Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ai My Maid Fro-Yo Party



What makes Ai My Maid different is their traditional Japanese take on this concept. Of course the original concept is from Japan but the outfits and activities differ greatly. They also had pop up cafes at London Anime Con and London Film and Comic Con this year, but this is their first official event.


From the decor the team had transformed the busy and modern Tutti Fruitti venue to a Japanese Pokemon centre, there were Pokemon cards stuck to the walls amongst the talismans of the shrine maidens to ward away evil spirits. A Shide is a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, used in Shinto rituals.

Upon entering you were greeted by maids to come to the basement where Butler Kazuma explained the loyalty cards and the task of winning Pokemon badges from each Butler or maid to win prizes and to give you your raffle ticket and free Pokemon starter pack. A really nice addition for all customers who have purchased a ticket.


We were then escorted to our table and explained the ordering procedure with prices and if you wanted fro-yo then you were to help yourself upstairs. You could challenge a Butler or Maid for a game at 50p per fight and if you win collect your badge. Any games between customers were free. This way a lot of the customers could interact with other customer as a few came by themselves for the sake of trying out something new, or you could indulge in speaking and playing with one of the maids.

The maids had no real given character, there was more emphasis on talents than character they were themselves, for example, Maid Emi was the idol of the group she would go to tables and belt out a J-pop song to her customers. Maid Mei with the surreal white hair and cute moving neko ears was offering tarrot card reading with Cardcaptor Sakura clow cards, this was really skilful and entertaining. All of them liked to play games but each specific maid donned the consoles, Maid Ruri was happy to play Jenga or Smash bros. But Maid Mayumi would much rather play connect 4 but all would play any game requested. The Butlers also participated, sadly Butler Kohei bested me in a a couple of matches at Tekken Tag Tournament 2.



Also in honour of The Pokemon X &Y release that day they raffled the games at all three slots so all attendees could win it at random. If you also filled your Pokemon card you would receive a free chekkie (Japanese Polaroid photo with all the Maids and Butlers with customisation). If you are a competitive gamer this was not a hard challenge for you.

The audience ratio was an even mix of male to female attendees and everyone came for different reasons. Also the game selection really appealed to the crowd. The addition of talents meant people could leave with keepsakes such as a personalised drawing by the Maids.

Find more photos on Animepicks facebook:

 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.624538290931895.1073741833.127643487288047&type=3

To get the full experience, view our video here:


Monday, 21 October 2013

First Impressions: Diabolik Lovers



In Diabolik Lovers the heroine, Komori Yui, has always been an ordinary high school student who has been able to maintain a positive outlook on life. In her second year of high school, Yui's father, a priest, moves somewhere else due to work, or so we are told. Yui is forced by these events to move to a new town and a night school for the wealthy and famous. Furthermore, the house she must stay in is called 'the haunted house' by everyone else, and Yui is suddenly living with six brothers who aren't exactly human.

The first episode outs Yui at the doorstep of this lavish mansion, no one seems to know the details of her staying here but one of the six brothers who is very vague about it. However, in this episode we are given a lot more information about her father who isn't her biological father. More questions come to mind but before we can focus on any plot we are distracted by the devishly handsome brothers.

Unlike the majority of anti-harem anime, the guys are good looking and charming. These guys are certainly not nice in the least. Any compromise is due to them needing her to cooperate so they can feed on her.

From the first two episodes there is a lot of moe for guys and girls to enjoy. This is quite the violent anti-harem and there is a lot of dominance and submissive power struggle. As much as Yui wants to leave she is imprisoned there and is yet to know her true connection to the vampire dynasty. The animation is beautiful such attention and detail is put into each character, the hair is even two toned to look like it has been dyed.

Friday, 18 October 2013

London Film and Comic Con 2013: Top Picks

The event was originally covered for animepicks.co.uk/events which is alas no more.

Veronica Tyalor doing a Q&A
London Film and Comic Con has come round twice already this year, and is one of the smaller cons by Showmasters which specialise in television and movie stars, where you come and buy autographs and have chances to get photographs with your favourite celebrity, whether it be sci-fi, or anime.
Jokes cosplay skits, Thor is not impressed

This year the calling of cosplay was immense. Compared to past years where you wouldn’t even have enough people participating in the Cosplay Masqerade. This time round you had cosplay guests situated in the middle of the convention in a square selling prints available for photographs. The cosplay masquerade was so popular, the queue of audience left the stage and you had to arrive early to see any of it.

Me interviewing Veronica Taylor

The ultimate highlight was watching Veronica Taylor’s Q&A and being able to find out what it was like being the voice of everyone’s childhood hero Ash Ketchum from Pokemon. Watch my interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3nqDJr3Ly8E

 Aisha’s top stalls:

Bad n Crazy

A range of merchandise with unique and quirky cartoon characters, a few resemble Mr T, Hell boy, Cinderella and even a zombie spongebob. Pick which ever design you want for t shirts, phone cases, mugs, bags, iPod covers. Find them here: badncrazy.co.uk



Canime

This stall specialises in anime and game art canvases, from commission art to the stall owners favourites, these three guys have sourced some of the best Ghibli and Cowboy Bebop art around to make great exclusive artistic sets of canvases varying from £20 a canvas depending on size. Find them here: canime.co.uk

Jed Phoenix

A fashion brand giving us Japanese inspired elegance to our everyday attire. What I love the most about Jed’s range is it varies from casual to office smart! Military outfits with a twist to passion for pinstripe for men and women. Find them here: jedphoenix.com

Iconic Legion
Iconic Legion

Lastly but not at all least a company that is brilliant for what they stand for Iconic Legion are a group of amazing quality cosplayers who attend events and conventions for charity. They pose for photos for small donations to collect money for different charities. for LFCC they were collecting for the dog trust, you can contact them and ask them to attend functions with a charity in mind or join them as crew or cosplayers here: iconic-legion.co.uk

View our montage of the entire event here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2stctk5nkSc

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Review: Disgaea D2


Disgaea is celebrating it's 10th anniversary and company Nippon Ichi Software's 20th anniversary this year with the release of it's new game Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness. Following the story of much loved Demon overlord Laharl from the first game. He carries on forcing his supremacy on all the demons of the underworld who frankly don't take him seriously.

Based several years after the first set of games, the demon crew have grown older and outfits are skimpier, but Laharl remains power hungry. Little does he know he will not win the favour of his subjects with brute force only. He is determined not to live in the shadow of his father's legacy. We begin with Flonne ranting as Laharl and Etna crash in her flowerbed, a celestial Yuie flower blooms despite not supposing to in the netherworld. The main plot revolves around this flower.

Now the rebellion gets involved, Grosso pointing the finger at Laharl for having relations with Celestia after the flowers op up at an alarming rate around the netherworld. We have new villains and with that a new demon type; Sea Angel - cute but deadly at the same time. Of course you have to fulfil certain requirements to obtain certain classes which is part of the fun.

Gameplay in Disgaea D2 remains loyal to the original Disgaea mechanics. There is however a new Monster Mounting feature that replaces Magichange from Disgaea 3 and 4. This allows humanoid characters to ride on top of a Monster allowing the humanoid character to attack on top of the monster while the monster takes damage from opponents, acting like a shield. Characters can also build relationships with each other and their compatibility is determined by a heart scale of one to five. It also affects the strength of collaboration attacks used when Monster Mounting depending of the relationship established between a humanoid character and a monster character.


The graphics are still 2D animation but you can change the camera angle now in the newly renovated Overlord castle. Instead of being confined to three rooms you have a labyrinth of place you can explore and talk to the amusing demon vassels under Laharl's command. The soundtrack is fresh but with original tracks following the original characters bringing nostalgia.

Cameo in the game include past favourites Asagi, returning from previous games. The game's trophy list also revealed that most of the Disgaea 4 cast (Valvatorez, Fenrich, Emizel and 'Vulcanus') will return, along with Axel and Petta (who actually uses Zetta from Makai Kingdom in his Book form as a weapon).


You are also given a new weapon type - a book which seems to act as a second magic based weapon and allows users to summon spirits to damage their targets. The game also features a new Demon Dojo that allows players to train the individual stats of their characters; this is great if you want to train your healer as she fights with a book, which makes her attack better.

Disgaea D2 is a beautiful sequel to the original Disgaea series with lots of great dialogues, cameos and improved graphics. Essentially the same dynamics but with new game mechanics, seamless blending of character movement on the map not just animated sprites. A great addition to the Disgaea series - it would make any JRPG fan or demon happy.

Interesting facts

  • This is the first Disgaea game to be a direct sequel in terms of plot.

  • You can change the colour of the main characters.

  • It is the second game that does not use the series' signature logo.

  • It is also the first Disgaea game without an "Ultimate Class" for reasons unknown

  • It is also the first game in the series where it solely uses HD sprites so the graphics have developed but kept to the original style

  • The same skull and chair have switches behind and open a hidden door.

  • American’s got DLC when pre ordering ie. Fuka, Desco: Two main characters from Disgaea 4, Overlord Zetta: The main protagonist of Makai Kingdom, Adell: The main male protagonist from Disgaea 2 and many more.
For more adventures into anime, cosplay, gaming and events follow me on Facebook and twitter. 


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Eurogamer Expo 2013: Gaming Picks



The widely anticipated gaming convention, Eurogamer Expo 2013 had a lot of game previews to offer but let's look at the most outstanding previews that wowed the attendees at the con.

Surgeon Simulator

Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a surgical simulation game by Bossa Studios. The initial version was created in a 48-hour period for the 2013 Global Game Jam, but the developers continued and spent 48 days creating a commercial version released in January 2013. The game works with you actually operating on a realistic body. Through a first person perspective the player can attempt to perform various surgical procedures, an example of which is a heart transplant. The full version was released via Steam on 19 April 2013.

Buy it from steam for £6.99:  steamcommunity.com/app/233720


Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is a next-generation virtual reality which you enter by putting on the headset designed for immersive gaming. Be part of history by getting your own Oculus Rift development kit. This can be just the headset or go for the full harness and platform where you feel like you in the actual game. For now movement is captured by the Xbox Connect but in the future you can use any peripherals with a camera such as a phone.

More information here: www.oculusvr.com

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Konami has completely reinvented the Castlevania series, keeping with the story and characters, while finally entering the world of 3D. Since the introduction of 3D environments the character is not playing a platform game, it has more of an RPG feel to it. The graphics are beautiful and rival that of Bayonetta and Final Fantasy. A must for Devil May Cry fans as there is a lot of hack 'n slash gore with gorgeous scenery and costumes.

See the trailer here: www.konami-castlevania.com

Fist of Awesome 

Have you ever wanted to punch a bear in the mouth? When Tim Burr's family disappeared and his house spontaneously burst into flames he thought his day was as about bad as it could get. That's when his hand became self-aware and broke the horrific news that the world was now ruled by bears. Join Tim as he embarks on an epic battle across time and space, unravelling the bear-ridden damage to Earth's timeline. It's a bit like Quantum Leap but with more bears and lumberjacks. Fist of Awesome is a heartfelt love-letter to golden classics like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and Final Fight. Prepare yourself for the most epic time-travelling-lumberjack-em-up of all time.

Fist of Awesome is released 17th October 2013 on iOS (Universal App), Android - Phones & Tablets, OUYA, GameStick, PC and Mac. For more info go to: fistofawesome.com

Do you agree or think there are others games that shone at Eurogamer Expo? Take a look at our video below for more Eurogamer highlights:

BUY TICKETS HERE: http://www.egx.net/egx/tickets

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

If My Heart Had Wings Review



If My Heart Had Wings is a tale of youth, and a tale of boys and girls who loved the sky. We follow Aoi Minase the hero, returning with shattered dreams to his wind-swept hometown of Kazegaura. There, atop a hill lined with windmills, he encounters a wheelchair-bound girl Kotori Habane, and a beautiful white glider soaring through the sky. She is a slender girl with long, black hair  but is strong willed and speaks with confidence. Also, a cry baby. Because she transferred to Keifuu Academy for the simple reason that she is unable to move her legs and Keifuu Academy is completely barrier free, she has no interests in classes which teach sspecialityfields. Because of this, she is completely cut off  from those around her. She is also followed by her pet duck, Hat.


Together, they decide to revive their school's defunct Soaring Club in order to ride the 'Morning Glory', a phantom cloud carried on the wind that blows across Kazegaura.

Playing this visual novel is almost like watching a beautiful anime, you get to enjoy relaxing music, semi animations and it is very colourful, you even get glimpses of the hero you played. Another great feature is the Japanese vocals for the other characters which isn't always included in visual novel games.


Its menus are easy to use and easy on the eye, you have the option to straight away to save, load and log off and that is always the first thing to look forward to, as visual novels have a lot of story and you wouldn't want to read through it all again, so saving at apt moments is handy. Another great feature is the 'auto' facility to automatically scroll text like your watching an anime with out continuously pressing the next button.

Unlike other visual novels which have been localised in the past, this is a brand, moe novel, which provides a way for people throughout the world to enjoy themselves. As this brand uses high quality visuals and cinematic, this is what should truly be called 'Visual Novel HD'. All works provided will be released as official localised titles.

Strangely upon looking for information about getting certain girls, I came across restorative patches to get the original Japanese version of the novel with nudity. Perverts, please back away from the game and go indulge in some hardcore hentai. This game can be therefore enjoyed by male and females without the embarrassments of looming CG's to come.


You get to know all the girls attending the Keifuu Academy and they encompass all the different stereotypes ie. large breasted, lolicon (freshman), eccentric genius, tom boy turn popular girl and so forth.

You also get to pick up a few tips on basic aerodynamics, to glider flight and building a glider. Which is crucial to the plot and emotional bond of the characters. That is something you should value, there is no random slice of life, it revolved around a hobby. The only con about the gliders were the 3D models used in the VN, they looked out of place and grotesque in comparison to the beautiful 2D animation.

If My Heart Had Wings is about romance and the sky, appreciating beautiful up to date animation, an engaging story and great voice acting and soundtrack. It is a more luxurious visual novel giving a vibrant feel.


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