School Days

I'm sure like many others I was enthralled by the story that the final episode of School Days had been indefinitely postponed due to a supposedly violent ending and its likeness to a real-world killing. Not one to pass up on controversy, I queued up the series expecting it to be a fluffy, real-world version of Shuffle! or perhaps akin to Kimi ga Nozomu Eien; what I didn't expect was an unflinching, overly-dramatic portrayal of the depths of teenage decrepitude.

the series' H-game roots are only evident in the amount of sexual deviance present

The first episode of this petite twelve episode series is as mediocre and clich├ęd as I expected: introverted loner Makoto takes a liking to a girl he sees on the train, female best friend tries to help him get together with her while secretly having the warm-and-fuzzies for him herself. Rolling my eyes and switching off my sensibilities I began to place bets on the most promising axe-wielding female: perhaps the fun-size, silent one is actually a dark-horse in all of this. It took less than half the series to convince me that ending with violence is just one of the punches that School Days will deliver.

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Lucky Star

It's hard to describe Lucky Star without using words such as "meta" or "proto", or comparing it to similar all-female high-school comedies such as Azumanga Daioh or School Rumble or perhaps drifting into expletives about the circular Suzumiya Haruhi references by Kyoto Animation. The concept to take away from Lucky Star is that it is relevant to compare it to all of these things, and brutally unfair.

some of the late-to-the-party characters seem ignored compared to the tried and tested Kagami x Konata tiffs

Lucky Star shines because it manages to not so much parody but lampoon modern otaku and anime by, paradoxically, being a fan pandering anime itself. The first episode was divisive in that many wrote off the long soliloquies as boring or blatantly obvious as to their purpose, this weaned off the Haruhi refugees like a brick wall. In retrospect the meandering script changed little in delivery or tone from the last episode to the first episode, unlike the aesthetics which, while universally well animated, showed how much the animators settled in to drawing the characters. The first episode did brilliantly in laying down the foundation of the rest of the series, characters were expanded upon and new ones introduced, but the humour and pacing remained.

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Hitman Blood Money playthrough: Complete

That is my Hitman Blood Money narrated playthrough complete now; all eleven rated missions have been completed on the Pro difficulty level getting Silent Assassin ranking, I've retrieved and escaped with the suit and used in total only three bullets. I've excluded the tutorial mission, what some consider the first mission, "Death of a Showman" as it is not rated and forces you to use a lot of moves I make absolutely no use of during the game; I've also omitted the last level, "Requiem", as again, it isn't rated and to complete it requires as much luck as it does skill and there's very little of the latter.

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Hitman Blood Money playthrough: Mission 11

Mission eleven: Amendment XXV. With the ICA closed up and Diana on the run, this final mission comes from Agent Smith who was last spotted on the side of the road when 47 threw him out of the getaway van for mission ten. While we are ostensibly working for the US government now, the face off with Mark Parchezzi (the third) would have happened sooner or later due to his "nearly complete clone" status. Set in the Whitehouse, our mission is to take out the Vice President, a cats paw of The Franchise, and March Parchezzi who has been sent to kill the President.

Hitman Blood Money is classified as "18" in the UK and "Mature" in the US which means that it is unsuitable for minors; fairly warned be thee.

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Hitman Blood Money playthrough: Mission 10

Mission ten: A Dance with the Devil. The second mission set in Las Vegas although they don't tell you this, it could be in any part of America. The playing field is a building currently hosting a "Heaven and Hell" party split into requisite areas (penthouse and basement) with an expansive parking lot (purgatory?) in between. Two mission targets, a CIA agent (Anthony Martinez) playing both sides and Vaana Ketlyn; during the mission you'll also meet two other assassins: Maynard John who challenges you to a contrived duel, and "Eve" who takes time out of butchering a song to try and seduce 47.

Hitman Blood Money is classified as "18" in the UK and "Mature" in the US which means that it is unsuitable for minors; fairly warned be thee.

Download the higher quality version (138MB, XviD video, VBR MP3 audio)
View the video transcript

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