Opening Songs

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Call Out The Name (Luck Life)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Supernatural

Episodes: 12

An unfortunate day for anime indeed when we have to see something like "Bungo Stray Dogs" come to pass. Looking at the promotional art or cover for this show, I expected an action anime, or at least something remotely close to something RESEMBLING an action themed show. Yeah, sure, this show most definitely has guys fighting each other, but unfortunately for it, its surely one of the most confusing and uninteresting shows I've watched in awhile. The show does have a promising start and some great episodes down the line, but it ultimately ends up being tedious, confusing and overall very disappointing. This is one of those shows that got quite popular for reasons I didn't quite understand (probably because of all the hot guys), but oh well.

Yeah no matter how you look at it,
she's not a certified doctor.

For a show that I didn't really like, "Bungo Stray Dogs" does have a sick opening theme. "TRASH CANDY" by GRANRODEO is the kind of opening song that I live for. Fast, furious, heavy and head bang worthy, its certainly a nice opening suited for an action based show. The ending theme is a lot less quick, but for an ending theme, it isn't bad. Its "Call Out The Name" by Luck Life. Its not exactly a slow song, and its more than serviceable than most other ending themes.

Rating: 6/10

Okay, let's lay out some of the problems for "Bungo Stray Dogs". For one, outside of maybe the main character and Dazai (who is easily the only good character in the show other than the crazy doctor Akiko), everyone has very little character development or character side story to really explain their drive. There are some cool abilities here, but all in all its hindered by some characters being extremely bland or whiny. The story is completely out of wack. Outside of some pretty good minor arcs, the final moments of the story made less sense than something out of "Metal Gear Solid". I'd actually be alright with a confusing story, but "Bungo Stray Dogs" does the unbelievable: it jumbles the episodes all around. The final episodes spoiled the immersion and were overall very unsatisfying to watch, and it was surely a crappy way to end the series.

Ladies and gentleman, he's pretty much the best thing about the show.

Atsushi Nakajima is your regular homeless kid that has no idea what the hell he's doing or what's going on. While going around homeless he is one day approached by an enigma of a man, Osamu Dazai, who appears to be quite interested in Atsushi and his predicament. Actually Atsushi found Dazai floating in the river, thinking he was a dead man...but that's not quite important. Anyway, Atsushi explains that nobody likes him because he is stalked by a powerful, supernatural white tiger, which is why he is shunned everywhere. Dazai helps him out, and it is soon discovered that Atsushi himself turns into the White Tiger at night. Dazai somehow manages to turn Atsushi back, but soon explains to him that he has a special power, like Dazai himself. Atsushi is then brought to the Arms Detective agency, where meets other individuals working there with insane special powers like himself...

"Bungo Stray Dogs" is apparently popular enough to get itself a sequel and even an upcoming movie in 2018. Its a strange show to say the least, its certainly not the worst thing ever, but its not something I enjoyed, not at all. The troubling storytelling certainly spoiled any future interest in this show for me. Who knows, it may be something for the ladies instead.

The thumbnail you see above is no troll. This is f**king happening...ITS HAPPENING. MUGEN THE FIGHTING GAME!

So "Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle" has been announced at EVO, and it seems like Arc System Works is simply not screwing around...they are bringing out ALL the big guns to make 2018 an amazing year for fighting game. "Dragon Ball FighterZ", Jubei in "BBCF" and now this?! Man these guys are really trying to BURY "Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite" at rate. I mean, "MVCI" looks alright at the moment, but with these 2 games coming out...things are looking REALLY bad right now. Arc System works has a massive library and right now I hope that they go all out with the roster for "Blazblue Cross Tag Battle", which looks like it has the potential to be absolutely insane.


So in the initial trailer we got a look at Ragna and Jin from "Blazblue", Hyde from "UNIEL", Yu Narukami from "P4:A" and a small glimpse at Ruby Rose from "RWBY". Now I don't know how the f**k did Arc System Works do it, but they managed to throw Ruby Rose, from "RWBY", of all things, into their own crossover fighting game. Whoever was behind this, is a freaking genius, because I have always been a massive fan of RWBY, and the thought of a fighting game for the franchise is bloody amazing. Well, we get something even better, Ruby's fighting game debut will be alongside these amazing legacy characters from Arc's intense fighting game library.

Technically Arc has only worked on BB and P4:A within these 4 franchises. UNIEL was developed by French Bread but Arc brought it over stateside...while RWBY is totally just a net show from Rooster Teeth. I don't know what the f**k is happening here, but the possibilities for this game can be endless. I might just be wishing too hard on some of these potential picks, but at the moment, THE DOOR IS AS OPEN AS IT CAN BE. Here are some of the characters that I hope will appear in "Blazblue Cross Tag Battle".


Now since "Blazblue" is in the game's title I think that most of the characters in this game will probably be from the franchise. No complaints here, since I DID invest most of my time into "Blazblue" out of these 3 fighting games. There are a ton of obvious choices here, but with "Central Fiction" already out there, the roster is huge, and who's going to be in here is kind of a big deal. I believe staple, important characters like Noel Vermillion and Rachel Alucard are going to be in for sure, but the rest is kind of up in the air. At the end of the day it all depends on how large the character roster is going to be...

If we're going to go fan favorites, we'll probably have Tsubaki, Makoto and Hazama/Terumi (why not have both?) in there as well. I personally hope Relius and Saya make it in as well. Maybe toss in a Murakumo unit or two along with Hakumen while we're at it. For me though, I'd really just want Saya and Terumi, give me my bad boy and bad girl of the BB franchise...we're set to go after that. The rest is just fluff, honestly.

Persona 4:Arena

Well since "P4A" is going to be in here let's state some obvious facts: this game has a shit ton of characters, both from the P3 and P4 side. I have no idea who they're going to throw in here, but if we're considering the possible roster size for the game, I doubt many of these characters are going to be in the base game. If we're going to have to choose, it'd probably be most of the P4 cast only, and maybe one or 2 from the P3 side, like Aigis or Elizabeth (I can dream). The likes of Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko, Kanji, Teddie and Naoto are almost already a shoe into the game, even then, some of them might not make it if we're considering the possibilities of other franchises being included into the base game.

I personally had the MOST fun playing Akihiko in "P4:A", and he was my main in that game. Sho Minazuki was also extremely fun to play around with, with Magaret and Elizabeth not trailing far behind. For me though, I'd be content with just Naoto being in the base game, she is, and has always been, one of my top waifus in all of fictional history. A pity she wasn't too fun to play in "P4A", but hey, I won't complain. I won't really bet on Akihiko being in there, since he's probably not too high up there on the popularity list. Elizabeth or Magaret may have a shot, but its probably not set in stone either considering how many from the "P4" side looks favored to be included into the game.

Under Night In Birth

An under-rated fighting game that's considered a niche, "Under Night"'s western console release might not have the most content, but for the most part, it was a fighting game that I enjoyed a whole lot when it came to the core fighting mechanics. The game is very aggressive and had a ton of edgy, anime-as-f**k characters that were very unique from one another. Most were a blast to play, and it was a lot of fun figuring the game out. The game itself isn't very large when it comes to its roster, so when it comes to character inclusions, I won't be expecting TOO much.

Now this is a side where I won't be particularly too worried about, because my main, Linne, will most definitely be in the base roster along with Hyde. She is the secondary protagonist of that game, I highly doubt they'd exclude her. Other inclusions will probably include Orie, Seth, Vatista and possibly Carmine. Amnesia characters would be a good pick as well, especially Gordeau or Chaos. Since the character that I most want to play as will probably already be in, I'd be content with the likes of Gordeau and Carmine in the game, those 2 are badass and fun as f**k to play. If we were to include new characters from ST, Phonon would also make me really hard, but I think her chances are mediocre at best.


 Ah, RWBY, now this is where things get interesting. I have a personal attachment to this franchise, having followed it since Monty Oum released the "Red" trailer WAY back in the day. I was captivated and followed it ever since, eventually leading up to its complete release. Now RWBY has grown into a VERY successful web series, spanning over 4 seasons with a 5th season on the way. Having Ruby in the game probably already means we'll be getting her team mates in the base game, which I am more than grateful to both Arc System works and Rooster Teeth for. I am more than 75% sure that Weiss, Blake and Yang will be in the base game as playable characters.

Now, the 4 main heroines will likely be in, but RWBY has a ton of interesting characters in its universe and I'd be VERY happy if we were to get some other forms of representation. Team JNPR has some potential good picks that would transition well into a fighting game, especially Pyrrha and Nora. Penny would also be swell, but the villains also have some nice possibilities, such as Cinder and Mercury. Dear god imagine the transition for Mercury into a fighting game character...that would be the sickest shit EVER.

Other possible franchise inclusions

Now these are just speculations and possible wishful inclusions that MAY or may not happen, but it would make me REALLY HAPPY to see at least some representation from these franchises. I mean, considering what we have here to work with, it wouldn't be impossible for Arc to be flexible and throw some of these in for the sake of fans.

GG is an obvious pick really. I was really surprised to see NO "Guilty Gear"in an Arc Systems Work collaboration crossover project. There is a good chance that we might be getting GG, since it IS after all, Arc's biggest fighting game franchise to date. Imagine the likes of Sol and Ky being in here, teaching all these young whippersnappers a lesson or two? Out of all the other possible franchise inclusions, this one actually does not seem to far off, and I sure as well want it to happen.

...Oh but if it DOES happen, would you guys mind putting Baiken in there in the base game? I really don't want to wait 4 freaking years to have to play as her again (thanks for putting her in Rev 2 though, really appreciate it).

I'm not too huge onto "Melty Blood", but it is a franchise that I am well aware of. I wasn't a huge fan of the game back then, but after jumping into it years later I discovered a fun universe, though I personally have yet to watch the "Tsukihime" anime. This one is developed by "French bread", which also made UNIEL, so I think its not too far fetched to think that they might want to throw in a character or 2 from "Melty Blood" into "Blazblue Cross Tag Battle". Some of the characters would make a good fit actually. I'd personally like Sion, Shiki Ryougi, Shiki Nananya and probably Aruceid to join the battle, one can dream.

Again, I didn't play too much of "Skull Girls". This was one fighting game I only jumped in on when Big Band was announced, that was when I couldn't resist (you could guess who my main was). Why "Skull Girls"? This was almost has nothing to do with the games above, key word being ALMOST nothing. Actually, there was a collaboration with "Under Night" back in the day, and since "Under Night" is in this one....I know, I know, I'm probably thinking too far off on this one, but a man can dream. "Skull Girls" characters have always been epicly strange, they'd fit quite well into a crossover fighting game actually/

A man can certainly dream big. It hasn't been long since "Persona 5"'s global success, so it seems a bit too soon for our favorite Phantom Thieves to make their debut onto the fighting game crossover genre especially when they haven't even had their own freaking fighting game! This one might seem far fetched in that aspect, yes, but it would make me hyped as f**k to see Joker announced for this game. I mean, imagine him being a guest character for the future, inevitable "P5:Arena" that would have its full cast of playable characters?! Having just joker in here would be epic, and it would certainly boost the game's popularity, seeing how huge of a hit "P5" turned out to be.

And that's it from me for now. I personally can't wait to see the future of "Blazblue Cross Tag Battle" unravel before my eyes. I'm now simply eager to see what else the game has to offer in future trailers, character announcements and inclusions are what DRAWS people into a fighting game. TAKE NOTES, CAPCOM!!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Hundredth Clone (Hundred review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - BLOODRED (D-Selections)

Ending Songs
Too many to count*

Genre: Action, Comedy, Science Fiction, Harem

Episodes: 12

How fitting for the name of this anime to be called "Hundred", seeing as one thing is true about it: There are about 100 other harems out there that do or accomplish the same thing as this one. That's not to say that "Hundred" is BAD....its just flat out standard stuff. This caliber of harem is something that you can easily find anywhere in the anime world, its certainly nothing to write home about. Considering the story, characters and setting here, its blatantly quite normal at this point of time. "Hundred" is simply another harem to add to the mediocrity pile. Its decent, but there is really no reason to pick this one over the many other GREAT harem shows out there. Seriously though, harem shows have recently been quite disappointing and generic of late, and "Hundred" falls into that group. However, if you know what you're getting yourself into and just want another harem to add to your collection (kinda like me when I watched this one), then you can go ahead, because "Hundred" isn't exactly horrible, its just a very standard affair that you've before time and time again...

No harem is complete without our busty high school girls
in bikinis playing in the beach.

This show has the audacity to go for an idol-anime kind of thing where it has multiple ending themes despite being such a short show, with each ending theme having the main voice actresses to sing a song that's used for 2-3 episodes tops, before they change it. Not going to bother giving those a look here, all of them sounded pretty generic...just like the opening theme "BLOODRED" by D-Selections. Its pretty generic for a sci-fi harem opening theme, but I won't lie that, its quite catchy. The upbeat and techno-ish music, the flourishes during the chorus...its not bad, making for an overall enjoyable opening theme.

Rating: 7.0/10

It manages to be quite a safe show for me. I mean, for a harem, sure its something that I've seen before a million times, but its still not a BAD harem. There are definitely worse shows out there, and "Hundred" actually manages to not suck that much despite having one of the most cut and paste opening segments I have ever seen in a harem. Characters are not that well built up except for maybe the main 2 heroines because of how rushed the series tends to be, and the fan service scenes are very...safely done. Its usually cliche stuff that you've seen elsewhere, accidental heroines falling onto the protagonist, panty shots, so on and so forth, nothing really new here. The action scenes however, are not too bad. "Hundred"'s strongest point is the variety of different slayer types in the show, with decent action scenes to back them up. However as usual, it staggers towards the end to deliver a mediocre conclusion, but again, its not the worst.

What did you expect? How else are we going to get the
main heroine to hate our protagonist?

Kisaragi Hayato is one of many youths planning to attend the marine roaming ship island Little Garden and join their military academy to learn how to use Hundred, a weapon made to defeat Savage, monsters that have suddenly appeared all around the world. Being kind of a rising star prodigy with high hopes, he feels reluctant to enroll into the academy at first, and even skips out on his welcoming party. He runs into his childhood friend Emile Crossford, and they attend the opening ceremony together, with the Queen of the academy Claire Harvey making the opening speech. Claire is the strongest Slayer on board, which makes sense that she gets this privilege. The girls planning to throw Hayato a welcoming party are late to the ceremony as Hayato himself snuck away from them, and Claire decides to expel the girls. Hayato steps in, saying that expelling them is ridiculous. Claire, surprised that someone actually dares to step up to her, attempts to expel Hayato to, but it all turns into a duel between Claire and Hayato, with expulsions and pride on the line...

"Hundred" is indeed one of the many hundreds of harem titles out there that don't do anything too special to draw much attention to it. There is of course potential to it, but its held back by typical harem tropes and cliches without any sort of interesting plot developments. Its probably another one of these LN adaptations that won't get any more attention, which is sad to see.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Coolest! (CustomiZ)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Goodbye To Lost Days (SuneoHair)

Genre: Comedy

Episodes: 12

The feeling when you go up against the coolest kid in class and feel stupid for even THINKING about challenging him. That's pretty much "Sakamoto desu ga?" in a nutshell. It is a full blown comedy show all about a protagonist who acts so stupid to the point where he looks like an absolute genius. Basically, its so f**king stupid its good, something similar to that of "Baka Test" back in the day. However, if you're looking for a fulfilling experience with a story and growing characters, "Sakamoto desu ga?" doesn't quite provide that. Instead, its just a show filled to the brim with tons of little stories surrounding the various side characters and their quirky little experiences with our fabulous protagonist. In a way, the show doesn't really get anywhere, but what's here is entertaining if watched in small bursts, only because of how ridiculous it gets at times. If you just want some comedy and quirky fun, "Sakamoto" is the guy for you.

The art of sitting on thing air...

The opening theme sounds way crazier and metal than it need to be. The lyrics are totally uncalled for in contrast with the music, but the song's badass either way. The opening theme is "Coolest!" by CustomiZ. Its a very heavy and powerful song packed with fast music and loud vocals, its my kind of song, but I surely didn't expect to hear it in something like "Sakamoto". The ending theme however, "Goodbye To Lost Days" by SuneoHair, is a slow ballad with relaxing vocals...the complete opposite of the opening theme. Again, not my cup of tea.

Rating: 7.5/10

For what it is, its enjoyable while it lasts. You'll remember it for its ridiculousness, but honestly, its not really something that you'd recommend to everybody. Its good for the memes and it does have some really good episodes, but for what its worth, some of the jokes are easily hit or miss. Hell for the most part, its just about doing ridiculous things, and sometimes that just doesn't sync with everyone. There are also plenty of scenarios that stray away from the ridiculousness and just try to be serious...those don't do too well honestly. Also, since the main focus is on Sakamoto and nobody else, the entire show just ends up being nothing but mini comedy episodes one after another with no real character buildup, which I feel like the show really needs especially during some of the more "serious" moments. But when the show DOES go full retard, it excels in flying colors (the group mixer episode with Sakamoto singing a foreign song is still my favorite), and those are the moments where you should look forward to going forward into this show.

...Only in Sakamoto.

High school student Sakamoto is the coolest kid in class. Nobody knows why, but he is. Everything he does is extremely showy and he simply oozes style in anything that he does. He is extremely popular with both the men and the ladies, though he also attracts a lot of unwanted attention because of that. Welcome to high school, where being targeted means getting attacked by thugs and gangsters, this is what Sakamoto has to deal with everyday. However, instead of fighting back, he acts in ways so ridiculous that even his opposition can do nothing but admit defeat, or even fall prey to his nonsensical ways and get sucked into the groove. Despite being cool, he is also very mysterious, and nobody knows anything about him...which is pretty much why almost every girl wants to get in his life.

"Sakamoto desu ga?" is a simple, ridiculous show that might not be for everyone, however for what it is, its a fun watch nonetheless. I strongly suggest giving this a go if you enjoyed the likes of "Baka Test", though expect no fan service in this one.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Blazblue: Central Fiction

Gamespot Score: N/A

My Score: 8.5

(+) Pros: - Largest character roster yet, new characters are all great additions, - Plenty of modes to bleed you dry for a single player experience, - Deepest and longest story mode yet, most characters in the roster have 3 arcade mode endings, - New Exceed Accel and Active Flow mechanics make the game much more fast paced and aggressive, - Extensive tutorial mode and individual character challenges help you get good at the game quick, - Great online modes similar to that of "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator", - The OST.

(-) Cons: - Still re-uses the same HD sprites from old games (still look great, but they've been using these sprites for f**king 8 years now), - The story mode is long and comprehensive, but at this point, VN story-telling is getting outpaced by other fighting games.

Gameplay Time: N/A

Here it is. The final installment of "Blazblue", and easily the most anticipated expansion of the franchise. We've seriously come a very, very long way from the meager 12 characters we've had since "Calamity Trigger" back in 2008/2009 (man I feel old as f**k). Just look at the roster now, it makes many other fighting games look tiny (ahem, SF5) in comparison. Still, it IS technically the same game that it has always been, just polished and updated to a godlike state over the past years. After so many releases, we've come to expect more from "Arc System Works", and in more ways than one, they've delivered beautifully. "Blazblue: Central Fiction", as the final installment of the franchise (for now at least), is easily the most content rich and fun fighter when compared to other "Blazblue" games, making it stand tall in today's standards, competing nicely against many modern fighting games. Though its age is starting to show, "Blazblue: Central Fiction" still shows that its got some fight left in it, and is willing to go out guns blazing with its final game. 

Following the adventures of Ragna The Bloodedge from the previous game, "Central Fiction" is a sequel to "Chrono Phantasma". For some reason, every single character in the BB universe gets sucked into an alternate reality known as the Embryo, which is actually a world created by Nine The Phantom after she was revealed at the end of the CP story. Everyone in the Embryo has had their memories altered, and the relationships that they forged over the past 3 games were mostly null and void. Only a few individuals possessed the power to retain their memories within the Embryo, but Ragna was not one of them. He awakes in a forest nearby Kagutsuchi, with no memory of anything whatsoever, and begins his journey to crush the library anew once again...

*Sniff* Oh how the Blazblue roster has grown
since it started so long ago...

As a fighting game, there's one very important thing to look at when you jump into "BB:CF". That's right, the roster. For a long time coming now, the roster for "Blazblue" has been growing with every new expansion, and now with its final installment, "Central Fiction" has a grand total of 35 characters (2 DLC). As with most of the games in the franchise, "Central Fiction"'s characters play quite differently from one another, but don't expect the insane variety that you did from earlier games, as with this many characters, there would bound to be characters who play somewhat similarly to one another. Newcomer characters are all pretty fun to use and feel incredibly unique, especially boss characters like Nine (who fights by combining spells) or Saya (who has a flight mode that's incredibly fun to play around with).  For the most part though, the newer additions to the roster are very easy to pick up and have fun with, except maybe Saya, who has quite an amount of technical depth.

A fighting game with the most amount of fighters total up to nothing if the game doesn't have the content to support it. Luckily, "Central Fiction" takes notes from its previous franchise installments, providing us with plenty of single player content to sink our teeth into. Not counting the story mode and regular arcades, we have the insane Grim Of The Abyss, Score Attack and Speed Star modes, which allow us to test the limits of our characters and just let loose to have fun. There's also the glossary that brings you up to speed with previous BB story and terms in case you are unfamiliar with the game's extremely confusing and convoluted lore. Of course, there' also the great gallery mode that lets you listen to BB tunes while looking at artwork and game CG, while also allowing you purchase alternate colors for your characters. In terms of unlockables, this game has plenty, PLENTY to keep you occupied for a long time.

Story mode is the same old deal.

Now let's talk the meat of the game for most of the casual audience: the story mode. "BB:CF"'s story is easily the longest out of all the games in the franchise. Despite streamlining it to a point where its very easy to unlock all the side stories and see all the gag reels, the amount of content here is ridiculous. However, most of it is the same deal as with previous games, mostly still images with moving mouths and blinking eyes while reading and listening to tons and tons dialogue. Sure, this game is without an English dub at launch (while I usually use the japanese dub, it REALLY sucks to see it absent, I already miss Patrick Seitz and Cristina Vee as Ragna and Noel), but the Japanese dub is great and the story can be fun. If you read fast, you can probably get through the entire thing in about 15-20 hours, which is a F**K load of text and dialogue, even for a VN. Of course, there are fights scattered in between, but those last only seconds compared to how much reading you have to do.

The way Nine fights is pretty flashy, to say the least.

Alright, let's get down to the mechanics of the game. If you're still unfamiliar with "Blazblue", its a simple 2D fighting game that borrows lots of mechanics from other fighting games from Arc System Works. Complete with push blocks, barrier usage, air dashing and roman cancels, "Blazblue" is a very flashy fighting game that's quite easy to learn, but very hard to master. While most of the roster is fairly simple, some characters are extremely complex and are very difficult to use. As for changes in "Central Fiction"...things are certainly a lot more aggressive this time around. Gone are the days of saving double bursts for the final match to have 2 "get out of jail free" cards. Instead of bursting, Overdrives are now highly recommended for how rewarding they are, especially with the new Exceed Accel and Active Flow mechanics.

Exceed Accel is a brand new distortion drive attack that can only be used in Overdrive mode. Simply pressing all 4 attack buttons in Overdrive mode will activate it, and holding all 4 attack buttons while in default mode will have your character immediately enter Overdrive mode and use their Exceed Accel. Exceed Accel immediately ends your character's Overdrive mode, but the simplicity and its sudden burst damage can really make or break a match. Then there's Active Flow, a hidden counter that builds up as your character moves around towards your opponent or when your character attacks your opponent. When maxed out, your Overdrive mode lasts longer and your Exceed Accel does significantly more damage. This allows for a more aggressive playing field between both players, which makes for faster, tighter and more intense fights.

Yes, get that Azrael!

Of course, many of these things can be very intimidating to a new player, which is why not just "Central Fiction", but most of the "Blazblue" games have a very intensive tutorial to teach you the ropes. The tutorial teaches you the very basics from landing basic attacks, your button inputs and teaching you the fundamentals of chaining your moves with one another. Everything from wave dashing, roman cancels, rapid cancels, advance name it, the game throws it at you and makes sure you do it well. Then beyond that, the game throws you tons of individual character challenges, teaching you everything you need to know about that character, from basic combos to advanced combos that require the most precise of muscle memory.

Most characters have three arcade mode endings.

Once you've learnt the basics its time to take your skills elsewhere. The game's arcade mode has tons of replayability. Not only do you have 35 characters to go crazy on, most characters have 3 arcade mode endings, split into different acts, each taking place at a different time of the "BB:CF" story mode. There is A WHOLE LOT of story here to lose yourself in, on top of the regular story mode that the game already packs. Of course, there are also the other modes mentioned above to lose yourself in....or you can take your chances online. The game re-uses the lobby system similar to the one in "BBCP" and to some extent, "Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator". Its a really cool way to interact with players as you run around with your little avatar and challenge other players to matches in a variety of ways, ranging from solo 1v1 matches to team battles and tournament formats. Netcode seems to be stable enough, but then again, a lot depends on your connection.

And of course, it won't be a "Blazblue" review without mentioning our lord and savior Daisuke Ishiwatari. Once again, Daisuke kills it with the OST. While a lot of the work is re-used from "BBCP", the new songs in "BBCF" are absolutely wonderful and are some of my favorites in the entire franchise. The new material is really good, and it goes without saying that songs from Daisuke are probably some of my favorites in all of fighting games.

Run around and look like an idiot in the lobbies.

And here we go with the game's few problems, they're quite obvious actually. For one, the game looks really dated at this point. While the 2D sprites were absolutely beautiful when they first introduced it back then....its been nearly 8 years since they've used it, and compared to many other fighters out there, "Blazblue"'s 2D sprites really can't compare to the amazing graphics from other fighters like "Tekken", "MK" or even Arc System Work's other fighter, "GG Xrd". The story mode as well, its a lot of reading and very little interaction. We're staring at stills most of the time, which is getting a little stale at this point. Once again, other fighting game stories do it a lot better, once again, taking a nod at "GG Xrd", which pretty much has us watch a badass anime movie.

At the end of the day, "BBCF" closes out the "Blazblue" franchise nicely. This is the last "Blazblue" game we're going to be getting in awhile, and while its not confirmed that the franchise is finished for sure, this is what we're going to have to be satisfied with for a long time, and I can safely say that its a nice sendoff to an otherwise great fighting game franchise. Arc System Works have a lot of weight to carry, especially with updating "GG Xrd" and working on that new "Dragonball" fighting game that looks sick as hell. I only hope that when "Blazblue" does eventually make a return, it'll be with the 3D engine for much sicker experience.

Happy Gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Your Voice Becomes A Map (Saori Hayami)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Page~The Story I Weave with You (eyelis)

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Episodes: 12

Another day another round of fairy tales and out fair share of snow whites. "Akagami No Shirayuki-Hime" is a romance show that I probably would have no business watching, but here I am anyway. The romance, medieval feel and pretty boys make their triumph return, in a second season that furthers the relationship between Shirayuki and Zen....except this time around, the focus isn't really there from the get go. Instead of building up the relationship between our two main characters, season 2 brings in more interesting and unique characters that get their fair share of relevance, making it a much more diverse experience this time around. Fans of the series should expect more of what we got in season 1, though if you're looking for a more conclusive act to the buildup between Zen and Shirayuki, you might be slightly disappointed. So fasten your seat belts and get ready for some anime romance tropes!

Honestly, Kiki needs more screen time.

The opening and ending theme of season 2 are relatively similar to those in season 1. The opening theme is "Your Voice Becomes A Map" by Saori Hayami, the seiyuu of the main character, Shirayuki. Its a simple and soothing opening theme that surely fits the show. The ending theme is "Page~The Story I Weave with You" by eyelis, which is a slow ballad that is quite easy to lose yourself into.

Rating: 7.5/10

The first half of season 2 is honestly pretty good compared to its second half. The story picks off after that of season 1, where our main heroine is forced to go into her old kingdom to mingle with the Prince Raji. The style and story progression here is very similar to that of season 1, much to the point where its almost easy to see what's coming. The characters here are yet again, a strong point of the series, with newcomers and old characters both having great dialogue paired with great character development (especially Raji). The story also takes a more serious turn for the season's 1st half which I enjoy a whole lot. The show takes a lot of bold step forward without taking too much risks, which is why the 2nd half of the season pales a bit in comparison to that of the stronger first half. Still, its fun to see these characters grow, though the show never really takes that extra step to solidifying the relationship between Shirayuki and Zen (if you're looking for that here, then I apologize).

Things get real snappy in the first half.

Following the events of season 1, Shirayuki continues to stay in the castle as an apprentice herbal biologist whilst seeing prince Zen and his closest confidents daily. The 2 still hold their feelings for one another strongly, but because of Prince Izana's presence and the fact that Zen has lots of work piled up, the time they spend with one another has decreased greatly. While the 2 still obviously love each other, a rift has started to form. This is further amplified when Shirayuki is to return to her old kingdom to seek an audience with prince Raji, and that she can only bring one attendant to accompany her. Instead of Zen going, he sends Obi, since he can't leave the kingdom of Wistaria at the moment. And thus Shirayuki returns to her own kingdom to meet the very man that sent her out of it in the first place...

While the show concludes nicely, it still lacks a firm relationship confirmation between Shirayuki and Zen, which is honestly slightly disheartening. Its still a fine follow-up to the second season. I doubt we will be seeing a 3rd season of "Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime", even if we do, if won't be anytime soon, which is a shame.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Going Back In Time (Erased review)

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Re:re (Asian Kung-Fu Generation)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - That Was Like A Small Light (Sayuri)

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Episodes: 12

Widely regarded as one of the best shows of 2016, "Erased" certainly had a lot of hype to live up to when I was about to give it a go. While I'm mostly the type of guy that prefers action themed shows, "Erased" was one of the fewer shows that I watched despite it being...fairly slow to get going. It's surely a show that starts off strong and goes on a slower pace for the rest of its run time, its not something that you can take on in a single viewing. Still, for a show that centralizes itself around character development and character building, its certainly a very well done experience that few other shows can compete with. For that purpose alone, if you're looking for a show that's more about someone fixing their past mistakes and trying to make everything was wrong, right again, "Erased" is a perfect show for that feel. Just make sure to get comfortable, and prepare yourself for a slower paced experience (that not everyone might take a liking to).

Poor, precious little Hinazuki...

The opening theme is "Re:re" by Asian Kung Fu Generation, a band that seriously takes me back to my early anime days. Considering that I really liked themes that they sang for the likes of "Bleach", "Naruto" and "FMA" back in the day, I'm really glad to see them here performing for "Erased". The song itself is pretty good, its rocking enough to stand alongside the band's older songs from their shounen anime days. The ending theme is "That Was  A Small Light" by Sayuri, which is a simple, quiet ending theme. Its pretty fitting for a show like "Erased", but at the end of the day, its really not my cup of tea, its too slow for my liking.

Rating: 8.0/10

There are a lot of people praising this show, and I can see why. For me, it surely sits up there as one of the better few animes that I have watched, solely for its story and character building. However, I could really see this one doing a lot better as a movie, no? Stretching it out to be 12 episodes is a little much, especially if there isn't a lot exciting going on for a good portion of the show. Progression and pacing are really the only things that drag "Erased" down in my opinion, because the show feels kind of slow at times. The concept of having our adult protagonist go through his younger days as a kid again is pretty endearing and captivating, especially having to see a mere child think like an adult to really change things up. It's little moments where our hero tries to accomplish things that no child could do that make the show fun to watch. Seeing how the relationship between Satoru and Hinazuki deepen is so enriching and satisfying, so much so that everything else does seem trivial. Most importantly though: the show does have a proper conclusion, which I can appreciate wholeheartedly. 

Oh man, I wish my mom looked like THAT when she's over 50.

Fujinuma Satoru is a 29 year old man who's working as a part timer at a fast food restaurant while also drawing manga during his spare time. In other words, he's pretty much a failure of a man without a full time job ever since his manga didn't properly take off as he intended. He settled for his life of simplicity while having a very special power: one which allows his non-conscious inner self to turn back time for a short amount of time to solve something that he just couldn't sit with. Usually, this power only triggered for very small, meager occurrences, until one fateful day when his mother comes to visit him. The mother and son combo go shopping together until the mother spots something that seems like a child getting taken away by a kidnapper. While she takes note of the man, she also seemed to be noticed by him. Later that day, she is killed in Satoru's apartment with Satoru being deemed as the suspect. It is then his power to turn back time kicks in, only this time, instead of being sent back a few measly minutes, he is sent back to when he was a kid, 18 years ago....

"Erased" is a pretty great anime if you're looking for a very story driven one with great character development. It provides a very satisfying start, middle and ending, as a complete package, I'd recommend this one for sure. Despite what people may say about this one (good or bad), its probably still one that's worth your time as long as you have ANY interest in anime stories.

Name: Protagonist
Class: Highlander
Traits: Very high burst damage, Elemental damage follow-up, Some support abilities
Rating: 9/10

For the most part of EOU's story run, you are really going to be relying quite hard on your protagonist to do the brunt of the damage. While the main story has 3 potentially powerful main damage dealers, the Highlander is easily your hardest hitter, and can be considered the main carry of the team for most of the game. Being a newly introduced class, the Highlander is capable of many things, but there's only one thing bringing him down: most of his abilities eat away at his HP. Much like the Dark Knight from "Final Fantasy" games, this guy sacrifices some HP to do some nasty damage. Luckily, that isn't enough to wear him down, the Highlander is easily my favorite class among the story party.

The Highlander's kit stands out quite a fair bit. He does have some support abilities going on for him in the form of Black Sabbath to heal the party, or Battle Instinct to prevent ailments, which is a godsend. He can also increase the team's elemental defense and their ailment success rate, but these are only icing on the cake: if you really want to maximize the Highlander, you'll be solely focusing on his offensive abilities. His most devastating and high damaging combination would be the Delayed Charge+Cross Charge duo, which does an epic amount of damage, especially when charged with Limitless and buffed with Bloody Offense, both of which are abilities that he can learn. Repeated casts of these 2 abilities as Simon tops you up with heals can very quickly ensue a boss's doom. There's also Spear Assist, which has the Highlander follow-up a powerful elemental attack with a team mate's elemental attack, much like a Land's chasing skills. Considering Frederica and Arthur, this is also a very reliable form of damage.

Name: Frederica Irving
Class: Gunner
Traits: Elemental damage, Binds, Minor Heals, Action Boost
Rating: 7/10

While the Gunner isn't as OP in EOU, Frederica is still a decent damage dealer for the team. While being a very squishy character that dies a lot even in the back line, she pulls her weight quite well with proper set-up. While her damage is fairly pitiful in the early segments of the game, with points into the proper abilities, you'll start to see her damage take off, especially with Arthur's Dilution doing work. Frederica specializes in doing elemental damage...mostly. She can do some physical damage, but in all honesty, she's quite pathetic in that regard with the Gunner's poor physical offensive move set. However, being a gunner, she does have a couple of things going for her which makes her shine.

She won't be hitting as hard as Arthur, but her Charged elemental shots can put in some work. Realistically, those will be your best chances to do some decent damage with Frederica, but since her defense is reduced and she will always go last before she fires, she definitely needs protection from Raquna while putting in work. By right, that isn't enough, so to cover for it, she can assist with binds when needed, and while its quite pitiful, she can heal on the field (though it's too poor to be used in a fight). Her shining star ability is going to be Action Boost, which is a bread and butter ability to pass on to other classes, since its THAT good. Being able to move multiple times is a godsend, and if this does proc, she is going to be hitting for insane amounts. Then again, its all RNG, so she only really works if she wants to. Still, she's going to be a source of damage either way.

Name: Simon Yorke
Class: Medic
Traits: Heals, Defensive Support
Rating: 9/10

Yeah, you're going to NEED Simon in this game. While his stats may not be perfect for being a Medic, you will still need his antics to survive. While the medic has remain mostly unchanged throughout the EO games, its still fairly apparent that you're going to need them to survive. Since he is pretty much our only source of healing in this game, Simon is a godsend. His role is pretty simple, he's here to keep the team on their feet. Healing, removing binds, status name it. Sure, he can do some crazy stuff like poisoning or paralyzing enemies with low success rate, but most of the time, Simon will be too busy with making sure the team survives to even bother.

With the suicidal Highlander and 2 squishy characters in the back line, Simon's job as the healer in this game isn't an easy one. On expert (which is the only difficulty in this game IMO), most bosses can one shot Frederica and Arthur through Raquna's protection even at full HP, so Simon really has got to step up his game as the healer here. As usual, he's got the single target and full team heals. He can revive with...Revive, and remove status ailments with Refresh. Unbind removes binds, and Immunize increases elemental defense just in case Raquna can't use any of her Anti abilities. If you still need more, he's got CPR to ensure that the team has another chance of revival through RNG.

Name: Raquna Sheldon
Class: Protector
Traits: Team Defender, Elemental Defense, Minor Heals, Bravery's Gift
Rating: 8/10

Shoot, they really gimped up the protector for EOU. I never was a fan of Protectors since they did absolutely no damage, but with high DPS on your team, you can afford to take them along. I felt that the team in EOU was SLIGHTLY underwhelming, but Raquna will really save the team multiple times. If you look at it properly, the lineup in EOU other than Raquna is REALLY lacking in the tankiness department, which spells doom against bosses on expert. Being the Protector, her job is well, to protect the team, and as usual, she's got the tools for the job.

As usual, the Protector has basic defensive abilities to cover for the team like the all-important Front and Rear guard. The damage reduction is a must to sustain against most things on expert, and its what she will be doing most of the time against powerful enemies. Defender increases defense for 3 turns, further increasing survivability, and her elemental walls are an absolute godsend against elemental AOE killers, which many enemies pack, especially against the 3 dragons. She can heal, albeit its going to be meager compared to Simon, but hey, she can use it on the field. Honestly, that's all she's going to be doing in a boss fight, but then against the big boys, she can bust out Bravery's Gift, which has her increase her max HP and take hits for the whole team. This. Is. Broken. Considering how high her defenses are, she can easily tank hits for the entire team when you place her in the back line, which has GOT to be a design flaw. When you reach the late game, having Raquna on the back line spamming Bravery's Gift is honestly a little broken. Of course, make sure her hands aren't bound.

Name: Arthur Charles
Class: Alchemist
Traits: Elemental damage
Rating: 7/10

Arthur and Frederica fill up the secondary DPS slot in the team. If I had to choose one over the other, I'd say Arthur does more damage....consistently, anyway. When Frederica procs Action Boost, she obviously hits harder, but when we're taking the RNG factor out of the way, Arthur has it down. The Alchemist has always been the primary elemental damage dealer in the early EO games, and Arthur does just that. Whether you need to take out a singular enemy of a group of them, Arthur's formulas have got you covered. 

Don't expect much from Arthur in the early game, especially against regular mobs where his TP burns out WAY too fast. It's a little better against bosses where he can go all out, but there are many times in a normal expedition where you feel Arthur is dead weight because you don't want him wasting TP on small fry. Anyway, most bosses have elemental weaknesses, making Arthur worthwhile to have along. Especially against bosses with multiple parts, his AOE formulas tear through the enemies where the Highlander and Frederica are more of single target damage dealers. Especially when paired together with Analysis and Dilution, he is going to do some massive damage. Hell, Dilution even works great along with Frederica, seeing as she's primarily elemental damage.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Naked Dive (Screen Mode)

Ending Songs
ED 1 - Innocence Always (Azusa Tadokoro)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Supernatural

Episodes: 13

Honestly this show should just be "The wonders of Kawakami Mai", because she is one of the sexiest anime girls I have seen in awhile. Anyway, one of the most popular shows of 2016, "Musaigen No Phantom World" (or for the sake on convenience for this post, just "Musaigen") is a simple action/comedy/harem combination that does its job well with a cast of likable characters, fan service and well, monsters. It's also made by Kyoto Animation, which is probably why so many people even gave a damn about "Musaigen" in the first place. The visuals are great, and are most definitely the show's selling point. But since the overall show itself is mostly about typical fan service anime harem tropes and little of anything that's really original, the only thing that REALLY stands out is basically KyotoAni's visuals, everything else is simply icing on the cake. Compared to many of KyotoAni's other works, "Musaigen" certainly isn't anything special. But for us harem fans, its still one of the better ones over the past few years, given the amount of detail and character put into it.

Look at the variety!

The opening theme is "Naked Dive" by Screen Mode, and honestly, I didn't expect such a kickass song from a band with a male singer to be used for such a fan serivce-y...happy go lucky show like "Musaigen". The song is high on energy levels and is surprisingly rocking some amazing beats, its surely an opening theme to get someone hyped up. The ending theme is "Innocence Always" by Azusa Tadokoro, the seiyuu for Ruru. Its a cute-sy song, and its a catchy one that fits for the ending theme. Otherwise, its rather generic and similar songs are always used for ending themes for typical harems.

Rating: 7.5/10

Its certainly one of the higher quality harems out there nowadays, which I can certainly appreciate. This is a more lighthearted series than most magic high school type harems, which I am completely fine with, though I do appreciate the more serious ones (Mahouka, Rakudai Kishi, Asterisk War) at times. "Musaigen" is a very simple minded show about a group of teens that hunt down phantoms, or simply put, monsters. Its a premise that's been done to death and I'm sure people expect something new, I'll tell you this: don't. "Musaigen" doesn't really do anything new, in fact, it hits most anime harem cliches and has some cheesy (but well done) fan service. Still, there's nothing wrong with playing it completely safe. While everything is average, ranging from the action, the story and its individual arcs, the characters are likable enough and KyotoAni's visuals certainly manage to pull the show up to more than serviceable standards. There's really none of the main cast that's not likable, everyone has their own level of charm, and that's pretty good in a show like this that depends heavily on its characters to sell.

The famed Mai Limbo scene!

In a world where phantoms inhabit every nook and cranny, its kind of difficult to not see these otherworldly creatures wandering around everywhere. Phantoms are created through the imaginative cognition of the human society, which caused them to multiply too much. Society for the most part has sort of come into acceptance of these phantoms, but every now and then, there are rogue phantoms that go crazy and try to do bad shit to the human realm. In comes the special people who can fight phantoms, and in this group of people is our hero Haruhiko Ichijo, a plain young man whose combat powers are minimal, but has the support of his senpai, Mai Kawakami, who is powerful at fighting these phantoms up front. The two belong to a school where students battling against phantoms are commonplace, and its there where the pair are considered one of the weakest phantom wrecking teams. Its up to Haruhiko to gather up comrades and brush up his skill to make the world a better place.

"Musaigen" ended off pretty well and even did well enough to spawn some OVA and special episodes. Its a good series that got the recognition it deserves, and I wouldn't mind a second season to expand further on its universe. Here's hoping that this is not the last we see of Haruhiko and his girls.