Viz Announces Studio Ghibli Secret of Ariettety Artbook

vizmedia

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF

THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY

 

New Hardcover Art Book Edition Features Vivid Illustrations, Concept Sketches, And Interviews From The Beloved

Studio Ghibli Film

 

San Francisco, CA, February 15, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, expands its renowned Studio Ghibli library with the release of a new hardcover edition of THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY on March 6th.

 

The vividly illustrated art book will be released exclusively in print with an MSRP of $34.99 U.S. / $46.99 CAN. It features story notes, commentary, and artwork from The Secret World of Arrietty. Based on the classic novel by Mary Norton, the 2010 film was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the youngest director to ever helm a film for Studio Ghibli. The studio’s founder, Hayao Miyazaki, also supervised the production of Arietty as a developing planner. Yonebayashi has gone on to direct When Marnie Was There and Studio Ponoc’s first feature film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower

 

“THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY features hundreds of character and production sketches as well as insights from director Hiromasa Yonebayashi and other key creators involved with the film,” says Masumi Washington, Editor. “We invite readers to dive deeper into The Secret World of Arrietty with this beautiful hardcover release.”

 

VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library is exclusively devoted to the work of iconic Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki and his famed animation studio. The imprint has collected a substantial catalog of full-color art books, film comics, picture books and other releases celebrating Studio Ghibli films such as Princess Mononoke, The Wind Rises, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, and Porco Rosso.

 

For additional information on Studio Ghibli titles published by VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

 

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan’s largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

 

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

 

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Viz Announces Studio Ghibli Secret of Ariettety Artbook was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Pop in Q Anime Movie Review

Title: Pop in Q
Length: (approx) 1.5 hours, feature length film.
I hear there is a 2nd film in production as well that will finish telling the story. *hint: Keep watching after the credits of the first movie*
Genre: Shoujo, Magical Girl, Fantasy, Idol, Musical, Slice of Life, Drama
Studio: Toei Annimation
Release Date: December, 2016

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Score Card:

Geeky 1/5 – There is a bit of action later in the film, also some nostalgia to anyone who grew up watching shows like Digimon. But largely, this is pure shoujo aimed at very young girls. Afterall the girls themselves are middleschool students in this film.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This anime is utterly adorable!!! The Popin look like Sanrio characters. The girls are young and have round faces and big eyes. The music is catchy. Idol culture is always kawaii AF. The backgrounds have a nice painterly style. And the story actually has some depth to it, especially towards the end and the small preview of the next film.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Story 9/10 The story is basically the same as nearly every shoujo series. Which isn’t a bad thing. A group of young girls who don’t believe in themselves (or other people), come together, find their own inner strength, and learn to trust each other and work together. The basic plot of Pop in Q surrounds 5 girls each with different regrets as they prepare to graduate from middle school. They escape to the magic world where they meet the Popins, loveable cute mascots who are responsible for the flow of time. The girls do not want to return to their own world until tragedy threatens both worlds and forces the girls to make some difficult decisions.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Characters: 10/10 – 10 out of 10 just for how cute they are. Plus I like how every girl is given ample screen time and has a rich back story. This reminded me a lot of sailor moon or magic knights rayearth, or to a lesser degree card captor sakura. It also has a hint of love live or aikatsu stars because of the idol elements. But the cutest thing of all are the Poppins!

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Artwork: 4/5 I deducted 1 point because some of the 3D scenes are not animated that well. However, the character designs are so cute. The 2D parts are adorable, and the background environments have this lovely painterly style with heavy brush strokes. This creates a beautiful storybook like feeling.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Voice Acting: 4/5 – The voice acting is cute and suits each of the girls. The poppins also have cute voices. Only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that it wasn’t that memorable.

Music: 5/5 – There are tons of vocal tracks, obviously as music plays a central role to this story. Luckily all of the music is quite catchy. I also liked the instrumental tracks, especially highlighting some sad and touching moments.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Overall: 38/45 84% B+ “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Pop in Q Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review

With the 2018 Winter Olympics well under way, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and anime (such as Yuri on Ice which I reviewed here) that showcases the dedication that a skater must possess. I remembered fondly an NDS game from “a few” years ago that I played that allowed you to take on the life of a professional skater, competing in various events, training, dating, and dealing with drama.

This game, as it turns out, was Imagine: Figure Skater for the Nintendo DS. The game first came out in 2008 (at least in North America), making it “retro” by my definition (I consider anything greater than 10 years old to be retro.)  I’m thinking about digging out my cartridge and playing it again this weekend. I’ve also been thinking about rewatching Yuri!! on Ice.

Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game

Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game

First, you might look at the box art for this game, and think it is for little girls. — Not true! The original boxart in Japan was much better – featuring anime style artwork. Why they went with a photograph of an iceskater on the US version, I dunno. They should have aimed it at anime/otome fans, but this was 10 years ago, before otome games had much foothold in the US.

Gamestop has the game in-stock for just $0.99 cents! – If you have a powerups reward card, Even better, you can grab it for just $0.79 cents!!! OMG… Go, go, go!! If you like anime, ice skating, dating sims, or otome games, it will be the best 99 (or 79) cents you could spend today. Click here to buy it before it’s gone.

There’s also apparently a sequel to this game, called Imagine: Ice Champions. I have not played the sequel yet, but Gamestop has it for just $1.59.

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

These games were perhaps too ahead of their times – with the relatively recent popularity of Yuri!! on Ice, and increased representation of Otome Games in the United States, I wonder how a sequel for Nintendo Switch would fare these days, if marketed properly. Why try to forcefully create an audience, when there already exists a large audience begging publishers for such games. Do your research and understand your target audience better.

Most of us are 20+ years old, otaku/anime fans, and would rather buy the original box art on the right, than that which was designed for the US on the left. This alienated most of your “built in audience” while trying to build a new audience with younger girls.

Thankfully the art in the actual game is fully done in an anime and kawaii style which could appeal to either audience.

Now on to the review!!

Scorecard:

Title: Imagine: Figure Skating

Developer: Spike

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: Nintendo DS

Genre: Career/Life Simulation Game with Dressup Game, Dating Sim and Otome Game aspects

Where to Buy: Gamestop has both of these for about $0.79 and $1.99. Check out the links above.

Geeky: 5/5 – Gameplay is solid, the graphics are a little bit pixelated, but that’s probably just limitations of the software of the time ten years ago. Gameplay using the stylus to perform ice skating moves is both fun and challenging. It offered high replay value too with different girls to play as and different events and dialogue options. It gave a good look at what skaters go thru when training. If you enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, or enjoy anime such as Yuri!! On Ice, then you will enjoy this game!

Sweetie: 5/5 – This game has a little bit of everything, all in one very cute package! Ice Skating is beautiful and elegant and as you compete you unlock new areas to explore, new outfits to wear, and you interact with friends, lovers, and rivals. It has a good dose of comedy, slice of life, drama, and surprise.

Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review

Gameplay: 10/10 – Gameplay is where Imagine: Figure Skating really shines! When the game starts, you select one of three girls, each with her own strengths and weaknesses both on and off the ice. From there you’re whisked away to a tutorial where you get to try skating for the very first time.

Do well and advance through various qualifying rounds improving your skill and technique. You will earn money to buy new outfits and get to travel to compete in new arenas and unlock new events.

When not on the ice, you will go to school, work part time jobs, go on dates, or spend time with your friends. Rivals will show up both on and off the ice too which add to the story.

You skate by using the Nintendo DS stylus on the lower touch screen. You perform jumps and spins and get scored for each of your routines. As you play and complete your training, you will unlock more advanced moves to add to your routine.

You have complete control over designing your own ice skating routines. You select your outfits, music, and choreograph your routines to progress through the game and ultimately guide your character to the nationals.

Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls

Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls

Story: 7/10 This game, just like Yuri!! On Ice, does an excellent job portraying the struggles and triumphs of those training for life as a professional or Olympic figure skater. Just like Yuri!!! On Ice, Imagine: Figure skating has that tantalizing blend of romance and rivalry both on and off the ice. It also showcases themes such as platonic friendship, family, travel, adventure, and sportsmanship. Storywise though, this game comes no where close to generating the same emotions and reactions in its audience compared to the beloved Yuri!! On Ice, which has been countless praised by real figure skaters for its realistic portrayal of events and memorable characters.

Characters: 8/10 The characters are cute! I loved the dressup aspects and loved having multiple girls to choose from when starting the game. I loved how this game draws you into the life of the characters, showing you moments of their life both on and off the ice. I didn’t quite connect with them as emotionally and deeply as I had hoped to. This is also probably why the story felt a bit flat.

Graphics: 7/10 – The graphics are a bit outdated, but there’s so many options for costumes and the ability to pick different girls is great. The girls are all so cute.

Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game

Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game

Music: 7/10 – I feel like almost everything about this game, is about a solid 7, it’s good, but not great. The great gameplay though makes up for the rather “average” other details. I’d say the music is fine, but ultimately far from memorable.

Replay Value: 10/10 – With different girls and different outcomes along with the ability to customize just about everything, this game has very high replay value.

Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

If you enjoyed Imagine: Figure Skating and Imagine: Champions on Ice, you may also like the other Imagine Games which you can view here. You may also like Princess Debut, which I love and plan to review shortly. There’s also a game called Princess on Ice that you may enjoy – I have not played that one just yet myself.

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

LG Appliances Twin Wash and SideKick System Review

Here’s a scenario for you:

Your kid comes home from school and tells you at the last minute they need their uniform washed. Or your husband needs his suit for an important meeting, or your friends call and invite you out, but your favorite dress is dirty. You don’t have time to wait for a full load of laundry to finish. What do you do?

LG has the answer with its new LG Twin Wash and LG Sidekick System. 

The LG Twin Wash includes a full size front load washer and works with the LG SideKick smaller pedestal washing machine. You can now wash two loads of laundry at once. The large full size front loading washing machine is designed to tackle heavy loads, while the SideKick pedestal washer right beneath it can quickly handle those last minute “need it now” items.

The LG Sidekick is also perfect for items that require delicate washing and extra care. And when not in use, the LG Sidekick closes behind a discrete panel, and slides out when ready to be used again.

The LG SideKick raises your front load washer to a more convenient and comfortable height, and it matches perfectly with the LG Dryer.

The LG SideKick can be operated by remote control, allowing you to start and stop the SideKick easily from afar.

The SideKick is also backed by LG’s 10 year warranty.

Combined together, the LG Twin Wash and LG Sidekick offer 6.6 CU of space to tackle any size loads, large or small.

The LG Twin Wash is more efficient and ergonomic. The TurboWash 2.0 feature saves up to 30 minutes on larger loads. The door is designed at an angle for ease and comfort, and the door also features all of the controls in a convenient LED panel built right into the door. On the inside, the LG Twin Wash features a recessed soap tray to avoid any messy spills.

What is your favorite feature?  How would you use the LG Twin Wash System and Sidekick in your household?

Learn more about the LG Twin Wash and SideKick System at Best Buy: 

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/clp/twinwash-sidekick/pcmcat748300973166.c?id=pcmcat748300973166 

From 1/11-4/25 receive up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

LG Appliances Twin Wash and SideKick System Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Viz Media and Rose City Games Partner to Create Video Games

rosecity

vizmedia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

VIZ MEDIA AND ROSE CITY GAMES PARTNER TO LAUNCH A NEW PUBLISHING PROGRAM FOR INDEPENDENT VIDEO GAMES

 

The First Original Game To Be Published Is The World Next Door

Portland, OR, and San Francisco, CA, February 6, 2018 – Rose City Games and VIZ Media announce a partnership to debut original, narrative-driven games. VIZ Media, publisher of popular gaming adaptations for POKÉMON, SPLATOON, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, HOMESTUCK, MONSTER HUNTER and more, will deepen its robust connection to the gaming world. Rose City Games, a leader in the rapidly-developing indie game scene, will introduce new and diverse voices from the world of indie games to the massive pop culture audience VIZ Media has cultivated since its founding.

The first title to be published by VIZ Media will be the supernatural action/adventure game, The World Next Door, developed by Rose City Games and featuring character designs by illustrator Lord Gris.

“It’s no secret that anime and manga fans love video games,” says Brad Woods, Chief Marketing Officer, VIZ Media. ”We’re excited to be able to bring an entirely new offering to our audience. VIZ Media has always been fan-first, and the team at Rose City is the perfect fit for developing games that our audience will love.”

“We’re very excited to collaborate with VIZ Media and the amazing creators in our indie game communities,” say Will Lewis and Corey Warning, Co-Directors and Co-Founders of Rose City Games. “The ability to pursue multiple original titles as independent developers is huge for us, and this partnership presents the potential to expand the worlds we’re creating beyond games.”

The World Next Door is a narrative-driven game that centers around Jun, a rebellious teen girl trapped in a parallel world inhabited by magical creatures. Inspired by the emotional storytelling and thrilling action of both anime and indie games, players can expect to meet and develop friendships with an eclectic cast of characters while uncovering the mysteries hidden within this world.

The World Next Door is currently in full production with a planned release on PC. VIZ Media is slated to release two more games developed by Rose City Games over the next few years, and is currently accepting publishing inquiries from developers with games at all stages of production. Stay up to date with the game’s production at theworldnextdoor.com and on Twitter at @worldnextdoor.

 

Press Contact:

Sandra Lanz

sandra@rosecitygames.com

Erik Jansen for VIZ Media

erik@medialab-pr.com

Publisher Contact:

Eric Eberhardt

ericeberhardt@viz.com

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan’s largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

About Rose City Games

Rose City Games is a full-service game studio partnering with innovative brands to create original, interactive experiences. Based out of Portland, OR, they specialize in the development of new and existing IPs to tell stories through games. Their mission is to make better games, by assembling teams of passionate developers for whom hard work, authenticity, and creativity are a top priority. Founded by indie game community organizers Will Lewis and Corey Warning in 2015, the studio has produced a game jam event for Cartoon Network, helped launch Headmaster for PlayStation VR, and activated the local development scene by organizing the Portland Indie Game Squad.

Learn more about Rose City Games at rosecitygames.com.

Follow Rose City Games on Twitter for updates: twitter.com/rosecitygames

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Viz Media and Rose City Games Partner to Create Video Games was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Takane & Hana Yuki Shiwasu Manga Review

I received volume 1 of Takane & Hana from Viz for free to review here on my blog.

Opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Note: This review may contain spoilers for volume 1 of the manga.


Title: Takane & Hana

Mangaka: Yuki Shiwasu

Licensed: Viz

Release Date:  Dec 20, 2014 – Ongoing (Japan), February 6th, 2018 – Ongoing (USA)

Length: 9 volumes (and ongoing) (in Japan) Viz will be releasing volumes bimonthly.

Genre: Shoujo, Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy

Geeky: 2/5 – No action, but a good dose of comedy could make this one appeal to geeks of any gender.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Here we have a love story / slice of life manga with some rather unconventional characters. I enjoy the humor and unique characters. This is not a cookie cutter shoujo manga.

Overall: 34/40 85% B “Very Good Manga For Girls”

Story: 9/10 – Takane and Hana meet via an arranged marriage; however, it is not Hana who is supposed to go to the meeting. Hana has an older sister, Yukari, who was selected by the chairman to meet his grandson, Takane. Takane is heir to a successful wealthy conglomerate, where Hana and Yukari’s father happens to work. Yukari refuses to go to the arranged marriage, forcing Hana to have to pretend to be her older sister.

Takane can see through their deception right away, which causes him to be more frank and open around Hana. Takane is used to getting anything he wants, so when Hana storms out of their arranged marriage meeting, he takes an interest in her. He begins to show up at her school with luxurious gifts, wearing expensive clothes, and driving a fancy foreign car.

Eventually Yukari tells Hana that she has changed her mind and wants to meet with Takane. The three agree to meet to explain the situation, but Hana runs away during their meeting. Takane pursues Hana and calls her by her real name for the first time, showing that he knew all along who she really was. Hana steals a kiss from Takane which again shakes up his usual routine.

The two continue to meet, usually going to expensive fancy restaurants. But one of my favorite parts of the manga is when Hana plans their date; she wants to do all commoner activities. Hana plans a day full of karaoke, bowling, fast food, and a scary movie. However, at the first stop of their date, Takane gets called into work. Hana continues to do their date alone by herself, until finally Takane meets back up by sneaking into the movie. He falls asleep exhausted from work. He also worked all night the night before so he could take the day off. Hana learns and sees many different sides of Takane that day, and begins to understand that he really isn’t such a bad guy.

There is a 10 year age gap between the characters though, so their relationship must still remain a secret, because Takane is expected to marry a suitable woman to help him with his career. Takane continues to go to arranged marriage meetings, but rejects his suitors and continues to see Hana. Hana worries that she is not good enough for Takane, but he tells her he will be the one to decide if she is good enough or not.

My only complaint with the story is it has some pacing issues. There were parts of the story where I would stop and see if I missed a page. It seemed to jump around a lot in the first 2 or 3 chapters, and then became more well fleshed out and evens out in the next chapters.

Characters: 8/10 Hana is a typical high school girl, carefree, spunky, athletic, happy go lucky, friendly, and outgoing. Takane is a well groomed businessman and heir to a large fortune. Takane is used to always getting his way and is used to enjoying the finer things in life. However, both of our characters are bored of their routine lives. When they meet, their routine is shaken up.

Takane is very rude, and he loves to be the center of attention. He loves to “look down” on the world / other people. However, he is not without his good points either. He is sincere/honest about his feelings (at least when he is around Hana – around other people Takane is forced to behave politely due to the responsibilities of his family and business.) Takane is a very hard worker, but he also tries to make time for Hana. Takane is not good at expressing thanks/gratitude, or admitting that he is enjoying his time with Hana.

However, Hana learns certain things about Takane. Like when he is truly happy, his smile is different, more like a smirk. His full / peaceful / contented smile is only a fake smile put on out of politeness. Hana realizes Takane only really smiles honestly around her.

Hana is also not honest about her feelings for Takane. She decides to treat their relationship like a game. Both of our characters are competitive and love to tease each other, and neither of them want to lose this “Game”.

I really love these characters, but I did deduct a few points because all of the minor characters are far less developed. This is only the first volume though, so I expect this to improve.

It’s also worth pointing out that many readers may be uncomfortable with the age gap in this manga. In Japan though this age gap is very common. Even in other shoujo manga, such as Sailor Moon, Mamoru was a college student and Usagi was only 14. While age gaps like this may seem odd to American readers, it is important to understand these cultural differences.

Artwork: 10/10 The artwork is cute, and it makes me smile/laugh. I love Takane’s smirk. Hana is cute. Takane would maybe be handsome, but his facial expressions are usually very smug/conceited. The background and coloring techniques are also cute. The art and character designs are also very consistent throughout the first volume.

Overall: 34/40 85% B “Very Good Manga For Girls”

Takane & Hana Yuki Shiwasu Manga Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Windaria Anime Movie Review

Title: Windaria

Alternative Title: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1986 (Japan initial release), 1992 (US, (VHS) first US release), 2004 (US re-release (DVD) with title change)

Where to Watch: I don’t support piracy here, but as a heads up, ALL of the “US Releases” of this film are very severely edited. And YES, that includes even the subtitled versions! I highly recommend that you watch the original Japanese version at least once before passing judgement on this beautiful movie. Of course, I grew up with the VHS in the 90s, and I STILL loved even the heavily edited dubbed version of the film way back then. Last year, I finally got the chance to watch the original Japanese version. A lot of content was cut from the English version, including significant amounts of story content. They change the order of certain scenes, remove most of the violence (and drugs and sex) and have completely re-written the script of the original film to better suit an American audience (where cartoons were (and still are) primarily intended for children). Also all of the music is different in both versions, although it’s very good in both versions as well. Still the overall theme and plot and moral of this heart breaking anime remains the same in both versions. That’s why I really recommend you to try to watch the original film – and then still go ahead and buy the English DVD or VHS to support the creators :). I’m not going to tell you where to find the original online, but you can find it if you look. And then you can purchase the Windaria North American DVD here.

Geeky: 3/5 The music is beautiful, but the artwork is very outdated (losing 1 point). Interestingly enough, the Japanese DVD includes 2 versions of the film, 1 being a “pilot film” where the animation and coloring style is different. (I have never seen this version). Despite the outdated artwork, the character designs are cute and memorable, I often think someone working on Pokemon drew inspiration (perhaps even subconsciously) for fan-favorite Eevee from the little pet squirrel/cat like creature in this film. The story is dark and full of action (and sex and drugs and gore in the original Japanese version). Therefore I feel this film would appeal to all geeks regardless of their genders. I’m removing one more point for the heavy handed editing of all of the US versions of this film. It’s been almost 15 years since the film has been brought to American audiences (for a 2nd time) – so perhaps some day we will see a company pick up the license for this film and do it justice with a more faithful English adaptation.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The story is soul crushingly sad. If you like sad anime, this is for you. Both versions of the film, even the mangled US version(s), still show the tender love stories of the central characters, and demonstrate the costs of war and greed. I happen to be a fan of sad love stories, and this particular anime reminds me of almost a Romeo and Juliet type of fairy tale, 2 lovers who can never be together, and 2 other lovers who have everything but still manage to mess everything up in the end. It’s also a story of regret, love, and greed. It imparts morals to the viewer, to value the love you have or else it may slip away. And that even if you are poor, if you have love, you can be happy. Or you can overlook the happiness you have right in front of you and only realize what you have once it has slipped away. The emotionally engaging story is also heightened by a fantastic music score which further draws the audience into the film.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Story: 9/10 – I removed a point again for the poor handling of every commercially available North American release of this film. Otherthan that small complaint, I give the story 10/10. Even the badly edited version. I loved the anime back in the 90s, and I still love it today. It’s a tale that withstands the tests of time. Universally relateable to anyone who has loved and lost.

The story of Windaria intertwines the fates of 2 very different couples. One couple is a princess and prince from neighboring kingdoms. As tensions mount between the kingdoms, and war seems inevitable… Can their love survive? The other couple lives in a small farming village caught between both warring nations. Their village has remained neutral for years, but as war descends around them, can that peace last? The people of the neutral village are poor, but live happy lives not knowing the tragedies of war, and protected by spirits who live in a giant tree. But can people be influenced to take a side when wealth and adventure knock on their door? How will the war change the lives of the people in this tiny village?

Everything is connected, and you cannot escape war. You can’t remain neutral. You must make a decision and take a risk. What will you risk? Will you risk your life? Your love? Your Home? And how will the war change you? Can you return to your old life after the war ends? Will there even be anything left to return to?

Windaria examines all of these heavy hearted deep thinking questions.

The setting of the story is also very intriguing. We have 2 nations at war. The haves and have nots. One kingdom has plenty of water and wealth and prosperity. They control the flow of water to the neighboring nations. The other nation does not feel they have enough water. They are not nearly as wealthy or powerful as their political neighbor. The lands between the two nations are full of magic and mystery. There is a river where people go crazy and see horrors which are merely reflections of their own fears and feelings, there is the giant magic tree which protects the neighboring farming village, and there’s the ghost ship which takes souls to the other side.

Interestingly enough, although the setting and time of this anime appear to be fantasy based, there is no magic or “fantasy”, instead we see a strange blend of technology in a fantasy world. Airplanes, motorbikes, guns, grenades, tanks, etc.

Characters: 7/10 – I’ll be honest here, it is REALLY hard to like the main character of this film. He is a giant D-bag. Not even gonna lie. You’re going to hate him. He rather have drunken sex and spend all day exploiting his power to get more drugs and wealth and concubines, than return to his girlfriend even after the war ends. It’s not until his own life is in danger that he flees and comes back to his village… or what’s left of it anyways. – Maybe at the end, he has a change of heart, but that doesn’t make up for what a huge D he is in the majority of the film.

The first 15-20 minutes of the film, they build this character and his love up to have this idealistic beautiful love. Everyone in the village recognizes the love between this pair. They are utterly adorable together. They have it all. But that’s not enough for our main character.

In stark contrast, his lady love waits patiently for his return, even when the rest of her village leaves and tries to get her to come to safety with them. This made me hate the main character even more. And when she forgives him for everything, that too amplifies my anger at this character.

But I suppose this is the point of the entire movie. It still isn’t easy to watch or to like, sympathize, or side with the supposed main character of the film.

Our other 2 main characters are considerably more likeable. They are victim of circumstance. They never get a choice in the events happening to them. They are bound by duty. They don’t get to choose a peaceful life of love – which puts into perspective even more, the stupidity of the main character for never realizing the happiness he had back in his own village.

The relationship of the prince and princess is doomed from the start, however, they often dare defy the duties and responsibilities forced upon them, and meet in secret anyways to profess their love and promise each other that one day they will be together. I have never really been 100% sure about the end of their relationship. I can’t tell if what she did was intentional or accidental like perhaps she was playfully chasing and playing with his gun / flirting around. Or if perhaps, she felt the weight of her duty, and decided to put her kingdom above her love and pull that trigger to once and for all, end the war. Either way, their relationship ends in spectacular Romeo and Juliet fashion.

 

There are a number of minor characters too with very intricate and detailed back stories, including a “crazy” woman who never talks to anyone as she waits for her love to return. Her love chose to become a captain of a ship taking souls to the other side. The captain cannot leave his ship for a specified number of years. (I believe it was 10 years? I can’t recall right now).

At the end of the film, we see that our main character wishes to become the captain of this ship to follow his lady love to the other side. (This is more clear in the Japanese version of the film). The crazy woman and main character both meet in the end (I think maybe the main character was contemplating jumping off the cliff) and he sees the crazy lady still there, waiting for her husband to return. So he resolves also to wait for his love as well. (although I’m pretty sure she can never come back – although a lot of Asian religions believe in reincarnation and so perhaps it is that which he is waiting for, or for his own life to end so then in the afterlife, they can be reunited.) This shows how much thought went into even the most minor of characters to make them have heavy plot focus.

Art: 2/5 – The artwork is dated, because this anime is from the 80s. On almost every website I’ve visited in the past, this anime has horrible reviews. I feel it’s not judged fairly and people are overlooking the beautiful love stories and tragedies and focusing solely on the artwork and animation quality. The character designs are still cute though, and some of the background environments are very pretty. But overall, I’d tend to agree the animation is not clean enough and the character styles are outdated by today’s standards. That still never detracts from my enjoyment of this film.

Music: 5/5 I love the music in Windaria. Both the Japanese and English tracks fit perfectly with the themes and scenes of the film. The music carries much emotion and helps tell the story, complementing the action scenes, and especially painfully highlighting the sad tragic scenes of the anime. I especially love the vocal tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I really dislike both the original Japanese, and the English voice acting of most of the characters. I guess it’s typical for how old this anime is, but almost all of the performances were cringe-worthy. That’s even more reason why someone should pick this license back up and bring in a fresh English cast. The story is so good, and the performances here just do not do it justice at all.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Windaria Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

I’m testing a new plugin that will let me more easily share app recommendations with my readers. The first app I’m going to recommend is Princess Closet by Ciagram. It is an otome game available in both the IOS and Google app stores.

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

What I like about Princess Closet is that you don’t have to spend real money on cash shop items to reach the good ending. You can also read a few stories each day for free, making it possible to play the game without having to invest any money.

Read the full description and see screenshots below. This info was taken from QooApp. But this app can also be downloaded via the Google Play and IOS stores without using Qoo App.

Get Princess Closet on IOS Here: https://itunes.apple.com…

Get Princess Closet on Android Here: https://play.google.com…

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

Download

Description

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

◆Princess Closet will give you your Super Happy Ending for free

-A dating sim for girls where you can enjoy the love story without paying!

-Get the Super Happy Ending for free!

-Advance smoothly with no tedious missions!

-You can read 5 romance Stories every day for free!

-A game for girls who want to play otome games without spending any money!

Invited by a member of the popular fashion brand “Princess Closet,” you have been transformed into a “fashion model.”

Work together with the ultimate handsome boyfriend towards becoming a top model!

Your encounter with your dashing boyfriend… is the beginning of a romance that will change your life!

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

◆An extravagant cast of voice actors! Their voices will draw you deeper into this world

This romance game includes an extravagant cast of voices actors for the four handsome male leads.

You will be able to experience their sweet, charming voices as if they were right next to you!

With no real ambition in life, you luck out and manage to get a job at a large company.

Although not overwhelmingly dissatisfied, you are bored by the daily, unchanging routine work. And you find yourself wondering, “Am I okay with the way things are?”

Your only small relief from all of this is fashion.

That is, until the day that “Leo,” the up-and-coming fashion brand designer, suddenly appears in front of you.

At that moment, you never suspected that your encounter with him would change your life drastically…

“Fashion and romance will change my life.”

A dating sim game for girls who want to experience heart-throbbing romance, while enjoying fashion!

-If you love dating sims, otome games, games for girls, or romance games.

-If you are looking for romance novels, visual novels, online novels, light novels, romance comics, romance manga, or shoujo manga.

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

-If you are looking for sweet, romantic dating sims or stimulating dating sims.

-If you are looking for visual novels with sweet romance storylines.

-If you are looking for free otome games you can enjoy without paying.

-If you are looking for a game where you can experience romance with princes, aristocrats, CEOs, or celebrities.

-If you like situations that include a cute childhood friend with an adorable accent.

-If you are looking for dating sims with great art and graphics.

-If you want to experience forbidden love at the office.

-If you want to be a princess and experience your own Cinderella story.

-If you are looking for marriage games where your handsome boyfriend or lover proposes to you.

-If you are looking for adult games with keywords such as contract, secret, seduction, and fate.

-If you respond to keywords such as fated love, adult visual novel, or forbidden love.

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

-If you like popular dating sims for girls that are free.

-If you don’t mind dating sims that contain boys love.

-If you are looking for otome games where you are surrounded by handsome guys.

-If you want to find your perfect husband, boyfriend, or lover in the ultimate otome game.

-If you are looking for someone to marry who is handsome, a celebrity, an heir, prince, charismatic, or rich.

-If you like otome games as well as comics, manga, anime, or BL.

-If you have a husband, boyfriend, or lover, but you want to find someone who is more perfect for you.

-If you love romance dramas and are looking for romance apps.

-If it is your first time using a romance app and you want to find a romance app for girls that you can play for free.

-Free installation

-Uninstalling the app or clearing the cache will reset player data.

[…]

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix PS4 Videogame Review

Title: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix

Platform: PS4 (note this release combines various Kingdom Hearts games originally found on the PS2, GBA, Nintendo DS and 3DS)

Genre: Action Roleplaying Game ARPG

Publisher: Disney + Squarenix

Where to Buy: $49.99 on Amazon (at time of this writing)

Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 The games have fun gameplay, good graphics for the age of the games, and a great soundtrack. However, the Disney segments can be a bit too kiddie for some more serious gamers, and although the entire series is about the juxtaposition of light and dark, the light hearted disney characters can sometimes take away from immersing yourself in the deeper darker story of Sora and his friends.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This game is cuteness overload by combining well loved Square and Disney characters. It also has a surprisingly deep, relatively dark (for a Disney product at least), and mature storyline, which evolves and grows deeper and darker from game to game as characters grow and evolve.

Gameplay: 10/10 Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG. You play as Sora, a young boy who dreams of leaving his home town on a tiny island. When the game begins you are asked to choose a weapon. You may choose between shield, sword, and magic wand. You’re also asked which weapon you will give up. This allows you to customize your fighting style to match your preferences. You’ll also be asked a few questions. These questions do not have any significance on the story, but they do have a large impact on how quickly you will level up throughout the game.

A tutorial will give you a taste for how combat is in each of the games. You can run, jump, push and pull objects, climb, and use your chosen weapons as you chain attacks, dodge, defend, and parry to take down your foes. Enemies will drop small glowing orbs which can offer XP or sometimes restore health or other benefits. You will have to run around and touch the drops, because they do not get added automatically.

After settling into the game, you are allowed to freely explore the island, interact with NPCs, and engage in several minigames, such as fighting or racing with your friends on the island. You will see many familiar faces from both Squaresoft and Disney franchises.

Fairly early in the game, Sora gets his wish of leaving the island, and the rest of the game is played through traveling between different worlds, each representing a key franchise from Disney or Squaresoft. There are numerous battles to fight, areas to explore, sidequests, mini games, and hidden goodies. In fact, to find everything, across all games will take you almost 300 hours (and you’ll be awarded with an extra ending in each game). There’s plenty of content here to sink your teeth into, even for the most seasoned of gamers.

The action based combat is fun and snappy, while the mini games and interaction with a wide variety of characters gives you a break from the hack n slash combat, creating a well balanced game that equally values action as well as adventure.

Story: 8/10 I find it jarring at times how the story jumps between worlds, and I sometimes cringe at some of the Disney characters (and I consider myself a Disney fan! But it can really take away from the story, just when things are getting interesting to flash back to Goofy or Donald, especially with their well known silly voices and all). This can all make the story less immersive. However, at the heart of the story, you have a coming of age tale and a love triangle between 3 best friends. You watch throughout each game as Sora and his friends evolve and grow and change and how their friendships and relationships change as well. The story from each game is directly related from one game to the next. We’ve already watched Sora age by 2 years (and gotten a glimpse at a very young Sora as well). When Kingdom Hearts 1 starts, Sora is 14. By the end of Dream Drop Distance, he is 16. Many speculate he will be 16 or 17 in Kingdom Hearts 3. We witness Sora’s changing emotions as he transitions from adolescence to young adulthood. The main theme song in Kingdom Hearts 1 even hints at this with the lyrics of the chorus stating “Don’t get me wrong, I love you, but does that mean I really have to meet your father? One day when you’re older you’ll understand what I meant when I said No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.” Those lyrics perfectly describe the relationship between Sora and Kairi. An innocent love, a boy who still quite often views love/girls as “gross”, and a boy embarrassed by his emerging feelings of love for Kairi. And we witness not only how friendship can grow to love, but also how platonic friendships can change to rivalries when two boys love the same girl. The depths of both Riku and Sora’s love for Kairi is perhaps the best thing about the story.

I recently picked up Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix. I had played the original KH1 and KH2 on Playstation 2 but that was over 12 years ago now. And I had not played the other side games.

Every game in Kingdom Hearts is connected, and contains the same 3 characters, Riku, Kairi, and Sora, and the story gets deeper and more complex as the games go on as more is revealed building upon back stories and prequels and sequels and spin off games. It can be intimidating for someone new to the franchise to pick up the games now with almost 15 years of games to catch up on.

Many people recommend the following order to play the games in to get the most out of the story:

Kingdom Hearts 1 (1.5 remix)
Re: Chain of Memories (1.5 remix)
Kingdom Hearts 2 (2.5 remix)
358/2 Days (1.5 remix)
Birth By Sleep (2.5 remix)
Re:Coded (2.5 remix)
Dream Drop Distance (2.8 remix sold separately)
0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage (2.8 remix sold separately)
X Back Cover (2.8 remix sold separately.)
Unchained X (free mobile game, available separately)
Kingdom Hearts 3 (sold separately – coming soon)

So you will need bare minimum to purchase 3 games

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix
Kingdom Hearts 2.8
Kingdom Hearts 3

And optionally download and play Unchained X on your cell phone.

Some of the “games” above are actually “cutscenes” because they could not emulate the nintendo DS “touch screen” on the PS4. So each of these nintendo remakes are movies which reuse old, and add new cutscenes to tell the story.

You can alternatively purchase and play these Nintendo games separately. But you should be fine with just the cutscenes from an understanding the story standpoint.

Characters: 10/10 I really enjoy watching Sora and friends evolve, age, mature, and change over the course of multiple interconnected games. I also really do enjoy seeing favorite characters thrown in from Final Fantasy and Disney. It’s a strange mashup but it works surprisingly well. If you are either a Disney or Squaresoft fan you will love the cast of characters in these games.

Graphics: 7/10 – Taking into consideration the age of the games, I think the graphics are beautiful and memorable. They are vibrant, full of color, detail, and fun. The character designs blend Disney’s whimsy and charm with Squaresofts more stylistic approach. Sora also reminded me of a brunette Cloud wearing Mickey’s big “clown” shoes. The bobble headed appearance of the characters, makes them cute, but it’s almost a bit too juvenile, given that even when we first meet Sora and friends in KH1, they’re already teenagers. I feel like they look like Precious Moments dolls, and about 7-10 years old because of the proportions of their heads to bodies. — Luckily, the artwork does improve in later games.

Take a look below:

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 1 (Does he look 14 to you? Not even close in my opinion).

14 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1

14 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2 (He is supposed to be 15 here, looks about right.)

15 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

15 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 3 (Speculated to be 16 or 17 here) (meh this design is alright, I expected to see something like Final Fantasy XV quality here. There are very few details in the hair/face and almost no shading on the clothing, it just looks kinda flat/plastic-y… not what I’d expect from a PS4 title. He does look a tiny bit more mature, slimmer face, etc.)

Music: 10/10 I’m a big Utada Hikaru fan, and I love the opening theme “Simple and Clean” – as I mentioned, I feel the lyrics foreshadow the coming of age story and changes that our little island buddies are about to experience. She also sings “Sanctuary” the opening theme of Kingdom Hearts 2. And it has been confirmed that she will also be involved with the opening for Kingdom Hearts 3. My favorite Utada Hikaru song though will always be “First Love”. The Japanese versions of the tracks are also quite catchy even without knowing the lyrics or understanding Japanese. The background music is also fitting and full of adventure and wonder.

Voice Acting: 6/10 – The voice acting is definitely hit or miss for me. Some characters I think are perfectly cast, and others way off mark. Some give pretty convincing performances, while others are too overdramatic and/or the opposite, lack any feeling or emotion in the deliverance of their lines. The iconic Disney characters also can tend to annoy and detract from the story with their overly cartoonish voices for which they are so well known.

Replay Value: 9/10 Although the games are linear, there are multiple games in this “bundle”, and each game has a secret ending, usually only uncovered for completing all side quests, or playing on the hardest difficulty settings, which will take you around 270 hours total according to How long to Beat. Even if you don’t want to go for the secret endings, you’re still looking at over 130 hours of gameplay just for the main stories of each game. For just $40something, that works out to around 30 cents per hour of entertainment. Therefore your return on investment is quite high in this title, even if you might only play each of the games once.

Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix PS4 Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

BanG Dream Girls Band Party – English Release in Spring 2018

Bushiroad is bringing us yet another great anime rhythm game.

From the creators of Love Live School Idol Festival, and hot on the heels of the recent announcement of Klab’s English localization of Utapri Utano Princesama Shining Live, Bushiroads has recently announced plans to localize BanG Dream Girls Band Party.

More details can be found on the official website at https://bang-dream-gbp-en.bushiroad.com/

pastel palettes

pastel palettes

Not only are we getting the mobile game, but also English versions of the Weib Schwarz card decks:

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The mobile game will be available in Spring 2018 on Android and IOS

Check out the English Release Trailer Below:

More information can be found in the English fan wikia based on the Japanese versions of the game at http://bandori.wikia.com/wiki/BanG_Dream!_Girls_Band_Party!

I have not played the Japanese versions myself just yet. I’ve read that it is the highest grossing mobile game in Japan right now.

From what I have seen in the wikia and official website, the game features a lot of fun unique elements that make it a slight step up from Love Live School Idol Festival.

The feature I’m most excited about is the costumes. Each time you get a 3 or 4 star or higher card, you unlock a new costume for your characters that you can equip and see on their chibi or cameo appearances while playing the game.

afterglow

afterglow

Other differences between Love Live include “Multi-Lives” the ability to play online in real time with other players – I know Love Live School Idol Festival offers this ability during certain events, but in GBP, it is always available.

You can also trade in your duplicate cards for seals which can be exchanged for limited event items

The biggest difference between GBP and LLSIF is that there are no song types currently, so it doesn’t matter which girls are in your party, even though each girl has her own attributes such as Powerful, Pure, Cool, and Happy. These attributes determine your score multipliers. But you no longer get the bonus of let’s say using a team with primarily high “Pure” cards in a “Pure Song”. However, to get the most out of your score multiplier, it is best to keep a team of same attribute idols. Such as “Pure” or Cool, because of the items you can equip that boost single attributes. You can also further maximize your score by keeping your team all within the same band such as Poppin Party or Pastel Pallets or Roselia. This is because you can buy special band equipment that enhances members’ stats from specific band groups and only 1 type of each item can be equipped at a time, forcing you to choose which band you want to focus on.

This may change, as the game is still relatively new at this time.

Hello Happy World

Hello Happy World

You can also, not only unlock songs by reading the main story and playing the game, but also unlike new songs by purchasing additional songs with special in-game currency.

There are areas you can explore and items you can place in these areas as well that will impact your band members’ stats as mentioned above.

GBP is a multi-media project, similar to Love Live School Idol Festival. It includes real bands comprised of the characters seiyuu’s (voice actresses), as well as an anime, card game, and mobile game, and various merchandising.

Roselia

Roselia

The announcement of an English version of Girls Band Party makes me so happy and excited. I still hold out hope that some day Bandai will release English versions of their Idolm@ster games – other than the $60 ones that they used to sell in the app stores. I mean, come on, just give us English versions of the free to play games, and collect money from us “dumb Americans” who want to spend $$$ on virtual “waifu” lol. Idolm@ster still remains my favorite idol game, mostly just because of the artwork, I mean, being able to see the girls actually performing on stage, like in Idolm@ster Theater Days is amazing!! Live 2D is the best thing to happen to anime games! 🙂

Poppin Party

Poppin Party

BanG Dream Girls Band Party – English Release in Spring 2018 was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News