Poké Monday 12/28/15: Glalie

Nowi Wins A bit late here because I spent a lot of time playing around with Phoenotopia. Apologies.

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Glalie
Tier: PU
Type: Ice
Base Stats: 80 HP, 80 Atk, 80 Def, 80 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 80 Speed
Abilities: Inner Focus, Ice Body, Moody (hidden)

Mega Glalie
Tier: RU
Type: Ice
Base Stats: 80 HP, 120 Atk, 80 Def, 120 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 100 Speed
Ability: Refrigerate

Usable moves: Avalanche, Blizzard, Body Slam, Crunch, Dark Pulse, Disable, Double-Edge, Earthquake, Explosion, Façade, Freeze-Dry, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Ice Shard, Iron Head, Light Screen, Protect, Rest, Return, Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, Spikes, Substitute, Super Fang, Switcheroo, Taunt, Toxic

Overview

As the holidays come to a close, how appropriate it is for today’s Poké Monday to be centered around an Ice-type, and a menacing one at that. As an Ice-type, Glalie has great STAB offensively, but its typing is poor defensively, giving it four weaknesses and only one resistance. Therefore, it should be run solely with offense in mind.

If running regular Glalie in PU, keep in mind that it is one of only two PU-legal Pokémon (the other being Quilladin, which, while arguably better defensively, is significantly slower) with access to Spikes and Taunt. In terms of offense, due to its lack of strong STAB on the physical side (only being limited to Ice Shard and Ice Fang), lack of coverage against Steel-types on the special side (besides Hidden Power, obviously), and lack of boosting moves, there are stronger candidates, such as Articuno, Regice, and Rotom-Frost. So, it is best used as a lead with Spikes and Taunt. Simple as that.

Mega Glalie, on the other hand, does have strong physical STAB thanks to its ability, Refrigerate, which turns Normal-type moves into Ice-type moves and makes them 1.3 times as powerful. This means that its Body Slam becomes base 110, its max power Return/Frustration becomes base 132, its Double-Edge becomes base 156, and its Explosion becomes base 325. (This also means that it has the only Super Fang with no immunities, but since Ice is such poor typing defensively, this point is much less relevant.) Its nice selection of physical STAB and coverage in Earthquake, coupled with base 120 Attack, makes it a force to be reckoned with. However, as mentioned before, it lacks boosting moves and, even though its Special Attack is also 120, is not as strong on the special side, lacking not only coverage against Steel-types but also any Refrigerate-boosted moves apart from Round or raw Weather Ball (78 and 65 base power, respectively). It can go mixed, however, using the thinly distributed move Freeze-Dry to deal heavy damage to bulky Water-types like Alomomola, Gastrodon, and Seismitoad. A more important weakness of Mega Glalie is that its base 100 Speed is merely average, and, prior to Mega-Evolving, it sits at an even lower base 80. Moreover, its typing and relative frailty leave it vulnerable to faster offensive threats and priority like Bullet Punch and Mach Punch, although access to Ice Shard can alleviate that slightly. Still, considering it is one of only six legal Megas in the RU tier (the other five being Abomasnow, Audino, Banette, Camerupt, and Steelix), it is definitely worth consideration.

So, regular Glalie is best used as a lead, while Mega Glalie is better off taking advantage of its offensive stats, be it through physical or mixed attacking.

Set (regular)

Glalie @ Focus Sash
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Freeze-Dry
– Explosion
– Spikes
– Taunt

The primary purpose of this set is to get up Spikes and use Taunt to stop slower opposing leads from having their way. Freeze-Dry is used as STAB because it has amazing coverage, being super-effective against 5 types and resisted by only 3, and deals heavy damage to Water-type hazard removers, such as Pelipper, Swanna, and Wartortle. Explosion is there to prevent slower hazard removal (because Rapid Spin and Defog will fail if there is no target) and grant a free switch to any of Glalie’s other team members.

Because Moody is illegal in the competitive scene, Inner Focus is Glalie’s best choice of ability and prevents it from being stopped by Fake Out and the flinch chance of moves like Waterfall and Iron Head. Focus Sash guarantees that it will live any one hit in spite of its poor defensive typing and average-at-best bulk (although Rock Blast is a problem). It may seem weird to run a Timid nature with a physical attacking move, but the damage output of Explosion is unimportant compared to that of Freeze-Dry, and running a defense-hindering nature would…well, hinder its ability to take weaker hits. For example, Hasty gives tank Golem (20 EVs with Adamant nature) a higher chance of KOing with three hits of Rock Blast, and running Naïve nature guarantees that Pelipper will 3HKO with Scald (as opposed to having a 34.9% chance).

Set (Mega)

Glalie @ Glalitite
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Double-Edge
– Freeze-Dry
– Earthquake
– Ice Shard

This set, while taken from the Showdown damage calculator, is fairly self-explanatory. Double-Edge is preferred over Return for its better chance to 2HKO Aromatisse and defensive Spiritomb (but watch out for Will-o-wisp from the latter), as well as its better chance to OHKO Exploud and Mega Banette. Freeze-Dry lays the hurt on Water-types that try to take its other moves—3HKOing Alomomola, 2HKOing Clawitzer, OHKOing Gastrodon after Stealth Rock damage, and dealing ridiculous damage to Qwilfish and Omastar without activating the latter’s Weak Armor. Earthquake grants Glalie coverage against Fire- and Steel-types, although note that a neutral Earthquake does no more than a resisted Double-Edge, nor does a super-effective Earthquake do more than a neutral Double-Edge. Ice Shard gives it the ability to pick off weakened threats and mitigates its ability to be revenge killed; however, it is weak and therefore should only be used if it will result in a KO or sufficient weakening such that a teammate can come in and clean up. (It straight OHKOs Dugtrio, though, at least.)

Once again, ability choice is Inner Focus (because Moody is illegal) to prevent flinches pre-Mega. Naïve nature is preferred because using Jolly nature would lower its chance to 3HKO Alomomola and OHKO Gastrodon, and using Hasty nature would be more detrimental since physical attacks are generally more common than special attacks.

Other Options

Everything has already been mentioned; nothing left to add. On regular Glalie, Ice Shard can be considered over Freeze-Dry so that Glalie does not have to choose an offensive stat to hinder and instead pool everything into Attack, not to mention Glalie can use it to deal chip damage to faster threats before going down. Mega Glalie can also act as a Spikes lead, sporting a much more powerful Explosion than its regular counterpart, but its Taunt is slower for its tier than that of regular Glalie, not to mention it actually has some backbone beyond Explosion with its strong Double-Edges and superior Ice Shards.

Sample Teams

http://pastebin.com/CG517kRh – regular Glalie team

http://pastebin.com/UsSgqy1k – Mega Glalie team

I’ve gone through two battles with the first team and one battle with the second team, and all three battles resulted in losses. Here they are anyway.

The regular Glalie team contains:

  • Glalie (set above)
  • Armaldo for Rapid Spin
  • Basculin for offense and priority
  • Swoobat for potential setup sweeping
  • Sash Kadabra for revenge killing
  • Leafeon as another setup attacker and a potential passer to Basculin

The Mega Glalie team contains:

  • Mega Glalie (set above)
  • Omastar for hazards
  • Cofagrigus for walling
  • Aromatisse for more walling and clerical support
  • Delphox for Steel-types
  • Flygon for hazard control

 

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Top Three (times three!) Thursday 12/24/15: Nine favorite anime series of 2015

Well, I have been writing quite a lot about anime lately, but since fall 2015 has pretty much ended and it’s almost Christmas, I will have to do something special and talk about nine (as opposed to the usual three) anime that I enjoyed this year.

Note: This is a personal list (and therefore excludes anime that I have not watched), and it excludes second seasons of anime that started in earlier years (e.g., Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Non Non Biyori Repeat).

9. Sore ga Seiyuu! (summer)

This slice of life involves three aspiring voice actresses and how they go through life in the industry. Futaba Ichinose (the left one on the cover) starts out lacking the raw talent required to become a voice actress and therefore needs experience. Ichigo Moesaki (right) pretends to be the princess of the strawberry kingdom or something or other and is usually the most energetic of the three. Rin Kohana (middle) is the youngest but most experienced, having made her debut at age five, and holds a dual responsibility as a junior high student. The three not only become separate voice actresses who happen to be friends but also form an idol group known as Earphones and host a radio show as well. The anime is a sort of cutesy way of showing what it’s like to start out in the industry, and I found it to be pretty interesting.

8. Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou (summer)

Ever wonder what it’s like for mythological monsters to live alongside human beings? Lamia, harpy, centaur, slime, mermaid, arachnid…all of these species end up becoming a part of the host family of Kimihito Kurusu, a seemingly normal human being with a surprisingly high tolerance for pain. These monsters are told that they are capable of marrying humans (although interspecies breeding is a no-no), so there is definitely some romance involved. It’s not all peaceful, though, as there is some conflict within the household about who should get to be with Kurusu, as well as conflict caused by impure humans and monsters alike who abuse the “Cultural Exchange Between Species Act” (which sums up to “monsters cannot deliberately harm humans or vice versa”) for their own benefit. I have written about the characters once before, and I have to say, it is surprisingly interesting to see how they live alongside human beings, although this particular anime depicts it in a rather perverted way…not that I’m complaining; just a warning in case it wasn’t obvious.

7. Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (fall)

This sci-fi harem story is centered around Ayato Amagiri and his search to find out the truth about his elder sister. In the process, he ends up enrolled in Seidoukan Academy, partnered with Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt for the Phoenix Festa, wherein competition among the six schools forming the city of Asterisk takes place. It has some cool characters (especially Saya Sasamiya) and is pretty decent as a whole. However, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I dislike the idea of a harem being carried all the way to the end of the story (although I guess MonMusu is an exception to that rule), so I’m hoping Ayato and Julis will get more serious about each other by the end of the second season (which is scheduled to air spring 2016).

6. Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (fall)

As you may or may not know, I reviewed this and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk simultaneously in a review series known as “Cavalry vs. Asterisk” (parts: 1 2 3), and I made it clear that I preferred this anime. It starts off about the same as Asterisk (guy sees girl changing and is forced to duel, girl warms up to guy after the duel, both participate in a tournament), but there are key differences that separate the two, mainly that the romance in Cavalry is completely one-to-one, pretty much eliminating the harem aspect, and that the protagonist and deuteragonist fight their own battles (at least for now). The former difference is the main reason why I like Cavalry better, not to mention the anime has what I find to be the best opening theme song of 2015: Identity by Mikio Sakai.

5. Juuou Mujin no Fafnir (winter)

To those who have not seen my winter 2015 anime analysis, it may seem odd that I put an anime like this so high on the list. I mean, what could possibly be so great about a generic fantasy harem that starts off with the protagonist enrolled in a chiefly female academy and seeing a naked girl at the very beginning, right? Well, the primary part of the anime that grabbed my attention was the debut appearance of the antagonist: Kili Surtr Muspelheim, a black-haired beauty with the ability to create explosions by snapping her fingers. (She’s not on the cover, by the way.) From then on, various other aspects stood out to me: the coolness of the protagonist, the relationships between the characters, and how the characters struggle to take out a threat that could have destroyed the world, even with Kili’s meddling. So, I suppose the reason why I like this anime is because I came into it with low expectations and had those expectations completely blown away by the antagonist.

4. Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (spring)

This is another anime that I delved into with low expectations; in fact, I didn’t even consider it until episode 5 had aired. It follows the supernatural high school experience of Ryuu Yamada, a delinquent who meets some girls known as “witches” with magical powers that are triggered through mouth-to-mouth kissing, starting with honor student Urara Shiraishi, who, as Yamada learns the hard way, can swap bodies with whomever she kisses. Basically, it’s a supernatural rom-com that I liked mostly due to its supernatural elements, comedic moments, and satisfying conclusion. (I wrote a full review as part of my spring 2015 anime analysis, which goes more in-depth about the plot and touches upon the characters I liked.)

3. Overlord (summer)

I decided to binge-watch this anime before writing this top nine list, and I’m glad I did. While not for the faint of heart (especially episode 10, which I’ll admit really freaked me out, especially when Shalltear Bloodfallen took on her more monstrous form), it is a pretty swell anime. It’s about some MMORPG player with an undead avatar who, in his stubbornness to stay in the game even during its scheduled shutdown time, becomes his avatar and is forced to live in a world that is noticeably (but not completely) different from the MMO and that he plans on conquering since he has become an overlord (hence the title). Even though this protagonist, Momonga, starts off unfamiliar with the new aspects of the modified game world, he finds the ability to adapt increasingly as the story progresses. Let’s just say it’s like Log Horizon but with faster pacing and significantly more cruel protagonists. That’s why I like it. The protagonist is quite the brainiac, so, even if the odds are against him, he has a way out of pretty much every situation, no matter how smug his adversary may be. The question is how, and the “how” is generally answered in an elegant manner, one that does not disappoint.

2. Hibike! Euphonium (spring)

Nothing really convinced me to watch this anime as it was airing, but based on how others evaluated it after it finished airing, I decided to give it a try, and it certainly did not disappoint. The story is centered around Kumiko Oumae, who starts high school not wanting to return to playing in a band, let alone on the euphonium, due to an incident at her prior school involving her childhood friend, Reina Kousaka. However, through the red thread of fate, Kumiko is led by her new classmates, Hazuki Katou and Sapphire Kawashima, to return to her former glory as a musician (made to return to the euphonium by one Asuka Tanaka) and mend relations with Reina. However, the new club advisor and conductor, Noboru Taki, gives the band members a hard time by telling them bluntly that they have a long ways to go before making it to nationals, where Reina and eventually the others aspire to be. Because the band members are initially inexperienced and/or uncoordinated, I can never help feeling nervous when they are about to put on a show, and that is the primary reason why I like the anime so much, the secondary being the emotionally gripping moments between Kumiko and Reina. In summary, it’s like K-On but with more prominent characters and stronger feels.

1. One Punch Man (fall)

When all is said and done, it’s no question that One Punch Man is the anime of 2015. It’s action-packed, comedic, and has a kick-awesome opening theme (second to that of Cavalry, I say). The best aspect, though, is the selection of characters that the anime has to offer. Obviously, we have the protagonist, Saitama, a seemingly bland hero with super strength, and Genos, a cyborg who accompanies Saitama and calls him “master.” What’s really cool, though, is what the anime has to offer in terms of minor characters. Mumen Rider is a particularly notable one, showing the most spirit even when the odds are clearly stacked against him and he has literally no chance of winning. In fact, thanks to Saitama being so obviously overpowered, pretty much every character with screentime is given a chance to shine. (There is a fight at the end that takes Saitama more effort than just one punch, but I won’t spoil anything more about it.) Words alone don’t do justice to this anime; all I’m saying is that it, if nothing else, is worth a watch.

 

In the end, I have to say: 2015 is the best year of anime that I have come to witness, and it is the first (and probably the last) that I have had the pleasure to write about in such a manner as this. I hope this writing was enjoyable and/or informative and, if not, apologies.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Spontaneous Saturday 12/19/15: Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 3 (finale)

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This is the third and final part of a three-part review series. Click here to view the first, and click here to view the second.

Two very similar anime have aired this season: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (henceforth referred to as Cavalry and Asterisk, respectively). They both involve schools with weapons and magic and romance and ecchi and stuff, but just how similar are they really? That is what this review series aims to analyze. In this final installment, I hope to finalize my thoughts on these two series, compare and contrast them in a rational manner, and come to a decisive conclusion regarding which of the two series I consider better.

As usual, this review will inevitably contain spoilers. Please proceed with caution.

Newly Introduced Characters

Any characters not mentioned in this section are not introduced yet, don’t need a description because they’re so minor, or cannot be described without spoiling anything.

In Cavalry

  • Touka Toudou – Student council president and one of the top four in the last Battle Festival. She fights using a powerful lightning strike known as Raikiri.

In Asterisk

  • Korona Kashimaru – A mild-mannered student of Le Wolfe whose special talent lies in telling fortunes. She is, therefore, seen by Dirk’s side for most of episodes 9-11.
  • Irene Urzaiz – A formerly imprisoned woman who is discharged by Dirk and hired to take out Ayato. She wields a scythe has the power to intensify gravity at the cost of her blood.
  • Priscilla Urzaiz – Unranked tag partner and sister of Irene. She can heal her own wounds, making her an indispensable blood donor for Irene. She is also the only one who can calm Irene’s feral nature.

All Summaries (old and new alike)

I decided (as of November 26) to relocate these summaries to Google Docs for two reasons: (1) to minimize spoilers, and (2) while I enjoy writing them, I realize that they seem out of place in a review like this, and I wouldn’t blame anyone if they lost interest because of them.

Cavalry 1-4 summary

Cavalry 5-8 summary

Cavalry 9-12 summary (NEW)

Asterisk 1-4 summary

Asterisk 5-8 summary

Asterisk 9-12 summary (NEW)

What has been covered in previous parts (with a few amendments)

For this particular section, most elements pertaining to Cavalry will be in red text, and those pertaining to Asterisk will be in blue text. Also, henceforth, brackets beside a quote indicate from which part I took that particular quote.

Opening and Ending themes

Opening: “Identity (アイデンティティ)” by Mikio Sakai > “Brand-new World” by Shiena Nishizawa

Identity: “Of all four themes between both series, this has to be the best one.” [1] Before, I said Identity was “not really a diamond in the rough” [1], but now that it has been playing in my head more and more lately, I do conclude that it is actually catchier than I gave it credit for, and also motivating in a way. So, I shall bump my rating of the song up to a 9/10.

Brand-new World: “It seems cool at first, but then the vocals come in. Sadly not the first cool-sounding opening theme to be ruined by vocals (here’s looking at you, Rally Go Round). 6/10.” [1]

Ending: “Haramitsu Renka (波羅蜜恋華)” by ALI PROJECT“Waiting for the rain” by Maaya Sakamoto

Haramitsu Renka: “Not my type of song. I’d say about average in terms of quality, and the PV with the slow scrolling and roses and random nudity isn’t doing it any favors. Sure, the slow scrolling in the PV is fitting for what it’s worth, but the relative loudness of the song ruins that impression. 4/10.” [1]

Waiting for the rain: “Definitely not my type of song, but the combination of slowness and softness is a nice change of pace from the craziness that goes on in the anime. 5/10.” [1]

Overall: IdentityBrand-new World > Waiting for the rain > Haramitsu Renka

It’s a sandwich. However, because of the numerical values I assigned to my ratings, Cavalry triumphs in this department.

Main Characters

“The duo of a dark-haired boy for a protagonist and a reddish-haired tsundere girl for a deuteragonist is an obvious common theme between these two anime. In fact, it’s not even a new concept (see also: Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance, Trinity Seven, maybe even more that I haven’t watched). Still, the main two characters are different…in a way.” [1]

Protagonist: Ikki Kurogane > Ayato Amagiri

Now that I think back to what I wrote before, I realize I might have had some difficulty expressing my opinion about these two. So, I’ll try to get it right this time. The main thing is: Ikki actually has to focus his love on one girl (Stella), whereas Ayato‘s connection with Julis is not necessarily romantic, meaning he’s more prone to the intervention of other female characters (such as Claudia, Saya, and Kirin) and also has to pool some of his attention into each of them. Later on, I will elaborate further, but this is all I have to say for now.

Deuteragonist: Stella VermillionJulis-Alexia von Riessfelt

Everything I have mentioned in part 1 applies here: Julis has better looks, a less bothersome personality, a better voice, and a more subtle figure than Stella. That said, Stella does have one key trait going for her: her role as a character, which is far more prominent than that of Julis. This is mostly due to the fact that the relationship between Stella and Ikki is a properly budding one-to-one relationship, whereas Julis and Ayato don’t seem nearly as attached to each other (most likely because “the former two are fortunate enough to be roommates while the latter two are not” [1]).

Overall: Ikki > Julis > Ayato > Stella

Once again, a sandwich. This time, I will say Asterisk comes out on top, because the good traits of Ikki and Stella are not enough to outweigh Stella‘s bad traits (hairstyle, personality, obnoxious breasts).

Other Similarities and Differences

Similarities

Obviously, in all parts, I mention in the first paragraph: “They both involve schools with weapons and magic and romance and ecchi and stuff.” I also note: “These anime series have plenty of similarities: reddish-haired tsundere deuteragonist, protagonist stumbles upon her changing, protagonist and deuteragonist want to get stronger together, magic weapons, and competition.” [1] Also, looking at the block quote below, I suddenly realize something I failed to note earlier: both Ikki and Ayato participate in their respective tournaments due to family matters (Ikki being spurned by his family, and Ayato having lost his sister).

Differences

“The use of weapons outside of school is more strictly enforced in Cavalry than in Asterisk, and the protagonists have different motives: while Ikki’s motive is to rise to the top, Ayato merely wishes to discover the truth about his older sister. Also, Ikki starts off with a weapon and the title ‘Worst One,’ whereas Ayato is more of a blank slate, having just transferred into the school without a title and having to be lent a temporary blade after that unfortunate encounter with Julis.” [1] In this paragraph I just quoted, I cut off the part about the male-to-female ratio, simply because it matters less and less as more and more characters are introduced. However, in terms of the major characters, the statement I omitted is actually untrue; Cavalry has a greater male-to-female ratio than Asterisk. (Cavalry has Ikki, Stella, Shizuku, and Alice—2:2. Asterisk has Ayato, Julis, Claudia, Saya, and Kirin—1:4. Even if Alice were female (which he really isn’t), the ratio of Cavalry would still win out, if only because of the difference in major character quantity.)

Later on, I note that “the fanservice situations in Asterisk seem more oddly forced than those in Cavalry” [2] and “Asterisk has significantly more sci-fi elements.” [2]

Revisiting the Characters – spoilers are inevitable

In this section, I shall talk about all significant characters from both series (even those whom I have mentioned earlier), from start to finish, based on who they are and what they have done throughout all of episodes 1-12, trying to incorporate what I liked and disliked about them (explicitly or implicitly). Then, I will give each character a likability rating between 0% and 100%. Afterwards, I will average out the likability ratings of both series and use a weighted average system (giving major characters twice as much weight as minor characters) to make a determination of which anime I like better in terms of characters.

Cavalry

  • Ikki Kurogane – The protagonist. He started off with the nickname “Worst One”, but his determination and persistence, as well as his “perfect vision” and Itto Shura, allowed him to hold his own in the Battle Festival and eventually have his nickname changed to “Another One.” Good protagonist overall, and I particularly liked his response to seeing Stella half-naked (and the throwback to it in episode 9), as well as the fact that he’s never given up on Stella, even in spite of being incarcerated because of their relationship. I have no complaints about him, but his voice and appearance are not much more than run-of-the-mill to me. Likability: 88%
  • Stella Vermillion – The deuteragonist. The first time she met Ikki was in the middle of her changing, so of course things between them started out rough. After losing a mock duel, however, she softened up to Ikki and eventually became his lover. She has her good points in that she does gutsy things and possesses overwhelming fire powers, but honestly, her hairstyle, her generic tsundere personality, and her annoying breasts prevent me from liking her as much as I should like a deuteragonist. Likability: 33%
  • Shizuku Kurogane – Ikki’s sister. She came across as a sort of brocon during the first half of the anime, doing things to Ikki that lovers would do (i.e., kissing him on the lips and holding his hand) and using the “I’m his sister” argument to justify it, which caused her to butt heads with Stella. However, through the progression of the anime, Shizuku became more and more tolerant of the relationship between Ikki and Stella, not to mention she actually talked some sense into the latter in episode 11. I like how significantly my opinion on Shizuku changed between the first half and the second half, especially during and after her battle with Touka (even though she lost), but she had a slow start. Likability: 67%
  • Nagi “Alice” Arisuin – Shizuku’s trusted roommate who became fast friends with Ikki and Stella. Although he is a man, he has a womanly side to him, and the girls (Stella and Shizuku) never seemed to mind being naked around him. His role in the anime lies in how he would give sage advice, even during a dire situation, and manipulate shadows using a dagger known as Darkness Hermit (notably to move through shadows and pin down others’ shadows). He also served as Shizuku’s primary source of comfort. I like that he’s so chill and uniquely flamboyant, has such a neat weapon, and is voiced by Shintaro Asanuma (the voice behind Izayoi Sakamaki in Mondaiji-tachi). However, his value as a character is slightly offset by the fact that, unlike the other three major characters, his combat experience is not shown (although his weapon was of great help in episode 3, and he managed to successfully move past the selection matches). Likability: 90%
  • Kagami Kusakabe – Representative of the newspaper club. I like how she is one of the only two glasses-wearing characters in the anime, but that’s where the good news ends (no pun intended). She made an annoyingly clingy first impression (in episode 2 when she met Ikki face-to-face), which led me to dislike her personality overall, and her breasts are distracting. Likability: 15%
  • Kurono Shinguuji – The director of the academy. She would intervene in professional matters whenever Ikki needed it. She is mature, and thankfully the anime didn’t stretch that fact to the point of overkill (you know, like Frolaytia from Heavy Object). She never directly participated in any of the fights in the anime, though, so her appearances were relatively uninteresting. Good character otherwise. Likability: 50%
  • Nene Saikyou – An adult-like although somewhat irresponsible loli who wears a loose-fitting kimono. She has the ability to move faster than the human brain can register, which proved to be helpful in episode 10 when she got bored of commentating the match between Shizuku and Touka. I find her to be a comic relief character, and a good—although very minor—one at that. Likability: 60%
  • Yuuri Oriki – The teacher of Ikki’s class. In public, she tries to act enthusiastic, but she frequently coughs up blood and has a restless appearance similar to that of Tomoko Kuroki from WataMote. That said, she has always been willing to cooperate with Ikki when necessary. Not much else to say, since she is a minor character. Likability: 40%
  • Bishou – Leader of a criminal organization that attacked the mall in episode 3 and took a bunch of women and children hostage. His weapon, Judgement Ring, is kinda cool, but he’s a one-off character and…unclean in personality and appearance. Likability: 10%
  • Shizuya Kirihara – Ikki’s first opponent in the Battle Festival. His weapon is cool too, but his personality is rotten; all he’s ever wanted to do is to see Ikki suffer. (When he was put in a tight spot, he claimed that he would play nice, but…too little, too late.) Likability: 5%
  • Renren Tomaru – Athletic student council representative who fights with super speed and a pair of gauntlets. At first, she seemed naught but a stepping stone on Ikki’s way to the top, but her role became more prominent by episode 9. I don’t dislike the tan athlete type of character she is, but she is honestly too minor for me to truly like. Likability: 40%
  • Ikazuchi Saijou – Student council representative who fights using a sword that becomes heavier with every swing. At first, he seemed naught but a stepping stone on Stella’s way to the top, but his role became more prominent by episode 9. That said, much like Renren, Ikazuchi is too minor for me to truly like, maybe even more minor than Renren. Likability: 38%
  • Ayase Ayatsuji – A senior who can use her slashes to create gusts of wind. She started off as shy, but then she turned out to be an honorable swordswoman, until she committed foul play in her fight against Ikki. She seems to have a hard time dealing with pressure, seeing as how she had difficulty approaching Ikki properly and seemed to think independently about taking back her father’s dojo. I’ve said before that she “was not all I’d hoped for” [2], but honestly, what was I thinking? That’s not the way to judge a character; you don’t just set expectations, let alone as high as I did. Ayase is a good character, especially due to her dark hair and relative shyness; her only setback, really, is that she was only prominent in episodes 6-8 and appeared briefly in episodes 5 and 12. Likability: 80%
  • Kuraudo Kurashiki – A troublemaker who took over the Ayatsuji dojo and kicked Ayase out. He fights with quicker-than-average reflexes and an extendable sword-like weapon dubbed “Sword Eater.” The time he met Ikki, Kuraudo called Ikki a coward for remaining peaceful through the ruckus Kuraudo caused at the restaurant where they met. Eventually, however, Ikki defeated Kuraudo, forcing the latter to give up control of the dojo and save any further confrontations until the Battle Festival. Kuraudo may have started out as somewhat of a jerk, but at least his joy is derived from the art of battling and not from watching others suffer. In fact, his fight with Ikki made me realize that both are the same type of crazy in battle and that it is essential to enjoy what you get yourself into. Likability: 45%
  • Utakata Misogi – Student council vice president. He has healing powers, which he used in episode 6 to heal the wound that Ikki sustained because of Kuraudo. He looks similar to Shizuku, but it was never touched upon in the anime whether they are related. (I doubt it; it’s probably just a coincidence.) He seems like the brainiac of the student council, always remaining smug whenever he talks. Like the other student council representatives, though, he’s too minor for me to truly like. Likability: 42%
  • Touka Toudou – Student council president who fights using a powerful lightning strike known as Raikiri. She normally wears glasses, but when she gets serious (like in her battle against Shizuku in episode 10 and Ikki in episode 12), she leaves them off in order to purposely impair her vision and increase her mental concentration. Also, like Nene, she has the ability to move faster than the human brain can register. In episode 11, however, she showed off a bit of a careless side, tripping over Utakata’s manga and leaving her panties exposed in front of Ikki and Stella. She is also relatively friendly for someone of her stature. She has big breasts, but at least they’re not as distracting as those of Stella or Kagami. Great fighter, good looks, okay personality, no complaints. Likability: 70%

Average character likability rating: 52.8%

Asterisk

  • Ayato Amagiri – The protagonist. He apparently has some sort of destructive power bound by his sister that can only be unbound if he wields Ser Veresta, a sword that serves as his trump card. However, he can only sustain this power for a few minutes before he starts to grow weary. He enrolled himself into Seidoukan Academy to find out the truth about his sister. He has had his moments, especially his rematch with Kirin in episode 7 and the times when he proved himself capable of nonchalantly approaching a tough guy like Lester. He never turns a blind eye to conflict, and he does what he can to satisfy every girl he meets. That said, I’ve always referred to him as “generic,” and that’s because there’s not much that really makes him stand out among other protagonists of the same nature. Plus, he says “sorry” (gomen) a lot, which gets pretty annoying when you realize just how often he does. Most importantly, though, the fact that he’s part of a harem story means that he doesn’t seem nearly as devoted to Julis as Ikki is to Stella. Likability: 70%
  • Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt – The deuteragonist. She met Ayato when she lost her precious handkerchief and he caught her changing when he tried to return it. Because of this, there was some tension between them at first, but she eventually warmed up to Ayato and became his partner in the Phoenix Festa. I like her appearance and voice, and she’s certainly more subtle (in multiple facets, most notably her bust) than Stella, which is why I like Julis way more. That said, I’m not too big a fan of the tsundere part of her personality because it bothers me how sometimes she has a hard time being honest. That’s my only complaint, though. Likability: 85%
  • Claudia Enfield – Representative of Seidoukan Academy and ranked #2. She presents herself as an adult-like character who usually remains calm and composed, but she goes crazy when she wields her dual swords because of something to do with experiencing death. She also has a sort of punitive side, which she showed in episode 7 as a way to scare off Kirin’s uncle before he went overboard. This is all well and good, but what annoys me is that she is too flirtatious towards Ayato, which is worsened by how much emphasis is placed on her figure while she does so (especially during the moments when she is scantily clad, like in episodes 3 and 6 with her bathrobe and bikini, respectively). Likability: 25%
  • Haruka Amagiri – Ayato’s elder sister. Not much is known about her because she is only shown in the intro and in flashbacks. What is known so far is that she bound Ayato’s power and, unbeknownst to Ayato, was severely wounded (probably killed) in battle. She also has something to do with Ser Veresta, from what it seems. As mysterious as this character is, from what I’ve seen of her in the intro and flashbacks, she has a likable appearance, especially with her glasses. Likability: 55%
  • Eishirou Yabuki – Ayato’s classmate and roommate. He reminds me of Shuu Maiko from Nisekoi because of his brown hair and meddler-like personality, as well as being (arguably) the second-most prominent male character in the anime. He has lent weapons to Ayato on multiple occasions (episodes 1 and 7) and is apparently part of an organization known as the Shadow Stars, but not much else is portrayed about him. Likability: 40%
  • Lester MacPhail – A buff and stubborn fellow student of Seidoukan Academy who was bent on challenging Julis in episodes 1-3 but ended up getting rejected every time. In episode 4, he was branded a pawn in Silas Norman’s plan and put himself in quite a pinch fighting off the automatons until Ayato came to his rescue. He joined the Phoenix Festa with Randy Hooke as his tag team partner, but they were defeated with relative ease by the Urzaiz sisters. All in all, he’s just a typical tough guy. Not much else to note. Likability: 38%
  • Randy Hooke – Lester’s pudgy friend, who ended up becoming his tag partner. He is so minor that there is nothing else worth noting. Likability: 30%
  • Silas Norman – A student of Seidoukan Academy who pretended to be Lester’s friend. In truth, he accepted a bribe from Allekant to attack Julis with automatons so that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the Phoenix Festa, and he also had the idea of framing Lester for the attacks. Eventually, however, the automatons under Silas’s control were destroyed by Ayato, and Silas fell into an alley, where he was severely wounded by Claudia and taken in by Eishirou for questioning. Silas is also very minor, so all I know about him is that he is impure. Likability: 5%
  • Saya Sasamiya – An old friend of Ayato’s who fights with guns, specifically those created by her father. She joined the Phoenix Festa (with Kirin Toudou as her tag partner) in hopes of making a name for her father and, to a lesser extent, wreaking her vengeance on Camilla Pareto (who insulted her signature weapon). I’ve established already that Saya is my favorite character across both anime series; now I shall explain why. First off, Saya is voiced by Shiori Izawa (the voice of Mega Drive in SeHa Girls), taking second in my list of favorite voices in the anime behind that of Julis. Second, while she is a gunfighter (and the only person in the anime explicitly shown to wield guns), she demonstrated in episode 10 that she can hold her own in close combat (although she admitted that she learned from Ayato to some degree). Third, she’s a kuudere, and I have a soft spot for kuuderes. Fourth, she’s probably the cutest character in the anime, especially due to her sleepy appearance. Fifth, she doesn’t give a crap about being exposed, as shown in episodes 2 and 10. Sixth, she knows just how unjust the world can be. (Now, keep in mind that by “favorite” I don’t mean “most likely to get with Ayato,” because that would be Julis.) Likability: 95%
  • Dirk Eberwein – Representative of Le Wolfe Black Academy. He has a brutish personality with the gall to slander others. In hopes of dealing with Ser Veresta, he freed Irene from prison to let her fight in the Phoenix Festa with her sister. He is an okay character for who he is; that’s all I have to say. Likability: 45%
  • Shuuma Sakon – Representative of Allekant Academy. Because of his polite personality, he accepted a joint agreement with Seidoukan Academy without knowing the full details. Not much else is known about him, since he is a one-off character as it stands. He may seem like a pushover for a representative, but you gotta hand it to him for convincing the other representatives to allow automatons in the Phoenix Festa. Likability: 40%
  • Xinglou Fan – Representative of Jie Long 7th Academy. She may be young for a representative, but she is an excellent mediator of conflict between the representatives. She has not had as much attention as Dirk, so, like Shuuma, she currently stands as a one-off character. That said, I have to say: she is my favorite representative so far. Likability: 55%
  • Ernest Fairclough – Representative of Garrardworth Academy. Although young for a representative (like Xinglou), he is a capable swordsman with a sense of justice that notably responds to Dirk’s slander. Also like Xinglou, he currently stands as a one-off character. As with Dirk, all I have to say is that Ernest is an okay character for who he is. Likability: 50%
  • Ernesta Kuhne – A playful and energetic yet mischievous student of Allekant who is behind the creation of the automatons that were controlled by Silas Norman, as well as the automatons that take part in the Phoenix Festa, AR-D and RM-C. Her mischievousness makes her a good comic relief character, like Nene but less minor and slightly more serious. Likability: 70%
  • Camilla Pareto – A student of Allekant whose stern personality makes her a foil to Ernesta, her close friend (presumably). Camilla made herself a sworn enemy of Saya in episode 5 when the former trash-talked the weapons made by the latter’s father. I generally prefer serious characters over frivolous characters, and Camilla is no exception (although in this case, the difference isn’t much). Likability: 75%
  • Kirin Toudou – Formerly ranked #1 in Seidoukan Academy, constantly being abused by her uncle, until Ayato butted in and beat her to a duel. After her uncle left her to her own devices and she lost the #1 spot, she decided to team up with Saya for the Phoenix Festa. Similarly to Saya, Kirin is enrolled in Seidoukan Academy for the sake of her father, who was imprisoned because he killed someone of lower status than him (albeit out of self-defense). “Iris Freyja 2.0″ [2] is a good summary of this character, but I wish to elaborate upon that. Low-saturation hair color, annoyingly high-pitched voice, relatively timid, and relatively busty. I dislike the second and fourth of these qualities (especially the second), and this leads me to dislike her overall. I said she was “not as dislikable as Claudia” [2], but now, I’m not so sure. I do like Claudia’s scary side, but Kirin has almost nothing going for her. If I had to name any superior points…she’s less minor than Claudia and is partnered with Saya. So, they’re about the same, I say. Likability: 25%
  • Kouichirou Toudou –Kirin’s uncle, who abused her in hopes of claiming a spot on the executive board, or so Claudia says. Most of the abuse was physical, characterized by slaps triggered by Kirin’s refusal to fully comply with his orders. However, once Ayato beat Kirin in a duel and Claudia intimidated Kouichirou to prevent him from taking any further action, he pretty much disappeared for the time being. As a whole, this character makes me think “high expectations Asian father” more than anything (he’s not exactly a father, but eh, details), but I honestly have nothing else to note. Likability: 30%
  • Korona Kashimaru – A mild-mannered student of Le Wolfe who accompanied Dirk during episodes 9-11. In episode 11, she predicted using her fortune-telling ability that the Urzaiz sisters would triumph in their battle against Ayato and Julis. Her prediction was wrong, but that’s to be expected of fortune-telling: a feeble attempt to lower the viewers’ expectations. Although she wears glasses, her high-pitched voice is a bit annoying. Likability: 45%
  • Irene Urzaiz – One of the top students of Le Wolfe, who was once imprisoned but released by Dirk in episode 9. She wields a scythe that can manipulate gravity at the cost of draining her blood and transforming her into a vampire. She may wear skimpy clothes, but her rough-and-tough personality makes her quite a likable character. Likability: 70%
  • Priscilla Urzaiz – Unranked tag partner and sister of Irene. She may seem timid and frail, but she can heal her own wounds, making her an indispensable partner for Irene, and calm Irene’s anger with one quick scolding. She’s a swell character overall, but she’s helpless without her sister…or so it seems, but in episode 12, she promised to become stronger than her sister. Likability: 65%

Average character likability rating: 52.52%

So, Cavalry has better characters overall by a difference of 0.28%.

Plot and “Plot”

Two more evaluation criteria I wish to cover are the plot and the “plot” (another way of saying fanservice). Starting with the latter, I will make a list of notable fanservice moments by episode.

Cavalry

  1. Ikki stumbles upon Stella changing.
  2. Kagami presses her breasts against Ikki’s arm. At the end of the episode, Stella puts on a skimpy bikini and offers to wash Ikki.
  3. Stella strips down to her undergarments as a result of the Bishou incident.
  4. N/A
  5. Swimsuits. Swimsuits everywhere.
  6. When Ayase falls on her rump, her panties are revealed (at least to the viewers). Additionally, Ikki corrects Ayase’s form in a lewd way.
  7. Ayase ends up soaked in her white robe as a result of making Ikki use Itto Shura to save her life.
  8. N/A
  9. Stella has Ikki take her clothes off in a nearby cottage. Of course, Ikki takes his own clothes off as well. The viewers also get a panty shot from Touka in her debut.
  10. Nene gropes Stella’s breasts. Shizuku’s clothes end up tattered after her battle with Touka. (Does the latter count?)
  11. As mentioned in Touka’s character evaluation, her panties are revealed in front of Ikki and Stella.
  12. N/A

Asterisk

  1. Ayato stumbles upon Julis changing. Claudia reveals her midriff to Ayato.
  2. As a result of Saya blowing up the fountain, she and Julis end up soaked and with their shirts open when Ayato comes back to them. The viewers are left with Claudia showering and putting on a revealing bathrobe before her meeting with Ayato.
  3. The bathrobe scene from before continues.
  4. N/A
  5. When Ayato bumps into Kirin, the latter covers her skirt and accentuates her breasts in the process.
  6. Claudia is shown in a skimpy bikini. Saya comments on how unjust it is that Kirin’s breasts are so big.
  7. Ayato and Kirin, after falling into the sewer, hang their clothes to dry. This results in the two sitting back-to-back in their underwear.
  8. Kirin and Saya visit a pool, at which they have a mildly unfortunate encounter with a student of Queenvale wearing a skimpy bikini.
  9. N/A
  10. Saya and Kirin hit the showers after their battle. Again, Saya comments on the unfairness of Kirin’s chest. When Ayato and Julis come by, while Kirin desires for them to wait, Saya immediately lets them in. As a result, Kirin gets embarrassed. (Saya, on the other hand, just doesn’t care.) Also, Priscilla reveals her cleavage while giving blood to Irene.
  11. N/A
  12. Saya, Kirin, and Claudia plant Ayato’s face into their chests.

You can see a distinct pattern in Cavalry (every fourth episode is a break from the fanservice), but in Asterisk, even though this pattern holds true for the first four episodes, things change as the anime goes on. Both series do have the same number of N/A episodes, though. Also, those are just moments; each anime has its share of “walking fanservice” characters, so called due to breast size and/or exposure.

  • Cavalry: Stella, Kagami, Nene
  • Asterisk: Claudia, Kirin, Irene

As a whole, I have to say Asterisk has the better “plot.” The main problem I have with Cavalry is that its deuteragonist is a “walking fanservice” character, which leads me to take her less seriously. While I can’t say that I dislike either of the “plots,” I prefer that of Asterisk, even if it is mostly based around Claudia and Kirin. (Also, to be honest, I preferred Julis’s underwear over Stella’s underwear.)

As for the actual plot, I prefer that of Cavalry, mostly because I dislike the idea of a harem being carried all the way to the end of the story (at least for the season; Ikki has already decided whom to love, but Ayato is still unsure). Also, I have always found Ikki to be a more interesting protagonist than Ayato, regardless how much I like or dislike the deuteragonist.

Summary

Similarities

  • set in a school
  • perverted elements
  • magic and weapons involved
  • dark-haired protagonist and red-haired tsundere deuteragonist
  • protagonist stumbles upon deuteragonist changing, and the latter challenges the former to a duel
  • after the duel, the deuteragonist eventually warms up to the protagonist, and the two wish to get stronger together
  • protagonist participates in a tournament due to family matters
  • competition involved, although with some external conflict here and there
  • battles take place in electronic arenas
  • both leave the viewer wanting a second season

Differences

  • Cavalry is focused on one-to-one romance (Ikki and Stella), while Asterisk is more of a harem
    • by extension, Ikki and Stella are far more passionate than Ayato and Julis
  • Ayato and Julis are partners in battle, while Ikki and Stella fight their own battles (at least for now)
  • the competition of Cavalry only happens within the school, while that of Asterisk involves students from all six schools
  • Ikki fights for the sake of fighting, but Ayato wishes to discover the truth about his sister
  • Ikki starts off with a weapon and the title “Worst One,” while Ayato starts out unranked and is lent a weapon when he is forced to duel with Julis
  • rankings change in Asterisk but are stagnant in Cavalry (Ayato rose in rank when he defeated Kirin, but Ikki remains rank F regardless of what he does)
  • defeat is more serious in Cavalry than in Asterisk (in Asterisk, you simply have to destroy the opponent’s badge, but Cavalry has no holds barred)
  • Cavalry is a lot more bloody (although Asterisk is not without its fair share of wounds)
  • Asterisk is sci-fi
  • while Cavalry involves more swords than anything, Asterisk has all sorts of weapons
  • the happenings of Cavalry make more sense than those of Asterisk (particularly the fanservice moments)
  • supporting characters, obviously
  • the second season of Asterisk is scheduled for Spring 2016; whether Cavalry will have a second season is not yet known

Conclusion

To the overarching question of this review series, “Cavalry vs. Asterisk,” based on the evaluation criteria above, my answer turns out to be Cavalry. That said, I did enjoy both series. Cavalry has a great opening theme, better plot, and better characters on average, but Asterisk has a better deuteragonist, better fanservice, and the best character between both series: Saya Sasamiya.

I also enjoyed writing about both series so in-depth, making the longest piece of writing posted directly on Vouiv-review to date. Sometimes, while or after watching an anime, I find myself thinking, “Just what do I really like/dislike about this anime…?” and this review series was a helpful way to document my thoughts on these particular anime, not just going off of pure bias, but also looking over the facts and explaining the entirety of my thought process behind what I liked and disliked. That’s right; these are my thoughts, cracked open and posted to the public.

Whether I will make a continuation of this review series depends entirely on whether Cavalry will get a second season, but for now, the series has come to a close. I hope this writing was enjoyable and/or informative and, if not, apologies.

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Poké Monday 12/14/15: Yveltal

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.58.15 AM 

Tier: Uber
Type: Dark/Flying
Stats: 126 HP, 131 Atk, 95 Def, 131 Sp.Atk, 98 Sp.Def, 99 Speed
Ability: Dark Aura

Usable moves: Acrobatics, Aerial Ace, Air Slash, Dark Pulse, Disable, Dragon Claw, Façade, Focus Blast, Foul Play, Frustration, Heat Wave, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Hone Claws, Hurricane, Hyper Voice, Knock Off, Oblivion Wing, Protect, Psychic, Rest, Return, Rock Slide, Roost, Shadow Ball, Shadow Claw, Substitute, Sucker Punch, Tailwind, Taunt, Toxic, U-turn, Zen Headbutt

Overview

The cover legendaries of Pokémon X and Y have a relatively odd shared stat distribution. First off, only the Defense stat is divisible by 5. Second, it has excellent HP and offensive stats hindered by less stellar defenses and Speed. Third, speaking of its Speed, it is faster than most Ubers (i.e., base 90s and 95s), slower than base 100s (which is pretty much the midpoint between offense and defense), and speed ties with Genesect.

With such high offensive stats, backed with a boosting ability in Dark Aura, Yveltal stands as the strongest Dark-type special attacker…ever. Just look at how much damage it can deal:

252+ SpA Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Dark Pulse vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Multiscale Lugia: 133-157 (31.9 – 37.7%) — 0.2% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

Keep in mind that this is specially defensive Lugia, which isn’t even standard. Physically defensive Lugia has it far worse:

252+ SpA Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Dark Pulse vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Multiscale Lugia: 172-203 (41.3 – 48.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

It is also worth mentioning that Dark Aura makes its Sucker Punch the strongest form of priority in the game (although keep in mind that Extreme Speed has higher priority) and gives it the strongest Foul Play in the game (pretty much tied with that of Huge Power Diggersby, which is irrelevant because Diggersby does not run Foul Play).

As for Flying STAB, which helps against Fighting-types that try to soak up the Dark STAB, Yveltal has a nice signature move in Oblivion Wing. This move, although it has a middling 80 BP, has the amazing side effect of restoring HP equivalent to 75% of the damage dealt. Knowing how much damage Yveltal can potentially deal, this is quite something to behold. Also, if more power is required out of Yveltal’s Flying STAB, there is always the option of running Hurricane, which is more powerful at the cost of utility and accuracy.

Being Flying-type, Yveltal also has access to reliable recovery in the form of Roost (which also removes its bothersome weaknesses to Electric, Ice, and Rock for the duration of the turn). Additionally, it has Taunt to prevent the opponent from setting up all over it, as well as U-turn for scouting.

If I had to name any flaws of Yveltal… Aside from the oddity of its stats, its weaknesses are to rather common offensive types (notably Rock), it has a relatively unappealing physical movepool (even with Knock Off, Sucker Punch, and U-turn), and, in spite of being one of the few Flying-type Ubers, it does not have access to Defog. Also, because it lacks any boosting moves besides Hone Claws, its title of “strongest Dark-type attacker” really only applies in terms of raw power. It also lacks Pursuit, making it less effective of a check to Psychic- and Ghost-types than it could be.

As a whole, Yveltal has a weird stat layout that is chiefly offensive but can still be considered at least somewhat defensive. It threatens Psychic- and Ghost-types with its powerful Dark STAB (including Sucker Punch for offensive threats) and neutrality to Fighting (a common coverage type used by both).

Set 1: All-Out Attacker

Yveltal @ Life Orb
Ability: Dark Aura
EVs: 132 HP / 28 Atk / 252 SpA / 96 Spe
Rash Nature
– Dark Pulse
– Oblivion Wing
– Sucker Punch
– Heat Wave

To be honest, this set was taken from the Smogon Strategy Pokédex because, much like Tornadus-Therian (which I reviewed 6/15/15), figuring out the EV spread of a Pokémon with such odd stats as Yveltal requires competitive experience, which I lack. Life Orb and Rash nature with max Special Attack EVs make for maximum power, 96 Speed EVs allow it to creep past uninvested Lugia, and the HP EVs let it “survive Mega Salamence’s Return only after Stealth Rock damage.” The rest of the EVs are put into Attack to strengthen its Sucker Punches.

Dark Aura-boosted Dark Pulse is Yveltal’s raison d’être, nearly the strongest Dark-type move ever. (The true strongest is Hyperspace Fury coming from max Attack Adamant Hoopa-Unbound.) Oblivion Wing is extra STAB that, as mentioned, hits Fighting-types hard and helps Yveltal regain HP lost through residual damage, notably from Life Orb and Stealth Rock. Sucker Punch gives it priority, allowing it to deal respectable damage to offensive threats that are faster than it (although, again, Extreme Speed is something to watch out for). Heat Wave grants it the ability to 2HKO Klefki and Mega Mawile (OHKO on Mawile pre-Mega), who would otherwise wall the set.

Set 2: Defensive

Yveltal @ Leftovers
Ability: Dark Aura
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Foul Play
– Taunt
– Toxic
– Roost

Yveltal may not be the most defensive thing around, but with Dark Aura-boosted Foul Play, it certainly hits harder than the average defensive ‘mon. Taunt prevents Yveltal from becoming setup fodder to slower hazard setters and setup sweepers such as support Dialga and less invested variants of Groudon and Kyogre. Toxic allows it to wear down Pokémon that can comfortably take Foul Play, including Blissey and most Dark resists (i.e., Dark-, Fighting-, and Fairy-types). Roost grants it longevity and, for the duration of the turn, removes its icky weaknesses to Electric, Ice, and Rock, however leaving it vulnerable to Fighting-type moves.

EVs are chiefly physically defensive because its primary purpose is to deter physical attackers with its strong Foul Plays. That said, it is ill advised to invest 252 HP because of residual damage—full HP investment would give it 456 HP, a number divisible by 4, which makes it faint on the fourth switch-in to Stealth Rock; 248 EVs, on the other hand, would give it 455 HP, allowing it to live a fourth Stealth Rock switch-in. Minimum Attack is required on this specific variant to reduce damage from confusion and opposing Foul Plays.

The fun thing about this set is that it proves to be a decent check to ExtremeKiller Arceus, being able to take a +2 Life Orb Extreme Speed even after Stealth Rock damage and having a 75% chance to OHKO with Foul Play after Arceus’ Life Orb recoil (100% with hazards), although keep in mind that +4 with Stealth Rock (and +6 in general) will screw it over.

Other Options

Focus Blast is an option on the offensive set to hit opposing Dark-types harder and to guarantee a 2HKO on support Dialga, while still maintaining its ability to 2HKO Mega Mawile (although it does not OHKO pre-Mega). It also does far greater damage to Diancie and Tyranitar, who also resist both of its STABs. Hurricane is, again, a stronger substitute for Oblivion Wing at the expense of utility and accuracy, with the primary perk of always 2HKOing offensive variants of Xerneas, regardless of hazards. Hidden Power Ice is a guaranteed OHKO on Rayquaza and Mega Salamence, but it serves no purpose otherwise.

Dealing massive damage with Life Orb is just one option for offensive prowess. Instead, Yveltal can opt to run a Choice Scarf to patch up its middling Speed and cut past base 90 and 95 Scarfers, becoming an effective revenge killer with its strong Dark Pulses and Hurricanes/Oblivion Wings, as well as a relatively unorthodox offensive tool in Foul Play that deals ridiculous damage to physically offensive threats that can take its other hits comfortably. (With a set like this, it is advised to invest enough physical bulk to avoid the OHKO from +2 ExtremeKiller Arceus, which requires no fewer than 8 EVs in Defense, or 16 in HP (12 works too, but that hits an HP value divisible by 4 (396, to be exact) and thus, like full HP investment on a defensive set, is ill advised), or some mix between the two.)

Additionally, U-turn can be used on any set (preferably Scarf) for scouting and momentum and stuff. Yveltal also has the option of running Substitute and Disable to make it even more threatening to Psychic- and Ghost-types by limiting their coverage options, but a set like that has more difficulty overall checking offensive threats and dealing heavy damage to defensive threats, having to settle for Dark Pulse and Oblivion Wing as offensive options and Leftovers for longevity. On a final note, Knock Off may seem cool in theory, but with the introduction of Primals (and therefore the ability to dedicate half of a team to items that are impervious to Knock Off), it is a far less useful move in Ubers than it is in lower tiers.

Sample Teams

http://pastebin.com/xG60ymed – team 1; contains offensive Yveltal

http://pastebin.com/WR1VvtyX – team 2; contains defensive Yveltal

Only tested the defensive team twice and the offensive team once (and a previous rendition of the offensive team once before). Most people who are ranked low in Showdown Ubers bring some really questionable Pokémon (for example, Alakazam without Magic Guard, Lugia with Blizzard and Dragon Pulse, Sableye with Fake Out and Trick), but I played really badly the first time I fought with the defensive team. I could have laddered more, but since my penultimate college semester recently ended (and I’m still waiting for the rest of my grades), I just didn’t feel like it, honestly.

Team 1 contains:

  • offensive Yveltal (set above)
  • defensive Primal Groudon for Stealth Rock and resisting Fairy attacks
  • Mega Lucario, mainly for revenge killing Geomancy Xerneas
  • Wobbuffet for trapping offensive threats or something
  • Xerneas for clerical support and special bulkiness
  • Arceus-Ghost for Defog (used to be Mega Salamence, then I realized that I made the stupid mistake of including two Megas on one team)

Team 2 contains:

  • defensive Yveltal (set above)
  • defensive Primal Groudon again
  • Palkia as a Primal Kyogre switch-in
  • Choice Scarf Zekrom as a revenge killer and offensive pivot
  • Xerneas again
  • Arceus-Ghost again (not Mega Salamence here because I don’t want too many Dragons)

Yeah, both of these teams have three members in common. Nothing wrong with that, I hope.

Top Three Thursday 12/10/15: Anime that I might consider watching

In case it wasn’t obvious, I like anime. However, there are many series that I have not watched yet, and plenty of them I find interesting but do not bother putting time aside to watch (most likely for professional reasons). Here are the main three on my mind:

3. Dog Days

Supposedly, Dog Days is the anime that bears the closest resemblance to Mondaiji-tachi (my all-time favorite anime) besides No Game No Life. Because of this, I feel it’s worth a try, whenever I get around to it.

2. Overlord

An anime that aired this year and takes place in a video game world, much like Log Horizon, another anime that I really enjoyed. However, from what I can tell, the protagonist of Overlord seems to be more inhuman and geared towards conquest than that of Log Horizon, so it should be at least somewhat of a fresh experience in that regard.

1. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

As a relatively frequent browser of KnowYourMeme, I have heard nothing but good things about JoJo. So, some time ago, I watched the first episode of the 2012 series, and even though that’s only the beginning, the series already seems like something I can get behind. I have put it aside due to other matters, but I wish to pick it up again some time.

 

This was a bit of a rushed post, but I felt I needed a moment of respite after finishing the semester with a programming assignment that was due earlier today.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Spontaneous Saturday 12/5/15: Thought Dump 7

It’s been a while (by which I mean about 4 months ago) since my last official Thought Dump. Since I’m approaching the end of my penultimate semester, having just completed one dastard of a project and having to worry about a final exam and another project, I haven’t given much thought to what I wish to write for this Spontaneous Saturday. Therefore…well, here’s Thought Dump 7.

 

I’d like to start with freemium games I’ve been playing on 3DS. Along with the already released ones, Rumble World and Shuffle (the latter of which is now on mobile), there are now two others: Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Picross. Nintendo Badge Arcade apparently came out about a month ago (although I only learned about it a week ago), while Pokémon Picross came out two days ago.

Nintendo Badge Arcade is where you play crane games and earn badges, which can be used to decorate your HOME menu. Some of these badges can be used to launch applications (specifically System Parameters, StreetPass Mii Plaza, Nintendo eShop, DS Download Play, Sound Studio, Camera, Mii Creator, and Activity Log), meaning they are not entirely pointless. You can pay $1 for five plays, hence the freemium aspect of the game. However, there is a practice machine that you can use once daily (renews at 5:00 AM EST) that could potentially result in one or several free plays, and some days the bunny who runs the arcade may just randomly give you free plays. If there’s anything I dislike about the game, it’s that you can’t back out when given a free play (which would be useful if you got a free play from the bunny and wanted to get more through the practice catcher, then use them all in one fell swoop) and that every time you use up all your free plays, the bunny will ask, “You can swap over to paid play now. Would you like to do that?”, which to me is one of those “I hate saying ‘no’ every time” situations.

Pokémon Picross…well, I can’t say I don’t like it, but there are some things about it that just…make it the most pay2win game ever. Literally. The pixelated Professor Tetra gives you a bunch of Picrites during the tutorial, but then the only ways you can get any further Picrites are (1) by beating further levels, and (2) by taking part in the daily challenge, which has an appallingly low Picrite yield. Want to get to the next area but don’t have enough Picrites? Oh, and you don’t want to pay? Tough luck; you’re stuck with the slow-as-molasses Picrite gain of the daily challenge. I’m especially frustrated that I happened to boot up the game and find that a rare Pokémon appeared in the second area…which I haven’t unlocked yet…which requires 50 Picrites to unlock and I only have 49……………

“Go to the next area to find the rare Pokémon!” I would if I freaking could! Anyway, at least the gameplay is good, but I’d rather do weekly puzzles on Conceptis than have to put up with the crud that Pokémon Picross is made of.

In summary, Nintendo Badge Arcade is not worth paying for, but Pokémon Picross is too worth paying for. Even so, I like to take the “mium” out of “freemium” and get as much as I can out of these games without paying a cent.

12/9 EDIT: Another thing about Nintendo Badge Arcade: on daily updates, it has possibly the longest loading time of any video game I have ever played (and I believe TF2 is the only other contender). Pokémon Picross, on the other hand, loads instantly when you boot it up, every time.

As for the freemium games I already have, well, my Rumble World experience has been enhanced with one heck of a gem: a 1854 Epic Cascoon with Speedy, Snappy, Gutsy+, Lucky++, Effective, and Lingering+. The combination of Bug Bite and Lucky++ gives it maximum coin yield per KO, and Lingering+ makes its Iron Defenses (yeah, Iron Defense is its best secondary move) linger for a very long time. With 651 HP, Iron Defense makes it much more difficult to take down than the 1464 Epic Sandile (with Speedy, Snappy, Gutsy+, Lucky++, Techie+, and Greedy) that I was using before. As for Shuffle, I have S-ranked all currently unlockable stages and captured every Pokémon available except Thundurus (which I plan to catch after my next check-in), and I’ve saved enough coins that I feel I’ll be ready for the next major update.

Any other games I wish to talk about? Well, actually, I won $25 from a giveaway at twitch.tv/360chrism, and I spent $2.99 on The Stanley Parable and $2.09 on Super Meat Boy. Stanley Parable was pretty entertaining, especially in the instances of defying the narrator. Super Meat Boy, even if it is a dated game, is really fun, although quite frustrating. At the time of writing, I have 100% completed Forest and Hospital, 90% completed Salt Factory (18/20 bandages; need to beat 15-20 in Dark World), and 57% completed Hell (completed Light World; haven’t started Dark World), meaning I have completed 63% of the whole game (with 3010 deaths so far). However, I plan to set Meat Boy aside in favor of more important things (like, you know, studies).

 

I want to keep anime talk at a bare minimum here for reasons that I am not at liberty to discuss, but let me just say: One Punch Man is a great show. It really is.

 

Another thing I wish to bring up, that I haven’t in previous Thought Dumps, is Cinq du Soleil (a fantasy story that I talked about in detail on Spontaneous Saturday 11/7/15). As of now, I have completed chapter 4 and am working on 4.5. Why 4.5? Well, I write the story in third person limited, meaning I write as if I only knew what Toru (the main character) was perceiving, and the fourth chapter ends in such a way that…well, let’s just say he’s unable to witness a certain event that was destined to happen to the whole group. Therefore, I am writing chapter 4.5 as if I did not know what anyone was thinking, because I feel it is essential to know what happened among the rest of the group after the end of chapter 4.

 

I guess that’s all for now. So…

Wait, no! I also want to talk about Phoenotopia routing. In any%, I managed to route out Dread Lands, but obviously Mul Cavern is going to be way more difficult to route out, especially without the Lantern. As for 100%…I did manage to get a fresh file up to 100% completion, only to realize that I am now thoroughly confused by the percentage counter. In that file, I had all Moonstones, all Heart Rubies, all Tools, all Misc. items, all Bag Attachments, 5 Chocolate Protein Shakes consumed, and all locations uncovered, but the file still showed 99%. All the testing of the percentage counter was really annoying since checking the percentage counter in the first place takes like 30 minutes: defeating Big Eye, watching a cutscene, escaping from Android 66, watching another cutscene, and waiting for the credits to display the percentage counter. Most of the times I tested it, it displayed 99%, but it actually displayed 97% when I bought the Leather Armor and then the Chain Mail. But, in 99% conditions, when I unlocked the Mystery Bento and Power Potion, the counter showed 100%. This confuses me because I still don’t know whether the Chocolate Protein Shakes and the Bag Attachments influence the counter, nor do I know which of the Mystery Bento and Power Potion (maybe both) influences the counter and how. So, it turns out there’s far more testing to do than I thought. On a final note, from what I know so far, I figure that a 100% run of Phoenotopia would last about 3 hours in-game time.

 

Okay, now I’m done.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)