Opening Songs
OP 1 - Vanilla Sky (Mashiro Ayano)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Mirai (GARNiDELIA)

Genre: Action, Science Fiction

Episodes: 12

Game to anime adaptations aren't always bad. They're always relegated to being trashy or inferior when compared to their original game counterparts, but sometimes that's not the case. Unfortunately for "Gunslinger Stratos"'s anime adaptation, it IS inferior to its game counterpart. Well, it may as well be, I'm not too sure about the game's story, but at least the game looks f**king great. The anime? Not so much. In the first place, basing an anime off a PVP based game isn't the best idea (remember "Blazblue"'s anime adaptation?), so "Gunslinger Stratos" had a disadvantage from the very start. There are some nice character designs here, but at the end of the day, that doesn't help too much when everything else just feels so...mediocre. Its a bland show most of the time, with very little going for it that's actually cool, interesting or exciting.  Unless you're somehow a hardcore fan of the game, I'd say this is one that's completely skip-able.

Look's cool, its a shame that the anime is not.

Its kind of a waste when the opening and ending themes to a mediocre anime are so good. The opening theme is "Vanilla Sky" by Mashiro Ayano and the ending theme is "Mirai" by GARNiDELIA. While "Vanilla Sky" is highly synth based/rock heavy and "Mirai" is a slower, more controlled song, both are amazing songs for an anime like "Gunslinger Stratos". Even the opening animation was cool as sh*t, it worked so well with the song.

Rating: 6.0/10

Cool character designs alone aren't really enough to save a show that doesn't do well in anything else. "Gunslinger Stratos"'s plot, story and battles SHOULD NOT have dragged into a 12 episode epic, IMO it would have worked as a 90 minute movie or something. There was simply not that much to work around with. While their designs are great, they are mostly BORING cardboard characters that...honestly want to make you cringe at times. Especially the main character....BOTH of him. The cooler and probably more interesting characters have little to no screen time so its really tough to actually connect yourself with the ENTIRE cast. Speaking of that, this is another one of those shows that suffers from a cast overload, half the time I don't know who's who and the lack of any meaningful explanation or introduction whatsoever really hurts the newcomers (like myself) who are actually trying to give a damn. The action scenes are alright at first, but they get old, really quickly. Because its always the same characters fighting with the same style. Nothing to see here, really.

Just. F**king. Shoot.

Kazasumi Toru is...kind of a loser. He's gifted with the potential to become a really strong and successful person, but chooses to hold back because he wants to blend in with the sheep of society. Basically, even though he's really good, he chooses NOT to be because he doesn't want to get a whole lot of attention. Despite that, he's constantly under the attention of one of the prettiest girls in his school, Katagiri Kyoka, this leads him to be hounded by her brother and his aide, Kyoma and Shizune. One day, Toru sees the afterimage of a girl crying for help, and he cluelessly wanders after her, which leads to an event that changes his life forever. He is sucked into a battle against a parallel universe of similar beings, with the fate of the world behind all the fighting. He and Kyoka are brought into a battle unlike any other, and are forced to fight their parallel others in the other world...alongside many others.

"Gunslinger Stratos" isn't a show that's worth your time. There's not much reason to really go for this one unless you REALLY like the game. Newcomers should stay away, hell, even if you like the game, there's really not much of a reason for you to watch this one since you can get a much better experience from the game itself. Why the hell did you think I avoided "Blazblue Alter Memory"?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.0

(+) Pros: - Deep combat system that very easily appeals to fans of the fighting game genre, - Superb character progression, - Varied character choices, each of which spots their own unique play styles, - Plenty of enemy varieties, - Incredibly high replay value with the high amount of characters and multitude of difficulty levels, - Incredibly worth its asking price IMO.

(-) Cons: - Mainstay game is very short for those only looking to play through the game once, - Lack of online play is highly questionable.

Gameplay time: -

This is a game I never expected to invest so much time into. I was never a brawler kind of guy, and if I must say it, this is probably the first 2D side scrolling brawler game that I invested so much time into. Its not like I've never played brawlers in the past, but they were never my thing. They were always these 1 trip ponies that I played once to experience it and then never go back, because I decided that I've seen everything that it had  to offer. Combat in brawlers were mostly simple and repetitive...until I played "Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds". The moment I started and finished my first run on Yuzuha...I decided that I had to play all the characters this game had to offer, I just had to. THIS is, IMO, the first great brawler that I've played, there's just not too many amazing ones out there ATM (other than "Castle Crashers", even so, that one was also just a one trip pony to me). Enter the world of "Phantom Breaker"!

In a world where select individuals were chosen by the great overlord Phantom to do battle with mystical powers against one another for having wishes granted...things aren't going so well. Following the story of the original "Phantom Breaker", which we never saw an English release of, 4 brave, female warriors decide to rescue an important girl by the name of Nagi that was kidnapped by Phantom's forces. These 4 girls are Mikoto, a college student studying music, Waka, an ally of justice that dresses in a maid outfit, Yuzuha, a ditsy ninja girl, and Waka, a shrine maiden, who also happens to be Nagi's elder sister. All 4 are gifted with powers of their own, and together they tackle the evil forces of Phantom to rescue Nagi from their clutches.

Kunoichi power!

I'll be very honest and say that "Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" is a relatively simple game to review. Being a 2D side scrolling brawler, there's not a lot to it than just beating up bad guys that flood the screen and then moving on to the next area. Rinse and repeat for the entire stage until you meet a boss, then you kill him/her to finish the battle. Its a very easy formula that's mixed in with occasional platforming and some weird puzzle-ish segments, nothing else too crazy here that's not been done in other brawlers. Well, most, if not all brawlers are like this, in that sense, "Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" doesn't innovate enough to add anything different here to its main formula. However, what stands out the most, is its deep combat and characters.

"Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" plays very much like a fighting game, with fighting game controls, mechanics and even has its control in the numbered fashion in which fighting game nerds use oh so often (12345678 + ABC). Everything from light, medium to heavy attacks and the many different directional inputs you can use, the game feels like you're beating on tons of enemies at once in a fighting game. There are also specials, a super meter that drains as you use EX specials and many other functions, like break bursts or guard cancels. There's A LOT to the game in terms of mechanics, but fighting game fans can very easily grasp everything in a matter of stages. While the game is a very simple button masher on easier difficulties, higher difficulty levels require you to manage meter and use high damaging combos to take out opponents quicker and more efficiently, making it a satisfying experience to learn the many different characters properly.

Nothing like stuffing a big ass bullet bill to the faces of your enemies.

"Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" brings an assortment of different, varied characters to the table that you can play as. The game starts you off with the main 4, Mikoto, Waka, Itsuki and Yuzuha, while unlocking the rest as you continue to play more of the game. Each character plays very differently, other than the obvious clone characters like White Mikoto or L, and its a massive joy to learn each one. While the unlocked characters are meant to be harder to use and the starting 4 are meant to be easy, Waka is actually one of the most difficult characters to play as, so I recommend to NOT start with her. Mikoto spots a heavy hitting play style with slow to moderate attacks, and having a nice assortment of a ranged attack, a gap closer and an uppercut. Itsuki is pure melee with armor on some of her moves and a full on onslaught of melee specials. Yuzuha is fast with all of her attacks and specials, which consist of both ranged and melee attacks, though her damage is a bit on the low side. The game has plenty of styles for you to learn and adapt as you play through the campaign and try to score for the leader boards.

Of course, having fun characters isn't enough, progression is the real thing that keeps the game going and its also the one thing that keeps players motivated to keep playing with their waifus. Every character has their own progression tree, and you can level up by playing through the respective stages. With each level you can invest points into the progression tree to either learn new special moves, increase character efficiency (with combo boosts, double jumps, air grabs and the like), or gain new mechanics like guard cancels or overdrives. At the end of every progression tree lies the Phantom Break, an ultimate attack that consumes all meter for a ridiculous burst of damage...its sort of like the hyper of said character in a fighting game. Needless to say every character's combo sets, special moves and Phantom Breaks are different, so there's actually incentive to invest time into grinding for the characters that you like.

Nothing like a pair of cheap ass, gank happy bosses to start off the day!

"Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds"'s 8 levels have you roaming the streets of Japan and the demon realm. You'll be running into a ton of enemies, while all of them are Phantom's servants, they come in 2 major types. The humans and well as robots. Enemies look differently from one another and attack differently. From the human side we have the standard brawler and grappler enemies, while the demons have more rushdown-centric behaviors and tend to be a lot tougher to take down. Being swarmed by a variety of enemies has you taking on different strategies to take them down together so that they don't stunlock you into oblivion, though most strategies will have you grouping them up together so that you can take them out all at once. The game can be BRUTAL on higher difficulties, even with your high leveled character.

Needless to say, the game has...a ton of difficulty levels (even after normal, there's hard, nightmare, and nightmare +), so the replay value is off the roof, especially with the amount of characters you can play as. Other than the "Story" mode there's also an arcade mode for you to challenge the leader boards. There's even local PVP and Co-op if you ever get the company. For its asking price...I'd say this game is worth it, considering I got it on a steam sale for $2 (don't get me wrong,even at original price, I'd say its worth). Plus the level cap increase and Kurisu DLC, you're forking out $15 at most for a game that you can pour about 20-30 hours into if you're hardcore at brawlers or fighting games...its quite worth it.

Co-op is always fun if you can find the guys.

"Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" has some very obvious flaws. For one, if you aren't hardcore into brawlers...or aren't willing to learn too much, this game can lose its appeal quite quickly. If you're the kind of guy that beats games like "Devil May Cry" or "Vanquish" once and then just never goes back to it...then you're not going to find your time's worth in this game. As a score attack game its MEANT to be played multiple times, if you can't see yourself enjoying that, even with the varied character're better off looking elsewhere. Secondly, the complete lack of ANY online play is disturbing. You put Co-op and PVP in A PC GAME, and yet you DON'T HAVE...ANY ONLINE FEATURES AT ALL?! Why even include these if there's no online compatibility? Couch co-op is fine on PC, but we're in an age where connecting with others worldwide is commonplace...this is poor PC porting when all is said and done.

"Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" at the end of the day, is a simple, fun and addictive brawler experience. I've never had much fun with brawlers until I played this one, and that's saying a lot. After having scored into the leader boards myself and clearing Nightmare + with my Level 99 Kurisu, I'd say that this game was well worth it for more. Fighting game enthusiasts can find their time's worth here with the deep combat system, and brawler fans can be pleased to know that there's a lot to do here.

Happy Gaming!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Boobs X (Triage X review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Triage (Saeko Zōgō ft. Nagareda Project)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Soleil More (Kazutomi)

Genre: Action

Episodes: 12

Widely considered to be one of the worst animes of last season, I can see "Triage X" getting a lot of flag for its heavy fan service based roots. But...come on, it was by the same dude who made "High School Of The Dead", one hell of a fan service fest that received a lot of love and hate at the same time. With that in mind, its only expected for "Triage X" to thread across those lines. Its a mixture of action and fan makes it VERY clear to which types of audiences it wants to appeal to. Now that that's out of the way, "Triage X" actually isn't a bad show. Its quite entertaining, there are cool segments, the fan service, while some of it might be in bad taste, IS pretty good. What it lacks for in a good story and character development, it makes up for it in explosive action scenes and very bold fan service scenes. Say what you will, I didn't think "Triage X" was THAT bad of a show, it just depends on how you look at it.

I don't know about you but those are some MASSIVE jugs.

The opening theme is "Triage" by Saeko Zogo, featuring Nagareda Project as well. I don't know if it was to be expected or not, but it gives off an extremely similar vibe to the HOTD opening, "HOTD". In a way, its very powerful and impactful as an opening, which is somewhat expected for an anime like this. The ending theme, "Soleil More" by Kazutomi, is also a powerful rock song, though its somewhat weaker than the opening theme.

Rating: 7.0/10

"Triage X" is not entirely horrible, at least not in my eyes. Its at least more entertaining than some of the utterly borish or ridiculous shows that I've seen in recent times ("Blade And Soul", "Nobunaga The Fool", "Kancolle"). While "Triage X" takes fan service to the high levels, it actually does quite a few things right. Character archetypes are established instantly, and while there isn't much in terms of backstory or development, its enough to keep the show running with its rather minimal character cast, so there's that, its not too ambitious on that front at least. And to say the least...a good deal of these characters actually DO strike as interesting...minus the main character and main heroine. Action scenes are mostly well done, and there are plenty of story arcs that are quite intense. Its only unfortunate that with the short 10 episodes that we have here only leaves a lot more to be desired, because this is NOT a complete story.

Its time to crash the party while looking all badass and shit.

Arashi is your typical high school student on the outside with a dark secret that he keeps from everyone else. Sure, he's a little doozy at school, he misses classes so often to the point that its a regularity, and he needs to have his classmate take notes for him all the time. Little do they know though, that Arashi actually works for a top secret hit man organization known as "Black Label". To most others, they disguise themselves as a regular hospital, but deep down, the root of the organization is owned by a bunch of higher ups. "Black Label" tasks themselves with killing the tumors of society, scumbags of the Earth that are untouchable by the law.  They commit all sorts of crime and douche-bagery, but because of their high social status within the society, they can always work their ways around lawsuits and arrests from the police. This is where "Black Label" comes in, to kill and bring judgement to these scum. Arashi is part of the 6 man squad that terrorizes these Evildoers.

"Triage X" brings some good ideas to the table that could easily be expanded upon. It shows potential during the few moments where it shines best, and the fan service is there for those who enjoy it. Its a good side project...but I'm waiting for that new "HOTD" chapter. Anytime now.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Dream Solister (TRUE)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Tutti (Tomoyo Kurosawa, Ayaka Asai, Chika Anzai, & Moe Toyota)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Episodes: 13

Almost anything that Kyoto Animation churns out becomes quite popular. With good reason of course, they DO release some pretty good projects from time to time, though they might no appeal to everybody. If anything, most of their projects lean more towards the light hearted viewers. Then comes "Sound! Euphonium", another music themed anime that focuses on 4 female leads. Yes, it sounds awkwardly similar to "K-on!", and it even LOOKS like it. But, fret not, "Sound! Euphonium" manages to differentiate itself well enough to establish its own sort of identity. Instead of a light music club this one focuses more on a proper band and everything to do with it. Formations, sections, marches...."Sound Euphonium" nails everything about this. To those looking for a unique experience with some moe references, this is well worth your time. Otherwise, it stands alone as a strong replication of a band experience for those of you band fans/members.

Introducing our 4, cute as f**k heroines.

The opening theme is "Dream Solister" by TRUE, which is a strong opening theme that's quite exciting to listen to. It fast, has a nice tempo, and just feels nice to listen to, an extremely fitting opening song to an anime about a band. The ending theme though, "Tutti", by the 4 seiyuus of the 4 main heroines, is where my vote goes to. Its fast, it rocks, its catchy, and it reminds me heavily of the old "K-on!" ending themes, which were MUCH heavier than the opening themes. A good change of pace, and a nice surprise, honestly.

Rating: 8.0/10

Not much could have honestly gone wrong with "Sound! Euphonium" with Kyoto Animation in the driving seat. These guys know what they are doing. "Sound! Euphonium" is pretty to look at, VERY pretty. Though its not much different from previous works from "Kyoto Animation", that alone speaks very highly about how great their shows look. Besides all of that, there are a lot of characters in the show, and most of them are interesting. Character interactions are key and the show isn't without its share of club room drama and politics. There are a surprising amount of conflicts between characters, making this show not as smooth of a joy ride as it should have been. Still, character building is done extremely well for its key characters and while the entire experience felt somewhat short-lived, you can't help but to ask for more. Even though I have had ZERO experience in a band and know nothing about it, the formations, practice sessions and heated debates within the club intrigued to quite an extent. Plus, the important performance scenes had such amazing production values and these were amazing to watch. There's not much I can complain about it...except for the fact that some characters are simply throwaways and there seemed to be some pacing issues during some parts of the show. Otherwise, its a solid experience overall.

Well then...welcome to the band.

Kumiko is a girl who's been in the band for almost as long as she remembered. She performed in elementary school and middle school, though her school's performance in middle school left a lot to be desired. Their school obtained the gold award, but she didn't know what to feel about it. Her fellow perfectionist classmate that she had been admiring, Reina Kosaka, was absolutely demolished by the fact that they got a DUD gold, meaning that their school could not attend nationals. While almost everyone else celebrated over their dud gold, Reina sulked away. Fast forward in time and now Kumiko is in high school. She wanted a fresh new start so she chose a high school that she thought nobody she knew would attend. There, she meets 2 new friends quickly, Sapphire and Hazuki. While she didn't want to take band again, she was dragged there and her 2 new friends quickly joined in as well. To her surprise, she sees Reina Kosaka in the club as well, and there, things started to get awkward.

"Sound! Euphonium" may not be an over the top experience, but its still an adventure worth experiencing if you're willing to trying something new. It is NOTHING like "K-on!", and is something else entirely on its own, know that going in. It shows the workings of a band in an adored anime format, complete with its own endearing story and characters. One of the sleeper hits of the year IMO.

Looking Glass Knight
HP: 6540
Skills: Slash Combo, Jumping Slash, Quick Sword Thrust*, Thunder Wave*, Thunder Slash, Summon Ally
Souls: 34000

Difficulty: 3/5
Deaths: 1

After traversing through Drangleic Castle, you'll eventually go into the castle depths and get to face off against this guy. The dreaded poster enemy that has been in the trailers and playable demos so damned long ago, The Looking Glass Knight. This is easily one of the most epic boss battles in the game, which isn't saying too much about what the game has to offer, because even though he's one of the best bosses in the game...its not THAT amazing in contrast to older bosses in the franchise. Still, if your core skills and fundamentals aren't great, he can be quite tough.

Behold! My mighty sword of the heavens!

The Looking Glass Knight IS an epic boss, and he has a variety attacks to back up his fabulous get-up. He's generally quite a slow foe save for a few of his attacks, however, the arena in which you fight him in has grants limited space for dodging or healing, so you'll have to work with what you have. Of course, for having such a massive shield, he easily blocks any sort of attack you'll throw at his shield, so...don't hit that. He doesn't have too many threatening attacks that can one-shot you or do too much damage, but you should still play it safe against him. He has obvious blind spots, use that to your advantage.

Slash Combo - A combination of slashes and stabs, all of which can be blocked or dodged. He can swing up to 4 times as the battle drags on, with the longer combos coming out towards the end of the battle as he gets lower. He isn't the fastest with these swings, so you can easily get out of the way.

Jumping Slash - He jumps at you from a distance to do a sweeping slash. Easily dodged by running or rolling towards him, can also be blocked but the stamina chunk is quite massive. Does high damage if it connects.

Quick Sword Thrust* - Similar to the Smelter Demon's attack with the same name, he'll use this from a distance to chunk you out when you are healing. Can be blocked or dodged easily if you see it coming, but the cheese meters on this skill are high.

Thunder Wave* - After channeling energy to his sword, he slams his sword down, causing multiple waves of electricity to spread out as projectiles. As a ranged attack this one does considerable damage and if you are up close, you risk being hit by multiple waves at once, dealing massive damage.

Thunder Slash - After channeling energy to his sword, he slashes in a arc motion, dealing massive damage. This attack is slow, has limited range and can be blocked. 

Summon Ally - He holds his shield up to summon a random phantom from within it. The phantom will fight for him for the rest of the battle unless slain.

For one, this is a battle that will drag for quite a long while because of his health, defenses, and massive shield. Because of that shield, there are only so many directions you can hit him from. He IS a slow boss, so you can find plenty of opportunities to hit him. From afar, he likes to either gap close with Jumping Slash or the Quick Sword Thrust, but most of the time its the former as he likes to use the latter to instead cheese you when you are flasking up. Both attacks are easily avoided if you see them coming, so there's not much threat there, just be extra careful when you need to flask up for this fight.

Wait, only 26 damage?!

The Looking Glass Knight is most at home in close ranged combat, but again, so are you in this battle. His attacks can do moderate damage but are slow, you can simply walk away from them and re-position yourself in a more favorable angle to strike him from. Most commonly used by the Knight himself is his Slash Combo, which are a combination of slow stabs and slashes, which can go up to 4 hits as he gets lower on health. After the combo he is left wide open, so go ahead and get some free hits in. Other than that, he likes to use his Thunder based attacks, which can vary depend on how close you are to him. 

If you are up close, he likes to use Thunder Slash, which is a very straightforward slashing attack with a predictable arc. This can be easily dodged due to its slow casting speed. When you are afar, he likes to use Thunder Wave, which calls forth ranged, thunder attributed projectiles. This one is ironically more deadly up close because the projectiles will spread out, if you're up front you'll eat all the projectiles at once, dealing tons of damage. Either way, both moves have extremely long start up times, allowing you to EASILY punish him with attacks as he charges up, do make sure to back up when he finally unleashes his attacks though.

Battle of knights!

When the Looking Glass Knight gets lower on health, he starts to summon allies to help him like a pussy. He can summon these guys as many times as he likes, but it comes with a cool down. These allies can be AI controlled NPCs or human players, depending on your luck. Either way, you have the choice to kill off the ally or continue to try to rush down the Mirror Knight, the former is usually the better play, either way, keep up the pressure and he goes down fairly quickly.

The Looking Glass Knight falls after a long, long fight. You get 34000 souls for your troubles and access to one of the worst maps in the game, The Shrine Of Amana. Speaking of which....


Demon Of Song
HP: 6180
Attacks: Hand Swipe, Grab, Stretched Fall, Leaping Crash, Water Bolts*
Souls: 26000

Difficulty: 1.5/5
Deaths: 0

For such a f**ked up stage, we get THIS boss?! Anyway, getting through the Shrine Of Amana is no easy feat, but this guy...he's a pushover. Possibly one of THE ugliest boss in the game, The Demon Of Song is ALSO easily one of the easiest bosses in the game as well. Aesthetic wise its not bad, but unfortunately, this thing just dies too quickly.

That thing is just so ugly that you don't want to go near it.

The Demon Of Song is very, very, VERY slow. It also has a massive hitbox for you to go all out and smack it right in the face. It doesn't have a lot of attacks so its easy to see what's coming and to react accordingly. You have quite a spacious area to run around in, so its okay to bide your time. It's arsenal is mostly melee, so playing from afar is more advantageous to you, though by doing so you are left vulnerable to its only threatening attack. However you want to take this battle on though, you won't have too much trouble.

Hand Swipe - He swings his hands in the area in front of him for some moderate damage. Slow startup, and can be easily avoided by going to his sides.

Grab - He stretches his hands out and grabs you, resulting in moderate-high damage. Slow and easily dodged.

Stretched Fall - He stretches his hind feet and falls in the area in front of him, dealing massive damage. Very long startup, easily dodged.

Leaping Crash - He jumps and leaps towards you, causing massive AOE upon landing. Very slow and easily avoided as well.

Water Bolts* - He shoots a couple of water bolts at you from a distance, dealing high damage. Can be blocked but the chip is still strong. One of the few moves that he has which isn't epicly slow.

You cannot hit the Demon Of Song unless he opens his mouth, revealing that exceedingly ugly face and arms of his. The arms are very long, and the face is quite wide, giving you quite a lot of room to attack him. Its also worth noting that if he doesn't open the mouth, he has not attacks to throw at you, so take into consideration that if you can attack him, he can attack you as well. If you need to heal, do it when his mouth is closed.

Don't get grabbed!

4 out the Demon Of Song's 5 attacks are too slow to connect. Hand Swipe has him sweeping the area in front of him, Grab has him trying to grab you in front of him, Stretched Fall has him bombard the area in front of him.....that's THREE of his 5 attacks that only affect the area in front of him AND are slow as BALLS. His attacks are SO heavily telegraphed that you will almost always get out of it...way too easily. After he attacks you can have all the time in the world to attack his face or arms for plenty of free damage.

If you're playing this from afar, he can leap at you, but again, this is a slow attack. He lands slowly and right after that he opens his mouth for you to hit him. Realistically, his only powerful attack are his Water Bolts, which he seems to fire out at random. It does massive damage, but it shouldn't be enough to one shot you. These can be dodged or blocked, but note that the chip from the Water Bolts can still do some damage to you.

Beating this ugly piece of shit gets you 26000 souls, not a whole lot, but then again, this is such an easy boss to beat. Next time, we move on to the Undead Crypt, where more bosses await....

Opening Songs
OP 1 - BLESS YoUR NAME (ChouCho)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Give Me Secret (StylipS)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

About damn time we got a season 3, because the "High School DxD" anime is SO behind when compared to the LNs. Well, its wishful thinking that we can even catch up at this rate...but one can always hope. Anyway, you should already know what "High School DxD" is about. Its one of the most popular fanservice harem animes out there that rivals "To Love Ru"...which another whole buttf*ck of fanservice. Being the 3rd installment to the series, fans should know what to expect. Tons of glorious fanservice with attempts to make the story, action and characters appealing. To an extent, it succeeds, but the franchise's age shows. After seeing 2 seasons of this, its getting old, though we explore upon new arcs and know more about our characters, it'll probably take awhile before we get to see the more intense parts in future seasons. This 3rd season expands upon the series just fine, but probably finishes the weakest out of all the seasons thus far. Needless to say, if you enjoyed previous offerings of the series, this should serve you just fine.

And just like that, Issei expands his harem once again.

I'm surprised they decided to replace Larval Stage Planning in the opening theme department, they were doing a good job with the previous ones IMO (just like I'd be surprised to see Mami Kawada replaced for "Index" openings). Anyway, "BLESS YoUR NAME" by ChouCho is the opening theme, and ChouCho is the last singer that I'd expect to see singing for "High School DxD". She does a good job here, but it doesn't feel as epic as previous offerings. "Give Me Secret" by StylipS is the ending theme, and as usual, its cute-sy to no end....not really my cup of tea.

Rating: 8.0/10

Quite possibly the weakest of the 3 seasons, but its still a great watch for the right audiences. Like before, this one introduces even more characters and adds more to Issei's harem, while also expanding on previous characters (Koneko gets a good deal of back story in this one, since she's probably the only one from the initial cast we know nothing about). The camaraderie between the Gremory Lineage is always nice to see, and its easily the strongest that its ever been in the 3 seasons, considering how much they have bonded. While they start to throw in new, important figurehead characters to the series, things start to get a little bit more confusing as we now have so much to keep track of. Luckily, the fight scenes do hold up, and we do get some pretty awesome battles throughout this season, though the end battle is probably the weakest out of all the climaxes when compared to the previous 2 seasons. Still, fanservice, good characters, and a progressive story carries it through, if you know what you're sitting in for, you'll be rewarded just that in "High School DxD Born".

Epic battle ensues.

Issei's back, and he's back with ALL his girls in the Gremory lineage. After the attack from the Chaos brigade and Issei having to fight against somehow got better for him. Azazel became the teacher in charge for Rias's club, his family's house got upgraded into a big ass mansion FOR FREE by the devils to cope with all the girls trying to stay with him. Things were starting to look more exciting for him, especially when Rias announced that they were going to attend the Rating games that were going to take place in the Underworld, where she will compete her entire lineage against that of other top families. There, Issei and the other members of the lineage get boot camped to become stronger. However, things take for a worse turn when members of the Chaos Brigade impede onto the tournament and tries shake things up with all the major figureheads of the underworld.

With "High School DxD Born" finished I'm wondering if we'll be seeing any more "High School DxD" anytime soon. I think we'll probably see it, but how soon we'll get it is kind of an iffy thing to think about. There's still a lot to cover and the anime is extremely behind in terms of content when compared to the LNs, so there's that.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Last Of Us

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 9.5

(+) Pros: - Amazing production value, - Great, progressive story that never lets up for the entire game, - Likable characters and superb character progression, - Simplistic gameplay that's easy to learn and get sucked into, - Great blend of action, stealth and shooter elements, with plenty of intense in-game moments, - Good pacing throughout the game.

(-) Cons: - Too easy on default difficulty.

Gameplay time: About 15 Hours

I am WAY late on this game. I knew that it was one of the best games of the generation, and that it was absolutely phenomenal on many, MANY levels. Crafted by the masters behind the "Uncharted" series, "Naughty Dog", "The Last Of Us" is the zombie epidemic of a game that took the gaming world by storm. It was so amazing that it warranted a remake for the PS4 SO QUICKLY into the system's lifespan. 2 years later, I've finally played this game, and without a doubt, I can say that this is one of the best games of ALL TIME. Its a masterpiece on so many levels and I seriously hope that it becomes an IP for Sony to release in the future. "The Last Of Us" is an epic adventure/action title that will live through the hearts of gamers as one of the best story driven games ever made. Trust me, I'm not overreacting. Yes, this isn't a Japanese game, and yes, its THAT good.

The story stars an old man known as Joel as the main character. It all begins as a zombie outbreak occurs, taking the world and the town that he lives in, by storm. He goes home to pick up his daughter, Sarah, after finding out that the world has gone to shit, and is forced to shoot his neighbor in front of Sarah after he turned into a zombie. His brother, Tommy, comes over with a car to bail them the hell out of there and tries to get them into a quarantine zone. However, things get even worse when he finds out that a good part of the town has already turned and has began attacking others. ...Then things get EVEN worse when the quarantine zone guard is ordered to shoot any survivors on sight...including Joel's daughter Sarah. Tough times...before Joel is shot as well Tommy comes to shoot the soldier, meaning that he survives while Sarah dies. Fast forward 20 years later and Joel now lives into a safe zone as some sort of smuggler. Things are about to get a whole lot tougher for him though when he is roped into a job that involves smuggling a kid named Ellie, who is supposed to be mankind's savior.

Come over here...sunshine....

We'll get something out of the way first: this game's production value is massive. For a game that was released a couple of years back, the graphics are amazing (they still are), the voice acting is superb and almost everything about this game is f**king triple A. Its great to look at and it sounds awesome, Sony really went all out with this one, thinking that it would be the game that wins the system over. This might actually be the winner for one of the best, if not, THE BEST PS3 game out there right now. It says a lot that the remastered version of this game is probably also the best game on PS4 at the moment....yeah.

Being a story driven game, "The Last Of Us" has a pretty great story. Sure, after the amazing prologue, the game starts off rather normally without too much of a bang, but it steadily ramps up into something amazing and never lets up. Its full of emotional moments and intense encounters, whether it be against zombies or regular bandits trying to ruin your day. You discover revelation after revelation, and instead of a story about "saving the world" it becomes a more personal story for Joel and Ellie, which is a lot more interesting. Its like a roller coaster ride, after a certain point, it just drops everything on you and you're going to have a blast throughout after the somewhat slot start that's just for ramping up.

Sneaky sneaky....

Speaking of Joel and Ellie, who are WONDERFULLY portrayed characters, the characters in this game are very, VERY strong contenders for carrying the story itself. Your story means nothing if the characters don't shine, and boy, the characters in "The Last Of Us" are so well written and acted out, its hard to think that this is a video game. Like many claim before me, but I think that the performance of the voice actors in "The Last Of Us" makes the entire experience feel like...a very well acted out movie. You'd mistake the characters for REAL actors because the facial expressions are SO amazing. If you'd ask me, THIS is the peak of a western game. You know me, I always DID prefer my Japanese games, but this one blows so many of them out of the water with its characters. This is one of the few times where I think that an older character can work out as a protagonist, but Joel is SO solid.

Now, while the story and characters play a HUGE part in the game...we haven't even touched on the gameplay. Being a linear, adventure styled game that thrives on action, stealth, and shooter elements, "The Last Of Us"'s gameplay is rather simple, but also intense and engaging. Throughout the game you'll be going into multiple locations in the post apocalyptic world, ranging from abandoned cities to deserted sewers....though for the most part, the environment is primarily urban styled. You'll be facing off against 2 kinds of enemies, normal, hostile humans, and the infected. Both require different strategies to beat, and this is where the fun starts.

Health Kit, always go health kit,.

Playing as Joel is easy. For being an old man, he gets the job done. He has a...small arsenal, that expands into somewhat of a weaponry as the game progresses. His weapons range from pistols to shotguns to flamethrowers to bows....and he is also able to pick up items in the environment to use as weapons, be it lead pipes and wooden sticks to use as melee weapons, or bricks and bottles to throw at enemies. You'll be swarmed with multiple enemies at all stages of the game, so its crucial for you to make use of the environment to sneak around enemies to take them down slowly. Obviously, you can choose to go in guns blazing, but its always safer and more satisfying to slowly take down your enemies when they are unaware, one by one.

Infected enemies come in two primary types. One, the runners, which are basically running, slapping zombies that charge at you to get in hits on you, aiming to beat you down into submission. These come in groups, but are easily taken down if played correctly. The other infected type are the clickers, these guys are NASTY. If you are a more melee focused player and prefer to take your enemies out up close, be it up in their face or from behind like a sneaky cheat, the clickers will ruin your day. Since they instantly kill you up close with their bites, you'll need to take them out with ranged weaponry, or as the game suggests, you ignore them completely, because they are just annoying to take down, since you will always require some sort of resource to kill them.

That's what they all say.

The other type of enemies are the humans. Be it the hunters, bandits or soldiers, these dudes always act somewhat same-ish. Most of them group up and take pre-planned patrol paths, then when they're split up from one another, you can go and take them down. Systematically dismantling a team of human enemies can range from easy to ridiculously difficult based on the environment and the amount of enemies all around. There are PLENTY of moments where the game SWARMS you with enemies, making your decisions and actions very important. These moments are intense, they require fast fingers, and you'll need to be prepared to fight them head on, if needed. Unlike the infected, humans are tough to take on up close as they tend to have all different sorts of weaponry, and they gang up on you. This is where the game is at its hardest, and you'll need to go into every fight prepared, or you will die.

The game is well paced into 4 different seasons, each representing a major arc in the game (spring, summer, fall, winter). Pacing is pretty good throughout, though the first arc is kind of long compared to the rest. The timing where Joel and Ellie run into other new characters is perfect, and the moments where its just the 2 of them traversing through an abandoned city either full of bandits or zombies is also just right. The game never feels TOO rushed or dragged out, and that's one of the strongest points in the game. From the start to the end, the game remains strong, even for its conclusion, the game fired on all cylinders.

Tell this not beautiful?

I honestly don't have too much complaints about the game at all. Some people say its repetitive, I definitely don't think so. HOWEVER, I will say that the game is far too easy on its default difficulties. I suggest playing on hard for your first one if you don't want to just breeze through the game (enemies don't do too much damage, Ellie hands you way too many items, you are given too much room to make mistakes). Other than that, the game is simply fantastic throughout, I've got no complaints here.

Its easy to see how "The Last Of Us" is one of the best games in the previous console generation. There's just so much to see and do here. While the experience is mostly linear and its a very story driven game, its masterfully done. Certainly one of my favorite games in years and the best game for my PS3 thus far. Hell, this is WITHOUT me playing the online segment of the game. Yes, even after the masterfully done story, this game has online play. WTF.

Happy gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Miiro (Akino From Bless4)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Fubuki (Shiena Nishizawa)

Genre: Action, Science Fiction

Episodes: 12

"Kancolle", aka "Kantai Collection", one of the most popular browser games in Japan. Hell, it got so big that even the non-Japanese speaking audiences went out their way to get their hands on the game. I never understood the appeal of "Kantai Collection" that much, its basically a simulation game where you collect girls based on old Japanese warships and they go to battle against alien enemies known as the abyssals. I never really did get to try the game, but of course, the widespread appeal of the girls in "Kantai Collection" eventually reached me, and I did find some of the girls rather attractive (Shimakaze is pure win). An anime adaptation was a perfect way to introduce me to the series. While I can see how this premise sucks people in, and the game MAY be a great way to get into it, but as a newcomer to "Kantai Collection" and as someone who knows close to NOTHING about the franchise, I can say that the anime isn't a great way to start off. If you're going into this one blind, prepare to...not be impressed, to say the least. If you're already into the game, you probably already watched and enjoyed this one though.


The opening theme is "Miiro" by Akino From Bless4. I'm pleasantly surprised by this one, because it actually sounds quite serious/epic, in contrast to the overall light hearted feel/theme that's in place for the majority of the anime. Its a good song otherwise. "Fubuki" by Shiena Nishizawa is the ending theme, and this slower tempo-ed song is rather expected for an ending song. Nothing much to talk about here, both songs aren't too memorable.

Rating: 6.5/10

If you're going into this one blind like me, there's a very, very good chance that you won't know who's who....and you are going to get lost quite easily. IMO "Kancolle" suffers from the "Girlfriend Beta" syndrome, where there are too damn many characters and many of them look rather similar, save for a few girls with rather unique character designs. The story is quite uninspiring after the first few episodes and the 3D CG girls with cannons might not appeal to everyone as its not done particularly spectacularly. The main heroine is rather cliche and she gets buried by the overwhelming amount of other characters who attempt to hog the spotlight in other individual episodes. Its ultimately a rather uninspiring experience for a newcomer like myself who hasn't already familiarised myself with the characters, because almost all of them seem to have some kind of special trait to them, but because they aren't focused on, we end up forgetting or just not caring about many of the characters. It does have a good concept, and eventually a strong finish, but at the end of the day, I leave "Kancolle" with the same questions as I did going in. "Who the hell are these girls?"

Cannon girls! Lots of cannon girls!

The show stars destroyer ship Fubuki, a new ship girl who recently got transferred into the Naval District under orders of the admiral. Like every other ship girl she is posted to a new unit and ended up in the same room as 2 fellow destroyers, Mutsuki and Yuudachi. The 3 quickly become friends and the other ship girls start speculating what kind of a powerful destroyer ship she must be. However, its quickly discovered the Fubuki has almost NO talent on the battlefield, and she quickly loses confidence in herself after she is called for her first sortie. In a world where abyssals constantly threaten the seas, she must always be prepared for battle along with the other ship girls if she is ever called in a battle fleet. She swears to train herself to become a proper ship girl in which the other girls can put their trust in during a fight, and thus she is trained under the many different methods of the many different ship girls to become a worthwhile fighter.

"Kancolle" ends up being quite underwhelming and doesn't accomplish a whole lot for a newcomer watcher like myself. As I mentioned earlier, this one is more for the "Kantai Collection" veterans who have already familiarized themselves with all the different characters in the franchise, for newcomers like myself, there's not much to flesh out for us here. Because of the franchise's overwhelming popularity, there's more incoming, including a film that's coming out in 2016. Hopefully what's to come is more interesting than what we have here.

Akame Ga Kill

Well, for a frost queen, she's hot as hell.
"Akame Ga Kill"'s cast is filled with pretty great characters that we can like. The heroes side has plenty of hot ladies and great guys, but none of them stand up to our unique villain that has captured the hearts of many fans. That villain is none other than Esdeath, the crazy ice queen that longs for love like no other. She's pretty crazy, and honestly she's crazy attractive. Her personality is a massive part of why so many people like her, and I can agree. Esdeath is sexy, both inside and out...she is without a doubt, my favorite character in this show.

Esdeath is introduced relatively early as one of the empire's greatest assets. A general that is ridiculously powerful, she is one of the hardest obstacles for the resistance to overcome. While the resistance can take on most of the empire's strongest fighters, they are nowhere near Esdeath's level. She would go on conquests to fight against powerful legions of soldiers by herself and completely stomp on them. She is also a known sadist, which can be quite sexy if you are into it.

Her Teigu allows her to control ice. While it doesn't sound like much, her ability to call forth ice at will and use it for offense or defense is quite terrifying. To make things worse, her swordsmanship is insane, to the point where she can fight on par with or even overtake Akame, probably the other best character when it comes to wielding a blade. She can even FREEZE TIME if things get too sticky for her. However, this completely dominant ice queen turns into a high school girl in love when she's with Tatsumi, the man that she desires. This transformation is so fun to watch and probably Esdeath's sexiest moments.

Assassination Classroom


Okay, without a doubt, Koro-Sensei is the best character in "Assassination Classroom". He is THE reason why the show succeeds so well, because when compared to the rest of the students and teachers, he is SUCH a vibrant fellow with so many excuses to be loved. He's funny as hell, that's the primary reason we love him, but obviously, he's so much more. He's a caring teacher, he's a badass octopus alien, he is extremely powerful, and the best thing of never know what he's thinking. To top it off, he is voiced by the legendary Jun Fukuyama, who does an AMAZING job with this quirky octopus dude.

At the very start of the anime we see the appeal of "Assassination Classroom", and THAT is Koro-Sensei. "You have until next year to kill me", this is pretty much impossible as we get a glimpse of his power. He dodges constant gunfire by over 20 students as he TAKES ATTENDANCE. This guy, can fly to china during lunch break and come back in less than half the time of the entire period, all while eating his new Chinese cuisine that he bought back from China...yeah. Of course, being a teacher, he's a nice guy. He treats his students equally, and does what he can to make sure that they can succeed.

He uses different teaching styles for different students. He teaches all his students AT THE SAME TIME, by moving SO FAST that he splits his body into over 20 clones. He over reacts to things, his face changes colors according to his mood, and he constantly tries to make jokes to please his students. He takes their assassinations head on, even giving them pointers for future attempts. Of course, this octopus thing HAS his moments where he becomes badass....and when he does, its usually not pretty. You wouldn't like a pissed off Koro-Sensei.

Oh boy....

It's actually been awhile since I've had 2 characters tie for favorite characters...but for "Assassination Classroom"'s protagonist is just too good to not include here. I've never had much love for many main characters, but Nagisa is just one of those protagonists that I can get interested in. Yes, he looks like a girl, and yes, he can stand up to Hideyoshi's level of "otokonoko-ness", but he's easily one of the most unique main characters in an anime of all time. Let's be real here though, his appearance is one of the many reasons why people love him, and I can't deny that he is, cute.

Nothing seems to spectacular about Nagisa at first. He's just one of the many students in class E, just that unlike the others, he seems...strangely motivated to take down Koro-Sensei. Instead of going in blind trying to stab or shoot Koro-sensei like other characters, he sits in the back lines, jotting down information about Koro-Sensei in his little note book after watching the failed assassination attempts by others. He notes EVERY little thing about Koro-Sensei in his book, which he uses for future references.

When he DOES attempt to kill, he is noted to be the best, potential assassin in the class. He possesses an incredibly horrifying aura that can terrify the likes of Karasuma, one of the most accomplished special agents in Japan. It is also noted that during his first assassination attempt in the first episode, Koro-Sensei could not sense Nagisa's approach, when he can easily thwart the other student's attempts effortlessly. Yes, a monster that can move faster than jet planes and dodge gunfire from 20 students, could not dodge a single, advancing young man. Nagisa's potential is sky high, and I can't wait to see his growth in the upcoming second season.

Daily Life Of High School Boys


In an anime that's so ridiculously funny and is filled with hilarious characters, only one stands above the rest. Hidenori is...crazy. There's no other word used to describe him other than hilarious, because he is the epitome of stupidity. He screams loud remarks, he makes silly jokes, he makes himself look retarded, and makes OTHERS look retarded. His actions are just so ridiculous that you can't help but bust out laughs every time he shows up on screen. Almost ALL of his screen time has me laughing off like a retard.

Being one of the 3 protagonists in the anime, Hidenori has a crap lot of screen time, which is good because this guy is hilarious. Out of the 3 protagonists, he has the most explosive comments and reactions. He randomly wheels his friends into his delusional antics, which are always fun to watch. He has the best interactions with other characters, my favorite being the literary girl. The 2 together are just hilarious.

Hidenori is almost always never serious, even his brother is kind of silly. Whenever he intrudes on Tadakuni he fools around with his sister like an idiot. It's like he's trying way too hard to look silly. This pretty much confirmed for me that Tomokazu Sugita is perfect for voicing a comedic character.