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Zer0t0nin
3:06 PM on 01.15.2015

Yeahyeahyeah I know "2014 sucked SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard, 2015 can only be better"

While I agree that the industry with its sheananigans and some internet trolls have been roughing things up a bit, 2014 wasn't a bad year when it comes to games. I mean....Nuclear Throne was released and OKOKOK I'll shut up about that game. 2014 wasn't a year that was very top heavy, but it was excellently when it comes to broadth and depth. We had a lot great games in nearly all genres.

With that said, 2015 is already in full swing and boy-oh-boy are we in for a treat of a year when it comes to gaming (if every game turns out to live up to the potential....unlike 2014).

So without further ado, here are my personally most anticipated games that are set to come out this year.

 

15. The Banner Saga 2 (PC)

 

There is not much to be said about Banner Saga that hasn't been said before: it's a gorgeous game with a stellar soundtrack, that blends norse mythology with enough lore of its own into one of the most engaging games of last year. 

We are now getting more of that and that makes me an extremely happy Zer0, as I'd love to dive into this world again.

 

14. Bloodborne (PS4)

 

As a big fan of the Souls games and even Armored Core to some extent, I'm always curious for something new from From Software. 

Bloodborne looks like everything, a Souls Fan could wish for in addition to a new setting and what seems to be a more movement based combat system. So not only can you break your oppenent's counter stane this time, you can also give him a reassuring shotgun-blast to the face afterwards...that alone should get you excited (if the Victorian England didn't already)

 

13. Cuphead (PC, XBone)

 

I love technological advance. All the new stuff it enriches our minds with is mind-blowing. I mean: I'm 28 and if you told my elementary school (or hell: even my early high-school) me, what we would have in 2014, it would have blown my mind. Why am I writing all this?

BECAUSE TECHNOLOGY MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR CUPHEAD TO EXIST, a game, that looks like a 1920s cartoon and features the adventures of Cuphead and Mugboy, who embark on a journey to pay back a bedt to the devil.

 

12. Love you to Bits (PC, iOS, Android)

 

This one took me by surprise, but whenever I think about games I want to play this year, this one pops up. Is it because of the wonderful art-style? The captivating music? The fact, that it's made by the core team behind Tiny Thief? All of it?

Nevertheless, this game just makes me too curious to pass up. Also, you play a human explorer who has to find the pieces of his robot girlfriend who got destroyed to piece her back together again....how kawaii is that?

 

11. Hyper Light Drifter (PC, XBone, PS4, PS Vita, WiiU, Ouya)

 

Man, nowadays we get bombarded with "retro" action games but Hyper Light Drifter has been catching my attention for some years now with a certain blend of "retro" that just strikes all the right chords in my Nostalgia.

 

10. No Man's Sky (PS4, PC)

 

This is a huge gamble. If this game reaches its potential, this could be one of the big singleplayer-multiplayer-crossover experiences for years to come....or it could crash and burn (pun intended), which makes me kinda want to delete ot from this list....but damn, we get so few space games (luckily a few are coming or out now). PLEASE BE GOOD!!!!!

 

9. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

 

 

Yeah....basically this.

 

8. Ori and the blind Forest (XBone, PC)

 

I initially didn't have this game on tab at all. Then, E3 2014 rolled around and if I'm completely honest: this is the game that (almost) impressed me the most. The art style alone has so much charm, it's impossible to not be at least curious what the big black guy and the small white lad are up to. Getting a serious "Dust - An Elysian Tail"-vibe from this and I'm totally fine with that.

 

7. The entire Nintendo Line Up 

 

Throw me under the bus for cheating, but after the (great) year Nintendo has had in 2014, they seemingly decided to kill it this year. I couldn't pick one single game out of the following: Codename Steam, Devil's Third, new Fire Emblem, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi's Wooly World, a new STARFOX (for Fox's sake, FINALLY), new Zelda, Mario Maker.

WTF Nintendo? Other companies plan to release that many killer apps over the course of five years....I love you. Gotta get a WiiU this year.

 

6. Batman Arham Knight (PS4, XBone, PC)

 

I. Love. The Arkham Games. I could even find some entertainment in Arkham Origins, though that really wasn't even in the same area code as the stellar first two entries. And guess what: Rocksteady is making this one again so OMGOMGOMGOMG, can't wait to ballet-stomp more evil faces.

 

5. Persona 5 (PS3, PS4)

 

When I first booted up Persona 4 Golden, my reaction was "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech". Too much pastelly-highschool bullshit.

Then I played it and it is one of the best RPGs I ever played and I might even put it into my favorite games of all times. The pacing was perfect, the characters endearing and believable and it was a game, that didn't want to go the "American Pie"-route, but respect its audience in showing us.

....oh yeah, the sequel is coming. 

 

4. Tokyo Twillight Ghost Hunters (PS3, PS Vita)

 

A visual novel-type game about Ghost Hunters in Tokyo (duh), that actually features a lot of ghostbustin' gameplay and RPG-elements, it would seem.

And if that doesn't sell you yet: it's a collaboration of Arc System Works, the guys behind Guilty Gear and BlazBlue) and Toybox Inc. of Deadly Premonition fame.

Still not enough to convince you? How does "a Soundtrack by Nubuo Uematsu" sound?

 

3. Yakuza 5 (PS3)

 

FINALLY!!!! 

After nearly 3 years (!!!) Sega decides to bring this over. I imported it some time ago and played it, yet my Japanese is not yet good enough for a complex game like this and I ran into some kind of wall where I didn't know what to do.

As someone, who thinks Yakuza 4 should heavily be considerated as the best game of the last console generation, this news makes me very, VERY happy.

 

 

2. Hotline Miami 2 (PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita)

 

Well, this actually was my most anticipated game of 2014. After finishing its predecessor on PC, PS3 and PS Vita, I was very eager to play more. The game got delayed and so it had to measure up against the game in first place, but that is no knock on HM2. 

 

1. Metal Gear Solid 5 - The Phantom Pain (PC, PS3, PS4, XBox 360, XBone) 

 

...how could it be anything else? After Ground Zeroes and the breathtaking E3 Trailer. After all that trickled down the news channels over the course of last year, I feel rather comfortable to say, that I have very little doubt about what MGS5 is going to be for me: a serious GOTY contender. 

I love the Metal Gear series as a whole and oh boy: This looks like the msot advanced game in series history. Hype doesn't even begin to describe my feelings.

 

 

So, those are my Top 15 most anticipated games for this year. Tend to disagree (because OF COURSE YOU DO)? Leave your comments and let's have ourselves a nice argument, before we all bow before the glory of MGS V ;)









Well a lot of people have put out their obligatory 2014 lists and while this might not have been gaming's finest year, there have been many a great games this year. 

HOWEVER, I noticed one big omission on most lists.

NUCLEAR MOTHERUCKING THRONE!

Nuclear Throne, for the uninitiated, is a roguelike, top-down Shooter, where you play as one of many adorable mutants, each with their own abilities (and disabilities) to reach the titular sitting furniture. This might sound a bit Run-of-the-mill these days, but trust me when I say: this is one of the most fun games of the year. Period.

I was having a conversation with Shade of Light yesterday, who received one of the gift copies and he literally said: "This game is amazing. I don't know if I can live with myself knowing, that I haven't paid money for this." THAT's how amazing this game is.

But I see, you won't take my word for it, so let me prove to you, why Nuclear Throne is literally better than any of your favorite games this year.

 

Bayonetta 2

What better place to start with than Dtoid's game of the year. Undeservedly so. "Oh why?" you ask. "It has so fast-paced gameplay and such moves and ASS". 

Yeah, I give it that, it has ASS, but so has Nuclear Throne. NT also has THRONE BUTT which is infinitely more useful than normal witch butt. What does Bayonetta's Ass do for you instead of distracting you? Yeah, guess so. It distracts you in a game, where you have to be focussed....GREAT FUCKIN' JOB PLATINUM. In Nuclear Throne, EVERY character can acquire the magnificence of a Throne Butt and instead of distracting you, it is there to help you by enhancing your abilities. That's right. Your butt makes you literally a better person. Or Mutant. Or Fish.

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

The Banner Saga

So yeah, the world is coming to an end by the hand of giant stone golems that are really hard to kill. Allow me a quick laugh at the sheer notion of this being a problem. 

Listen son, in NT, the world already HAS ended. Yeah, that makes every achievement you have in your little viking world like 20x less gooder.

Also: Stone Guys are a problem? Seriously? Allow me anther quick laugh. In the already apocalypsed world you fight freakin' diamonds.....THAT SHOOT LASERS AT YOU! AND THEY DON'T NEED LASER EYES FOR THAT BECAUSE THEIR WHOLE BODY IS LIKE A GIANT LENS LIKE THAT PINK FLOYD ALBUM COVER! Not only do you fight and DEFEAT enemies that are made of the hardest material known to man and mutant, but those things fight back with one of the awesomest materials known to man and mutant. Lasers. Oh and they are not bosses, just regular enemies you meet not even halfway through.

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Broforce 

Terrorists are bad, 'Murica is good. Such a simple message gave way to deeper thoughts on my end. What do they want to hide with all the explosions and particle effects; the blood and guts and fake names?

Then it struck me: You know who else enjoyed video games? HITLER! Yeah, I said it. And since you're playing as some super heroes, you're basically SUPER HITLER! Don't you see? You are WORSE THAN HITLER!

Don't be worse than Hitler.

Winner: Nuclear Throne (for not being Hitler)

 

The Evil Within

So you are this super-suave dude Sebastian Castellanos, whose last name sounds like a synonym for testicles. He goes around the mind of this super evil dude who wants to do stuff.

This, however, BEGS the question, how awesome this evil guy's mind really is. Let's look at Nuclear Throne again: Oh, there is a guy, who can make corpses EXPLODE with the power of his mind alone. That produces NEW CORPSES which are instantly ready for MORE EXPLOSIONS! Can that super evil dude do that?

He can't? Then why the hell does this Testicle guy have so many problems with him? What a milquetoast douchebag!

And mind you, you CAN BE the guy who does the whole EXPLOSION-thingy. (sorry, it's impossible to express the magnitude of this word without writing in capital letters)

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

The name alone is an easy win here for Nuclear Throne but that is not, what puts it over the edge.

It's one easy fact. One simple detail: you kill a senator. Not just any Senator. A Senator of the US of mothertruckin' A!!! A visionary dude who's not only willing to do, what it takes, but also STARRED ON HIS COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM AS A FULLBACK!!! Given that nowadays even Punters are more important that Fullbacks, this achievement is marvelous. AND YOU STRAIGHT-OUT MURDER HIM YOU EMO-HAIRED TERRORIST!!!!

Winner: Nuclear Throne (for not being a terrorist)

 

Pokemon Omega Ruby Alpha Sapphire Rho Rubble

So you managed to catch a powerful being. Your ripped it out of its natural habitat, force it to live confined in a tiny ball (think of its joints for just one freakin' second) and enslave it to fight for you. You are like Michael Vick and nobody likes Michael Vick. You are an abusive motherfucker and you should feel ashamed.

Not so in Nuclear Throne. There are also things like a plant or a crystalisk lifeform, but they are FREE. And if we know one thing America has told us, it's that FREEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

Winner: Nuclear Freedom Throne 

 

Bravely Default

This doesn't even count. It's a 2013 Release. 2012 even, if you count Japan and no: If AmeriSTUPIDS can't complain hard enough for it to be released earlier, they don't have a say.

Winner: Nuclear Throne (by (bravely) default)

 

Assassin's Creed: Unity

These two games have more in common, than you might see at first glance: Both feature horrible mutations, killing other mutations in a world that has long since abandoned the rules of physics.

That, however, makes us compare. Can the AC:U mutants make corpses explode with their mind? (a rather handy ability for assassin's who need to hide the bodies, dontcha think?) No? Oh.....

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Driveclub PS+

Can you play Nuclear Throne the way it was intended? Yup.

Can you say the same of DriveClub PS+? Nope.

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Rambo - The video game

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Drakengard 3

Drakengard has a lot of things going for it, gotta give it that. It has a singing dragon who pisses on your doorstep and most importantly: dick jokes and Innuendo galore.

However, there is one thing strangely absent. Drakengard 3 features a baffling lack of butt. As stated above: BUTT is important for games and since THRONE BUTT is basically a killer argument by those standards, Drakengard 3 can't keep up.

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Shovel Knight

Oh, so now we compare two retro-pixel style games. Both even have a Shovel as a weapon in it, with Shovel Knight even using it to traverse the various landscapes. 

YAWNARAMA! Who needs a jump? And why does he need a Shovel for it? The Shovel is a tool for killing. Nuclear THrone understands that. You don't need to jump; you don't need the shovel for it. Dead Enemies can't hurt you, whether you jump or not.

Winner: Nuclear Throne

 

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Oh come on now. What filthy casual are you, that you opn your whore mouth for this.......thing? Being killed by an enemy and just returning to him like it was nothing? Where are we here? Freakin' Ikea Smaland or what? 

If your mutation dies, it's your fuckin' fault. You don't get to just leisurely stroll back there. The postapocalyptic wastelands of the future are no playground. They teach you hard, brutal and menacing life lessons. 

The only Nemesis there is YOU and YOU alone....and if you can't pull it off FUCK YOU! BACK TO THE START AND TRY AGAIN!

 

So there, I proved it without a doubt. I know this all, because of science. Are there other titles you have in mind? Tell me and I will gladly prove all your theories wrong.








Zer0t0nin
11:57 AM on 01.03.2015

Ohai

Ohai guys, how ya doin'?

Fine, I hope. So let's all welcome the new Year and hope for the best, video-game-related, but also in personal matters because let's face it: if the world is falling apart, it's just not the same.

Initially, I wanted to post this blog on New Years Day but the year started exceptionally well for me with my Scoliosis rearing its ugly head and me filled to the brim with painkillers. Since I don't take pills very often, this led to my intestines burning with the wrath of a thousand suns yesterday, so yeah: I wasn't able to write a new-years-blog beforehand.

The year 2014 was, for me, a rather successful one, with me finding a new job (FINALLY!!!) and at least no catastrophes on a personal level. So I sincerely hope that 2015 can keep up the trend and I hope, that your situations are changing for the better as well (or stay the way they are if they're good...never touch a running system).

I've already planned a 2014-blog, though that's going to take some time, since I plan on making a ranking of every game I played...and yeah, there are a few ones left I want to get at least a quick look on, before I make a final judgement. Wolfenstein: The new Order is the biggest one I have left to tackle, but it's already in the mail. However, don't expect it until mid- to end of January I guess. I played around 60 games methinks and this will take some time. 

What I will, however, release earlier is a blog regarding the games of 2015 I'm looking forward to in one way or the other and DAMN, there is some stuff coming our way this year....and then there is of course Metal Gear SOlid V, which I'm already salivating so hard over, I'm afraid my body will be a dried out husk, when the game finally releases.

So yeah, that was basically all I wanted to sa......STOP

 

There is one other thing:

I've got my hands on four Steam-codes for the Director's Cut of Deadly Premonition that I really want to give away to you guys, so if you'd like one, leave a comment below.

 

Have a nice 2015 everybody and who could say it better than good old Bob Dylan?

 









Hey Gamergaters,

 

yes you there. You know, I'm a rather laidback guy. I don't really care a lot about other people's opinion, as I don't see how this affects what I like, but today, I learned about Operation Colbert and something in me snapped.

Are you guys serious? I mean...really? REALLY? 

You clamor more "ethics in videogame journalism" but basically all you do is focus on some stuff you don't like, flame the referring folks and act like you are one big community or movement (speaking in "code", using the unilateral "we").

Newsflash: You're not. GamerGate is not a movement with an Agenda. 

Videogames as a medium are not really new to controversy. I mean: basically every time there's a schol shooting, at least one finger points towards video games as the primary source of evil.

However, video games do have some internal problems that need attention, most of which come from the industry itself.

EA milks their franchises, forces beloved franchises into completely different directions, releases games that are a broken mess at realease and barely playable now and puts Microtransactions into full-price games.

Activision has to be the single most awful company in regards to how they treat their contractors with a guy at the helm who has NO idea, how to handle video games publicly.

Capcom refuses to see what made their franchises good in the first place and continues to screw up the once great likes of MegaMan or Resident Evil.

I could go on here but frankly, I don't have to. You know it, I know it: the AAA-industry in its current state is a colossal clusterfuck of bad ideas mixed with ADHD.

Yet all of this doesn't concern the fine people under the banner of GamerGate. THey unite because

....a woman slept with a man? 

Wat?

What basically kicked you off as the story that Zoe Quinn slept with Stephen Totilo and therefore got an article on Kotaku.

Really? I mean yeah, betraying someone who trusts you is a dick move on Quinn's end but well, I don't know how to break it to you guys: it happens. All the time. Everywhere in the world. 

Of course this was not okay and yes, it makes Mr. Totilo's coverage of Depression Quest a wee bit shaky to tell the least. But wait...

Where do we know all that from? Ah yeah, a guy on the Internet. Yes that's right. You people, the shining example who demand ethics take ONE. SINGLE. SOURCE., a whiny and childishly overblown sob-story and TAKE. IT. AT. FACE. VALUE. 

Why? Because it fits your agenda of course. ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDIN ME? 

You say that you want more ethics, yet you send death and rape threats.

You want to be aggravated about something in the gaming industry? Be aggravated about the things I mentioned above. Be aggravated about reviewers who take money for positive coverage. Be aggravated about bought reviews, be aggravated about publishers shutting down reviewers who don't say what they want to hear and put them on blacklists. Be aggravated about overblown product placement.

But no, it's more easy to target other things.

You want games to be recognized as a serious medium, THAN GODDAMN ACT LIKE IT. You can't demand games being taken seriously, yet at the same time react like you do when someone points to something that's wrong. It's a part of growing up, besides: why exactly do you care? I mean:

ONE feminist says something on ONE topic in ONE area.

Holy Crap, do you guys have an idea of how big a field feminism is? Do me a favor and read stuff by Alice Schwarzer, Simone de Beauvoir or at least Terre des femmes and you get a picture of how wide a field this really is.

You say you are "publicly shamed". No, you are not. Nobody would be shaming you if you didn't act like total pricks on the internet. It's not even you that's being shamed but particualr things in particular games. 

But guess what: even if they are; even if your favorite game gets degraded because of whatever...does it take your enjoyment away? If yes, why? You can still enjoy it you know? 

You scream for more diversity when it comes to games, yet when something like "Gone Home" rolls around, you say that it's not a game. 

You want to be taken seriously, yet you act like a two-year old who's favorite toy got stolen.

And you even do it here. On Destructoid. The same page, where the likes of Jim Sterling, Anthony Burch, Ashly Burch or more recently guys like Holmes or Hansen have ALWAYS been outspoken against the same stuff you "criticise".

If you look at what you want to achieve, look again at how you actually try to achieve it. You are not the Illuminati, stop acting like it and actually use arguments. 

Or even better: realize what you're really doing and what you pretend to be doing.

This is not a viable protest-movement, it's a bunch of uber-conservative pricks who choose to be miserable on purpose and to be part of at least one group. 

 

That's not legit, it's pathetic.









Over the past few years, I (and many of you guys as well) have become rather tired of the moloch that is the AAA-games-industry. I won't say, that there are no worthwhile AAA-games out there to enjoy. Hell, from an objective standpoint, they are really rather competent games, yet I find them more and more lacking one thing: soul.
Assassin's Creed for example has become something of a forbidden land for me. The games themselves might be polished as crap, but I can't help but feel that these games get made because they make money, not because a team of talented individuals puts their heart into it.
This is why I always find myself browsing shops for those "7/10" titles. They might not be that polished and not offer you 35 variations of distractions from your main quest...but they focus. They want to bring you a game that relies on a mechanic and if that mechanic is fun and implemented well, I'm more enticed to give those people my money than the other guys.

In comes the Indie-scene. Over the past six years, Indie developers have surged in popularity and games like FEZ or DayZ showed, that even games from a single guy can be wildly popular AND commercially successful.
This of course led to more and more Indies getting screen-time and now, with Early Access getting more and more popular, it's really easy to lose track of what's coming, what's good etc.

Bbain is already doing an amazing job on keeping us up to date with small Indie-games and you should totally check out his blogs, yet today, I have two games to show you, that are also Indies, also totally worth your time and in some ways worth your money...because they are free.

So let's start, shall we?


Wings of Saint-Naizaire



Wings of what? Saint-Naizaire, young padawan. Saint-Naizaire was a decisive battlefield in World War II and it is the name of a capital human carriership...the one, where your squadron is stationed on. Oh yes, you read that right. A Space-Opera game. It prizes itself "In the vein of Wing Commander and X-Wing" and it's easy to see why that is. 
What's really amazing is a technical quirk the small developing team uses to get even closer to the aforementioned classics.
Instead of using completely rendered 3D models, WoSN is sprite-based. Yes, you read that right. Of course, some things like the giant carriers are 3D models, but fighters, bombers, backgrounds etc. are all technically flat 2D pictures. These models, however, are highly detailed and in combination with the bright colorpalette and the truly incredible lighting effects create really stunning graphics that also look amazing on older PCs.

What I liked: There's not much to NOT like at this point. I mean: It's an old-school Space-Sim-Shooter. WHY ARE YOU EVEN WAITING AND HAVEN'T CLICKED DOWNLOAD YET???????

What I disliked: This is not a fault of the game itself, but the game is still VERY early in development. You can play an Alpha build (AND YOU SHOULD), just don't expect a full 30 hour campaign yet. The game is, however, on a very good way and will most likely be free even as a full product, so be sure to show those awesome guys some love and let them know what you think about their game in their forums.
And because it's so awesome, here some unmoderated gameplay of the version you can actually play (link in the title):





And then we have:




RWBY: Grim Eclipse



RWBY....just rolls of the tongue right? You are actually supposed to read this as "Ruby" and Ruby is the main character in the Anime of the name RWBY. What's so special about that? Well, RWBY happens to be an American-made Anime, made in the free-time of and on a very tight budget by the guys over at Rooster Teeth. For that, the result is amazing. Especially the fight scenes are a thing of beauty and while it's rather obviously CG-rendered, the style itself has some interesting, minimalistic quirks and sometimes evokes memories of Telltale's "The Wolf among us" series. As you might notice, I reference mostly "western" stuff and for a good reason: while it wants to be a western-made Anime, it just can't shake the "shackles" of Western Writing and especially Ruby sometimes comes over more like a Disney princess. Here is the first episode for your viewing pleasure:



But on to the game: RWBY: Grim Eclipse is a wave-based Third-person combat game...and not much else. This might sound incredibly dull right now, but as I mentioned above: I can find fun in games that do one thing if they do it really well and GE does a very good job of letting you play the angsty version of Red Riding Hood, wielding a Gun-Scythe while fighting Grimm's monsters.

What I liked: If you liked the show, this is for you. It perfectly captures the spirit and flow of Ruby's signature combat. The fighting flows very well, Melee and shooting are well balanced and learning new techniques and experimenting to find always new combos is something that every lover of Games like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, God of War and the likes will be able to understand. The other thing this game captures picture perfect from the show is the look. With a rather minimalistic approach, yet nuanced faces and an intriguing mix of Cel-shading with lighting, this game looks at least interesting. 
Oh, Rooster Teeth also already hired the ONE guy who made this game to make an official RWBY game....they are also very fine with Grim Eclipse being out there for free.

What I disliked: Well...repetition is guaranteed to kick in after some time. After all, you fight in one arena and after some waves and several bosses, the game is technically "over" yet you can continue to play versus waves of the same enemies you fought before, only getting continuously stronger. No, a ton of content, this game has not.
Sadly, due to the fact I mentioned in the "like" column, there is also not that much hope for additional content in the future.

And just because it's so awesome, here the absolutely AWESOMAZEBALLS theme from the show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHvA8nld8kk

So what do you think? Am I just a madman, or are these games actually any good? I liked both games very much and am really happy, that WoSN is still in development yet already looking as good, as it does. As well as RWBY goes, it reminded me of those combat centric Japanese Indie games and that's something you can always get me with.








Since my last post on the Anime of Spring 2014 I followed, a whole season has passed and with it the Anime of that season finished. It seems to me, as if more and more Anime picks up the "13 episodes" flow. 
On the one hand, this means that the whole story is told in a way that doesn't require huge amounts of backtracking or filler, but in some cases it seems, as if the story had to be interrupted to fit this rather tight corset of "a quarter of a year and not a second longer". Some recent Anime have broken this formula (Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online, Kill La Kill) but even the very well received ones (Knights of Sidonia) are crammed into this.
But let's not get worked up too much and take a look back on the Anime I've followed throughout Spring:



Brynhildr in the Darkness

And here we already have a perfect example of an Anime that would have profited greatly from a longer running time. I liked the characters in this show in general and I would have loved to see more of their past lives and what made them the way they are. I mean: we got teased with Valkyria from the first opening of the first episode and she is only having part-time screen presence in three episodes. 
This is especially infuriating, as I found her generally interesting and would love to know more about her. The rest of the girls are also likable and have their own packages to carry. Do we get to see any of this? Of course not. What did we get instead? A "day at the beach" filler episode. Just think about it. A filler-episode in a 13 episode anime. 
That aside, the action was nicely choreographed, the cast was interesting and the soundtrack was good. 
Of course the obvious has to be stated: Is it as good as "Elfen Lied"? No, it's not. It is, however, in its own right a viable Anime that will entertain you as long as it lasts, but will leave you hanging for more and aggravated with a lackluster ending.

GF Rating: (little explanation: my girlfriend recently got into Anime when I watched it. At first she just stuck along with me got more and more enticed over time. She is totally new to this kind of entertainment so I give you her unfiltered opinion...the opinion of a Gaijin) "What is wrong with their boobs?"/10




Black Bullet

Ah, Black Bullet. If you don't want to read the whole thing: watch it. Like: now. Black Bullet was highly entertaining (as I mentioned before) and it carried on to be so until the end. Okay, the ending itself felt cut short and there were several things that I would have liked to be featured more prominently. For example the whole social thing or Enju's and Rentaro's relationship...or what about Kagetane? He is one of the better adversaries in recent memory and I would have loved to have an episode or more dedicated to his roots, as his motivation for the stuff he does has a special twist.
Speaking of twists: the series itself continued to have several of those gut-punching moments. As I stated before: this anime deals with some rather dark themes and this continued 'til the very end with one scene in particular that came so suddenly and uncalled for that the impact was all the more stronger.
In combination with fantastic soundtrack and diverse action, this is one of the best Anime of the year already. I'm not sure if it will be that well received, but I liked this one a lot...if only it was longer...it has the potential for it.

GF Rating: "They can't have...What? It's cool and Enju is super-kawaii, but what the fuck?"/10



Knights of Sidonia

Basically, this was the big Anime of Spring 2014. By the time I'm writing this, the English Dub should already be running in the U.S.
So did it live up to the hype? Absolutely. It is not the most memorable Mecha-Anime, but nevertheless one of the better one's. It features a more socio-ethnological approach to the whole "colony-ship" setting which stands and falls with its characters. This is, however, not necessarily the strong point of this one. The main character is a good one as he is "blank" enough for the audience to identify with yet fleshed out in a way that he's more than a bland shell. Some of the other characters, sadly, are not that well written, or have their own storylines cut short due to the 12 episode format. This is especially true for Izana Shinotase who struggles with her/his feelings conflicting her job throughout the whole series, only to have it..well, not resolved at all. 
Don't get me wrong: the story itself is really cool and the action is great. The art-style is also fascinating, showing everyone, how a 3D-animated Anime could look like without losing it's typical charme or soul. All this makes Knights of Sidonia more than worth your time...if only some of the characters were a little bit better.
And for christ's sake, why is there a talking bear with a claw hand???

GF-Rating: "Hey, that's really fucking cool"/10


Now these weren't the only Anime of Spring, but I have yet to watch "No game, No life", which was also very well received. 

Now on to the Anime of Summer and boy was I disappointed when I saw the list. 
"Oh great. Sword Art Online II and absolutely nothing else."
Nothing else was surely a wee overdramatic, but I couldn't help but feel, that the black hole that sucks up worthwhile summer releases in video games and NFL-news also applies to Anime, with a metric crap-ton of Romance Anime releases (which are REALLY not my cup'o'tea). But underneath that smothering layer of Slice-of-Life-romantic-comedy, there were some interesting ones.
Here is a list of them:



Sword Art Online II


Episodes out: 2 out of 24

Episodes watched: None

Watch it here.



A continuation of Sword Art Online, the story of the 6000 players continues. I haven't watched this, because I haven't finished the first season, but what I saw made me curious to say the least.
The story is settled in the near future of 2022, when World of Warcraft is finally surpassed by a new MMO, called "Sword Art Online". The catch? Via a new technology, you are neuro-linked into the game and experience an all new way of VR. One foggy November day, however, 6000 unlucky players find themselves unable to log-out of the game. Shortly afterwards they are informed of why that is: Someone trapped them inside the game and challenges them with reaching the top of a 100-floor high tower and defeat the final boss to log-out again. If you fail, you won't be able to log-out, if you die, you die in the RL as well. 

What I liked so far: Not applicable yet

What I disliked so far: Not applicable yet

GF-Rating: Not applicable yet




Aldnoah.Zero

Episodes out: 2 out of 24

Episodes seen: 2

Watch it here.




Mars lives! No, for real. When humanity discovered a Warpgate on the moon, the first thing they did was activate it. This, however, triggered a whole population, the Vers Empire to arise from their aeon-long slumber on Mars and take a look what their ancestors on the blue planet are up to. Humanity is a lot like humanity and attacks them, climaxing in a war between the two, that ultimately sees the destruction of the moon.
Since that day, the two sides have remained in "cease-fire". A very frail cease-fire, as both sides are plotting against one another behind closed doors. It is in this "cold war" that a princess from the Mars-fraction visits Earth in a bid for peace...

What I liked so far: The general idea of the story. Having two humanoid species basically vying for the same place to live is an enticing thought-construct. The fact, that the Vers Empire looks down on Humans as a bunch of underdeveloped thugs gives the whole conflict a bit more spice and some of the characters promise to be rather interesting. Also: it is a 24 episode Anime, so there is more time for development.

What I disliked so far: Basically anything else, sadly. While the general idea of the story is enticing, it seems to get pushed into your typical mecha-filler-anime. The good guys and bad guys are clear from the get go and there is only small wiggle-room there. Especially the "bad guys" are as standard as they come and me and my GF are already making bets on their development and endings. Also, there are so many parallels to Gundam, it hurts. Now it is hard to make Mecha-Anime without at least having some similarity to its big predecessor, but the conflict itself seems a bit too much "Humans vs ZAFT" to me. The writing is very hamfisted at times and after a generally enticing first episode was followed by an abyssmal second one.

GF-rating: "Hmm"/10




Argevollen

Episodes out: 2 out of 24

Episodes watched: 2

Watch it here.



Seriously Japan: enough with the pseudo-european names for stuff. It always ends up sounding weird and absolutely nothing that the language you want to portrait would allow semantics-wise.
That aside: damn, you started out fine. 
In a fictional universe, the two nations of Arandas and Ingelmia wage war against each other. Ingelmia wants to invade Arandas because...they are rich? Seriously, that's why. "They are rich and we want to liberate their population from the shackles of not being able to share their richness with the world". I'm not kidding, that's their reasoning.
We cut to a small reconnaisance force not far from the border. The high generals "travel to the capital to devise a counter strategy" (read: flee as hell), leaving the troop consisting mostly of rookies and inexperienced guys to themselves. It is during these unsure times that a young pilot named Tokimune Susumu disobeys an order to leave fleeing civilists to their fate (read: death by severe led-poisoning), manages to wreck his mech and is forced to take control of the Argevollen. An experimental mech with superior moving ability and an all new method of control.

What I liked so far: The story of a big conflict being told from a small standpoint is common trope, but well told here. The logistics of the small group of people are shown pretty well and all in all, this is far more calm and "realistic" than I'd have expected. If you like your mechs agile and quick look elsewhere. Argevollen does a great job of giving them "weight" and mass that has to be moved. The larger they are, the clunkier. Even though the Argevollen can move faster, they applied that rule to it, too, which is awesome. This also makes battles interesting to watch as it is a break from the mecha-traditions that japanese animation followed to this point and feels all in all like a really well written BattleTech-Anime...which I (as an old MechWarrior fan) am more than fine with. The characters make you curious for more and from what I was able to watch so far, there are several characters that have the potential to tip scales in whoever's favor with no side so far being portrayed as "purely evil" or "purely good".

What I disliked so far: Not that much. The art-design won't win any awards though. It's all rather basic and the mech-design isn't really much to look at. Not ugly, but rather unremarkable. Same goes for the 3D animations, that are sadly not tht high in quality but do their job.

GF-rating: "Shiny"/10



Tokyo Ghoul

Episodes out: 2 out of 13? (no info, yet there are 13 volumes of the Manga)

Episodes watched: 2

Watch it here.



Tokyo in the near future. A new sub-species of humans has arisen in the dark corners of the japanese metropole: Ghouls. The catch? They prey on humans to eat them. In comes Ken Kaneki, a high-schooler with a special crush on a girl named Rize. He meets her at a cafe and finally asks her out over the book they both enjoy. Turns out, Rize is a ghoul and rather than making sweet teenage love to Kaneki, wants to feast on his sweet teenage pork-chops. An accident cuts this infortunate accident short, yet both are mortally wounded. The only way for the doctors to save Kaneki is to remove his failing organs and replacing them with those of Rize. From there on, Kaneki's life takes a turn for the rather bizarre, as the world around him seems to change with every step he takes.
I won't spoil more here, but rest assured, there is more to it.

What I liked so far: While Ghouls prey on humans, there is a whole lot more to them. In two episodes, there wasn't that much to see obviously, but they already set an interesting table here, that goes beyond the "humans vs monsters"-trope. This is especially true in Kaneki's encounters with other ghouls.
Aside from that, the art-style is really cool, with a neon-esque emphasis on lighting that reminds one of the cyberpunk-flicks of the eighties or more recent movies like "Drive".

What I disliked so far: Kaneki is a bit of a crybaby and though changes in his demeanor are teased, his resistance against certain things just seems contrary to the normal instinct of survival that makes up a lot of the human psyche Kaneki so desperately clings to.

GF-rating: "Interesting"/10



SABAGEBU! (Survival Games Club)

Episodes out: 2 out of 4 (more planned hopefully)

Episodes watched: 2

Watch it here.



Now this one is odd. Momoka Sanokawa is a transfer student (on a side-note: how many students transfer schools in Anime? Holy crap, it seems Japan's school system is like a giant game of musical chairs). On her first day at the new school, she is instantly conflicted with one of the quirks of Japan's public transit: groping. Another girl helps her out by threatening the guy with two Desert Eagles and ultimately drives him away.
It's later revealed that the girl, Miou Ootori, visits the same school and is president of the "Survival Games Club", a club where five girls engage in Airsoft battles.

What I liked so far: Read the plot again. It's zany as f*** and funny at the same time. The pure idea of this is strange enough (especially considering Japan's REALLY strict laws for firearms) but is presented in such a ridiculous nonchalant fashion that you can't help but love its pastell-y goodness. That aside, there is actually more to the plot than just girls shooting at each other. Stuff like bullying and friendship are in there as well, but never in this "He-Man ending Monologue" kind of way but woven into the general plot. 
The writing is sharp and witty and while certainly not award-winning in quality it's damn funny and in combination with the fast paced animation makes for some really good laughs. Then there's of course the action, and that is the meat and bones of this one. It's choreographed really cool with tons of nods to big action movies. Also, the twist to make it look real, despite saying that it's just the girl's rampant imagination is a cool one that makes the itself tame premise a bit more marketable. Speaking of "marketable", it's really refreshing to see a school-girls-doing-stuff anime that doesn't market itself with cheap fanservice. There's some of it but I was preparing for something much much worse.
In the end, it's an Anime about school girls shooting at each other with Airsoft guns. If you can get behind that go watch it.

What I disliked so far: SABAGEBU! has its roots as a magazine-manga, so the stories themselves a very bite-sized. The Anime follows that structure rather and will give you two - three ministories per episode which can leave someone hoping for a larger, overarching plot hanging in the air.

GF-Rating: WAT?/10


So that's that so far. Anything in there for you? Did you watch any of it and disagree with me? Hit me up with your opinions in the comments Mina-san.