Under Your Radar: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

The Pulse Towards Tomorrow by Kanako Kotera

It’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be discussing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Eiyū Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki in Japan). This is a timely one, because although I played it on Vita, the PC port launches today. It released in 2013 in Japan on PS3 and Vita, but the English release by XSEED was in 2015.

It’s the sixth game in Falcom’s Trails series, and the start of the Erebonia arc. Said arc has two more games, Trails of Cold Steel II and the upcoming Trails of Cold Steel III. The fourth and fifth Trails games take place simultaneously to this one, in the neighbouring city-state of Crossbell, and you get an in-game calendar that allows you to line up the events if you’ve played both arcs. At the time of this writing, it is one of the only three acceptable entry points for the series, alongside Trails in the Sky and the yet-unlocalized Trails to Zero.

You play as Class VII, a special sixth class (not a typo) created at Thors Military Academy in Trista, Erebonia by one of its princes. Unlike the other five classes, which are solely for nobles or solely for commoners, Class VII is a mixture. This is off-putting to some of them at first, because the Erebonian Empire has a very notable class structure. One of them is effectively a foreigner, even. The main character, Rean Schwarzer, is a baron’s son by adoption, being found abandoned in the mountains as a kid. Continue reading

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Under Your Radar: Rune Factory 4

Travelers of the Wind by Joe Rinoie and Saaya Mizuno (Japanese voices of the two player avatars)

It’s been way too long, but it’s now time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be discussing Rune Factory 4, the final title by the developer Neverland, published by Marvelous worldwide (XSEED is just the name for their Western arm).

Rune Factory 4 is a 3DS game, and the sixth title in its series. It released in 2012 in Japan, 2013 in North America, and 2014 in Europe. Like the rest of the games in the series, it plays like a Story of Seasons/Harvest Moon type of game, with additional combat elements. Continue reading

Under Your Radar: Stella Glow

Before I begin, I would like to address the elephant in the room. Last time, I teased The Severing Crime Edge as the next work to be covered. Since then, it has come to my attention that not only did the manga conclude, it is available legally in English. I would be remiss to write about it before reading the manga since it’s available. Not only that, quite some time has passed, so I found myself unable to recall the details of the anime. As such, I substituted something I’d been exposed to somewhat more recently. So, without further ado…



Hikari no Metamorphosis (English ver.) by Konomi Suzuki

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It’s been a while, but it’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be discussing Stella Glow, a 3DS game released in June 2015 in Japan by Sega, localized for North America in November by Atlus, and and finally released in PAL regions in March 2016 by NIS America. It is the swansong of imageepoch, a developer who honestly did not release a single game I enjoyed throughout their entire existence. After delivering the final build of the Japanese release of this game, the president of the company went missing, and it later came to light that the company was bankrupt. Will this final game of theirs be an exception, or more of the same? Continue reading

Under Your Radar: Chaika -The Coffin Princess-

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DARAKENA by Iori Nomizu

We don’t want a freedom with restrictions,
Covered in patchwork.

I can go on living because of days like these;
That’s how I feel…

I can get through it because someone like you is with me;
That’s how I feel…

I’m a love fool, my vision clouded,
But what can I do on a night like this?
Reaching a dead end, we make a promise,
Reflected in our mirrored surfaces.

We don’t want a freedom with restrictions,
Covered in patchwork.
We have no interest in an answer that can only be found through parting,
So we’ll search until we can meet again.

Chaika Blu-Ray CoverIt’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be covering Chaika -The Coffin Princess- (Hitsugi no Chaika), a light novel by Ichirō Sakaki and published by a child company of Kadokawa. Other child companies of Kadokawa have handled the manga and anime (animated by Bones), including the manga being licensed for English release to Yen Press. Sentai licensed the anime for the West. There are also two spin-off manga. The anime will be my focus here, having had two seasons (the second being one subtitled “Avenging Battle“) and having completed the story in its run of 22 episodes (and a bonus episode that takes place at an unspecified earlier point). Continue reading

Under Your Radar: The Rising of the Shield Hero (web novel)

(Web novels generally don’t have art, so this post will be fairly art-free)
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Shield Hero LN Cover
This is the Light Novel’s cover.

It’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be discussing The Rising of the Shield Hero (Japanese title: Tate no Yūsha no Nariagari). It was a web novel written by Aneko Yusagi, which updated daily until its conclusion. It was then adapted to a light novel, actually having editors this time, which then received a manga adaptation. I’ll be talking about the web novel today, but I recommend reading the manga. The story received notable rewrites when the editors got on board to make it into a light novel. The light novel and manga have been licensed by One Peace Books, with releases having already started two weeks ago.

The story is thus: Our protagonist, a college student named Naofumi, is called to a fantasy world as the hero of the shield. There are two other heroes, corresponding to a spear, sword and bow. Most humans hate the hero of the shield, while the demi-humans love him due to the previous hero of the shield being especially nice to their kind. Continue reading

Under Your Radar: Maria the Virgin Witch


Philosophy of Dear World by ZAQ

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Maria the Virgin Witch Title ImageIt’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’re discussing Maria the Virgin Witch (Japanese title: Junketsu no Maria, or “Maria the Virgin”), subtitled in both languages as Sorcière de gré, pucelle de force or “Witch by Will, Maiden by Force”. It is a manga series by Masayuki Ishikawa that received an anime adaptation recently. I’ll be discussing the anime here, which is licensed by Funimation, but the manga has been picked up by Kodansha USA. Continue reading

Under Your Radar: Witch Craft Works


divine intervention by fhána

The one I profoundly love
Since the day I came across
Is none other than you

Who was it that was crying
At the back of my faint memories?
Since I’ve made up my mind, I won’t hesitate anymore
I won’t hurt that which is precious to me

Even if the day comes that the whole world
Becomes our enemy and bares its fangs, I…

I’ll protect what I can, because
I realized before I was born
That I will fight for you

The one I profoundly love
Ever since that day, yes,
If I can’t reach you yet,
I’ll shout your name even louder
Towards the sky

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Witch Craft Works Volume 1 CoverIt’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be discussing Witch Craft Works, an ongoing seinen manga by Ryū Mizunagi that runs in the bi-monthly Kodansha magazine good! Afternoon. Vertical has licensed the manga, while Crunchyroll ran the 12-episode anime adaptation, but not the bonus episode (which covers the cleanup after the finale, as seen in the manga). Continue reading