Video Game Review: Pokemon Sun/Moon

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(Might be slight spoilers)

Pokemon celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. It made me come to the realization that I’ve known Pokemon my entire life. It’s crazy, really. It felt like yesterday that I was sitting in front of the TV watching the Pokemon anime as a kid. I never really played Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow until Fire Red came out, and I still didn’t exactly play that one much too, but I would sit next to my brother and watch him play it.

My first Pokemon game was Gold and I’ve noticed just how far the main series Pokemon games have come. Here we are now to the lovely and warm region of Alola as Gen 7.

Once I saw the concept art of Pokemon S/M, I had a strong feeling that it was going to be based around a tropical part of the world. Once it was revealed that the region was named Alola, of course everyone’s minds went straight to Hawaii and I was completely ecstatic. Seeing as how the past Pokemon games were finally being based on places outside of Japan, like New York and France, I was desperately hoping for a region based on a tropical place. A region based on Hawaii was perfect. Well, not completely perfect because we still don’t have a dolphin Pokemon. Dropped the ball there, Game Freak. :’)

Pokemon Sun/Moon starts off with you speaking to this region’s professor, Professor Kukui, through a web cam. You go through the usual intro like you always do, then you pick what gender and what character model you want. After you finish that, you’re treated to an intense cutscene and the game’s title appears, and you finally start the game.

In my personal opinion, Pokemon Sun/Moon is probably the most different Pokemon we’ve gotten (so far). We have the same formula, such as going on a journey to catch Pokemon, which Pokemon is known for. But the task of visiting each gym and collecting badges has instead changed into taking on Alola’s traditional island challenge. Pokemon Sun/Moon gave us the opportunity to really immerse ourselves into the world they created. The story keeps you on edge, filled with an array of colorful characters. And of course, their changes to some of the game mechanics also helps to make your journey through the Alola region a smooth one. There’s so much to talk about, so I’ll try my best to not make this review a jumbled mess.

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The Alola Region

Like mentioned above, the Alola region is based off of Hawaii. Just like how people in Hawaii say “aloha”, people in Alola say “alola”. Just from the first moment you play the game you can feel the calm and relaxed atmosphere. The Alola region is filled with culture and its own traditions and, such as the island challenge. Alola follows its own ways and is much more old-fashioned than the other regions. While the region is a modern tourist destination, it also stays close to its roots with the Tapu and their shrines. It’s said multiple times that the Alolan people are the closest with Pokemon than any other region, and it shows through what you see in the game like seeing Pokemon running around or hanging around their owner. It feels natural.

The game does wonders with its worldbuilding.

cj8rl0kweaaxztnI don’t know what they were thinking back in Game Freak, but this gen is notorious for having the most bizarre and gruesome Pokemon entries in the Pokedex we’ve ever had. Does it have to do with the fact that Rotom, a ghost Pokemon, is the Pokedex? I don’t know, but that could be a reason. We’ve gotten entries before of Pokemon eating other Pokemon, but they really made the details more specific. Some entries are just plain weird, or really funny, and they’re not like any we’ve had before. But it really gave us an idea what life is like in the wild for Pokemon and we come to understand it much better, like how documentaries teach us about the circle of life and whatnot. The Rotomdex isn’t different from a regular Pokedex other than the fact that an actual Pokemon is in the Pokedex talking to you. Sometimes Rotom will give you hints to your next destination, it’ll give its opinions of certain situations you go through, or it’ll say some snarky comments at you and they’re hilarious. I always found myself reading whatever Rotom had to say and found myself smiling or even laughing and for once I could actually say that I got attached to my Pokedex. The Pokedex this time also got some aesthetic changes, where when you catch a Pokemon you get a portrait of them and can immediately see if they evolve or not. When you have the whole evolution line, the back of the screen glows red showing your completion. To me, it made for a satisfying moment that I’m still trying my hardest to complete the Alolan Pokedex. Game Freak, keep the Rotomdex!

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Team Skull

For this region, the team we face this time is Team Skull. They’re the baddest of the bad…at least, that’s what they think. In all honesty, they’re a simple street gang that’s out trying to steal Pokemon. They dress in all black with skulls adorned on their bodies, and when they speak with you, they make sure their presence is known by flapping their arms around like wannabe rappers. Unlike other the other villainous teams in the Pokemon games, Team Skull is a complete joke. Literally no one in the game is afraid of them, instead they’re just seen as a nuisance and ignored. Their dialogue is the funniest in the game and they rap and rhyme most of the time that you can’t help reading their lines out loud. They’re my favorite team in terms of enjoyment, amusement, their design, and their music! I like rap/hip-hop so I was basking in the Grunt theme, Plumeria’s theme, and Guzma’s.

Plumeria unfortunately was the least important character. You would battle her a few times but she didn’t make much of an impact unlike other team admins. But…Guzma. YA BOI Guzma, I really like him. He’s kind of a deep character when you find some things out about him later on postgame, but he was just a joy to encounter in the game. And to battle! He’s actually pretty tough and his Golisopod is a demon.

Story

When it comes to the story, I won’t say too much because I would spoil it. Pokemon Sun/Moon’s story has to be the darkest, or at least one of the darkest stories Pokemon has made. There were twists and I admit some weren’t surprising considering some of the scenes and hints we got throughout the game, but there were times that I was legitimately creeped out and surprised. Another new thing this Pokemon game did was include many cutscenes. I’ve seen people complain about them because the scenes are long but I love them. They are a little tedious in the beginning because of all the tutorials, but later on the scenes are part of telling the story, and they also give us moments to learn about some characters. Up until now Black/White’s story was my favorite, but now I’m not sure anymore. They’re both tied to when it comes to story.

Also, there’s a lot to do in the post game!

Characters

Again, can’t say too much or else I’ll spoil. What I like about the new formula in this game is that there are a lot less characters. Before we would have the eight gym leaders, but after the battle with them, we never got to know just who they were except for what type they used and just their general personality. We never created a bond for gym leaders, but in Black/White they actually managed to do that for us once. The trials gave us time to interact with the trial captains and know just who they are, and in some cases we could even barge into their home life and battle them. This is the same with the kahunas as there are only four, and they all made some sort of impact to the overall story and post-game story. I can’t say anything about the villainous characters, but they were written really well.

But, I can say that I love Lillie. She’s…an absolute angel. I get so angry when I see people call Lillie a weak character and I couldn’t disagree more. I find her a very strong character and she had a fantastic growth that I just felt so proud of her! I love her! She’s became one of my favorite Pokemon characters next to N (do you see a pattern here?). But I also really love Hau and Gladion and I just want to take these three children and just hug them really tight. I also hate that people hate on Hau because there’s nothing to hate about this kid. He’s just a kid with an enthusiasm that’s contagious, who supports you and also battles you along the way, and he’s so kind that it’s hard to hate him. I know people don’t like him because he’s not a true “rival” (tho I disagree), but I just think that’s a silly reason. Hau also has some growth for himself and he’s just so likeable. In general, the story does extremely well with its characters.

Gameplay/Aesthetic

I’m going to keep it short and say that Sun/Moon is the best-looking Pokemon game that we’ve ever gotten. It helps that Alola is beautiful itself, but the game’s scenic shots made it so nice. Unlike X/Y we have full character models and thankfully the walking grid is gone so we can actually move around any way we want. Facial expressions, body language, and different camera shots are used a lot in the cutscenes and they’re done so well that they add to the story. Unfortunately our trainer character is stuck with the default πŸ™‚ face so some scenes look a little silly.

Now modes were added such as Poke Pelago. It’s a place where the Pokemon in our PC boxes visit islands, and each are different. At first I didn’t really care for it, but after I learned more about it and developed more islands, it actually became pretty useful and fun. Also, I’m happy knowing that the Pokes in my PC box aren’t bored and sad.

The Festival Plaza is a new feature where you can play little games with people around the world in order to get points and use them to purchase items in the shops you have there. When you increase the rank of your plaza, you can add different shops. You can interact with all kinds of people and request battles and trades with certain people if they allow it. This is also where you can also do the online services like trading and battling, which is what I mostly do. But the plaza is also where you can dye your clothes, which is another thing I do a lot.

We have Battle Royal, which I don’t think it’s too big a deal. I actually like playing Battle Royal more against people online than in the actual Arena. It’s a fun mode and it’s a nice change in the way of battling, but I found it didn’t change too much, and if you want you can just completely ignore it and nothing about the game will change.

Character customization continues again this generation. Again we can choose which character model of which skin color we want, though I’ll be picky and say from the start that I wish we had more choices. Of course this is just me. I don’t necessarily make my trainer look like myself, though I try, so I try to pick the model with my skin color. Though I was stuck between the second and third models because I’m neither of those, but a combo of those. But I picked the third model because playing the game with brown skin is awesome, and I’m sort of tanned. I just wish we had maybe one more lighter tan option.

As for the rest, again we can change our hairstyle. One gripe I have about the styles is that we have no idea how they look, and the only way we can find out is paying and then checking the result. And if we don’t like it? Gotta spend more money again. The hairstyles we have, at least for the females, I liked and I also liked the colors. Though again I wish we had more options with hair color. Just gives us all the colors! You unlock more colors and hairstyles after you beat the game, but giving us the option of knowing how they look before we buy the haircut and color would be nice.

A new feature added is contact lenses and lipstick for females. This was welcome and I had fun picking which eye color and lip color to use to make my trainer more cute. Of course, the way to see a lipstick/eye color is to go into the dressing room, pick one, then have your trainer walk out. If you don’t like it, then you have to repeat all this and it actually takes awhile. Like with the hairstyles, I would like it if you could just switch around with the eye and lip colors instead of having to pick and wait.

As for clothes, thankfully you don’t need to reach a certain level of “style” to purchase any. Matching with the region, most of the clothes choices are tank tops, shorts, and skirts. But the options are a little dull with the colors, with the same colors in every store. Having the same tank/shorts combo can get pretty boring after awhile, but you can try your best to pick a good outfit. Also, you don’t have to wear a hat. You can wear hair accessories too, which is a plus.

One HUGE change in this game are the fact that there are NO HMs. That’s right, none. Because we have Ride Pokemon. We can surf with a Lapras or Sharpedo, break rocks with Tauros, and fly anywhere we want with a Charizard. Usual HM moves from before are now TMs or moves that some Pokemon can learn naturally. I was surprised to see my Pikipek learn Rock Smash on its own. No longer will you have to pick a Pokemon to become your slave and have them learn dumb HM moves, only to put them away when you no longer need them. It’s a wonderful change and I hope they do this again because HMs suck. Also, it’s fun to see your 11 year old trainer ride on the back of a Tauros smashing rocks. A big positive!

And lastly, another feature added was the Poke Finder. Really, this was probably the most underwhelming add-in. You don’t really do anything with the Poke Finder other than just take pictures for fun. The pictures don’t really add to anything and they’re not important, and if you want, you don’t have to take pictures at all. Sure it’s another way to fall in love with Alola’s scenery, but the low frames while taking pictures and the only 3D in the game looking a little iffy, it’s okay to skip it if you want.

Speaking of low frames, if you have the older 3DS, there’s going to be a lot of lagging. When you play double battles, play against the Totem Pokemon, or worse when you play a Battle Royal, expect a low framerate and a lot of lagging. I have the New 3DS XL and I still have problems with the lag and framerates but not as much as people with the older models, so that’s a problem.

If you couldn’t tell, I love this game. I love it to death. My older brother stopped playing Pokemon games after Diamond because he got tired of the same gameplay the games had. I managed to persuade him about Sun/Moon but was surprised to know how into it he got from just the trailers. Visiting him on Christmas today, I found out he finished the game and that he loved it, and what he specifically loved was that this game took things from the old and added a new twist to it to make it original, and he was all for it. He had lots of fun with the game and I was glad. Game Freak did a wonderful job changing its style a little bit, but not too much. It was the perfect amount of change that made Pokemon veterans happy, while also still remaining open to newcomers and people that haven’t played the games in awhile. Seeing how happy I was with the game, and seeing how happy my brother was with it too made me realize that Game Freak did good.

If I haven’t made it obvious enough, I love Pokemon Sun/Moon and people really need to play it. It has a wonderful story and characters are full of heart. The game is engaging and fun and even though I’ve finished the game and (I think) did all the post game stuff, I’m still playing it and having fun. Just…play this game! Get it! It’s great! Alola!

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 39: Goodbye Morioh – The Heart of Gold (Final Impression)

“The young people in this town have hearts of gold.”

Isn’t it amazing that we’ve finally come to the end? This show took up nearly the whole year, but now my Jojo Fridays have come to an end once again and again I feel empty. As usual, Jojo endings are usually bittersweet. Even though the heroes succeed in the end, there’s always something that just can’t be fixed. In the previous parts it was major characters dying. In this case, all of our major characters live, but the victims of Kira Yoshikage are gone and their families continue to wonder where they are. As usual, lots of emotions were felt in this finale.

But first

Kira’s hand fetish is so bad that Mona Lisa’s hands gave him a boner when he was a kid. And now I can’t look at the Mona Lisa the same way anymore. Kinky freak.

Firefighters, police officers, and an ambulance arrive to aid Kira. Kira is about to activate Bites the Dust on the woman paramedic, and while he’s getting nasty over her hand, Hayato quickly explains to the other how Bites the Dust works and tells them that they have to stop him. Jotaro is the one that needs to stop him but he’s too far away from Kira. But thankfully Koichi used Act 3 to make Kira’s body heavy, giving Jotaro the opportunity to stop time, be the badass that he is, and beat the shit out of Kira.

Kira actually thought he had activated Bites the Dust but met up with Reimi, who then made him remember how he died.

Now…Kira’s death is one that’s talked about. Unlike the other villains that have been launched into space, and ora’d so hard his body exploded, all of these done by the Jojos…Kira got ran over by an ambulance. His death was so easy and so anticlimactic that he got ran over, and that’s it. The first time I read that in the manga, I just went back and forth with the pages and was all “That’s it? Really?!”. And I wasn’t the only one with that reaction. To me, it didn’t feel fulfilling. However, his “real” death caused by my girl Reimi and Arnold in the alleyway sort of made up for it. I had enjoyed the final fight, but it wasn’t until Kira’s death that I was a bit disappointed. For such an intense fight to end that way…I mean really? I felt that way for a long time, but I then started to look at Kira’s death in another way. Yes, his death was easy and really stupid. It was also very embarrassing. But Kira was a man that wanted to live a quiet and peaceful life out of the public eye. He hated being embarrassed, and his death was ironic because it was embarrassing. His death was made public with all eyes on his corpse with the news of his death getting out, and we saw that his female coworkers talked about it. For once, he was in the spotlight. He couldn’t even have a quiet death! It was completely out there because of the absurdity, so in a way, this death was fitting. At least, that’s how I look at it now to maybe change people’s minds about the ending.

The bittersweetness of this ending shows as Kira’s crimes are never going to be exposed. There’s no evidence of the women’s corpses and even if the Stand Squad knows how they were killed…well, they just can’t do anything about it. And it’s very sad. Though, justice was technically brought.

But I think I feel the worse for Shinobu. Even though she lived with a fake husband, she was honestly in love. Every single day she was becoming more lovely and happy and their family life was actually becoming better, ironically. She had no idea what was going on, she was just living each day. So seeing her wait for “Kosaku” broke my heart. Seeing Hayato say he was going to wait with his mother to eat just made me even more sad. Their relationship was obviously strained from the start, but at this point now, I think they’re relationship will only grow much stronger. Hayato is going to have to live with the secret of the truth and try his best to console his mother in the future.

We get such a happy ending. All the major characters are alive and well. I’m happy that David Pro added some new scenes, showing everyone having fun in their normal lives. I especially loved seeing Okuyasu eating at Tonio’s restaurant again, but this time he was with his father. He had been looking for a Stand user that would turn his father back to normal and seeing his father go through the strange effects of the food actually made me wonder if he would, but he just looked a little more rejuvenated which made me laugh. I always loved the last scene of Josuke seeing Joseph and Jotaro off. Their father/son relationship started off really awkward, but Josuke stealing Joseph’s wallet and grabbing his “allowance”, and the fact that he calls Joseph “Old Man” now, shows just how much closer they’ve gotten. Though damage was done to Morioh, things have returned to normal once again.


Final Impression

Obviously I knew how it was all going to end because I read the manga. I think people have noticed that my reviews were becoming much more shorter and bare. When I was blogging the second season of Stardust Crusaders, I would sometimes run into that problem. But I usually always had something to say because I didn’t know what would happen, and I’d talk about how crazy and bizarre a fight was and so on.

In this case, I already read Diamond is Unbreakable so I already knew what was going to happen. So in a way, that took out the wonder and anticipation. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a special series because you never know what’s going to happen next, what kind of strange Stand user will appear, and that’s what makes it so fun. Being new to Jojo and being an anime-only fan at the time, it was really fun to blog. This time with Diamond is Unbreakable, I knew what would happen next so there was a little less fun, if that makes sense. Also, getting to know the story of Part 4 again, I admit that there were Stand battles that were far less exciting than others and for me it was a bore to get through, and then I had to write a review on that episode, which actually felt like a chore. And I felt bad when I put out short reviews. Usually my reviews are 700+ words, and some of my reviews were under 500 words and I hate that. So I guess that’s what happens when I’ve read the source material. I usually don’t read manga. :T

Now as for the anime itself, David Pro delivers again with an almost perfect adaptation. They followed the manga so closely like they always do and only made slight changes to the order of events near the very end, and that wasn’t such a huge deal. They recast basically all of the characters voices from their video game counterparts, where they actually had voices for the first time, and I thought the cast was perfect. I quickly got used to Kaji Yuki replacing Romi Park, even though I preferred her voice more. I also think that Takahiro Sakurai did a splendid job as Rohan, though if Hiroshi Kamiya had kept the part I know he would have done a great job too.

The music was great as well, though I have to admit that I was torn with the openings. Animation was something I noticed would fluctuate in the show. Sometimes it would look really good, and sometimes it would look really bad. And most of the time it would look just right. The anime team did well in changing their style to match Araki’s changed style of the time, which happened to be my favorite until he changed his style again. -_- They really did away with the shading the manga had, which I actually liked because it added some shape and dimension into the characters, so that left me a little upset but not too much.

As for the characters, there are a lot of great ones. Kira stands out a lot because of who he is. I already mentioned before that I love Kira more than Dio as a villain. Kira feels like someone you can meet on the street and think “Hey, he’s a cool-looking guy” and just walk away, not knowing that he really is a serial killer. He paints himself to be so normal and he lives such a normal life, and it’s so creepy. He’s smart and calculative enough to have hid his crimes before he had even gotten Killer Queen. He’s just so interesting to me. He also happens to possess one of my favorite Stands in all of Jojo. Josuke is a great Jojo as well. I do have to admit that he’s a Jojo that doesn’t have much character development because he didn’t really change from beginning to end. He started off as a sweet, spoiled, chill, and friendly guy, and he ended as a sweet, spoiled, chill, friendly guy. Josuke was always the person to help others, and only fight when he needed to. He’s just all around a good kid, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Koichi is another great character who had tremendous growth and I know the fanbase hardly ever talks about him, which is a shame. Then there’s Okuyasu, Rohan, Mikitaka, and Reimi. There’s so much to like about them. And the fact that Joseph and Jotaro came back was also a huge plus.

We did not get a hint that Vento Aureo is going to happen, we’ll just have to wait for it to be announced. As to how I feel about Part 5…

I didn’t like it. Vento Aureo is a controversial part for the Jojo fanbase, where one half loved it while the other half hated it, and I’m part of the latter. I don’t want to say anything that’ll spoil the story in any way, but I did not enjoy pretty much all of the characters, I hated the villain, the fights dragged out, and most of the Stand fights were with the characters I didn’t care about. Whereas I read Part 4 in a flash, I was having a hard time reading Part 5 and was basically forcing myself through it. It wasn’t until much later in the manga near the end that things actually got good. I liked the setting and the idea, but I didn’t like how it was executed.

So, if Vento Aureo were to get an anime, I don’t think I would blog it. I could give a quick first impression of the first episode, but to actually cover it week to week is something I would pass. I like to think that maybe I’ll enjoy Vento Aureo’s story more if I see it animated, but I’m not so sure. And I don’t want to write out half-assed reviews. I’d most likely write something for the first episode, and then write an overall review when the anime finishes and give my full thoughts.

Greato!

Of course, that’s only if Part 5 gets an anime. We’ll have to play the waiting game again for a Part 5 announcement, but I have high hopes that it will. They could have just stopped at Stardust Crusaders since it’s the most iconic part in all of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, but they actually went and gave us a Diamond is Unbreakable anime. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has always been popular, so why would they stop here? There’s still so much that needs to be adapted into an anime. Animating the rest of the parts will only bring much more new Jojo fans that were too daunted by the long-running manga. Which means they’ll make more money. The fact that Jojo’s never got a proper television anime before is amazing. We got Stardust, then we got Diamond, so now I only think it’s proper that we get Vento Aureo. I don’t think the fans need to worry.

Now, when we’ll get a proper announcement, I don’t know. I hope soon. Jojo’s is going to hit it’s 30th anniversary on the New Year, so maybe then! The Diamond is Unbreakable anime was fun, so let’s keep spirits high and wait for good news. πŸ™‚

9/10

Show By Rock!! # Episode 12: My Song is YOU!! (Final Impression)

“Even from a far away place, your heart is always nearby”

We’ll meet again…right? After the end of the big battle with peace and happiness, Cyan knew that she would have to return home. I thought they would at least give her some time.

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-s2-12-1080p-mkv0027As expected, the good guys and the power of music win again. Darudayu flies in with the Melodisian Almaz and uses the power of it to boost the strength of everyone’s song. And with Maple’s “sacrifice” too. It was great hearing everyone’s voices in the same song, I thought it sounded fantastic. Their song defeated Victorious and it made her realize how much she really did love music and how she saw on Sound Planet how fun and warm music was. She used music before in hard times, like what we saw with her and Astrael. But hearing everyone’s songs made her see music as something else. She tells this to everyone and apologizes to them, and they were all happy to forgive her. Cute silliness ensues with everyone crying over Maple but he appears just as a…ahem, fried egg. And yeah Victorious just heads back to her planet where she brings music as she sings happily.

The concert at Puru Land continues and all is well. After their performance, Plasmagica is visited by Ninjinriot from the future telling them that they have succeeded. And since there’s nothing else for her to do there, it’s time for Cyan to go home. Just like last time, it’s a sorrowful departure full of tears but also happy words. They believe they’ll see each other again so they all remain positive. Cyan gives one last look to her friends as she is enveloped in Kamui’s green light.

In the credits, we see Cyan singing a new song we are to assume is the song she wrote for her school band for their festival. From the lyrics, the song is a shoutout to Plasmagica. It’s a sweet song. πŸ™‚

A short recap, but this episode went the same way shows like this typically go. Good guys look like they’ll lose, one of the characters supposedly die but they don’t, a power arrives that helps the good guys, they win, they help the villain realize they were wrong, and happy ending! Honestly, it’s formulaic so I wasn’t on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Cyan’s departure wasn’t as sad as last time, probably because the first time I really thought Cyan would leave permanently. But this is the second season and she came back, so Cyan will probably come back again. Also, the departure was a little sudden and rushed so that was another reason. Speaking of which…


Final Impression

The second season of Show By Rock was fine, but like other people have mentioned, it was a little rushed. There were many things thrown into this season for us, such as Moa’s home planet, the intro of BUD VIRGIN LOGIC and ARCAREAFACT (who are still in the sewer!!! give them money!!! Shuzo help them!!!), the tension between Rosia and Retoree, Rom and Shu’s dealio, the sibling reveal of Ailane and Aion, the Queen of Darkness and her past, Tsurezure somehow knowing about the Melodisian Almaz, and so on. There was so much they squeezed into these 12 episodes that some things got more attention than others, where most of these topics were talked about with little to no buildup, and then we would move on to the next thing.

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-s2-12-1080p-mkv0017If I had to be brutally honest, this season wasn’t better than the first. There’s good things about this season though, like the character development. They made me like Rosia! I like her lots, and I just love all the characters in general. When it comes to characters, Show By Rock does it well. But when it comes to story, it falters. They made it seem like the girls of BUD VIRGIN LOGIC would be the main baddies, and they focused so much time on them only to have Victorious be the main one. And we kinda knew she was, but we never focused on her and her point of view. We rushed through her backstory, as well as other backstories. Aion and Ailane being siblings came out of nowhere with absolutely no hints, and Aion was a character we never really payed too much attention to. Rom and Shu’s past getting some attention was great, but again they didn’t do much with it. They probably could have if only they had more time for all of this, but they couldn’t because there were other episodes that took up that time.

The episodes that didn’t have to do with anything were episodes 2-4. As much as I love Moa and even though I felt like she needed her story to be told, I think we could have done without her episode altogether. Yes, I know it was her planet that funded the Puru Land project and the mecha, but we could have learned that in another way. Episodes 3 and 4 had some character development, especially the water sports episode, but it had nothing to do with the main plot so that took away from all the other things they wanted to do.

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Specifically Titan, except for his clothes.

And frankly, as much as I absolutely love ARCAREAFACT (*blows kiss towards a sewer*), they didn’t contribute to the main plot either. They posed as rivals for SHINGANCRIMSONZ, and again that’s great for character development, but this took time away from the plot. Were ARC central to the plot? Sure, they had Victorious acting as their manager, but it wasn’t too important. They could have just made Victorious disguise herself as something else and we could have gotten rid of ARC and nothing would be different plot wise. We never even got to see them in the finale except for that tiny little snippet of them watching the Puru Land concert on TV. They weren’t villains, but just rivals.

Of course, BONES could have kept everything in! But that just meant that they needed more episodes, but seeing as how BONES worked themselves to the bone (haha) this year with so many shows, they probably struggled with this season and there was no way for them to make this season a two-cour. And the struggle shows with the quality of the animation. The animation dipped after awhile, especially in this finale, so you could see where they were cutting corners. I actually said earlier this year when I was blogging the first season of Bungou Stray Dogs that they had to cut corners with that show, but watching how amazing the animation was in the second season, they had to cut corners on a different show! I mean, it makes sense. That’s probably why they animated the performances in regular 2D and not in the usual Miumon ultra-hyper-1000fps 3D.

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-s2-01-1080p-mkv0008I know I’ve been saying nothing but negatives about this season, but I still liked this season. Not as much as the first one, but I still enjoyed watching it. The music this season was still fantastic. BUD VIRGIN LOGIC’S two songs, Schlehit Melodie and Danzai no Solitude, were my absolute favorite songs in this season. I’ve been listening to their songs every single day now and I haven’t gotten tired of them. It’s just so good! The other bands had great songs too, and really, the most important thing in an anime about music is having good music. So even though the animation took a dip, at least the music quality didn’t. In fact, I think it was better.

Also, I’m the kind of person that believes that a show with good characters and an iffy plot is much more better than a show with bad characters and a good plot. When it comes to characters, Show By Rock does well with that.

This season had a good thing going for it and it did a lot good, but it had some stumbles. But that didn’t mean that I didn’t like this season. True, it wasn’t as good as the first season, but it was still enjoyable for a Show By Rock fan like me. Will they make another season? I have no clue, and I’m not sure if they should. Apparently this series sells well in Japan, so anything could happen!

7/10

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Episode 12: File not found (Final Impression)

“They all started saying, “Magical girls are for little children.” Still, I never stopped dreaming. Even now, I still secretly dream of that.”

I’m glad I became I magical girl!”

As Ripple and Swim Swim fight each other, Fav reveals to Koyuki the true reason for the Magical Girl Raising Project. Her books and magical girl magazines thrown about, her room a total mess. She cries to herself and says she can’t be a magical girl anymore. As Fav pops up from her phone, she says she’ll quit. But Fav stops her and then tells her what the point of everything was.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-12-1080p-mkv0001The Magical Girl Raising Project is a selection exam that chooses a magical girl from a group to be part of the World of Magic…for some reason, or as a Master like Cranberry was. I’m not sure what that girl would do while joining the World of Magic since we didn’t get a full explanation, or of the World of Magic itself. But as we saw, the Master would be the one that would oversee these selection exams with their familiar, who in this case is Fav. And how these exams go are dependant on the Master. Fav described exams being different, like one where the girls are sweet and help each other out, while another is the magical girls fighting off monsters the World of Magic send. It was also revealed that if a magical girl failed, her memories would be wiped and she’d forget that she ever was a magical girl, and that’t is. It was Cranberry who turned these selection exams into battle royales, and she killed all the girls in every exam. Because the past exams were so boring, she turned them into a blood bath and the stakes were raised. Fav admits to Koyuki that Swim is a skilled killer, but she’s a horrible Master, so he purposely made Ripple and Swim face off so they could kill each other, and Koyuki could become his Master because he wants her.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-12-1080p-mkv0027Of course, remembering all the girls and women that have been killed over this exam, Koyuki is devastated and angry. She tells Fav off and destroys her phone and then goes off to try to stop the fight. We saw a very different Koyuki this episode. All the innocence and happiness we saw in the first episode? Gone. I actually found it quite funny when Fav mentioned how crazy it was that Koyuki would be the sole survivor when she never dirtied her hands or did anything, because that’s kind of how I feel about her. Not the getting her hands dirty part, that’s fine. But really, what exactly has she done? Maybe it’s not totally her fault because the show focused on all the other characters except her, but Koyuki didn’t really do anything until this very last episode. I also found it surprising that Koyuki would be the sole survivor when she’s done pretty much nothing, but I also found it ironic.

Koyuki believed that magical girls were pure, sweet, nice, and helpful. Koyuki never got her hands dirty by killing anyone or playing tricks or backstabbing anyone. She stayed true to who she wanted to be, to who she always dreamed of being, and she stuck to what she believed magical girls to be. She survived until the very end as a true magical girl.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-12-1080p-mkv0051Except she wasn’t the sole survivor. Like I’ve said before, some deaths are quick and anticlimactic. I wanted to really savor and enjoy Swim’s death. I didn’t really get that other than just the general happy feeling of seeing her die. Which is a little messed up to say because she was a little girl with “a few screws loose” as Fav said. I also wanted to learn why Swim was like that. What kind of little girl is okay with killing so many people? In the end, I expected both Swim and Ripple to die like Fav planned, and Koyuki would be forced to live a life with Fav by her side and she would slowly lose her mind. I did not expect Ripple to survive and I was overjoyed that she did. I also did not expect Fav to die! That made me really happy. When I heard his little laugh towards Snow I really was about to lose it, until Ripple came from behind to break the device with the halberd. With Fav gone, these exams are done now as we see later on.

The very last bit was a little confusing though. Apparently Koyuki ran away from home, and I guess she’s living with Ripple now, who now only has one eye and arm. I wasn’t sure what to make of the ending. We see reports of magical girl sightings, who of course are Ripple and Snow White. But they seem to be taking on dangerous tasks, with some deaths mentioned. Snow mentions nothing will change without things set in motion and she’s practicing her combat with Ripple after saying she got hit with three bullets. We then get a monologue from Koyuki saying that she still dreams of becoming a magical girl, insinuating that she doesn’t see herself as one right now?

And that’s what we’re left with. It’s obviously the end of one story, and the beginning of another. I’m not sure what Koyuki and Ripple are doing. We see a new Koyuki, who looks more determined and combative. I’m glad she has Ripple on her side, but I just have to wonder what they’redoing that Koyuki had to run away from home and drop school altogether for.

The ending wasn’t too satisfactory. There were details that still needed to be fleshed out, like the World of Magic. And I’m also not a fan of open-ended finales. I know there’s more story, but that just makes me more curious. So, how did I feel about this show?


Final Impression

I’ve seen all kinds of opinions of this show, but personally I still liked it. Of course I admitted near the end that I was getting a little frustrated with the show. I had wanted to know what was the point, the real point, of the Magical Girl Raising Project. Yes, I know it was a selection exam of some sort because the World of Magic needed talent. But what for? Are they raising an army? Are there terrifying forces out there? What exactly is the World of Magic anyway and how does it work? How big is it and who runs it? I got one answer from one question I asked last week: What was the point of making this exam a battle royale?

Cranberry and Fav were literally bored and bloodthirsty so they changed it. That’s it. I hate them. We’ve had characters like them before and they’re nothing special. I also want to know what kind of people are in the World of Magic to be 100% okay with this.

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But I was left wanting more. Especially with the very end with Snow and Ripple but I know that would mean making another season to continue the story, and that just means we’ll have to wait and see.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-12-1080p-mkv0021When it comes to the plot, after all that we “learned” in the last episode, it was lacking. It started off fine. 16 girls having to compete against one another to continue being magical girls while the one that failed would have to quit. But then it’s revealed that they were killed. What started off as innocently gathering Magical Candies ended up turning into a battle to the death. The show started off sweet and lighthearted, but it quickly went dark in the second episode with its first death. It didn’t start off gory. For awhile it was mostly mind games and strategic moves that we saw, and it wasn’t until the show reached its halfway point that things started to turn sour. The fights were great to watch though the quality of them dipped after awhile and they became more rushed and anticlimactic. The show became a little predictable when they would insert a character’s backstory, only to have them killed off in that same episode. So when the show would do that again with another character, you knew what to expect. Still, there were some twists that had me shocked. The plot itself is simple and I was waiting for a big reveal at the end, so I was left a bit disappointed. It was a battle royal show, so you were bound to get frustrated anyway. One thing I did like were the connections, such as the girl who Snow helped who lost her key being Alice, and the little girl in the last dream Nemurin visited being Swim were twists that I liked.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-08-1080p-mkv0036The characters are a hit or miss. Some had more love than others, and when it comes to our surviving girls, only Top Speed, La Pucelle, and Alice had an impact on them. Top Speed (the best one) was Ripple’s friend, and even now Ripple still wears her cape. Sou-chan and Alice were obviously very important to Snow so these three were really the only ones to have a lasting effect. As for everyone else, we got to know some more than others, but compared to the three I just listed, most of them aren’t very important. Sure some of us may have gotten attached to Sister Nana, Winterprison, etc. But if these girls had been replaced with other girls, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the story or the “main” characters. We learned their backstories and we even saw some flashbacks of some that were already killed, so at least some of them got depth. But some like Nemurin and Magicaloid got the short end of the stick, and we learned almost nothing about them. A lot of the good ones got killed and after awhile it got frustrating too. But because some characters were so likeable, you would really become absorbed into the show.

Studio Lerche took on this show, and they’ve also produced some shows I absolutely loved like Assassination Classroom and Gakkou Gurashi, another show that’s sort of similar to this one. Since I haven’t read the light novels and I don’t even know if there are translations of it around, I can’t say how they did with the adaptation. I know from some comments I’ve seen that they made some changes but I don’t know if it was for the better or worse. Animation itself looked fine. Sometimes in the fights it would look off, and while the art style itself isn’t my favorite, it still looked pretty nice. Music was fine as well, the opening was great, but the ending DREAMCATCHER by Nano was godly. It’s honestly one of my favorite anime endings I’ve heard, but really Nano is just a great band so it’s no surprise. Also, watching the ending of all the girls laying peacefully kind of breaks my heart, especially after this final episode. The lyrics of the song really get to me too.

The more I try to beat reality
The more I’m losing to the weakness in me escaping
I couldn’t see where the today would take me
Just waiting for tomorrow to ease the pain

I’ve heard many people say that this arc was the least interesting and that the story of Magical Girl Raising Project only gets much better. But will we get another season? I’m going to remain hopeful. Another dark magical girl show I really loved, Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero, is actually going to get a sequel covering events prior to the main story. That show ended almost exactly two years ago and it’s going to get its sequel sometime in 2017, and I’m so excited! So I’m going to believe that Magical Girl Raising Project will get another season and continue its story, because while this season had its problems that I’ve mentioned, I still really liked it (not as much as Yuuki Yuuna but still!). So let’s all be hopeful.

7/10

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Bungou Stray Dogs Season 2 Episode 1: The Dark Age (First Impression)

I certainly wasn’t expecting to get an episode all about Dazai’s past in the premiere of the second season. It was a little strange to be honest, because it had nothing to do with what we got in the last episode of the first season. It’s like we’ve started a new arc.

horriblesubs-bungou-stray-dogs-s2-13-1080p-mkv0004But upon further investigation, I found out that this whole episode was part of Dazai’s past in one of the novels, because apparently his past isn’t in the manga. I’m at a little of loss for words because it’s a little jarring that we got this. But! That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like this episode. On the contrary, I loved this episode. Bungou Stray Dogs is always best when it follows these more serious storylines. Even when almost the entire episode was talking, I was absorbed into the story because I really wanted to know what happened with Ango. Oda himself seems to me to be a very interesting character, such as him never actually killing anyone even when he’s capable of doing so. And seeing Dazai in his days with the mafia, he hasn’t changed too much but it’s a little strange to see him giving orders instead of getting them. Dazai was always a very mysterious character, and I’m very glad that we actually get to see how he was in the Port Mafia, and how close of a friendship he had with Oda and Ango. Maybe, we’ll also see why Dazai left.

Where is Ango, what happened to him, and is he really a traitor? And just what is this Mimic group? That’s all the questions I got as the case took a weird turn in the end when Oda found the safe in Ango’s home, as he was appointed to search for Ango. I’m curious of Oda’s character and why he stays as the mafia’s handyman. His ability is very cool, perfect for the kind of lifestyle he lives in.

horriblesubs-bungou-stray-dogs-s2-13-1080p-mkv0050I just ask myself why they started this season out with this? How many more episodes are we going to get of this? I’m going to guess at least one more, and then we’ll go back to the main story with the Agency, the Mafia, and Guild. But why start with this? Does Dazai’s backstory even matter when it comes to the Guild? Learning that Dazai’s past is never even explored in the manga makes me think that it possibly doesn’t. But then that just makes me wonder why they would include this, especially as the premiere? Does Ango, and Mimic, have anything to do with the main story? I’m a little confused, and a little concerned. With meeting an entirely new group of characters in the finale of last season with new danger brewing, I’m going to guess that there might be a lot of content. But with the anime covering Dazai’s past for who knows how many episodes, I don’t know if that’s going to be a good thing.

I don’t know if Dazai’s past has anything to do with the main story, but if it doesn’t, couldn’t they just have made this into an OVA? I’m questioning their decisions.

This was a great episode though. But I’m still concerned. I can’t even expect how this season is going to go now, but I’m still going to stick around for the ride. I just hope it doesn’t hit the ugly stumps the middle of the first season had.

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Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Episode 1: Welcome to a World of Dreams and Magic! (First Impression)

I said I wasn’t sure about this show because of the cutesy art style, but I should have learned by now that shows with a cutesy art style can be very deceiving, especially with the magical girl genre. The synopsis read like there would be a battle royale fight to the death that would happen. With the episode opening up with dead bodies and a pool of blood in the first minute, I knew that the synopsis wasn’t lying, and that this show would be just as dark as it made it sound it would. And I was hooked.

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Apparently, my aesthetic are shows where cute girls experience torture and despair in what seem to be lighthearted shows. Gakkou Gurashi, WIXOSS, Yuuki Yuuna, etc. Those seem to be my favorite. I’m not sure what that says about me, haha.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0017Seeing as how this is the first episode, of course it would start off cute and lighthearted. Our main character is a young eighth grader named Koyuki, and ever since she was a little girl, she loved magical girls and always wanted to become one in real life. She thinks all magical girls are righteous and pure beings that are there to help people and she always admired them. But she noticed that as she was growing up, girls her age were becoming less into magical girls and more into other things, while Koyuki didn’t. So, she kept her love for magical girls all to herself in secret. Even now, she’s playing a magical girl game on her phone, and it changes her life in an instant.

Magical Girl Raising Project is like any other fantasy/RPG-like game. It’s just a simple phone game where you create an avatar and fight monsters and get items. But there are strange “advertisements” and rumors to the game. The main one being that there’s a 1 in 10000 chance for a user to become a real magical girl. Koyuki’s friends on the bus think it a scam but Koyuki as usual seems slightly hopeful, but doesn’t seem to believe it as well. Other strange things going on related to magical girls are actual sightings of them throughout the city. But people write them off as fake as all the images are blurry.

It comes as no surprise that later on Koyuki is chosen to become a magical girl. The game mascot, Fav, which seems to be a love-child of Monokuma and Kyubey, says he’s studied Koyuki and decided that she has everything to be a magical girl. She hesitantly accepts and transforms into her game avatar.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0034In this anime, magical girls are less like superheroes and maybe more like vigilantes, depending how you use the word. These girls aren’t here to fight against aliens, evil monsters, or magical creatures. They’re doing things you’d imagine any new superhero would do, like helping elderly women cross the road, getting cats out of trees, finding someone’s lost house keys, small things like that. I don’t think I’ve seen magical girls like this so this was a nice change for me. Koyuki is doing what she’s always dreamed of, and that’s helping people, but as a magical girl! But this time she doesn’t have to try so hard to hide herself from the public because Fav explains to her that even if she meets with someone, they will lose all memory of her, and if someone tries taking a picture of her, that said picture will always come out blurry, like we saw before. So these girls have free reign over the city and can run around as much as they want. It really is a dream come true!

We also learn more things about this magical girl community. Through her Magical Phone, Koyuki, or Snow White (her magical girl name), can enter a chatroom and speak with the 15 other magical girls. Everyone was very excited to meet her, and the ones that were actually there introduced themselves and made Koyuki feel warm and welcomed. We also learn more about the work of these magical girls when La Pucelle invited Koyuki out to train her.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0062What a surprise it was that La Pucelle actually turned out to be Koyuki’s male friend, Sou-chan! I didn’t expect it at all, so really we have a magical boy amongst us. Funny though, because his avatar has the biggest boobs and the most make up on. But that just goes to show you, always follow your dreams! Good for you, Sou-chan. It makes me wonder if there are more males among the group but I’m going to doubt that for now, as one of Koyuki’s friends become a magical girl is significant. We learn from Sou-chan (La Pucelle) that each magical girl works in their own district, and La Pucelle works in the district right next to Koyuki’s. Some of the magical girls can team up if they want, but it’s basically a rule that the magical girl assigned to that certain district is the only one that can work there, but visiting is just fine, and that’s when La Pucelle and Snow White pair up. There’s a bit of a system to all of this, but everything is so organized and all the other magical girls are so polite, friendly, and cooperative that it looks like that there hasn’t been any problems. They all seem to get along so well with each other, which is going to make it more painful when they’re forced to kill each other.

In the after-credits scene, Fav makes the announcement that there are too many magical girls in the area and that he needs to cut it down to 8. And that right there, is the sign that things are going to start becoming ugly.

I’ve seen people complain that they were disappointed with the premiere because it was lighthearted. And to them I say, um…duh? It’s the first episode. They can’t start killing each other until we know the main character and the story. We’re barely getting situated into this world, but it looks like things are going to move quickly. This episode was like any first episode of an anime. We’ve established the plot, we know all about these magical girls now, we know what kind of person Koyuki is. So now we can finally move on to the rest. As a first episode, I thought this one did its job well. I like what they’ve done with magical girls in this. Of course magical girls can be seen as superheroes, as they transform and protect humanity from the big bad, but in this case, these girls are doing little things. I don’t know, I just really like that!

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0044The art style isn’t really my cup of tea, but still, the show so far looks great. One thing I have to comment on are the character designs. Each girl has a drastically different design as opposed to the similar outfits magical girls usually wear with each other. I thought Koyuki’s Snow White to be absolutely precious and cute, I’m a weak person when it comes to flowery designs. As for the others, it’s a hit or miss. La Pucelle and the violin girl I enjoy, but some of the others just look ridiculous. It’s nice that their designs really tell you just what kind of person they are, though. So in that regard, it’s a plus.

Now, as for the cliffhanger. If the number of magical girls was really becoming too much, why did Fav recruit Koyuki? I’m sure because of the districts, Fav wants to cut the number down because having 16 girls in one city may be a bit much. Fav said only 8 magical girls need to go, but in the opening scene, there was only one person standing while all the other girls lay slaughtered. I wonder just how bad things are going to go.

I’m intrigued. Very intrigued. And this may be a stupid decision on my part, since I’ve already signed up for a lot of shows this season, but I feel like I can’t pass this up. Maybe I might sacrifice other shows, but I really want to stick by this one. I don’t think they’re going to take long to get into the blood and death.

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Show By Rock!! # Episode 1: Melody -Schlehit Melodie- (First Impression)

Holy crap…

I am absolutely…blown away from the episode’s explosive intro. I legitimately wrote that first sentence without noticing the puns I made, but haha. But no, really those first three minutes was probably the coolest three minutes I’ve ever seen and I rewatched that scene about 100 times. Hoping that I would see them, the anime answered my prayers: BUDVIRGINLOGIC made it into the anime, and they’re the baddies. Not too surprised that they are since they really have the evil look. I’m not sure what story they had in the game since I never looked it up, but seeing their role here should be fun to see.

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Also, seeing BUDVIRGINLOGIC perform with the show’s usual animation and not in the Miumon forms was a pleasure to watch because it looked good. BONES is definitely capable of making all the bands perform like this and not in their chibi Miumon forms, but I guess to make it look like the game, they perform as Miumon. They’re still small and cute as ever in their 50000 frames per second performances.

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-s2-01-1080p-mkv0004We got the plot before we even needed to think about it. As usual, the plot isn’t extraordinary. It’s the usual villain wanting to control the entire universe thing like we’ve seen before. But cliche plots like that don’t bother me too much if the execution is on point. Also, seeing Dagger making a comeback just made things more interesting if you ask me, so I’m very excited. The opening scene with all the ships, the Queen of Darkness voiced by the Queen of Seiyuus, Miyuki Sawashiro (*swoon*)…was great. It was all just so cool. When this series wants to get dark, it can. Just seeing Midi City engulfed in explosions and ruin was something I definitely didn’t think I would see. BUDVIRGINLOGIC singing when all this destruction is happening was badass, everyone’s Melodisians becoming tainted, just everything going wrong. Seeing the outcome before seeing how things came to be that way just drew me in immediately, so good on BONES for doing that. Also, the song was fantastic.

But what we saw was the future. In the present time, we see everyone in BRR. Typical hijinks and fun times ensue. After the events of the first season, Criticrista is now part of BRR. This’ll be interesting to see, seeing what kind of rivalry Criticrista and Plasmagica had in the first season. But that just means that Banded Rocking Records acquired a very popular band, so that’ll give the label a bigger name than before. And we can already see that as BRR is holding a concert for their bands.

We see as Plasmagica is about to perform, Criticrista notice that the girls look a little sad that Cyan isn’t with them anymore. It broke my heart every time Retoree would look back at the photo they took at the beach, while even saying “Cyan, I miss you…” Aww, Retoree. ;_; It really was a strange sight to see only three instead of the four. I was wondering what kind of song they were going to sing with just them, but before they could put on their show, everything went dark, and that’s when conflict started.

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-s2-01-1080p-mkv0047I do have to say that I did feel like things were a tiny bit rushed. Though one complaint I had last season was that it took awhile for the plot to kick in. This time, the plot is kicking in right away! Ninjinriot makes their appearance, going back in time from the destruction of Sound Planet to help Plasmagica and tell the others of BRR what happens in the future, and to get their help. Seeing as how BUDVIRGINLOGIC appeared with Dagger, they agree immediately. They have to do whatever they can to stop the Queen of Darkness and save everyone in the universe. And save the music! I didn’t expect to see Ninjinriot, I regret not playing their songs as much when I had the game on my phone. They seem like a very cool bunch and I would like it if they could perform at least one song. Either way, it looks like we’re going to be seeing them a lot, so that makes me glad.

But hey, what about Cyan? The biggest worry I had when coming into this season was how Cyan was going to be included again. The first season had ended so well, I didn’t think Cyan needed to come back again. For what reason would she need to come back for? Well, we know now!

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-s2-01-1080p-mkv0055Cyan was the one that took down Dagger. With him back, and the Queen of Darkness, it’s no surprise that they would need her help again. It was so cute to see her in glasses again. It sounded like things were going well with her school band, but she was troubled that she agreed to write the song for their concert in the cultural festival because she hasn’t come up with anything. This scene was quite nice, as the girls of Plasmagica sang while looking at their matching guitar picks from last season’s finale. But of course, things aren’t peaceful for long, as Cyan looks up into the sky to see a “shooting star” coming down at her. When in fact, it was Kamui, the mecha ninja from Ninjinriot taking her to…of course, Midi City.

This episode immediately pulled me in just from that amazing beginning scene. As usual, the show looked good, and it sounded good. The ED theme actually isn’t my favorite of Plasmagica compared to Have a nice MUSIC and Do Re Mi Fa Party, but it was cute. Again, when the show animates them as Miumon, watching this in 1080p, it just looks really good. A little too good because it’s kind of scary that they literally look like nendoroids I could pull out of the screen. BONES back at it again with the bomb animation. My favorite of the music was of course Schlehit Melodie. I always loved BUDVIRGINLOGIC’s music, which is why I wanted them in the anime. Like I said, I would like to see Ninjinriot perform a song, but I would also love to hear ARCAREAFACT perform too because I wanted them in the anime too, and bam here they are. They have great music too, and I wonder what role they’re going to have in the anime.

Albeit this episode was a bit rushed with so many things going on, I greatly enjoyed this episode. I just…really love Show By Rock. I never thought I would love this series so much but I really do. I love it. I’m happy.

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Love Live! Sunshine!! Episode 13: Sunshine! (Final Impression)

“Is your heart shining?!”

Here we are at the end of this season. I take back what I said about “poor writing” in my last review if they performed in this episode, because this is only the quarterfinals, right? I screwed up. They haven’t reached the very end of Love Live, so that makes plenty of room for a season two.

I think we were teased. With all the talk of turning the zero into a one gave us the impression that they would make Aquors perform STEP! Zero to One, so it would get it’s proper PV. Well, Mirai Ticket was nice too, I guess.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0014The girls are practicing really hard for their performance. They’ve been practicing every single day of their summer vacation, and they keep checking whether or not they’ve gotten applicants, but it’s still a big fat 0. But that won’t make them falter. As they eat their ice cream in the library, Chika’s friends come in to drop off some books and are surprised to see Aquors there. They learn that the girls have been practicing every day, and we see them later when they approach Aquors at the pool. Mu-chan, the only one whose name we know, tells Chika and the others that they’re curious and want to maybe become school idols. They were moved by Aquors, because they love how they are so determined to save the school. But they want to save the school too, and they want to help. Chika is more than happy to hear that and she immediately agrees to let them join in, as singers. I would have expected to see more resistance from the other members at this moment since it all happened so fast, and to take on more members right when they’re about to perform in the Love Live tournament seems crazy.

Luckily Riko thought so, but she didn’t say anything until the day they were supposed to perform. Love Live’s rule is that the only ones that can perform are the ones that applied. All the students performing on the stage with them? Did they really think that would happen? Pfft, as if! I don’t know why they bothered to do that because I felt like it just wasted time. But another big scene in the episode I felt was a waste.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0052As the girls get ready, we see nice moments between the girls in their years. Yoshiko gets emotional and hugs Ruby and Hanamaru, the third years hug each other, and the second years are psyched. And then…I don’t know how long this part lasted, but I was getting impatient. Apparently these girls are actresses, as they retold their story to the audience, which was everything we saw from the beginning of the anime until now. Forming Aquors, meeting Riko, gathering the other members, the zero votes they got. Zero…zero…zero…zero…Basically, it was a recap of all the episodes we saw. Personally, I found this part to be unnecessary and a complete waste of time that could have been used for something else. I understand that they were telling the audience their story, and about wanting to save the school, and to show their growth, but we saw their complete growth last episode when they all decided that they wouldn’t copy Muse anymore, and that they would start their own journey. This speaking part just went on and on. I did find it funny how Yoshiko introduced herself to everyone by putting herself in the audience, and then a couple seconds later we see her on the stage with the rest of the girls. I…don’t know how she did that, maybe she does have teleportation powers, but it was funny.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0058Aquors performed MIRAI TICKET. Not my favorite of the insert songs we got, but it was still very energetic and pretty. Production value was amazing, the crazy camera angles, the colors, the dancing and animation for the dance was on point. I’m so glad the CG models look so much better. Also, those were probably the best outfits they’ve worn so far. It was a very nice scene, as the girls from the school came down with their glowsticks and jumped around and cheered for them. We got a Mama Live again, as we saw Riko’s mama, Yoshiko’s mama (with the same side bun), Dia and Ruby’s mama, and Hanamaru’s mama. Also earlier we met Chika’s tiny mommy! I thought the person with the long dark hair was her mother, but it was her sister!!!! I was pretty much like Riko, I was so shocked! They literally have the same smile, and face, and ugly bangs.

At the end, we saw that things were finally turning around for Aquors. As they gather at the beach for a photo, the number of new applicants for Uranohoshi High School has finally turned from a 0 to a 1. They’re ready to keep on shining and fighting to keep their precious school open!


Final Impression

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0018From the beginning I was keeping an open mind for Aquors. I was a huge Muse fan, and I still am. I love them to death and I’m still so attached to them. That’s why I was very hesitant of Aquors at the beginning. I admit that I was ignoring all of their news for awhile, but then I thought “Hey, that’s not fair. I should at least give them a chance.” When their anime announcement came, I took more interest in them. I listened to their singles, read their general character introductions, and just payed more attention to them. And it made me wonder if I would ever love them as much as Muse. Would they continue what Muse started? Would they make their name known? Would one of these girls surpass the Nico Nii? Even now, with this season done, I still don’t know. Do I love them as much as Muse? To be completely honest, I don’t. But I still like them. Was the anime itself better than the original series? Well, I can only compare the first season of the original, since Aquors was only given one season so far. Looking at them together, I think they’re pretty equal. The original did things better than Sunshine, but there are also things Sunshine did better than the original in its first season.

The drama, I thought, was handled much better. I’ve actually been rewatching the original, in its dub form, which I think is great. I felt that the drama and conflicts in Sunshine were handled a little better. Sure, sometimes I had problems with their resolutions, such as with the You conflict. The actual conflict would be handled well, but I felt that the resolution would rush by so quickly, only because they didn’t have enough time left in the episode. Oh, and sometimes they could be really cheesy. But even so, I found them more enjoyable. The trouble with the third years was relatable and iconic, and that episode was probably its best. Also, there were things Sunshine did that the original didn’t, such as episode 8. Muse never faced any kind of failure, but the fact that Aquors did was realistic and a wake up call to them. The anger and raw emotion we saw out of Chika and the other girls was welcomed. Not being honest, feeling left out, frustration at your failure, etc., the anime team dealt with those issues well. The second season of the original handled their drama better, but I’m only comparing the first season, and that’s where they suffered a bit.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-12-1080p-mkv0003Although when it comes to characters, I think the original did better. With the original, I found myself really attached to the girls of Muse, though my opinions started changing in the second season. But by the end of the first season, I had a strong attachment to almost all of them. As for the girls of Aquors, I don’t know how to feel. I don’t hate any of them, but I feel mostly indifferent to most of them. I like them, but I don’t love them either. I felt like not all of them were able to really show much of themselves. For example, Hanamaru had a great episode to herself, and I loved her. But after her episode, she was mostly in the back, always eating something, and always saying “Zura!” She never did anything major after that, as well as some other girls. I also felt as though the girls weren’t exactly close. I didn’t feel like they were as united as Muse was. Riko mainly only talked with Chika, Ruby was mainly with either Hanamaru and Dia, You mainly spoke to Chika, Kanan seems to be close with Chika and You but we didn’t seem them talk to each other much, the third years are basically their own clique, and Yoshiko…was shafted a lot, and was mainly there to say her usual fallen angel lines and nothing more. Which disappointed me because she used to be my favorite. Sometimes we did get other dynamics like Mari listening to You, and Riko talking to You on the phone, but I would have liked to have seen more of that, and just the characters doing more than just their quirks!

Animation, I shouldn’t even talk about this much. We know Sunshine has a higher production value. The CG models actually look great and not…with a creepy doll face. The colors were bright and lively. I loved the scenic shots of the water and the mountains of their little town. It’s just leagues above, and I’m glad.

I would say, between the two series, the music is equal. My absolute favorite of the insert songs we got was Mijuku DREAMER. The performance was pretty, the song is pretty, and I’ve been playing it on repeat for a couple days now. The song with the long name they performed in episode 11 was my second favorite. Also, I just love the ED theme, and I always love when the characters sing it in their respective episode.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-11-1080p-mkv0028As for plot, I’m not sure. I have to admit that I was very frustrated when the school closing down plot was being used again. For the longest time, Aquors had a major identity crisis. I know this led up to their growth, but it was still a little annoying to watch. All the Muse references was getting old very quickly too. Maybe this is another reason why I didn’t find myself attached to the characters too much. However, I don’t think they’re carbon copies of Muse. Far from it! They share some similarities with the members of Muse, and the show was clever enough to point that out, but they are their own characters. But because Aquors took a long time to see who they truly were, the plot suffered a bit.

My attitude changed a lot through the course of this season. I was happy, frustrated, then happy, then frustrated, to content. Even though there were hiccups, I still enjoyed Sunshine. And don’t think this is all over, they’re not done with Love Live yet! Also…this is Love Live, this is popular shit. Of course there just has to be another season. Let’s hope that things will improve then. To the people that still haven’t seen Sunshine because they don’t want to let go of Muse, I still think you should give Aquors a chance. But if you don’t like them, then that’s okay. In the end, I give Love Live! Sunshine!! a 7/10. Has some problems, but it’s still a good watch.

Now, before I finish this review, I think it’s a given to rank my list of the girls. Of course, people are going to disagree with me. I’ll list them, and give a quick reason why, because this review has been going on long enough.

[HorribleSubs] Love Live! Sunshine!! - 10 [1080p].mkv0014

  1. BEST GIRL: Mari! Funny, as how I was indifferent towards her for awhile. She’s just so funny and silly and she makes me smile and laugh. But she’s not always silly because she can be serious and she shows just how much she loves and cares for her friends. And I love how she was there to listen to and comfort You. She’s just so wacky, and sweet, and weird, and nice, and I love her! Unfortunately, from polls I’ve seen, she’s the least popular among the Japanese fans. But I still love her. Shiny!
  2. Riko – I loved her from the start. Very pretty, she also makes me laugh, but she’s very level-headed, which I like.
  3. Kanan – Very pretty, very cool, even though she didn’t have much screentime she really stood out to me. ship her with Mari. <3
  4. Hanamaru/Ruby – I’m not sure how to rank them because I like them equally. Ruby is adorable and I like how she stood up for herself. Hanamaru’s episode was fantastic, but hasn’t done much after. I can’t put either of them above the other.
  5. Yoshiko – Was my best girl before the anime aired, but went down the list. Her episode was fine, but after that she never did much. Still makes me laugh sometimes, but the little demon/fallen angel thing got a little old fast. A little indifferent.
  6. Dia – A little indifferent as well. Her personality change was a little jarring, but I kind of like her dorky side. A little low on the list because I hated her for a good chunk of the show.
  7. Chika – Indifferent. Annoyed me a lot. Yells too damn much. But I liked her growth.
  8. You – Indifferent. Cute, but boring. Her episode did nothing for me. Just goes “Yousoro!” Unpopular opinion, I know.

When the second season hits, my list will definitely change. But for now this is what I got. I can’t wait to see more. Until then, zura!

Amaama to Inazuma Episode 12: With Affection (Final Impression)

Nothing’s better than food filled with love.

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0049

Here we have the finale of this delightful little show. We get treated to the same types of episodes we’ve been getting for 90% of the show. I thought the show would play a little differently, as in the first minute we see Sensei and Tsumugi wearing black clothes. We don’t see Tsumugi’s face, Kouhei’s has a somber expression, and he carries Tsumugi at the train station as she hides her face in his shoulder. We find out from Kotori’s memory, as she spotted him with Shinobu, that it’s been a year that his wife died. So in the show’s terms, six months have passed since the start of the first episode.

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0016I say that I thought the show would play differently because of that scene, but we didn’t get anything out of it. We immediately went to the quick conflict of the show. I really wish they had focused on the grave visiting, and the topic of Tsumugi’s mother in general, but…damn. But what we do know now is that for sure Tsumugi knows that her mother is dead. I’m not sure when she figured it out. I’m going to guess it was when she had said “Mommy’s not coming back” at the end of the curry episode. I think it was then that she knew that her mother was gone for too long and that she had an idea what was really going on. But it surprises me that she never made a bigger deal of it. Because in the first episode, it sounded like Tsumugi thought her mom was out on a long trip. But now she really does know that her mother died. I just thought we would see a scene where Tsumugi would be questioning everything, and we would see how she would come to the realization. Or did she always know? I really don’t know.

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0056Because Tsumugi mentioned other character’s mothers, and how she was so excited to meet Kotori’s mother, I thought she would bring up her own mother. That’s one of the things that this show did that frustrated me a little bit. They would tease about Tsumugi’s mother at times, where you would think that you would be treated to some really good scenes, but they never would take it any further. The closest we ever got was the curry episode, which was wonderful, but not enough for me. I still want to know just how close Tsumugi was with her mom, and I wanted to see how they lived with her around, compared to how they are now.

Tsumugi makes a fuss at the okonomiyaki place, being upset that she couldn’t make her own food like her father had told her. Screaming and crying, it was an awkward dinner, and Kouhei didn’t really handle it all well. But the lesson Tsumugi learned was that she needed to be scolded. When she and her father, and Kotori, and Yagi, and Shinobu all got together to make homemade okonomiyaki, Tsumugi got scolded by Yagi when she kicked his bowl of cabbage. Tsumugi, like any other child, or any person in general, doesn’t like being scolded. She got mad at her father because she scolded him at the restaurant. She tells him her friend’s moms are different about scolding, but Kouhei makes it very clear to her later: Whenever she does something bad, she needs to be scolded. He doesn’t like scolding her, but he’ll do it when she needs to be scolded.

Kouhei is a great father, you can tell that she loves Tsumugi dearly, but I did always think that he was a little too easy on her. Like with the whole bell pepper thing? My parents wouldn’t let me leave unless I ate everything. But maybe that’s because I grew up with strict parents, haha.

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0040Either way, everything ended happily. I was happy for Kotori. We finally got to hear her thoughts about how she felt about her mother. Her mother had told her that she actually had some free time and that she finally wanted to meet with Sensei and cook with all of them. Everyone was excited to meet her (especially Yagi), but when they got there Kotori said that her mother had to suddenly go to work…again. Kotori was disappointed, and she told Kouhei that it felt like she didn’t matter to her mother. Kouhei gives his own thoughts, saying that it’s the opposite. She does care for her, and she just doesn’t want her daughter to worry that she cares so much. Luckily, Kotori’s mother actually does come in the end, and it’s all happy and warm in the kitchen.

With all the love and affection put into every dish her father makes, Tsumugi is happy to eat everything. And that’s where it all ends here.


Final Impression

This episode didn’t feel like a finale. It just felt like any other episode we’ve had, but the actual show just…ends. I know it’s because the manga isn’t even done yet, but they could have done a little something with the episode to give a sense of finality.

This was a good show, it was fun to watch. There are goods, and there are bads. Let me start with the bads.

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0034After a certain time, the same formula became repetitive and a little boring. I did like to see the foods they made, and how detailed they were with the cooking. But seeing them cook and then eat got a little bland after awhile. I wish they had done some things different, like maybe them failing a dish completely maybe? During the cooking segments, there were little moments with Tsumugi that would entertain us, such as her singing and dancing and other cute quirks. And don’t get me wrong, Tsumugi is a little ray of sunshine and just the sweetest little thing, but…it was starting to get a little old. I think someone had commented that they were worried that Tsumugi’s little antics would stop being cute after awhile and just be annoying, and I understand what they meant. They weren’t annoying, but they weren’t as cute to me anymore, but I did get a good laugh when Yagi and Shinobu ended up laughing at her. She’s a darling, she’s so cute…but cute can only take you so far.

Plot had good and bad moments, but characters did as well. We never got to find out why Kotori was deathly afraid of knives. Maybe it was something simple that she just cut herself as a kid, and…well, everyone reacts to trauma differently, and ever since she got this phobia. But I feel we don’t know enough about Kotori as a character. She was in every episode but I still feel like we don’t know enough. The same goes to Yagi and Shinobu. Yagi just shows up sometimes, but he’s never the center of attention. We know a tiny bit of general information about Shinobu, but nothing more. The fault goes to the repetitive formula of the show, as we never got the time to really focus on these characters.

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0045The characters that got the most screentime and development were Kouhei and Tsumugi. Kouhei has grown into a more aware father, as he still is getting used to the single parent lifestyle. He began to really pay attention to Tsumugi’s life, like her little problems at school, and the little stain on her school bag. Tsumugi of course is growing, as she’s only a kid, and kids always learn new things everyday. And this is where the good parts of the show starts. I absolutely love what this show did. We see both father and daughter helping each other out, learning together, sharing memories together. They have one of the best parent/child relationships I’ve seen in anime. We see very real situations and conflicts in this show, like the finale’s lesson of scolding, or other things like Tsumugi having trouble with her friends, other problems at school, leaving home by herself, and the main thing which was cooking actual meals for Tsumugi. Tsumugi feels real because she’s depicted so realistically in this show. She acts just like a kid, like she should. And the struggles Kouhei faces being a busy single parent is real, and I’m so happy with how everything was handled. Sometimes he would have trouble figuring out Tsumugi’s troubles, and sometimes he didn’t know what to do and he got frustrated, but the two of them have such a strong bond, everything was all written well! They both are learning new things, and they’re learning them together, happy together.

While the characters weren’t really developed, I did enjoy them around anyways. They made a fun dynamic in the kitchen or just in the episode itself. Yagi’s friendship with Kouhei, and Shinobu acting like a big sister towards Tsumugi, it all felt so nice. It was also nice seeing Tsumugi interact with her friends and the children in her school, which is another thing the show did so well with. So bravo.

Art and animation were pretty average. I wasn’t too fond of the OP theme, but the ED theme was nice. I have to say that Tsumugi’s little seiyuu did a splendid job. Sometimes her voice got a little too squeaky, but…she’s a child voice actress. She’s got plenty of time to perfect her voice. The OST was cute, not too memorable. The art was fine, though I noticed it got worse progressively with the show. The art style fits the cuteness of the show, though I can’t get over how weird Kotori’s mother’s face is. :/

horriblesubs-amaama-to-inazuma-12-1080p-mkv0060All in all, Amaama to Inazuma is a pretty enjoyable show. I criticize it, but I think I’m being fair, though you can disagree if you want. Or maybe these kinds of shows aren’t for me? I did like watching it every week, I was just having trouble blogging it. There are its ups and downs, but it has something really special. It has these sweet characters with strong bonds that make you smile and feel warm. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s funny, and just plain sweet! Depending who you are, it might get a little boring to you after awhile. But this is in no way a bad show. Even though I had my problems with it, I would still definitely recommend this show, because I just love how they represent the single parent lifestyle, with its pleasant moments, and its struggles. So I give this show a solid 7/10.

I would like it if this show would get another season, but if it follows the same formula, then I’d have to think twice about blogging it. Either way, I’d like more. Bye bye, Tsumugi-chan!

Show By Rock!! Short!! Episodes 11+12 (Final Impression)

Time for Season 2!

I don’t think I should bother much talking about each episode, since there isn’t much to say about either of them. Episode 11 was about an American egg teaching Criticrista about all those disgustingly cutesy poses, but Rosia ended up being the teacher since she’s basically an expert in all of that. The last episode was a TV show the bands got together to do where Rom transfers to a delinquent school, and he and Shuzo were about to fight, but that’s where it ends. In the end Plasmagica thanks everyone for the support and tells everyone to watch season 2, with is just going to start in a couple weeks. Exciting!

Final Impression

horriblesubs-show-by-rock-short-12-1080p-mkv0015What can I say, really? These series of shorts were just there to tide us over until the second season would start. These shorts showed the bands in sometimes their own leisurely time, we would see them on TV shows, commercials, and we would also learn their origins. These shorts were just little pieces of fun for us, to have us see our favorite characters again, but this time being goofy the entire time. It was short, fun, and just plain nice to watch. It was something to pass the time, since the episodes were only 3 minutes. I can’t really expect too much from a short series, like I said, they were for fun, but I wish they could have been a weensy bit longer. And more Plasmagica. These girls literally only had one episode, and that little bit in the end. So that was a little disappointing.

Animation? Same as first season. The only new piece of music we got was Plasmagica’s new single “Do-re-mi-fa PARTY!”, which was used as the ending theme. It’s a really cute song, and I heard a slightly longer version when I played the song in the game. It’s just plain cute, which is what I expect from this band, so I really liked it.

Literally, the only people that would watch this are Show By Rock fans, no one else. This is for the fans. So if you enjoyed the first season, marathon this little bit quick before the second season starts. You could probably finish all the episodes in…a little over half an hour. So you could pick any free day you got to sit down and watch.

Did this show do anything entirely new? No. But, we did get to learn a little bit more about some characters, and it was fun to see them do other stuff that didn’t have to do with Battle of the Bands or anything, like appearing on TV and commercials. But this show didn’t take it to another level, as they were only 3 minutes. So…yeah. It was fun to pass the time, I love this series, so I had fun watching this. 7/10. Would I recommend this? If you’re a Show By Rock fan, then yes. Now, we wait for the second season, which I’m pumped for! ^o^

Also, this has nothing to do with the anime, but I had to delete the game off of my phone because I had no space left for other things. I’m sad, my Chokiyurui UR is gone. :'( I hope we see some bands from the game in the second season. Bands I would love to see are:

  • Dolly Dolci
  • Chammy Chaplets
  • Alice Beans
  • Rapezziauto
  • Spectrenotes
  • Bud Virgin Logic
  • Arcareafact

Please!