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That was quite a long history. Not surprisingly, they included Mana Khemia into the mix. Although I have not finished Totori and not started on the games after that, I am anticipating Atelier Sophie for some reason.

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On a whim, or out of curiosity like my wordpress and tumblr, I made a facebook page: Yamakuji

There was a small discussion of choosing between Yamayurikai and Omikuji between my co-admins so we ended up combining them to Yamayuri-o-mikuji. Shorten the name and there you have it, Yamakuji, since the original name is quite a mouthful.

Content of the page will be ranging from anime, manga and light novels to anything under the sun although we’ll concentrate on the things related to the former. We will mostly provide information we want and voice our opinions on various things. It can be an old anime when you’re still a kid. It can be an upcoming one which everyone is anticipating. Those with pages/blogs do help us spread our name around. We would appreciate it a lot. If you want a 1 to 1 share that wouldn’t be a problem since we encourage the exchange of ideas and people normally have diverse opinions on certain things.

Now onto why we chose this name.

Yamayurikai is basically a word made up of three words: “Yama” is mountain, “Yuri” is lily and “Kai” is council thus the name. However, we have taken the council word out of the word thus it is just Yamayuri which stands for Mountain Lily, a real flower.

Omikuji are fortune telling paper slips found at many shrines and temples. Randomly drawn, they contain predictions ranging from daikichi (“great good luck”) to daikyo (“great bad luck”). By tying the piece of paper around a tree’s branch, good fortune will come true or bad fortune can be averted.

This is in view with our aims because like how one ‘randomly’ draw out a the paper slips, the posts the followers will see are at random since the different admins will post different things. The posts may contain good news or bad news, as to the predictions one can get from the omikuji. It can be good news like, “This character will have a figurine soon” to bad news like “This manga is cancelled due to low ratings”. I cannot relate the action of tying the piece of paper to a tree branch’s to anything as of yet.

Thus yes, Yamayuri-o-mikuji or Yamakuji for short. We have yet to produce our own avatar and banner yet since we are a new page but hopefully, we have your support. Much appreciated~

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Asiasoft, I am disappointed..

Asiasoft has recently launched the close beta for the long awaited game, Ragnarok Online 2. Many of us who are fans of it’s predecessor, Ragnarok Online, were delighted. Thus, I was willing to close an eye (in regards to the closure of PangyaSEA) and try this game out. This is what was promised to us if we reach a certain level:

As the poster states, if you reach level 25, you are able to reserve your IGN (in-game name). I picked Rainyday naturally as that is what I am called online but since there is a chance people might use this IGN, I welcome this move. Asiasoft then decided to drop a large bombshell on us players who leveled to at least level 25:

Seriously, I call this bull crap. If this was mentioned earlier I would not have whine but this is mentioned today, 12/12/12, the last day of close beta. Maybe they are trying to sound fair by letting those who have no time to play or whatnot to reserve their IGN. What about those of us who spent time and effort reaching said level? I know a lot will train till level 25 just to try the second class but I am not one of them. I wanted to take my time playing through this game and my main purpose for rushing levels in close beta (as the characters will be wiped) is to reserve my IGN. I am not the only one apparently, looking at the comments on their facebook page.

For those people who had no time to play and cannot enjoy the benefits, so be it. Why must Asiasoft cater to these people who would not even appreciate whatever they are doing in the long run. Trust me, they will be like “Thank you! I don’t need to rush levels!” or “Best Christmas gift this year!” for now. Mark my words, open beta comes and these group people who barely played the game will be the first to attack with issues like lag. I will still play the open beta for nostalgia sake but probably not for long since this is Asiasoft we are talking about. Totally ‘exceeded’ my expectations yet again.

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Burn your fat with me!!

“If you’re looking for a cute and novel way to get in shape using your smartphone or tablet, it will be difficult to find a game more engaging than Burn Your Fat With Me.” — Pocket Gamer

I saw this on one of the blogs I am following. Well, how should I put it? It looks weird yet interesting…The aim is to probably get people off their lazy behind and start working out with, instead of a real girl, a 2D girl. The app is not your simple exercise app you see in the market. It is a visual novel in fact. So yes, there’s a storyline and such where it will take several months to complete. For full information, you can head to the main website: http://burnyourfatwithme.com/

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Publisher: NIS America
Developer: GUST
Genre: RPG
Platform: PS3
Synopsis: Ar Ciel, a planet that was once lush with many prosperous inhabitants. The humans of this planet created a new species with the power to convert songs into various energies, Reyvateils, and boasted about their highly advanced civilation. However, a foolish release of immense energy triggered a global catastrophe that changed the world. The planet was shrouded by deadly clouds, called the Sea of Death. With the loss of the land, only three artificial Towers were left for the people to reside on.

The world of the Third Tower, Sol Clister, is practically controlled by Reyvateils. The State of Reyvateils who reside in the upper part of the Tower, Clustania, exert their authority over most other nations from the top of the world. Clustania aims to establish a society that consists only of Reyvateils and “Purified” human slaves.To acheive that goal, they carry out genocidal campaigns, called Cleansing, upon the human communities that dare to defy them. They literally annihilate cities and towns, turning them to ruins.


First Impression

I have never played a single Ar Tonelico game before this but decided to try their 3rd installment, Ar Tonelico Qoga since the main platform I am playing now is the PS3. A very huge reason that compelled me to pick this game up was the fact that the developer is Gust. The reason can be seen in my previous review on Atelier Rorona. Truth to be told, I honestly did not find the cover appealing, compared to the very first installment of Ar Tonelico. The main protagonist look kind of bland or weird and the 2 main heroines did not really give off the heroine vibe. The back part of the cover however, interest me quite a bit as I wanted to know what sort of battle it is with the R.A.H Battle Mode where we ‘synchronize the heart with the heroine’, ‘improving their song magic by diving into their soulspace’ and evolving heroines? Remember, this is my very first time playing Ar Tonelico and this is like jargon to me.

Story and Setting

The story is your typical RPG story where you will meet your party members and save the world. The first few hours was really bad, for me at least as it was rather rushed. One minute you are in your hometown, the next minute you are running away. It is rather bland as well and felt a little fake to me. The worst thing was how lost I felt. Who is the good guys? Who is the bad guys? What exactly are Reyvateils? Are Clustania and Archia countries or what? Thankfully, the pace and story improved over time. Everything one needs to know, such as background information on past events, can be found in the glossary.

Characters

Starting Party

The characters I will be writing about are the ones in your party. I won’t write about the enemies or allies.

Humans

The players assume the role of the main protagonist, Aoto, which has the traits one commonly find in an anime protagonist in the harem and adventure genre:

  1. Not so bright
  2. ‘All Guts!’
  3. ‘I want to help/save them’
  4. Girls falling for him for reasons such as having a big heart etc.

At the very least he is not useless. The other two human characters are Tatsumi, a V-boarder with a huge secret and a reyvateil doctor, Gojo. I asked myself this question when they joined the party ” Will these people be my main fighters throughout the game?” as my first impressions with them were rather dull although after learning more about them, it changed.

Reyvateil

The only picture where the 4 heroines are together. From the Left: Cocona, Tyria Aoto, Saki and Finnel

The main focus of this game are the Reyvateils. For Ar Tonelico Qoga there are 4 important Reyvateils in the game, where 2 of them are considered to be the ‘main heroines’. These 4 determine the routes of the game as well, as we get to ‘chase’ the ones we are interested in to get their ending. The 4 of them are: Saki, Finnel, Cocona and Tyria. Saki is your stereotypical airhead and full of love character. Finnel is the clumsy tsundere. Cocona is the tomboyish one and Tyria is the somewhat stoic and eccentric kind of character. Both the main heroines, Saki and Finnel, have multiple personalities within them (as can be seen below). Ironically, I feel the other personalities should be the main heroines. This will definitely make the story even more interesting as they would not be the damsel in distress that easily.

Development-wise, these two manage to hold their own when you choose their routes so it ain’t bad. Cocona on the other hand, needs a lot more development and interaction. She is a Reyvateil but there is some sort of bias against her in the guise of ‘I don’t like to act like a Reyvateil (eg. using Song Magic)’ You can ‘chat’ with the other 3 in private but there is absolutely none for Cocona. This make it a whole lot worse when you chose her route as the only thing that is different is at the very last scene. From the start to the end, everything is the same regardless of the route thus one feel her ending is very empty. As for Tyria, I love her! She has got to be the most interesting heroine in this game. Everything from your conversations with her to diving into her world is simply wonderful. She might be the last Reyvateil to appear but her impact was the strongest on me. Did I mention I love her? I feel she will not be a good girlfriend but a fine wife if one does decide to marry her.

Battle

Battle is real-time, similar to the ‘Tales of’ series. Thus I expect the battle to be, in Singaporean terms, solid. Players will have 3 vanguards plus 1 Reyvateil in battle but will only be able to control one of the vanguards, which in most cases is Aoto. During the battle your Revyateil will sing their specific song (most of the time), causing waves on the Harmograph to rise and fall based on the beat of the song. The vanguard the player is controlling is supposed to attack with the beat. My initial impression was like Project Diva, where the beat corresponds to the songs. Sounds pretty good no? Alas, I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed.

First and foremost, I cannot relate the beats in the Harmograph with the song. Why so? Increasing attack power is by attacking on a high note thus one would naturally aim for that. However, the only time where I feel that the song matches with the Harmograph is during the Reyvateils’ Flipshphere, which I would addressed shortly.

The Reyvateils in their 3rd Purge. From top, clockwise: Sakia Lumei, Suzunomia, Filament, Soma, Filament, Tyria, Saki, Ar Ru, Yurisica and Sarapatra

Second is the act Purging. When a Reyvateil Purges, she strips away layers of clothing and is able to provide bonuses to the combat such as increasing attack, defense, or protecting the party from status ailments. One must first ‘fill up the heart’ before they can Purge the Reyvateil’s clothes. Once the Reyvateil has been purged a total of 4 times, we can initiate her ultimate attack, the Flipshphere which has enough power to wipe out the entire battlefield.

Song Magic are when a Reyvateil purges 1-3 times and it differs for each of them in terms of range and area of effect. I admit I am a fan of ecchi, but this does not bode well with me. Stripping in combat is not only unheard of but it is plain ridiculous. Most of the scenes during the Purge felt like they were trying very hard. The only ones I am comfortable with were the Purges done by Tyria, Soma and maybe Filament.

Third, combat by the vanguards is very straightforward. You have your normal attacks by spamming square, 4 special attacks where you pressed a directional button with square and 1 Supermove. That’s it. There is no button for guard and auto-guard is useless. Special attacks and Supermoves can be unlock by doing an image synthesis. The 4 different special attacks does not really make a difference when you have to choose one so strategy is usually nonexistent as I like to finish the enemies with my Reyvateil’s Song Magic. Supermove is like Purge for the vanguards so yes, you get to see the men in their underwear.

Cosmosphere/Binary Field

Finnel’s Cosmosphere

One can ‘dive’ into the heroines of the game, save for Cocona. For Saki and Finnel, one would dive into their Cosmosphere where in layman’s term, their state of mind. Desires/intentions/secrets that Saki or Finnel did not display in the real world can be found in their Cosmosphere. As for Tyria’s, it is her binary field. In layman’s term, those are her memories thus when one dive inside, they take the role of a person in her memories, usually chosen by the Reyvateil itself. The person can alter her memories by the decisions he make as he ‘roleplay’ that character.

Music

As always, music by Gust is superb. The ones that had most impact here are the Hymns. Some of them are orgasmic, for me at least. They really portray the emotions felt during the events when the different Reyvateils have to sing (the Hymn). I have no complaints. Come to think of it, maybe I do. It is regarding their Song Magic, which is the soundtrack during battles. Each of the Reyvateil have their unique Song Magic but sadly, it can be easily forgotten since one would be trying hard to attack on a high bar in the Harmograph. The only ones I remembered are Soma’s, Tyria’s and Filament’s Song Magic, in order. By now you can tell who are in my top 3 Reyvateil list.

Graphics

The animation cutscenes, similar to the opening, are of a high quality. I would be ecstatic if they mad an anime out of it. The backgrounds for the different cities are well-drawn. The illustrator(s) have done a good job on it. Sadly though, the 3D graphics just doesn’t cut it. At times, it felt like the characters are pasted onto the backgrounds.

Multiple Endings

I will generally write about their routes as a whole. Having an interest in Aoto is a given. There won’t be any spoilers.

  1. Saki – Wants to continue as teacher
  2. Finnel – Wants freedom.
  3. Cocona – Wants to accomplished her mission.
  4. Tyria – Wants fried bread.

Final Impression

I have no idea how I felt about the game. It’s a complex feeling. I felt that it can be so much better. There were times I really felt that the scenes were, in Malay terms, merepek and there were also times when the scenes are absolutely unnecessary, especially with all the sexual innuendos. Yes, it might be strange for a healthy man to complain about those things but they were really pointless.  It does successfully retained it’s Japanese roots, though i wish the characters are not so stereotypical. The ones that have a heroine vibe are sadly not the main characters. I have no idea if the personality of Finnel and Saki appeal to the Japanese men but if not for their multiple personalities, it’ll be a pain to finish the game. This game is good to pass the time unless you really want to get the Platinum trophy. I could not get Tyria’s ending for my first playthrough as I followed the guide which only enables it to be done in the second playthrough. Platinum trophy for this game is by far one of the most easiest to obtain though you need at least 100 hours of gameplay. The guide I followed is by Krystal K (click here) and for my Trophy guide I used stgermain’s one (click here). There are events that are easily missed so follow them religiously. All in all, game is playable but feminists and Western rpg gamers might loathe it. Last but not least, I love Tyria. Enjoy.

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First and foremost, read this blog post (http://borderhouseblog.com/?p=2901) which is found in a gaming blog where the writers are all females so as to give the readers a feminist viewpoint on games. Oh, and don’t forget the comments.

Once you’re done,  I will now address the things that irk me a hell lot in this particular blog post. I am alright if Gunthera1 (the writer) questions the moral values of the scene(s). Yes, I agree with the fact that this might be considered harassment as they only enter the shop to leer at Tiffany and it has occurred multiple times. Some of the reasoning though (to me at least), are pure nonsense. Oh, and the comments, priceless.

GAH! Did Huey just say he is only there so that he can be touched by the store owner?

Getting ‘touched’, albeit ‘accidentally’ in his case, by someone you fancy and getting butterflies and the jitters or whatnot works for both genders no? Don’t tell me you’ve never encountered such a situation before? For example “OMG! (Boy you fancy name) picked up my eraser and hand it over to me AND I ACCIDENTALLY TOUCHED HIS HANDS! KYAAAA!~” Exaggerated but you get the picture.

Even the little girl notices how the store is constantly full of these men. But her concern is quickly quieted by her mother. Are we to assume she told the daughter to be quiet because she did not want to draw attention to the situation?

If you see a bunch of men huddling in a group, would you go up to them to tell them off? Judging from your post, I bet you will. Excuse me, did you ever realize that Nymph is just a little girl? Liliana’s (her mom) top priority is to obviously protect her. Any sane mom would not want to put their child in harm’s way by interfering with things that doesn’t concern them.

This game puts the player in a situation where you see a store owner being harassed by men and there is nothing the player can do to help the situation. It is not the type of scene I was expecting in my cheerful alchemy game. In was both immersion breaking and a painful scene to watch. The game had Rorona watch all this and just walk away. Is the lesson here that sexual harassment is funny? Is the lesson here to walk away when you see this kind of behavior?

Help? HOW!? Rorona is only 14/15! Which sane teen would approach a group of grown men (assuming they all are) and tell them off. She’s too young as well to give Tiffany any form of advice. Just so you know, NPCs having names might not necessary put them to be in the main character’s friend zone. Are you a gamer that rush through her games? Even so, you should have already known the personality and character of Rorona right at the start of the game as it was portrayed clearly thus I see no fault in what she is doing.

But, watching the scene I believe the game is telling the player that this is meant to be funny. It is not funny and it not acceptable behavior.

Yes, the game is telling the player it’s meant to be funny. Have you ever heard of…I don’t know…FAN CLUBS? You know, like the sort of thing the Korean wave is doing to all the girls/women right now? Different size, same thing. I see no actual need for an elaboration here. Now, on to the comments.

Shame, the graphics look p cute.

Shame, a person like you who judge a game on a single source

The graphics are definitely wonderful!! But this scene really ruined my experience last night. I will be getting back to the game tomorrow, but this scene is now linked with how I view the game. It was a very jarring moment and remained so when I watched it today to grab the characters’ dialogue.

Too bad for you. Ironic how you seem to play a lot of games but your views remained traditional.

/me wonders what Tiffani Hildebrand thinks about the situation…

My sentiments exactly when I first view their conversations

I’m glad it’s on PS3 and I don’t have to buy/view/play it as I don’t have a PS3.

I hate those situations, I also hate situations where the main character is male and you have to sexually harass a character and the only options are Harassment A and Harassment B.

Though that situation is usually further played for laughs sometimes when you inform the wives why the husbands are in there and they go in and pull them out by the ear or beat them about the head with a pad/rolling pin. Seriously, I would just divorce them if they obviously had no interest in continuing the relationship and wanted to leer at the local shop owner WHO IS PROBABLY UNDERAGE!

I am glad you are not in the PS3 community. Heck, why are you even checking out the games if you don’t own the console? I hate those ignorant, ‘self-righteous’, self-centered idiots like you. First, you judge a game from a SINGLE post like this. Second, if people were to do as you say, there will be divorcees all over the place. Why not tell the husbands of women who adore/are a fan of those boy bands/singers/actors to get a divorce then? From your point of view, since they show a lot of interest in those superstars, ‘they obviously had no interest in continuing the relationship and wanted to leer at’ said superstars.

I have no qualms with feminists demanding rights or speaking their mind but seriously, some of their views are so biased that ironically, they are doing the things they are fighting against. Like seriously, the case with Nymph and Liliana, one would have thought you people would have understood the situation better but well…apparently not.

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I apologize if there is going to be a sudden surge in manga/manhwa reviews this holiday as manga/manhwa are easier to complete. I’ll write a game review once I complete Ar Tonelico Qoga and for anime or light novels, it depends..Hmm, maybe I’ll do a short review about the two movies I have just watched, Avengers and Men in Black 3

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