Opening Songs
OP 1 - Respect for the dead man (Pay Money To My Pain)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Chiisana Hoshi (Shiori Muto, Yuu Asakawa, Sumire Uesaka)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Episodes: 13

Sometimes...its easy to get someone fired up when watching anime, especially when you've got something like "Nobunagun". The whole thing just screams action, blood, tension and just pure awesomeness. Packed to the brim with interesting powers from important individuals in the past and tons of monster killing, "Nobunagun" just rises to the occasion when it counts. There's really not much to describe it with. If you just like plain old, awesome firepower with lots of visual flair and many types of different abilities, "Nobunagun" will take you for a ride. A very rowdy, and shaky ride that'll blow your face up all over. Just don't expect much else, especially on the character development side. Honestly though, the anime doesn't really need it, it has plenty else to carry you through.

What, not badass enough?

As an opening theme, "Respect for the dead man" by Pay Money To My Pain isn't that impressive at all. Its just pointless screaming with no real words...but whatever, I guess they wanted to go with something wild, rowdy, and in some cases, "badass". It just didn't work out, but it doesn't really affect anything whatsoever. The ending theme, "Chiisana Hoshi", by the seiyuus of some of the girls in the anime, is much better and nicer to listen to. Its a ballad, not really fitting for "Nobunagun", but it works better than the opening song.

Rating: 8.0/10

Its action packed, it has lots of cool characters and powers. While it resorts to cheesy fanservice at times, everything else manages to its way for "Nobunagun". The main story and the concept behind it is simple enough, and while it isn't anything too impressive, it does well enough as a backbone to keep us interested for the other better elements that "Nobunagun" has going. The characters, while they don't really develop over the course of the anime (except for Shio), are awesome enough as they are presented. They're all quirky one way or another, but their personalities and abilities are vary from one another, making them an interesting bunch for a supporting cast. The action is intense, and that goes without saying, every episode is filled with explosions, one way or another. Of course, the action is easily "Nobunagun"'s strongest point. Even if you don't like guns, they're a ton of different fighting styles presented here, so there's something for everyone.

All right...let's kick some ass.

Ogura Shio is a derpy, nerdy, high school girl with nothing going on for her in her social life. Her class was headed to Taiwan one day for an overseas trip, and there, she made her first friend in her entire life, Asao. Asao opened up to her like a normal person would, which inevitably touched her. However, things quickly go to shit when the invaders attacked Taiwan. Monsters swarmed the entire placed and killed everyone, and Shio, wanting to protect Asao, runs to her aid without any form of defense whatsoever. Coincidentally, a secret organization known as DOGOO shows up to defeat the monsters and protect the citizens. However, only one of them showed up, who seemed to have some sort of special power. He introduces himself as Jack The Ripper, and kills off the mosnters. Though as he is alone, he is quickly overwhelmed and became badly wounded. Shio picked up an orb that he dropped, which turns out to be a weapon for E-Gene holder. A voice inside her calls, and the spirit of Oda Nobunaga awakens inside her....

"Nobunagun" is just full of action packed fun and interesting characters. It's inevitably short, but that doesn't stop it from being awesome for that short period of time. There's not much to say, "Nobunagun" will blow you away as long as you have a small sense of destruction within you.


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Voice (ZAQ)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Van!shment Th!s World ( Black Raison d'ĂȘtre)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Episodes: 12

When something works, its okay to go for more. And that's why we have a second season of "Chuunibyo"...that's that. I say so because to me, the 1st season of "Chuunibyo" did a great job in closing out the anime, and it didn't really need more, that's why a 2nd season...wasn't really needed. Still, we got it, and its out there, and people still love it. You'd think that things would have changed dramatically at the end of "Chuunibyo"'s 1st season, but instead, we have more of the same in this 2nd season. So, there's really not much else to say. If you enjoyed the 1st season, then you'll like "Heart Throb", no problem. Though the show doesn't really progress much forward from what season 1 did, if you enjoyed the light hearted silliness that this franchise provides, there's really no reason to refuse a second reason of "Chuunibyo". 

Rika. Rika all the way.

The opening theme is "Voice" by ZAQ, which is not too different from the opening theme in the 1st season. It gives off a very fantasy-ish feel, which suits the theme of "Banishment, this world!". Its a nice change of pace, but that's that. "Van!shment Th!s World" by Black Raison d'ĂȘtre is the ending theme, and its good. Its by the seiyuus of all the girls in the anime, and like in season 1, this one sounds like a "K-on!" ending theme as well. Its a fancy rock song that'll definitely stand out more than the opening.

Rating: 7.5/10

While I thought that a second season was totally pointless, it still provided me with a good deal of entertainment. Since Rika already loves Togashi at the end of season 1, there was not much point in continuing the franchise unless the people want to see 12 episodes of Togashi doing lovey dovey stuff with Rika. At least the show does the right thing of adding a love rival to make things at least slightly interesting. "Heart Throb" continues the trend of presenting us with tons and tons of light hearted, comedic scenarios that don't really go too overboard. One thing however, the imaginary fight sequences are still as entertaining as ever. Flashy and visually attractive, these fight sequences must as well be the main attraction of this franchise. What's more, we get to see MORE characters doing these ridiculous mind battles, adding more variety to the mix other than just Rika, Deko and Tohka all the time.

You shall not pass.....DEATH!

Once again, the story stars Togashi Yuuta as its protagonist, now a second year student, he chooses to pass through high school without any problems....or any relation to his old 8th grader syndrome habits. However, this isn't possible as we all know, because his now girlfriend, Rika, makes it all the more difficult for him to live a normal life. Rika's 8th grader syndrome has grown stronger than ever after forging "a contract of lovers" with Yuuta, and while she goes through the troubles of a young girl in love, she's in a dilemma as she also wants to keep doing 8th grader syndrome things, along with her "servant" Dekomori. Things continue as per normal as they remain in their club room to screw around day after day, until Togashi's middle school friend, Schimiya moves above him. Schimiya is also suffering from 8th grader syndrome, and to make things worse, she constantly clashes heads with Rika. AND, to add on top of that, she seems to be too close to Yuta, so much that Rika feels uncomfortable...

And that's that. "Chuunibyo"'s 2nd season does well enough to act as a successor to the original. While it doesn't really bring anything too new or spectacular to the table, the light hearted comedy and fantastic imaginary battles play a big part in making this show an enjoyable experience. The romance factor has been toned down, since there's really not much to improve upon. Its still THERE, but it wasn't as impactful this time around.


Monday, 23 June 2014

Blazblue:Chrono Phantasma

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.5

(+) Pros: - Solid fighting mechanics that improves from its previous entries, - MASSIVE amount of content, both offline and online, new and old, - New characters continue to impress by being different and more diverse than the old ones,  - Kick ass new soundtrack, - Re-balancing and reworking of some old characters make them feel fresh and new, - Online feels a lot more improved and user friendly with lobbies, - Lots of ways to improve yourself with a very in depth tutorial and content filled challenge mode.

(-) Cons: - While the story itself is great, the story telling gets old by now, - Some balance issues at launch.

Gameplay time: 100 hours +

"Blazblue" was easily one of the most, if not THE MOST successful 2D fighting game franchise to be released in this current generation. Standing tall to the likes of other 2D fighting game giants like "KOF", "Persona 4 Arena" and "Skull Girls", the "Blazblue" franchise itself never fails to impress its fans and keeps on growing (although for awhile Arc System Works developed a Capcom syndrome and released many versions of "Continuum Shift"). With "Chrono Phantasma", the franchise expands itself even further and reaches many new heights. With a new story, new characters, improved mechanics and tons of content, "Chrono Phantasma" will suck you in...and you will yearn for more. Whether or not you're a veteran of the series, or just another newcomer, "Chrono Phantasma" is an excellent iteration of the "Blazblue" franchise in its latest form, and its hard not to enjoy its flashy 2D antics. 

While "Blazblue"'s story has always been one of its stronger points, story telling was not. Anyways, while the main story itself still follows our hot headed protagonist, Ragna The Bloodedge, the game splits it into 3 segments. "Chrono Phantasma", which follows Ragna as he strives to kill Saya, the Imperator, while running into acquaintances, both new and old. "Sector Seven" follows the likes of Kokonoe and Bullet, one who wishes to lend her aid to an upcoming rebellion, while worrying about the mad beast who just escaped from Sector Seven itself. Bullet on the other hand, seeks Kokonoe, for answers about her past. Lastly we have the "Six Heroes" storyline, which talks about Hakumen, Jubei, and all the other heroes as the game dives into their past, while slowly taking on to the present. Everything adds up well, and its a decent way to bring the player up to speed about what's what.

*Sniff*...The character cast has grown SO MUCH!

The most important thing about a fighting of course the fighting mechanics. "Blazblue" is a 2D fighter, and being the 5th proper entry in the series....most players should already know how the game works. If you don't, its simple, like every other fighting game, you just beat your opponent to death...though "Blazblue" has a lot of unique mechanics that you'll need to properly master if you want to at least be DECENT at the game. Guard crushing, move canceling and the latter aside, let's talk about the new game mechanics. The most game changing one so far that was recently introduced in this game is overdrive, which literally acts as a form of X-Factor from "Marvel Vs Capcom 3", though a lot less broken.

Each character has their own overdrive, which consumes your Break Burst upon activation. The Break Burst function is still there, though it charges up just as your Overdrive does. A+B+C+D when you're getting hit still activates Break Burst, while doing so when you're NOT getting hit activates Overdrive. The timer freezes, and your character becomes more powerful with new bonuses...DEPENDING on the type of character you're using. Bang enters Gale mode while in Overdrive, Ragna steals an obnoxious amount of health, Terumi actually eats your on and so forth. Its a brilliant new mechanic that actually encourages a more offensive style of play, making this the most fast paced game in the franchise so far.

You like to fight? Then fight a lot you shall!

Like in previous iterations, "Chrono Phantasma" has a MASSIVE amount of content, both in the online and offline well both old and new modes. There's A LOT to be done if you want to really dive deep into the game. The story mode is easily 20-30 hours, you can lose yourself in the challenge and training modes to discover new combos for your favorite characters. You've got your standard Arcade and Versus modes. Abyss mode is similar to the one in "Continuum Shift Extend", which pits you in a dungeon esque, survival style string of matches. Here you can earn EXP, points and auras to power up your character in this mode. Score Attack is back for those craving a good challenge, and Unlimited Mars mode is just freaking insane...its Score Attack but with unlimited characters as your opponents. Then as usual, you can go online to fight other players (more on this later), and go the gallery to unlock stuff with points which you earn through playing the game.

Now lets talk about the new characters. There are 7 new characters, bringing the new character amount to 26, which is a pretty sizable amount considering how the series starting with the game having only 13 characters. Of course, true to the "Blazblue" style, the new characters are all incredibly varied, ranging from the bloodthirsty Azrael and his melee based rush down game, or Kokonoe's insane mind games and pressure which she can assert from any point of the screen. And with new characters comes new themes, and while the new themes are pretty freaking badass, the more badass thing is that the entire game's soundtrack has been reworked. As if the game didn't sound awesome enough before, the new themes take a new spin on the old characters and sound completely different!

Terumi is going to kick your face in...time to hit D, Hakumen.

True to every new entry in the "Blazblue" franchise, older characters get balance tweaks here and there. In "Chrono Phantasma", this is more true than it ever was. Almost every character got significantly reworked, be it getting new moves, losing old moves, or just changing how they work. Some characters feel almost completely different (Ragna, Tsubaki, Hazama), while others just feel like they've only received minor changes and can be played the same way (Litchi is still broken, Rachel is STILL just a shadow of her former self in "Calamity Trigger"). This makes either learning some old characters feel new, or if you intend to continue using your old main, it feels refreshing with the new moves they may or may not have.

Online modes also received a makeover. While the ranked modes are more or less the same and you can still climb the ranks like you usually do. Lobbies are a welcome addition, since here you can meet all sorts of players, roam with your own avatar, fight, get owned, learn, so on and so forth. Its a lot easier to just find an opponent you want and go all in. You can see connection status and the such. Also, you can set up to 3 rivals, you can track their stats, then improve yourself accordingly, all to beat that stupid guy that you always wanted to before.

Story mode has a lot going for it.

If you're a beginner who wants to jump into the "Blazblue" universe, don't worry, we've got you covered. "Chrono Phantasma" has a fantastic tutorial mode that teaches you EVERYTHING you need to know about the game. Literally, everything. From break bursts to canceling, you can drill as much as you want about the very fundamentals about "Blazblue", just don't expect an easy time if you're a complete newbie to the franchise (it was originally a hard game to learn to begin with). And then with that, you can go even further about kicking ass with the character you want with the infamous challenge mode.

Challenge mode is a complete list of combos made specifically for a certain character. Move button inputs are displayed on screen, so its always not too much of a hassle for you to press start and go to the command list to search for the move you want, THEN execute it. Here, you can take your time to execute and learn the combos through muscle memory, and if you can't do it, there's always a demonstration on how to use your combos at the right time and at the right place. Its not really a must to learn everything, just get a couple down through hardcore muscle memory and you're good to go, though its not as easy as it sounds...

Challenge mode will really put you to the test.

The game isn't without its flaws of course. As mentioned earlier, while the story is fantastic here (my favorite story out of the 3 main games), the story telling gets really old. Sure it uses a visual novel style way of telling the story, with portraits, voices and text, but I believe the series deserves a lot better. We get cut scenes here and then, but putting a lot more budget into story telling might actually get us a lot more INVESTED into the wonderful lore of the "Blazblue" universe. Balance is another issue, and while this one was SLIGHTLY resolved during the recent May patch, it was horrible when Kokonoe and Hazama were so damn powerful at launch. Online mode was fine until you ran into those was rather painful, really.

Overall "Blazblue:Chrono Phantasma" is probably the best iteration of the franchise so far. While it hasn't evolved in terms of its story telling, almost everything else is perfect here. With a wealth of content, new characters, a lengthy story and much more, you'll be investing a lot of time into this game. Fans will probably love it to hell, and newcomers can find out why so many players love the "Blazblue" franchise. Either way, this is a fantastic follow up to "Continuum Shift", and I can't wait to see more.

Being an Otaku, Kokonoe style!

Happy Gaming!

Chiwa Saito

She wins in so many ways. She's pretty much everywhere, let's be honest. She's voiced a crapton of character, and almost every one of them has a good deal of personality. Her versatility in her voice is what really catches my attention, as she's done many, MANY kinds of characters. Let's see, where do we start...upstart school girls? Kim (Soul Eater) sounds normal enough, Chitose (D-Frag!) sounds like a tough girl with a lot of authority, Honoka (Stella Women's Academy C3 Bu) is your average smart know it all girl who tries to support everyone, and Senjougahara (Monogatari series) is her legendary kuudere character. Metis (Persona 3:Fes) and Homura (Madoka Magica) are focused girls with important missions, and girls like Francesca (Strike Witches series) and Taokaka (Blazblue series) just want to let loose and go crazy. Kokoa (Rosario Vampire series) is a little bit on the tsundere end, while Caster (Fate/Extra) and Tatenashi (Infinite Stratos S2) are her take on ditzy and seductive girls. Finally we have the likes of Aoi (Danganronpa) who's as normal as she gets, Kimi (Kyokai Senjou Horizon) is a cocky and caring elder sister, while Geronimo (Nobunagun) is just....crazy, she likes to kill stuff.

Characters from left to right

1st row: Kim (Soul Eater Series), Honoka (Stella Women's Academy C3 Bu), Chitose (D-Frag!), Homura (Madoka Magica), Francesca (Strike Witches Series)

2nd row: Kokoa (Rosario Vampire Series), Geronimo (Nobunagun), Aoi (Danganronpa), Kimi (Kyokai Senjou Horizon), Taokaka (Blazblue Series)

3rd row: Caster (Fate/Extra), Metis (Persona 3:Fes), Tatenashi (Infinite Stratos S2), Senjougahara (Monogatari Series)

Kana Ueda

She's pretty awesome, though I don't really watch most of the good stuff she's been in, this is just the icing on top of the cake. She's got versatility to back her up, though the majority of her good roles comes out of her being serious. Mii (To Aru Kagaku No Railgun) is a tireless judgement member who looks out for her underclassmen (while being oblivious of her massive assets). IF (Hyperdimension Neptunia Series) is yet another girl who looks out for others, while doing her own thing most of the time. I don't have to really describe Rin (Fate Series), she's just a tsundere mage hybrid badass. Rachel (Blazblue Series) is just maximum Kuudere, similar to the likes of Aqua Current (Accel World), though we didn't get to see much of her. Sakuya (Hayate No Gotoku Series) and Pascal (Tales Of Graces F) are just some of her more comedic type characters, both of which are excellent. Chikage (Hagure Yusha No Aesthetica) is another serious girl who wants to fight for her friends, though her lesbian urges make her even harder to forget as a character.

Characters from left to right

1st row: Aqua Current (Accel World), Chikage (Hagure Yusha No Aesthetica), Mii (To Aru Kagaku No Railgun Series), IF (Hyperdimension Neptunia Series)

2nd row: Pascal (Tales Of Graces F), Rachel (Blazblue Series), Rin (Fate Series), Sakuya (Hayate No Gotoku Series)

Keiji Fujiwara

The man is pretty good at what he does, that, you gotta agree. Keiji Fujiwara's voice is one of a kind, giving you that feel of a well seasoned man ready to kick all sorts of ass, whether its for good, or for evil, he does it well all the same. He goes all the way back with some of his earlier, awesome characters, like the mischievous Reno (Final Fantasy VII:Advent Children) , the vigilant Hughes (Fullmetal Alchemist Series), and the kickass Lad Russo (Baccano!). Nowadays he still voices characters that are to be reckoned with. Hannes (Attack On Titan) is a regular old man though. Julie (Sunday Without God) is an old man who has lost everything, but is ready to protect the ones that he cherishes. Kihara (To Aru Majutsu No Index II) is a crazy mentor of a man who just wants to beat the living shit out of Accelerator, and ACDC (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure) is as whacky as his name is. Kagura (Blazblue:Chrono Phantasma) is just a slick, sexy and incredibly badass man...I'm sure those who have played the game can understand his awesomeness.

Characters from left to right

1st row: Hannes (Attack On Titan), Lad Russo (Baccano!), Hughes (Fullmetal Alchemist Series)

2nd row: Reno (Final Fantasy VII:Advent Children), Kagura (Blazblue:Chrono Phantasma)

3rd row: Julie (Sunday Without God), ADCD (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure), Kihara (To Aru Majutsu No Index II)

Mai Kadowaki

One thing's for sure, she's as super f**king kawaii as far as seiyuus go. Her voice man...its the perfect loli voice for all the loli characters in the world! There's really not much else to say here since most of her characters sound almost the same...not that I'm hating, because her voice really IS perfect for these characters. Let's start off with her only character that DOESN'T sound like a little girl, which is Isara (Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate), at least she sounds like a regular high school girl there. Sanya (Strike Witches Series) is a quiet girl who just wants to help the team, Rubia (Tales Of Tempest) is your regular tsundere little girl, Mare (Hoshizora No Memoria) is a sadistic reaper girl. Illya (Fate Series) is just plain silly, though she has berserker to back her up. Rorona (Atelier Arland Series) just goes from a complete ditz to a stupid little girl, and Akari (Daybreak Illusion) sounds like a shoujo hero when she gets serious.

Characters from left to right

1st row: Sanya (Strike Witches Series), Isara (Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate), Rubia (Tales Of Tempest), Mare (Hoshizora No Memoria)

2nd row: Rorona (Atelier Arland Series), Illya (Fate Series), Akari (Daybreak Illusion)

Ryohei Kimura

Another fella with a decent amount of variety here. Bishounen's with tons of personality differences here...this is what Kimura's characters have in common. Whether they are stupid, diabolical or just completely badass, they always hit the mark. Hinata (Angel Beats) is a typical best friend, a bro, if you may, so is Toji (Tokyo Ravens) actually, though he has a tint of badassery in him. Slay (Tales Of Zestria) seems like your typical shounen hero, while Kodaka (Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai Series) and Furuya (Sankarea) are idiotic leads in a harem. Joshua (The World Ends With You), while slightly gay, is played well with his higher toned voice. Blood D Bloods (Blood Lad) is a sinister big brother, while L-Elf (Valvrave Series) is just a triaging bastard that's hard to show feelings, a tsundere, if you will.

Characters from left to right

1st row: Hinata (Angel Beats), Toji (Tokyo Ravens), L-Elf (Valvrave Series), Slay (Tales Of Zestria)

2nd row: Kodaka (Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai Series), Joshua (The World Ends With You), Blood D Bloods (Blood Lad), Furuya (Sankarea)


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Flat (Livetune Ft. Yuki Ozaki)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Hikari (Wataru Hono)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

Its always nice to see shows about teens with badass special abilities that go around kicking ass. It always gives off that sense of satisfaction when you see somebody pull off a cool ability, especially like how the main character of "Hamatora", Nice did in episode 1. "Hamatora" does a good job in introducing some potentially interesting, cool and badass characters, as well as pulling off a nice first episode. It gives a nice early impression, but then quickly falls into just a silly exhibition of well demonstrated powers with really underdeveloped characters, a story that doesn't blend well, and mysteries that don't make any logical sense at all. For an anime about a detective group, there really isn't anything here that inspires ANY sort of detective work at all...all we have are some cool characters with cool powers and little character development. "Hamatora" is good to look at, but its a mess.

Well...these guys don't kid around.

The opening song is pretty good. "Flat" is another song by Livetune, the genius behind many awesome Miku songs, as well as the opening song for "Devil Survivor 2:The Animation", which was pretty good as well. This time on the vocals, its Yuki Ozaki, vocalist for Galileo Galilei (the guys behind the "Anohana" songs"). The song isn't as fast paced as I'd like it to be, but it works for the series, and it gives off a nice sense of serenity. The ending theme is "Hikari" by Wataru Hono, and its alright. Its not really to my liking, but I guess it fits for this.

Rating: 7.0/10

It could have been a lot worse, but at the same time, it could have been a lot better. The only thing that "Hamatora" has going for it, is a really cool concept, some cool powers, and likable characters. But the characters themselves don't really develop over the course of the show, and while the majority of the cast DO have some amazing powers, they don't really use it too often because Nice steals all of the screen time. Nice is cool and all, but seeing him beat his opponents using the exact same style and technique over and over can get a little bit old (he steps it up a bit in the final episode). And of course, the story and mysteries. The show tries to pull off a "all the mysteries are actually pieces of the puzzle that make up the entire story!" that fails horribly. The story, because of this, is all over the place, and the mysteries that the "Hamatora" duo solve make NO sense. They aren't mysteries at all! Might as well turn the entire show into a super powered brawl between good guys and bad guys...that would be a lot more entertaining.

And of course, Hajime always takes the cake.

Nice is as arrogant of a super powered dude as he gets. In modern day Japan, two types of people exist, normal people and "Minimum Holders". "Minimum Holders" are super powered individuals who are meant to excel in society. Society views "Minimum Holders" as important individuals, and they always climb up the social ranks to become successful people in life...they are pretty much GUARANTEED a successful life, unlike the normal people. However, its hard to become a successful "Minimum Holder" that is recognized by the government, and its because of this that the good "Minimum Holders" are incredibly rare. Using their special powers, the self proclaimed detective duo "Hamatora", consisting of Nice, a young man that can utilize sound and move at super speed, and Murasaki, a man capable of empowering his body to do superhuman feats, decide to use their powers to help the common people. Of course, their only problem is that they're poor as hell, and they use a freaking bar as their HQ. Along with their other "Minimum Holder" friends, they solve mysteries and keep the peace of the town...or at least that's what they try to do.

"Hamatora" is a mess, the ending even baits us for a sequel that's coming in July. There's many things that can improve "Hamatora", and hopefully it does improve in its sequel. They could try making the mysteries a little bit more mystery like, or at least give our characters some much needed development (Nice is pretty much still the same in episode 12 as he was in episode 1!). It's not horrible, it just could have been a lot better.


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Lull ~Soshite Bokura Wa~ (Ray)

OP 2 - Ebb And Flow (Ray)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Aqua Terrarium (Nagi Yanagi)
ED 2 - Mitsuba No Musubime (Nagi Yanagi)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Episodes: 26

Its when an anime tries something different where things start to get interesting. "Nagi No Asakura" immediately strikes us with something least it struck ME with something I've never seen before. I mean, high school romance or middle school romance is already something we've seen 101 times already, throwing in an unfamiliar element or two might switch things up a bit, and that's why the concept of an underwater world works so well here. But because its something different it turns some viewers off immediately, but sticking with "Nagi No Asukara" really pays off. It rewards viewers with a brilliant story about love, conflict, drama, and how differences can break or change someone. Brilliant characters carry the overall story through, and everything shapes up into a beautiful picture at the very end. Though as I said, you'll really need to stick with it to the end.

Life under the sea isn't as easy as it seems.

The first opening song is "Lull ~Soshite Bokura Wa~ " by Ray. I liked Ray's "Rakuen Project", the opening in "To Love Ru Darkness", but that one had a slightly faster tempo. Ray's songs in "Nagi No Asukara" are a lot slower and have a more soothing feel to them. "Lull ~Soshite Bokura Wa~ " gives off that feel nicely, and so does the second opening song, "Ebb And Flow", which is also by Ray. "Ebb And Flow" gives off a better feel for an anime like "Nagi No Asukara" though.

The ending themes are both by Nagi Yanagi, which are a great fit since she sings some really good slow paced songs. The first ending theme "Aqua Terrarium" does that nicely, it gives that soothing feel when we listen to it, just like the sea. The second ending theme is "Mitsuba No Musubime ", which is kind of the same thing, but isn't as good as "Aqua Terrarium".

Rating: 8.0/10

If you're willing to stick with the unfamiliar premise of an underwater world and characters that can live underwater, its going to pay off in a bit. The story is great, though it only heats up and gets really interesting after the first half of the show. The first half is more of an introductory phase while the second half is where things get real. There's conflicting emotions within each character, and needless to say, the main cast itself is pretty strong in terms of their character. Almost every character has a good deal of character development here, and seeing how they interact with one another as things intensify between them is always interesting. There's a lot of romance and emotional impact here, so if you like that stuff, you're going to have your fill here provided you stick to the end. With great characters and a promising story, its hard to not get engrossed in the whole thing.

They won't have it so easy for long.

The story focuses on four teenagers that live in the underwater town known as Shioshishio. Hikari, Kaname, Chisaki and Manaka are 4 best friends that have stuck together since they were young, and recently, their middle school in Shioshishio closed down, forcing them to move to the surface world to continue their education. Unfortunately, Hikari, being the undersea lover that he is, refuses to wear the uniform of a school up on the surface, and he manages to persuade Kaname and Chisaki into it as well. On their first day to their new life on the surface, Manaka is caught by a fishing net, and meets a surface boy known as Tsumugu. Manaka starts to admire him and looks at the surface world a little bit differently. Luck has it that Tsumugu is in the same class as Hikari and gang when they enroll into the academy. While the other surface kids look down on the underwater kids, Tsumugu stands up for them. This intensifies the hatred between the surface and those living in Shioshisio...

"Nagi No Asukara" is really something that you'll need to stick to the end for. Its full of feels, that's for sure, and it won't stop letting up. You'll grow attached to the characters, and everyone gets a piece of the pie. It also ends magnificently, though things could have gotten a little bit better for our two main protagonists. Everything still works out in the end though, and as a complete package, "Nagi No Asukara" serves really well for fans of the romance or drama genre.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Dark Souls II

Gamespot Score: 9.0 (Editor's Choice)

My Score: 9.0

(+) Pros: - Bigger world to explore with brand new enemies and bosses, - Reworked gameplay mechanics make the game feel fresh, - Covenants have a bigger impact on the game now, - More bosses than in any of the previous games, - New interface and UI makes the game a lot easier to play, - Bosses are quite varied, and optional bosses are a lot tougher, - More content overall than the original.

(-) Cons: - Drangleic has a lot less lore than Lordran.

Gameplay time: 100 hours +

So its been awhile, hasn't it? It took "From Software" awhile, but its finally here...."Dark Souls II". As if the countless dying in the world of Lordran wasn't enough, "From Software" has presented the fans of the franchise another journey into the depths of hell, where nothing but death awaits. I was honestly not too excited about "Dark Souls II", with the changes to the development team and all, I was honestly a little worried. That was, until I finally laid my hands on the game....then I realized that my worrying was all for naught. "Dark Souls II" is a terrific journey through a torn world, where monsters and many other evils lurk in every corner. While it might seem a little bit familiar at times, your journey through Drangleic will be a memorable one. Just be prepared to die, a lot.

"Dark Souls II"'s story poses a great similarity to that of the original, but still different in a way. You play as the chosen undead, sent into the illusionary land known Drangleic. There, you are met with the fire keepers,
who instruct you, as the chosen undead, to lift yourself of the curse. How is this curse lifted? Seek the king, that is all the information you are given from them. You travel to Majula, the central of the game and meet with the emerald herald, who tells you of 4 great souls that will open the way to the king. Thus your journey to lift the undead's curse begins....

Huh?! A boss already?!

"Dark Souls II" is a joy of a game. If you aren't familiar with the game play by now, I'll summarize it quickly for you. The game by itself is an open world exploration experience. You go from area to area, discovering new ones, each separated by fog gates. The world is filled with many unspeakable horrors, be it hollowed soldiers or stray monsters. And at the end of most areas, you'll face bosses, demons with inexplicably larger souls, that'll grant you more power. As with previous games, everything you do in the game requires souls, from leveling up to purchasing spells or items. How do you get souls? By defeating bosses and enemies.

Game play is very simple, you are given to equipment slots, one for your left hand and one for your right. You hold weapons and shields, with L1 and R1 (or LT and RT for Xbox), you can use the corresponding equipment on the hand, be it attacking with a weapon or blocking with a shield. You can roll to dodge enemy attacks, and most enemies are struck down close range. Of course, different attack styles garner different types of attacks. Bows shoot from afar, staves cast a variety of spells, etc etc. As you get souls, you can level up, adding different statistics to get stronger, to wield different weapons and use multiple styles of fighting. Because you can literally build anything (be it a mage with a greatsword or a warrior with a bow), the game has high replay-ability, like that of its predecessors.'re dead, thanks very much.

As with "Dark Souls" before it, "Dark Souls II" has a massive world that is intriguing to explore. From the grand Drangleic Castle to the daunting Black Gulch, there isn't a shortage of interesting areas for you to discover, each with its own enemies and bosses. Each area feels fresh, and while some bear great similarities to areas from previous games, they are still a blast to run through. The feeling of anticipation before encountering a new boss or the feeling of intrigue when you step into a brand new area...all of these are still part of the core "Dark Souls II" experience. Of course, who can forget the thrill of knowing that you'll die another 50 times or so in this new area...its all too familiar.

Another thing that makes the game feel fresh is that they tweaked the gameplay mechanics. While it might not seem to be too big of a change, it really changes the way the game is played. For one, the game feels slowed down. While attacking and rolling by themselves remain mostly the same, there is a slight delay between actions now, making you feel like every move you make is important...which is in this game. The old strategies of hitting a boss and immediately rolling away won't necessarily work now, since the delay exists. Drinking estus flasks are also slower, and your health recovers slower as well. The way many weapons work now are also different, so its wise to remove all knowledge you used to have about attack styles.

To smash faces with rats...not very exciting don't you think?

Covenants are back, and they're better than ever. Each and every covenant has something important, and now most of them involve online play. Like covenants that allow you to summon phantoms to aid you in your journey, or covenants to attack other players in their realms. There are also covenants that make changes to the game directly, like the Champions covenant that makes the game significantly harder. There are also covenants that allow you to rig certain areas to make things harder for other players, or covenants that allow you to attack players that step into a certain area...

What's "Dark Souls" without its bosses? In "Dark Souls II", there are more bosses than in any of the previous games in the franchise. That goes without saying that you'll be dying a lot more, but as usual, the pleasure of discovering new bosses, dying to them, and then finally defeating them remains. It's also worth noting that there are no repeat bosses this time around (f**k Asylum demon and his clones), and that each boss looks uniquely different. The bosses are very differently designed though, its a lot different than how bosses in previous games were designed. Will you fall to the quick wits of The Pursuer? Or to the slow, painful attacks of The Rotten? Bosses are a blasts as always, and they're an enjoyable feat.

Behold, the skeleton crusade!

While we're at it, lets talk about the game's new interface. Everything looks cleaner, and the fact that pressing start no longer covers the entire f**king screen is great! Its much easier to scroll through items, and the fact that you no longer have to consume your souls one by one is just a godsend. Its also a lot less distracting when you discover new items as they don't take up half the screen. Of course, since opening the menu is slower this time, you can't just pop it in during a boss fight when you're losing and expect to quit the game in time. Speaking of the bosses, they are fairly varied this time around, with a focus on making the optional bosses harder, which I think is something they should have done a long time ago (f**king Ancient Dragon).

What else can I say? While the main flow of the game can be somewhat similar to that of the original, the game is significantly longer. The world is bigger this time around, and there's a lot of stuff to do. Though, whether or not you want to do it is another different story, because some of it can be rather tedious (Darklurker requires you to join the dark covenant). There is going to be a lot to do here is you're a completionist, so sticking around for greater finds can be quite entertaining.

Suck it, bitch!

If I'm to have any issue with the game, its that there is a lot less lore or "story" surrounding Drangleic than Lordran in "Dark Souls". While you can still dig through item descriptions for story bits here and here, many of the bosses, areas or enemies lose that sense of identity that you want to discover from. Unlike in the original where Gwyn and the 4 soul lords killed the dragons, there isn't anything to start off here in "Dark Souls II", and honestly after a small few, you won't give a hitch to the story of many of the bosses. You'll probably only see them as targets to vanquish, nothing else. Its also worth noting that NPC quests are a lot less interesting or intriguing. Everything in this game, while fun, has less "Soul" in its lore.

Overall "Dark Souls II" excels where it counts. Its a masterfully crafted sequel that excels technically and mechanically. Game play is addicting as hell, and with a multitude of different character builds to try, you'll almost never grow tired of "Dark Souls II", just like the games before it. Its safe to say the the franchise will keep on expanding, and if this is what they're capable of, I can't wait for an entry in the PS4/XBOX ONE era. "Dark Souls II" is a mesmerizing adventure that'll gut you with deaths, over and over. For such is the nature of the "Souls" series.

Happy Gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Golden Time (Yui Horie)
OP 2 - The World's End (Yui Horie)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Sweet & Sweet Cherry (Yui Horie)
ED 2 - Love Me Semipermenantly (Yui Horie)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Supernatural

Episodes: 24

Its common knowledge that most animes like to star high school students or middle school students, very few try to move down a different path and star characters of a different age. If you noticed, there are few animes that try to take on a university or college theme. "Golden Time" tries to pull off a high school romance esque theme, but instead, it revolves around college students. This means different themes and possibilities, something that many viewers may not be used to, whether you like it or not. Unfamiliarity aside, there's a solid, drama-filled, emotional story here about love and relationships. There may be a few unpleasant plot elements that may or may not disrupt the flow of the anime, but all in all, if you're a fan of the romance theme, there's something for you to love in "Golden Time", be it the strong cast or the interesting plot that is filled with ups and downs.

Yep, Koko is sexy.

The opening songs are honestly nothing to write home about in my opinion. Every single theme used here is sung by Yui Horie. The first opening theme is "Golden Time", which is probably the better of the two opening themes. Its somewhat catchy and fits the theme of the anime, though I felt that Yui Horie was singing on a slightly higher pitch for this one (as you all know, I'm not a fan of the super cutesy songs). The 1st ending theme sounded a little bit emotional, especially for the tune that plays throughout the entire song. Its alright.

I wasn't a fan of the second opening theme. It wasn't BAD per se, but its just that I couldn't enjoy that kind of music. "The World's End" sounds similar to opening themes from "The World God Only Knows", and that just wasn't my kind of thing. The second ending theme is "Love Me Semipermenantly", and that one is pretty catchy. Its beats out the first ending theme, though not by too much.

Rating: 8.0/10

Its always the romance animes that get to me, because they are simply so well written. "Golden Time" was made by the same people who made "Toradora"....makes sense right? Both are amazing romance shows, though I would say that the small tint of supernatural occurances in "Golden Time" makes it a little bit less believable and that can be a bit disappointing at times when the shows decides to resort to using the supernatural to make a nice plot for an anime like this. Other than that though, the writing is pretty good, the characters are fantastic and easy to like (though Koko can really drive you up the wall sometimes), the comedy and everything else is just icing on top of the cake. While the show is somewhat face paced, it wraps up nicely, and to me, 24 episodes did the trick well enough.

(Insert anime voice) Is this....LOVE?!

The anime starts Tada Banri, a college student that applied to a college in Tokyo when in moved in from the countryside. Because of an accident back in his hometown, Banri finds himself with amnesia, and not knowing about anything back home, his friends or family, he decides to move to Tokyo, far away from home, to start his life anew. To make new friends and find himself a new place to belong to. However on his very first day, he is late to the entrance ceremony, and to top it off, he gets lost moving to the freshman orientation. He runs into Mitsuo, another lost freshman, and they quickly become friends, though Mitsuo runs into Koko, his beautiful crazy stalker self proclaimed girlfriend. Banri is captivated, but helps Mitsuo out in the end. When listening to Mitsuo's life story, Koko enrolls into the exact same college, just to stalk Mitsuo. Koko is beautiful, but is avoided in college, and because of this, Banri pities her and tries to become her friend. Things start getting complicated there...

"Golden Time" heats up when the time comes. Starting off as half hearted love and watching it bloom even further into the anime just makes everything all the more satisfying. It also does a magnificent job on pulling your heart strings during the right moments. When all is said and done, it would have been perfect...if not for the supernatural sequences.


Manus, Father Of The Abyss
HP: 6666
Skills: Hand Swing, Hand Smash, Backhand Grab, Pole Jumper*, Madness Combo*,  Dark Hail*, Dark Storm*, Dark Chaser*
Souls: 60000

Difficulty: 5/5
Times died on 1st playthrough: I lost count

All right, its time to cover the final boss there is left to cover in "Dark Souls". Who can it be other than Manus, the Father Of The Abyss, the final Souls Lord...the obscene, overpowered form of the Fugitive Pigmy? This guy is a freaking boss, known by many players around the world as the hardest boss in "Souls" history, and I must say, this guy really pushes you to the limits. Artorias was the hardest boss to me, but Manus easily takes 2nd prize. His huge variety of attacks make for an incredibly challenging opponent. You will really need to be on your wits for this one, or you'll truly be plunged into the abyss...the abyss of defeat. He is the boss of the Chasm Of The Abyss.

He has a lot of really varied attacks, most of which will most definitely catch you off guard and cost you your life for the first few attempts. The problem is that making a simple mistake can mean the end, that's how deadly Manus is. He's a little more on the agile side, but nowhere near as fast as Artorias, and he's A LOT bigger to boot. That means you won't be missing attacks. At least that's something going on for you. Be sure not to get too greedy for hits or estus flasks, because that might be his opening to finish you off, especially during the later stages of the fight.

Hand Swing - He swings his deformed arm in an arc shape. Easily his weakest attack. Block or roll away. Does moderate damage. 

Hand Smash - He lifts his hand and smashes it on top of you after a short delay. Does massive damage and stamina upon blocking, its advised to dodge this by rolling to the side.

Backhand Grab - He grabs you if you're behind him and slams you onto the ground, dealing damage and leaving you open for another attack. Roll away, or simply don't stand behind him.

Pole Jumper* - Think Playful Trickster of Fizz from League Of Legends. Manus Jumps on his staff and lands on top of you for some good damage. Roll away...though this one is hard to predict.

Madness Combo* - He roars and then does a freaking six hit combo that is bound to kill you if you're in range. This is one is a doozy, just stay away and you'll be okay, but if you're in range, there's little to no way to dodge it, you're screwed. It cannot be blocked.

Dark Hail* - He shoots dark orbs in a cone direction in front of him. Each orb deals minor damage, but if you eat all of it you're most certainly dead. The cast time for this is almost instant, so you need to be on your toes to dodge this.

Dark Storm* - He shoots dark orbs in the sky that come raining down on you. The least worrying of his spells, but it still has a high chance of killing you if you just stand there like an idiot. Roll away like your life depends on it!

Dark Chaser* - This one gets me most of the time. He shoots dark orbs away that home in on your direction. Run to him AS FAST AS YOU CAN to avoid this completely, or just dodge at the right time. Note that I've only successfully dodged this shit once or twice in my entire life.

Okay, so you'll need to pick your poison. If you're going melee, he's going to be a nightmare if you're using a slow weapon. Not so much if you have a weapon of decent speed. If you're going ranged, make sure its magic or miracles, bows are going to be a little bit difficult unless you have Sif aggroing him all the time...but this strategy is meant for soloing him. No matter what way you're going to kill him, I highly recommend the pyromancy Power Within, especially for this one.

His hand attacks are pretty easy to deal with, but you should still be careful of them. Hand Swing has massive range, but doesn't hit as hard. It can be blocked and easily dodged as well, just make sure you roll backwards. Hand Smash isn't so bad as well, though this one hits harder, and isn't so easy to block. Just sidestep to avoid it completely. His Backhand grab is something you won't see too much unless you stand behind him a lot. But if you DO see it, just be sure to roll away.

That's a bold strategy.

Now then, lets move to some of his more difficult attacks to deal with. Occasionally, he'll use Pole Jumper, in which he'll jump on his pole and land on top of you, doing massive damage. You'll need to roll away, but in that sense, he uses this move so fast that dodging it in time may seem a bit difficult. Do note though, Manus is quite inaccurate with this move, and you may be able to get out unscathed without having to do anything at times, so hope that it comes to that. Alternatively, when you see him jump, you can try sprinting to the other side of his body.

Next is Madness combo, a ridiculous six hit attack that will most definitely kill you if you even try to tank it. This is one pretty simple to avoid, just stay away as he rampages on the spot. He is open to ranged attacks while doing this, but you must always be prepared to dodge away when he decides to plunge you with that last hit of his combo. Alternatively, its nice to note that if you got hit by a previous attack and were knocked down and he decides to use THIS move, you'll have no time to get away and are most likely screwed. If that ever happens, blame luck dude.

You dead yet?

If you drop him to half health, things get serious. He'll start to use hexes, all of which are stupidly powerful. Dark Hail will almost instantly kill you if you tank more than half of the orbs he shoots, and its ridiculously fast. Rolling away like a mad man helps, but chances are that you're too slow. Blocking it is a stupid idea unless your shield is really really resistant to magic. He can also cast Dark Storm, which sends many dark orbs raining on top of your head from the skies. Once again, roll away like a madman will solve your problems, as long as you don't roll blindly.

His final attack is Dark Chaser, which sends orbs from all directions coming right at you. One, you can choose to be rambo and try to dodge it by rolling underneath the gaps of the orbs. It works, but your timing must be incredibly precise. Otherwise, you can do what I do, which is to sprint RIGHT IN FRONT of Manus, you'll break the tracking of the orbs. But for this to work you'll need to be in front of his face all the time, which is really something you don't need.

Good job punk, you beat the game.

Beating him is going to be quite the feat, and if you do manage to beat him, then all I can say is...great job! You've killed every boss in the game, now its only appropriate for me to congratulate you for beating the game and myself for doing this series, "Dark Souls Boss Profiles" for so damn long (my Asylum Demon Post was back in! Now then, its time to move on to "Dark Souls II"...I'll see you then...


If you've played "Tales Of Xillia", I only hope that you've played enough to run into this guy. If you're actually one of the few that made it to the Golden Mage Knight, then you've seen true terror. "Tales Of Xillia" lacked a whole lot of optional content, but if you really needed a tough fight, Magus Zero's Golden Mage Knight has you covered. Being probably the only legit optional boss fight in the game, he can kick you a new one if you don't know how to deal with him. To actually get to him, you'll need to defeat all the Devil's Beast, and then get past Magus Zero. There's really not much beyond that, he greets you with a smile and wants to beat your ass in.

No matter what party you use, this guy is an absolute beast, though I recommend the likes of Jude, Elize and Leaia in there no matter what, because they can all help pitch in with the MUCH needed healing, because Golden Mage Knight is going to dish out a whole ton of damage. You'll be spamming items to heal and revive most of the time even with 3 healers out on the field.

Brave all odds and get to the Mage Knight!

There are 3 phases to the battle. While all 3 phases are relatively hard, everything escalates upwards, meaning that the 3rd phase of the battle is going to be the hardest. The Golden Mage Knight copies every one of your characters in terms of their fighting styles, so you're going to see some very familiar moves when he comes against you. He starts off alone as the Golden Mage Knight Mercenary, which is a copy to Alvin's fighting style. In this form he hits really, REALLY hard. If you're not in the later levels a single combo can one shot someone like Elize or Rowen, who are on the squishier side of things. Really though, all you need to do here is gang up on him, link up on him, and take him down with everything you've got. He's alone, so if you just keep going at him and reviving those who go down, you'll finish this 1st phase relatively quickly.

Look at dat damage!

The 2nd phase is where things get pretty tricky. He splits himself into 2 now, and of course, both clones have boss like stats. Needless to say, fighting against 2 is tougher than 1. For now, he's copying the fight styles of Rowen and Leaia, the Golden Mage Knight Conductor and the Golden Mage Knight Duelist. This is going to be pretty annoying, since the Duelist is going to keep hammering onto you, while the Conductor will rain hell down upon you with powerful artes. To make things worse, the Duelist can cast heal, so he's a top priority....though everything is up to you, since the Conductor is just so damn powerful with his spells. I took down the Duelist first, then the Conductor. By the way, they link with one another, so you may find them to be a lot more obnoxious than the Mercenary. As usual, you'll probably be needing to spam revives and such, so protect Elize.

If you even manage to take down these 2, its not quite over yet. We'll move into phase 3, which is probably the main reason why this battle is so hated among the community. Now, he splits himself into 3, and in this final phase, all 3 clones are stronger than the ones in phase 2. Of course...having to fight 3 of these guys is freaking suicide, and it doesn't make it any better that they're mimicking the fighting styles of Jude, Milla and Elize, probably the 3 best characters in the game IMO. 


This last phase is going to be very hard, so you'll need to fight wisely. Handling 3 Golden Mage Knight clones is just downright insane in most situations, so you'll need to decide on an order to defeat the Creator, Scholar, and the Puppeteer. The Creator and Scholar, being the clones of Milla and Jude, will link with one another during this 3rd phase, and it goes without saying that they will be wreaking all sorts of havoc on you and your team. The Puppeteer is the clone of Elize, and you all know all Elize is. She casts spells and heals, which is basically what the freaking Puppeteer does as well. If you don't want the 3 bosses' health bars to keep going up...then you gotta take down the Puppeteer first. The Puppeteer and Creator both cast a lot of high tier AOE spells, which can spell doom for your team if you stick, because you'll all get massively hurt.

As for the Scholar? He just bashes your face in over and over. He'll refuse to get off your face...and continue to bash on you. Needless to say, he hurts, but you're going to have to ignore him over the other 2 since they'll be inflicting massive AOE destruction on your team. Prepare lots of revives and hourglasses, you'll need it. To me, you'll have to go for Puppeteer first, then Creator, followed by Scholar last. Of course, I'd say keep Elize and Leaia alive for healing and revives, but they'll die many times over anyway, so just deal with it. I hope you still have a lot of life bottles ready to be thrown.

And that's the Golden Mage Knight. He's madly difficult during his final form, and he still puts up a massive challenge for the two phases before that. You'll need to be in the high 70s or low 80s for this one, or you can be like me challenging him at the 60s and dieing miserably. Defeating him unlocks the devil arms' true powers, and you can continue to come and fight him, he gets stronger every time (f**k no, why would anyone want to fight this guy again?). Its the attack of the clones people!

Difficulty Rating: 7.5/10