Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Seiyuus - Young Stars & Brilliant Performers

We'll start off the post with the woman with the cutest voice among today's picks. Ai Kakuma is nothing short of a seiyuu that meets the demands. The is more than capable in voicing both the cute girls and the sexy women. She's got both in her resume, but if you ask me, I'd always go for the sexy ones, because she does a pretty damned good job in those. All in all, she's got a versatile voice. If you'd want to go super cute, she's done Hakua (If Her Flag Breaks), Nina (Aldnoah Zero), Kurase (Shokugeki No Soma) and Rurutie (Utawarerumono). If you want lewd, she's done that before with the deranged Dullahan in "Monster Musume". If you want a matured beauty, she's done a teacher in Roseweiss (High School DxD Born). Julis (Asterisk War Series) is pretty much the regular main heroine as far as her roles go, but for me, I like her kuudere voices. I'm talking Est (Blade Dance Of Elementalers) and Sento Isuzu (Amagi Brilliant Park), with the later being one of my favorite waifuus of all time.

Characters from left to right

1st row - Hakua (If Her Flag Breaks), Nina (Aldnoah Zero), Kurase (Shokugeki No Soma), Lala (Monster Musume)

2nd row - Rurutie (Utawarerumono), Roseweiss (High School DxD Born), Est (Blade Dance Of Elementalers)

3rd row - Sento Isuzu (Amagi Brilliant Park), Julis (Asterisk War Series)

Here comes the breeding horse! Asanuma is one seyiuu I can respect and get behind, this dude actually started off as a script writer more than anything else, and sometimes, he's so good that he gets seiyuu roles for main characters in certain shows. This multi-talented guy is pretty good at what he does, and despite his age (he's 40 this year), he gets the job done on some young/bishonen characters, sounding pretty damned fabulous. He's done his fair share on the older dudes, like old uncle Takeru (Minami-Ke) or the big brother figure Susanoo (Akame Ga Kill). His strength lies in the younger characters IMO, with a hot blooded pretty boy like Maehara (Assassination Classroom), the popular, caring best friend in Takeru (Accel World), the "Big Sister" male character in Nagi (Rakudai Kishi No Calvary) and the flirtatious pretty boy Taro (Ookami-san). Of course, his 2 best roles in my opinion are none other than the godlike Izayoi (Mondaiji) and the breeding horse, hilarious as f**k protagonist Tsuda (Seitokai Yakuindomo).

Characters from left to right

1st row - Maehara (Assassination Classroom), Susanoo (Akame Ga Kill), Nagi (Rakudai Kishi No Calvary), Takeru (Minami-Ke Series)

2nd row - Taro (Ookami-San), Izayoi (Mondaiji), Takeru/Cyan Pile (Accel World), Tsuda (Seitokai Yakuindomo)

Kaito Ishikawa is pretty good, I'm not going to lie. For someone his age, you can call him a young star within the voice acting industry right now. I mean, he's been getting main roles when he was as young as 19! Hell, nowadays, he's pretty much become one of the staples for voicing protagonists in most animes. I won't lie, he does the job well, and his slightly deeper voice makes for a great casting choice for the more hot blooded and serious main characters. He's got the sinister and serious Nine (Zankyou No Terror), the conflicted Fidel (Star Ocean 5), the hot-blooded Nero (Devil may Cry 4:SE), the oblivious protagonists in Harutora (Tokyo Ravens) and Moroha (Seiken Tsukai No World Break) and the young yet somewhat mature hero in Gunvolt (Azure Striker Gunvolt). He's done plenty of supporting characters as well, ranging from the conflicted Mitsuo (Golden Time), to the brash young man Kimizuki (Seraph of The End), the responsible class representative Lida (My Hero Academia), and of course, star cyborg Genos (One Punch Man).

Characters from left to right

1st row - Mitsuo (Golden Time), Nine (Zankyou No Terror), Kimizuki (Seraph Of The End), Fidel (Star Ocean 5)

2nd row - Gunvolt (Azure Striker Gunvolt), Genos (One Punch Man)

3rd row - Nero (Devil May Cry 4:SE), Harutora (Tokyo Ravens), Moroha (Seiken Tsukai No World Break), Lida (My Hero Academia)

Well shit, Mikako Komatsu is pretty freaking adorable in real life too. Komatsu here has a hell lot of adorable girls in her roles, though like most, she has a great array of choices to choose from in her list of voiced characters. By default, she's got a really tricky voice to rate, I say that because 2 of my favorite characters that she has voiced are Hotaru (Aoharu X Kikanjuu) and Saika (Yahari Series)...both of which are trap characters. God dammit. Well, other than those 2, she has done an array of other cute girls, ranging from the slightly cold Shiina (Gourmet Girl Graffiti), the super normal girl gone mech pilot in Inko (Aldnoah Zero), the arrogant master chef Taki (Shokugeki no Soma), the blunt fighter Rose (Tales Of Zestria) and the girl who is much older than she looks, Izzy (Taboo Tattoo). Then there's Neko (K Series), who is sexy as hell, but has very low sex appeal in how she acts, shame. Speaking of sexy, she's also voiced the deadly Ginger (Gangsta) and the blue haired bombshell in Tsugumi (Nisekoi Series).

Characters from left to right

1st row - Shiina (Gourmet Girl Graffiti), Ginger (Gangsta), Inko (Aldnoah Zero), Taki (Shokugeki No Soma)

2nd row - Tsugumi (Nisekoi Series), Hotaru (Aoharu X Kikanjuu), Izzy (Taboo Tattoo), Rose (Tales Of Zestria)

3rd row - Saika (Yahari Series), Neko (K Series)

I'm surprised it took me such a long time for me to mention her in one of these posts, honestly. Yuko Kaida is nothing short of amazing, and she's been in the industry for quite awhile too, dating back as long ago as during the "Bleach" era. Anyway, Yuko kaida is another one of those seiyuus that voices the more mature characters, call her "one-san", if you would. She's got plenty of sexy women who fir the elder sister archetype, and while some are typically much cuter than others, she's more suited to the more mentor-ish woman role. She's got Elizabeth (Freezing), Claire (Resident Evil Series), Einheria (Bravely Default Series), Garack (Snow White With Red Hair Series), Sumire (Black Bullet) and Yomikawa (Index Series), all of which are pretty much elder-sister type characters of some sort. Then there's Rosa (Final Fantasy 4), who's basically a young wife and Momoka (Ookami-San), the closest thing we have to a cute, high school girl character. Lastly there's everybody's favorite from her, Kido (Mekakucity Actors), the badass leader of the Mekaku City Den.

Characters from left to right

1st row - Elizabeth (Freezing), Rosa (Final fantasy 4), Kido (Mekakucity Actors), Momoka (Ookami-San), Claire (Resident Evil Series)

2nd row - Einheria (Bravely Defauly Series), Garack (Snow White With Red Hair Series), Sumire (Black Bullet), Yomikawa (Index Series)

It's actually been a damned long time since we covered a boss fight here. Sure, I did a ton of "Dark Souls" boss profiles, but none of these posts have been done in over a year....probably because there weren't any bosses that literally blew my mind these few years. I've got a few in mind now, so let's just get started on today's main topic at hand, the true final story boss of the first "Azure Striker Gunvolt": It's Asimov. It's actually been a damned long time since I've seen a boss fight THIS well done, the atmosphere, the buildup.....EVERYTHING that made the final fight against Asimov an epic and entertaining one just worked in the heat of the moment.

Needless to say it's troublesome to even make it to this boss, since you'd have to collect gems in every stage to even get the true ending to fight this guy. Asimov is no joke, armed with Copen's pistol, he is a dangerous force to be reckoned with, EVEN with Lumen's song that makes you feel so OP, he laughs it all off if he even manages to hit you just ONCE. A single shot from Asimov immediately puts you on overheat, making you nothing but a helpless little whelp to his upcoming attacks, which usually includes a damaging electric charge that CANNOT be avoided through normal means.

Oh man, that's some DBZ shit.

Take note for the entire battle that a single hit from Asimov makes you overheat, leaving you vulnerable. The most reliable way to take on Asimov is simple, do not get hit, which is pretty hard at first. Also, it is completely impossible to damage Asimov through normal means, he simply phases through all bullets until you manage to beat him in a lightning clash. Like all bosses in the game, Asimov's battle is split into 3 phases. The first phase is fairly simple, with him simply firing  straightforward triple shots at you. With Lumen's song, its impossible to get hit by these, making the first phase a pushover. 

After Asimov has enough fun trying to tag you, he charges in with a lightning field attack that is mostly undodgable due to its massive AOE. Instead of trying to dodge the thing, you'll want to clash against his field with a field of your own. Don't worry, with unlimited energy, you'll easily phase through this. Once the clash ends with you beating his lightning field, Asimov lays motionless for awhile, letting you hit him for some damage. This is the ONLY time in a fight where you can damage him, so go crazy, use skills, pelt him and zap him, do anything you want. When Asimov recovers, he goes back on the offensive and you can't hit him again, take note of that. Rinse and repeat until you deplete his first HP bar.

I love videogames so f**king much. Scratch that, I love Inti-Creates!

After the cakewalk of a first phase, its time to ramp things up. Phases 2 and 3 are exactly the same, but man, things get tough. Asimov gets a completely new plan of attack and shoots differently now. He can now attack in one of 2 ways, either a chaser styled attack with homing bullets, or the spread styled attack with him shooting a turret that fires bullets all around it. These are...pretty freaking hard to avoid, especially with how the Chaser is so annoying to dodge and that the spread attack can get so unpredictable in the heat of a battle. Remember, getting hit once overheats you and leaves you wide open, so this part will probably have you die more than just a few times.

Even with unlimited jumps and air dashes, it takes awhile to get used to Asimov's attacks. Chaser is tough to avoid because the bullets home in on you in such a convoluted manner, each and ever jump or air dash has to count here. The trick is not stay on the ground too much, where you are most open to the homing shots. The spread attack is arguable more troublesome, as you need to guess which side the turret fires from, and if you're standing on the wrong side, you're pretty much f**ked. If you have nice reaction timing, you should be able to dash and jump away, otherwise, its a cruel guessing game. Anyway, after a few attacks Asimov goes in for the lightning field again, repeat until its time for phase 3.

Phase 3 is almost the same as phase 2, except now he gets access to his finisher move: Voltic Chains. This is bloody ridiculous, not only is Voltic Chains EXTREMELY hard to avoid by most means, it does an insane amount of damage, one-shotting you most of the time if you aren't at full HP. The moment Asimov's cut-in appears, the chains start to appear, covering the entire screen. There is a small window where you are safe from Voltic Chains on the very top of the screen, use Lumen's infinite jump to get there and STAY there until the attack ends. Still, you have to get down the timing of Voltic Chains JUST RIGHT to avoid getting hit, which is utter BS. Good luck in the boss rush without Lumen's song...

Difficulty: 7/10

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Decent Black (Kaori Mizuhashi)
OP 2 - Mathemagics (Marina Inoue)
OP 3 - Mein Schatz (Mito)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Sayonara no Yukue (Alisa Takigawa)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

Another day another "Monogatari" series, its like one of those shows that never truly die (much like the DRRR! seasons after the first, I've gotta start on those one day). "Owarimonogatari" is yet again, another installment in the "Monogatari" franchise, which has gotten pretty f**king impossible to follow now if you ask me. With all the freaking OVAs after the second season like "Hana" and "Tsuki", this comes right after and now they do the prequel "Kizumonogatari" films which seem like they're going to be a lot of a hassle to get into. Well, at least with the novel's story already "finished" (the author is doing some spin-off stuff with the characters), maybe we'll get to see some sort of a conclusion to the story, which I feel like the franchise so very much deserves. With "Owarimonogatari", now we get even MORE heroines for out beloved Koyomi ni-chan to invest himself in, so let's begin.

If we're being real here though, Ougi is pretty dope.

As with all of the other "Monogatari" seasons, "Owarimonogatari" comes with its own set of opening theme songs sang by their respective heroines in the arcs. My favorite here is definitely episode 1's OP, which is "Decent Black" by Kaori Mizuhashi, Ougi's seiyuu. It creepy, catchy and honestly very addictive, the mid-ranged tempo that the song has going works for it incredibly well. Then we have "Mathemagics" by Marina Inoue, who is Sodachi's seiyuu. Its a little weird, while Marina Inoue's vocals are nice, the song feels a little bit clunky, I'm not a huge fan of this one. Finally we have "Mein Schatz" by Mito, which is kind of the filler opening theme for the 2nd arc of the show. It's alright, but it still loses out to "Decent Black".

Rating: 7.5/10

I feel like at this point the series has exhausted pretty much everything that it has to offer and is pushing itself through to the finish line. I'll say what I always say: it's more of the same, which isn't exactly a bad thing. For the "Monogatari" fans, you'll be happy to eat this up like I did, because its more "Monogatari", hey, who doesn't like that? However, unlike "Hanamonogatari" or the last arc of "Monogatari Second Season" with Kaiki, there's really nothing new or special that's being done here to really spice things up. This one focuses on Koyomi's back story with this new girl named Sodachi, who ends up being pretty f**king important to Aragagi's life cycle (and for some reason, we have NEVER heard of her) and while Sodachi's arc was good, it's really just Aragagi solving another girl's problem. Still, Ougi is the one saving grace of this season, the literal goddess who brings life to this new season. As a character, she's mysterious, charming and full of spunk. It also certainly helps that Kaori Mizuhashi's voice acting made her sound so...smooth. It's actually great that they made her a central character for the first arc in this season. Oh, and Gaen, she's most certainly a fun character, too bad she doesn't appear too much. It's great that she had some screen time this season, even though the arc where she mattered was merely a prequel.

My favorite Onee-san.

Aragagi Koyomi is almost out of high school, with little more than a few months before graduating. It is at this time he meets Ougi Oshino, a transfer student who was introduced by Kanbaru. Ougi is an interesting girl, she takes an immediate interest in Aragagi and starts to be really pesky about learning his life. She makes Aragagi remember about an event that happened a few years back, an event that simply changed his life so much that he tucked it away deep in his memory. This is the memory of how his class went berserk and completely isolated a girl away for the rest of her life, the story of Oikura Sodachi. An apparition traps Koyomi and Ougi in his old classroom, and his memory of that painful past has returned. He sought to make things right again with this forgotten girl, and now that Sodachi has finally returned to school for some reason, things are about to take a really, REALLY strange turn...

"Owarimonogatari" just becomes another addition to the franchise at the end of the day, nothing much. However, things aren't over yet despite this being the fourth installment in the franchise, MINUS the OVAs. There are 3 movies that are on the way (2 of which already aired in Japan), dubbed "Kizumonogatari". Apparently these are prequels, but I am hell bent on seeing through the "Monogatari" series to the end, now that I have come this far. When the 3 and final one is out, its time for a marathon....

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Dear Answer (TRUE)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Uchiyoserareta Bōkyaku no Zankyō ni (TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Episodes: 12

The time comes every now and then where you'll have one of those strange animes that break away from the traditional  archetypes. "Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation" is one of those shows, and I say this because it's very much different from plenty of shows. Still, on the larger scale of things, "Sakurako" isn't that complicated or over-sized of a show that it can really blow you out of the water. To me, it's always one of those shows that were kind of...just there for the sake of being there. It's a mystery themed anime, and for what it does, there are far too few reasons for non-otaku fans to actually find themselves invested in this show when there are plenty of other better, more popular shows. "Sakurako" isn't a fantastic show, instead, its one that simply threads itself as what it is, a simple mystery anime that tries to delve into some dark themes, without anything too epic or drastic. For that, it may not appeal to everyone, and simply tries its best to captivate that small audience that its aiming for.

At least we have a hot cover girl.

And here we have some rather uninteresting theme songs representing the show. The opening theme is "Dear Answer" by TRUE. Its a simple uplifting opening theme song, which strikes me as a little strange for a show like "Sakurako". Still, its not my type of song and it doesn't quite interest me, similar to the ending theme, "Uchiyoserareta Bōkyaku no Zankyō ni" by TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND. This one is SLIGHTLY better because of its upbeat tempo, but not by much.

Rating: 7.0/10

Its really quite hard for me to thoroughly make that recommendation for "Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation", because its simply just not something that anyone can enjoy. The main selling point of the show, heroine and mentor character to the protagonist runs mostly on one gimmick, flaunting her intellect as she cracks mysteries of various scales throughout the show. It honestly gets old after awhile, and while some arcs are clearly more interesting than others, there never really comes a point in the show where the plot completely ABSORBS and pulls me just stays constant throughout. And honestly for "Sakurako", constant is pretty okay. I can't find many faults in the show other than it not being explosive and insanely impressive at times, its just that kind of show that keeps doing what it does until the end. If you're not into simple thriller and mystery, then you won't be entertained.

Well said.

Shotaro Tatewaki is yet again, another random, high school boy with a generic as f**k personality that seems to get lucky at the right place and the right time. One day in his pathetically boring life, he stumbles onto the household property of Kujo Sakurako, an intelligent woman in her mid-20s who has a fetish for collecting bones. She comes from a rich family and owns a run-down, old mansion where she uses as her personal study. She goes on adventures with Shotaro from time to time, and they always manage to find bones of some sort. Using these bones alone, she is able to use her expertise to trace the bones to their time of death, even going as far as the depict the type of person or thing that the bones belonged to. Shotaro seems to enjoy his time with the beautiful young lady, and they actually do get into some silly situations.

"Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation" is pretty alright. For the people who enjoy these types of semi-light hearted mystery shows, this one might suit your tastes, but I'd prefer something sillier and simpler like "Hyouka". There's a right audience for "Sakurako" and before you dive into it, make sure you're in that category. There is room and possibility for a sequel here (especially after the ending), if it does get one, I'd like to explore how far this show can go with its unique concept.