Anime Sunday: Winners of Winter 2017

Hey all! This Anime Sunday I’m back with my pick of winners for the previous season of Anime, and yes this post has been highly delayed. Sorry about that, but circumstances and my decision to post on an every other day schedule for a while have only let me do a few Anime Sunday columns since I started posting again. Anyways it’s my Winners of Winter 2017!

Youjo Senki: This was a great show to watch and I highly enjoyed watching a villainous protagonist. Sure it might have been a tad too gory for my tastes, but it was a fun show to watch nonetheless.

Dragon Maid: This was an absolutely hilarious show, and I enjoyed watching it thoroughly. If you enjoy some off beat comedy, Dragon Maid was the highlight of the season in my opinion.

ACCA-13: This was a surprisingly fun show to watch, with plenty of political intrigue and drama. It’s art style was also pretty neat.

Honorable Mentions:

Tales of Zestiria the X: The second half of the Tales of Zestiria adaptation, I never got to watch it, but I’m happy ufotable was able to create something that took the story of both Zestiria and Berseria and wove them together.

Naruto Shippuden: This had it’s final episode in this season, and while the “sequel” has started with Boruto, it still deserves a mention.

That’s it for this week’s Anime Sunday!

Retro Game Friday: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II

This week for Retro game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Dark Alliance. It’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II!

Plot Synopsis: The game begins by revealing the fate of the three protagonists from the first game; after jumping through the portal at the top of the Onyx Tower, Vahn, Kromlech and Adrianna are taken prisoner by the vampire Mordoc SeLanmere. Meanwhile, outside Baldur’s Gate, fate brings Dorn, Vhaidra, Ysuran, Borador and Allessia together. Upon meeting on the Trade Way, they learn that since the collapse of Xantam’s Guild, the route has become increasingly dangerous due to the rise of the Red Fang Marauders, a goblin army who prey on travelers. After infiltrating a nearby Marauders cave, and freeing the caravan guard Randalla, the heroes head to Wayfork Village, a nearby fiefdom. There, they rescue the village from the Marauders and kill their hobgoblin leader, Harnak.

Plot: The plot was okay, but due to certain circumstances I can’t really count it as being good. I won’t mention what they are, but play through the game and you’ll understand.

Characters: We get 5 new characters to play as initially, personally I played as Vhaidra, the Drow Monk. There are also two secret characters, Drizzt and Artemis Entreri, but those are unlocked after beating the game and Extreme mode respectively.

Gameplay: It played a lot like the first game, and was fun to play co-op with a second person with. I think my brother was the Human Barbarian Dorn when we played together. There were some additions, but really it’s not that much different from the first game.

Art: It’s aged poorly, but was pretty amazing back in the day.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, sorry.

Overall: A great sequel if somewhat lackluster in the plot department.

Bookish Wednesday: Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand

Hey all this week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the third book in Runner’s adventures. It’s Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand!

Plot Synopsis: Runner and his team managed to bring peace to Tirtius, successfully log the crew out, and have begun settling in to make a home on the isle of Vix. North Wood fort itself. Fate isn’t going to let them go that easily though. She clearly hasn’t decided on what to do with him. Plots are in motion. Threats local, outside of the ship, divine, and abroad in game scheme to exterminate Runner and the threat he represents. The possibility of what he could become. To top it all off, the server is clearly ramping up towards a full awakening. What does one do with an entire world of “living” beings who are aware? It all comes to a head when an assassin attempts to take his life in his own home. Now comes the true test. What is he willing to wager to build the future he wants, both in game and out? Or rather, who?

Plot: The plot is awesome, with plenty of revelations all around about the world Runner has come to inhabit. It also deals with Runner’s severe depression after the events of the last book, which I won’t spoil. There’s more “idiot plans” and new additions to Runners group of close followers.

Characters: Of all the new characters I found Satomi to be the best, though that may be slightly affected by the soft spot I have for the name as that was one of my teacher’s names in my Japanese High School class. That said Runner still was great to live the world through, even if Scott and Linda weren’t as present in this book as I would have liked. The rest of the cast was great, but truly the female leads were awesome in this entry with plenty of screen time for Grace, Sparky, Minxie, Brighteyes, Angel, and Bell.

Overall: An excellent ending to the trilogy, but not the end of the series apparently. The series will continue in the future, hopefully by the end of the year.

Manga Monday: Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review for a rather interesting series. It’s Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto!

Plot Synopsis: After a series of bizarre incidents in his school, student Kometaki Okaka decided to investigate the cause of it. What he discovers will turn his world upside down…

Plot: The plot of this series is really out there. It is full of really odd gags, least of all being the belly hair song…. Yeah I really just wrote that. I was actually laughing my head off the entire time I was reading, but after finishing this first chapter I found out that the Mangaka axed the series by his own request after 44 chapters. So while I’m really intrigued by the series I don’t know if I’ll continue reading it.

Characters: The cast is just plain odd. I can’t stress how odd this series is. Kometaki was an interesting lead character, if really strange, but that can be said about every character. My favorite side character was Mouryou (spelling is probably wrong, but oh well).

Art: The art was great, it’s not got the high detail level of a Jump work, but it’s still quite good. And it fits this series perfectly.

Overall: If you don’t mind the series being axed prematurely and enjoy really oddball stories, you’ll love Vector Ball.

For those who like: Bizarre Things, Action, Comedy, Interesting Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, or a series that ends abruptly.

Sensate Saturday: Twin Role by Harumi Hitsuji

This week for Sensate Saturday I have another Quick Review. It’s Twin Role by Harumi Hitsuji!

Plot Synopsis: Azuma Izumi goes to a school that involves art and music but both sides compete against each other to win awards. Online, Izumi goes under the name Iz and creates the images to music videos created by a user named Kanon who is listed as a 21 year old female.  However, this user has a secret! Turns out Kanon is really the new transfer student Sagami Kaoru – the son of a famous musician and someone whom Izumi dislikes at first glance. Kaoru quickly puts two and two together and figures out Izumi is Iz, much to his chagrin and consternation.

Plot: Twin Role really shows how awkward Love Triangles can get, almost hilariously so. I’ve never been a fan of Love Triangles in general, but I have to admit that Twin Role handles it amazingly well.

Characters: Izumi and Kaoru are actually pretty well done lead characters, in fact I was really intrigued by them so I’ll probably continue reading this series when I get the chance.

Art: The art isn’t Shueisha level work, but it comes really close.

Overall: If you want to read a really awkward Love Triangle series that isn’t handled poorly, Twin Role is the best I’ve seen in a long time. For those who want action, look elsewhere, this is a Shoujo Romance/Slice of Life Series.

For those who like: Romance, Slice of Life, Drama, School Life, Great Plot, Fantastic Lead Characters, Excellent Art.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

TNT: The King’s Avatar Chapters 41-80 by Butterfly Blue

This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering the second set of chapters in Ye Xiu’s adventures. It’s  The King’s Avatar Chapters 41-80 by Butterfly Blue!

Plot Synopsis: In the online game Glory, Ye Xiu is regarded as a textbook and a top-tier pro-player. However, due to a myriad reasons, he is kicked from the team. After leaving the professional scene, he finds work in an Internet Cafe as a manager. When Glory launches its tenth server, he who possesses ten years of gaming experience once again throws himself into the game. Bringing with him the memories of his past and an incomplete, self-made weapon, his return along the road to the summit begins!

After fighting and scheming, who snatched away my glory? Under the tossing of the wind and rain, my dreams shall still appear as though they had never been shattered. In all its splendor, the path shall never be lost. Before the gazes of millions, this is where I return!

Plot: The plot in this second set of chapters picks up the pace, so it’s not nearly as boring as some of the chapters in the first set. That being said if you didn’t like the first set, you probably won’t enjoy the second set either. It’s mostly about Ye Xiu getting Lord Grim’s weapon upgraded via selling his services as a top tier player.

Characters: We get introduced to a few newcomers, but really the spotlight is still all on Ye Xiu and Lord Grim. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.

Overall: This was a decent set of chapters, but if you weren’t already hooked it won’t necessarily get you hooked.

Video Game Tuesday: An Amazing Community Project

Hey all I’m back with a more brief article than usual for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about An Awesome Community Project!

What project?: Well user Aelrindyl on the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit had made a post asking for the game’s community to send in images and birthday wishes for the games director, Yoshida Naoki. They’d be professionally bound and printed and sent to him for his birthday. I sent in a submission myself, although I made a mistake on the email address so it didn’t get to Aelrindyl for the project. Nonetheless the book was over 250 pages of printed birthday wishes, thanks and many, many screenshots from the community. It was an awesome project and frankly I don’t remember anyone doing something as awesome as this for a game’s director.

Why not?: Most game directors tend to be reviled or tolerated at best, but Yoshida is universally well liked and is best known in the community by his nickname Yoshi-P. The time he gives the community and the humble and eager manner with which he deals with all issues is frankly amazing. He took a game that was universally disliked and remade it into one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world. Despite all that he still gives nearly monthly broadcast sessions he calls “Live Letters”. These Live Letters often touch on upcoming features for Final Fantasy XIV, or things that people are asking about. Are people upset with a certain game design choice? It’s most likely going to be discussed and explained in the next Live Letter.

So special shout out to Reddit user Aelrindyl on making such an awesome community project, here is the link to the thread where Aelrindyl relays the dev team’s thanks and messages after Yoshi-P got his birthday present. And once more a Happy Birthday to Yoshi-P!