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Sunday, June 23, 2013

PSP Emulator Released:

Well, we didn't have to wait long for this!  The day after I complained that the PSP emulator hadn't been released, it was released.  Now people can freely play PSP games without having to buy the console or the games, which opens up a lot of possibilities.

For one thing, there are vital visual novel type games released only to the PSP.  For instance, Oreimo, or Toradora, or Sword Art Online Infinity Moment.  But since these games aren't translated yet this is only a half win.  The same is true of Final Fantasy Type 0 which, without a translation, isn't much use to anyone.  Just yesterday a translation group finished providing an english translation patch for the Donganronpa PSP visual novel game, so this is a rather timely event for a PSP emulator to come out in the nick of time to play it with.  However, there's no real point playing the game now because an anime adaption of the game is coming out in a couple weeks, and since anime tends to be better than any other medium at story telling, you're better off just watching the anime and ignoring the game.  A shame -- if the translation or emulator had come out a little sooner, it may have served some purpose, but now, not so much!

Second, there are some PSP exclusive RPG's that should be high quality games -- FF VII Crisis Core, The 3rd Birthday (Parasite Eve), Valkyria Chronicles II & III, and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep are good examples.

Lastly, there are some remakes/ports of older games that have been improved before appearing on the PSP:  Final Fantasy I, II, III, IV, and Tactics, Star Ocean I & II, and Tales of Eternia are good examples.

A PSP emulator isn't much worth for games like Metal Gear Solid or Blazblue, because these games are just strictly inferior versions of games on real consoles like the PS3.  There's no point having a strictly inferior gaming experience when you could instead have a strictly superior version of the game.  That's why RPG's are so good, because depending on the story, it could be uniquely good despite the bad graphics.  Playing a low graphics fighting or shooting game is worthless, but playing a low graphics but uniquely charming RPG in order to see the story is just as good as ever.  The PSP is in a much better position when it's porting games from older consoles and improving them, than when it's porting games from better consoles and making them worse.

As limited as the PSP gaming library may be, it's still a welcome addition to the gaming world.  When you combine this with all the great games coming out for PS3 and the PS4 coming out later this year, yet again 2013 proves itself to be the year of gaming.

Macross Plus blu-ray still isn't subbed, it has a weird situation where the movie is subbed, but the oav series is only available dubbed.  Until the oav's are also subbed I can't say the blu-ray version is better than the old dvd's, which do have Japanese audio and english subtitles.  This still stays on my long wait list.

Meanwhile, with just a week left before the spring series end, what have we learned?

Suisei really isn't that good.  It betrayed its initial premise and went off on an extreme side tangent, which was never remotely as interesting as the conflict between the Galactic Alliance and the Hideauz.  The anime practically trolled us.

Doki Doki Precure is one of the best Precure ever.  The latest episode proved this beyond all doubt.

Railgun Sisters is far and away the best season in this Index/Railgun franchise.  Anyone not watching this spectacular show is a fool.

 Hunter x Hunter's chimera ant arc is the best arc in the series by far.  The latest episode proved this as well.

Valvrave is much better than it initially pretended to be.  The evolution of Haruto and Saki's relationship has been mesmerizing.  I can't wait for the second season to air this fall.

Shingeki no Kyojin can stay cool for only so long by repeating the same scenes over and over and over again.  Hopefully the summer portion of this show will be better than the spring has been.

Zettai Bouei Leviathan had a very simple idea executed brilliantly.  Take a typical fantasy world, have some typical adventurers engage in typical RPG questing behavior, and somehow through the use of great art, great voice acting, and great humor, make it a thrill to watch every week.  For a very weak initial premise to work with, with very little the story could say or do, this anime really punched above its weight.

Hataraku Maou is a wonderful series that managed to enoble the lives of the most despised portions of our populace -- NEETs, 'house-husbands,' minimum wage unskilled workers, and even demons.  It's a champion of the underdog, the little guy, and the despised.  A truly unique series that uses humor as a tool to educate us all about the worth of a human being far exceeding his productivity.

Hayate Cuties, though chronologically chaotic, managed to deliver great new content and laughs, and remind us of how charming the girls of this series are each individually as well as all taken together.  This season did a lot to cement Hayate's anime greatness (it is already one of the best mangas ever), it's just a shame that this will probably be the last one, because the third season sold so poorly due to various adaptation mistakes.  From here on viewers will have to rely on the manga, which I encourage everyone to do.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigateiru just doesn't work.  The author of the series has no idea how to write characters, which makes them all come off as awful, despicable people you would never wish to interact with.  He wrote the books clearly so he could give a series of great cutting monologues about life in general and modern society.  He is a Montaigne writing essays in a fictional light novel form, and the two mediums just don't intersect well.  I don't begrudge an author getting his message out and making money any way he can, but as a result the anime sucked overall.

Chihayafuru had a great moment when Misuzawa won the team high school Karuta championship.  After that, the story lost a lot of momentum because who really cares what happens next?  For the number of episodes this series has, very little plot development or character development ever occurs.  Maybe a third or fourth season would make this story really shine, since the 2nd clearly isn't enough to get us anywhere.

Oreimo won't be over until this August, so I'll defer any conclusions about the series until then.

One Piece has the pacing of a snail.  Perhaps a hibernating snail.  It's almost painful to watch now.

Gundam SEED Destiny has convinced me that ZAFT should just genocide the Earth already and be done with it.  What a bunch of ignorant, rabid, ungrateful scum the Federation is.  To hell with them all.

Miyakawa-ke has shown that even low budget, super short shows can be great.

Namiuchigiwa, meanwhile, has shown that most of the time such shows really suck.

Girls und Panzer and Saki Achiga both had magnificent endings.  Bravo, and can't wait for the sequels to both shows.

Eighteen spring series I watched until the end, the rest I dropped along the way, so you can imagine what my conclusions concerning those shows were.  Overall, it's a fantastic time to be an anime fan, as every season simply adds to our mountain of treasures, and the spring season has done a great deal to contribute its part to the whole.

I have a sneaking suspicion the summer anime season is going to provide way more than 18 watchable shows.  I'll keep my fingers crossed until this suspicion is confirmed.  The summer season begins, in some cases, as early as next week.  Plus le change!

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