Ohayo, minna, ogenki?
Now that the hot summer season is in, I’ve found that I’ve had little energy for anything. As the heat saps away at whatever energy I have, all I can do to combat it is lay in the heat, trying to conserve as much as I can with what little willpower I have left. It gets too much to even get up and turn the console on, or my computer. You end up just lying in the bed while you sweat into the mattress, staring into space as the heat cooks you’re brain. Or is that just me?
Anyway, in games, my time has been pretty much taken over by DJ MAX FEVER and Batman: Arkhum Asylum. In BM:AA I finished the Killer Croc battle and am pretty sure I’m near the Poison Ivy battle. Truth be told, I think the boss battles, particularly Killer Croc, are all very well done. All except Bane’s were very intense. I point out Bane as the exception mostly because it’s the same as the tyrant enemy battles: stay away from them until they charge, hit them with a batarang, then while they’re stunned go close and wail on him. A lot of people say that BM:AA’s only fault was the boss battles because you never really fight the bosses; you trick them. Here’s the thing: why in the world would Batman fight one-on-one against someone like Killer Croc? He would never do that because Batman knows that if he did, Croc would kill him easily. Croc is an 8-foot tall monster with claws that rip through meat like butter and teeth that can chew through bone. Batman would stand no chance if he fought him one-on-one. So what he does is he exploits Croc’s one weakness (the collar) and uses his lack of intelligence to trap Croc in a hole. Like Batman says: Croc is just an animal. All you need to stop an animal is a trap. If Batman were to fight against all the bosses just by hand-to-hand, then it would kill the essence of what makes Batman Batman. Batman is a man who uses his inhuman intellect, technology, and martial arts skills to defeat super human bad guys. He can’t just slug away at them because if he did, not only would he lose, he wouldn’t be Batman. Part of what makes Batman fun is that he doesn’t slug away at villains like Superman or Wonder Woman do. He outsmarts them as only he can. Anyone who wishes that the boss battles were different and were hand-to-hand combat either didn’t get the message the boss battles were trying to get across or just don’t understand Batman the character very well. The Killer Croc battle in particular stood out for me because it was one of the most intense boss battles I’ve ever played through. Walking slowly through the swamp while Killer Croc snorts in the water, stalking you like Jaws; collecting the samples when all of a sudden Croc jumps through the water and charges at you, and the only thing that can save you is a well-timed batarang; activating the explosive charge with the perfect timing so you can trap Croc in a hole. Everything about the battle just turned Croc from a pretty B-level villain in the Batman universe into one of the scariest boss-battles I’ve ever played through. Don’t even get me started on the Scarecrow levels. Those did so much to transform Scarecrow into one of the scariest villains ever, and the chance to see Bruce Wayne’s biggest fears really helped to develop Batman’s character in a way we had never seen before. It’s an interesting dynamic because Batman is famous for instilling fear into the criminals that he stops, and now here comes a villain that does the same to him. These things all help to make Batman into one of the coolest super heroes ever. Love this game. Might continue playing even when I beat it.
In DJ MAX FEVER, my skills were going up then down for some reason. I guess since I didn’t play for a couple of days, I ended up doing worse on “Oblivion” and “Stay with Me” then I normally do. Usually I can Max Combo my way though “Stay with Me” easily, but for some reason I was messing up on really easy points. I’m also trying to play through some more songs because otherwise I’ll never improve and I’ll keep playing through the same two songs over and over. I also bought another UMD pouch for my games, but I’m going to need to buy more because I have 21 games and these only hold 6 each. At least they’re only five bucks. Need to buy a new hard drive too; my current one only has ten gigs left to it and that’s going to go quick with K-on!! And some of the other anime I’m downloading.
Let me think…I’ve been playing Dissidia a bit, and managed to beat the game with Cloud. Man was his story boring. I mean, it’s basically:
Cloud: I don’t want to fight unless I have to, I don’t want to fight even if I have to, and I don’t want to share my cereal.
Sephiroth: I’ll give you a reason to fight: I’m going to take your cereal!
Cloud: Silly one-winged angel! Trix are for main characters!
Something like that anyway. The game is fun in a button-mashing, fanservice kind of way, but I could never take this game seriously. Now I’m playing through with Terra and Tidus, but let’s see how far I get with this.
Been trying to continue playing through Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite, but I’m still stuck on the mission where you have to kill the Giadrome. The problem is that in the location he’s in, he has 4 Giaprey’s with him, so I have to fight 5 of them at the same time when the Giadrome himself is hard enough. Every time I attempt the mission I end up getting gang-raped by all the creatures. Oh well, gotta keep trying because I really want to keep playing this.
Haven’t really made any progress in any of my other games because like I said, DJ MAX and Batman have taken up my gaming time.
I’ve definitely caught up on a whole lot of anime that I needed to catch up on. I’ve fully caught up on all the Ikki Tousen episodes that I needed to catch up on. I keep getting surprised by this season because they’re doing the one thing that fans have been wanting for a long time: cutting down on so much fanservice (though there still some) while focusing more on the story, which has gotten much better as of late. The characters are really in a jam because now Kan-u’s gone blind, her original soul is taking over her body, Ryuubi’s dragon been released, Kentei’s ultimate plan has pretty much been revealed, and now Kan-U and Ryoumou seem ready to reenact their battle from 1800 years ago. Everything is pretty much coming to a head. If you haven’t gotten into the series before, now’s the best time to do so.
I’ve also gotten into that anime that everyone seems to be watching right now, Angel Beats. It’s basically about a group of kids who lived horrible lives, and are now in Purgatory, so that they can live their lives until they are happy or “At peace with their lives”, at which point they can finally pass on. The anime is very good and very funny, but still has those times where it gets sad and depressing. It was made by Key, who also made Kanon and Clannad, so you can expect exactly what you would normally expect from a Key anime: Lots of comedy broken up by sad moments. What makes me laugh though is that the anime has it’s own all-girl band going, called GDM: Girls Dead Monster. Not only is that one of the most hilarious band name’s I’ve ever heard, but I can’t help but think they’re trying to copy off of K-On with their own girl band. Funny thing is that I don’t like their music either. I’m not a big fan of j-rock and j-pop bands mostly because to me it just seems like the biggest fan boy shit ever. It becomes less about the music and more about how cute the girls or guys are. K-on is the same way. Yeah the girls are moe, but they’re music is kind of trash. The lyrics are dumb as shit, they don’t do anything especially amazing as musicians, and there are just so many better songs out there that you could listen to. I like bands and musicians who do something amazing with their music. As an example, listen to Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed be thy name” and listen to how good of a vocalist Bruce Dickinson is. It’s just amazing how long he can hold a note like when he sang “Running low” at the beginning. He’s a perfect example of what a singer with an amazing voice sounds like. Also you can see guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith from the same band on the song “Phantom of the Opera”. They play exceptional guitar and always sound like their in sync. Yeah, I know it’s kind of dumb to expect a group of high school girls to sound like the greatest band of all time, but that’s what happens when they act like they are so good while not possessing much talent. Still, I do like “Don’t be lazy”. Or “Don’t say lazy”. Whatever broken English they decided to call it. Woah, I completely just went off on my own tangent. Anyway, back to the anime.
I would definitely say that Angel Beats! Is a must watch anime. It has comedy, sadness, interesting characters, pretty much everything is top-notch, which is what I’ve come to expect of Key! Anime. The art also happens to be exceptional. Watching the series on my ps3 for the first time was god-like. To think all I have is the avi version. I could just imagine how that would look on the extra widescreen mkv format, with my HDTV and HDMI hooked up. My eyes are drooling just thinking about it. If you were into Clannad and Kanon and you want to watch something similar, Angel Beats will definitely fill the void. Plus it will give you something to talk about with your anime-watching friends, who are all probably watching the same thing. This seems to be one of those animes that anyone who watches anime is watching.
I’ve also started watching two new animes; one is an anime I just decided to watch out of nowhere while the other I’ve been waiting to watch for a while. The first is Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, or “The Demon Lord all the way in the back”. This anime is about a boy named Sai Akuto, a generally well-meaning and polite young man who wishes to use his life for good works; to that end he wishes to become his world’s high priest, basically the pope. However, when he arrives at his new academy and has his future seen by an all-knowing, future seeing crow with sunglasses (I kid you not), he finds out he’s going to become the new Dai Maou, or great lord of evil, their world’s equivalent of Satan. If you’re a Disgaea fan, this is basically what Laharl and Mao want to become. This naturally causes him to be hated by just about the entire student body, as well as a girl he met named Hattori Junko, the anime’s token samurai who also happens to be voiced by Hikasa Yoko, the same voice actress for Mio in K-on. He also meets a rice-loving girl who can turn invisible named Soga Keena, who happens to be voiced by Toyosaki Aki, who voices Yui in K-on. Yes, Aki-kun is quickly becoming the new Hirano Aya; that voice actress that gets one role that defines them as a voice actress, then gets put into just about every anime that can afford her. For an American example, she’s like the Johnny Yong Bosch or Michelle Ruff of Japan. The anime itself is pretty good and has equal mixes of comedy and fanservice, of which most animes I watch seem to have nowadays. The funny thing is that this is mostly what’s coming out of Japan nowadays anyway, what with this moe bubble just growing and growing. K-on’s the only anime out there that has comedy but no fanservice. Then again, all that moe-ness they pack into each episode can be considered a type of fanservice when you think about it. Sigh. Also, I don’t know if anyone has realized this, but I believe that the main characters name is a pun. If you take his name, “Sai Akuto”, and put the two words together, you can come up with “Saiaku to”, or, roughly translated as “(to be) with the worst person”. I guess a reference to how he is the Dai Maou.
The other anime that I’ve seen is Kiss x Sis, of which I’ve read the manga and watched the OVA’s. The story is about a high school kid named Keita who has a problem: his twin sister’s are both completely after his dick. Yeah, they’re his half-sisters from another mother, but still. I truly mean that by the way, in every sense of the word: they are both after his dick. I’ve read both the manga and seen the OVA’s, and I just get shocked each and every time at what they are allowed to include in this series. It includes just about every perversion under the sun, from allusions to oral sex to masturbation to even golden showers. Twice. It just makes you wonder how is it that this series is not considered porn, but a regular series. Then of course I had to watch the anime just to see what they can get away with on regular TV; the answer: a lot. It’s TV like this that really makes you notice just how different the West and the East are in terms of what they can and can’t show on TV. This show probably wouldn’t have even made the pilot on American TV. In fact, I’m willing to believe dollars to donuts that if this series ever did get localized for an American release, it would be classified as a hentai. A light, soft-core hentai, but it would almost certainly become a straight-to-dvd anime with an “18 or older” label slapped right on the front. The series is interesting with a lot of comedy and I guess some heartfelt moments about how the main characters has to decide whether he is going to act on his feelings and actually go after his sisters, or if he’s going to listen to the ideas of public decency and keep his thing to himself. I can’t believe I’m actually writing about this. I mean his parents even encourage him to go after his sister’s! His PARENTS!!! That’s got to be some kind of child abuse on the parents and sisters’ part, because that would probably cause him some kind of trauma or something. I haven’t felt so wrong about an anime since Kodomo no Jikan, and that was an entirely different kind of wrong.
Anyway while those animes were new, I have also started to re-watch an old TV drama called Densha Otoko for fun. The plot is already pretty well known, so I’m not going to write a lot. Basically, an otaku rescues a girl on a train from a drunk, she gives him some teacups as a thank you gift, and the drama chronicles his efforts to try to get her as a girlfriend. The drama in particular is very touching, particularly if you don’t have much experience with the opposite sex, or if you have similar otaku tastes as the main character. When you’re a geek of that extent, you really do have no idea what exactly women want out of you, or what you need to do with a girl. It’s almost like they’re another species, just like how Yamada, the main character acts. I admit that it is funny to think he goes onto a thread meant for single men for advice on dating, but hey, at least they still gave him advice that helped him to get the girl. It’s a really well constructed drama that really keeps you on the edge of your seat every episode and pulls on all the right heartstrings. It’s especially funny when he is trying to get rid of his otaku merchandise, like his games and Gundam figures. I admit though, the geek in me was filled with rage when he won a brand new very rare PSX, the only Playstation console to not see release outside Japan, and threw out it out in a river. It was basically a ps2 with Tivo capabilities, but still, to think he won something that rare only to throw it in the rivers of Japan…ugh, kangaete dake de kokoro ga eien ni kizutsuru!
I guess in anime I’m also watching Lucky Star once again, but pretty much hardly a day goes by where I don’t watch at least some episode of it. I think it will forever be my most favorite anime of all time. I happen to be a huge sucker for anime with an otaku character, or that cater to otaku tastes. Also pretty much anything with manga and anime references. Half the fun of watching Lucky Star is discovering the references that are sometimes right there in your face, and sometimes really cleverly concealed. My favorites were definitely the Fate/Stay Night references. The three really caught me by surprise, as I had to watch the episodes over and over again in order to notice them. I think I must have seen the series close to 100 times over, as it’s been my main boredom cure for two years now. Whenever you’re bored, just put on a random Lucky Star episode. Works every time!
Everything about the anime is just great. The story, character design, music, art, comedy, style, references, set-ups, everything about the anime is just a straight ten, and I doubt an anime as good as this one will ever surface. If there’s any anime out there that needed a second season, it would definitely be this one. I got pretty happy when they released that OVA a while ago, hoping that it would lead to an announcement of a second season, but sadly that wasn’t the case. I’m still holding on to hope though. If they can make a second season of Suzumiya Haruhi, I think they can make a second season of this. Yeah it took three years but we did see it. I think if we hold out for enough time then we can eventually see a sequel season come out. Hell, when you think about it, it’s been three years since Lucky Star first debuted…Ohhhhh, I’m going to be paying attention to the anime news sites now!
Now that I’ve managed to get this blog back on track, expect more weekly additions in the future. Laterz!