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San Diego Comic Con 2016

One of my Muay Thai teammates told me that he appreciates my outlandish geeky personality and the fact that I don’t hide my trash fandoms.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, I promise.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, I promise.

There’s a reason why I am the way I am now, and Comic Con is the main reason for it.

It was a little over 8 years ago, when I was in a long-term relationship with a girl I knew since we were little.  Slowly, as time went on, she took more and more measures to keep me away from my family and friends, and she tried to keep me away from anime and manga.  She wanted me to become the ideal boyfriend for her that was into One Tree Hill, hip hop anonymous dancing, and eventually, her flesh vibrator for her own personal use.

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She was totally Yukako Yamagishi.

Still, it takes two to tango.  I can’t blame her for everything that happened.  It was my fault for letting things get that far.

Things came to a head in July of 2008, when she wanted me to forgo Comic Con for that year to go to her cousin’s 21st birthday in Vegas.  I’m sorry, but if you’re a San Diegan and you schedule anything during Comic Con weekend then you seriously need your head checked.  I held out, naturally.  By this point, I had had enough of turning myself into someone that I wasn’t.

I eventually got dumped, and I went through a really sad time.

It wasn’t long after that that my homegirl Jenny told me to pick myself up and turn this into a positive, and here we are.  I started a manga that was basically a self-insert fanfiction that was part Gurren Lagann, part Metal Gear Solid, and all types of ill shit.  (Too bad that manga’s script was on my old laptop, that no longer turns on).  I put that on a website, and became comic-con professionally approved, as my comic was published!

I’ve really gotta find that manga, somehow.  Maybe get it redrawn.

Within those 8 years, I made some new friends, discovered Muay Thai, joined an anime convention, ran a half-marathon, and discovered the fact that nothing comes with holding yourself back.  For better or worse.  So yeah, that’s why when I’m not training my butt off at the gym, I’ll be out there catchin’ them Pokémon.

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Osaka was lit, fam

Strawberry Scented Burnout grew as well.  Not just a manga (though we need to get back on that, seriously) anymore, today our website comprises of my little brother Ferris, homeboy Justin, my little sister Ericka as our webmaster, Brian our videographer, Jairus on games, Joshua as our aidoru hell gatekeeper, Mario as our graphic designer, and you readers, reading this crazy website.

Comic Con weekend always gets me nostalgic from where we began, and I can’t help but wonder what lies in store for us next.  I should really look at the panel schedule and see what’s good.  That being said, if you run into me, I won’t ignore you or anything!  Say hi!

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Saints Row: Gat out of Hell Review

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Ever wondered what it would be like to shoot Satan in the face? Unleash that pent-up murder you’ve kept locked away inside? Well Johnny Gat does just that.

 

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is the 5th installment to the Saint’s Row franchise, in which you take control of either Johnny Gat or Kinzie Kensington. Following the events of Saints Row 4, which I will leave unspoiled for those who haven’t had a chance to play through it yet, it is Kinzie’s birthday and all the Saints have decided to throw her a birthday party and what better way to celebrate than with an alien artifact Ouija board. Things go from “ha ha” to “oh no” when the leader of the saints gets sucked into hell to marry Jezebel, Satan’s daughter. Now it’s up to Gat and Kinzie to jump into hell and save the boss like any loyal companion would. I won’t spoil too much of the plot here and jump into my main thoughts.

I'm coming For YOU Satan!

I’m coming For YOU Satan!

Saint’s Row: Gat Out of Hell is more of an expansion than a full game at $14.99 because the size of it was too large to be a simple DLC (downloadable content) according to the developer. I have to agree that adding it to the already expansive game that Saint’s Row 4 was. The scenery was refreshing from the usual cityscape that players were used to seeing from previous iterations. Everything was dark, dirty and hellish, lots of lava too. There are new characters including some old favorites and favorites from history like Blackbeard. The comedy that veteran players were used to make a return and is just as good. There’s even a special piece of dialogue I’ll keep a secret, but it was a nice breakaway from the usual sarcasm, murderous threats, and dirty puns.

 

Now I’ll get into the gameplay, which isn’t much different from the full game of Saint’s Row 4. What I mean is, if you’ve played the full game, going into this will be no different. The controls are just as familiar and comfortable to work with as they were before. You have super powers that you gain through various activities and can power up by collecting soul clusters that are scattered through the city. Keep in mind though, if you want to max out all your abilities, there’s over 500 to collect, so get collecting. Mission and activities aren’t much different from the full game, which to be quite honest, doesn’t surprise me. Missions are repetitive, but that isn’t much different from previous Saint’s Row games.  This is an expansion, not a brand new game.

 

As much as I did like that game, it was not without its bugs and quirks. While playing I ran into 3 critical errors which exited the game to the console dashboard. Now normally that wouldn’t raise any flags for me, but seeing how this is just an expansion, I wonder if this was properly tested and optimized. I’m no expert, but when researching the error codes I received, I learned that they were all game related and not a product of the console misbehaving. There was texture issues occasionally while just running around the city and were exasperated while using certain superpowers, such as super speed. Sometimes while using the super sprint, the camera would just bug out and lose tracking on the character. Those are a few of the weird bugs I encountered during my playtime.

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Overall, the game was enjoyable enough to play especially as one of the free games of the month for PlayStation Plus. Although at a $15 price tag, it’s a tad high for the bugs that come with the game. As much fun as I had with it, the game just doesn’t feel like it was given that AAA title finalization. The one thing that left me wanting though, was the two characters that you can swap between at any time. There isn’t much in terms of unique dialogue between the various characters you meet, especially between some former acquaintances. All in all, the game is enjoyable to play if you’re looking for some casual, co-op enabled mayhem, like having your own reclining death chair.

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AX 2016 – A Weekend in Review

Anime Expo has quickly become one of the largest conventions in Southern California, exploding over the past few years into an absolute monster. Four days celebrating all things otaku; from anime to cosplay and fashion to music, everyone can find something they love crammed within the LA Convention Center. This year the SSB Crew was in the thick of it holding things down. It’s been a week since the convention and I’m still having trouble getting over the post­-con depression, but bear with me while I try to collect my thoughts about the weekend.

Day 1 was chill, there were pools involved and lines were circumvented to prevent potential heatstroke or death by otaku stampede. Even though some of us were only able to walk the floor for a good thirty minutes before it closed for the day, there was still plenty to see. Of particular note to me was a booth that had Aikatsu merchandise! That was something I never thought I’d see out here in the states; they had one of the BDs from a recent live that I’d been searching for and just about every single from the first season all the way to Aikatsu Stars. It took a lot of willpower to avoid dropping all the money I had then and there. The night ended with a few of us going out for some KBBQ with resident idol otaku vlogger Jimmy “Swoletaku” Pham to swap stories and just unwind after the first day madness. Oh, and to eat our combined weight in brisket.

Day 2 was absolutely stacked. There wasn’t a single moment that wasn’t spent running around the entire convention center in order to catch an event or stand in some arbitrary color coded line. The first event of the day was the Love Live! Sunshine!! event, something that couldn’t possibly be tainted by the awful communication from convention staff. The line was filled with all kinds of fans, from hardcore otaku to casual watchers everyone was excited for a chance to catch a glimpse of the new series and the girls that would bring it all to life. Between the work of a great MC and the amazing personalities of the members of Aqours, it was an absolute blast. We were lucky enough to see them do their character introductions, answer some fan questions and provide a bit of insight into the project. To top it all off we were even able to watch the first episode of Love Live! Sunshine!! before anyone else in the US!

After a quick nap back at the hotel I was out to wait in line to pick up my ticket for the Anisong World Matsuri Japan Super Live later in the night. The line, surprisingly, moved pretty fast. I was out with time to spare, time that was spent walking the floor and mingling with some friends I haven’t seen in a while. During the day I found out that there was going to be an event involving an idol group called Dempagumi.inc. I’m still relatively new to the entire idol scene but considering Swoletaku along with some of our mutual friends that are also big into idols were all going to be there I knew I’d be in for an amazing time. Needless to say I got my ass down there along with Brian and Mario to sit through a presentation for a mobile game before getting absolutely insane for their performance. After seeing them live I have definitely become a fan and will be following them much closer than before.

Someone actually knows about Aikatsu?

Unfortunately that entire ran along aside Anisong World Matsuri Japan Super Live. By the time we got out of that, I only had a couple hours left in the performance. That was still enough to catch the last few songs from T.M. Revolution, all of Sphere’s set and JAM Project’s entire set. Despite being tired after an entire day of running around, dehydration and a few hours of sleep I still managed to get on my feet for some great songs. It was my first time listening to Sphere but man were those songs great. JAM Project brought it with GONG and The Hero along with other classics. I think I ended up really messing up my elbow from all of the cheering because it was dead the next few days.

Ran into a sick Cyber Nico cosplayer that night.

Day 3 started off right, there was actually a full night’s sleep. Twitch and I got down to the exhibition hall to grab some sweet jackets before we went our separate ways. He got Kotori’s colors and I needed to rep Nico. Afterwards Brian, Mario and I linked up with some other friends and walked the hall floor until closing. Afterwards we went out for one final meal with all of our friends out, did some dumb dabbing outside LA Live and made some memories that would last a lifetime. Day 3 was the perfect end to an amazing weekend. Good food, good company and goodtimes. I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

No seriously, these jackets are awesome.

All in all, AX 2016 may have suffered from overcrowding and flawed staff but it was still a priceless summer memory. There were lots of laughs, lots of things I’d never thought I’d be able to experience in person and a lot of booze. A whole lot of booze. But at least it was all with the best friends anyone could imagine.

 

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Forever was a lie!

Ferris didn’t take Jessica Jung’s departure from Girl’s Generation very well.

 

The Division Beta: Afterthoughts

Hello all! You may have heard about The Division, a game in development by Ubisoft. Last weekend Ubisoft opened its doors to players for it’s closed beta. Access to the beta was given if you pre-ordered the game (PC, Xbox, PS4). Nvidia and Ubisoft also partnered up to give out more keys to allow more players into the beta.

The Division

Within the beta you had access to a few story missions and some free-form missions and bounties as well as a large chunk of area to explore. They also gave you access to the Dark Zone. This is where the big draw is for the game. In this area PvP (player verses player) is enabled unlike in the regular zone. This is also where the “best” gear is located. I use best loosely because most of the gear I encountered wasn’t much better than what I encountered in the regular zone.

Ubisoft claims this is where players will spend most of their time. I went in there with a couple of friends who also managed to get into the beta and it can get pretty sweaty when you have contaminated gear that needs to be extracted. Which brings me to my next point, any gear you acquire within the Dark Zone must be extracted via Extraction Zones. There is a 1:30 timer once you launch a flare signalling everyone in the area to which they can kill you and take your gear or join you in extracting their gear. Keep in mind tho’, there are only 4 spaces per extraction.

All in all this was a pretty good beta. Minimal bugs and network issues made for an enjoyable time. Ubisoft also has an open beta slated for sometime mid February, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll most likely do a more in-depth review after that or when the game officially launches.

OtakuFighter 2016 season : Episode 0

I’m back!  And what better way to kick off this year of OtakuFighter with some pictures of some fightin’!

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Macross Delta First Impressions

“Macross Cure: School Valkyrie Project is my favorite animu fam.”
J. Gasaway

I had a chance to watch a preview episode for the upcoming Macross series, Macross Delta.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  For me, a Macross series needs the following:

Does it have it?  In a word, yes.  Though some people may crave a more action-based premise, I’m totally digging this concept.  For people that are more of the original SDF Macross, Zero, and Frontier flavor, this series probably won’t tickle your fancy.  People like me that enjoyed the fuck out of Macross 7 (FIRE!!) will be sure to get a kick out this one.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to figure out who Mirage is descended from.  If it’s Mylene,  then I’ll shit my pants from joy.  BOMBA!!!

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Twitch’s Top 5…and bottom 5 of 2015

2015’s almost done.  It’s been a whirlwind year.  There have been some awesome highs, and some indescribable lows.  Time to put it all out there, so to speak.

Let’s start with the lows.

1. Konami

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Wow.  Where do I even begin?  From the rumors of Hideo Kojima’s employment status, to the reports of their management skills and treatment of Kojima-sensei’s employees prior to the release of Metal Gear Solid V (being demoted to janitorial work, limited access to the company intranet, and even the removing of Kojima’s name from his magnum opus, Konami tops SSB’s list of 2015’s lows.  You can’t get much lower than they did.  They tried pretty fuckin’ hard.

2. Valentine’s Day

Going on a Valentine’s date with your arm in a sling due to an accident during MMA training sucks hard. And it’s pretty embarrassing. (Sorry E!)

3. Ronda Rousey

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Ronda’s place in the UFC hall of fame is pretty much guaranteed.  She’s blazed the way for all female MMA fighters in the public eye and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do to take away her legacy.  The legacy however, can be tarnished a bit.  And that’s exactly what happened to her.  It took 2 rounds for Holly Holm to systematically dismantle the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion.  2 rounds and a head kick.  She probably wouldn’t even be on the list, but since the fight was anything but close, here she is.

4. The San Diego Chargers

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Come on Chargers, you can’t be doing SD dirty like you are right now.  Then again, it’s kinda hard to argue throwin’ more money for a new stadium when y’all haven’t won a super bowl like ever.  I did learn that there are a bunch of loyal fans that are gonna be mighty sore if/when you do leave.  Fans including my legs.  My Muay Thai coach threatened leg conditioning days if they leave.

5. The UFC apparel deal with Reebok.

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From shitty designs to an apparent apathy for all things MMA-related, it’s hard to suck harder than Reebok these days.  How can they release a shirt for a fighter named “Anderson Aldo”?  Or a fight kit for a fighter named Giblert Melendez?

And onto the highs!

1. Conor McGregor

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He was riding on an 10 or 11 fight winning streak when he stepped into the octagon against Jose Aldo a couple weeks ago.  He’s proven every single naysayer wrong (hell, even me).  Now, after his 13-second dispatching of Jose Aldo Jr., nothing seems impossible for Conor McGregor.

2. ONE PUNCH MAN

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Saitama is a superhero for fun, and he’s capable of stopping most monsters-of-the-week in one punch.  Fucker’s gotten so strong that he’s bored.  ONE’s webmanga about a bored superhero spawned one of the most visually satisfying anime series ever seen in a good long while.  Props to MADHOUSE for animating this series, and you bet there’s gonna be a second season.

3. Metal Gear Solid V

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Sure the ending may have been rushed (thanks KONAMI), but this game really was Kojima-sensei’s magnum opus.  I loved every minute of this game, and I haven’t even started playing Metal Gear Online yet.  The way that the game ended was mind-blowing at best (especially for veterans of the series), but mind-scratching at worst (if this was your entry game in the series, you’ve got some lore to catch up on).  The FOX Engine really brought Afghanistan and Africa to life, and didn’t drop in framerate or lag during any portion of the game.  Yeah.  That’s how you do open world and not fuck up.  I’M LOOKING AT YOU BETHESDA.

4. Sony Computer Entertainment

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The PS4’s been kicking ass in the market, and they’ve left the Microsoft PR guy saying the classic “Hey we’re in it for the gamers” line.  Meanwhile, Sony’s helped SEGA bring the rest of the Yakuza game franchise to the rest of the world, helped Hideo Kojima relaunch Kojima Productions as an independent creative studio, and just been awesome all around.  Oh, and there’s that Final Fantasy VII remake too.

5.  Rooster Teeth/RWBY

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Monty Oum’s untimely passing earlier this year was a tragedy nobody could’ve foreseen.  The future of his brainchild was in question, but Rooster Teeth, the production company responsible for RWBY, Red Vs. Blue, X-ray and Vav, and a few other shows stepped to the plate and continued production of the series.  Worries of whether or not the series would live up to the standards that Monty put on the series were laid to rest when Volume 3 started earlier this year.  Not only has the animation quality vastly improved, the rest of the production also improved as well.  They scored some high quality voice actor talent and it shows.

I had a chance to go to the Rooster Teeth panel during comic con 2015 and my Lie Ren cosplay went over really well.  I hope to do it again next year.

And that’s my 2015 in a nutshell.  Bring on 2016!