Review of Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

bayonettabloody

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an animated movie based on the supernatural third person shooter developed by Platinum Games. The film’s appearance on UK retail store shelves coincides with the long overdue release of Bayonetta 2, which is exclusively available on Nintendo’s Wii U (much to the annoyance of Microsoft and Sony fan boys everywhere.) A dream team of Japanese creators was involved in the movie’s creation, which combines the talents of Studio Gonzo with director Fuminori Kizaki. Seems like a marriage made in heaven given that Bayonetta’s over the top action should be right up the alley of the team previously responsible for Hellsing and Afro Samurai.

OVERVIEW

An exposition dump during the movie’s opening informs viewers, not familiar with the franchise, of the lead heroine’s origins. In case you are not aware, Bayonetta is an Umbra witch who uses bullet spewing high heels to battle creatures at dusk whilst masquerading as a nun during the day (in case her default naughty librarian look isn’t kinky enough for you.) Like with many Japanese protagonists, Bayonetta is suffering from a bad case of amnesia that prevents her from recalling her past. Bloody Fate’s wafer thin plot revolves around Bayonetta pursuing a decrepit cult leader who may hold the key to her lost memories. To get to him Bayonetta will have to fight past a legion of angels who wish to sacrifice the buxom witch in order to revive an ancient god.

Writing a synopsis for this movie is tough because, aside from the above-mentioned setup, there isn’t much in the way of story. Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is just an excuse for animating ninety minutes of non-stop action featuring angelic creatures and a femme fatale who summons ravenous demons by shedding her body tight garments. There’s a subplot about a reporter who chases Bayonetta, in the hopes of exposing the existence of witches, but that doesn’t go anywhere, as the journalist in question is nothing more than comic relief. The movie’s cast also includes a bespectacled girl named Cereza who claims to be Bayonetta’s daughter. The opportunity to explore Bayonetta’s parental instincts is however quashed by a script that condones child abandonment just so the lead can get on with the more important task of cherub slaying.

VERDICT

My rating for Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a two and a half stars. To be honest the odds of me enjoying the film were always going to be slim as I am not a fan of its source material. The movie also suffers from the same faults that marred my enjoyment of Hellsing and Afro Samurai – namely too much mindless violence and an indestructible main character who renders any threat they face moot. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy action flicks as much as the next guy, but you need to sprinkle some substantial story/characters between the explosions to maintain my interest. When all a film can offer is a constant wave of flashy combat it falls into the Transformers trap, where your audience eventually gets desensitized to the spectacular sequences you are airing.

If you are a fan of the games (or have a higher threshold for endless slaughter) you can upgrade my rating to three stars, as the movie offers some entertainment in a “turn off your brain and guzzle popcorn” sort of way. On the flip side, if you detest terrible dialogue knock a star off because the cast are guilty of delivering corny one liners that would make an eighties action star blush. Needless to say feminists should stay well clear of this release, as the artists involved have no qualms about drawing Bayonetta in all manner of unflattering poses. I personally am not averse to that sort of thing, but I couldn’t appreciate the lead’s nude form as the character designs are too lanky for my liking. To sum up, if you were asking me “witch” anime movie to watch next I would not recommend Bayonetta: Bloody Fate.

Review of Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit

bonappetitbox

The high school ninjas of the Senran Kagura franchise are back, but this time instead of competing in martial arts the all female cast are squaring off in a cooking contest! Whoever emerges victorious, as the culinary champion, shall be awarded a mystical Ninjutsu scroll that can grant its owner any wish that they desire. Perhaps the teenage warriors should use the prize to summon more resilient garments, as Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit is packed with the flesh exposing fan service the series is infamous for. I’m sure that Master Hanzo who is judging the tournament will approve (like many other anime karate masters he is a complete pervert.)

OVERVIEW

Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit is a rhythm game masquerading as a cooking title. Instead of managing ingredients, the kitchen-based duels are decided by a player’s finger dexterity (I imagine that anyone who can top Bon Appetit’s high score charts would make a good surgeon or at the very least is very popular with the ladies.) Each match is determined by how accurately you input the button presses that flash across the screen. Tapping the relevant button when its icon reaches the end of the Vita display will earn you points, which ultimately determine the outcome of a match. Performing well will advance your chosen character into the next round of the tournament whilst flubbing the quick time events will result in elimination from the contest.

Gameplay wise, Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit is rather basic when compared to other rhythm games in the market. On easy difficulty the game is a complete cake-walk (and I’m not referring to the desserts you are asked to bake.) The normal and hard settings do however pose more of a challenge by raising the rate at which icons scroll across the screen and demanding that you tap multiple buttons in unison. With the mechanics being rather shallow it falls to the franchise’s charm to pick up the slack. Thankfully the story is humorous providing that you have a tolerance for puerile gags. Those seeking eye candy will not leave disappointed, as you can humiliate defeated opponents by stripping them naked. Only some well sprinkled chocolate sauce and frosting preserves the vanquished chef’s modesty.

VERDICT

Overall, Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit is a decent albeit unspectacular musical time waster for Sony’s handheld. Visually it’s a good-looking title, although that’s something you may overlook during the matches, as your attention will be diverted to the foot of the screen where the button prompts appear. The game’s biggest failing is a serious lack of content in addition to the developers lazily reusing graphical assets from the last Senran Kagura Vita game. The regular download only gives you access to a paltry library of ten tracks. That’s rather pathetic when you consider that other “dance” games offer substantially more. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call for example boasts over two hundred songs.

My final rating for Senran Kagura: Bon Appeti is a low three stars. I had fun during my brief time with the game, but the whole package feels like a bit of a swindle. The opening animation, which plays out when the game boots up, showcases a roster of twenty plus girls strutting their stuff. Going to the character selection screen however reveals that only ten of the girls are playable. To unlock the rest of the cast you’ll have to purchase a downloadable expansion, which is priced at the same value as the main game. It’s pretty obvious that the missing characters were originally intended to be in the game, but were later removed so the developer could nickel and dime the Senran Kagura fan base. That leaves a bad taste in the mouth… just like when I sample my own cooking.