Posted on 17 February 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

I admit my first reaction to this visual novel wasn’t a positive one. Maybe it was because of Nekopara having a hugely successful kickstarter when Dies Irae was struggling to reach it’s goal.(I mean Jesus Christ the Nekopara anime OVA kickstarter raised nearly one million dollars. People really want catgirls.) I more or least saw the cover art, briefly skimmed the synopsis and said nope. However I got word that there was more to this story that means the eye and I tend to be fascinated by turning innocent concepts dark. My review this time will be shorter than my average ones as this visual novel clocks in at about a three and a half to four hour read. So due to it’s short length, the more i talk about it, the more I risk spoiling it. In any case the brief rundown is that a man is in a rough point in his marriage. His wife won’t give him a break and his daughter avoids him. One night after a fight the man goes for a walk and encounters a mysterious catgirl who claims to be a cat from his childhood. The catgirl called Bell wishes to repay the man for a favor he did in his childhood while also proclaiming that she is in love with him. Thus the man called Robin tries to avoid the temptation of this catgirl while dealing with a ever breaking down marriage.

One thing I was surprised by is that this visual novel is remarkably well written when compared to your standard fare. It would be very easy to turn this kind of concept fetishitic and fanservicely but the story manages to avoid that for the most part. The writing focuses mainly on the moral dilemma of the protagonist. Though starting out wary of Bell, he finds that as his home life gets increasingly stressful while Bell gives him the attention he desires. Always seemly knowing just what he wants to hear. So essentially we have a sort of Fatal Attraction story with the protagonist getting tempted by a potentially dangerous individual while trying to mend problems in his current relationship. I like how the rift is portrayed in that it’s not the usual abusive drunk or shouting matches. More cold indifference and an unwillingness for either side to just give the other a break. Neither side is particularly in the right here as while Sally does get far too bent out of shape over suspecting her husband of infidelity, Robin tends to gloss over his own failings in his family life in his inner monologues. For example, Robin mentioned that he attempted to teach his daughter piano lessons when she was young. From the way he puts it, he just gently tried to teach her and then gave up when she showed that she had no interest. However from the way Sally remarks about it, it seems those lessons were not quite as pleasant as Robin makes them out to be. The characters feel realistic apart from Bell’s more anime like mannerisms in her attempts to seduce Robin. But that in turn does make it clear why this girl is alluring to him.
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Posted on 9 February 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

When watching anime you are bound to come across a Chuunibyou character. The normal human being who acts like they are the protagonist of some terrible power trip anime. But did you ever wonder just what it was that gave them the idea to act like this? Well wonder no further because these people likely played 11eyes. This visual novel is essentially a distillation of every tired anime trope under the sun so your enjoyment of it will likely depend on how exposed to these tropes you are. Most would know this title from an anime adaption made in 2009 and I remember reading the anime’s synopsis and getting interested. However I heard that the anime adaption was poor and having recently got into visual novels I wanted to experience the story in it’s original format. Lucky for me, there was an ongoing fan translation of 11eyes so I waited patiently for it to be completed. Unfortunately that fan translation went the way of many a fan translation and ended up going silent with work stopping completely. It’s things like this that make me appreciate companies like Mangagamer and Sekai as while a kickstarter may be necessary and it takes time, at least it gets done. Eventually I just gave up on playing the story entirely when suddenly in 2016 an English patch for 11eyes was released. Thus I saw this as an opportune moment to see what I missed all these years. As it turns out, it wasn’t all that much.

Our story involves a Heterochromatic eyepatch wearing boy called Kakaru who along with his childhood friend Yuka find themselves thrown into an alternate version of their town which they refer to as the red night. A world shaded in red with is filled with monsters that seek to kill them that disappears after a certain period of time. Soon they run into a group of monsters calling themselves the black knights who swear to kill Kakaru and Yuka as well as the four other people who were pulled into the red night. So they work to join the other people dragged into the nightmare, work together to beat the black knights and hopefully regain their normal lives. The thing that mainly intrigued me about this concept was that at any moment of their lives they could be pulled into the red night without warning and the idea of a bunch of superpowered teens fighting off a nightmare world on a regular basis is a rather interesting. However this story has serious pacing issues as the beginning really drags due to the characters. A big feature of this visual novel is something called crossvision. For you see the majority of this VN is read from the perspective of Kakaru and crossvision allows you to see a scene from the perspective of another character. In theory this is interesting as it allows you to see what the characters are thinking at particular moments and see things which happen to other people when Kakaru isn’t around. However in practice you find that you can only see certain scenes from a specific person’s perspective rather than the freedom to move between characters at any moment. In essence it’s like watching a movie where every now and again you have to pause and go to the scene selection menu to watch a scene that wasn’t included in the movie. This is a game with bad pacing as is so this certainly kills it. What doesn’t help that some scenes are  exactly the same as a scene from Kakaru’s perspective, just with some extra lines of inner monologue.
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Posted on 2 February 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

A good while back I bought a little game for the Wii called Monster Hunter Tri. After playing it for a bit I got tired of collecting bits of twig and not doing the monster hunting the title promised and left it on the wayside. Then one week I decided to put in my all and finished Monster Hunter Tri and came to find what made the series so appealing. Though I stopped keeping up with the game because every time I bought one there would be a Monster Hunter slightly better edition released and the games are so much of a time sink that I can never get around to playing them. Now you may be wondering just why am I talking about Monster Hunter when this is a God Eater review? Well that’s simple, God Eater wears its inspiration inspiration on it’s sleeve. To the degree that I was ready to label it babies first Monster Hunter within its first third of missions. For reference the copy I am reviewing is God Eater Resurrection steam version which comes free when you buy God Eater 2 on steam.

Thanks to my experience with the God Eater anime I walked into this game expecting absolutely nothing from the story. That was most certainly a good call. This story is just as bland and forgettable as the anime portrayed it so in that regard I guess it was a faithful adaption. Which isn’t really helped when you have a silent self insert protagonist. There was only one point I became somewhat invested in the story and that had to do with a girl who pretty much had the personality of Asuka Langley Soryu but was hit with a serious case of PTSD. Helping her work through it was a rather good part of the story for me but I may be projecting as she has the upward character arc that Asuka so desperately needed. Other than that I found it hard to really feel the levity of this world on the brink of destruction by aragami when everyone in it dresses like they came out of a cosplay convention. Forgive me but it’s a little hard to take the situation seriously when the woman giving me missions is wearing no top besides a jacket zipped down with no bra and pants that show off the sides of her thighs. I feel a serious disconnect as what she is wearing doesn’t seem to reflect her no nonsense personality at all. Everyone else is a bunch of standard stereotypes as well with Souma(Actually had to look up his name because I forgot it) being the worst offender as he is standard emo all the way. The presentation isn’t much to look at either seeing as this is a remastered PSP game and no matter how prettied up it is you can see the signs of it’s portable origin. The first part of the game is essentially about teaching a human aragami to love and stopping the plans of the evil director who you can pretty much guess is evil by the time he opens his mouth. After that it becomes a hunt to find a former mentor who goes missing and lastly just some powerful Aragami shows up and you have to kill it. The story tries to tug at you but I found myself purely apathetic which is funny because the way I designed my avatar it looks like he gave about as much of a damn as I did. I will say that the weird sense of style does give you a lot of customisation when it comes to your avatar. So naturally I fulfilled my dream of hunting monsters dressed like a pimp with a tiny top hat and a scythe.
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Posted on 25 November 2016 with categories: Game Reviews

The Disgaea series has been one that has caught my interest from time to time when shifting between games. It’s artstyle is certainly its most distinctive feature at a glance but for someone like myself the real draw of the series was it’s similarities to one of the most shining yet overlooked gems of the Final Fantasy franchise. That being of course, Final Fantasy Tactics. Disgaea however promised more, more levels, more customization, more content, more of absolutely everything. But with more comes the thing which is likely to keep many from trying it, game length. My entire playtime with Disgaea clocked in at 42 hours and I was focusing on only the main story. Taking into account the series rather famous post game content and extra features you could spend double, if not triple the time I spent on it. Disgaea is certainly a game that gives you your money’s worth and if made today perhaps it would have as much ridiculous DLC and collector’s editions as Watchdogs 2 has. Oh yes the days when you could have extra content in a game and not have to fork over a fiver. Anyway for this review I will be covering the Steam PC release of Disgaea opposed of its Playstation 2, DS and PSP counterparts. Now the PC version had a rocky start as on release the port had dozens of problems. Graphical glitches, crashes, frame drops, Lack of resolution settings…honestly it was a bit of a mess. However in recent times the port has been fixed up and as least on my rig it ran with no real problems. Only real problem I encountered was the game crashing if you tried to start it when the monitor was connected via HDMI to a TV but in recent patches that issue has been resolved. To avoid this for Disgaea 2 being released in January of next year they are currently Beta testing it by giving out free copies for testing purposes.(Sadly the submission date to be a Beta tester has passed so I will have to buy it instead) Considering that I think Disgaea 2 should have a much more favorable reception. But well moving on to the review.

Getting into Disgaea I had a feeling I wouldn’t be playing the games for the story and from word on forums apparently this game has the best story of the franchise. If this is the best story the series has to offer I say it’s truly not impressive. It’s not bad but the focus is mostly on humor with some small attempts to tug heartstrings from time to time. It’s a passable JRPG story but not a very memorable one. Part of the reason is that Disgaea holds a kind of anime episodic format which even has the female sidekick narrating next episode previews which are pretty much complete lies endorsing her as the main Heroine. As such the story is divided up into episodes which generally have three to four battles in them a piece. The plot deals with the demon son of the Overlord of the underworld attempting to take his position on the throne while fighting off opposition for the throne. You would think this would be the end goal of the game but halfway through he pretty much achieves this end and instead humans are introduced in the form of three heroes invading hell. These characters are fine though the main gimmick of the guy being a Flash Gordan parody gets tiresome quickly. This wouldn’t be all that bad but the second half of the story almost exclusively focuses on these humans and a war between Netherworld and Earth. Then in the last episode angels take center stage as the final boss. In a sense we have three main story arcs with some small episodic side stories in between. The main theme seems to be about a trainee angel Flonne helping to teach the overlord’s son Laharl to love which yeah is trit and cliche. Best moment of the story really was this angel Trainee being sent down to assassinate Laharl but failing hard because she was too polite and kind. Hearing her say “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m an Assassin.” to Laharl did make me chuckle.

Let us talk about the meat of the game, the gameplay and boy, I knew going into this that this would be a grind heavy game but they really were not kidding. Gameplay in Disgaea plays much like a Fire Emblem game, with a grid like level layout where you direct up to 14 characters to move and attack enemies. It’s fairly light strategy wise as most battles are decided depending on the levels and it really just becomes a matter of using the skill best suited to hitting the most enemies. Out of the 42 hours I spent on this I could be fairly certain on saying that 30 of those hours were spent grinding. In Disgaea you can level up everything, and I do mean everything. Par for the course you can level up characters but use spells and you level those up, use skills and you level those up, you can level up weapon mastery, you can level up weapons, you level up specialists, you can level your weapons and items using item world, you can level up you standing in the dark assembly, you can level up shops if you buy from them and quite frankly anything that can be leveled, will be leveled. I said in my fairy Fencer review that if you have too many systems in place for getting strong, it becomes harder to balance the game for a good challenge and boy does Disgaea suffer from the same problem. Let me be blunt and say in Disgaea you are either underpowered or overpowered with rare times of ever being in between. The biggest challenge you can get can be from how geo panels(Places which grant bonuses to the player/enemy standing on them) which can really give you some painful levels to get through. There is even a level where everywhere is filled with panels that make people invincible so the only way to win is the lead/throw enemies to the one panel that doesn’t have the invincibility effect. I made a particular mistake one time were I accidentally made the entire field of play invincible, hereby making my characters and the enemy impossible to beat. That was certainly a facepalm moment.

The grind is the name of the game but if there is a major failing of Disgaea it’s just how poor a job it does with teaching you it’s systems. The overall interface is fairly clumsy seeing as you can’t actually view how close a character is to a level up or even how much experience they have.(You can see total experience in a separate status window but that doesn’t mention how close to a level up.) Some of the most important options are hidden under it’s awkward menus and the game really only tells you the barest minimum to get through it. Now you are informed that you can finish DIsgaea with minimal knowledge and this is true, but doing so will leave you oblivious to the game’s finer points with its mechanics as well as missing out on features which could make your life a whole lot easier. I find it rather annoying that so much detail was given on the nature of Geo panels and how to cause a chain attack with them when you will most certainly never actually use it. Yet you are given barely any info on how the Dark Assembly works or the nature of Specialists. There is info present with an NPC throwing out answers to how they work but this is akin to learning English by reading a dictionary. Just try reading over these lines several times it just won’t hit home how it all works until you fiddle with it yourself. To figure out how a number of things work I had to jump to the Disgaea wiki just to get my bearings. Even then I only came to realise about Specialists when I reached near the end of the game. Basically you would find weapons have weird names attached to them like Firefighter, teacher, gladiator and for the majority of the game i had no idea what these things even were. Only late into the game did I find out that all these things were essentially code for passive stat bonuses and by using item world you can double these stat bonuses and even move them between weapons.

What makes these so important is that there is a specialist which can double or even triple the amount of exp a character gets from enemies. In a game about grinding, that aspect is critical. Another thing it fails to tell you about is the master and servant system which is briefly mentioned but chances are that you will have no idea how it works. This is likely the best aspect of Disgaea as it gives a ridiculous level of customization to your characters. Here’s how it works, using your characters you can create other characters which are those characters servants. masters and servants don’t really differ all that much except in one aspect. The master can use and learn all the skills of the servant if placed beside them. So as an example, let’s say you have a zombie character whom you want to give healing spells. Well you use the dark assembly to create a priest using that zombie character. You level up the priest gain most of the healing spells and then you place that priest beside your zombie in combat. Then the zombie can use all the healing spells the priest has learned and if the zombie uses a healing spell enough times to level up, that healing spell is permanently added to that zombies skills. Meaning that regardless of whether priest is around or not, that zombie can cast healing spells on anyone. So making use of this system you can have Priests with martial arts abilities, dragons who can cast spells, mages who can use swords. Almost anything is possible and it certainly is fun mixing and matching to give a character the skills you want. The downside is that to power up the character you want, you need to create and level up another character whom you don’t care about. Which is troublesome when you want a mage who can use all types of magic and find that fire, wind, ice and star magic is split up between four characters.

So what’s Item world you may ask? Well in Disgaea each item, be it weapon, armour or usage, can be leveled up to be more powerful. To do this you go to Item world which is similar to a gauntlet of battles. Think of being at the top of a tower with several floors filled with enemies and the only way to progress down a floor is to either kill the enemies on that floor or find the stairs. Thus we have a pretty big source of most of your grinding as well as the most tedious aspect of Disgaea as a whole. Grinding isn’t exactly a praiseworthy aspect of gaming, mainly because it is used as a means to pad out gametime. However depending on how it’s done it doesn’t have to be a unpleasant experience. Keep it speedy and relatively easy with generous pace of reward and grinding can even be a fun aspect of a game. But here is where item world flatters. Item world is slow, time consuming and can be a massive pain at times. Reasons as to why is in part due to the randomly generated terrain of the floors which doesn’t always make the level player friendly. Nothing is unbeatable but it can make some levels that force you to throw characters all about the place just to reach the stairs. There were times I groaned when the game spawned the exit in such an awkward place and put a specialist on a platform to far to throw to or attack. To make matters worse, you cannot leave item world until you at least get ten floors down(Or use a genji’s exit which can only be obtained by going ten floors down in a item.) and it takes at least thirty to forty minutes to get down that far.

If you have the patience of a god you can go down up to hundred floors if you wish to give the item a serious boost in power but I never saw it as worth it. This mode is one of the best ways of powering up your characters but the complete slog of it just made me avoid using it until absolutely necessary. But then let’s talk about something that really bugs me about this game and it’s how you level. Unlike regular RPGs experience isn’t given out evenly among the team when you complete a battle. Instead exp is given to whomever happens to land the last blow to an enemy. This is a big problem for three reasons. For one, leveling up healing units is a massive pain as they have to kill units to gain higher level healing spells. Another is that you end up relying on certain units a lot which makes them a much higher level than the rest of the team. Ultimately the stronger units get all the experience when the weaker units get jack which leads to grinding your weaker units up to an acceptable level as you progress through the game. Lastly you end up using your stronger units to weaken higher level enemies just so your weaker units can land the last blow and it is all too easy to accidently kill the enemy. Personally I would prefer if Disgaea took on a system like Suikoden where experience is divided evenly and allows weaker units to catch up quickly with stronger ones. It’s just one of the things that could make the grind of Disgaea a little less inconvenient.

Disgaea to me is a prototype for a much better game. Within it’s clunky systems and tedious aspects lies the groundwork for a fantastic strategy RPG. I know a lot of this review was essentially me complaining about various parts of it’s systems (I didn’t even get into things throwing enemies into other enemies to double their levels or the mostly useless bonus gauge.) but I did have fun with this game. It’s just that this fun comes with a big if attached to it. I am hesitant to recommend this game as you can have fun with it if you are willing to put up with it’s rough edges. It is my hope that with it’s sequel it could polish up it’s lesser aspects and cut down the tedium of grinding to present an immensely fun experience. From word of mouth it looks like that’s exactly what it’s going to do and certainly am most interested in seeing that. What’s better is that there isn’t any real connection storywise to this game it seems so people can jump into what could be a much more friendly gaming interface. I hope they bring more of the series to PC so I can see this system evolve and potentially produce an excellent title. As for this title alone I say if you are interested I would say to make sure you know what you are getting into and whether you have to patience to deal with it’s blemishes. If you can look past it’s faults you certainly will have something to keep you busy for quite a while.

Posted on 25 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Well I promised I would do a review of this visual novel quite a while ago and believe it or not I only just got around to finishing it. If the fellow who requested it is still here then here you go, I kept my word. Anyway it has been a while since my last game review and I have been itching to cover more visual novels on this site. What better way to jump back into the fray than with The house in Fata Morgana made by Novectacle in 2012(2010 if you consider the trail version) but recently localised by Mangagamer and published on Steam on May of this year. Now this game is a strange beast for a Visual novel. Usually a VN has a main protagonist who lives in Japan and has a number of female friends who act as alternate routes and stories depending on who you choose to partner up with. Fata Morgana doesn’t have that and just in case you were thinking it, it’s not an Otome novel either. (AKA, what i just described but with male friends) Instead what we have here is a visual novel set in the west forgoing the usual anime style for a more comic book/gothic portrait style with a story that is akin to anthology of tragedy tales. For those concerned about censorship, there is none here as this game was all ages, meaning it holds no pornographic content. Don’t take that to mean that it isn’t dark or gory because I can assure you that is most certainly not the case. In a world where in the vast majority of cases you primary concern is choosing your first waifu, this game sticks out and very much in a good way. Don’t take it that I consider visual novels to be generally trash, this is more like the anime industry were for very interesting title you have a truckload of terrible fanservice fantasy harem battle anime. Only difference here is that unlike the anime industry, the dozens of visual titles coming out are not all translated, leaving potential greats sitting in the visual novel database unread due to no English translation. As a prime example, Baldr Sky which has held a spot in the top 5 visual novels of all time in VNDB since 2009 is only just now getting an English translation. It honestly pains me when i think of the numerous potential great titles which escape my grasp due to a lack of a translation. But alas let us move on.
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Posted on 12 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

The title of this game rather says everything you need to know about my initial reaction, and I’m still all around puzzled at the mixed bag that this turned out to be – it IS just a standard mashup while having a bit of fun with some experimentation, but the game itself is actually a jumble of Persona’s mechanics with some hints of Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy X-2 masked behind a colorful anime-esque fatigue. Originally called “Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem” but changed shortly thereafter to “Tokyo Mirage Sessions,” I decided I’d have an open mind about this before I went into it, without looking for comparisons to the Persona or Fire Emblem aspects of the game, and did actually enjoy the gameplay. But by the end of my second playthrough, it turned out to be a mediocre title that failed to consistently interest me as a standalone title, much less as a fan of both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei.

The story is entirely original, so it’s not required that you play any of the Shin Megami Tensei or Fire Emblem titles for you to dive into it unless you want to understand certain references. The story begins with our protagonist in some talent agency in Tokyo as he learns how to utilize an energy called Performa and attract beings known as Mirages much like in the Persona series. The rest of the plot is pretty by the books, it has cameos/references to Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei characters to keep you interested in the plot, and in between the unnecessarily text-heavy story are the animated cutscenes by Studio 4C, which are all serviceable except for the poorly integrated CGI during music/dance sequences (which I believe were done by a different studio). Although Japanese pop isn’t really my favorite genre of music, it’s well produced to say the least and the background soundtrack isn’t too generic either, they accompany the combat really well as the fights feel like a performance rather than a traditional RPG battle.
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Posted on 23 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Oh Square Enix, this is the kind of avant-garde work you need to do. Developed by Furyu with the people behind SaGa, and written by Masato Kato of Chrono Trigger, I knew I was in for a unique game right from the start. But its gameplay is certainly divisive and for good reason, as this is surprisingly much more out of the box from what you would’ve expected after SaGa. Most prominently, it has a style of story progression that allows you to quite literally go forward however you please – by opening up the world to you through unlocking maps via unstated objectives. Now, I don’t favor open world titles above linear games just for the sake of them being open world, but I do appreciate it when they’re done as well as it is here. I could play through Legend of Legacy as quickly or as slowly as I pleased in whichever order, with the intention being making the player feel like a real adventurer exploring uncharted territory, which it succeeds in spades all the way to the end. So if you’re coming out of Bravely Second rather dissatisfied, Legacy unwinds those linear genre conventions and shares more similarities with A Link to the Past in its range of freedom. Even the individual map’s bosses are more often than not just a part of the scenery as they roam the map aimlessly alongside the other mobs. But in exchange, the game can be brutal when you don’t know how to progress any further after fully exploring an area (while refusing to look at walkthroughs) and scouring the entire map looking for any possible clues. But this is also what adds charm to the game, as the game allows you to sell the maps you complete by exploring more of the wilderness. The more of the map you’ve filled, the more money you can sell them for, and it’s pretty rewarding to earn large sums of money for them. 

Yet on the other hand, it’s worth noting that the turn-based combat is about as traditional as one can get apart from its lack of any level system. There can only be three characters at a time in your party, and in-battle you can utilize the elemental spirits in your environment for various effects like HP regeneration while customizing your stances outside of battle to affect turn order and defense. As a result, building an effective party is critical, yet also entirely up to you, and since there’s only so many roles possible in a 3-person team you’ll have to make sure everyone pulls their weight. Upon a new game, you can choose a protagonist among a huge selection of characters to begin your story with, and choosing the right character from the start makes the confusing lack of narrative that much better. I personally chose Filmia (the awesome frog that’s an obvious throwback) despite his rather one dimensionality in combat, as I found his small quips that much more interesting. In the small town of Initium, you’ll see the characters that you didn’t choose on the starting screen wandering about for you to recruit, and it’s really up to you to make sure everyone stays leveled up. I decided not to change up my starting trio of Filmia, Bianca, and Liber very much, as my play style is always offensive and Filmia is rather bulky anyways. But what makes the turn-based combat a little more interesting is its integration into the exploration mechanic – however much HP your party lost in-battle doesn’t entirely carry over into the next encounter, unless a character went down to 0 in which case they’d be at a fraction of their full HP the next battle. This means that as you go deeper into the wilderness, the less comfortable you are facing stronger enemies – so it encourages you to go back to town every now and again to sleep, restock, and retread. If a battle gets too tough you can always run away to the start of the map.
In any case, the game is extremely tedious if you don’t have interesting members in your party, as you’re going to have to grind in order to raise the level on your attacks and stats. Heaven forbid you start with Meurs or Owen as they’re the blandest characters in the game. As with any of these games that allow you to choose your protagonists, your experience may vary depending on the narrative you develop for your own party. As I like to mention in any of my previous reviews, it’s important for this kind of game to be a good character story over any kind of overarching plot, and most of these characters are interesting enough to keep your interest to the end. In this way it really does remind me of Rune Factory 4. Legend of Legacy is an excellent game to sink hours into if you don’t mind traditional turn based combat and hands off free-roaming. The plot is simple, yet clocks out over 40+ hours. But because of this, all of the characters in your party don’t feel like cutouts and get fleshed out believably, and the buildup gets used well by closing off satisfyingly.  So yeah, it’s not a game that’s going to be very important to Masato Kato’s repertoire or to the 3DS RPG genre, but what it does well, it does well in spades. It does have its weaknesses where it goes too far in its efforts to let you do whatever you want, by sacrificing any sense of a greater purpose to your gameplay, but it works alright without one. To top it off, visually, the game is perfect. You can see influences of the SaGa games where they like to spam the screen with useless objects (like a giant conch, ruins, etc) but also the more subtle things. Each of the characters walk in their own unique way, and the characters move with their own unique poses and styles. This game is nearly a year old and I haven’t seen much buzz about it and it’s truly a shame. While games like Bravely Default continue to earn praise for its “traditional” gameplay, it’s games like Legacy which are the true throwbacks to a time when a game’s story was simply something to be discovered through gameplay.

Storytelling: 7/10 Open ended, it depends what you make of it on your playthrough.
Gameplay: 7/10 Very traditional combat, but a unique story progression system and an interesting cast of party members keep everything from becoming too tedious and stale.
User Interface: 8/10 Convenient quick saves, but otherwise a laughable options menu without even text speed adjustment.
Production values: 10/10 Looks great, and the score is amazing.

Suggestions:

Bravely Default/Second (3DS)

Rune Factory 4 (3DS)

Etrian Odyssey (DS)

Posted on 22 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

I really should be getting Grand Kingdom or waiting for Mirage Sessions. My review of Stella Glow is way past relevancy being nearly 8 months late, but I finally completed this and it wouldn’t hurt to briefly wrap up my thoughts about the game created by the now-defunct Imageepoch. I somehow managed to get through Lord of Magna in little over a week but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish this game after chapter 6. So first, jumping into the game, I admittedly didn’t have too much experience with much of Imageepoch’s previous titles, I only played Luminous Arc 1+2 and thought the gameplay was pretty good (although I’ll always hate the story in these kind of games). Therefore, I expected Stella Glow to be much of the same. In terms of its gameplay, it’s even somewhat over-simplified/dumbed-down since my last Imageepoch game.

To be brief, combat is turn-based spread over a 3D grid ala Luminous Arc, separated by free-times in which your character can buy weapon upgrades, find loot, do odd jobs for money, and interact with party members in order to unlock new support abilities. With combat, the atrocious AI aside, it’s relatively vanilla and doesn’t rock the conventions very much. It’s blasé to say the very least, with an outdated concept of PP-based skills that is actually a regress with its lack of any equivalent to Luminous Arc’s Flash Drives aside from the conducting (which doesn’t do much for strategic depth). There is no more depth beyond these standard attacks and skill-attacks, so what you see is what you get all the way through your 50+ hour game. Moving your team members around a strategically-lacking battle area has never felt more unexciting as a direct result, and makes grinding all the more painful to do. And you’re going to have to do a lot of it.

Compounding the problems to combat are the enemies. The AI in the game utilizes little form of strategy or out-maneuvering. If it has a better shot at greater damage output (such as attacking my characters from behind) it doesn’t do it, and as is the case almost all the time they rush the nearest available frailest unit and zerg-rush them without any semblance for party-cohesion/roles. For example, even when my tank Archibald is quite vulnerable sitting at a low health, enemies still often rush my witch who’s at full HP because the AI simply cannot understand strategy and the benefits of knocking down selective units. The challenge instantly turns to frustration as early game I didn’t even bother using healing units very often, since they have to come close to another party member in order to heal, yet then become vulnerable to long-range enemies’ ridiculous ranges. On the other hand, some skills thankfully offer low-mobility characters like Archibald with long range attacks to attack past 2 squares, which is sorely appreciated for such a slow unit, and it theoretically gives these characters better usage early-game with stronger party cohesion. However, this does not work as well as it should, as you often cannot attack diagonal squares aside from magic skills. For me, that defeats the purpose of trying to give slower units a greater mobility. Yes, Archibald gets better later on in the game, but there is little logic to not allowing long range attacks in general, Archibald or otherwise, to hit diagonal boxes especially when terrain heavily limits your ideal range of movement anyways. Some elements of Fire Emblem would’ve been great here, like diagonal attacks and earlier long range healing skills. Otherwise, everything else about the combat system is solid, such as the satisfying range of roles in your party, and the activities that you can do in between battle times are varied and interesting.

As for story, it’s about a generic protagonist with a mysterious past who has the power to collect witches, in true harem spirit–as is plastered all over the back cover. I’m not going to complain too much about the generic plot as much as I hate it, it’s simply there to provide a backdrop for the challenges that our characters will face after all, and none of the party members felt forced or too out of place. However, any longtime JRPG player will recognize the story going through the motions in a half hearted attempt to try and set these characters beyond their archetypes to no avail, and the writers have every blame for this. In a game like this it’s imperative for it to be a worthy character story, with immersive character conflicts to make up for the lackluster backdrop concerning some generic kingdom under attack by some generic villains. Unfortunately however, by the end, there is very little characterization. Well, apart from “She’s not shy anymore” and “He’s less strict now.”

Lastly, the user interface is clunky and bare bones to put it lightly. Whilst in battle, you cannot access an options menu to adjust your game settings, it is only available outside of that and events. Even then, the options menu is simply pathetic. There are volume sliders, options to turn off combat animation (which is already available in battle), and little else besides it. No options for changing the controls to adjust the inversion, utter disuse of the circle pad, story recaps, turtle paced scenes, and the list goes on. But at least the game looks good for the 3DS and the soundtrack isn’t half-bad, even if the fan service is irksome as hell and never stops, but that point is rather moot with a game like this that lets you know what you’re in for with the cover. Overall, if you haven’t picked this game up yet I’d recommend you give it a try at least, it’s honestly far better than the likes of Lord of Magna.

Storytelling: 5/10 Average fantasy story
Gameplay: 7/10 Limitations aplenty, but otherwise strong system that remains familiar
User Interface: 3/10 Clunky and frustrating
Production values: 9/10 Looks and sounds great for the 3DS

Suggestions:

Fire Emblem Fates

Luminous Arc

Lord of Magna

Posted on 11 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Oh my. This game was just utterly, utterly incredible when it came out, so despite disliking the usual remasters (ahem, Valkyria Chronicles), I was pretty stoked when I learned I’d be able to play this again on better hardware. It came out really late into the PS2’s lifetime in 2007, so at the time, I like a lot of others thought it should’ve been on the Playstation 3, as Tales of Vesperia had also been transferred to the PS3 despite being developed for the PS2 – and two console generations later, here we are with Leifthrasir.

In case you don’t know what Odin Sphere is about, it’s simply a 2D fairytale action JRPG that puts you into the shoes of 5 characters in individual stories each with their own background and self interest, with nods to well-known fairy tales. We start off with Gwendolyn in the first book, during the great battle against the Ringford Army, when her sister is killed and she herself is defeated but spared by Oswald, the shadow knight. As we move on from her story, through Cornelius, Mercedes, Oswald, and Velvet’s, we see these individual stories slowly come together by the sixth book to create an interesting spin on the “party members banding together to save the world” RPG trope. Here, some main characters are even enemies with each other, and not in the Tales sense where they’re mysteriously hostile at first, only to turn out to being the good guys (ahem, Sheena). No, some straight up try to murder each other out of self-interest no matter how good their intentions are, and I love it because it shows a gray morality usually handled black & white in other fantasy JRPGs. There’s a reason why some aggressive kingdoms act the way they do, and while it’s certainly not insightful or original for that matter, it’s a breath of fresh air. As a result, the climax is very well done, and the ending is just as explosive and does an excellent job of laying the story to rest (so long as you get the seventh book) since characters undergo tangible conflicts. Individually, each story by themselves are pretty standard fairy-tales. However, what made Odin Sphere’s plot just that fun to play through is how interconnected each story is and the subterfuge that goes on back and forth between the main characters, even if it isn’t on a very deep level.

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Posted on 27 May 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the box art. With the internet you can at least get an idea for what you are in for. Lucid9 is one of the few I pick up out of curiosity, partly due to the few steam reviews present were very positive and the fact that it’s a free game. I knew nothing regarding what it was about and my only previous contact with it is a vague recollection on a Fuwanovel blog post. So I thought that it’s been awhile since I played a genuine visual novel and I was itching for something different. This is the first part called inciting Incident of a series of visual novels planned however despite that the story in this is more or less conclusive despite a pretty big cliffhanger for a sequel. At least the mystery for this game is solved with just a few hints of behind the scenes manipulation to be addressed in later chapters. Besides the pretty big turn of events at the stories end you could leave off this one content. Provided you stop before the last scene. But anyway enough baiting, lets us move on to the review.

For the unintroduced, Lucid9 is a visual novel and no, that is not the same thing as an eroge or dating sim. An eroge is like a visual novel but features a stronger focus on pornography. Often you can tell the difference between the two by the game’s title or synopsis. While visual novels do feature hentai content, it’s much lesser than an eroges content. In many new titles it’s getting phased out completely. A dating sim is more of a game where the objective is to raise girls affection for you and improve stats which are normally not present in visual novels. The best way to describe a visual novel is that it is like a choose your own adventure book. You go through a story and are presented choices which can lead the story on a different path. Most of the time the paths are decided by which girl in the narrative you show most interest in and the route you take often has them as the main heroine. Today’s visual novel is an exception to that as their is only one route and the choices you make don’t have much of an impact on the overall narrative. I will also point out that this visual novel doesn’t have any hentai within it’s narrative. The story involves a series of disappearances that are happening at an high class academy which are the work of a serial killer. Our protagonist is a cynical snark mouthed student who attends the school and manages to get caught up in the case. He’s recruited by a private investigator as an assistant and the case begins to affect those around him. Slowly he finds that he has a growing talent for investigation and detective work. Admittedly the murderers aren’t put on full focus here as the story mainly is concerned with the development of the main character and how this helps him get over his own issues to finally put effort into doing something with his life. For a free VN I was surprised at the quality of writing, this author really excels at writing back and forth dialogue though it can make the characters too quipy at times. The story is really carried by the interactions between characters and it does manage to keep things interesting.
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CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
@anon1058019: yep, and we'll get an original film no less. Welp, I don't mind for more Yuri but everything sounds vague for now. Let wait for more details coming
SuperMario
@Tatami: I'm only watch anime but I'm not a fan at all with the show so I can't really help you on that. In fact this season I couldn't get pass episode 2
Tatami
For guys who only watched AoT anime and not the manga, Im curious what do you think of the current season?
Tatami
The recent 2 epsiodes of AoT pretty much confirmed my guesses of who are the Armored and Colossus titans
Anonymous1058019
Yuri on ICE!!! movie has been announced. Prepare for incoming fangirls. :.D
Spike
Zestiria finale was pretty mediocre at best... Ufotable writers really fizzled at the end. :(
Anonymous1057532
Konstantinos here: I have to disagree. I liked the episode and felt they did a good job giving exposition. I like Meteora. That said when Alicertia meets Selesia. Oh boy, that will be a rumble.

On other notes: Attack of the Titan. If they do not pull a bait and switch, we are not in Kansas anymore.

Shingeki no Bahamut: What exceptional animation.
AidanAK47
It really does feel like this show is aiming to be something akin to Fate/Zero as that too did have a exposition heavy beginning. Difference here is that series had Urobuchi writting and while the man my be more famous for his murderous treatment of characters, he is a master of presenting exposition.
AidanAK47
I hope that's the majority of the exposition done for Re:creators. We established the stakes, rules and factions. So now would be good to focus on the creator and creation interactions plus badass battles.
Honestly I really regret Meteora coming into the story when she's being pretty much a massive exposition device.
Konstantinos Travlos
Hmm the "The Man who Knew 75 Languages" reminds me of the game "The Last Express". Great game. Definitely interested.
Anonymous1056824
moster keaton
Anonymous1056607
ditective conan
AidanAK47
@Anon, Pretty sure you are just trying to pick a fight more than defend the show but a decent show to me would be one that is deeply flawed but enjoyable to some degree. Sagrada reset is not this. It goes out of it's way to be unenjoyable. To me it's a 3/4 out of 10 show. Interesting concept but with a presentation so alien that the viewer can't empathise with anything on screen.
Lenlo
I mean, decent warrants about a 5-6. That, in theory, should be an "Average" show.
Anonymous1055365
It's a decent show. You're being overly critical.
SuperMario
In the Out of Competition slot (you think that I'm finished?), 2 films in particular that catch my interest are the Korean Lost in the Moonlight which looks like a fun and lightheart adventure, and the Norway-Poland co-production adult-oriented The Man who Knew 75 Languagues about the star-crossed love between the Queen of Romania and a titular man, I guess
SuperMario
Rounding up the Main Competition are Animal Crackers, a 3G American family film which I don't have good feeling about; Big Fish and Begonia - a Chinese indie film that divided the critics, but gathered skyhigh commercial success in its mainland China; and finally Zombillenium which sounds like an enjoyable European children film
SuperMario
From other countries, most notable films are the Loving Vincent - the first feature length hand painting; the Chinese black comedy Have a Nice Day that premiered in Berlin earlier this year; Ethel and Ernest which already gained a strong reviews from the UK; Tehran Taboo- a German production about the lives of 3 women in Iranian community, which sound exactly like my kinda of film.
SuperMario
Alright, I'm here to bring you news about the selection of this coming Annecy AKA one of the best animation festival out there. 3 of anime features: A Slient Voice, In the Corner of the World and Masaaki Yuasa's Lu over the Wall will compete for the main competition.
SuperMario
I'm a fan of thought-provoking anime (see Lain, Boogiepop Phantom) but I need to care about the story and characters first before I make an effort to dig deeper to the theme. Sagrada Reset failed on that fronts.
SuperMario
It's not really about being smart/dumb here. As a creator, they already have an advantage to know how the story and plot will play out. I don't mind this advantage because otherwise the plot will become a hot mess. But don't use that advantage as a way to widen the gap between them and the audience.
AidanAK47
Ugh...Ray Gigant was pretty much mediocre up until this point but now it;s utterly asinine. Whoever decided on this endgame needs to be fired. When you are ready to end a game, no player want a ten floor dungion with a boss on each floor coupled with a goddamn boss rush halfway. Just...fuck.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It must be worse than oremo.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw some pages of the eromanga sensei manga and my reaction was that I was sad that it actually existed and stated "why would you even" after looking at it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an anime example, sekaisuru kado has lots of dialogue but it seems like it could actually be engaging.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So basically no I don't think we're dumb for not liking sagrada reset, given that myself and Mario are capable of watching genuinely smart wordy things and getting them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I can imagine watching Sagrada reset and thinking I'd rather be watching a Bergman film instead , something also with lots of dialogue and themes but actually engaging/clever and NOT pretentious or obnoxious about it.
Anonymous1054942
is it possible that you are all just dumb?
Anonymous1054269
@Mario: I like how you described it as giving a middle finger to the viewers. It's so true. Like, it tries to be intelligent and make the viewer feel stupid, but it just comes off as obnoxious/pretentious.
Lenlo
CGI remains the worst part of it, but we are getting more and more 2D art which I actually enjoy the style of
Lenlo
Its an improvement. The art is better, and maybe its because I prefer this arc, but the pacing is better as well. I gave last season a 3, but this one is more deserving of a 4 and if they can nail certain scenes coming up I may bump it to a 5.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: How's Berserk doing so far? Haven't picked up last week and this week's episodes.
Lenlo
Ground*. I hate it when I fat finger something.
Lenlo
Thats always the worst, when a story starts off promising and then someone runs it into the grouhnd
AidanAK47
@Mario, so it's still at it. To me it's like someone was given an interesting story and made it his mission to ruin it as much as possible.
SuperMario
@Aidan: it's still the same crap. I have a feeling that Sagrada Reset gives a middle finger to us viewers. The plot with development and characters that we have no way to figure out ourselves. The characters who change motive and even personality after each timeline. The main lead girl who act like a robot. I gave this show too many chance so I won't bother to spend more time watching it.
Anonymous1052767
Eromanga sensei
AidanAK47
@Mario, Oh ho, what was the dealbreaker? Just that it didn't change or did something really stupid happen?
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset (long sigh) (scratching my head) (eyes rolling). Dropped
AidanAK47
Hey you.
Konstantinos
Yeah, at this point, this season looks good.
SuperMario
Quite happy with ID-0 and Zero in particular. Zero charms me to no end that I'm still debating whether I should blog it. The trio Re:Creators, Kado, Atom still doing pretty well and the sequels MHA and Bahamut are enjoyable as expected. We have a wide range of anime offerings this season.
SuperMario
Sagrada Reset & SukaSuka I will give it another episode, at least until this current arcs over. They both have potential but Sagrada Reset tries so hard to sound smart, and SukaSuka still falls into its LN tropes which bugged the show down.
SuperMario
*no real urge
SuperMario
I've finally catch up with all other series I wanna follow this season. Alice & Zorouku will be off my list for now, Zorouko is a great character but everything else falls flat so far. I have real urge to continue Attack on Titan and Berserk so I'll wait until they're finished.
Vonter
I watched some episodes of KonoSuba yesterday, reminds me of Those Who Hunt Elves. And I suppose it might be an easy recommendation because it mainly comes down to; do you find it funny? or fun? If not, skip.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While yes its true of watching those slice of life shows week by week is better, I felt that when reading the manga for Aria it was easier to marathon by reading it rather than watching.
SuperMario
Flying witch have the same atmosphere, but it's a purely slice of life anime. I love Aria too and I agree that watching it 1 episode a time is the best way to enjoy it. Can't think of other serious anime that have those calming elements for now
Anonymous1042537
Yeah, I noticed they all have pretty different structures from one another (ACCA's political, Mushishi's naturalistic, Monster is a thriller, Rakugo's about a specific art form, 3-gatsu is ostensibly about Shogi, etc.) but I found that I found some similar calming elements in them (to different degrees of course).
Anonymous1042537
Thanks, I'll definitely check Aria out!
AidanAK47
One of the hardest shows to marathon besides Bakemonogatari. Though Bakomono gave me a headache after a few episodes whereas Aria just had me so mellow that I could drift into sleep at any second.
AidanAK47
Don't know if you could call it a sub genre as the examples you listed are all really different from each other.
Though in the vein of calming shows I think you can add the Aria series to the list. That show is so relaxing that you find yourself nodding off to it. Not out of boredom but it just has that effect on you.
Anonymous1042537
Do you guys know if there's a specific subgenre like this, or am I making it up? And are there other anime with that kind of feel. Not exactly slice of life, but in the general vicinity of it.
Anonymous1042537
The Great Passage was another great example. It delved into the seemingly boring subject matter of dictionary-making, but it was a surprisingly charming show. 3-Gatsu no Lion also looks promising, I enjoyed a lot of the first season (but wasn't a fan of the forced comedy sometimes).
Anonymous1042537
Like the episode where Tenma first meets Grimmer on the train to Prague and they have a picnic on the mountain was so dang good. I really need to rewatch that.
Anonymous1042537
There are some elements of that style in other shows too, but to a lesser extent. Like some parts of Rakguo (mainly season 1) was very soothing. Naoki Urasawa's Monster had some fantastic, almost melancholic episodes like this.
Anonymous1042537
It seems that most anime w/ that kind of style usually also have another genre mixed in. Mushishi was also very naturalistic, ACCA had a political underpinning.
Anonymous1042537
It's sort of in the vein of a "Mushishi" style show. I suspect it's an emerging subgenre of slice of life that's meant to be very calming, relaxing, atmospheric which I really am digging.
Anonymous1042537
I really hope there are more shows like it; not that it was perfect, but it was certainly unique and hit a lot more than it missed. I really like those cool, quiet shows you can enjoy with a nice cup of tea before you go to sleep.
Anonymous1042537
Ironically though, I would say that the first half of ACCA (up until the big flashback) is better enjoyed week by week, or at least that's what I found.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It felt good marathoning a show again rather than waiting week by week and next weekend I'll probably marathon house of five leaves.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Forgot to mention...there were certainly a share of moments in Acca that feel fanservish to the female audience =P
SuperMario
@Aidan: haven't noticed that. Will fix it soon.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Only problem I can see is that the posts have no spaces in between paragraphs.
SuperMario
... to be near my laptop for an entire week. First time that I had to blog entirely through my phone. Seemed to work out fine but I had to borrow screenshots from other source (I thank you that other source) ^^
SuperMario
*unless* rather than *as long as*. This has been a crazy week for me as I didn't have a chance
SuperMario
@anon1039488: I find the idea of limiting excess to exclusively stream an aime is a dumb idea; because as long as people have a chance to expose to the anime they won't really care to check it out. So I detest owning the legal streaming account, but I always pay back by buying DVDs/Blurays that I liked
SuperMario
I watched House of Five Leaves by the same mangaka and I really enjoyed it. Nataume Ono is a pretty excelent storyteller (a bit mixed on her art-style thou)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I agree that the first dew episodes of ACCA were not that engaging but the endingg neatly tied up all loose ends. I still feel Grossular's act is kind of messy (why was he under such control from Lilium? He's not that kind to be in such passive role to be honest) but other than those I don't have any real complaints.
Anonymous1039488
Competition is good, but it makes it cost so much to legally watch everything. That's why a lot of people pirate I feel.
Anonymous1039488
You have Crunchryoll and Funi, fine. Then there's Daisuki which is kinda random. Then Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have some random anime, though it seems that mainly Amazon has current series
Anonymous1039488
I don't have Amazon Strike, which is like their new venture into anime I guess. There's too many streaming services to keep up with tbh
Kaiser-Eoghan
To be honest I'm pretty crap when it comes to supporting things, I don't pay for almost all the things I watch/read/play, I don't have a crunchy or amazon account, I still pirate legal streams.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is it a case that your country is blocked? Maybe go for a vpn? If you absolutely have to you could pirate the show...
Anonymous1039488
I wanna watch Re:Creators but don't have Amazon... :( alas
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel like I need to wait and see approach with sekaisuru Kado...this prologue phase is...long...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wish it had been 24 episodes long though to better organize itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Favourite characters were Jean, Groslur and Nino.
Can’t say I cared for the goofy interactions between Jean’s workfriends though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yet for whatever I could say about the pacing, when the twists happen they creep up on you and the show mostly lands every one of them, even if I’m not exactly pleased that sometimes the series does the “I pulled it out of the hat/ass” approach.
I’m relatively indifferent on the art/animation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I did feel it picks up, improves by the mid-mark and to an extent the wait is worth it and things do come together even if I wasn’t always totally confidant with how it was getting there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Having the protagonist go from district to district to flesh out the settings a decent enough idea and the main characters a fairly chill, cool guy.
Though the dialogue does create suspicion, intrigue, it does also plod/pad in equal measure at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Finally decided to sit down and watch Acca.
This show had its lovers/haters I’m sure, having watched it my feelings are mixed.
It is a slight breath of fresh air I’ll give it that and makes me want to maybe re-assess of adaptations of the author’s work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The only assayas film I've encountered so far that I disliked was Irma Vep, even though the lead actress was great, the surrounding performances, especially by Jean-Pierre-Lenaud were awful. Sils Maria I was initially evasive of because I'd heard that the relationship between Binoche and Stewarts characters was under-unexplored.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Weersathakul's films are something else entirely...Otherworldly yet still cinematic. I feel a bit underwhelmed after watching the Unknown girl. The identity of the culprit, for example, feel forced for me that take me out our their naturalistic style. I'mmin between Clouds of sils maria too, know it's a good movie but it feels pretentous at times, like the movie Youth
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got round to watching Unknown girl by Dardenne, it carries enough moments of their brilliance but I felt they didn’t have as much mastery over their usual pacing style this time round, for the first time it felt like a thriller that played out like a drama, rather than a drama that has a pseudo thriller feel to it.
Going to watch Clouds of sils Maria next.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The entire second half, which I’d have watched an entire film about is very atmospheric and dreamy/esoteric nearing just exactly the kind of thing I like.
The way he uses/shoots Thailands geography along with his cinematography is impressive, particularly in that second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: He shoots something simple like a chopping scene in a strangely engaging way, the scene with the old woman going into the cave is also very impressively shot and that one driving scenes with that pop song in the background has an airy feel to it.
In some ways I agree that there’s a bit of sensuality to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It’s the kind of film that feeling tired/relaxed when watching it isn’t a condemnation of it(although a share of moments in the first half could be patience testing), it’s the sort of film where you aren’t really aware of anything outside of watching the film when you watch it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally looked into a Weersathakul film, Tropical Malady. I don’t even know how to give a star rating for this film.
SuperMario
I'm still on the fence with Alice & Zouroku. Like the title suggests, the warm chemistry between those two are its strongest point, but those moments are far and few in between as the story progresses and I don't care one bit about the Red Queen storyline. I might drop this one if the story doesn't improve
SuperMario
@Lenlo: 3 episodes anf Berserk still hasn't grabbed me as much. Yep facial expressions are really off-putting
Lenlo
Man... the facial expression in Berserk for the 3D models are, ever so slowly, killing me.
AidanAK47
Alright. Tommarrow I will get out all those posts I am late on seeing as the impressions are all finished.
AidanAK47
SukaSuka still has me mixed. On one hand there really are some great ideas and some well executed moments. But some of the dialogue is a bit typical of a light novel and the fanservice is really shameless. The massage at the end of the episode was something the show could really do without.
Konstantinos Travlos
I am in love with RE:Creators. I have no idea if they will keep it as good, but these two first episodes did all the right things.
AidanAK47
Alright, Easter made me lazy so it's time to play catch up.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Puran: Or even Georgiou Nikolaidis while I'm at it, morning patrol is a great mood piece. Not familiar with the other guy.
Puran
@Kaiser: No Grammatikos recommendation? :)
SuperMario
I still enjoy Zero pretty much. I like the contrast between the beastfallen and Zero. The hilarious lines sound more like accidental to me, not the best product but I enjoy the ride so far
SuperMario
@Kaiser: agree with everything you said. Apparently Haneke put Flashmob on hold because the main actress was conflicting in her schedule, so he decided to do Happy End instead
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Does the old man represent gritty anime of old? I don't know honestly I'm just throwing it out there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In case you hadn't heard, Haneke dropped the Flashmob movie and is now doing one about the refugee crisis.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To whoever will be playing Godard in that biopic, I'd wonder if they could capture how incredibly douchey he sounds irl lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is such a big divide between 50s/60s Bresson and 70s/80s Bresson.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lathimos and Avaranas remind me in an odd way of Tarr in that they're the only Greek filmakers people seem to talk about , Check out Koundorous and Theodorous Angelopolous' works if you can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Meh, I don't like that sort of overly on the nose social commentary some American films and tv shows do in recent years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Godards extremely hit or miss with me. Hazanavicius did the artist I think, but I'd sooner recommend Biancnieves as a stronger example of a modern take on silent cinema or maybe a Guy Maddin film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Lotznitza directed a gentle creature not Zvyagintsev, though the latter is a fantastic director, Leviathan's ending hit me very very hard, its gut punching and I appreciated that the return never went into too much detail regarding the father.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: off topic, I didn't realize Get Out having such buzz reception. It's coming here next week so I will get to watch it
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Michel Hazanavicius makes a biopic about Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky (the actress in Au Hasard Balthazard), which I think will be interesting. I considered The Lobster one of the best film out of that year so I anticipate his next movie a hell lot. Yep, I watched few movies from Andrey Zvyagintsev and he certainly is in my radar. Bleak, social commentary, technical impressive
AidanAK47
Oh, it's confirmed that was what was actually said in Japanese. Well...that's rather cringe worthy.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Can't say I am too fond of it myself. Though that arrow to the knee reference definitely sounds like something the translator added in.
Anonymous1026829
Holy shit Zero is hilarious. "I used to be a mercenary like you once. But then I took an arrow to the knee." "My magic is super weak so I need a powerful offering. Can you loan me your head please?" The comedy is so pointed and understated.
Vonter
I do like how contrasting Zelda is to Nier in the sense that. Zelda cares more about how the game plays and making the player have fun constantly but doesn't care about telling something. Nier Automata doesn't care what it throws to the player but cares a lot about it tells the things that happen to player.
Vonter
I think this is a hard game to score. Mainly because IMO the combat has wear out a bit do to the repetition and the sidequests have been a mixed bag with some being relevant to the plot or themes and some being just fodder to level up. On the other hand the game has a lot of implications, subtext and symbolism that so far has been enriching to reflect upon.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, Actually wrote up 4/5s of a review on Nier Automata but with the new season I haven't had time to finish writing the review. Though my thoughts on it are similar to yours.
Vonter
Nier Automata has a 10+ hour prologue. So far the game feels like it's more interested in delivering strong emotions than a compelling narrative, not that script is poor but seems disjointed in a way, circling around the themes of existentialism, purpose and truth without overexpositing about these things. It also some moments remind me of Fragile Dreams. Like the despair.
AidanAK47
The old man is the one I can't pin down. Been thinking he might represent the kind of anime that's critically lauded but sadly unpopular. Makes sense as he's one of the few on the opening that doesn't stand near ads for his anime. Or else he's a live action drama representative.
AidanAK47
Been wondering about the Re:Creators characters. We got the obvious representatives from Magical girl, Mecha, Light novel and video game. The knight girl looks like clear homage to Saber from Fate so a Visual novel representive? The psycho girl looks to be a chunni anime representative. And the guy who appeared at the end of ep 2 is clearly Shounen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Ramsay one sticks out as the most interesting to me as does the lathimos one. I'm curious about that Russian one about the woman looking for her imprisoned husband as I'd like to watch more contempory Russian films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If you can get passed the accents Ramsay did a strong piece of social realism in the 90s called Ratcatcher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think the only Baumbach film I've seen is Frances Ha and I liked the new wavey feel it had. With The lobster and re-watching dogtooth I was able to get into Lathimos' pitch black humour alot more. I've never actually seen a hong-sang so film.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, I still really enjoy it but I do get what you mean. Looking at the series overall so far it does feel like there was lost potential.
Amagi
I honestly still don't know what to think of LWA. I wasn't a fan of the formularic first half but the second half doesn't really catch me either. I loved the first OVA though.
AidanAK47
Well I will be damned. That G Koh commenter managed to predict the inclusion of Yggdrasil in Little Witch Academia. Nicely done.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: sadly i won't make it this year. I wanna try the Toronto International Film Fest next time whenever I have a chance
SuperMario
@Kaiser:you heard about this year's Cannes selection?Overall it's solid, not many that scream "masterpiece" for me.Overall I'm exciting for Hong Sang Soo's new movies (he has 2 movies screening at Cannes and 1 already aired at Berlin.What the hell),and The Killing of the Scared Deer(Yorgos Lnthimos), You were never really here (Lynne Ramsay),Okja(Bong Joon Ho) and Meyerowitz Stories(Noah Baubach)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm...just found out That Blame! 2017 is being done by a the Ajin director, not sure how I felt about that.
AidanAK47
Think this is the best time to end the series too as the difficultly was getting to be a bit too cheap.
AidanAK47
Lore wise it's pretty disappointing. Ending the game with an enemy that doesn't really have that much relevance. But Gameplay wise it was excellent. The final area was just beautiful.
Lenlo
Ringed City was a great piece of DLC and a good way to end the series imo.
AidanAK47
Dark souls sure can give you workout. Finally got around to finishing the ringed city DLC. Funny thing is that people were raving about how hard Midir was when I didn't have that much trouble with him. Gaol gave me some trouble but I managed it. Hardest was the demon prince and god I hate multi stage boss fights. Such a goddamn pain.
SuperMario
Atom still waiting for suitable subs. I swear to God, for a completist like myself the wait is unbearable, especially it should've been available already
HelghastKillzone
Yes it is.
Anonymous1020539
I mean...
Anonymous1020539
Re:producers is really great
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I can see myself chancing more of it, I kind of caught into its rhythm a bit.
AidanAK47
Novels are actually really short. About 90 pages long per volume. They really could cover this in a single cour.
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, SukaSuka? From what I could tell it covered the first two chapters of the light novel. Each novel has 5 chapters. Though the first and last chapter are more of a prologue and epilogue respectively.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually if shuumatsu's first episode is going faster than the novel, roughly how much so? Its still obviously a slow burn in animated format but how much was covered in episode 1?
AidanAK47
Could have done without the huge infodump but otherwise still loving Re:Creators. Seeing a magical girl shocked over her own level of destructive power was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh, I liked the use of music early on in shuumatsu and theres a good mood set up early on along with a good opening scene but the later parts of the episode except maybe for the after credits bit get a shrug from me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Kado has made its hook, now it needs not to keep holding its cards and get going.
SuperMario
hmmm, don't know what to think about Kado ep2. Still good but I expected more
SuperMario
But really my mentality is that this site comes first. Getting more traffic and improve the site are my top priorities, then "what I wanna do for myself" comes later
SuperMario
@Travlos: guess you won't have to read me this season :). Haven't checked out the last episode of Kado yet but based from the first 2 episodes I think you'd enjoy that show.
Don’t worry. It’s something Aidan and me both agree on. We pretty much write for ourselves, otherwise we couldn’t have stayed this long. I get a chance to go off track once in a while to write something I wanna write.
Konstantinos Travlos
@SuperMario. I am definitely watching Shingeki no Koyjin 2, Shingeki no Bahamut 2, Re:Creators, Little Witch Academia, and probably Kado and Zero Kara. I may also do Zipang this season.
On the reaction reaction. What you say is ok. But remember, a hobby is something you do for yourself. There is a limit to how much you should care about the views of others. :)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or if I can use a quote from Chang from Black lagoon : "A fragranced shit will forever still retain the smell of shit"
Total users: 30

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