Serial Saturday: Azeal Neralum by Kazi

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with another series I got asked to review by it’s author.  It’s Azeal Neralum by Kazi.

Plot: Let me get this out of the way, I would normally have never bothered with reading this series, and I must have either missed the Grimdark genre tag or it was added after I had bookmarked it as a potential series to read. Either way I find the overly dark nature of the “genre” usually makes stories I tend to despise. Azeal Neralum isn’t an exception to my distaste. I honestly don’t enjoy the overly dark fantasy epic craze that’s seem to come up in the past decade. Even one of my most adored series, Mistborn, is a bit too dark for me. While I’ve read the entire thing once, I probably won’t ever do that again due to that darkness.  However other than the tone there are other serious issues I have with Azeal Neralum. Mainly the constant switching of points of view that is happening, and the lack of forward progress with regards to the main character. I don’t care about some random fort getting slaughtered, what does it have to do with the main character? If the answer to that question is “nothing” in the next 30 chapters I’ve just wasted my time reading extraneous world building that could’ve been experienced through the main characters point of view instead.

Characters: Azeal is a mediocre main character, he’s got nothing extremely likable about him that makes me interested in him as a character and the rest of the cast is just as bad. It’s even worse with the most recent chapters that the author wrote. I don’t give a rat’s ass about some “hero” or gallant general that is dying if he’s being introduced out of the blue and has no noticeable connection with the protagonist. If I had met that character 100 chapters before and grew attached to him I might feel a bit of sympathy over his death, but the way the author the author brings up these characters out of the blue is more than a bit annoying.

Grammar: The grammar is okay, but the writing itself seems off. I can’t put it into words much better than it feels just a bit wrong when I read it. Either the way the author writes is grating on my internal sense of how a book is supposed to read, or the issue is something else, but I just find it’s “flow” to be not pleasing to the eye.

Overall: If for some reason you love dark fantasy, Azeal Neralum might be up your alley after a few editing passes have been done by the author. Otherwise steer clear of this.

For those who like: Fantasy, Grimdark, LitRPG.

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

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Video Game Tuesday: Violent Games Are Not The Problem

I’m back with a topic that is really starting to piss me off for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Violent Games Are Not The Problem!

What?: So recently our beloved leader of the United States Vladimir Putin Trump, and no I don’t like Trump if you can’t tell from me implying that he’s a puppet of a foreign government, stated that he believes that violent media, namely movies and Video Games are at fault for influencing people to become more violent. I have so many problems with this bullshit that I could rant for ages. I won’t though, and will stick to a few paragraphs at most.

Video Games Do NOT Cause Violent Behavior: The American Psychological Association (APA) has stated in a recent memo that there is no viable link between violent games and movies and violent behavior. These are people who perform hundreds of studies and actually know what the fuck they are talking about. So the next time you turn on the news, and no Fox isn’t actually a news channel it was made for sensationalism not accurate or even coming close to factual reporting; and hear a person saying video games are the problem, ignore them. They have no idea what they are talking about. Besides if that was the case, and it isn’t because even watching an episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood could cause a kid to become violent, there would be so many mass shootings around the world that most of humanity would be dead or hiding in the ruins of civilization.

Here’s the quote from the APA “The less publicized, more scientifically sound view [is] that little evidence exists that playing violent video games produces violent criminal behavior”.

So when Trump announced his meeting with video game industry leaders I was more then a bit pissed off. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, in 2013 Vice President Biden held a similar meeting with industry leaders and it went nowhere because they aren’t the issue. Easy access to guns and poor mental health care are the things we should be focused on. The fact that so many people with mental health issues are not being helped by the government is a huge problem, and it’s not just an American issue.

We don’t as Humans have enough care for people with issues like severe depression. So many people believe that it’s something you can just get over, and that’s patently not true. I’ve dealt with severe depression for many, many years and it has never once gone away. I’ve had times in the past where I was almost able to forget the negative sides of myself, but it never fully went away. There’s always a part of me telling myself that I’m an utter failure and waste of oxygen. That I should just give up and find some shallow ditch to lay down and die in. But I’ve never once performed a criminal act of violence against another person. And I’ve been playing video games longer than I’ve known and felt my severe depression.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

TNT: Arifureta Volume 03 by Shirakome Ryo

This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering the third volume in Hajime’s adventures on Tortus. It’s Arifureta Volume 03 by Shirakome Ryo!

Plot Synopsis: Having beaten Miledy Raisen’s Great Labryinth and acquired Gravity magic, Hajime and Co set out again to find another Great Labryinth. Meanwhile Hajime’s Teacher Aiko is travelling towards the town of Ul….

Plot: This is a pretty decent entry in the series and is full of action scenes while also containing some really important moments for Hajime. As a side note I’ve heard people complain about how Arifureta got boring and became a Rom-Com after the first volume. I assure you that’s not the case and while it may seem toned down there are reasons for Hajime’s bloodlust being dampened. It’s pretty freaking obvious, but I won’t spoil it if you haven’t figured it out yet.

Characters: We don’t get introduced to a bunch of new characters in this volume, but Tio would be my favorite. If only because she’s very earnest about what she wants and doesn’t care at all about other’s thoughts on it. That’s an admirable trait, although what she wants is less than admirable.

Overall: An excellent volume, and while not as bloodthirsty as the first or second, there are reasons for it.

Retro Game Friday: Prototype

prototype

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering another Open-World game. It’s Prototype!

Plot Synopsis: The game follows Alexander J. Mercer who wakes up in a morgue in the basement of Gentek, a genetic engineering company based in Manhattan, sending a pair of scientists that were just about to perform an autopsy running. Alex escapes, and witnesses the scientists being gunned down by military operatives. Alex is discovered and attacked. He survives bullets being fired into his chest, and leaps over a wall to safety. He soon discovers he now possesses powerful shapeshifting abilities, superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, senses, endurance, weaponry and the ability to “consume” people to gain their memories, skills and appearance. With no memory of his previous life, Alex decides to find and consume those related to the conspiracy in order to uncover the truth.

Plot: The plot is really messed up, but given that this was a rated M game I wasn’t too surprised. The plot wasn’t super amazing, but it wasn’t terrible either.

Characters: The characters in this game are also really messed up, but I won’t go into that as it’d be spoilerific. That being said Alex was a decent lead character, but nothing amazing either.

Gameplay: This was a pretty fun game, allowing you to pretty much go around Manhattan as you pleased and do whatever you want, whether that’s going on a murderous rampage taking out any and everyone, or following the story. There was lots of violence, but the gameplay was pretty solid. That being said it was quite a bit like InFamous which came out at a similar time.

Art: The art is okay, but it’s 3D so it’s aged poorly. They did remake it for the latest generation of consoles however, so there is that.

Music: The music was okay, but I don’t much of it.

Overall: A solid game, if a bit repetitive. If you’ve never played it, try out the remastered version that comes with the sequel.

For those who like: Action, Open-World, Violence, Decent Plots, Good Gameplay, Okay Artwork.

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

Manga Monday: Kento Ankokuden Cestvs by Wazarai Shizuya

cestvs

This week for Manga Monday I’m back with another Quick Review. It’s Kento Ankokuden Cestvs by Wazarai Shizuya!

Plot Synopsis: 54 AD. Cestvs, a young boy and member of the lowest social class, is placed into a training school for slave-boxers. It is here that he begins his journey to defy fate and survive.

Plot: This first chapter is pretty brutal, but considering the subject matter is Roman Gladiators I’m not too surprised. I actually enjoyed this, and I’ll probably continue reading this sometime in the future. At least I will once I’ve cleared out all the other ones I’ve have already in my backlog.

Characters: We get introduced to Cestvs and Rocco in this first chapter and I have to say I found them pretty interesting characters. Cestvs seems way too nice to be a gladiator, but I’m going to guess he’ll grow over the course of the series.

Art: The art really reminds me of Berserk, a series that is also notoriously bloody and violent. At least Cestvs held my attention more than Berserk did.

Overall: If you want a look at what Roman Gladiators dealt with Cestvs should prove to be a great read, probably.

For those who like: Historical Fiction, Drama, Action, Martial Arts, Violence, Interesting Plot, Great Lead Character, Fitting Artwork.

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

Sensate Saturday: Inuyashiki by Hiroya Oku

inuyashiki

This week for Sensate Saturday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Inuyashiki by Hiroya Oku!

Plot Synopsis: Inuyashiki has a family, a wife and two kids, none of which care about him. When he learns that he has only three months to live he realizes that the only one who will miss him is his dog…

Plot: This series is really depressing, and if it weren’t for the fact that I had already prepared for doing this Quick Review in advance prior to the US Presidential Election, I wouldn’t be covering this series. This first chapter is really depressing and frankly if anyone has any mental health issues, especially after this last week, don’t read this series right now. Wait until next summer, before trying this series out. I know I plan to do just that. As this is a series written by the creator of Gantz, I’m expecting a lot of tragedy and heartbreak, though if he kills the dog I will stop reading this series faster than a sinking piece of lead. I’ll probably never read another of his works either, I’m a dog lover so sue me.

Characters: Inuyashiki is a really sad guy, and I feel for him deeply, although I have a family who cares about me, I understand feeling lonely except for your dog. Ironically enough both Inuyashiki and my family have the same breed of dog, the Shiba Inu. They really are smarter than some humans I’ve met, and frankly my favorite character is the dog, Hanako, thus far. The rest of the cast is okay, but really depressing.

Art: The art is amazing, which is to be expected by the guy who made Gantz.

Overall: This looks to be a great series, but I’m going to be holding off until the summer to read this due to it being so depressing as well.

For those who like: Dogs, Older Male Leads, Being Depressed, Amazing Artwork, Great Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters (really though the dog is awesome.)

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but especially the Depressed part.

Manga Monday: Yogen no Nayuta by Fujimoto Tatsuki

yogen_no_nayuta

This week for Manga Monday I’m covering another One-Shot! It’s Yogen no Nayuta by Fujimoto Tatsuki!

Plot Synopsis: A tale about a prophecy involving a girl with horns who is said to bring destruction upon the world, and her brother.

Plot: The plot is pretty tense, and I really didn’t expect this to run in a Shounen publication, but it did. That being said it was a One-Shot so maybe it was able to get away with more than a full serialization would. The plot is also really screwed up, so if you have any squeamishness you probably don’t want to read this.

Characters: Kenji is our main PoV character for this One-Shot and his sister Nayuta is our titular female lead. She’s definitely not normal, and is pretty disturbing. The rest of the characters we meet are never named, so I can’t really comment on anyone else.

Art: The art matches this screwed up One-Shot very well, but given the author’s other work which is even more seriously screwed up I found Nayuta to be much more tolerable.

Overall: If you can handle the gore, this One-Shot might be worth a read. Otherwise move on with your life, you really don’t want to read this.

For those who like: Drama, Action, Violence, Gore, Tense Plot.

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