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March 31, 2014

Anime Review - Kill La Kill

Synopsis: In a high school where students possess uniforms that give them various powers and abilities, student council president Kiryuuin Satsuki rules by force. However, a transfer student named Matoi Ryuuko stands in her way, wielding a scissor sword and a superpowered school uniform.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Wonderfully Fabricated Story: 9
The story starts off with a bang, and it continues like that from one episode to the next, with little to no fillers (yeah!). I have seen memes where the costume makes the character, but this anime really uses that as its foundation. Although this starts off as a simple journey for revenge, the story diverges into an intricate plot for survival. The massive plot twists, fanatic villains and other underlining themes also add richness to the story line. 
Jean-ius Art : 9
The art is rough, chaotic, and vibrant with its colours and character design. The animation is the strongest aspect of this show. Again, the rough, chaotic and playful elements make an energetic combination. The huge block kanji characters are also a nice touch, especially when the names are ridiculously long. A first, it is a little weird, but it plays well with the story.

The block kanji and the fanservice.
Velvety Soundtrack : 10
There are very few moments where there is no music in the background. The soundtrack ranges from rock, pop, jazz and even classical with William Tell Overture. The voice actresses for the main characters are perfect for their roles: Ami Koshimizu and her powerfully aggressive voice for Ryuuko, Ryouka Suzuki with her elegant leader voice for Satsuki, and Aya Suzaki with her aloof voice for Mako. The entire cast has been well selected, and it is evident throughout the show.

Well-Knitted Characters : 10
Let me start off with this: Mako is the best character. Her "inspirational" moments are hilarious and truly reflect her awesome role as the supportive best friend. Ryuuko and Satsuki are also powerful lead characters with their ambitions and emotions perfectly developed. The supporting groups of Nudist Beach and the Elite Four each have their own odd personalities but that adds to the uniqueness of their characters. Nui Harime and other person (can't say, it would be spoiler) also play their roles of the cynical villain a little too well that it is scary. All of the characters in Kill La Kill are excellent and are the driving force of this anime.

Mako interrupts the battle with her "inspiration" moment.
A Little Revealing : 10
Okay, I am not a big fan of the ecchi, and I wanted to drop the anime after the first couple of episodes. But the fast-paced story line, the powerful soundtrack and the awesome characters drew me back. The relationships between Satsuki and the Elite Four, and Ryuuko and Mako were done spectacularly. The occasional plot twists made me hang onto the edge of my seat and, I kid you not, I stayed up until 5am marathoning the anime whilst writing this. The thing that I loved most about this anime was the powerful soundtrack; it fit with each scene beautifully. It added the extra emotion, having the hero theme play whenever Ryuuko was going to do something bad-ass or the heart-racing excerpts during the fight scenes. Wonderfully done and I truly loved it.

Overall : Masterpiece (10)
As I started watching Kill La Kill, I would have never expected to have rated this anime so highly. The action-packed story, plot twists, wonderful characters, fitting music, and unexpected humour creates a splendid combination. If you do plan on watching, I suggest you have enough time because you will likely marathon this anime like I did. I highly recommend this anime to anyone who enjoyed Gurren Lagann, and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt.

The best gang possible :)

Until next time,
sana_salim

March 29, 2014

Seiyuu appreciation post - Miyano Mamoru

Anime Review - Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai

Synopsis: Yuuta Togashi suffered from chuunibyou while he was in middle school. When he graduated, he put that dark history behind him and forgot about it... or he was supposed to. High school was smooth sailing and full of enjoyment—until the unavoidable, sad event occurs. The event that locks Yuuta into a contract with Rikka Takanashi and disrupts his desperately ordinary life. Is having a chuuni girlfriend too high of a hurdle for Yuuta, who never even went out with a normal girl?! Yuuta worries about how to advance his relationship with Rikka. Furthermore, the cause of his chuunibyou outburst in middle school, the girl who calls herself Sophia Ring Saturn the 7th, Satone Shichimiya appears... 
(Source: back of first novel and Animax)
Note : This is for season one and two. Synopsis has been edited in order to account for that. 


Childish Story : 8
The story revolves around Yuuta, a boy who wants to hide his chuunibyou past and Rikka, a girl who is desperately trying to recover that past. The two decide to start a club, whose name ultimately becomes "The Far Eastern Magic Nap Society of Summer". The comedic moments of embarrassment and of argument within the club lighten the mood of this romantic slice-of-life. In the second season, the focus is more on the romantic relationship between Rikka and Yuuta. However, when a new girl from Yuuta's past walks in, Rikka experience what jealousy is for the first time. Before the relationship can fall apart, Rikka's friends gain-up on Yuuta, in an attempt to hurry things up. Hilarious moments follow and the story from there takes an emotional path, developing and investigating what a relationship truly is. 

Good Art : 8
Although the anime is produced by KyoAni, it does not carry the same quality of art as their previous works. That is not to say that it is good quality, but I was expecting more from KyoAni. The chuunibyou battle scenes were amazingly animated. The luminous and contrasting colours really help make the difference between reality and the alternate universe.


Decent Soundtrack : 8
The opening and ending songs are okay, though they are not anything unique, except for the first ending song, "INSIDE IDENTITY". The background music was quiet and melodic, fitting in nicely with its respective scene. The voice actors were appropriate matches for their characters. Fukuyama Jun did an excellent job as always. Uchida Maaya also did a terrific job voicing Rikka, successfully saying "Schwarz Sechs Prototype Mark II" in her cute Engrish voice.

Playful Characters: 9
Their chuunibyou-ion selves are a delight to watch and their interactions with each other are also quite amusing: Yuuta (playfully) hitting Rikka whenever she says something stupid, and Dekomori taunting Nibutani into admitting that she is indeed a fake Mori Summer. Rikka's character undergoes the most development of all the characters: her family life, her chuunibyou self, and her romantic life. For her, she has no idea what being in a relationship means, so she checks the Internet for advice. Hilarity ensues but you see a confused human side to her as she tries to comprehend what being in love is. 

A frustrated Rikka after she searched what love is on the internet.
Really Enjoyed It: 9
Okay, so maybe Chuunibyou is not the greatest of anime. However, there was always something in the show that pulled me to watching the next episode. In the first season, it was the comedic elements and the hope of Rikka and Yuuta actually acknowledging their feelings. In the second season, it was simply to watch Rikka. Her understanding of love is restricted by her chuunibyou but the confused ideas she has are powerful and struck a cord in me. Yuuta does not pressure her and instead, decides to go against his friend's advice and take things slowly. Let me say, that that decision made the ending a whole lot sweeter. 

Overall : Very Good (8)
Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai is a entertaining romcom anime by KyoAni. It will make you smile, laugh and may make you tear up at times. One can experience first-hand the blossoming of a powerful relationship between two excellent characters. I recommend this anime to anyone who has watched Kimi Ni Todoke and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.




Until next time,
sana_salim

Ubuntu 14.04 Beta Downloads Go Live

Unity Spread Gets New Filter Feature

The sole beta build of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has been made available to download, and comes packed with a whole heap of improvements to the Unity desktop.

Arriving ahead of its April 17 street date, the beta gives users an advance peek of what’s on the way, and developers some much needed last-minute feedback.


You can check out all the new stuff over at OMG! Ubuntu!

March 28, 2014

Anime Review - Gin No Saji


Synopsis : Yugo Hachiken dreams of life separated from his family, so he takes the initiative by enrolling in an agriculture school. He thinks, with his talent in studying, no problems will arise no matter what kind of school he attends. He is proven wrong very quickly. Raised as a city boy, he is forced to uncover the inconvenient truth about agricultural life. Enjoy the story of Hachiken, as he tries to keep up with his new friends, farmers' heirs, who are already accustomed to the harsh world of farming. With no clear goals or understanding of farming life, how will Hachiken survive this new, cruel reality? The story of a sweat, tear, and mud-stained youth begins!
(Source: MAL)

Note : This review is for season one and two, and will include me comparing this to FMA in hopes of convincing you guys to watch this series!

Farm-tastic Story : 10
The creator of this anime is Hiromu Arakawa, mangaka of the very successful Fullmetal Alchemist industry. The same important life lessons and concepts as FMA are present, though in a slice-of-life anime. The viewer follows Hachiken through his struggles as a student in a unknown agricultural life. In an attempt to escape from his past, he immerses himself completely in school life (sometimes a little too much), whether it be the class practicums, with his friends or his club activities. His past ideology about the "easy farm life" is challenged and corrected through  his experiences. With this changing mentally, he hopes to use it to better his character and confront his family that he is not a failure.


Welcome to your first day, Hachiken-kun! 

Straight-to-the-point Art : 8
The art is similar to Fullmetal Alchemist, in the sense that the art is nothing spectacular but fits the mood of the anime. The facial expressions are quite amusing, and I keep thinking of FMA's ridiculous reactions whenever I see Hachiken's and Mikage's reactions. The scenery is nothing to really brag about. It is simple and is somewhat dissolved, in terms of colour, in order to make the characters really stand it. Though, the food art is really well-done (haha food pun). The animation and art of the second ending song are beautiful, the way the transitions emphasizes the song's beat.


Barn-Roof Raising Music : 10
The opening and ending songs are wisely picked. They all have a country-vibe to them, fitting to the anime. The endings are definitely more pleasant on the ears, especially Goose House's "Oto No Naru Hou E". The background music does its job perfectly, adding the extra emotion that words cannot convey. The voice actors are well-suited for their characters. I love Ryouhei Kimura's raspy voice and how his voice matches Hachiken's voice in my head as I read the manga.

Incredible Characters : 9
The characters in Silver Spoon are great. They are typical high school students, except for the parts where the students need to wake up at 4am on a regular basis. They are hilarious to watch, especially their reactions. Hachiken's character is interesting, as his city-views bring a new perspective to the farm-raised students, and it is great watching their ideas and values collide. It really drives his character development. The other characters, except for Mikage, do not really have any development and slowly fade from the anime time to time.

A look of determination that wasn't there before.
Fell in Love : 10
I truly enjoyed this anime. From the very first episode to the very last. The interesting facts about farm life were delivered in such a way that I am tempted to go and work part-time on a farm. The shaky relationship between Hachiken and his family bring the wonderful vibe down to a realistic point of view. I also love the development of his character. It was done at a steady pace over the two seasons. The soundtrack was awesome as well, especially the second ending. I currently have it on repeat as I am writing this :)

Overall : Very Great (9)
Silver Spoon was my favourite anime this past year. The unique storyline, hilarious characters, and wonderful soundtrack was a wonderful combination. The viewer experiences a roller coaster of emotions, from sympathy, to humour, to tears, to pride, and so many more. Seeing the group of friends evolve and strengthen their bonds together is heart-warming and makes me want to make the most out of my school years. I highly recommend this anime to anyone who enjoyed Fullmetal Alchemist and Uchouten Kazoku. If you have watched the series and liked it, the Silver Spoon Movie was released in Japan on March 7th, so look forward to the translated version!

When Hachiken learns where an egg comes from. . .

Until next time,
sana_salim

March 27, 2014

Gackt appreciation post


That smile, that pose, that voice.
He is perfection.
My perfection.
Source: http://gackt-and-dears.com/free/staffblog/?id=1395855582

MeMuMo: Geronimo by Sheppard

Title: Geronimo
Artist: Sheppard
Year: 2014
Comments: Sheppard is an indie pop band in Brisbane that are seriously pumping out some catchy tunes such as this new song just released last week called 'Geronimo'. It is a seriously simple yet catchy tune with easy to remember lyrics. Give it a go, and support your local indie band!

March 26, 2014

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd announced for Western release!

Following a fantastic reception to the PS3 and PS VITA release of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F in North America and Europe, SEGA has announced that it will be bringing Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd to the West later this year!


Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd will be released this fall for both the Playstation 3 and the Playstation VITA. Project DIVA F 2nd features similar but improved gameplay over the first game, with a whopping 40 songs – a collection of the best new songs, and some of the most loved classic songs, previously only available in the Japanese releases.

Besides 40 songs and four difficulties for each in the Rhythm Game, players can look forward to the return of the impressive Edit Mode feature, which lets you build your very own videos and Rhythm games using all of the in-game assets, and share them online with the world. It has seen notable improvements over the first version, not that I used the first version at all.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd Announcement

Another great announcement regarding Project Diva F 2nd is that the game will be releasing as a packaged version for both the Playstation 3 and the PS VITA! The original Project Diva f only had a packaged release for the PS3 version whilst Vita owners had digital download only. However, with recent feedback from a majority of PDf players, SEGA has decided to release a packaged version of the game!

More information about the western release of Project Diva F 2nd will be available at E3, but for now, keep playing Project Diva f if you haven't already got it!

[via SEGA]

Anime Review - Noragami

Synopsis: 
Yato, a minor god, dreams to become the most revered deity in the world with big shrine and all. However, being a penniless god that he is, he has a long way to go and his shinki leaving him doesn't help matter. Later, when he does his job, a high school girl named Hiyori Iki pushes him out of the way of a speeding bus; unaware of his status as deity.
Things get complicated when this incident triggers abnormality in Hiyori's soul, causing her to make an Astral Projection whenever she falls unconscious. To turn herself back to normal, Hiyori must help Yato becoming a better god who can fix the problem, along with Yato's new shinki, Yukine.
(Source: TV Tropes)


Good Story : 7
I originally expected something along the lines of "kill demon, become powerful, and then save the girl's life". However, the story focuses more on the daily and political aspect of the gods in a light-hearted manner. The comedy and the romance, and the action is well-balanced and not over-bearing at all. The aspect of friendship and human bonds is explored and challenged, which mentally pushes the character. The negatives I have is that Yukine's character was explored a little too deeply in comparison to the other characters. The arc division is unbalanced; less time was given for the second arc. As well, they are several unanswered questions that hindered me from really understanding the show.

Delightful Art : 8
The character design in Noragami is simple yet effective. None of the characters truly stand out but their design is unique enough to differentiate from other anime characters. The animation during the battles are smooth and have a certain air of intensity to them. Also, those vivid eyes are marvelous.


Powerful Soundtrack : 8
The opening song and ending song are powerful and effective. The music in the action scenes add more intensity and a sense of urgency. The background music pieces during thoughtful scenes were quietly powerful, somewhat contradictory but that is the best way I can describe it.
The voice actors were well-selected. I keep thinking of Eren (Yuki) and Levi (HiroC) from Attack on Titan, and Shizuo (OnoD) and Izaya (HiroC). And Uchia Maaya does an excellent job at playing a somewhat aloof yet intelligent character.

Hilarious Characters That Make You Smile : 10
If you watch or have watched Noragami and you do not or have not fallen in love with the characters, you likely are a Heartless (yeah Kingdom Hearts!). The characters are the best aspect of this anime. They are enjoyable to watch and interact in a goofy manner. My only wish is that more background information was given about Yukine's past life, but I like the mysterious element.

Dat face :D
Enjoyment Level : 9
There are several unanswered questions but the mysterious elements make the show that more intriguing. The witty commentary exchanged between the characters remind me of my friend circle. On that same note, the desperation to belong somewhere also reminds me of my friend circle. For the longest time, I had similar feelings as Yukine showed in episode eight (though I was not as destructive) so that scene worked me up emotional. Funny how the little scenes impact your emotional state.

Overall : Very Good (8)
Noragami is an great light-hearted action and romcom anime. The show was enticing to watch during its every moment. The biggest negative about this show was the fact that it was twelve episodes. If it was twenty-five then I doubt this problem would have existed. Either way, I recommend this anime to viewers who enjoyed Blood Lad or Kyoukai No Kanata.



Until next time,
sana_salim

March 25, 2014

Google Now rolling out to Chrome desktop users

Google now

You might have seen Google Now for Chrome on desktop in the tech news or on someone's beta Chome build. But now, you can finally get your hands on Google Now! You won't need to change any settings or flags or do any sort of tweaking, but you will need to be on the latest version of Chrome — which you should be anyway for security reasons. Once Google Now for Chrome is available for you, you use it just like you would on the phone, with reminders and cards in your tray, and voice commands through the Google website.

March 24, 2014

The power of Hoozuki-sama

People have been avoiding me lately.

Error 404

Jokes aside, this is a serious issue. I hope they find the plane or more clues soon.

March 23, 2014

March 20, 2014

Wooser S2 - Episode 11 [v.P]

Last Wooser episode next week.

Check out Moto 360: The smartwatch


If you watched the previous video on the blog, you would have been introduced to the new smartwatch concept featuring Android Wear. Moto 360 aims to bring the traditional watch integrated with the latest technology to bring you the ultimate accessory piece. Check out the reveal and design inspirational video above!

March 19, 2014

A Google Smartwatch: Android Wear


Google is dipping its toes into the wearables world with Android Wear.

In a blog post on Tuesday, the Internet titan unwrapped the details of a modified version of its mobile Android operating system. The OS will be heavily based on its Google Now voice-recognition technology, and it's designed to be applied to wearables, with the initial push being smartwatches.

Google also introduced LG, Asus, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung as hardware partners to utilize Android Wear, and Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, MediaTek, and Qualcomm as chip partners. The Fossil Group will bring Android Wear-powered watches later this year.

[via CNET]

March 18, 2014

[PDf] Miku + Luka Pocky Game


Since I am playing Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f on my PS Vita, I've decided to capture as many screenshots as I can that I find interesting in the game. I'll be posting pictures as much as I can. But first up, here is one of the more funnier loading screens featured in the game. It's the Pocky Game being played by chibi Miku and Luka.

March 16, 2014

Seiyuu appreciation post: Kamiya Hiroshi + Kaji Yuuki

SEGA Themed Humble Bundle Now Available For $5.99


SEGA has announced its new themed Humble Bundle available until March 20th with proceeds going to charity. Players will be able to pick up four classic titles for less than $5.99 while donating more will get players even more titles.

For more information regarding Humble Bundle, log on to www.humblebundle.com. For more information about SEGA, log on to www.sega.com.

March 15, 2014

Need for Speed Movie: A Review


Synopsis:
Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.

Review:
I don't normally do reviews, but as I am a huge Need for Speed fan, I feel that I must make my voice heard about the recently released movie of the same name as the game: Need for Speed. In short, the movie is pretty much a 130 minute video of fast cars and little dialogue. You wouldn't play a NFS game for the story, so why watch the movie with the same mindset?

The movie itself isn't so spectacular either. Don't expect flashy effects or heavy CGI-driven scenes. Mainly though, the movie tries to play itself more realistic than ever. The main character himself isn't so appealing or memorable at the very most. We are talking about more of a silent, cool type of person that only has 'revenge' on his mind. The villain was portrayed well and you could feel your hate brewing for him.

Casting aside, the execution of the racing and the cars was well done. The movie was pretty much an intense adrenaline rush of oncoming traffic and tight corners. You really need to brace yourself as most of the soundtrack composes of loud revving and burning tires on asphalt. Which isn't a bad thing if you are a NFS gamer. If not, you will get bored quite easily.

Aside from the soundtrack, the locations and environments were well directed and shot beautifully. You are given wide landscapes shots from urban city streets, the red desert, ocean drives and outback sceneries. Quite the amazing shot with a tiny Mustang driving along on the road.

Overall, I would give this movie a 7/10, and that is being generous as a NFS fan. I kind of understand why this movie is different from other similar type movies (such as Fast & Furious) because it tries to portray more "realism" in the cars and racing rather than an entertaining over-the-top action movie involving cars and weapons.

March 14, 2014

Google Drive cuts plan prices, 100GB for just $1.99 a month

Google-Drive

Starting today, Google is significantly cutting down the cost of Google Drive storage. While you still get the same 15GB for free, you can now jump up to a sizable 100GB for just $1.99 (previously $4.99) a month.

For those looking for 1TB of data, you’ll see a savings of 80% over what Google used to charge. Instead of shelling out $50 a month, you’ll now only have to pay $9.99 — which is an impressive amount of space for the money. Need 10 TB or more? You can get 10TB for $99.99 a month, with an additional $10 per additional TB. The max available storage space size is 30TB.

With the new price cuts, Google Drive’s storage offerings just became a hell of a lot more competitive. In comparison, Box’s pro pricing is 100GB for $9.99, $19.99 for 200GB and $49.99 for 500GB. Turning to Microsoft’s OneDrive you’ll find 7GB for free, 50GB for $25, 100GB for $50 and 200GB for $100.

drive-pricing

March 13, 2014

Google pushes minor updates to a handful of apps

Google Updates

Google has pushed out a few updates today, most of them very minor. This usually happens every Wednesday. So grab your phone/tablet and start updating your apps now!

Here is a list of changes:
  • Google Translate recieved an update to enable handwriting support for 13 new languages — Arabic, Bosnian, Cebuano, Gujarati, Hmong, Kannada, Maltese, Mongolian, Persian, Punjabi, Somali, Tamil, and Telugu.
  • YouTube now allows you to reply to comments from the app.
  • Maps was updated with bug fixes and upcoming events when you search out a place by name.
  • Chromecast was updated with bug fixes, and the settings were moved into the side menu as we've seen with other Google applications.
  • Chrome Beta just got some bug fixes and the usual stability improvements.
  • Wallet purchases made with the service can now be tracked and managed right from the app.

Get Ready for Angry Birds Epic


Earlier this week Rovio began teasing us about a new game, revealing very little other than showing us a bird in medieval armor and telling us the title would see a soft launch in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Thanks to gaming site Kotaku, we now learn the new title will be called Angry Birds Epic, and it’s an RPG.

Rovio’s Angry Bird Epic will be launching first for iOS users in Australia and Canada later this week (no mention of New Zealand this time), and will globally launch on Android, iOS and Windows Phone a bit later down the road.


As for the core gameplay? Epic features a turn-based RPG mechanic with some form of a storyline and a crafting system that will allow you to improve your armor and weapons as you progress through the game. As to be expected, you can certainly craft without paying a cent, but there will be in-app purchases to help your efforts along.

[via Android Authority]

Ubuntu 14.04 Default Wallpaper Now Available to Download


For those wishing to get the default wallpaper of Ubuntu 14.04, you can download it now here

The wallpaper is 2560 x 1600 and is a little over 2MB.

Other wallpapers are currently in the selection process and won't be released till much later.

In my opinion, the wallpaper is one again plain and simple with the mixture of orange and purple. I rather the Linux Mint wallpapers than the Ubuntu ones any day.

March 7, 2014

Humble Weekly Sale spotlights PopCap with Peggle, Plants vs. Zombies


This week's Humble Weekly Sale focuses on casual games developer extraordinaire PopCap Games, serving up downloadable copies of Peggle, Plants vs. Zombies, and other favorites plucked from the studio's back catalog.

Buyers who pay at least $1 for the bundle will receive Steam and Origin copies of PopCap's pachinko-puzzler hybrid Peggle, match-three gem-buster Bejeweled 3, word-stringing puzzle game Bookworm, hidden-object adventure Escape Rosecliff Island, and sealife evolution sim Feeding Frenzy Deluxe.

Chip in more than $6 and you'll also get the Game of the Year Edition of PopCap's tower defense strategy game Plants vs. Zombies, DLC expansion Peggle Nights, and color-matching puzzler Zuma's Revenge. PopCap owner Electronic Arts is donating all bundle proceeds to The V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Melanoma Research Alliance.

[via Joystiq]