Review: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is a Cthulhu-mythos inspired moe horror anime. Not only that, but there is/was a series of light novels and probably manga.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san has to be the hardest anime to classify I have seen yet. It has space aliens and gods (plural) as well as monsters, space combat,personal armor that allows the user to do incredible things, and attempts at romance. Is it fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, action, or what?

It lacks the appeal of Kannazuki No Miko, which tried to blend many genres into one book to have a story that pits science against fantasy. Sure, Kannazuki No Miko was not very good, but it felt like they were trying out a new formula and at least cared about what happened.

Normally, I wouldn’t necessarily list the characters, but I don’t have a lot to say about Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, so I’ll just copy over some wikipedia descriptions.

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Farewell

All things good and bad must come to an end someday and this one day something does end. As of this writing I have decided to leave Blog of the Hawk as a writer. So why am I leaving all of a sudden you ask? It boils down that I have no motivation to write anymore. The interest that I had in writing about anime last year has now been replaced with just a lethargic attitude towards writing about anime. I still like anime but writing about it now feels like a chore instead of a hobby.

Well I am not completely going away from the anime fandom. You can still find me on twitter at OtakuAnthony and I still will have things to say on there.

I have enjoyed the time that I have written for the site, but I have decided to leave before I start getting more cynical than I already am about writing.

Farewell,

OtakuAnthony

The Gintama movie is pretty good, but the dub is kinda odd

About a month ago, Sentai Filmworks released the Gintama movie on DVD and Blu-ray, with an English dub. It’s the only English dub any piece of Gintama media has gotten, with Sentai’s release of the series being subtitled only. Needless to say, there was some concern about the dub, both based on the property itself and Seraphim Digital’s (the studio that does most of Sentai’s dubs) history of producing… less than stellar dubs recently. The dub isn’t really any worse than any other one they’ve released, but it’s not really great either, and has some really weird problems.

The first oddity is encountered early on in the movie, when the characters retelling the premise of the series. When Gin mentions the business he runs, Odd Jobs Gin, in the dub he calls it Yorozuya, the Japanese name. But that in itself isn’t terribly shocking. Needlessly leaving in Japanese terms is a thing that’s started creeping into official translations lately. But what makes it odd is that in the subtitles it’s referred to as Odd Jobs Gin. It just seems incredibly weird that it would be left in Japanese in the dub, but translated in the subtitles, when it being the other way around would sort of make more sense.

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Saints Row: The Third is the best game I played half a year after everyone else

For the last few months, while trying to no avail to get a job, I’ve been filling my time with video games. I made a sport out of getting the platinum trophy in as many games as I could manage, and currently find myself sitting on a pile of 21 of the god damn things. While I am basically hunting for platinum trophies, I do make it a point to stick to games I think I’ll like. But often times getting the platinum involves playing the game to the point where I just start to resent it and am relieved to finally get it so I can stop playing.

Last Tuesday, June 19th, at 12:12PM, I got the platinum trophy in Saints Row: The Third, and I have not stopped playing. I vehemently refuse to stop playing. I did an entirely new playthrough with a different voice just so I had a reason to continue. I love this game. I love everything about it. I’m legitimately sad that I have nothing left to experience in this game, and I haven’t felt this way about anything in a while.

Saints Row: The Third has a gift for taking absurd action to a whole new degree. One of the earliest things you do is jump through the cockpit window of a plane and shoot a couple dudes before immediately coming out the cargo hold. The entire time you plummet to the ground after escaping the plane, rival gang members who are absurdly dedicated to their jobs keep trying to kill you. This sequence is eventually topped later in the game where you do pretty much the same thing, except this time you’re in a tank. The game simply revels in the kind of ridiculous action sequences that I, and apparently many others, absolutely love.

I would imagine part of the reason Saints Row: The Third has managed to strike such a resonance with people has to do with the direction Grand Theft Auto has gone. The game undeniably has its roots in the Grand Theft Auto series, but with that series going for the more gritty and dramatic approach recently there’s plenty of room for a similar game to take the concepts from the genre and just simply be unabashedly stupid with them. The game is definitely juvenile, but it completely owns it. When Grand Theft Auto decided to put on its big boy pants and be serious, Saints Row said, “Fuck. That,” and beat a cop to death with a giant purple dildo, and I love it for doing so.

There’s not much else I can say about the game, other than that I’m really looking forward to how Saints Row 4 will try to top it.

If you haven’t given the game a shot yet, I highly recommend doing so.

Armored Core V

Right, Armored Core V. In theory, a mech game should be very simple. Just add some giant robots, some guns, and places to rampage. Shake for a few minutes and serve.

Sadly, ACV has the same issues as AC4A did. Namely, it isn’t very fun.

I could harp on the practically non-existant characters or the story that seems to require you to have played all the previous games in order to understand it. You seem to be a member of a rebellion fighting against a figure creatively entitled ‘Father.’ Except some side missions seem to have you fighting mechs piloted by other rebels, so perhaps you are just a mercenary hired to support just one rebellious faction?

There are several characters including you, but you never see their faces, much less their shadow. At one point, one seems to die, but without any real experience or characterization, the death rings hollow, meaningless, and emotionless. We aren’t invested in the characters or story.

Unlike other games, ACV has one difficulty setting, with a difficulty curve like running into a wall. The first few missions are a breeze, then it throws a 7/10 mission at you. Naturally, the mission requires mastery of controls you haven’t really had to use as much or at all, and techniques that you haven’t yet ingrained. As such, you will fail that mission multiple times, even with the help of a buddy.

ACV is supposed to be more tactical and less action oriented, but that really doesn’t happen. Not only is rushing in guns blazing an effective plan, it works, and usually works much faster. Couple that with the fact that you can give orders to the other player if you started the mission, but the fact that they can’t respond or suggest something eliminates planning as an effective method.

I could harp on the weapons, so I will. Kinetic weapons use ammo. Chemical weapons use ammo. Thermal weapons use ammo and your generator charge. To fire the sniper cannon, you aim, lock on, and shoot for usually a one-hit kill, and some ammo used. For the laser cannon, you find an enemy that doesn’t have laser resistance, aim, charge the gun wiht your entire generator charge, and hit them for about 6k damage, using some ammo and your entire generator charge, forcing you to be essentially a sitting duck. It is amazing that even at the max distance you can lock on at, the kinetic weapon which causes less damage over distance is the better choice than the weapon that does not degrade over distance and destroys things by turning them into rapidly expanding balls of plasma and shrapnel (thanks to Atomic Rockets for the information on what a laser does to things.) Even an enemy with kinetic resistant armor can usually be killed in one hit from a sniper cannon. Even modern lasers have the kinds of power to burn through armor, and a game set in the future would likely have even more powerful lasers.

Naturally, it is at least fun to rampage around the city smashing things to bits, except it is also un-fulfilling. Somehow, From Software managed to make a mech game where you can stomp on things, but there is no sense of something actually getting destroyed. It feels like you may as well be walking around on plastic cars in those plastic city play sets.

Even better, the menus are willful obtuse. To equip an item you bought requires going through several load zones and multiple menus to attach just one part. Because of that, you will spend most of your time just adding parts to your mech. Even better, most of the time, your loadout will not be quite right for a mission, so you need to experiment through failure as to what works and what doesn’t.

Luckily, there are lots of varied places to stomp around. There is an ice area, a desert area, a city area, and an outland area. When areas aren’t obviously repeated, they still feel recycled and uninteresting.

Couple that with a $60 price tag from Amazon, but usually goes on sale for a mere $50, and you have a game that is less fun than running into a brick wall.

Luckily, there is an alternative. A game called Hawken is coming out later this year, and not only does it look fun, but as it uses a service called Gaikai, it can play the game on ay device with a screen that can accept a controller. The Gaikai cloud gaming service means your game can be played on a to with internet, a powerful gaming computer, or even your little tablet computer.

Gaikai is free, and luckily, Hawken is also free to play. Purchase items are aesthetic bits, not bits that affect the game.

So, a free game that can be played essentially anywhere without a gaming computer? Let’s just put it kindly: there is no reason to bother with ACV.

ACV score: 1/5 bad

Pros: giant robots shoot each other

Cons: tactical gameplay isn’t there. no immersion. no investment in the story or characters. horrible difficulty curve. boring gameplay. obviously recycled areas. menu functions are willfully obtuse. Very high price tag, especially considering what you get.

You can buy ACV from Amazon if you want. It is available for both xbox 360 and ps3.

You can register for Hawken here, as it is yet to be released. That means you may get into the closed beta, or could even help shape the final version of the game by being in the forums. At this time, they are just taking player registration, so you can claim your name before someone else does.

Oh, and Hawken can be played on pc with mouse+keyboard, on most anything that has a screen with a gamepad, and they seem to be planning a Steel Battalion style simulation controller that a tablet can plug into.