Tag Archives: Detroit: Become Human

Ktulu’s 6th Annual Awards & Shaming Ceremony

Welcome, Everyone, to this year’s rewards. Where we celebrate the best anime I’ve reviewed for the year and take shots at the worst. This year, we’ll be doing something a little different. At the end, after the individual rewards, I’ll be doing a list of the five best and worst overall. Now, as usual we’re covering everything from February 15th 2018 up to this week’s review of Hybrid Child.

We’ll move right into things with the best and worst of our bonus reviews. And no, we won’t be counting the bonus reviews for the top and bottom five. The list of potential candidates is: A Hard Day’s Night, Avengers: United They Stand, The Black Cauldron, Blake’s Seven Series One, C.O.P.S, D.E.B.S, Detroit: Become Human, The Hulk, Maximum Carnage, Pryde of the X-men, The Rescuers, Secret Six: Villains United, Silver Surfer, Star Trek: Next Gen/ X-men Second Contact, Stories of Ibis, The Thing

The Worst in Bonus:

It probably seems like this will be difficult since the lowest score I gave a Bonus review this year was a 3/10, and there were four things to get that score. However, it’s actually easy because there’s one thing that almost got lower and I still feel a “3” was a bit generous for. So, the worst of award goes to Detroit: Become Human. A terrible game with little game play and the worst toss in terms of writing, but it earned a merely bad score solely because its graphics are great.

The Best in Bonus:

This one was much tougher to decide. There were four 9/10 reviews this year and all of them have a lot to recommend them. We have thirteen issues of one of Gail Simone’s best comic runs, possibly John Carpenter’s best film, one of Disney’s best films & a brilliant collection of short stories with a cohesive narrative tying them together. Out of all those works, I ended up deciding to give it to Secret Six: Villains United.

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While any of those four could have gotten it, I think that’s the one that had the biggest burden in terms of making the audience care and something had to be the deciding factor.

And the anime reward candidates are: A-ko the Versus, Aggressive Retsuko, Ajin series 2, Aki no Kanade, Ayane-chan High Kick, Bio Hunter, Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail, Boku no Hero Academia, Citrus, Cowboy Bebop, D-Frag, Dirty Pair Flash, Dragonball: Majinjou no Nemuri Hime, Dragon Half, Dragoon, Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi, Figure 17: Tsubasa & Hikaru, Flying Witch, Fortune Quest, Futari wa Precure Splash Star: Tick Tack Kiki Ippatsu, Galaxy Angel 2, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin, Godzilla: Kaijuu Wakusei, Grand Blue, Hellsing Ultimate, Hybrid Child, Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san, Iron Man, Jinzou Ningen Kikaider, Junjou Romantica, Kakurenbo, Kanamemo, Made in Abyss, Mahoutsukai Sally, Makai Senki Disgaea, Mary to Majo no Hana, Meisou-ou Border, Melty Lancer, New Game, Ninja Batman, Ojamajo Doremi, Overlord II, Panda Kopanda, Pokemon: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu, Puni Puni Poemii, Renkin San-kyuu Magical Pokaan, Sailor Moon SuperS, Slayers: Great, So Ra No Wo To, Tetsuwan Birdy Decode, The Choujo, Tiger & Bunny, Uchuu Kaizoku Mito no Daibouken, Witch Hunter Robin, Xiao Qian, Yousei Hime Ren, Yuru Camp, Yuuki Yuna wa Yuusha de Aru, Yu Yu Hakusho the film

The Moffat Award for worst writing in a series or OVA we’re supposed to take seriously. Prior winners: Dansi Bunri no Crime Edge, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Madhouse’s X-men, Brain Powerd & Elfen Lied. This year they’re joined by Tiger & Bunny.

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With tacky product placements, massive plot holes, terrible characters and an inconsistent world Tiger & Bunny is truly garbage.

The Simone Award for best writing in a serious series or OVA. Former champions were Psycho Pass, Ghost in the Shell SAC, Nanoha StrikerS, El Cazador de la Bruja, & Mononoke. This year it has to go to the year’s one 10/10 series, Cowboy Bebop.

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A classic in the truest sense and well deserving of the Simone award.

The Abrams Award for worst writing in a film. This has gone to End of Evangelion, Metropolis, Hetalia: Paint it white, Hanare Toride no Yonna & Arion. This year the two I kept coming back to were Bio Hunter & Godzilla: Kaijuu Wakusei. But only one can sit at the bottom of literal excrement and this year it’s Bio Hunter.

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Netflix’s Godzilla may have been slow, boring and had a really lame depiction of Godzilla but Bio Hunter is a film dedicated to having as many dumb, nonsensical plot points as it can fit. Which does make for a worse film.

The Miyazaki Award for best writing in a film. This year’s winner will join Nausicaa, Kara no Kyoukai 4, Spirited Away, Mononoke Hime, & Koe no Katachi. This year, it goes to Futari wa Precure Splash Star: Tick Tack Kiki Ippatsu.

Splash Star film

I struggled a bit to decide from this, Aki no Kanade & Slayers Great. This one ultimately gets it because I think it has the strongest pacing and a more engaging conflict out of the three.

The Macfarlane Award for worst comedy. Previous winners were OreImo, Kill la Kill, Sunabouzu, Kashimashi & Idol Project. This year it was hard to decide between Grand Blue & Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi. Both are absolutely terrible but the worst of the worst is Grand Blue.

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Here’s the thing, I rolled my eyes a lot when watching Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi but I got more annoyed when watching Grand Blue and the reason both for that and Grand Blue ultimately getting it is that the characters in this are so unbearably obnoxious.

The Pratchett Award for best comedic sense. The prior winners were Bottle Fairy, Doki Doki PreCure, Yuru Yuri San Hai, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka 2 & Azumanga Daioh. This year, it goes to Galaxy Angel 2.

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This series is just an absurdly good time. It’s hyperactive, zaniness at its finest.

The Meyer Award for worst romantic elements. We’ve given this to OreImo, Mawaru Penguindrum, Love Hina Again, Dance in the Vampire Bund & Wolf Guy. Romance is hard to botch as badly as these series managed but this year, we had one heavily romance-oriented work that did it. And that’s Junjou Romantica.

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Yes, the story where the main couple has a relationship built entirely off of rape. It’s also our first winner that isn’t het, proving that any type of couple can be terrible.

The Kanemaki Award for best romance. Previous winners were Btooom (for Himiko/ Ryouta), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanha StrikerS (both for NanoFate), El Cazador de la Bruja (Ellis/ Nadie) & Shuumatsu no Izetta (Finé/ Izetta). This year is a bit tough because there aren’t really any amazing romances but we do have more than one solidly good one and the best among them is Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san.

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They don’t have a really complex relationship, but it is pretty damn cute. It’s just an enjoyable, light-hearted romantic dynamic.

The Anno Award for the worst cast of characters. The former crap crews were End of Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Love Hina Again, Kashimashi & Elfen Lied. This year the winner is Grand Blue.

Grand Blue

There are very few anime where every character is immediately hateable to this extent. Grand Blue seems to make it a point of pride to have trash characters.

The Moore Award for strongest cast of characters. The previous champions have been Sailor Moon, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, Death Parade, Sailor Moon S & Hunter x Hunter 2011. Usually, this award goes to something with a very robust cast that manages to do a spectacular job with writing them all well. Simply because it’s harder to write a cast of a dozen well than it is to write a cast of five. This year, I have to give it to So Ra No Wo To.

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It has a smaller core cast than I’d normally look for, but every side character is really well written. The main cast is amazing and the series gives the “antagonists” sympathetic motivations and makes them very human.

The Bendis Award for worst conflict. The winners thus far have been From Up on Poppy Hill, SAO, Ice, SAO II & AD Police. This year the series that least knows how to keep things remotely compelling is Meisou-Ou Border.

While not among the worst series I’ve watched overall, it has nothing happening in it. The “conflict” is basically two idiots mucking about. Adventure?

The Claremont award for best major conflict. The plots that got this previously were Psycho Pass, Shingeki no Kyojin, Nanoha As, Haibane Renmei & Vivid Strike. This year, it goes to Figure 17.

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What makes this one really stand out in regards to this is that it has multiple conflicts. The whole situation with Tsubasa & Hikaru as heroes is one thing. Their interpersonal situations involve more and they’re all really compelling and they mesh together very neatly. Which is very impressive.

The Liefeld Award for worst visuals. Aku no Hana, Amada: Mario Brothers, Corpse Party, Garzey no Tsubasa & Elfen Lied all won this for the series category. For films, DBZ: Fusion Reborn, Hanare Toride no Yonna & Arion have taken it. This year, the winners are Ajin 2 & Godzilla Kaijuu Wakusei.

Ajin 2 earns its spot for having bad artwork that really hurts what it’s going for. Netflix’s Godzilla earns it by also having CG that looks like crap and also having the worst action sequence involving Godzilla ever animated.

The Urbino Award for amazing artwork. Series winners have been Mushishi, Stand Alone Complex 2nd gig & Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. Film winners have been Nausicaa, Tokyo Godfathers, Spirited Away, Mononoke Hime & Kaze Tachinu. This year our winners are Flying Witch & Mary to Majo no Hana.

I won’t lie, the series one was really hard to pick since Cowboy Bebop, Flying Witch and Boku no Hero Academia all have spectacular art and animation that stand out. But, ultimately, if I was going to just look at images from any of them because the series just looks so good, it would be Flying Witch. Mary to Majo no Hana was an easy choice. The backgrounds, characters and everything else in that film just looks great.

The Spencer Award for horrendous mouth noises. Previous winners were Sailor Moon’s English dub, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ice, Kashimashi & Wolf Guy. This year they’re joined by Yousei Hime Ren.

Elf princess Rane

The other two series I really considered giving this too were Grand Blue & Puni Puni Poemii but, while those both had really annoying acting, this one was so badly done it literally gave me a headache to listen to.

The Sir Stewart Award for greatest acting. This one is always difficult to choose but the previous stand outs have been Black Rock Shooter (OVA), Nanoha, Glass no Kamen, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu and Hunter x Hunter 2011. This year, it’s going to Cowboy Bebop.

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Cowboy Bebop is a series with excellent actors and they’re all fantastic in it. So, while a lot of other anime I’ve reviewed this year have had great acting, it does stand out as the best.

The Perry Award for awful music. Previously, this was granted to English Sailor Moon, Street Fighter II, Mars of Destruction, Kagewani & Arion. This year, it goes to Puni Puni Poemii.

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The soundtrack in this is what happens when a good composer seemingly doesn’t give a shit. And the OST suffers immensely for it.

The Kloss Award for fantastic music. Previous winners were Slayers Perfect, K-on the film, Love Live 2, Love Live the film & Shuumatsu no Izetta. This year I have to give it to So Ra No Wo To.

Sora no woto

Not only does it have a superb OST in general, but the whole motif it has with music is amazingly graceful. Which does help the series stand out from all the others with strong music.

Five Worst of the Year:

We’ve gone over the worst in various categories, now let’s do some rankings. Starting with the least bad and going to the worst. This year, all of this list is going to be populated by 2/10s. And we had six of those, so one is going to be left out.

#5: Godzilla Kaijuu Wakusei

Honestly, I think this one earns a spot because of how incompetent it is as a Godzilla work but it’s not quite as egregiously bad as most of the 2s. So, it gets the highest spot of the five.

#4: Bio Hunter

Bio Hunter is dumb. Really and truly insipid. But there isn’t as much wrong with it as there are with most of the 2s.

#3: Elf-wo Karu Mono-Tachi

I struggled with whether to give this one the two or three spot. But my big issue with this is its fetishy bullshit humour and I had a lot more negative things to say about the series that did get that spot.

#2: Tiger & Bunny

This series can take its tacky product placements, awful homophobic character who shares the name with an amazing game franchise and nonsense plot straight to Tartarus. I really hated it.

#1: Grand Blue

You probably saw this coming. Awful characters, horrendous jokes, random incest. This series is the Prince of Shite for the year.

Five Best of the year:

As usual, let’s end on a positive note. We may have seen some shit this year, but we’ve also seen true greatness. And here are the five at the top. Keep in mind, #5- #2 were all really close and separated by very slight margins.

#5: Yuru Camp

This series is highly endearing, features an adorable chihuahua, nice scenery, fun characters and a lot of les-yay.

#4: Flying Witch

This is a series that just feels good to watch, has a great cast of characters and looks amazing.

#3: So Ra No Wo To

A fantastic series with a phenomenal cast of characters, interesting events & superb music.

#2: Galaxy Angel 2

This one is just uproariously funny for the vast majority of it. It could be nearly a perfect comedy if not for that episode that takes a serious tone.

#1: Cowboy Bebop

Everything about this series is stellar. It’s not just a classic anime but a classic of science fiction. 

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November Bonus Review: Detroit- Become Human

Let me begin by just outright saying that I don’t like David Cage. As a writer, I find him pretty damn terrible and every time he talks about his work he comes across as either a pathological liar, someone with his head so far up his own ass he’s getting his food back before it can digest or both. Now, you might wonder why I’m going to talk about one of the games he wrote if I think so little of him.  Well, it’s because I have a lot of problems with this game and it’s been out long enough that I think I can vent about them without all the rabid fans going mad. Plus I don’t do game reviews often so, when I do, it’s always a game that’s been out for a while. I’ll warn you before we get into the gritty details, there will be spoilers.

Story: 

The set up is old hat for science fiction. Androids are an accepted part of daily life but some are gaining emotions, breaking free from their programming and starting to demand rights. We follow three different androids, Markus, Connor and Kara, on their separate but connected paths. Markus starts out serving an elderly artist before becoming robot Jesus. Connor is tasked with finding these deviants and putting a stop to them before they start voting, getting involved sexually with our flesh and blood women and shopping at our organics only stores. Kara is a house keeping android who runs off with a small child to stop her being abused. But it turns out the child is also an android so don’t worry about any “can an android love a human as its own?” story lines. That might have been interesting, if it were written by someone with writing skills.

My first big issue with the game’s story is just how trite the whole narrative is. We’ve seen the “what if AI was sapient” question addressed in a billion different works of media. And every single one of those has done a better job with it than this game. Some big examples have been, but aren’t limited to, Star Trek: Next Generation, The Stories of Ibis, Eve no Jikan, DC’s Metal Men, Astro Boy, The Hitchiker’s Guide, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Xenosaga, Transformers, Voyages of the Cerberus, The Twilight Zone, Marvel’s Vision, Blake’s Seven, Steel Angel Kurumi 2, Overwatch, Megaman and so many others I could put together an absurdly long list but I’ve made my point.

What especially annoys me about Detroit in this regard isn’t just that it uses a major story element that’s been done, it’s that David Cage talks about it like he did something completely new and absolutely unheard of. And not just because he deals with sapient machines but because they’re the good guys, for once. You know, if you ignore literally everything I just listed.

Another aspect of the game that annoys me is the heavy-handed slavery metaphor that immediately falls apart if you put ten seconds of thought into it. Because white people did not build black people in a factory nor have black people ever been emotionless.  Frankly, it’s a pretty insulting comparison. David Cage also likes to push this idea that the “proper” way to strike back against an oppressive group in power is through non-violent protest. The only way to save all the named characters you’re supposed to care about is to be non-violent. Which is nonsense. Peaceful protest has its place, but it isn’t easy or relatively painless by any means.

Another annoyance is the Public Opinion system. Throughout the game what you do impacts public opinion but it barely matters to the story. There are all of two characters who will act differently based on public opinion and you don’t see any other impact from it. The story is also full of things that are just stupid. For example, the androids have LEDs in their necks that basically serve to show when they’re getting distressed. Almost like this was an old B-movie where the lead actor can’t emote so they come up with some plot device to do it for them. What’s even dumber is that we find out androids can remove these lights and change their hair colours in order to better pass as human. So, why doesn’t every deviant android do that immediately? Seriously, these things are supposed to be smart but they can’t be bothered to take some simple, obvious steps that would help keep them safe? They deserve to get caught and deactivated.

The only narrative thing I’ll give Detroit some credit for is that it actually has choices that matter. Which does give it something when compared to, for example, a Telltale game. Although you probably won’t want to take more paths cause they’re all badly written.

Characters:

Like the narrative itself, the characters are based off of old, boring stereotypes without anything to make them interesting. Markus is the “saviour” who gains the mysterious power to awaken other androids and has to lead his people to… Silicon heaven, I assume. Where they can hang out with all the calculators. Connor is the eager young recruit. Kara is the motherly woman. Hank is the grizzled old officer and so on. I’ve felt more of an emotional connection to the plastic toys I’ve found in kinder eggs.

Gameplay:

Like most Quantic Dream games, the gameplay is very minimal. You go to places, examine things, do busy work (like laundry), make decisions and there are some shitty quick time events. It’s like Cage wanted to make an animated film but didn’t want every single Razzie so he begrudgingly made a game instead. So, it’s exactly what you expect from Quantic.

Art:

Here’s the one element I can give some actual praise. The artwork in this game is very well done. It uses a realistic, motion-captured style and, unlike any other aspect of the game, actual effort went into making the animation flow smoothly, putting in nice backgrounds and just making it visually appealing. If you paired this artwork with a narrative that wasn’t complete trash and compelling gameplay, you could have a real winner.

Sound:

The music is decent enough. In terms of acting, you can tell that the actors are trying. I can’t say their performances are good. If they had characters with some level of depth to them, they might be able to display emotions and have strong performances instead of an emotion and having kind of sub-par performances. I’m sure part of that is David Cage’s directing since he’s awful at that too.

Areas of Improvement:

Now comes the time where I list three ways the work could be improved, and I am spoiled for choice here because there are so many awful aspects to go after.

  1. Tone down the message for some subtlety and nuance. I know that those are two terms David Cage will never comprehend, but for an example of what I’m talking about watch the Next Generation episode, Measure of a Man. In which Data’s rights are at stake and Picard defends those rights as well as his status as a sentient being.
  2. Alter the gameplay. As it is, Detroit is basically a shite visual novel with QTEs thrown in. I would say either throw out the busy work & QTEs and make it a straight up VN since those gameplay elements are just obnoxious or put in some gameplay that can fit with a story that has branching paths. Maybe an action RPG since several of those do have choices that matter. And get rid of the QTEs and busy work while you’re at it.
  3. Develop the characters beyond stereotypes. As the game is, we’ve seen all of these characters. We’ve also seen them all used as a base for complex characters. Which Cage might’ve done, if he wasn’t a complete hack.

Final Thoughts:

Ultimately, Detroit: Become Human is tripe. The story is a complete mess riddled with clichés on one end and idiotic nonsense on the other. The gameplay is horrid. The characters have nothing to them and it’s just a generally bad experience. A bad experience that looks quite nice but looking nice kind of becomes meaningless when that’s all you have working in your favour. I give it a 3/10. And the only reason I’m going that high is because of the art. If the graphics weren’t so nice, I’d take two points off of that.