1. Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
In an effort to clear off my DVR, I’ve been watching a ton of Monster, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. For me, this is a perfect anime. It’s full of suspense, twists, and interesting characters. In fact, the characters are the best part of this anime. There are so many, yet each of them seems deep and believable. I cheer for some, I cringe at others, and I root for those trying to solve the mystery to get together and share their info. And please…don’t get me started on the characters who don’t make it. I’ve yelled at the screen on more than a few occasions.
At 74 episodes, Monster runs the risk of stretching on for too long, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s never an issue. Every episode develops something new. Not everything seems important at first, but with time, everything begins to tie together. Characters and plot points introduced in the first few episodes show up again towards the end. Nothing feels wasted or irrelevant. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, dramatic, well-planned anime, Monster is what you want.
5 out of 5
2. SHINee’s “Lucifer”
The anime club has some vocal K-pop fans, and SHINee is one group they often bring up. After listening to “Ring Ding Dong”, I decided I approved. It’s definitely a song I enjoy listening to, and the video is pretty fun to watch, even if it is a little too “boy band” sometimes. So when I heard SHINee had a new music video, I wanted to check it out.
I really like the song. It’s catchy, has a nice beat, and even throws in a few of those slightly made up English words SHINee seems to enjoy. It’s a lot of fun, and I can imagine many people singing and dancing along to it. The video, though…well…I liked it more the second time I watched it. The dancing is great, and while I don’t quite get the flowing streams of light, they do look nice. My biggest issue is the change of style. It just seems like change for change’s sake. Some of the looks aren’t bad, but some (*cough*Key*cough*) seem like they’ll be regretted in a few months. Psuedo-cowboy boots and a half-shaven head showing off a strange red spot? No no no. Otherwise, though, a fun video.
Song: 4.5 out of 5
Video: 4 out of 5
3. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Having played and enjoyed the LEGO games by Traveller’s Tales in the past, I was looking forward to this release. At their heart, the games have a pretty basic formula, and this one doesn’t stray from that. You explore a central hub and levels based off of the source material, breaking down and rebuilding LEGO pieces to open new paths and collect studs, bricks and other goodies. Other than being based on Harry Potter, there were two main changes to this game that stood out. First is the addition of potions, which require you to find 3 items hidden in the environment to mix in a cauldron which gives your character an extra power for a limited time. The other change is the added requirement of finding a character token to unlock the additional characters. In the past, you only needed to play the character in a story level to be able to purchase them. Having this added collectible group makes the game slightly more difficult, which is a big improvement.
As of this writing, though, there’s a pretty major flaw with the game. There are many bugs and glitches hidden throughout the game, including a few which require starting a new game to be able to finish. Luckily, the worst problem I faced was a tendency for my PS3 to freeze up. If you’re a fan of the LEGO games, or of Harry Potter, it’s definitely worth a rental, just be prepared for a few frustrating moments. However, if you’re expecting major changes to the formula or an innovative leap in game play, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
3.5 out of 5