Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pokemon Origins now available on iTunes US, Canada, and other countries

The Pokemon Origins mini-series that debuted last year is now available on iTunes US and Canada, along with several other countries. The series is $11.96 for HD and $7.96 for standard definition.

Earlier this year, we were able to ask a few questions of Kyle Hebert, who performed the voice of Professor Oak in the mini-series:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Anime Central 2014: Helen McCarthy (Author of "The Anime Encyclopedia")

At last weekend's Anime Central 2014 near Chicago, I attended a press session for Helen McCarthy, author of numerous anime-related books, including The Anime Encyclopedia. You can see her answers to a variety of questions about anime and conventions in general here:

The latest edition of Helen's The Anime Encyclopedia is due out this December.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Anime Central 2014: Super Smash Bros. Melee Tournament Winner

Christopher “Toast” Woodson
The following is an interview with Christopher “Toast” Woodson, winner of a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament at Anime Central 2014.

Where are you from? 
I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee.

How did you get into competitive Smash Bros.? 
Well, I’ve always been a fan of Super Smash Bros., and one day when I was looking up YouTube videos of Melee, I saw some players doing things I’d never seen before like Wavedashing (a special way of moving following a dodge). It looked really amazing and I wanted to be able to do that too. That’s when I got into competitive play.

What were the rules for the tournament?
This tournament went by the standard rule setup-all items off, four stock, eight-minute time limit, double elimination (winners and losers bracket) and Stage Strike (1) unless players agreed on a stage. I don’t remember if wobbling (an Ice Climbers technique) was or wasn’t allowed though.

What made you choose Falco for this tournament? 
Falco has always been my main character since Melee came out. I feel that if one can win a tourney with such a technical character, that person really earned the win. I play other characters competitively as well, but Falco will always be my prime choice for tournaments.

In the finals, your opponent used Fox, a similar character to Falco. How are the two characters different? 
Well, without getting too technical, Fox and Falco are different mainly because of the way they combo. Fox is stronger with up smashes while Falco is stronger with forward smashes. Fox is also faster overall and falls more quickly than Falco. Additionally, simple things like Fox’s shine spike (used to prevent players from getting back to the stage) making a character go downward and Falco’s shine making them go up makes them very different characters to play with.

The finals were a best-of-five match, and at one point you were down 0-2. What did you do to turn it around?
When I played the first game, my hands weren’t really doing what I wanted and I even killed myself once. This upset me, and because of that I started playing more angrily than normal, and by the next match I was a wreck. My opponent even noticed this and said, “Your Falco is too salty. You need to calm down.” That was the turning point. I took a few deep breaths, relaxed a bit (it is a game after all) and played much smarter and better than I had the previous two rounds.

Of what you’ve seen so far of Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, what are you most excited about?
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the new Smash Bros. brings to the table and I’m really excited about seeing how awesome Mega Man is. I’ve been a huge fan of that character since I first played his games on the Super Nintendo and watched the show on TV.

What else did you do at the convention?
I spent a great deal of my time in the game room and in the dealer’s room. I did walk around for a bit and wanted to cosplay, but my cold kept me from doing too much of that. Between the arcade room, the game room, and the dealer’s room, I was pretty much set and had a great weekend. I can’t wait for next year.

1. “Stage Strike” is a system by which players alternate removing stages from a list until there is only one left, which is the stage the match is played on.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pokemon TCG Flashfire Prerelease: Rockford, IL + PokePress in Japan Part 3

Chris Hoag
The following is an interview with Chris Hoag, a player I met at a recent Pokémon TCG Flashfire Prerelease near Rockford, Illinois.

Where are you from, and how long have you been playing the game?
I’m from the small town of New Lenox, Illinois, roughly 45 minutes southwest of Chicago. I started playing in 2007, but I didn’t get into competitive play until this past September.

The first card you’ve picked out from the set is Mega Kangaskahn EX, one of several Mega Evolutions in the set. What made it stand out for you?
Mega Kangaskhan EX caught my attention for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s my favorite Pokémon, and the second is that it has such a low energy requirement for a good amount of output-three colorless energy gets you at least 100 damage. With Double Colorless Energy, you’ll have multiple options for getting that attack on turn three.

Next up is Forretress. The ability looks interesting-how do you think it’ll be used?
As you said, Forretress is an interesting card. I’m all for spreading damage without attacking, and after thinking about it, I could see it being used in conjunction with Flygon and Dusknoir from Boundaries Crossed. The strategy is fairly simple: Use Flygon’s “Sand Slammer” ability to add damage counters between turns, Forretress with Devolution Spray to place them during your turn, and Dusknoir to move the counters and knock out your opponent’s Pokémon.

Finally, we have the trainer Trick Shovel-what kind of decks do you think we’ll see it in?
Trick Shovel is one of my favorites from the set. I could see it being used in an Aggron mill deck, or even Yveltal/Darkrai variants, specifically the variants that rely heavily on Junk Hunt Sableye. But who knows? Only time will tell.

The Pokémon TCG Flashfire set is available in stores now. 

As a bonus, check out the third part of our coverage of my recent trip to Japan:
This installment covers my time in Kyoto, visiting an arcade, and the bullet train.