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Otaku Review: Knights of Sidonia

Knights of Sidonia

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A Netflix original, mostly 3d animated, manga adaption by the same name. The master mind and author behind this series is Tsutomu Nihei. Whom is well known for emotional scenes, striking vistas and insanely huge and complicated environments. His previous work Blame! Took place in a huge ever expanding mega structure. This time around it’s a science fiction epic that takes place in a generation ship. A asteroid made into a humongous spaceship that has been traveling for generations though unknown space. On the run from some very, very creepy and clearly organic beings. sid4These monstrosities looks like something out of a Lovecraftian nightmare and will shred you to pieces with razor sharp appendages. Meanwhile try very hard to fight them with rocket propelled mecha. Which uses lances among other things as weapon. There is a reason why it’s called Knights of Sidonia, Naturally the students also use them to joust during combat training. By now you should know that this series is in no way affiliated with the Knights of Cydonia song from the band Muse.  Interestingly enough this puts it somewhat on the hard side of the science fiction reality scale,  Though the Guano as the thing they is know as, is anything but real.

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The main protagonist Nagate Tanikaze is a fairly decent one and is just shy of being a spike haired loud mouth. Tough he has his moments. Since he is from outside the system he’s the odd one out and slowly but surely he gains the respect of his peers. However this is a seinen  series, which gives the characters a lot more emotional flexibility, which also make then infinity more expandable. I will not go into more details, as few people like spoilers. Almost everyone with a name can die and probably will die.  At least this holds true for the first half of the series. Nagate, is a bit of an oddity that emerged from the under belly of Sidonia in order to raid the rice storage. Naturally a chase scene ensues, he got heavily injured and eventually got conscripted. By the way, have I mentioned that anyone can die? I just had to be sure. For reasons unknown to me there is also a female baker bear in the series as well.

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Mi biggest complain would be that I feel that there is something seriously wrong with the framerate. The animations have a nasty habit of getting choppy. There are plotting and visual differences between the manga and anime, but it’s mostly faithful. There are also cases of naked breast in the comic. sid6

All in all a fairly enjoyable show, based on a very decently drawn and made manga. Though at times I wish that Knights of Sidonia was drawn instead. But you know what they say; taste is a butt, split in half and the middle is shit. One thing that also stands out is the overuse of the color white, as everyone seems to parade around in their uniform all the time. Keep in mind this is not a child friendly series, there are a lot of violence, blood and people dying in gruesome ways.

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Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Mighty No.9

    2942839-mighty+no.9_logo_brush+up1015Growing up there have been very few games that have left an impression on me. One of those games was Mega Man and the franchise it spawned. However in the declining years we have witnessed many attempts to create a better and better Mega Man title and we have blamed Capcom.

All the way to the point where Capcom has stopped producing Mega Man games which lead to them not even knowing who are fabled blue bomber is when Nintendo asked to put him in smash brothers.

However not long ago the former creator of Mega Man left Capcom and although he could not take his prodigal son with him. He decided to create a new IP in the name of Mighty No.9 or Beck if you want to call him by his proper name. A Kickstarter was launched and funding began to flow in for his new Mega Man and after a series of lengthy delays we ended up with a bad trailer and a game shortly after.
mighty-no-9-freeze Which I have had the dubious honor of playing both on Xbox One and the PC and I have come to a reasonable conclusion that! It probably wasn’t Capcom’s fault for the decline of Mega Man.

The first of many issues I encountered was its level design and lack of instruction for the game character. You see in the original games they went to great lengths to teach you the controls from jumping, to attacking and dodging, in this it gives you a very brief tutorial at the start of the game and after that.. We’ll it’s on your own after that.

Take for example the Power Plant stage in the game at one point of the stage it tells you to do a crotch dash and you have not been taught that anywhere in the game at all. So you try and waste countless lives because if you fail to do it you will instantly die.3083984-screens_07

The second issue also follows that the game is very unforgiving in terms of what to do. Once you learn the crotch dash is you literally dashing while pressing down on the D-pad you think you can finally avoid dying from the generators in the Power Plant stage. Well you are wrong in this case.

You see unlike the predecessors of his, you knew what the enemy or buildings hitbox looks like just by staring at it. You will understand this is where you go, this is where you avoid death and in this case you don’t get that. And this isn’t the only stage to do this, almost all the stages have this scenario somewhere in them that creates the issue of instant death that will frustrate and confuse the player to no end.mighty-no-9-screen-4

However the game has some good points, most notably the musical composition which remains very upbeat and the controls are pretty easy to understand as well. So the games faults just end up being bad level design, bad character design, bad dialog, and despite all the money they put into the title this does not have the polish we all were hoping for in terms of a Mega Man game.

Don’t get me wrong, he tried and he probably tried really hard and for that we give him credit. But there is no way I can honestly recommend this title to anyone, not even a die-hard Mega Man fan. It ends up being just a big pile of disappointment.

Sorry guy’s but the Super Fighting Robot we are looking for may never be seen again. At least Capcom released the classics on steam and other consoles again.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Mighty No.9

Haven Review: Zone of the Enders Anime

enders5First up is our disclaimer. We received this anime for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Zone of the Enders (ゾーン オブ エンダーズ)

Follow the story of a washed out drunken space-trucker James Links, who took a job out of desperation, only to end up with the possession of Dolores, a giant mecha with a child-like attitude. He’s then accused of a murder which he did not commit, due to an unknown assailant trying to steal said mecha, while killing the cargo inspection crew. This incidentally got his two children involved in a far reaching-conspiracy, due to a long history of troublesome relations between Earth, Mars and anyone at the border of Sol.

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Ladies and gentlemen, introducing our protagonist.

Zone of the Enders sits quite high on the scale of hard sci-fi, minus the giant robots and some odd technology here and there. Combine this with some excellent animation, and you’ll see just how awesome space and zero gravity can make intense action scenes even more awesome. Despite the nature of the show, it holds a steady pace and is not afraid to build its characters, which is quite refreshing. It’s sprinkled with genuine funny moments, as well. A very noteworthy thing I already mentioned is the main protagonist. Instead of some moody teenager getting his hand on a mecha wile stringing along a harem of buxom babes, we’re introduced to a rough-around-the-edges father who just doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore.

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Dolores, a mecha with the mind of a child.

The protagonist’s son is not very fond of his wayward father who left after his wife disappeared. A the start, he downright hates him. The fact that he got fired (and then arrested) did not help at all.

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The colorful and slightly dysfunctional family.

While his daughter also holds some resentment, she’s not as vocal and violent in her reactions, which makes all the characters very human and down-to-earth. Naturally, they have an overly cute cat-like pet with them as well.

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Giant robots inbound; look at that protruding cod piece. In this series it’s a literal cockpit.

I will not go much more into details, otherwise I would spoil the fun. I found this anime very enjoyable, even if the plot is pretty much driven by contrived conveniences and stubborn fools who can’t see much further than the tip of their nose. Shortsighted and stone-headed fools do work for the most part, but it becomes a bit silly when it requires the characters not to die. The music is quite decent, with a very hammy rock intro song that sprinkles its lyrics with a solid dose of “Engrish”. The art direction, while well drawn and executed, has some very generic character designs. This for me brings things down a bit. As a side note, I have no idea how this ties into the Zone of the Enders games.

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I would trust this man to lead neither an army nor a criminal investigation.

I have yet to actually play the games. Apparently this title is a prequel. Enjoy the show and look for it at an online retailer to get a box copy. 

 

Njål Sand