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Exit, Stage right!

And once again, I and this blog survive past another 12 months! To be fair, 2015 turned out to be relatively uneventful compared to previous years and even the minor personal dramas paled in comparison to what has come before. Then again, there are also times which help remind me that I have good connections to people all over the place and that’s always great. In any case, lets take a look back at some of the stuff which appeared on our monitors over the past year with my top 5 shows!

Shirobako

plastic memories

1-punch man

shimoseka
unlimited blade works

Shirobako was a shoe-in from the start. It would have made it in last years list if it finished in 2014 but it was only halfway done so here it is. And it also gave us this…

Plastic Memories was a simply story which was told well and sometimes, that’s all you need. UBW was just amazing to watch in motion (even if it did completely mess up the schedule for the show succeeding it. Poor God Eater) and we all knew that 1-punch man was going to be great, we just didn’t know how great!
And then there’s Shimoseka. While not as great as Seitokai Yakuindomo, there’s just something amazingly fun about shows which wears their pervertedness on their sleeves like these shows do. It’s impossible not to at least smile when watching shimoseka, unless you’re stuck up and take everything too seriously. It was a real shock to hear that Matsuki Miyu died this year. I was actually playing Tales of Zestiria when I heard the news and she voiced Laila in that game, but for me, her name will forever be attached to this character…

Shimo_Anna2

And now, onto the rest:

worst shows of 2015

Comet Lucifer – After a pretty good first ep, the show went downhill fast. And damn, that ending was soooo bad…
Gundam Reconguista in G – Tomino should never write another show again… EVER!!!
Rage of Bahamut Genesis – What a waste of space…
Seiken Tsukai no World Break – I wish I could take back the time I spent watching this show…
Tokyo Ghoul – Shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The manga is a mess and so is the anime. A character driven story with no likeable characters!
High School DXD BorN – Oh man, I have no idea how they managed to screw up the series so bad considering the source material is solid!
Aoharu x Kikanju – It was a mistake to watch this show…
Gunslinger Stratos – Ugh… just Ugh!

Man, there were a lot of really big duds this year! And there’s a massive pool of mediocrity as well. Come to think of it, I’m surprised I managed to pull out 5 faves from the pile!

Biggest Disapointment

Death Parade – A very interesting premise but marred by poor writing, especially with the “hell” episodes.
Aldnoah Zero – The curse of Code Geass/Guilty Crown strikes again. A good start but falls apart in the midway point
Triage X – This was down to Censorship.
Ranpo Kitan – I was really hoping for a good mystery show… I don’t know what I got with this show.
Gatchaman Crowds insight – Some really cool ideas and social commentary hidden in the plot, but was hampered by very poor writing.
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku – Where did all the fun go?
Classroom Crisis – Started off good but fizzled.

Biggest Surprises

  • Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu
  • Nanatsu no Taizai
  • Yoru no Yatterman
  • Grisaia no Rakuen

The Rest

  • Glad to see Fafner finally make a return.
  • Man, Jojo stardust crusaders went on and on!! Still great tho!
  • I didn’t really feel anything for Durrr this time around but they’re still going on and making more!
  • Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls was nowhere near as good the original 789 pro, but still better than all the other pretenders.
  • Dog Days 3 was just… OK. Each series gets progressively worse so I kinda hope they stop soon before they just end up bad.
  • Same for Symphogear
  • Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata just didn’t have much going for it. and it ended pretty abruptly too!
  • There were way too many Light Novel adaptations with plots and characters which could be easily swapped out with one another and I can’t be arsed to list them all.
  • Isuca surprised me. Made me go back and read the manga again.
  • I really liked assassination classroom but I don’t think I’ll go and read the manga… Too long.
  • Junketsu no Maria was a really nice self contained show.
  • I still don’t have a clue what YuriKuma Arashi was about.
  • Log Horizon 2 wasn’t as good as season 1 but still worth a shot.
  • Really liked Overlord but I still feel that I’ve read titles that did it better.
  • Arslan Senki was a great remake.
  • Danmachi was fun but it didn’t leave much of a mark
  • An absolute mess but a fun ride… Yep, that’s Kekkai Sensen in a nutshell.
  • just WTF was going on in Punch Line?
  • Dragonball Z + nanoha = Nanoha ViviD!
  • Gotta love all the engrish in Hello! Kiniro Mosaic
  • Still not sure if I like Owari no Seraph or not…
  • Nisekoi 2 is everything you’d expect.
  • Ore Monogatari And the disappearance of Nagato Yuki was decent fillers but not particularly amazing on their own.
  • Monster Musume and Himouto Umaru-Chan are very much flavours of the season but they may still have a long tail… Also, Rachne and Cetora are the best girls, no question!
  • Sore ga Seiyuu was fun but not a patch on Shrobako
  • I really want to read Rokka no Yuusha after watching the anime!
  • Charlotte was made by the same team that made Angel Beats and it shows. Charlotte had all the same failings.

I think that’s everything on the anime side… As far as movies go, working close to a cinema helps a bunch so I did actually end up watching a few more movies than I otherwise would not. Fast & furious 7, Ant-man, Spectre, Force awakens to name a few… Jurassic World was stupid fun and was much better than the 2 sequels and Mad Max: Fury Road was excellent in its simplicity. But my Absolute favourite film which I saw this year was Kingsman. Sure it wasn’t the best film, but I don’t think I enjoyed any other as much as I did that one, especially since Bond went all dark and angsty. It felt good to watch an old style spy flick. Maybe that was why I enjoyed the man from UNCLE too. Avengers: Age of Ultron may have been when my Marvel movie fatigue kicked in. It was entertaining as hell, but it lacked the “wow” factor I felt from the previous movies. A lot is riding on Cap’n Murica next year… I’m sure I saw more bit I honestly can’t remember. I also went to the cinema to see the new Dragonball Z movie, friezas revenge. Not a bad film at all and a good callback to older DBZ.

And now, onto the games!

Best Game

splatoon

Man, this was a tough one. I don’t think this game was the one I spent the most time on (that honour probably goes to Xenoblade Chronicles X at 50hrs and still going) but this was the game I kept coming back to. I’d play for a weekend and then leave it for a while but I’d always come back for more and it would be just as fun as I left it. And I’m sure I’ll go back to it again when I get back to my Wii U!

Honourable mentions

  • I very nearly put Onechanbara Z2 Chaos as my top game of the year. It’s very rough but stupidly good fun.
  • The Order 1888 had a bunch of good ideas and fun weapons but there wasn’t enough of it to lift it above average…
  • I never thought I’d enjoy Hyperdimension Neptunia U as much as I did. Hell, I even platinum’d the game!
  • Tales of Zestiria was decent but has some major issues and bugs. How the hell does a boss character just randomly shrug off an attack string like it suddenly got impenetrable armour?
  • rocket league was a surprise hit with me, as much as it was for many others!
  • Batman: Arkham Knight felt like a good time to end the series. It hadn’t jumped the shark yet but it was getting close.
  • I need to go back to Final Fantasy: Type 0 and finish it, but even though it’s a PS4 game it’s PSP basics show in every part of the design.
  • Toukiden Kiwami was only the 3rd MonHun game I really enjoyed after God Eater and Freedom Wars. Man, I can’t WAIT for God Eater 2! I’ll prob pick up resurrection too.
  • Transformers Devastation was a mostly enjoyable romp but was a far cry from the usual high standards from Platinum games. I just hope working multiple games doesn’t adversely affect their output too badly.
  • Transformers Devastation was a decent Transformers game but was a considerable mark down from the usual  quality of Platinum games.
  • I finally jumped on the Destiny Bandwagon.
  • Ditto with Shovel knight!
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X isn’t as tightly made as its predecessor and has some major trappings but if it made me sink 50+hrs with lots more to go, you know it’s doing something right!
  • Also grabbed HyperDevotion Noire so I now have the game starring the best goddess!
  • Another deception game? I’ll take it, even if it is just an expansion.

Still, even with this list, the year was amazing for gaming purely with the announcements and kickstarters. This year was purely down to sony and Nintendo. Both had missed and delayed games but Ninty still gave us Splatoon and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Their Nintendo Direct reveals of Cloud and Bayonetta for Smash were major points which brought the hype! But if you want hype, it was definitely down to Sony and their E3 conference. It says a lot when microsoft gave a really solid conference and nobody remembers it simply due to the announcements from Sony! You almost feel bad for the big M.
In 2015, we got a spiritual sequel to Castlevania: Symphony of the night, another for Valkyrie Profile, Confirmation of Shenmue 3 and a freaking FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE!!  You just need to watch the reaction videos on Youtube from the FF7 announcement. And that’s not even counting stuff like the Capcom Cup Finals, with amazing moments like Daigo vs Infiltration. AND to top all them off, A Resident Evil 2 Remake. A full Remake of the best game in the damn series (yeah, you heard me RE4 fanboys). No remixing, no over-the-shoulder viewpoint. Just classic RE remade again. That might have actually been more exciting for me than FF7 remake. If Capcom announced it at E3, I would have lost my shit!!… even more than I did.

2015 was pretty much Sonys year but much of it were promises, so now they need to deliver. But if they do, 2016 will pretty much be theirs too!

And that’s pretty much it for 2015. An uneventful year but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Thanks to Q, Simbo and the FCG guys, Mr.E, Firei, Dblanks, T101UK and the others for all their help this year! The figures Retrospective will be done later, at the time of the blogs anniversary but otherwise, thanks to everyone for visiting and あけましておめでとうございます

Mini Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve done a mini-review and this one kinda deserves it since I’ve been sinking so much time into it. Xenoblade Chronicles X is basically the sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles on the wii… Except they have almost nothing in common save for some elements of the combat system. The world is different, the characters and settings are different… hell, everything is different. It has less in common with Xenoblade Chronicles than most Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games have with eachother!! Basically, the Xeno- name has no meaning anymore as a game series but luckily, that hasn’t affected the game itself!

You start off creating a character and are then thrust straight into the world of Mira. You are told that Earth got destroyed when 2 galactic powers got into a pissing match with the planet and humans being caught in the middle. A few ships managed to escape and yours was one but it was chased down by the aliens and crash landed on Mira. And thus starts your adventure.
The game itself is, for all intents and purposes, a single player, offline MMORPG (although there are multiplayer parts to it). The core of the game will feel very familiar to anyone who has played an MMO and the world itself is absolutely massive, with distinct regions to explore and areas and secrets to discover. Battles are done in a pseudo-realtime manner, with your character automatically attacking targeted enemies once you are in range and have drawn your weapon, just like in Xenoblade Chronicles. All basic attacks are done automatically and in a set timing so you can run around and your character will simply attack at certain intervals, unless you perform a special art move, which supercedes regular attacks.

The story unveils itself slowly with the completion of specific quests which can be taken at any time (tho there are pre-requisites for later chapters which need to be fulfilled before they can be undertaken). Later on in the game, you are able to pilot mecha called skells, which greatly helps in exploration and battles. In between story missions, there are minor missions which can be undertaken to increase your understanding of the other characters and the world in general and other minor quests which can be completed at your leisure. These quests usually fall into a “go to x” category or “defeat y number of enemies” to “collect z number of items.” which is very MMO and comes with all the pitfalls you’d expect from it.

The game itself is very open world and you can tackle it at your leisure and you can tackle things how you want but how is it?

Continue reading Mini Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X

Long Live the Queen!

Apologies for the late post. This really should have come last week but I got lazy and I’m still not too sure if this is something which should be posted… Long time readers will know that I’m not a fan of dolls and, despite owning a few, this has mostly still held true. However, my love of certain characters wins out over my dislike of dolls. That was why I got KOS-MOS and so, 1 year ago, when Volks announced that they were doing a Dollfie Dream of Sheryl Nome, after I cursed for a good hour or so, I was up at 4 am to put my order in as soon as reservations opened!

Like hell I was going to miss out on this! It’s freaking SHERYL NOME!!

Continue reading Long Live the Queen!

Commission(?) 1: U-511 (KanKolle) (part 1)

Well, this is a little awkward… A while back, I was contacted by an acquaintance whom I met before at MCM expo via twitter and was asked if I was interested in doing a GK for him. Normally, I’d pass but because he was someone I knew and I didn’t have any reason to reject it outright, things kinda spiraled until he handed me two kits at the last MCM expo to build… and they’re both KanKolle kits…

Normally, I wouldn’t touch KanKolle kits with a 50ft pole but I guess that’s one of the lures of doing commissions. You may end up doing kits of series which you otherwise would not do. In any case, after procrastinating for a while (and losing myself in Tales of Zestiria and Onechanbara Z2: Chaos), I finally cracked open one of the kits to do a parts check and basic cleanup of the major bits.

Not being a fan of KanKolle makes my knowledge of the character very limited but she would be based off the german U-boats. Until now, I had only known about Bismark and Prinz Eugen being in the game but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are others. I have to admit that I’m very surprised at the parts quality (at least on first look) of this kit. Everything looks really well made and the fits are spot on so, with any luck, this shouldn’t encounter many hiccups.

One thing I did notice was that the pic of the completed kit shows an effect part showing a torpedo launching from the U-Boat. That’s missing from the rest of the parts as far as I can tell so I guess the maker expects you to do it yourself. Not sure if I’ll go that far as, since it’s not my own kit, I’m not comfortable with experimenting with possible solutions, in case it all goes to pot. No reason to make the kit worse if I can help it, right? The actual ship parts are also shown to be rather complex with quite a lot of inner detail which, for the most part, won’t actually be seen once the kit is completed on account of them all being covered…

Naturally, Fate has been put aside for now though I will still work on her in passing when there’s overlap between her and this kit but as far as modelling goes, this U-Boat will be my main project for a while. I wonder how long this one will take to build…

Mini Review: onechanbara Z2 chaos

Back in the day, a publisher by the name of D3 released a series of games in Japan called the “simple series”. They were budget titles made on shoestring budgets and it showed. Some titles made their way to the west. The 2 best known are earth defence force and onechanbara. EDF was a very simple title with badly animated soldiers shooting up giant alien ants and gathered a cult following. Onechanbara had a bikini clad female swordsman clicking up large numbers of zombies. Both series gathered moderate success and several titles have been released in the west since the initial games.

And with the latest onechanbara game released on the PS4, I thought I’d give it a shot. The game initially retailed as a full priced game, a far cry from the budget beginnings but I found copies on sale at the MCM expo for £25 so I thought “why not?”

onechanbaraZ2

The game plays a bit like a cross between a poor mans bayonetta and dynasty warriors. Up to 100 zombies can be on screen at once and many don’t take much to be dispatched. Combat is simple but satisfying and is a little more involved. You can delay inputs to change combos and there’s more to do other than simply mash the attack button like in warriors games (but you can do that too). You control 4 slayers and can swap between them at any time with a bar beneath each character slowly filling up. When full, you can summon the characters on the screen to attack all at once for a period of time, which means 4 slayers on the screen wreaking havoc. You also have bars for super moves, which fill as you combo your attacks and a weapon and blood meter which increase as you kill enemies and drown your character in blood.when full, the blood meter allows you to transform into a super mode while a full weapon meter is actually detrimental as your weapon strength lowers as th  blood dulls the blades so you need to periodically clean them. It’s not much but it’s a neat way to break the pace a bit.

As for the rest of the gameplay, there isn’t much. The game basically revolves around you moving your character from area to area, get sealed in and then proceed to wipe out anything  which isn’t one of your 4 heroines. There is a plot which ties into the previous games but it’s all very much cheap B-movie stuff so if you’re taking it seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?

I mean, even the costumes and DLC pretty much spell out how much depth the makers expect you to uncover…

onechanbara_dlc

Yep, those are genuine costumes you can put on your characters in the game! Basically, the game looks mid-last gen, doesn’t take itself seriously, hams it right up for the story and has 2 characters (by default) wearing hats and bikinis slicing up zombies! That should tell you right there if it may be worth a dip for you, but for a closer look…

Continue reading Mini Review: onechanbara Z2 chaos

Anime Roundup: Autumn 2015

Well , colour me surprised! For a season which didn’t look like it had much going for it, the summer season turned out to be pretty strong with a fair few decent shows in the mix. Of course, now we are in the autumn season and this is where the really big guns come out. Still, let’s take a look at the previous season first.

Best Show

Shimoseka

Oh man, this show was laugh out loud funny. It kinda lost its way when it had to inject some actual plot into the proceedings but there was something so refreshingly entertaining watching a show which was so unashamedly ecchi and played it to full effect. Still not as good as Seitokai Yakuindomo though…

Continue reading Anime Roundup: Autumn 2015

After Dark Festival

It’s been a long time since I did one of these kind of reviews. I’ve generally avoided buying adult kits for some time as the build quality really hasn’t been good. My review of CA Yoko kinda went into NSFW territory but it wasn’t a full blown ero kit like my Shiratori Amane review way back when…

Well, manufacturing has gone through leaps and bounds since Amane and I’ve been saying for a while that many of the ero figures for release these days are actually more exciting and dynamic than most of the regular releases from big companies, most likely owing to cost and general restrictions for the license. As a result, many figures have plain standing poses of popular anime characters while the ero ones have had much more room to play around. Having said that, I’ve shied away from buying an ero figure for a while now simply because I have been unsure if the poor quality issues from older figures have been resolved. Afterall, there’s not much money to be made from ero kits so quality can be very variable. Well, this one impressed me enough to take the plunge and I’m glad I did! This figure is pretty damn great!!!

Consider this your warning… This review will go very heavily into the NSFW territory so if you are not in a position to view such material, do not read on!!!

OK? Well, in that case, lets take a look at Tougane Matsuri from Skytube!

 

Continue reading After Dark Festival

Project: True Sonic Fate (part 4)

Another quick update this week. I had hoped that I would have my ost recent amiami purchases by now but parcelforce are being parcelforce and have sat on it for almost a month! I’ve also fixed a wrong and bought my favourite transformers gestalt in the form of unite warriors superion so maybe you’ll see that In The near future. But for now, we’re getting s little more progress on Fate

 photo image_zps3gqjpd1x.jpeg

the upper body and head are close to being done now. There are some minor extra parts which need to be completed, such as the belt, but those can be done at any time and will probably be next on my “to do” list. Just making some slow but steady progress, shame that it will likely grind to a halt soon as I need to finish tales of xillia 2 in anticipation for tales of zesteria in a couple of weeks!

Project: True Sonic Fate (part 3)

Just a quick update this time around while trying something different with posting. I’m using WordPress on iPad for this one as it would make posting smaller updates on my projects easier if I choose to go down this route. 

Never really used it until now due to various limitations, such as not being able to properly utilise photos stored on sites like photobucket and Flickr (photos uploaded from the device are stored locally on the blog instead) and I can’t push the posts onto other social media sites either but I guess I can do that later if need be.

In any case, it’s just a quick post on the current status of fate. Painting has started but I’m definitely rusty as I made a few rookie mistakes which dragged things on as I had to redo several parts after messing up. Might still go back and redo some small bits (for example, there’s a small amount of white bleed from the panties to the thigh, but that will be covered by the main body once completed so it’s not a priority right now) but for now, the fun part of the project has properly started.

  

Knock Knock

Just a quick post to say that I’m not dead, just kinda fried and burned out due to life and work stuff. Seriously, the past month has been just… well, shit!

Fortunately, Fate has still been progressing, albeit slowly but I have reached a point where I think I can start painting her so when that starts, hopefully, posts will become more regular again. My recent amiami purchases should be arriving soon and at least one is worth showing off, maybe next week!