So… if it weren’t for my top 10 anime of 2015, the last post I made before this one would be my annual end of year games list thing. That means I haven’t posted anything here for an entire year. I would say “that won’t happen again!”, but I can’t exactly guarantee that. So, I dunno, “whoops”, I guess. But anyway, it’s the end of the year, that means it’s time for the now fourth annual Top 10 List of Games What I Think Were Alright This Year Or Whatever. As always, these are in no particular order, and the game simply needs to have had a release in calendar year 2015 to be eligible. Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII and Ultra Street Fighter IV all had releases this year, but for your sakes, they’re not on this list.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

I’ll say it: MGSV wasn’t the grand finale it was apparently supposed to be. It didn’t tie everything together nicely, it didn’t answer all the outstanding questions. MGSV is, however, simply one of the greatest open world action games ever made. Similar to Ground Zeroes, it doesn’t have as much of what I want out of a Metal Gear game as the earlier instalments. It does have a decent amount of the crazy anime bullshit we’ve come to love from Metal Gear, but not quite enough, nor often enough. But that’s okay, because the actual game part of this game is by far and away the best that Metal Gear has ever been. Even with the fact the story is clearly unfinished, even with all the crazy politics surrounding Konami and Kojima, it’s still one hell of a game.

It's a Metal Gear game, that's for sure.

It’s a Metal Gear game, that’s for sure.


I was never into the Souls games before playing Bloodborne (and don’t get me wrong, Bloodborne is a Souls game, in everything but name), but man did it suck me in. The combat is quick, deliberate, punishing, yet immensely satisfying. The world design is incredible. The environmental storytelling is a breath of fresh air when compared to games that are very upfront and “tell, don’t show” with their stories. Hell, even telling you the actual genre is technically a spoiler (it’s not gothic horror, like the boxart/trailers would have you believe). I originally planned on writing a big post about the game earlier this year that never panned out. Although I’m not too likely to go back and sink a lot of time into the older games, Bloodborne told me exactly what these games are, and I respect them greatly.




Whether or not visual novels are technically “games” is a topic for another day. Regardless, the English version of Steins;Gate had its console release (PS3, Vita) earlier this year. If you’re into anime at all, the name will likely be familiar. It is after all one of the most popular anime among westerners and often recommended for people wanting to get into anime (and a recommendation I mostly endorse). The anime, however, is an adaptation of a visual novel that originally released on the Xbox 360 in Japan in 2009 before being ported to every other major console and eventually finding an English release on PC and Sony consoles within the last year or so. The plot is thus: an idiot and his mates accidentally turn a microwave into a machine that can send text messages into the past. Then a time-travel story happens. Incredible art, music, characters, plot, everything. I will likely write more on it in future. Based on the name of the genre (visual novel) you can imagine what it actually consists of if you haven’t played one before, but it’s well worth the ride.

The art is great. Those eyes.

The art is great. Those eyes.

Fallout 4

At the time of writing (a couple of weeks before this post is live), I’m still making my way through the main quest of Bethesda’s latest post-nuclear RPG. It’s about what you’d expect from a game with the title “Fallout 4“. Obviously, being six years since Fallout 3 , there have been many changes and tweaks, for better or for worse. The game looks nice – the lighting is fantastic and makes exploring the wasteland at dawn or sundown as enjoyable as it always has been in these games. Your character is now voiced, which unfortunately means it’s now more difficult to create a character that truly feels like your own. There’s nothing wrong with a game that wants to tell its own story, but Bethesda RPGs have always felt more about the story being yours and having it play out how you want it to, a feeling which is severely diminished in this latest game. There are other changes, like the gross simplification of the dialogue system, the combination of skills and perks, the removal of karma, that are better suited to discussing in a separate, more detailed post. But the core of the game is still the same: wondering around, discovering new places, people and monsters, and exploring, talking to and killing them. And in that aspect, it’s as good as it’s ever been. If you’ve an itch to return to the wasteland, it scratches that itch well enough.

Baller as fuck.

Baller as fuck.

Halo 5: Guardians

I’m still slogging my way through Halo 5‘s campaign. I say “slog” because I mostly don’t have a fuck to give about Spartan Locke and his buddies (even if one of his buddies happens to be Nathan Fillion). If you’d rather be playing as Master Chief (you know, the Halo guy) and following the part of the story that actually matters, have fun, because that accounts for like, maybe 20% of the game. Apparently the ending is also a Halo 2-esque cliffhanger. But the single player campaign isn’t why this game is on this list. Halo 5‘s multiplayer is the best it’s been in a long while. New movement options that make the flow of the game feel zippy and modern, without taking away what makes it feel like Halo. Equal weapon starts, and none of that random power-weapon drop bullshit. It’s what Halo 4 should’ve been.

Oh, and it has card packs. PACKS. Those who know me will know how much I liked Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer. The packs were a big part of that. I can’t help myself. Send help.

pls help

pls help


You’re a dude with gun boots who jumps down a well. Tight difficulty, tight controls, tight design.

My boots are lazers.

My boots are lasers.

Destiny: The Taken King

Destiny was a game I mentioned last year as being “the most disappointing game I couldn’t stop playing”. Bungie’s latest is not a bad game. It has the excellent gun-play you’d expect from the studio that made Halo, and nothing about the way the game plays is bad. But the original release had some major, unforgivable flaws. Bungie had created this big, interesting universe, but the storytelling and plot was absolutely abysmal and not what you’d expect from the studio that made Halo. The loot and player progression was largely uninteresting, and there was a major lack of content, which for a game meant to emulate an MMO-like experience is a major setback. But then this year, The Taken King came out, the game’s big expansion. They’ve made strides over the past year to improve the progression, but more importantly, it’s starting to look like a game you’d expect from the studio that made Halo. The first 20 minutes of The Taken King has more personality and better writing than the entirety of the base game.

Just a stag. Nothing to see here.

Just a stag, chillin’. Nothing to see here.

Rocket League

Imagine playing indoor 3-a-side football, only instead of running about kicking a football, you’re driving about in rocket-powered cars ramming into a 20 foot ball. Deceptively simple, but hard to master and with a tonne of depth, Rocket League is easily one of, if not the best, multiplayer game of 2015.

Also, it has hats. You can put hats on your car.



The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

I need to get back to The Witcher III at some point. I’ve put in maybe 30 or so hours into it and it barely feels like I’ve even scratched the surface. I own and have played the previous 2 Witcher games, but found them to be largely impenetrable and didn’t have the patience to get properly stuck into them. In The Witcher, you play as Geralt, the titular witcher. Witchers are monster-hunters who have undergone some sort of mutation to make them better-monster hunters. What this gives them other than white hair and cat-eyes I’m not sure. The Witcher III does a fantastic job of having you play as an actual character, as opposed to a mostly blank slate for the player to self-insert into like a lot of western-made RPGs. As someone who generally doesn’t self-insert into video game characters, this pleases me. Give me a well-written, fleshed out character any day of the week. In fact, the entire game is incredibly well written, with one particular side-arc involving a character called the “Bloody Baron” being perhaps this year’s shining example of good video game writing.

Also there’s boobs.

The Witcher III's world is fun to explore.

Metaphor: The bridge is the more accessible third game, crossing the impenetrable previous games… or something.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Dancing All Night marks the continuation of fantastically titled Persona 4 spin-offs, following last year’s Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold, which was unfortunately nerfed somewhat to just Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax outside of Japan. Dancing All Night is… well, it’s a rhythm game, with a bunch of Persona 4 music remixes. That’s pretty much all I needed to know to be sold on this game. That’s all it needed to be, but it even has a full-blown story mode. Similar to the previous Arena games, the story is basically a visual novel with the occasional fights (or dances, as is the case this time) spread throughout. The fact the game gives a justifiable, in-universe explanation as to why the Persona 4 crew have to defeat shadows by dancing is somewhat commendable. I’m not totally done with it yet, but the story even seems to be a much more solid offering than that of the fighting games, and will hopefully be a stellar send-off for Persona 4. Please, Atlus. I love Persona 4. A lot. But you don’t need any more spin-offs. Lets just get to Persona 5 already. My only real gripe with the game is that some of my favourite songs from Persona 4 seem to be conspicuously missing (boss battle themes, mostly), but the selection that is there is decent, and the rhythm gameplay is simple, yet solid and enjoyable.

This entire game condensed into one line of dialogue.

This entire game condensed into one line of dialogue.

Even though 2015 was a pretty great year for games, I actually struggled to put this list together. I even considered condensing it down to a top 5. I just didn’t play all that many of this year’s games, partly out of laziness, partly out of not wanting to shell out £40+ per AAA game (and then not picking it up cheaper later) and partly because I spent a lot of time this year watching anime and playing Street Fighter. So many well received games came out this year that the over-abundance of choice can be overwhelming and you end up not playing anything.

In regards to this blog itself, I’m planning on updating the look of the site sometime in the new year. I’ve a design I’ve been slowly tinkering away at here and there which I will hopefully be done with in the not too distant future. Once I’m completely happy with the way it looks, I just need to convince myself of going through the boring process of making it into a WordPress theme.

2015 was a pretty dope year overall for games, many of which I will likely be playing at some point in the future. Games like Undertale, Tales from the Borderlands, Axiom Verge, Until Dawn, Her Story, Life is Strange, SOMA, Ori and the Blind Forest, Grow Home, Invisible Inc. and plenty of others I’m failing to even think of. That’s not to mention the ones from this year I have played but need to get back to.

Wait… anime?

What, you thought I was only ever going to talk about video games here?

Anime is a relatively new hobby for me. Discounting the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh I watched as a kid, I only started watching anime at all around two years or so ago. But I’ve watched a decent amount in that time, and the time spent watching it this year accounts for a lot of the time I didn’t spend playing games. So I figured I might as well do one of my annual best-of posts for anime as well. Maybe having a whole other medium to write about will hasten the updates of this blog.

Probably not.

Anyway, similar to the gaming best-of, an anime just needs to have had a release sometime in calendar year 2015 to be eligible for this list. In the context of anime, that generally means that an episode aired in Japan sometime this year. For movies, theatrical and home media releases both count. And like the gaming best-off, these are in no particular order.

Shokugeki no Sōma

It's because his... food is so good.

It’s because his… cooking is so good.

An incredibly fun, intense, hype show about… cooking. Food Wars, as I believe is its official English title, is how I imagine a Dragonball-esque shounen show with all the crazy battles replaced with cooking. Our main character, Soma Yukihira, is an almost high-school age dude (about 14-15 in Japan) who runs a small diner with his dad. Both of them are hella fuckin’ baller at making food. One day, his dad decides he’s off to travel the world for a bit, so while he’s away he secured Soma a spot in Toutsuki Academy, a high-school for the absolute culinary elite, with a tiny graduation rate due to the insane standards. Soma is somewhat arrogant and wants to be the top-dog at the school, but to get there, he has to defeat anyone who stands in his way at shokugeki – the school’s traditional form of dual. The premise is kinda dumb, but the execution is superb, with a great cast of characters and great animation. There’s also a large amount of… foodgasms. The guy who draws the original manga is known for being a hentai artist… Overall, pretty great.

One Punch Man

The very embodiment of a hero.

The very embodiment of a hero.

I don’t ever rank the things I put on these lists, but hold a gun to my head and make me, One Punch Man might be my #1. I’d go so far as to say that if you have even the slightest passing interest in either anime or western-style superheroes, you ought to watch One Punch Man. Saitama is pretty much the epitome of the oblivious, uninterested dude, who’s a hero just “for fun”. But he is so powerful that any enemy he comes across is felled with just… one punch. To the point he’s become bored at the complete lack of challenge. Genuinely funny, as well as being able to remain exciting throughout with a protagonist who finishes every fight with almost literally no effort. It’s a shame that the anime industry generally isn’t conducive to sequels, so waiting for more will likely be a long wait. Fortunately, the manga is probably just as good.



[Presented Without Context]

[Presented Without Context]

The latest instalment in the what is now fairly long-running Monogatari Series. Monogatari is really fucking weird. Like, definitely-would-not-recommend-to-people-who-don’t-watch-a-lot-of-anime-and-even-for-those-who-have-is-still-love-it-or-hate-it weird. Incredibly dialogue heavy. Large amounts of (somewhat untranslatable) Japanese humour. Crazy art-direction and cinematography. A little bit more fanservice than most people would probably be comfortable with. For fans of the show, Owarimonogatari is among the best its been, but describing it’s merits to someone unfamiliar can be difficult, especially in this particular short-form format. Perhaps I will one day do something on the series as a whole. Perhaps not. Those interested in the show should start with 2009’s Bakemonogatari, then proceed through the others in release order.


An adolescent guy discovers he can take over other people's bodies.

An adolescent guy discovers he can take over other people’s bodies.

If I gave out different categories of awards, Charlotte would almost certainly win “Most Potential Squandered”. Similar to Angel Beats, creator Jun Maeda’s previous work, Charlotte is marred with pretty horrendous pacing issues. But like Angel Beats, the entire premise of the show is really interesting, with a set of characters that deserved more time for development. But like Angel Beats, Maeda tries to tell a story whose scope is not very well suited to a standard 13 episode anime. The result is a show that I was really enjoying for the first half, before the main plot kicked in without nearly enough episodes left to tell it, and I finished somewhat disappointed. Overall, I mostly enjoyed it, and it stuck with me, though mostly for negative reasons. While not a total trainwreck, and definitely worth watching for the earlier episodes, just be ready to leave thinking this should’ve had another 12 episodes.


Non Non Biyori Repeat

Renge might be my favourite child character to appear in anything, ever.

Renge might be my favourite child character to appear in anything, ever.

The second season of Non Non Biyori, a show that reminds me what it felt like going outside to play with my friends back when I was still in primary school. It invokes a strong feeling of nostalgia in me. A slice-of-life show about a group of friends ranging from ages 6-7 to around 15 living in a rural countryside Japanese town. Charming, funny, heartwarming and very relaxing to watch. Felt good coming in from work on a Monday night and just chilling, and watching Renge and co. get up to… well, nothing in particular; the kinds of things you did with your friends when you where little kids.

Sound! Euphonium

Seriously, this show looks incredible.

Seriously, this show looks incredible.

The latest from Kyoto Animation, who are at this point probably my favourite animation studio. Set in high-school, like most of their works, Euphonium focuses on the school’s concert band. The school at one time used to participate in national tournaments, but as of late haven’t even made it to the qualifying tournaments. This changes due to the arrive of the club’s new, friendly, but strict instructor, and the band itself decides to try for the nationals. The story focuses a lot on the commitment required to build up their strength as an orchestra, as well as the drama that can occur between members – a more talented, but less popular student being given a solo to play, for instance. I was never much of a musically-talented person, but discussion from other “band kids” on the Internet show just how faithful the representation of being in a highschool band can be. Being a KyoAni show, it’s not all drama of course, with plenty of lighthearted, more slice-of-life type moments, as well as just gorgeous animation. Seriously, Sound! Euphonium might be the best looking TV animation I’ve ever seen.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

MFW I try to read up on the lore of the Fate universe.

MFW I try to read up on the lore of the Fate universe.

Fate/stay night is a visual novel, with three distinct story routes. The Fate route, the Unlimited Blade Works route, and the Heaven’s Feel route. This is an adaptation of the second, brought to us by animation studio Ufotable, a studio noted for being up there with KyoAni for producing gorgeous looking shows. The Fate franchise is pretty fucking convoluted, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Basically, the Holy Grail (as in,  the omnipotent wish-granting device) exists. Occasionally a bunch of dudes duke it out to claim it, known as a Holy Grail War. Each “master” summons a “servent”, who is a physical manifestation of the lore and legend of a well-known person from any point in time. Every body tries to kill each other and the last person standing wins. This show is the story of one such of these Holy Grail Wars. It’s pretty decent. Gets a bit up its own arse sometimes, but has a ton of cool moments and fight sequences. You know, if you’re into that.


Also: sick drifts.

Also: sick drifts.

Shirobako (literally: white box) is an anime about… making anime. A group of five highschool girls are part of their school’s animation club and pledge that one day they’ll all work together on a professional anime title. And then before you can think “oh god, not another highschool slice-of-life show”, it timeskips ahead a few years to where two of the girls already have burgeoning careers at an animation studio. I’ll admit, I like slice-of-life and cute-girls-doing-cute-things more than I probably should, but it’s refreshing to see a similar type of show, but with characters older than highschool age. But not only that, Shirobako gives a genuinely fantastic insight into Japan’s animation industry and the sort of work that goes into producing a typical late-night anime episode. Everything from the drawing of keyframes and inbetweens, to the casting process for voice actors, to having to deal with the companies that own the source material of the anime you’re making, to having to deliver the show to the TV stations before it airs. A huge cast of characters, most of whom are very well fleshed out, many of which feel like… well, real people just trying to make a career in a very harsh industry. Fantastic show.

Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight’s Dream

This is a shot from the 1st movie, but whatever, shit it cooool.

This is a shot from the 1st movie, but whatever, shit is cooool.

Persona 3 is one of my favourite video games of all time. A fantastic blend of social/life simulator and dungeon-crawling RPG, with an incredible story and memorable cast of characters. The follow-up, Persona 4 is arguably the better game, mechanically, but something about 3‘s world and bittersweet plot stuck with me. Like Persona 4, 3 is also getting its own anime adaptation, though in the form of 4 movies as opposed to Persona 4‘s 25 episode TV show. Midsummer Knight’s Dream starts pretty much where the first one left off and introduces Aigis, everyone’s favourite robot lady. I can’t really delve too deep without getting spoilery, which I don’t like to do here. Basically, in Persona 3, you summon your “persona” (which is a physical manifestation of your inner psyche) by pointing a gun-like object (an “evoker”) at your head and pulling the trigger. Then, rather than your skull splattering against the wall, a bunch of light shoots out and your persona appears. You do this for almost every attack in battle. It’s pretty fucking baller.

Your Lie in April

This dude's hair tho

This dude’s hair tho

I don’t have much to say about this one, because I don’t want to say too much about this one.

If you want something on the more emotional side and you happen to like classical music… well, you’re in for a trip.

A feels trip. Hope you’ve got your permission slips.



So that’s that. Them’s are the top 10 animes what I watched this year that I think are completely alright or something. This is the first anime post I’ve written here, and you can probably expect to see more in the future, what with anime taking up a large amount of my free time (and income) as of late. My top 10 list of video games will drop fairly soon as well, likely before the new year, so look forward to that.

Also, if you happen to be into the animu, and have a MAL profile, mine is here if you’re so interested.