Review of River City: Tokyo Rumble


When the police force proves to be ineffective, at maintaining order, it falls upon high school delinquents to uphold justice. River City: Tokyo Rumble is a retro style beat-em-up were players keep the streets of River City… um I mean Tokyo… clean by pummelling the gang members infesting its prefectures. Although I never had the pleasure of playing River City Ransom on the NES, Tokyo Rumble’s brawling is familiar to me as it harkens back to the days of Double Dragon (heck, the game even uses the Double Dragon theme in one of its later stages.) Forget complex combos and special moves, self defence in Japan’s capital merely involves pressing A and B to dish out a flurry of punches and kicks.


The combat in River City: Tokyo Rumble may lack depth, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Smacking hoodlums never gets old, whether you inflict damage with your fists or by using the plethora of weapons found littering Tokyo’s pavements. Like in most brawlers there are whips and baseball bats to wield, along with less orthodox weaponry. Ever had the urge to hammer someone over the head with a bicycle? Well now you can, by downloading this 3DS gem, you violent cycle-path… um I mean psychopath. Defeating foes awards experience points and once sufficient XP has been accrued protagonist Kunio levels up, increasing his stats in the process.

Apart from bolstering his physical might, Kunio can beef up his mind by reading books. Paperbacks can be purchased from stores (by using the coinage procured from vanquished ruffians) and perusing their contents will teach our hero some new Kung-Fu techniques. Money can also be spent on recuperating health, which is accomplished by dining at restaurants, or on purchasing protective attire. The apparel Kunio can don includes defence boosting shirts and agility enhancing sneakers. Items can also be equipped on the AI controlled companions who accompany Kunio on his quest. The allies in question may not be very smart, but on the plus side they don’t “accidently” whack me in the back when my guard is down (like my human chums used to do back when we played Streets of Rage.)


My rating for River City: Tokyo Rumble is a three and a half out of five. I suspect the simplistic gameplay will bore some players, but old fogeys such as myself should appreciate Tokyo Rumble’s nostalgic charm. The 8-bit visuals are rather cute and I dug the humorous dialogue uttered during cut scenes (or whenever an enemy gets thumped.) Unlike some other fighting games, which are broken up into linear levels, I liked how you are given the freedom to explore Tokyo at your leisure. Each area can be reached courtesy of Tokyo’s reliable subway system. Thank goodness that this game isn’t set in London or else it would take hours to reach your destination, because the Underground’s lazy staff is always on strike.

If the game were a little longer I would have considered awarding it four stars. As it stands, Tokyo Rumble’s story can be completed in around four hours. Not great value, although you can extend your playtime by completing the optional side quests that are posted at the local job centre. River City also comes bundled with a couple of mini-games. The first of these is a four-man brawl dubbed Rumble and the other is Dodgeball, which involves knocking out rivals by hurling balls at their faces. Ouch! Watching Haikyu never prepared me for how barbaric sports can be. Parents who want to spare their kids from violence may want to avoid River City’s Dodgeball mode and invest in a more wholesome sport sim instead. I personally recommend Dead or Alive Xtreme 3.

Invaders of the Rokujyoma Review


I live in an overpopulated city, where the demand for housing is so high that the cost of rent equals that of a mortgage. With that in mind, I can appreciate why Kotaro Satomi was over the moon about securing accommodation for the modest monthly sum of five thousand yen. Like all good deals however, there has to be a catch. After moving in the frugal teenager discovers that the apartment is haunted by a female poltergeist and unfortunately for him she has no interest in sharing the space with a roommate. Things escalate quickly from that point when three other ladies show up at the scene. All of them, for various reasons, demand that Kotaro surrender ownership of the bedsit at once. Man what a pain. Is discount lodgings really worth all this bother?


Invaders of the Rokujyoma is a twelve-episode anime based on Takehaya’s light novel series. The show begins with Kotaro and the above-mentioned girls vying for control of Corona House Room 106 (perhaps the address is popular because it is named after a refreshing Mexican beverage.) Kotaro’s rivals answer to the name of Sanae, Yurika, Kiriha and Theiamillis. Sanae Higashihongan is the resident spook whilst Yurika Nijino is an accident prone Magical Girl, who is trying to protect the complex from capture by evil witches. Much less benevolent is Kiriha Kurano, a busty shrine maiden from a subterranean kingdom, who plots to use the apartment as a base from where she can begin invading the surface world. Theiamillis Gre Fortorthe on the other hand is an extra-terrestrial royal, whose claim to the throne is dependent on her seizing Kotaro’s home. Space Invaders have gotten cuter (and more tsundere) since their 70s arcade debut.

Rokujyoma’s early episodes have the cast competing in an obstacle race and various card games to determine whom the flat’s lease should go to. Thank goodness things don’t work that way in the real world or I would be homeless. Whether it’s Poker, Snap or Hearthstone I suck at cards. Anyways, after a while it dawns on the series’ writer that the premise doesn’t have much mileage. A truce ends the dwelling centric feud, allowing the established characters to go off on whacky adventures instead. One storyline sees Sanae get kidnapped by ghost hunters, another tale has Yurika battling a sorceress who can inflict amnesia and there is also an arc were Theiamillis is targeted by a fellow alien princess. The anime concludes with a Christmas special and (given that this is a harem show) you can also expect a seaside episode were the cast strut their stuff in revealing bikinis.


My rating for Invaders of the Rokujyoma is a three out of five. For me the series isn’t strong enough to warrant a physical purchase, but harem genre fans should find it entertaining enough to stream online. Thankfully this isn’t one of those shows were all you get are girls squabbling over a guy who is more “plane” than a jumbo jet. Takehaya’s creativity gives us a number of amusing moments to laugh at. Some highlights of note include scenes were Theiamillis’ aide Ruth gets triggered by rhinoceros beetles and how everyone dismisses the possibility that Yurika is a bonafide Magical Girl, believing instead that she is an overzealous cosplayer. I also had to giggle at how a group, who can cast destructive spells and control technologically advanced weapons, cower in terror whenever their antics anger Corona House’s dainty landlord.

Although the comedy is decent Rokujyoma doesn’t have much in the way of story. There are some hints suggesting that Kotaro was destined to meet up with the women in his life, but the idea isn’t fully explored in this set’s dozen episodes. You’ll have to track down a translated copy of the source material to see if the implied time travel subplot pays off in the books’ later volumes. Waiting for the novels to get localized may take a while though. In the meantime I will sit here pondering how Kotaro managed to attract so many attractive roommates. Why can’t I cohabitate with a lovable phantom or a damsel with big jugs? The only people I find are jerks who refuse to clean the house and gits who eat all my snacks without asking!

Review of Psycho-Pass: The Movie


Readers who have been following my blog for a couple of years will know that I am a big fan of Psycho-Pass (possibly because I am a complete psycho.) The series won my Top Five Anime of 2014, beating the likes of Fate/Zero and Attack on Titan. After a gap of two years the time has come for me to revisit the Psycho-Pass universe courtesy of this motion picture, which is available to buy from Anime Ltd in the UK. For the record, I have yet to watch the second season of Psycho-Pass, because I hear that it isn’t up to snuff. Guess we can blame a change in writer and studio for the dip in quality. When will people learn that change is a terrible thing? As an example, it drives me potty when Facebook and YouTube periodically change their webpage layouts to an inferior design.


Psycho-Pass: The Movie begins literally with a bang, thanks to an action packed opener featuring the cutest flash grenade I have ever seen. The intro scene has Akane Tsunemori and a team of MWPSB agents taking down a group of foreign terrorists. How dare these armed immigrants disturb the peace? The Sybil System, which maintains law and order in Japan, should keep those troublemakers out by building a wall. Anyways, one quick investigation later and it is revealed that the radicals in question hail from an unstable region dubbed the Southeast Asia Union. Apparently Akane’s former subordinate Shinya Kogami, who has been AWOL ever since the events of series one, is training the country’s guerrilla faction. Eager to meet up with him (possibly because she thinks he looks dreamy topless) Akane flies off to the SEAUN hoping to apprehend the runaway Enforcer.

From there Akane tries to infiltrate the resistance, which is fighting against the recently crowned SEAUN government. The country’s administration rose to power after their leader agreed to import the Sybil System. With the aid of Japanese drones pockets of peace have been established in a nation torn apart by civil war. Tranquillity comes at a price though. SEAUN’s military elite rule with an iron fist and have relegated much of the populace to second-class citizens – who are obliged to wear collars, which are more demeaning than the ones my dominatrix orders me to wear on Saturday nights. Any inhabitants who step out of line are promptly executed by toxins contained in their Sybil manufactured chokers. Faced with such discrimination, can Akane complete her mission or will she be compelled to challenge the Sybil backed SEAUN regime?


My rating for Psycho-Pass: The Movie is a four out of five. It’s a great flick, although I will admit that I prefer the original series a smidgen more. I think that opinion is however influenced by my natural bias towards narratives that are broken up into episodes. The absence of characters I liked from season one could also be a factor, because the movie is mostly an Akane/Kogami exclusive adventure. All that said it was cool seeing Psycho-Pass broaden its horizons beyond Japan and seeing how the Sybil System functions in a young state rather than an established utopian society. The movie’s action is top notch too, featuring brawls were Kogami battles against cyborg mercenaries and gunfights were Dominators reduce lawbreakers into giblets. You probably don’t want to consume a meal whilst watching this film!

Like all good sci-fi Psycho-Pass: The Movie uses its futuristic setting to make us ponder on present day issues. Obtrusive surveillance, tampering with the politics of war torn lands and fear being used as justification to erode civil liberties are all covered during Psycho-Pass’ two-hour runtime. The artificial Sybil System acts eerily similar to flesh and blood statesmen. Unlike those we elect into the White House, Sybil does listen to feedback sometimes. Akane has some sway over it at the very least, although that may be due to her cuteness. Who can say no to that face? Whenever the diminutive inspector barks out dissent she looks just like an adorable puppy. Anyways, time will tell if the upcoming Ghost in the Shell will be any good. If it flops, like many anime live action adaptations do, fret not because Psycho-Pass: The Movie has you cyberpunk junkies covered.

The Top 5 Anime I Reviewed in 2016


It was sad to see that the celebrity cull of 2016 did not spare Japan, robbing us of several talented creators and voice actors. For the most part however 2016 was a good year for the anime industry. The sheer quantity of shows coming out on Japanese TV and local DVD stores is outstanding. Who knows if this boom period is sustainable, so let us enjoy it whilst it lasts. Over here in the UK, anime availability has received a shot in the arm thanks to the arrival of Funimation Now and their partnership with streaming site Crunchyroll. Great news indeed – although I hope Funimation’s expansion into Britain won’t drive local distributers out of business. A monopoly is never good… and I am not just saying that because the price of landing on Mayfair is extortionate. Let’s put the corporate speculation aside for now though and get on with counting down my top five anime of 2016.

5th) Log Horizon Season Two: For the second successive year my top five list opens with Log Horizon. Season two doesn’t quite match the quality of the first series, especially on the visual front due to a change of studio, but I still enjoyed it. This twenty-five-episode continuation reunites us with the titular guild as they raid for treasure, protect Akihabara from a serial killer, quest for satchel components and fend off a swarm of discount Mothras. If you are a MMO junkie or someone looking for a smarter Sword Art Online I can highly recommend giving Log Horizon a gander. Let’s hope a third season gets made eventually. Writer Mamare Touno could probably fund the project singlehandedly by using the savings he’s made through tax evasion.

4th) Orange: Much to my chagrin this series seems to have received a lukewarm reception with many viewers. I guess it really is true that people don’t like fruits and vegetables. This tale of a schoolgirl, who tries to avert an upcoming tragedy when she receives a warning letter from her future self, did however resonate with me. I enjoyed the slice of life moments in addition to the sweet romance between protagonist Naho and transfer student Kakeru. The series also does a commendable job of highlighting the dangers of depression, which is something I can relate to. Several people in my life have had to cope with bouts of despondency and even I feel low on occasion… although those spells only seem to manifest between the start and end of my work shift.

3rd) Planetrian: Speaking of depression, here comes a five part original net animation based on a decade old visual novel from the peddlers of feels that is Key. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Planetarian follows a scavenger who is forced to seek refuge inside a ruined planetarium after a run in with some hostile mechanical sentries. There he encounters a perky android named Hoshino Yumemi who pleads for his aid in repairing the establishment’s zodiacal projector. The two bond over the course of the ensuing maintenance work and then “stuff” happens. I won’t say what, but given that Key’s past works include the likes of Clannad it may be wise to invest in a box of tissues prior to watching this show.

2nd) Haikyu!!: What’s up with sport shows and exclamation marks? First we had Haikyu!! and not to be outdone Keijo!!!!!!!! followed suit at the tail end of 2016. Anyways, Haikyu successfully conveys to otakus why the jocks, who beat them up in high school, find sporting events to be so exciting. Despite having zero interest in volleyball (aside from the beachside female variety) I couldn’t put this series down. It’s a classic underdog tale, were a diminutive leaper and a talented setter team up to transform Karasuno High School’s minnows into tournament contenders. The cast (be they players, rivals or management) are all likable and the camaraderie they share is inspirational. Let’s hope that season two and three reaches the UK DVD market sooner rather than later.

1st) Mirai Nikki (Future Diary): Thanks to Kaze “our DVDs always get delayed” Entertainment I finally watched Mirai Nikki. It’s a show many of my pals have recommended and after finishing it I can see why. Packed with twists and turns, this psychological thriller pits reclusive Yuki Amano against eleven other competitors in a battle royale where godhood is the prize. Each participant is armed with soothsaying phones, which foretell the future, demanding that rivals resort to subterfuge in order to get the drop on their opponents. Things get chaotic real fast and aren’t helped by the fact that Yuki’s main protector is an unstable yandere girlfriend (making her only slightly more needy than your average love interest.) Mirai Nikki’s gore and dark subject matter won’t appeal to everyone, but as someone who enjoyed Death Note I lapped it up.

So there you have it, the five best anime that I watched in 2016. I only reviewed thirty-three shows in that period, so I must have missed out on a lot of stellar stuff. With that in mind I would appreciate any suggestions, which you consider to be essential viewing, in the comments section below. I’ll do my best to check out your nominations. Who knows, your picks could end up becoming a contender for my 2017 list. Don’t bother mentioning stuff like Naruto though. I have the attention span of a Ritalin starved fruit fly, so anime that runs for hundreds of episodes is unlikely to maintain my interest.


The Top 5 Games I Reviewed In 2016


The year 2016 was an eventful time for video games. After a decade of development Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian finally came out. Thankfully, by all accounts, both titles turned out better than the much delayed Duke Nukem Forever. Nintendo also announced the successor to the financially disappointing Wii U. Once again the Big N have opted to create a gimmicky system, but on the plus side I must say that a console/handheld hybrid does sound way cooler than a machine with a tablet controller. Finally, gamers were able to experience virtual reality in the home place. Cost has been prohibitive for some players, which may explain why Sony’s cheaper PlayStation VR is outselling the Oculus Rift. Who cares about hardware though? Software is what really counts. See below for the top five video games I reviewed in 2016.

5th) Overwatch: It’s been seven months since Overwatch was released and I am still playing it (something that no other game on this list can claim.) The staying power of this title is most impressive, especially when you consider that I usually detest first person shooters. Blizzard has revolutionized the FPS genre by giving us a mix of fun 6v6 gameplay and some of the most scrumptious digital hineys of all time. To be honest Overwatch was lacking in content when it first came out, but Blizzard has since remedied that failing with regular updates. Since May 2016 new characters, maps and game modes have been added at no extra charge. The seasonal events have also been a big hit. Yes, I’ll admit that I spent cash to secure Mercy’s sexy witch costume. Don’t judge me. I have a weakness for blondes with exposed thighs.

4th) Oxenfree: The biggest surprise of 2016 has to be this 2D walking simulator. In the same way that I dislike most FPS titles I can’t say that I am fond of Walking Sims. Do I loathe the lack of interactivity? Nah. As an overweight chap I just have a natural aversion to walking, or any form of exercise for that matter. Oxenfree has however made me reassess my opinions on the genre. This creepy tale, about five teenagers who are stranded on a haunted isle, had me captivated from start to finish. I especially loved the Telltale like mechanics that allow you to influence the narrative through dialogue choices. Can you get Ren and Nona to hook up by being a supportive pal? Will you use diplomacy to patch things up with Clarrisa? The answer to the last question is a firm no. I hated that cow and just like Emily (from Until Dawn) I tried to kill her off at every opportunity.

3rd) Bravely Second: Just like the original Bravely Default, this sequel from Silicon Studios will go down as one of the finest turn based RPGs that money can buy on a portable system. The tactical combat, highly customizable job system and charming cast of characters easily eclipse the developer’s decision to lazily reuse dungeons from the last game (or the fact that Nintendo censored the Western release.) Best of all, this time round, the time travelling story line isn’t padded out with an end game loop that asks you to defeat the same bosses over and over. Honestly, what were they thinking? Bravely Default was awesome, but repeating the same stages ad nauseam during the finale was frustrating. Completing Bravely Second’s predecessor made me feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

2nd) Zero Time Dilemma: After a four year hiatus Kotaro Uchikoshi finally secured enough funding to complete the excellent Zero Escape Trilogy. It really makes my blood boil that creative directors struggle financially whilst the likes of Keiji Inafune get to squander $3 million on Mighty No. 9. Well, whatever. The wait was worth it because ZTD matches the quality of 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward, thanks to its cerebral sci-fi plot and fiendish puzzles. Only the player’s smarts can save the game’s nine hostages from Zero’s assortment of Saw like traps. Best of all the oodles of text found in earlier titles have been replaced with animated cut scenes. Some fans may not approve, but I am okay with the change. Only a fool would waste their time reading. No wait! I take that back! Keep reading faithful bibliophiles. Don’t abandon my blog please!

1st) Fire Emblem Fates: My top pick may be controversial, as it is generally accepted that Fates is inferior to Fire Emblem: Awakening. What can I say? I am a sucker for a good strategy RPG, and it must be said that Fire Emblem at its weakest is still better than most games. Based on the hours I spent on this gem I have to crown Fates my favourite release of 2016. I’ll even forgive Nintendo for pillaging my wallet by breaking up Fates into three different parts. On the plus side, each version appeals to a different audience. Conquest caters to the hardcore crowd seeking a challenge, Birthright offers a more casual experience and Revelations permits you to draft an army containing characters from both instalments. Best of all weapon durability has been scrapped. Hurrah! I never understood why FE equipment broke faster than a Samsung Galaxy battery.

So there you have it. Those are my five favourite games from the past twelve months. What do you think of my choices? Are there any other titles you think deserve a spot on the chart? Let me know in the comments section below. Or don’t. Everyone has secrets they don’t wish to share. If you genuinely believe that the Ghostbusters video game was the best thing to come out in 2016 you probably should keep that to yourself.


Review of Transformers: The Movie


The celebrity massacre of 2016 has reminded millennials of their inescapable mortality. As a child of the eighties however I am already well acquainted with death, because I grew up watching Transformers: The Movie. No, not the Michael Bay garbage flicks – the animated one starring the first generation Autobots and Decepticons. Although awesome, the film is a traumatic eighty-five minute bloodbath (or should that be oil bath) were fan favourites are killed off by laser-gun fire, which is suddenly fatal despite never causing much damage in the TV series. Like Akame Ga Kill no one is safe, although the body count isn’t a case of director Nelson Shin trying to be edgy. Hasbro decreed that the old guard should perish to make room for a new line of toys that they were hoping to peddle.


Transformers: The Movie takes place several years after the events of the original series, as evidenced by Spike’s age. The former oilrig worker has a son now and has grown up to become a foul-mouthed adult (much to my amusement he utters the line “oh shit” in one scene of this PG film.) During the series/movie interim Cybertron has been conquered by Decepticon troops, forcing Optimus Prime’s Autobots to colonize the planet’s moons and relocate to a metropolis situated on Earth. Fearful of an imminent attack, the evil Megatron hijacks a shuttle and uses it to sneak a platoon of Decepticon warriors into Autobot City. Many valiant heroes are slain in the ensuing assault, including Optimus Prime himself. Damn it Hot Rod you fool! Why did you have to interfere in the Megatron/Prime duel? He had the battle won before you got involved.

From that point on the story goes off world, with the surviving Autobots being relentlessly pursued by Galvatron (who is basically the latest Megatron model – same robot but he now has a better camera and you can’t plug your old headphones into him.) Galvatron chases after the good guys, as they possess the McGuffin that is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Said relic is the only thing in the universe capable of stopping Galvatron’s master Unicron. In case you didn’t know, Unicron is pretty much a sentient Death Star. Instead of obliterating planets with energy weapons he prefers instead to consume them whole. Cybertron is on Unicron’s menu and he intends to chomp on it faster than a sumo wrestler goes through a sushi buffet. Oh man. Defeating the ravenous evildoer would be so much easier if he had a vulnerable thermal exhaust port.


My rating for Transformers: The Movie is four and a half stars. Younger viewers may disagree with that nostalgia-influenced score, but its tough to be unbiased when Transformer cartoons and toys dominated my childhood. The comedy provided by the Dinobots and Blurr’s motor mouth still makes me chuckle, and the action continues to make my heart race after all these years. Compared to the TV show, the movie’s visuals have aged well and benefit from the added polish of a 4k transfer in the latest Blu-Ray release. On the audio front the soundtrack holds the honour of being one of my favourite movie scores of all time. The tunes on offer include a song from geek icon Weird Al Yankovic and loads of cheesy eighties rock. Warning – listening to Dare and The Touch will immediately cause you to grow a mullet.

I am surprised to learn that the movie was a financial flop in the States, causing Hasbro to cancel production of a planned Jem animated movie (shame they didn’t axe the crap 2015 live action film too.) If you take into account worldwide sales (and how many times Transformers: The Movie has been re-released on DVD) I do however suspect that the film has since turned over a profit. Is Transformers: The Movie the pinnacle of animated storytelling? Hell no, but you won’t care one iota if you happen to be a fellow eighties kid. At the very least I would recommend giving the movie a bash because the main villains are voiced by screen legends Orson Welles and Leonard Nimoy. This eighties classic will “live long and prosper” in the hearts of Transformers fans forever… I doubt the same can be said of the rubbish Michael Bay is currently pumping out.

The Otaku Judge: 2016 in Review


Most people will agree that 2016 was a terrible year. Not only did a plethora of talented performers pass away in the last twelve months, but it has also come to my attention that the lazy sods at WordPress aren’t compiling an annual report of blog stats like they usually do. In case you are curious, my 2015 figures can be located by clicking here.

I pay the sloths at WordPress good money for a domain name, so the least they could do is furnish me with some website metrics to boost my ego. Oh well, I guess it falls upon me to brave a New Year cider fuelled hangover and manually collate statistics for your amusement. Ouch, my aching skull. I thought apples were supposed to be good for you?

Views: For the first time since 2013, my site has failed to beat the previous year’s view count. Anime and video game reviews, for a brief period, suffered a dip in hits so I decided to expand the scope of the site to include movie coverage. In 2015 The Otaku Judge received close to 23,000 views, whilst 2016 amassed a less respectable 20,500 hits. On the plus side my articles received a record number of likes and comments. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave feedback and witty remarks on my work.

Top Attractions: The reviews of Demon Master Chris and Armored Warrior Iris continue to be my most read posts in 2016. Clearly if I want to bolster my site’s popularity I should cover more Hentai games. Sex sells as they say! Those reviews are a couple of years old though. In terms of stuff I wrote in 2016, my most read reviews are :-

1. Sakura Dungeon: The perverted PC dungeon crawler.
2. Final Fantasy Explorers: Square-Enix’s answer to Monster Hunter.
3. Bikini Warriors: A fantasy anime starring some barely clothed adventurer

Look at what came first and third. I’ll say it again, sex sells. Who knew that my followers were such a randy bunch?

Where did they come from: Most of my readers hail from the United States, with the United Kingdom and Canada following in second and third place respectively. Other countries that frequently visit the site include Germany, Australia, France, Philippines, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Russia.

Who are they: The following folks have the honour of being my most active commenters :-

1. Aether: After conquering Dark Souls he has now set his sights on Higurashi.
2. Krystallina: A manga reviewer who always has an eye out for bargains.
3. MIB: An eloquent critic of anime, wrestling and artsy foreign films.
4. Denny Sinnoh: The Pokémon naming master who loves kimonos and idols.
5. Rocco B: A fellow connoisseur of video games and anime.

Thanks for the support guys. Stay tuned for more content in 2017… once I have a lie down in a quiet room. New year’s resolution – don’t drink so much booze.