Let me introduce you — Heart of Deimos =)

The entire studio (except me of course) worked really hard and I think it’s going the best-looking level in the game yet. For what it’s worth — the demo is using our new, optional, renderer, which we showed off for the first time last year =)

My wife thinks that the best Evangelion AMV is “Engel” but I know that there’s only one right answer and this is it:

I found this music video on a CD with various Eva stuff about 15 years ago and watched it probably a hundred times — I think it perfectly represents the mood of the anime (and of course I never cried watching it, no-no-no, that would’ve been an insult to my masculinity). I don’t have that disc anymore and had no idea what the name of the song was or what band performed it, so it turned out to be quite a task to find it again — hopefully it’ll be safe here from now on =)

今日から俺は!

Cromartie High School is one of my favorite anime of all times and it seems I found its predecessor! I was going to watch this OVA with a not very fancy name “Starting today I will…” for a long time but because it’s not available legally on any of the countless streaming services and because I’d been too lazy to use, you know, alternative sources — it had to wait

Like in Cromartie the main characters of Kyou Kara are delinquents. Like in Cromartie they chose that path deliberately. Although whereas Kamiyama was tough mostly just in the collective imagination of everyone around him (okay, fair, he was quite a dumbass from the beginning and blended in perfectly), Itou and Mitsuhashi are actual bad boyz. Itou kind of reminded me of Kiryu-san from the Yakuza series. He is a great fighter but at the same time he has ideals and principles and often gets in brawls protecting someone. He even found a girlfriend! Mitsuhashi on the other hand… Oh boy. He is the main star of this show. He doesn’t think that anything can be “too much”. Run away leaving comrades behind? Easily. A chance to sucker punch someone? Huh, thank you very much. Blame someone else in every situation you got caught? Always. He’s a good boy, that Mitsuhashi.

Back to comparisons with Cromartie. That anime was pretty much a pure comedy. “Starting today…” is 50/50 fights and jokes and at this point I have to bright up Yakuza again. The motto of this anime is “Whatever a situation might be — there is always a violent solution!” The restless duo will fight everybody at every opportunity, just like all of Kiryu’s quests always end up the same. It’s not bad, especially because despite their amount the fights are not very repetitive.

The last but not least — Kyou Kara Ore Wa! was coming out from 1992 to 1997, so it’s also a dose of good old visuals. And good old subtitles! I watched this anime with a fan sub and it was awesome! Overall, it is a really enjoyable OVA, worth the time I spent on it and living up to the high scores all 6000 people who watched it left on MAL =) upd: 6001

Imai was about to find his true love!

Upd2: damn, there’s a live action!

Weathering With You

Sadly, there’s not much to write about this anime. Well, on the one hand Weathering With You is definitely a step forward comparing to the previous Shinkai’s movie, Your Name. Whereas I almost fell asleep watching 君の名は, the first hour of 天気の子 was pretty decent. It was cute, especially when the sunshine girl began working, sometimes funny and, all in all, pretty lighthearted despite the heavy rain soaking Tokyo wet. And I have to mention that, of course, this anime is gorgeous — it’s a Shinkai’s work after all. I read once that he is the best when it’s about drawing sky, wires and kettles. There are not so mane kettles in Weathering With You but plenty of sky — you’re going to like it.

On the other hand, we got a full package from this, no doubts, very talented director and artist. “Only today, if you’re buying our amazing visuals — you’re getting a boring plot and messy ending for free!” The last third of the anime, starting with a typhoon in the city, is a drag. It’s full of cliche, it’s predictable, it’s boring!

However, this time it’s only the last half an hour, so maybe there’s a chance that the next movie will truly live up to the expectations Shinkai set with his short movies, which I admire and not ashamed to admit that.

Wave Listen to Me!

A good main character automatically makes any anime 48% more interesting, that’s a scientific fact. Koda Minare is that key factor for this anime about… her life mostly =) Her unique personality, voice and talent to get into troubles made me patiently wait until Friday every week and happily witness yet another odd story, real or imaginary.

Just in the course of 12 episodes we saw Minare-san getting fired from a curry restaurant, finding a new job as a radio host, moving to a new place, settling scores with her former boyfriend, figuring out the mystery of the blood dripping from the ceiling in her neighbor’s apartment and, in general, living every day like it’s the last one =)

The story of her ascendance as a radio personality could’ve become another shounen-like trope, with a young strong woman overcoming her shyness and avoiding traps set by her evil competitors at the station. Luckily Minare doesn’t probably know what “shy” means. Her motto is virtually “do now, will think about that later” and she’s quite successful as a host from the very beginning, despite having to come up with her monologues herself. She takes the world of late-night radio programs by storm, thanks to her untamed imagination and not being able to keep anything for herself.

On top of everything , “Wave Listen to Me!” is funny. Again, mostly thanks to Minare and her over-the-top reactions to whatever she faces, whether it’s a confession, the origin of her name, a new job or a situation when a turtle just shat in your mouth. A fun anime for adults about adults, with great lines here and there and nice characters — I keep my hopes high for the second season! *crossed-fingers.jpg*

Just three words about the NHL draft lottery — poor Red Wings. I don’t care much about this team and I kind of hoped that Ottawa would win the lottery but going from the first to the fourth position — it’s brutal. They were legitimately bad the entire season and I wouldn’t even say they were tanking — they played just really terribly. Lafreniere, if he’s actually the player everyone thinks he is, would help them tremendously.

The idea that a good team will get a star player is also ridiculous. I’ve always thought that the lottery system is better than simply assigning picks in the reverse order but c’mon! We should draw a line somewhere. Any team that has made it to this round is pretty solid. Yeah, there are some outcasts, like Montreal, Columbus or even Rangers — but even these teams are virtually composed of all-stars comparing to the Red Wings or Sens.

Sing “Yesterday” For Me

Damn fucking shit! I can’t even describe how disappointed I am by the last episode of this anime! For 11 weeks it was awesome, I looked forward to the moment when finally Shinako and Rikuo would be together, was rooting for them and there was a glimmer of hope that their relationships had a chance. We even almost got there… only to see them breaking up the last moment. Okay, it would’ve been fine! It would’ve been realistic and expected end of this story. After all, shit happens and it’s really difficult to move from friendship to something else. It was obvious that Shinako wasn’t sure whether she needed that bothersome thing called “relationships”. It would’ve been such a sad but logical and mature ending when all four main characters end up being single but having gained new experience and maybe a new perspective in life. Instead our two adults immediately ran to their underage admirers, confessed and started going out with them. Happy fucking end. Fuck.

P.S. At least I can be happy for Kinoshita. He was an all-around nice guy, and thankfully embarked on a tour with his band just in time, avoiding all that dumpster fire of an ending.

Kakushigoto

Kumeta Koji likes puns. I mean even if someone didn’t notice that after Sayionara, Zetsubou-sensei!, Joshiraku or Katte Ni Kaizou — Kakushigoto, the newest anime based on the manga of this super talented author, will be dropping puns on you at such an alarming rate that it’ll be impossible to unsee.

Starting with the very name, which has at least 3 meanings here. The first one is the most obvious — the name of the main character is Kakushi Goto. There we go. 書くmeans “to write” and 仕事 — well, we hear this word in anime all the time, “work”, a reference to his profession as a manga artist. The funny thing is that there’s also a word 隠し事 which is also pronounced as “kakushigoto” and means “a secret” — which is simply perfect for this anime!

Anyway, Kakushigoto is not only about joking and punning around. It’s about little cute details and cute characters. Hime is super cute. Their dog, Roku, who certainly has a seiyu, is cute. Hime’s homeroom teacher looking for suspicious guys around (“Stranger-Danger!”) is also cute. Even the air-headed editor, firmly believing that he’s doing an amazing job, Tomaruin, is oddly nice.

Kakushigoto is surprisingly slow-paced and family-friendly despite the fact that the Goto-sensei draws lewd manga. Yeah, here and there we have these amazing Itoshiki-sensei-style dialogues and they are undoubtedly one of the staples of this show — but to a huge extent it’s just a story about a small family of two (oh, sorry, Roku, three of course!), their relationships and their daily life.

What’s even more surprising is that in the 12th episode we got a logical conclusion of the story. In a comedy anime consisting of only 12 episodes, with virtually no plot! Mind blowing =) A great show and another gem of this amazing season.

I guess NHL 20 is sort of my MMO game. I’ve never played an online game consistently before but considering that I waste at least an hour every day on this game, follow the news, read the forums and even know of some prominent members of the community… well, it’s what people do when they are obsessed with an MMORPG, right? =)

I even started playing HUT, the mode I’d been avoiding for years — turns out that if you don’t touch the online component there it’s quite fun! (And I even got a Brian Leetch card, one of my favorite players).

Anyway, after pouring countless hours down that hole I’m still having fun with it but there’s still a few things in the game I’d like to see improved (with the inevitable release of the NHL 21).

Gameplay: kill the hustle button. Nerf L2 twirls and puck protection when you’re gliding with it on your forehand. Allow more aggressive poke checks. Hits could use some tweaking as well. The puck should bounce more. Blind passes are way too successful, as well as blind interceptions (the way you can stop the puck should be more consistent in general). There’s also a couple of 90%-success-rate ways to score a goal, not sure if it’s possible to nerf them but would be great as well. Tune up how much players attributes affect their behavior on the ice. And a very vague thing — better AI.

Goalie controls should be more intuitive and fluid. I began playing Be a Pro as a goalie and… it’s a pain. Major pain. The way you’re moving in the crease is inconvenient and kind of unpredictable. I can’t envy guys who play this position in EASHL.

Faster menus! Yeah, surprisingly this is a problem. In HUT and World of CHEL you need to go through tons of menus all the time and it gets annoying pretty quickly.

Non-arcade 3v3 against the CPU or other players. A mode to play on the same arenas as in Drop-Ins wearing casual cloths but controlling the entire team =) A blacklist in the World of CHEL mode.

More reasons to play online versus — division system or tournaments maybe.

An option to choose a different lenght of the season in “Season mode”. Playing 82 games honestly is pretty brutal =)

I know that also people want “GM Connected” and roster sharing, if I’m not sure what to think about the former — the latter would definitely be helpful. But first and foremost — gameplay tweaks!

We’ll see soon I guess how much the new game will be different comparing to the current one. I keep my expectations low but you never know, maybe the EA NHL community will be pleasantly surprised soon =)