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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scorecard:

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

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

Sweetie: 5/5 – the girls are adorable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Fantasy Game Review

Food Fantasy is a brand-new cooking RPG and card collecting game from the creators of Love Nikki Dressup Queen. It combines many different styles of gameplay such as allowing you to research new recipes, gather ingreedients, explore the story, battle monsters, and collect cards known as “food souls” to add to your party or put to work in your shop. I’ve been playing since the game launched a few days ago and thought I’d share with you my initial thoughts of this cute little free mobile game.

Title: Food Fantasy

Genre: Cooking Simulation, Restaurant Management Card Collecting / Battling, RPG

Publisher: Elex

Release Date: July 2018

Price: Free

Where to Get:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-fantasy/id1366072359?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.egg.foodandroid&hl=en_US

Geeky: 1/5 – There’s not much “geeky” about this game. If you like cooking mama and can imagine a mash up of cooking mama with love live, then you can imagine something like Food Fantasy. Mostly I can’t give high marks because the combat is very basic and mostly automated and not very engaging or challenging. I don’t see this having wide appeal unless you like cute things or love games like cooking mama.

Sweetie: 4/5 – I think girls will like the simulation aspects the best. When the game starts you can select a cuisine style to specialize in, you can research new recipes, decorate your restaurant, and you can collect cute “food souls” that can work as staff in your restaurant, or be added to your battle party. I can’t give it a 5 for appealing to girls because the story is quite weak.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 4/5 – I’m on the fence about the gameplay aspects. It is a unique and fun game for sure. But I think the combat system leaves much to be desired. But combat is not really the main focus of this game. This game tries to be a jack of all trades, but is really a master of none. There are better RPGs, better card collecting games, and better cooking games out there – but none of them combine all 3 of these things…

When the game starts you select a small thumbnail image to represent you. – Other cooking games often let you customize an avatar character and add dress up options – since this game is by the creators of dressup nikki I was surprised, and a little disappointed not to see such features in Food Fantasy as well. – But there are some female “avatars” (thumbnails), and some “fantasy” type ones – for example my avatar is a black cat with little chef hat lol. It’s pretty cute.

After naming yourself and choosing your little thumbnail picture, you’re shown a tutorial and introduced to a few characters and shown some background story. Through the tutorial you will experience many things. First you will select one of three cooking styles which will determine your first recipe – and I’m not sure if they will have an effect on other recipes you can obtain or give you a boost to certain recipes.

Next you get to fight some monsters and progress through various missions. Sometimes some monsters will drop ingredients that you need for cooking. – they don’t seem to drop often enough though.

Back in the restaurant you can assign staff to cook food or wait on customers. Different characters give different bonus effects to your restaurant. Customers will come and go to your restaurant even while not playing, or while adventuring and exploring other parts of the game. You will need to periodically check in to cook new dishes and collect your tips and other aspects of restaurant management.

You can decorate your restaurant with cute items which in some cases grant bonus effects when placed in your restaurant.

You can also improve your dishes by leveling them up by making them over and over again, or by adding spices and other items to each recipe. In addition to improving existing dishes, you can also research and develop new dishes if you have enough ingredients.

The final aspect of the game is the “card collecting” in the form of summoning new “food souls” which as mentioned can be assigned as staff or assist you in the battle field. The cards range from common to ultra rare. Drop rates seem generous, I summoned an ultra rare food soul, Peking Duck, early in the game without spending real money. There are also numerous special events, such as the launch party that will award ultra rare food souls for completing specific tasks and missions.

You can then take these food souls into battle – but the battles are really rather dull and not a very fun aspect of the game. You can tap to remove status ailments from your party members or tap to interrupt the boss from using powerful special moves, but largely, it’s more automated and you sit there watching your food souls fight, and the difficulty level is quite low. I have not lost a single match yet.

Story: 3/5 The story is very weak and poor, and there are some awkward phrasings and some questionable translation issues. I feel the story has potential to be interesting, but it’s not yet. Basically, you summon a food soul who has no powers and they tell you she is an empty shell and that usually such food souls are discarded, but you feel bad for her and take her in, because you feel responsible because you were the one who summoned her. She vows to help and often tries to protect you even though doing so without any powers would mean sacrificing herself. She is frustrated and wants to grow stronger, but you’re told it is impossible. – If I have to guess, she probably does have some special power or something, that’s how these stories usually go. Right now, the story is slow and dull, but perhaps things will get more interesting – I’ve only been playing for 2 days, maybe an hour each day, so I’m still in the beginning stages of the game. But thus far, not really impressed with the story.

Characters: 5/5 – The characters are super cute, and there is a mix of male and female characters which is rare for these summoning types of games. Also every food soul has an English Voice Actor (or Actress), and if you don’t like the English voices, you do have the ability to select the Japanese ones as well. This is a really nice plus, I haven’t seen many of these summoning games that bother to add English voice acting. The artwork is adorable, and of course it’s all inspired by various food and beverages which gives it a nice theme.

Graphics: 5/5 – Graphically this game is quite nice with a unique storybook like style. The anime style food souls and npc characters are all very cute. The backgrounds are really detailed and lovely. I can’t find anything to complain about here.

Music 3/5: Some of the music and sound effects sound recycled from love nikki? Or at least very similar in style.  It’s average at best. Nothing really stands out, but thankfully nothing is annoying, although like most mobile games it can be repetitive at times.

Voice Acting: 5/5 – I love that there’s English Voice acting – and some of them are quite good. I also equally love that they’ve left the option to switch to the original Japanese voice actors at any time as well. Great touch. I know they spent a lot of money licensing the original cast, as well as hiring all new voice actors for the English release. This shows me they care about the fans, and about the game, and it was just a really nice surprise and does set the game apart a bit from other summoning games out there.

Crafting: 5/5 – I love that you can research new recipes. This game reminds me of several other much larger cooking/crafting games such as the Atelier series of games, or Mana Khemia, or Kamidori Alchemist Meister.  The crafting aspects are probably the highlight of the game. In that regard though there are probably a dozen other mobile games which do a better job – If you’re looking for similar games check out anything by Kairosoft, Nippon Cafeteria, Sushi Spinnery, or Ramen Master being 3 that focus specifically on food – while other Kairosoft titles apply the same game mechanics to other jobs/roles. Or check out other cooking and restaurant management games such as I love Pasta and I love Coffee – which I reviewed here. Or of course, I’m sure you’re familiar with the famous Cooking Mama games. Even though these other games may have more in depth crafting/management aspects, I still give food souls a 5 in this area. Out of all the different aspects of this strange little game, I think the cooking and simulation aspects are the strongest and most fun elements.

Customization: 4/5 – You can decorate your restaurant, assign staff, and choose your food specialty. But most other mobile restaurant simulation games have a dressup aspect and I miss that here.

Cuteness: 5/5 – The food souls are super cute and the graphics and voice acting take that cuteness to the next level.

Replay Value: 5/5 – With the special events and wide variety of things to do, from battling, to cooking, to decorating your restaurant, to collecting food souls, to inventing new recipes to serve in your restaurant, or progressing through story missions, this game has a lot to offer and will keep you busy.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

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

Viz Media Launches New Shojo Manga Series by Meca Tanaka: The Young Master’s Revenge

vizmedia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE SHOJO MANGA SERIES THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE

 

Plans For Revenge Go Awry In This Romantic Comedy From The Creator Of METEOR PRINCE

 

San Francisco, CA, February 21, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, delivers the print and digital release of THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE on March 6th.

The series, by creator Meca Tanaka, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the SHOJO BEAT imprint. Meca Tanaka is also the creator of the acclaimed shojo manga series METEOR PRINCE (also published by VIZ Media).

Volume 1 of THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE carries a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The series also launches digitally via viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes will be published by VIZ Media on a quarterly basis.

In THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE, when Leo was a young boy, he had his pride torn to shreds by Tenma, a girl from a wealthy background who was always getting him into trouble. Now, years after his father’s successful clothing business has made him the heir to a fortune, he searches out Tenma to enact a dastardly plan – he’ll get his revenge by making her fall in love with him!

“The creator of METEOR PRINCE returns with a new shojo manga from the perspective of the hero,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Senior Editor. “What begins as Leo’s revenge becomes a voyage of self-discovery and endearing love.”

Creator Meca Tanaka made her professional manga debut in 1998. Her previous notable works include Omukae DesuTennen Pearl Pink (Pearl Pink) and Kiss Yori mo Hayaku (Faster than a Kiss). Her series METEOR PRINCE is published by VIZ Media.

For additional information on THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE and other manga series 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 Media Launches New Shojo Manga Series by Meca Tanaka: The Young Master’s Revenge 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

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

VIZ Media Announces Takane & Hana Manga by Yuki Shiwasu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

OPPOSITES ATTRACT IN THE NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES TAKANE & HANA

 

New Romantic Comedy Series TAKANE & HANA Debuts in Print And Digital Editions This February

 

San Francisco, CA, January 24, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, delivers a fun new romantic comedy with the release of TAKANE & HANA on February 6th.

The series, by creator Yuki Shiwasu, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the SHOJO BEAT imprint. Volume 1 carries a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. TAKANE & HANA also launches digitallyvia viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes of the series will be published in English by VIZ Media on a bi-monthly basis.

In TAKANE & HANA, after her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in in order to save face for the family. But when Takane and Hana pair up, get ready for some sparks to fly between these two utter opposites!

“TAKANA & HANA is a hilarious romantic comedy about two strong personalities falling for each other in spite of themselves,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “We look forward to readers discovering this new series from a fast-rising star in the shojo manga world.”

Creator Yuki Shiwasu began her manga career after winning the top prize in Hakusensha’s Athena Newcomers’ Award in Hana to Yume magazine. She was also the author of Furou Kyoudai (Immortal Siblings), which was published by Hakusensha in Japan.

For additional information on TAKANE & HANA and other manga series 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 Media Announces Takane & Hana Manga by Yuki Shiwasu was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Today (6/30/17) Only – 30 Romance Manga and Anime 30% Off at RightStuf International

Romance Anime on Sale at RightStuf International today (6/30/17) only.

Click here to browse the sale: https://www.rightstufanime.com/sales-and-promos/One-Day-Sale

Titles Include (but not limited to) 5 Centimeters per Second, Your Lie in April, Hiiro no Kakera, Emma, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, Nisekoi, Wolf Girl and Black Prince, Playful Kiss, Boys over Flowers, and many other great romance titles.

 

Today (6/30/17) Only – 30 Romance Manga and Anime 30% Off at RightStuf International was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

My Neighbor Totoro Ghiblifest 2017 Anime Movie Review

I went to see My Neighbor Totoro subbed last night as part of the 2017 GKids Studio Ghiblifest. The theater I went to seemed to have a fairly good turnout for the show, but not as popular as the theatrical SailorMoon Release which I reviewed here (dub) and here (sub)

Still it is nice to see anime getting more coverage in theaters. I drove almost an hour to go see Totoro, but it was still closer than the nearly 2 hour drive I made (twice) to go see Sailor Moon. It’s also awesome to see old anime like Totoro from the 80s and SailorMoon from the 90s finally on the big screen!

The excitement of seeing such childhood favorite films on the silverscreen inspired me to want to do a review for Totoro today.

Also be sure to check out the Studio Ghiblifest home page, there will be other Studio Ghibli films in theaters all summer long, with the next one being Kiki’s Delivery Service on July 23 (dub) and 24 (sub). I like Kiki’s Delivery Service so much, that I might just go to both of them :).

Onto the review:

Title: My Neighbor Totoro

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Release Date: 1988

Genre: Slice of Life, Adventure, Fantasy

Geeky: 2/5 This film is beautiful to watch, even now, 20 years after its initial release. But plot wise, this is a very slow moving film, slow and uneventful for almost the entire film, and then insanely rushed in the last 10-15 minutes of the film. Actually the ending feels really disjointed from the rest of the film and you can read about that under the Conspiracy Theory below. The languid plot and ending that feels out of place make this a hard film to like, unless you’re watching it for the beautiful backgrounds and cute characters. Systematically though, I can’t give it high “technical” points due to the poor writing.

Sweetie: 4/5 Like most Ghibli films, this is super charming with a lot of heart. It depicts every day life of two little girls living in a new home in the forest with their father as they wait for their mother to return from a hospital. The girls encounter magical creatures, and those creatures are super adorable to boot. Blending slice of life in traditional Japan in a quiet countryside rural village, alongside the mystical and fantastical secret world that only the girls can see, and all the new magical friends they make, this tale is full of sweet cute moments sure to appeal to anyone looking for a kawaii cute family friendly and feel good anime. — It loses one point because there is no plot or character development. Unlike other Ghibli films, this one just never seems to get off the ground or accomplish much.

Story: 6/10 The story is a slice of life look at the life of 2 very young girls. Their mother is sick in the hospital with some unexplained illness, and their father has just decided to move the family to a new home in the country, thinking the fresh air from the trees would be good for his wife once she returns back home. While exploring their new surroundings, the two girls stumble upon a magical creature which they dub Totoro. Their father says Totoro is a very old forest spirit, and the father, along with Totoro, teaches the young girls to love and respect nature.

Characters: 9/10 The real reason to watch this show is because all of the characters are cute, unique, heart warming, and funny. Not just the adorable Totoro and his friends, but also the human children. The anime puts a lot of work into making us like and care about the girls and their father. In fact, the entire film, until the very end, is just day to day stuff that the girls find exciting about their new home, or sharing loving family moments with their father. — That said, unlike most Ghibli films, there’s really no character “development” the characters do not change much at all throughout the movie. This, combined with a very slow moving plot, makes the anime feel slow and sleepy at times.

Conspiracy Theory: If you’ve already seen the film, here’s something you may be interested in reading. There are spoilers below here, so proceed at your own risk.

End of Spoilers.

Artwork and Animation: 10/10 The backgrounds are lovely and all of the character designs are imaginative, quirky, and cute. Totoro has become so iconic that he is now the mascot for Studio Ghibli and known around the world.

Music: 10/10 I don’t really love the opening song. However, I do super love all the background tracks throughout the film. The ending theme is also catchy.

Voice Acting: 10/10 The two sisters are adorable and precocious. They give very believable performances with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Totoro’s well timed animal sounds are quirky and cute. And the father and mother both sound very sincere and loving. Granny sounds old and slightly scary, but also warm and loving as well.

Overall: 51/60 85% B “Very Good Anime for Girls”

PS: If you enjoyed Totoro also check out Wolf Children and My Summer with Coo

My Neighbor Totoro Ghiblifest 2017 Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Assassination Classroom Anime Review

Title: Assassination Classroom
Genre: Comedy, Action, Slice of Life
Studio: Lerche
Original Release Date: 2015
Based On: Assassination Classroom Manga by Yūsei Matsui
Length: Season 1 is 22 episodes, Season 2 has 25 episodes, for a total of 47 episodes. There is also a spin off series called Koro-Sensei Q and several animated and live action films and OVAs. There’s even a game (only in Japanese) by Bandai.

Where to watch: Crunchyroll has season 1. But they do not have season 2 Funimation has seasons 1 and 2. You can subscribe to both Crunchyroll and Funimation – and some other anime/scifi networks for $9.99 a month in a new service called VRV at https://vrv.co/. They both also have Koro-Sensei Quest. From what I can tell neither of them have the movies or OVAs available.

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Geeky: 5/5 The comedy and action in Assassination Classroom will appeal to fans of any gender. The animation and character designs are unique, and there are a number of pop culture references and jokes that will appeal to fans of geek or super hero culture.

Sweetie: 5/5 Surprisingly, this may not seem like a “sweet” anime at first glance, but Koro-Sensei is adorable, and also a very good, thoughtful, kind teacher who loves his students. This anime is full of just as many heartfelt moments as it is full of comedy and action.

Overview: 10/10 Assassination Classroom is first and foremost a slice of life anime. Each episode focuses on a different student or faculty member and how Koro-Sensei helps them with whatever turmoil they are experiencing while at school. Assassination Classroom is also very much a comedy anime, as if you can’t tell by just looking at the design for Koro-Sensei. He is a murderous demon lord with a sweet tooth, love for super hero movies, and kind heart, but that still doesn’t mean he won’t destroy the earth. Although Koro-Sensei may be a villain that the other students must defeat, it is hard to not fall in love with Koro and his classroom. Each episode does have action, with the students trying to defeat their teacher, but each episode also is full of tender sweet moments, and lots of very wtf moments and comedy as well.

Story: 8/10   Koro-Sensei destroyed 75% of the earth’s moon, and his next target is to destroy the earth. Koro has made a deal with the government, he proposes that he be allowed to teach a classroom of students and that the students be given special weapons and special training in order to kill Koro-Sensei. If the students fail to kill Koro-Sensei before graduation he will destroy the earth.

Koro-Sensei is not such a bad guy though. He earnestly wants his students to succeed in defeating him. He also takes interest in each of his students, wanting to ensure they have a happy school life. The students he is teaching are part of Class-E referred to as the “Garbage Class”. The lowest scoring students, as well as delinquents and trouble makers of their school.

No one believes these students will amount to anything, and the principal even believes these students must not be encouraged to succeed because it is imperative to make an example out of them to motivate the other students to perform better or else they too may end up like the students of Class-E.

This is where Koro-Sensei disagrees. He absolutely believes that his students are smart, talented, capable, and just as deserving as the other students in the school. While many other students and faculty members seek to make life harder for the students in Class-E, Koro-Sensei seeks to make their lives better.

Koro is joined by additional faculty members, appointed by the school or by the government, to further train the students to kill Koro before the deadline. New students also come to the classroom as well. They all begin to get along and begin to experience a happy school life under Koro’s guidance.

Koro could best be described as a squid like creature. He makes (ridiculously cute) squishing sounds when he walks, has a sweet tooth, and unique super powers. He can travel at mach 20 speeds, regenerate his tentacles, clone himself, change forms, shed his skin, and other unique abilities that make him nearly impossible for his students to kill.

Little else is known about Koro-Sensei. As the story goes on, more is revealed about his past, his connections to the school, and the real reason why the students must defeat him before graduation. Note: I haven’t finished watching this anime yet, but that’s basically what the synopsis from wikipedia explains as the story. I’m up to episode 16 out of 47, so there’s still a lot to learn.

Wanting to learn the real reasons behind Koro-Sensei’s request to teach at that school, and learn more about Koro Sensei himself keeps the story moving, and keeps the viewer interested with morbid curiosity.

However, the story does at times move a little slow, like most slice of life anime. There are a lot of filler episodes, and after awhile, it becomes a bit predictable. My friend also likes to point out how unrealistic the story is, because if the moon was destroyed it would have a major impact on the Earth, and thus make Koro’s threats to destroy the Earth a moot point. This in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the show, but in trying to be objective, I would say those are the flaws of the show.

Characters: 10/10 One really unique thing about this anime is how each episode highlights a different character. You come to know the back stories of all 27 of the students, faculty members, and Koro-Sensei. There clearly are 2 or 3 students that are more “important” than others, but overall, each of the characters are given a chance to shine, and each of them are fleshed out in detail with their own troubles and school-life struggles which Koro guides them to overcome.  Each character is so unique that they even (very slightly) alter every single opening theme song animation to include the new students. You get a sense that the classroom is like a close family. Koro begins doing exceptionally nice things for his students, taking them on trips, planting a garden, building a swimming pool, and of course encouraging them to stand up to the other students who bully them in the school. Character development is one of the key things that keeps this anime moving, watching the students in Class E begin to believe in themselves, and come together with a common goal (to kill their teacher.).

Art: 6/10 – Some of the character designs seem kinda wonky… but they are actually done in a style similar to the manga. Koro is super cute, and most of the students look distinctive. The animation style is clean, but simple, and not overly detailed. There’s nothing mind blowing about the animation, but it is still modern, clean, and fresh.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – Koro Sensei alone has one of the best voice actors, with a very distinctive evil laugh, that is more cute than it is terrifying. The other cast members are also very talented, but less memorable than Koro.

Music: 6/10 – The music is a bit hit or miss. The first opening and ending themes are really catchy. I’m not as much a fan of the 2nd themes. Background music is good, but not overly remarkable.

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Anime for Girls”

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

Koe no Katachi Anime Review

Title: Koe no Katachi

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

Release Dates:

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).

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

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.

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

Shoko is a deaf student who transfers in to the class. 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.

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

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.

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

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).

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

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.

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

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.

Koe No Katachi a Silent Voice Review

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.

Overall: 48/60 80% B- “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Koe no Katachi Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News