Exploring vast locations, making new items and equipment, and amicable characters are all qualities of Gust’s Atelier franchise that has attracted and kept me coming back to the series all these years. Mixing together fundamental and traditional RPG mechanics with modern flair, it is a franchise that has definitely changed its approach since its inception for better or worst to widen its appeal to a new audience. However, looking back on the many titles up until now, I do feel like the series has lost much of the traditional and creative life it once had long ago. With Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – the start of a new entry for the long-running franchise – incorporating many of the lessons and ideas inspired from the earlier titles as well as handful of new ones, it does make for an interesting start, yet also one that falls short of the mark for the very same reasons.
In most fantasy tales, it is a common precept that when the hero defeats the demon lord, peace and harmony is restored to the world along with all problems plaguing it fading into the abyss. Endearing and timeless as the trope is, it doesn’t exactly make for riveting storytelling, but desirable in its own right. However, what if defeating the demon lord didn’t end the worlds problems and instead the hero and villain actually team up to find a solution to the underlying issue? Would the story still carry the same endearing mantle? From this simple shift the idea and premise of Winter’s 2013 Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (stylized as Mayou) is born, one that provides an interesting mix to the classic fantasy milieu, but also one that is something of a double-edge sword when it comes to doing it successfully.
Developed by Uzumeya, Enigma is a visual novel that takes place in a world where most of the mainland has been ravaged by mysterious illness. Chester, a young man that happen to contracted the illness find himself washed ashore on a remote island – one that isn’t even apart of any modern map. The only two noteworthy features: a small village unaccepting of those from the outside world and a mysterious forest that is said to devour people. It’s name is Enigma, the very same name of the disease Chester is infected with and now in the terminal stages – his life nearly at its end and this island likely to be his resting place. Are the two somehow connected?
Airing back during the Fall 2014 season, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is another copious light novel to anime adaptation produced and directed by studio Trigger. After the runaway popularity of Kill la Kill, the studio’s first full-length original project, it is sort of a surprise to see them dabble in already established property that does seem to be of the same stock they are use to dealing with. Revisiting the series a year later with an official English release, does it manage to hold up?
Developed by LizArts – creator of Resette’s Prescription, Memory’s Dogma is science fiction visual novel that places in an alternative future of earth where humans have gained the knowledge to make the memories of the deceased digitized and interactive personalities. For Kusuhara Hiroki, the memories of his friend, Mizunashi Sorano is the only thing keeping him going. However, there does seem to be more than meets the eye between Sorano mysterious passing and the string of events to follow…
With visual novels (and eroge to an extent) continuing to grow in popularity in English speaking regions, it is something of a godsend that many foreign developers are finally recognizing the potential of such an untapped market and want to jump on the bandwagon. Alicesoft, a company that has long seemed out of reach is the latest to hop onboard with releasing Beat Blades Haruka, a simulation eroge. Of course, while its awe-inspiring that we are finally getting a product from Alicesoft…it is something of a weird selection from the possible alternatives. So is this selection worth adding to your collection?
The colors of the foliage changing, temperatures beginning to chill, and days getting slightly longer despite the rays of twilight being quickly swallowed by the night. Yes, it is certainly Autumn. With such a season being the harbinger of the holidays, it also means rest for many working and weary souls like myself. Of course, instead of enjoying the pleasure and bounty nature has to offer, I get to catch up on my hobbies work has been depriving me of – anime in particular. However, instead of catching up on the current lineup or revisiting past seasons, I will be going a little further back – think 1980’s up until the new millennium. It has always been a tradition of mine around this time (more like November really) every year to hit up the titles of yesteryear or classics as some would say. But what exactly defines or means for an anime to be classic?
Airing during the Fall 2013 season, Yu-sibu (or Yushibu) is one the titles that did manage to leave a lasting impression on my viewing list. Besides having an absurdly long name, it is also very similar to Spring’s 2013 The Devil Is a Part-timer, another fantasy/comedy themed work spawning from a light novel. Both being very different and unique in their own ways, Yushibu did manage to standout more for me even if I can’t necessarily deem it the better production, but do think of it being more of a guilty pleasure than anything else.
Developed by Complie Heart in collaboration with Sega, Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls is the latest spinoff in the HDN brand. And despite Neptune having top billing, IF takes the reins as protagonist alongside newcomer Segami for yet another time traveling misadventure. So how does it measure up?
Developed by Spike Chunsoft, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics is a forced side-scrolling rougelike RPG that is actually a re-imaging of the indie PC game One Way Heroics. With the original developer Smoking Wolf giving their blessings to Spike Chunsoft, this version is chock full of new classes, bosses, and a few changes while still retaining the same old gameplay that made its counterpart so engaging, only being marred with what the Mystery Chronicle brand can bring to the table. So does this entry in the series manage to elevate it to greater heights?