Tag Archives: video game

Rumbling Hearts

Type: “Does Everything I do Have to Hurt Someone?”


Synopsis: Once upon a time there lived a girl named Haruka, who had a best friend named Mitsuki. They both loved a boy named Takayuki very much, but he only loved one of them. Then one day, Haruka fell into a deep sleep and couldn’t wake up. Takayuki’s heart was broken, but Mitsuki helped him but it back together. She never left his side, even though part of his heart still remained with Haruka. What else could she do, she loves him…

Pros: Ok, so real talk. I kinda got into this show. I found this anime soap opera genuinely engaging. Sue me. The basic premise is: Takayuki, Haruka, and Mitsuki are high school friends stuck in a love triangle. Then one day, Haruka gets into an accident and falls into a coma. Takayuki and Mistsuki start dating, even though Takayuki isn’t fully committed. Three years later, Haruka wakes up and causes Takayuki and Mistuki’s relationship to become really strained. That’s basically the gist of it without giving away too much. I would love to explore the subtleties of the show, but that would spoil the experience. The strength of the show comes from the portrayal of Takayuki and Mitsuki, both as individuals and as a couple. More so with Mitsuki, who I found really relatable. You see, when Haruka wakes up, Takayuki basically begins an emotional affair with her. And Mitsuki’s reactions to this are all too understandable. She tries to ignore it, she tries to overcompensate physically and emotionally, she even verges on alcoholism. She spirals as she comes to the realization that the person she loves has stronger feelings for someone else, and probably always did. Both Mitsuki and Takayuki are guilty of trying to cling to the past, with Haruka being a not to subtle living memory that holds them back from the future.

Cons: The show has a good beginning, and a strong ending, but a weak middle. This is because the beginning sets everything up, the ending ties everything together, but the middle has to let the story breath. And it takes long breaths. The middle of the story, about ep4-9, has to show Mistuki and Takayuki’s relationship slowly deteriorate. So you get a lot of awkward silences and montages of everyone looking sad. It’s necessary, but also skimmable. The ending, however, really sticks the landing. So much many character arcs come to a head in ep10-14 that I want to talk about, but it would spoil them!! Even sweet, stereotypical Haruka gets to react to her situation in a realistic manner. The show does have it’s faults. The story is a soap opera, and fairly predictable. All the heroines seem to love Takayuki for because it’s anime and “he’s a nice guy.” But I saw how he lived with Mitsuki, and honestly…he seems like a dick. He’s distant, emotionally self-centered, and rather boring. But dammit if the story’s not engrossing. I partly attribute this to the fact that main cast are all in their early 20’s instead of in high school, so the drama can be taken a little more seriously. Although I do admit that the character designs do make everyone look older than they should. Takayuki and Mistuki are suppose to be 20-21, but they look 25. I watched the English dub, which was great, although Takayuki’s performance came off as a but wooden. I do have to mention, however, that I have never heard the phrase “baby” in the romantic sense this much in an anime before. Since Takayuki and Mistuki are adults in a relationship, they tend to sleep together a few times in the show (nothing explicit pervs!), so the phrase comes up. That’s not a bad thing, it just tickled me a little.

Watch it?: If I even did Anime Audio Commentaries, this show would be one of them (4/5)

MVP: Mitsuki


You can’t help who you love, and that hurts sometimes.

Best Episode: Ep10-14 The Ending Arc (Though I’m not sure how I feel about Mitsuki and Takayuki’s ultimate fate…)

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Type: A little like Twelfth Night to be honest.

Synopsis: I understood that reference! (No, but seriously, I burned through this whole show in ONE afternoon. I haven’t done that in years. This show is incredible).

Pros: This anime is about a boy who gets invited to a gamer club by the cutest girl at school, but declines because of it’s competitive nature. This kinda snowballs into the boy becoming entangled in various simultaneous love triangles, with hilarious results. Basically, it’s a love comedy with video games as the backdrop. And. It’s. Amazing. It’s one of the best comedy’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s strength comes from it’s dynamic direction. Everything from the camera work to the character’s faces screams energy and youth. I made the joking reference to Twelfth Night because the running gag of the show is that all the teenage characters think that their crush is in love with someone else. Their reactions to this very thought perfectly captures the high strung emotions of dating at the age. Not only that, but the cast is really strong, and their various interactions and pairing reminds you that this is an ensemble comedy. My personal favorite paring was our lead Keita and the bubbly Aguri, whose simple but funny lunch talks reminds you that yes, in anime, a boy and girl can be friends without falling in love! I could probably say way more (and you could probably write an essay on each episode individually), but I would only be doing the show a disservice. Go watch it! (p.s. I know I wouldn’t say more, but the English dialogue, romantic misunderstandings, and gamer jokes hit me in my happy place. My favorite anime genre is comedy anime, and this is the best comedy I’ve seen all year).

Cons:…I mean, I feel bad for Chiaki. OK, so in order to explain half the stories in the show, you need to create a map with a lot of arrows and circles. But to save time, Chiaki is kinda the fifth wheel of the cast. She was introduced as a possible love interest for Keita, but then became more interested in Keita’s handsome friend Tasuku, but then falls in love with Keita after he starts officially dating Tendo, the blonde girl that invited Keita into the gamer club to begin with. Like I said, there’s a lot of moving parts. I feel bad for her because, well, she’s nice and she technically is a perfect match for Keita. But so is Tendo. This is one of the handful of shows where both of the main character’s love interests are plausible options that I wouldn’t be mad at. Aside from that, I guess that show doesn’t really do much with the Gamer Club, like anything at all, and ep.13, the “last episode,” is just a fan service filler episodes.

Watch it?: Maybe my favorite show of an already strong 2017. (5/5)

MVP: Keita and Aguri

Their scenes were gold

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Gamers and Wipeout “Game Over” (maybe the best single comedic episode I’ve ever seen?)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.3 Falling Down

Type: Also known as Flying

Synopsis: Did you know that I just went on my first ever airplane flight! Crazy man. Everything looks like grids and curves in between mountains. It reminded me just how big the world is, ya know?…anyways, this is the third Persona 3 movie.

Pros: Persona 3 The Movie, No.3. Yes sir. The third movie. The big 3. El tercero movie-o. What can I say about Persona 3 The Movie, No.3. Anyone? Anyone at all? Um, it starts off after the events of Persona 3 The Movie, No.2. It has the same cast. Same focus on action quality over everything else. Ah, for the game fans we get cameos from more social link NPCs. That’s neat. The subplots for this movie are Makoto becoming nihilistic and Junpei getting into a romantic relationship with a girl that cuts herself. And a new supporting character is introduced: Ryoji. Yep, that is what happened in this movie.

Cons: Its boring. Well….no, yeah, its boring. This movie covers the least interesting part of the original game story. The problem is that the Shinjiro story in the second movie is such an emotional climax for the characters that this movie has to deal with the aftermath and therefore feels more passive than the other two in the series. Stuff happens in this movie, but you don’t end up caring as much because your still recovering from before. It’s a shame too, because this movie finishes Junpei’s character arc, finally making him more than a comedic duffus. It also sets that stage for the last stretch of the story. But at the end of the day, it’s not that interesting and actually made me question if the Persona games do have good stories or if it’s just reputation talking.

Watch it?: No. Why do I like this series so much again?

MVP: Junpei

I actually started using him after these events

Best Moment: The bathhouse scene (My favorite moment in Persona 3!!)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.2 Midsummer Knights Dream

Type: Oh, I get it, it’s like wordplay

Synopsis: Because “midsummer” refers to the movies setting, and “Knight” refers to the cover girl Aigis, whose is like a robot knight. I see what you did there Persona 3 The Movie: No.2. 

Pros: Like the title implies, this movie covers the second act of Persona 3 the video game. We’ve established our core characters, so now we have to introduced our auxiliary characters and out main antagonists. Just to keep score, and not counting minor characters, that jumps our cast number from 5 to 12. And while that is a lot of people to keep track of, the film mainly focuses on 2 subplots, namely Aigis’s introduction and Ken/Shinjiro’s relationship. I actually feel that the Ken/Shinjiro story is better off in this condensed version than in the game, which stretched it out between long gameplay segments. You get a better sense of Ken’s youthful admiration of Shinji, of Shinji’s past with the group, and the overall impact that the resolution of the his subplot has on everyone. Plot aside, this is also the movie with the beach scene, festival scene, and love hotel scene, reminding you that Persona is the most anime RPG out there.

Cons: By watching the second movie, I’m starting to notice a few of the most consistent flaw in the Persona 3 movie series. Namely, the disparity in animation quality in dialogue scenes vs. action scenes. This movie was released a year after Person 3: Spring of Birth, and Person 3: Falling Down was released within a year after this one. This quick turn around means that the films were most likely made simultaneously and on a tight schedule, so some shortcuts had to be used. For example, the film used a still image montage for the opening beach segment. And if you noticed, most dialogue scenes involved close ups and little movement. The only parts that seemed to be afforded time and attention were the fight scenes. A lot of the cast is also shunted or minimized in this part of the story, which is fine unless your a fan of them.

Watch it?: Better than the first, but unless you’ve played the game you can skip it.

MVP: Shinjiro

He’s suppose to be 17, but I always thought he was 34.

Best Moment: The opening love hotel scene (it’s funny and I’m basic)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No. 1 Spring of Birth

Type: The theme is Death. The character’s activate their powers by shooting themselves in the head. Do you get it!?


Synopsis: A movie based on a game that’s based on a mixture of Role Playing Games and Life Simulators, because Japan. In this one, you get to see the life of a character who’s life you would have lived through in the game instead of experiencing your own life, because real life is dull, and the Persona games are, like, a 100 hours. It’s much easier to sit down and give up 90 minutes of your life instead. The crucial part remains: you still don’t have to go outside.

Pros: Fun aside, I actually do love the Persona series. Specifically Persona 3 and 4, when the games got good (you can argue, but you know it’s true). The movie does a great job at integrating the music and layout of the original game. It even uses the calender transitions from the game. Most gamers often bemoan the fact that their will never be a good video game movie, but Persona’s made like 4 movies and 3 anime series. This first movie predictably details the beginning of the game: the protagonist showing up, the main cast coming together, everyone getting their powers, etc. I really liked what they did with the protagonist, named “Makoto Yuki,” here. In the game, “Yuki,” is a nameless and characterless avatar for the player. The move translates this silent protagonist into an apathetic protagonist, which really fits his visual character design. Floppy hair, earphones, hands in his pockets, the kid’s a poster boy for emo teen nihilism. Even more impressive, the movie gives him a character arc involving the power of friendship, which sounds trite, but is actually a crucial gameplay component of the Persona Series (you basically have to go on several dating-sim esque side missions with various NPC’s to level up your character).

Cons: The movie’s biggest positive was it’s ability to turn a silent RPG protagonist into an actual character. But it’s not without it’s flaws. For one, the story flow is choppy. Events sort of jump from thing to another without a smooth transition. This is because the transition is suppose to be the original gameplay, which is obviously absent in the movie. For those not in the know, events in the game are actually about 30 in-game days apart from each other, giving certain revelations time to digest. So the movie ends up covering 2-3 months worth of story in 90 minutes. It’s an admirable attempt, but not quite successful. Certain shots and frames are also a but awkward, almost like the camera man was a 1-2 feet too close to the actors. Cast wise…look, the Persona 3 cast isn’t as charismatic as the Persona 4 cast, but they do grow on you, especially later on in the story. And finally, the big questions: Do you have to have played Persona 3 to enjoy this movie? My answer is Yes. It’s not a bad movie, but without my prior knowledge, I would have found it a bit thin, and a little confusing.

Watch it?: Persona fans would like it. Everyone else could easily live without it.

MVP: Makoto Yuki


God, how many of us went to high school with this guy?

Best Moment: Makoto talking (holy moley, I thought he was mute!)

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Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge

Type: A lot less popular than it should be


Synopsis: We  were in the arcade late one night when our eyes beheld an eerie sight, for some dudes began to rise and suddenly to our surprise they played Nightstalkers. It was a graveyard smash!

Pros: Poor references to 1960’s parody songs aside, this anime OVA series is based on the Nighstalkers’ video game franchise. That’s right, it’s another anime based on a fighting game review! I’m starting to think I should add a tag for this. Anyway, the anime has 4 episodes, 40 minutes each, with some slight plot elements. The anime follows three pairs: Morrigan and Demitri, Donovan and Anita, and H-Sein Ko and Mei-Ling. The story takes place in a world where the “Dark” has encroached on the Human World, meaning monsters and humans are living together. “Darkstalkers” refer to creatures of the dark. For once, the fighting in this anime based on a fighting game is pretty good, and some of the story elements are interesting. Anita’s story is predictably the most compelling. The anime did it’s job by getting me interested in the series, and making me wonder why this wasn’t more popular. Seriously, its a game were movie monsters fight each other. How was it not all over the 90s!?

Cons: Even at 40 minutes a piece, the story is all over the place. I think they made a mistake trying to build an overarching story across the 4 episodes. The anime worked best when it had spotlight segments, like the one with Bishimon, the haunted samurai armor ghost, or the one with Felicia, the cat girl. Putting so much emphasis on Donovan was a mistake, because he has as much personality as a block of wood. The world itself is interesting enough. You have humans who fight the dark. You have Darkstalkers who are presecuted by humans. And you have characters who a trying to take over the world. But as it stands, you’d be better off picking and choosing what to watch, or skipping it.

Watch it?: Like the game, it has potential, but can’t quite fulfill it (3/5)

MVP: Anita


She’s eerie, but interesting

Best Episode: Ep1 “Return of the Darkstalkers” (has a zombie in it)

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Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie [Fighting Game Week]

Type: An actual good movie!


Synopsis: Col. William Guile, one of the greatest martial artists in the world, travels the global tournament circuit, using it to conceal his top secret mission as leader of an elite group of top secret international street fighters known only by their codename, Street Fighters! Wait, oh crap! Wrong one….Eh, close enough.

Pros: My long journey is over. I finally found a good adaptation of a fighting game. To tell the truth, I probably should have started here. Street Fighter II is an adaptation of Street Fighter II. You know, the fighting game that revolutionized the industry and basically gave birth to an entire sub genre? This film actually treats its source material with respect, FINALLY delivering great fighting scenes. The animation is on point, and so is the story. Basically, this evil tyrant called Bison is collecting powerful fighters, targeting two martial artists named Ryu and Ken specifically, while Interpol agent Chun-Li and Air Force Captain Guile try to hunt Bison down. The film does an admirable job cutting between the Ryu/Ken and Chun-Li/Guile pairings. But the best thing about this film is that is actually feels like a film instead of a game tie-in. Hilariously, the film ends with a ad for the Street Fighter movie made in America, and I kinda hope that part of the reasons this movie is so good was to spite the US live action version (though that film is a definite so-bad-its-good entry).

Cons: From a fan’s perspective, maybe some of the characters are slightly off character. Like, I don’t think T.Hawk is that eager for fight. But all the Street Fighter 2 casts are included, even if they came varying lengths in cameos. Now, let’s all be real here. One of the reasons this movie is so famous, aside form it’s quality, is because of the full frontal shower scene involving Chun-Li. And while I would argue that his is a bit gratuitous, it’s actually done for a stylistic reason. It’s set up as an omage to classic horror/suspense films, with Vega as the “slasher.”

Watch it?: If your going to watch any fighting game movie, make it this one.

MVP: Chin Li


I liked her delightful nature

Best Moment: Chun Li sitting on Guile’s car (Guile almost ran her over!)


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Street Fighter Alpha: Generations [Fighting Game Week]

Type: Prequel to a Sequel


Synopsis: Ok, look, here Ryu’s basic backstory. Ryu was raised by a martial artist named Gouken, whose brother killed their master after succumbing to the “Dark Hado,” or killing intent. When Ryu was around 23, Gouken was killed by his brother. Enraged, Ryu fought the evil Gouki (or Akuma), but lost, as he tapped into the Dark Hado as well. Intrigued, Gouki lets Ryu live so he can grow into a worthier challenger. Ryu, ashamed at his lose and confused about the Dark Hado, goes on a world journey to find other strong fighters and finds his own strength. Eventually, he is able to overcome the Dark Hado through the Power of Nothingness, finally defeating his own weaknesses. This movie, yeah, doesn’t really cover any of that.

Pros: I really liked the animation style used in this. It was a little muted, but the action was perfect. It was able to portray the energy that Street Fighter matches deserve. The story was alright, as the Ryu-Akuma story is probably the most straight forward story in the Street Fighter franchise. Nothing about over the top evil organizations here. Sakura makes an appearance, which was neat. Always fun to have her around.

Cons: While I found it muted, others may find the animation and quieter moments a little dour. And the story is strictly non-cannon. Just take the fact that Ryu wears street clothes as all the evidence you need. The core story remains the same. Gouki killed his master and brother. He wants to fight Ryu. Ryu struggles to control the Dark Hado inside him. But the details are changed. The Dark Hado is now a blood line technique instead of a side effect of training. Ken does not appear until the very end. It’s implied that Gouki is Ryu’s father (which, to be fair, has been a long standing fan theory). Oh, and Ryu beats Gouki. That’s something. Street Fighter fans will probably be annoyed, and normal viewers will probably find this pretty to look at. (And honestly? This is probably the most understandable Street Fighter anime to date).

Watch it?: Completely Optional.

MVP: The Animation


Damn, they looked good to me.

Best Moment: Sakura vs Ryu (we fight, to find that answer!)

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Tekken: The Motion Picture [Fighting Game Week]

Type: So. Not. Cannon.


Synopsis: Kazuya Mashima has a blood feud against his father, Heihachi Mashima, for throwing him off a cliff when he was a little kid. This is the plot for Tekken 1. This plot, ah, this plot does not stay consistent in our little “motion picture,” which throws in Cyborgs, Kangaroos, Hong Kong PD, and killer dinosaurs, who aren’t suppose to show up until Tekken 2! (Tekken is kinda a weird series).

Pros: Full disclosure-I am a huge Tekken fan. It’s my main fighting game series. I’ve played every entry, (though I played Tekken 6 on the psp). I still remember getting Tekken 3 and discovering that you have to block in a fighting game. So personally, it was a hoot noting all the glaring plot errors in this. Everyone else though…..

Cons: From a strict anime/film stand point, this thing is a mess: They try to mash Tekken 1 and 2 together, making Jun Kazama and Kazuya Mishima childhood friends. Setting the entire Iron First Tournament in a Battle Royal like island. A Sloppy story with truly cheap animation. The dialogue is laughable at best. Who approved this? Who saw this and said, “yeah, that’s a good idea. Let’s sale that.” This was released at the end of 1997, with Tekken 3 having been released a few months before in arcades, with a home release the following year. So maybe this was released to catch everyone up on the Tekken story? (Which makes no sense now that I think about it, because Tekken 3 is largely a soft-reboot of the series). I just cannot fathom why this was made so poorly. Because Tekken has a reputation as one of the most cinematic fighting game series in the industry. That’s part of why I fell in love with it. But this, this was embarrassing.

Watch it: Just go on Youtube and watch the victory cinematics.




Best Moment: No. (No)

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Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture [Fighting Game Week]

Type: Samurai Showdown, now on Saturday Mornings!


Synopsis: Hey kids! Don’t forget to check out the latest totally tubalur episode of Samurai Showdown, where the bodacious Haomaru and the 5 Holy Warriors fight against the wickedly uncool Amakusa! It’s be knarly, to the MAX!!!

Pros: Ah…Samurai Showdown is a fun game. Made us all believe again.

Cons: Face Plam. Sigh. Stand Up. Leave. Samurai Showdown is based on the Samurai Showdown fighting game, one of the first fighters to prioritize weapon based battle. The anime takes a decidely original take on the source material. It basically converts the game into a generic cartoon. Haomaru is turned from a drifting bad-ass to earnest and young lead characters, with 5 other characters turned into the standard good guy team. It is comicly far away from the original spirit of the franchise. It’s closest parallels would be the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat American cartoons. The game’s creators, SNK, had little creative input into the film, and I’m guessing that the anime studio was trying to get a kid friendly series out of this.

Watch it?: What, no!

MVP: Charlotte


She’s my main, sue me.

Best Moment: Whenever someone says “Holy Warriros” (so, so, so not a thing)

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