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Monday, May 7, 2012

An Anime Fan First



Covering what I love, when I love it

Hobbies change, interest and likes change. Recently, over the past few months, I’ve undergone one such change which has seen an unexplainable shift in a few of my hobbies, mainly my moving away from gaming as much. I still love to spend hours lost in a fictional world but both job and the joy of parenting not to mention street hockey and jiu-jitsu have led to my shift. My focus is now turning back to anime and away from both video games and manga. Why? Good question and one I find a difficulty to explain. I found myself covering games I did not truly love or enjoy, it felt like a business and the whole reason I began writing was to express my joy as a fan. I began contradicting myself, trying to play as many games as possible to cover the entire market and I got away from the joy I found as a fan. I’ve now shifted back to playing games I truly love, Batman: Arkham City for example, and will cover these titles but as a fan again. Novels are also gold for me, especially the new Halo books which create such salivation for Halo 4 it’s hard to contain.

Manga is a little easier to talk about. It’s gone big time digital and I’m loving my Viz digital but not having full books to hold, read and review makes it tougher to cover. Groups like Tor provide solid content but with Tokyopop going the way of the dodo, well the landscape is reduced, sadly. Comics are covered, again as a fan, but more in the graphic novel collection format to get full story chunks, solid stuff.

Finally there is anime which I have so much I want to cover and the digital aspect is a god send here. Being able to watch online just allows for more availability and a broader range or reading. No media request, just go online and watch 3-5 episodes. So much fun.

So what I’m getting at is I feel refreshed. I’ve got anime, some games and novels that I feel I need to share my thoughts on and freeing myself of ‘must cover’ really helps also. No longer do I feel pressured into covering things, I do what I like which seems to me is what AnimeSentinel is all about. I’m a fan first, always have been and while my overall hobbies shift and change what I’ve found is my love for anime has not. I may not post as often but when I do it’s all about the things I enjoy … or that appall me so much I gotta slam them J

Monday, February 27, 2012

Madoka Magica vol. 1 Blu-ray Impression

It’s a magical girl adventure but with a bit of darkness and maturity to it

Magical girl anime, where little girls with big eyes, out of proportion bodies (big heads folks) gain magical powers and fight evil all while looking cute with fantastical transformations and some kind of cute mascot character. That’s the formula for magical girl anime and its front and center in Puella Magi Madoka Magica vol. 1 on Blu-ray and DVD combo from Aniplex yet there’s something a bit different about this tale. Is it the crisp animation or haunting music … maybe the darker tone … let’s take a look.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

.hack//Quantum on Blu-ray Impression

Still going strong, the latest .hack// entry is short but oh so sweet!

The .hack// franchise began on PlayStation 2 as a combination of game, anime and card game and it’s fake MMO gameplay may have been ahead of its time. The concept would be great as a real MMO with downloadable anime episodes, online components and scanned in card game pieces but oh well, such is the laments of a .hack// fan. While the past cannot be re-written the present sure as hack can be enjoyed, this thanks to FUNimation. The latest OAV anime .hack//Quantum is everything to love about this franchise in a few condensed episodes. From beautiful animation with the solid .hack// design and music this is one enriching anime. Here’s what’s to love …

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Darkness II Xbox 360 Impression

It’s not the continuation expected but The Darkness II is enjoyable for gamers and comic fans alike.

The original The Darkness introduced games to hit man Jackie Estacado. A character established in Top Cow’s comic of the same name, and quite badass at that, but an interesting choice for a gaming experience. The Top Cow universe is not as tenured as Marvel and DC but it is rich with plenty of backstory and memorable characters (Witchblade!). The first game introduced Jackie in a fairly Top Cow universe free world where he and his powers shine and the experience was quite solid and fun. Fast forward to The Darkness II and besides a new developer there were also some story, pacing and graphical tweaks that just detracted from the original. What am I getting at? Let’s shed some light on this …

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Insights of a Burned Out Gamer

When hobby becomes burden; Step Back!

I've been blessed; able to work in an industry I love, to watch anime, read manga and play games that I’m more than happy to spend my cash on yet I hit a wall. When too many titles piled up and deadlines needed to be met, the love and desire I have for this content began to feel too much like a task, like a job I did not enjoy. So what did I do … took a step back, actually a few months of stepping back. After 5+ years of posting weekly I just stopped. It was odd but gave me a relief and allowed me to reconnect with what I loved thanks to games like Halo: Anniversary and Batman: Arkham City as well as anime like Fairy Tale and Rosario Vampire. I’m reading Halo novels, getting into the digital manga space, it’s quite nice.

I share this as I’m looking to get back into the game, not as heavy as before but from a ‘what I enjoy’ standpoint. What good is a hobby with little to no monetary benefit if it leaves one miserable and tired? It’s no good folks because life is too short, time too short to spend doing things that just don’t bring joy. Have I rediscovered what thrilled me about gaming and anime, still trying to answer that but I am getting the itch to share my thoughts again but maybe tone it back quite a bit.

As I’ve thought about this, played games without thought of how I’ll write about them or watched anime and not judged the voice work I started to realize how many things in life we just don’t take a step back from. Plowing ahead with no true insight into where we are going is not the way to go. The journey is such a joy so don’t miss it. Game for the love of it, not for trophies or accolades, ones gained with no joy. Watch and read as an escape but not just for completion. It’s good to step back and look at the grand scheme. What are you missing out on? Is it time with the kids, the spouse or a nice workout? Hobbies should be a joy and fun but not all consuming and should not affect your mood. I was close to this point.

Am I back; no, I’m not but I am getting there. Relationships need work and mine with gaming and anime is being worked on but is far from gone. I hope to chat about some of the sweet anime and games, hobbies and sites, which I truly enjoy to share with those sporting likes that are similar. Heck, I may even rant on about my favorite sports teams (:O) also, why not, it’s my blog. Welcome to 2012, a new beginning.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tekken Blood Vengeance DVD Impression

A showdown of three generations yet to be seen in-game

Tekken, going back to its days on the PlayStation, has always provided excellent story elements and animation that show off a variety of serious and humorous characters that move the franchise along from generation to generation. Gamers now get a chance with Tekken: Blood Vengeance to see these stories unfold independent of the game, the computer generated quality unfolding in a full length film giving more story and background to some very memorable characters. Ling Xiaoyu is the star of this feature but make no mistake the Mishima boys steal the show. What’s to love Tekken fans, let’s take a look.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Star Wars: The Blueprints Impression

The design of an entire galaxy and it fits perfect on your coffee table

Debate Star Wars vs. Star Trek all you want but there has always been one area dominated by Star Trek and that’s the availability of their universes schematics, their blueprints. From the Enterprise to Deep Space 9, the Trek franchise has made the real world details and measurements available to uber fans and now Star Wars is getting into the game in a big way. Star Wars: The Blueprints is the first ever collection of the original blueprints created for the Star Wars saga. This is not just a series of copied pages, it’s a hard bound and numbered gem that brings to life the work of those behind the scenes, the artist, engineers and designers who crafted the droids we love to the fighters we wanted to pilot. Locations and concepts are shared showing off how the galaxy was crafted. So what’s to love, let’s take a quick look …

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Q3 2011 gaming report – Nintendo 3DS, DS and Sony PSP

Is there anybody out there? Handhelds, hello, hello?

Next-gen consoles fared quite well in a traditionally news focused, slow product release window but the same cannot be said for the handhelds. The DS never needed to be pushed aside but it was by the 3DS, which frankly overestimated its sales potential. A high price point and limited range of top level, must have games put up a few big roadblocks in the way of a system that was not the different than the already solid DS. Most gamers, kids especially, cannot justify the cost and it was noted as the price dropped and sorry-for-that games were offered to gamers who did jump in at high cost. A costly mistake that has allowed sales to drop.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Q3 2011 gaming report – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii

It’s good to be a gamer with Gears and Deus to play

The leaves are turning and falling and there’s a nip in the air as the chill of winter begins its approach. Yes, Fall is here and while not every part of the country receives the same excellent, chilly weather they do receive the same load of games, more targeted the games of Q3 2011. The dog days of Summer star July and August with September bringing up the rear on a heavy vacation time where gamers (gasp!) go outside and get their yearly dose of vitamin D via the sun. A slow time for gamers; yes and no. It’s a great window to catch up on those top level games going back to the last holiday seasons and to begin the ramp up to the holiday shopping and gaming season.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Laddertop vol. 1 Manga Impression

Specialized children, an alien gift and they mysteries around both

Laddertop vol. 1 from Tor offers a bit something different from the normal manga. It reads in a western manner and puts the focus on mystery in this first volume with much being introduced from story to characters. Nothing new here but manga make or break themselves in the first few volumes and this tale is no different. So how do the children of Laddertop fare … let’s take a look.

FUNimation Entertainment Acquires .hack//Quantum

Finally, more .hack anime action hits with Quantum from FUNimation

The news is quite simple and anime fans can get mega excited as more .hack// is on its way thanks to FUNimation. Back at the beginning of the month it was announced that FUNimation will be hooking up all angles of the anime .hack//Quantum. The latest series is based on the .hack// role-playing games created by Bandai Namco Games. It’s three OVA episodes and looks hot. Here is a look at the story so check out the site and the sweet promo art.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron on PS3 Impression

Taking down renegade angels has never been this beautiful

A religious game that did not get tons o’ panties in a bunch??? It’s true as El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron delivers plenty of angel toppling action but does it in such an over the top stylistic manner that one cannot help but admire the beauty. The tale of Enoch is both beautiful and confusing yet still a game to be played by any gamer with an HD screen screaming for full use of its colors. Pretty, not even close to describing it folks so let’s take a look.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Trigun: Badlands Rumble on Blu-ray Impression

Vash is back to face the consequences of his past actions

Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a sweet visit from an old friend that will leave fans wanting more and feeling far from full. Trigun along with series like Cowboy Bebop, hooked many a current anime fan and while the original series is starting to show its age this movie, Badlands Rumble, shows that an older franchise can be fired up again even if it’s not a large scale epic movie made during the anime’s original run. This is what makes Badlands Rumble very unique. The series ended years ago so seeing a movie now rewards those fans and instead of riding a hot anime wave this movie may actually help create interest in the original series. That being said it’s a fun flick to watch so let’s take a look at its parts.

Friday, September 16, 2011

No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise on PS3 Impression

Wanna be a crazy, sword swinging assassin? Suda 51 brings it to the PS3 with No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise

Original and made 100% for the PlayStation 3; No, but No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise does offer plenty to gamers who tripped along to Suda 51’s other adventures from Killer7 to Shadows of the Damned. The original adventure seen in No More Heroes 2 is here along with some decent Move support and a handful of gameplay tweaks but what else? Why should gamers looking for this unique style of gameplay venture outside of Shadows of the Damned (which was designed for PS3)? Let’s take a look.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tiger and Bunny Episodes 1-4 Impression

This duo is dynamic and puts a whole new spin on super heroes

Clocking in with over 20 episodes to date Tiger and Bunny on Vizanime.com offers plenty of action and humor at a price that can’t be beat (free online folks, let’s do this thing). It’s an action hero anime with a game show/contest twist which reminds very much of Ratman with its sponsored heroes yet bridges a gap between traditional anime heroes and American comic book super heroes. Let’s take a look at the first four episodes which would be the average number on the first DVD of a new series and see just how this series sets up and why action, shonen anime fans as well as comic book fans should take a look.

Jetpack Joyride for iPhone Impression

Addictive gameplay that changes goals constantly and keeps gamers wanting more.

Jetpack Joyride is as addictive as any game on the iPhone … period. Crafted by Halfbrick, those of Fruit Ninja fame, Jetpack is a simple to play game with plenty of hooks and changes that keep the action rolling. The action will test gamers touch screen skills and with plenty of unlockable content there are hours to be spent, let’s take a look at what Jetpack Joyride has to offer.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night DVD Impression

A fun romp in the land of vampires, werewolves and zombies … oh my!

Dylan Dog has a long history, longer than most comics/graphic novels and his most recent iteration, from Dark Horse comics, made its way to theaters in 2011 in the form of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. This telling of the supernatural detective is easy for those unfamiliar with the franchise to jump in and enjoy but how is it for fans of the source material? Let’s take a look at both sides.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! Impression

An interactive game that parents will enjoy letting their kids play

What? Elmo is not the headliner? Indeed this is the case with Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! on the Nintendo Wii … sort of. While the game is titled after Grover, Elmo is front and center on the game case as well as in-game but kids won’t care. Grover, Elmo and Abby guide younger gamers on a Wii adventure full of get-up-and-move mini games that will teach and entertain kids. Having played with twin 3-1/2 year olds, let’s take a look at what RSG has to offer.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beyblade: Metal Fusion vol. 3 DVD Impression

Seven more episodes of Beyblade add up to training, training and more training.

Volume 3 of the Beyblade: Metal Fusion on DVD takes a break from the battling action of past episodes and puts the focus on back-story for characters and on training. The only way to get stronger is to train but why should gamers and anime fans care, let’s take a look at the latest Metal Fusion.

The Story – As Gingka heads back to his village and is pursued by his friends. As they seek out Gingka both Kenta and Benkei lose to a mysterious blader named Hyouma wielding the beyblade Aries. As the group arrive at Koma Village they just missed Gingka who has traveled to the top of the snowy mountain

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tenjo Tenge manga vol. 1 Impression

More brutal and mature than the anime … yup and then some

Viz Media’s Sig Ikki line of manga has delivered one hell of a thrill ride in the manga version of Tenjo Tenge. The anime was plain awesome even if its ending left viewers wanting more and actually needing more (lots of loose ends not tied up) but there is now hope for the manga to deliver the goods, the full tale but how is it? Oh! Great’s combative excellence is in full swing and it shows quite a similar path to the anime and is plain great … if you liked the anime, a must have. How does the story line up and what about the art? Let’s take a look.

Bleach: Soul Resurreccion on PS3 Impression

Ichigo and crew make a spectacular next-generation debut

THANK THE HIGHER POWERS!!! NIS America has finally given Bleach fans a next-generation game and one to be proud of. How does such an insanely cool, action packed anime with a slew of games not have a great gaming adventure yet in the States till now? A mystery indeed, but one that need no longer be pondered as Bleach: Soul Resurreccion is out and quite fun to play. What does Ichigo has in store for fans and can noobs jump into an established franchise this far into its storyline? Let’s try to answer those questions now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Halo Cryptum: Book 1 of The Forerunner Saga Impression

Before the Spartans or Covenant there were the Forerunner’s. Who and what were they? Time to find out in Halo Cryptum Book 1

Author Greg Bear takes Halo fans into the world of the Forerunner’s. How could a civilization, so advanced, disappear from the universe leaving only their massive weapons? Encounters with the Flood will do that but how exactly did this threat and ensuing war play out? A young Forerunner will help answer these questions.

Remnant Knights and FUNimation Septemberfest

Remnant Knights unleashes Septemberfest along with FUNimation, 7-Eleven and Alienware.

So first GameSamba partners with FUNimation to promote it’s free, flagship MMORPG Remnant Knights and now they’re giving away lots of free stuff to their members. This new promotion loops in two new sponsors to join FUNimation. Both Alienware and 7-Eleven join the fray in what is being called Septemberfest and while the action began back on the first of September it continues through the end of the month, so check it out. There are daily and weekly prices as well as an Alienware Laptop grand prize with plenty of DVD’s up for grabs. All the details are below and on the official site so see if this floats your boat and give it a try.

Batman: Arkham City – The Album track list revealed

This ain’t no bat dance, it’s Batman: Arkham City – The Album

Batman: Arkham City is almost here and just announced is the official album, not soundtrack, but rocking album of music inspired by the game. It sounds intriguing and one has to wonder how much exposure were these artists given to the new game to be inspired in their tunes? Check out the official info below and track/artist list, solid!

Images: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact

Just because Naruto on PSP is predictable does not make it boring

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact continues the growing ninja’s adventures on the PSP while throwing in quite a tale of Sasuke’s journey, his point of view. Large scale battles and insane boss encounters await fans of the franchise that dives right into the Shippuden storyline. Its fan base is well established and this game is right in your wheelhouse fan boys, you know who you are.