Posted on 27 August 2015 with categories: Game Reviews

I don’t plan on doing this often but I thought it might be good to talk about this game as I put about forty hours into it and found it to be a highly flawed yet fascinating experiment.  Now myself qualify as a big fan of the final fantasy series, having played and completed Final fantasy’s 1 through 10, 12 and now 13. Seven was my very first introduction to the very concept of an RPG and Eight was the first one I ever finished. I have a lot of love for this series so I guess that’s why I can label this with confidence as the worst main Final Fantasy title. Of course going into it I knew this wasn’t going to be a stand out title. I heard many of the complaints about it, all of which are sadly true.

 

This game is liner, and I mean that in every sense of the word. The majority, if not all, of the game has you running down a straight hallway with little deviations and while your surroundings may change that straight line doesn’t change. People say that 30 hours in the game opens up but what this really means is that at the 30 hour mark you reach a area called the Archylte Steppe and it gives you a taste of what this game could have been. But it’s only one wide open plane, before long you are forced into the corridors again. It is true that final fantasy games in general are linear as you need to follow a path to reach the boss but in those cases at least the path had branches that lead to items and at any point you could just exit the area, climb on an airship and go somewhere else. 30 hours into FF13 you are offered a teleport system but this pertains to a single part of the game and it just allows you to go to other parts of a pretty linear path. In this regard its as though the game is putting in gameplay as an obligation and gives you only the bare minimum to achieve it. Here’s a path, kill everything on it and get to the next part of the story. When taking this into account, the actual gameplay of Final Fantasy XIII feels like padding.

 

So what about that story then? Surely if the focus was on the story it’s bound to be something special right? Well that’s what I figured. FF13 story has ambition, and I can respect that but it has massive problems. First off, voice acting has not done the series any favors and during this game I had a number of moments where I felt I would think more highly of this story if the lines were not being spoken. Final Fantasy titles have their share of dialogue that sounds good when read but when a voice is put to it can cause it to sound quite stupid. The story itself is needlessly complicated and yet very simple when you get past all the terminology. Humans live in a world called Cocoon which is fueled by Summons/eldions/Fal cie which is under a dictatorship by a pope like figure who has been forcing people to relocate to a survival of the fittest hellish nearby world called Pulse. Our heroes are cursed and given an unspecified mission by a Pulse summon when attempting to fight back against a relocation. If they don’t finish the mission within a unspecified time they turn into monsters. If they do finish the mission then they turn into crystal where they remain till given a new mission. The rest of our story us our heroes wandering about aimlessly trying to guess what their mission is till the big bad shows up and tells them. Though in a game with 13 chapters the villain doesn’t show up until the tenth. So our heroes don’t agree with the big bad, wander about on Pulse and then end up doing exactly what he wants anyway. But everything turns out alright because two characters pull a deus ex machina out of nowhere and save the day. Ladies and Gents, with that paragraph I saved you forty hours of your life. As you can tell by that, a lot of the game is our heroes going about without any direction on what they are supposed to be doing. Most of the time the characters end up committing to some arbitrary goal only to do a heel turn and do something else. One particular moment is when the party goes to Pulse do to the big bad saying so and for no real reason all decide to make their way to Vanile and Fangs hometown in some vague notion that something might happen. What actually does happen is they encounter the big bad again and decide to go back to cocoon basically making the whole Pulse section one big pointless Journey when they are already short on time.

 

Characters can make up for a lacking story and due to the haphazard nature of the plot I think that’s what was intended. However while some characters have potential, it’s not quite realized. Lightning is an absolute mess of a character. From my understanding and what I believe was intended, she is supposed to be a female version of Cloud from Final Fantasy 7. However Cloud had an arc as well as a character whereas I spent forty hours with Lightning and still don’t get what she’s about. At most I gathered that she’s incompetent, dangerously impulsive and suffers from massive mood swings. In one fmv scene she went from happy to aggressive to encouraging to hopeful and then tears all in the span of about three minutes. She decides to go on a one man assault on the enemy headquarters, convinces a boy to join her and along the way after one single sentence on Summons she does a complete heel turn and begins to try and convince the boy she already convinced otherwise that the attack is foolhardy. She is just a barrel of Mary sue whose actions are purely determined on what the plot needs at that point. Sazh is the best character of the game, being quite likable with a interesting arc involving his son. Some of the best parts of the game involve him and while his son is a bland Gary sue it does give him the most engaging drive in the game. There’s not much to say about Fang. She’s decent strong character who I say some might grow fond off. Only real downside is when the plot forces her into annoying situations such as one where she needs so sort of demotion emotional breakdown in order to gain a summon which involves her saying they should destroy Cocoon instead of saving it. A hissy fit that comes out of nowhere and is immediately forgotten once the summon is beaten. I like Snow, or more I like the idea behind his character. Snow is essentially what happens when you take plot armour away from a stereotypical hero. Snow talks lofty and embraces the risky nature of heroic gambles. However most of the time things which would go perfectly for a action hero, turn out disastrously for Snow. In the beginning he inspires people to take up arms and fight the oppressive army. As a result he gets them all killed, including a party members mother. However not a lot is done with it and he basically remains the same by games end. His relationship with Lightning’s sister is also rather off putting as she looks 14 when he looks mid twenties. Hope is a character who starts of the worst but slowly becomes more tolerable over time. His character arc is given quite a lot of attention but has the problem of concluding too early. He had an interesting chemistry with Snow as Snow mistakenly thought Hope looked up to him when in reality Hope was more interested in killing him for causing his mother’s death. Ultimately he learns to let things go and for the rest of the game becomes a tag along who only says a uplifting speech around the end. Vanile is a very hated character which I can understand as to why. She starts off so alien that I was under the impression that she wasn’t even human and had difficulty with human concepts. Seeing as her dialogue generally made no sense. As the story goes on her weirdness is hugely toned down and any gripes that remain would be about her rather annoying voice. As for minor characters, they don’t make much of an impact. Most of them are there to provide the mains with some sort of revelation or understanding and there are not many appearances from them in the entire game. One particular moment that comes to mind is when a character called Raines showed up as a boss. When he appeared everyone acted familiar with him but I couldn’t recall just who this guy was. I later remembered that he was a man who appeared in one cut-scene for a few minutes about twenty hours ago.

 

Let me be frank, the Paradigm system may be good for managing fast paced combat but the depth of its mechanics is lower than that of the first Final Fantasy. Here’s the basic rundown, you can assign different roles to each character such as Medic, commando, ravager, etc. Each of these roles is setting the CPU to a certain manner. In this case, Healing, Attack and magic attack. You cannot control your other party members, only the leader.  You can switch between six different variations like Commando, Ravager, Ravager or Commando, Sentinel, Medic. You cannot switch the Paradigm of a single character and if your character is set to one role they cannot use abilities from another one. Meaning you cannot have a mage alternate between attack magic and healing without changing the roles of the entire party. Same for you, if you are a Commando then you are stuck using physical attacks. This cuts down the number of strategies immensely but what makes matters worse is that you will barely be strategizing at all. Here are the two things you will be doing for the entirety of FFXIII. Switching Paradigms and pressing auto battle. True you can pick your own commands but it’s often pointless as auto battle picks the best ones already out of your limited move set. And you might occasionally make use of items and summons. But this is pretty much how the majority of fights go in FFXIII, Switch Paradigm, auto battle. The system has been simplified down to the level that they might as well just make the main character a CPU too. Another part of the system to mention would be staggering, where once you dealt enough attacks to a enemy it stuns them and allows you to attack it for a time with your damage dealt being increased the more punishment you dish out while its staggered. This basically makes the battles a rush to stagger your enemies as it is the only time you put out real damage. Due to this in FFXIII, speed is everything.

 

The the equipment and leveling is equally abysmal. You get two pieces of equipment, a weapon and a accessory. That’s it. No Armour, no shield. Nothing. Later on you can level up to equip two more accessories but unless you are trying to stave off a status effect the difference is negligible. There are also no defense stats. You can level up your weapons and accessories by using materials gathered from enemies which makes getting new ones pointless as they will always be weaker than what you currently have. Leveling is a pain as instead of getting exp and leveling up random stats automatically, you are given something called CP which you use to level up your character up a chain of upgrades to health, attack, magic or gain new skills. The path is strictly liner though and adds only a layer of tedium as every time you gain enough CP you need to go into the menu, and manually level up each of the six characters one at a time. There is different paths for each Paradigm role but you only unlock all the roles near the end of the game and it takes twice as much CP to level up a character in a role that wasn’t set for them and even then they with never learn the same amount of skills as someone who is set in that role. So what your characters are going to be has already been determined by the time you get the option to level them up differently. But the biggest problem is that regardless of how much your character’s stats go up, it never feels as though you have gotten stronger. I could be adding over a hundred points to strength and yet barely be doing much more damage than before. The music is just decent which for a final fantasy game is fairly disappointing. The battle theme is good and the main theme is alright though heavily overplayed throughout the game. For the most part the soundtrack isn’t that noticeable and there is a song played in the Pulse area of the game which is a tune similar to a elevator wait music. The game is admittedly graphical beautiful which is pretty impressive for a game six years old. In reflection FFXIII is a hard game to recommend. It has numerous problems and while it is a fascinating experiment, it misses more than it hits. There were times I enjoyed FFXIII, but for any moment of fun there was three moments of tedium. It wasn’t an easy game to finish and at times I had to force myself to play it. Still while I am glad I played it, I don’t recommend it. I am just hoping FFXIII-2 fixes a number of problems that were in this title.

Posted on 25 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gangsta

Some focus on Alex this time around as with the drug out of her system she remembered that she had a younger brother. A pretty startling revelation for her as forgot about him the whole time she was under Barry’s control. It was done well on just how much this shocked her but I must admit that Mangalobe’s animation is getting rather limited at points. There are some points with off art and still frames are increasing but it’s still respectable that they are sticking with such difficult character designs. These anti-Twilight people have me a little confused about just how powerful Twilights are. True it’s not exactly fair to compare the normal types to the likes of the top of the line like Nicholas but if a mid class Twilight can impersonate Shizuo pulling out road signs then you would think that they would be putting up more of a fight. Maybe if the Anti-Twilights were coming after them with guns that might be something but with Melee weapons? Seems a bit odd they can’t knock a few people out. However there is that issue with the rule that Twilights can’t harm normal people but they must have a Claus for self defense seeing as Nicolas and Worick can jump in.

I wonder if there will be a time when Japan realizes that boob jokes are just not funny anymore, if they ever have been. Plus having them being made about Alex, who recently just got out of forced prostitution…makes it a little awkward. But looks like Alex won’t be going back to prostitution to make a living after all with her performance as a Diva at club Bastard.(That’s the actual name of the club.) I pity the English dub voice actress who’s going to have to do that scene as they are generally the worst scenes to transition to English. Having to change the Japanese lyrics into something that works in English while also having a dub voice actress who can sing is a tall order. Add in lip syncing the lyrics and it becomes downright impossible. Still if they manage to pull it off I feel the scene would improve greatly as having her sing in Japanese when she isn’t japanese in a non Japanese setting doesn’t really fit. I understand that is something that cannot be helped but having it in English would make a whole lot more sense. Gangsta is currently getting a broadcast dub by Funimation so when they get to this episode I say godspeed to them. Though the big part of the scene was what seems to be her younger brother walking past the club and recognising his sisters singing. He looks to be a big part of next week’s episode.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Itami continues to be a mystery as he is shown not only to be a ranger but also a member of special forces. Its not really confirmed whether he is a genius in hiding or a slacker who was tossed into high profile positions and got through it with minimum effort. The big part of this episode was the court case where a young female politician tried to put the army at fault for a number of other world civilians dying in a dragon attack. This is another design change that I find has made the character far too young as the politician I remember from the manga was a much older woman. I don’t know how the novel/LN did it but I feel that having her be a much more mature woman made more sense. Call me jaded but I don’t think a woman that young and good looking would be anywhere near politics. But admittedly I don’t know jack about politics.

However her dialogue where she attempts to make use of her age to demand respect is made all the stranger. In general I always felt that older woman would use their age to demand respect but woman in the 20 to 30 range don’t really like to draw attention to their age. Though when Rory was calling her little girl this could have be a weak attempt to try and gain some kind of moral superiority. Though it doesn’t really matter too much as this character’s sole purpose is to be an idiot while making Rory look good.So no surprise that the highlight of the episode was Rory shutting her up by telling her off on live TV. As well as letting the bomb drop that she is over 900 years old and Tuka is 165 years old. This is really the first time the otherworld has caught modern society off guard as the concept of someone being that old as well as someone becoming a literal God once they reach 1000 is unthinkable. Something tells me that this fact would bring up some problems with christianity that might lead to some misguided crusade to rid the world of the “fake” gods.

Otherwise there was just small things like Rory being terrified of the subway due to the God Hardy who is interested in taking Rory as their wife. Its also interesting to note that unless I am mistaken, Hardy is female. So Rory happens to have a lesbian earth god after her. This girl never ceases to amuse. The episode ends with a rather shocking reveal of Itami’s ex-wife. A main character with an ex-wife, I haven’t seen that since…um…ever actually. I am sure if I dig up some anime I haven’t seen in a while I might find a couple with characters with ex-wives but main characters who were married doesn’t happen very often. Mostly because they are too young to be. When Itami’s wife seems to be the kind of person he would meet, seeing as she’s a mangaka. And for a separated couple they sure are on good terms. Chances are these two didn’t get married normally.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

This episode has been a weaker episode than those so far. The opening has gone through a number of changes now that we have reached over the halfway point. Megumi’s part of the opening has been replaced by a shot of her grave, the colourful transition after showing the title is now a series of zombie hands, Miki’s friend is now shown walking alone amidst zombies and pictures that were happy shots of each of the characters are now showing them depressed and worried. The fact that Taromarou is now a single bright happy shot among shots of people who are not dead or missing makes me think that dog is not going to have a bright future. There wasn’t much to the episode itself as it was mainly about the gang sending out letters by balloon and one pigeon by the name of Arnault Hatonishiki II. Thought there was Yuki noticing a discrepancy in her memory regarding Megumi which shows she’s getting even closer to snapping out of it. Megumi or her subconscious took the act of consoling her and pushing her back into the delusion. But even she seems to see that this trick is coming to its end.

So there’s a lot of hope here and a fairly lighthearted optimism which can mean only one thing. Everything is about to go to hell. The night is always darkest before the dawn but in tragedy the light is always brightest before it burns out. The new ending is proof of that as we have the girls disappearing and being replaced with Yuki’s hat, a broken CD player, shovel, shredded teddy bear and a knife all of which is bloodstained. Along with the text on the chalkboard saying “We’ve Graduated!” Which likely means what you think it means. Something is going to break this all down and my mind is preoccupied with what is going to be the trigger. Yuki is the obvious choice as she’s already in a delicate state that could collapse at any moment but my money’s on Miki. Miki is the one most uncomfortable with the situation and could set off Yuki easily with how she is unwilling to go along. She has friction with Yuuri as she is generally the one to argue against her when the topic of the situation comes up. But most importantly, Miki has something which could set her off and cause her to go berserk. The friend that left her in the Mall is without doubt, most certainly dead. But Miki still believes she’s out there. If her friends corpse happens to walk up to the school and Miki sees it, there’s no telling what she could do.

Posted on 21 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gangsta

Now the past has been mostly revealed, Worick’s friendship with Nicholas has become a more complex thing. Worick seems to see him as a good friend yet resent him for going kill crazy and murdering his whole family. Though the murder of his father looked to be an order he himself made to Nicholas and regretted. Honestly I am having trouble understanding just what there relationship is. I can’t tell whether Worick hates or likes Nicholas and whether Nicholas killed Worick’s family because of an order or rather out of resentment for Worick buying Celebrer off his father and giving him reason to ditch Nicholas. The whole affair comes across as Worick making a deal with the devil what with Nicholas ripping out Worick’s eye as some sort of payment. I still don’t like the one sided nature of Woricks father as I really don’t know what could spur on this level of violence. The only real factor given in this anime for his hatred is that he knows that Worick is smarter than him and that makes him feel inferior, or at least from what I can gather. There are likely other factors but it isn’t really made clear.

So yet again we have a Twilight defying gravity like no tomorrow, if I didn’t know better I would say this show was trying to spite me. No matter what I say these guys are here to stay so all I can do is try to accept their presence. Which is getting more difficult as they now have Darker than black Contract prices such as the kid not aging past puberty and Nicholas being deaf. That’s just…never mind, its here to stay so if Twilights also happen to be able to shoot ki blasts my only option is to roll with it. It’s nice to see Alex become more assertive even when I am certain no one else other than Worick would have reacted to that wake up embrace quite as calmly. She’s a much better character now that the drug is out of her system though I do wonder if she really plans to continue being a prostitute. So we have two new twilights on the block who have been killing other twilights and collecting tags and they remind me of the vampire twins of black lagoon. It’s hard to get a read on them for how briefly they were shown but they come off so far as a rather generic villain.

Posted on 18 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

I understand that for an anime adaption some character designs need to be simplified in order for an easier time to keep them in proportion in animation. But while the characters who suffer in this episode because of this are indeed minor characters, its really a shame to see them become something unrecognisable. The two characters in question are Perisa the Catgirl and Delilah the warrior bunny. Now despite how the job is treated with no humor whatsoever, I am fully aware that the words warrior bunny is about as easy to take seriously as a shark tax accountant. It’s even harder to try to accept when the girls look as young as they do in the anime series. In the manga designs the girls had a level of maturity which really lent to their characters but from the looks of things they went with the Light novel designs which make them look far too young and Persia with pink hair just throws me off completely.

This episode goes to show that even with the best laid plans nothing will really go as expected. Because someone is bound to mess things up no matter how hard you try. In this case a blond Drill haired girl who first dragged Itami back to the city beaten and bloody without thinking and her assaulting him again when she went to his room on orders to sleep with him in order to get the JSDF to forget about the incident and was promptly unintentionally ignored when she entered his crowded room. The pain the princess felt when that came to light is one I am all too familiar with. You give someone one simple job and yet somehow they find a way to bugger it up. It’s quite amazing we humans can get anything done together at all.

The joy of the episode is seeing just how desperate the princess gets as the episode goes on. She the first of the major players if the empire to realize just what they are facing and there’s even a point where her composure momentarily breaks while misunderstanding Itami’s position in the army. By the time she makes it to the base to apologise for the incident, she’s like a scolded child. Next episode looks to have the otherworlders visit Japan which should at least give them a taste of information age culture.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

Well the story continues on from the flashback, showing Miki first joining the club. Right off the bat the episode pushes to answer the question of Megumi’s existence. It’s a answer that was pretty obvious by this point as the foreshadowing was pretty heavy on this particular detail but this episode makes it crystal clear. Megumi is dead and has been dead right from the beginning, with her grave on the rooftop being shown in the background in episode one. The Megumi Yuki has been talking to is just another of her delusions and the ending goes as far as to show scenes where Yuki and Megumi were together and slowly faded her out to show what the scene really was. As I said this revelation is hardly shocking for anyone who was paying attention. But the execution remains immensely solid. The scene where Miki asks Yuki who Megumi was when she was supposed to be in the room was just great. The music getting distorted and fading with Yuki staring at her with those black eyes, it was just an excellent reveal scene. So much so that I wish it hadn’t been made so obvious that it wasn’t shocked by it. The little things were great too like Yuki “handing” Megumi a bottle of water and if you listen you can hear it hit the ground.

Another thing that was confirmed is that the girls really do rely on Yuki’s mental state to keep their spirits up. In some ways this is good as in a zombie apocalypse it’s not the zombies which are the most dangerous thing. It’s the people who mess things up. Yuki acts as a good meditator to prevent the other girls from doing anything too rash or stupid. But it’s a perilous balance as when Yuki goes down, they all go down. Yuki’s mental state is already a pretty fragile thing as shown here she could break down just from someone asking a honest question. Yuki herself seems pretty comfortable in her safe zone and even when Miki questioned her it honestly felt like she was trying to get Miki to play along rather than deny her. It’s possible that Yuki is slowly slipping out of her delusions and doesn’t really want to let go of them, so she attempts to continue the farce even when she is becoming aware of it. Really that is the best option as despite how it could be broken at any second, this may be one of the most functional survivors of a zombie Apocalypse that I have seen. Everyone gets along, there’s no petty fights over supplies, people are honestly trying to enjoy themselves and no liabilities to make a huge mistake that ends up screwing everyone over. Well for now at least, one thing that I think will come to a head later is Miki’s reluctance to play along with Yuki’s delusions. Even in the first episodes she still only half heartedly plays along to keep her happy. It’s clear that while Miki understands the situation, she’s not keen on keeping Yuki contained in her happy place. I think that if a really bad situation comes Miki may just force the truth on her out of frustration. This would really put her at odds with Yuuri, who by the looks of it, is the one most determined to keep things as they are.

Posted on 13 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gangsta

When taking into account the show so far, I find that the quiet character moment stand out far more than the over the top fight scenes with knife wielding psychos on rooftops. The dialogue between characters is much more engaging that two characters jumping around like Bleach Soul Reapers. In particular it great seeing Worick and Nicholas talk especially when Worick’s doing most of the talking while Nicholas is saying the bare minimum. It shows that Worick has been around him for such a long time that he can tell what he wants to say just from his face and movements. The back story about Worick teaching him to write as a kid and being kindred spirits in abusive environments is all really great stuff.

One flaw I found with this episode however was the use of the age old stock character for tragic back stories. The alcoholic abusive father. That’s even above the overbearing religious zealot parent in backstory tropes. A prime example of just how overused this is that before I watched this episode, I watched a DC animated feature called “Superman vs the Elite” (Which despite the title and some lacking animation, was quite a good animated movie) and when it came to a character’s tragic back story time what kind of father had he? Alcoholic abusive father. I certainly are not saying that people like that don’t exist in reality however in cases of entertainment it just seems like a writer taking the easy route instead of building a more morally complex abuser. Or at least something less cliche, like Nicholas’s father who got a twilight prostitute pregnant and decided to make use of the kids abilities as opposed to just getting rid of him. As well as the fact that his father killed his mother. It’s still fairly one dimensional but at least it isn’t a standard trope.

As it turns out Alex wasn’t kidnapped and the visitor turned out to be the doctor like I suspected. Thankfully mangalobe didn’t go to weird heights again as Alex’s hallucinations were in fact the result of withdrawal symptoms from the drug Barry was feeding her to keep her in line. After checking up I am fairly certain this drug was fictitious as well as while there are pimps who use drugs to keep girls in line there aren’t drugs like what was described here. Closest thing to it from what I can find would be a liquid called toluene. Still, made up or not I like how it affected Alex as she went back on the streets prostituting herself over fear of an imaginary Barry. It explains the sudden mental instability of Alex better than a quickly appearing trauma. I a hoping that now without the drugs influence she will become more active in the show as she does need a little more personality. I am hoping for more episodes like this in the future.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” is a fairly iconic piece of music in pop culture. So much so that after Apocalypse Now (1979) whenever there is a helicopter assault in any piece of media, it’s practically obligatory to play Ride of the Valkyries. Even just today when finishing Far Cry 3 and had a helicopter turret sequence near the end of the game, what was playing in the background? Ride of the Valkyries. Gate however went above and beyond just referencing Apocalypse Now with the song. The straight up quoted and referenced it throughout the sequence, some scenes of animation being recreations of the the films scene itself. It’s glorious to behold. Though Rory’s fan service moment before the battle was certainly on the gratuitous side, while it is true that I have no idea what the effect of dozens of human souls flowing through you is like, it being like an aphrodisiac isn’t the first thing to come to mind.

It is a matter that bothered me before but I am not fond of the princesses character design in the anime. In the Light novel and manga her design had a much more mature look, where as her anime design just looks far too young. Animation for Gate remains to be inconsistent as at times it can be quite fluid but can drop to levels of still frames. Admittedly it’s not easy to animate army battles but it would be good to remain consistent in animation as opposed to dropping between low and high. Though even at its best I have found A1s animation to be rather rough. In particular with Rory’s battle while good there were times the animation seemed off. The princess finally knows who she’s dealing with and it was rather amusing to see them shocked at them accepting what would be losers terms when by all rights they could have had her at their mercy. It’s a pity her soldiers are not quite as informed and may have made the greatest mistake of their lives by episodes end.

Posted on 10 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gakkou Gurashi

As these episodes go on it really is something to wonder about the matter of Yuki being a hindrance or a help. I have said previously that she does push the group in the right direction but it is still a case where her mentality is dangerous. The group need to come up with excuses to keep her from nearly getting them killed but even then she is being rather loud in an area where zombies could rip them apart at any moment. But she also saved Miki and pushed them to take the risk to go to the mall to collect supplies. As the group tries to keep her in her delusions it also pushes them to take risks to ensure their survival. That said, there were moments that made me want her to get with the program and stop endangering the group. Despite the group’s efforts it does seem that Yuki’s dream world is slowly crumbling as in this episode she at least had some clarity to the situation. She clearly knew that Miki was in danger and seeing the zombies again did shake her so much to the point where she got a fever. It shows that eventually her dream is going to collapse and when it does it’s not going to be pretty. Would I be considered sadistic if I actually was looking forward to that moment that does happen? As a side note, I found an article noting a potential reason as to why Yuki’s uniform is a different colour from the others. If you invert the colours of Yuki’s uniform then it matches the same colour as the other heroines uniforms and likewise. It could be a really clever symbolism on Yuki’s flawed perception of reality.

Undoubtedly this is the moment the group was in the most danger, so they are lucky that these zombies happened to be be of the more classic slow moving variety rather than the running kind. Thus allowing our girls to shop for clothes and for Taromarou to form a bond with Yuki. These moments remain a double edged sword as they are light hearted fluff but undeniably strengthen the darker moments of the show. At points it’s even fairly enjoyable however still the mood is starting to clash a small bit. I think the girls trying out clothes with no worries is a little out of place considering that a zombie could be in ait  at any corner and the last thing you want is them catching you with your pants down. Or in this case, in a swimsuit. Good luck going to the beach in that girls, and was Yuuri’s boob bounce really necessary? Still the small things like Yuuri worried that Kurimi might not make it back from her solo food run or discovering a legion of zombies in a theater room. As well as the rather dark implication that the Theater room was barred from the outside to keep them in and maybe not all the people in the room were zombies at that point. Yuuri making use of the alarm to disorientate the zombies was a pretty clever play on her part as by all accounts Miki looked like she was doomed once pulled off the piano. I don’t know whether the next episode will continue to follow Miki first joining the group or go back to the point before the flashback but admittedly I would be interested in just how she reacts to it.

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous951955
We'll see; trailers can give false impressions
Anonymous951955
Not that all changes from source adaptations are terrible, but in this case, at least the trailer makes it look pretty bad.
Anonymous951955
It looks not great; I understand the need to change it a bit to suit the format/audience, but at what point does it turn from adaption to "loosely based on"?
HelghastKillzone
I'm glad we're past the phase of moe club shows.
AidanAK47
@Helghast, now that's something I never thought I would hear.
HelghastKillzone
Hell ya. We are in a golden age of anime that is filled with options and quality.
Anonymous951809
What a great week! Iron Blooded Orphans, Onihei, Little Witch Academia and ACCA 13 all had great episodes! I am spoiled!
Anonymous950847
@Anon and @Aikan

The LoGH manga remake has been out. It did not work for me.

I hope he anime goes its own way. I do trust Production IG, so I hope. I think it might not be this year. No lgoic, just a hunch.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Only info I can find is that it's coming out this year and it will be by Production IG. But I think you are right in that if it;s coming this year it will definitely be winter.
Feeling rather cautious about the remake myself. LoGH is dated visually but in a way it is a product of it's time and things you could forgive in the old version wouldn't be so forgivable in the new.
Anonymous949997
Does anybody know when that LoGH readaptation is coming? It's supposed to be this year right? Probably winter right?
SuperMario
But I will give it a full review anyways because all the amount of time I spent in that series should be paid off somehow, right?
Kaiser-Eoghan
But serious Gohands is a studio that had potential its just a shame its wasted on rubbish writers. Although I did like mardock scramble, because cyberpunk =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I met handshakers in public I'd refuse to shake its hand =D
SuperMario
Oh, it's actually just an extra Hand Shakers episode that serves as a prequel story. Not that bad then
SuperMario
Not to disregard Hand Shakers, but the best way to describe how I feel about that series is mind-numbing
Kaiser-Eoghan
They tried with that Military guy and his daughter but not by much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I do agree that there needs to be more to the characters, right now its JUST Tanya.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As for Tanya, having caught up with it, its a nice trashy guilty pleasure, especially due to the protagonist and I enjoy the setting because I'm a war film fan and like some of the action/politicking. I still do wish it was aesthetically a bit better. The dub isn't that bad and I'd welcome a second season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In an ideal world Kino's journey would have been a good model for what light novel adaptations can be and SHOULD be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we must have more light novel adaptations, I would prefer them to be like Tanya, Muvluv, okay hardly breathtaking, but still better than that thing Aidan linked.
Lenlo
*Sigh* It looks exactly how I imagined it would and its terrible.
Lenlo
Please dont tell me thats an actual title.
AidanAK47
In another world with my smart phone light novel to get an anime.

Oh my god...This literally sounds like a joke title you would see within an anime. Tried giving it an honest chance by reading it and it's just shit. Just pure terrible.
AidanAK47
If people in Japan are actually buying blurays thinking its a good show then something is seriously wrong with the world.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, maybe too many people watched it because it was so terrible. I haven't watched past episode 1 but it doesn't sound like it improved.
Topgavin
Just incase you guys were avidly waiting for the announcement, Hand Shakers is getting a prequel season because it's apparently selling well......
SuperMario
Should be happy for it, though I'm a bit disappointed that I can't be able to cover it
SuperMario
Inside Mari gets live-action series adaptation. Why not anime?? Duh
Spike
Little Witch Academia finally tips it's hand on the overall plot! I'm pretty pleased and think some direction might help bump it up from just being 'good' overall.
HelghastKillzone
@KTravlos Still watching it week by week and I'll write up a review on the second season of Iron-Blooded when it ends.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It is however the kind of anime film that would have the wide audience appeal though, as in anime for people who don't watch anime.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just prove that people has paid attention to anime. That's an encouraging sign actually
Kaiser-Eoghan
Feck, silent voice was booked out when I got there just now....should have booked in advance, showing at 7:00 on Friday booking it now.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: I haven't, but that more because I'm not a big fan of Mecha genre. I believe one of our writer HelghastKillzone still follow the series
KTravlos
No idea, if you are all still watching MS Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. I am, and while the 2nd Season toned down some of the elements that made the 1st Season good, it is still pretty good with the last episode doing a great job. If it keeps it, it definitely is head to head with Turn A Gundam for my favorite long-form Gundam Series (I am doing Gundam Origins for the original story)
Lenlo
Mhmm. It was one of those shows it weave adult themes into a kids show, so it had something for both. Now I can also appreciate the artstyle that doesnt use hard black outlines for everything.
AidanAK47
If anything I get so much more out of Samurai Jack now than when I watched it as a kid.
Lenlo
Love that dude Aidan. And yes Kaiser, I think anyone get enjoy it now. I love that its back, but even without that its easily standing on its own
Kaiser-Eoghan
How much of this love of samurai jack is a nostalgia driven thing? I'm not knocking that nostalgia but would it be possible to get something out of the show now if I never watched it when I was younger?
Lenlo
Yeah, that conversation was great. Really shows you how messed up hes become. Its also amazing when you realize that was the last set of spoken dialogue in the episode. There was not a single word uttered in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The audience who enjoyed samurai Jack has grown up, them bringing up seppuku and blood is possibly a part of that.
AidanAK47
Scene with the coffins was awesome as was the fight in the dark. My personal favorite part of the episode though was Jack arguing with his old design self. And young jack suggesting committing seppuku made my eyebrows raise. I mean..damn.
Lenlo
I agree Aidan. That quick shot of Jack vs the Daughter, with the sudden blood, suprised me as much as it did Jack. I really loved the scene with the coffins. The music nad sound was just great there.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It was a really great episode. I love the meta of Jack being worn down by the wait and the wait the viewers had to endure for the new season. I is rather odd seeing blood in Samurai Jack though but it does make that particular moment have so much more impact.
Topgavin
April 16th for NZ. It is a lesser known movie than Kimi no na wa though, so I do wonder how available it's going to be in cinemas
Lenlo
This second episode of Jack was really just amazing. Its making full use of the new budget/tech for the art and of the new rating, along with the impact the timeskip would have on Jack. The cinematography was superb as well.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Koe ko machi will creen in Aussie in the beginning of April as well. I'll go to watch it; but I would love to jear your thoughts on the movie.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a preview screening of koe to kachi on Monday night, depending I may go, I may review it or at least talk about it on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm dying waiting for the Blame! anime film adaptation to come out in May. I've wanted an adaptation for years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I'm too much of a cheap-ass to actually buy anything, don't even use legal streaming for films or anime/manga/comics, pirate almost everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or shelves for that matter.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've fallen out of the collectors thing pretty much entirely. I don't like to advertise any of my interests on my bedroom wall either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some years ago I ended up selling almost all of my anime dvds/vhs and manga, comic books aswell, took down my posters and moved what figures I had left into attic boxes , just no space for it and it was a good way to get some quick extra cash.
Lenlo
I love Rakugo as well, im not meaning to bad talk it at all. I simply also agree with Aiden that slow rolling us with Yakumo's death was poorly done and that its feeling stretched.
Topgavin
Nevermind, the $30 price tag made that decision for me
Topgavin
Weird how I see $8 movies on youtube as a ripoff yet a $90 series as a bargain. All these $300 box sets made me think it'd be in the hundreds. Wonder if I should get rebellion too
SuperMario
I'm still pretty much a fan of Rakugo this season. It goes much darker than the first season, something I didn't dare to think before consider this isYotaro's story. Would love to see more about rakugo's industry but this season does flesh out a lot of our core characters
Kaiser-Eoghan
I said it before but I'll bring it up again, the slow pace allows for, when big things happen to have a larger impact when they do.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*In
**and(not on) waiting for the series to finish
Anonymous935946
Season 1 showed a lot more, different periods and times, the development of Rakugo, the tragedy of Sukeroku & Miyokichi (or at least one version). In contrast, season 2 was basically about Sukeroku's legacy in the form of Yotaro and Konatsu and their kids, and Yakumo's relationship with death, changing from fatalistic to happiness over the course of the series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think it might be 13 episodes, the first season had 13.
Anonymous935946
To be honest, I understand your point: It's hard to actually describe what happened in season 2. I guess I became invested into Yakumo in season 1, and then warmed up to Yota and Konatsu in this season.
Anonymous935946
Yeah, I think they certainly could have compressed the front half of the season. There wasn't too much plot going on, but I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, so I didn't mind the deliberate pacing.
Lenlo
I still really like Rakugo, its really good, it just probably didnt need 12 episodes. That said, really lookin forward to the timeskip
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've never actually seen any of Olivier Asayas' films come to think of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But going back to that dragging on, that did factor in almost making me hold off on waiting for the series to finish before going back. The anon's comment was what got me to watch this weeks episode right now rather than waiting till later.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Rakugo remains at this point still going in too long, but in fairness to the anon, yes the episodes conclusion was effective on emotional level and I bought into the dreamy atmosphere, largely due to the good cinematography the series uses.
Lenlo
Really? Im torn. Im glad they didnt bait and switch us again, but I always liked how grounded Rakugo was so im not sure how ok I am with the supernatural part and some of it felt like fanservice in regards to bringing characters back. The VA though is fantastic as always and I am definitely looking forward to this last timeskip. Cant wait to see the kids grown up.
Anonymous935526
Rakugo was otherworldly today. Not going to lie, was fighting tears back, but failed at the end.
SuperMario
@Topgavin: the bluray goes by region as well so you can only buy it in Australia/NZ region (region 4). For Madoka I still find it easiest to just go to JB Hi Fi and buy it. Sometimes I find it cheaper from JB Hi Fi than even their original distribution company.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, I ordered my Madoka bluray's from Amazon.co.uk.
Topgavin
Where do you guys buy your merch? Was looking into buying the Madoka blurays but can't find a reliable place to ship to NZ.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: nah, Personal Shopper isn't even a horror. It's just a failed arthouse that have little to say except grief.
SuperMario
...even now. For Raw, I would never expect the positive reactions from mainstream. I think the film really push the tolerance of the voewers, but it was a refrrshing watch.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: now you mentioned 2 films thay I really fond of. I come from Vietnam, so I could easily tell you that the settings are staged. The dialogue is pretty unnatural as well, but the movie grows a lot on me. I still love the striking visual and a long, slow mood the film evoke, and It speaks to one of the theme (women's identity in Vietnam society) that speaks well to me and still relevant...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Is personal shopper really that mediocre a horror film?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got back from seeing Raw a couple of hours ago, though the violence was enjoyable I was expecting it to be more so, it was also surprisingly funny at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I did eventually see Scent of Green Papaya, while I did like that a plot actually did appear later on I was mostly content to find it a really pretty looking and generally relaxing film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: =< Sorry that anon post was me, was using the work computer and didn't log in.
AidanAK47
@Anon, don't do that. Don't hint at future events and just let people see for themselves.
Anonymous930711
The glasses teacher in scum's wish will have an interesting moment to look out for in the coming episodes, I read on in the manga. Only one chapter left.
SuperMario
*ED instead of OD
SuperMario
@anon928813: usually they will release the music separately from the DVD/Blurays. I believed the OP had released last year, and according to their website the OD gonna release in 5th of April
Anonymous928813
Does anyone know the release date for Zaregoto's OST? Is it bundled with one of the BDs?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I'd like to see this Akane-sensei girl attempt to seduce me and just watch her fail at trying to do so.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My guess is that Miura will do another 6 or so chapter run then put it down for another while.
Lenlo
Im so happy Berserk Manga is starting up again, but im curious for how long. I remember sitting through that boat. I was there for all 7 years of it. Im like a hiatus vet now
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pretty much in agreement on titan where after what the first season covers I've pretty much been waiting for it to get back on track before I bother to get back to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should be catching up and sangatsu and acca.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never saw kekkai sensens first season so there's little chance of me watching the sequel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Berserk and Natsume I'll just stick with the manga. I don't know about Bahamut, it took me a few episodes to get into before it became fun, but then the ending was disappointing, again maybe there's room for improvement in season 2.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would hope that eccentric families second season would be able to live up to the potential of building on the first. However it's been a while since I've seen season one, might need to refresh myself.
SuperMario
For the Spring season, it is a season of sequels. From sequels alone, I'll follow Berserk, Eccentric Family, BBB, My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Natsume (is it the last season?), How to Raise a Boring girlfriend. I dropped Shingeki no Bahamut after 3 episodes, but might pick it up again before the new season begin.
SuperMario
Before that, Utena and Haruhi.
SuperMario
Gotta love the extend a passionate fan would go. The last time I felt passionate about something anime-wise was Monogatari as there was a period of several months that I watched nothing but that series, and rewatched and rewatched. It just clicked with me personally at that stage of my life.
Lenlo
At this point, ill watch/read anything with Berserk on it. I already own all of the original print runs of the Manga. If I had the money, I would buy everything else.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'll be on the same boat with you regarding Berserk. I know I CAN ENDURE it (finger crossed)
Lenlo
Man, your season preview reminded me I soon have to watch another season of CGI Berserk. Im not going to like it, but its a trial I must go through as a hardcore Berserk fan.
Lenlo
Im glad they didnt lose the funny robots in their pursuit of the Grimdark
Lenlo
That flute into Skatman-like singing was great
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I had the biggest smile when Jack destroyed the robots flute and he started singing with his mouth. Looking at clips of the show on youtube I don't think I appreciated just how funny this show was. Also digging Jacks PTSD and the daughters of Aku.
Lenlo
Dude has problems and I loved the singing robot
Lenlo
Have to say, enjoyed seeing Jack again.
Lenlo
Thanks Aidan! Cant wait to watch it tonight
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I suppose it is moreso samurai Jack wasn't really a large part of my childhood.
AidanAK47
Don't know how it is for security but I never really had trouble with it.
Lenlo
Love me some Samurai Jack though
Lenlo
It may just be Malwarebytes actin up. Ill look into it and if its a false flag check it out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never really had any opinion of samurai Jack when it was airing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh I'm enthusiastic about Kino season 2, but I want to be cautiously optimistic just in case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But has anyone read on in the Kino novels to confirm that a second season would have good material to work with, would it fall prey to the light novel curse that apparently many of then weaken by the third volume?
Kaiser-Eoghan
The only issue I've found with kiss is that, in firefox at least, sometimes it slows down my browser but only now and then. Never had any trouble with viruses or mal/spyware on it. Though it won't allow adblock =<
SuperMario
@Aidan: I was surprised at Kino's Journey news as well. Yay for having a new season!!
SuperMario
I have no problem with kiss whatsoever regarding virus. Hehe then try to catch it at Toonami
Lenlo
Yeeeah, sorry, my anti-virus isnt that big a fan of kiss.
SuperMario
You can watch it online at kisscartoon, of course at your own risk ^^
Lenlo
I really want to watch the new Samurai Jack season, but I cant catch it when it airs and dont know where to find it otherwise
AidanAK47
Plan on getting the spring season Preview up today or Tommarrow. Things basically written up so it's just a matter of getting it to look right on the site.
AidanAK47
Who here is watching the new season of Samurai Jack? That first episode hit me hard with nostalgia. It's like he never left.
AidanAK47
Spice and Wolf season 3 may not be so impossible after all. Or hell even a Spice and wolf full remake, FMA Brotherhood style.
AidanAK47
Holy crap, Kino's Journey is getting a new anime. Never thought that would happen. Sweet.
Lenlo
Art was great, sound was great, an argument could easily be made for 9/10. Its just cohesive story and efficient use of episodes means alot to me. I kinda had to actively remind my self to watch after ep 6 and then binged 10+.
Lenlo
8.5/10. I really liked the start, the middle kinda lagged plot wise for me which is always my most important metric, and the last 3-4 episodes were great.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: how would you rate it?
SuperMario
@Lenlo: it's the middle part that I completely fell in love with. Well, guess that everyone have different taste huh?
Lenlo
So finally finished Flip Flappers. Had it on my to do list since last season. It ended pretty well imo, but the middle lagged for me in places.
AidanAK47
HXH does pull off drama well but one thing that annoys me is how it builds up these big confrontations just to have them fizzle out. An anticlimax may be unexpected but in some case it would be more satisfying to just have things play out predictably.
Lenlo
And it did it better than Naruto, which had 7 years to pull that off.
Lenlo
I think one of the reasons HxH pulled it off so well, is because the first like 100 episodes built up to it. It pulled off the slow transition of basic shounen to well developed drama sort of thing very well. It slow rolled us basically.
Topgavin
Since when did HxH become a feels trip show? ep135 just ruined me, and did it better than actual 'feels trip' shows because of how unexpected and masterfully executed it was. The Chimera ant arc may have been slow, but by itself it was very FMA:B reminiscent with the huge character cast, amazing execution and the conflict in antagonists and humans and their values/morals.
SuperMario
@KAiser: oh man, you remind me again that I need to watch Bela Tarr's films. I remember one of the blogger was frustrated at the Turin Horse for "showing the pot of boiled potato for 10 minutes". I was cackling hard with his comment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The realist genre in general really clicks with me, the neo-realist movement, can't get enough of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Selish giant, ratcatcher and fishtank, maybe even gummo might be other good example of social realist stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bela Tarr did two accessible films in his early career called Prefab people and family nest which had a social realist feel to them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've seen Kathy come home, Daniel Blake, Kes and wind that shakes the barley, of those Kathy and Daniel were the most emotional rewarding but being Irish it was very easy to connect with wind that shakes the barley. But yes I agree (as would my father) that Loach loves to "announce everything" or turn everything into a speech.
SuperMario
I've heard good things about Lorna's Silence as well
SuperMario
so do you watch Ken Loach? admittedly I just watched his I, Daniel Blake and it was solid, but a bit too much "message" for my taste
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm fond of that kitchen sink/social realist type of drama in general.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yes! I finally actually properly registered my name on here!
@Mario: I've seen Rosetta, L'enfant and le Promese, two days one night, very moving and affecting films. My eye is on Lorna's silence , but I haven't seen kid with the bike, so I'll give that a look.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: fair enough, although for me I never really care about the dub version. Always prefer the Japanese voices :)
SuperMario
They have such a simple, yet direct handheld film making styles, so simple that many accused them for being amateurish.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I actually watched a handful of Dardenne's works so I can give you my recommendation. Rosetta for me is their best, L'Efant, The Kid with a Bike and 3 Days 2 Nights are all excellent; with their latest The Unknown Girl was a slightly letdown
KaiserEoghan
@Mario: Acca is quite slow and wordy, so I will wait for the English dub.
KaiserEoghan
@Mario: Might check out some more of the Dardenne’s works soon.
KaiserEoghan
@Mario: Yes, I also agree that Erdmann was largely more of a drama, though the balance between comedy and drama was masterful.
Total users: 31

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