Saturday, November 23, 2013

Top 5 Opening Themes in Gundam

Here's the next in my series of music-related Gundam Top 5 posts. My first list focused on battle themes, so I thought it would be interesting to move on to actual songs. We'll be counting down the catchiest, most memorable opening themes in Gundam animated history.

Naturally, it's hard to be objective about music so think of this list as more of a fun project rather than a serious, thoughtful post. The main decider will be personal preference, but I definitely won't be picking the songs mindlessly. These are the opening themes I see as being timeless and enjoyable no matter what your taste in music is. They flow seamlessly with the shows they're presenting, and they never failed to get me in the proper Gundam mood.

Now, to start with...


Monday, October 14, 2013

MG Gundam X, MG Proto Zero

My god; a lot has happened since I've been out of the loop. I rarely keep up with gunpla news, so whenever I decide to check up on it, I find a ridiculous handful of good news. Let's see...

The oddly named "Proto" version of the Wing Zero has already been released as a Master Grade. There goes that spot on my MG wish list. YellowSubmarine blog has an out-of-the-box review of the model, so check it out here.

Looks great. It love that it has a few quirks whilst being true to the TV design. It's not what I was expecting, but it's satisfying nonetheless. Take a look at some of the other pictures in the review. There's a lot to love about the small intricacies in this model kit.

Anyway, the other news (that I'm actually way more excited for) ...


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fire Emblem: Awakening [Now Playing]

It's been a long time coming, but I finally got myself a 3DS. Now, to be honest, I actually thought very poorly of the 3DS when it was struggling during its launch. But as the years went by, the library of games started stacking up and I found that all of the games I was interested in were on the 3DS. As soon as I got money coming in, I confident enough to buy the device and a handful of games immediately.

My first game? Fire Emblem: Awakening. I was intrigued by the enormous amount of praise it was getting, so I bought into the hype and let this be my introduction to the 3DS. I've actually never played a Fire Emblem game before this, but I'm a huge fan of strategy RPG's so I knew I would click with the series immediately. Now, I recently completed the game...


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top 5 Epic Battle Themes in Gundam

For the first time, I'm going to be celebrating the music in Gundam. The idea came to me from one of the suggestions in my Suggestions for Gundam Top 5 post. Though it's not the exact suggestion, it'll definitely be the first in a series of similar lists. This time around, we'll be looking at the most epic, exciting, heart-pounding battle themes in the Gundam animated universe. It wasn't easy labeling "battle themes", so basically anything that plays during a battle scene qualifies.

This may be the least objective list I've made thus far, so as usual, feel free to comment on your favorite battle themes. I had to leave plenty of great songs out too, so there's plenty of room for honorable mentions.

Now then...


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen [Now Playing]

I've been home doing nothing for the past few weeks, so out of an intense need to keep myself busy, I decided to look for an addictive RPG to play. My choices ranged from Skyrim to Dark Souls, but for whatever reason, I ended up buying Dragon's Dogma. I ignored the original release, so Dark Arisen (the expansion) ended up being my first taste of the game.

I've played through the game once already, and I've got to say, I really like this game. I'm close to platinuming it, and I wasn't even trying to. I was just having fun trying out different things and completing all of the quests. I think the main thing I love about this game is its replay value. You're able to replay the game via New Game Plus an infinite number of times, so you're able to enjoy the game exactly how you want to each time whilst retaining your level and all of your gear.

The boss battles are also amazing. I'd say they're the best in any game of this genre. Like many people have said, it's like a cross between Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus. The way you climb up on giant monsters while epic music is playing is just exhilarating, to say the least.

A lot of people disregard this game as being "not quite as good as Skyrim", but I'd rather avoid comparisons like that. Dragon's Dogma has its own list of merits and charms, and I'd recommend it to anyone with a love for fantasy rpg's (and a lot of time).


Monday, July 15, 2013

Suggestions for Gundam Top 5

I recently realized that my priority should be creating more Gundam Top 5 content, considering its the main source of traffic for my blog. But as I got around to starting a new one, I realized that I was fresh out of ideas. There are plenty of easy lists I can make, but I want something unique. Something that's not entirely objective.

So, if you don't mind me asking, I'd like some suggestions for a new Gundam Top 5 list. I'll seriously consider every suggestion (as long as they're good).


Monday, July 08, 2013

New TV Series: Gundam Build Fighters

You may have noticed all the reports in the last few days, hinting at a big new Gundam announcement. Well here's the news: a new TV series has been announced. It's called Gundam Build Fighters, and it seems to revolve around gunpla. For more information, go here.

Now, I'm going to be honest: I'm a little disappointed. I skipped AGE precisely because it seemed a bit too kid-friendly. While I do plan on giving it a chance in the future, I didn't expect the next full series to be more of the same. Gundam Build Fighters looks to be a Gundam toy commercial in its absolute purest form. That's as much as I'll say since I don't want to judge too quickly.

Anyway, Gundam Build Fighters seems to be working off of the concept introduced in Beginning G, though it's been noted that the two are unrelated in any other regard. The one thing I do appreciate is the reappearances of several classic designs. Look, the Wing and GX are back (albeit slightly modified)! Other classic mobile suits are going to be making appearances as well, so that should be interesting.

So, as the Gundam franchise continues to look after a young, new audience whilst selling massive amounts of merchandise, I'll be here waiting on the last episode of Unicorn~


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Best Gundam Protagonist?

Just like I did with my Top 5 Gundam Series post, I want to poll people on what they think about the question of who the top Gundam protagonist is. I actually made a Top 5 Gundam Protagonists post in the past, but it was awful and I've since gotten rid of it. Considering how difficult and possibly meaningless this question is, I thought I'd just ask people instead of attempting to create a new list.

As usual, this question is almost impossible to answer objectively. People have their own opinions on what "best" means, and personal bias is going to play a big part in it. Still, there's got to be a general consensus for certain characters.

So, who is it? Amuro Ray? Garrod Ran (who actually seems to get a lot of love)? Kamille? Setsuna? Who is the best Gundam protagonist in the meta-series?


Monday, July 01, 2013

Songs of Final Fantasy: Top 10 Battle Themes

Here's a shocker: I'm a huge fan of Final Fantasy. I absolutely love the series, and I've been a fan since Clinton was in office. I've played every title in the series several times, and the one thing that always sticks with me is the music. The various themes in each game come to define that particular game. Most of it is owed to the mastery of musical genius Nobuo Uematsu, but other composers have produced some memorable themes as well.

In this top ten list, I'm going to be ranking the best battle themes in the Final Fantasy series. Battle themes are usually the most memorable and definitive songs in the games, along with the overworld themes. Therefore, I think it's only proper to do them some justice. I'll be including all of the main series titles and all related spin-offs. As usual, these are just my opinions so feel free to disagree and share your own thoughts in the comments. Now then...


Thursday, June 27, 2013

MG Wing Gundam Proto Zero EW Announced

This is sort of amazing news. The long awaited Master Grade Wing Zero has finally been announced. Now, to be honest, I was waiting for the TV version to get the MG treatment so this announcement disappointed me for a split second. Still, I think this is about as good as it'll get for now.

Keep in mind that this is the Endless Waltz version of the design. The Tallgeese, Epyon, and Heavyarms had similar releases in this fashion. I'm not exactly sure what "Proto Zero" is supposed to imply, so if anyone has any guesses on that, that would be great. But yeah, the design is sure to look great so I definitely can't wait!

As usual, Gundam Guy is my source. Find the original article here.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Not Impressed With Next-Gen Graphics

Yeah I said it. I'm completely unimpressed with the "next generation" of gaming graphics. I thought I was the only one who thought this, but comments from the gaming community have assured me otherwise. Perhaps it's too early to say, but the PS4 and Xbox One are getting ready for launch. Here's a trailer of some of the upcoming titles...

Pretty damn impressive, right? But honestly, is this the next-generation?  To put it as nicely as I can, it's just a tad bit better than the current gen. Maybe we're just used to the enormous leaps that have occurred in previous generations. I mean, we went from this...

to this...

And then from this...

 to this..

Perhaps we've hit a plateau? I think perhaps we're not quite ready to take that enormous leap. It's merely due to the rules of marketing that Sony/Microsoft had to release new hardware to compete with after so many years. It's hard to argue with that, but there's a part of me that thinks maybe we can wait a few more years. 

I think the main reason so many of us are unimpressed is that it's hard for us to detect the minute improvements with our lousy human eyes. The difference between 8-bit and 64-bit is obvious, but what about super high polygon HD graphics and super-super high polygon HD graphics with better lighting effects? Yeah, it's getting a little less obvious. 

To be fair, the trailer just shows a bunch of development footage and pre-rendered scenes. Just like with the current gen, the graphics will improve once developers get a hang of the new hardware. But for now, all I can say is that I'm underwhelmed. What do you guys think? 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. 3.0 - Thoughts?

Here's an interesting bit of news: Bandai has announced that a Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 is coming out in August. As usual, you can go to Gundam Guy for a little more detail. As a lot of people have mentioned, it appears to be an upscaled version of the RG 1/144 model. We can expect an extraordinary new standard of detail from this

Normally, I don't like sharing news that's probably on a million other blogs, but I'd like to know what people think about this. Some are intrigued, while others are indifferent. Bandai has rather actively been trying to revamp its MG line, with the new MG Strike Gundam coming to mind. With this 3.0, Bandai is taking its first step into the future.

Personally, I'm a little indifferent. I love the idea of upping the quality, but I'm getting a little tired of the RX-78-2. Mind you, I loved the 2.0 model, so I'm not very excited about a new version. I'd much rather see some forgotten favorites (DX, Heavyarms Custom) get the MG treatment instead.

But what do you say? It is on the buy-list or the ignore-list?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thoughts on Gundam 00

This is the one I've been waiting for. What are your thoughts on Gundam 00? I remember being thoroughly entertained through the first season, and though the quality of the show dipped considerably by the second season, I still would not say that 00 is a complete miss. We were treated to high-def animation and explosive battle sequences, which were definitely the highlight of this very recent series.

Of course, the U.C. community looks at 00 like they do every AU series: it's just another abortion of a Gundam series that can't possibly compare to the classics. All-bishounen casts were as prominent as usual, and the power-ups became so over the top and unbelievable that the series bordered on super robot territory. The villains were weak and forgettable, and the plot became less and less appealing with its convoluted Innovator nonsense. 

Though, that's just what some people say. There are newer fans who obviously love the series, and see it as an entertaining romp nonetheless. What do you say about Gundam 00? Was it worthy of its place in the Gundam metaseries?


Sunday, April 07, 2013

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol.I - Activation

My copy of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol.1 has arrived, so I thought I'd give it a mini-review. In case you're unfamiliar, Gundam: The Origin is a manga adaptation of the original anime series. Viz attempted an American release, but their run ended due to low sales. Thus, publisher Vertical decided to release The Origin in a format similar to the "Aizoban" collector's editions in Japan. 

The first thing I'm going to say is, this book is absolutely gorgeous...


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Char's Signature Mobile Suit

Every time Char Aznable comes up in Gundam-related material, I always have to stop and think: "What exactly is his signature mobile suit?" You would expect this to be simple, but I really don't think it is. Char has piloted dozens of different mobile suits throughout the Gundam universe, and I always want to associate him with a certain mobile suit, but there are a handful of them that one can reasonably associate him with.

Here's a run down of the main candidates...


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gundam Unicorn 06: Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows

If you haven't heard already: the 6th OVA of Gundam Unicorn is out and available, so go on the interwebz and watch it. I just finished watching it myself, so I thought I'd talk about it. To be honest, I was waiting for the continuation of this series so I could watch the Sinanju and Unicorn kick ass in uber-HD. I was also waiting to hear the epic Unicorn theme, but unfortunately, neither of these things happened. Episode 6, entitled "Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows", was mostly set-up for the next episode, which is scheduled to be the series finale.

So, out of the entire hour, you'll only be getting about 5 minutes of action. This was slightly disappointing, but I'm not complaining. I'm just excited about how amazing the series finale is going to be. We even get a short glimpse of the Full Armour Unicorn at the end of the episode. Anyway, most of the episode involves Full Frontal and Mineva arguing about their views and philosophies in classic Gundam fashion. It was tolerable at first, but it got a little excessive after awhile. We learn a little more about their characters, however, and we see some rather emotional scenes involving Zinnerman. He was definitely the highlight this time around.

I'm honestly not liking the sudden evil turn that Riddhe Marcenas is taking. He was a mildly likeable character at first, but he really does not make a convincing villain. He is now the pilot of the Banshee, and we see him about to engage Banagher near the conclusion. We'll see how his character development concludes; I'm not expecting much. Anyway, don't expect anything titanic when starting this episode. You'll mostly watch the characters bicker about pseudo-intelligent nonsense. It'll leave you wanting though; I can't wait for this series to conclude so I can properly view it as one of the best Gundam animations I've seen in a long, long time.


Saturday, March 02, 2013

To the Moon [Indie Game]

You probably know "To the Moon" as the game that makes people cry. I found out about it from various gaming sites because its story is constantly praised for its originality and its ability to tug your heart strings. I dismissed it for quite awhile, but I finally decided to give it a try yesterday. And...

Yeah, I totally teared up. Cried like a bitch. I'm usually prone to emotional things, but this game was especially sad. Sometimes it felt like the game tried too hard to make us cry, but I appreciated how interesting and dramatic the story was. It is definitely original, and filled with shocking twists.

The game is kind of tedious to play, however. At times it felt like the game wasn't even necessary; all you really end up doing is move from one point to another. You solve the occasional puzzle, but most of your time will be spent watching the story unfold. While I didn't mind this, it was definitely a bit of a drag at times.

The graphics are typical of RPG Maker 16-bit games, so don't expect much. The music is excellent, however. It's one of the highlights of "To the Moon"; there's even a vocal song made just for this game. If you're into excellent, emotional stories, then you should definitely give this game a try. It's only a 4 hour game, and you'll be coasting along the way. Just don't expect anything more than that, and be prepared to shed some manly tears.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

5 Unsolved Mysteries in FFVII

I'm going to turn this into a series of posts, considering how much I like to write about Final Fantasy. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have played Final Fantasy VII dozens of times and still play through it every now and then. I'll probably be making more of these so stay in touch. Anyway...

Every popular game has its share of urban legends and myths; just look at the GTA series. You wouldn't expect a story-driven RPG to have a bunch of random mysteries, but Final Fantasy VII is actually filled with them. These mysteries have existed for years, and despite the theories and rumors being all over the place, nobody has been able to agree on a conclusive answer for any of them. Here are 5 of my favorite mysteries in FFVII. After describing them, I'll give you my 'probable explanation' as a way to try and debunk the myth in a way. Feel free to give your own theories as well!


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Demo

I just finished playing the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo. My initial impressions? Honestly, I'm very disappointed and bit worried about how good this game will be when it comes out. Most people won't be very quick to write a game off because of its demo, but I think its issues stem from the overall design, not menial things like lag or glitching.

I first thing I noticed from the moment I moved Raiden was that it feels very old-school, and that's not in a good way. The movement feels clunky and limited, like a PS2-era Capcom game (Devil May Cry). I expect more fluidity from a game coming out at the end of a console generation. Jumping up obstacles was a complete mess, and this was further hindered by a frustrating camera. None of the controls seemed to work like the designers imagined.

Thankfully, I got excited by this game for the flashy Platinum Games-style combat. Unfortunately, its a bit lackluster and hack-n-slash. Normally, I love hack-n-slash games and I feel that it can be very exhilarating when done right (DmC). In the demo, the combat was easy and one-dimensional. Any semblance of a challenge was overshadowed by an over-emphasis on flashiness. I'm not distracted by flashy visuals anymore, I want gameplay.

There wasn't too much to set this game apart from any third-party action game. Blade mode is interesting, but I found that it was just frustrating and put a dead stop to the combat. The demo didn't do a very good job of showing us why this mode is interesting, or even necessary.

In the back of my mind, I was thinking that if the gameplay failed, I would look forward to the legendary story-telling of Kojima and the Metal Gear series. To my utter disappointment, that was nowhere to be found either. Again, everything felt third-rate and lackluster. Raiden's one-liners were cringe-worthy, and the overall presentation was cheesy at best. I feel that there isn't much for Metal Gear fans to be excited about.

Hopefully, the final product will be a little better. The thing is, most of its issues are things that are basically set in stone. None of the criticisms that I mentioned will be addressed to a great degree. Don't let my ranting bring you down though, try the demo out and tell me what you think about it.


Friday, February 08, 2013

Thoughts on G Gundam

G Gundam is probably one of the most controversial entries in the Gundam franchise, and the reason is obvious: it does not follow the real-robot, war-drama scheme of most Gundam shows. Instead, it opts for a complete super-robot feel. In a sense, it is Gundam only in name. 

The series revolves around Gundam fights, where pilots use their bodies to fight each other in giant robot ring-fights. Characters yell out special moves in an over-the-top fashion, and the overall feel of the series is lighter and goofier. This is the reason a lot of fans find it hard to take G Gundam seriously. 

Though, if you can look past all of these things, G Gundam can be a rather entertaining romp. Domon and his God Finger technique are always exciting to watch, and he can really be a breath of fresh air if you are not very fond of the traditional whining teenager. In the end, opinions will be very divided. Fans will either learn to appreciate a deviation from the traditional formula, or reject it completely, considering it a blemish on the franchise. 

So, what do you think? Is it an unnecessary entry in the series, or is it an acceptable change of direction?


Thursday, January 31, 2013

5 Most Tedious Moments in FFVII

I'm not ashamed to say that Final Fantasy VII is one of my all time favorite games. It's the only game I've played through more than 20 times, and one of the only games I've done a complete 100% run-through of. I go back and play this game pretty often, and while I thoroughly enjoy every experience, there are a few small moments I dread playing through.

This is my list of the 5 most tedious moments in FFVII. Note that these moments aren't necessarily bad for the game; some people might downright enjoy them. I'm just trying to point out some sections of the game that I grew to dread after playing through the game a hundred times.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ecchi CG Set: Girls of Gundam 00

Gundam fans, I present to you the largest collection of fan service in Shinkan Crossing history. I randomly stumbled upon this entire collection and decided I may as well contribute to the Ecchi Gallery. This CG set is dedicated to Gundam 00; you'll find plenty of Soma, Nena Trinity, Sumeragi, Marida, and so on. Anyway, enjoy~


Friday, January 18, 2013

Top 5 Transformable Mobile Suits

In this list, we'll be counting down the top 5 transformable mobile suits in the Gundam metaverse. Let's specify the definition. A transformable mobile suit is a mobile weapon that has two modes: a mobile suit mode, and a mobile armor mode. We'll be narrowing this down to the smaller, faster mobile suits, so giant mobile weapons like the Psycho Gundam will not be included.

The criteria for this list will be the usual. I will primarily be looking at the mobile suit's lasting impact as a transformable unit, but I will also be focusing on the 'wow factor' of its design. Does this mobile suit do the category any justice, or was it just a waste of resources? How impressive is its transformation, mobile suit mode, and mobile armor mode? These are some of the questions I will be asking. Remember that this is not a list counting down power. Also, there are a handful of transformable units in Gundam so if your favorite gets snubbed, just give a shout out in the comments section.

5. GW-9800-B Gundam Airmaster Burst

The Airmaster Burst is the premiere transformable Gundam in Gundam X. It is a highly under-rated design because Gundam X itself is very under-rated. The Burst is an upgrade over the original Airmaster; I chose it due to its vastly improved speed and firepower. Take a look at its mobile armor mode; that's a lot of guns. From its sleek blue color scheme to its unmatched air superiority, the Airmaster Burst really impresses as a transformable mobile suit. Unfortunately, I couldn't give it a higher spot because its lasting impact was minimal compared to the rest of the entries.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thoughts on Gundam SEED

This is pretty interesting; I got some good feedback on my last post about Gundam Wing, so I figured I would continue with another Alternate Universe series: Gundam SEED. Unlike Gundam Wing, Gundam SEED is incredibly difficult to discuss properly without a flood of arguments coming from both sides.

I'll say it here and now: Gundam SEED is a perfectly enjoyable series. Put away the bias fanboy goggles and you'll find that SEED is a decent entry in the Gundam franchise, with impressive visuals, high-quality battle scenes, and a good balance of drama and politics.

Despite all this, opinions are incredibly divided. Objectively, SEED was a great way to bring in newer fans to Gundam. Older fans of the U.C. era are incredibly against SEED, unfortunately. It has a lot to do with the fact that it was spiritual remake of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and long-time fans couldn't help but resent the direction and style it took.

So, what do you think? Just how good was SEED, if at all?


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Thoughts on Gundam Wing

Many of us in the states were converted into life-long Gundam fans through Gundam Wing, which was basically Mobile Suit Gundam's introduction in the U.S. I was among this group of people, and boy did it convert me. I completely fell in love with Gundam Wing, and proceeded to watch the subsequent airings of Mobile Suit Gundam and 8th MS Team. A trait many of us share is this unending nostalgia for Gundam Wing; we think very fondly of the series.

Now, I've become a bit of a U.C. fanboy as of late, and while I still enjoy Gundam Wing, it's hard for me to look at  it objectively and consider it a perfect series. In fact, it pales in comparison to the outline of what Gundam was intended to be: a tragic war-drama. In truth, Gundam Wing was intended to lure in the female audience by way of these guys -

Confused? Gundam Wing was a bishounen anime. It's entire cast, villains included, was packed with pretty young men. It was their way of expanding Gundam to a wider audience, like how ZZ Gundam was light-hearted and silly so it could appeal to a younger audience. Again, I still enjoy re-watching Wing occasionally, but the general consensus is often very negative amongst long-time fans. 

What do you guys think of Gundam Wing? Is your opinion different from when you first watched it?