With the community quarantine in my area, there seems to be no excuse to not get back into the anime grind. The first thing that caught my eye for this year’s spring season was the anime series My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! or HameFura for short. Categorized into the romantic comedy genre with the interesting premise of isekai-ng the main character into her favorite otome game as the villainess is definitely something that would raise eyebrows.
After drawing flak from the vast corners of the community, Darling in the FRANXX has received so much criticism for its story and characters. It became such a hot topic to the point of alleged reports involving fans sending threats to members of the production for creating a point in this show’s story in which many will never accept. For this individual, I would like to put my finger into this show – why anger coming from its fans is a testament to how effective it is as a show.
Ever since last year, Steins;Gate 0 has been announced for release and we were already given a glimpse of what to expect from this show. Not to mention, this is a treat for those who have gone and played the visual novel of the same name. As stated, the show tries to tread a darker path to what Steins;Gate, the show its derived from, could have been.
FIRST LOOK – As the new anime season started, there seems to be a great deal of popularity on the anime series The Ancient Magus’ Bride and surely enough, I believe that popularity was well earned by this new show. A new title from Wit Studio (Shingeki no Kyojin, Owari no Seraph) the anime falls upon the slice-of-life, magic-fantasy genre as the story is set in modern Britain.
If you do not take kindly to spoilers, avert your eyes!
ANIME, FIRST LOOK – After being heavily recommended by friends, the anime series “Tsurezure Children” is now part of the short list of anime that I’ve watched out of the long list of anime which I haven’t. While it does give me some sort of entertainment and lives up to its genre of a romance-comedy, I can’t help but feel lacking from how it formats its episodes.
FIRST LOOK – Eromanga-sensei focuses on two step-siblings who are now living by themselves after their parents die in an accident. The older brother, Masamune Izumi, is a light novel author studying in high school while his little sister, Sagiri, is a shut-in who hasn’t left her room due to her mother’s death.
The funniest thing about this is that Izumi realizes that his little sister is, in fact, the anonymous online illustrator “Eromanga” that contributes to his light novel’s art. So yeah, Sagiri opens up to her older brother about the whole “Eromanga” business (although she’s a bit embarrassed about her pen name) to which Izumi accepts the entire thing.
The thing about this series is that it portrays a sibling relationship that is too perfect where both siblings are pretty much one step closer to romance (I’m looking at you, Oreimo). Some argue that a situation where two siblings agree on each other is very rare, and I, personally, agree on that being that I have my own sibling and we get along pretty nicely (seriously).
This series is not at all unique when it comes to its story, its animation but it is definitely entertaining. If I were to bring up a comparison, it would be similar to Oreimo – a series where a brother realizes that her goody two shoes of a sister is actually a hardcore otaku.
With that comparison and the exchanges that Izumi and Sagiri were having in their whole “opening up” scene, I am led to suspect that the little sister has some romantic feelings for her older brother. I won’t even be surprised if it takes that turn because of what we’ve witnessed from Oreimo.
Plus points since the original author of Eromanga-sensei is also the same one who made Oreimo. So, yep, we know where this is going, lads.
Well, at least, the little sister isn’t that much of a brat compared to Kirino. Sagiri is much more reasonable and logical to deal with than “I love my onii-chan and no one will have him.” But that still remains to be seen.
Overall, this first episode was definitely something entertaining to watch. If you ever watched Oreimo’s first episode, you’d probably get the similar vibe. Now, on to the second episode!
FIRST LOOK – Sakura Quest centers around our main character, Yoshino Koharu, as she struggles to find a decent job in the city of Tokyo. It’s either Tokyo or back to the rural countryside for her. She’s applied for about thirty jobs now and still hasn’t had any luck until a modeling agency contacted her for a job in a rural city’s tourism board – much to her displeasure.
Seeing no other option, Yoshino takes the said job and heads to the rural city of Manoyama to serve as the “queen” for the city’s tourism gimmick, the “Kingdom of Chupakabra.”
However, forgetting to read the fine print, she realizes that her job is gonna be a whole year instead of the one day thing that she thought. Yoshino tries to get back to Tokyo but after seeing old photos in the rural city’s so-called “castle”, she realizes that she came to the rural city before as a child and served as “queen”, which probably changed her mind a bit.
If I had to get a similar anime series to this one, it would be Amagi Brilliant Park. Same old concept: main character is called upon to revive a rusty, old town/amusement park that’s way beyond it’s glory days and he/she has some sort of childhood history with the place than he/she once thought.
The first thing that hit me was the opening theme, “Morning Glory” by [K]NoW_Name, which was really upbeat and catchy to hear. As a pianist, I was just enjoying the jolly piano background throughout the entire theme song. Same goes to the upbeat vocals. It really brought interest and hype for me as I was starting the episode.
I was somewhat let-down by P.A. Works’ failure to create more diverse character designs for its anime series. Shirobako (an anime series about anime production) and Sakura Quest’s character designs are all too similar and every time I see a character, I just get reminded of a Shirobako character. P.A. Works needs to do something about this.
Although both series have the same character designer, he/she should have spiced it up a little bit.
Other than that, the animation style is pretty much okay.
Sakura Quest is not really that “godly” of a series as most people claim it to be, in terms of story, animation, and etc., but it does bring a smile to your face.
This is still the first episode but I hope it remains consistent with the upbeat tone and humor in future episodes.
FIRST LOOK – Long Gone Days is a character-driven RPG inspired by dystopian literature, but set in our present timeline, showing real countries.
The game focuses on Rourke, a sniper from the Core, an isolated nation below the surface of the Earth. Just like his brothers, Rourke has been trained as a soldier ever since he was born and his knowledge is strictly relating to his job – nothing else.
As he executes his first operation, he realizes that there is something a-miss with his superiors’ objectives. He takes the decision to desert from the operation, not realizing the consequences of his actions.
Upon playing the demo version of this game, I must say that it was really something. The game shows a new focus on RPG – rather than leveling up, doing quests, collecting loot and the like, it focuses on the characters and their interactions with the world around them.
The story may not be something new but it’s how it is carried out or shown through the gameplay that makes it something unique for the RPG genre.
It still has the usual turn-based battling system that is all too familiar for an RPG but what’s new here is we have a “sniper mode” battle. Since Rourke is a sniper in his squad, we get to control and aim our targets – shooting them from a considerably safe distance as much as a real sniper would do.
Whilst in a turn based battle, instead of picking your targets as you would in a generic RPG, you get to choose which points of the target’s body you are going to shoot at. Each portion, whether it’d be the torso, head, legs, allows you to deal damage and accuracy depending on where you shoot.
Unlike most RPGs, there are no levels so no need to grind XP or something of the sort. Instead of levels, you will be customizing your party member’s weapons, skills, and adding new items for them to use.
Here’s another great and unique feature – morale. In order to make sure your party members fight to their highest abilities, you have to interact with them to keep their morale up so choose your words carefully. Whatever you say to your party members in battle may affect their performance.
Another interesting and unique feature is the NPCs. In order to interact with some of the NPCs, you have to gain the acquaintance of a party member who speaks the NPC’s native language. If the NPC is speaking Russian, then you’re going to need a party member to interact with said NPC. It brings the whole scenario real as being a soldier who’s just deserted in the middle of a war and you’ve got to use every asset you get.
The language barriers are a great and unique challenge for the player as they complete objectives and gain new items.
Also, every skill uses technology and science. No magic here, folks, we are set in a war where your skills will be throwing a grenade, an incendiary round or something similar.
The art style is very different from usual RPGs. Although it still uses pixel art, the textures are very detailed, an excellent use of color. The cut scenes are smooth and look almost like it came from an anime film. The character sprites are well done, as well.
It is expected to release on the first quarter of 2018.
A demo version is available on Steam, in case you wanted to have a look on this interesting, upcoming RPG game.
Despite their Indiegogo funding campaign ended on August 2016, the InDemand feature is on, meaning that you can still keep backing the development by pledging. Besides that, you can show your support to this game by sharing related articles, Facebook posts and tweets.
[images from Long Gone Days site]
FIRST LOOK – When I first started out watching anime, I was rather fond of the slice-of-life genre because of the way it interprets stories as it would play out in real life. It doesn’t go into the extremes and tries to keep itself real. Tsuki ga Kirei is one of those anime series.
Tsuki ga Kirei focuses on the characters Akane Mizuno and Kotarou Azumi, two third-year middle school students who become classmates the first time. It will depict how the characters will grow and connect with each other and to the people around them.
What I love about this first episode is that it doesn’t try to rush everything, the story runs at a right pace. It starts at the opening of a new school year and the meeting of the two main characters, Akane and Kotarou. The two are involved in the equipment team of a school event which will be the catalyst of their romance, the bread and butter of this anime series.
Akane is a very shy and timid girl. She has a plushie which she uses to calm herself down when she is nervous (adorable). I am really not sure whether the one with the romantic feelings is Akane or the male lead, Kotarou – but other than that, there is a romantic air around these two characters.
Kotarou is, from what I’m seeing, an aspiring writer. There is a scene in the first episode where he drops a brown envelope perhaps containing his novel’s manuscript. He is a very normal guy with his own set of friends
The thing about this series is that the scenarios and characters feel very real. We got a shy girl and a guy who tries to be a writer and is somewhat of a bookworm. They are in middle-school and are part of their own separate clubs. The two of them are part of a committee for a school event. It is just the perfect slice-of-life, romance format one could ask for.
The charm of this anime is from its realism. Every one and every thing feels so real and this series does not try too hard to accomplish that.
One example of this a scene where Akane’s family goes out to a cafe restaurant for their dinner. While ordering, Akane notices that Kotarou is there with his family as well. So it starts the usual “holy sh*t, there’s someone here that knows me – I gotta be careful on what I do” kind-of scenario.
And to my pleasure, a similar scenario does erupt. Akane’s older sister notices Akane being aloof and all that jazz, tips off their mother into probably “hey, she likes that guy on the other table” and then good ol’ mom just goes and interacts with the other family going all like: “I’m her mother, ain’t she pretty?” and starts to “sell” her daughter’s charm points to Kotarou’s parents.
Now that is something you’ll probably encounter or have encountered some time in your life and that would be highly embarrassing.
It is these moments that make Tsuki ga Kirei real and thus, entertaining.
The soundtrack, including the opening and ending themes, is soothing and syncs well with the spring atmosphere that the anime series is set in.
feel. has improved quite a lot from Oregairu with the incredible usage of the cherry blossom petals and vivid color palettes. The animation style fits the tone of the series very well. I still have to point out that the 3D CGI is not that bad and they will have to use them when animating crowds of people because other than that, 3D CGI will look really off with the whole animation style this series is pulling off.
I am quite excited for the second episode and how this series will develop the romance of the two main characters. The usual “boy-meets-girl” scenario is always a good one, depending on how it is executed. A classic, I might say.
Tsuki ga Kirei is showing off as a good slice-of-life series and I hope it continues to do so. If high school and romance is your cup of tea, then you are going to love Tsuki ga Kirei.
as the moon, so beautiful.
FIRST LOOK – A surge of Mass Effect: Andromeda videos have been uploaded to Youtube, as of late, by various channels. Since I am unable to purchase a copy of this game, I will basing my thoughts from the various videos I have viewed in entirety on the first two missions of the game.
I would like to point out that I have never seen nor played the Mass Effect trilogy and thus I have no prior knowledge of the game’s universe. The basis for this article is only the events that happened during the first few missions of the Mass Effect: Andromeda game and nothing else.
The game begins in the Milky Way galaxy in the 22nd century, where humanity endeavors to colonize the far-distant planets of the Andromeda Galaxy. The player assumes the role of either Scott or Sara Ryder who joins the expedition and wakes up in Andromeda after a six-hundred year cryo-sleep.
Personally, a setting where humans are about to colonize far-distant worlds in space and you, as the player, are one of the key figures in making that a possibility, is something I adore a lot.
In this game, you play the role of Pathfinder in either Scott or Sara Ryder. As Pathfinder, you are to scout out new worlds where colonists can be safe to set up outposts and start colonizing. It is also set in a time where humans have contact with other alien species and have started cooperating with them. According to the backstory presented in the game, there seems to be a technological breakthrough after humans went to Mars and discovered alien technology.
In terms of story line, Mass Effect: Andromeda does a great job of getting you into the role where you explore the entire galaxy in search of worlds fit for human colonization. The game allows you to choose your dialogue creating different scenarios throughout your gaming experience. It also gives you a sense of urgency as resources are running short for the expedition therefore forcing you to quickly scout out one world after the next. Though, it does not affect the gameplay too much sadly.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a open-world game where you can select any world you want to go through your ship, the Tempest. The player is free to complete the main objectives, side missions, and other odd jobs that are scattered all throughout the Andromeda galaxy.
In a part of the mission, the character you play as will somehow be incorporated to an artificial intelligence therefore boosting your abilities in different ways which affects combat and storyline. Honestly, this is a bit of a dark spot for me as there is no clear information from the two missions how such a thing is possible.
After looking at the first missions, Mass Effect: Andromeda shows a lot of promise and gives you the feel of space colonization. Fight off hostile aliens, a little bit of politics, and survival – it is one interesting and entertaining game to play.
I do hope to own a copy someday and experience it to the fullest but I can only look through other people’s experiences for the moment.