Thursday, 28 June 2012

Completed: Kids on the Slope

Aka Sakamichi no Apollon.

Hm... where to start...

1. This is my fav show this season, i'm a huge fan of slice of life especially when it focuses more on life and less on romance... This show focuses on two unlikely friends who end up playing jazz together in their highschool years. It deals with the good, the bad and the conflicting... it shows people in a day to day situation where sometimes shit hits the fan and they may or may not do the best thing in that situation. It doesn't feel like "and now they do thing since it advances the plot" it's just "and then this happens because life is unexpected."

2. The animetion is really good, i will be honest that i don't like how the shadows are all fuzzy and really grey but otherwise the animation is fluid and almost looks like it's semi-rotoscoped. i love the character designs i love that not ever character is a gorgeous hunk but they all look quite nice... overall the show just looks so good.

3. The music.... both a blessing and a curse.... it is so well done, the songs that they jazzify (someday my prince will come, my favorite things) are done so well... and i don't even like jazz most of the time. HOWEVER this show will probably never get to be licensed thanks to it's amazing music. No company would want to willingly license it wen they know they have to license all the other songs since i don't think any were public domain... though maybe since they changed it they fall into a loophole? not entirely sure.... still the music is good... especially the intro song... maybe i just love seeing the cast so happy to be playing music...

so yeah... to say the least i love this show, it is all up on crunchyroll so go watch it right now and i promise you wont be disappointed.
just.... don't do what i did and watch the last few episodes at work on your lunch break... cause there may be tears... just a warning.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Completed: Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

This show at the start of the seasons was one of my fav... though it relies WAY too much on fan service is still has a lot of humor to it and interesting art direction.

The story is about A boy, Niiya, who can see a ghost girl, Yuuko. it focuses on her regaining her memories and dealing with another evil ghost that seems to be roaming the school.
however it isn't that easy and the more they learn the more painful the situation gets and of course not all is what it seems to be.

I love then music for this show, especially intro and ending and it's till one of my favs this season but the ending.... but i've seen too many 12 ep animes end like this so.... kinda annoying but it could have been much worse. Still overall i really enjoyed it and i look forward to the new summer titles.

The whole thing can be seen Legally on Crunchyroll so go check it out.

also can't say much more cause yeah.... spoilers for such a short show.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Completed: The Dragonprince's Heir (The Dragonprince Trilogy #3)

This is a review of a Advance readers copy of Aaron Pogues Dragonprince Trilogy, some details could have changed between the time i was given this and the final version of the book.

hm... i think i'll start with an anectdote.

About a month ago I was on my twitter account and i noticed @AaronPogue Started a Kickstarter Campaign... it was an interesting idea which i have mentioned i'm not sure if it would be good or bad for the industry but i was curious to see how it could all pan out so I donated. Well apparently there was an announcement that stated "if you donate by a certain time you get an Advanced copy of the book" I had no idea and it was just a nice surprise.

However~ I received my ARC the day of My convocation... So that took time out of reading.... then the next day i had to do a bunch of stuff to join the Union and it ended up taking all day.... saturday i spent with friends i hadn't seen in a few months, Sunday was spent preparing for the job and getting my kit together, Monday was dentist appointment and seeing college friends i hadn't seen in a while and finally tuesday i started my 12 hour days 5 -7 day a week job.... (hurray for the this industry and it's crazy long hours~)

the point is i had NO time... fast forward to a few days ago and me frantically remembering that June 26 is this Tuesday and the point of an advanced readers copy is to read it in Advance so i locked myself away and enjoyed the book with my music blaring.

So what did i think? AKA the review part of the Review

well needless to say like all of Aaron Pogues novels i enjoyed it, the writing is good the characters are interesting and the magic system is just so innovative...

However... It did take me a while to get into this one for a few reasons.

1 - New main character + 15 year time skip
This effectively leaves you trying to figure out what happened to Daven.... which is the point but still it was a bit of a surprise and simply took me off guard.... i did get used to the new character pretty quickly though so this is a minor issue.

2 - I was trying to read it like it's the third part of a trilogy.... which it is technically but it feels more like a stand alone Novel in the same world and connected to the main series... the second I started reading it as if it were stand alone i enjoyed it more. I have no idea why i feel that way or why it changed my opinion of the book but it did.  It still concludes the story in an interesting way that ties up all the loose ends so that's all that really matters.

So once i got past those things i loved it.... sure the subtitle should be "just when you think it can't get any worse" Everything this child does just makes the situation worse... and worse.... and i just loved it, i love that he has to go through so much to get to the end of it all.

There were lots of surprises and it was great seeing old characters but 15 years older and wiser so yeah... i really enjoyed this book, I hope even more stories are written in this world cause it really is interesting with its idea of balance and magic.

i don't dare say anymore for risk of spoilers so all i can say is go buy the book once it's out (June 26th) if you are a lover of fantasy... You should also read the other two dragons prince books so you can get the entire story.... and if you like sci-fi or copdramas his Ghost targets series is a mix of both. I believe all of his books are on E-readers for reasonable prices (last time i checked anywhere from .99 cents to 5 bucks)

Also if yo hate waiting for new installments this author is perfect, he releases a new book or novella every few months... i'll be amazed if this pace keeps up but for now i'm so happy and i look forward to his next book slated for release which i believe is part of the Ghost targets series which is the first sci-fi series i have enjoyed.

and now i think i have run out of things to say....

His website

Sunday, 24 June 2012

First Impression: Pokemon Conquest

Aka: Pokemon Nobunaga's ambition.... which is a much better titled but i understand why it was changed.

so.... this game... from what i understand it's kind of a spin off/cross over between Pokemon and Nobunaga's ambition. It is like no other pokemon game i have ever played.
no pokeballs
no eye contact pokemon battles.
hell players can only use one pokemon at a time and there is no switching.
however there is still the 'six to a battle' limit... so i guess thast the same.

The good:
It plays kind of like a mix of Final fantasy tactics advanced and Disgaea... it's a grid based turn based strategy rpg where the pokemon have very specific attack ranges and if an ally is in the line of damage they will get hurt as well. so if you like GBTBSTRPGs.... wow thats too long... ok.... anyways if you like those types of games then you'll probably enjoy this one... also I personally really love the art style in it...
It's also nice to see the pokemon games branch out... next they should try action based pokemon stadium style where you can physically dodge or guard and have certain attacks mapped to the four face buttons A la Ys: Seven... thats right i refference a Falcom game... deal with it. and i know the pokemon games have been trying new things with rumble blast and mystery dungeon and Ranger but i haven't played any of those so i have no opinion on them. But yeah i'm happy that we aren't constantly just getting the same game with more little creatures... it is fun but it can get boring eventually.
The fact that this was brought to north america is amazing... the game is EXTREMELY Japanese and the translation didn't try to mask that at all... all the characters have japanese names and they haven't been changed to "jim" or "steve" however someone obviously felt that kids would be able to handle this (or they figured out that a chunck there fans have been around probably since the 90s and figure they watch other anime and can handle most of the Japanese references.)so yeah that made me happy.
finaly so far the battle system is pretty good... it's annoying when you can't move a pokemon into a position to attack but thats true of every GBTBSTRPG.

however i do take some serious issues with this game

The not so good:
time management system.... kinda.... see each warrior is only able to do 1 thing a month... at the beginning this sucks cause you want to conquer lands and train your team and acquire more party members asap but you have to move to the next month to do it... granted month is just a fancy term for 'turn' and once you get a substantial army... this doesn't sting as much but it's still annoying.

Party system needed to be streamlined... I like how you have certain people in certain castles but when your trying to get a party of 6 so you can march and conquer more land... you have to individually look for them... call them over to your land or a land that connects to one your attacking and then pick the ones your sending out... why couldn't this just be a list of "who do you want to fight, you check off you list and then go into battle... there's no penalty for moving you characters all over the place so i fail to see why that one thing is needlessly time consuming

this is petty but... this is a DS game that states "playble on 3ds with 2d gameplay" yeah.... like every other ds game....
now i looked to see if there were more featured on the 3ds version like there are in pokemon black and white but so far i haven't seen any... so who knows.... but for now i just think it;s a silly thing to mention.

still i'm not terribly far in right now so i hope the it gets even better... i say give the game a try at least especially if you like this type of game.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Completed: Ys Origins as Toal

right off the bat... there probably will be spoilers since... well... when you first start the game only Yunica and Hugo are playable ( This is my review on their story ) and you get Toal/Thor [from here on out i will call him Toal simply cause that is what i'm used to calling him] route after beating one of those two. In the original you had to beat both before you got Toal route and i think thats a beter way to handle it since Toal should be played last... technically... i'll get into that...

so yeah... i will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but no promises.

So... this game could have only been Toal's story... and that would have been fine... i understand why they make you play the other characters since it's the best way to get you to know the backstory to them but still... Yunica's story doesn't have too much effect on the overall plot... just her connections to other characters.... Hugo's is quite interesting but thing felt unresolved...

However Toal is without a doubt the games 'true ending' The game starts off differently with him... aka no french prologue (I had no idea that Ys is based on a french legend until about an hour before i started playing this game... i was just searching which order the games were in and bam.... i learned something that day) and you get a new cutscene almost every time you enter a major area which explains who Toal is and how he has come to this particular time... also he has way different items then the other two... more on that later.

so yeah... even though it really is the same(ish) game 3 times... Toal's story made it all worth it... also it technically has the fewest casualties.... so that's fun... He's also the fastest character to play but he has really short range even with his magic.... then again his magic is insanely powerful and kind of broken...
Wind when hit near enemies sents you speeding towards them and if you spame it you go back and orth relly fast...
thunder draws enemies closer to you like a magnet and breaks through most defense...
fire surrounds you with a fire tornado and gives you a few invincibility frames.
then again he is supposed to be the hardest game to play... so i guess this is there way to throw you a bone?

what else makes his ending the true end? the real final boss.... now you probably can somehow fight the real final boss and Hugo or Yunica but the fact that it has to be Toal (at least the first time) is so good... plus the epilogue is the best....
makes me laugh that it said flat out "ok this story continues in Ys book 1"

so let me get the straight.... if we are just going by the order in which the recent north American releases are .... (and i know i'm going to get this wrong)

ys 6 (ps2)> ys 1&2(ds/psp) > ys 3 oath (psp)>ys 7 (psp/steam) ys Origin (steam) > ys 4 (it's been announced in japan so i hope it comes out here)

now granted those are all remakes... the game (other then origins) were originally released in chronological order.... kinda... it gets really confusing... but my point is Steam tells you to Go play book 1 even though it isn't on steam (yet) and the ds version is broken and the psp one is probably out of print.... cruel cruel steam....

On a side note.... other then 6 (an 4 when it comes out) i've played the ys games chronologically (origin doesn't count since it's a prequil)

oh i'm supposed to talk about toal... sorry it's just... Falcom has the oddest/worst/most chronologically confused release scheduled in north america... and this goes for all their games.... and i just feel like venting every time i get the chance.

THE POINT IS.... if you like Action based roleplaying games that are fun and challenging with a great score then go buy this game right now.... if you buy it then more will come out.
if you don't like Action based roleplaying games give this series a try... it may chaneg you mind [it changed mine after all]

so is there anything negative i can say?
hm.... sure... toal's face in the sprite form looks odd... i dunno i always see a little gremlin looking back at me....
and some attacks have really tricky hit boxes.... nothing game breaking but a little annoying if the move doesn't let you move around...
otherwise no this game is a lot of fun and i wish people would stop saying that the JRPG genre is dead cause to me this game... these series of games prove that it is alive and well... people just need to look a little deeper then the surface.
also  as i mentioned before... it's the same game 3 times with slight changes... but  do feel the payoff was worth it.

oh... i mentioned that i would talk about different items... okay... really quick... due to toals ability some of the items the others get he doesn't need.... and when the others get a 'this will revive you once if you die' item... toal just gets higher attack and defense... yeah makes the final final boss a little tricky... but yeah i love how this ending explains everything for Ys book 1... but even if you haven't touched another Ys game this one is really enjoyable.

so go buy it on steam! right now! go!
if you want of course...

side note: unless i can cheat it... i may not get Adol... he's too expensive in the area shop... hm... who knows...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Completed: Auric and the Wolf

(An Auric's Valiants short story) by Aaron Pogue

Gotta love these short stories, they are quick and interesting and well help tide me over till the 26th when Dragonprince's Heir is released.

This one is longer then the last short story I read by Aaron Pogue and it deal with The world of Auric. A while back I read Notes from a thief and was intrigued by this world he's setting up... this book did not disappoint at all. 

again due to it's length I can't say much without spoilers so all i'll say is Auric and the Wolf is about a boy who has read too many stories with heroes in them.
yeah i think that about covers it...
I think i like this one more then the last because even though it still feels like a bit of a prologue (granted it would be a rather long prologue) in the end you aren't left hanging. It has a definite 'end' while still showing that this is the start of the person Auric will become and i like that.

At the end he talks about his kickstarter campaign about getting enough money to release his book as public domain right off the bat. I did back him way at the start when he posted it but still i'm left curious.
Essentially he states that he wants to have people be able to draw fanart or write fanfiction with no repercussion (there is more to it then that but that is the jist of it). He wants art to be more free because right now what you can and can't do is pretty limited thanks to copyright.

I honestly can't say if i agree or disagree with this idea.... but i backed it because i'm curious. As an artist i have to so i'd be more then a little irked if someone took the base of my idea and started making money of it.... probably because at this current point in time i do not make a lot of money off my art.... but it's still an interesting idea and i'm curious to see if/how it could all work out, also how would it change things?oh and I guess a copy of the three dragon prince books all signed sounds kinda nice...

so yeah... go read Auric and the Wolf, Notes from a Thief, the Dragon prince books and Ghost Targets... if you like fantasy or sci-fi of course.... All of his books are on Ebook readers for decent prices. is his blog, go check it out.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Completed: Ys Origin as Yunica and Hugo

I have yet to do the other character yet but since his story seems to be quite different from theres i feel justified in a completed....

so.... lets get a few things out of the way.
I am a falcom fan girl... they are fun an challenging games with amazing music and a decent enough plot to get through it.
Ys Origin tends not to be peoples fav game in series and i can agree but also disagree.

Things that kinda suck -

No Adol.... apparently he's a secret character but for the purpose of this review i'm gunna pretend like he doesn't exist cause this game takes place 700 years before Adol shows up.

doesn't matter who you choose (between yunica and hugo who at the start are the only two you can choose from) you're going to be playing the same game over again but instead of one being the reason everything happens it'll be the other.

even though the two bump into each other specific plot elements don't stay the same... so say a character dies in one story line... they may not in the other....

The water portion.... first you have to get an item from a boss so you can hold your breath for longer.... then you have to rush through a room with unkillable enemies... then you have to find fruit that refils your oxygen cause if that bar runs out... you die... anyways you have to find the magic to kill the unkillable enemies (which is WAY trickier to use underwater as hugo then it is Yunica.... more on why later) anyways the point is i hate being put on a timer.....

But honestly.... that doesn't make this game bad.

so whats good?

The characters play extremely different....
Yunica can only use melee.... kinda... she gets magic like abilities but no one ever says they are magic so...... yeah.... 
Hugo on the other hand has like long range blast attack which are weaker but hit faster and from father away.... his type of magic is way trickier to use since the wind creates a shield... fire does like beam attacks and lightning does the times bombs that stay at the elevation you put them at.... so it's tricky.

If i had to pick a character i liked more... i'd go for hugo since he has more of a character arc while yunica kinda acts ditzy through the entire game.... though i like yunica's interactions with other people more.... except for one puzzle..... i'll touch on that later.

As always the music is top notch, J.D.K you have outdone yourself for this game... i especially like the music for the topmost part of the tower...

the story is okay... i've said this before but you don't play falcom games for the story.... but it's decent.... The two godesses have vanished from the Solomin shrine which floats in the air and have been spotted on the surface of the world... a group heads out to bring them back with the hopes of figuring out why they left without saying a world.... of course everything doesn't go as planned when they find out that there are still 'human' who leave on the barren surface.

the length is decent... i have spent 15 hours on each story only cause i level up as much as i can before bosses. still didn't get the 'increase movement' blessing... too much SP..... fun fact that fastest way to get SP is to go to blighted blood 2 and go to the room before with those purple gel things.... just keep clearing out that room and you'll have enough sp in no time... the only reason i didn't was because i was valuing experience over sp at that point.

it's an action based RPG and depending on how fast you kill monsters you get multipliers for things like strength, mp, defense and even experience..... from what i can gather this game originally came out after Ys 3 but before ys 7 (they've been redoing the games so the order is more then a little messed up.)

it is 20 bucks on steam... i say it's worth it for replay value alone plus it's fun...
and if you like hard games.... this is the one... even on normal it's chllenging.... i was stupid to play hugo's story on hard.... nearly broke the controller i bought so i could play this game without a hand cramp...

oh yeah.... BUY A USB CONTROLLER.... the way it's set up on he keyboard is strange... and yes you can change it but controller will always be more comfortable and if you do break it it's better then breaking your keyboard.

ok so what did i say i'd mention later... already covered the different magic.... essentially all of yunica's 'magic' is long range.... kinda while Hugo's stays close to him.

Ah yes... the puzzle...

a little before the halfway point is a hallway with Hellish music that drains your health. Having played Ys 1 i remember this very room.... so i came across it first as Yunica... and i'm thinking.

"i either need to crack the pipes causing the music or get something that has a holy sound.... because those were the soultions in Ys 1..... oh wait... Yunica just got the harmonica! i know i'll play it--- what do you mean it doesn't work?"

so i stare at the screen a moment

"you know... Yunica is stupid.... maybe she can't figure out that she needs to play the harmonica to get through.... i'll call her superiors..."

so i do and they go "yeah a holy sound will work" so i try to play again.... and she plays it but it sucks.... no good.... ah maybe it's like the water portion where i just have to hope there's a spot i can go to avoid death.....

and there is.... with a roo... these creatures that if you give them fruit they will help you.. .and it teaches me the song to play..... so you're telling me that if i hadn't have picked up the fruit i would automatically lose? yay~ no they probably had another way to beat it but i figured it out.... still takes game logic to a new level...

and yeah i know i've just given the solution to that puzzle as Yunica but still.... i was just baffled.... alright off to play as Toal then to figure out if adol is unloackable or not.... and if it involved nightmare mode how do i cheat cause i had a hard time on hard... do not wanna think about nightmare.....

Completed: Remnant (a Dragonswarm Short Story) by Aaron Pogue

When he says short.... he means Short.... the estimated page length is 19 pages (cause it's on kindle and you can change font size the estimate is the best i can give you)

It was pretty good, not my favorite short story of his only because it feels more like a prologue or a teaser then a short story but it's still well written and you get a sense of the characters as well as you look forward to whats going to happen next... plus it's only 99 cents which isn't too bad.

so yeah if you have read the two books of the Dragon prince trilogy that are out give this one a read as well... (and if you haven't read them.... go read them.... really good fantasy series.) the third book is supposed to release this month so that's exciting.

and yeah i can't say much of the plot cause it's so short so all I'll say is it's about a man with a mission in a world where everyone would rather knuckle under. is the authors blog so go check that out. He releases books really fast so if you enjoy fantasy or sci-fi you should check him out.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Completed: Snow White and the Huntsman

so.... there's pretty much nothing in theaters at the moment... at least what is considered good i have already seen.

So yeah.... This film is hard to categorize... it isn't very good... i'd say it's bad but I have seen way worse.... it's annoying cause it's almost like there could have been a good movie but it just... wasn't.

Unfortunately it's hard to watch because.... and i know this is unfair so i'm just going to mention it here. It's tricky to separate the fact that the main characters are played by Bella and Thor... it felt at times like an odd crossover between the two and yeah... i know it's not fair but the film didn't give me much else to focus on.

That being said it is fairly 'pretty' but.... it's long... and easily could have been 30 mins shorter.... half of the artsy stuff feels like it was just made for the trailer... also i think someone just wanted to coat Charlize Theron in as much stuff as possible.... watch the film and you'll see what i mean.

HOWEVER.... who cares if something looks nice with a decent score.... how was the writing? the acting?

well...... most of the film is blatant exposition, shit comes out of nowhere and leaves just as fast (troll? dear thing from princess mononoke... i'll even throw the faeries into this category) and the dialogue is just not engaging.... it feels like actors reading off a script instead of people actually saying these lines... the only interesting character is the queen and she gets a fair amount of screen time but no they have to focus on snow white and her 'love' triangle?

But on the way home the friend i saw this with figured out how to make this movie better.... Go all Wicked on it and focus on the character whom we see as the badguy.... maybe they have reasons for why they act that way... i mean no one goes "i am evil so i will do evil things"... and like i said what little backstory we are given is interesting and you have this dynamic of a woman who is trying to assert her power in a male driven society by using her beauty but then kind of cursing herself for being that way but being unwilling to give it up for fear of growing old and weak and dying.

but no.... in this she just is evil for the sake of evil... she sees a flower growing? she plucks it and turns it to ash, a man and his daughter seem to truly love her.... she takes over the thrown and locks the girl away in a tower... it's just her actions don't make sense... why not act all good then spirit away the pretty girls in the night to keep your beauty strong? why not make the girl love you so that the betrayal has more emotion attached.

also this film borrows from a lot.... I felt like I was watching an odd mix of legend, princess mononoke, star wars and stardust... it's hard to describe but you'll probably see it if you watch the film.

final nit pick.... Kristen Stewart never seems to close her mouth... i don't mean she talks a lot she just leaves her mouth hanging half open.... it's just odd and looks uncomfortable and i found it a little distracting.

oh and the CG looks REALLY bad.... but that would have been forgiven had the film been better...

The friend i saw it with Peach had this to Add Via tumblr

We found….

Lord of the rings.

Harry Potter (for there were dementors…)

She has symptoms like trecker jeggers stings in The Hunger Games.

How to Train Your Dragon. (Disney Princess’s special abilities to befriended animals does not exclude trolls)

There were Princess Mononoke elements in it……..(which was actually unrelated…)

Star Dust

and to be in the trend with everything that came out this year. A very skilled Bowman.
I’m not saying they copied anything, but….um..borrowed? or too heavily inspired.

Kristen looks WAYYY better with her hair in a pony tail.

Their approach to the queen was very interesting, but they didn’t go anywhere with it. They should’ve just made her the main character.

The interpretation and how it’s not just about the princess and her prince is cool.

The apple scene were pretty damn neat and made so much more sense than what it would have been had they followed the original story.

Why is it that the ending credit is pretty much identical to Avengers….

Thanks again Peach. 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Completed: Ancient Book of Ys

But Rai... you beat that DS port a long time ago...
you are correct..... i did beat that game a while ago.... but this is the 7 ep OVA based on that game...
Now i think we all know that movies based on games tend to suck cause your compacting a lot of info into a short amount of time...  well most of the time the same is true for OVAs but it tends to be worse cause they make it in such a way where only those who have played the game/know the story will enjoy.

However overall i think Ys did the best job it could... i'll be comparing it to the Tales of Phantasia (ToP) OVA which was four episodes to show what ys did right.

now as i mentioned... i have played and beaten the game so i know the story going in... but i think someone who had never heard of the Ys games (which is a lot... people need to play more Falcom games) would be able to watch this and get the story.... but they still may not like the show overall. Unlike ToP which you have to have played the game in order to figure out whats going on...
So falcom successfully gets it's plot in two ways.
1. more episodes so obviously more story.
2. Ys is a short game... i think book 1 can be beaten in 5-10 hours other then the fact that it's really really hard (damn near unplayable as the ds version.... but i haven't played the psp one so who knows i keep hearing it's better) so that length of story can easily be condensed cause well most of that time is spent grinding so the boss doesn't kill you.

However OVAs are released in a very odd way.... lets just put it this way...
 Episode 1 aired in nov 1989... episode 7 aired in Sep 1991
so while watching you can see the gradual change in style (mostly in eyes and colouring) over the years... it' kinda fun but a little distracting

Also the animation overall is terrible... you can tell they were trying hard but it's just not as good as it could be... my favorite part is at sunset when the shadows are orange..... and lighter then every other colour on screen....good times.

but yeah it's Adol first adventure so if you come across it, are curious about the Ys games (3 and origin are out on steam you should at least check 3 out!) but don't want to play 1+2 (they are bundled in north America and out for ds and psp... psp version is better) then give this series a shot at it will give you the basic story... however all ys games for the most part are stand alone... you may miss some references but other then that there no harm just jumping in! but yeah this anime was fun... silly and badly animated but fun