Archive for October, 2012

First impressions of Cinderella Girls

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

For a long time I wanted something like Farmville or Animal Crossing: engaging but not intense, with a grind that’s somewhat fun. Nothing caught my fancy, until now [1]. Cinderella Girls is just that: a Pokegirl Farmville, spun off Idolm@ster. The instructions how to fool Mobage into letting gaijins to play worked well enough, and so there we are.

So, what do we find? Firstly, the grind is moderated by real time. In order to do anything, you need money, and to get money you need your idols to “work”. To do that, you need stamina. Stamina regenerates by 1 point in 6 minutes.

Actually, you can also battle other players for prize money instead of working, but that’s tricky business. If you lose, they take your money, so choose your battles carefully. Also, there is no way to refuse a challenge. I imagine stronger players roam around and beat up weaker ones for their lunch money. I lose about a 150 each night to these raids. I won once.

If the world of necessary bullying was not bad enough, there is a certain schizophrenic quality to the way idols are handled. On the one hand, they are reflections of RL idols, twice removed. Just look at their portraits. On the other hand, they eat each other to level. Yes, really: the player selects who eats whom, the object idol is absorbed, and the subject receives a small boost in stats. The only sane way to think of them is to consider them cards. It’s good, then, that their personalities are extremely rudimentary and expressed through stock phrases. The cards cannot act in any other way on their own.

While the game is simple and comes to the management of various parameters, not completely unlike Civilization, the surroundings are not so, for anyone not holding a real Japanese cellphone. Like in Zynga’s wares (and in Nintendo’s), a socium is supposed to exist where one enters into “productions”[2], trades idols, befriends others, and so on. It is extremely difficult to decipher without a native-equivalent Japanese. For now I completely ignore the constant flow of wall posts and whatnot.

But gosh, the chara posters are the cutest ever.

[1] I looked at Billy vs. Snakeman in particular, but the way they ripped off our beloved stereotypes was too offensive. The screencaps of the gameplay did not help much.

[2] Apparently, 765PRO comes from “production”, not “professional”.

Cobra The Time Dive

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Cobra: Time Dive is terrible. I mostly watched it because some idiot blogger called it or other Cobra thing “sexist”, and these days it stands for “strong female characters who do not conform to the feminist stereotype” or “attractive, positive heterosexial women”. Thus, “sexist” tends to stick to wonderful anime (like AKB0048) and in absense of other information it adds points.

Ironically, Cobra TTD is not even sexist. There is merely a bunch of women there, with a hint of involvement, and most of them get killed in action, even by direct action of the titular protagonist. If you saw how Ayato killed Asahina in RahXephon, you get the idea. It’s tragic, but hardly sexist.

The difference is, what is breathtakingly tragic in RahXephon is predictable and flat here. The lovable scoundrel archetype is so copied from Han Solo, it hurts. The ex-machina manipulation is blatant, details like breathing in space are cartoony. The whole thing is trying to reach for the “so bad, it awesome” line, but cannot. Perhaps the animation is too good.

Oh well. At least now I can bash Cobra from first-hand experience.

Crunchyroll and friends

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

So, the streaming at large. We all know about Crunchy, I suppose. Ads do not work, etc. Before we move beyond it, I’d like to note that I tried its Android app at Kindle Fire HD.

And what do you know, ads work. On the other hand, they only have two apparently. The app is full of known bugs that they are not in any rush to fix (according to their reps at forums). Also, they block built-in screencapping, which is not good.

Meanwhile, little changed at Hulu. Paused video is still overlaid with junk. Attempts to show relevant ads continue, but are half-arsed as usual.

ANN was a positive surprise. They fixed up their worst trash of a player, which is semi-decent now. Pause overlay, yeah, but I remember what disaster it was before.

The model of showing 2-episode teasers is still there, but I don’t mind. In fact it’s quite a good match of what I do with anime these days: watch an episode or two, declare a reject, move on…

I didn’t look at ViZ and FUNi’s offerings. Note that FUNi upload to Youtube, where they get the advantage of a sensible platform (and youtube.dl).

UPDATE: Ugh. That’s Anime Network, not ANN.

53RG10 on NakaImo

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Writes: “Hahaha wow… I didn’t think it would actually be revealed who imouto was! lol”. I did not have an expectation, but it’s good to know.

Joshiraku ends

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

And what an ending it was. I watched a few epic endings in my anime-watching career, and this one was right there, or at least felt that way – in an anime about cute girls doing nothing, and which had no story. In Azumanga, the graduation was the linchpin, but in Joshiraku they completely pulled it out from the thin air.

By the time the traditional chibi dance started, I forgave Gan for being an asshole, Kigu for being a two-face, Marii for being stupid, and Kukuru for subverting the beloved stereotype for the worst. Teto needed no forgiveness, of course.

Welcome back, J.C.Staff. I missed you.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Yes. Raw, of course.

P.S. Looked at a screencap collection with the purpose of Visual Retrospective, and it’s just insane. I can easily do a 80-cap run. Gold, pure gold, in every one. This is going to be tough to trim.

J and Nobar on SAO

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Dotclue:

An amusingly trollish article at Sankaku Complex suggests that the end of the first arc in Sword Art Online has angered all the folks who thought they were watching a different story.

Jinx:

I’ve been reluctant to blast SAO like what seems to have been the bloggers’ favorite pastime as of late, because overall it was entertaining me regardless of its lazy writing. But episode 14 was too much to overlook. Seriously, I haven’t seen this nasty shit since the finales of Yumekui Merry, KoreZombie, and Fractale.

UPDATE: Brickmupped liked 14, Fencedude did not.