All posts filed under: Humble Opinions

VAGABOND (VIZBIG EDITION): VOLUME FOUR – REVIEW

With every new volume of “Vagabond” comes another lesson about combat and about life, as well as a very happy Frank Inglese because recently “Vagabond” has quickly become one of my favorite Manga titles of all time. Based on the true-to-life story of Miyamoto Musashi, “Vagabond” follows the young warrior on his way to worldwide supremacy as history’s greatest master of the sword. From the battle of Sekigahara all the way up until his death, famed Mangaka Takehiko Inoue takes us on a visual journey through the blood-filled times of an ancient Japan and thanks to Madman Entertainment I’ve, once again, been given the chance to review the latest volume. It’s quite funny: People constantly complain about the monotony of repetition. It’s usually a huge issue with video games but you come across this time and time again when it comes to things like Anime and Manga too. Every volume of “Vagabond” is, at its most basic, about Miyamoto Musashi going to fight another school. It’s seemingly very simple but what’s amazing is that it is …

The Last: Naruto The Movie – Review

It’s quite tragic but nothing I can put down in writing could ever properly detail my confusing relationship with “Naruto”. As a young man I used to love “Naruto” more than anything in the world. There was once I time when I would live, breath and eat the series. “Naruto” I actually hold in reverence, whether or not it is believed that I do thanks to the way I see it now is up to the person reading the review but I can assure you that I’ve never lived a day where I havn’t thought about the rambunctious Ninja and his pals. It was the first ever Anime I knowingly watched. A friend from school put me onto it and within a single episode I was captured by the charm of the “punky” main character. Watching the Anime than lead me to begin reading the Manga, reading the Manga than lead me onto playing the video games, and experiencing the franchise as a whole lead me onto the path of a career to do with Japanese Pop …

20th Century Boys Volume 3 Review

In its third volume 20th Century Boys has gone all in. The stage was set in volumes 1 and 2 and now the show has truly begun. After all the build up and moving pieces into place, this explosive volume brings us more closer than ever to the cult of Friends and their enigmatic figurehead. As Kenji dives deeper into this mystery he finds himself more and more deeply entangled within it. So much so that a childhood story created by the boys winds up being a prophecy of sorts, leaving Kenji racking his brain to remember what comes next. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Naoki Urasawa is a special kind of genius. The way he adds layer upon layer to this tale all the while peeling layers back is a work of art. In only three volumes this is undoubtedly one of the most complex intellectual manga series I have ever read. The detail and incredible story-telling structure of the series is bar none an is a testament to why …

The Wind Rises Review

I had the pleasure of watching The Wind Rises from Studio Ghibli during its original theatrical screening back in 2013, and it was a marvellous cinematic experience that really left a lasting impression. Watching it all over again in this Blu-ray release proved to be just as absorbing and magical as the first time. This is a two hour film with a slow burn pace, and yet every inch and moment of it will draw you in. The fact that it can do so on a second viewing is a real indication of how great this animated epic is. The Wind Rises comes from the mind and genius of Hayao Miyazaki, and this film is another glowing accomplishment in his already legendary and unparalleled resume of animated classics… if not his very best one. In this film Miyazaki challenges himself by stepping away from his comfort zone to create something that is a jarring departure from anything else he has ever done. The Wind Rises is a historical animated biopic, chronicling the life Jiro Horikoshi, …

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro Review

When you think about the most instantly recognizable names in anime/manga that have become global pop culture icons, then a few names like Goku, Doraemon, Astro Boy, Himura Kenshin, and I guess now even Naruto, immediately come to mind. Performance criminal and thief, Lupin is right up there as one of the true Japanese pop culture icons. Even those who don’t actively watch anime today will recall Lupin the Third with the same fondness as Dragon Ball Z. This charismatic anti-hero may be a thief for the most part, but he has all the charisma and secret agent mannerisms of Agent 007 from the Bond franchise. He breaks hearts, he sneaks around, and he somehow manages to save the world, all with a ton of class and sass. Now the original source material of Lupin the Third was strikingly dark and gritty despite its sly sense of humour. It was also sexually charged and provoking, and in fact no animated adaptation of the series captured this essence quite like The Woman Called Mine Fujiko, which is perhaps among …

Patema Inverted Review

If you look at life from a different perspective, it might just turn your world upside down. That is the message Patema Inverted embodies and it does a damn good job capturing the beauty of that sentiment in the most literal of ways. You see, Patema Inverted is set in a post apocalyptic future where the world’s sense of gravity broke leaving half of the world flying off into the sky and the other half planted both feet on the ground, for reasons unknown. What results is one of the most mystifying experiences in recent anime history both in its sense of beauty and intrigue. Patema Inverted employs some rather intriguing ideas across its 90 minute run time. The topsy turvy gravity makes for some very distinct visuals with perspective changes captured by the inversion of the camera. I found it especially impressive that with a concept such as this, that the director Yoshiura didn’t seem to make any goofs with the gravity situation throughout the movie, keeping well within the foundations he has laid …

Chihayafuru Season 2 Review

Poetry in motion, that is Chihayafuru. One of the most original anime series in recent memory, Chihayafuru is all about the poetry that exists between each moment, the little actions that speak loudest and the heart behind the words that we choose to live by. It is hard to believe that an anime about karuta can be so good, but Chihayafuru is living proof that sometimes the most beautiful things in life and the things you’d least expect. With the second season of Chihayafuru, we pick up right where we left off in season one. Chihaya is back to recruiting members to the karuta team and is determined as ever to be the queen of the game. This season introduces us to some interesting new characters who create a new chemistry dynamic between the cast. Chihaya is still good old Chihaya but we come to see changes in some of the main cast that are both poetic and truly moving. Shinobu proves once again to be the perfect rival for Chihaya, being the current karuta …

Lupin The Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine – Complete Box Set Review

Pop culture does something with showing the life of a criminal that makes it look so appealing. Whenever we’re shown a character who lives a life of crime, they’re always very good at it: They never get caught, they’re always on the move and any time they’re in danger they always find a way out of it. Why is it that we’re constantly confronted with such romantic views of felonious lifestyles? Is it so we’re conditioned not to fear that which we should fear? No. Probably not. I think that maybe experiencing stories about semi-kindhearted badguys is a lot more enjoyable than watching another movie about a knight in shining armour. At least, that’s the conclusion I came to after watching the critically acclaimed Anime series from 2012; “Lupin The Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine”, which has been recently released in Australia as a complete collection thanks to Hanabee Entertainment. “Lupin The Third” has been around longer than many people can even remember but it is “The Woman Called Fujiko Mine” that has brought this almost …

World Trigger Volume Two – Review

  Here we are at “World Trigger” volume two. My likes and dislikes are, surprisingly enough, divided by pretty simple guidelines: Give me something that piques my imagination and allows me to escape just as much into my own head as into the world of the story I’m reading, watching or playing and it gets an everlasting spot in my “Like” list. Give me something that is one-dimensional, ill-explained and overall boring, and I’ll simply forget it which, in turn, will land it on my “Dislike” list. “World Trigger” I never thought would be a series I’d continue reading. In fact, I never even thought about picking it up until Madman Entertainment offered it to us but here I am, onto volume two and before I’ve even finished I’m already in the mood for more. Like any other Manga series, volume two continues directly off of volume one so I’d suggest you read the first before moving on, or at least read my review of volume one of which you can find by Clicking Here. …

World Trigger Volume One – Review

It’s been a very long time since I last read a Manga by famed publisher Shonen Jump. I used to be a huge fan back in my teen years which, coincidentally, is the target demographic for Shonen Manga’s like “Bleach” and “Naruto” but as I continued to grow, my love for these series’ began to dwindle. This is why I found myself in a very odd place when Madman Entertainment reached out to us an offered a copy of “World Trigger” volume one. For some reason I figuratively lunged at the chance to review a contemporary Shonen Manga despite my dislike for the recently-aired Anime adaptation and for the Shonen genre as a whole. Something deep within forced me onto “World Trigger” and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out just what it was. I just hope doing so doesn’t lead me down a path of review copies I can’t even stand to pick up…but Madman hasn’t let me down before so I’m hoping they won’t start now with “World Trigger”. (Written before …

Short Peace Review

Storytelling is an age old art. From the moment that time began, people have wanted record of the events that transpire. Such is history. But stories go a step beyond that, exploring situations that may not have existed and using them to convey a message. Or just create a sense of enjoyment. But what makes a story? Is it the dialogue of characters? Is it the path that they follow? Is it the visuals that media utilises? The sound? Short answer; it’s all of these and none of these. It’s whatever you want it to be and it’s however you want to show it. First things first, Short Peace is not a concurrent film. It is a collection of four short films that each exist unto themselves and possess their own inherent personality. That being said, each is linked together by one overarching theme; Japan. Though set throughout various points in time, from the distant past to the ever further distant future, all of these adventures take place in the Land of the Rising Sun. The …

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Review

In the topsy turvy domain that is anime, most anyone can save the world. From slackers, to former villains, to the ever popular high schooler. But, it takes a select few who can save the world and look cute doing it. Enter the Magical Girl. Because why fight for justice in anything other than a brightly coloured skirt/frill collaboration? That being said, not all of these maidens of justice assume the role willingly. Sometimes there are forces at work that spread far beyond the confines of daily life…or any kind of life. Meet Illyasviel von Einzbern, your typical high school girl with your typically atypical anime heroine name. Spending her days studying, watching anime (ironically of the magical girl genre, though we’ll come to that later) and quietly pining after her brother…who is adopted, so it’s…ok? I don’t know, it’s anime, we just have to deal. Anyway, after a brief introduction to her daily schedule, Illya’s life is thrown for an absolute loop when a magic wand plummets towards her house. Said wand, dubbed Kaleidostick …

Kill la Kill Volume 2 Review

We’re back at Honnouji baby! The most ridiculous school to ever grace the realm of anime. Don’t believe me? Then you clearly haven’t watched Kill la Kill. Which is weird considering that you’re reading the second instalment of a review. But I won’t judge, the more the merrier as they say. So sit back, relax and hold on tight as we take another trip into a dictatorship that prides itself on snazzy clothes. Just when you were getting a handle on how Hannouji works and where those within the system stand, boom, mysterious figure straight from left field. He buff. He’s got a red Mohawk. He’s got super needle machine guns that weaken Goku Uniforms. But worse than all of that, he’s got his sights set on Ryuko. She cannot catch a break can she? Though her opponents have been rather pedestrian of late, Tsumugu (Mohawk guy) serves as one hell of a wake-up call…to all off us. With a vendetta against Senketsu, due to the nature of his creation, Tsumugu proves relentless in his …

Silver Spoon Review

If you’d have asked me what sort of series Hiromu Arakawa would make after her shonen epic Full Metal Alchemist I think I’d be forgiven for not thinking immediately of ‘farming manga’. But that is exactly what Arakawa has done. In what is essentially the furthest thing from what brought her to the game, Arakawa has went all in on the farming concept with Silver Spoon, one of the most delightful slice of life series in recent memory. Silver Spoon follows Hachiken a city boy who one day decides to enrol in an agriculture school out in the boonies named Ezono. Many of the students at the school have been born into the farming business and Hachiken’s decision to join this school was rather simple, it had its own dormitory and it would get him out of the city. Why he wanted to do just that serves as a driving mystery for the series as we see Hachiken struggle to adapt to the farming life. What follows is one of the anime equivalent of easy …

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Review

It has been 12 years since Pokemon fans first got to journey throughout the world of Hoenn, but now players get to experience the same journey in a different way. Ruby and Sapphire have been reimagined into the same style as Pokemon X and Y and it has brought Ruby and Sapphire back to their once glorious selves. Pokemon fans who loved Pokemon X and Y are going to love Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Whether you have ventured in Hoenn before or you’re a new traveler, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire proves to be an exciting experience for all. Just like the originals you wake up in a moving van as you move into your new home in Littleroot town. This time however things are a little different, for starters the intro sequence was filled with references and nods to the original games, a little love letter to the fans. The premise is about as ‘classic Pokemon’ as it gets: you’re a kid who wants to be a Pokemon trainer and then you do …

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix Review

Kingdom Hearts fans are used to waiting. It was nearly a decade ago that Kingdom Hearts II was first released and nearing 15 years since the original Kingdom Hearts game was released. Yet in spite of all of that, fans have found their appetite for more Kingdom Hearts sated by spin-offs and remakes all on the long road to the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts III. So what is it about Kingdom Hearts that keeps fans coming back for more? Why is it that a remake such as Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix becomes essential gaming for Kingdom Hearts fans new and old? It’s quite simple really – this is Kingdom Hearts perfected. There is no two ways about it, this is the definitive Kingdom Hearts experience. As far as the story of Kingdom Hearts goes, it is more than a little bit complicated. At times the series has become convoluted with the multiple spin-offs set in different time periods and worlds. The effects of that are clear here in Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix which …

Chi’s New Address Review

Home. The place where you go when you want to feel comfortable, to feel calm, to feel safe. A place you can always go back to after you’re finished whatever business you have within society. But what happens when that place changes? When you move? What does it take for a new house to become a home? Chi. The cat that could, would, but probably shouldn’t do whatever she wants. Having cemented her place in the Yamada family through a combination of endearing actions and unarguable cuteness, Mum and Dad Yamada are finding it immensely difficult to hand Chi over to a family who can look after her without fear of repercussions from a landlord. Thus they arrive at the only option that they can both agree on: move. To find a place that will allow pets indoors and thus alleviate all of the stress that their rambunctious new family member has placed them under since their fortuitous meeting. Especially when they try to keep her quiet. Thus they move. Thus the title of the series. …

Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth – Review

For me, there’s no greater video game than a crossover video game. If you sit back and think about it, it’s basically a fan fiction story come to life. I cried when “Marvel VS Capcom 3” got released, “Street Fighter X Tekken” had me naked by the title screen and “Project X Zone” made me wet my pants. Yeah…I love crossover titles THAT MUCH. When I heard about “Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth” I was institutionalised for a period of three weeks but I managed to get myself out of the straight jacket and back at my work desk with enough time to research the characters of “Persona 3” just so I’d be able to enjoy the game a little more. Having only played “Persona 4 Golden” but absolutely loving it, I was very much excited for “Q” but still felt as though I needed to do my homework before jumping in “half prepared”. North America, those lucky bastards, got the game before us here in Australia and an influx of reviews flooded the net. …

One Piece Film: Z Review

Everybody has a dream. That specials something that they strive for with all of their heart. The self proclaimed goal of their life. But what happens when dreams clash? People are not alone in the world and as a result desires overlap, contradict in the most unwanted ways and threaten to cease. So what do you do when faced with such an antithesis? Do you spare yourself the pain and give in? Or do you throw all of your faith into your own strength, and fight to the bitter end? For as long as One Piece has existed, Marines and Pirates have opposed each other. The ultimate battle between unbridled freedom and respectful adherence to the law. But what of those that fall between these sides? How do those who do not believe wholeheartedly in either side act? Well, in Z’s case it’s violently…very, very violently. Driven to extremism through a series of traumatic events, Z stands as the self appointed head of the Neo Marines, a group with one simple goal: the eradication of all …

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Review

The third and final chapter of the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy is aptly dubbed as The Legend Ends, picking up right where the cliffhanger finale of Kyoto Inferno left off. A fair spoiler warning to those who are about to read on, there will be references to the previous films so tread carefully. Kyoto Inferno ended with the frightening unveiling of Shishio Makoto’s ultimate weapon: a battleship equipped with modern warfare. Something that is completely alien to Japan. Shishio Makoto uses this powerful weapon to showcase the true extent of his terror, giving him the ultimate trump card against the crumbling Japanese government. What’s interesting is that this war machine was also introduced in the original anime series, except that Shishio never even got to use it because Sanouske somehow managed to sink the damn thing. Now in this movie adaptation the ship is put to great use as a compelling plot device. This is where The Legend Ends demonstrates a rare instance where taking liberties with the source material, and even executing ideas differently, can lead …

Vagabond (Vizbig Edition): Volume Three – Review

  “If you wish to control others you must first control yourself”, an excerpt from Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book Of Five Rings”. With every new volume of “Vagabond” comes another lesson about combat and about life, as well as a very happy Frank Inglese because recently “Vagabond” has quickly become one of my favorite Manga titles of all time. Based on the true-to-life story of Miyamoto Musashi, “Vagabond” follows the young warrior on his way to worldwide supremacy as history’s greatest master of the sword. From the battle of Sekigahara all the way up until his death, famed Mangaka Takehiko Inoue takes us on a visual journey through the blood-filled times of an ancient Japan and thanks to Madman Entertainment I’ve, once again, been given the chance to review the latest volume. Musashi suffers a humiliating defeat against Inshun, the second-generation master of Hozoin Temple. To prepare for a rematch, Musashi undertakes an intense spiritual and physical training regimen with a most unlikely teacher – Inshun’s predecessor, the founder of the Hozoin Spear Technique. To …

Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection – Review

You know, reader, I really like the Manga “Blue Exorcist”. Actually I moreso like the lady behind “Blue Exorcist”. A Mangaka named “Kazue Kato” who, like anyone in some sort of artistic spotlight, started on her career a very long time ago but only in the last decade or so gained mainstream success. This is the plight of all who want to do something creative for a living. Singers, musicians, artists, film makers, actors, each of these careers follows a long and arduous road that many never reach the end of. Kazue Kato has reached that end with her Manga “Blue Exorcist” but has decided it is about time she shows her fans exactly where it was she started and she’s doing it with one of Madman Entertainment’s more recent Manga releases; “Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection”. Thanks to the Australian Anime and Manga distributor, we’ve been given the chance to experience the life of a Mangaka from her first concept all the way up until the one that eventually lead to her …

Terra Formars Volume Two – Review

For weeks now I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth thanks to the appalling Anime adaptation of a Manga I find myself very exciting to continue reading; “Terra Formars”. Riddled with censorship, the Anime has so far only worked to diminish what positive popularity the Manga had built. This hasn’t stopped me from wanting to continue the Manga, though. If anything, it has made me want to read the Manga even more with the hopes that it will explain more and show all the things the Anime refused to and thanks to our friends as Madman Entertainment I’ll be able to keep reading the Manga completely for free! Though…from what I’ve read so far, I would have no problems at all paying full price for every new release. Volume two marks the beginning of a whole new generation of characters and the third crew to be sent off to Mars. This time, though, they know what’s up there waiting for them and they’ve made some pretty serious preparations to avoid the slaughter that occurred …

‘Ghost in the Shell’ 25th Anniversary Edition Review

It has been a colossal 25 years since the world was first introduced to the cyberpunk future of Ghost in the Shell. Originally a manga series from Masamune Shirow, the series has spawned an entire franchise worth of related media including this unforgettable 1995 feature length classic simply titled Ghost in the Shell. With allusions to sci-fi masterpieces such as Blade Runner, it was no wonder that Ghost in the Shell became a hit in the West just as much as it was in Japan. What really makes Ghost in the Shell such an unforgettable experience however is what lies underneath, an exploration of the nature of identity and its inherent relation to belonging. With this remastered edition, Ghost in the Shell is brought back to life in gorgeous Blu-Ray format. So does it still hold up after all these years? Ghost in the Shell has always been touted as one of the most thought-provoking anime stories ever put to the silver screen and after watching through this film for what is likely my 5th …

Pluto Volume 2 Review

Pluto continues to amaze with a fantastic second volume of manga following on from the shocking events of volume one. As the body count continues to rise, Gisecht turns to a familiar face for assistance in his investigation. The case grows more and more difficult as questions outweigh answers and Gisecht discovers that robot memory may not be infallible. It goes without saying that Urasawa is a brilliant mangaka, but having the incredible source material of ‘The World’s Strongest Robot’ arc from the original Astro Boy does go along way. The magic of Tezuka’s original translates incredibly well into Urasawa’s distinctive gritty style. What I find most compelling however is the way that Urasawa takes Tezuka’s work and gives it a new perspective. His look into this world where robots and humans must coexist is utterly tantalizing. This volume focuses in on the notion that what makes humans primarily different from robots is their ability to forget. What is most interesting about this idea is that Pluto immediately proceeds to break that idea down and …

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 2 Review

Vampire slayer. It’s one of the oldest professions in the horror world. Those who take up the mantle of said profession are generally your rogueish types, those who have seen the violence spread by these fanged foes and learn the methods to end them. Now imagine if somebody decided to organise these hunters of the hunters of night. To create a trained group, a military if you will. Now bestow upon them weapons of immense power, add in a few high school students and you’ve got yourself one hell of an anti-vampire brigade. Did I mention the demons yet? Because there’s totally demons. Having proved himself against a rampant demon, Yu has officially earned his place in the Moon Demon Company, the best of the best. As did Yoichi, good for him. Of course, owing to Yu’s lone wolf philosophy on life, which he scarcely follows, he manages to immediately butt heads with fellow classmate Kimizuki. Actually, he manages to butt heads with him before he even gets to class. Impressive. Not wanting to waste …

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods Review

Destruction, a depressing yet undeniable factor in the circle of life. Without the threat of an end, life would become stagnant, void of any sense of urgency. Or so we mortal beings rationalise. But were it your role in life to bring about said destruction, how would you behave? Would you relish in the carnage? Despise your lot in life? Or simply accept existence as it is? Regardless, end is an inevitability…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to fight it. Especially if said fights involve punching and explosions. The Dragon Balls, inciters of adventure and the trump card of the Z Fighters throughout a number of battles. Seven orbs of tremendous power, capable of summoning forth the almighty dragon Shenron, one who possesses the power to grant one a single wish. As you might expect, gathering these legendary relics is far from easy, spread across the Earth, the Dragon Balls have alluded countless seekers, driving many to deception, crime and ins…wait…Bulma found them all again. Of course, she wouldn’t have done so without an important …

Snow On The Blades – Review

“It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.”, said Miyamoto Musashi in his novel “The Book Of Five Rings”. The legendary Samurai taught that a master of the sword shouldn’t only be a master of the sword. Instead he should strive to master the arts, poetry, philosophy, and anything else that can be used to advance him mentally as well as physically. A Samurai aren’t quite the ruthless killers we’re made to believe they are and if there’s any film that puts that across perfectly it’s “Snow On The Blades”. Featured as a part of the 2014 Japanese Film Festival lineup, spearheaded by the lovely people at The Japan Foundation, us here at SnapThirty have been given to review this new film and we couldn’t be more appreciative. There are many Samurai movies that have been shown at this film but none I’m more thankful to be given the chance to watch than this one. At Sakurada Gate in 1860, the …

Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash! – Series Collection Review

The Ninja have developed many powerful techniques throughout history. Some practical, others not so practical, but none as powerful as the art of…seduction. Combat can be sexy and there’s no people more prone to aesthetically pleasing battle than the Ninja which, if I’m doing this properly, means they’re the most beautiful people in existence. I never used to think this. In fact, I was more mentally sound until about two days ago when I started watching one of Madman Entertainment’s newest releases “Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash!”. Since watching, I’ve learned that the most important thing about shadow combat is how much skin you can show and, if I’m being entirely honest…it has really changed my world view. The “Senran Kagura” series of video games, for those of you who don’t know, revolves around a bunch of young, sexy, female Ninjas who battle and strip their way to Shinobi glory. The games, being so damn popular, have eventually lead to the production of this Anime which tells the story of the girl’s first big battle against …

Pale Moon Review

‘The more we have, the less we have.’ Such is the notion that Daihachi Yoshida’s Pale Moon embodies. Over a 2 hour journey into the deepest reaches of the human psyche, Yoshida’s Pale Moon proves to be one of the most affecting drama films to come out of Japan since perhaps The Kirishima Thing, which is in fact another one of Yoshida’s works. I think I’m seeing a theme here. Irregardless of that it must be said that Pale Moon is simply a captivating film lead by a phenomenal Rie Miyazawa, who plays the role of Rika with true soul and a true sense of pathos. This is one film that most walking into the 18th Japanese Film Festival will not have great expectations for, but much like The Kirishima Thing, it will shake audiences to their very core. After all it does happens once in a while. Pale Moon follows Rika Umezawa, a young banker who leads a rather routine life until she one day decides to ‘break bad’ and betray her client’s trust …

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Review

The pressure couldn’t be any higher for the first Rurouni Kenshin live action to deliver on the unending popularity of the anime and manga. The 2012 self-titled movie debut managed to deliver on all fronts: the cast, the characters’ mannerisms, the beautifully choreographed fight sequences, all of it coming together in a way that left no fan unsatisfied despite some obvious omissions from the original source material and some creative liberties taken with it. Fans could not have asked for a better live action debut for Kenshin, a first of a trilogy that left us looking forward to more. Two years later in 2014, we have been treated to not one but two follow ups within the same year: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. These two films not only serve as a natural continuation to where the 2012 film ended, but they extensively and faithfully cover the most memorable arc of the anime/manga where Kenshin returns to Kyoto to confront his past, and to challenge a new adversary in Shishio …

Ninja Scroll (Remastered) – Review

Imagine a fifteen year old Frank Inglese walking into a local film retailer and seeing “Ninja Scroll” for the very first time. Back then I had an unjustified love for everything Ninja; I was into “Naruto”, I had just watched “Basilisk” and I was looking for just about anything Shinobi-related to indulge in but I couldn’t get my hands on this film. It was, and in fact still is, rated a hefty R18+ and I couldn’t find a single person to do me a solid and purchase this film for me. A little while later, on a school night, I received a text message from a friend alerting me to the fact that “Ninja Scroll” was being played on late night television. As you may have already guessed; I stayed up very late to finish what I immediately thought was one of the greatest Ninja movies of all time. It’s been about five years since then and it’s been just over twenty years since the movie was first developed and released. Now we’re in 2014; …

Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!! – Review

Oh I love me some fighting games! I’m not that good at them but, for some reason, I continuously find myself attracted to them. I stop to look at the case of the latest “Street Fighter” and “Tekken” games even though I know I wont play them nearly as much as I think will. I also happen to love incredibly niche and semi-unheard of Japanese games that only I, three other Western gamers, and a hundred thousand Japanese arcade-goers know of. Good or bad, I love tackling these games. If they’re bad I can just blame the development crew, if they’re good I can pretend I “discovered” the game and I’ll talk about it until my friends kick me out of what will probably be a moving car. “Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!” was released originally as an arcade game in Japan and then subsequently on home consoles. Well, it’s now reached the West despite the previous titles in the series ever doing the same and, thanks to our wonderful contacts, I’ve been given the …

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate Review

Witches. A classic of fiction. Evil beings who enjoy nothing more than mixing potions, casting spells and flying around on cleaning implements…at least, that’s what they used to be. Bayonetta is none of these things. Badass, violent, impossibly long legged and oozing sensuality from every pore. Over the top doesn’t begin to cover it. Though, when you take into account what terrors descend to Earth on a daily basis, anything less just wouldn’t cut it. 500 years ago, in an society lost to time, Umbran Witches and Lumen Sages lived in a tenuous peace. Each bestowed a tremendous power by Jubileus, the creator of the Universe, each clan swore upon the balance of existence that neither should cross the other’s path. Unfortunately for, well, everyone, this rule was broken and a child was born of a Sage and a Witch. A single child who threw the world into chaos, not through action mind you, merely it’s existence was enough. With the balance broken, the Sages began an all out war against the Witches, ultimately resulting in the destruction …

Digimon All-Star Rumble Review

Digimon. Digital Monsters. Digimon are the champions. If your read that in tune then congratulations, you’re awesome and we are now friends. If you didn’t, then you must be a newcomer to the Digital World. Which makes me a little sad, but we can still be friends. Anyway, welcome to the Digital World, a place jam packed with wondrous creatures who possess the ability to transform into even more wondrous creatures at will. It’s kinda the coolest. But such a world is not without its problems. Though, they may not be the ones you’d expect… Peace. The ultimate goal of good guys everywhere. If you stand for justice, you stand for peace, you fight for peace, you sacrifice for peace. So, what happens when you actually get peace? I mean, the battle is over, the adventure is done, what’s left? These are all questions that the Digimon now find themselves plagued with. Having defeated evil multiple times, the Digital World is experiencing a long running and well deserved break from chaos and combat…and man is it boring. …

Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord Review

Empire’s rise, and Empire’s fall. We all know how it goes. Be it in the history books or set far, far away in the reaches of space, these monolithic forces have a certain weakness. A crack in the armour that always sees them topple. The ultimate opponent for armies that have already conquered the land: a ragtag bunch of misfits. After all, everybody knows that personality vastly outpowers training, discipline and a life devoted to combat. It’s just how things work people. That’s why the rebels win. Hispania is a province in distress. Under the reign of the Divine Empire, citizens have been forced into lives of hunger, physical labour and religious uniformity. All of these facts are made readily apparent in the early moments of the game, wherein the young Lord of Hispania is whipped for not dismantling the country’s Sacred Temple fast enough. Seriously, its the ultimate representation of the situation. Anyway, after a rather lengthy exposition sequence that details the great disappointment that is Hamilcar, the should be leader of Hispania who …

20th Century Boys Volume 2 Review

Throw down that T. Rex record and let that familiar riff roar on through to the inner most reaches of your soul. It is very fitting that Naoki Urasawa named this series after that classic song. Much like its namesake, 20th Century Boys strikes you to the core. It reaches deep and grabs a hold of your soul and refuses to let go until the last page is turned. All great songs are ones in which you simply don’t want to end, the same applies to manga and 20th Century Boys just doesn’t have enough pages per volume to satisfy my need for more of this intense masterpiece. Picking up where volume 1 left off, 20th Century Boys volume 2 is right in the thick of things in regards to the mystery of the cult of ‘Friend’. The volume largely deals with Kenji’s attempts to identify the mystery man who seemingly has a connection to his past, although it ventures into a number of interesting side-stories that add a lot of colour to this ever …

‘Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet’ Review

Gen Urobuchi is undoubtedly one of modern anime’s greatest directors. With countless hit series under his belt, he has made a name for himself on his dark science fiction stories and his habit for bucking convention. His work is known for its tragic turns and philosophical musings, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is no different in that regard. While Urobuchi is a fantastic writer who proposes some very fascinating ideas, rarely is the resolution as satisfying as the initial idea. It is an issue that plagues almost all of Urobuchi’s works and once again Gargantia is no different. In spite of its flaws however, Gargantia winds up being a rip roaring ride into the future of humanity. Set in the far future, humanity has taken to the stars after the world freezes over with a helping hand of that thing called Global Warming. Humanity finds themselves at endless war against squid like space creatures called Hideauze. Our hero Ledo is one of the soldiers tasked with fighting the good fight. However when a mission goes …

‘The Devil is a Part Timer’ Review

Comedy is subjective. What one person finds hilarious, another may not even crack a smirk at. With that said it almost goes without saying that anime comedy is largely hit and miss especially with Westerners. The cultural divide creates a lot of barriers for humour to be understood and for jokes to land, but there are an elite few anime that destroy all cultural boundaries and prove to be objectively a good laugh irregardless of the audience. The Devil is a Part Timer is one of those anime series. So how does this part time Devil strike up comedic gold? What’s so funny about the Devil getting a part time job? The Devil is a Part Timer comes from White Fox studio, the very same people who brought us the modern classic that is Steins;Gate. While stylistically and story wise these two series have next to nothing in common, comedically they both follow a rather simple formula with universal appeal. The comedy is relatable and it is always underlined by genuine sentiment. It is something …

Tales Of Hearts R – Review

The “Tales Of” series of video games have been around for quite some time. Like “Dragon Quest” and “Final Fantasy”, every once in a while we’re graced with just another fantastic title to add to the already extensive list of “Tales Of” video games. Each time, the games come packed with more than the last and works to excite long time fans of the series and recruit some rookies who’ll soon find themselves masters of the “Tales”. The latest release of the franchise is a remake of a Nintendo DS game titled “Tales Of Hearts R”. Developed and published by the wonderful Bandai Namco Games, “Tales Of Hearts R” hits the PlayStation Vita with full force. Thanks to Bandai Namco Games, us here at SnapThirty have been given the chance to review this new game. I’m going to try and figure out just why it is that this particular “Tales Of” title deserves to land itself a remake. Follow me on our very own tale as we hack, slash and level our way through “Tales …

Tokyo Tribe – Review

I hate musicals. Both the stage kind and the movie kind. I always have and I never once thought I’d ever see one that I’d enjoy, so when the Japan Foundation sent us a screener copy of “Tokyo Tribe” which is playing for a limited time as part of their 2014 Japanese Film Festival lineup you can probably imagine how underwhelmed I was by it. That was only because I knew nothing about this movie apart from that it has a great deal of singing. What I didn’t know about it was that it isn’t exactly singing that takes the spotlight in “Tokyo Tribe”…it’s rapping and it’s freaking awesome. Set in an alternate Tokyo where gangs have risen up and taken rule of most of the capital, “Tokyo Tribe” tells the story of a single night when the tribes of Tokyo drop beats, pick up weapons and fight for ultimate supremacy over a man and his army who threatens to unite Tokyo under his tyrannical rule once and for all. Directed by Shion Sono, this …

Ef: A Tale Of Memories and Melodies – Box Set Review

Love. It’s such a fickle, dangerous but ultimately glorious thing. Human beings, big or small, short or tall, dumb or smart, all feel the need for love in one way or another. I believe that we were never to be in complete solitude. Instead, I think each and every individual’s true life work is to find a partner that shares with them the greatest gift of all. Finding that “one and only” can be a journey that may never end. It’s definitely one that’s treacherous. There are ups and downs, danger at every single corner but the reward for completing such a quest is something so much better than any material item. Unfortunately some people search their entire lives for love but never find it. It’s something that, once again, we as human beings each fear. Loneliness. At least, this is what I think now after watching one of Hanabee’s latest Anime releases “Ef: A Tale Of Memories and Melodies”. I always new life and love was supposed to be a little bit of a …

Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movies: Part One and Two – Limited Edition Box Set Review

Is it weird that – as a twenty year old male that grew up watching things like “Dragon Ball Z” – I never had an interest in “Magical Girl-type” Anime series’? I never used to think I was the odd one out, that is, until “Madoka Magica” came along. The first time I ever laid eyes upon this series was, of course, on Tumblr. As a younger man, I was scrolling through my feed and noticed an abundance of screenshots and gifs of this strange “Magical Girl” series accompanied by ridiculous explanations about just how “deep” and “intelligent” the series is. I immediately disregarded the entire series even though it was apparent that many other young males fell for it hook, line and sinker. It just wasn’t for me: It had cute girls wearing complex-looking dresses who hung around with a fox-like creature playing host to a perpetual smile. It was not my speed at all and now, a little older, I have to say…I still had no interest in watching this series but the …

‘The Light Shines Only There’ Review

There are dozens of intriguing films on this year’s Japanese Film Festival line-up but none more quietly captivating than The Light Shines Only There, a film that explores the complicated emotional networks that defines a troubled lower-class family and the aimless depressive that becomes entangled within it. The film moves quietly along pondering many questions on the nature of life, love, death, loss, sex, violence and all of the messy stuff that lies between. So what light shines at the end of suffering? The Light Shines Only There follows Tatsuo, a heavily depressed and unemployed slacker coasting by through life on his savings, slowly widdling it all away at a pachinko parlour. One day while drowning his sorrows in pachinko, Tatsuo meets teen delinquent Takuji, befriending him and ultimately finding himself wrapped up in the struggles affecting Takuji’s family. Tatsuo strikes up a connection with Takuji’s sister Chinatsu, another depressive who has been broken and beaten down by the world around her. Being forced to sell her body at the local brothel and serve as …

Gatchaman Crowds Review

Life is an adventure. You know, the thing from all those sayings, the thin that happens when you’re making plans. Of course, those sayings don’t take into account the presence of aliens, or heroes that fight aliens. Which they should, it’d make for some more interesting sayings. Anyway, aliens, champions of earth and one heck of a job orientation. Enjoy. Hajime is just your average, hyper energetic, stationary obsessed high school girl, living her life and singing about it on the regular. And so it was, until some alien God analogy rocked up and tore a book out of her soul. It’s ok though, that gave her superpowers. Why? Because reasons that’s why. Anywho, Hajime takes to her new post with gusto and happily meets all of her new co-workers. The quiet stern guy, the quiet cool guy, the quiet shy girl, the not quiet flamboyant guy and the yelly space panda. Who is also her boss. Though, believe it or not, Hajime is still the weirder of the crew. Partly due to her immediate …

The Snow White Murder Case Review

Ah, social media. The ever growing online behemoth that allows the people of the world to stay in touch with one another. A conglomerate of fact, fiction, opinion and every asinine thought that drifts through the minds of countless individuals. But the world takes to it with gusto, because humans are by nature social creatures, ones who band together when beneficial. But what happens when the collective focuses their efforts? What happens when suppositions clash? What happens when the truth is lost in the noise? Welcome to the present, a world where Twitter is a near inescapable facet of life. Even if you opt to not take part in  it, you will inevitably hear about it from others. Even television pushes the social media app, utilising it in order to boost audience involvement. This is all well and good for fiction, but the news is another story. When millions of people all weigh in on something they have only a passing knowledge of, accusations fly and facts are lost in a storm of words. Thus we …

Tokyo Refugees Review

Life is tough. In between college and all the partying with friends, there’s barely enough time in the day to get some rest. Though, if you’re smart, you’ll split the difference and sleep through class. Genius. But sometimes life has other plans, sometimes it plays out far beyond your control and decides to give you one hell of a wakeup call. Reality. It kinda sucks sometimes. One day you’re an overconfident, arrogant college student coasting through life and the next you’re locked out of your own apartment. At least that’s the case for Osamu Tokieda. It started like any other day, lazy, reluctant and full of all the enthusiasm expected of a college attendee, not student, “attendee”. But, as is the sad truth sometimes, Osamu’s reliance on others changed his life for the worse. A lack of tuition payments naturally led to an expulsion, which led to a confused and considerably irked Osamu discovering that cash flow is crucial. Sounds obvious enough, but when a parent hands out money like it’s going out of fashion, there children …

Otorimonogatari – Review (DVD/Blu-Ray Combo)

We, as simple humans, go through life fulfilling our own prophecies. Ones that, whether or not we like, we’re destined to reach. They may not even be that existential, in fact they’re most likely trivial but that doesn’t make it any less real than the ground you walk on. We’re all products of our own environments meaning that, depending on when and how we were raised, we all turn out different. This is basic self knowledge, I know, just bare with me because I’m getting to a greater point. Some of us have grown up tormented by the negatives of life. Hardship and adversity are very real and they mold people in a limitless number of ways. Some of us grown with a need to be loved, others grown in solitude. Some of us play the part of the victim almost too well, whereas others consider themselves somewhat of a hero. These are the prophecies I speak of, these are the parts of the puzzle we as pieces fit into perfectly. Nadeko Sengoku, she’s always …

Short Peace – Film Review

The very first time I laid eyes upon “Short Peace” was a while ago when I walked into a local video game distributor and its interesting front cover caught my eye. Red and white, like the Japanese flag, this cover featured striking but muddled imagery that forces those looking to take one big step forward just to be able to see exactly what the picture features. I picked it up, I gave the synopsis a read and became somewhat confused by it but it stayed on my mind for quite some time. A video game that’s also a movie which is made up of four mini-movies each telling a wildly different story but each showing a piece of Japanese history and future, fictional or otherwise, that are connected simply by the country they were developed in. Thinking back on it…it’s a little less confusing now that I’ve actually watched the movie. It’s now 2014 and that means the Japan Foundation are spearheading another fantastic Japanese Film Festival with a line up that is just as …

RWBY Volume 2 Review

Welcome to Beacon once more, the prestigious academy that arms minors with tremendous weapons and trains them to combat creatures of pure negativity and malice…it’s pretty standard really. Yet, within this world of danger, a greater threat looms. A foe that possesses something that the thralls of terrifying beasts lack, something that is far worse than teeth or claws: a plan…and lots of guns. Having already tussled with Torchwick and the White Fang in the last volume, we find Team RWBY preparing to return to class, normal life as it where. Of course, being the impetuous girl she is, Ruby insists on one last hurrah, one more moment of fun. Her plans are immediately dashed by an errant pie, resulting in one of the most epic food fights that has ever occurred anywhere. It really doesn’t have any bearing on the plot, I just thought it was worth mentioning. I mean where else are you going to see turkey gauntlets clash with a watermelon sledgehammer? Nowhere, that’s where. Humour aside though, the food fight showcases the …

Gundam 00 Review

The Gundam franchise is the stuff of legend. That isn’t up to debate. The series has changed anime forever and pioneered the mecha concept and laid the foundation for those that have followed it. Gundam has been around so long that every generation for the past 40 years has had a Gundam series to grow up with. There have been dozens of Gundam stories and each has captured the hearts of a generation. Gundam 00 landed mid-way through the 2000s having first aired in 2007, connecting with a generation that had known a world of unrest. Gundam 00 is undoubtedly one of the best Gundam series ever made. The series explores the themes of war, terrorism, peace and the reasons why we fight. At the time of its release the world was baring witness to the Iraq war and a world of terror. Call it perfect timing, call it era appropriate story-telling, but Gundam 00’s war themed story hit very close to home to viewers across the globe. The series is complex to say the …

Freedom Wars – Review

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the PlayStation Vita, at this point in time, isn’t as popular as the West thought it was going to be back when it was first released. That’s not to say that the system itself is bad or that the games released for it aren’t enjoyable, in fact, out of all the consoles I have now the PlayStation Vita would have to be my favorite. Despite this being one of Sony’s own consoles in circulation during the same time as the PlayStation 3 and 4, the technological juggernaut seems as though it’s simply refusing to put any effort into advertising outside of Japan just how great the Vita is. Many games released for the handheld are niche titles that don’t get that much attention outside of their country of origin this is where we see a steep decrease in interest. In Japan, the Vita is still considered one of the members of the royal gaming family. Unfortunately, it’s not the same case in the West but I think …

Valvrave the Liberator Season 1 Review

Never before has an anime series swung so wildly between moments of genuine greatness and outright awfulness. Valvrave the Liberator exists somewhere in between ‘so bad its good’ and ‘offensively bad’ for the majority of its run. It is almost as if Sunrise gave the production team complete creative freedom and what resulted is a unabashed mess of an anime series. Yet somehow, someway, Valvrave makes for an addictive viewing experience. Valvrave is like watching a train wreck; you know you are watching something horrible yet somewhere deep inside a part of you just won’t let you look away. The series has one of the most complicated plots in anime history following students on a floating space school as they battle against an invading Dorssian army (see: Nazi) who are trying to gain control of the legendary ‘Valvrave’ mecha. Unfortunately for the Dorssians, hapless hero Haruto decides on a whim to pilot the ‘Valvrave’, but in order to do that he must sacrifice his humanity and become a ‘Valvrave Vampire’. Things only get more and …

‘Natural Doctrine’ Review

Natural Doctrine is a tactical JRPG from Kadokawa Games, the people behind games such as Kantai Collection and The Lunar RPG Series. Natural Doctrine is reminiscent of games like Dark Souls in terms of the incredible difficulty. The game goes beyond the point of being just challenging – in fact it gets to the point of being punishing, which could be good or bad depending on your preferences. Natural Doctrine is a game that will be loved by some and hated by many. This game is brutal. The game follows the poorly named Geoff who is essentially every JRPG protagonist ever rolled into one and nothing more. The game has next to no story at all but what it does have focuses on the concept of natural selection. While it is an interesting idea the game rarely gives players any context for the situations they find themselves in. The story is simply weak at best and the characters are terrible at worst. In terms of the gameplay, the combat system is interesting but grows very old very quick. It appears to have more …

Samurai Warriors 4 – Review

I’ve always believed I was born in the wrong age. It’s not that I’m so different from my brothers and sisters from this generation, it’s more that I have always dreamed about growing up in the time of the Samurai. I’m a romantic in that regard and I know this because, in all of my daydreams, I’ve never seen myself as anything less than the greatest sword fighter. Let’s be honest here, reader, I’d probably be a terrible Samurai, in fact, I probably wouldn’t be one at all! I’d probably be a farmer or a laborer who still, even while living in that time, would dream of picking up a sword and fighting for my land. Thus is the beauty in fantasy. It is video games like the newly released ‘Samurai Warriors 4’ that allows me to momentarily quell what occupies my mind and I couldn’t possibly think of a better title to load into my PlayStation 4 than this. It’s been quite a while since I last partook in a ‘Warriors’ game of this …

Cardfight Vanguard Volume 4 Review

One last time. Stand up, my Vanguard! Final Turn! At long last we have reached the culmination of this epic journey that is Cardfight Vanguard. After following the series from its first DVD release from Hanabee, I now stand 65 episodes later in awe. Not only did Cardfight Vanguard shuffle the deck on what makes a good card games anime series, it also dealt out a new hand that veterans of the genre had never seen before. Cardfight Vanguard is fresher than Will Smith in parachute pants and this final volume only further proves why Vanguard has become the phenomenon it has. Following on from volume three of the series, we are still witnessing Aichi’s struggle with the darkside that exists within him. After gaining the PSYqualia ability, Aichi began to foresee what was to come in his matches, which of course made him a mighty foe to be reckoned with in the world of Vanguard. But the thing about power is that it tends to go to people’s head. Such was the case with …

Chi’s Sweet Home Review

The world is a confusing and, often times, frightening place. As such, growing up can be quite the experience. There are new faces, new places and an ever growing list of activities to learn. Of course, it certainly helps to have people around you, willing to impart their knowledge and assist your learning. A group who calmly explains the rights and wrongs of your actions, and points you down the correct path. A necessity of life…especially if you’re a cat. Meet Chi, a young kitten who one day strayed too far from her mother and found herself lost in a park. Sad and lonely, she is found by a young boy named Youhei and happily taken home by him and his mother. In the process of finding the her a home, the family become attached to the cute little kitten and the whole “finding her a home” thing becomes less and less important. After failing to discover a suitable home, the family decides to keep the cat for themselves, in flagrant violation of their rent agreement. This of course …

Kabukimonogatari – Review (DVD/Blu-Ray Combo)

Time travel is far too fickle of a subject for just ‘anyone’ to be writing about. Few have written a story involving speeding through the fabric of our time and pulled it off perfectly. I, as a ‘wannabee writer’, would never go near such a story topic but I look to those who’ve done it with a level of deep respect, that is…if they do it right. The ‘Monogatari’ series, both the Anime and the light novels, revolves around supernatural occurrences in a town full of crazy characters. The series up until this point has been strictly about paranormal apparitions but has stayed true to its fantasy-type routes. ‘Kabukimonogatari’, the four episode section of what was originally called ‘Monogatari Series: Second Season’, takes somewhat of a turn to instead deal with the more science fiction issue of time traveling and the ways it can all go wrong. Much like the rest of the series, it is much more beneficial to have watched ‘Bakemonogatari’ before heading into ‘Kabukimonogatari’. Having watched the entirety of the series would …

Nisemonogatari – The Complete Series Review (Blu-Ray)

To begin watching the ‘Monogatari’ series is a commitment comparable to that of marriage. There are ups and downs, smiles and frowns, things you may like and things you may not. It also seems as though it’s going to last forever and the only way you can possibly perceive getting out of it is through death. It’s a series I wasn’t too keen on many years ago when I first watched ‘Bakemonogatari’, the trailblazer for what is now one heck of a beloved series, but it seems as though I’ve come to love it. It was an odd experience: I didn’t know what to think about it, I thought it was great but then terrible. I thought the characters were good but then bad. I was going through one big mental contradiction but I stuck with it. Eventually I came to this season which just continued my introspective conflict. Titled ‘Nisemonogatari’, this season follows the story of series protagonist Koyomi Araragi’s younger sisters; Karen and Tsukihi. ‘Nisemonogatari’ switches gears, instead focusing on the younger of …

Mayo Chiki! – Series Collection Review

What is it about a ‘harem’ Anime that gets audiences so excited? No, not excited in that way, I mean genuinely excited. There’s got to be something within every single ‘harem’ series that has people coming back. Not only that, there has to be something within ‘harem’ Anime as a whole that justifies studios continuing to produce them. I, for one, cannot see the appeal of the hyper sexuality of this type of Anime but I think that’s exactly why I’m the perfect choice to review ‘Mayo Chiki!’. Why exactly? Well I think, as somewhat of an ‘outsider’, I can look at the series for more than just its fanservice in an attempt to see if this ‘romantic comedy’ is as comedic and beautifully romantic as boasted. All the while taking into account that it is the fanservice, clearly, that people seem to enjoy. ‘Mayo Chiki!’, as you’re about to read, revolves around a young man with a naturally occurring aversion to women thanks to the strong female types he’s grown up with. Life gets …

WataMote Review

High school. That magical location from which anime characters live their exciting daily lives or, owing to some outside force, fight secretly to save the world from danger. Yep, it certainly is the place to be…unless you’re unpopular. We all know about the charming transfer student, the badass fighter who is actually surprisingly good at tests, heck even the silent types get some serious screentime. So it shouldn’t be too hard to make a splash in anime’s favourite playground right? To skilfully navigate through the hormonal jungle that serves as a preamble to adulthood. Especially if you’ve spent your life enjoying and absorbing the tropes of said anime. I mean, it’s not like you’d be the unpopular one…right? Wrong. Oh so heart rendingly and soul crushingly wrong. Meet Tomoko Kuroki, a social inept otaku who continuously proves that she is by no means the traditional protagonist type. A fact even she herself is painfully aware of, due to her immense knowledge of the ins and outs of anime. Before making the transition to high school, hope filled Tomoko’s …

Majestic Prince Part One Review

What’s cooler than old school? Well.. a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean old school isn’t pretty cool in its own right. Majestic Prince is an anime that aims for the old school kind of cool and for the most part succeeds. Where Majestic Prince comes undone is its far too well-trodden setting and its story that feels ripped straight out of a Sunrise series from the 80s. You can’t help but feel like you’ve been here before, its teens piloting mechs in space as part of mech school, its Majestic Prince. Now while the premise of Majestic Prince is about as fresh as expired milk, the characterization does go a ways to correcting course. The main cast carries the material admirably, elevating some rather asinine plotting to greater heights than it has any right to. Team Rabbits or more commonly known as the Fail Five, make for a solid cast to build the series around, each with their own quirks and eccentricities. The growth of the Fail Five over this first part of …

Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed – Review

A young man and a beautiful girl speed through the busy streets of Akihabara. The duo duck and dodge in and out of back alleys as the people they pass by holler words of encouragement. They’re being chased. Hunted, but not for long. They find the perfect battlefield: Somewhere not as populated as the main streets. Somewhere they can let loose. Somewhere they can fight without holding back. Somewhere they can strip to their hearts content. They call themselves the Akiba Freedom Fighters and the ones they battle, they’re an army of superhuman beings called Synthisters that have neatly woven themselves throughout mainstream Akihabara society and they need to be taken down. Now. In ‘Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed’ you play as, well…you. You’re the main character and, after applying for a dodgy-sounding job, you wake up to find that you’re no longer the same person you once were. Attacked by the people who imprisoned you, you’re saved by a young girl who seems to know of your situation. She saves you and explains that …

Kill la Kill Volume 1 Review

School is tough. There’s assignments and tests, not to mention all of the social drama. There’s the popular kids and the athletic kids, the smart ones and the middle grounders. And to top it all of there’s the army of devout students empowered by specialised uniforms who all follow the dictatorial will of a tyrannical, stern faced Student Council President. But that’s how it is in every high school…isn’t it? Welcome to Honouji Academy! Your one stop shop for all things fashion and fascism. Enrol today and receive a thoroughly degrading lecture from the one and only Satsuki Kiryuin, Student Council President and general overlord of Honouji (the city that is, why stop at just ruling the school?) Ingratiate yourself to her and you may just receive the honour of wearing a Goku Uniform, an awesome piece of clothing that will imbue you with tremendous power and give your social standing a nice little boost. From No Star to Three Star, that is the ultimate goal of the proper student, but it is only a …

Attack on Titan Collection 2 Review

If there’s one thing humanity can be counted on doing, it’s fight against an enemy. To unite with those of like mind, to focus negative emotions and use them as a driving force for action. However, there is one factor that causes such a system to descend into chaos: a difference in opinion. When groups based on ideals form, they possess different goals than those around them and conflict arises. Even in a world dominated by an unprecedented threat, a la the Titans, the clash of opinions is still ever present and humanity does not stand entirely united. Seriously, get it together humanity, you’ve got bigger things to worry about. Eren Jaeger. Human. Soldier. Titan. With the rather shocking revelation of Eren’s true power dominating the first half of the series, we now find ourselves witness to a most human turmoil: the clash between fear and logic. Shown previously in the vastly opposed personalities of Pixis and one particularly cannon happy soldier, Eren comes to serve as a personification of both terror and hope. A complex mix of …

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya – Review

One of the more recent Studio Ghibli films directed by Isao Takahata, ‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’ theatrically recreates the Japanese folkloric story originally titled ‘The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter’. This film tells the story of a childless couple who come across a supernatural apparition which just so happens to be a baby girl smaller than the palm of a hand. Laced with lessons, morals and tender moments, ‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’ did not do as well as many other Studio Ghibli films and that, combined with the retiring of Hayao Miyazaki, eventually lead to the ‘temporary’ closing of Studio Ghibli. Such an unfortunate outcome. Thanks to Madman Entertainment in conjunction with the Dendy string of semi-independent movie theaters, Kane Bugeja and I were given the chance to experience the myth on the big screen. ‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’ follows a young girl birthed from the heavens who finds herself the daughter of a bamboo cutter and his wife. Unable to have kids, this old couple was eventually blessed by the Gods …

Super Smash Bros. For The 3DS – Review

Arguably, the latest addition to the ‘Super Smash Bros.’ series of crossover fighting video games is the most anticipated of its legendary lineage. It may be that the internet has grown and hype is now something that explodes and expands beyond all fathomability. It may be that we’re just more excitable in this day and age. It may also be that Nintendo have been secretly drugging us to become more addicted to their games. Regardless of all that, I believe it’s that it is the first of the series to come to a handheld console. That, alongside some other seriously impressive factors like upgraded graphics and large character roster, has made the game so sought after and, now that it is released and I’ve been playing it, I can see exactly why. Not that I didn’t have an idea about it beforehand. The original ‘Super Smash Bros.’ hit the Nintendo 64 just over fifteen years ago back in 1999 and ever since then the series has just gotten better with each new title. Featuring fan …

Princess Knight DVD Boxset Review

It’s not easy being a Prince. Granted it’s probably not a breeze to be a peasant, but still. A life of etiquette, of rules, all whilst knowing that they will one day have to take over the family business…once the current King dies of course. That is of course if they are in fact a Prince. It would certainly complicate matters if the King’s only child was a girl, who by definition could not become King. But if that were the case, everybody would surely know about it…right? First things first, this is a really difficult series to review. In addition to objectively judging how everything in the series comes together, I also can’t ignore the fact that this is an old anime. As in it’s 47 years old. Anime from last year is considered kinda old, so you can imagine how this one plays out. Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Silverland, a child was born to the King and Queen. An heir to sit on the throne when their era was over…or so …

From The New World: Part Two – Review

As humans, we don’t exactly know the truth of this world. Really, there’s only so much we can know! Think about it; we don’t even EXACTLY know how the universe started. We have a good idea about it but, honestly, a great deal of this world is but a huge mystery just waiting to be solved. Now what if I was to tell you that the world was an entirely different place before you were born? Not just the way people speak, the way they dress or their mannerisms. I mean ENTIRELY different. Unrecognizably different. Unbelievable different. It would be kind of daunting, right? Damn right! Conspiracy theories pop up all the time nowadays and most of them are thrown out the window labelled ‘silly’ or ‘ridiculous’ but what if some were true? What if the royal family really are a bunch of lizard-people eating our babies? What if the world destroyed itself hundreds of years ago and the life we lead now is just humanity’s attempt at reviving what has been lost for so …

Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star Review

RPGs are a wonderous thing. They show us a myriad of worlds full of creatures, characters and chaos that has no possible chance of existing in our own. So we play these games, escape the daily grind. But have you ever wondered about the view from the other side of the screen? What would these characters think if they knew they were nought but playthings for himanity? What would they do once they found out? Welcome to Ar nosurge, a complicated story that contains within it one of the most interesting concepts I have ever seen in a game. Now this facet of Ar nosurge isn’t explicitly revealed until a ways into the game, so if you’re not one for spoilers, maybe skip to the next paragraph. Hinted at with the introduction of the playable character Earthes, Ar nosurge features a powerful plot device known as Interdimend. This force is one explained to connect the dimension of the game to one higher: the 8th Dimension. Or, more specifically, our dimension. Yeah. As in you, me, …

‘Fairy Fencer F’ Review

Fairy Fence F is a JRPG from Compile Heart, the wildly popular Japanese developer who brought you games such as Record of Agarest War, Cross Edge and the iconic Puzzle Mate! It mixes the visual novel style with dungeon crawling RPG elements making what is a niche experience that some will love while leaving others feeling that this game has very little to offer. Despite the fact that this game is not for everyone, for those who are into this style of game prepare to devote an insane amount of hours of your life to the wonderful world of Fairy Fencer F. The game follows Fang, a fairly generic protagonist, rude and ridiculously straightforward but could be considered honest, he also tends to laze around and also has quite an insatiable appetite. Basically the badass character from nearly every anime ever. The story revolves around the aftermath of a conflict between two gods. The gods created special weapons known as furies and the only people who can wield the furies are fencers, the furies are said to be very …

Nekomonogatari White – Review (DVD/Blu-Ray Combo)

The interesting thing about cats is that they always land on their feet. I suppose heights don’t really bother them that much. It’s not like they can easily die of head trauma due to falling. Even better is that they’re also thought to have nine lives so if one of those times the cat doesn’t live up to its reputation and unfortunately is killed, at least they have another eight to enjoy before true demise. That’s great…when the cat is a simple family pet and not a supernatural presence brought about by extreme stress. To be completely honest; I’m more of a fan of dogs. Cats aren’t really my thing and I think I have an idea why: They’re conniving, they’re sneaky and they’re elusive. They also, according to ‘Nekomonogatari White’, make for some pretty dangerous apparitions. Come on. It‘s time to wake from this nightmare. Tsubasa Hanekawa’s curse has just morphed itself into a tiger. A great white beast, that seems to only bring misfortune to Tsubasa in its wake. It’s first victim? Her …

Bakemonogatari – Box Set Review (Blu-Ray)

Not everything is how it seems. I now realize that as an open-minded twenty year old: Life isn’t just what you can see. There are layers upon layers of human thought that can be sifted through and explored in and of yourself that, as a young man, I refused to do. I instead took everything at face value and, in all honesty; it was a boring way to live. I now like to imagine that all things are possible, both the physical and metaphysical. Why believe in one deity when you can believe in them all? Why only try to understand one system of belief when you can try to understand many? Ghosts are real. Aliens are real. Monsters are real. Creatures are real. I cannot prove this and, to be blunt, I’m not even sure I entirely believe this BUT wouldn’t it be awesome if I was right? That’s why we watch things like Anime, because it is leagues more exciting than real life and it’s series’ like ‘Bakemonogatari’ that perfectly blend the natural …

Devil Survivor 2: The Animation – Complete Collection Review

Three kids, a God, and a plan for universal domination. This is ‘Devil Survivor 2: The Animation’. Many of you out there are probably thinking that you’ve heard this name before, well you have because it was originally a game for the Nintendo DS which, funnily enough, has just been announced to be a getting a remake for the Nintendo 3DS sometime next year. I suppose Hanabee, the Australian Anime distributors, knew something we didn’t as it is only now that this series is getting a release ‘down under’. Originally released over a year ago in Japan and streamed for the West thanks to Crunchyroll, it was an interesting experience being able to watch this series again in full English audio and without having to wait week by week. Before even putting the disc in I took a moment to think about what I was getting into: Does it still hold up after a year of animation progression and newer series’? Will I be able to appreciate the English voice acting when I’ve already heard …

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call – Review

Music really does make a video game. There are some titles out there that are absolutely brilliant: They’re exciting, they’re engaging, they’re simply fun to play BUT they’re also missing something fatal…music. A good soundtrack could turn an ‘OK’ game into a ‘great’ game but I feel as though it is a video game aspect that is sometimes overlooked. I’ve seen plenty of games fail due to a boring or badly composed soundtrack but one series that doesn’t fall victim to this is ‘Final Fantasy’. Back in 2012 we saw the first culmination of the great series’ music. It came in the form of a spin-off title called ‘Theatrhythm Final Fantasy’. Playing like a typical rhythm game, ‘Theatrhythm Final Fantasy’ featured an abundance of songs from many of the different ‘Final Fantasy’ games and also played host to odd but interesting gameplay mechanic that made it feel more like an RPG. Well the game did very well and Square Enix decided that maybe they should go ahead and develop another one. This game is called …

Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1) Volume 2 Review

Life is a journey. An ever stretching path that leads into uncertainty. For most who walk this path, there are a few surprises, some unexpected turns that serve to remind them of existence’s inherent unpredictability. And then there are the others. Those who deign to set a waypoint in the mystery, a goal to strive for, regardless of the road that rises to meet them. Though noble in its conception, there are instances where such desire leads to the road better not travelled, a way of mistakes, a way of pain. But whether or not one walks a path of light or darkness, or even refuses to walk at all, there remains one irrefutable fact: there is no turning back. As their quest threw them into a world of secrets and subterfuge, the brothers Elric discovered the truth that had eluded them for so long…along with the horrifying details of its origin. Torn between their innocent desire, born from their hubris, the brothers found themselves pitted against enemies who tested both their minds and bodies. …

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Review

Hell is other people. The source is My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, a misanthropic corrupted romantic comedy. Don’t let the silly name fool you, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is far from the usual drivel that has become commonplace to the genre. In fact it is actually a deadset deconstruction of the entire genre itself thrown through a wood chipper and seen through a cynic’s critical gaze. It’s a tough pill to swallow but My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU tackles the less than lighthearted dark side of high school life with a sense of vitriol glazed in hopefulness. The series follows Hachiman Hikigaya a self confessed misanthrope who hates just about everything for no good reason other than his belief that everything hates him back just as much. He has no friends and doesn’t care to make any. His past attempts at love and friendship have all crashed and burned leaving him humiliated and more and more reclusive each and every time. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Yukino Yukinoshita, the prettiest girl in …

Vagabond (Vizbig Edition): Volume Two – Review

“An emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function, and ultimately a change in behavior…”, is the official definition of fear. It’s a feeling that exists within all of us. The strong and the weak both find themselves afflicted by its crippling grip. It’s an invisible force that can turn the most confident of people into the most meek and if volume two of Madman Entertainment’s ‘Vagabond (Vizbig Edition)’ taught me anything, it’s that nothing can stop it. ‘Vagabond’ is a Manga series written and illustrated by famed Mangaka Takehiko Inoue who’s most famous for his Shonen sports series ‘Slam Dunk’. Based off of the novel ‘Musashi’, ‘Vagabond’ tells the story of real life figure Miyamoto Musashi; the worlds most well-known and masterful samurai. Volume two continues Miyamoto’s journey through Japan. Already storming his very first samurai school but making it out barely alive, he decides to continue on path of the blade thanks to his ignorant and stubborn nature. Heading to Nara, he intends …

Gangsta Volume Three – Review

History is such a huge factor in the growth of a relationship, platonic or otherwise. There are some things within ones past that simply cannot be overlooked and, as humans, these are things we will never forget. This is just the way we are. We use what has happened in the past to define how we will grow into the future. Sometime for the better but other times for the worst. ‘Gangsta’, for those of you not in the know, is a new Manga series that follows the story of two men living in a town entirely occupied by killers, thieves, con men and criminals of all different types. Ergastulum, the city, is teeming with these ‘bad eggs’. What makes this place even worse is that some of its citizens happen to be the remnants of a civil war wherein which humans were turned into super soldier-type beings through the implementation of drugs. These are known as ‘Twilights’ or ‘Tags’. Worick, a gigolo and human memory card, has known his partner Nic, a deaf samurai …

Horizon In The Middle Of Nowhere Series Collection – Review

War is a reality. It’s something we as humans have come to somewhat understand, and we know that it isn’t good. It spreads death and sadness, and benefits no party. The unfortunate truth is that there will always be war and the cast of ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ know this all too well. The inhabitants of Earth were once able to soar high up into the heavens and across the galaxy, but one fated day this ability was taken from them and they were cast back down, forever locked to the confines of the planet’s gravitational reach. Ages later, the remaining Earth countries take place in a perpetual war that rages from land to land with death tolls that are constantly on the rise. To say ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ follows only one main character would be an error on my part. Something odd but ultimately interesting about the Anime is that – despite the front cover only featuring the two ‘supposed’ leads – it actually gives most of the characters …

The Severing Crime Edge Series Collection Review

Throughout history, there have been those whose actions allow them to exist far beyond their lifespan. Records, memories, stories, any number of medium detailing how one person managed to leave a mark on the world. Though not all are remembered in a positive light, having left their mark on the world in blood. Though, despite the horror of these past figures, solace can be taken in the fact that they are long passed. I mean, it’s not like there’s a collection of cursed weapons infused with their souls, ready to infect their descendants with a murderous rage… Oh wait, there totally is. But we’ll get to that in a bit, first let’s meet some characters. Namely Kiri Haimura and Iwai Mushanokoji. So Kiri, he’s a highschool student who…ummm…really likes hair and the act of cutting hair. Yes, in that way. So when he hears a story about a ghost possessing tremendously long, silky hair, he has no choice but to check it out. Of course there’s no such thing as ghosts (that’d be silly), instead Kiri …

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Review

Ah school. That great melting pot of personalities and ideals that gives the youth of the world the skills needed to progress through life…unless of course you decide to attend Hope’s Peak Academy. Contrary to its name, this particular institution is home to a plethora of twisted people, unfortunate victims and murder most foul. But that’s all in the past. I mean, there’s no way the Killing School will have a second year…right? Wrong, despite the fervent refusal of a particular plush rabbit…let me explain. Welcome to Jabberwock Island. A five star, five island resort designed for optimal relaxation, exploration and overall fun times. As such, Hope’s Peak Academy teacher Usami (the plush rabbit I mentioned earlier) decides to take her students on a little field trip. During said trip, the 16 students are to tasked with getting to know each other in order to build unbreakable friendships. So sit back, relax and get ready for a lovely game about idle conversation and days spent chilling at the beach…yeah, is anyone believing this? No? Thought so. Shortly after the students settle …

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution – Review

The world is never and will never be short of ‘Naruto’ fighting games. This is a truth all Anime and Manga fans have come to understand, and most of them are more than grateful. Every two years or so the good people over at Bandai Namco Games in conjunction with video game developer CyberConnect2 create and distribute a brand-new ‘Naruto’ fighting title. Each new game brings about new characters, upgraded battle mechanics and improved graphics BUT every single time a new one is released reviews say mostly the same thing; it’s not that different from the last game. This almost seems like a curse for the franchise seeing as it has been this way for years but does the latest addition, ‘Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution’, throw off the balance and break the hex of perpetual monotony? It’s quite possible. Unlike it’s predecessors, ‘Revolution’ does not fall victim to the habit of Anime-based video games simply retelling the story of the series. It is good thing to implement when it is the first or …

Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited – Review

A man only has two things in this world: His word and his balls. Any good man wouldn’t break either for anybody. That’s a lesson that I was originally taught by Al Pacino in his role as Tony Montana from the hit 80s film ‘Scarface’. Now, at the ripe old age of twenty, I’ve been given the chance to play the PlayStation Vita port ‘Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited’, a game that features a main character who just so happens to feel the same way as the Colombian drug lord himself. While Valvatorez the vampire doesn’t deal with narcotics, he was once called a tyrant…that was, until he made a promise to a young girl named Artina to never drink the blood of a human again. Being a demon doesn’t mean he has no morals. Valvatorez agreed and never again touched the sweet blood of a human being, teaching us that a promise is never to be broken. ‘Disgaea 4’ was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2011 under the title ‘A Promise …

Date A Live Season 1 Review

‘Kiss the girls, save the world.’ Who would have thought that tagline was literal? Well in the ridiculous world of Date A Live, the very fate of Planet Earth rests on the shoulders of a horny teen who must systematically make destructive spirits in the form of cute girls fall in love with him. It is harem anime turned up to 11; silly, packed with fan-service and just plain fun. Date A Live is preposterous at worst but at its best the series is actually capable of truly affecting emotion. While most of the situation regarding the spirits is played for laughs, when it is done for drama the story of these tragic figures will steal your heart as well. They are given a sense of character beyond archetypes, something uncommon in the harem genre. Their detailed characterization is a welcome breath of fresh air in this genre and Date A Live makes some major strides to bring a new flavour to trodden territory. The high stakes situation at the core of Date A Live involves …

Tales of Xillia 2 Review

Choice. The constant that drives humanity forward and skews life down a path yet unseen. Be it as simple as choosing the words you speak, or as difficult as changing a life, everything builds towards a future. However, in the cruellest twist of irony and fate, when the time comes for you to lay your soul bare and grasp your own destiny, you may find that you have no choice at all. One year after the events of the previous game, we find ourselves stepping into the shoes of one Ludger Will Kresnik, a quiet, responsible man with a penchant for cooking. One day, Ludger sets out to work, with the simple intention of cooking for his customers and continuing his life (due to him recently failing the entrance exam for Sprius, a large organisation that at least requires its agents to be able to survive monster assaults). However, it would seem that fate has other designs, as he soon finds himself aboard a train that has recently been hijacked by the radical group Exodus. It is aboard …

Battle Royale: Angel’s Border Review

Battle Royale shocked the world with its controversial subject matter upon its original release. Some countries flat-out refused to release or even acknowledge the film or novel. The story of Battle Royale is a shout into the void, a fist raised in the air against the messed up world we live in. It is that rebellious heart that captured the imaginations of audiences across the globe and with Battle Royale: Angel’s Border, fans of the original have some extended reading to attend to. Focusing in on one of the saddest parts of Battle Royale, the lighthouse scene, Battle Royale: Angel’s Border adds another layer of heartbreak onto what is already a tragic scene to say the very least. Diving deeper into the characters of the lighthouse girls, this manga explores the other side of the story for the ill-fated inhabitants of the lighthouse. Not unlike a Shakespearean play, Battle Royale: Angel’s Border plays out in Acts and chapters serving as scenes in each ‘Act’. Where the Shakespearean vibe really hits home is the inherent tragedy …

Cardfight Vanguard Volume 3 Review

Who ever thought card games could be so serious? Well with volume 3 of Cardfight Vanguard Aichi becomes deeper and deeper enthralled with his new found abilities. He continues to pummel his competition, but can his new found strength be considered as such when he can already foresee the outcome? This volume of Cardfight Vanguard continues on from last volumes tournament conclusion, with Team Q4 dealing with their failure, something that Aichi takes quite hard. After being introduced to a new Dark Blaster Blade card, Aichi begins to take a turn for the worse, spiraling into habits that can only be described as evil. It is tough to watch the usually meek and good natured Aichi become more or less a villain. This dark version of Aichi really is quite a twist and given the Psyqualia power to foresee the future, you can see how it goes to Aichi’s head. Having to rise back from the ashes, Team Q4 tangles with Ren and his cohorts again, but Aichi’s increasing psychic abilities are causing concern for all …

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment Review

SWORDS! They’re so exciting! I’ve never used one before and, chances are, I’ll never use them at all. Why? Because, contrary to popular belief, I’m actually not a Samurai…though I want to be so bad. I instead rely on video game characters to do all of my sword wielding. Like most gamers I live vicariously through the characters I create on-screen. ‘Sword Art Online’, the highly popular Anime/Light Novel series, begs audiences to think about how they would go about living within a game world where death in the game means death in reality. In the PlayStation Vita title ‘Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment’, players are put into the virtual shoes of series hero Kazuto Kirigaya or ‘Kirito’ as he prefers to be called. Mostly following the story of the first half of the Anime series, the game features all of the characters fans have grown to know and love but also features a storyline that does it’s best to expand on the ‘SAO’ universe. Players can chose to follow the main story which basically …

Code:Breaker Series Collection Review

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Such is the law of retaliation and the belief that injustice should be repaid in kind. An objectively understandable concept. Simple in its message, unforgiving in its execution. But is the world really that black and white? Can such a well defined law exist within an ever changing society? Though what of the inverse? Is redemption and reform more viable an option? Or is seeing life in shades of grey simply ignoring the truth? Well in order to answer these questions and quell your thoughts, let us venture in the complex anime hierarchy that never fails to explain the intricacies of life, death and everything in between: High School. Sakura Sakurakoji is just your average, everyday, repetitiously named high schooler. Whilst travelling home on night, she happens upon the strangest of sights; a number of people being burned alive by blue fire (I said it was strange, I didn’t say it was nice). Though no evidence of such a horrible event remains when she arrives on …

Karneval Complete Collection Review

Roll up, roll up! Come one, come all! Grab you’re ticket and bring a smile because the circus is coming to town…sort of. In a world twisted by corruption and threatened by monsters, there is only one organisation capable of fighting for justice, I’ll give you three guesses as to who. So sit back, relax and enjoy the mayhem that unfolds when super-powered acrobats take on those who long for destruction in one form or another. We enter our story as soon-to-be-protagonist Nai finds himself at the mercy of a particularly forceful lady named Mine. Luckily for him, and story progression, said situation is interrupted by a cat burglar whom we will all come to know as Gareki (because that’s his name). Any sense of peace is short lived however, as Mine rather swiftly returns…as a monster. Cue escape/fight scene. After using wit and trickery to ensure his safety (and Nai’s I suppose), Gareki speeds to safety aboard a train…that has been hijacked. Though, coincidences aside, this particular sequence of events allows us our first glimpse at Circus, the …

Pluto Volume 1 Review

With a pedigree by the names of Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka, it is damn near impossible for Pluto to not be good. This first volume of Urasawa’s re-imagining of the wonderful world envisioned by Osamu Tezuka is utterly remarkable. Exploring human emotion through artificial beings is an incredible thing to tackle and Urasawa does so with the deftest of delicacy. Pluto tells us a lot about what it means to be human, all through a robot’s eyes. Urasawa’s take on Tezuka’s world of Astro Boy is a dark one indeed. The style feels almost like a cross between Urasawa’s Monster and Tezuka’s Astro Boy. A winning combination undoubtedly and the direction this story takes is astonishing to say the very least. The series follows a slew of murders taking place across the globe in a future world where humans and robots coexist. We follow Gisecht a robot detective tasked with the case of the series of murders. Gisecht looks very human in appearance, however on the inside he is machine. Throughout his travels to various …

Terra Formars Volume One Review

Let me lay it down for you: Eventually, so I’ve been lead to believe, this planet will be no more. With the inevitable death of the Earth will come the eradication of every single native species…that includes us humans. This is why we have to start thinking about alternative existence plans. Lucky for us, there are a whole bunch of other planets hanging around in the same solar system as ours that would gladly allow for us to change it’s overall makeup to resemble Earth. This is what we call ‘Terraforming’, though it’s a little more complicated than what I just described. The crew of ‘Bugs 1’ – a team of highly intelligent, professionally trained astronauts and scientists that have been sent into space to search for a worthy Terraforming candidate – land on Mars. The red planet, being more like Earth than any other planet in the solar system, seems like the perfect place to start anew. To help the Terraforming process the crew spread things like heat-absorbing moss and algi around the planet, …

Vagabond (Vizbig Edition): Volume One – Review

There’s something within each and every single human being that drives us forward. We set ourselves goals we aim only to achieve despite the odds that may or may not be stacked against us. We enter into a state much like that of a boxer’s ‘tunnel vision’ where all we see is future success and no matter what, we believe that we will succeed. This is why the world continues to evolve day by day, but why exactly do we do this? In a way, being the greatest in your own field is somewhat of a selfish act. Think, just for a moment, the true reason why we do what we do. Is it for self satisfaction? Perhaps. Is it for the fame and glory? Quite possibly. Is it to be immortalized in the history of life itself? In my opinion, that’s exactly why we reach for higher ground day after day. As humans we long to live forever! Infinity is something we each wish to achieve whether it is through your career or through …

20th Century Boys Volume 1 Review

The 21st Century may not be ready for 20th Century Boys, a manga that is so far ahead of its time that it may take another century for the world to truly get it’s brilliance. Naoki Urasawa is the brains behind the work and with a rich history of intelligent, ground-breaking manga, it isn’t any surprise that 20th Century Boys proves to be unlike anything else in manga today. The manga series originally began serialization at the turn of the century, a time of momentous change in the world, but what 20th Century Boys offers is more than just a change from the norm, it reinvents the norm, this is Urasawa’s world and we are all bearing witness to it. From the very first few pages of 20th Century Boys Volume 1 it becomes abundantly clear that this is not your average manga. The framing, the detail, the angles, the fine touches that add immeasurably to the visual messages that Urasawa is trying to convey. There are machinations at work in this volume that would likely …

Robotics;Notes Collection 2 Review

Going in to Robotics;Notes it is almost impossible to ignore that semi-colon in the title and all that it represents. That semi-colon has come to represent the ‘Science Adventure’ series and with the reputation the series has following successful outings in Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate it is difficult not to have great expectations of Robotics;Notes. While it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as its predecessors, Robotics;Notes aims to be something different, something unique, but not exactly what fans of the ‘Science Adventure’ series may have been looking for. This second collection of Robotics;Notes features the final cour of the series and more or less kicks things into overdrive following what was a somewhat meandering first half. We see the foundations laid in the early goings come to fruition in a big way as the whole end of the world conspiracy plot reaches its climax in a rather surprising fashion. It must be said that the show implements a rather slow and lackadaisical pace that does at times feel rather uneventful, but if you soak it in …

“Digimon: Digital Monsters” Season Two Collection Review

The sad truth is that, no matter what one does, evil will always be lurking within the darkness of shadows. The voices in our heads tell us to stand tall against adversity no matter how many times it tries to get you down and the only way to truly survive is to listen to those words and do as described. Never let the forces of negativity get you down. Always rise up time and time again because no matter how many battles you win, there will always be another just around the corner and this is all to evident for the cast of ‘Digimon: Digital Monsters’ who, after conquering the Dark Masters in the first season of the Anime, return alongside a group of other young ‘DigiDestined’ to save the ‘Digital World’ like they did all those years ago. Unfortunately this time they’ll be fighting a force much more formidable than the last. It has been three years since the events of the first season and we now follow a new group of ‘DigiDestined’ as …

“Persona 4: The Animation” Series Collection Review

Life is a fickle and unforeseeable force. Many people throughout the years have tried to grasp destiny in all it’s unpredictable glory but have failed to be able to bend and shape it at their will. This is something that may, for all intents and purposes, be impossible but that doesn’t mean anything bad for us in the world of the living. Day by day we live our lives, not knowing what is around the corner but all the while hoping it is something good. If it is destiny’s desire for you to do something, chances are, you are going to do it. Now put aside beliefs for just a moment and try to imagine a world filled with lives dictated by an immeasurable force. This force manipulates each and every one of us ever so slightly. It’s tender, so much so that it doesn’t even seem like it is there but it is and it’s walking with you hand-in-hand down a path you must take. There may be many splits in this metaphorical path …

Maoyu Series Collection Review

Ah fantasy. The realm of knights and dragons, angels and demons, humans and…some other type of creature. But we all know those stories inside and out. A champion arises, braving countless foes until they storm the villain’s castle and conquer evil…but then what? With no villains left to stand against, what does good do? More importantly, what happens to the world itself? Meet the Hero, a nameless protagonist who is on his way to defeat the likewise nameless Demon King. However, our Hero is slightly taken aback when, instead of stumbling into a horrible, terror inspiring beast, he finds a cute girl. But appearances are deceptive in this world of fantasy, as the girl reveals herself to be none other than the Demon King. However, rather than attempting to attack the Hero, she merely provides a cheerful hello and explains her desire to have a calm discussion with him. Not exactly you’re traditional clash between good and evil. As the Demon King reveals her notions regarding war, the Hero comes to see her as more …

“Digimon: Digital Monsters” Season One Collection Review

As a new man, barely in his twenties, I find myself looking forward to the future with hope in my heart and ambition coursing through my veins. With a positive outlook and an energetic disposition, day by day my anticipation and excitement of what is to come grows stronger but I constantly catch myself in daydreams of the past. Younger, better days. Times when the bulk of my focus was centered on a tiny, square, brick-like toy that had to do no more than ‘beep’ to get my attention. The days of the ‘virtual pet’; they were good ones indeed. The original ‘Digimon’ ‘V-Pets’, as they’re called, were basically Tamagotchis with ‘machismo’. You didn’t give your virtual pet a bow to wear or a ball to play with, that’s not how you train a killer! From the moment a ‘Digimon’ hatches it is put into rigorous training; shooting bubbles at punching bags or having to fight it’s own body double. Being a sequence of digital lines on a tiny screen is hard, especially when you’re …