Important update + 2015 recap (Spontaneous Saturday 1/2/16)

Important Update

Once again, it’s a new year, and this time, I feel like making an important change to the activity of this blog. First off, titles will henceforth have the topic as a set of words on the left and the blog-related category of the post as a set of words in parentheses on the right, just as demonstrated with the title of this particular post. This is so that I can condense the URL to exclude the information that is unimportant to a new viewer of the posts and put that information aside until the end of the title.

Second, instead of the whole Spontaneous Saturday -> Top Three Thursday -> Poké Monday thing, I figured I would make it so that Top Three Thursday is now Thought Dump Thursday. The reason for this is because, while I like top-whatever lists, they are difficult to come up with, especially in terms of topic. I mean, while three is a reasonable number for some situations, for others, like characters of MonMusu, it’s just not enough, and I don’t really want to make variations unless on extremely special occasions, like how Top Three Thursday 12/24/15 featured nine of the 2015 anime series I enjoyed because of how close the time of publishing was to Christmas. On that note, let’s not forget when I copped out of a Top Three Thursday post. Why Thought Dump? Well, I have written seven “Thought Dump” posts (on 10/25/14, 12/20/14, 2/14/15, 5/9/15, 6/20/15, 8/1/15, and 12/5/15) as a way to weasel my way out of thinking up a specific topic for Spontaneous Saturday. As few views as I get for potpourri posts compared to posts about specific topics (mostly anime-related), I enjoy writing out these Thought Dumps, so I decided to integrate them into the regular schedule.

Third and foremost, I wish to say goodbye to Spontaneous Saturday and replace it with Spontaneous Series Saturday. I was thinking when I was on the whole “Cavalry vs. Asterisk” series: It’s not exactly spontaneous if I make it obvious when the next installments are going to come out. It’s also not really spontaneous if it happens on a regularly scheduled basis, right? Like, “Oh, I’m looking forward to the next Spontaneous Saturday” is such a contradictory statement the more I think about it. So, what I was thinking was: On some Saturday when I feel like it, I will initiate some sort of review series—like Cavalry vs. Asterisk—that keeps going until I say it has ended. That way, the exact nature of the Saturday in question is spontaneous, but it also keeps the whole “series” thing going. More importantly, this lifts a minor burden off of me, as it means that I can actually pick times to think twice rather than thrice per two weeks. Since I feel like I slacked too much last semester (got an A, A-, B, and B-, and I didn’t work steadily enough on the final projects and had to crash them) and therefore I wish to get more serious this semester, I believe this change is for the best.

Poké Monday, however, will remain untouched.

So, here’s the deal: Thought Dump Thursday every second Thursday from January 7 onward, Poké Monday every second Monday from January 11 onward, and Spontaneous Series Saturday at random intervals.

Good? Good.

Also, I have updated the header image and blog info section accordingly.

2015 Recap

Much like the 2014 recap, since 2015 has come to an end, I shall provide a recap of what has become of Vouiv-review from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2015.

January 3 (Spontaneous Saturday): 2014 recap. Just like this half of this post, only this one has hyperlinks on the post titles and is based on a different year.

January 8 (Top Three Thursday): Video game music. I talked about some video game music that I like from Pokémon X&Y, Super Smash Bros., and Bravely Default. Over time, however, I’ve grown to like the Ripple Star stage 3 music in Kirby 64 more than the F-Zero music.

January 12 (Poké Monday): Heatmor. Primarily offensive Fire-type known for being one of the few of its type to learn Giga Drain. While it is relatively slow and frail, it gets Sucker Punch to mitigate that.

January 17 (Spontaneous Saturday): Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I talked about my thoughts on the most recent Super Smash Bros. game after having it for about a year. I have, by the way, completed all of the challenges I was missing before.

January 22 (Top Three Thursday): Video game characters. Rita Mordio (Tales of Vesperia), Yoshi (Mario series), and Nowi (Fire Emblem Awakening). This list remains unchanged, at least for now.

January 26 (Poké Monday): Floatzel. A fast Water-type physical attacker with two primary defining aspects: Water Veil and Switcheroo.

January 31 (Spontaneous Saturday): Wake Up, Girl Zoo! I talked about the first eight episodes of a spinoff of the anime “Wake Up, Girls!“. This spinoff was short and sweet, and it made for a good laugh.

February 5 (Top Three Thursday): Most annoying GH6 guitar charts. I expressed my frustration towards charts in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock that I am unable to full combo (and will remain so for a long while).

February 9 (Poké Monday): Bagon. Physically oriented Dragon-type attacker in LC with relatively low stats but an interesting Ability in Sheer Force.

February 14 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 3. I talked about the Battle Maison (notably my quest towards the Doubles trophy) and my thoughts on winter 2015 anime.

February 19 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Internet memes. Costanza reaction face, Tony Kornheiser’s “Why”, and Yee. My favorite meme now, though, is JOHN CENA.

February 23 (Poké Monday): Kyogre. Dominating force in Ubers whose environment has changed (quite literally in some contexts) with the introduction of Primal Reversion.

February 28 (Spontaneous Saturday): Poké Monday in further detail. A sort of follow-up to the series based on changes to the metagame that required appending further thoughts to my past analyses.

March 5 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Mega Evolutions. Sceptile, Beedrill, Gallade.

March 9 (Poké Monday): Watchog. The first-route Normal-type of gen 5. Not much to expect there.

March 14 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cross-a-Pix. I talked about a relatively new form of puzzle, one somewhat similar to Pic-a-Pix, that was introduced to Conceptis approximately two weeks prior to when the article was written. I also gave tips on how to solve these puzzles.

March 19 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Twitch streamers: Redux. Witwix, 2dos, and 360chrism. What bothers me a little is that this redux needs a redux because some of the information is outdated, notably the emote sets (and I rarely, if ever, watch Witwix anymore). It was nice to take a trip down memory lane in terms of the emotes, but updated emote sets can be viewed at twitchemotes.com or frankerfacez.com, depending on the variety of emotes.

March 23 (Poké Monday): Staraptor. Strong Flying-type attacker with average Speed that uses Reckless Brave Bird and Double-Edge for heavy damage output.

March 28 (Spontaneous Saturday): Final thoughts on winter 2015 anime. I talked about Absolute Duo, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, and the second season of Log Horizon. None of these has a particularly good reputation, but Kili from Fafnir remains to this day one of my favorite anime characters of all time.

April 2 (Top Three Thursday): Recent Guitar Hero 3 FCs. That time when I finally managed to get Nothing for Me Here, The Number of the Beast, and Cult of Personality.

April 6 (Poké Monday): Nidoran♂. Poison-type physical attacker with average-at-best stats, only notable for Hustle and Sucker Punch.

April 11 (Spontaneous Saturday): Sym-a-Pix, the puzzle that I underestimated. I talk about a variety of puzzle that I dismissed in my first Conceptis puzzle review because of a naïve misunderstanding on my part.

April 16 (Top Three Thursday): Advice I would give to other drivers. Since I had recently started driving solo to university at the time, I thought I would drop a few of my pet peeves based on other drivers whom I have observed.

April 20 (Poké Monday): Krokorok. Average offensive threat capable of performing a lead role with Stealth Rock and Taunt, and wearing down the opposition with STAB Earthquake and Knock Off.

April 25 (Spontaneous Saturday): Momentary pause. Since it was close to the deadline and I had no specific topic in mind, I decided to cop out and post an Imgur album pertaining to my army in Disgaea DS, a game that I was into at the time but ended up losing interest.

April 30 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Christian music. For the first time in Vouiv-review history, I revealed my Christian faith by sharing a few songs that I found (and still find) impactful: Virtuoso, He Knows My Name, and Proof of Your Love.

May 4 (Poké Monday): Cloyster. An offensive threat that is notorious for Shell Smash and Skill Link Icicle Spear.

May 9 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 4. I talk about Pokémon Rumble World and spring 2015 anime.

May 14 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite speedruns to watch. I like to watch speedruns on Twitch, so I thought I would name off some of my favorites at the time: Kirby 64, Bravely Default, and Donkey Kong 64.

May 18 (Poké Monday): Vigoroth. Lower-tier threat known for a nasty combination of Bulk Up and Slack Off.

May 23 (Spontaneous Saturday): Super Randomizer Nuzlocke – a follow-up? I ended the HeartGold Nuzlocke on a salty note and started a new one in Black 2. However, I do not think I will be picking these back up; I think I’d rather just do regular randomizer (just Pokémon, moves, and items randomized) or Metronome only, if anything.

May 28 (Top Three Thursday): Reasons for lack of inspiration. Basically, I copped out of a Top Three Thursday post and made excuses for it (some good, some bad).

June 1 (Poké Monday): Vivillon. Setup sweeper with access to Quiver Dance, as well as Compound Eyes Sleep Powder and Hurricane.

June 6 (Spontaneous Saturday): Tapping methods in Guitar Hero. I talked about some tapping methods that I use to hit especially difficult sections in Guitar Hero. I did indeed finish this post, even though it said “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” for…well, way too long.

June 11 (Top Three Thursday): Characters I find it hard to like but don’t dislike. Sometimes, my opinion can be somewhat complicated, a few instances being on Camilla (Fire Emblem Fates), Hestia (DanMachi), and Niko Yazawa (Love Live).

June 15 (Poké Monday): Tornadus. The only 100% pure Flying-type Pokémon, which is primarily offensive in its incarnate forme but can act somewhat defensively in its therian forme.

June 20 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 5. I got the FC of If You Want Peace… Prepare for War on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, talked about my progress in Pokémon Shuffle and Rumble World, and talked about the anime that I had been watching, trying to be brief about it.

June 25 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite music from Nintendo 64 games. A more specific version of Top Three Thursday 1/8/15. Beforehand, I reminisced about the days when the Nintendo 64 was fresh in my mind.

June 29 (Poké Monday): Croconaw. Lower-tier counterpart of a strong Water-type attacker that is notorious for Sheer Force and its great selection of moves with which to abuse the ability.

July 4 (Spontaneous Saturday): My final thoughts on spring 2015 anime. I talked about Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Nisekoi:, DanMachi, and Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo. Yamada-kun and KinMoza were particularly enjoyable, and the others were okay.

July 9 (Top Three Thursday): Annoying aspects of Pokémon Shuffle. What really grinds my gears about this freemium puzzle game. (I still enjoy the game, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that it gets under my skin sometimes.)

July 13 (Poké Monday): Machoke. Lower-tier abuser of No Guard STAB Dynamic Punch.

July 18 (Spontaneous Saturday): The most situational GUI I’ve ever coded. A GUI built in Java for the sole purpose of catching a Reshiram to meet my standards.

July 23 (Top Three Thursday): SGDQ 2015 runs I am looking forward to. The Legend of Zelda (classic) swordless, Metroid Prime Hunters all items, and Donkey Kong 64 no levels early. I did enjoy these runs, and…guess what: another GDQ (specifically AGDQ 2016) is coming up real soon.

July 27 (Poké Monday): Pineco. Effective hazard lead in Little Cup that is somewhat usable in level 100 formats thanks to Sturdy and Pain Split.

August 1 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 6. I made another situational GUI, this time for Entei, which I still haven’t caught and probably will not until I have soft-reset for certain event Pokémon (Rayquaza, Zoroark, Hoopa). I also talked about freemium Pokémon, SGDQ 2015, and newly released anime.

August 6 (Top Three Thursday): Fun things to do in Pokémon. This list encompassed all generations, but only of the main series games. Surfing on Sharpedo, playing Voltorb Flip, and breeding were the activities that made this list.

August 10 (Poké Monday): Plusle. Electric-type with Nasty Plot, Baton Pass, and Lightning Rod. No other Pokémon follows these four criteria. (Aside from that, it’s trash.)

August 15 (Spontaneous Saturday): Phoenotopia. I talked about one of my favorite free online games of all time and my plans to speedrun it. As of now, I have completed the any% route, but I still have yet to get a recorded run. (I had a great one going last night, but it died to the 6th floor of Prince Tower.)

August 20 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Japanese music. This is not like the top three anime theme song list I did last year (although it still contains Maware Setsugetsuka); it also includes Vocaloid music.

August 24 (Poké Monday): Cacturne. An offensive threat with the strongest Sucker Punch in its tier and some nice supporting moves as well (including boosting moves on both sides of the spectrum).

August 29 (Spontaneous Saturday): Actually spontaneous. When I try to be “actually spontaneous,” I actually just spill the beans about what’s going on in life, notably what media I’m consuming at the time (in this case, Persona Q) and anything pertinent to my career.

September 3 (Top Three Thursday): Hardest things to pay attention to.  I always have a hard time processing what goes on during drawn action scenes, particularly long readings, and university lectures. This article was where I voiced my frustration.

September 7 (Poké Monday): Darmanitan. A ridiculously strong physical Fire-type attacker although average in Speed and relatively frail.

September 12 (Spontaneous Saturday): More spontaneity. Progress reports on Pokémon Shuffle, Persona Q, and Phoenotopia routing.

September 17 (Top Three Thursday): Labyrinths in Persona Q. You in Wonderland, Group Date Café, and Inaba Pride Exhibit. I also talked about the labyrinths that I didn’t include (Evil Spirit Club and Clock Tower). Persona Q was a fun game, and I’m glad for its existence.

September 21 (Poké Monday): Chesnaught. Grass/Fighting physical tank with Bulletproof, original (and best) user of Spiky Shield, and can also set Spikes.

September 26 (Spontaneous Saturday): My thoughts on Monster girls. I talked about (most of) the monster girls of the anime Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou and how I would rank them from bottom to top.

October 1 (Top Three Thursday): Advice I would give to new Twitch users. My attempt to explain important aspects of Twitch to those who are unfamiliar with it.

October 5 (Poké Monday): Groudon. A threat defensively and offensively that has improved greatly with the introduction of its Primal Reversion.

October 10 (Spontaneous Saturday): I have so much on my mind… A little rant about how it feels like life comes and attacks me at moments when my mind feels so loaded that I have to rant about it.

October 15 (Top Three Thursday): Responses to failure to meet a deadline properly. Based partly on college assignments but also partly on this blog. Risks happen all the time, so it is vital to have one or multiple risk responses. I learned that in Project Management class.

October 19 (Poké Monday): Flaaffy. Fledgeling Electric-type that can pretend to be a defensive pivot in lower tiers through the use of Seismic Toss, Volt Switch, and Toxic.

October 24 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 1. The first of a three-part series comparing and contrasting the anime series Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, which are similar in plenty of ways. The first part does not concern any episodes past 4.

October 29: RIP today’s Top Three Thursday. Yep, this is the cop out.

November 2 (Poké Monday): Lopunny. Physically offensive threat with ridiculous Speed and a nigh unresisted STAB combination in Scrappy Normal and Fighting.

November 7 (Spontaneous Saturday): My own fantasy story. I talked about Cinq du Soleil, a story of my own creation chiefly inspired by the anime Trinity Seven, and any background information on it that I have dug from the inner recesses of my memory. As of now, I am partway through chapter 5.

November 12 (Top Three Thursday): Christian music for non-Christians. Another revealing of my Christian faith, featuring the songs My Story, Prodigal, and Flawless.

November 16 (Poké Monday): Swanna. An offensive Defogger in PU (first ever PU analysis on Vouiv-review) with pretty much unresisted STAB coverage in Hurricane and Scald.

November 21 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 2. The second part of the aforementioned three-part series. This part does not concern any episodes past 8.

November 26 (Top Three Thursday): Things I’m thankful for. I was actually in a rush and had a term paper due on the same day, so, since it was Thanksgiving, I had to go with the obvious topic.

November 30 (Poké Monday): Grovyle. Fledgeling Grass-type that is nothing more than the fastest Unburden user in PU.

December 5 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 7. For this Thought Dump, I decided to avoid anime talk (aside from a brief expression of approval of One Punch Man) and instead stick to other topics: freemium games (including Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Picross), Steam games, Cinq du Soleil, and Phoenotopia routing. A follow-up about Phoenotopia: I actually figured out that unlocking the Mystery Bento was the key to getting the extra 1%, which is really silly if you ask me. I mean, the Mystery Bento of all things…what does that have to do with anything?

December 10 (Top Three Thursday): Anime that I might consider watching. Dog Days, Overlord, and JoJo. I watched Overlord before JoJo, but only for the sake of the next Top Three Thursday (mentioned later).

December 14 (Poké Monday): Yveltal. Strong Dark-type attacker (both offensively and defensively) with odd stats.

December 19 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 3 (finale). The final part of the aforementioned three-part series, which summarizes everything from start to finish, talks about any changes in my thoughts from part to part, and wraps up my thoughts on both anime series.

December 24 (Top Three (times three!) Thursday): Nine favorite anime series of 2015. Seiyuu’s Life, MonMusu, Asterisk, Cavalry, Fafnir, Yamada-kun, Overlord, Hibike Euphonium, and One Punch Man.

December 28 (Poké Monday): Glalie. Spikes+Taunt lead in PU, strong Ice-type attacker in RU.

 

It was a great year overall, even though I had to cop out of quite a few posts, especially with all the Thought Dump jank going on, as well as the “fake” Thought Dumps (posts that seem like Thought Dumps but are not titled as such). Thanks for the support, those who provided it!

Nowi Wins Here’s to another year…?

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

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 9.03.12 PM

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!)

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!)

Spontaneous Saturday 11/21/15: Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 2

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This is the second part of a three-part review series. Click here to view the first.

As you should be aware by now, two very similar anime are airing 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. I will post one part per four episodes aired of each anime, and this is the second. Keep in mind that these will be released late on the Saturday they’re due because I have to spend a whole day thinking and writing about the last of the series of four episodes. (Well, it’s not so late now that I thought to build upon this review after every episode, rather than waiting until the last moment.)

Again, this review may contain spoilers. Please proceed with caution.

12/19 EDIT: Part 3, where I sum everything up from start to finish, is released. Click here to view it.

Random things I feel I should note

Shizuku (Cavalry) and Claudia (Asterisk) are voiced by the same actress: Nao Touyama.

Another voice actress in common with the two series is Chinatsu Akasaki, who voices the Tsukuyomi sisters (HangetsuMikazuki, and Mangetsu, commentators of the Seven Star Battle Festival) in Cavalry and Ernesta Kuhne in Asterisk.

In Cavalry

  • Alice’s voice actor (Shintaro Asanuma) also voices Izayoi Sakamaki in Mondaiji-tachi (which I find…kinda funny, actually).
  • Yuuri Oriki, the teacher of Ikki’s class, bears a strong resemblance to Tomoko Kuroki from WataMote—same restless eyes, same messy dark hair…same voice actress, even. I made a mistake omitting her from my previous post, because she’s not actually that minor, at least not in comparison to, say, Kurono (the director).

In Asterisk

  • The story involves six academies. The one where Ayato is enrolled is Seidoukan Academy, and Claudia is its representative. The others are: Le Wolfe Black, Allekant, Jie Long 7th, Garrardworth, and Queenvale.
  • Saya is often seen arguing with Julis over Ayato. Don’t call it a love triangle, though, because there are other women attracted to Ayato. (That’s harem for you.)
  • Saya’s voice actress (Shiori Izawa) also voices Mega Drive in SeHa Girls. Because of this among other things, I am fairly convinced that Saya is my favorite character in Asterisk.
  • This reaction image (from episode 6):
    tfw too much oppai

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

  • Ayase Ayatsuji – A shy senior who follows in her father’s footsteps, taking a great interest in swordplay.
  • Kuraudo Kurashiki – A troublemaker who took over the Ayatsuji dojo and kicked Ayase out. He seems to like picking on other swordsmen.

In Asterisk

  • Dirk Eberwein – Representative of Le Wolfe Black Academy. He has a brutish personality with the gall to slander others.
  • Shuuma Sakon – Representative of Allekant Academy. He has a polite personality and accepts a joint agreement with Seidoukan Academy without knowing the full details.
  • Xinglou Fan – Representative of Jie Long 7th Academy. She may be young for a leader, but she is an excellent mediator of conflict between the representatives.
  • Ernest Fairclough – Representative of Garrardworth Academy. He is a capable swordsman with a sense of justice that notably responds to Dirk’s slander.
  • Ernesta Kuhne – A playful and energetic student of Allekant who is behind the creation of Silas’ automatons. She takes great interest in Ayato when they first meet. As playful as she seems, she is quite the schemer.
  • Camilla Pareto – A student of Allekant whose stern personality makes her a foil to Ernesta. She serves as Ernesta’s assistant.
  • Kirin Toudou – The #1 ranked fighter at Seidoukan Academy whose uncle is abusive towards her. She doesn’t really have the appearance of a top fighter, though. I find this character somewhat dislikable due to her distracting breasts and high-pitched voice, but not as dislikable as Claudia. Also, the more I think about it, the more she seems to me like Iris Freyja 2.0 (which is not a point in her favor).

The Story So Far

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 5-8 summary

Asterisk 5-8 summary

Character Impressions

To be honest, Ayase was not all I’d hoped for, but I suppose that’s because I set the bar pretty high. (I find her at least better than Stella, though.) Saya, on the other hand, is a really cool character (in more ways than one), and I’m glad she’s had more screentime over the past few episodes of Asterisk, even though Kirin has been more prominent. Also, in regards to Shizuku, I really don’t have any issues with her character (contrary to what I said before); it’s just that she doesn’t stand out too much, especially considering her role over the past few episodes of Cavalry was diminished to practically nothing (and she refers to this exclusion at the end of episode 8). Speaking of which, Alice hasn’t had much of a role in these past few episodes either, although that one moment in episode 5—where they show off Stella’s swimsuit, Shizuku’s swimsuit, Kagami’s swimsuit, and…Alice’s swimsuit—was pretty funny.

My opinion on other characters, however, is unchanged, insignificant, and/or completely obvious. On that note, I can say with certainty that I like Ikki more than Ayato, simply because the former is more “psychotic” (as Kuraudo would put it) than the latter. Even though Ayato can get reckless at times, he seems more duty-bound when doing so, whereas Ikki actually enjoys getting reckless (or so it seems in episode 8).

As a whole

The similarities and differences between Cavalry and Asterisk are largely unchanged from what I’ve already mentioned in the previous installment of Cavalry vs. Asterisk. Now that I think about it, though, the fanservice situations in Asterisk seem more oddly forced than those in Cavalry. I mean, in Asterisk episode 1, why would Julis leave her window wide open while changing? In episode 2, how did Julis’s and Saya’s shirts open up as a result of Saya blowing up the fountain? In episode 3, why would Claudia, before calling Ayato to a private meeting, wear a bathrobe that doesn’t even cover her chest properly? Most importantly, in episode 7, how did Ayato and Kirin end up in their underwear in such a way that Ayato didn’t notice until the end of their conversation (which I’m assuming based on the way that moment was portrayed)? Also, why do Claudia in episode 6 and some minor character in episode 8 wear such revealing swimsuits? I realize it’s a work of fiction, but I honestly can’t help pointing out how odd some of these situations are, especially considering the context behind them remains a complete mystery (maybe explained in the light novel (which I haven’t read), or simply to be left up to the imagination). In Cavalry, on the other hand, every moment of fanservice has some reasoning behind it.

Also, I failed to mention the key difference between Cavalry and Asterisk: Asterisk has significantly more sci-fi elements. In Cavalry, the arena and the “student handbook” are the only things even remotely sci-fi. Asterisk, on the other hand, is 90% sci-fi, give or take.

As for which I like better now, I’m leaning towards Cavalry this time. Even though I like sci-fi (to an extent) and there is no character in Cavalry that I consider better than Saya, I feel like the saga in Asterisk starting when Ayato met Kirin was less interesting than the one in Cavalry starting when Ikki met Ayase. Also, the happenings in Cavalry seem a bit more coherent than those of Asterisk (case in point: Asterisk’s odd fanservice moments mentioned earlier). Like before, this decision is tentative, because there is still more plot to be revealed, plus one more pivotal character on the cover of Cavalry who has not yet been introduced (the brunette with glasses and braids), and sometimes my judgement can differ between one moment and the next. I’m hoping in the next and final four episodes that Cavalry will keep going strong and Asterisk will step it up a bit.

 

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

Spontaneous Saturday 11/7/15: My own fantasy story

Even though I have no desire to take up writing as a profession, I have a secret hobby of writing fantasy stories. It’s been a thing since…well, as long as I can remember, honestly. These stories, much like this blog, are a great outlet for me to dump my thoughts, so they mostly draw inspiration from video games, anime, or other media that I consume.

Right now, I am working on one in particular, titled Cinq du Soleil, which is a sort of pervy fantasy harem story with magical elements. I can’t guarantee it’s good, though, because I’m hard on myself because, again, I’m not a professional writer, and I’ve been single my whole life (which I feel says something about my perception of women). That said, if you wish to see my progress on this story (which you might even catch me editing), click the link below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eJB_L3JOYaCPpSF2iJjvZjZuPi3i5yc1ifD7N1UynVs/edit?usp=sharing

The rest of this post will explain in detail any background information surrounding the creation of this story; i.e., the untitled precursor concept (for lack of a better term) and any other inspirations and/or explanations behind my ideas.

Precursor

The precursor to this story used to be kept on a text document titled “Brainstorming lewd crud” that is no longer in my possession today, so chances are I may not remember everything about it.

Chiefly inspired by the anime Trinity Seven, the original idea involved two male protagonists and five female (making seven total). The male protagonists were Toru Koroi and Ao Mirakane (the latter of whom is now an antagonist), and the five females were about the same as they are, except Sumire’s last name was Dajira before I changed it to Miyazaki, and Yue Panishi used to be named Panishi Yuu.

Another similarity between the precursor and the original is that it involved five antagonists, granted there are some slight inconsistencies—in Ao’s place was a glasses girl (like Panishi) named Nao some-last-name-I-can’t-remember, Midori’s last name used to be Bolt, and in Dealer’s place was a similar character named Xenon (who was supposed to be female with an alter ego named Sena). Also, I was considering making the L’Ouverture character’s first name Toussaint (with a different last name, of course), but I had no idea how to write that in katakana at the time, and it didn’t occur to me back then to just check the Japanese version of the Wikipedia article of Toussaint L’Ouverture. (I like to provide Japanese writings of most of the names just because.)

Their weapons, however, were somewhat different from how they are now. The glasses worn by the likes of Toru and Panishi used to fire artillery (bullets, missiles, etc.) as opposed to their current purpose of facilitating the use of magic. In addition:

  • Aka’s sword, Picante, used to be named Taki, a random name that also serves as an inversion of Ao’s old sword name, Kita.
  • Sumire used to have a toy hammer (sort of like that of Amy Rose) named DajiPiko, which was a questionable idea in my mind.
  • Kaori’s dual arm blades, Aigu and Grave, used to be Wind and Earth, respectively, before they were converted to pure Wind in light of a radical change in lore explained later.
  • Midori’s swords had a different name, but I don’t remember what.
  • Xenon… I don’t even know if she even had a weapon.

The characters’ specials were different as well. Sumire’s was some sort of threefold attack (of which I can’t remember the name), Panishi’s was a mass firing of weapons (named Heavy Artillery in the precursor, even adapted to Open Fire in the current rendition before it was replaced with Metal Bind), and Mona’s was a love-based attack (of which I can’t remember the name) that dealt heavy damage to non-allies.

Besides that, the whole thing about elements and spells and Chief Elementals and whatnot was not in the precursor. Instead, the precursor was centered around a bunch of monsters (summoned by Neguro L’Ouverture) that were named using corrupted spellings of French animal/monster names from A to Z, and those whose names were closer to Z were more powerful.

I guess that’s all I have to say about the precursor, except that it wasn’t really a fleshed-out story, just a bunch of “Bits and Pieces,” as I like to call them.

Inspirations/Explanations

  • Again, the anime Trinity Seven is the chief inspiration of this story. During the season it was airing, I thought for some reason, “Hey, this inspires me to create my own harem story! I’ll even put seven main characters in it!” Thus, the precursor was conceptualized. (That said, if you are reading this section before or while reading Cinq du Soleil, do not expect the male lead to be much like Arata.)
  • The male protagonist duo, as it was in the precursor, was modeled after Tiz and Ringabel in the game Bravely Default.
  • Sumire’s first name and appearance (and, to some degree, her personality) are inspired by Sumire Saitou, one of my favorite characters of all time, from the manga K-On! Highschool.
  • The name Panishi is a romanization of how a Japanese person would say the English word “punish,” hence her punitive behavior at times. Her precursor name (Panishi Yuu) is supposed to sound like “punish you,” but her current name (Yue Panishi) is a bit more subtle.
  • The names Aka, Ao, and Midori are based on Japanese color names: red, blue, and green, respectively.
  • Aka’s last name (Fujiyama) meaning “Mt. Fuji” is pure coincidence, I promise. I didn’t intend anything by it; it just came off the top of my head.
  • Aka’s sword name, Picante, is Spanish for “spicy,” as a contrast to Ao’s sword name, Gelato, which is Italian for “frozen.”
  • Kaori’s last name (Delacroix) comes from that of Eugène Delacroix, which was to me (at the time) just some random name I learned about in 10th grade history. Also, my intention with her was to make her a French speaker, so I had to come up with something French.
  • Kaori herself is modeled after Claire Rouge from the anime Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance, and the male lead encounters her in a similar situation (especially so in the precursor, but Kaori’s response to the situation is slightly altered in the current rendition).
  • Kaori’s dual arm blades are supposed to resemble those seen in RWBY Volume 2 Episode 12. Their names, Aigu and Grave, are based on the French names of upward and downward accents, respectively. Moreover, Kaori’s special, Circonflex, is based on the accent that is effectively a combination of the two.
  • Mona Koroi is modeled after the titular character of the manga Cyclops Shoujo Saipuu in terms of her brocon nature and relatively large size.
  • Oda Koroi is named after Oda Nobunaga.
  • Nao, who was in the precursor but not in the current rendition, was based on the character Nao Okuda from K-On! Highschool. Thus, she was intended to be associated with Sumire.
  • Midori’s weapons, Sativa and Sativus, are named after the feminine and masculine forms (respectively) of a Latin botanical adjective meaning cultivated.
  • Neguro’s last name, L’Ouverture, comes from that of Toussaint L’Ouverture. (His dark skin is also part of this connection.) In a similar vein to Delacroix, this name is used as a random French name to signify that he is a French speaker.
  • The whole thing in the precursor about one of the antagonists (Xenon) having an alter ego (Sena) was chiefly inspired by Kili Surtr Muspelheim from the anime Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, who became a wolf in sheep’s clothing by the second half of the anime, when she was disguised as Honoka Tachikawa.
  • The name Tudi (given to the chief elemental of Water) is honestly a name for lack of a better name: a random name that vaguely sounds like “too deep.”
  • Créé is French for “created,” which is based on how the character Créé is artificial.
  • As for the title…I’ll describe it using the words of Kaori Delacroix in the story:
    “‘Cinq’ means ‘five,’ which is meant to symbolize that there are five of us girls who each use one element of the Soleil spectrum, of which there are five total. It is also a play on the term ‘Cirque du Soleil,’ which delivers the message that we can put on quite a show. … The ‘five’ part of the name only refers to me, Sumire, Yue, Aka, and Mona.”

I guess that’s it, maybe even too much. Perhaps I may have forgotten something. I will update the post if so.

 

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

Spontaneous Saturday 10/24/15: Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 1

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As you may or may not be aware, two very similar anime are airing 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. I will post one part per four episodes aired of each anime, and this is the first. Keep in mind that these will be released late on the Saturday they’re due because I have to spend a whole day thinking and writing about the last of the series of four episodes.

As a final note, this review may contain spoilers. Please proceed with caution.

11/21 EDIT: Part 2, where I talk about how episodes 5-8 have impacted my thoughts, is released. Click here to view it.

12/19 EDIT: Part 3, where I sum everything up from start to finish, is released. Click here to view it.

Opening and Ending themes

  • Cavalry OP: “Identity (アイデンティティ)” by Mikio Sakai – Of all four themes between both series, this has to be the best one. It’s not really a diamond in the rough, though. 8/10.
  • Cavalry ED: “Haramitsu Renka (波羅蜜恋華)” by ALI PROJECT – 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.
  • Asterisk OP: “Brand-new World” by Shiena Nishizawa – 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.
  • Asterisk ED: “Waiting for the rain” by Maaya Sakamoto – 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.

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.

  • Cavalry protagonist: Ikki Kurogane – If there’s anything I really like about this character, it’s that his first instinct when stumbling upon a half-naked girl is to take off his own clothes in an attempt to make it even. Even aside from that, he’s not that bad overall, what with his determination to rise to the top in spite of being branded “Worst One” (seems familiar…), and his ability to calculate the weak point behind his opponent’s battle tactics.
  • Cavalry deuteragonist: Stella Vermillion – I’ll be honest: Stella is not my type of character. Her hair, her breasts, and her generic tsundere personality are unsettling to me. What prevents her from being a bottom-tier character is the resolve she shows in episode 3 and 4 by stripping for the sake of hostages and sticking up for Ikki when the crowd was bad-mouthing him, respectively. It’s also admirable how she and Ikki promise to get stronger together and eventually fight each other in the Battle Festival. What I’m saying is: Stella is an okay character for her purpose, but there are some points about her that prevent me from liking her.
  • Asterisk protagonist: Ayato Amagiri – Compared to Ikki, Ayato seems rather…generic to me, if only because of his way of handling the whole stumbling-upon-a-half-naked-girl situation—his more obvious flustered reaction. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him, though. At least he’s willing to fight for what he holds dear, even if it means putting himself in danger. Plus, I honestly have no reason to dislike him.
  • Asterisk deuteragonist: Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt – Julis is a more bearable deuteragonist than Stella because the former is more attractive and has a less bothersome personality, not to mention she has a more subtle figure. I will also add that she has a better voice. She may seem like a damsel in distress in these first four episodes, but she certainly knows how to defend herself, and she provides great support for Ayato in episode 4, showing off the ability to fly him around while he’s holding her.

Other 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

  • Shizuku Kurogane – Ikki’s sister, who acts affectionately towards him (by kissing his lips and holding his hand) and uses the “I’m his sister” argument to justify it. (Pretty suspicious if you ask me…) In episode 3, it is shown that she can create a protective barrier of water. She claims to know Ikki better than anyone else, and she seems to me like an obstacle in the relationship between Ikki and Stella. As of now, I don’t really like her as a character, but it’s too early to pass judgement now.
  • Nagi “Alice” Arisuin – Shizuku’s roommate. He generally keeps a level head in dire situations, but he has a flamboyant side that even goes as far as to jokingly brand Ikki as a target of his seductive charm. In episode 3, it is shown that he can manipulate shadows using a dagger called Darkness Hermit. Good character overall, maybe even one of the best.
  • Kagami Kusakabe – Representative of the newspaper club, her only good point I find is her glasses. She’s overly energetic, has an annoying voice, and has breasts too big for her height. She’s also annoyingly clingy when she first meets Ikki.
  • Kurono Shinguuji – The director of the academy, who ensures that Ikki’s experience as a student goes as well as it can.
  • Nene Saikyou – An adult-like although somewhat irresponsible loli who wears a loose-fitting kimono and observes Ikki’s development with interest. She also wears a goofy grin similar to that of Akio in Trinity Seven.
  • Shizuya Kirihara – An enemy of Ikki who takes pleasure in watching him suffer. His power makes it so he (and later his arrows) are unable to be perceived by human senses. Coincidentally, he happens to be Ikki’s first opponent in the Battle Festival.

In Asterisk

  • Claudia Enfield – Student council president who gives Ayato important information regarding how things work around the academy. I dislike this character because she’s one of those blond ojou-sama type characters and her breasts are distracting. She’s usually calm and collected, but she shows off something of a dark side in episode 4.
  • Saya Sasamiya – A kuudere loli and an old friend of Ayato’s who shows up in episode 2. She wields a grenade launcher, which she uses to fend off a group of attackers who are after Julis. Sadly, she has not made any appearances since. I appreciate what little screentime she has had.
  • Haruka Amagiri – Ayato’s older sister, who has only appeared in the introduction and flashbacks. Ayato’s motive in enrolling in the academy is finding out what happened to her, and, incidentally, he ends up finding a sword that she most likely used. She has bound Ayato’s powers, most likely so they don’t go haywire.
  • Lester MacPhail – A buff and stubborn fellow student who wishes to challenge Julis but ends up getting rejected every time.
  • Eishirou Yabuki – Ayato’s roommate and classmate, who seems to know the latest news and gives off a sort of Shuu Maiko vibe. As revealed in episode 2, he lent Ayato a sword for his duel with Julis.

The Story So Far

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

Asterisk 1-4 summary

As a whole

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. However, Cavalry seems to have a lesser male-to-female ratio than Asterisk, 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. Finally, Ikki is closer to Stella than Ayato is to Julis because the former two are fortunate enough to be roommates while the latter two are not.

It’s too soon to say which I like better, but I am leaning towards Asterisk because of its more interesting story and more bearable deuteragonist. Claudia is still a bother, but I say the other characters of the anime are plenty enough to balance her out. It’s a tentative decision, though, because some characters have not yet been introduced (e.g., the dark-haired girl on the cover of Cavalry), some characters have not had enough time in the spotlight (e.g., Saya in Asterisk), and there is still more plot yet to be revealed.

 

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

Spontaneous Saturday 10/10/15: I have so much on my mind…

(10/8)

…and I can’t retain it all.

Ugh, senior year. In high school, it wasn’t so bad, but in college…

I start to take it easy at first. What could possibly go wrong, right? I encounter a few bumps here and there, still taking it slow. Then, before I know it, I’m buried up to my neck in assignments and responsibilities that I just feel like I can’t handle all at once. Heck, even when I start to think I can’t handle it, that’s when it gets tougher. I mean, it’s as if I’m expected to be a superhuman or something. I have an internship application to take care of. I have to be up by 8:00 am tomorrow. I have an online test to finish by the end of the day. I have some project work to do. I have a bunch of things to do on the same day, including an assignment that I apparently should have started on a week ago. Man, how am I supposed to enjoy Fall Break with all this crud piled on my shoulders? On top of that, my computer’s had some connectivity issues as of late (thankfully not since Wednesday)!

But hey, it’s just life, I guess. Every time I’m stuck thinking about one thing and putting aside a bunch of others, suddenly a new obstacle comes my way. For example, just recently, I looked back through one of my previous drafts (Spontaneous Saturday 6/6/15) and saw this:

Uh…what? Under construction? I thought I’d finished this darn thing long ago! Ah, well, I’ll get to it as soon as I can. (Key word: CAN.)

The thing is, obstacles in life are not all the same. You gotta have some sort of priority order. Some things you can (or have to) get taken care of immediately, but others you’ll have to set aside for a later time (like the one I mentioned above). In the latter case, however difficult it is to bear, you just gotta set the issue aside and move on to bigger and better things.

Therein lies a problem from my perspective, though: I’m not one to just let things slip by. As someone who likes seeing things built properly and without gaping holes, it’s embarrassing to know that a publication of mine from 4 months prior hasn’t even been finished. Still, I have to set it aside because I still have more pressing issues to take care of.

This sort of thing also accounts for my sleep deprivation. If something comes to my mind while I’m trying to sleep, chances are, at least 90% of the time, I will settle that thought lingering in my mind before I fall asleep.

Then there are those in-your-face opportunities that you end up missing because you’re completely focused on something else. I was supposed to ask my mother about formal attire for an important meeting tomorrow, but it completely slipped my mind because I was too focused on figuring out a way to arrange getting there in the first place, as well as completing the internship application.

I don’t want to say Vouiv-review is hindering it because, truth be told, I brought it upon myself, not to mention it helps me to reflect upon notable mental developments like this. Poké Monday is purely for my amusement, but Spontaneous Saturday and Top Three Thursday definitely give me ample freedom to express my thoughts in the form of a typed document. Speaking of which, if there are times when I miss the deadline, these issues are most likely why.

(10/9)

I don’t know about my tendency to slack off. It is always nice to take a breather every now and then, but sometimes I feel like I’m taking my breaks too frequently or spending too long per break. I could try to cut down on the amount of anime I watch (limiting myself to Heavy Object and One Punch Man) or sometimes suppressing the urge to prevent overhauling hearts in Pokémon Shuffle so that I can get some extra work done and/or stay subtle in the classroom, but…well, I don’t know. I couldn’t say whether this is really a problem or not, honestly.

Man, my brain was overflowing overnight yesterday, but now it’s slowed down to a near halt. That’s another tendency I have: to get a bunch of work done, set it aside for a while, and come back to it not knowing what the heck I just did. This is, in fact, one of those cases. Still, there are some times when I can jump-start my brain (so to speak) and transition on to another thought, like how I have a secret hobby of making mock Guitar Hero drum charts for songs with particularly enjoyable percussion.

Even though I just finished the test I mentioned earlier (and got a 96), I still feel burdened because of (1) work I have to do for a team project, (2) an assignment due on Wednesday, (3) an assignment due on Thursday, (4) the supposedly “extra difficult” assignment due on Thursday, (5) a test on Thursday, and (6) a quiz to be done by next Sunday (which honestly isn’t a problem, but man, so many responsibilities to take care of in not much more than one week, let alone with a laptop with sporadic connectivity problems…). But, well, I suppose I’ll turn to this song for encouragement:

When in difficult times, leave it to God to make them seem less difficult than originally perceived. This has held true many times in my life, and I pray that it will continue to do so.

Man, what am I doing, suddenly bringing up God in an otherwise secular writing? Whatever. It’s not like I haven’t disclosed my faith before, and I couldn’t care less what people think of me because of it. If anything, I’d say I’m not vocal enough about my faith, although there’s not much I can do about that because I have high-functioning autism.

This is the conundrum of my life. My train of thought is a convoluted one, which takes relatively long to reach its stops, given its frequent tendency to go nowhere fast. No accidents happen on the train, though. I don’t know what I was thinking with this metaphor.

 

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