Tag Archive: anime


Notch Main

She runs through the darkened forest with wild abandon. Tree branches slash her face as twigs snap savagely against her ankles, fleeing with hardly a glance towards the ground. Her lungs burn. Her eyes piercingly sting with each tear ripped out by the wind. As she falls to the ground, she wishes with all her might that things would end differently…

In its own corner of the world, a small island village quietly waits for the world to remember – or perhaps, forget – that it exists. A once bustling tourist location, it is all but deserted of visitors from far off lands; only leaving its dwindling number of citizens to carry on its legacy. This is a town that lives forever by its olden ways: there is no true government, simply two rich and powerful families that rule over the town from their far off estates in the forest; there is also no hospital, simply family doctors who tend the ill and injured. The town is peaceful; it’s residents content with life…

Notch Girls

However, when young girls begin showing up mutilated and murdered, the townsfolk hardly know how to handle the situation. With peace shattered and an unknown killer residing in the area, it can be hard to know who to even turn to. But when those we love are brutally taken from us, it tends to strike vengeance and determination into our very core.

…Nanami didn’t deserve to die…

Notch – The Innocent LunA: Eclipsed SinnerS is a supernatural murder mystery Visual Novel developed by Angels Blue Digital Entertaiment and DEZ Studio. The player takes on the roll of the main protagonist: a young man seeking to save the girl he loves after she is slain in cold blood. He sets out to speak with the two ruling families about the murders but uncovers a much deeper rooted cause than anyone could have ever anticipated – mass killings, abusive relationships, families ripped apart, torture, lies, forbidden resurrection, alternate dimensions, pacts with devils and the enslavement of gods.

Notch Sister

To begin with, the story is beautiful, sad and captivating from the basic premise surrounding the main character and Nanami to all of the additional characters met that weave such integral pieces to the tale. The masters of each ruling family try to recover from the murder of their households all the while grasping tightly to dark secrets from nearly twenty years past. Meanwhile, the protagonist comes across numerous intriguing personalities on his journey to save Nanami: the caring and mysterious maid, Hitomi, who works for one of the ruling families; Rika, a dainty mute girl in a tragically abusive relationship; Saki, another almost-victim of the brutal killer; and Misa, a mysterious lolita-esque girl with abilities to traverse dimensions. Throughout the title, in learning their stories they both add greatly to the overall atmosphere as well as create a unique diversity whilst moving the main story along. It draws the player in quickly and does a fairly good job of holding their attention despite one of the game’s main flaws.

Aesthetically, the game provides a beautiful mixture of art and music styles. From anime/manga style drawings of the female characters to almost pastel sketches and water colors; the drastic contrast presents a beautiful landscape in which the story is portrayed. Oftentimes a picture can be worth so much more than words and it certainly rings true in this case. Additionally adding to the landscape would be the soundtrack. Made up of serenading piano arrangements, soft melancholic vocal tracks and even epic rock anthems (a la boss music) provide a near perfect backdrop for a majority of the scenes throughout the game.

Notch Misa

Unfortunately, there is one jarringly disruptive feature that nearly destroys all other beacons of recommendation: the writing. It is understood that translation can sometimes be attributed to sentences being a little off or seemingly simple, but this goes beyond that. Simple wording and sentences can be easily excused; however, it is the unnecessary repetition that is truly insanity inducing. After a few hours of playing the game, the writing became so frustrating that I found myself simply tapping the Enter key non-stop and skimming the lines as they quickly went by. The story is phenomenal, but I understood what was meant the first time it was said…the additional 15 statements trying to explain and send the sentiment home were just overkill. It demonstrates that its fast forward feature simply could never be fast enough. Take for example the following excerpt (keep in mind, this is but a mild example):

“I tried to stay alive…I didn’t surrender in the face of brutal tortures…But you didn’t come to see me…I was waiting for an impossible dream…”

“Don’t cry…I live to atone for my sin…Now I have redeemed my sin…I don’t expect you to forgive me…I am unworthy of being forgiven…I hope you can have a happy life from now on…I am going to die…but you can still enjoy your life in this world…I don’t expect your forgiveness. I just want my inner world to regain peace…I am going to say goodbye to you…I don’t regret trading my life for yours. I can have a chance to say sorry to you..I finally did this…Promise me you’ll have a good life…”

…and this goes on, even still.

Aside from that glaringly (oftentimes obnoxious) detail, Notch – The Innocent LunA: Eclipsed SinnerS is a game that will entrance and mystify. You will truly be drawn in by the art, music and story and yearn to find out more – if you can slog through the endless streams of unnecessary text. Should you decide to give this one a try, the 14 endings that, despite their differences, remain curiously connected will offer plenty of replay value. It is a story that will stay with you – at least in part – long after it is through.

Will the killer be brought to justice or remain free?

Will you be able to save anyone?

Will you be able to save yourself?

Notch Bloody

I hope someday you will forgive me.

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If you could go back and change something, would you do it?

Would you risk everything for simply a chance?

Is that truly your wish?

amnesia wall

What could be more difficult than waking up into a world where nothing makes sense? Your work, your school, your friends, your interests, your dreams – why can’t you remember? It seems like there is something you should not have forgotten, no matter what happened. What…or who…could it be?

Opening your eyes for the first time you come across a strange looking boy with horns – a spirit named Orion. Barely remembering your own name, Orion explains that he accidentally crashed into you – literally – and fused with your subconscious, knocking your memories and personality to the winds while doing so. How unfortunate, but luckily he vows to stay with you until your memories can be found and returned. Now, where to start ~

amnesia memories orion

Amnesia: Memories by Otomate and Idea Factory is a beautiful visual novel in which a young girl, the player, returns to her life after an uncanny turn of events and attempts to recover everything about herself that she lost. Reliving the month of August within 5 different timelines – the places remain the same and so do the people around her – but not everything is just as it used to be.

Although waking up with amnesia is certainly terrifying, staying locked inside is probably the worst possible scenario: no outward stimulation means no chance of triggering a memory returning. Only once these precious significant memories are recovered can Orion finally be separated from you and you can begin to live your life as you used to.

amnesia memories suits

Your apartment, your work, the hospital, the theater, the park – these are all places that mean so much to you for various reasons both past and future, yet they always remain static; it is the people you surround yourself with that have the biggest impact, and also provide the biggest danger. There is Shin (the harsh but caring suit of hearts) and Toma (the protective suit of diamonds) that have been your closest friends since childhood; Ikki (the compassionate playboy suit of spades) and Kent (the methodical suit of clubs) who you know from work and school; there is Sawa, who one of your best friends, and Mine who is a younger co-worker and occasionally a friendly rival; then of course there is the manager of your work, Waka, who has unique quirks of his own (military style run maid cafe? Sure, why not). Last but not least there is one other individual (the joker) – his appearances are rare and usually veiled in mystery, yet he almost seems the most important…but why?

amnesia memories others

So you must relive and relearn life as you once knew it five times over; but fear not, although the faces and locations remain familiar, the events that occur within each story arc vastly differ and are never easily overcome.

Each of the five arcs hold numerous bad endings, a normal ending and a good ending; which although may seem like a lot (26 endings in total) they truly leave you with a thorough understanding of everything around you. Initially, the first four arcs (heart, spade, diamond and club) may be played in any order; once completed, the final arc (joker) may be played. After viewing all the other stories, the final arc is almost a culmination of aspects the other four possess and represents the place where you truly belong.

amnesia memories heroine

Amnesia: Memories is truly a captivating experience and never seems like you are simply reading the same things over and over again. How you react and the answers you give to those around you can make a huge difference and change how the story plays out in drastic ways. Attempting to hide your amnesia but poorly masking it may lead others to become suspicious of you or even acting so off course to how you used did (which who really knows how that was until someone tells you) may become a good or a bad thing. However, even though you go to and from your apartment and work so often throughout the month, don’t think for a second that it is just an average slice-of-life playthrough. Each route holds its own suspense and in each one there are attempts on your life through various forms of dangers and harassment. Perhaps it is a jealous fan club that wishes you harm for dating their obsession or maybe it is being pushed by an unknown source into an oncoming train or traffic. Orion and those around you try to help as much as possible, but it is never easy to know the future or react fast enough when the time comes.

amnesia memories group

You may think this sounds familiar, and perhaps it is; there is an anime of the same name that follows a similar premise (If you’d like to see my review of that, click Here). However, the downfalls of the anime are almost entirely replaced within the visual novel on so many fronts. For one, the visual novel requires self insertment meaning that you, the player, become the protagonist/heroine and you decide what is going to happen and how to answer; in an anime, the viewer has no input and therefore the heroine became a blank slate with no memories, no personality, no brain (or so it would seem) and was simply frustrating to watch at times. The VN also is able to place far more detail into the story – almost akin to how reading a book and watching a movie based on the book will be similar, but not the same. The VN explains that it was her personality as well as her memories that were pushed out by Orion fusing with her and it also goes into far more aspects of the other characters that simply could not be conveyed in a 12 episode series adaption.

An aspect of the anime that did transfer over from the VN would be the exquisite art style and the beautiful soundtrack. From the ornate and detailed outfits and look of all the characters to their multifaceted eyes, the art style is mesmerizing. The music adds its own opening and closing themes and the instrumental backgrounds that accompany the scenes simply meld perfectly – from gentle, unknown melodies to beautiful piano arrangements to suspenseful rhythms which all somehow never take away from what it actually happening on screen. The voice acting is also superb and really brings the characters to life no matter what change of atmosphere may occur.

amnesia memories shin

One thing that caught me off guard in a good way was how consistent the story remained in its finest details. Many games that have multiple endings will change them drastically and leave you wondering which is truly the correct ending – which one really adds up all the details and makes sense 100% and which ones don’t quite fit right. Within each arc there are 4-5 different endings, yet the story never deviates from its ultimate path. For example, in the heart world you are pushed off a cliff by someone and wake up in the hospital. Shin is suspected of having done so but was let off after many interrogations and your own support to the police claiming that he did not do it. As the story goes on and you, as well as everyone who was present that night, go back to investigate the incident the paths begin to diverge. However, even though all of the endings come to vastly different finales, the culprit who pushed you remains the same…although that may not necessarily be the same person who kills you or attempts to interfere or otherwise. On a larger scale, even throughout viewing the stories of the other worlds so many things remain the same. Each characters personalities never falter even if their type of relationship with you changes, who they are friends with, who you are friends with, the types of dangers and atmosphere at present – they all exist in all of the worlds, it is how they affect you and what you are involved with that changes the outcome.

In the end, Amnesia: Memories is a romance and mystery visual novel with dabbles of supernatural (I mean, you are fused with a spirit after all). I suppose something that should be explained for those who may not know is what a visual novel actually is: it is an interactive fiction game usually using anime style art and still images. For anyone who may have only seen the anime or is interested in this series, I would highly suggest playing the visual novel. It is not a game for everyone, but if it is you will certainly not regret it. Give it some time and let the story truly encompass you. Let the fear, the sorrow and happiness pull you in. Experience the journey. Remember the good and the bad. Simply, feel.

amnesia memories pretty

7 deadly sins

“Your eyes can see through evil, your mouth utters the truth, your heart is filled with justice and your sword shall crush evil. To stand by what you believe is right till the end…isn’t that the most important thing for a knight?”

Wrath. Greed. Sloth. Lust. Gluttony. Envy. Pride. The Seven Deadly Sins in which so many people either fight against with all their might or simply accept freely with open arms. Whether it is seen as weakness or strength, the true intent often becomes the greatest demon of all.

When stars streak across the darkened sky forming a cross, it is said that a great calamity will soon fall upon Brittania – but to what end? Are the country’s exalted Holy Knights truly as honored and noble in their positions as people seem to believe? What of the legendary group of criminals, The Seven Deadly Sins, who once attempted to overthrow the kingdom ten years ago? When surrounded by enemies and deceit on all fronts, how does one choose the lesser evil?7 deadly posters

The anime Seven Deadly Sins or Nanatsu no Taizai follows the third princess, Elizabeth, as she flees her home in search of the great warriors once called the Seven Deadly Sins. The only problem being that no one has seen or heard of any of them in ten years – ever since they were accused of attempting to overthrow the kingdom and killing a Grand Master.

As luck would have it, Elizabeth ends up running into the former captain of the sins, Meliodas (the dragon sin of wrath) and after some untimely trouble and explaining that the Holy Knights have been corrupted and her plan in having the sins help, they end up traveling together in search of the others.7 deadly e and hawk

So begins the quest that takes Elizabeth, Meliodas and Hawk (the adorably heroic talking pig and scraps manager of the Boar Hat – Meliodas’ moving tavern) all over the land from the “haunted” white forest to a heavily fortified prison to a necropolis of the dead in search of the others. Of course, as if locating the other members and convincing them to come along wasn’t hard enough, numerous powerful Holy Knights show up to try and thwart their plans – their goals being to kill the sins, particularly Meliodas, and forcibly returning Elizabeth back to the castle. 7 deadly ban king

Seven Deadly Sins is an anime topped full of action, comedy and fantasy. It has an almost Full Metal Alchemist feel to it and keeps that spirit alive throughout its 24 episodes (and even has the sin name thing going). There’s also a fairly sizable nod to the original Dragon Age (whether intentional or not) that those who have experienced being a Grey Warden will almost instantly recognize once that point is reached. With  lovable and amusing characters, a fitting score, a story with far more depth, twists and turns and plenty of action – the episodes go by far too quick!

All of the main characters are so vibrant that there is never a dull moment to be had. They are so much more than just weapon wielders and pretty faces. They each have their own in depth stories, reasoning, races, abilities and personalities. From the happy go lucky kid who is captain of the sins for a reason to the most bubbly and adorable giant girl that ever existed – the cast simply never fails to impress.7deadly diane

It is a story of simple premise at start that gains momentum in leaps and bounds keeping shock and surprise around every corner. Characters that were hated will become loved while others backstab when least expected – it will play on emotions with the best of them! With no shortage of humor – and even tears on occasion – it is an anime that should not be missed.

Who would have thought teaming up with a bunch of criminals could bring on such an amazing adventure!?

“Even if you were to die, I would still fulfill the promise made with you.”

7 deadly group

The Gods Among Us ~ Noragami

noragami

“Even if things are painful and tough, people should appreciate what it means to be alive at all.”

A lost cat, a strange encounter and a bus. This is how it all started for Hiyori Iki as she walked with her friends on what could have been any ordinary day. As the three friends stop to look at a small ‘lost cat’ poster of Milord, they joke of Hiyori’s closet martial arts obsession and shake their heads as she completely zones out into her own little world. It is then, as they pass by a beautiful stranger with dark hair and piercing blue eyes, that everything changes. Her friends don’t bat an eye at his passing, but Hiyori notices him and turns to watch as he calls for Milord at the top of his lungs. At sight of the small feline across the street, the young man jumps into oncoming traffic only to be knocked out of the way by Hiyori trying to save his life. Oh, what a day!

Noragami yato

After awaking in the hospital, Hiyori finds the young man in her room and he introduces himself as Yato, a minor god. It turns out, Yato is so minor that not only is his name hardly recognized but he doesn’t even have his own shrine and he works minor jobs (such as saving lost cats) in order to earn money and gain a reputation to match his large ego and dreams. The next time their paths cross, Yato points out that Hiyori is a little bit different since they saved each other at the accident: Hiyori has become a hanyou, a half phantom that on occasion will separate from her own body and walk among the realm of the far shore – the realm of phantoms and gods.

noragami Bisha

From that point on, Hiyori becomes entangled in the lives of the gods – beings that exist alongside humans, although most people do not have the ability to even notice them unless the gods allow it. While many gods remain at their shrines, others go out and seek to eliminate phantoms that have crossed onto the near shore, the realm that humans inhabit. These gods fight with weapons called Regalia – spirits who are found and named by the gods after their death and take on a weapon form to work in tandem with their masters. Yato names a new regalia Yukine, a young troubled youth who wishes only to be alive like everyone else and causes much pain to his new master through his reckless actions.  The three encounter other gods in the area as well as their Regalia which bring friendship, loyalty, vengeance and betrayal – with none more mysterious than the disowned and renounced Regalia, Nora.

noragami nora

Noragami (meaning ‘stray god’) is a supernatural/action/comedy manga and anime that was recently aired running 12 episodes. Providing an entertaining premise and story mixed with a beautiful art style, the episodes keep audiences interested throughout their entirety. While the story line itself could easily be more in depth, the way different aspects and elements are strung together create a riveting and synonymous tale from beginning to end. For the length of the series it is very well done and gives an entertainment value that many fail to do quite so well. As the three somewhat unwilling strangers survive trials and grow ever closer, they all learn much about themselves and each other – even when the darkest of pasts come to light.

noragami hiyori

Despite harrowing circumstances, people can sometimes change each other for the better. Friendships are bonded, loyalties remain, and even gods of war and calamity can find light in their irrefutable darkness.

The Devil’s Own ~ Blue Exorcist

blue exorcist

The forest looked down on her with gentle smiling leaves as her feet sank into the freshly fallen snow at each step. This place was only to be a temporary assignment but it somehow became the only place she cared to be. It was all a misunderstanding anyways. Humans and demons could learn to coexist and understand each other, she was sure of it. Perhaps one day that world without separation and hate would become reality…

It had been 15 years since Father Shiro Fujimoto had taken in twin boys to raise as his own. The monastery they grew up in was the only home they ever knew, but the boys could not have possibly been any different from each other. Yukio Okumura was always smart, calculated and studious; even though he was the younger sibling he always sought to be able to protect his older brother and those that he cared for. The elder brother, Rin, on the other hand was always a wild card; somewhat of a rebel and slacker yet always attempting to do things with the best of intentions – even if putting his own life at risk. The brothers always seemed to be a little bit different in some aspects, but it remained a deeply hidden secret until one fatal night when their lives would change forever.

blue exorcist groupWhen demons begin to overtake Assiah, the human world, Father Fujimoto has no choice but to finally reveal to Rin that he is the true Son of Satan and give him Kurikara, the demon sword that had sealed away his powers up until this point. When the gate to the demon realm Gehenna opens and Fujimoto is possessed by none other than Satan himself, he sacrifices himself in front of Rin’s eyes in order to save him. From that point on Rin vows to destroy Satan and eventually ends up enrolling in the elite True Cross Academy high school.

Admitted by the preceptor himself, True Cross Academy has a hidden curriculum that only certain dedicated students even have knowledge of called the Cram School: a school for exorcists. It is there that exorcists in training learn not only to combat demons and protect the world from a danger most people do not even see, but they also hone the exact methods in which they will repel the evil and learn to work as a team. Some exorcists become Tamers with summoned pets to do their will while other may choose to become an Aria and defeat demons through reading scripture. There are other categories as well that aspiring exorcists may enlist themselves as, but none so highly ranked as the Paladin. Rin soon finds himself among a small yet colorful cast of students and faculty that will take them up the ranks of becoming exorcists and closer to their goal of abolishing Satan. Of course, nothing ever goes quite so smoothly planned and as Rin attempts to keep his demonic looks and powers concealed, plenty of trials and trouble test the students up until their final showdown with the demon king himself.

Blue Exorcist is an action/supernatural manga and anime following the story of the brothers – in particular, Rin. Throughout the 26 blue exorcist rin and shiemiepisodes of the first season, the main story remains ever in tact while still including many side stories and character backgrounds that truly draw the audience in. From the goal oriented justice seeking Suguro, to the abandoned demon familiar Kuro who is quickly won over by Rin, to the gentle and quiet Shiemi who ends up becoming one of the strongest characters overall – the cast truly transforms into a solid unit of friends and allies by going through so many difficult trials together. With humor, emotion, and plenty of action throughout each episode it is one that will easily keep attention throughout the series.

Humans and demons have been at war for as long as texts have been written and stories have been told. Perhaps it only takes one person to change that fate for the future.

There are always dreams to be realized.

Lives to be lived.

 

queen

The day has finally come. The halls are bustling with anticipation as last minute preparations for the ceremony are underway. A few short months ago she was almost a normal school girl worrying about grades and friends and social gatherings; but now everything has changed. For better or worse she has finally arrived at this momentous day – the day she would become queen. So many people dream of being a princess and living a prosperous royal life decorated to the nines and waited on hand and foot. If only they knew what it took to get to that point; the time, the knowledge and the sacrifice. Adorning her last decoration and examining her attire one last time, she takes her final steps as princess…

queen testLong Live the Queen is a life simulation visual novel created by Hanako Games. Stepping into the life of Princess Elodie, players are given the task of preparing Elodie to take the throne and will quickly discover that every decision made has the utmost importance and consequence. Surprisingly enough, while every issue encountered has a distinct cause and effect, surviving long enough to see her coronation is no easy feat.

The game opens with Elodie talking to her Father on their return trip from her boarding school to the castle. Her mother’s untimely death has forced her to leave behind her school life and begin preparations to become queen. Although a simple premise at first glance, it does not take long to discover just how in depth and difficult accomplishing that task will be.

The game itself is broken up into two sections for each week that passes. Elodie has 40 weeks of preparation before the coronation andqueen classes each week can be considered a player’s turn. At the start of each week Elodie must choose two courses of study (one for the morning and one for the afternoon) which will boost her skills in that particular field. Easy enough, right? Not so much. There are 14 class categories which range from royal demeanor/conversation/expression to agility/weapons/athletics/animal handling and history/intrigue/medicine/economics/military/faith/lumen. Within each of these categories lie 3 particular areas of study and one is then chosen for morning and afternoon for that week. Elodie’s skills will go up in that category at a rate of 10 per week – though that also depends on her mood. Yes, a plot twist! Elodie is affected by the events that occur to her. Whether she is happy, sad, determined or worried it will affect how she learns certain skills. When determined she may learn military strategy at a much higher rate but if she were sad there would be a penalty. Of course, Elodie could just learn certain areas randomly and gradually increase them all but in all actuality that does not get her very far.

queen skill levelThe second section of each week places Elodie in the role of regent. These meetings and events all force decisions that will ultimately aim Elodie towards a certain fate and it is also where the skills that are selected to be learned become of great value. For example, criminals may be put on trial and the decision must be made on whether they are to be set free, put to work, locked up or executed; but decisions may backfire or they may anger or bring alliance with other nobles involved. Additionally investors may come looking for approval but if Elodie does not have enough economic knowledge she may simply dismiss them rather than bring good fortune to her land via great innovations or aid.

That is the basic setup of the game but the options and outcomes are enormous. One tiny decision made different or the lack of a skill at the right time can send Elodie to her death or can unlock even more elements and parts of the story that might have easily been missed. The dilemmas range from the simple trials and investment offers as given above to more serious political strategy, commoner rebellion, nobility backstabbing, magic, invasion and war. Every decision counts and preparation for the actions and consequences that follow is everything.

Long Live the Queen is a game that seemed intriguing enough to pick up during a sale and give a try. Unbeknownst to me, I wouldqueen death soon be spending hours upon hours retrying my decisions and attempting to open up other avenues within the expansive story line. It was a delightful surprise to find how in depth and challenging the game became and even now after the hours I have put into it I still have things left undiscovered. Available on PC, it is well worth the price for the amount of content. Although it may get somewhat repetitive recounting the same trials over and over to gain new results, the reward is often worth the trouble and many of the scenes can be skipped through and sped up to get to the decision once you have seen them so many times they are devoted to memory. It may seem a bit girly at first but it is a game that anyone can and probably will enjoy. When a break is needed from guns and action or leveling, delving into the strategic gameplay and enjoying the anime style art of Long Live the Queen may be just the right decision.

Long live the queen! Long live the queen! Long live the queen!

queen coronation

“A person who cannot give up anything, can change nothing.”

Attack on titan wall

One hundred years ago humanity was thrust into a one-sided conflict against incredible giant humanoid Titans; a devastation that would result in a majority of the population being wiped out – without remorse, without reason. Since then, peace has been found within the safe and well defensive confines of three ginormous walls: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and the center-most Wall Sina. During this time, many people have lived their lives happily without ever laying eyes on a Titan; but peace can only last for so long uninterrupted…

In the year 845, the outermost wall containing the Shiganshina district would experience this terror once again and numerous citizens and military personnel would invariably lose their lives and lay witness to a massacre and evacuation that would not soon be forgotten.

Within this area called home to so many, three youth connected by difficult experiences and dreams of the outside world go about attack on titan legionstheir day as if it is any other. Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman make their way home while completing chores and stop to see the return of the brave but war-torn Survey Corps; one of three branches of the military that go beyond the walls in hopes of quelling the Titan onslaught and gathering intel – though usually at the cost of many lives. As people insult and disgrace the men and women as they return home, Eren is enraged, hoping to one day join their ranks and help gain humanities freedom. Along the way they also run into a close friend named Armin Arlert, a sweet and intelligent young man who would do anything for his friends.

It is after a brief visit home that all hell breaks lose upon Shiganshina as a giant Colossus Titan appears as well as another variant known as an Armored Titan break through Wall Maria and let lose an onslaught of Titans onto humanities doorstep. Peace has ended and blood swiftly begins to flow down the streets of destruction and terror. As military personnel try their best to defeat the 3 to 15 meter tall titans overtaking the city and evacuate as many citizens as possible via boat to the inner walls; the three youth make their way to safety but it is not without tragedy or heartbreak. As refugees to the inner Wall Rose, Eren vows to join the cadet ranks and enter the fight personally to kill any and all Titans that have torn his life asunder. At this proclamation, Mikasa and Armin also agree to enlist in order to help protect Eren as well as accomplish their own motives.

attack-on-titan titanThe next 5 years follows the three through harsh military training: vigorous regiments, classes, hand to hand combat and mastering the core weapon used to down their most formidable foe – 3D Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. This equipment sits at the belt and is comprised of a storage vessel for blades on each side connected with a trigger hilt which not only houses the sharp swords for use but also triggers the maneuver part of the gear. The maneuvering allows the user to be versatile in air combat via gas supply by extending two separate hookshot-esque lines into walls, building, trees and Titans – and is invariably the only method that allows reach to the Titans true weak point: a death stroke to the back of the neck. Most other attacks will simply allow the Titan to regenerate injuries and lost limbs within a short amount of time.

Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin, is a 25 episode anime that follows humanities fight for survival against the fearsome Titans. Staying close to Eren, Mikasa and Armin, as well as the other cadets in their graduating class, they are thrust headfirst into battle and bloodshed, unknown circumstances and enemies and even distrust within their own ranks. As they watch elite members of the guard fall time and again, they must somehow find the strength to carry on with their mission…no matter what the cost.

attack on titanIt is an action intense, dramatic anime that will keep attention throughout. With a decent amount of character growth within the first season, it brings forth many different elements and truly accentuates the fact that there is rarely an easy or correct decision. A good leader must be willing to risk everything to gain results, and this is truly the mindset that becomes impossible to ignore. Although many of the ‘shocking’ moments and realizations can be estimated beforehand, it does not take away the intensity and want to keep watching. There should be some warning though as it does contain a large amount of graphic content from horrific and bloody deaths to the harsh language one would expect to accompany such atmosphere. The anime ends with just as many questions as it begins with, if not more; but that leaves plenty of room for the oncoming second season to pick up with.

At one point in the series a character states that, “It takes great courage to go against the tide. I respect that.” In difficult times it can be easy to simply cower in fear and run with the crowd, but it is those who stand up to fear that show their true strengths when it really counts – and it is those that make all the difference.

“They are the prey and we are the hunters!”

“People don’t realize they aren’t able to choose whether or not to believe something. If they subconsciously believe something, therein lies the potential for a curse.”

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The typical life of a middle school student usually consists of going to their average school, sitting through endless classes, participating in regular club activities and repeating. But what if the school wasn’t quite so average, the classes not so endless (well, maybe) and the clubs not entirely what everyone would expect?  Welcome to Seikyou Academy; a school built upon the ancient ruins of a shrine with mystery and horror strewn throughout both its abandoned and bustling halls.

Teiichi_yuuko_hold_handsWithin these very halls of the abandoned part of the school building lies the home base of the school’s small and mostly unknown paranormal investigations club – a club consisting of only a few unique members who investigate the numerous mysteries surrounding the school in hopes to uncover the truth about the greatest ghost story of all. The club members consist of Teiichi Niiya, the main protagonist and head of the club, Momoe Okinogi, an extremely enthusiastic girl always ready for the next encounter, and lastly Konoe Kirie, the remarkably less enthusiastic member. Then there is Kanoe Yuuko who just so happens to also hang around the club room and help the team explore the paranormal occurrences and find clues throughout the school. Yuuko does have at least one unique thing about her though and that is that only Niiya and Kirie can see her…oh, and she also happens to be the star character in the most famous ghost stories surrounding the academy.

These stories are said to originate from an event that happened in the old abandoned school building some 60 years ago. A story clouded in mystery involving a catastrophic epidemic and a young girl abandoned and left for dead below the new paranormal investigations club room. It is in that closed off room that Niiya first meets Yuuko and there begins their own story as they work to uncover the truth of what happened to Yuuko; because, as it turns out, Yuuko has no memory at all of the events.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is a supernatural anime encompassing a wide variety of genre from comedic romance to horror andtasogare otome x amnesia suspense. Yuuko may be dead, but her main persona is that of the happy, loving girl she was before her death; however, where there is light, there is shadow and darkness as well. The happiness Yuuko exudes on a daily basis is the complete opposite of the shadow who stalks the very same abandoned halls emitting negative emotions and memories – something the Yuuko everyone knows and loves, lacks.

The anime revolves around a story that has been done numerous times, yet it accomplishes it far better than many. It is a ghost love story with a darker, more tortured twist that checks nearly every emotion off the list as it goes through its 13 episodes. The beautiful art style mixes a sense of haunting dusk and gothic light and is easy to fall into its mesmerizing gaze. Additionally, the music accompaning the episodes as well as the opening and ending themes are fitting and help add to the overall atmosphere and setting.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, or Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, is a supernatural/love/horror/comedy that will surely catch and hold attention, though not to the point of keeping you awake for endless hours. Horror fans will surely find more intrigue later on in the show as the main mystery is deeper uncovered, yet it is an enjoyable experience throughout. Unlike Yuuko’s memories, it may just end up being something you would rather not forget.

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“Mysteries become dull once they’ve been solved.”

Amnesia [Anime]

“Memories are nice, but that’s all they are…”

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What would you do if you woke up one morning and found everything you ever knew to be gone? Your memories, your friends, your relationships and even who you are, all a mystery. The scenery is familiar, your apartment the same and even work; yet everything that has ever occurred up until this day is completely unknown.

The anime Amnesia, adapted from its visual novel form, takes you through a mysterious journey of a girl with no memories trying toamnesia Heroine_Orion understand who she is and everything that is around her. However, many challenges await as she attempts to let on to others around her that nothing is amiss while everything is actually completely new. To makes things more difficult, every time she begins to grasp the entire picture, it is ripped out from under her feet and she is thrust into another realm where things are almost the same, yet not at all.

Throughout the chaos there are certain factors that always remain the constant, if not entirely in the same circumstances. Her childhood friends, Shin (the angst-ridden loner suit of hearts) and Toma (the outgoing suit of diamonds) each have their own arcs as well as fellow friends and co-workers, Ikki (the ever popular ladies man suit of spades) and Kent (the rational mathematician suit of clubs). In addition to these four, one other mysterious long haired stranger often seems to catch her eye at least in passing throughout the series; he represents the joker and his intentions are kept secret until nearly the very end.

“It’s nice to see you again, or should I say, it’s nice to meet you?”

Each section of this 12 episode anime begins with the heroine always waking up in bed on August 1st, attempting to understand which of her friends she is with and what is happening in her life and finally ending in some untimely accident. Then it all begins anew.

The story of this anime is much like watching someone else play the visual novel. It is a basic reverse harem setting that dabbles in wish fulfillment and dedicates a couple episodes to each of the male character arcs and then moves on. Unfortunately not much is explained until the very end which leaves audiences confused as to what is going on and why. Although the premise is slow, it does give the amnesiaimpression of what is going on and what the overall outcome may be leading up to.

The art style used is one area that this anime does truly excel in – especially in the character design. From each characters unique appearance, colors and multi-faceted eyes, it is truly entrancing to watch. The male characters themselves, while fairly set into cliche categories, have an interesting depth at times and quite an air of attraction to each of them. Unfortunately, in regard to the heroine, she is quite possibly the most difficult part to deal with in the series. With mundane looks and the personality of a wooden plank, her minor one word answers and expressions of confusion and doubt get tiring pretty fast; as far as most people are concerned, having amnesia does not make for a lack of personality.

Overall, Amnesia is a series that certainly is not all bad but definitely is slow to get into. It probably took until halfway through the show to really catch my attention and make me want to finish it out; and even then it was mostly to see if my own prediction was correct. By the end everything does get explained, but it all happens during the final episodes rather than giving any kind of build up. Although the artwork is probably its best redeeming quality, it is hard to deny that there weren’t a few truly captivating moments between the characters that, in the end, almost make it all worth it even despite its flaws.

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“I have lost count of the number of times I’ve met you and lost you. But even now…I still love you.”

The Will of the Abyss ~ Pandora Hearts

“We’re connected not by light, but by shadow”

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Listen closely. Whispering ever so softly, can you hear it?

From a small golden pocket watch comes the most beautiful, most sorrowful melody to grace human ears. In its notes it sings of a happiness once found and a tragedy soon befallen.  Just as time continuously moves forward with each note of the song, so too does its story. To piece together its fragments is but one option…and an option that will not be easily carried out at that.

This small watch is but the first key moment of many that soon encompass a young boy’s life and that of those around him.

On the day of his coming of age ceremony, young master Oz Bezarius, his friend and servant Gilbert and his little sister Ada stumble into aPandoraHeartsAnimeWallpapers_377015 hole with but one lone unmarked gravestone and a small watch wound around a side of it.  Picking it up, Oz hears the beautiful notes resound and carries it with him as they depart.

Little did he know that his life was about to change forever. After all, no one ever anticipates the moment that they will lose everything they know and love in one swift, fatalistic blow.

That evening as Oz walks into the old cathedral and towards clock frozen in time, he recites the verses he dutifully memorized and receives honor from his uncle. Ascending the stairs he kneels in front of the stopped clock. As the first word leaves his mouth, the grand clock bellows to life in twelve massive rings. The destined one has awakened and at that very moment all hell breaks loose.

pandora-hearts-screenshot-02Out of nowhere, a large black-scythe-and-chain wielding rabbit emerges and begins to fight the cloaked intruders threatening Oz’s life. Lightning flashes and in a moment of haste, Oz picks up the holy sword at his feet and swings towards one of the lead intruders…only to find himself slashing down his closest and best friend, Gil. Torn by sorrow and grief he is captured and given judgement for his sins. His punishment: to be cast into the abyss for all eternity; and then everything goes black.

The abyss, however, is not simply an endless black hole; but rather a culmination of deadly madness that few ever truly escape from. It is there that Oz first encounters beings of the abyss called “chains” and one chain in particular, named Alice, whom he forms a contract with in order to escape.

Upon their escape, they run into a group of individuals from an organization called Pandora: a group that seeks something called TheChesire9 Will of the Abyss. With the aid of both new and old friends, Alice and Oz seek numerous answers for which they know nothing of. Recovering Alice’s fragmented memories is only the beginning as warring households and dukes as well as opposing organizations all fight towards the same objective. The Will of the Abyss, the century old tragedy of Sabrie, illegal contractors and their chains and even mysteries within their own trusted group allow danger and mistrust to blossom along every step of their journey. Towards what goal, even they remain unsure, but they will move forward no matter what the cost.

Pandora Hearts is a series that has long caught my attention due to its dark, twisted nature and tendrils of magic drawn from Alice in Wonderland. The story, music, visuals and characters all immerse you into its depths with little effort and hold you there throughout its entirety.

The main cast and the larger chains all hold such unique qualities and quirks it is hard to not adore them. An aspect that I found clever was how they directly linked characters from Alice in Wonderland to those within this series – as chains. The most powerful and influential chains encompass not only names of similar nature but also some unique traits as to their overall significance (to include: B-Rabbit (attributed as the March Hare as well as Alice’s embodiment), the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat).

pandora_hearts-1The story, as mentioned previously, is gripping and remarkable of its own accord. Searching for lost fragments of Alice’s memories, defeating rampant chains strewn throughout the city, discovering the secrets each character is carefully trying to mask, finding inner relationships and ties between the cast, a hint of time being tampered with and a link to a tragedy that dragged everyone into their current position. The only complaint I truly had with this anime was the quick tie-up it pulled together to find closing at 25 episodes. The story progressed fine, but ended up leaving more questions unanswered as it diverted up a quick trail to write “the end”. Luckily, as I had heard previously and will now be finding out for myself, the manga is (as often the case) much more in depth and is still ongoing.

I had heard for quite some time that the written version was much better, but even still, I am glad to have watched the anime. Seeing characters come to life through voice and action is always surreal and the music, much of it written by Yuki Kajiura, is simply stunning and would be left incomplete without. Overall, it is an anime that I would easily recommend but with warning that it will leave you returning to its manga roots by its finish.

As time unravels to one of heroes and bloodshed, the softly spoken melody carries on through years to come…through unanswered questions, tears and smiles.

“Every time you kissed me
My heart was in such pain
Gathering the roses
We sang of the grief
Your very voice is in my heart beat
Sweeter than despair
We were there, in everlasting bloom”