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Monday, December 31, 2012

OTAKU CLUB 2012 ANIME AND GAMES AWARDS!


Ladies and Gentlemen....
The time has yet come, for Otaku Club 2012 Awards!!!


Finally, the time has come. We had survived 2012, despite the greatest troll in the year, and now we are ready to venture forth and embrace the future lays in front of us.

We asked ourselves the most important question of all: In a decade, when we look back on 2012, which anime and game will define the year for us? From there, things started to come into focus. The anime and game that defines 2012 may be different for us than for you, but what a testament to a great year --that so many anime and games provided us so many different kinds of experiences and with such quality.


Without wasting any time.....
Let us see the winners!



ANIME AWARDS:

Best male character: Kirigaya Kazuto (Swords Art Online)
Best female character: Black Rock Shooter (Black Rock Shooter)
Most funny anime: Yuru Yuri 2
Most touching anime: Hyouka
Most ecchi anime: Queen's Blade Rebellion
Craziest character: All the cast from Teekyu.
Gunner of the year: Hana Isuzu (Girl und Panzer)
Mecha of the year: XFJ-01a Shiranui Second Unit 1 (Muv-Luv Total Eclipse)
Catgirl of the year: Neko (K)
Boobies of the year: Kurokami Medaka (Medaka Box)
Chuuni of the year: Takanashi Rikka (Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai)
Best school life anime: Yuru Yuri 2
Best job: Astronaut (Space Brothers)
Best romantic anime: Amagami
Best Harem anime: To Love Ru Darkness
Best horror anime: Another
Best action anime: Btooom!

Anime of the Year: Swords Art Online




GAMES AWARD

Best story: The Walking Dead: The Game
Best graphic: HALO 4
Best character: Clap Trap (Borderlands 2)
Best Atmosphere: Dishonoured
Best Voice acting: Vaas Montenegro (Farcry 3)
Best Multiplayer Game: Borderlands 2
Most Gruesome Game: Ninja Gaiden 3
Disappointing game: Hitman Absolution
Best Adventure game: Dishonoured
Best Action game: Assasin Creed 3
Best Platformer: Sounds Shape
Best soundtrack: Mass Effect 3
Best RPG: Diablo 3
Best MOBA: League of Legends
Best MMORPG: Guild Wars 2
Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Best Fighting game: Street Fighter X Tekken
Best Strategy game: X-Com Enemy Unknown
Best PC game: Diablo 3
Best X-box 360 game: HALO 4
Best PS3 game: Journey
Best Wii game: New Super Mario Bros.U
Best PSP game: Little Big Planet PS Vita
Best DS game: Resident Evil: Revelations

Game of the year: Dishonoured



Congratulations to all the winners!

The year had come to end. So much joy shared between us in this enigmatic year, and it is indeed worth remembering. We wishes you all of the best for the upcoming years, and for Otaku Club to continue to prosper. More anime and games goodiness, all to fulfill and colour our wonderful life!

By Otaku, for everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse





There's been a lot of strange series that debuted in 2012. If there was another to name, one would definitely be Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. No, it's not the end of the year (yet) for us but in the world of the Total Eclipse, it's walking down that path. The series is based off a LN (light novel) of the same name and takes place in a science fiction world where mecha, aliens, and hot women with suits of iron dominating the series. It's definitely not everyday that you get to see chicks fighting otherworldly beings and still getting the time to relax. Let's look and see for ourselves what Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse has to offer:


The series is set in an alternative timeline where our planet Earth has been invaded by aliens forces known as the BETA. This sort of genre can be traced into many science fiction series such as Strike Witches, Gunparade March, and even Neon Genesis. The BETA has caused the Earth resistance to develop jet/mecha hybrid called Tactical Surface Fighters or TSF to eradicate them. Mankind now is in a state of war, horror, and survival where the skies rains with blood and the ground leaves the scars of battles. Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse focuses on the exploration of these battles, characters' interactions, and the survival of mankind. 


The first episode isn't what we might expect. When I watched it, there's seems to be a sort of “mindfuck” reaction. In fact, it's not what most of us expected but a rather dark flashback with Yui in her final days of high school. To be honest, high school is never too fun for most people but in Yui's case has gotten that much grimmer. In a tragic twist, she is forced into immediate combat with her classmates for the first time against the powerful BETA. And with that, blood is spilled with a brutality of violence is presented to the viewers. If you thought this was a show about hot girls doing hot things, then think again. 


From there though, everything shifts to present time and we get to see the other characters of the series. It seems Yui has become that much more confident and with her status now as lieutenant. Starring opposite her though is the ever stubborn, short-tempered, confident Yuuya Bridges. He is of the Japanese American descent who follows his roles a strong soldier against the forces of the BETA. His short temper and characteristics forms a barrier between most of the other characters in the beginning with him presenting an attitude of “don't fuck with me” personality. 


And speaking of personalities, this series mixes in different characters with different characteristics. Let's take for example:

The Scarlet Twins -
Cryska "Scarlet Twin" Barchenowa who is of the Soviet descent has a cold personality and is afraid to let people get close to her because the state of her mentality. She is the cold beauty of the series with an equally cold ability to fly the unfriendly skies of the series and doing what she does best. On the other hand, we got Inia "Scarlet Twin" Sestina. She is Cryska's most precious individual (and “sister”) in that twisted world . Unlike Cryska though, Inia is much more gentler and treats other people with kindness especially Yuuya who she adores like an older brother.

The other characters in the series has different personalities as well. Tarisa Manandal, whom Yuuya teasingly calls her Chobi acts as the more comedic side of the series despite some of the more serious violence tone going on around. Later on, we also meet Cui Yifei, a pilot of the Chinese descent that brings out the inner tsundere from Yui. 


These lovely ladies all have their different personalities but the show occasionally tries to hard. For example, some of the filler episodes involving the beach and the onsen presents us nothing more than just pure fan-service that's irrelevant to the story. Furthermore, the women of the series are drawn in a way that reflects their figures directly to the viewers with those tight suits. Who can forget those suits honestly? I bet most people here watched the trailer and added it to their PTW just from that. 


There is more than just beyond the fan-service though for this rather underrated series. As more episodes progressed, we can see a more political side of Total Eclipse involving the various genetic heritages of the main characters. The nickname “Japanese Doll” given by Yuuya Bridges to Yui serves as a comedic but also political reference to his personality towards the race. The other characters' heritages also strikes a distinguishing background for the series that makes it more realistic despite being a science fiction. 


The series traces its roots with the survival of the fittest theme although it doesn't involve any game elements. Instead, it's a military type series that involves with one force and the other. There can only be one winner on each side: mankind or the BETA. As such, the battles in the series are often intense when they happen that draws the violence, brutality, and blood from the skies. The characters drawn are visually presented well and gets their points across. However, the mecha department lacks a bit of this quality. Although crisp, the mecha themselves seems to be trying too much to become..mecha. However, the emotions and drama mixed in is a surprisingly exciting watch. It shows the dangers mankind have been and will be facing. 


Yet despite the serious tone of the series, there is a lot of interactions between the main characters later on. For later on, Yuuya becomes less aggressive and more caring towards his colleagues treating them as friends rather than comrades. His interaction with Yui is one of the more dynamic focuses in the series as he inspires her that she can create a path the way she wants. This opened up new doors of opportunities for a more caring relationship between the two. Hmm, maybe not because it seems that there are also other women interested in Yuuya. In some of the later episodes, Yuuya becomes the center of attention who attracts the attention of the many other female characters in the series. It's funny in a strange way to realize that in such a dark atmosphere that the BETA has already created, there can also be some space for fun and laughter. 


As said before, the artwork of the series is presented in a way that reflects the more serious tone of the Muv Luv world in which survival of mankind depends on these new generation of trained pilots. The pilots themselves are drawn well and those tight suits the ladies wear are the eye candies. On the other hand, the mecha drawn are less than average and focuses too much on themselves. They are just there for the military purposes of battling the BETA with not too many special characters. The BETA themselves however gives off that alien invasion like feeling with their artwork designs of the horns, teeth, stingers, etc. Their behavior in the series shows that they are there to invade and expects nothing less than a fight to the death. 


The overall music/soundtrack for the series is above par but sometimes tries to be too forceful. "Go to the top" by Kumi Koda shows a montage of all the main characters as well as a few glances of the vicious BETA. Some of the more emotional flashbacks gives off a soft melody that reflects the sadness of the Muv Luv world. A few of the characters went through a harsh past and it ultimately made them who they are today. 


All in all, Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is one of those mecha series where it tries to balance out the grim reality of the war and the drama between the main characters. The reality of the war is there as we can see from Yui's past and what she has gone through. But at the same time, there is new hope as she finds new friends and allies to move on from that past. Yuuya's interactions with the other characters also shows that he is a caring person rather than just an obnoxious self-centered pilot as some of us believed him to originally be. There is also the blushing, the potential romance, as well as what is in hope for a better future. 


Ultimately, Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse is an underrated series that some of us may have looked past this year. Perhaps if we faced a more harsher reality in today's world, we might become more self aware. But it's worth giving it a shot especially if you're digging into some science fiction drama.

Source: http://myanimelist.net

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!


I like to laugh. Who doesn't? I like to smile. A smile always brightens the day. I like to watch some high school kids pretending who they are not and cosplaying as characters like the Dark Flame Master. Oh, I guess this is the right place then because Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! can do all three of those things. Killing three birds with one stone, awesome isn't it?


Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!) is an anime series based on the novel of the same name that is produced by Kyoto Animation. Some fans of Kyoto Ani (Clannad, Hyouka, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu) will definitely rejoice because the Japanese studio is already well known for its rich visuals and aesthetics. They have been involved with many series with the typical high school life being turned from normal to abnormal and they did it once again!


The series takes place at a typical high school setting. It involves a young boy named Yuuta Togashi who is suffering a case of...chuunibyou, or “Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome". In technical terms, it is a condition in which an individual deludes themselves as being a smartass and looks down on others. They also believe they have some sort of “special power” that excludes themselves from the normal society. It's actually quite common though. I don't know if you ever felt this way but a lot of people do weird things in high school. I mean, it's like how you used to believe yourself as a superhero like Batman or Superman when you were younger. Good days, good days.


And of course, high school has it all: drama, comedy, romance, delusions, cosplaying, and all that other good stuff. So without further ado, let's introduce the two main characters:

Rikka Takanashi – forget that eyepatch. This girl has that syndrome I'm talking about. She visions herself with the “wicked eye”. (which sadly is just some colored contacts) Unlike Yuuta however, she still has the chuunibyou. She is the girl who gets the most abuse but also the one that brings out the most laughter with her absurd yet comedic stances throughout the series. Take for example..that random scene when she bounces around like crazy during the pilot episode or those Lelouch-like poses.

Yuuta "Dark Flame Master" Togashi – he USED to have the chuunibyou syndrome. But now, it seems that his past is haunting him once again when he meets Rikka. He used to believe himself to be..the Dark Flame Master. I'm trying to envision myself exactly what is the Dark Flame Master. Does it have flames? Is it a master of the underworld? Or is just some villian who can emit cool flames. At any rate, his high school years becomes abnormal after meeting Rikka.


There's not too much of a story to be honest yet. The series is more about comedy and the events that surrounds the main characters. They live their high school days like normal teens although the majority are anything but normal. For example, Sanae and Rinka has this Tiger and Dragon rivalry. They fight in absurd ways that is beyond normal by the way they delude themselves. Yes you got it, they also have the chuunibyou as well, or at least used to. Later on though, the series takes some more emotional turns with a few insights into the past, especially those into our main female protagonist, Rikka-chan.


The artwork of the series is glorious like most of Kyoto Animation's other works. Its background settings of rich visuals are there and reflected upon every delusion, every action, every laughter, every chuunibyou-like behavior. Kazumi Ikeda who is involved with the character designs of the series brings out the M in moe from the characters like Rikka, Yumeha Togashi (Yuuta's cute little sister), and Kumin Tsuyuri.


The soundtrack is also quite lighthearted that reflects upon the comedic mood of settings and characters. When there are battle scenes though, it swiftly changes to a more fast paced rythym to make it looks like it's real despite the fact that it's just a delusion. Now as for the OP song..wow, just wow. "Sparkling Daydream" by ZAQ sure got their point through. The opening song of the series induces eye seizures. Every time I watch it (even upon now occasionally), the scenes flashes back into your head and makes your eyeballs follow them endlessly. Of which, the OP song is also catchy with the silly pose of Rikka-chan. The stance of “(σ O ω・) σ←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙← “ is ridiculously catchy and there have been many parodies on the net to mimic it. On the other hand, the ED song "INSIDE IDENTITY" by Black Raison d'être seems ordinary with a nice melody.


Ultimately, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! is a very entertaining series to watch. It's not like the usual harem with a pathetic protagonist who can't make up his damn mind. But rather, it involves a kid who tried to escape from his past but ends up living it now with his new friends at high school. Entertainment is not so easy to bring these days especially with a lot of already used ideas but this one here is executed pretty well in my opinion. So, give it a shot.


Source: http://myanimelist.net

BTOOOM!



That feeling when you get when you realized your life is now fucked up, turned from virtual fun into a bloody reality, and your only chance to survive is to trust in no one (I mean it here) but yourself. With only your disposal – a package of bombs, a strange gem on your hand, and your own intuition, you realize that your life has been changed forever with your new life now residing on a strange island in the middle of nowhere...

So, what should you choose to do?

A) Panic! Scream and hope someone will help you out
B) Try to team up with someone and trust in him or her and hope that they will not betray you.
C) Do the opposite of choice B. In other words, when you find the first opportunity, KILL THEM after you've gained their trust
D) Just try to survive. Your life belongs to you and yours only

These all sound pretty horrifying, right? Well, that's Btooom! for you. 


Btooom! is survival horror themed anime series based off the manga of the same name. It doesn't take long for the characters in the series to realize their lives have changed forever to be quite honest. The series takes itself from the very beginning and presents a game senario where in order to survive, you must kill seven other people before they can kill you. It's survival of the fittest and it's a every one for themselves.

The basis of the series is actually based off a game from the anime series itself called Btooom. But now, our 22-years old main protagonist Ryota Sakamoto's life has changed forever when he realizes the new situation of his reality. In fact, he used to be an pro gamer from the game itself. However, his new life puts on the edge between survival and death. The difference? It's real. In other words, there's no pause button, no restart, or bonus lives. No, now you're dead, YOU'RE DEAD.


The influence of the series seems to be based off of the classic deserted island theme. Only this time, the island itself becomes a battlefield for survival. And of course, series with themes like this isn't new especially in today's anime industry. Series like Mirai Nikki, Deadman Wonderland, and Gantz all have these themes where survival is absolute. Even in manga series, these themes are present such as Psyren, Mahou Shoujo of the End, and Cage of Eden. The fact is that these series all share a common factor in which an ordinary main male protagonist's lives are changed forever after a certain event. These events turn from peculiar, to dangerous, to tragic, to emotional, and one which will leave a memory in their minds for the rest of their lives.


Those characters/contestants:

Well, it's hard to describe them all but let's look at some of the most prominent ones, shall we? We begin with the main male protagonist -

Ryota Sakamoto. He is a 22 year old young man who has achieved mastery and fame in the Btooom world. In the game, he is ruthless but yet cunning as well as being infamous for his skills. In real life though, he is described as a NEET. In other words, he has almost no life but rather chooses to spent them playing the game. Yet, he is a brilliant, caring, loyal, and courageous young man if we look at him carefully especially during his time of playing the real Btooom game in the anime series.

On the other hand, there's Himiko (also known as Hemilia). She is the main female protagonist with a pair of big boobs but with a small interest in the opposite sex. As a matter of fact, she hates the male population in general for fear of her past. It's for this reason that she carries a stun gun throughout the series as a warning sign to any men who dares to approach her. In her mind, every men in the game (and possibly on the planet) is her enemy and that she is their prey. This is especially true in the beginning episodes where some of flashbacks are shown in a dark fashion.


The other contestants of the Btooom game all have different ideologies, goals, and personalities as we see the series progresses. What they all have share in similarities is their desire to win the game and get off the island. As such, most of them are willing to hurt, betray, and even kill to ensure that their goal is achieved; well, most of them anyways. For people like Kiyoshi Taira, there seems to be hope and friendship. But for others, there exists hatred, dominance, power, and intellect as part of their characteristics.

For example, Kousuke Kira, a young boy at the age of only 14 holds a hatred for his father due to his childhood. It turned him into a child murderer and one that lacks empathy. Then, there's Masahito Date who is willing to do anything to ensure his successes throughout the game and becomes its victor. Then, there are some others who uses their brains rather than their brawns such as Nobutaka Oda who has mastered his usage of the Remote Control type BIM. The point is that every one the island wants to get out of it and return to their lives. 


Yet, they know their lives won't be the same again...

The games' concept involves survival and thus, there are some science fiction themes mixed in with the brutality of violence, strategy, and a little bit of luck. After all, a game is never easy when there are others with skills that matches your own. To add to the game, there are the BIMs or bombs that players use as their main weapons of destruction. These bombs all have different abilities that can lead to the death of an opponent. It reflects the science fiction side of the series. The horror side? Those would be some of the flashbacks of the characters as well as the reality of what the players face. They realize that it's not a game anymore and once they're dead, it's game over forever.

Now, the series isn't as good as it sounds. Make no mistake because every survival series has a lack of something that should have been there. In this case, Btooom has them too. The series lacks a diversity in which how the game is played. In other words, there is only bombs that are the primary weapons for the contestants. It does play on its main title as “Btooom!” seems to be synonymous to “BOOM!” That's of course what happens when one of those BIMs goes off and your body splatters. As gruesome as it sounds, the series tries too hard occasionally. Furthermore, the main male protagonist often comes with cases of deus ex machina. It's almost as if he is protected by the “main protagonist should not die” shield. Other problems I've run into the series is that the seemingly rushed sequences. Some of the contestants are killed off in a single episode with little to no screen time given beyond their performance in the game. In other words, they don't stand out as much as the main protagonists. In the end, they're just more like obstacles for them to get by and almost a way for them to “level up” or gain experience in the game.


The artwork of the series is fine but nothing unique. What it does reflect though is the nature of the game of Btooom and its survival themes. These include the abandoned buildings, the tropical forests, the shallow waters, the high mountain cliffs, and other things you typically see on an abandoned island. In fact, most of the characters' outfits reflects this as well in their casual wear and their battle scarred clothing. Most of them are dressed in ways in which they are of themselves which means that none of them were prepared for a real life version of Btooom. And of course, the battlefield has left ashes and bombs going off is usually visually represented with its spectacular explosions. Nothing else is more than that though as I found the artwork to be typical but gets to the point.


The soundtrack of the series is presented with its action paced OST. In most scenes involving action, there is the rhythm. There is hardly any comedic or lighthearted soundtrack in this series as it doesn't fit within those grounds. Yet, it does occasionally have emotional melody especially for flashback scenes of the contestants; more often these are represented as being tragic. The OP song, "No pain, No game" by Nano is a classic for this series. That's right, no pain means no game and in the world of Btooom, there's both of that. On the other hand, the ED song, "Aozora " by May'n is presented in a more soft paced style especially featuring one of the main characters, Himiko.


Ultimately, Btooom is one of those survival horror series that can be enjoyable but at the same time, becomes frustrating with its strange twists. The cliffhangers and occasionally plot twists have become predictable especially in later episodes. At the same time, there is a feeling of explosiveness (more than just the BIMs) when we watch the action scenes. It's not intelligent but packs that feeling of survival horror where your life really is at stake here. In the world of Btooom, it ultimately comes down to how to play the game. If you play your cards right, you'll win. If not, then game over for you and no second chances.


Source: http://myanimelist.net


Swords Art Online



Near future. Countless seasoned gamers, and the release of what can be called the peak of virtual reality. This is the inception of Nerve Gear, a technology that allows its users to play in a video game as though experiencing real life. As players put it to the test, everything tumbles down when the Game Master locks them up in the virtual world, and dying in the game equals the player's demise in the real world. But here steps in the charismatic Kirito, determined to beat Sword Art Online. From here begins an adventure that promises trials, hardship and danger... or does it?


MMORPGs are the cradle of fond memories for many gamers around the world. Not a single experienced player can talk about the nostalgic hours spent in online games without mentioning the fun time spent slaying monsters for long and restless nights in order to gain exp points. Analysing the economy to get wealthier, or simply working one's fingers to the bone to get some well-deserved money. And what to say of the hardships that were overcome and caused the birth of countless, unfaltering friendships?


Unfortunately, none of this accurately describes Sword Art Online.


Sword Art Online is the respected player-killer that never trained a single night. It is the successful businessman that never invested a single penny. And naturally, the best friend you never actually spent meaningful time with. But remember when you were a child; was there really no game for which the 'Game Over' screen showed up so often you stopped tolerating it? After all, isn't it an unwavering truth that many of us also had fun using one or two cheat codes at times?


– or so would say the author... little did he know, you grew up since that time. But just where is the issue – lack of character development? Certainly not, Sword Art Online has plenty of it. In fact, here lies this anime's downfall: character development just doesn't work when it is expedited. Sword Art Online begins with Kirigaya 'Kirito' Kazuto, and although with a slight advantage at the start, he is much of what one would expect of a normal player. Wouldn't it be a wonderful character development if our protagonist ended up the strongest, wealthiest player, and well-liked to boot?


Well, no. When a character is shown to acquire an astounding amount of money with nothing even hinting at the process that permitted it, this is failing to satisfy even the most basic storytelling conventions. In the same way, the two main characters come to be the server's top players. Was it through hard training? Scarcely. Long trials of stunning difficulty? Nay. The characters became the most powerful players through... time skips. When a mere time skip acts as the trigger for change in a character, no actual merit is achieved, save for perhaps self-insertion, whose interest is akin to the usage of cheat code: insipid and no better than fanfiction writing. And what better way is there to ruin such an interesting premise – the concept of real death in a video game – than making the protagonist so powerful that he never has to face perilous situations?


To use shortcuts in a characterisation is one thing, though; to make it incoherent and disjointed is yet another. And the series manages to achieve both at the same time. Kirito, as the protagonist is called in the game, often experiences sudden and unexplained changes, which are sometimes quickly negated for no better reason. One could remember how Kirito often claims to be a 'solo player' and sometimes is depicted as such, yet is also shown playing with other people for the sole sake of socialising. Or, for example, how he starts out consistently depicted as being reserved and bland for a significant amount of screen time, yet abruptly decided to become a scapegoat and save other players he doesn't know with a remarkable boldness: not only was no psychological justification ever given for the character's change, it was also entirely forgotten in the next episode, following a substantial and convenient time skip – again.


To top it off, the plot suffers from the same flaws as the characterisation. Perhaps even more than the characters in it, in fact, the storyline is riddled with inconsistencies and conveniences. While much of this anime's intended strength should be dramatic impact, the way the drama is woven is frightening. A considerable importance seems to be given to the death of certain characters; where the problem lies, however, is when the characters we should feel for have been introduced less than twenty minutes ago and thus lack heavily in characterisation. It is even worse when the reason of their death amounts to pathetic conveniences: the first death in the series was due to a character refusing a healing potion, even though on the verge of death. Why would he refuse it in the first place, if not to create gratuitous melodrama?


Unsatisfied with delivering half-baked drama, Sword Art Online attempts to provide romance as well. But unsurprisingly, the result is appalling. As ambitious as it seems, no fewer than five romantic relationships are developed, all involving the main character. And while a single relationship could have been a believable part of the plotline, incorporating multiple love interests only harms the focus of the story. Of course, the mere fact that five romantic subplots could coexist is sufficient to destroy any credibility, but they all manage to be disastrous even taken individually. Most of them happen within single episodes; first meeting, confession, and sometimes even death – all within twenty minutes! Naturally, spanning so little time, the only conceivable result was a revolting amount of cliché; can we really take seriously two teenagers that act all lovey-dovey even though this is the first time they met?




But if the writing is poor, perhaps at least the setting is interesting; after all, isn't that synopsis promising? Not even close. Even the worldbuilding is ruined to keep the plot moving forward, in truth. Despite the fact that virtual death is presented as one of the fundamentals of the setting, the one time the protagonist faces death in the game, he is revived (and that is long past the delay after which the audience was told the player's real body should be killed) with no element to account for this miracle. What's more, when about to be killed by the enemy and with no possible cop-out, he is saved by a character who overcomes virtual paralysis... even though no presented means exist in the game mechanics to break free from it.


This is obviously one example of deus ex machina among many. Only a few times has the protagonist needed to overcome difficulties, and every time, he gets away thanks to one of his allies miraculously stepping in. And there's more! Note how Kirito's hacker skills are introduced at the exact time they are needed (and mysteriously thrown away afterwards), or the ridiculous excuse that allowed him to keep his attributes in two unrelated games (now have you ever seen a single MMORPG allowing this?). Consider how the characters conveniently forget they have a teleportation item when ambushed by other players, or how a dead character's ghost conveniently appears to give an item to the protagonist when he is in trouble, even though he could have done that a long time before.


But despite the horrible story, it would be unfair to call Sword Art Online a complete failure. It has, for one thing, a well above average soundtrack, albeit poorly used; moreover, it could be said that the animation fulfils its role somewhat satisfactorily. The tiresome repetition of key tracks could be brought up. One could, maybe, mention the out-of-place CGI, the abuse of still pictures during the fights or the usage of distorted key frames in sequences whose framerate is far too low to afford such visual effects; but that would be picking on minor details. The truth is that Sword Art Online offers solid production values, and above all, it does so consistently.



Any experienced gamer, though, would tell you that graphics alone do not make a game. It is especially true when the rest of the game at hand is an utter mess from start to finish. True, we have a soundtrack that serves its purpose and interesting graphics. Decent longevity as well, but above all a dreadful story and characters that no amount of eye-candy can compensate for.

And all that's left is revolutionary gameplay. Oh wait.

Source: http://myanimelist.net

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Comic Fiesta 2012!



Comic Fiesta is back! And now, larger than ever! For those who don't know what Comic Fiesta is, it is Malaysia’s longest-running and most epic convention that focuses on animation, comics and games (ACG). They take pride in celebrating all aspects of art and creativity (as well as the ever popular ACG culture), collecting all these elements in one location and unleashing this melting pot of human ingenuity to all members of society, both locally and internationally.

Responsible for ushering in the rapidly-expanding ACG community into Malaysia, Comic Fiesta (CF) is proudly an event by fans for fans. This is the first and the biggest non-profit ACG convention in Malaysia, organized by a group of passionate individuals brought together by one common goal, and powered by a massive community of professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts of all age groups. (source: CF official site)

And now, I'll tell you my experience of two whole day attending this fantastic event, with lots and lots of pictures!


The first thing that you should now about this event is, it is REALLY large. You can see a sea of people outside and inside the hall. Because I'm too lazy too pre-order the early bird ticket, I had to queue up in a very, very long line. Spent 2 hours queuing to buy the tickets for both of the day. Oh well.

Finally got my ticket! Now ready to enter!
A little powder there and over here. Yosh!

Al right! All set up! Lets go inside!


As you can see, a very big yet crowded event. Lots of booths and shop to meet to your heart desire.
We got Bushiroad as usual promoting their game, Cardfight Vanguard.

A serious video game matches between these people.

Yup, that's my drawing. I don't have a slight idea on what I'm drawing at that time.


One of the guest attending CF, Redjuice! He works as an illustrator for many famous anime character design, such as Guilty Crown.
And here we got Danny's booth, Mirai's Kopitiam. Lots of Culture Japan goods displayed and sold here.



And now, behold the sight of some of the amazing figurines!












The stage event was undeniably fun and crazy! The MC was hilarious and crazy!

Yup. Hard Gay, dancing to a human pole.

Let's not forget the Cosplay comptition.

Eat balls, metalhead!

Yeah, Hard Gay again doing Gangnam Style.


Epic face off!


Aww, a very romantic encounter on stage. Some of them do say that CF is a place to find true love.
And.... lets not forget for the dame gender too. Yaoi?
At that night, our ear were feast on by an amazing concert by Bless 4.



They are seriously awesome.

And now, for some cosplay pictures!
Yup, that's me, cosplaying as Ragna the Bloodedge from the Blazblue series.
Thats's my brother alright.



























Best cosplay ever.


And finally, the prize giving ceremony.

Your guest of honour, the president of Comic Fiesta himself.




Yup, he win for the best costume of the hall. Epic indeed. (still laughed when he failed to cross the stair).
And for the winner for the most ridiculous costume is.... nope, not this cute bear.
But it is Hard Gay! Yes you heard me right.

Winners for the group cosplay competition.

Winner for the best prop. Yup, believe it or not, his hair is the best prop.
Winner for the best performance. A somehow, weird perverted performance.

And finally, the winner for solo cosplay competition.
Team Orange e-sport managed to get 2nd place for the Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament.

And Team DC Smackdown gets to be the champion of the tournament, walking off with a large sum of money and goodies.
All of the Comic Fiesta Committee, gathering up to show their gratefulness towards the wonderful visitors of Comic Fiesta. Yes, we are awesome.

And, to end the day, they decided to held an awesome dance off party, surrounded by booming anime techno trance and shrouded with mist and sweat.







Nevertheless, Comic Fiesta is a hectic yet epic event. Only one word that I could come out with to describe it, and it is..... LEGENDARY!

Loots! Loots! And more loots!

Thanks to the Comic Fiesta Committee, Felynes, Helpers, Sponsors, Partners, Exhibitors, Artists, Cosplayers, Visitors, Fans and most importantly the visitors in making the epic CF 2012 possible. Well, next year will be much bigger and better! See you next time!

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