Dragon Raja – Free Anime MMORPG Mobile Game

I recently started playing Dragon Raja, a full featured MMORPG on smart mobile devices.

Overall Score: 75/90 83% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Overview: 10/10 Dragon Raja is a beautiful game with amazing character customization and open world environment. Play as one of four starting classes and three “races” (male human, female human, or a kawaii lolita race (all of my characters are loli because they’re sooo cute!!) The character customization is the highlight of this game to me. Story, Gameplay, and Music are all pretty great though really. read more

Love Live All Stars Anime Rhythm Game

The sequel to KLab’s smash hit Love Live School Idol Festival, Love Live All Stars takes it to the next level with fully animated Live2D characters that dance around on the screen.

Like its predecessor, Love Live School Idol Festival, Love Live All Stars is a card collecting rhythm game with cute anime girls to collect.

The new installment in Love Live has a few key differences from the original, most notably is the animation. There’s also costumes you can unlock for your girls to wear and a new voltage gameplay system that allows you to score more points. read more

Starlight Stage A Pop Idol Card Game By Japanime Games

I recently received Starlight Stage A Pop Idol Card Game from RightStuf. RightStuf is one of the oldest and largest distributors of Otaku merchandise in the US. Check out their website at www.RightStuf.com for everything from anime, manga, action figures, Japanese candy, games, and more.

I decided to purchase Starlight Stage because I’m a fan of mobile idol games and idol anime such as Love Live, Utapri, Bang Dream, Ensemble Stars, and yes, Idol M@ster.

I do not know for sure if this board game is based on Idol M@ster but I suspect it is, since one of the early and most popular Idol M@ster mobile games is titled Idol M@ster Starlight Stage. For whatever reason though, if it is in fact at all related, they stripped it of the Idol M@ster title and just dubbed it Starlight Stage. Either way, related or not, if you love the mobile games or anime idol games, you’ll love Starlight Stage Card Game by Japanime Games. read more

CocoPPa Dolls New Anime Mobile Dressup Game From The Creators of CocoPPa Play That’s A Lot Like Love Nikki Dressup Queen.

‎CocoPPa Dolls

‎Make the fashionable outfits with friends all over the world ! Change clothes freely with your moving avatar. Let’s become more fashionable together! _____________________ Dress-up with everyone “”Unit outfit”” ! You can create “”Unit outfit”” with your friends with the avatar you made. The “”Un…

I’ve been playing a new mobile Dressup game called CocoPPa Dolls. As its name suggests it is by the creator of CocoPPa Play although this new title plays a lot more like Love Nikki or Romantic Diary than CocoPPa Play.

The gameplay is simple. You play Gacha to get new items for your avatar to wear. Some Gacha are time limited and some have rare items and others are always available with less rare items.

Ok so I know what you’re thinking. That sounds just like CocoPPa Play but that’s about when the similarities end.

From here you have a few different unique features… Let’s look at them briefly. Pictures may not be related to the text here I’m just sharing cute screenshots I took while playing. read more

Sugoimart Sailor Moon Keepsake Box Review

Thanks to the folks at Sugoimart.com for allowing me to review the Sailor Moon Jewelry Box. Check out their store at www.SugoiMart.com

First of all let’s talk about shipping. The product arrived fast in about 3 days and was well packed with lots of bubble wrap.

Note: Shipping times may vary given that items are being sent to you directly from Japan.

Let’s talk about the site itself. SugoiMart.com is a great place to find Japanese toys, Japanese candy, Japanese housewares and more. read more

A3! Actor Training Game Review

I had previously played the Japanese version briefly of A3! Act, Actor, Addict, an otome simulation game that puts you in the role of a young woman looking for her father who went missing 8 years ago.

Cybrid has now released an English version of the game, which is good, because this one has almost no gameplay, and tons of reading (as most Otome and Visual novels). Which is why I only played the JP version very briefly, because I can’t read Japanese, and with little gameplay, and no story (since I couldn’t understand it) it became boring quickly. But now that it is in English, I’m enjoying it quite a bit. read more

The best anime to watch on Halloween

Stream & Watch The Promised Neverland Episodes Online – Sub & Dub

The orphans at Grace Field House have only ever known peace. Their home is nice, their bellies stay full, and their caretaker, Mom, loves them very much. But their world turns upside down when the smartest children of the bunch-Emma, Ray, and Norman-learn what horror awaits them on adoption day.

Halloween is almost here, and if you’re looking to get into the mood with some creepy anime, we have just the thing to send shivers down your spine and haunt your dreams tonight. Some anime is creepy due to its themes, some rely on suspense, mystery, or intrigue, while others just rely on out right horror and gore. No matter which you prefer, you’ll find something to watch on our list here. Or leave a comment below with your favorite scary anime.

Japan Legalizes Casino Resorts – Can We Expect Kawaii Anime Casino Games In Japan’s Upcoming Newly Legalized Casino Resorts?

Japan recently legalized “vegas style” gambling casino resorts. One thing that has always been true in Japan is that Japanese culture is all about “cute” or as they call it “kawaii” – it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, male, female, it’s everywhere. While Las Vegas is associated with glitz, glamour, and sex-appeal; I bet we will see a different type of “theme” overall in Japan’s upcoming casinos. If I had to bet, I’d say we’ll see a lot of interesting kawaii games, kawaii mascots, kawaii marketing/promotions, and lots of games with cute anime girls. Japan’s gambling casinos are still in early development and planning stages, but you don’t have to wait to play games. You can play some cute casino games online right now at http://scr888-malaysia.com/

Konami and other game developers have already made a lot of cute anime slot machines. But until recently, gambling has not been legalized in Japan, so much of these slot machines were developed for other international markets.

What are some Konami, or other slot machines that you’d like to see? I could definitely see Bandai getting in on this action with Love Live, Idol M@ster, and Akatsu style slot machines, maybe even ones that interact with the physical or mobile card games to grant more new cute and rare/exclusive girls.

Could we expect a pokemon game? I bet even big names like Sony and Nintendo will seek to create casino games since it is a brand new market in Japan and just now getting ready to take off.

Here are a few of the cutest anime style games already on the market today. These videos are not mine, but I found them while looking for cute anime casino games. Check them out below.

  1. Chart Topper By Konami –

This one looks like it might be idol themed, given the name, and cute anime girl who reminds me a bit of Jem and the holograms.

2. Win His Hearts Slots –

This is an otome game (game for girls) with dating sim elements, that’s also first and foremost a slot machine. I could see this same concept also working with female characters for male players as well. It’s a great concept. I would play this.

3. Moon Princess

Here is a generic sailor moon rip off type of slot game, similar theme as sailor moon, similar style characters. I bet we can expect an official Sailor Moon casino game, when the new resorts open in Japan. Until then, this is pretty close.

4. Lapis X Labyrinth

This one is a bit more action and roleplaying oriented. I don’t know if it’d work in an actual casino, but I bet Japan will find some way to implement JRPG concepts into at least some of their slot machines, maybe in the form of a bonus round or similar. This one is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

5. Possible Gachapon style slot machines?

While most people want to win money in a casino, could we also see some Gachapon style games that give rare/exclusive cute figurines – maybe as a consolation prize or through certain bonus events? If you don’t know what a Gachapon is, you can check out this video below. Some of the prizes are quite cute and the rare ones are highly sought after, and many are available only for a limited time. – I could see these being used to draw people into the new casinos too.

Regardless of where the future of gambling and casino games go in Japan. One thing’s almost for sure, it’s going to be done in a much more kawaii, colorful, anime inspired way than anything the world has ever seen at any other casino around the globe. I look forward to seeing where the gambling and casino industry goes, and who knows, if some games are popular enough, maybe they will cross over to this side of the pond as well.

English Edition Of Revue Starlight Re LIVE Idol Simulation Game Comes To North America

Revue Starlight Re LIVE is an idol simulation game based on the popular anime Revue Starlight. The game uses Live 2D technology to bring the anime characters to life. You can pre-register now for the English release at the Pre-Registration website at https://www.en.revuestarlight-relive.com/preregistration/

They are running an event for Pre-Registration where they will give out rare girls based on the number of users who pre-register. So get all of your friends to join so we can all benefit from more Waifus.

The game and anime story follows a group of 9 girls all competing for the center stage, the shining star, lead performer role. The girls who were once friends now find themselves as rivals.

Not many details are available on the pre-registration site, but I expect an experience similar to Love Live School Idol, Bang! Dream Girl’s Band Party, or Idol M@ster.

A game where you collect cute girls, level them up, add them to your team, and play a rhythm game in solo or multiplayer game modes while enjoying a simple slice of life story.

Although the gameplay may be simple, the allure of collecting rare and time-limited girls will keep players coming back.

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World PC Game Review

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists Ateliers Of The New World is a brand new game by Koei Tecmo Games to celebrate 20 years of the series. Wow has it been that long already? I still remember the first 2 games way back when. And you know what else I remember, a little-known Nintnedo DS offshoot game in the Atelier Series called Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island which came out about 10 years ago.

So why Am I mentioning Atelier Annie? Because, if you’ve ever played it, then you know what to expect from Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists. Both games are unlike any of the rest of the Atelier Games, and instead put you in a role of managing a city and completing missions to advance.

Nelke has some really negative reviews – at least on Steam, but I purchased Nelke anyways, on a hunch it’d be like Atelier Annie, and you know what, I’m not disappointed. If you liked Annie, you’ll like Nelke. Conversely, if you hated Annie, you’ll hate Nelke, and if you’ve never played either game, well there’s only one way to find out then, and that’s by giving it a go for yourself.

The reviews on steam are complaining how different Nelke is — and to some — how boring it is… But honestly Atelier Annie was one of my favorites in the series. I loved the humorous story / humorous main character, and yes, I enjoyed the more “Sim Like” gameplay of building a city.

Nelke is not without flaws however; Unlike Annie, it lacks the humor and charm, and feels a bit dry and dull so far in the story. I’m 4 hours in at this point… which brings to another flaw, in that 4 hours in, I’m still in the tutorial… This game is very very very linear in the tutorial… Like almost everything will be on lockdown… for a long while… expect your first 8+ hours to be linear AF….

After that though there really is a TON of stuff to do in this game. It is NOT boring at all. You can craft items, gather materials, build new buildings, talk to your villagers, discover new recipes, sell items in your shops, and invest in new routes and tools to use in your adventures. There are simplistic turn based combats and different characters to recruit to your village.

You have to complete some required, and other optional tasks within a set number of days within the game. This can make it difficult and frustrating, so save often and in multiple save slots to try to minimize time lost if you miss a goal.

The game either runs slow on my laptop, or just is really slow by design, to the point where its a little frustrating. It may just be my laptop though and can probably be improved if I adjust some settings.

The main complaint a lot of people have is that while exploring you do nothing but watch your characters walk by on the screen. They will converse, gather items, and occasionally run into random enemy encounters. The battles are also slow and tedious. I do agree with these basic gameplay flaws. However, they don’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the other aspects of city building and mission completing and watching my city grow and evolve based on my decisions and choices made in where to invest and what to build next, etc.

The graphics are insanely adorable as always with the Atelier series.

Unlike a lot of the other games in the Atelier Universe, this one does not have English voice acting. I do like to have the original voice actors, but I also sometimes like to have an English cast too. I was disappointed they didn’t offer both.

I assume replay value is high because each city you build will be pretty unique and you will attract different stores, different npcs, and different quests based on how your city is developing.

All and all I’d rate the score card like this:

Title: Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists – Ateliers Of The New World –

Platform – (for this review The PC version was used.) It’s also available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Where to Purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FMZZYK1?tag=amz-mkt-chr-us-20&ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-org00-win10-other-nomod-us000-pcomp-feature-scomp-wm-5&ref=aa_scomp

Geeky: 3/5 – Points for bringing back some of the popular characters from this series over the past 20 years.

Sweetie: 5/5 – For the casual gameplay and kawaii art

Overall: 53/70 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Gameplay: 7/10 – I do love the sim aspects, having been a huge fan of Atelier Annie (easily one of my top 3 games in the Atelier universe). But I do agree that the game is slow and the wait for the payoff/reward is pretty steep. The game also doesn’t run great, can’t tell if it’s just my PC though maybe.

Story: 3/10 – I’m not loving the story, or lack there of. I’m 4 hours in and there’s not much of any story to be found; it does keep hinting at solving a mystery about a fruit from a legendary tree. But compared to other Atelier games the story feels less engaging so far.

Characters: 10/10 – I love seeing popular characters from the Atelier games return all in a brand new game. I also love the new characters that were created just for this game.

Voice Acting: 7/10 – The original Japanese voice cast does a great job and sounds super cute, but where’s the dual English voice acting? A bit disappointing especially for a 20th anniversary edition, you’d think they would have put a little more time and effort into the localization on this one. It feels cheap and rushed to not have both to choose from.

Music: 10/10 – Always love the music in the Atelier games, and Nelke doesn’t disappoint here either.

Replay Value: 8/10 – I think replay value will be very high, but I’m not looking forward to dredging through 5+ hours of linear handheld tutorials each time.

Overall: 53/70 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Overall I would recommend this game to anyone who does not mind slower paced casual simulation games, or to anyone who remembers playing Atelier Annie on the DS. I like Atelier Annie a lil bit more because of the humorous story; but Nelke’s story may pick up and become more interesting. I may come in eventually and update my review scores if I find the story to improve as I get further into the game. Gameplay wise though it is almost identical to Atelier Annie, so if that’s your thing, be sure to check Nelke out.

3 Must Watch Anime and Manga About Gambling With a Twist

There are anime about almost any imaginable topic so it’s not really surprising there also exists anime about gambling as well. Of course, being anime and all, it’s natural that there is a twist to each of these series. While there are the more traditional settings of high stakes casinos, there are also some very unconventional settings as well such as the first anime on the list which takes place in a highschool, or the second anime on the list which uses magic abilities and special cards. These twists are why these three anime are must watch faves.

1.) Kakagurui – Compulsive Gambler

This anime is unique because it takes place in a very corrupt highschool where students enjoy betting and wagering with other students. However, there’s more than money at stake, as those who cannot repay their debts before graduation receive “Life Schedules” which determine everything from their career, to who they will marry and have children with.

However, there exists a student who doesn’t seek to gain anything, and merely enjoys gambling for the thrill. She also has a unique ability to see past scams and quickly begins to disrupt the schemes of the student council.

My favorite things about this anime are the strong female lead, and all of the drama and slice of life antics between the characters. It might be normal to expect this kind of high stakes excitement from the top10-casinosites.net but not from a highschool setting. This makes for a very interesting dynamic.

By the way, the manga is half off on Amazon and as of this blog post, it will still arrive before Christmas. Check it out here. https://www.amazon.com Manga makes great stocking stuffers for any geeks on your list and at just $6 a volume, it’s easy on your wallet too, which leaves you more money for some gambling of your own, if you’re into high stake wagers yourself.

2.) Rio: Rainbow Gate

Rio: Rainbow Gate, unlike our previous anime, takes place in an island casino resort. The main character is a popular casino dealer believed to bring good luck to gamblers earning her the nickname the Goddess of Victory. Rio is discovered to be a Gate Holder, a dealer who holds ones of 13 legendary Gate cards. Whoever can collect all 13 cards will be the most valuable casino dealer. In order to obtain all 13 cards. Rio takes part in special card games called Gate Battles against the other dealers in hopes of defeating them to obtain their Gate cards in order to become the most valuable casino dealer in the world.

The Gate Battles and Ladder scheme remind me a lot of Pokemon and Pokemon Battles like when they challenge the gym leaders for their badges. It gives off kinda the same concept. It is exciting to watch, even though it is predictable and we all know or expect the main characters to be the champion.

3.) Liar Game

There is no anime adaptation but there is a live action adaptation of this popular manga. You can watch the live action Liar Game on Viki.

What if you received a package with $1,000,000 and a note forcing you to become a contestant in a dangerous high stakes game. That is exactly what happens to poor, naive college girl, Nao Kanzaki in the Liar Game. The Liar game encourages you to lie and cheat to obtain your opponent’s money. Nao loses her money because she is too trusting.

Needing to find a way to win back her money, she seeks help from someone her exact opposite, a skilled con artist named Shinichi Akiyama. After winning back her money, the two agree to continue playing the Liar Game to advance through the tournament and free their opponents from their debts, with the ultimate goal being to take down the Liar Game organization once and for all.

What are some of your favorite casino or gambling themed anime? Leave a comment below.

Shin Na Zuki IOS JRPG

I began playing Shin Na Zuki, a free mobile JRPG featuring summoning mechanics in a beautiful fantasy anime setting.

What I like about the game:

  • Full voice acting and beautiful music
  • Cute characters
  • Pretty graphics
  • Summoning
  • Costumes
  • And most of all a really interesting story that feels like it could even be straight out of a console JRPG.

What I dislike about this game:

    Not enough characters to collect for a summoning type game
    Gameplay especially in combat is boring
    Crafting is also boring/mindless
    Stupid people in the chat rooms. So bad I disabled the comments.

Couple of small typos/translation errors like using the word buy instead of but, etc read more

62 Animated Films You May Mistake For Studio Ghibli Films

 anime japan magic ghibli witches GIF

Our Recent Top 10 List of Studio Ghibli Films got me thinking about animated films that get mistaken for Studio Ghibli films when they’re actually by another studio.

I’ve come up with 62 animated movies you might think are by Studio Ghibli, but are actually by another studio.

This list is not ranked in whether or not I enjoyed the particular films in question, but instead, it is ranked on how similar I felt that either their stories, characters, or art and animation style were to that of Studio Ghibli.

Update: this has been a draft since May, I was maybe too overly ambitious, I will publish what I have, and perhaps update this in the future.

Bonus: 0. Mary and The Witch’s Flower

Before we begin the list, I’d like to mention Mary and the Witch’s Flower – I have not yet watched it, but it was heavily Promoted at the Gkids Ghibli Fest and as anyone can see, the animation style and story are very similar to Studio Ghibli and brings up memories especially of Kiki’s Delivery Service. It is however, also not a Ghibli film, as it was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc. Including Mary and the Witch’s Flower actually brings our list up to 51 movies. Hey, bonus, right? 🙂 How many of these feature length anime movies have you watched?

Edit: I did finally see Marry and the Witch’s Flower. It’s cute and heart warming and awesome and very much like a studio Ghibli film.

1. Nausicaa Valley of the Wind

Clearly the most common case of mistaken identity comes from Nausicaa Valley of the Wind – Even I thought it was a Ghibli Film, especially since Gkids included it in their Ghibli Fest and it’s been included as part of the Ghibli collection of Bluray and DVDs. The film is by Hayao Miyazaki, but it was done prior to the formation of Studio Ghibli, back when Miyazaki was part of an anime studio known as Topcraft. – Interesting Tidbit – Topcraft did a lot of the animation for 80s cartoons that I grew up with such as my all time fave, The Last Unicorn, as well as The Hobbit and Flight of the Dragons – and many of the christmas specials I remember too such as Frosty and The Night Before Christmas. — I feel inspiration for another top 10 post now LOL… These things will never end 🙂 Hope you like reading them – when I’ve ran out of Studios to rank, I’ll compile a big list of ranked films amongst all the studios. Please look forward to it! lol.

2. Wolf Children

Wolf Children nabs our second spot on the list of films people commonly mistake for Studio Ghibli movies. Wolf Children is also my favorite anime “movie” (stand alone production that is not a series). That’s right, my favorite anime movie is not even a Studio Ghibli film. Gasp :). It has the same animation style, and most importantly, same types of characters and story that would fit right in with any Ghibli production. I reviewed Wolf Children here if you’d like to learn more about this anime. I highly recommend it. I’ve watched it at least 12 times now. I actually just watched it again lastnight, no lie lol.

I also recommend if you have watched Wolf Children that you may like Wolf’s Rain, a short fantasy series about wolves as well. Wolf’s Rain was just re-released last week on Bluray/DVD so the prices and availability of it should be fair right now. I have the complete set that I bought some years ago. It’s a dark and gritty series, but very interesting. I also hear Spice and Wolf is an excellent romance anime but I have not watched it yet.

Wolf Children was written by Mamoru Hosoda and he formed Studio Chizu to produce this film. His other directorial roles include The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Boy and the Beast. His latest film is Mirai of the Future which is about a girl who travels back in time to visit her older brother at a point in time before she herself would have been born. This film has yet to be released but has already been licensed for US distribution. The Japanese version is premiering in July 2018, and an English version should also appear later in 2018.

Clearly you can tell from the Gif that I shared above, Wolf Children is a must watch for all Furries. Even if you’re not a Furry though, it’s an amazing movie. It focuses on a young woman who falls in love with what could best be described as a Werewolf. Having played World of Darkness Werewolf Tabletop Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games when I was younger, this film also resonated with me, bringing back a lot of fun memories of past gaming campaigns.

What I love about Wolf Children is how the children grow and evolve in the film. In the beginning of the film, the mother asks them a very poignant question: “If you could be only 1 thing, which would you be: Humans or Wolves?” She says she wants to give them the freedom to make that choice for themselves. They move to the countryside, as their wolf-like tendencies were getting them into trouble in the city. After the move, the children are free to run and play and act as wolves… but the children also begin to go to school and live life as human children. The children must decide for themselves which path they wish to take in life. The mother has trouble realizing that her children are growing up and struggles with her decision to let them make their own decisions. In the end, she realizes that she must love and accept her children no matter what choices they make in life – which is a very important and heart warming message for any family. Such as loving your children no matter what, if they’re gay, if they marry outside their race, if they accept a job that you believe is beneath their qualifications or pays poorly, etc. You have to let your children go and make their own choices even if you feel that choice is a mistake. Your only job as a parent is to love you children. Not live their lives for them. Very important message which all parents should embrace. That makes this a great family film. Although it doesn’t present such “political” or “hot button” topics as I present here in this analysis, it’s easy to apply the message of the woman’s love for her wolf children and apply that to literally any situation where a parent is struggling to accept something their children have done in real life too! I think that’s the strength of this film, it’s just so real and relatable to all children and all parents who go through this “power struggle”.

3. My Summer with Coo

I reviewed My Summer with Coo here. I feel it could be mistaken for a Studio Ghibli film because of the cute animal mascot, the more realistic character designs that look like actual Japanese people, and the heart warming, although at times, dark and creepy story. Studio Ghibli films can also be a little dark and creepy such as Princess Mononoke, or Totoro which is unintentionally dark and creepy in the 2nd half. I’d say Coo shares this same unintentional creepiness also in its second half. And that same juxtaposition between the light hearted first half, and creepyass second half, make it very Totoro-ish.

My Summer with Coo (I’ve also seen the English title written as “Summer Days With Coo”), is about a young boy who finds a Kappa which is that green creature there. Kappas are actually a “real” mythological creature from Japan. I became interested and fascinated researching Kappas on the internet after watching this film. — Anyways, Summer Days with Coo is about this boy and his Kappa and the adventures they have together. In the beginning, the family wishes to keep Coo a secret, but eventually they give in to pressure from the media and take advantage of Coo by dragging him to talk shows and tv performances. Coo is frightened by the loud crowds and lights in the studio and accidentally freaks out. People deem him to be dangerous, and he goes on a rampage through Tokyo on the back of the family dog while his family is trying to save him, and pretty much the rest of Japan trying to destroy him.

A lot of sad, uplifting, heartwarming things happen, just like they do in any Ghibli film. But this is no Ghibli film. My Summer with Coo is directed by Keiichi Hara, most well known for his director roles in Crayon Shin-Chan and Doraemon. This was his first break out film after joining studio Shin-Ei. His next film, Colorful, also makes my list :).

When I last looked a year or two ago, My Summer with Coo had not yet been licensed for US distribution despite winning numerous awards back in 2008 when it came out in Japan. It has appeared at a few film festivals but to my knowledge has not been picked up for DVD or Bluray Distribution in North America.

4. Colorful

Colorful is also by Keiichi Hara (famous for Crayon Shin-Chan and Doraemon) who also directed Summer Days with Coo, above. Colorful is based on a novel by Eto Mori. This film is good, but it’s also very hard to watch. I’ve watched it 2 or 3 times now. The first time I watched it I didn’t like it very much. The main character is hard to like. Many bad things happen to him in his life. He is a “victim” of circumstances beyond his control. His parents are having an affair, he has no friends, the girl he likes he discovers is actually a prostitute and shallow AF. So all of these things have made him a miserable depressed and bitter person who hates everyone and everything about life. — But the message of the movie is that even when your life sucks like this, you can find joy, you can find happiness, if you just hold on and keep looking. And thus, too, the main character’s luck and life begins to change when he finally makes his first friend and for the first time, he begins to love his life and regret his behaviours.

Colorful makes the list as mistaken for Ghibli because of the more realistic art style, dealing with family themes and life in Japan, as well as elements of fantasy and magic, and the positive moral message within the film.

5. The Boy and The Beast

Alright, jumping back to Studio Chizu, the next two films on our list by Mamoru Hosoda are also often mistaken for Ghibli films because of the animation and art style as well as imaginative stories and fantasy worlds. The Boy and the Beast is sometimes considered a sequel to Wolf Children although it is different and a stand alone piece. The main character is a young boy who runs away from home because of some misconceived feelings and thoughts about his family. He becomes lost in a fantasy world with Furry beast-like people. Not only wolves, but rabbits and cats and monkeys and pigs and lizards and pretty much any animal imaginable. Another great film for furry lovers.

Furries aside though, the film stands on its own for its emotionally moving story and strong character development. The boy is taken in to become apprentice to a kung fu master who is one such beastman. Although the beast is very hard on the boy, and the beast has bad “people skills” they grow close, although perhaps both unwilling to admit it. The two are very stubborn and butt heads often.

Eventually the time comes for the boy to go back to the human world, which threatens his relationship with the beast who has been raising him. Only at their parting do they come to realize their feelings for one another. As the boy adjusts to life among the humans, he learns that he must return to the world of beasts to save both their worlds. Once parted again, the final message of the film is that the love your family gives you is eternal, surviving death, surpassing all other feelings or emotion, and that it is always with you, inside your heart and your memories of your loved ones. – Aww I’m tearing up just typing this and thinking about it, and it has been a year or two since I watched this movie. I need to rewatch it tonight for sure. So good.

6. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

One more Mamoru Hosoda film on our list. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of his earlier works, but is a very good animated film about a girl who has a limited number of time warping abilities. She wastes most of these, and learns the consequences of her actions a bit too late. Like most movies about time travel, we learn that changing things in the past has unintended consequences in the future. I think thematically out of all of the films on our list, this one is the most like a Ghibli film. The story follows a formula similar to many Ghibli films… A slow build up; Resistance to the romance initially, and then discovering your feelings for each other when it’s too late. An open ending, leaving us wondering will the two meet again? The character style and animation style also reminds me very much of Studio Ghibli.

7. Koe no Katachi – A Silent Voice

These next two films are the highest grossing Japanese anime movies in recent years. Both films received a lot of international hype and press coverage from the media. That success alone is enough to cause people to mistake them as Studio Ghibli films, especially to lay persons who are not avid anime enthusiasts. A Silent Voice is by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada. The story is about a young deaf girl without any friends, and a young boy who teases said deaf girl. Because of his teasing his friends shun him (even though they too were teasing her as well). As he goes through middle school without any friends, he learns how the young deaf girl must have felt. He has a change of heart and feels ashamed for his actions. He longs to someday get the chance to apologize to her, so he begins to study sign language just so he can tell her how sorry he is.

I expect to see a resurgence in popularity of this anime now that Shape of Water has been voted the best movie of the year by the Academy Awards. In fact I’ve also seen the English title of this anime written as “The Shape of Voice” (similar titles even). Shape of Water also deals with sign language. Another really good “film” (tv series actually) about sign language is Switched At Birth. It even uses deaf actors.

I reviewed Koe No Katachi A Silent Voice Here.

8. Kimi no Na wa – Your Name

This was the highest grossing anime movie of the year – or perhaps even of all time – holding out the number 1 position in the Japanese box office for months. And performing quite well when released abroad too raking in over $355 million at the box office. It is indeed a great film. Its success also means it gets mistook for a Ghibli film. Directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by Comix Wave Films. It is a gender bending time traveling fantasy adventure with a love that transverses, time, space, and location. Read Our Review of Kimi no na wa here.

9. A Letter to Momo

A Letter to Momo definitely reminds me of a Ghibli film. This movie is about a young girl who must move to the countryside after the death of her father to a place where she has no friends but soon discovers she has the ability to see and speak to Yokai. Eventually in the film, the young girl realizes the importance of family and discovers the ability to move on and make new friends and a new life for herself, but not before many trials and hardships are put before her. The focus on family and the addition of the Yokai definitely have that Ghibli like feel; however, this film is directed by Hiroyuki Okiura and produced by Production I.G.

10. Lu Over the Wall read more

Food Fantasy Game Review

Food Fantasy is a brand-new cooking RPG and card collecting game from the creators of Love Nikki Dressup Queen. It combines many different styles of gameplay such as allowing you to research new recipes, gather ingreedients, explore the story, battle monsters, and collect cards known as “food souls” to add to your party or put to work in your shop. I’ve been playing since the game launched a few days ago and thought I’d share with you my initial thoughts of this cute little free mobile game.

Title: Food Fantasy

Genre: Cooking Simulation, Restaurant Management Card Collecting / Battling, RPG

Publisher: Elex

Release Date: July 2018

Price: Free

Where to Get:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-fantasy/id1366072359?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.egg.foodandroid&hl=en_US

Geeky: 1/5 – There’s not much “geeky” about this game. If you like cooking mama and can imagine a mash up of cooking mama with love live, then you can imagine something like Food Fantasy. Mostly I can’t give high marks because the combat is very basic and mostly automated and not very engaging or challenging. I don’t see this having wide appeal unless you like cute things or love games like cooking mama.

Sweetie: 4/5 – I think girls will like the simulation aspects the best. When the game starts you can select a cuisine style to specialize in, you can research new recipes, decorate your restaurant, and you can collect cute “food souls” that can work as staff in your restaurant, or be added to your battle party. I can’t give it a 5 for appealing to girls because the story is quite weak.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 4/5 – I’m on the fence about the gameplay aspects. It is a unique and fun game for sure. But I think the combat system leaves much to be desired. But combat is not really the main focus of this game. This game tries to be a jack of all trades, but is really a master of none. There are better RPGs, better card collecting games, and better cooking games out there – but none of them combine all 3 of these things…

When the game starts you select a small thumbnail image to represent you. – Other cooking games often let you customize an avatar character and add dress up options – since this game is by the creators of dressup nikki I was surprised, and a little disappointed not to see such features in Food Fantasy as well. – But there are some female “avatars” (thumbnails), and some “fantasy” type ones – for example my avatar is a black cat with little chef hat lol. It’s pretty cute.

After naming yourself and choosing your little thumbnail picture, you’re shown a tutorial and introduced to a few characters and shown some background story. Through the tutorial you will experience many things. First you will select one of three cooking styles which will determine your first recipe – and I’m not sure if they will have an effect on other recipes you can obtain or give you a boost to certain recipes.

Next you get to fight some monsters and progress through various missions. Sometimes some monsters will drop ingredients that you need for cooking. – they don’t seem to drop often enough though.

Back in the restaurant you can assign staff to cook food or wait on customers. Different characters give different bonus effects to your restaurant. Customers will come and go to your restaurant even while not playing, or while adventuring and exploring other parts of the game. You will need to periodically check in to cook new dishes and collect your tips and other aspects of restaurant management.

You can decorate your restaurant with cute items which in some cases grant bonus effects when placed in your restaurant.

You can also improve your dishes by leveling them up by making them over and over again, or by adding spices and other items to each recipe. In addition to improving existing dishes, you can also research and develop new dishes if you have enough ingredients.

The final aspect of the game is the “card collecting” in the form of summoning new “food souls” which as mentioned can be assigned as staff or assist you in the battle field. The cards range from common to ultra rare. Drop rates seem generous, I summoned an ultra rare food soul, Peking Duck, early in the game without spending real money. There are also numerous special events, such as the launch party that will award ultra rare food souls for completing specific tasks and missions.

You can then take these food souls into battle – but the battles are really rather dull and not a very fun aspect of the game. You can tap to remove status ailments from your party members or tap to interrupt the boss from using powerful special moves, but largely, it’s more automated and you sit there watching your food souls fight, and the difficulty level is quite low. I have not lost a single match yet.

Story: 3/5 The story is very weak and poor, and there are some awkward phrasings and some questionable translation issues. I feel the story has potential to be interesting, but it’s not yet. Basically, you summon a food soul who has no powers and they tell you she is an empty shell and that usually such food souls are discarded, but you feel bad for her and take her in, because you feel responsible because you were the one who summoned her. She vows to help and often tries to protect you even though doing so without any powers would mean sacrificing herself. She is frustrated and wants to grow stronger, but you’re told it is impossible. – If I have to guess, she probably does have some special power or something, that’s how these stories usually go. Right now, the story is slow and dull, but perhaps things will get more interesting – I’ve only been playing for 2 days, maybe an hour each day, so I’m still in the beginning stages of the game. But thus far, not really impressed with the story.

Characters: 5/5 – The characters are super cute, and there is a mix of male and female characters which is rare for these summoning types of games. Also every food soul has an English Voice Actor (or Actress), and if you don’t like the English voices, you do have the ability to select the Japanese ones as well. This is a really nice plus, I haven’t seen many of these summoning games that bother to add English voice acting. The artwork is adorable, and of course it’s all inspired by various food and beverages which gives it a nice theme.

Graphics: 5/5 – Graphically this game is quite nice with a unique storybook like style. The anime style food souls and npc characters are all very cute. The backgrounds are really detailed and lovely. I can’t find anything to complain about here.

Music 3/5: Some of the music and sound effects sound recycled from love nikki? Or at least very similar in style.  It’s average at best. Nothing really stands out, but thankfully nothing is annoying, although like most mobile games it can be repetitive at times.

Voice Acting: 5/5 – I love that there’s English Voice acting – and some of them are quite good. I also equally love that they’ve left the option to switch to the original Japanese voice actors at any time as well. Great touch. I know they spent a lot of money licensing the original cast, as well as hiring all new voice actors for the English release. This shows me they care about the fans, and about the game, and it was just a really nice surprise and does set the game apart a bit from other summoning games out there.

Crafting: 5/5 – I love that you can research new recipes. This game reminds me of several other much larger cooking/crafting games such as the Atelier series of games, or Mana Khemia, or Kamidori Alchemist Meister.  The crafting aspects are probably the highlight of the game. In that regard though there are probably a dozen other mobile games which do a better job – If you’re looking for similar games check out anything by Kairosoft, Nippon Cafeteria, Sushi Spinnery, or Ramen Master being 3 that focus specifically on food – while other Kairosoft titles apply the same game mechanics to other jobs/roles. Or check out other cooking and restaurant management games such as I love Pasta and I love Coffee – which I reviewed here. Or of course, I’m sure you’re familiar with the famous Cooking Mama games. Even though these other games may have more in depth crafting/management aspects, I still give food souls a 5 in this area. Out of all the different aspects of this strange little game, I think the cooking and simulation aspects are the strongest and most fun elements.

Customization: 4/5 – You can decorate your restaurant, assign staff, and choose your food specialty. But most other mobile restaurant simulation games have a dressup aspect and I miss that here.

Cuteness: 5/5 – The food souls are super cute and the graphics and voice acting take that cuteness to the next level.

Replay Value: 5/5 – With the special events and wide variety of things to do, from battling, to cooking, to decorating your restaurant, to collecting food souls, to inventing new recipes to serve in your restaurant, or progressing through story missions, this game has a lot to offer and will keep you busy.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”