Showing posts with label Valkyria Chronicles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valkyria Chronicles. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Valkyria Chronicles - Final Thoughts

Here is my second end-of-series final-thoughts for the summer 2009 season, and this time it's for Valkyria Chronicles. Unlike my last final thought post for Umi Monogatari, I'm just going to write this in point form to save time. I think I spend more time ordering up my points and writing up transitions than coming up with the points.

Warning: post contains major spoilers to the series.


Yeah lets run in the open in a close formation so that enemy can mow us down with one machinegun burst. Wait, that could never happen hahahaha.

- The military tactics and action in Valkyria Chronicles is hilariously bad, and this is compounded by the fact that Valkyria Chronicles (the game) is supposed to be a "tactical" RPG. Most of the battles involve attacking the enemy's strongest defensive position from one direction, and funny enough that works some of the time depending on who's doing the attacking. It always work for Squad 7, and rarely works for anyone else. Our protagonist Welkin, being slightly smarter than the rest of the soldiers, incorporates two direction attacks some of the time, and that always works. Lack of military tactics aside, what's even worse was the soldiering practices by both the Gallians and the Imperials. The Gallians, particularly those from Squad 7, have a tendency to stand out in the open. Thankfully for them, the Imperials are terrible shots, and thus they only hit the good guys by accident. The good guys also get injured when they accidentally shoot themselves like what happened to one of the Squad 7 members during the final episode. The bad military tactics and action was the defining feature of the show for me. It certainly made the show look bad, but at least it was in a funny way.



This was the idiot who wounded himself: he was hit by a ricochet while wasting bullet shooting at a steam pipe.

- Speaking of combat, the Valkyrur battles were lacking in the animation department (laggy slow-mo flips, I'm pretty sure it wasn't my computer that's lagging), but they were still better and made more sense than the regular military battles.

- Some of the characters in the show felt pointless, particularly that reporter girl and Maximillian's scheming brother, neither of which ended up doing anything that mattered.

- The pompous Gallian general deserved a much more painful death than being blown up by Selveria.

- Alicia was pretty awesome in the earlier parts of the series with her wide range of facial expressions, but she got handed a restraining order in the second half and all the funny faces were gone, and I find that disappointing.


This was the last time anyone thought of Faldio.

- LOL Faldio died at the end and nobody bothered to remember him. Nobody. That was both funny and sad at the same time. Maybe this is his punishment for trying to give Alicia a piece of rubble on several occasions.

- Whatever happened to the Edelweiss near the end of the show? It was introduced in the beginning as Supertank, but you don't even see it towards the end any more. I wanted to see the Edelweiss take on Maximillian's moving fortress so Isara can take part in the final battle in spirit if not in person. They just all forgot about the poor girl (Isara) near the end too. Heartless bastards.


Maximillian cannot withstand Alicia's awesome Valkyrur hotness.

- In the end, Maximillian actually turned out to be a dumber and more a$hole-ish version of Lelouch, which certainly explains the choice for the seiyu. Comparing him to Lelouch would dishonor to Lelouch, since Lelouch at least ruled the world briefly in Code Geass and was quite the lady's man, while Maximillian overloaded when a hot girl (Alicia) hugged him and was foiled time after time by a squad consisting of a dozen volunteers and one tank.


Because we all know kissing is more important than running for your lives.

- The final battle was overall a letdown. It was both cheesy and unimpressive. I wanted see either Alicia coming to Welkin's rescue and blasting the crap out of the moving fortress or have the Edelweiss take on the moving fortress in spirit of Isara. Unfortunately, what we got was Alicia getting kidnapped and Squad 7 coming to the rescue. The culminates into a final battle between Maximillian and Alicia+Welkin in which Alicia hugged Maximillian to death and afterwards Welkin and Alicia was kissing while the moving fortress was blowing up... right underneath their feet! Talk about cheesiness and the lack of a sense of urgency.


In conclusion, Valkyria Chronicles was the worst anime series I was watching in the past 13 weeks, but at least it was (unintentionally) funny some of the time and provided me plenty of material to write this post.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mid-season Anime Thoughts Summer 2009

We are half way through another season and it's time again for my mid-season short impressions post. I'm watching six shows this season, with two of the shows (FMA:Brotherhood and Valkyria Chronicles) being carry-overs from last season, and four new shows. Without further ado, here are the impressions:

Bakemonogatari


As lovely as Hitagi is, I'd rather not receive an eye exam from her.

Shaft and Shinbo (weirdness) to the max!!! Bakemonogatari is characterized by its crisp CG visuals, strange image stills, general Shaft weirdness, and abundant dialogue/expositions. The talking is usually interesting and can be witty/funny, but sometimes it's a bit too long, and it doesn't help that after watching anime for a year I still don't know a word of Japanese. Like many who watch the show, I think Hitagi is an awesome female lead. Her confession to Araragi in episode 5 was THE highlight thus far (the runner up being the mouth stapling). I'm all for Senjougahara Fascination, but on the other hand I kind of feel sorry for Araragi for having Hitagi as a girlfriend. She seems to be the type that can go psycho at any minute. I guess this is where Araragi's regeneration ability comes in handy.

The story has been okay thus far through two arcs. The current arc with the monkey-basketball girl looks promising, and I'm also looking forward to the arc that explains how Araragi became a (former) vampire.


CANAAN


Hot yuri action!

Probably the sleekest new show of the season, CANAAN features excellent action and production quality. On the downside, the story still has unclear direction; there are several characters hanging around but not doing much; and the protagonists can use a personality adjustment: Canaan is bland while Maria is a bit annoying. However, the downsides are offset by the huge yuri potential in this shown. It's clear that Canaan and Maria have a thing for each other, and Liang Qi reveres Alphard. We also know Canaan and Alphard have a history, and Alphard and Liang Qi both have a history with Maria. On top of that, Maria is also involved with Yunyun. Just imagine the possibilities! And yes, Liang Qi is very hilarious I mean awesome psycho. Joking aside, the story is starting to pick up with Alphard making her move, and hopefully this will lead to some answers to what the story is really about.


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood



Mustang is the embodiment of GAR.

What a difference one episode makes. Before episode 19, FMA:B was good but not too noteworthy. It was covering pretty much the same material as the old series and not necessarily doing it better (just faster). However, with episode 19 FMA:B is officially awesome. I'm a follower of the manga so I already knew what was coming, but the episode still blew me away. While the old series was perhaps better in the emotional department, I think the manga is definitely better in the action department, and this means there will be more awesome fights coming down the pipeline really soon. This could very well be THE show to watch in next while if it isn't already.

Umi Monogatari


We can always use more evil little girls.

It's been a while since I've watched a transforming magical girl anime. The last one I watched was probably the third Sailor Moon series, and that must have been 10 years ago. Anyways, Umi Monogatari started decently, became boring in around episode 3, but got interesting again in episode 7. Looks like magical girls Marin and Kanon will have to face off against Marin's little sister Urin, and sibling conflict can be quite entertaining. Overall, Umi Monogatari has been okay thus far, and I'll keep watching since it's too late to drop the show anyways.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni


Crazy faces.

I haven't watched the Higuarashi anime nor played the Higuarashi and Umineko visual novels. For this reason, the Umineko anime seems strange since it's the first series that I've watched that resets in the middle. Maybe it'll be better if I thought of the story as a game, which is what it is actually. At the beginning of the middle game, Umineko hasn't really impressed nor disappointed. There were some notable moments with the child abuse, crazy faces, and gruesome murders, but overall the first arc wasn't that interesting since everyone just died. I did say I was only watching for the gore, and the first arc did deliver in that department. Supposedly the story really starts in the middle game, so hopefully that'll deliver some interesting mental battles between Battler and Beatrice.

Valkyria Chronicles


Still failing combat school.

Last but not least, we have Valkyria Chronicles. The show has underwent a fair bit of plot developments in the last 12-13 episodes, with Rosie getting over her bigotry (meh) and Isara biting the dust (the imp should have shot Rosie instead, or maybe he was such a bad shot that he hit Isara unintentionally). We also have a love triangle between Welkin, Alicia, and Faldio, but that has gone anywhere despite both Alicia and Faldio declaring their intentions. Thanks to the spoilerific new OP, we already know who ends up with who anyways. The rather awkward atmosphere also meant that Alicia's awesome facial expressions have been toned down, which I find disappointing. The fighting in Valkyria Chronicles is still as laughable as ever. Since when can you take a sizable town guarded by a hostile military with one tank and a dozen soldiers and by going through the main road? Squad 7 doesn't look that impressive, but I suppose the imps are just beyond incompetent. This makes me look forward to when Alicia picks up the shield and lance and unleashes the power of her Valkyrian blood. Alicia battling Selvaria with giant beam shooting lances might be ridiculous, but at least it'll be more entertaining than the battles we've seen so far.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mid-season Anime Thoughts Spring 2009

It's time for another edition of my mid-season impressions on the anime series that I'm following. I'm following six shows this season, with five new series and one carry-over from Winter 2009 (Kurokami). Without further ado, here are my short impressions on the shows and with screenies this time. Note that these are just random thoughts that I grab off the top of my head, so don't look too deeply into them XD.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


Welcome back, Fullmetal Alchemist!

The 800lb gorilla known as FMA has reappeared on the anime stage amidst much fanfare and everything looks promising thus far. Production quality is high as expected for a premier series, and all the FMA characters we know and love are back. We are still in "rehash" territory after seven episodes, but Brotherhood is moving through the story a lot more quickly than the old anime. Other than the first anime-only episode to reintroduce all the characters, all the other episodes shown so far as been true to manga, and it's clear that Bones is sticking with the source material down to the point where the majority of comedic-SD-faces moments in the manga are translated straight into anime form. Compared to the old anime version, Brotherhood is definitely lighter in terms of the mood which is fine in most cases, but there are certainly scenes where the seriousness of the moment was interrupted by sudden appearance of SD faces. I know all the comedic moments are in the manga, but I guess I'm just too used to the old anime version.

Overall, the first seven episodes of FMA: Brotherhood have been good, but there is nothing that really impressed me... yet. If Bone is really staying true to the manga (and it appears they are), then the show is only going to get better. It might be a while though as the first really good part won't happen until Brotherhood completely departs from the storyline of the old anime (after Greed's story).


Hatsukoi Limited


Xmas in May? I'm all for it.

The series based on Mizuki Kawashita's short-lived manga is surprisingly good. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the intertwined short-stories format with a large cast, but it actually works out pretty well. The characters were distinct enough that I didn't have too much trouble distinguishing them or their relationships. I always liked Kawashita's character designs, and what's more the light comedy in Hatsukoi Limited is actually funny. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's enough for a grin every so often. The fanservice level is not excessive, but then again I am watching Queen's Blade at the same time so my fanservice sense may be a bit dull these days. I wasn't expecting much from Hatsukoi Limited, but it turned out to be pretty decent and hopefully it'll continue to be that fun little show to watch on the weekends.


Kurokami


Kurokami has reignited.

The first 13 episodes of Kurokami were at best mediocre. After a fairly impressive first episode, the quality of the fights went down and the protagonist Keita spend a good part of the first 13 episodes being an annoying emo. However, this all changed after episode 13 where the entire world within Kurokami was turned upside down. The main villain Reishin was sent away and Keita's former friend Kuraki took over briefly as the principle bad guy. Keita looks like he was going to die but thanks to some miracle he and Kuro become more powerful than ever and they defeat Kuraki. After that Reishin returns and everything is even more of a mess. Basically, it has been improbable development after improbable development; none of it makes any sense, but surprisingly all the improbable developments have breathed some new life into the series and it's actually more interesting to watch now. The show seems to hinting that Kuro may be some prophesied goddess of destruction and Reishin may be doing all of the bad things to prepare for Kuro's eventual awakening. Can't wait for more crazy plot twists.


Queen's Blade


If I didn't have an iron resolve, I'd have probably done this and dropped the show.

Probably the most infamous anime series of the season, Queen's Blade is a terrible show just as everyone expected. The first episode was shockingly horrible (and the main cause of the series' infamy); the second episode was surprisingly decent; and the rest were somewhere in between, but most of them are leaning towards the boring side. For a show that uses nudity as its selling point, Queen's Blade actually disappoints even in that aspect as there were certain episodes that had no real nudity and lacked in both the action and story department. The cast also can also use some improvements, and this holds true especially for the protagonist Reina, who is devoid of both combat skills and a personality. The only character that I actually like is Shizuka, who is at least funny some of the time. On the plus side, the animation quality is decent, and the girls are generally quite attractive, but that's not nearly enough to make up for all the other deficiencies. Queen's Blade is without a doubt the worst show I'm watching right now, but I'm going to keep watching until the bitter end since I made a promise and also Queen's Blade has the neat side effect of making all the other shows in my lineup look better :).


Sengoku Basara


One of the reasons why I watch Sengoku Basara.

A video-game adapatation featuring historical Japanese warlords fighting each other in an over-the-top fashion, Sengoku Basara is what I would characterize as mindless entertainment. Despite the historical setting, you don't actually need to know anything about Japanese history or remember any of the people's names to enjoy this show. I mostly watch the show for its beautifully animated action and for Kusuga's reactions when Kenshin touches her. Well actually these are probably the mains reasons why people watch this show, since (I hope) no one will mistake the show for a legitimate historic drama.


Valkyria Chronicles


Huh? You didn't know that I run the show?

Might as well rename this show "Alicia Chronicles" since Alicia and her wide-range of facial expressions are the real driving force behind the show. Alicia's (over)reaction to everything is very amusing, but I can't help but think that the production company spent too much time designing Alicia's experssions and not enough time planning out the battle scenes. For a series that's supposedly based on a "tactical" RPG, the battles and action in Valkyria Chronicle are far from tactically sound and it seems that everyone has failed to their basic military training. I'm not really expecting a lot of realism when it comes to the combat, but at the very least I'd expect that the soldier would know better than wasting their bullet by firing rifles and submachinguns at tanks. I could elaborate on how the military aspects of the show failed, but I'm too lazy so if you are interested in the discussion about everything that is wrong with Valkyria Chronicles' portrayal of military battles, just scoot over to the comments on this post from Sea Slugs!. On the plus side, Valkyria Chronicles has decent production quality and a likable cast of characters, especially Alicia and her cute piggy Hans. Valkyria Chronicles' would have been a good shows if the military aspects were half as good as Alicia's funny faces. Sadly that hasn't been the case, and therefore the show is merely okay thus far.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Valkyria Chronicles 01 - First Impressions

Another first impressions post for the Spring 2009 season, and this is time it's for Valkyria Chronicles, based off of the popular tactical RPG from Sega.


Fishing season is closed, and that includes the watching and sketching of rainbow trout.


Looks like she joined the wrong club.


Alicia showing off her broad range of facial expressions.

Basic premise:
The story of Valkyria Chronicles is set in the fictional land of Europa (based off 1930s Europe) where the powerful East European Imperial Alliance invades the small neutral country of Gallia in order to control the country's abundance of ragnite ore (which can be refined into fuel).

Brief summary:
As the citizens evacuate from the small border town Bruhl to escape the invading Imperial forces, town militia member Alicia discovers young man named Welkin studying fish at the river and is convinced that Welkin is an Imperial spy. Alicia locks Welkin up at militia headquarters but Welkin ends up escaping because he needs to see his sister. Alicia gives chase and on the way she and Welkin come under attack by the Empire's soldiers. Alicia follow Welkin back to his house and discovers that Welkin is actually the son of a famous Gallian general. As the Imperial forces surround the house, Alicia and Welkin meet up with Welkin's little sister Isara and it turns out Isara has a fully restored battle tank stored in the garage.


Standing out in the open is probably a bad idea during a gunfight.


Is this anyway to welcome your future sister-in-law?


Let's take this baby out for a spin!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I believe this is the first anime series I watched that was based off a role-playing game, and the debut turned out to be pretty decent. Alicia seems like a pretty capable female lead with a great range of facial expressions to boot, and Welkin will probably be fine as one of those easy-going male leads who knows when to get serious. I found Alicia's adamant belief of Welkin being a spy to quite funny and kind of realistic, because people tend to be on edge during times of war and therefore have issues with trust. On the flip side, it's also funny how the Bruhl militia didn't post someone to be on the lookout for Imperial soldiers since Alicia only bumped into them by accident. I guess we shouldn't expect too much from an undermanned town militia, and real action will start when Alicia and Welkin join the real military.

As for the other aspects, the episode has decent production quality and I liked the character designs. I did notice the funny pencil shading that everyone was talking about, but I didn't find the style to be too distracting (especially since I watch low quality versions where everything just blurs away). The OP and ED were okay, but neither of the songs really interested me.

I haven't played Valkyria Chronicles myself but it's pretty clear that the plot is referencing WWII, specifically Germany's invasion of Belgium and/or the Netherlands, and it'll be interesting to see if the plot actually follows the course of history to some extent. The game is supposed to be about tactics, and I wonder if the anime is going to import any such elements. I'm hoping for more focus towards action and character development than military tactics though.

The premiere of Valkyria Chronicles was good enough to make me stick around for one or two more episodes of further evaluation. I'll probably follow the series unless the next two episodes turn out to be terrible. With this series added to my line-up, I probably won't be checking out any other series besides Hatsukoi Limited. I think I already overloaded my lineup lol.