Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Anime Talk - Sibling Rivalry

Ragna & Jin

Technically from a game (I mean, duh, "Blazblue" IS a fighting game), but since it got an anime, I'll make an exception this time around. Ragna and Jin used to love each other as normal siblings would in the past, but things changed when Saya, their sister, grew sick. Ragna dedicated himself to take care of Saya, and stopped playing with Jin. Jin, being the unreasonable brat that he was, decided to try and kill Ragna when he was possessed by Terumi. He chopped off Ragna's arm and left him to die, and that was the last Ragna saw of Jin, as he disappeared into the NOL.

Meanwhile, Ragna was resurrected by Rachel as a demi-vampire-human badass. He swears revenge on the NOL. He trains under Jubei, then goes on a journey to f**k shit up for the NOL. He meets Jin on multiple occasion, who has become someone completely different. With his twisted love still remaining for Ragna, he believes that his only way to recompensate for what he did as a child...was still, to kill Ragna. Time and time again the 2 butt heads, and in the CP story, even when they were supposed to work together, Jin STILL wanted to get a good cut out of his brother. These 2 just never stop, and I doubt that will ever change.

Shinku & Suigintou

Sisters made by the master doll creator Rozen, the 7 Rozen Maidens were to do battle with one another and take each other's Roza Mystica, so that they can be deemed as the ultimate and perfect doll. While its easy to deem the entire anime itself as a massive orgy between 7 doll sisters, nothing beats the rivalry between the 2 flagship dolls of the series, Shinku and Suigintou. Shinku, the 5th doll, was known as one of the smartest, calculative of the sisters, while Suigintou, the first doll, was made to be the most human like, possessing a sadistic and cruel personality. The 2 never liked each other from the start, and they constantly went at each other's throats.

Shinku tries to avoid as much conflict as possible within her sisters, Suigintou STRIVES to kill and bathe in the blood of her sisters to collect her Roza Mysticas. Shinku fights with rose petals and Suigintou with her deadly black angel feathers. Both are very different and see things VERY differently, but still, they ARE sisters, and you can tell. When they're not fighting together they usually spend time doing rather similar things, and throw the occasional smart ass remark at one another. At least for Suigintou's case, you can see that she still cares for her master (she looks after Megu all the time).

Adam Blade & Adam Arclight

Two brothers that were created to be the perfect Needless, Blade and Arclight were nothing more than experiments made by power hungry scientists. The Adam project, the Adams were experiments, nothing else. There were a ton of them created, but very few were actually successful. Other than Blade and Arclight, there was Saten. Other than that, there were very little else. They may not be blood related, but they were created by the same people under the same circumstances. As much they hate it, they're related.

Blade is one of the main protagonists of "Needless", while Arclight is the main antagonist of the show. How fitting is that? Anyway, Arclight is wanted dead by most of the needless around the world because of his tyrannical rule. Blade however, is just a random priest who INTENDS to someday take down Arclight. Both have the ability to memorize the abilities of other needless, which adds to some crazy shenanigans when they do battle. It all boils down to who memorized the better abilities and who has more abilities, and as expected, its an insane fight.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Orange Mint (Saori Hayami)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Border (Claris)

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural

Episodes: 1

So instead of getting another full blown season of the beloved "Monogatari", we get another one time screening event similar to the likes of "Hanamonogatari" (which I might add, was one of the best things that ever happened to the series). "Tsukimonogatari" further relishes more of the story for us, this time focusing on a character that has never gotten her own ark before: Ononoki Yotsugi, the kuudere loli doll like character that we've seen from time to time. She's made regular appearances since her debut in "Nisemonogatari", but we don't see too much of her to the point that she's considered one of the series's main characters. Anyway, here we are, with an entire ark dedicated to this adorable, emotionless, indestructible little girl. Can Shaft's insane art style and the crazy story telling of the "Monogatari" make Ononoki a character that we'll all come to love? Will her ark stand out like the others? Let's find out.

The loli dream

The opening song is "Orange Mint" by Saori Hayami, who is the seiyuu for Yotsugi. Surely, she sounds different in this one, which is right since the song IS for Yotsugi, a character shrouded in mystery and question marks, yet still remains as a girl who likes to fool around. It fits the character, and while I'm not too big of a fan of the actual song itself, I'd say that its a good opening theme...for this ark at least. The ending theme is "Border" by Claris. Now, this is the NEW Claris, without one of its former members (they used to be a duo, but one of them left to further her studies or something). Well, they might have lost some of their old groove, but "Border" is, by heart, a Claris song. It sounds similar to what they have done before, and this one has a more cheerful undertone, which I do enjoy quite a fair bit.

Rating: 7.5/10

I'd like to say that "Tsukimonogatai" was as great as the recent "Monogatari" arks, but I'd actually be telling you a lie if I said that. Sure, its a standard "Monogatari" ark, but that's all that it is. There's not much of a "climax" here like these arks usually would have. Sure, the lore is there, explanations are solid as usual and the sexy onee-chan character is back (Kagenui is awesome), but there didn't seem to be a lot of..."character" in this one. Ononoki might not be the most interesting character ever, and I'm sure that I enjoyed Kagenui's company more than Ononoki's for this long episode. The focus shifts back to Araragi, and its actually great to see him back in action after not taking the lead for so long (Kaiki's arc was so amazing that we completely forgot about Aragagi, Kanbaru handled "Hanamonogatari" masterfully). Still, while he's an entertaining character as always, I'd rather see another one of the side characters take charge, because its always nice to have a different perspective (I'd kill for an arc where either Meme or Gaen takes the lead role). "Tsukimonogatari" works, but its not as amazing as the previous arks were.

Having a heated bath with your little sister then kissing her? Now that's wack.

As mentioned earlier, for "Tsukimonogatari", Aragagi takes the charge once again as the main character. He goes around his usual daily routine, and somehow ended up taking a bath with his little sister Tsukihi. As they wash and grope each other in the bath covered in soap and bubbles, Aragagi notices that his reflection does not show in the mirror. To not let any of his sisters find out, he sends them on a slumber party at Kanbaru's house...but somehow all of them ended up being kidnapped, Karen, Tsukihi and Kanbaru, all together. Panicking, he tries to ask Shinobu, but she recommends seeking an expert's opinion about this. Meme's still out of commission, Kaiki is out of the question, so he decides to contact Gaen. Before he could do anything, Gaen gives him information to seek out Ononoki, who happened to be meeting up with Kagenui.  Aragagi was turning into a full vampire and he had to stop using his powers so care freely, and it seemed that the girls were all kidnapped by a man named Tadatsuru, an outcast occult expert. Aragagi has to work together with Ononoki, to stop this crazed man and save his sisters.

"Tsukimonogatari" starts and ends as a very standard ark for the "Monogatari" series. It doesn't execute very wonderfully nor does it do anything too spectacular for it to be donned as another amazing entry in the series. Instead, it does what it usually does, giving us an ark about a character that's honestly not very interesting, but manages not to screw it up. That by itself is a merit. I'll wait to see what they can pull off next, because the series is not quite over yet.


Amagi Brilliant Park

Let's be honest, they are basically one cohesive unit.

There are plenty of characters to like in "Amagi Brilliant Park", ranging from the almost kuudere Sento Isuzu, the insane animal mascots to the narcissist Kanie. However, the characters I liked the most were the 4 faeries. Muse, Sylphy, Kobori and Salama are absolutely wonderful as characters, and while individually they don't really stand out too much, its when these 4 are together they shine the brightest.

I personally loved the episode where the 4 of them had to work together to cover for each of their weaknesses the most. These girls have explosive personalities when put together: One girl who's always trying to cheer on the rest of the group (though she might be a bit annoying to others unknowingly), a dimwitted happy-go lucky girl, one who's always trying not to screw up, and one who doesn't really give two f**ks about anything, but still tries not to drag the others down.

My personal favorite is Salama, but I'll have to give credit to the rest of the group as well. Sylphy's hilarious, and Kobori's quite adorable. I'd say that these 4 really deserved a lot more screen time than they initially had, and while the rest of the characters shared an unbreakable bond of camaraderie between each other, these 4 really take the cake for being the most tightly bond.


Oni-sama, bitches.

Tatsuya is one hell of a badass motherf**ker. I've probably said it over 9000 times, but this guy ignites my inner shounen so f**king hard because he's seriously just THAT awesome. I mean, sure, he might be a cardboard kuudere character personality wise, but have you SEEN the shit that this guy pulls off? For a protagonist, what he's capable of is simply quite criminal, and its because of the stuff that he can do that I love him as a character. Not because of his personality, but because of how insanely awesome he is.

Tatsuya just does not give a f**k. He shows little emotion, but he does care quite a fair bit for his friends. He looks out for them and helps them at times, but nothing comes close to his love for his little sister, Miyuki. Have you seen him pissed off at the guy who tried to mess with Miyuki's CAD? Yeah, this guy is calm and collected the whole anime, and he destroys everyone. Imagine him pissed off trying to kill everyone...yeah, its not going to be a pretty sight. Just because he does not show much emotion does not mean that he does not FEEL for his comrades, that much is true.

Besides, Tatsuya is only the way he is because of the fact that he was tempered with as a child to become to ultimate spell caster badass magician of everlasting doom, they had to take out his emotions to input some awesome-juice into his brains. The only thing that was left was his love for Miyuki. I'll stop flaunting over his feats, I'm sure I've said enough in my "Overpowered Main Characters" post, the stuff that Tatsuya can do is not to be sniffled with. Most importantly, it's freaking amazing to see him do all these stuff. Still, I'll admit that it'll be nice to give him a worthy opponent, it's going to get old watching him stomp everyone.

Gatchaman Crowds

Hajime ~tsu

"Gatchaman Crowds" has some pretty sweet characters. Joe's cool, Pai's one awesome panda man, and OD is just swag as all f**k. However, we gotta agree that Hajime's just the most adorable, nonchalant, and likable high school girl to have ever existed in a long time. She's pretty much what I'd want as a female protagonist in an anime like "Gatchaman Crowds". She doesn't care, she puts violence as a second option, and because of that, her bright personality shines through as one of her best weapons.

When Hajime first joined the Gatchaman, she solved the alien problem by befriending one of their kind, instead of killing it and fueling their hatred. Because of her, she solved the problem of the otherworldly threats with ease. And also, with her bright personality, she brought flair to the team. While most of the moody, boring as f**k gatchaman members brushed her off as just another annoying girl, she managed to shine through some of them at first, at least. OD liked her from the start, and Sugune started to loosen up a bit since her arrival.

Of course, it was when Berg Katze found her interesting where things started to spiral into a whole new matter of things. She willingly put herself in danger to help others, and her crazy as shit plan to appear before the public and advertise the Gatchaman actually worked. It made the other Gatchaman members realize how important they were, and gave them something to fight for. I love Hajime, she's one of my favorite female high school girls in the current anime meta.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

We Are S-K-E-T! (Sket Dance review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Kako Warui - I Love You (French Kiss)
OP 2 - Michi (Sketch Book)
OP 3 - Graffiti (Gackt)
OP 4 - Message (Sketch Book)
OP 5 - Reboot (Everset)
OP 6 - Clear (Sketch Book)

Ending Songs
12+ ending themes

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery

Episodes: 77

"Sket Dance" was something that I never thought that I would have even bothered to watch. EVER. Its 77 episodes long, it looks pretty generic, and its a "Gintama" clone...or is it? Anyway, the point is that this would have been one show that I would be fine giving up, but honestly, I'm really glad that I didn't. "Sket Dance" is not only entertaining on most fronts with its great comedy segments, amazing character development and honestly rather interesting arcs, it also has some of the best emotional moments in a shounen anime, EVER. The feels are strong in this one, and I lost count of the number of moments that I came close to shedding manly tears. If you want a very well done high school comedy/drama experience with a variety of different character archetypes, then you very might enjoy yourself with this one. The only thing you need to put up with is its ridiculous 77 episode length, if you can deal with that, you're good to go. Then again, if you survived the likes of "Naruto" or "Bleach", you are more than good to go.

You can never get as tight as these 3.

Now since "Sket Dance" has like over 12 endings I won't be going through them. Instead, I'll do all the opening themes, which in my opinion, are mostly pretty damn good. The first opening theme is "Kako Warui - I Love You-" by French Kiss. Its my favorite of all the 6 opening themes, just because its so freaking catchy, it feels so amazing to listen to and it lifts my mood EVERY TIME. The upbeat rock rhythm and heavenly vocals just go so well together. The second opening theme is "Michi" by Sketch Book, and it just goes to show how great of a band Sketch Book is. For their opening debut song, Michi is strong, it packs a punch, it sounds very powerful, and I think its one of the best opening themes in the anime as well.

Next up we have "Graffiti" by Gackt, and not to discredit it for being a bad song (because its not), but its my least liked of all the opening themes. Its pretty hard on the rock and roll, but that's all its got, its not particularly memorable or catchy as compared to the rest. Then we have "Message", also by Sketch Book. This one is quite passive and a lot less outgoing, but its still a good song. It just doesn't have the impact of the previous openings, which hurts its standings. "Reboot" by Everset is the 5th opening, and because of my hard rock preference, this takes the cake for my second favorite opening. Its super catchy and super impactful, with the screams, the powerful drums and guitars. The final opening is "Clear" by Sketch Book, and this one is probably on par with "Michi", which means that its a great song. A suiting final performance by Sketch Book.

Rating: 8.0/10

I'll go out on a whim and say that "Sketch Book" is one of the finest things that Jump has created. Sure it may not be as explosive, action packed or visually impressive as some of Jump's most popular works, but "Sket Dance"  works for being one of the best character driven shows that I've watched in...quite awhile, honestly. With 77 episodes, you'd think they'd just be f**king around, but "Sket Dance" has some of the most interesting characters created in a high school setting, like, ever. They have ALL SORTS of interesting character archetypes, all that you can ever ask for in a high school. The sweeten the deal, "Sket Dance" is both strong on its comedic and emotional fronts, making it an anime with tons of moments for you to laugh, and moments for you to sheds manly tears if you ever need to. It may have some sub par animation and it's obviously not the most consistent of animes (some episodes are dull compared to others), but these minor flaws are worth surmounting if you want a good experience. The characters are just so likable.

Once again, I present to you: The 3 musketeers. 

The anime revolves around Kaimei academy's castaway club, the Sket Dan. They are the academy's helping hand club, its sole purpose is to help those in need when others can't. Its supposed to be a serious club where they do serious things, but honestly they became one of the laziest clubs in the school with almost nothing to do all day. One day, a transfer student known as Teppei enrolls into Kaimei, and as a sign of greeting, the Sket Dan choose to extend their hand of friendship to him. On that exact same day, they are attacked by the paint mask, a mysterious student who goes around dousing certain students in paint. Teppei is attacked, and the Sket Dan is targeted. They help Teppei, solve the mystery, and apprehend the culprit their own way. Teppei finds new hope being in Kaimei, and thanks the Sket Dan. They continue their legend of being the school's odd job helping club. Their names are Yuusuke, aka "Bossun", Himeko aka "Hime", and Usui aka "Switch".

"Sket Dance" was honestly one of the most enjoyable shows I've watched from Jump. Its a pity that it ended the way it did, because the manga was SUPERB, especially the ending. I hope that it gets another shot with an anime, because I really enjoyed it, and I've grown somewhat attached to the cast (anyone would, especially after 77 episodes).

Royal Rat Vanguard
HP: 1410
Skills: Bite, Lunge
Souls: 11000

Difficulty: 1.5/5
Deaths: 1

To get to "The Rotten", you'll have to jump down the huge hole back in Majula and access the catacombs. Go through the massive amount of rats and fake Pharos gates and you'll eventually run into your next boss. Will you deem it as a boss or not, I won't judge, but I can say this much, the Royal Rat Vanguard is a unique battle. Unique it may be, but its still just a f**king rat, head into this battle knowing that and you'll easily breeze through.

Look at all these rats!

When you head into the fog gate, you'll find out that there's no boss health bar. A music is playing, but there's no health bar, and there's no boss. All that we see, are f**king rats! The whole boss area is flooded with tons and tons of rats. While they individually pose no problem to you, when they gang up on you with such disgusting numbers, its actually quite possible for you to be taken down. There's no choice, take out the rats! Thin out your numbers and hold out, wait for your opportunity to strike, and when it presents itself, go crazy.

Bite - A simple bite attack, similar to the bite from normal rat enemies.

Lunge - A forward lunge, similar to the attack from normal rat enemies.

If you can't tell already, you're going to be battling rats and only rats for this boss fight. Rats will keep spawning into the map from everywhere, the ground, the coffins, the ceiling...EVERYWHERE. Your job is to survive, and as the rats keep pouring in, the boss rat will eventually appear...the Royal Rat Vanguard. This guy looks similarly to all the other rats, except that he sports a funky hairstyle. There is no indication to where this son of a bitch spawns from, so you'll have to keep a look out for him.

How do you know if he's showed himself? After all, all the rats look so same-ish. Simple, when the Royal Rat Vanguard makes his appearance, his life bar shows up. Yes, keep killing the normal rats, when the boss shows up, you can stop, and scan the area, look for the rat with a funky hairdo. Killing him immediately ends the boss fight, so he should be the top priority. Another way to figure it out is to just go crazy and lock on to every enemy. Normal rats have health bars on their heads, the boss does not. Either way, when you find him, his attacks are similar to all the other rat idiots that you've killed beforehand, so just treat him as a tankier rat, nothing else. He doesn't have a lot of health, so he goes down quickly.

So many rats!

Killing this guy isn't hard, its basically just a matter of annoyance. Kill him and all the rats retreat, giving you passageway into Blight town...wait no, "The Gutter". Go through that, and you'll make your way into the "Black Gulch", where you'll find your next challenge...


The Rotten
HP: 7080
Skills: Cleaver Swing, Cleaver Smash, Cleaver Combo, Hand Smash, Cleaver Backswing, Grab, Hex Slash*, Hex Explosion*
Souls: 47000

Difficulty: 2/5
Deaths: 1

The Rotten is one of the 4 soul lords in "Dark Souls 2", and I cannot fathom why. Out of all the soul lords, I feel that The Rotten is the easiest one of them all, posing little to no threat to you as long as you understand the concept of "rolling". If you can roll, The Rotten is one of the easiest bosses in the game, despite his ugly and massive exterior appearance, he's pretty easy to take down. Hell, the road to get to him was 10 times harder than the boss himself.

Come at me, you ugly son of gun!

The Rotten certainly looks intimidating. Don't let his look scare you though, he's one hell of a slow bugger. His attacks are easy to dodged, and even if you aren't the fastest on your fingers, most of them can be blocked easily as well. He's huge, so locking on, strafing around and hitting him is going to be easy. His attacks have massive recovery time as well, allowing you to land plenty of free hits on him. Either way, he may seem like he has a lot of moves, but most of them are ridiculously easy to deal with anyway.

Cleaver Swing - A horizontal cleaver swing. Dodge or block, easy.

Cleaver Smash - A vertical cleaver smash. Can be dodged or blocked, but this one is more easily dodged.

Cleaver Combo - A combination of smashes and swings. May be difficult to block if you're planning to take all 3 hits, unless you have a gargantuan amount of stamina. Dodge one and the rest should be smooth sailing.

Hand Smash - He smashes his empty hand down on the ground, trying to pound you into meat pie. Easy to dodge, its slow as heck.

Cleaver Backswing - He attempts to swing his cleaver back at you when you're behind him. Easily blocked and dodged, no problem.

Grab - He attempts to grab you with his empty hand for a heavy smack attack. Does a lot of damage and cannot be blocked, but is very easy to see coming. Just move away.

Hex Slash* - He smashes his cleaver downward while channeling dark energy, unleashing a wave of dark. Does a lot of damage and covers a massive area, but because of its massive startup, its easy to just move behind him while he's trying to use this attack. Can be dangerous if he catches you healing with this.

Hex Explosion* - He channels dark energy, before unleashing it all in a massive AOE explosion around him. Simply run away, it has a massive start up. Does massive damage.

The Rotten has a lot of attacks, but most of it can be dealt with by just strafing around his axe arm. Cleaver Swing and Cleaver Smash are easily dealt with if you're hugging with axe arm, and gives you a lot of free hits in. Cleaver Combo as well, though you might have to deal with the first attack before you can go in for hits. Because of this, you'll almost always be behind him, and he won't have a lot to deal with you when you're at his backside. His only potential dangerous move is Cleaver Backswing, which is easily dodged as its easy to see coming. If you're slow (you shouldn't be THAT slow), you can block most of these attacks. It might be hard to block ALL the hits in his combo, but you can just block one or two, the dodge the rest.

If you happen to be on his non-axe arm, you'll have to deal with 2 hand attacks. One, his Hand Smash, which is just a simplistic downward smash that is easy to dodge. You can also block it if you wish, the start-up is ridiculous. The other attack, which is the more dangerous one, is his grab. This one does major damage and sets you up for another one of his attacks. When you see him lift his non-axe arm, just roll away. He can also grab you from the side or slightly from the back, so take note. Once again, if you dodge these attacks well enough, which should not be too hard (once again, he's SO SLOW), you can punish him many times, because of his long recovery times.

Yeah, just give me more free hits.

When The Rotten starts to go lower in terms of health (roughly below 50-40% HP), he gets 2 more, albeit more dangerous attacks. In fact, these are the only 2 attacks that actually pose semi-huge threats to you. One is his Hex Slash, which has him slashing downwards and projecting forth a wave of dark energy. From a distance, its going to be very dangerous. But up close, (he most probably won't use this, but if he does) it gives you free hits, as its nothing more than a slower version of Cleaver Smash. Otherwise, he'll use Hex Explosion, which explodes in an AOE around him. The start-up is huge, but sometimes, its hard to get out if you're expended too much stamina hitting him beforehand. Still, it should not one-shot you, use the time to heal up and go back in on him, easy as pie.

The Rotten goes down after some hits, he does have quite a lot of health. Anyway, the ugly bastard gives up 47000 souls after going down. Next time, we'll tackle the final path and try to take down the many bosses in our way to the final soul lord.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Girl FRIENDS (Girl Friend (Beta) review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Neuron Cream Soft (Tanoshiki Tokimeki)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Hareru Ka Na (Satomi Satou)

Genre: Slice Of Life

Episodes: 12

"Girl Friend (Beta)" was something I just had to watch, simply because I'm a massive seiyuu nut. For a seiyuu fan like myself, "Girl Friend" looks highly appealing just from its massive voice cast alone, but however, when you finally do watch it, that's where the problems start to arise. From a show with only 12 episodes, its very difficult to juggle such an insane amount of characters in AND make them matter at the same time. By the end of the series, other than the main character and a select few characters, you will no longer know who's who, simply because there are TOO MANY characters. "Girl Friend" is your standard high school girls slice of life anime that tries to accomplish too much with its characters, and it overall suffers from the identity crisis within its massive character cast. It's a problem when you don't remember over 70% of the character's names that appear on screen, and that's why "Girl Friend" isn't recommended unless you're bored as heck. Or, you love female seiyuus, either way works.

Weeee, girl power!

With an anime like this, you can expect the kind of opening themes to follow. The opening theme is "Neuron Cream Soft" by Tanoshiki Tokimeki, which I suspect is just some of the characters' seiyuus in the anime, because there's a fictional band that goes by that exact same name IN the show. Either way, its an alright, energetic happy-go-lucky song that attempts to bring life to the show. The ending theme, "Hareru Ka Na" by Satomi Satou is your typical "cute-sy/catchy" ending theme to an all girls anime. Not really much to say here.

Rating: 6.5/10

As much as I'd like to preach the awesomeness of the beloved female seiyuus of the anime industry, there are better shows in which they'd showcase their talent a lot more. A lot more than "Girl Friend", at least. Other than your typical slice of life "girls talk", generic scenarios, there's nothing more to the anime that high schools don't do better in other shows. Diets, group studies, eating crepes, doing part time work, everything's here, though in "Girl Friend", everything is blown WAY out of proportion with the addition of a MASSIVE amount of characters. There are TOO many, so much to the point where you won't memorize most of their names because they appear so sparingly and act so similarly. Hell, some of them even LOOK similarly. How many blondes are in this anime? I didn't count, moreover, I think I just lost count. There's not a lot of comedy, and while there are moments of friendship and camaraderie between the girls, its not anything special. I swear, you can only remember maybe the names of 5-6 characters, the rest are just TOO minor to care.

Wow, so many blondes...who's who again?

Kokomi is the school's athlete/acrobatic star that aims to win the national tournament to uphold her school's name. She practices daily, trying to master her routine to impress her judges. She is cheered on by her friends in school. Chloe, an international exchange student that thrives to learn about Japanese culture, constantly observes Kokomi. Erena, the school's top photographer, snoops around, taking pictures of anything she finds intriguing. Fumio, the school librarian, known and loved by all for her caring personality. Akane, the school broadcast system's emcee, who brings life to the school PA system. AND MANY MORE. They all root for Kokomi and each other, while their personalities and interests are different, they help one another in times of need. Most importantly, they have fun and do girl stuff all day.

"Girl Friend (Beta)" isn't for everyone, I'll say it right off the bat. I didn't have a horrible time, but for others, it may not be the most advisable thing ever. If you want a slice of life anime, there are plenty of amazing ones out there, "Girl Friend (Beta)" should not be on your priority list.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Trinity Harem (Trinity Seven review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Doors (ZAQ)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Beautiful Sentence (Magus Two)
ED 2 - Sahavadava In Amazing (Yui Levi)
ED 3 - TRINITYxSEVENTH+HEAVEN (Security Politti)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

Time for another troublesome harem buster series with, magic, action and fan service up the ass! Honestly, while these aren't loved too much, I myself do favor the action/harem shows, so I was all for "Trinity Seven". Sure, the fan service isn't on the levels of "High School DxD" or "Kenzen Robo Daimidaler", but I think the girls in this show do end up showing off a lot more skin than they needed to. If you like the action/harem/high school/comedy genre like I do, you've probably already gave this one a shot. If you're slightly picky about what you watch, I'll just say that while "Trinity Seven" does do a good job in its execution, the story and most of its characters just end up being about average. Maybe a couple of girls end up being really likable, but the rest are mostly cut and paste harem stereotypes. I did enjoy myself a fair bit with "Trinity Seven", but its still not something I can wholeheartedly recommend. As a harem, though, I can say this: its good. But as a whole, its probably okay at most.

Lilith is pretty good.

The opening theme is "Doors" by ZAQ. I've come to like ZAQ as a band, their songs are always either really sassy or just outright badass and full of vigor. "Doors" is great as an opening to a series like "Trinity Seven", though with the electro and auto tune, it sounds a good deal like a Mami Kawada song (by god I haven't heard a NEW & GOOD Mami song in a long time), whom I used to love quite a lot as an artist. There are also a ton of ending themes, all of which are sung by the seiyuus of the girls in the anime. They try to do it like those idol-ish animes (the execution of these ending themes seem REALLY similar to "Akuma No Riddle")...which I don't particularly hate, but can get cheesy. Out of the 4, I'd say "TRINITYxSEVENTH+Heaven" is the best.

Rating: 7.0/10

I struggled in rating this one. On one hand, I do like how its done, but on the other hand, there are multiple things that don't really mix well here. The story, at least for me, is not very interesting, and the show has a habit of just speeding things up or slowing things down as it likes, making it quite inconsistent. The action/magic fight scenes range from good to horrendous, it really varies quite a fair bit. There are some fights that are honestly, quite good, and do well to satisfy my inner shounen soul (Levi Vs Lugh was good, so were the Liselotte ones) but other than those, the rest were either dull or just poorly executed. Fan service was well done, and I do like the design on some of the girls, though most of their personalities do leave a lot to be desired (once again, standard harem stereotypes). I like Levi and Listelotte, the rest of the girls...not too much. Arata as a protagonist is quite likable, but there's only so much the protagonist can carry on his back. If only they focused more on the action or story, I can see myself really liking this, but otherwise, it's what it is.

Liselotte has dem titties

The story revolves around Arata Kasuga, a normal pervertic high school boy that lives a very normal life with his cousin Hijiri. However, his regular life is completely and utterly shattered when he notices the sun being black. He brings it up to his cousin Hijiri, and through noticing different anomalies in his life, he realizes that things aren't as they are supposed to be. Hijiri laughs, starts to speak in a different voice, and shatters the world around him, revealing that everything was just an illusion created to suit his tastes. He remembers what happened many years ago, when a spell started to destroy and consume his city, Hijiri passed a grimoire onto Arata, which saved him and spared his life while everyone else got eaten away. A mage who introduces herself as Lilith appears to destroy the grimoire, which Arata refuses to let slide. He claims the grimoire as his own, and Lilith declares him dangerous as a "Demon Lord Candidate". To keep him under strings, Lilith registers Arata as a student in Biblia magical academy. Arata wants to master magic, so that he can find out what happened to his cousin Hijiri, who was supposedly devoured, but according to the grimoire, she still lived. By the order of the headmaster, he told Arata to gather the power of the Trinity Seven, 7 girls who bore immense power within the academy.

"Trinity Seven" is an anime with good potential, but doesn't live up to what its capable of. Its still a nice harem, and honestly its better than the likes of "Blade Dance Of Elementalers" (the most recent action harem in my memory), which I'm happy about. It sets itself up for a sequel, which I would be happy for, since there's A LOT to "Trinity Seven" that hasn't been shown. Not a shabby effort, but I still think that more could have been done.


Friday, 10 April 2015

Great Game OSTs (Part 4)

Action Game Music

Name: The Only Thing I Know For Real
From: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Artist: Jamie Christopherson

Here we are, the most legendary theme in "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance". Not only is the fight where this song plays the most badass fight in the damn game, it fits perfectly for Sam, who turns up as Raiden's rival. I love most of the songs in "Revengeance" (probably going to do another one in another OST related post), but this is by far, the best one in the game. It hits hard, it hits fast, and it just screams epic showdown between 2 glorious samurai bastards. Just from hearing the intro alone, you'll crack your neck from head banging, I guarantee it. Its because of this theme I refuse to forget the battle between Sam and Raiden.


RPG Music

Name: Mass Destruction
From: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Artist: Shoji Meguro, Lotus Juice

Baby baby baby baby baby baby.....*cue awesome jazz and trumpets*. The "Persona" games (from 3 onwards at least) have FANTASTIC J-pop inspired music which makes up for a majority of their entire soundtracks. "Mass Destruction" was the main battle theme for the game, and I swear to god you'll be listening to this until your ears bleed. Luckily for you though, this is one hell of an addictive battle theme. Sure, its weird at first, but stick to it and I'll guarantee that its one of the most ridiculously awesome things to listen to. To this day, people still think I'm retarded when I start breaking out into a mini dance while walking on the street. Its because of this theme.


Name: Wiping All Out
From: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Artist: Shoji Meguro, Lotus Juice

Just when you thought old Shoji and Lotus Juice could not top "Mass Destruction", they pull out this masterpiece. I LOVE the female protagonist's design, and when I played as her, I was hyped as f**k. However, nothing could have been more hype than having her battle theme play for the first time. I mean, I expected "Mass Destruction", but when I heard "Wiping All Out", I just had to smile. This thing is catchier, it hits harder, and hell, even its lyrics are more badass (I'm not a princess, hell yeah, Hamuko's always in the front lines). While "Mass Destruction" makes me break out into a small dance, "Wiping All Out" makes me jump up for no reason, that's when people start calling the police on me.


Name: Sinnoh Champion Battle Theme
From: Pokemon Black/White 2
Artist: Junichi Masuda, Go Ichinose

Cynthia is the definition of a champion. Not to be a fanboy, but Cynthia is my favorite champion...EVER, with Red and Steven not too far behind (and N as well, if you consider him a one). Despite being a totally awesome character and having a totally awesome team, her THEME is just pure eargasm! She destroys you with her Garchomp, then she destroys you with her theme. Listen to every champion theme that has ever existed, if you were to pick the most intimidating theme out of them all, it would be Cynthia's theme, no doubt about it. Its so imposing, its so upbeat, it MAKES you think that you're fighting a REAL battle against someone who's going to kick your ass. Cynthia may be the fist female champion, but she's also the most badass one.


Name: Dragon Slayer Ornstein &  Executioner Smough
From: Dark Souls
Artist: Motoi Sakuraba

Sakuraba has composed a lot of music that sound rather same-ish. Well, the joke is on everyone, because NOBODY expected him to compose music for the "souls" games. Ornstein and Smough is one of the HARDEST boss in the "Souls" series, and easily the toughest one in the game itself. If you're going to be dieing to these guys over and over, at least let us have good music to die to! Luckily, this theme knocks the atmosphere way out of the park when battling old fatso and beanie. It feels SO EPIC, SO GLORIOUS, like you're battling beings out of the stuff of LEGENDS. Scratch that, these 2 are considered legends in the video gaming boss world for their notorious difficulty.



Name: Pursuit ~ Cornered
From: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Series
Artist: Masakazu Sugimori

Phoenix is a f**king legend. His games are ridiculously legendary, he's an amazing character, and I cannot WAIT to play the 5th PW game on the 3DS (its out, I just haven't got it yet). Mr Wright is a beast in the court, and what better way than to showcase it by playing some awesome music when he's cornering his opponents? "Pursuit ~ Cornered" is a freaking addictive piece of music that gets you PUMPED whenever you're on the winning side of a case. Everytime this theme comes on, I just want to slam my hands on my desk needlessly, point outside the window and scream "OBJECTION" inside my head. Whoever manages to see me from below will think I'm a retard, but in all seriousness, its so F**KING WORTH IT.


Name: Discussion -Heat Up-
From: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Artist: Masafumi Takada

You know what's more epic than PW's cornered theme? This. F**KING, THIS. "Danganronpa"'s ost may not be as well known, but HOLY HELL, is it amazing! There's so much to like about it, especially the class trial themes. This one, takes the cake. "Discussion -Heat Up-", as the name suggest, plays when Naegi is closing in on a case for good, and THIS IS SO FITTING TO LISTENING TO WHEN EVERYONE IN THE TRIAL IS FREAKING OUT. While you're trying to look for contradictions in your classmates' testimonies, this theme playing in the background just makes you want to kick ASS. Its like the game wants you to lose via time outs, BECAUSE I DON'T WANT THE DISCUSSION WHEN THIS THEME IS PLAYING. Okay, I'll stop with the caps now, I'm sorry guys.


Opening Songs
OP 1 - OVERLAPPERS (Qverkett)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - You Gotta Love Me (Kato Fuku)

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slife Of Life, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

If you aren't sick of typical rom-coms by now here's another one that'll get you riled up in your panties. "Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" takes your everyday normal high school harem/slice of life hybrid anime and throws in some supernatural powers to make it stand out. Jokes on them though, because this has been done before. Over, and over, and over, and over. Still, that doesn't make it any less charming if you're willing to give it a shot. Despite what you think, "Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" is a very comedic, light hearted experience, and the powers might as well be there just for show, because there's not a lot of fighting going on as you would expect. In fact, think the powers as none other than additional flair thrown in to spice up the slice of life segments...to blow them out of proportion. In that sense, "Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" succeeds, and manages to suck us into that light hearted atmosphere easily. While the show does throw in some battles with supernatural abilities here and there, its the standard school life elements that carry it through.

Cosplaying girls are always welcome.

The opening theme is "OVERLAPPERS" by Qverkett. Its a simplistic and energetic song that'd fit well in most high school themed anime. There's nothing really special or too great about it, but it works well here, since the anime is rather light hearted, it doesn't need too much of a punch to its opening theme song. The ending theme song, "You Gotta Love Me" by Kato Fuku, is a catchy, cute-sy, and fast paced song. Not that I'd expect much from it as an ending theme, but its actually quite nice to listen to, and I found myself bopping my head to it now and then.

Rating: 7.5/10

There's nothing particularly amazing about it, but that's alright. That's actually part of its beauty. For the most part, "Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" is highly consistent in delivering its content. As a harem romance comedy anime, there's efficient character development, comedy, and light hearted fan service to keep it going strong throughout. The main characters are all likable, which is a KEY in harems, because as I mentioned, if your girls suck, there's goes a good chunk of your appeal. The overall feel of the characters in "Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" works, even the out of place bunch of power users that include Tomoyo's brother, they're pretty cool. While the comedy isn't over the top, it manages to keep a steady pace throughout and more importantly than not, its consistent. Character interaction is well done, and the voice work is good for the most part (though I preferred the drama CD cast, guess we gotta give way to the newer seiyuus). Its a pleasant experience overall without too many surprises, but I guess that's fine if the show manages to stay good throughout.

Yeah, its best not to screw around with Sayuri.

Andou Jurai is your everyday normal high school student with a massive chunibyou complex. His chunibyou levels are over the top, so much to the point where his friends in the literature club come to expect and not take him seriously. One day, as he goes on about super natural powers as usual, with nobody paying him any special heed, a light starts to glow in his hand. Without any warning, the light flashed out, and engulfed the entire clubroom, giving all of them supernatural powers. Time skips 6 months later, and the club members are having their monthly super power check. Tomoyo gets to stop time, Chifuyu gets to create matter out of nowhere as long as she imagines it, Hatoko has complete control over the elements, and Sayuri can return anything to its state beforehand. While everyone gets broken, overpowered abilities, Jurai gets the ability to summon a black flame in his right hand...that's it. The flame is lukewarm, it doesn't do any damage when thrown at somebody, in other words, its completely useless. Thus begins Andou's life with the literature club members as they cope with everyday life...with a twist.

"Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" doesn't have the extreme comedic sense as something like "Baka Test". It doesn't go full out with a serious action based story like "Shakugan No Shana" or "Campione". Instead, it gives us a nice blend of everything, while it's light hearted nature may not be for everyone, deep down, "Inou Battle Within Everyday Life" is just another slice of life anime done  well.


Friday, 3 April 2015

Bravely Default

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.2

(+) Pros: - Traditional turn based battle system with a few good tweaks, - Plenty of environmental and enemy variety make most battles feel fresh, - Challenging enough to constantly keep you on your toes, - Amazing boss fights, - Clever use of brave and default mechanics, - Multitude of different classes give you plenty of options to tackle battles, - Overall feels like the old "Final Fantasy" games that we all know and love, - Journal is filled with substantial information, more so than most in-game encyclopedias.

(-) Cons: - Story becomes lazy after the first half of the game, - Hilariously repetitive for the last 30% of the game.

Gameplay time: 40-50 Hours+

Ever wanted the OLD "Final Fantasy" styled games that we never really got in recent years (I believe the last one we got was "The Warriors Of Light", which came out quite a few years back)? Ever thought that the old "Square Enix" would go back to their roots with their RPGs? All of those who have had your doubt, fear not, for "Square" has finally decided not to f**k around any more with their now ever so popular "Bravely Default". Bringing players back to the past and helping us relive what it meant to enjoy "Final Fantasy" in the first place, "Bravely Default" is shocking faithful to the "Final Fantasy" games of old. It gives us a wonderful RPG experience that both gamers in the older and younger generation can enjoy. Sure, the game has its flaws for sure, but look past them and you get a stellar RPG experience that serves as a reminder: traditional JRPGs aren't quite done, not quite yet. Not as long as "Bravely Default" sticks around.

The story revolves around 4, fate bound individuals with very different backgrounds. Agnes, the vestal of wind, who is destined with guarding the wind crystal, one of the 4 elemental crystals in the world, which contain the power to retain balance in the world. Ringabel is a wandering amnesiac pretty playboy who wants to woo every possible woman in the world, while following a diary he has with him that predicts the prophecy of the world. Edea is the daughter of the grand Marshall of the anti-crystalism movement, who sets out to accomplish her father's dream and bring glory to her family name. Tiz is a regular farm boy, whose entire village got swallowed up in a massive chasm that appeared out of nowhere. Among those who were swallowed, was his brother. Tiz awakes in the local city inn, where he eventually meets Agnes, who says that by awakening all the crystals, the chasm will close and Tiz's village can return. Tiz, with nothing left in his life, devotes himself to Agnes's journey. Along the way they pick up Ringabel and Edea, the 4 will come to be known as the heroes who will save the world.

The king of Ancheim sure is one whiny old man.

"Bravely Default" plays super similarly to "Final Fantasy" games of old. Roam the world, explore the various continents, awaken the 4 crystals to stop the calamity that would befall the world. In your way stand monsters and dastardly villains alike, that want to stop your plans for their own profits or other purposes. You fight plenty of battles with the old school, turn based style, but with some tweaks to make it more modern. You also walk the world in a very traditional style world map, where you walk over to icons representing cities or dungeons, while flying around in your trusty blimp or sailing on your ship. It all reminds you of the old days, and its sure fun as well exploring the world Luxendarc when you do things the hard way.

Before we touch on the battle system and new mechanics, let's talk about the world itself. Like many of the old school "Final Fantasy" titles, the game is filled with many nostalgic areas that you'd find in an old game. Forests, caves, deserts, volcanoes, icy plains and many more are included in your list of tourist hot spots in "Bravely Default". In each of these areas are monster inhabitants, which come in many various shapes and sizes, as well as some repeat pallet swaps here and there (you can't escape from the lazy JRPG copy paste traditions, not even here). Enemies attack in various ways, some trying to overpower you with brute strength, some burning you with powerful magic, others resorting to status ailments or cheap tactics like cloning themselves or calling for help. Its enough to keep you on your toes, and also enough to keep you interested to see what enemies inhabit new areas that you visit, because normal encounters in this game CAN kill you.

Alright, I kid, who the hell dies to a slime and kobold?

I'm not joking, while the early game seems substantially easy, the game becomes quite tough, fast. With the lack of classes in the early segments, most enemies will seem to be needlessly tough, having tons of health and with you dealing almost no damage. Even later on, when you start dealing more damage, the enemies start hitting you with attacks that either do ridiculous damage, enough to one hit you, or have entire attacks dedicated to one hit kills themselves. Even normal encounters, monsters can hit you for half your health, some can do good AOE damage or inflict deadly status ailments like confusion. Encounter a horde of these guys in a surprise attack and suddenly you are dead, no questions asked (I'm looking at you, you book burning lantern bitches). While the auto save function might not fit old school hardcore JRPG veterans, its a life saver for most, and I appreciate it being in the game.

The bosses in this game are GENIUS. Throughout the game you'll be fighting plenty of big, boss monsters. While these guys are plenty strong (wtf that early game turtle boss was uncalled for, Square) and require some strategy to beat, its the asterisk holder boss fights that strike me as phenomenal. You'll be getting tons of job asterisks in this game, and these serve as the entry point for your characters getting new classes. To get a new class, you must first beat a villain who holds that class asterisk, meaning that to get a ninja class, you need to beat the boss holding the ninja asterisk. These guys are a blast to fight, most giving you a taste of what their class can do before conceding the asterisk to you after defeating them. They play around different strategies revolving around their class, and its going to be hard to see what's coming every time you fight a new boss. Most of them are great, and for sure, every battle is a new experience, that counts for a lot (I f**king hate battling against Kamiizumi and Derossa though, those guys suck balls).

Behold, over world exploration!

Now, let's talk about why this game calls itself "Bravely Default". While the game incorporates old school turn by turn based combat, it includes two new mechanics of its own, Brave, and Default. While individually on their own, these aren't revolutionary, they change how you take on the different battles in this game in many different ways. In this game, to act, you need BP. One action demands 1 BP, and at the end of every turn, each character gains 1 BP, so in the end, moving once a turn resets the BP counter to 0. Braving allows you to consume more than one BP per turn, up to 4 in a single turn, to act multiple times. Default is the game's standard guard option, and while it lets your character do nothing for a single turn and take reduced damage, you also save BP for future brave bursts. Its a simple system that's used correctly, and encourages some strategic play especially since most bosses play around the brave and default quite well too, meaning that YOU need to manage your BP well, or things go to shit really quickly.

Another thing that makes "Bravely Default" enjoyable: its class system. Sure, this is present in old "Final Fantasy" games, but its done SO well here. Defeating asterisk holders grant you their specific job, and you'll be raking these in throughout the game's rather long play through. There are only 4 characters, and over 20 classes in the game, meaning that you'll need to pick wisely, and see which class/class combination can go well with your team. There are A TON of possibilities, and while most of these don't matter too much in the early-late game, it makes a massive difference later on. Some classes are meant for supporting, some for offensive, some for utility, so on and so forth. A knight helps soak damage for the back line, a black mage uses elemental magic on his/her foes, a pirate deals out massive amounts of physical damage, while a sword master plays defensively and looks for openings to counter enemies.

Pick your poison, this THE most important decision before entering a boss fight.

With so many to choose from, you'll be spoiled for choice. Also, since this game is HARD, this really works well. After running a class combination and losing to a boss badly, your only options is to switch classes and try different strategies. Trial and error, certain combinations work better than others in certain fights, and looking for this insanely powerful combinations makes discovering the class system so wonderful. Late game you'll probably get to the point where you can exploit some of the insanely powerful class/subclass combinations to make your team of unholy badasses (freelance + dancer for infinite BP, Pirate/Black Mage/Time Mage + Blademaster for free lunch abuse, Dark Knight + Spell fencer for infinite drain dark bane), and by that point, you'll be using that team for the whole game, but until you reach that point, trust me, you'll have fun experimenting.

The game also packs a content heavy encyclopedia known as the D journal, which contains all the information that you've came across in the game, be it item or monster information. There's a lot of back story here, and while the game elaborates plenty on the back stories on some of its characters, the D Journal packs some of the most in depth text based EXTRA story content I've ever seen. Before beating the game, I spent almost a good 30-45 minutes reading through Ringabel's back story, and hell, it was so absorbing, like a mini storybook. It also notes down everything you need to know about the characters and their encounters, but you already knew that. Oh yeah, also, it lets you review cut scenes, once again, not anything special, but still worth noting.

Yes Edea, beat those whores down!

The gripes I have about this game are about the same as everyone else. I mean, the story is pretty decent for the most part. Straightforward, sure, but decent. Things just go downhill from the second half of the game, where the story feels like a gigantic roundabout, and writing just gets SO lazy, especially during the world revisits. It just goes into a complete sleeper until the final arc, where it steps up for a little bit for the finale. Also, yeah, the revisits. The game becomes super repetitive at its 70% mark, where you just do the same thing over and over....for god knows how long. I take it as separate arcs for you to build on your other jobs and explore opportunities, but some people absolutely loathe those chapters. Don't get me wrong, its definitely a con, but to me, its not so horrendously bad that I'd slander it so horribly.

"Bravely Default" sets up a wonderful first step in this new IP/franchise that "Square" is willing to take. Honestly, I'm glad they are expanding on this. I loved the game, and I felt that my time on "Bravely Default" was overall well spent. While this first game was great, I can't wait to see what else "Square" has in store for us in "Bravely Second". "Bravely Default" is truly a comeback calling for JRPG fans of old, and also acts as a shining beacon for newcomers, showcasing that this genre is not yet dead.

Happy Gaming!