Collection Haul #4 – Mainly Mangoes and a Commie

Welcome back! It’s been a while, and I have built up quite the backlog of stuff to share. To be honest, I’ve built up enough for eight more haul posts. I’ve started branching into action figures as well, which we will get to in the future. This one is primarily comics, and by comics I mean manga. Which is Japanese for comic… So, still comics? Yes, comics. Comics. Let’s move on before I get caught in a loop.

This here is the remaining volumes of Berserk that I needed to get before having them all, besides the recently released volume 38. And yes, I’ve read them all now. It is still a great read and Berserk is quickly becoming one of my favorite manga series. Without going into too much detail in the interest of avoid spoilers, there is a touching flashback chapter involving Guts. I wasn’t as interested in what was going on with the other characters, particularly with Griffith’s army and the Kushan people, but it was useful to establish what is likely going to be the next stage in this current conflict. I don’t know how others feel about the current pace of the story, but I get the impression that we are reaching the climax. I’ll have to get volume 38 and read it so I can see if my feelings change.

Besides Berserk, I’ve tried to keep up with a few other manga. Firstly, at the top you’ll see a Daredevil comic that my buddy Troy got me for my birthday last March, titled “The Man Without Fear.” I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it looks like an origin retelling, which will be useful for me since I’m not too familiar with Daredevil, although I had this kickass figure of him as a a kid which, besides the fact that he’s almost completely red, made me all the more interested in his character. Plus, the fact that it’s written by Frank Miller acts like a seal of quality, as he is one of the biggest comic writers out there. Thanks again, Troy!

Directly under it is volumes four and five of Citrus, the latest in “yuri” (basically girl-on-girl in manga/anime form) storytelling. It seems to be the new hotness in the genre and I enjoy it. Yuzu’s relationship with Mei is fun to watch unfold, with Mei being pretty hard to read. I both like and dislike this about her character. On one hand, it makes her more realistic and appear as if she doesn’t know what she wants romantically but on the other hand, it’s annoying as hell, haha! There is an anime adaptation in the works, so it will be interesting to see how Mei is portrayed. I will continue to read as the story progresses.

Next up is volume 10 of UQ Holder, the sequel to Negima. While Negima was a magical school life harem series with shonen elements, UQ Holder is straight up shonen (with the magic and stuff) so I kind of like it more than Negima. There is still plenty of gags and harem shipping though, so it doesn’t feel like a completely different story, which is good as a sequel. I’ve also read volume 11, but I will get to it at a later time. As far as volume 10 is concerned, it’s still a bit before the big tournament, I believe right after Tota finishes his training with Dana. Visually, the manga is very easy on the eyes and is a smooth read, at least for me. In terms of my reading speed, it’s in the middle, with Dragon Ball being my fastest and Berserk being my slowest. I’ve been told the story gets crazy later on, which I started seeing a little of in volume 11. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

This is where the “mainly” part of this post’s title comes in. As you can see, I’ve continued to make small progress in my game collection. Like I said before, I’ve taken enough pictures for future posts, and here I will also say that I’ve made enough progress to complete a couple areas, meaning I have all the games for a specific system that I want, though some a still up in the air. Anywho, the first game in this batch is Wario World for the GameCube. I rented ths game once from Blockbuster and had fun with it. My experience with the Wario games is limited, having only played this one and the GBA one (Wario World 4, I believe.) It plays like a 3D version of the typical Wario World games, so this one is a good game to pick up if you enjoy them.

Next to it is Guilty Gear 2: Overture for the Xbox 360. It’s an action game set in the Guilty Gear universe. I’ve only played it twice. The first time, I wasn’t too into it, but I gave it another chance and liked it more. It was mainly the camera that turned me off, but I got used to it. The gameplay is what you would expect, something more like Dynasty Warriors or God of War, but scaled down a bit. The game was recently released on Steam, so if you’re interested, that may be the better place to go, but I’m pleased with my copy on 360.

Third is Samurai Warriors 2: Empires for the PS2. This was the first Warriors game I ever played, so I wanted to add it to my collection, having only rented the game from Hollywood Video, the one that was right across the “better” Blockbuster (where I lived, there were four nearby, plus an extra two if I wanted to venture further.) The character customization is very dated by today’s standards, but the gameplay holds up well and doesn’t feel clunky at all, surprisingly. It was nice to go back and play it after all these years.

Starting the second row is Spider-Man for the PS1. This is currently my favorite Spider-Man game, mainly due to nostalgia. It was always very fun to play and I felt like I learned more about the characters, having only caught the animated series from the 90’s on the rare occasion that I would watch Fox Kids. Though, it must have aired on another channel too, because I remember watching it a fair amount of the time… Or maybe I watched Fox Kids more than I remember? I dunno, but regardless this game was fun. The N64 had this game as well as a red cart, which I hope to get, as I played both the N64 and PS1 versions. Fun times.

Next to it, in the bottom middle, is Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast, giving me a complete Soul Calibur series collection, besides the arcade version of my favorite, Soulcalibur III. Anywho, if you follow this series as well, you’ll know that the arcade version of Soul Calibur was released on Xbox Live several years ago in HD. The main difference with the Dreamcast version, besides the fact that it’s a physical game and not a download, is that there is an extra mode in which you pick a character and do missions and stuff. It’s a nice way to give the game more of a life spin, since you won’t just be playing the arcade mode or doing multiplayer. Unfortunately, not all the characters are unlocked, but it’s still nice to play every now and then. And of course I made sure to unlock Hwang as soon as I could!

Right next to it is Custom Robo Arena for the DS. I am a HUGE fan of the GameCube game, it being one of my top three GameCube games. With that in mind, I’ve been itching for another Custom Robo game, this one being my only option, due to the rest of the series being exclusive to Japan. I’ve only played a little bit of the game and it works well even on the DS. My only complaint so far is that the script is a bit cheesy, which is something I don’t recall from the GameCube game (not saying it was always super serious, but I remember it being less cheesy than this one.) Regardless, I think I’ll enjoy it.

Finally, we have Yoshi’s Story for the N64. Growing up, this game was always a rental. I never finished it, nor was I very good at it as a kid, but it was a fun game to play. I remember not wanting to play as any Yoshi besides the red one, since red is my favorite color. I’ll probably still do everything in my power to keep me from playing as any other color Yoshi besides the red one, and with my skills as a gamer having gone up with my age, I’d like to think I can do it. We’ll see.

And that’s it! As you can see, I’ve started dipping into other collections I’ve been wanting to expand, and I have plenty more to show, as stated earlier. Next post will more than likely be video game related. We’ll see how things go. I have a few ideas for future posts that I hope to get to as we continue, it’ll just be a matter of which ones I want to do first.

Thanks for reading! See you next Time!!

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The Plug – Brutalmoose (YouTuber)

Figured it was a good time to introduce a new kind of post. This is what I call “The Plug,” where I will basically write about something or someone who makes stuff I like and talk them up. For this first one, I thought I should talk about Brutalmoose, a YouTuber that I follow, who is a pretty cool cat.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored thing. Brutalmoose did not pay me to write this post, and as far as I know, he doesn’t follow my blog. I am simply writing this because I want to share his content.

Brutalmoose, or Ian, for those who prefer IRL names over usernames, is a YouTuber who makes video game reviews. While he does do some newer stuff, it’s mostly old PC games, such as Pajama Sam. He also streams on Twitch, the archives or which are also available on his second channel. You can find more information about him on his website.

I first discovered his content when I heard his narration in DidYouKnowGaming’s Nintendo 64 episode (I’m aware that they made another one, with Brutalmoose narrating again. The one I’m referring to, as well as linking to, is the original.) What caught my attention was a like to his video about the PC game Oregon Trail II, a game my family used to play when I was a kid.

As soon as I saw the link, I was intrigued. I had memories of playing the game myself, but could never remember which Oregon Trail game it was. The one time I remember from the game is the intense tune that plays when something bad happens. To be honest, the tune wasn’t exactly as I remember it, but I’m pretty sure Oregon Trail II is the one I played as a kid. I still have the CD case, but I wasn’t sure if another company tried making a cheap version of it or something. I still don’t know if it truly is the same game I played back then, but it seems more likely than not.

What appeals to me about Brutalmoose’s videos is his style and tone of his reviews. His smooth narration sounds like he’s explaining with specific detail rather than flatly telling, at least it does to me. It’s not characterized by any means, but I find that to be a good thing. These days, it seems like most YouTube game reviewers try to play some kind of character, even if loosely. Brutalmoose, however, is simply himself reviewing a game. Nothing more, nothing less. Because of this, his humor is never forced and the overall “rating” of the game isn’t exaggerated. The choice of games he reviews also helps him stand out to me. The old PC games he picks remind me of my youth either playing or watching a friend play them. Watching his videos make me feel like I’m hanging out with a friend who is pretty knowledgeable about older PC games.  His content is very relaxing to watch and I tend to make sure I have nothing else going on before watching his new stuff, so I can just chill and enjoy whatever kind of video he puts out.

Here are three of my favorites Brutalmoose videos! They are in no particular order.

This one is both nostalgic and not for me. It’s not nostalgic because I never played RuneScape, but I can definitely identify with the idea of the classic online game that you would play as a kid. I’d imagine most people my age had a similar experience. While I grew up with other browser games like NeoPets and AdventureQuest, I knew a fair amount of people who played RuneScape. Brutalmoose’s video reminds me of a simpler time when I would come home after school and play a browser game, usually while simultaneously browsing the internet. Very fun watch.

This one is probably my favorite of the “trail” games Brutalmoose has reviewed, besides Oregon Trail II. For me, what made this video hilarious was his partner in the game, who always sounded so sassy whenever he fell and broke his leg. It’s like he expected Brutalmoose’s character in the game to drop everything and just stop. Though, it would proably be a smart idea, since he was a businessman. Meaning he’s got that cash money.

This one I have a lot of connection to, for I grew up watching this OVA when I was a kid. It’s what made Metal Sonic my favorite Sonic villain. It brought back memories of the older days of my youth when I saw that white VHS tape, which I also happen to have a copy of. I hope to get it on DVD at some point, though I think it’s out of print. I also heard that it was getting another release, but I don’t remember. I might have misheard. Either way, a very nostalgic and entertaining review.

And there you have it! I hope I explained why I like Brutalmoose’s content well enough. As of the writing of this post, his new video is out, which I plan to watch as soon as I finish typing this bad boy. It always feels like I’m eating a sweet piece of candy or slurping hot soup, that is, a feeling of relaxation and content. And yes, I would compare his videos to the feeling of hot soup traveling down my throat and into my tummy. Or maybe laying in bed after a tough day? Regardless, I think you get the picture. Brutalmoose’s videos are like a sweet trip down memory lane.

Thanks for reading! Next post will be another collection haul post. See ya!!

Collection Haul #3 – A little surprise

Howdy! Guess what I got? MORE STUFF!

Going forward, these haul posts will be different, especially these next few. Because of one of the things I bought, I had to take a break from collecting in order to build up my funds again. As of the writing of this, I’ve built them back up to where I can collect again. Thing is: the last one was so large that it was probably a bit much to read through. I plan to have 3-4 images in each post, so that the length is more reasonable. That being said, if you prefer longer ones, let me know. For the time being though, they will be shorter. But enough of this tom-johnson-foolery of a pre-haul opening.

For the first batch, I ventured into GameStop, something I don’t do very often. I was running some errands that day and wanted to stop by to see if I could find anything cool, which I seem to have done. I think the Mario thing is meant to be a Christmas ornament, but I’m using it as a door handle decoration. It’s pretty cool. The thing next to it is a group of packs of the new Dragon Ball Z trading card game by Panini. It’s more or less the same one from when DBZ was in it’s hay-day, by a different company. I still have my old cards and I even used to play it, although very rarely. I don’t actually play the game now; I just wanted the cards to use as bookmarks.

This batch comes from a trip to a local independent video game store called RetroVidjos. It’s on the way to my university, so it’s very easy for me to get to. The place was small, but they had a lot of stuff for good prices. The staff was also friendly and helpful. I’ve probably bought stuff from them at Anime Weekend Atlanta, but this was my first time going into their store. The top left, Gex 64, isn’t technically on my main list, but I planned to get both the PS1 and N64 version, since I have memories playing both, although I like the third one better. Same with the game to the right, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, a game I originally had on the Wii’s virtual console. I plan to get physical copies of the digital retro games I have (including PSN and Xbox Live) so that I won’t have to pay some upgrade fee to keep the games on newer consoles. Nintendo is the only one to do that so far, but Sony’s approach of not giving you an option isn’t any better. I’d comment on Microsoft’s approach, but any digital retro games I got on Xbox Live, I already had (the only one I didn’t have will be shown next time.) It will also be nice to have physical copies of the games. My experience with Zelda II is small, but I enjoy the RPG-like elements. The bottom game, Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battle, is one I played on PS1 originally, but I wanted to get the Dreamcast version because it has extra characters. I’m not sure if it’s because of the Dreamcast’s power, but the game feels clunkier than I remember. Maybe the game was always clunky? It probably was, in all honesty.

And now, the big one. Your eyes do not deceive you, I indeed own a Nintendo Switch. I happened to go to my local Target in the evening and they had one in stock. I started seeing it as I walked towards the electronics section and I took it as a sign. It was a now or never, er, much much later situation. Along with the system, I bought the Pro Controller and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The controller works well and is comfortable to use. The docking thing for the Joy-Cons to make it into a semi-regular controller is okay as well, but it’s a bit awkward to hold, so I primarily use the Pro Controller. Using the Switch in handheld mode is okay, but it feels a bit bulkier than I initially thought it would and I feel like the Joy-Cons could snap off at any moment. Despite this, it does feel sturdy enough to hold in place properly. As for Zelda… It honestly might be my favorite, coming from a casual player of the series. Growing up, I loved exploring the land in Ocarina of Time more than playing through the story, and because the game was a rental for me, I’d get to explore almost every time, due to the battery saves. I feel like Breath of the Wild has given me almost exactly what I wanted in a Zelda game: an open world exploration adventure game. The only thing I don’t like is how often the weapons break and how there is no way to repair them, besides what I’ve heard about the Master Sword and Hyrulian Shield. Other than that, I’ve been pleased. I’ve also been watched the Game Grumps play it, so I know about what will happen later, though I’m still early in the game. I probably do a video at some point on my channel, though it will be after I’ve played more.

And that’s a wrap! Thanks for reading! I think making these posts shorter will help me write my content and get it out quicker, as well as less of a pillar to read. Like I said above, I already have more stuff lined up, but that will come later on. The next post will be something different and then another collection haul after.

See ya next time!!

Random Episode Review – Dragon Ball Super #83

As you’ll likely find out as I post more, Dragon Ball is my ultimate fandom. I love the series with all my soul and it was even what inspired me to become a writer in the first place. I’ve been watching Dragon Ball Super, the latest series, and keeping up with it weekly. It’s literally the only show I’ve been keeping up with besides Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I’ve been doing reviews by the arc on my YouTube channel, but I figured it would be fun to write a review for this little bloggy-blog. This is going to be the first in a series of reviews of random episodes of things I watch. They won’t always be current or even of a whole season, it will just be what I feel like. In fact, if you’ve also been following Super, you’ll know what we are on episode #89, with #90 coming in just a few days. The reason why I’m choosing to do #83 instead is because it doesn’t have much fighting in it, so I can focus on the characters a little more. This episode I’ve also watched more than once anyway. I’ve also already taken all the screenshots and such, so… Too much effort, haha! Speaking of which, I will note here that all screenshots I took were from the Crunchyroll app on the PS4, where I have been watching Super lately. Anyway, let’s get started!

Let’s begin with a brief plot summary. After taking part in Zen-Oh’s Exhibition Match, Goku, and Gohan, along with Beerus, Whis, Majin Buu, the Supreme Kai of Universe 7 (the one fans of the series will know relatively well, only mentioning which Universe I’m talking about because this arc features a lot of Supreme Kais), and Mr. Satan/Hercule return back to Earth to discuss and decide on who to choose for their team. They need ten warriors to take part in the “Tournament of Power” that Zen-Oh (and arguably Goku) decided to hold. They discuss who to invite and set up a rough plan, the first step being to recruit Vegeta. Goku attempts to invite him, but Vegeta shoots him down, saying that he needs to be here for Bulma, who is pregnant with their newborn. Whis take matters into his own hands by using his angel powers to bring out Bulma’s new baby without all the pains and groans of modern childbirth. Bulma names her new daughter “Bulla,” the same one from the ending of Dragon Ball Z. Vegeta now being able to participate, Goku and Gohan go off to recruit the rest of their team.

The first thing viewers, including myself, seemed to notice with this arc is the sudden animation style change. It’s minor, but there is some apparent saturation. It almost looks like the animators were trying to replicate film grain to make it look more like Dragon Ball Z. Admittedly, it does look a little like Z, which I’m not against. The show looks more unique and stylized because of it. The new opening is also awesome. The animation is fast paced and I love the new song, “Limit breakthrough x Survivor” sung by Kiyoshi Hikawa. Hikawa’s vocals sound similar to Takayoshi Tanimoto, the guy who did the themes for both Dragon Ball Z Kai and The Final Chapters, so he fits right in, if you ask me. Presentation-wise, this new arc is going well.

There isn’t much action in this episode, but the interactions between all the characters has always been something I love about the series, especially at this particular point. Goku and his friends have such a long history with each other that any longtime fan will feel like they are at a family reunion when watching these kind of episodes. Even Beerus and Whis, who are new to the story, feel right at home and seeing them feels like seeing old friends. How the gang treats Beerus now versus during the show’s first couple arcs is vastly different; no one seems to care that he could destroy the entire planet at the slightest provocation. In all honesty, he likely wouldn’t, at this point, or at least it would take a lot more effort to provoke him into doing it. I feel that Beerus actually likes Goku and his friends (and their food) and it’s been implied that Goku is getting closer to Beerus’ level of strength, if not already being at it, based on his reactions to Super Saiyan Blue, both with and without Kaioken. Or maybe it’s because they know Whis can fix it doing his rewind thing, if needed? Probably a bit of both.

Vegeta stood out to me this episode. Being known in the anime fandom for his ruthlessness and pride, one would think that he would easily agree to taking part in the “Tournament of Power.” However, the fact that he originally chose to decline didn’t surprise me either. Over the course of the three big arcs of Z, Vegeta changed as a man. The once bitter prince who sought to best Goku for the sake of his own pride as the Saiyan prince grew and became a bit of a family man (as much as a father who ignores his family to train can be) while retaining his fighting spirit and drive to surpass Goku, though now as a friendly rival rather than an enemy. Vegeta feeling the need to be with his wife while she is pregnant shows how much he has changed since he first came to Earth.

The above line in particular says a lot about Vegeta as he is now. On the surface, Vegeta seemed to be reacting to Goku’s lack of presense when Goten was born, but I believe there’s more to it than just the parallels between Vegeta and Goku as fathers. I take it to mean that Vegeta may be annoyed with Goku for indirectly causing Whis to use his powers in order to bring Bulla out of Bulma, from an obstacle standpoint. Based on this line, Vegeta may feel that Goku’s request for his participation in the “Tournament of Power” prompted Whis to do what he did. I suspect that Vegeta may have wanted to see Bulla being born naturally, likely because he wasn’t there for Trunks. If this is true, then it further shows how much of a better man Vegeta has become, by showing his desire to be loyal to his family. This is also shown in Vegeta putting legitimate effort into deciding a name for his new child. One can imagine the old Vegeta wouldn’t have cared so much about family affairs (we see a little of this during the Cell arc of Z, particularly with the Androids) but he’s not the same as he was before. Vegeta has found a new form of pride, pride in his family. It’s moments like these that show why Vegeta is one of the most layered and developed characters of the story.

Lastly, I want to bring up Yamcha, who shows up near the end of the episode. There is a humorous scene with him thinking about how he will handle being invited to the tournament, although he likely won’t be asked. To be frank, Yamcha isn’t very strong anymore. Out of all the other human characters who fight, Yamcha has kept up with his training the least. Regardless of where you stand in the “Krillin vs. Tien” argument, there’s no denying that Yamcha isn’t even part of the equation anymore. While it’s definitely funny to watch Yamcha try to plan out his reaction to a hypothetical invitation, it also made me wonder if the gang will need to have some backup fighters, in case something happens to them before the tournament. If you happen to follow a certain someone on Twitter, you may already have an answer for that, but it still raises the question as to how much will the gang have to prepare, beyond having ten fighters. Maybe Yamcha will end up fighting? Who knows. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it.

Overall, it was a good episode. I liked the interactions will the characters and getting to see more of Vegeta’s soft side. It may not mean much coming from me, but I would definitely recommend this episode. Really, I recommend the entire series of Super. I can’t think of any negatives, even a little action was present. I’d give it probably a nine out of ten.

And that’s the review! Thanks for reading it, if you did. Let me know if you want me to talk about more episodes. Again, I don’t plan on doing reviews episode by episode, especially since I’ll be doing an arc video video on my YouTube channel, but that’s still a ways off. We can play it by ear. See ya!!

Collection Haul #2 – I think I got too much…

Er, wow! It’s been a fair amount of time since the last haul post and I have many more pieces to talk about. To put it simply, I bought a lot of stuff. Most of it was planned, though there was a small section that I bought due to an impulse trip to Barnes & Noble, as well as a couple trips to the Walmart near my Alma mater. As I took all the pictures for this post, I realized that it’s probably better to focus on medium size chunks of my collection progress instead of doing everything and anything at once, haha! I’ve already gotten more stuff that won’t be shown in this haul post, though they will be in the next. For this batch, it’s a mix of video games, books, comics, and anime. But enough build up, let’s get to the good stuff!

This batch of games was the first for this section. Starting at the top is The Sims 2, a game I am more involved with than I’d like to admit. You might be wondering why I got the PS2 version over the PC version, which is understandable. The benefit to the PS2 version, and I believe the PSP verison as well, of this game is that you can directly control your character instead of pointing and clicking to make them move. I first played the PS2 version in a demo that came with the latest version of Official US PlayStation Magazine. I loved how I could control my character directly as if it was a different game, which I liked. It’s a shame the console ports of later Sims games, besides the Wii version of Sims 3, don’t use this control scheme anymore.

Directly under it is Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube, a game that I wanted to get back then but didn’t, for whatever reason. I got the GameCube version because I had Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube as well, so I wanted to follow suit with Gems. I think all of the games included in it, at least the main three, are available digitally now, but I still wanted to get this version for my collection, plus I have a physical version of all the games included, even if they aren’t the direct original.

On the right side of the top, there’s Digimon Battle Spirits 2 for the Game Boy Advance. I wanted this game because I enjoyed the first one and “Frontier” is, unapologetically and unironically, my favorite season of Digimon, which is the focus of this game. The game play seems to be more or less the same as the first one, so I look forward to playing more in the future. Unfortunately, because it’s a cartridge game, there is a save file built into the game, but it’s not too big of a deal, as I probably won’t play the game to completion anyway, at least not for the time being.

Next you will see Mystical Ninja for the N64. I played this game back when I was a kid so I’m pretty nostalgic for it. The Japanese setting and style of the story and world intrigued me and I loved the opening theme, it being the first Hironobu Kageyama song I ever heard. The gameplay is different from what most Mystical Ninja fans will expect, it’s a 3D platformer instead of a 2D sidescroller. It doesn’t bother me, due to this one being the first in the series that I played. It’s probably my favorite, out of the few that I’ve played. I’m aware that there are some games in the series that never came out in English as well. I may try to get some of them in the future.

Under it is Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage for the Dreamcast. This one is the second Dreamcast game I’ve gotten so far, the first being Shenmue. I had heard that this game was not very popular, and I can certainly see why. The controls are clunky and the voice cast isn’t the same as the anime ones, so it does feel different. I don’t think it’s a bad game necessarily, though, especially since Guts can jump in this one. I like jumping in games. Not much else to say, as I’m not far in the game at all, but this was the start of what is part of a larger Berserk haul. You’ve been warned.

Finally, there’s Rampage World Tour for the PS1. I personally have more memories playing it on the N64, but I got the PS1 version for the sake of having the original, as I believe the N64 version is a port, though I do plan on getting that version too for my collection. I always played as Lizzie, due to my affinity for Godzilla. Other times, I picked Ralph. It’s pretty fun going around and destroying cities, in a very arcade-action way. It’s definitely a time-wasting action game, though I’ve heard that the bat character you can play as in mini-games is also a secret, fully playable character. That small secret alone makes me want to play through the game, as well as the fact that I never finished it, as the game was always a rental for me back in the day.

Should I just get all the Berserk stuff out of the way, since I’ve already mentioned it? Yeah, I think I should, and so I will.

Part of my goal for this entire batch was to catch up with my other, non-gaming collection, including comics. With each section, I added on 1-2 volumes of the Berserk manga. As of the writing and publishing of this post, I have all the volumes, except for the upcoming volume 38. I’m currently reading volume 32. Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll just say that Guts and the gang are trying to get on a boat. To where? I’m not telling, this is all you get. I always enjoy going back to a series I enjoy after an extended break. I imagine I’m caught up in terms of what the second season of the new anime will cover. Normally, one Berserk volume takes me a while to read but lately I’ve been going through them within, like, a couple days per volume. Currently, I’ve been taking on volume 32 at what feels like a typical duration. There’s a fair amount of dialogue, but there is also plenty of action as well. I recommend the series, if you’re looking for a good dark fantasy story.

The only other non-manga piece of Berserk that I got is the latest game, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. It’s a Dynasty Warriors spin-off set in the world of Berserk. I’m not very far, but I enjoy it, unlike the Dreamcast game, Guts can’t jump, so that’s a bit disheartening, but the gameplay is fun. As for the blue pouch in the corner, that’s my wallet. It holds my money and such.

Like I said before, by the time this goes up, I’ll have up through volume 37. Volume 38 is supposed to come out in July (for North America anyway, I’m not sure who releases the series in Europe) so I’ll try to get it as soon as it comes out. That’s it for this haul’s Berserk section. Now we can go back to a more colorful (literally, because the Berserk manga is printed in black and white. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA get it?) batch.

Here’s something different. All of these I bought at a local Barnes & Noble, one of my favorite stores in our known universe. Starting at the top, that’s the “Shodo” Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta figure. I think it was marketed as a Resurrection ‘f’ toy, rather than for Super. It’s pretty small, but decently articulated. I currently have him standing next to my Obi-wan figure, shooting a Big Bang Attack.

Speaking of which, the next item to the bottom left is a novel, simply titled Kenobi, written by John Jackson Miller. I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, as Obi-wan is my favorite Star Wars character. I think this copy in particular is a reprint, though I’m not sure and I don’t think it matters. According to the review text on the back of the book, the story is like a mix of Star Wars and a typical cowboy Western. I haven’t read it yet, but I hope to soon.

Right next to it, in the center, is the latest Future Trunks figure by Bandai’s “S. H. Figuarts” line. It’s an awesome figure, very pose-able and nicely detailed. It’s a bit different from the previous Dragon Ball “S. H. Figuarts” and, in my opinion, is the best one I’ve gotten so far. The sculpt of the legs in particular are much better than the previous ones on my other figures in this line, specifically both regular and Super Saiyan Goku. The figure also comes with a snazzy “crossed arms” accessory, in which you can take off both his arms and put it on to have an action figure cross his arms  and have it look real for once in our lives. The only issue I have with this figure is that it’s standard face has Trunks looking off to the side, as you see in the picture. This makes posing him with a neutral face and looking forward difficult, and by “difficult” I mean “impossible.”

Next to Trunks is the first “S. H. Figuarts” Dragon Ball figure, Piccolo. Because of this fact, you can assume that it’s not perfect unlike Cell. The shirt sleeves on the figure are prone to come off at every movement on his shoulders. This is minor, but I also don’t like how his leg articulation causes his legs to pop out from his hips, making him look weird. Both Gokus and my other Future Trunks figure (the one with the sword and jacket) have this problem as well. His cape and hat were also a pain to get on him and pose with his “crossed arms” thing. I eventually went for a “hand in fist” kind of pose. Other than that, it’s an okay figure. I’m still nostalgic for my old Irwin Toys Piccolo figure, though.

This next batch is a mix of Barnes & Noble as well as Amazon. Firstly, I bought the Super Mario Adventures graphic novel from B&A. I heard that this was originally published in Nintendo Power back in the day. I’ve never read it before, but I enjoy the world of Mario so I think this will be a fun read. The color pages will be a nice change from typical manga, I think.

Right under it to the left is the classic Warcraft novel, Lord of the Clans, written by Christie Gold, the same novel that was based on that unfinished adventure game. It’s a recent reprint that I believe has been resized. As you can see, I’ve already said a little of it, but just the prologue. The text is pretty easy to read, size wise, though the writing style feels a bit dated, from the standpoint of quality. A few sentences and phrases didn’t read very well to me, but I’ve been enjoying it so far. I might pick it up again soon.

Next to it is Inuyasha The Final Act on DVD, the complete series. I was a fan  of the original series and wanted to have the final chapter on DVD like I do the rest of the series. I haven’t watched it yet, but I plan to in the future.

This batch is the last big chunk for this post. The first game is Onimusha 3: Demon Siege for the PS2. This game’s big claim to fame is that it stars Jean Reno as the French guy, Jacques, though I’m pretty sure this is only when he speaks French and also only his likeness. I had a magazine that included a strategy guide, so I once played through a fair amount of the game. I say once, because I’ve since lost the file so I have to start over. I think I might have deleted it because I got stuck at a certain point (I wasn’t entirely a smart kid.) I’m pretty sure I had a save data carry-over thing as well from Onimusha Blade Warriors. I think I got it again when I made a new file, but I haven’t made the same amount of progress. It’s a fun game, though I don’t know if I’d call it my favorite. I don’t really have a favorite Onimusha game. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the first two games, due to the controls, but Onimusha 3: Demon Siege and Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams are more fun to me.

And the game next to it… Dream Carnival. Friggin’ Dream Carnival. I only bought it because my friends wanted me to for a video project and it was so cheap on eBay that I felt like not buying it would be pointless. We recorded my first time playing it, for those who want to know what I think and why I jokingly hate it so. Don’t let the title of the video fool you, it MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 3!

Ahem, anyway, next is Ys I & II Chronicles for the PSP. It’s a remake of the first two Ys games, that was originally on the PC, ported to the PSP. The gameplay reminds me of those old RPGs where you run into enemies to kill them, like Hydlide, that game the AVGN reviewed that one time. But don’t let that AVGN hyperlink give you a bad impression, the gameplay is pretty good. I’m not very far into it, but I spend a fair amount of my time grinding levels and money. My only complaint is that, like many old J-RPGs, there is little to no direction so you just have to wander to figure out where you have to go. Other than that, I enjoy it.

The first game on the bottom section may look weird because it’s open, but the reason why is because the thing I bought is not the game itself, but the case. When my original PS3 died on me, I replaced it with the red special edition that came with the God of War Saga collection and God of War Ascension as loose discs. Being a picky collector, also my lack of understanding what came in the package, I sought out and found a seller on eBay who was selling the case itself, without the game. There used to be a website that sold game cases and stuff, but they discontinued the listings, so I had to search elsewhere. I’d like to get the original cases for all my loose disc games, but it will be hard to find them all (especially my imported copy of Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 from Japan.)

In the middle is Donkey Kong Country 3 for the SNES, a game I wanted but never got. Growing up, I had the first two games but never played the third. I don’t think I ever rented it either, nor did I ever think to save up money and bought it or ask for it for Christmas or something. I played a little of it and enjoyed it. The game plays like the other Donkey Kong Country games. Not much else to say about it, though I still can’t tell if it’s a reproduction or not. Do people even make repros for this game?

Lastly, there is Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for the PS3. It was an early PS3 game, so the loading times may be a bit long, depending on what model PS3 you play on. With my old PS3, it took a long time, though my newer PS3 didn’t take as long. Truth be told, I don’t like this game very much. I only bought it for the sake of collecting. I also hadn’t played it in years, in all fairness. The Untold Legends games were Sony Online Entertainment’s attempt at rekindling the magic of Champions of Norrath, though this particular one feel more like Gauntlet. There is little to no character customization, besides having a unique weapon and a specific, player-chosen color. The gameplay feels more like a typical third person hack-and-slash rather than anything like Champions of Norrath or Gauntlet. The playable classes are limited to just three, all gender and physique locked, basically meaning you can’t edit anything. It’s a shame that this series had to end with such a mediocre game. I enjoyed the first one and the second one, as shown in my previous collection haul post, is decent as well. Dark Kingdom is where the series dropped the ball, in my opinion.

When I first heard about these figures from MissDBZBabe’s video, I knew I had to get a couple figures. I bought them both at the Walmart near my university. As you can see… Both of them were Frieza… Damn.

I did get a Goku, though! I’m officially satisfied now.

This was an impulse buy for sure. I was shopping at a local Publix with my mom and saw the comic in the stand. After we got home, I drove back and bought it, haha! I haven’t kept up with the Sonic the Hedgehog comics in a long time. I used to have a subscription, but stopped it after issue 142. I don’t remember why, I enjoyed the story line well enough. I don’t know if I will subscribe again or if I even can. I’ve been trying to collect all the Knuckles the Echidna comics as well, specifically the Sonic Archives version. I haven’t read this issue yet, but I plan to soon. Maybe after I finish all that Berserk I bought? It would be a nice change of pace!

And that’s all! Like I said before, I’ve already gotten more stuff, but I’ll save that for another haul post. Going forward, I’m going to try to post these with less stuff so that they aren’t a mountain to read. If you read this far, thanks a lot! You’ll also be happy to know that my next post will be an anime episode review, though it’s an older episode of a current show. I’ll likely need to watch it a third time (once as a regular viewer, second to get screenshots.) I hope you stick around for it! Either way, thanks for reading!

See you next time!

Game News: Hideo Baba leaves Bandai Namco, forms new studio with Square Enix

If you’ve been following the Tales series for the past half of a decade, you’ll likely recognize the name Hideo Baba. While he joined Namco in 2001, Hideo Baba has been the producer of the Tales series since 2007 and became a public figure of sorts for the games, particularly in the West, during the promotional period while we waited for Tales of Graces f in the middle of 2011 to the beginning of 2012. Baba was known among fans for his appearance in various videos on YouTube and other platforms, as well as his laugh and occasional sarcasm. You could even say he was a bit of a troll. Although he was simply the general producer for the series, he certainly made his presence known as the public face of Tales, regardless of his position. You may have already read the article on Abyssal Chronicles or even heard me and my friends talk about it on the Skit Style BBS Podcast, but in case you haven’t heard, Hideo Baba has left Bandai Namco and formed a new studio with Square Enix.

After Tales of Zestiria was released in Japan, there was a controversy involving one of the characters who was revealed early during the game’s development, Alisha. Japanese fans complained about Alisha’s quick departure from the party, claiming that she was “barely playable.” I personally wasn’t too bent up about it, although I do feel like she left too early. If you want to know more about what I think, check out this video, but the point is that most Japanese fans were displeased with Alisha’s role in the party. At the time, Hideo Baba was blamed for Alisha’s portrayal in the story, with some fans even petitioning for him to be fired. According to a recent interview with Famitsu, Hideo Baba wanted to “pass on the torch” to another, but I personally believe that it could have been due to the backlash from Zestiria. Like I said before, he was often blamed for the controversy. I mean, sure, as a producer, his control is limited, but he was also taking a fair amount of hits in interviews and other articles from back then. Even if indirectly, Hideo Baba took all of the shots regarding the controversy and even defended her portrayal in the story (link takes you to a Siliconera article about it, but they also published an interview in which Baba defends it directly to the interviewer, let me know in the comments if you find it, it’s pretty old at this point.) With this and the fact that Tales of Berseria had a different producer, Yasuhiro Fukaya, the writing’s on the wall, if you ask me.

The new studio that Baba formed is called “Studio Istolia” and his new role is that of president. According to Abyssal Chronicles translation, the word “Istolia” is Greek for story (oh gee, I wonder where he got that name from…) Not much else is known about the studio, though they do have website up and running, though there’s still not much. They have announced that they are working on a new game, currently code named Project Prelude Rune. Very little is known about what kind of game this is, though Baba has stated that it will be a classic RPG, akin to the old days (according to other sources who posted about this. I believe they are likely referring to SNES or early PS1 games.) In interviews, Hideo Baba has stated that he enjoys games like Wizardry and The Elder Scrolls series, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this game, or future Studio Istolia games incorporate aspects like those series. Heck, the artwork shown on the site looks like something from a Western RPG more than a Japanese one. I definitely plan to check it out when it comes out, provided that it comes out in English.

Now, the next thing to consider is what will happen to the Tales series going forward. The way I see it, there are two options that Namco could take.

1. Each new Tales game will have a different producer – I’m not completely familiar with how the gaming industry general works, but this one seems to be the most common for other companies, from my amateur perspective. The benefit to this is that each Tales game will, assumingly, be unique and not trek over the same waters as often as it has been. The downside to this is that each producer they bring in may have different sensibilities than the previous one, let alone different from the Tales series and what it should be thematically. Different producers may be more expensive as well, though again, I don’t know much about what the video game industry requires and the financial output standards.

2. The producer for Tales of Berseria, Yasuhiro Fukaya, will take over as general producer – This one seems more likely to me, as Tales games these days have only had one producer. Although he’s only worked on one game, Fukaya seems to have been a hit withe fans, or at least his game has.

The new studio with Baba at the helm may also prove useful for Square Enix. The only real competitor to the Tales series that Square has is Star Ocean, which isn’t as popular as Tales. By making a new studio with Baba, Square Enix may attempt to make a series to compete directly with the Tales series, or at least attempt to out-Tales Namco. Who better to help with that than the former producer of the series? Also, with his interests in Western RPGs, Baba could attempt to make a game similar to Dark Souls, if not for the sake of targeting a Namco franchise (yes, I know Namco doesn’t actually develop Dark Souls but they do publish it.) Of course, this is all assuming Hideo Baba has a bit of distaste for Namco at this point, though I don’t see why he would. As far as I know, the company has never wronged him. I honestly think he just wanted to get away from the stress of the Alisha backlash. I suppose it is also possible that Namco wanted to cut ties with him due to the controversy, but we don’t have any way of knowing currently. I doubt Baba will ever spill the beans anyway, unless some company or publication does an off-the-cuff interview with him. Though, as I’m writing this and looking up a video to take a certain snapshot of, the idea of Baba seeing his work at Namco as being temporary is also possible. In this particular video, Baba talks about what it’s like making the Tales games, claiming that he wants to “grow as a person.” As an RPG fan himself, perhaps his big dream would be to work for Square Enix? It makes sense from an experience standpoint, I feel. However, we once again have no way of knowing until Baba says so himself, or Namco for that matter. We may not hear from them regarding this matter for  long time, if at all.

Regardless of the reason why he left, I look forward to seeing what Hideo Baba brings to the gaming world in the future. Project Prelude Rune seems interesting, despite us not knowing hardly anything about it. I trust his capabilities in the gaming industry and I wish him well.

Collection Haul #1 – Game Beginnings and a Blu-ray

Howdy! As I said in my last post, one of my goals for 2017 is to complete my personal game collection, or at least get close to completing it. Early this January, I started making some progress with a few games, both new and old. As such, I am going to share with you all what I got. What I’ve been doing is using a portion of my paycheck from work to buy 2-3 games per week. Due to a couple new games that came this month, it’s more one the 3 side of things, the total being 6 games, including the two new ones. In terms of the old games, I’m working on the smaller lists, currently Xbox 360, Dreamcast, and PSP among others, and getting them out of the way while also bringing down the bigger ones, which at this point are PS1, PS2, and N64. I also got a little figurine and a Blu-ray, but I’ll go into more detail about them as we continue. Let’s get started!

This is the first batch of stuff that I got. I wanted to start off my 2017 collection adventure with a game I played through but never bought, Spyro 3, formally known as Spyro: Year of the Dragon! I first played this game back in the day when I rented it from Blockbuster the same year it came out. My best friend and another childhood friend played through the whole game with me. I say “played with me,” but they truthfully did most of the work. I had played a small chunk of the game before we started playing together and I vaguely remember demanding that I was the one who would fight all the bosses. I was quite the annoying kid, haha! We only got the first ending, not to true ending, which I believe involves a second fight with the main bad guy. Perhaps a more complete play-through is in order? Well, I’m not going to replay the whole game from point zero, but I’m pretty sure you have to beat the game 100%, meaning all collectibles and objectives, in order to get the true final boss. Either way, it’s a fun and nostalgic game for me.

Jade Empire, the game to the right, was a bit of a new discovery for me. I rented it from GameFly a few years ago and enjoyed it. As a martial arts story game, it was definitely up my alley. I like the combat and how BioWare opted for a more action oriented battle system. Upon picking up where I left off, I learned that I suck with the long sword style. Currently, I’m using the bear claws and probably will stick with them for a while. The game doesn’t have much character customization, from what I remembered, but I do feel like my character is my own. Unfortunately, although the game was apparently popular during its heyday, it’s a bit of an hidden gem these days. There is also word of a sequel, but it probably won’t be made for a long time.

The figurine at the top of the pic is of Cat suit Mario from Super Mario 3D World. I saw it while out grocery shopping with my mom and decided that I needed to come back and buy the thing before the day was over. It’s a nice little figure, not a lot of articulation but still a nice addition to what feels like the constantly growing needs of my action figure collection. Seriously! Like, the Marvel Legends line keeps getting more and more figures announced and then I have to plan to buy them, because they happen to be making all my favorite characters. Though, they haven’t made a new figure of The Thing from Fantastic Four in a while. I wonder why that is? Quick, someone email Hasbro!

This second batch is more diverse, featuring two modern games and a blu-ray. With the exception of those three, the general structure of what I bought stayed the same, one game from a smaller list and one game from one of my larger lists. But enough of that, let’s get to the details.

Fate/Extella, the game on the left, is one of the two modern games I got in this entire spree. It’s a Dynasty Warriors clone developed by Marvelous Inc., based on the Fate series. The game is a sequel to the PSP game Fate/Extra, though I don’t know how far apart the stories are. I only played it for a little bit, as another game that you will just have to read on to find out was coming out the following week, but it was pretty fun. The structure of the levels is more like the PSP Warriors games, where the map is divided into sections that you have to take over. These sections act as the bases for the opposing force. Although the level itself wasn’t hard, I noticed a lot of my team mates were either dying or dead, and we were close to losing, even though I was seemingly doing fine. I picked the normal difficulty setting and it didn’t seem that hard, but the AI seemingly thought it was. In terms of the gameplay itself, it’s what you’d expect, a fast-paced action hack-and-slash game where you fight a bunch of enemies, which is right up my alley. I’ll probably play it to completion after I finish the other modern game I got.

That middle game you see there is no joke. I legitimately bought Dead or Alive Xtreme 2. I had some interest in the game during the early days of my GameFly subscription, though I feel like I become all the more interested when I saw the Game Grumps’ playthrough of it, which I will link the first episode here. Honestly, the game ain’t half bad. Many will likely say it’s a perverted or sexist game, though I don’t agree. It is quite heavy on the fan service, there is absolutely no getting around it, but to say it’s even remotely close to being borderline porn is definitely exaggerating. I mean, sure, there’s a fair amount of sex appeal within the game’s context, but that context’s focus is a bunch of girls having fun at the beach. The series is typically a fighting game; this particular game is meant to be a break from all the action and more of a relax game, from the perspective of the characters. It’s not the highest level of art or anything, but it’s just a fun little game to make you horny enjoy.

Next is Untold Legends: The Warriors Code, sequel to the PSP launch title Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade. The Untold Legends series was Sony Online Entertainment’s attempt to recreate the same buzz that Champions of Norrath had back in the day (I say “back in the day,” but there was only a little over a year gap between the two series.) This sequel is more cinematic than the first, featuring a few in-game cutscenes to tell the story. The classes are gender-locked, like in the first game, but they are more stylized. For example, the Guardian is a big burly warrior man while the Scout is a little girl. Each of the characters are stylized with unique personalities, as shown in their emotes that won’t likely matter anymore because I don’t think you can go online in the game anymore. I was always more of a fan of the first game, though The Warriors Code doesn’t have as long of load times as Brotherhood of the Blade. I do like the game, though. Unfortunately, the series shifts from a Champions of Norrath successor and more like a Gauntlet clone in the third game, so it never lasted long.

The other non-gaming thing I got was season 1 of Yu Yu Hakusho on Blu-ray. This one was a Christmas gift, though the case was damaged so I had to email FUNimation about a replacement case, which they kindly sent. What makes the Blu-ray different than the DVD is that not only is the footage remastered and looking crispy clean, but FUNimation also redubbed sections of the series in order to improve their quality (Justin Cook made a vlog about this back then, where he goes into details about what is changed, including changing “Suzuka” back to “Suzuki.”) I’m a big fan of the series and first watched it back in the day when it came out on Adult Swim (and it’s short run on Toonami) and, as a collector, I wanted to own the series again in nice quality. I was also interested in the redubbed content, though I haven’t been able to notice the differences so far. I suppose that means they’ve done a good job! If you’ve never seen Yu Yu Hakusho before, I would recommend getting this Blu-ray. The characters are great and the fights in the show are brilliantly done. The story draws you in; hell, when watching the DVDs during the Dark Tournament arc, even though I knew what was going to happen in the end, I got tense wondering if the good guys would be okay or not. If you like shonen anime, Yu Yu Hakusho will be right up your alley.

Now THIS is the big one. Tales of Berseria finally came out in English. When I got Fate/Extella, I knew I wouldn’t be able to play it long. This is all because of good ole’ Tales of Berseria on PS4. As you can see, I got the Collector’s Edition, which I also did an unboxing video for on the collab channel that I help run. All I’ll say about the game for now (because I’ll be doing a video on my channel and discussion on the podcast in the near future), is that the game is pretty dang good. It’s a different take on the typical Tales formula and feels refreshing, though it does have some of what most Tales fans would expect as well. I enjoy the battle system as well, even if it is a bit different than previous Tales games. I’m about 40 hours in and I’ve been enjoying the story very much. That’s all I’m going to say for now. If you want to know more… You’re just going to have to wait!

And that’s all! As I’m writing this post, I’ve already bought some other stuff as well. There will likely be another haul post sooner than later, though I’m not planning to post it immediately. It’s probably better to space this stuff out anyway. Perhaps I’ll post something different in between? I’m not sure, but if there’s something you’d like me to write about, feel free to let me know. Until next time! See ya!!