Stein’s Gate PS Vita Platinum Review

Stein’s Gate is an amazing journey that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to play a visual novel. Although it is a little slow to start, it soon transforms into a rollercoaster of an experience. Each of the character routes feel purposeful, although they do not always have the happiest of ends. The only route I think is unnecessary is the regular Kurisu route, given that the true end route is almost identical, with additional content. I understand that it is meant to build atmosphere, but it doesn’t seem that crucial to me. Although as a bit of a completionist I still played through it.

This is the story of Okabe and his secret lab, accidently stumbling upon the secret to time travel, and getting themselves into a serious pickle. Until Okabe is forced to make a decision that could tear him apart. A combination of sci-fi, comedy and drama.

It consistently has well written and fleshed out characters and the plot, despite being a time travel story, has very little incongruence or confusion. Despite the fantastic array of characters shown throughout, for me the main character Okabe is the most stand out. Visual Novel protagonists rarely have much of a personality, it is too often the nature of the beast. Okabe is a quirky and likeable protagonist. He is relatable, flawed and all too human. To see this reflected so well in a format where the decisions are made by the player, is incredibly refreshing.

However, there are a number of moments where the story tries to be too gritty, and in those moments Okabe comes off as annoying and unlikable. This isn’t done too often, and was removed in the anime. There are also a number of moments where I questioned the choices Okabe made that weren’t optional, however these choices fit his character well and keep the story on the right path.

The reveal of new information is always exciting, revealed information is usually set up well in advance, so that even the most surprising of reveals fits neatly into the world of the game.

The use of otaku culture as a staple throughout the VN, is a fun and eccentric way to create quirky characters, which many of the players will be able to relate to. The language and themes are used to engage the audience and make the situation feel realistic.

Faris and Mayuri work at a maid cafe.

Interaction was a simple and elegant system. Stein’s Gate doesn’t use the classic dialogue choice system, but instead employs interactions only through use of the Protagonist’s phone.

The art style is quite different from the anime’s, being quite unique compared to any visual novel. It’s difficult to say which I prefer, given that I enjoyed the crispness of the anime’s art style, but the VN had a more raw and emotional feel to it that I haven’t seen reproduced. The CG’s were gorgeous, and I wish that there were more in the story.

An example of the anime’s art style.

The music was emotional and compelling, serving a purpose and helping to drive the story home.

I think that even those who’ve seen the anime, should play the visual novel as well. It displays heightened characterization and offers extra information about the world.

As a whole I thought that Stein’s Gate was a well written and well thought out Visual Novel adventure. A unique experience amongst many VNs.

Stein’s Gate is available on a number of different formats including PS3 and PS Vita. I played it on PS Vita and would recommend this format as the portability of the system makes it great for Visual Novels. Stein’s Gate was so absorbing that I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t have to.

Stein’s Gate Elite is being released soon, a remake of the original that makes use of assets from the anime. I’m looking forward to playing it, however I would continue to recommend the original.

Sakura Quest Anime Review

This anime appears to be participating in a trend which I have noticed throughout the past few seasons, which is a heavy dose of realism. In this case an unlikely situation within an ultra-down to earth setting. This is perhaps a natural bounce-back from the former oversaturation of tropey, out of this world anime. An idea inspired by Gigguk in his video “Isekai: the genre that took over anime” (Linked Below).

This new trend towards realism and realistic themes is not generally something I’ve seen a lot of up until recently outside of the Slice of life genre. Although I would certainly say that many other series from recent seasons do it better and have more interesting ideas behind them.

In terms of atmosphere, there is an overwhelming air of positivity and life that builds up slowly throughout the series, making it an uplifting and cheering experience. Of course it is not the best of the bunch in this respect but it does a fairly suitable job.

Unlike many shows today, Sakura Quest seems to have a sense of subtlety in its directing and pace.

 

I was a little surprised to find out how old these characters were, because most of the main female characters do not appear to be designed to look older than young teens (with the exception of Sanae), and yet are rather more mature than your average anime cast. Altogether I find it refreshing to see an anime focusing on the lives of adults, however I would find it a little more absorbing if they looked the part.

Sakura Quest in particular excels at character development, slowly building characters up, so that the viewer suddenly has a greater understanding of who they are. With a lot of realistic themes to do with growing older and living in a changing world, there is a charm to this snapshot of life in Manoyama.

At the same time, I feel that there is not much merit to this series being animated, and that it would be no different at all if it as just another live action show. Most animated series use the medium to their advantage to tell a unique story, which this show does not do. However this also means that this is one of the few anime that could have a live action adaptation that was not forced.

This show may be unusual within its genre, but this is not enough to give it any real legs amongst the many other shows available. Although I do still recommend it, because despite everything, it’s still a touching story that will resonate with many people. Honestly it grew on me heavily as I continued to watch it, and I would recommend that this is one you do not miss.

 

 

 

Here I’ve linked the video that I referenced above, all about the spread of the Isekai genre.

My Thoughts on the Justice League Movie Trailers

 

First, I’ll tackle the comic-con trailer. It starts off well, it looks rather exciting. However this falls apart when the trailer itself points out the massive gaping holes in the team, the lack of Green Lanterns for example. (Also without any mention of Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl and Hawkman.) It contains a moment mocking the original cheesy batman comics, while attempting to act all serious, dark and pouty. When honestly I’d much prefer the concept of a full on cheesy Justice League movie, a little more in the vein of the old Adam West series. From what I can see, either the script written for the Flash, or the actor who plays him are doing something horribly wrong. They are trying to make Flash the funny-man (It has been done well before). However instead of using witty situational humour to lighten the tone he uses self-deprecating humour, making one of the most powerful and integral superheroes in the DC universe seem like nothing but a useless wimp. Unfortunately I didn’t find him funny at all, instead he’s just kind of pathetic. The introduction of Cyborg was intriguing, but the video didn’t display enough to gain any real sense of what the movie is going to do with his character. Also I’m not sure why DC is so desperate to make Aquaman cool, because I honestly don’t believe that it’s ever going to happen.

Regardless to say, after seeing the Comic-con trailer I was not excited at all. However I then watched the first official trailer, and suffice to say it left a completely different impression.

To begin with the atmosphere in this trailer is completely different than the last, leaving an air of undeniable excitement and mystery. The reveal of the bad guy, shrouded in shadow. I needed to rewind and watch it again to properly see his face, but I did so with gusto! After this it switches to a generally more fun and upbeat tone, a welcome direction for it to go. I much preferred the way this trailer chose to reveal the other superheroes, although I’m still waiting for Cyborg to say “Boo-Yah!”. And the Joke at 1:37 was perhaps my favourite self-referential joke ever. I literally laughed out loud. This enjoyable tone continues all the way to the end, and I have to say that THIS trailer actually got me excited for this movie

So in conclusion, I have mixed feelings about this movie. However if it’s half as good as the last trailer I just watched I may give it a shot. I’d love to know what you thought about it, so let me know in the comments.

One Week Friends Anime Review


Yuuki has always wanted to befriend a particular girl in his class, but she doesn’t seem to make friends with anybody. Little does he know that it’s the result of great misfortune on her part, and that if he tries it will open up both of their worlds.
Kaori forgets her friends at the conclusion of each school week, so she has been afraid to make friends for a long time. When Yuuki asks to be her friend however, she can’t seem to turn him down like the others, after some persistence on his part.
This is quite a sweet and cute show, however it doesn’t contain many themes besides the everyday life and romance themes. I am glad there wasn’t too much drama, the whole plot seemed like a drama magnet (and I’m personally not much of a drama fan).

Image courtesy of Right Stuf Anime

The characters were fairly stereotypical and a little bland for my liking, a large quantity of their personalities also seemed to hinge on their relation to other main cast members.
The storyline and base idea are, once again, pretty stereotypical. It isn’t too much of a bother in this kind of series, though.
This isn’t a show that will really make you think, but it is still a fairly nice little feel good show and in my opinion a well done romance series.
If you want a simple romance, this is the anime to watch.

An analysis of poor humour. RE: Response to SuperButterBuns – Aigis is best girl

Within a previous post I identified a joke so bad it could barely be classified as a joke, by sidestepping the issue and focusing on the merits of the original text. Perhaps I lacked clarity in my argument. However today I will justify my case for this. I simply think that to publish this piece is an homage to lazy writing. I’m not always perfect by these standards either, but that is no reason to be quiet.
I often enjoy shows with crass humour, or cheap jokes, such as Family Guy or South Park. However the difference between this and the aforementioned case is that Family Guy and South Park throw a multitude of different jokes against a wall in each and every episode to see what sticks. This was a single, rather long video based on a single lazy joke. Often these also shows include some sort of wit or commentary within some of their jokes, along a number of easy one-liners for entertainment value, creating an all-rounded experience. None of this was included within the aforementioned piece.

Here is my original piece on the matter:

Response to SuperButterBuns – Aigis is Best Girl

Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Anime Review

This show is really just fan service galore. Fan service of every kind. If that’s your thing I’d recommend Dragon Maid because at least it does it well. Dragon Maid is a comedic series with elements of fantasy and romance, but mainly just serves as a really kooky slice of life. It is bringing fantasy creatures down to a human level in a similar way to Restaurant to Another World. I think that Restaurant to Another World did this better, but had a very different types of atmosphere and fan service.

Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid was fun to watch. There is nothing remotely intellectual or intriguing about it, but it doesn’t need to be that. It’s very upfront with what it gives the audience, which is laughs and eye candy. So I would recommend it to those who want a light watch with little to overthink.

Rather than a concise story the show seems to take various snippets from the everyday lives of each of the characters to give a more general view of the characters and world. This worked rather well and fit pleasantly with the casual atmosphere. It also has many surprising references to the life of an otaku, as a fun self-referential element thrown into the mix.

Image courtesy of Steam

The characters aren’t particularly special, but they stand out because they are taken to the extremes of their own respective tropes. It fits surprisingly well with the crazy world that’s been set up around them.  Despite this each viewer will likely find a character that they particularly enjoy watching or that resonates with them in some way.

I can see why this series has been so popular, despite having little depth. It is because it goes out of its way to connect with viewers by showcasing a wide variety of extreme personalities and ludicrous events in order to create a story that is still in the end quite charming and down to earth.

I would highly recommend watching this series with subtitles, because the dubbing for this show happens to be rather unfaithful to the source material. Although on its own not the worst dub out there, the changes made from the source material sours the experience tremendously.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie First Impressions

These are my first impressions after watching the first episode of Recovery of an MMO Junkie.

I expected something generic and overdone from this show, but I never would have expected it to be so boring! There was no excitement in this show for me. At least sword art online in all its poorly written mush had some exciting fight scenes and energetic music. I just found nothing appealing about this show. As a slice of life it fails to capture my attention and as an exploration of an MMO world it’s just as dull. Most of the time the characters were just sitting around looking at scenery! Do people really do that in MMO’s? They may as well be browsing google images while on a webchat!

The characters are also far too idiotic. The protagonist can’t even grasp the basic logic of the tutorial! She just runs straight to the boss and dies over and over until she gets help. It’s like the Cuphead video all over again*.

So far we are given no reason at all to feel anything for any of the characters, making them bland and boring to watch.

The only reason I would consider continuing to watch would be to see more of Yuuta Sakurai/Lily. This is because I thought that he was the only interesting part of the show and I want to learn more about his motives, backstory and life.

I most likely will not continue watching this show unless I hear news about anything interesting happening in it. I was honestly a little shocked that this show was produced by a large studio with a decent budget. This is because apart from clean, crisp, standard level art the show feels amateurish and thrown together.

 

*when I refer to the Cuphead video I’m talking about a humourous incident where a video game journalist can’t even get past an obvious tutorial stage in the game Cuphead. Links below. (I did not create and do not own these videos.)


The Saga of Tanya the Evil Anime Review

The Saga of Tanya the Evil is an anime that I wasn’t expecting to be anything special. It seemed fairly generic at first glance, however by the time the premise reveals itself I can promise that it most certainly has one of the most intriguing stories of any anime I have seen. This story is most unique, and something that I’m glad and amazed to see explored in this manner.

The character development is not amazing, the fight scenes are nothing special, however the story is something you will not forget for a long time and I urge all my readers to give it a try.

Thematically the show is very deep, with meaning and symbolism strewn throughout every scene. Generally it’s an exciting ride, albeit with some predictability.

Technically this may be an “in another world” story, however I would not class this in the same category as others. This is more of a simulation in which to test out an interesting philosophical concept. Once again, this is not your average light novel.

The militaristic elements were a little dry, however I became invested enough in the story and Tanya’s character to see it through to the end.

The other characters were not very memorable or interesting, even the most important characters felt very much like cannon fodder. However this may have been an intentional effect.

Image courtesy of Funimation.

The fantasy world contained within this anime is bizarre and hard to get a proper feel of, this is perhaps the greatest flaw within the show.

I must on this occasion particularly commend the art for fitting the atmosphere of the show uniquely and brilliantly, capturing some of the more twisted elements of the show with ease.

To sum it up, I hope more people give this show a shot and I can’t wait for season 2.

Response to SuperButterBuns – Aigis is Best Girl

This video makes fun of Aigis fans. Comparing a Humanoid robot containing and advanced AI that thinks and feels to a toaster.
This proves to me that SuperButterBuns is either making a really bad joke, or never really understood the character of Aigis in the first place. If it is the former ignore everything I’m about to say.
Aigis is a focus of Persona 3, a game about accepting death, as an ironic juxtaposition. She was never really alive but at the same time is attempting to embrace life the way that humans do. She thinks and feels and yearns to simulate that human experience.
And how could a robot possibly understand humanity enough to protect it, if it didn’t possess the qualities of a human as well.
I don’t know if Aigis is best girl, having not played Persona 3 FES yet and not having experienced her full character growth. However I can say for certain that Aigis is not simply a toaster.