Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Anime: Black Rock Shooter(TV)

Okay, this is gonna be short, as this is a short show(only 8 episodes, weird huh?).

 Basically, it's a retelling of the story from the OVA. The same characters, and some new ones, go through troubles and somewhere in another world alternate versions of themselves do battle. But then there's a twist and, well, that'd be spoiling it.

I have to say, there were some inconsistencies that really bothered me, mostly stemming from the explanation of the "other selves" this anime went with. I don't think it's bad, but it does create some problems as some things with them don't make sense when we consider them a "being who shoulders your grief". In the end I think they couldn't quite decide WHAT they wanted BRS to be. In the OVA it was implied to be something similar, but since they didn't outright state anything there weren't inconsistencies, because we weren't 100% on what it's supposed to be. Also, rather than making it in anachronic order, having the BRS fights happen DURING the events makes some things seem iffy. In the OVA, since everything we saw happened AFTER the real world events, it made more sense when you thought about it. There is also the problem of it being angsty and borderline emo(much like the OVA, which I compared to a Makoto Shinkai film). Basically, while it's less confusing then the OVA(which you have to be a special type of strange to understand the first time through), it has a not very good explanation.

That said, I still rather enjoyed it, especially around the last 3 episodes, which actually explained some things and were really well done. Also, the fights were well animated and felt good, and Kuroi's awesome "your powers combined/power of friendship" attack that the end was pretty awesome.

But it is really melodramatic. In a bad way.

3/5

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Anime: Persona 4 Special

Uuuuuuughhhhh...

Where do I start?

This was a huge mess, and it's a big let down. Objectively it's not terrible, but it certainly isn't good. Subjectively, however, it's a horrible.

Okay, so it starts off with one of those "in the middle of things" with Margaret attacking Yu. Good start, a nice narrative method and it looks like they'll fit Margaret's Battle in there. But wait, what does that have to do with Izanami? Doubts crept in. After the OP, Yu and friends are having a going away party for Yu. Yu get's some mail. They need to get some stuff from the store so Nanako and Yu go and get it while the rest finish preparing the party. Yu is then suddenly is back at the beginning. He decided to open the mail he got this time and it's from Adachi, just like in the game. While they think about who could be the really real culprit, Yu once again is at the beginning, and is frantic to learn who it could be, he goes and finds the gas station attendant somehow, and he(the attendant) turns into Izanami. They have the "truth vs. delusion" debate and Izanami shows everyone being engulfed by the evil hands that are supposed to do that at the end. Apparently, what Yu saw was an illusion and they've already started fighting Izanami, and are losing. Yu then starts seeing the fake world again, so that he can stay with his friends, so Margaret fights him to snap him out of it and then gives him the Orb of Truth. Yu get's teh Izanagi-no-Okami, throws away his glasses and defeats old Queen Bitch of the Universe.

First off, the whole thing with him being in a fake reality and Yu getting help from his friends to get out was already done during the Kubo arc, and here it makes no fucking sense. Izanami does and says the things she said to Yu that she said to the P4 MC, but this time he already found out who she is and has already tried to stop her, so it doesn't work. The Margaret fight is so shoehorned in and takes up so much time it really drags things down. Rather than after being seemingly beaten by Izanami and having his friends seemingly killed, all his social links give him encouragement during the fight with Margaret, where it doesn't make sense for it to be, since she's trying to stop him from fooling himself and make him face the truth. Not to mention, they used I'll Face Myself -Reincarnation- for the fight between Izanami and Yu, instead of The Genisis, or Mist, two songs that were there in the game. I also feel it really loses some of it's power when instead of being attacked with a 999 dmg attack and not dying from it, his persona takes the blow for him, but that's the way they did it in the rest of the anime, so oh well. Why did they have to do it that way? I know they didn't want it exactly the same, but they reused a plot device and made it look dumb. The only things I think they did right were the send off of Yu(which was the way it was in the game), the view of what the TV world really looks like, and the choreography of the fights. It's really bad since this is supposed to be the adaptation of the game's True Ending, and is vastly inferior to the anime's Normal Ending, which I think was pretty awesome. It feels so hollow too.

I can't wait to see how they screw up the ending of P3 in it's movie.

2/5

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Game: Deathsmiles

Deathsmiles is a side-scrolling shmup made by Cave co.. It was originally an arcade game, but was then ported to the Xbox360, with additional content and game modes not in the arcade version. It was later localized by Aksys Games. Also, might I say that I really fucking love Aksys Games? They're right up there with NIS America and Atlus in terms of bringing over games that we might not ever get. Aksys has brought as favourites like BlazBlue, and it's also brought niche games that I'm really happy about such as Fate/EXTRA. Not to mention, we got our first non-PC Visual Novel release from them, AND it was an Otome game(a game for women, rather than men), which is freaking amazing. I never thought we would get one, since the small ammount of people willing to release VNs stateside don't think games that aren't about dating cute girls would appeal. Hakuoki: Demon of The Fleeting Blossom, for PSP, btw. It's about handsome and manly samurai guys(don't worry, it's not Yaoi, you just play as a woman), and is part of a series.

Anyway, I heard mentioning the localization of Deathsmiles, or any Cave shooter is instant flame war material. I don't know why, but it's likely got something to do with importers being snobby and pissed off when the game they imported is being sold here(nothing against importing, I've done it myself and it feels good, but some take it too far and get all elitist). So, instead of avoiding talking about it, I'll just assume they're pissed it even got an american release and go on.

Well, the localization is pretty good, and the back of the case even has this gem "Death smiles at us all. Lolis smile back" which made me crack up. The translation is good as far as I know, but I don't really like that they had everyone speak in accent. See, there is a girl from Germany and one from France, their in-game voices are japanese of course, but the dialog has their words written to make it sound like they speak with accent. Follet(from france) says "Eef" for "If" for example. And Casper(from germany) says "Vhat" instead if "What". They also have random german/french words thrown in because that's how they talk IRL, right? I don't like it, but it's acceptable. Also, the dialog boxes automatically close after a few seconds to show the next dialog, which normally wouldn't be a problem since I can read fairly fast, but I have to decode the accent speak and it goes away when I'm half-way done sometimes.

The story isn't important anyway, it's pretty hokey actually. Several people are trapped in the magic land of Givarado, one day some monsters attack, and it turns out this guy, Jitterbug (which is a really funny name, and I keep thinking of that song) opened a portal to hell(please make all Doom jokes so we can continue, please). It turns out that at midnight(of course) the portal will turn into a portal to earth. Before that happens, the REAL villain, Tyranosatan(BEST. NAME. EVER.) eats him and you have to fight. During the fight Jitterbug(ya put the boom boom into my heart!) gets knocked out of the monster and makes his way into the portal. At this point he asks you whether or not you want to go home, and you can choose to go home to your family or stay with your friends there.

Now, onto the gameplay. IT'S FUCKING GREAT! HOLY SHIT THERE'S ALL THESE MONSTERS AND FUCKING EXPLOSIONS AND MORE BULLETS THAN TOUHOU! AND A GIANT FUCKING COW MAN! A GIANT COW!

Sorry. It's really cool. It's a really fun shooter. You should play it.

Now let me go into some specifics. You play through several stages, which except for the bonus stage and the final stage have 3 difficulty levels(unless you're playing mega black label version, then there is a level 999). You can shoot forward and backward and fire bombs that... well are typical SHMUP bombs. You have a familiar who shoots as well to help you(and you can control him in arrange mode). At the end of every stage, you fight a boss, one of which is a GIANT COW OMG! Sorry... That's about it really. But the style is really cool and gothic and stuff, and the sprites are beautifully animated. Anywho, pretty basic SHMUP stuff, yah know.

Now, I mention "mega black label" and "arrange mode". There are 6 different modes. At first, I wasn't sure which one to play first, so if you have that same problem let me help.

First off, there is Arcade mode, which is obviously just the arcade version. Then there is arrange mode, which has different controls and slightly different levels. Then there is Xbox360 mode, which is just the standard mode for this port. Now, there are three others, but the only difference is that they are the Mega Black Label versions of those modes, which allow you to play as Sakura, Jitterbug(into my brain!)'s daughter, and have the 999 difficulty mode. I'd recommend just playing the MBL modes for the reasons described above.

All in all, it's a really fun game, and I enjoy it. Since there are 5 characters to play, 2 endings for each, and 6 game modes, even though it's short it has good replay value. Also, you can play local or online 2 player, which is cool. If you have a 360 and you like shmups, go pic it up, you can find it for about 10 bucks on amazon.

P.S. I really like this hammy, hokey song that plays before the credits: Here, take a listen.

I give it 4/5 for being a generally fun game, but not anything really outstanding.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Game: Gungrave

Gungrave is an over-the-top action game made by Red Entertainment, and licensed by Sega, for the PS2. It is rather short(has only six stages), but is a hell of a lot of fun and is totally worth playing. The character designs are done by the same man who created Trigun, and the mechanical designs were done by the guy who did the designs for Sakura Wars(which is mecha series).

You play as a man who has been resurrected after being betrayed and killed by his former partner, and are now what is called a "Deadman". Your job is to stop a crime syndicate headed by the same guy who killed you.

You run around and shoot the fuck out of everyone and everything, and you get style points similar to Devil May Cry. When you shoot things continuously, you gain energy for a special attack, which uses guns and missiles that come out of a coffin strapped to your back. Gaining more style points allows you to get more special attacks. When fighting a boss, when you decrease their health to a certain point, you can use that special attack to do a super duper finishing move, called a Graveyard Special which is amazing. If you skip to about 9:31, you can see one. Sorry, that was the only one I could find.

It's really fucking fun, that's really all there is to say. If it sounds like fun to you, give it a shot. The biggest problem it it's length, which is pretty short. There are 6 stages, that's it, then you're done. There is a sequel, Gungrave: Overdose, if you want more, but I don't think it's as good.

4/5, only because it's pretty short, and it's sequel just doesn't make up for it. Plus, the controls can be a little tricky.

Anime: Arcade Gamer Fubuki

This is a lesser known SHAFT anime, that was made in about 2002, and is a 4 episode OVA series, based on a manga by Mine Yoshizaki, author of the well loved Keroro Gunsou(Sgt. Frog), is a spin-off of "Game Center Arashi", and is produced by Enterbrain(the company that owns the largest japanese game magazine, Famitsu, and created the RPG Maker engine) It's so obscure, it doesn't even have a wikipedia entry. EDIT: It does now. Also, the first episode was apparently aired on TV.

Arcade Gamer Fubuki is a comedy and possible parody about a girl named Fubuki Sakuragasaki(say that 10 times fast), who is given a pair of panties that give her the power to be really good at arcade games, by a mysterious man aptly named "Mr. Mystery". She enters a tournament to determine the best Arcade Gamer in the world. During which, she is assaulted by an evil group known as "The Gulastic Group", and must defeat them with the power of her "Passion Panties". Normally I wouldn't spoil the story, but the story is really just there to move things forward for more funny and crazy shit. She meets several people, including a good-natured girl who was also given a pair of Passion Panties and who originally worked for the Gulastic Group so that her family's arcade could be saved. Fubuki's father, before the start of the show, went missing, and Fubuki believes Mr. Mystery to be him. However, it turns out her father is really the leader of the Gulastic Group, who plans on destroying the world as revenge for misusing the video games he designed, including using some of the chips his company made to guide missiles. No really. Fubuki however defeats him with the power of love and the help of everyone, and Mr. Mystery turns out to be a Game Spirit named Arashi who saved her father when he STOPPED A MISSILE WITH HIS BARE HANDS and it exploded on him. Fubuki's dad dies, she says goodbye, and everything goes back to normal.

It's really an incredibly hilarious show. It's just ridiculous and it knows it. It's funny, silly, and wacky. The knowledge they have of games is very accurate, and even some actual games are shown, along side Bland Name Product games as well. The sheer audacity of it is just great. The Finale is surprisingly serious, if not somewhat silly, intentionally cliche, and REALLY over-the-top. And the fact it got kinda series at the end actually made it more funny, even if it wasn't supposed to be. I'm not really sure how much of it is so bad it's good or intentionally stupid, but either way you should get a laugh out of it. Also, it's got cute girls in it, so why NOT give it a try.

I give Arcade Gamer Fubuki a 5/5 for being a fun and ridiculous romp. For an alternative opinion, go here: Haters Gonna Hate

Here are the OP and ED. The ED is in it's full form because each episode has a slightly different one.

Anime: Cossette no Shouzou

Cossette no Shouzou, known in the west as "Le Potrait de Petite Cossette", is a 3 episode OVA series. And it is a work of art.

I'm sure not a lot of people like this, mostly because of it's underlying themes of... pedophilia. But it's shown in the same way it was in Lolita. It's not a good idea. is what its trying to say. Let me explain.

The story is about a guy who finds a painting in the attic of a bar he works at. The girl shown in the painting visits him, and takes him to an odd realm, where she metaphysically tortures him, claiming that she is punishing him for her death. Telling you much more would give away all the story, since it's only 3 episodes, but even if I did it is something to behold. I'll just say this: Do not molest/kill little rich girls, they will come back and haunt you in your next life. EDIT: Aw geez, that kinda gives away the ending. Fuck.

The animation, story(a very simple one), music(I believe by Yuki Kajiura), and overall presentation is simply wonderful. If anyone tells you anime cannot be art, show them this one.

5/5

Geez, that was short.

Anime: Saikano

Saikano.

If you know about this, you already know what I'm going to say.

This show, is depressing. Now, obviously, I get that it's a tragedy. That's fine. But, other tragedy anime have done it so much better. Madoka Magica would have been just as good, to me if most of the characters who died weren't "resurrected" at the end(I'd go into detail, but that would ruin it). I'm glad they were, but it would not have hurt it as a story if they weren't.

Saikano, also known as "She, The Ultimate Weapon", is like if Madoka Magica hadn't had a bittersweet ending and had instead opted to just kill everyone. At first, the deaths in Saikano are shocking and sad, but by the end, I became so numb to it, that the sight of a guy shooting himself in the head onscreen made me almost laugh. It gets so ridiculous. And at the end? Everyone dies... in the world... no, really.

Saikano is about an unspecified war against and unspecified nation(hinted that it's america), and a little girl who got turned into a human weapon(for some reason). All it's really about is the MC, who for some fucking reason can't tell the girl he loves her despite all this shit going down(y u do dis animu?), and the girl who is now a cyborg. It's 75% filler, really, and it's only 13 episodes. It's all just one tragedy after the other, and all it really serves is to kill characters you have grown to love(maybe), but unlike MM it barely fits into the story, and once you're done, you realize how stupid it was. Sometimes, you don't even get to know these characters, and they're only in one scene before they die. I can't say all the characters are static, but their development was rather rushed from what I remember. It all just kind of happened. Basically, while this war is going on, Ultimate Weapon-tan learns that the world is going to end. At the end of the show, she tries to stop it, but it's no use, and everyone dies... except the main characters, who due to UW-tan's unexplained magic(I thought she was a cyborg) powers, are transported to an exact replica of the town they lived in, and shall live there, alone, for all eternity. Screw the other people! We're in LOVE! ಠ_ಠ

I'm sure the manga was much better, as adapting a much longer tragic story into a much shorter tragic story makes it suck. MM wasn't adapted from anything so it was able to pace itself better, and truly horrify you. Saikano just makes me wish I didn't watch it. Maybe you'll like it, but I didn't. It's got it's good points. I really liked the tomboy so when she died, it was really sad. However, I had an idea to set that scene to "you're beautiful", as that is what MC-kun says to her while she's dying(as she asked him to). It would have made it hilarious. There are a couple cool action scenes and the animation is okay, but nothing can save the manipulative story. It's literally trying to jerk tears right out of your tear ducts. Not to mention, it was rather forgettable in the end. I can't seem to remember the characters names other than... I think it was Chitose. Or maybe Chise. IDK.

2/5 

EDIT: Made a couple changes.

Anime: He Is My Master

This isn't so much a review as it is me just yelling about an aspect that made it unwatchable for me.

He is my master is a Gainax and SHAFT collaboration. Gainax and SHAFT are 2 great animations studios and everything they make is good... except the stuff they make together, somehow. And I'm not the only one who feels this way. I once saw "This Ugly Yet Beautiful World", which they both made, and it was... unremarkable. You would not think of saying that about studios that made Gurren Lagann and Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. Some blame this on the director but I don't think that's it. The director only sets up and arranges what is already there. If the core of it is bland, even if his direction is good, it won't change the show being... bland. In fact, I'd say that if the director really was bad, it would have made TUYBW a total piece of crap. But, it wasn't, it was meh. It wasn't really anything.

I cannot say that about He Is My Master. I HATE it. Well, actually, if it weren't for one thing I'd probably like it. The male lead is an insufferable prick. I hate him. A lot. I HATE HIM! GGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAA-

Okay, let me explain. The story is that two pre-teen girls have run away from home and need a place stay. So, they go to this mansion that is apparently owned by this jackass kid, who will let them stay there if they work for him as his maids. And I don't mean regular maids, I mean maids. You know, the kind that "service" you? That's all well and good but this kid is such an enormous douche that I can't bear it. The only sensible character, one of the girls, sees this too. Some wacky shit happens and she get's knocked out... and then the worst part happens. He has apparently carried her somewhere with a bed, let her rest there, and waited for her to wake up. We're supposed to believe, through this one gesture of kindness, that this ass is actually a jerk with a heart of gold. No. Just no. I don't believe it. NO. The worst part is he makes us actual perverts who are really nice guys look bad. He has GREAT taste but he's so terrible that it just pisses me off.

Well, that's all I can say without blowing a gasket. I cannot rate this because I didn't finish it. Just... ugh.

EDIT:
Ooooh goooooood!
I found out the reason they ran away from home is because of sexual advances from their father. Class Act Gainax and SHAFT!

Hello, and welcome.

I've decided for no real reason, to create an offshoot of my other blog Ramblings of a Crazy Person, that is simply used for reviewing various things.

I did this, mostly because if I used the other, it'd take up the majority of the posts and everything'd get all mixed up.

Anyway. I'm going to review games, anime, manga, and sometimes movies.

It'll be really hard for me to make negative reviews of games and anime, since I don't usually play or watch something that I won't like. I'm really good with that stuff, I can usually tell whether or not I'll like something by the description and premise. There are plenty of exceptions however, and I will pour out my anger for having to sit through or play something terrible when I thought it'd be good. This is very true for movies. I haven't seen a really good movie in a while.

Well, enjoy.