For Those Looking For Free Lessons...
September 29th, 2005

Game Arts and UBISoft Show Us Exactly How To NOT Make A Good RPG

Yeah, it seems every game I've looked forward to this year has been complete and total garbage. Videogame hiatus imminent.


Teh Animaezzz
September 27th, 2005

Nope, you're not hallucinating. I'm gonna take a couple minutes and talk about a couple anime that I *GASP* recently watched. Yes, after over two and a half years of being completely burnt out on anime due to you anime otaku [REDACTED]s, I've recently had a bit of an anime "reawakening."

Earlier this year I started purchasing Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex but stopped doing so volume by volume because the series just isn't easy to digest like that. Now that the whole series is out on DVD now, I'll be picking up the final 4 volumes this week.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANYWAY, since I caught the anime bug recently and didn't wanna re-watch anything in my old VHS/DVD collection, I gave a couple titles the ol' download.

Elfen Lied
This one came highly recommended from a lot of sources. I didn't really have anything else to go on going into this anime other than, "OMG SO VIOLENT OLO!!!"

Elfen Lied is a gory tale of mutant human beings known as "Diclonius" born with horns on their heads who develop highly destructive telekenetic abilities at an early age. These children are usually tracked down, "collected," and whisked off to a mysterious agency to be studied. The reasons for the Diclonius' confinement stretches far beyond merely studying them and keeping them out of society for the good of humanity, but it ultimately feels a little contrived. But this is anime, so seriously what doesn't? Suspend disbelief a bit, you fucks.

One night, an imprisoned Diclonius breaks free from her confinement and unleashes what can only be accurately described as all 147 flavors of "I Just Fucking Killed You." She is eventually immobilized but not before her pursuers lose track of her. She's later found by two hapless college students and they decide to take her in for whatever fuck reason. Like I said, suspend disbelief. When she finally regains consciousness, she appears nothing like the ruthless killing machine we saw in the first 6 minutes of the show. Instead, she seems to have lost her memory and can only speak one word. (Boy is that a trend I wish would die already.)

And that sets everything into motion. Elfen Lied's somewhat complex plot unravels itself at a decent pace through all 14 episodes managing to end EVERY SINGLE EPISODE in a cliffhanger making it really hard to stop watching for the night. You're given a really good amount of story and back-story in every episode, so there are no "filler" episodes to speak of. This one's locked to the plot entirely.

While the plot is interesting, the characters are just God awful boring at times. Kohta and Yuka, the college going cousins who take in the escaped Diclonius have absolutely no distinguishable attitudes or features whatsoever. Since they're at the center of this unfolding storyline it's really odd that they have almost no real identifiable features. The small storyline that plays out between them hardly helps bring them to the center of the stage at all. The "main" character Lucy (the escaped Diclonius) switches between two personalities throughout the series. "Lucy" being her killing-machine half, and "Nyuu," being her annoying stupid fuck cutesy half who can only say "nyuu." Other characters such as Lucy's rival Nana and her papa seem to stand out more than most everyone else. It's a very cliche'd and what would seem like a boring cast, but for some reason, I ended up liking most of them in the end.

This show has something that seriously might just offend everyone. During the first 6 minutes of the show it's like they wanted to see exactly how much red they could paint the screen with at any given time. I didn't find the violence all that disturbing, though. It came off kind of Kill Bill-ish most of the time. Limbs being severed from bodies, heads exploding, tons of nudity (though none of it is there for sexual purpose), pedophilia (a brief flashback scene), and awful bludgeonings of an animal or two seriously might turn a lot of people off to this show. Definitely not for everyone.

All in all though, I have to say I enjoyed the show even with all the shortcomings. I can't really put my finger on what it is that I love so much about the show, it's just one that when it ended, I wanted to see and know more.


Gunslinger Girl
Chicks with guns. It's an overdone concept, but I feel that Gunslinger Girl kinda wormed its way through toward being just a TEENSY more than the others.

Terminally ill or severely wounded girls are given a second chance at life using new cybernetic bodies. The catch? They're brainwashed into becoming deadly assassins loyal only to their male companions and the organization they work for. That's the base premise for Gunslinger Girl. Though the title may imply that this is a solid action anime akin to something like Noir, that's actually pretty far from what Gunslinger Girl really is.

Gunslinger Girl does have some really slick looking action segments and its own fair share of the gore, but it focuses more on the relationships that exist (or in some cases don't) between the girls and their chosen "handlers."

The majority of the series seems to take place from the point of view of Henrietta and her handler Jose. We find that the relationship formed between the two is very similar to that of a father and daughter and is often contrasted by how the other girls' handlers treat them. Some handlers see their girls as merely tools to accomplish a mission, while others simply distance themselves from their girls as far as possible. We get to see how this affects both parties in the process, and most of the series is made up of episodes focusing on certain girl/handler combos.

While it may seem like the formula of a male being paired with a pubescent girl in an anime is just ripe for the loli, this series thankfully takes the high road. The girls are never sexualized in any way or even come close to being seen on screen naked. I found the depictions of the various relationships between the handlers and the girls to actually be quite interesting and really felt like a lot of thought and heart went into them. Seeing Henrietta's happy and almost loving relationship with Jose versus other girls who only follow their handlers blindly with unwavering loyalty, or girls who only want to be noticed or even loved back honestly kept me interested. Maybe it's a chick flick thing.

Sadly though, the series really ends up going nowhere. It's too episodic and self-contained to really say that the plot is great or anything. The characters are greatly fleshed out and could have easily pushed a large 26 episode ongoing plot forward.

Overall though, I did enjoy Gunglinger Girl, even if just for the characters and their stories. A really calm and relaxing, but welcome entry even if it doesn't quite live up to its name. Oh and it's got a great opening theme.

And come on, there's just something oddly enjoyable about seeing something psychotic as a little girl mowing down hordes of terrorists with machineguns!



Mission Critical Announcement
September 22nd, 2005

Nope, this isn't an update!


September 13th, 2005

I think Nintendogs would be a cooler concept if we could get versions featuring various Nintendo-themed critters. I know a lot of you idiots would probably be all about owning a [REDACTED]gy Pikachu or a [REDACTED]ed Yoshi, but I'd totally be all over owning a virtual Metroid. Metroids are neither [REDACTED]gy nor [REDACTED]ed. They're cute!

But, the Flashy up there at the top made my Kjilly is good enough for me. He's my pet, but I guess you can play with him too.


September 11th, 2005


September 2nd, 2005

Thanks to my dad for a friggin GREAT early birthday present! Yesterday, a brand-new shiney silverey Nintendo DS was bestowed upon me and the angels did sing! I had intended on buying one myself, as I'd bought a copy of Nanostray even before I'd really finally made up my mind about it, but now I'm $129 richer and he's $129 poorer so it all works out in the end for everybody.

The system may not be the most aesthetically pleasing handheld on the market. It's kinda bulky, and not really as portable as the GameBoy Advance SP or even the original GBA, but really that doesn't matter all that much. For all it does, I think it's still an okay size.

The LCD screens are just flat out gorgeous. They're vibrant and bright enough to make even the darkest of games not so hard on the ol eyeballs. Not only do DS games look great on these screens, but pop a GameBoy Advance game in and sit back in awe at how sharp and crips those pictures are. I played through Metroid: Zero Mission once, and just couldn't believe how beautiful this thing made it look compared to the SP.

The controls might feel a little stiff at first, but it did when I got my SP too. The D-Pad is the same from the SP, and Nintendo finally listened and done something it should have done in the first place and gave this handheld 4 face buttons. The L and R buttons might also feel a little wonky if you're not familliar with the SP as well, but it's not something you can't get used to. The touch screen is as responsive as it needs to be and using the Stylus to do things on the bottom screen becomes second nature after about 20-30 minutes of use.

Another great feature is the unit's stereo sound. The DS features two speakers to the left and right of the top screen that put out some very nice and crystal clear stereo audio. There's a volume adjuster on the bottom of the unit, and the range is pretty good, but you'll probably be playing on max volume the whole time just like every other Nintendo handheld. Another wise addition was giving us back the headphone jack which was sadly absent from the SP. Through headphones the audio is just as clear and is never too loud and never bleeds.

I was skeptical of this thing at first. I think everyone was. It was such an odd concept for two screens and one of them being sensitive to touch. But, as it's been proven time and time again, it's the software that makes the machine. Awesome new titles are beginning to roll out for this thing and it's going to be exceedingly difficult to keep up. A damn rock-solid piece of hardware, and I'm happy I own one.


And if you didn't happen to catch the link up there before, after spending an entire night/half of today doing and seeing everything that it had to offer, I decided to up and do a review of Nanostray.

Also worth nothing, I have no way to take screenies of DS games, so I've attatched the .swf that made me want Nanostray in the first place to the review.


It's 1:18am, What Do You Want?
September 1st, 2005

Seems I always have a new review or something else ready to update the site with right before the first of every month, and this month is no different. So, head on over to the reviews section and check out my little piece on Operation C for the GameBoy.

I'm hoping to have a little more content here this month, as I feel a little more motivated...a little more. One big article planned for sure, and another special "week" of games to hopefully make it out next week or the week after that, so stay tuned, because the internet is a TV show.


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