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My Top 10 Favourite Boku no Hero Academia Characters

Monday, June 17, 2019 / No Comments

 WARNING: ANIME AND MANGA SPOILERS AHEAD! 

Hello everyone! Since Studio Bones just blessed us with the season 4 trailer of Boku no Hero Academia, I’m going to talk about my top 10 favourite characters from the anime. Please remember that this is just my personal list of favourites, feel free to share/comment your own top 10!

 
10) Sero Hanta

Sero Hanta | Quirk: Tape

Sero is basically the Spider-Man of BNHA, since he can shoot tape out of his elbows. Although he’s only a supporting character, he has really grown on me, and is one of my favourite Class 1A students. As much as he loves goofing around with the rest of his classmates, Sero knows when to be serious and is fully capable of kicking ass. He is also a righteous man since he calls Mineta out for being perverted and wraps him in tape so he doesn’t lurk around the girls’ rooms. We stan.

Sero being a gentleman by restraining the resident pervert, Mineta Minoru
 


 9) Hawks


Hawks | Quirk: Fierce Wings

I actually stopped watching BNHA halfway through season 2, but then I saw some Hawks fanart and official art on my twitter and immediately fell in love with his character design, so I went back to finish watching the anime for him. Turns out he hasn’t even appeared yet so my feelings were cheated. It’s okay though because season 3 is my favourite season thus far and Hawks is definitely going to be in season 4, which is airing later this year! As the No. 2 Hero, Hawks is such a laid-back, fun-loving guy. He is so lovable that even the mighty Endeavor puts up with his shenanigans (lovingly).


8) Todoroki Shoto

Todoroki Shoto | Quirk: Half-Cold Half-Hot

Todoroki arguably has the best backstory in Class 1A. His strained relationship with his father and his struggle to realise that he is his own person who has the right to live his life by his own terms makes him one of the more interesting characters in the anime. He really reminds me of my favourite character from the American cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko (they both have burn scars on one side of their face and daddy issues). I also love watching his interactions with Midoriya as they both help each other to become better versions of themselves. Their battle at the UA Sports Festival was my favourite battle in the anime.


7) All Might (Yagi Toshinori)

All Might | Quirk: One for All

All Might, as the symbol of peace, truly encompasses everything that a hero ought to be. His presence alone brings hope, relief and reassurance to the victims in a villain attack, as well as the audience watching. His smile and confidence (be it real or a façade) whenever he is rescuing victims really shows that he is deserving of the No. 1 Hero spot, in terms of strength and attitude. He also really tries his best to be a good teacher to Class 1A, as much as he sucks at teaching. He genuinely cares for each and every one of the students, and I love how he calls all of them “shonen” because it’s such an endearing way of addressing the kids (and it’s such a Dad thing to do). Even in his weakened state after retiring, he continues to be loved and appreciated by society. He is such an important father-figure to Midoriya in his pursuit of becoming a Pro Hero, literally dedicating his life to raising him after his retirement. He really is a true hero in every sense of the word.
All Might bringing tears to my eyes because he wants to replace Midoriya's non-existent Dad


6) Shinso Hitoshi

Shinso Hitoshi | Quirk: Brainwash

Shinso has one of my favourite quirks in BNHA. With his voice-transforming mask, he poses a serious threat to villains, since they can no longer easily communicate verbally as it puts them at risk of being brainwashed. I love how the anime took the time to address people like him who drew the short end of the stick in the entrance exam, since it was against robots where he was unable to use his quirk, as mentioned by Aizawa at the UA Sports Festival. Aizawa’s quirk also cannot be used against robots, hence Shinso’s relationship with Aizawa is really compelling. Aizawa saw himself in Shinso and took up the responsibility of nurturing him into a hero just like himself. It reminds me of Midoriya and All Might, and it is very heartwarming to see Shinso grow and blossom under his mentorship. Did I also mention that Shinso is very attractive?


5) Kaminari Denki

Kaminari Denki | Quirk: Electrification

Kaminari is the comic relief character that we all need but don’t deserve. His derpy face after he short-circuits, his terrible flirting, and his silly pranks never fail to make everyone laugh. Yet, he is so much more than that. Yes, Kaminari is stupid (relatable), but there is no doubt that he tries his best in exams and in combat – he just gets anxious and panics very often (also relatable). He also clearly cares a lot for his friends, including the foul-mouthed Bakugo, who never fails to insult him at any given opportunity. Kaminari even defended Bakugo’s hard work in a fight against Shiketsu High School’s Shishikura.
 
Kaminari being a wonderful friend and classmate by defending Bakugo

Kaminari is undoubtedly one of the most relatable characters in the anime, winning over the hearts of countless fans. He is also adorable (a literal ray of sunshine) and reminds me of Pikachu – 10/10 would adopt.


4) Uraraka Ochako

Uraraka Ochako | Quirk: Zero Gravity

Finally, a female character! Uraraka is the cutest roundest ball of joy in the entire anime. I adore her so much; every single thing about her just oozes cuteness. She is such a cheerful girl who morally and emotionally supports all her classmates, especially Midoriya, and brings smiles to everyone’s faces. Her dreams of becoming a Pro Hero to financially support her family are so pure and innocent that we can’t help but root for her. For someone who is all sunshine and rainbows, Uraraka is a badass. She is always determined to give her all in combat, even if her opponent is scary and overpowered. Her battle against Bakugo in the UA Sports Festival really proved that she is far more than just a pretty face. After that battle, even Bakugo recognised and acknowledged her strength and perseverance. I do believe that Uraraka is the strongest character in Class 1A, emotionally and mentally speaking.
 
Uraraka refusing to give up against Bakugo


3) Kirishima Eijiro

Kirishima Eijiro | Quirk: Hardening

Kirishima is undisputedly the most unproblematic character in the anime. He just tries his best and loves manly things. It’s probably harder to find someone who doesn’t love Kirishima than someone who does. He is so friendly and good-natured that he’s even managed to become best friends with the hot-headed Bakugo. He is insecure about his quirk, but with consistent diligence in his training, he has managed to become an extremely noteworthy student in UA. Apart from being manly in his pursuit of becoming a hero, Kirishima is very sensitive to the feelings of his friends, and is always ready to lend a helping hand in times of crisis, no matter the circumstances. He is so secure and comfortable with his masculinity and his morals are so unshakable and honest that I believe he will most definitely become one of the best Pro Heroes in the future. This boy deserves all the love and support in the world!
 
Kirishima being manly by apologising to Asui and acknowledging her feelings




2) Bakugo Katsuki

Bakugo Katsuki | Quirk: Explosion

Bakugo is a particularly polarising character; people either hate him or love him. I happen to fall within the group that absolutely adores this rabid gremlin. Sure, he’s rude and loud and annoying and angry all the time, and everyone would hate him if he existed in real life, but this is a fictional world and people love over-exaggerated characters who act ridiculously over the top. One thing I love about Bakugo is that even though he is always ready to fight the first person who breathes in his direction, he is only outwardly impulsive – his attacks are all meticulously thought-out and he is exceptionally clear-minded despite frothing at the mouth out of sheer anger and frustration most of the time. In addition to being nimble and quick on his feet in combat, he has also been proven to be academically gifted, coming in 3rd for Midterms. Of course, his amazing results and fighting abilities are not only due to his talent – Bakugo works awfully hard to be the best in everything. It’s kind of ironic that he calls Midoriya a nerd for always writing stuff in his notebook when he himself studies like a madman (he even goes to bed at 8pm, what a nerd). That being said, Bakugo’s “arrogance” and brashness stems from his own insecurities and his deep-seated fear of not being the best in what he does. This is revealed when he calls Midoriya out one night for a fight, where he expresses his frustrations after being kidnapped and indirectly causing All Might’s retirement.
 
Bakugo revealing his insecurities and allowing himself to be vulnerable (we are proud of him)

This was my favourite episode in the entire anime, because it really made me feel for Bakugo. It must have been tough for him to open up about this as he has never been the type to talk about his feelings, probably because he thinks it makes him appear vulnerable and weak, which couldn’t be further from what he aspires to be. Bakugo’s character development is realistic and well-paced, and I can’t wait to see how else he will grow as a person and as a hero in future seasons.


1) Aizawa Shota

Aizawa Shota | Quirk: Erasure

Lastly, the character that I love most in the entire anime – Aizawa Shota. Although Aizawa looks like some grumpy, shabby guy who just wants to quickly finish his work and take a nap, he is probably the best, most selfless, and most protective teacher in UA. Aizawa doesn’t care about his image; he really only wants to be a hero to save people. That’s why he just went with whatever hero name Present Mic gave him, and only shaves and styles his hair when he appears on national television or meets his students’ parents. Nobody outside of UA even knows who he is, in spite of him being a remarkably proficient Pro Hero. As for the sleepy part, Aizawa works as a teacher during the day, and a Pro Hero at night; if I were him, I’d want to take a nap every chance I get too. Yet as busy as he gets, he never complains about being tired. He comes into class one day after nearly dying by the hands of Nomu in USJ, completely covered in bandages, simply saying that his welfare “is of no concern”.
 
Aizawa acting like he didn't almost die of a crushed skull just the day before

He cares deeply for his class, and devotes most of his time and energy into nurturing them, even if he appears annoyed by their antics from time to time. In the USJ arc, Aizawa threw himself at more than 10 villains in order to buy time, protect his class, and to offer them reassurance. Even on the brink of death, Aizawa erased Shigaraki’s quirk when he was about to disintegrate Asui’s head. He singlehandedly protected his students from the villains before the other teachers came, knowing that it would endanger his life. He also firmly believes in the potential and talent of each and every single student in Class 1A (yes, including Mineta). He used the Final Exam to boost Yaoyorozu’s confidence and make her realise that she is far more capable than she thinks she is, and confidently defended Bakugo’s “problematic” attitude at the UA Sports Festival, expressing complete faith in his ambitions of becoming the top hero.
 

Aizawa shutting down the press by speaking the gospel truth

He is stern and puts his class through strenuous training, only because he wants to push them to improve and become the best versions of themselves. Aizawa has a soft spot for kids – he took it upon himself to personally train Shinso to become a Pro Hero, promised Mirio that he would find a way to get his quirk back, and is literally Eri’s legal guardian. He even bought the ugliest set of cat-themed clothes for Eri to wear, unironically thinking it was cute.

Aizawa projecting his wildest fashion fantasies onto Eri

Aizawa also loves cats, which is so endearing and unexpected coming from a no-nonsense guy like him. He doesn’t seem like the type to want to get married, but he would most certainly be a great father (to both children and cats).
TL;DR: Aizawa loves his 23 children and will give his life for all of them. He looks grumpy but he’s really just tired.
 
And that's all from me! If you've read up to here, thank you for reading my very shamelessly self-indulgent post. Leave a comment!

Written by yin

Movie Review: Detective Pikachu

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Warning: spoilers ahead!



Sadly, the anticipated film Detective Pikachu fails to live up to expectations.

Needless to say, as a kids’ show, the plot of the movie isn’t exceptionally tight. Yet, the plot-holes are so glaringly obvious that it’s hard to just overlook them.

From a couple of teenagers just conveniently infiltrating high-security research plants and surviving, to Pikachu almost dying from getting hit by a mere rock but not by Mewtwo’s attacks, the movie sometimes comes across as illogical to the point of being laughable. Suspense regarding the protagonist’s missing dad is built up from the start of the movie, and just when the audience is anticipating a mind-blowing revelation by the end of the film, it lazily concocts a tale that is hardly believable (aka he was within Pikachu all along). Honestly, the whole conclusion just looked like it was setting itself up to feature an exclusive Ryan Reynolds cameo, who is of course the voice behind Pikachu.



In terms of characterisation, many characters seem to be inserted for a single purpose, only to disappear for the bulk of the film, then reappear at the end to tie up loose ends. The acting wasn’t particularly spectacular either, although I would say the main actor Justice Smith did a decent job.

Of course I have to admit; the animation is indeed stunning. If you have ever struggled to visualise Pokemon in real life, the film does a great job in illustrating 3D Pokemon. The collective “aww” in the cinema whenever Pikachu pouted or when the horde of Bulbasaurs appeared is a testament to how convincing and likeable the Pokemon were. The range of Pokemon showcased was not bad either, spanning across most, if not all of the seven generations Nintendo has released so far.



Yet, for a movie whose appeal lies mainly in its visuals, Detective Pikachu still manages to further disappoint.

Considering that Pokemon battles are the centrepiece of the Pokemon universe, the film hardly showcases the defining factor of the franchise. Rather than immersing the audience in the canonical world of Pokemon, Pokemon are haphazardly shoved into our existing one (more specifically, the typical American society).

The only Pokemon battles for leisure that were shown were in a shady arena where two Pokemon were pit against each other, not under the instruction of their respective trainers but left to their own discretion. It was not unlike illegal animal duels in real life, and seemed to me a bastardised version of the healthy spirit of competition and sportsmanship that the Pokemon series seeks to espouse.





To compound matters, the film’s disregard for OG Pokemon fans is blatant. I watched the movie with two of my friends, all of us avid fans of the franchise since our primary school days. We came out rather crestfallen that there were little easter eggs for older fans – perhaps besides the sleeping Snorlax blocking the road.

It is clear that the movie is directed towards the new generation of Pokemon fans whose first interactions with Pokemon were likely Pokemon Go. Even the process of catching Pokemon, something considered significant and even rather sacred in the anime series, is reduced to a simple few seconds of throw-and-hope-for-the-best at the very start of the movie in the Cubone scene. There is an overall lack of respect and regard for the customs and conventions of the canonical Pokemon verse that Nintendo has so delicately created for us to enjoy.

I suppose that I may sound excessively bitter and critical about the film (especially since it has a decent score of 66% on Rotten Tomatoes), but this is a sentiment that I share with many of my friends and family who have been invested in Pokemon since our youth. 


I remember playing the remakes Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby a few years ago and actually shedding a tear at the end of the game because of the overwhelming feels, and I really believe that’s how Pokemon should make you feel. Clearly this movie didn’t do it for me, but either way, this is just my humble opinion on the film, so please feel free to form your own after watching it. Thanks for reading my (unnecessarily) long rant!


Written by Gin

BanG Dream! Girls Band Party x Hatsune Miku Collaboration

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / No Comments
It is not uncommon to see collaborations between vocaloids and anime music franchises. The EN version of the mobile rhythm game BanG Dream! Girls Band Party has released their update regarding their collaboration with Hatsune Miku from June 10th to 12th.


The update also sees a change in the game app icon, featuring Kasumi from Poppin’Party and Hatsune Miku. 



Additionally, three song covers have been added to the game as part of the collaboration and they were each released over the course of three days. The songs will be available for purchase in the music shop at CiRCLE in the game. 




“Lost One’s Weeping” by Afterglow (originally by Neru feat. Kagamine Rin) 






This is one of my favourite covers to play on the expert mode, despite the infuriating amount of slide notes in the beatmap. I’m still trying to FC this! Gameplay aside, it’s always refreshing to hear Ran’s (CV: Sakura Ayane) insane vocal range, especially during the chorus. 

“Alien Alien” by Hello, Happy World! (originally by Nayutalien feat. Hatsune Miku)


This cover only further highlights Kokoron’s (CV: Miku Itou) cute voice. Not so cute on the fingers, though. It’s fine on the hard mode mode, but it can be rather challenging on expert, with the occasional flicks surprising you here and there. It's definitely a fitting cover for Hello, Happy World.



“Romeo and Cinderella” by Poppin’Party (originally by Doriko feat. Hatsune Miku)



I'm not going to lie, I didn't actually expect Poppin’Party to cover this song as I thought that it would be a more mature-sounding sound for them. I wasn’t disappointed though, because I actually liked it a lot, and I definitely dig the deeper-sounding Kasumi (CV: Aimi) here. Edgy Poppin’Party is good. Really good. 

A login campaign following the collaboration has also been added, allowing players to receive shards, stars and exclusive live costumes to promote the song covers that were added. For players who have purchased paid stars, they will be able to roll for a *4 guaranteed gacha. 



As mentioned, all members of Afterglow, Hello Happy World and Poppin’Party were given exclusive live costumes. 


Adorable Kokoron with her twin buns and alien headgear.

 Himari with her hair down. Alternate hairstyles are always nice to see.




 And Kasumi with her hair up. (And gasp, her cat-like hairstyle is gone)  

On a side note, do check out the ongoing "Beatin in the Rain" event as well! The event story is pretty wholesome and fun, with eccentric personalities like Tomoe, Kasumi and Kokoro getting together for some Taiko fun. They even drag along Misaki and Sayo into their shenanigans, which makes way for some interesting conversations. Gather up event points with the VS Live in order to unlock prizes, event stories as well as the featured Kasumi and Michelle cards.






The BanG Dream! Girls Band Party x Hatsune Miku Collaboration Campaign ends on June 24th, so get tappin’ if you’re interested! Bang Dream! Girls Band Party is available on the iOS and Android for free.  

Written by kimizomi 

Game Review: Tokyo Xanadu

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 / No Comments

Tokyo Xanadu is a Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) developed by Nihon Falcom for the PlayStation Vita. Dive into an intriguing and unique story with plenty of button-mashing action that will keep you hooked from the start to the end. The key focus of this review will be on the gameplay while providing a very brief overview of the storyline and main characters.



Game: Tokyo Xanadu
Genre: Action JRPG (Dungeon Crawler)
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Year Released: 2015 (Japan) & 2017 (Global)
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Available in: Japanese & English/Chinese subs


Storyline:

Tokyo Xanadu takes place in a fictional world where Tokyo was ruined by a massive earthquake in 2005. Fast forward 10 years later, Tokyo has been rebuilt and peace fully restored. Beneath the facade of tranquillity lies something sinister. The game starts of with the following event scene. One day after his part-time work, Kou Tokisaka who is a student at Morimiya Academy, spots a girl being harassed by two delinquents. He follows the trio into an alley in an attempt to intervene. Just as Kou is about to make a move, a portal appears out of thin air and the four of them are warped into an alternate dimension known as an Eclipse (Dungeon). Within these Eclipses are evil monsters termed as Greeds. After the introductory scenes and as the game progresses, Kou will meet new allies from his school and together they will fight the Greeds, hopefully closing the Eclipse portals for good!

Main Characters:

Kou Tokisaka

Kou is the main protagonist of Tokyo Xanadu whom you will be playing as most often. A second-year student at Morimiya High School, Kou is portrayed as cool and aloof but also highly reliable. Aside from dungeons where you can swap over to other characters, you will be playing as him. 

Asuka Hiiragi

Hiiragi is the girl who was harassed by the two delinquents at the start of the game. She is also Kou’s classmate and has just returned from the United States. She is an enforcer from an organisation known as Nemesis, whose aim is to close the portals leading to the Eclipses.

Sora Ikushima

Sora is a first-year student at Morimiya Academy. She is a member of the school Karate Club and extremely talented, having learned the martial art from a young age.

Yuuki Shinomiya

Yuuki is a first-year student at Morimiya Academy. He is a genius and prodigy with a very high IQ. Yuuki lives in a lavish apartment and has a lot of money, earned using his exceptional intelligence. He barely goes to school, only attending the minimum number of days to successfully graduate. Many of his schoolmates are unaware of his existence.

Mitsuki Hokuto

Mitsuki is a third-year student at Morimiya Academy and the Student-Council President.

Shio Takahata

Shio is a third-year student at Morimiya Academy and the former leader of a delinquent group known as BLAZE.

Rion Kugayama

Rion is a second-year student at Morimiya Academy. She is a member of an idol group called SPiKA.


Gameplay:

The gameplay of Tokyo Xanadu is fairly standard as with most Nihon Falcom games. Discounting event scenes, the gameplay can be broken down into two parts, namely Free-Time Mode and Dungeon Exploration Mode. However, do note that after certain event scenes, you will be required to answer some questions. Depending on the choices you pick, you will be able to raise your Wisdom status parameter. There are three status parameters, Wisdom, Courage and Virtue. All three parameters must be raised to unlock certain events and to receive some items. 

Free-Time Mode

You will be playing as Kou in Free-Time Mode. In Free-Time Mode, you roam freely and talk to various Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) and the main characters. The two major things to do in Free-Time Mode are completing quests and attending bonding events. Depending on the quests involved, some are mandatory while others are optional. Bonding events are done by talking to the main characters and/or supporting characters at particular parts in the game. This will trigger an event scene showcasing the interaction between Kou and the specific characters you had chosen. Bonding events will consume one Infinity Shard for each character you interact with and raise your relationship level with them. You will only be given a limited amount of Infinity Shards during bonding events; therefore, it is vital to bond with the characters you prefer the most. 


Dungeon Exploration Mode

This is the main and combat portion of Tokyo Xanadu. You will get warped into the Eclipse via a portal where you have to defeat Greeds lurking inside and an Elder Greed (Boss) in the depths. You would probably be unfazed by the bosses if you have experience in playing dungeon crawlers, although some of the bosses were quite difficult to defeat. What I like about the combat in the dungeons is how seamlessly smooth the fights are. There is little to no lag while fighting the Greeds which is not very common in PlayStation Vita games but considering that this game was made specifically for the Vita, it is understandable.


Dungeon exploration allows you to use the main characters instead of solely playing as Kou. You can have up to 3 playable characters in your party but can only play as one at any given time. This enables you to freely change between characters in your party. The HP bar is the bluish-purple ring, as shown above, Hiiragi is at full health currently with 530 HP. The MP bar is the green bar towards the bottom which is next to the hp bar. You can use skills by consuming MP such as using Hiiragi’s ice strike as shown above. MP can be regenerated by using normal attacks on Greeds, hence you should alternate between the two.


Greeds in the dungeons are weak to specific elements. There are five elements in Tokyo Xanadu, Flame, Wind, Steel, Spirit and Shadow. As depicted above, the Greed is weak against the Flame element, therefore you should use a character such as Kou. Using specific characters that are strong against different Greeds is important because it gives you considerable advantage in terms of damage dealt to them. Fighting Greeds in the dungeons allows you to charge your X-drive gauge. X-drive can be used when the X-drive gauge reaches 100%. Notice the bar labelled X-DRIVE, that is the X-drive gauge. When X-drive is used, your character will have increased damage, HP regeneration and heightened resistance against knockbacks. 


X-Strike is a powerful special attack that deals tons of damage to Greeds. X-Strike can only be unleashed when the X-Strike gauge is full. The X-Strike gauge is the yellow meter with the lightning symbol next to the HP bar. The gauge is charged by attacking Greeds, similar to the X-drive gauge. A good tip would be to save your X-Strike for bosses as using them on normal/cannon fodder Greeds is redundant. Each character has their own unique X-strike and is very eye-catching, fitting for their ultimate ability. 

Some of the Bosses in Tokyo Xanadu:





Pros (+) of Tokyo Xanadu:

I would like to reiterate the smoothness of the gameplay as lag is virtually non-existent. This is a major plus point of Tokyo Xanadu as I have played many PlayStation Vita games of which enjoyable gameplay is hindered due to lag and random screen freezes. The graphics of Tokyo Xanadu are also visually appealing like with most Nihon Falcom games. The bonding events allow you to enjoy event scenes with your favourite character. Note: Rion best girl! You will get more attached to the characters as the game progresses.

The combat system is really amazing as well. You are able to use a combination of moves to suit the situation, such as using skills while jumping in mid-air. The bosses in the game are challenging to a certain degree. For example, some of the bosses do not follow an easily predictable pattern of attack which makes the fights much more challenging and not boring. Besides the actual combat, the layout of the dungeons is also interesting as most dungeons are non-linear. There are many obstacles in dungeons which is typical in Nihon Falcom games, such as switches you have to engage in order to progress. This makes the gameplay much more fun and non-repetitive.  

Cons (-) of Tokyo Xanadu:

Majority of Nihon Falcom games suffer from the same inherent issue which is the long event scenes. Despite the fact that you can fast forward event scenes, you should watch the entire event scenes at least once in order to truly appreciate and understand the story. The second flaw of Tokyo Xanadu is the slow pacing. The pace was slow but not unbearable. If you are willing to look past these two issues, a truly exciting adventure in the Eclipses awaits you!

Overall Rating: 4/5
If you have a PlayStation Vita and have yet to play Tokyo Xanadu, I highly recommend picking up a copy because this is definitely one of the best Vita games out there.

Written by Kou