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Jul 272016
 

Fighting games were huge back in the 90s as well as they are today. Normally what comes to mind are Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct, which started a trend of other fighting game franchises. The one I’m going to focus on now is Fatal Fury.

I never actually played any of the Fatal Fury games before, but I do remember reading about them in magazines like Nintendo Power and Gamepro. Like most fighting games, it was just a bunch of cool characters with awesome special moves and hardly any story lines. Of course that’s always cleared up with movies and comics that are based on the games.

It turns out that Fatal Fury did have a movie called Fatal Fury the Movie and it was Anime that I find reminiscent to Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie, which is very nostalgic.

The story here is about the ancient armor of Mars that was split into six pieces, but once assembled it would make anyone who wears it powerful enough to destroy the world. Laocorn Gaudeamus intends to find all of the pieces that were scattered all over the world. So far he has already found three.

Laocorn’s twin sister Sulia seeks out martial artists Terry Bogard, his brother Andy, the brash Joe Higashi, and the gorgeous Mai Shiranui to stop Laocorn and save him from himself.

The martial arts action is awesome. I’ll tell you, if I was as familiar with these characters like I am with the ones from Street Fighter, I would enjoy the battle scenes much more while looking forward to seeing any of the special moves.

However, this feature doesn’t just have battle scenes among the major characters. The heroes also battle a group of assailants whose power come from their masks. Removing the masks may defeat these mystical fighters, but don’t underestimate them.

Lastly, it’s pretty neat that when any of the heroic fighters, who includes Kim Kaphwan, are out of uniform, they can change very quickly before going into battle. I guess it’s the look of the fighters in the video games, which seems to be a big part of their strength.

This was an interesting movie. Even though it runs long at points, this blast from the past is one I would recommend, especially if you grew up on video games from the 90s.

Mar 022016
 

The Nintendo eshop downloads for Nintendo 3DS keep getting better and better since I downloaded Ninja Battle Heroes. This side scrolling platform game has Anime style animal characters with ninja action and simple navigation. Why can’t more Anime video games be platformers that are easy to figure out?

The story line is also simple and straightforward. Set in a feudal Japan era, there are a group of warriors called the Beast Brigade led by General Yukimura. Unfortunately, all of the members were captured except one, Saizo Kirigakure. Now it’s up to Saizo to rescue them.

As you proceed through the game, other members get rescued and join in as backup. Their skills are helpful, but Saizo is really the only playable character. Also the skills can only be activated when you’ve collected enough spirit energy from defeated foes.

The rescued allies include Kosuke who can restore your life meter with first-aid and Kamanosuke who can make cyclones which is very useful when there are too many background enemies throwing projectiles.

There’s also Mochizuki (Mochi for short) who can throw fire and Jinpachi who can make an ice pillar. Their skills are interesting but not very affective.

Other allies are bosses who are under evil mind control that join you after defeating them. The first are the Miyoshi Bros., Seikai and Isa. Seikai has brute strength and uses his brainy brother Isa as a throwing weapon. However, the only skill you can acquire is their earthquake attack, which isn’t any more effective than the fire and ice attacks.

Other bosses include Rokuro, a bird who grants you flight, which is very helpful to get to those hard to reach areas, not to mention the hard to reach enemies up high. There’s also Juzo who has a rifle attack and Sasuke who can provide clones. These skills are only useful when you need a very strong attack, most likely against a tougher boss.

Eventually, it all comes down to the final boss Ieyasu. He’s tough with his strong attacks, unleashing of enemies, and has a second form courtesy of the demon Hattori Hanzo. Why does that name sound familiar?

I really enjoyed this game for its simple game play. It has its share of challenges also like completing a level within a certain time, having a big enough combo, and getting through a level without taking any damage or summoning any beasts, which is required to unlock certain skills and powers. But once you manage to succeed in these difficult tasks, you’ll feel rewarded knowing that it was all worth it.

Sep 162015
 

If you enjoy watching the Power Rangers battle enemies in their zords, then you ought to see Gurren Lagann (2007-2008). This takes place in the future, where mankind is forced to live underground due to the surface world being so hostile with beast men.

There are some individuals who intend to explore up above like Kamina the hilarious headstrong rebel and Simon the meek young digger. They like to address each other as brothers even though they’re not actually related. I think it’s nice that they do.

I met Kyle Hebert, the voice of Kamina, at Anime Festival Orlando 2012.

Eventually, Simon finds a giant robot head called Lagann and a drill shaped key to activate it. However, the key is tied to Simon’s emotions. So it only works based on his mood, which is hard to understand sometimes.

During Simon and Kamina’s attempt to head to the surface, they meet Yoko. She’s highly skilled with a rifle and knows how to handle dangerous situations. Yoko is also funny while trying to tolerate Kamina, or anyone that likes to gaze at her gorgeous body.

I met Michelle Ruff, the voice of Yoko, at Space Coast Comicon 2015, along with Amanda Miller and Christina Vee. All three of them voiced characters on Sailor Moon.

Together Simone, Kamina, and Yoko become Team Gurren. On the surface, the beast men drive bigger robots called Gunmen and each one is different. Kamina manages to steal a Gunman and combine it with the Lagann to form the Gurren Lagann. It not only can destroy other Gunmen more easily, it bring hope for humanity.

As the series proceeds, the team grows with new members and more stolen Gunmen that are reprogrammed to fight for good. Among those new members are the Black siblings, who are a team of skilled beast man hunters; Kittan and his sisters Kiyoh, Kinon, and Kiyal. They’re such an amazing group.

Many of the beast men are nameless, but one who is reoccurring is Viral. He’s actually more of a half human/half beast man. Although Viral loses against Team Gurren, he always lives to fight another day.

I met Sam Riegal, the voice of Viral, at MythiCon 2013. Of course, I’ll always remember him best as the voice of Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version).

The leader of the beast men is Lordgenome the Spiral King, a tyrant intent on eradicating all of mankind. He appears somber, but don’t underestimate him, especially in battle.

I should also point out that in much later episodes, the series really goes sci-fi when Team Gurren takes the war into outer space seven years later.

This was certainly a good series with its action and humor. My only concern was that one of the principle characters gets killed off really early in the series. It’s a surprise that I never saw coming.

Apr 292015
 

Based on the Nintendo DS game, Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series (2008-2009) is about a post-apocalyptic world where the seas have become sand and humans are slaves to beast men. I like the idea of talking animals co-existing with human beings, but some of them can be pretty brutal at times.

The heroes are a group of travelers called the World Destruction Committee. Leading the pack is Morte a young warrior with a troubled past. She feels that the only way to save the world is to destroy it and she has the one tool that can make it happen. It’s a black sphere called the destruct code.

Her companion is Kyrie. Though he is cowardly and doesn’t know how to fight, Kyrie loves to cook and wishes for a better world where humans and beast men can live in harmony. In a way, he’s a good influence on Morte. Of course, she’ll never admit it.

I met Todd Haberkorn, the voice of Kyrie, at MegaCon 2012.

 

Then we have Taupy the bounty hunter. He’s a talking dwarf bear that always ends most of his sentences with “Kuma”, no matter the subject. For some reason, Taupy doesn’t like to be called a bear, even though he obviously looks like one.

Together the World Destruction Committee has faced many dangers and enemies. On occasion they meet up with Agan. He’s a smuggler that delivers all kinds of goods with his ship, as long as the price is right. Agan does seem trustworthy and glad to help out when Morte, Kyrie, and Taupy are around.

The main enemies the World Destruction Committee faces are the World Salvation Committee, which only consists of two members. The first is Naja, who is an intellectual half-man half-beast. I don’t see how he is half beast, since he looks really human.

The other is Rhi’a, who is a pretty dragon girl with a short temper. She’s quick to use brute force over words when enraged. I admit that Rhi’a is a cool fighter, especially when she reveals her dragon wings, tail, and horns.

I met Trina Nishimura, the voice of Rhi’a, at MegaCon 2011.

This was a good Anime series. It’s unlike most that I’ve seen, especially since I never played the video game, but still contains much of the action and humor that I find enjoyable.

Mar 252015
 

Here’s an interesting Anime series. .hack/Quantum OVA (2010-2011) is about three friends Asumi, Iori, and Eri, who enjoy playing an online fantasy game simply called The World.

I met Trina Nishimura, the voice of Asumi/Sakuya at MegaCon 2010.

The World contains plenty of action and adventure as well as some cool creatures like giant dragons. While inside, the three friends go by the names, Sakuya, Tobias, and Mary as characters. However, the story doesn’t just take place there. It goes back and forth from The World and reality.

Among the characters in The World is Hermit the talking cat. He has a twig that can digitize anything it touches. Somehow it doesn’t seem to be a common weapon that gamers would use.

During a quest, something goes horribly wrong. The heroes wind up in a dark creepy place as though the game was hacked. Before getting the chance to log out, Eri ends up in a coma. The same thing has happened to other gamers in the past, based on Asumi and Iori’s research. So it’s up to them to find out what’s going on with the network in order to save their friend. Apparently, it’s more than they bargained for.

Helping them out is an investigator, who also plays the game. Her character is named Shamrock, but her real name is not revealed.

I’ll admit that the title seems a little forced. .hack/Quantum OVA was a good three-episode series. In case you were wondering, the story line was set to be that short, not cancelled unexpectedly.