Final Fantasy 15: My Experience *SPOILERS*

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Before anything else, I want to say that this is an amazing game. Whether you have never touched a Final Fantasy game before, or are an avid, longtime fan of the series, you should definitely give this game a try.

I ordered the game on a whim when I saw it 30% off on amazon one day. I figured “I was looking at buying it anyway, may as well grab it while it’s cheap!”, and while I was expecting great things from it, the game was a bit different than I thought it would be. I got the action-packed and exciting combat I wanted, but I was surprised to find my heart being plucked a few times throughout the story, as most of the reviews I had read said the story was somewhat quick and flat. In light of that, I have decided to do my review of the experience I had with Final Fantasy 15 while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind. There will definitely be spoilers in there, but this is what I personally experienced throughout the game, not a review, so what big events made me feel will be very important for me to discuss.

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The very first experience you get on Prince Noctis and his three companions journey, is actually them pushing a broken down Regalia down the road; they’ve run the car out of gas. It doesn’t sound all that exciting for an intro, but listening to the characters chatting as they achingly push the heavy car forward, and looking at the scenery as it passes by, I found myself feeling quite relaxed and reminiscing about times spent with my friends dealing with my own broken down vehicle. The VERY first thing this game gives you is not blood-pumping excitement, but rather a deep feeling of kinship between four friends, and that is what this game is about to me; camaraderie, and carrying each other along through whatever life throws at you. Now buckle up, this is gonna be a long one!

For the first – lets say half – of the game, things carry on with a rather simple pace; you hunt some monsters, do some jobs for people in different communities as you travel, and enjoy fun times on your road trip. You’ll be fishing, camping out under the starts with your buds, and then rolling out in the Regalia for whatever jobs or adventures you had planned for the day. During this period of the game, I found myself growing very sentimental toward Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus. Their friendship is the pinnacle of what the word can embody, and watching them chat while driving around, talking about the days events while eating a meal around a campfire, or even just their remarks on the world around them made for a very memorable experience. Because of this, this part of the game is my favorite, and I was very glad to learn I could continue journeying with the gang after finishing the main story despite how it ended.

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After this more relaxed section of the game, you will find yourself moving through the journey with a much more serious tone behind it. Hearing news that Insomnia, the gangs home city and seat of the king, has been destroyed and the king lay dead. From here the story progresses quite quickly at times, and you will find yourself battling Titan in an attempt to gain his blessing before too long. After earning his token that allows you to access his power, you will do the same with Ramuh, and then find yourself travelling to the beautiful city of Altissia – where the prince was to be wed with Lunafreya before everything fell apart – to earn the blessing of Leviathan. Before travelling there, you are given a warning that you will not be able to return for some time, only to discover the only way of doing so is by using Umbra’s power to travel to the past in your dreams. This part of the game was where I really felt the pace of the game quickening; Luna’s death, Ignis losing his sight, and the turmoil it all causes in Noctis made me burn to see the story through to the end. One thing I can’t lie about here, is that while Luna’s passing was tragic, it was only when I learned that Ignis was blind that I felt the sting in my heart, and from that point on I felt a legitimate concern for his well-being. This was the point when I finally realized just how attached I had become to the guys.

Leaving Altissia in an awful mess, Noctis and the gang travel across the sea to Niflheim, boarding a train toward the capital city. During this section of the game, a great deal of things are thrown at Noctis that he wasn’t mentally prepared for – after all, his beloved had only recently died in front of him. The thing I wasn’t prepared for, was how Ignis’ initial issues after losing his sight hit me WAY harder than I thought they would. Maybe I was over tired at the time, maybe I really am just a man with a marshmallow heart, but when travelling through the mine zone with Ignis slowly making his way around behind me, I felt a large range of emotions in succession and quickly found myself in awe at what this game was doing to me. First I felt bad for Iggy watching him struggle to keep pace, then I felt annoyed that I had to move so slow in order to not lose him and get yelled at by Gladio or Prompto, then I noticed I was looking at the situation as if it were me personally dealing with a blind person following me, walking at his pace and looking back to check up on him every dozen feet or so. Not long after realizing that, I thought “I actually get worried and feel bad when I don’t keep an eye on him. My god, this game.” and resumed bouncing between wanting to walk him back to the dungeon entrance and leave him there if the game allowed it, and feeling like I should put an arm over his shoulder and help guide him along, eventually having to pause the game because tears were streaming down my face after seeing Iggy swing his dagger blindly and call out “where is the enemy”. I’ve never personally had to deal with helping a friend with such a disability, but if someone you are really close to suddenly becomes totally blind and unable to do pretty much everything they usually do, I imagine seeing them in such a state would stress you out in a similar way and lead to a similar burst of emotion. The fact that a fictional character gave me this experience still amazes me.

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From that point on the story feels much more dark and dramatic, and the pace continues to quicken. The next series of events will have you fighting off masses of demons, gaining the power of Shiva, and making your way to the Imperial Capital. In getting there, the Regalia is destroyed, the gang loses the ability to summon their weapons, and Prompto is lost for a short while. Not long after reaching Gralea, you will get to taste the power of the Ring of Lucii – which was quite underwhelming to me – and regain the sword of Noctis’ father. Between Ardyn’s constant trolling over the intercom system, losing and finding your friends again, and fighting up through the floors of the keep with unfamiliar weapons, I enjoyed this chapter of the game, but it did feel like it could have had more to it. After reaching the top you encounter Bahamut, who is one beautifully savage-looking god, and are informed Noctis will have to die to banish the demons plaguing the world before a 10-year time skip.

This final part of the game was over WAY too quick in my opinion, and they could/should have added more in this part to give it more depth, but I enjoyed the way the story ended nonetheless. Seeing Talcott all grown up after the time skip made me tear up a bit, but hearing that Iris was known as “the demon slayer” now made me wince. I did NOT want to imagine Gladio’s cute little sister having to kill demons. I was a bit sad that we didn’t get to see what Cindy looked like in this distopic future (hopefully she learned to wear some real clothing), but immediately stopped caring about anything else once I saw the guys; Gladio looking pretty much the same, Iggy looking like a total bad-ass with his new shades and walking around blind like daredevil or something, and Prompto with his scruffy little chin-beard. The reunion felt properly heart-warming.

From here you move on to Insomnia, where you fight some fittingly tough demons, and find yourself in combat with Ifrit himself. Using the powers of the other gods throughout the fight, I honestly felt the battle was really fun and exciting. Seeing Bahamut fly in and slap him with a hurricane of blades was beautiful to watch, and I mean that literally – the animation and graphics were downright gorgeous. After putting down the god of fire, you march your way toward Ardyn for the final battle. Choosing a photo for Noctis to carry with him for the fight and what he must do after, really hit me, and I ended up looking through all 130 photos I had saved up to that point, before finally choosing a photo of the entire group before leaving Cape Caem. I felt having a photo with not only the main four, but Cid, Talcott, Iris, and the others all together felt right.

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The battle with Ardyn was fun, and quite intense honestly, but I was expecting it to have more mechanics or something. It just seemed sort of hollow and felt like it was over without enough of a struggle. Ifrit kicked my ass wayyy worse than Ardyn. After the fight though, the scene of Noctis sacrificing himself to bring back the light felt deep and well written, and I felt satisfied once it was all over. I made it through him giving his little speech to the guys, and repeating the “walk tall” bit his father said to him just before he set out on his journey with them, but during the after-credits scene showing the guys when they made camp for the last time outside Insomnia, my fortifications collapsed and I found myself breaking down and letting the water run from my eyes.

I can’t really think of anything else to mention at this point, so I’ll finalize with this;

I went into this game expecting giant swords being swung at bigger monsters, and a story revolving around four guys going on a road trip, and while at its core that’s exactly what this game is, it gives you so much more than that.

 

Thank you very much for reading (Hot damn, that’s a lot of words up there!), and be sure to leave your opinions of the game in the comments section below! I’d love to hear what experiences others got out of this. Hopefully someone else is as big a wuss as me when it comes to emotional junk.

Don’t forget to check me out on Facebook too, and feel free to message me on there to request future topics, or even just for a quick chat!                                                                         You can find me at Facebook.com/Anisylum.

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A Long Overdue Update!

Greetings! Long time no see!

I haven’t posted anything in quite a long time now, and though I did actually have a reason for it, i’ve decided to bring the blog back to life (again). I have also decided to do away with my hopes of starting a youtube channel, and have instead made a Facebook page to tie-in with the blog. You can find the page HERE.

I do still have my Twitter account, and while it never really sees much use, I will still be sharing my blog posts to that page, and will post whenever I plan to do a big piece on a topic, or just want to say something in a quick blurb.

I plan to use the Facebook page as an easier means of communicating with people, and sharing smaller bits that I usually wouldn’t post here. Expect to see quick comments and tidbits about whatever i’m watching/reading, stuff I recently bought for my collections, news on topics that interest me (anime, manga, tech, games, etc), and an abundance of funny and/or adorable pictures and videos that I find on the web. You can also use the Facebook page to request topics you would like to see me talk about on the blog.

To celebrate my return, I have updated my collections page. Which was LONG overdue. (It’s grown a good amount)

Here’s what I added while I was away;

Light Novels:

  • Sword Art Online: Volume 8
  • Sword Art Online Progressive: Volume 4

Manga: 

  • Spice & Wolf: Volume 4-12
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Volume 9-27
  • The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Volume 1-5

Figures: 

  • Konno Yuuki (Sword Art Online)

I should also mention that my topics may be more erratic than they were before; I followed a pattern where I would discuss what I was watching for anime in the current season, and then give a review once I had finished it. Now I plan to simply talk about whatever topic catches my attention (I already do everything else in life on impulse, why not this too right?), but I still plan to share what I intend to watch for anime each season, though I will likely only fully review my favorites from the season, while writing shorter bits for the series I enjoyed, but wasn’t fanatical about. The new stuff you’ll see me talking about will be news for upcoming anime/manga releases, reviews and/or thoughts on series I’ve watched or read outside what is currently airing, and the occasional bit on a piece of tech I just bought (I will be writing a piece about the PSVR sometime after Christmas is over).

 

To end this post, I would like to thank everyone who follows my page, more so for sticking around when I was silent for so long! I look forward to writing for you guys and gals again.

Be sure to check out the new Facebook Page as well for even more stuff from me, and don’t be afraid to pop by for a chat!

Posted in Anime, Anime/Manga/Novel Reviews, Collections, Everything, first impressions, manga, Seasonal Anime Watchlist, technology, Video Game Reviews, Video Games | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ReLIFE, ReVIEWED

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Hello again! I just finished watching ReLIFE not long ago, and I have to say that I was very pleased with it.

MY RATING: 10/10

This show was a great ride, and although it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, the way they ended it wasn’t dissatisfying. I still hope we get season two sooner than later, but I’ve already found the manga online and bookmarked it – just in case they want to make us wait. I almost wish I would’ve watched this one episode per week, that way it would have lasted a little longer, but not binge watching it all at once was hard enough.

Since the show was only recently aired, I will avoid spoilers at all costs in this review, and focus more on my personal thoughts and experiences during the whole, rather than talking about specific details or scenes. Stories like this are soiled by knowing what will happen in advance.

STORY: 

I have to give the story top marks; the idea of a pill that makes you look younger, and taking it for an experiment which has you reliving your high-school days, was a different and very interesting concept to me. Besides the age-reversing pill, the story is actually very realistic as well. I liked watching each of the characters grow throughout the series, and their interactions, as well as the many tense situations that arise, had the emotions flowing wonderfully; in one episode I found myself sharing a characters pain and regret, only to have the situation turn in a way that had me smiling with a dampness in my eyes.

Going along with the many emotions the characters share with us, the romance building between some of them is very well done, and the way it is portrayed is both honest and relatable; the way they think about and handle different situations is exactly what you would expect of a high schooler, and even the way they tease each-other seemed friendly and familiar for me. I can honestly say this series has some of my favorite romance, and whether it’s through a second season or the manga, i’m very eager to see the characters continue to grow into their emotions.

I found the humor in the show genuinely funny, and again, the banter between the characters, and the laughter much of it incites, feels like something you can believe actual people might say. Nothing is over-done, and it all fits very well with the setting of the show. I also want to mention the lack of fanservice; I did not once see a flash of any pantsu or anything of the sort, and in a show focused around some fairly serious topics and emotional connections, it would have had no place to begin with.

For the story and presentation of the show, I have absolutely nothing bad to say. It’s story grabbed my interest from the get-go, I fell in-love with the characters in a way that they felt like old friends, and there was nothing about it that I found to be done in poor taste.

CHARACTERS: 

As I said above, I love the characters in this show, and honestly felt a connection to them like they were old personal friends. Each has a well defined personality, and each personality has very clear and well presented flaws; an example is Karui’s need to always come out on top, and the awful things that selfish desire makes her do, hurting herself as well as those close to her. I’m very glad that they seem to understand their own flaws, and they do attempt to overcome or work around them.

The interactions between the characters are fun to watch, and true to how real people interact while still managing to be compelling and making you want to keep watching. The growth of the characters throughout the story is fantastic, and seeing them fight the scars of their past while learning more about them myself, I found myself able to identify with many of the situations and emotions they dealt with.

ART: 

The artwork for the show was very well done, and the character and background designs carry the same honest and realistic feel of the show. I felt the character designs reflected their personalities quite well, and I found them generally pleasant to look at. Art is always a major selling point for me in any game, book, or anime, and I can honestly say my eyes were happy to set themselves upon this show.

MUSIC: 

I never skipped the opening sequence for this show, and both the intro song and animations were enjoyable, while also feeling like a perfect fit for the shows tone. The opening sequence somehow made me feel a joy like when I think back to times with friends I no longer see, and at the same time left me with a sense of longing for those days that are long gone. I feel that presents the overall tone of the show very well; where the main character is experiencing his final high school all over again, knowing that once the year ends he will become but an illusion, and the people he meets will remember neither him or the experiences they shared.

The ending sequence on the other hand, never managed to grab my interest. I can’t say I ever watched more than 20 seconds of it, and I think it was mostly because the song they used in the background was outside my personal tastes. I would watch it just for the sake of giving my thoughts on it, but I feel that doing so would lead to a half-hearted review, and so I shall leave it be.

 

Well, there you have it! I’ll say again that I loved this show, and it has made it’s way into my recommend list for the drama category. If you haven’t watched it yet, I hope you’ll give it a try, and if you have, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Here’s hoping for a second season!

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Collection Update

Hello all! I finally got around to updating my collections page again, and I added quite a bit, so I decided to give a list of what was recently added. You can see my full collection page by clicking “My Collections” under the banner at the top of the page.

I also decided to add my western novels to the collections page, as it didn’t feel right leaving them out, and reorganize my figures and manga/light novel shelf. Read below for what was newly added to the lists!

Light Novels:

  • Accel World: Volume 5-6

Manga: 

  • Nichijou: Volume 1-2
  • Spice & Wolf: Volume 1-3
  • Fullmetal Alchemist : volumes 4-9

Artbooks:

  • Valkyria Chronicles: Design Archive

Books From Places Other Than Japan:

  • Grimoire For The Apprentice Wizard
  • The Hunger Games: volumes 1-3 (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)
  • The Mortal Instruments: volume 1-4 (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels)
  • Ender’s Game
  • Dan Brown’s “Inferno” / “Angels and Demons”
  • Metro 2033
  • The Lord Of The Rings 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Fifth Gospel

Besides what was mentioned here, I also have other manga/light novels, a collection of anime figures, anime DVD’s, and even a couple swords. Be sure to check the collection page now and again, I try to update it as soon as I get something new. If I add something more expensive to the collection – like a figure or a new blade – I will be sure to make a post mentioning it.

My collections are finally starting to fill out, and my shelves don’t look nearly as barren as a few months ago. If you have a collection yourself, how long have you been at it, and what are you hoping to add to it in the future? I’m always counting my savings to buy more books, but I haven’t added a new figure to the shelf in a while, so I might hold off on a couple volumes and save up for one of the figures on my wishlist.

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What I’m Watching This Season (Summer 2016)

Out of the shows being aired in the Summer 2016 season, I will be watching;

  • ReLIFE (They released all the episodes at once, and i’m almost finished already.)
  • Momokuri
  • Rewrite
  • The Morose Mononokean
  • Sweetness & Lightning
  • Taboo Tattoo

The series I watched last season were nearly all fantastic, and it’s looking like this season has some good titles on the roster as well. I’ve already started three shows from my list, and will be beginning to watch the other 3 tonight. They all definitely look good by what I’ve seen in previews and the like, so hopefully each of them holds true to that.

I’m up to episode 11 of ReLIFE so far, and it’s been a great ride; it has comedy that suits my tastes, the artstyle is pleasant to look at, the story it tells is interesting, and I haven’t seen any fanservice as far as I can remember – which is good since the show can carry a rather serious tone outside of it’s gags, and panty-shots thrown into the middle of that would ruin it. I’m eager to see how the end plays out.

Here’s to another great season!

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Flying Witch – Final Thoughts

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With this season of anime coming to a close, it’s time for me to give my final thoughts on what I watched this season. I went over the shows I planned to watch at the start of the season in THIS POST, so feel free to give that a read if you want to know what i’ll be writing about. Just pull Cerberus off the list, and replace it with Re:Zero.

MY RATING: 9/10

Since the other two shows i’m watching from this season haven’t finished airing yet, Flying Witch will be my last final thoughts topic for a little while. I decided to do this one last a day after I watched the final episode, and it was primarily because there was a lot I wanted to say about it, so I sorted what I wanted to talk about in my head while I worked on my previous final thoughts posts for this season.

The first thing I want to bring up is the opening and closing sequences. The animations for the opening sequence made me feel as though I was literally watching a picture book brought to life, and the overall feel of the show was displayed wonderfully by it. I did find the opening song enjoyable and rightfully cheery, but the way the “all my friends” line is pronounced in it made me cringe a bit. The ending sequence was absolute magic for me though; the animations were beautiful, the song in the background was light and friendly, and I felt both were a perfect fit for the show.

Similar to Tanaka-Kun, Flying Witch doesn’t really have a grand story, but instead tells it’s tale through a number of smaller stories chained together through a linear timeline. During the whole of the journey we see the characters go about their daily lives, some of which involves just enough paranormal wonder to make the show feel unique and exciting, and with it’s mild comedy and cute characters, it’s hard to not enjoy every minute of it. I love that they managed to create a story that involves magic, but have it handled in such a way that it feels like something that just naturally belongs in the world. One of my favorite things about this show however, is that it has enough to keep adults interested while still being family friendly – not to mention some of the things discussed in the show could have both kids, and adults alike learning something new.

The art-style used in the show is a treat to look at, and both the character and background designs were very well done. A fairly soft color palette was used, but it’s many natural colors paired with how beautifully and realistically drawn many real life locations appeared in the show, it definitely manages to stand out and grab your well-earned attention. Everything about this shows art was marvelous, and I plan to buy at least a few volumes of the manga to have some of their beautiful artwork for myself.

The characters in the show have unique and distinguished personalities, and it’s great fun watching them do even the simplest of things. I really hope we get a second season of this show, because some of the characters really didn’t get enough screen time. Poor Inukai. 😦 I loved how adorable Chinatsu was, how honest and adventurous Makoto was, and to be honest if I sit here and write about all the reasons why I love each of the characters, this post will be way to long. Another thing I noticed and felt deserves notice, is that the show features a functional family; too often you see the kids, but the parents are “off on business”, some other excuse, or just simply never shown. Here you actually get to meet the entire household, and see them interacting with each other  in ways you would expect of a happy family. It seems like a strange thing to notice and get excited about, but I found it made the show feel even more genuine and warm.

All that said, I will greatly miss seeing the characters of this show every week, and will be eagerly awaiting the promise of a second season. I’ll probably start buying the manga, and if I don’t hear anything about a second season of the anime after too long, i’ll just start hunting down each manga volume to keep the story going.

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Tanaka-Kun Is Always Listless – Final Thoughts

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With this season of anime coming to a close, it’s time for me to give my final thoughts on what I watched this season. I went over the shows I planned to watch at the start of the season in THIS POST, so feel free to give that a read if you want to know what i’ll be writing about. Just pull Cerberus off the list, and replace it with Re:Zero.

MY RATING: 9/10

Tanaka-Kun was one of my favorite shows this season; it’s subtle humor never failed to make me smile, and I was always in a good mood by the time it was done. That said, I will miss this show very much now that it has ended. Hopefully we’ll see more of our listless friend in the future!

The first thing I want to mention, is the first thing you see when tuning in to this show; the opening sequence was fun to watch, and demonstrates the shows (and Tanaka’s) personality very well. The song the used to go along with it (“Utatane Sunshine”) quickly made it’s way into my music list, and the vocalists for the song are absolutely fantastic. The ending song (“BON-BON”) is very upbeat, and the visuals they have on-screen are just gorgeous.

As a slow paced slice-of-life show, there isn’t really a core story to it, but the single-episode mini-arcs that make up the show work perfectly in this setting, and I found watching them every week very satisfying. There’s soft humor of all sorts to keep you chuckling, the characters personalities are well fleshed out and play well together, and the art-style is gentle and pleasant to look at. Everything about this show is calming, and threatens to make you yourself fall into Tanaka’s relaxed lifestyle. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

For being such an easy-going fella, Tanaka gets into some pretty wacky situations at times, and the way he deals with them is always interesting to see. My favorite example would be when he was trying to ask Echizen for a notebook, but couldn’t figure out how to write her name and instead ended up telling her she should change her name to Tanaka or Ohta (which he obviously can write already) – and she ends up taking it in an entirely different way, leading to an adorably funny situation between the three of them.

Speaking of adorable; my inclinations toward anything fitting of such a description in anime, have me naming Miyano as my favorite character. The moment she first came into the show I said “that is freaking adorable”, and I frequently found myself thinking “omg I want one!” during her parts the show. Tiny, overly energetic, and with such a cute personality, Miyano is the full moe package in my books! The only way to make that package better would be to add Echizen to the mix; both girls are cute in their own ways, but together, they are one of the cutest damn things I’ve ever seen.

I’ve thought about getting into the manga for this series, but I think i’d be more likely to go for something like a Miyano plushie (please tell me they make those). I’ll continue to hope for a second season, but if it doesn’t happen I may give the manga a go in the end!

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BAKUON!! – Final Thoughts

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With this season of anime coming to a close, it’s time for me to give my final thoughts on what I watched this season. I went over the shows I planned to watch at the start of the season in THIS POST, so feel free to give that a read if you want to know what i’ll be writing about. Just pull Cerberus off the list, and replace it with Re:Zero.

MY RATING: 8/10

I still don’t know why I picked this show up; when I read the synopsis I planned to pass it by, since I had no interest in motorcycles at all, but for some reason I decided to give it try – and loved every minute of it.

The show follows Sakura Hane and her fellow bike club members, and while there isn’t really a story to it at all, watching these girls and their adventures was a hell of a time. Each of them is unique, and each of them are loyal to a different motorcycle manufacturer, which leads to some interesting arguments in itself. Somehow, watching cute girls chatting about motorcycles, and riding around on them just enjoying life is oddly satisfying. Before I started watching BAKUON, I thought of motorcycles as nothing but an exciting way to commit suicide, but throughout the show I found myself looking deeper into the machines, and now see a unique beauty to them.

The character designs are simple, cute, and easy on the eyes, but what really shines in this shows art is the bikes themselves; the artists took their time drawing out every detail on the machines, and if you like bikes, this show is an eyegasm. I was actually surprised with how much detail they put into the bikes, but i’m very glad they did.

I enjoyed the opening sequence enough to actually watch it more than once on some episodes; it’s a fun little intro, and the music is equally upbeat and the pairing made me feel really giddy for some reason. It also made me want to go out for a drive and meet up with some friends. Damn subliminal messages…

I love the characters in this show to death, and I was really sad when I watched the last episode and thought “There won’t be a new episode next week”, even though it could so easily go on longer. I will miss them all, but i’m also quite sad that the new club member added near the very end were with us for so short a time – they really deserve more screen time.

In the end, this show that I almost skipped over somehow became a personal favorite, and I personally recommend it to fans of comedy, adorableness, and motorcycles. I would love to see a second season, but based on the MAL ratings and the nature of these shows in general, I doubt it will happen. I can see myself buying the manga to fill the void, and I still have the eye-catchers from the show to use as desktop backgrounds.

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The Asterisk War (Season Two) – Final Thoughts

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With this season of anime coming to a close, it’s time for me to give my final thoughts on what I watched this season. I went over the shows I planned to watch at the start of the season in THIS POST, so feel free to give that a read if you want to know what i’ll be writing about. Just pull Cerberus off the list, and replace it with Re:Zero.

MY RATING: 9/10

After enjoying the first season of The Asterisk War, I was quite excited to see a second season announced after such a short time. The second season held up to the first for me, and I will be waiting to watch the third season when it comes out. I see more people talking down about this show than not, but I managed to get into it pretty much right from the get-go; the animations in the opening sequences were exciting, the music playing alongside it was fast paced and intense, the art style was pleasant to look at, and the fight scenes are badass to boot. It isn’t the most original show with it’s harem and it’s massively OP protagonist with a hilariously giant sword, but I had a lot of fun watching it, so it gets high marks in my books.

The story involved the main character, Amagiri Ayato, fighting in tournaments known as “Festa’s” between the different academies, in hopes of using the reward offered to find his sister – the one who locked his power away, before she disappeared entirely. The people he meets through all this range from “oh my god let me cuddle it” to “holy crap, this guy is a whackjob”, but the ones that stick around through the story are easy enough to like, and I think Flora was the only character I can say I didn’t like. Seriously though, that girls voice makes me want to rip my ears off.

The characters in general look great, the art-style they used for this series is something I look forward to seeing more of, and while their personalities can be easily lumped into various anime tropes, there is enough to them that I feel they don’t fall completely into the stereotypes. The dialogue between them is enjoyable, and watching them fight is always a welcome burst of excitement. Seeing tiny Saya fire her enormous cannon while actually saying “boom” is adorable, but it still feels intense with how much power the thing actually has.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this quite a bit, and i’ll be looking forward to season three after the way season two ended. Cliffhangers suck, but at least you know more is coming.

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Kiznaiver – Final Thoughts (SPOILERS)

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With this season of anime coming to a close, it’s time for me to give my final thoughts on what I watched this season. I went over the shows I planned to watch at the start of the season in THIS POST, so feel free to give that a read if you want to know what i’ll be writing about. Just pull Cerberus off the list, and replace it with Re:Zero.

MY RATING: 10/10

Kiznaiver is yet another beautiful thing given to us by TRIGGER, and although I do feel satisfied with how it ended, i’m terribly sad in having to force myself to accept that it’s over. This show gave me so much to love, and I was always excited when I got to see these characters again. It sucks that it was only 12 episodes, and it’s always hard for me see something I enjoy so much just become a fond memory.

I jumped into this show after Crunchyroll hyped the hell out of it, and it jumped into my top list pretty damn quick. The opening sequence trapped my attention with the hypnotic combination of it’s animations and “Lay Your Hands On Me” playing in the background. The ending song was as soothing as it was beautiful, and the feelings it presented to me somehow put a small grin on my face, and simultaneously made my eyes dampen just a little. The story, I feel, accurately shows the difficulties of forming meaningful bonds with others, and does it in a way that feels believable and honest. I had thought for a long time that Chidori was just a selfish brat, but when she finally came to understand that she was acting in such a way and truly grew as a person, it made me love her character in the fact that she understood – and was tormented by – her flaws.

Each of the characters has flaws that you can find in real people. None of them feels fake or identified by a single trait or trope, but rather they feel like true, fleshed out human beings that you can identify with on multiple levels. Chidori’s immature actions in some (many) scenes could be expected of any teenage girl thrust into such a confusing and emotional situation, and I would like to believe Yuta’s change in personality to be realistic of a playboy his age; maturing and really understanding himself for the first time after finally finding someone he truly cares for and wants to keep safe from harm. All of their personalities differ so much, but they have some wonderful chemistry with their interactions. Nico being Mako 2.0 (watch Kill La Kill if you don’t know who i’m talking about. Like, now.), I love her to death, and the way they animated her crazy movements, and her ridiculously strange dialogue are what make this a true TRIGGER show for me. If I get character merchandise of anyone from this show, it will be Nico.

The way everything plays out throughout the story, everyone involved experiences many things; falling in love, finding happiness in others, experiencing mind-breaking emotional torment… But through all of it they manage to allow themselves to grow as people through these experiences, and in the very end you see and really feel just how much they have all matured and how strong their bonds have become. I am happy with how the characters relationships worked out;  I actually feel Chidori and Tenga make for a good pairing, Honoka finally showing interest in returning Yuta’s affections was heartwarming (and the way she did it gave me a good laugh), Nico’s acceptance of the love triangle she was in cemented her as my favorite character, Hisomu is still the all-time-best-bro, and Sonozaki’s comment at the very end about Katsuhira pushing her down was very unexpected, but Chidori’s reaction was both predictable and kind of adorable.

All in all, this show was satisfying right to the end, providing me with enough emotion and meaningful plot for me to recommend it alongside my other all-time favorites. I’m gonna miss these guys, but i’ll be sure to re-watch it now and again – and probably buy some merch to keep in my collection if I can find the money – so that it never fades from my memory.

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