Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 Anime Spring Season Showdown

Alright my currently watch list is so fu#$ing long right new due to the start of the Fall season. So here is a list and some initial thoughts of what I think of the ones I am holding onto at the moment:

Black Bullet: Looks pretty generic. I'm thinking it's just going to be an average one. Has a loli.

Blade and Soul: Another generic looking action anime with a pinch of fanservice. If it turns out to be an episodic type series (episodes do not connect) then it will be really awful. No loli's yet.

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou: This looks like it could be interesting. Already love the animation and the female lead is one of those quiet and hard to get to types which are always fun. Grandma is a loli.

Chaika: The Coffin Princess: Kind of generic looking but seems interesting. Animation looks good and the characters connect well. Loli is present.

Date A Live 2: Let's get one thing clear about this POS; I am only going to watch this fully so I can write a follow up review to its first season. I'm sure I'll hate it even more but for an anime that has so much back and sucks so hardcore, there has to be at least one decent review for this POS.

Dragon Ball Kai (2014): We have all already seen the source material so time will tell if I actually keep up with it. I like how they are cutting out all the filler crap but they are starting at the high school arc.....*throws up*

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?: Pretty sure this will be dropped since it is all about the loli fanservice. There is however a talking rabbit (not sure it really is a rabbit).

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san: This one as well will most likely be dropped. Looks like a Sakura Trick wannabe. Loli is present.
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: This one has the generic stereotypes but actually looks interesting. Plus it has cute girls everywhere so why not? Loli's present.

Kenzen Robo Daimidaler: Looks like absolute sh#@. Only holding on to see groping boobies and to write a horrid review of it. Loli present.

Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to: I have been looking forward to this for like forever. The manga was so awesome and to finally see it in anime form will be a real treat.

Mekaku City Actors: This is one of those anime that makes me want to find the manga version and just go on a reading spree since it got me so hooked. Sadly it looks like I'll just have to stick with the anime (1st world problems). It is so interesting and looks great. Really looking forward to this one.
Nisekoi: This is a carryover from last season. Still interesting to watch even if it's just one of the -monogatari's with a comedy skin. Still enjoy the manga more than the anime.

No Game No Life: Same as Mekaku City Actors. Looks so fucking hype and interesting. Thank you so much Madhouse for being so fucking epic. Loli present.

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin: This one has potential. Seems interesting and generic at the same time which is always tricky territory.

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii: Generic bells ringing all over the place on this one but I really like the strong female lead. It is however a Shoujo which I am never really a fan of. If multiple male leads show up to fight for the female lead I might have to drop.

Soul Eater Not!: Looks way different than the original Soul Eater but in a good way. Looks fresh and interesting. Plus Maka makes anyone happy. Loli present.

Tonari no Seki-kun: Another carryover from last season. I am barely holding onto this one though as it is getting a little boring.

God so many anime to watch... :). Also if were paying attention to the list you will see I posted if loli('s) were present in the show. This is important to bring up because of two reasons:

1. Loli's are adorable and awesome
2. This season has a shit ton

It is the season of loli's so prepare yourself.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quitting Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR) for good

I would like to first off state that I have been a subscriber since day one (I did leave the game for around 2 months when Tera Online came out but I still stayed subbed to the game). I have enjoyed leveling in this MMO more than any other one I have ever played. I have cleared every raid on every difficulty (other than the recently released NiM Dread Fortress) and also both Hateful and Dreadful Entity. For the most part, the community is friendly and willing to work with whatever noobness is present on fleet. The pvp (when not broken by ridiculous class perks such as the exploding sage bubble back then) is fun and worth the grind (for some). So what has ruined it for me? PVE endgame content, shitty elite guilds, and the lack of competent players.

Free-to-play has both revitalized and ruined the game. Low population servers were surely saved by free-to-play but so many perks of earning gear has been diminished by just buying a better looking skin or mount through the in-game market (the Cartel Market). Also we got a huge flux of god awful players that did not know what a snare, cc, dot, or a raid was. This might sound rude and superficial but the more of these players you get in an MMO will diminish the quality of pug runs and the pool you go to when you need to fill an open spot on a endgame content raid team.
This is what I imagine most pugs looking like...
Secondly, raiding in SWTOR has become quite dull. They reuse cosmetic shells for endgame gear, have a very slow develop time for new raids/new difficulty levels, and do not really post a challenge (the last face hammering thing that we all enjoyed was NiM EC and the "bugged" council fight in NiM TfB. The new NiM DF is welcome but I can already foresee it being easily cleared). I took the plunge into legitimate endgame grinding right before HM EC came out so I have been in the good crowd for some time. Once you get a new difficulty level of a raid on farm, it gets quite boring very fast since the game does not offer other things to do other than pvp.  
I don't remember if this picture was during NiM TfB when the counsel fight was bugged but this was exciting hard content
This brings me to my next point, there is nothing to do once you get locked out for your endgame content for the week. Yes PvP is there but most people get bored of it very quickly or just try to avoid it entirely. Unlike in games like WoW, the devs really do not try to add events or challenges for large groups to try to accomplish. Early on in the game, they introduced an event that allowed people to get infected with the ratgoul virus and infect other people. After that they introduced the Gree Event on Ilum that actually brought people back there. These were amazing events that actually gave us shit to do. Other than those specific events however, there really isn't anything to do outside your lockouts other than to PvP (only for some) or level an alt. There are no mini-games to bide your time (implementing swoop bike races or Pazaak would be so fucking easy Bioware).  
Bugging fights is only fun the first time
Lastly, the game itself is just boring now. You still see people idling by on fleet waiting for a pug run to start or a ranked warzone to pop. People undercut the in-game market, crafting is dull, and there is no drive/desire to go explore planets other than for achievements (which is pointless to me). I have also had my fair share of shitty guilds and have determined that I'm just tired of the dramaness.

Please understand this though; out of every MMO that is currently out (not including Wildstar since it is still in beta) I have had more fun playing in this one than any other one (in a leveling and endgame content way). The leveling isn't as grindy, the classes are very fun to play (Scrapper and Dirty fighting Scoundrel, Sharpshooter Gunslinger, Combat Sentinel, and TK Sage were a blast to play). This game got the healing trees perfect in PVE offering 3 distinctive play styles and purposes for each (Sages for AOE raid healing, Scoundrels for Tank healing, and Commandos as a very effective mutt of the two). Tanking is questionable since I didn't dive too much into that but I have been told that holding agro is quite hard and requires more skill and practice than other MMO's.
For now, I'll just go catch up on the endless amounts of steam games in my library until Wildstar and Star Citizen come out.
The last heart you will see in SWTOR

"Harmonie" Anime Review

***This is a spoiler free review***
For a one shot episode, Harmonie packs quite the punch in both tone, animation, and overall acoustic qualities.

Story: 8/10

I cannot talk about much of the plot without ruining the whole episode but what I can say is that they studio really crammed a lot of story into twenty minutes. The overall purpose of the plot might not come easily to everyone watching the show but it does hit pretty deep once you really think about it. I kind of wished that we could see what happens after the episode was done.

Animation: 10/10

Astounding, fluid, beautiful, crisp, bright, dark, ext. This anime landed everything you possibly need in putting on a perfect visual presentation. It's not just the beautiful and handsome character models that make this anime so great to look at; it's the amount of effort that shows in the end product. Shadows, glares, sunlight, facial expressions, eye straining, it's all here and done so well.

Sound: 9.5/10

The music, ambient background noise, and voice actors did an amazing job. The opening scene has many different conversations going on at once and they somehow matched all this up with perfect lip syncing. The music is very soft when present and isn't just some generic sounding crap you would find in most anime. The piano and singer did a great job trying to reach out to the audience. The background noise was very fitting and hit all their marks. Slaps, inner dialogue, chair movements, just everything matched up with what was going on screen. The voice actors did a very good job relaying all of their characters emotions.

Characters: 8.8/10

We unfortunately did not get to see the characters mature as much as we hoped to but from what I saw, they became likeable and I was invested fully by the end of the anime. The main character wouldn't stand out very much in any other anime but he had true feelings; something that is hard to achieve without coming off corny. The supporting cast doesn't really get a chance to shine since it is only a single episode but they do a great job of setting up plot points and providing some very funny moments.

Overall: 9.1/10

This anime was part of the Young Animator Training Project which almost always turns out eyegasm looking anime. What we were lucky to see in this instance however was the addition of a interesting plot, characters, and some of the best sound design I have heard in a long time. If you have twenty spare minutes just do yourself a favor and give this a watch.

"Sakura Trick" Anime Review

***This is a spoiler free review***
Sakura Trick is ummm hmmm. This show completely goes all out with no intent of looking back at what will go down in history of what Yuri Yuri almost was.

Story: 2/10

Look; there is no story. Every episode just helps each character get closer to the one they love. This anime focuses on a group of high school girls that are starting to form affection for another female. This topic is pretty iffy with some people (not me) and in other anime the line has never really been fully crossed in terms of what happens affection (physical affection) wise. Sakura Trick says fu$# that, these bit%$es be horny as a motherf#@%er, time to get down. My jaw almost hit the floor in the beginning episode as I witnessed the main couple really get into their feelings. In other Yuri shows there is a hint of restraint and blackout scenes are used when needed. In Sakura Trick no such thing exists since when the time comes, you see all the affection. I was quite flabbergasted that they went into such detail on some of the scenes (again it didn't bother me I was just literally awestricken).
But plot wise it is just a slice of life so it moves quite slow. You see the same gags in each episode so you might get a little bored with the same cycle over and over and over again.

Animation: 7/10

Not too bad actually. The character models look pretty good and there seemed to be a pretty smooth frame rate throughout the entire show. The use of light colors really matched the carefree feeling of the show.

Sound: 5/10

Average performance, average soundtrack, subpar opening and ending songs.

Characters: 4/10

Again pretty average by my standards. There are some somewhat touching scenes later on but I never really felt totally invested. The characters worked well with each other and helped form some funny scenes here and there but it wasn't really a knock-it-out-of-the-park performance.

Overall: 4.5/10

This show is just really average. If you are into Yuri stuff then you will love this show. However if you are looking for substance, comedy, or character development be ready to be pretty disappointed. It is though very very very kawaii.

"Kill La Kill" Anime Review

***This is a spoiler free review***
To be...or not to be...that is the question we must answer for Kill la Kill. The question? Whether or not over the top action with amazing animation and acoustic qualities can overcome a brain dead plot with a thing for nudity.
Story: 4/10

Look let's be real here; we ALL knew ten minutes into this anime that this was going to be one of THOSE types of anime. You know the, "OMG ACTION ACTION ACTION NUDITY ACTION" ones. Don't get me wrong it gets all of those things right; lots of amazing action scenes and well yeah some fan service. It even makes fun and borrows from other anime. But this anime just...fails at trying to piece a coherent plot together. The story very halfhazardly tries to put together a plot that puts our main character Ryuuko against impossible odds. Unfortunately the anime trips over itself many times trying to define what the fu#@ the purpose it is trying to accomplish. It uses cheap means to introduce new bad guys and employs brain dead plot devices in general.

The first half of the anime totally killed it with the monster-of-the-week type structure but really lost steam leading up to the closing act. But like I said in the beginning, we already knew that this was not going to be a thinking anime.

Animation: 10/10

The real reason I am giving this a 10/10 is because the animation studio did something that a lot of other studios have given up trying to do; looking unique. This anime looks NOTHING like any other anime you have seen in the past. Everything is completely blown out of proportion, character models are scandalously sexy, emotions just poor out of each of their faces, and the anime screams for originality. It may not boast beautiful colors like ChihayafuruNisemonogatari, or Redline but it defines itself in the way it presents itself.

Sound: 9.7/10

Amazing voice performances with very fitting audio during episodes makes this aspect of the anime also near perfect. Just the sound effects you hear in the background of shots feel right at home with what is going on screen. The voice actors very much matched their characters and gave a wonderful performance.

Characters: 9/10

The characters for the most part were extremely unique and memorable. Each one had a sort of presence that just stole all the attention once present. This is funny because most of them were the most generic cookie cutter adaptations of characters we have already seen but since the show is parodying every action anime in existence, it kind of works out for itself.

Overall: 8.2/10

Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we now have a new over the top anime to recommend to all our anime newbies to watch and hopefully get them acclimated to the weirdness that is anime. The bad news? We are all going to lose a lot of friends and get really weird looks.
This anime excels at keeping your eyes glued to the screen...if you can stay awake and interested in what is actually going on plot wise.

"Golden Time" Anime Review

***This is a spoiler free review***

Golden Time is an anime that really put me on a rollercoaster ride. There were moments where I legitimately thought it was the best drama I had seen in awhile when other times it had me wanting to drop the show entirely.
Story: 7/10

I will say that the story for Golden Time is fresh, has twists and turns, and had very serious and emotional scenes. I will also say that there are a lot of "cheap" tricks the show uses to make certain events happen for convenient reasons. A quick rundown of the opening is that we follow new college student Tada Banri as he meets new friends Mitsuo, Chinami, Linda, and Kouko. The opening act of the anime had me extremely interested with the possibilities the show could span into. Banri automatically finds someone he likes, he becomes really close friends with Mitsuo, and there was many hints at future foreshadowing events. One thing I would like to point out is that the show did an incredible job at creating "real" feeling scenes that I will remember for the foreseeable future. The friendship between Banri and Mitsuo felt "real" and the events that occur between this cast felt very "real". Also later on in the show when s#!t gets real, I genuinely felt emotionally torn at what I was watching.

Now I cannot comment on what I thought felt "cheap" about the show since it would ruin a major plot point but just know that while the show really pulls some things out of its a$$ in order to make sense of certain events, for the most part it ties the story together well enough in the end.
I do not like rating certain arcs by themselves but the beginning of the show far outshines the ending act.

Animation: 6.9/10

It was....basic but still looked pretty good. The animation studio used some really basic colors and there was a sense of dullness BUT they did an amazing job with facial expressions which really helped out in the emotional scenes. Character models looked pretty good (Kouko was so kawaii :D).

Sound: 7/10

Music=pretty good
Voice actors=amazing level
Voice actors did a really awesome job while the music was good but not great. Openings and endings were not memorable.

Characters: 9.5/10

Extremely tight nit cast that provided so many different scenes. One minute you are laughing at a funny scene while four minutes later you are flipping your chair into the air cursing out Kouko for being Kouko. Every character was important which is very important since a lot of anime try to stick generic stand in's for purpose made situations. Each character had a job and performed that job spectacularly. Now I won't lie and say that I loved each one of them. There were many and MANY moments when I really wanted to jumped into the show and beat the living fu#@ out of some of them but in the end I really did enjoy what each one brought to the table.

Overall: 7.6/10

I really, really, really got involved with this anime. Some of the moments in this anime were the best I had experienced in a long time while others really made me want to leave it for awhile. It will grab your full and undivided attention with its witty cast and believable performances; just be prepared to really get frustrated.