Saturday Suggestion – Comic: Fables #1-5

Saturday Suggestion – Comic: Fables #1-5

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If you’ve played The Wolf Among Us, you may not have realized it’s actually a prequel to the long-running Fables comic series that was completed in 2015 with several spin-offs. (To read Fables and all of its spin-offs in order, follow this link.) I had been wanting to get my hands on the first issue of Fables for awhile to continue with the characters I’d gotten attached to during The Wolf Among Us, and a trip to the comic book store for some D&D dice gave me the opportunity to snatch it up.

At Christmas, I was given two of the first compilations so look out for those reviews soon!

Brief intro: As a lover of fairy tales and all things Disney, I was excited to dive into this nitty-gritty version of my favorite stories. These characters call themselves “Fables” and live in a New York community known as “Fabletown.” They created this community centuries ago after their homelands were taken over by a villain known simply as The Adversary.

The first story arc is called Legends in Exile and expands from the first issue to the fifth issue. We meet our first two main characters: Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown, and Snow White, the assistant to the Mayor of Fabletown. Bigby begins the investigation of Snow White’s sister’s, Rose Red, apparent murder in a grungy, who-done-it, murder mystery.

Review: Before I even get to the writing, I have to tell y’all about the artwork. It is exquisite! Beautifully done, gritty, different, and it really goes along with the themes that make Fables the comic that it is. Several artists have contributed to the comic over it’s long run but this particular issue has me sold. The colors, the line work, how the text is incorporated into each panel, are simply works of art in themselves.

The writing is just as phenomenal as the artwork that compliments it. Mystery and intrigue with dashes of romance will make this fantasy-drama comic pull you right in and leave you wanting more. Its adult themes and mature writing style set this comic up for a not-so-Disney kind of story. It’s not rated 17+ for nothing!

After playing The Wolf Among Us and getting to know Bigby and Snow by just a fraction, I was eager to know more about them. Legends of Exile give us another peek at Snow White’s life and back story as Bigby shows off his detective skills and shows Snow White (again) why he was made Sheriff of Fabletown. You know you want to root for our favorite reformed villain, and this story arc gives you all the opportunity to do just that.

I literally gobbled up this story in one sitting and wanted to run back to the comic book store for the second book. Fables belongs on your shelf for just the fantastic story, but you’re actually buying it to cure that craving of good, mature, character development and mystery. You will rejoice for these fairy tales that are more aligned with the Grimm Tales that Disney ever was and set in modern day.

Bottom Line: If you wanted Disney to be more up front about the real Grimm Tales’ characters, it’s time to pick up Fables and dive into the grungy world of Fabletown and its inhabitants.

Official Rating: 17+

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Mature

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday Suggestion – Game: Doki Doki Literature Club!

Saturday Suggestion – Game: Doki Doki Literature Club!

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Trigger warning for suicide, self harm, and other disturbing content.

You’ve read the game tags. You’ve read the warnings. You’ve read the reviews. It’s on Steam for free. Now it’s your turn to experience the psychological horror that is Doki Doki Literature Club!

Don’t let the innocent logo, shades of pink, and the stereotypical looking visual novel ladies fool you. This game made me scream, and never have so many obscenities come out of my mouth while playing a Steam game before. Jump scares? Check! Nightmares? Check! Images burned into my eyeballs? Check! Music stuck in my head for days? Check! Check! Check! As always, buckle up for a spoiler free review!

Brief intro: You’re a high school student in a very typical Japanese style visual novel. You meet the first girl, your childhood best friend named Sayori, on your way to school. You walk together every day. After a bit of pestering from Sayori about what club you’re going to be in this year, you start to consider possibly joining a club. After class is over, Sayori invites you to stop in at her club where you meet three other girls: Monika, the president of the Literature Club and the most popular girl in school, Natsuki, the typical tsundere who loves cute things, manga, and baking, and Yuri, the mysterious and introverted bookworm.

Things are definitely checking off all the boxes for your typical romance visual novel. You get a glimpse of personalities from the girls, you’re pushed into being a member of the club, and after what you’ve seen so far, things are normal. Normal and quiet… You are lulled into a simple choice romance game, picking what you know will get you the most time with a girl. Creating poems to be shared with each girl to get to know her better…

But slowly, you start to see things. Little things. In the dialogue. In the poems. Things that make you take a second look. Things that don’t quite make sense. Things that don’t belong… Things that frighten you.

Review: Hang on tight, because shit gets cray in Doki Doki. I finished this game in 2 days because I just HAD TO KNOW what the F was going on. With a game play of about 2 to 10 hours, it’s short and sweet but leave your heart jumping from your chest. Fans of thrillers and psycho horrors: this game is for you.

Without spoiling the game or ending, this game gets under your skin. It starts off innocently enough and is cleverly disguised as a romance visual novel with your typical high school guy and four girls to “choose” from. Endless dialogue and the usual choices will start to make you yawn (or if you’re like me and actually enjoy visual novels you’ll feel right at home). Then… it starts.

Strange poetry, strange dialogue, strange reactions from the girls, and strange game glitches. You’ll be scratching your head wondering if that just happened. Was it a part of the game? Are you seeing things? Why are the girls acting so weird? You’ll think back to past conversations as the pieces start to fit together.

Speaking of strange poetry, the poems that you share every day with the girls in the Literature Club is a game mechanic I haven’t encountered before but definitely has a place in Doki Doki. You choose from a set of words twenty times to create your poem. These words range from ‘sunshine’ to ‘suicide’ and correlate to each girl. Pick the right ones for the right girl, and you’ll have her attention. Despite never getting to see your poems, it’s still a neat game mechanic

Beautiful and sometimes haunting music accompany the Japanese style visual novel graphics. It’s subtle enough to accompany the story without taking you away, but haunting enough to be stuck in your head for days (just ask my husband). The character art is very well done and up to visual novel standards. There’s static movement with the occasional full size shot of the girl you are romancing. For a free game, it was most definitely crafted with love by Team Salvato. I’m looking forward to any other games they put out on the Steam store.

Doki Doki Literature Club truly belongs in it’s own genre. It’s terrifying, discusses mental health on a highly uncomfortable level, incorporates heavy foreshadowing in an already intricate story, and really screws with you as a player (hello, fourth wall breaking!). You’ll even find yourself digging into the game files to uncover… things. Do yourself a favor, and play Doki Doki Literature Club.

Official Rating: M

Genre(s): Psychological Horror, Visual Novel, Dating Sim

Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Plastic Memories

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Plastic Memories

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Break out the tissues for this one! Every episode will have you tearing up!

Brief intro: Enter a future world where humanoid robots called Giftia have memories, human tendencies, and emotions. Special task forces are meant to retrieve them before their lifespan of 9 years and 4 months is over. Once a Giftia’s life expires, they lose their memories and become violent, losing their “human-like” levels of strength and speed, rendering them almost impossible to stop.

Our main characters are paired as Marksman (Giftia) and Spotter (human) in a small task force to recover these expiring Giftia. Tsukasa is an 18-year-old human boy who had no idea what kind of job he was taking on after his interview. He is paired with Isla, a veteran Giftia. Together, they must recover Giftias whose lives are about to expire before they lose their memories. There’s a problem though… Tsukasa has fallen for Isla, but how much time does Isla have left with her lifespan steadily ticking away?

Review: Fans of Chobits, rejoice! If you love Chobits, this anime is a must watch.

Much like Chobits, Plastic Memories centers around a humanoid robot with emotions and feelings. Isla, a veteran Giftia who has had a partner in the past, is paired with Tsukasa, a teenager who has no idea what he’s doing.

The first episode had me snot-crying so bring the tissues. If you thought from the first episode that this anime will be about the Giftias and Terminal Service One, it’s not. It’s all – and I mean ALL – about Tsukasa and Isla. Supporting characters also get their time to shine a little too, though I’m left wondering what the hell is going on with Kazuki? Her character is a little all over the place.

The writers have spiced this anime perfectly with a dash of humor, a sprinkling of science fiction, a little slice of life and a whole lot of bittersweet sadness. It doesn’t take long to empathize with the characters and the job they have to do. You immediately start rooting for Tsukasa to win Isla’s heart.

A heartbreaking twist is the bow on this bittersweet package, and it’ll leave you empty for days.

Bottom Line: All aboard the feels trip.

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

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Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Say I Love You

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Say I Love You

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Say I Love You is a classic school romance-drama anime.

Brief intro: Mei Tachibana is a plain, socially awkward schoolgirl whose idea of friendship was changed forever after being bullied by her so-called friends. To save herself the pain and heartache from this ever happening again, Mei vows to never make friends again. That is until Yamato Kurosawa—one of the most popular boys in high school. Now Mei can’t help but question her choices.

Yamato makes the effort time and time again to be her friend, even freely giving her his number. As their relationship slowly develops, and is marked with an unexpected kiss, Mei is finding it very hard to express her true feelings towards Yamato. Sukitte Ii na yo. follows their developing relationship, as well as their frequent disagreements, to portray how difficult it can really be to say “I love you.”

Review: This romance anime is basically the standard formula of socially awkward girl + hot guy + well-placed drama = love story. What makes this anime stand out that is how well it’s done. The story is so believable and accurate about the first time falling in love. You might tear up so bring some tissues!

I really like this anime as I can identify with Mei: socially awkward, introverted, little to no friends. And even if I couldn’t identify with her, the emotions, feelings, and situations Mei and Yamato go through are so accurate when you first fall in love. I could easily remember back when I had felt those things too.

The anime is also a bit frustrating at times and transparent. You can usually guess what is about to happen, and there’s a lot of misunderstandings from miscommunication or the lack of communication. I still enjoyed watching the story unfold and a lot of the supporting characters have their own backstory that adds to the selling points of this series.

The artwork is beautiful and well done as is the music which is light and sweet. The music adds to the atmosphere which is realistic and in the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day, “Say I Love You” is a sweet romance that tugs at your heart strings even with its basic plot and almost stereotypical characters. It’s well done and beautiful with light music and the right amount of romance.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a sweet, classic school love and (a little) tearful romance, try “Say I Love You.”

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, School

Geeky Gal’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars!

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Gamer Friday – Game Suggestion: The Wolf Among Us

Gamer Friday – Game Suggestion: The Wolf Among Us

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Telltale has brought another comic to life with The Wolf Among Us, and it is a must-play game. Put this on your list if you haven’t already. (Disclaimer: I have not read the comics, Fables; this review is based solely on the game itself. You do not have to read the comics to play and enjoy this game.)

If you’re down with the dark and gritty version of your favorite fairy tales, this game is up your alley. Characters from Snow White, to Grendel, to even Ichabod Crane are all together in a town hidden right under our “mundy” noses. Take up your place as Bigby Wolf, and be the Sheriff that Fabletown needs in this tense and investigative game.

Brief intro: Our story takes places in the 1980’s in New York in the hidden Fabletown. There’s been a murder among the Fables. Deputy Mayor Ichabod Crane sends Bigby to investigate. As you investigate, you uncover the lies, shady dealings, and hard choices that fables have had to make. Who is guilty? Who do you incriminate? Who can you trust?

Unfortunately for you, everyone hates the Big Bad Wolf. Not only are you the Sheriff of Fabletown, but you’re constantly struggling to play good cop/bad cop to get answers. Earning the trust of the fables will give you the answers you seek and determine how the game plays out.

Review: I just finished this game and my mind has been blown. The story-telling alone makes this noir game a masterpiece. You play through 5 atmospheric episodes. The gameplay is relatively smooth, but has long wait times between loading screens. This can easily be forgiven though as you simply just want to know what happens next.

This game is Point & Click with Quick Time Events. Some people hate this. Some people love it. It in no way deters from the game. If anything, it made me feel more like a detective as I tried to uncover the truth. You’re forced to make decisions quickly. Each choice has a consequence: good or bad or a bit of both. There’s times when you have to choose which location to investigate first; going to Location #1 first will be different than if you had chosen to go to Location #2. You truly have to play as a detective and read character’s expressions to see if they’re lying or being truthful.

Be the Big Bad Wolf and solve problems with fear and your fists or help Bigby become more liked and respected among the Fables to find the murderer.

Official Rating: M

Genre(s): Action Adventure

Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Noragami

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Noragami

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Noragami (or Stray God) was a fantasy manga series adapted into an anime for our viewing pleasure. Equal parts funny, cute, and action-packed, Noragami will grab your attention. From the short plot episodes to the over-all scheme playing for twelve episodes, you will fall in love with the characters and be left wanting more.

Brief intro: Our main character, Yato, is a minor god without a single shrine to his name. Accepting jobs for 5 yen, his Rengalia (sacred weapon), Tomone, quitting, and scary phantoms and other gods after him, it’s safe to say Yato is down on his luck. Unbeknownst to him, a high school girl named Hiyori is about to change all of that when she “saves” him from getting hit by a bus, resulting in her becoming a half-phantom.

Review: I can’t say enough good things about this anime. Yato is as hilarious as he is powerful. He’s not just some tough guy killing off phantoms with epic Rengalias (un-corrupted souls that transform into sacred weapons). He’s homeless, sleeping in other gods’ shrines and taking small jobs just to eat and save for his own shrine yet he still finds time to scrawl his phone number across bathroom stalls, hoping to get his name out there as the “delivery god.” He’s silly and compassionate and hopeful. Our main character may be this jersey-wearing god, trying to find lost kittens and scrubbing bath rooms for 5 yen just to get his own shrine, but the supporting characters are just as full of personality as Yato.

Hiyori isn’t like some of the other girls in anime, falling all over the main character and constantly needing to be saved. After becoming a half phantom, she can kick some ass even though she does get herself in situations that Yato has to pull her out of. In her phantom form, it’s easy for her to fight, run, and leap across buildings if she could only keep up with her human body…. When Hiyori least expects it, her human body falls asleep, releasing her phantom form (complete with a cute cat tail). Many times she doesn’t even realize this which makes for hilarious moments for those around her when she spontaneously falls asleep.

When Hiyori is not helping Yato, she is helping Yukine, Yato’s new Rengalia. Yukine died young and has no recollection of his past life. As a young teen, he still acts and feels as if he were alive. Many times this causes problems for Yato and Hioyri. Every time Yukine “sins,” he hurts Yato as their bodies are connected once Yato had named him his Rengalia.

The episodes are cute and funny with a side of action every time the characters get into trouble. The short plots tend to be resolved quickly, leaving little room to be expanded upon later if this series continues. The main plot of the story is interesting but I feel as if there could have been so much more explained. Yato’s story could be so much more deeper with more details. His story weaves with other gods’ and it leaves you with questions that could hopefully be answered in a season two (but there is no confirmation on another season).

Speaking of the other gods, a few are in the series pretty briefly, spanning a few episodes or even a few moments per episode. Kofuku, the goddess of poverty, is seen the most as Yato’s good friend. I love her character a lot but want to know more about her and her Rengalia’s story. They own a small shop (despite her being the goddess of poverty) and have such a close relationship.

Bishamon, a goddess of combat, has several Rengalia’s that make up not only weapons, but her clothing. The riff between her and Yato gets crazy but I can’t help but want to know the whole story about what started it, flashbacks and all! Of course, we find out what started it but I want details!

Overall, I really loved this anime. Had it been more than 12 episodes, I believe so much more could have been explained and expanded upon. Hopefully, we can get a second season and get that detail and depth that I so desperately want to see.

Bottom Line: If you want a short, funny, supernatural anime to lose yourself in, Noragami is the way to go!

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Fantasy, Comedy, Supernatural

Geeky Gal’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars!

 

Saturday Suggestion – Game: Fantasy Life

Saturday Suggestion – Game: Fantasy Life

Fantasy Life is an RPG for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is set in a beautiful and vast fantasy-like world. You can create your own avatar to explore the lands and pick a job (but don’t fret; you can try them all). There are limitless possibilities in your new life including setting on a grand adventure to save the world.

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Brief intro: Welcome to Reveria adventurer! Create a character that suits you then choose your Life! No worries though; you can try every Life you want by simply getting a new license. Each Life comes with it’s own challenges, pushing you to become the best at your job and explore the world, collect, mine, craft, battle, make friends and more! Explore bustling villages, beautiful forests, dark caverns, burning deserts, and dazzling oceans. Collect Bliss to progress the main story line and get incredible rewards like more storage, more items in shops, and even pets! Help villagers, royals, and pirates with their individual requests to earn Dosh (money!), experience, and items. Buy homes and decorate them to your heart’s content and fill them with personalized pets that can join you in battles and adventures.

Review: I’m pretty much obsessed. I play this game on my thirty minute lunch break while I stuff my face. I play it before bed. I play it when I’m at friends’ houses. I play it when I should be doing other things (oops!). It’s pretty addicting simply for the fact that there is so much to do!

I put it on reserve only because I had read it was similar to Animal Crossing (my other favorite game) and let me just say it is nothing like Animal Crossing (aside from the cute characters and their extremely diverse personalities). You do not have to play this game daily. In fact, Reveria has it’s own day clock on the touch screen that will show you when it will get dark (and that’s when the baddies come out in the forests and grassy plains). Another difference is your avatar. Rather than the game generating you one, you get complete customization of your very own character with tons of color options.

True to RPG fashion, you’ll spend a good amount of time going through all the combinations of eyes to eyebrows to noses to mouths. Luckily it means you’re avatar will be very different compared to others, because… you get to play along with friends! Yes! When you street-pass someone with Fantasy Life, their avatar will appear in your game for you to talk with and receive presents from. There is also a multiplayer option in which you and your friends can go exploring together. Exciting, right?!

So I lovelovelove questing. Luckily you get 3 different opportunities to do this in the game. There are your Life challenges, Bliss requests, and requests you receive from characters throughout the lands. Life challenges depend on the Life you chose at the very beginning of your game. If you chose to be a wizard, you Life challenges will have to do with learning magic. When you complete these challenges, you level up and receive more challenges, better tools, and new skills with power ups. If you find that you would like to try some alchemy, you can simply go get a license to be an alchemist. This will trigger a mini story in which you will learn how to do alchemy from a master. It’s basically a super-short-to-the-point tutorial on how to collect the supplies (if any are needed for the life you chose), how to craft/create items, etc. Bliss requests help you progress the main story line. After collecting the bliss from these requests, you can chose rewards including but not limited to: pets (one, two, and three at a time), larger storage options, more options in shops, a hairstyle shop, a change of color to clothing, horse riding, tortoise riding, etc. Finally, requests you receive from other characters will reward you in different ways. Sometimes you will receive Dosh (money), rare items, multiple common items, and experience points.

The main story line is refreshing and original. You meet kings and sultans and pirates and crazy outlaws with a talkative, quirky, and funny butterfly at your side. Luckily she takes care of most of the talking as your character seems to be the silent type. Throughout the main story line, you learn about her, wishes that characters make with the butterfly, and the mysterious moonstones popping up around Reveria. While the story line is awesome, you may find yourself questing and battling more than simply blowing straight through the main story, which is a good thing as the enemies only get harder the further you go.

There’s special things you can do such as going to the post office and typing in codes to receive free stuff, adding gifts to your profile for your friends, viewing visitors’ profiles, and other awesome things!

This game has 100+ hours of game play with endless things to do. Quest, fight, gather. It’s your Life to do as you please. Play straight through the story line and spend the rest of your days completing every Life. Choose a life and complete challenges into the wee hours of the night. Play multiplayer with your friends to hunt and gather for requests from villagers. And if you still can’t get enough, there’s an expansion already!

Bottom Line: If you love RPG’s and never tire of quests and funny story lines, Fantasy Life is a must-have for your collection.

Official Rating: E10+

Genre(s): RPG

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!