New Fate/stay Night Fighting Game!

Posted by Demian @ 6:37 pm, March 31st, 2007

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French-Bread, the creators of the popular Tsukihime-based fighting game Melty Blood, answer the prayers of TM fanboys everywhere with the announcement of their newest game, Notorious Brand. Notorious Brand is a 2d fighting game using all the characters, and I mean all, from Fate/stay Night. The story: It has been one year since the end of the Heaven’s Feel and once again strange events are occuring. A mysterious shadow is again stalking the night and killing innocents. Shirou will not stand for this and goes to fight the shadow, but even though he has managed to master Unlimited Blade Works with his puppet body, he can hardly scratch the shadow. In truth, the shadow is the ghost of the Dead Apostle Stanrobe Calhin who has fused with the leftover remains of the Holy Grail. He is now an entity with god-like powers who will destroy everything in his path. In order to fight the new threat, everybodies favorite lecherous Grandpa Zeltrech summons servants from alternate dimensions to fight the shadow. Too bad they’re too busy fighting each other to do anything.

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By far the greatest thing about Notorious Brand, aside from being able to play as your favorite servants, is its innovative ten-button combat system that will allow you to control both servant and master at once. Give commands to your servant or keep them in the background to enhance the master’s fighting. Also unique to the game is your mana bar, which dictates how long a servant can fight and when it can use its noble phantasm. Knowing when to switch between using masters and servants is crucial in the game’s strategy. Right now all the favorites are confirmed as playable: Saber, Shirou, Archer, Rin, Rider, Shinji, Sakura (in both dark and HA forms), Shinji, Ilya, Berserker, Lancer, Kotomine, Gilgamesh, Caster, Kuzuki, Zouken, and Assassin (both Kojirou and True). Also included is the frightening maid pair of Lysritt and Sella, Issei and his brother Reikan, Neko-chan and the legendary bartender Ryuu Sasakura, The Mitsuzuri siblings Ayako and Minori, the demon girls of the track team, Kaede, Kane, and Yukika; and the gorgon pair of Stheno and Euryale. Fuji-nee and the servant of the Tiger may also make an appearance. Release date: April 1st, 2014! Here’s the link to the game’s site. How am I supposed to contain my excitement till then?

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The End of the Beginning: Thoughts on Code Geass 23

Posted by Demian @ 7:29 pm, March 30th, 2007

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Lelouch likes to shake those hips.

I’ll have to agree with many other people that this is the best episode of Code Geass so far, bar none. The action, the drama, the tension, the emo-face contortions; everything was perfect. Last week I had said episode 22 was the turning point of the series, but now I see episode 23 fits the bill more perfectly. There’s the death of Euphiemia, in a sense the end of idealistic, if unequal, Britannian rule, and the “birth” of Zero as a legitimate hero of the people with his consolidation of Kyoto’s power and creation of the United States of Japan. That whole united states thing really got to me. It just feels so ironic that the roles are reversed so much. So should I compare Lelouch to George Washington now? Though, I don’t think he killed his sister in cold blood. I really don’t think Zero is going for any kind of democratically republican form of government (do those even exist in the CG world?), probably something more like a “benevolent dictatorship,” eh? Lelouch really hasn’t addressed so far who’s going to rule in his “equal” world. Source of future tension perhaps?

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It’s not human anymore!

So everything has basically gone to hell for the Britannians. A colony is in open rebellion and actually has a chance of being successful in gaining freedom. History has shown that if one colony becomes free, others will soon be clamoring for that same right. To maintain order now they basically have to raze Japan to the ground, and that’s not exactly a good PR move. “Euphie’s Massacre” certainly won’t go down well with other colonies, who could perhaps see the exact same thing happening to them. On the personal side of things, I thought Cornelia was going to go emo the whole episode, but fortunately got it together and is determined to kill Zero now. Dalton is still alive and urgently rushing to her aid, but there is the lingering doubt of whether he was geassed or not. Nina has, literally, gone insane and is now turning the Ganymede into some kind of weapon. Personal prediction: Nina will either give the Ganymede a nuclear reactor (she is Einstein) and detonate it with her in it, or just detonate it remotely. All I’m saying is, Nina has to make an atomic bomb. It would be such an “ohshi-!” moment for Zero to achieve victory only to see a blinding light and a mushroom cloud. It’d be the ultimate trumpcard, because nothing that destructive exists in the CG universe, except maybe Gawain’s Hadron cannons. How did Britannia conquer the world without such weapons of mass destruction?

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And you have an exceptionally large forehead.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah is apparently ready for battle. I wonder if he still has his memories or if he was brainwashed. Hard to tell from that one “Good morning,” could of been sarcastic. Viletta isn’t doing too good, with a mob of angry Japanese about to attack her. She’ll probably remember some soldier skills and kill them all, thus triggering her memory. C.C. has some new mystery added to her, since it looks like she’s been talking to Marianne the whole time. Marianne could still be dead, though, since the Emporer was talking to a dead Clovis, or so I’ve been told. This, however, does open up some interesting possibilities. Lelouch and C.C. got a little bit closer, confirming that, out of everyone, they can only trust eachother. A very tender, yet slightly disturbing, scene. And then there’s Kaguya. Good God, is Kaguya not just the cutest thing ever! She’s moe, she’s hyperactive, she’s voiced by Satoko, she’s like three feet tall! Lelouch can now add a (not crippled) loli to his harem. Kaguya comparing herself to a goddess and Lelouch comparing C.C. to the devil was the funniest thing.

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Lelouch finally gets the Kira look down.

Finally there’s Suzaku. Poor old Suzaku. Euphie dies right in front of him and there’s nothing he can do about it. He even has to lie to her on her deathbed, something that probably tortured the honest Suzaku inside. Then V.V. has to show up in all his androgynous shota gloryness and tell Suzaku all that’s going on. I have no doubt that V.V. told Suzaku about geass and that Lelouch is Zero, or something to that effect. Suzaku is a man with a mission now. He won’t stop till Euphie is avenged and that means killing Lelouch and anyone who stands in his way. Lelouch seems to expect this, that as long as he was Zero it was inevitable that their freindship wouldn’t last. By either hand, only those two can kill eachother. It looks to be an epic confrontation, a personal battle mixed in with the larger battle for Japan. Too bad we have to wait until summer for 24 and 25 . What exactly does that mean? Early summer? Late summer? Code Geass has definitely been a great series so far, and now that the plotlines are all straightened out and set I know S2 will be even better. Let’s hope I can wait that long.

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Ah, Kaguya-sama~!

I’m a Dirty Conformist: 2007 Spring Picks

Posted by Demian @ 5:10 pm, March 28th, 2007

Spring season begins in earnest next week, so it’s about time I got started figuring out what I want to watch. Or maybe I was just waiting for someone else to do the work. Spring season is looking fantastic so far. Far better than the abysmal winter season, but shows can go bad in an instant so you have to keep an eye out for everything. Here’s a preliminary guide for all the shows I’ll at least check out the first episode of, complete with their trailers if they have one.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - April 1

Gainax, while not my favorite studio, makes some undeniably good stuff. Diebuster was great, so I can at least check out their newest series. The plot is somewhat appealing, but I hate the FLCL designs and animation. It was cool the first time around, but for the love of god use a different style already!

Hayate the Combat Butler - April 1

Definitely looking forward to this awesome comedy series. Kugimiya Rie as another tsundere is great, but to me the real appeal of Hayate is, simply, Hayate. He is only the male protagonist to be both a trap and gar. In the manga Hayate just oozes manliness, like being run over by a car multiple times and not feeling anything, or taking on an entire group of armed yakuza and winning. Of course, part of this is for comedic effect, but it’s still pretty damn awesome. The animation is also looking good, so I’m sure this will be a winner for the season.

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS - April 1

No way in hell am I missing this. Everybody’s favorite yuri couple comes back with an entirely new cast of loli’s. Based on my enjoyment from the previous two seasons I have high expectations for this. The new trailer was also just released today, and so far StrikerS seems to have the perfect balance of gar,moe, and destruction. Here’s to more Feito-chan~.

Claymore - April 3

I quite enjoy the manga for this, so I’m hoping the anime will be good also. From the trailer the show is looking very atmospheric with a mix of tension and horror. If they can animate the fight scenes well then this could be a good show to watch. The repetitiveness of the story might annoy some, though.

Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica - April 3

Seeing as how I can’t find a trailer for the anime, here’s the game’s OP instead. I guess Polyphonica is my visual novel anime of the season. I practically fell in love with the game when I played the demo, so I’m really curious as to what the rest of the story might be like. Hopefully the anime will give me a good glimpse of that. Though, so far, the designs aren’t as appealing as the games, which leaves me worried. Hopefully this one will be at least entertaining.

Romeo X Juliet - April 4

I am very excited about Gonzo’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, as I’m getting some strong Gankutsuou vibes from it. And seeing as how Gankutsuou is one of the greatest anime ever made, I can’t help but be highly anticipated for this. Of course, the story is a little bit different in this one, what with Juliet being more of a cross-dressing caped crusader, but the basic plotline is still the same. And Romeo and Juliet wasn’t that exciting to begin with. Hopefully Gonzo can hit gold again with this classic adaption. And, so far, no mecha in sight. A real Gonzo record. Though, it did take till episode 18 for mecha to appear in Gankutsuou.

Darker than BLACK - April 5

I really don’t know much about this series, aside that it’s being animated by Bones with music by Yoko Kanno, but it looks to be a very stylish supernatural/detective story. And the masked vigilante character really looks cool. Anyone who uses wire to fight has to be badass. I only hope this won’t be an episodic series and will have a strong central plot to it.

Lucky Star - April 8

I can’t believe Kyoani released a trailer for Clannad instead of making one for this.

Kyoani light? This is kyoani’s first comedy series in a while and a reprieve after all the depression of the Key series I guess. Since it’s from Kyoani I won’t doubt that it will be great. The source material is interesting, a 4koma series about a girl otaku who plays eroge and her crazy friends. Similiar to Hidamari Sketch and Azumanga Daioh, just more otaku. Can’t wait for Kyoani to wow us again with this light-hearted series.

Bokurano - April 8

I was going to watch this anyways, but after seeing the trailer this immediately became a “Must watch as soon as the raw is out,” show. I’ve already raved before on how I love Bokurano, and the trailer is really showing how awesome the story is. I don’t even have a complaint about the CG mecha. I love the OP song used in the trailer. It’s so haunting, foreboding, and exciting that it fits Bokurano perfectly. I just hope Gonzo won’t shy away from showing the darker aspects of the story, as that is what really makes Bokurano great.

Victorian Romance Emme Second Act - April 16

Emma was a great romance story that ended on a terrible cliff-hanger, so I’m glad it’s finally getting a second season. To me the second half of the manga was better, so the same should apply to the second season. I’m also glad they haven’t changed the music, because that OP really was a catchy song.

The Skull Man - April 28

Based on my recent interest in masked heroes/vigilantes kind of shows like Kamen Rider and Garo, I figure I should give Skull Man a try since it is based off a classic of the genre. It’s also animated by Bones and gives off the same stylish feel as Darker than Black. I’m actually really looking forward to this, just to see how Bones will handle this kind of story. I know it will be episodic, but I hope there’s a darker plot underneath everything.

So that’s about it. I’ll also probably check out IdolM@ster Xenoglassia because everyone seems to be talking about it, but I’m not that interested right now. Now here’s the real question: who’s going to sub all this in a timely manner?

Kagetsu Tohya Semi-English Release

Posted by Demian @ 7:15 pm, March 27th, 2007

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Some amazing people over at Beast’s Lair have translated part of Kagetsu Tohya into english. For those not in the know, Kagetsu Tohya is the fun disk sequel to Tsukihime, like what Fate/hollow Ataraxia is to Fate/stay Night. Kagetsu Tohya is made up of a main story where Shiki continues to live the same day over and over and has fun wooing all the girls and what not. Then there’s the Ten Nights of Dream section, which is ten short stories set in the Tsukihime world. This is what the english patch translates. The stories are:

Good Luck Ciel-Sensei! - Ciel-Sensei is put in charge of a class of delinquents aka. the rest of the Tsukihime characters. Not as funny as I thought it would be. A lot of the humor was ruined by Kugamine interrupting things.

A Story for the Evening - Akiha’s good end. Akiha deals with losing Shiki while trying to solve the mystery of the wish granting mailbox at her private school. Hanepin and Souka are awesome side-characters who really need an appearence outside one short story.

Crimson Moon - Shiki’s and Roa’s minds get connected and both talk with Arcueid in the past while she was the Crimson Moon. Shines a lot of light on the darker aspects of Arcueid’s personality and Roa’s relation to her.

Red Demon God - Story about Shiki’s father Nanaya Kiri and his life. Most of it is about the final battle between him and Kishima Kouma during the Tohno’s annihilation of the Nanaya’s. Kiri was such a badass guy.

Nanako-chan SOS! - Nanako, the spirit of the Seventh Scripture, seeks help from Arihiko to escape her evil master ie. Ciel. Haven’t finished it yet, kind of boring so far despite the spotlight on Arihiko.

Imogirisou - An alternate tale with the characters. On a road trip gone awry, Shiki, Akiha, Hisui, and Kohaku end up getting stuck in a haunted mansion. A parody of horror games.

Flower of Thanatos - A story about a hawt yuri sex scene between Hisui and Kohaku. Haven’t played this one yet, partly because the ero scenes in Tsukihime were pretty crappy so I have no idea how this one will be.

Hisui-chan Inversion Impulse! - As awesome as the idea of Hisui going crazy is, this story is pretty bad. Hisui does some outlandish things, but nothing like, oh, killing someone with a feather duster. Too much time spent on arguing between Shiki, Akiha, and Ciel. Though, it was pretty funny for Arcueid to show up and no one knew who she was because the story takes place in a Far Side of the Moon route.

The Tohno Family Con Game - Best story of the bunch. All the characters decide to get together and play a big game of hide and seek. All the favorites are here, like Arihiko, Satsuki, Nero Chaos, and even SHIKI. You’ll also see why Kohaku is truly the most powerful of all.

Dawn - Story of a girl eaten by Nero Chaos and comes back alive in his flesh, though she doesn’t realize it until the end. A pretty sad tale actually.

Also translated are the Summer Festivals, five short pieces where Shiki goes on a date with one of the girls. There’s also a story hidden in the gallery section about a meeting between Shiki and SHIKI. A lot of the daily messages that appear when you first start the game have also been translated. So there’s a lot of stuff there, even if it isn’t the main story. The rapidshare link for the patch is here. And, please, don’t ask me where you can get the game. Be smart enough to figure that out on your own.

Haruhi Dancin’ in the Streets

Posted by Demian @ 4:08 pm, March 27th, 2007

Too awesome not to be reposted. I especially love the Darth Vader (needs to be in frame more), Shinn Asuka, meido with the surgical mask, that one guy who kind of looks like L, the Yuki who I can’t tell is a man or not, and the awesome guy with either the red headband or red panties on his head. Could go either way. He does some great poses at the end, though. And Haruhi falls over at the end. It’s kind of funny in a “God fell over,” kind of way. Also, I can’t help but think that’s the most exercise those otaku have gotten all year. Good to see Haruhi inspiring a fitter otaku generation.

Euphie Haet Elevens

Posted by Demian @ 1:11 pm, March 25th, 2007

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I can’t get over how tragic episode 22 of Code Geass was. As most everyone knows by now, Lelouch accidently gives the command to Euphie to kill all the japanese, which she does enthusiastically. It’s an amazing juxtaposition to go from sweet, if naive, Euphie to blood-stained Euphie mowing down Elevens in a blaze of bullets. Whats tragic is that Euphie had no control over this transformation and Lelouch didn’t either. It’s wholly accidental, which probably makes it that much sadder. I’ll admit Euphie wasn’t my favorite character, but it’s shocking to see her like this. It she became a murderer through anger or revenge I would probably like it, but that no one had any control over the fact is what really gets me. It’s the classic definition of tragedy at its finest. The only thing anyone can do know is stop her rampage from continuing.

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Lelouch is just manly enough for one tear.

Looking at this whole Euphie incident, you can really see the difference between the persona’s of Zero and Lelouch. For Zero this is perfect. His greatest obstacle, Euphie and the Special Administation area, has just self-destructed, leaving him as the de facto hero of Japan. No one can question his legitimacy now or his authority. Everyone will support and accept the OotBK. The minds of the Japanese are firmly his now to use in the war with Britannia. This is a great tragedy for Lelouch however. Euphie was offering him a measure of peace which wasn’t so bad, a chance to take the less destructive path. How this would of affected his goal to find Marianne’s murderer is unclear, but it was better than being the terrorist in the shadows. Then he had to go and make that really bad joke and ruin everything. Seriously, that was the worst joke ever. He could of said ‘have sex with me’ and everything would of been fine. Now he has to kill a sister that he actually liked, his only ally in the royal family. So, in short, life sucks for Lelouch while Zero laughs like the Emporer.

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The Emporer’s laugh is awesome. Its just so insane. Insanely awesome.

Episode 22 really feels like a flashpoint to me. Zero has been fighting Britannia the whole series, but he was just a single terrorist fighting an empire, and even the OotBK didn’t really change that. Now he has to confront the Britannian army to stop Euphie in a conflict that will probably escalate into a full scale battle. It really feels like an open decleration of war. The gloves are off, they can’t hide anymore, everything is going to start now. The other groups seem to support this, with Kyoto, Cornelia, Schneizel, and the Emporer all mobilizing to support one or the other. I can’t wait to see what kind of destruction episode 23 will yield. Of course episode 23 is the last episode we’ll see for a while. No date has been set for 24 and 25, and S2 isn’t until the fall. I don’t know how I’m going to get through a Geassless summer after all the shit that has gone down and will go down. And when is Orange-kun coming back? He’s been in that tank of tang forever.

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1 hour, 32 minutes, 15 seconds. That’s how long it took for fanart of crazy Euphie to appear.

Manga Review: Tsukihime V.1-3

Posted by Demian @ 4:50 pm, March 24th, 2007

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Story:

Tohno Shiki is a normal highschooler with an amazing ability: the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, allowing him to ‘kill’ anything, even inanimate objects. He gained this ability eight years ago in an accident that has left him with chronically poor health, causing him to have lived with his relatives ever since. Now, eight years later, he gets the call that his father is dead and to return to his true home where his sister Akiha lives. But before that can happen, he meets a beautiful woman all in white and kills her for no reason what so ever. Good thing she’s a vampire and doesn’t die when she is killed. As Arcueid says, Shiki is forced to take responsibility for killing her and is drawn into the battle between the Princess of the True Ancestors and the vampire serial killer stalking the night. The manga follows the Arcueid route of the game, with random scenes from others, like talking to Ciel while mending the fence and the Tohno family welcome home party. V.1-3 go from the beginning all the way through killing Nero and Shiki joining Arcueid to hunt the Dead.

Art:

The artwork is pretty good, matching well with Takeuchi’s original designs and certainly better than the anime’s look. Arcueid looks cute and happy-go-lucky but can switch to homocidal at any moment. Ciel and Akiha are both great, with certain panels taken straight out of the game. The fight scenes are dynamic and fast-paced and usually fit the image I have in my head from the game. The art for Nero’s beasts was perfect with all of them, from tigers, lions, bears, sharks, and even mystical beasts, looking incredibly powerful and detailed. The printing quality only suffers in the first volume, with low paper quality and weak binding, but the other volumes are better and fit the usual standard. The translation seems good to me based on the game. There’s even some lines taken directly from the game, which was a treat to pick out.

Impressions:

Tsukihime is an excellent adaption of the game and anybody who’s played it will feel right at home in reading the manga. This may be its problem, though. Unless your familiar with the game some parts and explanations are probably confusing, and the appearance of Ren, Miyako, Nanako, and Hanepin on some title pages probably doesn’t help. Some people would say that the manga goes to slow, but that’s how the game was too. Nothing really starts rolling till Shiki meets Roa and Ciel reveals her identity. The release schedule could be faster, though. I have no problem with the manga following the Arcueid route. In fact, I’m starting to like her more because of it. The manga really brings across how happy and child-like Arcueid really is. Certainly, I would like a Far Side of the Moon adaption, but that’s not going to happen. Though, the manga seems to be setting up Roa to be more SHIKI instead of Roa. It’s also shown Akiha’s powers, so I don’t know how composite it will get. Satsuki is kind of the wild-card, still being alive after Shiki parts with her, so I don’t know if she’ll just disappear into the background or still become a vampire. If only Sacchin could have a happy ending here. Overall, I’m happy with this particular adaption of Tsukihime. It does the game’s story justice, but this is also it’s weakness since people unfamiliar with the game may not understand it as well. Hopefully for them, they’ll come to love Tsukihime just as much as I and others do.

P.S. How awesome is that Hidamari header? Sometimes you can really dredge up some great images on 4chan.