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By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Jul, 2017 At 10:39 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Fighting games are in a bit of a renaissance right now. We have A new (somewhat controversial) Marvel vs Capcom coming, a new Injustice game, A DBZ fighter from Arc System Works is coming and Nintendo is bringing multiple fighters to the Switch. One of the titles that stand out the most though is Bandai Namco’s Tekken 7.

Tekken 7 is a mechanically beautiful and visually stunning game, and a well-designed fighter great for a variety of players.  I have been a Tekken fan for years and was extremely excited for the game, as I couldn’t wait to play my favorite characters again in new ways. What I found in this experience was fun but at times frustrating, though not to the extent of a certain other fighting game that may or may not now is in continuity with the Tekken series. 

As I stated, Tekken 7 is gorgeous visually. The art style was a perfect choice and I didn’t have any framerate issues, so playing it just felt awesome. Visuals are not the most important thing in a fighting game, true, but I can appreciate good visual design in them. The game also made great use of the soundtrack, especially on PS4. Accessing the classic music was a real treat and made the game feel like a great throwback to the old days. The new music composed for the game is excellent as well, and all of it fits the characters.

Speaking of the characters, the new additions are a mix of hit and miss with me. I loved characters like Katarina and Claudio as they felt fun to use, while a character like Josie and Master Raven were okay but I did have some issues with. With Master Raven it is more due to the teleporting nature of the character, which is just not something I like, and I admit it is a personal thing, although the character could be fun. With Josie, the character just didn’t click with me, but I can see why she is popular ( plus her fighting style is great).

There are certain characters that I just did not like, however, like Eliza and surprisingly enough Akuma. The reason for this is that, while Akuma is cool to have in Tekken, the more I played him, the more he felt so out of place and awkward. it just broke up the flow of gameplay to me and that obviously is not what was supposed to happen. Eliza also felt like a character that should be in a different game and not  Tekken. She feels more like a Street Fighter character than a Tekken character and again breaks the immersion of the gameplay for me.

Speaking of gameplay, the fighting is the best its ever been for the most part and the story mode is excellent, although the changes to arcade mode are not for the better in my opinion. I get what they did, but I like traditional arcade modes with proper endings. I am glad there is still an arcade mode but the way endings were done, is something that will make some people upset. In terms of online, I had many issues for a long time and couldn’t even connect at first. When this was finally resolved, however, I had a blast playing online and the connection ran well.There are other single player modes that offer variety as well, and that is something I can appreciate a great deal. There is enough here for players who want to play casually and not be concerned with online.

Tekken 7 overall, is one of the better fighters. It lacks some features but makes up for it with what it has.  With good music and visuals, fun online and offline content, and mostly good characters, I feel that Tekken 7 is a real standout game this year. If you like fighting games at all, then you owe it to yourself to check out Tekken 7!

 

By OSkG_Pinto On 15 Jul, 2013 At 02:44 AM | Categorized As Reviews, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments

No GravatarTitans

Is the prototype RX-178 Mk-II worth your money?

Witness this shiney blue Gundam.

As a huge Gundam fan I’ve been building Gundam model kits for ages, it’s actually my favorite hobby. I discovered Bandai’s Real Grade line of modelkits during my stay in Tokyo, but didn’t really bother to pick one of the kits up. My mission was obtaining Master Grade and Perfect Grade modelkits that were absent in my collection. After two years I’ve decided to pick up a couple of RG’s and put them to the test. This is part 2 of my RG  line reviews and It’s focused on the RX-178 Mk-II Titans.

The RX-178 Gundam Mk-II is an upgrade of the famous RX-78-2 Gundam that served in the One Year War.

Building a Titan

As with the Zaku II, I had a great time building this model. The advanced ms frame looks even better and I really didn’t even want to add any external armor. The frame features all sorts of sliding and bending mechanisms that we all love so much and make the RG line a perfect choice for beginning modelers that need an affordable alternative to a Master Grade or Perfect Grade kit.

The next step is snapping on all the different armor parts that come with the RX-178. I chose to build my blue Titan as  Unit 3. What I really dislike about the RX-178’s armor  is the fact that it isn’t colored in so much different colors as the Zaku II is. Adding the markings and some black and/or gray panel lining while really bring out the details on this kit. Without the extra two steps  it looks a bit bland if you ask me.

The RX-178 Mk-II Titans version is armed with a Bazooka, Machine Gun retractable shield and two Beam Sabers. The shield is the most impressive. It just looks great in different poses and the gold foil stickers really bring out the details of the shield.

Titan

RG Gimmicks

I was really skeptic about this new grade of Bandai modelkits before building the RG Zaku II,

The RX-178 comes with a set of tubing to give your modelkit an authentic mechanized look. The RX-178 also has a cockpit hatch that can be openend and feautures a little pilot seat, a gimmick that is usually reserved for MG and PG kits. Unfortunately Real Grade kits do not include a seated pilot figere, even though it would be really easy to customize the standing pilot figure that comes with all RG kits. As with the Zaku II and RG kits in general, get ready for lots of decals. The RX-178 Gundam Mk-II Titans version comes with a whopping 148 decals to add loads of detail to your already wonderful modelkit.

Thanks to the advanced ms frame, articulation is magnificent on the Real Grade models. Want your RX-178 to hold his bazooka over his shoulder? No problem!  The RX-178’s shield is articulated and can slide in and out to give it much more motion and pose ability. The shield can be pegged into either arm so that really increases the playability.

The one thing I don’t like about this kit are his vernier thrusters. They feel loose and at least one always falls of after the lightest touch. For some reason every RG model has a problem with a specific part that doesn’t always want to stay on. For the rest this kit is actually really sturdy and well designed.

 

Conclusion

I am slowly but surely falling in love with this line. The details, decals and colors are amazing on the Real Grade kits and I can’t wait to build more. If you like Zaku II’s you could also try out Char’s red version of the Zaku II. It has a couple of subtle differences and costs the same. Even though the RG models are a bit small compared to MG’s, they look great when you display them on a nice looking action base. What are you waiting for!? Go order one now and see for yourself.

Part 2 of my RG Excitement Embodied line reviews will focus on the Federation’s RX-178-2 Titans version, stay tuned!

By OSkG_Pinto On 12 Jul, 2013 At 02:21 AM | Categorized As Animation, Featured, Reviews, Toys and Merchandise, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatarRG_ZAKU_II box

Is the Real Grade line really “Excitement Embodied”?

Let’s take a look at the granddad of all Mobile Suits.

As a huge Gundam fan I’ve been building Gundam model-kits for ages, it’s actually my favorite hobby. I discovered Bandai’s Real Grade line of model-kits during my stay in Tokyo, but didn’t really bother to pick one of the kits up. My mission was obtaining Master Grade and Perfect Grade model-kits that were absent in my collection. After two years I’ve decided to pick up a couple of RG’s and put them to the test. This is part 1 of my RG Excitement Embodied line review and It’s focused on Zeon’s Zaku II.

The Zaku II is basically the granddad of all mobile suits within the Gundam Universe. It’s reliable, pretty powerful when well equipped and it looks very bad ass if you ask me.

Building the Zaku II

I had a great time building this 1/144 scale model. As with all RG’s you begin with building the advanced ms frame. These frames are very detailed and are basically assembled on the plastic runner. The frame features all sorts of sliding and bending mechanisms that make the RG line a perfect choice for beginning modelers that need an affordable alternative to a Master Grade or Perfect Grade kit.

The next step is snapping on all the different armor parts that come with the Zaku II. I chose to build my Zaku II as a commander type, because I’ve always been a huge fan of the head-antenna on Zaku II’s. What I really love about the armor is the fact that it’s colored in so much different colors. (I lowered the saturation in some of the pictures I made, they don’t do the actual colors justice.) This really brings out subtle details. There must be at least three shades of green on the RG Zaku II kit and lots of panel lines.

Last but not least are the weapons. The Zaku II comes packed with a Bazooka, Machine Gun and Heat Axe, enough to destroy a platoon of unsuspecting Federation GM’s on patrol.


ZakuII

RG Gimmicks

The Real Grade line is based on the smaller 1/144 scale size model kits and I personally stay far away from these abomination’s. even though I must admit that many 1/144 kits from the Gundam Unicorn HG line are pretty impressive in size and details. I do prefer the rich details on a MG or PG. However…

The Zaku II has a cool movable head camera that can turn the direction your models head is facing and that’s pretty neat for such a small size kit. The Zaku II also has a hinged cockpit hatch and a little pilot seat, a feature that is usually reserved for MG and PG kits. Get ready for lots of decals, because Bandai seems to go all out lately. There are decals for the Zeon space fleet and Earth invasion fleet, different rank markings, some awesome foil stickers and all of the little caution decals that we all know and love. Some of the decals do peel off easily, usually around corners. You can trim the decals a bit to fit better. Luckily, in most cases it isn’t even necessary.

Thanks to the advanced ms frame, articulation is magnificent on the Real Grade models. Want your Zaku II to hold his bazooka over his shoulder? No problem! Even the Zaku II shield is articulated and can slide in and out to give it much more motion and pose ability. The one thing I don’t like about this kit are his feet. They do a bit of a bad job in letting your Zaku II stand up straight,they also feel a bit loose. I would recommend an action base and display the Zaku II in flying poses, you will be able to enjoy the model much more. For some reason every RG model has a problem with a specific part that doesn’t always want to stay on. On the Zaku II it’s the front skirt armor. Lift up one of the legs and you’ll launch the front skirt armor in the air. Something that can be pretty annoying, especially when you’re trying to set the Zaku II in a cool action pose.


Conclusion

I am slowly but surely falling in love with this line. The details, decals and colors are amazing on the Real Grade kits and I can’t wait to build more. If you like Zaku II’s you could also try out Char’s red version of the Zaku II. It has a couple of subtle differences and costs the same. Even though the RG models are a bit small compared to MG’s, they look great when you display them on a nice looking action base. What are you waiting for!? Go order one now and see for yourself.

 

 

 

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 25 Sep, 2012 At 11:05 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, News, PlayStation, Previews | With 0 Comments
One Piece Pirate Dawn

No GravatarToday is the day One Piece Pirate Warriors becomes available to the North American market exclusively as a download title through the PlayStation Network.

One Piece Pirate Dawn

This is the first One Piece game that’ll be available on the PS3. The game primarily covers the first part of the story and you get to play as all the members of the Straw Hat crew.

DLC gameplay

Europe, where it has seen the light of day four days sooner, gets some special downloadable content for Luffy, Nami, and Zoro (only for a mere 2.99€!). Each have their own special costume and a brand new additional fighting scenario. American OP fans would be lying if they didn’t say they were a little jealous.

Regular trailer


DLC preview


By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 8 Jun, 2012 At 07:10 PM | Categorized As Featured, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments
Original start screen for Undefined Fantastic Object

No GravatarHello guys, GFF is back with more exciting and beautiful figures for those of us with a love for them!

Cheerful Japan! Saber and Rin Nendoroid 

I absolutely love the Cheerful Japan! line because it brings my love of figures and charity together. Cheerful Japan! is what you get when you bring Good Smile Company and other figure manufacturers to bring new figures themed around the project’s title. Part of the money made is to be donated to support relief to the area afflicted by the tsunami that occurred last year. These new figures are a two for one bargain. Featuring TYPE-MOON’s Saber and Rin comes one of the most adorable cheerleading combos ever conceived!

rin and saber holding up bannersaber and rin tired and resting

They come with their own banner, set of pom poms, tired faces, and extra parts to sit them down.

Maker: Good Smile Company  Average online price: $104.90

Figuarts Zero Smoker 

I love One Piece, and so I believe it’s about time to feature one of their many villains. I introduce you to Smoker, one of my favorite marines. He comes with a jute, another face, and a changeable smoky arm to showcase his Devil Fruit ability.

Typical smoker stanceDevil fruit smoke ability

Now kids, no matter how cool he is it still doesn’t make smoking cool.

Makers: Bandai  Average online price: $36.24

K-On! 1/6 Scale Hirasawa Yui and Akiyama Mio (Clayz)

Akiyama MioHirasawa Yui

These stand alone figures from the hit show K-On! have an interesting story behind them. Apparently they were to be released by 2011, but the makers wanted to give their sculptors more time to make them perfect. The results are quite amazing.

Maker: Clayz  Average online price: $112.91

Touhou Vignette Reimu Hakurei Figure

Reimu Hakurei closeupFigure and accesories

What I’d like to call a 16cm wonder. Some of you may be thinking “this is not the Touhou Project I know” and you’re right. Unless you know your Touhou you wouldn’t know most of what you see out there is fan art. This is the official artwork this is based on, enjoy!

Original start screen for Undefined Fantastic Object

It's okay to scream.

Maker: Pink Company  Average online price: $65.00

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 28 Apr, 2012 At 01:48 AM | Categorized As Animation, News | With 0 Comments
Luffy as a kid with different shirts

No GravatarHello everyone, here at ROG we’re all into many things. So I’ve decided to dedicate a weekly report on all things figures for fellow collectors like me. Check back every Friday to stay updated on newly released action figures. Including more obscure and cheap ones.

One Piece World Collectable Pre-Painted PVC Figure word

I have a feeling I’ll see those cute little guys sold in conventions soon. Just LOOK AT THEM!

Luffy as a kid with different shirts

That's right, a whole army of little Luffys.

Ace as a kid wearing many shirts

And you can't forget the recently popular character!

They’re the type of small figurines commonly seen around in conventions. They’re roughly around 75mm tall, and come in boxes that show what shirt they’re wearing. Each with a different background. Making it easy to know what you’re getting so you can collect them all! All these figures look the same, but they are made so with a purpose in mind. The goal was to make figures that focused less on the characters themselves and more on what they’re wearing. The clothes themselves are not random, however. Fans voted on which T-Shirt designs brought out the personality of each character.

Maker: Banpresto: Most common online price (per figure): $12.90

Gundam 1/100 Scale Model Kit: Unicorn Gundam (MG)

You can never forget about the Gundams!

Gundam figures

Still manly even with inappropriately placed stand!

It’s sort of impossible to not have accurate mecha models come out as awesomely, especially with the makers of this one.

Maker: Bandai: Most common online price: $59.90

Dog Days Figure: Figma Millhiore F. Biscotti

I don’t know about Dog Days, but it hasn’t prevented me from falling in love with this beauty.

Twirling figure

Singing pose with microphone

As a Figma she’s completely pose-able, with an articulate stand, three different faces, two sets of ears, and a microphone. She’s quite lovely and reasonably priced for her quality.

Makers: Max Factory: Most common online price (cheaper prices available): $45.95

By Charles On 3 Jan, 2012 At 05:36 PM | Categorized As Animation, News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIt all started with a single announcement: Bandai Entertainment, one of the three remaining “big” distributors in the anime industry, shutting down new releases. What this means in the short term is that Bandai will no longer offer manga, Blu-Ray discs or standard DVD formats, but will still offer is extensive back catalogue to retailers in need of resupply.

This was yesterday. And the resulting debate via online outlets was rather expected. Between heartbreak for those looking to purchase some of their upcoming announced releases (Turn A Gundam, GoSick, Nichijo) to those fiery orators and laymen calling for more sanctions against piracy online, the “shutdown” of Bandai is just another nail in the proverbial coffin in a rampantly changing industry.

The past few years have seen their own share of turnover: the shutdown of Geneon, the restructuring of ADV into Sentai Filmworks, the cessation of US operations for Tokyopop. Bandai managed to skirt these through it’s old standard of single release DVDs and licensing of the popular Gundam franchise, practices that worked in the past. But some of the recent debates online have cited these methods, along with slow releases of digital product, with dragging the company down. Are those advocating this line of thought correct? Did Bandai “do themselves in” by sticking to “obsolete” practices? Are the pirates at fault?

I don’t want to get into the piracy discussion right now, because everyone has an opinion on that. I also don’t want to criticize the business practices of one of the most influential production companies in the scene. What this shutdown is, in the end, is the loss of yet another avenue by which anime can be released and consumed by the fans. Inklings of this have been in the works for a few months: late last year Bandai shut down their online store, and vendors like Anime Pavilion began to hear rumblings of future changes in the already volatile US anime industry. As a country which receives this popular medium secondhand, disruptions in the flow have repercussions down the line, as when series end prematurely, or when anticipated new releases are suddenly no longer an option.

For the time being, Bandai will keep with its release calendar for January and February 2012, including several recent Gundam series box sets, yet another rerelease of the landmark film Akira, and sets for Star Driver and Code Geass R2. After that, it will seek licensors for some of it’s franchises. Beyond that, only time will tell how this will further impact the industry in the US. ADV became Sentai, so there is always hope, but personally, I expect a further shift towards digital distribution through outlets like Hulu.

By otakuman5000 On 2 Aug, 2011 At 05:36 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, Conventions, Editorials, Featured | With 2 Comments

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There I was: at the mecca of Otakus: Otakon! I was so excited I kept trying to take pictures of every cool costume I saw, shouting characters’ names and grabbing my friends’ arms with excitement.

For about 30 minutes.

And then I was bored.

 

The real fun

That’s when I started digging through the little bag everyone was given upon entry. In the bag was a magazine filled with interesting facts about Otakons past and present, tips about what you could bring (good to know for future visits) and more info about the Deejays and special guests present. There was also a guide and an awesome sheet of awesome (hey, I didn’t name it, because if I did it wouldn’t name it that).

After reading through the material I realized that there were A LOT of things to do. I could learn how to draw manga, make music for anime videos, create masks, get autographs from voice actors, Q&A with studios, practice my Jpop dance moves, watch anime and kung fu movies, visit the dealers booths, look at artwork and peruse a manga library. Oh yeah, and go to a rave, watch Hentai and learn all about fetishes beyond tentacle rape and… yeah. You get the picture: there was lots to do.

I ended up watching Patrick narrowly beat out Luna for the title of Otaku Idol and yelling along with everyone else watchng 13 Assassins.

Otaku Idols! Peter on the right was the winner

I found that my favorite parts were watching anime, the dealers room, the art room and the rave. The rave is self-explanatory (I mean come on… it’s a party!), the dealers room was fun because there were so many interesting things to buy (and an awfully flirty man who wanted to put a corset on me) and the art room was awesome because it was amazing artwork.

My corset connoisseur

Goku and Dr. Gero catch some games in the gaming room

My overally-very-most-favorite-of-all-time was just sitting around watching anime and kung fu movies. There is nothing like sitting in a room full of nerds watching something awfully nerdy while listening to the nerdy comments. From that venture, I highly recommend Durarara as a great action anime and Garden of Sinners as a mind-boggling horror/mystery anime. Garden of Sinners is VERY artistic, to the point of feeling like yelling at the screen to pick up the pace. At the same time, it is also beautifully done so if you have the patience for that sort of thing definitely check it out. I’ve already started watching both!

 

Tips

Here are some tips if you are a first timer like me!

 

1. If you have never cosplayed before, consider not coming in costume

If you are not an experienced cosplayer, think about not coming in costume. There will be a lot to do and take in and being in costume will mean stopping every minute to let people take pictures of you. I saw people holding the same pose for ten minutes or more because as soon as one photographer was done, another was already in place shooting the next picture.

There are also a lot of rules to follow at Otakon and you will want to make sure to read up on them before cosplaying.

 

2. Look at the schedule

The schedule is VERY confusing. You have to look from a spreadsheet of times, title and room number (the awesome sheet of awesome) to a brochure IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER to figure out what any given room is holding. This can be very frustrating, as it will require a lot of back-and-forth as well as making sure you find some method of keeping the lines straight on the spreadsheet (I used the brochure as a ruler) otherwise you may end up in the wrong room.

I recommend looking at the schedule as soon as you walk in to make sure you don’t miss anything you really want to see.

One of the dealer's booths

3. Be prepared to spend money

Food is expensive both in and around the convention area. There are also great vendors booths including everything from t-shirts to custom posters to glowing dreadlocks so come with a set amount of money you are prepared to spend. I found I did just fine with $50 for the whole weekend, not counting the cost of the hotel room and gas money.

4. Book a hotel room far in advance

As soon as you figure out the logistics of your trip to Otakon, get a hotel room. Closer to the event rooms will be more expensive and further away. Why do you want a close hotel? Because parking can run you up to $22!!!

5. Take your friends into consideration

Are you friends the type who like everything you do? Are they comfortable (and are you comfortable) with splitting up to go do different things? Will you be staying late? Arriving late?

Going with a large group of people can be fun, or, as was the case with my group: really, really annoying. My group just couldn’t stay awake for it all and I had to leave early and felt that I did not get my money’s worth of Otakon.

Talk with your buddies before heading out to make a plan or figure out what you will do in different scenarios. This is another reason a close hotel is a good thing: you could always have multiple room keys and come and go as you please.

Pictures

Here are some pictures of the lovely cosplayers! If you don’t see your picture here, check out my personal blog for another article about Otakon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By otakuman5000 On 10 Jun, 2011 At 04:23 AM | Categorized As Animation, Featured, Reviews | With 1 Comment

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Anime Archive: A Bright Beginning

 

As the door to the library softly closes behind you, you begin to feel uneasy.   Sure you checked the text on your cell before you entered, but this surely isn’t the right place.  “You are one of us,” read the text.  “Join the Archive,” it insisted, but why here of all places.  Spread out before you is a library like many you have seen before.  There are rows of shelves going up and down either side of the otherwise colorless walls with racks and racks of dusty, cobwebbed tomes decorating them.  You can hear a low somber hum come from somewhere in this temple for scholars and you know that the life of one of the few light bulbs that brighten up this otherwise dreary building will soon end.

Sitting contently in the middle of all this dust and knowledge, rests a large oaken desk.  Walking to it, you hope that it is the help desk.  Maybe someone will be there that can help you find the “Archive.”  Coming to the desk you see a small bell, no doubt a way to notify the staff that their existence is required. Ringing it lightly, you suddenly hear what could be likened to a car crash as papers, books, and heavier sounding objects are jolted into the air and violently return to earth.  Slowly from the mess of papers and books, rises a hand, then body, then head.  These belong to a well-dressed man with an angular goatee and short brown hair.  Suddenly the man is glaring at you, ready to jump over the desk and tackle you as if for some crime.  However, his expression quickly changes to that of a friendly smile.

The man kindly begins, “You startled me.  Not many people tend to come in around this time.  May I ask what you’re looking for?”  You quietly extend your hand, stretching out your phone with the mysterious message displayed.  Glancing at the note, the man nods as if he has done this many times over.  “Come with me,” he answers as he jumps from his chair and starts walking into the stacks.

Not wanting to get lost, you follow closely behind.  However, the journey is a short one with the destination being a tall shelf of old film cases.  Some of them are titles you recognize from your childhood, but most are in foreign languages, their contents hidden from you.  Your attention then turns to the bearded gentlemen again who has started feeling for something along the side of the shelf.  With a muffled yet euphoric, “Ah Ha,” the man pulls out a key and slips it into the well-hidden hole.  With a tight turn, the key knocks the tumblers and slowly the stack of shelves slides away.  Looking to where the shelves were, you see a single door with several symbols on and several thousand keyholes.  Yet this door is soon opened as the man picks a seemingly random hole and slips another key inside it. With less effort than the last, the door opens quietly and the man steps on in.

Now intrigued by the whole setting, you step into the hidden room with the door closing behind you.  Once inside you see the man sitting at a practical desk.  It is large enough to allow for organization, but honestly nothing all that special.  Yet, your eyes are not long on your guide as you look beyond to see a series of monolithic shelves.  Each line of shelves seems to stretch on indefinitely, ending somewhere in the mists that seem to cover a portion of this new area.  Stepping closer to the shelves, you are stopped by an outstretched hand.  It is the man who led you here and he quickly motions you to look down.  Looking down you see that the shelves are not only endlessly long, but endlessly deep as well.  How far down the shelves go is probably unknown, but you think it best to probably step back a few feet instead of accidentally finding out.

“Come, come, I don’t have all day,” says the man once again as he gathers your attention.  “What’cha looking for today my friend?”  Seeing the puzzled look on your face, the man slaps his forehead realizing he should probably explain first.  “Right, yes.  Welcome to the Anime Archive.  As you can see behind me, the world of Anime has become quite extensive.  How are you supposed to find the good shows amongst all the humdrum and panty shots?  That is why I am here.  I am the Curator and I am here to guide you to the show you desire, suggest something new and exciting, and hopefully steer you away from the series that are lackluster or down right horrible.”  Standing up, the man grabs your hand and pulls you to the edge of the abyss.  You stare, not knowing exactly what you have gotten yourself into, but all the same you are too curious to turn away.  “Won’t you join me on my quest to find the true anime gems?”  Amazed at the vastness and the potential, all you can manage is a nod.  The Curator grabs your hand and jumps into the Archive the adventure is underway.

Star Driver

Welcome readers to the Anime Archive where we look at the good, the bad, and the awesome of the Anime world.  I am the Curator, here to help you along your journey.  This week we are taking a look at Star Driver: Kagyaki no Takuto, a series that I feel many may have overlooked.

Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto is a 25 episode series produced by Bones and Aniplex.  If you were to put it in a category, it would find no better home than in the Mecha or giant fighting robot section.  However with a rich color pallet, wonderful characters, and great sound, you get a series that hits every pleasure sensor.

 

Before we go any further I will admit that in all honesty, the plot of Star Driver can be boiled down to one of those typical, almost cliché plots.  A teenage boy moves to a new home, gets giant fighting robot, and uses it to fight off an evil organization that is trying to take over the world.  This is a plot that any seasoned anime fan has seen a thousand times.  Speaking of which why does every evil organization have to be centered on the idea of taking over the world?  What would you do after that?

 

Anyway, I’m getting off track.  Acknowledging that bit about the plot, what exactly does Star Driver bring to the table to off set it?  Well, there are the characters, the music, and art style.  Who exactly are we following in this series? Well you have the blue-haired, calm and cool Sugata who is essentially the best friend.  You have Wako who is kind, cute, has a bottomless stomach, and genuinely struggles to define her relationships with Sugata and Takuto.  This, of course, leads us to our main lead Takuto Tsunashi a kind, friendly, flaming red-haired boy whose main goal in life is to do something awesome.  The great thing about Takuto is that he brings something new to the giant mecha genre.  In the many robot-centric anime  I have watched, the main lead is either a brooding dark figure or is so emo you are surprised they just have not ended it yet.  Takuto has a real desire to be a hero and grasps life with both hands, which makes the audience want to gravitate to him.  Takuto’s desire to be a hero is greatly needed as he faces the evil of the Glittering Crux, an organization desiring nothing more than total world domination.  They plan to do this by breaking the barrier between the real world and a dimension known as Zero Time and allow their giant robots known as cybodies to rain chaos and destruction on the real world.  However, instead of being some faceless organization of evil, the Glittering Crux is full of normal… ,well as normal as you will get for an anime, people.  These villains are three dimensional, which is something to truly be applauded for such a short series.  There are many examples of members of the Glittering Crux having motivations and goals outside of world domination and try to use the organization for their own means.

Now we are moving into two areas that are probably going to be difficult to discuss in a written format, the art style and the music.  The art style of Star Driver fits wonderfully with the story it is trying to tell.  It is bright and colorful and helps to ground the audience in reality, but helps bring out the more alien or ethereal feelings of the show’s less than earthly locations.  The music is also wonderful ranging from happy, go-lucky tunes to orchestral thundering set into the background of most of the fight scenes.  At the end of the article I have included a link to a YouTube video where you can hear my favorite song from Star Driver.  I do not want to speak about the song here because whatever I say will not do the song justice.  Listen to it and I promise you will like it.

As much as I would like to say that Star Driver is a perfect series, I unfortunately cannot.  This is because of two things.  First was the plot that I mentioned earlier and the other is Takuto our main character.  Now, he is not a bad character doing things without reason, not explaining his motivations, nothing like that.  No what makes Takuto a bad character is that he has a nasty habit of pulling exactly what he needs out of nowhere.  This is what I like to call god-modding.  This is not to be confused with Mary Sue, a character that can do no wrong and never fails.  As one would expect from a Mecha anime, Takuto is often put in perilous situations and must fight to claim victory.  However in too many of these situations, Takuto pulls out some technique or ability that has not been so much as hinted at and wins the day.  An example of this is when one of the members of Glittering Crux is revealed to be an Olympic level boxer.  She challenges Takuto in Zero Time and has Takuto on the ropes.  Takuto stands up and declares he will not lose before thrusting his hand towards the sky and calling out to the four engines that dress his robot’s rear.  The jets shoot off, join around his extended hand, and begin to spin like a drill.  The Glittering Crux member charges in, but is knocked into the air and is Giga Drilled by Takuto’s Pile Crusher attack, defeating her and saving the day.  What this and a few other examples I could give do is that it robs the series of tension.  Tension is the best way to get people interested and have them want to continue with a series like Star Driver.  The possibility for the main character to lose raises the stakes even higher.  You are not sure if in the next episode so and so is going to survive.  Star Driver’s seeming refusal to let tension exist robs the series of drama and the possibility of loss.  Future writers should take note.

Star Driver is not a perfect series, as I have admitted, but it is a good series.  If you want a good popcorn series, a series to share with your friends, or a series to get your friends into anime, then I would recommend Star Driver.  It is fun, awesome, gorgeous, and does a lot of things right.  I am happy to say that Bandai has recently licensed Star Driver so you will soon be able to pick up Star Driver in a store (or website) near you.  Thank you all for reading the first edition of Anime Archive.  Tell me what you think and to suggest any anime you want to see appear on the column.  This is the Curator saying, “Join me again soon, Bye bye.”

 

 

By otakuman5000 On 26 Jul, 2010 At 01:17 AM | Categorized As Featured, International News, PlayStation, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAfter years of being rivals and being the subject of many fighting game fanboy debate, Street Fighter and Tekken have finally been brought together. The Just announced Street Fighter X Tekken just put the fighting fans into a state of utter shock. By looking at the screenshots and the gameplay footage you will see why.

Here are the screenshots.

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This game looks amazing. With the tag element thrown in, This game just might be what the doctor ordered. Now Namco is releasing Tekken X Street Fighter with the Tekken teams taking on Street Fighter Characters.  These two games are coming out for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Here is the official word from Capcom:

THE HEAVYWEIGHTS OF THE FIGHTING WORLD COLLIDE AS CAPCOM ANNOUNCES STREET FIGHTER X TEKKEN
SAN DIEGO, CA — July 24, 2010 — Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games today announced that Street Fighter X Tekken is in development for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®. The title will make history as fighters from these two bastions of the fighting genre come together for the very first time.

Utilizing the same technology that powered Street FighterTM IV & Super Street FighterTM IV, TekkenTM characters such as Kazuya Mishima and Nina Williams will make the transition into the Street FighterTM universe having been re-imagined using the much-loved art style of these seminal titles; while retaining their unique characteristics and signature moves as they go head-to-head with classic brawlers from the Street Fighter franchise in what promises to be the ultimate match up.

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