5 Best Kids Military Toys to Buy from An Online Shop
If it weren’t for toys, the majority of the kids would not have an adventurous side to them. It is the inclusion of toys in children’s lives while growing up which makes them more sociable, self-confident, and creative. Plus, certain toys can be played with both the adults and the children outdoors, under the sun where they need to be the most, as opposed to in front of their television screens.
There are a variety of different benefits to kids having toys to play with when they are still young. When they reach the age of pre-school, this is the time for them to learn about numbers, language skills, and letters or alphabets and with all this going on in their heads, it can be rather difficult for them to retain the information they get daily. Giving your children toys to play with benefits their development, and further reading about this can be found in this online source. read more
Geeky: 3/5 The games have fun gameplay, good graphics for the age of the games, and a great soundtrack. However, the Disney segments can be a bit too kiddie for some more serious gamers, and although the entire series is about the juxtaposition of light and dark, the light hearted disney characters can sometimes take away from immersing yourself in the deeper darker story of Sora and his friends.
Sweetie: 5/5 – This game is cuteness overload by combining well loved Square and Disney characters. It also has a surprisingly deep, relatively dark (for a Disney product at least), and mature storyline, which evolves and grows deeper and darker from game to game as characters grow and evolve.
Gameplay: 10/10 Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG. You play as Sora, a young boy who dreams of leaving his home town on a tiny island. When the game begins you are asked to choose a weapon. You may choose between shield, sword, and magic wand. You’re also asked which weapon you will give up. This allows you to customize your fighting style to match your preferences. You’ll also be asked a few questions. These questions do not have any significance on the story, but they do have a large impact on how quickly you will level up throughout the game.
A tutorial will give you a taste for how combat is in each of the games. You can run, jump, push and pull objects, climb, and use your chosen weapons as you chain attacks, dodge, defend, and parry to take down your foes. Enemies will drop small glowing orbs which can offer XP or sometimes restore health or other benefits. You will have to run around and touch the drops, because they do not get added automatically.
After settling into the game, you are allowed to freely explore the island, interact with NPCs, and engage in several minigames, such as fighting or racing with your friends on the island. You will see many familiar faces from both Squaresoft and Disney franchises.
Fairly early in the game, Sora gets his wish of leaving the island, and the rest of the game is played through traveling between different worlds, each representing a key franchise from Disney or Squaresoft. There are numerous battles to fight, areas to explore, sidequests, mini games, and hidden goodies. In fact, to find everything, across all games will take you almost 300 hours (and you’ll be awarded with an extra ending in each game). There’s plenty of content here to sink your teeth into, even for the most seasoned of gamers.
The action based combat is fun and snappy, while the mini games and interaction with a wide variety of characters gives you a break from the hack n slash combat, creating a well balanced game that equally values action as well as adventure.
Story: 8/10 I find it jarring at times how the story jumps between worlds, and I sometimes cringe at some of the Disney characters (and I consider myself a Disney fan! But it can really take away from the story, just when things are getting interesting to flash back to Goofy or Donald, especially with their well known silly voices and all). This can all make the story less immersive. However, at the heart of the story, you have a coming of age tale and a love triangle between 3 best friends. You watch throughout each game as Sora and his friends evolve and grow and change and how their friendships and relationships change as well. The story from each game is directly related from one game to the next. We’ve already watched Sora age by 2 years (and gotten a glimpse at a very young Sora as well). When Kingdom Hearts 1 starts, Sora is 14. By the end of Dream Drop Distance, he is 16. Many speculate he will be 16 or 17 in Kingdom Hearts 3. We witness Sora’s changing emotions as he transitions from adolescence to young adulthood. The main theme song in Kingdom Hearts 1 even hints at this with the lyrics of the chorus stating “Don’t get me wrong, I love you, but does that mean I really have to meet your father? One day when you’re older you’ll understand what I meant when I said No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.” Those lyrics perfectly describe the relationship between Sora and Kairi. An innocent love, a boy who still quite often views love/girls as “gross”, and a boy embarrassed by his emerging feelings of love for Kairi. And we witness not only how friendship can grow to love, but also how platonic friendships can change to rivalries when two boys love the same girl. The depths of both Riku and Sora’s love for Kairi is perhaps the best thing about the story.
I recently picked up Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix. I had played the original KH1 and KH2 on Playstation 2 but that was over 12 years ago now. And I had not played the other side games.
Every game in Kingdom Hearts is connected, and contains the same 3 characters, Riku, Kairi, and Sora, and the story gets deeper and more complex as the games go on as more is revealed building upon back stories and prequels and sequels and spin off games. It can be intimidating for someone new to the franchise to pick up the games now with almost 15 years of games to catch up on.
Many people recommend the following order to play the games in to get the most out of the story:
Kingdom Hearts 1 (1.5 remix)
Re: Chain of Memories (1.5 remix)
Kingdom Hearts 2 (2.5 remix)
358/2 Days (1.5 remix)
Birth By Sleep (2.5 remix)
Re:Coded (2.5 remix)
Dream Drop Distance (2.8 remix sold separately)
0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage (2.8 remix sold separately)
X Back Cover (2.8 remix sold separately.)
Unchained X (free mobile game, available separately)
Kingdom Hearts 3 (sold separately – coming soon)
And optionally download and play Unchained X on your cell phone.
Some of the “games” above are actually “cutscenes” because they could not emulate the nintendo DS “touch screen” on the PS4. So each of these nintendo remakes are movies which reuse old, and add new cutscenes to tell the story.
You can alternatively purchase and play these Nintendo games separately. But you should be fine with just the cutscenes from an understanding the story standpoint.
Characters: 10/10 I really enjoy watching Sora and friends evolve, age, mature, and change over the course of multiple interconnected games. I also really do enjoy seeing favorite characters thrown in from Final Fantasy and Disney. It’s a strange mashup but it works surprisingly well. If you are either a Disney or Squaresoft fan you will love the cast of characters in these games.
Graphics: 7/10 – Taking into consideration the age of the games, I think the graphics are beautiful and memorable. They are vibrant, full of color, detail, and fun. The character designs blend Disney’s whimsy and charm with Squaresofts more stylistic approach. Sora also reminded me of a brunette Cloud wearing Mickey’s big “clown” shoes. The bobble headed appearance of the characters, makes them cute, but it’s almost a bit too juvenile, given that even when we first meet Sora and friends in KH1, they’re already teenagers. I feel like they look like Precious Moments dolls, and about 7-10 years old because of the proportions of their heads to bodies. — Luckily, the artwork does improve in later games.
Take a look below:
Sora from Kingdom Hearts 1 (Does he look 14 to you? Not even close in my opinion).
Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2 (He is supposed to be 15 here, looks about right.)
Sora from Kingdom Hearts 3 (Speculated to be 16 or 17 here) (meh this design is alright, I expected to see something like Final Fantasy XV quality here. There are very few details in the hair/face and almost no shading on the clothing, it just looks kinda flat/plastic-y… not what I’d expect from a PS4 title. He does look a tiny bit more mature, slimmer face, etc.)
Music: 10/10 I’m a big Utada Hikaru fan, and I love the opening theme “Simple and Clean” – as I mentioned, I feel the lyrics foreshadow the coming of age story and changes that our little island buddies are about to experience. She also sings “Sanctuary” the opening theme of Kingdom Hearts 2. And it has been confirmed that she will also be involved with the opening for Kingdom Hearts 3. My favorite Utada Hikaru song though will always be “First Love”. The Japanese versions of the tracks are also quite catchy even without knowing the lyrics or understanding Japanese. The background music is also fitting and full of adventure and wonder.
Voice Acting: 6/10 – The voice acting is definitely hit or miss for me. Some characters I think are perfectly cast, and others way off mark. Some give pretty convincing performances, while others are too overdramatic and/or the opposite, lack any feeling or emotion in the deliverance of their lines. The iconic Disney characters also can tend to annoy and detract from the story with their overly cartoonish voices for which they are so well known.
I went to see My Neighbor Totoro subbed last night as part of the 2017 GKids Studio Ghiblifest. The theater I went to seemed to have a fairly good turnout for the show, but not as popular as the theatrical SailorMoon Release which I reviewed here (dub) and here (sub)
Still it is nice to see anime getting more coverage in theaters. I drove almost an hour to go see Totoro, but it was still closer than the nearly 2 hour drive I made (twice) to go see Sailor Moon. It’s also awesome to see old anime like Totoro from the 80s and SailorMoon from the 90s finally on the big screen!
The excitement of seeing such childhood favorite films on the silverscreen inspired me to want to do a review for Totoro today.
Also be sure to check out the Studio Ghiblifest home page, there will be other Studio Ghibli films in theaters all summer long, with the next one being Kiki’s Delivery Service on July 23 (dub) and 24 (sub). I like Kiki’s Delivery Service so much, that I might just go to both of them :).
Onto the review:
Title: My Neighbor Totoro
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Release Date: 1988
Genre: Slice of Life, Adventure, Fantasy
Geeky: 2/5 This film is beautiful to watch, even now, 20 years after its initial release. But plot wise, this is a very slow moving film, slow and uneventful for almost the entire film, and then insanely rushed in the last 10-15 minutes of the film. Actually the ending feels really disjointed from the rest of the film and you can read about that under the Conspiracy Theory below. The languid plot and ending that feels out of place make this a hard film to like, unless you’re watching it for the beautiful backgrounds and cute characters. Systematically though, I can’t give it high “technical” points due to the poor writing.
Sweetie: 4/5 Like most Ghibli films, this is super charming with a lot of heart. It depicts every day life of two little girls living in a new home in the forest with their father as they wait for their mother to return from a hospital. The girls encounter magical creatures, and those creatures are super adorable to boot. Blending slice of life in traditional Japan in a quiet countryside rural village, alongside the mystical and fantastical secret world that only the girls can see, and all the new magical friends they make, this tale is full of sweet cute moments sure to appeal to anyone looking for a kawaii cute family friendly and feel good anime. — It loses one point because there is no plot or character development. Unlike other Ghibli films, this one just never seems to get off the ground or accomplish much.
Story: 6/10 The story is a slice of life look at the life of 2 very young girls. Their mother is sick in the hospital with some unexplained illness, and their father has just decided to move the family to a new home in the country, thinking the fresh air from the trees would be good for his wife once she returns back home. While exploring their new surroundings, the two girls stumble upon a magical creature which they dub Totoro. Their father says Totoro is a very old forest spirit, and the father, along with Totoro, teaches the young girls to love and respect nature.
Characters: 9/10 The real reason to watch this show is because all of the characters are cute, unique, heart warming, and funny. Not just the adorable Totoro and his friends, but also the human children. The anime puts a lot of work into making us like and care about the girls and their father. In fact, the entire film, until the very end, is just day to day stuff that the girls find exciting about their new home, or sharing loving family moments with their father. — That said, unlike most Ghibli films, there’s really no character “development” the characters do not change much at all throughout the movie. This, combined with a very slow moving plot, makes the anime feel slow and sleepy at times.
Conspiracy Theory: If you’ve already seen the film, here’s something you may be interested in reading. There are spoilers below here, so proceed at your own risk.
Crunchyroll shared news lastnight that a new Cardcaptor Sakura anime has been announced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga. Earlier this year it was reported that a new Cardcaptor Sakura manga would be released that would continue the adventures of Sakura and her friends as they enter into Junior High.
No information is available at this time as to if the new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will follow the newly announced manga, or whether it will be a series or stand-alone movie, or perhaps a reboot or remake of the original series (for example, taking the route of fellow magical girl Sailor Moon and what she did for her anniversary with the new Sailor Moon Crystal anime), or perhaps this new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will be something new entirely. Also no release date or voice actor cast or further info has been released just yet, which indicates it may be well into 2017 or even 2018 before we actually get to see this new anime.
Crunchyroll currently has all of the original anime to view on their site. I personally need to sit down and marathon them all at some point. Over the years, I’ve seen a dozen or so episodes and at least 2 of the movies, and from what I’ve seen it’s a very cute show! Just so much to watch and so little time that I never “got into it” as much as I would expect to be into a magical girl romantic comedy / fantasy adventure such as this.
Now that the new show has been announced that motivates me to want to hurry up and watch the original episodes 🙂 I know what my plans will be this weekend lol. Anyone else?
As of today, Wolf Children is my all-time favorite anime “movie” (feature length, stand-alone film). I must’ve watched it 20 times or more by now. If you love Studio Ghibli films, you’ve got to check out Wolf Children. It’s not a Ghibli film, but it feels like it should be one. It has the same things that make Ghibli films so endearing. A heart warming tale of a family and a coming of age story, which in the end has an important message or two to leave with the viewer.
In this case, Wolf Children drives home a message about loving your children, no matter who they choose to grow up to be, a very important message for any parent to embrace in this day and age. You cannot change your children. Some day they will grow up and leave home, and all you can do is try to raise them with love and kindness and hope they make the best decisions for themselves. You don’t have to agree with their decisions, but you need to realize they are their own person. And also in a family with multiple children, you will find that each child is unique and needs handled differently.
Title: Wolf Children
Genre: Family, Supernatural, Fantasy, Drama, Slice of Life
Story: 10/10 As I mentioned above, Wolf Children is a family film, about learning to let go and accept your children even when they aren’t “perfect”. Wolf Children explores these concepts without cramming them down your throat through use of anthropomorphism (giving human like qualities to animal characters). Ame and Yuki, the two wolf cubs of our story, were born out of love between a human and (what could best be described as) werewolf. Tragedy strikes when their father cannot resist his urge to hunt in order to provide for the new family, leaving their mother alone to raise the two cubs. She is unable to even go to a hospital for the birth or have any help because she is not sure what would happen if they were born as wolves instead of humans. As the cubs grow they begin to cause problems for their mother with her neighbors due to the thin walls in the apartment and their constant howling. So the mom decides to move her cubs to the country where they can be happy and be themselves and not have to worry about the neighbors. Eventually as the cubs grow they go through many changes. The girl wants to be more human and go to school. The boy is more shy and avoids humans. He prefers to learn from nature and the animals of the mountains where they live. The mother at first struggles with her children’s independence, wanting to always keep them safe and protect them, but eventually throughout the movie, the children continue to grow, and the mother ultimately realizes she must accept that they are capable of making their own decisions.
Characters: 9/10 Not gonna lie, Yuki’s exuberance as a puppy really got on my nerves – I had a tough time liking her character at first. But – when I think about it, isn’t that how puppies in real life are? They are destructive, curious, hyper, over excitable, etc. AND her exuberance was a nice contrast from her brother who was very frail and timid. Their differences were highlighted nicely and it made each of their characters stand out more. I also enjoyed the mother and her love for her cubs and dedication to doing anything it took to ensure their happiness and giving them the freedom to become who they wished to become. The character growth and development is also a key highlight of this anime. Yuki goes from that mischievous pup, to someone who wishes to be more mature and lady like, while Ame becomes strong willed, independent, and more adventurous. Watching that change and evolution is really one of the best parts of this anime; It’s like watching them grow up right before your eyes.
Artwork: 4/5 There’s nothing “wrong” with this artwork, in fact it’s “damn good” – I just would have liked them to have explored their own art style, instead of drawing so much inspiration from Studio Ghibli. That said, while it does borrow a lot of Ghibli, it is still beautiful – especially the backgrounds. The character style has a hint of realism, and lots of fantasy and charm as well. It’s also sure to be a hit with any furries out there.
Music: 5/5 Wolf children has a very emotionally moving and touching soundtrack that adds to the sentimental feeling throughout the film. This film really tugs at the heart, and the music I think played a big role in creating that immersion and highlighting many of the key scenes of the film
Voice Acting: 4/5 I didn’t really like Yuki’s voice actress. I dunno why. I just didn’t. I do think it fit the character, but it made it even more annoying and painful for me – Her voice actress captured her spirited, spunky personality – which to give her credit, is exactly what she was supposed to do, but it just grated on my nerves. Everyone else was also perfectly cast and delivered powerful and emotional performances that helped bring their characters to life.
While not technically an anime, per say, since it is not from Japan, Yobi the Five Tailed Fox is an excellent family film that has a similar style to that of Studio Ghibli. The story of Yobi the Five Tailed Fox tells us a Korean folk tale legend about Kitsune like creatures who could become human if they stole a human’s soul. Because of that belief, that the foxes could steal souls, they became hunted almost to extinction.
Except for Yobi, the “young” (if 100 years old is young) fox who lives in the forest with her farting alien family who are trying to repair their spaceship to return home. One of her family members wanders into a summer camp for humans near the forest one day and Yobi goes to the camp in her human form to try to convince the alien to return back home.
However, once Yobi enters the camp, she encounters a young human boy and begins to fall in love. She’s told by a shadow detective that he can help her to become human and he tricks her into helping him steal a soul.
It’s a beautiful family film. At times the humor is a bit low-brow but it’s meant to appeal to small children. I didn’t care for some of the character designs. Yobi’s hair style is cute as can be, but their faces are more realistic and less “anime” styled for my tastes. The backgrounds are totally gorgeous. Voice acting was excellent as well as the music.
It pays homage to many great anime films from Ghibli and other studies. Including the living bus from Totoro – although in this film it can fly. It also reminded me heavily of Wolf Children, with a fox instead of a wolf falling in love with a human boy and wanting to go to school and be with humans.
So while it’s not terribly original, and its art and animation not quite as good as what we see from the Japanese studios, it’s still a very good family film. I cried at the end, it’s very heart moving and touching.
Character Development: 6/10
Voice Acting: 4/5
Overall: 33 / 45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”
If you like this movie, you might also like: My Summer with Coo, Totoro, Wolf Children, Spice and Wolf, and Kanon.
Concept: 10/10 The concept here is very fun, you can check out what I think of the Gameplay and Customization below which are really the highlights of this game. The concept is that you and all of your ancestors and descendants have been cursed by someone so that they will live a very short life and also never be able to reproduce normally – instead they must reproduce with gods and demons. The game is fast paced and your characters do die quickly which forces you to keep breeding with the gods to make new clan members. You can pass down heirloom armor and the armor gets new powers as it is passed down. Combat is turn based and there is also a city building element to the game. Read on to learn more about each of these features.
Story: 6/10 I did not get to see much of the story during the demo; but from my limited play time, it does not seem to be very story driven and seems more like a dungeon crawling hack n slash experience. There is a loose story there; about your family being cursed and only able to live for a max of 2 years (my main character died at 19 months; so they don’t always even make it to 2 years). Your family is chosen by a god to be reincarnated and you are given a chance to learn about and take revenge on whomever it was that cursed your bloodline. The god uses a sacrificial girl with magical abilities named Nueko who can bring herself back to life after she dies. From what I read about the game online, it seems that this Nueko becomes the main focus of the story; and that the story does not focus on your clan or your cursed bloodlines, but instead on protecting Nueko. Because it does not focus on your character or clan, many gamers feel the game is less personal and less immersive, and that their characters are only minor characters to the plot and story. This is just based on hearsay and not my own experience, so take that with a grain of salt too. 🙂 This is actually the 2nd game in the Oreshika series, but it’s the first one we’ve gotten in North America. I’m not sure if the story is at all connected to the first game or not.
Gameplay: 10/10 Gameplay is really unique in this game. I had a lot of fun in my brief time with the demo. The most unique thing obviously is that your characters live only a very short time so you are forced to mate with numerous gods in the game to create new offspring and once your player character passes away, you select one of your other clan members to take over as leader. Certain gods come and go at different times, and other gods must first be unlocked in various ways (sometimes by equipping certain items or killing X number of monsters etc). The customization is amazing allowing you to customize everything from your appearance, to class, abilities, offspring, and even the town. (you can read more about that under my section on customization). And the combat experience is also fun. There’s a roulette like wheel that appears and will determine what loot is available. You have the option of killing all enemies or just killing the leader. Sometimes if there’s an item you really want it’s best to go straight for the leader, because he will sometimes run away with the loot. You can take up to 8(I think?) characters into battle at once. Some can attack any row, others can only attack front or back row depending on their placement on the field. There’s also 8 classes to choose from each with their own fighting style. Most of the fights I encountered in the demo were too easy/dull but the demo forces you to play on the easiest game settings so I’m not going to deduct points for that. The monsters are visible on the screen and you can avoid combat or sneak up on the opponent to get an advantage. Everything you do advances time by one month. If you choose to mate with a god, one month passes, if you choose to explore a dungeon, one month passes (sometimes more, as you can choose to keep exploring or return home at the end of each month in a dungeon). Because of this, it’s a very fast paced game, and there is always a sense of urgency and pressure on the player to make the best decisions. Also later (not available in the demo) it is said that we will be able to visit other players’ towns and other cities and dungeons too. Taking pictures also seems to be a high focus in the gameplay – I haven’t figured out why yet – there’s even the ability to share the pics you take over social media from within the game. I don’t know if the pictures serve any other purpose though.
Graphics: 7/10 The thing about the graphics is that they are VERY stylized; they are intended to represent ancient paintings and scrolls from Japanese history. Therefore, you can notice a very “painter” like feeling to the graphics, including thick brush strokes and uneven coloration. This is intentional; similar to how Ghibli chose to use a similar technique while animating Princess Kaguya. If you’ve ever seen that film you’ll understand what I mean about the artwork in Oreshika. It’s not “ugly” but it’s definitely “different” from what most modern RPGs aim for.
Also the ability to put your own face into the game with the PS Vita camera can create some pretty ugly characters even if you are average to above average looking yourself lol. Luckily, the characters can also be manually created to get something more pleasing.
There are some very cute characters. Your servant and guide through the game, a little weasel girl is totally adorable. And some of the gods are sexy / beautiful.
All of the graphics have a distinctive anime feeling, and there is a huge amount of customization too in this game. (both of which are things I typically look for in games to review here.)
In battle, the graphics look pretty good, but I think some of the monster designs are rather ugly; (but hey they are monsters after all); there’s also a lot of recycled artwork, that’s been recolored for different monsters; red crab, blue crab, black crab, gold crab, green crab, etc. The special effects and abilities are also not very pretty or impressive in battle, which is a little disappointing.
Music: 7/10 The music, like the graphics, is intended to invoke feelings of ancient Japanese culture. It’s very asian sounding, which may not be to everyone’s tastes. I personally don’t care for a lot of the tracks used in this game; however, because it is very fitting with the theme and story of the game, I still graded the music fairly high.
Voice Acting: 8/10 I like the voice acting in this game because they kept the original Japanese voices in tact. Most of them are quite good; I do get confused by the main “God” in the game; I still haven’t decided if it’s male or female – It kinda sounds female, and it wears a lot of pink (maybe because I chose that for my own clan’s color?) lol. In the opening animation, I think “he” was wearing armor that showed off his pecs, so I am pretty sure he is male, but he is very feminine sounding/looking. I don’t care for his voice actor; but I guess a more rugged voice wouldn’t fit his somewhat androgynous appearance. I love the weasel girl’s voice actress she is super kawaii sounding! 🙂
Customization: 10/10 For sure, customization is where this game shines. You spend a long time initially making your first character, with the ability to either use a photo of your own face to try to generate a character that looks like you; or the ability to manually make any kind of character of your dreams, by selecting from over 20 different hair, eyes, noses, face shapes, and then further fine tuning your selections using slider mechanisms to control placement, height, width, depth, spacing, etc. Then you move on to choose your class and are shown a description of the different fighting styles. I chose lancer; but I ended up having the most fun attacking with my dancer later on. After you make your first clan member, you get to make 2 other clan members to fight along side you. I just went with the pre-generated options here, and selected their classes, but I think (could be wrong) that you can also customize their appearances as well. (but I was tired of customizing and just wanted to play the game lol). Because your characters die easily/quickly (my first death happened at 19 months which occurred less than 1 hour into the game), you must mate with the gods to produce new offspring. The children will take a genetic combination of facial features/hair/skin etc from both their human and god parents. You even have the ability to get demon looking or god looking children or animal children etc in this way; and then their traits are passed down when they mate also. And not only do you get to customize the characters, but also the town in which they live, by investing in different shops or boosting different aspects of the city, and inviting new shops, and unlocking new items, or new activities that you can undergo while in town, So really the customization is amazing in this game. It’s what makes the game so much fun.