Tales of Possibilities – Musings on the Current Direction of the Tales Franchise Part 1

xillia-cover

Let’s get something straight before I get into this post. I goddamn love the Tales games. Symphonia was the first one I played, and I still hold great regard for it. Heck, Tales of the Abyss may just be my favourite game of all time for it’s incredible mix of fast-paced, cooperative action RPG combat, complex characters with dynamic, game-long arcs, philosophical musings and surprisingly sharp, cynical political intrigue. I’m not gonna go over my whole history with the franchise here, but suffice to say the quality of the Tales of games seems to have been on a downhill slope since Abyss.

Vesperia was very polished, but it lacked thematic depth, and almost none of the character got any development at all. Symphonia 2 was, in terms of story and characters, a pretty reasonable successor to Symphonia, but everything else, especially the combat, seriously suffered. Graces was just a big ol’ bag of clichés, and the combat system took one step back for every two steps it took forward, and so here we are now with Xillia. Continue reading

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Posted in Tales of Franchise, Tales of Graces, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Vesperia, Tales of Xillia | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Bird of Hermes is My Name – Musings on Hellsing Ultimate

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I saw the original Hellsing series when it came out and kind of dug its style, especially that catchy OP, but that’s about all I could really say about it. When Hellsing Ultimate began all the usual hype went around about how it would be following the plot of the manga all the way through, unlike the series, and thus would be much better. I began to watch it and figured it was basically more of the same, albeit more fleshed out and better animated, and with some slightly jarring humour thrown in with its increased tendency to briefly turn all the characters super-deformed.

However, as I watched, I increasingly got the unnerving sensation that for all the ultra-violence, ridiculous accents and hammy characters, Hellsing Ultimate may just be a lot more intelligent than I had given it credit for. This inkling began early on, but it didn’t really take hold until the end of the third OVA, wherein Alucard makes a rousing, and incredibly self-aware monologue. I had been watching the show dubbed, since a) these people are meant to be British, so it only makes sense b) in Japanese various characters break into horrible Engrish on a regular basis, and c) the English dub is very very very good anyway. There has been incredible confusion with licensing, leading to massive delays in the show being dubbed , so I recently, despite patiently waiting years to see episodes 1-8 dubbed, caved in and watched the last two episodes subbed. Continue reading

Posted in Hellsing, Hellsing Ultimate, Reviews and Reflections, Series Reflections | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Persona 4: The Animation – Series Review

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So I was gonna do a weekly round-up, but unfortunately this season hasn’t miraculously stopped sucking, so I though I’d write instead about a series I just finished watching and actually kinda liked. I know it’s nearly two years old now, but screw it, it’s more stimulating to write about than anything this season.

In case the inclusion of “The Animation” in the title didn’t tip you off, the Persona 4 anime is an adaptation of a popular JRPG from the Megami Tensei franchise. It is well known for blending the traditional JRPG with elements of visual novel gameplay, and while I am not a fan of visual novels, I’m all for experimentation. I have played the game, albeit not all the way through, but this review will focus primarily on the anime itself. Continue reading

Posted in 2011, Fall, Persona 4, Reviews and Reflections, Series Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Weekly Round-up – Cloaca, Loli Gravekeepers and Gatchamaaaaannn

It’s been a busy week for me in many ways, and I intend to drop a lot of these shows anyway, so I haven’t caught up on everything I blogged last week, though I have started three new shows. Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu has been dropped, because it can make fun of K-On! all it wants but it had a full episode to show me why it was different from that show and all it could come up with is mock battles instead of eating cake, and while that’s definitely an improvement, it’s doesn’t make the whole thing feel much less vapid and uninteresting.

Danganronpa is stalled for now. I already had every reason to believe it would be bad from the first episode, and the aniblogosphere’s general disapproval for the second episode isn’t helping my motivation to catch up. As for Free, I probably won’t talk about it most weeks since I’ll be typing up enough words about it for the Friday posts. WataMote I am still interested in, but I haven’t gotten around to the second episode just yet. Basically this week’s round-up will mostly be a run-down of the shows I didn’t get round to or were not yet out last week.

Monogatari Second Season – 2

Shinbo hasn’t lost his touch

Continue reading

Posted in 2013, Gatchaman Crowds, Monogatari Season 2, Silver Spoon, Summer, Sunday Without God | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Round-up – A New Season and All the Wonders that Entails

I wish…

It’s the start of a new season, and there’ve been a few interesting developments in the anime world, so a medium sized foreword is in order.

Firstly, I haven’t watched everything that is out, though I’m fairly confident I’ve watched everything that’s worth a damn, but if I’ve missed anything you think is worthwhile, please let me know in the comments and I’ll try to get round to it by next week. Continue reading

Posted in Danganronpa The Animation, Eccentric Family, Free!, Little Witch Academia, Little Witch Academia 2, Monogatari Season 2, Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu, Summer, WataMote | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Seasonal Round-up – My Season Finale is Anticlimactic as Expected

With the Summer season about to begin, let’s briefly look back to the season just past and dig out some final thoughts on the shows it gave us. I intend this to be both a final thoughts and a recommendation post of sorts, so for those of you yet to check out the Spring season, I hope this helps to point you in the direction of something you like. As such, this whole post will be spoiler free. Continue reading

Posted in 2013, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected, Oreimo S2, Photo Kano, Red Data Girl, Spring, The Devil is a Part-Timer, The Eotena Onslaught, The Flowers of Evil, Valvrave the Liberator | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Criticism – An Aside to take some Pride in Anime Part 1

When people have asked me why I love anime, I have tended to answer not with a list of its accomplishments, nor with the current facets that make it great, but by expounding my utmost belief in the fundamental power of the medium and the potential it contains. When I see others argue for the medium, I often see them do so with points that seem tangential to me, such as the prevalence of voice actors, or with points which I think blatantly aren’t true, like stating that anime has more variation, complexity, or is of a generally higher quality than other mediums.

All that said, I wouldn’t be sticking with anime if potential as a visual medium is all it had going for it, and while I don’t think I’m entirely wrong that anime’s accomplishments are neither that broad nor exceptional as of yet, failing to take pride in what has been achieved is entirely unhealthy, so this post is just a chance for me to go through and talk about all the really great things many series and movies have achieved within this medium I so love.

In other words it’s me taking my critic glassed off and unabashedly singing the praises of a bunch of shows I love. Continue reading

Posted in Mind Game, Monster, Reviews and Reflections, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Welcome to the NHK | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment