Friday, November 22, 2013

Mini-review: Azumanga Daioh

As I hinted at back in the beginning of September I said I might do a mini-review on Azumanga Daioh when I finished it. Well, here it is!

Azumanga Daioh is a bit of a weird slice of life/comedy series. The pacing is a bit sluggish but it fits with the theme very well, as it is revolving around spending time with friends and taking it easy. For me it took some time to get used to the pacing and to get really into the series, but when I did it I got a lot more invested into this series.

Saying that though, it may not be just the pacing that will determine if you'll like it or not. You got to like the characters! A lot of the humor comes from the characters, and how they interact with each other. If you end up not liking one of the characters, it will most likely be detrimental to your enjoyment. This is where Tomo comes in to the picture for me.
"Time to annoy someone!"
As the series went on, she became more and more annoying. She would do stuff like throwing away house keys, annoy the other characters, and say rude things with no compassion towards others, and then act surprised when she hurt their feelings. She's also a slacker, despite being energetic! The only time she doesn't slack off is when she can do something that she knows will annoy someone, or make (what she thinks) is a good joke.

Kaori, unaware of the horror to come.
Employee of the Year?
I wonder if this is someone's OTP... O_o
Luckily though, this series balances out Tomo, with a magnitude of other great characters, like the teacher Kimura (which, for some reason has managed to not lose his job) and the student Kaori (often called Kaorin by Kimura). Kimura, despite being a happily married man, makes several (and somewhat creepy) advances at Kaori, like giving her a cute nickname, planting a sign in the flowerbed saying "Kimurin and Kaorin's flower garden" and dancing with her at the sports day festival, to name a few. This is luckily, all just played for laughs, and it is several times stated that he loves his wife and daughter.

Another great character I want to mention is Sakaki. She's tall (taller than many of the boys), and because of that has never considered herself as being able to be cute, and instead gives off an aura of "cool" in public. She loves animals (cats especially) but can't keep any because her mom is allergic. Seeing her luck with the cat she meets on her way to school several times, this is probably a good thing, as she gets bitten fairly often. This changes later on, when she is allowed to keep a wildcat, at another characters house.

"I've played GTA 5, I got this!"
The last character I'll go into some depth about is the teacher Yukari. Or rather, her driving skills. Yukari drives a car in the same manner as her personality is porttrayed. Reckless. Her car consists of dents and traded paint for the most part. She'll ignore traffic signs and pedestrians to get where she is going, fast. There's even a joke about how one of the characters got traumatized from riding in her car!

To wrap things up, Azumanga Daioh is a very good series that I'd recommend if you want something slower paced, and full of comedic relief, to take a break from the action or drama. If you enjoy the Slice of Life genre, this is a must watch, if you haven't already.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Pros:                                                                          Cons:
- Characters that work well together                               - Tomo can be annoying
- Clever and funny jokes                                                - The slow pace can require some
- Doesn't take itself too seriously                                     acclimatization

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Time and Games.

I need a time turner...
I seriously need more time. My backlog is starting to fill up, as it usually does around October to January. This is after all the release time for a lot of games, with Christmas coming up in a month. Also doesn't help that I got three RPG's in the bunch to complete, and a fourth one when I get my PS3 disc drive fixed. Instead of just mentioning them vaguely, I'll list a few of the games here that I'd like to play more of, but I'm too scarce on time.

First off, there's Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen which I did a first impressions post about. I've gotten around to actually beating the game, but the post-game has so much new content, and I'm also in the midst of clearing out Bitterblack Isle. The difficulty has gone up a bit , but not too the point where it's impeding progress though. This I approve. It's also a lot darker without a lantern, meaning that oil is a lot more important now. Once I finish Bitterblack Isle, I'll mark this game as complete, as speedruns and such is more for the Mastery badge on my Backlog.

Secondly, there's Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F.  This may come out of left field, but I really, really like the Vocaloids. Sure, I wouldn't be able to name many songs for you, but when I listen to them I have fun and enjoy it. This is not something I can say for other music-genres. I've gotten through all the songs on Normal difficulty, and I'm working my way on Hard. Some of these songs are absolute mayhem and I can't keep up with the button-prompts on screen. I worry for the Extreme difficulty... Even so, I enjoy this game immensely, and I hugely approve that this game got a western release (unlike the earlier PSP version). Pick it up if you enjoy Vocaloids and/or rhythm games.

Next up is an impulse buy. Final Fantasy IX. That's right, I impulse bought this to my PS Vita. Luckily, since it is on a portable console, I'm able to find a few minutes here and there for it. I've gotten to Disc 2, but the entire squad is still under level 20. I hope this is normal, because of how story-heavy the game is in the beginning. Not a fan of the card-game gimmick included though, so I've purposefully avoided it so far. I'm enjoying the story as it has been presented so far, and the cutscenes look damn good even now.

The fourth game that I'd like more time to play is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. A friend of mine got me into this game and it a fresh breath of air into MMORPG's for me. It's pay-to-play, but the first month is free (wait, isn't that what drug pushers say as well? Haha). Either way, it's a lot of fun and I'd like to get more time into it before I have to pay for more. The game also looks absolutely stunning. The weather changes from day to night,  from sunny to overcast, misty, thunderstorm, light rain, heavy wind and/or rain. It all looks stunning.
Raining sideways due to heavy wind. The sound to accompany this is great.
As if this wasn't enough games, there's Battlefield 4, War Thunder and the upcoming Ace Combat: Infinity, and a lot of anime to watch as well. Mix all that in with a visa-application for out-of-country studies and attempting to be sociable, there's not much time left to do nothing...

Anyway, that's a wrap for this post. Until next time, stay safe!