Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Anime Review - Date A Live

So once again I'm temporarily done with my uni stuffs and here I am stuck at home with nothing better to do than watching anime. Fortunately for me, I had recently went to an anime event and came back home with a stash of new anime DVD's. I started with the one anime I anticipated the most since it is a hot topic on Facebook - Date A Live.

Title: Date A Live

What is it about: How do date an alien with more-powerful-than-nuclear powers that could destroy the world.

Review: When I watch Date A Live, the first thing that comes to my mind is that it is comparable to The World God Only Knows (henceforth shall be known as TWGOK), but surprisingly Date A Live is slightly different. Let me explain. TWGOK involves a guy with no interest in the real world and real-life girls is forced to date many of them in order to so-called 'save' them. True enough, Date A Live is similar in that manner, dating girls to save them. However, in Date A Live, we are dealing with girls from another planet, literally, that has the power to annihilate Earth. This is a story of a contradicting approach to prevent such disaster - One organization tries to kill them while the other tries to appease them by having a guy date them (and make us laugh in the process :P).

TWGOK ends with a girl falling in love with the main character (Katsuragi Keima) after several episodes before Keima moves on to another target. Date A Live however, has a more complicated storyline which involves loads fight scenes. In fact, things get more complicated when two of the girls are the main character, Itsuka Shidou's sister. Other girls include two who always compete for Shidou's attention, and one who merely tries to eat him - as in yandere, which brings me to my next point.

The one thing I noticed is the creative introduction to the characters' personality according to the "dere" categories. I discovered that in this anime there is at least a character with tsundere, yandere, kuudere, dandere and deredere characteristic each. You should know what they mean if you're an otaku. Otherwise, i think Google will provide a good explanation. Generally, I hate yandere. But I liked this one in particular, not for the fact that she's a psychotic murderer, but for some reason I find her quite attractive one, which is kinda weird... Everyone else does too. That said, she is not my favorite character in this anime.

In conclusion, this anime is not the typical dating-sim anime where characters date one another and it ends there. Also, unlike most other anime, this one does contain heavy fanservice, but the ecchi-ness is under control. Last but not least, be warned that this anime ends in a cliffhanger. But don't worry, a second season is on the way.

Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Nanoha: Gears Of Destiny (GOD..?!)

Hello again. I realized I haven't been blogging consistently for a while. You have to forgive me though because now I am a university student, and everyone have to go through that part of life where you have to set aside your passion for the greater good. Regardless, I am still a big fan of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

One particular thing I really enjoy is playing its PSP game called Gears of Destiny, abbreviated as GOD. Yes, this game is as godly as it sounds. Every character's a badass and in particular the final boss System U-D (later given the name Yuri). In case you didn't know, U-D stands for Unbreakable Dark. But this game being a Nanoha game, U-D is really a loli. Then again, lolies are not meant to be underestimated as I had learned the hard way throughout my gaming experience.

This game has kept me going for quite some time and every time I play it, I still find this game really challenging. Fighting U-D is fun but it can also be a real pain especially having lost to her many times over. The best part, or perhaps the worst, unlike many fighting games I've tried, the opponent memorizes your moves and strategies and tries to counter them. In other words, the AI is really intelligent.

Recently I've just found out that two characters in particular namely Fate Testarossa and Levi, can change their form from normal to Sonic form. In Sonic form, their speed and combo counts increase tremendously, so fast I sometimes can hardly tell the location of my Fate/Levi. However, Sonic form is a double-edged sword as you greatly sacrifice your defense. Worry not however because if you are skillful enough, you can dodge pretty much every of your opponents' attacks, and this is proven to work well even on U-D.

System U-D. Cute isn't she?
That's all for today. I'm still in the process of figuring the most effective way to defeat U-D, but no matter what I can guarantee it won't be easy.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Brand new lappy, brand new waifu XD

Hello fellow blog-readers. I know it's been like 10 years (or was it 3 months?) since I last updated my blog. I almost forgot how to make a new post.

Anyway, all these while I had achieved the impossible by living without a laptop though I'm partially with a life support known as smartphone, not that it's very useful to me. Now I have took a leap of faith by investing a large portion of my savings on a brand new Lenovo Y500 laptop. This is a mark of history for me because it is my first very own laptop which actually works! (I had a really bad experience with Alienware whereby it broke down on the day it as delivered to me.)

So far I am liking this laptop. The only thing is that it is not very well designed ergonomically and thus hurts my arm during long hours of typing. In fact it doesn't take an hour for me to feel it. Then again, I couldn't complain much because I bought this lappy at an extremely cheap price for a laptop with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB DDR5 graphic card. In case you are confused, it simply means this lappy has good graphics. In the thermal efficiency viewpoint, it's not too bad, although I haven't start using it for hardcore gaming. Oh well...

So, while I was away for 3 months, I had been obsessed with Nana Mizuki. And that in turn made me obsessed with Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. I recently watched two of the movies and I instantly fell in love with both of them. Why? Because from there I discovered that lolies can be highly reactive and can cause a nuclear explosion. The first movie was full of them: Little girls with badass weapons. And what do you get? Nuclear explosions. The second movie was better considering the fact that it even includes supernovas alongside nuclear explosions. All thanks to these two uranium-rich Gundam  loli nuclear reactor called Nanoha Takamachi and Fate Testarossa.

Fate was particularly my favorite character of all, and that's not only because she is voiced by Nana Mizuki. I'll describe her in detailed sometime in the future, but I can tell you now she is really cool. Nanoha ain't half bad either. Then there was one Fateful day where I so happened to participate an anime event known as C2AGE Slam. Not sure what it means though. Anyway, i was walking around when I came across this Fate Testarossa Sonic Form Figma which obviously I couldn't resist to buy it however expensive it may get. Fortunately the price wasn't too bad. The Sonic Form doesn't have the cool looking Dracula cape which she always wear, and also she won't be wearing a mini skirt (Owww...). But still, it looks awesome with all that wings on her glove and shoes, and not to mention that huge-@$$ scythe she weilds. Currently the Figma is still yet to be unboxed. Pretty soon it will be, and I'll be spending a good part of my free time posing my newly-acquired waifu and snapping lots of photos of it with my smartphone XD

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Anime review: White Album

Title: White Album

Year: 2009

What is it about: School Days minus all the yandere.

My review: White Album is actually an adaptation of a visual novel, which is not and often not a good news. I was interested to check out this anime due to the fact that one of the characters, Ogata Rina (right), is voiced by Nana Mizuki and the other one, Morikawa Yuki (left), is voiced by Aya Hirano. I started listening to songs from White Album before I started watching the anime, and I found some of the best songs there.

And so, I started watching the first episode, and to be honest, I understand almost nothing from it. Fine, I thought, and I persevere to watch the second episode. Then things get a bit more interesting, but the fact remains that I could hardly understand the main storyline until I sought Wikipedia for help. Unfortunately, Wikipedia's synopsis for individual episodes stopped at episode 8. Coincidentally, it is from episode 8 onward that the storyline begins to fall apart.

First of all, please bear this in mind: this is quite the typical love story which you'll likely get from watching most melodramatic anime or drama series. See, this guy (Touya Fujii) has an incredibly beautiful girlfriend. See the girl on the left? She's pretty. So, for some reason this guy was separated from this girl for quite some time and then for some reason, they were not able to contact each other because they somehow are not aware of the existence mobile phones, one of the greatest inventions of mankind. So what does this guy do? He cheats on his girlfriend after being seduced by a lady much much older than him. Can you believe that? I mean, if I had a girlfriend as nice and pretty as her, the last thing I want is to lose her. Not only that, he also went for almost every other girl he sees throughout the series.

The one thing that pisses me off the most is the fact that a jerk like him eventually still gets the girl. He is also liked by a few others, and being a guy with overflowing hormones, he kinda made out with every single one of them. It was then that I realized something: This anime is exactly walking down the path of School Days. If you didn't know, School Days is about a sexually hyperactive guy who hits on every single girl he sees and was eventually brutally murdered by his girlfriend - yandere style.

I'd wish to say that some of the girls was able to avoid falling prey to Touya's sweet talk. It was pretty convincing at first to see how Touya was constantly being by several girls he tried to hit on. But alas, these girls eventually did submit to the temptation, including Ogata Rina who was protecting Yuki all the while from being played around by Touya. Seriously, what makes Touya so attractive that all girls just fall for him for no apparent reasons at all? That disappointed me very much and I stopped halfway through season 2 because I just couldn't take it anymore.

Well, to conclude, this anime is quite worth watching if you are able to ignore Touya's existence completely and focus more on the story of Yuki's rising stardom. The songs in this anime are definitely worth listening to. After all, it's Nana Mizuki and Aya Hirano who sang most of them.

Rating (out of 10): 4

Nana Mizuki

After listening to her songs for quite some time, and there are still many more that I have yet to listen, I now officially pronounce Nana Mizuki as my new all-time favorite utahime!

She's a highly popular multiple award-winning seiyuu. I regretted not knowing her earlier although the name Nana Mizuki does ring a bell.

She's most popular voicing the character Hyuuga Hinata from Naruto, and to be honest, I'm actually quite impressed by this fact simply because she has an incredibly deep, powerful and vibrant voice. This is contradictory to Hinata's soft voice and shy nature. Then again, it is really not too surprising due to the fact that she is also able to sing soft type of songs perfectly, and also the fact that Naruto himself is voiced by a female seiyuu (It's true). Other than that, she's also popular for voicing Fate Testarossa from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series.

I truly enjoy listening her songs, songs that excites me and songs that calms the soul. She's seriously good at both. Also, I particularly love that smile of hers.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Game review: Corpse Party: Book of Shadows

Title: Corpse Party: Book of Shadows

Year: 2011

Platform: PSP

What is it about: Roaming around a haunted school aimlessly, waiting for your turn to die.

Genre: Horror

My review: Welcome to the sequel to Corpse Party: Blood Covered (also known as Corpse Party: Repeated Fear), which is a game I condemned to no end in my review. If you haven't check that out, please follow this link here.

The storyline in this game is pretty much the same, except they had made a few twist to it. It actually started off at one of the wrong ending of the original game, whereby the time is reversed and the characters are to perform the Sachiko Ever After charm and end up in the accursed Heavenly Host Elementary School once again. The fear repeats itself. So in other words, all the dead characters in the previous game are resurrected only to die again in a different, more sadistic way.

This game makes me appreciate the previous one. Yes, it is that bad. Although more gory than the first installment, this game lacks the essence of horror. Also, they completely changed the gameplay into that of a visual novel. Meaning, now you can't even run from ghosts or solve puzzles. The paths you take in this game depends solely on the decisions you make after given several choices. Boring.

Worse still, I really can't keep track on time in this game as it keeps jumping between the past and present. At times, you go all the way back before the Heavenly Host incident, where you'll get a load of what's going on in some of the characters' normal life. again, boring. This game seriously lacks the fear factor even though they made a new approach by making the sound in the game three-dimensional. I have to admit, the 3D sound effect is very cool.

There are two things I really dislike about this game. First of all, more people will die here, even though they didn't die in the first game. Some of them die in the same way they should have in the wrong ending of the first game. Sucks huh? Sometimes these characters die because of the stupid decisions they make that is obviously going to kill them, and you are to watch their impending death helplessly while facepalming all the way.

Second and worst, this game is a cliffhanger like I've never seen before. This game just ends abruptly in the middle of an event which doesn't suggest anything except that there will be a sequel. Well, it damn well be one. Otherwise, I'll be mad. Not just me, even the seiyuu of this game's characters will be mad too. Don't believe me? Check this out. That is the Soulful Testimony by Asami Imai who voiced Ayumi Shinozaki.

In conclusion, this is one game which is beyond disappointing. And here I thought the previous Corpse Party game was the worst. I have no idea how they could possibly come out with a game this bad. Anyway, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed and wait for another sequel.

Rating (out of 10): 0

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Game Review: Resident Evil 6

My apologies for not posting for quite some time. That's because my laptop almost literally broke into half, and not to mention my Internet is currently slower than snail because the monthly quota is long exceeded. In the meantime I was having a blast playing the game I anticipated the most - Resident Evil 6. I'm a big fan of Resident Evil and I've got lots to say about this game, but I'm just gonna say whatever that pops up in my mind right now. Anyway, I'll try my best to review on this game.

Title: Resident Evil 6

Year: 2012

What is it about: Yet another viral outbreak, bioterrorism now goes global with the United States, Europe and China suffered from the pandemic of C-virus. Chinese virus? Ehehehehe.

Genre: Says here survival horror, but it's more to action.

My review: Resident Evil took a big turn from Resident Evil 3 to 4, changing almost every aspect of the game, particularly the gameplay. Then there's another big reinvention from Resident Evil 5 to 6. There are many stuffs added to this game and the characters are now much more flexible. Resident Evil 6 is divided into 3 main campaigns, that is Leon's, Chris', and Jake's campaign together with their respective partners. Finally, the moment that all Resident Evil fans have been waiting for: Leon and Chris in the same game! Don't know who Jake is? Get ready to be surprised. I can tell you, it's a big irony. Aside from that, there's also the unlockable Ada's campaign. Good news is that each character's campaign is unique although they crosses path occasionally. Bad news is, the campaigns are not long. Each one can be completed within a day or two.

As compared to the previous Resident Evil series, I think the most major addition to this game is that the characters are now able to aim and shoot or reloads while moving. You can also perform a variety of actions such as dodging and rolling, and that is important. Previously there are nothing much you can do when you see an axe flying your way. Then you can perform melee attacks whenever you want without the need to daze your enemies, but it's limited to your energy bar. Now, there's absolutely no need for the knife. There are also lots of other stuffs too, and suffice to say, this game is really exciting and at the same time, challenging.

In Resident Evil 6, you'll see lots and lots of explosion. Sometimes, more so than is necessary. In Leon's campaign, you'll enter China in an explosive manner. In Chris' campaign you'll see China blow up and choppers crashing everywhere. In this game, not only you'll have to take down zombies, but also machines, aircrafts, artilleries, et cetera. You'll also get to play car chase and dogfights. Like I said, this game is hardly survival horror but there's lots of actions in it. It's not bad though because it's pretty fun.

But at times, Capcom tries to make this game too 'fun' by putting in too many of those running-away-from-dangers-and-explosion scenes and loads of QTE's in this game. Yes, Resident Evil 6 has more QTE's than any other Resident Evil series (any other game, in fact), and that can make this game pretty annoying. In case you don't know what QTE's are, it stands for Quick Time Event where you have to something in a split-second and failing which you will either die or suffer a major damage. Sometimes I don't even know what I am supposed to do, and I died like more than 10 times just to find out. There are no clues or instructions whatsoever to guide you. You'll have to experiment. At that, I highly recommend you to begin playing in amateur mode to get used to all those QTE's because in amateur mode, they are automatically performed for you. Don't think that amateur mode is too easy though, because it's not. Other than that, there are also many unnecessary sequences such as car chase and dogfight. There was one time where Chris was trying to stop a rocket by shooting it from a jet plane, but regardless you'll end up failing to do so for the sake of the plot. Sometimes I do feel insulted by that.

This game is really fun, but the major downside of Resident Evil 6 is that it doesn't fair much in terms of realism. Resident Evil 6 is completely unrealistic. If it were to take place in real life, all the characters in the game would most probably be dead. Also, in Resident Evil 6, all characters die except for the main characters. They cheated death a lot of times, and there's absolutely nothing that can kill them so long as you don't lose all your HP. Not even a crashing bus or aeroplane can kill them. On the other hand, minor characters die regardless of how much you try to save them. Also in this game, you'll get to see the laws of physics being defied countless times. Then again, this is Resident Evil. Science is never applied here at all.

The one fact I hated the most in this game, and is perhaps also the most unrealistic, is the inventory and shortcut system. Each character, including the lightweight super spy Ada Wong, will carry with themselves more than more than 5 weapons, and they are not small. I really wonder where they keep their rifles, shotguns, machine guns and other weapons with them and how they are still able to run around effortlessly. Those weapons are arranged in a horizontal line, and if you want to switch weapons, you have to browse through them. In the process, you'll see the characters switching weapons like they are doing some funny dance, or spinning a pair of nunchaku. Then again, you'll need all the weapons you can get in this game. Sometimes, you get your weapons in funny ways. For example, Chris got his shotgun from his flashback and Jake got his out of nowhere. I didn't even realize he has it the whole time.

There's a separated inventory space for you to keep herbs, grenades, ammo, and other stuffs, but you don't get a safe to keep those items in excess. In other words, you have to throw away stuffs once your inventory is full, and the inventory is not big. This makes your ammo reserve limited. But don't worry because in this game, you'll get to replenish your ammo quickly. Even if you run out of them, you can just spam your melee attacks. Then again, you'll almost never lose ammunition because you'll find them everywhere, unless you're going through a boss battle.

Lastly, I think they should also give the storyline a little fixing. Like I mentioned earlier, characters in this game are expendable. Too many people died. Also, Leon is the only one which gets to fight actual zombies and is the closest to the survival horror genre. Jake gets to fight a few of them. Chris only gets to go against J'avo, an intelligent species of 'zombies' which can over-mutate and are armed with weapons such as machine guns and rocket launchers. They can even deploy choppers and tanks, Call of Duty style. Some of them actually resemble aliens. Speaking of over-mutation, the C-virus can apparently turn a human into other oversized creatures such as spiders, moths, grasshoppers, horse, fly and even a dinosaur! Apparently, the virus can even turn someone into a robot or give them electrical powers! Then gain, we have to bear in mind that we are playing a video game that is completely unrealistic, but it's for challenge's sake. One thing I do have to commend in this game, is that the bosses will not die easily and beating them can be quite a challenge. Sometimes, it's quite a pain especially when you are running out of ammo. However, challenging as they may be, more often than not they are just annoying.

In conclusion, some might like this game and some might not. For me, I find this game pretty cool and exciting if not for all those over-excessive and annoying QTE's, the inventory system, and the anti-reality storylines. It's not too bad but not very good either. At least they care to bring back our dearly missed zombies. Too bad Chris Redfield don't get to fight them, which is a bit sad since Chris haven't been fighting them since Resident Evil 3. I think Chris miss the zombies a lot, but I'm sure the zombies doesn't. Anyway,  to everyone who is going to play this game, welcome to China!

My rating (out of 10) : 6

Friday, 4 January 2013

Anime review: Kobato

I've just finished watching Kobato. Oh, the feels! Anyway... Here's my review on the Clamp anime, Kobato.

Title: Kobato

Year: 2009 / 2010

What is it about: A girl spirit trying to fulfill her wish by collecting literally jar of hearts.

My review: I'd say Clamp really loves the characters they designed and tries to put them in all of their anime. Kobato turns out to be one-third Chobits and another one-third Tsubasa Chronicle. In fact, it will come to a certain point where you don't know what exactly are you watching, until Kobato's perkiness reminds you that it's Kobato you are watching.

Usually these kind of anime will have episodes with its own storyline. I expected each episode will tell of the same thing as to how Kobato heals all the wounded heart in a particular situation, and there are no suspense at the ending that makes you want to watch the next episode. However, I was wrong in this. The story centers on one major plot instead of mini subplots. Though many characters are involved in this 25-episode series, the anime doesn't fail to make each character reappear throughout the anime and this is really commendable. For example, you would have thought that this particular character will only appear in episode 1, but he or she did make a comeback in later episodes.

The storyline is indeed a very beautiful and meaningful one, so much it is truly a formidable tearjerker. It begins with a happy kind of storyline which I really thought it will stay that way throughout the anime, but then it slowly gets more and more emotional. This is really a perfect blend of comedy and drama. However, it's not a melodramatic love story which might be a good thing, but there are some elements of love displayed especially near the end. Otherwise, it focuses more on Kobato's relationship with pre-school kids and other people around her. It's also more of a story about sacrifice rather than the typical romance.

Now let me briefly describe Kobato herself. Kobato is one of those perfect girls who only exists in anime. She is incredibly modest. She only has a handbag with her when she came to Earth (Maybe it's just her being an airhead), and lives in a park until her employer decides to rent for her an apartment. She volunteers as a helper in a food stall as an apology for her clumsy accident, and later volunteers in a nursery. She is also incredibly humble. This can be noticed in her speeches. She uses the most polite version of the Japanese language when having a conversation with just about anyone. That's really not an easy thing to do. Kobato is also very kind and gentle and always selflessly puts others before her. She sincerely helps those in need although that is actually her contract in order to fulfill her wish. Sometimes she risks not accomplishing her mission in the process of helping others. She also treats everybody in a friendly way whether they are good or bad. Although she is very friendly albeit very clumsy, she is also protective of those important to her especially members of the nursery where she is employed. Anyway, I think Wikipedia has a better description of her.

One thing that really pisses me off is that the main guy character is completely oblivious to Kobato's affection towards him and keeps bullying Kobato throughout the series. Also, he just won't stop sulking, and has been doing that for most of his life. I'll accept it if he sulks a little and then comforted by Kobato, but he did that throughout the entire series. He treats everyone like the whole world owed him a living, just because he has an unpleasant past. He insisted to be left alone all the time but Kobato, being an idiot who is just too kind, persistently helps him, worries about him and keeps him company. Instead of being thankful, Fujimoto only bullies her more and more only to realize Kobato's significance to him when he is about to lose her. Still, he eventually gets the girl. Damn, I hate that guy! Kobato would have been a much better anime had they reinvent Fujimoto's character.

All that aside, this is indeed a very interesting anime to watch. Definitely one of my favorites  However, this anime doesn't really fair much in terms of realism. There are some point in this anime that, in my opinion, won't happen in the real world. And also, Kobato is just too clumsy to have no one realize she's not human or at least is no longer human. Another problem with this anime is that all the character will wear the same outfit almost throughout the entire series. Even Kobato only changes her attire like once every season (as in spring, summer, autumn and winter). Well, this is an anime after all, and it really is not a big deal so I won't complain much. The outfits looked good anyway. In the end, just watching Kobato herself gave me a sense of warmth, and I managed to finish the entire anime in 2 days.

My rating (out of 10): 9

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Amazing voice - Kana Hanazawa

Introducing... Kana Hanazawa, songstress and voice actress of unlimited talents.

I'm really impressed by Kana Hanazawa's talents. She seems to be able to voice any kind of characters. She's 24 this year, but she is has the ability to sound like a 10 year old. Also, she tends to voice characters in anime that makes you cry. I wonder if she cried too when she does her dubbing. Anyway, here's a list of some characters she voiced and the difference in their personalities.

Hanato Kobato from Kobato - the clumsy and very cheerful type

Tachibana Kanade from Angel Beats - the emo type

Miyata Yuuki from Moshidora - the decent and friendly type

Shiomiya Shiori from The World God Only Knows - the quiet and shy type

Black Rock Shooter from Black Rock Shooter - the badass type

She sings just as well as her voice acting and she's also able to sing various type of songs. Not only that, I like to see her dance too! Check out Super Stream from Infinite Stratos. It's a little blurry, but here's the link.
Kana is standing on the leftmost side. It's very obvious. Enjoy!

Chiho and Chise

I was watching Kobato a moment ago and I realized that Clamp likes to kinda mix characters around, which might not be a bad thing considering that's what gave us Tsubasa Chronicle. Here's Chiho and Chise, twin daughters of Chitose, and they looked somewhat really familiar to me until it dawned upon me that they are actually Elda and Freya, which the former is better known as Chii in the anime Chobits. Chitose is also from Chobits as a character by the same name, and is also mother of Elda and Freya (more like the inventor) and the landlady of the apartment owned by Hideki, the main character. In this case, she is renting her apartment to Kobato. Chitose is a thoughtful person who gave Kobato a piece of futon when she realizes Kobato doesn't have any. Chiho and Chise are two adorable girls who helped delivered the futon to Kobato, and then befriended her. Both Chiho and Chise are very obedient to their mother and caring towards Kobato. They hastily prepares futon and first aid materials and had Kobato lie down after having thought that Kobato is sick, which she actually isn't. It's quite hilarious to watch. By the way, Chiho and Chise is voiced by Megumi Nakajima instead of Rie Tanaka who voiced Chii in Chobits. Also, both Chitose are voiced by different person.