The first track, "Old Snake," with its melodic undertones paint an almost picturesque chronicle, if you will, of Snake's long journey and his eminent future. "Love Theme" has been featured in many of the MGS4 trailers played countless times. Hideo's lyrics are exceptionally beautiful. Subdued, yet bold, depicting a tragic life of war. Nostalgia and tears will surely follow, at least that was the case for me, when I first experienced "Metal Gear Saga" (and that's saying a lot coming from a girl who can count the number of times she's actually cried). Gorgeously arranged, the perfect saga song simultaneously honoring the old and triumphs, bringing closure, yet paving the way for something new. Other noteworthy tracks include "Father & Son," "Sorrow," "Screaming Mantis," and oh, who am I kidding, all the songs are great.
While there may not be one obvious main theme song, it looks like there's a collection of them instead. But there is one cool track entitled "Guns of the Patriots." The tracks are mixed with different sounds, plateaus, and peaks, yet they share interconnecting themes. There is no questioning that this is a MGS soundtrack. The perfect MGS4 soundtrack to what may be the best metal gear game ever.
Highly skilled former FOXHOUND agent Solid Snake is called out of retirement to do what he does best–neutralize a crisis of epic proportions. A deadly team of renegade FOXHOUND operatives has taken over the nuclear disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island in the icy Aleutians. If their demands aren’t met, a powerful, top-secret weapon will be unleashed upon the world.
Solid Snake’s mission is to breach the heavily fortified base to rescue hostages and to destroy the superweapon. His only obstacles are brainwashed commandos, DNA-enhanced troops, and six first-rate killers with extraordinary abilities. All alone in hostile territory, armed with nothing but his wits, Snake has only a snowball’s chance in hell of taking out his target and keeping nuclear nightfall from descending on the earth.
But nothing is as it seems. Somebody is hiding something. Somebody has a hidden agenda. And somebody wants Snake to learn secrets about his dark past–secrets that would shake any man to his core.
I am a good ways through the book and I tell you, if this isn't the final straw to add on to my impatience for that long awaited date, I don't know what is. If you're searching for nostalgia via MGS or a means to get you even more geared up for MGS4, you'll want to grab this book. Beautifully and intricately detailed, and nicely paced.
Sure, this isn't Kojima's first special appearance outside of Japan. But I've never been able to be at the right place at the right time. Mind you, this is no different - I will be nowhere near Paris at this time. But our very own new contributor, Reza, has the privilege of being in the neighborhood where this unprecedented event is taking place, so close to the MGS4 worldwide release. So be sure to check out his coverage as it happens! As it turns out, 3 years ago on a cold day after the release of MGS3 in Europe, Kojima made an appearance FNAC Paris St-Lazarre, but left a hundreds of people outside (including Reza) in the cold, waiting for hours, and leaving with nothing. Kojima later promised he would be back in France soon publicly apologizing on Game One channel. After 3 years, Kojima stands true to his word. It's round 2, Reza! Now once again, please excuse me, it's time for this girl to get her blood pressure at a manageable level. [Source: JeuxVideo]
As for myself, I spent my last day test driving my almost complete "Vampire Knight" Yuki Cross costume. Yay! I was actually having a tough time deciding what to cosplay next, that is, until I got hooked on "Vampire Knight." Eight episodes in and it is gaining enormous steam. I also can't wait for the fifth volume of the manga. It seemed appropriate enough for me to dress up as Yuki. Can't wait for the next con!
Visit www.us.embjapan.go.jp/jicc for more information. This event is free and open to the public. But be sure to send your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the synopsis below:
2067: Isolation - Japan seals herself off from the eyes of the world in the face of unilateral international policy setting strict limits on the use of robotic technology. The island nation exists only behind a veil of seclusion. No soul shall enter. No soul shall leave.
2077: Revelation - The veil is breached. Japan is infiltrated by agents of the organization S.W.O.R.D., a fighting force operating outside of the protection of the United States and her allies. Their mission: Determine if the Japanese are developing banned robotic bio-technology, forbidden due to its threat to humankind.
In the battle between machine and man, humanity stands to suffer most.
I'll have to admit, I wasn't planning on covering this event on my blog, largely because I've already reviewed both "Death Note" movies. But the turn of events was just too infuriating not to note.
Though a part of me knew what to expect, I was hoping for a miracle. But alas, no "light" came. My biggest concern was, of course, the language track. To my dismay, however, it was English dubbed. Strike one. I say again, the live action movie does an exceptional job with casting, but with the English language track, it turned serious scenes into laughable ones. It's no wonder the crowd chuckled at the most inappropriate times, making it obvious I was the only one who had seen this movie. But since I made the trip here, I vowed to stick it through. My biggest motivation was the big theater screen.
The movie is very headline-driven. Makes sense, since Light's main source of information is through the news and of course, Kira's activities will spark some newspaper coverage. What doesn't make sense is the absolute lack of subtitles. Strike two. You have moments where the screen flashes one headline after another for a good minute, and not one subtitle accompanied it. With my mediocre Japanese reading skills, I could barely make out a few words here and there. So I don't think anyone else faired any better.
Though this is through no fault of Viz or "Death Note," my third strike would have to go to the audience, more so, to the one person in the back that took laughing at the wrong time to extreme levels and who thought it appropriate to "awwwwwwwww" after every scene. I felt like I was at an anime convention with only the novice present. But I guess my fellow long time fans, probably already saw the movies a while ago as well. I usually love watching anime with an anime-loving crowd, but I guess that just wasn't the night. Despite all these hurdles, the night didn't feel like a complete waste, but it did make me want to hurry home and watch "Death Note" in its perfect original version. I'm just sorry for anyone in the audience that may have been turned off from the movie because of all these extenuating circumstances beyond our control. Ii is a great movie definitely worth watching, especially for any "Death Note" manga and/or anime fan. And lastly, I leave you with one last question, the real strike three in my count, why on earth did the ending theme have to be replaced with "Dani California???"
There's not much more I can say without revealing the interconnectivity and logic behind it all. To say the least, "Mizu no Kotoba" is a unique, fresh take on the philosophy of language. I always enjoy the implementation of subdued, monotoned animation within the overal plot, and this was no exception. Sound quality and animation superbly complements the story and underlying motive. I'm glad I caught it when I did...well, better late than never.
25. Garland (FF)
24. Ultros (FFVI)
23. Selphie Tilmitt (FFVIII)
22. Wakka (FFX)
21. Cid Highwind (FFVII)
20. Reno (FFVII)
19. Jecht (FFX)
18. Adelbert Steiner (FFIX)
17. Delita Hyral (FF Tactics)
16. Laguna Loire (FFVIII)
15. Rydia (FFIV)
14. Celes Chere (FFVI)
13. Tifa Lockhart (FFVII)
12. Setzer Gabbiani (FFVI)
11. Faris Scherwiz (FFV)
10. Yuna (FFX-2)
9. Balthier (FFXII)
8. Lulu (FFX)
7. Aerith Gainsborough (FFVII)
6. Kefka Palazzo (FFVI)
4. Kain Highwind (FFIV)
3. Cloud (FFVII)
2. Vivi Orunitia-Black Mage (FFIX)
1. Sephiroth (FFVII)
First off, there's no questioning that this is a "Silent Hill" game - thick fog, eerie music, intense atmosphere, and deranged beasts. The producers make clear that the game will "represent an evolution of the series and not a revolution." Not much was revealed so as to keep the plot scary and surprising. As far as improvements go, one noteworthy element is the ability block and counterattack.
According to Gamestop's coverage, you play a man named Shepherd, who has just returned to his sleepy little town from war to discover that everything is covered in fog. His brothers are missing, and his haunted mother seems to be speaking from someplace far, far away, even though she sits right next to him, rocking in her chair, loaded revolver resting in her lap. "You've been gone so long," she says. You promise to find your brothers, but she doesn't seem to hear you. She is lost in the fog, and she's right in front of you. Does that make you lost, too?
Welcome back to Silent Hill...
The opening sequence gives you a hint of the slew of playable characters available, including the givens like Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, and Yamcha; and other well-known characters such as Cell, Raditz, Frieza, the Androids, the Ginyu Force, Tien, and more. Attacks and movement are fairly basic with simple attacks and counters and strategic super attacks. What makes "Burst Limit" interesting is how players have a choice to combine gameplay in a pre-set storyline. You'll be able to recount some memorable moments from the DBZ anime/manga. So for players who might want to follow a story thread rather than beating random characters with energy blasts for no real reason, you have an alternative option.
The animation is very fitting to the anime story outline. As IGN sums up:
It's a nice little nod to the parallax scrolling backgrounds in 2D fighters, and when combined with things like some solid cel-shading and a nice hint of motion blur whenever the fighters make quick dashes or special moves, the game leans more toward the animations which inspired it. The little cutscenes that play out during super moves complete with screen-slicing close-ups only furthers the feeling of playing an interactive episode of the show.
Additional features include the ability to create custom virtual musicians, virtual guitars and virtual drums. As for the licensed stock tracks, tunes from Van Halen, The Eagles, Linkin Park and Sublime are said to appear. Check out more early details at NeoGAF.
Hideo Kojima was on hand to talk about the game. The game was difficult to make and took a long time to finish. Some challenges presented included the PS3 hardware, HD game, the worldwide release, and the fact that this was the last game in the series. "I thought about giving up," says Kojima. "But I had to finish it for the fans.", Kojima also played some MGS4 for about forty minutes [Source: Kotaku].
The dirt? Well, the game will go on sale as scheduled and will be accompanied by big advertising campaigns and tie-ups. There is also word on customizable weapons and Octocamo, and an in-game store to purchase guns. And remember that "Assassin's Creed" April Fool's joke? Well, players will be able to dress Snake up in his very own Altair outfit. I kid you not.
And now for some videos...
The theatrical trailer is beautifully done, very official feeling. The fittingly nice blend of cutscenes and gameplay does a great job of inticing every gamer out there.
The ad for Regain energy drink, which goes on sale in Japan starting June 10th, shows Old Snake drinking the energy drink and becoming young and revitalized. Other ads include a cat and another with a cellphone.
And, as for the opening sequence of MGS4, what else can I say, except perfection. With less than a month to go, anticipation is at an all time high.
Lastly, Game Videos has posted the first 10 minutes of MGS4 gameplay. Very, very tempting - I can't stress enough. I myself have not hit the "play" button, but if you feel so inclined to do so, I leave the decision up to you.
"Vampire Knight" is by far the best series in the entire Spring 2008 anime line-up to date...no contest. It is the first new title that has me itching to see what's next. It is taking all of my control to avoid going on a spoiler frenzy. Whether or not you've read the manga, you will be pleased. But for those who have read the manga, the anime does a faithful job to its original source. As I was trying to decipher what it was about "Vampire Knight" that got me hooked beyond reproach, the best I could do was realize the similarities it shares with "Fruits Basket." Nevertheless, no comparison is needed. Animation, OP/ED songs, and voice characterizations all get passing grades. But it's the story and characters that pushes "Vampire Knight" ahead in the race. What's more, it is perfectly paced. Five episodes in, and we've already gotten through several climaxes to reach an already complex and substantial plot.
On a related note, Amano has committed to directing the anime version based upon this art book as well.
As discussed in my previous post, Yoshitaka Amano is one of
"Coffin" is colossal in both its contents and physical feature. At a whopping 15.2 x 12.2 x 0.9 inches, this art book is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes I forget just how huge this book is, put it this way -- it's not gonna fit in your standard bookcase. Its size is perfect to house these 113 black and white illustration and 72 titanic color images. The pieces include rare paintings and illustrations that served as inspiration for the two theatrical films as well as limited edition prints.
Also featured in "Coffin" is an original "Vampire Hunter D" short story created by Kikuchi, not available anywhere else. This is truly a must for any Vampire Hunter D fan, Amano fan, or art fan.
Over the past few days, these one-of-a-kind filmstrips have made it on Yahoo! Japan Auctions, and the most highly desirable characters and scenes have been serving up quite a few deals [Source: Japanator]. Just check out some of these prices:
Tipsy Misato ~$40
Misato in the tub ~$600
Side profile of Rei ~$200
Rei in the moonlight ~$500
Nude Kaworu ~ $350
Rare Smiling Rei ~ $2,000!!
I myself have a fairly nice filmstrip with several characters sharing the same frame including Ritsuko Akagi and Misato Katsuragi surrounded by Maya Ibuki, Makoto Hyuga, and Shigeru Aoba, et al. on computers. Though it's no Rei, or my favorite Unit going berserk, it makes as a nice addition to my overflowing EVA collection.
Kazuki Sakuraba puts a nice modern twist on Holmes and Watson--pairing two polar opposites together, Victorique and Kazuya. The novel starts out great. Readers get a feel for character personalities and how they interact with one another. But just as things get intriguing, that's when things start to lose some steam. In fact, the middle chunk of the novel, which is actually when the mystery behind the Queen Berry is examined, falls short, extremely short. After pages and pages of what felt like a ghost shipwreck story we've all already heard before, there was little motivation to continue reading. That alone is unfortunate because as strong as the novel started, it ends at an even stronger level. The last 25 percent of the novel does an excellent job at recaping, and paving the way for the next volume, and brings about a very interesting plot line. It makes you rethink that initial notion of chucking this title aside. For those interested, Volume 2 of "Gosick" is due out this October.
Two episodes in and I'm not quite sure what to think. I was expecting a cool and crisp detective/mystery story (maybe a little like "City Hunter" meets "Speed Grapher," but got a quirky take instead. Characterization follows the basic template -- the lazy and care-free boss, the all-around good brother, the timid smart girl, the loud and obnoxious girl, the gay friend, and the mysterious woman.
Animation isn't totally revolutionary or fresh or even without flaws, as one might expect from the stunning stills. The soundtrack is above average, barely noticeable and forgettable. The OP and ED songs are nice standalone pieces, however they feel just a bit disjointed from the actual anime.
But rather than get too far ahead of myself, "Crystal Blaze" may turn out to be a worthwhile light detective story. I'm hoping that character and plot development will over turn all its other mediocrities.
No doubt this would be no small feat, but given Square Enix's track record so far and the unrelenting demand, a remake is not so farfetched. One can dream, no? In Kitase's own words:
My feelings are that if a remake were to work well then all the core members of the original team must be reassembled, all the artists and designers.
The problem is that, although all of us have an idea of what a remake should be and how to do it, organizing such a thing right now is logistically very difficult. All the different members are now involved in very new, very large projects like Final Fantasy XIII and those projects are going to take a while.
Maybe, when all those games are finished then we can look at doing something like that.
Of course, that said we came up with the idea for Crisis Core in just two days. It was a case of 'this is what we want to do, so let's do it'. So, you can definitely expect the probability of something spontaneous happening at some point, but it's hard to predict.
For clarification, "You are (not) Alone" is by no means a simple re-cut or remake. This is not your "Death and Rebirth" movie. And after watching the movie, that fact is made all the more clear. Rather than stringing a bunch of episodes together to create a sort of anime marathon, we get a "new" movie experience. Though the movie covers episodes 1 through 6, subtle changes, reordering, additional new scenes, detail revamping, and a much more different pace create an awesome new take on the "Evangelion" franchise we know all too well. Shiro Sagisu once again lends to the Eva soundtrack. The soundtrack is not at all the same, but strikingly similar at the same time. I'm still on the fence on how I feel about it. Nevertheless, and without giving too much away, the ending product is phenomenal and quite unbelievable -- definitely highly commendable.
Every element in "You Are (not) Alone" is precision to the tenth power. Sound quality is stunning and the detail work is extremely eye opening. Tokyo-3 looks so realistic, as does the rest of the environment. Computer interfaces and mechanics has also gotten a face lift, and I'm sure any fan would be pleased with it. Most noteworthy is the penultimate battle against Ramiel. The folks at Gainax have given Ramiel more agility with its shape-shifting ability, making the fight all the more intense. Seele also seems to grab an earlier role than its series predecessor. The ending is spectacular, one of the few instances where a completely new scene sequence is presented. This is also the point where any skepticism of a "simple remake" are discarded. Take my word for it: you'll be floored when you see the ending.
Among all the jewels out there, I was fortunate enough, though I can't say the same about my wallet, to catch a glimpse on a few rarities of the industry -- past the hentai and in the back and scattered among several anime shops.
The first piece that caught my immediate attention would have to be the colossal Evangelion Unit-01 statue sitting abreast on the impaled Lilith. This figure is quite impressive and would have any Eva fan drooling. Unfortunately for us, it wasn't for sale.
But hidden behind Eva Unit-01, standing ever so discreet, stood the statue that would be my piece de resistance -- a pre-painted, extremely detailed and accurate, rare and stunning Kotobukiya "Vampire Hunter D" figure. This was the piece I absolutely had to take home!!! A photo does no justice whatsover, but I can't very well invite you all to my room (^_^). This statue truly captures the solemn essence that is D.
And how about some gorgeous "Princess Mononoke" figures and a small dash of "Blood: The Last Vampire's" very own Saya to end this entry.