Since I just created this website and want to get in the groove of editing it (and writing reviews in general), I will start with a little teaser post that contains samples of the types of things I will be doing. Regular activity will start on June 10, 2014.
Throwback Tuesday sample: Amazing Island
“Think of it as Pokémon meets Mario Party. What could be a better combo than that?” This tag line by Game Informer on the back of the case provides an okay description of it, seeing how the minigame concept of the game is very Mario Party-like while the vast array of creatures with special powers is very Pokémon-like. However, the creation of monsters is an aspect that is in neither of the games and, in my opinion, the distinguishing feature of the game. When you first start creating, you will only have default parts to work with, but as you complete minigames and trials, you will unlock more parts, allowing for even more creation possibilities.
The creation process starts with establishing the body shape of the monster. This can be done either through a personality quiz (which it will inevitably be for first-timers) or from scratch. From scratch, it starts by choosing a frame, which will serve as the skeleton (examples of frames include Dragon, Horse, Cat, Human). After choosing a frame, you determine the thickness and shape of the “skin”. Then, once finished, the result will appear with random Eyes and default Pattern (Maboo).
That’s not all. If you took the personality quiz, the game will change your monster’s accessories for you, but you will still be able to edit them. There are four different accessorial things to edit: Accessories, Eyes, Pattern, and Voice. Accessories are little objects (like wings, missiles, tails, beaks, horns…all manner of trinkets) that can be applied singularly or in pairs, with a limit of 8 per monster. Only two Eyes can be placed on a monster, but they do not have to be on the head. The Pattern of a monster determines the color of its skin and can be painted if you feel artistic enough. The Voice determines what sounds a monster makes while idle or in the middle of a minigame. With all of these traits that can be modified, there are so many possibilities that they may fill your memory card before you can come up with another, and that is what really got me into the game.
Overall rating: 9/10. The monster creation was definitely immersive (more so with further progression through the game) and the minigames are by no means boring. The main setback is that there is not much plot, and the final boss was more of a timing game than anything. I feel that greater things can be done with this game concept through the use of online features (a global leaderboard and online multiplayer, for instance). Unfortunately, though, the game was made in 2004, so I don’t expect it to be revived after that long of a time period, let alone being as unpopular as it is.
Top Three Thursday sample: Anime series
3. To Aru Majutsu no Index (and its side series)
This series (which I like to refer to as the To Aru series) is action-packed sci-fi with an okay dose of fanservice (i.e. not complete overkill). Majutsu no Index is centered around Kamijou Touma, a headstrong kid with power in his right hand to destroy illusions (Imagine Breaker) with the downside of being unlucky, and Index, a loli nun with 100k+ books stored within her brain. Its side story, Kagaku no Railgun, is more science-centered (where Majutsu no Index is more magic-centered) and is centered around Misaka Mikoto, a tomboyish tsundere who is the #3 Esper (title given to one with scientific powers) and an electricity specialist. Both series intertwine with each other (i.e. Majutsu no Index contains events that happen in Kagaku no Railgun—the Level 6 shift project, for example), but at the same time, they have their own distinguishing qualities.
My favorite part about this anime series is how Touma, a seemingly powerless boy amid a world of science and magic (dubbed Level 0), can stand up against enemies who the viewers assume would leave him in tatters and come out victorious with a trip to the hospital being his only penalty.
K-On is a typical example of carefree, plotless slice of life anime, and for a good reason. While it does have something of a plot, given that the main characters are progressing in their musical talents and their synergy as a band, it is mainly just a comedic slice of life anime with cute characters. Admittedly, though, that is what I like about it. The comedy and the characters are the main selling point of this anime.
Speaking of the characters, the main four are schoolgirls with unique personalities. Yui Hirasawa, the guitarist, is carefree in personality and depends on her little sister, Ui, for a majority of the problems in her life, but she can get things done (academic or musical) if she really puts her mind to it. Mio Akiyama, the bassist, is admired as a beauty and, despite usually playing tsukkomi for the airheads of the group, has a shy side and gets spooked easily. Tsumugi Kotobuki, the keyboardist, was raised in a rich girl environment and is interested in how commoners live out their lives. Ritsu Tainaka, the drummer, has a tomboyish personality and likes to tease people, mainly Sawako (their teacher and advisor) and Mio.
All in all, K-On is a great series to kick back to, laugh along with, and enjoy the music of. It also has some surprises every now and then, but I won’t spoil anything (even though the anime is like 7 years old).
1. Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo?
Mondaiji, despite only being as short as 10 episodes, is action-packed and has a riveting plot, as well as a good dose of fanservice. (I will use the word “fanservice” a lot when talking anime; get used to it.) Three problem children—Sakamaki Izayoi, Kudou Asuka, and Kasukabe You (pronounced “yo”, not “yu”)—who come from different parts of the universe are sent a letter saying the following:
“This letter is for those of you with many troubles and extraordinary powers. If you wish to see how far that power of yours will take you, cast aside your family, your friends, your possessions, and come to our ‘Little Garden.'”
This letter brings the trio to the Little Garden, as promised, where they meet a busty humanoid rabbit, Kuro Usagi, who is in desperate need of the trio’s help to rebuild her community by challenging other communities to Gift Games and winning glory back. The problem children are willing to help, as long as they can have fun, which Kuro Usagi confirms. They do have the aptitude to essentially serve as the community’s backbone, with Asuka’s ability to control creatures, You’s tree stump necklace that allows her to call upon the aid of her animal friends, and Izayoi’s superhuman combat abilities and tactical expertise.
My favorite thing about this anime is how Izayoi can make it through any situation, no matter how grave, and come out on top, whether strategically or by force. Asuka and You have their redeeming qualities as well, but Izayoi is indisputably the most capable of the trio.
Spontaneous Saturday sample: Thoughts on the Spring anime lineup
Keep in mind that this “review” is only based on the spring anime that I regularly watch. Feel free to recommend any other series that are worth checking out and are not already on the following list: http://myanimelist.net/animelist/VouichecWeegee.
Seikoku no Dragonar: Pretty much a combination of Machine Doll wa Kizutsukanai and Zero no Tsukaima. The main character, initially considered lowly, ends up being vital to everything that happens in the anime despite his recklessness. He has a loli partner who is averse to his accidental perversion and the harem around him. Also, fanservice.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Much like To Aru Majutsu no Index, the main character (Shiba Tatsuya), while portrayed at a low level, has anti-magic capabilities and the ability to stand up to massive threats. Mahouka is mainly defined by its battles that involve the use of magic with technology and the theme of discrimination between “Blooms” and “Weeds” (Tatsuya is a Weed).
Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to: The comedic life of a perverted mangaka and his attractive assistants. Not much to behold; I just follow it for the humor (and the fanservice, as such is the nature of a teenager).
Love Live second season: Love Live to me is a lot like K-On, with its unique characters, light music, and bits of comedy, but Love Live is more serious (and has more characters). The second season is not much different from the first, outside of that all nine characters are in the group from the start, but the lack of change is for the better.
Black Bullet: The darkest anime I have ever watched. While it does have some light humor and bits of fanservice, it does involve the zombification (or, in this case, Gastreafication) and killing of humans. To me, it’s one of those things that, while it is horrid at times, I just cannot stop watching. Also, the opening theme song is just amazing.
No Game No Life: This anime is a lot like Mondaiji, maybe (and I mean maybe) even better. The main characters, Sora and Shiro, are two problem children who are dragged into another world with no intention but to make it to the top (and defeat the god, Tet, who shockingly is a guy). Additionally, the relationship between Sora and Stephanie is much like the relationship between Izayoi and Kuro Usagi. Through these similarities, however, there are differences: the animation styles are different, NGNL has more fanservice, and Mondaiji involves more combat.