Breimh’s Anime Review – The Princess and the Pilot

The war between the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium has been raging for years. In the midst of this struggle, the prince of the Levamme Empire declares his love for Juana del Moral and vows to end the war in one year, as part of his marriage proposal. When the Amatsukami catch wind of this, they assault the del Moral residence, targeting Juana’s life. As a last-ditch effort to bring the prince his bride, the San Maltilia Airforce employs a mercenary of mixed blood—a bestado—to fly Juana to the prince in secret.
Published by: NIS America

Watching this anime, I was drawn back to days in my youth as I would sneak into my dad’s special comics collection and page through his WWII graphic novels and comic serials. Sweeping views of aircraft whirling around one another in a dangerous dance was only part of the magic of this magnificent movie! The characters, and the story are solid, and offer a cherished tender moment as the hero and heroine realize a shared past. With an understated score accompanying only a few brief moments of the film, I found myself only vaguely drawn toward other distractions, but the dialogue and movement made me gravitate back almost immediately. Beautiful scenery and sleekly drawn characters are sure to make this one a classic in it’s own time.
With it’s ballet of story, breathtaking visuals and sublime interplay of characters, I would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy this one on some level. I have to give it a full 5 of 5 stars rating.
Princess&Pilot

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Game Review: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous

By Drew

 

PFACG-Logo_500

Background
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is from the same company that designs the Pathfinder role playing game.  The card game is a cooperative game for 1 to 4 players (up to 6 if you get the expansions).  Each player’s character is made for a deck of cards, stats, and class (familiar to all roleplayers).  You’ll improve your character (specifically the deck you use) by earning or finding new spells, items, upgrades, and other loot to change your deck.

According to Paizo, “the adventure begins with a Base Set containing nearly 500 cards, including the first chapter of an Adventure Path that offers your characters interesting locations to explore, monsters to fight, and villains to hunt down, as well as piles of weapons, spells, armor, loot, and everything you need to build you own unique character deck.”

Initial Thoughts
Getting into the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is for only dedicated players.  The full Adventure Path will take you months to play (assuming a season a week like my friends).  The base game is only around $60.  However, the base game is only the first of many parts to the Adventure Path.  With 6 expansion decks at $20 a piece, the full adventure will be over $200.  If you want extra characters, items, and the ability to have up to 6 players, it’s another extra expansion.  However, there is enough content to last 7-12 months depending on how frequently you play.

Review
Pros: I enjoyed the mix of a card game and the idea of leveling up and gaining new equipment.  The story was a little thin, but most card games, if they even have a story, ignore it during the actual game play.  The full Adventure Path can take awhile to play.  The group I play with has been playing almost weekly for three months, and we are not finished with part 1 yet.  At the rate we are going, when we finish, we will feel as though we accomplished something.  New players can join at any point and other party members can sit out if they can play that session (although if you sit out you miss out on possible loot).

Con: I have two main complaints.  First is the price.  Yes, the game is expensive if you want to do the full Adventure Path (about $200).  If you are a fan of collectible card games or miniature war games, you may not have sticker shock.  For others, here is my reasoning.  If my friends and I are actually going to play it through, then the price is fair for the total hours play (100+).  If you think you will only play a few times, only get the base game.  It’s much cheaper, and you can try it out.

My second complaint is the potentially repetitive nature of the game.  Once you learn the game play, each session consists of using your cards to defeat other cards until the boss creature is found and destroyed.  Unlike Magic: the Gathering, there doesn’t seem to be too many synergistic decks you can make out of found loot.  Rangers take range weapon cards; paladins take swords, and so on.  However, we are still early in the game, and that may change.

Final Thoughts
In the end, the question is, “is this a fun game and worth the price?”  My answer is yes.  After you get over the potential sticker shock, the game will provide, by my estimation, over 100 hours of game play.  This is a card game with loot that carries from session to session and the ability to add and drop players from session to session.  My friends I and are looking forward to the day we finish the game and have a feeling of accomplishment we’ve never had with a cooperative card game before.

wraTH1

Breimh’s Anime Review – I Couldn’t Become A Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided To Get A Job

Raul had always wanted to be a hero, but failed the exams necessary to become one. He reluctantly took a job working at a small electronics store called Magic Shop Leon. His life is dull but busy until a new girl comes applying for a part time job. She’s the daughter of the demon king who defeated him in his exam.
Published by: Kadokawa Pictures Inc.

Some anime don’t transition well to English, others do so on such a fantastic level that they wind up enjoyed around the globe. This one has such potential! Fun and quirky, this series offers a lot of the familiar genre plots and characters, and even settings, but there are a few fun and wonderful twists and comments that examine, poke and prod our modern world to not only explore what is dark and vile about it, but give us some genuine rays of light that bring hope and enjoyment in the everyday to our hearts. The main plot is kept simple and stays on course, and thus it can be noted that it is predictable; for some, that may be a turn off, but in my own opinion, it does not diminish the story in the least, it does – in fact – enhance the little observances and lessons of this tale in the aforementioned ways I have noted previously.
The artistry is both simple and sublime, offering a veritable garden of color and delight in the details, while showing the same tried-and-true traditional elements of anime that fans find friendly, familiar and wonderful to experience.
While many of us cannot be a hero in our everyday lives, those of us who see the deeper aspects this series offers can feel like heroes all the same. The show might then be seen as a teaching-tool for doing just that.
ICouldntBeAHero

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

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

Game Review: X-Wing Miniature Game

By Drew

Background
In X-Wing Miniatures Game, you control ships in ship-t0-ship space combat from three different Star Wars factions: Imperial, Rebel, and Scum.  All of the miniatures come prepainted.  The game is designed for small battles of only a few ships on either side.  Each ship offers several different pilot choices as well as different upgrades to make the ship more effective.

Initial Thoughts
The game is very easy to learn how to play.  We have players as young as 9 years old playing.  The game has a chess-like strategy element to it that allows more advanced players to continue enjoying it.  Having played many, many miniature games, it’s nice to have one that doesn’t require me to paint the miniatures.  The stock paint jobs are well done.  However, the ships are easy to repaint if you are so inclined.  There is a bit of a collected aspect to the game.  Different upgrade cards are only available in different ship boxes.  While they are not randomize (you know exactly what’s in each box), you will find yourself buying ships you may not want just to get the upgrade cards.  The game is one of the most balanced miniature games I’ve seen.  There is no “automatic winning” list to play.

Review
Pros: Inexpensive compared to most miniature games.  The base game is $40 and extra small ships are $14.  $100 will get you a tournament level amount of models.  Very easy to learn but with enough strategy to keep the game fun and interesting.  All of the ships and pilots are from established Star Wars canon and not created solely for the game.  The models come prepainted with nice paint jobs.

Con: Limited amount of ship choices and factions.  Currently, there are only 3 factions with each having around 12 ship choices.  Ships are only from after Star Wars New Hope.  Upgrade cards are only available in specific ships.  There are no booster packs offering random cards, and you may end up buying ships you don’t want just to get certain cards.  The ships come prepainted.  If you are more heavily on the hobby side of miniature gaming it can be a negative, but the ships are easily repaintable.

Final Thoughts
Play this game.  It’s fun, easy, and cheap.  First time you blow a Tie Fighter up with an X-Wing, you’re going to want to collect all of the models.

Breimh’s Anime Review – Miss Monochrome

In this short animated series, Miss Monochrome is an android who decides to try and become a top idol singer in the ever growing competitive market.
Published by: King Record Company Limited
This great series of vignettes have a wide range of fun and appeal, poking fun at all manner of fandom (and fan-service) in witty ways. From the slice-of-life mundane jobs, to the old-world fantasy adventure, and even traveling into space our heroine seeks new and interesting ways to become a rising star. Scream your hearts out for the new anime Idol sensation, Miss Monochrome!
With such great comedic material and such wonderfully drawn lines, I couldn’t help but give this one 4 of 5 stars.
MissMonochrome

Breimh’s Anime Review: Yonna and the Solitary Fortress

YonnaYonna, a girl with incredible powers, has been living in a deserted “solitary fortress” alone with her brother Stan, her heart shut from the world. Stan had desperately protected Yonna from those who come seeking her mysterious power until one day, a boy approaches the solitary fortress. Stan tries to kill this boy like all others before him, but the boy tries to take Yonna out of the fortress regardless of his own safety.

Though the world of 3D computer graphics tends to lean toward sharp and cool visuals, Kengo Takeuchi has been searching for a softer, warmer atmosphere in 3D-CG. Takeuchi brings us this heart-warming 34-minute 3D-CG work after participating in Final Fantasy: The Movie with Square USA. With a commitment to creating CG with a unique atmosphere, Takeuchi has created the world of the girl named Yonna.

The animation (particularly as it’s done by a single person) is extraordinary, very realistic and full of even greater potential should future projects be in the works for this masterpiece. While the story and characters need further development, it would be wonderful to see such particulars unfold with additional episodes. I find myself mesmerized and desiring more of Yonna and her continuing adventures. An enchanting tale with animation that will take your breath away!

This one gets 4 of 5 stars from me.

Clallam County Magic: the Gathering Championship 2015

CCMtGC 2015

We just finished the 4th Annual Clallam County Magic: the Gathering Championship.  The Championship is a chance for players to participate in a Modern Format tournament to win big prizes.  This year we had over $1,400 worth of prizes from Anime Kat, and Mark’d Body Art including a full booster box of Modern Masters 2015 and a tattoo vouchers.  This year, we had 11 players.  Here is the final standing and decks the players used:

  1. Luke J. – Splinter Twins
  2. Kyle P. – Tron
  3. Travis R. – R/G Goblins
  4. Eric H. – Tezzerit Control
  5. Joey K. – Dredge Devine
  6. David P. – R/B Falkenrath (Friends for Dinner)
  7. Colin T. – Podless Collective
  8. Greg V – B/W Tokens
  9. Kevin T. – Mono B, Discard/Control
  10. Colton F. – R/W Heroic
  11. Jake E. – Mono Black Vampires
3rd-Travis, 1st-Luke, 2nd-Kyle

3rd-Travis, 1st-Luke, 2nd-Kyle

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Breimh’s Anime Review: Anohana – Graceful and Gripping

AnohanaJinta Yadomi and his group of childhood friends have become estranged after a tragic accident split them apart. Now in their high school years, a sudden surprise forces each of them to confront their guilt over what happened that day and come to terms with the ghosts of their past.

Following the traditional early anime art-style, this is a story that flows wonderfully; allowing us the chance to become as familiar with these friends as they’ve been with one another. We learn the mysteries and secrets they hold deep inside, while solving the problems and coming to terms with letting go of the past while making their way toward their futures and lives as adults.

Released by NIS America, 2011.
One I find myself going back to from time to time, to watch again, I give this 4 of 5 stars.