“Sword Art Online” has been one of the more interesting series (and now franchises) of the past half-dozen years. As with any movie that comes from a successful series, I am leery that it might be just might be a recap of the series, put in movie form, for those folks who are too lazy to plunk themselves down and watch the whole thing, from a company that wants to make some quick money. Yes, they did do that in 2013, calling it the “Extra Edition”, so I was a little more assured that this one would be a real movie and not just a Season Two Recap. This brings us to “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”. Now, it would help to understand what an ‘ordinal scale’ is. (more…)
Short-Pull Series XXV: A “Silver” Lining
There are a lot of shows about video games in anime. It certainly seems to be a strong genre, although it’s more action/adventure oriented than merely watching some otaku NEET trying to beat the Final Boss on the 99th Level of “The Tower of the Abyss” or whatever you wish to call it. But this show, “The Silver Guardian” (“Gin no Guardian”) puts an interesting twist on things. (more…)
“Turnabout” is Fair Play
Some tales and genres really lend themselves to be translated over to shows; others are not so friendly. I have found that 4-komas and video games can’t always make the jump to light speed, so to speak, and they betray their origins. This is never more so than in the offering “Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu”, Igiari!” (“Turnabout Trial: I Object to That ‘Truth’!”), as the problem is, no matter what they call Naruhodō Ryūichi, we know him as ‘Phoenix Wright’ (and he is referred to as such on more than one occasion). (more…)
I once made the comment that it appears that anime companies will do a show on anything. Or so it seems. What initially appears to be an anime on shogi (Japanese chess) turns out to be far more than expected, but that is what you learn with “3 gatsu no Lion” (“March Comes in Like a Lion”). I was worried initially, as it authored by the same person who did “Honey and Clover” and I found that a truly turgid drama. Plus, the art style and approach is like “Your Lie in April”, but I decided to stick with it. It has a lot going for it; it has a lot working against it. But, let’s get down to the board, as it were. (more…)
With the conclusion of the second season of “Log Horizon”, there has to be a third season to wrap it all up, considering the bread crumbs they left. Bread crumbs? More like an entire bakery, but on to the plot.
The first season contended itself with how these people, or ‘adventurers’, trapped inside this video game, can grow an entire civilization. The second season looks at personal growth and it loses a bit of steam on that account. When Shiroe has to contend himself with bureaucracy, wow, the excitement is palpable.
Look! As he signs legislation
Gasp! While he settles land ownership issues
Shiver! When he makes proclamations
OK, I am being snarky, as there are some new issues that arise, but the show feels like it was running in place. The overall concern is that there is something going wrong with the server or the AI or general gameplay, as things are going wrong. Shiroe has to go on raiding parties to try and figure out how to get more funding for the projects he has in mind. Thant means he is away and someone else is in charge. Then when a crisis arises, Enheart Nelreth comes into the city and starts killing people, those left behind seem unable to handle the situation properly. They have to wait for Shiroe’s return to finish the task. (more…)
The second season of “Sword Art Online” is out, and they did the same thing on this approach as with the last version, and that is to have two full story arcs. The first 14 episodes, “Phantom Bullet”, have Kirito as a kind of cyber cop. There is a new VRMMMORPG called “Gun Gale Online”, a real shooter game. A character walks about named “Death Gun” who shoots another character and they disappear. It later turns out that the real-life person whose character was shot in the game is dead.
This happens two more times and people are scared that there is a way for your avatar to get shot in the game and that it kills the real you. Kirito is asked by Kikuoka Seijiro of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Virtual Division to investigate this. He dives back in and signs up to be in the Bullet of Bullets competition, where he proves himself to be very competent, despite using a light saber…..I mean, a Photon Sword. There is a real funny incident involving his character, but I’ll let you find that one yourself. Kirito is befriended by Sinon, a sniper person in the game, who has severe psychological problems outside the game (can’t reveal; plot point). (more…)
This is one fabulous show. “No Game, No Life” is a variant on the ‘stranger in a strange land’ approach, but does with far more intelligence and viewer involvement than you normally get or see in most animes.
You are an MMORPG player. You have a pretty good guild and you do well in your game. Then, you come up against Blank. You are dead. Sign out now and avoid the humiliation.
Blank is a team that has NEVER lost a game. They speed, their skill, their dexterity is phenomenal. How these four people work this well as a team lead some to think that they employ some kind of cheat. Well, it doesn’t matter; you are rabbit pellets when they are done with you.
Here’s what you don’t know: it’s only two people! The brother-and-sister team of Sora & Shiro, are classic NEETs. The only time they see the sun is if they are playing on the Sunny Field level. This is how good they are: not only can they play two characters at a time, they even have the ability to have one member play all four characters, using hands and feet with amazing deftness. Me? I can’t even cross the room without stubbing my toe on the table. (And why is it ALWAYS the baby toe?) (more…)
On the Distant “Horizon”
OK, give this show a chance. The problem with “Log Horizon” is that it starts out EXACTLY like “Sword Art Online”, in that you have these people with this Virtual Reality, totally immersive headgear, playing a game (in this case “Elder Tale”) and 30,000 are online when the newest upgrade patch is put in and now are trapped in the game. They refer to the incident as The Apocalypse and they are stuck, with at least no immediate way out.
After this blatant establishing shot, the show decides to take a differing approach to things. One of the ‘benefits’ explored (if you could call it that), is that when you die in the game, you are reborn, so you aren’t completely erased from existence (although even that creates problems). It’s just that you are in this game with absolutely nothing to do: quests are bland and there is a huge amount of Player-Killers, bored to tears as there is no goal and rather than sit on my GCI butt all day, I might as well make things hard for others.
Kai Shirogane (glasses in the middle), called Shiroe, had a reputation among other players, most notable the “villain with glasses”. He was a stunning tactician for the Tea Party Brigade (a non-guild guild where people just had themselves a ripping good time). With his friend Naotsugu Hasegawa, (hulking dude sitting down), Atasuki (far right ninja and assassin) and Nyanta (cat), they decided to do something with the game that the original approach would not allow: transform this into a living, breathing society. This turns out to be far harder but, ultimately, more rewarding, than merely searching for treasure. (more…)
“Art” Isn’t Easy
What one finds so interesting about this show is that it could tie into “Accel World”, so it may be recommended to see “Accel” first or at least the two of them together.
It is the future (it’s ALWAYS the future, don’t let the garb fool you). Now, it is the year 2022 and the Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPGLSMFTOMGTTYL), “Sword Art Online” (SAO), is released. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality Helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.
On November 6, 2022, all the players log in for the first time, but since only 10,000 copies of the game were distributed, this is all who can join on, and it’s one game per console (damn that Nintendo!) Our hero, Kirigaya Kazuto (known by his handle of Kirito) is not only a beta tester for the game, but is also known as a beater (beta tester and cheater). He shows the ropes to some of the newbies, but when it’s time for dinner, he, and others, subsequently discovers that they are unable to log out. They are then informed by Kayaba Akihiko, the creator of SAO, that if they wish to be free and log out of the game, they must reach the top floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss, a mere 100 levels away.
Some players are against this and try to forcibly eject. This causes microwaves in the helmet to cook the brain and they die. And if their avatars die in the game, their bodies will also die in the real world. You want out? Beat the game. (more…)