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!
Director: Kyouhei Ishiguro
Writer of Original Manga: Naoshi Arakawa
Animation Studios: A-1 Pictures
Version Watched: Subbed
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is an enigma. Its episodes flew by as I watched them, making me regularly question whether I had, in fact, actually spent 24 minutes staring at the screen each time its ending sequence started up. Usually this is the part where I say “Now that’s the hallmark of a good anime!” or something along those lines, and the sheer quality of the show’s conclusion makes me want to heap praise upon it, but…the honest truth is that I can’t bring myself to do that. It features fantastic production quality, engaging characters and heart-rending emotion, though it also fails to use those assets to reach its true potential.
Arima Kousei was a prodigy. Was. He used to win each and every single piano competition he attended, spurred on mercilessly by his sick and dying mother, but when she passed away something inside him died with her and he lost the ability to hear his own playing. Two years later he has come to terms with his loss and is struggling to live on in a dull and colourless world…until she comes along. Beautiful, filled with energy, tragic. The talented violinist Miyazono Kaori forces colour into Kousei’s life once more, pushing him into rediscovering his music. The two connect, though they may not realise it, working together to move the audiences they play for. Time is short, however, and Kaori is like Kousei’s late mother in ways he would not care to acknowledge.
Developer – Purple Software
Publisher – Sekai Project and Denpasoft
Length – 10-30 Hours
[A Review copy was kindly provided by Sekai Project]
[Sekai Project has had no input into the content of this review]
I have to admit that i’m fairly dismissive of visual novels that lean more towards the pornographic than those with substance, but every so often even I can appreciate a title where story takes a back seat. Chrono Clock is very nearly a pure romance comedy with a few slight twists to keep things interesting and I have to say that I found it to be greatly entertaining. It’s the kind of novel that allows you to sit back and enjoy time spent with a variety of fun characters which, to be honest, was exactly what I needed when I picked it up.
Sawatari Rei is the next in line to succeed the Sawatari Corporation, a massive company forged from the ground up by his grandfather, and Rei has managed to discover the secret to his success. An ordinary-looking pocket watch…with the ability to turn back time for five minutes once every hour when broken. Rei, however, has no real interest in the future awaiting him and instead plans to use the watch to his advantage in other important endeavors. Like finding a girlfriend, for instance.
A massive congratulations to Lazarinth over at Fantasy and Anime for his second novel release: Back in the Game!
It can be purchased on Amazon here and is the sequel to Stuck in the Game, which can be purchased here.
Developer – Spike Chunsoft
Publisher – NIS America
Platforms – PSVita
[This review assumes you have some knowledge of the Danganronpa series. Reviews for the first and second games can be found here and here (links!).]
The Danganronpa series is one of my current favorites with two very strong first entries to the franchise now available with official English translations on the PS Vita. They feature twisted and entertaining storylines with battle-of-wits-type detective gameplay and are two of the most novel games I’ve ever played. So how does Another Episode, being a spin-off title, hold up? About as well as any other shooter available on a handheld console, I suppose. And that is most definitely not a compliment.
Naegi Komaru has been trapped inside the same apartment room for over a year now. When she is finally freed, however, she comes face to face with one of countless lethal robot bears attacking Towa City: Monokuma. Armed with a Future Foundation Hacking Gun and guarded by the antisocial but dangerous Fukawa Toko, Komaru’s desperate attempts to escape the city are constantly thwarted by the instigators of the incident: The Warriors of Hope; five children hell-bent on killing every adult in their path to create the ultimate paradise. Forget making it out of the city, how could a normal girl like Komaru even hope to survive?!
Director: Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Writer: Yosuko Kobayashi
Animation Studios: Gonzo
Version Watched: Subbed
A little while ago a friend of mine suggested I watch Witchblade, an anime inspired by an American comic of the same name. They weren’t prepared to guarantee the quality of the show, so this was a recommendation made from nostalgia and as such I was a little wary going into it. That wariness was well deserved, as initially the show was simply average and I was close to dropping it about half way through. I was encouraged to persevere, however, and sitting here now I’m really glad I did. Despite some confused and poorly fleshed out plotlines, Witchblade has some intense emotion lying in store for its watchers behind heart-warming character relationships. Its faults aren’t easy to ignore but, for me at least, the payoff was worth it.
Masane Amaha lost all of her memories during the Great Tokyo Quake, waking up with only her baby daughter, Rihoko, and maternity book to point to her identity. Years later, the mother-daughter pair return to the city to start a new life together, though Rihoko’s mature, collected nature might have you confuse her for the parent instead of Masane’s scatterbrained hot-headedness. Happiness will be hard to find, however, as the other remnant from the Quake remains firmly attached to Masane’s wrist – the legendary Witchblade. Artificially engineered superweapons, mega-corporations and government agencies are all after the power of this mysterious artefact, while the only thing Masane cares about is providing for her daughter. Continue reading
Director: Mahiro Maeda
Writer: Shuichi Kouyama
Animation Studio: Gonzo
Version Watched: Subbed
It’s been a fair while since I first watched The Count of Monte Cristo and despite the viewing having been forced by a high school class I found it to be pretty enjoyable. Gankutsuou is an anime adaptation with a slightly different focus which adds in a little of its own spice to the mix and overall does a great job of bringing both the characters and story to life. It boasts a unique visual style which may or may not appeal to your tastes and the ending goes a little off the rails but neither of those aspects should stop you from giving this series a chance.
Albert de Morcerf is the son of the great General Morcerf, hero of the intergalactic war and leading candidate for France’s presidency. Having been raised in a life of luxury, Albert is visiting the moon (Luna) for its grand festival with his childhood friend Franz when the two encounter the eccentric yet charismatic Count of Monte Cristo. The Count claims to be a nobleman who has travelled to the far reaches of space and back, and after saving Albert’s life from a gang of kidnappers he asks for the boy’s aid in moving to Paris, where the Morcerf family holds great sway. Monte Cristo’s very presence will bring significant change, however, to Paris, France and the world at large, though whether his hidden plans are beneficent or malicious remains to be seen.
Developer – FlyingShine
Translator – Amaterasu Translations
Length – 10-30 Hours
[I’m going to spoil you here and say that this is a negative review – a very negative review. This was my immediate reaction after finishing Cross Channel and I stand by it. However, there are other visual novel fans who value alternate aspects of Cross Channel, so I’ll post a link to the opinion of one such reader after the review.]
When it comes to writing reviews you can’t just say something is bad, good or anywhere in between without backing up your opinions. Having said that, the only thing stopping me from describing Cross Channel as absolute mind-numbing garbage and leaving it at that (and indeed, the only thing that stopped me from dropping it within the first few hours) is the fact that it sits at rank 20 on VNDB. Considering the number of visual novels out there that’s a pretty prestigious position, so I felt that I needed to experience the story in full to do justice to any review I planned to write. Without giving too much away, Cross Channel is a terrible visual novel for a number of reasons that I’ll try to elaborate on further down the page, and more than for any other production I have [almost] no clue whatsoever why people claim to have enjoyed it.
I cannot justify devoting time to summarising the plot, so this is from VNDB:
“Gunjo Academy is a facility designed to gather and isolate those students who got a high score on an adaptation exam (Scoring high on this exam indicates that the student is less likely to be able to adapt to society) mandated by the government. After a failed summer vacation with other members of the school’s broadcasting club, Kurosu Taichi and some of the other club members return to the city, only to find that the world had completely changed.”