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.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Azure Striker Gunvolt

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.3

(+) Pros: - Megaman-esque game play is superb, - Enjoyable, yet simple story, - Solid platforming and shooting mechanics, unique twist on using Electricity to beat enemies is super fun, -That f**king OST, - Fun weapons and skills that don't make you feel TOO overpowered, - Wide variety of missions that encourage replay-value, - Crafting equipment makes and giving Gunvolt upgrades feel extremely rewarding, - Insanely fun boss battles.

(-) Cons: - Too short if you're just going to clear the base game alone, - Requires some hardcore score-attack mindset to get score REALLY good in all of the stages. 

Game play time: 10 hours+ (Including missions and optional content)

One of the biggest mistakes I've ever made, was to neglect this game for such a LONG time. As a long time "Megaman" fan, I kind of lost hope in Capcom and how hard they've neglected the "Megaman" IP. I lost so much hope that I simply gave up on waiting for a new game and let the franchise itself decay away in my memories, almost thinking that it'd never return outside of crossover games like "Project X Zone".  Then a gem came along in 2014, a gem that I would never try until this year, when it popped up on a steam sale for the PC. I jumped into "Gunvolt", and it was like a flame was re-kindled in my heart. After not touching a TRUE "Megaman" game for about 7-8 years (last one was "Megaman ZX Advent" for NDS), "Gunvolt" legitimately opened my eyes. From Inti Creates comes a message and love letter to "Megaman" fans. The franchise is not dead with "Mighty No. 9", in fact, forget that game ever happened. "Azure Striker Gunvolt" is your true savior, and if you've craved for a "Megaman" like I did, this one will more than suffice.

Lot's of weird terms here, but don't let it get you down.

Gunvolt's story is honestly a good point. It's a very simple and easy to follow story that manages to get me interested with its charming characters. The story speaks of a futuristic world that suffers a great divide. Between normal humans and special humans known as "adepts", there can never be equality. Adepts have special abilities and can use their "Septimal Power", which simply serve as regular special abilities like espers in "To Aru Majutsu No Index" or mutants in "X-men". There exists a certain evil, corrupt, government organization known as Sumeragi which attempts to use a certain young girl's voice, which happens to be her Septimal power, to rule the world. Then there's "Black Quill", a terrorist organization who exists to put Sumragi down. Part of "Black Quill" is an adept young boy known as Gunvolt, or GV for short. GV goes on a mission to rescue this special adept girl, known as Joule, who had been used as a tool for her entire life. After that, he leaves Black Quill to get Joule out of potential danger and politic squabbles, and lives alone with Joule, accepting vigilante missions for income to support her.

Being somewhat of a spiritual successor to "Megaman", you can expect many similar aspects in Gunvolt's game. For one, its an action based platformer which has you take control of the game's protagonist, Gunvolt, to go through select stages in the game. Gunvolt can jump, dash, wall climb and shoot, just like old Megaman can, so fans will immediately feel familiar. However, he can become more mobile, getting multiple jumps and air dashes as the game progresses, making him feel a lot more fluid and fun to use. Instead of regular charging buster shots, Gunvolt's shooting mechanics comes from his Septimal Power, which is also the core of the main game play. Gunvolt can shoot enemies, sure, but doing so regular does low damage, pitifully so. He can't charge shot (at least, not at the start of the game) to deal more damage, but instead, enemies that he has shot can be interacted with his Septimal Power.

Even the opening boss feels like something out of
a Megaman X game...

That's right, as the "Azure Striker", Gunvolt is a master of electricity. He can zap his enemies by creating a semi-lightning dome over his body. This thing has minimal range, so alone, it's not of much use. shooting his enemies, he tags them. Enemies tagged by a single one of Gunvolt's bullets can be hit by his electricity, even if they are out of the dome's range. So come the game's main way to deal damage, tag enemies with bullets, then electrocute the SHIT out of them from afar. Multiple bullets tag multiple times, increasing his electricity damage. Since the game is also a score attack game, this is actually the only reliable way to gain points, and as you gain points by rapidly damaging and destroying enemies, the OST even ramps up. Let's be real here, the OST in "Gunvolt" is f**king dope, from old school "Megaman" style themes to cringe-worthy and addictive J-Pop songs that play mid-stage, its a pleasure to my ears the ENTIRE way.

Of course, since the main gameplay mechanic is to shoot enemies to tag them and THEN electrocute them to death, you'd think that the game gets old really fast. Not really, different enemies have you switching strategies, and its not like you don't have to dodge and manage your energy. As long as Gunvolt keeps on zapping, his energy depletes, and once it reaches 0, boop, he needs to recharge for a long time and can't zap while recharging. Ironically, the game also shields Gunvolt from damage, taking damage to his energy bar instead of his health when he is hit, as long as he has energy to spare, of course. This means that your energy runs out quick and leaves you wide open if you just spam it without thought. To keep the game fresh, there are a bunch of weapons and abilities that you can unlock through the course of the game to alternate Gunvolt's attack patterns.

Ah, screw the water stage.

While the default weapon has Gunvolt fire rapidly and can tag enemies multiple times, other weapons change that. Some remove his rapid fire capability, but allow him to shoot in multiple directions. Some let him shoot a piercing shot, going through and tagging all enemies in a straight line. It's pretty fun, and finding a weapon that suits your play style is always really satisfying. There are also abilities, which Gunvolt can use sparingly. There are a couple of different ability types, but its basically split into damaging skills that can be used mid-battle or healing skills. These are honestly, pretty OP for a standard playthrough (though they are essential if you want to get S+ on all the levels...), but you can only use these SPARINGLY, as Gunvolt's skill slots run out fast. Using all of these at your disposal while clearing different types of VARIED stage designs is pretty damn great.

While the main game's stage selection is rather limited, there are plenty of missions that reward you with materials and money for crafting. Missions prompt you to re-do some of the previous stages, clearing them with better ranks, or fulfilling certain set objectives (like that one mission on the Bio-Chemical Plant to destroy hundreds of crates). These don't feel to repetitive, and can justify padding the game a little bit to get the better equipment for Gunvolt. Speaking of equipment, Gunvolt can equip multiple accessories into battle, most of which are crafted during the stage selection. These severely change and improve Gunvolt's play-style, giving him increased defense, speed, multiple jumps or air dashes. Finding the right combination of stuff is crucial to improving your play, especially if you're trying to get high ranks for the stages.

Bosses are a real thrill.

Now we come to the boss battles. True to "Megaman" fashion, these are INCREDIBLY fun (either that or its just been awhile since I've played a TRUE "Megaman" game). Multiple phases, no weaknesses to any weapons (you have to beat them with your skill alone), super attacks when they are near dead, and constantly provoking you throughout the fight. These feel fun as all f**k, and its a pity that there are only 6 select-able bosses unlike the usual 8 in "Megaman" games. There's even a rival battle and the final boss (and I do mean the TRUE final boss) is cheap as f**k, something you'd expect to see in a "Megaman"-esque game. 

"Azure Striker" Gunvolt is extremely fun and all but it does have it's flaws. Mostly, its just the fact that the game isn't built for casuals. I mean, you can jump into it knowing nothing about "Megaman" and still have a blast, but you'd clear the game too quickly and be done with it without doing all of the challenges and optional content. If you decide to just breeze through the game its only about 4-5 hours, tops. All of the challenges and completionist achievements as well, those are well beyond casual standards. Getting S/S+ rankings on levels is extremely hard, needing you to to properly kill enemies in order to get the most points, AND you cannot get hit even ONCE, or your score multiplier goes down, basically nulling your entire run on that stage. Oh yeah, clocking in checkpoints ALSO f**k you up, so if you get hit, you restart the ENTIRE STAGE. The game is brilliant and full of fun, but if you aren't a full try-hard, you won't get the most out of it. 

I can only hope that the sequel is just as good, or even better.

Happy gaming!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Great Game OSTs (Part 10)

Song: MUST DIE (Susanoo's Theme)
From: Blazblue: Central Fiction
Artist: Daisuke Ishiwatari

Well, Ishiwatari is at it again. "Blazblue: Central Fiction" is f**king amazing and so is the theme for our ultimate big baddy, Susanoo. The perfect unison of the weird chants, screaming and ancient japanese music synchronizes so well with the metal and rock. Its a mighty fine theme for a crazy, brutal, savage combatant like Susanoo, who completely gives in to his wild side. This theme just makes you want to go crazy and murder your opponent in cold blood.

Song: Yomotsuhirasaka (Hades Izanami's Theme)
From: Blazblue: Central Fiction
Artist: Daisuke Ishiwatari

The good themes just can't get away from the villains. One of the main antagonists in "Central Fiction", Hades Izanami, also gets one of the best themes in the game. "Yomotsuhirasaka" is pure, metal, rage and rock. From the moment the theme starts playing, you know that its going to be crazy as hell. For someone as powerful as she is, the chanting in the background as this theme starts ramping up just gives me the goosebumps, and when the guitar and drums just unleash their full fury, you can't help but feel the heat.

Song: Sky Must Be High (Arcade Boss Theme)
From: Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator
Artist: Daisuke Ishiwatari

To be completely sure, this is most certainly NOT Ramlethal's theme, it's the boss theme of the arcade mode in "Revelator", just like what "Fatal Judge" is to "Chrono Phantasma" (I just used this picture because of how badass it looks). There's a vocal version that kicks just as much ass, but for today, we're going with the instrumental version that plays in the arcade mode. Its incredibly high tension just makes you want to go all out against your foe, which is what you should always want to feel in a fighting game, especially on the final stage. I found myself head banging at the intro ALL the time.

Song: Laser Beam

From: Persona Q -Shadow Of The Labyrinth-
Artist: Shoji Meguro, Lotus Juice

Without a doubt, the best song in the game. "Persona Q" has an incredibly kickass soundtrack by the gods behind the original "Persona 3 & 4" games, which only reinforces the fact that its OST is amazing. The main boss theme for a majority of the bosses, "Laser Beam" is everything that you'd want from a "Persona" song. High tension, solid rapping, and a hype as f**k atmosphere. I'd just purposely drag out my turns just to let the song play out more.

Song: 13th Reflection
From: Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix/Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix
Artist: Yoko Shimamura

It still pisses me the f**k off that we, the English audience, don't get to hear this magnificent piece until nearly 10 years later because Square refused to localize Final Mix for PS2. Oh well, we finally do get the data battles in 2.5 HD remix, but the remastered OST doesn't sound AS fantastic as the original IMO. Still, this is a song that'll get you pumped to fight the Castle Oblivion organization members. It beats 13th Dilemma and 13th Struggle by a far mile, its elegant, graceful, and even calculatingly tenacious, much like the members of the organization that you fight with this theme playing.

Song: Class Trial -Future Edition-
From: Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Artist: Masafumi Takada

I'm still convinced that Takada is a freaking god at composing video game music, because the "Danganronpa" series has some one of the best game soundtracks that I have ever heard. One of the new additions to "Super Danganronpa 2" that I never seemed to grow tired of is "Class Trial -Future Edition-". As with most of the class trial themes, this one usually plays after a non-stop debate or during an intense segment of the trial, which leads to epic head banging while characters dish out their arguements. Probably not as intoxicating as the non-stop debate themes, but outside of those, this one seems to be my favorite.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Over The Testament (Metamorphose)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Temperature (Dual Flare)

Genre: Action, Romance, Supernatural

Episodes: 10

Here we are again with more "Testament". It was pretty much confirmed at the end of the first season that we were getting a sequel, so here we go. I was actually KIND of looking forward to this one, since I needed a little bit of ecchi demon slaying action while "High School DxD" is taking a break to prepare for its 4th season (which I cannot wait for). What's more, the first season of "Shinmai Maou no Testament" was actually pretty good for my tastes, which isn't saying much, but hey, at least it's not utter garbage. While it was quite obvious from the get go that the main aim of the show is the fan service (which they did a good job of, at least in the uncensored blu-ray releases), it still managed to provide a decent lore, world, and setting....some of the characters were likable as well. I had somewhat high hopes for second season, which wasn't THAT well met. That being said, if you did watch season 1, you should give season 2 a go anyway.

Well at this point, Basara might as well go all the f**king way.

The opening theme is "Over The Testament" by Metamorphose, which consists of some veteran seiyuus and singers, like Aki Misatom, Megumi Ogata and even Yoko Ishida. Anyway, its good, its not as good as "Blade Of Hope" in my opinion, but its still good enough for an action oriented anime. The ending theme is "Temperature" by Dual Flare, which consists of a duo of rookie seiyuus with the same last name (I assume they are sisters). Its an attempt at a "cool yet cute" ending theme, and it kind of has that going for it, though to me its not the type of song that I'll listen to for a long time.

Rating: 7.0/10

I kind of enjoyed season 1 a little bit more when the cast was fooling around in their everyday school life, at least back then it had a reason to be a little bit more silly. With "Testament BURST", the story takes for a more serious tone as the team takes to the demon realm, where all sorts of political family business comes into play. When it tries to be too serious, "Testament" doesn't exactly do the job TOO well. They also introduced a F**K ton of new characters that didn't exactly do their job of investing us into this new setting. While the fan service is still rather solid, and the story does take itself further than it did in season 1, the rest of the show takes a minor dip. For a trip to the demon world, there isn't THAT much fighting, and what's there is kind of lazily done, especially that one tournament arc. I'd say that if you were like me and were sold on "Tesament" through the fan service, just watch the uncensored Blu-Ray release, because unless they go for a season 3, which is quite a far stretch, there's really not much of an improvement over the first season that's NOT fan service.

That's pretty much the gist of season 1.

Following the ending of season 1, Basara managed to save Mio from Zolga and the whole family manages to head back home safe and sound. Jin Tojo invades the demon king's castle all by himself to show dominance and to sort of "get revenge" for his kids, causing some sort of an uproar. With Mio having to return to the demon realm for some political warfare soon, everyone decides to tag along with her there for support. Takigawa returns to the demon king's side as his general Lars, and things get trickier once more girls start to push themselves into Basara's harem with the slave master pact. With Basara and Mio's opponent being the new Demon King, thing's aren't going to be so easy this time...

"Shinmai Maou No Testament BURST" concludes on a not-so-high note. Its a decent season that has a weaker showing than the 1st season in my opinion, but if you're here for the fan service then you won't be disappointed. Here's to maybe having some more "Testament" in the future, though I won't be THAT adamant about it.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Identity (Mikio Sakai)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Haramitsu Renge (Ali Project)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Episodes: 12

Instead of "Asterisk" getting a second season, this was actually my pick to get a continuation. during the era of combat school harems last year, where this showed alongside "Asterisk" and "Anti-Magic 35th Test Platoon", almost everyone agrees that "Rakudai Kishi" takes the cake for being the best out of the 3. And I cannot agree more, "Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry" is simply one of the best combat school harems I have seen, let alone being the best one last year. Its focus on its main characters and relationship building is great enough for people to get invested in them, and honestly even though it has a semi-harem setting with all the girls surrounding the main character, the fact that it has an obvious romance going on is a nice change (kind of like Bakemonogatari, where Koyomi chooses Senjougahara as his girlfriend extremely early on in the story). I really enjoyed "Rakudai Kishi" at the end of the day, and its easy to see that many others do as well.

Another one for the waifu pool. 

The opening song is "Identity" by Mikio Sakai. For an action anime opening, I'd say that it doesn't fit that well. Sure, the black and dark colors fit for a very pretty opening animation, but I feel like the song itself is a little dull. The ending theme is "Haramitsu Renge" by Ali Project, folks that I haven't heard from in quite awhile. Fortunately, they haven't lost their touch "Haramitsu Renge" is pretty good and it certainly triumphs the opening theme IMO.

Rating: 8.0/10

Before heading into "Rakudai Kishi" you need to understand one thing. While there are plenty of girls surrounding our main protagonist, I'm not sure if it counts as a "harem", because right off the bat, the main character and main heroine get together as a couple. I mean yeah, spoiler alert (not really), I would compare it to the "Monogatari" series in a way. Anyway, because of this, the main character and main heroine quickly get put into the spotlight, they grow quickly as characters and as a couple, which is great. Since the show is only 12 episodes, these 2 are pretty much the characters you'll grow attached to the most. The fight scenes are good, but they aren't really the main focus of the show here, especially towards the end when things start to get a little bit rushed. Still, all in all, the show has a little bit of everything, and each part works together hand in hand to make the show work. At least Ikki isn't a totally idiotic, hopeless MC.

The teacher of my dreams.

Kurogane Ikki is a young man borne into the prestigious Kurogane family, a family of proud and powerful warriors talented in the art of martial arts and magic. Sadly, Ikki is a flawed heir to the family as he is unable to use magic. Early in his life, his dad abandoned him to a life of failure and disdain, but Ikki never gave up in becoming a magic knight. He trained and trained, eventually he got into a school that trains said knights. He the only student ranked F, the lowest ranked student in the school, but being the worst has its perks. One day, foreign princess Stella Vermillion transfers to the school to take part in a tournament that will bring name to her family. She shares a room with Ikki, but will not accept him in her room. So the 2 have a duel because Stella can't stand the sight of Ikki, seeing as he's ranked F and she's one of the few A ranks, it can't be that bad, right? Well, its time for "The Worst" to show off how strong he is despite not being able to use ANY magic at all.

"Rakudai Kishi" is one of my favorites last year, its emphasis on its main characters really make it stand out among its oversaturated genre. There, I said it, there are too many high school "fighting" shows nowadays,  but a really good one every now and then really helps.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Pervertic Post 12: Trap Time

Time for a little bit of something new again. Gone are the days of otakus being satisfied with hot virtual, 2D girls. It's a little bit more complicated when traps are brought into the picture. Often referred under a group called "Otoko-No-Ko", these guys will bewitch you with their feminine charms that surpass that of the hottest 2D girls. I shit you not, they are a secret class of secret weapons that will one day rule the world...

Hideyoshi is a gender.

Name: Hideyoshi Kinoshita
From: Baka To Test To Shokanjuu

Probably my first ever trap crush and the first memorable trap character that I have encountered in an anime. Considering how I was just getting started in the world of anime at the time, Hideyoshi was seriously an enigma that caught my attention. I mean, this dude sounds like a girl and is pretty much hotter than the main heroines of the show. All that protesting of being a guy only serves to make him somewhat more attractive. There's also the fact that he's always in female outfits. Those nose bleeds are justified...

The sounds of souls being crushed when Okabe
emphasizes on Ruka being a dude...

Name: Urushibara Ruka
From: Steins;Gate

I can probably never get over this one, probably not even today, YEARS after I finished the original "Steins;Gate" anime. Ruka is simply too frail and adorable to be considered a male, especially after the many scenes you get to see with this guy. To be very fair, there is one possible outcome in the timelines where Ruka turns into a girl, and honestly, that's the timeline that sounds the most appealing if Kurisu wasn't such a good main heroine. Anyway, Ruka's trap levels are so damn high that you'd only accept him in female attire, that's how good he is. 

Why?! Just...why?!

Name: Chihiro Fujisaki
From: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Chihiro is a very weird case, even more so that his seiyuu is ALSO male, now that's just VERY well done voice acting. Out of all the entries here today other than Felix, he probably sounds the most feminine, DESPITE being voiced by a girl! Anyway, this guy is so freakishly adorable that you'd NEVER see the trap card coming. He also so weak that you'd want to protect him, which makes the eventual trap card all the more impactful. Being in a skirt all the time doesn't exactly help too much either...

Honestly the f**k?!

Name: Felix Argyle
From: Re Zero - Starting Life In Another World

Another one that just doesn't make any god damned sense. Felix just oozes femininity and is downright sexy at times, especially during his introduction. The fact that he was later simply shrugged off as a dude was a massive kick in the balls. The guy dresses in a strap dress, stockings, thigh high socks, and f**king heels. I mean, he even has adorable feline ears and a tail. To top it off, he's voiced by Yui Horie. If that isn't tilt enough, then I don't know what is. One thing's for sure, I'd still tap that. 

Jesus, that face...

Name: Totsuka Saika
From: Yahari

Totsuka Saika was very clearly stated at the very start that he was indeed, male. Too bad for protagonist Hachiman and most male viewers, we have a little something that makes us men, and that little something just won't set Totsuka Saika go. This guy's cuteness factors are off the charts and the worst thing about it is that he's extremely oblivious about how good looking he is. Unfortunately (and also fortunately),  Saika never cross dresses in the original anime, because if he did, there would be major nosebleeds.

The original.

Name: Bridget
From: Guilty Gear

How did he not make it into Xrd? Anyway, if there was a character that had been fooling around with the male audience's dicks since the 90s, it had to be Bridget. Since "Guilty Gear X", this little f**ker right here had been playing with our feelings, tricking us into believing that he was actually jail bait. Well, sucks to be you, THIS THING ISN'T EVEN A GIRL. Still, having someone as dangerously cute as that dress in a one piece nun outfit that exposes so much of his feminine thighs is just outrageously...suggestive. God damn, I'll be pissed if he and Baiken aren't in the next GG.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Two Souls -Toward The Truth- (Fripside)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Orarion (Nagi Yanagi)

Genre: Action, Drama, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

It's that time again, time to dive back into the world of vampiric awesomeness. Seriously though, if you're seeing this, then forget about everything else I have to say and go watch "Seraph Of The End: Battle In Nagoya". In terms of an adventure themed anime with a group of characters set in a cohesive world, I'd say "Seraph Of The End" is a pretty fantastic series. As a whole with the 2 seasons added up, "Seraph of The End" is actually pretty good, with season 2 adding more intense and heated segments to its already impressive first round in "Vampire Reign". I'd say if this series were given more time and episodes to prosper, it can easily reach "Sunday Without God" or "Fullmetal Alchemist"'s level of awesomeness, both of which are shows that hold a special place in my heart. "Battle In Nagoya" is every bit as engaging as its predecessor, and in some cases, even more so.

Everyone needs some Krul Tepes in their lives.

It's been a long time, but Fripside's on the driver's seat for the opening theme in "Battle In Nagoya". This time, their song is "Two Souls -Toward The Truth-". Honestly, from them, its rather disappointing. Its slow to get to its chorus, and even then, its quite mellow compared to their previous offerings when it comes to opening themes (I still get shivers listening to "Black Bullet"). The ending theme is "Orarion" by Nagi Yanagi, which is a little better than some of her usual songs. Its a little bit dark, but at least its not uber slow and has a nice tempo to it.

Rating: 8.0/10

Well, what can I say, I enjoyed season 2 a whole lot, possibly more than season 1. As a full, cohesive story, I'm seriously quite impressed with "Seraph of The End". The characters may not be as endearing as I'd hope for them to be, but there is potential for them to grow further. "Battle Of Nagoya" further advances the story and brings it to a certain level of "Climax", where the vampires and federation really go at it tooth and nail. The 2 sides of the story, one from the perspective of Yu, the other from Mikael, really works well here, even more so than before, since the 2 brothers first met in season 1, things have really intensified. There are plenty of intense moments, and the enemies feel REALLY strong...the good guys are constantly at threat here. Action scenes are done pretty well, though its more on a focus on how nice it is to see allies work together, rather than seeing certain individuals go nuts to kill hundreds of enemies by themselves. There are also plenty of nice twists here and there in the plot, those of which were absent in season 1.

I swear to god Ashuramaru is a trap of traps.

Following the story of "Vampire Reign", it takes place after Yu wakes up from using his hidden ability, "Seraph Of The End" during the decisive battle at the very end. It seems that he remembers nothing about it, but his squad mates do. They choose to keep it a secret from him as they go on their regular lives. They comes to a quick close when the team is quickly introduced to Kureto Hiragi, the current most influential figurehead in the federation. He quickly shows how brutal he can be by threatening Yuichiro by taking both Yoichi and Kimizuki hostage. He is a man who will willingly kill those on his side to get WHATEVER he wants. Anyway, the vampires are quickly dominating the battlefield, and as the title states, the Moon Demon Company are to lead the charge in Nagoya. Yu's and his team will have to fight their hardest if they want to survive the upcoming battle...where plenty of things are going to change.

"Battle In Nagoya" is a worthwhile sequel and successful conclusion to the first "season" of "Seraph Of The End". No doubt here will be more to come, however, we're not really sure whether or not it will even be animated. What's here is pretty good for anime newcomers and fans alike, I can't wait to see what's next for Yu and his friends.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Star!! (Cinderella Project)
OP 2 - Shine!! (Cinderella Project)

Ending Songs 
Too many to count

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Episodes: 25

Here, take it from me. I love "Idolm@ster", to me, its always going to be my go-to idol franchise, even though "Love Live" took the world by storm, I'm always going to choose "Idolm@ster" if I were given a choice. While both are somewhat similar, "Idolm@ster" has this more "industry" feel to it that really kicks the show up a notch. Both may be about cute girls aspiring to become cute-sy pop star singers, but both tackle the whole "idol" aspect of the shows very differently. "Love Live" is still pretty freaking good, but after watching "Cinderella Girls", I was reassured that "Idolm@ster" is indeed the franchise for me. It all the love, seriousness, drama, rivalry and camaraderie that I can ever hope for, and it's somewhat rekindled my love for the franchise. The original 13 girls will still be my favorites, but the 14 girls of "Cinderella Girls" now hold a special place in my heart for being so dang amazing!

Say hello to your 14 new lovelies!

I do love the "Idolm@ster" franchise but I'm not a HUGE fan of most of their songs, they just sound too bright and cheery for my tastes. While some of their songs do end up being badass (a small minority), these aren't used for opening themes. For the first season, the opening theme is "Star!!", with "Shine!!" being the opening for season 2. Of course, the songs are sang by the seiyuus of all the 14 main girls of the show. Both songs are cheery and bright with the 2nd opening being the better one in my opinion, though not by much.

Rating: 8.0/10

Let's get the obvious out of the way. In my opinion, "Cinderella Girls" is not as good as the original. Sure, the feel and atmosphere is there, and once again, the cast of idols is incredibly unique and diverse, everyone stands out in her own way. Also, with the formation of idol units, there's a much more distinct separation of who's who, and I like that. While the producer this time round is rather dull and a little bit uninteresting compared to the first, there's still drive to his actions and its good to see that. There is a whole lot of character building among the cast, and them being close knit is really to be expected. As with the original, "Cinderella Girls" is packed to the brim with emotional moments that really seem to pull on your heart strings, those are the moments where the show shines at its brightest. And of course, you watch an Idol themed show for the songs, the show is full of them, with each song being sang by different characters. There's a MASSIVE cast of characters, so there really are a lot of songs here and there by different groups of characters.

Choose. Your. Waifu!

Shimamura Uzuki is a high school girl aspiring to be an idol. She regularly attends a small school that specializes in training idols, where she practices dance steps and certain routines, in an attempt to become good one day. She is scouted by the producer from 765 produce as an idol to be a part of his Cinderella project. Alongside her, 2 other girls from her similar age group were also chosen, Mio and Rin. The 3 were chosen as the last members of the Cinderella project, which was meant for a group of idols to shine brightly on stage as their own cohesive units. There are a total of 14 idols chosen for this very project, and they are all eargerly waiting for their inevitable debut. Uzuki, being the happy go lucky girl that she is, hopes that she can get along with everybody else. But she soon finds out that life in a idol studio with her rivals, is very much different from training school.

"Cinderella Girls" quickly swooped me back into the "Idolm@ster" craze that I've long sought for after the movie. I can only hope that its not the end of the animated offerings of these idol girls. Even if they decide to go for a different group that's not the original 13 and the girls from the "Cinderella Project", I can't wait to see what they come up with next.