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Chris Walden

Atari carts in landfill photo
Atari carts in landfill

Atari Cartridges have been discovered in New Mexico landfill

Apr 26
// Chris Walden
Well here's some unexpected news for the weekend! The myth that there are millions Atari 2600 cartridges, including the infamously awful E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, may just have been proved true. There is currently a te...
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam photo
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn heads west this July

My mid-air docking sequence craving will be sated.
Apr 25
// Chris Walden
What's better than fighting and destroying a Gundam? Fighting and destroying thousands of them, that's what. The Dynasty Warriors: Gundam spin-offs have been great fun so far, but I'll admit that I didn't put that much time ...

Review: Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day

Apr 22 // Chris Walden
Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day (PS3)Developer: Crispy's IncPublisher: Namco Bandai GamesRelease date: January 16, 2014 (JP), April 18, 2014 (NA, EU)MSRP: $59.99/€59.99/£39.99 To kick things off, let's take a look at the films. These aren't accessible from within the game, but rather from the video section in the PlayStation 3's XMB interface. It seems Bandai Namco is a little worried that you won't find them, as it's made several posts via Twitter mentioning where the content is, as there aren't any notifications in the game itself pointing to where it's hidden. I couldn't honestly tell you if this is going to be a problem for most people, as using a PS3 as my Blu-ray player of choice means I'm often going to the video tab for my video content. It's certainly something to keep in mind, though.  First up is Possessions, which tells the story of a traveler who takes refuge from a storm by hiding inside a run-down shrine. It runs for around 14 minutes, and is animated using cel-shaded 3D models. The model quality and textures are absolutely stunning, evidently a far cry from the increasingly common practice of using 3D models to reduce animation time in typical TV anime. A charming story completes the offering, and there's no mystery to how it secured a nomination for an Academy Award. Not a bad start to the video content by any stretch of the imagination.  Combustible is the second short movie in the line-up, and certainly has the most recognition of the four. Not only did it win the Grand Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival, but also the Ōfuji Noburō Award at the Mainichi Film Awards. Strangely, I consider this to be the weakest of the four videos, but that's not to say it's bad, either. Combustible is pretty good in its own right, but I feel that the other shorts are just more enjoyable. It's set in the city of Edo in the 18th century, following the lives of Owaka, the daughter of a merchant family who is taking part in an arranged marriage, and Matsukichi, her childhood friend who dreams of becoming a firefighter.  Next is Gambo, which I think I can best sum up with the few notes I made while watching it. Short Peace has a PEGI 16 rating here in the UK, and while I'm not sure if the barriers between age ratings are getting more lax as time goes on, I'd definitely have guessed that this was an 18 had I not known otherwise. There's grotesque imagery, gore, nudity and even more gore, so it's not something you want to be showing to the kids. This story is about a brutal monster that attacks people, and a white (polar?) bear that befriends a young girl. It's another very good short, only coming in second to the final video in the collection.  A Farewell to Weapons is my personal favorite of the four animations, primarily because it's the one film I'd love to see converted into a full series. On the surface, it's about a small group of men that have been tasked with disarming automated weapons in an apocalyptic Japan. They do this wearing power suits that look a lot like modified space suits, in combination with basic military training. Watching four of them in power suits working together to take out a Gonk -- a tank-like weapon hellbent on killing anything it considers a threat -- was as dramatic and exciting as the best episodes of Attack on Titan. I want to see a goofy squad touring Japan and removing threats like this in a full series, complete with all those shock deaths and revenge episodes. You need to check this out.  Overall, it's a very impressive collection of short films, running for just over an hour in total. Given the varying genres and themes, I'd say it's a perfect place to introduce newcomers to anime. However, even if you're buying Short Peace for the animations, remember that there's still the video game portion to check out. If you're already a fan of Suda51 and his previous works, you're in for a treat. Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day is a short game based on the Short Peace movies -- or at least, that's what it claims to be. There's really nothing that ties the two together, but fortunately that doesn't matter all that much. The game sees the titular Ranko running across increasingly difficult stages, as you attempt to evade some creepy-looking spirits. Gameplay is pretty simple, as you only need to focus on running to the right and attacking enemies when you get close to them. Regular enemies die in one hit and explode into small pieces, usually composed of weird iconography and kana, which will destroy other enemies if they make contact with them. You also have a bullet meter at the bottom of the screen, which is used as a panic button if the spirits are about to catch up with you. Each stage lasts only a few minutes, so between stages you're often thrown into a cutscene. As much as the game is reasonably good fun on its own, it's hands down the cutscenes that make this a game worth experiencing. To describe them as being animated insanity would be a severe understatement, as the events in the story and the animation techniques used to depict them are frankly beyond my powers of description. There are also a few boss fights to help change up the pace, and these deviate completely from the 'run towards the right' mechanic the rest of the game uses.  You can tell that Grasshopper Manufacture and Goichi Suda are involved not only via the cutscenes, but the gameplay itself. Everything is very quirky, whether it's running from a giant pomeranian or having to wrestle a luchador with the aim of unmasking him. We also have things that aren't quite so outlandish, such as a violin that doubles up as a sniper rifle, and the fact that the game announces during a short visual novel segment that you should "hold onto your controller, the game will start soon. Oh, and there's also big-breasted ladies and a panty shot just minutes into the game. I only have one negative point to make about Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day, and it regards the game's length. If you're going for a single run through, you can expect to be finished in under an hour; quicker than it would take to watch all four of the Short Peace animations back-to-back. The fact that it's so short isn't something that should stop you from playing this game, as quite frankly I think it's the perfect length to prevent it from overstaying its welcome, but for a full-price retail game, it's hard to recommend. There is replay value in that there are collectibles to find and course completion times to whittle down as low as possible, but you'll know right now whether this is something that you care about. Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day is a fantastic package, featuring four top quality short films with a weird and quirky game from Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture. The films are of fantastic quality, each being worth your time, and the game provides an experience like no other, courtesy of Suda's oddball imagination. However, be aware that the Short in Short Peace is a very good description of the package as a whole, as you can easily finish watching the video content and complete a run through the game in under two hours total. Still, it's definitely a worthy addition to any collection, but you'll want to weigh up all of those possible re-watches and re-plays to work out whether it's really worth $60 to you. 8 – Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
Review: Short Peace photo
The shortest longest day
As far as bundles go, this is a bit of a strange one. Part-movie collection, part-video game, Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day is something that could only be pulled off on a home console. I suppose it's not su...

New Ace Attorney photo
New Ace Attorney

New Ace Attorney game announced, will be set in the Meiji period

Hoping we'll get to see Gumshoe-dono
Apr 22
// Chris Walden
Oh Capcom, forget that I had any concerns about you abandoning the Ace Attorney franchise. This week's Famitsu contains a shock announcement of a brand new game, one that looks to be a spin-off rather than an Ace Attorney 6. ...

Hunter x Hunter photo
Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter manga to resume

Apr 22
// Chris Walden
You know, I had a feeling we'd be getting this announcement soon, seeing as the Hunter x Hunter anime is creeping closer and closer to the final complete arc from the manga. If you're not clued up on what's been going on for ...
Dragon Ball Kai photo
Dragon Ball Kai

Dragon Ball Kai's Buu saga will last almost a year and a half

Even longer if you find yourself using a hyperbolic time chamber
Apr 19
// Chris Walden
Dragon Ball Kai has quite a noble goal in trying to cut out all of the added fluff from the original Dragon Ball Z series. Even though I'd seen the original series in its entirety, as well as plenty of times via Toonami as a ...
Tales of Heart R photo
Tales of Heart R

Tales of Hearts R heading overseas this winter

Details leaked by Tales fanatic
Apr 18
// Chris Walden
Self-proclaimed Tales of super fan Hideo Baba has announced on his YouTube channel that Tales of Hearts R will soon be making its way abroad. It's the PlayStation Vita remake of the original Tales of Hearts game, which relea...
Music photo

The Dose: Old School Thursdays

Let's get obsessed with PCs and mahjong.
Apr 17
// Chris Walden
It's time to head back to 1998, as today's music is coming from Mr Reichi Nakaido. This is the first of two places you may have heard his music if you're into your anime, as he composed most of the soundtrack for Serial Expe...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons heads to arcades...a second time

Saving Japanese arcades, 100 yen at a time
Apr 16
// Chris Walden
I think we're all at least somewhat aware of how widely spread Puzzle & Dragons fever is in Japan, but I think their latest project is definitely a good indicator of its success. We've known since last year that Square En...

First Impressions: Mekakucity Actors

Apr 14 // Chris Walden
The world that Mekakucity Actors paints is an interesting one. For the most part, it looks like present day Japan, with a little bit of Shaft's creative license to spruce some of the locales up a bit. A major difference between Mekakuland and the real world is the existence of Ene, a very Hatsune Miku-looking computer program who likes to joke around with her 'master', much to his annoyance. Her master is a NEET shut-in, who is devastated to discover that he has to leave the house in order to buy a new keyboard, after spilling a drink on his current one. Besides that mini-explosion, he seems like a pretty laid back kinda guy.  Unfortunately, as far as the first episode is concerned, that's about all there is to say about these two. You could say that this episode is setting the scene, but I'd counter by saying that I'm still none the wiser as to what this scene actually looks like. This is a Shaft show through and through. The art is as stunning as always, with plenty of their iconic architecture livening up what I presume to be Mekaku City. In fact, this episode seems awfully familiar, as it seems to follow the same basic structure as the first episode of Bakemonogatari. We've had strange, nonsensical scenes, dull dialogue and a very light introduction to a few of the characters. However, as much as I wasn't a fan of the first episode of Bakemonogatari, the show soon became one of my all-time favorites. Perhaps we'll have a better sense of how this is all going to play out by the end of the second episode.  To be clear, I didn't hate this episode. It's a visual treat at the very least, but it also showed that it plans to go somewhere. However, it ultimately fails as a first episode, as it doesn't make any attempt to rope viewers into the story. Ene's existence is a mystery, and while I'm sure that'll be explored later on in the show, we don't even know the name of her 'master' yet [Edit: As was pointed out in the comments, his name is mentioned by Ene at one point in the episode, albeit indirectly. It's Shintaro, in case you were wondering!]. This very same guy, who may or may not be the main character in this show, was kidnapped and perhaps shot at the end of the episode. It's incredibly strange to have to refer to him by description after Golden Time's Tourettes-like screaming of the name Tada Banri.  So why didn't Mekakucity Actors rope people in with its story? Well, perhaps because so far there's no story to speak of. I know the general gist of what's going to happen in this show, thanks in part to seeing the conversations of a few KagePro fans, but what does this episode offer for those that have no prior knowledge? It's all very disappointing, especially as I have to toss my love for Shaft to one side while I say all of this. Shaft is staffed by very competent animators and I'd put money on this show coming together by the end, so it's just puzzling why we were served so much fluff in the introduction. I just hope that Shaft's decision to favor uninspiring dialogue over any meaningful exploration of the plot doesn't drive away a good portion of its audience.  Ene seems like a fun character, and the dynamic between her and 'master' could become really interesting. The setting seems fun, and the two guys that 'master' meets at the end may also be pretty interesting. Unfortunately, this is a good example of why I found it so frustrating, as I have to use words like 'seems', 'could' and 'may' to describe what this show 'might' be like. The first episode of a show is meant to tease the world and give you an idea about what it's all about; Mekakucity Actors 1 is a conversation between a NEET and a computer, which isn't much to work with. But as I mentioned previously, this isn't the first time a Shaft show has had awkward pacing, so I'll be sticking around for a few more episodes. I don't doubt that it'll all kick off next Saturday.  [Act quickly and catch this show on Crunchyroll]
FI: Mekakucity Actors photo
"Oh hey, a Shaft show! I didn't end up watching Nisekoi, so I'll be sure to watch this." This was the only reason I decided to pick up Mekakucity Actors. I had no idea that I was diving into what seems like a reasonably well-...

The World God Only Knows photo
The World God Only Knows

The World God Only Knows manga is ending soon

Sooner than you might think, unfortunately
Apr 12
// Chris Walden
Sorry folks, but I'm about to make your Saturday a little miserable. We've known for a while that The World God Only Knows was due to end on its 26th volume, but we now have a date. We'll be saying goodbye to Keima, Elsie, Ha...
JoJo: All-Star Battle photo
JoJo: All-Star Battle

Go download the JoJos Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle demo

It's probably a good way of wasting the week between Stardust Crusaders episodes
Apr 11
// Chris Walden
You've just finished a week at work. Tough, right? You want nothing more than to just collapse at home, enjoy a nice cold drink and chill out. Don't worry, you deserve a good rest, but what are you going to do? Watch TV? You ...
Mekaku City Actors photo
Mekaku City Actors

Mekaku City Actors gets a teaser, go nuts

Because I think going nuts is what I should be doing?
Apr 10
// Chris Walden
Eyes! Super powers! Shaft! What else could you possibly want from an anime series that's based on a few Vocaloid tunes? Mekaku City Actors is that anime, and it'll be airing in just a few days time. Meanwhile you can try and...
Taiko no Tatsujin photo
Taiko no Tatsujin

Second Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS game announced

Can't wait to import! Wait, what?
Apr 09
// Chris Walden
Taiko no Tatsujin is great. You may not know it, but there was once a time when these games, albeit with an altered soundtrack, actually made it out of Japan. Unfortunately for us, this stopped years ago, but Japan has contin...
Crunchyroll x FUJI TV photo
Crunchyroll x FUJI TV

Crunchyroll partners with FUJI TV to stream 21 dramas

Some of them are required viewing
Apr 07
// Chris Walden
Remember when Crunchyroll used to show Japanese drama? I kid, but let's be honest, it's been pretty slim pickings on the drama front as so much time and effort was instead poured into acquiring anime simulcasts. However, this...

Final Impressions: Golden Time

Apr 02 // Chris Walden
If you were hoping that Banri was going to begin this episode by yelling "Psych!", I have some bad news for you. He was bang on the mark with his parting comment, claiming that his post-accident memories were lost after the festival dance, leaving twenty-three episodes worth of characters to gaze on helplessly as he's led away by his mother. Allow me to be a miserable grump for a minute, but I think we felt the impact of this at the end of the last episode. Not seeing Koko and/or friends tear up at his departure was a little disappointing, but then it didn't dawdle on this scene waiting for a reaction either. Not to worry though, there's plenty of tears-a-comin'.  During the Banri-Backlash is when we finally see all the crying, with Chinami's footage from the Okamera pushing people's feelings past the tipping point. The mirror that Koko gifted to Banri soon becomes a focus, as we wonder why Banri would have left it behind. Sure, he may not know where it came from, but how did his friends end up with it? We find out a little later that Banri actually does have a mirror, albeit Koko's unbroken mirror for some unknown reason, but then why wouldn't Koko know he had it? If she knew he had it, she shouldn't get upset. If she didn't know, why didn't she know? It seems a little strange to get upset about Banri leaving a mirror behind while not knowing the location of your own. Meanwhile, Banri loses his ring on the bridge, which is probably important so remember that.  Scooting forward a little, we see Koko visiting Banri at his parents' house. Seeing him with Linda must have been soul crushing for Koko, but she soldiers through the meeting, even when he doesn't recognize her and assumes she's Chinami. This was probably the point in the episode when I went from barely keeping it together to full-blown blubbering mess, so I'd like to think this scene was well done even if I was kind of irrationally hating Banri for it. Seeing him decline the mirror also did a number on me, but it turns out his decision to do this was for the best. It must have got that little mouse inside his head running in its wheel again, as Banri has a eureka moment and regains his post-accident, pre-festival memories. Being honest, I'd have been quite content summarizing my thoughts on Golden Time with a few sentences, had it not been for the bridge scene towards the end of the episode. Banri confronts Ghost-Banri about the whole memory situation, which is fine. With you so far show, as that's not too surprising. Then somehow, Linda runs in and declares that she loves Ghost-Banri, all while regular Banri watches her hug and talk to him. Linda's voice does not have the distortion that Ghost-Banri's has, so it seems unlikely that Banri was imagining all of this. Does that mean Banri was arguing with himself? Did Linda run up to a solo Banri that was going insane, confess her love to him, then run off with a smile while telling him to go to Koko? I hope! I wish. What really blows my mind is how Ghost-Banri hands regular Banri the ring, which we'd seen fall into the river earlier. Seriously, what happened there? Did Banri retrieve the ring from the river earlier, forgetting that he'd done so, allowing him to imagine the hand-over scene? Is Ghost-Banri actually a ghost with super powers? Maybe I'm missing something major, but even if Banri was just having a mad moment I wish it was actually explained realistically, as I'd like to believe that Ghost-Banri is entirely a figment of his imagination. But seriously, I'm stumped. Theories in the comments, please! [Editor's Note: Chris, we know the Ghost has the supernatural mojo. Have you forgotten his terrifying power over Tokyo traffic?] And the rest, as they say, is history. You certainly don't need me trying to describe the happy ending scenes after Banri confronts Koko, memories and all, so I don't think I'll try. What I will say is that Golden Time's ending, in general, didn't disappoint. The bridge stuff was crazy, but it doesn't really mar the story in any meaningful way. Koko didn't give up on Banri, as much as she wanted it to look like she did, and Banri came through in the end with a little nudge from the mirrors. I'm going to dredge up Toradora once again, only to say that I don't think that the two shows are really comparable. Golden Time treads unfamiliar territory instead of reiterating on your typical high school romance plot and niches, while also keeping the story somewhat believable. You've got amnesia, stalker girlfriends and ghost-memory doppelgängers that can influence the weather, yet it's also been quite some time since we've had such a relatable cast. To say that's an achievement is an understatement.  With that, we have just one last thing to address. Linda, our fallen goddess, tonight we raise a glass to you.  [embed]32120:3787:0[/embed] [Meet your Golden Time lover over at Crunchyroll.]
Final Imps: Golden Time photo
Happily ever after? Maybe?
We're finally here. The finale of the hottest amnesia-driven romantic comedy aired last week, and while it feels like it's taken several days just to digest what on Earth happened, I feel we've left the show in a good place. ...

One Piece photo
One Piece

I will become the Pirate King

I'm sorry, my nakama
Apr 01
// Chris Walden
To the Straw Hat Pirates, My name is Tony Tony Chopper, but most people call me Chopper. I am the doctor aboard the Thousand Sunny, the vessel we have shared for as long as I can remember. Even though I'm a reindeer who ate t...
Baked Kit Kats photo
Baked Kit Kats

Chocolate not doing it for you? Try some baked Kit Kats instead

But I'm lazy so bake them for me
Mar 29
// Chris Walden
Japan is well known for its exclusive and extravagant Kit Kat flavours, with the likes of cherry blossom, green tea and wasabi joining the more standard milk chocolate and orange varieties. Creating new flavours just isn't en...
Sonic: Lost World photo
Sonic: Lost World

The Legend of Zelda drops into Sonic: Lost World via free DLC

Ruppee joke
Mar 27
// Chris Walden
Nintendo certainly seems to at least be trying to step up their Wii U offering, and while Zelda DLC for a Sonic the Hedgehog game is hardly a system seller, it's the right kind of attitude to have. The game is already a 3DS ...

Annotated Anime: Golden Time episode 23

Mar 25 // Chris Walden
You can tell we've reached the end of the story, as the episode begins with a tearful Koko talking about what she wants to happen if Banri forgets her. Blink and you'll miss it, but we also find out exactly why Koko was being a horrible person in the last episode, as Linda mentions that she won't allow her to just do as she pleases. Koko had plans to 'disappear' herself, so it seems pretty likely that if Banri hadn't caught her after the resignation attempt, we may not have seen her at the school again. Making everyone dislike her and then disappearing certainly seems like a Koko tactic, because while it might actually work, she doesn't often think about what everyone else wants. She believes that this is what's best for Banri, when really it helps no one.  But even with things finally settle with Koko, there's still Mitsuo to deal with. No, he wasn't the bro we wanted him to be in Banri's time of need, instead deciding to lock himself away because he wasn't told about Banri and Linda's shared past. Perhaps this is just me, but it does seem like a rather pointless thing to get worked up about, especially as Banri is quite obviously still troubled about his past, and Mitsuo found all of this out while the poor guy was in tears. Perhaps he's more annoyed by how he's only become a main character in the last few episodes? Banri is still fighting with his other self in one way or another, as he completely blanks on Koko when she approaches him at school. It's not even that he wasn't aware of who she was, but rather he was so lost in his own thoughts that he didn't notice she was even there. This is exactly what she's fearing will happen if and when Banri loses his memories, so while her tears were for a good reason, it could have been prevented in this instance by Banri keeping a grip on his trail of thought. [Editor's Note: I don't know about that, Chris-- I think "Old Banri" had to be in control there while he was looking at Koko and not really seeing her.] I'm not surprised that 2D-kun and Chinami would end up holding their own crisis meeting of sorts to try and figure out how to resolve this mess, though I think given the circumstances, I'm a little surprised that 2D-kun hasn't been told one way or the other exactly what they're dealing with.  A group meeting does seem like the best solution, considering Banri originally intended to tell everyone what the situation is in a similar scenario. Unfortunately there's no Kobe beef this time, so it was doomed to failure from the outset. It's good to see Mitsuo apologizing for his overreaction so quickly after meeting up with Banri again, but he does also have impeccable timing, what with Banri losing his present-day memories at that very moment. Is there a trigger, or is it just happening randomly? The most interesting part of this whole ordeal is that Linda actually stuck around after she 'left', helping to calm Banri down after he flips out. This may be Linda showing concern, but she must have stuck around for a while after Koko and Mitsuo showed up, before it was apparent that his old memories had returned again. Did she know something like this was going to happen? Does she believe that she's triggering the memory loss? Banri's memory troubles seem to really be hitting home lately, not that it wasn't already a major bummer, but seeing people like Chinami and Mitsuo coming together at the end of this episode to support him is genuinely quite touching. I think this is because they're treating present-Banri like he's on the brink of death, which actually might be more accurate than it sounds considering his belief that he will cease to exist in his present form. But that brings all the emotion that comes with being around someone who is dying, so excuse me while I sob in this corner over here. [Editor's Note: No, that's my sobbing-corner. Get your own corner.] [Writer's Note:ヽ(`Д´)ノ.] It seemed obvious from the beginning of this series that Banri was going to regain his memories, but the concept that he may also lose the memories he's gained since the accident didn't even factor into my predictions. The final line of this episode was so damn effective, because even though a total loss of post-accident memories was more or less confirmed by Banri's actions during the Koko break-up, there was also that hope that he just wouldn't lose them. You need events like the break-up and memory loss to keep this kind of show interesting, but even so, it's not like you really want to have that stuff to happen. The one-liner confirmation was utterly heartbreaking.  [Meet your Golden Time lover over at Crunchyroll.]
Golden Time Ep. 23 photo
The penultimate episode. We're standing on the brink of Golden Time's conclusion, and while I want all of these bad things to wrap-up and conclude in the best way possible, I also don't want it to end. This show has been a ro...

Hanamonogatari photo

Hanamonogatari gets its first teaser trailer

It's Kanbaru flavor.
Mar 25
// Chris Walden
Nothing is going to slow down Shaft's Monogatari train, especially when you consider how popular the franchise has become. Heads would roll if people couldn't get the next available dose of Mayoi getting beaten up by Araragi...

Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight

Mar 24 // Chris Walden
The Witch and the Hundred Knight (PS3)Developer: Nippon Ichi SoftwarePublisher: NIS AmericaRelease date: July 25, 2013 (JP), March 21, 2014 (EU), March 25, 2014 (NA)MSRP: $49.99/€49.99/£34.99 The titular witch, Metallia, has been fighting with the forest witch Malia for over one hundred years, which is preventing Metallia from growing the size of her realm. As Metallia can only travel where there's a swamp, she decides she can do with some help and summons the Hundred Knight, a pathetic-looking demon with a deceiving appearance. Its considerably powerful, and helps Metallia to extend the reaches of her swamp. You may find the story somewhat similar to Nippon Ichi's Disgaea series, as you spend the game fighting for the bad guys. However, there's not much of the signature Disgaea humor to be seen, thanks in part to Metallia's attitude. She's gratingly rude, spouts swears as often as possible, and with the Hundred Knight being a silent protagonist, you have to rely on other characters to get any form of humor. Then again, while it might seem like there must be laughs to be found in here somewhere, The Witch and the Hundred Knight is considerably darker than anything Nippon Ichi has previously put out.  While I don't want to go ahead and spoil the story for those of you who want to give this game a go, I have to say that you might find parts of it incredibly uncomfortable. To give you an idea, I stopped playing the game for a few hours after a particular story event in the first chapter, just to digest the horrific scene it was describing. Now, I'm not a squeamish guy at all, but what was being described could put Saya no Uta and the brothers Grimm to shame. I'd liken it to something I'd expect out of Corpse Party: Book of Shadows.  For those of you that have played something from the Diablo series, the basic gameplay will already seem familiar. You walk around as the Hundred Knight, beat-up enemies, find lots of loot and gain experience along the way. That said, the combat is a lot simpler than most dungeon crawlers, as you'll spend most of it hitting 'square' over and over again to perform weapon combos. Hundred Knight can equip several weapons at once, so hitting the melee button will have it perform a string of attacks, one for each weapon and in the order equipped. You'll need to pick your weapons carefully, as some enemies are only vulnerable to blunt weapons like hammers, while others are dispatched easier when pierced with spears.  One of the most interesting spins on the typical dungeon crawler formula is the addition of GigaCals. The Hundred Knight will start with 100 GigaCals at the start of a level, and as it moves around and performs actions, it will slowly lose them. When you hit zero, your health will start to deteriorate instead, so you may find yourself working out whether you can take on a big enemy with what you have remaining, or if you'd rather grind during the last ten or so GigaCals before leaving the map. There are ways to replenish GigaCals during the level, but you'll want to make sure you leave the map voluntarily via one of the numerous pillars you'll find. If you let yourself die while you have no GigaCals remaining, you can say goodbye to the items you've picked up during that level, as well as half of the experience you accumulated on the way.  As you progress through the game, you'll unlock the ability to change your 'facet': the form Hundred Knight appears in. Doing so changes its stats, abilities and weapon proficiency, and you can even set them up with different load-outs and change your form mid-level. This leads to creating strategies with different set-ups -- like using the Wonder Knight form to deal with pesky creatures with strong armor by equipping blunt weapons and staves with status-causing effects, while leaving your stronger Power Fortress form to do the majority of the damage with blades and piercing weapons.  As you progress through individual levels, you will earn Grade Points and Bonus Points. Grade Points exist on a per-level basis, and are used to give yourself temporary stat boosts for the remainder of your time on that map. Most of the time you'll be putting points into HP, attack and defense, but you also have the choice to replenish some of your GigaCals, or to convert them into Bonus Points. When you accumulate enough Bonus Points, you'll gain access to a new 'level' in the Bonus tree, which in turn awards you with items at the end of the level. Putting all of your Grade Points into Bonus Points would give you the biggest reward if you can finish the level without dying, but you may need to put points into other stats in order to give yourself a fighting chance of getting that far.  Sounds good, right? The Witch and the Hundred Knight makes some genuinely neat changes to the typical gameplay you see in games that share its genre, but the biggest problem is that it never feels like these systems are being stretched far enough. The tutorial is one of the most uninformative and utterly boring tutorials I've ever played through, with mechanics like GigaCals and Grade Points left unexplained. When you start the game proper, you'll find yourself wandering around the maps, trying to figure out where all of the content is. Levels are made bigger than they should be to make GigaCals important in the early game, when it's too soon for the large spaces to be filled with loads of enemies. Yes, it gets better with time, but it makes a pretty horrible first impression that's sure to put off a fair portion of its audience. The lack of enemy swarms and piles of loot may also have you craving a return journey to Diablo's Sanctuary, rather than venturing deeper into this with the accompanying barrage of terrible dialogue from Metallia.  When you're not out exploring, you'll often be in dialogue with the main cast. During these moments you'll get an interface that imitates the style of visual novels, with crisp looking 2D art of the characters to either side of the screen. With this being static 2D imagery, it's a lot easier to convey emotions than with janky looking 3D models and animations. It's almost a shame that there's 3D in this game at all, as while looks aren't everything, The Witch and the Hundred Knight has to be one of the worst looking PS3 games during the adventure segments. There was genuinely a moment where I paused the game during the tutorial to look up whether this was originally a PSP game, as I was so confused as to why the 3D models looked so awful when the 2D visuals are so crisp.  Without even seeing the game, you'll be able to figure out that this was made by Nippon Ichi Software. It's the music that gives it away, as the typical focus on goofy, upbeat, accordion-filled tunes is ever apparent. This is fine in itself, as many of the songs are pretty good, but there's a minor issue in some instances where it doesn't seem to fit the mood of what's happening on screen. There's nothing dumb happening in the same kind of tone as, say, Etna, Laharl or Flonne from Disgaea chatting it up. It's the foul-mouthed Metallia with her teenage attitude, with only the servant Arlecchino to offer the rare bit of humor.  [embed]31993:3718:0[/embed] Fans of original Japanese audio can rejoice, as you can pick between that and the English dub speech for the duration of the game. The English dub is actually rather good, but it's the Japanese dub that I found most entertaining. This is because of a certain change that was made between versions, which is retained in the Japanese audio. In the original version of The Witch and the Hundred Knight, Mettalia is actually named Metallica, after that one rather famous metal band. Funnily enough it might rile up Lars Ulrich if it remained in the western release, so her name is changed to Metallia in the English dub and text. This means that whenever her name is mentioned during in the Japanese dub, you'll be subliminally told to dig out your copy of Death Magnetic. [Editor's Note: Or Load? Can we get some love for Load?] This game is full to the brim with ideas, and some really interesting ideas at that, but The Witch and the Hundred Knight ultimately fails to use them to the best of its ability. The sparse worlds and wasted potential, coupled with a dull cast that's lead by one of the most unlikeable lead characters in a video game, sinks the game straight into mediocrity. It's a genuine shame, and I can't help but wonder what this game could have been had the game received a few more months of development time. 5 – Mediocre (5s are an exercise in apathy, neither Solid nor Liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.)
Review: Hundred Knight photo
Disgaea meets Diablo? Kind of...
Diablo 3 was disappointing. That might be an odd way to start a review on a game from Nippon Ichi Software, but while I and many others await the Reaper of Souls expansion to complete the many Diablo 3 renovations, the u...

Space Dandy S2 photo
Space Dandy S2

Second season of Space Dandy will air in July

In Japan, at least
Mar 22
// Chris Walden
If you're ready for more adventure, pompadours and space boobies, you'll be pleased to hear that Space Dandy has just had it's second season confirmed, and it'll be coming as soon as July. You may remember that the show was d...
Attack on Titan x MonHun photo
Attack on Titan x MonHun

Attack on Titan invades Monster Hunter Frontier G

Next up, Pokmon x Attack on Titan
Mar 21
// Chris Walden
Those titan hunters sure get around, don't they? It's pretty impressive actually, considering their species is essentially trapped in one place. This time they've managed to dodge harms way outside the city walls long enough ...
J-Stars Victory Vs. photo
J-Stars Victory Vs.

Luffy and Goku take to the streets to promote J-Stars Victory Vs.

Needs more Yusuke
Mar 19
// Chris Walden
You have to hand it to Japan. When they want to promote something, they're certainly willing to push the boat out to do so. This might not be on the same scale as the giant Gundam, but life-size statues of Luffy and Goku part...
Gundam TriAge SP photo
Gundam TriAge SP

The Gundam TriAge card game is coming soon to the 3DS

My Char is ready
Mar 19
// Chris Walden
Back when I visited Tokyo in 2011, there was an interesting new arcade game that seemed to be pretty popular. That was Gundam TriAge, and after watching Japanese people play it in an attempt to figure out what to, I sunk my f...

Annotated Anime: Golden Time episode 22

Mar 17 // Chris Walden
After that bombshell of a reveal at the end of the previous episode, it's no surprise that Banri finds himself unable to move. However, it's not long afterwards that Koko's dad shows up to give him a lift home, which, while strange in itself, does give us some kind of hope that Koko's feeling regretful about her outburst. I mean, why bother calling your dad to help out if you're not concerned about Banri? Either way, Koko's dad might have given us an interesting hint as to why Koko has seemingly thrown in the towel on this relationship, but I'll come back to that in a bit.  One of the best moments in the whole episode was seeing Nana actually comforting Banri and helping to cheer him up, instead of her usual friendly-yet-brutal jabs. Even before she apologizes for being cold towards him while he's so miserable, she clearly understands that something is up and forces herself to go along with him to the convenience store. I think anyone could see that he just blurted this out as an excuse to be alone, but hey, some time with Nana isn't a bad thing either. She seems to be becoming a lot more important recently, and while I don't think she'll get any major roles beyond this before the ending, it's certainly welcome.  In typical Golden Time fashion, we get a brief glimmer of hope that this isn't going to become an all-out war. Koko approaches Banri before school and apologizes for the previous night, as well as admitting that she called on her dad to help out after seeing him standing dumbfounded in the same place she'd left him. Great news! Well, at least it would be if Koko didn't then proceed to announce to the main group later on that the two had split up. Banri's face is quite the picture, but come on, she must have been aware that her announcement in the morning would have confused the poor guy into thinking the whole relationship speech from before was a misunderstanding. You can't help but feel awful for Banri, as Koko doesn't seem at all bothered about stamping over his feelings. 'Seem' is the key word here.  So what caused Koko's outburst, beyond dating a guy having an identity crisis who continually refuses to confide in his partner? Well, finding the empty pill packets in Banri's trash is likely a big reason, and perhaps not only because he hasn't decided to share this with her. We find out from Koko's dad that she's aware that he was taking medication for anxiety, so what would be the course of action for a girlfriend who doesn't want to hurt her boyfriend, if she assumed that she's the one causing the anxiety in the first place? Cut yourself out of his life, and become a villain so that he doesn't try and hang on to the relationship. She's also viewed footage on the Okamera, so she's seen Banri calling out for Linda. Dating Linda might be the best for Banri in the long run, through the eyes of Koko.  The news slowly begins to spread, and Banri decides to take his next boxing match to the festival club. Unfortunately, that means that Linda is on the receiving end, but I think in terms of blows landed, Linda comes out on top. I also think this is yet another confirmation that Linda still has feelings for Banri, because there's definitely more to this than the guilt from Banri's accident. Why would she be so bothered about Banri's love life otherwise? I think she's decided to stay out of it for Banri's sake, because he seems happy with Koko, but even she must have her limits. If Koko and Banri stop dating, she'll have to sort out her own relationship issues once again. Koko gives her an excuse to stay only as friends with Banri.  But let's not end the episode on that low! Let's sink down just a tad further by throwing Mitsuo into the mix, and having Banri finally reveal the details about his past and the romantic feelings he once held for Linda. Mitsuo seems quite bothered about why this was kept from him, but I'm hoping that this is because he'd have been totally fine with finding out earlier. After all, Mitsuo likely had feelings for Koko once upon a time, and he's been very supportive of the Banri-Koko relationship even if she was stalking him for years. Of course, he might fly off the handle for an extra helping of drama, but let's hope he can be a bro right up until the end. Koko also hands in her resignation to the festival club in an attempt to sever yet another tie to Banri. All of this drama is too much for me to handle! Roll on episode 23! [Meet your Golden Time lover over at Crunchyroll.]
Golden Time Ep. 22 photo
Meeting parents, making threats and fightin' round the world!
This episode is so jammed full of reveals, shouting and tears that I spent quite some time figuring out where to even start. This got me thinking about Banri's reaction to the non-stop barrage of bad news, and I'm not sure I'...

Kanpai Senshi After V photo
Kanpai Senshi After V

More parody Sentai coming this April

I bet a beer tastes great after saving the world
Mar 15
// Chris Walden
After the success of the hilarious Akibaranger, it's not too surprising that there would be another Sentai parody show looming on the horizon. Kanpai Senshi After V is that show, which follows the main cast's fight against e...
Stardust Crusaders photo
Stardust Crusaders

Polnareff concludes the JoJo: Stardust Crusaders previews

The most Japanese-sounding "trs bien" you'll ever hear
Mar 14
// Chris Walden
The fourth and final teaser for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is finally here, and it's time to get French and slick up that hair of yours. Jean-Pierre Polnareff and his trusty Silver Chariot are all over this...
Sega Humble Weekly Sale photo
Sega Humble Weekly Sale

Sega offering 19 games in the Humble Weekly Sale

Going in for 18 of them!
Mar 13
// Chris Walden
The team at are really good at pinching the pennies from your virtual wallet, even rivalling Steam's sales with its 'pay what you want' game bundles. This week is no exception, as Sega is stepping up and putt...

Annotated Anime: Golden Time episode 21

Mar 12 // Chris Walden
Even though we had all of that drama in the previous episode, I'm finding it hard to figure out exactly what state Banri's past memories are in. It seemed like he regained them all at once, and while that still seems to be the case, it doesn't look like he's retained them. At least, that's what it seems to be implying when he mentions that they returned "for a moment". This isn't the first time this has happened so Banri shouldn't be too surprised, but then I suppose he wasn't in the middle of a parade last time either. Anyway, the fact that this has happened multiple times should give him plenty of reason to tell Koko. He seemed fine telling her that he regained his feelings for Linda, so he may as well tell her the rest of it, especially as it's nowhere near as terrible news for Koko. It seems that Banri's moment of panic has had some repercussions, as the Festival Club is now banned from borrowing costumes. You know, this whole situation is the absolute worst. Of course the other dancers would stop momentarily as their friend ran off screaming, anyone would! Why punish them for that when they are dancing for your enjoyment and completely off their own backs? It must be because of the Banri incident, because we can already disprove that it was mistakes from the other dancers. Have you seen their robotic animations? There's no way they messed up. If you don't like your free entertainment, go hire a professional! Grumble grumble.  After talking to Koko about how scared he is of revealing his past, the duo concoct a plan to get everyone, including the weirdly hostile Chinami, over to his place for some delicious Kobe beef. Not a bad incentive by any means. This discussion has obviously been on his mind recently, so it'll do him some good to tell both Mitsuo and Chinami what the deal is. However, before the big reveal is another opportunity for Chinami to get wound up, and over picking up leaves of all things. Banri is generally a nice guy, save for the incident early on in the series and the odd unintentional time when his brain is moving at the speed of sponge, so it's a little disheartening to see Chinami get so angry over what seems like nothing. Getting angry over nothing? That's as accurate as I can be, as we find out that Chinami is in fact in love with Mitsuo. Her being angry at Banri was because she wants him to get with Linda, leaving Mitsuo for herself, but he didn't do that and now she's annoyed that he might have left Koko for Linda? If that wasn't confusing enough, there's the fact she even likes Mitsuo. Considering the guy tried his best to ignore Chinami after he was rejected, I'm pretty surprised that she wants anything to do with him. It might have seemed obvious that this is where the anime was heading regarding this relationship, but it sure doesn't seem right.  But let's put all that to one side while we throw in a little more insanity, as Banri regains his memories again right before he can tell Chinami about his past. It almost seems too convenient to happen at this time, so I wonder if there isn't some kind of a trigger that is causing it? He seemed pretty thrilled during the festival when it happened on that occasion, so I can't see any glaringly obvious reasons. Still, I think there's a little more to it. After dragging Linda and Nana into this mess and bolting out of his own home, he's eventually subdued by Mitsuo and 2D-kun, who won't be too happy about missing out on the Kobe beef. To make matters worse, they aren't the only ones unhappy about that night's events.  Koko has been pretty supportive of Banri lately, and he's certainly had his fair share of issues to pull her into. The problem is that he absolutely sucks at hiding things, so of course Koko, self-proclaimed master stalker, is going to figure it out something is wrong. We know that she hasn't been told about why Banri bolted out of his own house, and it's obvious she's suspicious about what happened during the festival. She also knows about the pills he's been taking, and while this might not matter on its own, Banri hasn't mentioned it to her. For someone trying to find the right time to give his girlfriend a ring, he's doing a pretty shit job of actually having a relationship with her. She wants to help, so let her! Her announcement that she's done with Banri at the end of the episode is hardly surprising, as much as she doesn't mean it. Hopefully Banri will realise what an idiot he's being and sort this out sooner rather than later. [Meet your Golden Time lover over at Crunchyroll.]
Golden Time Ep. 21 photo
Abandon ship
I don't think I've seen an episode quite so liberal with dropping multiple bombshells in quick succession. Golden Time is certainly reaching its climax, and I'm positive that we're in for a gripping final three episodes. Thre...

Special edition Monopoly photo
Special edition Monopoly

Pokmon and Zelda special edition Monopoly sets are coming

And they'll take your money before throwing you in jail
Mar 10
// Chris Walden
I think Monopoly is a great game to play if you want to lose the will to live, your friends or both, but even I think I'll have trouble keeping my hands off the upcoming Pokémon special edition set. Unfortunately, all ...
JoJo: Stardust Crusaders photo
JoJo: Stardust Crusaders

It's Kakyoin's time to shine in the third JoJo: Stardust Crusaders trailer

You don't even know how long it takes to prep that hair
Mar 07
// Chris Walden
Painting! Puppets! Crazy looking giant bugs! Yeah, I don't remember half of the stuff in this trailer appearing in the original OVAs, and I suppose that's exactly why I'm so excited for David Production to cover Stardust Cru...
Pokemon XY Movie Trailer photo
Pokemon XY Movie Trailer

Pokemon XY second movie trailer looks impressive

Even if it's really short
Mar 06
// Chris Walden
Animated pokémon battles are always great fun to watch, but the movies always like to go the extra mile. As it's Pokémon X&Ys first movie, we've got the powerhouses Yveltal and Xerneas firing all sorts of c...
Project DIVA f  photo
Project DIVA f

Project DIVA f is now available in North America

Europe, sit down and wait your turn.
Mar 04
// Chris Walden
Did you hold off buying Project DIVA F to wait for the PS Vita version? If you're in North America then wait no longer, as you can now pick up the portable version with the smaller f for a very reasonable $29.99 via the Play...

Annotated Anime: Golden Time episode 20

Mar 03 // Chris Walden
I completely forgot that Chinami doesn't know about Banri's past, but even without knowing about the backstory she's still blowing his chat with Linda completely out of proportion. I suppose it's because of how friendly they were being with each other (some might even say that they were acting like childhood friends,) but perhaps even that's an overstatement considering Banri, amnesia and all, hasn't actually got his childhood memories. He definitely feels comfortable in her company at least, but Chinami should at least speak to Koko about it. Oh, and it seems Banri has this whole ring business nailed down. If you're looking for a good opportunity to give it away, the best thing to do is to leave it at home! It's nice to see Banri being somewhat proactive in seeking advice over the ring, but let's be honest, he should have asked his mum if he was that confused about it. He could also have asked Chinami, which would have allowed him to confront her over the outburst the day before, as well as to reassure her that his relationship with Koko is completely serious. However, as far as comical situations go, asking Nana is a fine choice. She's doesn't prove helpful in the long run, but I chalk this one down as a success because Nana sleeping on Banri's shoulder is adorable. We finally get to see the repercussions of Chinami's outburst from the previous episode, as she decides to blank Banri at school. Not in a completely obvious way, mind you, and you could chalk it down to Banri being paranoid if Koko didn't confirm that Chinami was dodging conversations about him. Do you think that the explanation for Chinami being miserable, assuming we get one, is going to be a good one? I'm starting to think that she might not romantically like Mitsuo, based on her reaction to this situation with Banri. What if its something to do with relationships, in particular the involvement of a second party? Mitsuo could have upset her by going for Linda after being shot down by Chinami herself, and Banri for seemingly getting too friendly with Linda while he's dating Koko. It might be a bit of a stretch, but I'm out of ideas! We eventually get to the second round of dancing, which means we get those terrible fantastic animated 3D models for most of the parade scenes. With all of this Banri drama, it's easy to forget that when we first met Koko, she had few friends, was hardly ever approached by others, and also had that completely crazy side to her that caused her to get incredibly paranoid and stalk Mitsuo and Banri. Seeing her talk confidence into the fourth years just goes to show how far she's come since then. Hell, if Koko had seen Banri and Linda talking at the parade in the same mindset she had ten episodes ago, we'd be seeing a few explosions. Great to see, and nice to forget about Banri hogging the limelight for a little bit.  But then I suppose we can pretty much forget all the small details, because Banri only went and regained all of his memories. Fantastic timing too, given he was right in the middle of the parade when everything came rushing back. Running away seems like the correct decision, but it's pretty interesting that his immediate thought was that he should have been on the bridge back home, waiting for Linda. In that case, what was Ghost Banri? Given that he was able to mess around with Banri's fortunes, a decision he made because he was watching him cut Linda out of his life, it seems a little strange to have forgotten about that stuff. Perhaps that's what was lost when Ghost Banri let himself fall from the bridge when it was revisited after the reunion? I don't know, and my head hurts.  Well, we do know that Banri has kept his Koko memories as well as regaining those from before the accident. This is immediately going to mess with both Koko and Linda, plus there's the chance that Chinami and Mitsuo are going to learn about his past because of this. If Banri's past memories cause him to favor a relationship with Linda, then Banri might want to let Mitsuo know what's up in an attempt to get him to back off. There's also the ring, which might very well end up going to Linda. Still, with Banri having all of his memories back, there's the hope that he isn't going to be completely stupid about his actions. My bet, however, is on Banri trying to keep the fact that he's regained his memories hidden from most people, and attempt to carry on with the life he's been building. If he decided to hide it from Linda at the end of the episode, then why not? He also might remember who knocked him off the bridge... You know, for something we knew was going to happen eventually, it sure has come as a shock! [Meet your Golden Time lover over at Crunchyroll.]
Golden Time Ep. 20 photo
Well folks, we certainly hit the drama mother lode in this episode, with a reveal that's going to carry us all the way to the end of the series. I'm not about to spoil it up here in the preview, but make sure you've seen the ...

JoJo: Stardust Crusaders photo
JoJo: Stardust Crusaders

It's Abdul's turn to star in a Stardust Crusaders teaser

Cairo, Egypt
Mar 02
// Chris Walden
The second of four Stardust Crusaders previews is now available, giving us a glimpse of the man from Cairo, Egypt. Mohammed Abdul and his stand Magician's Red are on full display, with even a guest appearance from a certain ...
Godzilla Snickers Advert photo
Godzilla Snickers Advert

Godzilla stops destroying cities to eat a delicious Snickers

Mmm, marketing.
Mar 01
// Chris Walden
What is it about this chocolate treat that could sedate such a terrifying monster? The caramel? The peanuts? The remaining half of the plastic wrapping? And what does this mean for the original film and the painstaking work ...
Attack on Titan Burgers photo
Attack on Titan Burgers

Attack on Arteries: New Lotteria burgers are insane

You could say they're...colossal
Feb 27
// Chris Walden
I can imagine that the design process for an Attack on Titan burger must have been a tough one. Grilling pictures into the bun would have been lame, and you can't really pick specialist ingredients when the only things that g...
Theatrhythm: Curtain Call photo
Theatrhythm: Curtain Call

Theatrhythm: Curtain Call trailer shows off new features

New tunes, too!
Feb 26
// Chris Walden
February 26th, 2011 was the release date of the Nintendo 3DS in Japan, so while I remember, happy birthday! However, the reason I've mentioned it is because for the longest time, myself and many others were critical of the s...

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