Game Review: Demon Master Chris

!!!WARNING!!!

The content in this review is intended for adults only (as most of the things on this site are).  This review covers a Hentai game, and therefore should only be bought by individuals of the appropriate age.  I’m warning you here:

!!!Viewer Discretion Advised!!!

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Game Review: AKIBASTRIP {A.K.A. Strip Simulator 2015}

The first of a collection of games I am going to review is one that I had avoided on PSN for the longest time.  And by the longest time, I mean a week.  When it first came out, I thought AT was a game similar to the plot of Highschool of the Dead – that is, tits, ass, and zombies.  Technically, I was right.

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I would like to warn viewers of this review that this game contains partial nudity, scenes of graphic clothes ripping, and completely crude humor relating to otaku culture.  You have been warned.  Now on with the show!

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Game Review: AKIBA’STRIP (or Akiba’s Trip)

ESRB: M

Platform: PSN (Initial release for PS3 and Vita, later release for PS4)

Price:$49.99 (New, US)*

Genre: Open World 3rd Person JRPG with Character Customization

The good thing about a good number of XSEED and Acquire (And in this case, Marvelous USA) is that they know when to take their game seriously – or for Akiba’s Trip, when to not.  I have to admit, while I didn’t originally intend on enjoying this game, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount I gleaned from it.

Akiba’s Trip takes place in (you guessed it) Akihabara, Japan, where you wake up in a secret hideout, where you’ve apparently been experimented on.  From there, you escape with a girl named Shizuku, and are brought to the realization that you are a vampire, in the most basic senses – and if your body becomes completely exposed to the sunlight, you will die.  Immediately, the game becomes a choice-driven game, with some options favoring you towards some girls (yes, it is a dating sim), and others, towards you’re death – you can even die during the prologue!

The game features many different landmarks in Japan’s otaku wonderland, from the bustling streets to the anime-heavy boardwalks.  Many of the advertisements in-game are actual reference to other XSEED, Marvelous, and Acquire games, as well as a special NISA game that is well-known by Prinny fans.

(From this point, the post has been edited on 1/3/2017.)

Since there’s not much else to say about this game (it’s better experienced than talked about), I’ll try my hardest to give this game a fair and unbiased review.

Story: 3/5

The story is new, but it is definitely lacking in substance.  Some of the characters seem forced, although there is a clear distinction of when the characters want to move the plot forward, and when there’s nothing going on (other than you being a vampire-thing).  Sometimes it’s bothering, sometimes it’s funny; but the amount of times it happens may annoy a player to never come back.

 

Art/ Acting: 4/5

Like i said earlier, some characters seem forced, while others have no purpose whatsoever.  The art style is reminiscent of Musashi: Samurai Legend (which was a great game with an awesome art style), but it’s definitely not the same thing.

As for the acting, I will admit that I didn’t use Japanese voices, which is usually a TERRIBLY BAD DECISION for translated games.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to not only hear voice actors that I both knew and didn’t know, but that their acting matched the image of the characters that they played for.

 

Character: 4/5

It’s not rare for a game with dating sim elements to have good character growth – in fact, I think it would be preferred.  While the minor characters have their fitting problems, the main romances (and the main villains) do a good job of fitting their roles: Shizuku is generally mysterious and quiet, Kasugai has the “slutty teacher” vibe down pat, and even the final boss doesn’t seem totally forced.  If I had one complaint, it’s that Kati is useless in battle and doesn’t have her own route.

 

Playability: 4/5

2/5 (PC Version)

As you’ve probably noticed, this category has a separate Playability for the PC version, which came out as I was writing this review (this may also have impacted my view of the Vita version in the long run).  This is mainly because the Steam / PC version of Akiba’s Trip is fairly glitchy.  Some side missions don’t load properly, a good number of graphical and continuity glitches happen often, and every now and then, the game crashes altogether.  In addition, the game tends to lag greatly on higher settings (this including the fact that my PC is made for high-process gaming, and runs fine with 152-mod Skyrim.)

In contrast, the Vita version had very few of these (the continuity glitch would appear every now and then, but it wasn’t EVERY MISSION).  After completing the game, which can net you around 20-50 hours if you do every Side and Sister Mission, you can restart the game with a new “body”; that is, as a girl, rather than a guy, if you so choose.  But even then, there’s still plenty to do: there’s hidden events everywhere, clothes to collect, and (with the New Game +) a Route Tracker, which tells you what Partner Route each choice will put you on, if any.  There’s also an arena where you can get better clothes and more money, but I recommend doing that during regular play.

 

Overall Rating: 72/100 C-

60/100 D- (PC)

As you could probably guess, this game is very interesting.  I would have liked to see more to it (such as more than two villain characters, or a few more romantic choices for the ladies), but where it is seems good for now.  My biggest problems would be the continuity glitch – for those asking, there are times when certain quest targets won’t appear in the designated area; or when you’re told to “enter an area alone”, but have no one else in your party.  Obviously, I give the PC version a much lower score, both from experience and malice, but overall, it’s nice to have it on a bigger screen.

 

I recommend the Vita version for anyone looking for an Anime-style game for handhelds, or if you just like stripping people forcibly (not judging, just saying).

It appears that an anime series is being released starting on the 4th that is a departure from the game(s), so check it out if you end up liking this.

 

*Based on GameStop Online prices on March 5th, 2015.  As far as I’m aware, the price is the same for all consoles.

Anime Review: Charlotte

It’s been a bit since my last post (but not nearly as long as some of them), so I figured I’d start writing this post while the anime is fresh in my mind. I will point out that this review may have spoilers, so readers, beware.

Strike a pose~

Four of the main characters of this beautiful show.

Here is a synopsis from Wikipedia, since I suck at describing:

Charlotte (シャーロット Shārotto?) is a 13-episode Japanese anime television series produced by P.A.Works and Aniplex and directed by Yoshiyuki Asai. The anime aired in Japan between July 5 and September 27, 2015. An original video animation episode was released in March 2016. Two manga series are serialized in ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki G’s Comic. The story takes place in an alternate reality where a small percentage of children manifest superhuman abilities upon reaching puberty. A focus is placed on Yuu Otosaka, a high school boy who awakens the ability to temporarily possess others, which brings him to the attention of Nao Tomori, the student council president of a school founded as a haven for children with such abilities.

While I will try my hardest not to put spoilers in this review, I will say that this show is better experienced knowing less. So once again:

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

All right, so down to brass tacks. Is this show “good”?
In short, I would say that it’s one of the best (if not the best) show this anime season – while I do enjoy Slice-Of-Life shows with bits of comedy, or hyper-violent series with emphasis on psycho-horror, this show falls more into the “Clannad” category of emotional trauma.
And by that, I mean that I actually cried.

That’s not to say that this show is all feels – rather, as stated above, it’s a Superteens show, with happy moments and dark twists. But without ruining the ending, everything ties up fairly neatly – there is not an “ending for a second season”, or even “what about this or that?” ending.
I feel that the ending closes everything nicely, even regarding my one problem with this series regarding the younger sister (which I won’t state).

But enough ranting about how I love it. Let’s review the show as a whole.

Plot: 9 out of 10
When I like a show, it’s usually superficial (as in, I like one character who seems to be the coolest character in the universe). But this show has thirteen episodes – and unlike a lot of shows, it feels like not a single one is wasted. As I stated before, everything seems to wrap up nicely, with the main character showing extremely dynamic growth through the show. The side characters have their own little growths here and there, but this story seems to know that it wants the main characters to stay that way – instead of fading into the background like in other shows. Even considering this, the one moment regarding Ayumi forces me to drop this grade by a point, but otherwise, I think this show nailed it.

Character Development: 5 out of 5
Like with the Plot segment, I have to give this show credit for its use of characters. None of the major characters seem to be forgettable, but the show still manages to keep focus on the “main” characters: Yuu and Nao. By episode 6, you think you’ve figured everyone out, but the show throws a curve ball, going deeper for character development than I’ve ever seen. I can’t genuinely state a single major character that I disliked.

Art / Acting: 9 out of 10
Let me say this: I absolutely LOVE P.A. Works. Every series I have seen them involved with has beautiful animation and powerful, accurate acting – the problem is, the series’ usually end up very boring halfway through (Hanasaku Iroha, RDG, Another… etc). However, this one had all of the above points; not only that, but every character seemed to have their own reason for using their powers… which makes some of the scenes a little more than upsetting (specifically during the last episodes).

Rewatch Value: 7 out of 10
If I am to give any low scores to this show, it would be here. While I did enjoy the show, it isn’t something I would watch over and over because of that. If anything, I would rather watch it again to clarify anything I may have missed (for instance, if the name Charlotte actually appeared before Episode 6…). But then again, I don’t like rewatching many series. My advice to you: take your time with this series. Otherwise, you’ll feel empty inside by the time you reach Episode 9. Trust me.

Overall Rating: 49 out of 50
A+

With the one problem I have with this show, I can’t knowingly give it full marks. However, I have to admit that I absolutely loved this show. Never since Clannad: After Story have I shed an actual tear for a show or movie, but this show did its storytelling right. From the characters to the events, from the animation to the actors, and from beginning to end, this show was absolutely amazing. As I said before, I tried very hard not to put spoilers in this review, but I know that there are some things that are easier to tell now rather than later.

While I don’t know of any discs available outside of Japan and Australia, it seems like most streaming sites (excluding Netflix and Youtube) seem to have it – including Hulu. I wholeheartedly recommend this show to anyone and everyone who enjoys Superteen series (or people looking to jump into the genre). Just be prepared for the last two episodes… actually, just prepare yourself for the whole show.

Anime Review: Bungou Stray Dogs

As I said on my Facebook page, I will be reviewing a few things that I’ve had on the backburner over the next few days – this series being the first.  If you have suggestions for something I should watch or play, send me a message through any of the methods available on the About page.

bungou_stray_dogs_840894

These are the heroes of this story.  Photo from http://www.nautiljon.com

 

To be honest, Bungou Stray Dogs wasn’t the first thing I wanted to review – however, my reviews on the Monogatari series may wait until the first movie is available (also, I am currently debating whether to do each “story”, each “season”, or everything up through Owarimonogatari as one review).  As few of you may know, I have a great interest in fantasy and scifi, and last season was a fairly “shounen” season, with things like Jojo, Kuromukuro, and all of the new series for older shows (like Duel Masters and Sailor Moon).

However, I came across Bungou completely by accident – while I was skimming Facebook posts, I came across a Crunchyroll post with a young blonde man attacking a group of thugs with a car.  Obviously, I searched for the source, and came across this gem of a show.

Bungou Stray Dogs “follows” the story of Atsushi, a young man who was kicked out of his orphanage because he was considered “worthless”.  At the start of the story, he is on the verge of starvation, and seeks help from anyone nearby – cue the strange man floating upside-down in the nearby river.  Long story short, he gets involved with a group known as the Armed Detective Agency, a group of people with abilities who try to keep the area safe – and keep Atsushi from getting killed by a militia gang known as the Port Mafia.  There’s more to the story than that, but the rest is for you to see yourself.

 

Bungou is a strange mix of comedy and darker themes, which comes packaged with all sorts of other emotions (like an inkling that the brother-sister team is like “that”).  There are a variety of characters, from Atsushi the weak-willed hero, to one of the main antagonists of the series Akutagawa, who suffers from an inferiority complex because of his former master.  There are also plenty of characters whose abilities (and even true motives) haven’t yet been shown, so it seems like there may be a second season coming soon.

And now, for a proper review!

Plot: 5 out of 10

While I did like how the story of Bungou Stray Dogs played out, I kept getting the feeling that I had seen it so many times before.  I’m not quite sure why, but I always get the feeling that someone should die after certain events, only to find that they survive (not necessarily inexplicably).

Character Development: 4 out of 5

I won’t cut corners here: every character has a good amount of development (sans the siblings mentioned earlier) – even the demonic Akutagawa has his own little “I was wrong” moment near the end of the season.  My biggest problem here is, despite the various times Atsushi makes good, even great decisions to protect others, the “worthlessness” in his past always makes him second-guess himself, and by the end of the series, it still doesn’t seem like he can read between the lines.

Art/ Acting: 6.5 out of 10

While I did enjoy the art style and environments (and I won’t lie, they kind of bothered me at first), the acting is what really bothered me – many of the characters voices seem very flat, and their emotions don’t always correctly fit the situation.  The only exceptions to this are in the Port Mafia – Akutagawa shows extreme emotions very commonly, his subordinate consistently shows loyalty to him, and Izumi (who starts as an emotionless character) eventually gives much more emotion than I thought would be possible.  Other than that, it feels like everyone’s just joking around the entire time…

Rewatch Value: 6 out of 10

It is certainly not the worst show I’ve come across, but there are shows that I would rather rewatch than this most days.  The only rewatchability I get from this show is a single fight scene between two important characters, and even that is starting to feel boring.  Like I said above, everyone just feels like their joking around, even when they’re in dangerous situations, and that kind of turns me away from the series as a whole.  Even the scene that made me find the show is rather lackluster, especially since it comes after the majority of the damage is done.

Overall Rating: 30 out of 50

There’s not much else to say about this show… I think this show was made for very specific audiences in mind, and while it hits some of those points with me, the majority of the show just ends up lacking.  While writing this review, I discovered that the current season is actually half of the first season, and the second half will be premiering in October.  Honestly, I might watch it, but if it continues to be so lackluster, I may have to give it the Iron Boot.

The series is available on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed in the UK by Anime Limited, so I’d suggest watching it online first, and if you enjoy it, then consider buying it.  Otherwise, I can’t honestly recommend this as a “good” show.

Anime Review: Kara no Kyoukai (The Garden of Sinners)

So, it’s been a bit since my last update. Because of that, the next few posts may be a little cluttered together.

But for right now, a new anime review – this time of a fairly well-known series of movies!

Anime Review: The Garden of Sinners

Kara no Kyoukai

I want to start this review by saying that I had no clue what the hell Kara no Kyoukai was when I found it. The first movie I saw was the latest in the collection, and then I went back and got the rest of the movies. Among my favorite fansub groups, there is a large amount of anime I subconsciously avoid, and for the longest time, Kara no Kyoukai: Future Blessing was on that list. But after realizing that the majority of UTW’s anime choices were amazing, I decided to give it a chance.

Kara no Kyoukai started out as a 1998 light novel by Kinoku Nasu, which apparently gained a cult following, with eight novels and more than seven animated films o date, with one novel unreleased, and a possible final film being released soon. It follows the story of a small group of people in late 1990 Japan, and tackles many mature subjects such as incest, rape, suicide, murder, and parricide, adding a paranormal twist to it. The main character, Shiki Ryougi, is a form of paranormal sleuth, dealing out her own form of vigilante justice through her knife, and her mysterious powers.

Throughout the movies, it is obvious that she and a second character (Mikiya) have some sort of unspoken relationship. Not only that, but as the prequels and sequels come in, we also learn about Shiki herself, and the mysteries surrounding her, such as her prosthetic arm, her entanglement with the paranormal, and in the latest movie, her connection to these people who target her.

To be honest, I wanted to watch all of the movies in one go. However, there were problems with my player, and the middle movies aren’t playing correctly. The movies I did see, however, were definitely interesting – each movie is directed by a new director (with some exceptions)- and the story and animation show that- but still, the story seems to flow well from chapter to chapter. Also, despite the fact that the movies skip along the timeline weirdly, they seem to do so in a way that answers the questions from the previous movie, and makes new questions that can be found through careful study.

I have not seen many other reviews on this series (Demolition D+ is the only one I’ve actually seen), but despite that, after seeing the first movie, I realized that it is in fact a classic. It inspired such series as Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime, and the characters and plot points seem to be reminiscent in those series.

There’s not much more that I can say about this series, but I must say: watching Shiki break someone’s pupil with magic was awesome.
Beating a serial killer has never been so badass

And now, without further ado, the scoring of Kara no Kyoukai.

Looking at my past posts, I realize this is actually the first Anime review I’ve published. So here’s a breakdown of the scoring system for anime:

-Plot / Story: how well-thought out the plot was, or how well the story arcs build into the main idea of the series. Out of 10.

-CD: short for Character Development. How characters develop, and how their relationships or interactions with other characters change them. Out of 5.

Art / Acting: based around character design, clothing and environment design, and above all, acting. Poor acting means a poor grade. Out of 10.

Rewatch Value: how tempted I would be to re-watch the series. Things like To Aru have a high rewatch value for me, while things like Helsing don’t. Out of 10.

Overall Rating: kind of self-explanatory. Based on the above factors (and my other personal feelings about the franchise or series) I will give the series a rating and an S through F grade, with high and low markers. Out of 50.

So, here is my score for Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners (TVMA):

Plot: 7.5 out of 10
while I did like the story (and in the series’ defense, I watched the last movie first), there were times in the movies that I just couldn’t follow. Whether it is because of poor subbing, or if the language just didn’t translate well, it caused me to deviate, albeit a little, from paying attention to the plot. However, the parts that I could follow were definitely amazing – seeing the evolution of Shiki between the first and latest movies was definitely surprising, and it correlated well when watching the other movies in the series.

CD: 4 out of 5
Possibly the only slow character development that I can stand, TYPE-MOON uses each chapter to tell a different story that connects with the main characters, and almost always features a new character that helps flesh out the major characters. There still seems to be some characters that could use this (such as Bomberman Mitsuru in Future Blessing), but that could just be because I haven’t seen him in the other movies yet. Shiki especially changes throughout the series, going from a murderous introvert who hates socializing, to a young woman who can express some form of feeling.

Art / Acting: 10 out of 10
I may be generous in most of my reviews, but it is still rare for me to award a full score in any category. The art of each chapter evolved as the series grew older, and each director had a distinct but powerful difference in their interpretation of the series. Each actor seems to be carefully chosen for the role they portrayed, and each character seemed believable, from the simple Mikiya to the complex Shiki – even some of the less-major characters (Seo, Bomberman) seemed to have their own backstories in their voices. The clothing choice is interesting, and always complements the character it is chosen for; as for the environments, the distinct lack of high-tech devices in the 1990’s gives the series a nostalgic feel, like when we used to all have that huge cellphone from Nokia.

Rewatch Value: 8 out of 10
As I said before, while I couldn’t watch the middle chapters, the episodes I did see have stuck with me. Not to say, they were perfect, but Future Blessing and Overlooking View seem to have many hidden themes, which gives me the feeling that I missed something. In fact, I have watched Future Blessing four times, and each time, I notice something new. Although this is the case for many movies and series, I feel like this movie does it well, and in such a way that makes a watcher come back again and again (although, once again, it could be the different directors).

Overall Rating: 48 out of 50
A

I have to admit, I absolutely loved the series. From the symbolism to the scenes, the characters to the antagonists, Kara no Kyoukai peaked my interest, and kept my attention all through the movie. Usually when watching a movie (subbed or dubbed) I have the need to multitask – for the chapters that I have had the pleasure to watch, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. Many of the themes, characters, and basic ideas in the game were different – innovative, interesting, and above all, mysterious. I can’t honestly say that I have seen a better anime series, excluding Ghibli films, and even my favorite series can’t match up to this. Kara no Kyoukai is definitely a must watch, but only for the older audiences, as there are many violent, mature, and just plain disturbing scenes throughout each episode.

I’m not sure if there are DVDs available in North America or Europe, but the series is subtitled only, and there are a large number of Torrenters who you can get the series from. If you can find an official release for your country, however, I definitely recommend buying it.