Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Touhou Review: TH 17 Wily Beast and Weakest Creature

TH 17 Wily Beast and Weakest Creature

Yes. we're not dead... yet

Recently out on Comiket 96 and soon to be on steam (we'll talk about that in other post sometime soon) comes another installment to the series and also a returning playable character, Youmu Konpaku. The gimmicks of this game? Lets just say ZUN mashed TH12 and TH13 together for the new spirit howling system.

Storywise, the main heroine was told to venture to hell (no kidding) by some spirit aninals to deal with someone that is plotting to take over the surface world. Then from time to time, the main heroine will be possessed by the spirits within dialogues.

For this release, the playable characters will be Reimu, Marisa and Youmu. Unlike other games, each will .... technically have 3 shot types each but basically just 1 shot type but with different dps value based on which spirit you choose:

Reimu unfocused: Typical homing bullets she have in past games
Reimu focused: Forward focus fire, slightly large area

Marisa unfocused: Forward + wide with lasers
Marisa focused: Tight, forward focused missiles for max dps on 1 target

Youmu unfocused:forward firing pattern based on position of her ghost form
Youmu focused:Similar to TH13 version of her, she will unleash a flurry of high damage, wide slashes after charging around 2 seconds

As for the gameplay, like stated before, it has some familiar vibes from TH12 and TH13 where collecting the spirits that will most likely lead to your downfall for being too greedy like the UFOs and entering howling/berserk howling mode which is quite similar to Ten Desires. However, instead of the typical red blue green being life, point and bomb, it is now change as an "enhancement" for the heroine. Collecting 5 spirits will enter howling mode. If you managed to collect at least 3 of the same spirit type, the heroine will enter berserk howling mode, gaining the specific spirit buffs while it is active

Red spirit (wolf spirit)
By picking this spirit, the heroine's focused shot type will be enhanced passively, the berserk howling mode of the said spirit will have longer duration and while in that state, the heroine will fire significantly stronger focused shot.

Green spirit (otter spirit)
By picking this spirit, the bomb/spellcard of heroine will be buffed with longer action time and overall damage. Berserk howling of this spirit type will be prolonged and 3 rotating shield will be formed around the heroine, erasing any bullets from hostiles that touches the shield.

Blue spirit (eagle spirit)
By picking this shot, the heroine's unfocused shot will be enhanced passively, the berserk howling mode of the same spirit will have prolonged duration and while it is active, the heroine will fire significantly stronger unfocused shot than before which can be useful for mob clearing.

There are also other spirits that can be collected for obtaining power points, score points, bomb piece and life piece. Lastly, there are rare spirits that can be used to respawn some of the absorbed spirits which can be used to respawn more life and bomb pieces if timed properly. However, these rare spirits is rather tricky to obtain as has requirements while in mid-boss battle to have it spawned. Some screenshots of the rare spirits are shown below

Rare spirit for Stage 3

Rare spirit for Stage 1

Rare spirit for Stage 5

As usual, ZUN nailed it again once more. At first, I find the OST feels not as overwhelming his other works but the more u hear it and understand the story, the music scores feels like it matches perfectly on the situation the heroine is in, especially on the Stage 6 battle. The timing of the bgm loop feels completely on sync with each spellcards and the moment the spirits backing up the heroine. Kudos to him as usual. Gameplay-wise, who would have thought that merging 2 of the difficult aspect of mechanics from other games can actually make the game much more doable. Sure, getting extra lives is rather difficult but having able to choose berserk howling mode makes up to match the player/s playstyle to go for high risk + reward or play much safer route with otter mode spams.

Additional tips for the game, otter spirit shot type is the best pick to clear the story mode since the bombs in that shot type has extremely long action duration can be abused to be activated before the boss declares spellcard and deal a substantial amount of damage tot he boss without compromising the spellcard capture reward. However, the same exploit cannot be used on the extra stage boss because obviously, the boss is immune to the bomb damage. There are also berserk howling mode that will act like double edged sword and can end up hinders your playstyle more than it benefits you in extra stage. Some examples are shown in the 3 clips attached at the end of the post

To top it all, here's some gameplay clips of the game including 1 short saved stream.

Touhou 17 stream

1st Extra Stage clear

Hard mode run with Younu + Otter spirit

Guess what? The game is out on STEAM on 10th September 2019! Be sure to support him as now, it is easier for non Japanese fans of touhou to support his work instead of getting the copy by going to reitaisai & comiket or... piracy. Do check it out since the older titles are also out for quite a while.
Touhou 17 on steam

In the mean time, you can check out the game through the usual link. There's even english patch of the game despite being very new.
Moriya shrine link (english pre-patched)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bokurano: Its Mecha, Its Slice of Life, Its... Wholesome.

It has been a year. A year and a few days to be exact. I was settling down on my new job and I just lost grip of the whole writing thing altogether. But hey. To those still waiting for my dumb reviews, welcome. I'll try to stick around longer than a few posts this time around. I have the tools for it now.

You can pretty much feel that its an old anime from this title

Anyways, Bokurano a.k.a. Ours is a 2007 anime produced by Studio Gonzo. Some might recognize the art as being super similar to Evangelion and that is because former members of Gainax teamed up and formed this Studio. I was recommended this anime by a friend of mine many months back and just only got to watch it now. Yes I was that busy with work.

15 Kids. 8 Boys, 7 Girls

Bokurano tells us the story of a group of kids going to a summer nature school and stumbling upon something that comes as a little bit off as far as introductions go. They met with a person who calls himself Kokopelli that offers them a chance at play-testing a game he was developing which involved them defending the Earth from 15 enemies that will come and invade Earth. Of course being the young, foolish and adventurous middle-schoolers that they are, they accepted.

This is Kokopelli

Soon after, Kokopelli showed them the ropes and disappeared as he defeated the first of the 15 enemies.

Not Your Average Mecha

If you want to give this a try, do it without the fact that it's a mecha anime. Because its not too focused on that. I mean yes, the story revolves around the mech but even more so towards the 15 individuals chosen to ride it. Its more akin to slice of life in that sense. Every episode is filled with each character's personal feelings, their problems, aspirations in life and the small things that they come to know and appreciate.

13 year old kids in robots

Its because of this fact that event if there are 15 pilots, I am damn willing to bet you will remember each and every single one of them throughout the anime. In the beginning they do come off as bratty (I mean come on they're 13 years old) but you can see each of them grow in their own ways and their respective stories progresses.

Each person will have their own mark when they become the pilot for the mech

This is what Bokurano excels at. Jabbing at you with these small details of these young kids.

Black Devil, Zearth

That is not to say this anime has no actual mecha fights. Sure they're not ridden with special effects and high quality graphical details but each and every single fight carries weight in them. 

This fluffy sack of crud is gonna annoy the heck out of you guys

As you watch the show you'll come to understand the pilots' motivations and their reason for fighting. These are the focus of the fights themselves. Each step and each punch the mech makes represents their pilots to their core. You'd have to watch it yourself to fully understand what I'm blabbering about. I can't quite describe it in words alone.

Something to ponder about.

Oh. Yeah. There's also political intrigue in this I guess. A little. It doesn't really affect the story line too much like it does in most other mecha anime so I wouldn't put too much attention to it. Negligible. So if you hate old conniving underhanded schemers (e.g. Shinji's Dad), no worries. None of that stuff here.

You'll Need To Watch To The End

I can't stress this enough but the anime just flows nicely and ties everything up in the end perfectly. Things might not go about how you expect them to be but by Jove I promise you it ends beautifully with maybe just one or two questions still lingering in your mind and I think that in itself is pretty good for a mecha anime.

A little sneak peek of the mech

Its an awesome wholesome anime and I think that even if you do end up feeling a little bittersweet as you watch it, its worth it. Make some time and go watch Bokurano. Or suggest me something better to watch.

Wolvenciel, signing off. Hopefully just for the week.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Gasaraki: Of White Noise, Details, and Japan

Hey there peeps. Wolvenciel here with YET another super delayed review. I really should be more consistent at this point. I enjoy doing this, don't get me wrong. I was busy with life for a bit and stuff. So lets get to it!

That's my first ever censorship work. Lol.

The Hell is This Gasaraki

Right. Uh. To be completely honest with you, I have no idea. Gasaraki focuses on a sort of dystopian Japan and the early developments of Tactical Armor or TA for short. The story focuses mostly on the SSDF which are involved in the testing of the prototype TAs and how the TA itself came to be. Its really a bit more convoluted than that but this is the simplest summary I could give.

These are two such Gowas.

You know what. Fine. This show is also about an ancient Japanese Family known as the Gowa trying to resurrect an old deity-like being using a Noh dance of some sort. But you won't get any of this shit. At all. Because they don't friggin explain it to you.

Blame the stupid idiots who made the plot for this show.

Confusing Storyline

I watched this series from the beginning to the end and what I can say about the story is that it tries too hard to be profound at its writing that it didn't make sense 60% of the time. A lot of the information given does not make sense and the show throws you all these weird unfamiliar terms with little to no explanation for them whatsoever.

They said this in episode 20. And they were right.

An example I could give is for the early episodes. They were super slow and full of dialogue that never made any sense to me. Maybe I'm too much of a dumb ass to notice what they we're talking about.


One of the random things that was never explained.

It felt like someone decided to make an anime about mecha and decided to just throw in some random Japanese stuff in between.

Where it Does Feel "Real"

Ignoring the random incorrigible parts of the anime, there were actually some pretty decent stuff shown in it. One such thing is the weight of actually operating an early version of bipedal machinery.
The SSDF members had to be subjected to rigorous training and even chemicals during the time they pilot the machines due to the strain that it gave. It had limited uptime due to that fact as well.

I'll be posting mecha details from here on out. Look at the chips due to machine gun fire on the TA.

The anime also presented its viewers with some national economy war between two large countries and how one could beat the other in said war. It was quite heavy and I didn't understand all of it but the show made it feel like the situation could actually happen in real life.


I believe that's what the show aimed to produce. Realism. To feel that its actually possible for stuff in the anime to actually happen.

Bla Bla How About The Mechs?

Now the Tactical Armors. Damn. I only ever see this kind of detail in movie mechs. Not even kidding WHAT THE ACTUAL F*** Sunrise you exhausted all you budgets on the goddamn details that you asked a senile old man to write your story is that it?

Look at that. What the hell.

Uhum. So yeah. The details on the TAs were superb. Right down to their cables and their mechanical parts and their joints. This part felt most grounded to me. They made the TA balanced. It has its strengths and weaknesses. It wasn't like this super powered prototype mech that was able to operate in all conditions and beat the crap out of every single thing that moves on the battlefield with a beam saber. It had limited ammo. It has a limited operating time. You need a command vehicle nearby to guide the pilot inside.

More damage effects.

And don't get me started on the damage effects. Phew.

Not as detailed as the TAs

There is one letdown to this however. You watch the first few episodes of this anime and you'll think "Oh there's gonna be some forbidden demon that's gonna wreck everything and the main character will pilot it". As soon as I saw the details on the demon mechs I knew they'd suck. So yeah. Don't get your hopes up.

Shouldn't even exist. Makes the anime feel less grounded if anything.

Thank God Its Over

I might sound whiny when I say this but yeah this show might not be for everyone. Its not for me. Gasaraki feels like it could have been a whole lot better if it was given a whole lot of context and explanation. But as of now, the only thing it has going for it is the sense of realism that it gives and its awesome mech details.

Hey look at that the Straits of Malacca. *smirks*

Don't watch this unless you have ample of free time or you just like mecha designs. Even then I'd recommend watching the fighting parts. Don't watch the whole thing.

Wolvenciel, Signing Off.


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