Welcome back one and all to another season of Anime Lookout! As per usual, today we’ll be taking a look at a bunch of seasonal premieres, and boy oh boy, what a season this is. After a good few seasons of mixed to uninteresting preview content, we have a truly packed season filled with prestige titles, fan favorite sequels, and potential new blockbuster titles. To say I ended up watching a lot this season would be an understatement.
Enough with the preamble though, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading
Wow, I can’t believe it’s… October. Now I can already guess that many of you may be wondering what’s going on here. After releasing the very delayed Winter 2017 Part 2 post, some of you may have been expecting the Spring and Summer posts to come out sooner and not be combined together into some unholy word loaf. Well honestly the answer to this conundrum is shockingly simple: I just did not watch enough shows from the spring season to justify creating two posts.
Yeah, it turns out that in spite of my long current slate listed at the end of my first Spring 2017 post, that most of the shows I ended up watching were not one cour. I only ended up watching four shows from the season, and out of those four, three of them were two cour productions. As such it seemed like the best option would be combine two seasonal posts into one. Like killing two birds with one stone, you know?
Anyways, with that out of the way, I figure we should drop this rambling and get straight into the meat of things. Let’s get on with the show! Continue reading
I have a long and complicated history with Final Fantasy XII. Despite owning the 2006 PS2 release for a good five years, I could never get into the game. I sat down and restarted it multiple times, leveling grinding harder, attempting to be more strategic, but each run ended with me reaching a certain plateau where I would just sigh and give up.
Part of this was admittedly due to my lack of skill. When I first tried to play the game back in 2012 I had only just become accustomed to JRPGs. But even without considering my ineptitude, I had a lot of problems with the game’s core design. The license board was an unwieldy upgrade system that left each of my character’s without any real focus in battle, the battle system could be slow and confusing, and in general I found it hard to get a grasp on the game’s mechanics. It was a game I wanted to appreciate as a fan of the franchise, but couldn’t.
So with that in mind, it may come as a surprise that I was immediately excited upon hearing the announcement of the Zodiac Age PS4 remaster. After all, with so many failed attempts to enjoy the game beforehand, you’d think I would have given up on it a long time ago. But really, the main selling point for me wasn’t the improved graphics or the fact that I had another chance to try out the game again, it was the Zodiac Job System. Continue reading
Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of what I hope will become a regular feature of Anime Lookout. That’s right, after all these years of posting first impressions, I’ve decided to create a follow up post where I can annoy you with more of my pithy anime opinions! Great news am I right!?
In all seriousness though, I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while, and considering how far behind I was on my winter anime, I decided this would be the perfect time to try this out!. Below you’ll find some follow up blurbs on the shows I continued watching after I first wrote about them. In case you’re wondering where some of the shows I listed at the end of my Winter 2017 post went, well the answer is simple: I didn’t watch them!
Most of this can be chalked up to apathy, which is often the main reason I drop shows. An anime can be incredibly bad and baffling, but if it starts to make me shrug, then boy oh boy is it going to drop off my radar fast. I know there are probably a lot of good shows I didn’t watch (Konosuba 2, cough cough), but frankly I don’t have all the time in the world, and if I’m not feeling it, well then I’m not going to watch it.
With that preamble out of the way though, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading
A Rushed Apotheosis
If there’s one thing most JRPG fans remember Xenogears for, it’s the game’s infamous second disc. When a critical discussion of this game comes up, the second disc will usually be a talking point. Going into this thing, I knew that it was likely going to be a messy, somewhat rushed experience, and while my predictions were correct, I didn’t think it would be this bad.
The second disc of Xenogears knocked the wind out of me, and not in a good way. For every moment of beautiful storytelling on this thing, there’s a boring info dump, forced gameplay, or sometimes both back to back. Playing through it made me actively miss the first disc, which is amazing considering I wasn’t even really a fan of that one to begin with. And yet by the end of the game’s credits, I was exhausted and burnt out by the game’s squandered potential. Continue reading
Ambition & Perdition
As someone who plays a lot of JRPGs, it’s hard to ignore Xenogears. When fans talk about classics of the original Playstation era, it’s always bound to come up due to its massive critical acclaim and dedicated cult following. In many ways, the title defines Squaresoft’s ambition at the time, with Xenogears being the peak of their willingness to take risks. Initially pitched as a concept for Final Fantasy VII, the idea was rejected due to its dark and intense subject matter. And yet they still greenlit it as a separate project, sending director Tetsuya Takahashi down his long path of increasingly ambitious projects that has lasted up until this current console generation with Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
It’s hard to deny that the game has left a mark on genre fans. And yet, I somehow feel like it’s impact has only lessened over time. Like Chrono Cross, Xenogears no longer seems to be a title people instantly think of when they think about good JRPGs. The game is still the subject of a lot of speculation and debate, but I don’t think anyone would put it on the level of the Final Fantasy games of the same era in terms of popularity. Then again, comparing a niche game to one of the most mainstream RPG franchises of all time may be flawed argument to begin with.
But it still begs the question of how this game has held up over the past 19 years. Is it still the daring title it was all those many years ago? And better yet, was it ever any good to begin with? Continue reading
– BONUS ROUND –
Even before it was released, The Reflection was a pretty controversial title. Despite the staff including some incredibly talented names, this show received instant ire from some hardcore fans due to the involvement of Stan Lee. To many his creative direction was enough to sour them on the series. After all, a lot of people watch anime to escape traditional American comic book and animation storytelling. However other fans remained hopeful, since both its director Hiroshi Nagahama and character designer Yoshihiko Umikoshi cited this series as a passion project of theirs. With both being such big names in the industry, working on shows like Mushishi and My Hero Academia, it seemed a little ridiculous to brush off the entire project due to just one producer.
Personally, I was somewhere in the middle. On one hand I thought the Stan Lee hate was a bit over the top, but on the other I couldn’t help but be somewhat cautious. I mean, as much as I wanted to trust the staff, superheroes have just never been my thing. So in the end, I decided to reserve my judgement, and after waiting a few extra weeks for this first episode to premiere, I can finally cement my opinion on it. Continue reading