Raven’s Shadow

raven's shadow

The Faith is the dominant religion of the Unified Realms, and the various orders are clergy having various roles in furthering the Faith. The Sixth Order is the one dedicated to battle, it’s soldiers being known as some of the best in the world. Boys are brought there and raised as warriors from a young age, completely cut off from their families, with their new family being their brothers in the Order. And it is here that after the death of his mother, Vaelin Al Sorna is left by his father, the Battle Lord to the king. While apprehensive at first, he fully embraces his place in the order, and does quite well for himself. However, that is only the first step. Upon completing his training, he’s thrown into a number of affairs throughout the world, ranging from politics, religion, strategy, dealing with hostile nations with vile customs, to even dealing with a being that may well bring about the end of the world itself. However, even beyond his top class combat training, Vaelin possesses a special advantage, an inner guide so to speak, known as the Blood Song, that keeps him on the right path forward.

***

This trilogy was very solid. It created a pretty interesting world with different countries, different religions, different peoples, etc. that was interesting enough on its own due to the politics, war, etc. but it then also added in some high leveled super natural elements that added another layer on top of all that, which ultimately resulted in something that changed quite a bit throughout and was hence quite interesting from beginning to end. The structure of the trilogy involves focusing solely on Vaelin in the first book, Blood Song, adding the perspectives of Reva, Lyra, and Frentin in the second book, Tower Lord, and continuing with that with the third book, Queen of Fire. Vaelin was a really strong character that was likable and grew tremendously over the course of the series. Reva took some time to develop, but by around half way through the second book she really established herself and was amazing from that point. Frentin was a complete mess, but that was in part due to the role he was given which didn’t particularly give him much room to maneuver as soon as he becomes a main character. Lyra was completely disappointing. She has a lot of good moments, and definitely shows growth, but also a lot of really bad moments. I also thought she and Vaelin made a good match, so I was somewhat disappointed it never happened, especially as how the relationship was handled from beginning to end was quite strange. All in all, I would have to say that the ending overall was disappointing as well, in that it felt more like it ended not with a bang, but with a whimper, where things got resolved too easily too quickly. Still, leading up to that, the world building, the intrigue, the politics, the battles and strategic build up to them, and everything else was very well done.

A fantasy series featuring an interesting world full of intrigue as well as an amazing primary main character, but some lack luster secondary main characters and a weak ending.

8/10

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Yumina the Ethereal

yumina

Ayumu is a guy that just wants to take it easy. He’s the adopted son of a body guard who put him through intense training as a kid, so for a change of pace now that he’s at the boarding school Jinbu Academy, he does his best to relax and do as little work as possible, just barely passing. His closest friend is a girl named Yumina, who is similar in that she also doesn’t know her parents, though she grew up at an orphanage. But she’s also Ayumu’s opposite in many ways, in that she puts in tremendous effort, but still doesn’t manage to pass.

Due to a series of circumstances, including those involving Ayumu, it seems that she’ll be forced to repeat a year, with absolutely nothing in the rules that gets her out of it. Desperate to get around that, she runs around school asking anyone she can for help, ultimately coming upon Kirara, a small (though it would be dangerous to call her that) and somewhat sadistic girl, who is also the head and sole member of the debate club. She says that there’s a single way for Yumina to avoid having to repeat a year. If nothing in the rules allow it, she must simply change the rules, by participating in the upcoming election and becoming student council president. Yumina, being easily led on, quickly agrees and Ayumu also joins. And later on a mysterious, strange, and food obsessed girl names Ai transfers to the school and also joins.

The complete debate club works hard on their election versus the varying other clubs in the school. However, it’s important to note that the election at Jinbu academy is very different from other elections, involving a tournament style elimination structure, and being centered around debate battles that involve Ethereal technology, which works kind of like holograms. And even beyond the issues with dealing with the various competitors they must face in the election, there also seems to be something mysterious happening behind the scenes at Jinbu Academy that seems far bigger than the election itself.

***

Yumina the Ethereal is primarily a visual novel though it does have a good amount of game play in the form of combat during debate battles and otherwise. The game play is a turn based RPG with combat during the main story as well as in a fantasy themed dungeon crawler portion called the Ordacle that exists pretty much completely separate from the main story and has a storyline that can only be told across three playthroughs. The combat is decent at best, having some unique mechanics, but not really much depth, in that there are a lot of abilities, but there isn’t a lot of variation among them. The battles can also feel very slow, even when sped up, but for the most part are paced well enough with the main story that this never becomes an issue. The Ordacle itself, was very annoying at first, because doing side quests in the Ordacle is completely and utterly annoying. Thankfully, I quickly discovered its possible to ignore them all and do your best to avoid combat in dungeons and still be perfectly fine in terms of being properly leveled. That made combat much more bearable. I would like to note that there were some elements that were incredibly annoying such as essentially being required to have certain abilities, mainly chain stasis and hydroblaster, at the right levels for certain bosses without any prior warning, wherein if you haven’t gotten the abilities yet it may require reloading a much older save. I would also like to note that an extra combat type is added about half way through that adds a good amount of diversity to the combat, which did help a good amount in preventing it from feeling repetitive, though it still ended up doing so somewhat. So all in all the game play wasn’t particularly great, but it was good enough for what it was in keeping the player involved and at the minimum wasn’t a hindrance.

The structure of the visual novel portion is centered primarily around choosing what events to do, in that you are able to do two events a day, one morning and one evening, with a limit on the number of days. These events often chain together, and hence the order they are performed in needs to be carefully considered. These VN portions can ultimately give you abilities to use during combat, but they are also the primary means of telling the story. I felt that this structure was somewhat lacking, in that it was somewhat hard to follow and quite easy to do events in such a way that it feels out of order. This was especially true if you take the Ordacle related events into account. The game is also divided into two portions, the first of which takes place at Jinbu Academy and goes through the election, and that sets the stage for the next phase, which takes place in space. Jinbu Academy is also where you choose which route you end up on in the second half, with the choices being Yumina, Kirara, and Ai. The academy portion was pretty laid back, very slice of life feeling, though there were some obvious things that were bizarre with a major mystery lurking in the background. The space portion was far more intense and exciting, being at a whole other level than the election portion. However, to go through the various routes, its necessary to go back and forth between them, which I felt was pretty awkward, though the true ending did wrap things up nicely.

The routes, in terms of my playing order, which in hindsight I think is the best order:

Kirara’s route was interesting. She’s a very interesting girl being somewhat sadistic but also gentle, though her route was also somewhat depressing. Her character design I wasn’t too fond of, and though at first I really liked her personality, to be honest that decreased a bit as the story went on . The backstory on how Galeorn became someone she despised was interesting and one of the most important plot points for her, but how she didn’t get revenge at all in the end was somewhat unsatisfying, though I can understand the point they were making about moving on. I was worried they were going to sort of end it on a cliff hanger, but they fully developed the ending with the flash forward ten years later and it was great to see everyone doing well. Her ED was also great, though it wasn’t really unique to her. Also, how she was suddenly in a relationship was really random.

Ai’s routes plot seems to take the base story from Kirara’s route, and extend it, exposing a whole host of other characters and taking things further, such that the overall lore of the universe comes together much better. The plot itself from a character development point of view was also more interesting than Kirara’s, with a plot oriented around whether she should be her own person or to continue on the goals that were given to her when she was young, which ultimately amount to chasing after her sister. The ending was where the majority of the story was told, which resulted in it proceeding very differently from what I expected, but in terms of structure it makes sense, and ultimately it came to a reasonably satisfying conclusion. Her ED was decent and fit her pretty well.

Yumina’s route is the route that takes things the furthest, in terms of lore and plot. It builds upon everything introduces in the other routes, and adds quite a bit more. It also has a lot of unique moments, such as going through everyone else’s perspectives for certain events. Yumina is also someone who I didn’t like much at first, but as her character was developed she quickly became my favorite character. She’s an airhead that pretty much derives power from her airheadedness while also being kind and overtly selfless, but learning to be selfish. Her route came to the most solid conclusion of the three, which was also quite satisfying. I should also note that this route has the most music, which was great, and her ED is both good and fitting.

The conclusion route, thats unlocked upon finishing all other routes and finishing the Ordacle, was a solid way to wrap up everything bringing everything from school and space together in one epic finale. Though not exactly, it pretty much picks up near the ending of Yumina’s route, but goes in a different direction. There’s a focus on having a lot more depth to it, that primarily manifests itself in existentialist concepts being discussed when arguing with Barais, and although that in itself was rather weak and didn’t make much sense, feeling very awkwardly put together, the emotional aspects surrounding it were reasonably strong. The ending was interesting in that it doesn’t quite end for the main characters, even though a lengthy conclusion is given for the side characters. That the story is very much still going is kind of awkward in that it clearly hasn’t reached a conclusion yet, but the characters seem perfectly happy and it allows them to stay together, which was especially nice to see in the journal, but they’re still drifting outside the universe. Ultimately, it’s a rather strange feeling to be completely done with the whole novel like that. It doesn’t feel like it’s completely over, and it makes me kind of miss them and want to know what they get up to afterwards.

As for some overall comments, the music was fantastic, which makes sense as it was a core story portion. The art was decent though not exceptional, across sprites and CGs. The character designs were decent as well. The voices were fine, though it was weird to only have Ayumu voiced in some scenes.

A VN with passable game play that has a major genre shift that somehow works pretty well.

8/10

It’s disappointed the fandisc will never happen.

Also I’m surprised they translated all the info of each skill and item. That must have taken forever and was completely pointless as few would read it. I’d rather they have just saved the time and money.

Also, it’s really hard to find good images of this game to use for the header. :/

The Big Short

thebigshort

This is a film that focuses on separate plot lines that show how the great recession came about from three different angles. One of them is related to Michael Burry, who runs the hedge fund Scion Capital. He is terrible at dealing with people, but really good at market analysis. This results in him noticing how the markets were warped from where they should be and foreseeing a crash he couldn’t get any of his investors to believe was coming. Another is related to Jared Vennett, an incredibly cynical partner at Front Point Partners, which works with Goldman Sachs. He goes hands on in looking into the market and discovers that the bonds known as collateralized debt obligations being offered were no where near as strong as they were rated due to various conflicts of interest, resulting in a market basically being help up on lies. The last perspective involves Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley, two young and inexperienced investors that are known as the Brownfield Fund, who see the crash coming, and profit off of it, but in doing so completely lose faith in the system.

***

This film was very well made, in that it’s a film focused on finance and one that actually goes into a decent amount of depth on why things occurred and how they work, but it still manages to remain exciting and interesting throughout even for those that aren’t particular interested in the subject matter due to good writing that conveys things at a decent pace without any info dumping. It adds a good amount of drama to each story line, with them being intertwined in a way that none of the stories get boring, and also adds a lot of human presence to a story that could otherwise be simply about regulations, money, and numbers. The flip side of that is that it conveys a lot less than a proper documentary could in the same amount of time, but it manages to be a lot more interesting in doing so. It also helped that it looked really good and had great music.

A film about the housing market crash of 2007 that manages to be quite engrossing.

 

8/10

Majikoi S

majikois

Majikoi S is sort of a sequel to Majikoi, in that you should absolutely go through Majikoi first, but also sort of a prequel, sidequel, and alternate. So in terms of how it places the story, it’s everywhere. It doesn’t branch off of any single route of Majikoi, but rather has branches for pretty much all of the main ones, though some branches get significantly more material than others. All of Majikoi’s main heroines, Momoyo, Wanko, Chris, Yukie, and Mayuki, routes all get sequels, but they’re all kind of short and sweet rather than heavy in development. They all go further in showing off the growth each of the heroines had in their previous routes, while also having a bit of slice of life. There’s generally very little conflict, and they all serve as a sort of epilogue to the epilogues in Majikoi. In addition to the heroine routes, there are also two branches off of the Agave route, the final route of Majikoi. One of these is the Kazama family route, and like the heroine routes serves as a sort of light epilogue without much development. To be completely honest, I was hoping for quite a bit more from all of these, but they were nice in their own way.

The other branch off of the Agave route is the first main route, Tatsuko’s route. It explores the themes of family and such pretty well, and gets to a pretty satisfying ending. Now while this is considered a main route, and it definitely has more plot and development than the other routes mentioned so far of Majikoi S, it’s still pretty lacking compared to the main routes in Majikoi and was more to the level of a side route. I quite liked Tatsuko in Majikoi, and her character definitely shone in this, so I find it somewhat unfortunate that she only got so much.

All of the rest of the routes branch off of the No Relationship route from Majikoi, which is essentially the route where nothing happens. Hence, it’s starting the story essentially from a blank slate, which is an interesting choice that I was somewhat skeptical about, but it worked out quite a bit nicely because while throwing out most everything from the first one did feel a bit strange, it prevented the creators from being boxed in and let them go wherever they wanted in terms of story, which they take in a completely new direction that sets the stage for so much more than any previous route could. All of this begins with a common route, which is where I feel the core part of Majikoi S begins, because there’s a difference in tone and intensity as well as the feelings of a new beginning. It serves as a solid set up and introduces a whole cast of new characters, though most of them don’t have routes in Majikoi S. It then opens up a single choice over which character to pick, Tsubama, Margrit, Monshiro, or Kokoro.

Tsubame’s route is the first route that felt like a full fledged route, with a great action, a solid story, major character development, and an epic finale. It revolves around Tsubame’s ambition and how that impacts those around her, but also develops Mamoyo’s and Yamato’s relationship as siblings quite a bit. It then branches off two ways depending on a choice made towards the end, regarding which takes the lead in the relationship. That felt like a pointless split though to be honest, and Yamato felt quite off in he branch where Tsubame takes the lead. Still, overall this route was pretty great, at the level of the routes from Majikoi.

The latter three were quite a bit different from Tsubame’s however. Margrit’s route revolves around her development as a normal girl. The entrance to the route is pretty abrupt. There was definitely a good amount of character development, but the plot felt at the level of a side route, without much depth. Monshiro’s route also had a good amount of character development, mostly surrounding her relationship with her mother and her desire to prove herself to her, but the story was also lacking in terms of plot and also felt more like a side route than a main route. In the exact same vein, Kokoro also had a route with good character development, mostly revolving around her pride, but was also lacking story. In addition to these routes, Iyo’s route can also branch off of the common route, though in a more complicated manner, and similarly also has some good character development for her, though it’s even more of a side route than the others. As an overall note, it seems that Majikoi S chose to take the path of having far more routes, but having less depth to most of them. They’re all still great quality, so it’s not a matter of quality vs quantity, but more of something that comes down to preference, and I’d have to say I preferred how Majikoi was handled more.

Now, lastly there’s Koyoki’s route. It’s a bit strange, in that it doesn’t directly branch off of the No Relationship route from Majikoi, but rather involves changes that occurred far before, when Yamato and friends were still children. Other than these changes, in terms of plot and the characters involved, it’s still pretty much exactly how it is during the No Relationship Route. This route is the main route of Majikoi S in a way, similar to how the Agave route was the main route in Majikoi. It pretty much takes everything developed in all the other routes, all the hints, all the character motivations and abilities, not just from Majikoi S but Majikoi as well, and throws them into an epic story at a much larger scale than anything else so far. Some of the twists were expected, such as those involving Maple, and some of them were completely unexpected, such as those involving Seiso, but overall the story was great, and ultimately the main part of the route was just as good as Agave.

This branches off into Koyoki’s route continues depending on a choice made during the route. Honestly, this I felt was handled pretty badly and felt like it was random throw away and lazy, where it just sort of happened at the end, because the plot of the route was oriented around things at a much larger scale than just their relationship and the relationship didn’t seem all that developed at all. I much preferred how Agave was handled, in that it didn’t focus on any one character, and would have preferred that here as well, calling it Bushido route or something, with a solid non-romance end. Furthermore, I also felt that this was a tremendous waste in potential, as it resulted in a pretty weak route for Koyuki, who I thought had major potential. A route with her branching off of Agave with a happy ending could have been amazing.

In addition to all of that, there were also a bunch of easter egg type routes, such as branches off of the Hermit Crab route in Majikoi, where Yamato continues down the Hermit Crab route or ends up with Yumiko. There’s also a route, Tachibana’s, that branches off of the anime, that was really strange, but I liked her character and look forward to seeing more of her. There’s also a route with Kosugi, the ‘premium’ girl, that is unlocked after playing through the tutorial a number of times. There’s a maid route that branches off of Monshiro. There’s also a couple guy routes, Shima and Chosokabe which are like joke routes. Like Majikoi, veering off the path can also lead to a sudden Mayuki route, which is still funny.

The art was still stupendous. The soundtrack was still great, and the vocal tracks were all still awesome. There was a much higher usage of anime scenes as well as a lot more effects, which overall gave it these feeling of being higher budget and more polished that made it feel very high quality.

Overall, the highest high in Majikoi S was just as good as the highest high in Majikoi, and there were a good amount of these highs, but in general I feel the routes were lacking compared to the routes for the main five in Majikoi. The development of the world that took place as well as the new cast of characters were great and add a tremendous amount to the franchise, however a lot of it felt like it was somewhat of a set up, just touching the tip of the iceberg on quite a bit more to come. In that vein, this made me very much look forward to the A installments.

A solid sequel to Majikoi that sets the stage for a much longer franchise and has a lot of high quality content, but not as much content per route as it’s predecessor.

9/10

Good luck JAST. Please don’t take forever like Sumaga.

Rain

rain

Rain is a game that has a similar feeling to Ico. In terms of plot its simple in that it simply involves a boy and a girl escaping from a mysterious evil, but that’s putting it incredibly lightly. It’s not the plot that’s important but rather everything else. Just like Ico, there’s a certain essence to it that makes it feel more magical, which is why many often refer to Ico when they want to give an example of  magical. Despite there not being much of a plot and it being told through incredibly minimalist storytelling, just because of the way the game plays, it makes you very invested in the how the game progresses and especially the fate of the girl you’re chasing, to the point that eventually there’s just an automatic feeling of dread whenever you’re separated from her. All of this builds up, making the ending a very satisfying payoff. That it was able to do this in such a subtle way is the greatest aspect of the game. This is combined with a very unique aesthetic reminiscent of a rainy night in Paris with a fantastic soundtrack to match giving a tremendous amount of atmosphere.

However, I should point out that the gameplay itself is pretty weak. It’s primarily composes of traversing through the world essentially solving puzzles to keep continuing, with those puzzles being incredibly easy and not really requiring much though. Ultimately, it felt like the gameplay itself was only there to involve the player in the narrative, rather than to actually provide a challenge, so it isn’t really a game that I would call fun. The pacing is also somewhat awkward, being very slow at the beginning, and then also seeming to carry on too long at points. Furthermore, there’s also a mechanic of collectibles called memories within the game, that give tidbits about the underlying story, and that I think add a lot of value to the narrative, but are only possible to be picked up on the second play through. I feel that there was little purpose to this, as they don’t really spoil anything, and could be easily tweaked to not spoil at all, and I feel they would have mad the first play through more impactful.

A game that does a tremendous job of capturing the essence of what made Ico great, but not quite to that degree.

8/10

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

starwarsvii

After the fall of the Empire, Luke seeked to rebuild the Jedi order, but after a series of events went missing. Meanwhile, the remnants of the empire rose once again as the First Order, seeking to crush the New Republic. On a mission on Jakku to obtain a map to Luke Skywalkers supposed location, Poe Dameron is captured by Kylo Ren, a sith apprentice at the front lines of the First Order. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes however with said map. Aboard the Stormtroopers ship, a stormstrooper finds himself unable to continue acting as a stormtrooper and helps Poe escape, escaping along side him, and on the way being given the name Finn. However, after they crash, with Finn being unsure of whether Poe survived or not, he begins his quest to complete Poe’s mission of bringing the information in BB-8 to the Resistance. Meanwhile, a woman named Rey, a scavenger who was left there by her family but is adamant they’ll return, finds BB-8, and eventually encounters Finn. In a strange turn of events, they end up working together and hijacking the Millennium Falcon in search of a way to get information to the Resistance. However, time is running out, as the new Sith Lord, Snokes, has created a weapon even greater than the Death Star, and is ready to use it.

***

This film unlike the prequel trilogy, felt incredibly similar in tone and style to the original trilogy. Rather, it was very clear the film was heavily leveraging its connections to the main series, with a heavy emphasis on similar scenes, plot events, plot structure, and various references, making sure to emphasize every time an old character is reintroduced. The plot itself felt somewhat like another A New Hope, a pretty good implementation of such, but still not very original. This is fine for this film, as it was important to make clear which direction the films would be going in and to return confidence in the franchise after the prequel trilogy, which I didn’t particularly hate but acknowledge the flaws within. So from that point of view that’s all fine I suppose. However, I would like them to branch out in much more original directions in future films.

In terms of the new set of main characters, they were okay. Not as good as the sets in the previous movies, including the prequels, but still good in their own way in terms of being original and interesting. However, a major issue is balance in terms of protagonists, in that Ren takes on too many roles. She’s both a Jedi and the pilot of the Falcon, so taking after Luke and Han. That’s a bit much, and doesn’t really leave anything for Finn to be. Hence, for the entire purpose film Finn didn’t really have anything that made him stand out, he was simply cannon fodder that ended up in a couple weird situations. And Poe is apparently the other main character, though he doesn’t seem to have much of a role in this movie beyond the beginning and end, thus feeling very lacking. Now, moving on to the antagonists, they were they awful, the siths especially. Kylo Ren I wanted so much to be good, because I’ve always liked the villains in the Star Wars series, especially the sith apprentice Vader, from Episode III-VI. But Kylo is just so pathetically lame. He’s wearing the mask simply because the entirety of his motivations seem to be to follow in the footsteps of Vader, which is somewhat sad. Hell, I’ll even give him a pass on being a Vader wannabe. But his character is such a trainwreck. It’s like an angry know it all teen who hates their parents got force powers. He’s the worst type of arrogant, the type that is genuinely competent, but ends up failing anyway. He is the first genuinely lame force user as far as I know. There was a pretty obvious point, where I thought that he would finally overcome all this and develop further as a character, but despite everything, he’s still exactly the same. Near the end, there was something mentioned about him completing his training, which I really hope results in a pretty major character change, because he desperately needs it. Not sure I can stand a complete set of films with a sith apprentice like him. Snook we got very little of, as we did Palpatine in VI, but I’m desperately hoping he’ll be a stronger character than Kylo.

The beginning of a new Star Wars trilogy, that feels incredibly close to the original trilogy, too close in fact, with the exception of a couple major failings.

7/10

Kakumeiki Valvrave

valvrave

Earth and it’s colonies which extend as far as the moon are divided into essentially three groups: ARUS, a republic based on the Western ideals of liberty and justice; Dorssia, an authoritarian government with a strong focus on having a military to stand up to ARUS; and those that are unaligned, primarily JIOR. ARUS and Dorssia are currently in conflict in what isn’t quite a cold war but has not descended into total war quite yet.

Haruto Tokishima is a student at the boarding school Sakimori Academy on a JIOR orbital colony, not caring much for the war, and worrying more about his friends and his childhood friend that he wants to confess to. However, he’s is thrown into the fight when Dorssia invades them, killing many in the process. Haruto, thinking this his closest friend has been killed, ends up jumping into a strange mech, the Valvrave, hoping for revenge, however, the mech turns out to be stranger than he expected, and far more powerful than anything that Dorssia has, leading to him successfully fending them off. However, the mech has strange effects on him. When an invading Dorrsia special operations soldier, L-elf, tries to kill him as he gets off the Valvrave, it turns out that he has changed tremendously, to the point that he may no longer be human. Meanwhile, JIOR falls completely, and a number of political complications with ASUS arise, ultimately resulting in the school cell of the colony separating from the main colony, and declaring its independence as its own nation. Furthermore, L-Elf defects to them as well, with his own goal of bringing about a revolution, and they are forced to accept them into their ranks due to him being a strategic and tactical genius. Hence, under assault from Dorssia, the students of Sakimori Academy plot out their own future.

***

Like Code Geass and Aldnoah, this seems to have the same dynamic of their being two somewhat opposing main characters on opposite sides of a conflict with abilities such as being great mech pilots and tactical geniuses distributed among them. However, it differs in that it abruptly changes to them being on the same side. And then it continues changing abruptly continuously throughout. Its changes direction and tone constantly throughout the series, never really honing in on any point, and just haphazardly touching on random events without any sort of structure or any logical pacing. For example, it seems to go through a tremendous number of anime cliches in quick fire succession at the start, to the point that it isn’t clear whether its being serious or is downright parody. As another example, there are a couple romance subplots with Haruto, but none of them ever reach anything close to a conclusion. It’s completely and utterly ridiculous, as is Haruto’s character in general, and all the characters actually. There’s a very interesting cast of characters in this, many of them falling into tropes, but still having some resemblance of originality, but the issue is that despite that, none of them are likable at all. The only characters I can say I liked even a little are L-Elf and Saki, but even with them I was tremendously disappointed. This may actually be because there is such a large set of characters, to the point that none are focused on enough, and the development of relationships between them follows no rhyme or reason. That combined with what seems like a plot they were trying to forcibly push through, despite it not making any sense at all for characters to behave in such ways results in most characters being inconsistent train wrecks as the show pushes past the first half. Another issue is the constant tone shifts. It has completely abrupt tone shifts that just feel awkward. They don’t make you feel any more strongly about ongoing events, as abrupt tone shifts are usually intended, but rather just make you feel annoyed. And lastly there is the ending. Throughout the anime there are a number of flash forwards, showing the future. One would expect there to be some clarity regarding how they get to that future by the end of the anime. However, there absolutely is none. The ending is a mess that doesn’t clarify anything, leaves almost every subplot unresolved, and somewhat solves some of the main plots through rushed incredibly short segments. It’s not satisfying in the slightest.

Now while the plot, characters, and story of the anime leave a lot to be desired, there are some good things as well. The mech combat is really good, and the Valvraves have pretty good designs. The OPs and EDs are pretty good as well, though the soundtrack is only decent. The art and animation are also solid. The comedy isn’t that great though.

A mech anime that seems to have potential, and certainly has some good moments especially in the first season,  but that eventually falls apart under its own weight.

7/10

The first season was fine other than it left so much unresolved, but the second season completely jumps the shark and is very inconsistent with the first, especially that ending. So to split by season, first is 8/10, second is 6/10.