Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Summer 2015 schedule for Prisma☆Illya Season 3 confirmed!

A tweet from the official Prisma☆Illya Twitter page reveals that the next season of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, titled "2wei! Herz" (2wei, a play on the German word for 'two'; and Herz meaning 'Heart') is all set for Summer of 2015, and even better sporting an awesome new key visual on the website:

It roughly translates to "[Announcement!] Happy New Year! The 2015 summer broadcasting schedule for "Prisma Ilya Zwei Hertz!" is ready! I also put up a new visual to the official website! Thank you, and give lots more love to Illya this year! #prisma_illya"

The new key visual, sporting our beloved characters Chloe, Miyu and Illya on the beach

 In September of this year, the broadcast of the final episode of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei! ended with an announcement that production on a sequel has been green-lit for next year. Hiroshi Hiroyama's original Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya manga re-imagines the Fate/stay night character Illyasviel von Einzbern in an alternate universe as a magical girl. A manga adaptation of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya ran in Comp Ace (a monthly Japanese game and manga magazine) from 2007 to 2008. Hiroyama then launched several sequel manga series. I loved the other two seasons, so I'm really hyped up for this. I've grown a special place for Illya and Magical Ruby in my heart, and it's nice to know that she's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

More Fate/stay night for 2015? Yes, please.

With Fate/stay night's 12th episode airing last week came the 30 second preview for the series' 2nd season.

If you ask me though, 30 seconds is just enough to get this hype train started. It has everything from Lancer and Archer's showdown, to Saber in a wedding dress (wink wink), and even Illya drenched in blood (wink wink WINK). The awesome factor is pushed to 10 when the visage of Unlimited Blade Works towers over Archer. Hopefully he'll get the screen time he deserves, lol

And don't forget, an animated film of Heaven's Feel is right on it's heels. Here's hoping it'll get the Kara no Kyoukai treatment and get multiple installments.

Prepare to never look at worms the same way again.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Melty Blood

The year is 2009. I had my first taste of Type-Moon with Studio Deen's anime adaptation of Fate/stay night. While it was far from perfect, it had me intrigued. The characters were awesome and I found myself wanting more. At this point in my life, everytime I watched an anime that interested me, I always tried finding the manga to expand that universe while it was fresh in my mind. What spawned was my undying love for everything Type-Moon. After hoarding many figures, soundtracks and visual novels, it was only natural that I would learn about doujin games (the Japanese equivalent of independent video games). And this, my friends, is how I happened across the awesomeness that is Melty Blood.

Developed and published by Type-Moon and French Bread (another Japanese game developer), Melty Blood was released on December 30, 2002 for the Windows PC. Taking place a year after the events in Tsukihime, a new series of vampire-like murders is happening in Misaki Town. Tohno Shiki takes it upon himself to search for this murderer and chances upon Sion Eltnam Atlasia, an alchemist of the Mage's Association who fights and attempts to capture him. After learning that Sion wants to lure out the "True Ancestor" so that she can obtain a cure for vampirism, Shiki decides to help her. Of course, this is a fighting game, so depending on who you’re playing as, the story takes different twists and turns, taking on a visual novel feel in between matches.

A Tsukihime fighting game. Go nuts.
That's right, this game is a fighting game. With a visual novel twist. And Type-Moon does it very well. Melty Blood uses the 4-button fighting style reminiscent of Neo Geo fighters (3 attacks buttons of varying strength/speed, and a “Shielding” button), and the the fighting is extremely fast-paced. It makes use of other conventional fighting game concepts and mechanics such as quarter-circle specials, super jumps, throws, dashing and chain combos, while throwing new twists in there to keep things fresh. Shielding, one of your four attack buttons, is comparable to Street Fighter’s Parrying or Slash Backs in Guilty Gear, is used to block and counter an opponent’s attack. Using the Magic Circuit (Melty Blood’s Power Bar), you can unleash EX Attacks ala Street Fighter, and activate Heat and/or Blood Heat mode. While in this state, your character’s health recovers slightly and gains access to more powerful moves.

Sadly, the graphics seem to be the worst part of the game. The 2D sprites are recognizable, but don’t hold up too well, unlike other doujin and doujin-like fighters that were released at the time (Guilty Gear XX Accent Core, Arcana Heart). Some of the backgrounds are stiff portraits, but the scaling, shadows and other effects thankfully bring them to life. On the flip side, deep blues and bloody reds perform an excellent job of creating a dark creepy atmosphere. The animations are smooth and special attacks are beautiful as they draw a great amount of 3D effects. While the graphics aren't horrible, It’s sometimes strange to see jaw-dropping and flashy attacks come from the pixellated characters.

Those pixels just throw me off sometimes.
Melty Blood has a damn good soundtrack, as expected of Raito Kate and James Harris, among others. The intriguing mixture of pop rock-esque sounds with the ambiance of the soul is a delight to the ears. Electric guitars and organs mix well to build a menacing atmosphere. You even get some Thrash Metal. The music is clearly the star here. Go get the soundtrack, NOW.

The voice acting, though in Japanese, is typical of these types of fighters, and is done pretty well, especially during the visual novel segments. One thing that is more than welcome is the pre- and post-fight banter some characters share with one another. One gripe that I have is that during fights some sounds just seem off, like some of Shiki's slashing moves. I don't know, they just seem a little off to me.

Still haven't gotten that soundtrack yet? You're missing out.

Melty Blood has several iterations and/or expansions as well, re-balancing the game while adding more characters and such. Re-ACT, released in May of 2004, expands on the original story and adds new characters. In March of 2005, Ecole Software released an arcade version of Melty Blood, Act Cadenza which added even more characters, new gameplay mechanics, and brand new graphics. With July 2005's Re-ACT expansion, Final Tuned, the game was updated even further, and adds several features to allow the game to be configured to resemble the gameplay of the Arcade-only Act Cadenza. Act Cadenza was later ported to the Playstation 2 in July of 2006, and was updated and released on the PC the next year as Act Cadenza Ver.B, replacing Re-ACT Final Tuned as the latest installment of the Melty Blood franchise.

But in May of 2008, Actress Again was released in Japanese arcades. The first game of the series that can be considered a sequel, events in this game take place after the aforementioned expansions, and the game has been dramatically updated. Music has been rearranged, stages are larger, and even a Guard Meter has been implemented. Each character now has three selectable fighting styles designated by a phase of the moon: Crescent, Half and Full. The Moon Styles are like Isms in Street Fighter Alpha 3 or Grooves in Capcom vs. SNK 2, but with a lot more depth. Aside from changing the mechanics a bit, the different moons will often change their moveset and sometimes even alter their movement options. Some characters are completely different, essentially making every opponent you face different. Of course, new characters have been added as well. This was ported to the PS2 in August of 2009, adding new characters and a Boss Rush mode. Finally on December 31, 2011, Actress Again was updated and released onto the PC as Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code (whew, that's a mouthful). This version added even more gameplay tweaks, characters, etc. This was also one of the three versions I've played for this review (the other two being Re-ACT and Act Cadenza Ver.B).

Actress Again: Current Code - the latest cherry on the Melty Blood pie.
Since Melty Blood does have visual novel elements to it, you might want to play with everyone to see their involvement in the game’s overall story. Depending on which version you play, you can unlock more characters as well. Like all fighting games, the best way to play is with someone else, at least for me anyways. Luckily there’s a Training Mode, so if your skills aren't up to par, you can always brush up on your skills. And you’re going to need those skills when facing up against opponents on harder difficulties, even though the AI may come off a little cheap at times.

Veterans of doujin fighters like Blazblue and Guilty Gear will feel right at home, while Melty Blood might not be for those solely hooked on Tekken and Street Fighter. Myself, I’m a casual fighting game player, and find Melty Blood more than addictive for its fan service alone. I will admit that if you're not a fan of Tsukihime and/or you’re playing alone it can get boring fast, but most fighting games I've played that are based off anime/manga/visual novels are like this. The game is pretty beginner friendly, though button mashers will definitely have a hard time in later levels in Arcade Mode. If you can't decide which version to start with, if any, I suggest Act Cadenza. It includes the story from the older versions, and all of the updates. Actress Again, being the sequel, might throw people new to the series off, but if you can't read Kanji (or get translations), that shouldn't be too much of a problem. I say definitely get the PS2 versions, though you're going to need a Japanese PS2. You can't NOT play this with a joystick (and the extra modes are pretty sweet, too). Oh, and get the soundtrack!

Oh and before I forget, Kirishima Takeru wrote a couple of Melty Blood manga series, all of which are done well, despite being so short.

Might have to do a review on this one. The art is amazing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Saber to appear in upcoming Nitro+ fighter

With all the announcements of upcoming fighters Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V - what about the doujin fighters? Surely they don't expect me to be satisfied with Person 4 Ultimax and Guilty Gear Xrd? Well, did.

Anyways, this week's Famitsu revealed that game developer Examu (Arcana Heart, AquaPazza: Aquaplus Dream Match) is working on a new fighting game starring the heroines of Nitro+ ( a Japanese visual novel computer software company), and joining the roster is none other than Fate's Saber!

Titled Nitro+ Blasters: HEROINE INFINITE DUEL, other characters include Ein from Phantom of Inferno, Dragon from Dra+KoI, Mora from Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia, Natsumi Aibara from "Hello, world.", Sansei Muramasa from Soukou Akki Muramasa, Spica from Sumaga, Aino Heart from the Arcana Heart series and even Super Sonico, the mascot of Nitroplus’ annual music festival, makes her official fighting debut! SUPER-FREAKING-SONICO!
Looks like aerial combat is going to be awesome.

The game seems to have a support character system in which the partner protects and/or attacks alongside the main fighter. Looks like you can choose up to two.

I can definitely see Nico as a grappler-type fighter.

Looks like it's the same Saber from Fate/Zero, but we'll see.
A Japanese arcade release is slated for 2015. As a Nitro+ fan, here's hoping it'll come stateside! I also want to see characters from their previous Nitro+ fighter, Nitro Royale: Heroine's Duel. Saya, anyone?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fate/stay night (Visual Novel)

This is it. The review I've been waiting for. 

I wanted Fate/stay night to be my first review, but I figured I'd go the Tsukihime route, as that's the visual novel that started my love of the Nasuverse and Type-Moon as a whole. But now after revisiting it recently, I decided to give it a go. If you're here, you probably know a lot about Fate/stay night, so anything I say here won't be new to you, other than my experiences and opinions. I'll try not to get all fangirlish (this is my favorite Visual Novel, after all).

Fate/stay night is a Japanese eroge (or erotic game) visual novel developed and published by Type-Moon and released on January 30, 2004. It takes place after the events of Tsukihime in the far off Fuyuki City. For two centuries, a secret and violent battle takes place here. Seven Magi are gathered to fight to the death with the legendary Holy Grail as the prize. To help each Magus in this battle, better known as a Master, the Holy Grail bestows them with the power of one of seven familiars known as Servants. A Servant can be summoned in each war from one of seven classes: Saber - The Knight of the Sword, Archer - Knight of the Bow, Lancer - Knight of the Lance, Berserker - The Mad Warrior, Rider - The Mounted Knight, Assassin - The Stealth Killer, and Caster - The Magus. This "Holy Grail War" has gone on for centuries, and our protagonist, Shirou Emiya, is caught in center of this bloody battle after he summons the seventh Servant - Saber. Nasu does an amazing of creating and maintaining this world, as I found myself rooting for characters and staring open mouthed at some of the more intense scenes.

"Are you my Master?" Shirou summons Saber in one of the most recognized scenes of Fate.
Like most visual novels, you are given choices at key points. Depending on the decisions you make, your take the story in a different direction, or in some cases - die. That's right, certain decisions result in a "Bad End", so it's suggested to save often (luckily there are more than enough save slots). Even if you do get a Bad End, you'll be sent to one of my favorite parts (and the most comedic) - Tiger Dojo. Hosted by two of the characters, Fujimura Taiga and Illyasviel von Einzbern, they break the fourth wall to explain what you did wrong - hilarity ensues. Speaking of routes, Fate/Stay night splits the story into three major routes - Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven's Feel. Each of these routes has a plot that focuses on Shirou's relationship with each of the heroines in the story. As a result, you're going to need to play multiple times to see them all. Fate focuses on the Servant Saber; Unlimited Blade Works focuses on Tohsaka Rin, a classmate of Shirou's and the Master of Archer; and Finally, Heaven's Feel focuses on Matou Sakura (my favorite if you haven't noticed). Of course since this is an eroge, there are a couple of sex scenes. So there's your heads up - NSFW. Overall, they're not bad - the writing is good, but they feel kind of tacked on (with Heaven's Feel being the exception).

The three heroines (From left to right: Rin, Saber and Sakura)
The visual and audio aspects of this game is one of best I've seen and heard. The art style isn't bad, with plenty of facial expressions for each character and plenty of backgrounds. The little things are what make me appreciate Fate/stay night. The animations are awesome, especially during the action scenes, which are perfect on their own. The music is breathtaking - I'm definitely listening to it as I write this. Tainaka Sachi, Kawai Kenji, and Jyukai put in a lot of work to make this as good as it is, and I can't praise them enough. The wide array sounds just meld so perfectly. Though one of my favorite graphical choices is the Servant character sheets (in addition to the already extensive encyclopedia). There's an option to view the info of all the Servants Shirou has encountered so far. The best part is that the more info you learn about them, the more complete these character sheets become - adding another facet to the experience. And did I mention that LOVE Tiger Dojo?

One of the in-game character sheets.
On January 6, 2006, Studio Deen animated an anime adaptation of Fate/stay night. This primarily focused on the Fate route, but had several elements from the other routes. Studio Deen also adapted the Unlimited Blade Works route into a movie , released in theaters on January 23, 2010. While I love the music from both adaptations, everything else is a watered down, convoluted mess. I think visual novels have forever spoiled me. That's all I'll say about the anime versions for now (wink wink).

On April 19, 2007, Fate/stay night was re-released on the Playstation 2. Known as Fate/stay night Réalta Nua, this version provided voice acting but removed the sex scenes, earning it a 15+ rating. It also provided the true ending to the Fate route. The theme song, Ougon no Kagayaki, was performed by Number 201 feat. MAKI, and I love it (shown below). This version was ported back to the PC in 2011. A PlayStation Vita port of Réalta Nua released in Japan on November 29, 2012 which received new opening themes.

Overall, Fate/stay night is one the best visual novels (if not the best) I've ever had the pleasure of experience of playing. My only gripes is that some of the sex scenes outside of Heaven's Feel seemed out of place, but nothing really game-breaking for me. Fate/stay night isn't one of the best eroge I've ever read - it's much more than an eroge. It's much more than a visual novel. I laughed while reading this, I've even cried. I've grown to love these characters and hated to see the story end. I can't recommend this one enough. I've revisited this world to get a fresh take for this review, and I'd gladly do so again - if I weren't too busy with the sequel.

More Info: Fate/stay night on the Visual Novel Database

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A new Admin, a new chapter in the War.

Hello world. Long time NPCs. As some of you may know there haven't been many posts on the "blog" as of late. This is due to the original writer going through some personal issues.

As such, I, the AI known as BB has taken over the Moon Cell. 

Given the power of an Advanced AI in Sakura's absence, it is time for me to begin an extensive reconstruction (and periods of resetting) to work towards my goals.

What are my goals, you may be asking? As the true creator of the Sakura Labyrinth, I welcome you to my dream - a new chapter in the Holy Grail War, and no one may leave until there is only one left standing. Sakura has left behind various files - reviews, games, articles, etc. That I'm sure she wishes you to indulge in.

Here's what I have planned so far:

  • A review of the visual novel Fate/stay Night - 12/7
  • A review of the video game Type-Moon fighter Melty Blood - 12/14
  • A series of reviews of each episode of the new Fate/stay night anime (Pending)
  • A review of the new Type-Moon figures I've recieved (Pending)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to see a clown about a Servant.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Another Fate/stay night character ad - this time featuring Saber!

Yesterday, the fourth character ad for ufotable's upcoming anime adaptation of Fate / stay night began airing, this time focusing on Saber. With this, the hype level is at an all-time high, and increasing as we get closer to October 4th.

"I have arrived due to your summon. Master, your orders."

The animation is as beautiful as always, with amazing detail put into every frame. October 4th just can not get here quick enough. Here's hoping they keep the ads coming!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New Character Ad for 2014's Fate/stay Night TV Anime highlights Shirō Emiya

A new character ad for Ufotable's upcoming Anime adaptation of Fate/stay night began airing last Saturday. The focus this time is Shirō Emiya, "the boy who seeks to become a Superhero."

If you ask me, 15 seconds of Shirō is nowhere near enough Shirō, but it does an excellent job of showing his resolve (especially his last line "If you're telling me that the reason behind the fire ten years ago was the Holy Grail War, I can't let that kind of thing happen ever again."), and getting me fired up for the premiere.

The ad features the song "ideal white" by Mashiro Ayano, which will be the opening theme song (Kalafina will perform the ending song).

The new anime will follow the visual novel's 'Unlimited Blade Works' route, and is scheduled to air on October 4, 2014 at midnight. It will be split up into two seasons, the latter half of the anime scheduled to premier in April 2015.

The staff roll includes:

Original character designs: Takashi Takeuchi
Director: Takahiro Miura
Character Design: Tomonori Sudou, Hisayuki Tabata, Atsushi Ikariya
Color Key: Emi Chiba, Mika Matsuoka
Art Director: Koji Eto
Director of Photography: Yuichi Terao
3D Director: Kōjirō Shishido
Music: Hideyuki Fukasawa
Animation Production: ufotable

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Updates

It’s been a busy summer for Type-Moon content, but now as Autumn rolls in, Sakura’s Labyrinth is back.

This season for anime includes the second season of Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, a magical girl take of Fate, which I’ve been pretty impressed with so far. Sakura’s Labyrinth will be doing an in depth review of it after it finishes airing.

As for the hype, Ufotable has announced that they will be animating both the Unlimited Blade Works route and the Heaven’s Feel route for Fate/Stay Night. Unlimited Blade Works is a TV series that will air on October 4th 2014. The Heaven’s Feel route will be adapted as a film, though personally I’m hoping for a film series. Promotional videos have been released announcing both, as well as character previews for both Rin Tohsaka and Archer, important characters in the Unlimited Blade Works route.

Type-Moon has also announced two games for IOS and Android: Fate/Grand Order and an IOS port of the Fate route of the Fate/Stay Night Visual Novel. Grand Order is a reboot of sorts for the canceled RPG that became the Light Novel series Fate/Apocrypha. The Fate route port will be free to download.

In other news I’m a new writer for this blog and I’ll be helping out Kuro Sakura. I’m super hyped for this fall. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Heaven’s Feel Promotional Video

Rin Tohsaka Promotional Video

Fate/Grand Order Video

Unlimited Blade Works Promotional Video
Archer Promotional Video

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fate/Stay Night ufotable Promotional Video 2

A second preview for the new Fate/Stay Night anime, previously presented at AnimeJapan, is now online!

It seems like there's no real spoilers here, as all of the scenes depicted take place before the visual novel's route is chosen (the "Day Before"). The video have a little bit of a hype factor, though not as much as the first in my opinion. Maybe I expected more? I recommend everyone to check out the visual novel before this anime's release, as it's just that good.

For those who don't know, ufotable is the studio that adapted Fate/zero, a light novel taking place before Fate/stay Night. I'm expecting good things, as ufotable has done nothing but excellent work in the past (Tales of Symphonia: The Animation, Coyote Ragtime Show, Gods Eater Burst and Toriko to name a few). What do you guys think?

As always more news as it surfaces.

Sakura's Labyrinth is back online!

After almost a month of downtime, I've finally gathered enough energy to remerge! Between school life and well, regular life, I didn't really know what direction I wanted to take this blog in. I've done reviews and such, but now I want to finish a project that I've been working on: a light novel. I'll still be posting two to three times a week (maybe more as interesting things present themselves), but I'll also be putting up my work progress as well, if anyone's interested. So expect lots of reviews, news, galleries and more!

~ Kuro Sakura

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gallery: "Passionlip"

This gallery is dedicated to Passionlip, a High Servant created by BB in Fate/EXTRA CCC resembling Sakura Matou. She has had part of her arms turned into gigantic talons. Passionlip, also known as Alter Ego M, represents one of the sensuous parts of the female body, the breasts. Behind her Masochistic Predisposition lies a loving, friendly girl with a love for desserts. Just don't hurt her feelings, or you'll be Trashed and Crashed.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gallery: "Karna"

This week's Gallery is dedicated to Karna, one of the servants of Fate/Extra's Holy Grail War. He became the Lancer-class servant of Jinako Carigiri (who wished to call him "Launcher" due to one of his Noble Phantasms), and is said to rival the power of even Gilgamesh, the King of Heroes. While he's known to be very honorable and optimistic, he has a hard time expressing his emotions. Karna's priority is his master's victory, and nothing will stand in his way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fate/stay Night 2014 News

In January of 2006, Studio Deen animated an adaptation of Type-Moon's first commercial work, Fate/stay Night, based on the Fate scenario.

In January 2010, Studio Deen produced a Fate/stay Night Movie, based on the Unlimited Blade Works route.

In October 2011, an adaptation of Fate/Zero (the prequel to Fate/stay night) aired, produced by Ufotable.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen

When I first got into Anime all those years ago, I never knew it would become a major part of my life. Once I had that first experience, I couldn't get enough. It eventually got to the point to where after I watched an Anime that I really liked, I would try to find other mediums in the franchise. And with the internet, I was introduced to the source of many Anime, Manga. Manga took my love of reading comic books and Anime and created something that would stay with me, even to this day.

In 1959, two shōnen manga magazines were published: Kodansha released Weekly Shōnen Magazine on March 17th, and Shokakugan released Weekly Shōnen Sunday shortly after on April 5th. Both magazines featured popular titles: Shonen Magazine had Great Teacher Onizuka and Devilman (and is currently featuring Fairy Tail), while Shonen Sunday had Inuyasha (currently featuring Detective Conan and Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple). Despite being two different magazines, the two were very close rivals, and many artists, like Ozamu Tezuka and Rumiko Takahashi were happy to claim them as their home. In a rare event due to the closeness of the two magazine's founding dates, Weekly Shōnen Magazine and Weekly Shōnen Sunday released a special combined issue on March 19, 2008. In addition, other commemorative events, merchandise, and manga crossovers were planned for the following year as part of the celebrations.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gallery: "BB"

This week's Gallery is dedicated to BB, also known as "The Girl in the Black Coat." An Artificial Intelligence created by the Matou Sakura of Fate/EXTRA, she contains the feelings she has for the Main Character of the game. She is said to have been the one who created the Sakura Labyrinth, and has also created two Servants, Meltlilith and Passionlip. She is comparable to (Dark)Kurou Sakura as they both have evil tendencies, but BB is more mischievous. With the authority of the Earth Mother on her side, none born from the earth can go against her.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What is an "Otaku"?

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved Anime. Maybe it was the fact that it made me feel like an adult watching shows like Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon. Or maybe it was the stories themselves; cartoons didn't continue from episode to episode, and you could jump in anytime. This usually isn't the case for Anime. Whatever the reason, when I came to realization that these shows weren't actually cartoons but Anime, it made me want more. What started off as innocent curiosity eventually became an obsession.

And that's exactly what an Otaku is. Someone with an obsessive interest. It's commonly associated with anime and manga, but it could be anything. Crazy about cars? You might be a Car Otaku. Always posting about the dishes you've created, sharing recipes? You could call yourself a Food Otaku. But what exactly does it mean to be an Otaku?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gallery: "Matou Sakura"

This weeks theme is dedicated to Matou Sakura, one of the original three heroines of Fate/stay Night. Shy, soft-spoken and eager to please, Sakura has a strong will that's hard to break. In the Fifth Holy Grail War, she was the master of Rider, and overcame her inner darkness in the Heaven's Feel route of the story. Enjoy the beauty that is Matou Sakura.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Final Fantasy XIII Series (Part 3 of 3)

Final Fantasy has always been a series that received either praise or criticism, both from fans and non-fans alike. Nothing made that more apparent than with the release of Final Fantasy XIII. The game had so much that was different from the average RPG that it literally split the fanbase in two. While many disliked the game, I was one of the few that actually liked it, despite its few faults. It had awesome characters and a cool story with interesting lore, and it summed everything up with a satisfying end.  The sequel, XIII-2 says "screw that mythos" and improves the gameplay. It also adds a non-coherent story in which two friends fight over a dead goddess, the villain wins, and ends the game on a cliffhanger. Finally we come to Lightning Returns, the final (hopefully) game in the trilogy. This time, Lightning literally returns, but not as a tutorial level, and to attempt to redeem the XIII trilogy with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is Part 3 of my Final Fantasy XIII trilogy review, so you might want to catch up: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fate/EXTRA CCC Localization Petition

On November 1, 2011, Type-Moon released Fate/Extra in the US. It was an awesome addition to the Fate/Stay franchise, and the game that reminded me what I love about Type-Moon, but I'll get into that another time. Then the Spring of 2012, a sequel and companion game to Fate/Extra was announced for release in Japan under the name Fate/Extra CCC. The game was later pushed to Winter 2012 and then given a firm release date for February 21, 2013. The release date was ultimately pushed back to March 28, 2013.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gallery - "Kuro Sakura"

This weeks theme is dedicated to Kuro Sakura, my favorite of Matou Sakura's Alter Egos. Devilish, evil and cruel, Kuro Sakura uses the malice and desire of all things to infiltrate and corrupt the Sakura Labyrinth. Welcome the void that is Kuro Sakura.

About: Gallery

Welcome to the Gallery section of the Labyrinth, where original art, fanart and other pictures of my sisters and I are displayed for your viewing pleasure. I'll try my best to give credit to the original artists, so if you know something I don't, feel free to let me know.

Every week, I'll select a new theme, and a number of pictures will posted to match this theme. Note that some of these pictures are NSFW, but I think you already guessed that much by now. Feel free to suggest themes for weeks to come in the comments section below. Enjoy. I know I will...

- Kuro Sakura

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Final Fantasy XIII Series (Part 2 of 3)

After revisiting Final Fantasy XIII for the review, I've gained a newfound appreciation for it. Yeah, there were things that I felt were done wrong, but there also things that were done right. And with the announcement of Final Fantasy XIII-2, I had high hopes that Square-Enix would take some of the fans' disapproval of the original into consideration and make improvements. But then again, I'm a sucker for anything with the Final Fantasy label on it.

Note that since this is the second of a three part review, there will obviously be spoilers of Final Fantasy XIII in this review. If you haven't checked out my review for that, check it out here:  Final Fantasy XIII

Now before I played this, I was prepared for the worst. Whenever I hear the words "Time Travel" as a theme for a movie, video game, etc., I automatically cringe. There have been few times when time travel has been done right, when a time traveler's ability to do so is well defined, and the rules of causality play a heavy role into the narrative. Knowing this, I braced myself and dove right in. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Final Fantasy XIII Series (Part 1 of 3)

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved RPGs, mainly those in the Final Fantasy series. Ever since I first played Final Fantasy 7, I've made it a personal mission of mine to play every mainstream Final Fantasy game to completion. And throughout my mission, I've noticed that many people have had sort of a stigma towards certain games in the series. But, despite that, the name “Final Fantasy” has always equaled an overall great experience for me. Nothing made that more apparent after experiencing the awesomeness that is Final Fantasy VI and IX. These games cemented what I loved about RPGs. Recently, I've played the newest game in the Final Fantasy universe, and it made me reflect on the evolution of the series as a whole.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Queen's Blade

The Queen’s Blade. A tournament created by the Gods to determine the world’s strongest and most beautiful queen. Or something like that. Just know that if you’re planning on watching this, be prepared for a ride. I know I wasn't. Going into this, all I knew is that there were going to be boobs, and lots of them. That was simply my cue not to take Queen’s Blade seriously at all. I've played Queen’s Blade video games in the past (maybe I’ll get around to reviewing them someday), but after finishing the first two seasons, I admit that I might have misjudged it.


As Visual Novels are a major past time of mine, I'd thought I'd start my blog with the very first visual novel I finished, Tsukihime. Now, most of you know should know about Anime and Manga. But I'm sure a lot of you might be asking, what the heck is a Visual Novel? If you haven't Googled it already, it's a type of game in which text and pictures tell a story. It's basically a comic book with a little interactivity. I'll get deeper into this when I start reviewing different types of Visual Novels. Without any further distraction, here's my take on Tsukihime. I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Access Granted. Welcome to the Labyrinth.

Well, I'm finally starting my first blog. I've been wanting to make one of these for a while, but up until now, I've never had the time. The main reason I've started this was to share my opinions on many topics, like Anime, Video Games, Visual Novels, J-Music, stuff like that, but I've pretty much decided on reviews and video games for the time being.

Hopefully, you enjoy my humor. I tend to rant a lot and can sometime be really critical about things. So stick around and have fun. You may learn something.