Welcome to 魔法☆全開 (or Mahou Zenkai), a blog ran by Johnny Nguyen (a.k.a. Mikoto and many other internet aliases), or rather, me. 魔法全開 is an anime blog that focuses on subjects regarding anime/manga, as well as other Asian media such as dramas and J-Music, from time to time. It’s a blend of episodic reviews and editorials, sometimes mixed with a bit of friendly sarcastic humor and wit in between. Types of blogged shows vary because the main writer (me) can’t decide whether or not he’s into quality, moé, or giant robots with sunglasses. Sometimes he prefers all of them combined (okay, okay, maybe they don’t have giant robots with sunglasses, but they’re close enough!).
My blog was formerly known as オタクSPOT (or The Otaku Spot). General blog history and facts:
I first started this blog on Blogger as an anime fan wishing to share his thoughts on the shows he watched (getting inspiration to start one from reading blogs like Memento and Anime on My Mind, the former being dead and the latter being known as…. whatever the hell it’s called now). Slowly getting tired of what Blogger offered me, I imported all my stuff to WordPress.com and continued the blog from there. Eventually, I got a hold of the awesome, free hosting at AnimeBlogger.net, owned by Maestro, the current (and quite possibly permanent) home of this blog. Thanks, Maestro! I really hope he’s doing okay with his health problems…
I’ve changed the blog name once to Keiongaku ♪ 軽 ♪ 音 ♪ 楽 ♪) as a joke due to my obnoxious gushes of moé for K-ON!, token guilty pleasure at the time. It’s a funny story… Though, after all these years I’ve finally found a name more inspiring and less self-degrading than “The Otaku Spot“. Mahou Zenkai is a reference to my roots an anime fan. Mahou (magic) is a reference to Cardcaptor Sakura (an iconic mahou shoujo, magical girl, series) and Zenkai (full throttle) is a reference to Dragon Ball.
I’ve also recruited the help of my friend Steven (The Lancer and shota) from time to time. Hopefully, this time he’ll be a permanent addition to my… little family, here. I plan on using my influence to lure him to the dark side, muhahaha. I’ve also recruited my Canadian friend Daniel Greenway (The Sixth Ranger), who will be talking about the visual novels he plays. Of course, since he’s a white Canadian, his post are not really “Asian ramblings” as the blog advertises, but “white Canadian ramblings.” Also notice that his name resembles Dan Green.[/SPOILER]
THE BAND… OF WRITERS
Name: Johnny Long Nguyen (The Guitarist – can’t play for shit)
Birthday: July 1st, 1993
Ethnicity: Vietnamese, someotherAsianmaybe
Status: Single but my heart is TAKEN. ;D I prefer girls my age or younger. If she’s older and doesn’t exceed a three-year-age difference, that’s awwwright too.
Alias(es) (common names I go by on the blogosphere/internet): xXMikotoNakadaiXx, Mikoto, Yuugame
A friendly, fun-loving, yet slightly sarcastic boy living in the scorching pits of California. Oh, hey, look, it’s that annoying Johnny kid.
Why, hello there, dear visitor. I started this blog in hopes of sharing my thoughts on one of my most beloved hobbies: anime and manga. Hopefully, it doesn’t turn into a chore and stays fun. Hopefully. I love all sorts of anime, given that they don’t completely fall into dumb cliches, aren’t cash-ins of a popular overrated genre that does things that were done millions of times before, or fail to do what they’re supposed to do.
My other hobbies and interests include Asian Dramas, drawing, gaming, Korean fashion, horror movies, and just hanging out. I listen to a lot of J-Pop and K-Pop, like your typical Asian. You’ll probably see me write about dramas and gaming from time to time. x3
Even though the site was known as “The Otaku Spot”, none of us are really exaggerated geeks like the ones stereotyped in Japan or in Genshiken. We’re just overenthusiastic about things. Also, despite popular belief, I am not a hikikomori. I need to get out more.
My favorite anime/manga series and movies include the following: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, FLCL, Mushishi, Yuu☆gi☆ou/The☆Game☆King/Yu-Gi-Oh! (THE MANGA), K-ON! (guilty pleasure), Lucky☆Star, Mononoke, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, The Girl Who leapt Through Time, Grave of the Fireflies, and many more. I’m also a very big CLAMP fan in general, so expect me to go ga-ga over Cardcaptor Sakura and Kobato. ;D
Some of my favorite video game series are the following: Tales of, Metal Gear, Shenmue, Ace Attorney/Gyakuten Saiban, Resident Evil/Biohazard, Silent Hill, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Street Fighter, Disgaea, The World Ends With You, Final Fantasy, Growlanser, Forbidden Siren, and Fatal Frame/Project Zero. Basically, my favorite types of games are usually either open-world, RPGs, action games, or survival horror games. I’m also partial to Fullmetal Alchemist games, the only anime-based games I like. Right now, I also have a penchant for the Japanese doujin games brought over by Carpe Fulgur and want to play Fortune Summoners Deluxe.
I dislike Naruto with a passion.
(P.S. I’m currently under the delusion reasonable impression that I’m an overlord. I’m the overlord of this blog, therefore I’m the overlord of you!
And also, I realize Mikoto is a Japanese name usually given to girls. I named myself after a male character, get off my back. ):)
Game consoles I own(ed):
- Super Nintendo
- Sega Mega Drive
- Nintendo 64
- Sega Saturn
- Sega Dreamcast
- PlayStation 2
- Game Boy Advance
- Nintendo DS
- Nintendo Wii
- Nintendo 3DS
I use Steven’s 360 and other peoples’ PSPs. lololol
Name: Steven Le (The Drummer – Likes beating his shit)
Birthday: February 24, 1993
Ethnicity: Vietnamese, Apparently someotherAsianmaybe
Alias(es): Mr. Lex, 420 no Smoke, Corporal Crotch
I’m practically a guest writer, with an average of one article a year, but damn it I still want to leave a little snippet here. I was originally brought on to write about video games, but that went down the shitter as soon as I realized that “playing video games” and “writing about video games” isn’t a simultaneous action. That and up until the release of Dark Souls, I had a serious dry spell of Japanese games, and this unfortunately isn’t The Westaku Spot. One day.
My other excursions into Japanese media include visual novels (Daniel/Wahfuu is to blame for this one) and light novels, though my inability to read in any other language other than English has me held back on both of these hobbies.
I don’t really want to make this an autobiography, but I feel I should note two things because they’re related to my writing. First off, I love criticizing things. I do not mean nitpicking in order to talk about how shit something is, but I feel that being able to point out everything I hate or dislike about something and then being able to finish the rant with “…but I still fucking loved it,” truly shows how much you enjoyed yourself. Second, my attention span works in bursts. I will get really involved in a video game or visual novel, stick to it for 3 days straight, get distracted by something else and not return to it for six god damn months at which point I marathon the rest of it over the course of a week. It’s unhealthy, and the reason I mention is because I want everybody that reads this to realize that if I say, “Next I’ll review:…” or “I plan to play…” it means as much as me screeching in your ear like a raving harpy.
A few favorite anime of mine are Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Lucky☆Star, Dantalian no Shoka, and Detroit Metal City. There’s plenty I forget to list here (I’m more or less just trying to show a variety of genres on here), as well as dozens that I’m interested in watching, but just end up not touching. I get frustrated with anything in a video format or audio format because I can’t control how fast I’m experiencing the content. If it takes me a long time to play a video game, or read a visual novel or light novel, it was my own fault, but I don’t really want to hit the fast-forward button while watching anime.
The visual novels I have under my belt at the moment are Da Capo II, Katawa Shoujo, Monster Girl Quest 1 & 2 (I REGRET NOTHING. I AM WILLING TO ANSWER ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRAUMA CAUSED BY THESE EXPERIENCES), Little Busters!, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All.
I am currently reading the Spice & Wolf and Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, and I didn’t enjoy either of their respective anime adaptations. Go figure.
I wish I could create a even remotely complete list of video games that I would call my favorites, but that is just impossible for me. Still, it’s worth a shot, I’ll try to mix up both new and old games into this vastly incomplete list.
I enjoy roguelike games, from old classics like NetHack (which wreck my shit) to newer takes on the genre such as Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja. In a similar vein, I am a huge fan of dungeon crawlers, though they were admittedly not a favorite of mine back when the genre was more popular because of how terrible I was at them. Recently however, the Etrian Odyssey series has given me a chance to give the genre a second try, and it’s one of the few video games series I still consistently enjoy, other than the flagship Shin Megami Tensei series, another great dungeon crawler from Atlus.
I wish I could say what my favorite Japanese role playing game is, but there’s just too many. Some of the ones that are up there include Grandia, the original Arc the Lad trilogy, Wild Arms 2, and the Xenosaga trilogy. Western role-playing games are also difficult to list, but some of my favorites include The Witcher, Deus Ex, Jade Empire, and Fallout 2. I really need to go revisit the golden age of WRPG’s, I haven’t even played Planescape: Torment, something that I am legitimately embarrassed about.
I do miss older stealth games, such as the Thief series, and the older Splinter Cell games where going on a rampage was tantamount to suicide, or at least very inefficient and bad for one’s score (I’m looking at you Hitman: Absolution, revealing my identity after snapping somebody neck in a wrestling arena should not be rewarded damn it). Hell, the Metal Gear Solid games get silly, but Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had me thinking twice about killing people because of a certain stupid river.
I’m not a huge fan of first person shooters, not because of the genre, but because of how generic they feel these days. The ones I did enjoy though were the early days of Team Fortress 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, and Bioshock. Some older games that felt damn original to me at the time were Red Faction with its destructible environments and The Operative: No One Lives Forever which had just absolutely fun gameplay and a hilarious atmosphere.
I’d list some more genres and games, but I don’t want to be that guy and drag this on any longer, if somebody was that damn curious they could always ask me. Instead I’ll list the consoles I am currently playing video games on.
(Mikoto note: His Viet name is Binh. he taps on da binh)
Name: Daniel Greenway (The Keyboard Player – fingering his shit)
Birthday: July 31, 1991
Ethnicity: Caucasian, definitely not Black
Alias(es): Wahfuu, HEY YOU CANADIAN
I talk a lot about still-framed voice-acted cartoon sex that most people masturbate to but I for some reason find incredible amounts of artistic merit in, which makes me thirty types of weird with sixty types of wrist pain.
Thank you, and goodnight!
What, that’s not enough? Okay then! I’m Wahfuu. Wahfz, if you will. W to the Fuu. Whatever you want to call me is fine. I’m a gigantic nerd that enjoys anime and the occasional manga and all sorts of video game genres! Of course, the thing that I’m sure most people know I love the most would be VN’s, which I find to be the absolute best form of story-telling for various reasons. Not to diminish any pros the others have, it’s mostly just a personal preference that seems to be glued to me. I’ve read most of the English ones save for few that I’ve put off for specifics and a few of the Japanese ones despite being as proficient at the language as your every day toddler.
Favorite anime would probably include Lucky Star, Joshiraku, Chuu2, Nichijou, Clannad, (depending how I feel at the time) Hellsing: Ultimate, Evangelion, Angel Beats and probably Full Metal Alchemist. There are definitely others I’m forgetting. I’ve been far out of the loop when it comes to anime, lately. Hajime no Ippo gets a special mention as one of the only manga that has kept my attention through absurd amounts of content.
Favorite VN’s will include, but are not limited to: MuvLuv Alternative, Little Busters!, G-Senjou no Maou, Fate/Stay Night, Chaos;Head, Sharin no Kuni, Tsukihime, Hoshizora and Forest. Special mentions go towards Kamidori Alchemist Meister and Majikoi, for being a bit hard to pin down but doing what they do extremely well. Other mentions go towards YU-NO and Cross Channel, which despite being amazing in their own right, I can’t seem to get into but highly recommend regardless. This is all just personal taste, of course, and tentative as shit. This list will probably get edited a hundred times over the course of its lifespan, so take it with a grain of salt. I’ll hopefully have a review for everything in the future.
I could mention some other stuff, too. Like the Da Capo and Katawa Shoujo for being great entry level VN’s and the Liar-Soft game series which I haven’t had the time to read but hear amazing things about. Same with Steins;Gate. Rewrite is mentioned here too, but that looks to be making its way into my favorites at lethal speed, so I put it here only for now. If you are wondering why I didn’t mention X VN for Y reason, it’s probably because I’m an idiot and forgot. You should probably ask me somewhere what I think of X for Y reason so I can put it in here.
You will hopefully never see me use a point system for VN’s. I simply hate using it. I think condensing art, message and personal enjoyment into a number can make people compare apples to oranges. I also think that perfection cannot and will not ever really exist in any product, but a score system implies that perfect does exist and unfairly places it against a gigantic invisible impossibility for comparison. However, the good chap Ixrec over at Amaterasu gets a special mention for the polarity addition which is probably the best way to go about it properly. I guess it’s not the system, more about what seems the fanbase has turned the score system into, which is an excuse to argue. So, I’ll probably refrain from using it. I’ll put a TL;DR at the end of most of my reviews, however.
What else? Oh, vidya. I play games on the hardest difficulty because I’m a masochist that likes being punched around like a dirty casual. Games like God of War and Devil May Cry (combat glorified) games are my favorite. Kingdom Hearts 2 FM gets a good mention, too, along with sandboxes like Infamous and Prototype. Also the souls series. Yeye.
Damn, this picture is the most annoying thing in existence.
Name: Everybody calls me Kyon, which annoys me to no end… They’ve been calling me that for so long, I think even I forgot what my name was. Mikoto: He’s the dude that drags our shit around for us. LOLOLOL
Birthday: …. I don’t really know, myself.
I help Johnny (a.k.a. xXMikotoNakadaiXx… what kind of username is that?!) blog The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, an anime series with a cynical character that somehow bares a strange resemblance to me.
Mainly because it IS me.
… It’s more like a biography of myself more than anything else, going more in-depth of my disdain of all the wierd stuff going on around me. More than what was portrayed in the anime series.
Yeah. Like that’s possible.
Name: Sam C. (Backup Drummer – beating everyone’s shit)
Birthday: September 23, 1987
Ethnicity: Spees Muhreen
Status: Dedicated to the Emperium to Purge the Unclean
Alias(es): Lieutenant deepon
FOR THE EMPERIUM! I purge galaxies of heretics and unclean races in the name of the Emperium and in my spare time I do mundune reviews of anime for Jahnny. Attempting to GAR up this blog from the excess of Heretical, schoolgirl, slice of life anime and VNs. All for the Emperium! I really hate heretics, unclean races, psykers, sisters of battle, tau, eldar, dark eldar, anything chaos related, orks, tyrannids and Blood Angels. I. ALSO. HATE. NECRONS. THOSE FUCKERS ALWAYS COME BACK UNLESS YOU TAKE DOWN THE DAMN MONOLITH, UGH!
But I enjoy the walks along the beach, admiring my trophy room full of the heads of the heretics and unclean heads mounted on my wall and movies with Morgan Freeman in it because I have a man-crush on his voice.
Also, for the Emperium!