Saturday, December 31, 2016

Anime of the Year Awards 2016 Presented in 4k TruHD(TM) Part 2: Da Besto

Now that we've firmly established that 2016 was a god awful year for anime with several of the worst anime I've ever seen, and some real big disappointments as well, let's move on to showing why 2016 was a really great year for anime, with tons of surprisingly good and even great shows, and 3 whole 10/10 shows I had trouble choosing between for the top spot! Man, 2016 was a great year!

So here we go! May contain spoilers, so please read with caution:

Surprisingly Good Anime of the Year:
Phatasy Star Online 2 The Animation

What is, in essence, a commercial for PSO 2 is somehow actually a pretty good show. Not that good but still. For one thing this isn't just some story set in the PSO2 world, it's about people who play PSO2 and how the game builds important bonds and teaches them things about interacting and working together with others. I mean some weird shit starts to happen and it culminates in a crazy twist but it's totally worth it. I say check it out!

Active Raid seasons 1 and 2
This is less of a surprise and more of just a good anime, but it is somewhat surprising that this show is as good as it is, especially with it's CG budget. This show got written off as a low-rent Tiger and Bunny or Tokusatsu show, when in reality it's more like a pastiche of those shows. It's about ACTIVE, a special anti-terror police unit that uses powered-suits very reminiscent of sentai hero costumes to fight criminals using their own powered-suits. It's goofy and over-the-top while also being strangely down to earth and profound sometimes, which is to be expected from a show that Goro "I'm the guy who made Code Geass" Taniguchi worked on. Check it out!

Prince of Stride Alternative
Once again, only really suprising how good this was. While not amazing I think its a solid sports drama with a lot of intense moments that kinda make it a initial d but with footraces-lite. See it's about a special sport that combines track races and parkour called Stride, and is about the underdog Stride team of this school working hard to become da bes striders eber. Again, it's nothing amazing, not something you haven't seen before, but the spin on it, the good direction and art design, and how intense some of the races can be make it stand out some. You don't gotta check it out but you might have fun if you do.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

Now here's a surprise. An anime based on a light novel made by A-1 pictures about some kids who go to a fantasy world and gotta be good warriors or they'll die? That sounds like a very Sword Art Online style disaster of an anime waiting to happen. I'm already wary when I see "light novel" as the source material, even more so if it's A-1 adapting it because they're lousy at light novels. Instead of a bad show I got something actually really good. A deep and introspective, somber take on this kind of story, with lots of character development and monologues. They pick apart the idea of slaughtering monsters for profit and to survive, by humanizing them a lot. The first time they kill a simple goblin it's a daunting task for them and the goblin is trying his best to survive and dies in a very undignified way. This sticks with them and they don't forget this. It's good because A: it's realistic and B: it's even more realistic because they're not immediately good at this by virtue of being main characters. In fact, except at the very end, they never win with convenient main character powers and instead have to think and skill their way out. Sadly this could also fit in the underrated section because people are far too harsh on this show.

Bungou Stray Dogs
I wasn't expecting much from this show. I tried it out primarily because the synopsis said it starts by the protagonist finding a man "whimsically committing suicide" and I kinda needed to find out what that was about. It turns out it was a good show with good character art, a good story, good animation and action scenes, and some good themes. Too bad I found out from the travesty that is the second season that all the characters are named after authors, and they guy who was trying to kill himself has suicide as his thing because the author in question killed himself. Fuckin' edgy man. Still, watching this season may be a good idea.

Ace Attorney The Animation
I was surprised at what a good adaptation this was, especially comparing it to others. Sure, it wasn't a perfect adapation, as a lot of the stuff that was far more intense wasn't so much in this version. But I think that's a problem of translating a game to a non-interactive medium. The Breakdowns aren't as good in the anime because you're not playing it. You can't get that feeling of finally beating your opponent in a battle of wits and logic exposing their farce for all the world to see when you're just watching it happen. So, aside from that which they can't be blamed for, this is a damn good adaptation. It cuts out the shit that doesn't matter, keeps the stuff that does, and even adds a couple things in. The only thing that'd make this better is maybe some better directing as that's pretty lackluster.

New Game!
This one is a surprise because after Shirobako, I was feeling a little reluctant to give a show which is supposed to be about an industry which I have an invest in a shot. Shirobako claimed to be a realistic anime about people working in the anime industry. Surprise surprise, it fucking wasn't. However, Sore ga Seiyuu was actually a good one of these, being a fairly accurate take on voice acting in japan. So, when New Game! was announce while I was cautious about it, I was still hopeful. That hope was not squandered. While it's not really realistic in that literally all the game devs/workers are cute and/or sexy ladies it's not really claiming that part is real. What is real, though, is how they make the game. Those aspects, unlike in shirobako in regards to anime, are accurate. They're maybe given some more sappiness to them because it's a moe anime, but it still gives you a little bit of insight into the development of a game. The main girl has a passion for the series this company and this team made, which is something someone like me who has passion for games and certain series can really get behind. It's also a fun cute comedy with fun cute characters. Don't miss it!
 
Scar-red Rider Xechs

Man, I didn't think this show would be so good. I thought it'd be a fun kinda power-rangersy show but it turned out to be much more, and in fact seems to have lifted a lot from stuff like eva/rahxephon, and a lot of VNs(which makes sense since this is a VN adapation). I can't really say much about this cuz there's a lot of spoilers, but basically it's about the Scar-red Riders, who transform into sentai heroes to fight monsters from the Red World, a world threatening to destroy ours. If you've played VNs, seen VN adaptations, or just seen stories like this before you might be able to figure out some of the twists from what I'm telling you here, but if you don't hopefully you'll be surprised and enjoy it like I did. Also, there's a lot of music terminology references I missed because I'm not a music nerd, but if you are you might like this even more!

Servamp
Another anime about vampires huh? I bet it's gonna be some edgy shit for fujoshis right? Welllll, no, actually this was pretty good. Once again, some good themes, animation, and fight scenes. But also some pretty good directing in general for some of the episodes and character's backstory. I really enjoyed the feeling and how it was conveyed in those scenes, especially one really good scene near the end that's meta in a weird way that makes me scratch my head. I like that kind of thing. What it lacks in an original story it makes up for with fun, execution, style and atmosphere. Give it a shot please!

Tales of Zestiria The X
Not much a surprise really since this is an ufotable anime based off a great game, but I'm actually still surprised by the way they improved the source material in some ways. Nothing much to say about this, if you like the game you should give this a try.

Time Travel Girl
The surprising part of this isn't that it's good, I was actually expecting it to be. No, the real surprise is that we get to see fun anime versions of famous scientists and inventors and its actually fairly educational. See, Mari, a dumb girl who gets bad grades, ends up accidentally going back in time because of her missing father's time machine. She learns all sorts of things and becomes less dumb, because even if she's stupid she understands the passion for science these inventors have, and takes an interest in it thus learning some things. It's a fun cute show and good for history and science buffs. Also, Mari is voiced by Aki Tokasaki and Minako Kotobuki is her friend Waka(wanna go back in time and see who created blitzball ya?). This will be good for you if you've seen K-On! and A Certain Scientific Railgun.

Drifters
So I was worried this show was gonna be an edgy pile of shit, but there were two reasons I tried it out anyway: 1. It's by Kouta Hirano, creator of Hellsing, which manages to be super edgy and dark but not very self-serious. It carries itself in a way that's fun and not obnoxious or try-hard. 2. It's about famous warriors and such all converging to fight each other that's fuckin' cool. So it turns out that, yes, it's very edgy and dark but even more so than hellsing isn't trying to hard and isn't obnoxiously self-serious. In fact there's lots of silly shit in this show. The animation and artstyle is great, the depictions of these famous people actually seem really accurate, and it's a lot of fun. Spoilers, Hitler founded an empire in this fantasy world and Jesus is the main antagonist, because he now wants his revenge on humans for betraying him and is gonna bring salvation to the monsters instead. Wow.

Classicaloid

I had almost no expectations for this show. All I knew was it was a combination of "classical music" and "vocaloids". So, you know, sure? It turns out this is a pretty fun series about robots designed after classic music composers that have special magic based on their most noteworthy song. Mostly it's just a fuckin sitcom based around that but it's a fun time. Try it out sometime maybe?

Keijo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
While I expected this show to be good, it was better than I anticipated. I was going into this cuz I wanted a fanservice anime focusing on butts based on the butt battle minigame from DOA Extreme Volleyball. What I got was much, much more than that and I'm glad it was. It's essentially a parody of those over the top sports shounen like Kuroko no Basuke and Eyeshield 21, and a battle shounen in bikinis, complete with the big cheesy text for equally cheesy attack names. Due to this, the fact the characters are female and in skimpy clothes, and the thick-lined artstyle that goes crazy during high octane action, this show is basically doing everything that Kill-la-Kill did wrong, right. It even features a much better in-universe justification than that show, not being just an obvious excuse for T&A but actually working it into the story properly, not just having characters go "Well I need to wear this embarrassing stripper outfit cuz it gives me super powers". While obviously not as crazy as that, it certainly stimulates a lot of the same parts of my childlike brain KLK did, and has much better, actually sexy and well animated fanservice to boot!

Yuri!!! On Ice

So, this one is a surprise because I didn't think a show about figure skating would be such a moving, well-written character drama. But it was, and I really liked it. A hell of a lot, in fact. This could easily go in the "best anime of the year" section but it's just so surprising to me that I enjoyed this show so much. Anime really has a track record of making me care about shows about sports I don't care about, and figure skating is something I give less than 0 shits about. But more than that, I really enjoyed this gay romance between Yuri and Viktor, I think it was really well done and not an intrusive thing. This is hard to do, usually gay romance comes off as forced and bad, especially because it's either for fujoshis/yuri fanboys if it's japanese or for SJWs if it's western. This author proved he/she(I assume she) can do it without coming off like that and it pays off. It's a very good show!


Most Surprisingly Good Anime of the Year:
Boku no Hero Academia

I'm giving My Hero Academy this spot because it really is both the most surprising and also the best of those. I was worried about this but thought it might still be good, seemed like a maybe not-crappy A Certain Magical Index, but it was still an anime about superheroes. I don't like superheroes, if you don't know. My Hero Academy however, avoids a lot of the problems I have with superhero shit these days and bolsters the good and fun aspects of them, creating a show that's right up my alley actually. Weirdly enough there's somewhat of a backlash against this show because of it's popularity, which I can certainly understand. I hate it when things I like become/are too popular, because there always comes a shitty fandom from it that ruins the show in eyes of outsiders. With anime being a godawful fandom already, I could see how bad fans could turn people away from this show. But as always, I say don't let that get to you. It's a good fun show with some bad ass and awesome moments and good characters, and some actually really well-written character stuff too. Try it out if you haven't!

Some of The Best Anime of The Year:
Dagashi Kashi
A fun comedy which introduced some great new girls to anime, surely to have fanart of them spammed for years to come likely to create a hate-dom for them and the show. Oops. But anyway, Dagashi Kashi is a fun show and you should watch it!

Shounen Maid
You like traps/cute boys? No? Oh well, you should try this anyway. It's a fun slice of life comedy about a boy who's mom dies(not a fun concept I know) and goes to live with his homolord fashion designer uncle in his mansion. Luckily for this uncle, this boy, Chihiro, can't stand things being dirty and loves to clean, so he gets to work instead of just living here for free like he could have. This uncle gets the idea to put a maid apron on him cuz he thinks it'll be cute and thus the Shounen Maid is born. This show may seem to be a pedophillic thing at first but don't worry, it's not. The uncle is just a weirdo who thinks this boy will look good dressed as a maid... and he's correct. It's fun and silly with good characterization and I recommend it.

Fukigen na Mononokean
This a show about a high school boy who ends up getting possessed by a kedama youkai and gaining the ability to see them. When he goes to an exorcist to get rid of it, he ends up becoming his apprentice to get him to exorcise the youkai. It turns out to get this youkai off him, what he really needs to do is make it happy. Him and the youkai actually become friends even! This is the major plot of the show, actually, is learning about these sometimes seemingly evil youkai are actually really nice. This is the kind of show I was talking about when I wrote my Number 2 favorite RPG entry. It's a fun cool and creative show and I highly recommend it.

Bakuon!
So, this is a show about moes who ride motorcycles. That alone would be fine, but it goes the extra mile, not only being about that but also having a great knowledge of motorbikes and their manufacturers, sometimes going on long winded diatribes to teach you about them. This makes the show super cool. Then? The show is also really weird, with some surreal fucking jokes happening, and even a revelation that God loves motorcycles and is a suzuki fanboy. Oh and Jesus is a character. Man he's all over the place this year! Then you got these cute and unique moes, which aren't the typical moe girl archetypes you normally have. Onsa-chan is this weird frumpy girl with frizzy hair, Rin is a blond twintail but is actually a big suzuki fangirl who is the butt of all the jokes, and there's even a character who is just a female The Stig, who never talks. And, there some nice fanservice of them sometimes, oh baby!

Kyoukai no Rinne 2

What's there to say? Second season of a good show!

Ushio and Tora 2

Same here, it's just the continuation and end of the Ushio and Tora saga.

Alderamin on the Sky
A very good show with some very rare character archetypes for this type of show, some very gritty and realistic depictions of war, and a scene where the main character just chops off his finger... twice. That may not sound that great but really this a good show where events have lasting consequences, that doesn't shy away from death or injuring main characters. That can be rare these days. That aside it's an interesting story with some cool worldbuilding so it might really be worth your time! I liked it a lot.

Sweetness and Lightning

It's a cute show about a cute lil girls who bond with her daddy who recently lost his wife over learnin how to cook from this girl who's mom is Satomi Arai. It's fun and cute and heartwarming and that's really all that needs to be said.

91 Days

The best depiction of the mafia in an anime since Baccano!. It's a dark, gritty, tragic revenge story/mafia drama, and a damn good one. Angelo Lagusa has his family killed one night by traitors to the current Don. He survives, but the rest of his family does not. He later grows up and vows revenge against the now dominant Vanetti Family. To do that, he'll have to become part of the family. He even gets close to Nero Vanetti, one of the men who killed his family. The story plays out a lot how you'd expect, but that's exactly what you want in this situation. Not only that, but he has to contend with one of the best crazy motherfuckers I've seen in anime or anything in a long time Fango(last name unknown). It's a great show, which really gets you to care about these likeable scumbags before they inevitably get whacked. If you like stuff like the Godfather and Goodfellows, you'll like this show.

Poco's Udon World

Poco is an adorable little tanuki who uses his tanuki magic to become a human boy, and ends up in the care of Souta Tawara, who's come back to his home town on vacation away from his job of web design to stay at his family's old udon restaurant. The is about two things: Poco being adorable, and Poco helping Souta deal with his guilt over not carrying on the family business now that his father is dead. Mostly, though, it's about Poco being cute and making adorable noises. If, for some reason, you don't want to see that then don't watch this show. If you do you'll enjoy not only that, but also get some nice, not overbearing drama as well.

Craziest Anime of the Year:
Divine Gate

Man, this anime makes no fucking sense and I love it. You know that Santa Clause is a character in this? Yeah, really, and he fights with a nailbat that causes explosions. YES.

Best Romance/Shoujo:
Hatsukoi Monster

So, this is a show about a girl who ends up falling in love with a boy... who is actually like 12. He just looks 17. Whoops! But you know, love is blind, and it apparently can't tell ages either, so this girl(don't worry she's also a minor) still loves this boy even though he's a fucking child and acts like it. A lot of the drama comes from this idea of "does she just like him for his looks?" and "can she love someone so childish?" and her trying to work through that and get past his immaturity, because he IS a actually good and nice guy who wants to be a real man. The comedy, also, is fucking great, with some amazing jokes, parodies, and great comedic timing, which feels like a lost art these days. There are, for sure, some pedophile things in this cuz of the subject matter, but it's almost all jokes about how this girl seems to others, and also that this one guy is pretty much literally a pedo. But don't worry, he's also a punching bag and the show makes fun of him constantly. I actually really recommend this.

Underrated/Unfairly Hated Anime of the Year:
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
As stated above, people are too harsh on this show. It has fans but most people seem to write it off. I can't say I blame them, as I almost did, but I don't want people to do that. It's a good show and is worth it. If you watched this and somehow didn't like it, you better have a damn good reason. So far I have not seen any. So stop being such dicks about this show.

Ace Attorney Anime
I don't know why, but people seriously shat on this show. I know it's not an amazing adaptation, the directing was average, and the budget shoulda been higher, but wow. I mean, this is probably just people never being fucking satisfied with adapations. Basically it's like the people who always complain that an anime doesn't follow the manga right, but this time it's 90% of people because everyone has played Phoenix Wright. Oh well.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
People act fucking retarded about this show. There's not that much hate for this show, but the general consensus is this show fell apart at halfway through and became stupid and bad... which ignores this show was always stupid. This show, from the very beginning, was made to be cool regardless if it made sense. It goes out of it's way to make things cool, having the entire world work in ways to make it cooler. Why do the zombies have steel cages around their hearts? So we have to use heavy weapons to get through them. Why do we travel in trains and not any other armored vehicles? Why is everything vaguely steam punk? Why did the MC age like 10 years and have his hair and physique change because he purged the virus/curse? And why did he become half-zombie from that? The answer to this, and any question you may have, is: Because it's cool. Does it make sense? No? Well who cars its cool. The thing is, until they started sacrificing sense on an egregious level to make shit cool, no one noticed. Then they did and everyone acted like the show was suddenly bad. Now, do I think that it dropped in quality and went too far in making shit cool? Yeah. Do I think Biba was a bad villain? Yes. But please don't act like this show "became" stupid and bad, just because you lack the critical thinking skills needed to notice earlier, and the suspension of disbelief needed to accept it when you finally did notice.

Mayoiga
Another show people act retarded about. Because there was some shit in the middle section which just couldn't be taken seriously(oh my god, it's a BREST IMPLANT MONSTER!), and because some pseudo-intellectual who went to film school wrote a shitty article saying this show was an intentional comedy, meant to subvert/deconstruct horror stories, people now go around saying either it's an intentional, or worse, an uninentional comedy. They make it out like this show was not only the worst of the season, but a birdemic level so bad it's good show. Fuck. No. This show isn't amazing, that's for sure, the ending is a let down and yes some things are too silly to take seriously. But you know what? It's still good. There's some really great unnerving directing at times and overall it was a thrilling mystery that made me really wanna know what's going on and see the next episode. So, basically, fuck off.

Time Bokan 24
This one is a very literal "underrated" show. As in, this show currently has about a 5/10 aggregate score on MAL. Wow. Why? There are lot of 5s given to it, and even about 20 people scored it a 1. Normally I don't care about this sort of thing, it's all opinion and metascores don't fucking matter. But why? Why do so many people think this is mediocre, how to that many people think it's bad? What in the fuck? This show isn't some fucking masterwork, but it's a fun silly kids show and it does not deserve these harsh ratings. What the fuck?

Most Unfairly Hated Anime of the Year:
Taboo Tattoo
Here we go. Once again, this show might not be amazing. I think it loses some charm near the end, and it's got some pretty bad pacing, with some pretty big bombshell twists being rushed through. I think the execution of some of the aspects is kind not good, especially considering how unique some of them are. That said, it's an overall good show, with high quality animation and art, some cool fun shit, and is essentially good Index. But guess what? People treat this show like it's the second coming of fucking SAO. I don't get it? Do you really think it's that bad? Or is this some instance of some big memer of an anime reviewer like le demolition d or digibrony and his "anime gonzo journalism"(yes that's what he calls it) saying it's shit so everyone else just say YEAH IT SHIT I CAN'T THINK FOR MYSELF? Who knows, either way, these people are retarded.



And now, the most important part. The BEST anime of the YEAR.

Third Best Anime of the Year:
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable

LET THE VOICE OF LOVE, TAKE YOU HIIIIIIGHER. It's motherfuckin Jojo! Part 4 was a great anime which I think spanned almost all of this year. It just ended and now that it did I get to say, yeah, it was one of the best anime of the year. I'd say, so far, this might just be my favorite Jojo. I doubt that'll change, from what I know of the coming parts, but we'll find out. For now, Diamond is Unbreakable is one of the best jojos of all. I hope you have a peaceful life until part 5, and don't bite the dust.

Runner up/Second Best Anime of the Year:
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Here's a show that kinda blindsided everyone. I mean I wanted to see it because it was about a thing there are like, no other anime about: Rakugo. A performance art unique to japan, where a storyteller/comedian sits on down and tells an often really long story that has both a moral, and a punchline at the end. It's basically listening to a really long joke with mini-jokes throughout that gets you really hooked and sucked into a story at the same time. It's really cool. So basically, the story is this great drama about rakugo performers and well, I can't really explain it but it's deep and harrowing in some ways, tragic and sad in others, and sometimes heartwarming. It's a great, mature drama that you should totally watch. But it's not the best anime of the year... No, that goes to!!!!!

Anime of the Year:
Sakamoto Desu ga?

Yes, Sakamoto Desu ga? is my anime of the year. Why? Well, it's clearly the best anime of the year, and actually when I think about it, it may be one of my favorite anime of all time. I've actually edited my favorites on MAL to reflect this, I even put Sakamoto as one of my favorite characters.

Sakamoto Desu ga? is a show about the coolest dude ever, Sakamoto, a dude from the planet of coolness and the Jojo universe, who has come to our world to enroll in high school and pose really cool and just generally be handsome as fuck. He's not just cool, he's cooler than cool, he's the coolest. Don't believe me? Just watch this opening: Haven't you Heard?

Sakamoto Desu ga? is a hilarious comedy revolving around how amazingly cool and perfect this guy is in pretty much every way possible, with everyone who think they're cooler trying to out-cool him and inevitably failing and becoming friends with him... and also learning some important life lessons along the way. It is, essentially, a parody of the cool gary stu protagonists in anime and how they're really great and nice to everyone but people hate them anyway... until they lose to him and become his friend, helping him fight more guys who will learn things about themselves because of how amazing he is. The best part is that unlike how those characters usually aren't great at all, Sakamoto really is. And forgetting that, there's simply a lot of fun and silly times to be had with this show, as there are a variety of different goofy circumstances Sakamoto is in. A lot of the fun comes from the weird and unique and cooooool ways he solves these situations.

And most importantly I don't think there's really anything I don't like about this show, not a moment that's bad or not fun, not a character who isn't a great satire. This show is... as perfect as Sakamoto is. I think this one may be the actual perfect anime we all wanted! Remember when I said in my Pupa review, "fuck studio deen"? Well, they've more than made up for that now, between this and Rakugo.

That's why Sakamoto Desu ga? is my pick for Best Anime of the Year. Congratulations Sakamoto, you truly are the coolerest!

And there you have it, that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed this, please leave any comments down below!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Anime of the Year Awards 2016 Presented in 4k TruHD(TM) Part 1: Za Worsto

2016 was a terrible year, because Trump won, some celebrities died, and people were super racist and sexist which never happened in any other year. The bad aspects of this year most certainly weren't things like politics becoming an enormous fucking joke because of things like this, it wasn't all of the terrorist attacks in europe(and even a couple in the states) that killed 100+ people total, and it for sure wasn't that california will bar police from arresting child prostitues, effectively legalizing child prostitution. No, no, Carrie Fisher and Prince died, a guy you don't like was elected, and like Beth totally dissed me at the party like OMG how could she say that???

But instead of an obviously sarcastic rant about le current year, how about I actually get onto talking about anime like I'm supposed to, unlike Giant Bomb when it comes to video games this year.

First off, since we're speaking about bad things of this year, let's do the obvious and discuss some of the year's absolute worst anime. The gradual but inevitable decline and collapse of american and western civilization in general isn't all that was bad this year! Japan is also gonna collapse if they keep making anime like these!(Will contain spoilers almost assuredly):


Dropped Anime of the Year:

EDIT: Anne Happy
This was an actually fun show at first but as time went on it just kept re-using the same jokes or just plain making cliched and unfunny ones. It got boring and so I dropped it


Kumamiko.

Pedophilia and "the joke is her life is a living hell because of the other characters" the anime. I'm serious, either middle-aged to old-aged men are creaming their pants over this 12 year old girl OR someone is traumatizing this poor girl for a joke. It's not funny. Worst part is this coulda been a cute and fun little slice of life show, oops. I think the worst part is the fanbase for this, which oddly enough isn't just cringey "lolicons" but a lot of people who try to explain away the pedophilia as some kind of "deconstruction" or parody, and treat the not-funny comedy as a brilliant black comedy. No.

Joker Game.

A show made for edgy 14 year old fedora tippers, possibly by 14 year old edgy fedora tippers. Not only does the cast of 20 year olds that look like 13-15 year olds also happen to all look the same, the plot and dialogue is some of the most pseudo-deepshit I've seen in a long while. Basically the plot of this thing is some super moralfag stick up his ass military man(not necessarily a bad character type) joins up with this organization to train spies. He then proceeds to get totally pissed off and indignant that these spies are doing spy things. They scoff at him and explain the harsh dark jaded truth to him via a totally pointless spy version of poker called "the joker game" that makes no sense in context and actually wouldn't help them train as spies at all, but is claimed to be a deep metaphor for international politics. So, basically, if you're a teenager who thinks he's got the world figured out by way of just injecting your emo angst into everything, you'll probably enjoy this!

Re:Zero

Straight up did not even finish the first episode, though maybe that's because they split it into 2. It was just THAT important. Man fuck this show and the hype that surrounds it. It's a stupid self-insert harem anime that desperately tries to have an actual reason to exist by having pretentious and edgy shit happen. No thank you. Yeah, I'm sure the show with the twin loli maids is a true masterwork of art, fuck off.

HaruChika

This is another one, like Joker Game and Re:Zero where I dropped it right off. Honestly, it's not that bad of a show but it's really boring and up its own ass. It seems like it's maybe gonna be about music but it's mostly about puzzles and shit and they're really boring tittering about how smart it is kinds of things. I was interested in this because the two main characters, Haru and Chika, both have the hots for their teacher and are going after him. Not only is minors with a crush on older people a great source of drama and character development, one of the pair is a male. That's right, at the end of the first episode he states very clearly he is a homolord who wants some of that sexy teacher. How does the show use this interesting premise? Uh... I dunno there a rubix cube or somethin and like it has sentimental value but it can't be solved or something so they paint it to trick her into thinking they solved it and... uh... yeah whatever I'm done.

Mob Psycho 100

I mean I don't really need to explain this very much. This show looks like a low-rent [adult swim] cartoon that'd get canceled before the first season was over. No thank you, anime is a visual medium you have to at least pass a bar of "not looking like ass".

3-Gatsu no Lion/March Comes in Like a Lion

Okay, so, I was looking forward to an anime adaptation of this series for a while. It's by the same mangaka who made Honey and Clover, which is straight up my 6th favorite anime as of writing this. I wanted to like this show even when I heard it was gonna be animated by SHAFT. If you don't know, SHAFT has not had a good track record with me for some time now, they've churned out nothing but shit for a several years. When I saw a PV of it that looked like it wasn't gonna be a pretentious, surreal, and abstract mess like most of Shinbo's works I was hopeful. Well guess what? The first second first frame of this show is him being pretentious. And then after that there are lots of obtuse shots and no dialog for about 10 minutes. The whole thing is paced slowly and boringly with an effort to come off as deep like Shinbo always does. There are even these copious amounts of establishing shots because thats what artsy directors do right??? It's grating to watch and I just couldn't.

Bloodivores

Didn't make it past the first episode, wew lad. This is a show with a very silly name, premise, and even plot and it's super self-serious and just badly written. One of the first things they do is have a "bloodivore"(a vampire) murder a woman in broad daylight, then when the police come and rightfully beat the shit out of him the main character sits over here goin "god those fucking evil oppressor shitlords he dindu nuffin". This isn't the joke, you're supposed to agree. Not to mention our "heroes" are fucking criminals but no see they're the victims cuz they get framed for killing the hostages in a bank robbery. This show is dumb.

Disappointing Anime of the Year:
Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars

First we get a delay for like 4 months, to "fix the animation". The show comes back and looks the same, but I feel like the writers must have forgotten what they were going for because the show turns into a total mess halway through. A lame generic not-explained-at-all villain, nonsensical plot points, and what really seriously feels like a rip-off of stuff from Xenosaga, makes a pretty mediocre show oddly because it was good at first and did have some interesting concepts. Coulda been worse but wow.

MomoKuri

This show ended up floundering about after a while, especially since it introduced a girl who clearly wanted to make the main boy dump his girlfriend for her while not even mentioning that maaaaaybe that's a shitty thing to do. Just kinda got not good.

Nanbaka

This show was great and hilarious! Riiiiight up until it decided it was as good as gintama, and tried to shoehorn in a real serious plot with just the most laughable angst and "deep" lines I've seen. Gosh I just stopped caring for the last quarter of it man it was boring. You cannot make me take these characters seriously and in fact one of the jokes early on was about that. This isn't gintama, this isn't even undertale, it shoulda stayed a goofy gag comedy about sparkly bishounens.

Battery

Oof. Well, not as bad as a lot of the stuff on Noitamina's timeslot has been for a few years now but still not good. While it seems like it may be recovering and making some actually mature programming again, this show has far too many mishaps. The drama and character development started out great but over time it became muddled and nonsensical. They introduced a character who's only role was to facilitate and create drama for no explained reason. It came off as forced and badly written. Still, again, things are looking up for old Noitamina. Hey I mean they also aired Kabaneri of the Iron Fortess... though that wasn't exactly mature.

Shakunetsu no Takkyu Musume('s ending)

I really liked this show. It combines too things I like: Over the top/intense sports anime and moe slice of life. The title means something like "scorching ping pong girls", and one of the characters even says "Go! My racing, scorching heart!" at one point, so that's great already. Then you got lots of cute and fun moe girls running around smackin ping pong balls with FIRE IN THEIR HEARTS and gosh of course I'm gonna like this... it's too bad the last two episodes were crap. First they introduce a character for literally one scene to cause an internal conflict in one of the main girls so she can have the same character growth she already had, then the last episode is just more training, followed by 30 seconds of the big tournament they were gonna go too. Man wow amazing ending 10/10 I can't believe it so good so inspirational you did it.

Watashi ga Motete Dosunda/Kiss Him, Not Me!('s last few episodes)

Wew. Another fun silly show that decided no it needs to be more than just a comedy near the end. First, they undo a bunch of character growth which is always terrible, but then they give us this completely unrealistic shitty person in the form of one of the boy's brother, who causes some retarded drama for two episodes, and also locks his brother in a locker and tapes it up(which is double bad because he's got ptsd about that since he was locked in a storage shed as a kid, if the others hadn't got him out he woulda suffocated). Oh and I think the message of it was somehow the brother was trying to teach him a lesson? Like he remembers him giving him a thing he clearly wanted too when he was a kid. Like he's trying to equate giving up a present and giving up a girlfriend? Like he's trying to teach him to be more selfish but there was NO evidence to say he would be "selfless" and give up the girl he wants to his brother like what??? And then the show ends with a lame ass episode. Woo.

EDIT: Shirayuki-hime Second Season
I forgot about this. It was a pretty boring and lackluster sequel to a pretty good show. It was totally pointless and featured no progression, as well as introduced some really dumb shit that contradicts the plot or just sours some aspects about it.

EDIT: Flying Witch
Not much to say here, it started off as a fun relaxing show that ended up becoming much more boring than comfy.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2
This could be the most disappointing but it isn't all that bad so far. Really it's a minor disappointment cuz this season isn't very good and kinda feels like a cash in or a formality. The reason I'm tempted to say it's the biggest disappointment is because the first season was so good. It had a misstep at the end with them retconning some character deaths, but over all it was great. It was deep, it was dark, it was gritty. This season mostly feels like something that'd be a quick arc in one of the longer Gundam series at best. That saddens me. Also, the new OP isn't as good as this one.

Biggest Disappointment Award:
Lostorage Incited Wixoss

The reason this is the biggest disappointment is because while IBO2 is not a very good sequel, it's not that bad and still has it's moments. It doesn't feel like the people making it completely don't understand what the show is about, or worse that they didn't even watch it. You know what does? Lostorage Incited Wixoss.

This isn't even really a sequel, or a continuation, it's not even a spin-off. At best I would call it maybe a reboot of Wixoss. In fact, yeah, it feels like a crappy reboot. So lemme give you the skinny, see if you can pick up what I'm puttin down, ya dig? Copacetic. So Selector Infected and Spread Wixoss was a series that appeared at first to be a card game anime, but took a darker twist with it. While maybe not as dark as it, it kinda feels like it did what Madoka Magica tried and mostly failed to do. It wasn't about the cards really, that was just the means to the end. See, girls become selectors and they fight in card battles with their LRIGs, sapient card girls, to beat the other selectors and get their wish granted. The catch is, if you lose too much you not only don't get your wish granted, you get whatever desire or ambition you had sucked out of you. For example, let's say you wanted to be an amazing singer, that was your wish. Well if you lose, you don't just not become a famous singer, you fucking can't sing ever again. Hell maybe you won't even know what singing is. It turns out, though, that if you win, while your wish is granted, you actually switch places with your LRIG and they get to fulfill your wish/live it out instead. Oops.

So knowing that, what's the problem with Lostorage Incited? Well first off the name makes no sense. See it was called "infected" and "spread" because well, wixoss infects, and then it spreads. But incited? Well I guess that works? But hold on, it was called selector because they were selectors. What does lostorage mean? That's not even a fucking word. So right off the bat there's a problem though... the card battles are way more focused on. Originally they barely even tried to make the card battles have real rules and shit, but in this while they don't outright explain it, the logistics are way more important, where as before stuff just kinda happened. This is a problem because it makes it feel like this was made to sell the real world card game that came from the original show. This ain't yugioh. Second problem is, the way it works now is you got a coin. When you win you get a coin, and when you lose a coin disappears. The problem is that the more coins you lose, the more memories you forget. Then, when you lose all coins you lose entirely and forget who you are. There are two problems with how this works. 1. You can lose the game entirely in your first battle, since you start with 1 coin. That's bullshit. 2. The reward for getting 5 coins is you no longer have to fight in a battle that will cost you your memory. That's it. The prize is not having to be punished. Wow, amazing. Why though? The original Selector game was made by a crazy, locked up, friendless girl who wanted to give people karmic punishment. It wasn't just some shitty death game-lite like this is. That's why if you win you lose, and if you lose you lose. Here, you lose, or you win the chance not to lose. The fuck is the point? And why are they still called selectors if it's a different fucking game? Worse, there are now male selectors. Which that'd be fine if it wasn't for the fact we now have the question of where the fuck do the LRIGS come from then? The LRIGs are all female, and used to be human. So either that's not how they work anymore, or when you win the game(which I remind you means just not having to play anymore) if you're a dude you just get turned into a girl. Forgetting ALL this, the show isn't very good anyway, the writing sucks the characters suck, it doesn't even have the same atmosphere as before. I spent more time on this that I should have wow moving.

"Didn't Even Watch it LOL" Award:
Berserk. Berserk plus shitty CG? KEK no thanks man.

Some of The Worst Anime of the Year:
High School Fleet

RaTTs, experimental labrats with totalitarianistic disease, that evolved at the bottom of a submarine that sprang a leak and became mind controllers and then managed to get out because the sub resurfaced and then they took over the minds of navy captains so they could kill everyone for no reason but it's okay cause a bunch of girls training to be naval ship operators who aren't good at it and are idiots defeat them using very simple and basic tactics that didn't get them killed because the RaTTS are only smart and good at naval combat when they're up against actually trained top-tier soldiers. Also I think some girl dual wields water guns. This show is retarded.

Bungou Stray Dogs 2

So hey just fuck up the second season to a pretty good show just go ahead I don't care.
 
Occultic;Nine

God damn is this show bad. I can't even begin to explain. First off the direction is fucking horrible, The pacing is terrible and I mean fucking dialogue pacing too. They talk at a fucking rapidfire pace that doesn't leave you any time to decipher what they said, which I think they're hoping for because if you stop to think about it it'll make no fucking sense. Then of course the characters are godawful, all of them are obnoxious and unrealistic waaaaay beyond how anime characters normally are, some of the most unbelievable I've ever seen. They come off like something you'd do to make fun of anime but it's not a satire. To top it all off, it turns out this joke character was actually a descendant of Nikola Tesla, and is actually his secret daughter's soul inhabiting this descendant. Also, she has a little toy gun thing that turns out to be an important item. Also I think they're in the matrix. This show is garbage, how did this writer manage to be Steins;Gate, one of the best anime there is? I don't fucking know.

Shuumatsu no Izetta

This wouldn't be here if not for the ending. See, the main character, Izetta, sacrifices herself for the country... except she doesn't. She's fine actually, just in a wheelchair. This turned a mediocre show that was getting on my nerves into a fucking terrible one. I'm done talking about this it makes me angry.


Runner up/Second Worst Anime of the Year:
Orange

Man, I don't even know how to explain this show. Like you're gonna say "that doesn't sound that bad" but trust me, it is. So this is a show about a girl who gets letters from the future that're telling her what she needs to do to prevent the death of this guy, but even after the letter turns out to be true she still doesn't fucking do it. Then it turns out these letters aren't just to save him, it's to make sure she ends up with him instead of the guy she's married to in the future. Yes, she willed letters back in time so she could un-marry this guy. What a bitch, she even has a kid! Like wow. Better, that husband? He supports this. He wants to change the past so she doesn't get with him. He wants to be fucking CUCKED. He even says in one scene that he's sorry for taking her away from the guy. This is so fucking... like I can't even describe, I can't explain. It speaks for itself. Literal cuckoldry. What in the fuck man. And then it turns out everyone got time letters, but they somehow still are having trouble with this thing. Probably because none of them read the whole goddamn letter and just keep reading more and more as time goes on. There is critical info in there you fucking clods. God damn I hate this show.

Worst Anime of the Year:
Erased/Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.


Do I gotta explain this one? I hate this show, more than orange I hate this show. My god I fucking loathe this show. The ending pissed me off so much that I actually sat there flipping the screen off for the last 10 minutes. If you want an in-depth discussion of how awful the entire show is, go here. But I'm gonna focus on the clincher, the part that just made me wanna fucking punch whoever wrote this. Hell I might actually do it if I ever meet this guy, hopefully he'll understand. So, they beat the bad guy by tricking him into dropping the MC off of the hospital roof. You see, somehow they knew this would happen and had this whole complicated plan to get him arrested. That's bad enough but see, they make it seem like MC is killing himself so that he can have the only true victory over the bad he can, because he's the missing piece of the bad's life. He fills the hole, he's his arch nemesis and he needs him to be complete. Only by dying can you truly defeat him, only by losing him is he truly defeated. But no, fuck that, we beat him the real concrete way and not the deep psychological way by just arresting him. And then? Not only is there a rescue bed down below the bad didn't notice somehow, but the MC then fucking winks. But the bad can't see him winking from there, so there are too options: A the writing is so fucking bad he didn't realize that, or B that wink was for us the audience. He was going "heh, don't worry, I didn't die I beat the bad in the end cuz I'm the great hero aren't I cool?". It pisses me off. Then it goes into some pseudophilosophical ranting about how believing is the hope that we can believe or some shit. Then a rather confusing thing happens because I don't really know when the ending is taking place, but regardless I think MC is gonna fuck a teenage girl as an adult. Also, there's graffiti that says RE:RE, which is the name of the OP. Fuck this show I wanna kill it I wanna make it not exist. I'm gonna have to go back in time, yes, to the days before it was made... then I'll stop it. That's right! AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

And there you have it, part 1 of the anime of the year, the worsts. I hope you enjoyed, please leave any comments down below!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Free Steam Game: Minds Eye (review)

So about a week or so ago, I downloaded a free game from steam, called Minds Eye(sic). Now, obviously, it's a free game from steam and thus probably not good. It wasn't and I'm not bein harsh here, that's not what this is for. In fact I wanna say the guy who made this seems to genuinely want to make a good horror game and this was just a prototype. He accepted all the criticism of this game and made note of it and will probably make something less shit when he makes his actual game. So really this isn't even criticism of the game, it's not really a review.

I just wanna laugh at this thing because damn man, it is hilarious. It's not even all that bad it's just funny.

So what is this game anyway? Well it's first person walking simulator horror game. You know a rip off of PT basically. You wake up in a house and things are spooky and eventually a monster comes after you and junk. But, well, we need to take this one step at a time.

The first thing you'll notice about this game is that the voice acting is terrible. There are 3 people who speak in this game, all 3 by the guy who made this I presume. Only done with some kinda weird "I'm doing voice but I'm not good at it" deep voice. It sounds like the kind of voice acting you'd hear in The Town with No Name or Psycho Killer. Like it's BAD. You wake up to hearing this on the radio and the voice isn't the worst part of it, it's a really deadpan recounting of a recent murder case on the news where the guy goes "there was a okay now what was it let me get the script here". Then your character talks and it's the same guy doing the same voice and it's just... just wow. That's all I can say about it. I don't think it's lazy I think this guy just straight up sucks. Next time hire someone who isn't terrible like you are dude.

Then you begin to play the game and realize there's nothing to really play. What you do for most of this game is walk around your house over and over until something happens. I realize that's basically what PT is but you at least have to figure out how to make the thing happen there, here you just walk back and forth and eventually it happens. Also there seems to be other things to do, but not really. You pick up a teddy bear and it says this is a collectable but I only found one, the one I picked up that told me there were more. There's a pair of wire cutters in sink room number 2(not bathroom, neither of them have a toilet or bath/shower) but you can't pick them up, I tried. I pushed literally every key on my keyboard and none did shit. I kept going back at different points to see if I could use them but no.

As you walk around your fairly small area, doing nothing aside reading a total of two notes, things begin to happen. Things such as... chairs getting stacked on each other! And uhhhh a PICTURE falls off the WALL. And the lights go out OOOOOOH. But oh, when the lights go out you have to go put a fuse back in the fuse box which is... in your... bathroom? Well when you do that you get attacked by a

by a

by a zombie. Gorilla. A zombie gorilla. I don't know why, but that's what happens.

And then you go back to walking around doing nothing while THINGS happen, and you see like shadows of the zombie gorilla that flicker out. Eventually a door that wasn't there before opens up, you go down it into the basement, and you see the thing that makes this game worth playing. Why it's not just some shitty game, and it's a hilarious one.

First off you go down in there and the game tells you to find 3 computers, and when you find one you go and hold down a key for 5 seconds to hack it. Yes, you go and hack computers for no reason. These computers are mounted on the wall, also for no reason. Oh and guess what? That gorilla chases you while you look for these "computers" and hack them. He runs after you, and his running animation is just the best fucking thing ever. It's a god damn laugh riot. I can't explain it I really can't because it's unexplainable. The best I can do is say when he runs at you his arms flail backwards and wobble around, as if the programmer completely missed something and just let the arms loose to be at the mercy of unity's physics engine. It's great. He just flails at you. And even then it's a really bad like 2 frames of animation run too like it's just plain baffling. It's bad man, it's really bad.

So you're chased by an adventure time character, who is a zombie gorilla, that keeps telling you "get over here" and "hey" in that same bad voice from before, while you hack computers mounted on the wall by holding down a key for 5 seconds, in the basement, so you can escape from this nightmare world of your dreams.

Oh yeah, that's right. I guess the story of this is that the guy you're playing is in a coma or something and he's trying to wake up, but gorilla man over here doesn't want you to, like he's your Pyramid Head and he's trying to keep you from leaving. So I guess the way to get out is to hack computers in your basement. I really don't know because I couldn't get past the computer hacking part, I could only find 2 of them, and the chase is so poorly programed that it's super unfair, you basically have to know exactly where you're going and exactly where he's gonna be or you can't do it. I did look up some shit on youtube to see what happens after that and I guess you shoot some soul orbs or something and then go back to the house, but the gorilla zombie chases you with a chainsaw this time and eventually you're gonna get out but it stops you again or something? I dunno, it's just bad. It's really bad.

It's funny bad though, you should totally play it. Like I'm sitting here I don't know what to say, you gotta see it to believe it. The horror shit is so fucking lame, the game is bad and you just do nothing until something happens, and when something does happen it's dumb. It's really badly made it leaves me awestruck, and you should totally check it out!

It's only about 45 minutes long and you'll get to experience some plain old really bad shit, a guide of what not to do when you make a game.

I give this game Harambe out of PT.

Announcement

From now on I'll be using this blog entirely and pretty much abandoning the other one. I'll probably also change the name of this one to reflect the fact that I'll be putting more than just reviews here but I dunno maybe not I'm lazy and I doubt anyone cares.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top 10 RPGs

Hello and welcome to my list of my top 10 favorite RPGs. I decided to have it as "RPGs" in general and not specifics like turn-based, as this way I can put SRPGs(strategy role playing games) as well as non turn-based RPGs that wouldn't really count as Action RPGs.  One game per series as I could probably fill up the list with series entries.

I like RPGs, they're my favorite genre of games. Probably because the first console game I played was like, Final Fantasy 7. That influenced so many things about me, most of all my taste in games, character types, and aesthetics. Because of that, I think, I set out to try and play as many RPGs as I could. And I've played quite a lot. I bet if you made some statistics, like a pie chart or something, the majority of the games I played would fit in the RPG category, especially turn based JRPGs. So yeah, I really fucking love them. But what are my favorites? Well, that's what I'm here to tell you! Without further ado, here they are:

10. Final Fantasy X

At number 10, we have Final Fantasy number 10. I'd say it's kinda hard to pick which Final Fantasy game, when I could just as easily say my favorite of the series is 5, 7 or 9. However I think the honor has to go to 10 since it's one of the more shit-on entries in the series and where a LOT of people say "Final Fantasy is Dead". I mean sure, 5 is unfairly hated(I can't hear your stupid complaints over the job system and Faris the badass pirate lady), 10 is just as much misunderstood and is also something I think I like a fair bit more. The deciding point for anyone on whether or not FFX is great or shit is whether or not you like the characters. Indeed, X is probably the most character driven of all the final fantasy games. While as time went on they all started leaning toward that, I think this one really was the most. Not one single event happens without there being a down period where all the characters take in what just happened, where you talk to them about it. The story always puts how the characters are reacting to something above what just happened. This can cause people who don't like character driven stories(read: idiots) to constantly be complaining that everyone is just standing around talking instead of acting and it can make people who already don't like the characters hate them even more since they're so focused on. If you're like me however and like character driven stories and like the characters, you should be one of the people who like this game. Personally I think the story, while having plenty of plotholes and contrivances, is incredibly well done and is one of the best of this type of story in general, very well executed. To top it all off, it has one of if not the best turn-based combat systems in any RPG. It's that style of gameplay pretty much perfected, can't really do it better than that.



9. Valkyria Chronicles

Wanna play probably the greatest strategy role playing game of all time? Not even of the non grid based ones, just straight up best. Well look no further than Sega's Valkyria Chronicles. You like history? The setting is pseudo-WWII, including a race of people hated across the continent that are shoved into concentration camps. Like the military? Well it's all old style(with some liberties taken with the tech) military combat. Like SRPGS? Well this is a good one for you. A fun and challenging strategy system that, for the most part, requires you to be calm and think your situation through. Careful planning and patience are rewarded. The story is of a small militia platoon called Squad 7, of the Gallian Military. Gallia is a small country in Europa, and one of the few nations left opposing the empire threatening to conquer all of the land. What starts as a small resistance ends up being the deciding factor in the war. It may not be the grandest story, or have a particularly well developed big bad, but it excels in being a well written war drama, with many emotionally powerful moments in the plot as well as lots of character building based on in-world stuff, like the hatred of the "darscens" which are believed to have caused a great catastrophe in the past. It's a story rife with drama, tragedy, and political intrigue. And the gameplay, oh boy. It's a game where the act of playing it can fill you with various emotions. It's great at conveying a sense of dread when you're being overwhelmed, hope when you're coming back from defeat, and triumph when you're winning or have won. Not to mention you've got a wonderful and endearing bunch of characters to control in your squad, all of which are fun to command. All units have CP(command points), so you get a certain amount each turn. With these you send your units out to fight, and they each have a set amount of stamina they can use to move with, when that runs out they have to stop. You can then have them take and action like shooting or throwing grenades, maybe even fixing a tank or healing an ally. Then you end their turn and select another. And your enemy gets a turn too. The combat system may seem simple, and really it is. That's where the fun and complexity comes from, is dealing with CP management as well as enemy attacks. You gotta be careful and plan ahead, or you'll end up dying.

 (#Squad7)

8. Chrono Cross

While I certainly like Chrono Trigger a good deal, and would say it's very good and well paced story, I really vastly prefer Chrono Cross. This game has a lot of flaws, which have been talked about at length by plenty of retro games critics and message board dwellers alike over the years, so I don't really need to go into that. I'll admit: The combat system, while unique and interesting, makes pretty much every random encounter ridiculously easy. The characters aren't very well developed, especially for a JRPG, because there are just way too many of them(like, 30 or 40 recruitable members). The plot is super pretentious, especially later on, and at certain points it even attempts to have an environmental/social message about how humans can't live without killing. But it doesn't matter. I fucking love it and all it's convoluted deepshit glory. The boss fights at least are challenging as well as fair, the combat system is a lot of fun and difficult to master, the story is crazy but it's got so many interesting concepts and is so hard to wrap your head around that even after playing it 3 or 4 times I still don't fully understand it. And then add in the fantastic musical score(especially dat opening theme), as well as just the great presentation in general(wonderful pre-rendered backgrounds, a great atmosphere, good art direction), it's just one of the best fucking RPGs of all time as well as one of the best games on the playstation. If you for some reason have not played it but want to, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. Unravel its mystery, and save not only the world, but all worlds. But remember: some forces are too powerful for death to stop.




7. Xenosaga Trilogy
 
Is it fair to list this as one thing when it's 3 games in the same series? Well A: it's my list so yeah who cares and B: they're all kinda one game. Or at least, one story. Hell, they're even titled "episodes". While each one is a standalone game they're all part of a bigger whole, the "Xenosaga" if you will(teehee). So yeah, I'll count them as one thing. I mean it's, unfortunately(as of "xenoblade"), the "xeno" series anyway, and since I'm not including Xenogears(also pretty good) in this I'd say it's okay. Xenosaga is one of the best RPGs of all time simply for the fact that it has such a huge scale world and scope to it, taking place in a vast sci-fi universe that has some fan-fucking-tastic world building. Mecha, cyborgs, artificial humans, warp drive, futuristic high tech cities, lasers, all sorts of cool sci-fi shit exists in this world. Add in a cast of fun and downright strange characters(one of them is implied to be literal actual Jesus) as well as a damn good and engaging battle system(though 2's was shit) fantastic music(for episode one, the talented Yasunori Mitsuda, and for 2 and 3, the great Yuki Kajiura), really damn good graphics, fantastic direction and great designs and it gets even better. Sure, this game is mostly cutscenes. In fact there tons of cutscenes, sometimes you get like 5 minutes of gameplay before another 15 minute cutscene. But they're all really GOOD often EXCITING AND TENSE cutscenes. The story is another super convoluted plot with tons and tons of biblical and other religious references, as well as influences from existentialism, Jungian psychology, nihilism and the works of Friedrich Nietzsche in general(all the episodes are named after his books) and all sorts of other things ensuring that no matter what it'll be interesting, crazy, and exceedingly grandiose. There's hardly a single moment in all of the hundred+ hours of these games that I'd call boring, it's all really great and makes you want to figure it all out, while developing the characters and their very natural well done angst all the while. Honestly it's kinda like if you made Neon Genesis Evangelion into a JRPG.



6. Fate/Extra

I used to be more into the Fate serious but, the more I think about it the worse it gets. It's not outright bad, like honestly if you accept the story is pretty much garbage it's totally an okay action anime. Obviously don't read the VN like people say, it's fucking boring. Kinoko Nasu I think possibly knows how to write well, he just chooses not to 90% of the time.  Fate/Zero was good but he didn't write that, Gen Urobuchi did. That's why I refuse to believe Nasu wrote this one either, and instead had a really good ghostwriter for it. Because Fate/Extra has one of the best stories in any RPG I've ever played. Gameplay wise it's not much, though bossfights are pretty good. It's a interesting battle system to be sure: It's basically rock, paper, scissors. You've got Attack, Defend, and Break. Attack is an attack and Defending can block it, as well as open your opponent up to a counter. Defend can be broken by a Break, which causes you damage. But break can be stopped by an Attack, as the Break assumes you're defending and goes full forces leaving you open to an attack. If you and your opponent both do the same action you tie, and in the event of an Attack or Break, you both take damage. Each round of combat your servant gets 6 turns, and you can take one turn where you cast a spell or use an item. If you get 3 successful attacks in a row, you can do an EX attack. It's fairly simple and not really much to write home about, though it's unique for sure. Now, the story on the other hand, is damn good. Tons of magi have gathered to take part in a battle for access to the Holy Grail, a supercomputer on the moon. This supercomputer has put together a virtual reality world for this contest, where magi will be given a servant(a digital recreation of a legendary hero) to fight for them and an opponent each week for 7 weeks that they have to fight. The story follows this formula: you get an opponent, learn as much as you can about them, and then fight and kill them. The story constantly gives you moral and philosophical questions surrounding this, including whether or not it's right for you, someone who actually does not even remember who you are and thus have no reason to seek the Holy Grail, to be killing these people who do have often very serious reasons to, just to survive. But even more than that, going into such concepts as complacency, whether or not we should relinquish our freedom in order to live in peace, whether or not it's right to sacrifice others for a greater cause, and interestingly whether or not war might actually be a necessary evil. All the while it builds up the dynamic between you and your arch nemesis, who has a very thematically relevant character and motivation. Theme is very strong in this game, and the themes are things that are legitimately important philosophical dilemmas. Not to mention you get to really know and bond with your player character, your servant, and your ally characters. There are no villains in this game, at worst there are people who you have to kill to survive or who you have to fight for purely ideological reasons. It's a game about the future being built upon sacrifice, about how maybe life isn't worth living if there are no struggles, and about what to do when thrust into a life or death situation. And most importantly: Who are you? It's not something you should overlook. 

It's too bad the sequel game seems like total shit and the anime is gonna be made by Shaft.



5. Tales of Graces f

Boy oh boy, what do I say about this one. This series is why I limited myself to just one game per series. Otherwise, Tales of Legendia, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Xillia, maybe even Tales of Zestiria, and this one would take up half of it. Hell honestly I even like Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Eternia. I really wanna play Tales of Rebirth somehow too. I love the tales series. But which is my favorite? That's probably Graces. Plot wise it's nothing spectacular. The actual events that unfold aren't that great, but like FFX its attention to character is what sets the story above the rest. Sure, all tales games are character focused. Sure, a lot of them have really great characters that are well developed, have interesting backstories and character arcs, and are just really endearing. Graces' characters are the most of that. They're all really great, funny, unique, well developed, well characterized, have great focused on backstories, and cool and fun and interesting and just super enjoyable. Even the one character I don't like is still at least alright. The story is built upon character dynamics, it even begins as a story of the downfall and slow crazification of a good close friend of the protagonist. Said protagonist, Asbel, refuses to give up on his friend and tries to save him. From there it transitions into a story about a country we're at war with and how they're not actually bad people, and are mostly only doing what they are due to the terrible state their country is in. It turns out everyone in the this world is just fighting to survive and for their people, even if they may be doing it in some questionable ways. Then in transitions into a story of a poor young child abused by science who ended up cursing the world, and turns out to be the driving force behind a lot of the events of the plot. More than that even, as one common theme, friendship is very important. Sure friendship is always important in JRPGs, but rarely is it so focused on and well developed. The game's tagline is even "Bonds of Friendship are Eternal". And it's not just about friendship, it's about bonds that can't be broken no matter how much they're strained. And trust me, they're strained a lot. It's about learning what friendship is, it's about a realistic but strong friendship, it's about how relying on your friends may be the only way save them. Friends are important and you need to remember that no-one can do great things alone. No matter how strong you are, without a friend to support you you'll crumble. But if your supports are strong enough, not even the flames of war nor the powers of a god can topple you. And hey, how about that battle system? It's just about the best battle system tales has ever had, it's incredibly fun and intuitive while also being very challenging and rewarding mastery. Once you get good at it you can chain together hundred hit combos that do tens of thousands of damage, maybe even upwards of 100,000. It's crazy. It words differently than other tales games, and even games that came after it that work on similar systems. You have AC, which allows you to perform combat actions. This includes martial artes, and burst artes. Martial artes are how you attack normally, and burst artes are your special attacks or your magic. All artes are assigned to a face button and a directional stick press, but you need to set your special attacks. It's best to set a burst on the direction the attack actually moves to make it more natural. You need to chain together regular attacks and special attacks with much greater timing, planning, and flow than any other tales game, and doing it properly can make you be a near unstoppable badass as you gain AC back by performing better, theoretically allowing you to continue attacking until your enemy is dead. However that won't work for most bosses, this is the most challenging and strategic of all the tales games and you need to stay on your toes. The game is so fun and addictive it's one of the few games I've put 100 hours into, and I remember staying up really late during the winter and playing it, going over to the window and opening it to let the chilly air wake me up a bit so I could go back to playing. It's a damn good game and I highly recommend it.


4. Mother 3

Oh look, it's Mother 3, a game that never came out in america despite nintendo planning to do it for a long ass time and then just... kinda not. Luckily for you, GBA emulators are super easy to use and can run on even shitty computers, and there is a high quality fan translation available for download. Just pirate yourself a ROM and get the translation, boot it up in a GBA emulator of your choice, and enjoy the ride. And boy, what a ride it is! Now ya see, the Mother/Earthbound series is pretty shit as a game. Even the old Dragon Quest games had more exciting battle graphics than this. Like there's no animation, you don't really see your attacks, maybe you'll get some shitty representation of you PSI, but it's just static sprites and some wobbly backgrounds. Wooooo. If I wanted to use my imagination I wouldn't be playing a videogame. But that said, everything else about the games(save for the first one) is just damn good. Earthbound was a fun humorous experience with an enjoyably silly but still fairly serious story about a young boy and his friends hitting monsters and crazy people with household objects and fireblasts until they eventually kill a god-baby in the future. Y-yeah. It was good. You know what was way better? Mother 3/Earthbound 2(as it was going to be called here in the states). It's damn good, really good. Fantastic, as a story. Twists and turns, tragedies, hardships, jokes, villains, heroes, it's got it all! It's an extremely well paced and well written story, with a great atmosphere and a constant sense that something is wrong even when it seems like it's not. It's got a fun cast of colorful characters, takes you along for a really great emotional ride, and is one of the best times I've had with a game ever. I honestly can't say much more about it without spoiling things, there's just so many great things about it. It starts off in the peaceful village of Tazmilly, which is invaded by soldiers called Pigmasks, who start fires, unleash monsters, and transform the local animals into aggressive cyborgs. Eventually, they even successfully take over the place and change the villager's lives entirely. For the better, or for the worse? For now that doesn't really matter, as your brother has gone missing and it seems the only way find him is to go on a quest. But what happens will change everything. The world is soon to end, only you can stop it, and you may have to make it past more than just physical challenges as well. What secrets does Tazmilly hold? Who is causing all of this? Who is this mysterious masked man? Then answers will shock you, I'm sure. I'd say it's probably one of the most moving stories ever told in an RPG, seriously. I guarantee that despite the simple graphics you'll get immersed in this story, and compelled to get to the end and solve the mystery. It's also not really that long for this kind of game, I think maybe 20-30 hours? Totally worth the time. It's a unique story told in a really endearing and fun way, and it'll make you feel all kinds of emotions. As someone with a cold dead heart I like that! It's a very unique game that incorporates plenty of plot points and elements of the previous entries to create a fantastic and rather sad finale to a mostly goofy story. Don't even get me started on that ending man, who knows what the fuck happened there. Really, even if you don't like it this is something that should be experienced by all, just to say that you have. Who knows, you might just feel the way I do about it. Also there's a monkey you can play as and one of your main party members is a dog.




3. Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, is the best game nobody's played. Calling it a cult game would be stretching it, and fans of Breath of Fire generally see it as an abomination that killed the franchise. Possibly due to being nothing like the others, to the point it wasn't even called "five" in the states. I, as well as a few other people, consider it's departure from the other games a good thing. While the other BoF games are certainly good, solid JRPGs, they're fairly standard. As a JRPG fan I like them a good amount but they aren't what I'd call my favorites. They're the kind of game you think of when you think "a pretty good RPG". Dragon Quarter isn't really what you think of when you think of RPGs at all. The plot is small scale, the battle system is not standard turn-based, there are few party members, it's not that long, saving is limited, it takes place in a dystopia, and if you use your special "hero of the story" powers too much you'll fuckin die. I could go on. The game is very difficult, it's a mix of survival parts of survival horror, and the regular RPG stuff. Like I said you can't save unless you have save tokens, money and items are limited, if you're not prepared and don't think your way through you'll die, and strategizing and being efficient extends throughout the whole game. You have a "d-counter", which increases when you use your dragon powers. If it reaches 100%, you die, game over, go back to last save. But it never resets, never goes down, only ever goes up. Meaning if you die from it, chances are it's too high already and your run is fucked. Any boss can be easily killed with it, but it'll quickly shave away at your life. So you've gotta only used it when absolutely necessary. And with the combat system, that can be a challenge. It's a strategy RPG, with AP(action points) used to move and attack. As long as you have AP you can do both, but once you run out you have to end your turn. Enemies also have this, so it's possible for them to just lay into you while you have to just take it. But you can, with proper planning, lay into them as well and wreck their shit. Fights, especially bossfights, are constant struggles of who's more skilled, rather than brute force competitions. Later bosses even have a shield that absorbs damage up until a certain point, meaning you have to do more damage than their shields can take per turn to hurt them. But the thing is, once you get the hang of it, it's not that hard. It's a game you have to be good at in order to beat, and if you're not? That's okay! When you die, you're given the option to start over from the beginning with certain things carrying over. One of these things is "party XP", items that can be used on any character to level them up. Not to mention, when you start over again you can get tons of new scenes via the "Scenario OverLay(SOL)" system. Similar to how new game plus adds tons to the story of NieR, these scenes expand upon and deepen the already well told story. And what is the story? Mankind lives underground, so long they're not even sure there's a sky or even more to the world than just the underground. People are given D-Ratios(which is actually likelihood of linking with a dragon), with the higher the ratio equating to the better the life you'll live. Human Worth is quantified. Low-Ds, those with low D-ratios, live in squalor they have no hope of leaving. The air is polluted and people are slowly dying. The government manipulates and does terrible things to its people. Ryu, a member of a police force called Rangers, ends up saving a test subject for a type of human purification device called Nina, and ends up working with a rebel from the terrorist organization called Trinity. Ryu desperately wants to save Nina, even if it means betraying the Rangers and the government. So, he sets out to try and reach the fabled "surface", where Nina will be able to live, as she'll die if she continues to breath the polluted air. But, does Ryu want to do this of his own will, or by the will of the dragon Odjn, with whom he managed to link despite his very low D-Ratio. The story isn't particularly complex, or really all that deep. It is, however, told incredibly well, with a writing and atmosphere to it that makes it so much more effective. It also features one of my favorite things: Friends ending up enemies who are destined to kill each other. It's a really great game and it's criminally underrated. It's not so hated now as it used to be but it's still not fondly remembered as a classic, which I think it should be. The only real problem with the game is that it looks like shit, even for PS2. Seriously, it is an ugly game. Go play it!

"Man will gain wings, and the sky will return to the world."

 

2. UNDERTALE

WEE-OOH, WEE-OOH. WHAT'S THAT OH THAT'S JUST THE UNDERTALE ALARM SHIT BAIL OUT BAIL OUT ABORT MISSION WE GOT A LIVE ONE OVER HERE, NUKE THE SITE FROM ORBIT IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE.

I'm sure that's what you, dear reader, are thinking right now. Well I don't blame you. I feel your pain brother! I've yet to meet an Undertale fan that I don't fucking hate. Even some Steven Universe fans I can at least tolerate. I could go on and on for hours about how much I hate all the different subclasses of Undertale fan, cuz trust me there are tons of them. The study of Undertale fans should be taught in college there are so many different types of mouthbreathers. But I mean you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. I feel great shame for liking this game because of them. It's a fandom full of sjws, furries, children, manchildren, cringey autists, memers, and pretty much everything else that makes the internet terrible. Because of that it's really hard to admit that I even like this game, let alone talk about it. But for the sake of this list, forget the fans; how is Undertale as a game? Well, really fuckin good. Fair warning, if you don't like Mother 3 you're probably gonna not like this game. It's no secret that it lifts a good chunk of it's tone, atmosphere, plot structure, and even humor from Mother 3. It lifts a lot from a lot of things. That's why I like it. This game may have been praised for being "original" and all that but the fact of the matter is, people like me enjoy things that are very familiar, yet just different enough to be worth it. Undertale is one of those things. I won't say it does nothing original but the main reasons I like it is because it reminds me of JRPGs I love so much. Yes, here we have the real reason this is "RPGs" and not "JRPGs". Even then though, it may as well be one. It's got the visual style and combat graphics of the Mother series(though I'd prefer it had it's own style), a plotline ripped ripped right out of a Tales game and oddly enough the entry above this(which makes me feel like Toby Fox, creator of Undertale, was a fan of that game), setting and lore and even story themes that reminds me of pretty much any modern japanese story with youkai in it, and a myriad of other things. It's pretty fuckin cool, like some huge fuckin' nerd made a game trying to be like all the games he likes. But that's just story. Game wise I mean it's not that impressive. Like I said it's very mothery in gameplay, but what I like about the gameplay is how it integrates with the story. Undertale makes great use of the fact it's a game, not only have lots of important character development and exposition told through in-battle text bubbles, but also through all sorts of well implemented meta-narrative tools. Saving and Loading your game are real, in-universe things you're doing. Gaining a higher level means it's easier for you to kill as you're getting more used to it. The main antagonist crashes the game before you fight him on the Normal Ending route and continues to do so every time you lose. Your very actions as a player affect the story, to the point where there are 3 different story routes determined not by dialogue choices, but simple actions. Not to mention a lot of deeper aspects that are bigger spoilers than what I just told you. It's a game that gets you immersed in it and makes you even more invested in the story. The story of which, while having some bumps along the way, is still really fucking good. The characters are fun and endearing, it has tons of philosophical themes, the plot is moving and emotional not to mention sometimes very funny and uplifting. It also happens to be one of the few games where I'd say having a silent protagonist is warranted. Then of course you have the soundtrack, which only boosts the atmosphere, emotion, and intensity. Sure, some of the songs aren't great on their own, but every track fits the mood of what's it's used in perfectly. I could link you all of my favorite tracks but that would drag this on even longer, so instead I'll give you the only song you need: Track 71: Undertale. Like I said though, it's not without plenty of faults for sure. While I can't note any more than a few bad memes, sometimes the jokes can be bad and memey and cringey. There's an entire "town" in the game full of lol so randum joke characters and I hate them. Depending on your corniness tolerance and suspension of disbelief, the story could either be great like it was for me or downright laughable. But I'd still say it was a really special game for me and one I'm glad I played. If you've ever had even a slight inclination to play this game, go ahead and do so. At worst you wasted 10 bucks and 150 mb of HDD space.



1. Shin Megami Tensei: P4 -Persona 4-

Oh boy here we go the number 1 mother fucking Persona fucking 4 motherfucker. What do I even say about this? No really, what? Everyone who's played this game likes it. It was a huge thing when it game out. It got an even better version on the Vita that I want to play someday, a TV anime, a movie recut of the TV anime, an anime based on the extra stuff from the vita game, a fighting game, and a fucking rhythm game. Like wow. It's a big deal, plenty has been said, everyone has pretty much only positive things to say about it. I'm beating a dead horse here, but maybe I can put my unique spin on this to explain why it's not only my favorite RPG of all time, but for sure in my top 10 games in general. Hell it's in the top 5 at least.

Persona 4 is the only other game where a silent protagonist is warranted in my eyes. Undertale uses it for some really good stuff that goes into spoiler territory and also bolsters the meta-narrative, but P4 used it as a way to add to the overall experience. See, you name the character, decide aspects of his personality, choose what he says, you basically are the main character of this game. While spin offs/ adaptations give him a defined personality, the main game itself doesn't. This is to allow you to insert yourself into this story better. Not because it wants you to partake in some mindless escapism, but because it gives you a closer connection to the cast and plot. These are your friends you're trying to rescue and help through their teenage angst. You are trying to solve this mystery. You have to face yourself. You become a part of this story and it becomes all the more powerful because of it. The overall theme of friendship and truth rings much louder when instead of vicariously and passively moving this story along, you actually take part in it. It really gives you the feeling that you are making these friends, crafting these bonds, causing these people to grow. You gotta accept the truth.

Truth is a big theme of P4. It asks the philosophical question that has been asked for many many years: Is it better to live a lie where everyone is happy, or a truth where no one is? It goes further than that, asking if you can actually be happy without accepting the truth, or if saying you're happy in that case is also a lie. It's one of the reasons I fairly strictly and without question believe that the truth is always preferable. P4 also makes commentary on how that isn't the case for most people. People would rather turn away from the truth, create a comfortable lie, hide from things that are difficult to accept. Worse than that, even if their lies or rumors are actually worse, they'll believe that instead if it's more interesting to believe. This seems to be the case for the world today. Obviously people have always been like this, especially making up lies to make themselves feel better, but a particular type of person prefers to believe blatant falsehoods and twistings of truth over reality because it's far simpler to accept for them and they can continue to be outraged and further shut out opposing opinions and even people. I'll leave it up to you to decide who I'm talking about. What this game goes into is now and will sadly always be relevant. The main antagonist of the game is actually all about this, as she actually wants to give people what they desire. She sees the lies and deceptions and delusions people come up with, and has it in her head this is simply what people want. So she devised a way to take that to an extreme, trying to fill the world with "comforting fog" that would let people live in blissful ignorance like they wanted. Our heroes, who have since learned you can't just turn your eyes away from reality, decide that they don't like this and are gonna stop it. The main antagonist says that they're going against the wishes of humanity, and will have to prove themselves worthy. One boss calls our group "children of the new potential". That's another theme of this game: potential. People have the potential to become "seekers of truth" but they often don't. However, it might just be the duty of those who don't reject reality to make those who do accept it, whether they like it or not. But enough pseudo-intellectual sputtering. I've told you what the game is "about", but what's it about? Well, it's a supernatural murder mystery. You take on the role of Yuu Narukami(or at least that's his canon name), a transfer student to the small town of Inaba. Soon after you arrive you there's a murder. And then another. You end up getting involved in the investigation of these murders but only because you realize there's a connection between them and "the world inside the TV", which for some reason you are able to enter. With the help of a denizen of the TV world and your friends, you try to rescue people who have been thrown inside to die at the hands of strange creatures called "shadows" by the killer. Said people end up confronting their own shadow, which inevitably forms a boss fight, and once accepted turns into a Persona. You do this several times, learning more about the characters(including characters that don't participate in the plot), the mystery, and the weird supernatural shadows and the TV world. So basically, the story is pretty fucking sweet. As for gameplay, it's part of the SMT series, and more specifically the Persona subseries. This means that strategy is pretty important, including the fact that enemy weakness, status effects, and buffs/debuffs are actually pretty important. When an enemy is hit with it's weakness or a crit, it's knocked down, when all enemies are knocked down you can do an all out attack and hit all of them. It's pretty cool and there's even a boss that requires you to do it to beat it. But why do I like this game so much? Well if all the story and themes weren't enough, the characters are some of the most endearing and fun and cool I've ever seen in a game or any piece of fiction really. They do such a great job at them, making them kind of annoying to outright obnoxious when you first meet them, to being great an amazing through the power of character growth. Each one has problems, hang ups, angst and insecurities that hinder them in some way, and a huge part of the game is helping them through that while learning more about them and building your bonds with them. That's right, it's another JRPG about friendship! But it's done so damn well, as building and continuing friendships is not just a focus but an actual game mechanic. When you aren't solving the mystery by dungeon crawling, you're hanging out with friends and completing their individual stories. You're rewarded not only with EXP boosts, but powerful personas and one of my favorite moments of the game. Said moment happens when the Big Bad has almost beaten you... and your friends all call out to you and encourage you to get back up and fight. You do so, taking massive blow after massive blow. You toss off the special glasses they use to see through the fog in TV world, and use one final attack to defeat the enemy. You throw those glasses away because you don't need them anymore to see the truth.

Add in the fact it's got a great fuckin cool as shit atmosphere, lots of fun side stuff to do, great humor and so many endearing qualities including it's funky soundtrack, and god dammit you got one of the best games of all time. Just ask Jeff Gerstmann and Vinny Caravella! I really can't wait to play The Golden version.



And there you have it! Those were my top 10 RPGs. What to do you think? Are you mad Undertale is on here. Do you think Persona 4 is overrated? Did FFX ruin Final Fantasy(it didn't)? Is Xenosaga too pretentious? Is Chrono Cross a shit? Or maybe there are just some games you think shoulda been on this list but weren't. Whatever you think, please tell me in the comments!


Unless it's that Tales of Graces isn't good.