Years go by and each of brings new standards, new evolutions, in good or bad. Mine this year will be perhaps disappointing for those who enjoy reading this blog, because I will mostly stop posting game reviews on it. I recently joined VGChartz as writer, so this is a whole new challenge for me. VGChartz staff are great people and they gave me the warmest welcome I could ever imagine, so technically I could keep posting reviews here but at some point the amount of publishing between French and English is too demanding. January has already strained me quite a bit. So reviews should be found in the VGChartz review list from now on, although I might keep a few little ones for the blog. That doesn’t mean blogging stops here : I will replace with posts like this on anime, and I seriously consider translating my posts about my travels in Japan (although that might kill me completely given the extensive content). Opinion pieces will still be there, so it’s not goodbye or anything.
I got PSVR for Christmas, mostly by curiosity about a few titles since the VR craze hasn’t really been convincing to me. Yet my short experiment of Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash in VR certainly was. I hadn’t expected such a deep level of immersion. I was at loss for words after getting the helmet off, stupefied by the scale of the revolution I had just witnessed. If such incredible result was achievable in 6 months of PSVR, just imagine what content will be available in 5 or 10 years ! The array of possibilities are staggering, this will be truly a human revolution if they become reality. Since then I’ve bought Hoshi no Kakera no Monogatari which is amazing as well.
In a more classic way, Dissidia FF NT has come to warm the icy week-end of January. With all the efforts, raging and twitching, my body always end up feeling like burning. In short, the usual symptoms when playing a good fighting game. SquareEnix’s product is beautiful, the animations are incredible and it has a dream-like soundtrack for series fans. More than ever, the FF universe is recreated perfectly. Online play is really harsh though, which exacerbates some unbalance between character types. Terra, like all Shoot characters, is tricky to play as because far to slow and virtually defenseless. It’s exhausting to try to earn a few points and that’s a shame because so the rest of the game is so good. But enough of gaming and let’s talk other media.
Kûsen Madôshi Kôhosei no Kyôkan is an old harem that was sleeping in my hard disk so I thought I could give it a try. That anime is about Kanata, a nonchalant military instructor who has been given the task to turn three lousy magical knights aspirant girls into tactical pros. Action scenes were under the par but for the rest it was fun nicely directed. Character management was pretty good, especially in the last episode because it breaks the rules of the genre and let the girls strike the final blow and not the hero.
A spin-off about an interesting character is generally worth the time, even when the original work is poor. Aiz is the main character of Sword Oratoria and expectedly it’s a lot better than Danmachi, even though the writers couldn’t refrain from liking it to the main story, which is annoying. The Loki family is quite a entertaining group, composed of characters a lot more amusing and charismatic than the crybabies of the original anime. Battles aren’t jokes, there are serious confrontations and a real show. In fact, it has almost everything that Danmachi lacked.
Classroom of the Elite was fairly interesting for its originality. 4 classes of highschoolers rival each other to get the best positions later, but the ranking isn’t just made of school marks. It involves points, the management of which is complex and only the best minds can get the most of it. Ayanokôji, the protagonist, is an expert in the field and will discreetly come up with plans to beat the other classes, despite the poor students of his class. Classroom of the Elite is one of those animes that invent complex but fascinating rules, and the mystery surrounding Ayanokôji is another reason to want more.
Gamers made me think a lot. It shows the numerous misunderstandings between five gaming fans in love with each other. It kinds of busts the fundamental contradiction between love and gaming. It’s almost too well directed : the dream-like relationships between those otakus guys & gals is like advising us to look for a similar reality ourselves. Fun and moving, it was clearly a great show.
Masterpiece here. Princess Principal tells the missions of 4 spy girls in a fictional London split into 2 at the beginning of the 20th century. A unique universe featuring political intrigues, betrayals and admirable moral messages. That anime surprises you almost every time, especially in episode 8, which overturns the narrative so much that my brain made a system error : impossible to get a clear picture of what that meant for the rest of the story. Mind-blowing and best anime of the season.
The first thing I do when coming back from Japan is always symptomatic. In October 2015, I had booted the PS4 version of Nights of Azure. In 2016, I had started Persona 5. In Spring 2015 I… … maybe it’s better not saying that. In 2017, I rushed to my TV to start watching the 2nd season of New Game, my favorite of 2016. Although it loses its originality, this show keeps delivering, especially in depicting rivalry and ambition. The shattered hopes of Aoba made an unforgettable scene. I also appreciated the renewed role for Hifumi and Umiko, and all the parodies of professional life were as true, and hilarious, as ever.
I found that manga on a bookshop display in Fukuoka station. Pretty sure it shouldn’t have been there though… What Ijôsha no Ai tells or shows is absolutely gruesome, and certainly not for all audiences. Midô is your not-so-average middle schooler in love with a young boy called Kazumi. She’s so deeply in love with him that one day, she just stabs one her rivals in love in the classroom. Unable to erase Kazumi from or head, she’ll quickly come back to haunt her loved one, after years of isolation. Then starts a real thriller between Kazumi who seeks revenge, and yandere gold medalist Midô capable of doing the most horrible things to keep him for herself. The narrative, full of shocking scenes and amazing twists, ends up hooking. But I repeat, the level of psychological violence here is unprecedented.