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Posts Tagged ‘Commentary’

Nearly late, but not quite!

Probable Must Watches

Monogatari (III)

2013JUL-Mongatari

Well, naturally this is the top of my list. It was teaser’ed at the end of the Nekomonogatari movie earlier in the year. I’m a little concerned that its covering more books than its predecessor series, but I also haven’t read those, so maybe it’ll all be ok. Anyway, it’ll involve Mr. Shinbo’s psychotic direction again no doubt; but thats ok, its real strength lies with its unconventional approach and its philosophy. The action, cute girls, and Araragi being an awesome lead male character are just icing on its cake. Of course, Nisemonogatari has us wondering about how he’s going to keep the harem maintained. Sengoku is especially a powder keg waiting to explode.

However, I am kinda annoyed they STILL HAVE NOT DONE the Kizumonogatari movie, which we were waiting for back when they released Nisemonogatari, never mind a year later for this. The prequel backstory on Araragi becoming a Vampire and the backdrop for his relationship with Shinobu is kind of important. Fortunately, the book is translated HERE, thanks to Baka-Tsuki, so go read it if you haven’t already.

Fate/Prisma Illya

2013JUL-Ilya

A gaiden/side story for FSN that naturally focuses on the sillier aspects! This an alternate universe where Iris and Kiritsugu (from Fate/Zero) are living like a (vaguely) normal family with their children Illya and Shirou. At least, until Rin and Luvia, who are magical girls in this setting, are abandoned my their magical sticks (of Zeltretch!) because they’re always fighting each other rather than doing their jobs properly. Naturally, one of the sticks chooses Illya as its new master, and tutored by Rin, she is thrown into a quest to retrieve the escaped Servant Cards, which like in Cardcaptor Sakura, give her various powers later.

I’m a little concerned that the preview focused entirely on the moe element though. You shouldn’t expect deepness of Illya, but it’ll be a nice, lighthearted romp paying homage to every standard magical girl trope in the book, just with FSN characters and settings. A guilty pleasure, if you will.

Cautiously Optimistic About

The Neptunia Anime

2013JUL-Nep

Everyone’s favourite niche console-wars piss-take PS3 game is finally getting itself an anime. All of the main girls in the foreground above are goddesses of the video-games industry and represent consoles and handhelds, including the never-released Sega Neptune and Nepgear.

Frankly, the first game was pretty freaking terrible with comatose inducing battles and plenty of grinding barely buoyed by an average plot, but the second was a nice reboot of the franchise, and Victory (recently released) has continued the trend of being decent. It’s been basically confirmed that this is an original story though, rather than an anime adaptation of one of the games.

Kami Sama no Inai Nichiyoubi

2013JUL-Kamisamaaka. “And so god abandoned this world on Sunday”. Follows a loli-gravekeeper (!) in a world where no one new is born. She has prepared 47 graves for her village just in time for a serial killer to come around and slaughter them all. It also just so happens this man may well be her father.

Err… yeah… talk about morbid descriptions of an anime, eh? In any case, its based on an award winning novel, so perhaps it could be interesting.

Uchouten Kazoku
2013JUL-UchoutenPA Works doing an anime in a world where humans and Tanuki live side by side? That could be marginally interesting. Though they’ve been a little less inspiring lately; TariTari was merely solid rather than excellent.

Well, in any case, I’ll be giving it a look.

Maybe worth a look

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui
aka. “It’s not my fault I’m Unpopular”. Apparently it has /a/ on 4chan to thank for its popularity. That isn’t exactly… comforting; though the concept has potential.

Kin’iro Mosaic
Oh my: “The Japanese/British girls’ mixed comedy follows the lives of Shinobu, Alice, and other girls from both Japan and Great Britain.” Mainly this is here because I’m interested in how much fail they can pack in their representation of Britain. It may shoot up my listings if it can handle the UK in a way that is funny without being hamfisted, since, being a brit, I love taking the piss out of my own country…

Servant x Service
A 4koma-ish anime about the civil service in Japan. Because that sounds SO BORING, who knows… it may actually work!

NO! Just NO!!!

Free!
Sparkling Bishounen go swimming…

Inu to Hasami wa Tsukiyou
A dog… and girl wielding scissors… (sigh)…

Kimi no Iru Machi
I’ve heard too much horror about the manga…

Fantasista DollRozen Maidens play Yi-Gi-Oh…

Quite a spread from bad to good I guess. There is more, but if I’ve not mentioned it, it’s probably so generic as not be worthy a mention, I’ve missed it, or it has very little information at this stage.

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LAAAAAATTTTEEEE!!! I know. No excuses. Just laziness this time. There’s alot of sequels and sci-fi this season; not that this is neccessarily a bad thing.

Probable Must Watches

Shingeki no Kyojin (aka. Attack on Titan)
2013APR-GiantsThe Manga of this is ludicrously popular; mostly for being dark, bloody, visceral and heavy. Crapsack future world where humans have been mostly eliminated by giants who eat people for lolz. The few survivors managed to do so by building a city with a huge wall that giants couldn’t see behind (apparently they’re pretty dumb). Of course, eventually, one of them happens to be taller than the wall, and goes on a rampage, eating the protagonists mother. He goes on a vengeance quest afterwards, vowing to elimate the giants from the world.

First attempt of a new studio too, so here’s hoping they can pull it off. I imagine it could end up a massive flop if they even think about rose-tinting it, though. Any censoring or plot alterations to remove the excessive violence will kill it dead. It needs to be at least as violent as Claymore and Muv-Luv Alternative to work.

Suisui no Gargantia
2013APR-Suisei
The protagonist has spent his life as part of the galactic human alliance fighting against an alien race called the Hideous (REALLY?!?) when in one battle he is suddenly sucked into a time-space wibble and thrown across the dimensions to land on Earth. Which was apparently mostly forgotten about long ago; and is now an oceanic lost world after the polar caps melted. He now has to learn to live in a suspiciously peaceful place along with a genki thing called Amy.

So, this is what happens if you put Waterworld and Urobuchi Gen together? Though I have to say Psycho-Pass was a bit of let-down from Gen considering his previous good works. As a result, I’m a little more suspicious of him now, rather than instantly paying attention. I also don’t believe for a minute (go on, surprise me, Gen) that this is going to stay peaceful. Ah well, it has some good potential, so…

Railgun Season II
2013APR-RailgunIIWell yeah, this is of course going to be here, I’m a raving Index and Railgun fanboy for reasons I can’t quite discern sometimes. Though mostly I like Kuroko more than Misaka. Gotta love her raving lesbianism. Ahem, in any case, this season is covering the Sisters arc from Misaka’s perspective, which could be REALLY good, since it was arguably the best arc of the original Index. Besides, we get to see the point where our railgun starts crushing on Touma heavily from her point of view. And of course, Accelerator being a dick makes everything better.

Devil Survivor II The Animation2013APR-DevilSurvivorIIOh Really? I actually wasn’t aware that there ~was~ a second Devil Survivor game (goes to check~ OH right its usual thing of Europe being horribly screwed over with releases… apparently we’re getting it THIS MAY, over 14 months after America… and holy s**t we’re finally getting Overclocked as well, at the same time. Jeez, there might be a reason to dust off my 3ds, what with Fire Emblem 13 finally coming out as well).

Anyway, rants about nonsensical release dates aside I can say that anything Shin Megami Tensei related is usually at least decent. Although, I do wonder how they can present the multiple options in any given game and push them into an anime. Part of the appeal of the games (besides collecting and fusing demons) is making moralistic choices that are quite often selections between bad and worse. So anyway, I think it could turn out very well, but it could also flop.


Cautiously Optimistic About

Hataraku Maou Sama
2013APR-Maou-SamaJapan loves shows about demon kings at the moment. This one is another exile; just prior to him conquering the world, of course. And now his admin, strategic and logistical skills from that event are now entirely useless, apparently, and he has to start a new conquering spree of earth by working in a family resturant… huh… Well anyway its a rather idiotic concept, but worse concepts have turned out better and I have a good feeling about it, so we shall see.

Nyaruko Season II2013APR-NyarukoIIThe return of the cutest lovecraftian horrors to grace this earth. If the show had maintained its early season power; I’d be throwing this up in the Must Watches, actually, because gods alive the first episodes of the first season were comedic genius. Sadly it lost its momentum as it went along and nearly fell into generic harem territory by the end. Not that I don’t like Cthuga and Hastur; they were actually funny characters (especially Kuuko/Cthuga) but somehow I got the idea the show was trying too hard. Anyway; it still has good enough potential, so lets see.

Photo Kano
2013APR-PhotoKano#Considering the entire premise is “boy gets a camera, boy uses camera to get girls”, I ~really~ should slap this straight into the NO category. However, it is working off the rather excellent pedigree from Amagami; which was one of the few decent romance shows to grace our screens in recent years. We can only hope that it can follow up that act; and to do so, I do hope they use the same omnibus format with resets every few episodes, each block telling a different story. It was part of the reason its predecessor worked as well as it did.

Zettai Bouei Leviathan
2013APR-LeviathanI know, I should stop deluding myself into believing Mobile Games can be made into successful anime’s; so far I’ve been burnt by every similar prediction so far, but I can’t help it. And it’s Gonzo, so yeah. But… but dragon girls! It stars the personification of Bahamut, Jormungand and Leviathan out to stop evil aliens invading their world using meteors. I mean seriously, that concept is so idiotic I can’t help but chuckle at it. Go on, surpise me, be a sleeper hit on me, Zettai.


May Possibly Look into

Red Data Girl
Can’t say the first teaser episode really inspired much of… well… anything in me. I know I’m supposed to feel sorry for her, but I think they’re playing that card too soon.

Aku no Hana
Could be interesting; but it sounds rather dark, which is not typically my cup of tea. Can’t say I’ve actually read the Flowers of Evil either so for once I don’t have much of a grounding on the literary side of things.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
Seems a rather generic mecha show. Since that’s not my thing, the only reason its really in this category is because it has the director of Katanagatari.

Karneval
Fabulous guys everywhere; and the circus. Oh deaar… Still; the premise is mildly entertaining and I’m willing to give it a chance, at the very least.

Samurai Girls Season II
Though it had style, it had no substance. But who knows, maybe the second season will redeem it.

Ore no Imouto Kawaii Season II
Honestly, the adaptation of the first season was pretty dubious, especially with its direction choices. If I recall, the novels also become ponderous rather than light-hearted too as they go on, so I can’t place this season any higher, really.

Azazel-San Season II
Its short episodes and frankly disgusting sense of humour were marginally amusing, but I honestly don’t see myself tuning in for a second season.

Date A Live
Even though its based on a light novel; it just totally screams generic harem at the top of its lungs, so I’m afraid I can’t rank it any higher. I heard it starts funny and then loses it though, so I’ll at least look at it.


No, Just NO!

Dansei Bunri no Crime Edge
What is the current trend with hair fetishes in Japan? Eeesh. Magical scissors too…

Mushibugyou
The Shinsengumi fight giant bugs… wait what?

Aiyura & Yuyushiki
I just don’t have any faith left in 4koma adaptations. That is all.


Well, at least there’s not as much obviously suspicious stuff this season, but there’s also alot in the ‘meh’ category too, so whatever.

As always, my viewpoints are biased and have about a 15% chance of being totally wrong. I’ve also probably missed some things.

Well, even when you’ve been watching anime for as long as I have, things still surprise and dissapoint you; though my sensor for junk and jewels is more accurate than most.

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Phew, that’s right. Though a little bit over my initial schedule (ideally I wanted to get it out by the end of last year, but alas…) I’m still proud to announce that Aniventure’s expansion volume is now 100% complete and has gone to gold-draft today!

Here’s the front cover:
Shimaihen-Front-Cover-blog

Featuring Itsuki from my current Aniventure Campaign in her fanservice-y pilot suit lounging around her specially modified 3-seater Kikka.

Shimaihen is intended as a massive expansion to the Aniventure 5 core system, adding a huge variety of new powers, archetypes and magics for the system, amending and updating the system with errata and expansion material. It also includes system mechanics to create your own race, craft wonderous items and summon creatures. All supported with handy table reference and a full bestiary of creatures.

It should be out as soon as I can confirm the quality of the draft, so hopefully that’ll be in about 2 weeks, possibly less. Chances are it’ll only be in hardback format, since the paperback of the original was a mere footnote compared to the hardback’s popularity (I guess most roleplayers prefer their books to be tough, which is fine and dandy I suppose).

If you’ve not picked up a copy of this rather bemusing Pen & Paper Anime RPG system yet, there’s no time like the present! If you’re skint, the PDF is still available for just £1.25 / $2, and will be now forever.

Stay tuned for more exciting news…

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And here’s my thoughts of what’s going on with the current anime season, compiled into a handy table once more: Anime2013-Spring-Table

As I noted in the initial preview, there’s a lot of shows I wasn’t even going to attempt to bother watching with more than a cursory glance to see if I’d underestimated them. Fortunately, for the most part, I didn’t. From the frankly spastic tonal changes of Koutoura-san to the moe equivalent of cheap sausage-meat that is Love Live, I’m not going to even give these shows a space on the table. I somehow managed to get through GJ-Bu’s first episode though, so that’s on there, though I’m not going to follow it.

The only one truly underestimated was OsaShura; primarily because our main hero seems stronger spined than most, and Masuzu seems pretty awesome, though it’s setting many flags that I often recognise as death-flags for a show already, so I’m suspicious of it, but its got enough to keep my attention for now.

The surprisingly good dark horse was Mondaiji. I’m glad I didn’t instantly dismiss it; highly competent (even overpowered) leads who immediately come to an understanding with one another is a rare and beautiful sight. There’s hints of a bigger story being seeded too, and subtle touches, like the suggestion that our heroes are from different era’s/times.

Yama no Suzume kinda sabotages itself with its own shortness. Three minutes is really too short. But I suppose if you want a saccharine shot, go for it.

Tamako Market does indeed look like its generic KyoAni. Shame, as Hyouka was good; but all this really has going for it is the talking bird, which is relatively bemusing.

Season II of Boku wa Tomadachi ga Sukunai continues without missing a beat, as if it was never off-air at all, which is commendable. It’s still got a good sense of the absurd; though I have to say the first episode wasn’t one of its funnier ones.

Hair Detective Inaba has absolutely no sense of comedic timing, sadly. It seems to think a joke minute == a laugh a minute, which is not really the case. It is impressively derp-worthy that you can fast-scan to any point in the episode and have a good chance of going “Wut?” though; and it doesn’t take itself seriously at least.

Be Mine Hero… well it’s solid adaptation; and the director was at least conscious when they made it; since some good choices were made in explaining the material with various shots, rather than keeping the hardcore exposition. But the character art has indeed ended up as suspicious as I originally feared; and Maou’s ‘useless meat’ was given centre stage, whereas it was a side note in the original. That’s not unexpected, I guess, but its still a little dissapointing.

Finally, Sasami-san. Shinbo’s still on form, though he’s actually restrained himself for this one, I think (perhaps I wasn’t paying attention, but no over shoulder head-tilts were spotted!). Its also completely different to what was advertised, which is pretty surprising. After all, I completely didn’t expect the entire world to turn to chocolate and the sister trio having to fight off a hydra made of fudge in the first episode. Sasami herself is a bit odd too. Clearly a wielder of the ‘Significant Brother Lover’ and yet tsundere about it. Go figure.

And a reminder: this summary is just my opinion so far. A +0 tends to mean “you’ve got one more episode to prove yourself”, whereas a +1 means I’m interested, and +2 means I’m already bemused. -1 or worse tends to mean dropped. They rarely show up if I’m doing my initial impressions correctly though,  since I tend to have a decent sense of what is going to instantly be a bad idea, and what has some vague potential.

That’s about all for now. Hope you find this handy if you haven’t yet decided on a schedule for the new season.

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That’s right! You can now buy the PDF of my Aniventure RPG system for JUST 99p / under $2!

Not only that, but there’s also 20% off the Paperback printcopy of the system, 5% off my 2013 calendar, and 5% off the Hardback printcopy!

MADNESS! What kind of lunacy is this!? It’s a special christmas gift to all of my loyal blog readers who for whatever reason felt that the old costs were a little too expensive and were holding out on picking something up.

Perhaps you want a cheap xmas gift for yourself or an anime/RPG affectionado in your family. Perhaps you were on a tight budget. And perhaps you just want to avoid a hammering from Eliza (she calls it “getting into the swing of Christmas”, whatever that means):
b-Elizasleyn-Fullplate-For-Charsheet

Whatever your reason, now is the time to pick something up, as this !!SPARTA!! class madness will only last until Boxing Day (26th December).

If you enjoy Aniventure already or end up liking it from this deal, please don’t hesitate to tell your friends in all corners of the globe about these limited time offers!

And if you buy the PDF and really end up liking it, please consider picking up a paper copy as well or donating to my Xmas fundraiser for Aniventure (Paypal button below).


!Click to Save a Catgirl from Slavery!*

Donate whatever you like! Even send me 1 cent and a rude comment! At least I’ll get a laugh out of it! Every humble amount helps towards making Aniventure more shiny and happy, and saving homeless destitute unemployed catgirls from untimely heavenly smiting caused by the discussion of physics in Anime.*


* = DISCLAIMER: Shiny-ness and happiness may not actually increase and I cannot actually guarantee the lives of unfortunate cat-girls, but of course any money raised from Aniventure sales and donations will, as usual, go to further development of the supplement, Shimaihen, to the purchase of ISBN numbers, and possibly to the commision of real artists far better than me. In all serious-ness, by clicking you are agreeing to donate to my cause under the assumption of christmas charity given to a complete stranger, understand you may never see any benefit, do so out the kindness of your own heart and waive any of your personal rights to complain about the matter. AND THANKYOU for doing so!

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I have no idea what I was smoking when I decided upon that title. The subtitle sounds like it was ripped from some terrible Robert Ludlum novel, but alas… Anyway, yet another sketch-a-licious post today, covering, as you may have guessed, Neptune from Hyperdimensional Neptunia, everyone’s favourite anthropomorphised non-existent next-gen SEGA console that may have been competing in the fifth console generation vs. the 360, Wii and PS3 had SEGA not basically gone bust over the Dreamcast and been bought out by Nintendo. Here she is:

If you’ve not heard of/played the game, then to clarify, the left hand girl form (‘Neptune’) is her regular appearance, and the right hand (‘Purple Heart’) is what she transforms into as part of her HDD Divinity, so yeah, they’re the same girl, though Nep in particular seems to get a huge age/bosom UP from the process (which I always found funny, actually).

All of the consoles of said generation are represented with girls in a similar fashion in these games. Though, that said, the first game has a snore-worthy battle system that is frankly verging on terrible, though it has an amusing console wars plotline going on. The second game, MK2, lost a bit on the story department, but vastly improved the battle system and added in girls for the various handhelds (PSP, the DS twins, and Nepgear). The third is shaping up to hopefully combine the best of both of the prior ones.

Anyway, to speak of the sketch, I’m generally very happy with how it turned out, though I have to say their wonderfully chaotic and messy hair gave me alot of troubles to get it looking right! I spent a long time tweaking various parts, and as you can guess, ran out of dedication before I could fill in a background, especially as I came to the conclusion that I could do this electronically for the wallpaper version and in this case have it look even better, which I think I did. See for yourself:

Interestingly enough, Smart Blur/Posterization came into use again with this, though with different settings to Itsuki; and this time it was given a few extra blending options afterwards. I also colourized the N Logo, as the purple-ness didn’t come out too well when scanned. You can spot a few added binary streams I put in as extra layers too if you look closely. Cleaning the sketch and adding its transparency was a bit of a nightmare for some reason this time, but I think it was worth the effort.

Also, funnily enough I realised after completing the wallpaper that Neptune’s hoodie-dress outfit is her one from the original two games, whilst her Heart bodysuit is actually her revised one from the new third game (Neptunia Victory). Since her transformed form is pulling the original and beckoning (to the future?) its also ended up making an interesting (if entirely and hilariously accidental) statement about the progress of the series in general.

Anyways, stay tuned.

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It’s time for another sketch post, this time taking a focus in on Itsuki from the previous ladies of the charm society post:
This is the state she was in when visited in her dorm room by our player characters. She spent most of that time trolling and thickly spreading innuendo (trying to get our poor school newspaper photographer to die of bloodloss from nosebleeds, apparently).

In any case, it was a fun scene to draw an interpretation of, so I did. Given her penchant for being a perverse troll AND a fighter jet otaku, the motto on her tank top seemed to come naturally, and made me crack up when I drew it. First time I’ve tried to draw someone with Pocky (or Locky, in this case) too, and that also came out alright. And frankly, I want that bedspread for myself (who wouldn’t want a bullet bill bed?).

I added alot of cool details to this in general (frankly, I should do more sketches with detailed backgrounds but I tend to be too lazy to bother), and the hope is that everything in those details sums up what it is for Itsuki to be Itsuki.

As an aside, in case you were wondering, yes, X-COM did show up in this campaign in the first episode, because it has been utterly crazy and referential to basically everything I’ve done before.

Speaking of the new X-COM Enemy Unknown, initially I was rather angry and baffled at it requiring Windows Vista since it was programmed in DirectX 9, and had to cancel my pre-order because I’m antique that sees no urgency in his upgrade to Windows 7. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of KawaiiSara in this Steam Topic, it can be made to work VERY easily on XP. Which begs the question of whether one of the programmers in Firaxis is just grossly incompetent or whether they got a bribe from Microsoft to remove XP support, because there is literally no reason to make it this way (the required DLL is provided for free by MS, requiring only tweaking, and that is the only thing preventing the game running).

Though it puts a slightly bad taste in my mouth that I had to hack my own game exe to play, fortunately, the game itself is good enough for me to forgive them. Barely. After a good six hours of play, I approve of most the design decisions in this remake, which have proved to be sound gambles. The reduced squad size is tolerable, since, as I predicted, your initial troops are vaguely competent and not so prone to being OHKO’ed any more. Moreover, with the eventual classes and abilities, an X-COM squad does now act much more like a professional combined arms paramilitary unit rather than a zergrush with glacial pace (which was the optimal way to play the originals, inching forwards in a wave, with constantly holding back timeunits for reaction fire).

The only things I have a bone to pick with on the tactical level is the aliens getting a free cutscene leap into cover when spotted, and overwatch only triggering on an alien making a move (rather than from appearing, shooting, basically anything). As a result, its actually alot more niche to use overwatch than the old reaction fire. But perhaps that in itself is what has encouraged the change in the feel of combat, so its forgivable.

The strategic layer is also fine. Part of me misses the needless extra time advancement buttons, but of course they were never used much, so its not a big loss. I’ve heard people get angry about how critically important satellites are, but then again, one of your early moves in the original was nearly always to put up an extra base for radar coverage and interception, and this is exactly the same thing. Panic management is a little tiresome, true, but actually, it beats having a country randomly sign off for no apparent reason like they used to (typically because an alien battleship evaded your detection entirely).

The only thing I’ll bitch about here is the simplification of the interception element (and they didn’t remix the old music!). On the other hand, I can understand this, as its true that optimal way to handle this in the original was basically to encourage a slugging match with plasma cannons and most people ignored interception tactics in general. So again, this is at least understandable. Except they didn’t remix the music; that is truly abhorrent given the awesomeness of the original interception music. 😀

Anyway, I’ll shut the hell up about X-COM now, and let you have the Itsuki wallpaper you probably scrolled past all that for:

With a Smart Blur and Posterization, she actually turned out pretty nice. Not a photoshop process I usually go with since I like to preserve the ‘sketchiness’ of a sketch most of the time, but here its fine.

Anyway, tune in again soon.

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