This is a reblog of my site http://geekysweetie.com – Other stuff may appear here such as reblogs from other wordpress.com sites. I blog and reblog about anime, video games, kdrama, toys, technology, and kawaii fashion and decor.
This review honestly has been long overdue. I’m sure many of our readers already play Line Play everyday. This cute anime-styled game has been popular for a number of years now. It offers everything you could want in a dressup game, pets, cute outfits, rooms, fishing, minigames, and even chat rooms. There’s tons of stuff to do and new items being released constantly into the game which gets updated quite often with new cute things to collect, new minigames, or limited time events.
Geeky: 3/5 – Although it is saccharine overload at times, if you’re not opposed to a “cutesy” game, then Line Play actually has a ton of features and is more robust and in depth than a lot of other anime dressup games. There are also a lot of skill-based minigames which provide a fun challenge and way to earn in-game currency. It does however sometimes suffer connection issues or lag which is why I can’t rate it higher.
Sweetie: 5/5 – This game oozes charm and cuteness at every corner. It also partners with big-brand names you know and love such as Hello Kitty, Sailor Moon, Disney, and Show by Rock, as well as offering tons of options to customize your avatar, your room, even raising cute pets! It also has a journal system and chat rooms making it almost a social network as much as it’s also a game.
Overall: 60/80 75% C “Good Game For Girls”
Concept: 10/10 – I’ve mentioned it a few times, but this game has just a ton of things to do! You can go fishing, you can raise a pet, you can play skill-based minigames, you can dressup your avatar as well as decorate your room by layering different items from thousands if not millions of combinations. The social networking aspects are also a great way to make friends, or play together with your real life friends. There are multiple worlds you can explore and lots of new things to see and do which get added regularly with new updates.
Gameplay: 8/10 Although there is a lot to do in this game, it does become tedious and repetitive after long periods of play. The game also suffers from occasional lag or connectivity issues. However, those two small flaws aside, this game is a lot of fun. You get to interact with other players which makes the game world feel very immersive and alive. You can choose to play various minigames which require speed, skill, and a bit of luck. You can go fishing, explore multiple different themed worlds where you can chat or roleplay with your friends, or just spend hours alone in your room decorating your home, playing with your pet, writing in your journal, or trying on new outfits.
Story: 2/10 – I thought about giving story a zero to be honest, but then I remembered that there are occasional events which present a story in comic book form (similar to Gaia Online, actually almost everything about this game is very much like Gaia Online). These stories are cute and short, sometimes continued through multiple-part events. But ultimately, there really is no true overarching story of any kind.
Graphics:10/10 – This game is just so cute. The game is in 2D isometric top-down view reminiscent of many retro or anime-styled games. There is a lot of work put into the sheer amount of graphics needed to create this game. Really no two avatars ever look alike thanks to hundreds of thousands of different items. Items get removed and added in almost daily. When you first start the game, you can select to either be a human or furrie. This setting cannot be changed later, and both races have access to different face items. You customize everything about yourself, from your hair, to your shoes, to your eyes, nose, lips, shirt or dress, and then you can choose different accessories to accent your outfit. You also can decorate and expand your room. You can invite your friends over to party together in your room or go see your friends’ rooms too. There are also many open world areas for you to go explore each with a different cute theme! The user interface is also clean and intuitive.
Music: 5/10 – It’s cute at first, but gets old very quickly. Also I found some of the minigame music and sound effects to get distracting at times. There are lots of cute sound effects when fishing or playing with your friends. However, the main theme song gets used so often and in so many different areas of the world, that you will grow tired of it after a few hours max.
Community: 7/10 – Most of the people I’ve met in Line Play have been very nice and friendly; however, for being a social network, it seems most people are not that social. It’s probably more fun if you already have a group of friends to play with. However, there are several different chat rooms as well as the ability to chat in the open world areas, the journal system (where friends can leave a comment), and the ability to import friends from popular social networks such as Line and Facebook. It also features private messaging, group chats, or the ability to invite friends to see your room, or meet new ones in any of the open world areas. Friends can also help you out in various minigames or by sending you a “heart”. Once you get over that initial hurdle of making a few friends, Line Play definitely provides you all the tools you need to continue to foster that friendship. Since the game features kawaii graphics, many of the players in Line Play share common interests such as anime and games which can help when making new friends especially if you’re shy or introverted. On the other hand, because of the cute and simplistic nature of the game, the Line Play community also has many young children and teens and not very many active players who are over 30, such as myself, which can make it awkward or difficult to make new friends as well.
Replay Value: 10/10 Thanks to a wide variety of minigames and different activities to enjoy, as well as frequently updated content, limited events, and the drive to collect new and rare items for your home and avatar, this game keeps you coming back to see what’s new or to chat with your friends.
My Death Note Amane Misa Jun Planning Figure that I received in my September Boxychan Subscription Box is worth almost $50. According to http://myfigurecollection.net/item/1497 – I’m so happy with Boxychan. Read my other Boxychan review here I hope the company stays around forever. Not only did I get this expensive figure, but I got a manga worth $9.95 and an anime DVD worth probably $20-ish and a few other small toys. Total box value at least $80. Cost me only $25. They have many other themes too not just “anime” but the anime one is my favorite! I’ve been thrilled every month by this box. It’s the best subscription box ever! 🙂
Everything is 100% Legit and Officially Licensed and high quality. Not cheap or pirated stuff. I’ve been with Boxychan since June, and this is the first month that I’ve not received a funko-pop figure. Instead it had the high-quality Death Note figure mentioned above. Jun Planning also makes Pullips. I wish they’d include a Pullip in the next box LOL. I want to collect them but haven’t had time/money yet🙂.
I put pics up on my instagram every month – but I’m sometimes too lazy to do a full review. You can check out http://instagram.com/xenokitten for more info and pics.
This month’s box also had a REALLY cute looking DVD (which I haven’t had a chance to watch yet as the box just arrived yesterday) and a Manga (titled “Translucent”) which seems right up my alley. Past boxes have had a lot of cute shoujo stuff too such as Studio Ghibli, Sailor Moon, Miku Hatsune, and a manga called Nui about stuffed animals that come to life, and lots of cute things. It also has some shonen things too, I’ve gotten a lot of Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul, and Death Note Merchandise over the last few months.
It’s the perfect box for any anime fan. I’m just saying this out of my own enjoyment and excitement. As far as I know, boxychan doesn’t have any kind of referal program, so I benefit nothing by giving a review for them. I buy the boxes with my own money, and I really enjoy them every month!
Geeky: 2/5 – No action here, but a lot of comedy. It’s also pretty heavy on romance though, so if Rom-coms aren’t your thing, I wouldn’t recommend this one.
Sweetie: 3/5 – Kaho’s character is perhaps the worst defined within this series and the most boring, despite being the main character, and a female lead who we witness the story through. Her relationship also never grows nor do the characters experience any significant growth or development. However, this is a cute, innocent, heart warming anime. The characters are likable, and the art style is kawaii. The blend of romance and comedy make this Slice of Life a fun one to watch, but if you’re expecting a serious and strong love story, the plot here falls short of that.
Overall: 42/55 76% C “Good Anime For Girls”
Concept: 8/10 Hatsukoi Monster focuses on a romantic relationship between the female lead, Kaho, whom is 15 years old, and Kanade, who is a fifth grader. Just like with the education system in the United States, fifth graders in Japan are between 10 and 11 years old. Kanade (and many of his friends) look much older, but their actions give way to just how young they truly are. Since both the anime and the manga are currently in production still at time of this review, who knows how it will end. I speculate that they’ll jump time forward at some point. There are some people who are “grossed out” or “weirded out” by the age gap. But it’s only a 5 year age difference. I’ve dated as much as 8 years older or younger than me, but the difference is, I’m in my 30s, not in my teens lol. But the point I’m trying to make is that, by time the couple (Kaho and Kanade) enter college, this is no longer weird or creepy. Plenty of people have relationships in this age range. AND Kaho is just a child still herself even in the current time-line. It’s not THAT creepy. In fact, I applaud it for daring to do something different from most highschool anime romantic comedies. The characters in Hatsukoi Monster are charming, funny, innocent, and pure. And it’s rare to see an anime or manga with an older woman dating a younger guy.
Each episode features conflicts which arise as a result of the age gap between the couple. There’s a lot of tension, misunderstandings, and mistakes made by both Kaho and Kanade. For both of them it is their first love, hence the title of this anime. They both need to mature a lot if their relationship is to survive. Luckily they have help from various people in their apartment complex who try to help them smooth things over, or conversely, provoke them to be more honest about their feelings.
It’s largely a comedy anime while the romance takes a back seat to the childish antics of Kanade and his gang. If you like comedy anime with a hint of romance, and don’t mind drama, cliffhangers, and relationship tension being thrown at you each week then you will really enjoy Hatsukoi Monster. Some of the jokes and humor are pretty low-brow but what do you expect from a cast consisting mostly of 10 year olds? A lot of the jokes and humor get reused each week too, especially the pranks that Kanade and his friends like to play (which in true 10 year old fashion, they find equally hilarious no matter how many times they pull the same stunt).
Story: 7/10 Kaho has lived a sheltered life of privilege and never been exposed to the realities of the outside world. Wanting to experience life for herself, she moves into an apartment complex known as the Kasumi House. On her way to her new home, Kaho almost gets into an accident. Kanade saves her and proceeds to chew her out for not watching where she is going. No one has ever raised their voice or spoken frankly to Kaho. This, plus Kanade’s cool demeanor and good looks cause Kaho to fall in love at first sight. Only later does she discover that the two of them will be living together from now on, and that Kanade is actually the 10 year old son of her apartment manager.
This is a Slice of Life anime, each episode focusing on another day in the Kasumi House. Kanade and his friends play tag, go to school, participate in sports events, culture festivals, or study for exams. While it shows us a lot of sweet, funny, or touching moments with Kanade and his friends, it falls short of showing us much backstory about Kaho, the supposed main character in this whole mess. Everything is told from Kaho’s perspective, so it would’ve been nice to see her school life, and more of her family life. As for friends, she doesn’t have any from being sheltered, but it would’ve been nice to see her grow and mature and make friends on her own (Aside from those at the Kasumi House of course). It’s almost as if Kaho exists in a bubble and her sole purpose is to chase after Kanade.
Since there’s only 1 or 2 episodes left at time of this review, my main complaint is that the story just never really seems to go anywhere. Each week is the same, with breaking up and making up, and similar antics and mischief. The couple never grows or really gets over their misunderstandings or able to handle their emotions.
Characters: 9/10 Almost all of the characters, except for Kaho herself, have really interesting personalities and back stories, though some are way over the top and eccentric. Kanade’s friends each represent some common roles we’ve seen in other anime, but they take it to extremes at times which just highlights the comedic nature of this anime.
For example, Taga is your typical tsundere. (hard on the outside but with a soft spot for certain things). His soft spot is Kanade whom he says reminds him of himself when he was that age. He is excessively rude to Kaho (possibly because he loves her). He calls her Breadcrumb girl and Garbage Girl, he intentionally does things to make Kaho cry in front of Kanade, which provoke’s Kanade’s protective instincts and sometimes helps them repair their relationship as a result of Taga playing badguy to let Kanade come “save the princess”.
Nagasawa is an Otaku, he has an obsession with a crossplaying young idol by the name of Renren who bares a striking resemblence to one of Kanade’s friends. As a result he usually tricks them into playing dressup and fantasizing about his idol. His room is full of dolls, toys, posters, books, CDs, movies, and costumes surrounding his fandom.
Shinohara is a very shy and frail character who also has a crush on Kaho, however, he is unable to overcome his fears or be honest about his feelings.
Kaz, Gin, and Tom make up the 3 main friends of Kanade and are featured prominently in each episode. Gin and Tom are both similar to Kanade, they look much taller and older than their mental state and actual age. Kaz on the other hand looks very small and young even for his age, but despite that, he acts as the voice of reason among the group.
Kaho’s brother makes an appearance later in the series, and is obsessed to the point where he’s almost actually in love with Kaho. Another similar character, but a female version of him, lives in the Kasumi House, and she is equally obsessed with Kanade’s father.
Shugo is Kanade’s father who has been raising Kanade as a single dad since his wife (Kanade’s mother) passed away when Kanade was small.
Artwork: 5/5 – I love all the character designs, they are really super cute and colorful. Each character looks unique and distinctive.
Music: 5/5 The opening and ending themes are very memorable and catchy. The opening theme is more Pop feeling, while the ending theme is definitely more Rock inspired. The background music throughout is also really well done. Most of the music throughout is fast paced which seems to fit the energy and enthusiasm of Kanade and his friends.
Voice Acting: 3/5 – While some of the characters such as Kanade, Kaho, Kaz, Taga, and Shinohara are almost perfectly cast, I have some issues with some of the other actors. Namely Gin and Tom, who both sound much older than Kanade and much too old for 5th graders, even if their voices have already dropped, they just don’t sound even like high schoolers, but instead like much older men. Overall, all of the actors delivered emotional and exciting performances that (for the most part) fit their characters well.
I just recently joined the millions of users addicted to Apple Iphones when Iphone 6S came out. (Though I had wanted one for a long time before that as well due to all of the amazing games on the app store.)
The Iphone 7 improves the Retina HD display by using a larger screen that’s 25% brighter and boasts a wider color range than the Iphone 6S.
The Iphone 7 has a 4.7″ screen with 1334 X 750 resolution while the Iphone 7 Plus has a 5.5″ screen and 1920 X 1080 resolution.
But the biggest most exciting improvement is the camera. The Iphone 7 Plus has 2 cameras – One with a wide-angle and Another with a telephoto lens – each capable of 12MP. They also have all-new-depth-of-field effects which I assume are like Bokeh effects which we see in DSLR photography. This is a technique that’s used to focus on the subject in the foreground and blur the background, creating sometimes circles or dots of light that give it a dreamy, fantasy-looking glow like quality. – which would be great for doll photography by the way, if you collect ABJD such as myself. the zoom on the camera has also been improved with optical zoom at 2x and digital zoom up to 10x for photos and 6x for video.
It’s also the first Iphone to be water resistant, which opens up even newer possibilities for photography enthusiasts or hobbyists who like to travel / snorkel / swim or splash and play while on vacation and documenting their vacay photos with their smartphones.
The other big enhancement is the processor speed. It is 2 times faster than the Iphone 6. They are claiming it is the most powerful processor ever in a smartphone.
This Iphone also has the longest battery life ever in a smart phone. As an Iphone 6S owner, I love the long battery life. I can go 2 or 3 days sometimes without recharging, even when browsing the net, playing apps, or using navigation for 2+ hours a day sometimes. — I can’t immagine the battery life getting even better, but that’s definitely always a good thing!
The sound system has also been redesigned. It now supports stereo sound and is 2 times louder than the Iphone 6S. You can connect Apple EarPods with the lightning connector or use the brand new wireless Airpods.
They’ve also made significant improvements to the speed of LTE connectivity and roaming (although I don’t really understand how because this seems like it should be a carrier specific issue.) – It is 3 Times faster than the Iphone 6 and over 50% faster than the Iphone 6S – and LTE supports up to 25 Bands.
If you’re thinking of upgrading the Iphone 6S to the Iphone 7 – you can get up to $250 immediate credit when you trade in your 6S. Learn more at http://www.apple.com/iphone/trade-up/ Which helps to take a small bite out of the hefty $649 pricetag of the new Iphone 7.
The Iphone 7 releases next Friday on September 16 in over 20 countries around the world.
Are you going to upgrade to the new smartphone? Or hang on to your current model?
As much as I would LOVE the new cameras and faster internet connection, I’m still happy enough with my Iphone 6S — so I will wait this one out! Unless I win one for free or win money or giftcards towards covering some of that cost. I bought my Iphone 6S Out of Contract, and would do the same if I were ever to upgrade to a new model again.
Apple does make it tempting and hard to resist the need to have the latest and greatest smartphone.
But my favorite thing about Apple Iphones is the app store, which all of the Iphones can access 🙂 so whether you upgrade, or stay where you’re at, you really can’t go wrong being an Iphone owner!
This week Sony announced their two new PS4 Models.
The first model the PS4 Slim launches next week on September 15th, 2016. This is the model I plan to purchase myself. It will debut with a price tag of $299 and be almost identical in specs to the current PS4’s already on the market. This model will be taking the place of these “old” PS4s from here on out. It features a more slender design with all matte finish. The new design is 16% lighter weight and 30% more slender in appearance than the previous PS4. It has rubber grips on the bottom to make it more stable, and it boasts energy savings of 34% compared to the original PS4 design. Like it’s predecessor, the PS4 Slim also has a 500GB hard drive. Although a 1TB HD version of the PS4 Slim exists in Japan, they have no plans to release this version in North America.
So in essence, nothing significantly changes with this model. We see a very small price drop from $349 for the “current” PS4 to $299 for the new Slim. I’ve recently saved up enough to finally purchase a PS4, and was going to purchase one regardless of if these new consoles came out or not, so hey, I’ll take a $50 pricedrop, that can buy me a game for the system🙂.
The other, more expensive and exciting model is the PS4 Pro. It will debut on November 10th, 2016 and cost $399. The PS4 Pro is designed for “hardcore gamers” (read: FPS (first person shooters, etc). The PS4 Pro is equipped with an 8 core processor, and 4.2 teraflops graphical processor. This will allow the system to deliver better frame rates in high definition graphically demanding games (such as first person shooters). It’s also able to take advantage of 4k TV sets. I personally have no desire to upgrade to a 4k TV set any time soon – they are nearly 5 to 6 times more expensive than regular HDTVs! These higher CPU and GPU components also better equip the system to take advantage of the virtual reality headset and games designed for PSVR. I have a mild interest in this peripheral but not enough to justify the extra cost of the PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro also has an additional USB port and an Optical port for connecting things such as PSVR or Streaming devices, etc.
ALL PS4 consoles including ones released even prior to the announcement of these 2 new models will be receiving a significant update to allow them to take advantage of new HDR technologies that allow HDR capable TV sets to display colors in more true to life fashion. So no matter which PS4 you get, your games are going to look a lot better after this firmware update.
Keep in mind that ALL PS4 units will play the same games, and have access to the same content. Sony has confirmed that they will not develop exclusive games NOR exclusive game-content that is system specific. — Also all of the systems will work with PSVR – it’s just that the performance of PSVR will be improved significantly on the PS4 Pro – just like the HTC Vive and Occulus Rift require a very high end computer for the best gaming performance.
So which PS4 will you get? My take on it is this: If you enjoy games where frame rate really matters and impacts your performance such as online and multiplayer games or first-person shooters, OR if you have a 4K TV set, OR you’re REALLY into virtual reality save your money and go for the PS4 Pro. If you are a “hardcore gamer” who cares about overall game performance, the PS4 Pro is your go-to system. Except wait… the Xbox Scorpio is going to blow the PS4 out of the water, and if you’re a “hardcore gamer” the types of games that you like and purchase are very likely available on Xbone. So maybe you should wait and get the Xbox Scorpio. — And I’m not an Xbox fangirl. In fact, I don’t like it. I owned the original and 360, and I see nothing exciting (game release wise) to make me want an Xbone or Scorpio. So this is just my honest opinion that if you are a core gamer, you might as well wait and get Scorpio. You’ll be better off.
However, if none of that really matters to you, like me, and you just want to play all the Sony exclusive games, and you tend to favor RPGs and other more “casual games” then the PS4 Slim is your go to console. You save $100, and you can go out in 6 more days and buy it off the shelf – which I plan to do. — If you already have a PS4 – don’t buy the Slim, it’s not meant for you. It’s meant to be a low price model for people who do not yet have a PS4, such as myself.
List Enthusiast has a really awesome infographic about the history of videogames which they’ve allowed me to republish with their permission. I had no idea about some of these early gaming inventions and the impact they’ve had on gamers over the past 60 years. Did you? Which era of gaming is your favorite? This infographic leaves off my personal favorite era of gaming, which I would call “Console Gaming” – It starts to dabble into the history a bit, with Atari but then it jumps to Dreamcast? That leaves out the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis (and peripherals) that defined the 16bit and 32bit era as well as the predecessors the Saturn and N64 which will always be among my favorite gaming platforms.
Still it’s a really interesting look at where gaming’s been and where it’s going. We’ve done a few articles already on VR gaming and there’s no doubt it’s going to be the “next big thing”; and it’s already here and this is only the beginning.
Also take a look at those stats at the end of the infographic! The average age of gamers in the USA is 35! and that’s exactly how old I am too! Yay for old/retro gamers. We rule🙂. There’s also stats about how 4 out of 5 households in the US have at least one gaming console.
Also sad to see that games are still a very much male dominated hobby and industry. Although 48% of all females in the United States identify as gamers (that’s almost half, yo) the amount of those who actually (frequently) purchase video games is lagging behind males who (frequently) purchase videogames by nearly 20%. Us gamer girls need to step it up and represent (by putting our money where our mouths are) so that we can see the release of even more RPG, JRPG, Otome Games, and Visual Novels in the United States. 🙂
Looking for remarkably life-like figures to add to your collection? Willing to splurge a bit to acquire some of the hottest figures on the market? Do you collect figures inspired by some of the most intriguing characters populating media today? Then Phicen is the company for you.
Phicen produces 1/6 scale figures as its specialty. Its team is made up of experts in the fields of art, painting, sculpture, and costuming. Its figures have received worldwide recognition, and are adored by amateur and experienced, dedicated collectors alike.
Phicen is dedicated to ongoing research in the newest production techniques so they can continue to make the most realistic models with the finest details you could imagine. The company has made itself known as one of the top producers in the collectible figure field through the employment of its near-perfect encapsulation technique. Phicen has a true passion for authenticity and quality, along with a drive to advance ease of production and pioneer manufacturing techniques. These qualities have propelled Phicen into the 1/6 scale world, a world in which it has quickly developed and expanded.
As a young girl, Mercy Dante witnessed the murders of both her parents, but was herself spared at the last minute. All she had was her sister Grace, but even she was taken away when Grace killed herself at the age of sixteen. Mercy became bent on revenge, becoming a contract killer just like the murderer of her parents. Eventually, she found her parents’ killer, and kidnapped and murdered his daughter as a way to even the score. The girl’s father, the killer, committed suicide soon after.
However, the event haunted her. The daughter’s ghost followed her until one-day Mercy met up with a woman who said she could help her and give her a second chance. Suddenly Mercy was swept back in time to the minute before she shot the killer’s daughter. This time, she let her go. But there was one more thing she had to do. The woman who offered her a second chance asked her to shoot herself in the head, and Mercy obeyed, traveling to hell in the process.
What follows is a tale heavily influenced by Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically Inferno. In his 14th-century epic poem, Dante travels through the nine circles of hell with the Roman poet Virgil as his guide. Like Dante, Mercy finds herself in the first circle of hell, Limbo, with a mission: she is contracted by a mysterious woman to find a man trapped in a certain ring of hell that only Mercy can reach. He is crucial to a war involving humanity, and finding and freeing him is a way for Mercy to redeem herself. She journeys through hell to find him, encountering some surprises, including Satan, along the way.
Mercy Dante is clearly one badass woman, and her Phicen sixth-scale figure completely does her justice. Her cracked lips and steel-colored eyes glinting behind the edge of a notched dagger, Mercy is ready for her journey down into the depths of hell.
Her seamless body is made with stainless steel armature and comes with cloth costuming, including a long black faux-leather jacket and knee-high boots, a gun holster that sits under the arm, 2.45 automatic pistols, six interchangeable hands, a dagger and sheath, and a base on which to display her. With all of her accouterments, Mercy looks like the unstoppable assassin that she is.
Red Sonja has a long history and is one of the greatest swordswomen of comic book lore, earning her the title “She-Devil with a Sword.” She was born in the Hyborian age as Sonja, and lived humbly with her family until a group of mercenaries murdered her father, mother, and two brothers, burning down their house and all their possessions in the process.
She cried out in anguish and revenge, and the goddess Scathach answered her call. She offered Sonja unequaled battle skill in return for the promise that she would never sleep with a man unless he had honorably bested her in battle.
Sonja accepted the offer and journeyed widely, becoming a legend known for her flaming red hair and striking ability to leave pools of blood from her enemies wherever she went. She was often sought out by men and women who needed her help to defeat whatever evil was afflicting their town or family. Memorable enemies include the Celestial One, Kulan Gath, and Strabonus.
Sonja also became a queen when she liberated the Kingdom of Sogaria from the oppressive Emoran empire. However, the Emoran empire remained a threat. She instigated a war between two opposing factions of the empire, while also causing a slave revolt, weakening the empire and throwing it into chaos. Sonja personally dueled Emora’s emperor and killed him, becoming the empress, and gaining a whole new batch of struggles and battles.
Red Sonja’s athleticism and mastery of weapons, as well as unarmed combat, and impressive stamina and strength, are all qualities clearly found in her sixth-scale figure. She is made of one of Phicen’s singular seamless bodies supported by stainless steel armature. She comes with over 15 accessories, including three pairs of interchangeable gloved hands, a pair of earrings, faux fur hooded coat and boots, various pieces of armor, and weapons, including a dagger, shield, and battle axe.
She is clad in her typical scale mail bikini armor which she famously commented on, saying, “Men are easily distracted. Most of them never even notice my sword … until their heads roll off their necks.”
More Phicen Females
Phicen has produced a slew of other sixth-scale female figures to enjoy. One of them is the Power of the Valkyrie, a human nurse named Susan who was bestowed with the powers of the Valkyrie. She protected Asgard as well as her Earth from the evil Norse god Loki. Her figure is stunning in an elegant white hooded cape with glimmering silver blue armor.
Another notable female is the Shi in Komono (U.S. version). This is the figure of Ana Ishikawa, a highly trained renegade who avenged the deaths of her father and brother by adopting the guise of Shi, death incarnate in Japan. Her figure features Ana in a beautiful floral-themed kimono with her signature weapon, the naginata. It is a wonderful representation of Billy Tucci’s vision for the character.
Re:Zero quickly became my favorite anime of 2016. And since the year is now drawing to a close, I don’t see another anime contending for that title. Ever since the first episode, I’ve pretty much been hooked on this show. Whether it’s the beautiful artwork, kawaii cute girls, fantasy races such as neko (cat) people, wolf people, lizard/dragon people, the amazing soundtrack, the acting, or the story itself which is a great blend of comedy, horror, action, drama, and romance. This show stands out to me, with characters that pull me in more and more with each episode. Now that it’s almost all over, I thought I’d write a review.
When I first began watching Re:Zero which was when Crunchyroll began simulcasting it several months ago, I had just recently finished watching Erased (which I reviewed here by the way). Re:Zero reminds me of like a mashup between Erased and the .Hack or Sword Art Online anime. The main premise is that a young man is trapped in a fantasy world (with lots of geeky cultural references taken from games/anime). When things go wrong, instead of “game over” he’s returned back to the start of the day. Each time he is defeated, he returns with memories of everything that’s happened so far, but no one else around him has any memory of the previous events. He is able to use his knowledge from previous “lifetimes” to outwit his opponents bringing him closer to his goals.
The main character constantly breaks the 4th wall by talking (mostly to the audience) about things that don’t exist in this fantasy world, but which exist back in his home of Japan. In this way, the series could also be said to borrow from Deadpool. Other people have compared this anime to Konosuba – upon hearing about that, I checked out Konosuba but only made it into the first few episodes so I can neither confirm nor deny the similarities. Another anime that Re:Zero reminds me of is “Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In Dungeons?” If you like any of these, then you will probably like Re:Zero too.
Related Media: Re:Zero is based on a series of Light Novels of the same name by Tappei Nagatsuki. These novels are still ongoing so who knows how closely the anime will follow the novels or at what point they will begin to diverge or how their endings may differ.
Interested in the Light Novels? Volume 1 is on sale on Amazon as of the writing of this article, almost 50% off for the paperback or the always low price of $7.99 for the kindle edition. There’s also a manga that’s also still currently running which is based upon the light novel. And very soon there will be a Playstation visual novel game as well. Although there’s still no word of an English release yet for said game. *Crosses fingers for an English Release*
Check out the links to the Light Novel and Manga in the widget below and enjoy a free preview of each!
Geeky: 5/5 – The geeky cultural references, high quality animation, amazing soundtrack, and fantasy setting make this anime a must watch for “geeks”.
Sweetie: 4/5 – Girls will appreciate the beautiful artwork, soundtrack, characters, and love story throughout this series. However, many girls may be turned off by the huge amount of gore in Re:Zero.
Overall: 53/55 96% A “Excellent Anime for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 Re:Zero has a lot going on. It could equally be considered a fantasy adventure, as well as a comedy, or even a love story. The huge amount of gore could also land it into the horror genre. Overall, it’s a hard anime to pin down. While it might seem impossible, somehow Re:Zero is able to blend all of these genres into something that fits well together and never feels out of place. The overarching concept of “Return by Death”, allows viewers to truly feel Subaru’s pain and frustration, and of course his love for his friends; it’s oddly grotesque, heartwarming, and hilarious all at once.
Story: 10/10 Our story begins when Subaru hears a faint voice while at a convenience store in Japan. The voice tries to tell Subaru to get out and run away, but Subaru chooses to ignore the voice, thinking he’s hearing things. As he eventually exits the convenience store with his purchase, he’s assaulted by a strong dizzy spell that knocks him to his knees. When he comes to, he finds himself in a strange fantasy world, still holding the bag from the convenience store he thought he was just at moments ago. All Subaru has are the clothes on his back, some ramen, potato chips, and his cellphone, which of course doesn’t get any signal in the new world.
It’s not long before he inadvertently gets mixed up in a bid for the throne of the kingdom. He chooses to back Emilia as he feels indebted (and attracted) to her. Emilia is the least favorite candidate currently because she is a half elf. In this fantasy world, it is believed that half elves are evil, and Emilia bears a striking resemblance to one half elf in particular known as “The Jealous Witch” who is believed to have been sealed away, but not destroyed, in a war eons ago that almost led to the total destruction of their kingdom.
Subaru quickly learns he has a mysterious power, unique only to him, that no one else in this world possesses – the ability to “Return by Death”. In the beginning Subaru dies many, many times through his various trials and encounters. But each death brings him closer to success because he is able to “respawn” back to a “check point” from the start of each day. Similar to an RPG game.
He vows to use this power to help Emilia claim the throne, as well as to protect all of the new friends he’s made in this fantasy world. However his power is not without a price, and it takes a great toll on Subaru both mentally and physically. What’s worse, he can’t talk about his unique ability, or it causes dire consequences for Subaru and/or the people he loves. This creates misunderstandings among his friends that Subaru must navigate through which become increasingly challenging on his spirit as he witnesses and experiences more death and devastation throughout the series.
Characters: 10/10 – The characters in this anime are amazing. Subaru himself is an unlikely hero, a shut-in in his own world, who suddenly finds himself caught up in a dangerous fantasy world. Emilia and her spirit companion, Puck, are adorable. The maid twins, Ram and Rem grow on you too, especially Rem who gets considerable screentime in the second half of the series. Emilia is my pick for the best girl, but the more episodes I watch, the more I begin to really like Rem to where she’s an extremely close 2nd favorite of mine. The other minor characters are also charming; there’s a kawaii lolita girl with a tsundere temper nicknamed Betti for short. She provides a lot of comic relief, and is of course, adorable. Among other characters there’s a super kawaii cross-dressing Neko boy with healing powers, a thief-princess, an old drunk giant, and a butler who’s also a master swordsman.
Not only are the characters unique and kawaii, but the character interaction and growth in this series is top notch. Whether it’s watching Subaru’s transformation from weak, helpless, and confused, to his determination and courage as he vows to protect those he loves, or watching the shy maid twins begin to trust and grow closer to Subaru, or Felt’s transformation from a dirty street-rat to would-be princess.
The characters are also fleshed out with rich back stories that are often revealed through flashbacks throughout the series. And occasionally some characters can throw a few surprises our way in who they really are and where their loyalties lie.
The characters really drive the story and make it a rich and rewarding anime to watch each week.
Artwork: 4/5 – The gore is a bit much at times, but there’s no arguing that this is a simply breathtaking anime to watch. The characters are cute. (I personally want to create a dollfie dream modeled after Emilia.) In fact, the very style of the characters, reminds me of a dollfie dream doll. My favorite trait is their reflective bright eyes that brim with emotion. Their skin is almost “glowing” with the blush around the character’s eyes. Their hair is beautiful and “soft” looking. The animation quality is high, bringing the characters to life. The backgrounds are also beautiful and vivid with lots of details. Even the minor characters are stylized well and represent a wide range of fantasy races, including lots of cute furies. This series definitely is “cute” – which is oddly juxtaposed by a huge amount of gore. I deducted 1 point for all the gore, but I agree that the gore can serve a point, to make the audience feel the same discomfort as the characters, I just think it’s a bit extreme at times here.
Music: 5/5 – Crunchyroll recently had a really good article about the music in Re:Zero (which I sadly can’t find a link to right now). The title of the article was something like: “Why does Re:Zero Have Such Dramatic Music?” and it was an interview with the composer who said he was a fan of the light novels, and how the light novels made him cry, and when he saw the concept art for the manga, and the anime, that also made him cry, and he wanted to create a music score which conveyed his emotional connection to the series and the characters to the audience. I would say that his musical work in Re:Zero definitely accomplishes this goal. There are some chilling and haunting pieces, as well as some beautiful melodic pieces, but on the other hand, there are lots of “dis-harmonious” tracks, which really convey the mental turmoil and pain Subaru is suffering from. The intentional “unpleasant” music and sound effects playing against the otherwise typical more calming fantasy music creates just that experience with the audience.
Voice Acting: 5/5 – The casting and the talent of each actor really brings out each character’s charm and personality. There are some truly memorable performances in this anime. Roswaal is very eccentric sounding, and one of my favorite voice actors in this series. Cute little Puck sounds mischievous and playful. Rem sounds so soft spoken and shy and fragile. Emilia sounds strong and determined. Felt sounds like the tomboy that she is. Beatrice sounds spoiled and prissy. And Betelguese just sounds absolutely batshit crazy lol.
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Genre: Visual Novel / Idol Simulation / Rhythm Game / Photography Simulation / Dating Sim / Raising Sim
Where to Buy:Jlist – use Coupon Code: MOE-22Y-E8BNV5 to get 5% off!
Geeky: 4/5 – High quality anime style graphics. This version of Sonicomi is the original PC version; however, for the US release, they integrated the new improved graphics from the Playstation version which adds a lot more visual appeal to the game. Sonicomi comes to life with fully animated and expressive movements. Unlike other visual novels which show only static images, the graphics in Sonicomi definitely do impress. There are multiple game modes and tons of achievements to unlock as well. Like most visual novels, this game is light on gameplay, however, there is some challenge to see how high you can score each photoshoot, and the appeal of unlocking new outfits for Sonico. There’s also 18 different endings and a surprisingly touching story.
Sweetie: 5/5 – Sonicomi is very cute! And the ability to customize her with hundreds of different pieces of outfit and tens of thousands of combinations for those outfits, makes this a game that girls are sure to love, just as much as guys who like the busty and sexy appeal of the pink haired gravure idol.
Overall: 76/90 84% B “Very Good Game for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 As I mentioned when I announced the preorder bonuses for the game here, this game basically is like combining Princess Maker (which I reviewed here) with Pokemon Snap (a game in which you photograph pokemon). Of course, Sonico’s lusty and busty figure make this game a lot more “Ecchi” or perverted than those games, but the game mechanics are like a perfect mashup of these two gaming gems. You determine Sonico’s fate and what direction her career will take (similar to Princess Maker), while the gameplay itself is a visual novel with about a dozen different “levels” each defined by a photo shoot. On these photo shoots your client will request different images, from sexy to sweet and innocent, or even weird. You must try to recommend different locations, outfits, and poses to meet the needs of your client. At different points in the story you will be presented opportunities to respond to Sonico in different ways (hence the name of the game), your responses, as well as choices made and how well you perform the various photo shoots will lead you to one of 18 different endings. Each time you play the game, you keep any outfits you unlock and continue to add new items to use to dress up Sonico however you’d like. There’s different difficulty modes, and even a free play mode where you can just photograph Sonico without worrying about a timer or any requests from your clients. You can save and share these images to show off how cute Sonico has become.
Gameplay: 8/10 The story unfolds like a visual novel at different points you can talk to, or even touch Sonico in various ways which raises her affection or changes her mood or even changes how the public views her as an idol. The main gameplay however comes in the form of photoshoots. You start by choosing an outfit for Sonico by combining different pieces and parts, such as a jacket, top, pants, skirt, jewelry, handbag, shoes, socks, hair, skin tone, etc. In these shoots, you must complete all “takes” (ranging from 1 to 3) without wearing any duplicate items from the previous takes, all while taking into account the client request. Once on set, you’ll see Sonico frolicking around and soon begin to see blue and pink “rings” on your screen. It’s your job to mouse over these rings and click them right as they turn pink. Clicking too soon or too late will lower your score. Clicking at just the right time will allow you to “chain” “perfects” which gives a large boost to your score. Getting perfects will also begin to fill up a gauge on the screen which when full, left clicking will open a number of options such as Communication, where you ask Sonico how she’s doing – she may tell you she’s tired, thirsty, nervous, fired up/excited, or able to still go on. Another option is to give Sonico a break which will help refill her stamina, and if executed correctly will extend the time you have in the photoshoot. If you let Sonico get too exhausted you will fail the photoshoot so you must be careful. The remaining options let you change Sonico’s pose and position from standing, sitting, or lying down. If Sonico is “excited and fired up” and you select Communication, you will activate a special mode with new poses and bigger chances for bonuses. After each take you’ll see your score, and after completing all takes, you’ll receive a letter grade which you need to pass to move on to the next scene.
I deducted a few points because this game is impossible to play without a mouse or game controller. I bought a mouse just to play this game. I think a lot of casual gamers, especially those on laptop devices may not have a mouse? I didn’t because I played in bed anyways so where would I put a mouse? (Hint: I ended up putting it on the wrist/rest area near the touchpad, below the keyboard.) The touchpad on my laptop was totally laggy/nonresponsive – which was something weird caused only when playing this game. I couldn’t even get past the tutorial and it wasn’t from a lack of skill, my pointer on screen would not move where I wanted it, and even when it did, I found I couldn’t “snap” the photo, just nothing would happen when I clicked the “mouse button” (built into my touchpad). This seems like a weird glitch or bug? But now that I’m using a mouse, there’s no problem 🙂 And I’ve used the mouse in some other more actiony games too so it’s all good. Mice are cheap enough anyways *under 10 bucks* but I just can’t help thinking that the touchpad should have worked, or my touch screen on my laptop, but both were very laggy and made it impossible to play. Bad controls = bad gameplay. So you’ll want to make sure you have a mouse or steam controller or similar input device.
However, the gameplay is very engaging, and the hunt for new outfit pieces (all of which carry over into any new games you begin) as well as unlocking the achievements and all 18 different endings keeps you playing over and over. The in depth tutorial at the beginning of the game lets anyone just pick up and play the game, but some of the higher difficulty settings offer a large challenge even for more seasoned rhythm game players. The free play mode is really cute and fun too, especially with the ability to take and share steam screenshots, or collect the images in an in-game photo album.
Story: 5/10 I get the feeling that there’s only “illusion of choice” for very much of this game. Yes, there are 18 different endings, but it seems to me that they are determined more in how you do on photoshoots than how you respond to the story prompts. Although those DO impact the game also. I only suspect this, because on multiple play throughs, when I skip “previously read text” I’m skipping about 75-85% of the story. There is a decision later in the game to take Sonico’s career in different directions, such as being a commercial model or a high fashion model, but even that seemingly important decision does little to change the story – though it does change several of the different photo shoots in the later part of the game.
The story itself is pretty cute, but way too short and simplistic to really rank this score any higher than “mediocre” – but it’s a Gravure Idol Sim, people don’t really play this for story. — The story isn’t bad, actually I was pleasantly surprised that it’s very touching and hits close to the heart at times, but that’s mostly attributed to the strong character interaction which I’m scoring separately below. The story has a lot of comedic moments and some truly wtf moments as well which makes it highly entertaining. Perhaps my biggest complaint against the story is that it starts strong, but just as it’s taking off, the game comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, and that’s not from getting a “bad end” but instead it just feels like the second half of the game is rushed, and that more could have been done which could have added not only more story, but more photoshoots and more gameplay too.
Characters: 10/10 The biggest and most pleasant surprise to me was how endearing and likable all of the characters were, especially Sonico. I had heard of Sonico, and seen cameo appearances in other games, but I honestly knew very little about her. As I played, I couldn’t help but think, OMG Sonico is JUST LIKE ME!! Since I related to her, it increased my enjoyment of the game and story and made her even cuter to me. She loves cats, I love cats (like REALLY love cats), She loves her grandma – I love my grandma, we’re like best friends. She loves sweets, I love sweets. She loves shopping, I love shopping. She’s really really naive and ditzy… I’m sadly also really naive and ditzy. She’s clumsy and hurts herself often, I’m clumsy too! It was like seeing myself as an anime character. Of course I’m not as cute or sexy as Sonico, but her pure heart and bubbly happy go lucky and laid back personality are very similar to my own personality and attitude.
Sonico wasn’t the only character who I found likable either. I also really liked Cutie Q who mysteriously turns up and gives you advice throughout the game, and Pandagawa, an idol manager who’s also a cute (and perverted) panda. And Sonico’s rival Angie, who is pretty much like Sonico’s exact polar opposite (and who I think should have her own game, right? she’s pretty amazing). All of the characters are really unique and quirky. Even Danny choo and his Smart Doll Mirai makes an appearance in the game which was a huge plus since I’m such a huge Smartdoll / Dollfie Dream / ABJD fan.
Graphics: 8/10 It’s already been said how cute and sexy Sonico is, and already been said that there’s literally tens of thousands of different outfit combinations possible to make Sonico look however you’d like. The environments and poses and background art is all very lovely. In the photoshoots it’s all 3D, and in free mode you can even adjust lighting and other touches to make the environment look as you please. In the visual novel, the backgrounds are done in an a more anime style. Sonico is a full body and fully animated figure. Her expressions and movements are just like a real person, which makes this visual novel stand out from others that just use static sprites or images. However, and where the game loses some points, is that Sonico is the only character who we ever “see” in the game or any of the photoshoots. There’s at least two occasions where you’re “supposedly” photographing another model with Sonico – and it would have been cute, awesome and AMAZING to have both models in the photoshoot at the same time, playing together, dancing, and frolicking around. — But okay, maybe that’s asking too much, but it would’ve been nice to see some better sprites for the other characters. In true visual novel fashion, every other character in this game, is just like every character in every other visual novel, just a chest and face with a few different expressions, and always over some background, like out of a comic book, which I guess is kinda cool in a stylistic way, but it definitely makes them seem less “alive” or “real” than Sonico. Also the clients and Sonico’s manager always have a mask on, which is just weird to me and makes them kinda unlikable honestly to me even though it also does add humor and make them memorable in a way too.
Music: 7/10 – The soundtrack, while being actually pretty good and not at all irritating, even on multiple playthroughs, just frankly, doesn’t have enough tracks or variation in it to score much higher than this. Each photoshoot has the same soundtrack, regardless of location selected for the shoot. Or if they were in fact different, it wasn’t noticeable enough for me to remember. The music is good, but you will hear the same tracks over and over when walking Sonico home, or at different key moments in the game.
Voice Acting: 9/10 I’m actually surprised how close the English voice for Sonico comes to capturing the original Japanese voice actress’ same “personality”. A bubbly, cute, and somewhat ditzy / brainless type of voice. The English voice actress for Sonico really put a lot of emotion into delivering her lines, which you can tell from how she enunciates or emphasizes different words or phrases. Even her laugh and other mannerisms are quite similar. I thought she did such a good job that I’ve played in English every time except for twice now. The Japanese voice actress is of course cute and adorable and does an excellent job, but that’s usually just a “given” when it comes to Japanese voice acting. They’re all pretty much amazing right? But that’s not the case (typically) with English dubs. (sorry to dubbed anime fans out there). While I think everyone should play the game at least once in it’s native language, you really in this case don’t miss much by playing it in English. I’ve gotten used to the English Sonico now, and actually, surprisingly, prefer her voice over the original Japanese one now. Also I’ve heard that this same voice actress does the Sonico in the anime (which I’ve never watched). But the good thing is, that no matter what you prefer, English or Japanese, they left both tracks in the game for you to choose! — It’d be nice if you could switch this option while playing the game but I think you have to save, exit, and select the option when starting back up. Also if I remember correctly, Sonico is the only character who’s voiced in this game, which is a little disappointing (and why I deducted 1 point).
Replay Value: 10/10 This game is super addictive! As if 18 endings weren’t enough to keep you playing, there’s also achievements, and new outfits to unlock through multiple playthroughs (which carry over into any new games you start), and sonicoins to earn which unlock even more outfits, and a free play mode that lets you enjoy uninterrupted time with Sonico in any location or outfit or pose that you’ve previously unlocked. You can then add the freeplay images into an album in game, or use the steam shortcut (F12 by default) to take pictures and share via steam or social media so you can spam your friends and share Sonico’s charm. There’s also different difficulty modes which let you challenge yourself as you become more familiar with the game. With so much to do and so many different dressup combinations and such a cute and charming idol to control, this is a game that will keep you hooked!