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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Top 10 Anime Games, 2005 (Part 2)

CHEATER!!! Well, that's kinda harsh, I take it back. So below is the Top 5 anime games this year as seen on the Anime Gaming Guide on 12/28.

1) Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi - It's the best DBZ game ever, period, hands down, best looking too.
2) Ultimate Spider-Man - Sweet cell shading and a winning formula give you a great mix set in the Ultimate universe.

3) Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness - Still trying to catch them all, this is taking a while.

4) X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse - Muties, muties everywhere.

5) One Piece Grand Battle - Power Stone with Luffy and gang.

Top 10 Anime Games, 2005 (Part 1)

Ok, so here we are, almost at the end of 2005, so now's as good a time as ever to pick the Top 10 anime/comic based video games for 2005. Hopefully by now you've seen these posted on the Anime Gaming Guide. Well, these games were picked based on... well pretty much what I like, what was fun. Now here's the reason the games were picked, or at least why 6-10 were picked, you'll have to wait for the top 5 till later (or not).

6) Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Never Ending Tomorrow - A game not to be missed by any true Gundam fan. Just the intro alone is worth the price of admission, and playing through the SEED storyline, freaking sweet.
7) Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour - The first card battling game on the DS, and it's great. The stylus is perfect for this format.

8) Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixer - A big improvement over the first game the cut scenes and music draw you into an original story set in the world of your favorite alchemist brothers.

9) Zatch Bell! Mamodo Battles - The art style for Zatch Bell! has always annoyed me for some reason, but this is one fun playing game, especially for the younger members of your family.

10) InuYasha: Feudal Combat - Ok, the game... it wasn't that great, but dang if I don't love InuYasha. Ok Bandai, you better not drop the ball on Samurai Champloo next year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pokemon or Dragon Ball or Fullmetal or....

So what do you think? What was the best anime based video game this year? To add some more meat to the conversation let's also include comic based games (not moive based on comic games like Batman Begins ok). What was the best game this year, was it Goku and gang or that yellow furball or maybe a pair of alchemic brothers. The list will be revealed this week and next at http://videogames.aol.com/gamingguides/anime, but who will be #1, and will you agree? Nope, you won't agree and we need to know why, who was better in your opinion. Tune in, it's going to be a hoot, good times. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lovingt on Katamari Damacy

I love Katamari, do you? It's an easy question. Do you love rolling around a sticky ball gathering up the world? Do you love cleaning up the mess left by the King of the Cosmos? If you do then you Love Katamari, or I should say 'We Love Katamari.'

The original hooked me, the sequel enthralled me. Such simple game play, graphics and the music, OH THE MUSIC, it's great. I get weird looks when playing but if you pick this puppy up and start the rolling you will be hooked too. It's good times. Next up is 'Me and My Katamari' on PSP. How will this work without the dual analog sticks? Who knows, if the music is jamming I'll be a playing. It's so much fun, good times.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Chrono Crusade DVD Box Set Impression

!!!SPOILER TIME!!!

I come to praise and scold a very good anime, Chrono Crusade. I know this series has been out for a while now, but I just finished watching the slimmed box set for ADV Films (get it at Best Buy, great pricing for a lot of anime). Anyway over a three day period I watch the series, came to know and really like the characters and traveled with them on their journey, good times, everything I like when I pick up an anime.

Well, I won't ruin the story for you, but why the hell does everyone die at the end??? Really, I have not been this upset at the end of an anime in quite a long time, well since Gundam SEED when Mu dies, but that's another spoiler for another time. I still loved the series, and because interested in it when I read Vol. 1 of the manga. Good read, good watch, good way to get sad. Check it out if you have time, but just be ready to say WTF and to be sad.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hikaru no Go Manga Impression

Who know a board game could be this much fun!

When reading Shonen Jump you can expect plenty of action and adventure whether you prefer Dragon Ball Z or Naruto, but you also get something a little unexpected, a game of GO.

Hikaru no GO, created by Yumi Hotta with art by Takeshi Obata (Death Note), follows sixth-grader Hikaru Shindo as he learns to play the board game GO. After coming in contact with a old bloody GO board at his grandfathers, Hikaru now sees and interacts with Fujiwara-no-Sai, an ancient GO master who used to teach the Emperor of Japan in centuries past. These two have an interesting go at it (oooooo, sorry, pad pun :P) as they learn about each other and as Hikaru learns to play and chase his rival.

My initial reaction when I heard about a manga based on GO was luke-warm, I did not know what to expect, especially since I've never played GO. After reading the manga, and watching the anime I must say, GO is a very cool game. I still know nothing about GO, but I've tried my hand at it a few times, it really is tough, and it makes me enjoy the manga even more since I can understand some of the moves and strategy.

You need to do yourself a favor and pick up one (or two) volumes of Hikaru no GO. It's a great read and may have you playing GO in no time.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Naruto on Cartoon Network

Am I the only person here who really looks forward to Saturday nights and new Naruto? I cannot wait to watch, pathetically is one of my weekly highlights :( I adore, love, the manga, and I really like the anime, but I'm just not sold yet. Why? The voice. Listen, I get that women have to do most young male voices in anime, but how annoying could they make Naruto's voice. The best thing about the last episode (11/19) was not once did you hear 'better believe it' or some such nonsense. I took time to go back and reread volume 1 of the manga and to my surprise this phrase is not uttered, not once. On the other hand 'Ready, Steady, Go' is said a lot, and this is a sweet phrase. Well, I can get used to the voice, and the story is good, follows the manga pretty close, but what's up with the music? The background music is good stuff, I really like it, but why, WHY, do producers and such here think we need crappy 80's rock themes on our anime??? Anyone notice how good the Ready, Steady, Go intro for Fullmetal Alchemist is? Has anyone listened to the original Naruto intro's they are f'ing sweet, I imported the CD. Ok, the intro is not that bad, but I've seen the originals, and I want them. How many times can I contradict myself, I like it, I don't like it... hmmmmmm, confusion.

Naruto is a great manga, the anime is getting better and the music is sweet, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about go to the story, buy the manga, and tune in, check out the anime (it's on Vol. 2 of the manga right now). If you have the bones import some music, better yet, go here, http://www.toonamiarsenal.com/. Good Times, take care.

Monday, November 14, 2005

MS Saga, Gundam on the Go

MS Saga has launched is official web site, sort-of, and the next great Gundam game is just around the corner. There is not much detail right now on this game, but you can guess a lot from the screen-shots. The story is original, and don't worry, it's not another SD game. I for one love Gundam games, but up until now every game has been based on an existing franchise. Finally we get to play an original story, a side-story. Good times.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

IGPX -- Immortal Grand Prix Impression

IGPX or Immortal Grand Prix. The latest addition to Toonami's programming block, but one you must raise an eyebrow to. This series was created by and for Cartoon Network, and I must say it's animation is flawless. The story, actually it pretty basic anime fare. Young group, in this case a team, has to grow and overcome adversity all the while expanding their already heightened skills. The setting, not so ordinary. It's all about giant racing robots in future.

Now it was groundbreaking news when The Big O received new episodes due to demand from the U.S. At the time it was unheard of that the U.S. market could drive anything anime related. Heck just a few years ago the true Otaku were reduced to fan-subs to get the best series. Now the demand is growing and we get to experience more and more, and even add to the creativity.

Well, I'll be keeping an eye on this series because if it goes well hopefully there will be more, and more means we won't have to wait for a series to get over here, it will start here, good times. Oh, one last thing, does anyone remember when all good video game development was done in the Land of the Rising Sun? Those days are over, and I think that very soon the same will be said for anime.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

.hack//GU Impression

.hack//GU is looking great. I've watched the trailer so many times at on the Anime Gaming Guide, it's so sweet. Talk about chills. The character interaction in the trailer mixed with the music... yummy! Check out this site, http://www.cyberconnect2.jp/gu/menu/menu.html, lot of good info here on the game, if you read Japanese, but still pretty looking.

When it first came out I did not know what I was getting with .hack. I bought the game only knowing it also had a tie-in to anime, an upcoming card game and some manga behind it. I never expected the story, the world, to cover so many genre's so well, and from different perspectives and time periods. So why am I excited about G.U. (Growing Up)? Simply put I get to go back to a world, a land I love.

My journey into the world began with Kite and .hack// Infection, Mutation, Outbreak and Quarantine. These four games immersed me into The World, into an MMORPG that was not. I met and interacted with characters from the anime, from a story taking place before that of the games. I was treated to seeing these characters in-game, and also seeing the video game character in the anime (special at the end of the series). Each part, 1 through 4, of the game came with a 30 minute anime furthering the story outside the game world itself. These games (each a little short at around 15 hours) hooked me, next thing I knew I was buying the anime from Bandai. The world of .hack did not end, or begin, with the games, it just expanded The World.

The anime, and the phenomenon that is/was .hack, begins with .hack//SIGN. Am I here to tell you about the anime, no, but what I will tell youis that it's great. A character stuck in The World, unable to log-out. That's the basis and that's all I'm telling you because you can find these DVD's on the cheap, and it's just too good a series to spoil for you. It's the characters found in SIGN that you interact with (a few at least) in the PS2 games. It's the characters in the PS2 games that model designs and story in the second anime, .hack//Legend of the Twilight. This series is both shorter and funnier than SIGN, but still just as enjoyable as a brother and sister (twins) login to the world after the events of the games and SIGN, and enjoy their own adventure, with their own mysteries to solve. Sort of a departure, Legend of the Twilight is also (was first) told in manga form from Tokyopop. I'm actually going back and reading these now. There is also a novel (yup, no pictures) that you can get for .hack called .hack//AIbuster. Don't ask me about this, reading it now also.

Video games = good, anime = good, manga = good (well, all are actually great). What's left? The TCG , .hack//ENEMY is a mystery to me, I've never played or really seen it so just read up at this link, http://dothackenemy.fanhq.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ID=9. Everything comes back full-circle. I thought I was done with the .hack universe, but it's about to pull me back in. There is no excuse not to get into one aspect or another of .hack so get off your duff and get going, really, start with the trailers, it's really, really sweet.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Trio of Marvel Video Games at Comic-Con

Comic based video games are bad, they are evil, stay away at all cost! What... what do you mean there are good Marvel titles out!!! The days of the Fantastic Four (PS) are over, and no movie based games don't count, they are a whole pile of poo unto themselves. Anyone that has been around video games for more than 1-2 console generations knows that there have always been video games based on comics, and that they almost always end up really crappy. From Superman to XO to Wolverine no hero was safe, not Marvel, not DC or even the defunct Valiant. Turns out this trend is making a u-turn, but don't get me wrong, not every comic based video game is gold, or even great, but they are getting much, much better. Take for instance 'X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse,' 'Ultimate Spider-Man' and 'Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.' (oh, please don't ask me where DC's at. Teen Titans is not in my hands yet, and Batman was a movie based game, wait for Justice League next year... oh wait, cancelled!)

The three games I list above are each unique, different from each other, yet all pleasing to the comic fanboy and video gamer alike. These games are created for one reason, to target the existing fanbase that has existed for decades for Marvel. In the past games were created that had nothing to do with the comic, they had their own story, own continuity, and were usually just cranked out to whore out the license. This has changed. This trio of games ties directly into the comics (Spider-Man, Nemesis) or gives such a good story (Legends II) you can't put it down. Why are these games so much better than previous games? Let's take a look...

'X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse' -- The first game was great. Why build a game from the ground up when you can utilize the Diablo engine, throw in your favorite team of muties (and their foes) add a dash of character customization and form your own team. Boom, instant ramen... formula for success. The story penned for Legends set the stage for Rise of Apocalypse, forcing you to team up with your most hated foes. The game works because the engine is solid and the story is compelling, really giving fans of the X-Men something to drool over (no solo stories here, it's all about team). The control, sounds, graphics and feel of the game have been updated, which is a good thing since the original was not bad, but needed these tweaks. Great characters + good engine + great story = Marveliciosness.

'Ultimate Spider-Man' -- Tied directly to the comic of the same name, this re-invention of Peter Parker plays just like the Spider-Man movie games, and is sweet, sweet, sweet! The story is told in a virtual-esque comic book format. You get to explore the sand-box that is Manhattan in a great game engine established by the movie games (yeah, I know I already said this) but you get to do more. You get to live the Ultimate universe fighting characters only seen in print, meeting new characters not even in print yet, and just enjoy being Spidey (and Venom). The graphics are nice, control is spot-on and sound is good. Some cut scenes are annoying due to the teenage voices, blah! Anyway, USM is a fun title for a hot comic, one that lives up to the billing, and one any fan of Spider-Man should not be without.

'Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects' -- Ah, the runt of the litter. While I have nothing but praise for the first two titles, this one is a mixed bag for me. I love Jae Lee's art and character design. I love the fact you have a broad roster of characters to choose from and I love how the story ties into a comic series introducing new characters (Imperfects) who meld into the Marvel Universe nicely. Don't even tell me who the Imperfects resemble because there are soooooo many copy-cats in Marvel it's not even funny. I like the unlockable cards and comics (Spider-Man has these also). So, why a mixed bag you say? Well, Nemesis is not a fighting game, at least not a true fighting game, and it's not a true action game. It's the love child of the two from a night when the Tuaca was flowing. Don't pick up Nemesis expecting the next Tekken. Instead plan on spending time playing an action/story mode with various Marvel characters. This helps flesh out the story of Nemesis which is a welcome thing for anyone buying the game, but one that just kills those looking to rent. The controls are glitchy, to be expected from EA's first attempt at this genre, but I really like everything else. As I said before the character designs by Jae are sweet, selection of characters is also nice and I love the story. What do I hate, I hate having to unlock characters I should be free to use from the beginning. I hate the same enemies over and over again. I hate that I have to wait for a sequel that fixes these problems. Yes, I will play this game WHEN (not if) there is a sequel. For all its issues it's a fresh and creative take on a ni-fu, ni-fa genre.

Well, that's my rant. These games are good, they are fun, and they are for Marvel fans first, casual second. Rent them first, then decide for yourself. Each has replay value, but it's your buck in the end. Oh, one last thing, I glossed over the imbalance in character powers in Nemesis on purpose. Why should Wolverine be put on even ground as Iron Man when Iron Man could sit at a distance and pummel Logan with ranged attacks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Samurai 7 Impression

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. A classic, multiple award winner and now re-imagined as an anime. When I first read that Studio Gonzo was releasing an anime based on Akira’s film I was skeptical. Why a new samurai anime? We already have a very good (and long) samurai series in Kenshin, a funky one in Samurai Champloo, and one of the ultimate (ok ninja) anime in Ninja Scroll so what can be done to make Seven Samurai attractive to sword-clashing Otaku? Tweak the story, re-design the characters and do what any good anime does, add mecha. This is not your fathers Seven Samurai. Welcome to Samurai 7.

The scale of the story, the size of the world and the scope of what the samurai are looking to protect (a rice producing village) is all set in the opening battle sequence. What is a small village being harassed and harvested by bandits to an empire falling and a corrupt government ruling with an unjust hand? Not much, that’s what’s so engaging about this anime. Seven men with nothing but rice as a reward set out to protect a village they’ve never seen, with their lives on the line, and why? For the honor, the thrill, because it’s right or just to have something to do. How they get there, why they go there does not matter, it’s all about the story. This is where the show really shines because it manages to take a classic and really do it justice.<o:p></o:p>

I have watched anime where a peasant rises to become king, where a boy finds himself in a mecha only to become the greatest pilot ever. This story is not that, and this is the exact reason it’s so refreshing, sometimes the best stories have already been told, you just need to open them up again. Kambei, Katsushiro, Kikuchiyo, Shichiroji, Heihachi, Gorobei and Kyuzo are the seven men you will watch episode by episode, as they journey and fight. Check out the official website for more character details and some background on the story, but know this, you must treat yourself to this series. No collection would be complete without these seven samurai. Watch the story unfold, enjoy the wonderful music (opening theme is sweet) and relive a classic remade. Bravo and props to Studio Gonzo for doing great honor to Akira Kurosawa classic with Samurai 7.

Pick up volume 1 and 2, or even check out the original Seven Samurai at AOL's InStore.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fullmetal Alchemist TCG Impression

So the basic law of "Equivalent Exchange" states that in order to gain something, something of value must be given up in return. For Ed and Al this meant a body, leg then an arm (to save a soul). Pretty steep price for trying to bring your mother back to life with forbidden alchemy, but that's just the beginning.

Fullmetal Alchemist follows Edward Elric and his younger brother Alphonse Elric. Fullmetal is the name given to Ed when he becomes the youngest state alchemist ever, mainly due to his automail (metal) leg and arm. A leg lost trying to bring back his mother, and an arm sacrificed to bond his brother's soul to a suit of armor when he lost his body, also trying to bring back their mother. So, after this disaster we see Ed and Al years later where Ed becomes a state alchemist to utilize the resources of the government to find the Philosophers Stone, a legendary stone that will amplify any alchemy. Why find this stone, well to get his arm and leg back and his brothers body, to be normal again. It is this simple quest that drives every facet of FMA from the manga to the video game.

I won't spoil the story for you, but how you get into it is your call. Do you pick up the manga? How about the anime? Maybe you'll try the video game? These are the best choices, I recommend all of them, but an "Equivalent Exchange" of this level will lighten you wallet big time. So check this out, here are some good and bad points about each.

card games for FMA just recently came out so I can't tell you too much about it now, but check back soon because I will. Listen, this is my opinion, what I think, so if you disagree, tell me. The manga rocks, what do you think?

One Piece Manga Impression

Pirates are cool again, and it's not because of anything Johnny Depp has done. Monkey D. Luffy arrived on our shores with Shonen Jump a little over a year ago, and One Piece has flourished ever since. The story is simple; Luffy gets inspired as a boy by a pirate ('Red-Haired' Shanks), grows up wanting to become king of pirates and eventually sets out on his journey to accomplish this. Eiichiro Oda (creator) takes this simple formula and enriches it with his characters, design and story telling. Luffy is not your ordinary pirate which should be apparent by his straw hat and Gum-Gum Fruit enhanced stretchy abilities (think of a less serious Mr. Fantastic). The friends & foes Luffy meets, sights he sees and adventures he has is what makes One Piece such a fine read, watch and play.

Ok, check this out, the manga is great, no edits, no cuts. Someone gets cut, stabbed, hurt, or wants to smoke they do. Good stuff. The anime is clean, great reflection of art from the manga, storyline is good, but dang if the voices don't annoy the hell out of me, and the edits, OH THE EDITS!!! No stab wounds, no we get suction cup missiles instead of spikes, or we get someone with a lollipop and not a cig, what gives? (This is a mistake that I really, really hope is not repeated with Naruto.) I get that kids like this stuff, but why do you butcher a great series, didn't you learn anything from Dragon Ball Z and their mistakes? None the less, I still watch, hope they release an un-edited version, and move onto the video game, 'One Piece Grand Battle' on PlayStation 2 (also no GameCube).

'Grand
Battle' is great, a fans dream. The characters are a little SD (super deformed) but it works, as does the 'Power Stone'ish play style. Run around, throw objects, collect items, attackand climb your way to victory. The controls could be a little more improved, and I hate being locked into a chain attack when facing nobody, but these are minor gripes when compared to the rest of the package. The game starts out with the animated intro from the anime (don’t' get me started on this crap... I mean rap type of intro song) then you get menus, music and voices right out of the show, you are living One Piece (nice!). The first play mode you get is Grand Battle, which is just good old' fashioned fighting against the CPU or a friend. Next you get your Story Mode, with some odd story lines, but it works. You get some Mini Games with various task to complete, Grand Tourney, single elimination fights and Training, Mix these modes with the design and you have a pretty good formula enhanced because you also have unlockables in the form of Treasure (In a pirate game, no!) Galleries and Art. These are a very nice bonus for fans of the series, and guess what, that's who's buying this game in the first place.

All in all, One Piece is very enjoyable from any angle you tackle it, and will only get better as Luffy and his crew advance on their journey giving us more wackiness. Throw in the upcoming TCG Bandai's created and you can really immerse yourself in the world of One Piece... that is unless you ate some Gum-Gum Fruit, then all you will do is sink.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Cromartie High DVD Impression

Ah, September, time for all the little kiddies to head back to school. Nothing like seeing all the school buses out knowing there is no more sleeping in, no more goofing off, it's time to get closer to adult hood. For me I love the memories this time of year brings back. New clothes, new teachers, sometimes a new school, seeing friends again, the Gorilla, riding the school bus, Freddy riding into school no his horse, smell of pencil shavings, rivalry with Bass High... wait, what?

What do you mean you don't have a Gorilla at your school? Yes it's normal to ride a horse to school; Freddy does it all the time. Who's Freddy!!! Next you’re going to ask me who Mechazawa is. I swear some people act like they've never heard of Cromartie High School. Ok, education time.

Cromartie High is just the biggest, badest school there is with all the toughest delinquents, robots, gorillas and more. It's also the funniest manga I have read in a long, long time. I picked this up a few weeks ago, Vol. 1 of the and Manga. Read the manga first, got so many looks for how much I was laughing, and then popped in the. Gotta say, I like the printed material more, but Vol. 2 of the does pick it up. Things just seem to come across better in the manga, but this is not always the case. I'm also a big fan of Excel Saga, have the entire collection, laughed my ass off to this, but I never got into the manga. The for Excel worked so much better for the pace and type of comedy, while I really feel that Cromartie is better in print, but whatever to each his own.

There are so, so many characters in this series I won't try to flesh everyone out now (that's what the official website is for) but I will tell you Cromartie follows the 1st year student Takashi Kamiyama, an honor role student, as he enrolls at Cromartie, a school known for its bad and dumbasses. Why did he go here you ask? To inspire a punk friend of his (that even the author forgets about) to go to school, and guess what. His buddy fails the entrance exam, for the easiest school anywhere.

DON'T WAIT, GO BUY/BORROW/READ NOW! Really, there are a lot of good anime and manga out there, but this really takes the cake for how off the wall it is, and who doesn’t need a good does on non-reality right now. Trust me on this, it's worth the read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gungrave & Hellsing on UMD Impression

I read an interesting article the other day about the PSP. Since it's launch there have been less than 1 game released per week. In a nutshell not a lot to choose from for those early adapters of the PSP (like myself). Enter anime. Yes, I know there are movies to watch in UMD format, but anime is a class all it's own, and Geneon is leading the way here in the US with the first of a slew of UMD's for your PSP.

The first two UMD's are for series that have been out for a while, Hellsing and Gungrave. I have not experienced either of these on DVD, but am kicking myself for waiting so long. Now the UMD format is cheaper (about $15) and you only get 2-3 episodes per disc but I must say it's worth if for a product that does not have a lot to offer right now, and what's better when your on the go than a 15-20 episode of your favorite or new show. I think of these as samples as I will put out $15 for a new anime on UMD rather than $25-30 for the first DVD. If I really like it I can always go back and buy the DVD or future UMD's but I'm not out a full $30 if I don't like it. (Yes I know you can find DVD for less, but let me be for the sake of argument.) The format's cool, makes sense, and I've read some companies are packaging the UMD with the DVD for a little higher price. Now, tell me about these two series.

Hellsing is an organization that employs a vampire, Arucard, to combat the enemies of the night. Get the full description at Geneon's site. Three episodes on the first UMD and I cannot wait for more. This series is great for one reason, Arucard. Watch and find out, I'll have more as I get to watch more.

Gungrave, a video game I passed up on buying twice, still don't know whey I did that. Most anime games are based on an established series. Not so with Gungrave which was a game first then an anime, and having not played the games I must say the anime is sweet. Brandon Heat becomes Beyond the Grave after he is killed. We get a taste of him in present day and the criminal organization, Millennion, he is trying to bring down, then we go back and see him as a 'Young Dog' in his gang days, and learn how he became Beyond the Grave. Now I've only seen the first two episodes, and the art style (same designer as Trigun, name escapes me) is very nice but I can say, I want more. The two games, Gungrave and Gungrave: Overdose are great ways to get into the series and have seen improvement from first to second. I hope to see a third game so I can finally get off my lazy butt and buy it.

What this all boils down to is these first two anime UMD's for the PSP are a great buy, a great way to get into anime, easy on the wallet and look spectacular on your PSP. I highly recommend going out an picking these up, give it a try you may just like it. This content is not for kiddies, there is mature content so parents beware. Having said that why are you still reading? Get up and buy these puppies already.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Scrapped Princess DVD Impression

Current favorite anime right now is hands down 'Gundam SEED', but close on it's tail is a new title I've picked up that I really did not expect much from, 'Scrapped Princess.' I admit I bought volume 1 for the Pacifica statue, but having just finished vol. 2 I must say I'm hooked. Ok, Pacifica is the Scrapped Princess, foretold that on her 16th birthday she would bring Armageddon, the end of the world (hey, that's the short, short version). Well, she was supposed to be killed, scrapped, as a baby, but guess what, she wasn't. Ok, so that explains Scrapped, but what about Princess, well she is one, and her twin brother is the Prince with a mother (Queen) yet to appear in Vol 1 or 2, and a frosty cold father (King) seen in Vol. 2.

Pacifica travel's with her (non-blood) sister, Raquelle, and brother, Shannon. Raquelle is very, very adept at using magic to protect her little sister, while Shannon can match swords with the best of them, and even becomes the master for Zepher (What? Hey, go buy and watch to find out ok). This is the basic backdrop for the story, and we start out with Pacifica, Raquelle and Shannon traveling the country side, avoiding trouble as everyone wants the Scrapped Princess dead. Trust me, the story gets really really good as we don't know who's good, who's evil, if Gods can be trusted. I recommend picking up this DVD and keep an eye out as the manga is being released very soon.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Anime & Game Music to move you

Have you ever listened to a song and had no idea what was being said, and you didn't even care? Well, I do this every day on my iPod as I've purchased a large selection of jpop, jrock, anime/game music over the years. Sometimes I get weird looks, but for those of you who have ever imported a fansub, or watched the intro to a dubbed anime you know what I'm talking about.

The ending to Final Fantasy X broke my heart, it moved me not just because I spent over 80 hours living as Tidus and gang, but because the musical scores were so moving, they just swept me up in a whirlwind of emotion as my long journey with these characters was over. I bought the soundtrack and every time I listen to it I smile, it's a fond memory that I love to relive in my mind. This is the power of music in games, but it's not just limited to orchestral music but also to vocal, both in English and Japanese. A great example of this is the old intro to Lunar back on the Sega CD, man that song hooked me in, but was oh so hokey.

Guess what, it's the same with anime, and it was Cha-La with Dragon Ball Z and Evangelion that got me hooked. The intro, the ending, the in scene music just hooks you and never lets you go. Don't believe me, just watch Gundam SEED and tell me if you play a little T.M. Revolution in your head. I still get chills listening to The Touch by Stan Bush played when Optimus Prime rolled out of the shuttle and said 'Megatron must be stopped... no matter the cost' - that was freaking sweet and made even better by the music. What I'm getting at is when you play a game or watch an anime don't ignore the music, embrace it and let it move you, draw you deeper into the experience. Let's take it a step further, let AOL Radio help you with this.

Check this out, AOL Radio it out there on the web now, anyone can listen. There are some exclusive stations that you have to sign in for, but for most you can't beat what there is to offer and I say this based on what I just typed above. An anime song station is not out of the question, and I would love to hear what you love, what you would like to see on a station, let me know, butin the meantime check out this goodness...

AOL Radio: Japanese Pop (Jpop) Station

AOL Radio: Video Game Scores Station

Listen, enjoy, and never forget that the music is not there as filler, it's there to enhance your experience and take your gaming and anime enjoyment to another level, trust me.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Fullmetal Alchemist Video Game Impression

'Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel' was the debut of the Elric brothers on the PS2 over here in the US and soon we will get to play 'Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir' Seeing FMA 2 in action was nice, and I did get some play time with it. Having read the manga and seen the anime it's great to sit and play as one of my new favorite anime characters, Edward Elric, the Full Metal Alchemist. I was very excited to see so much FMA at Comic-con from every angle including toys, statues, games, a tcg and DVD's. Sadly I did not see any cos-players, but why would you need them with a giant Al statue.

FMA was everywhere and I was everywhere that FMA was. It all begins with the manga published by Viz, read a preview here. You really get to know the character on a level that games and anime cannot relay, and Viz is uppping the ante with the release of 'Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand' part of a new fiction line by Viz. The anime takes the story a step further, with minor changes, and gives voice and life to the series as you get to hear for the first time what Ed and Al sound like and see their alchemy in action. By this point you've read the manga, seen the anime and now your ready to take control of the characters you've grown to love in the Square Enix released games.

This flow is very normal for an anime licenced product moving from manga to anime to video game. Add to this the new TGC (trading card game) coming out all the action figures and toys and you just get immersed in a land similar to our own, but oh so different. The coverage was amazing and I'm telling you from what I've seen this propery is only going to get hotter and hotter. Keep an eye out for it, and if you have a chance pick up the anime or manga then try out the game.