My New Favorite Show: Gundam Build Fighters

Gundam_Build_Fighters_DVD
Ya’ gotta have blue hair!

A show that I haven’t watched in years is the ever-famous Gundam series. People love this show, heck, I used to ADORE THIS SHOW! So, why did I give up on it? Well, I guess to fully detail what happened, I’d trace this bad to the early 2000s. You see, growing up, I loved giant robots. Giant mechanical behemoths that duked it out with each other was a really interesting concept to me.

Eventually, I discovered Mobile Fighter G Gundam, and fell in love with this series! Gundam shows often revolved around young men or teenagers piloting giant robots to save the world, drive back an enemy force, or fight in a gigantic tournament. That last one was more exclusive to G Gundam then any other show, however. I fell in love with G Gundam, which in turn, introduced me to this venerable franchise.

It seemed like a match made in heaven, until… I watched the other shows. You see, G Gundam was a rather unique beast among the franchise. Instead of being a melodramatic soap-opera about the dangers of war and the mental and physical tax it had on humans, it was instead Dragon Ball Z with giant robots. I started watching these other Gundam shows in my teenage years, and I found that I just could not get invested.

That was, until rather recently. I started re-watching some old Gundam 00 DVDs that I got years ago, and now I find that the series to be rather interesting. I now had an attention span that wasn’t lacking, and I could now follow those darker and more serious plot-lines. Still, as much as I loved the darker and grittier Gundam shows, I still craved the energetic and sillier iterations that got me invested in the series to begin with.

That’s where Gundam Build Fighters comes in. Gundam Build Fighters is an anime that premiered a few years back, and focused on the “Gunpla” model kits. The Gunpla are essentially build-able figurines, based off giant robots from the Gundam series. Build Fighters takes place in a universe where the popularity of these model kits hit a resurgence. They became so popular, in fact, that they invented an entire game revolving around them. People can now pilot these models in a small enclosed environment, fighting against other models.

The story itself focuses around a young Gunpla builder named Sei Iori. He wants to be the best Gunpla battler ever, but he sucks at the game. For real, he’s super awful. He can build them very well, but can’t properly control them. Sei meets a mysterious individual named “Reiji”, who pilots Sei’s “Build Strike Gundam” on his behalf. With Reiji’s unnaturally good piloting abilities, and Sei’s skill as a Gunpla mechanic, the two quickly attempt to become the ultimate Gunpla team.

Yeah, this is pretty standard fare for a kids show. Despite its seeminlgy generic concept, the show somehow pitches these ideas very well. It manages to throw in all these references and Easter Eggs to all the old shows, while still bringing enough character and wit to stand as a standalone product. It reminds me a lot of the earlier Yugioh shows, or Little Battles Experience.

The show has a special kind of energy to it, and even though I’ve only watched a couple of episodes, I find myself already hooked on it. Fights are well-animated, which is to be expected of a Sunrise Gundam show. The clash of steel on steel, the epic giant robot confrontations, all of that classic Gundam action is there. It’s all wrapped up in a show that’s a kids anime with like-able and relate-able characters. While I still haven’t watched all that much of this series yet, I find that I’m starting to get really hooked on this show. Once I complete season 1, I’ll be sure to do a full review. For now, these are just my personal thoughts. I just hope that this show can continue to surpass my lofty expectations!

Hunter X Hunter Season 1 Review

I’ve made it no secret that I like anime. I don’t love the medium as much as I used to, but if a show captures my fancy, then I’ll be sure to at least attempt to watch it. One show that I found myself recently getting hooked on was an anime known as “Hunter X Hunter”. It’s based off a long running manga series of the same name and has had a couple different adaptations at this point.

I attempted watching the show last year, but found it difficult to fully get involved with the characters. A year later, I stumble across the English dub once more and decide to give it another go. To my surprise, I really ended up liking this show! The show did take a few episodes before I got fully invested, but by the time I was halfway through the first arc, I was hooked!

I thought I would started reviewing the series in its entirety, starting with the very first story arc “The Hunter Exam” arc. I guess you could classify this as the show’s first season. I want to tackle every single arc of this show, along with the two movies released to accompany it. I’ll do this sparingly as there is a lot of other projects I’m working on, but I eventually want to cover the entire series. Anyways, let’s get started!

Background Information

Hunter X Hunter is a manga and anime series originally created by Yoshihiro Togashi. This Togashi’s second long-running series, following in the heels of his other successful series Yu Yu Hakusho. With Hunter X Hunter, Togashi used the series in order to deconstruct elements of popular shonen anime. What started as a love letter to classic Shonen series soon evolved into its own thing, turning into a full deconstruction of the genre.

Hunter X Hunter became a very popular series in a short amount of time, but was soon hit by a series of hiatuses. Sadly, Togashi’s failing health caused him to delay the series several times. It’s been announced that by the end of this month, Togashi will be resuming the series once more.

New-hunters
Is that Lady Gaga in the far right corner?

Plot and Characters

The first arc of the story focuses solely on the main protagonist of this series: Gon. The young man has dreams of following in the footsteps of his father and becoming a “Hunter”. Hunters are people who are allowed to travel the entire world, including areas that would normally be off limits to ordinary people. They have access to all kinds of secrets, and possess some of the most dangerous abilities in the world.

The first arc is known as the “Hunter Exam Arc”, and it involves Gon taking the test in order to become a hunter. He quickly makes three friends: Killua, a mysterious young boy who is also a dangerous assassin, a doctor in training named Leorio, and the ever-powerful Kurapika. The four young men soon find themselves entangled in a quarrel with a pair of powerful men with supernatural abilities.

I’ll be honest, this first arc starts off rather slow. While those first six or so episodes are decent, there’s nothing that groundbreaking or interesting happening within them. It isn’t until the third trial that things start to get really good. The moment our heroes face off against a group of prisoners in a series of intense battles and contests of wit is when the anime shows its true colors.

It balances well-animated combat with darker themes, giving the audience watching it a good mix of action and drama. The characters are very solid, but this early in the show they don’t get as much development. Characters like Killua’s family and Hisoka aren’t fully fleshed out, though they do get their moments and shine as characters.

Something that the story of this arc gets really well is that it actually sets up plot points in advance. Most anime tend to introduce new concepts, plots, and characters out of nowhere. However, Hunter X Hunter manages to detail a lot of its world and concepts before they are fully introduced. For example, we are introduced to “Nen” in this arc, but it isn’t fully fleshed out yet. We’re lead to believe that what the villains can do are actually feats of magic, at least until the next arc comes around and puts that theory to bed.

Of course, this arc does have its fair share of problems. The pacing at the start can feel pretty slow, especially when they get to the island, and certain events take a bit longer than they should. Fight-scenes are thankfully very short, but sometimes they can be a bit too short. It isn’t until the third arc in the series that fights start to feel longer and more drawn out. So, while I can stay this arc is good, it starts off rather bland and dull.

Visual Stimuli

The animation on this show is extremely solid! For a long-running Shonen anime, this show has some of the best animation in the entire genre. Animation looks fairly good most of the time, but really cranks up during action scenes. It’s hard to find a favorite action scene in this series, since most of them are extremely intense and well choreographed!

The voice-acting is pretty solid as well. I’ve mainly kept up to date with the English dub and only watched a bit of the Japanese version, but I can easily say that both versions are pretty well done. While the female voices for the male characters can grate a bit here or there, they do a good job of making the characters their own. None of the English dub actors from the 1999 anime return. This isn’t a big deal, but I really wish Brendan Hunter came back to play Hisoka. His new voice actor does a fantastic job, but Brendan really captured the smug nature of Hisoka well.

The music for this show is good, but it sadly gets repeated a bit too much. The show’s soundtrack is very limited, though this isn’t as apparent during the first story arc. Songs get repeated a lot through-out the show’s entire 148 episode run.  Like I said though, it’s not as bad during these early episodes.

In Conclusion

This show has a bit of a rocky start, but manages to pick up after those first few episodes. The show has an interesting concept and has a protagonist who relies more on outwitting his opponents, rather than overpowering him. Keep in mind though that this season definitely has its problems. Certain episodes can feel awkwardly paced, and some fights feel way shorter than they should.

Honestly though, I feel it’s worth watching. This is a series that prides itself on delivering good action, alongside good characters. The Hunter Exam arc is a good place to start, but the show doesn’t reach it’s true potential until later. For now, I can say that this show is definitely as sweet as syrup and worth your time and money. I recommend this series, and more specifically the first arc to fans of Shonen anime and action series in general.

Syrup’s Short Stories: The Great Knight North

Author’s Note: Well, Canada’s 150th birthday is coming up in just a few weeks and I thought I’d do this fun little short story in order to celebrate. I always liked the idea of their being a medieval Canada, even though Canada didn’t exist as its own country back then. At least, not in the form we know it as today. When making this story, I wanted to do a parody of Arthurian Lore, which I’m a huge fan of. I hope you all enjoy!

I threw as many Canadian stereotypes and jokes into one story as I could. I wanted to capture that feel of a medieval setting mixed with those Canadian gags we’ve come to expect from things like SCTV and Canadian Bacon. I hope you all enjoy, and have an amazing Canada Day!

The sun shone onto a nearby forest, one beset by danger. The majestic trees and chirping birds couldn’t hide the intense battle currently taking place inside. One could look at the forest from an outside view and not notice anything, but beyond the great trees and dense foliage, a climatic duel was about to take place. This was a duel between a king and a powerful knight who challenged him.

The first to show up at the appointed combat site was the King of Saskatchewan, also known as Edward Ogopogo. This man was strong and brave, yet kind and wise. The man had a muscular frame, yet a stout appearance. Edward barely stood at about 5 feet tall, making him seem far less intimidating to those who would oppose him. Edward wasn’t the most powerful warrior in all of Canada, but he knew how to hold his own.

Edward wore a suit of green armor, one with the image of a red flower emblazoned on the front. The suit had been well-oiled, and had been sized and fitted perfectly for the rather short warrior King. The armor wasn’t hefty enough to encumber Edward that much, though he didn’t have enough mobility to run that much in such heavy gear.

The King always kept his face hidden, he felt it was a waste of time to always show his face to every opponent he faced. His face was well-known, and he saw no point in revealing his well-known visage to everyone he did battle with. Edward was fully ready to do battle. He unsheathed his sword from its scabbard, slowly pulling out the steel sword from its resting place. Edward took his time removing the sword, in order to let the sun shine down on the metal of the blade.

The blade appeared to glow and hum as the light of the sun shone down upon it, as if it was absorbing the light itself! This magical sword was given to Edward long ago, bestowed upon him by the former King. The last King before Edward was an eccentric fellow, dressing in the finest and most flamboyant outfits. The King had this magic sword crafted just because he wanted something shiny to show off to visitors. The sword itself had no innate mystical power, aside from its shine. The sword was known as the “Cherry Blade”, named after the flamboyant King Cherry.

Edward brandished the Cherry Blade, but was suddenly caught off-guard when he heard the rustling of nearby leaves. Edward gripped the handle of the blade in both hands, as he dug his armored boots into the dirt below him. Edward readied himself with a combat stance, while he watched the bushes in front of him. Leaves began to rustle before him, as he took notice of someone emerging from behind the bushes.

Emerging from the dense foliage was a large knight. This knight towered above Edward, being at least a foot taller than him. His body was covered head-to-toe in white armor, with a red maple leaf emblazoned on his chest. This towering warrior held a large great-sword between his two armor gloves. Despite the massive size of this blade, the warrior appeared to hold it with ease.

The blade appeared almost weightless to Edward, as he witnessed the knight brandish the sword with zero effort. “Nice blade, eh!” Edward exclaimed, with a nervous twinge to his voice. He had never witnessed an opponent with impressive gear before. The towering colossus, clad in his white armor walked towards Edward. His hefty metal boots left noticeable imprints in the ground as he walked forward.

The Red-and-White Knight stepped towards the king with his sword drawn. “Your blade is equally impressive, eh. Let’s just hope you don’t fight like a hoser!” The knight then hoisted his sword upwards with all his might. Edward tried to react, but it was too late! The blade swung through the air like a violent wind, as it hammered down upon the poor king. The blade hit the crux of Edward’s armor, but somehow bounded it off of him as if he was wearing armor made out of the strongest metal!

The massive hulking warrior looked down at his sword, as he gripped his helmet using his left hand and pulled it off. The giant revealed himself to be somewhat of a pretty-boy, having a face that was unfitting of an enormous warrior. He had long blonde hair, making him greatly resemble a forest elf from the hidden village of “La Ronge”.

Once free of his helmet, the warrior proceeded to scan the sword with baby-blue eyes. That’s when he realized something, something that cost him dearly. “The enchantment worked too well, eh!” Exclaimed the knight, causing Edward to snicker a little. “So, you have a useless sword, too? All my sword can do is glow, eh!” The knight waved his armored finger at the end and scoffed at the king’s response. “At least your sword can cut stuff, the enchantment was supposed to make my sword lighter and easier to use, but now it’s too light. I can’t even cut the feathers off a goose with this darn thing, eh!”

“I guess our duel is off, eh? I can’t find a warrior who has a useless weapon, it wouldn’t be honorable!” Exclaimed Edward, as he gripped the hilt of his sword and slid it back into its holster. “Agreed, I’d care not to die today for a stupid mistake. Besides, I wouldn’t want to sully your blade with ill-gotten blood, eh.” A smile crossed Edward’s rugged face, as he silently agreed with the knight’s sentiment.

“What’s your name, large and boyish one?” Asked the king, in a not so subtle way. “They call me William Ghostkeeper. An odd name, I know.” Edward grinned, “I think it’s a fine name. So, now that we’ve settled our sortie by not doing anything, what now?” Asked Edward as he looked as William.

“Wanna grab some poutine? I know a village a couple miles north of here that has the best poutine in the kingdom, eh!” Exclaimed William, while tossing his useless sword to the ground. “Now that’s what I’m talking aboot, eh!” With their weapons discarded, the two former rivals left their battlefield as friends.

Legends speak of this act as one of the first true showings of Canadian hospitality. When two warriors put aside their differences and useless weaponry, and decided to share a good ol’ bowl of poutine. To this day, King Edward and William Ghostkeeper are hailed as legends to the Canadian people, though forgotten by most. What’s still remembered is the understanding and kindness they showed.

Video-Game Idea #1: Imagine Lords: War Of Renewal

I’ll be honest, I’m not game developer. I know a lot about games, but I’m no beta tester or programmer. However, I do like to muse from time to time on potential game ideas. I know these will never be picked up, but I think it’s still something fun to talk about. So, one idea I had is a game takes place in the dreams of a fictional god. The god will always be different on each play-through, chosen from a pool of available gods. The gods will be taken from all mythologies. This could be Egyptian, Norse, Greek, Japanese, or any other mythology you think of.

The game would take place at the end of existence. The god you choose will be floating in a non-existent void, frozen by time and unable to interact with anything. The god you choose will be trapped in his/her own dreams. Inside this dream is a somewhat small open-world, but set in a more fantastical version of our own universe. The god is now in human form within said dream-scape, yet possesses some of his god-like powers.

The human you play as will be customizable, unlike the god. After creating your human, your told by a “Dream Nymph” to defeat various foes in order to regain your god-like power. This involves fighting enemies, leveling up, and regaining access to your god powers. You venture across this small, yet fully explore-able open world. Why is the initial open world so small? I’ll get to that in a bit.

Now, the game’s first act will eventually take you to your last challenge as a mortal: Defeating yourself. In order to fully take on your god form, you must defeat it. I imagine the bosses themselves not being too unique from each other, since there will be so many gods available. So, a fight with Anubis may play out the same way as a fight against Hades. Regardless, once you defeat your god form, you will absorb it and return to your godly appearance.

This is when things get really interesting. You won’t wake up right away, instead you will be thrown into another dream-scape. This one is massive and is a true open-world. With your new god powers in tow, you have to do battle against other gods. These other gods will be other plays (or NPCs if you choose not to play this portion of the game online) Imagine this portion of the game playing similar to Grand Theft Auto Online, but as an action RPG featuring gods.

In this dream-scape, you’ll start off in a land indicitative of the mythology you originate from. For example, if you are a Japanese god, you start in Japan. Your goal at this point is to destroy all the other gods and become the last one standing  Think of it like something akin to God of War, expect it’s a last man standing dealie instead of a revenge mission.

The reward for the god battles will be the chance to remake the universe in whatever way you see fit. You see, each game you play in the second act will be called a “cycle”. The last player standing, who defeats all the other gods and absorbs their essence and god powers becomes the one true god. At this point, you can remake the universe however you see fit.

Now, battles between overpowered gods would be difficult. That’s why the offline mode will be there, with adjustable difficulty. So, those who want to get to that third act can do so offline. If they want to try their luck against far more powerful gods, they can go online and try their luck. Of course, it would be tough to balance the powers of so many gods and keep the game fair. What I think would be interesting is that if there were other ways for the gods to settle their quarrels without fighting.

These could include games of chance, tests of might or speed, or even mini-games to decide who is the superior god and the one deserving to continue. Players who lose have the chance to either watch the progress of the god who absorbed them for a while, or simply start a new cycle against new opponents or new game if they wish. So, what happens after you become god of the universe? You get to create the universe!

This would be less like a simulation game, and more of a building game. You would create planets and stars using your god powers, but would have to recharge after creating a few planets. To recharge, you would have to go down to the planets and sew the seed of life using your powers. You create new life using magic and your god-like energies, and these would become the beings that inhabit each planet.

So, the game would continue like this, with you creating each planet and star until the universe becomes completely full. After creating enough planets, you can either fill the rest of the universe up with planets, or just auto-spawn them so you aren’t taking forever to populate everything. From there, the game is pretty much done. You can go to planets, engage in wars, or even destroyed what you create.

Once you felt you done enough, you can voluntarily choose to end the game. Then, you start a new game as a new god, or just go back to a previous part of the game. You would even be given the option to go back to the god battle portion, but play it as your custom human character instead, so you have the opportunity to explore this much more massive world.

Now, I imagine a game like this being tough to make. Not only would you have to balance an open-world, but account for the online servers and all the gods that will show up. I guess the game doesn’t need the online portion to be perfect. I feel having smart NPC gods as opponents during the war session would be more fulfilling than fighting player-controlled gods who abuse the engine and find ways to cheese system.

I think the hardest part of getting the game to be made would be the concept itself. It’s about gods fighting each other, which would most likely upset some cultures. I’ll be honest, I respect all mythologies and religions. I just like the idea of all these gods meeting and duking it out. I’ve always been a huge fan of shows like Saint Seiya and Justice League, shows where heroes and gods often do battle.

So, having a game like this would be an interesting experience, in my opinion. I know there are games out there already with gods fighting it out, but I’d love if there was a game that had gods fighting each other to become the one true master of the universe. I think of my idea of a combination of Smite, Spore, God of War, Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto Online, and maybe a little Reign of Kings tossed in there.

Regardless, I hope you all enjoy the little idea I tossed out there. I’m no game developer, nor do I have an intention of ever being one. I’d love to write for a video-game, but my interest in game development does not go beyond that. Of course, that could always change in the future. I’m only 26, so who knows? Maybe one day I might get interested in game development and make this into a game somehow. I doubt I’d be able to pull that off, but it’s still something fun to think about.

E3 2017: A Really Good Comedy Act

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, I thought E3 was one of the coolest things ever. I mean, you have games that are previewed 1-2 years in advance for all to see! Some games end up cancelled after E3, but those rare few who got to play those beta builds of said cancelled games at E3 were often treated like gods. Over time though, E3 has lost that majesty. Once upon a time, E3 felt like this sacred place where only the chosen could go to witness the newest games before release.

Nowadays, E3 is more of a giant comedy act, full of technical issues, really cringy sketches and catchphrases, and very few newly announced games. I respect that a lot of people still enjoy E3 and hold it in high regard, I’m not trying to change the opinions of those people. What I want is to discuss why I think E3 has devolved from being this legendary event into more of a comedy act.

I think it comes down to the audience shift, mostly. You see, gaming was once upon a time a medium exclusive to mostly nerds and kids. However, as the casual audience grew, so did the demand to cater to said audience. Like I said before, I have nothing against the casual audience. The thing is that developers seem to think people who play games casually want just simple experiences and nothing else, when most casual gamers I know relish the challenge of trying to figure games out. I discussed this before about how RPGs are becoming oversimplified because of such demand, but sadly video-game related shows seem to be hit hard by this even more.

Both the Video Game Award Show and E3 feel more like they want to entertain the audience with bad sketches and crummy memes, rather than show the games. While this is done to cater to the more casual and modern audience, it fails at even doing that. A lot of people just watch these events and roll their eyes. Sure, the casual audience does tend to favor simpler game, but not simpler events.

I know I don’t speak for everyone, since I’m not a casual gamer, but it seems to me that these gaming events are just alienating a lot of people with how they present stuff. Most casual audiences go to these events for the games, not for odd skits and over-acting. Again, I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s the general consensus I seem to get from these events.

It probably doesn’t help that this year presented a rather small influx of new games. Aside from a crossover between Rabbids and Mario, and a new Monster Hunter game, there was nothing that really grabbed me. Sadly, it’s been like this the past couple of years. These shows feel like they are scarce on new games, and more like they just want to advertise stuff they already talked about.

The shows themselves are not too special. Nowadays, a lot of game studios put a giant video advertising new stuff, instead of having people come out to present the new games and content. Couple this with technical issues, like demos not running properly on stage, and you have a show that lacks substance. When you combine that with the terrible sketches and forced jokes, you have something that feels like more of a parody of itself.

E3 definitely makes me laugh, but not in the way it should. I laugh more because of how much I think the expo has fallen, rather than the sketches and comedy its trying to present. Now, you make be thinking that I hate this event. I dislike the event, but I have no real hatred for it. I’m just disappointed by this event, since it has been slipping in quality in the past decade.

I can still watch the show and get some mild entertainment out of it, I just have no urge to spend the 100s of dollars required to get me over to the States to go see it. While I respect that a lot of hard work goes into events such as these, I’m still going to judge an event by the quality of the entertainment. After all, you don’t go to a Metallica concert just to hear a bunch of aged musicians fiddle with a microphone for two hours.

Like I said before, you’re allowed to enjoy E3 and I’m not trying to stop that. I just don’t like that E3 is trying to advertise itself to a specific audience that comes to the event for what it used to be, instead of what it is now. Both the casual and hardcore gamers deserve an event that treats them with respect and intelligence. I mean, there is the Tokyo Game Show and a few game-centric conventions out there, but that’s about it! I can at least say that E3 manages to be more entertaining than most conventions, but that’s more in a bad way than a good one.

My Thoughts On My Hero Academia

It’s hard to describe how much I like certain anime. A lot of time and effort goes into most of the anime I watch, and I tend to usually only watch anime within a specific genre. This genre would be “Shonen” anime, Japanese animated series that are often targeted towards teenagers. One such series that I found myself getting hooked on from episode 1 was “My Hero Academia”.

Anime_Art_Poster
I don’t know what’s more impressive, those muscles or the fact that he managed to style his hair like that!

I make it no secret that I love superheroes, so an anime about superheroes is right up my alley. However, this isn’t just any simple anime that has superheroes in it. The anime and manga series derive a lot of elements from American superheroes. It manages to meld the elements of a typical Japanese anime with the style and flare of a superhero film. It creates this mixture that’s not only delicious, but also had a lot of flare to it.

The show tells the story of a young man with no powers to speak of, in a world where almost everyone has some sort of super-power. The young man known as Izuku Midoriya is one day bestowed by in insanely strong power by his mentor All Might. In time, Izuku trains to get stronger, while at the same time dealing with fellow school rivals and the occasional supervillain attack.

The show sounds pretty basic, but there’s actually quite a lot to it. It has the structure of any other Shonen anime, but manages to boast some top-notch animation and some fun character designs. Couple this with a solid soundtrack and likable characters, and you have a series that’s both familiar and entertaining.

It’s not a perfect show by any stretch of the imagination. Some plots can feel formulaic, and there are times when the show drags its heels. The first episode of season 2 was a good example of this, where a lot of it felt like a pointless recap and not a whole lot happened in the episode. Regardless, the series has overall been very entertaining. Events feel well-paced enough, so the show doesn’t devolve into that classic of formula of “Let’s fight a new guy for 8 episodes, and then another new guy for the next few episodes!” Instead, it focuses on developing its world and characters more.

It doesn’t feel too rushed, and manages to provide enough entertainment with each episode to leave a lasting impact. That’s why I can wholeheartedly recommend this series. It has problems here or there, but if you’re a fan of Shonen anime and superhero comic books, I think you’ll dig this show. I haven’t gotten this addicted to a show in quite some time, it’s really quite a thrill!

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: One Year Later

It may be hard to believe, but it’s been a whole year since I first played this game and reviewed it. Since then, I feel my opinions on it have changed considerably. Having logged over 80 hours worth of time with this game, I feel that I’ve grown from just liking it a lot to loving it considerably. Having played this game so much, the flaws have become far more apparent to me. So, I want to go into full detail on my current opinions of this game. Why? Honestly, this is one of the best video-games based off an anime I’ve ever played.

This game definitely had a lot going for it. It had a ton of Digimon from over six different seasons, and even including some that only appeared in manga and other games. It had an interesting plot, which sadly became formulaic halfway through. It also had a cast of memorable and bizarre characters, including Jimiken, who is somehow the best and worst character at the same time.

This game also managed to incorporate a bunch of elements from several of the TV shows. The game had a simplistic turn-based combat system, but with enough varied special moves and flashy attacks that it rarely got boring. The game was fun, albeit grindy. In order to obtain any of the really powerful Digimon, you had to grind for days on end.

While their were ways to circumvent this, grinding was still a tedious affair. This was especially annoying when you couple it with the fact that you need certain stats to get certain Digimon. It turns from grinding into a bizarre maze of stat increases and trips to the farm, making the arduous task of getting the strongest Digimon that more annoying. I know that they are supposed to be difficult to get, but certain Digimon like Omnimon were a pain to obtain. Especially because Omnimon was a lot weaker than the Digimon that I had to fuse together to get him.

One of the shining moments of this game was the designs of all the Digimon. They all looked great, just like how they did in their respective seasons. Some may say that it’s jarring to see all these creatures in one game, especially when a lot of them were originally drawn in different art-styles. Still, having such a various cast of color creatures to collect made the game that more entertaining.

It’s still hard to believe how hooked I got on this game. For a while, it was all I played. I beat it twice and even got a ton of the really hard to get Digimon! Still, after a while I got burned out on it. Fun game with a unique setting and world, but a game that still feels very repetitive.

Another problem with the game was the spotty translation. It’s not as bad as the translation job done for Dragon Ball Fusions, but it leaves a lot to be desired. You know your game has a problem when it starts to referring to its main villains as something completely unrelated to them at all. Regardless, this is still a game that I can back to even after a year and still get some fun out of.

Sure, the difficulties are either too easy or too hard with little middle-ground, and the game may drop its interesting plot halfway through, but I still find it to be one of the better anime-to-game adaptations. This was the first time I ever gave an updated opinion on what I think, and to be honest it hasn’t changed all that much. Still, I thought since the 20th anniversary of Digimon is fast approaching, I’d take time to revisit one of the best Digimon games in my opinion. Now I pose a question to you the reader: What is your favorite Digimon game? Feel free to tell me in the comment section! Keep in mind, you don’t need a WordPress account in order to post comments.

Sweet As Syrup: Digimon Adventure Anode/Cathode Tamer Veedramon Version Review

Yep, this is officially the longest title of anything I’ve ever reviewed on my blog! I thought I’d talk about a Digimon game that I’ve been getting into as of late, a rather forgotten title known as “Digimon Adventure Anode/Cathode Tamer”. This was one of the first Digimon video-games ever made, and was created while the series was at its most popular in Japan. It also introduced the world to Ryo Akiyama, a character who would make appearances in the first three seasons of the series.

This game was the series’ first foray into tactical RPGs, and one of their last. Sadly, the series would rarely revisit this genre. Regardless, I want to discuss this game. With Digimon’s 20th anniversary fast approaching, I feel it’s time I take a look at a forgotten classic. Without further adieu, let’s dive right in!

Background Information

Digimon Adventure Anode Tamer was originally released in 1999 for the Wonderswan, which was a Japanese exclusive console. A second version was released in 2000 called “Cathode Tamer”, and eventually a third a version of the game was released for the Wondereswan Color. This will be the version I’m looking at, the one known as “Veedramon Version”.

Unlike the other two versions released, Veedramon had an English version and was primarily released in English-speaking parts of Hong Kong. The Digimon Tamer series on Wonderswan proved to be very popular, and soon the main character Ryo Akiyama started making appearances in the show. It started off as a few cameos, but eventually he became a canon part of both the second and third seasons.

Digimon_Adventure_Anode_Cathode_Tamer
Can you smell that? That’s the sweet sweet smell of 90s nostalgia!

Plot

Taking place after the end of the first season, Digimon Anode/Cathode Tamer focuses on a young man name Ryo. One day, Ryo is chatting on a message-board, until he gets a strange message on his computer. After foolishly touching a Digi-vice (a tool used on the show to enhance the power of a Digimon) our hero is pulled into the Digital World.

This is where he meets Digital Monsters, known as Digimon. Ryo is forced to work alongside a lizard-like Digimon named Agumon, in order to rescue the Digidestined from the original show. You see, all the kids have been defeated and captured by the villains of the first season, who have resurrected and become more powerful in the process. Ryo is tasked with using Tai’s Digivice, along with partnering up with the chosen Digimon to once again defeat all of the Digidestined’s foes. Not only this, but Ryo has to go up again an all new villain named “Milleniumon”, an evil hybrid Digimon who represents the Y2K virus.

Yeah, the plot for this game is pretty generic. While it’s cool that you get to fight all the villains from the first season in game form, the reason they are all there feels a bit like a cop-out. They are all conveniently resurrected by the new villain, and none of them offer any interesting bits of dialogue. I get that this is a Wonderswan Color game, and that they were limited in what they were allowed to do.

Still, I can’t help but feel that they could’ve done more with the setting. Digimon Adventure was a show that had a universe that was ripe for expanding upon. Instead, they decided to rehash season 1 all over again. This wouldn’t bother me so much if they got the character portrayals wrong. Sadly though, characters behave in a very unfitting way. For example, after you save every Digidestined, they just leave the Digital World and basically abandon you to your quest. They never offer to help or stay, and they never come to your aid.

I get that this is done so that more attention is put on the player character, as opposed to side-characters. It’s just really out of character for the Chosen Children to just have somebody else do all the work for them. Am I thinking too deeply about this? I probably am, that’s just how my brain works. Regardless, I felt the plot to be very bland and forgettable. Very few interesting things happen, and it just ends up feeling like a hollow story overall.

Gameplay

The game is pretty basic in terms of structure. You can have a maximum of 3 Digimon in your party at at time, same goes for your opponent. In these 3v3 fights, you take turns with each individual Digimon. You move them across the grid to attack your opponent Digimon. While it seems simple, there are some things thrown in that help spice up the gameplay.

The game introduces something called “Variable Moves”. These are basically Digivolutions, a form of transformation evoked by Digimon in the series. However, Variable Moves are different in that they only last for one turn, where Digivolutions often last a lot longer in other games. Variable Moves are basically special summon attacks, and can be used to attack your opponent, heal an ally, or even buff your part members.

You can also use items both in and out of combat. These range from average healing items, to food or waste disposal items. That’s right, the game has some simulation elements to it. You have to take care of your Digimon, by both feeding it and cleaning up after it. Unfortunately, these particular elements of the game felt tacked on. More often than not, it felt like the hunger system was just an excuse to send me running back to the village to buy more meat. Thankfully, this doesn’t become too much of a problem, since you are given meat in battle.

Outside of combat, you can acquire new Digimon and travel the over-world. The over-world isn’t fancy, and it lacks any real depth to it. You just travel to new dungeons to send your Digimon to. There’s no secret areas, hidden zones, or anything to make it remotely interesting. Even the Pokemon games had wide open areas for you to explore! Sadly, the areas you explore feel so barren. There are very few Digimon to talk to in such areas as well.

Speaking of the game’s flaws, there was lot of elements to this game that generally rubbed me the wrong way. For example, the aforementioned Variable Moves system is rather annoying to get working properly. The game starts you off with no moves for any of your Digimon, you have to unlock them all by scratch by experimenting with different party combinations. The problem is that you get them entirely at random. It’s possible to get moves that could’ve been useful two dungeons, while in a completely new dungeon.

Balancing is another issue with the game. Certain Digimon that you are given at the start of the game feel way too overpowered. A good example of this was Veedramon, who pretty much broke most boss encounters. I liken Veedramon to Frederick from Fire Emblem, put in the middle of a battlefield and everyone will die in an attempt to take him out.

The game’s biggest offense though is its repetition and length. The game is very repetitive in its combat system. Certain fights will drag on for what feels like 30 minutes, sometimes longer. It gets really old, really fast. All the while, you’re stuck watching the same animations over and over again. It’s like if they made an episode of Digimon and only had a budget of 5 bucks and only about 20 frames of animation repeated over and over.

I feel like that’s an apt summary of this game in a nut-shell: “It’s like Digimon, but not as good and extremely dated”. It may sound cruel, but in terms of gameplay I feel it just doesn’t measure up to the flawed gem known as Digimon World, which came out the same year, but for a different console.

Visual Stimuli

This game looks pretty good for the time, to be honest. The sprite work is typical of a Wonderswan Color game, but they manage to capture the art-style of the original show very well. Digimon are well-designed and the battle sprites look nice enough, even if a few of them can look a bit uncanny valley at times. Sprites on the over-world can look a bit too simplistic though.

The problem with this game comes in the sound department. It sounds pretty bad, which is a result of the console’s limitations, I know. Still, the soundtrack felt grating at times due to the loud blaring noises. Another problem I had with the game was the odd translation. For some reason, the English version of the game chose to use a mixture of both the Japanese names and the American localized names. This made certain scenes feel a little odd for me.

While I did like the graphics, I felt the localization and soundtrack were a bit too stale for my tastes. As previously mentioned, the audio was blaring and the game’s localization couldn’t decide which translation it wanted to stick to. In all honesty, I found the production values of this game to be fairly hit-or-miss.

In Summation

I know that I have been fairly harsh on the game up until this point. I know it isn’t entirely fair, seeing as how this game was one of the first few Digimon games ever made. However, it did help kick-start an entire sub-franchise, and introduced the fandom to a character who would be popular for years to come. I guess I went into this game with too high of expectations.

Now, do I hate this game? No, but I have trouble saying that it’s a good game. It’s a middle-of-the-road game. I enjoyed parts of the game, and was totally a sucker for the nostalgic elements of it. The problem was that the game was too short, lacked an interesting plot, and didn’t do enough to distance itself from the many other tactical RPGs coming out around that time.

So, with that I can say that the game isn’t as sweet as syrup. Do I recommend it? Well, kind of. I can only really recommend this game to two kinds of people: Those who love Digimon and Ryo, and those who love tactical RPGs. While you can easily skip this game in favor of future games, I do suggest at least trying it. It does introduce the hero and villain of this series and is fun for an hour or two, but that’s about it. Anyways, that’s my personal thoughts on the game. If anyone else has played this game, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it as well. If you feel I presented any elements of the game incorrectly, feel free to call me out on it. Regardless, I hope you all have a great day!