Archive for June, 2010

Durarara!! – review

“In the same way a town exists, so long as there are people, the Dollars will continue to exist.”

This series has got Simon's approval.

Okay let’s get back in business for another big review. This time it’s Durarara!!, Brains Base’s latest series. In a nutshell, the series ‘follows’ the life of  Ryuugamine Mikado, a newcomer to the big flashy city of Ikebukuro. Toss in a man as strong as steel, a headless Irish Dullahan and a manipulative sunovabeech and you’ve got a pretty amazing concept.

Now that's what I call a Falcon PUNCH!

I said ‘follows’ because unlike many series out there, and much like Narita Ryougo’s Baccano!, Durarara!! doesn’t really have a set protagonist as such. This is most evident in the first half, where we were presented with VERY Baccano!-styled material, using an often non-linear approach, and multiple perspectives of a single event. Heck, we even ended up with a very cool cameo by Isaac and Miria, which would have pretty funny for those acquainted with the series.

Kida can haz skillz

Most people, including me, tend to agree that the first half was amazing. It was a fun ride which kept us wondering where the series was going to head off next. However, the series had to show some direction in the second half, and when it did, it inevitably lost the fun and humour that we saw in the first. Even the tone of the OP changed, from a lively Uragiri no Yuuyake to the more dour Complication.

"EEEEEEEEEEEH?! I thought we were going to have more screentime!"

One of the great things about Durarara!! was its range of characters. Everyone has a favourite. They (most) are interesting to watch and follow, and Durarara!! seldom succumbs to cliché. I think bonus points should go to Ise Mariya who voiced the stalker Harima Mika. She really got Mika’s voice and character down-pat. I don’t think I need to talk about the otakus Erika and (especially) Walker. They’re always fun to watch.

Russian Sushi - evidently not palatable.

However, like another series I JUST reviewed *cough Angel Beats! cough*, character developement also suffers. Earlier in the year I mentioned how this could turn out to be one of the main weaknesses in this series… and it did. Ideally there should have been more time dedicated to developing characters such as Shingen (Shinra’s father) who only appeared twice or thrice, and Officer Kinnosuke (who’s addition barely made a ripple).

This guy REALLY needed to appear more.

A GOLDEN TURD should go to Shizuo’s brother Kasuka, who appeared in the 2nd half OP, yet never actually appeared IN the 2nd half.  Heck, Isaac and Miria appeared more times in this series if you count the billboards and banners that appear in Ikebukuro. Besides that, the three ‘main’ characters in Durarara!! were probably the most boring/less interesting compared to the other ‘major’ characters. I never liked Kida, and I doubt I ever will.

Okay I admit, Kida can be pretty funny at times.

While Durarara!! is of decent length (24 episodes), it just begs for more of what we saw in the first half. There’s so many characters in this city, and Brains Base clearly couldn’t give all of them their due. The ending was pretty damn open, with a couple of things unresolved, so here’s to a few OVA episodes, or if we’re lucky, another season.

Yeah I'd be pretty damn shocked too....

Soundtrack is pretty unusual, ranging from some Irish strings to some jazz. However it all fits well on the screen and it just goes to show what weird and wonderful things you’ll find in a big city. As mentioned before, the voice actors are all pretty cool. Kamiya Hiroshi was great as Izaya, and Kana Hanazawa was a cool and calm Anri.

The three main players

There’s not much else I can say about Durarara!!. The animation was great at the start, but started to get a little boring in the definitely more lacklustre 2nd half. The bouts of comedy were actually pretty damn good, and I had plenty of laughs watching the first half. Although it’s nowhere near legendary status, I give Durarara!! a solid thumbs up. Well done Brains Base for another good watch.

Animation: 8.5/10

Sound: 8.5/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 8/10

Enjoyment: 8.5/10

Overall: 8.3/10

"WHY WASN'T I MENTIONED?!?!?!?!"

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June 30, 2010 at 9:08 pm 7 comments

Angel Beats! – review

“Kanade… Please don’t disappear… KANADEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!11489349one”

That cast... well, most of it.

Before someone flames: [spoiler alert]. Damn straight. Angel Beats! was a decent watch in the little time that it lasted, but if there was any moral we learnt from Maeda’s latest outing, it’s how budget and timing can certainly screw around with what could have been a timeless series.

HAPPY PLZ!!!

First and foremost, a synopsis: our lead Yuzuru Otonashi (voiced by the ever-so-excellent Kamiya Hiroishi) wakes up in a high school without his memories. Turns out this is some sort of afterlife for people who’ve died young and unsatisfied by their circumstances. He quickly enlists into Class 3S, a rag-tag band of weird and colourful personalities whose sole purpose is to defeat Tenshi, the school president…

Mmmm I LOVE what this series teaches us.

Probably what kept everyone watching were the great assortment of characters in this afterlife. Of course, everyone’s favourite is Tenshi. Seriously, if you hate Tenshi, you must seriously hate the world. I personally enjoyed TK. He’s so badass, and anyone who can dance Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal in an anime series seriously gets my thumbs up.

TK - you're awesome. Period.

However, the characterisation here is ironically one of the major weaknesses that pretty much eat away at Angel Beats!. We have SUCH an assortment of characters, and yet, we only get development in six, namely Yui, Otonashi, Yuri, Hinata, Naoi and Tenshi. What happened to the other characters?!

Class Retard wants you to join Class 3S

While I felt Otonashi and Tenshi’s developements were expertly done and paced, Yuri’s past seemed really off-putting and angsty. Also, the way she’s suddenly pals and bff’s with Tenshi is equally wanktarded. Ideally ALL the characters should have had at least one episode. The series just BEGS for 24 episodes at least. 13 episodes simply did NOT deliver.

GirlsDeMo - you rock.

Onto animation. Overall, this series is a very pretty one at that. Animation is especially great whenever we see Tenshi’s sweet moves, and the character models are definitely appealling. The concerts (yes, CONCERTS) were a surprising, yet awesome addition. Thankyou P.A. Works.

Maeda evidently can't balance stuff as well as Shiina

Comedy is often what gets a lot of rewatchability in many anime series, and Angel Beats! had a pretty decent sense of slapstick. Heck, almost half of it is comedy. There’s no other series that makes fun of death like Angel Beats! does. However, many of the jokes you’ll find end up repeating each other. No Takeyama. We will not fucking call you Christ. In addition, there are some points in the series which are just plain stupid, such as when Otonashi discovers Tenshi is just like the other members of Class 3S near the end. Just stupid really.

GG wtf man?! Where did those 13 eps go?!

Sound was probably the crowning glory of this series. GirlsDeMo was a hit and while I never really caught on with their songs, I knew a serious amount of effort had been put to compose the various singles that appeared in Angel Beats!. For that, I must pay serious respect to Maeda. While I also initially didn’t like the ED (retardedly named The Brave Song) I ended up really loving it’s tranquility.

The Angel shows off her wings.

If you haven’t got the point yet, I will reiterate again: Angel Beats! was TOO DAMN SHORT. This lead to really stupid pacing in the series, which flimmed and flammed through semi-fillers and proper plot. There were some pretty lame and stupid moments, like when Naoi, after butchering all of Class 3S, becomes ‘good’ after Otonashi’s sloppy manhug necessarily accompanied by mantears and mancrying. Seriously. Get some balls. Big events in this series end up finishing pretty damn quickly, and I was left wanting a little more development.

Clearly his balls have been just ripped off.

However, I must admit, there were some very poignant moments in the series. My favourite is BY FAR when Hinata is about to catch the ball and disappear. The tension and emotion in those seconds were what we were expecting from Maeda. Contrary to many viewers out there, I actually enjoyed the ending a lot. I really wanted Otonashi and Kanade to be together, and well, what do you expect: the usual miracle from Maeda. Also the way the weaved the power of love into this series, namely the shades arc, was fantastically and credibly done. It wasn’t soppy!

One more word from her mouth, and I swear I'll chuck something at my laptop.

Overall, while I can bitch and whine all I want regarding how short Angel Beats! was, I still end up liking the series a lot. It saddens me when I realise that I won’t be tuning in every Friday/Saturday to my weekly TK fix. Let’s hope Maeda’s next work is bigger and better than this one~

Animation: 8.5/10

Sound: 9.5/10

Story: 7.5/10

Characters: 7.5/10

Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 8.2/10

Now... Time for bed...

June 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm 13 comments

Demotivator of the week #23

Sorry guys. I’m still in the middle of exams so pardon the lack of updates. Will update next week though! That’s a promise XD

Thanks for the comments and views guys~ More to come!

Ippius

June 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm 3 comments

E3 update part 2

Here goes….

Epic Mickey (Wii)

Get ready Mickey

Okay this game was pretty surprising. Surprising because it actually looked pretty deep. You play as everyone’s favourite mouse, who has accidentally screwed around with a world where Walt Disney’s rejected characteres reside. Because you feel like such a bad guy, you decide to fix everything up with your magical paintbrush (who would’ve guessed >_>) which has awsun paowahs, like erasing walls (paint thinner) and building stuff (paint). This game looks good.

What have you done, Mickey?!

Dead Space 2 (PS3, XBox 360, PC)

Necromorph juice

Ready for some more necromorphs? The bad-ass of engineering, Isaac, is back, along with a new suit and some new tools. Expect some more frights, and now for the first time, multiplayer. The Ps3 version will also come with Dead Space: Extraction as a Move-capable title.

Who wouldn't kill for a suit like that?

Final Fantasy XIV (PS3)

It's about the team!

From what I’ve seen, this game puts huge emphasis on teamwork. Personally, I would’ve been more happy to see more Versus XIII than XIV. Gameplay looks pretty decent, and it looks like some of our favourite summons are coming back as bosses e.g. Bahamut. This looks like a happy and cutesy Japanese version of WoW, with lots of focus on defeating big bosses with your buddies.

Bahamut!

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

Fly boy~

Kid Icarus is back and he looks fantastic in the revival of this game franchise. It combines aerial and ground combat, and from what we’ve seen, this game looks awesome. It also combines magic with more traditional physical attacks, and it’s pretty damn fast-paced. I don’t really have more info, besides the fact that you’ll still be in Palutena, fighting the forces of Medusa the Gorgon, who include Cereberus.

Just another day in Palutena...

Patapon 3 (PSP)

Let's give 'em a beating.

So apparantly Patapon is getting yet another sequel. However, you’re not playing as some god, but rather, the ‘hero’ of your tribe, carrying the drums. Some people also say how you won’t be able to transfer your army from Patapon 2 over to P3. Weird. However what’s awesome is that you’ll apparantly be able to host 4v4 battles locally.

LittleBig Planet (PS3)

The creatinator in use

This game should be in every primary school’s curriculum. What it provides is an amazing platform for experimentation and the imagination that is FUN. I really enjoyed seeing what the top designers could do in 24 hours with LBP2. It was fantastic. I cannot wait for this game.Definitely a first day buy for me.

Random minigame

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

"That guard needs to be paying more attention. His buddy's got a hole in his face"

This game looks pretty damn different to the first Ghost Recon. I guess the franchise needed a breath of fresh air. Now while the footage looked really sweet, it just came across to me that it was pretty damn n00b friendly. I mean, now you have optical cloaking, which makes close quarter kills pretty damn simple to execute. Not to forget, all you really need to do is get up close, and press a button. I really want to play this game, but if it turns out to be a gung-ho poor man’s version of MGS4 or Splinter Cell: Conviction, I’m going to be disappointed.

Noob friendly what.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3)

Gabriel - with a name like that, I'd also be depressed

This game looks and sounds orgasmically good. It has, by far, the best voice-acting I’ve heard this E3, and the music we heard in the trailers was brilliant. I wouldn’t blame you if you said that it looks like a Medieval version of the God of War series, especially when the game places a large emphasis on these epic boss battles. However, is that necessarily a bad thing? Bring it on, Gabriel Belmont.

Gabriel Belmont - the Indiana Jones of his time

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

A mix between Celda Link and Twilight Link

Well to be honest, what we saw of this game in E3 was relatively underwhelming. I’m not sure what to say about the graphics, being a mixed between cell-shaded and realistic. Also apparantly the controls were pretty annoying to handle with. However, Miyamoto definitely pointed out that the game was still far from finished, so there’s plenty of time to fix up these problems.

Where would any hero be without a slingshot

For the time being, that’s it folks. I know I’ve missed out on some of the big titles like the new Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill 8, and most of the fps’s. If I have time, I’ll come back to them.

June 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm 7 comments

Demotivator of the week #22

Sorry this is late~ when I noticed the unusually high view count and remembered that I hadn’t posted up the demotivator, I quickly made this. Hope everyone’s exams have gone well. Mine start this Tuesday >_>

Cheers and stay tuned for part 2 of my E3 update, and my review of Angel Beats!

Ippius

June 19, 2010 at 12:27 am 6 comments

E3 update part 1

Wow there are seriously too many awesome games to blog about, so I’m going to do quick impressions of those which I found really excellent or interesting to note. Also, I won’t be writing large chunks on each game, simply because there’s just so many of them! However if you do have any requests on games which you’d like more info, please leave a comment below, and I’ll take a look. There’s at least 18 games I want to talk about, so expect more in the following week.

Portal 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac OS X)

Welcome back to Aperture Science

In what was one of the biggest surprises on E3 2010, Gabe Newell (of Valve fame) announced that he hoped to make Portal 2 on PS3 the best console version of the game, quite a stab to the face of Microsoft’s Xbox. From what we can see, Chell, the protagonist from Portal 1, is back, having been held in stasis for quite a looooong time. Everyone’s favourite AI GLaDOS is also back, and hasn’t forgotten what Chell did to her all those years ago.  One thing that is new is that the effects found in one portal, will bleed into the other. There will also be a 2-player co-op mode.

Where's my cake?

Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)

WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS WORLD?!

Kirby may be the cutest thing on earth, but don’t let that fool you into believing his games are for the kids. Sakurai has had a huge following after hits including the Super Smash Brothers franchise, and this game looks bloody fantastic. It also has a co-op mode, where the second player is some blue crown-wearing, big-eyed version of Kirby. AWESOME. There will be new powers too. Trust Nintendo to make yarn exciting.

IMMA FIRIN MA ROCKITSS!!!1144590

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PS3, XBox 360, PC)

Don't worry Ezio. We love you too.

I never really got into the whole Assassin’s Creed business, but after watching a few trailers of the third main console outing of this franchise, I’m tempted to start. There’s a healthy multiplayer component in Brotherhood that ACTUALLY works. I enjoy games like Peace Walker where you need to build up your forces, and send them on missions, etc. so the fact that you’re building your league of assassins is a tantalising thought.

What a fag.

GoldenEye (Wii)

GoldenEye is back.

Nintendo had probably one of its BEST E3 conferences this year. The announcement of GoldenEye for the Wii was one heck of a surprise, and probably made all fanboys a little wet inside their pants, including me. However, it begs to ask the question, is it THAT necessary to revive one of the best first-person shooters in HISTORY? Some may argue that it may have been better to let the game rest, rather than risk a shitty upgrade on a console that has let down many hardcore gamers. Nintendo definitely knows how to bring in the gold.

Split-screen is back.

Lego Universe (PC, Mac)

Errrr... wut?

Who here loved Lego as a kid. I certainly did, and it has astounded me how much Lego has built itself, not only as a toy company, but also as a significant gaming one. Now I’m really not sure how a Lego MMOG would work, but when you think about it, it should work… right? I mean, you can literally do anything with Lego, so why build and customise your characters online? This looks like a pretty good MMO for the kiddies before they start on the hardcore stuff like WoW and the soon-to-come Star Wars: The Old Republic

Looks... interesting?

Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC)

I don't care if this isn't canon! This is AWESOME!

Okay, I’m not too flash on the MMORPG market, but LucasArts really knows how to make a cinematic trailer. This CGI trailer was action-packed and simply awesome. Online, you’ll be able to have companions, choose from a variety of job classes such as bounty hunter, and Republic trooper. Lightsaber action will undoubtedly be in as well, and it actually works too.

Did I say something wrong....?

Third Birthday (PSP)

Aya, our 20-year old looking 35 year-old protagonist 😛

BOO YEAH! This game looks AWESOME! For the many not in the know, Third Birthday is the third game in the Parasite Eve franchise. Don’t know what that is? Yeah, I’m not surprised. In a nutshell it’s a third-person shooter where you’ll fight crazy-ass monsters. The protagonist Aya, will also have an ability which allows her to essentially switch bodies. PSP owners, make sure you watch this trailer.

Third Birthday in action

Metal Gear Solid 3D (3DS)

Who's Boss?

That’s right. Metal Gear Solid 3, aka Snake Eater will be coming out on the 3DS, i.e. in full 3D glory. After looking at a few screens of this game, the 3DS will be a definite buy for me. Developers state that they aim to maintain, if not, surpass, the graphical power of MGS3 on the PS2 for the 3DS. This port looks freakin’ awesome, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this next year.

Jack is back

That’s it for today. However, don’t worry if your favourite game-to-be hasn’t got mentioned yet. I still have PLENTY of games to go through.

June 17, 2010 at 7:04 pm 10 comments

Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ – first impressions

To those who think anime is just a hodge-podge of walking bewbs, moe and fanservice, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement is your shining example…

Sorry bout the raw used guys. Freaking stupid.

Okay I’m going straight to the point. If you enjoy these harem ecchi anime series, SPE will probably make your pants explode. It’s got excessive and gratuitous fanservice, a bounty of bishoujo with their knockers overflowing, and an indecisive (and probably undeserving) male lead, Minato. For those who enjoy a bit more substance and profundity in their anime, you’re probably not gonna find it here.

"Maybe I should have stopped watching..."

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. SPE actually has a semi-interesting storyline for the genre. Animation is fairly average. I mean everyone looks the same, but at least they look good (I should hope so! It’s freaking harem!). Sound is definitely forgettable.

Seriously, Minato's face is a boob magnet

The comedy is terribad. Expectedly it’s mostly bewb-related, but it’s heavily overrused and repetitive. Although some of the sekirei are decently interesting character-wise, this series definitely has its share of god-awful clichés

Best. Sandwich. Ever.

As I mentioned earlier, only watch if you’re into ecchi. You’ll feel right at home here.

OP: Don’t like it. That is all.

ED: Um… it has bewbs?

Huge cup sizes make the loli sad.

June 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm 4 comments

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