Thursday, September 26, 2013

Natural Doctrine Trailer




One of the titles announced at Sony's pre-TGS conference for the Japanese launch of the PS4, Natural Doctrine is a Strategy RPG coming from Kadokawa Games, the developer behind Lunar 1 & 2 (two of my favorite video games of all time).   Featuring designs by Atsushi Ikayrya (Fate/Zero) of ufotable and directed by Atsushi Ii of Patapon fame, Natural Doctrine is set in a world where high fantasy world where humans are suddenly being forced to co-exist with a number of hostile species.  The main character, Jeff, is a guard who is assigned to help acquire resources by clearing out goblin dens to help the human race's continued existence.

Though the game's battle system appears to be reminiscent of games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem, and Valkyria Profile, when I look at the screenshots and video footage, it just reminds me of those action figure and playsets combos I used to see in toy commercials as a kid, and the more elaborate ones used for with adult models.  Y'know, only these actually move and shoot lightning and fireballs and guns at each other.  I'm actually down for that.

Natural Doctrine launches in Japan on the Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, and Playstation 4 on February 22nd.  Here's hoping it comes over here soon as well.

Information Source: Gematsu

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Battle Rap Wednesday: Charron vs. DNA




I have no idea what bullshit happened with Shotgun Suge.  That was a match that I wasn't really hyped for since I don't know Suge and didn't know Charron, but when it turned into DNA vs. Charron my interest picked up.   Believe it or not, DNA is probably one of the most hated battlers online, but I've liked the guy ever since I saw him battling against Dizaster a few months ago.  He's got a lot of freestyle talent and he always brings a crazy amount of energy to his battles.

That said.  Charron was crazy with this, giving one of the best second rounds I've ever seen (probably the best of the year), with an insane verse--especially for someone who only had eight days to write.   You can score it how you like; personally I liked the match so much I don't really care who won.  DNA kinda sorta edged Rds 1&3 but Charron's 2nd was so good I can see someone going either way.  Both emcees brought the best of their abilities and made something great from a less than great situation.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Some genres never die...




And side-scrolling beat 'em ups is one of them.  Phantom Breaker is one of those Japanese 2D fighters that's got very little chance of ever making it over to the States.  Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds is an "8 bit" side-scroller beat 'em up that came to XBLA this February, and Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive (confused yet?) is one the same thing, only coming to PS4 and with some additional characters.

The game reminds me of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, of which I was a major fan.  There's just something more addicting about games done in an 8-bit style but with HD graphics that's more fun to me than a lot of these games that try to literally be 8 or 16 (or even 32)-bit games.  Teased at Tokyo Game Show, hopefully this thing comes to the States.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

TGS: Anime Gamer Heaven

I'll be the first to admit that, compared to many gamers, my PS3 game collection is pretty small.  So small, that nearly half of the games I've played in the console's life have been licensed properties
High Moon's Transformers: Cybertron series, Batman: Arkham City, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, and later this year Batman: Arkham Origins and Injustice: GOTY.  When it's a series I enjoy, one of my favorite things is to have a game to let me play in that universe.  But unfortunately, as much of an anime junkie as I am, I've yet to come across and interesting anime-based video games.

Until this TGS when they came out all at once.  Life's funny like that.



Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z


 The main problem with Dragon Ball Z is that after you get one really good game...what's left?  You get all the characters, all the forms, an fun story mode, and that's pretty much all you need.  Sure, they could add what-if stories and give certain characters various forms they didn't have in the anime...but they never do that.  So I'm personally of the opinion that there's really no point except once a generation to show what a DBZ game is like with new hardware.
Fortunately, there's been no new challenger to take the title of "Good DBZ" game, so the lane is still open for Battle of Z (stupid title or not).  Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is intended to be a game where the defining difference is it's ability to do something you rarely ever saw in the actual anime: battle royale type fights, with up to 8 players able to battle each other in gigantic arenas.  The idea's novel enough and the trailers look fun, but how well they execute it remains to be seen. 


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle



This game started out with an immense amount of hype behind it, sold a metric crapton, and then everyone proceeded to see what the game was actually like.  I was largely unaffected by this because the game hadn't been announced to make the trek over here.  Now that it has, I hope it undergoes a ton of balancing and a complete removal of the "F2P" aspect, because it really looks amazing and like the JoJo universe, strange as it is, has come to life in the clip above.

J-Stars Victory Vs.



Because of all the rights issues involved with the different anime belonging to different people in the West, there's approximately a 0.5% chance of this game ever seeing the light of day in America.  But who cares?  It looks fantastic, and so far it's included some of my favorite characters in anime, ever.  Seriously, seeing Yusuke and Gon beat the crap out of all the other irrelevant shonen heroes (kidding, I love most of these guys) is why they make games like this.

Anyway, TGS may have brought with it a ton of disappointments in an overall lack of gaming news, but I like to find bright spots in everything.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when at least two of these games hit the states next year, and as for J-Stars?  Well, I'm at least looking forward to seeing who else they put in there.  Hopefully Madoka-chan will make an appearance. 

Update: Here's one more to add to the pile...


 Gundam Extreme VS. Full Boost


I wasn't looking forward to importing two games in a single year, but Bandai has some sort of fear about localizing any Gundam games that aren't the Musou nonsense, even when its a legitimately good game that people might enjoy.  Well, I can't say I blame them since I doubt the sales will be the hottest, but with 90 mobile suits across every Gundam series (this one even has Gundams like the Xi from Hathaway's Flash), tons of missions and a pretty decent online component, I will say that its times like these I'm glad I'm learning Japanese.*


* Watch this be the one time they actually localize the game for the lulz.  The double-dipping from fans will be tearful and epic.

TGS: A Versus Epic








Let's get this straight: The last Final Fantasy I liked? Was IX.  The last Final Fantasy I loved? Was Tactics.  I am not, by any means, a Final Fantasy "fan".  They release games, sometimes I play them, a lot of times I don't even bother.  XIII burned up so much fucking good will with me, not just with the franchise but Square-Enix in general....  And then this came and fucked my brain. A Final Fantasy that's an ACTION game?? Dirge of Cerberus was one of my favorite titles for the Playstation 2, so I love when Square screws with the formula of their own games to create something new. 

By all accounts, this looks sickeningly awesome.  I just need Noctis to have a personality, because I can't play anymore quiet/stoic emo Cloud-type guys wandering around.  Tell some jokes.  Be at least slightly pissed about all the shitty situations you will no doubt find yourself in over the course of the game.  Just do something to set you apart, please.  Because so far this game should be great, if it comes out before we all upgrade to whatever the fuck it is they use in Sword Art Online, and it'd be a shame if the one weak link was, y'know...the main character.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Battle Rap Wednesdays: Mr. Mill$ vs. Genocide




I should be posting Dizaster vs. Arsonal, but I'll get back around to that presuming the shit ain't wack.  I'm technically posting this from the past since I saw this battle Sunday and I got a super busy week.

If you watch these battles and you're not a fan of my man Jayblac, that's a serious mistake.  Dude is the best battle rap reviewer on YouTube--he's great with the jokes and he always makes intelligent points.  He's good enough that his review will make me go back and catch some of the things that I missed in a battle, and sometimes even make me appreciate a battle more.  (I honestly thought Hollow/Surf was trash aside from Hollow's third until I saw the Jayblac review.)  Anyway, Jayblac made a great point when he said that people need to start peeping other Leagues, especially when they have better material/rappers than the so-called "pros".

This, is one such battle.  Bar for bar, this battle can compete with nearly all of the ones that have been held this year at KOTD, and certainly at URL.  From their delivery and flow to the actual bars being spit, Mr. Mill$ and Genocide were on their professional shit and they brought that energy back to battle rap I was starting to lose the feeling for with all these mediocre bars I've been hearing.  So thanks to both of ya'll, 'cause BRW was about to die if they kept doing the shit they've been doing.  #barsovernames

Next week I'll probably be back on that KOTD stuff, since the WD4 battles are still going up. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall Anime 2013 Picks

After the abysmal Spring and Summer seasons that were so garbage I only watched two airing series consistently for the past, we return with a fall that's actually...pretty overwhelming. I guess that's cool.  I've been using this new editable site called Anichart to keep up with what series are coming out during what season, and so far it's been pretty useful.  Here's the Fall Chart.  Now, let's take a look, hm?

Tokyo Ravens
  
Tokyo Ravens is a series about a guy from an onmyouji family (think priests/magic users) who's completely powerless and promised his sister as a child that he would become her familiar.  Now off that synopsis, I don't really know what direction they're coming from.  I do know that trailer has a lot of slice-of-life-y elements, and in the worst sort of way, at that.  I'm giving this series a shot because this year has been sorely lacking in action series, but if the aforementioned sister character (or any girl, for that matter), gets too tsundere, I'm out.

Neppu Kairiku Bushi Road

The only thing I know about this is that its part fantasy, and it involves giant robots.  Admittedly, for now, that's all I need to know.

Coppelion

Coppelion is about a group of girls who, after a nuclear explosion ruins Tokyo, enter to search for survivors.  It's not especially my type of series, but I'm giving it a chance.  Strangely enough, a dystopian-type setting isn't my biggest problem.  No, what I'm most annoyed by with Coppelion is that it's being animated by GoHands.  See, GoHands' last anime looked like this.  Those beautiful colors and gorgeous animation just shouldn't go to waste on a universe that's going to be about showing a ruined Earth and a lot of Earth tones.  It just isn't right.


Gaist Crusher


This is that new Capcom DS game (obviously) that's being made into an anime.  It's sad to say, but as I've grown up, I've kinda lost the feel for some of these anime that are designed entirely for kids.  I know I'm supposed to be a fan of Kamen Rider and Super Sentai and all (still am), but there's just something that tends to be lacking from shows like this.  Still, this looks kinda like a new age Ronin Warriors with (hopefully) better animation and (sadly) some CGI type stuff, so I'm going to give it at least five episodes to see what happens with it.  That is, if I can find a person willing to subtitle the thing.   Kiddy shows always have trouble finding subbers to work on them.

Strike the Blood

Here we go with another vampire series.  I'm checking this one out since it seems to eschew romance (which anime tends to do poorly IMO) for more action-y elements (which anime always does well).  At the moment, all I know is that Strike is about that universe's most powerful vampire, and a shaman girl with an anti-vampire spear.  It seems like something that could easily become another "also-ran" action series, but I'm hoping it will surprise me.


Log Horizon

Log Horizon is like Sword Art Online, with the basic premise being thousands of video game players finding themselves trapped in an online world.   As to how it will prove to be "different" from SAO, I don't know yet--it certainly seems to be playing up the comedy much more than the dramatic side of things.  For me it just comes down to me not being willing to give up SAO-type stories just yet.

Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta


Yozakura Quartet is an anime that has made two previous appearances on my chart before, both as TV and OVA series.  I don't know what kind of hold YQ has on Japan, but apparently its a good one, as the series returns this fall for a third time.  Supposedly this is a remake of the original, with even more anime original (filler) added.   Admittedly, the last few times I saw this series it ranged between mind-numbingly boring and "just ok", so I'm still just giving the series a shot off the strength of its premise, that of a group of humans and demons that have become friends and work together to keep their hometown safe.   But if I don't see an immediate difference between this series and the last two, it'll probably end up dropped in the first month.


Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai! (I want to become the Strongest in the World!)

On the one hand, this looks REALLY exploitative.   On the other hand, having seen real wrestling I realize this just isn't all that much different from the real thing.   Basically the story (which the main character actually explains in the PV, but...in Japanese) is about a girl who's a member of an idol group, and after her friend and fellow idol group member gets injured by a pro wrestler, retaliates with a dropkick...and then for some reason then decides to become a professional wrestler.  For this one, I'm just hoping for a lot of humor, mostly.  If they can do that, and not descend into harem shit (no sign of a guy so far), then I'll stick it out.

Unbreakable Machine Doll


Set in a world where magic was discovered by the public and weaponized, Unbreakable Machine Doll is walking that fine line between being good and pissing me off. I feel like the main female is going to be one of those childlike innocent characters shoved into a world that's all "dark and complex".  The only problem is, usually if the main characters lack complexity, your world tends to as well, at least in my opinion.  They drag the story into a bunch of school life crap when you really want to see the cool shit going on outside of it. So this is another series that I'm mostly just testing the waters on to see where it goes.

Gundam Build Fighters


I wanted Gundam: The Origin.  You, if you're a Gundam fan, probably wanted Gundam: The Origin.  But we're not getting Gundam: The Origin this year.  We're getting this.  And after seeing this first trailer?  I'm okay with that.  It looks like they're at least making an attempt to go for a story with action and character development, and to be honest Gundam could use a break from all the colony vs. Earth-type stuff.  I'm definitely down for watching this series for the next 13-26 weeks, and hopefully by March or at least July we'll be able to watch Gundam: The Origin in glorious 1080p.  Don't fuck this up, Sunrise.

BlazBlue: Alter Memory



Fighting games have such colorful universes and characters--its a shame that, with a few exceptions, most of them never get the screen time that lets you learn about them properly.  Fortunately, someone's seen fit to make BlazBlue one of the exceptions to the rule, so it looks like I have at least one over-the-top plot-what-plot action series for the season.  I'm hoping it lasts two-cour just in case Winter leaves me hanging.

Samurai Flamenco

Part of the NoitaminA block (which makes it an anime original, as the trailer says), nobody really knows what Samurai Flamenco is about yet.  It's just a tagline "Heroes will never give up, never hide, never be defeated, and never accept evil."   And right now, that's about all I need to know to give the first episode a try.

Galilei Donna

Set in the year 2061, Galilei Donna is about a group of girls (descendants of Galileo) who come under attack by a secret organization and end up on international wanted lists.  The story synopsis describes this as a "battle action adventure", three of my favorite words when it comes to a description.  (Other favorites include "comedy" and "bunnies" but you can't win 'em all.)   The reason I posted a still shot rather than a promotional video is because the PV was so boring I almost fell asleep watching it, and it was only thirty seconds.  Another NoitaminA series, Galilei Donna has a lot of potential--whether it lives up to it or not remains to be seen, however.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic 2

Alibaba, Morgiana, and Aladdin return to the airwaves in October with the second season of the popular shonen anime, Magi.  For me, this was one of the better series to air in Fall 2013, one of my favorites right behind JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.  As I understand it they skipped, altered and outright ignored bits from the manga, but since I haven't read the manga I can't get too mad at that.  This is probably hands down the series I'm most excited for, since we didn't get the Stardust Crusaders sequel to JoJo that I was hoping for. 


Pokemon: The Origin


Pokemon: The Origin doesn't quite look to be the Pokemon Adventures anime that everyone, even lapsed Pokemon fans want, but it still looks pretty awesome.  Following Red as he journeys to become a Pokemon master, the special looks like something that will probably end up with a two-cour anime series after they see the enormous popularity of the special.  For now, just enjoy the fact that Pokemon is so huge Production I.G. is doing a special for it.

Aaaand that's all.  There's a Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVA coming out later this year, but I don't like to keep mentioning OVAs unless I have something interesting to say.  14 series isn't a bad pull from a 44 series list, but you've got a long way to go to make up for two seasons of garbage, Japan.  Let's step it up.  Less moe nonsense and more giant robots, superpowers and fantasy epics.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall 2013 J-Drama Picks

One of the things I've chosen to work on as a marketable skill is my Japanese ability.  To that end, even though the vast majority of them bore the hell out of me (it's like where television goes to grow up, to me), I've decided to wade through the sea of J-Drama from now on to learn what Japanese people sound like when they aren't talking about robots, swords, and beings from other dimensions.   So, here's the list I'm working from, with the picks below, supplied with either promo photos or PVs.

 Kumokiri Nizaemon

Okay, so the series probably WON'T look like this...
Right out the gate and I'm already failing with the picture thing.  This was apparently a movie back in 1978, apparently a Robin Hood-esque story set during the Kyoho period where a group of bandits rob the wealthy with a series of schemes and an array of impressive techniques.   This would make it a Jidaigeki, or "period drama", since its set in Japan's past.  I'm okay with this, since I'm a fan of samurai and sword-fights and shit.  Admittedly though, I've never tried a period drama before, so I'm interesting to see how Japan.

 Kurokouchi








I'm giving this a try purely off the potential unintended humor factor.  The synopsis reads like this: "Kurokouchi Keita (Nagase Tomoya) is a man who has dirt on politicians and keeps extorting large sums of money from them. He is neither a gangster nor a hooligan but a detective by profession. An Assistant Inspector of the Criminal Investigations Department’s Second Investigative Division at Kanagawa Prefectural Police, Kurokouchi is called “shady prefectural police”. He is an aloof man with no subordinates, but cracks brutal unsolved crimes through information obtained illegally along with the money. He is an underhanded, corrupt daredevil who fights one evil with another."

I can't see how a hero who operates like a villain isn't funny, unless its done by Sunrise, and even that got funny near the end.

Tokyo Toy Box





Obviously based on a manga, Tokyo Toy Box is about a former OL (Office Lady) who gets assigned to be the boss over a tiny game company filled with workers who are obsessed with making games.   I'm a game geek, so I'm pretty much required to check this out.  (Plus its got Kamen Rider G3 playing one of the roles and I can't pass that up.)


49

This one I can't find a picture on due to the existence of an apparently much more popular Korean Drama, 49 Days.  In any case, 49 is a series about a boring 16 year old who suddenly has the spirit of his late father who's apparently just the shit at everything inhabit his body.

Now, depending on how they play this, I could really be down for it.  If its mostly comedic in nature, I'd probably watch the whole thing without incident.  But if they try to put too much drama or pathos into this, I'll probably vanish within five episodes.  We'll see.


Nocon Kid ~ Bokura no Gameshi

Literally the only picture I could find for this.


Another series that's about video games (sorta), Nocon Kid is about a guy who's family used to run a game center when he was a kid, and when he comes back to visit them, he picks up an interest in gaming against his friend again.  That's pretty much all I know about it so far, and if its a series that's about a 45 year old man playing arcade games...I'm actually alright with that, since that's something that's probably in my future.  

And now its wild card time!  Where I pick a drama that I'm not sure if I'll like and try it anyway.  And the wild card for this season is...

Link

A picture of the cast was all I could find.  >_<


Link is about something so complicated I can't just simplify it into a few words like the last few, so here's a (pun not intended) link to explain things.  So this has the potential to be a political drama, or an action thriller, or something entirely different, and the only reason I even have an idea as to the tone is because it's webpage looks awful serious compared to the others I've been looking at.

So, that's it for now.  Will I be able to finish all of these series?  Who knows.  Will my Japanese get any better?  Who knows.  Is there anything I DO know?  Well, yes.  That I'll be back here later this week with my (much longer) anime list. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Battle Rap Wednesdays: Arcane vs. Pat Stay





King of the Dot's World Domination 4 event a couple weeks ago featured a title match between current champion Arcane and challenger Pat Stay.  Now Pat Stay's been in quite a few battles over the past year or so, with legends like Head Ice, and well-known battlers like Math Hoffa.  In every battle he's participated in, Pat's always brought endless humor and an almost undeniably likable personality, even though he tries to play the villain.

Now, about seven months or so ago, Dizaster and Arcane battled for the chain and Arcane took that, despite Dizaster revealing that Arcane had bought some bars that may or may not have helped him get his title shot.  

Unfortunately, bar theft or not, Arcane won that chain.  And he won this one, even though the judges said differently.  Yeah yeah I know, he bought bars--but look, if you're that upset about it?  Ban the guy from your league.  I mean seriously--listen to that fucking crowd.  Pat ain't THAT fucking popular, they just hated Arcane that much.   If you're not going to ban Arcane from the battles, you have to base each battle purely on their merits, and he pretty much won this match, 2-1.

Now I'm not saying Pat Stay got bodybagged.  Far from it, because like he said, that round 2 is some haunting, soul-crushing ether that Arcane is going to have to go home and legitimately think about.  Buuuut Arcane had a better performance aside from the brief choke, he had stronger, better crafted bars, and in all honesty his Round 2 shouldn't be something Pat can just blow off either. 

Still, while it sucks that KOTD continues its tradition of passing the chain on to the challenger even if they don't really deserve it, Arcane and Pat both brought us a classic match-up that will probably end up being one of the best matches of the year.

Favorite bar: "I don't care if you're popping oxy, moron, don't get smart, idiot."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

George Perez's She-Devils

I'm shifting away from DC Comics for reasons that I'll explain in a future blog post.  Of course, that still leaves me with the problem of deciding what to read while I wait for them to right the ship.  But if things like what BOOM! Studios has in the works keeps happening, I think I might be good.


All I know right now is that She-Devils is a project by George Perez, the guy who's responsible for some of the best art of the 80's, 90's, and even today.  And yet, I still need this comic so bad, I might actually buy it as it comes out, rather than wait on it to be released in a trade format.   That art is just too amazing, and personally I love the idea of an all-female super-team.  

This information comes from CBR's coverage of the Baltimore Comic-Con, with no other news other than it launching in 2014.  Looking forward to it.

Under the Sea...




It looks like BBC's got another fantasy-type series coming out.  Now I was a huge fan of BBC's recent Robin Hood series, despite the fact that it had more anachronisms than your average Flintstones episode.   I skipped out on Merlin because quite frankly I thought the series tagline of "Keep the Magic Secret" was a weak excuse to hide their shitty television budget.  Plus I was worn out on modern retellings of Arthurian lore that couldn't be bothered to get it right, or at least if they got it wrong, make things interesting. 

So now, with Robin Hood and Merlin both gone, we have BBC's Atlantis, and I'm completely unsure of what to make of it.  When I think of Atlantis, I picture mages and an ancient but beautiful underwater civilization.  What I don't think of is Jason (presumably) of the Argonauts.   I get that they both have their origins in Greek mythology, but what I don't get is why they conflated the two when one or the other would have made a fine series.   It certainly can't be that they needed a "big name" for a main character--who even knows Jason like that?  They could just as easily have made a brand-new series set underwater with a new main character and made him into someone, but I guess they thought "name recognition" was more important.  Go figure.   Still, I suppose there could be more to the series we just haven't seen yet.  Time will tell.

BBC's Atlantis premieres this fall.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Battle Rap Wednesdays: Yung Ill vs. T-Rex




I honestly hate one round battles.  They give the illusion of some battles being closer than they really are, since by the time both rappers are finished they both rapped for so long that people can make a case for a battle going in either way, even if somebody got bodybagged.  (See: Charlie Clips vs. X-Factor.)

In this case, I watched Yung Ill spaz for like, 14 minutes, then watched T-Rex do the same thing and somebody could argue for either rapper, even though Icepack Ill prolly took it.  Oh well.

Next week either another old-school battle or some stuff from King of the Dot's World Domination 4 card.  We'll see.