Doki Doki Crate May 2019 Subscription Box Review

A Doki Doki Representative reached out to me and offered me a choice of Doki Doki, Japan Crate, or Gacha Gacha Crate to review for my audience at Geeky Sweetie. I had subscribed to Doki Doki a few years ago and I was curious if it had improved any since then. So I selected to receive Doki Doki Crate. It just arrived the other day and I have mixed feelings about this crate.

If you like what you see here, you can sign up to receive this May Sweet Dreams Crate on Doki Doki’s website at https://japancrate.com/dokidoki

As always, it was packed super well. The entire crate was stuffed full of kawaii cute items. The crate itself is bright pink and always includes a full color booklet showing the items inside the crate, and showing the lucky crate that one subscriber receives each month. Also if you share photos of your crate on social media you might be featured in the book next month and receive a special item as a thank you.

I’m sure most of you have seen the official Doki Doki promo movie for this Month’s Crate. It has a Slumber Party theme and is packed full of cute items that you might need for your next slumber party.

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The Kirby lamp and Kirby eye mask were my favorite parts of May’s Doki Doki Crate. They were super cute. I wish I would have gotten the pink Kirby lamp but the blue/white one is cute too! I feel like the lamp alone is well worth the costs of the subscription box itself. It’s fairly large and gives off a lot of light.

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The Kirby Eye Mask is soft and comfortable, and a fun photo prop too. I did notice that the back of the eye mask packaging says it is made in China, and I have my suspicions that it may be counterfeit goods. My views of counterfeit goods are kinda changing though. In the last year or so I’ve started purchasing a lot of items from China myself and I find the quality difference between the original to be negligible in most cases. So I dunno if I would rule out subscribing to Doki Doki because of that.

But it is important to note that the Doki Doki website claims all of the products are from Japan – not China – and officially licensed – Here is the quote from their website: “Each Doki Doki Crate features genuine, licensed Japanese products of the highest quality. Each monthly subscription box features a new collection of fun toys, cute plushies and other items that will help you live your kawaii lifestyle.” – Personally I think this is false advertising since it says right on some of the items “Made in China”. Unless Japan is outsourcing production to China (which may be possible). Either way, in the case of the Kirby Eye Mask, the item is very high quality and has no lose threads, super soft fabric, and seems well constructed.

The box also had a My Melody bag. I’m assuming it’s like a makeup bag, or pencil case bag. I was a little disappointed in this item. It is very low quality. It’s extremely thin, cheap feeling, and flimsy. It’s mostly white mesh, with a small strip of “fabric” ??? “plastic”??? With a pastel tiny printed my melody design at the bottom of the bag. I’ve gotten cuter/nicer bags from Japan and China before, and this just isn’t up to the quality I would have expected of a $35 subscription crate.

I had a hard time photographing it. My flash wasn’t on, but the lights in the room were reflecting off the plastic-like material. I do love the pink zipper though, it is cute and gives the bag a delicate kawaii touch.

The next item was a hand towel. I love this item. I wish it was a body towel so I could take it to the beach or to the pool. But I loved the design I received on mine. Sumiko Gurashi characters are so cute. It’s pink too which matches the pink theme so far. It’s soft and thick and very well made.

The final item was a cute rainbow plush shark who is adorable and extremely comfortable to cuddle with. The baby shark can be your best friend for all of your slumber parties.

So in the end it was a mix of some nice very high quality items, and some rather disappointing lower quality items. I do still feel it would be worth the $35 subscription cost. The kirby lamp alone probably cost around $25 or more. There’s a similar lamp on ebay for about $32. https://www.ebay.com/i/173868369074?chn=ps

The crate is very cute and always packaged so attractively. My only complaint or concern would be that some of the items may be counterfeit – but the items are still high quality, so for me personally, I don’t mind if the items are counterfeit or not.

But I know some people are completely against counterfeit items. I know in the past Doki Doki had a lot of reports and reviews about counterfeit items, and personally from what I can see with “Made in China”, I am guessing that they have not resolved these issues. So if you absolutely hate counterfeit items, I would say Doki Doki is not the crate for you.

But if you just want to have some cute items with a cute theme and your favorite characters, I would encourage you to take a look at Doki Doki Crate. You still have 10 days left to sign up to get the May Crate at Doki Doki’s Website. https://japancrate.com/dokidoki

Doki Doki Crate May 2019 Subscription Box Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Idol M@ster Shiny Colors – Japanese Mobile Game Review and Kinda Brief English Walkthrough

I am really into Idol M@ster Shiny Colors. Unlike other Idol M@ster Mobile Games or Love Live or Bang Dream, Idol M@ster Shiny Colors is not a rhythm game. Idol M@ster Shiny Colors is a simulation game. You are a producer and “hire” idols to work in your studio. You draw the idols from gacha.

Please note – I did not realize this when I played, but on your first 10 play gacha, you get UNLIMITED REROLLS by pushing the YELLOW BUTTON on the left. Once you are happy with your cards press the PINK button on the right. I didn’t know, I pushed the pink button and I only had one SSR. I have been thinking about starting over (and still might) but I think I had some pre-registration bonuses and other things I don’t want to lose by restarting the game. So definitely do not push the Pink button until you have the cards you want.

Collecting and dressing girls is the main appeal of the game. But what do you do once you have a team of idol girls? You can plan their schedule – like a true sim game. You can have them practice, give interviews, or other activities to promote their stats.

The stats also can be increased in a final-fantasy-style skill tree system where you spend skill points to unlock stat-bonuses like +20 vocals, +30 dance, +20 vitality, etc. Depending what “path” you take in the skill tree your girls will develop in different ways.

You have one main girl, and several other backup idols. The main girl is the one to gain from this skill tree system.

Performing a live show is quite different from other mobile idol games. It’s more almost like an RPG battle. You tap a girl’s face below the stage and then tap a “skill” along the left such as vocal, dance, etc. Then a colored bar will appear on the screen, try to time it right and tap the screen when the needle on the bar is in the white color. White will give you the highest bonus. Purple the least, and yellow a medium boost. You can also “link” your girls’ actions to perform together in one attack. On the right hand side of the screen are some other bubbles. i think, but could be wrong since I do not read Japanese, but think that you are competing against other idols, and as you perform these skills you can defeat the idols to the right hand side. But if you miss, you will notice your own idols on the left dropping off the screen. Once all the idols either on left or right are gone, the performance ends.

The artwork in the game is very kawaii, and SSR and higher cards have movie animations, both when retrieving from the Gacha and also when performing a live show. All of the idols are animated with Live 2D which brings the characters to life on your screen. Many of the cards have “multiple characters” on one card, and when performing a live show, or meeting the idols out in town, you may see special scenes featuring the characters all together.

The voice acting and music is also top notch as you would expect from an idol game.

Replay value is high due to limited time events that offer rewards such as gacha tickets and gems.

My only complaint is a lot of the gacha are for paid gems only. However, the gems are fairly cheap, you can get a few hundred gems for under $10 – I haven’t bought any yet.

Will we see Idol M@ster Shiny Colors get an English release? Probably not. They tried years ago to release some Idol M@ster games in English and it flopped – however, they wanted $65 for a mobile game – And worst of all, after it flopped, they pulled it down and even if you had paid for it you could no longer play it!!! I wish they would try again but with some of their “FREE” mobile games, either Shiny Colors, Theater Days, or Cinderella Girls. — But my hope is slim… However there are 2 things that give me a little bit of hope. 1.) They seem to understand that there may be English speaking players playing Shiny Colors, when the visual novel aspects come up and the choices appear, they show in English an emoji and English words that say “Perfect” “Good” “Normal” so even if you can’t read the choices you can pick the best response still. And when purchasing diamonds, the currency is shown in US Dollars, not in Yen, which is odd. I’ve literally never seen that ever before in any Japanese games. Which is a nice touch so I don’t have to try to convert it, if I ever decide to buy diamonds. And 2.) I have hope because we are getting more and more and more English idol games, with the upcoming Revue Starlight Re LIVE, or last year’s Bang Dream Girl’s Band Party and Utapri, or the ever popular Love Live School Idol Festival, we continue to receive more and more games in this genre, but we have yet to receive any of the free Idol M@ster games… Shiny Colors is only a few weeks old in Japan, maybe in a year or two we could hope to see an English release? But it is still fairly easy to play even in Japanese. But it would be nice to be able to enjoy the story! I’d be more likely to buy paid gems if the game was in English.

Scorecard:

Overall Score 70/80 88% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

Geeky: 5/5 – collect virtual waifus. very geeky. And simulation aspects set this game apart from other idol games.

Sweetie: 5/5 – the girls are adorable

Gameplay: 10/10 – finally a true simulation game, similar to Princess Maker or Tokimeki Memorial, you schedule your idol’s activities and watch their stats grow. I enjoy this much more than just a tappy tap rhythm game. Your girls develop in different ways based on your choices and I love that.

Story: 0/10 – I can’t read Japanese so this may not be a “fair score” but until an English version exists I can’t judge the storyline.

Characters: 10/10 – cute, gorgeous artwork, huge diversity of girls.

Artwork: 10/10 – cute, live 2D, SSR and higher cards have full movie animation sequences.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – all of the girls sound so cute.

Music: 10/10 – of course a game about idols is going to have catchy and cute music.

Replay Value: 10/10 – Lots of events, they give a lot of SR tickets and free Gems and the fact that this is a simulation game also adds replay value because the girls change based on decisions you make.

Overall Score 70/80 88% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

Idol M@ster Shiny Colors – Japanese Mobile Game Review and Kinda Brief English Walkthrough was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

English Edition Of Revue Starlight Re LIVE Idol Simulation Game Comes To North America

Revue Starlight Re LIVE is an idol simulation game based on the popular anime Revue Starlight. The game uses Live 2D technology to bring the anime characters to life. You can pre-register now for the English release at the Pre-Registration website at https://www.en.revuestarlight-relive.com/preregistration/

They are running an event for Pre-Registration where they will give out rare girls based on the number of users who pre-register. So get all of your friends to join so we can all benefit from more Waifus.

The game and anime story follows a group of 9 girls all competing for the center stage, the shining star, lead performer role. The girls who were once friends now find themselves as rivals.

Not many details are available on the pre-registration site, but I expect an experience similar to Love Live School Idol, Bang! Dream Girl’s Band Party, or Idol M@ster.

A game where you collect cute girls, level them up, add them to your team, and play a rhythm game in solo or multiplayer game modes while enjoying a simple slice of life story.

Although the gameplay may be simple, the allure of collecting rare and time-limited girls will keep players coming back.

English Edition Of Revue Starlight Re LIVE Idol Simulation Game Comes To North America was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World PC Game Review

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World is a brand new game by Koei Tecmo Games to celebrate 20 years of the series. Wow has it been that long already? I still remember the first 2 games way back when. And you know what else I remember, a little-known Nintnedo DS offshoot game in the Atelier Series called Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island which came out about 10 years ago.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World

So why Am I mentioning Atelier Annie? Because, if you’ve ever played it, then you know what to expect from Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists. Both games are unlike any of the rest of the Atelier Games, and instead put you in a role of managing a city and completing missions to advance.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Gameplay
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Gameplay

Nelke has some really negative reviews – at least on Steam, but I purchased Nelke anyways, on a hunch it’d be like Atelier Annie, and you know what, I’m not disappointed. If you liked Annie, you’ll like Nelke. Conversely, if you hated Annie, you’ll hate Nelke, and if you’ve never played either game, well there’s only one way to find out then, and that’s by giving it a go for yourself.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Gameplay
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Gameplay

The reviews on steam are complaining how different Nelke is — and to some — how boring it is… But honestly Atelier Annie was one of my favorites in the series. I loved the humorous story / humorous main character, and yes, I enjoyed the more “Sim Like” gameplay of building a city.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Gameplay
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Gameplay

Nelke is not without flaws however; Unlike Annie, it lacks the humor and charm, and feels a bit dry and dull so far in the story. I’m 4 hours in at this point… which brings to another flaw, in that 4 hours in, I’m still in the tutorial… This game is very very very linear in the tutorial… Like almost everything will be on lockdown… for a long while… expect your first 8+ hours to be linear AF….

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

After that though there really is a TON of stuff to do in this game. It is NOT boring at all. You can craft items, gather materials, build new buildings, talk to your villagers, discover new recipes, sell items in your shops, and invest in new routes and tools to use in your adventures. There are simplistic turn based combats and different characters to recruit to your village.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

You have to complete some required, and other optional tasks within a set number of days within the game. This can make it difficult and frustrating, so save often and in multiple save slots to try to minimize time lost if you miss a goal.

The game either runs slow on my laptop, or just is really slow by design, to the point where its a little frustrating. It may just be my laptop though and can probably be improved if I adjust some settings.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

The main complaint a lot of people have is that while exploring you do nothing but watch your characters walk by on the screen. They will converse, gather items, and occasionally run into random enemy encounters. The battles are also slow and tedious. I do agree with these basic gameplay flaws. However, they don’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the other aspects of city building and mission completing and watching my city grow and evolve based on my decisions and choices made in where to invest and what to build next, etc.

The graphics are insanely adorable as always with the Atelier series.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

Unlike a lot of the other games in the Atelier Universe, this one does not have English voice acting. I do like to have the original voice actors, but I also sometimes like to have an English cast too. I was disappointed they didn’t offer both.

I assume replay value is high because each city you build will be pretty unique and you will attract different stores, different npcs, and different quests based on how your city is developing.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

All and all I’d rate the score card like this:

Title: Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists – Ateliers Of The New World –

Platform – (for this review The PC version was used.) It’s also available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Where to Purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FMZZYK1?tag=amz-mkt-chr-us-20&ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-org00-win10-other-nomod-us000-pcomp-feature-scomp-wm-5&ref=aa_scomp

Geeky: 3/5 – Points for bringing back some of the popular characters from this series over the past 20 years.

Sweetie: 5/5 – For the casual gameplay and kawaii art

Overall: 53/70 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Gameplay: 7/10 – I do love the sim aspects, having been a huge fan of Atelier Annie (easily one of my top 3 games in the Atelier universe). But I do agree that the game is slow and the wait for the payoff/reward is pretty steep. The game also doesn’t run great, can’t tell if it’s just my PC though maybe.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

Story: 3/10 – I’m not loving the story, or lack there of. I’m 4 hours in and there’s not much of any story to be found; it does keep hinting at solving a mystery about a fruit from a legendary tree. But compared to other Atelier games the story feels less engaging so far.

Characters: 10/10 – I love seeing popular characters from the Atelier games return all in a brand new game. I also love the new characters that were created just for this game.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World Review

Voice Acting: 7/10 – The original Japanese voice cast does a great job and sounds super cute, but where’s the dual English voice acting? A bit disappointing especially for a 20th anniversary edition, you’d think they would have put a little more time and effort into the localization on this one. It feels cheap and rushed to not have both to choose from.

Music: 10/10 – Always love the music in the Atelier games, and Nelke doesn’t disappoint here either.

Replay Value: 8/10 – I think replay value will be very high, but I’m not looking forward to dredging through 5+ hours of linear handheld tutorials each time.

Overall: 53/70 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Overall I would recommend this game to anyone who does not mind slower paced casual simulation games, or to anyone who remembers playing Atelier Annie on the DS. I like Atelier Annie a lil bit more because of the humorous story; but Nelke’s story may pick up and become more interesting. I may come in eventually and update my review scores if I find the story to improve as I get further into the game. Gameplay wise though it is almost identical to Atelier Annie, so if that’s your thing, be sure to check Nelke out.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World PC Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Helix Waltz Review Casual Fashion Dressup Mobile Game Like Nikki Dressup Queen

Title: Helix Waltz

Publisher: Ubeejoy

Release Date:

Genre: Dressup Otome Game

Platform: IOS and Android

Price: Free with optional in-game purchases

Where to Get: https://waltz.ubeejoy.com/

Overview: 10/10 Helix Waltz is very similar to Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary with a few differences. It has a slightly more detailed / less “cutesy” artstyle, and more focus on story. In fact, before getting the meat of the game, you must go through a very lengthy tutorial, that for a mobile/casual gamer will probably take more than a few days to complete. In this tutorial you learn a lot about the story and setting of Helix Waltz. This is where we see the majority of the differences that set Helix Waltz apart from other similar Dressup Games.

Story: 10/10 Helix Waltz puts you in role of a young orphan adopted by a (former) noble lady, and being groomed for a life of royalty. A strange visitor also enlists your help as a spy amongst the noble court. Your job is to chat with other nobles, gather intel as a spy, and impress them with your fashion to work your way back as a noble family. There is definitely more backstory than found in most dressup games, and that story is tied to the gameplay too.

Gameplay: 9/10 Like Love Nikki Dressup Queen and Romance Diary, you compete in Fashion Battles with NPCs to advance through various story stages. You collect various items which you layer and equip together to create unique looks. Each level requires certain styles or colors of clothing to get the best score possible. Such as equipping a dress, or tops and bottoms, along with shoes, stockings, jewelry, necklaces, rings, bracelets, hairstyles, makeup, and so on.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Unlike Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary, the majority of the game is focused on navigating through the story and playing against NPCs. Until you reach at least level 19 when you finally complete the lengthy tutorial. Playing 2-3 hours a day, it will still take a few days to complete all of the tutorial missions to get to the free play mode. I have yet to complete the tutorial so I’m not sure if Helix Waltz allows you to compete against other human players as well.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Also unlike Love Nikki Dressup Queen, but similar to Romance Diary, Helix Waltz focuses more on Otome aspects, but not so much on romance. Instead it has a very interesting story of intrigue and deceit. At the waltzes, you can search for specific NPCs or you can wander about and bump into random NPCs, you can select various things to chat about and choose your responses which will affect the NPC’s moods and overall opinion of you. You can also challenge the NPCs to a fashion battle, or you can eavesdrop on NPCs to gain valuable intel.

I enjoyed the unique approach in both story and gameplay to focus more on infiltrating the noble court and gathering intel. I didn’t enjoy the linear nature of the game in the early levels and lengthy tutorial.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Artwork: 4/5 – The artwork is very detailed, but to me it isn’t as cute as similar games like Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary. This may just be down to personal tastes. I’m sure some of my readers prefer the art style of Helix Waltz over the other games as well.

Music: 4/5 – The classical music fits the game’s theme very well. You also have the option to change the music later in the game.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Geeky: 2/5 – Although the aspects of infiltration and espionage add a new exciting twist to the traditional gameplay and story mechanics of most dressup games, this game is still for casual female gamers and not likely to appeal to a wider audience.

Sweetie: 4/5 – Helix Waltz loses a point for slightly less appealing artwork (compared to similar dressup games). Otherwise, those who enjoy dressup games, and a good story, with strong female lead, are sure to enjoy Helix Waltz.

Overall Score: 43/50 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Helix Waltz Review Casual Fashion Dressup Mobile Game Like Nikki Dressup Queen was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

3 Must Watch Anime and Manga About Gambling With a Twist

There are anime about almost any imaginable topic so it’s not really surprising there also exists anime about gambling as well. Of course, being anime and all, it’s natural that there is a twist to each of these series. While there are the more traditional settings of high stakes casinos, there are also some very unconventional settings as well such as the first anime on the list which takes place in a highschool, or the second anime on the list which uses magic abilities and special cards. These twists are why these three anime are must watch faves.

1.) Kakagurui – Compulsive Gambler

This anime is unique because it takes place in a very corrupt highschool where students enjoy betting and wagering with other students. However, there’s more than money at stake, as those who cannot repay their debts before graduation receive “Life Schedules” which determine everything from their career, to who they will marry and have children with.

However, there exists a student who doesn’t seek to gain anything, and merely enjoys gambling for the thrill. She also has a unique ability to see past scams and quickly begins to disrupt the schemes of the student council.

My favorite things about this anime are the strong female lead, and all of the drama and slice of life antics between the characters. It might be normal to expect this kind of high stakes excitement from the top10-casinosites.net but not from a highschool setting. This makes for a very interesting dynamic.

By the way, the manga is half off on Amazon and as of this blog post, it will still arrive before Christmas. Check it out here. https://www.amazon.com Manga makes great stocking stuffers for any geeks on your list and at just $6 a volume, it’s easy on your wallet too, which leaves you more money for some gambling of your own, if you’re into high stake wagers yourself.

2.) Rio: Rainbow Gate

Rio: Rainbow Gate, unlike our previous anime, takes place in an island casino resort. The main character is a popular casino dealer believed to bring good luck to gamblers earning her the nickname the Goddess of Victory. Rio is discovered to be a Gate Holder, a dealer who holds ones of 13 legendary Gate cards. Whoever can collect all 13 cards will be the most valuable casino dealer. In order to obtain all 13 cards. Rio takes part in special card games called Gate Battles against the other dealers in hopes of defeating them to obtain their Gate cards in order to become the most valuable casino dealer in the world.

The Gate Battles and Ladder scheme remind me a lot of Pokemon and Pokemon Battles like when they challenge the gym leaders for their badges. It gives off kinda the same concept. It is exciting to watch, even though it is predictable and we all know or expect the main characters to be the champion.

3.) Liar Game

There is no anime adaptation but there is a live action adaptation of this popular manga. You can watch the live action Liar Game on Viki.

What if you received a package with $1,000,000 and a note forcing you to become a contestant in a dangerous high stakes game. That is exactly what happens to poor, naive college girl, Nao Kanzaki in the Liar Game. The Liar game encourages you to lie and cheat to obtain your opponent’s money. Nao loses her money because she is too trusting.

Needing to find a way to win back her money, she seeks help from someone her exact opposite, a skilled con artist named Shinichi Akiyama. After winning back her money, the two agree to continue playing the Liar Game to advance through the tournament and free their opponents from their debts, with the ultimate goal being to take down the Liar Game organization once and for all.


What are some of your favorite casino or gambling themed anime? Leave a comment below.

3 Must Watch Anime and Manga About Gambling With a Twist was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Princess Maker 5 Review

Title: Princess Maker 5

Platform: PC

Release Date: May 2018

Developer: Gainax

Publisher: CFK

Genre: Raising Sim/ Life Sim / Dating Sim

Geeky: 3/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall: 61/80 76% C “Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 8/10 This is the last Princess Maker game in the series, aside from some online and mobile spin offs that were released later. As such, you can expect that the gameplay is much more advanced than previous Princess Maker games. Princess Maker 5 brings back the adventure system, previously seen in Princess Maker 2, allowing you to fight in simplistic rpg battles and search for treasure. It does not unlock until later in the game.

It is also the first time that you can select a female character to be the parent – Although if you play as a female, you cannot get the ending where the princess marries you (the parent).

Perhaps more importantly, there are many new activities that your daughter can participate in, compared to previous Princess Maker games. I felt that the gameplay more closely resembled Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here.)

You select a week’s worth of activities for your daughter. She will attend public school and have club activities but she will also have free time for you to schedule part time jobs or extra lessons to enhance her stats. On the weekends you will take your daughter out to try to reduce her stress or experience special seasonal events.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Like Tokimeki Memorial, you can see which events are happening by reading a paper that lists new events. You can have cube set a reminder on the day of the events so you don’t forget important dates. But the game will not automatically prompt/navigate you to the event so you still have to pay attention and remember when and where to go for the event.

Gameplay feels slow. Especially the first year. It feels repetitive and slow building your stats, and very few random encounters or events. But as I entered my 2nd year, that began to change. Suddenly, classmates/love interests began to invite my daughter out on dates, or suddenly teachers and employers invited my daughter to special events. Now it felt more interesting and exciting.

But still, ultimately, this game is long, and slow, and while this type of gameplay is best enjoyed in small bursts, because of the repetition and monotonous gameplay, it also is a game that doesn’t get interesting until several hours in. I spent over 6 hours in the first year… If like most princess maker games this one goes until the daughter’s 18th birthday, then this game has over 70 hours of gameplay, per playthrough, times 50 endings…. staggering… definitely a highlight of the game — but the gameplay is so monotonous that many people may never reach all 50 endings.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

How could I give an 8/10 to a monotonous boring “dull” game? Well because of the added features the game presents, this game is the most realistic child rearing sim, and gives unprecedented freedom and control to the player. Your daughter grows in new ways never present in the previous princess maker games, and she grows more independent with her own hobbies and interests and desires and things become more complicated, it brings back the adventure system, and the new dating/events system seemingly borrowed from Tokimeki Memorial. All of these are an improvement over most of the gameplay features in previous princess maker games.

The game gives you unprecedented freedom to raise any kind of daughter you want, even if you want her to be a cosplaying anime fan who loves going to idol concerts. Seriously, she can become interested in just about anything you can imagine. lol.

Story: 5/10 I think part of the reason the game is so slow is that it has almost no story. You just literally keep clicking and waiting/hoping something changes/happens. Which doesn’t happen for several hours until you’ve been pumping up your stats. The opening movie is not translated or subtitled for the english release on steam. It seems that maybe it may have had at least an interesting introduction. I think from what I can tell, the daughter is a demon maybe. It says it began from bloody events that happened long ago. Seems to hint at a curse, and then from there I haven’t a clue as to what is going on, but you see cube fly away with the girl. The girl also has a special hair clip that lets her communicate with you and allows you to watch the girl while she’s away. Every once in awhile the girl talks about seeing spirits or fairies and other supernatural things. But I’m now about 10 hours into the game and there’s really no overall story, or direction, or plot, it’s basically an open ended sandbox game. Plot isn’t necessary in games like this, but since I play games for their stories, I think that’s why I feel bored while playing this game since it lacks an overarching plot of any kind.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Characters: 10/10 I really do like the characters. They are not strong from a story standpoint, but they feel very real, and their interactions and dialogues with each other are very cute. The independence of your daughter and new complex ways in which she can develop and grow make this the best daughter of all.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Graphics: 7/10 The artwork put me off at first, for years even before this official US release, I would see pictures of this game, compare it to 4 which was my favorite Princess Maker game, and just think YUCK!… But oddly… in the 10 hours I played the game, I now find it cute and charming. I’d played 4 years ago on my nintendo DS, even though I couldn’t read any of it. I loved that art style, and at first found this new art style for 5 to be a huge turn off. But after playing the game, I’ve changed my tune. I suggest if you like me, hate the way Princess Maker 5 looks, just give it a go, it’s a great game, and the artwork is strangely cute once you get used to it!

There’s this little fat boy, which normally would be like a blech, but I dunno there’s something sooo cute about him. He reminds me of the fat lil asian boy from Disney’s “Up” and there’s another little boy that looks like he could be straight outta card captor or some other sugary sweet shojo anime.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

The daughter was what I found most unattractive, but watching her study, work, and play, I’ve realized she is the most “real” and endearing of any of the daughters in previous games. I love my little princess.

Music: 3/10 – I really dislike the opening song – it’s awful. blech. But the rest of the music is “OK” I guess. just kinda average to me really.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – the voice acting is very cute 🙂 I’m glad they kept the original Japanese voices in the game.

Replay Value: 10/10 – over 50 different endings and the variety of things to do within this game give it excellent replay value.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Princess Maker 5 Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

62 Animated Films You May Mistake For Studio Ghibli Films

Our Recent Top 10 List of Studio Ghibli Films got me thinking about animated films that get mistaken for Studio Ghibli films when they’re actually by another studio.

I’ve come up with 62 animated movies you might think are by Studio Ghibli, but are actually by another studio.

This list is not ranked in whether or not I enjoyed the particular films in question, but instead, it is ranked on how similar I felt that either their stories, characters, or art and animation style were to that of Studio Ghibli.

Update: this has been a draft since May, I was maybe too overly ambitious, I will publish what I have, and perhaps update this in the future.

Bonus: 0. Mary and The Witch’s Flower

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Before we begin the list, I’d like to mention Mary and the Witch’s Flower – I have not yet watched it, but it was heavily Promoted at the Gkids Ghibli Fest and as anyone can see, the animation style and story are very similar to Studio Ghibli and brings up memories especially of Kiki’s Delivery Service. It is however, also not a Ghibli film, as it was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc. Including Mary and the Witch’s Flower actually brings our list up to 51 movies. Hey, bonus, right? 🙂 How many of these feature length anime movies have you watched?

Edit: I did finally see Marry and the Witch’s Flower. It’s cute and heart warming and awesome and very much like a studio Ghibli film.


1. Nausicaa Valley of the Wind

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Clearly the most common case of mistaken identity comes from Nausicaa Valley of the Wind – Even I thought it was a Ghibli Film, especially since Gkids included it in their Ghibli Fest and it’s been included as part of the Ghibli collection of Bluray and DVDs. The film is by Hayao Miyazaki, but it was done prior to the formation of Studio Ghibli, back when Miyazaki was part of an anime studio known as Topcraft. – Interesting Tidbit – Topcraft did a lot of the animation for 80s cartoons that I grew up with such as my all time fave, The Last Unicorn, as well as The Hobbit and Flight of the Dragons – and many of the christmas specials I remember too such as Frosty and The Night Before Christmas. — I feel inspiration for another top 10 post now LOL… These things will never end 🙂 Hope you like reading them – when I’ve ran out of Studios to rank, I’ll compile a big list of ranked films amongst all the studios. Please look forward to it! lol.


2. Wolf Children

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Wolf Children nabs our second spot on the list of films people commonly mistake for Studio Ghibli movies. Wolf Children is also my favorite anime “movie” (stand alone production that is not a series). That’s right, my favorite anime movie is not even a Studio Ghibli film. Gasp :). It has the same animation style, and most importantly, same types of characters and story that would fit right in with any Ghibli production. I reviewed Wolf Children here if you’d like to learn more about this anime. I highly recommend it. I’ve watched it at least 12 times now. I actually just watched it again lastnight, no lie lol.

I also recommend if you have watched Wolf Children that you may like Wolf’s Rain, a short fantasy series about wolves as well. Wolf’s Rain was just re-released last week on Bluray/DVD so the prices and availability of it should be fair right now. I have the complete set that I bought some years ago. It’s a dark and gritty series, but very interesting. I also hear Spice and Wolf is an excellent romance anime but I have not watched it yet.

Wolf Children was written by Mamoru Hosoda and he formed Studio Chizu to produce this film. His other directorial roles include The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Boy and the Beast. His latest film is Mirai of the Future which is about a girl who travels back in time to visit her older brother at a point in time before she herself would have been born. This film has yet to be released but has already been licensed for US distribution. The Japanese version is premiering in July 2018, and an English version should also appear later in 2018.

Clearly you can tell from the Gif that I shared above, Wolf Children is a must watch for all Furries. Even if you’re not a Furry though, it’s an amazing movie. It focuses on a young woman who falls in love with what could best be described as a Werewolf. Having played World of Darkness Werewolf Tabletop Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games when I was younger, this film also resonated with me, bringing back a lot of fun memories of past gaming campaigns.

What I love about Wolf Children is how the children grow and evolve in the film. In the beginning of the film, the mother asks them a very poignant question: “If you could be only 1 thing, which would you be: Humans or Wolves?” She says she wants to give them the freedom to make that choice for themselves. They move to the countryside, as their wolf-like tendencies were getting them into trouble in the city. After the move, the children are free to run and play and act as wolves… but the children also begin to go to school and live life as human children. The children must decide for themselves which path they wish to take in life. The mother has trouble realizing that her children are growing up and struggles with her decision to let them make their own decisions. In the end, she realizes that she must love and accept her children no matter what choices they make in life – which is a very important and heart warming message for any family. Such as loving your children no matter what, if they’re gay, if they marry outside their race, if they accept a job that you believe is beneath their qualifications or pays poorly, etc. You have to let your children go and make their own choices even if you feel that choice is a mistake. Your only job as a parent is to love you children. Not live their lives for them. Very important message which all parents should embrace. That makes this a great family film. Although it doesn’t present such “political” or “hot button” topics as I present here in this analysis, it’s easy to apply the message of the woman’s love for her wolf children and apply that to literally any situation where a parent is struggling to accept something their children have done in real life too! I think that’s the strength of this film, it’s just so real and relatable to all children and all parents who go through this “power struggle”.


3. My Summer with Coo

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I reviewed My Summer with Coo here. I feel it could be mistaken for a Studio Ghibli film because of the cute animal mascot, the more realistic character designs that look like actual Japanese people, and the heart warming, although at times, dark and creepy story. Studio Ghibli films can also be a little dark and creepy such as Princess Mononoke, or Totoro which is unintentionally dark and creepy in the 2nd half. I’d say Coo shares this same unintentional creepiness also in its second half. And that same juxtaposition between the light hearted first half, and creepyass second half, make it very Totoro-ish.

My Summer with Coo (I’ve also seen the English title written as “Summer Days With Coo”), is about a young boy who finds a Kappa which is that green creature there. Kappas are actually a “real” mythological creature from Japan. I became interested and fascinated researching Kappas on the internet after watching this film. — Anyways, Summer Days with Coo is about this boy and his Kappa and the adventures they have together. In the beginning, the family wishes to keep Coo a secret, but eventually they give in to pressure from the media and take advantage of Coo by dragging him to talk shows and tv performances. Coo is frightened by the loud crowds and lights in the studio and accidentally freaks out. People deem him to be dangerous, and he goes on a rampage through Tokyo on the back of the family dog while his family is trying to save him, and pretty much the rest of Japan trying to destroy him.

A lot of sad, uplifting, heartwarming things happen, just like they do in any Ghibli film. But this is no Ghibli film. My Summer with Coo is directed by Keiichi Hara, most well known for his director roles in Crayon Shin-Chan and Doraemon. This was his first break out film after joining studio Shin-Ei. His next film, Colorful, also makes my list :).

When I last looked a year or two ago, My Summer with Coo had not yet been licensed for US distribution despite winning numerous awards back in 2008 when it came out in Japan. It has appeared at a few film festivals but to my knowledge has not been picked up for DVD or Bluray Distribution in North America.


4. Colorful

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Colorful is also by Keiichi Hara (famous for Crayon Shin-Chan and Doraemon) who also directed Summer Days with Coo, above. Colorful is based on a novel by Eto Mori. This film is good, but it’s also very hard to watch. I’ve watched it 2 or 3 times now. The first time I watched it I didn’t like it very much. The main character is hard to like. Many bad things happen to him in his life. He is a “victim” of circumstances beyond his control. His parents are having an affair, he has no friends, the girl he likes he discovers is actually a prostitute and shallow AF. So all of these things have made him a miserable depressed and bitter person who hates everyone and everything about life. — But the message of the movie is that even when your life sucks like this, you can find joy, you can find happiness, if you just hold on and keep looking. And thus, too, the main character’s luck and life begins to change when he finally makes his first friend and for the first time, he begins to love his life and regret his behaviours.

Colorful makes the list as mistaken for Ghibli because of the more realistic art style, dealing with family themes and life in Japan, as well as elements of fantasy and magic, and the positive moral message within the film.


5. The Boy and The Beast

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Alright, jumping back to Studio Chizu, the next two films on our list by Mamoru Hosoda are also often mistaken for Ghibli films because of the animation and art style as well as imaginative stories and fantasy worlds. The Boy and the Beast is sometimes considered a sequel to Wolf Children although it is different and a stand alone piece. The main character is a young boy who runs away from home because of some misconceived feelings and thoughts about his family. He becomes lost in a fantasy world with Furry beast-like people. Not only wolves, but rabbits and cats and monkeys and pigs and lizards and pretty much any animal imaginable. Another great film for furry lovers.

Furries aside though, the film stands on its own for its emotionally moving story and strong character development. The boy is taken in to become apprentice to a kung fu master who is one such beastman. Although the beast is very hard on the boy, and the beast has bad “people skills” they grow close, although perhaps both unwilling to admit it. The two are very stubborn and butt heads often.

Eventually the time comes for the boy to go back to the human world, which threatens his relationship with the beast who has been raising him. Only at their parting do they come to realize their feelings for one another. As the boy adjusts to life among the humans, he learns that he must return to the world of beasts to save both their worlds. Once parted again, the final message of the film is that the love your family gives you is eternal, surviving death, surpassing all other feelings or emotion, and that it is always with you, inside your heart and your memories of your loved ones. – Aww I’m tearing up just typing this and thinking about it, and it has been a year or two since I watched this movie. I need to rewatch it tonight for sure. So good.


6. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

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One more Mamoru Hosoda film on our list. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of his earlier works, but is a very good animated film about a girl who has a limited number of time warping abilities. She wastes most of these, and learns the consequences of her actions a bit too late. Like most movies about time travel, we learn that changing things in the past has unintended consequences in the future. I think thematically out of all of the films on our list, this one is the most like a Ghibli film. The story follows a formula similar to many Ghibli films… A slow build up; Resistance to the romance initially, and then discovering your feelings for each other when it’s too late. An open ending, leaving us wondering will the two meet again? The character style and animation style also reminds me very much of Studio Ghibli.


7. Koe no Katachi – A Silent Voice

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These next two films are the highest grossing Japanese anime movies in recent years. Both films received a lot of international hype and press coverage from the media. That success alone is enough to cause people to mistake them as Studio Ghibli films, especially to lay persons who are not avid anime enthusiasts. A Silent Voice is by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada. The story is about a young deaf girl without any friends, and a young boy who teases said deaf girl. Because of his teasing his friends shun him (even though they too were teasing her as well). As he goes through middle school without any friends, he learns how the young deaf girl must have felt. He has a change of heart and feels ashamed for his actions. He longs to someday get the chance to apologize to her, so he begins to study sign language just so he can tell her how sorry he is.

I expect to see a resurgence in popularity of this anime now that Shape of Water has been voted the best movie of the year by the Academy Awards. In fact I’ve also seen the English title of this anime written as “The Shape of Voice” (similar titles even). Shape of Water also deals with sign language. Another really good “film” (tv series actually) about sign language is Switched At Birth. It even uses deaf actors.

I reviewed Koe No Katachi A Silent Voice Here.


8. Kimi no Na wa – Your Name

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This was the highest grossing anime movie of the year – or perhaps even of all time – holding out the number 1 position in the Japanese box office for months. And performing quite well when released abroad too raking in over $355 million at the box office. It is indeed a great film. Its success also means it gets mistook for a Ghibli film. Directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by Comix Wave Films. It is a gender bending time traveling fantasy adventure with a love that transverses, time, space, and location. Read Our Review of Kimi no na wa here.


9. A Letter to Momo

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A Letter to Momo definitely reminds me of a Ghibli film. This movie is about a young girl who must move to the countryside after the death of her father to a place where she has no friends but soon discovers she has the ability to see and speak to Yokai. Eventually in the film, the young girl realizes the importance of family and discovers the ability to move on and make new friends and a new life for herself, but not before many trials and hardships are put before her. The focus on family and the addition of the Yokai definitely have that Ghibli like feel; however, this film is directed by Hiroyuki Okiura and produced by Production I.G.


10. Lu Over the Wall

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This film reminds me a lot of Ponyo, the floppy strange limbs of the mermaid, and just the general theme – even at the end, saving the village from a tsunami. I like Ponyo better, but I also really enjoyed Lu Over the Wall as well! Check out my review of Lu Over the Wall here.


11. Brave Story

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I read the book that the anime was later based on when it (the book) first came out many years ago. It is a long and thick young adult’s fantasy adventure, similar in length and scope to literary greats like Harry Potter. The story is about a young boy whose parents are getting divorced. One day while playing in a construction site he discovers a doorway to another fantasy world. If you’re interested the book can be found on amazon.

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12. The Princess and the Pilot

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I enjoyed this anime, but I first had watched the semi-related series, Pilot’s Love Song. I really loved Pilot’s Love Song, while I just sorta “liked” the Princess and the Pilot. Both anime deal with war and aircraft – a common theme in Studio Ghibli films as well… and just like a Ghibli film they weave in a love story that is challenged by the events in the film. The Princess and the Pilot is about a young skilled pilot who has been hired to take the princess through a warzone. They have engine troubles, they are pursued by enemies, and all the while, they get to know each other a little bit better. The spoiled princess begins to change and want to take a more proactive role in her own safety.  And the pilot of course falls in love with the beautiful princess, despite finding her annoying and burdensome at first.


13. Miss Hokusai

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Personally, I did not enjoy Miss Hokusai, a film about a daughter of a famous artist. I can’t deny that it has a very strong Ghibli feeling to it though in terms of artwork and character design and story and pacing throughout the film.


14. Miyori’s Forest

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15. Windaria


16. The Garden of Words

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17. Children Who Chase Lost Voices

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18. In This Corner of the World

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19. The Anthem of the Heart

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20. 5 Centimeters Per Second

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21. Hotarubi no Mori e

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This short film, less than 1 hour in length, tells the tale of a young girl who falls in love with a yokai fox spirit in a hidden forest. They are forbidden to touch, at the cost of the spirit’s life. It is a heart breaking, but beautifully animated film. I feel it could have been longer and more detailed in the story and character development which would have even heightened the emotional impact of this anime. It is based on a one-off manga by the same name. The film was directed by Takaihiro Omori and is produced by Brian’s Base Studio.


 22. The Place Promised in Our Early Days

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 23. Voices of a Distant Star

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24. Fireworks

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25. Napping Princess

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26. The Red Turtle

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27. Typhoon Noruda

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28. Metropolis

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29. The Perfect World of Kai Piano no Mori

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30. Oseam

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31. Kakurenbo

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32. Twelve Months

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33. Dog of Flanders

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34. Big Fish and Begonia

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35. Yobi the 5 Tailed Fox

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36. Nadia the Secret of Blue Water

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37. Rainbow Fireflies

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38. Chinese Ghost Story

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39. The Tibetan Dog

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40. Showa Monogatari

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41. Tatsumi

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42. Tezuka Osamu no Budda

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43. Hal

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44. Little Nemo

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45. The Last Unicorn

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46. The Hobbit

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47. Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid

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48. Wixoss

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49. Origin Spirits of the Past

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50. Cinderella Monogatari

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51. The Fantastic Adventures of Leda

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52. Little Memole

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53. A Journey Through Fairyland

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54. Papa Mama Bye Bye

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55. The Star of Cottonland – A Kitten’s Fantasy

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56. Candy Candy

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59. Time of Eve

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Time of Eve, Eve no Jikan, is one of my favorite anime series of all time. There’s also an anime movie based on the series. In this anime, robots are an integral part of society but are viewed as little more than machines and tools, however, the robots live a secret life in a hidden society just for them.


58. I’ve Always Liked You

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59. The Moment You Fall in Love

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60. The Magic Treehouse

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Bonus: 61. Lost in Moonlight

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Including this film actually brings our list total to 62 films since our list started with the number 0. I have not yet watched this one. I want to, but I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to find a version with English subtitles. This Korean animated film made international headlines when it was released for having “copied” Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, while others were quick to defend the film saying the story and characters were vastly different. I want to watch this film and make my own conclusions as to just how similar it may be to Spirited Away.

62 Animated Films You May Mistake For Studio Ghibli Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Quanzhi Gaoshou (King’s Avatar) Anime Review

Quanzhi Gaoshou (King’s Avatar) Anime Review

The relationship between anime and video games is well-known among both gaming audiences and anime fans. Both forms of entertainment have taken inspiration from each other and it’s common to see video games with anime art styles and see animes that borrow from video game story beats.

For example, in 2016, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy XV is a classic JRPG that takes place in Eos and sees Noctis and his three friends roam around in an open-world, taking down enemies and exploring. Noctis and co.’s character designs already seem ripped from an anime and that’s what led to Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, an anime series of five episodes that continued to follow the adventures of Noctis and his friends. Square Enix is also the publisher of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, which is a series of anime and JRPG-style takes on Disney characters. The Kingdom Hearts franchise has sold more than 24 million copies around the world, highlighting the interest in this merging of genres.

As mentioned, we have also seen some anime series based on games. One of these is Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar), the esports-related anime series that was put together by the G.CMay Animation & Film studio and first aired in 2017. Read our review of this anime below.

What is Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) About?

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3arFUIyA3l8%5B/embedyt%5D

Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) is an esports-focused anime series that follows a character named Ye Xiu. In the plot, Ye Xiu is one of the top-tier professional players in the online multiplayer game Glory, where his talents and contributions to the game have seen him nicknamed the “Battle God.” But Ye Xiu retires from his team and begins to find himself working at an Internet café. Ye Xiu’s career in the café doesn’t last too long, though, because the launch of Glory’s tenth server encourages the renowned esports player to get back into the game. Once he makes his triumphant return, players question who this mysterious new, talented player is while Ye Xiu must figure out how he can earn sponsors, find a team and get used to a game that has massively changed. As expected, the anime is full of intense competition, vendettas and ambitious protagonists and antagonists. Overall, we’d say it’s a must-watch for esports fans, and quite an interesting option for those who are curious about this world.

Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) follows the well-worn anime trope of competition in sports and fans have also seen anime games such as the soccer game Captain Tsubasa Dream Team (based on an old anime about soccer) thrive. But the anime is still widely held in high regard and the novel it is based on received the title for Best Work in 2013.

Can We Expect More Esports Anime Series?

Arguably, the release of an esports-related anime like Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) was massively overdue, especially given the growth of the esports industry. Esports is steadily making its way into the mainstream, as made evident by a Limelight Networks survey of 4,000 people from 2017 that revealed that young men in the United States prefer esports to traditional sports. We have also seen mainstream bookmakers such as Betway which offer odds on popular esports games such as the MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arena game) League of Legends and DOTA 2, and the shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which shows exactly how much of the mainstream public is interested in esports – it’s definitely not a niche market anymore. In fact, speaking of League of Legends, developer Riot Games confirmed that the game’s 2014 world championship received 32 million viewers and the final sold-out the Staples Center. When considering viewership figures like this, it’s no wonder that the esports industry is expected to be worth $1.5 billion by 2020, according to Newzoo. Although the anime industry is already worth $17.7 billion, by embracing esports this incredibly popular form of entertainment has even more room to grow. Anime studios could capitalize on the success of esports by portraying it in anime form.

For example, the biggest names in esports have rivals and people looking to oust them from the top seat and there are also longstanding feuds between the best-known teams in a game. Moreover, there are surprise wins and incredible plays as a player uses an ability in an impressive, strategic way and helps to guide the team to victory. These would all make for some highly viewable plots and action-packed episodes that anime viewers would love, so perhaps the anime industry will make more esports-inspired series soon.

Quanzhi Gaoshou (King’s Avatar) Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Hourou Musuko Wandering Son Anime Review

Hourou Musuko Anime Review

Wandering Son

Source: Facebook via Hourou Musuko

Title: Hourou Musuko

Other Titles: Wandering Son

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, Drama, School

Studio: AIC Classic

Based on: The Hourou Musuko manga by Takako Shimura

Length: The show is made up of a single 12 episode season, with the story beginning partway through the plot of Takako’s source manga material. Each episode is roughly 23 minutes long. 

Release Dates: Aired January – April 2011

Where to watch: Crunchyroll has the entire season in its library, available for streaming 24/7.

Overall: 56 / 70

Geeky: 3 / 5 Gentle comedy and an entire plotline devoted to an instalment of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet make for a wonderfully animated literary experience – and all in Japanese, no less. We would say this is a moderately geeky show; settling into one’s own skin is a sentiment able to be appreciated by viewers of all introvert backgrounds, and the shared personal struggles of the middle school class are infinitely relatable. All kinds of content find themselves ported from the west to the east, from online slots on Bitcasino to stage plays. In this case, it’s awesome to see Shakespeare viewed through the lens of a new and distinct culture.  

Sweetie: 4 / 5 Hourou Musuko is deeply touching, regardless of one’s background or identity relative to its characters. I wouldn’t exactly call it cutesy so to speak, but the honesty of friendship and the raw moments of emotion peppered throughout result in a powerful experience nonetheless. Heartfelt, funny, beautiful – Hourou Musuko is realistic at its core, both in terms of life’s expectations and its results. The bond between protagonists Takatsuki and Nitori is a particular highlight.   

Overview: 8 /10 Its content and delicate handling of the subject would have many label Hourou Musuko as a simple ‘Queer,’ or ‘LGBT’ anime. Identity is the topic of its main themes, after all, and its popularity is largely due to its responsible confrontation of difficult character situations. All too often Japanese culture paints queer characters in a comedic or derogatory light, and its refreshing to see that dynamic turns on its head – Hourou Musuko takes gender non-conforming characters and gives them an honest life on screen. But there’s more to this show than just representation.

Wandering Son

Source: Facebook via Hourou Musuko

There’s laughter, there’s love, and there’s a host of experience and perspective all balanced amidst a dramatic beat in every episode. Anyone with a taste for slice of life anime should enjoy this show. Anyone looking to better understand queer adolescence should find it informative. Its introspective storytelling leaves little to be desired, and its subtle direction carries great emotional weight as the story follows our cast through their early years of young adulthood. Family, school and future all lie in the balance.     

Story: 8 /10 Shuichi Nitori is a relatively normal child – a good student, a good friend, quiet and reserved. With a slight build and feminine interests, they find themselves at odds with the world around them. You see, Nitori was assigned male at birth, but identifies as female. Yoshino Takatsuki, on the other hand is tall, a tomboy, with their own similar counterpart desires. They were assigned female, but wish to live as a man. After sharing such secrets between themselves upon meeting in the fifth grade, they quickly become firm friends. Commence queer transgender drama and teenage hijinks.

Hourou Musuko follows these two as they venture into adolescence, examining their friendships, exploring their secrets and watching from afar as they begin their first tentative romantic adventures – and many a romantic adventure is to be had! Towards the end of elementary school Nitori, Takatsuki and another girl, Saori, clash in an unsatisfactory love triangle that leaves all three-broken hearted. Because of this both Nitori and Takatsuki lose their support system and space for exploration, and Saori quickly becomes embittered to them both. Set the stage for episode one (as all of the above is told in flashbacks throughout the first half of the series).  

Junior High has begun, and Nitori is more isolated than ever before. They still harbour romantic feelings for Takatsuki, their sister (who shares a room with Nitori) is unsupportive and puberty is on its way. This is a child lacking information and affirmation, a child who dresses as the girl others do not see after school and struggles with a deep fear of the future. The spaces where they can be themselves are few and far between, to say the least. So Nitori falls back on their friends, rebuilding a platonic relationship with Takatsuki and meeting plenty of new ones along the way.

The show generally follows a slow, melancholy pace thereafter, with a key plotline in the latter half of the series involving a gender-bent performance of Romeo and Juliet. Takatsuki is Romeo – Nitori, sadly, is not Juliet. As the play enters rehearsals, Nitori begins to learn more and more about themselves, being the one to rewrite the play, and their family is soon made aware of their internal feelings. Beyond that there’s Anna – a friend of Nitori’s sister, she takes an interest in them, an interest which eventually develops into a relationship. We also meet Yuki, an adult woman who once found herself in Nitori’s position, as well as her boyfriend Shiina, who counsels the two in times of crisis and offers generally impartial advice. Yuki stands as a testament to Nitori’s possible future, and as a friend to the both of them.

As the show goes on family, friends, love and school begin to pressure both Takatsuki and Nitori, tension builds, and the future remains uncertain. Want to know more? Watch the show and find out! There’s plenty of detail hidden beyond the broad strokes and conflict mentioned here.

Characters: 8 / 10 While each episode of Hourou Musuko centres around the experiences of one Shuichi Nitori, a young teen in the midst of exploring their gender identity and place in the world, a vibrant cast of supporting character maintain a constant presence. There’s Makato, the childhood friend and son of a baker with a crush on the homeroom teacher. There’s Anna, the love interest, Chizuru the impulsive clown and Momo the shy voice of reason. There’s also Takatsuki, who’s less of a supporting cast member and more of a secondary lead in many ways. They share Nitori’s challenge, wishing they had been born a boy and muddling their way through a series of intensely complex emotions. Together the two embark on a journey of self-discovery, centre stage in a production full of life.

Wandering Son

Source: Facebook via Hourou Musuko

The amazing thing about HM is that it manages to coherently develop its characters all at once in such a short space of time. Over twelve episodes each and every cast member sees visible growth, change, loss and gain, with every curve in the road masterfully handled. It’s raw, it’s realistic, and things don’t always have a happy ending.

Art: 9 /10 From Nitori to her parents, from Takatsuki to random girl number five sitting quietly at the back of the classroom, each member of Hourou Musuko’s cast has a distinctive and recognisable character design. People move smoothly, physics play out naturally, and colours are sharp as can possibly be. What really makes the show for me is how it plays out on both a macro and micro scale – the small, human details of movement contrasted against a painstakingly animated environmental background. When Nitori steps across the road crossing and is knocked by a businessman, ruffling her outfit, the chaos of movement and bodies is representative of her personal struggle. When she adjusts her clothing, the flow of the material pays close attention to detail. Really good stuff. Also, the cherry blossoms are gorgeous. 

Music: 8 /10 Sound director Jin Aketagawa peppers this anime with music at all the right moments. Simultaneously uplifting and hollow, hopeful and lost (excuse the dramatic hyperbole), scenes are lifted into excellence by single notes and symphonies alike. The intro and outro tracks are also a highlight – Rie Fu’s For You is full of innocence.

Voice acting: 8 /10 With no English dub currently available, Hourou Musuko is best enjoyed by non-Japanese speakers in its original form, albeit with subtitles scrolling by along the bottom of the screen. This is a show that maintains a wide cast of characters, but it does so wonderfully, with each voice maintaining a distinct personality and tone. The lilt and inflection of each sentence translates across all language, strengthening the emotional integrity of painful scenes and lightening the comedy of their counterparts.

There are gentle beats, there are harsh beats. There are loud, explosive moments and periods of extraordinary stillness, and in each one, the voice actors respond accordingly. Nitori and Takatsuki’s roles are perhaps the most challenging that the show has to offer, but they also happen to be the highlight of its voice acting line-up. Angst is easily overdone, yet there’s nothing in either of these characters dialogue that oversteps the line. Rather, less is more. Pain is quiet.   

Hourou Musuko Wandering Son Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News