Monday, September 17, 2018

Anime Review: No Game, No Life

Today I am doing another anime review, kupo! This weeks anime is No Game, No Life. I hope you enjoy reading!
No Game No Life is a SciFi/Fantasy amine that follows two siblings, Sora and Shiro into an alternate world that is governed by gaming. Sora and Shiro  start out as two reclusive adolescent (hikikomori) step siblings that live their lives playing games of all kinds. They pride themselves on being the best, from playing two characters at once in an MMO and defeating anyone that challenges them, to playing high tech chess AI that was designed to beat chess masters. They call themselves Blank, which is a play on the Japanese Kanji characters for Sora and Shiro. The story begins when Shiro gets a challenge by a chess player online. She realizes that the challenger is very clever and Sora jumps in to help. After winning the long challenging match they receive an odd e-mail from someone claiming to be from another world. After accepting the invitation given by this mysterious player they get transported to a magical world where they meet Tet, a self proclaimed God of games. Tet explains to them that he is the God of this world, and every conflict is settled by games. There are 10 rules, or pledges that govern this fantasy world that everyone must follow. 
Sora and Shiro end up meeting a ditsy clumsy girl named Steph at an inn they are staying at, and learn that she is actually the princess of Elkia, one of the 16 nations in this world. Through their adventures they meet several other opponents turned allies on the quest to help Steph restore the kingdom of Elkia to its rightful place as the top nation.

This anime gives me mixed feelings, but my overall opinion is a good one. From the feels to the articulate plot twists I was hooked from the first few episodes. Although there is plenty of comedy this anime is also full of heart wrenching moments that make the story. One of the biggest emotionally stimulating virtues of this amine is the relationship between Shiro and Sora, and how their sibling bond develops. Now don't get me wrong, at some points their relationship can be cringe-worthy due to the insinuation of insestial characteristics but I feel they did a good job at keeping it appropriate. 
Speaking of appropriation this anime has plenty of fan service and comedic elements. No Game, No Life is a series that straddles the line when it comes to morals at some points. Personally i'm not the type of person that enjoys fan service or perverted comedy, but again I think they did it correctly; It wasn't too much for me to make it through. 
Although the comedy doesn't do it for me, this anime has plenty of serious moments and does a good job of switching moods back and forth to maintain the correct mindset of the viewers during important plot points. They balance the mood during character development, plot and setting developments, and even back story explanations. 
Not only did they get this mood balance right, they also got the game culture correct. As an avid gamer and hikikomori myself, I enjoy that i can actually find anime such as No Game No Life with characters that I can relate with. I mentioned this same thing in my last review of Recovery of an MMO Junkie. Shiro and Sora, as well as Kurami ( a girl who they won against to become king) have very accurate personality traits of the type of people they are portraying. I think this is also why they included some fan service as well as the slapstick style comedy. A lot of introverted gamers out there will understand that online you get to be a different person. Even if they are depressed inside it usually comes out as trolling or other forms of harmless venting when online.  

Now in regards to character development some might have issues with our protagonists seeming to always win the games they play. Some might argue that this takes the fun out of this anime, but that couldn't be further from the truth! The simple fact that Sora always seems 3 steps ahead of everyone makes the anime interesting from my point of view. When I watch No game, No Life I feel i'm tasked with seeing how well the game plays out, and get excited about seeing how Blank is going to pull the win off.
Again, this anime is definitely about the journey, not the outcome. Because of this, it can seem like a slow moving anime in the beginning, but after episode 4 when Tet reveals his true intent things take off to a fast pace. Although this can be considered a good thing due to it only having 12 episodes, I feel like they could have done a lot more with it. 
I'm not going to spoil the ending because this is definitely an anime that you need to check out, but they leave on a cliffhanger which is one of my biggest pet peeves. I'm sure we have all seen an anime that we fell in love with, It develops well, follows the source material well, makes you totally head over heals, you so excited for the last episode to see that final battle or conclusion, and then out of nowhere the episode ends in the middle of said conflict,and the protagonist gives a cheesy smile right before the credits roll almost as if to say, "Thanks for watching, if you liked this read the manga!!" No Game, No Life is one of these. They did so many things right; this is almost a form of self destruction. This was so unfortunate for such a great anime, but alas this is my only big complaint. 
They did make more content with the release of No Game, No Life: Zero, however instead of it being a series sequel it was a film prequel. I will save my views on Zero for another review, but I will say I enjoyed it as well. Unfortunately however it didn't add anything to the continuation of the series. 
Well, I'm going to end this review here, I hope you enjoyed this review. I definitely encourage you to check out No Game No Life, I promise it wont disappoint. 

No Game No Life is available for legal streaming on Hulu and Crunchy Roll.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Anime Review: Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Today I will be reviewing an anime that is near to my heart, Recovery of an MMO Junkie. Now keep in mind this is my opinion, not fact. I hope you enjoy reading!

Recovery of an MMO Junkie is a slice of life Rom-Com that follows Moriko Morika (Mori Mori for short), a 30 year old NEET that quit her job to live in the online world of MMO's. After finding out that the server for the game she usually plays is shut down, she finds a new game called Fruits De Mer (shellfish)where she meets Lilly, a veteran player and her guild-mates. She creates a male character named Hayashi and develops a relationship with her newfound companion Lilly. Lilly happens to be a gentleman named Yuta Sakurai, a corporate employee that works with Moriko's old company but she has no idea about the identity of lily. Yes this is a convenient coincidence and there are many other coincidences in this series, however I feel that they were done correctly. As mentioned before this is Rom-Com, so yes there is a love story here, but its not as cheesy as others out there. It is however sometimes cringe worthy to see how awkward these two are at interacting with one another in real life.This anime is a perfect anime for those introverts who are awkward when it comes to social interactions because it is very accurate. There are so many things right with this anime, including subtle meanings and hidden Easter eggs. For example, the game they are playing is called Fruits De Mer, when translated from french to English it means shell fish. I think this is a metaphor for Mori Mori being stuck in a proverbial shell, her introversion. This story is filled with awkward social interactions and internal conflicts of several characters as they try to navigate their lives in game and in real life. Did I also mention the opening and ending themes are amazing? Because they are!
I want to talk about all of the tropes in this anime as well. Boy are there plenty. Everything from the way the characters interact with each other in the game to different issues they have inter-personally is spot on accurate. The setting switches between in game and real life, and you can definitely tell the difference in the personalities of the group. As an avid gamer, I also notice these paradigm changes in myself When I play an MMO or any RPG. I try to make a character that not only compliments the good parts of my personality but also enables me to play a roll that is completely different than myself IRL. It gives me that ability to escape all of my problems and be who i want without fear of rejection or disapproval because I am sheltered behind another face and name. This is exactly how Mori Mori approaches her gaming experience as well as Yuta. The creators of this story were spot on when giving these traits to our protagonists.

In another way they also captured other player types, not just the introverted addicts. One of the characters they play with in game is named Lilac, who IRL is a college student and plays a loli style character. In episode 4, "Like a Maiden in Love" the guild members are buying loot boxes to try and get rare items and gear, and lilac is able to obtain a rare gear-set that changes her appearance. She later changes it back saying its not her style. You see this type of player in MMO's often, one who is fixated on making their character look and act a certain way to keep up an appearance. Honestly this is also a trait of Mori Mori due to her choice of a character in Hayashi who seems to express everything she would want in  mate, but there are still a lot of differences between them.
Speaking of Lilac, like i mentioned before, its hard to find anything wrong with this anime as they did so many thing right, however there are a few things that I personally didn't care for. Keep in mine this is purely my opinion, but none the less it may be something that others struggle to grasp as well.  I didn't like the lack of character development with the secondary characters. Although this is a very short series and it does wonders for the 2 main characters (Mori Mori and Yuta) I would have liked to see a little bit more from the side characters. In the first half of the series they made several appearances and also started bits of development, but during the second half of the series they just get thrown to the side as the relationship between Mori and Yuta develop. Unfortunately their relationship is able to develop because these side characters, like Koiwai and Kanabe (Kazuomi) who encouraged them to be more social with one another. Sometimes too much is a bad thing but I feel we could have at least got something.
All in all that is really my only complaint about this anime. Its very cheerful, and keeps the comedy witty and interesting without being too aggressive. I encourage anyone that has ever played an MMO or online game to give this anime a try, I promise it wont fail you!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


     For my first entry into this series, I wanted to take a look at one of my favorite JRPG titles of all time, FINAL FANTASY XIII. Released in the USA in march of 2010, XIII was (at the time) the first Final Fantasy game to enter the new HD era of console gaming. Compared to previous Final Fantasy entries it had a somewhat unique ATB, or automated battle system, as well as high definition graphics.

     To begin, I would like to make you aware that this article is 100% my opinion, so you may agree or disagree. I would also like to hear what everyone has to say about the game so please comment with your opinion(s).

     It seems that, at least in the Final Fantasy fan community, that there is a lot of animosity about Final Fantasy XIII. There is a lot of criticism about the game for several different reasons, and I will address a few along the way. I want to start with why I love the game. For the most part when someone enjoys a game they either like the story or game-play, and as you will find out I enjoy a game mostly for the story. In my opinion, XIII has an amazing story. The plot begins in the world of Cocoon, a floating city above the world of Grand Pulse. In the story there are beings called Fal'cie, which are basically Demi-Gods who are feuding with each other. On one side you have the Sanctum Fal'cie who protect and provide for Cocoon and its citizens, and on the other you have the Pulse Fal'cie who thrive on the planet of Grand Pulse. These god-like entities use humans to do their bidding by turning them into L'Cie and give them a focus they must complete. The story begins during the purge, a mass exodus event that occurs because a pulse Fal'Cie found its way to Cocoon and "tainted" many people. Lightning, the main character, finds herself caught up in the Purge while looking for her sister, Serah.

     Being a Final Fantasy fan, I think they did a really good job with the story and environment, however it seems that it was too good of a job. The story was very detailed and provided a lot of character development, at least for the main characters. I believe that because of this, some people didn't like it. Your probably thinking, but if the story is super good, why would people hate it? well the reason is because the story was so detailed that it wasn't explained very well in game-play, you had to do a little digging and read the in game data log. If your a super nerd like me you could also lookup the lore of the universe online. All in all those things aren't necessary to have a good experience with the game and story, but it does fill in those blanks that may arise due to the fast paced story line in the beginning of the game. Again, I enjoyed it because I love the story and I love that it pushed me to be engaged with it on another level other than just watching the cut scenes.

     Although story is my big guilty pleasure in games the game play and systems of the game have to be bearable, and that is what Final Fantasy XIII's game play is, bearable. Now yes, it is still one of my favorite games that I have ever played, however the battle system was a bit automatic. Now of course the first word in the ATB system is automated, but it was super button mashy. With enough grinding here and there you could literally press X the entire game during battle and beat the game. The battle system itself didn't really get intricate until the last few levels of the game, and some select boss battles. The good thing about this is that you could still choose not to use the auto battle feature, so you as a player could choose the immersion level when it comes to battle. Honestly for me however, having finished multiple play troughs, It feels like a really pretty skin for a turned based system.

     The battle system wasn't the only sketchy part of this game. There was also the games linearity. Unfortunately all but one map in the entire game is basically a hallway for lack of a better term. There were not very many paths you could take instead of the main one, however this is another reason why I enjoy the game. It sounds crazy, but yes this made me like it even more. For one, the background and scenery in the game is absolutely amazing, so graphically I didn't really notice that I couldn't go to the places I saw on my screen. I just felt like I was in this huge map walking on a path. As far as my preference is concerned I don't enjoy too many open world games, because I feel overwhelmed. I consider my self somewhat of a completionist, so games like that frustrate me to no end. In XIII i felt great knowing that I didn't have to worry about being lost, and missing out on finding something hidden as well as helping me get to that next cut scene faster. ( and out of my 40- hour play-through there were 8 hours of cut scenes!)

     All in all I really enjoyed this game, and I think if your a little patient and give it a shot, even the most pessimistic Final Fantasy fan could come to love XIII.

I give Final Fantasy XIII 8.5/10 Kupo's!
story: 10/10
game play 7/10

If you have something to add, or just want to comment on the things I have said, feel free to let me know! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

From A to RPG

Hello, if you couldn't tell by the title of the blog, my name is Claire. I am an average girl who loves all things RPG. this is my first entry into the series, ClairEfiles, that I am starting and wanted to give a bit of an intro. I have some great opinions and facts about roll playing games at my disposal, including J-RPG titles and anime to western style RPG's. since this is what I'm passionate about, this is what I will be discussing and look forward to providing information, as well as receiving it! as a reader I should set your expectations that you will see a lot of Square Enix titles and well as other J-RPG's as this is my expertise, and don't be surprised if I throw a few non RPG titles in the mix (for reference purposes, kupo!) I look forward to producing this blog so stick around, and most of all keep a healthy supply of potions!

Anime Review: No Game, No Life

Today I am doing another anime review, kupo! This weeks anime is No Game, No Life . I hope you enjoy reading! No Game No Life is a SciFi...