Bookish Wednesday: The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko

Hey all, I’m back with the third entry to the Way of the Shaman series for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. It’s The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot Synopsis: The Virtual World of Barliona is a place of rest and entertainment – but not for everyone. It has become a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after he was sentenced to 8 years in its virtual jail. Mahan has been through it all: the back-breaking work in the mines, betrayal by other prisoners, and finally, the retrial which has released him into Barliona’s common world. What more could one want? Mahan could have kept a low profile and enjoy relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can’t help himself…

Plot: The plot of this entry is pretty good, and while there were a few annoying parts I didn’t mind it all that much. That being said if you weren’t a fan of the previous books this won’t change your mind on the series.

Characters: We get introduced to a few new characters, but really the stars of the show aside from Mahan are Anastaria and Plinto, both of whom were pretty awesome. The newcomers were good, but the character we had already met are better. That being said if I had to choose a newcomer as my favorite it would be Barsa.

Overall: If you enjoyed the previous two books, The Secret of the Dark Forest will be just as enjoyable for you. Otherwise you’ll probably not enjoy it all that much.

Manga Monday: Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru

Hey all, this week for Manga Monday I have another Quick Review. It’s Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru!

Plot Synopsis: In Hokkaido, the far northern lands of Japan, Sugimoto survived the Russo-Japanese war of the Meiji era. Nicknamed “Sugimoto the Immortal” during the war, he now seeks the riches promised by the gold rush in hopes of saving the widowed wife of his now deceased comrade from the war.

Plot: The plot is pretty awesome, I was pretty much instantly hooked after this first chapter, hopefully I’ll get to read all of it sooner rather then later. I do want to point out one more thing about the series, it is award winning, so take that how you will.

Characters: Sugimoto is a pretty interesting guy, it’s pretty obvious he’s dealing with serious issues from the war he fought in, despite all that he’s a pretty stable fellow. The rest of the cast we’ve met are pretty much nameless, but they look fairly interesting from this first chapter.

Art: The art is amazing, but once I looked up who the publisher was I wasn’t surprised to find it was Shueisha. That being said it is very graphic, so those with squeamish stomachs should probably not read this.

Overall: This has me hooked, so I’m going to give it the go ahead. Plus it’s an Award Winning series, it can’t be super terrible if it’s received an award.

For those who like: Historical Fiction, Military, Drama, Action, Adventure, Romance, Excellent Plot, Amazing Cast of Characters, Fantastic Artwork.

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

Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover the topic you all knew I would eventually. It’s all about Destiny 2!

Destiny 2: It was announced on March 30th that Destiny 2 was a real thing and would be released this year, but there were some big “surprises” announced. It would release on the PC and everything, or close to everything, wouldn’t transfer from the first game and it’s “expansions”.

PC?!?: Yea color me not that surprised, it was rumored for months prior to the announcement that it would release on PC, so I’m really not that surprised. It was a surprise it didn’t release on the PC in the first place to be honest. And just to clarify I probably won’t be playing it on PC as my main platform if I should happen to receive codes for both PC and PS4.

Wait our stuff?: Yea all that time you spent on gearing up your characters, getting cool things like Exotics, fancy looking ships, awesome Shaders, and cool Emblems was wasted. The only confirmed thing that will transfer over is the appearance of your characters, but that’s hardly a thing to be excited about. It’s not like we were ever all that attached to our characters since Destiny never had much of a story. I’d hope at least cosmetic stuff like Shaders, Emblems, Ghost Shells, Sparrows and Shaders would transfer over, but that isn’t confirmed and probably won’t happen.

My Hopes?: I hope the game transfers over the cosmetic stuff, has a story that isn’t a piece of crap, and has a loot system that doesn’t exploit players. My expectations that any of those will be met is very low, and all of them being met? Practically non-existent. I hope Bungie can redeem themselves, but I highly doubt that is possible at this point.

TNT: Death March Volume 08 by Ainana Hiro

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Hey all, I’m back with the 8th arc in Satou’s leisure tour in another world for this week’s Translation Necessary Thursday. It’s Death March Volume 08 by Ainana Hiro!

Plot: Having defeated a demon king in the duchy capital, stopped a coup, and helped resurrect a local priestess who was used as a sacrifice, Satou is finally entering the city with his companions. But what waits inside is more than he was expecting, even after halting the recent coup attempt…

Plot: This is a fun set of chapters, we get to see Satou cement his noble status and he interacts with some really interesting people while staying in the duchy capital. I won’t spoil it, but we get a glance at some other real badasses in this arc. That being said I was amused at all the crap Satou has to deal with while trying to just enjoy a leisurely vacation.

Characters: We get a lot of new faces in this arc, but it’s still Satou’s show. Nana is probably my favorite side character at this point, if only because her way of speaking is highly amusing.

Overall: An amusing and relaxing set of chapters, not so filled with action as the last set. It’s a nice change of pace.

Manga Monday: Black Torch by Takaki Tsuyoshi

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This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review, although this is a very new series. It’s Black Torch by Takaki Tsuyoshi!

Plot Synopsis: As a descendant of shinobi, Azuma Jirou has been learning ninja techniques his entire life. But in addition to that, Jirou also has the ability to talk to animals. One day when he rescues a strange black cat named Ragou, he learns that the world is filled with spirits called mononoke that can take the form of both people and animals…

Plot: The plot of this first chapter was pretty awesome, and while there were tropes aplenty I didn’t really mind them. That being said some will probably be less excited, but personally I think this might just become a great series in the future. I’ll probably hold off on reading the second (and latest chapter) until there are a lot more chapters to read.

Characters: Jirou is a pretty interesting main character, he’s a pretty slick young man who seems to have his stuff together pretty well, although he is a bit arrogant. Ragou on the other hand is pretty snarky, which was fun. I hope he keeps that quality as the series continues, as I always enjoy snark.

Art: The art is excellent, but given that this is a Shueisha publication I expected nothing less.

Overall: Giving this a go ahead, though with the warning that it’s only got two chapters thus far.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Ninjas, Supernatural, Action, Adventure, Drama, Great Plot, Excellent Characters, Awesome Artwork.

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

Retro Game Friday: Tales of Phantasia

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the first entry in my favorite JRPG series. It’s Tales of Phantasia!

Plot Synopsis: A heroic battle between four unknown warriors against an evil sorcerer, Dhaos, the outcome of which changed the fate of the world. The warriors are victorious, but Dhaos escapes through time. However, four different heroes await him: they seal the weakened Dhaos away by using the power of two pendants, thus returning peace to the world. In the town of Toltus ten years after Dhaos was sealed away, there lives a young swordsman named Cress Albane and his best friend Chester Burklight…

Plot: The plot is pretty amazing, and it really is a classic. If you’ve never played it, you are truly missing out on a great story.

Characters: Cress and Chester are the first of the cast we meet really, but the entire cast is awesome. There are some amazing quotes that can be taken from the game including one that the game opens with (at least it did for the GBA version, which is what I played). “Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.” It’s a classic and probably one of my favorite quotes of the series. Right up there with “Prepare to die Eggbear!”…

Gameplay: The gameplay is dated and frustrating by today’s standards, but it was truly unique at the time. Instead of controlling all of the party, you only had control of one character, although you could order the other ones to use specific skills in battle. I enjoyed the gameplay, but it could get frustrating.

Art: The art is pretty great, and while it isn’t super amazing by today’s standards it’s stood the test of time much better than 3D games.

Music: The music is also amazing.

Overall: If you’ve never played Phantasia, you are truly missing out on one of the classics.

For those who like: The Tales of Series, JRPGs, Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Music, Awesome Art.

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

Bookish Wednesday: Work Experience by Christopher G. Nuttall

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the fourth entry in the Schooled in Magic series. It’s Work Experience by Christopher G. Nuttall!

Plot Synopsis:n the summer between Second and Third Year at Whitehall, Emily accompanies Lady Barb on her rounds of the Cairngorm Mountains bringing magical help to the locals and searching for new magicians. For Emily, tired and broken after the events of Study In Slaughter, it should be a chance to relax as well as a visit to a new part of the Nameless World, to put her responsibilities aside and just be herself.

Plot: The plot is pretty good, and we finally get to see a new side of Lady Barb, someone who is increasingly becoming a more central figure in the series. That being said this wasn’t the best entry in the series thus far, I think that honor lies with Lessons in Etiquette.

Characters: We don’t really get introduced to any new people in this latest entry, which is a pity. That being said we get to see Lady Barb and Emily bond, which is nice.

Overall: A good entry in the series, but not the best.