Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Once upon a time, this dude named Ueda Fumito made this not famous PS2 game called Ico, a puzzle game about a boy rescuing a girl and it is one of the greatest games ever. I replayed two years ago and it still stood the test of time. He followed it up with another critically acclaimed game, Shadow of the Colossus. Unfortunately, Shadow of the Colossus was marred with a camera that caused me a lot headaches and I could not finish it.
The Last Guardian was announced at the beginning of PS3's lifespan 7 years ago and finally the Japanese version was released yesterday and I managed to complete it in one day.
The Last Guardian otherwise known as 'The Man eating giant eagle Toriko' in Japan is a game about a boy and his oversized dog eagle thing. You control the boy and have no control over Trico. All you can do is point, yell, stamp your feet, praise Trico but Trico has a mind of his own.
Sometimes Trico is so damn smart and will point you to obvious clues and sometimes he won't jump towards the hole in the wall you are pointing at no matter how many times you gesticulate. Trying to get Trico to do things can be maddening but it is part of the magic of feeling like you are adventuring with a real animal.
And real magic happens when the boy or try work to save each other. The bond that these two characters form is just so real and you'll laugh and cheer and maybe shed a tear when these two characters risk their lives for each other. After having my life saved by Trico plenty of times, I could not get angry at him for not listening to my commands and running to the otherside to wade in some water.
Now, there are two negatives. First is the camera. Luckily its bad like Shadow of the Colossus's snapback camera with a mind of its own but I do appreciate how hard it is to have a camera system work for two characters, one of which is huge and plenty of small spaces. Its not gamebreaking but it can get irritating.
The second is frame rate. There are some scenes where the frame rate dips below 20, especially outdoors. I don't know why they couldn't get it optimised but I blame Trico's beautiful feathers. Many times I found myself just watching Trico doing whatever because he's just a magnificent creature.
Other than that, The Last Guardian is basically Ico 2 with a big pet. No one makes big budget games like this anymore. I hope The Last Guardian will sell a bazillion units so Ueda Fumito can create more works of art.
I preordered the Australian special edition which cames with the statue (yes I double dipped so I could play the game one day early) and the game comes out tomorrow so I will update this post with pictures of it tomorrow.
Saturday, December 03, 2016
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Speaking of Kiseki no Hito, I just realised the theme song, Hone (Bones) is available on the net for download! Just google for 銀杏BOYZ骨mp3 and its the first link!! Too bad the song is not available on DAM or Joysound. :( That was a fun show to watch.
What's next? A jdorama about an ex-yakuza who runs into the daughter of his childhood friend and he must protect her from the bad people? One can hope.
Mamagoto is a big deal not just because its got Ando Sakura who is one of Japan's best actresses along with Matsushima Hikari but because the director is Nakata Hideo, director of Ringu and Dark Water.
Visually so far, Mamagoto has not been special. Its got a raw sort of quality to the visuals but nothing impressive but you can tell it doesn't have the budget.
I like that the kid is not your usual trying to be cute and actually acting like an adult kid. However, there is something about the kid's acting that bugs me. I'm no expert about 5 year old kids but sometimes his acting seems very fake. Ando Sakura is good as the demon old lady with a sad past whose heart gets melted by the kid.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Homonji has a army of supporting characters:
1) Kung fu butler Kensei
2) Yet another actress who is too young to play a police officer in Tsuchiya Tao doing the Imaizumi role.
3) A pair of police detectives who don't do any investigating including one the irritating one who says random English words all the time,
4) Aristocratic sister
5) Nakatani Miki as the criminally underutilised coroner who is smitten with Homonji's IQ.
Nothing wrong with a huge supporting cast except they all get a lot of screen time and IQ246 feels very crowded to the point that the mystery feels like an afterthought.
Oh yes, the mysteries. Like Furuhata Ninzaburo, we get to see how the crimes are committed and its about how Homonji solves the case. The list of high profile guest stars is certainly impressive and I'm tempted to watch episode 4 for Kuninaka Ryoko but the first three episodes seem to be about the mystery serving the various supporting characters rather than the other way around and it made for a tiring viewing.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Sunday, November 20, 2016
NHK and WOWOW shows usually look prettier than the rest but Unmei ni, Nita Koi also uses some nice camera movements cause most of the time, jdoramas are limited to static shots. There's a scene where the main guy, Yuri is walking out the door. The camera follows him and he says something at the doorway and then it moves back to the main girl, Kasumi's face to show her reaction.
There's also a scene when Kasumi is running up some stairs and the camera tracks her movement from outside to building up to up the stairs from a side viewpoint. Its small things like this where the director is more about shooting talking heads that I appreciate.
This ties into point 3 which is:
Firstly its because she's not a 'how can you know what I feel?' villain. Secondly its that her hate towards Kasumi feels like a commentary on so many woe is me heroines of this genre and Kasumi gives her a great answer.
I just enjoy watching Yamaguchi Sakura chewing the scenary.
There's not a lot of humour but when its there is funny including some puns. I thought the stalker girl subplot would be annoying but it was a good comedy respite from the serious story.
This is hard to explain but one of my most hated phrases is 'to face yourself or the problem'. (Jibun wo mukiau) Its been used in way too many things and there are plenty of cliched phrases when that just get used all the time. Those Dr Phil moments when a character somehow has to spell out the obvious thing.
There are quite a few Dr Phil moments when I think to myself, 'I've never heard it delivered that way before' or that it felt like the character talking. There are so many lines that I liked like the one above about artists and bosoms. :)
None of that 10-12 episode trendy dorama format.
There is scene from the above screencap when Yamaguchi Sakura realises something and her face goes from sneering smile to horror.
I enjoyed the hell out of Unmei ni, Nita Koi and watched the 8 episode in one shot. Unmei ni , nita Koi is almost a must watch and its rare to find such a well done older woman romance jdorama.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
That said, the English music selection is just wrong. I love Bon Jovi's Always but it did not fit the ending of the episode. I know they are playing hit music from the year that the crimes were committed but at least choose a Japanese song.
The star of the episode is Santamaria Yusuke who played a great foil for our heroes. Someone needs to reedit the episodes and replace the ending English songs with Japanese ones. I vote that Always be swapped with Mr Children's Tomorrow Never Knows or Spitz's Robinson.