Time to answer some more anime questions, as it has been seven days since I last wrote a blog post. What a week it has been by the way. The Internet has gone gaga over Bowsette – a female version of Bowser who, via the power of the recently revealed Star Crown, is able to morph into a sexy Peach lookalike. If you ask me Mario should dump the Mushroom Kingdom’s ungrateful monarch (players who completed Odyssey will know what I am talking about) and hook up with someone else. I have always been a fan of Rosalina and Pauline, but if neither are interested in dating a plumber perhaps Mario should consider patching things up with his unexpectedly attractive arch nemesis.
Another thing that has happened since my last blog post is that Cells at Work has finished airing. The thirteen-episode anime, based on Akane Shimizu’s manga, reminds me a little of Once Upon a Time… Life. Who says that cartoons cannot be educational? By watching this series viewers can learn about the human body’s inner workings. Even those employed in the medical profession have been impressed by the show’s content. Below is a video, uploaded by a doctor, who reacts positively to the anime’s premier episode. If you don’t care about biology fear not because there are other things to enjoy including visceral action, cute Platelets and two main characters that will have you shipping haemocytes.
Okay, enough with turtle and cell romance. Let’s answer some questions…
DAY ELEVEN: Favourite mech anime
I have a soft spot for the mecha genre, as it played a part in moulding me into an anime fan. Nowadays I indulge in anime that feature mechs sparingly, but years ago I grew up watching loads of giant robot shows. My favourite mech series would have to be Code Geass. The show offers more than just exciting bot battles and cool Knightmare Frame designs. A smartly written political plot, likable characters on both sides of the conflict, drama mixed with comical moments and many cute waifus make Code Geass one of my favourite anime of all time. Fingers crossed that the upcoming movie and third season don’t tarnish the legacy of a franchise that is perfect as is.
DAY TWELVE: Saddest anime death
Caution. This response is a spoiler for Trigun. You have been warned! The saddest death I have witnessed in anime would have to be the demise of Nicholas D. Wolfwood. His passing sucked because he is arguably the best character from that series. The manner in which he goes out makes his death all the more painful. It wasn’t quick or your typical heroic sacrifice. Wolfwood’s chapel confession makes it clear that he doesn’t want to die. He leaves the world full of regrets. Raised to be a killer, he feels like his life has been a mistake. Cruelly he is mortally wounded just after finding companions who have shown him a better way to live. Milly and Vash’s reaction to the news makes the scene all the more heart wrenching.
Man, what a depressing note to conclude this post on. It will take many Platelets clips and gender-bending King Koopa artwork to improve my mood.
Before I answer a couple more questions from The Thirty Day Anime Challenge I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on the breaking news regarding Telltale Games. It’s sad to see this company of interactive storytellers go bust. A talented studio dies, due to poor sales, whilst the likes of EA continue to prosper. Maybe instead of buying FIFA packs we gamers should have purchased Telltale episodes instead. So many people moan about greedy micro-transactions, but yet they don’t support the more consumer friendly content creators. We pinched pennies waiting for Telltale stuff to go free on PS Plus and this is the end result.
I wish the two hundred plus staff, who lost their jobs without getting any severance pay, all the best with finding new employment in the industry. Commiserations also go out to anyone who bought The Walking Dead season pass. Looks like the game is deader than a zombie, so those remaining episodes are unlikely to ever get released. A former “Game of the Year” winner deserved a better finale than this. For anyone unacquainted with Telltale I recommend giving their back catalogue a look. Tales from the Borderlands is hilarious and arguably more fun than the mainline Borderlands games. Telltale’s rendition of Batman is excellent too. Puts some of the Caped Crusader’s cartoons to shame.
Okay, enough with the doom and gloom. Let’s answer some anime queries…
DAY NINE: Favourite Anime Villain
I am going to pick Light Yagami, from Death Note, even if it feels weird to brand the protagonist of a series a villain. Like other memorable antagonists, from fiction, Light has a creditable motivation for his actions. By harnessing the Death Note’s power he schemes to rid the world of crime. Fair enough. If I owned a killer tome I too might feel compelled to punish rapists and animal abusers. Murder is however illegal and Light is eventually forced to commit heinous deeds in order to escape arrest. His transgressions only grow worse when he develops a God Complex. A model student eventually transforms into a villain who can even make the act of snacking on potato chips look wicked.
DAY TEN: Favourite Fighter Anime
Back when I was a teenager Dragon Ball Z would have easily secured my nomination for best fighting anime of all time. Now that I’m older and wiser I have however realised that DBZ is more of a yelling show than a fighting one. My pick for this category therefore goes to Kill la Kill. Just like Akira Toriyama’s best-known work, this series is packed with action and even has an arc set in a fighting tournament arena. Another connection worth mentioning is that Kill la Kill features garments called “Goku” uniforms. Kill la Kill is worth watching for the wackiness, intense battles and superb soundtrack. Out of the many fighting cartoons I have seen this Studio Trigger production, about a girl who wields a “scissor” blade, stands out as a “cut” above the rest.
Time to write some original content, as it appears that sites cannot survive solely by reblogging other people’s posts. I thought the readership would appreciate me promoting their work, but alas the numbers don’t lie. View counts are down and some have even branded me lazy in the comments section. To make amends I will answer some more questions from the Thirty Day Anime Challenge. In theory I should be answering one of these every twenty-four hours, but that sounds like too much hard work. Hmmm, I guess that commenter was correct about me being slothful!
DAY SIX: Anime I want to see but haven’t yet
I want to watch Grave of the Fireflies, but haven’t yet because I am a pussy. Whenever I think of picking up the DVD I reconsider due to the subject matter. A movie about war decimating families and kids starving to death sounds downright depressing. Isn’t entertainment meant to be fun? For me the appeal of anime is the kickass action, bouncy boobies and hilarious comedy. The synopsis for Grave of the Fireflies reminds me of In This Corner Of the World – a film that made me feel miserable. One day however I will cross off Fireflies from my bucket list. Just like Akira or Ghost in the Shell it has the reputation of being a critically acclaimed feature that every anime fan should experience at least once.
DAY SEVEN: My anime crush
Technically speaking, I have already answered this back when I participated in the Five Flaming Hotties tag. To see a list of my favourite animated women click HERE. For the sake of this post I’ll mention someone who barely missed out on making the Flaming Hotties quintet – Nene Romanova. I suppose you could say she was my first anime crush, as she appears in the first anime DVD series I ever purchased (Bubblegum Crisis 2040). Out of the four Knight Sabers she was my favourite. Nene is funny, looks good in a uniform and has geek girl appeal thanks to her computer skills. Completing the package is a cute voice, provided in the English dub by voice actress Hilary Haag.
DAY EIGHT: Favourite anime couple
My vote goes to the Clannad pairing of Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa. One advantage this couple has over other anime lovebirds is that we see their relationship develop over two seasons. Whilst other shows end with the leads sharing an inaugural kiss Clannad covers how Tomoya and Nagisa went from high school sweethearts to husband/wife and finally parents. I dig this ship because they compliment each other so well. Tomoya supported Nagisa with her health issues and Nagisa’s influence, in turn, saved him from a delinquent existence. If you haven’t watched Clannad I highly recommend that you do. Given my earlier comments, in the Day Six section, you know I dislike tragic stories. You can therefore rest assured that Clannad is completely devoid of tearful moments (muwahaha.)
Harvest Moon: Light of Hope is technically not a Harvest Moon game. The team responsible for producing the classic Harvest Moon games of yore is currently releasing titles under the Story of Seasons banner. Natsume, the publisher who holds the rights to the Harvest Moon name, has meanwhile decided to continue the franchise by hiring lesser skilled developers to make new sequels. The situation reminds me of the time when Eidos and Sports Interactive parted ways. After the split, developer Sports Interactive lost ownership of the Championship Manager brand. This forced them to release new games under the guise of Football Manager. Eidos went off to make Championship Manager games in house and ultimately run the series into the ground.
When I say that Harvest Moon is now in the hands of less talented developers I am not kidding. Just look at this game’s graphics. The characters may look cute, but there is no disputing that these visuals are below the standard one would expect from a PS4 release. In particular the low-res buildings look especially bad on a big screen. Gameplay wise things aren’t much better. The farming on offer hasn’t advanced much from the rather basic Harvest Moon GBA game I enjoyed many moons ago. In order to grow crops one simply needs to plant seeds and water the soil on a daily basis. Fertilizer is only required if you elect to grow something out of season. Seems easy enough. I wonder why Zimbabwe had so much trouble with farming when Mugabe kicked out all of the white farmers.
Still, who cares about farming? In this game I didn’t find agriculture to be particularly profitable. Rather than sell produce I just gifted my veggies to the local townsfolk or cooked them into stamina replenishing meals. If you seek riches I would recommend foraging for seashells at the beach. Those things sell for a surprisingly high price. I also hear that mining for ore can be lucrative, although that venture requires some investment. To crack open the rocks that house gems one needs to first upgrade their trusty hammer. Later in the game you can also trade eggs, wool and milk by populating your barn with livestock. I like how you can name the animals you buy. My cow, lamb and chicken were christened Mooris, Baary and Hen-Tai.
My rating for Harvest Moon: Light of Hope is a three out of five. The game is inferior to rivals Stardew Valley and Story of Seasons in terms of content. Without too much trouble I was able to complete the four-chapter story within a couple of in-game months. Despite its faults I must however say that I appreciate the relaxing experience it offers. Rather than start the morning with fifteen minutes of meditation, I can instead turn off my brain by doing chores for quarter of an hour on Harvest Moon’s virtual island. Even if I have already saved the land, by repairing the isle’s mystical lighthouse, I still intend to continue playing the game for the foreseeable future in short bursts. There are plenty of trophies yet to earn and a mailbox worth of villager requests to complete.
Other activities I can look forward to are the monthly festivals. These events allow the player to partake in various mini-games, which include fishing contests and dog races. Thus far my pooch has managed to scoop the top prize, but I have fared less well in the angling tournaments. Most important of all I cannot conclude my Harvest Moon adventure without first getting hitched. From the five available bachelorettes I have my eyes set on the bespectacled doctor. She may not be the most attractive of the bunch, but she won my heart during the tutorial by generously gifting me tons of free cabbage seeds. When it comes to romance the ladies don’t have to do much to make me swoon. I’ll settle for any girl, providing that she doesn’t carry much emotional cabbage… um baggage.