Oops. I completely forgot yesterday was Friday. I would like to say "give me a break, it's winter vacation," but I can't. Since this is a new blog, I would have to be punctual.
My topic for today is Persona 3.
It's an Atlus game that's supposed to be a spinoff the Shin Megami Tensei series. I guess they're most famous for peculiar monsters/summons and cutscene lengths that would make Xenosaga cry.
I actually haven't played the other persona games (no reason as to why, I just didn't) but I picked up this one after people have been loving it. Why didn't I pick it up right when it was released like the good Atlus cult fan I'm supposed to be? Because I was too busy with Growlanser: Heritage of War and Wild Arms 5, that's why. The basic premise of the game is actually very typical.
You're (Insert first and Last name here), a recent transfer student to Gekkoukan High. You moved into a dorm with three others who attend the same high school as you do. One is the student body president, Mitsuru Kirijou, another is a girl in the same class as you, Yukari Takeba, and the last is a senior who leads the boxing club, Akihiko Sanada. You're all part of a group known as the SEES (Sorry, i forgot what the acronym stood for) who fight Shadows during the Dark Hour. What is the Dark Hour and what are these shadows? Every night, there's an extra hour between 12:00 and 12:01 that most people don't notice except for a select few. Within this hour monsters known as Shadows appear to prey on those they can find during the Dark Hour. SEES's objective is to find the cause of the Dark Hour and stop the Shadows from dealing too much damage to the world. Sounds simple right?
From the people I've met who've played this, they liked to call it a "Dungeon Crawling Dating Sim." Sure... I guess that works, except that "Dating Sim" seems to imply other things. Such as having the story revolve around the target person that you're trying to find the "ending" for. What. Were you expecting me to say something else? Dirty mind you have. While it can be generalized as such, I'd like to remind you that the story is based around the calendar and set events that happen throughout the year.
This is the trailer that's the 2nd opening to the game. So with that in mind, let me get started on gameplay.
I'll decide to address the topic that's on everyone's mind. Yes, in order to cast, you shoot yourself in the head with a gun-like object. I say gun like, since it does smoke after pulling the trigger, but no "bullet" has ever been seen coming out. X-Play decided to do a review basing all their jokes around this single concept.
The gameplay itself is very basic. It is a basic dungeon crawler save the certain events that force you to act in the "real world." The battle is pretty basic. Some nice features would be how you have someone monitoring your progress through the dungeon and can give you battle information whenever you ask. Another nice feature would be that you can tell party members outside of battle to split up, and depending on what their priority is, they'll either look for the stairs the next floor, or lay waste to the enemies. Honestly, I've rarely used this command since this would force me to fight alone if I ever get into battle and it would also be a luck of the draw as to who gets more exp than the other. The main character can switch personas, or summon type that is currently with the character, and this gives some nice room for quick and easy victories. There's a lack of controlling your teammates, but at least it's possible to set tactics for each member.
The voice acting has its ups and downs. While I would've preferred the Japanese voice actors, the english team did a great job as well. The main character has the same voice actor as Haseo from .hack//G.U. (Yuri Lowenthal)and he's not too shabby. A lot of the male voice actors are decent, some of which sound forced. I have issues with Fuuka and a couple tertiary characters but generally, the voices seem to match the characters. Aside from all the characters seeming having issues saying Mitsuru Kirijou (MITsuru KIrijou. There's no emPHAsis on the second sylLAble...), the voice acting was really well done. I especially like Iori's voice actor who seems to have had fun making sound like the laid-back typical school delinquent. Visually, everything's nice. I particularly like the extra detail that the developers put into this. For instance, everyone's wearing the winter uniforms until it hits june where everyone wears summer uniforms, and people change their clothes on Sunday, since its the day to relax and wear casual. Or the weapons change depending on which one you use.
A minor detail that bothered me was that these changes didn't affect the characters in the dungeon. They just wore the same thing every day. Then there was this one time where I made Yukari wear "High-cut Armor" with a description similar to "shaped like a bikini." So right before she equipped it she made some comment about how she had to wear something like that and asked you not to mention it at school, but her character didn't change. While it was amusing that they added that little tidbit, I was kind of wondering to myself, ok... what's the big deal? Nothing's changed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to whack off to game characters, it's just that I feel kind of cheated that they decide to put so much detail into the game only to come short.
Now for the bad parts. I personally don't mind, but I noticed how people weren't fond of the repetition of the fighting. Yes, it's really one of those "tower" games where you just keep climbing till you hit a dead end, but in terms of the game it makes perfect sense really. You're training to get stronger so that you can prepare better for the event. Yes, it's "boring and tedious" but I feel that this is another one of those games where the story is great. Even better is how the detail is placed into all the tertiary characters that you make social links with. Each person has their own personality and qualms that make the school setting that much more realistic. Agreed that they don't seem to interact with one another and only you, but still it gives a nice setting that there's people. What I noticed after one or two "months" was that there were too many people and too few days of the week and I found it amusing that I had to balance my time between clubs, my stats (courage, intelligence charm), my "friends, and training so that I'm not overpowered by the bosses.
Gameplay wise it has a very generic feel to it, but story wise, I think it's a great game. I'd definitely suggest it to those who don't mind a bit of mindless grinding to acquire nuggets of great story writing.
On a completely different side note:
Atlus is coming out with another new game known as Baroque. Art wise it looks like a combination of Shin Megami Tensei for the game graphics with some unique cel-shading that I saw in either .hack//GU or Stella Deus.
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Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
I tend to have a soft spot towards shoujo (girl oriented) anime. Don't ask why, but I feel that those kinds of anime tend to have a better writer since the production team can't really rely on gratuitous violence and action oriented scenes. Yes, shoujo anime tend to be slower and sappy, but drop that glock for a while and indulge yourself in a little "slice of life" story.
Clannad is an anime based on a bishoujo game. (edit: I seem to have written hentai simply out of habit. I didn't notice that I wrote that till someone pointed that out....) This is really not a big issue as animation teams seem to be doing that now left and right. Fun fact #1: Clannad, Kanon, and Air were all visual novel games made by the same company: Key Visual Arts. Coincidentally, the animation team who also took all these games and turned them into anime was Kyoto Animation. (A note about Kanon should be that Kyoto Animation made the second adaptation of the anime) Once you've seen all three anime, you get the feeling of nostalgia as you get used to Kyoto's/Key's character design. But I digress.
Clannad is about Tomoya Okazaki, your typical delinquent, whose generally bored of school until he meets Nagisa Furukawa, a girl who was held back a year. Nagisa wants to resurrect the Drama Club and Tomoya, with free time on his hands, decides to pitch in.
It's a pretty basic story, but the execution is what I find to be well done. It isn't that the episodes progress at a slow pace. They do bits of character development in each one and pace the story pretty well. If you've seen any of Kyoto Animation's other productions, such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, you'll know what I'm talking about. The anime has bits of comedy placed in between everyday school life and if you remove the "unnatural" parts, it looks almost like real life.
Clannad happens to also have a story that's running in the background as the main story progresses. And bits of those are also shown as the episodes run on. It's confusing as they reference that other story, but it gives the sense that there's something afoot besides your normal school day.
What I like the best is how Tomoya is really just the "typical" delinquent. He's not some badass who gets into ridiculous fights, and cuts class everyday and speaks in a rough tongue. He's a normal kind of guy who just doesn't like school. And that makes the story much better in my opinion. I'm personally sick of bikers turned effeminate guys or Yakuza who have crushes on the most innocent girl in school and can't bring the courage to say so. I don't think those kinds of cookie cutter characters are really that good and that's why I feel Clannad has a better sense of school than other kinds of anime.
The entire premise of Clannad has a supernatural feel to it. While everything seems normal, there's always something lurking between the background and foreground pulling the strings. Now, having watched Air and Kanon, I'm kind of used to this and it feels a bit cliche to me. I'm not really surprised considering the basis of these anime have been derived from different projects of the same company. It's really no doubt that there would be elements of the story that one can say can be a certain company's "signature." It's still airing in Japan and I haven't heard of any US licenses, but I suggest you watch this and perhaps buy the DVDs later once they're localized.
My other favorite in this type of setting would be Kanon, and while I would recommend Kanon over Clannad, I feel that Kanon has many cultural references that wouldn't appeal to "first-timers." That isn't to say Kanon isn't recommended. It's just that if you were to see Kanon, I would like to place an advisory sticker that certain scenes would make no sense at all unless one has learned a bit of the Japanese culture.
P.S. If you haven't heard already. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni season 3, The second season of Suzumiya Haruhi, and Zero no Tsukaima 3 have been given the go for production.
Apparently, the second season may be an adaptation of the fourth book "The disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya," but not enough details have been given.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Oddly enough, I met all my friends (including Teh Gunrun) over this one game.
Ragnarok Online is a pretty old MMORPG that uses 2d sprites on a 3d environment. In this one, there are (as usual) a variety of classes that you can choose once your in-game character has reached a certain job level. You can choose from 7 classes that can change once more into new classes, or you can choose Gunslinger or Ninja or Super Novice and stick with that class for the rest of that character's "life."
In total there are 39 job classes. This includes the "high" classes that you can obtain after hitting the max level and being reborn.
Needless to say, in terms of jobs only, there's a lot to do. RO isn't any different from other MMORPGS. As always RO is also a grindfest that you'd expect from an MMORPG, but then again the fun in the game is the community and not really the game itself. Yes, the gameplay is important, but when it comes down to it, RO isn't that spectacular on any level. Besides the clean sprite animations and the very peculiar perks of each class (there really is no "this skill for this class is really that skill from that class in disguise bit") There's also the nice "guild wars" feature that RO has which is pretty unique to the game. The major towns have castles that can be taken over and it benefits the guild as they invest more and more into the castle. Character building wise, the stats are almost fully customizable. As you gain a level, you earn points that you can invest into a stat. The same goes for skills and it's possible to completely neglect a part of the skill tree if you don't feel like going for those skills. Graphically, the only thing you can really change about your look is whatever you put on your head. Your head itself has three slots (top, middle, lower) and so it's possible to have something like a halo, sunglasses and a flu mask. RO when it comes down to the foundations is an MMO that simply developed a bit more than other MMOS. Ok. So gameplay is just like any other, the entire soundtrack is about one gig, the graphics aren't top-notch. What's so good about it?
It's probably the mass amount of private servers out there along with the ability to modify the code VERY VERY easily. You see, besides the original (Korean RO, simplified to KRO) the official Ragnarok Online servers aren't that popular. However, due to a really bad leak in server code, RO servers began popping up like crazy? Why? Like I said before, it's very easily modifiable. There are generally two ways you can handle the server. All text or MySQL, both of which don't take much time to learn how to edit. The language used is pretty basic and if you can do code injections, then you already know too much. Since they're sprites, graphics are much, much easier. The only problem I could see is making the sheets for 4 different angles. Since the code was leaked early on, there's also already a general foundation for making a private server.
Now usually, private servers are actually inferior to official ones. While hacking, maintenance, and costs tend to create problems for private servers, due to how easy to manage RO is along with it's lack of requiring godly amounts of system resources, private servers for once, are superior to official ones (besides KRO). Not only can rates be changed, but which castles can be taken can be controlled, monster spawning is easy to manage, NPC editting is very simple, and skills can also be modified with a simple switching of numbers in a text file. The options for custom servers has gotten to the point where it's actually very hard finding two of the same server. While you do have your general categories of low, medium, and high rate servers, how they decide to handle the actual game itself isn't that hard. Also, a lot of the data is client side, which leads to nice graphics mods (such as new hairs, and animaitions) and mixing of all the official RO data.
So, I feel that RO has become more community based than any other MMO because of this leak. And it takes a very long time to finish everything. (I believe it took me two whole years to complete everything there is to do in the game, and that's excluding the special Storyline events made by the Korean RO staff) I will have to admit though, depending on how you play, it can be decent grinding or a hellhole as you play one hour to obtain 3% of a level. This will probably be the only time I say this. The private servers are better than the official ones. When it comes to Ragnarok Online, playing on a private server definitely boosts your gaming experience.
Friday, December 7, 2007
A friend of mine decided to clue me in on a show called "Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou." Now, I've only seen the pilot but from that only, I can say that I may take a liking to this anime.
So, I did a bit of research on it finding out that not only is it a recent show (premiered mid january ended mid april this year) the second season already finished and ended Mid october.
The animation quality is good and the action is nice. The humor is well scripted. You have your very typical cookie cutter archetypes, which makes the plot (and their lines) somewhat to very predictable, but it's a cool variation.
Since I only saw the pilot, I'm going to have to rely on quoting for this.
"In the night of Tokyo, mysterious deaths involving the 'Reborn Dead' occur. Mysterious transfer student, Tatsuma Hiyuu, and delinquent student, Kyouichi Houraiji, fight these undead every night. They, along with the rest of their group, soon realize that a greater threat, that involves even more powerful demons, is near."
From the pilot I could see a story unfolding where you have an undead phenomenon with the supernatural fighters of justice spiel but I think there's a slight trend going on. Don't get me wrong, but in a way, it gave off the same feeling that Persona 3 gave off. Odd transfer student team up with other students to fight something at the dead of night. Maybe it's the school setting that threw me off, but considering the persona -trinity soul- anime is close to release, there maybe more like this in the future.
What I'm trying to figure out is how I missed this show when those months were more or less the time I was searching for new anime....
Monday, December 3, 2007
Recently, I've been playing Disgaea PSP. Being one of the original Atlus cult members since Rhapsody, I've not only played through Atlus and NIS games like a second job (sadly enough)but I've seen them grow into a great (as if they weren't great before) company. There's still that one thing that bugs me though. Amanda Winn-Lee (The original voice actor for Etna) couldn't do any future voices for Etna in the years to come when another cult would follow the first Disgaea (proof of that would be the fact that after 6 years, gamestop is still selling the first game at $40.00 US USED And this is only a drop from last year $45 USED). This would probably be due to the fact her son was battling leukemia (my sympathies) but what bugged me the most was the replacement voice actor for Winn-Lee, Michelle Ruff.
Generally, Michelle Ruff is a good voice actor. She's played Yukari from Persona 3 and Velvet from Odin sphere or Miranda from Grandia III (*shudder*) for example. But she's seem to had a large handful of mediocre work as well, and Etna happens to be one of those parts. Now, I'm taking the standpoint that she's supposed to replace Amanda Winn-Lee for Etna and compare her work to Ruff's. Now I KNOW those are big shoes to fill, but that's the problem really. Michelle Ruff seems to be very good at a certain type of voice, and for that I congratulate her. She's done well in getting a persona for Etna down.
HOWEVER, her work seems to just end there. Etna resulted in having a very flat tone of voice for all her emotions along with episode previews. What made Etna such a hit character with Winn-Lee was that she goofed around with the part. Changing her tones to dramatic proportions along with seemingly not being afraid to try a new voice that would help express just how easy going and bubbly Etna was. Then she'd pull a 180 on serious parts and give Etna a sharp edge in her voice that you could hear being pulled off so well. THIS is what truly separates voice actors from amazing voice actors.
Michelle Ruff gave Etna a really boring tone. It seemed as if she was being very safe about it and avoiding such dramatic tones which resulted in a horrible character. Perhaps it was the pre-bias that I had when listening to Amanda but Michelle never gave any "out there" voices for Etna. She stayed with the tone she had from Disgaea 2 and while it DID work for Disgaea 2, I can't really settle for that in the first game. Disgaea was about the completely random quirks and outrageous humor that gave it that edge over other Strategy RPGS (that and the fact the LVL cap was 10k, but that's a minor detail). What was needed was a strong voice actor who could be willing to sound stupid or ridiculous for the gig to work. The least Michelle Ruff could've done was given Etna a harsh tone when refusing to retract her proposal to find Aramis's zombies, but even that sounded very rushed and light-hearted making me wonder if she took Etna's part into consideration at all. In this case, I can't really tell whose fault it was (or rather, who takes the brunt of the blame). Was it the voice director's problem for not pushing Michelle hard enough or was it the licensing team (or is it dev? I can't remember who handles the voices) for accepting what seemed to be half-assed work. In all honesty, I'm kind of irritated that work like this is allowed to be professional, granted there are a lot of bad Japanese voice actors (Makino Yui would happen to be one. Despite how amazing her singing talents were, her first role as Sakura needed a lot of work, which she did improve a lot by the second season) the quality between the Japanese voice actors and American voice actors is tremendous which could only lead me to believe the standards that both countries have for VAs.
What also bothers me is that Michelle Ruff has been casted in about twice as many shows and video games than Amanda Winn-Lee has which WOULD typically make you believe that Michelle Ruff would have this in the bag... but she didn't. It sounds atrocious and I truly am disgusted at the poor work..
Friday, November 30, 2007
While I do understand that having played already 10 hours into a game can't really constitute a "first impression," my version of a first impression is really a review of an anime or a game that I'm currently in the middle of or haven't finished. I feel that a review can only be a review once one has thought hard after finishing and brought up a well thought opinion of the subject in question.
Mind you, I'll be under the assumption that you've played most, if not all, of the Tales games and understand the story. If you haven't and don't plan to, then that's fine. If you haven't and DO plan to, I'll be revealing spoilers that you may not like.
In short, I'd have to say that Tales of the World for the PSP was a big disappointment. I had heard of the new "Tales" game about a year ago and was psyched that they were recycling a bunch of the characters from the older games,(not just for Coliseum mind you.)but when I heard it was for the PSP, I knew that something was off. I'm well aware that Tales of the World was a spinoff game, but still, I didn't expect to be that much of a disappointment.
It starts off with the character creation screen, which showed promise for a good game. So I just picked the generic cold-looking woman with a ponytail and blue hair and then set her class as a thief (later changed to swordsman) and named her Nagi. (Kudos for those who get the reference, google won't help you here my friend) You, as the hero, are awakened by a flying cat with two tail/wings that flap around and keep him aloft, named Mormo, and are told that you are a "Descender" from the world tree to save the world that is in peril. You find a girl, named Kanonno, under attack and save her and later find out from Chester (from Tales of Phantasia) that you show promise for a group known as Ad Libitum. What is Ad Libitum? It's an organization spread out throughout the world that is there to help people and those in need. Not too bad for starting. Apparently, the town you spawned near, Ailily, has a tyrant ruler who keeps a firm grip on his citizens. You end up meeting with the head of the Ailily Ad Libitum Branch, Kratos (from Tales of Symphonia. Add cheering here) and join Ad Libitum, Etc etc.
Playing the first hour or so of it left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. Forgetting that Kratos was in the game, the story seems to have taken a turn where everyone is just unbelievably weak. First of all, the plot to begin with is reaaaally shaky. You're born to save the world that is in peril, so what's the first thing you do? Join a guild... Another problem is with the tyrant that's ruling over the city and the Ad Libitum sector that has been forced to go underground. (Mind you by this time, the Ailily Ad Libitum sector includes, Lloyd, Arche, Chester, Genis, Raine, Kratos, Luke, Tear, Raid (Reid) and Kanonno,whom you never see fighting so far.) Forget that the branch consists of Elite powerhouses who've saved the world, Kratos being an Arch Angel, and Luke having probably enough power to tear a hole in the world. It seems that they're unable to fend for themselves and overthrow this tyrant alone and are really just lying on their asses waiting for some noname god send with a familiar to find his/her way into town to help save the wo----oh wait... That's EXACTLY what they're doing. Also, all of these characters are also equipped with their strongest weapons from their respective games. Problem two (or is it three?), Mormo, that flying bugger that accompanies you is supposed to be a Descender like you are. He was summoned by his own world tree to save his world from peril. Thing is, he can't do squat. In the words of Cortana: "All you can do, is just sit there and sputter." This seems to make no sense, so you are this super strong character, yet another being in the same class as you is about 1/4 your size and 1/infinity-th your power. Even with the difference in the mana from the world trees (as they seem to have justified it) Mormo, can't do anything.
The gameplay is mediocre. Towns are split into menus that each consist of Guild, Inn, Tool shop, Blacksmith, Plaza, House 1, House 2. Every town. All the other Tales games have featured vast towns that you can explore and interact with. This staple of the series was just pulled as if it was insignificant. Second, after a while (not really) you start to get the feeling that it's more than just repetitious. If I had to compare Tales of the World with an analogy, it would be a Tales game with the style of Final Fantasy Tactics ADVANCE. All you do are petty quests by petty citizens over and over again. "Oh help, Monster X is ruining my flower garden! Kill X number of them!" or "I need X items." The cutscenes, while sometimes humorous, had "choices" which they gave for conversation but in reality weren't choices. Rather, they were two different sentences with the same implication and context applied.
The Battle system is like that of Abyss and Symphonia mixed, but there are a lot of elements that really bother me. They used the free run mode from Abyss but I've never seen any use for that. Since the Field of Fonons aren't in ToTW, there's really no point in free run. I mean, there are already many ways to avoid monster attacks (dash back, Dash forward, jump over) and if the monsters are stacking, re-targeting and taking out the closest one is probably the best decision anyway. While it was fun just running circles around the enemy while waiting for the run timer to deplete, there's really no use for it.
There's cooking in the game, but you can't use it right after battle, and there aren't any variations to the recipes you're given.... Ok, so what's the point of cooking then?
My main issue with Tales of the World is with the characters in the game. Now, this is from a "purist" stand-point so my words are beyond bias right now.
Recycling characters? Awesome, changing everything about the characters that made them awesome? not so much awesome... One example would be Genis. In Tales of Symphonia, he was seen as a child prodigy who had fun with his magic (Like when he yells "Pancake time" before casting Stalagmite), and while he had a slight complex pertaining to his age and how people perceived him, I didn't see it as an issue. In Tales of the World, he's seen as this uber-diligent kid who has a BIG issue with how people perceive him because of his age. In the end, he ends up looking like a real brat.
Other issues would probably be voices. While they were able to get Raine, Kratos, Luke and Tear's original voice actors, the others hired for this game were... ehhh... There were some recently popular voice actors casted, but for the characters that I usually didn't use... (For example, Raid (Reid)'s VA is the same with Krious's voice actor from Growlanser: Heritage of War) Another character issue I had would be when the team decided to cut the story for the characters and place them in Tales of the World. Luke, for example, happens to be at the stage where he's that spoiled, aristocratic ass that he is when he enters the game. But for Tales of Symphonia, there's a suggestion that the symphonia party entered the game after one as beaten it since there are many times where you feel an awkward tension every time someone mentions how Kratos talks to Lloyd like how a father does to his son...
The development team's decisions for which characters to put in conflict with my own views. Generally, I think that for a game like this, you need a lot of strong (character-wise) characters who can add a nice variety into the game. Generally, I'm more or less fine with most (except for Raine, Eugene, Senel, Chester, and The Tales of Destiny crew) but I feel they didn't really pick that big of a range of characters. Despite the amount of classes you have, you don't really have a "hero" character than can correspond to each class. Warriors are apparently brute force wail the enemy down with axes kinda people. There's no one for that. Honestly, I would have loved it if Presea was added as she not only would be the archetype to go for, but her personality would put a spin on the game. There aren't any ninjas, Bishops or fighters. A good example of a fighter (hand-to-hand) in my opinion would be Anise. Along with her unusual style of fighting, her personality is one of my favorites. She's a money hungry girl who acts all sweet in front of Luke to try and marry into the family but has another side to her that yells brazen assassin. (She yells "I'll kill you bastards!" at the start of the battle whenever Luke isn't present, and makes death threats to people she doesn't like)
I've been bitching about this game for a while, so let's now get to the good parts.
Kratos. Despite what people say about how hard Zelos was, I still had Kratos 'till the end. While a generic character, he's a good generic character and one that I'll stick with as a nice choice for the game. The equipment in the game make it fun to customize your character. While it is frustrating when a piece of armor that you're particularly fond of is trampled by far superior armor, in the end it's all about looks. Stats are only an issue if you're really bad at these Tales games. In my opinion, the opening cut scene was very nicely done. I had a blast watching it. Some things worth mentioning are how the "main character's" face is never really seen until the last 10 seconds where they flash a bunch of possible faces. Another nice part is when Raine lectures Raid and Chester in the Symphonia school house.
Graphics aren't bad. Since it is a Tales game, it gets extra points for its battle system. The cooking aspect has expanded to tool making, weapon refining and cooking which gives a bit more stuff to burn time with. But what really made a lot of the Tales games were the "hidden" cut scenes that activated when you met certain requirements. Mostly purely for comical relief, this is what usually kept me hooked on a Tales game.
I won't say that Tales of the World stoops to the barbaric atrocity of what Tales of Legendia for the PS2 was, but it isn't really note-worthy either. You lose nothing skipping this game and you don't really gain nothing beating it. On a final note, the lack of gender sensitivity seems like a really poor part on the dev team. (Mind you that I'm still the blue haired female swordsman with a ponytail named Nagi) Kanonno more or less professes her love to you and I'm kinda stuck there going "what...?" I have nothing against lesbians, it's just that I feel that with such a lack of difference in dialogue between the two genders (There's no date-gossiping with Arche if your a guy or a girl) something like this wasn't actually intended.
Yes... You may hit me now for writing such an obscenely long post.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Ok, well I'm gonna have to start getting a schedule up of generally when I'm gonna post. I'd like to say about once a week, but I'm not sure if that's possible while I'm still getting the applications for college done. Although there's still a lot of material that I can talk about, I don't go through games nor anime in about a week and I'm afraid I'll run out soon... I could give an overview of the anime episodes I'm watching, but honestly... who cares about that? Each episode helps make the bigger picture and so giving an overview of something of such a small portion seems trivial. I'll try to go for a review every friday or so, but general posting will probably be completely arbitrary.
Friday, November 23, 2007
I've finished the 3rd installment of the Gyakuten Saiban (otherwise known as Phoenix Wright though it translates to "The turnabout judgement/trial(s)") games to see that the localization team for Capcom is still one of my favorites. (Second would be the Tales of Symphonia team) If you're unaware of who/what Phoenix Wright is then I WON'T simply send you to a wiki link. Phoenix Wright was originally a GBA game ported to the DS and is what people seem to classify as a "visual novel." It's a linear, text based game in which you take the role of a defense attorney, Phoenix Wright. The game is split into two distinct sections: Investigation and Trial. So what makes this "visual novel" so interesting? Well, besides yelling OBJECTION, TAKE THAT, and HOLD IT! (or いぎあり if you're playing the japanese version...) in the middle of a crowd or in the recesses of your own home, the story itself is compelling. Think about it for a second... The game can't be sold in terms of gameplay, so it would have to rely on other forms... More specifically, how the port was, music, graphics, and oh yeah.. STORY. In general, the first game was a nice overall with a especially nice DS exclusive case that made you want more. The second game was a port, nothing more. No DS case, and it felt like they were milking it, but each story was somewhat compelling, nonetheless .
The third game however. Wow. Of course like the other two games, there was a new variation on music but the writers did a great job linking nearly everything together. It made me realize just how good of a suspense writer they could be. There are somethings objectionable but they were minor in the big scheme. The minor details that they put in just made it that much better. It's a good DS buy, and while there are other means of retrieving it, I will not say.
This would lead me to the 4th installment that Capcom is localizing.
I got another good laugh. Not because of the new attorney's hairdo but rather his name. It made me realize just how good these guys were. His name has been localized to "Apollo Justice" but his original name: 王泥喜 (odoroki) 法介(housuke) was what got me. Now, the name in itself seems normal. His name can be translated to "the King who attaches himself to rejoice" so to speak, but let me give you a bit of insight into japanese. Odoroki in Japanese means a surprise/astonishment... The Hou in Housuke is the same character used for the Hou in "law." Get it? It's a pun. Phoenix Wright was regarded as a sub-par defense lawyer who surprised the court for his surprisingly logical deductions. As the 4th game is set to take place 7 years later, the main character's name is already a reference to the predecessor. In addition, according to the voice clips from the trailer, he's a very...verbally clumsy kinda guy, similar to phoenix, which seems to emphasize the pun even more... Maybe I'm thinking too deeply about this, but it doesn't feel like a mere coincidence. Regardless, I can't wait for this new game to be localized. Though I feel like now I want Capcom to release Japanese voice overs along with the english ones due to how fitting the voices are already....
BTW, Phoenix is the last person who yelled Objection! Yeah, he dumped the suit and tie and seems to be speaking in a more refined tone.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I don't get it. I just tried to think of new names, such as the other opinion. Well, if you can think of it, it probably exists. I'm well aware its similarity to the original rule 34: If you can think of it, there is porn of it, but being the wiki that it is, some nutjob changed the original rules of the internet. Regardless. otheropinion.blogspot is another failed attempt at some kid's attempt at a blog only to leave it hanging so it could rot in hell while the creator does jack. theotheropinion.blogspot seems to have been some korean kid's attempt at a blog only to leave it hanging so it could rot in hell while the creator does jack...
I'm not gonna say it. I'm not gonna say the world hates me, but the inverse is definitely true. And probably has been for a while.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Assuming that Teh Gunrun actually followed through with my request and added me as an affiliation... You're probably wondering "Just exactly who the hell is Zerreth?" If you came from his CNC Retarded blog, then you should be aware of just exactly how different this blog is from his and wondering as to why the hell should he put a blog such as mine. Simply put, it's because I asked him to and we're friends and I'm more or less mooching off his publicity....
If my name actually rings any bells, it would probably be from this article. I'd like to let you know that this blog is somewhat resembling a similar format to that except that I also review anime, and, to some extent, games. That said, this may actually not be your type of blog. While I am pretty connected with the gaming community as well, I'd have to say that Teh Gunrun has a better sense than I do.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
After a bit of thinking, I asked myself why did I just do zerreth.blogspot.com... I mean, it's pretty egotistical of me to do such a thing. So I checked if I could switch to secondopinion.blogspot.com.
To my dismay, it was taken, so I decided to check it out.
I wish people like the person who made secondopinion.blogspot.com didn't exist. Seriously. It's probably the remains of some loser 14 year old wanting to voice his idiocy just to look back at it in a narcissistic fashion. So, how is he different from me? He's not getting paid to have people stare at his blog and it's not just some stupid pipe dream. Second, I want more than my little clique of friends to be looking at this. I intend to try and actually make my voice somewhat heard. I should be able to get a couple affiliations which could help boost my "popularity."
I could've resorted to wrath-invoked swearing but I decided against it.
edit: Just tried "thirdopinion" despite how absolutely pitiful "The third opinion" sounds. Apparently even THAT's taken and this time, THERE'S NOTHING THERE...
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I don't know, looking back, i seem to be watching all these anime that are like 1-4 years old. Maybe I'm just slow, or maybe time is distorted and by the time I watch an anime, years have passed between me clicking on it and the computer opening the file... whatever.
Also known as "My-HiME" Mai-Hime is an anime that that falls under Romance, Shoujo, and maybe action? Let's just say it falls under Romance/Action and leave it at that, because fused genres are better than single ones. ANYWAYS....
Mai-HiME is a 26 episode anime that's about two years or so old. Taking place in Japan, Tokiha Mai and her younger brother Takumi transfer to Fuka Acadamy. However, Mai and a few other girls at the acadamy can see something that others can't. A red star next to the moon. Known as the HiME Star, it grants those who see it the ability to materialize weapons and summon a Child, a beast that fights alongside them. What was the purpose in being granted this power? To fight Orphans, monsters that appear from the shadows and attack the world.
This anime doesn't really fit in with the general 26 episoder however. In fact, it's different in the way that I believe it consists of two parts. More or less split 13-13 with two mini seasons. This belief is mostly due to the fact that the story changes quite drastically from the end of the first mini season and doesn't link with the second half.
What's good about it:
Well, the general plot isn't as linear as one would think. It takes quite a few turns and decides to drive off a cliff for a while. Cutting the analogy, this story starts off at a decently flowing pace, picks up and climaxes at the middle and then stays there for about the rest of the way till the last 4 minutes where it's a wrap up. As usual, music was nicely orchestrated and gave characters a sort of "theme" to them. While there were no specific character themes, you would expect a certain genre of music to be played in relation to the character. What sticks out as the most deciding factor on how good this anime was the art. In my history of watching anime, this has one of those unique styles that makes an artist want to study it. With somewhat more solid outlines and face expressions that are very akin to actuality rather than anime-style the art is definately something to look at, especially the eyes and hands.
What's bad about it:
Well, the general plot that exists is that more or less everyone dies and then comes back to life at the end. It's a real letdown on that part, though it did make a good ending.
* End Spoiler*
The lack of character development for a few major characters left you thinking that they were just another normal student at the school, then again it could be for story effect where it gives you that sense instead of some complicated, crazy background. The first half of "villans" lacked depth as well as you end up forgetting about their general existance except for their name which pops up every so often. The transition between mini seasons and the introduction of other characters that see the red moon was also quite rushed.
Overall: I loved this anime, however it definately left you staring at the screen wondering what the hell just happened for the last 7 or so episodes. A must-see this anime should be bought just to show support.
Once again, this anime has been licensed and therefore is also known as "My-HiME" which supposedly only has 13 episodes. I can see why though, some characters are quite...eccentric and require a more mature audience than what's shown on adult swim, maybe.
If you do happen to see the original Japanese version, congratulations.
side note: There is a reason HiME is capitalized in such a way. It's technically an acronym for Highly advanced Materializing Equipment. The "hime" suffix is also used in many of the puns and references to other parts of the story.
Roughly, translated as "The girl with the blue eye", this anime happens to be one of those mixes between Thriller and Romance. Actually... I don't know how to catagorize this. It's pretty good all around. The character range is pretty small, but that allows the ability to develop the characters better.
Animation is fluid, and pretty consistent, although there do seem to be some occasions when the animator seems to have been struck with a fit of laziness. (More specifically episode 12). Fansub no Tame ni has now fully subbed the entire season for your enjoying pleasure. While i'm no keen on their name nor their adaptations to certain Japanese words, they're fairly decent and bring torrents out in a timely fashion.
It's been years after the "great war" and in this post-war era, In this era, there are those who are humans and those born as "The Third," those with a third eye that allows them to manipulate mechanical beings. A girl by the name of Honoka does odd-jobs in the desert along with her Sand Tank and AI, Bogie. During her travels, Honoka meets a man by the name of Iks and together with him, they travel the desert.
Like most stories and anime, it starts off slightly slow and picks up speed plot-wise. One noticable detail about this anime is that there is a 3rd person narrator. While speaking in the style of limited omniscience, it seems to give the anime a kind of sophistication to the story.
It follows the general plotline of having no plot or goal but instead giving a "slice of life" feeling broken up into short stories involving the same characters. I found this anime to be very nicely done with a good balance between action and drama and it's definately a must-see for story buffs.
Randal Orlando is part of the 901 Anti-Tank Trooper division. Now, in this post-war setting (that looks an awful like WWI without the deep trenches) there's something unusual about that. But that doesn't bother Alice L. Malvin, Lieutenant of the Section III, Pumpkin Scissors. She recruits him and together with Matisse and Oreld, Alice tries to fulfill her section's duty as post-war relief, which doesn't come so easy.
Right off, you have inconsistencies along with unusual plot holes that would probably make this a bit less favorable. But with high production values, a more original storyline and a cast of characters who truly are original and an asset to the anime, I stuck with it and was rewarded.
The plot itself is very open and gives way for a second season. Once again, I feel that these are one of those back alley anime that I somehow seem to keep brushing up against. As I said before, the characters are well written and are each given more than enough episodes to give background as well as delve deeper into who they are and how they interact with others. This feels like an anime that doesn't reach deep into pasts or development, but rather focuses on the now. Honestly, I feel that it's a bit different from what I've seen. It could also be the military/war theme that I feel isn't shown often (mind you, I feel that mech anime are more like futuristic, which is why I'm not mentioning Full Metal Panic! Oh crap...)
I have the OST in my possession to check more on the music and it really gives the anime that war-march feeling in it. I like the nicely orchestrated violins and use of drums. It's probably one of the other factors into giving the anime it's nostalgic war story feel to it.
As I said before, the plot seems to have holes in it. You have branches of the government and secret societies which aren't really covered and makes you wonder what their purpose really was. Then you have the lack of focus on the 901 battalion which seem to have it's own mini-arc until they rushed to cut it off. Was it a purposeful effect to show character or simply a drop from the storyboard. This time, I can't really tell.
While it is a war themed anime, the action isn't so robust. Yes, it has it's nice 2-3 episode spanning fight scenes (that aren't just talk, mind you) and a constant surprise in characters during these fights but generally, they ARE a post-war relief unit. I don't really think there's a need for heavy fighting for relief.
There haven't been any US licensing branches that have sought for Pumpkin Scissors yet, so you may as well deal with Raws or fansubs. (I believe Eclipse has fansubbed them. I believe they were very good and my favorite project from them has probably been Shakugan no Shana. For the anime or for their quality, i'm not sure. They both were good.)
Sousuke Sagara, Sergeant of the mercenary group, Mithril, is given an assignment: To keep Chidori Kaname safe at all costs. However, living his whole life in the military, Sousuke has issues blending in with the surreal life and struggles to juggle his school life, with his military one all the while keeping Chidori safe from harm.
It's a pretty straight forward anime with the usual generic characters. Both Sousuke and the direct, aggressive Chidori are quite cookie cutter, but have a unique twist of humor that makes this anime in particular good. In addition, it's another mech anime so you can expect the usual action scenes. This anime however, feels different in the aspect of mech anime, because instead of the usual "humanoid mechs are part of society" spiel. Early on, you learn that the existence of the Armored Slaves (catagory for mechs) aren't supposed to be there. An anachronism if you will. So basically, what makes this anime unique is its uniqueness. Yes, you have all the basic characters that we've all seen, but twisted into different ways that I haven't seen any other anime turn.
The art is high quality stuff. There's a bit of cutting corners, but generally it's at a constant high budget. The music fits almost too perfectly. You have the large chain of militaristic themes for Sousuke in and out of school as well as a large array of nice themes for general tension and R&R.
Voice acting on both sides are impressive. As usual, I'm more for the Japanese voice actors since both Chidori and Sousuke seem to fit perfecty (as opposed to the english where there's a noticeable in ages between the actor and character).
What is a bit weak for the first season is it's story. Although, it's quite strong in developing everyone and starts characters off with a strong distinct personality, you get these weird moments where it just looks... off. The story works, and it works well but there's a bit of repetition that I could've done without.
As for Fumoffu?! This is a joke. Seriously. The animation team literally decided to take a break from the high packed action and boosted its ridiculousness. It's clearly obvious that the storyboard writers along with the script writers know what they're doing and know they're doing it well because Fumoffu really boosts all comedy from the first season many times. Yes, it's supposed to be a relaxation season, but that doesn't mean that you can drop the quality and the script. Things stay consistent with Fumoffu?! almost to the point where you think, "are we supposed to take this seriously?" In some cases, yes, and other cases no. We're supposed to understand that this is purely for comedic purposes but as well to be seen as an actual season rather than just filler. It's great. I loved Fumoffu and it boosted my opinion of Full Metal Panic at least ten times.
Second Raid is a great closer for the Full Metal Panic! series. At first, I was worried that it'd be a bit rushed due to many episodes that seemed like fillers, but the storyboard directors did a great job in linking most, if not all, of it together. There are some instances where there are questions unanswered and holes in the plot that makes you wonder "why was it even in there?" but overall, it was a better season than the first. Sure, it didn't go through all the antics of the first probably because it was a closer than an opener, but with Fumoffu?! under their belt, it didn't really matter. There was still a nice mix of comedy and a bit of the most kick ass robot fights I've seen. Let's face it, considering Full Metal Panic! was in 2-3 of the Super Robot Taisen games (including the latest one Super Robot Taisen: W for the DS) whereas most other anime got only one cameo, the team must've did something right.
Note: These screens are from the Second Raid, but generally they're all there.
"When the Cicadas Cry"
Another bad literal translation of the Japanese name I know, but it's another one of those things where it's fluidity over literal.
This anime...is... different.
It is quite different. It is so different I actually recommend this not be for anyone under 14. I know it's not like you people actually care about ratings but don't come complaining that you have an incurable twitch after watching this.
How should I start? Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a compilation of short stories revolving around 4 characters. Keiichi Maebara, Mion Sonozaki, Rena Ryuguu, and Satoko Houjo (Houjyo) in the town of Hinamizawa.
These short stories are seperate entities and while characters are referred in different chapters, they are actually as different as the stories themselves.
It's a psychological thriller based upon what apparently was a doujinshi computer game (go figure) and has now become an anime series and has had 2 adaptations to manga (though one has been considered dropped.) It's scary, I'll be blunt about it. And it's not the scary you see in those stupid American horror films with surprise flashes and gory dismemberments. This is the Asian culture. Where you see psychological horror at it's best. I'm talking about possessions and demons and unexplainable curses.
Honestly, I shuddered at certain parts of this anime, while it isn't particularly graphic, it's definitely spine-tingling.
A couple downsides are that the animation quality is a bit mediocre. Using exaggerated expressions and a generally low quality rendering (not raw side or encoder side) it's a bit of a turn off there. But still, it doesn't give THAT much of a nostalgic effect. Also, the voice actors seem to be slightly inconsistent sounding like the adolescents on one scene then sounding a couple decades older in another scene. Regardless, this anime is more about the story than anything else.
All 26 are out on DVD. The US Geneon licensing branch has released the few DVDs.
Welcome one and all to my blog. Though I do wish I had a bit more freedom to do as I wish to the layout. I'm just gonna keep it somewhat generic until I get the hang of this. For those of you who don't know who I am, my name's Zerreth, or rather, my handle's Zerreth. While I am simply another insignificant person in the mass that is the internet, I hope I can have a few regulars who will check up on this.