Category Archives: Uncategorized

Check Out Games Revisited

gamesRevisitedCapture1I’ve been meaning to add a link  to my new video gaming blog on Anime Epicuriosity. If anyone would like to read about the Japanese games that I play, feel free to check out Games Revisited at gamesrevisited.wordpress.com.

I’m a huge fan of both anime and video games. However, I’ve been playing video games a lot more often. I just feel like video games are more fascinating, because the medium is so experimental. A lot more of the ideas in these games are liable to fail, or to try radical new things.

Note that I usually play Japanese role-playing games that usually have anime-style graphics, so this isn’t a huge diversion for me. Besides, the Japanese anime shows even receive their own video games.

So if you have some free time, try out Games Revisited. I’ll be revisiting all the classic (and not-so-classic) games of my childhood. Right now, I’m checking out the unique world of Tales of Symphonia. If you have any suggestions about games that you’d like me to try, let me know in the comments below.

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Season Review: The Dumb Cute Squid Girl Show (Part One)

squidGirl1The story of the Squid Girl anime really isn’t complex. It’s about a little girl with a squid-shaped hat who wants to take over the world.

Yeah, this is ridiculous. To be honest, this is one of the silliest shows that I’ve ever seen. However, the creators come up with enough well-written lines to make this comedy cute and believable.

I probably shouldn’t explain this story, because it is very one-dimensional. It begins with our adorable main character–a girl with a white hat in the shape of a squid head, with blue tentacles hanging down from it. She barges into a beach restaurant called the Lemon Beach House and declares that she is taking over the world.

Everyone in the restaurant thinks that this cosplayer girl is playing a ridiculous joke on them, so they all just ignore her. The end.

Well, that could’ve just ended right there. Then again, she’d probably cause a ruckus amongst the customers. The waitress has a heart-to-heart chat with this weirdo in the back of the restaurant. Turns out that this “cosplayer” calls herself Squid Girl (or Ika Musume in Japanese). She has some sort of revenge plot to take over the world, to retaliate against the humans who pollute the ocean everyday.

Any normal person could’ve just ignored this girl. Thankfully, the restaurant owners see her as an opportunity to help grow their business. You see, the waitress and her big sister both own the restaurant. They live in an apartment nearby. They need all the help they can get, so they keep asking her to take dishes to the customers. After a while, Squid Girl gets fed up and tries to demonstrate that she doesn’t want to get bossed around. She shows her grown-up power by destroying a wall of the restaurant with one of her tentacles.

squidGirl2Of course, the waitress isn’t going to stand for this disaster. After all, if a girl destroys the wall, she has to pay for it. Squid Girl reluctantly agrees to work for the restaurant owners, to try to pay off her debt.

So that’s really the whole idea of this show. This comedy is more or less about Squid Girl and her quest to try to take over the world. After she pays off her debt. Okay, it’s a stupid premise. I’m not gonna lie.

The script writers come up with really funny jokes, though. In every episode, she seems to run into a wide variety of people who have some strange attraction to this Squid Girl. The owners’ little brother loves to play with Squid Girl’s tentacles. The girl in the house down the street has an unhealthy obsession with Squiddy (yeah, I’ll just call her Squiddy from now on) and she wants to dress up as her. The restaurant owners hire a new waiter, who is scared to death of weird people such as Squiddy.

Every dumb joke seems to focus around Squid Girl’s fascination with the world. Thankfully, the show takes a surprisingly dramatic turn at the end. This lowbrow comedy really could’ve stopped with a lame ending, but the writers did a good job in developing the characters. There’s also a second season, if anyone is willing to watch through more of the same old sight gags.

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Favorite Anime Openings (as of 2014)

Every anime has to have a stunning opening. No matter what kind of show it is, each show has to have an awesome music video to draw you in. Here are some of my personal favorites so far.

Feel free to watch a playlist of all my favorite anime openings on my YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSQUtn411JcHvXXuoToqEJaTXyRhBRvDg

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Season review: Anime Finally Portrays Gaming in All Its Glory

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I’ve seen all sorts of animated shows with video games or video game characters. However, I’ve never seen a truly accurate portrayal of the video game community. Most of the time, the hardcore players appear as obsessive hermits who stay at home all day.

That’s why the Sword Art Online anime is a breath of fresh air. It portrays the gaming community in brutal honesty, as they form close friendships in a mystical online adventure game.

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The whole first season of Sword Art Online just seems to show everything wonderful about the world inside video games. In fact, almost the entire show takes place inside a virtual reality online game, called Sword Art Online. The main character, Kazuto, is just a typical high school boy. When he wears his virtual reality headgear, he becomes a super-powered knight named Kirito in the video game world. He befriends a wide range of unique characters who are all seeking escapism. They learn to trust each other, battling evil bandits and various other monsters.

Sword Art Online just seems to hit all the right notes from the beginning to the end, but the show is also about escaping the video game world. As great as the video game world is, Kazuto and his friends are also trapped inside the game. Sword Art Online was deceptively designed to trap people inside the world for life, unless someone actually defeats the final boss. If any of their video game characters die, then they die in the real world as well.

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The world of Sword Art Online is set in Aincrad, a Medieval world of green pastures with a tall tower. Most of the drama focuses around the adventurers as they attempt to reach the final floor of the tower. However, the real charm in this show involves the romance between the main character, Kazuto, and a girl named Asuna. At around episode nine, Kazuto is almost killed by a sadistic traitor in their guild. From this point on, Asuna knows that she just cannot leave him behind.

In fact, most of the storyline focuses on the deep relationship between Kazuto and Asuna. Their life in the virtual world allows them to do many things that might be too risque in the real world. They marry each other and sleep in the same bed. They take a honeymoon vacation. They even adopt an orphan girl named Yui. Their love life is almost too beautiful to leave behind.

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This anime is a perfect representation of how video games allow people to socialize with each other in unique ways. It isn’t completely flawless, though. The story loses part of its charm at around the halfway point, after Kazuto manages to escape from Sword Art Online. Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll just say that the story doesn’t end after he escapes from that world. He has to enter yet another video game world.

The show tends to repeat many of its themes, especially in the second half of episodes. The story still maintains its high level of excitement through every single episode, but the final battle is rather disappointing. I was expecting tons of fireworks and intense sword action at the end, but most of the intense action at the end actually happens in the real world. Don’t get me wrong–the ending was a thriller in itself. However, it all just could have looked a lot more epic.

I still loved Sword Art Online, though. It is one of the best television shows I’ve ever seen about video games. The storyline probably could have been refined a little more, but the characters were very memorable. In fact, everything in the show is bursting with vibrant colors and gorgeous background artwork. In my opinion, it was my favorite show of 2013. The best anime shows are all about wonderful memories. Sword Art Online is just chock-full of some of my favorite characters of all time.

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Wonderful Pop Idols Dance in Tear-Jerking Drama

loveLive1 Anime shows about music bands are often big hits, because they combine hip music with impressive animation. Love Live follows this same formula, but it also captures the drama of high school friendships with beautiful, tear-jerking honesty.

Love Live: School Idol Project isn’t the most original anime, but it packed in enough emotional twists to keep me on the edge of my seat.

The plot of Love Live is deceptively simple on the surface. The main character is a high school girl named Honoka Kosaka. Her high school, Otonokizaka Academy, is closing down because fewer people are applying to attend it. Even her little sister would rather attend the futuristic new high school in the neighborhood, UTX High School.

Hosaka decides to visit the school for herself, to find out what makes UTX so special. That’s when Hosaka sees the main attraction–a high school pop group called A-Rise. The group has grown in popularity to the point where they are practically the official spokeswomen for the entire school of UTX. They even give a special greeting message to the new students entering the massive school building, which looks more like a skyscraper.

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To be honest, UTX had a lot of high-tech equipment. All the students have smartphones. They all scan their phones into a turnstile, just to enter the school grounds. However, Honoka knows that the school’s pop group, A-Rise, is the main attraction. In order to raise attendance for her high school, Honoka decides to start her own pop idol dance group with her friends. Thus begins a grand scheme to save Otonokizaka Academy through the power of pop music and dancing.

To tell the truth, I don’t think any high school band could actually save an entire school from shutting down. However, pop idols practically rule the entire futuristic world of this anime show. All the idol groups are in constant competition, posting their dancing and singing performances on a special social network for idols. Their main goal is to win Love Live, a championship tournament for pop idols.

The entire story follows a rather redundant format. Honoka and her two best buddies spend the majority of the first season hunting for new recruits to make her group one of the best in Japan. There are plenty of characters who seem all too familiar in these types of shows. There’s a shy girl named Hanayo, who has to muster her courage to join the group. There is a strict student council president name Eli, who thinks that the entire pop group is a joke. All these character types appear a little too predictable after a certain point.

Thankfully, the story picks up steam near the end of the season. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that the group faces intense pressure in the days before the Love Live tournament even begins. On top of this, one of the members also receives a surprise letter that could change her future forever. The show has plenty of drama and saddening moments. Although the final episode rushed some of the most intense moments a little too quickly, I was still impressed.

loveLive3 The dance numbers also use tons of incredible computer animation with the help of motion-capture actors. The visuals and the music meld together to make this show a dazzling experience. Everyone should at least watch one of the episodes, just to get themselves hooked on the pop idol trends in anime today.

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After a Three-Year Hiatus

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As anyone can see, I haven’t posted in this anime blog in three years. I really thought that I would continue my posts more often, but a lot of things happened to me in that period of time.

So to clear things up: I will post some new reviews this week.

People are probably wondering why I haven’t updated this in so long. To be honest, I was focusing on my freelance writing career in the beginning. Then I sidetracked myself by writing video game blogs for Bitmob and VentureBeat. Then I decided to work on an associate’s degree in computer information systems, because I had a tough time finding a stable job.

The last few years felt rough. On top of that, I didn’t want to review anime at the time for a few reasons. First of all, I didn’t earn enough money to pay for an online video subscription. Most of my first jobs hardly provided any money for me, so I didn’t have the nerve to plunk down money just to watch anime.

Second, anime simply wasn’t as widely available three years ago. As far as I know, the only streaming service for anime shows at the time was crunchyroll.com. Hulu and Netflix hardly paid attention to such shows. The websites gradually built their library up, though. Now there are plenty of shows available, new and old.

I can finally review the shows that I want to watch. The anime industry has changed a lot over the years though.

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For starters, moe is now a more widely-accepted style of anime. Kyoto Animation built an entire empire on shows such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star. Although the hype for these cute characters has faded somewhat, there are still hints of moe around in various action and romantic comedy shows.

DVD prices have also skyrocketed. Many of the new shows are now in season boxes. Some publishing companies have kept their box prices low, while others have raised them to astronomically high prices. Most of these pricing changes have taken place, because most of the fans now prefer to watch shows on cheaper Internet streaming services. Now the price of DVDs is more or less based on the popularity and the rarity of the series.

Aside from this, anime is growing more popular than ever. I guess the Internet has forever changed how we watch anime. Even the underground fans have scrounged around the illegal websites for rare, uncensored shows from the old days. Believe me–if it exists, someone is streaming it.

So look forward to a few reviews from Anime Epicuriosity. This time, you won’t be disappointed.

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Welcome back! Again!

In case anyone is still wondering if I am still posting, wonder no more. I’m back to writing anime reviews.

My blog-posting habits always enter strange twists. For an entire month, I just stopped for some reason. I guess I looked into posting articles on a video game website. However, after a few posts, my heart just wasn’t in it. My tastes are just too different from the other video game players.

I still watch anime very regularly though. In fact, the finale of Steins;Gate was probably the best ending I’ve seen in a long time. It rekindled my odd love for visual novel games. So I actually downloaded a visual novel game on my iPad. And I loved every second of the first episode.

So just so that everyone knows–I am not dead. I am still a big anime fan. In fact, I still wish that video game publishers would consider porting over that new Studio Ghibli RPG for the Wii.

I might also make some changes as I move back into the swing of blogging. I’m sorry if I got anyone worried over the last few weeks.

…Well, not that anyone’s paying that much attention to a blog with very little activity. However, all that will eventually change, because Willy Wonka is back in action.

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