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Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

Mirai Nikki

When Mirai Nikki was announced it came with a flurry of hype. An adaption of a very popular shounen psychological thriller manga series which gave us the yanderest yandere who ever yandered, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding it. I didn’t know anything about the series, but was still quite excited; the premise sounded incredibly intriguing: 12 individuals are given ‘diaries’ which tell them the future, albeit with restrictions depending on the person, and are told by the god Deus (see what they did there?) that the last one alive out of the 12 of them will become his successor – will become God.  Not a bad setup by any measure.

There were however a few rumblings of discontent after the initial announcement and in the early episodes. A fair number of people who had read the manga warned that the story gets worse and kinda ridiculous. But given the strength of the first few episodes, how true could this be? Nothing more than a minority opinion from those who didn’t enjoy it? Or perhaps they knew what was up, and simply giving the rest of us advance notice?

Even the characters were spoiling the plot for themselves!

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More OP ONIONS about crappy weekly Japanese cartoons. Should be doing coursework instead of writing this. Now with pretty pictures for twice the effort!

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The second week of spring proper, and already middle-school boys are whining, hearts are hnnnging, bread is baking, noitaminA is rising, and saliva is being consumed. It could only be anime, folks!

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Phi Brain

You know what’s awesome? Kaiji is awesome. The tense gambling, the mind games and the sheer level of both moe and GAR in the eponymous protagonist, it’s all fantastic. Which meant that when Kaiji S2 finished airing with the summer 2011 season, I was saddened. I needed my Kaiji fix. Something, anything like it! And that’s where Phi Brain came in.

Puzzles of life and death? Having to try and constantly outthink the opponent? A kickass main character? Phi Brain has it all. It’s basically exactly the same as Kaiji and that’s why you should watch it.

Ok, no, I lied. While it is similar to Kaiji in quite a few ways (especially later on) it’s also quite different in many others. But is it still worth watching? Well, yes, but you should read the review anyway.

It's review time!

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The Shin Megami Tensei series always struggled to really catch on in the west. In Japan, it’s huge – not Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest huge, but it’s up there. Why couldn’t it succeed over here? The developers not really trying to get it over here naturally plays a fairly large part, but there are other things too – the incredibly deep gameplay, often brutal difficulty and just the inherent Japaneseyness makes it a tough sell, with the few localizations that existed being… poor, to say the least. Well, this all changed with Persona 3, which was a massive success – well, not a massive mainstream success but it was critically lauded and still did great commercially – and was many people’s first introduction with Shin Megami Tensei. The follow up, Persona 4, possibly did even better, streamlining certain aspects of the series, expanding others, and generally making it a bit easier to get into but in a way that didn’t make it feel like a cheap grab for a larger audience. At any rate, it was a great success and an absolutely wonderful game.

Localization isn’t the only problem the franchise has faced. In a way that’s not too different, the various attempts at adapting the various stories into animated form has generally always ended up with something that can be best described as ‘atrocious’. So while I was excited to see that such a fantastic game like Persona 4 would become an anime series, I still had to approach it with trepidation given the poor jobs done of the series in the past. Is it a good adaption? Does it work as a standalone series? Or did it crash-and-burn into awfulness like all the other attempts before it?

No spoilers for the anime or game here

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Chihayafuru

I’m not gonna lie – the reasons I watched Chihayafuru in the first place boiled down to having just finished up with Kaiji S2 and needing my sports/gambling/cards + MIND GAMES fix, and mistaking the maple leaves in the background of the image in the preview charts for marijuana (shut up I’m not an arborist).  Ok, those weren’t the only reasons – it sounded interesting enough by itself, I have a thing for classical literature/, art looked nice, and it was produced by Madhouse – but yeah, my intentions and expectations going in were rather silly and I was all rather blasé about it.

As is usually the case, perspectives change from the preview, to the view, and then finally to the review. I make no secret of it here: it changed from a positive ‘sure, why not’ to an almost fanatical enthusiasm. Chihayafuru is an absolutely wonderful show.

Because this series is as good as it is, I avoided spoilers!

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Guilty Crown

Oh my, Guilty Crown.

Announced to be airing as a 2-cour series in the noitaminA timeslot, directed by Death Note director Tetsurō Araki and with the screenwriters for Code Geass, Hiroyuki Yoshino and Ichirō Ōkouchi, all of this being handled by the studio Production I.G. – a studio with a track record for excellent series – Guilty Crown was understandably being hyped to hell and back. The general description for it included talk of a mysterious virus, strange powers, and an anti-government resistance group. Aside from the virus stuff, it sounded awfully lot like the good part of Code Geass, and with the staff to back that up. Exciting stuff! Everybody was eager, anxious in their anticipation, predicting it would be the best show of the fall season. What could go wrong?

Well, it all started when it began airing…

WARNING: Better be using a better device than he is because this is looong and image heavy. Also spoilers I guess.

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