October 31, 2012

Anime Review: Ouran Koukou Host Club

Let me tell you this: if you do not like (or can't handle) mushy love, reverse harems, bishies and the such; don't bother with this anime. Seriously though. Aside from that, the story is actually quite good and there were plenty of hilarious moments to entertain yourself with.

Ouran Koukou Host ClubSynopsis:

Fujioka Haruhi won a scholarship to attend Ouran Academy, a school reserved for the rich and prestigious. Despite what other students may think of her, Haruhi cares little for physical appearances or the fact that she is a commoner. Unfortunately for Haruhi, her high school days took a turn when she stumbled upon the Host Club, an elite club for the super rich and beautiful boys who use their specific traits and charms to entertain young ladies. Even worse was that Haruhi had accidentally broken an 8 million yen vase in the club. Unable to repay her debt with money, Haruhi found herself with no choice but to work for the Host Club, becoming a male host herself.


I finally got around to watch this anime. Seriously though, it took me a lot of courage and boredom to actually start this anime. Why? Well I knew it was going to be funny, but the thought of sappy love along with  bishies that spout out cliche statements isn't really my piece of cake. So, after finishing off most of my anime backlog, I decided to give Ouran Koukou Host Club a shot. I must say after watching the series; it was actually quite good. Honestly though, the anime is saturated with roses, sparkly effects and overly cliche dialogue. That though, doesn't really out you off the anime completely, but does disturb your mind a bit. Well, enough talk about the overall presentation, now on to the story! The story is basically about a girl named Fujioka Haruhi which won a scholarship to a prestigious high school for rich kids. Being a commoner, she strives to stay a low profile in the school which results in her stumbling across the Host Club; and elite club for the super rich and beautiful boys who use specific traits and charms to entertain young ladies. How did she end up being in that club? She broke 8 million yen vase to be exact and now to repay her debt she has to work in the club. Thus begins the colorful and eventful life of Haruhi (dressed as a boy) and her Host  Club friends. The anime is 26 episodes long and you start to wonder how the anime will keep you entertained for that long despite being all mushy? Well it does, in fact, it throws in some plot twists, your typical beach and school trip episodes, and family rivalry. The anime does well to entertain and captivate your attention.

The art was quite good for the anime. Even though I watched it in standard definition, the quality of artwork and the presentation of dreamy moments were simply spectacular. The characters obviously looked unrealistic, but skewered to being extremely cliche attractive and appealing. I must say that the anime does use a lot of roses and sparkly effects so be wary of that. Though, if you are a guy and someone walked past whilst you were watching this, it would be pretty awkward indeed (since this anime is really aimed at the shoujo audience). However some scenes had a solid blue color for the sky which looked a bit unrealistic.

The voice acting was quite good for some characters whilst others had some minor annoyances (such as Renge's obnoxious laugh). The theme songs were somewhat catchy and suited the anime pretty well. The sound effects were appropriate and were pretty standard.

I didn't mind Haruhi dressed up as a guy and doing what Host Club members do, and she is pretty down-to-earth and smart. Really though, I didn't really find any of the characters that memorable or appealing to me. Let me explain why: Tamaki is a huge idiot and pretty dense when it comes to love, the Hitachiin twins just gross me out, Mitsukuni is just a lolita boy which slightly annoys me, Kyouka is just a money freak. None of the characters in this anime are actually "normal", so you will have to deal with a lot of clashing personalities. Though, I didn't really mind the type of characters that were presented in the anime but I'm sure they appeal a lot to girls. (Not to mention the constant 'XD' and squeals from girls in every scene)

Overall, I must say that I enjoyed the comedy part of this anime. I didn't really care about the characters that much nor the club itself. However, just watching the characters get all embarrassed and extremely awkward in some situations is quite entertaining. In the end, this is definitely suited for the shoujo audience and not really for guys to watch (unless you can handle all those 'cute' stuff).


ART: 7





October 2012 Recap

So what happened in the month of October?

To start off, the announcement of Steam for Linux on October 2nd was well received and early awaited for its arrival.

As if games weren't enough, Sony launched it's PlayStation Mobile service on 4 October bringing more games to the Android platform.
October 11th was the day that Google Play Magazines was finally available for purchase in Australia. This beings another service to the Play Store app.

19 October was the day that Ubuntu 12.10 was released along with the announcement to the next version, Ubuntu 13.04.

Another OS to launch this month was Microsoft's Windows 8. It was released on 26 October and was released worldwide.

Well, this is the end of another month with plenty of new releases and updates.

What's new in Android 4.2

Android 4.2 UI
With the huge bunch of Nexus news today, it almost seems as though the latest release of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean, hasn't gotten too much press. Rest assured, Google still packed a whole bunch of new features into the latest Android release.
  • Photo Sphere: A new way to capture panorama photos, Photo Sphere creates huge multi-shot scrollable images very similar to those found in Google Maps Street View.
  • Gesture Typing: Lots of comparisons being made to the third party Swype keyboard, and rightfully so. You can now type by tracing the words on the keyboard with a single finger.
  • Multiple User Support: A feature that many people have been asking for, Android 4.2 now supports multiple user logins on a single tablet device. Widgets, wallpapers and even game save states are all tied to the unique user logins.
  • Wireless Screen Sharing: Watch YouTube videos, movies and anything that's on your screen to an HDTV with a wireless HDMI adapter.
  • Daydream: Setup your tablet to display photos, news and more while the device is idle or docked.
  • Expandable, Actionable Notifications: First introduced in Android 4.1, improved in Android 4.2. Interact with apps directly from the notification pane.
  • Google Now: A headline feature coming with the first release of Jelly Bean, Google Now is getting revamped with new kinds of cards and improved interactions.

October 30, 2012

Scene it: Little Busters!

Yet another Miku cameo appearance?
This time it's from Little Busters! It's quite an enjoyable slice-of-life anime which involves a group of close knit friends trying to form a baseball club.

Hatsune Miku Puts Her Windows 8 Problems to Song

A key feature of Windows 8 is that it's designed to worked seamlessly with touch screens. In a new hobonichiP song, Hatsune Miku waited patiently in one of those Akihabara lines, picked up a copy of the new OS, followed the instructions diligently and found "Even though I installed Windows 8, my screen won't become a touch panel."

"Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn" Clip Creates Characters

Square Enix's latest look at Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn—the retooled version of their FFMMO—focuses on character customization. Races currently available in the alpha build include Hyur (Midlander - Male) and Miqo'te (Seeker of the Sun - Female), with class selection covering Archer, Lancer, or Conjurer. See some of the creation options in action below.

Source: Crunchyroll

FOOL’S MATE Ceases Publication

In the latest issue of FOOL’S MATE, one of the most known Japanese Visual Kei magazines, you can find a note from the editor saying that after 35 years the magazine will cease publication. They didn’t give a specific reasons for not continuing the production.

The first issue of FOOL’S MATE was printed in 1977, the last issue will be published in December 2012.

Source: jpopasia

October 29, 2012

Pumpkin's first encounter with her drawing tablet

Kise Ryouta from Kuroko no Basuke
Tablet: Wacom Bamboo Manga
Time: <2.5 hours

Q: Was it difficult trying to get used to drawing with a tablet?
A: It wasn't as hard as I expected, I got the hang of it after 10 minutes of messing around and configuring the tablet.

Q: How does drawing on tablet compare with pencil?
A: Well obviously the major difference is that you have to stare at the computer screen to see what you are drawing rather than looking down at your piece of paper. In this aspect, it wasn't hard to adjust at all. For colouring, it definitely feels different trying to colour with a tablet versus shading with colouring pencils. I guess the feeling from your hands is different. With shading with pencils, you have to constantly shift the angle of the tip to get the type of lines you want to draw, but with a tablet you just adjust the option bars to get the desired thickness/angle etc.

Q: Was buying a tablet worth it?
A: Definitely. It's a totally different drawing experience. My only problem is that my neck hurts from using the computer too long.

Q: What program did you use to colour?
A: I used the program that came with the tablet called OpenCanvas Lite. It has the basic functions similar to Photoshop and Gimp. It took me a while to navigate around the buttons, but again, it was just a matter of getting used to it.

Q: What's next?
A: I want to keep honing my colouring skills. More bishies fanart. And if my motivation doesn't lose out, my own manga.

HTC One X (international) Jelly Bean roll out begins

Jelly Bean for the international versions of the HTC One X has begun pushing out, but the situation is a bit complicated. Rather than being pushed to all phones in a particular region, HTC pushes out updates to certain devices based on their CID (Customer ID) in each region. For example, phones with a CID of htc__612 are sold to carriers in Taiwan, and they started receiving their OTA last night. Alternatively, my unlocked phone with a CID of htc__044 hasn't received it yet, even though it's also sold in Taiwan (among other locales). I told you it was complicated.

What we know now is that the mentioned phones with htc__612 CIDs are receiving the OTA update as we speak, and HTC has informed me that the Jelly Bean update for all phones in Asia and Europe is "rolling out now".

If you've hacked your Tegra3 One X, you understand all of this and know where to look for information about rolling back and getting the OTA. If you haven't hacked your phone, just know that the Jelly Bean OTA is in process. Hopefully we'll all see it soon, as a few early reports say it's extremely fast and makes a great phone even better.

[via Android Central]

Scene it! Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu.

Well, it is pretty rare to see a Vocaloid figure doing a cameo appearance in anime, and there has been a few anime that do feature Hatsune Miku in some quick scenes. One anime which featured Hatsune Miku doing a cameo appearance would be Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. Here we also see the back of her, but no doubt it is Miku! I instantly recognized her the moment I saw that scene.
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu is a romantic comedy anime featuring students with super powers based on their intellectual levels. Miku's cameo appearance happens in episode 11. You can read my review of the anime here.

October 28, 2012

How to get your Google back after installing Windows 8

If you have (accidentally) upgraded to Windows 8 and miss your Google by any chance, here is a easy and simply way to pin Google to your Start screen and install Google Chrome.
Google's website for Windows 8
The website, getyourgoogleback.com says that it should only take 2 minutes to install and pin the official Google Search app for Windows 8, as well as Google Chrome to your Start screen.

The 1-minute video is bound to make you feel good (which is probably intentional by Google) and you can watch it below.

Google Maps updated to show terrain and vegetation features

google maps
If you are a regular Google Maps user, you might know that the service offers a distinct Terrain layer, which shows various geographical features such as vegetation (forests), deserts, or mountain ranges.

Now Google (which has been improving the Maps service at a blistering pace lately) has merged the terrain layer into the default view, making it easier for outdoorsy users to find their way around. The improved app now shows terrain, color variations to depict vegetation, and labels for major natural land formations.

The Maps team provided examples of the difference between the old style maps and the improved ones, and some of them are quite striking.
Google Maps before the update
Google Maps after the update
[via Android Authority]

October 27, 2012

Your chance to test Steam on Linux

What to test Steam on Linux? Now's your chance!

Valve today launched a 'Steam for Linux Survey' which is a short questionnaire potential users fill out to inform Valve of their hardware, software and OS set-ups.

They say:
"We're looking for Linux gamers to install and test our new Steam for Linux client."
A thousand or so respondents to the survey will be chosen, all of whom will get the chance to put Steam for Linux Beta through its paces ahead of a wider non-limited release that’s expected before the year is out.

The ‘limited beta client’ itself has yet to be released – though Valve say to expect it ‘shortly’.

Yesterday we revealed that Valve may have something up their sleeve for next weeks Ubuntu Developer Summit.

The survey is short and to the point. You’ll need a Steam account to login and complete it.

Know Your Meme: Cicada Block (蝉ドン- Semi Don)

Alibaba and Mor from Magi.
From Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Lately, there has been an spam influx of (fan)artworks on the net of similar nature to the pictures displayed above. The style of the pictures consists of a person trapped in the corner of two walls by another who pushes against the walls using all their limbs.

Crunchyroll gives an explanation of this meme:

Cicada Block, known as “Semi-Don” (Japanese: 蝉ドン, lit. Cicada Bam) in Japan, is the physical act of trapping someone in a corner by pressing one’s hands and feet against the adjacent walls to form a one-man barricade, mimicking a perched cicada insect.

The block was first introduced on Twitter and later spread to the Japanese artist community pixiv and Tumblr, where it spawned a series of crossover fanart featuring other well-known video game and anime characters.

“Semi-Don” is originally a mere joke for a typical moe situation like these images below, which are mostly shown in Japanese comics for girls. And around September 2012, this situation became to be called as “Kabe-Don” (壁ドン, lit. Wall Bam) on the Japanese web, which is a connected word of Kabe, a wall, and Don (Bam), the sound of wildly putting hands or feet on it.

The first appearance of the phrase “Semi-don” was a 4 paned picture in a tweet posted by a Japanese user named Naruse, Hatoh (成瀬ハトゥ) in October 13th, 2012.

1. Standard Kabe-Don
2. Kinda Wild Kabe-Don
3. Tender Kabe-Don
4. Semi-Don
A friend of mine said he/she liked 4.

This funny maneuver wasn’t her original invention because the same pose was appeared in an other online gag comic in 2008.[2] However, this tweet had scored 24000+ retweets and 8500+ favorites within its first week due to her very catchy naming to this pose “Semi-Don”.

A quick Google search will give you many results of this style of meme for your favourite anime/manga characters. Alternatively, feel free to explore picture gallery sites such as Pixiv or Zerochan for more pictures.

Anime Review: Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate

You may think this might just be another lovey-dovey dramatic romance anime, but actually, it is just more than your standard love triangle and cliched love. Rather, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate is all about unrealized love, elections, and chocolate.

Koi to Senkyo to ChocolateSynopsis:

In Japan, participation in extra-curricular activities is as fundamental a part of an education as chalk and gym shorts. However, not all students are overachievers, and for those like Yuki Ojima, groups like the Food Research Club are welcome havens in which to slack-off. But what's a slacker to do when the radical new candidate for Student Council president announces her intent to get rid of clubs like the FRC? Well, getting the help of the current Student Council president is a good start, but HIS suggestion is so counter-intuitive that it's crazy: Yuki should run for the Student Council himself? And yet, it's SO crazy that it just might work! Especially when Chisato, the chocolate-adverse president of the FRC (and Yuki's best childhood friend,) and members of other targeted school clubs start to join the swelling FRC army. But can this army of goofs and goof-offs coast all the way to political victory? Or will someone have to step up to the plate and take one for the term?


What is this anime ACTUALLY about? Well for one, it is definitely not your average romantic anime. Rather, the anime is just about one guy saving is club from being disbanded by running to be elected the next president of the academy. With him on his mission are his club members (which are mostly girls) and the students of the academy. Of course, not every goes to plan and different factions of the Student Council are out against him. The story gets quite intense and interesting as the story also features a major plot mystery that only resolves itself at the end of the series. Not only that, Yuki has to deal with is own personal problems and the problems of Chisato which he has yet to realize her feelings towards him. In no way would I call this anime boring.

The animation was great in this anime. It was fluent, well colored  well drawn and it didn't have any noticeable errors. The backgrounds were appealing as well, and the opening and ending both had amazing visuals. The character design was also quite nice. Not one complaint in the art section for me.

I enjoyed listening to the soundtracks in this anime, I thought they really matched the anime and I just love the soundtracks themselves. The sound effects could have been better, but they were still quite nice. The voice acting was great throughout almost the entire anime, but the voice acting did have some dull moments, which didn't really impact the overall experience greatly. The sound was generally quite nice though.

Yuki is definitely your standard, down-to-earth guy that his friendly, approachable but somewhat naive to the situation around him. Of course though, that is the type of character you would want as the main protagonist. Chisato is your lively heroine that shares her moments throughout the anime. I found her to be slightly annoying as she is constantly obsessed with Yuki both emotionally and physically. You may find her slightly annoying at first, but as you continue to watch you will come to understand why her personality is what is it. Why does she not like chocolate? You have to watch to find out why.

Overall, I found the story to be really entertaining and engaging because it is not just all slice of life romantic comedy. It has some light action, suspense, emotional outbursts, mysterious characters, and a chocolate plot device. It was well compiled and was fantastically presented. Of course though, the story is quite fictional and is no way intended to be strictly real-life, so enjoy the fantasies of anime high school life in this anime.


ART: 9





Xbox SmartGlass for Android available for download in Google Play

Microsoft has released it's Xbox SmartGlass app on the Android platform. If you own a box 360 console, you can download the SmartGlass app on your Android phone. The app only supports devices that run Ice Cream Sandwich and above, so you will need a relatively new phone to download the app.

Once installed on the device, the app wil let users interact with their Xbox 360 console straight from the phone, with Microsoft expected to add more and more features to this app.

Check out what Xbox SmartGlass can help you do:
  • Navigate your Xbox 360 with swipe and tap
  • Use your phone’s keyboard to type to your Xbox 360
  • Browse the Internet on your Xbox 360 with full keyboard and zooming
  • Play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and stop videos and music on your Xbox 360
  • Search the full Xbox catalog of music, video, and games
  • Enjoy rich, interactive experiences from select game and entertainment content creators
  • Track and compare your achievements with your Xbox friends
  • Change up your 3D avatar
  • Message your Xbox friends
  • Edit your Xbox profile

October 26, 2012

Anime Review: Kokoro Connect

What can I say? Kokoro Connect lived up to my expectations as an interesting anime about a group of friend's lives being turned upside down when their inner persona gets manipulated by an external source.

Kokoro ConnectSynopsis:

The five members of the Cultural Research Club - Taichi Yaegashi, Iori Nagase, Himeko Inaba, Yui Kiriyama, and Yoshifumi Aoki - encounter a bizarre phenomenon one day when Aoki and Yui switch bodies without warning. The same begins to happen to the other club members, throwing their daily lives into disarray.

At first the five students find some amusement amidst the confusion, but this unwarranted connection also exposes the painful scars hidden within their hearts. As their calm lives are shattered, the relationships between the five students also begin to change...


It's so cool, isn't it? A story about people personas switching bodies,  unleashing hidden desires, and turning back in time happening to a group of friends in the Cultural Research Club. Not only that, the anime gives a deep message about how our 'inner person' so to speak, can affect our thinking, our emotions, our actions and our friends. The anime exposes the results of such a phenomenon happening and how it impacts everyone psychologically. I enjoyed how the story unfolded itself, suddenly and surprisingly. You expect it to start off as just another easy going slice of life anime, but then 'wham!', you get personas being swapped around which shocks the characters. It is also pretty interesting to see different people in different bodies. Secrets gets revealed, and embarrassing moments are a plenty. Of course though, it's not all fun and games, and the seriousness of it is that the group is tormented by a mysterious being called the Heartseed which likes to entertain itself by watching the group of friends fumbling about in someone else's body. In the end, the anime did not explain who the Heartseed was and why it was doing that to the characters, but there will be a short 4 episode sequel coming soon that will hopefully reveal the true nature of the Heartseed.

The art was very well done and highly detailed from the backgrounds to the characters themselves. CGI was avoided in this anime, characters are detailed, and scenes are well animated. The art was appealing and enjoyable to watch and in no way distract from the enjoyment of the story.

The voice acting was really good for the characters. I did not find any of them annoying or hard to listen to. The theme songs were also quite nice and suited the anime quite well. The soundtrack fits well with the tone of the show and is not intrusive to the viewers experience.

All of the characters in this show are likable and are well done. The characters have their place in the story and do not neatly fit into generic roles found in other anime. Some characters may be described as shy or strong-willed but they each have their complexities. I will not expand on the complexities the characters as to avoid spoilers, but you will see for yourselves. As for the character design, there is nothing to complain about. The characters are detailed and all fit their personalities.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime from start to finish. It was just so interesting to see the lives of these characters get turned upside down when their personalities get toyed around with. Of course though, it is not all happy and peppy, and there are emotional outbursts, saddening moments, and traumatized past memories. It was entertaining to watch.


ART: 9





SwiftKey Flow announced, gives real competition to Swype

swiftkey flow
When Swype was first released, it took the world by storm. It became so popular so quickly that it remains the only non OEM and non stock Android keyboard to come by default in smart phones. With this latest announcement, the well known third party keyboard SwiftKey may start stomping around Swype’s turf soon with their newest keyboard, SwiftKey Flow.

For those who aren’t familiar, SwiftKey is among the most popular third party keyboards in all of Android. It stakes its claim as having the best text prediction along with easy to adjust settings and some awesome themes. Apparently, they’re taking the next step forward with SwiftKey Flow. It has all the elements of classic SwiftKey, but with the ability to swipe words.

Aside from Swiftkey Flow having all the capabilities of the normal SwiftKey keyboard plus the new swipe feature, it’s also quite aesthetically pleasing. The stock swipe trail is pink that gradually gradients into blue and we assume that’ll be changeable when you switch themes.

Microsoft launches Windows 8 in Australia

Microsoft launches Windows 8, Surface
After months of previews, reviews, analysis and much hand-wringing from Microsoft, the next-generation of Redmond’s flagship operating system — Windows 8 — finally launched to the public. Here’s how the whole affair went down.

Around 50 people crowded around a stage in Sydney last night for the midnight launch of Windows 8. Balloons and colourful streamers decked the Harvey Norman concept store as Gerry Harvey, flanked by Harvey Norman’s head of computing Ben McIntosh, spoke about the upcoming first sale of Windows 8.

Customers who were there to buy had filled out forms and went into a raffle to win the prize of being the first person in Australia to buy a copy of Windows 8, and a sweet prize: a Toshiba ultrabook worth around $1700.

[via Gizmodo]

October 25, 2012

Anime Review: School Rumble Ni Gakki + San Gakki

School Rumble Ni Gakki is the sequel to School Rumble continuing the story of the love triangle between the main characters.

School Rumble Ni GakkiSynopsis (Ni Gakki):

Continuing right where season 1 left off: Harima still likes Tenma but still runs into obstacles everytime he tries to confess his love to her. To complicate the situation, Class 2-D challenges class 2-C once again and there's a rumor floating around that Harima and Yakumo are dating as the school prepares for the cultural festival.

Synopsis (San Gakki):

A short 2 episodes attempt to conclude the series. Karasuma goes to America after then end of the third term. Will Harima finally confess? What will happen with Tenma and Karasuma?


There isn't really much to review here as everything I have covered in the review of School Rumble pretty much applies here. The art, sound and characters are pretty all much the same. However, I must admit that the story in 'Ni Gakki' was much better than the prequel. It felt like the story moved a long in a more faster pace and the characters have become more aware of their surroundings. Of course though, as expected, the ending was another 'unfinished quesion' with Harima Kenji not able to confess his feelings to Tenma properly.

The sequel, School Rumble San Gakki aimed at concluding the series by having Harima finally confess his feelings to Tenma. However, the story ending in the most disappointing way possible. I will not spoil it here, but I would say that it was a pretty terrible ending for such a awesome anime that built up to a very high climax.

In the end, I would say that the entire series was just too long for a nice romantic comedy story to unfold. There were also a few fillers which were pretty much time-wasters. I would have enjoyed the series if it was just shorted to 20+ episodes with a proper ending.

Ni Gakki | San Gakki

STORY: 7 | 5

ART: 7 | 7

SOUND: 8 | 8



OVERALL: 7 | 6

Need for Speed Most Wanted to be released on October 30 on Android and Kindle Fire

We already know that EA's latest premium title, Need For Speed Most Wanted, is to be released this month. We just don't know when or for how much. October is quickly passing us by, so good news then that it seems EA is sticking to their word. On their official website, the title is listed as being available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire on October 30. Still no mention of a price, but given the trailer, we're expecting a premium price for this premium title.

October 24, 2012

Anime Review: School Rumble

Much like your typical school romantic comedy love-triangle story, School Rumble is definitely your stereotypical anime that features all the mentioned genres above.

School RumbleSynopsis:

Tsukamoto Tenma is an ordinary 2nd year high school student who has fallen in love with one of her classmates, Karasuma Ooji. However, currently she is unable to confess her feelings to him. To make things worse, she found out that Karasuma is transferring to another school in a year. On the other hand, Tenma's other classmate, Harima Kenji (who is a delinquent) is also in love with Tenma. Not being able to confess his feelings, Harima gets depressed day by day.


If you have watched romantic comedy animes before, School Rumble is definitely your stereotypical compilation of love triangles, misunderstandings, depression, and commitment. The story starts off like no other featuring the main girl in the center of everything, Tsukamoto Tenma, who has fallen in love with her fellow classmate, Karasuma Ooji. Not other that, Tenma's other classmate, Harima Kenji has taken a liking to her, but he is unable to confess his feelings for her. So, like any other story, you will pretty much expect what will go on throughout the entire series.

The art was quite good although it was only available in standard definition. However, the character presentation and art style was cute and well illustrated. I must note that the animation was also fluid and contained plenty of dramatic effects for various scenes.

I must say that the voice acting suited the characters perfectly from your loud and peppy Tenma to your shy and quiet Yakumo. The theme songs were pretty peppy and quite silly in nature. Although they weren't the best music to my taste, they were catchy in a way that it gets stuck in your head not that you want it to.

The anime is all about the characters and their lives. Nothing else matters. You will be constantly fed the fantasies of both Tenma and Kenji as they try to chase their loves of their lives. Along to help them (or get in their way) are a wide range of characters in the classes of 2-C and 2-D of which both classes tend to clash often. Of course though, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Harima Kenji a lot throughout the anime as he is always misunderstood, rejected and alone.

Overall, it was a quite a good anime to enjoy. I was slightly disappointed that the anime did not end after 26 episodes of pretty much naiveness and misfortunes. I felt that it may have been too long of a story to follow and I really wanted a resolution to come quickly. However, the story does not end there and you are left to continue on past the fillers and into the sequel.

I expected it to be like any other typical romantic comedy anime and School Rumble certainly proved that to be true. Nothing groundbreaking here.

ART: 7
It was well done from the character design to the sceneries.

Voice acting suited the characters perfectly, the theme songs were decently catchy.

Harima Kenji took a little while to get used to because of his looks, and Karasuma just felt so boring to watch. Other than that, the plentiful of girls in this anime were quite appealing.

The anime slowly build on you, and somewhere along the line, you get interested at what will happen next.

It was enjoyable to watch and to get involved in. The anime however leans more to the comedy side than the seriousness of love which is a shame because I quite liked the character representations.

Steve Jobs returns again in new iPad Mini parody

Last month, Steve Jobs returned in a parody of the iPhone 5, which some people found a little close to crossing the line, but most people just found funny. Now, Steve Jobs returns… again. This time it’s for an iPad Mini parody.

October 23, 2012

Hatsune Miku's 1st Official Costume Set Offered

Japanese cosplay maker Cospa began taking pre-orders for an official Hatsune Miku costume set.

The costume set includes a sleeveless jacket, pleated skirt, an adjustable tie, arm sleeves with printed icons, boot covers, headset, and rubber hair ornaments. Most of the outfit is polyester with emerald green accents except for the boot covers, which are 95% polyester and 5% polyurethane. The costume comes in ladies sizes small, medium, and large and retails for 13,440 yen (about US$170).

The set is slated to arrive in mid-December.

Scientists found guilty for earthquake deaths

Disaster ... an aerial view of L'Aquila after the 2009 earthquake that killed more than 300 people. Photo: AP
Six Italian scientists and a government official have been found guilty of multiple manslaughter for underestimating the risks of a killer earthquake in L'Aquila in 2009.
They were sentenced to six years in jail in a case that has provoked outrage among scientists worldwide.

We cannot call this a victory. It's a tragedy, whatever way you look at it. 

The experts were also ordered to pay more than €9 million ($11.5 million) in damages to survivors and inhabitants. Under the Italian justice system, the seven will remain free until they have exhausted two chances to appeal against the verdict.

PAX Headed to Australia

PAX Australia Website Screenshot
The Australian Geek community is quietly humming with the recently announced news that PAX is headed south, much further than Texas.

PAXAus will be held between 19-21 July, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. There has been a strengthening and mainstreaming of gamers and makers and geeks of all varieties in Australia over the recent years. Melbourne hosted Australia’s first Mini-Maker Faire last year and the indie game community has growing in profile through events like the FreePlay festival that has grown significantly under the guidance of outgoing Director Paul Callaghan.

This event will be a feature on the calendar next year, so anyone thinking of heading to Australia should book tickets and accommodation early. It is a great excuse if you’ve ever considered the trip, but we are hoping for some great local flavor for PAXAus in 2013.

You can register now from the website front page and check out the forums.

[via Wired]

October 22, 2012

Anime Review: Senjou no Valkyria: Gallian Chronicles

Based on the popular PSP game of similar name, Senjou no Valkyria: Gallian Chronicles can be described as your game-like anime in style and plot. What it achieves is an entertaining histroical sci-fi military anime with some hints of super powers.

Senjou no Valkyria: Gallian ChroniclesSynopsis:

Valkyria Chronicles is set in a fictitious continent reminiscent of 1930s Europe. The continent, called Europa, is divided into two main powers: The Imperial Empire, a monarchy in the east, and the alliance of democracies called the Federation in the west. In this world, there is a very important resource called ragnite; its uses range from fueling weapons of war to use in medical treatments. Since ragnite is such an important resource, the Federation and the Empire are constantly at war with each other for it.

The story takes place in the neutral country of Gallia, known for its bountiful reserves of ragnite, when the Empire decides to invade and seize the ragnite for themselves. The story follows Welkin, the son of a former war hero; Isara, Welkin's Darcsen adoptive sister; and Alicia, a member of the Bruhl town watch, as they fight the Imperials in the ragtag Gallian militia group, Squad 7.

Squad 7 fights to regain their homes and livelihoods with Welkin as the squad leader and commander of the Edelweiss tank; Alicia as a scout; Isara as the pilot of the Edelweiss, and a variety of colorful individuals.


I personally have not played the game of the same name, so I was a bit skeptical at the entertainment that this anime will provide. However, after watching the first episode, I was hooked in already. If you did not know that this anime was based off a game, you probably would not realize at all. Since I already knew that it was a game, I did feel that a lot of scenarios and structured dialogue from this anime is quite stylized, similar to a game. I also got a bit lost at the beginning, trying to figure out who is who, and which side is battling which. After a while, I got used to the type of story telling that this anime does; it narrates both the good guys and the bad guys stories all in one episode. The story was quite structured and easy to follow. Similar to Advanced Wars (the strategy game), you can instantly recognize similar elements in warfare style and developments throughout this anime.

The art was quite well done both in presentation and in animation. The characters looked great and were unique. The 3D effects were also well animated and brought the battle scenes to life. As for the character designs, they remained very close to their game counterparts.

The anime featured an amazing soundtrack that made the anime enjoyable to watch. The opening and ending songs were quite good and catchy at the very most. I enjoyed the voice acting for all of the characters and I felt they suited them quite well.

The characters were definitely one of my favorite parts of the entire series. All the characters make up a pretty diverse cast. Welken and Alicia remain to be my favorites, mostly for their personalities and mannerisms when around one another. Even still, the other members of the cast didn't end up just being placeholders. I would warn all who watch this though. Being a dramatic anime, I would expect some important character death. Even still, it doesn't detract from the series at all, and instead strengthens it greatly.

The anime built up around me as I kept on watching. The character interactions, the strategic battles and overall presentation was well done. If you have played the game, you will enjoy the anime!

Quite easy to follow and well structured.

ART: 8
Simply appealing from the sceneries to the character presentations.

I enjoyed listening to the theme songs and I felt that the voice acting suited the characters quite well.

I loved the interactions that goes on between the main characters as well as the other characters. It is all interesting to watch their personalities and misunderstandings clash.

I liked to analyse the battle scenarios presented in the anime and try to work out the battle plan before the anime gives the answer. It is all quite enjoyable to watch and to think, "how will this turn out?".

For a historical military anime, it was quite an excellent job done. It may not appeal to a large audience, for for those who liked strategic games and historical warfare anime, this is one anime you definitely must watch.

October 21, 2012

Featured Wallpaper: The Place Promised in Our Early Days

I recently finished watching The Place Promised in Our Early Days and I found the art extremely beautiful and stunning. This is a wallpaper was probably a screenshot that was taken from the anime. I find it pleasant  and refreshing to look at. You may want it as your desktop wallpaper if your desktop tens to be chaotic or cluttered.

October 20, 2012

MeMuMo: Lovefool Zero Nexx Mix by Moonbug

Title: Lovefool Zero Nexx Mix
Artist: Moonbug (Remix)
Year: 2010
Comments: This is a remix version of the original Lovefool songs by The Cardigans. I found this remix quite catchy and have been constantly listening to it! Don't you love it when old songs get remixed into something awesome?

October 19, 2012

Scene It! Lucky Star.

Lucky Star is a pretty funny anime to watch featuring a bunch of chibi-looking girls as they go through life. It is pretty much your slice of life anime with plenty of silly and comedic moments. Oh, also there are plenty of references to other anime scattered throughout the series as well plenty of memes and jokes that we make laugh or cry. This scenes I would like to mention is probably one of my favorite and memorable scenes from the anime. It features a parody of Initial D.

Ubuntu 12.10 released, Ubuntu 13.04 named

Canonical have announced the release of Ubuntu 12.10 today, the latest version of their popular Linux operating system, with the slogan "Avoid The Pain of Windows 8."

The release follows 6 long months of development, and introduces many new features to the desktop.

Check out this link for the full list of new features in this release.

The download links can be found on the official site for the various editions of Ubuntu 12.10.

Ubuntu 13.04 Named

With the release of Ubuntu 12.10 comes the codename given to the next release of the operating system.

Well, it isn't exactly 'Raving Rabbits', but rather 13.04 is 'Raring Ringtail' according to Mark Shuttleworth. Why is that? Mark explains:
“[In the next six months] we want to have the phone, tablet and TV all lined up. So I think it’s time to look at the core of Ubuntu and review it through a mobile lens: let’s measure our core platform by mobile metrics, things like battery life, number of running processes, memory footprint, and polish the rough edges that we find when we do that.
The tighter we can get the core, the better we will do on laptops and the cloud, too.”
There you have it. Raring means 'full of enthusiasm or eagerness', so what to expect in the next release?

[via OMG! Ubuntu!]

October 18, 2012

3 Arrested in Japan for Uploading Games via WinMX

Fukuoka Police arrested three individuals on Tuesday on suspicion of uploading game software illegally onto the peer-to-peer file sharing program WinMX.

Those arrested include 41-year-old office worker Takao Ishii of Ebisu, Shibuya; 32-year-old part-time worker Yūsuke Suzuki of Iwata, Shizuoka; and 25-year-old Hijiyama, Hiroshima resident Nozomi Hattori.

Each suspect allegedly used personal computers to share 19 to 22 copyrighted games (including WarioWare: Touched!, Another Code: Two Memories, F-Zero Maximum Velocity, Mega Man Battle Network, and Mr. Driller 2) from July to August. According to the authorities, all three admitted to the charges and had been distributing games on WinMX for the past seven to 10 years.

Kuroko's Basketball Creator Received Threat Notes With Powder, Liquid

The alma mater of Kuroko's Basketball manga creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki and other locations linked to the author were sent threat letters with an unknown powder and other substances earlier this month. According to the police, the Toyama High School in Tokyo's Shibuya ward received a threat letter with the powder on Tuesday. Sophia University received a hydrogen sulfide-like liquid and a letter last Friday.

In addition, a publisher in Tokyo's Suginami ward received powdered barium and a threat letter on Saturday. The letter warned about Kuroko's Basketball, saying, "If you do not stop the parody manga, you will get hydrogen sulfide" and other similar threats.

FNN posted a video report on the incidents.

Source: FNN via Uri-Sure Matome+ANN

Anime Review: The Place Promised in Our Early Days

It is another one of those heartfelt, emotional-invoking anime films that seem to captivate our very soul into such a wonderful story. It mixes a modern setting with parallel worlds and fantasy.

The Place Promised in Our Early DaysSynopsis:

In an alternate timeline, Japan was divided after losing World War II: Hokkaido was annexed by "Union" while Honshu and other southern islands were under US sovereignty. A gigantic yet mysterious tower was constructed at Hokkaido and could be seen clearly from Aomori (the northernmost prefecture of Honshu) across Tsugaru Strait. In the summer of 1996, three 9th-graders had made a promise that one day they'll build an aircraft and unravel the tower's mystery, but their project was abandoned after the girl, Sayuri Sawatari, began experiencing sleeping sickness and transferred to Tokyo for better treatment. Three years later, Hiroki Fujisawa accidentally found out that Sayuri had been in a coma since then, and he asked Takuya Shirakawa to help him finding a way to revive her. What they don't know yet is that Sayuri's unconsciousness is somehow linked with secrets of the tower and the world.


Whether it was because of the wonderful artwork that this anime produced or it was because of the inner connections with the characters you had, The Place Promised in Our Early Days is a wonderfully piece of art that should be recommended to everyone to watch. The story is set in an alternate timeline where Japan is divided into two, the Union and the US sovereignty. A mysterious gigantic tower was constructed in the southern part of Japan and nobody knows that it's true purpose is. In the summer of 1996, three 9th grade students decide to construct a plane and travel to the tower. However, one of the members, Sayuri Sawatari begins to experience sleeping sickness and is then transferred to Tokyo for better treatment. Three years alter, we see that Sayuri has been in a coma since that day which sparks interest by Hiroki and Takuya to find a way to help her and unravel the mystery of the tower. In a way, the story does contain plenty of fictitious elements that do entertain such as parallel (or dream) worlds, symbolic meanings, and psycological contact in a figurative state. The sci-fi side of things is quite ambiguous and the anime does to explain any further about the whole parallel world stuff, but the story was enjoyable nonetheless.

The art was simply stunning, amazingly illustrated and instantly captured my attention. I noted that the art style used on plenty of scenes felt like it was painted using water colors (if you noticed the clouds). Anyhow, each scenes was wonderfully animated and everything felt alive. The characters definitely looked great and the use of lighting in this anime was really detailed.

The voice acting was really good as well. The theme songs were also quite emotional and invoked feeling through the imagery used in the anime. I must note that the sound quality was well done throughout the film. The background music was the masterpiece of this anime. It reflected the mood and feeling of the anime accurately. It was enjoyable listening to the music throughout the film.

There is nothing really special about the main characters. You can say that they're normal. But perhaps thats the appeal of it. Watching these kids grow and become more resolve is an enriching experience. There is nothing special about the supporting characters as well.

In the end, it was one of those emotional films that you probably can only watch once to feel all your emotional pour out. It was a well compiled film from start to finish. The sense of loneliness and accomplishment is felt throughout each scene and can be reflected in other films such as Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters per Second.

It was a nice fantasy story about a mysterious tower that is linked to a person. Also, if you like  these type of anime, this will surely entertain you.

ART: 10
It was simply wonderful to watch. Everything was perfect for this anime.

The voice acting was pretty good, but the background music was what made the anime felt alive.

The characters seemed pretty normal and average, but that is probably what the anime was intended to portray.

I felt emotional, moved to tears, and just simply stunned at the brilliance of the artwork in this anime film.

Definitely a must-watch for those who like mysterious, melancholy anime.

October 17, 2012

K-On! and Hello Kitty are part of NTT DoCoMo’s answer to iPhone’s Siri in Japan

Want to have long, endearing conversations with the gals from Kyoto Animation’s hit TV series K-On!? No problemo! All you’ve got to do is go to Japan and buy a new phone from NTT DoCoMo.

Japan’s leading telco NTT DoCoMo announced today that it’s giving its cloud-based voice-command concierge service, Shabette-Concier, a major upgrade for the Winter 2012 season: more functions, more apps supported, and the addition of over 30 interactive avatars, including K-On! characters.

A partial list of these interactive avatars can be found at NTT DoCoMo’s official website over here. Besides the K-On! girls, other licensed avatars include Chibi Maruko-chan, Hello Kitty, and Snoopy & His Friends.

Shabette-Concier works similar to Siri, in that upon activation of the app, a voice will playback on your phone prompting you for a query. The service was first launched in Japan in March of this year, and has since been updated periodically to support more questions and applications over the months.

The new version of Shabette-Concier is free to all NTT DoCoMo customers who’ve subscribed to the sp-mode Internet connection service, and will come pre-installed in smartphones and tablets (well, tablet) announced today under the telco’s Winter 2012 line-up, some of which will begin going on sale in Japan from November.

All of the devices in the line-up are Androids; NTT DoCoMo is the only carrier in Japan to not offer Apple’s iPhone products.

Teen Arrested for Stabbing Teacher With Pen for Confiscating Manga

Police in Gamagōri, Aichi arrested a 14-year-old middle school boy on suspicion of stabbing a teacher with a ballpoint pen during class. The suspect allegedly stabbed a 30-year-old female teacher over 10 times in both of her shoulders around 12:30 p.m. on October 1. The teacher sustained minor injuries that lasted about a week.

The teacher had warned the suspect about reading manga in class and had then confiscated the manga when the suspect continued reading. According to reports, the student said "Give it back!" and in a fury, stabbed her with a pen from her desk. The teacher filed a report on October 2 and has yet to return to teaching the class.

Source: Sports NipponANN

New Madoka Magica Android Game Stars Kyōko, Sayaka With Baseball Bat

The ANIMATE store chain's production company Frontier Works released the third Madoka Magica "third-person shooter," Puella Magi Madoka Magica TPS Featuring Sayaka Miki & Sakura Kyōko, on Yahoo! Japan's market for Android apps on Tuesday. As in the previous Madoka Magica TPS games, the player assumes the role of magical girls to clear stages. This time, Sayaka and Kyōko are the stars with voice actresses Eri Kitamura and Ai Nonaka reprising their respective roles with some exclusive voice samples.

The game begins with Sayaka before she becomes a magical girl, so she is armed only with her baseball bat to bash enemies. Stage 2 has Sayaka after her magical girl transformation, with a saber. After that, the game switches player characters to Kyōko, who begins with a three-section staff (sansetsukon) before upgrading.

Players can pick up items to restore their health and purify their Soul Gem, which they can tap to perform magic. The game has three difficulty levels, and as the player defeats each stage boss, images from notable anime scenes will be unlocked in the game's gallery page.

The game costs 630 yen (about US$8).

Source: 4Gamer via SiliconeraANN

Magi Manga Print Circulation Doubles in 4 Months After Anime Announcement

The number of volumes of Shinobu Ohtaka's Magi manga in circulation has more than doubled in the nearly four months since the anime adaptation of the series was officially announced on June 24.

Before the anime adaptation was announced, approximately 3 million copies of the first 12 volumes of the manga had been printed. As of October 10, approximately 6.5 million copies of the first 14 volumes are now in print. Before the anime was announced, 250,000 copies of the first volume had been printed, but now the number has doubled to more than 500,000 copies.

The 15th compiled volume in the series will ship in November. Ohtaka has been serializing the manga in Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine since 2009. The story re-imagines tales from the classic story One Thousand and One Nights (also known as Arabian Nights).

Crunchyroll and Hulu are streaming the television anime adaptation in various countries outside of Japan as it airs, and Aniplex of America announced last weekend that it has licensed the series for release on home video.

Source: ANN

Hello Kitty Pork Buns Sold in Japan's Circle K Sunkus Convenience Stores

The Circle K Sunkus convenience store chain in Japan began selling pork buns inspired by Sanrio's Hello Kitty character on Tuesday.

The "Hello Kittyman" buns, filled with pork, onion, and a soy sauce seasoning, cost 150 yen (US$1.90) each. Circle K Sunkus will offer 1.5 million buns in its 6,235 stores across Japan during the campaign. The convenience store chain will offer another pork bun inspired by a different Sanrio character starting on November 6. The paper used to wrap the pork buns contains one of four Hello Kitty-related trivia questions, such as: "When is Hello Kitty's birthday?"

Those who send a message to the convenience store between October 9 through November 19 will be entered into a lottery to win one of 25 Hello Kitty Nikuman cushions.

The Gigazine news website has posted more high-resolution images of the outside and inside of the pork buns.

The convenience store chain FamilyMart previously unveiled Slime meat buns inspired by the Dragon Quest role-playing game series last September. The same chain sold more than 600,000 Hatsune Miku "Mikuman" meat buns in August-September. LAWSON convenience stores in Tokyo's Kantō area also began offering "Manma Nikuman" buns inspired by the Amagami SS+ television anime series in January. Additionally, the official Gundam Cafés in Tokyo began selling "Haro Man" pork buns earlier this month.

[Via Gigazine] Source: ANN

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Moshi Moshi Harajuku” wins ‘Music Jacket Award 2012′

It’s been revealed that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s debut mini-album, “Moshi Moshi Harajuku“, has received the grand prize for ‘Music Jacket Award 2012‘. This year’s winners were chosen from music CDs released between April of 2011 and March of 2012.

The cover for “Moshi Moshi Harajuku” was done by Steve Nakamura, and it shows Kyary’s unique style with a Kuchisake-onna-style (a woman with her mouth torn to her ears) paint make-up. On winning the award, Kyary expressed, “I’m very happy that my debut work received such an honored award!! When I make jacket covers, I not only make them cute, but I also think about making them fun and strange.”

The semi-grand prize went to Perfume’s “Spice” and MAN WITH A MISSION’s self-titled album “MAN WITH A MISSION“. The special award went to Nanba Shiho’s “Mizuiro Generation“.
Source & Image: natalieTokyohive

October 16, 2012

7 Things About Android Users

Hatsune Miku-Colored Blue Yakisoba Noodles Sold in Japan

The cosplay café "Koakuma no En Little BSD" (Little Devil's Feast Little BSD) revealed a new item this weekend: blue-colored Hatsune Miku yakisoba (fried noodles) with long onions. The café began selling a limited number of the noodle meals at the Moe1 Grand Prix exhibition on Saturday at the Bellesalle Akihabara hall. The noodles sold for 700 yen (about US$9) each, and only 30 meals were available for purchase on the first day.

The noodles were only sold on Saturday and Sunday, and were used as a promotional item for the cosplay café. (Each set came with a 50%-off coupon.) The noodle meal will not be sold at the café itself.

The Akiba Blog has posted more photographs of the noodles in higher resolution.

Source: Akiba BlogANN

October 15, 2012

Anime Review: Acchi Kocchi

A rather cheerful and bright anime to watch, Acchi Kocchi delves into the cute and innocent lives of a group of high school friends as they go through life together in many happy and humorous ways.

Acchi KocchiSynopsis:

Wouldn't you just love to poke in a relationship between two young high schoolers who have a subtle distance between each other? Of course you would. Tsumiki and Io have this subtle distance that anyone would want to jump in between just to bug them. That's what the other characters are there for. Tsumiki, being a tsundere and all, won't be honest about her feelings toward Io. Io on the other hand is unaware of Tsumiki's feelings, hence the subtle distance between the two. Now, let's watch these two and see what events await them...


It may seem that this anime will be all lovey-dovey, sappy and cliched dialogue at first glance; but I can tell you that it is absolutely not. Not in a sense that would make you shirk away in disgust, but rather it will make you smile at the cuteness and innocent interactions that these characters have. This in turn makes a pleasant love story that will warm your heart and make you happy all day. The story is quite simple to follow as it doesn't involve much action or adventure that many anime pursue. Rather, it can be said as a typical slice of life anime that follows the lives of the characters around, with extra comical elements and melt your heart moments that makes you go "aww". Also, the story tends to subtly bring in many cat phrases, actions, and cute sounds.

The art was simply illustrated and animated. Although it was plain and simple, it suited the characteristics of the anime beautifully. You can instantly tell that this anime will be a cute and innocent anime just by looking at the chibi-esque form that the characters take. The anime also uses a special symbolic meaning to each part of   each episode through the use of arrows; which was quite interesting I thought.

The voice acting suited the characters really well and reflected each and every character's personality perfectly. I must also mention the use of background music in nearly every scene which was subtly playing in the background. I felt that it was well selected and suited the situation perfectly. The theme songs were also sweet and peppy (which suited the anime of course). Everything about the choice of music just sounded right.

The anime is constantly about the relationship that Tsumiki and Io have. What makes it interesting to watch is that Tsumiki is a dandere character that gets easily embarrassed a lot (she does have quite a few tsundere moments, but she is a typical dandere character), whereas Io is a complete dense guy which doesn't realize Tsumiki's feelings for him. Of course though, he finally realizes in the end (somewhat) and they both have a nice relationship.

Overall, I would say that this was one funny anime to watch. The romantic element was not dominant in this anime in a way that would ruin a good story or make you turn away in disgust. The characters were all presented just right, and the overall compilation of the anime was perfect. I had no problems or annoyances at all in the anime. It was a pleasant experience to watch.

It was a simple story to follow and the romantic comedy elements were integrated well in the anime.

ART: 8
Although it was simple and plain, it suited the anime quite well.

The anime ha got the voice acting and music selection just right. No complaints here.

Cheerful, peppy, and full of life. Just wonderfully presented and will make you instantly like them a lot.

The comedy elements were genuinely funny and the romantic elements were quite good.

Simply a light and wonderful anime to watch that will simply melt your heart (even if you may have a cold one).