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5:00 PM on 01.10.2014

Review: Oreshura

Oreshura, or Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru, is an elaborate reimagining of a simple idea. Short for "My girlfriend and my childhood friend argue a lot," the shortened name makes marketing and looking up the s...

Jeff Chuang

Review: Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers photo
Review: Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers
by Chris Walden

I was really excited to play Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, as it seemed like a great way to finally learn all about this famous, zodiac-inspired series. While I had some knowledge of the show from the odd video and passing mention, I'd never put any time to watching or reading Saint Seiya. It's a shame really, as I'd heard some good things, but just didn't have the time to get acquainted with a whole new series. This is why I was excited to play Brave Soldiers

This game doesn't attempt to be a balanced tournament fighter. Instead, it joins games like Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution and the Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series in the "good, dumb, party fun" category. Which isn't a bad thing, because pitting itself against popular, competitive fighters would have been a recipe for disaster for Brave Soldiers. Instead, the game seeks to sacrifice combat depth for a huge cast of characters and crazy special moves. Now, I can get behind that, but unfortunately, the game falls a bit short of its goal.

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Review: The Wind Rises photo
Review: The Wind Rises
by Jeff Chuang

Hayao Miyazaki's latest movie, The Wind Rises, is a story about a historic person: the project lead on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane. It's decidedly unlike the imaginative, family-friendly adventures that Studio Ghibli is best known for. Instead, this is a film for adults, with deliberate pacing and lengthy decisions that reflect the gravity of the subject matter.

The aging animator has called it quits (again) after his movie debuted in France, so this may very well be Miyazaki's last full-feature film. I say aging, not only because Miyazaki's particular style and exacting needs over his animators and his animation process gets harder on him as the years go by, but also because he is a survivor of World War II: a first-person witness to the events that happened behind Japan's battle lines. It is in that way which The Wind Rises documents the legacy of someone whose creations were bore out of his imagination, but with deadly consequences.

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Review: High School DxD Season 1 photo
Review: High School DxD Season 1
by Jeff Chuang

Sometimes, companies like FUNimation license certain titles that meet a certain kind of demand. And there’s no beating around the bush for these shows: sex sells. Although these fanservice-heavy anime rarely feature actual sex; usually, it's just some nude scenes and sexual humor. High School DxD is one of these titles.

Unless you are a connoisseur of fanservice anime, however, you might not know that a lot of these types of shows go beyond the fanservice. In fact, it's with that in mind that I say High School DxD is surprisingly on the more ambitious end of the spectrum, due to its somewhat unusual harem setup. Of course, the hot and sexy bodies are the main course; the feature that attracts most viewers to the show. Remove these sensual elements and the nudity, however, and what's left to see in High School DxD?

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Review: Rising from the Ashes by Dr Akiko Mikamo photo
Review: Rising from the Ashes by Dr Akiko Mikamo
by Kristina Pino

One of the very best experiences I've ever had traveling in Japan was visiting Hiroshima. It is one of the most peaceful places on the planet, and the message that beautiful city conveys to all who pass through is one I'll never forget. It's difficult to describe how it feels to walk through its Memorial Peace Park and Museum, or put to words how the silence there is at once haunting, yet comforting.

Hiroshima today is a beacon of hope and peace, and a city that celebrates cultural diversity (and, might I add, amazing food). Its local people have every right to be angry and bitter about their history, yet they remain vigilant in their mission to push aside any feelings of resentment, and instead show the world that it's important for us all to strive to understand each other.

The book Rising from the Ashes by Dr Akiko Mikamo perfectly exemplifies this message and conveys the story of her father, who is still alive today, and his experiences starting from the morning the bomb dropped.

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Review: Godannar Complete DVD Collection photo
Review: Godannar Complete DVD Collection
by Pedro Cortes

The robot genre has changed in many ways over the years. For one thing, the stories have become more complicated, incorporating social commentary in an effort to appeal to wider audiences beyond children who are impressed with shiny metal things. Writers will (usually) attempt to give their characters motivations that extend past hot blood, bromances and revenge. Animation has also generally improved, making it possible to have more complicated robot designs that can do more than occasionally leap into the air and drill their flaming limbs into the gooey innards of their opponents.

Godannar is what happens when you get kids that grew up watching those old robot shows and put them in a position of creative power. In a desire to pay homage to the best of classic giant robot shows, the creators also added a good plot, meaningful character development, a solid budget and voice actors that know when to go for camp and when to play it straight.

Oh, and several metric tons of fanservice.



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Review: Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of The Titan photo
Review: Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of The Titan
by Salvador GRodiles

On paper, Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of The Titan may sound more like a chore than anything else. The concept of having to map out every nook and cranny of a dungeon sounds like something that shouldn’t be a main feature in a modern game. Developers can give players the option to pull up a map whenever they need to see where they are, so forcing people to map out their own games is seemingly redundant, and menial by comparison.

However, despite my somewhat negative introduction to the Etrian Odyssey system, drawing your own maps can actually give you a surprising feeling of accomplishment. In case you've never played any of the Etrian Odyssey games, each installment in the series focuses on exploring labyrinths filled with unspeakable horrors, with a party of characters made by the players themselves. By unspeakable horrors, I’m talking about the monsters and bosses that lurk in each area. Just like other dungeon crawlers, this series doesn't hold your hand, so you’ll have to become intimately familiar with your characters and their capabilities.

Since Etrian Odyssey IV is my first entry into the series, you might guess that I suffered a painful experience that left me in tears long before I finished the last dungeon. That said, join me below to see how I fared with Etrian Odyssey IV’s hardcore gameplay.

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Review: Pandora's Tower photo
Review: Pandora's Tower
by Salvador GRodiles

Just when you thought that the Wii has sang its last song; the system breaks free from the chains that control its life. Formally known as the last piece of the Triforce in Operation Rainfall’s goal, Pandora’s Tower has achieved its link with North America! Despite the game being part of the group’s goal, I doubt that XSEED’s decision was affected by their actions, due to XSEED's amazing track record in localizing many great niche titles.

Interestingly enough, Pandora’s Tower is also one of Ganbarion’s first original titles, since they were mostly known for making the JUMP Stars fighting games and a couple games based off of One Piece – such as the Grand Battle games and the Unlimited series. With that introduction out of the way, let’s venture into the Thirteen Towers to save a young girl from a deadly curse.

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Review: Phi Brain volume 1 photo
Review: Phi Brain volume 1
by Jeff Chuang

Over the years that I've been an avid anime viewer, I ran across my fair share of strange shows. Some of them are very remarkable, in that usual freakish Japanese way that all of us are familiar with. Then there are the plain weird ones. Phi Brain is squarely in the second category.

This anime-original TV series is not your garden variety late-night TV anime, but a story about a young man and his love for puzzles--from keychain puzzles to jigsaw puzzles to word puzzles to anything vaguely resembling a riddle. How will he and his rag-tag gang reveal the mysterious puzzle of God and the equally puzzling story to Phi Brain? 

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Review: Tales of Xillia photo
Review: Tales of Xillia
by Chris Walden

The Tales of series has been a rather odd one for me to dip into. From Symphonia to Vesperia, and to some extent the Abyss as well, these games have reeled me in with their gorgeous artwork, interesting premise and quirky battle systems. For a short time, at least.

Even though these games were plenty fun, none of them managed to keep my attention long enough to develop much of an interest the series. This is definitely down to how easily distracted I can get, whether it’s a new game or a shiny car to chase, there’s usually something that will block me from getting further in a game than I might have liked.

So this was a genuine worry of mine as I popped Tales of Xillia into my PS3. Praise had been pouring in ever since the Japanese release (if you can even remember that far back,) so of course I had to put some of my time into it. Xillia became the shiny new toy that distracted me from a hundred more runs through Rogue Legacy, for better or worse, and had all my attention over the past couple of weeks.

But did it last?

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Review: Black Lagoon Roberta's Blood Trail photo
Review: Black Lagoon Roberta's Blood Trail
by Tim Sheehy

Black Lagoon remains one of my guiltiest pleasures. The series shares so much in common with v-cinema, from its harsh take on the human condition, to its unapologetic depictions of violence, and buried beneath, stories worth telling -- twisted, though they may be. It's almost as if Takeshi Mikke and John Woo had a love-child.

To that end, I've spent the better part of three years anxiously awaiting the domestic release of Roberta's Blood Trail. When FUNimation announced their license at Anime Expo 2010, nobody really expected to have to wait so long for just five episodes, but wait I did, and patiently at that. Was it worth it? Find out after the jump.


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Review: Attack on Titan Volume 1-5 photo
Review: Attack on Titan Volume 1-5
by Elliot Gay

It's nearly impossible to go to any bookstore in Japan without seeing a display of some kind for Hajime Iseyama's Attack on Titan.

A break out success, Iseyama's manga series about giant humanoid monsters doing battle with soldiers who can soar through the sky has taken the manga world by storm. The currently ongoing anime adaptation from Wit Studio is undoubtedly helping to push manga sales, bringing in more fans than ever before.

Unsurprisingly, Kodansha Comics USA has been translating and publishing the original manga series in NA. With both the anime and source material now available to English speaking fans, it seems like there's nothing that can stop the Attack on Titan train.

Is the actual series any good though?

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