Manga Monday: Dr. Stone by Inagaki Riichiro

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review of a fairly new series. It’s Dr. Stone by Inagaki Riichiro!

Plot Synopsis: This science-fiction adventure series follows what happens when suddenly the world’s biggest-ever “crisis” arrives….

Plot: This series starts off pretty well, and while Senkuu is a really odd character, I like him quite a bit. Eccentricity isn’t a bad thing. I was quickly entranced by the series, but given that it was written by the Mangaka of Eyeshield 21 I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Characters: Senkuu and Taiju are our male lead characters along with Yuzuriha as our female lead. They are all really interesting characters and frankly I’m super intrigued by them. Senkuu is a genius, and Taiju seems to be the brawny guy. So I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Artwork: The artwork is awesome, as one would expect from a Jump series.

Overall: I won’t say it’s a must read, but it’s pretty darn close to being one.

For those who like: Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance, Action, Adventure, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Amazing Artwork.

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

Bookish Wednesday: Dancing with Flames by Susan Illene

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the sequel to Stalked by Flames! It’s Dancing with Flames by Susan Illene!

Plot Synopsis: Dragons are on the warpath. Two heroes will risk everything to protect the ones they love. Bailey Monzac slays dragons. Between her imperviousness to their flames and the training she received from the shape-shifter Aidan, Bailey can finally hold her own. When her ally is called away for clan business, the slayer must go solo to investigate a horrifying case of children being abducted by dragons. And the only way she can find them is by killing a whole lot of the fire-breathing beasts. Aidan’s father is dying. The pendragon will appoint a successor through a brutal competition, and Aidan may be the only one willing to play by the rules. Escaping with his life could be his toughest challenge yet.

Plot: After having become a full Dragon Slayer at the end of the first book, Bailey is now a full fledged badass, and she now knows that. This entry is pretty great as it expands on Aidan’s life with his clan, while we see Bailey deal with her own problems as a growing Dragon Slayer. I was thoroughly hooked to the series by the end of this book, so that should tell you something.

Characters: We get to meet a few new characters, but Phoebe is probably my favorite side character in this entry. She definitely has much more of a presence in this book than in the first. That all being said I found Aidan and Bailey to be my favorites overall.

Overall: An excellent sequel, this series has quickly risen to the upper reaches of my watch lists. For any Urban Fantasy fans, you’ll love this series.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Action, Drama, Romance, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

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

Anime Sunday: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

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This week for Anime Sunday I’m covering another film! It’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Plot Synopsis: One thousand years have passed since the Seven Days of Fire, an apocalyptic war that destroyed civilization and created the vast Toxic Jungle, a poisonous forest swarming with giant mutant insects. In the kingdom of the Valley of the Wind, a prophecy predicts a saviour “clothed in blue robes, descending onto a golden field, to join bonds with the great Earth and guide the people to the pure lands at last”. Nausicaä, the princess of the Valley of the Wind, explores the jungle and communicates with its creatures, including the gigantic, armored trilobite-like creatures called Ohm. She hopes to understand the jungle and find a way for it and humans to co-exist.

Plot: This is a true classic film, and if you haven’t ever watched Nausicaa, you really need to. I won’t go further into details, but there is a reason why Nausicaa is regarded as one of the best Anime films of all time.

Characters: The entire cast is great, and while there are some times I was really creeped out by the insect like Ohm, I enjoyed the movie immensely. Nausicaa being a forceful and strong female lead was a huge boon to the film, and she was definitely my favorite character. Of the side characters my favorite was probably Yupa.

Art: The art is amazing, and if you get the chance to watch it you owe it to yourself to watch it. It’s not going to compare to something from ufotable, but given that this was released over 30 years ago it doesn’t need to.

Music: The music was great as well.

Overall: Like I said above, if you haven’t ever seen Nausicaa go watch it. You really owe it to yourself.

For those who like: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Drama, Post-Apocalyptic, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Artwork, Awesome Music.

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

Bookish Wednesday: Stalked by Flames by Susan Illene

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the first entry in a series I found recently. It’s Stalked by Flames, Book 01 of the Dragon’s Breath series, by Susan Illene!

Plot Synopsis: Bailey Monzac has just graduated college and is leaving town for her parents’ ranch in Texas when a massive earthquake unleashes the unthinkable on the world: fire-breathing dragons. Chaos erupts as people flee for their lives…

Plot: The plot of this first book was pretty awesome and had me hooked after the first chapter. I found the switching between points of view between the two leads, Bailey and Aiden to be very interesting. It gave great insight to their respective perspectives. The plot wasn’t Sanderson quality amazing, but it wasn’t far below that.

Characters: Bailey is a kick ass female lead, something that longtime readers of my columns will know I always enjoy. Aiden on the other hand is a pretty awesome male lead, but not quite what I was expecting either. The rest of the cast is pretty great as well, Conrad was my favorite of the side characters.

Overall: This is an excellent Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy series, that will satisfy lovers of either genre.

For those who like: Post-Apocalyptic, Urban Fantasy, Dragons, Magic, Great Plot, Excellent Cast of Characters.

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

Bookish Wednesday: A Warrior’s Path by Davis Ashura

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the first in a series I was introduced to by a friend. It’s A Warrior’s Path by Davis Ashura!

Plot Synopsis: Two thousand years ago, a demon thundered into the skies of Arisa and cast down the First World. She is Suwraith, the Sorrow Bringer. For millennia, She has labored to fulfill Her only vow: Humanity’s extinction.  Into this world of city-states – where a person’s Caste determines his Talents and his future – is born Rukh Shektan, a peerless young warrior who has trained since birth in the way of the sword. He becomes lost in the Wildness, the large swaths of land under the Sorrow Bringer’s sway.

Plot: I’m not going to go into the political quagmire that is the caste system, because that’s a fruitless endeavor for myself and a waste of my time. There are plot reasons for what is going on in this series and while it’s not entirely clear from this first book we do get to see some hints and teases regarding it. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and only when I looked up the book on Amazon to find the publisher’s info did I find out it’s in the young adult section. I’m surprised given the horrifically bloody nature of the book, but then I remembered that Scholastic published The Hunger Games trilogy and if that isn’t irony I don’t know what is.

Characters: Rukh is a great character, but Jarresh and Jessira are my two favorite characters. Except for Dirge, he’s kind of cool. The rest of the cast is awesome as well, you hate the ones you’re supposed to hate and all that.

Overall: This is an excellent start to a series that is looking to be amazing, wether the two sequel’s live up to the promise of this remains to be seen.

Retro Game Friday: Advance Wars Days of Ruin

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game I loved back in the day. It’s Advance Wars Days of Ruin!

Plot Synopsis: Set amidst a post-apocalyptic world, the story focuses on the Rubinelle 12th Battalion, one of the surviving remnants of the military of the country of Rubinelle, which had been locked in a century-long war with its rival, Lazuria, prior to a devastating global meteor shower. In the aftermath, the Battalion devotes itself to saving any other survivors of the disaster, despite the shattered nations renewing their war against each other and an uncurable disease ravaging both sides.

Plot: The plot is much darker compared to any previous entries in the series, which is a very welcome addition to the series. I personally loved the hell out of the story. It was very well done.

Gameplay: The gameplay fixed the imbalance of CO powers by pretty much nerfing them to the ground and making them more along the lines of static aura buffs that could be given to a single unit in the battle. It was a very welcome addition and the new units like the bike made the gameplay feel much faster. That isn’t to say that the campaign was any easier. It was still brutally hard and lived up to Nintendo’s tradition of strategy games being incredibly difficult. The last mission in particular took me weeks to beat, that one mission was particularly unforgiving in that it didn’t allow for a single mistake and required lots of luck as I recall.

Characters: Will and Isabella were probably my two favorite characters, which makes sense since those two are the ones the players are supposed to connect with. The rest of the cast was wonderful, I especially I hated Caulder personality-wise which was also intended.

Art: The art was much improved and delivered on the grittier and darker tone of the game. Previous games were way too bright, this fixed the issue by brining everything into much darker shades.

Music: The music was also improved and it fit the game perfectly.

Overall: If you have to pick just one Advance Wars game to play, pick this one. Any Strategy lovers will love the hell out of this game as well.

For those who like: Advance Wars, Post-Apocalyptic Settings, Darker Storylines, Excellent Gameplay, Fantastic Plot, Amazing Cast of Characters, Great Artwork, Stupendous Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but how can you hate all of that put together?

 

Retro Game Friday: Darksiders

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game I enjoyed, despite it being pretty clunky. It’s Darksiders!

Plot Synopsis: Since the beginning of time, the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell have waged war, with neither side ever being able to gain an advantage over the other. Thus, in time, a mediator group named “The Charred Council”, arose to maintain order and balance; to this end, they created a warrior brotherhood, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Death, Strife and Fury) to intervene and enforce their laws where and when necessary. Amidst the conflict, humanity emerged. Foreseeing that humans would be integral and contribute to the balance’s stability, the council declared them a third Kingdom, the “Kingdom of Man”. The Council brokered a truce between Heaven and Hell: the Seven Seals were created to be broken when the Kingdom of Man was ready for the Endwar.

In the present day, War arrives on earth where the final battle appears to have begun; armies of angels and demons wage war with mankind caught in the middle.

Plot: Nothing super amazing, but it wasn’t bad.

Gameplay: It played a lot like a Zelda game, although Zelda games were a heck of a lot less clunky in my opinion. This game tried to be like too many games and suffered for it. The sequel was much better in terms of gameplay pacing. That being said it was fun, but it suffered from War being so slow.

Characters: I didn’t really like any of the characters in this entry, at all. But that’s okay as I was really just playing the game for the gameplay.

Art: The art was good, nothing super amazing, but good.

Music: Was decent, not as good as the art.

Overall: This was pretty fun, but if you played the sequel you’re not really missing anything.

For those who like: Action, Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic settings, Decent Gameplay, Good Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, or clunky controls.