Archives for : Gaming

No Game No Life (anime review)

No-Game-No-LifeTitle: No Game No Life Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Writer: Jukki Hanada

Studio: Madhouse

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 28th. 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 300 minutes/ 12 Episodes

Genre: Gaming, Harem, Comedy, Drama

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B-


On the internet, they’re legends: the tag-team duo known as BLANK, famed for their incredible game-playing skills. In the real world, however, the lives of 18 year old Sora and his 11 year old stepsister Shiro have been spiraling out of control. Now existing as shut-ins, they rarely leave their house and are unable to be separated without suffering panic attacks. Games, for them, are the safest retreat from reality. Until they win a chess match against a mysterious opponent known as Tet and find themselves pulled into a game bigger than any they could have ever imagined.

Now, in a world where the outcome of games determines the fates of both civilizations and species, they must defend Humanity in the ultimate challenge, vying against a host of otherworldly competitors for the right to rule them all! But if they fail, it means slavery or destruction for all mankind. No pressure, of course! Can two misfits who can barely handle their own lives somehow rise to the occasion and save the human race?


Oh no not another stuck in the game anime! Yep, that’s right it’s a mother story where the main characters get stuck in a game world. Can you say .hack, Sword Art Online and Log Horizon just to name a few already showing the way? I was already regretting watching No Game No Life before I hit play and the first episode left me feeling like I was right. I started off so self assured and pretentious that I really didn’t want to keep going. Well, to say the least I managed to stomach a few more episodes and found that my disillusionment was all mistaken. The series managed to do something I would have never expected, it ended up being good.

No Game No Life takes the stuck in the game concept and adds onto the smart player roll developed in Log Horizon and thorns it on its ear with Sora and Shiro. They seem to understand the game better than anyone else and things unfold in unexpected ways. This plot device helps save the show and take it to a level that both entertains and gives rise to questions about the series itself. I’m not trying to say that they intentionally write in gaps of understanding, but because of the way the series progresses it becomes clear that there were simple basics overlooked to make it all work.

Overall Grade: B-

No Game No Life is an interesting series that takes the genre to another level. It is just too bad that there are so many aspects of the series that slow it down or just derail it from time to time. The fact that the concepts are so strong should have lent it to not having to rely on fan service or moe, but these elements tend to stay rather close to the core of the series. There is also the artistic palate that disrupts the flow and visual aesthetics of the series. I found the overwhelming amount of blue and pink to be oppressive and distracting. In the first few episodes I found myself wanting to walk away because of the visual and conceptual aspects of the series. I have to say that the writing saved it from a rather gruesome death.

There is plenty to dislike about this little series, but in the end I found a fondness for it that I can only call baffling at best. For all you gamers out there who need some sex-appeal in your life then you just might find this series worth the time to watch 12 episodes. For all you fan service / moe fans you should be sold by the cover and I doubt if you will be disappointed. So, check it out and if you are not sure about the series you should wait until the 4 or 5th episode before you turn if off. I have a feeling that you will end up sticking around to find out how it ends. I know I am still wondering that myself.

BlazBlue Alter Memory (anime review)

BlazBlue Alter MemoryTitle: BlazBlue Alter Memory Complete Series

Director: Hideki Tachibani

Studio: teamKG, Hoods Entertainment

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: June 30th, 2015

Format: DVD / Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Action, Adventure, Gaming

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B


Long ago, an insidious black beast sought to obliterate the human race, but the monster was defeated by a valiant Band of Heroes wielding the power of Ars Magus: a potent combo of magic and technology. Now, a roguish outlaw known as Ragna the Bloodedge seeks to wreak havoc upon the Librarium, a clandestine organization that governs Ars Magus. Armed with the mighty Azure Grimoire, Ragna quickly becomes the target of vigilantes, scientists, vampires, and Librarium foot soldiers. As he spirals toward a violent showdown with the maniacal Hazama, Ragna will discover just how closely his fate is tied to the future of our world!


As the wotld of gaming anime goes BlazBlue is about as standard as they come. You have the clueless hero who has both the power and the moral streak to stand against evil but always end up being too nice a guy to do any real damage. Then there is the evil who have enough power to end it all early but for some reason just doesn’t pull the trigger. This dynamic sets up all of the typical power plays that run through the series and in the end it felt like a poor brother to a game that maintains some reasonable fan base.

The animation was the saving grace and most of the time that is the back bone of these game themed series. It may not be a beautiful as Final Fantasy but because of the simple structure of the series it does have plenty of Eye candy to keep you watching.

Overall Grade: B

I can’t say there are any major flaws in the story or that it is poorly written. What I find is that it is an average anime that is trying to feed off a popular game. It may bring some of the characters from the game to life, and expand on the universe a little, but all in all it is easy to watch and even easier to turn off.

BlazBlue is some that a fan of the game is going to run out and get and for the rest of us it is some thing we might watch a few episodes of just to get a feel for the series. There is one aspect of the story that is done week and that is giving hints to the past and slowly building the plot line. Ok, gamers time to get you Bloodedge on.


.hack//sign (anime review)

Title: .hack//sign Complete Collection

Director: Koichi Mashimo

Studio: Bee Train

U.S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 24th, 2015

Format: DVd/ 26 episodes + 2 OVAs / 700 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Gaming, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C


Tsukasa awakens inside The World, an immense online RPG filled with monsters, magic, and mayhem. When he discovers he’s unable to log out of this mysterious game, he joins forces with a colorful group of characters and begins a desperate quest to find his way back to real life. But, before he begins to find his way out he finds that this new world is what he has been looking for and not sure if he wants to leave.

Will he discover that his helpers are really there for him or is it the mysterious voice that leads him to his solitude that has his best interest in mind?


It is great that Funimation wants to remind us all that the concept of being trapped in a game is not a new one and that it is always, almost always fun to see how things have changed. In the case of .hack//sign I now think it should have been left in the archives to be a whispered reminder of days long past. I know that 2002-2003 may not seem that long ago, but in may ways it is a long time ago. Much of the animation styling and voice acting (dubs) still had a long way to go and most series played off the success that Cowboy Bebop and Trigun saw just a few years earlier.

.hack//sign fails to understand that there is more to the story than the plot and in the development of the characters it leaves all too much to the imagination of the viewer. After watching the first 12 episodes it became clear to me that Tsukasa was a character that I didn’t care about and the others that wanted to help him just failed to give a clear reason why they wanted to get involved. Add this to the flat english voice acting made it very hard for me to go on to the next episode.

The one aspect to this series that made me move forward was the fact the basic story was interesting enough to make want more. With the new series that take on this basic plot like Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, I really wanted to understand what the much beloved great uncle (.hack) had to offer. It interesting how this concept has taken on new meaning and at the same time holds on  to some of the limited concepts that we brought forth by the true archetype, Tron. For .hack//sign this new world has its own ideas much the same as master program did and the use of regular characters play right into the wheelhouse that was Tron himself. I just think that the sad depressed boy thing that the Japanese seem to fixate on is just a little too much this time.

Overall Grade: C

.hack//sign is a great reminder of what anime was doing at the turn of the century and how time does make a difference. .hack//sign is fun to watch just a some sort of nostalgic trip down memory lane, but if you are looking for something to something to get hooked on please do not look in this direction.

If you want to complete a collection that covers the trapped in a video game world that you will need to get this and the other .hack anime because they are an important part of the genre that can’t be overlooked.