[One Piece Film Retrospective] #7: The Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle (2006)

Always felt some sort of pity with this one, because it had the unbelievable “luck” of coming out after a far more ambitious, creative and artistically impressive take on the same series, and while almost anything was gonna be looked down upon as a “follow up” to Baron Omatsuri and The Secret Island… going fully back on the formulaic and “mild” didn’t help, even it was “inevitable”.

Okay, that’s a bit cruel, but i guess the mixed reviews Baron Omatsuri received were taken into consideration, so the experimental period was basically declared over, time to slip back into the comfort zone and play it super safe, despite that movie being as successful as any One Piece film was.

Not that this is necessarily the sign of a bad movie, i do like “regular” One Piece after all, of course i do, but i’m not exactly impressed when a film series based on a super popular shonen series is playing to the familiar tunes immediatly after an entry took risks, and was mostly rewarded for it’s ambition, the desire of director, screenwriter to make a very different film while still playing within (& with) the established world and characters of said series. A different, risky vision.

Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle is another cuttle of fish, as in, the usual for One Piece feature films, we’re back to the regular scheduled fair, for better or worse.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #7: The Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle (2006)”

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers PS4 [REVIEW] | BROTHERS EVERYWHERE-

While we wait for EDF 6 to come out this august in Japan, the previous spin-off finally went on proper sale on the PSN some time ago, so i finally got to play (bought the Deluxe Edition on sale, so complete of all Season Pass content, FIY) and review Earth Defense Force: World Brothers, another spin-off of D3 Publisher’s beloved cult series about space ants and giant robots, handled by Yuke’s, which did previously develop another EDF spin-off the year before, the quite solid EDF: Iron Rain.

The story it’s actually a more comedical take, with the aliens invaders from all previous EDF game scoming back (with a mothership each) under the guise of the new villain, just called Dark Tyrant, destroying “voxel earth” into many pieces in a single shot, so what’s left of the EDF has to find a way to put it back the pieces together and repel the invaders, one mothership at the time.

Instead of going for the serious faced ridiculousness played totally straight seen in the mainline titles and even the previous EDF Iron Rain, World Brothers just revels in the sea of clichès, deliberately having a voice acting that’s so ridiculous or “old fashioned cringe” for the also ridiculous as hell dialogues, here more on the zany side, which is further reinforced by the stylistical choice of going “voxel” in terms of graphics.

Continua a leggere “Earth Defense Force: World Brothers PS4 [REVIEW] | BROTHERS EVERYWHERE-“

[EXPRESSO] Pacific Rim: The Black (Season Two) (2022) | Kaiju Kult

Well, look’s who back, a series that i honestly even forgot existed, but they did announced this second (and final) season, guess that branding helped.

So yeah, while i didn’t hate the first season, Pacific Rim The Black was kinda the perfect example of “Netflix anime”, as in, it looks like anime, it’s produced by an anime company and japanese directors, but you could tell it’s written by non-japanese staff.

Which isn’t necessarily an issue, but you just can tell right away and it creates this slight disconnect, and due to that once again it’s hard to say for whom exactly this is made for exactly, given it’s still made in okayish but still janky 3D CG (and the specific “3D CG anime jank” of Polygon Pictures output), which is kinda offputting for most of the self-proclaimed “anime enthusiasts”.

But on the flipside, it’s not that bad, it’s honestly alright, it’s entertaining enough and this one picks from the point where the first season started having some interesting worldbuilding and character development, and manages to make the plot have some purpose (though it kinda has to, since this is the final season), introducing a death cult of Kaiju worshippers.

It’s an actual improvement over the first season, the writing it’s still nothing impressive, but it’s better, though despite being just another 7 episodes, i did wonder if it was ever supposed to be longer, as some resolutions and events happen very quickly, almost abruptly so.

Again, it’s alright, but as the idea of anime series based on Pacific Rim makes a lot of sense if you think about it, it kinda let you wish it had better animation and a slightly longer lenght.

Still, for a spin-off “western-ish anime” series that didn’t need to exist in the first place… it’s decent.

Mega Shark VS Kolossus (2014) [REVIEW] Attack On Titan Shark

Mega Shark VS Kolossus 2014
This is from the trailer, btw.

In 2013, the first season of the Attack On Titan anime was launched, and effectively made the already successful manga series by Hajime Isayama (started in 2009 on Bessatsu Shonen Magazine) a worlwide phenomen, the anime/manga series that gets big and becomes a sensation even outside of the already invested cultural circles and subcultures, like Death Note did before, resulting in anime/nerd/geek cons flooded with dozens of cosplayers in the guise of the young soldiers and their desperate struggle at gigantomachia in a fantasy Western Europe, for some years to come until the next big series that people won’t shut up about for a time.

While this means bugger all for The Asylum, as they really don’t belong in the “animesphere”, they clearly noticed the popularity of Attack On Titan (or SnK, if you really care), and find an oblique way to chomp at the popularity crumbs of both the anime series, AND to double-dip on the far more popular love letter to mecha anime and kaiju movies, Pacific Rim, which they already “mockbustered” a year later with Atlantic Rim. To really make this the perfect matrioska of creative compromises, they decided to realize this marketing manouver in the shape of a new Mega Shark movie. Continua a leggere “Mega Shark VS Kolossus (2014) [REVIEW] Attack On Titan Shark”

[EXPRESSO] Zed Blade/Operation Ragnarok NSWDDL | Norsemech

Zed Blade NSWDDL.jpg

More Neo Geo titles on Switch? YES.

Like most offering in the Arcade Archives-ACA series by Hamster, the game has both the american/international release and the original japanese one, named Operation Ragnarok. Not that it matters, they took names from norse mythology, but you are still in the usual spaceships flying around, shooting mechs, insectoid robots n stuff, as one of three anime styled characters you can choose.

As for why, you’re up against the supercomputer-turned-rebellious spaceship Yggdrasil, not that you’re ever gonna find out if you don’t read the description in the store page or search wikia, because the game itself doesn’t tell you.

MHK’s game delivers a typical but satisfying 2D spaceship shooter, with an interesting feature, as you can (and must) customize the type of main shot, rear shot and missiles (all shot at the same time) at the start of the game, alongside one of the three characters, who determines the ship’s speed. There are power ups that improve each type of shot, alongisde the classic smart bombs, but you mostly gotta work with the loadout chosen at the beginning.

Graphics are nice, nothing impressive for the time, the music on the other hand definitely stands out, with EDM style tracks that i personally dig. Sadly, i don’t think it’s enough to overlook the generic nature and some balance issues, since your ship has a bigger sprite than it should, making it for some cheap deaths, but then again the smart bomb is a bit too powerful, and even without those, it’s an easier (and shoter) affair than usual for the genre.

Good game, still, definitely worth playing for fans of genre hungry for lesser known Neo Geo games, even if flawed and lacking distinguishing features in a sea of  more popular (and often better) shmups.

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