Monthly Recommendations – Like a Flower

When I think May, a few things come to mind… of course, my wife’s birthday is first on that list. But other than that, May is when the city actually starts to look presentable after an all-too long Winter. Plants start to grow, the world becomes a bit greener, the sun shines a little brighter, and the rain starts to clean all the grime from the streets. This is the start of my favourite time of the year to just look around and enjoy.

So, in honour of that, here are some great shows and games to just sit back and take a good, long look at. Here are the most beautiful you’ll find. Sit back, unwind, and enjoy the view. Because it’s going to be good.

Flower
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Sword Art Online 2 – Contrast

Last summer the second season of Sword Art Online aired. Having loved the first season, although the Fairy Dance arc didn’t quite live up to the quality of SAO’s first arc, I was extremely excited for the second season. The sheer volume of summer and fall reviews kept me from revisiting this for you guys prior to now, but #JRPGMonth seemed like a perfect opportunity to tackle this RPG oriented anime… so how did it compare to the first season?

Like SAO’s first season, SAO2 was split into two separate arcs. Unlike the first season, they took a bit of a break between the two arcs this time by offering a short story to wrap matters up. The first half of SAO2 was the Phantom Bullet arc, which then lead into the Calibur short story and closed matters out with the Mother’s Rosario arc. For the purposes of this review I’ll tackle the two arcs separately, since they differed so greatly.

Yuuki & Asuna
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Yuki Yuna is a Hero – The Price of Power

The Magical Girl genre has grown a lot lately. Between shows like the recent Fate spinoff “Prisma Illya” and the Madoka series, Magical Girl shows keep entering into more mature territory, despite still starring casts of young superheroines.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero continues that trend, with a cast of five young ladies who form a special club at their school called the ‘Hero Club’. The Hero Club’s goal is to help people around their community, and these four young ladies take to this task. But there’s a second, hidden goal that only the club’s president is aware of… and that is to save the world, quite literally.

Yuki Yuna cast

One day as the girls are at school, something strange happens. Time seems to stop and this strange, beautiful forest landscape appears covering up the world they know. As they stand there, in that weird and amazing landscape, the club president turns to them and reveals the truth. The truth that they have been chosen by their world’s deity, known as the Shinju, to be heroes. By using powers granted by the Shinju, they are to protect him from monsters who invade their lands through this strange forest landscape and that, if one of these monsters reaches him… their world will end.
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Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon – From the Ashes

CastPicture, if you will, a world living in idyll. People everywhere are at peace, conflict only exists in measured games – sports and the like. The Light of Mana, a form of magic power, provides them health, happiness, and protection. Everyone is happy…

Except the parents of the children known as Norma. Every so often a female is born who is incapable of being affected by the Light of Mana. These are the Norma, seen as being savages incapable of being civilized, and are banished never to be seen again.

Our protagonist, princess Angelise of the Kingdom of Misurugi, firmly believes that the Norma have to be removed to ensure the continuation of society. That is, until everything comes crashing down around her as it is shown that she, herself, is a Norma who has been protected from the consequences by her family and she begins to find out the truths of the world.

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Sailor Moon Crystal – Not Quite Nostalgia

Sailor Moon is one of the most well-known and well-loved series of all time. For many of us, myself included, it was among the first anime that helped to get us hooked on the medium… so it’s very exciting that it is being rebooted as Sailor Moon Crystal. This series was one of the progenitors of the Magical Girl genre, and is probably the most famous of them.

Sailor Moon Crystal takes us back to where it all started as Usagi meets Luna and the Sailor Guardians are born. Unlike the original anime adaptation, SMC is drawing more directly from the manga, so it should be different enough from its predecessor so as to not seem like just a copy.

The first half of the first season covers the Dark Kingdom arc, featuring Queen Beryl and her generals who are searching for the Legendary Silver Crystal.

The Sailor Scouts
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