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
SuperMario
@anon877854: just finished ACCA episode and I agree that everything getting really interesting now. Review will come up soon.
Anonymous877854
Well I thought ACCA would dance around the truth for a few more eps but they had a bunch of big reveals this ep. Will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Not too fond of really old vn games like those. They put up a presence of being point and click adventures. I have a hard time enjoying the stories when the "Gameplay" keeps killing the pacing. Big offender was Eve Burst error. Really couldn't enjoy that one at all.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: And policenauts, how about that one?
Kaiser Eoghan
Honestly I really don't mind all the side drama/romance in rakugo...in the longest time its been an anime that gave me feelings worth feeling.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Would you in any way recommend snatcher (I think that counts as a visual novel) or is it a dated product of its time. On a side note I love the soundtrack.
Kaiser Eoghan
Case in this point I was blown away by utawerumono and chaos head when I was a less experienced viewer, nostalgia keeps poking at me to watch the sequels, but I just know chaos;child will be awful as will utawerumono 2.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hate when this happens, keep getting this itch to watch the followup to something I liked in the past but no full well I'd hate if I went back to it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hopefully I'll make time for Irae and subahibi, don't know anything about clockwork. Ended up getting involved in what will likely turn into a business course soon.
AidanAK47
Some really great Visual Novels localised this year. Muv Luv Alternative, Sharin no Kuni, Dies Irae, SubaHibi and clockwork key line. It's good year to be a VN fan. Now I just need an update about Baldr Sky.
AidanAK47
Subarashiki Hibi is getting published by Front Wing. Hell goddamn yes. Finally I can read it and be traumatised for life.
Anonymous870083
mm okay thanks!
AidanAK47
@Anon1, Think you might just have to go with a torrent. It's pretty hard to find direct download anime these days.
Anonymous870541
the latest episode of rakugo just made my heart sank. i didn't think it would get better than it already is. i thank god that i didn't read ahead
Anonymous870083
does anyone know where I can download the remastered version of the Utena series? without torrent?
SuperMario
the same very thought here Lenlo. What I considered the weakest part turned out to be so layered. Sorry for ever doubting you, Rakugo.
Lenlo
And that smirk at the end, beautiful
Lenlo
The weakest plot point of S1 has just become the best part ever.
Lenlo
OOH MAN. I was not ready. The entire first season was all a setup. I cant. What. HOW DOES IT GET BETTER
Lenlo
Cant wait to watch Rakugo tonight, just got home and im lookin forward to it,.
AidanAK47
I think before grabbing the protest signs it might be worth considering if the thing you are demanding be uncensored is even worth it. Oh yeah, now you can see genitalia in crap sex scenes that were crow bared into the plot. No more need to use your imagination.
AidanAK47
Some protest because they want there porn. That I suppose I can understand even if I think they would be better off buying some nukige. But then there are those who demand it just for the sake of standing against censorship. They don't give a crap about the game or the fact we are getting the exact same thing the japanese got. What? Censorship of sexual organs? DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP!
AidanAK47
There are people actively proclaiming they won't buy the game, because they can't see dicks. That is not hyperbole. This is literally exactly whats happening here. And they just act so goddamn self righteous about it. Porn is not the goddamn point of these games. Shouldn't even be in them in the first place.
AidanAK47
So another Sekai Kickstarter is up for a trilogy of Visual novels called A Clockwork Ley-Line. Chipped in my bit as I am going to be buying this regardless but like goddamn clockwork you get the idiots yelling for Mosaic removal. No matter how I try to rationalize it, this just sounds stupid.
Kaiser Eoghan
Just whenever I think Rakugo may be dragging its feet it comes out a gives me three big strong moments in this weeks episode, you will know them when you come to them.
K-Off
Dubbing in more subdued performances work fine. It just becomes unbearable when it involves shouty dialogue, which idescribes most of the Japanese games I play.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I think at the time it allowed Bagel (where did he go?) to find some exploit/gap in the sites security too.
SuperMario
I mean the spoiler code in the comment section. ^^. Like I don't mind if readers give (potential) spoilers but I don't want to ruin the fun of other readers as well
AidanAK47
After all it wasn't a intended feature of the old shoutbox. We were pretty much hacking the thing.
Kaiser Eoghan
I seem to remember all those old html codes stopped working on the old shoutbox too at one point.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was also originally an ability to animate text too of the shoutbox and have gifs appear in the message box but not as links.
AidanAK47
I remember some HTML code worked with the old shoutbox but nope. But I suppose you could change the colour of text to white...though that would effect everything you write.
SuperMario
Btw, do we have spoiler tag here Aidan?
SuperMario
@anon861679: Agreed. They have big ambitions, but they seems unsure on what to do next. I mean engaging your readers to give their thoughts is good, but if it is a mean for you to get inspiration to write essay about isn't that great. Well, give them say 6 months until they can settle down (they just launched this site for 3,4 months only)
Kaiser Eoghan
Despite being fine with anime in English, I've almost always felt that voice acting in videogames isn't as good.
Anonymous861679
Hey mario, that anime feminist blog was well, kind of awful. While they're well intentioned, it felt like they were pushing tumblr stuff onto chan stuff and that always ends up in a smoking mess.
SuperMario
Okay I'm going to erase my memories right now
SuperMario
I swear I'll stay off reddit for good. Have been spoiled by the development of ACCA by one of their "theory". As soon as I realized it's freaking spoiler I stopped but what done is done. Ahhhhhhhhhh
K-Off
Christ Fire Emblem Heroes is pretty addicting, micro transactions are not necessary at all. Though it irks me that I can't get Japanese voices. Dubs just make me cringe every time.
SuperMario
@ckspike: Hand Shakers, the very quality that makes you brain cells die while watching it. Well, I actually think the music is one of the best part of the show, now that you mention it like that...well...*slap my forehead*
ckspike
... my roommate just told me the background music when I'm watching Hand Shakers sounds like a bad porno... Now I can't unhear it. Fuck!
Lenlo
I havnt kept up with Academia, for some reason it just didnt catch me as well as the movie first did.
AidanAK47
You know what's funny? I thought little Witch Academia would be the hardest one to blog. Yet halfway into the current season and it's the one I write the most about.
Lenlo
I actually dont read many blogs. Mostly just this place and the occasional pop on reddit
Anonymous859067
I'd like to present to one of my favorite blogs, A work I just created: Greed Island! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tc2r.greedisland
AidanAK47
I go to Reddit anime myself but I don't really like the upvote system. Basically the majority rule opinions get put to the top which more often than not are jokes.
HelghastKillzone
I listen to podcasts on youtube and others places as well as going on Reddit Anime to hear a thousand people yammering away.
Kaiser Eoghan
I irregularly follow the episode reviews on ANN and sometimes read standing on my neck. I fell out of the habit of following random curiousity.
SuperMario
Anime Feminist (animefeminist.com), while sounds ambitious on paper, hasn't been too hot unfortunately. I know they aim to be "big" so they're still figuring out how to do it best. Well, good luck for them!
SuperMario
Oh, I know I've mentioned this site before but you guys should read it (blog.sakugabooru.com), this site is one of the only few blogs that I actively subscribed to read their post. They have some insights to the anime industry that is very informative and inspiring
SuperMario
I also think that this chatbox here plays a great role to keep a fair amount of readers for the site, as many sometimes just come here to give their two cents on certain anime.
SuperMario
I just checked out rabujoi blof for the first time, (https://rabujoi.wordpress.com) and I think they're in pretty good shape. Content-wise are solid (as far as I read), and they update their post pretty regularly (comparing their amount of posts last month (80) to ours (28), ouch)
SuperMario
Just really wonder, what are other anime sites that you guys follow beside this? Well, ANN and RandomC are a given, but I found myself haven't bothered to read ANN's episodic reviews lately (mostly due to time constraint)
AidanAK47
Don't tell me this is gonna be a regular thing.
Lenlo
There we go
Lenlo
Oh god JSON objects. I thought that nightmare was over
SuperMario
Mine is working probably as well. Thanks a bunch K-Off and glad to hear back from you.
K-Off
No problem.
K-Off
I really need to figure out how to get those damn tooltips working again on the sidebar thumbnails. It'd be useful to have the descriptions popup.
AidanAK47
Cleared my cache and it looks to be fixed. Thanks as always K-Off. I would be completely screwed without you around.
K-Off
Alright I think that did it. Let me know if it pops up again. If you still see it, clear your browser cache and let me know if its still there.
AidanAK47
Messages still get sent. You just might have to reload the page. We are working on getting it fixed.
Vonter
AidanAK47 I can't get into Fate since like with Nanoha there's a lot of stuff with those names in it. Zero was the most straightforward, yet the buildup was very dragout but the payoffs where very worthy.
HelghastKillzone
testing message.
AidanAK47
This is what I get for updating the bloody plugin.....
AidanAK47
He finished it and was telling me what he thought of Saber defeating Gilgamesh. Minute he said that I was like "OH GOD..." He watched the Deen 2006 adaption. Sadly it loos like he's not going to bother watching UBW TV despite me showing him part of the berserker fight. With Fate/Extra, Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Oath under the snow and all the rest this problem will happen again.
AidanAK47
You know I wish the Fate series did a better job naming it's series. I was introducing a newbie so I gave him Fate/Zero first. He loved it so I specifically told him to watch the UBW TV Series and don't mistake it for the movie. He then went and watched the movie. I told him to watch the TV series regardless and brought up the MAL page to show him which one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, there's definately no harm in doing further reading on more arthouse stuff before reviewing it/watching/after watching, it extends our understanding and is pretty much required.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Go for it, you might sell me on reading it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yeah, I generally only write reviews every now and then, and they tend to be kept simple and to 200-300 words. My writing ability only really works when I write in stream of consciousness.
Anonymous855550
Zestiria is such a feast for the eyes... The colors and backgrounds are so vivid and magnificent. Story has improved on the game's weaknesses too!
Lenlo
Given enough time, im sure I could write something, but as I writer I tend towards quick, decisive statements of what I think and why. Engineer, so technical documents are like the only thing I know how to write.
Topgavin
@Supermario ah, I'd say I'm the opposite in that I sometimes don't know why I like something so much, and when I read a review about it I can relate my own experiences and put it in my own words pretty well. Can thank Highschool eco for that
SuperMario
But to tell you guys the truth, I never think that I'm cut out as a reviewer (even now), because I'm a type of viewer who more perceive (I know why I like/ don't like stuffs) than express (just can't never explain stuffs well)
SuperMario
@Topgavin: it's depending on what grabbing you really; as I always find shows with heavy symbolisms like Penguindrum or Flip Flappers the easiest to dig deeper. But those are always my kind of show to begin with
Topgavin
I'd find it really hard to write something about a show without reading about it first; watching it one time by myself I usually only notice the big things. Stuff like Flip Flappers I had no clue what half the episode's hidden meanings were, can't imagine reviewing a show like NGE or penguindrum.
SuperMario
that's exactly how I write my reviews anyways
Lenlo
I cant imagine writing a review, id just repeat myself with different words but the same intended meaning over and over again
AidanAK47
Wonder if I should write a review of this. Might be hard without giving too much away.
AidanAK47
(Finishes Sweetest monster Visual novel)
.....well....fuck.
(Buys all authors visual novels on steam.)
Lenlo
Sadly, I doubt Nioh will get a PC port. Sony is pretty stingy on their exclusives, like Bloodborne. But I am so very happy with Nioh. I love technical combat like this
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose this means I'm looking into this rpg maker game thing now isn't it? Might aswell.
Kaiser Eoghan
I remember the word animerican used to describe things like avatar last airbender. Filthy word =P
Anonymous853606
God no. Jiro Taniguchi died.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I have been hearing very good things about Nioh. Really hoping it gets a PC port.
@Topgavin, No real surprises there.
Topgavin
I'm sure most of you have heard, but looks like New Game is getting a season 2 out of all things. Apparently they had good sales, and I can certainly see why. CGDCT with yuri undertones and clean animation is hard to get wrong, let alone not sell.
Lenlo
Just started with Nioh, and oh my goodness do I love it.
Anonymous852887
anyone play resident evil 7? its so good.
AidanAK47
Thought that's because the term American Anime just feels wrong to me on all levels.
AidanAK47
@Anon, they do not. They are cartoons.
Anonymous852775
DO people call D.C. Comics animated movies American anime?
AidanAK47
@Anon, I am certainly interested in seeing the next episode. Those minisodes were pretty good too. One thing I thought the writting faltered on though was the comedy. It really was a little too slapstick considering how serious the drama was.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: ah remind me the time I went to Texas (Corpus Christy) before X-mas time and I was wearing short pants and thongs (nice!!!), then went all the way up to Niagara Falls and I was almost freezing there.
Lenlo
See, I love winter, but its almost non-existent in Texas
Anonymous852268
@Aidan: I agree. I loved To the Moon. It's so good seeing emotional drama that isn't centered around high-school kids. Seeing the ups and downs of a whole long life of a person gives everything that happens way more impact.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: An Australian friend put it as "A sunbaked rock in summer, a giant zoo, that actively tries to kill its population"
SuperMario
Not that I'm enjoying the winter either. Why autumn always go so fast?
SuperMario
Believe me but summer here is way too much. When it's too hot and dry it starts bushfiring really badly. And it's too hot that even a big fan straight in front of you don't do you any good
Kaiser Eoghan
What is this mysterious creature known as summer you refer to? =P My country is grey as a black and white film =P
SuperMario
I'm wondering how freezing you guys have to endure right now, but the place I came today in Aussie just reached 50 degree celsius this noon. So hot I felt myself burning
Lenlo
I think the part I liked the most, was just how satisfying those mud splatter sounds were. I dont know why, but its in my head
HelghastKillzone
Youjo Senki 6 subs came out at 11pm PST.
Lenlo
Atleast Rakugo didnt get held up. Still amazing as ever
AidanAK47
Well I spent my time waiting for it to come out by playing and finishing To the Moon. Got to say, it takes some real skill to make a game in RPGmaker that can make you really feel something. But maybe I am just a sucker for this kind of story.
SuperMario
Hey, I would be very frustrating if Hand shakers got delayed. But I agree this delay is caused by Being X. And Scum's Wish, haizzz, this is the show we love to get pissed at. Haha
Anonymous850298
I blame Being X.
AidanAK47
Sigh, Youjo Senki 6 is delayed. Why is it always the best shows that get delayed? If an episode of hand Shakers was delayed no one would give a crap but nope. Gotta be the show you want to watch right away.
AidanAK47
@Anon, in both anime and manga I never liked that character much.
Anonymous849783
Meh, dropped Masamune-kun. Seriously why do they always have to shove in these one dimensional characters with a crush out of f* nowhere. It never made any of these shows more interesting, it's always the opposite.
Vonter
@Kaiser Eoghan - I find it weird having the teacher being so unashamedly evil. In a way I like that, but at the same time I can't relate to the notion of people like that existing IRL.
Kaiser Eoghan
As I continue to watch scums wish, it becomes an anger inducing as much as it is engrossing experience.
AidanAK47
Or the UBW movie over the TV series. You just don't do that.
AidanAK47
That's like recommending someone to watch NGE death and rebirth instead of the TV series.
Kaiser Eoghan
Meh, I just got fed up with the padding in the tv version.
AidanAK47
Jojo has the kind of entertainment that clicks with you or doesn't so I understand if you didn't get into it. Though to give it a fair chance I would recommend trying the first episodes of Battle Tendency. It starts at episode 10 of the first season, you can jump to it. If that doesn't catch you then Jojos really isn't for you.
AidanAK47
Don't listen to Kaiser. The OVA is bad.
Kaiser Eoghan
....found out where a friend had been off to lately, making a movie and he ended up actually making and finishing and I got first dibs. Had a hard time commenting on it as I know the guy personally.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Totally with you on the academy thing.
@Lenlo: If you ever try jojo again and get onto part three go for the ova instead as it trims down an overly bloated arc.
Lenlo
For JoJos, I couldnt get through the first season. It just didnt hook me
Lenlo
What I dont understand is how anything other than Mob Psycho won best animation, cause my god.
Lenlo
I think Erased lost not because of the libido, but because Yuri was "gay" and "progressive" and most important of all, recent. Yuri had just finished airing so it was stuck in everyones heads. Of course it was going to win everything
AidanAK47
Erased truly deserved to win that category and it only lost because people voted with their libido instead of their head.
AidanAK47
If there's one thing that really makes me angry about these awards it's Yuri on Ice winning most heartwarming moment for "The Kiss". Because A) It wasn't a fucking kiss and B) Even if it was that isn't heartwarming. Oh I am sure something is getting warm but it sure as hell isn't your heart.
AidanAK47
Likely the main reason Kira didn't win main villain because Jojo has grown to a episode count which makes people hesitant to pick it up. Not to mention many would lose interest by Stardust crusaders midpoint.
AidanAK47
When it comes to judging quality you have to leave it to the people who have experienced enough of the medium to truly be able to critical judge it. Pretty darn sure most who voted didn't even bother watching everything worthwhile each season and just gravitated towards whatever they were exposed to.
AidanAK47
Lets not forget someone voting multiple times and bot voting. Because yes, people really do that. As you two pointed out, a public vote was never truly going to be a accurate gauge of quality. For you are not only opening the vote to anime lovers but also newbies and those who simply haven't refined their tastes yet.
SuperMario
so they either abstained their votes (which actually was reasonable); voted for something popular or even voted based on what their kids liked the most (which was flat out unforgivable).
SuperMario
This from my own frustration mostly when it comes to awards like this. But I've been following the Academy Awards for way too long now and every now and then you heard something that really disheartened about their voting process. Like for example many of the Academy members admitted that they don't care to watch anything animated because... it's kiddy stuff
SuperMario
TL;DR: my point is I have mixed feeling about the whole Crunchyroll awards. One more thing that I noticed about the nomination is that the pool was dominated by shows from the first half of last year.
Lenlo
I dont think public voting is the way to go is the thing. Popularity contests are horrible. With popularity contests moe is going to be near the top every time, while shows like Rakugo never really have a chance. And I think there is little doubt that Rakugo was one of the best shows last season
SuperMario
@Lenlo: there is an issue with the first thou, because reviewers like us don't actually represent the whole public opinions. So it's all come down to the very reason they create an award in a 1st place (your second point). But with voting we can't really reason why the winners win the trophy, right?
Lenlo
The problem with awards like that is for them to mean anything they need 2 things. 1) A board of voters who are actual reviewers who have watched a large portion of what was on shelf that season. 2) Reasons for why each thing won its award. An award without reasons means nothing
SuperMario
Other issue about voting for these awards is that the nominating body and the voting body aren't always the same. Usually the voting body is broader and more generic in taste, so I'm not at all surprised when shows like Rakugo couldn't win. Too art-house for their liking. Well, at least it got nominated which for me is good enough.
SuperMario
That's the thing. When it comes to awards, they are more 'popularity' contest than actual quality, since people tend to vote for the safer choice (the one that are both popular and mildly critical success), YOI fits the bill here.
Lenlo
Those awards were not the best and little more then a popularity contest imo.
SuperMario
Actually with that line-up I had no problems with YOI taking the top spot
SuperMario
I actually forgot about the Crunchyroll Anime Awards so I came to check the winner. Guess which show won AOTY huh? Alright, at least it wasn't Kabaneri or Jokers Game
Kaiser Eoghan
But the best one was Mask of Phantasm.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: And return of the joker also.
Kaiser Eoghan
It has aged admittedly very poorly, but I always got a great kick out of that old 1994 spiderman cartoon.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I think its fair to use the term K-anime or C-anime for the Korean and Chinese influenced stuff, or maybe just anime would be just as appropriate. If some Argentinian guy can write/draw a manga for a Japanese manga magazine (big comic superior thats the magazines name) and have it actually be called a manga, it should be the same for China/Korea.
Lenlo
Mhmm. Marvel had the movies, but DC had the animated series
AidanAK47
Man, I loved the villains of Batman Beyond. Inque and Shriek had such interesting powers. The DC animated shows tended to be the one that didn't treat you like a kid while watching.
Lenlo
Well, they released a trailer for Samurai Jack S5, so its coming. Batman Beyond I also enjoyed
AidanAK47
Ah Samurai Jack. Wonder how that Adult swim revival is going? Batman the Animated Series as well didn't need Batman to crack off jokes every minute to be great.
Lenlo
Agreed. Samurai Jack was one of my favorite cartoons for that very reason. It ran the gamut of genres, each episode being something different.
Also I used Nichijou cause it was the first to come to my mind as a "Kids Show", though Love-Ru works as well
AidanAK47
One thing I think Cartoons could do to move away from the stigma of being for kids is having more genres than Comedy and Action adventure. Or at least stop putting comedy in everything.
Total users: 21

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