Thursday, September 23, 2010

Phantasy Star Portable 2: Best unlockables ever

I've always been a big Phantasy Star Online fan, but not as long as most hardcore addicts. My first exposure to the series was on the XBOX, and since that time, has been the only MMO I feel any fondness for.

Although it is debatable to call PSO a MMO, at the time I payed 10 bucks a month to play it while I was a struggling college student, so I'm going to go ahead and call it a MMO.

PSO was great back then because unlike other games that used online features and the voice chat, every time I logged in to PSO and started a mission with random people I felt like part of a community. People were polite and always eager to help you out and level up and get you the best loot. So I only have fond memories of PSO.

But sadly, like all things I eventually moved on, and shortly afterwards the servers shut down so any hope of returning was gone. I considered playing the next PSO game which was card based, but just couldn't do it. Then, with much anticipation Phantasy Star Universe was released, and after playing it, all hopes for the series had left me instantly.

When Phantasy Star Portable was released, feeling burned by PSU, I didn't even give it a glance. But by the time 2 was announced and the demo was released on PSN, I figured my mourning period was over and I decided to give the old girl a spin. What I found I was pleasantly surprised by. PSP2 felt a lot like PSO. The fighting had been taken back to the PSO days and a lot of the unnecessary junk from PSU was removed. So I took the plunge and bought the full game, and what I found was one of the greatest surprises of my life.

Now, if you frequent this blog regularly you might have picked up on the fact that there are some things I am obsessed over. These things are Evangelion, Fate/Stay Night, and Hatsune Miku. So maybe you can imagine how I felt when I realized all three properties are in Phantasy Star Portable 2:

Evangelion. So far with codes you can unlock Asuka, Rei and Shinji's plug suits, and the Lance of Longinus as a weapon! In Japan you can unlock Asuka's Test Plug suit, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Fate/Stay Night. This set hasn't been released yet but will be in January, so I guess I need to stick with the game until then at least. Saber and Archer sets are both confirmed to be part of the release.

Hatsune Miku. My favorite vocaloid superstar, now I can play as her and use her to beat up space monsters. Life is good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women - C.C.

Drum roll please... We are now down to the top three women in anime that I find to be the creme de la creme of anime heroines. These three have withstood the test of time and although they may rearrange in order from 1-3, it will take an act of God (or Haruhi) to move them from these lofty places.

So without further ado, I give you number three....

Number 03: C.C.
Show: Code Geass

Background: C.C. is rescued by Lelouch in the first episode from some sort of capsule. From there the two form an uneasy partnership each with their own set of goals, not fully disclosed to the other party.

C.C. is centuries old, and in the end is just looking for a way to die, though for an immortal, that is a tall order.

Why She is On My List: I think of my list so far, C.C. is the most elegant. Her design, both physical and internal, renders a remarkable fictional female heroine, that could really stand up to some of the great female protagonists in literature. I feel this is true for all three of the ladies in my Top 3, but there is something about C.C. that makes her seem she would be right at home standing next to the likes of Hester Prynne, Scarlett O'Hara, and Lady McBeth.

While she might not favor any of those three women in an obvious manor, she is subtly like all three. Like Prynne she faced persecution in her own time, but rose above it and later wore it as a badge to shape who she became as a result, her strong independence and self assurances could be rivaled with O'Hara, and her ambition and ability to manipulate a powerful man to reach her own goals would be the envy of Lady McBeth.

The way she looks and holds herself hails back to the golden age of anime. She looks like she comes straight from a Leiji Matsumoto anime, with long features and sensual, seducing eyes.

Her mannerisms are endearing, and I'm sure otaku the world over, hearts all skipped a beat when she tried to put a gun together and it fell apart in her hands. Or when she orders pizza at the most inopportune time.

For all these reasons she holds a coveted number three spot on my list. Sunrise plans to turn Code Geass into a multimedia franchise, so there may very well be more C.C. in the near future. My only hope is she is handled with the same care and consideration that we have seen used so far.


I'm going to be lazy here and point you in the direction of Koji's article on CC: here.

Honorable mention: Horo (Holo)

It might seem like I should choose Kallen or any of the other amazing women from Code Geass as an honorable mention, but I chose Horo from Spice and Wolf for a very specific reason.

Major Code Geass Spoilers ahead (but you should have watched it by now anyway)!

There is much speculation of the last scene of Code Geass. Is Lelouch alive or dead? All we see is CC being carted along in a horse drawn cart, talking to some mysterious driver. Is it Lelouch?

Personally, I like to think it is. Or even if it isn't the idea of CC and Lelouch traveling the world in a horse drawn cart for the rest of eternity seems like an appealing idea to me, and I imagine if that is what they were doing it would happen much the same way that Spice and Wolf does.

Lelouch would be trying to scam trade deals and CC would give him advice she has accumulated over the years, much in the same way Lawrence and Horo function.

While I wouldn't go so far to say Horo and CC have the same personality (they don't) they still represent the same strong female protagonist who doesn't need to rely on anyone but themselves to stay one step ahead of everyone else. These character archetypes are becoming more popular in Japan, and I couldn't be happier as they stray from the concept of the meek woman who's only need is to serve her husband. A lot of these types end up being tsunderes, and some might say Horo falls into that category (she doesn't, as she is clearly flirty and affectionate towards Lawrence from the very beginning), and CC certainly doesn't, and that might be their most important trait. Strong women in anime that aren't tsunderes (though I still love tsunderes).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Panty and Stocking Preview

Here is the trailer for Gainax's new anime....

It's certainly a different step for them. From recent reports Hideki Anno is looking to sink his old studio for screwing him on Pachinko machines, and employees have been saying the studio is in trouble. If anything they needed to do something that would get some attention, and this trailer certainly does that.

I can't tell if it is a parody or homage to recent Western cartoons like Fosters, Invader ZIM (is that GIR?), and Odd Parents. In any case this is almost guaranteed for Adult Swim.

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women - Senjogahara Hitagi

First of all, go here, because I have gone over most of this before. She was my first choice for Tsundere Tuesdays, and it should be no surprise that she has ended up on this list.

Number 04: Senjogahara Hitagi
Show: Bakemonogatari

Background: Hitagi is the first female protagonist of the light novel/anime series Bakemonogatari. Each novel, or arc, deals with some super natural phenomenon that has happened to some unlucky girl and the hero, Araragi has to solve the problem.

Hitagi's problem is that she is cursed by some otherworldly crab that has made her weightless. You would think that, being a teenager in high school, weighing nothing would be a dream come true, but that is not the case. She has to literally find ways to hold her down and give her some gravity. Despite her warnings, Araragi interferes and solves her problem, leaving her in his dept and eventually falling in love with him.

Why she is on this list: Moe, the literally definition of the term, which no one uses any more, is the actually falling in love with a fictional 2D character. I can say from the first episode of Bakemonogatari, I fell head over heels in love with Senjogahara. She is very possibly the embodiment of what I find to be the perfect woman. She is intelligent, dripping with sarcasm, has a killer body, Asian and beautiful. Perfect.

She is dry and insulting, and loving and caring. She never throws a fit or tantrum, like so many tsundere's do. She just states her business and does her own thing. After her weight is returned, she technically has no more "supernatural" powers left, but if you just watch her for a bit, you might find yourself transfixed by her, and thus pondering if maybe she does have some vampire-like charm.

Senjogahara should probably be higher in this list, but I screwed the pooch when I watched the show. Bakemonogatari was one of the most compelling and interesting shows I had watched in years, and I sped through the show at a record pace. As such, I feel if I had moved through it slower, it would have had a better chance at cementing a place in my heart more than it has. Regardless I haven't watched the last two episodes yet, just so I can savor them and watch the series as a complete experience some day soon.

I say all this because it directly impacted my feelings for Hitagi.

The reason I say she should be higher, but isn't, is because there just isn't enough out there of her. There are some episodes she isn't even a part of, and really she becomes almost a minor character until the end of the series. I want more Senjogahara. Lots more, but there just isn't enough, and probably could never be enough to meet my demand.

The novels don't really help me any (for one, they aren't translated) because she is a different character. After she is "cured" she stops being Tsundere and is just dere. So the continued existence of Senjogahara as a Tsundere is an anime exclusive.

If I haven't plugged it enough already, please check out Bakemonogatari if you haven't yet. It is one of the most imaginative anime to come out in recent years and really deserves as much attention as possible.

Seiyu: Chiwa Saito

Saito started voice acting in 1999 for One Piece and has had a full career ever since. She is part of a voice acting duo, which I have never heard of until reading her bio. She is also part of a seiyu quartet, again I've never heard of such a thing, and they are known as "MORE PEACH SUMMER SNOW". You can't make this stuff up, people. The quartet all perform voices for Sgt. Frog (one of my favorites). Saito voices Natsumi.

Some other works you might recognize her from are Anita King from Read or Die, Lavie Head from Last Exile, and Francesca Lucchini from Strike Witches.