I’ve finally seen at least the first episode of everything I was planning on watching (plus a couple extra). So, how do they hold up to my expectations?
I admit that Death Note means a lot to me and I won’t lie that my inner fangirl hasn’t clouded my viewing experience. Regardless, it’s still undoubtedly a terrible film, even without comparing it to the original work.
What’s most annoying for me is that the first 20 minutes actually showed promise. I was genuinely thinking to myself “Wow, this might actually be an okay film.” I mean, that scene where Ryuk was shown for the first time was pretty fun to watch but then Light shows Mia the Death Note and all redeeming features disappear along with my hopes that I wouldn’t be wasting my afternoon.
There are so many complaints I have with this sorry excuse of a movie, but let’s start with the elephant in the room: who thought that a psychological thriller that makes you question the true meaning of good and evil would do well adapted into a poorly thought out romance with a touch of gore for added shock value?
It’s been just under a year since I broke my routine of watching seasonal in an attempt to make more time for studying for school. In the end I just ended up spending more time picking up many more other hobbies. Heck, I even built a computer for the first time while I was at it.
Now with all the time in the world over the summer holidays, I thought I would catch up with all the anime I missed while getting my teeth into this season’s rather enticing offerings.
Already at week 8, and with less than a fortnight until the start of term, I can safely say that I probably watched more anime during my exams. To put it into perspective, there are 14 shows that I’ve marked as currently watching on MAL but in reality, I’ve only been watching about 4 of them.
I have a newfound respect for my younger self’s determination to watch each new episode the moment it became available on its respective streaming site. Right now I can barely even remember which day they air on, let alone be bothered to follow 20 shows.
At least now I understand why people tend to just focus on binge watching…
I may as well say what I’ve been watching, though:
I’m not actually trying to beat around the bush here. Whether you love or hate SAO, fair enough, whatever, I don’t really care at this point. Besides, plenty of people have already torn it to shreds/prove its amazingness over thousands of times in more ways than I care to know by now.
Regardless of your actual opinion of the concept (which I personally love), there’s no debate that the story itself is a total mess (albeit not the worst).
Before I continue, allow me to first give a brief history on how the series came to be:
Reki Kawahara, a novice author at the time, originally wrote Sword Art Online as a one shot novel to enter ASCII Works’ Dengeki Game Novel Prize in 2002. In the end the novel was too long and he didn’t enter it, however, he did publish it online and even decided to continue it. Six years later, he entered and won the same prize with a different novel (Accel World). Seeing its success online (and also maybe Kawahara’s promise? I don’t know), ASCII Works asked to also publish Sword Art Online and you probably know the rest.
Going back to the title, I would like
argue suggest that ‘Sword Art Online’, as in the very first volume of the series, minus the final chapter, (that’s more or less the contents of only episodes 1, 8, 9, 10 and 14 of season 1, for those of you who haven’t read the novels) would actually have been quite good as a standalone, 200-and-something page novel.
If you think I’m simply just picking and choosing the parts I liked the most (which isn’t actually true, by the way) think of it like this: apart from volume 2 (which is just a series of short stories that were added later on, so it doesn’t even count anyway), the rest of the series isn’t even really about Sword Art Online. It’s just about the same people messing around with various VR (and now AR?) games that happen to have an “oh so dark” secret behind them. A bit of a side note, but one of the biggest problems I have with the series is that it’s rather difficult to up the stakes if they’re already death in the very first arc.
But all these problems disappear if Sword Art Online was only the one volume. Kirito isn’t even a crappy harem protagonist since Sachi, Silica, Lisbeth and Yui all no longer exist and the rest of the series never even happened. The shallow character development? Not a problem, since one shots don’t really need much anyway. It’s not like you’ll ever see the characters again at the end of the novel. It’s not like the author will decide to make the story drag out for 20+ volumes without adding the required development to prevent the protagonist from being a Marty-Stu and the centre of a completely pointless harem…
I don’t know what I was trying to achieve here, but maybe I’m just angry that (admittedly only partially) because of SAO’s success, a genuinely interesting concept has become overused to the point that multiple novel competitions ( including ones run by Kadokawa and Kodansha) have banned anything to do with a teenage protagonist and/or alternate video game type/ fantasy worlds. Despite this, we are left with only very few works that execute it well and are interesting to read and even fewer that I personally like. As overused as it is, an entire series of tropes has essentially been binned just because there is too much actual crap within the category for the genuinely good stuff to be found.
Oh well, at least we have the masterpiece that is SAO Abridged.
Now I finally have plenty of free time, I want to catch up on the anime I’ve missed over the last year. What should I watch first?
Some time around Christmas, while I was browsing TV Tropes, I remember stumbling upon Aishite Night (愛してナイト and it’s sometimes romanised as Aishite Knight, but I can write an entire essay as to why I don’t think it should be).
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it but, if you happened to grow up in continental Europe during the late 80s and early 90s, you may have heard of it under a name like “Rock’n Roll Kids“, “Lucile, Amour et Rock’n Roll” and “Kiss Me Licia“, among many others. I’m told that it was even popular enough in Italy to get a 145 episode long live-action drama (I feel like I might have to check that out at some point).
I did originally say in my post about the reveal trailer that I wouldn’t talk about the Switch again until release day (which we now know to be 3rd March 2017 worldwide) but there’s a lot to take in and talk about from their hour-long presentation this morning(and all the other information outlets that are buzzing today).
Nintendo have chosen to describe the Switch as “a home console gaming system that allows you to change your play style” and with three ‘modes’ plus the multiplayer mode they’ve dubbed “sharing the joy”, that’s quite hard to argue with.
I’m quite curious about the details of this paid online service that was mentioned but if it includes free games every month at a reasonable price like PlayStation Plus, then I would gladly pay (if I end up buying the console).
They also claim that the Switch has inherited the best parts of its predecessors, (including both home and handheld consoles), however, the meagre 2.5-6 hour battery life doesn’t really make it look like that…until you find out that it’s the same battery life Nintendo currently claims on the 3DS. If those 6 hours are able to last just as ridiculously long as the 3DS in standby mode, that’ll be good enough for me.
The other specs are kind of boring (to me at least), apart from the so called “HD Rumble”. I don’t know when I’d want to feel the sensation of a glass being filled with iced water, but there’s probably some developer out there who’s going to use it to make some super-high-tech game mechanic with it. The Joy-Cons (the controller thingies) have these motion cameras that can detect things rock paper scissors, but again, I’m not sure how that can be used. It’s still pretty cool.
The extra touches of the screen capture button, a microSD card slot, a USB-C charger and even the removal of region lock (I never thought I’d hear those words from Nintendo), make it all the more desirable.
The two new games they introduced are particularly interesting.
The intention of 1-2 Switch (trailer), their launch day party game is to use the screen as little as possible to make you look at the other players (whom I think they are assuming would be your friends…).
And ARMS (trailer) is a fighting game (which I think will be like online-tournament type fights) where you use extendable boxing gloves. The whole thing is controlled by using the acelorometers and gyroscopes in the Joy-Cons (you’re supposed to hold them in your hands) so I wonder how many calories it will help you burn…
Apparently there are “over 80 games currently in development” so hopefully they’ll have a strong game library within a year, but right now, the launch day selection is looking a boring…
Which brings me on to the issues I have.
Weak Launch Line-up
With the exceptions of 1-2 Switch and the new Legend of Zelda game, pretty much all the games I’m interested in (Disgaea 5, I am Setsuna, Skyrim, etc.) I already own on other consoles. A weak launch day line-up is a mistake they made with the 3DS and the WiiU to have not learnt by now that it kind of matters what the launch-day titles are (Legend of Zelda is not the only thing fans care about…).
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!
Sure, they have some pretty exciting games coming out only a few months later, like Splatoon 2, Fire Emblem Warriors and Super Mario Odyssey, but I’m not paying £60 for a single game when the console itself already costs £280!
I’ve always thought WiiU games to be a bit pricey at around £40 and £50 is pushing for a Day One Edition that comes with special features, but £60 for a standard copy? That’s just too much.
I thought Nintendo were trying to make the Switch accessible to all. Sure, the premium WiiU bundle was the same price, but at least it came with a game to begin with. It might be a bit cheaper than what the PS4 and Xbox One were at launch but that still doesn’t explain the price of the games.
No matter how cool and snazzy Nintendo’s magic tricks are I won’t let them blind me again.
I’ll only buy the Switch if, and ONLY if, there is a price drop on the console and games in the first six months and some more interesting games (that I can’t play on PlayStation) come out.
Looks like Nintendo’s “Switch”ing it up! (I’ll show myself out)
When I saw the design I immediately thought it’s just a new version of the WiiU but honestly I think that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. I think their main focus was to create the flexible console that the WiiU should have been. The Switch lets you pick up from exactly where you left off anywhere you want, something many (myself included) thought you should have been able to do with the WiiU, given the sheer size and weight of the gamepad.
It’s a pretty cool idea that you can detach the controller parts from the handheld screen and connect them to an accessory, just hold them on their own or even hand one to a friend for multiplayer mode. And kudos for adding the kickstand.
One worry I do have is the size. I don’t know the exact dimensions but it looks huge. It’s probably at least the size of a 7″ tablet so it will probably weigh quite a bit more than a 3DS and maybe even an iPad unless they’re planning on compromising the battery life, like they did with the gamepad’s measly 2 hours (or in the case of mine, 20 minutes). To be honest, I don’t really mind as long as it’s somewhere close to the 3DS’s 5 hours of continuous gameplay (or pretty much eternal standby mode).
Another worry, which is still size related is the power. Judging from what we’ve seen, the same item that houses the portable screen is essentially the entirety of the console itself. That’s slightly worrying when we’ve seen that it appears to be fully capable of running Skyrim. In order for it to run something like that, we’d probably be looking at at least 4-8GB RAM and I’m no tech expert but my 3GB RAM (fanless) phone does get pretty toasty sometimes… Baring in mind it’s already probably in the range of around 1lb already, adding fans will just make it even heavier.
It seems like a pretty cool system but ultimately I’l have to wait and see what games (other than Just Dance 2017) will be available at launch before I commit myself to spending whatever they plan on selling it for. So, I guess I won’t be talking about this again until it comes out in March…