[Announcement]: Recommendations Lists (Anime, OELVN, Visual Novels) and Social Media Plug

Muv Luv Yay

Just a quick note that i’ve gone over The Geek Clinic’s Recommendations Lists with a fine-toothed comb, re-jigging some positions and completely removing some titles. They should now accurately represent the anime and visual novels I would recommend to just about anyone.

Anime Recommendations List

Visual Novel Recommendations List

OELVN Recommendations List

Additionally i’d like to add a quick reminder that you can follow The Geek Clinic on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates on posts, ask questions and generally chat. There’s also ask.fm for asking questions anonymously.

The Geek Clinic Facebook

The Geek Clinic Twitter

The Geek Clinic ask.fm

Finally, it looks like the majority demand on the recent poll is for an Anime/Visual Novel Hall of Shame (because I don’t already have enough people disagreeing with me over their favorite titles), so you can expect that to be up within the next wee while!

[Edit]: The Hall of Shame is now live!

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[Anime Review]: Neon Genesis Evangelion (+End of Evangelion)

 

Evangelion.jpg

Director/Writer: Hideaki Anno

Animation Studios: Tasunoko Production and Gainax

Version Watched: Subbed

[Note: Though I do not explicitly mention The End of Evangelion, this review can be considered to apply to it as well as the original series.]

Here we go again. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a series that I’ve been hearing about since I first became aware of anime as a medium. I’ve received multiple suggestions to give it a go and have always planned to get around to it eventually. Firstly, it’s a series that has been described to me in many ways; as a turning point in the history of anime itself, as a hugely deep and complex exploration of the human psyche, as a Rorschach Diagram that each viewer will take a different message from. According to Wikipedia, it even sparked a review of the cultural value of anime in Japan. The unfortunate thing is that all of Evangelion’s various claims to fame, all of its references and all of its symbolism, do not keep it from being a terrible anime.

It’s 2015, and humanity’s situation is very different to our own. The massive disaster that took place 15 years ago, known as the Second Impact, caused a dramatic rise in sea levels worldwide and completely altered Earth’s weather patterns. And now humanity is faced with another threat. Shinji Ikari finds himself whisked away to a secret underground military base to combat the mysterious beings known as “Angels”. With huge variability in shape and size, their most obvious similarity to one another is the havoc they wreak wherever they are sighted. Shinji is one of the only children capable of piloting humanity’s greatest hope in its struggle to survive, the Eva Unit. Only their creators can understand the science behind the creation of the mech-like weapons, and only their pilots can understand the horrors of using them.

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[Visual Novel Review]: Kara no Shoujo – The Second Episode

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Developer – Innocent Grey

Translator – Mangagamer

Length – 30-50 Hours

[Note: For those wondering whether the earlier VNs need to be read to enjoy Kara no Shoujo – The Second Episode – my opinion is that KnS1 is required while Cartagra is optional. Several concepts from Cartagra show up but are explained within KnS2, and Cartagra isn’t good enough for me to recommend going back to it.]

As you might be able to guess Kara no Shoujo – The Second Episode – is a sequel to both Kara no Shoujo (Review Here) and Cartagra (Review Here). It’s easy to see that Innocent Grey has come a long way since their original release, as the series’ most recent entry takes a step up in quality to become the best they have written so far. In terms of story complexity and production quality there’s little more you could want from a mystery, and as a stand-alone tale that happens to use the same characters as its predecessors it is excellent. As a sequel to Kara no Shoujo, however? Well, I still have my fair share of gripes.

Hitogata Village lies in the mountains of rural Japan. Even in the modern day it is ruled over by the powerful Hinagami family, the owners of Hinagami Pharmaceuticals in Tokyo, and given religious guidance by the esteemed Shigusa family. The settlement worships the god known as Hinna-sama, who has been known to curse and kill those that disobey its will. When women are being murdered and stuffed with the god’s likeness, detective Tokisaka Reiji is tasked with discovering the hidden links between the victims and the isolated settlement the curse stems from. Such killings have also occurred in the past, however, and their perpetrator has never been found.

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[Visual Novel Review]: Cartagra

 

Cartagra

Developer – Innocent Grey

Translator – Mangagamer

Length – 10-30 Hours

I originally played the sequel to Cartagra, Kara no Shoujo (Review Here), a few years ago now. It was a fairly decent mystery novel with a well-developed setting and interesting characters, so I was keen to see what the series’ original release had to offer. Regrettably Cartagra falls short of my expectations in a number of ways, first and foremost of those being incredibly weak storytelling from a mystery perspective. While the character and concept cameos in its sequels might be fun, I’m not sure I can recommend Cartagra in good conscience for those alone.

Takashiro Shugo is an ex-police officer, having become a sort of detective to pay his bills. His newest case, however, is somewhat odd. He has been tasked to find one Kouzuki Yura at the behest of her father and sister, the latter of which has requested to join his investigation. This job may be complicated by the gruesome serial murders that have been taking place in Tokyo’s Ueno district, as well as the mysterious religious fervour that has begun to grip the populace. Unfortunately both of those obstacles pale in comparison to a third. According to Shugo’s employer, Kouzuki Yura is already dead.

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[Visual Novel Review]: Phenomeno

Phenomeno

Developer – Nitroplus

Translator – Pin201

Length – 2-10 Hours

We often see anime that have been produced for the express purpose of advertising their source material. They’re never finished, they’re never satisfying and they always frustrate the hell out of me. Phenomeno, conversely, is the first advertisement visual novel I’ve ever seen and unfortunately it’s good enough that I have to recommend it to anyone who’s keen on VN horror. The novel series it hails from, however, is not fully translated, so be warned (now there’s horror for you).

Yamada Nagito has just moved to Tokyo from the country, and he’s absolutely stoked with the accommodation he’s been able to find. Isolated in a dark, foreboding forest, over ten minutes’ bike ride from the nearest convenience store and cheap to boot, it could very well be the house of his dreams. And it’s also supposed to grant wishes. Whether or not that’s true, Nagito is big on the occult and couldn’t bear to pass up the possibility. When he starts to hear mysterious noises in the middle of the night and encounters scratches on the walls gradually counting down to some unknown and (presumably) unwanted event, he’s forced to call in help from the online occult message board, Ikaigabuchi.

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[Anime Review]: Tiger and Bunny

 

tiger and bunny

Director: Keiichi Sato

Writer: Masafumi Nishida

Animation Studio: Sunrise

Version Watched: Subbed

This may sound a little weird, but I’ve found that every now and then a show comes along that’s just written well. There’s a strange quality to such anime that I find difficult to define but they leave me with an impression of completion or wholeness that is really very satisfying. Despite one or two issues, Tiger and Bunny presents an entertaining and novel cast alongside an incredibly unique concept with style, making for a fun and engaging experience.

In the futuristic Stern Bild City a small population of humans are known as NEXT. These individuals hold a variety of special abilities, with the strongest among them able to become Heroes, commercialized defenders of justice whose goal is as much to promote their sponsors on prime time television as it is to fight crime. Hero TV provides 24/7 coverage of the Heroes’ escapades, ranking them by the number of criminals they capture or civilians they rescue. Kaburagi Kotetsu, better known as Wild Tiger, is one such Hero, a veteran, and when his supporting company goes under he is placed together with Barnaby Brooks Jr, a newbie on the scene. With the seasoned Kotetsu’s desire to help to populace in every way possible, and Barnaby’s desire to rack up Hero Points, the two might find themselves spending most of their time getting in each other’s way.

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[Anime Review]: Chihayafuru

 

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Director: Kou Matsuo

Writer: Ichiro Okouchi

Animation Studio: Sunrise

Version Watched: Subbed

When a friend of mine caught wind of the fact that I was calling Chihayafuru my first “sports anime” I had ever watched she seemed rather upset. It’s true, though, I haven’t touched any of the classics like Kuroko no Basuke or Hajime no Ippo and Chihayafuru doesn’t really fall into any other genre. It’s all about teamwork, friendship and honest competition, taking what might seem like a boring pastime and making it truly exciting. I can’t tell you whether Chihayafuru breaks any new ground, but it was incredibly popular when it first aired and it’s easy to see why.

Ayase Chihaya first encountered Karuta when she met Wataya Arata as a child. The game which combines memorization, reflex and knowledge of a select set of iconic Japanese poems was introduced to her by Arata when she stood by him against the bullying he suffered from the rest of their class. Together with Chihaya’s other friend Mashima Taichi, the three learned Karuta as a team and formed memories they could never forget. Now, as Chihaya enters high school, she finds herself the sole proponent for beginning a competitive Karuta club, with Arata having moved far away and Taichi having lost interest in the game. Chihaya’s will does not waver, however, as she aims to master the art of Karuta to become Japan’s, and the world’s, next Queen.

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[Video Game Review]: Tales of the Abyss

 

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Developer – Namco Tales Studio

Publisher – Bandai Namco Games

Platforms – PS2, 3DS

I’ve been able to review a couple of Tales games on The Geek Clinic now and I continue to look to the series as one of the best that JRPGs have to offer. With Zestiria recently released and Berseria on the horizon, however, I thought it might be time to go back and check out some of the earlier releases in the franchise. Long story short, Tales of the Abyss has won a surprise victory over my heart and from a story perspective now comes in second place behind only Tales of Vesperia, with some of the most interesting character development I’ve seen so far.

If you’d like a more in-depth description of Tales series mechanics before reading on, check out my Tales of Graces review. Also, it may be worth keeping in mind that I played the 3DS port of the game.

The realm of Auldrant has forever followed the Score on its path to prosperity. Many years ago using the Seventh Fonon, one of the elements making up the world itself, the Fonist Yulia Jue read the future of everything and named it such, and now the Order of Lorelei exists to ensure the Score is followed. Beyond the world itself, birth Scores outline the course of an individual’s life and yearly Scores reveal where the coming months will take one. Luke fon Fabre was kidnapped as a young boy. A potential heir to the throne of Kimlasca-Lanvaldear, he was eventually recovered with all of his former memories erased and from then on forced to stay within his home for his own protection. When the younger sister of Luke’s teacher from the Order attempts to kill her own brother, she and Luke are warped far from home by the phenomenon known as Hyperresonance. As the pair try to return, they are caught up in a struggle that will define a future beyond the Score’s prediction.

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