Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Generation of Chaos III ~Toki no Fuuin~: Here's How We Roll Down South!

Released in April of 2003, Generation of Chaos III ~Toki no Fuuin/Seal of Time~ marked some changes (both present & future) in the IF Neverland series of Idea Factory games. It was the first to not take place on the traditional continent that all of the previous games had taken place on, instead taking place on the Old Continent to the South, it was the last game in the GOC series to feature a traditional RPG mode (from GOC IV on the focus would be on the simulation mode), & it was the last game in the series to get a prologue OVA, which came out in December. Luckily, it's the best of the GOC OVAs, mainly because it actually focuses on telling a story.

Funny how the logo uses "III", but the katakana uses "3", huh?

The Kingdom of Radia had been the ruler of the Old Continent for quite some time, but that would all change when the Kingdom of Zenon decided to go against them, promising things like "freedom" & "equality" (though, in reality, it was more of a military state). Though Radia originally was able to fight them off, Zenon eventually started getting the upper hand, even injuring Radia's king to the point of near-death in battle, and Radia has been forced onto the small Nordic Island. Prince Alfeld Falbrosse was visiting the grave of a friend who died in battle when a small group of assassins try to kill him, but Wells Middle, another of Alfeld's friends, helps save the prince. Together with Teefa, Wells' sister, Alfeld & Wells have to lead Radia after the king dies in bed... And the discovery of the resting place of a sealed power by Rare Burtoning, one of Radia's commanders, might be the starting point of the kingdom's comeback.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Generation of Chaos "Double Feature": Prologue to Somethings(?)

I remember when seemingly everyone hated Idea Factory... Less than ten years ago, many RPG fans outside of Japan loved calling them horrible developers who made nothing but "shovelware"-esque crap, and seemingly were ready to rip apart anyone who actually liked their games. Now, Idea Factory has seemingly been able to "redeem" themselves through titles like the Record of Agarest War & Hyperdimension Neptunia series, and the North American release of Hakuoki has shown people that they definitely know their visual novels. Personally, though, I've always been a fan of Idea Factory, even when everyone else hit them like a piƱata.

Idea Factory was founded in late-1994 by ex-Data East employee Shingo Kuywana, & would enter the video game business proper with early 1996's adventure game Yaku: Yuujou Dangi, but they didn't really make their mark in the industry until late 1997's Spectral Force, the debut title in Idea Factory's IF Neverland series (not to be confused with the Peter Pan world). Neverland is a world that is in seemingly-continual war & the most expansive of Idea Factory's creations, featuring numerous games, stories, characters, lore, & backstory. Spectral Force's main appeal was that it was the spiritual successor to 1996's Sega Saturn cult-classic Dragon Force by J-Force, a tactical RPG where the player commanded full-on armies into battle (IF was able to get some of the people from J-Force at this point, hence the similarities between games). Long story short, the IF Neverland series was IF's main money maker in their first few years, but IF wasn't content with just making games... They wanted to make their company a multimedia force.

And now we finally get to the point of this post: Idea Factory anime. In late-1998, Idea Factory released their first anime production, a two-episode OVA based on Spectral Force, which ADV actually licensed & released in North America in the early-00s on VHS & DVD. IF would continue making their own anime up through 2005, with almost all of them being made simply for the sake of promoting their games. With the advent of digital fansubbing, most of these Idea Factory anime have been subbed, and with the IF/Sting collaboration PSP game Generation of Chaos (6): Pandora's Reflection being released in North America this week I think it's a good time to take a look at some of these titles, starting with a "Double Feature"!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Twelve Older Animes That Deserve License Rescues IV... Overloaded!! Part 2

Now it's time for Part 2 of this license rescue list, so let's get right into with more Urban Vision!

Much like how Fist of the North Star has seemingly had a bit of a resurgence in popularity, something similar could be argued for Golgo 13. Sentai Filmworks surprised many by licensing the first half of the 2008-2009 TV series, not to mention dubbing it, and promised to do the second half if sales were good. Even more surprising was when Sentai later confirmed that they would be doing the rest, though the unfortunate earthquake & tsunami Japan suffered delayed the arrival of materials. Alongside Golgo TV, though, was Discotek Media licensing The Professional: Golgo 13, the very first anime adaptation of the famed sniper. A 1983 movie directed by the legendary Osamu Dezaki, The Professional was also groundbreaking for being one of the first anime to use 3D CG; sure, it was a horrible-looking helicopter, but it was still groundbreaking.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Twelve Older Anime That Deserve License Rescues IV... Overloaded!! Part 1

Considering how big Jump January was, I hope you all can understand me taking a week off. Anyway, I'm starting to come up on another milestone for the blog: Review #100! Yeah, Tsuukai: Comedy Heroes was the 90th review I have done for the blog, so any review coming up will be simply counting down to that triple-digit achievement. Much like my preparation for Review #50, Gundoh Musashi, I have the title in mind for #100 planned now, and from what I can tell it's yet another absolutely horrible anime production, but it won't be anywhere near as long as Musashi; in hindsight, Crystal Triangle would have been an excellent choice, though. In fact, a title I had originally planned for #100 was actually already covered over at the Golden Ani-Versary, a blog that's celebrating the 50 years that have gone by since the debut of the original Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy anime in 1963, so there's a hint for what it might be. Also, look forward to the essay I'm doing as a part of the celebratory gang this July, where I cover the year 2004!

All right, enough shameless promotion... In the middle of last year I brought back my personal favorite of the many "Twelve Anime" lists, which was the license rescue list, and I was paid back by my readers with Part 1 becoming the fastest entry into this blog's Top 10 Most Viewed Posts. Well, I think enough time has passed for another one to be made, and I had enough worthy picks this time that the twelve anime wall of entry had to be broken through. Yeah, I never actually have only twelve anime in these lists, but can't I at least try to talk them up like they're something special?

Anime based on video games, especially fighting games, really run the gamut in terms of quality, ranging from horrid (Tekken) to average (Psychic Force) to pretty damn good (Street Fighter II: The Movie). Among those are some underlooked gems, though, and Virtua Fighter fits that bill in both its original game form as well as its anime. VF was not only the very first fighting game to use 3D models & polygons, but it still stands to this day as one of the most intricate & complex fighting games in the industry, with a focus on realism (read: actual fighting styles are used) & simple to play, hard to master gameplay (read: there's only three buttons, but there are tons of moves). All of this results in a barely-there story, though (Kagemaru won the third tournament? When did that happen!?), so how do you adapt this into an anime TV series from 1995-1996? Make it into a not-100% serious story that uses the game as a basis but otherwise does its own thing.