Opinion


Author’s Note: This was sitting years in my drafts. I thought I might as well publish it.

Well this post is quite late, but I couldn’t let this tradition die out just yet, so here it is, my reflections on games I finished in 2015. It was quite a fun year for me, even if I didn’t finish all that much. I just finished 16 games and completed 3 last year, which is a drop over the previous two years where I had managed over 20 beaten games in each of those years. Oh well at least 2016 is looking better already! But regardless, even though I only finished a handful, I did have a lot of fun with them:

splatoon banner
The Best Gaming Discovery of 2015
Splatoon (Wii U)

Splatoon isn’t really an under the radar sort of game, so you may be wondering why I consider it my best discovery. Well truth be told, I knew about Splatoon but I wasn’t even going to be getting it and least of all playing it. Shooters were never my cup of tea. But then so many of my backloggery friends started playing it that I got quite tempted and bought it. Took me until August to actually play it though! I mainly did not believe the game would be as much fun as it turned out to be, and that is why it’s my best gaming discovery of 2015. I discovered I can enjoy shooters too~ The single player, while more like a tutorial into the game, had quite a memorable final boss, and on top of that the game has so much charm and heart. Callie and Marie’s banter is adorable~ Those two really do give the game so much personality. Although the hip and happening gear, or in the game’s terms, the fresh gear, also add a lot of cute charm to such a charming game. I’m really glad I gave this game a chance, it did not disappoint. Even better is our weekly Splatoon nights keep me and my friends playing continuously~ Plus the Splatfests hosted by Nintendo every 3 weeks also add a much needed change of pace to online interactions. It has been a ton of great fun in 2015 and now 2016 as well~ I’m so glad I took the chance on it! (more…)

hate plus

Back in 2012, Christine Love, a Toronto-based game developer released her first commercial game in the form of Analogue: A Hate Story.1 She had made some games before then, like don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story and Digital: A Love Story, but these were free to download. You may remember me mentioning Analogue before. Indeed I enjoyed it quite a lot. It seems like a lot of people, who enjoyed Analogue, were also curious to learn the story of how the society on the Mugungwha had degraded to such an extend, which sparked the sequel, Hate Plus. The sequel delivered on that front and it was definitely an interesting ride seeing how Love envisioned the erosion would go.

I won’t, however, linger on how I found the game nor my thoughts on said erosion. Maybe I will at some point write a review of it to discuss those elements. For now, though, I wish to discuss a very specific part in the game that takes place during Hyun-ae’s route. During the third and final day of the game, when the player boots up the computer again to continue his or her journey with Hyun-ae through the newly discovered logs, Hyun-ae begins by asking whether the player will bake a cake to share with her. The previous day had ended with the player and Hyun-ae discovering the ultimate fate of *Mute during Year 0. Hyun-ae wishes to lighten the atmosphere with cake as she is still in shock over what she had learned. (more…)

Edit: Due to my lack of free time, this has been sitting in my drafts for a rather long time. I’ve been slowly writing and editing it here and there, which is why this post is about a movie that is no longer airing in theatres. ^__^;; Also my usual spoiler warning!

Mecha feature prominently in promotional posters for Pacific Rim

Mecha feature prominently in promotional posters for Pacific Rim

This poor post has been sitting here forever, so I wanted to at least get it out into the wild now. It’s a bit different from what I usually write about (anime, manga, and games), but since it is a movie inspired by mecha anime in part, I thought it would be good to talk about it. I will start with saying that I went to see it in 3D and it was really gorgeous in 3D. I can’t imagine watching it in regular 2D now. Also yes, this will be a post that deals with my problems with the movie (since all I’ve seen is praise), but that is not to say I disliked the movie. On the contrary, I believe it was a pretty well thought out movie that suffers from the same kinds of problems I see constantly in Hollywood movies. Perhaps because everyone was praising it so much, I dared to hope it wouldn’t fall prey to the same sorts of problems I see in practically every blockbuster movie, but alas, I guess when you’re dealing with such a huge amount of money and already taking some risks, you fall back on the general Hollywood formula to be safe. (more…)

So I was reading older blog posts that I have neglected due to being super busy and I came across one about a Mayu Shinjou manga called Demon Love Spell that mentioned that the heroine was actually competent. Making a comment stating my shock given my experience with Shinjou’s manga, the author brought up another manga, Ai Ore. Curious, I checked out the MAL profile which stated that it was about a boy-ish looking girl in a band and a very girl-ish looking guy. Well with a premise like that, how could I not take a peek at this manga? I’m a terribly curious person after all. I’ve tried many manga and anime just because I heard horrible things about them and given Ms.Shinjou’s track record, I could not believe she would be capable of writing a manga that wasn’t horrible.

Guess who is the guy and who is the girl.

Typical sexy cover for a Mayu Shinjou manga, but not so typical is the gender of each character on the cover.

But she did! I never thought I would be saying this, but I actually enjoyed a Mayu Shinjou manga! It’s definitely far from perfect, but I did like how the heroine, Mizuki, did actually look like a guy; and Akira, the hero, looked like a girl. Now outside their appearances, Mizuki wasn’t very masculine. She was super innocent and naive about love, and she definitely had the Mayu Shinjou touch even if she’s a bit more interesting than most of Shinjou’s heroines. Although what makes her interesting is that even if at her core she is very feminine, and even quite passive, like the typical Mayu Shinjou heroine; Shinjou actually wrote the story and Mizuki in a way that allowed her to have assertive moments and a life beyond just her man. The stark contrast between her outer appearance and her inner self was also another aspect of what I found so compelling about Mizuki. I’m always happy to see manga questioning appearance/gender assumptions. This is true for Akira too. He’s tough and cool even if he’s short and very girl-like.

But I think the most shocking aspect of Ai Ore is that Akira is actually a kind person. He does actually love Mizuki and is very considerate of her; often asking her opinion and backing off when she feels uncomfortable. Not to mention the manga actually makes it a point through Akira’s own words, to show that one’s outer gendered appearance is meaningless. What matters is what gender you feel you are. Mizuki stumbles with this more, but ultimately she arrives at the same conclusion. She lets go of her insecurity caused by the stares and comments she and Akira garner walking hand in hand. These comments are basically people trying to decide what gender she and Akira are, and in turn whether they are a gay couple. It was a rather nice message and one I did not think I would find in a Mayu Shinjou manga. I mean Shinjou tends to write the most traditionally masculine guys and feminine ladies, on top of quite problematic things. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. (more…)

tonariTrigger warning. Also mild spoilers for the anime Hana Yori Dango and Rose of Versailles.

So back in 2012, the manga Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun got an anime adaptation and the anime blogosphere raised hell (or maybe it was a select few sites I happened upon). A few managa bloggers also chimed in with their outrage. The main point of contention was the threat of rape that happens in the very first episode (and chapter) of Tonari. A little later, I had decided to run a feature that looked at the worst the shoujo manga demographic had to offer, and deconstruct, through snark, why it was so harmful and problematic. Given the hell that was raised around Tonari, I thought it would be a great candidate for the feature. However having finished the first 5 chapters for my feature, I have to say that most of the criticisms levelled at Tonari missed the big picture about rape acceptance in manga and anime. (more…)

I hope everyone had a great Easter (if you celebrate). It’s a little late, but I wanted to do an Easter themed post and what better way than a top 5/10 list~ These seem to be the to do thing for me for celebrations, so let’s not break the tradition! It’s not cause I’m lazy, I swear! Since there aren’t all that many bunny characters (that I’ve come across), I’ve narrowed this list to a top five encompassing both manga/anime and video games. Here goes:

yarne
5. Yarne ~ Fire Emblem: Awakening (game) (more…)

It’s part 2 of round 5 of SSS. In part 1, we saw that Black Bird and Sadist stuck with what they started in chapter 4. Tonari goes the same route and fails for the third time, which means it’s time for it to get kicked off this feature. Meanwhile, Hot Gimmick toys around with the idea of a more assertive Hatsumi, but ultimately doesn’t commit to giving her any character growth. Nonetheless, it results in a much more toned down chapter. From part 1,  Sadist also was quite tame (but incredibly boring) and only got a C+. Black Bird did manage a B- though; thanks to the super creepy behaviour from the rival love interest!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Tonari really seems to want to push this taming animal thing on the volume covers, huh.

Tonari really seems to want to push this taming animal thing on the volume covers, huh.

 

  • Chapter 5 is the start of volume 2 of Tonari, and in keeping with the trend started in volume 1, volume 2’s cover features Haru on a leash. Whip him into shape good, Shizuku! (more…)

“Mini Mendacious Moments” is a feature about small moments (a page, an opening sequence, a character design, or something a character said) in manga, anime, or games that simply makes me pause and just wonder why something so silly, bad, demeaning, or pertaining to a double standard was even mentioned or briefly touched upon. Being such a small and blatant moment, in-dept analysis will not be given, rather, this is more for snarky me to share my snarky commentary.

We all know the silliness of the female wardrobe in the gaming industry. There are so many stupid design choices and double standards that it isn’t hard to find something to talk about, especially if one likes to keep up to date with all the newest games that are coming out and is constantly flooded with these “interesting” design choices. Nevertheless, there is one design choice that I loath quite a bit (maybe not the most but definitely in my top 5 worst female design choices) and that I not so recently came across an example of it on an article about a game called Dungeon Fighter Online. Yes, I refer none other than to the infamous Inner Thigh Cut-Off Pants (my name for them) that this game’s lone female character wears:

(more…)

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