Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Last Note, First Trip

Could this be the first time ever that we have reached a climax at the end of a year on this sad little show I'm running by myself? The cold stillness of a despairing winter and the warm liveliness of a hopeful spring; after six volumes and a fan disc, we are here at last to witness the bittersweet finale of the first stage of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata.

From the moment Megumi was revealed to be on the cover for the first time, it was clear that something big was about to go down. If the first five volumes were building up an amusement park and the previous volume was us getting on its emotional roller coaster, then this one is where we go for the wild ride. The best part is that there are still other attractions to visit afterwards.

Previously on SaeKano, ominous clouds gather over the bridge of troubled waters. With the Winter Comiket submission deadline looming just around the corner, Eriri retreats to her family mansion on the Nasu Highlands to finish her illustrations. After going through serious struggles as an artist, she develops a new style and completes her work, but collapses due to the deadly Japanese cold fatigue. Tomoya decides to give up on the game and rushes to Eriri's side. Though initially upset at his decision, Eriri spends Christmas with Tomoya and the two of them finally make peace with each other. Their game would eventually become a top seller, but Tomoya's decision to act alone creates a rift between him and Megumi who begins to distance herself from him after Comiket. Meanwhile, Eriri discovers that she is unable to reproduce her new art style. For a slightly longer version, see here.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Keep Yourself Alive

Come into these arms again, and lay your body down. The rhythm of this trembling heart, is beating like a drum.

Still falls the night. Lust for blood. Killing under a scarlet moon.

For reasons less than honourable, I picked up 太陽のチャンネル or Channel of the Sun, a new title illustrated by Shinobu Kuroya and authored by Yukito Urushibara, yet another scenario writer who's ventured into the world of light novels. I haven't actually read Yukito's best known work いろとりどりのセカイ, so I'm going into this with just the knowledge that he has a habit of repeating himself and padding out sentences, and dividing whole sentences up into small, individual lines. Arguably the latter – aimed at creating a unique sense of rhythm – is not so much of an issue when presented in a book format, since the entire texts are laid out before the readers unlike visual novels that require mouse clicks and button presses. Though on the other hand some will likely find the broken sentences ineffective, clumsy and a pain to trudge through.

The story follows Hitoshiki Shima, a high school student who leads a double life as the strongest hitman. One night, he receives a bag to deliver for his job but is surprised to discover the body of a pretty girl inside. He is almost immediately approached by another mysterious girl who tries to take the bag by force after Hitoshiki refuses to hand it over. Quickly realizing that he's no match for the seemingly immortal girl, Hitoshiki takes the bag and retreats through sewer tunnels. He safely arrives at Kokuma Dormitory – Hitoshiki's home and the destination for his delivery – and shockingly finds the girl in the bag alive as she rises, bathed in sunlight, and asks to meet Rintarou Shima – the original owner of the dormitory, a demon hunter, the self-proclaimed world's No.1 busybody, Hitoshiki's saviour, and his late foster father.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Joy Of Motion

I guess this is where I say Merry early Christmas and dump pretty pictures so I don't have to write anything else.

So here are the illustrations of Date A Live Encore 3, 太陽のチャンネル, and 冴えない彼女の育てかた 7. Expect some ramblings about the last two soon. Especially SaeKano, reading it was like getting hit by a bus. Not that I'd want to know what that actually feels like.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Through The Ashes Of Empire

I should have probably written this much earlier, but I always managed to find some excuses not to. After the previous game kindly left us stranded on a cliff, the latest entry in the Kiseki series, Sen no Kiseki II doesn't mess around for very long and runs everyone off the edge like an out-of-control truck.

As Sen no Kiseki hit the climax with the Aristocratic Coalition Forces taking over the imperial capital, Rean Schwarzer fought against but was defeated by his senior and the terrorist group leader Crow Armbrust, who had just shot dead the Iron Chancellor Giliath Osborne. Against Rean's wishes, his robot Valimar took him away from the battlefield after receiving commands from Celine, leaving his friends and everyone else behind.

The sequel begins with Rean waking up in the Isengard mountain range. Despite desperately wanting to get back to his group in Trista, he finds out from Celine that currently Valimar is not operational and that he's already been unconscious for a month and only survived thanks to Valimar. As Rean makes his way down the mountain, he soon confirms that he's been to the place before with his teacher Yun Ka-Fai, the famous Sword Sage. Rean tells Celine that his hometown, the hot spring village Ymir, is just a few hours away. Before they can get moving however, they are confronted by Demonblaze Soldier Ortheim – a golem from the Dark Ages – and Rean decides to take on the giant despite Celine's warnings. After some struggle, a worn-out Rean realizes he's not doing any real damage. Celine tries to raise a barrier to block the golem's attack but Ortheim effortlessly destroys the barrier and knocks Celine aside. Just as Rean is about to give up, a familiar voice casts a powerful spell which disintegrates the ground under Ortheim; Rean watches as the golem falls to the mountain valley below. Catching his breath, Rean follows the voices calling out to him and finds Tovar Randonneur, Princess Alfin and his sister Elise Schwarzer. Ever worried about her brother, Elise rushes to Rean's side. Seeing that she's safe and sound, Rean is relieved but quickly loses consciousness from exhaustion.