Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Japan Has Given Me

Like I said in my last post, this blog is about my favorite things about Japan.

I'm just going to cover my two favorite things that I love about Japan, then I'll give you a top three from those.

So, in no particular order my favorite things from Japan are video games and anime.

These are the things that have given me an intreset in Japan and are reasons why I donated to Japan.

I hope in some way this will make you think about the connections you have to Japan and hopefully you'll consider donating.

Top Three Japanese Games:

The characters as they've grown over the years 

1. Legend of Zelda Series

I know that in my post about my top 10 favorite video games I mentioned that Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of Time was my favorite game of all time... as of now.

But Since it is a game made in Japan it has to be in my list.

I really can't pick a particular game out of this series, besides Orcarina of Time of course, so I'm just gonna say my number one is the series.

As a kid this was one of the first games I ever played. I remember playing Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo.

If that's not a name drop I don't know what is.

For the gaming world this series has captivated its players. This series was one of the first in the video game world to generate a story worth telling.

Its proven time and time again how video games can not only create highly addictive and fun gameplay, but a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

As video games continue to grow more sophisticated we have seen the stories do the same. This fall we have Mass Effect 3, Elder Scrolls Skyrim, and Gears of War 3 coming out.

These are all games that are heavily story driven and they owe thanks to the Legend of Zelda series for paving the way for story driven games.

Not just games that have senseless violence...but we like those games too!

This is one women I wouldn't mess with
 2. Metroid Prime 1

This game was awesome! Gamecube didn't have the best reputation among the gaming community, but personally I think it put out a multitude of great games.

And this is one of them.

Not gonna lie this game kind of scared me as a kid. Those Space Pirates just freaked me out and when you went into thermal vision, well I just said f*** that and turned off my console.

I was not the bravest child.

But this game was awesome, it really revived the series and gave Samus a new image.

The game had a very sophisticated look to it. It was combined old school metriod with next generation console gameplay.

Areas were still connected by elevators and you could still roll into a ball. All the elements that made Metroid were there, it was just looked a lot sexier and gameplay was smooth.

One thing I will say about this game though is that it was difficult. This game took me forever to beat.

It was one of the first games I played were I had to read a 3D map and figure out where I was going. But leaving the linear gameplay was nice for a change.

This was a must own for anyone who owned a Gamecube. If you missed your chance and didn't get to play it, don't fret.

All three Metroid Prime games are availabe for the Wii.

But you better hurry up because Nintendo is going to be releasing a new console soon....when more information comes out I'll cover that.

This is probably my favorite side scroller ever

3. Donkey Kong Country
Well, Donkey Kong Country may not have been developed in Japan, Rare Studios was a second party developer at the time and were British, but I count it because it was released by Nintendo and they're most certainly from Japan.

This game took hours away from my life as a kid.

Not only was this game difficult, at least at the time... I haven't played it in a while, but it was insanely fun.

I enjoy side scrollers, but this is by far my favorite one... something about the monkeys just did it for me.

With all the different environments and awesome soundtrack, Donkey Kong Country was a game that was over the top.

Personally riding the swordfish was a dream come true, and don't get me started about riding the rhino.

Although this game was one of the last good side scrollers to come around and didn't revolutionize a genre, I think this game deserves credit.

Nintendo has done a great job at reviving its famous characters for each generation of consoles.

They even revived Donkey Kong Country for the Wii.

With that said Donkey Kong Country takes my number three spot.

Top Three Japanese Anime (All Animes Are In English):

1. Death Note

I know anime has a bad reputation sometimes, but what I love about anime is the stories that many of them have.

And Death Note is no expection.

Like every boy growing up in the new mellinium I watched Dragon Ballz, but I never really grasped the concept that it was Anime.

But Death Note was the series that got me back into anime.

This is one of the most interesting stories that I've come across in the anime world.

Basically, this kid, Light Yagami, finds a notebook that can kill people by just writing their name and face in it.

So, like any other 18 year old honors student would do, he takes it upon himself to ride the world of evil by killing all the criminals that inhabit it.

But another super genius wants to stop him, named L, and the two are forced to try and find each other. With both of their lives on the line there is not telling what could happen.

This anime has no fighting in it. It is all story driven.

It may sound boring, but I dare you to watch one episode and not be addicted.

Throughout the whole series there are a massive amount of twist and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Think Steven Hawking vs. Albert Enstein.

That is a bad example.... but it's people with their IQ battling it out to see whose sense of justice is right.

This is by far one of the best animes I have ever seen, so watch it because what else are you going to do with your

2. Fooly Cooly

So this anime only has six episodes, but it's some of the best six episodes I have ever seen.

If I had to describe this series in one word it would be over-the-top.

The story is coming of age story where Naota, the stories protagonist, is hit by a guitar by a women who rides a Vespa named Haruko.

The hit from the guitar creates a bump on Naota head.

Through that bump objects come out from a medical facility. I can't really explain much of the plot because I don't want to give it away.

But watch the first episode, the style the anime is written and the interactions between the characters are odd, in a good way though.

The style creates an interesting vibe that keeps you coming back for more. After the six episodes you will want more.

Something that really grabs my attention about this anime is the music. Most of the music is are songs by the Japanses band called The Pillows who have an indie sound.

It gives the anime a hipster feel and carriers the mood of the anime through the course of its six episodes.

Overall this is a really cool anime and for six episodes it is really worth your time.

It's different, unique, funny, and has a great story.

3. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (English it's Gurren Lagann)

I'm going to be straight up with this one...the name is just as ridiculous as the anime.

But this is good.

This anime will have you using words like bro all the time. This show has more testosterone packed in it than a juiced up baseball player...we can think people like A-Rod for that joke.

The story follows Simon, the main character,  a girl with a huge gun named Yoko, and a man with arguably the biggest ego ever Kamina.

These three fight in mechas against there oppressor, The Spiral King, who wants to keep all the humans below the Earth's surface.

This anime is a coming of age story where Simon has to gain the confidence to be the man everyone knows he is.

There is only one character you will hate and its because of the story, but every character is great in their own way.

This series will have you laughing, pulling for the main characters, and may even shock you at times.

Throughout the entire anime the way they the characters fight and do things may not make sense, but it adds to the series.

At points you will be like, "did they really do that," and "there is no way that happened...not even in anime."

So, if you bored of Gundam for your mecha animes try Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.


All of these things are reasons why I love Japan.

Japan has given so much in terms of culture. It has given more than just video games and anime.

You may not have a family member or loved one in Japan, but I think many of us have a connection to Japan.

I think as gamers, anime lovers, and people we should contribute whatever we can to help out in these hard times.

Lets give back to the nation that has given us so much.

Give to Japan, do your part to help.


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