Opening Songs
OP 1 - Stand Proud (Jin Hashimoto)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Walk Like An Egyptian (The Bangles)

Genre: Action

Episodes: 24




Orararararararararararara~~~



Yeah. I could just end the review right there, because that pretty much summarizes the entirity of "Jojo"'s 3rd arc, "Stardust Crusaders". A wise man once said, if you aren't born into "Jojo", then you'll never like it. While that's not 100% true, I can say for certain that if you aren't a fan of wacky endeavors like that of part 1 and 2 of the series ("Phantom Blood" and "Battle Tendency"), then there's a good chance that "Stardust Crusaders" isn't your cup of tea. Why so? Because honestly, as it stands, "Stardust Crusaders", while still pretty intense and amazing on its own right, is weaker than "Battle Tendency". Its better than "Phantom Blood", that's for sure, but it lacks the charm that "Battle Tendency" brings to the table. Provided, "Stardust Crusaders" is still unique in its own way, but that might not be for everyone. End of the line, "Jojo" fans, you can stay right here and not move an inch, because "Stardust Crusaders" is still full of wacky fun and violence for you to enjoy. Everyone else...that's questionable.




Ikuzo...teme...

The opening song is "Stand Proud" by Jin Hashimoto. Let's be real here, every single "Jojo" opening is meant to be, and HAS been, manly as f**k. "Stand Proud" succeeds in giving off that manly feeling, and really well at that. It may not be as FABULOUS as "Bloody Stream", but its still fairly catchy and does the job well as a "Jojo" opening. The ending theme, "Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles, is a lot less catchier than "Roundabout". Its still VERY oldschool, but in my opinion, its just not the same level of jazziness.



Rating: 8.0/10



As the entire arc isn't quite over yet, its still too early to give it that "Recommended" status. I had a feeling that "Stardust Crusaders" would surpass the first two arcs of "Jojo", because many fans have labeled "Stardust Crusaders" to be one of the current best "Jojo" arcs, and for a newcomer like me, I expected it to be REALLY awesome. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we could never really see the end for "Stardust Crusaders" as 24 episodes isn't nearly enough to finish up the entire arc. Now, on to the specifics. First off, "Jotaro" as a main characters falls WAY behind Joseph, but luckily for us, he's in this one as well, as an old man now (doesn't stop him from being awesome). He's just...not very expressive with his emotions and tries too hard to meet that "badass" character stereotype. While I do agree that he IS badass, he's just not very f**king interesting, or funny, OR entertaining. He's just...that kind of guy. The story is fairly straightforward without too many twists or turns (except for one part, which ended up being more comical than anything else). The supporting character cast however, is pretty fantastic. I spent more time marveling over Jotaro's team than Jotaro himself. The action? Well, it goes without saying that the action is marvelous, let's just leave it at that (its probably more creative than any of the previous "Jojo" fights).



Let's go, man squad!

Jotaro Kujo is a very troubled teenager. Besides being insanely buff for his age, he admits that he's being possessed, and confined himself in a police cell so that he might not hurt others. The police officers call his mother to go pick him up, but even that isn't enough to pull Jotaro out of his cell. He demonstrates by shooting himself with a gun, only for the bullet to be stopped by an unseen-able force. Jotaro's mom, Holly, had no choice but to seek help from her father...Jotaro's grandfather...Joseph Joestar. Joseph flew all the way from New York to Japan, all to see Jotaro's unforeseen circumstances. It seems like Jotaro has awoken to his "Stand" ability, a spirit like being that resembles Jotaro himself. Despite being explained to him, Jotaro still refuses to leave his cell, so Joseph called upon his new "Stand" using friend, Avdul. Avdul and Jotaro fight it out with their stands, and Jotaro finally understand the gravity of the situation and what his "Stand" awakening means for him.  Joseph explains that DIO's awakening in Egypt using Jonathan Joestar's body is causing "Stand"s to awaken in all those carrying the Joestar blood...including Jotaro's mother. Instead of aiding her, Holly's "Stand" eats away at her body and daily health...she does not have long to live. The only way to save her? Defeat DIO and stop the awakening of her "Stand"!



Since "Stardust Crusaders" isn't quite done yet, its still too early to call it quits. "Stardust Crusaders" is definitely a lot more action packed than previous parts, but in a different way. "Stand" battles may not be as manly, but they sure are a lot more interesting and innovative, that's for sure.



Peace.




The Lost Sinner
HP: 3560
Skills: Jumping Slash*, Horizontal Cleave, Sword Stab, Sword Combo*
Souls: 45000

Difficulty: 3/5
Deaths: 3



After killing the 3 Ruin Sentinels, its time to proceed deeper into 'The Lost Bastille', and then eventually into 'Sinner's Rise', where the next boss, which is also your first soul lord, resides. Brave into the tower, going past tons of soldiers, abominations and exploding zombies, striding across knee deep water levels of the dreaded sewers. Eventually, you'll make it to a great, empty chamber with only one individual standing inside it. Unfortunately for you, its sad, its angry, and it wields a sword. To make things worse, a maggot crawls into its eye. Yeah, its angry alright. Meet The Lost Sinner.



Oh, hello there.


The Lost Sinner is one scary bitch. Yeah, she'll intimidate you for sure, I mean, just look at the bitch. She's hunched, she's cuffed, she wears a mask, she's buff, and yeah, she wields a big sword. One look will tell you that she's seen hell, and that she'll do whatever it takes to bring hell to you. Fortunately for you, The Lost Sinner is pretty much just a very straightforward person (at least on NG alone), and will just try to maul you to death without any other form of offense. Its a straight out brawl fest, and as long as you can outmaneuver The Lost Sinner, you win this by a long shot.



Jumping Slash* - Probably the most dangerous of her attacks. She jumps behind you, screwing up your lock on, to get a cheap, damaging slash onto you. Roll away immediately when she jumps.

Horizontal Cleave - A simple swipe. Easily blocked or dodged.

Sword Stab - A simple stab. Once again, this an easy block or dodge.

Sword Combo* - She tries to slash you a couple of times, may go up to 3 times as the battle drags on. Each attack from her takes off a decent chunk of stamina, so really, dodging is the more realistic option here.



The Lost Sinner, as you can see, does not have many attacks. She'll constantly repeat these few, close ranged sword techniques to try and cut you down. Make no mistake, while her attacks are limited, she does quite a lot of damage so early in the game, and if you don't have a decent to good weapon, she can take a hell of a punishing. Meaning, while this is simply a test of your mobility and your way around a simple 1v1 duel, its also a test of your endurance. If you keep getting traded back by The Lost Sinner in terms of damage, you may not last long, because its going to take a while to go down. Plus, if you lost focus for even 1 second, you might lose, so be careful. Also, try to go in with a 100% physical damage block shield, either that, or you better be DAMNED good at dodging.



Go Lucatiel!


So first things first, you might want to light the place up, the darkness works against you here, and works FOR The Lost Sinner. She will charge you right off the bat, and will constantly stick to you throughout the entire battle, maybe backing off once after trying to go for a few attacks. Rinse and repeat, this is a very simple battle flow. When she's up close, she will always try either Horizontal Cleave, or Sword Stab, both of which work for simple "dodge or block" attacks. After a couple of attacks she'll be open for a few swings, that's your chance to attack. Don't go too crazy or she'll bail on you and then counter with another attack, she's really good at this.



On another note, if she's AWAY from you, she'll most probably use jumping slash, which will bring her behind you for a cheap and easy slash, while screwing your entire lock on. The moment she jumps, you MUST roll away, or risk eating a cheap hit. Other than that, she'll just try to stick to you like glue and hammer away at you. Estus drinking can be rather risky, and you should only do so when she bails after he attacks, you'll need to be at a safe distance. When she hits lower health, she'll start to add more hits into her attacks, which may spell bad news for you. Of course, the same rules still apply, just stay away from her, wait for her to finish slicing, then go in for some hits.



Well, f**k.

As mentioned earlier, more than anything, this is just a battle of attrition. The longer you can last against this boss, the easier it is for you, because she sure takes a hell of a beating before she falls. Good news though, after all is said and done, you've finally defeated your first soul lord, and you get 45000 souls for your hard work.



Peace.



Opening Songs
OP 1 - Burn My Dread -Spring Of Birth Version- (Yumi Kawamura)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - More Than One Heart (Yumi Kawamura)

Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Episodes: 1




So, "Persona 3 The Movie". What can I say? Its perfect. Its great. Its amazing: it's what you'd expect from the anime adaptaion of "Persona 3". Its spot on, it never deviates from what it's supposed to be. And the best thing about it? It's not stingy. That's right, you heard me, for a game as huge as "Persona 3", a single movie is not enough to cover the entirety of the story, so the production companies had the brains to split it into 4 movies, each covering a season within the game (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), which is a brilliant idea. With the first movie, "Spring Of Birth", it sets an amazing opening standard of what the "Persona 3" movies can be, and what they SHOULD be. With so much potential being shown with just this first movie, I shudder in excitement just thinking how good they'll make the other 3. If you're not a "Persona 3" fan going in, you'll be one coming out. Even if you've played the game, this one will shake you up real good.



Well f**k me with a pogo stick, my body is ready.


Well we all know the opening song by now. "Burn My Dread -Spirit Of Birth Version-" by Yumi Kawamura is yet another variation of "Persona 3"'s game opening, and if you haven't heard enough variations by now, then you're definitely missing out. Needless to say though, its a really addicting song, as if you needed to ask. The ending theme is "More Than One Heart", also by Yumi Kawamura, and I swear I heard this in the original game as well, but I can't really remember. Its still a good song otherwise.



Rating: 8.5/10



Like I mentioned earlier, if "Persona 3" needed some sort of animation to do it justice, this would be it. The first "Persona 3" movie covers the spring portion of the story, and what's here feels just about right. It serves as a magnificent introductory point to the story, as well as portraying the Spring sequences very accurately. While it doesn't go too much in depth into social links and side events, it explains the story and flow of events very well, without skipping too much of the fighting. Whatever fight scenes are in here are MAGNIFICENTLY executed, with beautiful animations and some very flashy battles. This entire movie can be recommended with just the very well done battles alone, but of course, there's more. The story is clear enough even for first timers, and while some foreign themes can be difficult to understand at first, its easy to get immersed into the story with its wonderful (though sometimes overly serious) characters. What's more? Excellent use of the "Persona 3" soundtrack make for some pretty thematic moments, and the old seiyuus of the characters reprise their roles well!



You know this scene....you know its coming....
Come on. You know you want to say it...


The story stars Makoto Yuki, possibly the most emo-metal-wannabe high school boy that you'll ever see. Having been transferred all around the country to different schools, he finally decides to settle on his next destination, Gekkoukan high school. During his first day while moving to the dorms, a train accident occurred, which delayed his trip. He arrives in the island, only to find out that when the clock struck twelve midnight, everything changed. The power went off, streetlights went blinking, coffins were everywhere, and there was an eerie green moon in the sky. Nobody was around the streets, and when he finally made it to the school dorms, he was greeted with a girl in a pink school uniform pointing a gun at him...after seeing a pale boy in pajamas asking him to sign on the dorm's registry. Yeah things are going pretty wild for Makoto's first day, but little does he know that all this leads to him, and his hidden power that he has yet to discover...


"Spring Of Birth" sets the stepping stone for a great series of movies, and with the standards that it set, it only hypes up the next movies to come. It'll be hard to top what "Spring Of Birth" provided, but let's hope that the next movies live up to the hype. As long as they don't stray too far off, I think they'll do fine. As a standalone movie, this one rocks pretty hard.



Peace.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Kanbaru Time! (Hanamonogatari review)



Opening Songs
OP 1 - Hanaato -Shirushi- (Marina Kawano)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - The Last Day Of My Adolscene (Miyuki Sawashiro)

Genre: Action, Drama, Supernatural

Episodes: 1



So its that time of the year again for another "Monogatari" story to be released. "Monogatari" has become so ridiculously popular that it needs to be released yearly now, yes, no doubt about that. Of course, I won't complain, because I too love the "Monogatari" series (how unfortunate that the light novels are coming to an end). "Hanamonogatari" is an entire arc all about Kanbaru, and like most arcs before it, I'll say this: "Hanamonogatari" is one of the best arcs yet, showing us an unforeseen side to a character that we honestly don't see too much of, as well as a captivating little side story about a new, likable character and her interaction with Kanbaru (which I must say, is one of the most well written combination of scripted events in an anime). There is no doubt about it, as long as you're a fan of the series, you're in for another good ride, probably the best one there is out there, in my opinion.




Meh, at least one of them is happy.


In typical "Monogatari" fashion, we have a new opening song for Kanbaru's new arc. "Hanaato -Shirushi" by Marina Kawano is the opening song, and sure as hell, its energetic to no end, as expected as a song used for Kanbaru's arc. The ending theme however, is the one that I enjoy more here. Its "The Last Day Of My Adolescene" by Miyuki Sawashiro, the seiyuu of Kanbaru. Its just so full of....adolescene, and the ending animations showing Kanbaru's past with Numachi really hits the spot.



Rating: 8.5/10



To me, this was the most well done "Monogatari" arc so far, hands down. More so than any other previous girl, Kanbaru was so well fleshed out in her arc, and she really felt like a true protagonist during our time spent with her (the only other arcs that managed to do so without feeling too out of place were Kaiki's arc and Hanekawa's arc during "Nekomonogatari"). She really grew during this short span of time, and I felt that she had a lot more "focus" than many of the other characters when they had their time as protagonists. Also, SHE SOLVED HER PROBLEMS BY HERSELF, unlike when Hanekawa was saved by Aragagi during the conclusion of "Nekomonogatari". It really made Kanbaru look like one hell of a badass, and her interactions with the new character, Roka Numachi, were just too interesting to let up. It was just an amazing experience overall.



So can we confirm that Kanbaru is bisexual?


Of course, since this is her story, you all know that "Hanamonogatari" is going to be starring Kanbaru as the main character. Its the new year, and you know what that means. Koyomi and Hitagi have already graduated, along with Hanekawa. Kanbaru is now a senior, but even though her beloved senpai have all gone on with their lives, she diligently continues on as a high school student in her final year. However, this was not going to simply be just another year, as Kanbaru hears about rumors of a devil lord that grants the wishes of others through Ougi, a junior who seems to know a little too much. Fearing that her old arm might be acting up again, she thinks that she might actually be this devil lord. She decides to investigate through Karen, Aragagi's sister, whom she has been keeping contact with, and she eventually runs into the devil lord, a girl by the name of Roka Kumachi....who is also Kanbaru's old basketball rival. Things are going to get sticky for Kanbaru...



"Hanamonogatari" probably goes in depth into Kanbaru's character more than any arc tries to do so for their representing characters. There's a wealth of entertainment in "Hanamonogatari" for a "Monogatari" fan, be it reprising characters, the interesting dialogue, and the magnificent character progression. With this one being so badass, I can only hope that future arcs improve, so that we can all be impressed even further.



Peace.

Main characters are the stars in their own animes, that's pretty much how its supposed to be. If your main character sucks ass, the anime's likability goes down by a decent margin. Why? Because the one guy we are all supposed to like f**king sucks. There are many ways to make a main character likable, but one sure-fired way to make us all not hate him/her, is to not make him/her useless. That's right, it all depends on the situation. If your main character sucks f**king ass and has to be protected all the time while not doing ANYTHING whatsoever...how are we supposed to like him (this is the case for most harem protagonists, sadly)?


So here we are with some really powerful main characters. I'm not saying that this is HOW a main character should be done, but when your main character kicks so much ass...its hard not to like them. Hell, just look at old Dante (not new Dante), he's a f**king favorite because of so many factors, one of them being his power. Without further ado, here are some characters that breach the levels of OP, and in terms of power, we can't deny that they can kick some major ass.




Kirito





Okay, so this one is debatable, because I'm sure many people hate Kirito to the core, which I can understand. However, we cannot deny his superiority in battle when compared to the majority of the SAO cast, he's just that f**king good. He's ridiculously overleveled at multiple points of the Aincrad arc, and he destroys most threats coming at his way without much effort, even going as far as SOLO-ing a high leveled boss (fine, he had Klein and Asuna) when revealing his trademark dual wielding ability. And even when he's not in Aincrad, he shows how fast he adapts to the playstyle of ALfhiem Online and can even take on high level players despite being new to that game.


Kirito can easily be seen as a badass because of his overwhelming strength compared to most other characters in the show. But since it IS an online game, most of his overwhelming presence comes from the fact that he's just overleveled. Now I'm cool with Kirito, I have one glaring issue with his overwhelming strength, JUST because SAO is based of an MMO. How the f**k did he level up so much in that short period of time? I guess its not a matter with Kirito himself directly, but more of a matter of how the story was written. There were too many time skips for us to truly justify how the f**k Kirito got so OP. He lacked development from a power standpoint, that's all. But yeah, he does seem badass because he's always kicking ass, and its hard not to smile at that.




Hei




Hei is one heck of a badass, and he's easily one of my favorite protagonists in anime because of his everlasting conflicting personality. But of course, he's also pretty freaking powerful, easily one of the strongest contractors because of his lack of a "payment" for using his abilities. Hei is a hired assassin, a mercenary if you will, as he's constantly getting jobs from Huang to take down other people/contractors. Of course, Hei wouldn't he known as the Black Reaper if he didn't act like one, dressing completely in black and wearing a plain, white mask that intimidates the shit out of his victims when he goes for them, instilling fear into their minds.


Its because Hei plays with this aspect of fear that he completely corners and overwhelms his opponents mentally, before he goes in for the finishing blow. While Hei is very efficient in how he wields his dual string blades and how he uses his electricity powers, he is truly a master of playing with his opponent's minds. Not only with fear though, there are times where those that stand before him don't fear him at all and have superior abilities, Hei still triumphs because his knowledge and experience from fighting other contractors gives him a severe edge. He plays with his environments and his surroundings, and finally finishes his opponents off when they least expect it. Now this, is how to make a badass main character.




Nice





Nice is pretty cool, and its made apparent from the start that he kicks some major ass. There was no reason to his amazing power, it was just pure talent on his part, and that might just seem to be somewhat of a lazy reason, but seriously, that's it. He is SERIOUSLY overpowered, among all the millennium holders, he's easily the strongest, not counting zero millennium Moral. The sound millennium gives him insane speed, so much so that he dominates most of his opponents before they can even react. That seems a little bit over the board, but for a kid that can see and envision the VERY sound around him in the form of waves...he can really kick so much ass.


Nice likes to finish his opponents off with one, fell swoop, and fortunately, for most of his opponents, that's the case. No matter what power his opponents hold, as long as he moves before them, he wins. That's kind of broken, seeing how fast he is, the only one who was able to keep up with his speed was Moral, because he could INSTANTLY teleport around. Even then, he still managed to beat him, meh. There's really not much to Nice's ability, simply because how broken he is. Given that standard, there's not much that can actually stop him. At least Nice isn't too cocky about it, and while he makes most fight look effortless and boring at times, he's pretty badass.




Kiritsugu







You can't go wrong with old Kiritsugu, he's just too much of a badass. When your protagonist isn't a f**king high school kid and is instead a fully grown adult with his own wife, kid, mistress and a massive load-out of anti-mage weapons, you are set to rock. Kiritsugu's training as a sort of anti-mage has prepared him long for this holy grail war, and nothing was prepared to what he had up his sleeve. Of course, the one man that he feared was Kotomine Kirei, but even against that beast of a man, Kiritsugu had some sort of plan that he could rely on. The really awesome thing about Kiritusgu is how he displays his abilities discreetly, he NEVER shows his true hand.


How does Kiritsugu always so flawlessly overpowers his opponents? Well, he has plans for everything. That's right, Kiritsugu is one smart bugger, and he uses that to triumph over his cocky mage opponents. He uses everything at his disposal, his friends, his wife, his servant,  he uses EVERYTHING. He doesn't fight fair, and he knows he doesn't have to. He shows no mercy to his opponents, and its always because he's one step ahead that he almost always wins, even in situations that are against him. He knows how to do things right, but that's because he is fueled by an unforgiving past. Kiritsugu isn't this powerful for no reason.



Peace, more to probably come.



Opening Songs
OP 1 - I Don't Need A Holy Sword (Yui Sakakibara)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - A "Mostest" More Than Most (Mariya Ise, Marina Inoue, Ayane Sakura)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Episodes: 12



And here we have another show that tries too hard to be something new. "Seikoku No Dragonar" is another one of those "fantasy based" high school themed shows that really isn't too different from the one right next to it. And since this is me, who freaking loves these kind of "magic high school harem" esque animes, its a little bit of a shock that I wasn't too drawn in by "Seikoku No Dragonar". In fact, maybe it shouldn't come off as too much as a surprise, because "Seikoku No Dragonar" doesn't really do anything new to make it special. While its not completely horrible, its particularly very good either. Its definitely watchable, and it does have good moments, but if you're looking for a good fantasy/magic/combat school anime, there are a lot better ones out there that could really make use of your time better ("Zero No Tsukaima" is basically a WAY better version of "Seikoku No Dragonar").



So...who has the biggest tits?


Its been awhile since I've heard from Yui Sakakibara, she was one of my favorite JPop artists back in the day. Its good to see her back as the singer for this anime's opening, which is "I Don't Need A Holy Sword". While its good to see her back, "I Don't Need A Holy Sword" wasn't particularly a very memorable piece, and it showcased more of her "cute-sy" side, which I didn't quite like. The ending theme is "A "Mostest" More Than Most" by Mariya Ise, Marina Inoue and Ayane Sakura, seiyuus of some of the more important female characters. Its definitely cute and catchy, ESPECIALLY the starting few lines, and I'll admit that its better than the opening song.



Rating: 7.0/10



Perhaps "Seikoku No Dragonar"'s biggest weakness is the fact that its...too normal for something of its stature. While the idea of riding dragons is a little cool at first, the anime doesn't really make full use of it to showcase something spectacular. Dragon riders clashing epic-ly with one another SOUNDS cool, but it doesn't really flourish here. So right off the bat the action scenes are sub par at best. There are decent parts (like that early attack on the town by the undead dragon), but most of it is shadowed by...honestly pretty bland fanservice of mostly Eco (this isn't anything special, unless you're super into lolis). The story has potential, but progresses way too quickly for it to have much emotional impact. The characters...are a mixed batch. Some are just downright annoying (I might have to kill Eco if I ever see her in person), while others are MY type of girls (Rebecca is love~~, and Milgauss was a cool villain while he lasted). Its unfortunate that most of the show's stronger moments are interrupted/forcefully filled with fanservice segments involving tentacles. I'm not sure how dragons have tentacles, but apparently that's how "Seikoku No Dragonar" rolls.



To Eco's credit, she can be downright adorable at times.

Ash Blake is as boring as a main character as he gets. When you see someone with a name like Ash Blake...you just know you can't expect great things from him, except in his situation, everyone looks down on him. Ash is considered the number one problem child in Dragon Academy, because of his attitude and due to the fact that he does not have a par (dragon partner). One day during a racing competition where he borrowed his friend's par, he was knocked down a cliff after being discovered by Milgauss, a mysterious masked terrorist. Instead of falling to his death, he managed to call forth his par, and to his surprise, instead of a dragon, he gets a naked, pink haired girl. What he didn't expect is that this girl is a dragon, and to make things worst, the girl immediately turns the tables around him. "I am your master, no the other way around". Now Ash has a par alright, but of course, this time, he's the servant, not the master.



"Seikoku No Dragonar" just didn't have a a lot to make it shine above the rest. Its  just average to no end, plain and simple. Its a decent anime that doesn't have a lot going for it, but its still watchable and manages to not suck. It has good moments, and it has bad/embarrassing ones. Either way, with the story ending with another cliffhanger, "Seikoku No Dragonar" might be getting a second chance, and let's hope that if it does, it makes a bigger impact.



Peace.


Ryotaro Okiayu




Here we go~. Okiayu may not be one of the most popular seiyuus during this current generation, but that doesn't mean you should count him out, not by any means. Another man who's sexy as hell for his age (he's well above 40), Ryotaro Okiayu does very well at sounding very versatile. Whether you need a pretty man, an intimidating fighter, or just a flat out badass, he's got the voice for that. Who doesn't know Byakuya (Bleach) or Zero (Megaman X series) at this day and age? And as if you don't have enough, he does amazingly rough, imposing and downright intimidating characters like Gaius (Tales Of Xillia) or Berserker (Fate Zero)? Need more elegant individuals? Perhaps the demented Isaac (Date A Live II), the insistent Terra (Kingdom hearts:Birth by Sleep), the normally confused father Pegasus (Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai) or the classy as f**k Lee (Tekken series). Then we have Yakumo (Mahouka), somewhat of a pervy sensei that we can all love. 


Characters from left to right


1st row: Gaius (Tales Of Xillia), Byakuya (Bleach)

2nd row: Berserker (Fate/Zero), Pegasus (Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai)

3rd row: Yakumo (Mahouka), Isaac (Date A Live II)

4th row: Terra (Kingdom Hearts:Birth By Sleep), Lee (Tekken Series)

Center: Zero (Megaman X series)




Mamiko Noto




I freaking love this girl. She manages to make EVERYONE sound sexy, EVERYONE. Her voice is just so amazing for those clueless yet sexy characters. Yet, her voice is so unique and diverse...she can do ALL sorts of characters so perfectly, ranging from school girls to princesses to teachers and even villains. Lets start on the amazing characters that she voices. First things first, school girls. Most of them are sexy as hell, like Satellizer (Freezing), Reiri (Princess Resurrection) or Tiffany (Zero No Tsukaima). Speaking of Tiffany, another big busty elf she has under her sleeve is Fil (No Game No Life), who probably acts and speaks a lot like Tiffany does too. Himegami (To Aru Majutsu No Index) is just plain old stoic, Noto's take on a Kuudere type character, very much like Hecate (Shakugan No Shana). While Oshizu (To Love Ru) is probably her more comedic take on a high school girl. Cordelia (Valkyria Chronicles), is as good as any as a princess, while Benten (Uchoten Kazoku) is probably a little bit of a villainess. Yukihime (Nanana's Buried Treasure) is a little bit of everything, though she does sound a bit more mature for this character.


Characters from left to right


1st row: Tiffany (Zero No Tsukaima), Satellizer (Freezing), Cordelia (Valkyria Chronicles)

2nd row: Oshizu (To Love Ru), Fil (No Game No Life), Yukihime (Nanana's Buried Treasure)

3rd row: Hecate (Shakugan No Shana), Reiri (Princess Resurrection), Himegami (To Aru Majutsu No Index), Benten (Uchoten Kazoku)




Satomi Satou




So, after going through all of the original "K-on!" voice actresses (Aki Toyosaki (Yui), Minako Kotobuki (Mugi), Yoko Hikasa (Mio) and Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa)), we're left with the last one, Satomi Satou, who, which you could have guessed, is Ritsu (K-on!)'s voice actress, and for your info, Ritsu is my favorite girl among the bunch, so I'm kind of upset that Satomi Satou isn't getting as many roles as all the other "K-on!" girls. That doesn't mean she isn't awesome, she's got a lot up her sleeve. As far as helpless damsels in distress, she's got the young Kanoe (Dusk Maiden Of Amnesia), Matoi (Phantasy Star Online 2), and Mizuki (Mahouka). Then she has the intimating Nana-senpai (Golden Time) and the very pissed off Lazaris (Tales Of The World:Radiant Mythology 3). Manami (Oreimo) is kind of a very two faced girl who turned out to be a final boss (its a pun with her, deal with it), while Chitanda (Hyoka) is pretty much just....KIRINARIMASU.


Characters from left to right


1st row: Kanoe (Dusk Maiden Of Amnesia), Nana-senpai (Golden Time), Lazaris (Tales Of The World: Radiant Mythology 3), Matoi (Phantasy Star Online 2)

2nd row: Manami (Oreimo), Ritsu (K-on!), Chitanda (Hyoka), Mizuki (Mahouka)




Mai Nakahara




Another girl that deserves a lot more recognition than she lets up. Mai Nakahara has an almost angelic voice, and she uses it well in all of her characters, which are fairly varies from one another, showing off her versatility. School girls? She's got it down by being in touch with her inner student with Mai (Mai-Hime) and Ayano (Mekaku City Actors). If you need some kuudere action, Ichihara (Mahouka) and Felli (Chrome Shelled Regios) qualify nicely. How about a little boy? Yashiro (Uchoten Kazoku) works. A cheerful, jumpy girl who can hold on her own? Morgan (Tears To Tiara) does that nicely while being sexy. A happy-go-lucky troll elder sister? Haruno (My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU), check. A naive, princess like character? Estelle (Tales Of Vesperia) ain't even mad. How about a battle hungry, sexy purple haired alien with a french accent? Mii (BRS: The Game) has it down EASY. Then we've got the legendary Rena (Higurashi), who just wants to cut shit and laugh like an insane maniac.


Characters from left to right


1st row: Morgan (Tears To Tiara), Haruno (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU), Yashiro (Uchoten Kazoku)

2nd row: Mai (Mai-Hime), Rena (Higurashi), Estelle (Tales Of Vesperia), Ayano (Mekaku City Actors)

3rd row: Ichihara (Mahouka), Felli (Chrome Shelled Regios), Mii (BRS:The Game)




Saori Hayami




Hayami is another one of those rising star seiyuus. Ever since her debut, she's been getting more and more roles....and recently, she just exploded into popularity with a TON of great characters under her resume. Just...just LOOK at all those girls! School girls? No problem! What kind of school girls do you want? Happy go lucky naive ones like Musubi (Sekirei) or Leia (Tales Of Xillia)? Tsunderes? Come on, she loves tsunderes. Just look at Haqua (The World God Only Knows), Yuno (MM!) and Ayase (Oreimo)! Kuuderes? Not a problem. Tsurumi (Anohana) sort of counts, but Yotsugi (Monogatari Series) and Yukino (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU) are wonderful at that. Hsien-Ko (Darkstalkers) is just a cheery, chubby zombie girl. And of course, the star character in her list: Miyuki (Mahouka), aka the hardcore bro-con ONI-SAMA fanatic crazy frost queen /shrine priestess....she's just a goddess, albeit a little bit too obsessive. 



Characters from left to right


1st row: Musubi (Sekirei), Haqua (The World God Only Knows), Yukino (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU), Leia (Tales Of Xillia)

2nd row: Yuno (MM!), Tsurumi (Anohana), Yotsugi (Monogatari Series), Hsien-Ko (Darkstalkers)

3rd row: Miyuki (Mahouka), Ayase (Oreimo)





Peace.



Opening Songs
OP 1 - Cupid Reviews (Aoi Yuki)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Rubi:Wake (YELL)

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice Of Life

Episodes: 12




I'm honestly somewhat tired of high school romance comedy animes, especially those that don't bother to try anything new. Sure I've given positive scores to plenty of similar anime in the past, but that's because I was still rather "new" to anime at the time, almost anything impressed me. Now that I've seen so much, its arguably harder for me to become "impressed". Still, back on topic. "If Her Flag Breaks" is another one of those millions of generic high school romance comedy animes that try to do something different. Honestly, it works for the first few episodes, even managing to become somewhat entertaining with the protagonist's unique ability.  However, it just goes downhill after the halfway point and tries too hard to become something that it isn't. "If Her Flag Breaks" just ends up as one of those harems that you'll try to like, but because of it trying a LITTLE bit too hard (and with its overabundance of throwaway characters), its just something that you'll watch once, get a few laughs out of it, enjoy it for what it is, and then you'll never look back at it.




Yay, its another one of those.


The opening song is "Cupid Reviews" by Aoi Yuki, and as you'd expect, its another one of those cheery and happy-go-lucky opening themes. Its great for the first few listens, but after awhile, it gets old....and overly cutesy to boot (not to mention that the opening animations seem a little bit too lazy at times).  The ending theme "Rubi:Wake" by Yell, is the better song here. It may be a somewhat generic ending theme, but its catchier and arguably more energetic.



Rating: 7.0/10



By no means is "If Her Flag Breaks" a bad show, no it most certainly is not. It actually starts off good and the first few episodes legitimately piqued my interest. The main character seemed interesting enough, and it even planted some false hope in me that there MAY actually be some proper romance in this anime! Well, turns out its all just buildup for Souta's massive harem, when plenty of girls pop out of nowhere and start liking him for the most stupid reasons...just like most harems do, just that in here, its quicker and the amount of girls build up WAYYY to quickly. To top it off, other than like, 3 of the girls, most of them have close to 0 development throughout the show, and have NO impact whatsoever. Plus, the story goes from interesting, to somewhat over exaggerated later on. This one is just an opinion of mine, whether or not you like the overblown story during the ending episodes, it up to you to decide.



Its a dude. Seriously.


The story stars Hatate Souta, your everyday run of the mill high school student with problems. He has the ability to see and alter flags, special things that only he can see that appear on the top of people's heads. Altering a flag state will alter how a person's life will play out. On his first day of his transfer to Hatagaya academy, he saves a man's life from an accident, through breaking his love flag. A girl named Nanami sees this and remembers his face. When he is finally introduced to his class, Nanami instantly recognizes him. Souta, thinking that other people who try to socialize with him will only end up with a difficult life of misfortune, brushes off all attempts of friendship with other classmates by breaking their flags. However, Nanami doesn't have a flag, and she blatantly calls him out, saying that she doesn't like his face. Seeing how Nanami acts differently from the others, Souta agrees to get acquainted with Nanami, however, he doesn't know that there are plenty of clouded female individuals who want to "shoot" for his love (for no reason).


"If Her Flag Breaks" is one of those shows you watch once and just forget about it. The experience midway is pretty good, but this is one those shows that falls very close to being "crappy" for me. It still entertained me, and fortunately, it ended before it got too out of hand. When all is said and done, it just feels like another run of the mill harem anime, with nothing too special about it. Of course, that means that if you still dig harems, "If Her Flag Breaks" can still be a good experience.



Peace.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Valkyria Chronicles 3: Extra Edition

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.5


(+) Pros: - Incredibly in depth strategic/RPG turn based gameplay that's the best in the franchise thus far, - Story is the darkest among the 3 games, - Interesting squad mates, - Improved customization with new "Master Table" mechanic and giving all squad mates the ability to switch between all classes, - Great variety of maps, stages and mission types, - Split paths in the campaign leads to branching story routes and different levels, - Very, very lengthy game with a massive load of content.

(-) Cons: - 3 games in and the AI is still inefficient at times, - Main campaign is padded quite a fair bit with plenty of throwaway missions.


Gameplay time: 60 hours +









Alright, so this is probably one of my last PSP games (still waiting on that "Sol Trigger" and "Digimon Re:Digitize" translation, come on) before I move onto a VITA....and hell, its one of my most anticipated games on the PSP. Because SEGA wasn't ballsy enough to localize an English version of "Valkyria Chronicles 3", us fans had to painstakingly wait for a translation....and thank the stars, the folks over at the VC3 translation project wordpress  went over and did all the VC fans around the world a justice that should never be forgotten. They translated the entire game from scratch to English for the world, and damn did they do a fantastic job (its almost like a professional English release with its current version, though I'd say it still doesn't beat the "Danganronpa" english translation). So after that, I immediately dived into the game as a hardcore VC fan....and that was it. I never left my screen, and played on for hours. As a VC fan, I must say that this is THE most improved version of "Valkyria Chronicles" that we would ever get, and if there was an installment of the series that would have the most content and features, it would be "Valkyria Chronicles 3". Its a shame that most of the English speaking audience would miss this one out, because if you've enjoyed the first 2 VC games, you'll be sure to love the hell out of "Valkyria Chronicles 3".



Instead of playing a sequel with the story taking place after that of "Valkyria Chronicles 2", "Valkyria Chronicles 3" takes us back to the time of the great Gallian/Imperial war. It tells the story of a certain squad. While the Gallian militia went out and fought the imperials, gaining all the glory, not a word was spoken  about a certain squad that worked behind the scenes. This squad was always doing the undercover, dirty work. This squad would always take the one extra step to ensure victory to the Gallian military. Without this squad, Gallia would not have won the war...this squad is "Nameless", a squad filled with criminals and convicts. They are treated worst than even the lowest of ranks of soldiers, because of their mostly criminal personal. Kurt Irving was a model soldier, being a top graduate from Lanseal academy, his military life was already laid out for him. But one day for no reason, after winning a crucial battle for the military, he was branded a criminal for treason, and was sent to "Nameless". Wanting to uncover the truth, he fights as the captain of "Nameless", guiding the group of criminals and convicts to victory, and eventually trying to prove his innocence.



Storm the front!

If you haven't known by now, "Valkyria Chronicles 3", being the 3rd numbered sequel to the franchise, is a turn based/strategy/third person shooter/RPG hybrid. Its style of gameplay is one of the most unique ones out there at the moment (closest I can think of is "Xcom", but even that doesn't take as much skill as VC), and its very easy to get hooked to it as a first timer. If you want an in depth explanation, read my previous 2 reviews of the games before this one, because while improved, "Valkyria Chronicles 3"'s gameplay flow, mechanics and system remains mostly the same. You take control of units on a big scale map, move them to kill enemy units, take objective points, so on and so forth. "Valkyria Chronicles 3" follows the footsteps of "Valkyria Chronicles 2", where battles take place on multiple mini maps rather than a single, big one like in the very first "Valkyria Chronicles".


As for the changes from the previous game...the class system has been reworked. No more hunting for certs like madmen (thank GOD), instead, there's a hidden EXP meter for each character that fills up every time you use them on the field for something meaningful, like capturing a base, or killing an enemy unit. Plus, no more branching out to different classes like before, after advancing your first stage in a class, you'll be promoted to veteran, followed by elite. Because of this, some sub classes have been removed (like Mauler, Mortar, Commando etc), but most of these weapons that these old classes that use to have were streamlined so that the primary classes can still use them (Fencers can use hammers to kill tanks). The game also makes your main protagonists more powerful (thus giving you more reason to pick them), with all of them getting special commands that use SP, a new resource in the game. You can activate Riela's Valkyira powers, granting invincibility, have Imca shoot everything in the map at once, or have Kurt move multiple units with a single CP. All of these new, special abilities allow for more strategic breakthroughs....or in some cases, just letting you experience what its like to be a badass.




Riela...Riela all the way. You gotta feel for this girl!


Now let's talk story, which has always been one of the series' stronger points. While VC 2's story wasn't exactly the most inspired, it had its own share of good moments. In VC 3...the story here is the darkest of the 3 games, showing how the good guys aren't always...good. Even the Gallian government has a corrupt side, and it goes to show that you can't always trust the good guys. I'd put VC 3's story equivalent to that of the original VC's, but in a different way. Of course, for a good story, you'd need an interesting cast. Fortunately, like in VC 2, most of your "Nameless" squad mates in VC 3 are really well fleshed out, each with their own specific character missions so that you can find out more about them. Each with wildly varying personalities, the members of "Nameless" can be really entertaining, and they are arguably the "best" squad to be with out of ones in all 3 games in the series. Be it Felix's shonen hero tendencies, Gloria's constant bragging about her experience coming with age, or Carisa's narrow minded mindset where only money is involved...there's never a dull moment in "Nameless". Its too bad though that most of the newly unlocked squad mates that you get as the game progress do not have much say during the main story cutscenes.



If you've played the old VC games, you'll remember something unique to every single squad mate...potentials. Needless to say, potentials are back in VC 3, and they're more accessible than ever. While every character has their own set of character potentials (both good and bad), since every character can now switch to every class, and EVERY class has their own set of class based potentials...there's a lot to be had here. Plus, with the new master table system, the game allows you to unlock EVEN MORE potentials just by mastering multiple class potentials. Since your characters now have an extra potential slot to allow you to put in any potential you mastered previously from a class that you used, you can think of the best combinations that will let your character come out on top.




Enemy scouts again? *Sigh*


As with most VC games, VC 3 throws all sorts of missions at you as you progress through the strategic maps. Some missions require you to capture a certain amount of enemy bases, or just to capture the enemy's main base. Some require you to kill a certain boss unit, or kill off all enemy units in the map. Some just require you to defend your base camp for a certain amount of turns against a ridiculous amount of enemies, or you might be tasked to make sure not a single enemy walks past a certain imaginary line (I f**king hate those missions). There are special exceptions for some story related missions, like destroying generators for a boss tank or making a last stand to defend a gate against massive amounts of imperial troops (I loved that level).


Unlike in VC 2 where maps were HEAVILY reused in free missions and story missions alike, VC 3 has a great variety of maps, bringing over maps from VC 1, VC 2 and adding in some new maps of their own as well, giving the huge amount of missions some much needed variety (it really sucks to look at the same f**king valley/mountain level over and over), and strategy, since different maps have different terrain, weather, vision conditions that make tackling them somewhat strategic at times, you can't just rush everything head on.



Yo, get the f**k off my APC!

Another new present feature in VC 3 is the fact that there are branching mission paths in different chapters. Since missions are now selected in a war map format, you can go for different strategic locations on the map, and going by that one direction will mean disabling another different direction for your squad. Meaning if you play route A, you can't do route B, or vice versa. Its a good way to encourage replay value, since you can only play the missions that you didn't take after you cleared the game, and some of these missions will provide different story outcomes or different cutscenes, though honestly, most of them won't effect your game ending except for the final few decisions during your final chapter. 


That said, there is a massive amount of content in this game. The chapters are really long (albeit, padded quite a fair bit) if you decide to play EVERY mission in EVERY chapter. Then you've got the character side missions that unlock as you use said character enough times, then you've also got the DLC missions included in the game (this is the extra edition that comes with the DLC missions)....yeah, that's a lot to muscle through if you can stomach that many missions (I count at LEAST over 100 missions WITHOUT replaying any of them). 




Buzz off Carisa, you greedy girl.

What does VC 3 suck at? Well, typical VC stuff apparently, because even after 2 full blown games they didn't do much to improve the AI in VC 3. I hesitate to even say that it's improved at all, because honestly if the AI really stepped it up, many of my victories would have been losses. Soldiers spend multiple turns walking circles around the map, doing nothing. They stare at walls, some SHOOT at walls. Fencers walk up to you and DON'T attack at times. Tanks fire their machine gun turrets at your tank, instead of their cannon, and effectively do no damage at all. Many questionable decisions....but at least the bosses are (slightly) smarter and actually do some f**king damage. While the game is fairly varied in its missions and maps, the main campaign is padded quite a fair bit with throwaway missions which usually just lead to cutscenes and more throwaway missions. Its like the objective in a chapter can be solved in just 1-2 missions, but the game just throws you 2 more while they're add it to make the game longer (sound familiar?). Its lazy padding, since most of these missions are easy or have been seen before.


VC 3 is the "best" and most improved out of the 3 "Valkyria Chronicles" games. But is it the most enjoyable? Its debatable. While the system is tweaked to be improved and the game does churn out a few of its flaws from its predecessors (except for the AI, which still sucks), its ultimately more of the same, great game. It doesn't stray too far off from its roots, and Sega takes the safe thing of making it stay that way. If you loved previous games, you'll love VC 3, but just don't expect anything too ground breaking...no massive overhauls here. It also means that if you never a fan of these types of games, VC 3 does nothing new that will suddenly convert you into a fan. As it stands though, its still a massively fun game that ate over 75 hours of my life.






Nameless Baby!


Happy gaming!





Opening Songs
OP 1 - Trust In You (Sweet ARMS)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Day To Story (Kaori Sadohara)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi

Episodes: 10




You all know I love "Date A Live", so the 2nd season finally being out made me one happy man. Finally after over a year we get to see Shido and more spiritual girls go at it with the art of dating and sexual harassment. Presented with 2 brand new arcs this time round, we'll get to see more of what we did in season 1, and depending on your outlook of things, that's exactly how this second season of "Date A Live" is going to be. Its going to be more of season 1, though arguably, this second season is slightly more draggy since each arc is about half of the entire anime (not that I'm complaining). This second season is only 10 episodes long, which is pretty damn short, and a lot of characters from season 1 get a lot less considerable screen time here, which may not please some people. Still, not much needs to be said here, if you're a fan of the original, you'll like "Date A Live II" no problem!



New season, more girls.

The opening theme is "Trust In You" by Sweet ARMS, which is a pretty good song on its own, but I expected them to bust out another Iori Nomizu tune (she's pretty awesome). It still has that "epic harem" feel to it, while not on that big of a scale, the opening animations are also really well done. The ending theme, "Day To Story", to its credit, isn't a typical slow ending theme, but its nothing really special IMO.



Rating: 8.0/10



As I mentioned earlier, there's not much of a change to "Date A Live"'s formula in season 2. New spirits pop up (which are all girls for whatever reason), Shido goes to date them, successfully makes them fall in love with him, he seals their spirit powers and they become ordinary girls...nothing too new here. This is so they don't get hunted down by the ESP and potentially lose their lives. This was an interesting premise for a harem when it was first introduced, but they didn't do anything to change it here, which I can't complain about. It worked well in season 1, and it worked well here as well. All old characters are back, and they introduced new ones as well. Most old characters have significantly reduced screen time, and whether or not the new characters (which are getting all the screen time now) are good, its all subjective. Personally, I liked the Yamai twins but not so much with Diva. The action is still here and it remains pretty good, though that's not the main attraction of the show IMO. "Date A Live II" reused its old formula, and it reuses it well.



Yes...Kaguya...Yesssss.


Once again, the story stars Shido, the luckiest spirit dater teenage boy in the world, who works for AST, which his little sister is the leader of, to help tame spirits that magically appear out of nowhere. Of course, life goes on as usual for him, as he spends his life away with Tohka and Yoshino, he also waits for news from Origami about AST and Kotori about spirits. Things get crazy when he gets sent to a deserted island for a school field trip, and Shido sees two spirits duking it out in the crazy wind. The Yamai sisters, Kaguya and Yuzuru, codenamed "Berserk". With their destructive powers, things could get blown out of hand really quickly, so he stupidly decides to intrude on their fight. Before he knows it, both Yamai sisters are trying to seduce him in a competition. So with that, he has to conquer these 2 troublesome girls. Kind of suitable, don't you think?



With the conclusion of "Date A Live II"'s 10th episode, you can only wonder if they didn't have the time or budget for a proper 12-13 episode release. Its okay though, because at the end of everything, a movie was announced. I'm not sure if this movie is going to be about Natsumi (the latest spirit in the light novels), but I sure hope that its not a remastered compilation of the first season or something. It better be a proper sequel, or I'll be one disappointed fan.



Peace.