This is a reblog of my site http://geekysweetie.com – Other stuff may appear here such as reblogs from other wordpress.com sites. I blog and reblog about anime, video games, kdrama, toys, technology, and kawaii fashion and decor.
Other Titles: A Silent Voice, The Shape of a Voice
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Slice of Life, Drama
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Based on: A Silent Voice manga by Yoshitoki Ōima
Length: 2 hours 9 minutes
Theatrical Japanese release: September 2016
Theatrical world-wide release: June 2017
DVD Blu Ray Japanese Release: May 17, 2017.
(no date announced at time of this blog post for an English DVD / Blu Ray Release).
Geeky: 4/5 Gorgeously animated and very true to the original story within the manga. It does lack action and move at a sometimes slow pace and deals with heavy and unpleasant themes at times.
Sweetie: 5/5 The transformation of the characters and values of friendship, love, redemption, and need for connection, are all highlighted in a tale that shows the coming of age of a group of adolescents.
Overall: 48/60 80% B- “Very Good Anime For Girls”
Story: 9/10 Koe no Katachi is a coming of age story wherein we witness the growth and life changes which shape and change the nature of relationships between a group of friends, enemies, and lovers. The story centers heavily around 2 youths, Ishida Shoya and Nashimiya Shoko, and their classmates. When the film starts, they are in elementary school, and by time the film ends they are seniors in high school.
Shoko is a deaf student who transfers in to the class. Everyone else is normal, Shoko is the only student with a disability, and none of the staff, students, or teachers are prepared or equipped to deal with her. As a result, Shoko becomes the victim of bullying, with Shoya largely being the ring leader behind her tormenting.
When it is discovered that Shoko has been bullied by her classmates, the other students and staff all blame Shoya which results in then his being bullied. The bullying continues throughout highschool as well, leaving Shoya with zero friends, and afraid to get close to anyone. Shoya even considers committing suicide to escape the bullying.
He runs into Shoko in his senior year of high school and immediately begins a plan to befriend her, having felt guilty for bullying her when they were younger. Shoya has been studying sign language and is now able to easily communicate with Shoko. He asks if they could be friends, the same thing she asked of him when they were little.
Shoko has grown stronger and has many friends already, but she blames herself for breaking up Shoya’s group of friends and for Shoya’s years of being a victim of bullying. The two forge an unlikely friendship, both hating and blaming themselves for their past interactions.
Shoya has grown and matured, and not just out of his feelings of guilt towards Shoko. Early in the film he befriends a male classmate who is also being bullied. This leads to Shoya’s first friend since elementary school.
Even Shoko’s sister who is very over protective of her, comes to accept Shoya when she realizes how much he has changed, and encourages him to date Shoko.
Shoko wants to help repair the friendships of Shoya’s childhood friends so she begins gathering the other students, some of which still resent Shoko and Shoya. There’s even a bit of a love triangle when Shoya runs into an old classmate, Ueno, working at a cat cafe.
However, everyone is still haunted by their pasts. Shoko and Shoya both struggle with thoughts of suicide and guilt throughout the entire film. Eventually though, the two begin to develop feelings of love for one another as a result of their newly formed friendship, but even that love may not be enough to save them. (You should watch it for yourself if you want to know! 🙂 )
It is a touching and moving story. School bullying is a huge problem in both Japan, as well as North America, and it does often lead to an increase in child and teen suicide. Therefore, these themes and characters feel real, raw, relateable, and brimming with emotions.
The manga goes a little bit further than the anime by showing what happens after high school to most of the friends in this story. However, the movie is a faithful adaptation of the manga given the time constraints of the format (taking several volumes of manga and condensing down into a 2 hour film).
Characters: 7/10: It can be difficult to watch a show as “heavy” as this at times. Almost of the characters are bullies and/or the victim of bullying. The main character and his friends are not “nice”. Even after they mature, many of the characters remain self-interested and shallow.
However, seeing Shoya’s transformation, and character development throughout the film from a bully to being bullied, and then to finding love and friendship is really the highlight of the film. Well that, and just how cute and unique of a character Shoko is.
It does a good job of showing both the home life, school life, and recreational life of the group of friends. Even the minor characters, such as Shoko’s sister and grandmother are well fleshed out.
Art: 10/10 – the anime is gorgeous to look at, especially some of the lovely backgrounds such as the koi pond, fireworks festival, or starlit skies. The character designs are cute and distinctive, from Shoko’s utter adorableness, to Shoya’s unkempt “I don’t care” attitude (messy hair, tag always sticking out of his collar, etc). Even the supporting cast has unique well defined designs, from their height, weight, hair, or fashion, all making them more memorable.
But perhaps the most interesting thing here is that they have actually animated some sign language scenes between the characters. Unfortunately I don’t sign, so I can’t comment how accurate the animations were, but it was still an interesting touch none the less.
Music: 4/10: I felt the music was very hit or miss for me. The opening theme song is an old (70s or 80s I think) American rock n roll song, which isn’t to my taste and didn’t seem to fit the theme or characters. The other music was not very memorable.
Voice Acting: 9/10: I dunno if Shoko’s voice actress is actually deaf or suffering from hearing loss, but the actress definitely has a speech impediment – whether that is real, or fake, I can’t tell. Other films and TV series, such as Switched at Birth have used deaf actors and actresses before. If she is not deaf, then that’s even a higher testament to her acting ability since she is able to keep the speech impediment consistently throughout the film.
This does make her hard to understand at times. The version I watched was likely fan subbed and not the official translation. The writers tried to characterize Shoko’s speech impediment even in the subtitles, and at times, I found myself feeling as frustrated and confused as the other characters trying to understand what she was saying lol. She still sounds cute, and her speech impediment plays an important part in the story.
The other characters are equally as well cast and really bring the characters from the manga to life on the big screen.
Pusheen box continues to impress with large, big ticket items, and tons of exclusives. Pusheen 2017 Spring Box marks one year of my receiving this quarterly subscription crate, which first debuted in Winter 2015 (I missed out on the first box, boo). Ever since I joined in Spring 2016, I’ve never once been disappointed by the contents of my box, making it by far, the best subscription box for girls.
I received my box in May, which happens to be my birthday, and inside, there’s tons of birthday / party related goods – awesome coincidence. I could throw myself a Pusheen party, but don’t have anyone to invite except for my cats lol.
It came packaged in a cute Bunny / Easter themed Pusheen faced box.
It included things like Photo Booth Props (some assembly required):
Also some cute banner decorations and party balloons. 🙂
You can already see the next item in the above pics, a Pusheen Tshirt, here’s another look. Mine is a wee bit big. I think it will probably shrink though when washed? lol. The colors are so cute and the lil birthday hat Pusheens kill me lol.
This month’s exclusive vinyl figure is an Easter bunny Pusheen with a spring chick on her back.
All that food is going to make you super thirsty, so they’ve given you a bottle opener shaped like our favorite feline.
What party would be complete without some tunes? Enter this adorable Pusheen Wireless Speaker to solve all your party music needs.
Last, but certainly not least, a cute Pusheen selfie stick to capture memories of your party with your friends!
My phone case doesn’t really fit too well in here, and it was a lil difficult to operate, it didn’t seem to support the weight of my phone (or case) too well. Did slightly better when I removed the case. Maybe I just don’t know how to use a selfie stick lol. It seemed “loose” and wanted to flop “forward” from the “square” part that holds the phone… Still cute, but dunno if I’d trust it to hold my expensive Iphone lol.
Also speaking of things flopping forward, Some of the Photo Booth Props seemed floppy – but maybe I’m just a derp and didn’t assemble them correctly. That is about my only complaint in this month’s box.
As always is the case with my Pusheen Box reviews, this is in no way a paid review. They do not even have a referral program. I’m merely sharing photos of all the cuteness because I know it will appeal to my readers.
If you’re interested in getting your own Pusheen Box you can sign up at PusheenBox.com
Packaging: 10/10 – The box is even shaped like Pusheen, the bottom of the box even has jelly bean toes – can’t handle the cuteness.
Quantity of Items: 10/10 – Packed to the top with tons of Pusheen stuff
Quality of Items: 7/10 – this month had a lot of “cheap” “paper goods” such as the photo booth props, banners, balloons, etc. While I was still happy with those (especially given that my birthday is next week lol), I am not used to seeing these lower quality items. Also as mentioned the selfie stick didn’t seem very sturdy to me. — The other items are all super high quality though. And compared to other boxes where you get mostly “cheap” plushies and stationary items, this box still feels higher quality overall.
Size of Items: 8/10 – Many nice larger items such as the Bento, Wireless Speaker, Vinyl Figure, Tshirt, and etc. Offset by a few cheaper/smaller items (mentioned above). Overall, compared to other boxes, Pusheen box consistently delivers more “big ticket” items. Compared to past Pusheen Boxes, the Spring 2017 box has a lot more smaller items as well. Hope this is not a continuing trend in the Summer box. Still mostly satisfied and surprised by the number of expensive, large, nice items. I feel it is well worth the cost of subscription and not just trinkets and baubles.
Variety of Items: 10/10 As always, a nice variety of items, ranging from fashion, to home goods, to toys, to stationary, to even electronics.
Rarity of Items: 10/10 The exclusivity of the items – being only available in this crate and not in any stores, makes this box one of my all time favorites for collector value.
Items Fit Theme: 9/10 Everything is 100% licensed Pusheen Goods. This month’s theme seemed to be a “party” theme and almost all of the items fit this theme, you have food and drink, party decor, music, and memories. It also seemed to have a vague easter theme with the box having bunny ears and the vinyl exclusive this month matching that. Perhaps a better match would have been a party hat Pusheen box and vinyl figure. But that’s a minor thing :).
Overall Value: 64/70 91% A- “Excellent Subscription Box For Girls”
I signed up for Yume Twins in May, 2017. The May box had a cat theme with lots of cute (but ultimately “cheap feeling”) plushies. As a cat lover, and kawaii collector, it was too good to pass up.
I took a lot of pictures as I unpacked my May 2017 Yume Twins box. Facebook assembled this slide show for me from some of the pics I took. This gives you a good idea of the size, variety, and quality of the items inside the May Yume Twins box.
My favorite part of the May cat themed Yume Twins box was a plushie that’s also a purse. I didn’t realize at first, until turning it over. His tail is a zipper and his tummy opens to let you put items in. Super cute!
There was also a water bottle with cat decals.
One of the most popular items in this crate is the Yokai Watch plushie from the hit anime and video game.
It all comes neatly packed in a bright purple box and includes a several page book, not only highlighting the items in your box, but showing interesting places and things around Japan that tie directly into that month’s theme. This was a really nice touch, one of the nicest packagings I have seen for these sorts of things.
I think they need some larger/nicer items such as T-shirts, home goods, and other items, similar to Pusheen Box to make it worth the cost of subscription.
Next month’s theme is Studio Ghibli. I meant to cancel after the cat theme, but forgot — and still haven’t cancelled (and my Ghibli box has already been sent). So we shall see how that box goes. 100 lucky subscribers in June will receive a Studio Ghibli thermos and chopsticks featuring Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Items like this should come standard in every box though. I mean if Pusheen can do it, why can’t they? I received Pusheen thermos, lunch box / bento set, and many other exclusive cute big ticket items. Pusheen box still makes all these other subscription boxes seem cheap to me.
I rather pay (approximately) $10 more a month (cost comparison of Pusheen Box vs Yume Twins) and get nicer items.
Perhaps they could start offering different subscription plans with larger items in the higher priced plans.
Still overall, Yume Twins is a very cute box – especially for plushie lovers.
I also really like that not everyone receives the same items. For example, the cat purse as well as cat charm that I received were black cats. In the book that came with the box, as well as on the tags, it shows different colors and styles, from spotted to striped to fantasy color kitties.
Overall will I keep or cancel the subscription? I haven’t cancelled yet, mainly because I do love Studio Ghibli and am interested in seeing what cute Ghibli plushies and goodies are in the June Yume Twins box. However, after that, I will likely cancel until a new theme comes along that piques my interest.
Japanese plushies are cute, and these are officially licensed goods, not counterfeit toys and plushies like many other boxes I’ve reviewed. That does add to their value. The large cat purse plushie probably retails for $15-20 alone. So the smaller plushies are just “bonus” items.
Therefore, I do think that the Yume Twins subscription is fairly priced and worth the cost in terms of the value of the goods you receive.
If Plushie Collecting is your thing, I think you’ll love Yume Twins. I just mostly rather put the $26 a month towards other things.. though I do love cute plushies – I don’t have a ton of room, and the plushies always seem to pick up cat hairs from my real life kitties lol.
Quantity of Items: 7/10
Quality of Items: 8/10
Size of Items: 3/10
Variety of Items: 3/10
Rarity of Items: 5/10
Items Fit Theme: 10/10
Overall Value: 46/70 66% D “Average Subscription Box for Girls”
My Nyan Place allows you to run your own cat cafe while collecting rare and cute cats, decorating the cafe, and playing fun mini games. You will need to feed, play with, and groom your cats. They need ample space to play, hide, climb, scratch, and sleep. And all of the accessories that come along with it.
Guests will come to the cafe and play with the cats as well as purchase food and beverages which earn you gold which can be used to purchase new items for your cafe.
As you level up, you can begin adding more cats and even more floors or buildings to hold the cats which will then need more decorations and more items for your cats and attract even more guests and earn even more gold.
Gameplay: 5/10 – Gameplay is simple and intuitive enough that you can enjoy this game without knowing Korean or Japanese languages. There are some quests and tutorial items that can be challenging at first to get past without knowing the language, but luckily, you will clear many of these obstacles through the natural flow of the game.
You start with a completely empty cafe and are given a few items such as a table, feeder, and cash register to get you started. You also get to select one free starter cat from the old man’s shop to begin your game.
The old man’s shop refreshes once every 24 hours and gets lots of rare and unique cats. These cats cost a lot of bells, but give you the benefit of knowing exactly what type of cat you’re purchasing.
The alternate way to obtain more cats early in the game is with tickets or bells that can be exchanged for “blind box” type cats. With this method, you can exchange tickets or bells to receive one random cat. You may get a rare cat this way, but you’re much more likely to get a common cat. Different types of boxes have different cats, including rare event boxes and cats that appear only for a limited time.
Now you will need to add some important items to your cat cafe to make sure your cats are healthy and happy. With the cat feeder, you can cook your own food and treats for your cats. Each cat is a unique individual and has likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Feeding your cats food and treats that they like will boost their mood and earn you more gold from your guests. You can also grow your own catnip, which can also be used as a treat for your cats. The catnip can be harvested once a day.
Your cats need a place to sleep. Some beds can hold multiple cats, while others are only enough space for one cat. It’s better to select items for multiple cats because they take up less room on the “grid” layout of your cat cafe.
You can expand your cat cafe to hold one more row on the grid per each upgrade, but there are level blocks that prevent you from expanding too quickly. There are also level blocks that prevent you from holding more cats, or having more than X number of certain items (tables, feeders, beds, etc).
You can hire staff to help run the cafe when you need to go offline. Your friends can also help you by visiting your cat cafe and clicking on up to three items that need attention.
Cats love to play; there are a lot of items which the cats can interact with which help to boost their mood, which as mentioned, help make your cafe more profitable. These items range from scratching posts to exercise wheels to cardboard boxes and anything in between.
The cats in the cafe will play with these items on their own. When you see them playing, boost their mood by clicking on the pink hearts. You can also tap on a cat and interact with that cat directly to boost its mood by grooming, feeding, or playing with the cat.
Cats also like to sleep, but they won’t sleep on their own. You need to monitor their moods and if you see a bubble with a “Zzz” click it to make the cat go to sleep. You also feed cats in the same fashion. A bubble will appear with a blue food dish; click the bubble to feed your cat.
When an NPC guest character visits your cafe, place one of your cats on each of your open tables. The NPCs will sit and pet, feed, play with, and take photos of your cats. They will also order food and drink for themselves to enjoy as well. You will need to restock, clean, and arrange the food and drinks several times a day.
Although the game is in Korean (or Japanese depending on the version you choose to download), the game sends me notifications in English, telling me “the food stand is strange and to hurry and come clean it”. As well as other notifications in English, which also help with figuring out the gameplay.
Be careful not to accidentally sell your favorite cats. I speak from experience. When trying to transfer from your apartment to your cat cafe, one of the buttons will let you sell the cats. Another screen will pop up asking to confirm, but since it is not in English it is easy to accidentally click the wrong button and accidentally confirm that you want to sell the cat. I recommend if you see the popup, and you think you may accidentally be selling your cat, to restart the app completely. (To do so on an IOS device you hold the power button for a few seconds, then release, and hold the home button for a few seconds, this will cause any IOS app to restart).
Each cat is an individual. While some may look alike, they have different personalities and also grant different stat bonuses such as increased gold, increased luck, better moods, and other status effects. Make sure you’re using your best cats on the best tables for the best results and keep an eye on their moods, sleep, and hunger levels.
That is the basics to the gameplay. As you level up there will be new features unlocked to you such as capturing stray cats in the wild to add to your cafe, you new minigames that allow you greater interaction with your cats.
Story: 0/10 – There might be some loose story, but since it’s not in English I dunno what it is. Story and dialogue boxes are not presented very often in game, so whatever story there may be, probably isn’t very detailed anyways.
Characters: 5/10 – The cats are cute, but just as with story, since it’s not in English, they have no substance to the characters, beyond being just cute pixels to collect. This means that there is no real character development or emotional attachment to any of the characters.
Graphics: 10/10 This game has super cute artwork and more than 50 different types of cats. There are new events added constantly which add more cute cats to collect. The decoration and dressup items are also incredibly cute.
Music: 5/10 The cats make cute meows and purrs, but the music itself is very simple and lacking.
Replay Value: 7/10 – The limited time events and cute cats keep you wanting to play again and again. The simplistic gameplay makes it a good game for some mindless cute cat interaction. The lack of story (at least one I can understand in English), and lack of some features common in other cafe simulation games, makes this a game best enjoyed in short bursts and not played too long at any one time.
I just recently discovered and began watching “Aikatsu! Stars”. Aikatsu! Stars is a sequel of an anime called Aikatsu! The anime is based on a card / arcade game by Bandai. The arcade card game involves dressing up idols with cute kawaii clothes and accessories to help them achieve a higher score. — From the success of these arcade machines, as well as the success of the anime (which I believe has about 6 seasons now), and the success of the other media related to the Aikatsu franchise — Bandai then introduced Aikatsu! Photo on Stage, a mobile game which is kinda similar to Bandai’s other Idol Collecting / Rhythm Games such as Idol M@ster which I’m just learning now, and Love Live School Idol Festival, which I’ve been meaning to also review, but haven’t really gotten around to just yet.
The main difference in Aikatsu! Photo on Stage compared to Love Live School Idol Festival, is the way in which the rhythm game is actually played. Love Live School Idol Festival displays characters’ faces in a half-moon arc like shape scattered around the screen. As a song plays, music notes, indicated by a ring shape, float out to one of these characters. Pressing on a character at the right time will score higher points. You “chain” “perfect” time presses for the highest score possible.
In Aikatsu! Photo on Stage, the rhythm game is completely different (and in my opinion more challenging). This time, you see your selected characters standing on a stage, and over top, overlaying these characters, you see a various number of boxes, outlined by white squares. As the song begins, these squares begin to fill, with what I would describe as playing cards. Spade, Diamond, Club, and Heart symbols begin to fill each box. Pressing when the shape has filled in the white outline the fullest will result in better scores. The number of squares, layout of squares, and speed with which they fill, varies not only from song to song, but within different parts of a single song as well. Some squares, indicated by a golden color, can be spammed over and over before they fade, letting you chain dozens of notes quickly. Often multiple squares appear at once and while playing which you can either press simultaneously or in rapid succession.
You may also unlock combos and abilities of your girls; This seems to be determined by who is in your team. When the song begins, there’s a lengthy animation showing your girls, and they “Pair off” It seems like certain cards when “paired together” will activate different abilities “together”. Sometimes a girl will also activate a single ability. All of these abilities will act as huge score multipliers for the duration that the ability is in effect.
The other significant difference is that Aikatsu! Photo on Stage has never been released in North America. This means the game is in Japanese. My time spent with Aikatsu Photo on Stage has amounted to probably an hour, spread over the past two days. I cannot speak or read Japanese, and am not an expert by any means on this game. In fact, twice now I’ve accidentally clicked things and wasted my stars (in game currency used to summon new idols).
There are people and places to get much better information on this game than what I’m about to share with you. I just wanted to share my love for the game and show how cute it is, and tell you you should be playing this game. You should also watch the anime, at least Aikatsu Stars! because it is super kawaii (cute). It’s like Harry Potter crossed with Love Live School Idol Festival. It follows a young girl as she enrolls in a special academy just for idols. She is given a phone and badge and even taken to pick out a special outfit. And it was discovering this anime that sparked my interest in the game. I thought WOW this would make such a fun game! I want to go to a school for idols too! Then I thought “I wonder if there is a game based on this anime already” There are numerous Nintendo DS games, and then there’s this mobile game (and of course the original arcade/card game).
Once again I’m no expert and the following info may not be 100% correct or accurate. I will include some resources at the end of this article that will probably prove more helpful.
First here is how to get the game if you use IOS (iphone, ipad, etc).
From a PC, log out of your Itunes account. In the bottom right corner you should see a flag to change your country/region. — If you don’t see this or if it has moved, don’t worry I’ll show you how you can change regions midway through this process later.
You need to decide which version of Aikatsu you want to play. I chose the Japanese version, but there’s also Korean and Chinese versions. The Chinese version for country code MO even looked like it was in English??? I can’t confirm that though as I chose the Japanese version believing it to be the most updated and least likely to close down later.
So if you want to play the Japanese version, select to change your region to Japan now.
Once you’ve selected your region, search for Aikatsu! – you’ll see a lot of anime and music here, you can narrow your results to just Iphone or Ipad apps to make it easier to find.
Once you find the Aikatsu! Photo on Stage app, click the “+Get” button.
You will then be prompted to create a new itunes account.
Here is where you can change your country if you didn’t already do so. It will say something like “If your billing address is not in the United States, click here to change regions” You can then search again for the Aikatsu app and click the +Get button and be prompted again to set up a new Itunes account.
The important thing is that you select the app and use the +Get Button BEFORE MAKING YOUR ACCOUNT. SUPER IMPORTANT DO NOT IGNORE THIS STEP.
Assuming that you followed this advice, the payment should be set to “None” by default.
Ignoring that step and trying to either change an existing Itunes account region, OR creating a new account before clicking the +Get button will result in you being asked for payment details even for FREE apps! And it will only accept Japanese credit/bank cards or Japanese Itunes Gift Cards. So It’s really important to remember to FIRST select the app, and THEN create your account.
You will then need to finish filling in your details, an email address that is not associated with any other Itunes account, you may need to create a new email address, which you can do for free on sites like hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc. Then fill in your secret hints and select a new password.
You need a Japanese address, I have read that you can use a university address, your mileage may vary. My understanding is that as long as the Prefecture, city, and zipcode all line up, the rest of the address doesn’t matter.
You can use a US cellphone number.
You are now the proud owner of a Japanese Itunes Account. Congratulations!
Your app should begin downloading automatically after entering your password or thumbprint.
To get your app to your Iphone: Now from your Iphone, go to settings, and under the “Itunes & App Store” select sign out, and select sign in to use the new account you just created.
Now when you browse the App store you’ll be browsing the Japanese app store.
You can switch back at any time by going to settings and again signing out and back in to your US Itunes account.
Aikatsu! Photo on Stage will not Work on any Rooted Devices, so if you Jailbreak your Iphone it will no longer work for you. This also means Aikatsu! Photo on Stage will not run on android emulators such as Bluestacks. So I am not sure how Android users can enjoy this game. I think it involves using a VPN and Tunneling service, but then I don’t know if that would “flag” the “Rooted Device” warning signal, so unfortunately I can’t provide help or directions to get the app on Android.
But assuming you’re an IOS user, you’re now ready to Play Aikatsu! Photo on Stage. And I’m now finally ready to review it for you 🙂
Geeky: 3/5 – This app is over the top cute/sweet which can distract some from the actual gameplay and features. I read that it was originally aimed at young elementary school girls… However, Bandai was surprised that many “Hardcore” adult male gamers also play the game, perhaps moreso even than their original audience. The reason for the mass appeal is that, if you look past the pink girly graphics, the gameplay itself is quite challenging, and guys like to collect their virtual “waifu” – They may also be trickling down from the other two popular Bandai Franchises, Love Live, and Idol M@ster (or a slew of other Bandai Namco Idol Simulation game series). It loses some points in my opinion with some of the graphics… For example your girls are just motionless/still on the stage, and in the story mode, they’re still, but come “Bouncing in” like a child playing with a Barbie doll, walking her Barbie across the floor by picking up and lowering the whole doll. — This was maybe intentional, given Bandai’s original target audience, and the “dress up theme” but it’s none the less, strange to watch and distracting compared to the more “fluid” looking animations in the other idol apps. The UI also confuses me but that could just be since I can’t read Japanese — However, by contrast, the UI of Ensemble Stars, which I reviewed here, is so simple that it doesn’t matter that it’s Japanese. So I would say there are some overly complex issues with the UI in Aikatsu… but it’s not as bad as the UI in Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls which I’m having even more difficulty navigating (too many things to click/options/features, which yes, makes for an awesome game, but steep learning curve when not in your native tongue).
Sweetie: 5/5 – As mentioned, this game and the anime are unbelievably cute. Seeing your girls on the stage, instead of just a circle with their face is very cute, and outside of performing, you can set your home screen to different backgrounds (often with pink glitter, hearts, gems, etc floating by) and select if you’d like to see 2, 3, or all 8 of your girls. When you go to power up your girls, you will be “dressing them up” to even more kawaii versions of themselves.
Concept: 8/10 – I feel like feature wise, it’s a step up from Love Live, but a significant step down from Idol M@ster. You should play this game because it’s cute. But as for actually “dressing up your girls” Idol M@ster does this better and in a fashion much closer to the Aikatsu! Card Arcade game, which allows you to equip tops, pants, shoes, or a dress which can sometimes take the place of multiple items. By contrast, the Aikatsu mobile game “dresses up” your girls much in the same way that Love Live idolizes your girls. In Aikatsu you have Rare, Normal, and Super Rare “Tokens”, each card will require some combination in some amount of these tokens to “dress up”. It will also require a certain number of hearts… Despite that… I have met the requirements — saying “OK” for each type of token, and have more than enough hearts, and still haven’t been able to dress up my girls (so perhaps I am misunderstanding something about how this works. Like I’ve said a couple times, I’m no expert). But it still seems to me, a rather lackluster system, and seems that Idol M@ster actually has the “dressup system” that the original card arcade game was so popular for.
That said, I do think there is some way to scan your cards in Aikatsu Photo on Stage, but I haven’t figured it out, nor do I have any of the cards.
Music wise, I feel like it’s not quite as good as Love Live.
Overall, it’s just “another” idol sim and rhythm game from Bandai Namco, of which there are probably a dozen different apps and franchises to choose, each with their own anime and target audiences. But you just can’t look past how cute and addictive it is to collect all of the girls. Like most of these games, there are limited time events, and the desire to collect the rarest cards keeps players coming back.
Gameplay: 8/10 What makes Aikatsu stand out (at least compared to Love Live), is the way the rhythm game is played which involves squares filling with shapes from a deck of playing cards. If you read the first few paragraphs of my review, you have a good idea how that works already. If not, here’s a recap.
This time, you see your selected characters standing on a stage, and over top, overlaying these characters, you see a various number of boxes, outlined by white squares. As the song begins, these squares begin to fill, with what I would describe as playing cards. Spade, Diamond, Club, and Heart symbols begin to fill each box. Pressing when the shape has filled in the white outline the fullest will result in better scores. The number of squares, layout of squares, and speed with which they fill, varies not only from song to song, but within different parts of a single song as well. Some squares, indicated by a golden color, can be spammed over and over before they fade, letting you chain dozens of notes quickly. Often multiple squares appear at once and while playing which you can either press simultaneously or in rapid succession.
You may also unlock combos and abilities of your girls; This seems to be determined by who is in your team. When the song begins, there’s a lengthy animation showing your girls, and they “Pair off” It seems like certain cards when “paired together” will activate different abilities “together”. Sometimes a girl will also activate a single ability. All of these abilities will act as huge score multipliers for the duration that the ability is in effect.
Again deducted a few points for a somewhat overwhelming UI, as well as not quite as feature rich as some of Bandai’s other Idol simulation games.
Also another caveat to the gameplay is the ridiculous load time and frequency at which it keeps requesting to load things. Their loading screen is cute, but I see it way too often and it interrupts my game to the point of frustration.
Story: 8/10 – This is my assumption on what the story is about, based on what I’ve seen of the anime. I cannot read Japanese, so I can’t really grade the story within the actual game. But the story in the anime involves a young girl who goes to a special school for idols. When the girls perform they seem to become like Hatsune Miku or a Vocoloid, and “transform” into much cuter versions of themselves. In the anime, there’s some really bad/cheap 3D animation used when the girls perform their songs lol. But the concept is none the less cute. As the girls enter this special academy they are given all kinds of cute thing, and begin their special training to become idols.
In some ways, it’s very similar to Harry Potter; there are different houses (whose names I forget, but just winging it here) such as Star, Bird, Ocean, Whisper, etc. Students are assigned a house based on their personality and natural abilities. The houses compete with each other, as well as other schools, to be the top idol group in their school and in the world. The girls are given cute costumes and magic idol tools to use in their training and performances. They make friends and go to classes with a variety of characters as classmates and teachers.
The story in the anime is very cute. I prefer this story 100 times more than the story in Love Live because it has that sort of fantasy, Harry Potteresque, “magic idol school” setting. Once again I can’t confirm that the game follows this story.
The story is revealed in story scenes upon clearing certain song stages and ranking up, similar to how story is revealed in the Love Live mobile game as well.
I only wish it was in English so that I could actually read the story. As it is now, I skip all the story scenes because I just can’t read them.
The story is a bit juvenile / fluffy – but once again Bandai’s original target audience was gradeschool children with this franchise, so this is to almost be expected.
I also compared the story quite a bit to Full Moon Wo Sagashite – which this anime is really nothing like, except for the age of the main characters, and their desire to become Idols and their sorta similar personalities between the main girls.
Full Moon Wo Sagashite has much more substance, feeling, heart, drama, and strife than Aikatsu! Stars. But if you’re looking to get your idol fix, this may do it for you. Another anime to check out in a similar tone is Fancy Lala.
Characters: 4/10 – I feel like the character designs are hit and miss, both in terms of personality, and also in their visual appeal. I’m not super far into the anime, but the characters so far story and background wise, feel so cliche… actually many of them feel like a copy/paste of “corresponding” characters from Love Live. There’s one girl that could be a dead ringer for Kotori with the same hair style, half up side pony tail, twisted and clipped over her light blonde/silvery/grey hair. Despite the change in setting to a more fantasy / harry potter style of “Crazy Cute and Cool Idol School” the characters themselves aren’t that unique at all. However, the main character of Aikatsu! Stars is so cute…
She’s my favorite girl, and I was excited when I got her card, even though it’s only “Rare” and not “Super Rare” or “P Rare” (dunno what the P stands for? Precious Rare? Pretty Rare? Premium Rare?). (P Rares are what you want to be aspiring for, but Super Rares are pretty good too. Rares, just as the same with Love Live, aren’t really all that rare at all! lol.) — Anyways sure she’s cute, but how does she differ from any other magical shoujo girl main character? She doesn’t, even the yellow pigtails are sure to remind you of a certain well known shoujo magical girl.
Graphics: 9/10 – So Cute, this is probably the cutest app on my Iphone… I deducted 1 point for the “bouncing” animation in the story scenes where characters move across the screen by bouncing up and down as they glide stiffly across the screen – which looks pretty bad. The anime also is mostly cute 99% of the time, but when the girls transform to sing, it shifts to some really bad 3D animation that looks cheap and dated. Sticking to 2D would have looked so much better; but I think they wanted to show that the girls’ idol performances are using Virtual Reality like Hatsune Miku.
Music: 7/10 – The music is good – it better be, since it’s a rhythm game right? But not great. The girls’ vocals don’t have the same tone and quality as the girls’ in Love Live – or if they’re using some of the same cast, perhaps it’s that the song arrangements aren’t quite as catchy. Whatever the reason, if I were to play a game just for music alone, I’d stick with Love Live. The music in Aikatsu! is not bad, it’s “good” but I think it’s natural to want to compare it to Love Live, and it just doesn’t stack up.
Voice Acting: 6/10: The game has a few “one line” voice overs. The voice acting that’s there is good, really good even. I love the voice actor for the male teacher in the red track suit. He is funny and energetic. But the game is not fully voiced and I feel like the potential, especially in the story scenes, is not really reached, especially when similar apps do have full voice overs in this area.
Replay Value: 10/10 This cute game has addictive rhythm games, lots of cute rare girls, and lots of in game events. It’s one that will keep you playing over and over. It’s best in small but frequent doses.
Overall: 68/90 76% C “Good Game for Girls”
Overall Aikatsu Photo on Stage will appeal to you if:
You like Kawaii things, such as shoujo, magical girl anime or idol culture.
The rhythm game is fun, and it’s not impossible, but slightly frustrating to play since it is not in English.
If you like Aikatsu Photo on Stage, check out Bandai Namco’s other idol games such as Love Live, Idolish, and Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls. — For anime check out the original Aikatsu! and newer Aikatsu! Stars, as well as Fancy Lala, Full Moon Wo Sagashite, and Chance Pop Session. You may also like Wizardess Heart because of the harry potter theme which I reviewed here. You’ll also like Ensemble Stars which I reviewed here.
For Additional English Aikatsu! Resources Please Refer to:
Genre: Visual Novel / Idol Simulation / Rhythm Game / Photography Simulation / Dating Sim / Raising Sim
Where to Buy:Jlist – use Coupon Code: MOE-22Y-E8BNV5 to get 5% off!
Geeky: 4/5 – High quality anime style graphics. This version of Sonicomi is the original PC version; however, for the US release, they integrated the new improved graphics from the Playstation version which adds a lot more visual appeal to the game. Sonicomi comes to life with fully animated and expressive movements. Unlike other visual novels which show only static images, the graphics in Sonicomi definitely do impress. There are multiple game modes and tons of achievements to unlock as well. Like most visual novels, this game is light on gameplay, however, there is some challenge to see how high you can score each photoshoot, and the appeal of unlocking new outfits for Sonico. There’s also 18 different endings and a surprisingly touching story.
Sweetie: 5/5 – Sonicomi is very cute! And the ability to customize her with hundreds of different pieces of outfit and tens of thousands of combinations for those outfits, makes this a game that girls are sure to love, just as much as guys who like the busty and sexy appeal of the pink haired gravure idol.
Overall: 76/90 84% B “Very Good Game for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 As I mentioned when I announced the preorder bonuses for the game here, this game basically is like combining Princess Maker (which I reviewed here) with Pokemon Snap (a game in which you photograph pokemon). Of course, Sonico’s lusty and busty figure make this game a lot more “Ecchi” or perverted than those games, but the game mechanics are like a perfect mashup of these two gaming gems. You determine Sonico’s fate and what direction her career will take (similar to Princess Maker), while the gameplay itself is a visual novel with about a dozen different “levels” each defined by a photo shoot. On these photo shoots your client will request different images, from sexy to sweet and innocent, or even weird. You must try to recommend different locations, outfits, and poses to meet the needs of your client. At different points in the story you will be presented opportunities to respond to Sonico in different ways (hence the name of the game), your responses, as well as choices made and how well you perform the various photo shoots will lead you to one of 18 different endings. Each time you play the game, you keep any outfits you unlock and continue to add new items to use to dress up Sonico however you’d like. There’s different difficulty modes, and even a free play mode where you can just photograph Sonico without worrying about a timer or any requests from your clients. You can save and share these images to show off how cute Sonico has become.
Gameplay: 8/10 The story unfolds like a visual novel at different points you can talk to, or even touch Sonico in various ways which raises her affection or changes her mood or even changes how the public views her as an idol. The main gameplay however comes in the form of photoshoots. You start by choosing an outfit for Sonico by combining different pieces and parts, such as a jacket, top, pants, skirt, jewelry, handbag, shoes, socks, hair, skin tone, etc. In these shoots, you must complete all “takes” (ranging from 1 to 3) without wearing any duplicate items from the previous takes, all while taking into account the client request. Once on set, you’ll see Sonico frolicking around and soon begin to see blue and pink “rings” on your screen. It’s your job to mouse over these rings and click them right as they turn pink. Clicking too soon or too late will lower your score. Clicking at just the right time will allow you to “chain” “perfects” which gives a large boost to your score. Getting perfects will also begin to fill up a gauge on the screen which when full, left clicking will open a number of options such as Communication, where you ask Sonico how she’s doing – she may tell you she’s tired, thirsty, nervous, fired up/excited, or able to still go on. Another option is to give Sonico a break which will help refill her stamina, and if executed correctly will extend the time you have in the photoshoot. If you let Sonico get too exhausted you will fail the photoshoot so you must be careful. The remaining options let you change Sonico’s pose and position from standing, sitting, or lying down. If Sonico is “excited and fired up” and you select Communication, you will activate a special mode with new poses and bigger chances for bonuses. After each take you’ll see your score, and after completing all takes, you’ll receive a letter grade which you need to pass to move on to the next scene.
I deducted a few points because this game is impossible to play without a mouse or game controller. I bought a mouse just to play this game. I think a lot of casual gamers, especially those on laptop devices may not have a mouse? I didn’t because I played in bed anyways so where would I put a mouse? (Hint: I ended up putting it on the wrist/rest area near the touchpad, below the keyboard.) The touchpad on my laptop was totally laggy/nonresponsive – which was something weird caused only when playing this game. I couldn’t even get past the tutorial and it wasn’t from a lack of skill, my pointer on screen would not move where I wanted it, and even when it did, I found I couldn’t “snap” the photo, just nothing would happen when I clicked the “mouse button” (built into my touchpad). This seems like a weird glitch or bug? But now that I’m using a mouse, there’s no problem 🙂 And I’ve used the mouse in some other more actiony games too so it’s all good. Mice are cheap enough anyways *under 10 bucks* but I just can’t help thinking that the touchpad should have worked, or my touch screen on my laptop, but both were very laggy and made it impossible to play. Bad controls = bad gameplay. So you’ll want to make sure you have a mouse or steam controller or similar input device.
However, the gameplay is very engaging, and the hunt for new outfit pieces (all of which carry over into any new games you begin) as well as unlocking the achievements and all 18 different endings keeps you playing over and over. The in depth tutorial at the beginning of the game lets anyone just pick up and play the game, but some of the higher difficulty settings offer a large challenge even for more seasoned rhythm game players. The free play mode is really cute and fun too, especially with the ability to take and share steam screenshots, or collect the images in an in-game photo album.
Story: 5/10 I get the feeling that there’s only “illusion of choice” for very much of this game. Yes, there are 18 different endings, but it seems to me that they are determined more in how you do on photoshoots than how you respond to the story prompts. Although those DO impact the game also. I only suspect this, because on multiple play throughs, when I skip “previously read text” I’m skipping about 75-85% of the story. There is a decision later in the game to take Sonico’s career in different directions, such as being a commercial model or a high fashion model, but even that seemingly important decision does little to change the story – though it does change several of the different photo shoots in the later part of the game.
The story itself is pretty cute, but way too short and simplistic to really rank this score any higher than “mediocre” – but it’s a Gravure Idol Sim, people don’t really play this for story. — The story isn’t bad, actually I was pleasantly surprised that it’s very touching and hits close to the heart at times, but that’s mostly attributed to the strong character interaction which I’m scoring separately below. The story has a lot of comedic moments and some truly wtf moments as well which makes it highly entertaining. Perhaps my biggest complaint against the story is that it starts strong, but just as it’s taking off, the game comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, and that’s not from getting a “bad end” but instead it just feels like the second half of the game is rushed, and that more could have been done which could have added not only more story, but more photoshoots and more gameplay too.
Characters: 10/10 The biggest and most pleasant surprise to me was how endearing and likable all of the characters were, especially Sonico. I had heard of Sonico, and seen cameo appearances in other games, but I honestly knew very little about her. As I played, I couldn’t help but think, OMG Sonico is JUST LIKE ME!! Since I related to her, it increased my enjoyment of the game and story and made her even cuter to me. She loves cats, I love cats (like REALLY love cats), She loves her grandma – I love my grandma, we’re like best friends. She loves sweets, I love sweets. She loves shopping, I love shopping. She’s really really naive and ditzy… I’m sadly also really naive and ditzy. She’s clumsy and hurts herself often, I’m clumsy too! It was like seeing myself as an anime character. Of course I’m not as cute or sexy as Sonico, but her pure heart and bubbly happy go lucky and laid back personality are very similar to my own personality and attitude.
Sonico wasn’t the only character who I found likable either. I also really liked Cutie Q who mysteriously turns up and gives you advice throughout the game, and Pandagawa, an idol manager who’s also a cute (and perverted) panda. And Sonico’s rival Angie, who is pretty much like Sonico’s exact polar opposite (and who I think should have her own game, right? she’s pretty amazing). All of the characters are really unique and quirky. Even Danny choo and his Smart Doll Mirai makes an appearance in the game which was a huge plus since I’m such a huge Smartdoll / Dollfie Dream / ABJD fan.
Graphics: 8/10 It’s already been said how cute and sexy Sonico is, and already been said that there’s literally tens of thousands of different outfit combinations possible to make Sonico look however you’d like. The environments and poses and background art is all very lovely. In the photoshoots it’s all 3D, and in free mode you can even adjust lighting and other touches to make the environment look as you please. In the visual novel, the backgrounds are done in an a more anime style. Sonico is a full body and fully animated figure. Her expressions and movements are just like a real person, which makes this visual novel stand out from others that just use static sprites or images. However, and where the game loses some points, is that Sonico is the only character who we ever “see” in the game or any of the photoshoots. There’s at least two occasions where you’re “supposedly” photographing another model with Sonico – and it would have been cute, awesome and AMAZING to have both models in the photoshoot at the same time, playing together, dancing, and frolicking around. — But okay, maybe that’s asking too much, but it would’ve been nice to see some better sprites for the other characters. In true visual novel fashion, every other character in this game, is just like every character in every other visual novel, just a chest and face with a few different expressions, and always over some background, like out of a comic book, which I guess is kinda cool in a stylistic way, but it definitely makes them seem less “alive” or “real” than Sonico. Also the clients and Sonico’s manager always have a mask on, which is just weird to me and makes them kinda unlikable honestly to me even though it also does add humor and make them memorable in a way too.
Music: 7/10 – The soundtrack, while being actually pretty good and not at all irritating, even on multiple playthroughs, just frankly, doesn’t have enough tracks or variation in it to score much higher than this. Each photoshoot has the same soundtrack, regardless of location selected for the shoot. Or if they were in fact different, it wasn’t noticeable enough for me to remember. The music is good, but you will hear the same tracks over and over when walking Sonico home, or at different key moments in the game.
Voice Acting: 9/10 I’m actually surprised how close the English voice for Sonico comes to capturing the original Japanese voice actress’ same “personality”. A bubbly, cute, and somewhat ditzy / brainless type of voice. The English voice actress for Sonico really put a lot of emotion into delivering her lines, which you can tell from how she enunciates or emphasizes different words or phrases. Even her laugh and other mannerisms are quite similar. I thought she did such a good job that I’ve played in English every time except for twice now. The Japanese voice actress is of course cute and adorable and does an excellent job, but that’s usually just a “given” when it comes to Japanese voice acting. They’re all pretty much amazing right? But that’s not the case (typically) with English dubs. (sorry to dubbed anime fans out there). While I think everyone should play the game at least once in it’s native language, you really in this case don’t miss much by playing it in English. I’ve gotten used to the English Sonico now, and actually, surprisingly, prefer her voice over the original Japanese one now. Also I’ve heard that this same voice actress does the Sonico in the anime (which I’ve never watched). But the good thing is, that no matter what you prefer, English or Japanese, they left both tracks in the game for you to choose! — It’d be nice if you could switch this option while playing the game but I think you have to save, exit, and select the option when starting back up. Also if I remember correctly, Sonico is the only character who’s voiced in this game, which is a little disappointing (and why I deducted 1 point).
Replay Value: 10/10 This game is super addictive! As if 18 endings weren’t enough to keep you playing, there’s also achievements, and new outfits to unlock through multiple playthroughs (which carry over into any new games you start), and sonicoins to earn which unlock even more outfits, and a free play mode that lets you enjoy uninterrupted time with Sonico in any location or outfit or pose that you’ve previously unlocked. You can then add the freeplay images into an album in game, or use the steam shortcut (F12 by default) to take pictures and share via steam or social media so you can spam your friends and share Sonico’s charm. There’s also different difficulty modes which let you challenge yourself as you become more familiar with the game. With so much to do and so many different dressup combinations and such a cute and charming idol to control, this is a game that will keep you hooked!
Genre: Otome Visual Novel Dating Sim (With Stat-Raising Sim elements)
Publisher: NGames Interactive
Geeky: 3/5 – Technically speaking, this game is more advanced than about 95% of other Otome Dating Sims. It uses Live 2D to make the characters fully animated on dates, like Ensemble Stars or NekoPara. It also has much more to offer than just “dating” or “just dressup”.
Sweetie: 5/5 – One of the cutest games you’ll ever play.
Overall: 78 / 90 87% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”
Concept: 10/10 This is fast becoming one of my favorite mobile games because of the wide variety of things to do from dressing up yourself, or one of several boys. It has full voice acting, and uses Live 2D to bring the characters “to life” – It has sky high production values. But not only that, but it’s a ton of fun. You can cook sweets to give to the boys to boost their affection, or plan a date by selecting different locations. You can work part time to earn in game currency, or study different subjects to boost your stats which helps unlock new event scenes, jobs, or even new guys to meet. There’s TONS of in game events too, which makes you want to keep playing, and an interesting story too.
Gameplay: 10/10 This game is unlike any of the other “dressup” games out there – it’s also equally different than some of the voltage/ntt solomare/kyonplete etc visual novels which have “dressup” components to them. This is more like a brand new genre of gaming that balances both dressup challenge type gameplay, with otome multiple ending/branching plot gameplay, as well as throwing in “Stat-Raising” gameplay ala Princess Maker or Tokimeki Memorial. It really captures several of my favorite genres here.
The basics of gameplay begin in “Story Mode” – here each “level” will present a new dressup challenge. You’re given hints at each level as to what to wear to pass to the next stage. For example you might be asked to wear “Pretty and Pure” clothes or “Mature and Sexy” or “Casual Streetwear” or “vintage” just to name a few. The different items you can get in the game all have these different traits (Once again like Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side), and when combined, you can create different looks. At the end you’re scored on how well you met the requirements. As you progress, you learn more about the strange fantasy world and explore deeper the character backgrounds and story.
But Gameplay doesn’t stop in story mode, it’s only beginning. From the main menu you have many different options, from cooking sweets, to tailoring or upgrading your own clothes, to dating, to playing various daily minigames to earn free items.
Story Mode helps you unlock new recipes for cooking or tailoring your clothes. (PS: the cooking and tailoring modes don’t open until later in story mode). Story mode is also how you meet new guys to date. As you play you keep unlocking new ways to play the game, making it an exciting and fresh experience on multiple playthroughs.
It even has a Skinship feature on the dates. If you don’t know what Skinship is, you might’ve heard about the recent controversy and removal of Skinship from Fire Emblem Fates which I covered in a news article here. But if you haven’t heard, Skinship is a concept common in many Japanese dating games, in which as your affection grows between you and the characters, you can “try your luck” at “petting” them in different parts of their body, stomach, arms, hair, face, lips, ear, etc. But if you are too bold or too forward, the affection will decrease, but if you are “petting” appropriately, it helps you bond with the character and thus, your affection will increase.
There is really a lot of things to do! You could play this game for hours a day, or devote as little as 20 minutes a day to collect your login bonus and free items for the day. It’s up to you.
Story: 7/10 – I think the story is cute, and SURPRISINGLY the translation is NOT terrible – I say surprisingly because if you look at their googleplay or itunes app store page…. their English is VERY poor. They must have outsourced the game’s translation or hired an editor though because there is little beyond minor typos which you see in almost all games with heavy text.
The story itself is about a girl (you) who is summoned into another world. When she first arrives, she can’t speak the language or understand what is happening. A young man casts a spell on her so that she may understand the native language of the world, and another young man begins helping her collect emblems as she begins life in the new world a “transfer student” in a magical school.
You learn that by helping others with their problems or concerns, you can extract magic shards from them which are causing their anxiety (and also which are valuable in this new world.) The events in the story focus on helping others and learning about why you’ve been summoned to the strange magic world.
Characters: 7/10 The characters are cute, both how they are drawn, as well as their personalities. There’s also ample character depth and progression as you increase affection with the different guys and turn that Tsundere or Shy boy into hopeless romantics for you lol. The characters also have unique fantasy elements to them, such as the main “cannon” character being an “elf” which is similar to a “druid” in that he can shapeshift – and sometimes not always “at will” similar to anime such as Fruits Basket or Ranma 1/2.
Graphics: 10/10 — I love this game’s graphics. Dozens of dressup options, high customization, you can make your own makeup, and combine different pieces of clothing, from dresses, to stockings, shoes, hair styles, hats, purses, jewelry, and more. Things have a soft, sweet, “dreamlike” vibe, and lots of pinks are used making it super cute and girly. Plus, as I mentioned, when you enter the dates, the game uses Live 2D which is a relatively new technology that can create fully animated models which appear 2D or anime like. — This sets it apart from other games which just use still images, which still, unfortunately, is the norm for almost all games of this type.
Music: 7/10: There’s a lot of cute and catchy tunes in this app, but a lot of them do get reused pretty often.
Voice Acting: 9/10 The game has the original voice acting in tact. I could be wrong, but I think it’s Chinese voice acting? It’s definitely not Japanese. It may be Korean, I dunno — That said, regardless of what it is, it’s highly expressive and further helps bring the characters to life. I deducted a point (maybe somewhat unfairly) because I didn’t like a few of the voices, but I’m not overly used to hearing Chinese (or whatever language this is). I just felt some of the voices were a little “jarring” on my nerves. Might just take some getting used to though. At least they kept the voice acting in so yay. Similar games such as Hello Nikki were originally fully voiced, and the voices removed for US release, so I really appreciate that this game kept the voices in tact.
Replay Value: 10/10 – I’ve said throughout this review, but the multitude of different things to do, from cooking, crafting, dating, minigames, dressup, questing, and in game limited time events, and of course exploring the story, keeps you wanting to play each day. This game is a huge time sink, but an enjoyable one!
Overall: 78 / 90 87% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”
As you can see from my instagram posts – I got my DokiDoki Crate today. My final verdict is do not subscribe to this crate — It has cute stuff, but the stuff inside was worth MAYBE 10 bucks, and that’s REALLY fricken stretching it lol. — I’d say its worth about 5 bucks. I paid $15 with a coupon. Regularly they charge $30 — which is almost criminal if you ask me. It was FULL of TINY teeny tiny JUNK. I subscribe ALSO to Pusheen Crate which is the same price and full of SUPER high quality, wonderful, LARGE items. — This is like literally full of 25 cent trinkets, no lie.— Some of them are adorable of course — but I feel they are charging too much. This box should be about 10 a month, tops. maybe 15 to count for shipping and handling, max.
It does have some exclusives (the yellow plush) and some nice and cute things (the snoopy blindbox figure is brand new in Japan and hard to find or so I’m told. – and since it’s “Series One” it’ll probably go up in price). I even really like some of the lil “trinkets” and “cheap items” – the pink “blob” charm “bracelet” or purse/cell phone charm thing is really cute and feminine. I also like the panda “button” pin a lot. But really I’m not seeing much worth the high subscription price here. — The snoopy figure is REALLY well made, A+++. It’s heavy, articulated, bends, poses, and is really cute. — I think he alone is probably worth 10 bucks, which then justifies I guess the other stuff being cheaper — For the price I paid which is half off of what they normally charge. I even wrote in the cancellation request when they asked, I said value not worth price and told them if it was around $18 I’d probably have stayed on board. Which Just FYI, is about the cost of Kawaii Box, and I feel their items are of similar quality. Just not worth $30 when there’s better boxes out there in terms of quality for that price.
The next crate I get will be Betoyo, a subscription box just for figurines for $28 a month, – I will sign up probably next month. Stay tuned for more box openings and reviews. Summer Pusheen Box will also be shipping out soon so stay tuned for that as well.
Edit: On my instagram on the notes about the snoopy figure, I totally had a brainfart moment. My snoopy is actually one of the most rare. The chances of finding him are 1 out of 60. For some reason I was reading it as there were 60 available lol. (when really there’s thousands of them but yeah, brainfart) While the others are like 1 out of 3 odds, etc. So My snoopy kicks ass and happy with that – I’d be happy with him even if he was “common” cuz he’s cute and well made. 🙂
I purchased the Spring Pusheen Box which is a quarterly subscription box filled with all Pusheen items (you can learn more at http://www.pusheenbox.com/) – Sorry no video this time; I was so excited that I opened it right away – but I did take lots of pics. I promise I will do a video review for the Summer Pusheen Box. This box is REALLY cute. I have a grey tabby/maine coon too that reminds me so much of Pusheen – that’s why he’s one of my favorite webcomics / characters.
I did have a small problem with one item being broken – however, the damage is REALLY minor and I plan to just fix it myself. The large limited edition Baking Pusheen figurine, mine’s rolling pin was snapped off – however, I can glue it back on easily enough.
Overall I was really super pleased with the quality of all of the items and knowing they’re officially licensed and not counterfeit. They say that most of the items are exclusive and not available in the Pusheen online shop or in stores.
Enjoy the pics – I’ll try and make comments about each item too 🙂
Even the box is cute! He even has little jelly bean feet underneath the box!
Let’s Open the Box and see what’s inside!!
Everything is packed nice and neat.
The first item is an adorable apron – I just wish it wasn’t white because the kitchen can get messy sometimes. Would have been better a bright color I think, Maybe red, or blue, etc. But otherwise, it’s adorable.
The next item is an umbrella – I can’t get a good selfie of it obviously since it’s so big lol – This cute design goes all the way around. It was a lil tough getting it to snap/lock into place, and really dang hard getting it to “snap” back together (when it’s folded it has a strap that you wrap and snap around to keep it all nice and neat, and I think this strap needed to be a lil bit longer) but it is still adorable. 🙂
There was also a 3-pack of socks — THEY ARE CUTE! OMG – One of my fave items in this box (of course its spring now and I’m wearing sandals so not sure if it was good time to ship socks, but I love them anyways. Each one shows Pusheen munching on his favorite snacks, such as donuts and pizza)
Of Course, my VERY favorite thing in this box was the Baker Pusheen Figure – Exclusive only to the Spring Pusheen Box. – As mentioned above the rolling pin was broken on mine but it was very minor damage. I will glue it back on and he’ll be good as new. It was MUCH larger than I expected. I love it. He also can snap off his base which is nice for play or possible interchanging figures/bases etc.
The next item is a 3 piece pin set – when I first saw it, I thought maybe they were magnets, until I read the description – Seems like magnets would have fit the kitchen theme better, right? lol. These are cute though! You could wear them on your clothes, or if you have a corkboard in your kitchen (which we do) you could pin them on there to hold recipes, grocery lists, or other items with.
The best part about the spring pusheen box is this pusheen cookie cutter – I haven’t used it yet, when I do use it I’ll come back and update this post with pics of how the cookies turn out 🙂 I have some friends coming over and we’ll bake lots of cookies together. I think you could also use it to do mini pancakes and lots of other things.
This adorable Pusheen Mini Planter was also inside the Spring Pusheen Box – It is ceramic – and I’m impressed it arrived without any damage (since there was little to no padding in the box.) I am really happy with this item – I’m planing to use it for paint brushes and art pencils and things of that nature in my doll room now.
There were a few small items in the box too such as some sticker sets and a key cover. I like scrapbooking so those stickers will be put to good use!
Overall, I’m very pleased with this subscription box and will continue my subscription. I feel like you get a lot of really high quality items for a great price. It only comes 4 times a year which makes it more affordable for me than paying every month. And I just think Pusheen is the cutest. – I can’t wait for the summer box it looks like it may have a BEACH theme! I’m predicting it might include a summer wearable or big beach towel or maybe Pusheen flipflops lol Or Pusheen Sunglasses – both of which would be sooo cute.
I’ve been playing 100% Orange Juice, a cute little anime-style board game, with my friends, as well as playing it solo in campaign mode, quite a bit the last few days. And we’ll probably play it again tonight too. What I love about this game is that as you play you earn stars (the in game currency) and the characters can level up, which lets you unlock new costumes and new characters.
The characters all have their own stats, such as HP, ATK, and DEF, and there are cards which you can unlock to add to your deck which can further enhance these stats or help you take advantage in battle. This makes replay much higher than a regular board game. Of course, the cute anime graphics, bright colors, and bright music really add to the overall appeal of this game for any anime or retro videogame fan.
100% Orange Juice can be played by up to 4 players together online. If you don’t have 3 other friends to join you, each empty seat will be filled in by an NPC (computerized opponent) or you can search for and join other players waiting in the lobby.
Concept: 10/10 100% Orange Juice is a crazy, zany, quirky, charming, and addictive little board/card game. It has many different modes to play in. For example, you can invite up to 3 friends to join you in a multiplayer game in the lobby, or you can play the campaign mode to see each character’s story, or you can play the game by yourself against the computer in free play mode where you won’t be interrupted by the story segments. Each mode rewards you with stars (the in-game currency) which allow you to add new cards to your deck, purchase characters, or other exciting enhancements to add into your game. Some of the rewards are locked at different levels, which makes you want to play more to level up to get the best rewards. There’s also limited edition rewards that come into the shop and sell out which makes you want to keep playing so you don’t miss any goodies.
Gameplay: 9/10 The matches feel just a touch long to me (Each match takes about 35-45 minutes) – I’d like the ability to be able to “fast-forward” some of the animation and the NPC turns, especially in the single player modes. Overall though, the gameplay is really fun. You roll a single dice to dictate how many squares you’ll move. You can also play cards before you begin each turn. There are different types of cards including: Trap Cards, these cards are ones that you place on the board for other players to land on usually with negative effects, though I have seen “trap” cards (cards you place on the board) that allow you to collect stars or warp or other things as well. There’s also Battle Cards, these cards can only be used in battle, and typically they increase or decrease the stats (ATK, DEF, EVASION, etc). Lastly, there’s (what I would call) Personal Cards, these cards are used by you to heal your character, roll two dice, get stars, or deal damage directly to another player.
As you move around the game board, there’s different types of squares that you can land on. For example, a blue square (or “drop” square) will make you roll a dice and you lose that number of stars. The green squares let you draw an extra card. The red squares generate an NPC for you to battle, and sometimes turn into “boss squares” where if you deal the final blow to the boss, you’ll get a huge amount of stars. The purple squares teleport you to another area on the map. The grey “metal looking” squares are basically “safe spots” where nothing will happen to you. The yellow square allows you to roll a dice and collect stars equal to that number.
Lastly, if you land on a square with another player or NPC, you can enter into a battle with that player. Battles consist of rolling a single dice (or sometimes playing a battle card if you have one). You roll for both attack and defense. Your character’s base stats and any card effects are then added into your dice rolls. Your scores are then subtracted from your opponent’s scores. For example, if your opponent rolls a 4 attack roll, and has a character with +2 base attack, and plays a card granting him +1 attack, his total attack score will be 7. If you roll a 4, and have a character with +1 defense base stat, and no defense granting cards played this round, your total defense is 5. So you would take 2 damage subtracted from your total HP. It would then be your turn to attack, and your opponent’s turn to defend, and the same principles would apply again. You can choose to roll Evasion instead of defense, but you must score HIGHER than (not equal to) your opponent’s attack roll – otherwise you take full damage (0 defense). However, even if you defense is higher than your opponent’s attack score, you will always take at least 1 damage when you defend, and a successful evasion will allow you to not take any damage at all. If you lose all of your HP you will be knocked out and your opponent will steal your stars. After being knocked out, you will have to roll a specified number or higher to revive and rejoin the game which sets you back quite a bit from the competition.
The objective of the game is to pass by your home point after fulfilling different objectives. After you complete the first objective, which is to collect 10 stars, you may then choose your next objective each time you go home. This can be winning a certain number of battles, or having a certain number of stars. The first player to clear 6 objectives will win the game, while 2nd-4th place will be determined by how many objectives the others have completed, as well as stars, and battle wins in case of a tie. When going home, your hit points are also fully restored, which makes finding your home base a key part of your gameplay strategy. Sometimes, depending on the game board, your home point may be inaccessible except by trying to land on the purple warp squares and praying that it puts you on the other side of the game board. To make it even more challenging, home points can change “owner” (reflected by the color) at any time. You can only use your own home point, so you have to keep track of where your home point (which matches your character’s color) is located at throughout the game.
Story: 7/10 If you like humor, you’d probably rank this score higher. Don’t get me wrong, I like to laugh too. But I much prefer more “serious” or “dramatic” types of stories. This is a bit like “low-brow” “slapstick” humor, but it is cute and “Otaku-pandering” and it gets the job done. I think it’s pretty cool that every character has their own stories. Once again, increasing that sweet replay value. Especially when you get into the unlockable characters and DLC – there’s probably over 30 different characters and each have their own campaign (story) modes.
Characters: 9/10 The characters are also very cute and each one has it’s own unique personality (and story). If you’re a fan of other games by OrangeJuice (which are mostly “bullet hell” games) then you will recognize many of the characters from their other games. For me, not having played those games, the characters are new, but still very loveable. The animation and expressions and enthusiasm each character shows throughout the game is really endearing, even if the story and character development is a bit weak.
Graphics: 8/10 As mentioned, 100% Orange Juice features adorable anime graphics, which yes, maybe aren’t the highest quality, but they add to the overall cute-ness of the game. They are a little bit pixelated, and the characters are very simplistic in design – however, the ability to customize your characters with different outfits, or unlock a multitude of dozens of new characters, as well as the expressions, animations, and personality of each character make it a very “kawaii” game.
Music: 8/10 It has a good soundtrack – although not enough different songs, which can lead to it becoming repetitive if you play many games of 100% Orange Juice in a row consecutively. The tracks that are there though are really cute and catchy. I just wish there was more of them – if there was, this would get a perfect score.
Voice Acting: 7/10 – Well the voice acting isn’t great lol – but it’s funny. It’s all “Engrish” (Japanese people badly mangling the English language lol). There’s not a lot of voice acting, but it’s still something a little extra to add to the Otaku-Pandering nature of this game. Most people use the term Otaku-Pandering in a negative sense, but I love Otaku-Pandering games, so I mean no offense by it. I think it makes the game even more quirky and lovable for any anime fan.
Replay Value: 10/10 There’s so many different things to do, modes to play, stars to collect to unlock a huge variety of in-game content and bonuses, level up your characters, get new cards for your deck, unlock new characters, get cute costumes and outfits, go through campaign mode with every single character, and then of course, the most fun part, play the game over and over again with your friends. This is a game with almost infinite replay value. The matches are short enough (usually around a half hour) that it’s a perfect pick up game when looking to kill time, but the amount of time you could spend trying to get 100% competition on the game is probably hundreds of hours.
For under 7 bucks at regular non-sale price, I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s well worth the money. The money you pay for this lil game will more than come back to you in gameplay value, especially if you have friends to play with online.