Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Game Review

Atelier Escha and Logy Alchemists of the Dusk Sky cover

Ho, ho, ho.^^/

I got the Escha game for my birthday back in June but I didn’t play it straightaway. Within these past few months I decided to chill out and one day have a proper go at this game, and I got very addicted, I must say. I always wanted to have a game where it is proper anime related. Escha and Logy is part of the Atelier game series, and the anime also aired at the same time as this game release.

This is the first time that I’m going to give a full account of a game. Instead of trying to tick the rights boxes for a “review” I’m just going to go on one of those typical banters that I enjoy so much. =D

  1. REVIEW

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

I played Escha’s route for the first time which resulted in a bad ending. I played Escha’s route again with more experience under my bet…got another bad ending! I tried Escha’s route for the third time and got a good ending! Wohoo! I chose the ending, “So hungry…”.

I like the story and gameplay of this. I enjoyed synthesizing items whilst playing as Escha. She synthesized items like bombs, accessories, potions, food, healing items and windmill parts. She is the traditional alchemist, whereas Logy is the modern type alchemist. He synthesizes weapons and armour. I found synthesizing to be fairly easy. It took time to get used to but I found it fairly simple once I got used to it. To me, it’s all about applying the correct ingredients and using the correct elements for creating an item. It may not make any sense, but I know what I’m talking about. Haha!

The fighting is very good as well. You can’t exactly pause during the battles but during each fighter’s turn, I find, you can take your time to decide your next move. It’s fast paced and you can gauge up support attacks depending on your success of moves. There is also an addition special attack called “Double Draw” which can only be achieved once Escha and Logy become closer in their friendship.

The characters are all good too and all have their own unique story routes. They all have funky style of clothes. I especially like Escha’s style. She is impeccably cute. I love her puppy eyes, pink hair and her fluffy tail. Plus, she is voiced by Rie Murakawa, who voices Hotarun from Non Non Biyori! That alone makes her my favourite character of the Atelier franchise, haha. But even without that fact, she is still probably my favourite character. Her voice matches her appearance and personality, full of enthusiasm and somewhat childish innocence. Ironically, Hotarun is voiced more mature then Escha and she [Hotarun] is in the fifth grade.

All the girls are cute, Wilbell, Linca and Marion especially, but I have to say that Threia is drop dead, hubba, hubba, gorgeous. I’m happy to be her assistant anytime. 😉

It’s cool that they showed the animated scenes, especially the clips when they showed Escha and co travelling to the Unexplored Ruins. They would also show picture clips every now and then. My favourite ones tend to involve Escha and Linca. Linca is mightily powerful but is very shy when it comes to socialising with others, and I feel that the illustrations really show that.

Ahem, back to the gameplay…

I’m just genuinely enjoying this game. What I figured out is that buffing up your equipment and weapons is more important than the fighter’s level. I was able to beat that Altegewalt but I couldn’t knock off Dreadnaught or the Child of Disaster. I figured out that my equipment were more immune to the dragon’s attacks but not immune to the other two. I got up to level 67 but didn’t have the best armour and weapon etc. I did manage to strengthen my attacking and healing weapons though. =)

I’m doing this for the fourth time so I can get another ending with Escha since she has several endings routes. I should probably start with Logy…but I decided not to. I like Escha much, much more. Haha. In all seriousness, I made plenty of mistakes but I’m much wiser for it. It’s all about buffing up your battle items, your weapons, and your battle wear. It also helps if you chose the strongest foe when you go out to fight. And, if you’re short on items just get those cute creatures, the Homonculi, to create exact replicas…it has saved me bundles of trouble. =)

  1. CONCLUSION

For me, I enjoy the little things about this game. I enjoy listening to the music, looking at the scenes and listening to the characters. Sometimes, I would just sit down and watch Escha. When she’s not active she would twirl and sway from side to side. I find that cute to watch. I especially like it how she exclaims “BARREL!” in Japanese. The music is tranquil to listen to, almost as tranquil as the soundtrack from Non Non Biyori. =)

It sort of came to the point of where I could just play this game all the time, hence why I’m starting again. If you complete one route you can start again but the information from completing one game will carry over. Will this be a game over? Or will I be able to clear this route successfully? Only one way to find out, start playing! =D

I give this game, Two Thumbs-Up.^^/ (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

THANKS FOR READING

Escha Synthesizing

When it comes to reviewing games I got it in my head that I was going to review Senran Kagura Burst and Super Mario first. However, since I’m playing Escha I figured that it only made sense to review it whilst I’m in the zone of playing it. =)

Thanks for reading. =)

Happy Christmas.^^/

Ryan.

Monster Musume Volume Two Review

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Konbanwa.^^/

I am delighted to see MonMusu[1] volume 3, which is now on sale, is selling very well. It is now number two in the New York Times, previously number one for three weeks. It was knocked off the top by Dragonar Academy, which is also licensed by Seven Seas.^^/

I’m very impressed with Seven Seas recently, it was announced that they have licensed both D-Frag and No Game No Life. I really enjoyed the D-Frag anime and I get the feeling that I’m going to enjoy the manga. So, I pre-ordered the manga on Amazon. =D

Ahem-

Let’s roll with the review before I get anymore off topic. 😉

 

1. SUMMARY OF THE PLOT… IN MY OWN WORDS

Ms Smith has revealed to Kimihito that the government are looking for test subjects that involve a human marrying a liminal… I’m sure you gather what this will entail. 😉 Basically Kimihito now has the choice of marrying one of his house guests, and likewise, all of his house guests are currently fighting for his affection so they can be his number one lady… alas, things never transpire as smoothly as they or Kimihito would have liked. Until now Kimihito has been holding back his urges since he’s a gentleman and law abiding…but now that he has a choice in the matter, it will beg the question, can Kimihito keep his urges under wraps? You will need to read it to find out.

 

2. STORY

I feel that the story now has a clear purpose. The ultimate plot I suppose was eluded to at the end of the volume one book. That purpose involves Kimihito choosing one of his house liminal guests to be his future wife…if he so desires.

This is definitely in my top five all-time favourite manga, even though I’ve already read two volumes of this franchise. I just connected with this story very quickly. It’s my kind of story and I really love the unique characters and their design. Whilst it’s borderline soft-core I feel that they are used at appropriate times. The stimulating art goes extremely well with the comedy. The comedy is used in both the slapstick comedy (visual) and the funny quips and puns used in dialogue (verbally).

If the comedy elements were absent then I don’t think I would have enjoyed this as much. One of the charms of the story is how self-aware it is. The cast often make parody references and puns about their own kind.

At times there was some nail-biting stuff that bought me to the edge of my seat. I was nervous about what was going to happen but by the end of it, my worries soothed. I laughed more than worried when I read this volume.

 

2.1. Harem

Spoiler alert…

Kimihito’s harem is strong and it looks like it’s going to get bigger and stronger than before. Manga that have harem elements usually end with three options.

  1. The main male/female chooses the lady/gentleman at the end.
  2. Open-end
  3. Bigamy or, the main male/female choosing everyone.

It will be interesting to see how the harem route plays out. At the minute Kimihito is opting to go on dates with everyone in order to bond with the girls. So, at this moment in time, it is difficult to tell how this will end. I’m anticipating many more female characters to appear before we have an idea where the story is going.

It showed that the girls are willing to ‘share’ Kimihito whilst under the influence of the full moon.

I personally always prefer either the harem route or the open-ended route. I don’t support the guy being with more than one girl, just because I don’t like seeing any girl get heart-broken.^^

 

2.2. Theme/Genre

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi
  • Fantasy
  • Harem
  • Romance
  • Seinen
  • Slice of Life

 

3. CHARACTERS

3.1. Recurring Characters

I feel that I’ve learned a little bit more about the recurring characters, we got an insight into their hobbies, backgrounds, likes/dislikes and so on. There was quite a bit of extra information plus an additional story at the back of the book.

I really do admire Kimihito for keeping his libido in check but I also admire him for treating the girls very nicely. In this type of harem manga there’s not many guys like Kimihito who would embrace a house full of girls straight away. Yet, he adapted more or less straightaway. He did freak out when it came to marriage but he eventually manned-up and apologised for over-reacting.

Ms Smith is still as useless as ever, but, deep down I know she has a good heart…maybe. XD She was especially funny in chapter 10.

 

3.2. New Characters

3.2.1. Meron Lorelei

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A very gentle lady, the kind of gentle character that I felt was needed. All the female cast can be innocent in their own way but none of them are exactly what you would describe as gentle. Meron fits this bill to a tee.

I had some sort of inkling that she was going to be a mermaid, or at least some kind of sea creature. She looks very pretty, especially her fin-like ears. I found them very cute. I bet Miia is going to see her as extra competition, especially since they have similar body figures. 😉 Perhaps they’re going to be strong rivals at some point?

I noticed that she dresses like a maid. I wonder if this is a cheesy pun because the ‘maid’ is part of the ‘mermaid’. I wouldn’t be surprised since all the cast have puns in their names in one way or another.

I like her. It was a nice twist in chapter ten when it came to the whole illegal species drama involving Suu.

I envisage her voice to be soft spoken, sweet, gentle, and well-mannered and a touch curious. Add humble to the equation too. If this turned into an anime then I would propose she would be voiced by either Satomi Akesaka or possibly Rie Murakawa. They both have sweet and polite voices and they add a calming and soft charisma to their characters. =)

 

3.2.2. Suu

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Everyone on the internet highly anticipated a slime girl to make an appearance in MonMusu, the same slime that appeared in Okayado’s Hentai one-shots. I too wanted to see that very same slime girl in this manga, and we all got our wish, we all got Suu. =D

I simply adore her, her personality, her design and her overall uniqueness. She is definitely one of the most unique characters that I have ever come across. Because she’s a slime, she has the ability to transform into any form. She can shape herself as petite as Papi, or as curvy as Miia and as busty as Centorea.

She can be very deadly, but at the same time, she is definitely the most innocent. It makes me wonder if she actually has a mind of her own or if she just simply imitates what she sees. Thinking and observing is one thing, but, does she actually harbour any feelings? In my opinion, she does. Her reactions are very positive and cute; she reacted strongly when she and Papi were above the water. She was afraid, and being afraid is an emotion. Emotion is a feeling. So, I deduce that she imitates whilst having feelings.

As strange as this may sound, I actually envisage her with a mature voice. Since she imitates others it makes me wonder if she’ll imitate other people’s voices as well. I don’t necessarily picture Suu imitating voices but more like imitating their tones and expressions. If this turned into an anime then this could be similar to the case with Eucliwood Hellscythe from Is This a Zombie? In that show Eu has about 20 different VAs, since Ayumu keeps on visualising her with different voices each time. XD I can’t see Suu being used in this way though.

Her abilities are superbly unique and if she was as smart as Centorea then I bet she could conquer the world… whilst avoiding water.

 

4. ART

The art is such fun to look at. I like the overall design of the characters and style; it matches very well with this kind of story. I mentioned it above but the comedy and the art really go hand-in-hand. They literally bounce off each other. There are many borderline soft-core moments, and one moment which is definitely rude…but that moment is ‘covered’ up by another panel. So, if you’re thinking of reading it you will need to prepare yourself to see cheeky situations. Haha.

I especially like the characters when they’re pulling funny faces, particularly Miia’s. Looking at Miia grimacing and pulling all kinds of faces literally cracks me up every time. For someone so pretty she shouldn’t be capable of pulling funny faces. XD One minute the visuals show her being very silly and the next it shows her being frisky in the bedroom. Wink, wink.

There are a few inconsistences though- like the penultimate page of chapter 8. Miia’s ear is supposed to be shaded (depicting red) but at the bottom panel it’s just a blank. Sometimes the scales on Miia’s face are absent and not drawn on. It’s a similar case to Naruto from Naruto really. He has whisker marks on his face but sometimes his marks disappear.

Still, little stumbles hardly matter though, at least to me. The whole point of this style is to make the girls attractive and titillating and Okayado does this extremely well.

Strangely, I like how he draws Kimihito, especially his eyes. Usually they’re just round and white, but they become visible if he’s experiencing a strong emotion or he’s in a serious situation. It’s as though we are being told when the situation is serious. Perhaps it’s a form of symbolism? Either that or it’s a cop out since Okayado would prefer giving more detail to the ladies then the guys? And if that’s true who can blame him? XD

 

5. ANIME

I’m certain that Monster Musume will get an Anime adaptation at some point in time, possibly next year. However, the more I think about it, the more I get the impression that it will receive commission for an OVA/special instead of an actual TV series.

Really, it all depends on which studio decides to sign up MonMusu as well as there being many other factors to consider. How are they going to animate it? Who will be the artist? How much funds do they have to produce it? Who is going to voice who? Which composer are they going to hire? In some ways, depending on the choice of studio the Monster Musume anime would be either a hit or miss. It’s all pure speculation though, but I’m definitely crossing my fingers that the right people will commission MonMusu.^^

I think Aniplex, same studio as the Monogatari show, would be best suited for MonMusu. However, I get the impression that it will be a toss between Xebec, Studio Dean and Gonzo.

Saitou Hisashi I think could do a good job at directing Monster Musume. He was the same director who directed Heaven’s Lost Property, Bamboo Blade and Haganai. My reason being, his creativity when it comes to directing and animation.

 

6. CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM… IF ANY

I don’t think I really have the heart to criticise this manga since I always focus on the stuff I really like, but, I’m giving it a shot!

Although I’m used to it by now I must say I find unfortunate that manga is printed in paperback. It’s very sad to see my manga being bent into unnatural shapes. =( Cue the violin music…

Ahem-

The term ‘monster girl’ has been thrown round quite loosely in the story itself, even by the liminal themselves. So really, there’s no real issue here, especially since it’s not a serious story. However, the term ‘monster girl’ seems to be rather demeaning. It’s like saying that the ‘monster people’ are inferior to humans, both in genes and appearance.

I suppose it’s the kind of society where the humans are still getting to know the liminals. Some welcome them with open arms, others, not so much. In some ways this situation is very similar to the case with the Mutants from the X-Men franchise.

Still, none of the ‘monster girls’ seem to take offence so all is good. Haha.

 

7. CONCLUSION

I enjoyed this just as much as the first volume book. Great art, funny scenarios, unexpected twists and good character development all round. I would have given this score higher then two thumbs if it were possible. Since it isn’t I’m just going to give this two thumbs up. =)

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8. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Okayado., 2014. Monster Musume Volume Two. Los Angeles: Seven Seas.

Okayado Twitter Page., 2014. @Okayado1215. [online] Available at:

<http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=267014&gt; [Accessed 6 June 2014]

Okayado Pixiv Page., 2014. [online] Available at:

<http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=267014&gt; [Accessed 6 June 2014]

 

9. OFF-TOPIC NONSENSE

I just thought I’d share this video that I found on my random browsing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PNr5bYfGBI[2]

This link is actually advertising the Monster Musume manga. It is a rather fun video. Ka-wai-i. XD

 

10. SAYONARA

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Hope you folks enjoyed reading my review as much as I enjoyed writing it. I had to keep on restraining some of my opinions since I don’t want to spoil the story…which is a very bad habit of mine. XD

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] Acronym for Monster Musume

[2] Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou Commercial. Asimofufan. Published 29 Jun 2013. [Accessed 06/06/2014]