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.

Opening Songs
OP 1 - Knew Day ([K]NoW_NAME)

Ending Songs

ED 1 - Harvest ([K]NoW_NAME)

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Episodes: 12

The anime world has been blessed with its fair share of alternate world/reality shows for the recent years, and it doesn't look like its stopping anytime soon. "Grimgar Of Fantasy And Ash", or "Grimgar" for short, joins that collection as one its stronger contenders. Honestly, it may not look amazing at first glance, but after watching so many of these alternate world shows, "Grimgar" is probably the only one that strikes such a dark and serious undertone that really outshines the other ones. It may not be as cheesy as "SAO", it may not be as mind f**king as "No Game No Game", it may not be as insane as "Re-Zero", but when it comes to understanding the value of human life, I'm sure "Grimgar" takes the cake. It feels as though the characters go through REAL shit in this one, and that is what makes "Grimgar" feels quite authentic. It stands among its popular peers as a great alternate world type anime that still has even more potential within it.

Even in our alternate worlds there are
no shortage of cute girls.

Both theme songs are performed by [K]NoW_NAME (which is a god awful name to type out), and both are pretty good. The opening theme is "Knew Day", which sounds intriguing and badass enough for an opening theme. It also showcases the main characters really nicely and stylishly. The ending theme is "Harvest", which has a pretty catchy start, but starts to trail of into something generic. Its still quite good as ending theme, I'll give it that.

Rating: 8.0/10

I very much enjoyed "Grimgar" as a show. As I mentioned earlier, its feels like there's actually the risk of getting screwed out there. Our heroes are a ragtag group of rejects that simply can't catch a break. They're scared to leave the town to kill the weakest monsters, goblins, simply because they can't commit to murdering another life form, and of course, the goblins will hurt them as well. They DO have weapons on them. The characters coming into conflict with one another and struggling to figure out their ideals makes the whole show feel real. Also, the expression of pain, holy shit, you really get to see our heroes getting dragged around a lot. The show treats its characters differently, and since its very easy to get attached to the main cast due to some smart writing, every outing feels like it may be someone's last. The way "Grimgar" sets up its world is fantastic, and while I'll admit that the action scenes are average at best, its the world, writing and characters that ultimately set it up to be an enjoyable, bittersweet experience.

Ah, only in Grimgar. You need an entire party to take out a
single f**king goblin.

Haruhiko is a young man that lives in the fantasy world of Grimgar, where everyone is an adventurer with a class, skills and weapons of their own. Thing is, Haruhiko has no idea how he got whisked away to this world, or where he was originally from, similarly to all the others that were brought to Grimgar along with him. The group of people eventually split themselves after arriving at Grimgar, with a majority of them following a strong leader figure, Renji, who only picked the strong looking ones for himself, leaving the rest to rot. Haruhiko was among this group, and together they banded together to form a party. Haruhiko the Thief, Ranta the Dark Knight, Yume the Archer, Shihoru the mage, Moguzo the warrior and Manato the priest, the 6 started life together as a washed up party of sorts. They struggle each day to earn their daily keep as they are unable to efficiently kill goblins, the weakest monsters on Grimgar, because of their moral issues. And thus begins the rough life of our 6 heroes as they work hard towards becoming a party that can survive the cruel world of Grimgar.

With the way the show ended, there was quite a lot that was left unexplored. The show itself is great, and it certainly ended well. Hopefully there's more "Grimgar" to come, because I'm interested to see how far our heroes can go. It'll probably be a rocky road, but I'm sure its going to be one worth following.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Persona 5

Gamespot Score: 9.0 (Superb)

My Score: 10

(+) Pros: - Brilliant story and cast of characters, -Extremely stylish and visually impressive, - Excellent world and real life sim mechanics, - Dungeon crawling is easily the best in the series so far, - Soundtrack is oozing with style and delight, - Addictive combat and persona management, - Confidants (Social Links) feel a lot more useful and rewarding now, - Tons of worthwhile content in the game.

(-) Cons: - Very minor issues, basically nitpicking (mostly on the camera and controls during dungeons).

Game Play time: 110 hours and still going strong

No, I haven't kicked the bucket on this blog just yet. If you need an excuse for my absence, blame it on this game. Seriously ever since its release, I simply COULD NOT take my hands away from this game. The moment I get home from work, I release myself from the clutches of reality and simply delve myself into the wonders of "Persona 5". Despite having myself go at the game for hours and hours on end for the past few weeks, this game still has me HOOKED to no end. I'll be perfectly honest, I'm well on my 2nd playthrough and I still feel like I haven't had enough of this game, but I'll just put this up here.

This is now my favorite video game of all time, surpassing "The World Ends With You" and even "Final Fantasy VII". It's just THAT good, I'm seriously surprised that Atlus didn't disappoint with "Persona 5", and even managed to deliver FAR beyond everybody's expectations.

This game is RAVING right now, scoring minimum scores of 9 all over game critic sites. It simply improves from P3 and P4 on so many levels, making it an almost completely new, yet incredibly familiar game to play. "Persona 5" is most definitely a shining example on how to develop a sequel without completely ruining it. "Persona 5" is now the hallmark and perfect example on how to make a JRPG, there is simply no game in the genre right now that has it beat in my opinion. I usually wait on games before giving my opinion on them so that I can get to the older games on my list, but screw that, we simply HAVE to talk about this game RIGHT THE F**K NOW!!

Introducing: The Phantom Thieves.

In "Persona 5", you once again play as a high school student transferred into unfamiliar territory. The game starts you off in a prologue sequence where you play as a thief of sorts, code-named Joker, You seemingly escape from a casino with guards chasing you, and in the end, you are caught by the police and brought to an interrogation room. You are then interrogated by a prosecutor named Sae Niijima, who states that you were "Sold out" by one of your friends. You then recall all of the events prior to your capture, which starts in April of the same year, where you just arrived in Tokyo. You were transferred into Tokyo by the police form your hometown after you attained a criminal record for assaulting a man of sorts. Of course, its all corrupt bullshit, because you were helping a woman as she was being assaulted by a man. The man fell on his own and hurt himself, but sued you anyway, which got you your record as you were sent to Tokyo on probation under the guidance of a Cafe owner, Sojiro Sakura. And so begins your new life in Tokyo branded as a criminal, only there's a twist. Your main character is invited to the Velvet room one night, and is forced to form a contract with a certain long nosed man and his attendants...

Welcome to Tokyo country boy.

"Persona 5" does so many things right and builds upon the current "Persona" formula in so many ways, making it a massive step up above the previous games. As usual, the game is split into many phases and takes place over the course of the 1 year that your main character has when he is thrown into Tokyo. You progress through the days with a mixture of story scenes, free time, dungeon crawling...and deadlines, of course. Your team of super-powered teenagers have the ability to invade the meta-verse as special individuals known as the Phantom Thieves, which summon personas and use their insane strenght to plow through personas. Following the pattern of "Persona 4", your team goes to school in the morning, goes super power dunking in the afternoon after school, then retires to their homes during the night. It sounds simple, but of course, like previous games, there is a metric WEALTH of content that you can explore in "Persona 5".

Let's start with the daily life aspect. As usual, you are plunged into the world of modern day Tokyo as a high school student. You go to school in the morning, you get picked on by teachers in class to answer their questions, you peek at your cell phone during class to listen in and answer instant messages like a bad kid. Then during the afternoon after school, you get to choose between PLENTY of daily activities. As usual, your main character is presented with a grid of his statistics that he can build upon. This time (like "Persona 4"), your dude has 5 stats to build upon, Knowledge, Guts, Charm, Kindness and Proficiency. Same with the previous games, these affect a lot on your daily life, and you'll need to keep these as high as possible if you want to do certain things or hang out with certain people. 

Once again, we have a female team mates with
the Lovers arcana...

So you can do the usual meat of the "Persona" game's free time sessions: hanging out with friends...or building up your social links. In "Persona 5", due to how Igor, your long nosed friend in the Velvet room names them, your friends are called "Confidants", and hoo boy, do they go all out on these guys. As with previous games, your confidants all have their own little story to tell that's completely outside of the game's main story lines, they are people with stories to tell and for yourself to get invested in. Spending time and deepening your bonds with your confidants grant you more powerful Personas when you fuse them in the Velvet room....that's how things would have worked before, but in "Persona 5", your confidants are A LOT more useful this time around. Instead of just simply power boosts for fusing Personas, your confidants now have extra bonuses everything you rank up their confidant level, these bonuses vary depending on the person in question.

Your personal team mates will grow more attached to you and assist you in many ways in battle when you up their confidant ranks, these include baton-passes, following up your attacks in battle without eating up a turn, helping you recover from status ailments automatically, or even going as far as to take a fatal hit in your place during a fight. Those outside of your team benefit you differently, your doctor will sell you better meds that you can use in the Meta-verse for healing, your gun shop owner sells you better stuff for cheap, and even helps customize your weapons. Your teacher let's you skip classes, a former politician will give you better speech options when negotiating, a shogi player gives you more tactics on and so forth. Your confidants feel so much more USEFUL now, being more than just simple power-ups when you're gathering Personas.


Alrighty then! Now, the protagonist and his friends are faced with...some difficult situations in their lives, especially shitty since it concerns some really crappy adults. Since taking them down in real life would not only spell trouble when it comes to the law and their well beings, they have to do something in the other world...the Meta-verse. During the after school hours, you can take your friends to the Meta-Verse to attack the heart of a certain corrupt individual. Someone in the real world with a distorted heart (this usually means assholes) will have palace in the Meta-verse, which takes forms from their twisted desires. By stealing the treasure from each palace, the person in real life undergoes a change of heart, making them into a somewhat "good" person. Our heroes go into this world as phantom thieves to do so. Things aren't as easy as simply walking in to take a treasure though, each palace is filled to the brim with shadows and traps depending on the palace. A castle dungeon has you looking for books and running on castle walls. A museum dungeon has you leap into paintings, a bank has security cameras and guard dogs...each dungeon is SO unique unlike in previous games, giving each new palace a fresh experience for players to play through.

Shadows now take the form of Personas, which is a much different take from before. Of course, the combat in "Persona 5" is similar to that of previous games and most games from the SMT franchise. You either attack normally, or attack an enemy with a Persona ability. Oh, they also managed to fit guns in this time around, another neat little aspect from other SMT games that finally manages to sneak its way into "Persona". Hitting enemies with abilities that they are weak to will put them into a downed state, decreasing their defenses and giving the attacker 1 more turn to act. Unlike before though, in "Persona 5" you get to do a baton pass during "1 more", allowing the user to pass his extra turn to another party member, giving them increased attack and recovery. This allows for more strategic battles and efficient weakness proc-ing on the enemy. Of course, when you manage to send all enemies into a downed state, you can trigger the new and improved, all-so orgasmic "All-Out Attack", which has your team decimate the enemies with a flurry of stylish strikes.

Now that is one nasty looking fella!

Another new aspect in "Persona 5" that brings its combat up to par with that of many SMT games is the negotiation system. Now that your enemies are finally personas themselves, you can sucker them into joining your team, just like how your negotiate with demons in SMT games. After knocking all enemies down, before unleashing an "All-Out Attack", you'll go into "Hold Up", which is the segment where you can decide what to do with your now weakened enemies. You can either finish them off with AoA, or negotiate with them. As with most SMT games, your options are to either ask them to join you, extort money from them, or ask them for an item. You will then be presented with the classic choices and questions from personas (or demons) of many different personalities, in which you must answer correctly to gain their favor. 

As usual, as the end of all palaces lie a boss, which is usually the shadow version of the palace owner in real life. Bosses are again, a highlight in "Persona 5", all of which are fun, bring their own battle mechanics and sport a kickass battle team. Oh yes, Shoji Meguro killed it again, the music in "Persona 5" is f**king excellent. I don't know how he managed to do it, but he topped the music in both "Persona 3 & 4", making some of the best sounding themes in the franchise yet...hell, I'd go as far as to say it's some of the best in the JRPG market. Remember how I mentioned dead lines? As with previous games (once again), you are given a certain time frame to clear a palace before the game comes to an abrupt bad end, so do take note of that. Outside of palaces, there is also a random generated floor dungeon like Tartarus in the Mementos, which is basically the Tokyo Subway in the Meta-Verse that's filled with Shadows. You can go there during free time periods to take requests from the general public and purge the shadow version of small time crooks within the Mementos.

You can do a 50:50, you can ask the audience,
or you can call a friend. Well, what's it going to be?

I haven't even covered EVERYTHING about the game, there's just TOO freaking much in here! The menus are stylish as f**k, it almost feels like there's some anime explosion every time you click a freaking button. During dungeons, they've added some stealth cover mechanics to make the game more fitting towards the whole "Phantom Thief" theme. Getting spotted will raise an alarm meter, which makes the palace owner's awareness increase, having the meter go too high will automatically boot you out of the palace as the security is too high at that point. There are even fusion alternatives in here for the Velvet room! Besides just doing the 1 on 1 fusion and the multiple persona fusions, there are new features in the Velvet room like turning a persona into an item (which can net you FANTASTIC results), putting a Persona into lock down so that you can level it up WITHOUT actually using it, or even sacrificing a Persona to power up ANOTHER Persona. 

There are a wealth of activities during free time periods, including renting and watching DVDs, going batting in batting cages, working part time at various job locales, eating at the local burger joint to take their burger challenge, buying books to read during train rides, visiting maid cafes, going fishing, hitting the gym, doing your laundry, studying at the diner....dude, the list goes ON and ON. Since this IS Tokyo we're talking about, the free time possibilities do seem somewhat endless, its insane, really. You can invite your friends to various locales in Tokyo, you can play freaking video games in your video game! There's so much to do that I even missed out some of the activities in the game during my first play through.

Me too friend, me too.

Now I gave this game a 10/10, but there are some issues in here, though they are very minor...and it's basically me nitpicking. For one, this game looks like it has been in development for a LONG time, so there are some assets that look somewhat out dated. The graphics and visuals are sometimes amazing, but if you look closely, some textures are pretty bad. Also, the dungeon's cover mechanics are really iffy, when you're trying to ambush a shadow from behind cover, you will need to shift yourself to a very specific angle before you can even strike them. You will fiddle yourself so much that you may very easily shift yourself out of cover, only to get yourself spotted. The game is also a little bit on the easy side, at least on Normal difficulty, which is surprising to me considering how much "Persona 4" used to kick my ass back in the day.

"Persona 5" is the pinnacle of JRPGs in this modern age. I honestly thought that the JRPG genre was starting to disappoint me as of late, which is very disheartening considering that it's my favorite genre. "Persona 5" just re-invigorated me to no end. After 2 runs I'm content to put this down so that I can pick it up again in the future. "Persona 5" is the best "Persona" game to date, and is currently favorite video game of all time. I eagerly await for the future of the series, and to be honest, I'm scared. How the hell is Atlus going to top "Persona 5" with future installments? I guess only time will tell. Now let us welcome the endless amount of spin-offs that "Persona 5" will spawn, considering it's overwhelming popularity, I can assure you, they're going to come.

Happy gaming!

Opening Songs
OP 1 - WASTELANDERS (Sayaka Sasaki)

Ending Songs

ED 1 - Sekai wa Kyō mo Atarashii (Satomi Akesaka, Haruka Chisuga, Satomi Satou, Kana Hanazawa)

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice Of Life

Motives and initiatives are extremely important to capture your audience when it comes to starting an anime off on the right foot. There are many ways to start a story, and most recently in comedy/slice of life shows, I've seen the game making theme quite a fair bit. Enough to not be so impressed by it anymore, to say the least. "Girls Beyond The Wasteland" is pretty much that, its a show about an upstart team of teenage miscreants that are off the make a video game. Its a premise that's been done over quite a few times and I don't see it dying off anytime as a fad. Despite having a solid cast of seiyuus, does "Girls Beyond The Wasteland" actually manage to be entertaining enough to compete with other similar shows in its genre? Let's not forget, its another semi-harem/romance type of show too, so we have to take that into account.

For the click bait!

"WASTELANDERS" by Sayaka Sasaski is the opening theme to the anime, and its honestly pretty bland. Sure, its the normal, happy-go lucky, energetic theme that tries to start off the show, but it sounds rather generic and simple. Nothing much to see here. The ending theme is "Sekai wa Kyō mo Atarashii" by the 4 main seiyuus of the 4 heroines. It's your standard affair of a cute-sy ending theme with the main seiyuus of the show, nothing new or special here.

Rating: 7.0/10

"Girls Beyond The Wasteland" is decent enough, but at the same time, its honestly nothing too amazing that really warrants me to issue any sort of recommendation to go and watch it. It's...very simple, you've seen these sorts of affairs before done much better, like "Saekano" that released in the recent years (a second season is even coming out as we speak). In that show we had better visuals, characters and an honestly more appealing story. "Girls Beyond The Wasteland" simply stars an odd set of stereotypical characters, some of which aren't very interesting, along with a story that provides some pretty half-assed motivations. The story here is average at best, and there isn't a lot of character building that's actually interesting. The show itself doesn't actually pick itself up until the end where a real threat is presented to our cast, otherwise, the rest of the show is rather average and sometimes even mediocre.


Hojou Buntaro is the typical nice guy in high school that likes to help everyone. He takes requests from friends all over the school, helping them out with club activities, part time jobs and whatever they need to, without ever wanting to do something himself. Buntaro is a roamer, doing things for others without any concern for himself. The problem is this, he himself, doesn't know what he wants to do, so he devotes himself into doing things for others. However, that all changes when he runs into this beautiful girl with black hair, Sayuki Kuroda. Kuroda senses the talent and drive within Buntaro to want to do something on his own accord, and it seems like she has similar interests as well. She wants to make a game, and with that in mind, she recruits Buntaro as her development team's script writer. She also tasks him with recruiting other suitable team members with respective members for the job, and thus he moves along to recruit 4 other members that will help finish the game, including a seiyuu, an artist and a programmer. With a team on hand, Buntaro hopes to make something worthwhile that will finally make him a happier person with a purpose.

"Girls Beyond The Wasteland" simply doesn't do much that's enough to kick it above the rest, putting it as simply a decent show at best in my opinion. Production values aren't that great for this one too. In my opinion, if you want a similar show, both"Saekano" and "Pet Girl Of Sakurako" do this better.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 9.0

(+) Pros: - Superb story telling and strong narrative, - Incredible cast of characters...Nagito is especially compelling, - Challenging, interesting murder cases and plenty of strong courtroom antics to back it up, - The resort island is huge, adding more variety during investigation segments, - Adds even more unique debate mechanics to mix things up, - Soundtrack is still top tier.

(-) Cons: - You can kind of guess when someone is about to die, final trial is not as amazing as the one in the first game.

Gameplay Time: 10-20 Hours

I'm actually convinced that the "Danganronpa" series has changed my life. Similar to how "Phoenix Wright" opened my eyes and exposed me to these kinds of games, it's the "Danganronpa" franchise that really took it to the next level. The original was one of the best games I've played and one of the strongest narrative experiences in gaming to me, it was so compelling that I had to play the game twice. Since I didn't have a Vita, I was kind of bummed that I wouldn't be able to play the sequel, "Super Danganronpa 2"...but then Steam came along and released it on PC. Thanks to them (and all who use Steam, seriously, keep buying games on Steam so that it stays relevant for future game releases), I had the chance to play this masterpiece on the PC, and I must say, like the original, this one is worth every penny. Every second I spent on this game was well spent, and I did not regret my purchase, not one bit. "Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair" is a worthy successor to an already amazing VN experience, evolving the series in many ways that make it a somehow even better game than the original.

The 16 students that are about to get f**ked on Jabberwock Island.

Similar to how the original started, the story stars a group of students who belong to Hope's Peak Academy, elites who will eventually go to lead the world with their various talents and skills. 16 students were sent on a vacation to Jabberwock Island, a resort island that was built to cater to top class tourists. Among them is protagonist Hinata Hajime, who can't seem to remember his talent, where as all 15 other students that were suddenly sent to the island alongside him all know perfectly who they are. A classic case of amnesia, as one would say. A pink stuffed bear shows up, Monomi, who introduces herself as the student's instructor. All is well as Monomi asks them to get along and build friendship with one another, until suddenly out of nowhere, Monokuma appears on the island and destroys Monomi. He locks off all means of escape, and tells the 16 students that their vacation will no longer be about building friendships, but killing one another. When the students obviously refuse, he starts providing them with motives to begin to kill another! Once again, a new killing game is about to start...

Right! Of course!

"Super Danganronpa 2" doesn't pull its punches. It tells a strong story through the eyes of Hinata Hajime, who is a lot different from Makoto, our previous protagonist. For that alone, we have a much different narrative style than before, and I must say that I very much prefer the way Hajime sees things. The writing and story telling is just great, despite many different arcs in the game itself, everything feels like one, cohesive tale that binds itself together. Similarly to the original, you'll be eager to press on, dying to find out what happens next.

Of course, a strong story means absolutely nothing without strong characters. As usual, we are presented with 16 characters that are incredibly different from one another. We've got those who are a little bit more normal, like the gentle Mahiru , the playful Kazuichi  or the pervertic Teruteru. Then we've got anti-socials like Peko and Kuzuryu...or crazies like Nekomaru and Akane. We also have enigmas like the delusional Gundahm or extremely apologetic Mikan. I'd dare say that the characters this time around are even more interesting than our previous cast (but by just a little bit) though in the end it all varies from person to person. Like before the game attempts to have you bond with them during free time for character specific events, though IMO the game's main story does more than enough to justify these guys. Even so, knowing that most of these superb characters will end of dieing is just a terrifying way to start off the game....I'll be honest with you, don't start pointing favorites when the game's going to hurt (my favorite died, obviously).

I cannot agree more....

I'll split the game up into it's 3 main phases, which are the same as the previous game. Whenever a new episode starts, the game opens you up with some story scenes followed by free time, where you have Hajime wander around Jabberwock Island to either explore its intricate exhibits that are sometimes guarded by vicious mecha-monsters (yeah, I'm not kidding), or mingle around with his classmates. You earn friendship with them, with sufficient friendship with certain characters you get character cut-scenes. You can speed up friendship building by showering your friends with gifts, and maxing out a character's friendship will net you special abilities which you can use in class trials. After some f**king around Monokuma will announce a "motive" for the remaining students to try and kill one another, which usually works.

When a body is found, somebody has been murdered (obviously), so thus begins phase 2, the investigation phase. Here, you go around the island, pricking around looking for clues about how the deceased was killed. You converse with classmates to find out about their alibis or certain testimonies that can help out with your investigation. You pick up items, examine bathrooms, theorize with some friends about how the murder was played the end, its similar to how it was done in the original, but this time, with the massive amount of different locations in Jabberwock Island, this phase is both more challenging and more fun. Finally, when all is said and done, the game moves you to the famed courtroom phase, which is where the meat of the game is.

That's right Hajime, show that redhead how it's done!

Now, with the courtroom phase, it's here where the game is at its best. Non-stop debate and it's accompanying minigames make their comeback, and they're better than ever. As usual, your job is to look for contradiction via highlighted words or statements from your classmates as they continue to banter about certain subjects in the courtroom. Counteract with your own argument that you've built up through clues and testimonies collected through the investigation phase that appear as bullets for you to shoot. Finding the right thing loophole in an argument has you proceed forward into the trial, which is littered with new mini-games like the Rebuttal Showdown (which is hard as shit, I just spam slashes until I get it right) and the Hajime Snowboard (Logic Dive, but come on, Hajime Snowboard sounds better). Both add new and more unique ways to tackle on the trials, which is more than welcome.

When you're nearing the end of the trial, you are once again tasked by routing the killer through the reworked M.T.B and Climax Logic, both of which are still extremely satisfying to pull off. Choosing the right words at the end of an M.T.B while completely destroying your opposition as you look at their despaired face is utterly priceless and very nice to see. The Climax Logic as well, fitting the pieces is still as fun as ever, as you unfold the events of the crime in perfect sequence, all while laying out the plans of the killer for everyone else to see. That ending cut where the killer is truly revealed too is, incredibly satisfying. All while backed up with a kickass soundtrack. To be fair, some tracks are re-used from the original, but hey, don't fix what ain't broken.  

Man, Nagito saying "Sore Wa Chigao Yo" like a fake ass
Naegi was really, REALLY well done here!

Because the game follows some sort of a similar pattern with its phase splitting throughout the episodes, its kind of easy to see it coming when someone is about to die. While it's still a big question mark to WHO is about to die, you can kind of guess when a murder is about to occur, especially when Monokuma is so trigger-happy about his motives, which honestly get kind of old, there really should be a way to trigger killing without those motives of his. Finally, we have to talk about the final trial. Without spoiling, I'll say that it's WAY too predictable and foreshadowed for it to be epic. I mean, I feel like the final trial really pales in comparison to the rest of the game, ESPECIALLY when compared to the final trial of the original. 

All in all "Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair" sets up the universe well enough for the franchise to go into the anime sequel, which I feel is quite...stupid (they said they could only do what they wanted in an anime and not a game...what a bunch of bull). Still, being the final game before the franchise jumps into a whole new setting with "NEW Danganronpa V3", it works well enough. With 2 amazing games in its name, I can't wait to see what else the franchise can bring in future installments to come.

Happy Gaming!