Spoiler-Free Review: Virtue's Last Reward [8.5/10]

So it was a little over a year ago when they announced their would be a sequel to the 999 game for the DS. Being one of the best titles for the DS imo, I was ecstatic to hear this. It was funny, as back then, you walk into a game shop and no one knew what the hell 999 was. 1 year later, and it is sold out as well as one of the biggest games for the 3DS. The mixture of a mystery story and puzzles hits the perfect spot. I guess I should actually review the game instead of rambling on? ( I can continue my rambling later)

Psycho Pass 03 - The Eyes of a Hunter

Another week of Psycho Pass and still no real indication of a direction this show is heading. I think the assumption was that something big would go down this week with what happened to Mami. I guess they are taking this a bit slower being 2 cour rather then being rushed with 1 cour. Still, I feel the pacing is quite slow, hopefully things will pick up soon.

Psycho Pass 02 - A Closed System

A slow second episode for Psycho Pass. I guess 2 cour means things will be moving a bit slower then expected. They touched on a few key issues in one episode, I guess they will all be main issues in the coming episodes as they examine the flaws of the society they live. Though it probably won't happen, I would prefer if everything makes a full circle in the end for Akane to realize the system they have is for the best; Very highly unlikely as people these days like to over rate freedom.

Shinsekai Yori - Episode 3

Got to study for my mid-term plus more, so this will probably be a short post.

As they done with previous episodes, the intros are most likely going to be small flashbacks. Starting from "modern day" to 500 years later then to 570 years later. I didn't get to cover the "500 years later" scene but it was about a ceremony of a Lord with Joryoku rising up into power or the crowning of the new Lord. When the herald (the guy who was speaking) sacrifices the people in the crowd, this showed the Holly Cherry Blossom Empire's power and influence over its people. The "570 years later" scene of episode 3, it showed 3 men rebelling against the empire attempting to assassinate the current lord. The intros will most likely cover the events from the Kanto Period (500 years after) and to the Tanegawa Ibaraki Period (current time period that the show is on). What happens from modern day to the Kanto Period? I'll get to that later in the post.

The stories that Satoru tells are an example of the elders influencing the minds of the younger ones. Most of the stories' themes being "don't do this...", "don't go near that...", and etc. The elders remind me of the Church; as what the elders did, the church also controlled the mindset of their followers. Both the elders and the church influence their followers. They both have many secrets that they want to keep and instead most likely tell different "truths". This will something I might add to later on in the series, especially when there is more information to compare the two.

Episode 3 also developed the story and context more. Developing the relationships between characters, ie. boat scene with Saki and Shun and etc.; also showing more of the Joryoku.

Then... "bam!!", huge development in the story! The scene with the library robot (Tsukuba branch of the National Assembly Library) is going to be the start of the main plot of the story. What happens after this will most likely be the group of kids finding out truth which could be about the rise/history of Joryoku or secrets that the elders don't talk about. I'm guessing that the truth that the kids learn about will cover the time period of modern day to the Kanto Period. The series has a very compelling plot which keeps me interested in the world of Shinsekai and eagerly waiting for the next episode. With the main plot already starting, Shinsekai has a lot in store to show its viewers. Until next episode...


[K] 2 - This Show is Awesome

I could barely contain my laughter as a this show has quickly turned into my fovourite thus far.
After last week' introduction of the main characters and current faction disputes, episode 2 showed how hilarious [K] can be.

Shiro's magnificent act to escape from the Black Dog was a clever way to show insight behind the Black Dog's honourable and classy personality. I was very pleased with how Shiro has really taken a step towards the clownish happy-go-lucky behaviour, while remaining mysterious as his true identity may differ. We still don't know this serious issue as to whether or not he is the wanted killer, despite looking exactly like him and that Shiro himself isn't completely sure. The Black Dog on the other hand will probably end up working alongside Shiro with the way things are headed, just because these three characters make quite the humorous bunch.

As I stated last week I knew the cat was the naked pale chick, but then again it was well hinted, plus the fact that she remains invisible to normal people will hopefully be explained in the next episode, and why both Shiro and the Black Dog can see her. The show is moving at a nice pace, offering great insight into the three characters this week all while showing the huge hunt for Shiro as being a serious whopping 10 million yen bounty.

Who the hell carry's around a briefcase of cooking utensils? The whole episode starts off with the Black Dog trying to kill Shiro yet the ending was just too much for me to handle. I can't wait for the next episode to see where this show goes. I really love Shiro as a character, he is thrown into some messed up events but we still don't know how innocent he is with the possible connection of the murder of the previous king. I'm reminded of Guilty Crown's plot, but instead of taking a normal student and turning his world upsidown, Shiro himself is still a mystery with little known background about him and whether or not he truly has connections to these turn of events.


Zetsuen no Tempest - First Impressions

I've always been a fan of BONES' anime adaptions, so right away Zetsuen no Tempest caught my attention with its visuals. The story jumps right into character relations as the main character is now without his two friends, as flashbacks fill us in with the other's personalities. The three friends have a very different atmosphere to them, it isn't the type of relationship of happy-go-lucky, or even casual friendship, its more like a fated relationship that has been developed over time. What I find interesting is how the central character, Yoshino is pitted as an important character as he is somehow able to manage his violent brawler of a friend Mahiro, all while being scolded and blamed by the light brown female friend who has some grudge against him it seems, and treats him coldly, telling him it's all his fault. The entire opening to the show is well crafted to create this somewhat depressive, melancholy.

After the sad opening, things get crazy, as hell breaks loose with a turn of events that caught me off guard. I was pretty shocked, thinking this would slowly build up more of a mystery, but instead I was treated some crazy action that has captured my attention with an arrangement of unexpected events. It's not as if the story is being rushed, or the pacing is off, it just takes a wild turn down an action mystery road that leaves an impressive first impression.

The Black Iron Syndrome, seems to magically turn everyone to iron, similar to that infection from Guilty Crown. This sudden infection sweeps through a little too quickly, with its first appearance being explained as if it has been a growing issue rather than this sudden twist I experienced. The show is quite enticing, I am still not too sure if I like the whole mage and magic powers issue, but the character conflicts and relations are enough for me to continue watching and hopefully blog. The show appears similar to that of Darker than Black, where there are major issues and heavy concerns for large scaled events that shake the world, but most of the focus will be directed to the characters themselves an opt for less explaining of the situation and more to the personalities, which I personally love.


Shinsekai Yori - First Impressions + Episode 2

Ouroboros here. After lurking Clan Rain for so long, I've decided that I might contribute and post up on a series. I have never posted before so bear with me.

The Beginning...

I decided to pick up this series out of curiosity and it ended up being a great pick. Shinsekai Yori is an anime adaption Yuusuke Kishi's novel. Shinsekai's first episode hooked me in almost instantly. Episode 1 starts off with several boys mass murdering civilians with a psychic power, leaving a vague yet intriguing feeling to the viewers. After this scene, they transition into the future (with awesome music in the background) in which it appears that civilization regress into a period similar to Japan during the 1600's~. The people of this time period have a psychic power know as "Joryoku" which allows them to materialize things they imagine. The transition into the future leaves viewers wondering "Why has civilization regressed one thousand years into the future?" and "How did people obtained 'Joryoku'?" Here's MyAnimeList's synopsis of the series if you want more information.

Watanabe Saki です!

Following the transition into the future, we are introduced to the main character Watanabe Saki as her "Joryoku" powers awaken. Soon after the elders have a ritual to limit her powers by having Saki seal her cantus. The next day she meets up with her friends at Zenjin Gaki (Sage Academy). Saki brings up memories of her and her friends at Harmony School but they don't remember anything about it. Her friends congratulate Saki for being the last one to graduate from Harmony School. She finds this confusing because she remembers clearly that there were other students left in her previous school. I believe that the elders are controlling the students memories and influencing their way of thought. For example, the story that was read out load in class, was to scare them from crossing the Holy Barrier.

Did they completely seal all of Saki's Cantus?

As for the students memories, I believe that the reason Saki can remember from Harmony School is because that they didn't completely seal her Cantus. During the ritual scene, Saki may have not have put all of her feelings, and memories into the emblem. This should explain why she was crying after the emblem was burned, showing that she may have missed everything that she put into the Cantus. If she put all of her feelings and memories into the emblem; wouldn't she not feel anything since everything was burned away?

Eavesdropping?... Tsk Tsk

The elders are obviously hiding many secrets from the younger ones and have control over them in some way because of the scenes of Saki eavesdropping on her parents and the fact that they soon forget about stuff that happened. At the end of Episode 2, a voice (which seems to be Saki when she's older talking about the events that have occurred) says that the came to forget, the cheating during the team ball tournament, the disappearance of their former classmate Amano Reiko, as well as the disappearance of Katayama Manabu the one who broke the rules. These typically wouldn't be events that you just seem to forget so easily, the elders are definitely involved with this in some way.

From Left To Right: Akizuki Maria; Asahina Satoru; Watanabe Saki; Aonuma Shun; Itou Mamoru;

Within the first two episodes, we learn little about the characters and can only get a small impression on them. The characters appear to be a bit lack luster but that's most likely because developing the setting and  context of the show are the main focus right now. The series will have plenty of time to develop the characters through since it'll probably be a 2 cour. I don't think an award-winning novel will forget to develop the characters.

SubGroup: UTW, if you didn't catch it in the first picture.

Of the two episodes, I like the presentation of Shinsekai Yori. The animations and art all look really good, and the somewhat "earthy" tone adds to the setting of the regressed civilizations. The characters are all well made. And I really like choice of music, the background music makes the scenes palpable (aww yeah.. big word bonus!) and the ED is pretty catchy.

I'm looking forward to Shinsekai, the setting and concept of Shinsekai very interesting and I believe that this series has a lot of potential. In these posts, I will be giving my analysis and opinion of Shinsekai Yori. I will try to get these posts out shortly after each episode release, but that depends on when UTW releases the episodes and if I have time. I will try my best to be punctual. Until next episode...


Psycho Pass 01 - A Rating on Life

It is has been quite some time, but I will try and stay consistent doing this series every week. I am still insanely busy but hopefully I can keep up! This show looked right up my alley in setting and touched on quite a few points that peaked my interest. Being an anime original is also a major plus as no one to spoil what happens next with endless speculation!

Code Breaker - First Impressions

There are quite a few shows this season that have my attention, but I'm not too sure what to think about this Code Breaker. The visuals are quite bland, nothing really pops out and the special effects are pretty basic, then again I just watched [K] so that might be factor in my response to this show's appearance.

Getting right into things, Code Breaker starts the story off right from the beginning with our grade A student Sakura who excels in martial arts and is supposedly a beauty of her school. She notices people burning alive while on a train and confronts the new transfer student who resembles the culprit (why is it always the transfer student, why can't the culprit be a regular student for once?). the transfer student Ogami puts on an act but in the end he is found out, seems pretty standard for a plot if you ask me, I hope the plot doesn't become painfully obvious later on.

The only surprising things so far was how Sakura was able to easily shrug off all speculation that she liked Ogami when she just wanted to confront him about being the culprit, and it ends up making her a bit boring as a character with the lack of drama, although I must say her combat skills are quite impressive, I just hope this doesn't turn out like Kurokami which I find to be a real boring show. It looks like this will be all action, the main characters don't seem to poses any comedic promise, so it might just try to be a somewhat serious show with action.

Code Breaker tries to portray Ogami as this badass mysterious guy with epic powers and a dark side to him, but really he doesn't live up to the hype he tried to create. All he does is burn some gang members that deserve it while chanting "an eye for an eye", while putting on a fake face at school and showing no emotion or facial change outside of school. Sakura on the other hand is normal, but shows some courage and strength you don't normally find among the average girls in high school anime, so she is at least somewhat interesting.

I'll watch the next episode but so far there doesn't seem to be any real reason to watch the show other than seeing how Sakura will handle these turns of events since Ogami doesn't interest me in the slightest character wise.


Cos & Effect 2012

The second con I attended this past summer as I give in to my urges to take part in these anime conventions. Cos & Effect was rather huge over the last few years, unfortunately, this year saw a dismal turnout with few well organized panels and overall lacked in comparison to Anime Revolution, which was a week before Cos & Effect. While Anime Revolution may have stolen all the spotlight from the Vancouver cons this summer, there were plenty of things to see and do at C&E.

The top three events I attended were an anime themed chess match, which had cosplayers act as chess pieces and entertain the crowd with epic fights whenever a piece was overtaken by another. I ended up getting a Pawn role as I dressed as Shizuo Heiwajima, unfortunately I did not get to fight anyone until the very end where we decided to just have all out out fake battle among the remaining pieces, my side won of course.

Next was the very humourous Little Kuriboh who voices the Yu-Gi-Oh abridged series alongside two friends who also do voices, including Takahata101 who is Nappa's abridged voice actor. This panel was by far the most enjoyable, we even got the three abridged voice actors to act out one of Little Kuriboh's side web comics he made when he was younger.

Lastly the anime skit contest gave us several back to back skits from cosplayers, which turned out to be very lame, until the final skit from a somewhat popular group. FAK, fighting asian kids performed a pokemon themed skit showcasing some epic dance moves, poke battle, and oppa-poke style dance. Their performance rocked the house.

I almost forgot about the Final Fantasy Battle, where teams of three performed in a final fantasy turn based fight for the enjoyment of the crowd. The finalists ended up being team Gary, which composed of Gary, Pyro, and Jackie Chan against team Childhood Nightmare which had PedoBear, Scarecrow, and The Ring girl. During the fight, PedoBear would pick up a cardboard cutout of a white van with candy written on it and steal a baby doll that Jackie Chan had. The whole event was pretty amusing.

Overall it was a lot of fun and hopefully it'l be a bit more populated next summer with more organized events.


[K] - First Impressions

With the new season upon us I think i'll manage to get back into writing regular posts.
It took me FOREVER to find the download file for [K], but it was worth the effort. [K] is an original anime project from GoRA from GoHands studios. The only other show I've seen from GoHands is Seitokai Yakuindomo and I am still hoping for a second serving of those dirty jokes in the near future.

From a visual point of view, [K] is quite stunning and reminds me of C3 and Guilty Crown's art style with the amount of bright coloured (mainly blue) tones in all the background scenes.

The show starts off with some action scenes as Mikoto's gang starts attacking some wealthy organization with poor English acting. While this gang looks for trouble with some authoritative police, a peculiar high school character is depicted living casually, taking peoples food offerings to feed his white kitten he keeps on his shoulder. I have no idea what exactly is happening, but there appears to be some struggle between people known as "kings" with some mysterious powers, but that's about all I got from the show. The first episode mainly introduces the core characters and gives us a fair bit of personality from a few of them, at this point there are about 5 factions that will be intertwined in the story.

The one group reminds me of the military officers from FMA, while their battle with Mikoto's gang has me thinking of Soul Calibur with those big red and blue swords in the sky. Aside from these two opposing factions, the main character appears to have done something horrible and everyone wants a shot at him, but his current personality belies himself at the time of said horrible thing. I am sure there will be a fair bit of side humour as this episode portrayed another school girl concerning for the lack of veggies the main character eats. Next episode we are introduced to the white haired girl whom I think transforms herself into the white kitten.

Overall this was spectacular to watch just for the visuals, I have high hopes for [K] and it will be interesting to see what exactly is happening with the plot and how these characters are intertwined in the next episode.


Ixion Saga DT - First Impressions

Yo. It's been two and a half months since I've posted anything because I've been fairly busy. I pretty much skipped out on posting for the entire Summer 2012 season, and that'll probably remain unchanged for Fall 2012. With less time to watch anime, I haven't really studied up on the preview chart. Paradoxically, I wanted to be a bit more selective than usual on what to watch given time constraints. This is how I came across Ixion Saga DT, which I feel warranted a short little post because it deserves some attention.

What first caught my eye is the fact that this show is an anime original. I believe it's supposed to be based on CAPCOM's upcoming online game of the same name, but I don't think story is a very big factor in an action MMO type of game, which is why I think the guys at Brains Base can be more liberal with the writing. Along with a star-studded voice cast, the director is Takamatsu Shinji, who has directed the likes of Gintama, School Rumble, and more recently Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. This is important because I feel that comedy is what sets this show apart from many others that have used the same setup.

At first, what this show reminded of Oda no Nobuna, which I've still yet to finish. Both main characters are thrown into an entirely different world, and ends up saving someone. Hell, they're even voiced by the same guy. That's where I think the comparisons end though. Though there looks to be some steady plot progression in this new world that Kon is thrown into, it doesn't seem to take itself very seriously. As I've mentioned before, the comedy in this show is what really makes it fun to watch. A light and humorous adventure in a fantasy world is definitely preferable to an angsty and dramatic attempt to escape it.

As for the characters, I really like the character designs. The main character is nothing special, but he really knows how to make light of the situation. The moment he kicked the big bad in the balls while the the guy was charging up his ultimate move was gold. No invincibility frames here! I quite like the token loli and the token trap as well. While she may be just eight years old, she comes off as rather wise in a naive sort of way, if that's even possible. The dual gun-wielding trap is quite the addition to the gang, too. One of the more hilarious moments during this stellar pilot episode was when Fukuyama Jun changed to his manly voice mid-sentence when we find out he's a trap. Excellent delivery. Not much to say about Sainglain so far, but he seems like a cool guy.

Overall, this was an excellent start to the series and I really had fun watching it. As long as it can maintain the comedy at this level, this is going to be a solid show, and probably one of the very few I have time to follow this season. If you've already dismissed this show because of its premise, I highly recommend you to give it a chance; you'd probably be pleasantly surprised. Time to disappear for another couple of months.