Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Introduction to Weiss Schwarz

Introduction to Weiss Schwarz

Being an anime fan, it's usually natural to have a couple of series you love more than the others. You can buy merchandise, clothing, and use the characters as your avatar, but what if you want to do something more hands-on than that? Well, that's where Weiss Schwarz comes into play. Not only are trading cards great as a collectible for the avid collector, this Bushiroad sponsored card game allows fans to do battle and clash with their favorite anime. If you love card games and anime, then I recommend reading a bit more into this!

Bushiroad is a company that is known for many things. Recently, Cardfight!! Vanguard has started soaring to new heights, becoming more well-known in areas outside of Japan. Love Live School Idol Project is another successful venture from the company, progressing from a popular anime into a phone-based rhythm game that has over ten million players.

The next project to bloom is Weiss Schwarz, an anime based card game. Weiss Schwarz, which means White Black in German, brings together anime that fit into two types. The Weiss side consists of calmer anime such as slice of life and romance genres such as Nisekoi, while Schwarz features action packed series like Kill la Kill. Although they are divided into two groups, the basic game play remains the same among each.

The Basics

Weiss Schwarz Field Layout
For the best view, click the image to see a full size version.
So how do you start playing, and where should you begin? First, a basic explanation of the game is needed in order to go further. Weiss Schwarz consists of two-players with a deck of 50 cards taking turns attacking each other. Unlike games such as Yugioh, you do not have life points. The counter for damage is known as the Clock, a rectangular portion of the field which holds up to 6 cards at a time.

The field looks complicated at first, but upon closer examination it is a simple system. As we have already addressed the clock, the other sections include the deck zone, waiting room, stock zone, front/center stage, and back stage. Other areas are the level zone, climax zone, and memory. Above is a quick explanation of each.

Now that the field is covered, we can move onto deck composition. A deck has 50 cards, and allows 4 of a single card at max. There are Level 0, 1, 2, and 3 cards. Each level is relative to the level of the counter and can only be played when the counter is equal or higher than that cards level. For instance, you cannot play a Level 2 card at Level 1 counter, but you can play a Level 2 card at Level 3.

Aside from these grades, we have climax cards which consist of special effects. They usually are taken from important events in an anime and are designed in landscape/horizontal style. Next are backups and counters which are similar to cards like Honest in Yugioh and defenders in Vanguard. They add power to your card that's being attacked and can protect it from being defeated. Lastly, we have other event cards which have special effects at a cost of stock.

Now you might ask how is damage calculated. Basically, each character card that exists in Weiss Schwarz has at least one soul. Soul is equal to the amount of damage you do to your opponent. Depending on how you attack, you will do more damage. Front attacking allows you to do full damage to your opponent and defeat your opponents character if your power is greater, while side attacking does damage without any power calculations.

So for example, a card with 2 soul that frontal attacks another card, will do 2 damage without any other effects. A card that front attacks an empty space, or directly attacks the opponent will get a +1 bonus and do 3 damage. If a card with 1 soul side attacks another card with a level 1 the attack will do no damage because 1 - 1 = 0. For it to do damage, the attacker would need a soul of 2 since 2 - 1 = 1.

For actual game play, its hard to explain without seeing it in action. I learned from the help of a tutorial video and playing, so in order to wrap up my short explanation of the game, I will attach a more detailed video that goes into depth and actually shows real footage. Please view the video (if it doesn't show for you please click this link) below if you have the time!

Deck Building and Buying Cards

Climax Card

There are many different ways to build a good deck when it comes to Weiss Schwarz, and although it is a good idea to take a look at guides, there is no clear-cut formula that is the best. However, one of my favorite resources to use is the beginner deck building guide here.

Outside of that, buying cards is where the fun begins. Like most card games, a good sum of money needs to be spent in order to get a really good competitive deck. However, in a way this is sort of an investment because you have the potential to get that money back by obtaining rare cards and getting rid of what you don't need.

In Vanguard we have SP cards which possess different art or text, and in Pokemon there are Level EX cards which sport powerful effects and are the boss cards of many decks. For Weiss Schwarz, while we have rare and shiny cards, the most valuable and desired are cards signed by the character's seiyuu. These cards can run from 30 dollars at the least, and 150-200 at the most. 150 dollars is more than double the price of a booster box, which can run around 60-80 dollars.

Angel Beats Yuri Signed Weiss Schwarz

So if you pull a signed card that is valuable, or cards that are well sought after, it's the same as getting the other cards for free. Now all of this might seem like common sense for an avid card player, but for a beginner this can sound a little confusing. So for the newbies here, here are your options in terms of buying cards to start your Weiss Schwarz adventure.

Buying Options

  • Trial Decks - Trial Decks are pre-constructed decks that contain everything you need to start playing the game right away. Even if you aren't a beginner to the game or card games, it's best to start off with one of these.
  • Booster Packs - A typical pack of cards that you can buy online or from your local card shop. One Weiss Schwarz booster pack has 8 cards, consisting of 1 climax card, 1 R/RR/RRR/SP, 2 uncommon, 4 common.
  • Booster Boxes/Extra Boosters/Carton - These are where the bulk of your cards usually come from. Booster Boxes/Extra Boosters/Cartons all contain a good sum of booster packs. The difference between each one is basically the amount of cards that come with each. For more information, navigate to the Weiss Schwarz website.

Anime in Weiss Schwarz

Love Live Weiss Schwarz

One of the greatest things about Weiss Schwarz is the fact that many decks play based on their anime. Angel Beats makes use of the memory function, Kill la Kill boosts their power and relies less on technique, and Project Diva plays from its songs. The soul of the anime is present in the cards.

Since Weiss Schwarz is such a a game, the main question is one that pops up very often. "Does my favorite anime have a deck?" For most people, the answer will be a definitely yes, but for others, the answer is a fleeting maybe.

Even if your anime isn't present in Weiss Schwarz at the time, its highly possible that it will be added at a later date. The most important thing right now is to spread awareness for the game with the series that are currently part of it. Although the game pulls from many different communities it hasn't gotten as far as say Yugioh or Pokemon. Even Cardfight!! Vanguard may have more popularity and power behind its name than Weiss at this time.

If we want the game to flourish, it's partly up to the company, Bushiroad. The rest is up to us, the community. We are the brand for the game and need to represent it well. A blog post like mine is just a way of spreading the word. If we want to make the game to be one that gets respect, we'll have to keep working to that goal.

With that being said, this is the end of the Introduction to Weiss Schwarz. After this, I'll post a few resources to help new players get started. As always, thank you all for reading!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Right Time Is Now

Anime Girl Alice Clock

If there is something you want to do, then do it. If its a hobby, passion, or anything else that is important to you, don't wait. The right time is not later; the right time is now. Even if you don't have a set plan, you can make something work. If your goal isn't completely clear, start working on the parts that you are. Above all else...always remember that anything you believe or dream, is possible.

These are literally a few lessons I have learned over the course of my blogging days. A few come from anime, manga, and video games, and others come from life experiences. Although being so involved in such things is a great benefit, we must not forget that everything isn't always laid out for us.

It's easy to start thinking that we have to accomplish things at a certain time period. Many works of fiction lay out predetermined events, actions, and relationships for the characters to pursue. However, things don't always work that way for us. We might even be able to say that there is necessarily no right time to do things, and instead, we should start doing things we love as soon as we can. Of course, as long as they are safe and not dangerous to our mind or body.

So does that mean everything should be dropped and your focus should shift to a central value? No, I don't think that would be wise. However, I believe its a good idea to take the necessary steps right now if you are able to. I'm actually guilty of not doing as much as I can, but instead of complaining I'd rather give my readers this knowledge to better themselves!

Anime Girl Working

For instance, if you want to become a voice actor or musician, start by studying the voices of others and the techniques they use. Start doing fan dubs over different anime that interest you. Maybe even take the time to dabble into singing and voice impressions. YouTube is filled to the brim with fan subs, song covers, and other vocal works. For musicians who don't like singing, there's many guides they teach you how to compose, read sheet music, and master composition programs.

If your sights are set for art, manga, or light novel work, browse creative writing guides and techniques. A lot of these can be found via Google for no price at all. You can find tutorials on how to draw anime characters with ease on YouTube. Even if you can't afford fancy materials and special manga pens, just start with pen and paper. If you don't like drawing, check out a nice program known as Comipo, which I featured in another post of mine.

Lastly, if you're focused on creating a visual novel or video game a computer is going to become your best friend. It's almost necessary to pick up programming knowledge, or find someone willing to do it for you. It's also best to network and connect with other individuals interested in being part of a similar project. In order to grab the attention of soon to be consumers, streaming your work via Twitch or sharing it through social media is a great option.

These are just a few examples of projects otaku and anime fans may be involved in, but there's a whole lot more out there. The point is that all of these things can be done now, even with busy schedules, school, and work. If you can set aside an hour a day to work on your dreams, you will move closer and closer to making them a reality.

Although this not the usual anime post that is present here on Shooting Star Dreamer, I believe it is an important topic. Similarly to the title, I also felt like it was the right time to post this. Despite all that, I have to thank anime not necessarily for teaching me this lesson, but for giving me such an outlook on life that allows me to perceive things in a unique way. Long live anime and it's amazing lessons!

As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter With Anime: Usagi Galore

Happy Easter anime fans and otaku! Although Easter means different things depending on where you come from or what you believe, let's focus on the usagi (bunny or rabbit) part of the holiday at this time.  Who knows, maybe you can learn a little bit of Japanese along the way?

As you know in anime, the presence of animals in the form of cute anime girls or boys is very common. We have cats and dogs that appear in anime like Dog Days, donning nekomimi and inumimi. (Which is translated to cat ears and dog ears. Inu and neko are dog and cat respectively, and mimi is the Japanese word for ears.)

Going even further would be someone who is the actual animal, which is then labeled as neko musume. This translates to cat girl or cat daughter, and characters usually possess many animal-like traits. Examples of such would be Felicia from DarkStalkers, or Shizuka Nekonome from Rosario + Vampire.

However, the common cats and dogs are not the main topic. Today we are focusing mostly on bunny girls. Unlike their other animal counterparts, there aren't as many of them in anime and manga. Yet, the ones that do exist always tend to stand out by differing from the usual common anime traits.

So for this post I'd like to share a few bunny girls with you, in order to make this character type more well known. Also, if you stick around until the end, there will be a wallpaper pack filled with nice bIf you like this kind of character and want to see a somewhat complete list of them, please check out the anime character database.

Vert Far Breton

Dog Days Vert

Vert is probably one of my favorite characters from Dog Days, and probably my favorite bunny girl. Although she doesn't get too much attention in the anime, starting with Season 3, the introduction of her brother and homeland has given possibilities for further development.

As of now there are only two characters that sport bunny ears in this anime. The previous focus was on dog and cats, and later squirrels, but now other characters are getting more of the spotlight. I really enjoy that many animals are represented in Dog Days, and it would be nice to see things that are rarely shown, such as characters combined with animals like reptiles or even mythical creatures.

Despite this, I Dog Days as a series and love what the anime has done for lovers of animal traits on cute, enjoyable characters!

Reisen Udongein Inaba

Reisen Touhou

Next up is a character who comes from the wide world of Touhou. Reisen Inaba is quite a popular character, not only with the beautiful color scheme of a light purple and red, but for her signature trait, rabbit ears.

Although I do not know much about the character herself, I can say that she is rather unique. For one, she has powers that induce insanity, but somehow maintains a stable personality. These powers also pay attention to her "blood red eye color" as I mentioned earlier, and have been dubbed Lunatic Red Eyes. 

You can find a lot more about her just from searching, but for those who want a direct link to her profile, you can simply check it out on the Touhou Wiki.

Viera Race (Final Fantasy)

Viera Race

Okay, the last member of this post isn't a solitary character, but a group of characters who all embody the bunny girl trait. They are known as the Viera Race and are present in mainly Final Fantasy 12. The commonalities between most of them is dark-toned skin, white hair, and bunny ears. 

One of the main members of this race is Fran, a playable character from Final Fantasy 12.  Like many of her group, she excels in excellent hearing and great senses overall. Although Final Fantasy 12 was her main game, she has appeared in a few others such as Dissidia, where she taught new players. She also appears in the Final Fantasy rhythm game.

The Viera Race is probably the closest we have to usagi musume. They possess traits of actual rabbits, alongside looking like that them.


Thank you all for reading! As an added bonus, I have created a rabbit girl wallpaper pack in commemoration of Easter! Even though Easter will be over after today, I hope you can put these images to good use! Please click the link below in order to view the images!