Kazuya Nakai

Kazuya Nakai is one of those guys that you've more or less seen around before in many different games or anime that you've watched. His voice is distinctive and very easy to identity, he's got a really rough pitch that usually works for those tough guys or scruffy bishounens. Still, when he nails a role down he does it damned well that's fitting of the character that he voices, so that's all good. His most famous roles include Date Masamune (Sengoku Basara Series), Zoro (One Piece Series) and the more recent Zapp (Blood Blockade Battlefront), who is, in my opinion, the best character that he has voiced thus far. He can be the big brother figure with characters like Marito (Aldnoah Zero), Waka (Final Fantasy 10) or Zaka (Valkyria Chronicles). He can be that one crazy dude like Gilgamesh (Final Fantasy Series), or the delinquent student in Suguro (Ao No Exorcist) and Mundo (Danganronpa). Finally, he can run the occasional pretty boy in a charcter like Soma (God Eater), who doesn't actually say much in the first place.

Characters from left to right

1st row - Marito (Aldnoah Zero), Waka (Final Fantasy 10), Gilgamesh (Final Fantasy Series), Zoro (One Piece Series)

2nd row - Date Masamune (Sengoku Basara Series), Soma (God Eater), Zaka (Valkyria Chronicles)

3rd row - Suguro (Ao No Exorcist), Zapp (Blood Blockade Battlefront), Mundo (Danganronpa)

Rumi Ookubo

Rumi Ookubo is a rather new seiyuu in my opinion. She started doing major roles in the early years after 2010, and she's had her fair share of lead roles in them. She can be quite versatile if she needs to be, but most of the time she's stuck doing cute characters with various, different tones. In a way, she's more of a moe voicer than anything, something along the lines of Ayane Sakura. Still, she has some characters I really like. She's able to go tsundere like Alyn (Fairy Fencer F) and Yuzuki (Black Bullet), though she's more on the cute side for these characters. More "normal" high school girl characters include Hiragi (Freezing) and Kazuki (Gallilei Donna). Then we have the uber cute-sy girl with a troubled family background in Usagi (Anti-Magic Academy:35th Test Platoon) and the battle hungry little girl in Botenmaru (Oda Nobuna No Yabou). Finally, my favorite archetype from her, the hybrid girl with a crazed side, either the fujoshi Tamako (Barakamon) or the Momoka loving Urara (Sabagebu).

Characters from left to right

1st row - Hiragi (Freezing), Urara (Sabagebu), Kazuki (Gallilei Donna)

2nd row - Tamako (Barakamon), Yuzuki (Black Bullet), Botenmaru (Oda Nobuna No Yabou)

3rd row - Alyn (Fairy Fencer F), Usagi (Anti-Magic Academy:35th Test Platoon)

Ryoko Shiraishi

Mm-hmm, that's a nice cast of hot and sexy ladies. Ryoko Shiraishi's voice is a little bit on the deeper end for most female seiyuus, because of that, she's really not the type to voice the uber cute/moe characters like Yukari Tamura or Aki Toyosaki would. Instead, she's more fitting for the more...well endowed ladies. We're talking about those bombshell characters like Makkiko (Kyokai Senjou No Horizon), the female version of Kokurri-san (Gugure Kokurri-san) and the fabulous Suginami (Anti-Magic Academy:35th Test Platoon). She also does amazingly well with the Kansai accent with characters like Hikage (Senran Kagura), Asuka (Tekken Series), Kagenui (Monogatari Series) and Himeko (Sket Dance!). How about them half-breed bishonen/bishoujo guys?! She's got Sakuragaoka (D.Frag) and Hayate (Hayate No Gotoku series) in her resume as well! Finally, she's voiced Macaron (Amagi Brilliant Park), which is the most hilarious piece of shit stuffed animal I've ever seen, only second behind Tyramie from the same show.

Characters from left to right

1st row - Macaron (Amagi Brilliant Park), Asuka (Tekken Series), Kagenui (Monogatari Series)

2nd row - Hikage (Senren Kagura), Makkiko (Kyokai Senjou No Horizon), Female Kokkuri-San (Gugure Kokurri-San), Sakuragaoka (D.Frag)

3rd row - Hayate (Hayate No Gotoku), Himeko (Sket Dance!), Suginami (Anti-Magic Academy:35th Test Platoon)

Hiroki Yasumoto

Alright, move over, its time for the big boys to play. Hiroki Yasumoto's voice is mighty strong, in fact, its so powerful that its practically a must to cast this guy on those big, buff, badass guys, or he'll make your day a living hell. His voice is deep and powerful, making him a well fit for intimidating characters. Whether or not he HAS to voice villains all the time is up for debate though, because he voices a multitude of nice guys that are usually bros to the MCs in their respective shows. I'm talking about Agil (Sword Art Online Series), Tobita (Gate), Bomber (Himouto:Umaru-Chan) and Chad (Bleach Series). Then there are the nice guys that just look hella scary, like the Vice President (Daily Lives Of High School Boys) and King (One Punch Man). He also voices honor bound individuals like Guile (Street Fighter IV) and Vlad (Aldnoah Zero). My 2 favorites are his incredibly out of character Kobold (Kyokai Senjou No Horizon) and the insanely canonically overpowered Azrael (Blazblue Series).

Characters from left to right

1st row - Vice President (Daily Lives Of High School Boys), Guile (Street Fighter IV), King (One Punch Man), Kobold (Kyokai no Senjou No Horizon)

2nd row - Agil (Sword Art Online), Tobita (Gate), Bomber (Himouto:Umaru-Chan), Vlad (Aldnoah Zero)

3rd row - Chad (Bleach Series), Azrael (Blazblue Series)

Yuu Asakawa

I'll just have to say "Yes, One-Chan", and I'll be a happy man. Yuu Asakawa's voice is meant for all the strong, sexy, girls out there that are looking for a fight, and I love it. The characters she voice all feel like they'd either make good big sisters or just straight out female gang bosses, which is great going with her intimidating, yet sexy, voice. First of all, she voices the insanely fabulous and popular vocaloid, Megurine Luka (Vocaloid), Secondly, she is the mainstay voice for Rider (Fate Series), that alone says something. Anastasia (Brave10) also shares that same aura of badassery, while girls like Arnett (Freezing) and Momoya (Majikoi) are more in the group of "High School Girls That Are Really Powerful And Act Like One-Sans". Finally, she's got the 2 sided Jess Beckham (Nobunagun), the silent, cool nurse beauty of Chitose (Shinmai Maou No Testament) and the fun loving Leone (Akame Ga Kill).

Characters from left to right

1st row - Anastasia (Brave10), Leone (Akame Ga Kill), Arnett (Freezing)

2nd row - Momoya (Majikoi), Chitose (Shimai Maou No Testament), Jess Beckham (Nobunagun)

3rd row - Megurine Luka (Vocaloid), Rider (Fate Series)

Monday, 25 January 2016

All Hail Lord Ainz! (Overlord Review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Clattanoia (OxT)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - L.L.L (MYTH&Roid)

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Episodes: 12

Another day, another anime about an MMO sucking players into their game....literally. "Overlord" seems like it was going to set itself up for a rather generic case of "SAO" syndrome at the start, but quickly turns things around. Sure, the start seems eerily similar to the likes of "SAO" and "Log Horizon", but I can tell you this: "Overlord" is on an entire new level of badassery. It doesn't speak of players trapped in an MMORPG trying to escape back into their ordinary lives, "Overlord" tells a tale of a sole player that is trapped in an MMO....and wants to conquer the world within it. How can one think in such a way? Well, that's because said player is one of THE BEST PLAYERS in the game, and just doesn't give a flying f**k. "Overlord" puts a new spin on a rather overused anime setting in current years, and executes it well enough for it to be one of the most entertaining shows of the year. Whether or not you're into the whole MMO setting, "Overlord" is damned sure to impress, seeing as it doesn't really treat itself like a game that much.

Albedo may be a demon, but hey! I wouldn't mind getting
down with her!

The opening theme is "Clattanoia" by OxT, which sounds awkwardly a lot like a band that I like a whole lot, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. Anyway, its a synth based techno song that sounds pretty freaking epic. Its a little slow, but its great, I'll give it that. The ending theme is "L.L.L" by MYTH&ROID, and its safe to say that in the start of the ending theme, Albedo looks a whole like like Gasai Yuno. Its a decent dance song that works as an ending theme, and thank god that its at least not another slow song.

Rating: 8.5/10

I may be a sucker for animes that tend to go for the virtual MMO world setting, but "Overlord" sucked me in right away. Its a lot more different from the likes of "SAO" or "Log Horizon", in fact, it tries its damn best to not feel like a video game, and it manages to do so successfully. If anything, its like an anime that takes place in a medieval setting, with a modern day character being placed into the body of an overpowering undead lich. Right off the bat the game introduces you to its cast of fairly interesting, funny and varied characters. Being an overlord, our protagonist has his own crew of minions...and oh my are they quite a bunch of...very different fellows. At its best, the bickering of these characters can be hilarious. The action is great, there is a mixture of the sword styled skill system of "SAO" and the more casting based combat in "Log Horizon", where skills come out as their names are muttered. Most of the fighting is visually impressive, that much I can assure you. The show is also well paced with its share of interesting arcs, though there isn't much of a point where the hero is threatened, so if you're the kind that dislikes highly overpowered protagonists, you might not find yourself enjoying the show as much.

Yeah, I wouldn't get in this guy's way...

Momonga is a player of long time MMORPG Elder Tale Online. The game is finally reaching the end of its service and Momonga, the leader of Ainz Ool Goal, one of the strongest guilds in the game, is holding a farewell party to say goodbye to the game he spent so much time on. Out of the guild's 40 members, only 1 turned up, and he only stayed for awhile before logging off. The guild has been inactive for a long time, most members quit the game to continue with their daily lives, unfortunately. Feeling saddened and nostalgic, he decided to roam the halls of Ainz Ool Goal, tempering and rediscovering all the NPCs that he created alongside his former guild mates. He decides to stay logged in to the end, and he accidentally falls asleep doing so. Upon waking up, he realizes that the game...has not shut down. But alas, he cannot log out, and all the NPCs are suddenly speaking to him as if they had their own personalities. Thinking of it as a bug, he leaves his castle only to find out that he had completely been sucked into the world of Elder Tale. Instead of searching for a means of escape, he chooses to explore and exploit the world of Elder Tale, with a vast army of extremely powerful minions at his side and being one of immense power on his own, the possibilities are endless.

"Overlord" is one of the most enjoyable shows of 2015. There are plenty of volumes out already that can easily warrant a second season, and I honestly can't wait for them to do so. It really shows that deviating from the MMO formula a little bit can go a long way, because "Overlord" is quite different from its competition. That's a good thing.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Missing Bishonens (K:Missing Kings Review)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Different Colors (Angela)

Genre: Action, Drama, Magic, Science Fiction

Episodes: 1 (Movie)

So....anybody still remember this one? "K" was a show that was kind of good back then, and at the time, it was quickly announced that a movie and 2nd season were both green lit (which I assume is this, along with "K: Return Of Kings"). It really took them awhile, but here we go. "K:Missing Kings" is the supposed sequel of the original "K", and its quite a doozy. It doesn't really answer or solve everything that the original posed us with its honestly unsatisfying ending, and it really only sets itself to build up whatever's left that's going to be solved in season 2. In other words, its one giant cliffhanger that's setting us up for "K: Return Of Kings". That's actually fine, because "K: Missing Kings" looks every bit as good as the original, and maybe even better at times, there is undeniable quality here. However, what we got to see here in terms of story and overall action...is a little bit underwhelming, considering that the movie is only slightly more than an hour or so, since a lot of time is spent on the opening animation and ending credits.

Eh, pretty boys as usual, get used to it.

Like with most or all movies, "Missing Kings" does not have an opening theme. Instead, we get an ending theme sang once again by the wonderful duo of Angela. "Different Colors" is yet another slow but powerful song from them that fits "K" rather well, though this time, since its used on an ending theme, there's not much to really feel about it. Its still a good song though

Rating: 7.5/10

So let's jump straight to it. As always, "K" looks great and manages to stay that way throughout. No hiccups or anything, it's just stylish, cool and great looking all the way. For a direct sequel to the original though, not much is revealed about the story, and as mentioned before, its all just a buildup to season 2 so there's nothing much that actually feels like actual "progress" at all. Even worse is the fact that the series has way too many characters to showcase in a single movie. What the movie does do right however, is showcasing the powers and abilities of whatever characters that were present in the action. We got to see a lot of action from Kuroh and Misaki, as well as a new character called Yukari, who seemed to be kicking all sorts of ass in the movie. Fight scenes are well done and we even got to see one character undergo a massive change in preparation for the 2nd season, and that's Anna. She sure had a whole lot going for her in this movie. Also, the Blue king's faction, it felt like they were almost completely cut out of this one, they didn't have all that much to do during the entire movie....

Anna got pretty badass quickly.

Following the events of the original, Shiro disappeared after he figured out his identity as the silver king. Kuroh and Neko split up, searching the entire Japan for Shiro, but to no avail. They meet up with their previous school mate, Kukkuri to catch up, but soon after, Kuroh and Neko are approached for help by Rikio of the former Red Clan. He's with Anna, and the 2 of them are pursued by members of the Green Clan for unknown reasons. Kuroh and Neko butt in, only for Kuroh to be confronted by one of the Green Clan's strongest members, Yukari. Apparently, Yukari and Kuroh both studied and trained under the same master in the past. The 2 do battle, with Kuroh ending up with a lost. With Anna's safety in jeopardy, Rikio calls upon another former Red Clan mate, Misaki to rescue her. In the mean time, the Blue Clan also prepare for their own course of action. Being the only 2 members of the Silver Clan, Kuroh and Neko go about this with their own methods.

"K:Missing Kings" ends on a note telling us that there's going to be more, and that "more" is none other than "Return of Kings". I'm going to give that one a shot too, but as a stand alone experience, "Missing Kings" is alright. It goes without saying that those who didn't watch the original won't be getting a lick out of watching this, so beware.

HP: 8770
Skills: Curse Orbs*, Scythe Strike, Scythe Combo*, Horizontal Dark Beam, Vertical Dark Beam, Dark Explosion
Souls: 90000

Difficulty: 2.5/5
Deaths: 2

So, the original last boss of the game. Nashandra sits in wait in the throne of want and appears to challenge you after you beat the Throne Watcher and Throne Defender. Instead of the beautiful woman that she was rumored to be that Vendrick fell in love youwith, you get an undead, mass of the abyss that turns out to be a shard of Manus from the original "Dark Souls". This ugly skeleton woman wants to kill your ass and that's exactly what you will do to her. Note that for the first time in 3 games, we get an actual final boss that takes some skill to beat, unlike Old King Allant and Gwyn in the previous games, who were complete cakewalks for final bosses.

Curses! Curses for days!

Nashandra means business, and she shows that off with her extensive array of attacks. She's got some tricks up her sleeve, but with the right mindset and playstyle....she's actually not that hard at all. Some basic dodging skills will bring you far in this battle, and her large size doesn't help her at all since her attacks are pretty heavily telegraphed.

Curse Orbs* - She summons 3 curse orbs which remain stationary around certain parts of the arena. Staying near them will have the curse meter build up. Will annoy you to no end if they aren't taken out ASAP.

Scythe Strike - She brings her scythe down on you for some good damage. Nothing much, its slow do just dodge it.

Scythe Combo* - She does a combination of scythe swings that can do massive damage. Individual strikes are slow, so dodging is the best answer.

Horizontal Dark Beam - A very powerful but slow beam attack that goes sideways. Cannot be blocked.

Vertical Dark Beam - A very powerful but slow beam attack that fires straight. Cannot be blocked.

Dark Explosion - She just explodes in the area around her after a brief pause. Heavily telegraphed, run when you see her just stop and do nothing.

Considering how many attacks she has, its very easy to bait her into a cycle of spamming her beam attacks and for you to punish her endlessly without any form of proper retaliation from her. If she sticks to doing her melee attacks, its her best shot at taking you down, since they tend to do a ton of damage. Of course, she uses these at close range, which is also your best shot at taking her down since most of her defenses are quite high except for her physical defense. When she starts swinging that scythe of hers, whether its for the single strike or the combo, move away and bait out another attack before going in on her.

Either way, she always opens the battle with Curse Orbs. She summons 3 orbs that are placed around the arena. Fighting around these orbs is bad news, as you'll get cursed very quickly. The game plan is to run around the arena and take these orbs out as they die in one hit. While you do so, Nashandra will probably be spamming beams at you, keep a look out for those as you run around taking out these orbs. The beams are slow but deal a ton of damage, so make sure you lock on to her to see what kind of beam she's going to shoot, then make a run for the orbs. With those out of the way, its time to make our assault.

As mentioned earlier, Nashandra is scarier up close, but she can't do that if she's firing her laser beams. The plan is to stay at mid range, bait Nashandra into firing her beam attack, dodge it, then spring to her and start attacking. If she's still casting her dark beams, she cannot attack with with any other move. As soon as the dark beam ends, back off, bait her to cast it again, and do the same thing. Rinse and repeat. She has a lot of health so you have to slowly whittle her down. She'll occasionally break the pattern by recasting Curse Orbs or using a Dark Explosion, but all in all, if you exploit this strategy she becomes laughably easily. Otherwise, you can just take advantage of her horrendous speed and go for hit-run strategies.

Beating Nashandra gives you a whooping 90000 souls. The game usually ends here as you can literally walk up to the throne and get your ending, but if you're playing the "Scholar Of The First Sin" expansion, you'll get one more teensy little battle....


Aldia, Scholar Of The First Sin
HP: 6800
Skills: Fire Shot, Tentacle, Tentacle Swarm*, Teleporting Burst
Souls: 0

Difficulty: 1/5
Deaths: 0

If you've encountered Aldia at least 3 times prior to this one, you'll get the opportunity to fight him and receive the 2nd ending to the game after you defeat Nashandra. Note that if you die to him you can still re-enter the fog gate and battle him like any other boss as per normal without having to beat Nashandra first.

What an ugly fella indeed....

So Aldia is ugly as shit but that doesn't stop him from being one of the coolest NPCs in the game. Anyway, he's unfortunately pretty easy so prepare to roll over him if you've got even the basics of the game hammered down onto you. He doesn't have a lot of attacks and he's immobile, so just go crazy on the dude. He even has less HP than Nashandra.

Fire Shot - He shoots some straightforward fire projectiles at you that are easily blocked or dodged.

Tentacle - He plants a single tentacle into the ground, then it comes up to impale you. Easily dodged as the attack is usually instant, meaning a reactionary roll is simple.

Tentacle Swarm* - Same as Tentacle, though instead of one, he assaults you with a bunch of these. Just spam roll to get away.

Teleporting Burst - After taking some damage, he teleports away , dealing damage upon appearing.

There is actually little to no threat that Aldia poses to you THIS late in the game. His attacks aren't particularly difficult to dodge, and 3 of them do little to no damage if you're decently leveled. He's immobile, he has lesser HP than Nashandra, and since he can't run or dodge from you, you will just be getting free hits on the fella all the damn time. When you're actually hitting him, all he's going to do is use Tentacle, that's it. It does little damage, and when you hit him enough, he teleports away. When he reappears, run up to him and hit him again, rinse and repeat.

During the later parts of the battle he uses Tentacle Swarm instead of Tentacle at times, which does more damage, but the game plan is still the same. Keep on mauling on him and 6800 HP won't seem like much very soon. No special moves near death, nothing, he'll go down soon enough.

He gives no souls upon death, seeing as how easy he is, its no surprise. You can get the 2nd ending after beating Aldia, and that's the end of that for the main bosses in the game. Next time, we'll cover the optional dudes that we haven't actually gone through yet.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Yona Of The Dawn (Kunihiko Ryo)
OP 2 - Flower Of The Dawn (Cynthia)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Yoru (Vistlip)
ED 2 - Akatsuki (Akiko Shikata)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Episodes: 24

Being a reverse harem, "Akatsuki No Yona" isn't one of those shows that usually appeals to men. However, being an open minded person, I actually HAVE seen SOME "otome" based shows. Though they were okay, I didn't seem to enjoy them all too much ("Black Butler", "Arcana Famiglia"). "Akatsuki No Yona"...might be one of the first shows that were obviously geared towards women that I genuinely felt was good. Its good a substantial story, its got a likable female protagonist that doesn't feel absolutely f**king useless, its got that whole JRPG feel going on for it, and the characters are actually pretty likable for the most part. Actually, scratch what I said about the protagonist, she's a strong character that carries her own burdens and that's pretty freaking amazing considering her character at the start. "Akatsuki No Yona" is a brilliant adventure that'll appeal to both guys and girls alike, it packs its own share of great moments and doesn't hold back during its strongest points. Just don't expect a complete experience, which is unfortunate.

A story of love, pain, betrayal....and beautiful young men.

I'll just talk about the opening songs here. The first opening song is "Yona Of The Dawn" by Kunihiko Ryo. Its an orchestral song that starts off really slowly  and doesn't have much of a kick to it...its nothing compared to the 2nd opening theme, which is "Flower Of The Dawn" by Cynthia. Now this 2nd opening is pleasantly surprising. For a show with such an old school Asian setting, I definitely was not expecting a techno/synth styled opening theme, and damn it was good. It reminds of me Mami Kawada opening themes when she sings for "Index", and that's a good thing.

Rating: 8.0/10

Its not a stretch to say that this was a great title that can be enjoyed by anybody, despite its obvious marketing towards the ladies. The entire journey from start to end felt like it was all necessary to progress through our protagonist, Yona's character development. Instead of a damsel in distress, Yona's one hell of a determined girl that would do anything to get what she wanted. Still, she IS a woman, so she still has some..."girl troubles" here and there. The supporting cast is also pretty good, most of Yona's followers have nice, diverse personalities, each of them also sports a combat style of their own. Fighting isn't the show's main focal point, but its done well enough to not feel lazy. Most of the characters feel nice and fleshed out, except for that one guy who was introduced at the very end, since he only had...one episode of screen time. The show has its nice share of emotional and interesting moments, especially during its second half, in which I think the show shines its brightest. Most important of all, you can relate to Yona and feel her determination throughout...which only makes the show's incomplete conclusion all the more unsatisfying.

Uh..yeah, if I were you...I'd let go...right now.

Yona is the princess of the Kouka empire, a land that's enjoyed its peaceful times for decades because of the King's effort. The king of Kouka, Yona's father, is known for his overly kind personality, and how he would never resort to war no matter what. This has made his kingdom quite the target for other neighboring kingdoms, but because of its current states, its also in friendly relationships with many other powerful kingdoms, meaning that Kouka cannot be recklessly attacked. Yona enjoys her peaceful, palace, princess-y life with her royal guard Hak, and when her childhood crush Su-Won, her cousin, comes to visit, she goes all girl mode awaiting his arrival. Little does she know that young Su-Won is planning a revolution. He kills the king in cold blood, takes over the castle, and attempts to kill off Yona as well. Hak saves Yona and flees the kingdom with her. Yona cries helplessly as she witnesses her father and subjects being killed as they protect her, and can only stare blankly as Su-Won, the man she loved, tried to kill her. After escaping the kingdom with Hak, she strengthens her resolve in the nearby wind tribe, and plans to live on. Her ultimate plan: to unite the 4 dragons of legend and take back that which truly belongs to her.

"Akatsuki no Yona" is a reverse harem done right. With its plethora of bishonen guys with incredibly diverse personalities, its a sweet spot for female viewers to dive deep into, but its great story and overall character development for all of its important cast members make it an intriguing experience throughout. Here's to us having more "Akatsuki No Yona", because the anime's story is very incomplete, and I can't wait to see how Yona attempts to continue living her life.

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.3

(+) Pros: - Makes exploring the first Yggdrasil Labyrinth fresh again, - New story mode brings us a cast of likable companions with colorful personalities, as well as a decent story, - Classic mode enhances the old EO formula from the original, - Brilliant character builds and team possibilities as usual, this time further enhanced by the Grimoire system,  - New stratum exclusive to the game is a wonderful addition to the already great ones in the original game, - Many other neat little additions that spice up the experience.

(-) Cons: - Grimoires are random as shit, - One save file.

Gameplay Time: 50 Hours +

Here we are again with one of my favorite franchises from the brilliant minds at Atlus, "Etrian Odyssey". Having played every game in the series up to date, I refuse to stop at the very idea of a remake and instantly jumped in on the very opportunity I got my hands on the game. Of course, as with every game in the series before it, I enjoyed "Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl" to no end, and it was only  a matter of time before my life was consumed by it. The dungeon crawling is as addictive as ever, drawing your own maps was still satisfying, discovering an old labyrinth with brand new characters that actually HAVE personalities was fun, and most of all, they tweaked the classes here and there, making experimenting for new builds and team combinations a freaking blast. Being a remake, there are a lot of small neat additions here and there, while the main marketed feature was a full blown story mode with fully voiced characters and proper scenarios, there's a lot more to "EOU" than you'd think, making it a refreshing, engrossing experience on its own.

You play as a nameless Highlander, a clan of ancient warriors pledged to keeping peace to the world and fighting for their unique sense of justice. By the order of your clan head, you are to head to Etria as the representatives of the Highlanders to answer their call for help regarding a new ruin that appeared out of nowhere. Once there, you report to Radha Hall and are given a task to prove yourself with. Once you do so, you are sent to the new labyrinth that's been causing all the trouble: Gladsheim. After some exploration, you come across a statis capsule that houses a young human girl dressed in weird clothing. She activates and awakens from her cold sleep, but a trio of adventurers nearby are attacked by a camel monster. Together with the girl who just awoke, the 5 of you take down the monster. The 3 then introduce themselves as adventurers from a foreign land, Lagard, they are here to study Gladsheim. The girl who awakens has amnesia, and wishes to follow you lot in hopes to regain her memories. Thus the 5 of you form a group dedicated to exploring this new, unknown ruin.

Shopping for weapons...neat.

If you haven't played "Etrian Odyssey" before, then this is a great place to start. Not only is this the first "EO" game so many years ago that's been refined to be better than ever, it also has a new story mode attached to it to appeal more to the general JRPG audience. Whether or not you've played the first game before, this is an amazing pickup. While mostly similar, the Yggdrasil ruins of Etria have received minor tweaks here and there to be slightly more interesting for veteran explorers. Some FOE placements have been adjusted, some floors have been slightly remapped, and of course, improved visuals are a welcome addition. For new explorers, this is even better, the very first Yggdrasil labyrinth proves to be one of the most challenging and interesting ones in the entire franchise, this is a wonderful opportunity to jump right in.

The Yggdrasil Labyrinth is fun and all, but let's talk about the main reason why people even want to give this remake a second look: the story mode. In every vanilla "EO" game, you simply create your team of characters and off you go, there isn't much "characterization" or "personality" in your characters beyond the portraits which you choose for them. Its more about going around and completing missions or quests where you get dialogue from the NPCs that you decide to help, your characters are always silent protagonists. For once, the Story Mode in "EOU" gives us a full team of fleshed out characters plus a single, silent protagonist which makes choices in certain story segments, "Persona style". These guys make comments while exploring the labyrinth, they groan when attacking, they cry in pain when hit, just like how any party member in a story driven RPG would. Its definitely a nice touch, especially since we get so many extra cut scenes with them around, it makes the journey a lot more entertaining since we actually have companions this time around. And these guys are likable, I can easily say that I grew attached to them throughout the entire journey...they're cool people that manage not to hit too many cliche JRPG character troupes.

You crab f**k!

The story as well...its actually decent enough. Other than the main heroine, there isn't much significant character development for the other guys throughout the course of the plot, but the game does do a good enough job for us to like them. Certain bits and pieces of the story get revealed the deeper you head into both the labyrinth and Gladsheim, things are intriguing enough to keep us playing, in my opinion. If you play the story mode, you're in for a different kind of "EO" experience. However, if you choose the classic mode, the mode that persists from the original, there are some changes as well. Admittedly, even though its mostly the same as before, voiceovers for NPCs, 3DS specific features like the guild house, grimoires, and a slightly changed labyrinth make for a fairly refreshing experience through a familiar journey.

Being a first person dungeon crawler/RPG, the game plan is simple and is the same as the previous "EO" games. You traverse a massive 30 level labyrinth, each level with its own unique layout, map out that level while battling monsters, doing quests, gathering resources and avoiding FOEs, then locate the stairs and move on to the next level. Its a fairly straightforward concept that's incredibly fun and in depth, the amount of things you can do in each level is massive. After going through some floors you are greeted with a boss of the stratum, in which beating will have you move on to the next stratum, which has its own themes. In the story mode you are immediately given 5 characters with fixed classes that can be changed at a later time, for the classic mode, you create a team of your own 5 guys. As usual, each class has their own skill tree and you can build them differently, plus, creating your own combination of classes with their own specific builds is pretty fun and satisfying.

The poison, cure the poison, Simon.

While that by itself is fun, "EOU" introduces a brand new grimoire system. This pretty much allows your characters to have skills that are exclusive to enemies and other classes. In "EOU" there's something called a grimoire chance, which occurs during battle and gives your character a chance to create a grimoire stone. This stone can inherit skills to it based on the character's action AND the action of the monster he/she is facing. Upon generating the stone, it may contain skills of the character who made it, it may contain skills of monsters, or both. Either way, this stone can be equipped by another character and he/she can use the skills in that stone. This is, strictly speaking from an experimental standpoint, pretty damn cool, as you open up even more opportunities for party building and team combinations. Imagine an Analysis/Dilution, spear assisting Highlander...that dude is going to do some nasty, nasty damage.

Another new addition to the game, something that I mentioned earlier, is the introduction of the new labyrinth, Gladsheim. This is as good as another brand new stratum that you'll be exploring throughout the game's story. You won't be able to go through the whole thing from the get-go though, part of Gladsheim will be unlocked as you finish the main stratums in the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. Its a fun new stratum that's as good as the other ones in the game, though you'll take awhile before you can see it all.

Death, death right in front of you.

In addition to all that, "EOU" gives us even more to play with. There's now a guild mansion that you can go back to in town, which is attended to by an actual maid, a housekeeper. Its here you can do all your streetpass sharing with friends and mess around with your grimoire stones. You can further enhance the possibilities of your characters by fusing and creating new grimoire stones with even more skill combinations. As for the maid, Rosa, she gives you power ups as the keeper of the mansion, and as you proceed throughout the game you get even more house keepers which can give you different kinds of power-ups before you leave for a labyrinth expedition.

Rosa...whatever will we do without you.

As for the cons of the game, I only have 2 major complaints. Grimoires, while fun and interesting (they bring a whole lot of experimentation to the game), are incredibly random and sometimes frustrating to hunt for. Especially during the later stages of the game, where the game is incredibly hard on its default difficulty (expert, of course), GOOD grimoires are pretty much mandatory. The grimoire skill selection process is so random that its SO HARD to get high leveled skills. Finally, with 2 modes to the game, Story and Classic, having only ONE save file is almost a crime and outright ridiculous. I don't want to have to delete my story mode save file to play the game again in classic mode. I understand it if its a vanilla EO game with only a single, classic mode, but here? Come on Atlus.

All in all I'd call "EOU" a successful remake of the original "EO" game. With "EO2" sitting on my desk ready to be played, I cannot wait to see what else Atlus has to offer in terms of these remakes. Also, with "EO5" on the horizon, I'm so glad to see that the franchise is still doing well enough to garner this many games. "EO" is definitely one of my favorite dungeon crawling franchises, and its nice to see it still grow.

Happy Gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Song Of Hope (ULTRATOWER)
OP 2 - Rising Rainbow (Misokkasu)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Spice (Tokyo Karan Koron)
ED 2 - Sacchan's Sexy Curry (Seiko Omori)

Genre: Action*, Comedy

Episodes: 24

There's "One Punch Man", there's "Shirobako"...then there's this. 2015 has been a wonderful year for anime, and here's another one to show for it. "Shokugeki No Soma" is a wildly popular cooking anime based its manga counterpart, which is also decently popular on its own. I can say this: holy titties. This is probably the closest it gets for a hype as f**k cooking anime that constantly has you on the edge of your seat. "Shokugeki No Soma" is shounen as F**K, no matter what ANYONE says. But seriously, who cares? Its probably a lot more badass than many of the action/adventure animes that I've seen this year. Its oozing with awesomeness, it stares you right in the eye and dares you to watch it. And watch it you shall, for you shall discover one of the finest delicacies of the anime world in 2015 if you do. "Shokugeki No Soma" is packed to the brim with fun, intensity and tasty, tasty food. If you've got the gall, its time to get on and into the kitchen, where greatness awaits!

Yes...this is a f**king cooking show.

The first opening is "Song Of Hope" by ULTRATOWER, which is a rather slow and easy going song. It lacks any sort of punch or "oomph", but for a cooking anime, I guess it works...until the second opening at least. "Rising Rainbow" by Misokkasu is f**king amazing and probably one of my top picks for opening of the year, because of how intense it sounds! Its opening animations is also one of the most badass and nostalgic things EVER, showcasing all the characters and making the whole damn thing look like an action anime. Needless to say, I f**king love it.

Rating: 8.5/10

If there was any doubt that 2015 would not deliver...here's one that'll prove that theory wrong. "Shokugeki No Soma" rocks in so many ways that its so extremely hard not to fall in love with it and sings it praises. Sure, it falls into the category of "high school fantasies", but it does so many things right and manages to be different enough with its cooking theme to not be that cliched. Sure, at some points you'd mistake its plot for a typical fighting anime with a typical cocky as hell main character, but remember boys, this is a COOKING show. It takes an extremely unique spin of a certain boy's high school life and turns it into an academic, cooking nightmare for him....and its perfect. There are a ton of amazing characters and straight out epic cooking duels that'll just make you crave for more...just as you would crave for more good fights in a good fighting anime. "Shokugeki No Soma" never does pull its punches and introduces a ton of different, exotic foods that'll make you...surprised, to say the least. And of course, comedy and fan service are top notch. If there's anything to keep you occupied while characters are having epic cook-offs, its having both hot girls and guys alike strip to the rhythm of the food that's doings wonders to the insides of their mouths and their taste buds. Well, it definitely adds to the atmosphere and ridiculousness factor.

A great way to start episode 1 if you ask me!

Yukihira Soma runs a local family diner along with his godlike chef of a father, Yukihira Joichirou. Together they form the Yukihira diner, which attracts customers on a regular basis. Father and son regularly have cook offs against one another, with the customers as their judges, to see whether or not Soma has managed to surpass his father. 15 year old Soma just cannot catch a break as he breaks his 489th loss to his father. One day a local agency comes to the diner to discuss a pressing issue, they want to buy the diner so that they can take it down and build a building of their own. Soma declines, saying that they will never close the shop down as long as they can satisfy their customers. The next day, the very same people drop by, trashing the entire place and putting all their fresh ingredients to waste. They then ask Soma to make them some food, which he does through some improvisation. After impressing them and driving them out, his father then suddenly springs a piece of news to Soma. He's going to be leaving the country and closing the diner for a couple of years, and Soma is to attend a private culinary academy called Totsuki. Soma reluctantly attends, not knowing the wonders and dangers of the life ahead of him.

"Shokugeki No Soma" is easily one of my top picks of 2015. It's brilliant implementation of a tournament styled cooking anime constantly keeps viewers on its toes and its exciting to discover each and ever character's specialty cooking style. Its great concept, stellar presentation and overall intense cooking battles will be sure to keep you entertained to the very end.


When you're stuck in a deserted island in the middle of f**king nowhere trying to figure out your own identity as an artist, you've got little girls and kids trying to up and bust your ass all day. The only thing that's going to save you from going insane other than getting used to the kids, is to pay attention to the 2 middle school girls that are coming to see you everyday. They're probably the most colorful in terms of personality and aren't just plain old stupid like the kids.

Of course out of the 2 of them, we're going to pick the hardcore fujoshi, Tamako. How the hell a girl in an island in the middle of nowhere would get interested in fujoshi/yaoi material, I would never know, but she's pretty wack (and cute, let's not forget that). Always going out of her way to have Handa get into interactions with Hiroshi so that she can fantasize them being gay is pretty funny, and it works even more so that while Miwa is always so energetic, Tamako is usually more reserved.

There are quite a lot of characters to like in "Barakamon", but of course, since the majority of the characters are children, its always nice to see some "cliche" characters thrown in there. Sure Tamako's a middle schooler, but she's plenty interesting to like alongside the other characters, and I always did enjoy her sarcastic nature as she teased Handa differently than the other characters did. A good addition to an already great cast of diverse characters.


Every overpowered main character needs a worthy rival.

I'm surprised we aren't seeing a season 2 of "Btooom!" yet, on a side note. "Btooom!" is a great show with a great concept and a surprisingly nice cast of rival characters for our protagonist. I can easily pick the sexy Himiko for her looks, but there are 2 characters that really stood out for me in the series. One is the crazy kid Kira, whose pretty freaking insane, but of course, if I had to pick a favorite, it'd easily be Nobuaka.

Nobutaka is one crazy hipster dude. Being Sakamoto's good friend back in high school, he'd always be the lead guy that was 1 step ahead in life. They found similar interests in one another and quickly became close friends, but Nobutaka simply seized the opportunity to completely crush Sakamoto's spirit by "doing" the girl that he had always admired. Nobutaka was expelled, and apparently he did pretty f**king good in life despite being a school dropout. Many years later Nobutaka shows up on the island as one of the favorites to win the survival game.

Its not known by just watching the anime whether or not Nobutaka played "Btooom!" while it was still a game, but this man is a genius when handling his bombs. Sakamoto is a world renowned player, and still got outsmarted by Nobutaka as he planned his mines all around. The 2 had a close fight towards the end of the series and Nobutaka emerged victorious as he left with the supplies. In the manga he's pretty much a beast, remaining as one of the final few survivors until the end, where he's currently going solo.

Cross Ange

Sexy, sexy, sexy!

"Cross Ange" never did have that many likable characters. A few of them were pretty good, sure, but otherwise, some of them were either annoying or downright distasteful. There was one character that I definitely grew attached to during my journey with the show, and that's our female lead, Princess Angelise, or simply just Ange as she likes to be called after her being branded as a norma. This girl went through some serious shit, and her character changed drastically throughout the series. To me, this development in her character was what made me like her so much...other than her being sexy as hell.

Ange started off as a prim and proper princess. She quickly got subjected to torture and was treated as an inhumane object after being discovered as a norma, one who couldn't use the light of mana in a world where almost everyone could use it. Having her entire world come crashing down on her, she suddenly had to spend her time risking her life as she drove mechs and killed dragons, all while having to adapt to an incredibly different social environment where she was constantly despised upon by her peers. She quickly grew to become a no-nonsense, independent woman who would constantly scoff and ignore those around her...until she was exposed to those who cared.

Enter her allies known as Momoka and Tusk. If not for these 2, she would have drowned in despair a long time ago. She hung in there and remained strong, fighting to stay alive and to keep those around her alive as well. She was powerful enough to pilot the Villkiss to extraordinary levels, and it was amazing that she was spunky enough to repel the likes of Embryo...who was practically considered a god in her world. Despite the intense amount of nonsense she was subjected to, both sexually, physically and mentally, that all helped in her character building to become one of the most interesting and strong female leads in a long time.