Big Fish and Begonia Anime Review

Overview:

Big Fish & Begonia (also known as Da Yu Hai Tang) is not technically an anime since it is from China instead of Japan; however, it is a beautifully animated fantasy adventure with a lot of heart. The quality of the animation is on par with Disney or Studio Ghibli.

The story has a few plot holes and pacing issues, but overall, the emotional impact of the story telling makes this film a must watch. The story may feel familiar if you’ve watched Disney’s the Little Mermaid, or another Chinese animation from the 90s, Chinese Ghost Story. Despite the similar concepts, Big Fish & Begonia still manages to add its own unique twists and takes on concepts of forbidden love and reincarnation.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

Review:

Title: Big Fish & Begonia (Da Yu Hai Tang)

Release Date: July 2016 (China) (Not yet licensed for North America)

 

Production: Bejing Enlight Media

Geeky:  5/5 – The production values are top notch. The quality of the animation, music, and acting are all on PAR with Disney or Studio Ghibli. Many consider this film to be the “dawn of animation” in China. It took 12 years to complete, and the level of dedication, time, care, and skill that went into making this film really shows.

Sweetie: 4/5 – I did decide to deduct one point for a few major plot holes and pacing issues. However, the themes of love (often times unrequited), life, death, and reincarnation make this film very “sweet” indeed. I was not expecting to cry as much as I did by the end!

Overall: 47/55 85% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Concept:

Concept: 10/10 I am in love with the concept behind this film. I am a huge fan of Chinese Ghost Story and also the Little Mermaid.

I even prefer the old 80s Japanese version of the Little Mermaid over the Disney one (blasphemous, I know, right?). Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney’s Little Mermaid too. But the reason I love the non-Disney version so much is because of how sad it is.

Spoiler for the Japanese Little Mermaid below:

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

I know this sounds horrible to some people who always insist on watching movies with a happy ending, but I’ve always loved tearjerkers, even as a child. There’s just something so touching and sweet about this tragic tale. It also happens to follow the original story more closely as well.

So if we combine that 80s Little Mermaid with Chinese Ghost Story, we get something very similar to Big Fish & Begonia. Chinese Ghost Story is another beautifully animated Chinese film. (The animation was done by a Japanese studio). The story involves a young man who finds himself lost in a literal “Ghost Town”. All of the city’s inhabitants are spirits who have passed over. There, he meets a beautiful woman who also happens to be a ghost. Eventually the two of them fall in love; however, the only way for them to be together is for both of them to reincarnate back on earth.

Story:

Story: 7/10 The story of Big Fish and Begonia revolves around Chun, a young girl who has just become an adult in her society. Chun is from a mystical world. The movie describes the world by having Chun narrate that they are not gods, nor humans, but “others”.

In this mystical world, all adolescents become dolphins and journey to the human world for 7 days as a right of passage. During this time if they should come into contact with humans, they will not be allowed to return back to their own world.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

However, a sea squall occurs which traps Chun in a fisherman’s net on her last day on Earth. The past few days, she has spent observing the humans and their world, especially one young human who loves the sea. This human sees that Chun is trapped in the net and swims out to save her.

Although he is able to free Chun from the fisherman’s net, he drowns in the storm. Chun tries to save him, but is only able to retrieve his ocarina. Chun can’t forget the young man or his grieving family even when she returns back to her own world.

Chun discovers that there may be a way to revive the young boy and return him back to his world. She trades half of her life in exchange for his. In doing so, she also irreversibly links together their two souls. Should one of them perish, so shall they both. To complicate matters, his soul must remain a fish until returning back to the human world. In Chinese legends, there was a big fish who could fly through the skies. Thus Chun names him after the fish of legend, Kun.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

Many sad things happen along the way, but Chun resolves herself to complete her mission, even if it costs her her own life. As much as Chun cares for Kun, there’s another character who equally cares for Chun. He is her childhood friend named Qiu. With the same resolve that Chun takes to protect Kun, Qiu takes similar resolve to protect Chun, also willing if necessary to trade his life for hers.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film and loved the concept and story. My complaint with the story is the introduction of minor characters halfway through. They abandon certain concepts they have introduced, and create inconsistencies and plot holes. Here are a few examples.

1.) In theory, Chun should not have even been able to return back to her world. Contact with humans was forbidden. Yes, her world begins to suffer, and everyone turns against her. But, when the film starts, her mother warns her not to let the humans see her and tells her that another girl just took the journey and was unable to return for breaking this rule.

2.) At one point, a villain will escape into the human world. (You’ll know what I’m referring to if you watch the movie). After escaping into the human world, we never see or hear from this villain again. You would think it had some motive for wanting to go into the human world and that some consequences may occur in the human world as the result of introduction of this character. We’re never shown exactly what those consequences are.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

3.) When returning to the human world, all memories are supposed to be erased; however, that doesn’t seem to happen. There’s also the issue or significance of the necklace that Chun is wearing at the end, that I don’t recall being explained. It seems the creators want your attention to be called to the necklace from the swinging and shining animation and camera zoom and pan given to that scene. What significance exactly did the necklace hold?

This next bit might be a Spoiler for the end of Big Fish and Begonia

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Characters

Characters: 8/10 Qiu makes this film for me. He begins as a bit of a child-like impish, practical jokester. By the end of the film, he has matured so much, and sacrifices so much as a result of his love and desire to protect Chun.

Chun likewise grows as a character, with her resolve to protect Kun. She goes against her elders, her mother, the people of her village. She is shunned as a result of breaking the laws of her people. While it would be easy to harbor a grudge against the people who have cast her out of their tribe, she instead endeavors to help them when tragedy befalls their home.

Chun also realizes what she was warned, that we cannot ever truly atone for our sins. As a result of helping Kun, other people begin to suffer. She realizes the weight and consequences of her actions; however, it is too late to change course.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review

Qiu learns a similar lesson. He asks how to save and help Chun, but the answer he receives eats away at him. He asks a shopkeeper if he has anything that can make him forget his sadness. The shopkeeper offers him a drink, but he warns it will also take away his happiness. He learns that in order to have happiness, you must also experience sadness.

The minor characters are also sources of wisdom and have a lot of heart, especially Chun’s grandparents who help her even after their own death.

I did deduct 2 points because there are some characters that are forgotten and abandoned, and even Kun himself feels underdeveloped as a character. It was hard for me to like the relationship of Kun x Chun because so much more development had been put into Qiu compared to Kun.

Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Big Fish Begonia Anime Review
Production Value:

Animation: 5/5 This is one of the most beautifully animated films I have seen, not just from China, but from anywhere. It blends beautiful 2D and some nice 3D animation techniques. The fantasy world and characters are all unique and mesmerizing.

Voice Acting 5/5 Big Fish and Begonia is a very emotional film, and to pull that off, it makes use of talented voice actors who can capture and convey their feelings of love, guilt, grief, and despair.

Music: 3/5 Music also has a Disney-ish feeling and helps tell the story. I especially liked the song during the ending credits. There a few Disney-ish feeling “song/dance” skits, which can sometimes detract from the mature and dark feeling of the film; these are brief, but not as well handled in my opinion as similar scenes in Chinese Ghost Story, which makes great use of music interludes to tell their story. The music also doesn’t feel that memorable in Big Fish and Begonia, but it is overall, quite lovely.

Overall: 47/55 85% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Big Fish and Begonia Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Final Fantasy XV Review

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a review around here with the holidays and all. It’s time to fix that. Having just finished FFXV over the weekend, that seems the best candidate for a review this week. I’ve been a fan of Final Fantasy for a long time, ever since “Mystic Quest” on the SNES. Final Fantasy 6 (3 in America) is still my favorite in the series. I’ve played every Final Fantasy Game since the 16 bit era. And I’m “strange” I know, but I don’t really like FF7, not as much as everyone else seems to be in love with that game. But Final Fantasy in general always holds a special place in my heart. If I had to rank my favorite FF games that I’ve played from best to worst, it would look something like this when using the corresponding Japanese numbers for each title… With the newest game, Final Fantasy XV somewhere solidly in the middle. Although I’ve played 11 and 14, I didn’t include them in the list since they are a different genre (mmorpg)

  • FF6
  • FF8
  • FF4
  • FF10
  • FF13
  • FF15
  • FF9
  • FF5
  • FF7
  • FF12

Honestly, my most favorite thing about the new FF game was Prompto’s Photography skills lol. My twitter and facebook looked like a giant marketing website for the game for the past few weeks. Pretty smart move by SquareEnix, getting the public to help promote their game like that on social media. The characters are quite likeable in the game, and although the story starts slow, it eventually builds with a lot of emotion. The first half of the game features an open world environment where you can travel, explore, and quest freely, but the last several chapters are much more linear, and it’s within the later half of the game that the story becomes much darker. The emotions are felt stronger due to the first half focusing on friendship between the main character and his friends and the light hearted feeling of the early chapters.

The story however, is not without flaws, and that is where I have to deduct points. People are killed off much too early in the game to feel any sense of loss or attachment to them. Furthermore, some characters are mysteriously killed off without ever showing exactly what happened to them. The character development between the 4 “bros” is the highlight of the game – and it is beautiful. On the other hand, supporting characters are introduced only to be almost forgotten in later chapters. For example, I really liked Iris in the first half of the game. In the end it’s eluded that she too has become a daemon hunter, but it never shows her again nor does she ever rejoin the bros. Aranea is another forgotten female as well.

The game is supposed to be receiving numerous updates in the coming weeks and months. Among which include new story sequences, special dlc for each of the bros, gameplay enhancements for the later chapters (chapter 13), and the ability to create your own player character. But I shall base my review solely based on the content that was available when I played through the game.

Title: Final Fantasy XV

Platform: PS4 and Xbone (I played the PS4 version, but they are both the same).

Publisher: SquareEnix

Release Date: November 29, 2016

Genre: RPG

Where to buy: Amazon

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Geeky:  5/5 – The new combat system, high production values and cutting edge graphics make this new entry into the Final Fantasy series a new, but amazingly fun experience.

Sweetie:  4/5 – The story and character development sometimes struggles to keep things coherent and cohesive, especially in the later chapters of the game. Many of the side characters, especially female characters, are tossed aside and forgotten in the second half of the game. Some scenes that should have been tear jerkers fell flat due to not enough time spent developing characters before introducing tragic events. However, lots of non-combat activities, such as photography, fishing, cooking, and chocobo racing are sure to delight most girls playing this game. Not to mention ample amounts of glorious man eyecandy.

Overall: 69/80 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Final Fantasy XV is an action RPG with the ability to select Real-time combat or the Active Wait commands which allow you more time to use items and plan your strategy. Early chapters feature an open world with numerous quests, while later chapters shift to a linear narrative focused on building a strong story. Without spoiling it for you, Final Fantasy XV tells a story about a prince trying to rescue his bride to be while avenging his father’s death and reclaiming his kingdom. When the game starts, the prince is a mouthy spoiled brat, who, along with his friends journey to meet the Oracle, who is also the prince’s childhood friend and betrothed. However, shortly after leaving the capital city, their kingdom is attacked which begins a quest to seek the powers of the gods as well as past kings to help defeat evil and bring peace to the lands.

Gameplay: 9/10 – Some people really dislike the new action based combat; however, I find it much more fun, engaging, and fluid than traditional JRPGs (and I love JRPGs don’t get me wrong.). You can chain attacks like crazy, which is really cool, especially later in the game, it’s possible to see triple digits on your chained attacks. You can bring up the menu which in Real-time mode, monsters will still attack, but in Active Wait mode, the monsters will be paused allowing you to select the items you want to use. I had no trouble using items in the Real-time combat modes.  I relied pretty heavily on elixirs and potions, especially in later chapters of the game lol. There are two difficulty settings, and I played on easy and found most of the fights a breeze, even in the dreaded chapter 13 which finds the main character separated from the bros and without any weapons or armor. So I would say the game is of average difficulty probably. I did not need to grind or run into any issues.

Overall the game took me about 55 hours to complete. I spent the first several hours doing side quests, and enjoying the extra content of the game, and about the last 20 hours maybe actually trying to progress through the storyline. FFXV is one of those games that can take you as little as 30 hours or as many as probably 100+ hours depending on what you want to do! I still had plenty of side quests that I could have completed. However, I didn’t feel particularly motivated to do so, too many “fetch quests” – go here, bring back x, or kill x number of monsters, etc. Needed more story based quests. Also money became laughable as a quest reward. I had 99 (the limit it lets you carry) Hi Elixirs, Hi Potions, etc.

Long time fans will be delighted to see the return of chocobo racing (which in my opinion was the best part of FF7 lol). You can also name, customize (with medals and colors), and take your Chocobo on the road with you. Not only that, but as you travel by chocobo, he will level up, gaining more stamina and learning new skills such as being able to help you in combat. In the beginning he may run from a lot of encounters as soon as you dismount, but as he levels up it’s implied he has more affection for you as he will often take initiative to engage in combat and wait for you to mount back up when the fight is finished.

New features in FFXV include Prompto’s photography skills. Prompto will take pics randomly throughout the game. I believe most are randomly generated, but a few are perhaps storyline driven. This is by far my favorite part of FFXV. I filled up all 150 album slots by Chapter 10. You can check out my twitter to see some of my pics. 

The main mini game in Final Fantasy XV is a pachinko game (popular in Japan, these casino games kinda resemble Pinball in a way). You can win trophies and in game items (mostly accessories from what I noticed) by getting high scores in the game. The mini game felt kinda long and tedious in a way to me, too many levels. I made it pretty far, but never did reach the end – if there even is an end to it.

I think there also may be a coliseum fighting tournament thing – I heard NPCs saying “Let’s go out for drinks if we win the tournament” etc. I didn’t fully explore enough to find the arena – so I can’t comment on this feature – if it actually exists.

Fishing is another passtime which you can choose to level up throughout various fishing spots in the game. It is very challenging at first, but if you fish enough your skill increases and you also become accustomed to the controls and it does get easier and more enjoyable as you go on.

There’s also Ignis’ cooking skills. When you make camp you can have Ignis cook a stat-boosting meal for the group. As you travel you will discover new recipes (hint try ordering everything at the taverns you visit, and check shops for recipe books and other key items). Sometimes just foraging for the ingredients out in the wild will be enough to spark Ignis’ inspiration. Characters also have favorite foods that further give an increased boost to their stats when consumed.

Camping can also unlock special scenes between you and the bros. For example, staying at an outpost one night, Prompto approaches the main character to reminisce about their childhood. It’s a very moving scene – one that really does a lot to develop Prompto as a character – and kinda a shame a lot of people may not get to see it.  There’s other scenes too and some include mini games such as cooking with Ignis or racing with Gladiolus.

Traveling in Final Fantasy XV is easier and faster than any other JRPG I’ve ever played. The main mode of transportation is the Regalia, a beautiful black sports car. You can choose to drive yourself, or choose to have Ignis drive automatically for you by selecting quests or map markers kinda mindlessly guiding you through the game. To pass time you can collect and listen to numerous Final Fantasy soundtracks from previous games. You can also shop while driving in your car (or even while it’s parked). At times the radio will have news or other backstory elements you can hear while riding around. Your car will need gas so don’t forget to refill for a measly 10 gil at outposts along the way.

The car is not the only means of transportation though, as mentioned you can take your Chocobo on the road as well. I chose to travel by chocobo throughout much of the game, because I liked the photos Prompto took while on chocoback. Yes, that’s my “fuschia” chocobo in the featured image lol. I later changed him to teal. I named him Cho-Cho. And he was awesome :).

You can also instantly teleport to the last campsite or inn you’ve slept in, or teleport instantly to wherever you parked the car. When traveling by car you can also instantly teleport to any previously visited parking spots. This makes traveling super fast and cuts down on gametime and gameplay that is “boring” in most other JRPG.

With so much to do, Final Fantasy XV gets high marks on gameplay. I only deducted a point for the lackluster nature of most of the side quests which may cause some players such as myself to not want to bother completing them.

Story: 6/10 The bones are in place, but the skeleton needs a little meat on those bones to flesh out the story and characters more. The potential for emotional and gut wrenching scenes is there – and I won’t lie, the end and later chapters did elicit a few tears from me, but I felt a lot more could have been done, especially involving supporting characters who seem to be cast aside in the 2nd half of the game (as mentioned Iris, Aranea, etc). The supposed emotional scenes also would have had more impact had they built more rapport with the characters before killing them off, giving them some more screentime, personality, and showing the bonds between them. I feel they did pretty decently with one of the characters they killed – but I won’t say who so as to not spoil anything. But most of the others it never really explains exactly how they died or why we should even care that they’ve died.

The story starts slow and light hearted, a happy prince on his way to see his bride to be who he has not seen since they were children. Each chapter has setbacks and builds more and more darkness, and misery. Until the final chapters where light no longer exists in the world, very symbolic of the story itself. The final chapters reveal the true nature of the daemons that have been plaguing the lands as well as the role of a wayward god. The middle of the story focuses on seeking favor from the gods and ancient kings to help defeat the evil across the land. The end is left open-ended in a sense that it could be left to interpretation by the players and there is much debate as to what exactly happens. I have my own theories but I won’t spoil anything for anyone here. Make sure you watch through all of the credits, there’s numerous scenes after you may think it has ended. Until you have seen Noctis sleeping on the throne, you haven’t seen the true ending, the logo will also change after you complete the game.

Characters: 8/10 Although as mentioned, I have some serious gripes about how side characters (Iris and Aranea for example) are just forgotten in the later half of the game, I can’t overlook the strong character development of the main character and his friends. He changes from a whiny brat who’s insecure and unsure if he even wants to rule, to someone who is so determined and mature, that he is willing to sacrifice everything for his kingdom. Many sad and many happy things will happen between the bros. The first half of the game will make you love the bros. This is important in making you care about what happens in the later parts of the game. Aided by Prompto’s selfies and group shots, and some solid narratives, the bromance between the group is really the highlight of the game. Each of the bros is very likeable. Ignis is kinda the mother hen of the group, Gladio the rough around the edges strong forceful type who sometimes has to motivate Noctis to stop whining by nearly pummeling some sense into him, and Prompto the carefree high-energy playful sidekick who mostly serves as comic relief Prompto is featured prominently in later chapters of the game, and also as I mentioned you may get lucky and see a special scene with him and Noctis which reveals that he hasn’t always been so outgoing. Prompto has a lot going on under the surface – and for that reason, he may be my favorite character in the game. Although I also really like Ignis who has a tragic event in the later parts of the game which changes not only his character, but his appearance and also his skills and abilities. All of the bros are absolute eyecandy for any girls playing the game, and are often compared to boy bands of the 90s lol. And any guys playing the game will likely relate to the friendship between the group of young guys. Liking the characters goes a long way in motivating me to play through the end of the game and also is instrumental in drawing the desired emotions from the players.

Graphics: 10/10 – Can’t deny that this is one beautiful game. The huge scale monsters create a feeling of awe and terror. The various destinations, from desserts, to large cities, to forests, caves, and the open road give the game a sense of realism and adventure. Your characters can wear different outfits and you can customize the chocobo colors. – Soon you will even be able to create your own playable character as well. The quality of the graphics, especially the hair and the environment are amazing, almost photo realistic.

Music: 8/10 – I actually really liked the ending theme which is Stand by Me by Florence and the Machine. However, I miss days of yore when Final Fantasy had original music, such as Eyes on Me or Suteki Da Ne. That said, the music is still fitting for the game. That song got me at the end, making me cry a little. And it is a great song that fits the theme, because the bros will stand together through all kinds of hardships in this adventure. It’s also super awesome to be able to collect previous Final Fantasy soundtracks to play and listen to in the Regalia. And like most FF games, a large number of the tracks in Final Fantasy XV have been remixed once again (such as the chocobo theme which is a fan favorite).  I deducted a few points for lack of originality in the sound track, but overall, it’s a great soundtrack with a lot of variation and some old throw backs as well :).

Voice Acting: 9/10 – I played the English audio. I will probably do Japanese audio next time I play the game just to see what the original cast is like. But the English voice acting is actually pretty good. There are a few lines that are sometimes either overdramatic or lacking in emotion, but it’s nowhere near as bad as most other dubbed games or anime. The audio goes a long way also in helping the audience to identify with the characters and further creates deeper impact for the emotional scenes throughout the game.

Overall: 69/80 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Replay Value is unknown at this time. As of writing, SquareEnix is reworking Chapter 13. Most notably this will be gameplay “fixes” such as powering up the ring of lucis. However, they have stated plans to introduce new story elements as well which require localization and voice acting and are further down the road. There are multiplayer aspects and the game does present at times choices to the player, but those choices have little bearing on the story which remains largely linear. Replay Value ultimately will be determined by the nature of updates and DLC released by SquareEnix.

Final Fantasy XV Review was originally published on

Humble Bundle Birthday Sale = Free or Heavily Discounted Games for You!

Humble Bundle just kicked off their annual birthday celebration which will run for the next 11 days featuring hundreds of discounted digital PC games from both AAA studios and indie developers. Some of the savings are up to 75 or even 90% off. In fact, they’re even giving you a free game just for visiting the website and registering or logging into your account.

Continue reading

Countdown to Black Friday with New Deals Every Day on Amazon

Amazon just launched their Black Friday Pre-sale event. You can check back every day for new items at http://amazon.com/Black-Friday/…

Already they are offering up some pretty sweet deals for geeks and gamers. I recommend bookmarking and checking back as often as possible. I’m hoping for a PS4 Bundle or Console to go on sale. I have enough already to purchase, but since it is that time of year, saving some money never hurts, and I’ve waited this long already to get myself the newest consoles, so might as well hang in there a few more weeks and see what happens!

Last year, amazon had amazing black friday and cyber monday exclusive gaming bundles for all three major game systems including Xbone, PS4, and WiiU. This year the savings should be even greater since the technology continues to age and the market gets even more competitive with new consoles such as the Xbox Scorpio, PS4 Pro, and (soon to be released) Nintendo Switch, which means the standard Xbox One, PS4 Slim, and possibly Wii U will need to discount their inventory to see a strong finish this year.

PC Gamers are not to be forgotten, RIGHT NOW amazon has awesome Black Friday deals on headsets, lightup keyboards, game controllers, gaming mice, and more. There are some great deals such as headsets for 65% off, hot new release games for both console and pc at up to 75% off and many more.

Amazon even has a page set up specifically for gaming deals here: http://amzn.to/2evLcYi

or a general one for Electronics here: http://amzn.to/2evMYZH

I’m also needing a new gaming laptop, and Amazon has a page for PC and Laptop deals here: http://amzn.to/2elLmON

Video Games not your thing? Maybe you want some boardgames, legos, cute plushies, dolls, or figures? If so amazon also has a page for you here: http://amzn.to/2fp9ssJ

And the sales will continue into cyber monday as well and Cyber Monday has it’s own page for deals which will be located at http://amzn.to/2fk9JB3 once it goes live later this month.

 

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Per Amazon’s site:

“Black Friday Deals–The Party Is Just Getting Started!

Black Friday 2016 will be here soon, but we didn’t want you to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to save on Black Friday deals, so we are counting down to Black Friday 2016 with exciting deals today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and…you get the picture. Stop by each day through November 24 for early Black Friday deals, including sales on electronics, low prices on DVDs, magazine subscription specials, toy bargains, and fashionable deals for women, men, kids & baby, and more. You’ll find our best Black Friday deals, and Deal of the Day bargains you won’t want to resist for holiday gifts.

Something else to be excited about–at Amazon, Black Friday 2016 isn’t just a day to us–it’s a whole week! We’ll kick off Black Friday Deals Week early with Black Friday deals and sales all day every day that week, including Black Friday, with those big after-Thanksgiving sales you’ve been waiting for. Trust us, if you love a good deal, you won’t want to miss it!

To continue the excitement, we have made Cyber Monday 2016 a whole week too! We’ll be kicking off Cyber Monday with a week’s worth of cyber deals, just in time for you to get back to work after Thanksgiving … and shop online. Shhh … we won’t tell your boss! You’ll find more great deals every day during Cyber Monday Deals Week.
So stop by any day, or better yet, every day. We’ll be here with great deals!”

 

Countdown to Black Friday with New Deals Every Day on Amazon was originally published on

New Cardcaptor Sakura Anime is “In the Works”

Crunchyroll shared news lastnight that a new Cardcaptor Sakura anime has been announced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga. Earlier this year it was reported that a new Cardcaptor Sakura manga would be released that would continue the adventures of Sakura and her friends as they enter into Junior High.

No information is available at this time as to if the new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will follow the newly announced manga, or whether it will be a series or stand-alone movie, or perhaps a reboot or remake of the original series (for example, taking the route of fellow magical girl Sailor Moon and what she did for her anniversary with the new Sailor Moon Crystal anime), or perhaps this new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will be something new entirely. Also no release date or voice actor cast or further info has been released just yet, which indicates it may be well into 2017 or even 2018 before we actually get to see this new anime.

Crunchyroll currently has all of the original anime to view on their site. I personally need to sit down and marathon them all at some point. Over the years, I’ve seen a dozen or so episodes and at least 2 of the movies, and from what I’ve seen it’s a very cute show! Just so much to watch and so little time that I never “got into it” as much as I would expect to be into a magical girl romantic comedy / fantasy adventure such as this.

Now that the new show has been announced that motivates me to want to hurry up and watch the original episodes 🙂 I know what my plans will be this weekend lol. Anyone else?

New Cardcaptor Sakura Anime is “In the Works” was originally published on

Eliyo Virtual Pet Game – Browser Based Virtual Pet Game Like Pokemon and Wajas

I recently joined a new virtual pet site called Eliyo. The site seems to be less geared towards breeding, and more geared towards battling and leveling your pets in an almost Pokemon-like way. As you battle you gain experience and level up. Upon leveling up you can distribute stat points. Occasionally you may learn new skills and if necessary be asked if you’d like to overwrite existing skills to make room for the new ones. You and your opponents have various elemental strengths and weaknesses, and you can capture wild pets by using prisms similar to how you can capture Pokemon using Poke Balls. There are different types of Prisms with varying degrees of success, and just like Pokemon, sometimes the monsters will break out of the balls (or prisms in this case) or flee before you can catch them.

elonprism

When you first join the site you’ll be introduced to a few NPCs and told to run a few basic errands. After introductions, you’ll return to the NPC to be presented with 1 of 3 different pets to choose to take with you (once again much like Pokemon and selecting a starter pokemon). I am not sure if these are randomly generated, or if the same 3 pets are always presented at first.

Obviously, looks must be taken into consideration, as that’s the main draw of these types of games, and the genes you have now, will be the foundation for your breeding program and determine your offspring’s colors, patterns, markings, etc. But that’s not all – You also need to look at various personality traits (which thus far I am unsure if they’re having much impact in the game or not as the game is still in Beta.) And lastly at the combat stats, abilities, elemental strengths, weaknesses, etc. It’s a lot to take in — But you’ll get more pets in the future, so just pick whichever one you like best to start with.

Here’s my girl – I named her Kaylee, after a cat I used to have, because her color and markings reminded me of that cat.

Eliyo, Virtual Pet, Virtual Pet Game, Pet Sim, Pet Simulation, Virtual Pet Sim, Virtual Pet Simulation, Games like Pokemon, Games like Pokemon Go, Games like Wajas, Games like Neopets, Games like Pony Island, Games like Subeta, Virtual Pet List, Kawaii, Cute, Furrie, Furry, Furries, Fursona, Wolf, Fox, Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Wild, Wild life, Catch Pets, Battle Pets, Train Pets, Pet Game, Cute Game, Browser, Browser Based, Browser Based Virtual Pet, Browser Based Pet Game, Browser Based Virtual Pet Game, Free Virtual Pet, Free Virtual Pet Game, Free Genetics Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Image, Dynamic Images, Dynamically Generated Images, Virtual Pets, Breeding Sim, Breeding Game, Wolf Breeding Game, Cat Breeding Game, Lion Breeding Game, Games like Lioden, Furcadia, Furc, Games like Furcadia, Raise a Pack of Wolves, Become a Wolf, Play as a Wolf
Eliyo, Virtual Pet, Virtual Pet Game, Pet Sim, Pet Simulation, Virtual Pet Sim, Virtual Pet Simulation, Games like Pokemon, Games like Pokemon Go, Games like Wajas, Games like Neopets, Games like Pony Island, Games like Subeta, Virtual Pet List, Kawaii, Cute, Furrie, Furry, Furries, Fursona, Wolf, Fox, Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Wild, Wild life, Catch Pets, Battle Pets, Train Pets, Pet Game, Cute Game, Browser, Browser Based, Browser Based Virtual Pet, Browser Based Pet Game, Browser Based Virtual Pet Game, Free Virtual Pet, Free Virtual Pet Game, Free Genetics Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Image, Dynamic Images, Dynamically Generated Images, Virtual Pets, Breeding Sim, Breeding Game, Wolf Breeding Game, Cat Breeding Game, Lion Breeding Game, Games like Lioden, Furcadia, Furc, Games like Furcadia, Raise a Pack of Wolves, Become a Wolf, Play as a Wolf

As you can see, it provides a lot of information about my “Elon” – it tells me her recent activity and a personality profile, both of which can be useful if you wish to roleplay over on the forums.

There’s a relationship level with my Elon – I will admit I have not read the guides yet so I’m unsure what a lot of these stats effect in-game.

Then there’s the basic stuff like her stats and elemental strengths and weaknesses – It’s a pretty detailed and complex overview about my pet.

After acquiring that first pet, there’s not much else to do except take it out for a test drive. Head out to explore and in the battle arena there will be numerous different locations suitable for your level each with different breeds of pets to battle or catch and each giving varrying rewards.

You won’t be able to catch pets right away. You need to earn at least 100 coins for the most basic prism – the only way initially to earn these coins is by battling.

People also seem to like to hoarde and then markup the price of prisms so you have to get lucky that the shop will have a few in stock by time you save up enough.

I’ve purchased 3, and even when I have the opponent severely weakened, he still escapes my prism…

elonescaped

Elon come in all different colors and patterns. From natural looking to purely fantasy looking creatures.

elonpreat2

I really wanted this one too – he looked like me, but he was a different breed, – I’m not even sure if you can cross breed your pets? I’m also not sure if it’s frowned upon, as it used to be in older pet games such as Pony Island. But none-the-less his markings and colors matched mine. I had him down to about 10-15% health and he escaped the only prism I had at the time.

But you just gotta keep fighting and earning money and trying to buy and save up your Prisms. And it gets easier as you get stronger. You no longer die and need to go to the apothecary to heal (and lose your coins in doing so).

elonsupereffective elontrainingpts elonbattle eloncoins elonskills

As you can see from these shots – the game is extremely similar to Pokemon. – Once you capture another pet, you can breed, and sell or show off your offspring. When breeding the two parents’ colors and genetics and battle stats etc all get passed down to their children.

The images are dynamically generated, and each pet is unique – Over the years this has become the norm – but I remember when that was NOT the case. Pony Island was one of, if not the, first virtual pet games to use dynamic images to actually SHOW you the effects of your genetics and breeding program.

The site seems to load fast – there are some ads on it, but nothing too crazy.

It could do with a more interesting/exciting tutorial.

I like the simple clean and calm green color palette used across the site.

The pet art is very petty too.


Based on the information I provided above in this review, I would score it as such:

Geeky: geekygeekygeekygeekygeeky 5/5 – Unlike a lot of other Virtual Pet Sites, this one puts emphasis on battling your pets. Breeding is still an option. High production values with art and sounds – Site loads quickly and everything works as it should

Sweetie: sweetiesweetiesweetie  3/5 – Unlike other virtual pet sites, acquiring pets is harder – I do agree this makes it more fun/appealing/rewarding – but there is a downside too in that when you first start out and only have 1 pet you can’t do much of anything. I think this could be remedied by adding some minigames, dressup, scavenger/hunting, and other features.

Concept: 8/10 – It basically is like a browser based pokemon 🙂 It distinguishes itself from other virtual pet sites with the battle system and customization of stats, resistances, strengths, weaknesses, etc – It is in beta and still lacking in a few areas, but it feels like a fun and addicting game already.

Gameplay: 7/10 – The same concerns come up – that it may get repetitive due to lack of features at time of this review. The battling bit is cool. Also they just recently added the ability to buy and sell pets bred by other players. Pets learn moves and level up quickly, making it a rewarding, fun, and highly customizable experience. But it needs some more features to give you a break from battling, such as other features mentioned above that are common to these types of games like dressup, decorating, scavenger, hunting, crafting, minigames, etc. I understand though that the game is in beta at this time – so it is likely some new features will be added shortly.

Story: 1/10 – At this time there doesn’t appear to be much story written for the virtual pet game, which makes it kinda hard to roleplay when not much is known about the world or the pets themselves etc. – In fact, at this time, there are no current threads in the roleplay forum – and I suspect there won’t be for awhile until the creators of Eliyo give us some more info to go off of. – NOTE: I OMITTED THIS SCORE FROM THE OVERALL SCORE BECAUSE IT SKEWED MY REVIEW TOO SHARPLY. But it’s something to keep in mind, if your main attraction to pet sites is the RP – it’s just not in place yet given that it’s still in beta. So you may want to hold off before signing up for this one.

Characters: 5/10 – The monsters themselves are adorable and / or beautiful — but the NPCs, and other characters (or honestly, lack there of), make the game seem a bit empty. The ability to customize our pets, especially in terms of battling makes the character customization high on this one, and the dynamic images and genetics, make it a game where our characters’ genes are carried across multiple generations.

Graphics: 8/10 – The dynamic image technique is a big draw for me to pet games, it might be common now, but as a veteran of these games, I still remember when that was not the case. Dyanmic images ensure every single pet is unique, not just one of a few dozen different “recolors” – It makes the pets feel more personal and allows greater attachment. However, at time of writing there’s only a handful of markings and mutations. Once more markings or mutations or species get added, this would easily score a 10/10 as far as the graphics go 🙂

Music: The game has music and sound effects but I usually play it on mute, so I have not been able to review it yet. I just wanted to leave a note here about that, because I think this is uncommon in these games, so definitely a nice touch! 🙂

Overall: 37 / 50 74% “C – Good Game for Girls”

Eliyo Virtual Pet Game – Browser Based Virtual Pet Game Like Pokemon and Wajas was originally published on

Eliyo Virtual Pet Game – Browser Based Virtual Pet Game Like Pokemon and Wajas

I recently joined a new virtual pet site called Eliyo. The site seems to be less geared towards breeding, and more geared towards battling and leveling your pets in an almost Pokemon-like way. As you battle you gain experience and level up. Upon leveling up you can distribute stat points. Occasionally you may learn new skills and if necessary be asked if you’d like to overwrite existing skills to make room for the new ones. You and your opponents have various elemental strengths and weaknesses, and you can capture wild pets by using prisms similar to how you can capture Pokemon using Poke Balls. There are different types of Prisms with varying degrees of success, and just like Pokemon, sometimes the monsters will break out of the balls (or prisms in this case) or flee before you can catch them.

elonprism

When you first join the site you’ll be introduced to a few NPCs and told to run a few basic errands. After introductions, you’ll return to the NPC to be presented with 1 of 3 different pets to choose to take with you (once again much like Pokemon and selecting a starter pokemon). I am not sure if these are randomly generated, or if the same 3 pets are always presented at first.

Obviously, looks must be taken into consideration, as that’s the main draw of these types of games, and the genes you have now, will be the foundation for your breeding program and determine your offspring’s colors, patterns, markings, etc. But that’s not all – You also need to look at various personality traits (which thus far I am unsure if they’re having much impact in the game or not as the game is still in Beta.) And lastly at the combat stats, abilities, elemental strengths, weaknesses, etc. It’s a lot to take in — But you’ll get more pets in the future, so just pick whichever one you like best to start with.

Here’s my girl – I named her Kaylee, after a cat I used to have, because her color and markings reminded me of that cat.

Eliyo, Virtual Pet, Virtual Pet Game, Pet Sim, Pet Simulation, Virtual Pet Sim, Virtual Pet Simulation, Games like Pokemon, Games like Pokemon Go, Games like Wajas, Games like Neopets, Games like Pony Island, Games like Subeta, Virtual Pet List, Kawaii, Cute, Furrie, Furry, Furries, Fursona, Wolf, Fox, Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Wild, Wild life, Catch Pets, Battle Pets, Train Pets, Pet Game, Cute Game, Browser, Browser Based, Browser Based Virtual Pet, Browser Based Pet Game, Browser Based Virtual Pet Game, Free Virtual Pet, Free Virtual Pet Game, Free Genetics Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Image, Dynamic Images, Dynamically Generated Images, Virtual Pets, Breeding Sim, Breeding Game, Wolf Breeding Game, Cat Breeding Game, Lion Breeding Game, Games like Lioden, Furcadia, Furc, Games like Furcadia, Raise a Pack of Wolves, Become a Wolf, Play as a Wolf
Eliyo, Virtual Pet, Virtual Pet Game, Pet Sim, Pet Simulation, Virtual Pet Sim, Virtual Pet Simulation, Games like Pokemon, Games like Pokemon Go, Games like Wajas, Games like Neopets, Games like Pony Island, Games like Subeta, Virtual Pet List, Kawaii, Cute, Furrie, Furry, Furries, Fursona, Wolf, Fox, Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Wild, Wild life, Catch Pets, Battle Pets, Train Pets, Pet Game, Cute Game, Browser, Browser Based, Browser Based Virtual Pet, Browser Based Pet Game, Browser Based Virtual Pet Game, Free Virtual Pet, Free Virtual Pet Game, Free Genetics Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Virtual Pet Game, Dynamic Image, Dynamic Images, Dynamically Generated Images, Virtual Pets, Breeding Sim, Breeding Game, Wolf Breeding Game, Cat Breeding Game, Lion Breeding Game, Games like Lioden, Furcadia, Furc, Games like Furcadia, Raise a Pack of Wolves, Become a Wolf, Play as a Wolf

As you can see, it provides a lot of information about my “Elon” – it tells me her recent activity and a personality profile, both of which can be useful if you wish to roleplay over on the forums.

There’s a relationship level with my Elon – I will admit I have not read the guides yet so I’m unsure what a lot of these stats effect in-game.

Then there’s the basic stuff like her stats and elemental strengths and weaknesses – It’s a pretty detailed and complex overview about my pet.

After acquiring that first pet, there’s not much else to do except take it out for a test drive. Head out to explore and in the battle arena there will be numerous different locations suitable for your level each with different breeds of pets to battle or catch and each giving varrying rewards.

You won’t be able to catch pets right away. You need to earn at least 100 coins for the most basic prism – the only way initially to earn these coins is by battling.

People also seem to like to hoarde and then markup the price of prisms so you have to get lucky that the shop will have a few in stock by time you save up enough.

I’ve purchased 3, and even when I have the opponent severely weakened, he still escapes my prism…

elonescaped

Elon come in all different colors and patterns. From natural looking to purely fantasy looking creatures.

elonpreat2

I really wanted this one too – he looked like me, but he was a different breed, – I’m not even sure if you can cross breed your pets? I’m also not sure if it’s frowned upon, as it used to be in older pet games such as Pony Island. But none-the-less his markings and colors matched mine. I had him down to about 10-15% health and he escaped the only prism I had at the time.

But you just gotta keep fighting and earning money and trying to buy and save up your Prisms. And it gets easier as you get stronger. You no longer die and need to go to the apothecary to heal (and lose your coins in doing so).

elonsupereffective elontrainingpts elonbattle eloncoins elonskills

As you can see from these shots – the game is extremely similar to Pokemon. – Once you capture another pet, you can breed, and sell or show off your offspring. When breeding the two parents’ colors and genetics and battle stats etc all get passed down to their children.

The images are dynamically generated, and each pet is unique – Over the years this has become the norm – but I remember when that was NOT the case. Pony Island was one of, if not the, first virtual pet games to use dynamic images to actually SHOW you the effects of your genetics and breeding program.

The site seems to load fast – there are some ads on it, but nothing too crazy.

It could do with a more interesting/exciting tutorial.

I like the simple clean and calm green color palette used across the site.

The pet art is very petty too.

Edit: I just captured my 2nd pet – but now I need an herb to breed them and not sure what shop or where to find said herbs at lol 🙂 The new pet is very cute! Has less visible markings than my first pet, but I like the floppy ears and happy expression.

eliyo2 eliyobreed


Based on the information I provided above in this review, I would score it as such:

Geeky: geekygeekygeekygeekygeeky 5/5 – Unlike a lot of other Virtual Pet Sites, this one puts emphasis on battling your pets. Breeding is still an option. High production values with art and sounds – Site loads quickly and everything works as it should

Sweetie: sweetiesweetiesweetie  3/5 – Unlike other virtual pet sites, acquiring pets is harder – I do agree this makes it more fun/appealing/rewarding – but there is a downside too in that when you first start out and only have 1 pet you can’t do much of anything. I think this could be remedied by adding some minigames, dressup, scavenger/hunting, and other features.

Concept: 8/10 – It basically is like a browser based pokemon 🙂 It distinguishes itself from other virtual pet sites with the battle system and customization of stats, resistances, strengths, weaknesses, etc – It is in beta and still lacking in a few areas, but it feels like a fun and addicting game already.

Gameplay: 7/10 – The same concerns come up – that it may get repetitive due to lack of features at time of this review. The battling bit is cool. Also they just recently added the ability to buy and sell pets bred by other players. Pets learn moves and level up quickly, making it a rewarding, fun, and highly customizable experience. But it needs some more features to give you a break from battling, such as other features mentioned above that are common to these types of games like dressup, decorating, scavenger, hunting, crafting, minigames, etc. I understand though that the game is in beta at this time – so it is likely some new features will be added shortly.

Story: 1/10 – At this time there doesn’t appear to be much story written for the virtual pet game, which makes it kinda hard to roleplay when not much is known about the world or the pets themselves etc. – In fact, at this time, there are no current threads in the roleplay forum – and I suspect there won’t be for awhile until the creators of Eliyo give us some more info to go off of. – NOTE: I OMITTED THIS SCORE FROM THE OVERALL SCORE BECAUSE IT SKEWED MY REVIEW TOO SHARPLY. But it’s something to keep in mind, if your main attraction to pet sites is the RP – it’s just not in place yet given that it’s still in beta. So you may want to hold off before signing up for this one.

Characters: 5/10 – The monsters themselves are adorable and / or beautiful — but the NPCs, and other characters (or honestly, lack there of), make the game seem a bit empty. The ability to customize our pets, especially in terms of battling makes the character customization high on this one, and the dynamic images and genetics, make it a game where our characters’ genes are carried across multiple generations.

Graphics: 8/10 – The dynamic image technique is a big draw for me to pet games, it might be common now, but as a veteran of these games, I still remember when that was not the case. Dyanmic images ensure every single pet is unique, not just one of a few dozen different “recolors” – It makes the pets feel more personal and allows greater attachment. However, at time of writing there’s only a handful of markings and mutations. Once more markings or mutations or species get added, this would easily score a 10/10 as far as the graphics go 🙂

Music: The game has music and sound effects but I usually play it on mute, so I have not been able to review it yet. I just wanted to leave a note here about that, because I think this is uncommon in these games, so definitely a nice touch! 🙂

Overall: 37 / 50 74% “C – Good Game for Girls”

Eliyo Virtual Pet Game – Browser Based Virtual Pet Game Like Pokemon and Wajas was originally published on

Re:Zero Anime Review

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.

Now on to the review!


Title: Re:Zero

Genre: Fantasy

Studio: White Fox

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Length: 25 Episodes

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!

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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.

Overall: 53/55 96% A “Excellent Anime for Girls”

Re:Zero Anime Review was originally published on

The Benefits of Playing Pokemon Go Outweigh the Risks

I was not into Pokemon Go when it first launched. It wasn’t until my mom began playing that I took interest. For a few reasons, first, when the game first came out, there were numerous game crippling bugs which made it almost impossible to play. It’s also a rather difficult game to learn at first, it gives absolutely no guidance, direction, tutorial, etc. This combined with the bugs in early days made the game frustrating and a lot less fun than it is now.

Second, I’m not one to enjoy exercise. It’s not that I’m “Lazy”, but well… exercise is “painful” and “tiring” and “annoying”.  When I started playing Pokemon Go, I thought how annoying or stupid it was to have to go outside. This was when I was playing it alone in the first few days of the launch. This began to change when I found someone (my mom) to play the game with. It’s much like the thought of having an exercise buddy.

When I was in college (10 years ago now, wow.) I went to the same school as my best friend. We’d spend our breaks swimming, playing badminton, and even (cringe) running laps. I was also doing atkins diet at the same time, and I ended up going from 200+ lbs to 127 lbs and a size 6/7 in jeans. After college, and my best friend moving to the other side of the state, now a 5 to 6 hour drive away, and going back off the atkins diet, I gained all of that weight back slowly over the years, due to lack of motivation to get out there and exercise.

I did have an xbox 360 with Kinect, and a Wii with some games which tried to add gamification elements the work out experience. I’d play them for a time, but always ultimately get bored and go back to other less “demanding” and more “rewarding” games. I will say out of the “work out” games I own, my favorite has always been “Walk It Out”, a very obscure Wii game that blasts 90s/2k pop music as you walk around a rather empty world at first; and as you walk you unlock new songs as well as begin to see the world come to life. I also enjoy DDR (although I suck at it really badly.) and Just Dance (slightly less challenging than DDR). I even had Wii Fit, and I did love the charting/tracking aspects of that game and even being able to weigh my cats lol.

But ultimately, none of those games held my interest. Was it because I didn’t have anyone to play them with? Perhaps. Was it because I still wasn’t “getting out”? I was still “at home playing videogames” something I’ve done for almost 30 years of my life.

It’s still too soon to tell how long it will be before I get “bored” with Pokemon Go. But it has some elements that are so unique and different from the other work out games I own. When I try to describe Pokemon Go to people who don’t already play, I tell them “It’s basically geocaching with pokemon”. I’d never gone geocaching before but the idea of it had always appealed to me in theory. It encourages you to get out and explore some new and sometimes remote or far away locations and you’re rewarded with small treasures (usually coins) (but in this case, it’s pokemon instead of coins).

Pokemon Go is a social game. Recently, a new dating website opened up and had such overwhelming response that they had to shut down their servers temporarily. This dating service aims to connect Pokemon Go players in their area both for playing Pokemon Go, but also for finding true love (or friendship). I’m also single right now, I’m kinda taking a break at the moment, seeing a few people but nothing serious, and find I’ve kinda backed off a bit on the dating or seeking of a mate at the moment, but when I’m ready again, in a few weeks, or months, or whatever the case may be, I have a feeling I’ll be using this Poke Date service. You can check it out here: https://www.projectfixup.com/pokedates/  – There’s also another site here: https://t.co/7sOATzdApr and probably numerous meetup.com Pokemon Go groups as well (though there weren’t any close by in my area last time I checked.).

Even if you’re not using such a site to interact with the Pokemon Go community, chances are you’re going to run into other players out in the real world, whether it’s at poke stops, gyms, or just walking around your parks or college campus, etc trying to catch pokemon. If you’re like me, you’re probably a shy introvert, who avoids other people (remember that part about sitting at home playing videogames?). I still haven’t started a conversation with anyone while playing Pokemon Go, but I have had people come up and start conversation with me, and I find it’s easy to talk to people when you have a shared interest, common goal, hobby, passion, etc. Pokemon Go can make you more comfortable in social interactions, help to break the ice, and put you in the “right place, at the right time” to meet new friends or potential romantic partners.

Pokemon Go does just that, it makes you GO places. You might find new places nearby that you’ve never visited, or it may encourage you to take a road trip, day trip, weekend trip, etc to go discover new pokemon. While playing the game, you might stumble upon new restaurants, museums, nature trails, parks, or other exciting places. Travel is fun! And Pokemon Go gives you another excuse to get away, take a vacation, take the scenic route, relax, and reconnect with nature while exploring new places and trying new things.

Pokemon Go is fun, relaxing, and addicting. Ignoring the social, psychological, and health benefits of playing the game, the game is just plain fun. The obsession to “catch them all” and to find “rare” Pokemon is a huge draw that keeps you wanting to play more and more. Just imagine if Shiny Pokemon get introduced sometime in the future, or special limited time events with special exclusive Pokemon to catch. This obsession to keep playing, keep seeking out new places with new pokemon, and “catch them all” is what keeps you motivated and interested in the game and continues to reinforce the “good habits” (exercise, social interaction, etc) that come from playing the game each day.

Pokemon Go is free. Yes, there is a cash shop, but you definitely don’t need to spend any money to enjoy this app. You can just visit your closest pokestop, and sit there for an hour or two collecting the items you need. Once again this just encourages you to keep getting out there. It’s win/win.

Pokemon Go is good exercise. It’s even being used in nursing homes to help the elderly. Gamers are not known for a love of working out or healthy habits. I’m no exception. But Pokemon Go makes me want to exercise in order to play the game. I went from being sedentary, to now walking 5 to 7 miles almost every day. I couldn’t tell you the last time I walked even a mile, let alone 5+ miles. Almost daily. Two days ago we walked ten and a half miles which so far is the farthest/longest I’ve walked while playing Pokemon Go. Of course, I am hoping to lose weight. Who doesn’t want to be more fit and healthy right? But even if that never happens simply from walking a few extra miles, I’ll tell you, this exercise has already had several benefits. The main benefit it has had is curing me of my insomnia.

Pokemon Go will help you sleep better! If you’re not used to physical activity (like me), and going through a “hard time” where your mind is just turning non-stop most nights, Pokemon Go will make you fall asleep from the physical exertion and exhaustion that comes when you increase your activity levels. The last 2 weeks I’ve been sleeping like a charm, when most of June was spent in angst and anger and disappointment and hurt feelings, I no longer have TIME to think about that. Pokemon Go keeps me busy! Keeping busy keeps me happy!

Pokemon Go will improve your mood! Exercise creates endorphins which are scientifically proven to create feelings of happiness and euphoria. It also as I mentioned helps “clear” (or otherwise occupy at least) your mind which makes you forget about your worries and troubles. It gets you out into the sunlight and sunlight is also scientifically proven to boost your mood. It helps you connect “spiritually” with nature, or helps you connect “emotionally” to other people. It reminds you you’re not alone. Pokemon Go is a comforting experience for anyone dealing with loss, death, grief, heartbreak, or other traumas.

Yes, there have been some scary stories in the news recently about Pokemon Go, either from neglect and a lack of paying attention to one’s surroundings, such as walking into traffic, falling off a cliff, or criminals using Pokemon Go to identify Poke Stops and wait for passer by to mug/rape/attack/whatever. There are also cases of people playing Pokemon Go at inappropriate times such as while working or driving. – but these incidents are few and far between when compared to the millions of players who are benefiting in some way from playing this game.

Pokemon Go means different things for different people, but for me, it has given me that little boost of motivation that I need to be more active and get out in my community.

The Benefits of Playing Pokemon Go Outweigh the Risks was originally published on Geeky Sweetie