a good standalone title, with decently strong characters, a good plot, and great action.

Hyoubu makes a good protagonist for a villain.

"Last Resolution" by Emblem of the UNLIMITED is the opening theme, and honestly, its not quite what I expected when I first saw it. Its unexpectedly badass, and it goes very well with the theme and mood of the anime. The hard rock feel symbolizes Hyoubu's awesomeness and the way he does things, very different from "The Children". "Outlaws" by Eyelis is a decently paced song for something by them, and its decent as an ending theme, however, "Darkness Night" by Junichi Suwabe and Koji Yusa make for a better ending theme., because of their synchronization.

Rating: 7.5/10

Honestly, as I mentioned earlier, you don't need to know anything about the franchise to dive into  "The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyouske". Its a different story on its own that focuses on Hyoubu Kyouske and his criminal organization, PANDRA. And thus, being a completely different story on its own, its in no way similar to the original "Zettai Karen Children". Its a lot darker, its more serious, and its a look on the franchise's world in another perspective. Since they're not whiny little girls, the characters are easily a lot more likable. Hyoubu is a strong protagonist, alongside a new character, Andy Hinomiya. The PANDRA crew are also a nice bunch of people that are easy to like. The story is good, with decently developed characters, especially on Hyoubu and Andy's part. If you like action, there's not much to say. " "The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyouske" is filled with fight scenes featuring cool esper abilities, so you'll find your fill here.

Time....eternally stops.

The story focuses on Hyoubu Kyouske, the supposed main antagonist of the "Zettai Karen Children" series.Hyoubu goes around causing trouble as usual, but happily hands himself over to ESP. He gets sent to an esper jail, where another unusual prisoner, Andy Hinomiya is imprisoned. Hyoubu finds Andy ineresting, and offers him a proposition to escape the prison with him. Andy agrees and easily finds himself in a hospital outside of the prison after being tricked by Hyoubu. Its seems that Hyoubu came to the prison to rescue a girl named Yuigiri, a comrade of his. Here, Andy witnesses Hyoubu's power as he fights against an ESP experiment sent by the government. After an easy fight, Hyoubu invites Andy aboard his vessel, PANDRA, which frees the esper prisoners. Andy boards PANDRA with ulterior intentions, and Hyoubu accepts him with no problems. Andy becomes a new member of PANDRA.

 "The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyouske" is a delightful experience with full of great moments. However, it seems a little but on the short side, and some other characters could use more fleshing out. Andy and Hyoubu make for good mains, but everyone else seems inferior. Cameos from the main series make for nice bonuses for those who watched it, but for everyone else, its just good information. With the somewhat simple and rushed ending, we can only hope for a continuation of some sort.


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Sparkling Daydream (ZAQ)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Inside Identity (Maaya Uchida, Chinatsu Akasaki, Azumi Asakura, Sumire Uesaka)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance,

Episodes: 12

Here's something that I've never found the time (or effort) to actually watch for a long long loooong time. Why? Because even the second season is out now, and I just finished the original not too long ago. "Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions" seems like something you'd see everyday in the common list of anime stereotypes. It talks about a group of high school kids living their lives together as friends, then slowly envelops into a one sided romance that tries to strike at your heart strings with a plentiful of emotional moments. "Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions" however, succeeds at doing so quite well, with the successful and very well done character development of the female lead. This shows how one strong character can carry an anime through, as everyone else in the anime is pretty much nothing for cannon fodder. With a strong focus on the male lead and the female lead, "Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions" makes high school romance worth watching again once more.

Looks badass, but all of this is a lie.

The opening theme is "Sparkling Daydream" by ZAQ, and its a pretty good song considering the theme of "Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions". The least I can say that it reminds us of the wonders of high school...since it has a rather upbeat tune. The star here though, is the ending theme, "Inside Identity" by the seiyuus of the many different female characters of the anime. It strangely reminds me of "K-on!" endings, which IMO, were better than the openings. "Inside Identity" is a nice rock song that'll get you up on your toes, and as an ending theme for an anime like this, I cannot ask for more.

Rating: 8.0/10

I'll keep it simple. If you like high school romance animes, you'll pretty much eat this one up without any issue, since it handles the romance part decently well. Character development is pretty meh for almost every character in the anime EXCEPT for Rikka (because Yuuta is already "well developed" from the start), but with her back story and character alone...we can sympathize with her. If you'd want to look for something else that "Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions" provides, its the fact that the anime focuses on delusions, something that we don't get to "play around" with too often. How the characters fantasize their delusional epic battles and turn a small argument into a large scale fight involving magical weapons can be rather amusing. The anime can be funny at times, though I'd say that comedy is one of its weaker points when you think about all the other good stuff that you can fish out of it.

Banishment this world!

Togashi Yuuta is once again, your very normal high school kid that just entered high school. Actually, scratch that, Yuuta isn't your normal high school kid, because of his past. Following his massive 8th grader syndrome, he fantasizes himself as the "Dark Flame Master", an imaginary avatar that he imposed on himself. Because of this, he clads his entire body in black leather, and speaks in an imposing tone worthy of a true dark lord. However, since he forgets that he is in the real world, his attitude, personality and dress code freaks out the normal people, and he has been shunned for his entire middle school life. Now in high school, he intends to set things right, and live a normal life. He has thrown his "Dark Flame Master" days behind him, and enters high school with a very normal mindset. However, a fellow freshman Takanashi Rikka approaches him on his very first day, saying that she is the wielder of the "Wicked Eye". On first sight, Yuuta knows, Rikka is affected with a very serious case of 8th grader syndrome....

"Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions" does its job right. Its a beautiful anime when it comes to terms of story, character development, and romance, but everything else is nothing more than icing on top of the cake. It could have been better, but with the way it ended, I can say that it did great. With a second season already out there, I can't wait to see what more surprises are in store, and I eagerly await to see how they continue the story.


Its been a long time, I won't lie. I haven't forgotten about this "series" of posts, I just didn't find the time, motivation or any incredibly memorable characters in video games anymore. Well, finally I HAVE actually found a character worth doing a post about....after so f**king long. So without further ado...lets get to it. Enter Sterkenberg Cranach from the "Atelier Arland" series, one of the most badass old dudes that you will ever see! (Yes, he is 41 in this picture, 39 in the Japanese version)


Lets start off with some very basic facts to do with the "Atelier Arland" lore, shall we? First off, Sterk has been in every game since "Atelier Rorona" that's a playable character. That means he's playable from "Atelier Rorona" to "Atelier Meruru", in all 3 games, that shows how awesome he is, since the only other character to make an appearance in all 3 games as a playable character is Rorona herself. 

In "Atelier Rorona", he is the first "overpowered" character to join your team, and just having him in your lineup already shows you his incredible might. Since he joins you so early on, he pretty much just kills everything in 1 hit. He swings and he swings and he swings that gigantic sword of his....everything just goes down. Of course, this only means that he is the first actual fighter to team up with Rorona, since at the time, all she had going were a couple of teenage shore washers (Iksel and Cordelia). From then on, all you needed was him, since we all already knew him as the badass knight with the giant sword.

Who doesn't want to be a badass warrior clad in a long coat,
looking cool to other young kids?

In "Atelier Totori", his role diminished a little bit, but he grew 10 fold in terms of badassery. For one, since Gio left Arland, the knights had no place left to go, from which then on, Sterk went around as a wandering swordsmen, seeking to help the new adventurers that spurred in numbers. He had no real purpose without the title of being a knight, and he just...wandered. Of course, with the scary face of his, everyone just avoids him as much as they can, despite his kindness.

None could deny his strength. He was Melvia's instructor when she was a newbie adventurer, and we all knew how much of a beast she was. Nobody could deal with her, and it was none other than Sterk who took up the job of bringing her up. If you actually bothered to go for Sterk's ending, he ends up being fought for over by Totori and Rorona. As expected, despite having a scary face, he is still a ladies' man. Also, he ends up being Gino's teacher, which is eventually raised into a bone fide swordsman, like Sterk himself.

Now in "Atelier Meruru", here, he is 39/41 years old, an old man in most aspects. He joins as one of Meruru's many escorts later in the game. Through his commitment, he acts as Meruru's personal knight, and if you choose him as an escort, he assists in defeating the dragon nesting in the far east. Its here where Esti admits that despite being an idiot, Sterk is one of the toughest escorts that Meruru could ever get. Also, he constantly tries to beat Gio, but constantly fails.

Misetemiro...shin no sugata no!

Sterk fights with a great sword through all 3 games, and his attacks center around electricity. He likes to coat his blade in lightning, then go forward to deal massive damage to the enemy. Be it attacks like lightning edge or lightning blitz, he WILL end all enemies with a great blitz of lightning attacks. Out of all the characters, he has THE best super in both "Atelier Totori" AND "Atelier Meruru", both in terms of looks and sheer damage (he probably loses out to the likes of Gio though). Come on, I mean, how does he NOT look badass as he performs his supers, its like the 1990s all over again!

Being the boisterous, honor filled badass that he is, you cannot deny that he is probably the best character in the series. Being recurring in all games is good enough, but he just keeps getting better in each one. For all we know, he might not be a married man, but at least he lived his life to the fullest. Sterk is a f**king badass, and he will always be one.

It was the right choice for Meruru to add Sterk to her harem!

Friday, 4 April 2014

The best of Jubeat

Remember this post?

Well I decided to do a post like that for all of the music games I play from now on (well not all, but you know, at least most of them). For today's agenda, we're going to cover the Bemani games that are under Konami's label, the ones that are in the arcades...the "Jubeat" series, more specifically. Most of you that live in countries with dead arcade scenes won't get to see most of these games, but those who'll do well to know that "Jubeat" has some really sick songs. 

Without further ado, let's begin. Also note that there will be NO licensed songs in this list.


Best of the Jubeat 

Name: Evans
Artist: Dj Yoshitaka
From: Jubeat

Who can ever forget this? I've never played the original "Jubeat", but I do know that this was the final unlock in the first game and that it was the hardest song back then. Even now, it stands as one of the hardest songs in the game, standing tall at level 10. Still, its the first "Jubeat" song to start off Dj Yoshitaka's mean streak of lovely synth songs. Evans was lovely, it was synthy as hell, it was epic, it was catchy. Not much more you can ask for.


Best of the Jubeat Ripples

Name: Macuilxochitl
Artist: Tomosuke
From: Jubeat Ripples

This one was an enigma. I didn't like it at first, but after repeated listens it was easily one of the best songs in the game up to date. It's funky as hell, and I won't be typing the name again anytime soon because its ridiculously long and stupid sounding. Its full of jazz and style, not to mention, its another level 10. This one was the final unlock in "Ripples".


Best of the Jubeat Knit

Name: Far East Nightbird
Artist: 猫叉 Master
From: Jubeat Knit

Ah "Far East Nightbird", how I love thee. I always loved 猫叉 Master's work...LOVED it! "Far East Nightbird" was one of his many entries to the "Jubeat" series, and hell, its a really, really badass one. His songs are always so calm, cool and stylish, "Far East Nightbird" brought me into his domain and I was practically dumbstruck by its awesomeness. 

Name: I'm So Happy
Artist: Ryu*
From: Jubeat Knit

This one is a no-brainer. "I'm So Happy" is one of the most played songs in "Jubeat Knit", but for good reason. The damn thing is pretty much a party song, it has energetic beats, its catchy as hell, and if you played it in a club people will probably jam to it really well. Its easily the most blood pumping song in the game, and playing it is as great as listening to it.

Name: Flower
Artist: Dj Yoshitaka
From: Jubeat Knit Append

Holy hell, "Flower" is one of my favorite songs in the game, and for good reason. This was easily Dj Yoshitaka's most well acclaimed song during the time. It was SUPER synthy, it sounded really epic, and there was no reason to hate it. The song by itself was also crazy difficult, which lead to a massive spike in its play counts.

Name: Stellar Wind
Artist: L.E.D
From: Jubeat Knit Append

"Stellar Wind" is pretty awesome. It sounds great, that's for sure, its my favorite L.E.D song up to date because of how steadily epic it is, it doesn't get too crazy for no apparent reason. Another reason is because it is the absolute most intriguing song to play, with its highly confusing and misleading note chart. Combine these 2 and you get a lovely song.


Best of the Jubeat Copious

Name: Ryoushi no Umi no Lindwurm
Artist: Kuroneko Dungeon
From: Jubeat Copious

I won't bother typing out the name because its stupidly long, but this song is a f**king masterpiece. "Jubeat Copious" was rather disappointing in terms of GOOD new songs, but "Ryoushi no Umi no Lindwurm" alone can make up for that. It's freaking epic, its hard to describe the genre of the song other than just full blown epicness. It sounds like a final boss theme to a RPG, that's how f**king good this is.

Name: The Wind Of Gold
Artist: Kors K
From: Jubeat Copious Append

Honestly this was Kors K's only epic song. All of this songs always sounded rather funky and are more on the mischievous side, "The Wind Of Gold" counters all of that. It sounds epic, I almost mistook it for a L.E.D song at first. And what more can I say, its a level 10.

Name: Jomanda
Artist: Dj Yoshitaka
From: Jubeat Copious Append

He's done it again. "Jomanda" is once again, one of the best songs in the game and is by Dj Yoshitaka. It takes synths to a whole new level and the song as a whole feels like its telling a story. This is one of his most dramatic pieces by far, and of course, its a complete joy to play as well. After a short absence from "Copious", he manages to kick it up a notch in "Append".


Best of the Jubeat Saucer

Name: Squall
Artist: 猫叉 Master
From: Jubeat Saucer

猫叉 Master is epic, there's no way around it. As if "Far East Nightbird" wasn't awesome enough, he went ahead and made "Squall", a song that is probably even more epic than "Far East Nightbird", something that isn't realistically possible until today. "Squall" has the same tone and feel as "Far East Nightbird", but takes it further and makes it stronger. 

Name: Mothership
Artist: Sota Fujimori
From: Jubeat Saucer

Sota Fujimori is a genius of a man who has done many awesome songs regarding high quality synths, but his better songs are always out of the "Jubeat" franchise. "Mothership" is probably his first really amazing one that is in "Jubeat", and its with good reason. Its energetic, more energetic than anything in the game maybe, on par with "I'm So Happy". Playing it and listening to it both give me the chills...the good type of chills.

Artist: L.E.D
From: Jubeat Saucer

The first dubstep song in "Jubeat Saucer" that really caught my attention. If L.E.D manages to master the ways of the "wub wub dub dub", he can really make it big here, because "TSAR BOMBA" is an amazing example of a great way to bring the wubs to "Jubeat". Freaking amazing, the mixture of instruments and beats makes it an amazing song to behold.


That's it for "Jubeat", I'll be making more lists for other music games in the future!