Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Tale of Two Shallies

Atelier Shallie is the third game in the ‘Dusk Trilogy’ of Atelier games. In Atelier Ayesha, we got the first hints that things were not right in the world. Nio, Ayesha’s sister, disappeared and there were signs that all was not well. In Escha & Logy we saw an automaton desperately trying to do anything she can to try to save the world – even if it comes at the cost of humanity. Problems were getting significantly worse as there were massive swaths of lands that seemed essentially dead, lands you saw at certain points but never really explored.

And now, in Atelier Shallie, we see people beginning to suffer as the problems spread… Stellard, this game’s base of operations, is reliant upon an alchemical water purification device that seems to be on the verge of breaking down. Lugion Village is currently in dire straits due to drought and, in an attempt to understand what is happening, has sent their chieftain’s daughter Shallistera to Stellard to try to investigate the cause of it all. In Stellard, a young alchemist named Shallotte is living in the poor part of town doing odd jobs to try to get by while secretly dreaming of having the chance to be someone someday.

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Monthly Recommendations – #JRPGMonth

I’m trying something a bit new. This month I won’t be doing separate weekly recommendations – in stead I’m going to do a single monthly recommendation post and simply update it with a new addition every week. This month’s theme is, of course, JRPGs. How could it be anything else, with #JRPGMonth here? Each week I’ll recommend two JRPGs – one mainstream one that I loved and one that is a bit more obscure, but just as fantastic.

So without any further ado… here are the first of my #JRPGMonth’s Monthly Recommendations!

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Shadow’s Six – Best JRPG Art Styles

JRPGs are a genre known for typically not being terribly graphic intensive. With a few exceptions, such as SquareEnix’s Final Fantasy games, most JRPGs tend to be on the lower end of the graphics scale. Despite this, they still often look absolutely amazing… and that can be accredited directly to the amazing art direction many of these games have.

Today I’d like to acknowledge 6 of my favourite games for their amazing art styles. In the event a series has a tendency towards the same style, I may lump the games under the series… but in the event two games from the same series were drastically different I may separate them if they both warrant a spot.

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GMV Spotlight – Final Fantasy XIII: Sleep Well, My Angel by TheXenatron

It’s been a while since I’ve done an AMV spotlight… so I’m sorry for that. But I couldn’t let #JRPGMonth without spotlighting at least one of the incredibly talented Game Music Videos(GMVs) out there created for JRPGs. The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy’s outstanding graphics and plethora of cutscenes are perfect for this type of creation, as spotlighted by creator TheXenatron.

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Sword Art Online 2 – Contrast

Last summer the second season of Sword Art Online aired. Having loved the first season, although the Fairy Dance arc didn’t quite live up to the quality of SAO’s first arc, I was extremely excited for the second season. The sheer volume of summer and fall reviews kept me from revisiting this for you guys prior to now, but #JRPGMonth seemed like a perfect opportunity to tackle this RPG oriented anime… so how did it compare to the first season?

Like SAO’s first season, SAO2 was split into two separate arcs. Unlike the first season, they took a bit of a break between the two arcs this time by offering a short story to wrap matters up. The first half of SAO2 was the Phantom Bullet arc, which then lead into the Calibur short story and closed matters out with the Mother’s Rosario arc. For the purposes of this review I’ll tackle the two arcs separately, since they differed so greatly.

Yuuki & Asuna
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