Friday, February 28, 2014

1/2 Prince Review by Midnight Ice Queen on Of Anime and Video Games

I have a secret. I have a thing for anime and manga where the main character swaps genders or cross-dresses. I like a scenario where a character has to pass for the opposite gender or is turned into the opposite gender. I like body swap stories because I just love it when guys have to act like a girl to avoid notice. It’s just hilarious.
½ Prince gives me that gender swap thrill. Feng Lan is challenged to play a new game called Second Life by her annoying twin brother. Determined to prove that she can excel at the game, Feng Lan rushes home and is the first person to log onto Second Life. As a bonus, she is given one wish that she uses to make a male character named Prince. Thus, she descends into the life consuming game of Second Life where she makes friends, kills at lot of things, build an army and more.
Plus Factor
Gender swapping. My favorite thing. The interesting part about Fend Lan being Prince is that she acts totally like a boy would. Little about her would make others think that Prince was played by a female character. She soon has girls developing crushes on Prince who is brave and bloodthirsty, and can be a bit. She even earns the title Blood Elf when she slew many monsters for over four hours while her party just watched. She can get nutty.
The manga gives the readers a huge array of characters to love and none of them lack in variety. My favorites are Kenshin and Sunshine, because they are cute. Visually the art is stunning, but the artist has the tendency of making a lot of boy characters looks to pretty.
In Second Life, the players do everything you can imagine. Level up, join parties, join guilds, enter competitions, own property, etc. The world could almost be to big.
The enthusiasm, the life, and the energy from the characters on Second Life will actually make you want to play the game. Everyone loves being in the world of Second Life. The people have a liveliness in them that perks you up a bit.
The Negatives
Sometimes I don't know what the heck is going on in ½ Prince. Everything seems to happen to fast. The characters are great but there can be to many cooks in the kitchen so to speak. It can lead you feeling a little lost in the story and you'll have to keep reading to see when things will make sense again.
I dislike how involved everyone get into this virtual reality world. No matter how fun it is it's not real life. You see people getting in relationships and getting married on Second Life as if it matters in reality. It's scary how involved some of them get with a game.
[spoiler! Don't read this paragraph] Guiliaste, a character in half life, falls in love with Prince and chases him all throughout Second Life, but Feng Lan doesn't take him seriously. The real life Guiliaste however, has developed deep feelings for Prince, which is sad because he happens to be Feng Lan's university professor. They could actually be dating in real life if he paid attention to her in class!
½ Prince is like a roller-coaster ride. You never quite know where the story will take you. For some of you this might be good while for others not so much. They have rich characters and exciting battles, so if you're looking for some fun and excitement you should check it out.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Claymore Review by Midnight Ice Queen on Of Anime and Video Games

Claymore is another manga that I like that contains more violence and gruesome fighting than I prefer. It was the first voluntary anime I watched after Berserk that showed that much blood and castrating. I don't know how I ended up watching the show, but after one episode I was hooked.
Claymore is a dark fantasy set in a medieval world where humans are plagued by Yoma. Yoma are shape shifters that terrorize and feed on humans. To combat the Yoma, a group called the Organization created human-Yoma hybrids called Claymores to slay the Yoma. For a fee.
While Claymores do protect the people from the Yoma, they are not liked and feared due to their strangeness and unnatural abilities. Every human that turns into a Claymore experiences a change in hair and eye coloring, strength, abilities, and sometimes personality. They are called silver-eyed witches and generally look like they could and would kill you.
Clare did when she first appeared. Clare is the protagonist of this story. She ends up heading to a town to save them from a Yoma invasion. This Yoma was using the disguise of a human and hiding in plain sight. Eventually Clare manages to kill this Yoma and save a boy named Raki. He ends up following her afterwards and becomes the reason she begins to open up and get more in touch with her human side.
The anime has three arches to it. The first is the arch where Clare and Raki first meet, the second flashes back to Teresa, the no. 1 Claymore of her time, and how she saved a young Clare, and the third arch that deals with Priscilla.
Plus Factor
I think it was the female warriors that got me into watching Claymore. Plus, they are fully covered warriors unlike the fan service female warriors seen all over the world on video games, anime, and manga. All of the Claymores are female and they are not degraded sexually like other women which I appreciate that.
Claymore has a great storyline and amazing fighting scenes. It is not nearly as gruesome as Berserk, but it has its moments. The Claymores have a unique history and are as interesting as the Yomas themselves, but the anime only reveals enough to keep you interested in thinking.
Clare, the heart of the story, also becomes someone you start to root for. The more you dive into her story and see all the hardships she had to endure the more you bond with her. She has had the most things happen to her in her short life, but she keeps moving. I am sad that I can't get into the details of her life without spoilers, but if you like unwrapping a mystery then Clare's past should satisfy you.
The writers of this anime follow the theme that no one is safe. It gives the anime unpredictability, which I have missed in a world that seems to just make the same kind of stories where characters don't get hurt or die because the author likes to wrap his or her characters in wool. I appreciate that no one is free from dying or harm, even if I wait in dread for the sickening surprise one of my favorite character might face.
The Negatives
Sigh…there are always a negative to something. My enthusiasm for this anime helped keep things moving, but there were some points in the anime where I was wondering when things were going to the good part. Pacing things correctly without boring readers is a hard thing to do. I wanted to know more and more about Clare and Teresa (I hate what happens to her) and the story wasn't providing it fast enough.
Like most Anime, I felt like it was to short, but like a good story it left the story open enough for you imagine what happens afterward. I have not read the manga yet, but I look forward to uncovering what happens in the future for the characters and Priscilla.
Overall, there was many bases that I felt like weren't covered (Priscilla), but it was more annoying than anything. I hate feeling incomplete in a story. Claymore also lost some steam that it had in the beginning. What started off as a spark slowed down to a fizzle, and left an ending that…well I'll let you judge whether you like the ending or not.
Despite everything, I would watch Claymore over and over again. They is something about the way the story is told that draws you in and doesn't let you go. It's interesting, thoughtful, and inspiring. The artwork and the music makes everything goes hand in hand. It has its gray areas, but Claymore is worth a watch. It aimed for my heart, especially where it concerns Claire and Teresa.
Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go off somewhere to cry. I hate what happens to Teresa. Seriously, it makes me emotional. *Goes cries in a corner*

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pure Trance by Junko Mizuno

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Um...Pure Trance is a manga made by the twisted mind of Junko Mizuno.  She is well known for her versions of Fairy Tales such as Little MermaidCinderella, and Hansel and Gretel.  Junko Mizuno's work is not your typical share of manga.  Her stories are dark, humourous and fun to read.  There is something strange and unique about her stories and the unpredictability is always welcomed.  
Pure Trance is one of Mizuno's first works to stray away from established fairy tales and attempt to make an original story.
After the third World War, Earth's surface became toxic and forced humans to live underground.  Life underground has created a ton of social problems as a result of consuming a pill called pure trance (overeating being the symptom).  The story centers around a hellish hospital where a crazy director named Keiko Yamazaki whips her nurses and torments her patients.  Despite what you read, Pure Trance is a dark and humorous shoujo ("girl") manga!  
This girl manga is not a tale about high school or multiple love interests.  There is a ton of unpredictable moments in this manga.  While I do love some unpredictability, I wished there was more structure to Pure Trance.  Pure Trance lacks the structure that Mizuno's previous works had and I was lost reading this manga until a few pages in.  There is a bit of exposition in the beginning to explain the state of the world but I felt that dialogue and drawing could have saved me from the exposition.    
Mizuno's artwork is different from a majority of manga out there.  There is a chibbi like style to it.  As a fair warning for those that read anything in public, Mizuno puts her characters in various forms of undress.  Issues like pregnancy, extreme drug usage, and other feminine problems.  The cute art style of this manga makes such issues less shocking and adds to the insanity in the story.  The story ends suddenly, unfortunately.  
There is a ton of trivia on the bottom of each page and is worth reading on a second reading.  Mizuno has gone on to make other original manga.  I hope her other original works will grab me whenever I get around to reading them.  Pure Trance just did not grab me.