Barnestorming- Shadows of Malice in Review, Segamania, Patlabor

Barnestorming- Shadows of Malice in Review, Segamania, Patlabor Hot

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Shadows of Malice

 On the Table

Shadows of Malice should likely be considered to be one of this year’s “vanguard” designs. Chances are, at least half of you reading this won’t be interested and a quarter of you will actively hate it. But for the quarter of you that remain, this may be your favorite game of 2015. It’s an utterly compelling, leftfield design that does not feel anything like any other game out there. In some ways, it feels like a game that dropped through a wormhole from an alternate 1982. In others it feels like something from a sleek, minimalist future.

There is so much I love about this game- its vagary, its sparseness and the way it pretty much obliterates this notion that games have to have all of this stupid, ugly artwork and GW-style fluff in order to tell an actual story. This is a very different kind of fantasy game- experimental and sometimes shaky- but with a couple of ideas in it that are just genius.

Here’s the Review.

Review piles are forming…I just got in March of the Ants, which looks pretty cool but after a solo test play, it’s almost the exact opposite of everything I said above. It’s almost completely reiterative of other designs, but it has this ant thing going on that I kind of love. Bullfrogs, I thought would be a good family one but it’s really closer to something like Kahuna in that it’s brutal and unusually deep. Luchador…game comes with a freaking wrestling ring, what do you want from me?

On the Consoles

If you read pretty much any review of Codename: S.T.E.A.M., the reviewer is going to mention that the turns take too long. I saw a couple where folks said that they put the 3DS down to do something else while the aliens are moving.  So they’ve rated the game poorly based on the time spent “not playing”. Even though the wait times are not any longer than they are on XCOM or Fire Emblem.

But here’s the deal. This is a third party turn-based game sort of like Valkyria Chronicles. You do not have any kind of an overhead map. All you can see is what your characters can see, depending on their facing. YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE ALIENS MOVE BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN SEE WHERE THEY ARE. It’s a major strategic element of the design! You have to switch between characters during the alien turn to see what’s going on, and it makes it especially important to situate characters so that you have fields of vision.

But I guess most video game reviewers wouldn’t understand that, because it feels, strangely, VERY boardgame-like.

I like it quite a lot, despite the unfortunate Steampunk business. It’s hard as hell and some of the mechanics are SUPER gamey, but overall it’s a great lighter weight TBS title.

Other than that…SEGAMANIA has hit. I picked up the Sega 3D Classics on the 3DS and they have blown me away. The developer, M2, took some of Sega’s most iconic arcade titles (the ones in the giant moving cabinets) and transposed them pixel-perfect to the 3DS…and they’ve added all kinds of obsessive bells and whistles like simulating the moving cabinets and using actual sound recordings of the motors and buttons. OutRun is the newest one and it is astonishingly good. I actually haven’t played OutRun in 20 years, but oh my god that game holds up so damn well. After Burner II was probably my favorite in the 80s, it’s great to see it in action again- doing barrel rolls before Star Fox. Galaxy Force II I never actually played in the arcade because it was always like a dollar, it’s been fun so far. Super Hang-On is, like OutRun, amazingly current…and PUNISHINGLY difficult. I had to get Space Harrier too, that was my favorite arcade game for a while and I still love it to death despite how utterly shallow it is. I think these are, collectively, some of the best retro ports I’ve ever seen.

I also got the Shinobi III they did, playing through it as well.  Great stuff. That lead me to picking up a cheap copy of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection…which is really good, of course, but it’s also missing half of the games I would consider to be definitive for the console- no MUSHA, no Ghouls n’ Ghosts, no Strider, no Sword of Vermillion, no Toejam and Earl, no Alien Soldier, no Gunstar Heroes…

But it does have all three Sonics, all three Streets of Rage, Comix Zone, Ristar, Alex Kidd, all three Golden Axe games…ALTERED BEAST, which is probably the worst game ever made but who doesn’t love that awful, awful game.

For some reason I’m really interested in Gain Ground. It seems like a terrible game, but there’s something about it I really dig.

So it’s been Sega, Sega, Sega here…I actually kind of half-entertained the idea of picking up a DreamCast.

On the Screen

Go ahead and add Inside Llewyn Davis to the list of Coen Brothers movies that I absolutely care nothing whatsoever about. Made it through about 30 minutes.

More Japanimation…still going through Death Note, which I really like a lot. Very compelling story, despite some of the more teenage elements of it.

Finally watched Patlabor: The Movie. I freaking loved it. It’s such a different thing than most anime today. It’s really kind of slow paced, focused on drama, and the mecha stuff is mostly realistic and not really the focus at all. It’s more of a Michael Crichton-style techno-thriller that just happens to have mecha in it. And oh man, the mecha were awesome…I love the police styling of them, with the beacons and giant service revolvers. The story was interesting, the characters were good and I liked that there was some levity in it. I want to get more into the OVAs next.

I watched Ghost in the Shell last night I haven’t seen it since, like, 1996. Back then, I hated it. I remember just being confused and angered by it. I had a recollection of the whole thing looking milky and hazy. But then I remembered that I also saw it on a night when I had been drinking vodka and limoncello all night. On the 20 years late second chance, it’s really good- hilariously dated though. Definitely more thoughtful and sophisticated than the usual anime junk.

Record of Lodoss War…had to watch it on YouTube because the DVDs are stupid expensive…I read that it was actually inspired by one of Japan’s first D&D groups, who would publish their session reports. I remember seeing it back in the early 90s and thinking “OMG, this is just a D&D thing”…and it is. It’s fun.

On tap this week I’ve got the Macross Plus movie, which I’ve not seen before (although I saw the OAVs). Also going to start on Robotech again, I’ve seen the whole Macross part of it like six times in its entirety but it’s still an all-time favorite.

My kids are in on this too. I got them a set of the 2003 Astro Boy series and it’s REALLY good! I had kind of low expectations, but it was just like $8 at the Book Nook. The animation is awesome (especially for TV), and I think it mostly captures the Tezuka spirit even though I can tell that Astro’s dialogue and voice acting is kind of at odds with that…he’s not childlike enough and has too much attitude. Typical for US audiences, etc. But the messages are there, and the nonviolent resolutions are nice. Great robots, fun characters…money well spent.

I got Scarlett the Unico movies…which may or may not mean anything to you.

 

On Spotify

Almost exclusively listening to “No. 1 in Heaven” this week, Sparks’ record with Giorgio Mordoror. It’s amazing. Excellent cross between late disco and early synthpop. The whole time I’m playing OutRun or Super Hang-On, I’ve got “Beat the Clock” going through my head even though both have those awesome 80s funk-bass Sega music tracks.

Barnestorming- Shadows of Malice in Review, Segamania, Patlabor There Will Be Games
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Posted: 19 Mar 2015 12:33 by Sagrilarus #199758
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Wow.

For anybody just using the Fortress:At synopsis to judge Barnes' opinion of Shadows of Malice, do yourself a favor and get the full read at No High Scores. This is not his typical review.

I'll be honest -- I don't usually agree with your opinions on games. But this game changed your writing approach, focusing very heavily on the description of gameplay and elements, working your opinions into that instead of the other way around. That's telling, and you do one hell of a sales job on it in spite of your admonition that some players won't like it. It's like you're daring someone to do a shot of some liquor they've never heard of before.

So I'm thinking of buying as much because it seems to harken back to the less-structured games of the 70s as anything else. These days most game companies are trying to indemnify themselves by creating heavily structured, fully defined designs with a lot of gloss paint applied at the end. For the last few years I've played games with a guy that changes rules mid-session and is as comfortable calling a rule from memory as taking the time to look it up, and that's changed me (changed me back actually) into a much more laid-back boardgamer. I've been enjoying games more because of it. This one could be a good pickup for me and my boys, since they're essentially old enough now to play anything available on the market.

I'd be curious to hear how old the designer is and what he played in the past to inspire this approach.

S.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 12:52 by hotseatgames #199759
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Reading the review, I was reminded of the review for Duel of Ages. I already have Duel of Ages so I don't feel overly compelled to get this game. I realize they are totally different yet in my mind they still seem to occupy a similar space. Maybe that space is "quirky adventure games".
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 13:32 by San Il Defanso #199762
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That's actually my question. How close does this game relate to something like Duel of Ages II? I love that game, but it sounds like this is both less complicated, more "strategic," and less bonkers in general. It almost seems like it covers the same ground as something more adventury, like Mage Knight.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 13:56 by Black Barney #199767
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What did you watch Inside Llewyn Davis on? A smartphone with cheap headphones in the middle of a sunny day?

That movie is all about atmosphere and feeling. I felt FREEZING when he did the walk back through that Chicago parking lot after his audition. The gaslight cafe sessions were hauntingly good, i had chills.

It's tied for my favourite Coen Bros movie. i can't decide if I prefer it to No Country.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 14:04 by San Il Defanso #199769
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Alright, I reread the review, and now I'm strongly considering getting Shadows of Malice with the money I've been saving up for The Temple of Elemental Evil. That game will be on shelves for a while, but this looks like the rarest of Pokémon, and something I'd really dig.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 14:28 by SuperflyTNT #199770
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LOL, "rarest of Pokemon" for the win.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 14:33 by San Il Defanso #199771
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No points for guessing what my sons have been watching lately.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 14:37 by SuperflyTNT #199772
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I read the review, and was compelled until I reached this point:
Mike @ NHS wrote:
This is a wild, dangerous and risky design

LMAO. You shouldn't do hyperbole, because you suck at it. Saying "This game is a wild ass design that might really have made the designer look like a total asshat" is one thing, what you said is total bullshit. There's nothing dangerous about designing a game, except maybe to your wallet. A "Dangerous and Risky" Design (TM) would be your plan to go to the Million Man March on stilts, dragging a chain behind you and wearing a T shirt bearing the word "Auctioneer" in bold, block letters.

Dangerous. LMAO. That's funny.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 14:53 by Black Barney #199773
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I think Barnes is moonlighting as the header-writer for 24-hour cable news networks
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 14:55 by allismom3 #199774
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Sagrilarus wrote:
I'd be curious to hear how old the designer is and what he played in the past to inspire this approach.

S.

D&D and Zelda

entropymag.org/the-devious-weasel-interv...n-shadows-of-malice/
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 15:47 by Frohike #199779
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Sagrilarus wrote:
I'd be curious to hear how old the designer is and what he played in the past to inspire this approach.

Byron Campbell just posted an interview which answers both of those questions:

entropymag.org/the-devious-weasel-interv...n-shadows-of-malice/
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 17:19 by SuperflyTNT #199781
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The game does sound really cool and I love the idea of being able to form parties. Very neat shit right there.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 17:35 by Shellhead #199783
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Thanks in part to the pictures at Frohike's link, I understand how the random monsters are generated. But how is that information tracked? Do players need to write those stats down? Or are there components that support the documentation of stats generated for a random creature?
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 17:45 by Michael Barnes #199785
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Up to you. No specialized bookkeeping components. You could even use an olde tyme golf pencil and small pad.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 18:01 by SuperflyTNT #199786
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More games should just include character sheets and wee pencils. I hate having to keep track of a million things with tiny little circley bits.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 18:14 by Michael Barnes #199787
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Oh, come on Pete...of course the game isn't dangerous in that it's going to hurt someone...but it is dangerous in the scope of hobby game design because it's basically throwing out the established- and popular- methods for communicating setting and narrative. It's showing FFG and all of the Kickstarter carpetbaggers that you don't have to have all of these specialized components, 10 decks of cards, character back stories, etc. to effectively communicate an epic fantasy story. It also flies in the face of the prevailing notion of co-op games, which is the whole whack-a-mole, division of labor concept. Everybody in this game has one overarching goal.

It is obviously risky, because we're being asked to do something -different- with this game. Yet it is almost more back-to-basics than forward thinking, showcasing a style of game design that hasn't been popular since 15-20 years before a lot of this generation of gamers were even born.

It's also risky and dangerous in a sense because Jim Felli put up his own money, his own stake to bring this game to market. Total props for that.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 18:18 by Michael Barnes #199788
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SuperflyTNT wrote:
More games should just include character sheets and wee pencils. I hate having to keep track of a million things with tiny little circley bits.

I've been saying this for years. Screw all of these little die-cut heart counters. Just jot that shit down. I'm sure supplying a golf pencil and a pad in a game box would be much less expensive than a couple of punch boards worth of counters.

But oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth at BGG if a publisher did that...
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 18:26 by SuperflyTNT #199789
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Well, if there's any ONE thing that the pariah known as DOOM AND BLOOM: SURVIVAL got right, it's the resource tracker. A bunch of cheap glass stones laid over a stiff board with a bunch of icons and numbers. Totally makes upkeep useful.

Still, I'm all about the pencils and paper. It always pisses me off that I have to make a 50$ game a 60$ game via Plano box purchase simply because the publisher had to have 1x10^100 counters to track stupid shit that you'll lose in one turn.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 19:22 by DukeofChutney #199793
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pencil and paper in my copy of dune beats FFGs tokens anyday.

I usually think coop suck but this game has something that interests me. It understands the basic tenet of good rpg writing; show don't tell. I like stories that accept that im smart enough to read between the lines and fill the gaps and don't have to state every fact of their fiction upfront. Having said this, its still a coop.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 20:07 by Sagrilarus #199795
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Michael Barnes wrote:
. . . character back stories . . .

You know, when you put it in the list like that it makes it obvious to me why I hate modern games with characters. I don't like the characters! It's rare that the art on the card interests me all that much and I kind of like the idea of setting my own personality. If I want to play Lazy Karl then that's who I want to play, not Willie Ibn Hoojomowotz from the Lower Boozeeboos with a fangs and big ears, whose blind but sees through a rock embedded in his forehead or some other hokey-assed bullshit I outgrew when I was 14. FFG and that crowd always have you playing some freak with a "tragic flaw" to him. Having that character thrust onto me sucks, because no one ever puts Lazy Karl into their box. I can make Lazy Karl come alive dammit!

So bully for this guy for having people make up their own personalities to play with. I might just be able to manage that on my own.

This thread is bracing. I'm buying the next round.

S.
Posted: 19 Mar 2015 21:39 by Frohike #199797
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To clarify (maybe), the monsters don't need to be tracked beyond the span of the turn being played. You either win the battle or flee, with a couple of options depending upon your desperation. You can either immediately withdraw to a random hex, or you can risk enduring one more round of battle without the ability to attack (i.e. defense only) and withdraw to a hex of your choice if you survive. Once you withdraw, the form you were fighting is gone. If you re-enter the lair, or chase a Shadow down that you previously fled, you will regenerate a new adversary. So... any paper & pencil tracking you need to do is up to you but may not be as necessary as you may be thinking. I haven't needed to jot anything down yet, personally.
Posted: 20 Mar 2015 09:12 by Gary Sax #199818
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Great review this week.
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 14:15 by Sagrilarus #199852
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The Devious Weasel interview linked above (thank you both) was a good read as well. This guy has walked the same path I have, and I can hear it in everything he says. I don't do co-ops anymore, but I may need to make an exception in this case.

S.
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 18:21 by Josh Look #199856
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Sagrilarus wrote:
I don't do co-ops anymore, but I may need to make an exception in this case.

Same here, I can't stand co-ops, but this sounds pretty compelling. I ordered it.

Great review, Michael, and that interview is pretty cool, too. Makes sense that one of his favorite movies is Alien, a movie that embraces the concept of allowing your imagination to fill in the blanks in order to generate a greater effect, as that sounds like what the game does as well.
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 18:36 by Sagrilarus #199857
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Josh Look wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
I don't do co-ops anymore, but I may need to make an exception in this case.

Same here, I can't stand co-ops, but this sounds pretty compelling. I ordered it.

When's it due in? I'll stop by for a game.
Posted: 22 Mar 2015 08:20 by SuperflyTNT #199861
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Michael Barnes wrote:
Oh, come on Pete...of course the game isn't dangerous in that it's going to hurt someone...but it is dangerous in the scope of hobby game design because it's basically throwing out the established- and popular- methods for communicating setting and narrative.

Sorry, Michael, but I call bullshit. There's absolutely nothing dangerous about designing a board game or about a board game design, unless there's some political thing that might get him shot. You should've stopped with risky, as in "risk of success". Dangerous is not an adjective that works here.
It is obviously risky, because we're being asked to do something -different- with this game. Yet it is almost more back-to-basics than forward thinking, showcasing a style of game design that hasn't been popular since 15-20 years before a lot of this generation of gamers were even born.

Nope. The risk is in if you buy it or not. And actually, from your description, I don't really see much different other than the party ability. It sounds like an adventure game with a random monster generator and no pretty pictures. It almost sounds like Red Box D&D in the sense that you have to imagine everything yourself, which is cool. But it's not that far a cry from a lot of other games, again, based on your description. It's almost like Magic Realm with the ability to join up and adventure together. As an aside, I wonder how that would fly with the Alpha Gamer Syndrome...do you just dump him and say "we're not a party anymore, dickweed"?
It's also risky and dangerous in a sense because Jim Felli put up his own money, his own stake to bring this game to market. Total props for that.
That's the only risky part in all of this is the risk that consumers will not buy into it. I guess that constitutes as "dangerous to his wallet" but that's not what you meant. You were going for a hyperbolic adjective to describe "vastly different and that rocks the boat of conventional board game design" and failed, this time. Don't worry, though, you fail so infrequently that you were due.

Here, I made you something:
Dangerous-alone-take-1P.png
Posted: 22 Mar 2015 18:51 by Wetworks #199881
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Marcowargamer did a video with the developer at Gencon 2014



He also did a video review and called it one of his favorite games of 2014.
Posted: 22 Mar 2015 21:56 by Sevej #199884
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SuperflyTNT wrote:
Michael Barnes wrote:
Oh, come on Pete...of course the game isn't dangerous in that it's going to hurt someone...but it is dangerous in the scope of hobby game design because it's basically throwing out the established- and popular- methods for communicating setting and narrative.

Sorry, Michael, but I call bullshit. There's absolutely nothing dangerous about designing a board game or about a board game design, unless there's some political thing that might get him shot. You should've stopped with risky, as in "risk of success". Dangerous is not an adjective that works here.

Come on Pete, give the guy some leeway. It's not Barness without some hyperbole.
Posted: 23 Mar 2015 08:53 by SuperflyTNT #199894
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That's why I'm being a pain - he's usually better at hyperbole. We have to keep his hyperbolic barometer finely tuned or he'll end up like me or Weeks. This was done out of love, my friend. :)
Posted: 23 Mar 2015 20:46 by stoic #199919
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For some reason, Shadows of Malice reminds me very much of Barbarian Prince, but, a Barbarian Prince that is multiplayer, has cards, and is much more forgiving.

Posted: 24 Mar 2015 12:31 by Erik Twice #199932
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Don't be ashamed to like Gain Ground, it's not a bad game at all! It's some kind of blend between arcade action and strategy that really has had a lot of thought put into it. It's not everyone's cup of tea but I think it's a good game.
Posted: 24 Mar 2015 12:48 by Gary Sax #199933
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Gain Ground is one of the best genesis games IMHO, good call back...
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 08:42 by ZMan #199942
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Been watching a lot of anime on Netflix

Currently watching Full Metal Alchemist after many recommendations. Not too bad. I thought it was a high school thing but it's not and the stories get pretty gruesome at times.

Here is what I finished watching:
Attack on Titan - pretty good
Freezing - obligatory panty shots and naked breasts. But the idea was somewhat intriguing.
Magi: Labyrinth of Magic - fun and different
Psycho-Pass - very nice ideas (think minority report), especially the earlier episodes
Deadland Wonderland - Interesting. Wish it had more episodes
Knights of Sidonia - very good

Gonna watch Cowboy Bebop after Full Metal. I _think_ I saw Bebop but for the life of me I cannot remember any episodes so maybe I didn't watch it (and possibly confusing it with Trigun).
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 08:52 by charlest #199943
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Cowboy Bebop is the only anime I've been able to get into. The Blade Runner/Star Wars blend combined with the distinct soundtrack is great. Surprisingly gritty and dreary.
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 09:00 by hotseatgames #199946
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I feel confident that there will never be an anime series better than Cowboy Bebop.
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 09:16 by scrumpyjack #199949
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hotseatgames wrote:
I feel confident that there will never be an anime series better than Cowboy Bebop.

Agreed. There's so many things to recommend about it, such as the quality of the hand drawn animation, the characters, the fight scenes, etc. However I think that the music is the greatest part of the experience and the series would be worth watching solely for the soundtrack.
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 10:40 by Michael Barnes #199953
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Awesome, internet peer validation! I just ordered a used copy of the Cowboy Bebop box set. I sort of wrote it off back when it was current (15 years ago, really?) but I keep hearing that it is among the best of the best, and that is the tier I am interested in. I also hear that it's actually ADULT in that it's mature and is about adults, not the usual teenybop junk.

I haven't even thought of watching Full Metal Alchemist, it looked pretty teenage but if Zev gives it the high sign...Psycho-Pass looked pretty good, was thinking about putting it on the list somewhere down the line.

I'm actually watching the Yamato 2199 series now, I had just seen like the first five before. I am just completely blown away by it. It is EXACTLY what any fan of Yamato/Star Blazers would want out of a modern reboot. And then some. There is so much detail that I am just totally in love with. It is very, very much a NAVAL show, which is cool as hell because the lingo, tactics, technical detail and so forth is all naval junk. The Yamato actually fires artillery shells in this one too. The only thing that's a little off is that even the larger ships move like fighters.

But OMG, the mechanical design...the ships are GORGEOUS. Totally paying homage to the classic Matsumoto design styles. The Cosmo Fighters are up there with X-Wings and Vipers.

And I gotta say, when they first show the Yamato buried under its "camoflague and the first couple of bars of the theme played...misty eyed.

Also really love how they've handled the Gamilas/Gamalons...obviously Third Reich-influenced, but they are portrayed as actual people with differing motives, goals, agendas and degrees of morality and honor.

Great, great show. You can pick up a grey market DVD set on eBay for like $20.
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 11:49 by Shellhead #199954
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I am not a big anime fan, but my girlfriend is, so I have watched a fair amount of it. My favorites include everything by Miyazaki, Samurai Champloo, Samurai 7, and Ghost in the Shell. Texhnolyze started out great, but had some pacing problems in the final episodes, after nearly everybody was dead.

For years, I heard great things from friends about Cowboy Bebop. I finally got around to watching it last year, and I was disappointed. The music was great, but the plots were sometimes thin, and I couldn't relate to any of the characters. Overall, I think that Cowboy Bebop was a triumph of style over substance, and the substance was thin. Oddly enough, my favorite episode focused on my least favorite character, the frantically annoying Radical Edward. For one episode, her random antics made sense, and I liked that.

Aside from the great music, the only thing that I really appreciated about Cowboy Bebop was that it was the obvious inspiration for Firefly.
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 12:51 by Frohike #199955
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On the subject of anime, look into Mushi-Shi if you get the chance.

To me, it enters the same uncanny-sublime space that Princess Mononoke does with the Forest Spirit scenes and also the handling of extra-human/natural forces that are parasitic but also symbiotic. It's definitely worth checking out.

www.iterationsofcid.net/2009/06/on-sublime.html
Posted: 25 Mar 2015 14:44 by Michael Barnes #199958
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WOW. Thanks for that recommendation, Frohike. I just watched the first episode, that was absolutely lovely. It's kind of a cross between Kwaidan, traditional fairy folklore, and Hellblazer. I think I might be buying that DVD set too.
Posted: 26 Mar 2015 12:09 by ZMan #199985
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Michael Barnes wrote:
WOW. Thanks for that recommendation, Frohike. I just watched the first episode, that was absolutely lovely. It's kind of a cross between Kwaidan, traditional fairy folklore, and Hellblazer. I think I might be buying that DVD set too.

Yeah I will have to check it out as well.

Found the site Crunchyroll (well I knew about it I just never visited it) and I might have to subscribe. Not sure yet. It has stuff Netflix does not.

also, gotta give a shout out to Sword Art Online - the first half of the series. Very cool concept and I thought well done. Basically, all these players are trapped in a virtual MMO and if you die within this world you die in real life (set in the future, you have these special virtual headgear - that were rigged to kill you when you die in-game). Object: get to the top level and defeat the main boss. It is wonderful to see how societies form within the MMO as they see no way out but to survive until someone clears the last level.

And getting back to Crunchyroll, I just saw they have Sword Art Online 2 and I saw the first episode and I would love to see more.
Posted: 26 Mar 2015 18:12 by Frohike #199995
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Crunchyroll has a habit of randomly phasing out seasons of a show that I'm still in the (slow) process of watching, but they're pretty good.

By the way, it looks like there's a second season of Mushi-Shi that slipped under my radar:

anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=10384

It doesn't look like it's available through US distribution yet. I'll probably just watch the fansubs via bakabt or wherever until I can buy it.

Edit: I would also recommend checking out Monster, though it's a long series (74 eps) so it requires some time investment. I'm not sure how readily available it is through legit channels any more.

anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=1539
Posted: 26 Mar 2015 20:30 by ZMan #200001
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Friend of mine just dropped off 6 volumes of cowboy bebeop dvds and the movie. Still gonna finish full metal but bebop will definitely be next.
Then mushishi and sword art online 2.

In a perfect world.

But I'll get through what I can.