“One morning, as Yusuke Godai was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into a man who can kick things very hard.”

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I have not seen many Kamen Rider series, least of all Showa-era ones; as a result, any frame of reference I have for discussing the franchise is limited to select individual series rather than the franchise as any kind of whole. Nevertheless, I am currently watching Kuuga, and it is proving highly enjoyable television and quite watchable without any foreknowledge or wider sense of what one can or should expect. Taken outside of its franchise, it is a series that does superhero origins and self-discovery very well, and creates a world that realistically adapts to the sudden arrival of supervillains. It manages to be dark and atmospheric without necessarily being graphically violent or exploitative, in part owing to the understated creature designs and simple, easily-read hero suit.

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FMP Invisible Victory’s Namsac Arc is A Step Back

Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory had a very strong opening arc that, while it played with quite stock action-film scenarios, did so in a way that was a good payoff for viewers who had come to like its cast. It ended on a strong cliffhanger for the second arc’s setup, introduced a strong villain with a commanding personality and generally was pacy and thematic. The second arc goes a long way in two episodes to undermining that goodwill by taking the themes of the first and presenting them in a significantly less interesting setting and in a fashion that seems predictably reductive.

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There are More Reasons To Watch Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory Than Tessa Threatening to Shoot Someone (But that’s a Good One)

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It took three series and countless Super Robot Wars games before I really came to like Full Metal Panic; it was always a series where the core conceit, a sort of high school anime Kindergarten Cop story about a super-genius schoolgirl being protected varyingly competently by a team of commandos never really gelled with me, where the mech combat didn’t quite work and the juxtaposition of humour and serious action was a little disorienting. Yet there was enough there – the all-comedic second series Fumoffu, with its excellent film parodies including The A-Team, Full Metal Jacket and more, fights like the city fight against the invincible yet unstable Behemoth and the climax of series 1, with charismatic and utterly monstrous villain Gauron apparently having won – to make me convinced it was not a bad series, just an uneven one.

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Ultraman: The Universe Hates You

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There is a formula to most Ultraman series episodes that initially seems repetitive and counter to the often weird and interesting setups; no matter what happens, there will be some kind of fight against a giant creature, because ultimately that is the franchise’s core motif. Indeed, the episodic monster-fighting nature of several entries may possibly seem different to viewers (like me) introduced to the franchise by the very interestingly continuity-driven Ultraman GEED. GEED had a shorter running time, and while it frequently had the giant fights to cap off episodes compounded with a veritable stable of heroes and forms, it told a fairly strong plot which itself tied into (in a fashion that used neat metatextual trickery) a wider cinematic universe.

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Is Cutie Honey Universe Good, or a Bust?

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Anyone keeping abreast of the latest news in anime will probably be aware that there is a new Cutie Honey series airing, and it definitely opens with a well-rounded pair of episodes that are significantly more interesting than one might expect from something so self-evidently lurid and lewd.

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It’s a big, in-your-face kind of series with everything on display from the start, which I feel does a fine job of modernising the original concept without quite being so trashy as some of the OVA versions. Of course, this assessment is based only on the show’s opening episodes, amply front-loaded as they are with action and also exposition to provide a firm backstory for the hero.

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There’s no shortage of foreshadowing, suggesting at least there is the intention of telling some kind of deeper story, and I think the decision to hold off on the exposition and origin story until the second episode works.

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Take Me Back to the 1980s

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You could fairly argue City Hunter (1987) and Cat’s Eye (1983) are opposite sides, narratively, of the same coin; one is about a glamorous playboy private eye recovering missing objects and saving beautiful women from peril, the other is about three beautiful women stealing gems and objets d’art. They are tonally and stylistically similar, to an extent, occupying what can be called the imaginary 1980s that is a preoccupation of a lot of pop culture and which is being revived in the modern popularisation of retrowave, synth and vaporwave aesthetics. Obviously, being products of the start and end of the 1980s, they are a more honest and authentic depiction of the idealism that pervades this kind of pop culture than later evocations of it which filter their perception through nostalgia for these original works.

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Wargame Playtest AAR – Foreign Stars

The Forces

A-Force:

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M1AX Isaac Main Battle Tank
– Medium Vehicle, Heavy Cannon, Machine Gun, Grenade Launcher

2x VIRTU Rifle Section (8 Troopers)
– Assault Rifles

2x AT2 Anti-Tank Team
– Medium Missile Launchers

B-Force:

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VIRTU A9 Frame
– Large Melee Weapon, Small Laser Cannon

VIRTU A7 Frame
– Large Melee Weapon, Heavy MMG

2x VIRTU Rifle Section (8 Troopers)
– Assault Rifles

2x AT2 Anti-Tank Team
– Medium Missile Launchers

2x MG92 Machine Gun Team
– MMGs

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Full Thrust Project Continuum Battle Report – Scouting Mission at Itomori Star Zone

Fleet Lists

EFS Taskforce Itomori:

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Artemis-class Cruiser EFS Adamant

Tsukuyomi-class Cruisers EFS Repulse, Revenge and Resolute

Nephthys-class Destroyers EFS Jupiter and Juno

Chandra-class Frigates EFS Crisis, Critic and Castle

AISN Forward Group 3185:

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Meridiel-class Cruisers AISN Fiora Froleya and Caldis Varden

Chiithan-class Destroyer AISN Dethan

Irivel-class Frigates AISN Mabaris, Cavaris, Theliris and Levitris

The Scenario

March 2146, three months into the Astoran invasion of human space. While the Itomori system is a relatively lightly populated one and would seem to be a reasonable buffer between the advancing Astorans and vital EFS infrastructure, its numerous gas giants are strategically significant mining operations. A reinforced cruiser group, led by Commodore Tachibana, had been sent by the Earth Fleet to defend Itomori – and had been waiting several days to see action.

Tachibana’s fleet encountered what was presumed to be an Astoran patrol on the 23rd March; a small flotilla of Irivel frigates was detected by long-range sensors on the cruiser Adamant, and the decision was made to advance into the magnetic clouds on the system’s edge to investigate. There, Tachibana encountered – apparently with the element of surprise – a small Astoran task force. Battle was joined…

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If You Think Initial D’s CGI is too High Quality, You Might Like F-Zero Falcon Densetsu

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In the grand scheme of things, F-Zero Falcon Densetsu is everything that can be conceptually wrong with an action anime – it is a needless dump of lore in adapting a game that really doesn’t need any (a racing game), it is a sports-action series that shamelessly finds excuses to make the action revolve around sports, and it is often quite ugly because of the sheer amount of flat-textured and obtrusive CGI that it relies on for action scenes. It is wholly forgettable and probably mostly forgotten (save for the existence of a Gameboy Advance game that uses its story), and yet I find myself wanting to recommend it.

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