YamiShikiMoon's Blog

Sarcastic girly nerd that talks about anything Anime, Manga, Game related that is of interest.


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Gant:0 Movie Review

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Gantz first started of as a Manga written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku, it was adapted as an Anime back in 2004 and now have also become a 3D CGI Movie that’s specifically covering the “Osaka Arc” from the manga. (The Anime didn’t cover this arc as it wasn’t enough manga material at the time for the show to get there.) I have both read the Manga and watched the Anime and now watched the movie on Netflix.

I have to say its one of the better Manga adaptations out there. It does change some things about Gantz, such as if the timer runs out they die instead of losing their points, and there are less characters than in the manga.

The movie makes use of CGI for the animation, and the result is quite excellent.

The visuals are jaw dropping. They feel like mix of photorealism and next-gen game CG cutscenes. I am grateful they opted to use CGI instead of live actors for the human characters, as it better suits the crazy monster designs without it making them seem out of place. The choice to make a CGI film with this quality of animation was perfect.

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Something also really great is the lighting in this film. Not only does it have excellent effects for all of its lighting but there are also very “film”-esque lighting. For instance, there is eye lighting. In film, this is the act of putting a light on the eyes despite it not likely making sense in the real world. This is something I love. A scene can be crowded and busy but not only are we greeted with someone’s face and their reaction, we’re drawn to it with more focus solely because there’s a light source reflecting against their eyes and skin. It’s so classic noir but it feels great to see this employed in an animated feature, no less.

But alas there are some downsides I found to the movie, which was :

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it feels too small. A lot of the characters was cut out of this movie, so while it has the basic story, it doesn’t feel that big. The story arc the movie covers was supposed to be a full on war, and while there are tons of aliens, there aren’t as many Gantz players running around.

Another problem I have is with the characters. This movie changes a few things from the manga, most of which is good or brings something new, however the characters may be the worst change.

With Kei Kurono dead the last members of the Gantz team don’t want to fight anymore, instead they rather run and hide. This doesn’t make sense as both Suzuki and Reika would want to fight to bring back Kei. Its not that big of a problem but it I could see it would bother fans of the series.

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The last problem was that it’s a little too much like a movie. This has some nice gore, and the CGI makes it feel very realistic. But the problem is there are too many last minute saves in this. There are a lot of people that would have died if not for being saved in the last second, something that Gantz rarely ever does, maybe 1 time every 3 arcs. It feels much more like a movie and less like a Gantz adaptation.

In conclusion, Gantz:0 is an awesome movie that caters to both fans of the manga and new comers. It has some changes from the manga, but most of them are good changes. While it does have some problems that should mainly bother fans of the manga, they seem very minor when the rest of the movie blows you away.

Now only to hope we get the rest of the Manga adapted somehow…


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Hua Mulan: Rise of a Warrior Review

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If you’re like me, the only real experience you’ve had with Mulan in terms of film involves lots of lovely singing and a wise-cracking miniature dragon. Well, Mulan: Rise of a Warrior is nothing like that movie, although I imagine that’s not particularly surprising considering Disney’s penchant for…well, being Disney. That aside, I quite enjoyed the movie which shows what I’m assuming is a more realistic portrayal of Mulan’s story. Though some parts of the story are a bit iffy, Mulan as a character shone, ultimately leaving me more than satisfied with the film.

Warning for spoilers!

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The Story

The basic story revolves around a young woman, Mulan (Zhao Wei), who decides to take her ailing father’s place in the Wei army by pretending to be a man. Despite a shaky start in which she is almost executed, Mulan quickly rises to the position of sub-commander, proving to be both a smart tactician and a charismatic leader. The first half or so of the movie places emphasis on building up Mulan’s character from someone who isn’t quite prepared to face the harsh realities of war to a person who has decided to be the best leader she can be in order to protect as many of her friends as possible. Meanwhile the second half places shifts more of the focus to wrapping up the war with the Rouran tribes, which have temporarily united and become more aggressive with a shift in power. Though Mulan’s final strike doesn’t work out as planned, the war eventually ends as a result of a political marriage (Unsurprisingly, it’s not one you’re going to like). The movie ends on a relatively bittersweet note, but it manages to wrap itself up nicely in a way that stays true to Mulan’s character and is somewhat satisfying in that sense.

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Admittedly, the storyline felt a bit rushed in places and didn’t quite make a ton a sense, but the main bits, which were  typically some of the more emotional ones, tended to be particularly well done. There’s a scene near the end, for instance, where Mulan is forced to watch as the enemy massacres those captured in the recent battle, unable to help without sacrificing those who managed to survive, a sacrifice she knows she can’t make for the sake of a few. Instead, she and the others start singing the song that typically served as a funeral song of sorts for those who had died in battle. The scene is a bit cliche, sure, but it was also one of the most memorable and moving because it had a lot of heart to it. And that’s what I like about those major scenes (and even a few of the smaller ones), they have a lot of heart to them which helps in creating a more genuine or sympathetic tone that works in the movie’s favor considering it’s large focus on Mulan’s character development over the years.

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 The Characters

While the emotional stuff is pretty good, the same can’t quite be said of the rest. For one, most of the characters aren’t nearly as developed as our heroine. The bad thing about this is that when you see people die, you have to rely on Mulan’s tears and agony to make you feel anything; you don’t actually know enough about the characters to care about whether they die or not which sucks, especially when it comes to scenes that seem to rely on you caring about the side characters themselves. Even Wentai (Chen Kun), who plays a major role in the movie, is really just a person who forced more of Mulan’s growth.

Speaking of Wentai, the romance between him and Mulan is one aspect of the story that, despite leaving me with some of the greatest frustration at the end, I ultimately sort of appreciated despite its flaws. Being the romance fan that I am, I dutifully shipped the two the entire movie and enjoyed the more intimate scenes that strongly hinted at the romance between the two (you don’t feed just anyone your blood), but the handling of the romance, in my opinion, wasn’t too swift. A lot of it boils down to, I think, the movie trying to cram as much as it could relating to Mulan in the movie, with some of that stuff, like the romance, being less enjoyable by the end than others which is logical considering the other, more interesting stuff going on.

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At the same time though, I liked the romance for its strengths. Though Wentai makes some iffy decisions here and there, he’s a pretty good guy and never once treats Mulan any differently because of her sex; if anything, he treats her harsher because he wants to make her strong enough to be the leader he knows she can. The various ways he supports her throughout the movie, I honestly thought were quite sweet. Mulan, herself, benefited from the romance in the sense that it allowed her to be a girl again, not the leader, and to find hope in a place that seemed to want to crush it. In a surprising twist, one of the things that I liked most about the romance is that it goes unfulfilled. The two can never be together with circumstances as they are; if they chose to run away and live their happy lives, they would be sacrificing the peace that would come from Wentai’s political marriage which Mulan, at least, knows she can’t do. Though their romance met a sad end, it showed that the two had the maturity to put something greater than themselves before their own happiness which, though bittersweet, makes me appreciate their characters more.

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On the character side of things, if you haven’t caught on yet, Mulan is basically the only character that matters. Sure you may like Tiger (Jaycee Chan) or Wentai or any of the other equally nice male characters, but that doesn’t change the fact that the movie focuses almost entirely on Mulan, which makes sense considering the title. That said, I really liked Mulan. I’ll admit that I think she was a bit overly emotional at moments (okay, one moment in the middle) and cries a heck of a lot, to the point where I wondered why people didn’t question her status as a guy, but she’s not a weak person. The combination of her emotionalism and ability to “suck it up” for the sake of those around her is what makes her a likable character because it makes it easy to empathize with her. Her hesitation when she has to behead her first person; her devotion to her men and her friends; her desire to simply escape her warrior lifestyle and the sorrow it has brought her– all of these aspects and more are used to show Mulan’s development as a person, making her feel real.

One of the most powerful moments in the movie, which really makes you appreciate how far Mulan has come, comes at the end of the movie when Mulan finally returns to her hometown after 12 years on the battlefield; she’s finally freed herself of the warrior lifestyle, but you can finally see how tired she looks as she touches her face with her calloused hands and lets down her hair, something that hadn’t really been apparent before– she is different from the naive girl that signed up for war all those years ago. Mulan’s story isn’t a happy one, by any means, as we see her make sacrifice after sacrifice for the sake of those around her and for her country, but it’s one that also has a strange hope running throughout it. Though Mulan was inevitably changed by the war, in a sense, she never gave up; she kept on marching forward because of her hope which I find kind of touching and makes the ending a slightly less sad.

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As for everyone else? Well, aside from Wentai who was an okay guy but not one that I can say stood out a bunch aside from his status as Mulan’s Helper and as a bit of an irrational guy, there aren’t a whole lot of characters that stand out. There’s Tiger, but his importance comes and goes pretty quickly which is unfortunate because I quite liked him and was sad when he was killed later on. The only other major character is Mendu (Hu Jun), the coldblooded guy who eventually becomes the leader of the Rouran tribes, but he was a pretty uninteresting fellow. From his introduction, you can pretty much tell that with his greedy and violent tendencies he’ll be the one to forcefully take power from his more understanding father. The only surprises about him were that he wanted to bang his sister (almost completely useless, by the way) in order to create perfect Rouran babies and that he was defeated as easily as he was which was a bit anticlimactic. The bad guys, in general, were a pretty bland and predictable group whose single shining moment came near the end and involved them gaining an unexpected advantage over Mulan; other than that, they behaved as you would expect them to. That random white guy hanging around them was probably the most interesting out of all of them simply because I absolutely no idea why he was there in the first place.

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Design and Production

The movie was relatively low key in the terms of action, although the battles that did receive attention were typically kind of brutal to watch which I appreciated in a weird way. The movie also had a pretty grungy look to it with a lot of dreary colors in it; I’m hard pressed to think of more than maybe a handful of moments that had vibrant colors in them them. Not that I’m complaining, though; I liked the color scheme because it gave the movie a more “serious” tone and fit the battleground setting. I also really liked the costumes which were pretty detailed and neat to look at (minus the silly looking Rouran ones).

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Overall

I quite enjoyed Mulan: Rise of a Warrior. I found Mulan to be an empathetic character that I could get behind and whose bittersweet story tugged at my heartstrings, albeit not as much as I was expecting it to. I doubt I’ll be able to look at Disney’s version quite the same way, especially considering how the romance works out, but I’m not necessarily complaining. Despite a story that is a bit flawed and silly at parts, it has a genuine feel to it and is pretty neat by itself. Admittedly, your enjoyment of the film hinges on how much you like Mulan and drama, but I think that most will find something to like in the film, so I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s itching for a relatively okay drama.


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Assassination Classroom/Ansatsu Kyoushitsu Live Action Movie Review

Okay. I just finished watching the Assassination Classroom live action movie and …..

was more or less not that impressed since they literally took out all my favorite moments in the series. I was pretty much giggling through the entire thing because of how ridiculous some of the scenes were.

Though I did have a lot of fun pointing out who each character was since I actually could tell who was who from the hairstyle and how they dressed. (They did pretty well matching appearance-wise since I could actually tell who was who despite not having the same hair color)

But what they pulled at the very last second near the end I just started yelling: WHAT?! YOU CAN’T DO THAT! THAT’S SEVERE SPOILERS (as in you don’t get to know that until 100+ chapters in the manga) AND YOU’RE JUST GIVING IT AWAY LIKE THAT?!?! AND NO ONE ELSE IN CLASS FREAKING NOTICED THAT?!?!?! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I wish they focused more on some characters’ background but I understand that filming a live action is really hard and they had only 2 hours.

THE WHOLE CAST SEEMED TO HAVE SUCH A GREAT TIME TOGETHER AND NOW I KNOW WHY YAMACHAN GOT ALONG WITH THE CAST SO WELL

Hopefully October will come and they will get to act together again.

Now for the actual review.

The Story

The movie picks a lot of the noticeable scenes from the manga including multiple arcs such as both transfer students arcs (Ritsu and Itona) as well as everyone’s favourite teacher Takaoka.

I think in terms of content, my guess for the anime it would be up to the first 40-50 chapters and for the live action will be pretty similar. However, unlike 22 episodes, there will only be around 2 hours which is not much. Originally I was hoping that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu would get an 11-13 episode drama instead of a movie, but this ended up like Sukitte Ii na yo and Silver Spoon’s live movies where there was too much content and the movie felt kind of rushed as an result.

The Characters

Okay so I’m going to ignore the common complaints by most anime-only fans when it comes to live action adaptions of manga. I don’t care if you people hate that their hair ain’t blue/red or if they don’t look nearly how the character is in the original content. I’d rather have the characters be able to act the part well than to have them look similar and act the part horribly and ruin the movie.

I was honestly not expecting Yamada Ryosuke to play Nagisa – and no doubt, I know a lot of people didn’t expect it either. Now don’t get me wrong, being a Hey! Say! JUMP fan I love Yama-chan, but I wasn’t 100% on him playing Nagisa’s part. His diverse acting skills can get him playing someone as cold as Ryuu (Tantei Gakuen Q) to someone as goofy as Kindachi (Kindaichi shounen no jikenbo Neo), a lot of people will think he’s overrated and what not and a lot of people who don’t even know AssaClass will watch it anyway because of him, but we’ll leave it to the movie to see if he does Nagisa well.

And I think he did it very well.

I think most people’s complaints at first was about how he doesn’t look “trap”/girly enough. (But even then I’m probably the only person that that doesn’t think the original Nagisa looks like a girl to begin with…) However, I don’t think it will include any of the chapters where Nagisa needs to and will be confused as a girl so it won’t hurt much in terms of story, but more on the original manga fans who want it to stay true to the manga. (But again I think this was a good choice anyway, especially when you think about Nagisa and his horrible mother) I think personally, if he had done the movie a couple years younger he would have suited the appearance of the original content Nagisa more. Not necessarily in his days of Tantei Gakuen Q, but back when his face was still babyish and chubby (them cheeks xD).

Ofc we can just pull out the Risou no Musuko 2.0 and put Yama-chan in some cute girly clothes cause why not xD

And one a side note I laughed really hard at the first Nagisa vs Takaoka fight since he literally just smiled, walked over to Takaoka and went boop to him with the knife to his neck.

The other actors I’m not quite familiar with. I remember Suda Masaki (Karma) from High School Debut, but it’s been a while since I’ve watched that. Haven’t watch it, but I know he’s in Kamen Rider too.

He really does fit more of the delinquent-ness that Karma had and I think I can really take a liking to him playing him – Especially his chill fall of the cliff. I can see a few Karma fans taking a disliking to him just from not looking like Karma.

I don’t understand why they added that OC that interacted with Nagisa to be quite honest …. I mean, do they want to create a sort of menage à trois or love triangle or how do you want to call it!? Did they really have to?!

A lot of the others, I’ve seen them in one or no dramas/movies at all (Takaoka is Ando from Ikemen Desu ne ). Jiyoung is so fucking sexy, ‘kay. Exactly as Irina.

Korosensei

Keeping Korosensei to have his own section. I’ve seen a lot of comments about the CGI being okay or horrible from various people – someone said they should’ve gotten specific people from Weta to do it which is lol because Japan’s films are often way lower budget than your Hollywood ones.

I personally don’t mind Korosensei or maybe I’m just used to the cheaper CGI with watching too much jdramas/adaptations xD He does feel a bit more plastic-y than I imagined.

Overall

It looks like another “too much content into one movie” adaptation and would have been better suited a drama instead.

I watched it anyway as it’s one of my favorite manga and current anime as well as being a Hey! Say! JUMP fan and a fan of Yamada’s acting.

I’m going to say it now, but this movie is definitely not going to please everyone and I can tell a lot of people will be disappointed – especially for the people who will constantly compare original content to the adaptation. (Like me *cough*)

I would stick with watching the anime and reading the manga since it seemed like they didn’t have the budget to really go all out on those really epic scenes in the series (they stuck to one set for most of the movie). But if you’re just a die-hard fan of AC and need to see everything relating to it, I’d say go for it.

It’s not the greatest adaption since the scenes go by really quickly without really having any chance to have the characters in the spotlight. So I felt like I didn’t really have an attachment to anyone. All the epic scenes in the series felt really anti-climactic.

But overall it was interesting experience watching it.

Truthfully I think this will be a fun one to watch if you give it a chance.


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The Last Remnant Review (PC ver.)

Every now and then a game will come along that flies under the radar. This is very true in the JRPG world, since it’s not mainstream unless it has Final and Fantasy in the title. A lot of these sleeper hits come from the creators of FF, whether they are still employed by Square Enix or not. Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Shadow Hearts, Lost Odyssey, all created by Square or former employees and all underground hits. The Last Remnant features the Unlimited Saga team, and will be the next in line to fall under the category of a truly great, unsung hero.

You’d think when you have a game that was released in 2008, you would have finished playing it by now.

But then you finish playing it, and you don’t know what to do with your life anymore.

Which brings me to the game I’m going to talk about, The Last Remnant.

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The Last Remnant is a game developed by Square Enix and released in 2008.

It was first made to Xbox 360 and then later ported to PC via Steam, I personally owning the PC version.

So you’d think that since it’s a game by Square Enix it would be rather popular right?

Well…maybe?

I don’t know why but I seem to have a tendency to love games that no one knows about or don’t take them in high regard (Star Ocean The Last Hope and Infinite Undiscovery just to name a few) and I think the reason why is that I like when a game try to be different and try out new things, instead of having the “status quo” and I think this game did succeed with that, well at least for me.

Still, I didn’t believe that this was going to be a safe pick, but boy was this game ACTUALLY GOOD.

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~STORY~

The story does a good job of drawing you into their world. No, it’s nothing that will blow your mind innovative wise. Yet, they do the cliché’ “boy grows strong and overcomes adversity to save the world” thing well. Very well.

Sticking to the plot and spoiler-free, the story is about Rush Sykes, the son of two very well-respected scientists who study the Remnants. Remnants are the equivalent of what the wonders of the world are to Earth. Ancient artifacts from a mysterious past. Some are worshiped, some are even used as weapons. The bond between those who rule the Remnants and those who obey is broken, and the story that unfolds will keep you interested in moving the plot along. The main villain is very mysterious and has the “it” factor that a lot of villains don’t.

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I felt the main story was actually good, but the main attraction I felt was the side quests. Normally when you play a jrpg, the main story line is probably 90% of the story. This is not the case for The Last Remnant. Side quest I’d say holds 40% of the whole story. You’ll learn about the politics in the game/different culture/conquest/history/personal rivalry/etc. The Last Remnant does a really good job of making the story not just about the main character Rush, but the world as a whole…

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~GRAPHICS~

The details of the environments are extremely well done, very comparable to Lost Odyssey or any other new-gen jrpg. The characters and enemy models are nearly perfect, and some of the weapon arts is amazing. Most spells are very fluid and have nice effects to them.
Yes, there are graphical issues with this game even on the PC. random texture pop ups that makes the game look like it came out of a PS2 and other stupid stuff that makes characters look really really weird. BUT I don’t care about all of this as long as the game was playable and fun and this is where it hit the mark.

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Everyone wants to know about the technical problems, mainly due to the fact there are sometimes 40+ people on a screen fighting. First off, the texture popping is much less frequent than in many games rated very highly by your media types. Off the top of my head I can think of Mass Effect and GTA4 (rated a perfect 10) having bigger texture popping issues than TLR. As for the slowdown and lag during occasional battles, it’s there and noticeable at times, but in no ways annoying or a major slowdown of battles. Most battles move at a fairly rapid pace in spite of it. Besides the technical issues I addressed, the graphics are in tune with the times and the CG cut-scenes you get are well appreciated. Only other minor gripe is I would’ve liked to see a day/night feature to the game or some random weather in a few of the zones.

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~EXPLORATION~

Pretty much if I had to pick a game that The Last Remnant was most similar to in terms of exploration, it’d be Final Fantasy X perfected. The problem with FFX in my opinion was that the game was too linear, but I did feel like they had the right idea. Instead of moving around the world map, the game gave off a sense of travel and journey, made me feel like the world was actually bigger than it was.

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The old days of walking on a world map within 1 min with medieval technology made in theory, the world uninhabitable due to the lack of enough gravity to facilitate life. The Last Remnant hits the mark on this by not only using the FFX system and just creating random fork in the road, but giving purpose to each of these forks by utilizing quest/unique VERY CHALLENGING monsters/treasure chest/mining/”fishing”/etc.

It was just a blast to actually go and try to fully discover each of the zones and there are places that you have to discover yourself if you want to go there because the main quest won’t take you there. It’s a feeling that I haven’t had in a while from a JRPG.

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~BATTLE SYSTEM~

Mainly for being unique, trying something new in the classic turn based sense, and for creating strategy and difficulty into the genre. They basically combined elements of the action rpg game, the strategy rpg game, and the cookie cutter turn based rpg game. What they came up with was brilliance to this reviewer.

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This will be as quick of a rookie rundown as possible. First off, before the fight occurs this will seem like an action RPG. You will see the enemy on the screen, and a bubble over his head will determine his mood. You have a slowdown ability that basically freezes the enemy, and allows you to attract more monsters or run away in some cases. Some enemies can even do status ailments outside of the battle screen to you, making you unable to run….etc. The action rpg elements of picking and choosing fights and pulling more than one monster are incorporated to TLR. Once you engage said enemy(s), this is where your strategy and turn based elements come into play. Instead of controlling party members, you control Unions. Unions are made up of party members, or Units. Unions share the combined HP and AP of the Units that make them up. Once the HP of a Union goes down, all Units in it die. Get familiar with the Game Over screen. 🙂

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AP is action points and are needed to do the Combat Skills, basically your above average attacks. Mystic Arts, or magic, is done from weapons and also take AP. Item Arts, or basic healing/buffing/debuffing from items takes no AP. Strategy comes into play because your movement of the Unions will allow for Flank Attacks, or Rear Attacks, giving your allies the upper hand. The orders you can give a certain Union is vast and sometimes seem random depending on an array of factors. There’s also strategy in the formations you choose to create a Union in. You start with a few basic ones and can unlock many more throughout the game, giving you ample options to customize. You also recruit leaders from guilds, and can buy soldiers from a city to complement your battles, allowing you to basically play through the game a few times with an almost completely different list of party members. This battle system also allows the player to create his own difficulty in a way. You have the option of fighting a single enemy, or taking your chance at a few. Risk-reward? The more enemies you pull and engage into battle the better the chance at rewards. But, just because you pull a single enemy doesn’t mean there won’t be 2+ Unions within. This can seem a bit unfair at times, and there are also a few moves by enemies that seem a bit “cheap” ala “Calvary Call“.

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Be careful, and oh yeah, get used to the Game Over screen. 🙂

The battle system also did something that I felt JRPGs needed for a long time. A big problem with a ton of JRPGs is the hit point system. For some reason a tiny guy would have 6920 hit points and take shots from Meteors/other magic spells that make him look like an ant and still survive. What’s worse in my opinion is that a character can take a million slashes from a sword and still have a majority of his health left.

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The Last Remnant got rid of majority of these feelings by making the battle squad based. Battles are no longer 1v4/3v4/3v3 in a straight line but there’s tactics and flanking involved. The game’s battle system is a genuine battle that involves quite a lot of characters fighting together like a team. Which is probably one of my favorite things about this game, because I can honestly not name another game which have or remotely similar kind of battle system.

Characters no longer had astronomical hit points, but are seriously susceptible to any attack and you really had to manage your squad. There are some randomness to who gets hit and all, but it was fair. I did sometimes feel a bit cheated, but at the same time it was within reason. Also side note is that characters bleed when they get hit, and also even when you are in the middle of choosing your actions, instead of just having the characters standing there idly, they are aware of their surroundings and sometimes block attacks from other enemies or “poke” them with their weapons.

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~GAMEPLAY~

The crafting/leveling system is also pretty interesting. Gone are the days where you go to a store and buy a new equipment every once in a while in order to get your squad stacked up. In this game, its best to upgrade your weapons because the weapons you buy from store are trash and the benefit to this system was that it created a sense of meaning for items. I no longer horded items I came across during the game for no reason at all, but instead kept it because I knew it’ll be useful. Also it amplified the effects of exploration because, you’ll use your digger to dig everywhere.

Another important thing this did was that it made the weapons have a history. A problem with JRPGs is that you go to one town, buy a sword, go to the next one sell the sword and get a better sword… etc. By making weapons upgradable, you get a real sense of history with the item and also more options. Also, rare loot was a very good implementation in this game, it made me want to discover the game’s world because on random occasions you’ll find a pretty good sword lying around inside of a chest.

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~DIFFICULTY~

I LOVE THE CHALLENGE OF THIS GAME. JRPGs have become REALLY easy, but in The Last Remnant I had to retry killing a monster 10x+ in order to finally kill it. This is one of those games where you can die on a random encounter as much as you can on a boss battle. It was a rare monster that had an AOE spell that could one-shot my entire team. I could tell the monster was killable, but that I had to use my brain and when I finally did, it felt so goooooooood. Also since you can tie in multiple monsters at the same time the difficulty can spike up to your choice. The bosses in this game are also no push over.

There is a reason why almost all forums of this game is about asking for help to defeat bosses.

~SOUND/MUSIC~

Excellent. Superb even. Although this whole review is obviously opinionated, this category seems to be a bit more than the rest. Especially when discussing the soundtrack. What’s a beautiful symphony or a grinding boss battle theme to me may be flat out noise to another. I think SE did a great job offering a variety of tracks and not repeating many at all. Also, the battle music tends to become more dramatic if a long battle is ensuing, which is appreciated and helped to give the epic feel. There’s no denying this game has excellent sound effects. The sound of an axe chopping away, or a shield blocking an attack is very lifelike. Some of the character’s one-liners are a tad on the lame side, but aren’t they always? The voice acting is above average and on par with or better than most VA in games today. Absolutely no complaints out of me in this particular category, TLR nails it in every way.

Also you can switch between jap and eng voices anytime you want.

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~FUN/REPLAY VALUE~

The battle system alone makes this game extremely fun. Let’s face it, in Jrpg’s the only way to advance is to fight, and fight A LOT. If that’s the case, the game better have a somewhat interesting format to get from point A to B. TLR does and is a truly unique experience. Tons of customization can be done with components dropped after fights. The component list is deep, so creating new weapons, enhancing old weapons, and creating accessories will give you plenty to hunt and search for. There’s dig spots, and a buddy named Mr. Diggs to help you salvage its contents. Mr. Diggs also levels up as you use him, making him the equivalent of a party member learning new skills and techniques for treasure hunting.

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There’s also leaders and soldiers you may or may not hire, and want to on another play through, adding replay value. An intriguing storyline can also make a game fun, which TLR again does very nicely. It is very well written and acted out, which gives the player an urge to keep going. It’s pretty rare you find heavy replay value in a JRPG, but I can see myself going through this game again in due time. Some JRPG’s can stand the test of time, and are games that a player gets the itch to play over numerous times for a variety of reasons. Some games just flat out aren’t worth the trade-in value. Like I said earlier, I’m not a completion-ist and definitely wouldn’t try to do everything in this game on a first run. It should be enjoyed for its story and challenge, which would be null if you max’d everything before beating it.

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But now that I got the goods out of the way. Here’s the negative. The game simply felt like it wasn’t really finished. Example, the story. The reason why I said it was good was because the story was satisfying, but it really felt like Square didn’t finish the job “Going to stop here to not say any spoilers”. There are other parts of the game that I felt was lazily designed. As great as the crafting/leveling system was, you can only customize Rush. All the other characters require you to give them items to customize themselves. This wasn’t a game breaker by no means, but I felt that Square was hasty in this department. Instead of giving you full control over every member in your party, you kind of have to play sort of a wait and see game of praying that one of your party members ask you for permission to have this item/focus on this part of his job. Those of you who played this game already should know that this is by no means a game breaker, it just could’ve been better.

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If you ever had any fun with a JRPG, you should absolutely BUY THIS GAME. It presents a totally unique turn-based battle system, a cool cast of characters in a fascinating detailed world, and a challenge unlike most games in the genre. Compared to the more recent old school and new gen JRPG’s, this is very non-linear giving you the feeling of freedom in most cases.

Absolutely underrated by the masses.

So there you have it. IN MY OPINION The Last Remnant is a great game for all JRPG fans. If you enjoyed playing all the JRPG of yore FF/Chrono/Breath of Fire/etc. then this game is 100% for you and I doubt you’ll regret it.

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This is a late review since the game is pretty old already, but as said at the beginning of the review, I have owned this game since 2010 and it took me 5 years to actually finish it.

And now when I actually have finished it, I will probably play it again. And this time I’ll try to not die too much.


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Plastic Memories Review (warning for spoilers!)

Before we begin, I just want all of you to know that, on the first episode of Plastic Memories, I cried like a little girl. I’d like to say I’m ashamed of myself, but the truth is, this anime just has that many feels. I believe that’s why some people call it Plastic Feels instead of Plastic Memories.

Despite how heart rending some of the scenes were, I really did enjoy this anime. The emotional scenes were emotional and never failed to bring tears, but they were also offset by some really nice humor that lessened the, “I just wanna curl up into a ball and cry.” moments.

Story

18-year-old Tsukasa Mizugaki is offered a position at the renowned SAI Corporation, known for its production and management of androids called “Giftia”. Tsukasa’s position is in the Terminal Service Department, recovering Giftias that are close to their expiration date—it is a graveyard department in every sense. Tsukasa is partnered with Isla, a female Giftia whose only responsibility appears to be serving tea to her co-workers.

While the anime is labeled as a sci-fi, the actual sci-fi itself isn’t all that important beyond the idea of Giftia, the androids who can experience human emotions. Society in this anime has advanced to the point where they can literally create robots that replicate human emotions – these androids feel, think, act, and interact as if they were human. In many ways, they are human. However, this anime is also somewhat misleading. While there are a number of scenes that are heartrending, a good portion of this anime is light-hearted, funny, and deals with the awkward romance between Tsukasa and Isla. I didn’t mind this so much, mostly because I don’t think I could’ve dealt with too much heart break, but I know others who might be turned off by this. Also, while this wasn’t a deal breaker for me, there is one thing about this anime that I didn’t like and made much of the story feel a little contrived.

If this wondrous, technological society is so damn advance, then why the hell do they not have a way to store a Giftia’s memory and place it in a new body? This is the one sore point for the anime, and also an issue that makes the feels less feely than they could be. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if they explained WHY a Giftia’s memory couldn’t be stored in some hardcore USB drive, but they don’t, and because they don’t, a part of my disbelief is suspended, which cheapens some of the really heart rending moments.

Animation

I did enjoy the artwork in here. The art style is very bright and vivid, and there’s a wide range of color palettes being used. Some of the character designs were a little bland, but a lot of the secondary characters are just archetypes and don’t get much screen time, so I feel like I can forgive them. I do like Isla’s design, but even I’ll admit that she’s a dead ringer for a long-haired version of Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Sound

I’d say about average. Honestly, there isn’t anything inspiring about the sound, but the quality is nice and I didn’t hear anything wrong with it. Also the op and ed was very good.

Spoilers incoming (for: Plastic Memories, Kyoukai no Kanata/Beyond the Boundary, Angel Beats). 

Well, the good news is my tear ducts are now so empty that I’ll never cry again. I think that’s good news, anyway.

The bad news is that I finished Plastic Memories and I’m fuckin’ sad. This show didn’t even try to attempt some fake happy ending. This was no Kyoukai no Kanata, this shit straight up Angel Beat me over the head with feelings.

And it was stronger for it.  

Because unlike Beyond the Boundary, character deaths in this series don’t come as a surprise. We’re given an explicit timeline for them, and when that time runs out, there are no resets on the clock. No coming back. And, unlike Angel Beats, we actually got to spend the majority of the episodes watching our lead couple meet, connect, and grow together.

There is something immensely powerful about two characters forging ahead in love when they know it’s doomed. I really appreciated the fact that the series allowed romance to blossom before the final few moments, getting the misgivings of the lead couple (and their friends!) out of the way so we could enjoy their last days together alongside them.

This anime isn’t all feels and tears. The humor is actually pretty damn funny. The main heroine in this story, Isla, is a Giftia, an android that possesses human emotions to the point where you’d never be able to tell them apart from a regular human – and she is an absolute riot. Seriously, some of the crap she pulls off in this anime makes me laugh my ass off.

I remember watching her jump off a railing and belly flop into a trash can in one episode. I laughed so hard. Of course, the fun and games is also played up because of how heart breaking this anime is. Isla, especially, is a tragic character, in spite of all the humorous stunts she pulls. I think, for me, this is what makes me like her so much. She’s funny, but at the same time, I really feel for her – because Isla is a Giftia, and Giftia only last for a total of 8 or so years before expiring. That’s what this entire anime is about, and it’s why the story is so tragic.

The show did have a few occasional tonal stumbling blocks – sometimes its humor worked great, but at other times it would attempt to shoehorn in an awkward sex joke at the worst possible time, as if afraid it was taking itself too seriously.

Then there was an entire plot line that revolved around how terrifying the Giftia (androids) were if they were allowed to go out of control that only served as backstory for one character and a relatively unnecessary action sequence. I think the slow degradation into a vegetable state was much more poignant and tragic than a small percentage of Giftia suddenly going berserk and trying to kill people.

But these were small flaws I could overlook in the face of surprisingly meaningful character interaction. The typical archetype characters in particular subverted their natures in ways that brought tears to my eyes – the tsundere going out of her way to help the MCs find love and being brought to tears over it; the emotionless girl quickly being revealed to never have been all that emotionless in the first place, instead trying to protect those around her; the “oblivious main character” proving again and again that he was far more intelligent and considerate than anyone could have guessed.

Tragic or not, there were some really touching scenes in this. I thought the romance between Tsukasa, the main character, and Isla, was downright adorable – incredibly funny and potential deadly for Tsukasa, but mostly adorable. Watching them muddle through their relationship, seeing Tsukasa try – and usually fail – to make Isla happy, really made it worth watching this anime. For those who enjoy watching a heartfelt romance with touching moments that are mired in beautiful tragedy – I’m looking at you Clannad fans – you’ll definitely enjoy this. For those of you who don’t like crying your eyes out, well, you probably won’t want to touch this with a ten foot pole.

This was a show that didn’t rush itself; it moved resolutely and honestly towards its inevitable conclusion. The kind of steadfast journey forward that brings tears to your eyes slowly – first a burning, then a blurring in the eyes, until all of a sudden you’re crying because you want to (not because you were meant to).

It’s a series that celebrates (not mourns) the brightest of loves, the ones that shine too bright and too quick, the ones that are everlasting and never fading, because they ended too soon.


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D.Gray Man: why you should REALLY give this manga a try (no spoilers, mostly pictures)

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In the light of D.Gray man returning to serialization I’ve decided to write a post about the awesomeness of this manga, about what it means to me and why I recommend it to every shounen enthusiast out there. Especially those of you, who loved Fullmetal Alchemist (and also Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul). If this post convinces any of you to give this piece a try, I would be immensely happy.

This manga is written by an AMAZING female mangaka Hoshino Katsura. It was originally published weekly in Shounen Jump for 5 years. It was one of the best-sellers for Shueisha, with over 20 million copies sold. Both in Japan and in North America several individual volumes have been featured in weekly top ten lists of best-selling manga. It received a huge amount of rewards. Unfortunately, due to the author’s sickness it was first moved to monthly magazine and then put into an excruciating two year long hiatus that is fortunately coming to an end soon.

Now, this manga is awesome, I tell you. It is a masterpiece in the shounen genre. It was my absolute NUMBER ONE since I was 14, the style and characters of D.Gray-man resonated so much with me that I just couldn’t resist it. Let me tell you about it.

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Story

D.Gray man is undeniably a shounen manga, it has the best qualities of this genre (focus on action, personal stories, heartbreaking camaraderie, etc), yet the themes it dwells upon, the distance it makes its characters go, the tragedies it explores are close to a seinen level (Very close to what FMA is dealing with). Forget about Attack on Titan with its raw and meaty violence, here all tragedies and deaths are deeply personal and “enemy” operates on a thin psychological level, disturbing the border between good and evil, desire and fear, reality and nightmare.This is the story about war, the version of the devil that wants to destroy the world and The Church that prepares human weapons (“Exorcists”) to fight against this evil. Yet, there is no “good side”, there is mystery and unbelievable sacrifice, and darkness dwells in The Church just as much as in the streets filled with demons. More than that – this is the manga where enemy is loved, not understood, far from that, but LOVED – by the author, by the characters involved in both sides of the conflict. It was the first time I experienced such raw mixture of heartbreaking love and hate in characters. (By the way comedy is VERY good too.)

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Style/Art

Four central elements of style – Gothic, Victorian England, military and catholic church. The world of D.Gray-man is very dark, the author constantly uses deformed and grotesque images to underline how madness leaks into reality. I like it, because it goes much further than scary faces in both AoT and TG (even though Tokyo Ghoul use it on a psychological level as well), sometimes it takes your breath away. A lot of symbolic imagery is used – latin inscriptions, runes, pentagrams, religious imagery. It is not over-complicated in my opinion, nor is it just a mindless decoration, since it creates a very authentic and thoughtful vision of the world. The military uniforms are beautiful – no wonder that my first attempt at cosplay was for this manga. The characters are drawn very pretty – you won’t find an ugly character. There is enough moderate fanservice for any gender preference, though the cast is mainly male (one female out of four main characters). Since the author is a woman, men are drawn REALLY handsome.

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The art is mind-blowing. It starts good and juicy, and then gets better and better and better to a point where every panel is worth putting on a wall in a frame. No kidding. To tell the truth, it got worse in the final chapters before the hiatus, but I blame that on author’s sickness and expect a full return of quality.

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Action/Battles

Very shounen-like, what can I say? Each character has his own type of weapon, the weapon is alive and evolves while straining or even devouring the body of the user. It is always interesting to see the consequences of using some powers – like the power to stop time that allows people who have suffered mortal damage stay alive little longer but with no chance of healing. I’d also say that Hoshino’s battle-style is more context based, more about the adventure, the surroundings than simple moves. And I like that way more than recycling moves again and again by adding little new features.

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Characters

On the first glance characters in DGM transparently fall into well established “types” – there is a silent cool type, nice guy type, clumsy type, trickster type, etc. – enough to appeal to any taste. The thing is – all these characters eventually get tons of deeper levels, they all exceed expectations. Almost all of them are eventually pushed into a gray zone where their darker sides are explored. It is also important to note that there are no doormat types, all characters are very assertive and have their own agenda, they form events around them.

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This is very true especially about the main character – Allen Walker, whom I grew to love deeply. He starts as your average nice guy, gentleman, new to events, but in just a few chapters it is fully implied that this is just his cover persona or a personality shift based on trauma, while he is a much more complex and controversial character. He is perfectly capable of manipulating people, he always has his individual take on events, he is hot tempered and possesses dark secrets and solid principles in the way he handles things. His story is one of the most tragic I’ve ever encountered – his body and mind are constantly deformed and threatened, and the further the story goes the less you believe in a happy ending for him. He does remind you of Edward from FMA A LOT (and arguably even Kaneki from TG as well) – his first background trip is actually about him turning his father into a demon and having to kill him and awakening a weapon in his arm in the process – but later his story and characterization go in a completely different direction, just as his background eventually discovers much more than this simple tragedy.

This manga also works with racial diversity a lot – all characters come from different countries, have different skin color and even different manners\hobbies based on their origin. There are characters of different sizes and even characters with disabilities.

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Heroine – Lenalee Lee

Separate paragraph, because it is a touchy issue after Naruto, I think. For once instead of a tsundere heroine we have a true Lady – well mannered, caring, reserved. She comes very close to being a Mary Sue – undeniably strong, beautiful, beloved. Yet, she has a very tragic background, evolving relationships, very natural fears and moments of weakness and anguish. If she is a Mary Sue, I’m ok with that, because she works beautifully in the story and there are no ugly sides of her that are covered up. Hoshino succeeds in showing Lenalee’s strength coming from within her beliefs. I won’t deny – she is used as a damsel in distress (not many times, but rather once and for a period of time as she is disabled physically), she cries, she works as an emotional engine of the plot as she empathizes with her comrades and feels their pain deeply. I’m ok with all that because it is justified by her background, because it actually helps people around her move forward and because apart from that she shows amazingly strong spirit and battle prowess. Her being used as damsel in distress NEVER tarnishes her dignity, it never becomes a one-dimensional ploy to keep the story going, and most importantly – it starts with an awesome display of strength and it ends with an amazing power up.

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Shipping (I know it is important for a lot of people)

Good news, Lenalee is NOT a romantic fodder. There is NO explicit romantic plot in D.Gray man at all, only hints, rare blushes and VERY strong comradeship. It doesn’t stop people from shipping Lenalee with everyone in the cast. But to be honest there is a HUGE yaoi shipping potential here too, hardly less than hetero. I myself am an AllenXLavi / AllenxTyki shipper and just as I was never disappointed with choosing them, I was never displeased by other shippers, because all characters’ bonds are honestly unique, beautiful and have potential for blooming into something more. No war, guys.

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Conclusion

I highly recommend any person who appreciates great shounen to go read this manga, it is only 200 chapters. I feel like chances that you won’t like it if you like Fullmetal Alchemist, Tokyo Ghoul or\and Attack on Titan are VERY slim, I am almost inclined to say “no way you won’t love it”. I have to confess here that I didn’t like the last ten or so chapters of this manga before it went into hiatus, it was good, but just not as amazingly good as before. I blame it on the author’s sickness and hope that both story and art will return to its previous quality. I am incredibly happy to see this manga continue and I hope that it won’t dissapoint me. (spoiler: it wont)

Also in the meantime you can also check out the anime as well!


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Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary Review

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Finally saw Saint Seiya – Legend of Sanctuary ( and by finally I mean with subs. seriously the movie came out in June and didn’t get subs until Dec) and I thought I share some of my thoughts about it.

Saint Seiya Legend of Sanctuary, daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn did I enjoy it. Some people told me it wasn’t that great, and granted it’s not the best thing since sliced bread, but I’ll be damned if I don’t say I liked it and want to talk about it.

SPOILERS, if for whatever reason you don’t know what happens in the Sanctuary arc.

Well, where to start? One thing you should all know before I start talking is that Saint Seiya was big in Mexico, France, Spain and other european countries. Not as big as Dragon Ball, but it was another anime well watched by a lot of people, as it was aired in Cartoon Network alongside DBZ, Inuyasha, Pokemon, and other animes.

Okay so, to all those people who say that it wasn’t the greatest I have to tell them that their tastes aren’t great either.

I want to watch it again, and I am totally not asking my friends if they’ve watched it yet so I can go watch it with them.

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Is it a good movie on its own?

I would only go as far as to say that it is entertaining even for non-fans. However, it relies far too much on the hope that its audience already has a working knowledge of the franchise. Its biggest problem is its short run-time, but there are some seams that could have been smoothed out just by minor tweaking like adding a line here or changing a line there.

Is it a good Saint Seiya movie?

Definitely. It offers about as much built up as any other Saint Seiya film. In fact, I was surprised how well the first act, which essentially covers the first 40 episodes in about 30 minutes, works. The rest of the movie works about as well as the other traditional Saint Seiya movies, almost point by point.

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What Works in the movie

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-The movie looks beautiful: Despite the overly busy designs for the Cloth and the environments, it is amazing to watch in animation. The new designs feels more sleek and more semi-real from the anime/manga (which is a good thing) as it feels more in touch with the movie as a whole.

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While we’re talking about redesigns, some of the redesigned armors (or should I say cloth) caught me off guard at first because I had not seen any of the promotional videos/art of this movie before watching it. (I had seen one teaser and it didn’t show much.) I loved the details when the armors were scratched/damaged as it made it look more realistic. Even when they were walking and hitting each others armor, it made metallic clunking sounds to signify more that it was armor (alongside other things, such as when they were walking and you could feel and see how heavy/light everyone’s respective armor was).

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At first I thought adding masks was just the animation team being lazy about not animating faces, but I eventually enjoyed the movie too much and forgot about it halfway through it. (Might beacuse their masks reminded me about Casshern Sins that I love, but maybe that’s just me.) What really caught me off guard was Milo of Scorpio’s sudden sex change, whereas other people was okay with it, I wasn’t. My friend suggested that this was done to make up for the lack of female characters in the movie, as Seiya’s mentor, Eagle Marin, who was one of the main female presences in the anime, was not in the movie.

-Sound design. The soundtrack was AMAZEBALLS and really gave the tension and action when needed, especially during fight scenes, the sound effects are also really good and give a nice sense of weight during the action scenes.

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-The Bronze Saints as a group: This is a big one. The way the Bronze Saints are shown in this movie works in many different levels. First of all, their backstory is streamlined. Instead of 100 orphans, it was just the 5 of them. Aioros saw in the stars that 5 young Saints would protect Athene and told Kido who then searched for 5 kids that showed affinity to Cosmo and sent them to train. Quick, simple, and leave far less questions than canon. It is implied that the Bronze Saints have been together most of their lives, we often forget that at the beginning of the series, Seiya and the others didn’t even like each other after being separate for so many years, the movie sidesteps that by implying that the Bronze Saints were trained together and then set off to find their respective Cloths.

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This makes their quirks and interactions as a group far more endearing.

And lastly, embracing stereotypes. The movie does not try to overreach with the Bronze Saints’ personalities, instead they keep them simple:

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Seiya is more comedic and light hearted, serving as some part of the comedy relief of the movie.

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Shiryuu is a serious character with a straight-to-the-objective demeanor who is for the most part always on the lookout.

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Shun is still my most precious baby and they only emphatized his kawaiiness more in this movie,

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and Ikki is as badass-swaggery as ever.

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Hyoga was awesome pouting tsundere precious baby duck riding a motorcycle. That is all.

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-Saori/Athena: The movie’s Saori is like a combination of Sasha from Lost Canvas and Aria from Omega, she is very likable.

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-Leo Aiolia: Out of all the Gold Saints, Aiolia comes off as the most epic. While he only does a bit more than of the other Gold Saints, nearly every scene with him counts.

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-Female Milo: Even though I was highly imposed about him becoming a her, I still like her, in fact I like her a lot. In fact, despite her short stature, she comes off as the most imposing Scorpio Saint in the franchise.

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-The Gold Saints: The Gold Saints actually do something during the movie. Though one would wish they would have done more, it still far better than in the original where they just waited until the Bronze Saints reached Saga.

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-Seiya vs. Saga: The fight between Seiya and Saga is THE BEST battle in the entire Saint Seiya franchise. Better than Shaka vs. Saga’s group, better than El Cid vs. Icelus, and better than Kouga vs. Abzu.

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-Seiya/Saori: There is only a bit of it, but it is there and I love it.

-“Evil” Saga: The movie has its own version of the pale haired, red-eyed Saga that work quite well.

-Seiya & Bronze Cloths: Despite skipping the vs. Ikki arc altogether, we actually got scene where pieces of the other Bronze Cloths go to help Seiya and it is one of the best moment in the movie.

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What Does Not Work

-Runtime: That is THE issue with the movie. Cramming 73 episodes worth of material cannot be done without damaging the end result, and sadly the movie suffers from it. For example, the decision of going to the Sanctuary so suddenly is a head-scratching one since they know about the Gold Saints and in fact Aiolia just beat the living hell out of them with ease. Also a lot of stuff happens off screen and that gets annoying.

The movie, despite being 93 minutes long just like your average movie, felt a little bit short in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I think they did a great job to summarize the introduction of the protagonists and the whole sanctuary saga of the original series. I simply felt that they could have made the movie longer so they could add some more content to the movie, because honestly the movie plays out expecting you to have watched/read the original anime/manga.

And to be honest, I don’t really expect anyone who didn’t even bother to watch the original to be watching the movie, but still, adding more nods and scenes and a few fights (or have extended some of the ones they already used) would be great.

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I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved the few scenes that were (somewhat) to the point to the original, such as Aiolia of Leo being controlled by the Patriarch (kinda hard not to add the plot point though, but still) and Aldebaraan’s helmet’s horn being cut when Seiya defeated him. Something I also absolutely loved is that they show the Gold Saints doing shit after they are defeated. In the original anime, they just kinda sat there (or outright died. I’m looking at you Death Mask of Cancer) after the protagonists defeated them, and make them participate during the finale.

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-Hyoga vs. Camus: It almost worked, it really almost did. One more scene between the two would have put this in the previous list, but alas that is not the case, it just comes off as rushed.

I felt that there wasn’t enough for the two to actually “catch up” in a sense. but hey, Seiya is the main star of the show in the first place! It’s rude to take such spotlight from the dude! His Temple looked nice though, it looked like it had water for the roof, which I wish they had saved that idea for Aphrodite’s Temple, but they never got that far. But to think that Camus would be the first Gold Saint to die. I only question how Hyoga and Shiryu “teleported” into a temple…

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-Shiryu vs. Deathmask: Essentially the same as the point above. Though in their defense, their fight is a bit more amusing thanks to DM.

I did find that the dancing and singing was a little unnecessary (Seriously though, what’s up with the hip shakes?). I felt that LoS Deathmask wasn’t anywhere near Classic Deathmask, and that disappointed me a bit. Not only did it feel like he wasn’t as well thought out as Classic Deathmask was, I felt that he was under-appreciated in LoS. I think they should have spent more time on him.

Another thing that I have to point out is the underwear scene. It was slightly embarrassing to watch. Didn’t he have tights under the Gold Cloth? (Unless Shiryu Rozan’d them off… Gosh! I didn’t know you roll that way Shiryu!) The one thing I must say is that the tattoo of the Crab of Cancer on his chest was an interesting add-on. I liked that very much.

-Ikki is wasted (;_;) : Ikki barely does anything during the movie. He kills Sagitta Ptolemy, has one cool entrance, and tries to fight Shura, emphasis in the word try.

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-Shun is wasted (;;__;;) : Shun does even less than Ikki! He defeats an unamed Saint, stops a Scarlet Needle shot… Barely, and tries to fight Shura (off-screen), and carries Saori for a short time while Seiya is down. HE’S MY FAVORITE CHARACTER, DAMMIT!

Not only does the Saint Seiya Wikia say and I quote: “He is one of the strongest characters in the series, although his gentle disposition and kind nature tend to hold him back from using his full power until he has no other choice but to do so.”

And anyone who have seen or read Saint Seiya know how badass and strong he can be.

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-Aphrodite’s death: Not only is Aphrodite’s death really cheap, but couldn’t they have just added 5 more minutes and have him fight Shun so that the kid could actually do something in the movie?

-Which reminds me, NO APHRODITE VS SHUN, GREATLY DISAPPOINTED.

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-Saga turns into a FF boss: We all made fun about how the Bronze Saints looked like Final Fantasy characters, but that’s nothing compared to the monstrous form Saga takes at the very end. It would not look out of pace next to SIN or Sephiroth’s or Kefka’s final forms. Why would they do that when the battles was going so great?!

-Shaka’s and Shura’s attacks are not named: This is the epitome of nitpicking, but it still kind of annoying. Every other character (except Aiolos and Aphrodite who do not fight) gets to call out one of their attacks at least once (Seiya, Hyoga, and Saga even have two). Shaka does use Kahn and Om during the movie and of course Shura uses Excalibur (even a super charged version of it) but they never say their names.

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Neutral Points

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-The comedy: There are many comedic moments throughout the first and second acts, some are genuinely funny while some fall flat.

-The Sanctuary: In the movie the Sanctuary seems to be inside a pocket dimension. It’s kind of weird, but it does give the entire thing an ethereal feel.

-Changes: There are some scenes from the trailers that were altered for the movie or never even happened.

-Deathmask in speedos: Yes this is a thing I mentioned earlier that happens during the movie. It’s both disturbing and hilarious.

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Final Thoughts

Does the movie make a good transition from the 2D plain to the 3D one? Yes it does.

Is it over the top several times? Yes it does.

And it very well knows that: it often makes the saints pull off ridiculous stunts and acrobatics. And damn its climax has Bayonetta-level scales painted all over it.

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This movie shows off how Japanese it is, and hey, it’s based off from the god damned Saint Seiya series, where people draw power from the “cosmos” and shoot dragons and electric jolts from their fists, it damn well knows how exaggerated it can be and is proud of it.

Heck, the introduction of Death Mask was ridiculous, and I loved it! (somewhat)

Also, for the voice actors, they had a all star cast back and god DAMN it made me want to have a full CGI television series beacuse of this.

Despite its obvious flaws, I thoroughly loved and enjoyed the movie from start to finish. However, I am the biggest Saint Seiya fan I know and I’m aware I was watching this movie with severely tinted rose-colored glasses. That said, I liked as much as the other Saint Seiya movies, I would watch it again in a heartbeat and if given the chance I would buy the DVD version when it comes out. If you are thinking of using it as a gateway to introduce your friends into the Saint Seiya series, it might work since the visually as so beautiful it is bound to catch their interest, just make sure you watch it with them because they might need some explanations that the movie is in too much of a hurry to give them.

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