Author: Luke Halliday

Skating for Fun – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Three) – Season’s Writings

Skating should be fun. That is the message that is drilled home by the latest episode of SK8 the Infinity and, as a skater myself, there is no greater truth than that. Picking up where we left off last week, Langa has accepted the challenge of Chinen, the National Championship hopeful. Chinen is immediately presented as on another level, as he easily out skates Reki and Langa in a freestyle skating session. Chinen tells Langa to get his board sorted because he doesn’t want any excuses when he defeats him in the S race. After some training at a local parking garage—which I can attest is just a great spot to skate in general—Langa and Reki are chased away by local security before Reki trips over some garbage, which included a broken piece of an office chair, and he is struck with some inspiration. Reki decides to redesign the trucks on Langa’s board to have full rotational spin like the office chair wheels do. We see that Chinen is a bit stuck up and considers …

Double Trouble – WandaVision (Episode Three) – Season’s Writings

After the world of WandaVision entered into the age of colour television at the end of last weeks episode, we join Wanda and Vision in a Brady Bunch–style sitcom setting as they come to grips with the reality that Wanda is now pregnant—and it is progressing remarkably fast. The episode continues the general plot of Wanda and Vision trying to keep their super abilities a secret from the other inhabitants of Westview, but the reality in which they live has well and truly begun to crumble. The surprise being that Wanda is seemingly aware of the false reality she is living in and able to manipulate it, should it venture too far from her ideal fantasy life. There is a crucial moment midway through the episode where Vision appears to begin questioning things, telling Wanda that “Something isn’t quite right here.” With a brief look of sadness on Wanda’s face, the episode suddenly appears to glitch or skip back a few moments and Vision no longer seems to be questioning the insanity around him and …

Ollie Revolution – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Two) – Season’s Writings

Word travels fast in the skateboarding scene, and after the complete unknown rookie Langa defeated the champion Shadow, social media has been set abuzz about the mysterious, blue-haired skater who conquered the downhill jam of the S race. All of the skaters across Okinawa now know about Langa and, as we come to find out, that has now put a target of sorts on his back in the skateboarding world. This weeks episode focused primarily on the growing friendship between Reki and Langa, as Reki aims to teach him how to properly ride a skateboard—without having to tape his feet to the deck like he did during the S race. Langa struggles due to a number of reasons: for one, he rides goofy style, and he is mentally still set in his ways with his snowboarding background. As the episode progresses, though, we see Langa improve slowly but surely—after suffering more than his fair share of bumps and bruises. When he finally hits an ollie near the end of the episode, it was a truly …

Oh So Bewitching! – WandaVision (Episodes One and Two) – Season’s Writings

After an eighteen-month-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic—which felt like an infinity, to be sure—the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back with the Disney+ series WandaVision. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was definitely the case when it came to the MCU. I watched the debut of WandaVision with the biggest, goofiest of smiles etched across my face. It was good to be back in the world of Marvel again, although things aren’t quite as they seem in WandaVision. The first episode opens in the style of golden-age sitcoms and television of a bygone era. The entire episode is in black and white, and we are introduced to the familiar faces of Wanda Maximoff and Vision, albeit styled as husband and housewife of the 1950s. It is immediately clear that things are not as they seem, with countless curious moments that highlight the surreal reality that Wanda and Vision now inhabit, but the series does not yet stray too far from it’s sitcom genre framing. Rather brilliantly, the show actually plays …

In Erdrick’s Footsteps – Dragon Quest (Switch) – Humble Opinions

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the original release of Dragon Quest in Japan—on the Famicom. There have been eleven main-series instalments and countless spin-off games released since then. With the entire main-line series (bar the MMO instalment, Dragon Quest X) now having had an official English-language release, I figured it was time I explored some of those older Dragon Quest titles I never had a chance to experience. With the Nintendo Switch remastered releases of the Erdrick Trilogy (Dragon Quest I–III), I figured there was no better place to start than with the game that started it all. So, please join me as I endeavour to take on the quest that is the Erdrick Trilogy. Dragon Quest on the Nintendo Switch is a remastered version of the original 1986 genre-defining classic, ported across from the mobile version and rescaled. The game feels immediately familiar, as a long-time JRPG fan, because this game was the innovator that started it all. Every JRPG that you’ve likely ever played features some element of gameplay that was …

Downhill Jam – SK8 the Infinity (Episode One) – Season’s Writings

As a skateboarder myself, I have been eagerly awaiting the premiere of SK8 the Infinity, a full-fledged skateboarding anime series. Lucky for me, SK8 the Infinity turned out to be every bit as great as I had hoped it would be. The animation, the music, the attention to detail regarding the skateboards themselves, and the way the show captures the feeling of skating so authentically were truly remarkable and noteworthy achievements to me. SK8 the Infinity follows skateboarder Reki, a young lad who works at the local skate shop Dope Sketch. Reki participates often in the local underground skateboarding race known simply and mysteriously as S, which is not unlike the Downhill Jam level in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The champion, Shadow, who looks like a rejected member of KISS, decided to completely and utterly humiliate Reki after defeating him in the S race by burning his skateboard in front of the entire crowd. So yes, Shadow is a bit of a dick. After the failure and loss, Reki comes to meet an exchange student …

Bing Bang Boom – XIII – Humble Opinions

The original XIII released back in 2003 and has gone on to become a cult classic. When it was announced that XIII would be getting a remake for modern audiences, naturally, fans were quite excited to see such a beloved game with a new coat of paint—reborn on current day technology. In a rather strange turn of fate, the original game would see a resurgence in sales upon the release of the remake because, quite frankly, the remake is a mess. So much of a mess that even the developers issued a public apology for the state of the game on release. Now, for the sake of this review, I’m going to try and find the silver lining here with the XIII remake; but, bare well in mind that, they are few and far between. One of the major issues fans of XIII had with the remake was its decision to completely overhaul the game’s iconic cel-shaded art style. Now, while this change in art direction really subtracts a lot of the original games charm, …

Live, Die, Repeat – Palm Springs – Humble Opinions

After several months of anticipation, Palm Springs, the latest Andy Samberg vehicle from Hulu, made it’s way to the Prime Video streaming platform in Australia—meaning I was able to finally watch the darn thing after watching the trailer ad nauseum. As someone who loves the film Groundhog Day, I was naturally drawn to what looked to be a modern take on the infinite time-loop scenario. So was Palm Springs worth the wait? Yes, very much yes it was. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs takes the infinite time-loop concept of Groundhog Day and flips it on its head. Unlike Groundhog Day which sees Bill Murray repeat the titular day over and over, Palm Springs explores what it would be like to share that experience with someone else. Set at a wedding in Palm Springs, we learn that Samberg’s character, Niles, has been stuck in the loop for an immeasurable amount of time and has completely given up on trying to escape the loop—just embracing the fact that he is in this situation nothing really …

Driving Dirty – Dirt 5 – Humble Opinions

It has been thirteen years since the first instalment in the Dirt franchise and, over the course of that period of time, Codemasters have refined and polished the series into what has become one of the most enjoyable racing properties on the market. Dirt 5 continues that trend, providing what may very well be the most complete off-road rally-racing video game experience to date. Upon loading up Dirt 5 for the first time, I was immediately blown away by the plethora of gameplay options available to me; the deep customisation options only add to that. There are countless gameplay modes and a rather incredible career mode with its own narrative—that features the voice work of iconic voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker. The career mode will have you running the gauntlet in a variety of different styles of racing, be it rally, stadium super trucks, and even ice-road racing. You never get a chance to get bored, as the game switches things up frequently enough that you are always taking on new challenges and …

Burning Rubber – Ride 4 – Humble Opinions

Since the series’ inception back in 2015, the Ride series has proven with each instalment to be staking its claim as the best motorcycle racing game on the market. Now, with Ride 4, we get the most complete and polished iteration of developer Milestone S.r.l’s vision for the motorcycle racing video game genre. If Forza Motorsport was a revolutionary take on the motorsport gaming experience, Ride 4 is the same kind of revolution for motorcycle racers. It is, simply put, the game that motorcycle racing fans have been waiting for. Ride 4 builds upon the incredible game design of the previous Ride instalments, with a plethora of new features and modes that are sure to delight motorcycle enthusiasts and Ride fans alike. There are immersive, advanced customisation options new to Ride 4, as well as the very interesting new AI system developed by Milestone S.r.l—which will adapt to the way you play, changing as the game goes on. The new Career Mode will, however, likely be the bulk of the experience for those who want …

FIFA for Anime Fans – Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions – Humble Opinions

Football video games are trotted out by the year with little more than a face lift. Yet football fanatics, loyal as they are, purchase the latest FIFA or PES game each year without fail—mostly because the franchises have earned the trust of the players. The games play very well and are simple yet complex, meaning they can be enjoyed by both casual and hardcore players alike; it is undoubted that these football video games are very fun. Enter Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions—an anime fan’s FIFA game. Whether you are in the know about the legendary Captain Tsubasa football anime series or not, there are all the hallmarks of both a great football game and a great anime game here. Not unlike Captain Tsubasa‘s modern equivalent Inazuma Eleven, the players in the game are able to use supernatural abilities to spice up the play with some wild and explosive shots and manoeuvres. Gameplay-wise, the core foundation of the game is in the football matches themselves. If you have ever played a FIFA game, the football …

Claire de Lune – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Humble Opinions

After an eleven-year break, the spin-off series of the Final Fantasy franchise returns with the remastered edition of the game that started it all way back in 2003: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition. Given new life on the Switch, PS4, and mobile devices—with online cross play between the platforms—the remastered edition is an ambitious effort from Square Enix, to say the very least. Unfortunately, its own ambition may have ultimately proved to be its defining flaw. Generally speaking, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition plays relatively identically to the original GameCube title—more a dungeon-crawling action RPG than the typical Final Fantasy formula. The crux of the original game was its multiplayer mode, which was truly where the game shined. Rather disappointingly, the remastered edition launched with a plethora of issues that plagued the online multiplayer mode, making it impossible to play the multiplayer mode for the first several weeks after launch (a problem that plagued Oceania region more so than other regions). That said, after ultimately patching the issues and correcting things, the game …

A New Legend Begins – Ary and the Secret of Seasons – Humble Opinions

There have been an incalculable number of games that have tried to emulate the magic of The Legend of Zelda games—very few have ever come close. Ary and the Secret of Seasons undoubtedly owes a lot to The Legend of Zelda as well; the more and more you play it, the more you come to find that Ary has undeniably and indisputably carved out her own legend. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a vast game that just begs to be explored. The world of Valdi and its colourful cast of characters are bursting with life, in ways that games of the same genre often fail to accomplish. The expansive world is rich with detail and you will no doubt find yourself wanting to inspect every nook and cranny. The main hook of the game is Ary’s season-changing abilities, which adds an even deeper layer to the world—as each season can open different paths and place a different perspective on each location. Speaking of the season-altering abilities of our heroine, Ary, it hearkens back to …

Not That Nirvana – Nirvanna The Band The Show (Season One) – Humble Opinions

Nirvanna the Band the Show is the most innovative and genre redefining comedy series in recent history, but you probably don’t know that; you probably wouldn’t have guessed it was even a comedy series. You probably don’t know that because it also has one of the worst titles for a comedy series ever, likely by design. The show, which is named after the titular Nirvanna the Band (which in turn is named after the band Nirvana), is an uproariously hilarious romp that feels unlike any other show on television. It follows life-long best friends Jay McCarroll and Matt Johnson as they concoct increasingly elaborate plans to get their band, Nirvanna the Band, booked at a bar restaurant in Toronto called The Rivoli. The show is filmed in mockumentary style; however, it blends that style together with candid footage and improv, featuring people unaware that the show is even filming. Ultimately, it comes off as a bizarre Canadian hybrid of The Office and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat. The show frequently features references—and even straight up recreations—of …

You’ll Never Be The Same – ‘Flowers for Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes – Humble Opinions

It has been two months since I finished reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Since then, I haven’t been able to pick up another book. Upon reading the final pages, teary eyed on the train home from a long day at work, I found myself emotionally devastated. I was deeply moved by this book, and it had a profound impact on me. I had planned on writing this humble opinion that very same night—in fact I created the draft post for it that night—but, no matter what I did, I couldn’t bring myself to put words to the devastation. This is not just any old book. Flowers for Algernon is quite simply one of the greatest works of literature in modern history. I thought a lot about what this article should look like or what I should write about: Should I analyse the plot of the book or break down its themes and why they resonated with me? Should I dive into the structure of the book and how it may be one of …

Trouble at the Tournament – Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (Galaxian Wars Arc) – Humble Opinions

For the first time ever, the complete original run of the Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac anime series has been released in full English dub—thanks to Netflix. That’s right, all 114 original episodes—which aired from 1986 to 1989—are now available to English language audiences completely uncut and with restored visuals and audio. The series has previously seen release in heavily edited formats, such as the ADV Films dub which retitled the series as Knights of the Zodiac and commissioned punk band Bowling for Soup to cover A Flock of Seagull’s 80s hit “I Ran (So Far Away)” for the theme song. The dub was widely criticised for being almost unrecognisable from the original series—with its plentiful alterations and censorship. Having no legal manner in which to watch the series, many English speaking fans had to resort to fansubs; not anymore. As a long-time fan of the Saint Seiya series and franchise, I decided to give the Netflix dub a spin and found myself amazed at its production quality and incredible dubbing effort. As such, …

Newtype Wonderland – Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On – Humble Opinions

From the arcades of Tokyo to PlayStation 4’s across the globe, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On gives console gamers the addictive arcade experience—from the comfort of their own home. Maxi Boost On is an upgraded port of the wildly popular arcade cabinet game Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. and he action and intensity of the Mobile Suit Gundam series is on show here in what may very well be the best entry into the series’ long line of video games to date; its addictive arcade-style nature makes this a game that is hard to put down. Maxi Boost On plays exactly like its arcade counterpart: placing you in an expansive map and charging you with combating enemy Mobile Suits in fast-paced and often times overwhelming action. There is a massive list of Mobile Suits available, spanning just about every iteration of the Gundam franchise. If there is a particular Mobile Suit you have in mind, it is most likely available to play in—and likely upon launching the game as well. I was truly impressed by …

Kickflip My Heart – Skater XL – Humble Opinions

It has been a very long time since someone has done something to reinvent the wheel with the skateboarding video-game genre. The genre has always been fun to dive into and just enjoy skating, but games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the Skate series always had a more arcade style to them—never truly feeling like real skateboarding. Enter Skater XL: an innovative new entry into the hallowed halls of skateboarding video games, which comes about as close to skateboarding simulation as can be. Part of what made the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series so addictive were its simple controls and how easy it was to pull of insane tricks. Skater XL takes the opposite approach: attempting to simulate skateboarding rather than simply have you tap a button to do a trick. Skater XL implements an innovative Independent Foot Control system which allows you to manipulate and control each foot of your skater with the analogue sticks. This admittedly comes with a steep learning curve at the start, but once you come to understand the …

The Secret is Out – Ary and the Secret of Seasons – Coming Attractions

Playing Ary and the Secret Of Seasons feels immediately familiar. Ary’s world of Valdi feels very Disney-esque and her ability to harness the power of the seasons will no doubt remind many of Frozen—though the story itself may have more in common with Mulan. However, in terms of gameplay, Ary and the Secret of Seasons clearly takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda franchise and even plays like a fully 3D version of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons—a Game Boy Color title which likewise allowed players to control the seasons to transform locations and solve puzzles. Although the game feels so very familiar, Ary and the Secret of Seasons pays homage to its inspirations while proving to stand on its own merit as well. We were able to try out a preview build of the game on PC thanks to our friends at Turn Left Distribution. The preview build gave us the ability to play the first section of the game, learning the basics of the game’s world and meeting its various colourful …

The Cult of the Machine – Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus – Humble Opinions

The Warhammer 40,000 franchise has arguably one of the most well-crafted lores in popular culture. It is complex and deep in all the right ways, which makes it ripe for exploration in a variety of different mediums—be it on the table top, in literature, or through video games. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus may very well be one of the most interesting entries into the long-running multimedia franchise. Combining XCOM style strategy gameplay with the world and lore of Warhammer 40,000 proves to be a winning formula for Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is now available on the Nintendo Switch and it actually finds itself perfectly at home on the console. The game plays like a faster paced XCOM-style strategy game and lends itself nicely to quicker gaming sessions—compared to other gaming entries in the Warhammer series which can be more time demanding. That said, it doesn’t mean that the game itself has been simplified or dumbed down; instead the Warhammer experience has been streamlined through a turn-based strategy game format—to superb results. For those uninitiated …

Trying to Log Out – Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris – Humble Opinions

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris begins with series protagonist Kirito trying to log out of the virtual reality game he has found himself in. To his surprise, he is seemingly trapped in the game without the ability to log out. It is a moment that encapsulates the entire experience of Alicization Lycoris—you can’t help but want to log out and play something else. The Sword Art Online franchise is source material ripe for making a video game from; however, so many of the attempts to make a Sword Art Online game have failed to capitalise on the inherent excitement of the series’ concept. While some like Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet actually make an attempt at exploring the video game world in a compelling and engaging way—telling an original story and letting you craft your own player in the Sword Art Online world—Alicization Lycoris is too focused on being a direct adaptation of the anime series, rather than being a good game. Alicization Lycoris retells the story of the “Alicization Arc” of the series, following …

Crystal Clear – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Coming Attractions

It has been almost two decades since the Final Fantasy series saw the release of one of its most unique instalments: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo GameCube. The game was revolutionary back in 2003 and redefined what a Final Fantasy game could really be. The original GameCube game proved to be so popular that it went on to spawn its own spin-off series under the Crystal Chronicles banner—with titles released on both the Nintendo DS and Wii. Differentiating themselves from the mainline Final Fantasy games, the Crystal Chronicles series were all set within the same world and followed characters and stories spanning two millennia. However, after the release of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, the series has seemingly been sidelined or forgotten by Square Enix. Although, that is all about to change with the upcoming Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition for the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to Bandai Namco and Square Enix, we were able to get a look at this remastered edition of Crystal Chronicles; needless to say, from the …

Can You Dig It? – Mr. Driller DrillLand – Humble Opinions

It has been five years since the last instalment in the Mr. Driller series—a mobile spin-off title: Mr. Driller for Kakao—and more than a decade since the last main series release. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, much like Dig Dug (the series which spun off into Mr. Driller), this series was effectively a dead property at this point. That is why it comes as such a pleasant surprise that Namco Bandai has revived the series with a full remake of the GameCube classic which defined the series: Mr. Driller DrillLand. The GameCube game has been remade completely from scratch here for the Nintendo Switch in glorious fashion. Mr. Driller DrillLand for the Nintendo Switch maintains all the features that made the GameCube version so remarkable, all the while expanding upon them and improving the visual aspects of the game. For the uninitiated, Mr. Driller is essentially a wicked combination of Dig Dug and Tetris—only you’re playing Tetris in reverse. The aim of the game is to drill your way through the various blocks and make …

The Most Insane Spectacle in The History of Wrestling – AEW’s Stadium Stampede – Going Over

What can ten professional wrestlers create in an empty 80,000 seat arena? Well, we now have the answer to that question: absolute entertainment. On 23 rd May 2020, All Elite Wrestling held their annual Double or Nothing pay-per-view event—headlined by the first ever 5 vs 5 Stadium Stampede match. This match would see a ring placed in the middle of a gridiron football field, yet allows the entire stadium to be the battleground for what ultimately amounts to wrestling’s answer to Marvel’s Civil War. The idea of this match ultimately sounds silly: wrestlers brawling across a massive football stadium. What can they really do that couldn’t be done in a standard wrestling environment? Well, the answer was beyond this writer’s imagination. It was simply the most insane spectacle in professional wrestling history. The match has been brewing since the inception of AEW’s weekly program, AEW Dynamite, when The Inner Circle first formed and laid The Elite to waste in the main event of the first episode—in chaotic fashion. Over the course of the past eight …

One Record Wonder – ‘Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too?’ by The New Radicals – In Retrospect

Whether you were aware of it or not, you’ve likely heard a song written by the New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander. While the New Radicals only ever released one record—Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too?, which itself produced arguably the most timeless one hit wonder in music history “You Get What You Give” (this writer’s all time favourite song)—Alexander would go on to enjoy a successful career as a song-writer for artists such as Beyoncé, Ronan Keating, The Kaiser Chiefs, Enrique Iglesias, The Struts, and even Santana—just to name a few. Alexander even received a Grammy Award for writing the song “Game of Love” by Santana and Michelle Branch. Despite the countless hits he had written for other artists, it is still the New Radicals one record wonder Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too? that stands as Alexander’s crowning achievement as a musical artist. While the New Radicals are most best remembered for their proverbial one hit wonder “You Get What You Give”, and for good reason, their one and only record is a musical odyssey the …

Self-Help Fiction – ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho – Humble Opinions

The Alchemist is a book I have had recommended to me countless times throughout my lifetime; it is undoubtedly a wildly popular book that has sparked a cult following. Finally conceding, I picked up a copy at the recommendation of my local book store clerk—the 25th Anniversary edition in fact. The book presents nicely and doesn’t fail to intrigue with its curious blurb, which boldly claims that a persons only responsibility in life is to fulfil their personal destiny. It is the type of phrase that is both eye catching and enticing to potential readers, the sort of thing that The Alchemist is full of—immediately intriguing lines of philosophy, written in a simple manner that anyone can understand with little thought. It is in those allegedly philosophical lines that The Alchemist hangs its entire story on. At the half way point of reading this novel, I wasn’t sure if I was reading something genuinely great or absolutely awful. The book plays more like self-help disguised as fiction than it does as traditional novella. This is …

Escaping Life’s Daily Grind – How I Found Purpose and Meaning Through Skateboarding – With Interest

“It’s funny to think that you’re just on a piece of wood on wheels and somehow you are controlling it. It’s just amazing if you really think about it.” These were the musings of my younger brother after I had taken him out for his third skateboarding session. It is that initial sense of wonder that hits just about everybody who has ever decided to skate for the first time. There is something unique and profoundly affecting about skateboarding, and—with the skate parks across the country made a no-go zone, and police handing out hefty fines for those caught skating amid this global pandemic—I find myself longing for the state of zen that comes with a board beneath my feet and the wind against my face. Ultimately, this pandemic has allowed me to reflect on how much skateboarding has affected and bettered my life. I find myself back where I was a few years ago: a time before skateboarding became a part of my every day life.   View this post on Instagram   Stay …

Connecting The World – Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Humble Opinions

Luke Halliday My first experience with the Animal Crossing series was on the GameCube. Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and witnessing the feverish hype surrounding the game, it is evident that Animal Crossing has become one of Nintendo’s most popular and acclaimed series since its humble debut on Nintendo’s purple box that could. Tracing the history of the Animal Crossing franchise is an important part of understanding why New Horizons has had gamers clearing shelves across the country, not unlike the pandemic panic buying of toilet paper that has concurrently been taking place. The Animal Crossing series began rather humbly. The GameCube version didn’t allow for travelling to other players villages via online play because, quite simply, that wasn’t a possibility at the time. The game simply charged you with paying off your home loan, building up your own house, and welcoming other villagers to your town. I have many fond memories bonding over this game with my siblings—my sister of which has rather eagerly aided me in making this a joint Humble Opinions piece, …

The Heart of the Storm – Kafka on the Shore – Humble Opinions

When asked about the secret to understanding his novel, author Haruki Murakami had this to say: “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write.” Kafka on the Shore is as described by Murakami as “filled with riddles”. It is a labyrinth of prose that may prove to be utterly mystifying upon first read. It is a novel that, while being a bona fide page-turner, is a book that challenges the reader to really stop and think about it. A deep dive into the themes and ideas conveyed in this book undoubtedly is a rewarding experience. Kafka on the Shore is somewhat of a departure from Murakami’s usual work. Unlike books like Norwegian Wood or …

Strategic Romantic – Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV – Humble Opinions

After fourteen installments across countless gaming platforms dating as far back as 1985, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series stands as one of the longest running franchises in gaming history. Yet despite that fact, you’d be forgiven for not having come across the series previously. While it is a genuinely popular franchise in Asia, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series has always struggled to find an audience in the Western world. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is perhaps best put as the culmination of the entire franchise up until this point. The strategic gameplay system is damn near perfected after all these iterations, and will provide strategy game fans more than enough to sink their teeth into. The game requires a lot of thought and focus in order to do well, proving to be a hardcore strategy gamers delight. That said, if you are in the market for something of a more casual experience set within the Three Kingdoms historical setting, perhaps you’d be better off exploring the spin-off series …

We Are All Team Rider! – Interview With TokuChris – Waxing Inquisitive

Hot off the heels of the successful Team Rider meet up in New York City and ahead of the upcoming C2E2 event in Chicago, I had the opportunity to correspond with Chris Boothroy of TokuNation (known in the toku community as “TokuChris”) regarding all things tokusatsu and Kamen Rider. Here’s what he had to say: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. To start off could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in the tokusatsu community? Thanks for reaching out to speak with me! My name is Chris – known more as TokuChris on social media. I’m a husband and a father first and foremost. I’ve been a fan of tokusatsu for roughly 30 years and have really gotten in to the greater community of it in the last 10 years. I started TokuNation back in 2012 because aside from a blog or a Facebook group here or there it was hard to find streamlined news and information for toys, collectibles, and the shows. I’ve also started PwrRngr.com …

Who’s Eating Who? – Parasite – Humble Opinions

The buzz surrounding Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite cannot be understated. The film has just gone on to utterly clean up at the Academy Awards including winning the top prize of Best Picture – the first non-English language film to do so in the 92 years of the awards ceremony. Truly an impressive feat regardless of the films native language and country of origin. Admittedly, going into Parasite I had little to no knowledge of what the film was exactly about. I had only watched two other films by Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer and The Host, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I know Joon-ho is acclaimed for nearly all of his films, so my expectations were that this too must be at the very least as good as Snowpiercer and The Host. So I rented the film on Google Play, decided to turn down the lights, and got stuck into the film. What awaited me was truly beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. Parasite is at it’s core a film about a poor family …

The Future of AEW – Media Call with Cody Rhodes – Going Over

On 19th February 2020, All Elite Wrestling held a media conference call with Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes. Members of the media were invited onto the call to ask questions regarding the future of All Elite Wrestling, and we at SnapThirty were lucky enough to be invited to partake in the conference call as well. There were several very interesting pieces of information divulged by Cody during the Q&A portion of the call. Interesting to note was that Cody spoke in detail about the talent development and scouting process of AEW. He announced that he has opened a wrestling school which will be called ‘The Nightmare Factory’ and confirmed that AEW signees Sadie Gibbs and Anthony Agogo will be training at the school. Furthermore, he confirmed that he will be scouting talent at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament with Taz later this year. When asked his opinion on who is the currently most underrated wrestler in All Elite Wrestling, Cody immediately said Jack Evans, member of the tag team ‘The Hybrid Two’. He said that not …

The Beauty Through The Pain – The Ten Lashings of Cody Rhodes – Going Over

On the 5th of February episode of All Elite Wrestling’s weekly television program AEW: Dynamite, a monumental storyline angle took place. After weeks of build up and bargaining between Cody Rhodes and his former friend (turned bitter enemy) Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF), the terms upon which Cody would get his match with MJF were set. Cody was unable to lay his hands on MJF until said proposed match; Cody would have to face MJF’s bodyguard Wardlow in a steel cage match; and most curious of all was that Cody would have to survive 10 lashings at the hands of MJF on live television, as MJF put it, “In front of his friends, family and god.” It was during this instant classic angle that All Elite Wrestling would truly define themselves as the alternative to WWE that they had always promised to be. While WWE is so often a product driven by the destination, AEW has set itself apart as being a product that puts equal, if not more, focus on the journey to said destination. …

A Date With Destiny – The Story of Tetsuya Naito and KENTA – Going Over

On the 9th of February 2020, Osaka Jo-Hall was the stage of the most anticipated wrestling bout in recent memory. ‘The Ingobernable One’ Tetsuya Naito put both his IWGP World Heavyweight championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship on the line against the most hated man in Japan: KENTA. Why was this match so hotly anticipated by puroresu fans? Simple really: the fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling wanted to see Tetsuya Naito beat the hell out of KENTA. The paths that have led both men to one another can be traced back to the years 2013 and 2014: one year that would hold wild success, and the other utter devastation for both men. In 2013, Naito would win his first G1 Climax tournament and ultimately go on to challenge IWGP World champion Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom the following January 4th, in 2014. At the time, Naito was portraying the character of the Stardust Genius, a ring technician and clean cut babyface. Following a negative fan reaction to a confrontation between Naito and Okada, the board …

You’re Gonna Carry That Weight – Cowboy Bebop – In Retrospect

It was a quiet night, the year was 2002, everyone in the house had headed to bed, but unlike them I couldn’t sleep. I used to be a little boy, I hadn’t yet turned 11 at the time, but that day was coming, so were a lot of other unfortunate things. I didn’t know that on this particular night however, I just knew that I wasn’t tired yet, so I snuck downstairs and switched on the telly. I had the volume down real low and sat about 30 centimeters from the screen so as to not wake up my parents who would no doubt put an end to my late night TV exploration. I was mighty curious about what aired in the middle of the night, while all the little boys and girls were asleep in the world, my parents wouldn’t let me stay up and watch, which made me all the more curious. Upon surfing the channels I was struck by something unusual. It was an animated dog running amuck in what appeared to …

Tales of Berseria – Review

The Tales series continues to release new installments more and more frequently, with a new title having been released on a yearly basis for quite some time now. Other franchises releasing installments at this pace have often fallen flat and the quality of the games decreased severely. Remarkably this has not been the case for the Tales series which continues to knock it out of the park with each release, Tales of Berseria being the latest in the winning streak for Bandai Namco. Set in the same universe as Tales of Zestiria, one of the series finest installments to date, Tales of Berseria finds itself at an advantage most other Tales games do not, there is a pre-existing world and history to mine for story in interesting ways. Most games in the series start with a clean slate, Berseria however jumps back in time set around a hundred years before Zestiria and lays out how the world once was. It is interesting to note that the terminology used in the time of Berseria is different …

RADWIMPS release music video for their song ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’ featuring Jump Heroes

Fans of Japanese rock band RADWIMPS would likely be familiar with their ode to Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, aptly titled ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’ which featured on their critically acclaimed 2016 album Human Bloom. The song sees RADWIMPS lead Yojiro Noda opining of his desire to be a man just like a hero out of Shonen Jump, to be there for the girl he has feelings for whenever she is in a bit of a pinch, looking out for his chance to be her hero. It is a beautiful song through and through. A music video has now been released for the song and it happens to feature countless Shonen Jump heroes throughout the video like Izuku Midoriya of My Hero Academia or Yuma from World Trigger to name a few. You can check out the video below to get a nice listen of RADWIMPS latest single paired up with some heroes of Jump. RADWIMPS’ Human Bloom album is currently available in full on their Spotify channel, for those who are inclined to be using Spotify. …

Nintendo Memories: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Jahanzeb Khan Street Fighter II Turbo Despite being a die hard SEGA fan and the Mega Drive (Genesis) being my unanimous 16 bit machine of choice, my very first foray into video games ever was through the Super Nintendo. The first video game I ever played was Star Fox (known in PAL territories as Star Wing). Star Fox didn’t necessarily cement my love for video games (the would be Sonic the Hedgehog) but it was still a hell of a way to get introduced to video games. I may love the Mega Drive more but I couldn’t overlook the amazing library of the SNES. There’s just too many quality games on the system, games that are still as relevant and playable today. Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound, F-Zero, Mario Kart… the list just goes on. What do I consider as my FAVOURITE of them all? Well that answer changes every time I’m asked this question. For now, I’m going to mention the one game that made the SNES VERY …

GACKT Casually Enters Championship Poker Tournament, Ends in 7th Place

In the continued adventures of legendary visual kei superstar GACKT, he has casually entered into a championship poker tournament known as the Asian Poker Tour. Outside of being a wildly successful Japanese musician and revolutionizing the visual kei genre over nearly 20 years in the business, GACKT had also recently begun his own Youtube gaming channel where he would play video games mostly in silence while surrounded by a selection of expensive vehicles. That said, it still comes as a surprise that GACKT has suddenly revealed himself as a world class poker player entering this tournament without warning or fanfare, for reasons only known to him. Perhaps more interesting to note is that out of 96 entrants he placed 7th, winding up in the top 10 poker players in all of Asia. It is crazy to think that along with the many of projects that GACKT is working on, he still manages to find the time to engage in a high-stakes poker tournament, because that is the kind of thing he just does. In my …

Utada Hikaru’s Fantôme Album Tops 1 Million Sales, New Music Video Released to Celebrate

After a 6 year stint on indefinite hiatus, iconic Japanese singer/songwriter, Utada Hikaru returned in September last year with a brand new album titled Fantôme. Since its release the album has gone on to top 1 million units sold making it 4 times platinum in Japan. This is Hikaru’s first album to top 1 million units sold since her breakout smash hit album First Love way back in 1999. Not only was the Fantôme album the top selling album of 2016 in Japan but it also received the Best Album Award at the 58th Japanese Record Awards. To celebrate the album hitting 1 million sales and winning best album, a new music video has been released for the song “Boukyaku (feat. KOHH)” which you can check out below. Most Westerners would remember Utada Hikaru for her theme songs contributed to the Kingdom Hearts video game series such as ‘Simple and Clean’ and ‘Sanctuary’. Rumour has it that she is slated to return for Kingdom Hearts III with another song serving as the theme for the …

Reggie Says Nintendo Has Learned From Wii U Mistakes

Let’s be honest here for a minute guys, the Wii U was a bit of a failure for Nintendo. It sold poorly and never really became a mainstream console, forever in the shadow of its predecessor the Wii. There was a lot of reasons for why this happened, a terrible name, lack of third party support, an overconfident Nintendo and above all else a poor marketing campaign that ensured the console was dead on arrival. With all this taken into consideration, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has claimed that Nintendo has learned from their mistakes with the Wii U and does not seek to repeat history with the Nintendo Switch. Reggie says that Nintendo ‘thought deeply’ on the failure of the Wii U and they feel that they did not communicate to consumers what exactly the Wii U was and what it was capable of doing. In relation to what they learned he says that they are doing things differently with the Switch, claiming that, “Nintendo Switch is a home console you can play …

Has ‘Fire Emblem’ Reached Critical Mass?

Yesterday, Nintendo held a special Fire Emblem focused Nintendo Direct conference. During this conference they announced 3 new Fire Emblem titles alongside the previously revealed Fire Emblem Warriors game. With so many Fire Emblem games announced and so many having been released in recent history, one has to ponder the question; has Fire Emblem reached critical mass? Of the announcements were a new mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes, a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden for the Nintendo 3DS called Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and a yet to be titled new Fire Emblem game for the Nintendo Switch. Of course this is all hot off the heels of the announcement of Fire Emblem Warriors a musou styled game from Tecmo Koei stalwarts Omega Force. Fire Emblem Heroes is set to hit mobile devices on the 2nd of February and the other titles are set for sometime throughout the rest of the year. That’s not to mention the fact that there will be another line of Fire Emblem amiibos released to tie in with the …

‘Your Name’ Makes History, Surpasses ‘Spirited Away’ as Highest Grossing Anime Film Of All Time

Just when you thought that the hype train for Your Name, Makoto Shinkai’s anime masterpiece, was beginning to slow down, it goes right on and becomes the highest grossing anime film of all time hitting a whopping $281 million USD at the box office and counting. The film is sure to continue pushing that figure higher and higher with it set to open in 92 more countries in this coming year. The record was previously held by Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal anime fantasy Spirited Away. Even the most optimistic of pundits weren’t too sure that Your Name would surpass it, but indeed it has. Just don’t let Shinkai know, he is a little touchy on the subject. Having personally reviewed the film for our site, which you can check out here, I must say that Your Name is every bit deserving of this historic accomplishment. The film is an honest to god masterpiece that has touched the hearts of audiences across the globe. Whether he will admit it or not, Shinkai has done something wonderful in making …

Arc System Works Announce BlazBlue for Nintendo Switch, The Wheels of Fate Are Switching

The wheels of fate are turning indeed with Arc System Works announcing that they will be bringing their popular BlazBlue fighting game series to the Nintendo Switch. BlazBlue is an anime style fighting game with high octane action and very bizarre phrases such as calling rounds ‘rebels’ and the battle cry that the wheels of fate are turning. Arc System Works did not reveal any footage of the game unfortunately nor did they give a release date but the very fact that we are getting a new BlazBlue game on the Nintendo Switch is reason enough to be excited. I hope my main monster Arakune returns for this new game! -30-

Nintendo Switch to Retire Miiverse and Streetpass, Thanks For The Memories

Who doesn’t love a good Streetpass? Heck I have even made friends because of it (Hey, Rolan). Well if you are a fan of the Streetpass feature of the Nintendo 3DS, don’t expect to see it return on Nintendo’s upcoming home console/handheld hybrid, the Nintendo Switch. The same looks to be the case for the popular social network Miiverse which is also being retired according to David Young, Nintendo public relations director. Both popular features are set to be retired on the Nintendo Switch in favour of deeper social media integration with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitch. All of which will be accessible by the new ‘Share’ button on the Joy-con controller. So while it seems that will be the replacement of the Miiverse function, Nintendo has no plans to introduce a replacement for the Streetpass, which seems like its time has passed. Farewell to Streetpass and Miiverse. Thanks for the memories, but sometimes you just gotta switch things up. -30-

‘Eccentric Family’ Anime Named Official Goodwill Ambassador for City of Kyoto

What’s fun is good! Those are the words by which the Shimogamo tanuki family of the fantastic and painfully under appreciated Eccentric Family anime live by. Those very same words will now be the slogan for the City of Kyoto which has announced that the Eccentric Family anime and its colourful cast of magical characters will be the first ever global goodwill ambassador of Kyoto. The ambassadorship aims to use the Eccentric Family characters and series to promote the lovely city of Kyoto to the rest of the world, aiming to raise tourism and help boost the local economy of the city. As part of the inauguration event, the Shimogamo Shrine, the real life shrine which the characters in the series live at, played host to a special ‘Gathering of Tanuki’ event with fans of the series gathering in tanuki coats to celebrate the new ambassorship as well as the news of the upcoming second season of the Eccentric Family anime. ANN were present to grab some photos of the event. You can check out …

‘Your Name’ Grosses Over $1 Million in Australia, Surpasses ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Pokemon’ at AUS Box Office

Your Name has quite simply become a phenomenon. Makoto Shinkai’s film about two teens waking up in each other’s lives which has garnered universal critical acclaim and commercial success has just passed a major landmark down under according to Australian anime distributor Madman Entertainment. In a blog post update on their site Madman confirmed that Your Name has grossed over $1,000,000 AUD at the Box Office, surpassing Spirited Away 10 times over and Pokemon the First Movie 20 times over, making it the second highest grossing anime film ever in Australian Box Office history. The only other anime film to gross higher than Your Name was 2004’s smash hit Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie which grossed a total of $1,367,050 AUD in its time in cinemas. It is worth noting that while Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie received a standard cinema run, Your Name only received a special limited time run, with no where near the same amount of cinemas showing the film as Yu-Gi-Oh! did way back in 2004. With that in mind, cracking the 1 million mark …

Your Name – Review

We live in a society that is always looking ahead, constantly looking for the next big thing to become ‘hyped’ about. We are all looking for the next thing to fill our lives with a bit of excitement however fleeting that feeling may be. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last year, there is one anime film that has been on the end of anime fans lips around the world, that is Makoto Shinkai’s latest film, Your Name. By the time the film had finally been released it was hard to decipher what all this hype truly meant. It is on track to becoming the highest grossing anime film of all time and even a potential Oscar win. But is it really worth the hype, could all the hubbub be for naught or did Shinkai really create the magnum opus masterpiece his career has been barreling towards with each and every film he has produced? By the time the credits had rolled I knew one thing for certain; there was no …

Reader’s Vote: Japanese Video Game Of The Year 2016

Have your voice heard in SnapThirty’s annual Japanese Video Game of the Year Awards for 2016. There will be a special Reader’s Vote award for Japanese Video Game of the Year alongside the normal slew of awards. That said, it is time to take up arms and support your favourite Japanese Video Game of 2016. Vote below for your favourite game and if your favourite isn’t on the list add it in with the ‘other’ option. Keep in mind that only games of Japanese origin are in contention here. Enough talk, get voting Snap Family! -30-

Reader’s Vote: Anime Of The Year 2016

Have your voice heard in SnapThirty’s annual Anime of the Year Awards for 2016. Once again there will be a special Reader’s Vote award for Anime of the Year alongside the normal slew of awards. That said, it is time to take up arms and support your favourite anime series of 2016 Vote below for your favourite anime and if your favourite isn’t on the list add it in with the ‘other’ option. Enough talk, get voting Snap Family! -30-

Chihayafuru Part 1 and 2 – Movie Review

It is hard to imagine how a series about professional karuta, a traditional Japanese card game, could be so exciting, yet it is. Chihayafuru is one of the greatest ‘sports’ anime of all time if you could really classify it as such. The series imbues every moment with genuine excitement and a sense of beauty that is truly incomparable. One of my first thoughts when I heard it had been adapted to not one but two live action films was how would they capture the beauty of the animation, to my surprise they did it by doing something very simple; showcasing the game of karuta in reality for all its true to life wonder. These two Chihayafuru films definitely go hand in hand, as is the reason why we have decided to review them together. The first film follows karuta fanatic Chihaya as she reconnects with friends of the past and builds new friendships over the game of karuta, all in the lead up to the epic tournament finale that closes the first film out. …

Erased – Movie Review

How do you take a complex multi-volume manga or its fantastic 12 episode anime adaptation and translate that into a 2 hour live action film? How do you condense that story in a way that the heart of it isn’t lost in the process? It is a difficult challenge to overcome and for the most part the live action adaptation of the time travel mystery series Erased does an admirable job, until it all falls apart in a baffling final act that betrays the audacious climactic turn of events of the source material in favour for an illogical climax that lacks the same ingenuity and emotional impact. That said, for the majority of its run time Erased is a fine adaptation, as long as you stop watching before the final act. Erased follows Satoru Fujinuma (the always fantastic Tatsuya Fujiwara), a down on his luck aspiring manga artist who works as a pizza delivery driver for a living. Satoru has a bit of a secret however, he has the innate ability to relive events with …

Makoto Shinkai’s ‘Your Name’ Set To Hit Cinemas Across Australia, We Are Happy About This

After breaking countless records at the box office in Japan, Australia will finally get to see what all the fuss is about with Makoto Shinkai’s latest film ‘Your Name’ slated to hit cinemas on November 24th thanks to Madman Entertainment. The film is set for a massive release across Australia with many prime locations locked in already for screenings. Madman have opened an official website for the film with more specific details here. ‘Your Name’ follows two people whose lives become unexpectedly connected despite having never met and the great distance between them. It is classic Shinkai stuff and if what the Japanese audiences are saying is true, this may very well be his film yet. Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse at what’s in store with ‘Your Name’ before it hits cinemas across Australia on November 24th. -30-

Nintendo Switch – Switching Up The Future of Gaming

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is Nintendo Switch – Switching Up The Future of Gaming. For this topic we all gave our immediate thoughts on the landmark announcement Nintendo dropped overnight of their upcoming console the Nintendo Switch. Without further adieu, strap yourself in and get ready for our collected thoughts on the future of gaming. Luke Halliday: Here I am 25 years old writing this as I wipe tears from my eyes, because Nintendo have done what they have always done better than anyone: make history. My first console was the Super Nintendo and soon after I got a Game Boy. I plowed hundreds of hours into games like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Pokemon Blue. …

What We Are Watching: Fall 2016 Anime Season

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is What We Are Watching: Fall 2016 Anime Season. For this topic we each took a long hard look at the upcoming anime season and discuss our thoughts on what we are interested in watching and provide some of our ‘expert’ recommendations. Without further adieu, strap yourself in and get ready for our collected thoughts on the Fall 2016 anime season. Luke Halliday: Tell me I’m not the only one. Tell me that it isn’t just me. Tell me that it is getting mighty hard to keep up with all the fast paced goings ons in the anime world on a seasonal basis. I mean I still have shows from last season and the season before …

Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals – Review

In what may very well be the most bizarre entry into the iconic ninja series, Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals takes the world of Naruto and rings out every bit of humour it can from the legendary series. While it proves to be a hilarious romp and gives some of Naruto’s lesser known characters a chance in the spotlight, it is decidedly a series for Naruto fans by Naruto fans. Following Rock Lee, Naruto’s true forgotten hero, the series goes from one comedy skit to the next. Through the eyes of Rock Lee and his team mates Tenten and Neji we see a side of the Naruto world that the main series rarely explores, the trivialities of day to day life in the wild world of ninjas. Be it failed romantic conquests, dealing with trivial missions, trying to outdo Naruto or even just hanging out with friends, the series relishes finding the funny in Naruto in a way that the original series never could. It plays with tropes of the original series all the …

A new ZOIDS project is coming soon and once again all is right with the world

Takara Tomy the masterminds behind the iconic ZOIDS mecha anime franchise and its various other media and merchandise have released a teaser today on their official website confirming the long awaited return of the franchise in a new upcoming project. While no major details have been confirmed about what we can expect from the project, they have released a graphic showcasing the Shield Liger ZOID and a mysterious soldier crouching besides it and the phrase “A new ZOIDS project is coming soon”. One could presume that this may be hinting at a future anime series, I for one would love to see that happen. That is all the information we have to go on for now but I am sure for ZOIDS fans like my fellow writer here at SnapThirty, Kane Bugeja, are incredibly excited at the promise of a new project in the ZOIDS franchise. Source: 4gamer -30-

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – Review

There are few anime that come packaged with such a ridiculous pedigree as The Heroic Legend of Arslan. Not only is it based upon the iconic fantasy novel series of the same name which is damn near paperback royalty in Japan, this anime series is based upon the fantastic manga adaptation by acclaimed author of Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon, Hiromu Arakawa. It is hard to get any more of a pedigree than that. That said it is a mighty reputation to live up to and fortunately for the anime adaptation of The Heroic Legend of Arslan it does just that. Following titular hero Arslan, The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a fantasy epic ala Berserk albeit significantly less gory. Arslan is the crown prince who must become the savior of his people after a skirmish gone wrong leaves the Kingdom of Pars overtaken by the cult-like fanatics of the Lusitanian army. With his father King Androgoras III held captive and his mother in the clutches of the mad leader of Lusitania, Arslan must gather …

‘Detective Conan’ anime celebrates 20 years of closing cases with TV special

Detective Conan (Case Closed in English localization) is one of the longest running anime series of all time, clocking in at 20 years this year after having begun way back in 1996. Over the 20 years since the anime adaptation began, Detective Conan has featured over 800 episodes, over 20 movies and even crossover specials with Lupin the Third. That’s just Conan in animated form, the manga has spawned 90 volumes since its debut in 1994 an incredible feat to be sure. In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic detective anime, TMS Entertainment have announced they will be returning to the series roots for a special TV movie adaptation of the first few episodes of the series. It is set to be titled ‘Detective Conan: Episode “One” – The Great Detective Who Shrank’ and will of course detail how Shinichi Kudo was transformed into a child by the sinister Black Organization becoming the titular Conan Edogawa. The special TV event will run for 2 whole hours and is set to hit Japanese …

Interview with Tomohiko Ito and Shingo Adachi

During the first ever Madman Anime Festival, we were lucky enough to get the chance to sit down with Tomohiko Ito the director of series such as ERASED and Sword Art Online and Shingo Adachi the man behind the art design of Sword Art Online. We discuss all things Sword Art Online and ERASED as well as exploring the inner workings behind the scenes of an anime series at A-1 Pictures. Read on for our full interview with Tomohiko Ito and Shingo Adachi. SnapThirty: Sword Art Online has become one of the most popular anime in recent memory. Did you ever think it would become as popular as it has and what does it feel like to have worked on such a colossal hit? Ito: I didn’t think that it was at all and I’m really actually happy about it. Is it popular in Australia? SnapThirty: Very popular! Adachi: Really? How do people see it? SnapThirty: There is online distributors and its played on TV as well. Adachi: How do they analyze how many viewers …

Hands-On With Tekken 7 at MadFest 2016

For many fighting game fans there are two mega series that will duke it out for all of eternity, Tekken and Street Fighter. Both play differently and feature vastly different characters and worlds, but at their heart they embody the same spirit: the spirit of fighting. While Street Fighter has chosen to update itself countless times over with 5 main series games under its belt, Tekken has moved onto the next battle and putting all upgrades into a brand new full title with soon to be 7 games to its name. At MadFest 2016 we were able to get our hands on the upcoming installment of the iconic fighting game franchise thanks to Bandai Namco’s preview booth at the event. The demo didn’t feature a lot of different modes but we did get to try out the arcade mode and VS mode. We did however notice there was a story mode of some kind that will no doubt play a big role in the finished game. When I jumped into the arcade mode I immediately …

A Look At The Bushiroad TCG Battleground At MadFest 2016

Bushiroad are continuing to prove themselves as the global champions of trading card games with the ongoing success of franchises like Cardfight Vanguard and Weiss Schwartz alongside the newfound breakout hits of Future Card Buddyfight and Luck & Logic. At MadFest 2016, Bushiroad were one of the major sponsors of the event and even held the annual Bushiroad Global Championships right here at the event in Melbourne. The championships saw hundreds of cardfighters enter the fray with hopes of becoming the global champion of their respective TCG, be it Vanguard, Buddyfight, Weiss Schwartz or Luck & Logic. For those uninitiated in the variety of TCG that Bushiroad produce they also had a ‘how to play’ booth where experts from Bushiroad would teach you how to play any of the games you were interested in. The most popular game this time around seemed to be Luck & Logic which of course is coming hot on the heels of the brand new anime tie-in currently streaming on AnimeLab. Not only that but Bushiroad’s booth had a lot …

‘Love Live’ takes over MadFest 2016

Love Live well and truly took over Madman’s Anime Festival this year with hundreds of Love Live fans attending the event in cosplay and spending hours lining up at Bushiroad’s booth for event exclusive Love Live merchandise. Not only that but Madman had two separate Love Live exhibit booths featuring cut outs of the girls of Love Live and Love Live Sunshine respectively with fans jumping in for a picture with their favourite idol or idols. Having popped over to the Bushiroad booth to see what all the fuss was about I was amazed to discover that within only an hour of opening time on the first day of the event most of the Love Live merchandise was now sold out. It was utterly incredible how many people were here for Love Live and it was almost impossible to not being bombarded with the happy go lucky school idol girls. Love Live was so present that it was almost impossible to not be greeted by the plethora of Love Live cosplayers who had come to …

Cosplayers of MadFest 2016

This past weekend for the first time ever Madman Entertainment held their Madman Anime Festival event or MadFest for short. The event as expected became the stage for many anime fans here in Melbourne to showcase their incredible cosplay skills. Be it characters from Sword Art Online, Love Live, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure or even My Hero Academia, cosplayers brought their A-Game to MadFest and we were on the floor to photograph many of these cosplayers in action. You can check out our full gallery of cosplay photos below. Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned for more coverage from MadFest as we continue our rolling coverage of the event. -30-

Poochy Takes Center Stage in ‘Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World’ for 3DS

When Yoshi’s Woolly World was originally released, the introduction of yarn version of that crazy doggie Poochy set aflame the Nintendo fandom as he became the unlikely breakout character in what was meant to be a game about Nintendo’s resident dino, Yoshi. Now with Nintendo bring the Woolly World series to the 3DS, they have also made quite an interesting announcement, that Poochy will be the star and get first billing in the title, Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World. Also set to feature in the game are the new ‘Poochy Puppies’ which are exactly what they sound like. Furthermore Poochy will also be getting his own woolly amiibo similar to that which Yoshi previously got. He is the underdog hero that nobody knew they wanted, Poochy the yarn doggie with an unbreakable spirit and true love of adventure. Check out the trailer for Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World below. -30-

Olimar is Back, Baby! Pikmin Side Scroller Heading to 3DS

During their 3DS Direct conference, Nintendo revealed a brand new Pikmin game for the 3DS, a first for the series which has traditionally been a home console game. On top of that, the game will also be challenging the formula of the series in a rather intriguing way. Unlike previous Pikmin games this title will be a side scrolling adventure game. It will still feature the core elements of the Pikmin series but it will now take place in a 2D field. You can check out the trailer for the new Pikmin game below. It currently has no official title with Nintendo simply referring to it as Pikmin for the 3DS. Let us know what you think in the comments section below. -30-

Rattata Embraces The Dark Side in Pokemon Sun and Moon, Munchlax Rocks Up

The allure of the dark side was too great for Rattata in Alola to overcome after the introduction of the Rattata killing Yungoos, sending Rattata fleeing into the dark of the night seeking salvation in the shadows. During Nintendo’s 3DS Direct conference they revealed that Rattata would be receiving an Alolan form much like other Kanto Pokemon that spread to the region. The Rattata will be dark type and will indeed feature a radical moustache. On top of that reveal, Nintendo also confirmed that earlier adopters of the Sun and Moon games will be able to receive a free event Munchlax with Snorlax Z stone held item. The Munchlax event will run through until January. No details were revealed on a dark Raticate but one would presume a dark Rattata wouldn’t evolve into any old normal Raticate. That said we may as well consider the supposed ‘chinese leaks’ to be gospel at this point. Bring on the rugby monkey! -30-

Interview with Hideo Ishikawa (石川 英郎) the voice of Itachi from Naruto

Recently at SMASH! Con 2016 at the Rose Hill Gardens, we were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with legendary Japanese voice actor Hideo Ishikawa for an interview. Ishikawa is famous for his role as Sasuke’s brother Itachi on the Naruto anime series and has performed countless other iconic roles in series like Bleach and Slam Dunk. He even has some live action credits to his name having worked on tokusatsu series like Kamen Rider. In our interview we talked all things Naruto, Bleach and even explored his secret basketball obsession. Read on for our full interview with Hideo Ishikawa. At the time of the character Itachi’s introduction, the Naruto series was already a hit in Japan. It has of course since gone on to become popular around the world. Did you ever expect the series to become a global hit like it has when you first signed on to do the role of Itachi? I must say that it may be because Naruto is quite the same as Japanese culture. We …

Gunpla Championships at SMASH! 2016

In what has become an annual tradition Gundam fans have descended upon SMASH! con at the Rose Hill Gardens for some Gunpla building fun. Each year Bandai host a championship at SMASH! con with some pretty swanky trophies up for grabs for the winners. As expected the booth at SMASH! was jam packed with fans of the iconic mecha franchise and hobby enthusiasts alike. Not only were the championships held, Bandai also put some incredible Gunpla figures on display for punters to take a gander at. All in all Bandai put on a fantastic showcase of Gunpla and gave Gundam fans plenty of things to feast their eyes upon at SMASH! whether it be the championships itself or the stunning collection of figures they exhibited. Check out Bandai’s Gunpla booth and the championship in the gallery below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on Bandai’s Gunpla championships in the comments section below. -30-

Anime Meets Fast and Furious With SMASH! 2016’s Car Showcase

I’m pretty sure Vin Diesel and the rest of his Fast and Furious gang would approve of SMASH! con’s choice to showcase some anime inspired cars at their event this year. Lined up by the JR Flemming section of Rose Hill Gardens, SMASH! con became the stage for several ‘hotted up’ cars on show. Now I am no vehicular expert, in fact I don’t claim to know jack about cars, but I must say that these ‘hot rods’ looked mighty fine. Each car was decked out in anime decals with characters from series like Love Live! and Neon Genesis Evangelion adorning the vehicle’s exteriors. It is a rare occurence to see anime crossing over into the world of cars, Initial D aside, so it was quite a treat to take a good ole’ gander at these impressive vehicular specimens. You can take a look at the cars for yourself in the gallery below. I must say I think Fast and Furious 7 would have been 10x better if they had a Nico Yazawa car jumping …

Bakuman Manga Exhibition at SMASH! 2016

Bakuman fans were in for a treat at SMASH! con this year. The Japan Foundation hosted a fantastic Bakuman Manga Exhibition at their booth which brought the manga of Bakuman to life. Bakuman is of course Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba’s legendary manga about making manga which has gone on to spawn an anime adaptation alongside a live action film. At the booth, fans were able to have a look at Weekly Shonen Jump issues as depicted in the iconic series as well as story boards based upon the actual story boards within the manga. Furthermore there was even a editor comment board for each manga showcasing how the actual Weekly Shonen Jump editorial team respond to chapters and provide feedback to mangaka. It was all fascinating stuff and you can check it out in the gallery below. Big thanks to Japan Foundation and SMASH! for putting together a fantastic exhibition. -30-

Good Smile Company Showcase at SMASH! 2016

  At SMASH! 2016, Good Smile Company, famed Japanese anime figure manufacturer, made their Australian debut with an exhibit at the event showcasing several of the companies latest figures. Featured at the exhibit were figures from series such as Love Live! and Bakemonogatari. In conjunction with Anime at Abbotsford, punters were able to purchase some of these figures at the Anime at Abbotsford booth. Good Smile Company are renowned for their high quality hobby items and figures and this appearance at SMASH! 2016 was their first major step into breaking into the Australian market. Anime fans may know of Good Smile Company’s Figma and Nendoroid product lines, some of which were on show as the event. Check out the gallery below to get a gander at the Good Smile Company exhibit at SMASH! 2016. -30-  

Until The Last Sword Is Drawn – How Will Bleach End?

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is Until The Last Sword is Drawn – How Will Bleach End? For this topic we each looked a long hard look at one of Shonen Jump’s biggest franchise hits which has long overstayed its welcome. That said, Bleach is set to conclude on the 22nd of August, closing the page on one of the longest running and most popular manga series in history Here are some of our own personal thoughts on how Tite Kubo should wrap things up on Bleach. Luke Halliday: For years I have slowly but surely fallen out of love with Bleach, a series I once held pretty near and dear to my heart. Heck, I still hold the first 50 …

‘Nisekoi’ Manga to Conclude August 8th, Who Does Raku Choose?

After 5 years Naoshi Komi’s hit romantic comedy manga series Nisekoi: False Love will reach its climactic resolution in next week’s mega combined 36th/37th edition of Weekly Shonen Jump for the year which is set for release on August 8th, 2016. While speculation has been running rampant since the series inception as to which character Raku, series protagonist and perennial love interest of many cute girls, will ultimately choose, the answer to that question has come out by way of leaks of the final chapter hitting the internet. For those curious highlight the bracketed section to see which girl he chooses: [Chitoge]. Komi is already planning his follow up work which is said to be yet another romantic comedy manga for Weekly Shonen Jump. Stay tuned for further details on the upcoming manga as it comes to light. -30-

Feeling Inspired – Characters That Changed Your Life

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is Feeling Inspired – Characters That Changed Your Life. For this topic we each looked into our own personal lives and the characters from Japanese Pop Culture that changed it for the better. Be them inspirational, relatable or simply a badass, these characters changed our lives in immeasurable ways. Whatever reason it may be here are some of our own personal picks for characters that changed our lives. Luke Halliday: For me this was a pretty simple question to answer: Simon from Gurren Lagann. It’s the anime that really got me into what I’m doing now and I don’t think I would be running an anime website or calling myself an anime reviewer today if it …

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend – Review

Just when you thought that Omega Force couldn’t scrape up the rights to any more franchises and slap an anime styled coat of paint on Dynasty Warriors 8 again, here comes Arslan: The Warriors of Legend. Hang on a moment, The Heroic Legend of Arslan should in theory actually make for a pretty good Warriors game. It is about warring nations, epic horseback battles and sure as hell makes a lot more sense as a Warriors game than that Yo-Kai Watch one, right? Wrong. Not only does Arslan: The Warriors of Legend wind up being the single worst Warriors game ever cranked out of the Omega Force machine, it is quite frankly an insult to the fantastic source material upon which it is based. How could things go so very wrong when it could have actually been a legitimately good Warriors title? Well this game simply reeks of lack of care on Omega Force’s part. The game seems like a cheap re-skin of Dynasty Warriors 8 at times with many maps clearly recycled from past …

Live Action ‘Sword Art Online’ TV Show Announced

Skydance Media have just announced that they have acquired the global rights to produce a live-action television series based upon the mega hit anime series Sword Art Online. For fans of the series this is either the greatest thing ever or the worst, as is often the case with the growing line up of live action anime projects. The live-action adaptation of Sword Art Online is said to be on the fast track for a launch in the United States, with Skydance Media’s Television division banking on the series sharing the baffling success of the original anime series. For those interested as to who exactly Skydance Media are, you may have seen a couple of the films they have produced such as: Terminator Genisys, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and World War Z. The adaptation is set to be penned and executive produced by Laeta Kalogridis of Avatar and Terminator Genisys infamy. Kalogridis commented on the project saying; “For years… I’ve been inspired by the inventive and masterful storytelling of the SAO franchise.” It is unknown …

Eureka Seven AO – Review

When you try to follow up one of the most innovative and ground breaking anime series of this century you will always struggle to replicate that kind of quality. Such is the case with Eureka Seven AO, a series tasked with following up the painfully underrated masterpiece that was Eureka Seven. In all honesty, Eureka Seven was never a series crying out for a sequel or follow up considering its truly conclusive finale, however that doesn’t seem to stop Eureka Seven AO disregarding that almost completely in favour of creating continuity contradictions and dispensing of the original’s environmentalism message and themes for schlocky action and a fluff filled plot lacking a modicum of the original’s creativity. What an unfortunate mess this series is, it is a classic example of a cheap cash in sequel that really has no right or reason to really exist. Even as a stand alone piece Eureka Seven AO ties itself too firmly to the original series to ever escape comparison or connection. The series follows Ao, a young boy who …

The Mikono Effect – When One Character Ruins It All

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is The Mikono Effect – When One Character Ruins It All. For this topic we each looked back on series that were ruined by one problematic character. Maybe they were annoying or had no redeeming qualities. Perhaps they were.a frustration point that the series focused way too much on. Whatever it may be here are some of our own personal picks for character that ruined their respective show. Luke Halliday: For many in the anime community it has become almost a running gag that Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion is a terrible character. So at the risk of sounding cliche my pick for character who ruins it all is Shinji, a self absorbed depressive who only …

Another Golden Guest Heading to SMASH! 2016: Cosplayer Takahiro ‘Goldy’ Sakai

News has just broke on yet another guest set to attend SMASH! 2016. The latest guest announced is popular cosplayer Takahiro Sakai, more commonly known as Goldy. Goldy is famed for his mecha cosplays which have wowed audiences across the globe for their wonderful craftsmanship, bringing to life the mecha of Gundam and Evangelion among many more. SMASH! 2016 is slated to take place on the 20th to 21st of August. Stay tuned for more details as it comes to light. -30-

With All Your Might – Anime and Manga’s Greatest Fights

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is With All Your Might – Anime and Manga’s Greatest Fights. For this topic we each looked at some of the greatest fights. A good fight can thrill, but a great fight is an emotional rollercoaster that etches itself permanently into your mind long after its over. Here are some of our own personal favourites. Luke Halliday: For me, an unabashed Togashi fanatic, it should be no surprise what fight I have chosen for this week’s roundtable. It is of course the epic clash between Gon and Hisoka at Heaven’s Arena in Hunter x Hunter. While there are many other incredible fights in this series, none really hit the same level of pure emotion and gravitas …

New Artwork Revealed for 2017 ‘Legend of Zelda’ Title

It is that time of year again, E3 is upon us once more and with it as always is plenty of details on the future of video gaming. One such revelation came from Nintendo in the form of promotional artwork for their upcoming Legend of Zelda title scheduled for release in 2017. The artwork which can be seen above (click to enlarge) showcases the game’s iteration of legendary hero Link as he climbs a cliff face fearlessly with the Kingdom of Hyrule seen in the background. The game is slated for release next year on both the Wii U and Nintendo’s rumoured next generation device the tentatively titled ‘Nintendo NX’. More detail on the upcoming Legend of Zelda title and the NX platform are said to be revealed when Nintendo holds their ‘treehouse’ live event towards the end of the E3 event. Stay tuned for more information as it comes to light. -30-

Friendship, Effort and Victory: The Spirit of Shonen Jump

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is Friendship, Effort and Victory: The Spirit of Shonen Jump. For this topic we each looked at the legendary manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump and the iconic series that made themselves home in the pages of the magazine. Viz Media has called Shonen Jump manga ‘The World’s Most Popular Manga’ and it is hard to debate them on that. Here are some of our own personal experiences. Luke Halliday: For those who have followed our site, you’d likely have come to discover that it is no secret that I am a superfan of Yoshihiro Togashi and his manga. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to once again talk about how good Togashi …

Madoka Magica’s Ai Nonoka announced as a guest for SMASH! 2016

Get excited anime fans, one of the industry’s most popular voice actresses will be heading down under as a guest at SMASH! Con 2016. That’s right, Ai Nonoka, of Madoka Magica fame will be attending the Sydney Manga and Anime Show at Rose Hill Gardens on 20th and 21st of August, 2016. Ai Nonoka famously voiced Kyoko Sakura in Madoka Magica, a critically acclaimed modern classic anime series. Not only was she a part of that series but she is also well known Konoka Konoe in the iconic Negima franchise. Miss Nonoka will be joining previously announced guest Hideo Ishikawa for the SMASH! Convention come August 20th and 21st. It is unknown exactly what type of appearances she shall make or if their will be a panel for her so stay tuned for updates on Ai Nonoka’s appearance at SMASH! Con 2016. -30-

Fandom Of One: Obscure or Unknown Anime You Cherish

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is Fandom Of One: Obscure or Unknown Anime You Cherish. For this topic we each looked at series that we cherish despite the fact that they are relatively unknown to the masses. Sometimes the greats can fall under the radar, here are some of our own personal experiences. Luke Halliday: This was more difficult of a topic then I had first imagined, the second I began scratching my brain for series that never really got the attention they truly deserved yet held a special place in my heart, many came to mind. Series like Crush Gear Turbo and Big O jumped into my mind immediately, both series I cherish still to this day. Crush Gear was …

‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ Anime Reboot Announced for 20th Anniversary

Major news for fans of magical girl masterpiece Cardcaptor Sakura. It has been announced that as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the series, a brand new anime reboot has been green lit. No further information on the reboot was confirmed by Nakayoshi magazine, however one does have to ponder whether Madhouse studios will get to helm the project once again. Cardcaptor Sakura is a series that I personally hold very near and dear to my heart. Having watched it as a child, I was mad about Sakura, Kero and the Clow Cards. I am not really alone in feeling this way, the series has a special place in many Australian anime fans hearts with our own more faithful dubbed version airing in place of America’s butchered dub. Not only that but the series has garnered wild popularity across Asia and some parts of Europe and South America, making it a sure fire global phenomenon at the time. How will this new rebooted series shape up to the original is anyone’s guess, but I …

Second Chancery: Pop Culture That Deserves a Second Look

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is Second Chancery: Pop Culture That Deserves a Second Look. For this topic we each looked at instances where we originally rejected something in Japanese Pop Culture only to later come to appreciate it on a second go round. Sometimes things do deserve a second chance, here are some of our own personal experiences. Luke Halliday: My choice for series I am glad to have given a second chance is actually quite a more recent one, that being The Heroic Legend of Arslan also known as Arslan Senki. When I had first heard about the recent adaption of the legendary book series, I as excited to discover the involvement of Hiromu Arakawa of Fullmetal Alchemist fame. …

The Original Was Better: Anime That Didn’t Need a Reboot or Sequel

Snap Discussion is the weekly round table discussion on a topic relating to Japanese pop culture as selected by the almighty Snapodile. Each week the SnapThirty team will weigh in with their thoughts on that week’s topic all with the hopes of providing some interesting and perhaps even conflicting view points on the matter at hand. This week’s topic is The Original Was Better: Anime That Didn’t Need a Reboot or Sequel. For this topic we each looked at series that were better off ‘one and done’ rather than being remade or given the sequel treatment. After all, you don’t always strike gold twice and these are some times where anime should’ve known better.   Luke Halliday: There are a lot of cases where a fantastic anime series evolved into a ‘franchise’ when it probably shouldn’t have, but one that sits very fresh in my mind is none of than Eureka Seven, which holds a place in my heart as one of the all time best. Now if you have ever watched Eureka Seven you’d …

Stella Glow – Review

The JRPG genre comes in many shapes and sizes. It is a genre as rich with history as any and doesn’t seem to be losing any steam with age. The Nintendo 3DS has been home to quite a number of JRPGs and Stella Glow is one of the latest to join the ranks. Taking nods from popular franchises such as Disgaea and Fire Emblem, Stella Glow utilizes a strategy RPG style mixed with a rich story set in a high fantasy world of witchcraft. While it may not be as complex a title as those it takes inspiration from, Stella Glow proves to be a solid strategic JRPG title that sticks to the basics rather than breaking new ground. Following amnesiac Alto, Stella Glow is set within a world where music no longer exists due supposed calamities that songs have and may continue to cause. After his adoptive family is affected by an evil witch’s song of destruction, Alto sets out on a quest to save his adoptive mother and bring the witch who caused …

Level-5 CEO teases new Inazuma Eleven game

  Remember Inazuma Eleven? That game series about kids playing soccer, alien invasions, time travel, dinosaur footballers and straight up attempted murder? Well Level-5 Games CEO Akihiro Hino has put out a couple tweets hinting at the potential return of the franchise that served as the company’s flag ship property for many years until they thought up a game about a kid with a watch that lets him see monsters. The series proved so popular in Japan it spawned countless anime series, manga adaptations and even box office blockbusters such as Inazuma Eleven the Movie: The Invasion of the Strongest Army of Ogres. The series has acheived a small success outside of Japan breaking big into the European market and also finding success in Australia and South America. As for the hints of a new installment in the Inazuma Eleven franchise, Hino comments that should a game be made it will take the series back to basics and not feature things such as time travel instead focusing on the hotblooded battle of soccer. Hino also …

Take A Look At The Cancelled ‘Akira’ Game for Sega Genesis

Ever wondered if there was a planned Sega Genesis video game adaptation of iconic anime film Akira that never quite made it to shelves? Well if you were one of those who did wonder something so obscure yet specific, then you are in luck because footage has leaked of a cancelled Akira game for the Sega Genesis. The footage that has made its way online comes from a grainy recording of gameplay dating back to 1994’s Consumer Electronics Show event (CES). While the footage showcases the Sega Genesis version of Akira, there was also plans for a Super Nintendo and Game Gear version as well. Unfortunately all plans were cancelled after several development staff left the project leaving it to be neglected and ultimately cancelled indefinitely. Have a gander at the Sega Genesis version in the video below. The game looks like it involved a lot of motorcycle riding and not a lot else but hey it was an Akira game! Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Source: Hardcore Gaming …

Samurai Flamenco Part 1 – Review

In the last few years there has been a rise in anime and manga based around the idea of heroes and villains. Be it series like Tiger and Bunny or recent examples such as My Hero Academia and One Punch Man, the popularity of superhero anime has definitely seen a resurgence. One series that has definitely made some strides as part of that resurgence but ultimately fell under the radar was Samurai Flamenco, a deconstruction of the superhero genre that while wildly engaging, simply doesn’t know when it has gone too far. Samurai Flamenco may very well be one of the most interesting takes on the superhero genre in some time but it also features one of the worst series derailing plot twists in modern anime. Following Hazama Matayoshi, the titular hero Samurai Flamenco, a rookie idol on the verge of breaking out into the big time. At night he partakes in the extra curricular activity of being the super hero Samurai Flamenco. He takes on petty crimes such as littering and umbrella theft, vowing …

Japanese Public Weighs In On Hollywood White-Washing of Ghost in the Shell

Many anime fans and also many who are not that have taken to the web to complain and feign surprise that Hollywood have cast a white actress in a role of a Japanese character. Said actress is Scarlett Johansson and said role is Motoko Kusanagi the lead in iconic anime film Ghost in the Shell. Personally I think that the people complaining about white-washing simply don’t know how Hollywood works or that quite obviously this isn’t a literal adaptation in the sense they clearly presume it is. Scarlett Johansson will not be a character named Motoko Kusanagi, lets just get that straight to begin with, nor will it likely be set in Japan. If that is a deal breaker for you in an American film then you probably don’t watch many Hollywood movies. That said, the general opinion of these detractors is that this is a case of racism in Hollywood which has a history of white-washing and yellow face. I won’t deny Hollywood’s dark past but if you watch the video below a Japanese …

Spring 2016 Anime Season Watch Guide

Alright folks, Halliday-senpai and his cohorts are back once again to knowledge you up on what to watch this anime season. This time around we will be tackling the watch guide in a different format. We have sat down or a video version of the watch guide which will feature all of us roundtable discussing the season as we go through series by series and giving our thoughts and impressions. So without further adieu, here is SnapThirty’s handy video Spring 2016 anime season watch guide. Did we miss an anime you are looking forward to for Spring 2016? If so let us know what you are looking forward to watching in the comments section below. Do you agree with our watch guide? Let us know! -30-

Madman Loses Viz Media Manga Distribution Rights to Simon & Schuster

In some rather surprising news for manga readers down under, Viz Media have announced that they will no longer be distributing manga in Australia and by extension New Zealand through Madman Entertainment, the top anime and manga distributor in Australia for more than a decade now. This news comes hot off the heel of Madman announcing a 60% off manga clearance sale through their online store which looks to be spelling the end of manga from Madman, for now. Viz Media made the shock announcement via. press release stating that Simon & Schuster Australia will be handling manga distribution in Australia and New Zealand moving forward. Simon & Schuster has been the exclusive distribution partner of Viz Media for the United States and Canadian markets since 2004, the United Kingdom since 2007, and India starting in 2014. The new agreement will see the Australian arm of the business provide a full range of retail and wholesale distribution services for Viz Media’s substantial library of manga titles. Simon & Schuster Australia will also manage the distribution of …

First Thoughts: My Hero Academia – You Can Be A Hero

Having followed the My Hero Academia manga since it first began in Weekly Shonen Jump, I have spent months waiting with bated breath for this anime adaptation to finally air. So it goes without saying that my expectations for BONES’ adaptation were high. Fortunately for me and everyone else, the My Hero Academia anime series looks to be in good hands after this fantastic first outing into Kohei Horikoshi’s wonderful world of heroes and villains. For those who have been living under a rock, My Hero Academia is the hottest new manga in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, with many famed mangaka giving it the seal of approval and fans touting it as the next big thing in shonen manga. Even Masashi Kishimoto of Naruto fame, has been vocal in his support of the series. It has all the right tools to be the next shonen mega hit in the same vein as Naruto, One Piece, Yu Yu Hakusho or Dragon Ball Z and with this anime series that destiny is sure to be fulfilled. The …

Golden Time – Review

Toradora is considered by many anime fans to be one of the greatest romantic comedy anime series of all time. It is a sweet and funny series filled with memorable characters and scenarios that like its leading lady had a truly warm heart beneath its surface. Toradora is cherished, loved by fans across the globe, so it was only expected that fans would tune in to see what series’ creator Yuyuko Takemiya had in store next with a series by the name of Golden Time. What is so remarkably startling about Golden Time is how unlike Toradora it is. Grounded in its high school setting and dealing with home life issues that many viewers could find themselves relating to, Golden Time focuses on bizarre supernatural concepts such as spectral personality separation and see its cast accidentally joining a cult in a particularly absurd story arc. If Toradora is the benchmark for romantic comedy anime, Golden Time doesn’t even try to measure up, instead opting to venture into one insane story direction after the next in …

FLCL is coming back for 2 more seasons co-funded by Toonami

FLCL is considered by many Western anime fans as one of the most innovative, bizarre and wildly engaging anime OVA series ever released. Weighing in at 6 episodes in length it was the perfect crash course in the weird and wonderful world of anime, serving as a gateway series for many back in the early 2000’s. Many consider it a perfect 6 episodes of anime. So with that said, lets get right down to the big news that brought you here; FLCL is getting another 2 seasons 15 years after it concluded. That’s right we will be getting another 2 seasons of 6 episodes each totaling 12 new episodes of the series. So why is this coming about? Well Toonami have footed the bill for a brand new stretch of episodes with Production I.G. getting back to work on the continuation. Furthermore it appears that legendary J-Rock band The Pillows will be back to supply the series with its iconic soundtrack once more. Toonami describes the continuation’s story as: In the new season of FLCL, …

Being a Hunter x Hunter Fan and the Reality of Hiatus x Hiatus

Big news broke for fans of Yoshihiro Togashi’s infrequently published yet utterly brilliant shonen manga epic, Hunter x Hunter. After roughly 2 years having passed since the series last went on hiatus due to ‘intense back pain’, Togashi is slated to return this April continuing with the Dark Continent arc which he began 2 years and about 5 chapters ago. Fans of the series are no stranger to Togashi’s frequent hiatuses, even spawning the affectionate nickname for the series ‘Hiatus x Hiatus’. There is even a website dedicated entirely to tracking the series many hiatuses in a series of detailed graphs and charts. Here is one of them: As you can see the red indicates the hiatuses, which actually surpass the amount of time the series was actually printed in Shonen Jump. Fascinating stuff. You can check out more fascinating hiatus charts at http://hiatus-hiatus.rhcloud.com/ It does raise the interesting question though; how does one sustain their love for a series that is on break more than it isn’t? Being a fan of the Hunter x Hunter series …