I picked up one of the blind box Gundam 00 Calendar Characters and got lucky! My pick turned out to be Allelujah for May/Children’s Day. There are 12 figures total, one for each month, so each meister has 3 figures. As you can see Allelujah is in his flight suit here, but each of the others has a different outfit. Some look more fun than others. They also come with two accessories related to their month/holiday. Though since the pose and heads are basically the same across the board I don’t have the desire to collect them all. But it is certainly worth having my favorite of. He is quite cute and tiny, and easily worth my $6.
Suikoden Tierkreis is a fine return to form for the Suikoden series even if this is a side story. After some lackluster entries, I am glad to see a very solid renewal of the franchise. Suikoden Tierkreis involves parallel worlds and destiny vs. free will. I won’t claim that it is high literature but it competently handles pretty weighty topics in a competent and entertaining manner which can often be hard for video games. The story starts after some friends who are part of a small village defense force find a book that revels the memories they have are lies. A new organization that believes everything is predestined seek to make a single world where everyone believes as they do. So this rag tag team must rally together to defeat this fanatical organization. I really like that your main allies, the Magedom, are almost as nasty as your enemies in the Order of the One True Way. One of the biggest strengths with 108 recruitable characters is you will always like at least one or two characters. However, many charters don’t get detailed character development. The main charters is sort of the generic plucky never give up shonen hero but at least he has a personality beyond silent protagonist everyone likes for no given reason. The main cast is all enjoyable so you don’t have to cling to side characters in the game. The game play is the standard turn-based RPG battles. Without a doubt the two biggest flaws are the encounter rate and the voice acting. The random encounter rate is really high which makes exploration a pain. Also, there are only one or two decent voice actors making it overall quite bad. Unfortunately, there is a lot of voice acting. I tend to play it on my commute on the subway so it often does not matter but when I do hear it I tend to skip.
Have continued with Zettai Shonen and watched episodes 4-8. Around episodes 5 and 6 it started to catch my attention a bit, which is good because that is about my max for a show that hasn’t hooked me. It certainly has a slow and meandering pace that makes it hard to watch many in a row. However, the odd character relationships and the weird mystery have finally gotten me intrigued enough to want to see how it all works out. I am nursing a few theories about the town but won’t divulge them now.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is exactly what it bills itself to be. It is a Dynasty Warriors game with Gundams instead of Chinese warriors from the Three Kingdoms. There are two main single player modes. Official mode revolves around playing the main characters from Universal Century series. You can play as the three main protagonists from each series and unlock the main antagonists as well. By the way Kamille Bidan is the protagonist of Zeta Gundam no matter how much you wish in your heart it was Char. . . I mean Quattro Bajeena. You play through missions based on scenes from each show. Like some but not all Dynasty Warrior games if you are able to complete certain conditions during the missions you can change how the missions play and how future missions play out. A prime example is as Kamille you can save Emma in the first mission when she gets in trouble. If you do she will help you in the second mission. You can also alter things that happen in the original series like saving the Radish during the battle of Grypios 2. Original mode that has a story about a killer Moon heading towards Earth and Gundam warriors from all times gather to investigate the satellite. It is mostly a excuse to have Gundam characters interact and fight with each other. You can unlock a ton of characters but not from you Gundam X because no one loves you. I appreciate the ability to have Loran Cehack fight Amuro Ray in a Gundam Hammer battle. I also the ability to switch between the English and Japanese voice acting is great. The biggest flaw is some of the missions are easy to lose due to your allies who are out of your ability to control. Like any Dynasty Warriors game, the game play is repetitive and simple but EXTREMELY cathartic. When you plow through an army of Zakus there is just something awesome about it. I would definitely buy Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 is for nothing else to play as Gundam Seed and angry warrior Lacus Clyne.
Got my copy of Kekkaishi 17 in the mail last week. This volume is basically a re-read for me as I read it awhile back when it came out in Japan. At the end of the last volume Masamori had showed up and requested Yoshi’s help with a mission. So here we are on a mission that Masamori is keeping hush hush about. He leaves Yoshimori behind to guard a gate, but his curiosity gets the better of him (imagine that!) and he gets wrapped up in a battle with a deity, a strange human-like ayakashi, and his brother. This book gives us a bit of back story for the relationship between the brothers and how each sees the other. Once again we get a warning about Karasumori. And we end on a big life or death cliffhanger! Great installment, worth the re-read even.
Lux-Pain is a fine game that was rushed out the door before its localization was complete. So what was otherwise a decent non-sexual visual novel gets a good deal of bad press due to its sometimes odd translation choices. Atsuki Saijo is an agent of the secret psionic organization FORT. He is a telepath who has the ability to see and manipulate mental phenomenon. He arrives in Kisaragi City to hunt a type of worm known as Silent that feed on and propagate negative emotions to the point of creating crazy killers. Being a Japanese visual novel, he has to pose as a student at the local high school where the number of infection due to Silent is extremely high. Overall the game is enjoyable as long as you realize one thing: it is not deep and it is not trying to be. Or if it is trying to be deep, it fails. What it does succeed at is being filled with over the top melodrama. All your friends in high school don’t have problems they have tremendous trauma that still shakes them to their very core. The gameplay is mostly reading, choosing the standard questions, and mini-games whenever you use your powers. The mini-game is usually pretty easy once you get to all its facets so it’s mostly there to break up the stretches of reading text and get some use of stylus. If you are already a fan of visual novels it is worth checking out but if you are new to them you do well to try a different one first.
I’m happy to have an excuse to pick Gundam 00 for pic of the week! So here it is: