Rogue Shogunate

Gintama – An All Inclusive Anime

Hello readers! I’m A Nerdy Perspective. I’m a new contributor to Rogue Shogunate and I come from a background of all things otaku alongside also doing music journalism. I thought to kick off my contributions for this site I would tackle an anime which is near and dear to my heart, Gintama!

Genre: Comedy, parody, sci-fi, historical, action, shounen

Rating: PG-13

Studios: Sunrise and Bandai Namco Pictures

Episodes: 367+ (still ongoing)

Available on: Crunchyroll, Funimation Now

Overview:

Edo Japan, known famously for its samurai has been invaded by aliens known as the “Amanto”. After a harsh war where the Japanese and the Amanto fought fircely, the Amanto have won crushing the samurai ideologies and enforcing a sword ban in Japan. Protaganist Sakata Gintoki, was a samurai who fought in the war but has now chosen a new path in this new age of Japan. Gintoki has embarked on being a jack of all trades kind of guy who now runs his own business known as “Yorozuya Gin-chan” or “Odd Jobs Gin-chan” in English. Gintama follows Gin-chan and his friends on every kind of odd job imaginable.

Review:

I always find I tend to avoid reviewing series which I love dearly and Gintama was one of those series which I vowed to never review. Until now that is. I figured I’d put all my mushy love and admiration for this series aside and tell you the actual reasons as to why it is a good anime and why it is worth your time.

When first looking upon the Gintama series, it seems like a strange concoction of way too many different concepts and genres which shouldn’t work together, but somehow the anime makes it work wonderfully. The series combines Japan’s unique history with the modern world as whilst the series is set in the 19th century, all of todays technology and amenities are available to the characters including cars, computers and even anime. The series has to credit this bizarre clash of old and new to the invading Amanto who often play a sinister role within the series.

Alongside Gintama’s use of old and new, the series never pigeonhole itself. I’ve had people tell me that it is simply a parody anime but that is not the case. Most anime has its own niche genre which it sticks to and whilst this theory still applies to Gintama, the series isn’t afraid of crossing over to incorporate a range of anime genres. Overall the series takes an over the top comedy stance on its overall storytelling but it dips in and out of serious and more Shonen based arcs along with its frequent use of sci-fi and historical based elements. The serious and more action based story arcs are short, sweet and to the point. Unlike anime like Fairy Tale, Bleach or other action based anime, Gintama doesn’t drag its storytelling out which is one of its biggest selling points. I get tired of filler episodes with villains monologging and extremely drawn out fight scenes which could be resolved within about 10 minutes of a single episode. Gintama gets to the point with its stories and sure, it has its fair share of fight scenes and monologging but it does it within a reasonable and enjoyable amount of time. The series wraps up story arcs nicely and then continues on. This formula which is used regularly over the hundreds of episodes makes those more serious and dramatic moments even more special and meaningful and just add to its overall charm. Gintama has a lot of breathing room between serious and silly moments which allows for a more pleasant viewing experience and allows for a lot of great and expansive character development in a variety of ways.

The historical elements of the series is certainly an interesting part of Gintama. Many of the characters involved in the series are loosely (and I mean loosely) based off of real life historical figures from the Edo period of Japan. Characters such as the Shinsengumi’s Kondo, Hijikata and Sougo are all based off of their real life counterparts and even Sakamoto, Katsura and Takasugi are all based off of real people in some form. I often wonder what their real life counterparts would think if they knew. Whilst everyone is loosely based off of real people, the characters still have their own charm and quirks which makes them lovable. The historical elements of the series have peaked my interest  of the Edo period and I have even read up on bits and pieces of Japan’s history which in turn, makes me appreciate things even more within the anime.

As mentioned previously, Gintama goes in hardcore with its use of comedy and parody style humour. Gintama is one of the only anime to make me laugh until I literally start crying. Most comedy anime can make me laugh but not to the degree in which Gintama has done. The anime uses a mixture of comedy ranging from violent slapstick, taking the piss out of both itself and other anime, manga and subcultures as well as dirty and adult humour. Even the most badass of characters aren’t safe when it comes to the comedy side of the series. I appreciate that everyone gets their own comedic moments to make them shine. The comedy can be all over the place at times and is filled with anime references ranging from classics such as Doraemon to more modern series such as Black Butler and One Piece. Gintama also prides itself on its meta and self-aware style and it often humbles itself and its capabilities as a series which is really the icing on the cake.

Gintama review

Self-awareness somehow makes things funnier

I hope this review has convinced you that Gintama is worth your time if you haven’t given it a watch already! Thanks for reading and I hope to write much more for this site in the near future.

Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!

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‘My Roommate is a Cat’ and the importance of character arcs

Spoiler alert!

“I regret things every single day. So just be sure to thank them next time, and let’s work hard to make sure “next time” happens”
– Atsushi, My Roommate is a Cat, episode 9

Character development is something I value a lot when looking at a show or movie. Whether a character becomes better or flawed, it is always interesting to see how the story changes how a character sees the world. But from the shows I’ve watched, this doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. A character might change a little, become a better person or something like that, but very few shows make that change interesting and satisfying. And this is where ‘My Roommate is a Cat’ delivers.

My Roommate is a Cat, directed by Kaoru Suzuki, the producer behind ‘Flying Witch’ and ‘Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon’, is an adaptation of a manga by the same name by As Futatsuya and Tunami Minatuki. The show follows Subaru Mikazuki, a book writer who’s mourning the death of his parents. One day Subaru finds a stray cat who follows him from his parents grave. And eventually, Subaru decides to keep her.
The episodes usually are structured in two parts. The first half is usually of Subaru trying to write on his book, but how the cat, who he later names Haru, gets in the way.
The second half then centers around the cats and her thoughts, where we get some context of what the cat was doing in the first half.

And when I first started watching this show, I was not enjoying it at all. Subaru felt like a very bland protagonist, one I had seen so much before. The cat half of the episodes were still pretty enjoyable, but it was not worth it. So at the third episode, I was almost about to drop the show. But I got a feeling that I had to at least watch the whole episode before deciding whether I wanted to watch the show or not. And thank god I did.
The episode spends most of its first-half showing Haru jumping around the house. We don’t see what Haru is jumping at, but it is revealed that she is seeing some sort of spiritual energy that is later revealed to be the ghost of Subaru’s parents. Subaru is still haunted by his parents. But as he follows Haru around the house, she knocks down a few books which remind him of his parents. He gets a meltdown and starts to cry on the floor, thinking about whether it was his fault or not that they died. This was the thing that changed my mind about the show. I wasn’t crying or anything, but the thought-process was extremely realistic. I have probably seen that concept a couple of times, but the way that they wrote the scene was amazing.
Subaru then realizes that he has ignored everyone around him and their feelings, and has just thought of what he feels. This is a turning point in the character, where we see how Subaru starts to want to change who he is.
We see how Subaru starts to do things that he wouldn’t normally do, cause he wants to change to become a better person. He meets new friends, does meet-ups for his books and other social activities. It is extremely satisfying to see how Subaru is actively trying to change as a person throughout the show. He feels like an actual person because of it. And that’s why character development is so important. Cause it makes for realistic, interesting and immersive characters. It is one of the best character arcs I have seen in a while.
At the end of the scene, we see how the ghost of Subaru’s parents disappears. Subaru is no longer haunted by his past.

The best episode in the show is easily episode 9, where I took the quote at the top. This is where the structure of the show changes. In the episode, we start from Haru’s perspective, where we see how Subaru leaves his home looking rather distressed. Haru experiences so many different emotions at once from this. Anger, sadness, anxiety. We still don’t know where Subaru is, and we seriously worry about what Subaru is doing and why he hasn’t come home. We sympathize with Haru, cause we have the same relationship with him as Haru has.
And after half of the episode, we finally see where Subaru is. At a meet-up with for his book. This is something we know Subaru doesn’t like since he has shown his displeasure of it in the episodes before it. He starts out the meet-up thinking that everyone would be disappointed by him. But he slowly realizes how much happiness he has given to people, how much he means to them.
He realizes that he hasn’t thanked any of the people, and starts to get anxious again. But right when that happens, his editor Kawase tells him how everyone makes mistakes, and that it is just about making sure you don’t let that stop doing what you love. That is where the quote comes from. And while saying “don’t give up” or “Everyone makes mistakes” is probably one of the most cliche lines you could write, the way it is written here makes it extremely good.
And when the last fan leaves and Subaru realizes that he hasn’t thanked her, he starts to get anxious again. But he remembers what Kawase told him, and he loudly says “Thank you so much”.
This feels like another turning point in his character, where he understands that his work is appreciated.

And this is why I love this show. You know, there’s a unique score, some fine comedy, but this is what makes the show what it is. Showing the importance of the people around you could be very cliche, but this show manages to make it extremely immersive.
In the last episode of the show, Subaru comes home late from a trip and tells his friend Hiroto to make sure Haru is all right. But since there’s such a big storm outside, Hiroto couldn’t close the door at Subaru’s and Haru runs out. Throughout most of the show, we have seen Subaru not enjoying the company of his friends. He finds them all annoying and a nuisance to his work. But in the last episode, Subaru and all of his friends get together to find Haru. He doesn’t even have a problem asking a stranger if they’ve seen Haru. And this ending was honestly amazing. Showing Subaru’s development like this was very emotional, and really encapsulates why I love his character.
It is one of the few shows/movies I would call inspiring.

‘My Roommate is a Cat’ is a show that doesn’t look like much. It looks like a comedy show with some cute animation of a cat playing around. But the way this played with my expectations was honestly astounding. It is a show I would normally not watch. But now that I have, it was a pleasure for sure!

Another Dragon Ball game?!!

Getting directly to the point: there is a new Dragon Ball game coming out (as if we needed another) called Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot!! The video is below. As an anime fan I will say that the DBZ games normally do the anime justice. The graphics/ art style are normally good and they stick to the story for the most part so if you’re a Dragon Ball fan this might be a game that you want to pick up. Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is an action RPG and is set to come out in 2020, check out the trailer below and thanks for reading!

E3 Already?!!

E3 officially starts on Tuesday June 11th however, we have already had a ton of reveals. From Nintendo’s Pokémon direct to Microsoft’s press conference we have ton of new and exciting news before the event even begins! Is it really fair to say that though? I mean they minus well have just started the darn conference already…Anyways here a recap of the big news to get you caught up before E3’s official start on Tuesday!!

Nintendo is releasing two new Pokémon games called Sword and Shield. They look more open world than any of the other Pokémon games and seem to be a step toward that Pokémon MMO we’ve all been waiting for. Here’s the vid:

Microsoft revealed their next gen console: Project Scarlett. Boasting better specs than the Xbox One X (LOL! it better. Its freaking next gen, it should be better than what’s out now) and the addition of a cloud streaming service the Scarlett id aiming to get rid of loading times entirely!

 

 

Checkout some of the games revealed during the Microsoft conference.

 

Gears 5: Escape– If you thought the Gears was done, NOPE!

 

CyberPunk 2077– aka the Matrix/ John Wick/ Speed/ Bill and Teds excellent adventure only because its starring Keanu Reeves, What?! As if this game needed anymore hype…Geez take my money already!!!

 

Elden Ring– Oh I know I just got done writing about a Souls Like game but this one is from From Software (creators of the Souls series) and it boasts a HUGE map. Well I can’t wait to sink my teeth into another action RPG!

 

There were a few other games revealed like the Microsoft Flight Simulator, a new 4v4 game by Ninja Theory called Bleeding edgeMinecraft dungeons, and Halo: Infinite but I have saved the best for last. I won’t even spoil it! Though I’m sure you’ve already looked at the vid below.

 

So, Battletoads was announced sometime ago but I am happy to see game play.

 

And there you have it, you should be all caught up now! What are you looking forward to the most? Anything you hope you will see at E3 this year? Lets us know in the comments below! Thanks for Reading!

Code Vein- Preview

Update: Code Vein releases September 27th, 2019

Last weekend was the Network Play test for Code Vein and I was able to be pretty hands on with the content provided. In this Network Test we had access to the Character Creator, some basic story stages, and a gauntlet type mode. In this preview I will go over each “mode” briefly and tell you what I thought. I have said it before and I will say it again, if it’s an ANIME related game, 9 times out of 10 Bandai Namco is pushing it out. Look at their catalog: The Naruto Series, DragonBall series, Black Clover, dotHack, Little Witch Academia, One Piece, Sword Art Online, Jump Force, ETC. The proof is in the puddin, so when I heard that an Anime-esque, Dark Souls was coming out well I knew Bandai Namco was going to play some part, so let’s get into it.

Code Vien Character

Character Creator: Just like any game that has character creation there are presets or random creations that you can choose from and Code Vein is no different. But who cares about those! The Character Creation mode is very robust! I spent about an hour just fiddling with my character changing facial features, skin color, eye color, body type, hair, clothes and accessories. I ended up with a character I really felt fit into the world so I gave him a cool name and moved on. Once I saw my character outside the creation mode, I realized that the color I chose for his pants may have been a bit too much. They were white but so SHINY! Turns out you can make the entire outfit glow if you want! Once you get into the game the appearance of your character is set. Aside from your Blood Code (which I will cover later) the outfit you create is what you see no matter what upgrades or stat changes you make, so I thought… Once you make it to the “Home Base” there is a mirror in a corner by one of the doors. You can go to that mirror and it will take you back to the character creation and you can change your appearance! You can even save different styles you want so you can just load that style if you want to go back to it, which I thought was a pretty useful. The only issue I found with the character creator is that one of the presets had an Afro and I wanted to see my custom character with one but it was not one of the hairstyles I could choose from. Now, that could be because this was just the play test but it is something I noticed, that said, the Afro is in the game and the presets are normally just randomly generated so I have a good feeling that the Afro is usable for custom characters. Overall, I didn’t have any series issues with character creator. There was enough variety and “good” options to choose from that you wouldn’t get bored messing around with character styles for a while and you can definitely recreate your favorite anime characters to some extent. After you create your character you then go through the tutorial.

Story: I will keep this section short. I honestly did not pay attention to the story at all. I did not feel like this short demo was enough to get immersed in the story. I get the basic idea of what’s happening but I will wait until full release to make any comments on how good or bad the story truly is. However, I will say that because I was able to play through the story missions with a friend I had a good time. Even though the portion I played was very linear I still felt that I had some control over my exploration, but we will see when the game finally releases later this year. In the meantime, you can see the opening to the story below.

The Gauntlet: This particular mode unlocked once I completed the portion of the story available in the play test. When you spawn into the gauntlet (which is not the official name) you are told to basically find some keys to a door that’s in the room with you. In order to find these keys you of course have to search the dungeon and fight monsters. There were five sections and five big bosses, I was only able to defeat one of them—The Knight Queen—and that was after hours of failure. The recommended level for this mode was 40, I spawned in at lvl 10 (give or take) so needless to say I had some farming to do. The gauntlet reminded me of Dark Souls more than the story mode did, I felt I had more control over how I was going to tackle the task before me, its that flexibility that made it so fun. I could farm the same route if I wanted or I could switch it up. I can teleport back to my home base for some upgrades or to change my hair then get right back into it. This mode is where Code Vein will shine the most.

Combat/ Enemies: The combat has a lot of customization which comes in the form of the Blood Codes. The Blood Code is basically your class and the unique thing about Code Vein is that you can unlock and level up different Blood Codes as you progress so you can switch them on the fly. Imagine being able to start a stage as a rogue but then switch to a caster without hesitation! I started off with the fighter Blood Code (which is melee based) then moved to the Ranger (even though I didn’t want to) and eventually moved to a completely different type that was like a hybrid between fighter and caster. The coat that you put on to symbolize the change is not customizable so if you like matching when you fight, hit that mirror up in the home base! As for the combat itself, the moves felt fluid but unsatisfying, there were times when I didn’t feel like I was hitting the enemy but I was. You have two weapons, passive and active ability slots, the Blood Code which has its own special attack, and any items you have equipped. There is even a parry that you can use, the animation differs depending on which Blood Code you have equipped. I had no issue using all to my advantage. The enemies were the biggest disappointment to me. Though the variety in how they look was good the variety in their weapons was not. Every enemy I faced just seemed like they were carrying around a very long sword or staff and just swinging it wide. It wasn’t satisfying to defeat them. However, the boss fights were awesome, very Souls like. I felt a sense of accomplishment after finally beating up the Knight Queen, which of course I forgot to record! But check out the video below of me getting wrecked!

All in all I think Code Vein will shape up to be a great game. It is similar enough to the Souls-like games that it will/ should draw and satisfy fans with a fresh take on the genre. It is unique enough to keep veteran Souls players (like myself) interested and attract new players. As an anime fan there are definitely some aspects of this game that will scratch that itch however, I do not feel like I was in an anime at all. The Character Creation is the most anime-thing the game has to offer that I saw. but, anime is story based and we didn’t get much of the story in this play test so I will wait until the full release to “pass judgement”. Code Vein is set to release sometime this year (2019).

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for reading!