Wednesday, 30 September 2015

SAO 2.0 (Danmachi Review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Hey World (Yuka Iguchi)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - RIGHT LIGHT RISE (Kanon Wakeshima)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Episodes: 13

I've kind of had enough animes trying to rip of "SAO". I know its one of the greatest animes in recent years and the mainstream audience swallowed it up like an unhealthy McSpicy meal on a Friday afternoon, but this is seriously getting out of hand. Anyway, "Danmachi" is probably one of the most over rated, popular and well known shows of the year. Why? Because Hestia. I kid...but seriously, if you've SEEN how much love this big breasted, twin tailed loli got, you wouldn't even be able to keep up. Her outfit and string are revolutionary for character design, but in all honesty, I don't get how she's so popular, she doesn't even appear THAT much in the show, and IMO there are prettier girls in this anime. Doesn't matter though, "Danmachi" is a pretty short offering that takes the "SAO" formula and gives it a different spin. Does it hold up to the hype? I'll tell you straight up, not really.

Hestia....overload.....strikes again!

The opening theme is "Hey World" by Yuka Iguchi, a seiyuu whose works I love quite a lot. Anyway, it instantly makes you feel like it belongs in a fantasy anime, because the song gives off exactly that kind of anisong feel. It's an alright song, at least its better than the ending theme, which is "RIGHT LIGHT RISE" by Kanon Wakeshima. Its...a happy go lucky song that's mostly there to keep the mood. At least its not a ballad...or something cutesy.

Rating: 7.5/10

There's a lot of praise going out for "Danmachi" for whatever reason. Sure, it looks good (I mean, it IS by JC Staff, after all), and it has that "SAO"/MMO feel going for it, which plenty of shows have done and experimented with nowadays, but that's pretty much it. There's guilds, leveling up, and dungeon floors, for f**ks sake, if that doesn't spell "SAO", then I don't know what does. least they aren't in some virtual game world. Anyway, the main character is wimpy, generic, and generally quite unlikable. The supporting characters are pretty meh-ish except for a few of them, and honestly in this meager 13 episode offering, the story really does not accomplish too much (though I can see it developing into something more interesting if it were longer). The harem elements aren't much to speak of, you've most probably seen most of it elsewhere in other shows. That leaves the action, which is...actually pretty good, so there's a plus. Most fight scenes against monsters look great, and the show's climax battle against the floor boss was spectacular. Then there's Hestia, I guess, though her appeal is mostly subjective depending on you.

Twin tail slaps!

The anime stars Bell Cranel, a weak as balls adventurer who's known for his white hair. In a world where gods and goddesses have descended on to the human world to quell their boredom, they bestowed upon humans the power to grow and battle mythical creatures. All in a massive dungeon where they can earn spoils to keep on living. The humans do the fighting, the gods will help the humans grow, and the rule is that they will not be able to intervene in any of the fighting at all. Each god has their own guild worshiping them, and Bell's guild worships the goddess Hestia. Thing is, Hestia is one of the least well known goddesses around, and her only adventurer is poor Bell, who is, SO weak. One day, while adventuring, he is attacked by Minotaurs, monsters FAR above his level, and he is saved by a girl named Aiz. He falls in love with Aiz, but realizes that she is far above his level as well, and she belongs to one of the strongest guilds around. Determined to catch up to her, he swears to become stronger.

"Danmachi" is easy to like, but its also honestly nothing too extraordinary that warrants all this special attention. Its...quite a good show, but its just that. "SAO" is certainly leagues more interesting and emotional than this one, that's for sure, just because it FEELS like "SAO", that doesn't make it as good as OR better than it. If "Danmachi" gets a season 2, I feel like it has potential. Otherwise, its just one of those franchises that'll fall off into the distance and get forgotten. Soon enough, at least.

This applies to many forms of media, not just anime, really. There are many times where a show isn't as good as its supposed to be because of...its protagonist. Maybe its for the plot, maybe its for future development, but if your protagonist is a douche bag or just unlikable overall its quite difficult to enjoy the entire show because your god damned main character sucks! Many main characters in anime are cliched, high school boys that value their friendship and protect their friends because...they're simply friends.

I mean...that's alright and all for the first time I heard that explanation. But it gets really old if every protagonist fights for their friends for the sake of fighting for them...where's the fun in that? "Why'd you protect me?", "BECAUSE WE'RE FRIENDS!". That kind of talk gets old if you watch a lot of anime, same for harem and would be romance shows, when the main guy constantly reminds the girl that they're friends...I would be pretty damn pissed off if I was the chick. As I said, sometimes its for the character development, sometimes its for the plot....but there are times, things work out even if your main character did something different. To make your protagonist likable, you have to make them different, make them stand out from the crowd, make them do awesome stuff. Hell, it'll be okay even if their special trait is being funny. Here are some protagonists that I grew to love and how they made their respective shows a blast to watch.

The Hidden Badasses

These guys are actually really simple main characters. They hide something from the rest and they don't show what they can really do, but when the time comes for them to take action, they're usually a cut WAY above the rest. These guys are usually looked down upon, underestimated or straight out bullied by other characters in the show when they are unaware of their true potential, hell, sometimes they are even picked on when their true powers have been revealed. When watching these guys I can't help but wonder when is the next time they are going to act, because when they go all out, almost nobody else stands a chance.

Of course it goes without saying that these guys are incredibly OP in their respective shows. Tatsuya is a course 2 student because the school's evaluating methods are unable to measure his true potential, because of this, he is scorned by many other course 1 students at the start of the series. He doesn't really care, and when it comes to actual combat, he easily creams all of them with his wide array of lethal spells or physical combat prowess, even triumphing some of the best in the business..despite being only 16 years old.

Mao on the other hand, IS known for being the demon lord by the peers in the human world, however, he is unable to use his full power....and probably doesn't want to for no reason int he first place. He keeps his disguise as a human serving as a simple employee at a fast food restaurant, tricking his colleague and fooling all other outworlders that he has lost his touch. Obviously, when the time to kick ass arrived, he did so flawlessly, showing off the power of the Demon Lord. And Kenshi? Do I need to say anything? All the female Seikishi underestimated him for some regular cute boy with talents, but this dude is a master Seikishin pilot as well as an absolute beast in hand to hand combat. The scene where he unveils his piloting talent and crushes all the fools who challenged him in the arena was really satisfying to watch.

The Smart Guys

Well its not too difficult to stop the common theme in these guys. Instead of overpowering their enemies with sheer strength and might, they demonstrate their superiority with their extreme intellect. Its quite hard to ever beat these guys in a game of chess, but that's beside the point. While the shows that they belong in might have stronger, more powerful characters, its always satisfying to see those guys lose to our heroes because of the difference in strategy, or sometimes, just intelligence. They think their way out of their toughest situations, and whether or not they have an army to command, their plans always work out. Why? Because failure isn't in their books...either that, or they're  just that damned smart.

As mentioned, these guys are never really powerful in comparison to other characters in their respective shows. Shiroe plays the weakest offensive class in the game, the Enchanter, but its the best class to use in terms of support. He'd never be able to do much by himself, but because of how much his friends trust him and fight for him, he is able to micro manage his teams so well, carrying them to victory. That, and he's always finding ways to break the system or change the game. Lelouch is a whole different story, smart he may be, but his methods are a lot more extreme. Taking the mantle of a masked terrorist, he commands the Black Knights to wreak all sorts of havoc on Britain as he tries to overthrow the current king. He always comes out on top despite having the weaker force, and that is something worth mentioning. Even after coming back from being brain washed, he still maintains his cool to brew all sorts of plans.

Sora kind of just plays for the sake of playing. He never f**king loses in a game as long as he's with his sister Shiro, and together as blank, they're pretty much an unstoppable team. Self proclaiming themselves as the master of games, they take every game as seriously as they take their lives. Whether its looking at a game within many different perspectives or playing around with the rules to ALTER the very game itself AND not make it illegal is pretty freaking impressive, especially under that much pressure. When you're looking into a game's script code and learning how to play around AI algorithms, you've got pretty much a pair that you can NEVER beat in a game, ever.

The Funny Ones

This one is simple enough. In a show that has comedy slapped on to it, I, want, to, laugh. Its simple as that, isn't it? Asking to laugh in a comedy show isn't asking for too much, I hope? Fortunately there are a lot of funny anime out there, though not everything with a comedy in its genre is, per say, funny to everybody. Its hard to make comedy that appeals to everyone, but of course, if you want to get into the meat of the show that makes people laugh, you've got to make your main character someone that makes the audience laugh....I mean, you'll be looking at him/her a lot, so it only makes sense that in a comedy show, your protagonist has got the comedy part down right. Here are some of my favorites.

Many don't consider "Lucky Star" to be THAT funny, most watch it just because it has a cute visual style and its very casual. Obviously, there are some really good moments, most involve its incredibly charismatic main character, Konata Izumi. Now, that girl is probably the funniest out of the 4 main heroines in that anime, and let's be honest, Tsukasa, Kagami and Miyuki aren't even close to her on the levels of comedy. Konata, being an otaku, makes plenty of ridiculous references to her daily life and other shows, making her incredibly out of place in the group of 4 friends, which works out incredibly well. It helps even more that her interactions with everyone else is different.

Akisa is another good one, this man is absolutely ridiculous. Another great way to make your audience laugh is to make sure that the main character is silly as heck, Akisa is a straight out idiot. He's so stupid that he does the dumbest things possible, and those don't end too well for him. Most of the time, he makes himself look ridiculous, so much so that its hard NOT to laugh at his antics. Kazama Keiji, on the other hand, is pretty much the only NORMAL human being in his circle of retarded, delusional school mates so its always nice to see him over-react to everybody else's insane comments. Seeing him try to keep up with their stupidity is always refreshing to watch as he screams and shouts in frustration, anger or fear when trying to stay sane. Well, to be honest, sometimes he just screams for the sake of screaming, the idiocy might have gotten to him.

They Just Want To Have Fun

Time and time again you see main characters always being committed to something. Sometimes, there are these main characters that appear that....don't really seem to main character-ish. They might be the overly cheerful little sister or the clingy childhood friend in other shows, but when they take the lead in their own shows, you can't help but just smile. Its quite hard to hate these kinds of main characters (partially because they always happen to be female), simply because they want to have fun. They might be the chosen one to save a broken world, an ally of justice, or simply a descendant of an unholy clan of mighty god slayers, but they don't really care TOO much. At the end of it all, as long as they enjoy doing what they do, it doesn't matter how they do it, at the end of the day, a smile is retained on their face, and they'll just laugh it off.

Koto, pretty much sharing the same name as her mother (great idea, right?), was thrown into the mirror world Kyoto for no apparent reason and wanted to go back to her own world. However, little did she know that she gained the favor of the 3 rulers of that world, and that she was the long lost little sister of the 3. PLUS, she was the key for the 3 of those rulers to locating their mother. Guess what? Koto doesn't care, she just does what she THINKS is the best, whether or not its right or wrong, she just doesn't give a hoot. Hajime is also pretty awesome. Despite being burdened to be one of the few defenders of the world against an alien threat, she doesn't really follow the rules.

Instead of killing the alien species, she goes as far as to befriend one of them. Why? Hell, because its "cute". Because of that she just saved the entire Gatchaman squad a whole lot of trouble as the aliens suddenly became docile. The way she thinks and fights is so carefree that her squad mates can't help but leech off her positivity. Eruna? Do I even need to say anything? This girl is like a walking, living, shining sun that's FULL of positive thoughts. Enrolling to Mikagura because of the cute uniforms and a cute girl was a sufficient reason for her, then when she finds out that everyone in Mikagura has powers, she gets even MORE stoked. Her finishing move is even based off on how hyped up she is in a battle. This girl LIVES to have fun, be it in battle or out of it, she's all about doing what she wants and that's pretty awesome.

The Arrogant, Pervertic, Cocky Nice Guys

The state and likability of these kinds of protagonist varies from person to person, but I personally love them. These guys are ridiculously powerful, and they know it. Unlike "The Hidden Badasses", these guys like to flaunt their strength, they constantly remind those around them how ridiculously powerful they are, and they aren't afraid to get into a fight if they need to. They are arrogant, they are cocky, but most importantly, they are nice people. Albeit they like to fool around as well, most of these kinds of characters end up being perverts, and love to look at a good woman or two. They are badasses, they know it, and they pretty much just do or say what they think it best without giving too much thought about it.

Let's start with Izayoi. This guy is ridiculous, he just entered the realm of "Little Garden" and his power surpasses that of the strongest beings in the world. He challenges a water god on his first visit and pretty much stomps the poor bastard. He KNOWS that he's strong, and seeks to challenge those that can match his might. To top it off, the dude is a cheeky pervert, constantly complimenting and lusting over his female companions, though he doesn't take it too far, which is probably why the girls can stand being around him. Staz is another one. This dude is a boss of a group of underworld dwellers, and even owns his part of the underworld as his territory. He knows that he is respected and feared because of his vampiric lineage, but above all, he doesn't care what others think about his hobbies.

Staz is a massive otaku and a pervert at that. He's pretty outlandish when it comes to his fetishes, however, he doesn't mind picking a fight or two, because he knows that he can pretty much kick anyone's ass. Anyone that isn't his brother, at least. Akatsuki is probably the biggest one we have to talk about. This guy loves boobs, panties and asses over everything else. He just, doesn't, care. He loves to sexually harass the girls around his age, be it verbally or physically, he doesn't care, he'll do it. Yet, why do the ladies flock around him? The bastard is strong, very strong. Few can match his might and even the strongest students in school keep an eye on him, for even they can't stop him if he goes out of control. And yeah, he knows his strenghts, he constantly picks fights with people that he doesn't like. Well, let's just say that he doesn't like a lot of people.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Youth Savage Theory (3-nen E-Gumi Utatan)
OP 2 - Self-Reliance Revolution (3-nen E-Gumi Utatan)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Hello-Shooting Star (Moumoon)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction

Episodes: 22

Well then, this is a pleasant surprise. You can say what you want, but I never expected "Assassination Classroom" to be THIS good. I mean, its an anime about a bunch of school kids trying to murder a flying octopus that's also their...homeroom teacher? You'd think that this was a full out comedy series with that premise, but's not. "Assassination Classroom" is based off a manga in the "Shounen Jump" franchise that's quite popular, I can see why now. Its funny, its filled with tons of ridiculous situations, and most importantly, the characters are endearing. Its one of those shows that makes sure that it gets most of its cast involved, as insanely huge as it is. Honestly, it does so quite well, and I was easily absorbed into the world of "Assassination Classroom". This is a series manages its high points well, and manages to exceed expectations with each new episode. I feel like there's never enough surprises in "Assassination Classroom", making it one of best shows of the year-heck, its one of the best shows in a quite awhile.

End class is best class.

The opening themes in this show are pure genius IMO. Both themes are sang by 3-nen E-Gumi Utatan, the alias for some of the seiyuus of the students in Class 3E. The first theme is "Youth Savage Theory", and is my preferred opening theme of the 2. Its super catchy on so many ends and the song ramps up beautifully, plus, I almost always dance to the opening animations. Fist bumps for days! The second opening theme is "Self-Reliance Reliance Revolution", and to me, this is also a very successful opening theme. It's catchy, but this one feels more like a song for summer vacation, while "Youth Savage Theory" gets me more hyped up know, assassination? The ending theme for the entire show is "Hello-Shooting Star" by Moumoon, who is known for singing ballad type songs. "Hello-Shooting Star" is no different, its slow and peaceful, nothing much to write home about.

Rating: 8.5/10

Well, I can honestly recommend this show to anyone who watches anime and doesn't know about it, because its really THAT good. It doesn't matter what kind of person you are, its almost hard to NOT like "Assassination Classroom". Its brilliant blend of comedy, ridiculousness and serious moments can be hard to keep up with at times, but sticking with it rewards you with a massive dosage of fun. "Assassination Classroom", at the end of the day, is about having fun, and I can tell you, I had a whole ton of it watching through the entire thing in almost a single sitting. It starts off strong and remains strong throughout, but clearly, there are slower moments in the series than others, but almost every episode feels necessary. Character building and introductions are key, since there are a buttload of characters in this show, the makes an effort to keep its entire cast involved. While some characters do feel more important than others (these sort of situations usually cannot be helped), it DOES feel like the entirety of Class 3E was kept involved throughout, which is an important factor. The story is about average, but the characters more than keep the show afloat with their vibrant pallet of personalities, plus, Koro-Sensei is just this never-ending source of stupidity and fun, making the entire show a blast to watch through.

Answer: You don't.

Shiota Nagisa is your typical middle school guy that looks a lot like a girl (seriously, look at the dude), a trap of all traps, if you will. He belongs in Kunugigaoka Middle School's class E, the worst class of the lot, a class that practically spells END for your life in this school. On the other hand, the moon has been blasted to smithereens by an unknown creature, and this creature threatened to destroy the world by March next year. As the governments all around the world tried to destroy this creature in vain, he makes them a proposition. He was to become a teacher of class 3E in Kunugigaoka Middle School, and he wants to teach the students there. However, the students are tasked by the government to kill this creature by March next year before he destroys the world. This octopus, named Koro-Sensei by his students, can fly at a speed of mach 20, and is the fastest thing in the world. How are they going to kill this nigh impossible target by next year? Enter, the assassination classroom.

"Assassination Classroom" is a wonderful show that stands out among the horde of cliched pandemics in 2015. There aren't a lot of amazing shows this year, and "Assassination Classroom" shows up to steal all the thunder. A season 2 has been confirmed to start airing next year, and I cannot wait to see what else Koro-Sensei and his class has in store for everyone.

If you have not seen the TGS trailer for "Persona 5", do yourself a DAMNED favor and watch it, right, f ** king, NOW. Its the video above, hell, even if you've watched it, just watch it again, I've probably watched it about 40 times in the past 48 hours.

So, the game has been delayed. Boohoo, everyone is sad, angry and disappointed. But you know what? The game probably has a reason for being delayed, and you damned well know that if its delayed, you can bet your ass that Atlus is going to further improve it as a masterpiece. The game, already looks great. Hell, it looks AMAZING, the delay probably means that they've got some stuff to fix. Would you want our sacred "Persona 5", the game that we've waited about 7 years for, to be incomplete or buggy? I'm sure not, the delay, for the better or worse, will help the game out, Stop bitching and take it like a man (or woman).

I have all due faith that Atlus WILL deliver with "Persona 5". I did not do a post about the 2nd trailer because honestly, that one did not show all that much new stuff, but THIS trailer right here ... I just had to jump right in. Without further ado, let's talk about the TGS trailer.

Speculation On New Characters

So, there's one thing we know for now. Based on the opening few seconds of the trailer, we see our heroes running down a pyramid as they are being chased by .... something. We can see a very BRIEF glimpse of 5 characters ... plus Morgana, of course. So 5 characters plus our dear cat, that's about 6 characters confirmed. Whether or not they'll be legit party members, that, I do not know, but we can safely assume so. At least now we know that we have more than our standard 4 characters we saw from the first trailer. Who are these new guys anyway? That's also a mystery that has to be solved another time. The trailer DID preview new characters, but we're not sure if they're part of this 6 man party as we see in this opening cutscene.

First up, we have this fellow. This guy is new, we did not see him in the first trailer, but we can assume him to be the blue haired young man at the end of the second trailer. Honestly, I'm not too sure who this guy or what he's up to. He might be a 5th party member, or simply another phantom thief like our heroes that isn't working together with them. At this point, we really don't know anything, because his appearance is seriously so brief. I assume that he IS going to work with our heroes at some point because of a certain part in the trailer though. He DOES remind me a bit of Makoto from "Persona 3", at least without the mask on.

There we go. See the second guy on the left with the tanuki tail? Look at his mask and outfit, he shares the same appearance as our masked man up above. Since he's running together with Sakamoto, our protagonist and Morgana, he SHOULD be a party member of sorts. But as mentioned earlier, whether or not he was part of the 6 man squad at the beginning of the trailer, we don't quite know for sure yet.

More On The World And Activities

So in this trailer we also got to see more of the main gameplay, and that excites the hell out of me. Compared to our previous trailer, what we see here in the TGS trailer looks a lot more fleshed out. We have full view of our protagonist walking around the streets, loitering in school, waiting for the looks pretty cool. I say it looks more fleshed out because this time we can see the mini-map as well as little pop ups on the NPCs that showcase their thoughts. Its really nice, and this time around, the areas look a lot more alive than in the current "Persona" games, with NPCs moving around and building commercials playing in the background. The big city sure is nice.

Then we move on to the presumably, so called, after school activities. In the past, most of these are just an action or scene being played out, followed by some information about what happened. It looks like this time, we can actually take part in these events as the player. We see the protagonist going batting in an ACTUAL mini-game, as well as him doing some martial arts training to strengthen his body. Can't wait to actually see what's open for us to do as a high school student roaming around the city after school. Do we get to go speed dating? Who knows?

Personas Being Masks, The Dungeons And Story

Now we know one thing for sure, the "Persona" summoning in this game. The old man narrator describes the "Personas" as masks for the user, which is probably why the many different characters are donning these so called "masks". It can also be seen in the trailer that we can "get" our Personas from battles, and these come in the form of masks. I'm not sure what to think about this, but maybe there's a deeper meaning and darker undertone for the story/setting for this game, which is great. More on this one later though, for now, we move on to the dungeons/environments that we see in the trailer.

This...this is huge. I was awing myself during the small segment of the trailer where they showed our heroes running through the different dungeons/areas. There's A LOT compared to what we saw many months ago in our first trailer. In addition to that castle/mansion area, we've got a lot more to go through this time. We see a pyramid, the outer area of what appears to be a castle, and even a scenario where the characters jump into freaking paintings. Then there's this futuristic looking area that looks like the inner workings of the Sidonia space craft in "Knights Of Sidonia"...I believe that there's more to come here, but what we see so far sure looks promising.

The story for this game also looks like its going to be quite dark. This is just me judging from the small little snippets in the trailer and the tone of voice for the characters....but I guess things aren't going to so well for these guys. There seems to be conflict within the characters, and the very fact that the characters are using the masks to hide themselves probably have some other ulterior motive, like making the Personas stand out to steal the attention. In a way, the Personas themselves work like masks, don't you think? Anyway, there's a scene where the main character is cuffed up in a chair, he's shown in his mask on a massive TV screen on a building, and he's even shown snuffing out a sinister smile towards the end of the trailer. I don't know about you, but that probably means something. Combine  that with the other characters saying negative stuff makes for some heavy stuff (someone even says he doesn't want to die in a desperate matter, that shit happens often, I'm sure.). Everyone probably has their own 2 cents on what being a thief and bearing all this persona nonsense means to them.

The Seiyuu List

This is just icing on top of the cake. I know I know, we probably won't even get to hear them in the English version because our games will never have dual audio (pretty please, Atlus?), but one can dream. The cast here is fantastic, we only know that the protagonist is voiced by Jun Fukuyama, and that Anne, Ryuji, Morgana are voiced by Nana Mizuki, Mamoru Miyano and Ikue Ohtani respectively. The entire cast looks quite solid, and I must say, I can't wait to see what kinds of characters some of these guys are voicing. More importantly, who's the new seiyuu playing Igor? Or are they going to continue using voice clips? If someone else new voices him, I hope Jouji Nakata's doing it.

That's kind of it for now, "Persona 5" is shaping up to look like a fantastic game. Sure, it got delayed, but now I really can't wait to see what else the game has to offer. The wait for the next trailer is going to be long....

Monday, 14 September 2015

Dark Souls II Boss Profiles: Dragonriders

HP: 3670 (Halberd)
HP: 1470 (Bow)
Skills: Halberd Strike, Halberd Slam, Arrow Shot*
Souls: 26000

Difficulty: 2/5
Deaths: 1

So, after beating the 4 soul lords, we've come a long, LONG way. You'll be travelling into Drangleic Castle, which is filled with traps, mazes and evil creatures galore. It sure is a tough journey to get to the King, and to make things worst, the first post soul lord boss you are bombarded with is not particularly a very fun one to face. Make no mistake, its not difficult, just creatively boring and bankrupt. Right after you talk to Nashandra she pushes you forward, and you'll run into an old enemy...only this time, he has backup.

Oh, so now you decide to fight as a pair?

Things are different from when you last faced the single, lone Dragonrider. The double Dragonrider combo can be devastating to new players who don't know how to fight against multiple bosses at once, but for most "Souls" veterans, these guys aren't too much of a problem. The problem with these guys is that one of them will attack from afar while the other one will brawl with you up front. Having to dodge ranged attacks and duel against a single Dragonrider can prove to be quite difficult without camera control, but with the right tricks, you'll definitely have this fight in the bag.

Halberd Strike - The same attack as the first Dragonrider you fought so long ago. Can be used in conjunction with Halberd Slam.

Halberd Slam - The same attack as the first Dragonrider you fought so long ago. Can be used in conjunction with Halberd Strike.

Arrow Shot* - The Bow wielding Dragonrider snipes you with a straightforward projectile, dealing moderate damage and causing a knockback effect. Can be blocked or dodged but its hard to keep an eye on this attack most of the time.

These guys don't fight fair so its okay to exploit them. The bow wielding Dragonrider has a lot lesser health than the Halberd one, so once you get that sodding son of a bitch down from his sniping spot, you can easily destroy him. One Dragonrider resides on the ground, its the Halberd one, the other one is high above on a vantage point, trying to snipe you. If you play their game and try to kill the Halberd Dragonrider before trying to do anything about the Bow wielding one, you can get overwhelmed. So what so we do? We take care of the pussy that's standing up there first.

Not that big of a deal now that you're alone, huh?

First things first, the moment the battle starts, locate the ranged Dragonrider up above, run towards the pillar where he's standing on top of. Now, you'll aggro the Halberd Dragonrider towards you. Make him swing at you, with the pillar behind you, now, dodge the strike. The Dragonrider's attack will strike at the pillar, causing it to crumble, making the other fella fall down from his perch. Without the advantage of a high point, he's just a sitting duck on the ground trying to shoot you without any form of defense. As he's trying to aim the bow at you, you can burst him down with rapid strikes at him, he only has 1470 HP, he falls quickly.

With the ranged Dragonrider out of the way things become easy as hell as you attempt to solo the other Dragonrider. HOWEVER, if you failed to burst down the Bow user and get yourself cornered, it IS still a 2 vs 1, so you'll need to wait for the Halberd Dragonrider to attack, then sprint pass him to attack the Bow Dragonrider. If you somehow delay killing him long enough, the Bow Dragonrider will put away his bow and draw his own Halberd, then you'll just be fighting 2 regular Dragonriders. If you get to this point, its just a simple matter of stalling, waiting for both Dragonriders to attack before getting in a blow or two of your own. Its NOT too hard, though if you play too defensively you can get overwhelmed, so look for openings and strike back, its not that hard. Remember that one Dragonrider is a lot more frail than the other, take him out first for an easier time.

After you beat these guys you get 26000 souls. Your journey in castle is not over yet, and there'll be another passage of the castle awaiting to challenge you. And of course, more bosses to come.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - If You Will Shine (Goose House)
OP 2 - Seven Colored Symphony (Coala Mode)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Sparkle (Wacci)
ED 2 - Orange (7!!)

Genre: Comedy, Psychological, Drama, Romance

Episodes: 22

Here we are with another one of the emotional hitters of the year. "Your Lie In April", despite NOT airing in April, is a story about adolescent youths trying to discover themselves. While that by itself is a theme that has been exploited a lot in anime, "Your Lie In April" is one of those shows that managed to do it quite well, a lot better than many other shows in recent years. Based on a manga that finished its serialization ONLY a few months before the anime ended, it sure is an anime that I...never would want to watch UNTIL it was recommended to me. Honestly, I'm quite happy that I gave this one a shot. "Your Lie In April" hits at all the right spots, it plays around emotional moments well and at its best, its even quite intense when it needs to be. As over rated as it is, "Your Lie In April" is certainly one of the better romantic, emotional experiences that you've seen in quite a while, and there's nothing quite like the themes that this one brings.

The feels.

The first opening theme is "If You Will Shine" by Goose house, and being a song with a lot of piano arrangements, its obviously fitting for an anime like "Your Lie In April", which has out protagonist being a pianist and all. The 2nd opening is a little bit more different, its "Seven Colored Symphony" by Coala Mode. Its a bit more light hearted and simple, I feel that "If You Will Shine" is a better opening theme, if you ask me.

The ending theme for the first half is"Sparkle" by Wacci, while the 2nd ending theme is "Orange" by 7!!, the group responsible for one of "Naruto Shipuuden"'s best opening themes. Both are fitting ending themes, but "Orange" is better for being a more upbeat song, something that I very much preferred.

Rating: 8.0/10

I was hovering over "Great" and "Instant Recommendation". While "Your Lie In April" is superb when it needs to be, there are also many moments that made the show feel "slow". The moments where we are all interested in are fantastic, but they are, unfortunately, padded by plenty of redundant and slower moments. The animation style is great, the music is fantastic (something that I very rarely praise a show like this for), and the overall performance segments are bloody awesome to watch, especially when played by the main characters. The show starts off strong and ends strong, everything in between is kind of mixed...though it also tends to stand on the strong side. Kousei's backstory and the psychological issues that he faces are interesting to us viewers, and we want to see him overcome that barrier. Of course, the obvious romance banter, while is done well, isn't as good as the ones in legendary romance animes like "Toradora". The comedy falls flat, I mean, there are some good lines in there, but nothing to really make you laugh home about.

If this isn't a love flag I don't know what is.

The story stars Arima Kousei, a prodigy and genius pianist that was trained by his mother, Arima Saki. Arima Saki was mentored by one of the most famous pianists in the world, it was only natural that she wanted to make her son at that very same level. Because of that, Kousei trained since young, under his mother's strict methods. He was known as the human metronome, he won competitiona fter competition at a young age. However, after his mother passed away, he stopped playing the piano entirely, saying that he "could not hear the notes" that he played. Ever since then, he lived an empty life. Fast forward about 2 years later, now 14 years old, Kousei attends school as per any normal middle school kid. One day, one of his friends, Tsubaki, introduces him out on a group date with an unknown girl. On the day of the meet, he arrives early to see a certain blonde, beautiful girl playing with some kids. When his friends arrived, the girl introduced herself to be Kaori, and Arima knew...that it was love at first sight. That girl is a violinist, and she was about to turn Kousei's world upside down.

"Your Lie In April" ended in the best way that it could. Its a given that a show like this would be well received by the committee, rightfully so. This had the potential to become one of the best in the year (I think it still is), but there were too many moments that felt like they slowed the show down. At best, this should have been about 14-15 episodes, I don't know, it feels like it only has 14-15 episodes worth of "worthy" content. Still a great show, don't let that persuade you from not watching this. I'd especially recommend it to romance and music fans,

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Gamespot Score: 8.5 (Great)

My Score: 8.0

(+) Pros: - Intriguing story and world, - Great visual and art style, - Amazing narrative makes the game more interesting, - Multitudes of ways to approach combat with the massive variety of weapons and abilities, - Good soundtrack, - Plenty of challenges and ways to spice up your experience.

(-) Cons: - Combat gets repetitive later in the game if you don't switch things up, - Not really difficult unless you play on the hardest difficulties.

Gameplay Time: About 10 Hours

Now here's a game that I've been LONG overdue to play. Back in 2011 I couldn't get this damn game to work on my PC, and not too long ago, "Bastion" was on sale in Steam, so you can guess what game I bought. "Bastion", even for a 4 year old game, is pretty damn solid, and for its asking price, its a damn steal. I've always had a soft spot for these kinds of low budget/indie games on the PC, I'd always thought that games like "Limbo" were cool, and "Bastion" is no exception. A top down, action RPG at heart, "Bastion" holds its own against the big boys, and even though these sorts of "indie" games are quite commonplace nowadays as compared to many years back, I can still recommend it as one of the best ones out there. "Bastion" is one heck of a unique and interesting experience, and there's not quite much like it.

You play as the Kid, a young wanderer who wakes up one day to see that his world has turned upside down. The world is hit with the Calamity, destroying everything far and wide. People turned to stone, and the world is filled with hostile creatures that attack anything on sight. Nobody knows what made the calamity, and the kid thinks that he's the only survivor. He traverses through his town, which has already fallen and been invaded by Gasfellas. He makes it to the Bastion to find Rucks, an old man who calls himself the Stranger. The Bastion is a fort meant to withstand the damage from the Calamity, and has an unknown power that can "restore" the damage that the Calamity has done. For that, the Kid has to travel to different lands to collect cores, and from there, his quest to restore the Bastion begins.

Them Gasfellas don't take too kindly for the Kid
trespassing in their territory...

First thing's first, "Bastion"'s world, story and lore is certainly quite interesting. It might be just me, but I'm really a huge sucker for stories that revolve around a collapsed world with only a few people left in it, with the protagonist being one of them. "Bastion"'s story, is interesting. You want to know what happened, you want to find out more about the Calamity, you want to know more about the Kid, the want to know everything. The game gives you these story pieces bit by bit, and items you pick up during journeys can be explained by various characters you know. The world slowly unfolds before you, you understand the characters more, and while the game possibly only has one character interacting with you throughout the entire game, its done so well that you're always hungering for more information about this world.

The game, even 4 years later, looks pretty fantastic. Technically, its not amazing, but artistically, it sure is. Environments are brightly colored and are full of detail, they also come in massive varieties, making each trip to get a core or shard a magnificent one. The post apocalyptic feel only enhances the experience. All of this is enhanced by an amazing narrative by Rucks. He makes comment after comment as he talks about the Kid's adventures, and it only makes everything else feel so intriguing. He keeps a constant, scruffy, cowboy tone throughout, and as he talks about monsters surrounding you as you do battle....its quite entertaining.

That there mech bull is not something you want to mess with.

Being a top down, action RPG, you'll get to see a lot in this game as you play as the Kid. The game is easy to understand, its sort of like an action based "Diablo". You navigate the Kid around with WASD and use the mouse buttons to attack your enemies, its a relatively simple game with minimal depth, you'll quickly learn how to make the most out of what you can do. While the game starts your options off as limited, you quickly get more and more added to your arsenal, with a mixture of melee and ranged attacks. The hostiles of Caledonia are crafty, and they come in many different shapes or sizes, many even utilize different tactics to take down a single kid, you'll need to be armed with your best and most favorable weapons if you want to survive. Minions and bosses galore, you'll have your fill of battles in this one.

Every weapon plays differently, each with their own abilities attached to make your combat experience richer and more interactive. Some weapons focus on speed (Machete, Repeater), some power/aoe (Hammer, Motar), while others focus on precision (Pike/Carbine). You can only take a combination of 1 melee weapon, 1 ranged weapon and a single ability so you'll really need to focus on what you want and what fits you the most. You're also given tonics with passively grant you effects on the field, though these are only awarded to you as you level up by defeating enemies. There are only 10 levels in the game, which is deceptively low, but its actually pretty damned hard to level up in this one. Other than that, as you progress throughout the game, you can upgrade the various facilities in the Bastion, allowing you to further upgrade your weapons and abilities, allowing for some progression.

Better get to it Kid, you've got a Bastion to rebuild.

Throughout the entire game, as you fight through monsters and explore the wilderness, the game is accompanied by a great soundtrack that somehow always manages to fit the current mood of the game. Its seemingly calm when you explore barren, worn down areas, or beautiful, stretched out plains of grass, and gets violent when you are attacked by a group of monsters. A flurry of orchestral instruments make the OST pretty amazing when it counts. Of course, while the game is relatively simple to catch on, you can spice up your experience with all the little bonuses that the game has to offer. For one, you'll unlock a shrine to worship the gods on your way through the game, you can invoke some blessings which make your game harder, in exchange for more rewards.

Obviously, this benefits the more daring players, as things get drastically more insane the more blessings you decide to invoke. There are also plenty of mastery challenges scattered throughout the game. These test your might and skill with the plethora of weapons that you've obtained throughout your journey, with each weapon having a trial of their own. Besting the game's challenges with said weapon grant you more bonuses and rewards, but these are tough. They ensure that you're DAMNED good at a weapon if you ever want to get that tasty first prize, and with so many weapons to master....the completionists are going to have a hard time.

Damned winbags sure make things tough.

"Bastion"'s cons come as simple complaints. For one, if you don't switch up on your weapons throughout the game, combat is going to get pretty repetitive. Thing is, you're going to find a style that suits you, and most of the time, the new weapons that come may or may not interest you. It will NOT benefit you to upgrade and focus on every weapon that you get, some weapons are better for some situations, but its ultimately better to focus on a few powerful, suitable ones that match your playstyle. Secondly, the difficulty, unless you're playing on the harder difficulties, the game is too damned easy on default difficulty. Even on the toughest of the memory boss rush segments, there isn't much that you can't handle with the proper weapons. If you want a true challenge, invoke the multiple gods at once.

"Bastion" is probably going to be one of those timeless indie games that will always shine apart from its competition. Its a fun adventure, and while it may lose some of its charm towards the end, its still a great journey to follow from start to end. More importantly, with multiple endings and a proper, satisfying conclusion, this is a game that ends on a high note. At its asking price, its not a stretch to recommend this game to those that haven't played it,.

Happy Gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Brave Shine (Aimer)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Ring Your Bell (Kalafina)

Genre: Action, Drama, Supernatural

Episodes: 13

Welcome back to another installment of the "Fate" franchise, honestly, a franchise that has been milked a whole damned lot for its....honestly repetitive nature. Still, repetitive it may be, but people still eat it up anyways because Ufotable does an amazing job at making the anime look amazing. After the previous half of a season, we are back once again for the conclusive half of "Unlimited Blade Works", which supposedly contains the "climax" and exciting segments of this ark. With that in mind, you should expect a fun ride, and of course, if you've watched the first half, you owe it to yourself to watch the second half as well, because its where the fun is at. There's really not much else to say except for...prepare your ass for more "Fate", more well animated battles, more of Saber as a bride, and a lot more of Archer, a character that becomes excessively fleshed out in this series.

These 2 feel more important than Shirou and Saber
this time around.

The opening theme is "Brave Shine" by Aimer, which is a pretty good piece coming from her, considering how I'm not too big of a fan of Aimer songs. "Brave Shine" is epic, it has a great "Oath Sign" feel to it, and its so fitting for an anime that's part of the "Fate" series. The ending theme is "Ring Your Bell" by Kalafina, and you know me, I'm a sucker for Kalafina songs. Its certainly not as strong as "Believe", but "Ring Your Bell" is still easily opening theme material because of the nice tempo and strong vocals.

Rating: 8.0/10

Want more amazing fights? Watch "UBW". Want more focus on Rin and Archer? Watch "UBW". Want to see the blood bathe battle royal that this route is known for? Watch f**king "UBW". There's really not much I can elaborate on, the second half of the "UBW" route focuses on a lot of story, a lot more than what the first half offered. Of course, there are no shortage of nice battles in this second half. Being a different ark, things go very differently than they did in the "Fate" route, and there's a lot of focus on Archer in this second half. As far as the lore on a character that's pretty much iconic in this franchise, this is as deep as it gets, there isn't any other form of media where you can find this story about Archer from: and honestly, its quite a doozy. IMO this second half feels a little bit dragged out and the pacing is a little rough, though as usual, Ufotable's animation on the fight scenes carry it through nicely. Also, IMO, the conclusion for "UBW" is FAR better than "Fate"'s, it actually ends the series on a more satisfying note.

Calm down...spoilers? Nah, this is the first thing you see
in season 2.

Following the events of season 1, Saber was kidnapped by Caster, bringing about the end of his reign as a master. To make things worse, it also marks the end of the partnership between Shirou and Rin, since Shirou is no longer a master without Saber, he can no longer participate in the Holy Grail War. Shioru, being the justice freak that he is, still thinks about rescueing Saber, even without the aid of a servant OR a competent mage like Rin. Thinking that he can use his skills to trace archer's weapons for battles, he heads into the fray to save Saber. On the other hand, Rin and Archer go together to save Saber from Caster's clutches, however, things go horribly wrong. Archer betrays Rin and goes over to Caster's side, Saber is still captured, leaving Rin and Shirou to their lonesome selves. Now the 2 of them have to work together to somehow turn things around.

And that concludes the "UBW" ark. Its already been confirmed that the "Heaven's Feel" movie and eventually the anime adaptation of that is on the way, so we'll see how that one goes (finally time to see some love for Sakura). At the end of the day, "UBW", while a satisfying show from start to finish, feels a bit dragged out. Still, for "Fate" fans, this is an easy "must watch".

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Welcome! Disco Kemokemoke! (Daisuke Ono, Takahiro Sakurai, Jouji Nakata)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - This Merry Go Round Song (Atsushi Suemitsu)

Genre: Comedy, Slice Of Life, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

There comes a time where we always question ourselves as to when, where, or why we watch a certain series. It happens, we don't know how, we don't know why, but it happens, and here I am asking myself that question. I'm not the kind to watch animes with plenty of bishounens that babysit kids, I certainly don't, did I come across "Gugure! Kokkuri-San" again? Nobody f**king knows, but who f**king cares, "Gugure! Kokkuri-San" is definitely something that can appeal to most casual audiences. Its simple, its easy-going, there's not much you need to look out for, and the general flow of the anime doesn't have much going for it, its one of the easiest animes in the world to follow. Whether or not you enjoy this sort of thing will easily decide the worthiness of this anime in your directory, and if you do, "Gugure! Kokkuri-San" can be quite entertaining. If you want a DIFFERENT kind of slice of life anime, this one fits very well.

Everyone should just stay girls, Kohina should
choose the yuri route!

The opening theme is "Welcome! Disco Kemokemoke!" by the 3 main seiyuus of the 3 main animal spirits, Daisuke Ono, Takahiro Sakurai and Jouji Nakata. For a song sang by 3 guys its actually quite catchy, which I assume was the point of it. The ending theme, "This Merry Go Round Song" by Atsushi not so much. Its a slow tempo song with nothing much new that's being offered that has been done in many slow songs used in many ending themes already.

Rating: 7.5/10

It's probably a good show if you're into slice of life animes, other wise, there's nothing new here that'll draw you into watching it. If you like slice of life, there's a lot here to keep you occupied, from the weird theme to the unique characters...especially the protagonist. Whether or not this one is considered as an otome show...I'll lean towards it being not. While it does have a female protagonist being surrounded by handsome male characters, there isn't any romance or harem themes going on in, there are other female characters in the show, and one of the main male leads in the show keeps transforming into a girl just for the f**k of it.  Why? This is a show about ancestral spirits haunting a little girl, no sense has to be made, deal with it. The comedy is above average, there are some seriously laugh worthy moments, especially with more of the characters coming into the picture. This is one you can laugh to whether or not you're male or female.

As you can see, ol'Kokkuri-San isn't exactly tech-savvy.

Ichimatsu Kohina is a self proclaimed robot, elementary school girl with no emotions. However, she's living alone in a massive mansion and desires some sort of a playmate, so she pulls up an old ritual scroll and tries to summon Kokkuri-san, a supposedly dangerous fox spirit that haunts those who dares to summon him. Surprisingly, Kokkuri-San DID appear, but he did not look like what Kohina expected. Instead of a scary ghost, a handsome looking man in his 20s with fox ears appeared before her. Plus, instead of haunting the poor girl, he goes around commenting on her poor lifestyle. Kohina loves to laze around and eat cup noodles, Kokkuri-San, being the clean freak and bossy old man, nags on her to eat more healthily and to clean up her house. Kohina has made a huge mistake summoning this crazy fox, and she knows it. Before she knew it, Kokkuri-San started to permanently live in Kohina's establishment, now serving as the semi-house maid, cooking her meals, nagging on her and cleaning up her after her messes.

"Gugure! Kokkuri-San!" ends on a high note, maybe even close to baiting out a sequel, which I probably won't complain if it DOES eventually show itself. Its an anime that isn't for anyone, but easily appeals to slice of life fans. Give it a shot, if you like the first few episodes, chances are that you'll like the rest just as well.