Blog Archive

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar volume 10 translated:

Over at Amazon.com, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar volume 10 is now available in English.  This is one of my favorite light novel series so paying for it is no big deal.

So far it's been excellent, money well spent.  This whole year has seen the release of volume after volume of this series, at a pace far exceeding any other.  It's becoming the year of Grimgar.

But Grimgar isn't the only good thing that's happening.  Btooom! manga volume 22 is coming out in a few days. (there's 26 in all, so we're actually closing in to the ending.)  The final volume of Kimi ni Todoke comes out this December.  SAO's volume 18 epilogue is now partially translated.  It turns out Asuna and Kirito safely managed to get back to the real world.  Death Mage is a fine web novel series, Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is at least great as a manga, and Battle for Azeroth is now live.

Even with a terrible summer anime season, there's plenty of fun things left to celebrate.  And then it's back to football season shortly thereafter.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ongaku Shoujo Dropped:

This series always had too many girls, and the lame girls just dragged down the overall quality of the show, which meant the cool girls never stood a chance.  If the cast had been restricted to five idols or three it probably would have worked, but instead we got 13 or whatever.  In a story about musical girls, it's pretty disheartening that the music sucks, too.

The only thing this series had going for it was the art, and eventually that's just no longer enough to captivate one's interest.

Meanwhile, another Fairy Tail spinoff is being serialized and translated, Happy's Adventure.  I thought it would be awful but it's actually pretty good so far.  Fairy Tail is conquering the manga world by storm.

Honzuki no Gekokujou is another great manga, based off of a light novel series.  The art is so cute, though, that I'd hate to read this story as a novel instead of just wait for the manga to come out.  If I don't read the novel series, it can't go in my great books rankings, and manga rankings only apply to manga-original stories, so this series is just out of luck.  But at least I can endorse it here.  Honzuki's been perfect so far, everyone should be reading this manga.

Only two days until Battle for Azeroth launches.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Naruto Kai is the #1 Anime of 2018:

Whenever a series is remade to better follow the original source, whether it's an official remake or a fan edit, the entire old version becomes irrelevant and the series starts whenever the new version was released.

This is true of Dragon Ball Recut, Dragon Ball Kai, Sailor Moon Crystal, Hunter x Hunter, etc, etc.  And it's also true of Naruto Kai.

Naruto Kai is the only true representative of the Naruto anime, everything that came before it may as well have never existed.  Which is why I've updated the chronology portion of my top anime rankings to reflect the same.  I also did this for Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Guyver, etc.  When a new and better version is released, that's the only release of the anime as far as I'm concerned.  For future archival and watching purposes, only the remade versions matter.

Some day I hope to do the same for One Piece.  If One Pace ever creates a complete version of the original work I'll happily scrap everything that came before then as well.

Naruto Kai is immeasurably better than the original.  It cuts away all the useless time wasters and just tells us the story as it was meant to be, as it was written.  It's unthinkable to ever return to the useless Naruto we've had to endure up until this point for all these wasted years.

It isn't perfect.  There are some annoying technical glitches.  The openings and endings are all gone when I would've preferred seeing them all at least once a piece.  A lot of scenes are still allowed to drag on too long.  A lot of recap recollections should have been expunged but were allowed to remain.  But compared to the filler-plagued junk we had before, it's like a whole nother series.

And this new series, Naruto Kai, was released all at once, in its completed form, earlier this year.  Which means this year now contains the full worth of the last 20 years of aired Naruto, they all count towards the quality of this year alone.  Which means 2018 is a fantastic year in anime, and its #1 release is insanely better than any other #1 release of any previous year.  We're talking 72+ volumes worth of material here!  How can anyone beat that?

Who needs Hugtto Pretty Cure, Bolt, or Steins;Gate 0 when you've got Naruto Kai?  It turns out 2018 is going to do just fine anime wise.

* * *

As I was rewatching Naruto Kai, I also came across two really good songs.  I eventually figured out they were Bunta and Jiraiya's Theme, which I already owned but for some reason hadn't included in my hall of fame yet.  That's been corrected.  I took out a bad song from Vagrant Story and a remix from Final Fantasy 12, so the music hall of fame is still the same song total: 5292 songs, 12 days in continuous play length.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

17 110's:

All 17 of my World of Warcraft characters are now max level, one week before the ending of Legion and the beginning of Battle for Azeroth.  Impeccable timing, I daresay.

Due to a glitch, Blizzard decided to reward all 110's a legendary item of their choice a few weeks before the expansion's close.  This meant I got to try out all the legendaries available in the expansion, which was super fun.  The legendary gear has such high item level that it's well beyond what you can even receive at the start of Battle for Azeroth.

Due to the 'catch-up' gear world quests in Darkshore, even my newly minted 110's have high item levels.  Everyone is primed and ready to go for the expansion.  They probably won't need any new gear until they reach level 115 or even 120.

Legion made all this possible.  I was able to skip most of the time the game was available and yet still reach 110 with good gear on 17 characters.  The innovative world quest mechanic with epic item rewards, Argus and its unsullied/relinquished gear that anyone can get solo, the legion invasions with huge experience awards that makes leveling easy, they really made it easy for people to get ahead in this expansion.  It was nicer than any other expansion while still providing plenty of difficulty in the form of mythic dungeons, raids and mage tower challenges.

This customer-friendliness, this favoritism towards alts and solo players, makes Legion the best WoW experience out of all the expansions.

It all started with everyone getting their own individualized artifact weapon.  Then they had their own individualized profession quests and order hall campaigns, and there were even separate quests for the horde and the alliance in each zone, making for yet more replayability.

I've never seen so much unique content in WoW.  Add in the hundreds or even thousands of world quests that appear after you reach max level, and just how much new content did they pump into this thing?

There were so many other good things about Legion.  The music, graphics, gameplay, etc, were all fine.  The cinematics were awesome.  But one thing Legion did exceptionally well was utilization of all the previous content in the game in new and interesting ways.  So many quests sent us all over the world, to Pandaria, to Northrend, to Deepholm, wherever, we got to re-explore the past ten years of effort the developers put into all those environments.  We talked to people we had met long ago and thought no longer important -- like the Ebon Blade, the Silver Hand, the Earthen Ring, etc, etc.  The lore was so deep -- everyone we had ever met or interacted with over the past ten years of previous expansions was working alongside us against the Burning Legion.

Add in the awesome new zones of Aszuna, Val'sharah, Broken Shore, Argus and Suramar.  Especially Suramar.  The stealth through enemy city, spy-vs.-spy stuff, was unprecedented and absolutely amazing.

Plus the fact that the entire expansion was free to play.  And did I mention the entirely new class which was the best class in the game?  Demon Hunters.

Demon Hunters can freely glide, double jump, rush forward, run quickly, etc, etc.  They're a pleasure to play and can go anywhere you want quickly and effortlessly.  And then when they actually join the fight they're absolutely devastating.  Cool new mechanics like eye beam made their debut.

Demon Hunter wasn't really the only new class introduced, though.  Survival Hunters, Outlaw Rogues, Demonology Warlocks and others had such huge changes made to them they may as well have been new classes.  All the changes were for the better and super fun.

Also, the game went back to its roots.  No more nonsense time traveling or fighting a bunch of incarnated emotions.  No, we were back to the iconic fight between Azeroth and the Burning Legion.  Demons versus mortals.  Where everything began.  And not only did we fight the last boss who had always been the problem from the beginning of Warcraft 1, we beat him.  The plot actually advanced.  What's more satisfying than closure like that?

Not to mention that all the dungeons were perfectly designed to be unique and engaging experiences you can play infinity times without growing bored.  There's always a way to slightly improve your play, and there aren't any dumb gimmicks that render your character's abilities moot.  In dungeons you can really learn your craft.

Legion delivered on all fronts and was the best WoW has ever been.  Which leaves a big question mark surrounding Battle for Azeroth -- where can you go from here?  How do you improve on perfection?  Allied races certainly aren't going to cut it.  But we'll see.  Maybe the plot will develop in interesting ways.  Maybe the new zones will be super fun.  In six days we'll know.  But my prediction is it won't be even remotely as fun as Legion was.  How could it be?  Nothing else WoW ever did was.  Legion was a fountain of fun, a miraculous experience we'll never see again.  But even if Battle for Azeroth is half as fun as Legion, it will still be twice as fun as any other game.  That's why WoW is #1.

Fairy Tail Blue Mistral volume 4 available:

Now up at the amazon store, for kindle or in paperback, the conclusion to Fairy Tail: Blue Mistral!  This was the absolute best of the spinoffs by far.  Wendy Marvell is the most beautiful girl in creation and the artist literally cast her as an angel, and drew her angelic grace, for the final four chapters!

Ah man, it doesn't get any better than that.

Even when the entirety of the main line Fairy Tail manga is animated, Fairy Tail's value added manga won't drop much.  Between the 100 Years Quest sequel and all the spinoffs, Fairy Tail is still one of the best manga-only products around.  I'll probably drop it to #18 just below Eden's Zero when that day arrives. 

Since Blue Mistral will never be animated, everyone should just go buy a copy of their own and enjoy heaven on Earth -- again, literally!  Literally!  Wendy's literally an angel!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, August 6, 2018

SAO volume 18 chapter 23 fully translated:

We're almost there.  Just an epilogue and a prologue away from the completion of the Alicization arc.  This arc is longer than all the rest of SAO combined, so it's a rather big deal to reach its ending.  This was the final chapter of Alicization, but it still ends on a cliffhanger.  We have to wait until the epilogue, I guess, to see if Kirito and Asuna can rejoin the real world.

There's no telling how long it will take until the anime reaches this point so it would be wiser to just hurry up and read it all.  As usual the translation can be found over at defans translations.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Rumi Okubo:

The latest addition to my 'anime voices' hall of fame is Rumi Okubo.  She's the seiyuu behind Alstolfo from Fate/Apocrypha and Cure Muse from Suite Precure.

She's also played dozens of other roles, but none of them much mattered.  She shines brightest in Fate/Apocrypha and that's why she belongs among the world's elite.  Why is her voice so good?  I think it's because she manages to come off as carefree and yet when the words reach our ears they cause us all sorts of emotions.  It's a weird disconnect, a discordance, that makes her so unique.  How can she care so little and make us care so much?  Sort of like how she's playing a high-pitched boy who looks like a girl, her performance is a continuous intrigue of contradictions.

Even in Suite Precure she plays two contradictory roles.  As Cure Muse, she was cool, mysterious, and mature -- and yet when the truth is revealed that she's just a little girl who misses her parents, suddenly a completely different voice appropriate to her age emerges.  Of all things, she only looked adult via her alter ego by wearing super tall boots.  Rumi Okubo is the perfect conveyor of ambiguity.

This marks the 82nd female seiyuu worthy of honor and the 126th seiyuu in all.  Hopefully someday the list will reach 200, but until then these are the only names and voices worth memorizing.