Howie’s photo session with cosplayer Little Miss Metamorph

I met up with Kristen, aka cosplayer Little Miss Metamorph, today for a shoot of her Darth Vanitas Sith cosplay. This year is the first time I’ve done any proper shoots from behind the lens, so I need to thank Kristen for being such a wonderful cosplayer to work with, and for being one of my guinea pigs this year. Oh, and sorry for the wait when I got lost trying to find the exact place within the ExCeL car park!

Howie listens to Symphonic Fantasies London

Tonight, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), conducted by Eckehard Stier, played a wonderful concert at the Barbican Centre, titled Symphonic Fantasies London, which saw the world class orchestra perform a medley of pieces from four classic Square Enix series: Kingdom HeartsSecret of ManaChrono Trigger / Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy. The orchestra was joined by the London Symphony Chorus (LSC) with David Lawrence as chorus master, as well as soloists Slava Sidorenko on the piano, and Rony Barrak on the darbouka.

Programme for Symphonic Fantasies London.

Being an avid gamer and a musician, I notice a lot about the music of computer games and how it adds to any given moment within a game’s plot, and having gone to a few video game music concerts already, I always manage to get transported to those iconic moments in any game by the orchestra, and certainly the LSO’s performance of music from Square Enix’s titles were no different. If I thought I was impressed by the LSO’s performance of Final Symphony II at the Barbican Centre on 12 September 2015, I was absolutely blown away by the concert tonight.

The addition of the LSC to the mix gave the performance a lot more depth, and allowed the music to be explored from a totally different angle, for example, using the LSC’s singers to replicate the sound effect of rain and storm for the Secret of Mana medley.

The music of Kingdom Hearts and Secret of Mana, though iconic, was soon over taken in the second half of the concert by the medleys of music from Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy. Being an avid Final Fantasy player, you may all think me to be slightly biased, but I genuinely thought the arrangement for the Final Fantasy section in tonight’s concert was beyond expectations and by far the best arrangement of the evening. It certainly made the musical geek inside me squeal with delight as I sat there in the stalls.

The harp prelude gave way to the ever joyful chocbo theme, which then proceeded to give way to big and bold battle themes, with a hint of the chocobo’s theme in the background in a different key to give some comic relief. But it was the finale of the Final Fantasy section which blew me away, as the woodwind section shared responsibility for the main theme of the series, beginning in a minor key before transitioning to a major key into the recognised version of the theme, then handing the motif over to the violins before the violins gave the main theme motif to the LSC singers.

With an encore of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII medley which was not listed in the programme, the LSO, LSC, and the soloists truly deserved the full house standing ovation which they received at the end of the concert.

Very much looking forward to the next concert!

Howie plays Turnabout Time Traveler

Last Thursday (29 September 2016), the latest DLC instalment for Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice was released, priced at £5.39 / $5.99 / €5.99. The DLC this time does not contain a 3DS theme, but a full episode consisting of a two-day trial. I was quite excited at the mention of time travel, especially with Phoenix’s mention of not being a time lord in the main game.

The episode is a well put together with quite a number of twists and turns. The only thing which really bugged me was the length of some of the animations, especially when you’re trying to make sure you present  every piece of evidence during the investigation stages… yes Sorin Sprocket, you know I’m talking about you!!! Don’t get me wrong, the animation and 3D modelling is really well done, but the animations could have been slightly shorter, especially since you can’t skip them!

The episode has enough twists and turns along the way, with the usual people perverting the course of justice to keep the player entertained. I must have got at least 6 hours’ worth of gameplay on that episode alone. If you just wanted to get one DLC for Spirit of Justice, I would definitely go for this one over any of the Asinine Attorney ones.

I have to say though, for twists and turns, it still does not beat episode 5 of the main Spirit of Justice game!

Howie plays Asinine Attorney

As mentioned in my last post after I finished Spirit of Justice, there were two Asinine Attorney DLCs which were released on 15 September 2016 and 22 September 2016. The first DLC to be released was Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney, and the second was Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney. Both DLCs contain non-canon short “trials” which are pretty much just for fun, with a weird sense of humour. Both DLCs cost £3.59 and include a panoramic pixel art theme for the 3DS. I wasn’t too keen on the cases in that I do tend to prefer more serious trials, but it still gives you the chance to trawl through your evidence and present them. Would recommend just for completeness’ sake, although by no means necessary to follow the story-line of the Ace Attorney series.

The Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney 3DS theme features a panoramic pixel scene of Khura’in, featuring various characters seen in Spirit of Justice.

Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney 3DS theme
Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney 3DS theme.

The Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney 3DS theme features a panoramic pixel scene from Trucy’s magic show, Trucy in Gramarye-Land, at the Penrose Threatre (episode 2 of Spirit of Justice).

Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney 3DS theme
Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney 3DS theme.

Howie finishes Ace Attorney 6: Spirit of Justice

So I have finally finished Ace Attorney 6: Spirit of Justice! Well, I say finish – I mean finished all the content available to date. There are 3 DLCs lined up for the game.

  • Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney
  • Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney
  • Turnabout Time Traveler

I couldn’t find anything about release dates in the UK, but if they’re the same as America, Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney has already been released, with Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney being due on 22 September 2016, and Turnabout Time Traveller due to be released on 29 September 2016.

There was a costume pack which was free, but I believe the free offer of the costumes expired on 14 September 2016. The costumes you can get for Phoenix Wright is the Furio Tigre outfit, for Apollo is his school uniform, and for Athena the Très Bien Café maid uniform.

I actually thought that this one was the best Ace Attorney game to date, with 3 of the 5 main story cases actually being quite emotional ones (yep, I legit teared up!), with the usual weird twists and turns along the way. I also really like the way how trials are no longer randomly adjourned and broken down for “further investigation”, which makes the story flow a lot better. There are still the usual “OMG that will never happen in a real Court” moment, but the game is definitely the best so far. Just a shame I finished it so quickly.

As I mentioned in my previous post on the game, the game is full of puns, and for me it was a game within a game to spot the puns.


I’ve listed a few of the ones I’ve spotted below. If there are more I’ve missed, put them in the comments!

  • Tehm’pul Temple – Temple Temple
  • Ahlbi Ur’gaid – I’ll be your guide
  • Shah’do – Shadow
  • Paht Rohl – Patrol
  • Pees’lubn Andistan’dhin – Peace, love, and understanding
  • Inga Karkhuul Haw’kohd Dis’nahm Bi’ahni Lawga Ormo Pohmpus Da’nit Ar’edi Iz Khura’in III – Inga Karkhuul “How Could This Name Be Any Longer Or More Pompous Than It Already Is?” Khura’in III
  • Bonny and Betty de Famme – Defame
  • Manov Mistree – Man of mystery
  • Mr Reus – Mysterious
  • Roger Retinz – The character is also known as the “Ratings Rajah”. In Japanese, you’d say the surname first (Rajah Ratings), hence “Roger Retinz”.
  • Tarhust Inmee – Trust in me
  • Beh’leeb Inmee – Believe in me
  • Rheel Neh’mu – Real name
  • Puhray Zeh’lot – Pure zealot / Prays a lot (suggested by Namasu)
  • Datz Are’bal – That’s a rebel
  • Taifu Toneido – Typhoon tornado
  • Geiru Toneido – Gale tornado
  • Uendo Toneido – Wind tornado
  • Bucky Whet – Buck wheat (ingredient used to make soba noodles)
  • Paul Atishon – Politician
  • Archie Buff – As in archaeology buff
  • Armie Buff – Army buff

Howie plays Ace Attorney 6: Spirit of Justice

Hap’piraki! Greetings from the country of Khura’in, which is partly where Ace Attorney 6: Spirit of Justice is set. The latest game in the popular Ace Attorney series was released worldwide 2 days ago on 8 September 2016, although Japan has had the game since 9 June 2016. I have completed two cases so far, and I am truly hooked to it. One great feature I have noticed with this game compared to the other Ace Attorney games is that you can have the ability to skip past tutorial sections if you’re familiar with the mechanics of the previous games! No more sitting through explanations of what I already know, thank you Mr Apollo Justice and that damned bracelet!

The first case in this game also seems to throw you right in the thick of it, and I am actually finding this game a lot more challenging than the others, but not so challenging that it’s becoming impossible: just a very enjoyable challenge.

Attention to detail is very much required, as with the other games, but something about this title seems different, as if the evidence you need to find is now more subtle and therefore familiarity with the Court Record is more important than ever.

The game brings back familiar characters such as, inter alia, the titular Phoenix Wright (“O foolish foreign lawyer!”), his office assistants Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes (plus Widget!!!), and also Trucy Wright, the magical girl! Although the best thing in my opinion are the names of the new characters: a tour guide called Ahlbi Ur’gaid, a guard called Paht Rohl, a hippy monk called Pees’lubn Ahndistan’dhin, magician names like Manov Mistree and Mr Reus to name but some!!! It’s a brilliant game within a game to try and spot and work out the puns, as well as other cultural references, for example, Phoenix mentions “time lord” in the first case!!! *cue sounds of the TARDIS*

Why can't I be both a lawyer, and a time lord?
Why can’t I be both a lawyer, and a time lord?

If you love a good mental challenge in a game, I’d really recommend going through the whole Ace Attorney series! See you in Court!

Howie does Alcon, featuring Jessica Calvello

I’ve had my eye on going to Alcon in Leicester for a while now. The con is run by AnimeLeague and held at De Montfort University. I finally decided to take the plunge and go for the Saturday this year. It was a fairly no brainer  decision, mind you, as Jessica Calvello was headlining at Alcon this year. Jessica has a number of amazing roles to her name, including inter alia Kay the Raichu Trainer in episode 10 of series 2 of Pokémon, Mink in Dragon Half, Saori Takabe in Girls Und Panzer, and of course, Zoe Hange in Attack on Titan.

Despite arriving later than intended, and then almost not getting in due to forgetting my ID, I finally managed to make it in time for Jessica’s Attack on Titan panel, where Jessica was cosplaying Hange!!!!

Hange giving a science lecture
Hange giving a science lecture.
Jessica in a pro cosplay photo shoot
Jessica in a pro cosplay photo shoot.

After a a long and amazingly popular signing and photo session with Jessica, late lunch / early dinner was a rather surreal experience, with Jessica opposite me and Masako X next to me. Followed by the obligatory crude, lewd, and down right politically incorrect session of Cards Against Humanity!!!

The masquerade ball to which I turned up severely underdressed is something I’d like to do properly in white tie and tails! It made my evening just to hear one of the songs being played was Waltz For The Moon from Final Fantasy VIII… oh swoon.

Plus, I got to catch up with some of my cosplaying buddies too, which is always a plus (thank you Hannah for bumping into a late-arriving and confused Howie and telling me what was going on)!

Seriously, if all Alcons are going to be like this, sign me up for them in future!!!