Hardship Duos

Shana And Yuji

No matter how you look at it, Shana and Yuji make a great pair (sorry, Yoshida fans, but that's how it is), but the road to get where they were at the end of the anime...that's the rough part. It took a whole lot for these 2 to finally get together, even being on the different sides of the battlefield, crossing swords, and even having Yuji kidnap Shana to his fortress during a set amount of time. If crossing over to the side of evil and having all Tomogahara at the grasp of his palm isn't enough to make you shake your head, I don't know what is. Yuji went through a whole lot just to get Shana's recognition. Sure it was kind of far fetched on his part, and somewhere along the line, he just went a little bit overboard. Still his love for Shana remains, and you can't deny that. Their final moments on earth before they set for Xanadu confirms that Yuji was still thinking of Shana all this time.

Taichi And Inaba

Inaba and Taichi didn't start out well together. In fact, they were nothing more than friends, and almost everyone knew that Taichi had the hots for Inori. Inaba supported their relationship, but even then, we knew that she had problems letting go. When her true emotions were awoken, she tried to seduce Taichi, and there were many times where she broke down in front of him. She felt that he was the one that she could turn to, and while Taichi did like her to some extent, he was still in it for Iori all the way. It took a lot for Inaba and Taichi to grow to one another, and when Inori finally dropped the ball, it was time for Inaba to step in. She really came a long way though, from becoming a kid to getting kidnapped by a bunch of jerks. I think she deserved to get along with Taichi more than Inori did, but surely enough, we all have our share of feels for Inori as well.

Banri And Koko

Linda deserved to be with Banri, that much is somewhat true, but to some extent, I'm kind of happy that he ended up with Koko. They went through too much by the end of the series to not deserve a happy ending, and during the moment at the end when Banri lost all his memories and forgot about Koko, a little bit of me died. They went through so much, starting off as regular friends and then Koko slowly falling for Banri...everything seemed too good to end with just a shitty memory lost plot device. The two had arguments that seemed silly, they had different thoughts and beliefs, Koko even broke up with him at one point because she found out about his memory disorder. And we can tell, Koko was suffering as she did it, she LOVED Banri to no end, and we're all sure that Banri loved Koko as well. For all that they managed to overcome as a couple together, it'd be a f**king waste for Koko not to end up with Banri.

The What Ifs 

Ryoshi And Ryuko

This is one pairing that I really support (and I'm still pissed that neither of them are in "Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax"). Ryuko is a super attractive tsundere flat chest, and Ryoshi is a super shy stalker esque young man that likes to admire his girls from behind. By context, this is a horrible combo, but for a girl like Ryuko, Ryoshi is actually one of the best guys that's a fit for her. Think about it, considering her past, Ryuko is a weak girl who only acts strong on the outside, she needs a man of opposite demeanor to compliment her. Ryoshi is strong inside, but really timid on the outside. He watches her back, he'll stand up for her no matter what, even going head to head against Shiro when he knows he's in a severe disadvantage. Even though its highly implemented that these 2 are going to be together, its never confirmed in the anime. What we did get though, was Ryuko saying that she doesn't hate Ryoshi. In the war of tsunderes, that counts as a win.

Touma And Misaka

Need I say more? Misaka is the best girl in the "Index"/"Railgun" meta-verse, and its only deserving that someone like Touma should get the best girl. I mean come on, these 2 are already HEAVILY implied that they're going to be together, even in the light novels. Its clear as DAY that Misaka holds feelings for Touma, especially after the clone incident with Accelerator. Before that she already had some sort of feelings for him, but it skyrocketed to insane amounts after he saved her AND 10000+ Misaka clones that were waiting to be slaughtered. Touma has done a lot of good for many girls, but none more than Misaka. He trusts her to some extent, and regards her as a good friend....which is not enough. Come one Touman, you got this, get the girl, she wants you so bad!

Shido And Tohka

I personally love the living hell out of Kurumi as a girl, and god damn, she's definitely the hottest out of all the girls. However, that being said, Shido should just end up with Tohka already. With so many girls to choose from, he's got so many options, but Tohka is probably the one that deserves it the most anyway. She's been with him the longest out of all the spirits, she's the one who probably genuinely loves and understands him the most. She gets EVERYTHING, from being in the same class as him, living under the same roof, etc etc. Plus, she's kissed Shido the most, and I do feel that Shido wouldn't mind taking care of the adorable, defenseless Tohka for his entire life. Just don't go cheating on her with Origami and we're all good, Tohka is so freaking adorable, you can't ever say no to her.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Moving Soul (Minami Kuriyabashi)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Two By Two (Yumeda Koha)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Episodes: 10

So the time has come once again. At the end of the first season of "Fate Illya", we got a teaser of what seems to be a confirmation of season 2, which is what we have here. "Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei!" is what its called. Despite its ridiculously long name, quite a lot has changed in this second iteration. There are a lot less fights, there's a new major character, and a lot of time is spent on this new girl. If you ask me, its a lot more of a character building season , which can get kind of boring and/or cheesy at times, since the fights are a little less interesting than those in season 1. Does that make it a bad run though? Nope, far from it. You'll feel for our newly added Kuro character, and as more of her character becomes fleshed out throughout the series, she easily the best character in the show. Definitely a worthwhile addition, if they intend to keep her for the long run (looks that way).

Fate lolis have never been this badass.

The opening theme is "Moving Soul" by Minami Kuriyabashi. Considering that there aren't many opening songs by her nowadays, "Moving Soul" is a good song, though its not really much better than most of the songs that she's done in the past. The ending theme, "Two By Two" by Yumeda Koha, is a standard affair of a slow paced ending theme without anything to write home for. Not my cup of tea here.

Rating: 7.5/10

As the story in the "Fate Illya" universe keeps going on, you can only notice a few things in this season. Things are definitely a lot more peaceful here. Without the treat of the servant cards going berserk, there's not quite much danger that our heroines are in, except for Kuro, a new character that's introduced in this season. As mentioned earlier, by the end of this season, she's easily my favorite character, since she brings such a sassy personality into the fray and mixes things up quite a fair bit. As far as character development goes, this entire season is dedicated to Kuro, and a little bit of Illya. There's a lot less in terms of interesting battles against really badass opponents. While the previous season had 3 really good fights, this season only has one, and its right at the end (it spans over 2-3 episodes at least), which I guess makes for a good finale. All in all, its more or less what we got in the first season, with more characterization and less action.

Never a dull moment with these 2.

Its been a month since Illya became a magical girl with Miyu. With all the servant cards successfully
captured, here's no longer any threats out there that would require their magical girl powers. With the cards out of the way, Rin and Luvia were instead tasked to inspect the ley lines, new instructions from the order. During their inspection, something goes incredibly wrong, and Illya was forced to activate her Archer class card to protect herself. Incidentally, when she reverted back to normal, another version of herself, with more tanned skin, appeared right beside her. Her goal is to kill Illya, and she never really states why. With her being smarter, faster, and more unpredictable, who knows what Illya has to do to get out of this one?

So this second season did pretty well IMO. At the end of the series, a 3rd season was teased. With more to solve on the horizon, I can safely say that I'm actually looking forward to this season 3, more than I did when this second season was teased during the end of the original. Let's see what Illya and her friends can cook up next time.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fire Emblem:Awakening

Gamespot Score: 8.5 (Great)

My Score: 9.0

(+) Pros: -Great story that's easy to follow, - Simple, yet addictive gameplay, - Visually impressive battles, - Incredibly amount of depth to relationships and character customization, - Addictive class system, - Diverse characters, - TONS of content (even without paid DLC).

(-) Cons: - Too easy on default difficulty

Gameplay time: 40 Hours +

I know I'm really late on this game, and god knows what I've been missing out. "Fire Emblem:Awakening" is known as one of the best games on the 3DS, and I can see why. I was really reluctant to pick this one up, because I've never played a single "Fire Emblem" game before. Luckily, even for a newcomer like me, "Awakening" was f**king amazing. It does so much right in one game with almost no wrongs at all, and from a newcomer's perspective, there's is SO MUCH that the game has to offer. Almost so much to the point where I could not put the game down for weeks straight. For the strategic SRPG market, its safe to say that "Fire Emblem:Awakening" is currently one of its strongest contenders, right next to powerhouses like "Valkyria Chronicles" and "Xcom".

The story puts you in the shoes of Robin, an enigmatic mage who's also a tactician. The beginning sequence of the game has you playing as Robin with a man called Chrom, who is the prince of Ylisse, the kingdom that you're fighting for. Chrom claims to fight against "Destiny", and you're both pitted against a sorcerer known as Validar. Little is known at this point, and when you both take down the vile sorcerer, Robin seemingly betrays Chrom at the last minute and attacks Chrom, under the assumption that Robin was manipulated by Validar when he was slain. Of course, with the cliffhanger in mind, the game transports you to the present, where Robin awakens in the middle of a plain, and is taken into care by the very same Chrom, and his little sister Lissa. What lies in store for the amnesiac Robin?

All right...here we go.

The "Fire Emblem" series is a SRPG series, that much you should at least know, even from a newcomer's standpoint. Its a SRPG series with a lot of choices for your character though, know that your character has quite a few chances to alter the game's outcome in terms of story and gameplay. And holy damn the story. For a first timer like me, I never expected such a good story! I mean, it is rather cliche at certain points, but all in all, it was beautiful, especially dialogue between characters (Lucina's speech with Robin as her mother when she was threatening her almost brought tears to my eyes). The best thing of it all? You don't have to play any of the previous "Fire Emblem" stories to get most of it.

So you start off the game creating "Robin", the default name for your avatar, which is the character that you're going to use to represent yourself. You have multiple options here, but the most important thing is Robin's gender. Being a male or female in the story can change a LOT of things, especially in the romance and parenting department. Its highly recommended that you play the game twice, just for the experience, as both genders. If you want to play once and be a completionist, I suggest female Robin, just saying.

Sumia! You can't make your feelings any more obvious!

As mentioned earlier, this is an SRPG game. It shares the very same feel that games like "Final Fantasy Tactics" or "Tactics Ogre". You stand above a playing board, with all of your units displayed out in spaces on a grid. During your turn, you move your units around, attack enemy units, and when its the opponent's turn, they do the same. Like most SRPGs, the game play here is simple to learn, its addictive, but its also deep to a certain extent. When attacking other units, stats come into play, like strength, magic, skill etc. Faster units strike more times in a single attack, more skillful units dodge more and get more critical strikes. Stronger units hit harder, units with more defense take more PHYSICAL attacks.

Whenever you attack an enemy in "Fire Emblem", they strike back at you. Also, know that if you're playing classic mode (you should), characters die for real when they fall in battle, which means that every decision you make in battle actually counts. You will think before having one of your units attack a strong enemy unit. There's a simple rock paper scissors system in this game to help get you started. Swords beat axes, axes beat lances and lances beat swords. There are also other factors to take into account, like how flying units are weak to bows, so on and so forth. Just so you know, magic dominates everything, and I do think that they need to tone magic down a fair bit.

Ready to take the pain?

And whenever you attack an enemy, a battle animations plays out. I have to be honest here, for a 3DS game, the battles look pretty damn good. They fully crisp in 3D (though I must admit, do NOT turn on 3D for this game, or any f**king game for that matter), and the different styles of attack come into play here to make the game look more diverse. Sure, for most melee battles, its just unit after unit of hitting each other with a sword or an axe, but when skills activate, or when you critically strike an enemy, that extra flair that's added to the visuals make everything look more impressive. Also, the battle animations sometime take too long, so its a good idea to speed things up a notch, unless you're keen on stacking up the play time.

For battles in "Fire Emblem", characters that are paired up with one another or just stand close to each other in the battlefield will sometimes help each other out. Be it assisting in an attack, blocking an incoming enemy attack, or just being there to provide buffs. As you do this more often, the characters build support points with one another, and they get to know each other more. When these characters build support points to a certain level, you will unlock support conversations between one another. These can go up to a few levels, and the more of these support conversations that you build between each other, the better they help each other out when paired up again during battle.

Some parental love here I see.

Of course, if you keep going this way, and the characters happen to be of the opposite sex, can you guess what happens? Love happens, of course. This is how characters get married to one another in "Fire Emblem". And when characters get married, they get kids. Considering the insane amount of characters in this game, there are a crazy amount of possible pairings that you can actually create. Yes, since characters aren't "canonically" paired with one another through the story, you get to choose who marries who. You can do this purely out of your fantasies (I still think Lonqu is the best fit for Miriel), or you can do this the way the game wants you to. As you pair characters with one another for marriage, they pass down stat attributes and skills to their children. Taking into consideration what your desired child actually WANTS to learn or inherit...making children in "Fire Emblem" can be serious f**king business.

Then there's the class system, which you can spend HOURS playing around with. Sure, its not the most complex thing around, but its still incredibly fun to experiment with what kind of skill set you can cook up. Basically each character starts off with their own class, and can switch into a set of classes that are available to them from the start. Basic classes promote into advanced classes, and as you level up in a class, you gain skills. You can change to any class available to you as long as you hit some pre-requisites. Its one of those games where you can get a Knight's skill on a Sorcerer, or an Assassin's skill on a Sage. Its just a matter of grinding for them skills, but if you've got the perseverance, you can create the ultimate team of bad asses that will NEVER f**king die to anything.


If you even need a reason to care for your characters, don't fret. Each and every single character has a personality of their own, in conversations between other characters. You never know how someone is going to react when they've been confessed to, or when they confess to somebody? How is someone as crazy as Henry going to treat his kids? Would Cordelia make a good wife? You will care for all, if not most of your cast enough to grind them up, have them pass down awesome skills to their kids and make for a big, bad ass family.

Then there's also a shit load of content without counting the paid DLC. Paralogues allow you to solve problems outside of the main campaign to recruit new allies. As mentioned, there's the experimentation of the skills in the class system. There's also additional content via spotpass, where you get to fight against "Fire Emblem" characters of old, and even try to recruit them into your army when you demonstrate your strength. There's SO much to do, and when you've felt like you finally need a real challenge, go challenge Priam and his 50 man squad.

Yes please. Hell, f**king yes. Note: I chose Sumia as my wife for my male character.

There's nothing much that's bad about "Awakening", actually. Since this is my first "Fire Emblem" title, its difficult for me to compare it to previous titles and see where it hasn't improve (or gotten worse).  What I can tell you, however, is that if you play on Casual, there's no risk involved. You can play as nonchalantly as you want and the game becomes a breeze, because in all honesty, even on classic, the game is TOO EASY on normal mode. Even if you need to weigh your options carefully, its not difficult to get through the game without a single death, as long as you plan ahead. If you want a more "fulfilling" experience, hard mode works, though you should prepare yourself to spend even MORE time on the game.

"Fire Emblem:Awakening" is an amazing game. Its easy to see how its one of the most well regarded titles on the 3DS, even today, more than 2 years after its release. The amount of depth in its game play, the class system, the support system, and the crazy amount of content just makes this game a blast to play. And you'll be having a blast for a pretty long time too. Now I'm kind of hyped for a new "Fire Emblem" game, if they ever decide to make one (I'm sure they will, considering how well this game did).

Happy gaming!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Bore Metal (M3:The Dark Metal review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Re:Remember (May'n)
OP 2 - Replica (Maaya Sakamoto)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Ego-izm (La La Larks)
ED 2 - Sable (Nano)

Genre: Drama, Horror, Magic, Mystery

Episodes: 24

"M3: The Dark Metal" was just one of the shows that I wanted to end, so bad. As if that isn't an obvious enough opening statement, yeah, I don't like "M3", at least, not enough for me to "pass it off" as decent. There's quite a lot of things this anime does wrong, or poorly, or ridiculously. For whatever it does right, its completely written off by its wrongs. Don't get me wrong, "M3" does have its positives. The animation is pretty solid, mecha designs are great, and it has a nice voice cast...unfortunately, its just not very f**king interesting or intriguing. The times where you are supposed to get "the feels", you just feel awkward. The times where you are supposed to sympathize with the characters, you just don't. This anime at many times is just SO F**KING BORING. And overly serious, let's not forget that. There are NO redeemable characters, the story shows SOME promise at first but then derails into the most depressing, "I don't give a flying f**k" thing ever. Even if you are a mecha nut, there's just not much reason to get into this one, seriously.

Yeah, have a go at these characters. Not too interesting
at first sight? Don't worry, they stay that way throughout.

You can tell that they were trying to go all out here, JUST with the opening songs alone. "Re:Remember" is one of May'n's darker and more serious songs. Honestly, its great, and it fits the dark theme of the show, definitely one of my preferred songs from May'n to date. The second opening is "Replica" by Maaya Sakamoto, and yes, since it IS Maaya Sakamoto, I'll just go ahead and say that this is another great opening song. Its not her best work, but considering how long I've not heard a song from her, it does well enough.

They didn't even let up the ending themes. The first ending is Ego-izm by La La Larks. Its a decent song, but what's really amazing here is the 2nd ending theme, which is "Sable" by Nano. For one, its a pretty damn addictive and badass ending theme. It could easily take the place of an opening song, since I'd say that its about as good as the two opening themes.

Rating: 6.0/10

If you don't know, anything below a "7.0" by my standards is pretty bad. I'd call "7.0" a decent score, so a 6 to me is below average. As I said, its not like "M3" is totally unbearable, its not. I actually watched through the whole damn thing (why else would I be here), with a stoned expression throughout. Two major, glaring issues with this anime. One, the plot is just riddled with f**king bullshit. I just could NOT stand the way the anime gets rid of certain characters, and so conveniently at that....FOR NO REASON OR EXPLANATION. And the final showdown? Its nothing short of a gigantic "wtf", that's all I'm going to say. The mecha action is average, and the Corpse is a really cool enemy, but that's about it. The second major issue is the characters. Oh, my, god. I could not STAND most of these kids. Their personalities are so freaking plain and unnoticeable, just like paper and plastic. There was NOT a single interesting character here, and let's admit it, for the most of the anime, most of these kids are downright hate-able. I'm not even joking.

Akashi? WTF IS WRONG WITH THAT GUY MIDWAY THROUGH THE ANIME?! Emiru? Maamu? They only become likable after 75% of the anime, by then you've lost a good deal of interest. Heito? F**K HEITO. Sasame? Meh. Minashi? Oh god why (to avoid spoilers, I won't say a thing). Raika? Iwato? I'll admit, they were the only two I could stand, but their relationship progress was just way too weird.

Ah yes, I f**king despise these two.

The main character  is Akashi, aka generic high school kid with a sad past number 1592. Ever since the parting of his brother many years ago, he now lives on as a student with his brother's old girlfriend, Kasane. He is enrolled in a school meant to train mech pilots to combat against the darkness that has swallowed the world years ago. The departed will become demonic beings and wage attacks against humanity, which in turn, forces more of them to appear. The infected are plagued with black crystal, as the slowly devour their body. The best of research companies managed to locate 8 individuals who will be said to be able to save the world from this crisis. Without prior word or warning, Akashi is selected as part of these 8 to take part in a different training regime, where he, along with 7 others, have to bond with one another and pilot a new series of mechs. The first one is known as The Reaper, Argent, and it chooses Akashi as its pilot.

"M3:The Dark Metal" isn't fun, intense or very action packed. In fact, even as a semi-depressing kind of anime, it just lacks all the important factors to make it interesting, like good characters or at least a semi-functional plot. If you really want to watch this, just go for "Valvrave". Its more light hearted, its almost the same shit (high school kids, robots), it has more grand scale battles and a better story.
"M3" just doesn't please anyone, I'm surprised its actually getting a Vita release.


Golden Time

Sorry that she didn't get the guy she wanted.

Even though I do support the Koko x Banri pairing, I still believe that "Golden Time" would have went to shit long ago if not for Linda. Correction, I may support Koko x Banri, but Linda to me, is the best character in the show. If the entire anime were to be described as a "LoL" team, Linda would be the support that makes all the plays, because I can't count the number of times she has saved Banri's hide from going down the drain.

Before Banri lost his memories, Linda was his best friend. She was the girl that he confessed to, she was the girl that Banri LOVED, she was the girl that he was ready to entrust everything to. She was EVERYTHING to him...of course, then he had to go and have his accident, losing his memory and all. So that meant that when Banri moved to Tokyo, Linda already had a head start before everyone else, she knew Banri inside out, even though he lost his memories. Whatever problems Banri was going to have in the future, she had the remedy for it all.

Every time Banri loses his shit, who does he go to? Linda. Who comforts him when he has problems? Every time is feeling down, who does he go to? Every time he wants to ask for professional advice...who does he go to? The answer is always Linda, actually, and if you actually see how she acts as his emotional pillar of support even though she knows that his heart now belongs to Koko...its a little bit disheartening. You gotta feel sad for her sometimes, and you can only wonder...what if Banri never lost his memories?

Hitsugi No Chaika

When do I get to kill shit?!

There are quite a few great characters in "Hitsugi No Chaika" (I could have chosen Akari or Toru, they're both pretty awesome), but at the end of the day, I'm just going to have to give my favorite character slot to everyone's adorable loli dragon, Frederica. She's the easy way out for Toru's team, just because well, she's a mother f**king dragon. If she ever decides to go all out, she'll decimate any and every foe Toru's team comes across, but of course, she doesn't do that. We have to keep things interesting, after all.

Frederica's back story is pretty saddening: her master, one of the previous heroes who defeated the demon lord, passed away. As her dragon, she decided to honor her master's image, and decorated her mansion filled with portraits and sculptures of her master. As if it wasn't enough, she disguised herself in her master's image. Of course, when she learnt to let it all go, she decided to follow Toru's group, following his promise that he will some day face her again in combat.

Despite being an adorable little loli dragon girl, she is of course, not something her opponents can sneeze at. At any time she wants to, she can turn into a massive dragon and do whatever she wants with her pine sized enemies. Step them, pick them up, crush them...anything she wants. And with her being so snobbish all the time, she's just nothing short of kawai. The best thing about her is that she's a drifter. She doesn't pay attention to Toru and the others too much, and only interferes if she really needs to, or mostly when Toru begs her to. Oh yeah, she can change how she looks like too, pretty fancy.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure:Stardust Crusaders

Yes, I can!

So Avdol is probably the sexiest, most egoistic and also the most glorious, badass, black man to ever be represented in an anime, TO DATE. He just doesn't give a f**k! He's the most cautious of the group, and acts as sort of an elder brother figure to most of the characters, constantly warning them of dangers/risks of certain actions. In that extent, he excels and f**k Polnareff for being the immature ass that he is when Avdol was just trying to be nice. Of course, even when he DOES die, he doesn't, that's just how fabulous this guy is.

Avdol is only so badass because of his contrasting personality. Most of the time he's this calm, rationale person who's always advising the team, other times he is a cocky, smart aleck "I told you so" bastard when he destroys his enemies. He is also shown to be merciful, when he first fought Polnareff, he admired Polnareff's sense of knighthood and chivalry, thus sparing him from burning to death, after hearing Polnareff say that "it would be disgraceful to not get burned by the flame, that which you spent so much effort to conjure and hammer onto me".

Avdol's Magician's Red is a very powerful, fire based stand. That said, it is only fire based, so even though its destructive power is incredibly high, there aren't many situations where using it would be practical. Well, he IS smart, so usually he can work around the flaws of his abilities. And then there's the scene where he FAKED being dead just so he could trick the other stand users, then appeared at the last second to f**k shit up and save Polnareff (once again). I must say that his reappearance scene was just MAJESTIC.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Rising Hope (Lisa)
OP 2 - Griletto (GARNiDELiA)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Millenario (Elisa)
ED 2 - Mirror (Rei Yasuda)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance, Magic, Science Fiction

Episodes: 26

So...yeah. You all know how I adore these types of animes with these kinds of settings. A school where kids attend to hone their supernatural abilities, or anything that's along that line. I absolutely love these types of anime, but lately, there have been too much disappointments when it comes to the "high school combat" genre ("Seikoku No Dragonar", "Blade Dance Of Elementals", "Trinity Seven", just to name a few). None have managed to capture me as much as a show like "Index" managed to do...that is, until I met "Mahouka". Never have a I found myself so engrossed into an anime of this genre AGAIN, since "Index" and MAYBE "Strike The Blood" (must be a Dengenki Bunko thing). "Mahouka" brings out the style and the substance that it needs to both visually impress and tell a good story. There may be some issues, such as the overly bloated character cast with too little time to develop all of them (there are plenty of throwaway characters), or maybe the occasional bore here and there due to the over complicated lore explanations (basically too much talking too little fighting). But! All is good in the land of "Mahouka'. If you require your dose of high school life with a little bit of blood, magic and intense scenarios, "Mahouka" will be sure to entertain you.

Ah yes, at least its not another harem.

They kind of went all out for the opening and ending themes here. The first opening theme is "Rising Hope" by Lisa, and hell, its been awhile since I was so entranced by a Lisa song (the last one was "Oath Sign"). Instead of her usual fantasy themed songs, we get one where she kind of goes crazy and tries to rock us out, which if you ask me, sounds great. The second opening theme is "Griletto" by GARNiDELiA, which is also a pretty good songs by their standards (not a huge GARNiDELiA fan). Its hits harder and faster than most of their songs, which may or may not fit "Mahouka", as its a rather slow paced show.

The first ending theme is "Millenario" by Elisa. Well, its been awhile since we heard from Elisa, but from what I can tell, "Millenario" still sounds pretty similar to most of her older songs, moderately paced, mid-tempo alongside her strong voice. The second ending theme is "Mirror" by Rei Yasudo. Honestly, its rather catchy, especially the starting few seconds, and it only gets better throughout. IMO, its the better ending theme of the two.

Rating: 8.5/10

I might be a little bit biased here. Hell, maybe I am, but I honestly think that "Mahouka" might possibly one of my favorite animes this year. Its certainly one of the more "complex" high school animes out there, with A LOT of depth in its lore, as well as having A LOT of characters. Sure, most of these characters aren't fleshed out too well, because lets be honest, even if its 26 episodes long, it isn't quite enough to elaborate and develop such a massive cast (don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to "Mahouka for having a huge cast, its been awhile since we've seen such a diverse cast of characters). There may also be some segments that might feel a little bit too "boring" for certain viewers, because there's a lot of science and politics involved in "Mahouka"; there's going to be quite a bit of talking. Other than that though, the fight scenes are superb, the overall feel of the show is fairly consistent, and the arcs are well represented. They do the light novels justice but cutting out as little content as possible, and honestly, this is a fantastic run. Tatsuya may be a little bit of an overpowered character, but hey, I like my main characters to NOT be useless.

Tatsuya knows his way around the ladies.

The story stars the sibling pair, Tatsuya Shiba and Miyuki Shiba, as the protagonists. Both enroll into first magic high school, a place where only the best of the country's magic users are trained. Because of its competitive nature, the school's student population are split into two halves, the better halves are known as the course one students, the "Bloom"s, and the lower halves are known as the course two students, the "Weed"s. Miyuki, having superior results in her entrance exams, enrolled as a "Bloom", while Tatsuya, having rather poor average results, enrolled as a "Weed". There is a clear discrimination between "Bloom"s and "Weed"s in first high school, and of course, Tatsuya is a source of discrimination by the "Bloom"s, especially because Miyuki is a highly popular "Bloom" student and she always hangs out around Tatsuya. Of course, Tatsuya chooses to keep a low profile, until he is scouted by disciplinary committee. With nothing to lose, Tatsuya accepts, and little does he know, he is about to impact the school in a way that no other student has ever done before.

"Mahouka" is easily one of the most interesting, intriguing and exciting animes of 2014. There's a lot more to be shown here than it did, and I can safely say that we haven't seen the last of Tatsuya. After all, "Mahouka" was quite a big hit, and we can all see why.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.5

(+) Pros: - Massive world filled with strange atrocities and exciting loot, - Tons of content to keep you playing for a long time, - Great value, - Co-op with friends is extremely fun, - Tons of fun bosses.

(-) Cons: - Tutorial sucks hard, - No built in multi-player modes.

Gameplay time: Stupid (87 hours for me)

"Terraria" is a really stupid ass game. There's really nothing more I can say about it. Its so f**king stupid, that you'll get hooked on to it as you laugh about it. You'll say this and that, then before you know it, you've already dumped 10 hours into the game. Yes, its that engrossing. Its one of those games that'll probably destroy you for the first few hours, then after you've got the hang of it, you'll start to lose yourself. "Terraria" gets extremely addicting, extremely fast, and its damn hard to pull yourself away...even harder when you're playing with friends. You'll never want to stop playing, you won't want to stop digging, building your house, chopping for wood, anything. There's just SO MUCH TO DO, and you'll likely want to do EVERYTHING before stopping. Unfortunately for you, "Everything" in "Terraria" is going to take you a long, LONG time.

Yeah, you can really go crazy in building your ideal home.

There's no story in "Terraria", so I'll jump straight into the game. "Terraria" is an open world, sandbox experience. There is no immediate goal in the game, except for one thing: survive. Right off the bat you're thrown into a world with nothing but a very unclear NPC that does a bad job at explaining what the game is about, with slimes and wild rabbits jumping all around trying to kick your sorry ass. Of course, starting off the game as a noob with nothing on you, you soon come to discover that even killing your everyday garden variety slime is tough. Then when zombies start appearing at night, you know you're f**ked.

Depending on your player experience, "Terraria" can be different kinds of games overall. For your standard casual player, having to die only means losing some money. Anything above that immediately turns the game into a terrifying, survival experience, as dying makes you lose ALL your items or deleting your character permanently. Ouch, that f**king hurts. That only further pushes the fact that you should try NOT to die, and the game becomes a lot more intense....and also a lot more rewarding as you farm for loot.

Whoever thought that going to hell was a good idea, is a f**king dumbass.

And speaking of loot...oh damn. That's basically the heart and soul of "Terraria", that's all the game is about. Throughout the entire game, you'll be building a house out of wood. How do you get wood? Chop trees. You use blocks to build tiles. How do you get blocks? Mine the ground. Everything is based of collecting, and this includes equipment that you either craft from hard earned ore, monster bones, or from a sweet ass chest that you found while exploring some deep, underground ice cave. "Terraria"'s world is massive and filled to the brim with nonsense. Move horizontally and you'll find yourself in jungles, deserts, corrupted wastelands, and if you go far east or west, you'll see the ocean, where sharks and flying fish demon reside. Try digging downwards and you'll find caves, underground tunnels, frozen cravens, forest shrines, lava, and the lowest layer, hell itself, where demons and bullshit lie EVERYWHERE. You want to go upwards towards the sky then? Okay, you can find yourself some floating fortresses, where harpies and dragons will try to devour you whole, or perhaps reach into space, where falling from that height will explode you into a thousand bits.

Needless to say, this game is EXPLODING with different kinds of environments, and each one has its own unique monsters, materials to harvest from the environment and badass loot. It takes a lot to explore in this game, and you'll spend a lot of time getting proper armor to advance into further areas, not to mention gathering resources to sustain/upgrade your home so that NPCs can visit more often. From copper to iron to silver to gold, upgrading your stuff counts, and from regular walking, you'll soon start triple jumping or even flying as you find better materials to craft new shit. Between exploring, killing monsters, looking for items or just trying to run for your life, you'll be spending LOTS of times traversing through different environments.

Dragons, son.

Co-op is a blast, and I spent my whole time in this game on co-op (not ashamed to admit it). You can send multiple people exploring/hunting for loot, others stay behind to cultivate materials, and have a couple of people watch the house. There are plenty of ways to have fun together, and one of those ways...is the boss fights. There are plenty of bosses in "Terraria", and while the battle is fairly simple and straightforward, its always a blast to fight bosses. They are huge, they hit hard, and they have varying designs. Its too bad though that most of these are just a matter of trading hits. If you have sucky armor/equipment, you are bound to die. Either that or you are under-manned.

Other than that, the game has a horrible way of teaching you how to play. There is no effective tutorial other than the guide at the start (which does a HORRIBLE job), and that there's no effective multiplayer mode in the game. To start a match together, you have to either do some port forwarding, or download a third party program like Hamachi. While this doesn't directly hurt the game, it definitely sucks to not be able to play with one another with just a few button clicks in game.

"Terraria" doesn't have a lot of depth in its game play, but it definitely makes up for it with its massive amount of INTERESTING/WELL MADE content that can keep you glued to the screen for hours on end. For a game with such a low price tag (I got it for $1 during a steam sale, one, f**king dollar, and I spent 87 hours on it), you must be high if you think that its not a worthwhile purchase. I gotta say, this was the best dollar I've spent in my life.

Happy gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - The Game (Konomi Suzuki)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Oracion (Ai Kayano)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Episodes: 12

So here's to the king of blatant ripoffs. "No Game No Life" clearly takes a lot of inspirations from many sources, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. Its a mixture of some of the most brilliantly nonsensical logic in anime, and its only further amplified by some really well done scenarios, a lovable cast, and an incredibly interesting world with TONS of possibilities/potential. If you're the kind to enjoy main characters who overwhelm their enemies by sheer intelligence or strategic thinking, instead of brute force, "No Game No Life" is perfect for you. With so many crazy elements and traditionally favored otaku cultures present in this anime, it's sure as hell going to appeal to the general otaku audience (mostly guys though). So without further ado, let's jump into the world of gaming (literally)! Just prepare for some crazy, mind-f**k worthy shenanigans, because this shit never lets up.

Hehe, Shiro is queen, her word is absolute!

We're going to need a fitting opening song for such an awesome show now, aren't we? Luckily, "The Game" by Konomi Suzuki is a pretty sweet track. Its got all the sick synths and fantasy that you need in one song, that pretty much perfectly describes the entire anime. The ending theme however, is kind of generic and disappointing. For an anime about total dominance via knowledge and instinct, "Oracion" by Ai Kayano, the seiyuu of Shiro, is kind of uplifting and somewhat inspiring, which is something I didn't expect from "No game No Life".

Rating: 8.5/10

I loved every moment of it. Not going to lie, every single moment of "No Game No Life" was enjoyable for me. The cheesy fan service, the rom-com situations plastered all around, the quirky dialogue and most of all, the lovable characters. I like almost every single character introduced in this series (except Clammy, probably)...and for good reason. As with all good character casts, the cast in "No Game No Life" is widely varied in terms of looks and personality, because of the nature of its world. We've got angels, beast kin, humans, elves and more. All of them act differently as they should, and while there isn't much in terms of direct action, there's a lot of great, well written scenarios featuring the "game" sections. While there really isn't a lot of death and destruction here, there are plenty of situations to feel badass because of Sora and Shiro's intellect of games. Its a different kind of badass, which is completely fine with me.

Aha, nice one Shiro.

Sora and Shiro are probably two of the biggest problem children to have ever existed. The siblings are massive gamers, so good at games that they aim for the top at every game they play. They are by far, unbeatable in ANYTHING that they have participated in. Be it MMOs or single player games, the 2 are always at the top of the leader boards under the alias "Blank". Of course, being addicted gamers, they tend to live sorry, anti-social lives in the real world. One day, they were invited to play a game of chess by a certain "god". After winning, the god asked the pair whether they want to get out of their shitty world, and enter a brand new world where there are only fun games. Needless to say, they agreed, and they were both transported to the Disboard, a world where games decide the outcome of everything. No wars, no bloodshed, only games can prevail all. In a world with 16 races known as the Exceed, and with Sora and Shiro being ranked at the very bottom, they have only one purpose. To climb the ranks, and challenge the god of games, Teto. Because "Blank", never loses.

"No Game No Life" is full of unexpected and incredibly interesting situations. Its unfortunately too short for me to become really engrossed in it, because if it was longer, I would have really fallen in love with it. Here's to hoping we'll get to see more of Sora and Shiro's nonsense, because really, there's a lot more to them than meets the eye, and we haven't seen all of it.


Opening Songs
OP 1 - Butterfly Effect (Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - A Hazy, Secret, Certain Future (Sphere)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Supernatural

Episodes: 11

Why is it that all the good stuff has to be so f**king short....

"Nanana's Buried Treasure" is an oddball. I haven't quite seen anything like it, not quite yet. Its an anime about treasure hunting. Yes, f**king treasure hunting. Of course, there are similarities to other animes here and there (I once again find myself comparing another anime to "Index", because it has some things that are SHOCKINGLY familiar), but for the most part, "Nanana's Buried Treasure" manages to stay something that's its own. Its unique sense of adventure combined with a semi sci-fi setting makes for a rather interesting experience, filled with likable (albeit somewhat weird) characters that don't rely too much on the common modern day stereotypes. It does however, suffer from the usual abrupt ending and an even SHORTER length than most animes, coming in at only 11 episodes. I know good things have to come to an end....but come on, this is just saddening, especially for something so refreshingly fun to watch.

Well. the cast sure is colorful.

The opening song is "Butterfly Effect" by Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku, which is a little bit underwhelming for an opening song. Its a little bit "catchy", to say the least, but the song quickly becomes too repetitive IMO and falls out of favor in a few episodes. The ending theme isn't much better, its "A Hazy, Secret, Certain Future" by Sphere, and its no secret I hate slow paced songs without much tempo, this ending theme surely falls into that category. Props to Sphere for not trying to be cutesy for once, but its still not my type of song.

Rating: 8.0/10

There's really quite a lot to see here, whether or not you've seen many different types of shows. "Nanana's Buried Treasure" is unique, that much I can guarantee. Sure, it has similarities to certain other shows, but overall for just its main premise alone, it scores high. Being an adventure themed anime set in a sci-fi esqued academy city like establishment really hit the mark. The potential for this world is HUGE, and while it sets a semi-dark tone with its story, its complimented really well with hilariously varied character along with funny dialogue. Don't worry, there are plenty of times where things get somewhat serious, and those moments are pretty badass. That said, this is primarily an ADVENTURE anime, and while the anime mostly sticks to that, there are some great action oriented scenes. For the most part, the adventurous "Nanana Treasure Hunt" segments are intense, exciting, and full of fun. Too bad though since the anime is so short, we only get to see so much. Plus, points for Daruku, I LOVE traps.

Nanana has an excellent taste in games.

Yama Jugo looks like any other horny high school kid on the outer surface when you look at him. Nope, nothing suspicious at all. Because of family issues, he moves to the highly technologically advanced Nanae island to further his academic pursues. Of course, everything is normal, even when he decided to move to his new lodging. After making an agreement with a sexy landlady by the name of Maboro Shiki, he moves into his room, only to find another girl in there. Mistaking it for a wrong room, he leaves to complain to his Shiki, only for him to find out that it actually IS his room, and that the girl is a ghost who is inhabiting it. Jugo has no choice but to accept, since he already made payment. Right off the bat, the ghost, who introduces herself as Nanana, decides to have a match with Jugo, to decide who gets ownership over the room. Of course, with no real way to defeat a ghost, Jugo is instantly defeated. Instead of sulkily moving away like a loser, he listens to Nanana's story, and decides to find out how she was murdered, which no other occupant of the room has ever accomplished thus far.

 "Nanana's Buried Treasure" is a hidden gem. Even if the premise of treasure hunting in a sci-fi city setting doesn't sell you right away, its still an anime worth trying. Its definitely one of the most "fun to watch" anime around, and with its constant pursue for more interesting/intense scenarios, there's a lot to go around. Give this a shot, even if it doesn't immediately appeal to you at first.


Monday, 3 November 2014

Metal Gear Rising:Reveangence

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.2

(+) Pros: - Simple, fast paced and incredibly fun combat system, - Visually impressive on most ends, - Great sense of speed, - Blade Mode is simply an amazing mechanic, - Superb boss fights, - Character progression for Raiden is done well in the story, - VR missions and other small side activities prolong the experience.

(-) Cons: - INCREDIBLY short, - Repetitive environments.

Gameplay time: About 5 hours

Okay, first things first, I need to get a few facts out of the way. This is my first "Metal Gear" title, and I don't really care for what some of the die hard "Metal Gear" fans say (some of them REFUSE to accept "Revengeance" for having the "Metal Gear" name on it). Why so? Because "Metal Gear Rising:Revengeance" is a damn good game. Yeah, it may not be the usual stealth affair that most "Metal Gear" games aim for, but its a f**king spin-off guys, it doesn't NEED to follow the formula. As a hack and slash 3rd person action game, "Metal Gear Rising:Revengeance" delivers, and there's no doubt about it. It provides an excellent combat system that's easy even for beginners to pick up and an incredibly unique Blade Mode mechanic that's unlike anything ever done in a sword game. I feel that whether or not you like or have played any of the "Metal Gear" games, "Revengeance" is just something you need to try for yourself.

Instead of ol' Solid Snake, "Revengeance" brings us into the boots of Raiden, a cyborg who has been working for a PMC, and has took it upon himself to helping the prime minister of Afghanistan rebuild his war torn nation. In just 2 years, they have made remarkable progress in both repairing the country, and defending the prime minister. Things go terribly wrong when a rival PMC known as Desperado show up, using their own brand of cyborgs to throw Raiden's group into disarray. Raiden tries to fight back, but fails. The prime minister is killed, and Raiden is defeated by an opposing cyborg known as Jetstream Sam, a sell sword with a very bright personality. After losing his eye and hand, he is reborn with a newly improved cyborg body, setting out for revenge against this PMC group.

Raiden can not only use a sword, you know.

Being a third person action game similar to the likes of "Devil May Cry" or "Bayonetta" (which Platinum also made), you know that "Revengeance" is going to be full of...well, fights. Raiden runs around areas and then enemies pop up, barring you from advancing the stage. Then you proceed to murder them in true cyborg fashion, before you get to move on. Its a rather simple premise that you see everywhere in these action games. So, what does "Revengeance" bring to the table that's unique and/or different from the other games in the market.

For one, the combat in "Revengeance" is pretty damn good. Its consists of your standard affair: Raiden has two kinds of attacks, light and heavy. You can hit them in rapid succession, or combine the two to form some fairly simple combos. You can knock enemies into the air for air combos, or sweep them off the ground for extended ground combos. Additionally, while there is no dodge mechanic in the game, Raiden can run around extremely quick with his own Ninja Run, which also allows him to deflect minor projectiles. He can also parry enemy attacks, which is a key technique that you'll need to master, since you'll be spending ALL your time on close combat, you're going to need to learn how to parry properly, and fast.

Oh, I do love me some spines!

Besides those, Raiden can also use secondary weapons that he picks up during stages, like rocket launchers, grenades or mines. Those are rather minor, but can help in a pinch. Raiden's arsenal seems limited at first since he only has those basic moves and his sword, but rest assured, you can vary up your moves by purchasing new attacks for either Raiden's sword, or for weapons that you've obtained through defeating the various bosses. Combat looks absolutely fantastic, with Raiden chopping up enemies into bits after defeating them. It feels satisfying to cleave an enemy into two, especially with Blade Mode (more on this later). Besides that, most of Raiden's combos look impressive, especially if you've bought many different moves to combo into. Be it destroying terrain in the midst of your attack, or simply sending your enemies flying as you constantly swing your sword, everything feels damn satisfying.

What's truly satisfying however, is the unique Blade Mode that's introduced early in the game. Its your primary source of execution and health regeneration throughout the whole game and DAMN does it feel good to use it. You see, other than your normal health bar, Raiden has an energy meter, which pretty much serves as the sole reason for you to use Blade Mode, since its the only thing to ever consume energy. Blade Mode slows time, allowing you to strategically cut the enemy body, dealing damage and severing off body parts. If you aim and cut an enemy cyborg's hand, it goes off. His leg? It goes off too. Everything that you decide to cut WILL get cut. And at the end of it all, when you've cut the specific "sweet spot" that's marked up for you, you get to grab the enemy's electrically energized spine, which Raiden will consume to heal him completely. Sound gross? Don't worry, its not as bad as it sounds. Everything happens so quickly, so you won't really get to see the specifics. But I can tell you something, the way that Raiden does it is badass.

Midair combat 30 stories high against a helicopter? Yeap, that's intense.

"Revengeance" is filled with intense moments throughout, be it exciting chase/escape sequences, exciting QTEs to take out a massive enemy/obstacle, or of course, the boss fights. These are EASILY the highlight of the game, and probably the one thing that kept me so glued to the screen as I sat through the entire game in one sitting. I eagerly anticipated boss fight after boss fight, because the first one was already so well done. Fortunately, most of these guys are equally spaced apart (except for the final 2-3 bosses), so I could do some of the ACTUAL game play in between.

Boss fights, whether or not you're facing a gigantic hulking juggernaut of a UG or an opposing augmented cyborg like Raiden himself, are simply wonderful encounters, especially the latter. All bosses require their own strategy to defeat, and each have their own attack patterns to memorize. On normal difficulty, you can beat most of these guys in about 1-2 attempts (minus the final boss), which is rather...underwhelming, to say the least. I'd at least try the game on hard to have even more epic boss encounters. Most bosses have multiple forms or sequences in a single battle, making the battle even more epic and cinematic. Halfway through the fight, they constantly talk down on you, which adds up for a more thematic experience. You get thrown off a platform, a single fight can drag to many areas, all while still fighting the same boss. You'll also have to use Blade Mode to stragetically cut at some of their weak points, which IMO, is a smart way to implement the mechanic into a boss.

Let's dance!

The game also offers some VR missions along the way in between stages for some minor distraction. While they don't really do much to immerse you into them, they do provide some much needed down time in between levels. During missions you can also check your log for some calls from your friends. While these are mostly throwaway tidbits, it can be cool to see what some of your team mates have to say. I mean, you even get to see a different side of Raiden when he tries to communicate with his friends, be it in a funny or serious topic. Especially as Raiden's personality goes through so much changes throughout the story, its nice to see what new stuff he has to say to those dear to him.

Tutorials aren't a must. They're quite boring if you aren't slicing a
woman's clothes off anyway.

There's really not much holding the game back other than its length. For a full priced game, its pretty freaking short. It may not be as short as a standard COD campaign, but its about 5 hours for a single play through, including the VR missions and call logs. That's quite pitiful, but then again, it IS a score attack based game, and unless you intend to play it multiple times, you should know what you're getting yourself into. There are also a serious lack of environments, but really, that's just the game's lore playing into effect, since most of the world is roughly more of less the same (urban areas).

"Revengeance" may not be the "Metal Gear" game that fans have been waiting for, but its a damn good spin off for action lovers to crave over. The unique Blade Mode, fun combat, excellent boss fights and more, make this a game that you'll have to experience, even if its just once. There's a lot to like in "Revengeance" as long as you give it a chance. Here's hoping to a sequel, because I can't wait to see more of what Raiden can do.

Happy gaming!