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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rokka no Yuusha review


At first glance, I was convinced that this would be another adventure themed anime featuring heroes defeating the bad guys and ultimately saving the world. But to my surprise, it's not. It does shows a lot of promises when the theme suddenly changed halfway. However, this anime is too ambitious for its own good and fail to execute the story properly. Ultimately, this anime serve nothing more than a way to promote the source material.


When the Demon God awakens from the depths of darkness, the Goddess of Fate selects six heroes and bequeaths them with the power to save the world. Adlet, a boy who proclaims himself the strongest man in the world, has been selected among "The Heroes of the Six Flowers." However, as the heroes gather, they soon begin to suspect that someone among them is an impostor, as this time, there are seven of them. (Source: ANN, edited)



Throughout the first episode, the anime tell us about the world setting, and how the protagonist are later chosen to be one of the six heroes. He then venture to find the other remaining heroes, which in a sense should be a very straightforward plot. Surprisingly, this show suddenly turned into a detective-mystery anime halfway through, which in paper seems like a wonderful idea. As more and more heroes shows up, tension build up and the investigation part commence. Heroes start blaming each other, and try to find a way to escape from the situation. The thing about mystery anime is that you can feel the sense of realism in a way you could imagine someone replicating it in real life. In a fantasy anime however, the challenges is to keep realism from mixing up too much with magic. This anime somehow manages to keep it simple in the beginning, but as more and more stuff comes out, the magical elements get out of hand and fails to keep the balance intact. This inevitably takes away the element that makes up detective anime great; the sense of trying to figure out yourself what happened and who is the culprit behind the said incident. There is no room for characters development to make way for the story, which dragged way too long with useless banter and forced emotional train wreck.Towards the end, the story fails to satisfy with predictable cliche, leading towards an incomplete, half-baked finale. Heck, the story would be even better if most part in the end is being cut down.


The anime feature seven main casts; six heroes and one fake. For an adventure anime that features a moderate amount of characters , you would expect that the character development go on with not much problem. However, this anime focuses too much on the mystery part, and fails to tell the backstory of almost all of the characters. Aside from two or three cast, the rest serve mostly as a plot device, which is a real shame considering they have interesting personalities. The main character, Adlet, is your average happy go lucky guy with an interesting way to fight, calling himself the strongest man in the world. He is cunning at time, yet aside for that he is average at most. His relationship with other characters play a huge role in the story progression, yet this sort of development couldn’t be spared for all six other members of the group and actually go some distance towards making the mystery more engaging. The other characters are also interesting in their design and personalities, but to avoid it from becoming a spoiler I'll avoid discussing about them. It's enough to say that each of them have different personalities that bring dynamic to the story, but given the lack of development there is little connection between each of them.


The art and animation are decent, but average to say the least. The anime features a promising setting with potentially beautiful fantasy background, but got butchered halfway by making all the characters stuck in one place. Viewers are forced to see the same place over and over again as the variety in environment get lost. The characters design are nice and diverse in their own way as mentioned previously, and the animation are mostly limited to the character facial expression and gestures as they try to interact with each other. The music are nice, with decent OP and spectacular ED; showing several different ED songs to fit in with the mood of the story. The OST are alright for the most part.



Rokka no Yuusha threads this bizarre line between being an action and a mystery show and fails at succeeding in either genre. Tension in fights does not exist because the show does not give the viewer to understand the development for majority of the cast. It makes the show very difficult to recommend. If you’re after a satisfying mystery, forget it. If you’re after little action, perhaps. Otherwise, there are better alternative for both mystery and fantasy anime elsewhere.



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Himouto! Umaru-chan review


Himouto! Umaru-chan is a light hearted slice of life anime with some unique elements that makes the show rather interesting to watch. The characters, or the star of the show, Umaru, is the mascot of the season. She is what most of us apire to be, perfect on the outside, yet living a carefree and frivolous life when no one is watching. 


Umaru is a renowned beautiful 16-year-old girl in town, living with her elder brother Taihei. She acts a perfect sister with a kind heart, intelligence and popularity, who everybody admires. So who would believe how true Umaru is at home? Sleeping, gaming, watching TV, eating junk food, drinking cola… that's almost all she does at home, leaving all the housework to her brother. Her camouflage is so perfect that when one of her classmates visits her home by surprise and witnesses “true Umaru," she pretends as if she is Umaru's younger sister. Taihei is always swayed by Umaru's gap between ostensible face and spoiled life, but he cannot hate his comical and somehow lovable cute little sister! (Source: Crunchyroll)



Being a slice of life anime in its core, there are no specific or linear plot line to follow. The show basically center around Umaru as she lives her double personalities life, literally. Elements that are being put into the show include friendship, family, having a good time together and satire towards the otaku culture at time. In retrospect, the show delivers what I would call a cultural comedy. You can spot a lot of references here and there, which can be really amusing at time. Most of the show however focuses the relationship between Umaru and the other characters, mainly her brother and her friends. She kept a neutral relationship with her brother at home, showing her true himouto side. As such, only her brother knew her true side, and both of them shows familial affection towards each other despite Umaru unreasonable demand and quirky personalities. Her personalities with her friends however, varies depend on how Umaru interact with them. She went from a perfect high school girl mode, rival gamer mode and even self-proclaimed little sister mode. It does give variation on how the story and pacing change with each different Umaru personalities. The only problem however is that like most slice of life show, most of the interaction can be rather dull sometime with nothing in between some scenes. It is not so much of a problem however if you enjoy a slow anime with hilarious comedy.


The characters in this story are a mixture or basic archetype with their own taste of uniqueness. Umaru is great. When in her perfect, role model high-school form she is basically flawless, with beautiful appearance and elegant personalities. Her main selling point however is in her deformed form at home, where she basically looks like a chibi version of herself with hamster hoodies and spoiled brat personalities. A complete opposite. Yet for some reason however she manages to hide this from most people excluding her own brother. She is what most of people could relate too; people who really loves their hobby but can't really show it to other people outside. As such, people had to build facade just to fit in with the society, ultimately hiding their own hobby out of public eyes. Her brother however, plays a major role as a moral and physical support for Umaru. Taihei understand his sister hobbies and mostly let her be in her own world, while taking care of Umaru at the same time. He is indeed a role model for what an understanding older brother could be. The series also consists of other characters ranging from Umaru’s shy childhood friend Ebina, self-proclaimed rival Sylphynford, and the bizarre and frightening girl, Kirie Motoba. Each of them has a different personality that makes them stand out on their own. 


The art and animation are above average at most. The bright colour palette and cheerful art style fit in with the slice of life+comedy theme. In essence, the artwork is simplistic yet effective. The animation are mostly fluid and acceptable. The music stand out on its own, most notably the OP scene, showing Umaru double personalities with notable references and catchy, fun music. The ED scene is decent, while the OST mostly fit in with the scene pretty well.


Although Himouto! Umaru-chan is not a particular distinctive anime in term of comedy, it does has its own fun moment and convincingly gets the audience to laugh. There’s enough jokes in the series that makes it look like satire and in general makes fun of the otaku culture thanks to Umaru. It also has enough time to not forget about the other characters given its steady pace. It is a decent anime to watch overall; it is not a masterpiece or a great piece of work, but it is fun nevertheless. Or watch it just for Umaru.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

PUNCH

punch.

Break through the wall and smash all the opposing enemies!


I've made this as a design for my University anime club sweater design for this year.


Light Novel - Kono Subarashii Sekai Shukufuku Wo!


Author: Akatsuki Natsume

Illustrator: Mishima Kurone

Theme: Adventure, Comedy, Different World, Parody


"Satou Kazuma-san, welcome to the after-life. Unfortunately, you have died. It might be short, but your life is over." 
Someone suddenly spoke to me in a pure white room. 
The sudden turn of events confused me. 
In the room was a set of office desk and chair, and the one who announced that my life was over sat in that chair. 
If there was a goddess, she must be it. 
Her beauty was beyond the idols shown on television, she had glamour that surpassed humans. 
Her long blue hair looked silky smooth. 
She seemed to be about my age. 
She wasn't too busty or too lacking. She had a light purple hagoromo draped over her clothes.
 Volume 1 - Prologue

From left: Satou Kazuma, Darkness, Megumin and Aqua
It has been a while since I’ve last written my Light Novel review. The light novel that I’ve chosen to review this time “Kono Subarashii Sekai Shukufuku Wo!”. As we all know or we SHOULD know, this light novel is currently being adapted into an anime and 2 episodes have been aired. And I would say this light novel is really a gem among the many light novel translation that I’ve read. I remind you that my moon rune is not good enough to enable me to read the raw Japanese novel.


Alright, let’s get back to the light novel. This novel is currently having 8 volumes released. This novel centers around Satou Kazuma, a HikkiNEET (as Aqua calls him) that was reincarnated into a different world after he met his glorious death on earth. Due to various turn of event, he brought the beautiful goddess of water, Aqua to the different world. Then, he met various allies along his journey to defeat the Demon King generals and the Demon King himself. Yeah, typical RPG-like story. *smirk*


Now, why do I say that this novel a gem?

This whole novel is one hell of a parody. Parody of the “Isekai” trope. Anime only viewer may not realize just how overuse this trope is. However, Light Novel readers and Web Novel readers will definitely understand why such parody is written. This is because there just too many Light Novels and Web Novels that use this “reincarnated or summoned into a different world”. Trust me, there are just too many, you would not be able to really keep track on the amount. Tate Yuusha No Nariagari, Konjiki No Word Master, Death MarchKara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku, Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu and Mushoku Tensei are few of them.

And below are the volume titles and which series they might be parodying:

Aa, Damegami sama (Aa, my useless goddess)

  • Parody of Aa, megami sama

Chuunibyou demo Majo ga Shitai! (Even with Chuunibyou, I want to be a witch!)

  • Parody of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai

Yondemasu yo, Darkness-san (They are calling, Darkness-san)

  • Parody of Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san

Namakura Quartet (Useless quartet)

  • Parody of Yozakura Quartet

Bakuretsu kurenai ma ni Let’s And Go (Let’s go, Crimson Magic of Explosion)

  • Parody of Bakusou kyoudai Let’s and Go

Rokka no Oujo (Princess of six flower)

  • Parody of Rokka no Yuusha

Okusenman no Hanayome (110 million bride)

  • Parody of Seto no Hanayome or Omoide wa Okusenman

Axis kyoudan VS Eris kyoudan (Axis cult VS Eris cult)

  • Most probably from gundam series, something about Axis Zeon and AEUG

The series whose title being parody have no connection to the volume content but, you can expect a great humor and parody in each of the volume. I have never been disappointed by this novel.


Everyday life
As of now, there are 3 episodes that have been aired and the main characters have all been introduced. Will Kazuma be able to defeat the Demon Lord with his high-tier party with Archpriest Aqua, Archwizard Megumin and Crusader Darkness?



We all can only pray for him to have an easy *smirk* journey and best of (high) luck (stat).

I guess this is the end of light review for this time. May we meet again. またね~


Cure for your heart in case you need one
-Nass-sama-

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Heroic Age : If Only The Fighting Was Good




Wolvenciel here again bringing you yet another review of a mecha/superpower anime that is NOT Gundam or the likes (though the characters do have that SEED feeling to them). This is me shedding some light into this underdog anime that no one ever heard of, Heroic Age.

Now before anything, I would suggest that none of you check out the wikipedia page of this anime as it really gives you the feeling that wikipedia is saying "Guys this anime rips off that greek mythology on this and that and blablabla". It ruins the originality that you might want to see for yourself when you watch this anime. The names and a lot of things in this anime is based off those greek myths even right to the clans and the ship's name. I didn't even realize any of these until I read the wikipedia page though.


Summary

The universe was created by these Tribe of Gold people who then called to other denizens of the universe out to space and find them. Naturally the more powerful of them rose to that call and made it into space and decided to go on a rampage(that's the Tribe of Hero). The Tribe of Gold then punished the whole tribe and made the last of the Heroes into servants for other tribes. The story is about what happened after the Tribe of Gold left the universe and its denizens with their respective Hero Servants (which are called Nodos).

Belcross. A space titan as I like to call it.


Iolaus (You are allowed to skip this)

When I first watched this anime, I was impressed by the superpower+mecha theme. I know I know. A lot of mecha animes already has this theme. Its overused and its getting stale by the day. However, there was one guy whom I can't help but love eventhough he was one of these overused stereotypes. A side character that doesn't really move the story that much, Iolaus is one of those tryhards that you often see in most animes (again, overused stereotype) where they work hard but gets stomped real easy by the main character anyway.

He teleports, which is pretty awesome as he used it in a lot of situations and its fun seeing him take full advantage of his powers. You also don't see those negative rivalry in this anime much as eventhough Iolaus likes the same girl as the main character, he's not idiot enough to be blinded by his own shortcomings. This guy is one of the main reasons I watched this show to the end. Thus the whole subtopic on one guy. Moving on.

Space Battles

A good thing about this anime would be that it portrays how space battles work theoretically well. You have formations and you need to organize you fleets properly before entering battle (a lot of space battles in mecha animes don't do this well). There are drones and AIs to help with the defense mechanism of the ship and the battles have a hint of strategy in them instead of the usual "sortie and blast each other's head off" stuff you see (sorry, I just have too much experience in these things watching gundams).

Drones


Not Much Action

Okay. We got the positive stuff out. Now to give judgement to this anime. The first and biggest flaw to Heroic Age would be that it lacks fighting scenes that actually bear meaning to the whole story in itself, or just a battle that signifies something at the least. You would think that if space titans that can blast a planet into pieces fight, you'd see some good action out of it, right? Well that did not happen. Most of the fights are like repeated punching and firing beams and flying and then finishes off with the inevitable "berserk mode" of the Nodos that gets overwhelmed.

These are the ants (Tribe of Bronze)

At first, I thought it awesome that each of these Nodos have the strength that reminded me of One Punch Man as Belcross technically just used shock waves of his punches to obliterate the Tribe of Bronze's ant hives. Hell I was wrong. Watching the Nodos battle it out with each other was like watching a 1v1 Tug o War. Its static and repetitive and you don't get excited because there's like only two guys playing.

Ant hives are like asteroids. Filled with ants. And can do FTLjumps.

Talking and More Talking

I get it that this anime is more towards talking it out rather than fighting but man they discuss about stuff too much. The action wasn't really making stuff that exciting and now you give me endless discussions and talks about how beautiful the world is? A lot of times I was distracted from watching the show and decided to look at the food that I'm eating, or the clock or my phone. Yes. Its that boring.

I admit that some parts of Heroic Age were pretty good but when there's too much of the bad stuff you just can't seem to bring yourself to watch the anime with passion. I'm not saying that it's all bad. Its just... sigh... I wish they'd spark things up more, you know?

if only your fight scenes were better...

Verdict

Heroic Age might seem like a fresh concept at first but it turns out boring as it gets to the Nodos battles as there aren't much to look forward to (except the plot, that is). If at least they did the fights right, the anime might be better in my opinion but as far as I can see, the space battles are the only thing to look forward in this anime. Oh and the opening song is a killer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Touhou review: TH 10 Mountain of Faith


TH 10 Mountain of Faith


Welcome to the modern era of the Touhou project series. The official 10th installment of the series offers several new things. Cosidering it is a new game, some changes in the gameplay mechanics are more prominent compared to the old one. It is still a shooting game at core; expect new characters and spellcards.

The playable characters are limited to only Reimu and Marisa BUT each character have 3 different firing style so there are still some variety in using the characters. The story begins when there is a new shrine appeared in Gensokyo, resulting to a decline in the number of people visiting the Hakurei Shrine. Eventually, there happens to be a stranger that told Reimu to shut down her shrine. Instead, Reimu / Marisa decided to investigate the Moriya shrine for more details, meeting its residents. Along the way, The player meets  characters like kappa and tengu, gathering more info on the situation.

This game has lots of new mechanics. The controls are still the same but There are new and also old features been added to the game. Firstly, The "danger" or "caution" signal to indicate incoming bullets and enemies was reused in this game  where it was last used in Touhou 4 (PC-98). Second, the graze count is no longer displayed. However, the animation when grazing bullets are still shown and also used in the new mechanics. Thirdly, in this game, there are green pieces that will be dropped by the enemy. This will increase the max point that can be obtained when collecting blue pieces. The max point will be shown on the bottom left of the screen. The value will reduce when the player does not  make any contact with the enemies. To maintain the value from dropping, graze bullets from time to time. getting shot will also cause the points to drop. Lastly, The player will have no specific spellcards. It will be replaced like a regular bomb. It still deals damage and clears bullets but now it consumes the player's bullet power. The lowest power is at 1.00 and the maximum power is at 4.00 but can be increased to 5.00. As usual, collect the power piece to increase the power.

Below are the screenshots and the video of the gameplay.


Title Screen


The bottom left shows the maximum points a blue piece can be obtained. It will gradually reduce over time when the player does not make any contact with enemy. Picture below is a screenshot 6 seconds after the one above.







Stage 2 Gameplay



Stage 4 Gameplay



Extra stage Gameplay


In my opinion, this game is not that hard and can be played by most people. The bomb being related to player power meaning that the player can easily regenerate bomb count since power piece drops regularly in the game. However, there are lack varieties in bomb types as a unique spellcards. There are no famous spellcards like fantasy seal or master sparks in it. Both Reimu and Marisa have the same bomb when pressing "x" in game. 

Here is the link to the game (Moriya Shrine)

That;s it for this week. Stay tuned for next week because it will be fighting game review (Touhou 10.5) see ya!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Charlotte review


Charlotte is one of the most hyped anime of this season, mostly because it is written by Jun Maeda himself who made brilliant anime in the past. While at the surface it looks good, the anime itself had visible flaws that ultimately shatter my expectation for it. It does not feel original, full of plotholes, rushed to the core and lacks of interesting characters end up in what I think one of the most disappointing anime this season.


The story follows Yuu Otosaka, who appears to be just another charming and intelligent teenager, yet he has a secret—he has the ability to slip into people's minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time. Yuu has been using this skill for years to gain the highest grades, which allowed him to enter a prestigious high school. When the enigmatic Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power, she coerces him and his sister Ayumi into transferring to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. The student council of the school, led by Nao, is tasked with secretly tracking down adolescents who abuse their powers. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they face formidable challenges that bring him closer to the shocking truth that his own, seemingly incomplete ability, might be more powerful than he could have ever imagined. An original story from Jun Maeda, creator of Angel Beats and Clannad, Charlotte explores the supernatural lives of these teenagers and the price they must pay for being special. (Source: MAL Rewrite)


The first few episodes of the anime show promising start, a narcissistic looking guy get thrown into a school where he is forced to use his power instead. Afterward, half of the story went on with his usual routine with his peers and capturing people misusing their powers, repeating the same pattern over and over again. At this point onward, the show start to crumble. While it is understandable that it merely serve as a build up for the latter part of the story, it drags too long with no purpose and unclear goals. And then at the middle, the shows start to drastically change into a darker and serious tone, with a major plot device that unfortunately feels very forced. The shows get worse after that with more convenient plot device introduced one after another, along with plot holes here and there. They even throws some nameless bad guy at some point in an effort to make it look more dramatic, which to be fair does not seem to be necessary at all.  Finally, as the last straw, they go turbo boost the last episodes and clumped a single arc in it, forcing a happy end and lead the viewer in complete disappointment. It has it own good point at time, like how they manages to show how it feels like to lose someone, and some hilariously fun comedy scene. Some recurring themes include family values, magical realism, and his intention to draw tears from the viewers with emotional scenarios. Yet for the most part, the show are just full of massive plot holes and random ass pulls that makes the overall viewing experience to be ruined. The romance part of this anime are just outright terrible. The hero and heroine of the story does not show any connection toward each other,  and the feeling they show feels really superficial. Overall, for a story who supposedly written by a great writers, it fails to delivers.



The characters in this anime are another major problem this show have. Yuu Otosaka start off as an interesting character, using his power to benefit himself and pretending to be a nice guys while inside he is really cunning. I mean, who would think that hitting a girl by literally (almost) hitting her with a truck is a good idea right? But after the first episodes, his personality are reduced into your generic main character that follows the story instead of shaping the story itself. Nao Tomori in the other hand, while looks interesting at first glance with her smug personalities at time, have a complex personality that devoid of emotions at time, mostly makes some emotional scenes to feel empty and uninteresting. The other character are mostly to fill in the archetype, with predictable personalities and insignificant role in the main storyline. Heck, some character refuses to stay dead making all the emotional build up invested in previous scene to go down the drain. It is evident that this anime fails to bring memorable characters into the fray and just recycled familiar character archetype form similar show.



The great thing about this anime however, are the beautiful art and animation, saving this anime from being horrible beyond saving. The level of details are astounding, with vibrant colours pleasing to the eye. The animation are very smooth and fluid with no major quality issue could be detected. The music are also really amazing. From the beautiful OP and ED, to the good usage of OST, the quality of sound are just impressive.


On a whole, so much of Charlotte goes unexplained that you just sort of have to fill in all the holes yourself, or watch purely for entertainment purposes without connection to the characters. As a show that tries far too hard to induce drama or tear-jerking moments, it really didn’t succeed in such a way. Thankfully, Charlotte’s comedy can make the fans laugh a bit and the premise can seem to be interesting. Should you watch it? Sure, if you could blatantly enjoy an anime without thinking too much about it. It is a beautiful anime and enjoyable to a certain extent, but fails to live up the hype.




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