Archive for the ‘Anime’ Category

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A Puzzling Objection: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

September 19, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney always seemed like someone’s dream more than something that would get made. More the realm of fan fiction and comical videos than something you would actually play. Super Robot Wars, Project X Zone, Super Smash Bros., and Tekken X Street Fighter are all notable examples that while crossovers are not commonplace they are also hardly unheard of. So when the game was announced there was a good deal of buzz around the title. They are both melodramatic comedic puzzle games with a mystery structure and an anime style. The game play and mechanics  in both series was very different but it was fairly clear to most people with little effort both games could be combined in a way that let both of their strengths shine. All it would take is a smart story and a solid commitment to both sides of the crossover. There were a lot of things that could go wrong but it was equally feasible for the game to succeed big time.

And then we actually got Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I have read a bunch of reviews at this point and no one has hated the game. Overall all the reviews have been positive. But none of them have been glowing. If anything the general feeling has been underwhelming. It was fine but it could have been better. A lot of the complaints seem like nitpicks. They did not have enough cameos from fan favorite characters, mechanics from both main games could have blended more, the puzzles and court cases should have been tougher, hint coins made parts too easy, or the story could have been tighter were all sort of mediocre critics of the game I heard.

It is east to assume that this a the case of haters going to hate or that people have over inflated expectations that no game could live up to. But I don’t think that reaction is unwarranted. I think it is more people wandering through their reviews trying to touch on what made the game not live up to their dream but not being able to touch the core of their discontent. The thing is the sticking point might very well be at the heart of the story but to talk about that means spoiling a good deal of the plot.

So before we go to the rest of the review I’m going to give the game a quick one paragraph review and if you don’t want to be spoiled you can just read that and the decide if you want the game or not. But if you have played the game or don’t care about spoilers you can just continue past the next paragraph. I think that it the fairest way to do this.

I like the game but acknowledge its flaws. The game is decidedly more Professor Layton than Phoenix Wright in both storytelling and game play. Both halves get a chance to shine but Layton gets the first billing on the title for a reason. The puzzles for both halves is a bit more easy mode than what you are used to in the respective main series. If you are new to either half you won’t be over your head but if your and old hat don’t expect to be challenged most of the time. The story is fun but your mileage may vary on the twist during the last third. If you a fan of either series where is something to enjoy. The puzzles parts feel very Layton and I actually thought the Witch Trials were an interesting twist of the Ace Attorney formula. Just temper your expectations. This is more of good combination of two franchises than a golden child that is greater than the sums of its parts.

I might just be really happy that Maya has not been shipped off to the land of random offhanded mentions like she has in the recent games.

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Raqiya (and More) Manga Giveaway!

September 15, 2014

What can we say, we’re feeling generous? Or perhaps some manga companies have inspired generosity on our part by sending us copies of their books.

You can check out our review of Raqiya (vols. 1 & 2) by Masao Yajima and Boichi (manga-ka of Sun Ken Rock). And there are a few other goodies thrown in for good measure.

GIVEAWAY
Just leave us a comment telling us what new manga you’d like to see licensed in the U.S. and by which company!
Entries are due by Sunday, September 21st. The winner will be notified on Monday, September 22nd. U.S. residents only.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

 

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Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei! #010: Himatsubushi-hen

September 11, 2014


hisui_icon_4040 It seems that I have finished another season of Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya. I have to say I’m glad that this season was only 10 episodes as it gives me some time to rest before I dive into episode reviews of Unlimited Blade Works in only a few weeks.

Overall this season felt a lot more segmented when it came to fan service and action. The first season distinctly had points of extreme fan service and periods of exciting action but something about this season felt a little more like A (like the A in T&A) episodes mostly focused on A and B (for battle) instead spent their time giving you B. I suppose that was a good thing for people who really wanted one or the other but I did like the smoother mix in the last season. It did not help that some of those early yuri tease scenes were a bit gratuitous. If I never see another porn kiss in this series my life will the all the richer for that.

But this season finally let Bazett have her time to shine so if the show never does anything good again it at least did one very good thing. It is one thing to have a fan following due to your appearance in the visual novel but once you’re in an anime your potential fan base increases ten fold. We might actually see the Master of the Multi-Reverse Punch get some love in the form of figures and guest appearances in the future. It could save her from being forgotten in the Caster heap.

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The New Faces of Shonen Sports Anime

September 8, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 In the past I have talked about my theory of the two major categories of shonen fighting protagonists. I call them the Shonen Hero and the Seinen Hero. The Shonen Hero is what you very stereotypically think of with the genre. They are passionate and ambitious but have almost no experience. Therefore everything must be explained to them but they have an endless pool of potential to draw from and so they learn powerful techniques almost instantly. In contrast the Seinen Hero while still in a shonen magazine feels like a character taken from a series for older men. These character usually have years of training under their belt and tend to be more stoic and coldly driven. They are not perfect but they are 80% of the way to maximum. Usually their journey is about perfecting their skills, adding to their already powerful repertoire, or learning to work with a team. Not every shonen fighting protagonists falls into these two categories. There are some notable exceptions or combinations of the two but nine times out of ten your hero will fall into one of these categories. Naruto and Simon are your stereotypical Shonen Heroes while Luffy and Kenshiro are your stereotypical Seinen Hero.

Until recently I would have told you that sports anime pretty much follows that same formula to the T. The main character who joins the team is either the fresh young buck with no skills but an insane potential and a killer move or a cold ace with the crazy skills but with a major flaw. Like the shonen fighting protagonist there is the very rare exception to this rule but overall they are just as easy to divide into the two camps. The thing is the last few shows we have been watching have added a third archetype that I have never really seen be this predominant until now. They are the Super Support Protagonist.

The thing is this character is a mixture of the Shonen Hero and the Seinen Hero but with some added elements that make them more than just a blend of the other two. Usually the protagonist is the star of the team. They are the character who scores the most points, gets all the important points, and draws all the attention, love, and hate to themselves.  The Super Support Protagonist might do that on occasion but most of the time they are there so all the other characters can shine or work together better. They usually have some technique or place in the team that helps everyone around them. If the Shonen Hero is the fighter, and the Seinen Hero is the wizard, then the Super Support Protagonist in the bard. In years past they would have usually been secondary or tertiary character on a team. Someone who might get an episode of two in the spotlight but no more than that. But apparently this Super Support Protagonist is appearing more and more as the lead in modern sports shows.

narutaki_icon_4040 Kuroko’s Basketball, Yowamushi Pedal, and Haikyu!! have enjoyed immense popularity recently. It may come as no surprise then that they do share some similar qualities.

No longer the stoic genius or the hotblooded ace; more recent heroes of sports anime are the guys who would have been side characters in the past. And it isn’t just their personalities that mark them as previous side characters, but their roles on their teams, too.

Kuroko’s central role is passing the ball. Hinata is the decoy of the court. Onoda pulls the other members along so they can conserve their strength. All of these characters act in the best interest for the rest of the team. Each of them is integral to the team succeeding despite them not necessarily having the role that gets the most outside attention or glory. So intentionally or not, all of these titles end up emphasizing how important a cohesive team is maybe more so than when the central figure is the ace.

Kuroko, Onoda, and Hinata all feel like they occupy the same spot in the team: the soul.

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