Breimh’s Anime Review – Photo Kano

During Kazuya Maeda’s first year of high school he felt like a nobody, just another forgotten face shuffling through the crowded hallways. Even his best friend from childhood, Nimi, seemed somehow more difficult to approach, since she had matured a little quicker in the unsettling way that girls have a habit of doing. However, this year, things will be different for Kazuya, and part of that change may just be because of the big new girl magnet hanging in front of him: the used digital SLR he just received from his dad! But will just having a camera be enough to make talking to girls a snap? Well, if he stays focused and has enough talent to make them look good, it might just be! And since it’s digital, there are no negatives or having to wait for things to develop! Will Kazyuya’s new stock in trade click with the most beautiful girls in school, or will his career as a lensman be just a flash in the pan? Find out as he goes for total exposure in PHOTO KANO!
Published by: TBS
A sophisticated work of imagery focused storytelling. One may not realize this at first, but the beautifully drawn figures are what draw you in, and while the story only holds you for a moment, the end results make it worth sitting through this slideshow of a boy’s life during high school.
Sometimes difficult to tell the pacing, since time-reference isn’t shown very often in the change of seasons in the scenery or through the dialogue, the relationships the main character has with his subjects can feel rushed or even shallow. Careful observation of each episode will allow the viewer to understand how much time is passing for the characters, however, so one should weigh that carefully before writing off the series (or the lead protagonist as a player).
While I wouldn’t say this is one of my most favorite of anime, for the wonderful artistry and subtle storytelling, I would definitely make time to watch this again with a group of friends. I give it 3 of 5 stars.
PhotoKano

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Game Review: Machi Koro

By Drew

Machi Koro

Background
In Machi Koro, 2-4 players roll dice and spend money to buy properties for their city.  The first player to construct four special building completes their city first and wins the game.

Initial Thoughts
Each type of property (wheat field, bakery) have their own effects normally related to income.  Some effects can happen on anyone’s turn and others only happen on the active player’s turn.  Some of the cards are more useful during the early stages of the game and others are more useful during the end of the game.  The variety of card mechanics means there is no one specific way to win.

Review
Pros: The base game is simple and easy to learn with the expansions adding different layers.  Even when teaching new players, games last about 30 minutes.  There is a good mix of strategy (which property do I buy) and luck (you need to roll dice well to win).

Con: Although you can play with 2 players, I suggest at least 3 players.  The problem we ran into when playing with only 2 players is it removes much of the strategy.  While there is no guaranteed “buy properties in this order” method of winning, having only 2 players made it much easier to do the same thing each game and consistently win.  There is only a limited numbers of each properties.  With 4 players, you may not be able to buy the properties you want.  With only 2, you pretty much can buy exactly what you want.  At that point, the game becomes only about dice rolls.

Final Thoughts
This is a fun game that is easy to teach new players, is quick to play, has light strategy, and is expandable with the expansions.  If you like building style games, give Machi Koro a try.

Machi Koro