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Bamboo Blade, Vol. 1 Review

Bamboo Blade tells a story about a bet between Kojiro and his senpai Kenzaburo Ishibashi. If Kojiro can form an elite squad of female kendo students and beat Ishibashi’s team, then he is entitled to a year’s worth of free sushi. However if Kojiro loses the bet he has to forfeit the most precious item in his room. Kojiro considers his Super Famicom the most precious item in his room. However what his senpai really wants is the trophy that represents Kojiro’s victory over him senpai during high school. This demonstrates the sense of rivalry between the two that has not been extinguished over the past few years. As a result Kojiro agrees to this bet, only to find out that the trophy has been shattered to pieces, and he is left with no choice but to win this gamble.

This manga is not a typical sports manga in the sense that it focuses more on character interactions rather than diving into the complexity of the rules and mechanics of kendo. The author Totsuka Masahiro demonstrates this clearly by having free sushi as the goal for Kojiro rather than the desire to win nationals. Kojiro even uses this motivator in an attempt to persuade kendo prodigy, Tamaki Kawazoe, to join his team. Be that as it may, she shows no interest in kendo or Kojiro’s prize. It seems that many of the characters in Bamboo Blade join the kendo club for a reason outside of the sport itself. Even the freshmen only join the kendo club because they got rejected by the ping-pong club. What’s even more interesting is that Tamaki later decides to join because she dreams of being an anime hero. Ultimately this alludes to the idea that kendo can attract different personalities under the same sport. Such is shown through each character’s motivations and reason to practice kendo.

The high speed kendo scenes are a testament to each character’s ability and skills. For example the very first page of the manga shows multiple consecutive strikes done within a short amount of time. It then transitions to Tamaki’s face, illustrating the turning point of the match before it ends with her image as the victor who has not broken a sweat. . This scene supports the idea that Tamaki is a skilled Kendo prodigy. I think the fight scenes are done very well in terms of showing how skilled each of the kendo practitioners are. However the art doesn’t stand out as much when the characters are not fighting each other. This does not hinder the story, but it does leave some room for improvement.

Overall Bamboo Blade is good series to pick up if you want to read a sport theme manga with a focus on character development. This is a series I would recommend if you are into old school manga. However be warned that the art style and pacing can feel a bit different compared to the standard manga of today.

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Jet Set Radio (PS3) – Review

Back in 2000, SEGA released an amazing title: Jet Set Radio! 12 years later and still today, Jet Set Radio is available for people too enjoy on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade.

From starting the game, a warning message appears stating that graffiti is a form of art but also a form of vandalism. And from that, you learn the core mechanic of this game. Jet Set Radio is a skating, rail-grinding and tricky game where you tag all around Tokyo-to, Japan with your custom-made graffiti. However, fulfilling this task isn’t easy. During each mission, you must avoid Chief of Police: Captain Onishima and the SWAT team and their attacks too stop you. You take the role of Beat, a young run-away teenager, that forms the GGs, a gang of graffiti artist. As you complete missions, you will meet other crew members that wish to test your skills. Complete their challenges and have them join your gang!

The game begins with a tutorial by one of your crew members, Gum. She shows you the ropes of how to not only control your character, but to pull of tricks such as grinding, wall riding and tagging graffiti all over the place. Future crew members will also test out how well of a gang leader you are in order to strengthen your skills as a leader. Not only is the game extremely fun to play, but it is great to look at and listen too. For being the first cel-shaded game created, it looks cool and has an awesome feeling too it. The music is also amazing to listen too. Mostly composed by Hideki Naganuma and various other artists such as F-Fields and Deavid Soul, the soundtrack features an amazing variety of songs. From rock to hip-hop and funk to metal, Jet Set Radio’s soundtrack is something you may even enjoy if you don’t even play the game!

Jet Set Radio is an amazing title that many people still enjoy, even though it is 15 years old! The game is difficult, but the feeling of success after completing a mission is fantastic! There is also a sequel title, Jet Set Radio Future, however it only released for Xbox. Jet Set Radio costs $10.00 for both PS3 and Xbox, if you would like to try out the game before purchasing there is also a free demo. Even if you don’t have an English PSN, the game is also available on the Japanese PSN and you can purchase a card from us to help you enjoy this title.

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EDGE Review

Ow The Edge Originally an iOS mobile game back in 2008, EDGE made its way to the 3DS 2 years ago. The game seems very simple, but the puzzles you face can be a bit tricky.

Just from looking at a screenshot of the game, it seems similar to Bloxorz a maze computer game. However, EDGE has a charm too it that makes it enjoyable. A simple idea that plays very complex. The controls can be changed but, the default controls move the block in an isometric direction.

The goal of this game is too, well, reach the goal of each puzzle. However, that isn’t so easy. In each puzzle there are prisms too collect in order to increase your speed. Also to help you reach the goal quickly, whenever you are on the edge of another block, the amount of time spent on that edge is subtracted from your total time. However, there are also secret passages along the way so stay weary of those. Not only is playing the game fun, but the game’s soundtrack sounds great. The game feels very calming with how simple it is.

There are different versions of EDGE on iOS, Steam, Android and WiiU. On iOS there is also EDGE Extended that features more puzzles and also costs the same as EDGE, $2.99. At the moment, Steam is having a 90% sale on the game which prices it at $0.79. The sale ends in 17 hours so hurry! The WiiU and 3DS version costs $1.99.

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Star Fox Zero E3 Demo Review

There are some people who are into Star Fox and those that aren’t. And even those that aren’t or never played a Star Fox game are still very impressed and psyched about Star Fox Zero!

Last year at E3, Nintendo showed Shigeru Miyamoto playing an early version of what would be the next Star Fox game. As time went by, speculations of what the game went like spread until a bit of information was shared. The Star Fox website referenced the new game, titled: Star Fox Horizons. With Nintendo’s 2015 E3, the game was shown to us and also a bit of the design behind it. Star Fox Zero isn’t a sequel, nor a prequel. It is supposed to be a re-imagining of the Star Fox series and honestly, it looks great. The game itself looks beautiful, but with the gameplay shown it also looks amazingly fun! And at E3 and Nintendo World, you might have gotten the chance to experience this.

Getting the chance to try out the game at Nintendo World, with a couple of friends, was a fresh and really cool experiencing. Never having played a Star Fox game, the controls of the game felt a bit difficult. However after awhile of trial and error, one would be able to grasp the controls and enjoy themselves. The Arwing feels easy to control until halfway through the demo, where you are required to protect the General’s tower from enemy walkers. However, the Walker feels easy to control and very entertaining. The most welcoming thing of the controls is the Wii U gamepad. The gamepad is used as your cockpit in order to increase your shooting accuracy, and it works amazingly well. The best part of the game is also the way it looks, especially on a big screen. The game looks smooth and it will really capture your attention.

With the game being a re-imagining, the definite story of the game is yet unknown. However, it may have the same story as the original Star Fox 64. Also since a lot of time has passed since Star Fox 64, new mechanics are implemented into the game to change it up greatly. Since this is only a review of the Demo, there will definitely be a lot more available when the game releases. Star Fox Zero is expected to release Holiday 2015, which could possibly be around Black Friday.

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Mario & Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympics

The game some people asked for and the game some people didn’t care for. Mario and Sonic are back at it again for the 2016 Olympic games!

Originally starting back in 2008 at Beijing for the Wii and DS, the 2 are back to back again. Facing new athletic challenges along the way to the gold. Not only are there new challenges but there are also more characters from the Mario and Sonic series joining the competition.

In Nintendo’s Direct and Micro-Direct more news of the actual Olympics was shared with us, even before the actual news! The 2016 Olympics will take place in Brazil, Rio Grande. Not only will there be more sports, but Futbol(soccer) will be taking a special place in the Olympics. Volleyball and Rugby will be hosted and Golf will be making a comeback into the competition after 112 years! The WiiU will exclusively have Rugby and the 3DS will have Golf.

An exact release date is unknown but the games may release all around 2016 for different continents. The WiiU version may come earlier than the 3DS version and it is also unknown if amiibo functions will be included. Either way, Mario and Sonic are ready to bring the heat to Rio Grande in 2016!

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Kagerou Daze -In A Daze- Review

The series originally starting back on February 17, 2011 with the song Jinzou Enemy, the Kagerou Project didn’t obtain major popularity until September 30, 2011 with the song Kagerou Daze. The Kagerou Project has been developed into several media adaptions, all with different story Routes that lead to one ending. The novel adaption is just one of the routes.

The creator of Kagerou Project, Jin(Shizen no Teki-P), not only wrote and composed the songs but he also wrote the story himself for the manga, novel and anime adaptions. However, the music videos are the origin of this story and the manga and novel help give life to the story. However, each adaption is meant to be different. The music videos are the base of the story, with the manga and novel each having different events that lead to one ending. The anime adaption, Mekakucity Actors, is the final adaption of the series while the novel and manga are still continuing their story lines.

From reading the blurb of the book, the story would sound very lacking. Those that have stayed within the Kagerou Project since the beginning or those that have seen the music videos first, would know the story and how deep it actually is. Right from the start of the book, the story is not self explanatory in any sense and that is a good thing. The first chapter being Kagerou Daze I is supposed to take place in the song of the same name, Kagerou Daze, showing Hibiya Amamiya’s point of view. After that chapter, it goes straight into what actually is the beginning of the story. Shintaro Kisaragi, the protagonist of the series, ends up having to go outside after 2 years of being a shut-in. Thanks to a random “AI” that entered his life, ENE, Shintaro has had to deal with her day after day. The torture goes from changing his passwords, annoying him constantly and making fun of him until one day, August 14th, Ene caused Shintaro to spill soda all over his computer. Since he is a shut-in and all he ever did was stay on his computer, Shintaro and Ene try to look for replacements but since it was the Obon holiday, they had no other choice but to go outside into the blistering heat.

Even though that is only the beginning of the story, there is a lot of things that come after. The story leaves out and gives you no context of what is going on, and thats what it is trying to do. The characters in the story, they don’t know whats going on until it is explained to them. The way the story is told is meant to put you in each character’s point of view, to show you how little they know or to help expand on the background of the story. However, this may be confusing for some readers.

The easiest way to get into this series would be to listen to the songs and watch the PVs. They set the basic storyline and atmosphere of the series, after that the manga would be the easiest to understand to a certain point. That is where you should read the novel and then watch the anime. Kagerou Daze -In A Daze- isn’t a bad start to the novel adaption at all. When getting to the final chapter, at lot more feels because it ties into the more arbitrary chapters. However, -In A Daze- was a bit weird to read even already knowing and loving the entire plot of the series beforehand. Even Jin himself states in the afterword that writing this novel was hard.

The second volume of the novel, -A Headphone Actor-, will release on September 22nd. The manga’s first volume has already released in America and you will be able find Mekakucity Actors online. This book only costs about $15 and you can find it at certain bookstores, being Barnes & Nobles or at Kinokuniya.

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New Content! – Super Smash Bros. 3DS/WiiU

This morning, Nintendo had a Direct for Super Smash Bros. WiiU and 3DS. Masahiro Sakurai presented the world with extravagant new content and many surprises!

As soon as the Direct started, a challenger makes a comeback: Roy! Originally from Super Smash Bros. Melee. Showing no mercy, Roy brings on the fire with the Sword of Seals. Being a clone character of Marth, there are still differences. He is meant to be a close combat sword fighter and with enhanced strength, he is stronger than he was before. Roy returns along with Lucas, from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Both characters will cost $3.99 each, if you buy the characters for both WiiU and 3DS, it will cost $4.99.

There are also new costumes to customize your Mii Fighters. With the 2nd Wave of costumes comes Megaman.EXE from Megaman Battle Network, Isabelle from Animal Crossing and the Inkling Boy and Girl from Splatoon as Gunners. ZERO from Megaman X will be a Swordfighter costume. Jacky from Virtua Fighter and Akira from the original Virtua Fighter will be available as Brawler costumes. There is also a Squid hat based off Splatoon available. Each costume costs $0.75 each.

For some new characters and fighters that haven’t gotten an amiibo, that changes! The Mii Gunner, Brawler and Swordfighter will also be available as Amiibos. When activated, you’re able to freely customize the character to your liking not only by equipment but also by costumes. Also announced was an R.O.B amiibo, a Duck Hunt Duo amiibo, Falco amiibo and a Mr.Game & Watch amiibo. With Mr.Game & Watch being a flat character, different interchangeable poses will be made for him. These amiibo and Zero Suit Samus, Ganondorf, Olimar, Dr. Mario and Bowser Jr. will be available in September.

There are also new stages too come! Dream Land from Super Smash Bros. 64, makes a return for WiiU and 3DS being $1.99. Not only will Dream Land be returning, but Hyrule Castle ans Peach’s Castle is planned to release soon. The Miiverse stage will also be releasing today, for free! On this stage, you are able to see drawings and posts from the Miiverse that support the characters on stage. You might even see your own drawings there! Tourney Mode is also finished in development. It was stated that Nintendo wanted to work on it a bit more before releasing it, so it will not release until August. Another feature is being added into the game: YouTube! Replays that you have saved are now able to be uploaded to YouTube, but you will need a Google account. An exact date for the service hasn’t been said yet.

And for the final announcement, a new challenger approaches: Ryu! Ryu from Street Fighter joins the battle to look for a challenge! This rendition of Ryu is based off of Street Fighter II. Not only does he look the same, but the way he plays is the same as well. Being the King of Combos, if you input the commands of some of his attacks from Street Fighter they will also work for Smash Bros. Using these combos will allow you to pull off greater attacks and head to victory! Not only is he the first character too have different input commands, but he is the first character too have 2 Final Smashes! As a Final Smash from afar, Ryu can pull off the Shinku Hadouken. However, if you’re close to an opponent you can quickly destroy your opponent with Shin Shoryuken! Along with Ryu comes a new stage and a new Mii Brawler costume. You can fight on Ryu’s stage, the Suzaku Castle just like if you were playing Street Fighter. Not only are you able to play Ryu’s Theme as the background music, but when the battle nears its end the music will change. Not only is Street Fighter joining the battle, but a Tekken character will be available as a Mii Brawler costume: Heiachi! Ryu and his stage together will cost $5.99.

With Ryu, Roy and new Mii Fighter costumes available now, the competition will surely heat up! Also don’t forget about Lucas making a return today from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Overall, all of this new DLC unveiled will cost about $25 so make sure you purchase a Nintendo eShop card from us if you have access to the Japanese eShop or have enough money. Also, tune in tonight for the Nintendo World Championships! You can watch it Nintendo’s official E3 page: http://e3.nintendo.com/.

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Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1 Review

Presumably, everyone has been to school at least once their life, and there is always a teacher or two we come to hold in high regard. On the other hand, there are also the teachers who we love to hate for one reason or another.” Of course every new school year is filled with different expectations and promises, and while not every teacher induces a murderous rage within us, there are always ways to tolerate even the most hateful instructor. However, nowhere, does it state that one is allowed to plot to kill their fellow educator. That is unless you are part of Room 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High School, where every assassination is planned with zeal and is part of the curriculum.Assassinating your homeroom teacher is an idea that I am amazed is able to work over the course of several chapters. Of course, one element adds a particular twist to an already strange premise. What would that be? Aliens. More specifically, an alien homeroom teacher that introduces himself by saying he blew up the moon and will also blow up the earth

With such a silly introduction, the reader already knows that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom) is anything but serious. Its plot revolves around a group of students in Room 3-E, who are essentially a bunch of misfits due to their grade average. They are asked to not only raise their grades but are told to kill their homeroom teacher by the Ministry of Defense by next march, with the only rules being that assassination must not interfere with their studies. The students are armed with bullets designed to harm only the teacher and keep other students safe. This is odd as there should be no reason for an alien with the intent to blow up earth to care about keeping the students safe.
What allows Ansatsu Kyoushitsu to differentiate itself with such a simple premise is the creativity shown through the student’s attempts to assassinate their teacher. Now assassination is no easy task when your alien teacher can move at a speed of Mach 20, but with the fate of the world and 10 billion yen at stake for whoever can kill their teacher, students can become innovative very quick. Better yet assassination seems to be one of the many ways that the students bond together because they have a common enemy.

Although Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is not a mystery genre manga, it has elements of mystery in it. The alien teacher’s kindness and desire to teach Class 3-E contributes to this mystery. For example Nagisa is one of the main character who is pressured to wear a grenade by his fellow classmates Terasaka, Yoshida, Muramatsu. When Nagisa is forced to go up and act as a sacrifice for the sake of his classmates, the teacher quickly sheds his skin and protects Nagisa from the impact of the grenade. On top of that the alien teacher also display a sense of anger that his students would perform such a tasteless assassination that has no regards for the welfare of others.

When one look pasts the main goal of assassination, they can see that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is a simple school manga that focuses on the relationship between a teacher and a class that has been given up on. The students are desperate to be recognized as people other than the cursed students who belong in class 3-E, and with the opportunity to save the earth they have something to look forward to and work for everyday. One way or another Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is sure to create fond memories as the students learn to accept themselves with the help of their teacher.

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So I Can’t Play H, Vol. 1 Review

When one imagines a grim reaper, an image of a tall figure with a dark robe and a long scythe comes to mind. Luckily for Ryosuke Kaga, his first encounter with the personification of death was with someone much prettier than expected. That grim reaper is none other than Lisara Lestorl who comes from the most distinguished house of all grim reapers. Her task is to find someone worthy and form a contract with such person. Unfortunately her search comes to standstill because of her unfamiliarity with the human world. Ultimately, what is at stake here is Lisara’s pride as a grim reaper, she cannot go home until she finds a worthy contract partner. Although Ryosuke could careless about Lisara’s objective, the idea of being around a beautiful girl certainly does persuade him into helping her.

So I Can’t Play H! is a supernatural comedy ecchi that relies more on its comedic and ecchi aspect in order to entertain its reader. Ryosuke’s perversion and desires are often the prime targets for hilarity. At first glance, Ryosuke appears to be a goofball who is mainly focus on a girl’s erotic body. But closer inspection reveals that his honest expressions are what draws other characters closer to him. The first volume of a series is often regarded as the most important volume, therefore it is understandable that the supernatural aspect played a minor role in the beginning of this manga. The only supernatural mechanism that was included in this manga was the fact that Lisara needed to form a contract with Ryosuke in order to continue her adventures in the human world. The only drawback is that Ryosuke’s libido is heavily drain from him in order to sustain Lisara’s life. Thus he goes out of his way to regain his libido and help Lisara.

Those unfamiliar with the ecchi genre may be interested to know that it basically boils down to the main protagonist getting involve in as many perverted situations with as many girls as possible. I agree that this premise can get repetitive at times but this manga manages to find the right balance between perversion and comedy. It’s still a bit unclear whether or not the supernatural elements will play a heavy role in future volumes, but it certainly is not the main feature for the first book.

Common sense seems to dictate that if a manga’s main appeals are sexy girls and perverted situations, the art has to be visually appealing. Sho Okagiri who is the main artist does a good job of drawing the various scenarios and character expressions. What makes Yoshiaki Katsurai suitable as a character designer for this series is his vast experiences of designing erotic characters. The fan service is not as overwhelming as other ecchi manga. Overall the art does its job and provide a lot of sexy displays for the reader.

It’s been said that there is nothing new under the sun and So I Can’t Play H! is an example of this. With most ecchi manga, there won’t be any thought provoking or intellectually stimulating ideas, but what is there will appeal to the target audience. If you are a fan of ecchi manga, So I Can’t Play H! will keep you entertain with its comedy. Those who are new to the ecchi genre should give the first manga a try before buying other volumes.

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Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

Along with the main games, in the Pokemon series there are also side games with their own stories. One of these side series is titled Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and a new title is coming soon!

Since Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, people were questioning what Pokemon’s next game would be. Since then, fans were given free-to-play games such as Pokemon Shuffle and Rumble World. Still unsure what the next major game was, speculation rose too a confirmation date of May 22nd. Instead of it actually being given on May 22nd, on May 21st, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon was announced.

Since then, no news was told about the game except the time it will release. With Nintendo having a Direct on May 31st and a Micro-Direct on June 1st, more news was shown to us about the game. The story is the same as the previous games, one day you have awaken in a mysterious world as a Pokemon. Instead of battling as a Trainer, you are now the Pokemon yourself and you will be traveling and exploring new dungeons along with your partners. A vast amount of dungeons will be explored along with an adventure of 720 Pokemon to meet. From the gameplay shown in both Directs, the cutscenes are unlike any other Pokemon game. Breath-taking cutscenes along with many areas too see, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon will be an amazing 3D adventure to embark on.

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon is planned to release for Japan in the fall and for North America in the winter. This game will be for 3DS only and it is unknown whether this game will also have amiibo capability with Pikachu or Jigglypuff.