Hunter X Hunter is coming to Toonami

maxresdefaultToonami has landed a big show once again, announcing they have acquired the dub of Hunter X Hunter. The series was created by Yoshihiro Togashi(the creator of YuYu Hakusho) and has been serialized in Shonen Jump since 1998.                                                                                 The anime series has been well received by fans and is one of the best series of all time in my opinion. Hopefully the dub can live up to the lofty standards that the original voice actors attained.                                                                                                Hunter X Hunter will premiere on April 16th on Toonami, you can find the first promo for it below.                                                                 https://youtu.be/xrEy5loSmVo

Hunter X Hunter is coming to Toonami

Why you should read: Berserk

Right off the bat Berserk has a lot of similarities to the very popular Game of Thrones. Both are brutal fantasy series with anti-hero protagonists.  Fans often have similar complaints that the authors(Kentaro Miura and George R.R. Martin) are not getting the content out there fast enough. There are often hiatuses during serialization, but in all honesty you gotta give the guy a break when he produces art like this.

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Guts stands off against Zodd

Berserk has been published since 1989 in Japan often on an irregular schedule. It is published in the magazine Young Animal which is basically Playboy mixed with comics. Berserk has also been adapted into anime and video game form, with mixed results. I would say the 90’s anime is the closest to a true adaptation and that does not come close to covering a majority of the written material.

The Plot

Berserk revolves around the exploits of the mercenary Guts who I would say hasn’t had the best of lives. He was born from a women who was hanged and was adopted by a man who sold him into prostitution at an early age. After escaping his life of abuse, he joins the mercenary group The Band of the Hawk.

After a certain betrayal Guts heads off to fight the Apostles, who are demon followers of the demonic God Hand. The God Hand are basically the deities of the Berserk world.

It becomes a personal fight for Guts, who has seen many comrades lose their lives to these villains.

The Art

If there is one thing that Berserk is known for besides its copious blood and gore, is the amazing art produced by Kentaro Miura. He is an amazing artist in my opinion, and it is possibly one of the reasons he is not able to put out chapters at a faster pace. If you are interested in art at all, you should definitely check the series out.

berserk artBerserk is collected in 37 volumes currently and available at most bookstores.

Why you should read: Berserk

ERASED is the most interesting anime of Winter so far

At its core, ERASED is a simple story about a man and his ability to time travel to protect the world around him from harm or incident. I am a sucker for good time travel stories so this show appealed to me right away.

But this anime delves deeper into the psyche of a man who is dealing with a traumatic childhood that follows him into his adulthood and his chance to change his mistakes.

The anime is described as:

Struggling manga author Satoru Fujinuma is beset by his fear to express himself. However, he has a supernatural ability which forces him to prevent deaths and catastrophes by being sent back in time before the incident occurred, repeating time until it is prevented. One day, he gets involved in an incident that has him framed as a murderer. Desperate to save the victim, he sends himself back in time only to find himself as a grade-schooler one month before fellow classmate Kayo Hinazuki went missing. Satoru now embarks on a new quest: to save Kayo and solve the mystery behind her disappearance.

Per My Anime List

I enjoyed  the first two episodes and especially the fact that the main character isn’t freaking out about being back in his childhood in 1988. It goes against a lot of typical tropes which spend episodes about a character adjusting to his surroundings. However, this anime introduces us to the main character who already knows he has these strange time travelling powers.

Also the animation is pretty great. All this adds up to a super promising show.

Here is the OP performed by Asian Kung-Fu Generation

ERASED can be watched via Crunchyroll or Hulu

 

ERASED is the most interesting anime of Winter so far

Why you need to play: The Ace Attorney Series

I was first introduced to the Ace Attorney series about 3 years ago. I had heard about the series but for some reason did not really have any interest in playing it. That changed when I played the first game in the series Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for the Nintendo DS. I fell in love with the writing, artwork, and especially the music.

Here are some of the reasons that the series is worth your time.

1. The cast of characters is fantastic.

From Phoenix to Maya, the cast of characters in the series is quirky and great. And most of them have huge roles in the series.

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I have no idea why they are wearing headphones

2. The music is superb.

Another aspect that the Ace Attorney series is known for is its amazing music. The series started out on the Game Boy Advance, so the music started out pretty basic, but still great. My favorite track follows.

3. Continuing plot in games

The games often carry plot points from earlier games and often try to culminate them in a series of twists and turns. I appreciate what the series tries to do in making a big spectacle of past plot devices.

 

Why you need to play: The Ace Attorney Series

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Note: This is my first review of a game, so consider it a work in progress.

Xenoblade Chronicles is a massive game and it’s kind of mind boggling that they fit it all on a New 3DS. The original game came out in 2012 for the Wii in North America and was met with critical acclaim. It was heralded as a new chance for Japanese role playing games to succeed in the current state of games. It seemed to reinvent the stale genre. In 2014, Nintendo announced a port of the game to the “New Nintendo 3DS” which is basically an enhanced version of the 3DS.

XenobladeWorld

Plot:

Xenoblade Chronicles has a very inspired setting. There are two gods that had a battle eons ago and are now the landmasses that living creatures inhabit. The Bionis is where the Homs live among other sentient beings including the High Entia and Nopon. The Mechonis is where the hated Mechons live, who seem to live to eat and terrorize the Homs. The story follows Shulk and his compatriots who live in Colony 9 on the Bionis. The story picks up a year after a major attack by the Mechons on Bionis.

Much of the story centers around a mysterious sword known as the Monado which is very effective at destroying the Mechons. However this blade seems to be unusable by most who try to use it and one of the major characters in the story, Dunban, nearly lost all movement in his arm after using it in a battle. The plot picks up after it is learned that Shulk can not only use the Monado but also receives visions of future events when he uses it.

The story turns into a revenge plot after a significant attack happens on Shulk’s home. Shulk and his friend Reyn swear to destroy all of the Mechons so the Homs people will stop getting attacked. This leads them to find more compatriots who are sympathetic to their cause.

I want to stress that the game has numerous plot twists that are really well done for the most part. The first major twist is pretty by the books and entirely predictable. However, the last plot point was one of the best I’ve ever seen in the medium of video games.

Review: This is my first review, so I will be introducing you to my highly scientific reviewing method.

The 5 review criteria that I have set are: Gameplay, Presentation, Sound, Performance, Plot/Lasting Appeal.

xenoblade gp

Gameplay 4.5/5

Xenoblade has a massive world and has a multitude of things to explore. I beat the 3DS version in 70 hours, but could have done a lot more had I done more sidequests. Sidequests can be very intricate and some are very interesting in the context of the characters of the game.

You will do a lot of collecting in the game, including new equipment and materials. There is also a feature called Collectopedia where you are tasked with collecting all of the materials in a certain area. You then are rewarded for adding them to the Collectopedia with items.

Xenoblade’s combat system is very MMOish in the fact that the combat in the game is based on cooldowns of your abilities. Also, most of your attacks in the game are auto done by the character you control. A lot of the combat in the game involves using buffs and debuffs to overpower the enemies you will be fighting.

A main part of the combat is Shulk’s ability to use the Monado. Shulk receives visions of the future which manifest themselves as viewing some of the attacks  that an enemy will make. You are then given a timer that counts down until the attack will hit. With the time counting down you will be able to change the future with different abilities. It is a very interesting concept and really freshens up the gameplay.

Sound: 5/5

The music in Xenoblade is incredible. Mostly composed by ACE+, the soundtrack covers a whole gamut of emotions. I put this soundtrack up to most any game I’ve played and was crushed when I learned that the sequel did not use the same band for the soundtrack. Here is a live version of my favorite track: Mechanical Rythm. It’s pretty great.

Another thing to note in the Sound category is the charming English dub of the game. The voices were all done in a UK studio, so it lends a charm to the voices. Reyn might be one of the best voiced characters I’ve come across.

 

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Imagine this on a 3DS screen

Presentation: 3/5

The port of the game is very impressive, but has its drawbacks. The game does not look as good as the Wii Version (especially on the Dolphin emulator) and the HUD is really cluttered. Besides that, the game is so colorful it makes up for the drawbacks in presentation.

Performance:3.5/5

The game runs fine for the most part, I had a few slowdowns in some boss fights when a lot of enemies show up on screen. I docked it mostly because the game froze on me in a late game boss battle and cutscene.

Plot/Lasting Appeal:5/5

Like I said before, Xenoblade Chronicles has a great story with a lot of twists and turns. I applaud the audacity of the development team for doing this.

Also when it comes to lasting appeal, Xenoblade Chronicles has a boatload of it. I finished the game at around 70 hours, but did not do most of the sidequests. I intend to play the game again and this time it will probably take me over 100 hours to complete.

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Overall: 4.2/5

Xenoblade Chronicles is a great game, but playing it on a 3DS has some drawbacks. This is not the definitive way to play the game in my opinion. The game is still worth playing wherever you have the capability, however.

 

 

 

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D