Manga Series Review: Olympos *Spoilers Within*

OLYMPOSOlympos is a manga by Aki, which has two volumes or one omnibus that makes up the entire series. It’s an alternative look on Greek mythology, with the story based on the sun god, Apollo. Throughout the story Apollo is always learning things about himself and the world around him, but still seems to think that he himself is all knowing. While there is one central story line, one in which Ganymede, the prince of Troy, is abducted by Apollo, there are added stories in which others are introduced into the story, such as Poseidon and Heinz, but have little to no impact to the story line itself. They seem to be more or less added filler.

The first thing that I found about the manga was that the bubbles were sometimes hard to follow. This, to some, may just be user error; but with my many years of experience reading manga I found it irritating that I would have to read and reread passages to get the sequencing right because the speech bubbles were in a peculiar arrangement. A reader shouldn’t have to second guess themselves to whether they are reading their novel the right way or not.

The second thing that was irritating was the way characters who would have a somewhat large impact onto the story were introduced, but then dropped after the episode was done. Heinz and Artemis are the main characters that have a brief appearance, and then disappear. Why introduce these characters if you don’t plan on using them within your story? Yes, the episode with Artemis allows Apollo to learn something about himself (and was one of my favorite episodes within the whole story), but the story would have had the same impact whether it was included or not.

And speaking of emotional impact, this story has little to none. With how Ganymede felt about Apollo and the other gods, once he found a glimmer of hope, I felt it too. A way out. A way to try actually live his life instead of being the plaything of bored gods. But when the end of the story came, there was nothing. He decides to stay in the garden to witness the end of that world, but this just won’t happen (due to reasons that I will leave out in case some wish to read the story). I was upset with the overall story line. There was no point. Why tell this story? Why end it here? Why not just continue on to explain the end of the garden and have a concrete ending? The story left its audience hanging; and that is, in my opinion, the biggest of let downs that a story, whether it be a manga, anime, or whatever, can have.

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Left: Zeus Right: Hades

Despite all the negative things, the story did have its moments. Like whenever Apollo is talking to Poseidon, and the episode when Apollo becomes close to a mortal girl offered to him as a sacrifice. They are moments that make reading the story almost worth while. And aside from that the art style was beautiful, and the dialogue between characters believable and eloquent (especially with Hades). The alternative on the traditional Greek mythology was also very refreshing.  I recommend that you borrow this one from the library or a friend if you plan on reading it, as the story was definitely not worth the almost $20 you would have to pay to buy it.

-Update on Bobo-

While I know it’s been a long while since I last posted anything, it should be said  that my old computer had died. The screen blacked out, and I barely was able to get all of my software and files onto my new computer. My husband and I are all moved into our new apartment, and I’ve actually had time to read and now post. Blog entries probably won’t be daily like they used to be, but somewhat regular at least.

 

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Series Review: Ai Yori Aoshi +(Enishi)

While this is an older series, I couldn’t help but watch it anyway. Ai Yori Aoshi, or True Blue Love when translated into English, is about Aoi Sakuraba, a traditionally raised Japanese girl who goes off in search of her betrothed. She happens to cross paths with a kind stranger while on her search who coincidentally is Kaoru Hanabishi, the man to whom she was suppose to marry. While it was an arranged marriage from when they were children, Aoi was still in love with Kaoru. Kaoru also begins to find himself remembering the past, and their flame was rekindled.

tina-foster1While that was just the first episode, the rest of the series follows the relationship and it’s growth, but it wouldn’t be very interesting if there wasn’t any drama. They introduce a gaggle of new characters throughout the series, and it soon becomes the stereotypical anime where there is a bunch of crazy girls trying to get with this one geeky college kid. Also in stereotypical anime fashion, there is fan service. Lots and lots of fan service. So much so, that there is at least one panty shot, girl in cosplay, or erotic boob shot every ten minutes or so. That’s at least twice an episode.

The series is on the shorter side, being that there are only two seasons 24 episodes each. It doesn’t surprise me, though. It had deep character story lines for everyone, even the side characters, and the potential to become something truly interesting and memorable. It really did, but the series just fell flat. It was mostly fan service and girls trying to snatch up Kaoru every chance they got, and the deep character issues, such as Kaoru’s issues with his family, what would happen with the Sakuraba group if Aoi stayed with Kaoru, and the hardships of Kaoru gaining acceptance of Aoi’s family (Especially her father), went unresolved and unexplored. I was really disappointed. I was also disappointed that season two started some years later, and that it felt like we missed out on a large portion of the story line. They could at least had given us a brief recap of what had happened  in that time.

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I also had a problem with the animation. While I know that this is an older series and that anime of the mid 200o’s weren’t the greatest, but I was urked that they used the same sequences over and over throughout the series. Whenever explaining Kaoru’s past, for example, they use the same sequence over and over of his grandfather. There was no attempt at giving his shocking past a new look for the viewers who already know what had happened to him. That’s just laziness on the animator’s part.

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And while I’m ranting, there was one other thing that bothered me, and that was Aoi. As the heroine of the story, she doesn’t have any outstanding qualities other than being the perfect traditional Japanese housewife. She’s quiet, cries a lot, and, this may just be me, a bit of a closet perv. She cries literally every episode over the tiniest of things. Once I think she started crying because Kaoru kissed her and said he loved her, which wasn’t anything new at that point. Continuing on with the closest perv thing. I really think she is. Who honestly offers to wash the back of the guy she hasn’t seen in over 18 years? Who in there right mind thinks it’s okay to snuggle naked together after only one night of your reunion? I certainly wouldn’t. That’s crazy. She didn’t know if he was romantically involved with someone or if he was even interested in her. Hell at that point, Kaoru could have been some kind of psychopath and could have  ‘took advantage’ of her and she wouldn’t have even known until it was too late. To top it all off, after one whole season she still couldn’t announce to the crazy ladies that live with them that she even loves Kaoru, despite the fact that she openly considers him to be her fiance.  Long story short, I’m not a fan of Aoi. She’s kind of an emotional idiot.

I’m not going to lie, the series as a whole was disappointing. I only watched the entire thing because I own and read the manga (Which was a lot better, by the way. A definite read for those who like a good romantic comedy). If you don’t have anything better to watch on your Hulu+ or whatever, then maybe, but it’s nothing memorable.

App Review: Year Walk

Screen-Shot-2012-09-04-at-8.47.22-AMYear Walk is an app from the company Simogo that centers around the mysterious and danger filled journey called a year walk. A year walk is essentially a journey taken during a special day that lasts a full year. The year walker is only allowed to walk about at night, and then cannot have any interaction with their fellow man. There are other stipulations, but these are the main two. While on this journey, the walker will face mental and physical danger from the great spirits and mythical beings. Why go through all of this? Well, to see the future, of course!

The tales are all Swedish, and the game app has a companion app called, “Year Walk Companion” that explains the symbols and tales within the game. All the tales are rather disturbing, and make the eerie gameplay that much more frightening.

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The gameplay itself was kind of confusing at first, but the intro into the game allows the player to get the hang of the set up rather quickly. The graphics, music, and sound effects are fantastic. The music is eerie without making the game feel too creepy, and the sound effects, such as the crunching of the snow and clicking of the ‘mystery box’, are done very well. The game from a distance is pretty great.

But then there was actually trying to play the game. I would get so far, and then it would boot me off. Yes, it would start you off at the last location you were at, but the more I played the more I was booted. I had would explore for maybe five to ten minutes, and then it the screen would go black (Freaking me out, by the way) just to boot me off. Now I’m not sure why this is, maybe a glitch in the software or the fact that I’m playing on a Gen. 3 iPod touch, but it got to a point where I just had to quit and delete the game. I tried reinstalling it and starting over, but my problem continued.

year-walk-screenshot-610x393The app itself is well put together with  rich yet disturbing Swedish folklore that seems to be well researched and represented well within the game and in its companion app… if you actually get that far. Maybe it’s just that I’m using older hardware, but the game didn’t work well for me. I was constantly being booted, and it ruined it for me. So if you have an iPad or a newer version of the iPod touch, I would recommend taking a look at this. Again, I’m not sure the price, as this app was also ‘gifted’ to me, but if it’s a paid app I wouldn’t risk it. Why pay for something you’re not sure is going to even work? I’d wait for it to update before looking into it.

App Review: Hacky Cat

Now I love, love, love finding weird games on from the App Store for my iPod Touch, and this game is a gem. Hacky Cat is a simple game by Ken Wong where you literally play hacky sack with cats. It’s cute, it’s clever, and it’s addicting! At first I thought that the game would get repetitive, and I would soon get bored with it. You can only tap a cat and collect cheeseburgers for so long. But I was pleasantly surprised when I wanted to play more and more!

As you play you can unlock cats. Each cute and quirky in their own special way. Some cats, like Mustachio, allow you to get bonuses when you play with them. You also unlock special power ups and level up characters to help advance your game play.

In game play of 'Hackey Cat'

In game play of ‘Hacky Cat’

I just can’t get enough of this game, and can’t wait to unlock all of the goodies and kitties to kick around. I’m not exactly sure how much the game costs, if it costs anything at all, as it was ‘gifted’ to me; but I would recommend that everyone play it. There’s nothing better than getting weird looks from those around you when they hear the cries of cats being kicked.

A Series in Review: Shugo Chara

20091223-Manga Shugo Chara- Encore- copia

I had done a post about this series earlier about how it had been effecting me on a sub conscience. I had been watching it that much, and that it was just so good. With all my constant watching, I had finally finished the series.

~Warning Spoilers ahead~


The first two season, simply called Shugo Chara, were great. They reminded me something of Sailormoon, being that it focused on a  young girl who obtains magical powers and uses them to promote justice and peace. The story’s main character is Hinamori Amu, a girl who puts on a “Cool & Spicy” outer character to protect herself, one day transfers to Seiyo Academy where she soon becomes a the Joker in the school’s group that protects and takes care of the school called the Guardians.

The show’s main theme is of a deck of cards. The Guardian positions are the Ace, Jack, Queen, King, and Joker; and Amu’s guardian characters design themes are the different suites (Heart, Spade, Clover, and Diamond).

The first season was pretty good, with most of it introducing the characters and explaining the powers of a Character Bearer and Guardian. The Second season was where things got fantastical. With old enemies becoming allies, and feelings becoming clearer among characters. Unfortunately, the guardians lost Nadeshiko, the Guardian’s Queen position. The show doesn’t become repetitive, either. With the new season comes new enemies. With the graduation the previous Jack and the Queen leaving for Europe, replacements had been made. With a fresh new look, new characters, and new enemies; the series never seems to get old. Season two was phenomenal.

preview4Season three, called Shugo Chara: Doki!, was the climax of the entire series. Again, old enemies became new friends, and we introduce new characters and get old characters back (Hello new Nagahiko!). They introduce a new enemy, Lulu with her guardian character Nana, who can create ?-eggs. Alas, another refreshing change that makes the series seem less repetitive. Halfway through the season, though, Lulu learns the error of her ways and moves back to France.

During the entire series, Tsukiyomi Ikuto has been a misunderstood ‘villain’ who has been at the beck and call of the evil company ‘Easter.’ His reasoning and intentions toward his love interest, Amu, and his family and friends have always been good; but he finds that the best way to protect them is through distancing himself from them. It’s only in the final episodes of the third season that we see his reasoning, and learn about Ikuto’s mysterious past.

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1044033_601x401There is a fourth season, but it’s more a variety show take on the characters in the show rather than an anime. They do feature a continuation of the show, but it’s rather uninteresting. Amu and the rest of the Guardians are more side characters, with the Guardian’s in Training being the main focus. I only watched the first handful of the fourth season and got bored. The series was so good that I couldn’t get enough, and then it somehow was degraded to variety show status. I was and still am severely disappointed.

All in all, the series was fantastic! I love, love, loved it; and would give it a 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who likes the magical girl kind of series.

A Musical Discovery Has Been Made: Mother Mother

I was on my home from my parent’s house, and I was listening to my favorite radio station, Moore Rock Radio 91.5 (It’s the college radio station, for those of you who are not from the area), when this catchy song started playing. I hadn’t heard the song before, but I couldn’t help but attempt to sing along. It was really good! So, using my trusted Sound Hound app, I figured out that it was a band called, Mother Mother. I had never heard of them before, but this station was all about Indie and Alternative rock so it didn’t surprise me.

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Anyway, I did some looking around on iTunes and the internet, and found that they had a lot of songs that I had heard before, mostly through my college radio, and were really good. It really reminded me of The Features when they first started. A distinct vocal sound different from every other band, and a sound that was similar to The Features but completely their own as well. Unique. Their song lyrics were catchy and meaningful as well, something that rarely happens in any genre of music. I ended up buying almost an albums worth of music spanning their 3 different albums that they have out before I remembered that I should stop. I needed to be able to put gas in my car! Teehee.

So I have a new band that I can’t get enough of, and would recommend them to anyone who liked the early works of The Features (when they weren’t mainstream, and slightly suckish [don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love them; but they seriously dropped the ball. Their early works were much, much better]) or just wants something new and interesting. Here are some helpful links if you’re interested in checking them out, and below is the official music video for their song, “Let’s Fall In Love”. It’s the one that got me hooked~

Mother Mother Band Homepage

 Mother Mother Blog