6 Anime made video games worth trying

There have been alot of video games based on Anime–not to be confused with Anime-ish video games like Tales of Symphonia and Persona 4–but until about15 years ago, they were rarely released outside Japan. The last decade has seen a Naruto game released every few years in particular, many of which I’ve played.

These are 6 games released on consoles I’ve personally played, still own and highly reccommend playing, counting down from 6:

 

6. Bleach: Dark Souls (Nintendo DS)

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…One thing Bleach had a knack for was timing when it did filler arcs. Dark Souls is no different. The game’s story mode is set right after the end of the Soul Society Arc (when Ichigo first visits the Soul Society to rescue Rukia) and follows a non-canon storyline involving Mod Souls. The game is dual audio English and Japanese. Everyone has all of their moves from the anime including Gin and Tossen, who are unlockable characters along with Aizen–not the Aizen reintroduced much later, mind you–and yes, their Bankai if theirs was introduced before. I believe the only ones who don’t have their Bankai in Dark Souls are Aizen’s (which hadn’t been revealed at the time) and Rukia’s (same as Aizen though in addition, Rukia was still recovering from the injuries she sustained at the end of the Soul Society Arc).

The game’s very difficult to find in a Gamestop. There is an mobile version of the game but from what I’ve seen, it’s definitely not the same game.

 

5. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (PS Vita)

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The smash hit Anime series got two video game spinoffs on the PS Vita (so far): Hollow Fragment and Lost Song, both of which I own. I haven’t played Lost Song yet (gasp!) because I am playing other things at the moment. Hollow Fragment, on the other hand is digital only in North America. Unlike Dark Souls, Hollow Fragment’s story takes place during an existing point in the anime. It is a non-canon storyline that takes place towards the end of the first half of Season 1. It’s an action RPG. Unlike your typical RPG though, you don’t start the game at level 1. Your level and that of your recruitable partners is much higher to fit the story’s narrative, which is just before the Aincrad arc ends.

Sinon, who is introduced in Season 2 of the anime is a playable character in this game. The obvious problem from a lore standpoint is she never was in Aincrad in the canon. The game kinda gets away with this given she is introduced in the game before she is introduced in the Anime: The anime premiered in Japan almost a year after Hollow Fragment was released in Japan. I watched it on Crunchyroll so I can say that. If you want to buy this game, it is digital only.

4. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3

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I bought the game a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that unlike the previous two games, the game’s story mode is a a full retelling of the a portion of the canon storyline. The story begins during the Hidden Lead Village’s reconstruction after it is destroyed by Pain and ends with Kurama accepting Naruto, helping him fight Tobi. The secondary storyline introduces North American fans to Naruto’s father and the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze as well as his mother Kushina Uzumaki. The game was released during the filler episodes that aired before Naruto meets his mother in the Anime.

There are button prompts that pop up during pivotal fights in the game. Mess up and you take damage before retrying. There is also additional dialogue during the dialogue not shown in the Anime. Mostly because the game isn’t restricted in terms of how much content per episode they can put in the game. The game was released on the PS3 and well as the Xbox 360. The 4th game, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was released on the PS4 and Xbox One earlier this year.

 

3. Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains (Nintendo 3DS)

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….Believe it or not, someone actually LOVED this game.

Folks are trying to pretend the game never existed even though the upcoming PS3 port is the exact same thing. The hate comes from the lack of gore in the 3DS game. No, seriously. It’s a SOLID game and stays true to the anime in terms of mechanics. The game’s Story Mode spans the entire anime series. You play as Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Sasha and Levi. The meat of the game is the more open-ended Mission Mode: You create your own character and start your own legend as a member of the Survey Corps =D

Humanity in Chains also contains video clips from the anime (Japanese audio with English subtitles) as well as yes, the Opening we all know and love–how can you NOT love that on a portable game? The game is digital only, sells for $30 and is worth the price tag in my book if you call yourself a fan of Attack on Titan.

2. Dragonball: Xenoverse

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Hailed by diehard DBZ fans as one of, if not best Dragonball Z game released since the Budokai games, Xenoverse mixes the done to death retelling of DBZ’s Sagas and custom characters to make a game with near-endless replay value. The game breaks the 4th wall a bit as you can chose to play as a Human, Saiyan, Namekian, Frieza-race or Buu-race character. The lore for those last two I just mentioned are being made in the spinoff anime series Dragonball Z Super, which began with the movie Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods. Anyways, Trunks summons you to join the Time Patrol, an interdimensional fighting force that is tasked with fixing abnormalities with the time-space continum. Someone is intenionally screwing with iconic battles in DBZ’s lore. Trunks can’t intervene himself (being Vegeta’s son and all) so he asked Shenron to bring you in to do the job in his place.

…The game is MASSIVE. That’s how it is.  I bought the game digital on the PS3 but it was also released on the Xbox 360. The crazy thing more mind-blowing over this being #2 is two games tied for first =O

1. Dragonball Z: Legacy of Goku II/Dragonball Z: Buu’s Fury (Game Boy Advance)

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…Surprised, I take it? So was I the first time I played Legacy of Goku II: It was a faithful retelling of the Androids Saga and the Cell Saga. Watching DBZ Kai the last few weeks reminded me of this fact. There is even a secret boss: Cooler. In addition, Hercule is an unlockable playable character in the late game. Buu’s Fury picks it up from there, spanning The Underworld Tournament to The Buu Saga. The secret boss is Broly in that game. Both games are action RPGs. Oh and yes, you can go Super Saiyan (or Super Namekian in the case of Piccolo in Legacy of Goku II) at will. You can also do fusions in Buu’s Fury, all at will. The games allow fans to relive their favorite battles or those new to DBZ to enjoy the story at a slower pace.

Both games were released halfway through the Game Boy Advance’s lifespan. If you want to find it, Amazon is the place to go since it was never ported or re-released on newer consoles. I first played both games when they were current so…yeah.

 

…Well there you have it. There may not be a whole lot of Anime that made the jump to video games but of the ones that do, few of them are as well received as half the ones on this list. This is just my list of personal faves. There actually IS another Anime I have in mind that was originally a visual novel. I found the review I wrote for it and realized I never posted it. That oversight will be correctly shortly.

 

Sword Art Online Season 2 wraps up on Toonami, Parasyte premiering next week

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…Have to admit I’m surprised Cartoon Network greenlit this one. Like I noticed with the U.S. release of Akame ga Kill (review coming soon), expect heavy editing. Parasyte -The Maxim- (Just Parasyte in the U.S.) is about Parasitic alien life forms that infest human, usually taking over the host’s mind and body. This anime focuses on the exception to the rule: Migi (Japanese for Right) and his host, high school student Shinichi Izumi. Migi is only able to take over Shinichi’s right hand, hence its given name. It’s your textbook Invasion of the Body Snatchers in Anime form.  If you don’t want to wait on the dub, you can watch it in full on Crunchyroll. That’s what I did with Akame ga Kill.

Speaking of AgK: This is a major spoiler but another member of Night Raid is going to die in the next episode.

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Yuuki’s final moments with Asuna in the SAO Season 2 finale, Mother’s Rosario.

Now that SAO season 2’s English dub is done, the wait is on for Season 3. A few years passed between Season 1 and Season 2 though thr wait between Season 2 in Japan and the English dub was about 7 months. The Anime was presumably being dubbed while it aired in Japan. Click here to see the review I wrote for SAO Season 2. The events of what will be Season 3 have already happened in the light novels and from what I’ve heard, it’s alot of content being covered.

I don’t read the novels myself but from what I’ve heard from those who do, most of Season 3 takes place in the real world and happens a few years after the events of Season 2. New characters are introduced and it takes place in a new virtual world. I don’t know much more than that other than speculation and I’ll resist the urge to entertain that here.

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Michiko and Hatchin is set up wrap up soon as well. There was alot of buzz at Anime Boston 2015 on the Sailor Moon franchise, which Viz Meida generated alot of hype around. Sailor Moon Crystal, which wrapped up in Japan over the summer. It is also rumored to be the frontrunner to be the next series to start airing on Toonam soon. The Viz Media reps did say at Anime Boston Sailor Moon Crystal is being dubbed so…yeah. Not too unbelievable given their licensing deal with Hulu. If it does come to Toonami, it would fit in nicely with Dragonball Z Kai.

 

Sword Art Online II’s English Premieres

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Last night, a trailer aired on Toonami revealing the English premiere for the smash hit SAO2 will be this coming Saturday at 1:00AM (Sunday Morning technically). Anime Boston announced a few months back the English premeire of SAO2 will happen at the Con.

Whoops!

Nah, not really.

The one at Anime Boston is an indutry thing so…yeah. It actually fits as they’ll be able to promote the Anime at the con the weekend after its premiere for those who may have missed it. An added benefit to going to Anime Boston is with most premieres, you’ll get the first 2-4 episodes in one shot AND you can talk to some voice actors.

Of course, SAO2 aired in Japan last year. I watched it in its entirety on Crunchyroll. Check out my review if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

 

Review: Sword Art Online II (MEGA SPOILERS!!)

When the credits for the final episode rolled last weekend, I gave it a standing ovation. The last Anime to have garnered such a strong reaction was when I watched Clannad for the first time 4 years ago only that time I was moved to tears. by the way, the pictures above show the cast first in the real world and their virtual world equivalents. By the way yhat’s Sinon to the left of Leafa. She wears glasses in the real world and switches ALO after the events of the first half of the season. Her specialty in ALO is (unsurprisingly) Bows. Those who played the Playstation Network exclusive game SAO: Hollow Fragment for the Vita may recall Sinon makes a cameo appearance in Eincrad as one of Kirito’s possible partners but as her SAO2 Avatar with black hair.

Anyway, the first half of the season closes the door on a little unresolved matter involving a surviving member of Laughing Coffin, which was a notorious and feared PK Guild in SAO. In an intricate plot using real world counterpart, the player known as Death Gun would seemingly kill players at the same time as their in-game Avatars. In truth, it was actually two different people working together. The in-game person took out the Avatar while their real-world counterpart did the actual killings. Kirito entered BoB to lure out Death Gun and with Sinon’s help, stops him once and for all.

Sinon is one of the two new main characters of the season. Sinon went through a traumatic experience as a child and was forced to kill someone. As a result of that trauma Sinon became terrified of guns. In GGO she is able to overcome the trauma association and quickly rose through the ranks as a contender in the PvP circuits. After Death Gun is dealt with, Kirito tracks down one of the people present when Sinon was forced to kill someone as a child. The woman he introduces to Sinon was pregnant at the time and her actions saved the lives of two people that day. Having heard from one of the people whose lives she ended up saving, Sinon is able to overcome and move on with her life.

There is an intermission between the first half and the second half of the season. During the intermission Sinon rerolls on ALO so she can play with the new friends she made. Kirito and Co. raid a dungeon in search the legendary sword Excalibur. If the name sounds familiar, it’s the same sword Kirito summoned at the end of Season 1. This time it’s his for good!

In the second half of the season we meet the other main character, Asuna befriends a powerful swordsman named Yuuki Konno. Known as Zekken to other ALO players, she has never lost to anyone–not even Kirito. After sparring with Asuna, Yuuki asks her to help her guild The Sleeping Knights–more on why they go by this name in a moment–clear a dungeon before their guild disbands.

Yuuki’s guild goes by the name Sleeping Knights for a very special reason: Every single member of the guild is terminally ill. Due to their illnesses, they use a prototype version of the Nervegear Technology to dive 24/7. They can’t feel their body’s pain while diving so…yeah. Yuuki herself has AIDS and already lost her whole family to the disease. Since she spent her whole life in the hospital, the only worlds she’s ever known were virtual worlds.

Until she met Asuna, that is.

Because of her painful her affliction is, Yuuki Dives 24/7. The benefit of course being she is free of physical pain. The drawback, however is she can never leave the hospital. Asuna borrows a device Kirito had been developing for Yui and uses it to bring Yuuki to school. This way, Yuuki can see the world from her hospital room.

 

Asuna and Yuuki’s time together is short but sweet. The scene that stuck out for me was Yuuki’s final moments in the final episode. Thousands of players travel to the island where she and Asuna met to pay their respects. A fitting tribute to a special girl Asuna will never forget.

Overall, I give SAO2 an 8/10.

The intermission for Season 2 would’ve been netter if they spent at least half an episode on Sinon’s transition from GGO to ALO. I also felt killing off Yuuki was a bit over the top but not the sendoff itself. AIDS isn’t a death sentence anymore and based on the circumstances of how she got it (her mother was accidently given a blood transfusion with the AIDS virus while she was pregnant with her and her twin sister), she should’ve been cured by the time she’s introduced. That’s just me, though.

Now we’re at the million-dollar question of will there be an SAO3. I don’t think there will be but I’m sure the story will continue in Manga and Visual Novels. I certainly plan to write a Fanfic set after the events of SAO2 myself so…yeah.

 

First Look Review: Sword Art Online II (Japanese with English Subtitles)

 

This caught me by surprise both because I was in the hospital with limited internet access for a week and none of my usual sources knew about it. Then I saw an obscure link to an article on the internet announcing SAO2 would simulcast on Crunchyroll and two other streaming sites based in Japan. One word comes to mind: AWESOME!

Now let’s talk about SAO2, which is actually Season 2 of the Anime (feels so good to say that XD). SAO was a hit with fans on both sides of the Pacific from the start and actually had its English Premiere at Anime Boston 2012. I know because that was the very first year I was a panelist at Anime Boston so…yeah. I’d remember that detail (LOL!).

Anyway, in the first season gamers got stuck in the VR MMO Sword Art Online. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? There is a catch, however: When you die in the game, you die in real life. Basically, SAO becomes a giant cage match. By the time Kirito beats SAO, two years have passed in the real world and 4,000 of the game’s 10,000 players have died. During the course of another year, Kirito is forced to enter the virtual world once again to shut down a copycat game and rescue his girlfriend Asuna, who is being held against her will in another game after SAO is cleared. For Kirito, Asuna and the other gamers who lost two (or in some cases three) years of their lives to the VR MMOs, time stopped for them while they were trapped in SAO. The emotional toll alone…whew.

That’s the spoiler-free gist of SAO Season 1. Now on to SAO2:

 

 

I’ve only seen the first episode so far (Episode 2 becomes available sometime this evening on Crunchyroll) but it does a nice job of both introducing the new plot and bridging Seasons 1 and 2. Here’s what I know so far:

A mysterious player called Death Gun has been shooting top players in a VR MMO. The thing is, the players he shoots instantly die in real life. And I thought SAO was pretty dark. At least this time it’s one person (so far) targeting players and not people getting trapped inside another game waiting to die. Anyway, Kirito is recruited to go into the game and find out if this rumored Death Gun really exists and if possible, find out why he’s killing people.

That’s prettymuch it so far.

Asuna appears throughout the episode with Kirito (except for Kirito’s briefing which happens during a flashback in the middle of the episode the same day) but it’s hard to tell so far what, if any role she will have in the new storyline. Ditto for Kirito’s cousin. Of course, this was just one episode of many more to come.

If you’re a fan of SAO in particular, now might be a good time to consider getting a Premium Crunchyroll account if you don’t have one already. For just $7 you will get to watch new episodes of Anime in progress an hour after they’ve aired in Japan. Netflix and Hulu Plus can’t beat that =D