Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Most Awesome Japanese Artiste #2 - Nao Toyama

Nao Toyama

It started with me watching an anime called Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai, better known as The World God Only Knows. Then I started downloading and listening to all the songs in this anime series and I found out that all the very best ones has a similarity: They are all sang by none other than Nao Toyama. After that, I turned on another anime entitled Ikoku Meiro no Croisee a.k.a. Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth. Then I realized that the main character of the series who is very cute is voiced by Nao Toyama as well. She also sang the opening theme of that anime. But the moment when I actually fell in love with her, so to say, is when I watch her first (and only, by far) concert. I liked the way she communicates with her audiences. She's very friendly and interactive with the crowd. She does not have any fear or stage fright at all. Throughout the entire concert, she was actively talking, laughing, dancing, not to mention singing, all that in two hours and she hardly break a sweat. In fact, she looks like she could still go on for much longer. I've got to say, she is very talented. If you are interested in watching her concert, here's the YouTube link: Nakagawa Kanon Starring Toyama Nao 1st Concert 2012 Ribbon Revolution.

Among her popular songs are:

Love Kanon, Yes Today, All 4 You, Summer Boy, Natsuiro Surprise, Happy Cresent, Uraha Love, Love Call, Sakurairo Sotsugyou, Omoi wa Rain Rain, Darling Baby

Monday, 28 January 2013

Most Awesome Japanese Artiste #1 - azusa

I'm finally back blogging again after my laptop (more precisely, my mom's laptop) was saved from literally broken into half. Meanwhile, I was spending most of my time with my precious mp3 player while randomly downloading songs from the Internet. So now I'm going to prepare a long list of the very best Japanese artiste I've known so far.

Let me begin with my current favorite. Introducing...


Her actual name is Mitsu Azusa. She was a former member of Sparkling (star) Point. I was introduced to her in the anime Moshidora which, as you may have realize, is my favorite anime of all times. She sang the opening theme of the anime entitled "Yume Note", and in the Yume Note single contains two other songs namely Precious Time and I Wish, which the latter is among the best songs in my list.

So, what is it that put her number one in my list? What I admire about her is of course, her voice. But obvious facts aside, she does has a very special voice, one that is very distinguishable. I soothes the ear the moment I listen to it. I can't understand Japanese very much, but it's enough for me to tell her songs have meaningful lyrics, especially the one called "i Love" which makes me go awwwwwww... A romantic love song at that, but she does have other genre of songs in her discography. The tone of her songs ranges from the soft and sentimental type, occasionally the cute type, to the pretty catchy type. None of which is too soft or too noisy. She sounds pretty sharp naturally, which enables her to sing at moderately high pitch easily. In short, she has a very sweet voice.

Among her noticeable songs are:

Yume Note, i Love, Ashita Hare Tara, Mangrove no Mori, Fu-ru Fu-ru, Just Be a Friend, Anata no Tame ni, Check My Soul, Good Day, Kimi no Mama de, Niji no Hajimaru Basho, Shiny Day, and Taiyo no Sign.

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.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

My top 10 favorite anime girls part 2

Here's a continuation from the list of my top 10 favorite anime girl. Since Blogger limits the number of words in each post to 200, the first part of this list is in the previous post.

6) Fate Testarossa
- voiced by Nana Mizuki
- from the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series

I don't know much about her, but I do know she's adorable. She is initially an antagonist, but eventually befriended by Nanoha and she joins her team. She then stays together with Nanoha and her adopted daughter, Vivio. She is named after a Ferrari, so expect her to be quick and agile in combat.

7) Sorami Kanata
- voiced by Hisako Kanemoto
- from the anime Sora no Woto

A diligent girl who stopped at nothing to learn to blow a trumpet, to the point she joined the military just to have free bugle lessons. She is a kind girl who always try to befriend anyone and never fails to put a smile on her face. She prioritizes any orders given to her, and will see them through no matter what. She also tries her best to be humble and modest, and is always apologetic of her mistakes. She is also a naive girl who often gets lost and has no idea of what's going on, but she admires her seniors very much.

8) Azusa Nakano
-voiced by Ayana Taketatsu
- from the anime K-ON

Azusa is a guitarist in the light music club of her school. She is the only junior in the club and her guitar skills is proven to be better than that of Yui, her guitarist senior. Even so, she has high admiration for her seniors. She is often annoyed by the irresponsible actions and laziness of her seniors in the light music club, and she tries her best to manage the club and fix the attitudes of her seniors. She is often played around by Yui and forced to wear a cat-ear headband, though she soon developed a liking for it. Although she seldom speaks, she is the most responsible person in the light music club.

9) Wakana Sakai
- voiced by Ayahi Takagaki
- from the anime Tari Tari

At first, her emotions are unstable as she dwells in her sad past and suffers from the lost of her mother. But having recovered from it and learned of her mother's love for her, she regained her love for music and she became more cheerful and supportive of her friends. She is very caring for others especially towards her father and her pet cat. She also tirelessly supports her friend's effort of making the new choir club a success. She is also very talented in music, where she inherited from her deceased mother.

10) Kobato Hanato
- voiced by Kana Hanazawa
- from the anime Kobato

She's a naive little girl who had much to learn about the world, but she is very kind and friendly. She always tries to help others, even complete strangers, and sincerely heal their broken heart although that was actually her mission. Kobato is also very talented in singing (of course, she is Kana Hanazawa after all) and when she started singing to calm down a baby, she draws a crowd to her instead. Kobato is really downright cute, and her name rhymes!

That's about it. And as you may have noticed, I'm what an otaku calls a lolicon :)

My top 10 favorite anime girls part 1

Here is a list of my top 10 anime girls whom I admire the most. There are hundreds of other characters that I equally liked, but here's the 10 in my mind right now. Since Blogger limits each post to 200 words, I'll start with the top 5 first.

1) Yune
- voiced by Nao Toyama
- from the anime Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

She is a pure breed Japanese who hardly wears anything other than her kimono. She is very well-mannered and hardworking. She always stay true to herself and tries to do what she think is the right thing to do regardless of what other thinks. However, she is also very obedient especially to her employer. She is a very kind and sweet girl. Although she is sent to work in Paris, she is always thoughtful of her elder sister, Shione, who is blinded due to an eye disease and Yune never fails to send letters to her back in Nagasaki.

2) Kanade Tachibana a.k.a. Tenshi (Angel)
- voiced by Kana Hanazawa
- from the anime Angel Beats

She really lived up to her name Angel, though she isn't a real angel. A sweet girl, but is very clumsy. She is very anti-social and doesn't speak much, but she tries her best to do her job and help others. But due to her bad social skills, her action is always depicted as a threat to others and she is often treated as an antagonist. Although she was sabotaged multiple times, she always remain cool and collected. At the final episode, she was finally understood and befriended by everyone who were against her. She is also very skilled in combat, computing, and the English language.

3) Ayano Hojo
- voiced by Nakaya Sayaka from AKB48
- from the anime Moshidora

She a very shy and quiet girl but gives her very best to her school baseball team as a manager. Although very shy, she always smile when talking to others, even strangers. She is also apparently a top scorer in class, but she despised being called so and considered a robot by her classmates. She has a deep affection and respect for Yuuki, a fellow senior manager who is hospitalized. She is also a very optimistic person. There was once she reassures her friend that the baseball match is not over even when the score is obviously not siding her team. She also persuaded Minami (the main character of Moshidora) from running away after failing to accept something happened, I'm not going to spoil it for you.

4) System U-D a.k.a. Yuri Eberwein
- voiced by Kana Asumi
- from the game Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny

U-D stands for Unbreakable Dark. She is the final boss of the second Nanoha game. She is cute, but at the same time incredibly powerful. It took me many tries to beat her final form. After her darkness is apparently separated, she is back to her cute and friendly self. I do mean she's cute and friendly. She always thank people and boldly confess how much she liked someone even to their creepiness.

5) Shiro Togi
- voiced by Yukari Minegishi
- from the anime Fortune Arterial

Shiro is very shiro, very white. She has white hair, always wear a white dress, and has a white-colored pet rabbit called Yukimaru who always run off by itself leaving Shiro to search for it. Shiro is a very cute and obedient girl who always listens to her brother who is a senior in her school student council member. Shiro also always tries to help others who is in need, and always had a feeling of sympathy towards others' problems. She even willingly sacrifice herself for the sake of helping his friends, even though the problem does not concern her at all.

to be continued...