From my last review, you can clearly see that I’m trying my best to give Seitokai Yakuindomo a chance. However, the second episode did little to improve my opinion of this show. That’s not to say it was a complete flop; there were some ups, and by that I mean “a few funny jokes.” Sadly, these jokes aren’t funny enough to make up for a complete lack of plot, unbelievably boring characters and humor that’s starting to wear thin. But without further ado, lets get to the review.
Let me say this now: the one real reason I started watching K-ON! at all was because everyone kept talking about it on Twitter. So I thought, “Hey! I wanna look cool, too! I should watch it!” However, the second season has been a bit of a disappointment. It doesn’t feel like any major plot developments have come along in a while, and that’s reflected in this episode. K-ON!! 13 is doesn’t deviate much from the standard formula we’ve seen thus far. There are a few different elements shown, but ultimately it’s just eye candy for the fans. I enjoyed it somewhat, but that was mainly because of Azusa in her swimsuit. But let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
This is totally crazy, I know. This is the show everyone in the interwebs is drooling over. Surely I must have caught some rogue virus that rots away the parts of the brain that enjoy moe anime. I mean, I don’t like K-ON!! either, so just what is wrong with me? You’d think since I enjoyed Clannad so much this new offering from the same writer would be just as good, or at least have the same amount of impact as its predescessor, right?
Looking back at previous Key series, it turns out I didn’t like Air or Kanon very much, so it should hardly seem surprising that Angel Beats! ended up on the disappointing end of the scale with the rest of them. Why is that? The tried and tested formulas were there: mysterious afterlife world, highschool setting, girls with guns, a bit of fun thrown in the mix with emotional reefs to run aground on, etc etc etc. Oh, and a lead female protagonist who looks like Haruhi. Yup, all the key ingredients were there to satisfy my brain, and by all accounts Angel Beats! should have been win… yet it wasn’t.
I mean, first you make Drakengard, a game so bizarre that even a detailed (and humorous) Let’s Play has difficulty deciphering what the heck is going on. Then you decide to make an even weirder game based on the most mind-bending ending of Drakengard? Do you just hate making sense?
Alright, I guess I’ll just take this from the top. It’ll be easier that way.
Nier, in a nutshell, is a third-person action RPG with bullet-hell elements. Yes, you read that right. Bullet-hell elements. Early on in the game, Nier (our hero) picks up a talking book named Grimoire Weiss, who gives him the ability to use magic. The two spells you start out with—Dark Lance and Dark Blast—let you summon lances to shoot at enemies and fire a steady stream of magic “bullets” that looks suspiciously like the ones used in Touhou games. Oh, and the bosses, mini-bosses and some normal enemies fire bullet patterns that you have to dodge, block or negate with magic attacks.
So yes, the combat is a strange mix, but it’s also the best part of the game.
For the reviews segment, we wonder what the hell is up with Project A-Ko; and if you’ve read Ritsu’s post on the subject, you’ll have a good idea of where that conversation goes (he totally stole my Commando comparison). Also, we weigh in on the merits of K-ON!
Confession time: I’m a big fan of American comics. Unfortunately, I don’t get many opportunities to talk about comics around these parts, since they’re—you know—not Japanese. But every so often, something wonderful comes along and merges things I love from the East and the West. In the case of “Galacta: Daughter of Galactus”, those two things are the Eater-of-Worlds and moe anthropomorphism.
Now, some of you who actually know who Galactus is might be saying, “But Stilts, how can he possibly have a daughter?”
To which I would respond, “There is a weird story reason for it that’s a spoiler, but it’s mainly just an excuse to turn Galactus into a cute girl with a miniskirt. Now can I continue with my review? Thanks.”
So, yeah. Galacta is the gentler, prettier half of Galactus. She’s not quite as powerful as her dad, but she’s very conscientious about only eating “exotic” biomass (translation: organisms not native to Earth). Which means the Fantastic Four don’t have to worry about threatening her with the Ultimate Nullifier. The downside of this strict diet is that she is always really really hungry.
Before you get your hopes up, no one’s made a Touhou-esque shooter featuring Ritsu and the gang. Yet. Instead, Beat Hazard gives you a ship, throws you into a twin-stick shooter arena filled with enemy spacecraft and asteroids, and determines your weapon strength, spread, and re-fire rate based on how frantic the background music you choose gets. In other words, it’s like Macross 7 was adapted into a curtain-fire shooter. As you can see from the video, “Go! Go! Maniac” works really well. In fact, J-pop in general works really well, as does metal.
It’s a cool idea, and I’m enjoying it so far despite a couple irritating problems. For example, Beat Hazard doesn’t work well for every song. Since your ship’s ability to kill things is heavily dependent on the intensity of the music, trying to play some genres will just be an exercise in frustration. Everyone hoping to cause massive destruction with Enya will be disappointed. I also found that the amount and density of particle effects on the screen can often become absurd; it’s a neat visual effect, but the gameplay isn’t fun when I can’t see where the enemy bullets are. Finally, there’s no AAC or M4A support (at the moment), so anything you buy off of iTunes won’t work unless you convert it.
Still, for $10 it’s a fun little diversion that I can see myself consistently going back to for half an hour every few days. After all, I still play Audiosurf (another game with music-generated levels that I highly recommend), and it’s been over two years since I bought that thing.
Have you ever wanted to be a badass with a heart of gold?
That’s a rhetorical question. Of course you have! It’s why Goku is one of the most popular characters in the history of anime. It’s also partly why Yakuza 3 is so much fun. Kazuma Kiryu (that stern-looking dude in the box art) is not your typical ex-yakuza. He’s not just one of the most respected and feared chairmen in the Tojo Clan’s history; he’s also a big softie. He’s such a nice guy, in fact, that he decided to run a small orphanage in Okinawa after leaving his life of crime. And this is where the gameplay portion of Yakuza 3 begins…after about an hour of cutscenes. Yes, like many of my favorite games (Psychonauts, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Final Fantasy X), this one has a few caveats to its otherwise solid design. I’ll explain why after the break.
Okay, confession time. How many of you clicked on this review just because it had “Railgun” in the title?
If you did, you’re in good company; that’s the very reason I started watching A Certain Scientific Railgun in the first place. It was only later that I learned it was a spinoff of another anime called A Certain Magical Index, which itself was adapted from a series of light novels by Kazuma Kamachi. Ever heard of him? Yeah, me neither. However, you don’t need to have seen Index to understand Railgun; the latter stands on its own as a highly enjoyable mix of action, scientific intrigue, comedy and slice-of-life. Yup, this show has something for everybody… including Bleach fans, since its second half contains an inordinate amount of soul-crushingly boring filler. Unfortunately, that turns out to be the major flaw that drags down an otherwise awesome show.