Thirty Day Anime Challenge – Days Three to Five

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The time has come to answer more questions from the Thirty Day Two Year Anime Challenge. If you happen to be a reader who isn’t interested in this type of post, as you are subscribed exclusively for reviews, I recommend that you check out these critiques from other bloggers instead…

Manga Review: Komomo Confiserie
Movie Review: Valley of the White Birds
Video Game Review: The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword

Okay, let’s jump to it. In this instalment I will be tackling posers three to five.

DAY THREE: Favourite Male Anime Character

Vash the Stampede is a character that won me over, after a shaky start. My first impression of the Trigun protagonist was that he is an annoying clown. He resembled an Inspector Gadget like buffoon who saves the day through sheer luck. Later on however it’s revealed that Vash’s antics are an act. The humanoid typhoon is a skilled marksman who deserves the sixty billion bounty on his head. Despite his fearsome reputation Vash is actually a pacifist who refuses to kill, no matter how much his targets deserve execution. His merciful creed often places him in perilous situations were he suffers harm, and yet he sticks to his peaceful ways. I respect his steadfast determination… and badass style. That big gun, yellow specs and red coat are so cool that even Alucard ripped off the look.

DAY FOUR: Favourite Female Anime Character

Anime is filled with amazing women. There are ladies who have been born with supermodel bodies; girls who can singlehandedly take down armies and geniuses that put Einstein to shame. My pick for best anime female however goes to someone who possesses none of those prodigious traits – Hana from Wolf Children. She is a prime example of why mothers should be cherished. I especially admire how she faces challenges with a smile. Her partner dies, social services threaten to take her kids and the crops meant to feed her family wither away. None of those hardships are able to crush her spirit. How she is able to remain positive when disaster strikes is beyond me. I’m the sort of person who plummets into a deep depression when an anticipated video game gets delayed!

DAY FIVE: Anime I’m Ashamed I Enjoy

I’m not ashamed of my viewing habits in the slightest. As my embarrassed friends and family will attest to, I have no qualms about broadcasting my love of wacky cartoons on social media. If push comes to shove though, I suppose Burn Up Excess is a show that I wouldn’t admit to liking during a job interview. This futuristic law enforcement series actually played a part in reigniting my passion for anime, back when it aired on the Sci-Fi Channel (I refuse to call it Syfy). Burn Up Excess is a delightful mishmash of cheesy nineties action and funny characters. Why would anyone be ashamed of such a show? Well, the DVD has a feature called “Jiggle Counter” that keeps tally of how often the heroines’ chest bounce. I’m not ashamed, but my progressive friends probably are on my behalf.

Review of The Lost Child

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I love the Persona role-playing games. Shame then that it takes so long for new instalments to come out. How I wish the franchise would release new stuff on an annual basis. Then again, I suppose that the series would feel far less special if it appeared in stores with the regularity of an Assassin’s Creed sequel. Rarity builds anticipation and shorter development cycles tend to harm a title’s quality. Some people have suggested that I play the other Shin Megami offerings, whilst I wait for a new Persona. The problem is that those RPGs are bloody hard. I’ll try The Lost Child instead. This game may be a shameless Megami clone, but at least it caters to my lack of skill by providing an easy mode.

OVERVIEW

Hayato Ibuki is a reporter for one of those trashy occult magazines. Not a glamorous career, but hey it could be worse. Writing for a tabloid publication is still more respectable than being a games journalist! When the story begins Hayato acquires a weapon that is capable of bending demons to his will. A big-breasted angel named Lua (who dresses like a witch for some reason) informs Hayato that he must use the gun to defeat Cthulhu, who is presently plotting to take over Heaven. A weird and somewhat blasphemous plot… although that should be expected given that the game is affiliated to the equally bizarre El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.

The Lost Child is broken up into eight chapters. Each level has you battling through puzzle filled dungeons that are made up of multiple floors. Players explore the stages through a first person view. Every step you take has the potential of triggering a random turn based battle. When in combat, Hayato and Lua are accompanied by a party made up of previously captured demons. Like in most RPGs the heroes grow stronger by accruing experience points. The demonic entities they recruit are meanwhile strengthened via karma. Killing creatures is the main source of karma, although it is also possible to acquire it by making dialogue choices during certain story events.

VERDICT

My rating for The Lost Child is a three out of five. The game is a decent, albeit unoriginal, dungeon crawler. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the genre. The story may be forgettable but I didn’t mind, as the thrill of navigating labyrinths was enough to keep my interest for the forty hours it lasted. Compared to other RPGs, there isn’t much in the way of character customisation. You can however tweak Hayato and Lua’s attributes by distributing stat points upon levelling up. Ally demons meanwhile can be taught new skills and evolved, akin to a Pok√©mon. Just be aware that instead of cute critters, in this game, you evolve fallen angels and topless Succubi.

Overall I had fun with The Lost Child. I must however say that I have some grievances with the game. First up was a glitch that prevented me from earning one of the optional characters. Another complaint is that some of the puzzles can be annoying. Examples include invisible walls, sandy currents that drag you back to a dungeon’s entrance and pitfalls that drop you to a lower floor. The latter especially blows, as transferring to a new zone is preceded by lengthy load times. Not sure what causes the Vita to process for so long. The floors aren’t huge and the graphics comprise of still pictures. Oh well, no matter how slow the loading is the wait for them to finish is still shorter than waiting for a new Persona.

SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online Review

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Sword Art Online is a bit like Marmite. You either love or hate it. There’s no disputing that the anime adaptation of Reki Kawahara’s novels is insanely popular. We recently got a movie and a third season is due out later this year. Despite all that, many of the bloggers I follow detest SAO with a passion. They dislike how the second half of season one played out and how protagonist Kirito is a Gary Stu of Rey (Star Wars) proportions. If you are a Kirito hater you’ll be pleased to hear that this spin-off series stars a completely new cast of characters. Viewers of season two will recognize the setting though – it’s Gun Gale Online.

OVERVIEW

Karen Kohiruimaki hates being tall, which I can understand. Height may be a desirable trait for males, but that isn’t the case for members of the opposite sex. Lanky girls can have a tough time finding a boyfriend, as guys are sensitive about size… and no, I am not talking about their junk. Asking your partner to crouch down, for a kiss, can be a tad embarrassing for us blokes. Although there is nothing Karen can do about her stature in the real world, she can at least experience being petite in VR games. The main reason why she elects to play GGO is because it permits her to control an undersized avatar named LLENN.

LLENN begins life in Gun Gale Online hunting down NPC monsters. Due to her terrible aim, LLENN’s weapon of choice is a close range submachine gun that she christens P-chan. The pink firearm occasionally sprouts cute eyes and utters words of encouragement to her. Weird. Anyways, one day during her wasteland hunts she bumps into a fellow gunslinger named Pitohui. The pair become friends and begin grouping together to partake in PVP action. After proving her prowess, in taking down players, Pitohui suggests that LLENN register for the upcoming Squad Jam contest. Little did LLENN know that Squad Jam would live up to its name, by placing her in a sticky situation where Pitohui’s life is on the line.

VERDICT

My rating for Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a three out of five. The series is entertaining enough, but overall I would rank it as the weakest SAO title to date. My chief complaint with the show is its lack of story. The script tries to resurrect the SAO idea of “potentially fatal online game” with its finale, but for the most part the thirteen episodes simply chronicle LLENN’s performance in two battle royale tournaments. Due to the focus on competition, GGO feels like a sports anime. This sport however features brutal takedowns and inappropriate flirting, where opponents hit on a protagonist that looks underage.

Best girl without a doubt is Pitohui. She reminds me a little of Revy from Black Lagoon, as she excels at killing and is bat shit crazy. This bloodthirsty chick doesn’t respect truces and has a reputation for slaying her own teammates. LLENN is a far less interesting character. Just like Kirito, she comes across as plain and unbeatable. Despite being an MMO newbie she is able to defeat professional marksmen with a combination of agility and serendipity. Karen is the type of girl I would gladly group with in Overwatch. Would I date her? Nah. Climbing up a stepladder, every time I want a smooch, would get tiresome.