If you like paranormal romance, particularly if you like it since the boom of Twilight and True Blood, then Chrissy Peebles is your kind of author. I read Crush, book 1 of the Crush Saga, as part of a free anthology I downloaded off Amazon. With these anthologies, it is often hit or miss, and Peebles’ cute little novel was definitely a hit. Continue reading The Crush Saga Book 1 by Chrissy Peebles – Review
The Hyde Park Squirrels written by Nick Croydon and illustrated by Petra Brown is a new Children’s Book series about a couple of red squirrels and their adventures, many of which are set in familiar territory but with an adorable animal-kingdom spin. It is published by Hyde Park Editions. In a nutshell (see what I did there?) these are gorgeously decorated tales with enough substance to keep a child engaged. Continue reading The Hyde Park Squirrels – review
I saw this book online and thought it looked fabulous. The famous Aesop fable illustrated by Iranian artist Mahni Tazhibi, published by Tiny Owl publishing house. I am very fortunate that this book has been sent to me for review.
As a children’s story book, you have certain expectations, but Tazhibi’s art transcends mine. The cover is bright and inviting, and the illustration is relatable. Many children’s books are block colours, whereas Tazhibi’s has an innocent, crayon-like quality to it. Continue reading The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Mahni Tazhibi – review
Natari is not just about books and games. I am actually a fully functioning adult having to keep house and everything. But still, if you had come to me a decade ago and said to teenager Natari she would be in love with a vacuum, she would have laughed.
But here we are, aged 25 and very impressed with a vacuum (I don’t think anyone could ever really ‘love’ a vacuum). Continue reading Dyson DC41 MK2 – Review
There actually exists a Pokemon game that I do not absolutely love. Continue reading A Wild Pokemon Game Appeared – Review
While perusing Twitter I saw a tweet stating some new book was ‘Harry Potter meets Pokemon’. Obviously I skipped straight to Amazon and clicked pre-order. To this day I haven’t actually read the blurb.
Summoner: Novice by Taran Matharu is released in the UK on May 5. To give us all eager readers a taster of the world of Hominum, where people of noble blood can capture demons to fights alongside them, Matharu has released, for free, a short 100 page origins story. Continue reading Summoner Book 0: Origins – Review
I have been plagued by the intrigue and temptation that is Francesca’s Haig’s Fire Sermon for weeks. When a fabulous and blazing front cover was planted repeatedly before my eyes, I began to crack.
And then you hear a summary like ‘they are born twins, but they only share their death’, how can you not want to read more? Continue reading Fire Sermon – sample review
Our quest to catch them all is no longer just a collecting adventure. Pokemon gaming comes in all shapes and sizes; we can be Pikachu and raid tombs, we can catch their portraits in art academy, we can even be rangers and just take photographs. The newest way to catch all the Pokemon is with Pokemon Shuffle, a free to download Nintendo 3DS game. Continue reading Pokemon Shuffle – review
So I noticed that Yen Press (one of the all time greatest manga publishers) was releasing ‘Karneval’ this March. The cover looks adorable. Why wouldn’t you want to look further into a book that has a boy-child in ripped clothing, covered in bandages and smiling against a background of butterfly silhouettes?
To the seasoned manga reader that isn’t as weird as it sounds. Continue reading Karneval, ep01 – Review
Barajou no kiss, or Kiss of the Rose Princess, is a harem manga centralised around a high school girl, Anis. Continue reading The complicated love life of the rose princess – Review
Launceston Amateur Dramatic Society: Musicality 2 review, October 2012
My lack of blogging presence has made it appear as though I am not working, whereas the truth is that I am working more – just away from my blog.
So this is another story where an insignificant girl who is shy and modest is chosen by the hot successful guy who then looks after her? Nope. Ok, so this is a strong independent woman who completely becomes dependent as soon as the love interest flutters his obscenely long eyelashes? Wrong again.
With a name like maid-sama, even as a loyal otaku, I would join the group that would have pre-judged doubts about Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama (school council president is a maid). However, my 14-year-old Oneechan said about the series as she’s hyped on the anime, so I gave it a shot. I was smitten by chapter one.
Yatta! I finally own my very own Nintendo 3Ds. However… I can’t exactly justify spending on games for it just now. Thankfully Nintendo understood my problems… and makes demos available for download… you know, so you spend money anyway after getting addicted to a game.
Anyhoo. I never thought that I would want the 3D aspect but regrettably I must admit that I have fallen for its charm. It makes good graphics great, and for someone who loves packaging, gimmicks and the kawaii more than anything else, it just calls out to me like a siren.
So while my mind stays focused on saving rather than gaming, lets play demos!
First of all… Why can’t I be female? This demo sucks already because you can can’t customise at all! Why show me awesome things if I can’t have them! I noticed Fire Emblem because TokoPop and NeoMagazine was raving about it, and I could understand why with the promised anime graphics (with proper animation and not just 2d still images) and a giant host of adorable characters (when I saw Henry I wanted to play it straight away, I don’t care about the story).
In the demo, there’s a lot of cutscenes, a lot. But they are cute and brilliantly animated. When I saw the battle interface I got worried, as grid like turn taking has put me off games before. However, the systematic tactical based warfare is actually quite fun.
The graphics really are very pretty. The promo material did not lie. If, like me, you are the kind of gamer who likes to watch the game then Fire Emblem: Awakening is definitely for you.
The demo doesn’t let you do much, it is quite limited, I feel Nintendo was a bit cruel in that respect. I know that the characters are all amusing (entertainment will not only be from playing the game) and you will be fighting zombies… but I have no idea how the game actually progresses, how you move, how you live or if there will be any chance of free exploration.
I give it 4/5 stars for full game excitement, because though the demo was dissapointing… its really pretty.
Oops I died. Yep, already. Ok Ok, so I’m actually really bad at games, I just enjoy the pretty! Saying that though… this game is awfully pretty… *happy sigh*. The little things, the details, the colours, the information text, design, outfits, its all so pretty. I can happily just look at ‘me’ on the screen.
However, me, whoever I am (it’s not told me) is very tiny. Am I happy? Am I sad? Do I have three noses and no ears? All these important things I do not know.
Oh Oh, I started clicking on sparkly iconson the screen and found out. I am Trevor Belmont. And I have a very snazy green coat… and a rather tragic back story.
Trevor also has an awesome whip like thing sword.
So back to me dying instantly, this game is still fun. On take two I beat the ugly monster. I uh totally didnt do it with just a sliver of health though *shifty eyes*. You run into more enemies (the fourth) and button mash time (like I hadn’t been using that method all along anyway). I have no idea which buttons I pressed (as it was all of them) but I did an attack, and it went blue, and there was sparkles, and we were flying, then a flash and the monster died. It was great.
Then you are thrown into a boss battle with robo-minotaur of the dark ages with an otaku fetish for iron man. Lets call him Charles. Well, Charles is quite easy to hit and simple to evade with his obvious slow attacks, therefore, of course, he defeated me in about 20 seconds. Stop judging! It wasn’t my fault this time! Mum was doing the ironing next to me and she let a cloud of steam out right next to my head ;_; … and I accidentally forced Trevor to run into Charles and his meteor hammer of love. I guess Charles’ love was just too much for us.
There’s a purple sparkly prize just beyond Charles, but I have no great love for this game so retrying to find out what it is doesn’t really interest me. It has so much pretty and yet all I can do is run to the right and flash my whip. I love button mashing but I need free exploration! Why can’t all games be like Zelda and Assassins Creed…
Castlevania: Mirror of Fate gets 2/5 full game excitement. It looks great, and I know gamers and fans of the series will probably love it, but I know I would never have the stamina to complete it, or even get past Charles. It gets two stars just because it is really pretty… and Trevor’s coat is just so darn snazzy.
Don’t really know why I chose this basic looking monochromatic game… it looked off I guess. It’s a parallel dimension (real creative types figured out how to explain why a human is in a block world). I take a couple of steps and Jeeves arrives to guide me through controls. Jeeves is also know as Captain Obvious and Repeat. Don’t ever worry about remembering the story line, as Jeeves will tell you everytime you move. That might be because it’s the tutorial… but I still got annoyed. I just don’t trust Jeeves.
You can do a David Bowie Labyrinth move to help you solve the puzzles and get through the stage, which by default is cool. The demo puzzles are ridiculously simple, even the fifth one, which is the step out of the tutorial is easy to master. I gues they get more complicated as you progress, but to be honest, even at this level it’s already addictive. It’s simple, it’s easy and so attractively mind numbing. A great game to pass time on a train or after work.
Just don’t lose concentration and think it’s fine to jump off a ledge. It’s not. And the game is petty enough to force you to do the level from the beginning.
Full game excitement is 1/5, it might be addictive but I got my fill from the demo.
“Will you choose to ally or betray?”
Press the ‘on’ button… wait what. The opening credits are a total mind bomb. I have no idea what happened, only that it was pretty animation, tragic, beautiful, bloody… and I have a bad scary feeling… I want this game.
There are two options – novel and escape. Escape sounded fun so I tried it, but I think all it did was to miss out some cutscenes. Ahwell. My name is Sigma. Ok. I have to escape. Ok. Now I’m calling someone. Ok. Why do I still feel scared?
The opening of the game really sets you up to be distrustful and expectations are high. It is first person, which I normally hate, but it only intensifies the aforementioned expectation. The demo gives pretty direct hints on how to solve the riddles. Such as, ‘this is foil. the foil goes in the drawer in room one.’ Can it really just be called a hint? It is described as demo hint, so maybe the full game will not be so obvious.
“Still can’t help talking like a cat when I talk about cats”
The script in this game is fantastic, and quite unexpected. The game is like an RPG puzzle solving game… with friends that don’t like you. I say don’t like, I think you can be a bit of a douche. Your a guy, and your with two girls… figures. Your also a bit pervy. Oh you.
It is fun though. There is a lot of loading time and moving about, returning to rooms and what not, which gets frustrating, especially when you expect things to jump out. I want security it that I will be able to run away quickly… but alas, I think this game is about ruining safe feelings. It might just be a game where you touch things on the screen but it is a definite step up from those finding objects games. I hate those games. But I rather like this. The graphics are pleasant (anime quality) and the script really does make you chuckle. The puzzles are a little obvious… but I guess that depends on how you think. I understood a puzzle straight away but it still took me a good half hour to actually pass as I was thinking about it oo hard.
This game is full of puzzles, intrigue, cat puns and anime, what more do you need in life? Though it is probably best not to be tired as the puzzles are annoying when you aren’t thinking straight. Excitement for the full game is 5/5.
‘If you find me’ me by Emily Murdoch is released this month (April, 2013) by St Martin’s Griffin publishers New York. Continue reading Be sure to find it – Review
As far as otaku-ness is concerned I’m still a noob for manga, reading it for as many months as I have digits to count them, but even I know potential when I see it.NB: Me and MS Paint like copyright rules, so together we made a few changes so not to ruin Jiu Jiu for you but still let you experience the beauty.
The third instalment for my video reviews on behalf of Keep-It-Secret.co.uk went live today. I started Saturday afternoon, had a six hour break, went to sleep, and got back to it Sunday afternoon. It was uploaded by 6pm. Continue reading Paws on my Pocky… – Preview
WARNING: I have tried not to drop spoilers, but I do talk about certain aspects you may not have known about. Read at own risk.
Turns out, Trolls are the fairest of them all. Or I guess those fairies were pretty sweet with that floppy white fringe, and mighty god of life Hart was pretty bad ass with those horns. Thor, you would have been in the running, but you wore your shirt throughout. And your face didn’t appear in the movie enough. You were like, only present for 85% of the time. Not enough.
Everyone knows the story; the Queen is a bully, but a pretty bully. However, the vain insecure wreck wants to destroy the one girl that is fairer than she. Snow White then runs away, what with being attached to her heart. Huntsman is sent on a retrieval mission, but his male ways cause mutiny and ends up helping the fair damsel. Walk by several dwarves and adorable animals covered in moss, perhaps a black smoking tree, two wars, an obvious trick and you get Snow White and The Huntsman.
I liked the CGI creations, they had a good concept. The troll’s eyes are so shiny and blue, I just wanted to cuddle him. And Thor, you look like a douche for being knocked about so much, like seriously, can’t handle a little Hulk?
I have to salute Hemsworth though; his acting skills are level 99. His voice was just as seductive as ever, but he displayed no Thor like qualities. I may be guilty of tutting in his fight scenes, silently telling him the Mjolnir would clear up the mess in a second, but he was an obedient actor and displayed drunken depressed man with woman issues well. My only drawback on the Huntsman was probably the suddenness of his thought process. He changed his mind, and would just do things without any warning. Rather than a being personality it appeared more absurd. However, this is more of a script problem than the man. We do not fault the man. It is not done.
That brings me on my major annoyance of the film. The script; more specifically Snow White’s script. I do not think it is the fault of Kristen Stewart- though her many facial expressions of Bella made me grit my teeth throughout the film. Every time that Snow spoke a philosophical riddle emerged. Sometimes for absolutely no reason at all! At one point she is just walking and starts talking about frost and something intelligible. Wouldn’t it be awkward if this crazy lady was made a Queen or something?
I did like something about Snow White’s character though. The shape of her outfit was pretty; I love the pinafore over a dress look. It may be a dull colour, and those sleeves are atrocious, but I understand the importance of those factors for her situation at the time. Still, fantastic design Colleen Atwood!
My final criticism would be on how the battles were filmed. Fight scenes that were not strictly one on one became blurred and disorientating. It was difficult to see who was winning, if anybody was. Though Thor wielding an axe was very entertaining, the man is good with weapons.
All in all, the film was enjoyable. I wasn’t expecting the CGI sanctuary, but I adored all the creatures. But, like Hemsworth’s
chest face, Snow White and the Huntsman does not allow the good things to stay. With a strong storyline, and a good selection of characters, it is a great movie for an evening in with friends. Just don’t expect fan service, they forgot to add it.
I knew it was a good game when the winged dinosaur in a steam punk mask that was running towards me suddenly veered left and casually walked up the wall. His mate ran in a circle to my right and even when I started to hack and slash they were confused at best. Then we all had a kind of party where all the steam punk dinosaurs came to the garden and created a mosh pit.
Then a big red ball of light chased us all and security threw me out.
I haven’t reviewed anything in a while, and due to the fact I and my housemate can’t be trusted with spare money and access to Amazon, I have a couple new old games for the ol’ Xbox 360. I felt good today so, naturally, I thought I would test run a bikini clad, former cowgirl with an illicit affair with gun swords. But not just one, TWO; for those days that you just feel so bad ass you need to have two swords that can shoot infinite ammo.
I’m not going to lie to you, I just entered level Three. Some of you may think that level three isn’t far enough into a game to know what I’m talking about… well, to be fair it isn’t. But I am not the hack and slash girl you are assuming me to be, I like a storyline to avoid so as soon as I write this I am going back to Fable 2.
The cover of X Blades states that in a pretty environment the heroin (bikini clad former cowgirl) is searching for some treasure that blah blah and destroys the earth and blah blah blah so you have to continuously kill things to find out why. It sounded fun, and if you like button mashing then it is pretty good. The game requires no skill or strategy, only patience and a vibrating thumb joint.
It is kinder to the player than most games, rather than having objects strewn about to destroy in order to obtain health and MP (although apparently there are) you can fight your victims to build up rage (equivalent to MP), sacrifice souls of fallen prey (but you need this to power up spells and weapons so don’t do it too often) or my personal technique, just stand around and hold down the spell button, the rage/frustration builds as she just throws magic at the bad flies, killing them instantly.
Please note, that last trick only works if you have enough health to not die whilst building up rage; otherwise you are rather screwed.
My favourite part of the game though has to be the consequence of mass combos. I am a girl, thus, I love it when people are calling me stunning, incredible, perfect, spectacular, unstoppable… wait what.
The first levels are ridiculously easy, but to get the decent spells it is telling me I need a lottery win worth of souls (each monster is one soul) so it will definitely get harder pretty soon.
May not be the greatest game in the world, but if you want something to do in short bursts with a pretty scenery and a casual regard to a storyline (with two possible endings!), or maybe you are partial to bikini clad former cowgirls that wear cat ear type hair clips. Did I mention she has an awesome weapon? Try out X Blades, to me, it’s more fun than Thor (the video game, not drinking the game, one does not simply beat the Thor drinking game).
I found INSTANT RAMEN, in my little town of all places. A new greengrocers has open by a chinese couple in Lanson and they have brought to us a myriad of wonderful asian treats. Fresh Green had finally brouht me ramen in my life, albeit the instant in a pot one. It looked like Pot Noodle, and worked like Pot Noodle.
Beef flavor Ramen Samyang is my first taste of anything that is close to being called ramen. If you are after the bowls of colour from such shows as Naruto, or that wonderful bowl of delight from Neko Ramen Taisho, then don’t send your hopes after this. It isn’t that.
I had asked the very kind shop owner if she had any ‘fish biscuits,’ but all I achieved was a squint and confusing the poor girl. After paying for my ramen (and some frozen manju dumplings)
I ran home and gobbled it all up I had a busy day shopping, not getting back until late, both weary and hungry. Looking at that pot was like looking at a pot of gold before finding a rainbow.
I think I mentioned once that it looks like a pot noodle? I, personally, hate pot noodle. Can’t stand the horrid things, haven’t eaten one since before my teenage years, thus, this review is done without the knowledge of comparison, maybe it is just like an average pot noodle… or maybe…
Maybe it’s my lack of experience, or I’m just a douche, but I managed to explode my pack of seasoning and get it all over the worktop; once I swept it up I cried inside over how much was wasted. I worried that half the flavour would be lost as well.
I was too impatient to look for a water fill mark so I just covered the noodles seems they were solid half way up the pack.
I wonder how big those spongey beef bites look to you… they were only the size of a garden pea, yet you could feel the spongey texture of each individual spongey one. Not that spongey was at all spongey bad being spongey, but spongey was spongey.
The noodles were incredibly soft. Knowing that three minutes prior to me chowing down they were rock hard, I could slurp away with ease. The flavour, oh my, I had spilt most of my pack but these ramen still had a good punch; the curry style spice was present enough to make me appreciate the liquid, and the beef flavour was definately beef rather than some plastic actor of an E number.
When I reached the end of my noodles I noticed the great amount of leftover liquid… had I poured in too much? Was I meant to drink it? Do I throw it away? It may have (most likely) been the wrong choice… but I drank it. I had to, I couldn’t blog without the whole experience! It owned an ominous golden shimmer that skirted the top… a golden promise of coating my arteries and taking a golden chunk off my life later on in my years. It tasted quite good.
There has been a lot of hype about Puella Magi Madoka Magica, if you haven’t heard of it… then I don’t really blame you. I can’t honestly say I read all that much and I stumble upon knowledge rather than discovering it more often than not. But in a few other blogs I have read they seem to adore Madoka Magica and there is a big push on the merchandise.
I rather adore anime, there is just something wonderful about it for me. I love liveaction, but anime has a bigger sense of the fantastical and fanatical about it that just cannot be achieved with live action. As an example you can watch the rather annoying way they try to make Honey-Sempai “anime size” in the live action of Ouran High School Host Club. *shudder*
Back to Madoka; I first got a glimpse of it by seeing an interesting link about this new anime coming out with an odd long title. I watched the trailer and after seeing the weird white cabbit thing I was enormously intrigued. I have an unhealthy adoration for Cabbits; I can’t play Pokemon without getting eevee and all its evolutions, I could watch Tenchi Muyo over and over just for Ri-oh-oki and Kyubee is no different. With a little enthusiasm I sent the same video to my housemate who shares a respect for anime but to my dismay she said it looked lame. I continued wondering about the dark graphics and the magical girl transformation. But I took heed of the advice, plus I had deadlines, hence why I was looking at anime trailers that day.
Four different anime series, 6 months, and three deadlines later I was still curious about the raved about Madoka Magica, now winner of four or so awards. I googled it and thought I would be appeased by reading the detailed synopsis, after seven episodes of storyline I thought I just as well watch the 12 episode series.
Madoka is the name of the main character. She is a naïve school girl set in the future of some point, presumably Japan. I say future, I know Japan is supposed to be rather advanced when it comes to technology, but if they had invented doors and desks with computers made from lasers and lights, and school desks that arranged themselves around students in a complex glass building I am pretty sure even I would have known.
One fine normal day in the middle of the night, Madoka and friend Sayuka are in a music store when a telepathic call for help is heard by them, leading them to an old mansion style staircase in the same futuristic CD store mall place. Crazy. They find the new transfer student at school trying to kill cute weird white cabbit, the latter being the one calling them. Homura, transfer student, seems agitated that Madoka is there and near the cabbit but being smoked by Sayuka the girls escape.
Only to wind up in a crazy labyrinth of doodles you regret colouring and a kaleidoscope of a trash bin. A random blond pig –tailed girl in the same school uniform as them appears and somehow summons guns and rifles and what-not shooting devices and takes out the worlds ugliest flower come slug come rotten chewed up wet paper-mache monster I have ever seen. She then takes the two girls to her house for cake to thank them for saving Kyubee (white cabbit).
Quick explanation, she says she is a magical girl after a contract with Kyubee, latter then says he wants Madoka and Sayuka to be magical girls too and to do this they need only ask him for one single wish. This one wish mind will cost them their soul and they will forever after have the duty to destroy ‘Witches.’
The ‘Witches’ are the ugly monsters I just described, something about a black soulless seed of despair hatches them and they create the freaky kaleidoscope barriers that hide them from humans. The magical girls duty is to destroy them, as when left, the witches are what cause people to commit suicide, murder and other bad things.
The other main plot point, which every magical girl anime has, is the transformation device. Madoka Magica’s is similar looking to a Faberge Egg, which turns into a ring when they don’t need it; well it would be difficult carrying around a little egg without losing it. But the secret behind the eggs is something that will make the chosen girls fearful and angry at Kyubee forever… But I won’t spoil that for you.
The blonde one, Mami, takes Madoka and Sayuka on a couple hunts for witches before they think of wishes to make contracts with Kyubee with. But Homura constantly tails them and impedes to Madoka that it is of the highest importance that she does not make the deal. Why? Why only Madoka? Homura is so against Madoka’s deal she threatens everyone else and even kills Kyubee a couple times.
Ok so that video is obviously edited… I still love it. Thank-you Hsiss.
So basically it is some twisted anime that really delves into the philosophy of the individual and the sacrifice of the few to benefit the greater number. It has a real soul searching element that will make you rethink your standards of wanting something so bad you would be willing to sell your soul, even in the purest of intention.
The style of art is in between my most hated and the style I like. There seem to be extra thick lines around the face, perhaps it is meant to be shadow but I just felt like rubbing it out each time. The eyes were also creepy as they seemed to be coloured with crayon. However, as the story went on it added to the charm of Madoka and her naïve ways. The art, although clean, was not always exactly the same measurement, but it echoed the confusion of the characters and how the mystery of Homura kept changing, you never really know what questions you should be asking of her until episode Nine. The heads seemed wide aswell compared to most anime, or perhaps they were wide in relation to everything else on screen, but it makes the older people and parental figures look the same age as the schoolgirls (Funny, that’s the same problem I have when drawing).
The only real criticism I have on the art, I know it sounded negative before but like I said the art suits the storyline, but the real niggly part was the feet. Madoka Magica has a bit of a foot fetish and in every episode there will be at least one close up of feet if not two but they always looked weird like the person was standing on their insteps and ankle has been broken.
Homura’s character is my favourite due to being one of the usual cast of temperaments in anime but it reverse. I want to explain this further, but she is as essential as Madoka to the plot. It would be like telling you that the transformation eggs were the ______ of the ____ ,without them ____ would ______ and be nothing but a Zombie until ___ ____ were ______ but if the eggs were to _____ the girls would ____, luckily though instead of death they just ____ into _____. Oh wait, that’s worse than death.
This anime is not for the faint hearted, it is dark and dismal and I am serious when I say it will make you rethink your values of friendship and of life. Even of vegetarianism. No really. But I don’t see any real flaws or reason not to watch it. If you like magical girls, if you like stories that don’t end with happy ever afters but are not so depressing it adds a burden to your heart, if you like strange white cabbits that are not good or bad, then give Madoka Magica a try. Although, it is not one I want for my DVD collection, I still really want Kyubee.
Watch it all in one sitting; it is only four hours, approximately. That is less time that two Harry Potter films or King Kong with two making-a-cup-of-tea breaks.
Saying that though you might want a break from the crazy barrier worlds for a couple days at a time, my motivation to sit through it was purely to write this review. Madoka Magika is good, but it isn’t anything worth selling your soul over. Long live Sailor Moon.