Manga Monday: Noragami by Adachitoka

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This week for Manga Monday I’m covering a series I started reading last year. It’s Noragami by Adachitoka!

Plot Synopsis: Hiyori Iki was a regular middle school student until she was hit by a bus while trying to save the life of a jersey-wearing person named Yato.

Plot: The plot seems pretty comical, but it gets really serious fairly quickly and I do enjoy the plot quite a bit. Is it childish at times? Yes, but that’s part of it’s charm.

Characters: Hiyori and Yato are the leads and they are pretty good leads, but it’s not just the leads who drive this story well. It’s the entire cast and while there is a throwaway character introduced early in the series, it’s not that much of a problem as it only happens once and the rest of the cast is quite good. Bishamonten in particular is quite good as are her Shinki. Yukine is also pretty good, but he got on my nerves for quite a few chapters.

Art: The art is great, and I enjoy it quite a bit as it’s detailed enough during the action scenes that it does the plot justice.

Overall: This is a good series it may not be a must read, but it’s pretty close.

For those who like: Action, Great Plots, Excellent Cast of Characters, Fantastic Artwork, Urban Fantasy, Japanese Mythology.

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

Retro Game Friday: Ōkami

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a classic game that is one of my all time favorite games! It’s time for Ōkami to shine!

Plot Synopsis: The game is set in a Nippon (Japan) based on Japanese folklore, and begins with a flashback to events 100 years prior to the game’s present; the narrator describes how Shiranui, a pure white wolf, and Nagi, a swordsman, together fought the eight-headed demon Orochi to save Kamiki Village and the maiden Nami, Nagi’s beloved. Shiranui and Nagi are unable to defeat Orochi, so they seal the demon away.

In the game’s present, Susano, a descendant of Nagi and self-proclaimed greatest warrior, breaks Orochi’s seal due to the fact that he does not believe in the legend and wants to prove it false; Orochi escapes and curses the lands, sapping the life from every living being. Sakuya, the wood sprite and guardian of Kamiki Village, calls forth Amaterasu, the sun goddess, known to the villagers as the reincarnation of the white wolf Shiranui, and pleads for her to remove the curse that covers the land. Accompanied by the artist Issun (an inch-high creature known as a Poncle), Amaterasu is able to restore the land to its former beauty.

Plot: The game’s plot is great, and while it’s not full of twists and turns it’s still a great story. I won’t say much more other than that the influence of Japanese Mythology is huge, and if you are knowledgeable about it you’ll love the plot even more.

Gameplay: It plays a lot like Zelda, and that isn’t a bad thing at all. That being said I think that it definitely improves on the formula by adding different weapon types you can use for primary attacks. The Prayer Beads are quite fun. The other big feature of this game is to stop time temporarily and draw on the screen with a brush to perform attacks, or solve puzzles. It’s quite well done, and while it was a pain in the ass on the Wii port, the PS3 HD version doesn’t have any issues at all.

Music: The music is amazing, it’s full of Japanese folk music and it’s perfect for this game.

Art: Here is the real kicker and what makes this one of my top games of all time, the artwork for this game is just amazingly well done. It’s just stupendous.

Overall: If you haven’t played this yet, you should play the HD version on PlayStation Network right now!

For those who like: Great Games, Amazing Artwork, Fantastic Music, Excellent Gameplay, Solid Plot.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but if you hate all of that you aren’t a gamer.

Manga Monday: Nurarihyon no Mago by Hiroshi Shiibashi

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This week I’m covering a series that was cancelled much too soon, although it ran for a good 4 years. I’m talking about Nurarihyon no Mago, or Nurarihyon’s Grandson by Hiroshi Shiibashi.

Plot Synopsis: Rikuo Nura is 3/4 human and 1/4 yōkai. He has a human form in the day but transforms into his yōkai form at night. He lives in a house full of yōkai along with his yōkai grandfather. Trying to escape his fate, he does good deeds in order to avoid becoming a yōkai, despite his grandfather’s wish that Rikuo succeed him as the Third Head of the Nura Clan. Rikuo is different because he helps humans.

Plot: The plot is fairly good, although it devolves into a battle series there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I love seeing all the different Japanese monsters from Mythology, the Yuki-Onna (Snow Lady in Japanese) is probably my favorite. That said I wish the series had continued as it was definitely cut short.

Characters: Rikuo is a likeable guy, and while he’s always so courteous as a human his demonic form is a real jerk sometimes. The rest of the cast is memorable and interesting.

Art: The art for this series is amazing, which is why I started reading it in the first place.

Overall: If you like a good action series, or you want to learn more about Japanese Mythology, you’ll love this series.

For those who like: Shonen Jump, Action, Mythology, Great art.

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