12/9/16

Kinkmas: Huuna Mina

Welcome back to the four part Holiday series I call Kinkmas, where I look at weird fetish games I've found on my travels through the dredges of the internet. The first game I talked about was a tad on the “might have actually heard of somewhere” side of things, so now we're getting into the weird stuff you gotta dig for. I think an action game about torture with a bondage powered vampire ninja is a good a place as any to start, don't you? Let's talk about the oh so bizarre Huuna Mina.

12/6/16

"Ahola, Alola", How Sun & Moon Mark Pokémon's Resurgence

For many kids of my age, and for myself, Pokémon was the first, if not one of the first anime we ever saw on television, not that many of us understood what anime was at this point; coming off the back of the world-conquering video games (as of earlier this year, the total Pokémon franchise had sold a staggering 279 million games since 1998), and that bane of every playground and classroom, the trading card game, it only escalated the popularity of the series. Featuring the adventures of eternal nearly-man Ash Ketchum (Satoshi in Japan), and an ever larger cast of Pokémon and human friends, ranging from pun spouting ladies man Brock and proto-tsundere, Misty, to more recent characters such as Dawn, the anime itself has reached an impressive 947 episodes (not including spin-offs such as the superb Generations miniseries). Of course, with 2016, came the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise, with Nintendo's double barrel approach of the wildly spectacular smartphone game, Pokémon Go in July, followed by a new installment of the series, Sun and Moon. But what would a 20th Anniversary bring for one of the longest running anime of recent years?
 

12/2/16

Kinkmas: HunieCam Studio

Welcome to Kinkmas, everyone, the happiest and saddest time of the year at the same time. Every Friday in December, I'll spotlight a different weird fetish game I've found, and yes, the large majority of them are Japanese and very, very confusing. Please note that these are not porn games, but fetish games. Nothing particularly explicit happens in them, but everything in there is not squeaky clean, if you know what I mean. These are the balloon rubbing videos of games, people.

Before we enter the weird realms of the Japanese net, I'd like to start us off easy with a western title that's entire premise is based around marketing via fetishes. After the success of HuniePop, a game I am endlessly frustrated to admit is actually good, studio HuniePot decided to try their hand at a new genre. The end result was HunieCam Studio, which tosses out the outright pornographic elements of the last game and tried to be a more modest effort with a much more comedic tone and style.

Also, it uses AIDS as a game mechanic.

Did I mention the developers are regulars in chan boards?

11/29/16

Taking a Ride on the Bee Train

"In the land of Twilight under the moon
We dance for the idiots."

-Yuki Kajiura lyrics, .hack//SIGN soundtrack

My relationship with studio Bee Train is a little confusing even to me. I do not enjoy most of their library. In fact, if I ever wanted to cash in on instant clicks for negative coverage around here and do a list of the worst series I've ever watched, I dare say their signature title Noir would make a... beeline to the top. Yeah, their work is so lackluster most of the time, they don't even inspire the good puns, folks.  And yet, I've watched a good portion of their work all the way through. Voluntarily. I do not consider myself a masochist, and no matter what my seasonal viewings may seem to suggest, I don't actively seek out bad series to puke on because I have limited time on my hands that gets shorter every day. Maybe one intentional viewing of something terrible a year to keep my baselines properly tuned. This begs the question of why I'm wasting my time with all of this, and even have a certain affection for titles even if they are more than a skosh terrible.


11/25/16

VA-11 Hall-A and Japanese PC Cyberpunk

Earlier this year, we finally saw the release of the Venezuelan visual novel VA-11 Hall-A. If you missed out, I wrote a pretty comprehensive article on it for Hardcore Gaming 101, but the short story is that the game is a cyberpunk visual novel about a futuristic bar in a decaying city, telling the stories of the various customers that come in for some spirits and a break from the daily grind. It's easily one of the best games of 2016 by a large margin for me, but since I've already discussed how good it is in detail, I'll instead be focusing on the game's aesthetics today. It's a good as an excuse as any to finally talk about one of the coolest things Japan ever did: PC-98 gaming.

11/22/16

I'm So Moe, You Already Know...

With the post-election aftermath rippling across the world, I figured that now was the best time to offer up a distraction. After all, the situation looks bleak, and people need diversions from real-life more than ever. However, finding diversions have proven tough, as politics seems to be all that’s on people’s minds. If I’m to succeed, then I should discuss Otaku-centric issues for those burned out by the real world. Fortunately, I think I have what the doctor ordered:

Let’s talk moe instead.


11/18/16

Otaku Queer: Love Live! Sunshine!!

Welcome to another installment of Otaku Queer, were we look at various queer and queer coded characters in anime, manga, Japanese games and all the like! Today, the topic is Love Live Sunshine, as in the entire show. Every character in this show is so ridiculously gay or gay coded that focusing on just one character wouldn't really do the show justice. In particular, I'll be talking about how the show try to appease both queer fans and the usual otaku lot, and the advantages and problems this approach brings.

11/15/16

The Musical Dilemma

HIT IT!


Yin no Piano — Darker Than Black

It’s no secret that music and film have a shared history. Since its inception, when film was only silent images juxtaposed to a piano player, music has been an integral part of the theatre-going experience. It should also figure that because dialogue is such a crucial part of storytelling, so too is music. In fact, as the tools used for making movies became more advanced, so too did music’s part in the overall presentation of movies become more elaborate and integral.

A while back, Tony Zhou, creator of the Every Frame a Painting series, did a video on the musical failure of the MCU. I won’t share my thoughts in too much detail, you can see my response on my personal blog, but, in a way, he did have a valid point about how a lot of modern films, particularly those of Hollywood, have a bad habit of using scores and musical cues in such a way that they feel invisible. It’s become epidemic, and it detracts from the overall experience. Recently, I even started contemplating how anime efficiently incorporates its music, to the point where even mediocre shows and movies still have memorable music, as a response. However, is it perhaps integrated too efficiently?

11/11/16

The Reject Demon: Toko - Episode Zero (PC)

Since I've started writing about games more often again, I've started diving my toe into the vast ocean that is the western visual novel scene, a place flooded with sub-par titty games and messy experiments (much like the entirety of Hanako Games' catalog, the experiments, I mean). One of the more promising groups I've come across, however, is Lupiesoft, a very small studio that just released a full VN in both clean and adult versions on Steam and through MangaGamer's store called The Stargazers. I have yet to try it myself, but I can attest that they have another series worth watching in the coming year. That series is The Reject Demon: Toko, a pretty, pure on visual novel being released in episodic format, with the second episode planned for release in 2017.

11/9/16

The Studio Ghibli Conundrum

It's no secret that I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan: I own every movie they’ve made except The Ocean Waves. My room has a giant Totoro plush on one of my shelves. I own a detailed book of the studio’s work up to Ponyo. My screensaver is comprised of stills from each of their films, as is my background on my computer. I’ve even written about the studio an unhealthy amount on this site!


However, I sometimes wonder if that’s detrimental to my ability to enjoy other anime. If you’ll recall in my Beginner’s Guide on Studio Ghibli, I mentioned that one of the key reasons for their success in the West is that their films don’t feel like conventional anime. As a collective, Western society has an anxiety about Eastern cultures and their inherent value. In some cases, like with Kubo and the Two Strings, Kung Fu Panda and Avatar: The Last Airbender, we take cues from them and adapt our own spin. But for the most part, the East, more specifically Japan, remains a bizarre part of the world that we don’t want to understand, even to the point of, as I mentioned in another piece, unfounded ridicule.