My view of this game now is yes, its harder, but I haven't had a cheap death yet, and there have been many, though I am only about 4 hours into it. One difference between this one and Demon Souls for me is that I can't seem to play for more than a few hours at a time, when I could do marathon sessions of Demon Souls. Its not that the game isn't fun or anything, not sure what it is, because I really enjoy the game, especially since I just finally figure out how to take out the shield wearing spear users without taking damage. One thing I can say is having played Demon Souls will help you with the exploring part of this game, but will hot help you proceed at a speedy pace. Just like the first game, you have to inch along, as monsters will start to chase you from a further distance than Demon Souls, and they will come from around corners where you won't see them until you are fighting another monster and they sneak up behind you. Thats a death and a lesson learned
As for the anime discussion, yeah, I grew up on anime, own a ton, including the entirety of Dragon Ball Z. Watched that series when i was a teenager and just took me 15 years to finally see the entirety of the Freiza fight and beyond.... People really do not understand anime inspired visuals. To this day I still tense up a bit when a family member walks in on what would seem like a compromising picture in one of my games, like the Neptunia bandage picture, and they have no context for it and automatically become judge, jury, and executioner. People don't understand that a joke like that in anime is akin to a woman standing on a vent and getting her dress blown up over her head in real life.
Also, whats up with this fixation of panties being extremely taboo? In my opinion panties and the bottom half of a bikini are pretty much the same thing, and women and girls walk around pools and beaches wearing those all the time. So if we say those characters are really wearing bikini's, all of our anime inspired games will become acceptable? In the grand scheme of things, the only misunderstood issues with the west and anime is humor. Most people aren't used to the humor in anime, like Ranma 1/2 for instance, so they see 30 seconds of a show and condemn it. They won't take 20 minutes to watch an episode because they judge without reason. I used to worry about my anime, but I can actually catch my folks watching some nowadays, usually one or 2 once in a blue moon on sci-fi, on pardon forgot that annoying change, scy-fy, or the saturday night adult swim block that I watch weekly, I would catch them watching bleach or Full Metal Alchemist. Times are changing, just slowly.